Four New County Commissioners Sworn In

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Four new Wake County Commissioners were sworn in Monday afternoon, in a ceremony that began with the Presentation of Colors and ended with speeches of gratitude and thanks.

From top left: Sig Hutchinson, John Burns, Matthew Calabria, Jessica Holmes

Wake County

From top left: Sig Hutchinson, John Burns, Matthew Calabria, Jessica Holmes

Sig Hutchinson, representing District 1, was sworn in first. Matthew Calabria and Jessica Holmes—from Districts 2 and 3 respectively—followed, with John Burns from District 7 sworn in last.

Calabria and Holmes mark a younger turn for the Board, as each is below the age of 32.

Each candidate expressed their appreciation for supporters and family, along with pledges of bringing dedication to their roles as Wake County Commissioners. The packed auditorium responded in kind, applauding frequently.

After the new Commissioners had taken their seats at the table, Commissioner James West was elected Board Chair for a one-year term, with Commissioner Caroline Sullivan elected as Vice Chair.

Then it was business as usual.

Susan McCullen presented to the Board of Commissioners the financial statements of Wake County, for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2014. Total revenue for the County during that Fiscal Year surpassed $1.3 million, with the General Fund, driven by property and sales taxes, rising above $232,000.

“Property taxes, sales taxes, and other taxes exceeded our expectations,” McCullen said. Referring to credit ratings, she added, “Wake continues to be a strong AAA county.”

The consent agenda passed unanimously. It included items such as a multi-year contract with Synergy for electronics recycling and emergency response vehicle leases to Eastern Wake EMS and Apex EMS.

During the time allocated to the regular agenda items, Wake County Housing Manager Annemarie Maiorano spoke to the Board about progress surrounding the Affordable Housing Consolidated Plan. Several individuals and nonprofit organizations, including the Mayors of Garner and Rolesville as well as Habitat for Humanity, showed their support for the plan.

Although no formal action was needed on the plan, some Commissioners noted the large show of support was impressive.

Two full-time equivalents (FTEs) were created for Wake County HIV Program Services. The FTEs, which were created by using federal funds, will allow for the formation of an Admin Services Coordinator position and a Social Worker position.

Karen Best, the Wake County Health Services Program Manager, said that these positions will help them continue to meet the specific needs of that community, including providing for medical and psychiatric care.

“All of our objectives and goals far exceed national standards,” she said of her organization.

The Board of Commissioners approved her request unanimously.

Other regular agenda items included the disinterment, relocation, and re-interment of approximately 65 graves in two locations around Wake County to Oakwood Cemetery, near Downtown Raleigh. Keith Lankford of Wake County Planning discussed the steps they had taken to inform the public and next to kin about this process.

File: March, 2012. Confederate graves emerge from the mist in the Oakwood Cemetery.

Karen Tam / Raleigh Public Record

Graves emerge from the mist in the Oakwood Cemetery.

Because the County had not received any opposition and the graves had no historical significance, the Board of Commissioners approved the request.

The two other regular agenda items concerned the renaming of street in Wendell Falls and the acquisition of properties surrounding Buffalo Creek, and they were approved without dissent.

New County Commissioners fell into their roles immediately, making motions, seconding motions, and asking questions and clarifications from presenters. The meeting ended four hours after it began—a transitional meeting and new beginning for the new Wake County Board of Commissioners.

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