Pocahontas County has had only one fiduciary commissioner to resolve disputed estates since Josh Hardy resigned – and that is attorney Laura Finch.
The Pocahontas County Commission addressed this issue at its October 15 meeting.
The commission has been seeking a second lawyer to join Finch as a county fiduciary commissioner, as at least two are needed in the event one has to recuse themselves from handling an estate because of a conflict of interest.
So far, no other county attorneys have volunteered for the position.
The commission’s legal counsel, Bob Martin, researched state laws regarding fiduciary commissioners and came up with a solution. Martin discovered that non-attorneys can serve as fiduciary commissioners provided they complete a state training class. Several counties in the state use non-attorneys as fiduciary commissioners.
Martin also found that even though the fiduciary commissioner’s fees are paid out of estate funds, the county commission needs to set up a fiduciary commissioner fee schedule for handling an estate.
The commission voted to set up two fee schedules.
The fiduciary commissioners who are attorneys will be paid the $300, the state-standard estate fee, plus $150 per hour, while non-attorney fiduciaries, who complete the required state training, will be paid the $300 plus $75 per hour. In addition, the county will pay mileage for the non-attorney fiduciary commissioners to attend the required training.
Cara Rose, on behalf of the Pocahontas County Bicentennial Commission, thanked the county commission for its $10,000 contribution as both a Bicentennial Celebration sponsor and a Bicentennial Trout Sculpture sponsor. The Bicentennial Trout refers to the Bicentennial Commission’s plan to have local artists paint eight large sculptures of trout. Each of these sculptures will represent one of the eight rivers that originate in Pocahontas County and one will be placed in seven communities that sponsor them with the eighth sculpture being placed on the courthouse grounds in recognition of the commission’s contribution.
In other business, the commission
• accepted Woodford Oil’s bid to provide #2 heating oil for the courthouse and jail from November 1, 2019 through October 31, 2020. The bid was for rack Marathon Oil price plus a 12 cent per gallon delivery charge.
• rejected a bid from Seven Rivers in Lewisburg to remove the log cabin and remediate the county-owned lot near the 911 Center. The bid of $19,500 was considered too high. The project will be put out again for bid.
• approved a resolution supporting the County Clerks Office’s application for a $15,727 Records Management grant and a resolution supporting the Circuit Court’s application for a Records Preservation Grant in the amount of $10,000, which will be used to preserve old court records from Huntersville.
• appointed Helen Clark, Damon Brock, Jason Scotchie and Seth Morgan to three-year terms on the Emergency Medical Services Authority
• approved the hire of Lindsay Browning as a Part-Time 911 Dispatcher effective October 19.
• approved a $75,000 Budget Revision which was related to the Broadband Study Grant funds received.
The next County Commission will be Tuesday, November 5, at 8:30 a.m.