Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it’s also unquestionably the thing that county commissioners seek when they’re forced to hold a meeting at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday.
If the Guilford County Board of Commissioners scheduled all its meetings at that time, there’s no doubt that county business would be handled a lot quicker.
Depending on how you look at it, the county’s Friday, June 19 meeting is either the second shortest meeting ever or the tail end of the county’s longest meeting ever – because the meeting was technically a continuation of the board’s Thursday, June 18 regular meeting, which started at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The commissioners, who have personal lives, no doubt didn’t look forward to conducting county business right before dinnertime on a Friday. However, a new state law implemented due to the pandemic requires that the board allow 24 hours after a public hearing for people to submit written statements on the matter. On Guilford County’s interpretation of the law, that means the board has to wait until the public comment period is over before taking a binding vote on a motion tied to a public hearing.
So the board held the special Friday evening happy hour meeting to pass the three items that required public hearings the night before.
At the meeting, which lasted about seven minutes, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips, Commissioner Alan Branson and a few members of county staff were present in the Blue Room in the Old Guilford County Court House, while other commissioners joined by phone. Commissioner Justin Conrad was the only commissioner who couldn’t attend in some fashion.
At the lightening fast meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve the three items before them. Commissioner Carolyn Coleman was the only one with a question. She wanted to make doubly sure that the county wasn’t in any way responsible for potential default related to charter school revenue bonds under consideration.
The board quickly approved $15 million in charter school revenue bonds. This doesn’t constitute a debt of the county. However, in order for the bonds to be issued, the county had to sign off on them.
The commissioners also approved a $347,079 economic development incentive grant for United Parcel Service and adopted a bond order and accompanying resolution to place a $300 million bond referendum for Guilford County Schools on the November 3, 2020 ballot.
While seven minutes is indeed a short meeting, the one that holds the record for the shortest meeting was held over a decade ago when a snowstorm was fast approaching the county. The board began that meeting with a motion to adjourn. That took only about five minutes.