VILLAGE OF FLAT ROCK SAYS THEY CAN'T BE FORCED INTO A SHERIFF'S CONTRACT

 

Village of Flat Rock, NC's photo.
 

 

As Henderson County commissioners begin work on a budget for the 2015-16 fiscal  year that starts on July 1, the commissioneres are apparently considering the possibility of charging the municipalities in the county for some sheriff's department services.  The City of Hendersonville and the Towns of Laurel Park and Fletcher have their own police departments. The Town of Mills River has a contract with the county sheriff's department for a deputy and additional patrols, and apparently commissioners are discussing a similar contract...for a fee...with the Village of Flat Rock.

On WHKP's local news this week, Flat Rock Mayor Bob Staton, a retired lawyer, says there is no way he knows of that Flat Rock can be forced into such a contract with the sheriff and the county.  Staton says this has been discussed by the Village Council before with the sheriff and the commissionersm, and Council members are "adamantlly" opposed to it. 

Such a contract, says Staton, would cost the Village about $100 thousand per year, which would require a substantial tax increase for Flat Rock taxpayers and he says the citizens and taxpayers continue to be opposed to it.

County Commission Vice Chairman Charlie Messer, though, tells WHKP News this week there are several ways the county can go about this.  Messer indicates that the commissioners will be looking at "call volume"...the number of calls-for-service" in each municipality.  Then, he says, the commissioners and the municpalities will "work something out". 

The property owners in the county, including those in all five municipalities, currently pay for all the county services they receive, including sheriff's services,  with the property, sales, and othes taxes and fees they pay.  What Hendersonville, Fletcher, Laurel Park, and Mills River receive in additional law enforcement services are paid for by their individual muniucipal tax levies.

In its budget request for the 2015-16 fiscal year, the sheriff's department is asking for a significant increase...at least in part for additional personnel. 

At their first budget retreat earlier this month, the county commissioneres turned "thumbs down" on the Town of Fletcher's request of a new county library facility, implying that if Fletcher wants a new library, the Town and its taxpayers will have to pay for it.  On a WHKP newscast last week,  Fletcher Town Manager Mark Bieberdorf countered that libraries are a "county service."  That request from Fletcher for a library to replace their current aging facility had been pending for some time, and Mayor Pro Tem Eddie Henderson had asked the commissioners for a decision.  Bieberdorf said Fletcher was grateful the commissioners had considered the request, but was disappointed with the decision.

The county commissioners will continue discussing the 2015-16 budget this month.