WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, APRIL 5, 2011
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at 8:00 A.M. in the Commissioners’ Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building.
PRESENT: Nathan A. Miller, Chairman
David Blust, Vice-Chairman
Jim Deal, Commissioner
Vince Gable, Commissioner
Four Eggers, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Deron Geouque, Deputy County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
[Clerk’s Note: Commissioner Futrelle was not in attendance due to being out-of-town for a family matter.]
Chairman Miller called the meeting to order at 8:00 A.M., welcoming those in attendance.
Commissioner Deal opened the meeting with a prayer and Commissioner Gable led the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Miller called for additions and/or corrections to the February 22, 2011, special meeting minutes and the March 15, 2011, regular and closed session minutes.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the February 22, 2011, special meeting minutes as presented.
VOTE: Aye-4(Miller, Blust, Deal, Gable)
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to approve the March 15, 2011, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to approve the March 15, 2011, closed session minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Miller called for additions and/or corrections to the April 5, 2011, agenda.
County Manager Nelson requested that a Town of Boone permit variance request for the new high school be placed under Miscellaneous Administrative Matters.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the April 5, 2011, agenda as amended.
SMOKY MOUNTAIN CENTER QUARTERLY UPDATE
Ms. Christy Pruess, Smoky Mountain Center Northern Regional Director, presented a quarterly report on the County’s LME provider for mental health services. Ms. Pruess stated that there were no withholds to New River Behavioral Health Care (NRBHC) for draw downs at this time and that NRBHC was on target for receiving funds in the third quarter. Ms. Pruess also stated that a meeting was scheduled with NRBHC to discuss the budget and work on future planning.
Mr. Brian Ingraham, Smoky Mountain Center Area Director and CEO, stated that preparations were in place to submit an application for Smoky Mountain Center to be a Local Management Entity under the new Medicaid waiver. Mr. Ingraham stated that the waiver would change the scale of economy allowing better utility of funds.
The report was presented for information only and, therefore, no action was required.
REQUEST FOR PLACEMENT OF RAIN GARDEN
Ms. Teresa Buckwalter, Landscape Architect with Brushy Fork Environmental Consulting, Inc., requested an easement for the purpose of locating a rain garden at the rear of the Casey & Casey Law Office which adjoins County-owned property. The National Committee for the New River and the Clean Water Management Trust Fund were providing grant funding for the private project. The law office had installed a pervious parking area and it was planned for the roof to drain into the proposed rain garden area. The goal was to provide stabilization and bank restoration to the public stream located behind the building. Therefore, the public purpose of the request was to improve water quality in Kraut Creek, a tributary of the New River. A location on the Casey property was less desirable than the proposed area to the rear of the building which was located on the County-owned land. The land was an alleyway many years ago and was deeded to the County as such. The County did not currently have a use or need for the area in question.
Chairman Miller stated that he had spoken to Mr. Casey who had indicated that all legal costs were to be born by the Casey and Casey Law Firm.
Commissioner Gable, seconded by Commissioner Deal, moved to approve the easement to Casey & Casey Law Firm for the proposed rain garden, contingent upon Casey & Casey paying all legal fees associated with the project, and to direct the County Attorney to prepare the appropriate legal documents.
REQUESTED AUTHORIZATION FOR PADDLE ACCESS PARK CONSTRUCTION
Mr. Eric Woolridge, Watauga County TDA Outdoor Recreation Specialist, requested authorization from the County to begin construction of the paddle access park to be known as the Upper Gorge Access on the Watauga River which was to be free and available for public use. The property was recently donated to the County for the purpose of housing a paddle access park. Mr. Woolridge requested authority to submit the required permit applications and begin construction of the access. Mr. Woolridge also requested the use of County staff and equipment to perform the rough grading during construction of the access. Mr. Woolridge stated that the Tourism Development Authority was to fund the project and be responsible for all future maintenance of the park.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to:
· authorize construction of the public paddle access park; and
· authorize the submission of the required permit applications on behalf of the County; and
· authorize the use of County staff and equipment, contingent upon availability.
ASPHALT MAINTENANCE PLAN REQUEST
County Manager Nelson stated that Mr. Marsh had requested approval to begin the following calendar year 2011 Asphalt Maintenance Plan projects:
West Annex East Elevation Full Depth Repair/Overlay and Patching $17,000
Parks & Recreation Department Sealing and Pavement Marking $10,600
Courthouse Complex Sealing and Pavement Marking $6,968
The funding for the projects was to be allocated from the County’s designated Capital Reserve Account.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to approve the 2011 Asphalt Maintenance Plan with funding to be allocated from the County’s designated Capital Reserve Account.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator Kelvin Byrd presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of March 2011.
B. Releases and Refunds – Mr. Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for March 2011 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for March 2011, as presented.
ROAD CONSTRUCTION PRIORITY LIST REQUEST
Mr. Joe Furman, Planning and Inspections Director, stated that discussion was tabled at the March 15, 2011, Board meeting regarding a request to establish the County’s priority list for road construction projects in Watauga County. The priority list was to be included in the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). Mr. Furman stated that the County was allowed to choose three top priority projects.
After discussion, Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Deal, moved to prioritize road construction projects in Watauga County for the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Transportation Improvement Plan in the following order: 1) widening US 421/321 from the 105 Bypass to the intersection at Skateworld; 2) widening NC 105 Bypass; and 3) widening NC 194 from Perkinsville to Howard’s Creek Road.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT MATTERS
A. Discussion of Emergency Management’s Roll in Multi-Jurisdictional Incidents – Mr. Steve Sudderth, Emergency Management Coordinator and Fire Marshal, was available for discussion of Emergency Management’s roll in multi-jurisdictional incidents and review of related policies and procedures.
By consensus, the Board agreed to table discussion to allow time for review of current Emergency Management/Fire Marshal policies and procedures.
B. North Carolina Emergency Management Training Request – Mr. Sudderth stated that at the March 15, 2011, Board meeting the North Carolina Office of Emergency Management had extended an offer of training to explain the roll of elected officials during an emergency period. Discussion was tabled at that time. The training, if accepted, was to be held at the Watauga County Emergency Operations Center and dinner was to be provided. Mr. Sudderth also stated that, if members of the Board and staff attended this training, Watauga County’s opportunity for future grant possibilities could be enhanced.
By consensus, the Board agreed that the training was needed; however, the scheduling of the training was tabled until a time after the budget was adopted and meetings of the Board of Equalization and Review were completed for this year.
PROPOSED FY 2012 EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT
By direction of the Board, Deputy County Manager Geouque presented an employment agreement for appointment as Watauga County Manager effective July 1, 2011. The Deputy County Manager stated that the County Attorney had reviewed the contract.
Chairman Miller stated that the Board had negotiated with Mr. Geouque for the position upon County Manager Nelson’s retirement, effective July 1, 2011. Also, the Board did not intend to replace the Deputy County Manager position, thereby saving the County money.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to approve the employment agreement appointing Mr. Deron Geouque as Watauga County Manager, effective July 1, 2011.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Permit Variance Request for New High School – County Manager Nelson stated that the School Board had requested that the County submit to the Town of Boone, an application for a variance allowing modification to the Conditional District Zoning permit for the new Watauga High School which is located on County-owned property. Only one modification was allowed annually and this one was to include the following small projects at the new high school site:
· the relocation of the Will Dicus Facility which was an indoor baseball/softball training facility that was shown on the design drawings submitted to the Town in 2008 but was never constructed due to budget constraints; and
· the Alpine Tower which was a climbing wall gifted by Appalachian State University.
County Manager Nelson stated that no County funds were included in this request.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to authorize the submission of the Town of Boone application for Modification to the Zoning Map Amendment Petition of the Conditional District Zoning Permit for the projects at the new high school as presented.
B. Request for Assistance from Green Valley Park – County Manager Nelson stated that the Green Valley Park Board of Directors had requested County staff assistance with the repair of a culvert and drainage ditch at the Green Valley Park. County staff has assisted with construction projects in the past at the park which was open to all citizens of Watauga County. The County Manager stated that the work was estimated to take half a day of work.
Ms. Janice Carroll, a charter member of the Green Valley Park Board of Directors, was present and gave a brief update on the progress of the Park's continuing development.
Commissioner Gable, seconded by Commissioner Deal, moved to authorize County staff and equipment to assist in the repairs at Green Valley Park as requested.
C. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that at the March 15, 2011, Board meeting, it was announced that the Town of Boone had recommended the appointment of Dr. Harvard Ayers as an Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) representative on the Boone Board of Adjustment. At that time no ETJ alternates were identified by the Town of Boone; however, Mr. Wayne Green, a citizen who lived outside the ETJ had requested to be appointed as either a member or alternate. Chairman Miller also nominated Mr. Rick Woods for appointment as the regular ETJ representative on the Town of Boone Board of Adjustment. The County Manager stated that on March 22, the County received a letter from the Town of Boone recommending that Dr. Robert Goddard and Dr. Cameron Lippard be appointed to the Boone Board of Adjustment as ETJ alternate representatives.
Commissioner Gable moved to appoint Mr. Rick Woods as the regular ETJ representative member of the Town of Boone's Board of Adjustment and waive the second reading and appoint Mr. Matt Long and Mr. Michael Button as the alternate ETJ representative members of the Town of Boone's Board of Adjustment.
County Attorney Eggers advised that since Mr. Long lived in the Town of Boone and; therefore, not in the ETJ area, the motion would need to include that the Board had determined that a qualified person to serve as an alternate representative who lived within the EJT area was not located.
Commissioner Gable amended his motion as follows - moved to appoint Mr. Rick Woods as the regular ETJ representative member of the Town of Boone's Board of Adjustment and waive the second reading and appoint Mr. Matt Long (as the Board was unable to locate a qualified person to serve as an alternate representative who lived within the EJT area) and Mr. Michael Button as the alternate ETJ representative members of the Town of Boone's Board of Adjustment. Vice-Chairman Blust seconded the amended motion.
After discussion the following vote was taken:
VOTE: Aye-3(Miller, Blust, Gable)
County Manager Nelson stated that the Town of Boone had recommended the appointment of Rev. Thomas Brown as the ETJ representative to their Planning Commission with a term expiration of June 30, 2014. Commissioner Gable recommended Mr. Jeff Templeton for appointment to this position.
Commissioner Gable, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to appoint Mr. Jeff Templeton as the ETJ representative to the Town of Boone's Planning Commission for a term to expire June 30, 2014.
County Manager Nelson stated that the Watauga County Planning Board had recommended Mr. Jeff Deal and the Watauga Tourism Development Authority had recommended Mr. Matt Vincent as their respective representatives on the County’s Citizens’ Plan Action Committee.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to waive a second reading and appoint Mr. Jeff Deal representing the Watauga County Planning Board and Mr. Matt Vincent representing the Watauga Tourism Development Authority to the County's Citizens' Plan Action Committee.
County Manager stated that Mr. Kelly Coffey and Mr. Joe McNeil were recommended by the Voluntary Farmland Preservation Committee for appointment to fill vacant terms.
The County Manager stated that these were second readings and, therefore, action could be taken if so desired.
By consensus, the Board tabled action regarding these appointments until the April 19 regular meeting.
D. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) District Meeting was scheduled for April 7, 2011, with registration at 5:00 P.M. and adjournment at 7:30 P.M. at the Holiday Inn Express in Wilkesboro.
County Manager Nelson announced that the Board was invited to attend the Project on Aging’s Annual Volunteer Recognition Breakfast which was scheduled for April 14, 2011, from 8:30 A.M. to 10:30 A.M.
County Manager Nelson announced that a public hearing was scheduled on April 19, 2011, at 6:00 P.M. to allow for public comment on the proposed reclassification by the NC Division of Water Quality of a segment of the South Fork of the New River. The proposed reclassification was due to the Town of Boone’s proposed new water intake. Planning and Inspections staff planned to be available prior to the public hearing on April 19 from 4:30 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. in the Commissioners’ Conference Room to answer questions.
Ms. Lora Elder shared her appreciation for the support given to the "Rock the Blue Ridge" cycling ride that she coordinated last year by the Board of Commissioners and the Watauga County Sheriff's Office.
At 9:22 A.M., Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Deal, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3) and Personnel Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(6).
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to resume the open meeting at 10:20 A.M.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Chairman Miller, moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:20 A.M.
Nathan A. Miller, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board