WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, APRIL 21, 1998
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, April 21, 1998 at 7:00 P.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: James Coffey, Chairman
Jack D. Lawrence, Sr., Vice-Chairman
Linda S. Craig, Commissioner
Jimmy Hodges, Commissioner
Jack Wellborn, Commissioner
Stacy C. Eggers, Jr., County Attorney
James S. Ratchford, County Manager
Libby Link, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Coffey called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the April 6, 1998 regular minutes and/or the April 7, 14 and 15, 1998 special meeting minutes; there being none, they were approved as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the April 21, 1998 agenda.
County Manager Ratchford stated he had an additional item to discuss with the Board in Closed Session. It was agreed to add this item to the Agenda under Item 8 Attorney/Client Matters – G.S. 143-318.11 (a) (3).
Commissioner Wellborn seconded by Vice-Chairman Lawrence, moved to approve the agenda for the April 21, 1998 regular meeting with the amendment.
PUBLIC HEARING – COUNTY GOVERNMENT
FRONTIERVISION CABLE TV RATE INCREASE
Chairman Coffey opened a Public Hearing at 7:02 P.M. in response to FrontierVision’s increase in their cable TV subscription rates.
Chairman Coffey noted that the County’s cable ordinance required a public hearing when there was a rate increase. Although the Board could not regulate rates, this public hearing would satisfy the County’s ordinance.
Mr. Don Giesler, FrontierVision (F.V.) Regional Government Relations Manager, addressed the Board regarding complaints about their cable service. Mr. Giesler stated he had been employed by F.V. for one week. He added he could not address the rate increase but was at the meeting to discuss the service issues. The Board voiced their concerns that F.V.’s representative changed from one Board meeting to the next and seemingly had no authority to make any changes. Mr. Giesler was unaware that F.V. had been given 90 days to comply with the County’s ordinance (to improve service and establish a local office). The 90 day period would expire May 31, 1998. Mr. Giesler stated F.V. presently had four technicians covering four counties: Watauga, Ashe, Johnson and Carter. However, F.V. had advertised for two more technicians which would provide faster service to the County’s customers. In addition, 25% of the phone calls from the area would be routed to Rocky Mount, N.C. in an effort to alleviate the number of calls received in the Greeneville, TN office. Although Watauga County’s ordinance required a local office, Mr. Giesler noted that a central location for phone calls was more efficient because it enabled F.V. to better communicate with subscribers (providing faster service). The Board reiterated the importance of having a local office and requested Mr. Giesler review the County’s ordinance with his superiors. Mr. Giesler added that F.V. was still recovering from the snowstorm but system upgrades were being completed so that service would improve soon.
After discussion, the following citizens voiced their concerns about F.V.’s continued poor cable service: Juanita Swift, Carolyn Adams, Jean Hill, Jeannine Endicott, Lewis Combs, Mary Sue Greene, Rosalie Townsend, Robert Nelson, Melanie Eggers and Steve Combs.
Mr. Giesler reiterated F.V.’s commitment to provide good cable service and that its customers would see an improvement in the near future.
There being no additional comments from the general public, Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing closed at 7:54 P.M.
COMMUNICATIONS RECORDER BIDS
Sheriff James C. "Red" Lyons presented three bids for a digital recording device to replace the communications center recorder equipment. The following bids were received:
Audio Data Systems, Inc. $19,995.
Sheriff Lyons requested the Board approve the Audio Data Systems, Inc.’s bid and stated funds were available through E911 revenues to cover the cost. In addition, Sheriff Lyons noted that authorization was needed to dispose of the old recorder as a trade-in on the new purchase.
Commissioner Craig seconded by Commissioner Wellborn, moved to approve the Audio Data Systems, Inc. bid of $19,995 and authorized Sheriff Lyons to dispose of the old recording device as a trade-in on the new purchase.
REVCO BUILDING ROOF BIDS
Leonard Greer, Maintenance Director, addressed the Board regarding roof damage to the old Revco building. This building was adjacent to the Human Services Center and was being used by the Appalachian Enterprises small business incubator. The following bids were received:
Bidder Rubber Roof Bid Amount
Vance Roofing Company, Inc. Firestone Rubbergard-.045 E.P.D.M. $18,629.
Vance Roofing Company, Inc. Firestone Rubbergard-.060 E.P.D.M. $23,691.
Roof-Tek Carlise Fully Adhered or Fleece- $27,000.
Marshville, NC back Adhere System
Mr. Greer requested that the lesser proposal from Vance Roofing Company be rejected due to not fulfilling the need for a fully adhered roofing system. However, he noted that Vance Roofing Company’s second bid of $23,691 did meet specifications and recommended the Board approve this bid. County Manager Ratchford stated funds through FEMA were available due to the snow damage to the roof from last January’s snowstorm.
Commissioner Wellborn seconded by Vice-Chairman Lawrence, moved to approve the Vance Roofing Company, Inc.’s bid of $23,691.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. EMS Week Proclamation – County Manager Ratchford presented a request from Watauga EMS Director, Tim Wilson, for the Board to proclaim the week of May 17-23, 1998 as Emergency Medical Services Week in Watauga County.
Vice-Chairman Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Hodges, moved to proclaim May 17-23, 1998 as Emergency Medical Services Week in Watauga County as requested.
B. Osteoporosis Prevention Month Proclamation – County Manager Ratchford presented a request from Senator Virginia Foxx to proclaim the month of May, 1998 as Watauga County Osteoporosis Prevention Month.
Commissioner Craig seconded by Commissioner Hodges, moved to proclaim the month of May, 1998 as Watauga County Osteoporosis Prevention Month as requested.
C. Budget Amendments – County Manager Ratchford presented the following budget amendments for Board Approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
213991-399100 Fund Bal. Approp. 12,582
219800-498048 Transfer to Cap. Proj. Coop. Ext. Renov. 12,582
483980-398121 Transfer from Cap. Res. 12,582
484274-458000 Cap. Out.-Bldg. Improv. 12,582
To appropriate funds for change order for Coop. Extension Renovation Project approved at the March 17, 1998 Board of Commissioners meeting.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103300-343302 Emerg. Mgt. – Supplement 600
104330-451000 Cap. Out.-Equip. 600
To recognize award of supplemental Emerg. Management grant to be used to purchase a camera for the Emergency Management Department.
Account # Description Debit Credit
243100-319300 Taxes-FY 93-94 390
243100-319400 Taxes-FY 94-95 720
243100-319500 Taxes-FY 95-96 615
243100-319600 Taxes-FY 96-97 2,365
243100-319700 Taxes-FY 97-98 3,622
244340-469905 Pay. to Boone Rural Fire District 7,712
To recognize additional rural fire district tax revenue and appropriations based on actual tax billings in excess of tax administrators budget estimates.
Account # Description Debit Credit
283100-318504 Prior Yr. Taxes-B. Dam 1,432
283100-319704 Taxes-FY 97-98 B. Dam 1,198
284340-469904 Pay. to B. Dam Fire Dist. 2,630
283100-319707 Taxes-FY 97-98 C. Creek 4,684
284340-469907 Pay. To C. Creek Fire Dist. 4,684
283100-318508 Prior Yr. Taxes-Shaw. 370
283100-319708 Taxes-FY 97-98 Shaw. 1,876
284340-469908 Pay. To Shaw. Fire Dist. 2,246
283100-318510 Prior Yr. Taxes-D. Gap 1,387
283100-319710 Taxes-FY 97-98 D. Gap 1,638
284340-469910 Pay. To D. Gap Fire Dist. 3,025
283100-319712 Taxes-FY 97-98 B. Rock 5,202
284340-469912 Pay. To B. Rock Fire Dist. 5,202
To recognize additional fire district tax revenue and appropriations based on actual tax billings in excess of tax administrators budget estimates.
County Manager Ratchford also presented an amendment to the Watauga County Capital Projects Ordinance Cooperative Extension Expansion Project for Board approval.
Vice-Chairman Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Craig, moved to approve the above budget amendments as presented as well as the amendment to the Cooperative Extension Building Expansion Capital Project Ordinance as presented.
ORDINANCE BOOK #9, PAGE # 77
D. Subdivision Performance Guarantee – County Manager Ratchford presented a subdivision performance guarantee from Heavenly Mountain Resort, Inc. for completion of roads in Phase 5 of the development. The guarantee was a contract and Certificate of Deposit in the principal amount of $31,737.12 from Branch Banking and Trust Company. Mr. Ratchford noted this was pursuant to Section 92 of the subdivision regulations, and the Planning Board had approved this proposal at their April 20, 1998 regular meeting.
Commissioner Wellborn seconded by Commissioner Hodges, moved to approve this subdivision performance guarantee from Heavenly Mountain Resort, Inc.
Commissioner Craig seconded by Commissioner Hodges, moved to enter closed session at 8:09 P.M. to discuss: Personnel Matters – G.S. 143-318.11 (a) (6) and Attorney/Client Matters – G.S. 143-318.11 (a) (3), Landfill Lawsuit related matter.
County Manager Ratchford stated seven candidates were interviewed on April 14 and 15, 1998 to fill the Maintenance Director’s position. Maintenance Director, Leonard Greer, would retire on April 30, 1998. After the interviews, it was the consensus amongst those who conducted the interviews that Robert Marsh was the best qualified. Mr. Marsh had a degree in industrial technology from ASU, and had owned a construction company for the prior eight years. Mr. Ratchford requested the Board hire Mr. Marsh based on his qualifications and good references. Mr. Marsh would begin employment on or about May 6, 1998.
County Manager Ratchford and County Attorney Eggers informed the Board that earlier today Superior Court Judge Donald Bridges had dismissed the Town of Boone’s lawsuit against the County and N.C. Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources. This two year lawsuit concerned procedures followed by the County and State in approving plans to cap the closed landfill east of Boone. Mr. Ratchford stated that Attorney Bill Ross represented the County, and Attorney Nancy Scott represented the State.
Commissioner Craig seconded by Vice-Chairman Lawrence, moved to resume the regular meeting at 8:33 P.M.
Vice-Chairman Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Wellborn, moved to approve hiring Robert Marsh as the Maintenance Director to begin employment on or about May 6, 1998 with a yearly salary of $37,067 which is Grade 74, Step 4 on the Watauga County Salary Schedule.
Commissioner Craig seconded by Vice-Chairman Lawrence, moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 P.M.
Elizabeth H. Link
Clerk to the Board