WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, JANUARY 3, 2005
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, January 3, 2005, at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: Jim Deal, Chairman
William R. Winkler, III, Vice-Chairman
David Blust, Commissioner
Keith Honeycutt, Commissioner
Winston Kinsey, Commissioner
Andrea Capua, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Deron Geouque, Assistant County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Deal called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
Chairman Deal offered a prayer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Deal called for additions or corrections to the December 6, 2004, regular meeting minutes.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the December 6, 2004, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Chairman Deal called for additions or corrections to the December 6, 2004, closed session minutes.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the December 6, 2004, closed session minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Deal called for additions and/or corrections to the January 3, 2005, agenda.
County Manager Nelson requested to add Land Acquisition to the scheduled close session.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the January 3, 2005, agenda as amended.
LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER PROGRESS REPORT
Mr. Jack Hemphill presented a progress report on construction of the Watauga County Law Enforcement Center. Mr. Hemphill reviewed the construction schedule noting changes, with completion scheduled for June 1, 2005, and an occupancy date scheduled for July 1, 2005. Mr. Hemphill discussed several change orders that were to be presented to the Board for approval at future meetings.
Mr. Hemphill stated that the first change order was necessitated by a spring that was encountered under the foundation of one of the buildings. The second was to add telephones, pay telephones and computer lines/jacks that were required by the Sheriff’s Department to ensure efficiency in operation. Preliminary approval of the first two change orders was given by County staff so as to not interrupt the construction schedule. Funds to cover these change orders were in the project contingency fund.
Mr. Hemphill stated the third change order was due to the addition to the contract of the installation of the communications tower. As directed by staff, it was determined that the general contractor could best install the radio tower and coordinate the schedule and the required inspections with the Town of Boone. Originally, the Sheriff’s Department was to contract for and supervise the installation. Funds for this change order were to be covered by a budget amendment which was to transfer money from the County’s capital reserve communications line, which was the original intended funding source for the tower.
Mr. Hemphill stated that a fourth change order was recommended by County staff. Due to economic considerations, the E-911 dispatch center, the communications equipment room, and the Emergency Management operations center was scheduled to have a wet charged sprinkler system installed, which was common practice for most communications centers. However, County staff felt that a dry charged system, which would cost approximately $10,000, would best meet the needs and ensure that water damage would not occur due to the system accidentally discharging.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to authorize expenditures up to $10,000 for a dry charged sprinkler system to be installed in the E-911 dispatch center, communications equipment room, and Emergency Management emergency operations center.
COURTHOUSE ADDITION STATUS REPORT
Mr. Jack Hemphill reviewed progress to date on preparation of the construction drawings of the courthouse addition and anticipated entering the bid process in late winter 2005. Mr. Hemphill reviewed the floor plans of the planned addition and also discussed planned renovations to the existing large courtroom.
Mr. Hemphill stated that the courthouse addition was to meet a variety of courthouse needs: more space for the Register of Deeds, more space for the Clerk of Court, including storage, handicapped accessible bathrooms, a handicapped accessible elevator, secure space for the District Attorney and Judges, a sally port with secure holding cells and secure access for prisoners, and the creation of four areas on the second floor of the courthouse for public use such as depositions, mediations, etc.
This report was for information only and therefore no action was required.
BLUE RIDGE RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LOAN REQUEST
Mr. Stan Steury, Director of Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc., (BRRC&D) updated the Board on the methane collection project at the closed landfill. Mr. Steury then requested a $70,000 loan from the Watauga County Economic Development capital reserve fund. BRRC&D was in the process of installing a $90,000 collection system to remediate (collect and reuse) the migration of methane at the closed Watauga County landfill.
Mr. Steury stated that the $70,000 loan was to allow the project to continue on schedule for a projected completion date of spring of 2005. This would be an appropriate loan from the EDC capital reserve fund as future phases of the landfill collection/remediation system were to be beneficial to economic development. Planned future uses included the generation of electricity, heat for the County’s buildings, greenhouses, refrigeration for organic growers, and several other uses.
The Board agreed, by consensus, to table action until after the scheduled closed session.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator Kelvin Byrd presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of December 2004.
B. Releases and Refunds – Mr. Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for December 2004 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for December 2004 as presented.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Town of Boone Retreat Request – County Manager Nelson stated that the Town of Boone had requested a joint retreat with the Board of Commissioners, the Town Council, and representatives from Appalachian State University to discuss matters of mutual concern including but not limited to water and sewer and recreation.
The Board agreed, by consensus, that 12 noon on March 4, 2005, was an available time. Chairman Deal suggested the Broyhill Inn as an appropriate meeting place.
B. Contaminated Soils Status Report – County Manager Nelson reported on the current status of contaminated soils that were encountered during excavation at the administration building project. The County Manager stated that the contaminated soils were currently being stored at the closed landfill as the County was working with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to land farm the soil for approximately six months. If approval was not granted from DENR for land farming then the soils were to be hauled to Shelby, North Carolina, at approximately $800 - $1,000 per load with approximately 40 loads expected to be hauled.
The report was for information only and therefore, no Board action was required at this time.
C. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that each Commissioner was to appoint a representative from their district to serve as a member of the Boone Fire Board. Commissioner Kinsey stated that he was to make his appointment at a future meeting.
Commissioner Kinsey stated that his appointment to the Planning Board, Mr. Bernie Edwards, had indicated that he could not serve, therefore, Commissioner Kinsey appointed Mr. Charles Wallin to serve as his appointment to the Watauga County Planning Board.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to reappoint Ms. Gelene Atwood to the Watauga County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to appoint Dr. Simon Watson as the Watauga Medical Center representative and Ms. Alice Salthouse as the Blowing Rock Hospital representative on the Watauga County EMS Advisory Board.
County Manager Nelson stated that the Commissioner seat on the High Country Council of Governments’ Rural Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC) was currently vacant.
Chairman Deal nominated, and by consensus the Board appointed, Vice-Chairman Winkler to the High Country Council of Governments’ Rural Transportation Advisory Committee.
County Manager Nelson stated that Mr. Alex Jernigan, Regional Ombudsman at High Country Council of Governments, had recommended the reappointment of Ms. Wanda Branch to the Watauga County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee.
As the above was a first reading, no action was required at this time.
D. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that The Annual Pre-Budget Retreat was scheduled for Friday, March 11, 2005, and Saturday, March 12, 2005, at the conference room in the Human Services Building.
County Manager Nelson announced that the January 18, 2005, Board meeting was scheduled for 7:00 P.M. and each third Tuesday meeting thereafter was scheduled for 6:00 P.M.
County Manager Nelson announced that he had requested the Town of Boone set a meeting for the Park Development Committee.
At 10:35 A.M., Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3) and Land Acquisition, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(i).
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to resume the open meeting at 11:17 A.M.
BLUE RIDGE RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LOAN REQUEST CONTINUED
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to authorize an interest free loan of up to $70,000 to the Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development, Inc., for up to 9 months with funds being disbursed from the Economic Development Capital Reserve Fund as requested from Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development, Inc., contingent upon the County Attorney drafting the promissory note.
PROPOSED CONTRACT FOR MONITORING SERVICES
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to authorize the County Manager to respond to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and request that the County provide a test and flare system to burn off methane gas from the closed County landfill and to accept the contract with McGee Environmental contingent upon the County Attorney’s review.
Chairman Deal adjourned the meeting, by consensus, at 11:20 A.M.
Jim Deal, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board