WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, AUGUST 7, 2006
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, August 7, 2006, at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building.
PRESENT: Jim Deal, Chairman
William R. Winkler, III, Vice-Chairman
David Blust, Commissioner
Keith Honeycutt, Commissioner
Winston Kinsey, Commissioner
Anthony di Santi, 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 9:02 A.M., welcoming those in attendance.
Commissioner Honeycutt opened the meeting with a prayer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Deal called for additions or corrections to the July 17, 2006, special meeting and closed session minutes; July 18, 2006, regular meeting and closed session minutes; and the July 25, 2006, special meeting minutes.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the July 17, 2006, special meeting minutes as presented.
Board members were made aware of a correction to the July 17, 2006, closed session minutes. The amendment added the last name to a name mentioned in the minutes.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the July 17, 2006, closed session minutes as amended.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve the July 18, 2006, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the July 18, 2006, closed session meeting minutes as presented.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the July 25, 2006, special meeting minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Deal called for additions and/or corrections to the August 7, 2006, agenda.
County Manager Nelson requested to add an update on the Law Enforcement Center Parking Lot after Item # 10.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve the August 7, 2006, agenda as amended.
PUBLIC HEARING DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION’S SECONDARY ROADS PROGRAM
Chairman Deal declared the public hearing open at 9:05 A.M. to consider the Department of Transportation’s Secondary Roads Program.
Mr. Kipp Turner explained the formula for the paving of unpaved secondary roads and improvements to unpaved roads. Watauga County was estimated to receive an allocation of $5,648,982 for Fiscal Year 2005/2006 and an allocation of $2,612,776 for Fiscal Year 2006/2007 for a two year total of $8,261,758. Mr. Turner stated that due to changes not occurring yet in funding calculators, the 2006/2007 amount might go up to the $5,000,000 mark as well. Mr. Turner stated that all proposed road work was subject to funding, right-of-way acquisition, and environmental review.
The following citizens spoke regarding the Secondary Roads Plan: Dick Hearn, Joan Hearn, Tina Trivette, and Gale Glenn.
There being no further public comment, Chairman Deal declared the public hearing closed at 9:19 A.M.
Mr. Turner stated that the Board could take one of the following actions:
1) concur with the secondary roads plan as presented
2) take no action
3) recommend changes (as long as they did not deal with paving or paving priorities)
No action was taken.
APPALACHIAN SKATE PARK REQUEST FOR SIGNAGE PLACEMENT/SALES
Mr. Lynn Willis, representing the Appalachian Skate Park Council, requested to affix advertising signs to the fixtures and fence bordering the Skate Park. The proposal is to rent the signs for $400, $500, or $1,000 per year, depending on size. The money generated was to be used to pay off the loan that purchased the equipment and for on-going maintenance.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to authorize the placement of signage at the skate park in accordance with the Town of Boone Sign Ordinance and as approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission or their designee.
WATAUGACOUNTY YOUTH ADVISORY COUNCIL REPORT
Ms. Dusty Teng, adult liaison with the Watauga County Youth Advisory Council, introduced Dawn Woodard, Danny Rosenberg, Michael Rosenberg, and Kumar Dave’ who reported on the creation, organization, and plans of the Watauga County Youth Advisory Council. Council members are all youth whose main priority was to create a youth center in Watauga County.
This report was for information only and therefore no action was taken.
A. Budget Amendments – Ms. Doris Isaacs presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
103300-359111 NC Div of Emerg. Mgt. – Valle Crucis $290,550
104331-469100 Professional Services-Engineering $40,000
104331-449900 Wstwtr. Treat. Fac. – Replace & Repair $250,550
The amendment recognized a grant award from the NC Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management. These funds will be used for the replacement and repair of the wastewater treatment facility at the Valle Crucis Elementary School which was damaged by Hurricanes Francis and Ivan.
Account # Description Debit Credit
145850-440900 Subsidized Child Care $48,782
145850-440901 Smart Start Child Care $46,700
143585-323000 Title XX & FAS Child Care $48,782
143585-323002 Smart Start – Children’s Council $46,700
The amendment recognized additional funds available for direct services for subsidized and smart start daycare.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented by Ms. Isaacs.
B. Proposed Resolution for Disposition of Property by Transfer to Another Governmental Unit – Ms. Isaacs stated that since funding had expired and the North Carolina Methamphetamine Task Force was dissolved, it was appropriate to disburse the assets purchased with the grant between the counties of Wilkes, Watauga, and Ashe. Ms. Isaacs requested that the Toshiba copier, fixed asset #37514, which was purchased with grant funds be transferred to Ashe County. Ms. Isaacs presented a resolution that approved the transfer.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to adopt the Resolution for Disposition of Property by Transfer to Another Governmental Unit as presented by Ms. Isaacs.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator Kelvin Byrd presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of July 2006.
B. Releases and Refunds – Mr. Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for July 2006 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for July 2006 as presented.
C. Annual Tax Collector’s Settlement – Tax Administrator Byrd presented the following Annual Settlement Statements for Fiscal Year 2005/2006 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the Annual Settlement Statements for Fiscal Year 2005/2006.
D. Order of Collections Request – A sworn oath was to be administered to Tax Administrator Byrd in order to collect taxes for the new Fiscal Year 2006/2007. Mr. Byrd stated this Order would grant him the authorization to collect taxes and requested the Board’s approval.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to grant authorization for Tax Administrator Byrd to collect taxes for Fiscal Year 2006/2007.
E. Discussion of School Funding Statement on Tax Bills – Mr. Byrd stated that consideration was requested to add the following statement to the tax bill: “The Watauga County property tax rate for 2006-2007 is $.313 per $100 valuation. Of this amount, $.0341 has been set aside for School Capital Projects.”
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to include the statement on the tax bill as presented.
PROPOSED WATAUGA COUNTYORDINANCE TO REGULATE WIND ENERGY SYSTEMS
Mr. Joe Furman reviewed the changes to the Watauga County Ordinance to Regulate Wind Energy Systems that were requested at the last meeting. Mr. Furman also reviewed an amendment requested by the Blue Ridge Parkway which was to add the following to the end of Section 5.1.(i): “and the Blue Ridge Parkway Division of Resource Planning and Professional Services.” Mr. Furman also recommended the legal memorandum from Andrea Capua be adopted as an addendum to the ordinance.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to adopt the Watauga County Ordinance to Regulate Wind Energy Systems as amended and the memo from the County Attorney as an addendum.
ANNE-MARIE DRIVE PARK UPDATE
Mr. Robert Marsh reported on progress made to date regarding the Anne-Marie Drive Park project. Mr. Marsh stated that Mr. Larry Greene, Architect of record, has resubmitted plans to the Town of Boone that addressed problems with the Town’s UDO. The two significant issues that were addressed were the relocation of Town sewer lines at the County’s expense and electrical details.
The report was given for information only and therefore no action was required at this time.
LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER PARKING LOT
Mr. Robert Marsh reported on progress made to date regarding the parking lot project to be located at the old Law Enforcement Center. Mr. Marsh stated that the project was divided into three phases: a feasibility study; a demolition plan; and design, bid, and supervision. Mr. Dixon, Architect of record, had finished phase one and was planning to enter into phase two.
County Manager Nelson stated that he had met with the Town of Boone to request the Town trade 35 parking spaces on Queen Street for the old Law Enforcement Center and then develop a park in that area. The County Manager stated that the issue would be revisited prior to entering phase three of the project if the Town was interested in the trade.
By consensus, the Board directed Staff to proceed with demolition.
PROPOSED RESOLUTION TO ESTABLISH CHIMNEY ROCK AS A STATE PARK
Commissioner Honeycutt stated that Chimney Rock Park located in Rutherford County, NC, has been a tourist attraction for many years and the private owners of the 1,000 acre park have been in negotiations for the State to purchase the property to be included as part of the adjacent Hickory Nut Gorge State Park. The negotiations have proved unsuccessful and the owners placed the Chimney Rock Park on the market for sale. Commissioner Honeycutt presented a proposed resolution encouraging the State to purchase and preserve Chimney Rock Park as a State Park.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to adopt the resolution requesting to establish Chimney Rock Park as a State Park.
PROPOSED TOBACCO USE POLICY
Mr. Deron Geouque presented a proposed Watauga County Tobacco Use Policy that was to prevent tobacco products in County owned or leased buildings, grounds, parking areas, walkways, and vehicles effective January 1, 2007. This ordinance was discussed in budget work sessions and was driven by the detrimental effect of secondhand smoke to non-smokers as well as the effect of smoking and tobacco use on the individual employees. Mr. Geouque stated the following correction to the policy: In Section H. Disciplinary Action the reference to the Watauga County Personnel Ordinance should be Article VIII, Section 8.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to adopt the Watauga County Tobacco Use Policy as amended, effective January 1, 2007.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Appointing of Voting Delegate for NCACC Conference – County Manager Nelson stated that at the Annual North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Conference counties were to select the Association’s officers and vote on policy issues. According to the bylaws, each county was entitled to one vote by selection of a voting member to represent the member county. The appointment of Watauga County’s voting delegate was to be submitted to the Association by August 28, 2006.
Action on appointing a voting member was tabled until the second August Board meeting.
B. Solid Waste Transportation and Disposal Contract Extension Discussion – County Manager Nelson stated that the current haul and disposal contract with Waste Management for landfill services runs through April 8, 2009. Staff had been involved with Mr. C. M. Boggs, a representative from Waste Management, who had offered to extend this contract for five years with the following provisions: Waste Management was to eliminate the CPI escalator for two years retroactive to April 9, 2006, and therefore the rate through April 8, 2008, was to be $39.81 per ton for these two years. Waste Management also agreed to reduce the fee schedule from a minimum load of 21.5 tons to 20.5 tons and the new fee schedule was to be charged per load average not monthly load average.
The County Manager stated that currently once the minimum load standard was not met, the remainder of the monthly bill was charged at a higher rate based on the schedule. Staff agreed with Mr. Bogg’s projection of savings which indicated that waiving the CPI and implementing the new tonnage fee schedule was to save the County approximately $1,284,538 over the contract period.
By consensus, the Board directed the County Manager to consult with the County Attorney, draft a request for proposals from other suppliers and bring any additional offers received to the Board at a future meeting for discussion.
C. UPS Lease Request – County Manager Nelson stated that the United Parcel Services (UPS) approached the County and requested to lease the parking area at the old school bus garage area to store two UPS delivery vehicles overnight and on weekends and to stage the transfer of packages in the morning and late afternoon. UPS was to supply the chain and combination lock to secure the parking area and they requested that the County continue to mow the grass during the mowing season. The request to lease this area was for $200 per month and either party had the right to cancel with a thirty-day notice. The Board requested that the County have access to the parking lot at all times and that the County was not responsible for damage to UPS property.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the lease with UPS, contingent upon the County Attorney’s review.
D. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that due to a resignation, a vacancy existed on the Boone Board of Adjustment for an ETJ alternate member. No recommendations were presented.
Action on an appointment of an ETJ alternate member to the Boone Board of Adjustment was tabled until a future meeting.
County Manager Nelson stated that several terms on the AppalCART Board had expired and Ms. Joanna Wilcox with AppalCART had stated that the following members were willing to continue to serve if reappointed: Jerry Moretz, Jeannine Taylor, Bunk Spann, Angie Boitnotte, Barry Sauls, and Donald Ray.
This was a first reading and therefore no action was required at this time.
E. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that a bill to repeal House Bill 1779 establishing the collection of vehicle taxes by the Tag Office had failed to pass. The General Assembly delayed implementation until July 1, 2010. This was to give all parties an additional year’s time to study and implement the required practices.
County Manager Nelson announced that the official Dedication Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting for the Mariam and Robert Hayes Performing Arts Center had been scheduled for Friday, August 18, 2006, at 11:00 A.M.
County Manager Nelson announced that the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service was conducting a forum entitled WNC Sustainable Communities Summit that was to occur September 7, 2006, in Waynesville, NC.
County Manager Nelson announced that the second meeting for the month was rescheduled to August 22, 2006.
County Manger Nelson announced that the High Country Council of Governments Annual Banquet was scheduled for Friday, September 1, 2006, beginning at 6:00 P.M. at Linville Ridge Country Club.
Ms. Mary Moretz shared concerns with the Board.
At 10:57 A.M., Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3) and Land Acquisition, per G. S. 143-318.11(5)(i).
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to resume the open meeting at 11:49 A.M.
POSSIBLE ACTION AFTER CLOSED SESSION
The Vetro/Gable building across from the Courthouse had been considered as a location for the new County-operated License Tag Office that was to begin operations in the near future.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to direct the County Attorney to prepare a lease for the Vetro/Gable Building and the adjacent parking area for a three-year time period with two additional renewals and an option for the County to purchase the property during the lease with rent to be $2,500 per month.
Chairman Deal reported that the contract between the County and the owners of the “Miller Meadows” property for the new Watauga High School project stated that the closing had to take place on or before August 15, 2006.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to acquire the “Miller Meadows” property (approximately 5 acres) in accordance with the contract and purchase the property with the funds set aside for school capital projects in the amount of $625,000 with the provision that the subdivision was dissolved and the one owner of a lot was to relinquish any rights to the property that was to be purchased.
VOTE: Aye-4(Deal, Winkler, Honeycutt, Kinsey)
The meeting adjourned, by consensus, at 11:54 A.M.
Jim Deal, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board