Alamance County Leaders Still Waiting For Revaluation Answers

11:22 PM, May 18, 2009   |    comments
  • File Photo: Kim Horton, former tax administrator
  • File Photo: Alamance County Commissioners
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Graham, NC -- Alamance County commissioners plan to meet in closed session tonight to discuss the future of the tax department.

The tax administrator, Kim Horton, resigned last Tuesday amid concerns over the handling of the recent property tax revaluation process. She gave a 30-day notice, but county commissioners notified her Wednesday she should leave immediately.

Meanwhile, county leaders still want answers from the appraisal company that assisted with the revaluation, RS&M Appraisal Services, Inc.

Why are there questions about the company?

The county contracted to pay the company a base fee of $275,000, but ended up paying more than $500,000. Horton signed and approved invoices for extra work from the company she said was needed.

Two weeks ago, the county attorney requested answers from RS&M. The questions range from the details of the contract to the qualifications of its employees.

Some of the employees list restaurant experience on their resumes, but not appraisal work.

To read the letter and list of questions sent to the company, click here.

While the county attorney and county manager have had phone conversations with the company's attorney, they still want answers.

The company's owner and lawyer did not provide answers by the May 14 deadline requested by the county. The county attorney also requested the company be represented at this week's commissioner's meeting.

"I think they're trying to look after the best interest of their client, but again, we're not in litigation. We're asking very specific questions about a contract we felt like were very simple," said Craig Honeycutt, Alamance County manager.

Ronald McCarthy, the owner of RS&M, referred all questions to his attorney, Fred Harwell. His attorney was not available for comment this afternoon.

Was there a conflict of interest?

Honeycutt said the county is also looking at whether Horton is engaged to one of RS&M's employees, James Milliken. Horton would neither confirm nor deny a relationship, saying it was "personal."

She said former county manager and attorney, David Smith, addressed any potential conflict of interest before Horton's contract renewal in July 2008. But, an invoices shows Milliken received payments for work done in August 2008.

Horton declined to say how Smith addressed any potential conflict of interest.

In all, Milliken received at least $29,000. According to his resume, Milliken worked to prepare "final product for shipping" at Klaussner Furniture" from 1987 until 2008.

Other work experience listed on his resume includes work as a data collector for a contractor. He said he "collected data and updated listings on property record cards."

His resume also lists officiating high school sports from 2002 to the present.

Why is money missing?

In a separate matter, Alamance County leaders are trying to figure out what happened to $2,000 in cash. It's missing from the tax department.

Honeycutt said it has nothing to do with Kim Horton. He said the county will pay $5,000 to Joyce and Associates to look into the internal controls of the tax department.

"If you look at it in the long-run, we have had some drawers that have been short. We're making sure that it will be no more in the future. So, we feel like it is a good investment making sure that we have a system in place so that no money is missing," Honeycutt said.

It's unclear if someone stole the money or if something else happened, Honeycutt said.

"This has absolutely nothing to do with Kim (Horton). This has to do with the internal controls through the department. So, it's not directly related."

WFMY News 2/Justin Quesinberry

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