WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, JANUARY 21, 2003
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held, on Tuesday, January 21, 2003, a special meeting at 6:00 P.M. in the Manager’s Conference Room and a regular meeting at 7:00 P.M. in the Commissioners Meeting Room at the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: James Coffey, Chairman
Jimmy Hodges, Vice-Chairman
David Blust, Commissioner
Keith Honeycutt, Commissioner
Allen Trivette, Commissioner
Rebecca Eggers-Gryder, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Deron Geouque, Assistant County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Prior to their regularly scheduled meeting, the Board joined Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) representatives for a special meeting which included dinner and an informal update on CCC&TI’s Watauga Campus project/master plan, at 6:00 P.M. in the Manager’s Conference Room. The information was presented in further detail during the regularly scheduled meeting below.
Chairman Coffey called the regular meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Coffey called for additions and/or corrections to the January 6, 2003 regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the January 6, 2003 regular meeting and closed session minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the January 21, 2003 agenda.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to approve the January 21, 2003 agenda as presented.
WILLIAM (BILL) EDMISTEN MEMORIAL PROPOSAL
Mr. Doug Clawson, representing the Watauga County Agricultural Advisory Board, recommended establishing a memorial fund honoring Mr. Bill Edmisten. The fund would be used to further farmland preservation and would be administered by the Watauga County Agricultural Advisory Board. Mr. Clawson read a draft resolution, which would establish the requested memorial fund.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to adopt the Resolution Establishing The Bill Edmisten Memorial Farmland Preservation Fund as presented by Mr. Clawson.
CALDWELL COMMUNITY COLLEGE & TECHNICAL INSTITUTE – WATAUGA CAMPUS PROJECT/MASTER PLAN UPDATE
Dr. Ken Boham, President of Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute (CCC&TI), thanked the Board for continued support over the years and introduced Mr. John Cort who is the architect for the CCC&TI campus project. Mr. Cort reviewed the ongoing project to establish more classroom space at the Watauga campus. Mr. Cort reviewed the progress to date as well as problems encountered. The original plan, as approved by the previous Board, was to transfer capital funds in the amount of $517,125 to CCC&TI to place twelve mobile units adjacent to the existing community college building at the Watauga campus. Mr. Cort stated that the cost of this project had increased substantially, approximately $66,000 in the first phase and $20,000 in the second phase, due to requirements by the Town of Boone regarding drainage, landscaping, and lighting on site. Dr. Boham left a formal request with the County Manager regarding the funding for the modular classroom units, which will be addressed at a future Board meeting.
No action was needed at this time and none was taken.
PROPERTY ACCESS/PURCHASE REQUEST
Mr. Rad Kivette, a property owner in the Meadows subdivision, requested to purchase the property owned by the County above the new Health Department Building adjacent to his property. This property was needed to allow access to his property from the cul-de-sac in the subdivision.
Mr. Kivette offered three options. Option number one was to purchase as much land as the County would sell. Option number two was to secure a driveway easement to his property and option number three was to trade some of his property for a corresponding amount of County property.
County Manager Nelson stated that the property in question was included as collateral for the construction loan for the new Health Department building. Upon completion of the health department the County Manager stated that new financing for the building would be acquired which may or may not require the property in question as collateral. The County Manager stated that the Board could review the request further at their Annual Pre-Budget Retreat which was scheduled for February 28, 2003 and March 1, 2003.
No action was taken at this time.
WATAUGA MEDICS MATTERS
A. Continuation Request – Mr. Craig Sullivan reviewed the continued need for an additional twelve-hour, seven days a week crew that the County first funded in July of 2001. This additional crew originally cost the County $9,786 per month. Due to the Board approving higher rates and greater Medicare reimbursements that began in April of 2002, the monthly subsidy for the additional crew decreased to $6,184. The previous Board had approved the subsidy for the additional crew through December 2002 and had asked Mr. Sullivan to evaluate the increased Medicare reimbursements and to request continuation of this crew in January 2003, based on the anticipated revenue increases. Mr. Sullivan requested to continue the additional twelve-hour crew from January 2003 through March 2003 at the existing rate of $6,184. Based on his projections, Medicare revenues would increase in April 2003 allowing him to reduce the subsidy for the additional crew at that time to approximately $5,016. The total cost of the 12 month subsidy for the additional crew to Watauga County was $63,696.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the additional twelve-hour, seven days a week crew for the period beginning January 1, 2003, and ending March 31, 2003.
B. Franchise Ordinance Change Request - Mr. Craig Sullivan stated that the existing County Ambulance Franchise Ordinance required several levels and areas of coverage, which included an overall umbrella policy of $5 million. Mr. Sullivan stated that currently only two insurance companies in the United States provide such a policy for privately owned ambulance services with a maximum amount of $4 million.
County Attorney Eggers-Gryder recommended amending the Ordinance to reflect the lower $4 million umbrella coverage policy. The County manager stated that since it was a franchise ordinance, policy required a public hearing prior to any amendments and that the amendments had to be passed at two successive meetings in order to be in affect. The Manager recommended a public hearing be scheduled for February 18, 2003, at 7:00 P.M.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to set a public hearing for February 18, 2003, for public input on the proposed changes to the Ambulance Franchise Ordinance.
SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT MATTERS
A. Hospital Food Contract Request – County Manager Nelson stated that the Watauga County Sheriff’s Department had a contract with Watauga Medical Center to provide meals for County prisoners. Watauga Medical Center offered to extend the existing contract through July 1, 2003, at the current rate. The Medical Center had originally requested a 5% increase on the contract, but due to the existing budgeting constraints, agreed to the increase after July 1, 2003 which would be addressed in the FY 2004 budget process. The County Manager stated the Medical Center rate per meal was lower than if the County prepared the meals.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to approve the contract with the Watauga Medical Center for meals for prisoners through June 30, 2003.
B. Medical Care Contract Request – County Manager Nelson stated that the Sheriff’s Department currently had a contract with Dr. Jay W. Cranston, M.D., to provide medical services to prisoners and to furnish physicals for Sheriff’s Department employees. The Manager stated that Dr. Cranston had requested a $10 increase for both services; from $30 to $40 for inmate care and $35 to $45 for employee physicals.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the new medical care rates effective January 1, 2003 through June 30, 2003, as presented by the County Manager.
A. Budget Amendments – Finance Director, Doris Isaacs, presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
103586-332000 Home & Community Block Grant $5,514
105550-422000 Food & Provisions $3,693
105550-431300 Travel-Client Transportation $949
105550-469511 Health Screenings $866
105550-429200 Program Supplies $6
The amendment recognized an increase from the State in the Home and Community Block Grant funds.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103586-332004 State Senior Ctr. Funding $12,718
105550-426000 Office Supplies $620
105550-429200 Program Supplies $4,586
105550-469514 Contracted Services $2,624
105550-452000 Capital Outlay-DP $2,241
105550-469514 Contracted Services-Instructor $432
105550-432100 Telephone $108
105550-432500 Postage $397
105550-434100 Printing $360
105550-431300 Client Travel $1,350
The amendment recognized additional state funds for aging services and was approved at the November 4th Board of Commissioners meeting.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
B. Fixed Asset Policy Amendment Request – Ms. Isaacs stated that the current Watauga County Fixed Asset Policy listed assets of greater than $1,000 and tracked them for inventory control purposes. Due to changes that were required in implementing the Governmental Accounting Standards Board 34 (GASB) capital assets had to be reported for the net of accumulated depreciation. Ms. Isaacs stated that due to the complexity of this requirement the State of North Carolina had recommended a capitalization threshold of $5,000.
Ms. Isaacs stated that the County accountant, Bryce Holder, recommended that the County amend its policy to raise this limit to $5,000 for recording purposes. The County would continue to track all assets that were worth $1,000 or more.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to amend the threshold amount of the Fixed Asset Policy as presented by Ms. Isaacs.
“YEAR OF PRIDE IN WATAUGA COUNTY” DISCUSSION
The Board discussed, at length, upon Commissioner Trivette’s request, the possibilities of beginning a program to encourage the citizens of Watauga County to keep their own property clean and free of junk cars and solid waste. Several ideas were considered which included the following: finding scrap yards that would be willing to pick up junk cars for free at citizens request; having a central phone number for citizens to call to get information regarding the program; developing an award incentive for clean properties; and possibly holding a media campaign in the spring to advertise the possibility of waiving tipping fees for certain items, etc.
By consensus, the Board instructed the County Manager to begin work on such a program.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Appointment of Substitute Clerk to the Board – County Manager Nelson stated that Ms. Rene′ Barnes had been hired as the Human Resource Coordinator for Watauga County. The County Manager recommended her appointment as substitute clerk to the Board in which she would perform the required duties in the absence of the appointed clerk, Anita Fogle.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to appoint Ms. Rene′ Barnes as Substitute Clerk to the Watauga County Board of Commissioners.
B. Williamsons’ Public Water Funding Request – County Manager Nelson reported that he and Commissioner Trivette had met with Ms. Greer-Darnell. Ms. Greer-Darnell stated that she would consider allowing an easement on her property, for providing water to the Williamsons’ property, for compensation but wanted to talk with her Attorney prior to making a final decision. She requested that the County Manager meet with her again in approximately two weeks for an answer. The Manager stated that he would report back to the Board at a future meeting.
C. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that the Board of Directors for the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District was appointed by the Commissioners per their representative districts. The Manager asked Commissioner Blust if he was ready to make his appointment for District 4 or if he wished to do so at a future meeting. Commissioner Blust stated that he would make the appointment at a future meeting.
Ms. Sue Counts, Director of Watauga County Cooperative Extension Service, has requested that a member of the Board of Commissioners be appointed to the Watauga County Cooperative Extension Advisory Leadership System Board. The County Manger shared information that included the Board’s role and meeting times. Commissioner Honeycutt stated that he had considered volunteering to serve on this Board but felt that a community member who made a living through agriculture might better serve the Board. Commissioner Honeycutt requested additional time to speak with Ms. Counts to better understand the role of the Board.
The Board of Commissioners was required to annually adopt a Lead Agency and a Home and Community Care Block Grant Advisory Committee (H&CCBG) to review and make recommendations on the expenditures for the Home and Community Care Block Grant (Aging Services) that is a combination of federal and state money available to Watauga County. Ms. Angie Boitnotte reviewed at the last meeting, and the County Manager presented again, the recommendations for the committee and stated that Ms. Boitnotte recommended the High Country Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging as the Lead Agency.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to appoint the High Country Council of Governments as the Lead Agency and moved to appoint the following to the Home and Community Care Block Grant Committee: Jim Atkinson, Angie Boitnotte, Linda Bretz, Debbie Edwards, Fran Kelsey, Joyce Lowder, Margie Mansure, Judy South, Judy Vernon, Becky Councill, Joe Howser, Marian Long, Edward Harrill, and Beverly Donadio.
The County Manager stated that the following nominations were made at the last Board meeting for the Watauga County Recreation Commission:
Mr. Brian Raichle to replace Mr. Gene Swift*
Ms. Terri Reynolds to be reappointed
Mr. Denny Norris to be reappointed
*At the last meeting, it was also reported that Mr. Gene Swift wished to be reappointed.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to reappoint Mr. Gene Swift, Ms. Terri Reynolds, and Mr. Denny Norris to the Recreation Commission.
The County Manager announced that Mr. Steve Loflin had been nominated to replace Ms. Fay Binning on the Recreation Commission. This was the first reading for Mr. Loflin’s nomination and therefore action was not required until the next meeting.
The County Manager stated that Mr. Alex Jernigan, Regional Ombudsman with the High Country Council of Governments, had requested that Mr. Fred Badders be reappointed to the Watauga County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee for a three-year term.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to reappoint Mr. Fred Badders to the Watauga County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee for a three-year term.
D. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced upcoming meetings that Board members may wish to attend.
Ms. Wendy Tonker, with Wraparound Care for Families (WRAP), stated that WRAP has served children and families in Watauga County since August of 2000 following the principles and values outlined for “System of Care/Wraparound,” a nationally recognized best-practice model for working with children with significant emotional/behavioral issues and their families. Ms. Tonker stated that WRAP served 25 Watauga County at-risk and court-involved youth and their families through extensive service coordination and support. Ms. Tonker stated that the program was in the process of expanding into Ashe, Avery, and Wilkes counties and that the four counties together created the High Country Communities Together (HCCT) which is seeking funds from the Governor’s Crime Commission to support the continued development and expansion of WRAP. Ms. Tonker requested the Board write a letter of support for the expansion of WRAP to be submitted with their grant application to the Governor’s Crime Commission.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to direct the County Manager to draft a letter of support for the expansion of WRAP to be submitted with the HCCT grant application to the Governor’s Crime Commission.
Ms. Pam Williamson commented on the CCC&TI capital improvement project and read a statement to the Board regarding the draft Ordinance to Regulate High Impact Land Uses.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:28 P.M.
James Coffey, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board