WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2003
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, September 2, 2003, at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: James Coffey, Chairman
Jimmy Hodges, Vice-Chairman
David Blust, Commissioner
Keith Honeycutt, Commissioner
Allen Trivette, Commissioner
Rebecca Eggers-Gryder, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Deron Geouque, Assistant County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Coffey called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the September 2, 2003, agenda.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the September 2, 2003, agenda as presented.
WATAUGACOUNTY ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDING PROJECT UPDATE
Mr. Randy Jones presented preliminary plans and the rendering of the Watauga County Administration Building (Heilig-Meyers Warehouse). Approval of the preliminary design was requested to enable the project to enter into the construction drawing phase.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to approve the conceptual plan as presented.
APPALCARTLAND PURCHASE AGREEMENT REQUEST
Mr. Chris Turner, Director, requested approval for AppalCART to purchase the Burley Warehouse Property (Coleman) as a site for the new transportation facility. The requested purchase price was $1,110,000 of which 90% was to be grant monies from the Department of Transportation with the remaining 10% required as local match. The $110,000 local match was to be taken from the fund balance of AppalCART.
County Attorney Eggers-Gryder stated that per the Resolution adopted by the Board of Commissioners at their August 4, 2003, meeting, AppalCART was to obtain funding agreements from the Town of Boone and Appalachian State University prior to purchasing property.
After lengthy discussion, the Board agreed, by consensus, to table further discussion until County Attorney Eggers-Gryder and County Manager Nelson meet with Mr. Turner to address concerns prior to a future meeting.
REQUEST FOR MAINTENANCE OF REPLOGLE DRIVE
Mr. David Sides requested that the County maintain Replogle Drive which the County used to access a communication tower.
County Attorney Eggers-Gryder stated that she had reviewed the deed for Mr. Sides from the Replogle family and concluded that Mr. Sides had a non-exclusive right of way. Ms. Eggers-Gryder also stated that the County did not and should not maintain Replogle Drive except to the extent agreed upon with the landlord. The County Manager stated that the County used the road approximately once per week to ensure that the communications network was functioning properly.
No Board action was taken.
ADDITIONAL FUNDING REQUEST
Sheriff Shook requested additional funding to address personnel issues within the Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff requested: 1) two additional positions and equipment including two vehicles; 2) to pay accrued overtime and holiday pay for five detectives; 3) to reclassify a position; and 4) to create an overtime budget for the remainder of the year. The total requests were $172,766.59.
The County Manager, along with Finance Director Isaacs and Assistant County Manger Geouque, presented information on the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicaid Reimbursement, and sales tax revenues.
After lengthy discussion, Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to approve the addition of a Deputy I position and equipment for the position including a vehicle, and to pay the accrued overtime and holiday pay for the five detectives as presented by the Sheriff and to table discussion of additional funding until a future meeting.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to fund the Deputy I position and equipment and overtime and holiday pay for 5 detectives as requested with an allocation from the Fund Balance.
PROJECT ON AGING MATTERS
A. Annual Report – Project on Aging Director Angie Boitnotte stated that the North Carolina Division of Facility Services required an annual report be complied and presented to the Board each year. Ms. Boitnotte reviewed the report.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, made a motion to accept the annual report as presented.
B. Request for Approval of Additional State Funds – Ms. Boitnotte stated that the Project on Aging received notification from the State Division of Aging that $14,518 was available to Watauga County for senior center operations at the County’s two senior centers. Twenty-five percent local match was required and present in the agency’s budget. Ms. Boitnotte reviewed how the funds were proposed to be used.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to approve the acceptance of the additional State funding as presented by Ms. Boitnotte.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Mr. Kelvin Byrd, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of August 2003.
B. Releases and Refunds – Tax Administrator Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for August 2003 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for July 2003 as presented.
Finance Director Doris Isaacs presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
103301-341723 Help America Vote Funds $41,499
109800-498021 Transfer to Capital Reserve $41,499
213980-398100 Transfer From General Fund $41,499
219930-441700 Elections-Voting Machines $41,499
The amendment recognized funds received from the Title I Help America Vote Act of 2002 to assist in upgrading voting equipment.
Account # Description Debit Credit
143300-345000 E&D Trans. Assist. Grant $9,599
145310-469845 E&D Trans.-Client Tras. $9,599
103300-345000 E&D Trans. Assist. $33,375
104500-469845 AppalCART-Paratransit-E&D $7,927
105210-469845 NRMH-Carolina Friendship-E&D $3,330
105550-431301 E&D Client Trans. $11,178
105890-469845 Wat. Opportunitites-E&D $10,940
103300-345001 DOT-Work First $3,539
104500-469844 Work First-Employ. Trans. $3,539
103300-345002 DOT-Rural Gen. Public $33,114
104500-469843 AppalCART-RGP $33,114
The amendment recognized Elderly and Disabled Grant funds to be used to provide transportation to elderly and disabled citizens.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103300-342600 Start With Your Heart Grant $4,173
104267-435101 M & R-Grounds $2,823
106125-451000 Cap. Outlay-Equip. $1,350
The amendment recognized Start With Your Heart grant funds to equip a soccer field and picnic area between the new Health Department Building and the Human Services Center.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
PLANNING AND INSPECTION MATTERS
A. NC Housing Finance Agency Grant Request – Planning and Inspections Director, Mr. Joe Furman discussed the availability of grant monies from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency for repairs to substandard housing in Watauga County. In past years the County’s applications for funds under this program had not been approved due to the competitive nature of the process. In order for Watauga County to compete, the Townships (5) within the County with the highest poverty levels could be grouped together for this grant which was targeted toward the low income residents. The disadvantage to this approach was that if awarded services available in portions of the County would not be available in others.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to approve the submission of the application that would serve the townships as identified by Mr. Furman.
B. Road Name Public Hearing Request – Mr. Furman stated a Public Hearing was required (pursuant to N.C.G.S. 153A-239.1) for the adoption of new private road names. Mr. Furman recommended the Board schedule this Public Hearing for the September 16, 2003, meeting.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to set a public hearing at the September 16, 2003, Board meeting for the adoption of new private road names.
C. CDBG Public Hearing Request – Mr. Furman reviewed a budget amendment to the Community Development Block Grant Scattered Site Housing Rehab Program that was being administered for Watauga County by Region D. A public hearing was required for budget amendments
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to scheduled a public hearing for September 16, 2003, on this amendment to the project ordinance (budget).
D. Secondary Road Addition Request – Mr. Furman stated that property owners of Clay Wilson Drive had duly petitioned the County and requested that this road be included as an addition to the State Maintained Secondary Road System.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, made a motion to include Clay Wilson Drive as an addition to the State Maintained Secondary Road System.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Charter Communications Rate Increase Discussion – County Manager Nelson stated that Mr. Tony Barlage of Charter Communications notified the County of a $2.00 increase on the expanded service cable rate. Per the County’s Cable Ordinance the Board had the option to request Mr. Barlage appear at a Public Hearing to allow citizen input regarding the rate increase. The Board of Commissioners, due to an FCC ruling, was not allowed to regulate local cable rates.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to set a public hearing for the September 16, 2003, Board meeting and to request Mr. Barlage’s presence to allow citizen comment regarding new cable rate increase.
B. Request for County Participation for Cooperative Extension Bonuses – County Manager Nelson stated that the State of North Carolina awarded State workers 10 extra vacation days (and a one time bonus of $550) in lieu of a raise in Fiscal Year 2004. The County Manager stated that the County matched approximately 45% of eligible Cooperative Extension employees’ salaries. Funds existed in the current Cooperative Extension budget to fund the bonuses and the extra vacation time off had no monetary effect.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the match for the $550 bonus and the 10 additional vacation days as presented by the County Manager.
C. The Provision of Public Water Re: Landfill Remediation Progress Report – County Manager Nelson updated the Board on the four properties (Bolick, Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation (BREMCO), Greer-Darnell, and Williamson) in which the County was assisting in obtaining public water.
The County Manager stated that the County had paid for the availability fee and tap-on for the Bolick property but the Bolicks had not yet connected.
The County Manager stated that the BREMCO hook up was to be completed in the near future if not already.
The County Manager stated that Ms. Darnell chose not to have public water.
The County Manager stated that the Williamsons connection was on hold awaiting an easement for a small strip of land needed from Ms. Darnell to run the waterline. The County had made an offer of $5,000 for the easement but had not received an answer. If an easement agreement could not be reached, the County Manager stated that an alternative was to request the Town of Boone condemn the property needed at a cost of approximately $10,000.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to direct the County Attorney to send a letter to the Bolicks giving a 30 day notice of terminiation of the County’s offer to pay for the connection; and to direct the County Attorney to send a certified letter to Ms. Darnell’s Attorney requesting written confirmation that she had refused public water for her property; and giving a 30 day notice to return to the County a signed agreement for the easement needed for the Williamson connection and that if the signed agreement was not received within 30 days that the County would request the Town of Boone to begin the condemnation process.
D. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that there were four public hearings at the September 16, 2003, Board meeting and that the Board had a joint meeting with the Avery County Commissioners on September 4, 2003, to discuss EMS services to the Beech Mountain area.
County Attorney Eggers-Gryder updated the Board on the Long Ridge Mobile Home Park Lawsuit. Ms. Gryder stated that a ruling was made on Thursday, August 28, 2003, in which the case was dismissed due to a failure on the plaintiff’s part to show that they had suffered damage and that the plaintiff had no standing. Ms. Gryder stated that once the ruling was filed, the plaintiff was to have 30 days to file an appeal.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:32 A.M.
James Coffey, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board