WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 1999
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 22, 1999 at 7:00 P.M. in the Blowing Rock Town Hall Council Chambers.
PRESENT: Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
Sue Sweeting, Vice-Chairman
James Coffey, Commissioner
Art Kohles, Commissioner
Jack Lawrence, Sr., Commissioner
Jeff Hedrick, County Attorney
Barry J. Reed, County Manager
Libby Link, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges called the meeting to order at 7:03 P.M. He stated this was the Board’s first meeting held in the community which hopefully would give citizens a good idea of how the County operated. Chairman Hodges added the Board was there to serve County residents and, on behalf of the Board, welcomed everyone in attendance
A moment of silence was observed.
Chairman Hodges called for additions or corrections to the June 7, 1999 regular and closed session minutes and the June 14, 1999 special meeting minutes.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the June 7, 1999 regular and closed session minutes as presented.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the June 14, 1999 special meeting minutes as presented.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to approve the agenda for the June 22, 1999 regular meeting as presented.
County Manager Reed stated that at the Board’s last regular meeting (June 7, 1999) the Board asked that this item be discussed at this meeting and since then, the April, 1999 and May, 1999 reports had been received. These reports had been provided for the Board’s review. Mr. Reed added that Watauga EMS Director, Tim Wilson, was present to answer the Board’s questions. Mr. Wilson introduced paramedics, Mark Cline, Robert Guy and Craig Sullivan who in Mr. Wilson’s opinion were the best paramedics in North Carolina. Mr. Wilson also introduced his attorney, Douglas Greene. Mr. Wilson stated he was very proud of the service that was provided to residents throughout the County. He added that high marks had been received from Watauga EMS’ insurance company, as well as, other agencies in North Carolina. Mr. Wilson apologized for not getting the reports to the Board earlier stating he thought they were not due until June 15, 1999. He added that the former County Manager, Jim Ratchford, periodically requested reports and when requested, Mr. Wilson had complied.
The Board questioned Mr. Wilson about Watauga EMS’ fees and the average costs for ambulance services throughout the State. Mr. Wilson stated he did accept Medicare assignment and since 3/98 accepted Medicaid assignment. He briefly reviewed Watauga EMS’ business operations (the number of ambulances owned (currently five), that they were Y2K compliant, and that their response time was second to none).
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to table further discussion on the ambulance service until the study that the Board had requested from the State (at the Board’s April 12, 1999 meeting) was received.
Prior to the vote, Commissioner Kohles and Vice-Chairman Sweeting voiced their concerns that the County’s Ambulance Franchise Ordinance indicated that Mr. Wilson was to provide accounts receivable to the County Manager which had not been provided. Mr. Wilson noted that Vice-Chairman Sweeting had visited his office on June 18, 1999 to review his accounts receivable on the computer. However, Vice-Chairman Sweeting stated that getting the information was cumbersome. Vice-Chairman Sweeting added she would like to get the accounts receivable each month. Discussion occurred regarding how the accounts receivable could be provided in a easy to read format, however, Mr. Wilson explained that the accounts receivable contained confidential information and that he was not comfortable providing this information on paper. The following vote was then made on Commissioner Lawrence’s motion.
VOTE: Aye-3 (Coffey, Hodges, Lawrence)
Nay-2 (Kohles, Sweeting)
County Manager Reed stated that several months ago the Board had requested Mr. Reed to work with the Town Manager and the High Country Recreation Task Force (HCRTF) on an RFP for preliminary architectural services on an indoor recreation facility. (This discussion occurred at the Board’s February 16, 1999 regular meeting). The following responses were received:
HSMM $53,000 ($25,200 credit if they do the full design)
Lee Architectural $35,365
RDM $25,000 (plus expenses)
Mr. Reed introduced a member of the HCRTF, Dr. Bill Horne, who addressed the Board regarding the funding for this project. Dr. Horne stated Mr. Reed had done a good job drafting an RFP based on discussions with individuals on the HCRTF. He added the HCRTF was requesting $25,000 from the County and $10,000 from the Town of Boone to proceed with this project. Although the Lowes building in the Town of Boone was being considered for a possible new recreational facility, other property sites had been discussed.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to designate $25,000 for architectural services on an indoor recreation facility in good faith that the Town of Boone would designate $10,000 for this project.
Prior to the vote, brief discussion occurred regarding funding for the project. County Manager Reed stated this project would layout what a facility might look like and what would be included in the facility. The following vote was made on Vice-Chairman Sweeting’s motion.
Finance Director, Doris Isaacs, requested permission to remove some items from the fixed asset record. This request was initiated by the County’s auditor, Holder, Copeland & Associates. The items to be deleted from the record were:
1) Assets that were more than twenty (20) years old with an acquisition date prior to June 30, 1980, excluding land and buildings.
Justification: These assets had outlived their usefulness and no longer had a monetary value that justified classification.
2) Assets that were recorded on the fixed asset system at a $0 value regardless of acquisition date, excluding land and buildings.
Justification: These assets that were on the record at $0 were established per a physical inventory taken in the mid-1980s. A monetary value could not be established because the acquisition dates of most of the items were unknown.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve this request.
Finance Director, Doris Isaacs, presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
213612-384000 Donations-New River L & P 2,548
219930-461200 Recreation Complex 2,548
To recognize utility rebate earmarked for recreation purposes.
Account # Description Debit Credit
223594-333000 State of N.C. School Bond Proceeds 1,310,720
225912-463000 Project Allotment 1,310,720
To recognize State of N.C. School Bond Proceeds as grant-in-aid to Watauga County. These funds were drawn down by the local school administration but must be reflected on the County’s general ledger. Funds recognized were the unspent portion of approved projects. Currently, there was an additional $849,723 that was not obligated to a project per the last statement received from the State.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
Data Processing Director, Glenda Duncan, and Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, requested the Board approve the purchase of updated software for the Tax Department. Mr. McLean stated he had reviewed the contract with County Attorney Hedrick. In addition, the funding for this purchase had been budgeted for the next fiscal year. Mr. McLean stated the software included good features which would improve the efficiency in the Tax Department.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the purchase of the updated software as requested.
Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, stated the Planning Board had approved a final subdivision plat for Heavenly Mountain Resort, Inc. for an additional 15 condominiums. The subdivision performance guarantee was a certificate of deposit in the name of the County. Mr. Furman requested Board approval.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve this subdivision performance guarantee for Heavenly Mountain Resort, Inc.
Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, discussed possible conflicts which could arise with emergency services due to several duplicate road names (approximately 20) throughout the County. He stated that the majority of people concerned chose not to change the road names. On April 28, 1999, Mr. Furman met with the fire commission to discuss this issue. He added he would like to dispel a rumor that an individual had suffered a heart attack but was unable to be located. Mr. Furman stated this had not occurred. Chief Terry Combs, Cove Creek Volunteer Fire Department, stated there was one road in the Cove Creek area with a duplicate name. However, there were no duplicate names being issued currently. Following discussion, Vice-Chairman Sweeting asked Mr. Furman to discuss this matter with the volunteer fire department chiefs and report back to the Board in three months for further review.
Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, stated the County’s current lease (effective July 1, 1998 through July 1, 1999) with Appalachian State University for rental of space on a tower located on Rich Mountain needed to be renewed for another year. Mr. Furman noted there would be no changes from the current lease and requested Board approval.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to renew the County’s lease with Appalachian State University for an additional year.
County Manager Reed stated a letter had been received from Governor Hunt requesting that each county participate in the Clean NC 2000 initiative. In addition, a resolution was presented for Board adoption.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the Clean NC 2000 resolution.
RESOLUTION BOOK #9, PAGE #63
County Manager Reed stated the Board needed to appoint a Commissioner as the County’s voting delegate for the upcoming NACo Annual Conference being held July 16-20, 1999. (Appointing a delegate would ensure the County could participate in the association’s annual election of officers and policy adoption for this year’s American County Platform). Commissioner Coffey stated that traditionally the Chairman was appointed as the voting delegate. It was noted that Chairman Hodges, Commissioner Coffey and County Manager Reed planned to attend the Conference.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to designate Chairman Hodges as the voting delegate for the 1999 NACo Annual Conference and named Commissioner Coffey as the first alternate and County Manager Reed as the second alternate.
County Manager Reed presented the Fiscal Year 1999/2000 Budget Ordinance for adoption. Mr. Reed stated the Ordinance included the Board’s recommendations discussed during the June 7, 1999 budget work session and special meeting held on June 14, 1999.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the Fiscal Year 1999/2000 Budget Ordinance as presented.
ORDINANCE BOOK #9, PAGE #109
County Manager Reed noted that Ted S. Hagaman’s term expired in June, 1999 on the Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee, and Mr. Hagaman had agreed to continue to serve. However, Mr. Hagaman preferred to be re-appointed for a one-year term instead of the Committee’s typical three-year term.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to re-appoint Ted S. Hagaman to the Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee for a one-year term.
County Manager Reed had distributed several miscellaneous administrative items for the Board’s Information (a letter from the N.C. Office of Emergency Medical Services regarding the study the Board had requested on the County’s ambulance service, fire commission minutes, and a letter from the N.C. Division of Social Services which included the Children’s Services biennial review report). None of these items required Board action.
This concluded the Board’s business, and Chairman Hodges declared a 5 minute recess at 8:30 P.M.
The meeting resumed at 8:41 P.M.
The following County Department Heads introduced themselves:
Sheriff James C. "Red" Lyons
Sue Counts, Cooperative Extension Director
Robert Marsh, Maintenance Director
Jim Harmon, Veterans Service Officer/Safety Director
Rocky Nelson, Project on Aging Director
Doris Isaacs, Finance Director
Bob Frye, Assistant County Manager/OSD
Glenda Duncan, Data Processing Director
Larry McLean, Tax Administrator
Joe Furman, Planning & Inspections Director
Deb Wynne, Parks & Recreation Director
The following citizens addressed the Board:
Cathy Fallows, Stella Anderson, David Ragsdale, Glenn Hubbard, Lawrence Caples, Rachel Hartley, Pat Gray, Ken Barnebey, Candy Winebarger, Pam Williamson, Bill Williamson and Mark Latendresse. They each voiced their concerns regarding the County’s ambulance service. Their concerns included delays in the response time to the Blowing Rock area and the need for a satellite station for Blowing Rock residents, that Watauga EMS Director, Tim Wilson, should provide accounts receivable as requested, that an audit should be performed presently rather than waiting for the study requested from the State, and that according to the Ambulance Franchise Ordinance (Section 11) they felt that Mr. Wilson was not providing all the information that was specified in the Ordinance.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:18 P.M.
Elizabeth H. Link
Clerk to the Board
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
CONSIDERATION OF APPOINTMENT
FISCAL YEAR 2000 BUDGET ADOPTION
VOTING DELEGATES FOR NACO ANNUAL CONFERENCE
CLEAN NC 2000 RESOLUTION
LEASE FOR TOWER SPACE WITH ASU
DUPLICATE ROAD NAMES
SUBDIVISION PERFORMANCE GUARANTEE
TAX OFFICE UPDATED SOFTWARE PURCHASE
FIXED ASSET INVENTORY
RECREATION FACILITY FUNDING
AMBULANCE SERVICE ISSUES AND INFORMATION
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
APPROVAL OF MINUTES