WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, APRIL 5, 2016
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting, as scheduled, on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, at 8:30 A.M. in the Commissioners' Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building, Boone, North Carolina.
PRESENT: Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
David Blust, Vice-Chairman
Billy Kennedy, Commissioner
John Welch, Commissioner
Perry Yates, Commissioner
Stacy C. Eggers, IV, County Attorney
Deron Geouque, County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges called the meeting to order at 8:30 A.M.
Commissioner Yates opened the meeting with a prayer and Commissioner Welch led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Minutes
Chairman Hodges called for additions and/or corrections to the March 1, 2016, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to approve the March 1, 2016, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to approve the March 1, 2016, closed session minutes as presented.
Approval of Agenda
Chairman Hodges called for additions and/or corrections to the April 5, 2016, agenda.
County Manager Geouque requested to add possible action after closed session regarding the recent Board of Adjustment ruling regarding the Maymead Asphalt Plant.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the April 5, 2016, agenda as amended.
Proposed Proclamation Establishing Greening My Plate Month
Mr. Bill Moretz presented a proposed proclamation declaring the month of April 2016 as “Greening My Plate Month.” The purpose of the proclamation is to bring awareness to the benefits of locally grown fruits and vegetables and recognize and celebrate the farmers who provide this produce. Mr. Moretz also announced that the indoor winter’s farmer’s market was going well.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to adopt the proclamation as presented.
Update on Indoor Practice Facility at Watauga High School
Mr. Jay Jackson updated the Board regarding the indoor practice facility to be located at the Watauga High School. Mr. Jackson stated that the site plan changed with the facility to now be located near the existing concessions building. The building would also change in size (from 5,000 square feet to approximately 4,800 square feet) to accommodate for the nearby existing structure. The update was given for information only.
W.A.M.Y. Community Action, Inc., Community Needs Assessment Report
Ms. Melissa Soto, W.A.M.Y. Executive Director, introduced Ms. Susanne Schneider, a master of social work student, who shared the results of a recently completed comprehensive community needs assessment. The report was given for information only.
Project on Aging Matters
A. Senior Community Service Employment Program Request
Ms. Julie Wiggins, High Country Area Agency on Aging, requested authorization to participate in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). The program subsidizes employment for individuals 55 years of age and older who are within the 125% of the federal poverty level. The County has previously utilized workers from the program. The program would require a $5,460 local match. The match would leverage five (5) workers for placement in the County. There is no guarantee that all of the workers would be placed with the County but there is a strong potential for at least two to three of the workers to be placed with the County. However, even if the workers were not specifically placed with the County departments, they would still be serving the community through non-profit agencies. The value of that placement would range from $14,000 to $21,000; exceeding the local match requirement.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to authorize the participation in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) and to allocate the $5,460 local match from the administrative contingency fund.
B. Update on the FY 2016 Senior’s Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
Ms. Angie Boitnotte, Project on Aging Director, introduced Ms. Jennifer Teague, Senior Center Director, who updated the Board on the Senior’s Health Insurance Information Program (SHIPP) and the benefits achieved in the current fiscal year. The report was given for information only.
Sheriff’s Office Matters
A. Proposed Solicitation Ordinance
Sheriff Hagaman and County Attorney Eggers presented and reviewed a draft solicitation ordinance which would regulate panhandling in the County. County Attorney Eggers stated that no fee would be charged as a fee was not constitutionally allowed. Sheriff Hagaman stated that a list of local resources would be made available to those applying for a permit. Sheriff Hagaman also stated that he agreed with the ordinance and enforcement of the ordinance would not place much additional work on his deputies.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to schedule a public hearing to allow citizen comment on the proposed ordinance for Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at 5:30 P.M.
B. Vehicle Purchase Request
Captain Kelly Redmon requested approval to purchase two new (2) new 2016 Ford Police Interceptor AWD SUVs in the amount of $65,758 including taxes, tags, and full outfit of the vehicles. The vehicles would replace ones that had been wrecked or were experiencing significant maintenance issues. Funds have been identified in the motor vehicle fuel line item and insurance payments have been received for vehicles that were totaled at no fault of the Sheriff’s Office. Due to the lower fuel costs and estimating the amount required to complete the fiscal year staff is comfortable utilizing these funds to procure the necessary vehicles.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to authorize the purchase of two (2) new 2016 Ford Police Interceptor AWD SUVs in the amount of $65,758 including taxes, tags, and full outfit of the vehicles.
A. Proposed Community Pride Week Proclamation
Ms. Heather Bowen, Recycling Coordinator, presented a proposed proclamation declaring Monday, May 9, through Saturday, May 14, 2016, as Community Pride Week in Watauga County. The event is conducted each year by Sanitation staff and has proved to be very popular with the County's citizens.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to adopt the proclamation declaring the week of May 9 - May 14, 2016, as Community Pride Week in Watauga County.
B. Grand Opening of Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility
Ms. Bowen invited the Board to the grand opening for the new household hazardous waste collection facility which would be held on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 10:00AM next to the recycling center located at the landfill. The new facility will allow for improved service and more opportunities for County citizens to dispose of household hazardous waste.
Proposed Amendments to the Sign Ordinance
Mr. Joe Furman, Planning Director, stated that the Planning Board recently approved changes to the County’s sign ordinance and is requesting the Board of Commissioners adopt the recommended changes. The changes were in response to the U.S. Supreme Court case Reed versus the Town of Gilbert, Arizona. Mr. Ric Mattar, Planning Board Chairman, stated that all signs were covered under free speech and had to be regulated content-neutral. It is permissible to regulate size, number, location, and differentiate between temporary and permanent and commercial and residential. The draft ordinance reflects these standards and was guided by the Signage Foundation, Inc. Mr. Furman reviewed a few additional changes recommended by the County Attorney.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to schedule a public hearing to allow for citizen comment on the proposed amendments to the sign ordinance for Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at 5:30 P.M.
A. Request for Engineering/Special Inspections Testing Agreement
Mr. Robert Marsh, Maintenance Director, stated that engineering review and special inspections testing are required as part of the new medic base construction. Concrete, steel fabrication, masonry construction and soil compaction testing will be conducted and are outside the scope of services provided by the contractor and architect to ensure unbiased results.
Staff solicited Requests for Qualifications in which GeoHydro was selected from the proposals submitted. Staff did contact Wilkes County as a reference for GeoHydro as they provided the testing and reviews for their jail facility. Wilkes County was satisfied with the services provided by GeoHydro. A contract will be forthcoming.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to approve GeoHydro as the engineering firm to provide the special inspections and testing required for the new medic base.
B. 2016 Anderson Building Roof Replacement Matters
1. Request for Exemption of Quality Based Selection Process for the Procurement of Engineering Services
2. Procurement of Engineering Services
Mr. Marsh stated that during the annual budget retreat direction was given to move forward with occupying the old AppalCART (Anderson) Building. In order to begin that process a new roof was required. Code requires the design process be completed by a registered engineer due to the fact that the structure of the building may be altered depending on the choice of the roofing system.
North Carolina General Statute 143-64.31 requires the hiring of architectural, engineering, surveying, construction management at risk services, design-build services, and public-private partnership construction services to be selected on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualification for the type of professional services required without regard to fee. However, NCGS 143-64.32 allows for an exemption on the above requirement in writing where an estimated professional fee is in an amount less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). The estimated fee is projected to be less than $23,000.
Staff is recommending the Board hire Metal Roofing Consultants (MRC) for the Anderson Building roof project. MRC has worked for the County in the past. Further, MRC has completed projects for Appalachian State University, BREMCO, Mabel and Cove Creek Elementary Schools, Old Cove Creek GYM, and Watauga High School. Based on MRC’s familiarity with the project and its past experience with the County and other local organizations; staff recommends the Board approve MRC to provide engineering services, contingent upon County Attorney review, for an amount not to exceed $23,000.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to exempt the project from NCGS 143-64.31 as the project fee will be less than $50,000.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve Metal Roofing Consultants (MRC) to provide engineering services based on MRC’s familiarity with the project and its past experience with the County and other local organizations contingent upon County Attorney review, for an amount not to exceed $23,000.
A. Monthly Collections Report
Tax Administrator Larry Warren presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of February 2016. This report was presented for information only and, therefore, no action was required.
B. Refunds and Releases
Mr. Warren presented the Refunds and Releases Report for February 2016 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for February 2016, as presented.
C. Board of Equalization and Review Schedule
Mr. Larry Warren, Tax Administrator, discussed the scheduling of the 2016 Board of Equalization and Review (E&R). The Board may create a special Board of Equalization and Review that will serve this spring. In previous years, the Board was incorporated to include the County Manager as an alternate member. A proposed resolution was presented for consideration, should the Board wish to have the County Manager serve as an alternate member.
Mr. Warren recommended the convening date for the Board of Equalization and Review of April 18, 2016, at 2:30 P.M. in the County Commissioners Conference room. Adjournment of the Board was recommended to be scheduled for Friday, May 20, 2016, at 7:00 P.M. in the County Commissioners Conference room. Mr. Warren also presented a list of potential dates for meetings of the Board.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to adopt the resolution establishing the 2016 Board of Equalization and Review (E&R) and setting compensation for members at $75.00 per meeting and to convene the Board of Equalization and Review on Monday, April 18, 2016, at 2:30 P.M. and adjourn on Friday, May 20, 2016, at 7:00 P.M.
A. Proposed Resolution Authorizing the Sale of Lot 314 Twin Rivers Development
Ms. Margaret Pierce, Finance Director, requested the Board adopt a resolution authorizing the sale of a 2.01 acre lot located in the Twin Rivers Development in Foscoe. The Board had declared the property surplus. The current high bid for the property is $12,000 as received by the County Manager. Staff recommended the Board reject the high bid submitted by George Thomas Thompson (high bidder) in the amount of $12,000 and advertise the property on GovDeals to maximize the purchase price.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to reject the current bid on Lot 314 Twin Rivers Development from George Thomas Thompson and to adopt the enclosed resolution authorizing the sale of the listed property and to advertise the property with GovDeals with a minimum bid of $12,000.
B. Proposed Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) Budget Amendment
Ms. Pierce requested the Board approve a revised Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) FY 2015-16 Funding Allocation form. Watauga County JCPC received an additional $85 and funds allocated to the Crossnore School will not be utilized. Therefore, JCPC recommends transferring $7,990 in State funds and $2,397 in County funds to Project Challenge and the same amount to Western Youth Network. No additional County funding is required.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council budget amendment as presented by Ms. Pierce.
Miscellaneous Administrative Matters
A. Board of Education Request for COLA Funding
County Manager Geouque stated that each year the County budgets the projected COLA for the School Board in a separate line item to cover the amount later established by the State. The County budgeted $95,263 or a 1.5% COLA, however the State provided a $750 flat amount which totaled $154,733.41. The difference between the budgeted amount of $95,263 and the actual of $154,733.41 was $59,470.41.
Historical experience has been for the County to provide the COLA amount for the non-state positions when the State has awarded a COLA.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to authorize the additional $59,470.41 from the administrative contingency to pay for the COLA for the non-state positions of Watauga County School employees.
B. Proposed Update to Social Services Records Retention and Disposition Schedule
County Manager Geouque stated that the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources recently amended the County Social Services Records Retention and Disposition Schedule. Staff recommended approval of the changes.
County Attorney Eggers suggested the “Agency Policy: Destroy in office after ____” sections be filled in with “one day.”
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to adopt the Social Services Records Retention and Disposition Schedule as presented with the “Agency Policy: Destroy in office after” time period to be set at “one day.”
C. Proposed Cell Phone Policy for the Courthouse
County Manager Geouque stated that Judge Gavenus had proposed a cellphone policy for the courthouse. Staff understands that policy would prohibit cellphones in the courthouse facility with some exceptions. Judge Gavenus is requesting review and comments on the proposed policy. Prohibition of cellphones in the courthouse facility has the potential to cause significant inconveniences for citizens utilizing the courthouse for other purposes such as the Tax Office, Register of Deeds, IT, and Board Elections.
The County Manager stated that a courthouse security meeting was held in which the topic of cellphones was discussed along with the access to the side entrance to the courthouse and attorney access to the District Attorney’s Office. Local Attorney, Nathan Miller, presented a proposed resolution requesting cellphones be allowed in the courthouse with the exception of the courtrooms. Local Attorneys, Nathan Miller and Dustin Stacy, also requested the Board allow access to the side entrance of the courthouse for those Attorneys who were given access to the District Attorney’s Office. The County Manager provided a copy of NCGS 153A-169 which could be used when considering possible options.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to adopt the Resolution to Allow Mobile and/or Cellular Telephones in County Buildings as presented.
County Attorney Eggers stated that the Board may wish to speak to the Judge prior to taking action; however, the Board could statutorily adopt the resolution.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to allow attorneys with access cards for the District Attorney’s Office to also have access to the side door entrance of the Courthouse.
VOTE: Aye-4(Hodges, Blust, Welch, Yates)
D. Boards and Commissions
The Watauga Community Housing Trust Board of Directors appointments are due for reappointment. The Commissioners appoint organizations to the Board; the organizations then designate an individual to be the representative. The expiring seats are for Town of Boone, Appalachian Regional Health Care System, and Habitat for Humanity. It is requested that these organizations be reappointed. The terms are two years.
Janet Beck has resigned from the Board of Adjustment. Her 3-year term was set to expire in November. She is an at-large appointee. The Commissioners have the option of appointing someone to finish the term or to make a new 3-year appointment that would expire in November, 2019.
The above were all first readings and, therefore, no action was required.
County Manager Geouque announced the following:
· A dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting will be held on Monday, April 8, 2016, at 4:00 P.M. to celebrate the formal opening of the greenway connecting Brookshire Park (traveling under U.S. 421) to the adjacent paddle access for the South Fork of the New River. The ceremony is sponsored by Watauga County and the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce.
· A Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day will be held on Thursday, April 14, 2016, from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. at the new collection facility.
· Project on Aging invites Board members to attend their Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, from 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. at the Blue Ridge Electric Community Room.
The following spoke during public comment:
Leigh Ann Henion
Cheri Hampton Smith
At 10:56 A.M., Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3).
[Clerk’s Note: The recent Board of Adjustment ruling in the Maymead/Hampton case was discussed during closed session as well as the Town of Boone vs. North Carolina General Assembly (ETJ case).]
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to resume the open meeting at 12:04 P.M.
Possible Action After Closed Session Regarding
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to appeal the Board of Adjustment ruling in the Maymead/Hampton Asphalt Plant case.
After Commissioners comments, the following vote was taken:
VOTE: Aye-2(Kennedy, Welch)
Nay-3(Hodges, Blust, Yates)
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to adjourn the meeting at 12:20 P.M.
Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board