WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2020
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting, as scheduled, on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, at 8:30 A.M. remotely with the meeting originating in the Commissioners’ Conference Room located in the Watauga County Administration Building, Boone, North Carolina.
Chairman Welch called the remote electronic meeting to order at 8:37 A.M. All votes were taken by roll call. The following were present:
PRESENT VIA ELECTRONIC MEANS:
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
Commissioner Wallin opened with a prayer and Commissioner Turnbow led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Minutes
Chairman Welch called for additions and/or corrections to the July 21, 2020, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to approve the July 21, 2020, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to approve the July 21, 2020, closed session minutes as presented.
Approval of Agenda
Chairman Welch called for additions and/or corrections to the August 4, 2020, agenda.
Commissioner Turnbow, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to approve the August 4, 2020, agenda as presented.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Community Update
Ms. Jennifer Greene, AppHealthCare Director, provided an update on the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The report was for information only and, therefore, no action was required.
School Board Request to Amend the Valle Crucis Historic District Ordinance
County Manager Geouque stated that at the July 21, 2020, meeting, Dr. Scott Elliott, Watauga County School Superintendent, presented a resolution by the Watauga County Board of Education authorizing the acquisition of property located in the Valle Crucis area for a new elementary school. The parcel number of the property was 1980-26-1517 and is approximately 14.4 acres at a cost of $1,105,000. At that time, Dr. Elliott, on behalf of the Watauga County Board of Education, requested the Board of Commissioners adopt the Valle Crucis Historic District Ordinance with the following text amendments as follows:
· 2.3 Exemption of Bona Fide Farms and Public Schools. This ordinance shall not be applicable to bona fide farms, but any use of farm property for non-farm purposes is subject to the regulations. Bona Fide Farm purposes include production of crops, fruits, vegetables, ornamental and flowering plants, dairy, poultry and all other forms of agricultural products having a domestic or foreign market.
· Sections 2.4, 2.5 shall not be applicable to public schools.
After discussion, Chairman Welch stated that the Board could choose to adopt the Statement of Plan Consistency and text amendment as presented or with modifications; table action to another meeting; or deny the proposed amendments.
County Manager Geouque clarified that the Board had tabled action at their last meeting to allow opportunity for those who wished to submit public comment.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to adopt the Board of Commissioners Statement of Plan of Consistency marked with “Approval of the Request” checked.
Commissioner Turnbow, Seconded by Vice-Chairman Kennedy, moved to adopt the amended Valle Crucis Historic District Ordinance as presented.
Emergency Services Matters
A. Proposed Renewal of Priority Dispatch License
County Manager Geouque stated that Mr. Will Holt, Emergency Services Director, was on the eastern end of the State helping with Hurricane Isaias relief. Therefore, Mr. Geouque presented a request for the renewal of the Priority Dispatch software license for $16,800. The software was used for processing of Fire, EMS and Law Enforcement calls with a nationally recognized list of questions that allow for standardization and prioritization of emergency calls. The cost of the software would be 100% funded by 911 surcharge funds.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to approve the contract with Priority Dispatch software license in the amount of $16,800.
B. Proposed Replacement of Radio Cache
County Manager Geouque requested to replace five (5) portable radios in the Emergency Services radio cache in the amount of $28,000. The radio cache was used in multi-agency operations where all agencies may not have 800MHz capable radios from both in-County and out-of-County agencies. Adequate funds were included in the current fiscal year budget to cover the expense.
Commissioner Turnbow, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to award Motorola Solutions the contract for five (5) portable radios in the amount of $28,000.
Miscellaneous Administrative Matters
A. Proposed Forest Service Lease Agreement for Space in the East Annex
County Manager Geouque stated that the Forest Service had requested to use office space in the Cooperative Extension Building (East Annex). The Forest Service currently has a lease with the County for property on Landfill Road which houses a trailer for office space. The trailer has experienced mold issues requiring the need to relocate. The Forest Service has requested to lease the available office in the Cooperative Extension Building for a two (2) year term beginning October 1, 2020, and ending September 30, 2022.
County Manager Geouque stated that 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 its next regular meeting.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to adopt the resolution authorizing the County Manager to advertise the Board’s intent to move forward with the lease and to approve the State of North Carolina PO-28 lease proposal form.
B. Boards and Commissions
County Manager Geouque presented the following for consideration:
Watauga County Public Library Advisory Board
Ms. Monica Caruso, Watauga County Librarian, requested Ms. Carol Deal be appointed to fill the unexpired term of Ms. Mary Reichel and Mr. John Abbott be appointed to begin a new term replacing Mr. Terry Hamilton who served for two terms. These were first readings.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to waive the second reading and appoint Ms. Carol Deal to fill the unexpired term of Ms. Mary Reichel and appoint Mr. John Abbott to begin a new term on the Watauga County Public Library Advisory Board.
County Manager Geouque announced that the 113th North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) Annual Conference would be held virtually with registration including all virtual sessions on August 5, 6, 14, and 15. Details for the conference were located at: https://www.ncacc.org/809/2020-Annual-Conference and registration information was at: https://ncaccevents.org/events/ac2020/. There was no cost for the virtual conference for County Officials and Staff.
Chairman Welch stated that written comments were made available to view on the County’s website and at the County Manager’s Office.
[Clerk’s Note: Written comments were received by the 5:00 P.M. deadline on August 3, 2020, from the following: JD Dooley, Lyle Schoenfeldt, Susan Musilli, Audra Thompson, Bill Pressly, Lee Hyde, Stacie Saunders, Mitch and Kelli Mayhew, Sibyl Pressly, Sally Pressly, and Tuesdae Rice.]
At 9:42 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) and Land Acquisition, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(i). The following lawsuits were included in discussion during closed session: The Town of Boone lawsuit regarding sales tax distribution and the lawsuit against the Town of Boone regarding the water allocation.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to resume the open meeting at 10:36 A.M.
Commissioner Turnbow, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:37 A.M.
John Welch, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board