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New Board for New River Meets Tomorrow PDF Print
Written by Steve Frank   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 05:56

Tomorrow, noon, the newly reconstructed board of New River Behavioral Health Care will meet in the Watauga Commission meeting room on King Street.  The new board, challenged with the tasks of closing down New River, was finally constituted late Friday as Watauga Commissioners adopted changes to the document that created New River, creating a board of five—one member of each commission board of the five counties remaining in the New River service area—plus each county’s manager as ex-officio members.  As of late Friday, the task of determining how much money New River has in the bank, how much is coming in, and how to handle the payroll coming this Friday seemed the most pressing issue.  Meanwhile, the pouring over of New River books continues as the issue of what happened to take down the mental health provider continues, with questions from some commission boards about possible fraud in what could be $3 million unaccounted for.  The meeting will be public, but not a public hearing.
After the Wednesday meeting, Watauga Commissioners will meet Thursday morning at 8 to discuss and take actions necessary locally in the New River issue, most likely on monies needed for payroll. Legal counsel for the Watauga board advised against making a premature allocation to New River funds citing state law on county obligations in a debt situation—that apparently backed by the School of Government in Chapel Hill.  The law was written to head off unauthorized expenditures. Other counties have allocated funds for the pay period based on the service provided each—Wilkes with the largest chunk, so far—over $300,000.  Reports from Friday’s Watauga Commission meeting indicated that over $900,000 would be needed to make payroll for October.  New River will shut down November 15th.

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