WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2019
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting, as scheduled, on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at 5:30 P.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
Anthony di Santi, County Attorney
Deron Geouque, County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Welch called the meeting to order at 5:30 P.M.
Commissioner Yates opened with a prayer and Vice-Commissioner Kennedy led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Chairman Welch expressed condolences to the Francis Pressly family upon his recent passing.
Approval of Minutes
Chairman Welch called for additions and/or corrections to the November 6, 2019, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to approve the November 6, 2019, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Approval of the closed session minutes was tabled until later in the meeting to allow for an amendment by Vice-Chairman Kennedy to be considered.
Approval of Agenda
Chairman Welch called for additions and/or corrections to the November 19, 2019, agenda.
Chairman Welch tabled Item # 5 “Proposed Amendments to the Valle Crucis Historic District Ordinance” to allow time for the School Board to receive test results on the property it is considering for the new school.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to approve the November 19, 2019, agenda as amended.
North Carolina Recreation and Parks Association (NCRPA) Matters
A. Presentation of the NCRPA Healthy Plan and Recreation Initiative Grant
Ms. Michelle Wells, Executive Director of the NC Recreation and Parks Association, presented the County with the NCRPA Healthy Plan and Recreation Initiative Grant for new playground equipment at Rocky Knob Park.
The $70,000 grant has a fifty percent (50%) match that will be provided by the Watauga County TDA. County staff has already removed the old playground.
Ms. Michelle Wells, thanked the Board and offered congratulations to the Board for the Community Recreation Center which is currently under construction. Ms. Wells stated that the Community Recreation Center resulted from great foresight and would be a showcase for North Carolina as well as the East Coast.
B. Presentation of the NCRPA Fellow Award to Mr. Stephen Poulos
Mr. Lee Tillery, NCRPA President-Elect and Parks and Recreation Director in High Point, NC, recognized Mr. Stephen Poulos, Watauga County Parks and Recreation Director, as this year’s recipient of the NCRPA Fellow Award. Mr. Tillery stated that the Fellow Award was the highest award the Association could bestow on one of its members for outstanding service and leadership.
Mr. Keith Jenkins, NCRPA President, commended the County’s new Community Recreation Center. Mr. Jenkins then presented Mr. Stephen Poulos with the North Carolina Recreation and Parks Association Fellow Award. Mr. Jenkins shared that Mr. Poulos has been with Watauga County since 1992, became Director of the Department in 2002, and served as the NCRPA President in 2014. Mr. Poulos always serves and volunteers when asked.
Mr. Poulos accepted the award sharing that he credits his family, staff, and the community for supporting him throughout the years. Mr. Poulos stated that he was honored, humbled, and shocked.
Chairman Welch congratulated Mr. Poulos on behalf of the Board.
Proposed Amendments to the Valle Crucis Historic District Ordinance
This item was tabled under the amended agenda.
A. Monthly Collections Report
Tax Administrator, Mr. Larry Warren, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of October 2019. The 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 October 2019 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for October 2019 as presented.
Miscellaneous Administrative Matters
A. Humane Society Loan Refinance Request
County Manager Geouque stated that the Humane Society had requested to have the loan on their facility refinanced by the County. The current principal balance on the loan is $373,355.86 and has no prepayment penalty. If the Board decided to pay off the reaming balance the principal and any accrued interest since the last payment would be due. Should the Board wish to pay off the remaining loan and issue a new loan staff would recommend the interest rate to be set at three percent (3%) with a term of ten (10) years. This arrangement would allow the County to receive a slightly higher rate than what is currently being offered in the County’s investment portfolio. In addition, staff would recommend that the payments be made monthly as currently is the practice which would assist the Humane Society’s cash flow. The new rate would also cut the Humane Society’s monthly payment approximately into half of the current amount.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to approve the loan refinance for the Human Society as requested.
By consensus, the Board directed the County Attorney and County Manager to prepare the necessary documentation for signature.
B. Boards and Commissions
County Manager Geouque presented the following:
Watauga County Planning Board
The four (4) year At-large Planning Board term of Mr. Jamie Hodges will expire in December. Mr. Hodges does not wish to be reappointed. Volunteer Applications from Mr. David Hill, Mr. Chuck Phillips, and Ms. Kimmy Tiedemann were presented for consideration. These were first readings and, therefore, no action was taken.
County Manager Geouque announced the following:
· The Annual Employee Christmas Lunch will be held at Dan’l Boone Inn on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, from 11:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. The first lunch group will begin at 11:30 A.M. and the second lunch group will begin at 1:00 P.M.
· The Register of Deeds, Clerk of Court, and Tax Office invites you to join them for holiday breakfast on Friday, December 13, 2019, from 8:30 to 10:00 A.M. in the hallway between the Clerk of Court and Register of Deeds offices.
· The Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative 2020 Conference will be held on Saturday, May 16, 2020, at Watauga High School. The Opening Keynote Speaker will be Brandon Wrencher and the Keynote Speaker will be Allison Sampson-Jackson. Pre-registration will begin on February 1, 2020.
Mr. Lyle Schoenfeldt shared comments regarding the new Valle Crucis School including that he is in support of a new school but questioned the proposed location.
Chairman Welch welcomed Mr. Doug Matheson, Blowing Rock Town Councilman, who was in attendance.
At 6:01 P.M., Commissioner Wallin, seconded by Vice-Chairman Kennedy, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3) and Land Acquisition, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(i).
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to resume the open meeting at 6:39 P.M.
Possible Action After Closed Session
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to adopt the November 6, 2019, closed session minutes as amended.
Commissioner Wallin, seconded by Vice-Chairman Kennedy, moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:41 P.M.
John Welch, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board