On Thursday, June 19, the Rotary Club of Spruce Pine welcomed former member (and Nikki’s husband.) Joe Street, Mitchell County Commissioner, who presented a very interesting program on the workings of the Board of Commissioners. Joe described his report to us as “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” He noted that there were plenty of good things going on in the county such as 7% unemployment rate and local companies were hiring. The bad things going on involved substance abuse. He said that 85% of job applicants could not pass a drug test. On a positive note Joe said that Bill Slagle, interim economic director, was doing an excellent job in attracting new businesses. Mitchell County is focusing on advanced Manufacturing, agribusiness, tourism, and the arts. The county is investing in a $600,000 Industrial Park. Another problem that the county faces is the decrease in population with a decreasing student enrollment in schools and the increase of a population of over fifty years of age, which is about 55% of the total population. As for the “ugly,” Joe talked about the county budget and that, with the millage rate at $.41, Mitchell County ranked 95th among the 100 counties in NC. He expects to see that amount raised to at least $.51 in the near future. The Department of Social Services utilizes a large portion of the county budget, with more children in foster care than ever before. When asked about the total budget, Joe reported that the county’s budget is somewhere about $20 million and that about 85% of the expenditures are dictated by the state. Spruce Pine Rotarians appreciate the work that Joe is doing as a County Commissioner and thank him for this program. As one member put it, Joe’s talk was very transparent and clear cut, the best presentation on Mitchell County government he had ever seen.
Pictured is Commissioner Joe Street receiving a locally handmade Rotary mug from
Rotarian Jerry Black. Photo by Rotarian Carole Arthurs