WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, MARCH 4, 2002
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, March 4, 2002 at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
James Coffey, Vice-Chairman
Jack Lawrence, Sr., Commissioner
Sue Sweeting, Commissioner
Pat Wilkie, Commissioner
Jeff Hedrick, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges called the meeting to order at 9:03 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
County Manager Nelson requested to add to the agenda the following items:
Under Tax Matters: C. Tax Lien Report and Request to Advertise
D. 2002 Board of Equalization & Review Schedule
Under Miscellaneous Administrative Matters: Draft Resolution Requesting Governor Easley to Restore Full Funding of State Reimbursements of Repealed Taxes to Local Governments.
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the March 4, 2002 agenda as presented.
Mr. Chris Turner, Director of AppalCART, discussed the need to replace the existing AppalCART facility. Mr. Turner discussed the site selection process that has been ongoing for approximately a year. The AppalCART Board of Directors recommended approaching the County requesting to use the old school bus facility currently occupied by Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute at the intersection of 105 Bypass and US Hwy 421 west of Boone. Since that recommendation was made, Mr. Turner stated that he was approached by Blue Ridge Designs regarding an offer to purchase their building, for $3,500,000, located on State Farm Road and then lease a portion of it back to Blue Ridge Designs for three years for a total of $350,000 (which would serve as the 10% local match). Mr. Turner stated that the AppalCART Board requested that he research the Blue Ridge Designs offer more closely before any decisions are made.
County Manager Nelson stated that there were still many unanswered questions regarding the offer.
After discussion, the Board of Commissioners requested that Mr. Turner continue to explore options and gather more information related to this subject.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT BUILDING UPDATE
Mr. Randy Jones, of David R. Jones Architecture, presented a progress report on the new Watauga County Health Department facility. He reported that the project is ahead of schedule in some areas and behind schedule in others but overall the project is on schedule. Mr. Jones also reported that some problems have occurred such as the discovery of springs, rock, and soft pockets of soil, but that each problem has been resolved as discovered.
Mr. Jones discussed the establishment of a selection committee to choose colors of exterior and interior finishes. County Manager Nelson, Health Department Director Danny Staley, Mr. Jones, and Maintenance Supervisor Robert Marsh are on this committee. Mr. Jones requested that one or two Commissioners also serve on the committee.
Commissioner Sweeting volunteered to serve on the selection committee.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM GRANT REQUEST
Ms. Gail Hawkinson, of the Watauga County Criminal Justice Partnership Program (CJPP) Board, presented the Fiscal Year 2002/2003 CJPP grant application. The local CJPP Advisory Board had approved the application.
Commissioner Wilkie seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the Criminal Justice Partnership Program grant application as presented.
A. Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Kelvin Byrd, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of February 2002.
B. Refunds & Releases – Tax Administrator Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for February 2002 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report as presented.
C. Tax Lien Report and Request to Advertise – Tax Administrator Byrd requested permission to advertise the report of taxes that were liens on real estate in the County. Mr. Byrd stated the total outstanding tax bills amounted to $905,334.96. Mr. Byrd added that, if this request was approved, the advertisements would be in the Watauga Democrat on April 10, 2002. The County was required by law to advertise the liens.
Vice-Chairman Coffey, seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the request to advertise the outstanding real estate liens.
D. 2002 Board of Equalization & Review Schedule – Tax Administrator Byrd stated that in the past, the Board of Commissioners served as the County’s Board of Equalization and Review, however, a special Board could be appointed to serve.
Mr. Byrd made a request of the Board to confirm dates that they would be available for Equalization and Review Board meetings.
After discussion, the date for the initial hearings was set for April 22, 2002 at 1:00 P.M. in the Conference in the County Manager’s office at the Courthouse. Mr. Byrd suggested that there should be a waiting period of approximately four weeks to schedule meetings, as needed, to allow the Board to hear valuation or compliance issues. Meeting times would be on Mondays from 1:00 P.M. till 4:30 P.M. and again from 6:00 P.M. till 8:30 P.M. and on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays from 9:00 A.M. till 4:30 P.M. The adjournment date would be set for May 17, 2002. Mr. Byrd stated that the Board of E&R would sit to hear appeals that were filed by May 17th.
Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to set the meeting dates and times of the Board of E&R as presented.
Mr. Byrd stated that compensation for meetings with the Board of E&R was set by the Board and has been in the amount of $75.00.
Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to set the Board of E&R compensation rate at $75.00 per meeting.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that Mr. George Miles was recommended for reappointed for a three-year term to the Watauga County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to appoint Mr. George Miles for a three-year term to the Watauga County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee.
County Manager Nelson stated that Ms. Pilar Mohr and Ms. Barbara Kennedy were recommended for appointments to the Watauga County Council on the Status of Women to fill the un-expired terms of Ms. Gail Hawkinson and Ms. Lisa Shelton both of whom have resigned.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to appoint Ms. Pilar Mohr and Ms. Barbara Kennedy to the Watauga County Council on the Status of Women.
County Manager Nelson stated that Ms. Pat Taylor was recommended for reappointment for a 3-year term to the Watauga County Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee.
The County Manager also stated that Mr. David Cox was recommended to replace Mr. Walter Green, who was not interested in reappointment, on the Town of Blowing Rock Planning Board and Board of Adjustments
This was the first reading of the above recommendations and therefore no action was required until the next Board meeting.
B. Draft Resolution Requesting Governor Easley to Restore Full Funding of State Reimbursements of Repealed Taxes to Local Governments – County Manager Nelson presented a draft Resolution requesting that Governor Easley restore full funding of State reimbursements of repealed taxes to local governments.
Vice-Chairman Coffey, seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to adopt the Resolution Requesting Governor Easley to Restore Full Funding of State Reimbursements of Repealed Taxes to Local Governments as presented.
C. Announcements – County Manager Nelson stated that The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service scheduled their Report to the People Luncheon on Monday, March 4, 2002, at the Agriculture Conference Center to begin at 12 noon. Commissioners were invited to attend.
County Attorney Hedrick stated that the Spiritual Center Tax Appeal hearing is scheduled for 9:30 A.M. on Wednesday, March 13, 2002, in Raleigh, NC.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:50 A.M.
Anita J. Fogle,
Clerk to the Board