WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2000
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, December 4, 2000 at 9:00 A.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
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Libby Link, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Hodges called for additions or corrections to the November 21, 2000 regular and closed session meeting minutes.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting requested the following amendments: Outpatient Medical Care for Jail Inmates – The minutes reflected that a nurse from the Appalachian District Health Department (ADHD) provided medical care for inmates, and Vice-Chairman Sweeting requested that the minutes be corrected to reflect that a nurse practitioner provided the medical care. In addition, the minutes reflected that the County was paying the ADHD $30 per visit and were corrected to reflect that the County was paying the ADHD $30 per hour. The minutes were also corrected to note there was no coverage when Dr. Cranston was off, on vacation, or out of town.
In addition, Mr. Gary Rupard had addressed the Board voicing his concerns that the repeater located on Beech Mountain had not been moved to Tater Hill. Mr. Robert Marsh, Maintenance Supervisor, responded that the work on this site had begun and was a high priority, and Vice-Chairman Sweeting requested the minutes reflect Mr. Marsh’s statement.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the November 21, 2000 regular meeting minutes with the amendments as discussed and the closed session meeting minutes as presented.
A recess was declared at 9:05 A.M. for the swearing-in of newly elected Commissioners James Coffey, Jimmy Hodges and Pat Wilkie, which was held in Courtroom #1.
The meeting reconvened at 9:16 A.M. in the Board Room.
BOARD ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS
The meeting was turned over to County Manager Nelson for the election of a Chairman for the Watauga County Board of Commissioners.
A. Election of Officers. County Manager Nelson called for nominations for Chairman of the Watauga County Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, nominated Jimmy Hodges for Chairman. There being no other nominations a vote was taken.
VOTE: Aye-4 (Coffey, Lawrence, Sweeting, Wilkie)
The meeting was then turned over to Chairman Hodges.
Chairman Hodges called for nominations for Vice-Chairman of the Watauga County Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Wilkie seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, nominated Sue Sweeting for Vice-Chairman.
Prior to the vote, Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, nominated James Coffey for Vice-Chairman.
The following vote was then made on Commissioner Wilkie’s nomination (Sue Sweeting):
VOTE: Aye-2 (Sweeting, Wilkie)
Nay-3 (Coffey, Hodges, Lawrence)
The following vote was then made on Commissioner Lawrence’s nomination (James Coffey):
VOTE: Aye-3 (Coffey, Hodges, Lawrence)
Based on the results of the votes, James Coffey was declared Vice-Chairman.
B. Staff Appointments. Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to re-appoint Robert E. Nelson, Jr. as Watauga County Manager.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to re-appoint Elizabeth H. Link as Clerk to the Board and Darcy Moore as Substitute Clerk to the Board.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to re-appoint Jeffery M. Hedrick as Watauga County Attorney.
C. Fidelity Bonds. The following individual fidelity bonds were presented for approval:
Position Bond Amount Statutory Requirement
Finance Director $50,000 At least $10,000, no more
than $250,000 G.S. 159-29
Deputy Finance Director $50,000 Same as above
(Robert. E. Nelson, Jr.)
Tax Collector $50,000 Amount considered reasonable
by BCC G.S. 105-349-c
Register of Deeds $50,000 At least $10,000 but no more
than $50,000 G.S. 161-4
Sheriff $25,000 $25,000 maximum G.S. 162-8
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to approve the individual fidelity bonds as presented.
D. Commissioner-Boards & Commissions Appointments. The following Commissioner Board appointments were made:
Appalachian District Health Department Coffey
AppalCART Authority Wilkie
Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development Area Sweeting
Children’s Council/Child Protection Team Wilkie
Committee of 100 Hodges
Criminal Justice Partnership Wilkie
Economic Development Commission Hodges
EMS Advisory Committee Sweeting
Juvenile Crime Prevention Council Wilkie
Library Board Lawrence
Motor Vehicle Valuation Review Committee Hodges
New River Mental Health Coffey
Northwestern Regional Housing Authority Martin
(term expired 12/12/04)
POA Advisory Committee Lawrence
(Home & Community Care Block Grant)
Region D Council of Governments-Exec. Bd. Coffey
Job Training Consortium
Social Services Board Craig
(term expired 6/2001)
Volunteer Outreach Center Lawrence
Watauga Advisory Board (CCC&TI) Hodges
Watauga County Medical Center Board of Trustees Lawrence
Watauga County Fire Commission Sweeting
Watauga Opportunities, Inc. Coffey
Watauga County Recreation Commission Sweeting
E. Meeting Schedule. County Manager Nelson noted the Board’s current regular meeting dates were the first Monday of each month at 9:00 A.M. and the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 P.M. Mr. Nelson recommended the Board include a 45-minute public comment period at the Board’s second meeting each month since the Board had concluded its community meetings. The Board briefly discussed the pros and cons of conducting community meetings and agreed to discuss the matter further at the Board’s retreat (to be conducted early in 2001).
Following brief discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to include a 45-minute public comment period during the Board’s second meeting each month.
In addition, Commissioner Wilkie requested the Board change its first meeting date in January from January 2, 2001 to January 5, 2001. She explained that she had previously made vacation plans with her family that could not be changed. In addition, Commissioner Wilkie was not present at the Board’s November 21, 2000 regular meeting when the Board changed the January 1, 2001 regular meeting date to January 2, 2001 (due to the New Year’s Day holiday). The Board had set a policy that if a Board member had to be absent from a regularly scheduled Board meeting that it was not required to change the Board’s regular meeting dates.
Following brief discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to change the Board’s January 2, 2001 regular meeting to Friday, January 5, 2001, in the Commissioners’ Board Room, County Courthouse.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the December 4, 2000 agenda as presented.
JUVENILE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL GRANT REQUEST
Ms. Melissa Johnson, Chair of the Watauga County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) addressed the Board regarding additional funding that was available for the County’s JCPC. Ms. Johnson explained that the N.C. Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention had allocated additional “Expansion Funds” for local JCPCs across the State. Watauga County was eligible to receive $6,880. She stated the JCPC’s Allocation Committee had met and recommended the additional funding be allocated as follows: $4,880 to Project Challenge and $2,000 to Watauga Youth Network. Ms. Johnson noted no County match was required, and Board approval was requested to amend the County’s JCPC funding plan in order to accept the additional allocation.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to approve this request.
PHASE II WEBSITE/INTERNET PROPOSAL
Ms. Glenda Duncan, Information Technologies Manager, addressed the Board regarding Phase II of the County’s Web site. Ms. Duncan stated the County’s official Web site (Phase I) went online July 1, 2000. Appalachian Regional Development Institute (ARDI) performed the technical development, and over the past few months, corrections and revisions had been made to improve the quality of the site. Ms. Duncan explained that the County was prepared to proceed to Phase II. She had been very pleased with the work that ARDI had performed during Phase I, and ARDI had submitted a proposal in the amount of $22,070 to complete Phase II. Ms. Duncan added that ARDI hoped to have Phase II implemented by April, 2001. Funds had been appropriated in the current year’s budget to cover this expense, and Ms. Duncan requested the Board’s approval contingent upon County Attorney Hedrick’s review of the contract.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to approve the contract with Appalachian Regional Development Institute for Phase II of the County’s official Web site contingent upon County Attorney Hedrick’s approval.
SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT MATTERS
Prisoner Meals Proposal – Sheriff James C. “Red” Lyons reviewed the proposed contract with Watauga Medical Center (WMC) to provide meals for the County’s jail inmates effective December 1, 2000 through November 30, 2001. Watauga Medical Center had provided this service for the County since December 1, 1998. Sheriff Lyons informed the Board that County Manager Nelson had negotiated better meal prices, and WMC had agreed to reduce the meal costs per day by 10%. Other than the costs per meals, the contract remained the same. The following prices would be charged for the meals:
$2.36 per breakfast meal
$3.50 per lunch meal
$3.50 per supper meal
Sheriff Lyons stated the reduction in meal prices would save the County approximately $6,420 for the remainder of the current fiscal year and requested the Board’s approval.
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to renew the contract with Watauga Medical Center for the meal provision to inmates at the County’s jail commencing December 1, 2000 through November 30, 2001.
DARE Program Request – Sheriff James C. “Red” Lyons addressed the Board with a request to hire an additional undercover drug officer for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Sheriff Lyons stated that due to a shortage in manpower in the Sheriff’s Department, the DARE Program was suspended in the County’s elementary schools. Sheriff Lyons requested the Board’s permission to allow budget revisions in the Sheriff’s Department existing budget to fund a drug officer from January 1, 2001 through June 30, 2001 as follows:
Salary for Drug Officer through June 30, 2001:
Grade 63, Step 1 $12,117
Fringe Benefits (32%) $ 3,877
Sheriff Lyons reviewed the following budget revisions to cover the costs for an additional employee through June 30, 2001:
Food savings for seven months @ $917 $ 6,420
Savings thus far on salary line item due to turnover of employees $ 6,730
Transfer from Substance Abuse Fund line item $ 2,850
Sheriff Lyons noted it was his decision to suspend the DARE Program, and he had received letters from teachers, parents and students voicing their concerns that the DARE Program had been suspended in the schools. Sheriff Lyons felt the DARE Program needed to be reinstated in the schools and requested the Board’s approval to amend the Sheriff’s Department existing budget for this purpose.
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve an additional undercover drug officer through June 30, 2001 and to consider recommendation of request for approval to add this position to the County’s Position Classification Plan as a regular full time position during the Board’s Fiscal Year 2001-2002 budget process.
Travel Training Request – Captain Paula Townsend addressed the Board regarding a travel request for paid leave while on travel and training at the FBI’s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. (This request was first discussed with the Board at its September 5, 2000 regular meeting and was declined). Captain Townsend noted she was the only person selected to represent Watauga County. In addition, she stated only six individuals were selected from North Carolina, and she was the only female selected. Captain Townsend added the nine-week course (January 7, 2001 through March 16, 2001) was the most elite law enforcement academy. However, she did not have the resources to attend the Academy without compensation from the County. Ms. Townsend stated she had been employed with the Sheriff’s Department since 1986 and intended to retire in Watauga County. It was noted that Captain Townsend’s salary was in the current fiscal year’s budget, and therefore, this request would not require additional funds. County Manager Nelson briefly reviewed the County’s educational leave policy with the Board. Captain Townsend stated it had always been the Sheriff’s Department goal to serve the citizens of Watauga County as effectively as possible and, therefore, requested permission to attend this Academy with the Board’s full support. Commissioner Wilkie questioned whether it was possible to require Captain Townsend to remain in the County’s employment for a specified period of time upon completion of the training session and asked County Attorney Hedrick to research.
Several Board members congratulated Captain Townsend for being selected to attend this Academy. In addition, the Board commended Sheriff Lyons for reinstating the DARE Program in the County’s elementary schools.
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to grant this request.
A. Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of November, 2000.
B. Refunds & Releases – Tax Administrator McLean presented the following Refunds and Releases for November, 2000 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report as presented.
Finance Director, Doris Isaacs, presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
219930-461200 Recreation Facilities 50,000
219800-498010 Transfer to General Fund 50,000
103980-398121 Transfer from Cap. Reserve 50,000
106125-469500 Contracted Ser.-Land Dev. 50,000
Budget amendment to recognize the transfer of funds from the Capital Reserve Fund to the General Fund for the Community Grant awards approved at the Board’s November 21, 2000 regular meeting.
Account # Description Debit Credit
143531-323000 Admn. Cost Reimb.-Fed./State 48,797
145310-412100 Salaries-Regular 11,159
145310-412600 Salaries-Part-time 7,638
145410-440004 TANF-Domestic Violence 30,000
Budget amendment to recognize additional federal funds to supplement administrative costs for TANF child welfare staffing, temporary part-time funds for energy program administration and funding for TANF domestic violence expenses.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103300-343302 Emerg. Mgt.-Supplemental 3,500
104330-451000 Capital Outlay-Equip. 3,500
To recognize a grant award of $3,500 awarded to the Emergency Management Department to purchase a portable programmable repeater to improve communications at the Emergency Operations Center.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
DISCUSSION OF PLANNING BOARD RECOMMENDATION/REPORT ON ZONING
Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, addressed the Board regarding the Planning Board’s recommendation/report on zoning. Mr. Furman noted the Board had received a report in October, 2000 from the Planning Board, but to date, the Planning Board had no recommendations for the Board of Commissioners’ consideration. Mr. Furman briefly discussed the criteria for establishing a moratorium. Mr. Ric Mattar, Chairman of the County’s Planning Board, stated the Planning Board had discussed different types of zoning but needed more focus, because the term “zoning” was very broad. Mr. Mattar stated the Planning Board would like to conduct another joint work session with the Board of Commissioners in order to receive additional guidance.
Following brief discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to conduct a special meeting with the Planning Board on December 18, 2000 at 5:30 P.M. in the Commissioners’ Board Room to discuss zoning.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. I-Have-A-Dream Week Proclamation – County Manager Nelson stated a request had been received from Mary K. Gray, Chairperson of the I-Have-A-Dream Task Force, to proclaim January 12-21, 2001 as I-Have-A-Dream Week in Watauga County.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to proclaim January 12-21, 2001 as I-Have-A-Dream Week in Watauga County.
B. Register of Deeds Salary – County Manager Nelson noted that the Board had taken action, prior to candidates filing for election to the office of Register of Deeds, to set a base salary for this position. (The Board at its December 21, 1999 regular meeting adopted a resolution for this purpose). The current Register of Deeds, Wanda Critcher Scott, was re-elected and action should be taken to set her salary, currently at $46,998. Mr. Nelson recommended the Board’s approval of this amount.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to set the current Register of Deeds, Wanda Critcher Scott’s, salary at $46,998.
C. Boards & Commissions – The following members’ terms expired December 31, 2000 on the Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees: Lynn Castle, Dwight Critcher, Karen Hastings and Bill Moretz. County Manager Nelson stated the following nominations had been received from the Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees for the Board’s consideration: Susan Barber, Robert Bumgarner, Lynn Castle, Armfield Coffey, Dwight Critcher, Connie Higby, Bill Moretz and Jan Winkler. The following votes were made:
Chairman Hodges – Lynn Castle, Dwight Critcher, Bill Moretz, Jan Winkler
Vice-Chairman Coffey – Lynn Castle, Dwight Critcher, Bill Moretz, Jan Winkler
Commissioner Lawrence – Lynn Castle, Dwight Critcher, Bill Moretz, Jan Winkler
Commissioner Sweeting – Connie Higby, Bill Moretz, Jan Winkler, Susan Barber
Commissioner Wilkie – Susan Barber, Robert Bumgarner, Lynn Castle, Connie Higby
Based on the results of the vote, Jan Winkler was appointed to the Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees for a three-year term and Lynn Castle, Dwight Critcher and Bill Moretz were re-appointed to the Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees for three-year terms.
Watauga County Planning Board – Commissioner Coffey re-appointed Weldon Critcher as the District 2 representative, Commissioner Wilkie re-appointed Diane Tilson as the District 5 representative, and Chairman Hodges nominated Jack Simpson as the District 3 representative. (The terms would be concurrent with the term of the Commissioner elected to represent the district).
Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District Board of Directors – Commissioner Coffey re-appointed Weldon Critcher as the District 2 representative, and Chairman Hodges re-appointed Bobby Jones as the District 3 representative. Commissioner Wilkie stated she was not able to reach Floyd Fuller regarding his re-appointment. Therefore, it was the consensus of the Board to consider the appointment of a representative from District 5 at a future meeting.
County Manager Nelson noted there was a vacancy on the Region D Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council and vacancies on the Watauga County Parks & Recreation Commission for future appointments.
D. Region D Council of Governments Development Corporation Resolution – County Manager Nelson noted that Region D Council of Governments (COG) requested approval of a resolution which, if approved, would allow the Region COG Development Corporation to function in the delivery of the Samll Business Administration 504 Loan Program within Region D COG.
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve this resolution.
RESOLUTION BOOK #10, PAGE #46
E. Legislative Goals Conference Voting Delegate – County Manager Nelson noted the N.C. Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) would have a Legislative Goals Conference January 11-12, 2001 in Pinehurst. The NCACC requested each Board of Commissioners to designate a Commissioner or other official as a voting delegate during the Conference. County Manager Nelson informed the Board that Vice-Chairman Coffey planned to attend the Conference.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to designate Vice-Chairman Coffey as the voting delegate for the 2001 Legislative Goals Conference.
F. Board of Commissioners’ Retreat Discussion – The Board had conducted a retreat on Friday, March 17, 2000 from 6:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. and on Saturday, March 18, 2000 from 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. Mr. Nelson felt the retreat was very productive and requested the Board consider conducting a retreat to be held over a weekend in mid-January or February, 2001.
Following brief discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to schedule a retreat for the weekend of February 2-3, 2001 at a location to be determined.
G. Announcements – County Manager Nelson reminded the Board that the County’s holiday luncheon was scheduled for Thursday, December 14, 2000 at the Dan’l Boone Inn from 12:00-2:00 P.M.
In addition, Mr. Nelson reminded the Board that the 2001 Legislative Goals Conference of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners would be held on January 11-12, 2001 at the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in Pinehurst.
Commissoner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:25 A.M.
Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
Elizabeth H. Link, Clerk to the Board