Your Money & Your Commissioners: How They Spent It

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Tale of two projects offers insight into mindset of elected officials

PASQUOTANK COUNTY — How much of your money is wasted and are your Pasquotank County Commissioners being responsible with taxpayer money?

In an effort to answer that question, consider the following:

At the Finance Meeting yesterday, the issue arose about an old Snap On Tools truck, which had been impounded by the Sheriff’s office about 10 years ago. This truck has been sitting in an impound yard without being run, but the body was in good condition. So, the issue before the commissioners was whether or not the county should give the truck to the city fire department.

County Commissioner Frankie Meads expressed his opinion that the county should ascertain the value of the truck and then sell it on E-Bay or accept bids privately. He expressed his concern that since the city was failing to pay its water bill and forcing the county to incur legal expenses — giving the city a free truck was not warranted.

Meads said he had received an informal bid of $2500 from a local resident, and offered one assessment that the truck had a valuable lift gate, with an estimated value of $1500.

Joining Meads in his vote not to donate the truck were County Commissioners Winslow and Griffin. However, Commissioner Dixon urged his colleagues to accept the suggestion of county staffers to approve the donation, securing the votes of Commissioners Parker, Sterritt and Perry.

The four elected officials were of the opinion that the city fire department’s use of the used vehicle would ultimately benefit the entire county.

Aside from the issue of City vs County, the real question is: Are the county commissioners spending our money wisely and with the taxpayers in mind? So, as you consider this issue in the context of a $2500 truck, recall the following:

Last year, the Commissioners had a Capital Improvement request to consider. The request was made by College of The Albemarle for various purposes. The commissioners provided the funds. The maintenance staff at the community college, spent the money wisely, saving approximately $42,000, according to those familiar with the school’s capital improvements.

How unusual for money to be saved! So the excess funds were returned to the County treasury, right? Wrong! The commissioners agreed to let College of The Albemarle keep the money to offset costs for a welding shop, which was not even in the school’s budget.

Would the community college eventually have submitted the welding shop as a future budget item? Probably. But these two issues contribute to the general belief that the County Commissioners spend taxpayer money differently from the way they would spend their own.