WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2009
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, October 20, 2009, at 6:00 P.M. in the Commissioners’ Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building.
PRESENT: Jim Deal, Chairman
William R. Winkler, III, Vice-Chairman
John Cooper, Commissioner
Tim Futrelle, Commissioner
Winston Kinsey, Commissioner
Andrea Capua, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Deron Geouque, Deputy County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Deal called the meeting to order at 6:00 P.M., welcoming those in attendance.
Commissioner Kinsey opened the meeting with a prayer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Deal called for additions and/or corrections to the September 28, 2009, special meeting minutes and the October 5, 2009, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the September 28, 2009, special meeting minutes as presented.
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the October 5, 2009, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve the October 5, 2009, closed session minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Deal called for additions and/or corrections to the October 20, 2009, agenda.
Chairman Deal stated that there was an addition to Miscellaneous Administrative Matters which was a proposed proclamation from the Historical Preservation Society; two additional closed session topics (one under attorney/client matters and the other to be added under personnel matters); and action was anticipated after closed session.
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve the October 5, 2009, agenda as amended.
PUBLIC HEARING TO ALLOW CITIZEN COMMENT ON PROPOSED CHANGES IN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE BLOWING ROCK FIRE TAX DISTRICT AND THE BOONE RURAL FIRE PROTECTION SERVICE DISTRICT
Chairman Deal declared the public hearing open at 6:04 P.M. to allow for comment on the proposed changes to the boundaries of the Blowing Rock Fire Tax District and the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District.
Commissioner Kinsey explained that the changes were to make the tax districts consistent with the six-mile service dispatch districts that were recently created. Mr. Furman presented the proposed Resolution Annexing Territory to the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District which formalized the expansion of the district.
There being no public comment, Chairman Deal declared the public hearing closed at 6:05 P.M.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to adopt the Resolution Annexing Territory to the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District.
PUBLIC HEARING TO ALLOW CITIZEN COMMENT ON PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE FLOOD DAMAGE PREVENTION ORDINANCE
Chairman Deal declared the public hearing open at 6:06 P.M. to allow for comment on proposed amendments to the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.
Mr. Furman stated that the changes to the County’s ordinance were necessitated by the development of new flood maps by the Federal Government as submitted to Watauga County. Mr. Furman reviewed the new maps which were to take effect December 3, 2009. Mr. Furman also reviewed proposed changes recommended by the Planning Board which were presented at the last Board meeting as well.
Chairman Deal stated that the Board of Commissioners was not authorized to make changes to the maps; however, once adopted, the amended ordinance would make citizens eligible for the National Flood Insurance Program.
There being no public comment, Chairman Deal declared the public hearing closed at 6:10 P.M.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to adopt the Watauga County Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance as presented and set the effective date as December 3, 2009.
PUBLIC HEARING TO ALLOW CITIZEN COMMENT ON PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO AN ORDINANCE TO REGULATE SIGNS IN WATAUGA COUNTY
Chairman Deal declared the public hearing open at 6:12 P.M. to allow for comment on the proposed amendments to an Ordinance to Regulate Signs in Watauga County.
The following citizens shared their concerns regarding the proposed amendments:
Brad Moretz with Appalachian Ski Mountain
Craig Justice from Asheville, NC, Attorney for Lamar Advertising
James Machut with Lamar Advertising
There being no further public comment, Chairman Deal declared the public hearing closed at 6:30 P.M.
By consensus, Board action was tabled to allow for attorney/client consultation during closed session.
PROPOSED CHANGE ORDER FOR THE COURTHOUSE HVAC SYSTEM
Mr. Robert Marsh presented a recommendation for a change order to complete the Courthouse HVAC system renovation. Mr. Marsh stated that staff recommended a change order be approved with Hickory Construction Company in the amount of a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) of $447,900. The change order included the overall revamping of the system and renovations to the boiler room in the amounts of $278,700 and $49,200 respectively. Included in the GMP were alternates 1, 5, and 7 in the amounts of $41,900, $46,600, and $31,500. The three alternates were to allow the HVAC system to be extended into the server room; upgraded in the Tax office area; and pneumatic switches and valves converted to the new integrated digital control system. Funding was proposed to be allocated as follows: $230,000 from the Hemphill Associates settlement, $5,000 from the remainder of the original Hickory Construction contract, and $212,900 transferred from the County’s Capital Reserve Account.
Mr. Clint Canaday, the County’s Engineer for the Courthouse HVAC system project, stated that bids were requested with eight alternates included. Mr. Canaday stated that the recommendation of the change order with alternates 1, 5, and 7 was to fix the problems with the system and upgrade controls of the HVAC system to a centralized digital system.
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve the change order with Hickory Construction Company in the Guaranteed Maximum Price of $447,900 which included alternates 1, 5, and 7 with funding to be allocated as follows: $230,000 from the Hemphill Associates settlement, $5,000 from the remainder of the original Hickory Construction contract, and $212,900 transferred from the County’s Capital Reserve Account.
A. Budget Amendments – Ms. Doris Isaacs, Finance Director, presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
103586-332004 State Senior Center Funding $16,871
105550-426000 Office Supplies $1,500
105550-429200 Program Supplies $6,421
105550-431300 Client Transportation $500
105550-432100 Telephone $800
105550-432500 Postage $200
105550-434100 Printing $450
105550-469511 Cont. Services – Health Screenings $4,000
105550-469514 Cont. Services – Instructor $3,000
The amendment recognized additional state revenue for aging services and the program allocation per department request which was approved at the October 5, 2009, Board meeting.
Account # Description Debit Credit
143300-358900 NCJJDP – Gang Violence $7,500
145890-469821 Gang Violence Grant $7,500
The amendment recognized the award of a gang violence grant for assessment of local gangs to identify risk factors for delinquency and gang involvement.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103300-349605 NCDENR – Parker Project $4,205
103839-349600 Parker Project – Property Owner $39,854
104960-469100 Prof. Services – Parker Project $35,649
The amendment recognized NC Ag. Cost Share Funds and the property owner’s required match for the Cove Creek Parker Project. Cost Share Funds must go to the property owner who was to then pay the County the cost share funds and the required match.
Account # Description Debit Credit
133980-398021 Transfer from Capital Reserve $85,000
135912-459003 Blowing Rock Roof Repair $85,000
133594-349909 Lottery Proceeds – FY 10 $83,264
135912-459003 Blowing Rock Roof Repair $1,736
139800-498021 Transfer to Capital Reserve $85,000
213980-398113 Transfer from School Capital Outlay $85,000
219930-459122 Watauga County Schools – CIP $85,000
The amendment recognized lottery funds to repair a portion of the roof at Blowing Rock Elementary School. Funds were originally provided from the Capital Reserve Fund designated for Watauga County Schools CIP when the governor froze all lottery funds at the beginning of the fiscal year. Lottery funds have since been released and, therefore, were used to reimburse the Watauga County Schools CIP in the Capital Reserve Fund.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
B. Official Depository Designation Request – Ms. Isaacs requested approval of Bank of Granite official depository designation forms for the County’s various financial accounts. The Bank required the forms which authorized appropriate parties to sign checks, drafts, and other public orders for Watauga County. Ms. Isaacs stated that no changes were made regarding the financial institution or accounts other than depository designation forms.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the Bank of Granite official depository designation forms as presented to the Board.
C. Presentation of Smoky Mountain Center Quarterly Financial Report – Ms. Isaacs stated that, by Statute, Smoky Mountain Center, the Local Management Entity (LME) for mental health services in Watauga County, was required to submit a Quarterly Report to the Board of Commissioners. Ms. Isaacs presented the report on behalf of the Smoky Mountain Center.
The report was given for information only and, therefore, no action was required.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Presentation of Upset Bid Results for Consideration of the Sale of the Edmisten House – County Manager Nelson stated that no upset bids were received through the required publication of the initial $320,000 offer for the Edmisten House; therefore, the Manager presented the $320,000 offer from Ms. Opal Mayfield to the Board for consideration of acceptance. The offer included one contingency which was a request for the buyer to obtain an easement to place a permanent privacy fence between the existing plantings and the Greenway Trail.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to accept Ms. Opal Mayfield’s offer in the amount of $320,000 to purchase the Edmisten House and addressed the contingency by granting permission, not an easement, for the placement of a privacy fence on County-owned property between the existing plantings and the Greenway Trail; also, the County Attorney was directed to contact Ms. Mayfield’s attorney to inform her and arrange for a closing date.
B. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that the Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Advisory Board had two members whose appointments had recently expired and both, Mr. Mike Presnell and Ms. Virginia Ward, were willing to continue to serve if reappointed.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to waive the second reading and reappoint Mr. Mike Presnell and Ms. Virginia Ward to three-year terms on the Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Advisory Board.
County Manager Nelson stated that Mr. Alex Jernigan, Regional Ombudsman with High Country Council of Governments, requested that Mr. Gene Vandiford be considered for appointment to the Watauga County Community Advisory Committee for Adult Care Homes.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to appoint Mr. Gene Vandiford to a one-year appointment on the Watauga County Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee.
County Manager Nelson gave a second notice that the Board’s appointment to the Northwest Regional Housing Authority was to expire December 12, 2009.
By consensus, the Board tabled this appointment until the November 2, 2009, Board meeting.
C. Proposed Proclamation Announcing the Publication of the Architectural History of Watauga County, North Carolina – County Manager Nelson presented a proposed Proclamation Announcing the Publication of the Architectural History of Watauga County, North Carolina as requested by the Historical Preservation Society. The book features more than 600 illustrations with written descriptions of approximately 300 properties.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to adopt the proclamation as presented.
D. Announcements – Commissioner Kinsey presented the draft of the Citizens’ Plan for Watauga and Chairman Deal announced that public community meetings regarding the Plan were scheduled for Monday, November 2nd at Cove Creek Elementary School beginning at 6:00 P.M.; Tuesday, November 3rd at Parkway Elementary School beginning at 6:15 P.M. (to accommodate their after-school program); and Thursday, November 5th at the Watauga County Administration Building beginning at 6:00 P.M.
County Manager Nelson announced that the UNC School of Government planned to present a seminar entitled “Local Finance: Making Sense of Annual Financial Statements” at various locations throughout the State. The County Manager stated that a two-hour segment on ethics for elected officials, which met the new statutory requirement going into effect next year for city and county elected leaders, was included at the conclusion of the seminar.
There was no public comment; however, Chairman Deal welcomed the students that were in attendance from the Appalachian State University Local Government Class.
At 6:55 P.M., Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3); Land Acquisition, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(i); and Personnel Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(6).
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to resume the open meeting at 7:33 P.M.
ACTION AFTER CLOSED SESSION
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to adopt the Sign Ordinance with the proposed amendments as presented and the following additional changes (deletions shown in strikethrough and additions shown in bold):
10. Changeable Electronic Variable Message Sign. A sign (other than a public variable message sign, which is erected by a town, city, county, state for federal government or agency for traffic communication purposes) which results in illuminated display or messages or information by the use of a matrix of lamps, i.e., digital, LED (light emitting diode) or similar or refined display technology, movable discs, movable panels, light apertures, or other methods, which allow the message change to be actuated by a control mechanism rather than manually changing of message.
; and which changes the message more often than twice daily.
E. Advertising Signs.
1. Newly erected advertising signs shall not be permitted.
2. Maintenance of existing advertising signs shall be in accordance with Sections J and L.
3. No existing advertising signs may be converted to or replaced with a changeable electronic variable message sign.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to authorize staff to assist Habitat for Humanity with their Armfield Roost at Green Valley project located behind Green Valley School by providing grading; waiving the tipping fee at the Landfill; and assisting with stump removal. Habitat for Humanity was to be responsible for purchasing all materials to be used in the project.
Chairman Deal adjourned the meeting at 7:35 P.M.
Jim Deal, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board