At the Yancey County Commissioners monthly meeting on Monday evening, December 9th the first business that had to be taken care of was for nominations for a new chairman of the board. Johnny Riddle was nominated and Jeff Whitson was nominated. With the absence of board member Mark Ledford the vote split with 2 votes for Jeff Whitson and 2 votes for Mark Ledford. The board chair would have to be decided later. Chairman for the past year, Jeff Whitson said the board was technically without a chair for the meeting. The board voted to let Jeff Whitson continue as the chair of the meeting.
All items in the consent agenda were approved including approval of Proclamation in support of declaring January 2020 National Radon Action Month.
In appointments: for the Yancey County Library Board Members, Beryl Carroll and Julia Fox were reappointed for a 3 year term.
With the retirement of Danny McIntosh an appointment was needed for the Tax Collector position. Lyndsee Smith was appointed to fill the remainder of the term running from January 21st through end of June 2020.
The board also heard project update reports from Julie Wiggins and Phil Trew with the High Country Council of Governments.
Tres Magner with the Cooperative Extension recognized the long term service and retirement of Linda Semon with the Yancey County 4H program.
Robin Smith updated the board on the continued growth of the TRACTOR program and reminded everyone of the $10,000 matching donation they could receive if they got $2,000 more in donations before year end.
During the County Manager report Lynn Austin presented updates on outstanding projects. The board is working on bids for EMS service. The current contract with HCA ends June 30th in 2020. Austin reported on several early bids, with the lowest bid of 1.6 million per year. The current cost with HCA for EMS service is 1.14 million. The new HCA bid starts at 1.859 million and grows to 2.1 million over the 5 year contract. Mitchell and Madison Counties are also under contract with HCA through June 30th of 2020.
The County Manager congratulated South Toe Fire Department for continued hard work to get their insurance fire rating down from 6 to 4. The new rating will save 1.7 million dollars on insurance bills for those in the South Toe Fire District.
Several County projects will continue in spring with warmer weather. Cane River Park updates and repairs, Ray Court Park improvements, the East Yancey water sewer project and the new open air farmers market in the location of the recently demolished old Hospital, Health Dept, Senior center building.