WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, February 7, 2012, at 8:00 A.M. in the Commissioners' Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building, Boone, North Carolina.
PRESENT: Nathan A. Miller, Chairman
Vince Gable, Vice-Chairman
David Blust, Commissioner
Jim Deal, Commissioner
Tim Futrelle, 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 8:05 A.M.
Commissioner Blust opened the meeting with a prayer and Vice-Chairman Gable led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Minutes
Chairman Miller called for additions and/or corrections to the January 17, 2012, regular and closed session minutes, and the January 27, 2012, special meeting minutes.
Chairman Miller stated that the following addition (indicated in bold) was requested to be added to the January 17, 2012, regular meeting minutes:
“County Manager Geouque stated that two terms on the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) were set to expire at the end of February 2012. The TDA requested that Mr. Rob Holton and Mr. Mike Hall each be reappointed to three-year terms. Both Mr. Holton and Mr. Hall were willing to continue to serve if so appointed. Chairman Miller nominated Ms. Kim Rogers and Mr. Jim Neustadt for consideration of appointment as well.”
Vice-Chairman Gable, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the January 17, 2012, regular meeting minutes as amended.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Gable, moved to approve the January 17, 2012, closed session minutes as presented.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the January 27, 2012, special meeting minutes as presented.
Approval of Agenda
Chairman Miller called for additions and/or corrections to the February 7, 2012, agenda.
County Manager Geouque requested to add a Department of Transportation request to support preliminary engineering services for a secondary access to Appalachian State University via Homespun Hills Road.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the February 7, 2012, agenda as amended.
NCDOT Request for Approval of A Resolution in Support of Small Construction Funds for Preliminary Engineering Services for A Secondary Access to the ASU Campus.
Mr. Ivan Dishman, District Engineer with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, (NCDOT), presented a request for the Board to approve a resolution in support of preliminary engineering services needed for consideration of a secondary access to the campus of Appalachian State University (ASU). North Carolina General Statues required that a resolution of support be obtained from the local governments in the project area when requested funds exceed $150,000.
Ms. Susan McCracken, ASU, stated that the secondary access was being considered for safety purposes as it would allow an additional ingress to and egress from campus. Homespun Hills Road would realize improvements, as well, if the access was developed. Ms. McCraken stated that the Town of Boone tabled further discussions regarding the matter until their February 17, 2012, meeting.
Mr. Dishman stated that, at this point, the preliminary engineering study would show the costs, environmental impacts, and benefits of installing the secondary access.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to adopt a resolution in support of preliminary engineering services for a potential secondary access to ASU campus through the Homespun Hills Road area to be forwarded to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Proposed Interlocal Agreement for Appalachian Regional Library
Ms. Molly Westmoreland with the Appalachian Regional Library System presented a revised Interlocal Agreement as prepared by the County Managers and Attorneys of Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes. The Governance Committee of the Appalachian Regional Library Board had recommended approval of the agreement.
County Attorney Eggers stated that the agreement included provisions that property purchased by the individual Counties would remain the property of said County. The County Attorney concluded that the agreement sufficiently covered the County in that the financial obligation of Watauga County would be limited to debt approved by Watauga County.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to approve the agreement as presented by Ms. Westmoreland.
Proposed Proclamation Designating February 2012 As Spay/Neuter Month
Ms. Lynn Northup with the Watauga Humane Society presented a proposed proclamation declaring February 2012 as “Spay/Neuter Month.”
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Vice-Chairman Gable, moved to adopt the proclamation as presented.
Presentation of Smoky Mountain Center’s Annual Audited Financial Report
Mr. Brian Ingraham, Area Director/CEO, and Ms. Lisa Slusher, CFO, with Smoky Mountain Center presented the Center’s Annual Audited Financial Statements as required by Statute. Ms. Slusher stated that Smoky Mountain was given an unqualified opinion which was a clean opinion, the highest that could be given. Ms. Slusher stated that there was one finding in regards to Federal and State rewards.
This report was given as information only; therefore, no action was required nor taken.
Request to Appoint the Home & Community Care Block Grant Advisory Committee and Lead Agency
Ms. Angie Boitnotte, Project on Aging Director, stated that each year the Board was required to appoint an advisory committee and a lead agency to make recommendations on how to best expend the County’s allocation from Home and Community Care Block Grant (H&CCBG) funds. These funds were previously established by the Older American’s Act and are administered by the North Carolina Division of Aging.
Ms. Boitnotte recommended the following for appointment to the H&CCBG Advisory Committee for Fiscal Year 2013: Mr. Tim Futrelle representing the Board of Commissioners, Ms. Anita Davie representing High Country Council of Governments, Mr. Jim Atkinson representing the Department of Social Services, Mr. Mike Birkmire representing Independent Living, Ms. Linda Bretz representing ARHCS Home Health, Mr. Murray Hawkinson representing Daymark Recovery Services, Ms. Margie Mansure representing Cooperative Extension, Ms. Christy Pruess representing Smoky Mountain Center, Ms. Pam Rush representing Appalachian District Health Department, Ms. Sara Shoemaker representing Hospice; and the following Senior Citizen representatives: Ms. Pat Coley (Senior Tar Heel Legislature (STHL) Delegate), Dr. Ed Rosenberg (STHL Alternate), Ms. Becky Council, Ms. Gail Hawkinson, Mr. Dick Oehser, Mr. Bob Parker, Dr. Milton “Bunk” Spann, and Ms. Betty Wyse.
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to appoint himself, Ms. Anita Davie, Mr. Jim Atkinson, Mr. Mike Birkmire, Ms. Linda Bretz, Mr. Murray Hawkinson, Ms. Margie Mansure, Ms. Christy Pruess, Ms. Pam Rush, Ms. Sara Shoemaker, Ms. Pat Coley, Dr. Ed Rosenberg, Ms. Becky Council, Ms. Gail Hawkinson, Mr. Dick Oehser, Mr. Bob Parker, Dr. Milton “Bunk” Spann, and Ms. Betty Wyse to the Fiscal Year 2013 Home and Community Care Block Grant Advisory Committee.
Ms. Boitnotte recommended the Watauga County Project on Aging be appointed as the Lead Agency.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to appoint the Watauga County Project on Aging as the Lead Agency for the Home and Community Care Block Grant funds for Fiscal Year 2013.
Mowing Contract Bid Award Request
Mr. Robert Marsh presented a proposed agreement with Estate Maintenance Company to extend the contract for mowing services for an additional two (2) year term at the current rate of $77,000. Estate Maintenance was awarded the contract for mowing services as the lowest bid in 2009. Mr. Marsh stated that over the past two and half years excellent service had been provided with no complaints received.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the contract extension as prepared by the County Attorney in an amount not to exceed $77,000 for an additional two (2) year period.
Planning and Inspections Matters
A. Proposed Language Access Plan for CDBG Scattered Site Housing Project
Mr. Joe Furman presented a proposed Language Access Plan which was required to satisfy the Community Investment and Assistance for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. This Plan was only applicable to the ongoing CDBG Scattered Site Housing Program and failure to adopt it could result in CDBG funds being frozen. This Plan was to expire upon close-out of the current Program; however, the need for adoption of a new plan was anticipated upon acceptance of the next CDBG funding cycle for 2013.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Deal, moved to adopt the Language Access Plan for the Community Development Block Grant Scattered Site Housing Program as presented.
B. Proposed 2012 Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning Grant Agreement
Mr. Furman presented a Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning Grant in the amount of $5,000 which required no County match. The exercise scenario was to be an accident at an ASU lab with the release of hazardous materials. The table-top exercise was proposed to be conducted on February 22, 2012 with the full scale exercise to occur on March 30, 2012.
Vice-Chairman Gable, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to accept the Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning Grant in the amount of $5,000 with no local match required as presented.
C. Brookshire Wetlands Proposal
Mr. Furman stated that Carroll and Carroll had purchased a 148 acre tract of land located on Old Highway 421 South, currently marketed for mixed use development. Blue Ridge Development Group (BRDG) was hired to review wetlands and jurisdictional streams located on the property. Should the property be developed for mixed use, significant impacts would occur to the wetlands and jurisdictional streams. Federal law required the impacts to be mitigated. One possible option being suggested was to establish a mitigation “bank” on property owned by the County located on Brookshire Road.
The option would enhance, expand, and maintain the wetlands and jurisdictional streams on the County-owned Brookshire Road property. In return for County support, BRDG was proposing to construct the greenway along the South Fork of the New River for the entire length of County-owned property. The County was under consideration for a grant to construct this greenway which required a 50% match. The County’s match would be “in-kind” in the form of staff time used constructing the greenway while the grant funds would pay for the materials. It was uncertain as to the County’s likelihood in being awarded the grant; however, accepting the BRDG proposal would allow the greenway to be constructed with the ability to leverage the grant funds if awarded. Staff did not believe the proposal for the wetlands mitigation would affect any future development at the Brookshire Complex with the exception of potentially relocating a proposed volley ball court.
The County Attorney stated that, if the wetlands were damaged by natural disaster, the County would not be required to restore them; however, the County would be responsible for restoring the Greenway. Easements would be needed for both the Federal Government and BRDG for access to the wetlands.
Vice-Chairman Gable, seconded by Commissioner Deal, moved to approve Blue Ridge Development Group’s wetlands proposal, contingent upon the County Attorney’s review and with the understanding that, if the County was awarded the grant for Greenway construction, BRDG agreed to make a decision at that point regarding their involvement in the project which would allow the County to make an informed decision regarding the acceptance of grant funds.
A. Monthly Collections Report
Tax Administrator Kelvin Byrd presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of January 2012. 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 January 2012 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Gable, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for January 2012, as presented.
Miscellaneous Administrative Matters
A. Proposed Resolution Supporting Road Improvements and Upgrades to Roby Greene Road (SR 1331B)
County Manager Geouque presented a proposed resolution in support of road improvements and upgrades to Roby Greene Road.
Vice-Chairman Gable, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to adopt the resolution as presented.
Chairman Miller directed staff to forward a copy of the resolution to the North Carolina Department of Transportation Board and staff.
B. Proposed Resolution Establishing the Register of Deeds Salary
County Manager Geouque stated that, per Statute, prior to the filing period for the upcoming elections, the Board must establish the salary for the Register of Deeds in order for filing fees to be determined. A proposed resolution was presented designating the salary as $49,663 which was the current entry level amount on the County’s pay plan.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to adopt the resolution to establish the Register of Deeds salary as presented.
C. Tentative Agenda for Annual Pre-Budget Retreat
County Manager Geouque presented a draft agenda for the Board’s retreat which was scheduled for February 24 and 25. The agenda may change prior to the retreat based on input from the Board or additional items being requested for consideration.
D. Incident Command System Classes
County Manager Geouque stated that Mr. Seth Norris had requested the Board establish a time for training regarding the Incident Command System. The training required approximately 2 hours and was for elected officials and municipal and county management. There was no cost to the County for holding the training; however, Federal funding, in the case of natural disasters, was tied to the training.
By consensus, the Board agreed to schedule the Incident Command System training on March 28, 2012, from 4:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.
E. Boards & Commissions
County Manager Geouque stated that two terms on the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority (WCTDA) were set to expire at the end of February 2012. Mr. Rob Holton, Mr. Mike Hall, Ms. Kim Rogers, and Mr. Jim Neustadt had been nominated to fill these terms.
Written ballots were distributed, completed, and given to the Clerk who tallied them and announced that Ms. Kim Rogers and Mr. Jim Neustadt received the greatest number of votes, thereby filling the two, three-year, terms on the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority.
Also, per TDA Bylaws, the TDA Chairman was due for appointment by the Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to appoint Mr. Matt Vincent as the Chairman of the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority.
County Manager Geouque announced that the NCACC was requesting the County’s federal issues of statewide importance and the review of the 2011 Congressional issues for North Carolina.
County Manager Geouque announced that the Watauga Drug Treatment Court Team invited Board members to observe an upcoming session of Drug Treatment Court. Upcoming sessions were scheduled on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, at 3:30 P.M. and Wednesday, February 29, 2012, at 3:30 P.M. in the small courtroom.
County Manager Geouque announced that the Watauga County Public Library invited the Board to a dinner on Tuesday, February 21, 2012, from 4:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. to learn about the library, economic development, technological updates, and more.
County Manager Geouque announced that the Annual Pre-Budget Retreat was scheduled for February 24 (12:00 P.M.–6:00 P.M.) & February 25, 2012, (9:00 A.M.–12:00 P.M.).
County Manager Geouque announced that the 2012 Watauga County Economic Development Summit was scheduled for Wednesday, March 7, 2012, from 1:00–5:00 P.M. at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum in Downtown Blowing Rock.
County Manager Geouque announced that a public hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, February 21, 2012, at 6:00 P.M. to allow citizen comment on the proposed Watauga County Gated Community Ordinance.
There was no public comment.
At 9:10 A.M., Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3).
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Gable, moved to resume the open meeting at 9:42 A.M.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:42 A.M.
Nathan A. Miller, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board