County identifies hundreds of unclaimed payroll, vendor checks

During Monday’s Financial Management Committee meeting, Finance Director Brad Burke revealed there are “numerous” old, outstanding payroll/vendor checks in the county system, between 600 and 700 of them.

“The county is required to turn over old checks yearly,” Burke said.

He said he spoke with the state, who told him Carter County can enter an amnesty program, which would give them a six-month window to compile it all.

“We have to come up with policies and procedures to ensure it does not happen again,” he said.

Some of the checks, which are at least $50 each, are as old as 2006.

Burke did not publicly disclose how much the 600-700 checks amounted to in the county budget.

Burke said his department has already begun reaching out to the owners of said checks, some of whom have responded.

“That means we still have the funds somewhere in a line item,” Brad Johnson said.

County attorney Josh Hardin updated the committee on some research on the county’s efforts after receiving the ThreeStar grant. He said the county’s hotel/motel tax does include AirBnBs.

The committee then discussed ways to make sure they are collecting on such a tax, including spreading information and awareness.

The committee furthered talks on an RFP on county salaries, reviewing five proposals from the bidding process. Bids ranged from $26,000 to $46,000.

“This is not something to rush into,” Travis Hill said.

The committee decided to look over and determine the top two choices in the December meeting and set up interviews with each of them in the January meeting.

Mayor Rusty Barnett spoke on the recent news surrounding the planned resort on Watauga Lake.

“We had a meeting just the other day,” Barnett said. “He is going to build condos, but not on the resort side. The resort is still coming.”

He said there were rumors developer Daniel Goodhall changed plans for the resort on Watauga Lake that started near the end of October, but Barnett said there were “just some delays” in the process, setting back their opening date to later in 2020.

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