WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, JANUARY 19, 1999
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, January 19, 1999 at 7:00 P.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
Sue Sweeting, Vice-Chairman
James Coffey, Commissioner
Art Kohles, Commissioner
Jack Lawrence, Sr., Commissioner
Jeff Hedrick, County Attorney
Barry J. Reed, County Manager
Libby Link, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Hodges called for additions or corrections to the January 4, 1999 regular meeting minutes.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the January 4, 1999 regular meeting minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the agenda for the January 19, 1999 regular meeting as presented.
PUBLIC HEARING – COUNTY GOVERNMENT
CHANGES TO THE CABLE TV FRANCHISE ORDINANCE
Chairman Hodges declared a public hearing open at 7:02 P.M. to consider changes to the County’s cable television franchise ordinance.
As discussed at the Board’s last regular meeting on January 4, 1999, Veterans Service Officer/Safety Director, Jim Harmon, requested the following changes to the County’s cable television franchise ordinance with Helicon Cable Communications. 1) To reduce the number of houses served per mile from 30 to 25 which would allow more access to residents. 2) To correct a typographical error. 3) To change the amount of fine imposed from $50/day to $150/day if Helicon did not comply with the terms of the franchise ordinance. Mr. Harmon stated this would give the County a little more authority to enforce customer service issues.
There being no public comment, Chairman Hodges declared the public hearing closed at 7:04 P.M.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the changes to the County’s cable television franchise ordinance as requested.
GOVERNOR’S CRIME COMMISSION GRANT FOR COMPUTER EQUIPMENT
Chief Deputy, Paula Townsend, addressed the Board requesting approval to submit a grant application to the N.C. Governor’s Crime Commission. If approved, this would enable the Sheriff’s Department to update and modernize its computer equipment, particularly the E-911/Cad/Record-keeping system. Ms. Townsend stated the Sheriff’s Department had outgrown its current computer network system which would be obsolete after the year 2000. An application was prepared for a two-year grant which would allow for purchase of the following:
First Year: Eleven (11) new computer stations to replace necessary hardware
Total Cost Grant Award County Match
$24,000 $18,000 $ 6,000
Second Year: Two (2) mobile data units; software upgrade
Total Cost Grant Award County Match
$40,000 $30,000 $10,000
It was noted the County’s match (to be covered through the E-911 fund) was not required until fiscal year 2000 and 2001.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to authorize the Sheriff’s Department to proceed with this grant application with funding through the E-911 fund as indicated above.
MUTUAL ASSISTANCE RESOLUTION
Sheriff James C. "Red" Lyons addressed the Board regarding a mutual assistance resolution. He stated that pursuant to N.C. General Statutes 160A-288 and 90-95.2, this resolution would allow the Sheriff to enter reciprocal agreements with other law enforcement agencies for assistance.
Commissioner Kohles seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the mutual assistance resolution as presented.
RESOLUTION BOOK #9, PAGE #49
WATAUGA COUNTY ARTS COUNCIL – REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDS
Ms. Cherry Johnson, Executive Director of the Watauga County Arts Council, addressed the Board regarding funding received in the amount of $3,400 from the N.C. Arts Council. She stated these monies required a local match of $3,400. Ms. Johnson noted the additional funds would be applied to children’s programming for the public and private school children of the County. Mr. Mike Wise, President, Arts Council Board of Directors, reviewed programs sponsored by the Arts Council and requested the additional funds be granted for the current fiscal year.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to grant additional funds ($3,400) to the Watauga County Arts Council.
A substitute motion was made by Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, to deduct the funds provided to the Arts Council for this fiscal year ($3,400) from the Arts Council’s next fiscal year budget (1999/2000).
VOTE: Aye-2 (Coffey, Lawrence)
Nay-3 (Hodges, Kohles, Sweeting)
The following vote was made on Vice-Chairman Sweeting’s original motion.
VOTE: Aye-4 (Hodges, Kohles, Lawrence, Sweeting)
GRANT APPLICATION - CONSTRUCTION OF A PUBLIC BOCCE COURT
Parks & Recreation Director, Deb Wynne, requested permission to submit a Torch Run Outreach Grant Application to Special Olympics North Carolina. She introduced Ms. Keron Poteat, Recreation Specialist II, to the Board. Ms. Poteat also served as Watauga County Special Olympics Coordinator. This grant would allow Watauga County Parks & Recreation and Watauga County Special Oympics to be eligible to receive up to $1,000 in grant monies for constructing a bocce court. The funds would be dispensed as follows:
(24) 12’ 4x4 wood planks @ $11.10 each $266.40
42 tons of rock dust @ $9.60/ton $403.20
ADA ramp $ 55.00
Miscellaneous construction materials $100.00
(& shipping charges)
Official bocce set $ 99.50
Indoor bocce set $ 32.99
Ms. Poteat stated a bocce court would benefit both the Special Olympics as well as citizens throughout the County. In addition, the grant required no County funds.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to approve this grant application.
PUBLIC HEARING – NEW PRIVATE ROAD NAMES
Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, presented a list of new road names to be added to the Master Road Name List and requested a public hearing be scheduled for February 16, 1999. He stated that pursuant to N.C. General Statute 153A-239, a public hearing was required.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to schedule this public hearing for the February 16, 1999 regular meeting.
GRANT APPLICATION – ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY OF THE COUNTY
Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, stated that as discussed during the Board’s last regular meeting (January 4, 1999), he was seeking final approval to submit an application for grant funds from the State Historic Preservation Office for a comprehensive architectural survey of the County. If approved, a second application would be needed (in January, 2000) to complete the project. The total projected amount of $17,667 would be funded as follows: $10,000 grant funds; $4,667 County cash match; $500 cash match from Historic Boone and the Downtown Boone Development Association; $2500 in-kind match. The funds would be utilized as follows:
Budget Items Grant Cash Match In-Kind Total Estimated Cost
Principal Consultant $10,000 $3,667 $13,667
Project Coordinator $1,000 $ 1,000
Office Space/Phone $ 500 $ 500
Travel & Per Diem $ 500 $ 500 $ 1,000
Film & Developing $ 800 $ 800
Office Supplies/Maps $ 500 $ 500
Printing & Copying _______ $ 200 ______ $ 200
Totals $10,000 $5,167 $2,500 $17,667
Mr. Furman stated the County’s share could be covered in the next fiscal year’s budget. Ms. Kay Edmisten, Downtown Boone Development Association, also addressed the Board in support of this application. She stated she was very excited about this project and the opportunity to work with Mr. Furman on this application. It was noted that the County’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Growth Issues agreed that preservation of historic structures and sites was important.
After discussion, Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve this grant application.
APPOINTMENT TO THE RECREATION COMMISSION
County Manager Reed noted two names had been submitted from the Seven Devils Town Council for one position on the County’s Recreation Commission. The following names were submitted: Margaret "Shellie" Dollars and Richard McGarry to fill the expired term of Chess Hill. Mr. Reed stated that since this was a representative from Seven Devils, the Board might want to let the Seven Devils Town Council choose who they would want to serve on this commission. This nomination could be referred back to Seven Devils, and the Board could request each town submit their recommendations for all similar Board appointments.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to refer these nominees back to the Seven Devils Town Council for their selection and to make a policy that the towns would submit recommendations for all similar Board appointments.
ROCK BUILDING CONSTRUCTION PROJECT CHANGE ORDERS
County Manager Reed presented two change orders to the Rock Building construction project.
The first involved $245.76 to replace some rotted wood framing in two exterior walls. This part of the contract had $4,000 remaining in Contingency, so there were funds to cover these additional costs.
The second was for a complete intercom system for the Magistrate’s Office at a charge of $943.25. This charge was not bid as part of the project, however, there was $2,000 in Contingency to cover this expense.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve these change orders.
CONTINUING/DISBANDING EMS COMMITTEE
County Manager Reed stated that at the Board’s last regular meeting on January 4, 1999, the Board had requested Mr. Reed and County Attorney Hedrick to investigate whether this committee should be re-established. He noted that all individuals who had served on this committee (except one) had been contacted including Fire Marshal, Lisa Shoun. All those spoken to agreed the committee allowed them to discuss relevant issues, and they wanted to continue the dialog but perhaps not meet as frequently (quarterly and on an as needed basis).
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to re-establish this committee with the same parties who served on the original committee (established in July, 1995).
TAX LISTING PERIOD EXTENSION
Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, addressed the Board stating that due to computer problems encountered, the Tax Office was not able to print the listing abstracts to be mailed during the first week in January. The abstracts were mailed on January 14, 1999, and in order to compensate taxpayers for the late mailing, Mr. McLean requested the Board extend the listing period until 5:00 P.M. on February 8, 1999.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve this request.
In addition, Mr. McLean requested authorization from the Board to extend the listing period for individual tax payers as requested to April 15, 1999. Mr. McLean stated requests must be submitted in writing by the end of the listing period (February 8, 1999) and would only be considered for those individuals who had good cause.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to authorize Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, to grant extensions as requested.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
County Manager Reed provided information on the NACo Legislative Conference to be held in Washington, DC on February 27-March 2, 1999.
Mr. Reed also presented the Register of Deeds December, 1998 report, NCACC District Director Board Action Report, a memorandum regarding tax credit designations, and a letter from Helicon Cable Communications regarding their recent purchase of FrontierVision’s cable service. These items were for the Board’s information.
Mr. Reed suggested having a special meeting with engineering services firm, Draper Aden Associates, regarding the County’s landfill. He would invite officials from the towns of Boone, Blowing Rock, Beech Mountain and Seven Devils to the meeting and notify the media. After discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to conduct the meeting on Tuesday, February 2, 1999 at 7:00 P.M.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:06 P.M.
Elizabeth H. Link
Clerk to the Board