County boards seek members to serve critical functions

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 10/18/19

The Chatham County government has more than 15 boards and task forces by which it gets citizen and expert input on various topics, and at any given time, there’s at least one vacancy on multiple …

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County boards seek members to serve critical functions

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The Chatham County government has more than 15 boards and task forces by which it gets citizen and expert input on various topics, and at any given time, there’s at least one vacancy on multiple boards.

Now is no different. According to the county website, there are two vacancies each on the Food Council, Agriculture Advisory Board and Community Advisory Committee and one vacancy each on the Board of Equalization & Review and Health.

Mike Zelek, the director of county health department’s health promotion and policy division, said the Board of Health is the health department’s governing board, just like a board of directors for a corporation or nonprofit.

“We take a lot of guidance from the board,” Zelek said. “We’ve been blessed with a really good board in my time here and before me. We really lean on them a lot for expertise, and that’s why we have a lot of professions represented there.”

The 11-member board is required, by state law, to include one county commissioner, licensed dentist, optometrist, veterinarian, registered nurse, pharmacist, professional engineer and physician each, as well as three members of the general public. The Chatham County Board of Health currently has a vacant seat for a member of the public.

Zelek said the board hires the health director and approves rules and ordinances to send to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners, as well as working on the budget.

The current vacancy would initially serve until June 30, 2020, with the opportunity to be reappointed for a three-year term after that. Those interested in applying should submit applications no later than 5 p.m. on October 25.

Another opportunity to serve on county boards is the Board of Equalization and Review. Citizens living in Commissioner District 2 —which includes downtown Pittsboro and most of the county east of U.S. Highway 15-501 — can apply for a seat representing that area, and an alternate position is also open.

Jenny Williams, the county’s tax administrator, said in a press release that “the board has an important, complex role” in the county’s operations. Equalization & Review board members hear and review property owner appeals of property valuations.

“It is the first level of review after staff-level reviews,” Williams said. “The board must apply state laws in a consistent, uniform and non-discriminatory manner so that all property owners receive a fair and impartial hearing.”

This role will take on added importance in the coming years when the county undergoes a property revaluation. The Equalization & Review board will be called in to hold sessions where citizens appeal their property’s assigned values. The press release stated that applicants must have lived in the county for at least two years, own real estate property in the county, “be knowledgeable about real estate matters” and “have good moral character.”

Interested persons in either position, the District 2 representative or the alternate, should apply by 5 p.m. on October 18. Members of the Equalization & Review board receive a stipend of $15 an hour for their work, but the number and length of meetings depend on the appeals filed.

The Agriculture Advisory Board is also seeking a vacancy, “especially...from either the southeastern section of the county located east of N.C. Highway 87 and south of U.S. Highway 64 or the southwestern segment located west of NC 87 and south of US 64,” according to a county press release. Those interested should apply by 5 p.m. on October 18.

If you’re interested in these or any board applications, call Commissioner Board Clerk Lindsay Ray at 919-545-8302 or email at lindsay.ray@chathamnc.org to get an emailed or printed copy. You can also visit chathamnc.seamlessdocs.com/f/CommitteeForm to fill out an online application.

Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at zhorner@chathamnr.com on or Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.

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