On Tuesday, at the year’s first regular meeting of the Macon County Board of Commissioners, Kevin Corbin took the oath of office to complete the remainder of Senator Jim Davis’s term on the board. The local insurance agent and past chairman of the Board of Education was unanimously selected by the Executive Committee of the Macon County Republican Party after Davis won his bid for N.C. Senate during the midterm elections in November.
After Corbin was sworn in, he thanked his friends and family for attending the ceremony. He also thanked the Republican Party for the opportunity, in particular Gary Dills, chairman of the executive committee of the Macon County Republican Party, who he said had first approached him about serving the remainder of Davis’s term.
Although the majority has now shifted to the Republicans, Corbin dismissed talk of a new era of partisanship on the board. “One of the first things that Gary said to me was that they wanted someone who could represent everybody in Macon County, not just the Republican Party,” Corbin said. “This board is going to work very well together.”
Corbin is a Macon County native and a Franklin High School alumnus. He attended Appalachian State University, where he majored in marketing and business management. Corbin serves as a deacon at Holly Springs Baptist Church. He and his wife, Beth, have two children, Matthew and Maggie.
The Corbins own and operate Corbin Insurance Agency, a partner in the Blue Ridge Insurance Group, Inc. From 1992 to 2006, Corbin served as the chairman of the Macon County Board of Education. Currently, Corbin sits on the Board of Directors for Southwestern Community College as well as on the the Board of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce. Corbin’s father, Harold Corbin, who also attended the ceremony, served as chairman on the Board of Commissioners for several years until 2002 and currently serves on the Airport Authority Board.
Davis’s service recognized
After the swearing-in ceremony for Corbin, Chairman Brian McClellan presented Davis with a plaque recognizing the senator’s 10 years of service on the Board of Commissioners and thanking him for his dedication. Davis has served twice on the board, once from 1996 to 2000 and then again from 2006 to 2010.
“It has been a pleasure to serve with Jim for the past four years,” said McClellan. “One thing I’ve learned about Jim is his word is his bond. He’s a stand-up man and I know he’s going to do a great job as a state senator.”
Other commissioners on the board also thanked Davis for his service. Ronnie Beale commented that it had been pleasure to serve on the board with Davis. “Because when the time came to do what was right for the children and other things in Macon County, you could be counted on,” he told Davis.
Commsioners Ron Haven, Bobby Kuppers and Kevin Corbin made similar comments, with Corbin adding that as school board chairman he had been impressed by Davis’s willingness to listen to other viewpoints.
“It has been a privilege and an honor to serve the citizens of Macon County,” Davis said after the presentation. Davis thanked employees of the county, who he called the “real heroes of Macon County,” for their hard work and support during his tenure. He also thanked his wife Judy, acknowledging that his success was due in part to her support.
Other agenda items
• On the advice of interim county attorney Chester Jones, the board approved a resolution for entering into a commercial lease with newly sworn-in Commissioner Kevin Corbin which replaced a previous lease agreement he had had with the county on property he owns in the Nantahala Building. For the past two years the county has leased office space for the Sheriff’s Department in the building. Jones explained that the reason for the new lease agreement was to avoid any kind of conflict of interest or appearance of impropriety that might arise from the agreement between the county and a member of the board. The resolution explicitly states that the commercial lease with Corbin has been approved by the Board of Commissioners, and that the lease does not violate state statutes defining conflict of interest both because there are no municipalities in the county exceeding 15,000 residents and because the lease agreement does not exceed $40,000 in a 12 month period. The resolution passed on a vote of 4-0, with Corbin abstaining.
• Beale, who is the county’s liaison to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, reported on the 2011 legislative goals that the association intends to press this session. In its lobbying efforts this year, the association has decided to focus on five priority goals:
1. Ensure adequate mental health funding – Seek legislation to ensure adequate capacity of state-funded acute psychiatric beds; oppose legislation to close state-funded beds until there is adequate capacity statewide; seek legislation to maintain the existing levels of state funding for community mental health services.
2. Oppose shift of state transportation responsibilities to counties – Oppose legislation to shift the state’s responsibility for funding transportation construction and maintenance projects to counties.
3. Reinstate ADM and lottery funds for school construction – Seek legislation to fully reinstate the Average Daily Membership (ADM) funds and lottery proceeds to the Public School Building Capital Fund.
4. Preserve the existing local revenue base.
5. Authorize local revenue options – Seek legislation to allow all counties to enact by resolution or, at the option of the Board of Commissioner, by voter referendum any or all revenue options from among those that have been authorized for any other county.
• The board unanimously approved the recommendation of Emergency Services Director Warren Cabe to award a contract for ambulance transport billing to National Reimbursement Group (NRG), one of 11 private companies that recently submitted bids on the contract. Cabe explained that the county currently has a contract with another private company, but that changes in the companies focus has led to a drop of performance in recent years. The county currently pays 7 percent for the billing service, but with NRG the county will only pay 4.9 percent. Cabe noted that the county also plans to search for a new company to handle collections in the near future. The county generates $80,000 to $150,000 in revenue annually from its ambulance transport services. The board agreed to begin the contract with NRG on Feb. 14, 2011.
• Following the public meeting, the board adjourned to executive session. Attorney Jones explained that the purpose of the meeting was “to discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries or other business in the area served by the public body.” Trevor Dalton, Economic Development coordinator for the county, attended the closed session.