03/03/11 — Ordinances headed for county's website

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Ordinances headed for county's website

By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 3, 2011 1:46 PM

Wayne County Commissioners approved the codification of all county ordinances at their meeting Tuesday and said the regulations would soon be posted on the county's website.

The board voted to delete three ordinances that have been superseded by state law dealing with second-hand precious metal businesses, county 911 telephone service charges and drug paraphernalia.

A fourth ordinance regarding the Economic Development Commission also was deleted. The commission was dissolved years ago and replaced by the Wayne County Development Alliance.

Two other ordinances are expected to be replaced by stronger ones. One ordinance that is apparently not being used deals with false alarms generated by home alarm systems, County Manager Lee Smith said. Another about noise complaints is too vague for the courts, he said.

Commissioners got rid of the ordinances during a presentation by clerk to the board Marcia Wilson, who has been working with a company to have the ordinances converted to a format that can be placed on the county's website.

However, for that to happen the ordinances first must be codified, county attorney Borden Parker told the commissioners.

Currently each ordinance stands on its own, he said. Codifying simply means they would be collected and organized in a manner similar to the way state statutes are recorded.

It also means that the county would not have to maintain so many large bound volumes that are outdated as soon as they are printed, Smith said. The county would keep a bound copy of the ordinances and the electronic versions would be easier to update and have access to, he said.

While not required by law, Parker recommended that the board hold a public hearing on the codification. The hearing will be held April 19 at 9:15 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

In other business, commissioners approved a $75,000 grant to help with emergency home repairs.

The $75,000 grant is funded through the N.C. Housing Finance Authority's Urgent Repair program. There is a $50 application fee, but no local match is required.

The money would be used to make emergency repairs to 10 to 12 low-income, owner-occupied houses.

Typically these repairs would be roofs, floors that have rotted out, electrical problems and "those things," consultant David Harris of R.S.M. Harris and Associates of Goldsboro said.

"The program's objectives are to basically hit the emergency or urgent repair needs so that the family can remain their house," he said. "Some of these houses are in conditions such that if we had enough replacement money that we would actually be replacing them. This is simply to get a few more years of life out of the houses so that the families can live there."

The funds may be spent in the county and its small municipalities, but not within the city of Goldsboro.

Household incomes cannot exceed 50 percent of the area's median income. One-half of the funds have to be spent on families at less than 30 percent of the county's median income, he said.

In addition to meeting income requirements, each family must meet other special needs such as having members of the family who are elderly or handicapped or a child 6 years of age or under with an elevated blood lead level living in the house.

The average repair costs will be $5,000 to $6,000 per house with a maximum of $6,000. The loans are secured with a deed of trust not to the county but to the N.C. Housing Finance Agency. The loans are forgiven at the rate of $1,000 per year.

The program provides the least amount of support for actually carrying out the activities, Harris said. Most of the funds are handled through non-profits and community agencies that utilize existing staff, he said.

The county will select the households, put out the bid specifications, approve payments and Parker will do the necessary title work and closing for the loan, Harris said.

Smith said he thinks such funds are "going away" and that it might be the last shot to help people with housing issues while not really costing the county any money.

In other business, Dr. Ed Wilson and Dr. Debbie Grady of the Wayne Education Network updated commissioners on the Dancing Stars of Wayne County fundraising event.

Tickets are sold out to event to be held March 26 from 6 to 11 p.m. at Walnut Creek Country Club, Ms. Grady said. Proceeds will be used for Wayne Education projects such as its seventh-grade career fair, scholarships, teacher grants for classrooms, junior leadership program, teacher recruitment events, teacher retention projects and other projects.

The board also approved a proclamation designating March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in the county.