WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, AUGUST 25, 2008
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, August 25, 2008, at 6:00 P.M. in the Commissioners’ 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
Andrea Capua, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Deron Geouque, Deputy County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Deal called the meeting to order at 6:00 P.M., welcoming those in attendance.
Chairman Deal opened the meeting with prayer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Deal called for additions or corrections to the August 4, 2008, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Moretz, moved to approve the August 4, 2008, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the August 4, 2008, closed session minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Deal called for additions and/or corrections to the August 25, 2008, agenda.
County Manager Nelson requested to add #8 under Construction Management Contingency Request; a Personnel Matter under Closed Session per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(6); and an additional item under Finance Matters’ Surplus Property Request.
Commissioner Moretz, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve the August 25, 2008, agenda as amended.
PUBLIC HEARING TO ALLOW CITIZEN COMMENT ON THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION’S SECONDARY ROADS PROGRAM FOR FISCAL YEAR 2009
Chairman Deal declared the public hearing open at 6:04 P.M. to allow for comment on the Department of Transportation’s Secondary Roads Program for Fiscal Year 2009.
Mr. Michael Poe and Mr. Kevin Whittington presented the program which included $3,149,784 for secondary roads in Watauga County. Mr. Poe reviewed the points system that rated each road’s priority.
Commissioner Moretz asked the priority rating for Phillips Branch Road and Mr. Whittington stated that it was # 32.
Vice-Chairman Winkler asked the priority rating for Crab Orchard Road and Mr. Poe and Mr. Whittington stated that upper Crab Orchard Road was #46 and lower Crab Orchard Road was #20.
Chairman Deal stated that there was a Transportation Committee working on legislation to be introduced next year which might place maintenance of roads as a County responsibility with no funding to back the maintenance.
Ms. Donna Rominger Baber asked the priority rating for Old Mtn. Road which included 13 homes, 1 church, and a school bus route on a .6 mile section of the road.
Mr. Poe and Whittington stated that currently the road had a priority rating of #44; however, at the beginning of the year all roads that were not currently in the top 10 rating would be reviewed by the points system and possibly re-rated for next year’s plan.
There being no further public comment, Chairman Deal declared the public hearing closed at 6:18 P.M.
Mr. Poe stated that the Board could take one of the following actions:
1) concur with the secondary roads plan as presented
2) take no action
3) recommend changes (as long as they did not deal with paving or paving priorities)
No action was taken.
PUBLIC HEARING TO ALLOW CITIZEN COMMENT ON PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE WATAUGA COUNTY PARKING LOT ORDINANCE
Chairman Deal declared the public hearing open at 6:18 P.M. to allow for comment on proposed changes to the Watauga County Parking Lot Ordinance.
Mr. Joe Furman reviewed the proposed amendments to the Watauga County Parking Lot Ordinance and Penalty Schedule.
There being no public comment, Chairman Deal declared the public hearing closed at 6:20 P.M.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to adopt the Watauga County Parking Lot Ordinance as amended.
Commissioner Moretz, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to adopt the Parking Penalty Schedule as amended.
NEW HIGH SCHOOL MATTERS
A. Progress Report – Mr. Mike Kesterson with Barnhill/Vannoy presented a progress report on the construction of the new High School. Mr. Kesterson reported that the project was 18% complete with no accidents reported and construction was 2 weeks ahead of schedule.
This report was for information only and therefore, no action was taken.
B. Change Order Summary Report/Introduction of Change Orders 10R & 11 – Mr. Kesterson gave a summary of change orders to date and introduced change orders 10R and 11. Change order 10R was a deductive change order in the amount of $88,214 to adjust the Construction Manager final contingency amount. The original contract capped both the Barnhill/Vannoy fees and contingency on the agreed upon GMP at the time of the contract, thereby saving the County the increases as the project and budget changed. Change order 11 was an additive change order to cover additional mass rock encountered at the baseball field which was above the rock allowance carried in the project. The actual amount of overage was approximately $215,000 but in negotiations with Mr. Kesterson, Barnhill/Vannoy agreed to use a $75,000 allowance that was earmarked for any rock encountered in the installation of the geothermal system as a credit against the change order. It appeared, at this time, that no additional rock was to be encountered on the baseball field. If additional rock was found a future change would be presented. Change orders 10R and 11 were introduced and would be presented for formal consideration after approval was received by the project architect.
This report was for information only and, therefore, no action was taken.
C. Construction Management Contingency Requests #’s 2-8 – Mr. Kesterson stated that the high school project carried a construction management contingency allowance that was under the control of the construction management team. However, any charges to the fund must be reported to and approved by the Board. Mr. Kesterson reviewed CM contingency requests #’s 2-8 with various aspects of construction and repairs in keeping the project on schedule.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve CM contingency requests #’s 2-8 as presented by Mr. Kesterson.
D. Recommendation to Award Bids (40) – Mr. Kesterson presented recommendations to award bids as follows:
Temporary and Permanent Fencing Frye Fence Company $184,945.00
Concrete Paving and Sidewalk Hatchell Concrete $402,100.00
Asphalt Paving, Stone, Curb, and Gutter Maymead $2,393,750.00
Landscaping and Irrigation Aldridge Farms $570,600.00
Synthetic Turf Systems General Sports $755,889.00
Tennis Courts and Running Track Baseline Sports $558,484.00
Concrete Flatwork, Place, and Finish Hatchell Concrete $767,000.00
Masonry Gates Construction $4,428,215.30
Misc. Steel Hughes Metal $1,138,390.00
Wood Trusses Dominion Truss $20,973.00
Spray Fireproofing Southeastern Fireproofing $299,435.00
Roofing Hamlin Roofing $2,699.033.00
Caulking, Waterproofing, and Firestopping High Rock Waterproofing $125,682.00
Doors, Hardware and Frames Martin Architectural $547,555.00
Glazing, Curtainwalls, and Storefronts Keller Glasco $976,435.00
Drywall, LGMF, and Insulation Precision Walls $2,143,497.00
Hard Tile Rochester Flooring $181,969.00
Carpet Resilient Tile and Rubber Flooring Shields, Inc. $604,000.00
Polished Concrete Bonitz Coatings $210,000.00
Wood Flooring Medallion Athletic Products $267,750.00
Acoustical Ceilings Precision Walls $432,493.00
Acoustical Wall Panels/Theatre Warco Construction $461,436.00
Painting Trident $400,000.00
Toilet Partitions Accessories, Div 10 Martin Architectural $343,717.00
Aluminum Canopies Emmco, LLC $106,080.00
Operable Partitions Southeastern Acoustics $40,885.00
Food Service Equipment Eastern Food Equipment $439,000.00
Finish Carpentry and Casework Starr Lab and Casework $395,303.00
Science Casework Blankenship $548,000.00
Music Casework Cabinets By Design $140,200.00
Auditorium Seating Learning Environments $119,750.00
Telescoping Bleachers Blankenship $163,000.00
Exterior Grandstands Allstar Bleachers $653,246.00
Elevators Thyssen Krupp $85,000.00
Fire Protection Century Fire Protection $793,726.00
Plumbing ABL & Associates $2,277,700.00
HVAC Systems ABL & Associates $4,259,000.00
Geothermal Mis South Geothermal $1,647,705.00
Electrical Beco, Inc. $5,185,500.00
Sports Lighting Tommy Lawrence Electric $603,037.00
Mr. Kesterson stated that most of the recommendations awarded the low bidder and some contained value engineering that resulted in an even lower award than the bid price. In cases where the low bidder wasn’t recommended, extenuating circumstances existed either in qualification, quality of scope, or the ability to deliver the product in a timely fashion.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Moretz, moved to award the 40 bids as recommended by Mr. Kesterson and as included in the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) # 3.
PROPOSED 6-MILE FIRE DISTRICTS
Mr. Reggie Hassler presented a recommendation to extend the fire department district boundaries to a 6-mile district. The purpose was to both improve service and to allow more affordable insurance for the homeowners within the districts. The 6-mile district was approved by the Fire Commission, the Fire Marshal, and the NC Department of Insurance. Mr. Hassler stated that the State Office was of the opinion that even though the fire and service tax district boundaries were required to coincide with the new 6-mile districts, the County could proceed with changing the insurance district to 6-mile for dispatch and insurance purposes and then change the fire tax districts effective June 30, 2009. Mr. Hassler stated that the process for changing the fire and service tax districts required some work by the Fire Commission, the Fire Departments, and the Fire Marshal’s Office. They were to conduct this process throughout the coming year to meet all the necessary requirements for the June 30, 2009, effective date for tax purposes.
Mr. Joe Furman stated that a public hearing was required but requested that all work be done and one public hearing be held prior to final adoption of the new fire tax districts for FY 2010.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to adopt the 6-mile fire district for dispatching and insurance benefits with the effective date to be as soon as staff works out the details and to direct staff to facilitate the process for fire tax districts to match the new 6-mile district for tax purposes by July 1, 2009.
APPALACHIAN SKATE PARK COUNCIL REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF NEWLY IMPLEMENTED RULES FOR THE WATAUGA COUNTY SKATE PARK
Chairman Deal stated that the Appalachian Skate Park Council requested time to discuss the newly adopted policy for supervising the County’s Skate Park. Chairman Deal stated that the following had already been addressed prior to the meeting: 1) Regarding hydration, the Manager had ordered the Maintenance Department to install fountains at the recreational complex, one of which was to be adjacent to the Skate Park. The Town of Boone allowed a non-refrigerated unit. 2) Regarding bathroom facilities, County staff keeps all Parks and Recreation bathrooms open until freezing which usually occurs around December 15th each year. Once the bathroom adjacent to the Skate Park was winterized, it should be noted that the pool complex restrooms were open to all users of the County’s facilities on a year-round basis when the building was open. 3) Regarding the safety issues which were not previously reported to the County, upon receipt of the correspondence, the County Manager instructed the Maintenance Department to immediately repair any safety issues that were found in the Park.
Mr. Buzz Berry; Adam and Emily Sheffield; Jeremy Wright; Brandon Crockett; and others spoke on behalf of users of the park and requested the hours be lengthened to better serve users of the park and to not use the security guard presently stationed at the park.
Mr. Stephen Poulos, Parks and Recreation Director, spoke of problems that lead to the creation of the newly adopted policy. The biggest problems were skaters not respecting the rules regarding wearing protective gear, skaters riding their boards through the parking lots, and a poor attitude from some including bad language.
After lengthy discussion with those in attendance and with the blessing of the Recreation Commission members present, Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Moretz, moved to open the park for the extended hours of 10 A. M. till dusk for a 30-day trail period effective 10:00 A.M. on August 26, 2008, during which time the Board could assess whether the rules of the park were being followed.
PROPOSED BOARD OF ELECTIONS HAVA GRANT
Ms. Jane Ann Hodges presented a request to apply for HAVA Grant funding in the amount of $86,515 to fund five additional one-stop voting locations and to supply the required equipment. Ms. Hodges stated that no local match was required.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to authorize Ms. Hodges to submit the grant application as presented for the HAVA grant funding.
PROPOSED WORK FIRST COUNTY PLAN FOR 2009-2011
Mr. Jim Atkinson stated that the County Department of Social Services must develop and enact a Work First Development Plan that specifies welfare reform services for eligible clients. The first step in the process was to elect whether the County wished to be a standard or electing county. Since the inception of the program, the County had chosen to be a standard county. Mr. Atkinson recommended that the County continue to choose to be a standard county for the 2009-2011 Work First Plan which was due to be developed and submitted to the State by October 31, 2008.
Mr. Atkinson recommended an additional 4 members be appointed to the Work First Plan Planning Committee as follows: Fay Cooper, Jennifer Kearse, Susie Long, and Marshall Gasperson.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to elect Watauga County as a standard county.
Commissioner Moretz, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to appoint Fay Cooper, Jennifer Kearse, Susie Long, and Marshall Gasperson to serve on the Work First Plan Planning Committee.
VOTE: Aye-4(Deal, Winkler, Kinsey, Moretz)
[Clerk’s note: Commissioner Cooper abstained from the vote as a family member was being appointed.]
A. Bid Award Request for New Road Tractor – Mr. J. V. Potter reviewed the following bids received for a road tractor that was primarily used in the County’s recycling operations:
World Wide Equipment $96,218.00
MHC Kenworth $95,029.55
Volvo GMC Truck $92,675.44
Western Carolina Freightliner $89,503.00
Smoky Mountain Truck Center $82,926.00
Mr. Potter recommended the low bid from Smoky Mountain Truck Center in the amount of $82,926.
County Manager Nelson recommended that funding come from the $50,000 budgeted in the FY 2009 budget for the truck with the balance of $32,926 being taken from the Sanitation Department’s retained earnings.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to award the bid for the road tractor to Smoky Mountain Truck Center in the amount of $82,926.00 with $50,000 to be funded from the FY 09 Sanitation budget and the remaining $32,926.00 to be allocated from the Sanitation Department’s retained earnings.
B. ASU Greenhouse/Biodiesel Production Proposal – Ms. Lisa Doty, the County’s Recycling Coordinator, presented a request from the ASU Department of Technology and Biology to lease space adjacent to the County’s Methane Flare Station to establish a green house for a demonstration project creating biodiesel from algae cultivation.
Mr. Jeff Ramsdale, Ms. Erica Forest, and Mr. Brian Rickman spoke on behalf of ASU explaining that the program was an EPA III funded project.
County Manager Nelson suggested a lease for $1.00 per year similar to the lease with the Forestry Department for their space at the landfill.
Commissioner Moretz, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to instruct the County Attorney to prepare a lease with ASU, contingent upon the approval of DENR, with ASU being responsible for permits, approvals, and utilities.
A. Surplus Property – Ms. Isaacs presented a list of property and requested that it be surplused and subsequently sold through GovDeals. Ms. Isaacs also added a 1998 Ford Taurus VIN # 1FAFP5254WG268556 with 92,907 miles to the list.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to surplus the property as presented by Ms. Isaacs, including the vehicle, for sale on GovDeals.com.
B. Budget Amendments – Ms. Doris Isaacs presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
293270-312008 Occupancy Tax Collections-08/09 $744,500
294140-449900 Admn. Fees – Watauga County $19,500
294140-469900 Watauga District U TDA $725,000
The amendment recognized the projected FY 08/09 collections for the Watauga County District U TDA. These funds were not included in the County’s FY 08/09 adopted budget since the TDA did not adopt their budget until June 10, 2008, which was after the County’s budget adoption.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103991-399101 Fund Balance Approp. – New $823
105550-469514 Contracted Services - Instructors $823
The amendment appropriated unspent Senior Center Grant funds from FY 07/08 per request from Project on Aging Director, Angie Boitnotte.
Account # Description Debit Credit
213991-399101 Fund Balance – Appropriation – New $250,000
219930-449210 Economic Development Set-a-side $150,000
219800-498041 Transfer to the Capital Projects Fund $400,000
The amendment recognized the transfer of funds from the EDC Capital Reserve set-a-side to the Capital Projects Fund to assist with the acquisition of land adjacent to Tweetsie.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
C. Proposed Tweetsie Incentive/Land Acquisition Capital Project Ordinance – Ms. Isaacs presented a proposed Watauga County Capital Project Ordinance that was required by the financing package for the Tweetsie land purchase.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to adopt the Watauga County Capital Project Ordinance as presented.
County Manager Nelson announced that the Local Government Commission (LGC) approved the financing package for the Tweetsie incentive package land acquisition.
FUNDING REQUEST FOR HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN
Mr. Steve Sudderth, Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator, requested authorization to apply for FEMA grant funds which were to assist in developing the Watauga County Hazard Mitigation Plan. The Plan was required to be updated by March 2010 under the FEMA Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. The grant was to provide 75% funding and required a 25% local match that was to be approximately $6,250. Mr. Sudderth stated that the local match funding was not needed until the FY 2010 budget was adopted.
Commissioner Moretz, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to authorize the submission of the grant application and approve the local match and incorporate it into the Fiscal Year 2010 budget.
PROPOSED NATURAL GAS CONTRACT FOR AQUATICS CENTER
Mr. Robert Marsh, Maintenance Director, presented a proposal from Frontier Energy to furnish natural gas to the Watauga County Swimming Complex. The facility currently used propane and the retrofit to allow natural gas use was to cost approximately $3,500. Upon review of the projections, it appeared that the County could save in excess of $18,000 per year by using natural gas over propane.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to authorize Mr. Marsh to proceed with entering into a contract with Frontier Energy to furnish natural gas to the Watauga County Swimming Complex.
DISCUSSION OF MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE FOR SOCCER COMPLEX
Chairman Deal stated that the Management Committee for the Soccer Complex was to consist of two members to be appointed by the High Country Soccer Association (HCSA) and two members to be appointed by the Recreation Commission with a fifth member to be mutually agreed upon by the Recreation Commission and HCSA.
Mr. Stephen Poulos, Parks and Recreation Director, stated that the Recreation Commission and HCSA had discussed the appointment but had come to an impasse and could not agree on the fifth member. HCSA wanted an ASU representative appointed to the Committee and the Recreation Commission felt that the fifth member of the Committee should not come from ASU.
Commissioner Moretz read the following statement from a letter to the Commissioners from Parks and Recreation Board member Steve Loflin and indicated her agreement with his position and the position of the Parks and Recreation Board:
“The Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously agreed the fifth member of the Management Committee should not be an ASU affiliate. If HCSA wants ASU on this committee, they should name an ASU person as one of their two appointees. Given the sum of money the County has invested in this venture, the County should have final control of the facilities. This position has been stated several times by the Parks and Recreation Commission. In the event of a failure to agree between Parks and Rec. and the HCSA on any matter, the Parks and Rec. should have final say. The County’s recreation department “needs” being met has to be a priority, not only due to the investment the County has already made, but also due to the exposure for future expenses that the County is assuming for the facility.”
Chairman Deal stated that, per the agreement between the County and HCSA, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners was to appoint the fifth member of the Management Committee if the Recreation Commission and HCSA could not agree on the appointment.
Recreation Chairman Denny Norris stated that the Recreation Commission recommended Mr. Vaughn Christian as the fifth member.
After lengthy discussion, Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to appoint Mr. Vaughn Christian to the Management Committee for the Ted Makorell Soccer Complex as recommended by the Recreation Commission contingent upon his availability to serve; the Board of Commissioners retained the right to remove Mr. Christian from the position at any time.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Discussion of Coyote Control – County Manager Nelson stated that at the last Board meeting the issue of coyote control was discussed. The County Manager reviewed a report that was gathered from discussions with a USDA Wildlife representative and area trappers. Also reviewed were the current wildlife seasons for Watauga County. Mr. Bob Richardson, from Ashe County, stated that he assisted Ashe County in establishing a local act that allowed trapping in Ashe County and offered his assistance to Watauga County to do the same.
As establishing a local act could not be accomplished until the January/February legislation the Board directed the County Manager to get Mr. Richardson’s contact information and any information he may have regarding the issue for further discussion in the future.
B. School Board Request for Assistance in Site Prep for Vocational House – County Manager Nelson stated that the Watauga County Board of Education had requested assistance from the Watauga County Sanitation Department for use of their heavy equipment and staff in preparing a site for the Vocational Department to build a house. The County Manager stated that the Vocational Department has requested such help in the past as they build a house every two to three years and in turn sell the house at auction.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to authorize the Sanitation Department to assist the Vocational Department with site preparation for the new house project as requested.
C. Proposed “Valle Country Fair” Proclamation – Commissioner Cooper presented a proposed proclamation declaring October 18, 2008, as “Valle Country Fair” Day in Watauga County.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to adopt the “Valle Country Fair” Day Proclamation as presented.
D. Proposed “Watauga Reads” Proclamation – Vice-Chairman Winkler presented a proposed proclamation for the “Watauga Reads” Program as requested by the Watauga County Library.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to adopt the “Watauga Reads” Proclamation as presented.
E. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that the Boone Town Council nominated Lee Stroupe to serve as the ETJ member on their Board of Adjustment and Bob deCamara to serve as the ETJ alternate on their Board of Adjustment.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Moretz, moved to appoint Lee Stroupe as the ETJ member and Bob deCamara as the ETJ alternate on the Town of Boone’s Board of Adjustment.
County Manager Nelson announced that the Boone Town Council had advertised for applications for another ETJ alternate position on their Board of Adjustment and for the vacant ETJ position on their Planning Commission and nominations for those positions were to be presented at a future meeting.
D. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that the Board was invited to attend Western North Carolina Wind Energy Workshops on September 3, 2008, at ASU from 9:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.
County Manager Nelson announced that the 2008 Rural Partners Forum was scheduled October 2-3, 2008, in Raleigh.
County Manager Nelson announced that the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce was hosting a 20th Ride Celebration for its Bridge to Bridge Incredible Challenge on Saturday, September 20, 2008, at 6:30 P.M. in downtown Lenoir.
County Manager Nelson announced an Intergovernmental Retreat was scheduled for September 22, 2008, at 5:00 P.M. hosted by ASU at the Broyhill Inn.
Mr. Brian Mueller spoke.
[Clerk’s note: Jennifer Main, Mike Hedrick, Bob Richardson, and Brian Quinlan were signed up to speak but were not present at public comment time.]
At 9:21 P.M., Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3); Economic Development Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(4); and Personnel Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(6).
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to resume the open meeting at 10:22 P.M.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve Change Order 19 for the Watauga County Courthouse Addition Project in the deductive amount of $25,319.
The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 10:23 P.M.
Jim Deal, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board