WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, APRIL 2, 2019
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting, as scheduled, on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, at 8:30 A.M. in the Commissioners' Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building, Boone, North Carolina.
PRESENT: John Welch, Chairman
Billy Kennedy, Vice-Chairman
Larry Turnbow, Commissioner
Charlie Wallin, Commissioner
Perry Yates, Commissioner
Andrea Capua, County Attorney
Deron Geouque, County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Welch called the meeting to order at 8:35 A.M.
Commissioner Yates opened with a prayer and Vice-Chairman Kennedy led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Minutes
Chairman Welch called for additions and/or corrections to the March 19, 2019, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Vice-Chairman Kennedy, moved to approve the March 19, 2019, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Vice-Chairman Kennedy, moved to approve the March 19, 2019, closed session minutes as presented.
Approval of Agenda
Chairman Welch called for additions and/or corrections to the April 2, 2019, agenda.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to approve the April 2, 2019, agenda as presented.
Proposed Proclamation Establishing “Greening My Plate” Month
Ms. Margie Mansure, representing Cooperative Extension and Watauga Food Council, presented a proposed proclamation declaring the month of April 2019 as “Greening My Plate Month.” Mr. Bill Moretz, a local grower, was not able to attend the meeting due to a previous commitment. 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.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to adopt the proclamation as presented.
Frontier Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Update
Mr. Fred Steele, Ms. Kim Foley, and Mr. Jeff Whitaker, with Frontier Natural Gas, updated the Board on local projects by Frontier Natural Gas. Mr. Steele shared public awareness information and discussed training available for emergency personnel as offered by Mr. Whitaker. Mr. Whitaker stated that he had a natural gas training program available to teach for fire departments and first responders as well. Mr. Whitaker stated that he would like to hold a training session in the future for Board members and stated that it would be approximately two hours. Maps for upcoming projects were also shared. County Manager Geouque asked about running natural gas to the County jail. Ms. Foley stated that, due to recent lines being run, it would only be less than a mile to connect the jail. Ms. Foley stated that she was waiting on usage updates for the facility to determine if it would be cost effective for the County. The County Manager requested that they let the County know when working on projects so that office staff could answer calls correctly from citizens. Ms. Foley stated that Frontier also gives notice to areas that they are working in and they will go door to door to notify everyone. Mr. Steele stated that Frontier welcomes neighborhoods to host information sessions where project details can be shared with those near areas being worked in. Discussion was held on the availability to convert local schools to natural gas. Ms. Foley stated that she can do cost analysis for schools to see how long it would take to realize savings. The presentation was for information only and, therefore, no action was required.
A. Proposed Amendment to the Solid Waste Ordinance
Mr. Rex Buck, Operations Service Director, presented proposed amendments to the County’s Solid Waste Ordinance. The amendments were located in Article IV, Section (5) and (22) and incorporate a Municipal Solid Waste Collector definition. The changes are required to clarify the different types of waste generated in the County and how those wastes are collected. Mr. Buck recommended, per County policy, that a public hearing be scheduled for April 16, 2019, at 5:30 P.M. to allow for citizen comment on the proposed amendments.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to schedule a public hearing for Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at 5:30 P.M. to allow for citizen comment on the proposed amendments.
B. Proposed Changes to the Solid Waste Fee Schedule
Mr. Rex Buck presented proposed amendments to the fee schedule for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018-2019 and for Fiscal Year 2019-2020. Mr. Buck stated that beginning April 1, 2019, the disposal fees for the County increased by 9.1%. Mr. Buck stated that the proposed amendments included offsetting the 9.1% increase as well as an added fee for Municipal Solid Waste. Commissioner Yates asked if hours could be extended on Saturdays and Mr. Buck stated that they could not at this time, however, he was trying to do modifications that would allow for extended hours. County Manager Geouque stated that rather than having Community Pride for only a week or two a year it would be held every Saturday. Also, the two-thousand free pounds for citizens was not being cut. Mr. Buck stated that having Community Pride each Saturday would keep citizens from having to stock pile waste. Mr. Buck stated that Household Hazardous Waste Day events were being extended to 3:00 P.M. County Manager Geouque stated that he planned to meet with Town Managers so they can prepare their budgets according to the new Solid Waste Fee Schedule.
Commissioner Turnbow, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to approve the Solid Waste Fee Schedule as presented by Mr. Buck.
C. Brush Grinding and Screening Contracts
Mr. Rex Buck presented a request for rentals with Vermeer for a TG 5000 tub grinder and a TR 5300 trommel screen. The cost of the tub grinder is $41,593.25 for 2,500 tons of brush and $17,040.75 to process 6,500 cubic yards of mulch. Utilizing these pieces of equipment has proven to be more economical and provides for a more desirable product. Adequate funds are available in the current budget to cover the expense. Mr. Buck stated that mulch produced was free to citizens and he is looking for wholesalers as well.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to approve the rentals with Vermeer for a TG 5000 tub grinder and a TR 5300 trommel screen in the amounts of $41,593.25 and $17,040.75, respectively.
Mr. Robert Marsh, Maintenance Director, stated that the County realized $15,000 in savings by using mulch generated by the Sanitation Department this past Fall.
Change Order #1 For East Annex Roofing Project
Mr. Robert Marsh, Maintenance Director, present Change Order # 1 for the East Annex Roofing Project. The Change Order, in the amount of $4,713.66, was for work outside the scope of the original contract. The current project had a $5,500 contingency and accepting the change order would leave $786.34 unspent in the contingency. Mr. Marsh stated that the contractors got a late start on the project but worked through a horrible winter.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to approve Change Order # 1 for the East Annex Roof Project in the amount of $4,713.66 with funds to be allocated from the contract contingency.
Miscellaneous Administrative Matters
A. Proposed Lease Renewal with Cove Creek Preservation and Development
Cove Creek Preservation and Development has requested a new ten-year lease be prepared to replace the lease for the Old Cove Creek High School which is set to expire in 2022. The new lease would be for ten years and expire in 2029.
A proposed resolution authorizing the lease of a to the Cove Creek Preservation and Development all of that property known as the old Cove Creek School rock building, and Library, together with an area in front of said buildings to the paved street and together with an area in back of said buildings sufficient for maintenance purposes. Property owned by the County may be leased or rented for such terms and upon such conditions as the Board may determine, for up to ten (10) years. Property may be rented or leased only pursuant to a resolution of the Board authorizing the execution of the lease or rental agreement adopted at a regular Board meeting upon 10 days' public notice. Notice shall be given by publication describing the property to be leased or rented, stating the annual rental or lease payments, and announcing the Board's intent to authorize the lease or rental at a meeting after the ten day notice. Vice-Chairman Kennedy requested that trees on the property not be cut down as had been requested.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy moved to adopt the resolution as presented. The motion was withdrawn when Commissioner Yates moved to approve the lease to be amended by the County Attorney to include the tree stipulations. Clerk to the Board Fogle stated that the lease would be prepared for approval at the May 7, 2019, meeting which would allow time for the ten day public notice upon the adoption of the proposed resolution. Commissioner Yates withdrew his motion.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to adopt the resolution and direct the County Attorney to prepare the lease for approval at a future meeting after the ten day public notice time.
B. Boards and Commissions
County Manager Geouque stated that each Commissioner nominates a representative to the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District Board whose terms run concurrent with the term of the appointing Commissioner. Boone Rural Fire Service District Board members must own property and reside within that Fire Service District.
County Manager Geouque announced that the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) planned a series of District Meetings throughout the state this Spring.
There is no cost to attend the meetings, which begin at 5:00 P.M. and include dinner. Each meeting will conclude by 8:00 P.M. Following are the date, location, and topic for each meeting:
April 4 - Districts 16 & 17 Topic: Broadband
The Ramsey Center at Western Carolina University
92 Catamount Road
Cullowhee, NC 28723
April 8 - Districts 13 & 15 Topic: Jail Population & Diversion
Earl Scruggs Center
103 S Lafayette Street
Shelby, NC 28150
April 17 - Districts 14 & 18 Topic: DSS Issues
Wilkes County Agricultural Center
416 Executive Drive
Wilkesboro, NC 28697
April 23 - Districts 10 & 12 Topic: County Tier System
Rowan County Administration Building
130 W Innes Street
Salisbury, NC 28144
April 25 - Districts 9 & 11 Topic: Broadband
Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center
1192 US-64 BUS
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Mr. Fred Steele, Ms. Kim Foley, and Mr. Jeff Whitaker, with Frontier Natural Gas, inadvertently signed up to speak but had left the meeting prior to the scheduled Public Comment time; therefore, there were no public comments.
At 9:12 A.M., Commissioner Wallin, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3).
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to resume the open meeting at 9:39 A.M.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:39 A.M.
John Welch, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board