WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2003
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, June 2, 2003, at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of 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
Chairman Coffey called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Coffey called for additions and/or corrections to the May 14, 2003, special meeting minutes, May 20, 2003 regular and closed session minutes and the May 27, 2003, special meeting minutes.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the May 14, 2003, special meeting minutes, May 20, 2003 regular and closed session minutes and the May 27, 2003, special meeting minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the June 2, 2003, agenda.
County Manager Nelson stated that the Closed Session was no longer needed, as there were no updates on the Attorney/Client matter that was scheduled to be discussed. The County Manager requested to add under Miscellaneous Administrative Matters a discussion on House Bill 1042.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the June 2, 2003, agenda as amended.
CALDWELL COUNTY REQUEST FOR A RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT FOR RECLASSIFICATION OF THE YADKIN RIVER WATERSHED
Caldwell County Manager, Mr. Bobby White, introduced Mr. Dwight Minton, Director of Public Utilities and Mr. Bill Stone, resident of Caldwell County and Volunteer Representative from Caldwell County who reviewed the requested resolution. Mr. Stone stated that Caldwell County planned to construct a drinking water system including a reservoir in the northern part of Caldwell County on a tributary of the Yadkin River. They were petitioning the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission to reclassify the Yadkin River and it’s tributaries in Caldwell and Watauga counties. This area was currently classified as “C-Trout” for fish propagation. The requested reclassification was for “WS-II” (Watershed II). This classification would restrict development to one dwelling per acre or 12% built upon area. Mr. Stone stated that water could be sold to Blowing Rock and Watauga County should the County ever develop a water system. The State Environmental Management Commission could have reclassified this area with or without the requested endorsement from Watauga County, however Caldwell County requested the Board to adopt a resolution of support for the reclassification.
By consensus, the Board agreed to hold a public hearing on June 17, 2003 to allow public comment on the proposed reclassification prior to action on the request.
FY 2004 HOME AND COMMUNITY CARE BLOCK GRANT REQUEST
Ms. Barbara Barghothi, High Country Area Agency on Aging Director, reviewed the proposed Home and Community Care Block Grant allocations for aging services for Fiscal Year 2004. Ms. Barghothi stated that Watauga County was to receive $232,600, which required a $25,467 local match. Ms. Barghothi stated the funds for the Project on Aging provided congregate and home delivered meals, in-home aide services, transportation, health screenings, medication management and caregiver support services.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to approve the Home and Community Care Block Grant request as presented.
APPEAL OF PLANNING BOARD APPROVAL OF THE LONG RIDGE MOBILE HOME PARK
Mr. Jerald Jarvi had filed an appeal, as specified in the Watauga County Manufactured Home Parks Ordinance, regarding the Planning Board’s decision in approving the Long Ridge Mobile Home Park. Mr. Jarvi, a citizen who resided near the proposed Long Ridge Mobile Home Park, requested that Mr. Gary Lundstrom be permitted to speak on behalf of the citizens who had signed the letter of appeal pertaining to the Planning Board’s approval of the Long Ridge mobile home park. Mr. Lundstrom asked if the meeting was being recorded, if others could speak, and if it was an evidentiary hearing. Mr. Lundstrom was told that Charter Communications was recording the meeting but that he was welcome to do so as well. Mr. Jarvi was on the agenda scheduled to speak, however, the Board allowed Mr. Lundstrom to speak on his behalf. The County Attorney stated that the issue was not being discussed as an evidentiary hearing, but as a review of the decision of the Planning Board per the Ordinance.
Mr. Lundstrom stated that initially twenty-one citizens, who owned land near the proposed Long Ridge Mobile Home Park, had signed the appeal, which stated their opposition to the proposed park due to environmental issues. (He stated a total of thirty-five citizens had now signed.) Mr. Lundstrom requested the Board of Commissioners ask the Planning Board to hold a public hearing and that construction be halted until the issue was resolved. Mr. Lundstrom stated that the primary concern of the group was the potential environmental damage that was to be caused by the proposed septic systems.
Mr. Ric Mattar, Watauga County Planning Board Chairman, stated that the policy of the Planning Board allowed for comments at their meetings from interested parties. The Planning Board did not hold a public hearing. In this matter, Mr. Mattar stated that the Planning Board had allowed comments from citizens. Mr. Mattar stated that proper procedure had been followed and that the Planning Board approved the mobile home park in compliance with the requirements of the Ordinance.
Mr. Lawrence Caviness, Environmental Health Supervisor with Appalachian District Health Department, said that a state soil consultant and a local soil consultant went to the property and talked with Mr. Garlock regarding the property. Each individual home will have it’s own septic system. Even though thirty preliminary lots were identified, each lot will be evaluated for the suitability for the installation of a septic system. Mr. Caviness stated that all work and permits approved would have to meet State Regulations. Of the thirty proposed, only the lots meeting state standards would be permitted.
After discussion and review of all material (agenda item six) in the Board packet, Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to affirm the Planning Board decision.
ADOPTION OF THE FISCAL YEAR 2004 BUDGET ORDINANCE
County Manager Nelson reviewed the changes that were made to the recommended Fiscal Year 2003/2004 Budget as a result of the budget work sessions.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to adopt the Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Ordinance as presented.
ORDINANCE BOOK # 11 PAGE # 64
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Kelvin Byrd, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of May 2003.
B. Releases and Refunds – Tax Administrator Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for May 2003 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for May 2003 as presented.
Finance Director Doris Isaacs presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
213991-399101 Approp. Fund Bal.-New $89,990
219930-443200 Jail Project $250,000
219800-498010 Transfer to General Fund $339,990
103980-398121 Transfer from Capital Reserve $339,990
104199-469103 Prof. Services-Architect $339,990
The amendment transferred funds from the Capital Reserve Fund to the General Fund for architectural fees for the new Law Enforcement Center.
Account # Description Debit Credit
104320-412100 Salaries-Regular $5,634
104320-418100 Social Security Expense $451
104320-418200 Retirement Expense $282
104320-418300 Insurance Expense $750
104320-418600 Worker’s Comp Expense $141
104320-418900 Deferred Comp Expense $169
104320-418901 Other Fringe/$30/month $83
103991-399101 Fund Bal. Approp.-New $7,510
The amendment appropriated funds for the new Jailer I position approved by the Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
BROOKSHIRE ROAD PARK REPORT
Assistant County Manager Geouque updated the Board on the progress to date on the Brookshire Road Park project. The Assistant County Manager stated that it was the County’s understanding that the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) planned to request a twenty-five foot right of way in order to pave Brookshire Road. The current park plans incorporated a fifteen foot right of way. No Board action is required at this time, as NCDOT was to be presenting a formal request in the near future.
The Assistant County Manager presented a draft letter to be sent to the Town of Boone which requested tap on and impact fees for water and sewer be waived to the park and to request that the Town allocate the $45,000 landfill settlement funds for Fiscal Year 2004 to the development of the park.
Commissioner Trivette, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the draft letter to the Town of Boone as presented by the Assistant County Manager.
DISCUSSION OF AVERY COUNTY PROPOSAL FOR EMS SERVICE TO BEECH MOUNTAIN
County Manager Nelson reviewed an offer from Avery County to continue providing EMS services to the Watauga section of the Beech Mountain area. For approximately 10 years an informal arrangement, in which no money was exchanged, existed by which Watauga County served the Avery side of Seven Devils and the backside of Beech Mountain in the Flat Springs area and in return Avery County provided services to the Watauga side of Beech Mountain. Avery County’s offer was for Watauga County to pay $150,000 per year for Avery to continue servicing the Watauga County portion of Beech Mountain and to begin servicing the Avery portion of Seven Devils and the backside of Beech Mountain in the Flat Springs area.
Dr. Murray Miller, Chair of Mountain Ambulance and Health Care Foundation, stated that a current contract between Avery County and the Foundation in which charitable donations were to be used to fund a base in the Banner Elk area providing services to Beech Mountain. Avery County had previously stated that they felt that this was a separate issue.
Mr. Craig Sullivan, Watauga Medics, Inc., reviewed options regarding Watauga County servicing it’s own area of Beech Mountain.
After discussion, Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to continue dialog with Avery County by offering to: continue the cooperative arrangement for each county to serve a portion of the other and to pay Avery County a $500 per transport subsidy to the number of transports provided greater than the number of transports provided by Watauga County.
[Clerk’s Note: In the last full year of measurable data, Avery County provided approximately 100 transports to Watauga County and Watauga provided approximately 40 to Avery. Using this data as an example Watauga would have paid for an annual total of $30,000.]
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. AppalCART Contracts – County Manager Nelson presented two contracts for transportation services from AppalCART for the Project on Aging and the Parks and Recreation Department. The contracts contained a .50¢ per hour increase from the FY 2003 rate. The second part of the contract was a per mile charge which remained at the existing rate of .58¢ per mile for the Project on Aging and .63¢ per mile for the Parks and Recreation Department. The difference in charges was due to the larger buses required by the Parks and Recreation Department.
The Board requested that Mr. Chris Turner, AppalCART Director, be present at the June 17, 2003, Board meeting for discussion before action was taken on this matter.
B. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that the Rural Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC), which was the policy board of the High Country Rural Transportation Planning Organization, consisted of one elected county official from each of the seven counties, one elected municipal official from each of the seven counties, one elected official from the Town of Boone, one member of the High Country Council of Governments Executive Board, and one member of the NC Board of Transportation. James Coffey was the current Watauga County member.
By consensus, the Board appointed Chairman Coffey to serve on the Rural Transportation Advisory Committee.
The Manager announced the recommendations from Mr. Alex Jernigan, Regional Ombudsman, to reappoint Ms. Evelina Idol to the Watauga County Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee and to reappoint Mr. Ted Hagaman to the Watauga County Long Term Care Joint Community Advisory Committee was presented.
This was the first reading of the above recommendations and therefore no action was required until the next meeting.
C. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced upcoming meetings and events.
D. Discussion of House Bill 1042 – County Manager Nelson presented the proposed House Bill 1042 which would require counties to pay holders of permits considerable amounts of money in situations where permits were revoked.
The Board agreed to write letters in opposition to House Bill 1042 and also requested the County Manager to ask the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners to take a stance on the matter.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:18 A.M.
James Coffey, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board