Issues facing Meck Co. new Board of County Commissioners - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Issues facing Meck Co. new Board of County Commissioners

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

From revaluation to the Department of Social Services to the county budget and a list of items in between, the newly sworn in Board of County Commissioners in Mecklenburg County say "there are a lot of issues that will need our immediate attention".

Commissioner Karen Bentley says "first of all is the extension of the revaluation issue". And all of the commissioners WBTV talked with - either by email or during interviews - listed revaluation as a top priority

Bentley - starting her fourth term when the new board meets for the first time on Tuesday - says the previous board adopted some recommendations that Pearson's Appraisal made after completing a review of the flawed 2011 revaluation. Pearson's found there were major issues with inequity in some random neighborhoods reviewed. The outside staff also revealed that county workers did not visit properties before revaluation.

Bentley says "the new board will be charged with executing on those recommendations and making sure those are carried out in a way that represents the intentions of the previous board".

Some commissioners acknowledge public opinion of the board is low.

Commissioner Vilma Leake, who was was re-elected, says "right now there is a feeling of distrust because of a lack of information with the board".

And Pat Cotham - who was elected to an-large seat, says in an email exchange with WBTV that "restoring credibility for the BOCC and County Government  with the people of Mecklenburg with the revaluation" is a top issue.

Commissioner Cotham was elected Chair of the new board after commissioners were sworn in Monday evening.

Commissioners also listed job creation, the search for a new Tax Assessor, and the transition away from the contract with Carolina's Healthcare to MeckLink as important issues.

Most commissioners highlighted the ongoing saga that is the Department of Social Services. Back in September, the County Manager fired the Director of Social Services - Mary Wilson. Commissioners on the previous board say they were not aware of the problems that enveloped the department.

Newly elected Commissioner Trevor Fuller says "clearly we need more oversight". He believes this board "has to investigate, ask the right questions and take action".

Commissioner Leake adds "making sure we get reports quarterly from those agencies as to what is and what is not happening".

Commissioner George Dunlap says "there are probably some ongoing issues in that department that need to be resolved and it's just a matter of finding the right person to step up and take on that challenging position".

While the new board will tackle problems passed on from the last board - these commissioners will face new challenges. On the horizon is the county budget -which is estimated to be more than a billion dollars.  

Commissioner Dunlap believes this board "will probably be more friendly in some areas that people have been critical of, or probably more stringent on".

Commissioner Dunlap says "for example I think we will have a more education focused - friendly board in terms of the budget".

The most difficult job might be winning over the public.

Commissioner Bentley says of public opinion, "it's at a low. There have been issues that have significantly impacted local taxpayers that have not been handled well by county management as well as county commissioners."

She says "we have a lot of work to do with regard to public trust and perception".

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