County approves update to watershed statute, renewal of housing agreement

Published 12:57 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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COLUMBUS—At the Polk County Board of Commissioners regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, February 19, the commissioners discussed and passed motions regarding a statute on local watersheds and an agreement on housing. 

On March 9, 2023, the State of North Carolina announced that Polk must update its Water Supply Watershed Program. Watersheds are areas that drain water into another larger body of water, usually lakes or rivers. 

The board first heard public comments on the matter during its meeting on February 5. At that meeting, Larry McDermott of Lake Adger asked the board to delay voting on the issue so that citizens had some time to look over the changes in the ordinance. 

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Polk County Planning and Economic Development Director Cathy Ruth explained to the board that while the changes required by the state were not optional, the amendments called for no significant changes outside of specific wording of text and there was also no need to hurry the vote. Consequently, the board voted unanimously to table the vote until the next meeting. 

“We had some questions last time, and I met with the citizens the following day. We went through the amendments, and they didn’t have any objections to any of the changes,” Ruth told the Board at Monday’s meeting. “So I just would request a motion to approve.”

The motion to approve the proposed Polk County Watershed Ordinance amendments was passed unanimously. Polk County Manager Marche Pittman said the citizens reached out by email to thank the commissioners for delaying the vote until a later date.

The board also discussed renewing the Foothills North Carolina Consortium Joint Cooperation Agreement for the Home Investment Partnership Act. In 2021, the Board signed the act that distributes funds for affordable housing in Polk, Rutherford and McDowell counties. 

“The last few years, we’ve been granted $800,000 a year that’s split up between those counties,” Ruth said. 

Nonprofits and other organizations can request funds from the grant for housing assistance and related projects.

“It’s just re-upping that agreement that we have,” said Ruth. “The other counties of McDowell and Rutherford have already accepted it.”

The motion to renew the Foothills N.C. Consortium Joint Cooperation Agreement for Home Investment Partnership Act passed unanimously.