DOBSON — Surry County will spend nearly $10,000 on a final step in its plan to transition away from the use of PayPal.
On Monday the Surry County Board of Commissioners authorized county officials to transition software used primarily by the building department to an alternate vendor for processing transactions related to the department.
The move from its current software to software provided by CityView (which uses PayGov for transactions) will cost the county taxpayer $9,900, according to Finance Officer Sarah Bowen.
“We instructed you to do away with PayPal,” Commissioner Larry Johnson told Bowen. “If it costs us $9,900, so be it.”
In May county commissioners passed a resolution directing all departments to move away from PayPal after the company halted its plans to expand its business operations to Charlotte in the wake of House Bill 2.
The company’s move in response to the passage of the so-called “bathroom bill” stripped North Carolina of more than 400 expected jobs.
On Monday Commissioner Larry Phillips noted Surry County’s actions had nothing to do with bathrooms and everything to do with PayPal’s retaliatory response to the law.
“On principle, I can’t conceive taking tax dollars and giving them to a company which is boycotting North Carolina,” said Phillips.
However, at the same May meeting commissioners also unanimously passed a resolution in support of the controversial bill.
In other business, commissioners gave the EMS department the go-ahead to replace an ambulance with more than 250,000 miles on it.
According to correspondence included in the agenda packets of commissioners, the ambulance in question is no longer functioning and is in need of a new engine.
As board members noted, ambulances in Surry County are on a five-year replacement cycle. However, recent issues regarding Medicaid billing have forced the county to return nearly $300,000 to the state. Though replacing two ambulances was included in the 2016-17 fiscal year’s budget, the EMS department had halted all capital expenses until all money was paid back.
Commissioners, despite the hiccups in Medicaid billing, noted the ambulance constitutes a real need for the county.
“In spite these (billing) issues, this (cost) is nothing unusual,” said Commissioner Van Tucker. “Our citizens deserve to have ambulances that are well maintained.”
Johnson indicated the billing error was “nobody’s fault” and noted the county must make up for the costs. However, forgoing maintenance on ambulances isn’t the place to cut corners.
The board voted unanimously to replace the failing ambulance.
County Manager Chris Knopf also told board members the town of Dobson had withdrawn its request to lease a portion of the property on which the former courthouse sits.
Dobson had planned to place an LED sign at the location to announce town and other events. The sign would have taken the place of the banners which are used to announce events, but Commissioner Eddie Harris raised concerns regarding the sign detracting from the historical nature of the building.
Knopf said the town is now exploring other locations for its sign.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.