County rejects gas lease bid

BY STACI WILSON

Only one natural gas company submitted a bid to lease a county-owned, 10-acre parcel in Rush Twp. – the site of the former County Farm.

That bid, submitted by Chesapeake Energy, was rejected by the commissioners at the Sept. 26 meeting.

Chesapeake offered the county just over $1,100 per acre and 20 percent royalties.

After a quick perusal of the bid submitted by Chesapeake, Commissioner Michael Giangrieco made a motion to reject the bid.

Giangrieco explained that, although the county would receive 20 percent in royalties from any development, the lease agreement submitted by the drilling company stated those payments would be “less production costs and impact fees.”

The commissioners, who is also a practicing attorney in the area, said that normally an addendum would be attached that would prescribe for royalty payments without the costs.

“I would not agree to accept this,” Giangrieco said.

The vote to reject the lease bid was unanimous with Commissioners Alan Hall and MaryAnn Warren concurring with Giangrieco on the matter.

Audience member Craig Stevens applauded the county’s decision to pass on Chesapeake’s offer.

The county accepted a quote for 50 ballot boxes from Independent Tabulation Inc., of Mebane N.C., in the amount of $5,452.27. The ballot boxes will replace older boxes that were not large enough to easily accommodate some of the longer ballots used during municipal elections.

The commissioners also dealt with a number of personnel changes.

Stephen Janoski’s resignation from the 911 department, effective Nov. 28, was accepted with regret.

Ronald Dawson was terminated from his position in 911, effective Sept. 18, per the recommendation of Art Donato, agency coordinator.

The commissioners accepted, with regret, the resignation of Susan Harvey, Children & Youth, effective Oct. 9.

The resignation/retirement of Deputy Chief Clerk Kathleen Aldrich, effective Nov. 28, was also accepted with regret.

The commissioners acknowledged the acceptance by President Judge Kenneth Seamans of the resignation of Samantha Robinson from Domestic Relations and also acknowledged the hiring by the judge of Lori Cobb, as an Intake Officer in Domestic Relations.

The county accepted a quote of $3,518.48 from Freidman Electric to update lighting in the county office building.

Hall said a lighting study has been done at the county courthouse. And, once updates are complete, they will reduce the county’s lighting costs by about 50 percent, amounting to about a $4,000 annual savings in the lighting costs.

After discussion with Children & Youth Director Susan Adamec, the starting salary range of casework supervisors in Children & Youth was set at $38,000 to $50,000 per year.

Initially, the salary board proposed a lesser starting wage. But after a discussion with agency director Susan Adamec the board agreed with a higher rate.

Adamec warned that some of the experienced caseworkers were already paid above the proposed starting wage. “The current staff won’t take a pay cut to take a supervisory position,” Adamec said.

Adamec, who plans to retire in 2013, also suggested the board increase the base salary of the Agency Director’s position. The starting salary for that position was set at $55,000-$60,000.

The salary board also approved the county’s 2013 holiday schedule.

County holidays include: New Year’s Day (Jan. 1), President’s Day (Feb 18), Good Friday (March 29), Memorial Day (May 27), Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day (Sept. 2), Columbus Day (Oct. 14), Veterans’ Day (Nov. 11), Thanksgiving and the day after (Nov. 28-29); and Christmas (Dec. 25).