WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, JANUARY 3, 2006
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, January 3, 2006, at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: Jim Deal, Chairman
William R. Winkler, III, Vice-Chairman
David Blust, Commissioner
Keith Honeycutt, Commissioner
Winston Kinsey, Commissioner
Andrea Capua, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Deron Geouque, Assistant County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Deal called the meeting to order at 9:03 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
Chairman Deal opened the meeting with a prayer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Deal called for additions or corrections to the December 5, 2005, regular meeting and closed session minutes and the December 12, 2005, special meeting minutes.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve the December 5, 2005, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the December 5, 2005, closed session minutes as presented.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the December 12, 2005, special meeting minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Deal called for additions and/or corrections to the January 3, 2006, agenda.
County Manager Nelson requested to add an out of state travel request from the Fire Marshal prior to Miscellaneous Administrative Matters.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the January 3, 2006, agenda as amended.
PROGRESS REPORT ON THE “NEW” WATAUGA HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT
Mr. Lowell Younce and Ms. Deborah Miller reported on the status of planning for the new Watauga High School project. Ms. Miller requested approval of an application to the North Carolina Public School Building Capital Fund for $400,000. The amount required a $136,000 local match available in the County’s Capital Reserve Account that was designated for this project. The funds were to be used for planning, including architectural and engineering services as necessary to move the Watauga County High School Project forward.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the application to the North Carolina Public School Building Capital Fund for $400,000 and the $136,000 local match to be allocated from the County’s Capital Reserve Account.
VOTE: Aye-4(Deal, Winkler, Honeycutt, Kinsey)
CHILD CARE SUBSIDY PROGRAM FUNDING REQUEST
Mr. Jim Atkinson reported on the status of the County’s subsidized child care program. Mr. Atkinson stated that this program provided child care for preschool aged children as well as after school care for those eligible. Eligibility was based on income and was determined by Department of Social Services staff. Prior to this year, the state had counties that did not use all of their allocation to revert those amounts to the state and in turn the funds were reallocated to counties who had greater needs than their original allotment of funds. This year, the need throughout the state has far surpassed the allocations so there were very limited reverted and reallocated funds. Also, allocations were expected to be decreased in fiscal year 2006
Mr. Atkinson gave three options he considered appropriate action:
1) do nothing and keep the waiting list
2) prioritize and stop service based on service categories
3) purge the waiting list – serve all with the County funding for the remainder of fiscal year
After discussion, the Board tabled action until after fiscal year 2006 budget work sessions.
PARKS AND RECREATION FEE INCREASE PROPOSAL
Mr. Stephen Poulos, Parks and Recreation Director, stated that staff and the Recreation Commission had reviewed fees charged for activities and services and made recommendations for increases. Mr. Poulos reviewed the recommended increases and requested they be made effective January 1, 2006.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the parks and recreation fee schedule as presented by Mr. Poulos.
NEW CANINE (K-9) PURCHASE REQUEST
Sheriff Shook requested to purchase an additional canine (K-9) in order to have a dog available for each shift. The Sheriff proposed to purchase the dog and equipment using drug fund seizure account funds. The annual costs of the animal were to be $910 plus associated veterinarian services.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the purchase of the additional canine (K-9) with funding to be allocated from seized drug funds for the purchase and annual upkeep.
Finance Director Doris Isaacs presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
143839-353100 Donations-Foster Children Fund $1,265
143839-353101 Donations-Adult Service Fund $581
143839-353102 Donations-Child Prot. Services $1,600
145310-449902 Foster Children’s Fund $1,265
145310-449903 Adult Services Fund $581
145310-449904 Child Protective Ser. Fund $1,600
The amendment recognized additional donations received for the Foster Children’s Fund, the Adult Services Fund and the Child Protective Services Fund.
Account # Description Debit Credit
104330-449905 Senior Center State Funding $7,297
104330-449901 Office Supplies $1,263
104330-449906 Program Supplies $36,947
103300-343307 Travel-Client Transportation $7,297
103300-343308 Utilities-Telephone $1,263
103300-343309 Postage $36,947
The amendment recognized unspent portion of two years of State Homeland Security funds to be expended this fiscal year.
Account # Description Debit Credit
143585-323000 Title XX & FSA Daycare $29,697
143585-323002 Smart Start Daycare $46,700
145850-440900 Subsidized Childcare $29,697
145850-440901 Smart Start Childcare $46,700
The amendment revised estimate daycare revenues and expenditures to actual state allocations.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103991-399101 Fund Balance Appropriated-New $2,350
145850-440901 R&M - Smokehouse $2,350
The amendment appropriated fund balance to cover one-half of the estimated cost to repair and upgrade the Watauga County Firefighters Association’s fire and education trailer. Avery County has agreed to pay one-half of the costs as well. Approved at the November 15th Board of Commissioners meeting.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented by Ms. Isaacs.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator Kelvin Byrd presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of December 2005.
B. Releases and Refunds – Mr. Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for December 2005 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for December 2005 as presented.
CDBG SCATTERED SITE HOUSING PROGRAM MATTERS
A. Public Hearing Request – Mr. Joe Furman stated that Watauga County was eligible to apply for CDBG funds for scattered site housing improvements in fiscal year 2006. Prior to submitting the application, a public hearing was required. Mr. Furman requested that a public hearing for the CDBG Scattered Site Housing Program be scheduled at the January 24, 2006, meeting at 6:00 P.M.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to set a public hearing for the CDBG Scattered Site Housing Program at the January 24, 2006, Board of Commissioners meeting at 6:00 P.M.
B. Requested Designation of High Country Council of Governments as CDBG Administrator – Mr. Furman requested that the High Country Council of Governments be designated to prepare the application and administer the CDBG Scattered Site Housing Program. Administrative costs were reimbursable in the grant and this arrangement had worked well during past grant cycles.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to appoint the High Country Council of Governments to prepare the application and administer the CDBG Scattered Site Housing Program if awarded to Watauga County.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT REPORT: ECR SOFTWARE
Mr. Furman reported on the lease of space to ECR Software in the Appalachian Enterprise Center. Mr. Furman stated that the lease was to end in April 2006 and that ECR Software had created 19 full-time and 1 part-time positions while occupying the space, more than those required in the lease agreement. Mr. Furman also shared some of ECR’s accomplishments in their field.
By consensus, the Board directed Mr. Furman to draft a letter congratulating them on their accomplishments and for adding jobs within the County.
NACo DRUG DISCOUNT PROGRAM PROPOSAL
Assistant County Manager Geouque reported on a drug discount program for citizens as offered by the National Association of Counties (NACo). The program was to allow citizens who did not have insurance to access discounts at participating pharmacies throughout the County and was to provide an opportunity of some savings on their prescription drug purchases.
The Board agreed, by consensus, to table further action until clarification of contract items was available.
VEHICLE PURCHASE REQUESTS
Mr. Geouque reviewed the following bids received to purchase three new compact 4x4 sport utility vehicles:
Bid Amount Per Vehicle
Ashe County Motors
Vic Bailey Ford (State Contract Price)
Mr. Geouque recommended awarding the bid to Ashe County Motors in the amount of $18,532.80 each for a grand total of $55,598.40. Two of the vehicles were to be used in the Tax Department and the other in the Planning and Inspections Department. Mr. Geouque stated that adequate funds were budgeted for this purchase.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the purchase of three (3) new compact 4x4 sport utility vehicles (Ford Escape) at a cost of $18,532.80 each for a grand total of $55,598.40.
OUT OF STATE TRAVEL REQUEST
Ms. Lisa Danner requested to attend classes at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, of which she had been on a waiting list to attend since 1998. Ms. Danner stated that her time missed and travels there and back were to be the only expenses to Watauga County. All other expenses were to be covered by the ATF.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve the out of state travel request as presented by Ms. Danner.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Resolution Establishing the Sheriff’s Salary – County Manager Nelson stated that General Statutes required a resolution establishing the Sheriff’s salary be adopted thirty days prior to filing each election cycle. Mr. Nelson presented a draft resolution for consideration establishing the Sheriff’s salary at the entry level amount of $52,907 for filing purposes for the 2006 election.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to adopt the resolution establishing the Sheriff’s salary as presented by the County Manager.
B. Law Enforcement Center Change Order Request – County Manager Nelson reviewed a change order (Change Order # 13) authorizing additional days for completion of construction of the new Law Enforcement Center by Hickory Construction. The County Manager stated that Mr. Hemphill, project engineer, recommended awarding 30 days to the construction time due to weather conditions in excess of established yearly averages. These days were in addition to days previously awarded for weather and/or other change orders necessitating more time for completion. If approved, this change order was to bring the substantial completion date of this project to December 6, 2005. The County Manager stated that it was anticipated that the project, in actuality, was to be completed in January of 2006 and that liquidated damages were to be considered.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve the change order as presented by the County Manager.
C. Proposed Resolution Requesting Removal of a DOT information Sign Located on the Blowing Rock Highway (US 321) – County Manager presented a draft resolution requesting the removal of the DOT informational sign that had recently been placed on the Blowing Rock Highway US 321.
The Board agreed, by consensus, to table action on the resolution until a future meeting.
D. Report on Economic Development Joint Meeting (Watauga, Washington, and Johnson Counties) – County Manager Nelson report on the joint meeting held with Washington County, Virginia, and Johnson County, Tennessee, on December 14, 2005, for the purpose of discussing the possibility of a joint project to promote tourism in the three county corridor. County Manager Nelson stated that Johnson County was to submit a grant to ARC to fund the project.
The Board agreed, by consensus, to direct the County Manager to continue working with Washington and Johnson counties and move forward with the project.
E. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that there was a vacancy on the North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature/Advisory Committee on Aging for the High Country Council of Governments for an alternate for Watauga County. Mr. Nelson stated that Ms. Pat Coley was interested in serving as the Watauga County alternate, if appointed.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to appoint Ms. Pat Coley as the Watauga County Alternate to the North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature/Advisory Committee on Aging.
County Manager Nelson stated that the Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees had nominated the following individuals to submit to the Commissioners to fill four positions (which expired in December 2005) on their Board:
One position Dr. Cecilia Grasinger
(Doctor Rep.) Dr. Yvonne Mack
Three positions Mr. Armfield Coffey
Mr. John Councill
Mr. Council Main
Mr. Paul Miller, Jr.
Mr. Dennis Quinn
Dr. Harry Williams
Votes were taken by written ballot and forwarded to the clerk.
[Clerk’s Note: An announcement of those appointed was made at the end of the meeting prior to adjournment.]
F. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that the School of Government was hosting workshops intended to help key community stakeholders work together to build community capacity to stop domestic and sexual violence.
The Board agreed, by consensus, to direct the County Manager to contact Oasis, Inc. and request that they send a representative to the meeting scheduled in Lenoir to represent Watauga County with the County to bear the expenses of travel.
County Manager Nelson announced that the Chamber of Commerce was hosting a Legislative Reception on Tuesday, January 17, 2006, from 5:00 P.M. till 7:00 P.M. at the Chetola Resort.
County Manager Nelson stated that the Annual Pre-Budget Retreat was traditionally held in February or March and requested that the Board be prepared to set a date at the next Board meeting. The County Manager also requested topics for discussion on the Retreat agenda.
County Manager Nelson reviewed a schedule of events for “I Have A Dream” Week activities.
There was no public comment.
At 10:39 A.M., Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Personnel Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(6), and Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3).
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to resume the open meeting at 12:38 P.M.
VOTE: Aye-4(Deal, Blust, Honeycutt, Kinsey)
[Clerk’s Note: Vice-Chairman Winkler had to leave the meeting, during closed session, at 11:50 A.M. to return to work]
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION POSITION REQUEST
Mr. Harvey Fouts, West District Extension Director with Cooperative Extension Service, presented the Board with a job description and a proposal for funding of the position. Mr. Fouts stated that if the County would increase their percentage of funding for salaries to 49% then the Extension would advertise and fill the new position.
After discussion the Board tabled action until after future budget work sessions for fiscal year 2006.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF WATAUGA MEDICAL CENTER BOARD OF TRUSTEE APPOINTEES
Chairman Deal announced that the following were appointed to the Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees by unanimous vote: Dr. Yvonne Mack, Mr. John Councill, Mr. Council Main, and Mr. Paul Miller, Jr.
The meeting adjourned by consensus at 1:03 P.M.
Jim Deal, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board