WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, MAY 6, 2002
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, May 6, 2002 at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
James Coffey, Vice-Chairman
Jack Lawrence, Sr., Commissioner
Sue Sweeting, Commissioner
Pat Wilkie, Commissioner
Jeff Hedrick, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Hodges called for additions or corrections to the March 19, 2002 closed session minutes and the April 16, 2002 regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Commissioner Sweeting pointed out a typo in the minutes under Rules for Speakers During Public Comment Opportunity: It should state … Commissioners hereby establishes… in place of … Commissioners herby establishes.
Commissioner Sweeting also requested that under Hiring/Freeze Report/Discussion the names of the four departments being affected by the Hiring Freeze be stated in the minutes.
Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to approve the April 16, 2002 regular meeting minutes as amended and the March 19, 2002 closed session and April 16, 2002 closed session minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
County Manager Nelson requested to add to the agenda under closed session Personnel Matters G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6) and also to add between agenda items 9 and 10 a draft proclamation from the Chamber of Commerce proclaiming the week of May 12 through 18 as Small Business Week in Watauga County.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to approve the May 6, 2002 agenda as amended.
RECREATION TASK FORCE REQUEST
Dr. Bill Horn, representing the Recreation Task Force, discussed requests for the planning of a new aquatic facility and recreation center. Dr. Horn requested that a member of the Board of County Commissioners work with the Recreation Task Force to form a time line for the establishment of a new aquatic facility and to be expanded to a larger recreation facility. Dr. Horn requested the Board to approach the Boone Town Council and request shared ownership of the facility(ies).
County Manager Nelson stated that per direction received by the Board at the Pre-Budget Retreat, he had included $250,000 in the recommended Capital Improvement Program for complex pool repair or future funding.
After discussion, the Board asked the Recreation Task Force to approach the Boone Town Council to determine interest in jointly working on this project and to report back to the Board of Commissioners at a future date.
COVE CREEK PRESERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT REQUEST
Mr. Jerry Adams and Dr. Paul Combs reviewed a proposed alternative repayment schedule to the County issued $225,000 loan to the Cove Creek Preservation and Development Organization (CCP&D).
The original loan of $225,000 was scheduled for repayment without interest as follows: June 1, 2002 repayment of $150,000 due and June 1, 2003, 2004, and 2005 loan repayments of $25,000 due for a total repayment of $225,000.
CCP&D offered to repay $50,000 in June 2002. They also had an additional $25,000 and proposed to use in repointing the rock around the roof area and the upper level windows. They also requested to reduce subsequent years payments as follows: $12,500 for the next three years and then $25,000 per year payment until the total amount was repaid.
They also proposed in turn for the relaxed repayment schedule to use existing second-floor space as an economic development business incubator. Dr. Combs stated that Appalachian Regional Development Institute (ARDI) was working with CCP&D on the incubator project and did not require any monies from CCP&D upfront but in turn planned to divide the rent from the businesses who occupied the incubator space.
Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to require CCP&D to repay $50,000 in June of 2002 and to return before the Board before June 2003 to readdress the issue.
Dr. Combs asked if the Board would be willing to reduce the June 2002 payment to $40,000 or $45,000 in order for high-speed Internet access equipment to be installed.
After discussion the following vote was taken on Commissioner Sweeting’s motion:
SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT REPORT
Ms. Carol Turner of the Watauga County Soil and Water Conservation District discussed information regarding current contracts for improvements and assistance in Watauga County. Ms. Turner stated that in order to assist the two people whose contracts were about to expire, the Watauga Soil and Water Conservation District requested assistance from their acting NRCS District Conservationist. If it was still impossible to finish by the deadline, the North Carolina Soil and Water Conservation Commission would hear appeals for extension of contracts. If this was necessary, a Supervisor from the Watauga District would have to appear before the Commission in Raleigh at their May meeting. Ms. Turner stated that they were willing to do that.
This report was for information only and therefore no Board action was required and none was taken.
911 WORKSTATION PROPOSAL
Mr. Joe Furman reviewed the need for new workstations for the Communication Center in the Sheriff’s Department. Mr. Furman received proposals from two companies who could supply the high quality workstations that were required for the Center. Mr. Furman recommended that the County accept the bid of $20,073 from Watson Dispatch, which was equal to the price awarded by Gilford County in a formal bid process. Mr. Furman stated that funds were available from existing 911 surcharge reserve funds.
Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to accept the bid from Watson Dispatch in the amount of $20,073.
STUDY COMMITTEE ON ZONING REPORT
Mr. Geoffrey Willet, Co-Facilitator of the Zoning Study Committee, reviewed the recommendations from the Zoning Study Committee. Mr. Willet was very complementary of his Co-Facilitator, Mr. Council Main and the Zoning Study Committee members for the hard work each provided to reach their goal of a compromise. Mr. Willet also mentioned County Manager Nelson, County Attorney Hedrick, Planning and Inspections (P&I) Director, Mr. Joe Furman, and P&I staff Mr. Brent Graybeal and Ms. Jennifer Storie.
Commissioner Wilkie, seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to forward the Zoning Study Committee’s recommendations to the Planning Board for use in developing a draft ordinance for consideration.
A. Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Kelvin Byrd, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of April 2002.
B. Refunds & Releases – Tax Administrator Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for April 2002 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report as presented.
C. Business Personal Property Audit Proposal – Mr. Byrd reviewed a proposal from Mr. Jim Turner with Turner Business Appraisers, Inc., to conduct an additional 300 business personal property audits during the upcoming fiscal year. This was a continuation of the process that was begun by Mr. Turner’s firm in auditing the 300 largest businesses in Watauga County. Staff has negotiated a change in the new contract. The new contract is for 27 ½ % of County taxes discovered due only after collection. This was an improvement over the previous contract in that fees were paid as the discoveries were made and bills were created. The new payment after collection improved the County’s cash flow in the business personal property audit process.
Vice-Chairman Coffey, seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the contract with Mr. Turner contingent upon the County Attorney’s approval.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Public School Building Capital Fund Application Request – County Manager Nelson stated that the Watauga County School Board requested approval to apply for a $397,096 from the North Carolina Public School Building Capital Fund. The purpose of the request was to partially fund the roof replacement for Hardin Park School. The matching funds required were proposed to be credited from the local school bond that was passed several years ago that expended over $2,000,000 at the Hardin Park School.
The County Manager stated that the School Board will concurrently request to allocate $202,904 from the North Carolina Public School State Building Bond Fund for the balance of the project that is projected to cost $600,000 and to begin in June of 2002.
Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to approve the request of the Watauga County Board of Education to make application to the North Carolina Public School Building Capital Fund for the projects and amounts as presented.
B. AppalCART Contracts – County Manager Nelson presented two contracts for transportation services from AppalCART to the Project on Aging and to the Parks and Recreation Department. The Project on Aging contract contained a 5% per hour increase from FY 2002 and the Parks and Recreation contract includes a 5% mileage increase as well as a 10% hourly increase for the proposed contract.
After discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to table discussion until the May 21, 2002 or June 3, 2002 Board meeting.
C. Landfill Monitoring Report – County Manager Nelson reviewed the most recently conducted groundwater and surface water assessment for the closed Landfill as conducted by Draper Aden, Associates. The County Manager stated that the size and the concentrations of the spill continues to diminish.
Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to forward the Monitoring Assessment Report to the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
D. Recommended FY 2003 Capital Improvement Plan – County Manager Nelson reviewed his recommended FY 2003 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The County Manger stated that the CIP could change at the direction of the Board and would be discussed during the Budget Work Sessions scheduled in May.
The CIP was offered for information and review only. No action was required and none was taken.
E. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that as mentioned in the Memorandum of Understanding for the High Country Rural Transportation Planning Organization two committees would be formed. The Rural Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC), which would be the policy board and consist of elected officials and the Rural Transportation Coordinating Committee (RTCC) which would develop recommendations to the RTAC and would consist of administrative, planning and technical personnel. The County Manager stated that Watauga County was requested to appoint an elected official to the RTAC for a one-year appointment. The RTCC would consist of Town and County Managers/Administrators or their designees and therefore did not require appointment by the Board.
The County Manager stated that Rick Herndon, Planning and Development Director at Region D Council of Governments, requested the annual appointments to the Region D Development Corporation. The Board may reappointment the current members (Carl Roten, Carroll Garland, Bill Williamson, Jr., and Patricia Wilkie) or appoint of new members.
This was the first reading of the above recommendations and therefore no action was required until the next Board meeting.
F. Announcements – County Manager Nelson stated that Budget Work Sessions were scheduled for May 29, 2002 and May 30, 2002 and stated that the Board could request departments and agencies to appear to clarify their requests. The County Manager stated that he would schedule a meeting time with the School Board during one of the sessions if desired. The Board decided to wait until the proposed budget was reviewed before scheduling appointments.
County Manager Nelson stated that as previously directed by the Board, a Public Hearing for comment on the Manager’s recommended Budget was scheduled for June 3, 2002 at 9:00 A.M.
The County Manager stated that the DSS Attorney resigned effective the middle of May. The interview/hiring process for replacement was ongoing in that there were numerous Court cases involving children and other clients that required representation due to health and safety issues. The County Manger brought this to the Board’s attention due to the current hiring freeze in effect.
The County Manager stated that the Chamber of Commerce had invited the Board to join in honoring Law Enforcement on May 9, 2002 at 8:00 A.M. with a breakfast at the Daniel Boone Inn.
The County Manager stated that a Legislative Briefing Luncheon was scheduled in Raleigh for Wednesday, May 29, 2002.
At 10:20 A.M., Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Land Acquisition, per G.S. 143-318-11(a)(5)(i), Personnel Matters, per G.S. 143-318-11(a)(6), and Attorney/Client Matters, per G.S. 143-318-11(a)(3).
Commissioner Wilkie, seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to resume the open meeting at 11:00 A.M.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:00 A.M.
Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board