WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2004
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, February 17, 2004, at 7:00 P.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 Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Coffey called the 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 February 2, 2004, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the February 2, 2004, regular meeting and closed session minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Coffey called for additions and/or corrections to the February 17, 2004, agenda.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the February 17, 2004, agenda as presented.
PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INDUCEMENT RE: THE COUNTY’S INTENTION TO LEASE SPACE IN THE APPALACHIAN ENTERPRISE CENTER
Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing open at 7:02 P.M. to allow for comment on the Economic Development Inducement Re: The County’s Intention to Lease Space in the Appalachian Enterprise Center.
Mr. Joe Furman, Acting Economic Development Director, stated that the Board of Commissioners proposed and intended to lease approximately 5400 square feet of space at $18,000.00 per year for two (2) years to ECR Software, Inc. The estimated market lease on the space was $48,600.00 per year; therefore the value to the company of the proposed lease was $30,600.00 per year. The space to be leased had not been leased (no income generated) for a period of two (2) years. This intention was based upon the consideration that ECR was to create a substantial number of jobs at a wage of $12.00 per hour after training, which was considerably above the County wage standard of $9.90 per hour as computed by the NC Employment Security Commission. Additionally, the lease was to enable a number of existing jobs at similar or higher wages to be retained in Watauga County.
Mr. Furman read the Resolution of Intent to Provide Incentive by Lease of Real Property for Economic Development.
There being no public comment, Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing closed at 7:17 P.M.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to adopt the Resolution of Intent to Provide Incentive by Lease of Real Property for Economic Development and to authorize up to $30,000 for necessary renovations to the Appalachian Enterprise Center as presented by Mr. Furman.
PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER THE FINANCING OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW LAWENFORCEMENTCENTER
Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing open at 7:23 P.M. to allow for comment regarding the financing of the construction of the new Law Enforcement Center.
Ms. Doris Isaacs, Finance Director, presented and read a Resolution Authorizing the Filing of an Application for Approval of a Financing Agreement Authorized by North Carolina General Statute 160a-20. Ms. Isaacs stated that taxes were not anticipated to increase due to this financing.
There being no public comment, Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing closed at 7:30 P.M.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to adopt the Resolution Authorizing the Filing of an Application for Approval of a Financing Agreement Authorized by North Carolina General Statute 160a-20 as presented by Ms. Isaacs.
PROJECT ON AGING MATTERS
A. FY 2004 Budget Revision Request – Ms. Angie Boitnotte, Project on Aging Director, discussed an increase in funding available to Watauga County for Project on Aging services in the amount of $1,709. The increases were detailed to the various services that would be affected. This revision brought the total block grant funding to $230,052 which required $25,058 in local match which was present in the Project on Aging budget.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the H&CCBG budget revision as presented by Ms. Boitnotte.
B. H&CCBG Advisory Board Recommendation – Ms. Boitnotte stated that each year the Board of Commissioners was required to adopt a Lead Agency and a Home and Community Care Block Grant Advisory Committee (H&CCBG) to review and make recommendations for expenditures of the Home and Community Care Block Grant (Aging Services) that was a combination of federal and state money available to Watauga County. Ms. Boitnotte recommended that the Project on Aging be appointed as the Lead Agency and that the following be appointed to the Advisory Board: Keith Honeycutt, Anita Davie, Jim Atkinson, Linda Bretz, Debbie Garrett, Fran Kelsey, Sandy Sims, Margie Mansure, Judy South, Judy Vernon, Becky Councill, Joe Howser, Dick Oehser, Edward Harrill, and Beverly Donadio.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to appoint the Watauga County Project on Aging as the Lead Agency for Watauga County for the H&CCBG.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to appoint Keith Honeycutt, Anita Davie, Jim Atkinson, Linda Bretz, Debbie Garrett, Fran Kelsey, Sandy Sims, Margie Mansure, Judy South, Judy Vernon, Becky Councill, Joe Howser, Dick Oehser, Edward Harrill, and Beverly Donadio to the H&CCBG Advisory Board.
NC DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS REIMBURSEMENTS AUDIT PROPOSAL
Ms. Doris Isaacs reviewed a proposal for an additional audit of the Watauga County Jail inmate census for NC Department of Corrections reimbursements. Ms. Isaacs stated that at a previous meeting the Board approved a contract for audit services with Robert A. Segal, CPA PA, to audit the illegal alien population to determine if additional reimbursements could be claimed by Watauga County. This proposal was for an additional audit for those prisoners who may be eligible and previously not claimed for reimbursement from the NC Department of Correction.
Mr. Segal offered to review the Jail census from July 1, 2002, through December 31, 2003 and he was proposing this service at 40% of each additional dollar collected. Ms. Isaacs stated that his normal rate for this type of audit was 50%, but he had agreed to provide the service to Watauga County at 40% based on negotiations with staff.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to approve the contract with Robert A. Segal, CPA PA, for an audit of the Watauga County Jail inmate census for NC Department of Corrections reimbursements contingent upon the County Attorney’s review.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Hannah Building Discussion – County Manager Nelson stated that Mr. Robert Marsh, Maintenance Director, had met with Mr. Rick Herndon, High Country Council of Governments Director, regarding the renovations that were necessary in order for the Council of Governments to have interest in leasing a portion of the Hannah Building. The County Manager stated that it was possible that the required renovations could exceed $400,000 and were much greater than those that were anticipated based on Mr. Herndon’s first review of the building. Due to the age of the building and the probable cost of renovation, staff recommended that the building be sold under the upset bid process as previously planned.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to reinstate the declaration of the Hannah property as surplus and to authorize the negotiated sale/upset bid process.
B. Watauga Medics Contract Adjustment Request – County Manager Nelson stated that an agreement was made between Watauga County and Watauga Medics in 2001 allowing a rate increase for services which would in turn generate additional Medicare revenue to partially fund an additional twelve-hour EMS crew. The balance of the costs for the additional crew was supplemented by the County. Each year since then, staff had met with Mr. Sullivan to evaluate revenues generated by the higher reimbursements, thereby allowing a decrease in the supplement amount that the County paid for this additional crew. In calendar year 2003 the County paid Mr. Sullivan an additional $5,308.00 per month average for the additional crew. Mr. Sullivan was proposing a decrease in this amount for calendar year 2004 to $4,699.09 per month, or a savings for the year of $7,306.92 based on last year’s total. This supplement amount for the additional crew would be retroactive to January 1, 2004. Additionally, staff had negotiated with Mr. Sullivan a reduction of $14,000 to the yearly contract. This was relevant to the contract by which Avery County not only provided service to the Watauga section of Beech Mountain, but also to the Avery section of Seven Devils that was previously provided by Watauga Medics, Inc. Upon a review of Mr. Sullivan’s call history, it was anticipated that twenty-eight calls for the calendar year were to be diverted to Avery County from the Seven Devils area. $500 per call would result in a $14,000 total. The County Manager stated that Mr. Sullivan was in agreement to reduce his contract by this amount with the stipulation that any trips delivered to the Avery County section of Flat Springs and Beech Creek per the County’s agreement with Avery County be reimbursed to Watauga Medics at a like amount of $500 per trip.
The County Manager stated that the total monthly contract amount of $66,817.32, included both the $14,000 ($1,166.67 monthly) reduction, as well as the additional crew supplement in the proposed monthly amount of $4,699.09. This would bring the total for the year to $801,808 and included the automatic escalator of 1.28% as specified in the contract.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the adjustments to the Watauga Medics contract to be effective January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2004, as presented by the County Manager.
C. Caldwell Community College Joint Meeting Request – County Manager Nelson stated that Caldwell Community College Board of Trustees requested a joint meeting with the Watauga County Commissioners on May 13, 2004, and an additional joint meeting with the Commissioners, Board of Trustees and the Board of Education on September 9, 2004. Both meetings were scheduled for 6:00 P.M. at the White Oak Road campus.
By consensus, the Board agreed to the Caldwell Community College joint meetings on May 13, 2004 and September 9, 2004 as presented.
D. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson gave a second reading of a recommendation for Ms. Wanda Branch to be appointed to the Watauga County Community Advisory Committee for Long Term Care (Nursing Homes).
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to appoint Ms. Wanda Branch to the Watauga County Community Advisory Committee for Long Term Care (Nursing Homes).
County Manager Nelson gave a first reading of the following recommendations for appointment/reappointment to the Watauga County EMS Advisory Committee: Pat Gray, Marcus Hickman, Randy Collins, Craig Sullivan, Allen Trivette, Patricia Shook, Aaron Miller, Bill Kaiser, Floyd Hicks, and Patty Jenkins. The County Manager stated that he and the Fire Commission Chairman (currently Terry Combs) also served on this committee.
No Board action was required at this time.
E. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced the DOT had scheduled acitizen’s information workshop for the proposed project known as the Daniel Boone Parkway from 3:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M., March 11, 2004, at the Broyhill Conference Center. The DOT also wanted to meet with local elected officials and staff to provide project information prior to the workshop at 1:00 P.M. on March 11.
The County Manager announced that a public health town meeting was scheduled for March 11, 2004, in Winston Salem to allow citizen comment on proposed changes to the North Carolina Public Health System. The County Manager stated that should the Board have any comments to notify him and he would forward.
The County Manager announced that the Board, County Attorney, and Staff were invited to the Cooperative Extension’s Annual Luncheon and “Report to the People” scheduled for Monday, March 1, 2004, at 11:45 A.M. at the Agricultural Conference Center.
Chairman Coffey called a brief recess prior to public comment.
No one spoke during public comment.
Commissioner Trivette, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:00 P.M.
James Coffey, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board