Benson Names New Finance Director

After spending the majority of 2015 helping the town with its transition into new utility billing software, Kim Pickett is officially Benson’s finance director.

Commissioners approved an ordinance Tuesday night during the board’s January meeting officially shifting her into the role.

Benson announced its plans for Ms. Pickett in late February when Planning Director Braston Newton took on interim finance duties — filling in until Ms. Pickett, then Benson’s supervisor of utility billing, could transition to the job.

Kim-Pickett-FIHer oversight of the town’s new utility software coincided with the installation of high-tech water and electric meters throughout Benson.

Longtime Finance Director Donna Honeycutt announced her retirement in 2012 when Ashley Heath was hired to take over the position. However, Ms. Heath left in March 2014 and Ms. Honeycutt returned to fill the gap.

A short time later, Ms. Pickett joined the town staff in May 2014.

“When she was hired there was an agreement that we would groom her to become the finance director,” said Mr. Newton last year.

“Currently, she is overseeing the software conversion for our utility billing and we didn’t want to add anything else to her plate during that process because that needs to goas smooth as possible,” he added.

She acted as interim finance director for six months last year, but now, with the new software up and running, Ms. Pickett can officially focus on town finances. 
“It feels good,” she said Wednesday morning. “We’ve been busy!”

Ms. Pickett’s first order of business as official finance director soon followed as she presented commissioners with a budget amendment for $175,000 to purchase property along East Main Street. The amendment was approved.

In December, the board gave the green light to efforts to purchase the lot near the town’s McDonald’s location.

Load Management Switches
In other business, commissioners discussed a town policy to require load management switches on all new residential construction within Benson’s service territory. No action was taken. A public hearing on the matter was set for Jan. 26.

A one-day retreat to ElectriCities offices in Raleigh may follow in February, said Town Manager Matt Zapp, to learn more about load management switching and help inform the board’s final decision.

In November, the board approved the installation of 500 load management switches on homes throughout Benson. Essentially, the modules cut back energy usage during off hours — when homes are not typically occupied.

Simply reducing something like air conditioning when no one is home will reflect dramatically in savings and piggyback off the NCEMAP deal cuts, Mr. Zapp told The Daily Record last year, adding load management is subtle and conforms to the daily routines of each household. Story courtesy The Daily Record