WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, APRIL 6, 2021
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting, as scheduled, on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at 5:30 P.M. remotely with the meeting originating in the Community Room located in the Watauga County Community Recreation Center, Boone, North Carolina.
Chairman Welch called the remote electronic meeting to order at 5:35 P.M. The following were present:
PRESENT: John Welch, Chairman
Billy Kennedy, Vice-Chairman
Carrington Pertalion, Commissioner
Charlie Wallin, Commissioner
Larry Turnbow, 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 March 16, 2021, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Pertalion, moved to approve the March 16, 2021, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Pertalion, moved to approve the March 16, 2021, closed session minutes as presented.
Approval of Agenda
Chairman Welch called for additions and/or corrections to the April 6, 2021, agenda.
County Manager Geouque requested to add a proposed contract with Appalachian Architecture for architectural services at the Water Street/Ginn parking area.
Commissioner Turnbow, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to approve the April 6, 2021, agenda as amended.
Public Hearing to Allow Citizen Comment on the Proposed Planning and Development Ordinance
Mr. Joe Furman stated that the Board had previously directed the Planning and Inspections Department to begin work on bringing the County’s development ordinances into compliance with the new North Carolina General Statute (NCGS) Chapter 160D. The Planning Board voted on February 15, 2021, to recommend the proposed Planning and Development Ordinance to the Board of Commissioners for consideration and scheduling of the public hearing required for adoption.
No changes were proposed to any of the ordinances being combined into the Planning and Development Ordinance other than those prompted by NCGS 160D. However, there were some choices to be made as dictated by 160D. The proposed changes were included in the draft of the proposed ordinance.
There was no public comment; however, written public comments would be accepted in regards to the public hearing through Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Pertalion, moved to close the public hearing at 5:43 P.M.
Chairman Welch tabled action on the proposed Planning and Development Ordinance until the April 20, 2021, Board meeting to allow time for public comments to be received by the deadline of Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
[Clerk’s Note: No public comments were received by the deadline of Wednesday, April 7, 2021.]
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.
Information Technologies Matters
A. Proposed Scheduled Replacement of Servers
Mr. Drew Eggers, IT Director, requested to purchase two Dell servers. The servers would replace two aging servers that were a critical part of the County’s infrastructure. The price, from Marketplace Solutions, Inc., was $11,992 for each server for a total cost of $23,984. Mr. Eggers stated that adequate funds were available to cover the expenditure.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Pertalion, moved to accept Marketplace Solutions, Inc. quote in the amount of $23,984 as presented by Mr. Eggers.
B. Proposed Email Server Upgrade
Mr. Drew Eggers requested to purchase an upgrade for email server software due to support being limited for the current system. The proposed upgrade to Microsoft Exchange 2019 was needed to stay up to date and ensure compatibility. The total cost for the software license and licensing of 275 users was $18,213.38. Support for the new system would remain in effect until October 2025. Mr. Eggers stated that adequate funds were available to cover the expense.
Commissioner Turnbow, seconded by Commissioner Pertalion, moved to approve the purchase to upgrade the email server software to Microsoft Exchange 2019 in the amount of $18,213.38 as presented by Mr. Eggers.
A. Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) Budget Amendment
Ms. Misty Watson, Finance Director, presented a revised Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) FY 2020-21 Funding Allocation form. Crossnore School was not able to utilize funds totaling $10,710 and administrative funds totaling $752. The unutilized funds had to meet certain criteria to be spent. The Council recommended $5,731 be allocated to both Watauga Youth Network (WYN) Youth Resource Center and Mountain Alliance. A 30% match was required for the administrative funds in the amount of $226. The match would be allocated from the administrative contingency fund.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Pertalion, moved to approve the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council funding allocation of $10,710 from Crossnore School and $752 from administrative funds with $5,731 to Watauga Youth Network (WYN) and $5,731 to Mountain Alliance.
Commissioner Turnbow, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to approve the 30% match required for administrative funds in regards to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council reallocation of funds.
B. Proposed Audit Contract for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2021
Ms. Misty Watson presented the audit contract for Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2021, with C. Randolph CPA, PLLC firm in the amount of $46,500. This was the second year of the three-year proposal with no additional increase.
Commissioner Turnbow, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to approve the letter of engagement and audit contract with C. Randolph CPA, PLLC in the amount $46,500.
Miscellaneous Administrative Matters
A. Discussion of Minimum Housing Committee
County Manager Geouque stated that, per Board direction, staff provided information to the Board regarding minimum housing. At the Annual Pre-Budget Retreat, the Board requested staff to gather information on minimum housing for a future discussion on the topic and the potential of forming a committee.
Commissioner Turnbow suggested the County Manager and two Board members review the information in a Zoom meeting and bring recommendations back to the full Board of Commissioners. Vice-Chairman Kennedy stated that he was willing to be a part of the Committee. Commissioner Pertalion stated that there were State funds for minimum housing. Chairman Welch stated that other rural counties had ordinances regulating minimum housing that could be pulled as reference.
County Manager Geouque stated that staff could acquire the rural ordinances for review by all Commissioners and then the Board could decide who should serve on the proposed committee. Chairman Welch agreed that was a good idea. Commissioner Turnbow asked that County Manager Geouque and Planning and Inspections Director, Mr. Joe Furman, get the information so that himself or Vice-Chairman Kennedy, and Commissioner Pertalion could meet with them and review the information and give a report to the Board.
B. Proposed Appalachian Architecture, PA, Contract for Water Street/Ginn Lot Parking
County Manager Geouque presented a proposed contract from Appalachian Architecture, PA, as prepared by Mr. Bill Dixon, for architectural and engineering (which would be provided by Municipal Engineering) fees to study three parking options for the Watauga County Waters Street and Ginn parking areas. The three design options were presented as follows:
1. Water Street Surface Parking lot- Develop plan option(s) to maximize surface parking on the Water Street lot. Maintain existing (or provide new) stairs to access the upper Queen Street lot. Queen Street parking lot to remain unchanged.
2. New two-level parking deck on Water Street Lot. Develop plan option(s) to maximize surface parking on the Water Street lot with a new parking deck structure above that connects to and extends existing upper parking lot on Queen Street. Provide pedestrian connection (stairs) between the two levels but NO vehicular connection between the levels.
3. New two-level connected parking deck end to end. Develop plan option(s) to remove the existing retaining wall, excavate the existing Queen Street lot to Water Street elevation and create a new two-level connected parking deck structure end to end on the combined properties. Access to the lower-level surface parking would be from Water Street. Access to the upper level parking deck would be from Queen Street.
County Manager Geouque stated that all options would meet Town of Boone codes for storm drainage requirements, etc.
The proposed cost for the study of the three options was $16,700 and included conceptual designs and civil engineering (provided by Municipal Engineering) for all three options.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to approve the contract with Appalachian Architect, PA, to study the three proposed parking options for the County’s Water Street and Ginn lot parking areas.
County Manager Geouque announced the following:
· High Country Senior Games 2021 were scheduled from May to July in 2021. More information was available at Parks and Recreation.
· A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony would be held for the new Community Recreation Center on April 23, 2021, at 1:30 P.M.
· The Community Recreation Center was scheduled to open on Monday, April 26, 2021.
Chairman Welch announced that the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Litter Sweep program would be ongoing from April 10-24, 2021. Vice-Chairman Kennedy also encouraged citizens to join the NCDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program.
Amendment to the Agenda
Commissioner Turnbow, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to add Boards & Commissions to the agenda for consideration of a Watauga County Planning Board appointment.
Boards and Commissions
Vice-Chairman Kennedy nominated Ms. Allison Jennings to serve as his district representative on the Watauga County Planning Board to replace Mr. Dennis Scanlin who was no longer available to serve. Ms. Jennings’ appointment would run concurrent with Vice-Chairman Kennedy’s term.
Commissioner Turnbow, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to waive the second reading and appoint Ms. Allison Jennings to serve as Vice-Chairman Kennedy’s district representative on the Watauga County Planning Board with her appointment to run concurrent with Vice-Chairman Kennedy’s term.
There was no public comment.
At 6:45 P.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).
Chairman Welch stated that there would be no action after closed session.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to resume the open meeting at 8:03 P.M.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:03 P.M.
John Welch, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board