Board discusses DSS, tourism

Bids for county’s new 911 center advertised

BAKERSVILLE – The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners at its regular meeting this past week appointed board members Jacob Willis and Keith Holtsclaw as the Department of Social Services Board Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, and received public comment from local entrepreneur Steve Miller.

Willis and Holtsclaw were unanimously approved as the first appointed chairs of the DSS board. Board of Commissioners Chair Vern Grindstaff said it was an appropriate time to appoint Willis and Holtsclaw.

“We have just taken up this board within the last year and have not appointed chairs,” Grindstaff said. “It’s at our discretion, so I think we should go ahead and appoint some.”

Miller addressed the board during the public comment period. He discussed ideas for increasing tourism in Mitchell County, which included buying and re-purposing several properties, beautifying certain areas and adding a local shooting range.

Grindstaff, who granted Miller five additional minutes for his address, said he was intrigued and plans to meet with Miller again soon to further discuss the ideas.

County Manager Kathy Young said in her report bids for the construction of the county’s new 911 center were advertised starting this past Wednesday. The bid documents were made available this past Monday.

The board had a special session about matters related to DSS prior to the start of its regular meeting. During the meeting, DSS Director Paula Holtsclaw answered 12 questions submitted by the Mitchell News-Journal and presented her department update.

After Paula Holtsclaw answered the questions for more than 20 minutes, Keith Holtsclaw said he is optimistic about the future of DSS.

“Things don’t turn on a dime,” he said. “I’m pleased with the progress DSS has made.”

In her department update, Holtsclaw said no children entered foster care in January and four left foster care.

Paula Holtsclaw added DSS has its Professional Development Plan, or PDP, review with the state at the end of the month. Every county in the state goes through the review every six months.

“We’re holding our breath waiting to see if there will be a government shutdown,” Paula Holtsclaw said. “That would affect DSS greatly.”

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616