WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2007
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, March 20, 2007, at 6:00 P.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building.
PRESENT: Jim Deal, Chairman
William R. Winkler, III, Vice-Chairman
John Cooper, Commissioner
Winston Kinsey, Commissioner
Mary Moretz, Commissioner
Anthony di Santi, 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 6:02 P.M., welcoming those in attendance.
Commissioner Kinsey opened the meeting with a prayer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Deal called for additions or corrections to the March 5, 2007, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Moretz, moved to approve the March 5, 2007, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve the March 5, 2007, closed session minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Deal called for additions and/or corrections to the March 20, 2007, agenda.
County Manager Nelson requested to add under Miscellaneous Administrative Matters the following: Discussion of Baker Edmisten House and Town of Boone Joint Meeting Request.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve the March 20, 2007, agenda as amended.
PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER PROPOSED NEW PRIVATE AND PUBLIC ROAD NAMES
Chairman Deal declared the public hearing open at 6:06 P.M. to allow for comment on new public/private road names that have been added to the master road name list since the last public hearing.
Mr. Joe Furman presented the list of new road names.
There being no public comment, Chairman Deal declared the public hearing closed at 6:08 P.M.
Commissioner Moretz, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to adopt the new road names as presented.
PROPOSED RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE CREATION OF A ZERO WASTE PLAN
Ms. Jasmine ShoShanna with the Boone Zero Waste Task Force updated the Board on their initiative and requested the Board take action to work toward a zero waste county.
This report was for information only and therefore, no action was taken.
2007 AUDIT CONTRACT PROPOSAL
Ms. Kathy Brown with Bryce Holder & Associates presented the 2007 audit contract. The proposal was for the third year of a three-year contract with the proposed amount for services as listed not to exceed $45,650.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the contract for audit services with Bryce Holder, CPA, PA for FY 2007 in an amount not to exceed $45,650.
REVENUE PROJECTIONS REPORT FOR FY 2007
County Manager Nelson reviewed revenue projections for FY 2007 as prepared by the Finance Director, Ms. Doris Isaacs. Due to the County’s extremely healthy economy and it appeared that approximately $180,000 more in sales tax revenue was to be collected this year than budgeted if the current trend continued. Additionally, property tax collections, as based on prior year’s collections, were projected to be approximately $1,000,000 more than budgeted. This was due to the Tax Department’s extremely high collection rate as well as the majority of value appeals being settled at the Board of E&R level and also reflected extremely strong growth in the county.
The County Manager stated that if the Board wished to recognize the additional revenue the funds could be allocated for the Soccer Complex field preparation; the purchase of the additional land recommended by the architect for the relocation of the tennis courts at the new high school site; and/or to begin replacement of the County’s two “Tot Lots” prior to the new fiscal year.
By consensus, the Board directed the Parks and Recreation Director, Mr. Stephen Poulos, and the Maintenance Director, Mr. Robert Marsh, to solicit proposals for the replacement of equipment at the two “Tot Lots” and to present recommendations to the Board as soon as possible.
PLANNING AND INSPECTION MATTERS
A. Report on DOT TIP Project U-4020 (King Street/421) – Mr. Joe Furman reviewed the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s plan for the widening of King Street between Dan’l Boone Inn and US Hwy 194 in Perkinsville. The schedule listed beginning right-of-way acquisition in 2008 with construction to begin in April 2010. The high school project committee had discussed with the Department of Transportation the need for completing the first phase of this project to be concurrent with the opening of the new high school in August 2010. Mr. Furman stated that the Department of Transportation was accepting comments on this project through April 13, 2007.
The Board directed Mr. Furman to draft a resolution to be presented at the April 2, 2007, Board meeting requesting that the Department of Transportation complete the project in two phases with the section from Hwy. 105 Extension to Hwy 194 to be opened by the completion date of the new high school and phase two to be completed next. The Board also directed staff to forward the draft resolution to the Town of Boone, Chamber of Commerce, and ASU for their support.
B. Discussion of Soccer Complex Schedule – Mr. Furman reported on the Soccer Complex on Brookshire Road as discussed at the Pre-Budget Retreat; probable cost estimates for Phase I of the Soccer Complex on Brookshire Road were reviewed by staff. It appeared that a conservative estimate of the construction costs, including a contingency fund, was $800,000 for Phase I. Upon completion of this phase, the fields were to be ready for the prescription turf that was to be installed by the Soccer Association. Mr. Furman stated that staff recommended a contract be negotiated between the County and the Soccer Association detailing the specific responsibilities of each regarding Phase II construction. Phase II construction was to include but not be limited to bleachers, fencing, lighting, restrooms, and concession facilities as well as any other needed improvements. Also, prior to execution of a contract, a policy needed to be developed as to the control, scheduling, and maintenance of the fields.
By consensus, the Board agreed to fund half the project in fiscal year 2007 and half in fiscal year 2008 and directed staff to issue a RFP for the grading phase to begin in spring of 2007.
PROPOSED PURCHASE OF PROPERTY FOR THE HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT
County Manager Nelson stated that the architect for the new high school project recommended the purchase of the Ray Dell Greene property consisting of 10 lots for a total of approximately 2.6 acres. The price was to be $80,000 per acre and was to be finalized by a survey, which was currently underway, to determine acreage. The County Manager stated that funds could be allocated from the additional recognized sales tax and property taxes as previously discussed.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to purchase the Ray Dell Greene property consisting of 10 lots for a total of approximately 2.6 acres at $80,000 per acre contingent upon the survey and direct the County Attorney to prepare the proper documents necessary for the purchase with funds to be allocated from the additional projected sales tax revenue and if needed, the fund balance.
DISCUSSION OF EDMISTEN HOUSE
County Manager Nelson reviewed two preliminary surveys of the Edmisten house, located on the new high school property. The first survey included the house and approximately .529 acres. The second survey included the house and approximately .446 acres. The County Manager stated that if a survey was approved, the house and lot could be surplused and sold through the upset bid process.
By consensus, the Board agreed to table further discussion until a future Board meeting.
TOWN OF BOONE JOINT MEETING REQUEST
County Manager Nelson stated that the Boone Town Council had requested a joint meeting with the other municipalities in the county, Appalachian State University and Watauga County with suggested dates for the meeting of May 14th or 15th, 2007, beginning at 4:00 P.M.
After discussion and by consensus, the Board directed the County Manager to relay to the Town of Boone that May 14, 2007, at 4:00 P.M. would work and also to request that the following topics be added to the agenda: zero waste, Department of Transportation proposals for Hwy 421, water/sewer, and greenway/recreation opportunities.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Discussion of Budget Work Sessions Schedule – County Manager Nelson stated that work sessions for the FY 2008 budget were tentatively scheduled for May 9, 2007, from 4:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. and May 10, 1007, from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.
By consensus, the Board agreed to schedule the budget work sessions as presented by the County Manager.
B. Surplus Property Request – Brookshire House – County Manager Nelson stated that the engineer for the Brookshire Road project had recommended the removal of the Brookshire house located on the property as the area was needed in the design of the project. The County Manager stated that a citizen had approached the County with a request to buy this house at surplus to be relocated to an off-site location. The Manager recommended this house be declared as surplus and be advertised through the upset bid process to be sold and moved.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to declare the house on the Brookshire Road property as surplus and to advertise it through the upset bid process.
C. Recreation Center Proposal for Architectural Services – County Manager Nelson presented a proposal, as discussed at the Pre-Budget Retreat, for preliminary architectural services for a recreation center on the new high school property. The County Manager stated that staff recommended approval of the proposal from SfL+A in the amount of $23,000, contingent upon the County Attorney’s review of the contract.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Moretz, moved to approve the proposal from SfL+A in the amount of $23,000, contingent upon the County Attorney’s review of the contract with the funds to be allocated from the Capital Reserve fund earmarked for future recreation services.
D. Proposed Amendments to the Ambulance Franchise Agreement – County Manager Nelson stated that the County Attorney had drafted an amendment to the Ambulance Franchise Agreement between Watauga County and Watauga Medics, Inc. The amendment contained no substantive changes but clarified the subsidy amounts for FY 2007 as well as the remaining years of the contract. County Attorney di Santi stated that example # 2 in the amendment needed additional clarification. This was the first reading of the amendment which required action at two meetings prior to final adoption.
Commissioner Moretz, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to adopt the amendment with corrections in example # 2.
E. Downtown Boone Development Association – County Manager Nelson stated that, as discussed at the Pre-Budget Retreat, the Downtown Boone Development Association requested space on the Human Services Complex site adjacent to King Street to locate a sculpture display.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Moretz, directed the County Attorney to draft a lease with the terms as follows: a one-year lease automatically renewable with a 60 day termination clause and for a location to be determined by the County Manager and staff.
F. Proposed Memorandum of Understanding with NC Cooperative Extension – County Manager Nelson reviewed a proposed Memorandum of Understanding between Watauga County and the NC Cooperative Extension Agency as discussed at the Pre-Budget Retreat.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to adopt the Memorandum of Understanding as presented.
G. Discussion of the Governor’s Proposal for a Surcharge on Sanitation’s Tipping Fees – County Manager Nelson reported that Governor Easley’s budget contained a provision to add a $2.00 per ton surcharge for all solid waste processed through the County’s Transfer Station. These funds in turn were to be used for the clean-up of contaminated areas throughout the state. The County Manager stated that Watauga County had already born the brunt of expenses in closing the County’s landfill and was conducting an ongoing mediation and testing program. Therefore, the funds may not benefit Watauga County.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to direct staff to send letters to Senator Goss and Representative Tarleton in opposition of the surcharge in the Governor’s proposed budget and to send letters to the towns within the County so that they might prepare in their budgets if the Governor’s budget is adopted with the surcharge included.
H. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that Mr. Larry Brooks had resigned from his position as a member of the Watauga County Board of Adjustment. The Board of Adjustment did not have a recommendation for consideration for this appointment which was to fill an unexpired term with the term expiring in November 2009.
By consensus, the Board tabled further discussion until a future meeting.
I. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that the Watauga County Project on Aging invited the Board to their Volunteer Recognition Breakfast on Thursday, April 19, 2007, at the Dan’l Boone Inn from 8:30 A.M. to 10:00 A.M.
County Manager Nelson announced that the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) has scheduled its annual District Meetings in Lenoir, N.C., on April 20, 2007.
County Manager Nelson announced that the National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference was scheduled for July 13-17, 2007, in Richmond, Virginia.
There was no public comment.
Chairman Deal stated that the Board had requested that Representative Tarleton include Watauga County in legislation related to the local option ½ cent tax bill to keep options open for the future.
Commissioner Kinsey stated that the Appalachian District Health Department’s well testing was ongoing.
At 7:54 P.M., Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3).
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to resume the open meeting at 9:00 P.M.
The meeting adjourned, by consensus, at 9:00 P.M.
Jim Deal, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board