WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2011
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, September 6, 2011, at 8:00 A.M. in the Commissioners' Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building, Boone, North Carolina.
PRESENT: Nathan A. Miller, Chairman
David Blust, Vice-Chairman
Jim Deal, Commissioner
Tim Futrelle, Commissioner
Vince Gable, Commissioner
Stacy C. Eggers, IV, County Attorney
Deron Geouque, County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Miller called the meeting to order at 8:01 A.M.
Commissioner Deal opened the meeting with a prayer and Commissioner Gable led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Minutes
Chairman Miller called for additions and/or corrections to the August 16, 2011, regular and closed session minutes.
County Attorney Eggers requested the following be deleted from the first page of the regular minutes: “[Clerk’s Note: Votes marked as absent, that are unexcused, count as Aye votes.]”
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to approve the August 16, 2011, regular meeting minutes as amended.
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to approve the August 16, 2011, closed session minutes as presented.
Approval of Agenda
Chairman Miller called for additions and/or corrections to the September 6, 2011, agenda.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the September 6, 2011, agenda as presented.
Sheriff’s Office Matters
A. Out-of-State Travel Request
Captain Dee Dee Rominger requested to attend a workshop on forensic interviewing of children which was required for certification purposes. Captain Rominger stated that funds had been raised to cover expenses; however, she requested permission to drive the County’s vehicle to the training.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to approve the out-of-state travel request as presented by Captain Rominger.
B. Repeater Site Upgrades Request
Captain Jeff Virginia presented a bid for $69,843 from Wireless Communications for repeater site upgrades to comply with 2013 narrow banding mandates. Captain Virginia stated that this was the only product available that met performance objectives and operational needs and had no compatibility issues or negative operational impacts. Only one bid was received as it was the sole source due to product availability. Captain Virginia requested approval of the purchase and stated that the bid for this purchase came in $907 less than the amount approved in the Sheriff’s Office Fiscal Year 2012 budget.
Commissioner Gable, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to award the bid, in the amount of $69,843, to the only bidder, Wireless Communications, that provided product compatible with existing equipment.
Appalachian State University (ASU) Matters
A. Request to Use the Old High School Softball Field
Mr. John Welch with Appalachian State University (ASU) Athletics requested permission from the Board to use the softball field at the old high school property for the fall practice schedule. Mr. Welch presented the schedule which showed that field lighting would not be needed as practices were scheduled prior to sundown. ASU would be responsible for all maintenance associated with their use of the facility, included but not limited to mowing the field and the installation of a port-a-john. Mr. Welch stated that ASU would also provide a lock for any storage area that might be available for the softball program as well.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to authorize Appalachian State University Athletics’ use of the old high school softball field, contingent upon the County Attorney preparing an agreement in which Appalachian State University was responsible for all costs and liabilities associated with their use of the facility.
B. Request to Use the Old High School Parking Lot
Mr. Doug Justice, Director of Game Operations with ASU, requested the use of the old high school property parking lot on Saturday, September 17, 2011, for ASU’s Open House and home football game. ASU planned to charge $5 which was to cover the service from the parking lot to the University. The lot would open at 2:00 P.M. with the shuttle service starting at 2:30 P.M. and ending at 11:00 P.M. ASU would provide security for the lot as tailgating would not be permitted at the location.
Chairman Miller requested ASU provide the County with monetary compensation for use of the facility as a fee was being collected from those utilizing that parking area and shuttle service.
After discussion, Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to authorize Appalachian State University’s (ASU) use of the old high school parking lot on September 17, 2011, contingent upon the County Attorney preparing a waiver relieving the County of all liability associated with their use of the facility and contingent upon ASU paying the County 25% of the funds collected for use of the parking lot.
Smart Start Admin Funding Request
Ms. Freda Smith, Treasurer of the Children’s Council, stated that funding from the State’s Smart Start Program had been cut by 17% for the current Fiscal Year. Child care subsidies were administered through the Watauga County Department of Social Services (DSS) through three staff positions. The Children’s Council had traditionally funded one of the DSS staff positions in the amount of $42,300. However, in addition to funding cuts, the Children’s Council was informed that they could no longer use their State child care subsidy to fund administrative costs.
By reducing the hours of six Children’s Council staff members, from 40 hours per week to 32, the Council had identified $21,150 or half of the funds needed for DSS. Ms. Smith requested the Board of Commissioners provide the remaining $21,150 needed to maintain the position at DSS. This would also allow the Children’s Council to restore three of their positions to 40 hours per week which would reduce the loss of their services to local daycare centers and the various programs they offer to parents. Ms. Smith stated that this was a one-time request as the Council was exploring grant and other opportunities available for Fiscal Year 2013.
Mr. Jim Atkinson, Director of Social Services, stated that the loss of the third staff position would be devastating to the County’s working families who receive child care subsidies. There were 70 children on the current waiting list.
County Manager Geouque stated that, if approved, funding would be allocated from the administrative contingency budget line.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to authorize the allocation of $21,150 from the administrative contingency budget line to fund the other half of the $42,300 funding cut sustained by the Children’s Council.
VOTE: Aye-3(Blust, Deal, Futrelle)
Tourism Development Authority (TDA) Matters
A. Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2011
Mr. Wright Tilley, Executive Director, shared the Fiscal Year 2010-11 Annual Report for the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority.
The following are highlights from that report:
· Posted the highest occupancy tax collection year since the TDA’s inception in 2006
· FY 10/11 occupancy tax collection was up 13% over the previous year, a $92,350.48 increase
· Highest recorded monthly collections were for July, October, December, January, and June
· Ranked 19th out of North Carolina’s 100 counties in terms of travel impact
· Domestic tourism in Watauga County generated an economic impact of 189.77 million in 2010, a 5.86% increase from 2009
· State and local tax revenues from travel to Watauga County amounted to $18.26 million, representing a $355.77 tax savings to each County resident
· The Watauga County TDA was awarded more than $600,000 in grants for tourism development projects
· Development of Rocky Knob Park began with 3 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails completed and an additional 4.7 miles of trail to be completed by next summer
· Development began of the grant-funded Watauga Gorge Park & Paddle Access
Mr. Tilley presented this report for information only; therefore, no action was required.
B. Rocky Knob Phase II Change Order Request
Mr. Eric Woolridge, Watauga County TDA, presented a change order in the amount of $10,000 to the existing contract with Benchmark Trails. The original contract in the amount of $65,000 required a minimum of four miles of trails to be built. Due to the terrain, special features were necessary to traverse rocky areas encountered during construction. The contract was with Watauga County as a part of the County’s obligation to meet the requirements of the $500,000 PARTF grant received on behalf of the Tourism Development Authority for the development of Rocky Knob Park. The change order was to cover the cost to construct the special features. County approval was needed for the Change Order; however, the TDA was expected to authorize funding for the Change Order at their September 13, 2011, meeting.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to approve the Change Order in the amount of $10,000 for the Benchmark Trails contract, contingent upon the Tourism Development Authority’s full funding with no costs to the County.
C. Bid Award Request for Recreation Support Facilities
Mr. Eric Woolridge presented the following bids for the construction of recreation facilities for Rocky Knob Park and Watauga Gorge Park & Paddle Access:
Harmony Timberworks/Foscoe Construction $114,830
Hardin Creek $129,361.60
Al Lewis/Meridian $140,678.71
4 Forty Four/Carolina Timberworks $194,000
Mike Smith $225,922.75
Of the total bids received, Harmony Timberworks/Foscoe Construction submitted the lowest bid of $114,830. Included in the scope of work was the construction of a large picnic pavilion at Rocky Knob Park in the amount of $38,260. The construction of that pavilion would satisfy a portion of the County’s obligation to the $500,000 PARTF grant.
Mr. Woolridge requested the County approve a contract with Harmony Timberworks/Foscoe Construction in the amount of $38,260 for the construction of the pavilion with funds to be provided by the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority (TDA). The TDA would then contract with Harmony Timberworks/Foscoe Construction for the remaining $76,570 to meet other TDA grant requirements. The TDA Board was expected to authorize funding for the entire $114,830 at their September 13, 2011, meeting.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to approve a contract with Harmony Timberworks/Foscoe Construction in the amount of $38,260 for the construction of a large picnic pavilion at the Rocky Knob Park, contingent upon County Attorney review and the Tourism Development Authority’s full funding with no costs to the County.
Brush Grinding Bid Award Request
Mr. J. V. Potter presented the following bids for brush grinding services at the landfill:
Superior Mulch, LLC $16.75 per ton
Eggers Construction $24.25 per ton
Henson’s Inc. No Bid Received
Mr. Potter recommended accepting the lowest bid from Superior Mulch, LLC, in the amount of $16.75 per ton. Superior Mulch, LLC, has satisfactorily provided services to the County in the past, including the grinding and hauling off of materials. Appropriate funds were in the Sanitation Department’s budget to fund the contract.
Commissioner Gable, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to award the bid and contract with Superior Mulch, LLC, in the amount of $16.75 per ton for the grinding and hauling of materials from the landfill, contingent upon the County Attorney’s review.
Planning and Inspections Out-of-State Travel Request
Mr. Joe Furman requested approval for out-of-state travel for Steve Sudderth, Emergency Management Coordinator/Fire Marshal, to attend the International Code Council Annual Conference and Final Action Hearings in Phoenix, Arizona from October 29 through November 5, 2011. All expenses were to be covered by the NC Building Inspectors Association.
Commissioner Gable, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the out-of-state travel request as presented by Mr. Furman.
A. Monthly Collections Report
Tax Administrator Kelvin Byrd presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of August 2011. This report was presented for information only and, therefore, no action was required.
B. Refunds and Releases
Mr. Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for August 2011 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for August 2011, as presented.
A. Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) Grant Request
Ms. Margaret Pierce, Finance Director, stated that the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) had notified her of a potential grant opportunity that would fund services for Level 2 Youth Court which was to benefit youth with two offenses. The County would not be required to provide any matching funds.
Ms. Pierce stated that the grant application deadline was September 15, 2011; however, she had not received additional information from JCPC and was not certain if the Council planned to apply for the grant.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to authorize the submission of the grant application, contingent upon there being no County match.
B. Surplus Requests
Ms. Pierce requested that the Board surplus the Animal Care & Control building, fixtures, fencing, and contents along with a 2000 John Deere Loader currently used by the Sanitation Department.
The Animal Care & Control building was to be demolished and the following items donated to the Humane Society:
3 Plastic Food Barrels
1 Metal Can with Wheels
6 Large Plastic Double Food Bowls
1 Garbage Can
1 Whirlpool Washing Machine
1 Hotpoint Dryer
1 Frigidaire Dishwasher
8 Single Stainless Steel Cat Cages
2 Double Stainless Steel Cat Cages
1 Mop Bucket
1 Dry Erase Board
15 Cat Litter Boxes
25 Stainless Bowls for Cats
35 Stainless Bowls for Dogs
Several Blankets and Towels
Ms. Pierce presented a resolution authorizing the conveyance of surplus property by donation which, per North Carolina General Statutes, could be adopted after five (5) days of advertisement of the proposed donation in the local newspaper.
The Loader was proposed to be sold by electronic auction through GovDeals. Approval for its sale was requested due to a similar piece of equipment having sold for an amount higher than the $30,000 threshold that had previously been set to allow for staff authorization of the surplus and sale of smaller items.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to authorize the surplus, donation and sale of the items as presented.
C. Real Property Sale Request
Ms. Pierce presented a proposed resolution authorizing the establishment of an electronic auction procedure and the use of existing private or public electronic auction services. The County Attorney stated that an electronic auction avoided the costs of advertising and since the County currently had an agreement with GovDeals, real property could be auctioned through that site after adoption of this resolution.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the resolution authorizing the establishment of an electronic auction procedure and authorizing the use of existing private or public electronic auction services as presented.
Ms. Pierce stated that an additional resolution was required to be adopted for each piece of real property that was to be sold through this established process. Therefore, Ms. Pierce presented a resolution authorizing the sale of real property located at 103 Windridge Road, Charter Hills, Lot D-32, Beech Mountain, NC. County Attorney Eggers stated that the resolution set the minimum bid for the property at $1,500; however, the Board could modify that amount. The County Attorney stated that the Board had the right to approve or reject offers on that property.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to adopt the resolution authorizing the sale of County-owned real property located at 103 Windridge Road, Charter Hills, Lot D-32, Beech Mountain, NC, with the minimum bid set at $1,500.
Miscellaneous Administrative Matters
A. Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) Joint Meeting Request
County Manager Geouque stated that the Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute (CCC&TI) Board of Trustees had requested a joint meeting with the Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, at 6:00 P.M. in Room 112 of the Watauga Instructional Facility at the CCC&TI Campus located on Hwy 105 Bypass. The meeting was an informational meeting and included dinner.
By consensus, the Board agreed to accept the joint meeting request as presented.
B. Proposed E-Verify Memorandum of Understanding
County Manager Geouque stated that the 2011 General Assembly had enacted legislation (S.L. 2011-263 (H 36) enacting new NCGS 153A-99.1 and G.S. 160A-169.1) which required counties, municipalities, and businesses that employ 25 or more workers to use the federal E-Verify program to verify the work authorization of new hires. Counties and municipalities were required to register and participate in the federal E-Verify program effective no later than October 1, 2011. E-Verify was a web-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and was provided to employers free of charge. The County Manager stated that in order to utilize the E-Verify program, the County was required to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the DHS and SSA.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Deal, moved to authorize entering into the Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration as presented.
C. Proposed “Moment of Remembrance” Commemorating September 11, 2001
County Manger Geouque stated that the Honorable Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey had requested the County participate in “The Moment of Remembrance” for the victims of September 11, 2001. The “Moment of Remembrance” was scheduled to take place for one full minute at 1:00 PM Eastern Time on September 11, 2011, in which cities and towns, firehouses churches and other institutions are asked to sound sirens and ring bells during the minute.
By consensus, the Board directed staff to place a notice of “The Moment of Remembrance” on the County website and to send notices of the Board’s support to Department Heads and Fire Departments.
County Manager Geouque announced that new Courthouse security measures were to be implemented beginning Tuesday, September 6, 2011. From that date forward, the King Street entrance was to be the only public access to the building.
County Manager Geouque announced that the Downtown Boone Post Office was under consideration to be discontinued. A public meeting was scheduled at the Downtown Boone Post Office on Tuesday, September 6, 2011, from 3:00 to 4:00 P.M. A survey was available to be filled out and turned in at the public hearing or Boone Town Hall.
County Manager Geouque announced that Smoky Mountain Center invited the Board to attend an informational meeting entitled, "Medicaid Waiver 101" scheduled for Thursday, September 8, 2011, from 4:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. at the Smoky Mountain Center Administrative Office in Sylva.
County Manager Geouque announced that the opening Banquet for the 59th Annual North Carolina Association of Register of Deeds Conference was scheduled for Sunday, September 11, 2011, at 6:30 P.M.
County Manager Geouque announced that a joint meeting with the Town of Boone was scheduled on Monday, September 12, 2011, at 5:00 P.M. in the Commissioners’ Board Room. Topics of discussion were to include: ETJ appointments, clarification of the water allocation for the old high school, centralized dispatching, and Greenway expansion.
County Manager Geouque announced that Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation was holding a Community Leaders Council Meeting on Tuesday, September 20, 2011, at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center at 6:00 P.M. The County Manager pointed out that the second regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners was scheduled for the same date beginning at 5:00 P.M.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to reschedule the next regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners to Monday, September 19, 2011, at 5:00 P.M.
County Manager Geouque announced that the Watauga County Board of Commissioners and North Carolina Emergency Management had scheduled training for public officials and staff detailing their roles in emergency management on Thursday, September 22, 2011, from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. in the Commissioners’ Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building.
County Manager Geouque announced that written comments addressing the proposed reclassification of the South Fork New River could be submitted until September 30, 2011, to Elizabeth Kountis with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Division of Water Quality, Planning Section.
There was no public comment.
At 9:12 A.M., Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3).
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Chairman Miller, moved to resume the open meeting at 10:22 A.M.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Chairman Miller, moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:22 A.M.
ATTEST: Nathan A. Miller, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board