WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2009
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 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
Tim Futrelle, Commissioner
Winston Kinsey, 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 6:02 P.M., welcoming those in attendance.
Vice-Chairman Winkler opened the meeting with a prayer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Deal called for additions and/or corrections to the February 17, 2009, regular meeting minutes.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to approve the February 17, 2009, regular meeting minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Deal called for additions and/or corrections to the March 17, 2009, agenda.
County Manager Nelson requested adding as agenda item # 7.c. an Out-of-State Travel Request and adding to item # 12.d. CM Contingency Request # 36.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve the March 17, 2009, agenda as amended.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM (CJPP) REPORT AND GRANT APPLICATION/CONTRACT REQUEST
Mr. Mike Vannoy presented a report on services and the Criminal Justice Partnership Program as provided by New River Behavioral Healthcare and requested approval to submit a grant application on behalf of Watauga County for the amount of $62,997 which required no local match for Fiscal Year 2010 services. Mr. Vannoy also presented a contract between Watauga County and New River Behavioral Healthcare to provide services as specified in the CJPP program.
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the submission of the grant application and the contract with New River Behavioral Healthcare for service provision as specified in the CJPP program.
DISCUSSION OF COUNTY DISPATCH OPERATIONS – COVE CREEK VFD CHIEF TERRY COMBS, FOSCOE VFD CHIEF MIKE SHOOK, AND FRANK ALDRIDGE
Mr. Frank Aldridge, representing Foscoe Volunteer Fire Department shared concerns regarding the County’s Dispatch Office and requested that it be taken out of the Sheriff’s Office and considered a separate department. Mr. Aldridge also requested that additional dispatchers be hired.
A. High Country Bio Fuels Cooperative, Inc., Request for Space – Mr. Jeremy Ferrell and Ms. Travis Triplett, representing High Country Biofuels Cooperative, Inc. (HCBC), requested a lease for approximately one-third of an acre at the landfill complex. HCBC was applying for a grant from the NC Green Business Fund to construct a biodiesel processor using primarily waste vegetable oil to be collected from area sources. In exchange HCBC proposed to furnish biodiesel at a reduced cost (.05¢ less than market value of diesel) to the County. Other benefits to the County included emission reductions; potential educational outreach; and the potential to create future jobs. The HCBC was to be responsible for all Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) compliance and permitting issues, all local regulations, obtaining city water from the Town of Boone, and also the necessary amount of insurance or bond in the event of a spill.
By consensus, action was tabled until after closed session to allow for consultation with the County Attorney.
B. Stimulus Grant Application Request – Ms. Lisa Doty, Recycling Coordinator, requested approval for submission of a proposal for use of methane gas at the closed landfill to generate electricity. The grant amount, if awarded, was to purchase electric generators and provide for their required maintenance. The amount to be requested was $361,594. The proposal was to be forwarded to Mr. Cliff Benson with Blue Ridge RC&D for submission for Federal Stimulus funds as delivered through the North Carolina Department of Energy.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to authorize submission of the grant application in the amount of $361,594.
FIRE MARSHAL/EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT MATTERS
A. Proposed Updated Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement – Mr. Steve Sudderth reviewed an updated Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement required for grant funding which the County has routinely received.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to approve the Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement as presented.
B. Discussion of Relocation of County Equipment to Rich Mountain Viper Tower – Mr. Sudderth recommended relocating the County’s communications equipment from the tower on Howard’s Knob to the State tower on Rich Mountain. Mr. Sudderth shared an e-mail approval from the State for the relocation of the equipment at no charge to the County.
By consensus, the Board agreed to direct Mr. Sudderth to move forward with the relocation to Rich Mountain.
C. Out-of-State Travel Request from Sheriff’s Office – Captain Jeff Virginia requested out-of-state travel for a detective to attend the NADDI training session in Horry County, South Carolina.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve the out-of-state travel request as submitted.
PLANNING AND INSPECTIONS MATTERS
A. Presentation of Planning Board’s Recommendation on the Sign Ordinance – Mr. Joe Furman presented the Planning Board’s recommendation for amendments to the Watauga County Sign Ordinance relevant to electronic billboards. Mr. Furman stated that the expiration of the in-place moratorium was April 23, 2009.
After discussion, Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to set a public hearing on April 6, 2009, at 9:00 A.M. to allow public comment on amending and extending the current moratorium for six additional months to allow ample time to review the recommendations given by the Planning Board.
B. Public Hearing Request for Fire Districts – Mr. Furman has worked with the Fire Commission and various fire departments toward establishing six-mile insurance district boundary lines in Watauga County. The plan was to make the tax districts conform to the overall insurance district. Prior to making the necessary changes, Mr. Furman requested a public hearing be set for the April 21, 2009, meeting. Mr. Furman stated that, four weeks prior to the hearing, the required report was to be placed in the Clerk’s office and all property owners were to be notified via mail.
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to schedule a public hearing for April 21, 2009, at 6:00 P.M. to allow citizen comment on proposed changes as presented by Mr. Furman.
C. Daniel Boone Parkway Route Discussion – Mr. Furman stated that, as discussed at the Pre-Budget Retreat, the NCDOT requested that both the Town of Boone and Watauga County endorse a route from options forwarded for the Daniel Boone Parkway.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to defer a decision regarding an endorsement for the Daniel Boone Parkway until the Town of Boone made their recommendation due to the city and ETJ being impacted by most of the choices.
D. Proposed amendments to Subdivision Regulations – Mr. Furman presented amendments to the Ordinance to Govern Subdivisions and Multi-Unit Structures as recommended by the Planning Board which were based on their routine periodic review of the Ordinance. Mr. Furman requested a public hearing be set for April 21, 2009, to allow citizen comment on the proposed amendments.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to set a public hearing at the April 21, 2009, Board meeting to allow citizen comment on the proposed amendments to the Ordinance to Govern Subdivision and Multi-Unit Structures.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING MATTERS
A. Discussion of G. S. 157-9.1 Amendment (Moderate Income Housing Authority) – Mr. Furman discussed the opportunity for the County to join a local bill with the Town of Boone that authorized the expenditure of funds for the development and support of moderate income housing.
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to request inclusion of the County in the bill as presented by Mr. Furman.
B. Requested 501(c)3 Application for Community Housing Trust – Mr. Furman requested approval for an application to establish a community housing trust as a private non-profit to allow the County to work with a non-profit in developing affordable housing in the County.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to authorize the County Attorney to file the necessary documents in order to establish a community housing trust as a private non-profit 501(c)3 under the name of Watauga Community Housing Trust, Inc.
A. Budget Amendments – County Manager Nelson presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
103612-385501 Town of Boone $11,224
106120-426000 Office Supplies $800
106120-431100 Travel-Mileage $386
106120-431200 Travel-Subsistence $166
106120-432500 Postage $500
106120-437000 Advertising $300
106121-421200 Uniforms $172
106122-429000 Other Supplies $300
106122-429200 Program Supplies $340
106123-429000 Other Supplies $500
106123-443900 Rent-Equipment $990
106125-429801 Other Supplies-Officials $100
106125-429802 Other Supplies-Little League $300
106125-431100 Travel-Mileage $70
106125-449900 Misc.-Coaches Certification $300
106125-451000 Capital Outlay-Equip. $4,300
106127-435300 Maint. & Repair-Vehicle $300
106126-429805 Other Supplies-Sp. Pops $300
106126-434100 Printing $200
106128-429000 Other Supplies $300
106128-434100 Printing $200
106128-469500 Contracted Services $400
The amendment reduced expenditures to reflect the remainder of the revenue lost from the Town of Boone.
Account # Description Debit Credit
263991-399101 Fund Bal. Approp.-New $86,849
263300-385501 Town of Boone $7,041
264330-469199 Professional Services-Other $93,890
The amendment recognized funds from the Town of Boone and the appropriation of 911 Fund Balance for the award of the contract for aerial mapping approved at the February 17th Board of Commissioners meeting.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103835-341700 Elections Revenues $5,331
104170-434100 Printing $592
104170-437000 Advertising $18
104170-467001 Election Officials $4,574
104170-426000 Office Supplies $147
The amendment recognized revenue and expenses from the Town of Boone for the Water Bond Election.
Account # Description Debit Credit
143585-323000 Title XX FSA Daycare $62,571
145390-440300 Subsidized Daycare $62,571
The amendment recognized the decrease in funding from the State for Non-Smart Start Daycare.
Account # Description Debit Credit
143547-323000 Adoption Assist.-Vendor Payments $17,500
145390-440300 Adoption Assist.-IV-E $17,500
The amendment recognized additional assistance funding based on program participation.
Account # Description Debit Credit
244340-469907 Pay to Cove Creek Ser. District $18
243101-312807 Taxes Cove Creek – FY 08/09 $18
284340-469904 Pay to Beaver Dam Ser. District $5,000
283101-312804 Taxes Beaver Dam – FY 08/09 $5,000
284340-469908 Pay to Shawneehaw Ser. District $2,000
283101-312808 Taxes Shawneehaw – FY 08/09 $2,000
284340-469909 Pay to Meat Camp Ser. District $2,000
283101-312809 Taxes Meat Camp – FY 08/09 $2,000
284340-469911 Pay to Todd Ser. District $1,500
283101-312811 Taxes Todd – FY 08/09 $1,500
284340-469919 Pay to Meat Camp Ser. District $800
283101-312811 Taxes Meat Camp – FY 08/09 $800
The amendment recognized additional Fire Service District revenue anticipated to exceed budget projections by the Tax Administrator.
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
B. Surplus Property Request – County Manager Nelson presented a list of property and requested it be surplused and subsequently sold through GovDeals, recycled, or scrapped.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to surplus the property as presented and to authorize the property to be recycled, scrapped, or listed for sale on GovDeals.com as requested.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator Kelvin Byrd presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of February 2009.
B. Releases and Refunds – Mr. Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for February 2009 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for February 2009, as presented.
C. Tax Lien Report – Mr. Byrd reviewed the Tax Lien Report and requested it be accepted as the report listing delinquent tax bills that are liens on real property. Mr. Byrd also requested authorization for the advertisement of such liens.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to accept the Tax Lien Report and approve the advertising of the liens as presented by Mr. Byrd.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. License Plate Agency (Vetro Building) Lease Renewal – County Manager Nelson stated that the lease agreement with Vetro and Gable Properties, Inc., for the License Plate Agency office was to expire on October 2, 2009. The lease required a letter to be mailed three months in advance if the County wished to extend the lease. Per the original lease, the County had the option to extend the lease for two (2) two-year periods.
The Board discussed requesting an extension for the offer to purchase to run concurrent with the extension of the lease.
By consensus, the Board agreed to direct the County Manager and County Attorney to discuss options to renew with Vetro and Gable Properties.
B. Joint Meeting Request from Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute – Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute requested a joint meeting with their Board of Trustees and the Board of Commissioners on May 13, 2009, at 6:00 P.M.
By consensus, the Board agreed to a joint meeting with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Board of Trustees on May 13, 2009, at 6:00 P.M.
C. Discussion of Request to the Town of Boone for City Water for Brookshire Soccer Complex – County Manager Nelson stated that discussion was held at the Pre-Budget Retreat regarding the overall development of Brookshire Park as well as plans for the joint venture between the County, ASU, and the Soccer Association to provide for public bathrooms and a field house at the Soccer Complex. The County and University had previously approached the Town of Boone to request public water and sewer in July of 2008. At that time, public water was denied with the sewer service awarded as a hardship. It was anticipated that a private water system could be installed to serve the Complex field house and restrooms.
Currently, due to the size requirements to support the Complex area, a larger, private, pressurized system would need to be constructed with storage in the building. The County Manager stated that staff was of the opinion that it would cost a similar amount to construct a 6 or 8 inch main from the existing city water line to serve the Complex area should Boone choose to provide this connection. This plan was to allow for ample service to be available from the Town, at a future date, when plans were finalized for the development of affordable housing on the site. The County Manager stated that a request to appear at the Boone Town Council’s March 19th meeting had been sent due to the time constraints; however, if the Commissioners did not wish to pursue this option, the request could be withdrawn.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to authorize submission of a letter to the Town of Boone requesting to be on their March 19, 2009, agenda along with ASU to request city water as presented by the County Manager.
D. CM Contingency Request #’s 32-35 for New High School – County Manager Nelson stated that Mr. Kesterson, Construction Manager for Barnhill/Vannoy, forwarded Construction Management Contingency requests #’s 32-36. The first two, #’s 32 & 33, were for credits due to a duplicate order for flag poles as well as credit for dry wall that was not needed. The credits were for $7,691.19 and $3,300 respectively. Construction Management Contingency request # 34 was for a deduction of $1,441.30 for the addition of 4”x4” metal angle to be attached to the cast-in-place wall to allow for structural installation in the stairwells. Originally, a masonry wall was specified. Request # 35 was for a deduction of $4,600 to address clearance issues where entry doors swing in and conflict with placement of fire sprinkler heads. Request # 36 was a deduction in the amount of $16,887.85 which was needed to cover the “quick ship” of hollow metal door frames to maintain the progression of the construction schedule of the building.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to approve CM Contingency Request #’s 32-36 as submitted by Barnhill/Vannoy.
E. Board of Education Public School Capital Building Fund Request – County Manager Nelson stated that the School Board had requested approval to apply to the State for $93,750 from the Public School Capital Fund which required a $31,250 local match that was to come from the County’s Capital Reserve as earmarked for future school maintenance projects. This request was for renovation in the cafeteria of the Bethel Elementary School.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to approve the School Board’s request and the $31,250 in local match.
F. Proposed Endorsement of High County (COG) Regional Trail Plan – County Manager Nelson stated that the High Country Council of Governments requested approval and endorsement of their Regional Trail Plan. The County Manager also presented a letter from the Tourism Development Authority who, after review as requested by the Board of Commissioners, endorsed the Regional Plan.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve endorsement of the High Country Council of Governments Regional Trail Plan as recommended by the Tourism Development Authority.
G. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that the Blowing Rock Town Council recommended Mrs. Brenda Fairbetter to serve as the ETJ representative for both the Planning Board and Board of Adjustment.
County Manager Nelson stated that the W.A.M.Y. Community Action Board recommended that Ms. Gabrielle Micale be appointed to serve as a Watauga County representative to their Board.
The above were first readings and, therefore, no action was required at this time.
County Manager Nelson stated that the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) had two terms expiring in the near future. Mr. Rob Holton was willing to continue to serve; however, due to other commitments, the other member was not available for reappointment. The TDA offered the following three recommendations for the two appointments available: Mr. Rob Holton, Mr. Mike Hall, and Mr. Thad Taylor.
Written ballots were distributed, completed, and given to the Clerk who tallied them. Chairman Deal announced that Rob Holton and Mike Hall received the greatest number of votes.
Therefore, Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to appoint Rob Holton and Mike Hall to the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority each for three-year terms beginning March 1, 2009.
The Board of Commissioners also held the responsibility to appoint the Chairman for the TDA.
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to appoint Rob Holton as the Chairman of the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority.
County Manager Nelson stated that a Commissioner appointment to the Board of Directors for the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District was needed. The appointment was to coincide with Commissioner Futrelle’s term in office and the appointee must reside in the appointing Commissioner’s district and within the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District.
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to appoint Charles Anderson as his representative to the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District.
H. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) Regional District Meeting was scheduled for April 16, 2009, in Statesville.
County Manager Nelson announced that the National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference was scheduled for July 24-28, 2009, in Nashville/Davidson County, TN.
County Manager Nelson announced that the Cooperative Extension’s Report to the People was recently postponed due to inclement weather and rescheduled for April 20, 2009.
County Manager Nelson announced that the Watauga Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors invited the Board of Commissioners to join them for a country breakfast on Monday, April 6, 2009, at 8:00 A.M. in Conference Room C of the Cooperative Extension Building.
County Manager Nelson announced that the Department of Transportation had scheduled a meeting for local officials Thursday, March 26, 2009, from 4:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. at the Ashe County High School Cafeteria regarding the US 221 Improvement Study and immediately following, from 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. a Citizens Informational Workshop was to be held regarding the widening of US 221 from US 421 to US 221 Business/NC 88 R-2915.
There was no public comment.
At 8:08 P.M., Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3).
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to resume the open meeting at 8:55 P.M.
ACTION AFTER CLOSED SESSION
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to authorize the County Attorney to prepare a contract with High Country Biofuels Cooperative, Inc. (HCBC) with a one-year option to renew for both parties for one-third of an acre at the Landfill site with HCBC to be responsible for carrying a $1,000,000 bond; all Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) compliance and permitting issues; all local regulations; obtaining city water from the Town of Boone; the necessary amount of insurance or bond in the event of a spill.
The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 8:57 P.M.
Jim Deal, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board