Board of Commissioners

Catawba County Board of Commissioners
The five-member Board of Commissioners represents the residents of Catawba County. Commissioners are elected on an at-large basis to staggered four year terms in even-numbered years.

Duties of a County Commissioner
The Board of Commissioners has many duties and authorities, including the following:

  • Determining the County’s strategic vision
  • Adopting a balanced County budget by June 30 annually
  • Establishing the County’s property tax rate
  • Setting County policy by adopting resolutions and local ordinances*
  • Appointing the County Manager as chief administrator
  • Appointing the County Clerk, County Attorney and Tax Administrator
  • Appointing individuals to serve on various advisory boards and commissions
  • Providing funding for the construction and maintenance of public school facilities
  • Determining the level of local current expense funding for public schools on an annual basis
  • Providing for the safety and well-being of all residents
  • Determining land use and zoning outside municipal boundaries
  • Conducting long-range planning for County needs (Capital Investment Plan)
  • Calling for bond referenda
  • Entering into contracts on behalf of the County
  • Serving as liaisons to local, state and federal boards and commissions

*Because the Sheriff and Register of Deeds are also elected officials, they have independent authority to adopt policies for their departments.

Human Services: In NC, counties administer social services and public health directly within county departments. These services are state supervised and county administered.

Schools: Counties in NC are statutorily required to build and maintain school facilities, which are owned by independently elected school boards. Counties also contribute a percentage of their budgets to fund school classroom expenses (also known as local current expense or per pupil funding).

Other Services: In NC, counties have increasingly taken on other services for the health and well-being of residents, especially in unincorporated areas. This includes services such as the provision of water and sewer, building inspections, and planning and zoning.

Roads: The State of North Carolina is responsible for building, repairing and maintaining secondary roads. County government is not responsible for the building, repair or maintenance of roads.

Additional Information:
Local Government in North Carolina
What Do North Carolina Cities and Counties Do?

Reference: “Basics of North Carolina County Government,” North Carolina Center for County Research, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners

C. Randall Isenhower, Chair

(828) 464-0101risenhower@catawbacountync.govPO Box 88Newton NC, 28658
  • North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Public Education Steering Committee
  • North Carolina Association of County Commissioners General Government Steering Committee 
  • Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors
  • Trivium Corporate Center Board of Directors
  • Catawba Valley Medical Center Board of Trustees

Austin Allran, Vice Chair

(828) 327-2632aallran@catawbacountync.gov42 3rd St. NWHickory NC, 28601
  • Finance and Personnel Subcommittee
  • Catawba County Public Health Board
  • National Association of Local Boards of Health
  • North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Justice & Public Safety Steering Committee


Robert C. Abernethy, Jr.

(828) 302-3643rcabernethy@catawbacountync.govP.O. Box 1368Newton NC, 28658
  • Policy and Public Works Subcommittee
  • Social Services Board
  • Metropolitan Planning Organization

Barbara G. Beatty

(828) 320-0370bgbeatty@catawbacountync.gov2990 Balls Creek RoadNewton NC, 28658
  • Policy and Public Works Subcommittee
  • Trivium Corporate Center Board of Directors
  • Partners Health Management Board
  • WPCOG Policy Board Alternate
  • North Carolina Association of County Commissioners General Government Steering Committee
  • North Carolina Local Health Department Accreditation Board

Cole Setzer

(828) 705-6514csetzer@catawbacountync.gov2017 Settlemyre Bridge RoadNewton NC, 28658
  • Finance and Personnel Subcommittee
  • WPCOG Policy Board Delegate
  • K-64 Board