WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 2005
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 28, 2005, at 6:00 P.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
Anthony di Santi, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Deron Geouque, Assistant County Manager
Anita Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Deal called the meeting to order at 6:00 P.M. welcoming those in attendance.
Vice-Chairman Winkler opened the meeting with a prayer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Deal called for additions or corrections to the June 6, 2005, regular meeting minutes.
Chairman Deal stated that the votes to go into closed session and return to open session needed to be stated as Aye-4(Deal, Winkler, Honeycutt, Kinsey), Nay-0, and Absent-1(Blust).
The Clerk to the Board also pointed out that a correction had been made under budget amendments due to a typo in the presented information at the last meeting.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the June 6, 2005, regular meeting minutes as amended.
Chairman Deal called for additions or corrections to the June 6, 2005, closed session minutes.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve the June 6, 2005, closed session minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Deal called for additions and/or corrections to the June 28, 2005, agenda.
County Manager Nelson requested to add a cable television discussion under Miscellaneous Administrative Matters.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the June 28, 2005, agenda as amended.
PUBLIC HEARING – TO CONSIDER A GRANT APPLICATION TO NC REDEVELOPMENTCENTER’S CRISIS HOUSING ASSISTANCE FUND (CHAF)
Chairman Deal declared the public hearing open at 6:03 P.M. to allow for comment on a grant application to NC Redevelopment Center’s Crisis Housing Assistance Fund (CHAF).
Mr. Joe Furman stated that the required public hearing was scheduled to allow public comment on Watauga County’s application for grant funds from the North Carolina Redevelopment Center’s Crisis Housing Assistance Fund (CHAF) prior to the County’s submission of an application that was to help home owners who sustained damage during the storms of 2004.
There being no public comment, Chairman Deal declared the public hearing closed at 6:07 P.M.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve submittal of the application to the CHAF program.
BID AWARD REQUEST FOR COURTHOUSE ADDITION
Mr. Jack Hemphill presented bids that were received for the Watauga County Courthouse addition. Three bids were received with the lowest being from Hickory Construction in the amount of $2,766,800. The architect’s projected budget and the staff’s working budget were $2,200,000. An additional $525,748 was needed to totally fund the project. Mr. Hemphill planned to meet with Hickory Construction, if so directed, to determine if any areas of the project could be value engineered to decrease the bid amount. Mr. Hemphill stated that the increased costs were due to a substantial increase in building activity in the area and to improvements added to the project as necessitated by Town of Boone requirements.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to award the bid ($2,766,800 plus 5% contingency) to Hickory Construction as value engineered by Mr. Hemphill with an added 5% contingency and with the additional costs greater than those budgeted to come from the Fund Balance contingent upon the County Attorney’s approval. The Board also directed Chairman Deal, the County Manager, and Mr. Furman to talk with the Town of Boone regarding water retention requirements.
ADDITIONAL CHANGE ORDER REQUEST TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER
Sheriff Shook stated that recently the Board requested a change order to be prepared to finish an additional 32 beds which will completely build out the capacity of the new Law Enforcement Center per the Sheriff’s request. Sheriff Shook stated that after review of his population, a maximum of 12 beds was required for female prisoners. The new facility currently had space allotted for 20 females and 86 males. The Sheriff requested a change order to realign the assignment of the female beds to the 28 single cell area, in which 7 beds could be used for females, with 7 to be used for either male or female, and the remaining 14 to be male cells.
The cost of the change order was to be approximately $90,000 as it required rewiring control panels, additional construction of 4 doors and 2 walls, and security equipment installation. Sheriff Shook stated that if approved the change order was not to add additional time to the construction schedule.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the Sheriff’s request for a change order to reassign beds in the new Law Enforcement Center with the additional funds needed to be allocated from the County’s fund balance.
BID AWARD REQUEST FOR ADMINISTRATION BUILDING A/V SYSTEM
Mr. Randy Jones, Architect for the Administration Building, discussed bids that were received for the Watauga County Administration Building Audio Visual System. The low bid was received from Digital Systems Integration (DSI) in the amount of $69,428.53. After negotiations, the bid amount was reduced through value engineering to $60,569.93 plus sales tax. Mr. Jones stated that this was a planned expense and was present in the project budget.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to award the bid to Digital Systems Integration in the amount of $60,569.93 as value engineered by Mr. Jones and contingent upon the County Attorney’s review.
REQUEST FOR INSTALLATION OF AN ASU METEOROLOGICAL STATION ON COUNTYPROPERTY
Mr. Baker Perry of Appalachian State University (ASU) requested that Watauga County allow ASU to install and maintain a meteorological station on Watauga County landfill property to be part of the State’s environment inclement weather observation network. The site was to consist of a concrete pad and the installation of a thirty foot tower with guy wires.
County Manager Nelson stated that Mr. J. V. Potter, Operational Services Director, had identified an area for installation that did not interfere with any current or planned landfill operations.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the request for installation of a meteorological station at the County’s closed landfill contingent upon the County receiving the required approval from the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources that permits the County’s landfill operation and directed the County Attorney to work with Mr. Dayton Cole, ASU’s attorney to draft a lease for 25 years at $1.00 per year.
SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT VEHICLE PURCHASE REQUEST
Sheriff Shook requested to purchase an undercover vehicle in an amount not to exceed $20,000. Per local policy, three bids were required to be solicited and local dealers approached to submit bids. However, as this vehicle was to be used in undercover operations, Sheriff Shook requested to purchase the vehicle from an out of County dealer as to not compromise the identification of the vehicle. Sheriff Shook stated that the purchase was to be made with funds that were received from forfeitures and fines in drug related cases.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve the Sheriff’s request to purchase an undercover vehicle at the dealership of the Sheriff’s choosing at the price negotiated by Sheriff Shook not to exceed $20,000.
JUVENILE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL MATTERS
A. Fiscal Year 2006 Certification Request – Ms. Doris Isaacs, representing the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) reviewed the certification for the Fiscal Year 2006 JCPC grant and requested approval prior to forwarding it to the State of North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the certification for the Fiscal Year 2006 JCPC grant as presented by Ms. Isaacs.
B. Board Appointments Request – Ms. Isaacs reviewed a list of recommended appointments to the JCPC Board and stated that an effort was being made to fill the vacant positions. Mr. Chuck Cassada was suggested as a faith member representative, Billy Grimes as a Commissioner appointee, T. J. McAnallen as a health representative, and Anna Boyce Phillips as a business representative. County Manager Nelson was directed to contact Billy Grimes, T. J. McAnallen, and Anna Boyce Phillips to see if they were interested in serving.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to appoint Mitchell Yates, Bill Hartley, Jr., Troy Cook, Charles Byrd, Mechelle Gatling, Gail Hawkinson, Kara Simmons, Doris Isaacs, Joey Dickson, David Blust, William Suddreth, Jeffrey Dickens, Alexander Lyerly, Jenny Miller, Ben Wellborn, Karee Mackey, Melissa Johnson, Wendy Tonker, Jeremy Blocker, and Chuck Cassada to the JCPC Board.
FINANCE DEPARTMENT MATTERS
A. Fund Balance Report – Ms. Doris Isaacs reviewed a report on expenditures from the County’s various fund balances that had occurred since the last audited financial statements which were received with the fiscal year 2004 (ending June 30, 2004) audit. Ms. Isaacs stated that the County remained in excellent financial health with an estimated addition of $1,000,000 to the fund balance at the end of fiscal year 2005. Ms. Isaacs also discussed accepted practices and recommendations as to the amount of a fund balance that a county government should maintain.
The report was for information only and therefore no Board action was required at this time.
B. Budget Amendments – Finance Director Doris Isaacs presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
104210-469101 IT Professional Services $13,061
103991-399101 Fund Balance Approp.-New $13,061
The amendment appropriated fund balance for a carryover purchase order that was cancelled in error prior to the fiscal year end process. The unexpended funds rolled to General Fund’s fund balance at June 30, 2004.
Account # Description Debit Credit
234310-454000 Capital Outlay-Vehicle $20,900
234310-451000 Capital Outlay-Equip. $3,103
233991-399101 Fund Balance Approp.-New $24,003
The amendment appropriated funds from the Substance Abuse Tax Fund’s fund balance to purchase and equip a vehicle for the Sheriff. Approved at the May 19, 2005, Board meeting.
Account # Description Debit Credit
213991-399101 Fund Balance Approp.-New $50,000
219800-498010 Transfer to the General Fund $50,000
103980-398121 Transfer from Capital Reserve $50,000
105890-463109 Watauga Opportunities $50,000
The amendment appropriated funds from the Economic Development Fund Balance for a 5 year loan to Watauga Opportunities to be repaid if they are unable to meet established employment quotas. Approved at the April 18, 2005, Board of Commissioners meeting. Revisions in employment quotas were to be considered at the June 28, 2005, Board meeting.
Account # Description Debit Credit
104285-457001 Capital Outlay-Land Improvements $159,347
103991-399101 Fund Balance Appropriated $159,347
The amendment appropriated the balance of the fiscal year 03-04 Brookshire Park project funds that were not carried over with a purchase order at June 30, 2004. Unexpended funds rolled to the General Fund’s fund balance.
Account # Description Debit Credit
669100-475066 Principal-Solidwaste Equip. $67,399
669100-476066 Interest-Solidwaste Equip. $6,862
663740-350000 Landfill Tipping Fees $74,261
The amendment recognized funds for principal and interest on Sanitation Equipment purchased this year. Funds originally budgeted to cover unanticipated operational costs.
Account # Description Debit Credit
133593-359003 PSFF-Cove Creek Boiler $28,979
133593-359004 PSFF-WHS Boiler $38,485
135912-459002 Cove Creek Boiler Expenses $28,979
135912-459003 WHS Boiler Expenses $38,485
The amendment recognized the balance of prior years unspent Public School Capital Funds for the above projects.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103300-343303 NC Bioterrorism Grant $14,280
104330-449915 NC Bioterrorism Expenses $14,280
The amendment recognized a grant that was awarded and budgeted in fiscal year 03-04, but expenditures and revenues actually occurred during the current fiscal year.
Account # Description Debit Credit
233839-389002 Controlled Substance Dist.-Fed. $250
234310-449900 Miscellaneous Expense $250
The amendment recognized a transfer of funds from the Federal Substance Abuse account to allow a donation to assist in funding a program for children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented by Ms. Isaacs.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND PLANNING & INSPECTION MATTERS
A. Out of State Travel Request – Planning and Inspections/Economic Development Director, Mr. Joe Furman, requested out of state travel for the purpose of attending a meeting of communities with a university based economy to share ideas and review innovative practices that were being used for economic development purposes.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the out of state travel for Mr. Furman to attend the meeting as presented.
VOTE: Aye-4(Deal, Blust, Honeycutt, Kinsey)
[Clerk’s Note: Vice-Chairman Winkler briefly left and returned to the meeting.]
B. Proposed Watauga Opportunities Agreement Amendment – Mr. Furman and Mr. Michael Maybee, CEO/President of Watauga Opportunities, discussed requested changes to the loan agreement that the Board of Commissioners previously adopted with Watauga Opportunities. The proposal was to change the language from “the creation of ten (10) new full-time jobs with benefits in the $8.00 to $12.00 range” to ten (10) full-time equivalencies in the $9.00 to $13.00 range with no benefits.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve the amendments to the Watauga Opportunities Agreement as presented.
C. Subdivision Performance Guarantee – Mr. Furman presented three subdivision performance guarantees. The first was for Parkway Crossing (Haley Properties, Inc.-Bob Barr) which was an irrevocable letter of credit from the Bank of Granite; the second was for Wapiti Ridge (Aho Development Co., LLC) which was an official check; and the third was for two plats for Ginn-LA Laurel Creek LTD., LLLP, which was a surety bond from Hartford Fire Insurance Company. All were for road construction and pursuant to section 92 of the Subdivision Regulations.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the subdivision performance guarantee for Parkway Crossing (Haley Properties, Inc.-Bob Barr), Wapiti Ridge (Aho Development Co., LLC), and the two for Ginn-LA Laurel Creek LTD., LLLP, as presented by Mr. Furman.
D. Brookshire Park Landscaping Request – Mr. Brent Graybeal reviewed a proposal from the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce to landscape an area of Brookshire Park. A location was identified by Maintenance Director Robert Marsh where the Chamber proposed to install up to $1,500 in shrubs and rocks that was to include a Chamber of Commerce logo.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the request as presented.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Discussion of an Amendment to Senate Bill 92 – Force Account Limits – County Manager Nelson reviewed a draft of Senate Bill 92 which had an amendment in Section VII that dealt with force account projects. The County and Town of Boone had been in discussions for several months as how to best jointly develop the Anne Marie Drive area into a city and county park. The County Manager stated that he asked for this draft amendment to be attached to allow the County to construct a park on this area using its own staff and equipment in an amount of effort not to exceed $750,000. State Statute currently limited own force projects to $125,000 or less. Upon an agreement being reached with the Town of Boone, this was to allow substantial tax savings to the citizens of Watauga County and was to add a much needed recreational area for Parks and Recreation programming.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to endorse the amendment to Senate Bill 92 as presented by the County Manager.
B. Medicaid Relief Discussion/Proposed Resolution– County Manager Nelson stated that time was reserved to discuss Medicaid relief as it was proposed in the current House budget. The current House version of the State budget, approved the week of June 16, 2005, included a $15,000,000 appropriation to provide Medicaid relief for counties. County Manager Nelson presented a draft resolution recommending an increase in the cigarette tax to support Medicaid relief.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to adopt the Resolution Regarding Increasing the State Cigarette Tax to Support County Medicaid Relief and directed staff to forward a copy of the adopted resolution to Senator Garwood and all NC Representatives.
C. Surplus Property Sale Request – County Manager Nelson presented surplus property Parcel ID # 1941-33-5912-000 which went through the upset bid process that concluded with a ten day period in which no upset bid was received. The high bid was in the amount of $6,500 and was received by Begnner Schwarz of Dunedin, FL.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to accept the high bid and approve the sale of the property listed above contingent on the County Attorney’s drafting and executing the appropriate documents.
D. Proclamation Welcoming NC Association of Clerks of Superior Court – County Manager Nelson stated that the Association of Clerks of Superior Court had chosen to have their annual conference and convention in Watauga County in July 2005. The County Manager presented a draft proclamation thanking them for choosing and welcoming them to Watauga County.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to adopt the Proclamation Welcoming NC Association of Clerks of Superior Court as presented by the County Manager.
E. Second Reading of Proposed Amendments to Watauga Medics Contract – County Manager Nelson stated that contracts based on franchise ordinances required Board action at two meetings. The County Manager presented for review the ambulance franchise agreement between Watauga County and Watauga Medics which included the additional on-call crew which was discussed at budget work sessions and adopted at the last Board meeting.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the second reading of the amended franchise contract with Watauga Medics as presented.
F. Discussion of Lou Phillips Request to Purchase County Owned Property – County Manager Nelson stated that at a previous meeting, Ms. Lou Phillips requested to purchase approximately 18/100 of an acre of land that was part of the landfill property. The purpose was to obtain a suitable area for a septic system. The County Manager presented an opinion from County Attorney Capua that this sale could be executed through the upset bid process.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to declare the property surplus, direct the County Manager to obtain an appraisal and survey of the property, and negotiate an offer with Ms. Phillips to begin the upset bid process.
G. Discussion of Solid Waste Ordinance and Abandoned and Junked Motor Vehicle Ordinance – County Manager Nelson reviewed the Solid Waste and Abandoned and Junked Motor Vehicle Ordinances with amendments that extended enforcement to all areas of the County with the exception of the corporate limits of any of the municipalities and stated that the changes were previously discussed at a joint meeting with the Town.
The County Manager stated that a public hearing was scheduled for July 19, 2005, to allow citizen comment on the proposed changes.
H. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that the Annual North Carolina Association of County Commissioners conference was scheduled for August 25-28, 2005 in Charlotte. The County was required to appoint a voting delegate to represent them at the business meeting that usually occurred on the last day of the conference. The County Manager stated that this was the first reading and the appointment could be made at a future meeting.
The County Manager stated that Mr. David Baird, Transportation Planner with High Country Council of Governments, requested appointment of a County representative to the High Country RPO Rural Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC). Commissioner Winkler currently served in this capacity and was reappointed to continue by Chairman Deal.
The County Manager stated that four terms on the Economic Development Commission were set to expire this month. Fowler Cooper was willing to serve if reappointed. Betty Koontz did not wish to be reappointed and suggested Mary Sue Miller as her replacement. Thurman Johnson was not able to commit to consistent attendance and felt that he should be replaced. Sterling Carroll requested that he be replaced as well but was willing to continue to serve if a replacement was not found. As this was the first reading for the above appointments, action was not required at this time.
The County Manager stated that the Watauga County Council on the Status of Women requested that Ms. Diane Barefoot, Ms. Becca Saunders, and Ms. Susan King be appointed as members of their Council.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to appoint Ms. Diane Barefoot, Ms. Becca Saunders, and Ms. Susan King to the Watauga County Council on the Status of Women.
The County Manager stated that the Boone Board of Adjustment had two terms that were to expire in June. Mr. James Sanders was willing to continue to serve. Ms. Karen Byerly did not wish to serve another term. The Town Council had nominated Mr. Sanders for reappointment and Mr. Lee Stroupe to fill the vacant position. Commissioner Honeycutt requested to table appointment till the next meeting.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to appoint Mr. James Sanders and Mr. Lee Stroupe to the Boone Board of Adjustment.
VOTE: Aye-4(Deal, Winkler, Blust, Kinsey)
The County Manager stated that the Region D Development Corporation was a Certified Development Company that assisted the US Small Business Administration in delivering small business loans to the region. They also assisted in marketing and packaging loans for small business throughout the region. Per their bylaws, each county was required to appoint four persons to serve as members of the Development Corporation. Representative categories were local government (1), private lending institution (1), and community organization or a business organization (2). The list below was suggested appointees from the Economic Development Commission: Kenneth Wilcox (business), Jim Furman (business), John Stacy (business), Richard Sparks (business or community), Dale Greene (business), Alan Peterson (business), Fowler Cooper (business or government if reappointed to EDC), and Brian Crutchfield (business or community). Mr. Brian Riggins was suggested at the previous meeting and was willing to serve as the lending institution representative if appointed.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to appoint Fowler Cooper as a government representative, Brian Crutchfield as a community representative, and Brian Riggins as a lending institute representative and directed Joe Furman to contact others to see if they were willing to serve as a business representative.
The County Manager stated that at the April 18, 2005, meeting action was tabled until a future Board meeting for appointments to the Local Emergency Planning Committee. A slate of members which were approved by LEPC at their June 14, 2005, was presented for review.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to appoint the following to the LEPC: Jerry Sena (media), Joseph Miller (facilities), George Durfor (facilities), Dr. Evan Rowe (public), Dr. Jeff Sutton (community), Bill Sherwood (agriculture), Virgina Foxx or her appointee (federal government), Gene Wilson (state government), Sheriff Shook (law enforcement), Chief Bill Post (law enforcement), Craig Sullivan (EMS), Chief Reggie Hassler (fire service), a Watauga Medical Center designee – County Manager Nelson was directed to contact Richard Sparks for an appointee nomination (health), Linda Beretz (hospital), Chris Turner (transportation), Seth Norris (emergency management), and Sonia Stevens (emergency management).
I. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners had scheduled their 98th Annual Conference for August 25-28, 2005, in Charlotte, NC.
County Manager Nelson announced that the North Carolina Department of Transportation had invited the Board to a reception honoring Mr. Arnold Lakey the new Division 11 DOT Board member and Mr. Sam Erby, former Division 11 DOT Board member on Tuesday, July 26, 2005, at Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock.
County Manager Nelson announced that the Board was invited to a ground breaking for the Blowing Rock Arts Center on July 10, 2005.
CABLE TELEVISION DISCUSSION
Discussion was held regarding programming offered through Charter Communications for cable service in Watauga County.
By consensus, the Board directed the County Manager to draft a resolution to be presented at the July 19, 2005, Board meeting requesting Cable providers to offer more versatile programming packages.
Ms. Compton Fortuna with the Hunger Coalition thanked the Board for their budget appropriation for fiscal year 2006 and requested to submit a proposal for use of the Hannah Building to the Board at the next meeting.
The County Manager stated that he had met with WAMY Community Action and was awaiting a response from them regarding their request for the Hannah building.
Ms. Karen Carter and Ms. Deborah Greene shared their concerns during public comment.
WORK SESSION TO DISCUSS COURTHOUSE SPACE REALLOCATION
The County Manager reviewed his recommended plan for the courthouse space reallocation and relocation of Board of Elections and Information Technologies into the areas to be vacated by the Administration and Finance Departments.
Ms. Jane Ann Hodges stated that she and the Board of Elections accepted the plan as presented by the County Manager.
By consensus, the Board agreed to move forward with the Manager’s recommend plan for relocation.
At 9:20 P.M., Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Land Acquisition, per G. S. 143-318-11(a)(5)(i), Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318-11(a)(3), Personnel Matters, per G. S. 143-318-11(a)(6) and Economic Development Incentives, per G. S. 143-318-11(a)(4).
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to resume the open meeting at 10:24 P.M.
Chairman Deal adjourned the meeting by consensus at 10:24 P.M.
Jim Deal, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board