06/30/14 — Joe Gurley set to be sworn in

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Joe Gurley set to be sworn in

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 30, 2014 1:46 PM

Joe Gurley, the retired director of the Wayne County Office of Emergency Services, will take the oath of office as the District 4 member of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Gurley will be sworn in by Pam Minshew, Wayne County Clerk of Superior Court, during an 8 a.m. ceremony in Superior Courtroom No. 1 at the county courthouse.

The ceremony will be followed by a reception and the board's regular session at 9 a.m.

The meeting, that will include updates on school financing and the state of a proposed veterans cemetery, will be held in the commissioners' boardroom on the fourth floor of the courthouse annex.

Gurley, a Republican, retired at the end of May and originally was to have been sworn in on June 1.

However, the ceremony was delayed until Tuesday because of a potential conflict with the state retirement system.

The seat has been vacant since late April when Republican Steve Keen resigned to take a position in Gov. Pat McCrory's administration.

Since Keen is a Republican, it was the responsibility of the Wayne County Republican Party Executive Committee to recommend a replacement to commissioners.

Its recommendation that Gurley be appointed was unanimously approved by commissioners in May.

The term does not expire until December 2016, but Gurley's appointment is only through early December of this year.

Because the vacancy occurred within the first two years of a four-year term, the final two years have to be decided by an election.

Gurley filed for the office on June 2.

As of press time this morning, no Democratic candidate has announced an intention to file for the special race, which is to be part of the Nov. 4 election.

There is no specific deadline for a political party to appoint someone to file to run in November.

However, there are two deadlines for the November ballot, one which has passed. June 27 at noon was the deadline to file as an unaffiliated candidate. No one filed for the seat.

The second is Aug. 6 at noon -- the deadline to file as a write-in candidate.

Also, it takes several weeks to prepare ballots, and absentee ballots must go out by Sept. 5, Wayne County elections officials said.

In other business Tuesday, County Manager George Wood will update commissioners on financing of new middle schools in the Grantham and Spring Creek communities.

He will also talk about the county's application to the Local Government Commission seeking approval for the financing package.

Commissioners earlier this month approved a $41.5 million financing package through SunTrust for the projects. The $41.5 million is about $5 million higher than the $37 million baseline commissioners have previously used when discussing the two projects.

The higher figure was recommended by Tom Lee, the county's bond attorney, and Davenport and Co., the county's financial advisers, to ensure that the county has enough money on hand to do the work.

Payments will be level over the 20-year life of the financing, and the county will only use the amount necessary up to the $41.5 million.

The school board will use $2.2 million annually from lottery and sales tax revenues to repay the financing. The county has agreed to cover any amount above that.

The operating expenses for the two new schools will come out of the school board's existing budget.

A final cost won't be known until after bids are tabulated.

Eli D. Panee, N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs Cemetery program manager, will brief commissioners on the state veterans cemetery project.

The state has appropriated $600,000 for the project that could cost between $3.8 million and $4.5 million. Construction is expected to be complete by early fall 2015.

The state, which has received a $6 million grant from the federal Veterans Cemetery Grants Service Agency, will build and maintain the cemetery that will occupy approximately 80 acres on Long's Plant Farm Road.

In other business , commissioners will consider approval of the Dobbs County Estates Section 10 final subdivision plat and hear a presentation by the Leadership Wayne class.

The subdivision consists of 18.55 acres on the north side of Dobbs County Courthouse Road just west of Piney Grove Church Road.

There are two items on the board's consent agenda:

* Allowing the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. to use the courthouse grounds for its annual dinner on Sept. 14.

* Reschedule the board July 15 meeting to July 16 because of a scheduling conflict

Public comments will be taken at 10 a.m., when people will have four minute to comment on their topic of choice.