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Originally published: 2014-03-19 11:07:43
Last modified: 2014-03-19 11:08:28

Commissioners will hear appeals from landowners

by Allison Haver

The Watauga County Board of Commissioners will once again hear any appeals from landowners about the county's recent property revaluation.

As they did last year, commissioners voted to serve on the Board of Equalization and Review and to include County Manager Deron Geouque as an alternate member.

The Board of Equalization and Review is the first level of review for landowners after the county undergoes its revaluation.

Commissioners also approved the compensation for the 2014 Board of Equilization and Review at $75 per session, which has been the member compensation for the past several years.

The board also approved the schedule for the 2014 Board of Equalization and Review, which was presented by Watauga County Tax Administrator Larry Warren. The convening and adjourning dates for the board is the official time for accepting applications for hearing of property tax appeals.

Meeting times:
April 28: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
April 29: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
May 1: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
May 5: 4 p.m. 7 p.m.
May 6: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
May 12: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
May 15: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
May 19: 4 p.m. 7 p.m.
May 21: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Middle Fork Greenway
The commissioners approved in a four-to-one vote to select Vaughn and Melton, an engineering firm, for a portion of the Middle Fork Greenway project.

The project is a bike and pedestrian trail that aims to connect Blowing Rock to Boone.

"As long as these trails are being used, I don't see any problem with maintaining them," Commissioner Billy Kennedy said.

Commissioner Perry Yates was the only nay vote to select Vaughn and Melton.
"There's no way to tell how many people use the Greenway Trail," Yates said.

"Sometimes, it's just me there, and other times there are 500 people," he said.

Watauga County Planning and Inspections Director Joe Furman recommended to the board the selection of Vaughn and Melton, based on the firm's experience and proximity to Boone. Two other firms are either in the process of being "pre-qualified" or are pre-qualified for the project -- Blue Ridge Environmental Consultants and McGill Associates Bids.

The part of the trail for the contracted work is 1,965 feet and is located between Tweetsie and Mystery Hill and goes under the U.S. 321 and onto a piece of property that the county now owns known as the Whitener tract.
Furman said the North Carolina Department of Transportation funding from the Federal Highway Administration in the amount of $375,000 has been secured for the project, including engineering.

In other business:
-- Commissioners approved Watauga County Maintenance Director Robert Marsh's request to award the bid from Boone Ford for a new maintenance vehicle. The amount is $23,306, with funds to come from the administrative contingency. During the last snow event the transmission on a 2000 Dodge failed.

-- Commissioners approved the bid for the paving for Rocky Knob Park from Moretz Paving in the amount of $121,820, with all funding to be provided by the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority. Bids for the bathrooms in the park were recently accepted and the estimated completion date for the bathrooms is the end of August.

-- Commissioners approved a request from residents of George Triplett Road to petition the N.C. Department of Transportation to add the road to the state-maintained system. For the road to be added, improvements must be made to the road, which the residents have agreed to fund.