WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2000
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, November 6, 2000 at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
Sue Sweeting, Vice-Chairman
James Coffey, Commissioner
Art Kohles, Commissioner
Jack Lawrence, Sr., Commissioner
Jeff Hedrick, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Libby Link, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges called the meeting to order at 9:03 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Hodges called for additions or corrections to the October 17, 2000 regular meeting minutes.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the October 17, 2000 regular meeting minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF NOVEMBER 6, 2000 AGENDA
Chairman Hodges called for additions or corrections to the November 6, 2000 agenda.
County Manager Nelson requested an item be deleted from Closed Session: Land Acquisition - G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(i).
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the November 6, 2000 agenda with the amendment as requested.
COVE CREEK PRESERVATION & DEVELOPMENT LOAN REQUEST
Mr. Jack Simpson, Cove Creek Preservation & Development Board Member, addressed the Board with a loan request to borrow $225,000 from the County’s Economic Development capital reserve fund for the HVAC installation and renovations to the old Cove Creek School. Mr. Simpson stated the renovations would enable the CCP&D to lease additional space in the building, and thus, bring new jobs to the community. In addition, CCP&D proposed to repay the County $150,000 of the loan within two years by raising $75,000 in local donations and fund raising activities to match a $75,000 Janirve grant. The remaining $75,000 of the loan would be repaid in the subsequent three-year period.
County Manager Nelson informed the Board that there was approximately $800,000 in the County’s capital reserve fund to be used for economic development purposes. The Board briefly discussed whether or not the CCP&D should be required to repay the loan. Mr. Simpson stated the CCP&D would be able to repay the loan and preferred to do so in order to remain self sufficient and relatively independent.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to loan the Cove Creek Preservation & Development $225,000 from the County’s Economic Development capital reserve fund contingent upon County Attorney Hedrick’s drafting a loan agreement.
APPALCART COST ALLOCATION REPORT
Mr. Chris Turner, AppalCART Director, addressed the Board presenting a cost allocation report for AppalCART. Mr. Turner briefly discussed the allocated revenues for fixed as well as rural routes and answered the Board’s questions. This item was for the Board’s information, and no action was taken.
WATAUGA MEDICS, INC. OWNERSHIP TRANSFER REQUEST
Mr. Craig Sullivan, Co-owner of Watauga Medics, Inc. (WMI), addressed the Board requesting approval to purchase former Co-owner, Lee Estep’s, one-half ownership of WMI. Mr. Sullivan explained that as of November 1, 2000, the joint-ownership of WMI by Lee Estep and himself had been dissolved. If approved, Mr. Sullivan would then be the sole owner and director of WMI. The County had approved an Ambulance Franchise Agreement between the County and WMI at the Board’s special meeting on November 19, 1999. The Ambulance Franchise Agreement stipulated, “any change in legal or equitable ownership of Franchisee, its corporate shares, or any of its equipment shall immediately terminate the Franchise, at the option of Watauga County.” Mr. Sullivan stated that the majority of details had been “worked out”, and the change of ownership would not cause a hardship on the business. He added a preliminary agreement had been drafted, pending the Board’s approval.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to grant permission for Watauga Medics, Inc. to proceed in finalizing the proposed paperwork to lead to the sole ownership of Watauga Medics, Inc. by Craig J. Sullivan; the transfer to remain subject to the County’s approval, and the approval to be hereafter considered by the Board on an agenda after the proposed agreement had been reviewed by County Manager Nelson and County Attorney Hedrick.
Prior to the vote, the Board asked County Attorney Hedrick for clarification of this request. Although Mr. Hedrick had not seen the preliminary agreement, he explained that the County could request details from WMI prior to approval (e.g. affidavit of ownership and control, as well as other information that would explain how changes might or might not affect the quality of service that County residents had become accustomed to). In addition, Mr. Sullivan stated no transfer of ownership had occurred to date. Several Board members voiced their concerns that the County had not reviewed the preliminary agreement.
The following vote was then made on Commissioner Lawrence’s motion:
VOTE: Aye-3 (Coffey, Hodges, Lawrence)
Nay-2 (Kohles, Sweeting)
A. 2002-2008 Draft Transportation Improvement Program – Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, addressed the Board regarding the draft Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). He stated that the County had received notification on October 25, 2000 of public comment meetings sponsored by the N.C. Department of Transportation. The hearing for the County’s division (Division 11) was scheduled for Wednesday, November 8, 2000 in Lenoir, and Mr. Furman planned to attend on behalf of the County. He briefly reviewed the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce’s TIP priorities for 2000-01. The Board reviewed the projects that were ranked by priority and discussed several changes to better prioritize the projects that were most vital. Mr. Furman stated he would amend the TIP accordingly and present it to the N.C. DOT during the public comment meeting.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to concur with the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce’s TIP priorities with the amendments as discussed and authorized Joe Furman to proceed accordingly.
Mr. Mike Wagoner, President of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce (COC), also spoke briefly noting these recommendations were made from the COC’s Transportation Committee and thanked the Board for its consideration.
B. Water and Sewer Study Proposal Request – Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, addressed the Board stating the Blue Ribbon Commission on Growth Issues had recommended the County conduct a study to determine the needs for County water and sewer. Mr. Furman solicited proposals from firms to do the study and eight (8) firms responded. Mr. Furman noted a committee comprised of himself, County Manager Nelson, Wayne Herron, Town of Boone Planning and Inspections Director, and Rick Herndon, Region D Council of Governments Planning Director, had reviewed the proposals. The committee agreed that the top two candidates were McGill Associates (MA) and Draper Aden Associates (DAA). Mr. Furman stated the Request for Proposal indicated that the maximum fee would be $30,000 which had been budgeted in the Planning & Inspections current year’s budget. MA proposed a fee of $25,850, and DAA proposed a negotiated fee based upon the final work scope, not to exceed the budgeted amount. Pursuant to N.C. General Statute 143-64.31, the best-qualified firm should be selected based on its qualifications and demonstrated competence and not based on fee. Although either firm was capable of doing the work, Mr. Furman requested the Board’s permission to negotiate a fee and to contract with DAA based on the County’s excellent relationship with DAA’s personnel.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to enter into a contract with Draper Aden Associates as requested contingent upon County Attorney Hedrick’s approval.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of October, 2000.
B. Refunds and Releases – Tax Administrator McLean presented the following Refunds and Releases for October, 2000 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report as presented.
A. Player Placement Policy – Parks & Recreation Director, Deb Wynne, requested amendments to the County’s Player Placement Policy. She felt that the amendments would create a more consistent policy for youth athletic participation due to age, gender and school grade. Youth baseball appeals could be presented to the Watauga County Little League Board of Directors. Ms. Wynne briefly discussed the Policy noting the changes were recommended by the County’s Recreation Commission. An additional recommendation was to place the following statement on all registration forms: NO exceptions could be made with regards to playing up or down in any league.
In addition, the County’s Recreation Commission recommended the County form an Athletic Sub-committee to address any athletic situations that arose in either youth and/or adult athletics. The voting members would consist of: three (3) Recreation Commission members who would be rotated alphabetically, one athletic staff member, and/or the recreation director who would also attend the meetings.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to amend the County’s Player Placement Policy and to form an Athletic Sub-committee as recommended.
B. Proposed Fee Schedule – Parks & Recreation Director, Deb Wynne, presented the following Fee Increase Proposal to become effective January 1, 2001:
Fee Increase Proposal (Effective January 1, 2001)
Program Current Fee Proposed Fee
Youth Basketball $ 25.00 $ 30.00
Youth Softball $ 16.00 $ 20.00
Youth Baseball (Coach Pitch & Under) $ 17.00 $ 20.00
Youth Baseball (Major I, II & Senior) $ 25.00 $ 30.00
Flag Football $ 20.00 $ 25.00
Mite Football New $ 45.00
Midget Football $ 40.00 $ 45.00
Jr. Tennis $ 50.00 $ 60.00
Start Smart (Change to Kindersport) $ 16.00 $ 20.00
Adult Volleyball $185.00 $200.00
Adult Baseball $325.00 $350.00
Youth Soccer $ 17.00 $ 20.00
Program Current Fee Proposed Fee
Summer School Weekly Rate (1/2 Day) $ 30.00 $ 40.00
Summer Parks Day Camp (10 Hrs./Day-6 Weeks) $ 40.00 $ 50.00
Summer Adventure Day Camp (6 Weeks) $ 50.00 (6 Hrs.) $ 65.00 (10 Hrs.)
Special Week Long Holiday Camps $ 50.00 (8 Hrs.) $ 55.00 (8 Hrs.)
Watauga Opportunities Workshop $ 2.00 $ 4.00
Holiday Tea Party $ 7.50 $ 8.00
1 Year 6 Months 3 Months 1 Month
Family $205.00 (+$10) $130.00 (+$10) $100.00 (+$10) $40.00 (Same)
Adult $155.00 (+$10) $105.00 (+$10) $ 80.00 (+$10) $35.00 (Same)
Youth $100.00 (+$5) $ 80.00 (Same) $ 60.00 (Same) $30.00 (Same)
Senior $100.00 (+$5) $ 80.00 (+$10) $ 60.00 (+$5) $30.00 (Same)
Watauga Swim Team – Additional Hourly Pool Fee - $20.00 (New Fee)
Daily Family Public Swim Fee - $10.00 (New Fee)
Ms. Wynne explained that these proposed rate increases were due to higher expenses for supplies (a 3-5% increase each year) and the salaries required to pay part-time employees. She added the last increase in fees had occurred in January, 1998. In addition, Ms. Wynne stated the County’s Recreation Commission had reviewed all the rates and requested the Board’s approval.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the Proposed Fee Schedule to be effective January 1, 2001.
A. Courthouse Re-roof Proposal – Maintenance Supervisor, Robert Marsh, noted the following bids had been received in order to re-roof the Courthouse:
Long Brothers Roofing $43,316
Carolina Roofing Services $59,230
Mr. Marsh recommended the Board approve the low bid submitted by Long Brothers Roofing stating the work could begin soon after receipt of the contract.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the Long Brothers Roofing bid in the amount of $43,316 contingent upon County Attorney Hedrick’s completion of the contract.
B. Courthouse Window Replacement Proposal – Maintenance Supervisor, Robert Marsh, stated the following bids had been received to replace the windows in the 1966 portion of the Courthouse:
Caldwell Glass Company $27,380
Keller Glass Company $27,570
Johnson City, TN
Mr. Marsh recommended the Board approve the low bid submitted by Caldwell Glass Company and noted the window replacements could begin early in the Spring, 2001.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the Caldwell Glass Company bid in the amount of $27,380 contingent upon County Attorney Hedrick’s completion of the contract.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week Resolution – Ms. Georgia Ayscue, a member of the Watauga Animal Guardian Society, presented a resolution designating November 5-11, 2000 as National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week in Watauga County. Ms. Ayscue voiced her support for the work performed by the staff at the County’s Animal Control Department and requested the Board’s approval.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week Resolution.
RESOLUTION BOOK #10, PAGE #44
B. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson noted that Lori Dean had resigned her position on the Boone Board of Adjustment. The County had been notified by the Town of Boone that the Boone Town Council had voted unanimously to nominate Rick Foster to fill Ms. Dean’s unexpired term (term expired June, 2001). In addition, Mr. Foster currently served as an alternate member (term expired June, 2002), and the Boone Town Council requested Karen Byerly’s appointment to fill Mr. Foster’s unexpired term.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to approve the Town of Boone’s recommendations.
County Manager Nelson stated the following names had been submitted to serve on the Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Advisory Board: V. A. Ward, Steve Stanley, Johnny Moretz, Doug Clawson and Bobby Sherrill.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to appoint V. A. Ward, Steve Stanley, Johnny Moretz, Doug Clawson and Bobby Sherrill to the Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Advisory Board.
County Manager Nelson noted that Gene Swift’s term expired in November, 2000 on the Watauga County Board of Adjustment. He added that Mr. Swift was willing to continue to serve.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to re-appoint Gene Swift to the Watauga County Board of Adjustment for a three-year term.
C. Future Appointments – County Manager Nelson stated appointments needed to be made in December, 2000 on the following Boards: Board of Directors Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District, Watauga County Parks & Recreation Commission, Watauga County Planning Board, and the Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees.
The future appointments were for the Board’s information, and no action was taken.
D. Announcements – County Manager Nelson informed the Board that a workshop regarding water quality in the Watauga County River Basin would be conducted on November 16, 2000 at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center from 6:00-9:00 P.M.
Mr. Nelson reminded the Board that its next regular meeting scheduled for November 21, 2000 would be held in the Valle Crucis Elementary School cafeteria located at 2998 Broadstone Road, Sugar Grove beginning at 7:00 P.M.
In addition, the County’s holiday luncheon would be held on Thursday, December 14, 2000 at the Dan’l Boone Inn from 12:00-2:00 P.M., and the Commissioners were invited to attend.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to enter Closed Session at 10:23 A.M. to discuss: Personnel Matters, G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6).
Following a brief recess, the Board entered Closed Session at 10:30 A.M.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:38 A.M.
Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
Elizabeth H. Link, Clerk to the Board