12/18/06 — Commissioners to appoint legislative liaison Tuesday

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Commissioners to appoint legislative liaison Tuesday

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on December 18, 2006 1:45 PM

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners will choose a new legislative liaison at its Tuesday morning meeting.

The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners has requested that all 100 counties appoint one county commissioner as that county's legislative liaison.

In the past year, the county commissioners worked as a group when dealing with legislative issues, County Manager Lee Smith. But for this upcoming session, the county will select one person to do the job.

When the General Assembly's next session begins on Jan. 24, the legislative liaison will be responsible for ensuring his entire board is aware of any legislative developments that concern Wayne County.

When those important issues are addressed at the state level, the liaison is responsible for placing those items on the county's agenda for discussion.

After the commissioners appoint a liaison, they plan to meet in a work session to discuss legislative issues.

One of the most important issues facing the county is Medicaid costs and its effect on the county budget. The increasing amount of people eligible for Medicaid, including those who already receive Medicaid, will costs the county about $7.5 million next year.

The costs to cover Medicaid have increased 77 percent since 2000. This is because North Carolina is the only state requiring county participation in all Medicaid services. Last year, the county spent about 9 percent of its budget toward Medicaid, which is equal to about 13 cents on the property tax rate, Smith said.

During the summer, the county commissioners sought legislation that would implement a six-year phase-out of county funding for Medicaid. The first year of the plan would have capped county costs equal to the levels during the 2004-05 fiscal year. Then, the plan would provide relief through state financial assistance to counties with a large percentage of eligible Medicaid recipients.

But the General Assembly did not act on Medicaid relief.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners will also consider an amendment to the Wayne County Mobile Home Standards and Set-up Ordinance that would not allow a manufactured home to receive electricity without meeting a 30-foot easement requirement.

The commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday on the fourth floor of the courthouse after a briefing session that begins at 8 a.m.