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THE ANSON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS convened for a recessed

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									      THE ANSON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS convened for a
recessed meeting Thursday, June 21, 2001 at 6:00 p.m. in Courtroom #1 located in the
Anson County Courthouse.

      Commissioners present:     Michael Livingston, Vice Chair
                                 Blake Hildreth
                                 Steve Lear
                                 Dr. Jim Sims
                                 Harold C. Smith
                                 Ross Streater

      Staff members present:     Chris Wease, County Manager
                                 Bonnie M. Huntley, CMC, Clerk to the Board
                                 James Bennett, Human Resource/Asst. Co. Mgr.
                                 Rita James, Data Processing


      Vice Chair Livingston called the meeting to Order. He announced that Chairman
Thacker was spending the evening with his new granddaughter born last night.

      Motion by Commissioner Streater, seconded by Commissioner Sims, to approve
the Agenda for tonight’s meeting. Motion carried unanimously.

        Budget Amendments: County Manager Wease noted in the packet were some
last minute budget amendments to clear out this FY as required by the auditors. The
first amendment is to establish a separate fund for the housing grant we received for
urgent repairs through the NC Finance Agency. The county’s match of $5,000 is
budgeted for the coming year. The second amendment includes the following: amends
the Assessor’s budget to provide for business/personal property audit payments and the
final payment of aerial photography; amends the Collector’s budget to provide for a tax
refund to Wal-Mart due to an erroneous double billing; increases court facilities due to
maintenance items; the Sheriff’s budget is over in the salaries line item; Autopsies are
over budget; amends the ACTS budget to provide for the compensation by the
insurance company on a wrecked vehicle, amends the Airport budget to pay an
insurance bill that was not budgeted this FY and the state school bonds amendment is a
wash. Commissioner Sims asked for an explanation on the Sheriff’s issue with County
Manager Wease noting that a revision was done in February to cover overtime prior to
the memo going out telling all departments to use compensatory time rather than over
time. Prior to that they had a number of emergencies and issues that required
overtime. Vice Chair Livingston called for a motion to approve the amendment. No
motion was made.

       Tax Releases: Motion by Commissioner Streater, seconded by Commissioner
Sims, to approve the tax releases as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
Vehicle Tax Releases: Jun 01
Adams, Willie Patrick          2000    51.97    Value
Alcauter, Artemio              1999      3.33   Proration
Allen, Caroly                  1998   148.70    Proration
Allen, Carolyn Burnette        2000    26.73    Proration
Anastas, William Lee           2000    18.36    Proration
Atkinson, Benjamin             1998    13.00    Proration
Brink, Ret Allen               1999    27.34    Proration
Brown, John Edwards            1998     1.68    Proration
Callahan, Stewart Earl         2000    46.08    Value
Capel, Jocelyn                 2000    16.96    Situs
Caple, Brian K                 1999     3.69    Proration
Carter, Rickey D               2000    26.49    Proration
Chewning, Glenn Hart           2000      6.26   Situs
Chewning, Roland W             2000      5.52   Proration
Clarke, Matthew                2000    41.36    Proration
Cowick Contract Service        2000      1.98   Proration
Dorrah, Henry David            2000    33.84    Situs
Edwards, David Wayne           2000      4.76   Value
Edwards, Thomas S              2000      1.39   Interest
Ellerby, Brian K               2000    26.05    Proration
Evers, Sherry ann              2000    50.06    Proration
Flowers, James Worth JR        1999    19.60    Proration
Ford, Charles                  2000    39.94    Proration
Freeland, Lamar                2000   123.93    Proration
Gaddy, Fay Scott               1999    29.97    Proration
Galloway, Alice                2000    74.45    Value
Harrington, Wincy              2000     6.72    Proration
Hasty, Vickie & Carson         1998    51.54    Proration
Hathcock, Edward G             1997      4.78   Proration
Heilman, Thomas                1999   144.18    Proration
Hinson, Kenneth W              2000    13.82    Value
Hinson, Rosa Mae               2000      3.13   Situs
Holmes, Sallie Lilly           1999    78.57    Proration
Honeycutt, Gary Wayne          2000    33.50    Situs
Horne, Phillip A               1999    26.64    Proration
Howard, Wesley W               1998      3.00   Proration
Huntley, David Neal            2000    94.61    Situs
Joyner, Bobby Leonard          2000   126.22    Value
Joyner, Bobby Leonard          2000   186.29    Proration
Leckell, Melvin Eugene         2000    47.10    Value
Lee, Arnold Jefferson          2000    86.13    Proration
Little, Cathelean              2000    64.57    Proration
Little, Henry Wall III         2000    29.48    Situs
Little, Oscarlee Waddell       2000    18.20    Situs
Little, Tammy Pratt            2000      2.70   Situs
Little, Tammy Pratt            2000    64.91    Situs
Lowery, Joyce Williams         2000    32.33    Value
Maner, Rita                    2000    64.89    Proration
Martin, Joseph Howard          2000    30.73    Situs
McElroy, Deana M               1999    10.64    Proration
Mitchell, Bernetta McRae       2000     7.04    Situs
Moore, Curtis Wayne             2000        60.91   Situs
Morris, Cora Lynn               2000        33.66   Proration
Nancy, Leroy                    2000        56.20   Proration
Northcutt, Med C JR             2000       163.90   Proration
Parks, Lloyd                    2000        39.32   Proration
Ricketts, Dennis James          1997        76.40   Proration
Ricketts, Jacqueline            1997        17.57   Proration
Smith, David                    1998        14.60   Proration
Sossamon, Donna                 2000        35.70   Proration
Spencer, Deric A                2000        56.94   Proration
Tarlton, John Wesley            1998        89.56   Proration
Thomas, Charles Edward          2000        57.14   Situs
Thomas, James Steven            2000        15.45   Value
Thomas, John Gilbert            1998         9.48   Proration
Tucker, Patrick Alexander JR    1999       154.00   Situs
Vaughn, Gary                    1999        44.49   Proration
Vernon, Jack S                  2000        19.54   Situs
Wall, Betty Ingram              1997        32.60   Proration
Walters, Cheryl Meachum         2000         2.70   Situs
                        Total          $ 3,065.32

Vehicle Tax Adjustments: Jun-01
Capel, Jocelyn                 2000         1.57    Situs
Chewning, Glenn Hart           2000         0.58    Situs
Dorrah, Henry David            2000        54.14    Situs
Hinson, Rosa Mae               2000         3.75    Situs
Honeycutt, Gary Wayne          2000         6.70    Situs
Huntley, David Neal            2000         9.64    Situs
Little, Henry Wall III         2000         3.00    Situs
Little, Oscarlee Waddell       2000         1.69    Situs
Little, Tammy Pratt            2000         2.40    Situs
Little, Tammy Pratt            2000        57.70    Situs
Martin, Joseph Howard          2000         3.13    Situs
Mitchell, Bernetta McRae       2000         7.46    Situs
Moore, Curtis Wayne            2000         3.38    Situs
Vernon, Jack S                 2000         1.80    Situs
Walters, Cheryl Meachum        2000         0.28    Situs
                         Total          $ 157.22

Vehicle Tax Refunds: Jun-01
Capel, Edward D                 2000       22.96    Proration
Cowick Contract Service         2000       15.32    Proration
Delp, Roger Dale                2000       76.44    Proration
Diggs, Deorah L                 2000        3.02    Proration
Ford, Charles Sr                2000        6.47    Proration
Ford, Charles Sr                2000       16.74    Proration
Hagin, Leroy                    2000       53.60    Proration
Hutton, Norman James            2000       14.46    Proration
Lee, Arnold Jefferson           2000       54.04    Proration
Martin, Joe C                   1999        9.27    Proration
Martin, Varana                  2000        6.20    Proration
Meachum, Cecil Thomas JR        2000       18.97    Proration
Rollins, Donald B               2000       13.44    Proration
                            Total              $    310.93

      Property Tax Releases: Jun-01
      Bell, Samuel                  1998              61.82   Listing   Error
      Bell, Samuel                  1999              67.46   Listing   Error
      Bell, Samuel                  2000              59.33   Listing   Error
      Clark, James                  1997               3.02   Listing   Error
      Clark, James                  1998             186.42   Listing   Error
      Clark, James                  1999             179.02   Listing   Error
      Clark, James                  2000             154.89   Listing   Error
      Crowder, Otis Lee             1991             213.82   Listing   Error
      Crowder, Otis Lee             1992              97.61   Listing   Error
      Crowder, Otis Lee             1993              78.43   Listing   Error
      Crowder, Otis Lee             1994             178.71   Listing   Error
      Crowder, Otis Lee             1995             166.68   Listing   Error
      Crowder, Otis Lee             1996             143.86   Listing   Error
      Crowder, Otis Lee             1997              92.19   Listing   Error
      Crowder, Otis Lee             1998              87.24   Listing   Error
      Crowder, Otis Lee             1999              89.89   Listing   Error
      Crowder, Otis Lee             2000              76.77   Listing   Error
      Gearon Comm Tower             2000           2,058.85   Listing   Error
      Graham, Arnold                1998             117.94   Listing   Error
      Graham, Arnold                1999             117.94   Listing   Error
      Graham, Arnold                2000             470.86   Listing   Error
      Graham, Arnold                2000             101.04   Listing   Error
      Rorie, Charlie Thomas         1993             265.61   Listing   Error
      Rorie, Charlie Thomas         1994             302.56   Listing   Error
      Rorie, Charlie Thomas         1995             271.47   Listing   Error
      Rorie, Charlie Thomas         1996             248.83   Listing   Error
      Rorie, Charlie Thomas         1997             183.68   Listing   Error
      Rorie, Charlie Thomas         1998             169.15   Listing   Error
      Rorie, Charlie Thomas         1999             163.87   Listing   Error
      Rorie, Charlie Thomas         2000             141.60   Listing   Error
      Thompson, Wilelmina           1997             220.80   Listing   Error
      Thompson, Wilelmina           1998             217.12   Listing   Error
      Thompson, Wilelmina           1999             207.43   Listing   Error
      Thompson, Wilelmina           2000             179.66   Listing   Error
                       Total               $       7,375.17

       Vice Chair Livingston stated that the Board would be discussing the budget and
at some point in time he may open the floor for comments from those present. He
noted it was rare to have so many people together to discuss the process and
welcomed those present.

        County Manager Wease noted that included in each packet was a spreadsheet
outlining adjustments to the budget proposal, which does not reflect a tax increase. A
zero tax increase eliminates three positions and calls for a reduction to the Community
College. The second spreadsheet is based on discussions from previous meetings that
shows a 3.5 cent increase which does not provide for the elimination of any positions.
Medicaid, an area where we have no control, is increasing an estimated $350,000.
Another change from last year is the increase in the level of service provided by EMS,
which increases our cost. The Hospital has a collection rate of 35-40%, which is better
than when handled by the county. County Manager Wease noted that Union County’s
collection rate is only 25%.

         Commissioner Sims asked to address those present. He wanted to address three
items: taxes, economic development and South Piedmont Community College. He
stated taxes are fairly high in Anson County and we have a lot of poor and elderly that
paying higher taxes could put them in a financial crisis. He feels it is the responsibility
of this Board to do everything they can to control taxes and keep the rate as low as
possible. This year has brought some very unusual situations and most of them have
occurred in Raleigh. They have withheld several hundred thousand dollars of
reimbursements due the County. Medicaid, which is a good program, is growing so fast
that next year it may be the largest single item in our budget. He reminded those
present that those counties that are the poorest will be required to pay the most. The
Federal Government should fund this program and almost all states operate that way
except for nine. Commissioner Sims stated that when looking at taxes and problems
this year, we are looking mainly at what happened in Raleigh. He has tried in every
way to find ways to cut costs and save to reduce taxes. Commissioner Sims feels that if
we are to grow and reduce taxes and increase services, it is obvious we need industry,
businesses and new jobs. He feels it would be foolish to omit economic development
and would not support cutting this position. He stated he has two concerns with the
Community College. He wants to be sure that the Anson County taxpayer is being
treated equal with the Union County taxpayer. He stated that several Trustees have
assured him that with the merger, everyone is paying their fair share. The second issue
is this is a tight budget year and if they are not going to use the West Knitting building
we could save maintenance and custodial cost. Commissioner Sims noted he does not
favor any of the decreases suggested for the college.

        Commissioner Streater voiced a concern for the public school renovating Central
School at a cost of $500,000. He feels this money would be better spent at the
Peachland/Polkton school to eliminate the mobile classrooms rather than renovating
office space. County Manager Wease noted their proposal is to draw down some of the
ADM money to the public school capital outlay fund and then supplant some of the
sales tax accrued in that fund to provide for the renovations. Commissioner Streater
asked could not that same money be used for building at Peachland. Dr. George
Truman, School Superintendent, noted they are studying the conditions at Peachland.
There are mobile units there but they do not house students on a regular basis. One is
used for an art room, one for music, one is purely storage and several teachers use one
for administrative space. Dr. Truman noted that the Peachland/Polkton school houses
several programs that serve the entire county and they are looking to move these
programs into other areas less crowded. They have projected building a building for
this school at a cost of 3.2 million dollars. They are aware of the needs of all schools
and are trying to determine what is best for the entire system. Dr. Truman noted that
ADM money could only be used for capital improvements or to pay down debt service.
Commissioner Streater had a concern for spending this amount of money for
renovations and then next year they ask the taxpayers to pass a bond to build more
schools. Commissioner Streater noted that the county is looking for office space and
wondered if the county and schools could occupy the same building. Dr. Truman noted
that had they not leased part of the Central School building to Head Start that certainly
would have been a possibility. Commissioner Streater voiced that he thought $500,000
was too much to spend on an old building.

       Commissioner Lear voiced confidence in the school board and the school
administration’s ability to make long range plans and he wants to do what is best for
the children. He sees this as a necessary move as the present office is very inadequate
and even dangerous. The move will also keep a school building from becoming vacant
and because the county owns the present building, we could either move some county
offices in or sell the property. He also wants to continue meeting with the school board
to discuss long range planning. Dr. Truman noted they have plans for a specialist to
come in and look at the demographics and needs and advise the direction they need to
take.

       Vice Chair Livingston asked with the renovation and the cost to be incurred,
could they not take the cost over a several year period rather than one year with Dr.
Truman answering they have to work within their annual budget.

        Commissioner Hildreth noted he was provided an excellent two-hour tour of the
Community College by the President and noticed a low utilization of classrooms during
that period. He visited the campus between 12:30 and about 2:30 p.m. He realizes
that morning and evening classrooms have better utilization and voiced a concern that
the school has so many sites of operation when they have the facility to probably
schedule all classes at the Polkton campus. Commissioner Hildreth feels this is an
obvious under utilization of this facility and one of his concerns about the overall-
operating budget of the Community College. Commissioner Sims offered that the
Chairman of the Trustees has said that upon completion of the renovations, all classes
would be consolidated to the Lockhart-Taylor building. Punky Morton stated that the
classes currently being held at the Community Services Division uptown, will go to the
Lockhart/Taylor Center. Classes that are currently in the Charles Craft facility, which
are rent free, will go into the Lockhart/Taylor Center. They will be consolidated and
then there will be classes only at Lockhart/Taylor and at the Polkton site, except for
those at the prison. Commissioner Hildreth stated that promises to realize to some
degree the economy he is looking for. Punky also noted that their function is to serve
the students and the advantage of being able to go to school in the evening and work
during the day is what makes it possible for some to attend who otherwise could not.
They have to serve them when they can come and yes, during those hours you might
say it goes into neutral until the evening hours when the students come back again.
There is not really a way to force the student to come during those hours if they are
employed. Punky also asked to address the concern about Union County.
Commissioner Sims stated he never said anything about decreasing the money for the
college but he did have an interest in making sure our taxpayers were being treated
equal with Union County taxpayers. Punky said there is really not a whole lot equal
about Anson and Union counties, population and those sorts of things. The point is the
dollars in our budget in Anson County do not cross the border, they serve only the
physical plant of keeping education delivered in Anson County. There is absolutely no
sharing and we have nothing to do with what goes on over there. That is their own
responsibility to maintain, insure and repair those facilities. Punky stated it is as if we
were once again, Anson Community College, stand-alone by ourselves. It is the very
same situation. We have to keep the lights and insurance on in our building so there is
really no sharing. Punky also pointed out that in comparison, for example in
Montgomery County the per capita is significantly higher in the Community College
there. He stated that South Piedmont Community College is getting by on a shoestring.

       County Manager Wease noted that included in the packet is a break down where
funds went for FY 99/2000 and FY 2000/01. Included is a per capita expenditure for
the current FY which shows our per capital expenditure is much higher than that of
Union, but Union has a higher population. There was much discussion of the
Community College issue.

       Commissioner Lear noted his number one priority is to keep the tax rate as low
as possible but also realizes that you get what you pay for. He does not feel that the
Board can cut the Community College budget $180,000 and expect them to stay in
business. He did ask that the Community College and any entity that receives county
tax dollars to spend money as responsibly as possible as everyone will have to tighten
the belt this year. Commissioner Lear feels we need the position of economic
development to continue to attract new industry but is not sure we are spending money
as responsibly as we need to in this area. He feels we would be spending our money
more effectively and be more efficient with the dollars we spend if we were to merge
the Human Resource position and the Economic Development position into one.
Commissioner Lear noted that over the past several years the county has been using
money from our savings account to balance the budget. This year we propose to spend
$750,000 from fund balance and we can’t continue to do this. He is open to creative
solutions to these problems but knows we can’t do this by eliminating essential things.

        Vice Chair Livingston feels we’ve had a great year with a 4.5% growth and a goal
of raising the living standard of our employees. The little growth we’ve had is taken
away through Medicaid and other programs and it’s hard to make decisions everyone
agrees with. He realizes not everyone will benefit from decisions made by this Board
but we need to provide services and move forward.

       Commissioner Hildreth realizes that one of the goals set by this Board was to
hold the tax rate but as we look at the financial woes in Raleigh, it seems pretty bleak.
He mentioned the agreement signed by some House members that they would not
increase taxes so the idea of a favorable bill to reimburse the monies withheld from
counties appears to be slim. He noted that counties and municipalities are creatures
created by the State. Commissioner Hildreth stated he had received several calls
concerning the Community College and the Economic Development Director position
and almost everyone said they’d rather see a tax increase than to eliminate these.

        Commissioner Lear feels the County is fortunate to have a County Manager that
is fiscally minded and does a great job with the dollars we have.

      Vice Chair Livingston noted this was not a public hearing but if anyone present
would like to address the Board, they will have two minutes to speak.

       Elbert Marshall, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, challenged the
Board to have political courage and take a stand for the people of Anson County. If
taxes are raised this year, they should see a decrease next year as a result of
revaluation. He feels we need the Community College and Economic Development as
they are staple entities in this county that have made a major impact on the county.

      Susan Bridges, Bridge Over Troubled Waters in Morven, spoke in favor of the
Community College. Education is very important and we need to do all we can to keep
the boys and girls in school.

         Punky Morton was the next to speak, saying the following: I think we can all
identify with your plight. We all have budgets to deal with on whatever scale and we
know that the origins of your problem come from Raleigh and situations such as the
hurricane and all that have caused things to put into a tailspin, budgets throughout the
State. That points out another part of South Piedmont Community College’s plight
because the funding for Community Colleges from the State level is severely limited.
But getting back to the operational costs, South Piedmont Community College needs
from Anson County $419,810. One dollar less and things begin to happen that are not
good. We are not talking about just belt tightening problems, we are talking about
catastrophic potential. Let me point out some of them. If we have to trim, the very
next thing that has to come off is repairs. Repairs, obviously if they are not taken care
of in time, will lead to greater things. Bigger than that, we are going to be reviewed by
the accreditation committee and if we don’t pass our accreditation because we are not
in repairs, we can’t be a school anymore. The next thing that has to go, after repairs
and as our allotment comes down, is security. We will have to not pay guards to be on
hand during class time. We all know what campuses across the nation face these days
in terms of security and if something happens, then we haven’t done due diligence by
having security on site. We are liable and who does that make liable, of course the
county. If we don’t follow through with those two things, repairs and security, then the
next things that has to come is we just have to cut classes. Where do those classes
go? They go to our Union County campus, and suddenly we’ve become no longer
fulfilling our part of the partnership. Union County will get the college, the very thing
that we all feared when the merger talk was first beginning. Somehow or another, they
would come out with the upper hand. We will be giving it to them if we don’t fulfill our
obligations on this side of the border. So the ramifications are much greater than they
appear. $419,810 is what it is gonna take, bare minimum to make the system work.
He offered to answer any questions from the Board. Commissioner Sims asked if he
was doing Southern Accreditation standing this year with Punky answering yes. The
process is beginning and they will be reviewing every aspect of it. Punky said another
thing is that we will send a message to Raleigh that the merger took place and we are
falling short of our obligation and Union County will be served the very things that we
feared. Vice Chair Livingston said when Raleigh calls, for Punky to tell them to send us
the money and we will be glad to help you out. Another key point made by Punky is
that he is a taxpayer, has considerable property holdings and the tax increase will hurt
him as bad as anybody but he says it is fine with him if you increase taxes if it is
necessary to keep the college where it should be.

       Carol Harrington, a night student at South Piedmont Community College,
outlined for the Board how safe the security guard makes her feel walking to her car at
night. She also stated that the College is fiscally responsible and does all they can to
spend money wisely. She also noted that the College allows high school students to
work on college credit while still in high school. She favors raising taxes to keep the
Community College.

       John Poston noted he works for South Piedmont Community College but is
speaking for himself. He feels the elimination of any item is taxing the college to take
care of the needs for the whole county. He feels we need to address the issue of not
only maintaining the education level of the county but to find ways to help it excel and
advance. He feels the school is closely tied with economic development and without it
companies will not want to come where their employees will be illiterate or untrained.

      Vice Chair Livingston called for a short break.

       After the break, Vice Chair Livingston commented that he heard lots of good
ideas and thanked everyone for coming.

        Commissioner Sims was of the opinion we needed an interim budget and should
wait until after the State completes all budgetary processes before adopting a regular
budget. County Manager Wease commented that would certainly be a safe move but
now leans towards a regular budget adoption. There was a discussion of the
resignation of the Emergency Management Director and whether the position should be
filled or left vacant. It was decided there may be some advantage to filling the position.
There was also a discussion of the contract between the county and hospital for EMS.
Commissioner Smith questioned the incentive to make them collect if we pay the
difference between the cost of operation and revenues received. County Manager
Wease suggested we have Mr. Thompson present an overview of the program. After
much discussion of the budget and whether or not to present a tax increase, motion by
Commissioner Sims to set the tax rate at 90 cents and in the motion he wants the
people of Anson County to know that we have looked through this budget and looked
through this budget and done everything that we can absolutely possibly do to make
cuts and if we make anymore cuts it will endanger the citizens and children of Anson
County and with the solid waste reduction most people will be paying less in total taxes
this year than they paid last year and that we find the additional amount of money to
cut the one-half cent. Motion seconded by Commissioner Lear. County Manager
Wease mentioned that if we postpone the $24,000 for the ambulance until next year,
that would be an immediate savings. Commissioner Sims felt it was not necessary to
discuss the one-half cent as this was close enough. Commissioner Smith said he could
not go along with the language of the motion to disturb the people of Anson County
saying they would be in danger. Commissioner Sims agreed with Commissioner Smith
and withdrew the danger and said it would certainly adversely affect the people.
Commissioner Streater stated his personal opinion was that there is still fat in the
budget. Vice Chair Livingston called for a vote on the motion. Motion carried 4 to 2
with Commissioner Smith and Commissioner Streater opposed.

       Vice Chair Livingston announced that the budget passed and the tax rate was set
at 90 cents. He thanked everyone for their hard work.

       Commissioner Sims asked Mr. Holland of The Anson Record if he would mind
posting tax rates of other counties in his article with Mr. Holland answering no he would
not mind.

       County Manager Wease stated the auditors want us to specifically outline any
cola included in the budget and asked for an amendment to the motion to specify the
4% cola included in the 90 cent budget. Motion by Commissioner Lear to amend the
original motion to include the 4% cola for the employees effective July 8, 2001. Motion
seconded by Commissioner Sims. Motion carried 4 to 2 with Commissioner Smith and
Commissioner Streater opposed.

      Motion by Commissioner Lear, seconded by Commissioner Hildreth, to adjourn.
Motion carried unanimously.

                                                      Respectfully submitted:



                                                      Bonnie M. Huntley, CMC
                                                      Clerk to the Board

Meeting time: 2 hr. 30 min.

								
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