WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2003
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, September 16, 2003, at 7:00 P.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 Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Coffey called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Coffey called for additions and/or corrections to the August 19, 2003 regular meeting minutes and the September 2, 2003, regular meeting minutes.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the August 19, 2003 regular meeting minutes and the September 2, 2003, regular meeting minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the September 16, 2003, agenda.
County Manager Nelson requested to add three items to the agenda: 1. Landfill Reuse Methane Gas Grant Request (before item # 6); 2. Request to schedule a Public Hearing for Consideration of a Community Development Block Grant Application Request; and 3. Discussion of the Drug Endangered Child Program Grant Request.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to approve the September 16, 2003, agenda as amended.
PUBLIC HEARINGS TO ALLOW PUBLIC INPUT:
A. Amendments to the Community Development Block Grant Project Ordinance – Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing open at 7:03 P.M. to allow for comment on the proposed amendments to the Community Development Block Grant Budget and Project Ordinance.
Mr. Joe Furman, Planning and Inspections Director, reviewed proposed changes to the budget of the Watauga County Community Development Block Grant Scattered Site Housing Project and also an amendment to the CDBG Project Ordinance as a result of the budget changes. The amendments allowed replacement of several mobile homes because of their condition.
There being no public comment, Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing closed at 7:05 P.M.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to approve the budget amendment and adopt the amended Community Development Block Grant Project Ordinance as presented by Mr. Furman.
B. Charter Communications Rate Increase – Chairman Coffey declared a public hearing open at 7:06 P.M. to allow citizen input regarding the recent cable rate increases by Charter Communications.
Mr. Tony Barlage, Director of Charter Communications, was present to hear public comments regarding the recent rate increases. Mr. Barlage answered several questions from the Board regarding the increases.
There being no public comment, Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing closed at 7:15 P.M.
Board action was not required and therefore, none was taken.
C. New Private Road Names – Chairman Coffey declared a public hearing open at 7:15 P.M. to consider the adoption of new road names for Watauga County.
Mr. Furman presented the following road names for approval:
BEAVER DAM TWP.
Rip Van Road***
BLOWING ROCK TWP.
BLUE RIDGE TWP.
Day Break Lane***
Morgan Smith Lane
Sunny Slope Lane
BRUSH FORK TWP.
Blue Spruce Trail***
COVE CREEK TWP.
NEW RIVER TWP.
Black Rock Trail***
Coy Miller Road
Mystic Springs Lane***
Quiet Cove Road***
Spur Ridge Drive***
Change Pine Run Road below new highway to South Pine Rune Road
Old Crows Road
STONY FORK TWP.
Brown Farm Road
Deep Gap Drive
Piney Shade Trail
Change Pine Run Road above new highway to North Pine Run Road
Andie Apple Lane
Apple Rock Road
Buffalo Spring Trail***
Emerald Ridge Road***
Farm View Drive
Grandfathers Watch Lane***
Grays Shadow Lane
Hunters Ridge Place***
Shadow Mountain Lane***
NEW RIVER/STONY FORK TWPS.
Change Yuma Trail to Old 421 South by petition
***Indicates roads named on a recently recorded subdivision plat
Mr. Jack Richardson spoke in favor of the Yuma Trail name change.
There being no further public comment, Chairman Coffey closed the public hearing at 7:20 P.M.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to adopt the new road names as presented by Mr. Furman.
D. The Draft Solid Waste Ordinance and Draft Abandoned and Junked Motor Vehicle Ordinance – Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing open at 7:22 P.M. to allow for comment on the draft Solid Waste Ordinance and the draft Abandoned and Junked Motor Vehicle Ordinance.
County Attorney Eggers-Gryder gave a brief history of the two ordinances and stated that the public hearing was called to allow public input.
The following spoke regarding the draft Abandoned and Junked Motor Vehicle Ordinance: Edith Owens, Howard Auton, Joyce Bagot, Dana Combs, Tom Holt.
There being no further public comment, Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing closed at 7:40 P.M.
The Board agreed to conduct a work session to further review the draft ordinances. The work session was to be scheduled later in the meeting.
PROGRESS REPORT ON THE LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER PROJECT
A. Final Design Approval – Mr. Jack Hemphill, the County’s architect for the Law Enforcement Center project, reviewed the proposed final design for the Law Enforcement Center Relocation Project. Mr. Hemphill also presented an updated cost estimate for the project. Board approval was requested for the final design of the project prior to entering the construction drawing phase in preparation for the bid process.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the final design of the Law Enforcement Center project.
B. Holding Cell Plan Discussion – Mr. Hemphill stated that options were available for constructing holding cells or possible courthouse expansion that was needed as a part of the Law Enforcement Center relocation project.
The Board agreed to include discussing options for an addition and/or holding cell plans for the rear of the Courthouse as associated with the Law Enforcement Center relocation at a work session.
BLUE RIDGE RESOURCE & CONSERVATION DEVELOPMENT GRANT REQUEST
Mr. Stan Stuery with Blue Ridge Resource and Conservation Development updated the Board on the Methane Gas Reuse Project at the Landfill. He requested approval for the submission of a grant application to Clean Technologies to receive funds for micro-turbines, engines or other means of converting landfill gas to electricity for existing and new county buildings on the site. The grant would help pay for planning and site preparation for some facilities which may include solar greenhouses for local farmers and the Watauga High School Horticulture Program and a Renewable Energy Education, Research, and Demonstration Center operated by Appalachian State University. Mr. Stuery and Dr. Dennis Grady, Director of the Energy Center at Appalachian State University stated that the Energy Center would submit the grant.
After discussion, David Blust, seconded by Keith Honeycutt, moved to approve the grant application as presented.
Finance Director Doris Isaacs presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
663200-327501 Scrap Tire Disposal Grant $1,531
667420-469566 Contracted Services-Tire Disposal $1,531
The amendment recognized an award of Scrap Tire Disposal Grant to reimburse the County for excess tire management costs incurred between October 2002 and March 2003.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103586-332004 State Senior Center Funding $14,518
105550-426000 Office Supplies $683
105550-429200 Program Supplies $4,200
105550-455000 Capital Outlay – Other Equip $1,125
105550-469514 Contracted Serv-Instructors $5,328
105550-432100 Telephone $480
105550-432500 Postage $90
105550-434100 Printing $450
105550-431300 Client Travel $300
105550-449100 Dues & Subscriptions $62
105550-469511 Contracted Serv-Health Screening $1,800
The amendment recognized additional state funds for aging services which were approved at the September 2, 2003, Board of Commissioners meeting.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
AVERY COUNTYPROPOSAL FOR EMS SERVICES TO BEECHMOUNTAIN
County Manager Nelson stated that the Avery County Board of Commissioners made a counter offer regarding EMS services as follows: Watauga County to pay $100,000 for the first year and a $50,000 per year assessment for the following four years to continue the EMS service in Watauga County. Avery County would reciprocate accordingly for services provided to the Beech Creek and Flat Springs areas. Avery County would cover the portion of Seven Devils in Avery. The offer from Avery County was a result of the joint meeting with the Avery Board of Commissioners on September 4, 2003.
County Manager Nelson stated that if the Board agreed to the compromise offer from Avery County that funds could be taken from the contingency fund which was budgeted, in part to provide this service to Beech Mountain. The County Manager stated that he would also request Watauga Medics determine what amount could be deducted from the existing contract for providing services to Watauga County which included the Avery County portion of Seven Devils. The County Manager recommended that if the Board accepted the offer that it be requested of Avery County to allow Watauga County to make quarterly payments for the $100,000 and to have the contract drawn by the Watauga County Attorney and forwarded to Avery County for formal action.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to accept the counter proposal as offered by Avery County and to request a five year extension of the contract for a total of ten years.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Proposed Proclamation for “Red Ribbon Celebration 2003” – County Manager Nelson stated that Anna Boyce Phillips with the Alcohol/Drug Council of Watauga County had requested a proclamation declaring October 25-31, 2003, as “Red Ribbon Celebration 2003” in Watauga County promoting public awareness of substance abuse prevention. County Manager Nelson read the proposed Proclamation.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, made a motion to adopt the proclamation as presented by the County Manager.
B. CDBG Grant Request – County Manager Nelson requested that a public hearing be set for the October 6, 2003, Board meeting for consideration of a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Scattered Site Housing Supplement Funds grant application. The grant application, which required a public hearing was due by October 15, 2003. Prior to the public hearing staff was to determine the feasibility for submittal. If so the hearing was to be required.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to set a public hearing for October 6, 2003, to consider the CDBG Scattered Site Housing Supplemental Funds grant application request.
[Clerk’s Note: The public hearing was cancelled]
C. SBI Grant Request – County Manager Nelson stated that the SBI was applying for a grant to establish a model Drug Endangered Children (DEC) Program in Watauga County. The County Manager and Mr. Jim Atkinson, Director of Social Services, stated that the grant funds would be used by the Sheriff’s Department, Department of Social Services, and the District Attorney’s office to establish a DEC Program, buy needed equipment, and to render humanitarian services to the children found in methamphetamine labs. There was no County match required for the grant as expenses would be paid by the County and then submitted for reimbursement by grant funds.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to approve the DEC Memorandum of Understanding and to establish the model Drug Endangered Children Program as presented.
D. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that the NCACC desired to fill vacancies on various steering committees.
The Board scheduled a work session for Monday, September 22, 2003, at 6:00 P.M. to discuss the draft Solid Waste Ordinance, the draft Abandoned and Junked Motor Vehicle Ordinance. Also discussion was scheduled for the courthouse addition and/or holding cell plans as associated with Phase II of the Law Enforcement Center relocation.
After a brief recess Mr. Donald Butler spoke regarding the scenic byway designation of the new Hwy 421.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:01 P.M.
James Coffey, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board