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TC County Commissioners

Synopsis of April 22, 2024 TC Board of Commissioners Meeting

by Herschel Johnson

The Transylvania County Board of Commissioners held their regularly scheduled meeting in their chambers at 6:00PM on Monday, April 22, 2024. There was standing room only inside the chambers. The county commissioners presented a monthly update on all projects including the school repairs. There were several proclamations read as it appears May is the heavy month for them.

Public Comments

The opening public comment session is always limited to 15 minutes. Each is limited to 3 minutes. There were 5 speakers. Three attendees spoke in support of the county’s efforts to address the school repairs, one attendee spoke in criticism of those efforts, and one spoke of the success of the recently held Ghost Wrestling Tournament. All speakers elicited applause from portions of the audience.

There were more public comments at the end of the meeting that did not require signup. Each was limited to 3 minutes but there was no limit on the number of speakers. Most were complaints about the disrepair of the county schools. Some chastised individual commissioners by name.

Monthly County Projects Update

Before the meeting, the county distributed a double-sided flyer. One side was titled “Let’s Go!!!” and outlined the state of major ongoing county projects including fixing the schools. The other side focused solely on the schools and was titled “Let’s Fix Transylvania Schools.” County Manager Laughter used this as the basis of her updates during the meeting. All county projects are discussed in three categories: FIX Transylvania Schools, CREATE Jobs and Safe Community, and PROTECT Transylvania Natural Resources. She will provide this update monthly.

School Renovations

Most of the picketers held posters with pictures of mold and other disrepair in the schools. The county manager, Jamie Laughter, reminded the commissioners and attendees that these issues have been evaluated by third parties and deemed to be fixable and not the health risk that is being portrayed.

The Joint Schools and County Work Group is meeting regularly to manage the initial $62 million plan to renovate every school in the county. The types of renovations include heating & cooling, roofs, electrical, plumbing, exterior and structural, site improvements, and security & interior. This plan was approved by the County Commissioners on March 11, 2024. The Board of Education also endorsed this plan. These approvals triggered the restart of the bond process. The next steps are:

  • May 1: Board of Education provides the County Commission current project documentation.

  • May-June: School and county staff meet to develop detailed scopes of work.

  • July-Sept: Financial process

  • Oct: Bond sale

  • Nov: Bond funds available to invest in our schools.

The county is using the third-party recommended plan to renovate the county schools. They are also using a good process to execute these projects. There appears to be a good path to getting the approved school bonds sold and ready to use.

The picketers continue to focus on instances of school disrepair and blame the Board of Commissioners. In fact, some call out individual members to place blame. While claiming that their “Fix The Schools” campaign is not political, they overlook the evaluation of third parties, e.g., mold, and ignore the fact that renovations are being worked with current funding outside of the coming bond. It is political. 

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