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Fiscal Court OKs Log Still IRBs; discusses possible hike in annual county fire dues

Nelson County Judge Executive Dean Watts, right, and 1st District Magistrate Keith Metcalfe. (File photo).

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021 — Nelson Fiscal Court approved a resolution in support of $185 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds for Log Still Distillery at Dant’s Crossing at Gethsemani.

The funds will be used for the construction of four rickhouses at the distillery property. According to Wally Dant, Log Still president and distiller, the distillery property has room for up to 4 rickhouses. The plan is to build two, and then add two more.

The court voted unanimously to approve the IRBs.

FIRE DUES DISCUSSION. Judge Executive Dean Watts and Nelson County Fire Chief Billy Mattingly discussed the fire department’s desire of increase the department’s revenue.

Watts said he is asking the department to provide additional information on how the new revenue will be spent. The fire department has some paid personnel, but in order to improve firs service, would like to add more paid staff.

The current fire dues for the Nelson County Fire Department are $60  a year, and are found on the annual property tax bills. The department would like to see the dues increase to perhaps $125 per year.

Watts said that if fiscal court allowed the creation of a taxing district, a homeowner with a home valued at $160,000 would pay a fire tax of $160. He suggested the court consider raising the dues to a figure below that number — once the department provides additional financial information.

Its too late in the year to increase the fire dues that will be on this year’s property tax bills, Watts said. Once the court has additional information, there will be a public hearing to allow the public an opportunity to address the proposal to increase the fire dues.

“We need to do something in the near future,” Watts said. Any changes will appear on the 2022 property tax bills.

SURPLUS COUNTY EQUIPMENT. The court approved a list of county-owned equipment it declared as surplus. The equipment approved for sale as surplus include:

— 2008 Ford Crown Victoria (Nelson County Jail) mileage unknown.
— 2010 Ford Crown Victoria (NC Sheriff’s Office), mileage unknown.
— 2010 E450 Ambulance (EMS), diesel,, 272,267 miles.
— 2005 Chevrolet 3500 4×4 (Road Dept.), diesel, 237,752 miles.
— 2011 2710L Bush hog (Road Dept.)
— 14-foot tandem axle trailer (Road Dept.) both axles bent.
— 2003 Chevrolet 1500 pickup (Animal Control), 382,414 miles.

LEASING COUNTY LAND. Nelson Fiscal Court approved advertising an auction for the right to use county-owned land for agricultural uses.

According to County Engineer Brad Spalding, the county owns three tracts that are leased:
— the Keeling farm, with about 117 tillable acres;
— the Mattingly farm, 49 acres with 21 tillable acres;
— and the old landfill, 30 acres suitable only for hay.

The current lease expires at the end of this calendar year, Watts told the court. The auction will be for a three-year lease for the properties.

The court approved advertising for a live auction for the sale of the leases.

COVID IMPACT. John Greenwell, the county’s solid waste manager, said that COVID and other illnesses have left his department short-handed. When short of manpower,, Greenwell said the county will not be able to pick up recyclable items in the subdivisions it usually serves.

Recycling boxes will be placed in the Nelson County Landfill, or they can take the Guthrie Opportunity recycling facility, he said.

NEXT UP. Nelson Fiscal Court will next meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.

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