WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2002
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, February 4, 2002 at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: James Coffey, Vice-Chairman
Jack Lawrence, Sr., Commissioner
Sue Sweeting, Commissioner
Pat Wilkie, Commissioner
Jeff Hedrick, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges was unable to attend the meeting due to a prior commitment.
Vice-Chairman Coffey called the meeting to order at 9:01 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Vice-Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the January 7, 2002 closed session and the January 22, 2002 regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the January 7, 2002 closed session and the January 22, 2002 regular meeting and closed session minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Commissioner Wilkie requested to add a discussion on affordable housing to the agenda after Tax Matters and before Miscellaneous Administrative Matters.
Commissioner Wilkie seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the February 4, 2002 agenda as amended.
Vice-Chairman Coffey stated that the agenda was lengthy and requested that the addition be made to the next meeting’s agenda.
VOTE: Aye-3 (Lawrence, Sweeting, Wilkie)
Vice-Chairman Coffey stated a unanimous vote was required in order to add to the agenda. Commissioner Sweeting stated that a majority vote was required to add to the agenda.
After discussion, Vice-Chairman Coffey agreed to the addition to the agenda.
COMMUNITY COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION
Mr. Ric Mattar, Chairman of the Watauga County Planning Board, presented to the Board proposed recommendations to the Community Council Guidelines regarding the addition or deletion of property to an existing area.
After discussion, Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to set a Public Hearing for the March 19, 2002 Board meeting to allow public input on the recommended changes to the Community Council Guidelines.
Commissioner Sweeting requested that copies of the Community Council Guidelines and the recommended changes be distributed to the local Volunteer Fire Departments for easy access to citizens.
DISCUSSION OF COMMUNITY COUNCILS
Ms. Deborah Greene thanked the Board for scheduling the public hearing regarding Community Councils and stated that she planned to share her concerns at the public hearing.
WATAUGA COUNTY THOROUGHFARE PLAN UPDATE
Ms. Lydia McKoy, NCDOT Engineer, presented the Watauga County Thoroughfare Plan Update. Ms. McKoy stated that the Thoroughfare Plan was reviewed and endorsed by the Planning Board after two public input sessions conducted by the DOT and the Planning Board.
Commissioner Wilkie requested that Ms. McKoy research the Parkway easements, which prohibit Ben Miller Road from being paved.
After discussion, Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to set a Public Hearing for the February 19, 2002 Board meeting to allow public input on the Watauga County Thoroughfare Update.
DISCUSSION OF TVA WIND GENERATOR PROJECT
Ms. DeNeece Butler presented her views on the planned TVA Wind Generator Farm Project in Johnson County, Tennessee. Ms. Butler shared concerns that the Wind Farm proposed for Stone Mountain, adjacent to Watauga County, would negatively affect property values and would be detrimental to the views enjoyed by citizens and tourists alike. Ms. Butler expressed concern that the Wind Farm would violate the State of North Carolina’s Ridge Law and had been in contact with the NC Attorney General’s Office stating opposition to this project. Ms. Butler requested the Board contact the Governor and the Attorney General’s office and take a stance against the Wind Farm.
The Board requested County Attorney Hedrick to look into the matter.
RECOMMENDED AMENDMENTS TO THE LOCAL EMERGENCY PLANNING COMMITTEE BYLAWS
Mr. Jason Williams, Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) Chairman, presented and reviewed the following requested amendments to the LEPC Bylaws:
Section 2. The vice-chairperson shall be elected from the membership and shall hold term for a period of one year. The secretary shall be the secretary of the Emergency Management Office. The Chairperson shall be filled by the EM Technician position of the Emergency Management Office.
Section 4. If the vice-chairperson vacates the position before the term expires, the secretary shall serve the remainder of the term.
Section 2. The vice-chairperson shall be elected at the December meeting to a one (1) year term.
Mr. Williams also presented the following changes in the membership of the LEPC:
Mr. Justin Grimes to replace Mr. Jim Sparks
Mr. Joseph Miller to replace Mr. George Ashley
Mr. Craig Sullivan to replace Mr. Tim Wilson
Mr. Johnny Brown to replace Mr. Matthew Minton
Mr. Jason Williams to replace Mr. Tim Nelson
Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to adopt the revised LEPC Bylaws and to appoint members to the committee as presented.
SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT MATTERS
A. New Position Request – Sheriff Lyons reviewed data on the number of personnel that staff Sheriff Departments of similar size counties. Sheriff Lyons requested that a new full-time Bailiff position (Deputy Sheriff) be added to his department staff at a starting salary of $27,363. The Sheriff stated that this position is needed due to increased work in the court system.
Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the position request for the Sheriff’s Department for the remainder of the fiscal year and to assess the situation during budget preparation for the coming fiscal year.
B. Surplus Radio Exchange Request – Sheriff Lyons stated that the proposed radio exchange deal was unavailable and therefore he had no request at this time.
PROJECT ON AGING MATTERS
A. CAP Report – Ms. Angie Boitnotte discussed the NC State Division of Medical Assistance freeze on the Watauga County Community Alternatives Program (CAP). Ms. Boitnotte stated that the freeze would greatly affect services to extremely frail, Medicaid eligible, seniors in Watauga County. The freeze would also affect personnel and revenues for the Project on Aging.
The Board, by consensus, directed the County Manager to write the Division of Medical Assistance and to Legislators regarding the impact of the freeze to the Community Alternatives Program in Watauga County.
B. Senior Center of Excellence Report – Ms. Boitnotte announced that the UNC Center for Aging Research and Educational Services awarded the L. E. Harrill Senior Center the designation of Center of Excellence. Ms. Boitnotte stated that out of 157 Senior Centers in the State only 16 have been awarded the Center of Excellence certification. Ms. Boitnotte stated that this would have positive impact on future years’ funding from the State as available.
The report was for information only. No Board action was required and none was taken.
The Board offered congratulations to Ms. Boitnotte and the staff of the Project on Aging for their distinguished achievement.
C. H&CCBG Advisory Board Recommendation – Ms. Boitnotte stated that each year the Board of Commissioners is required to adopt a Lead Agency and a Home and Community Care Block Grant Advisory Committee (H&CCBG) to review and make recommendations on the expenditures for the block grant which is a combination of federal and state money available to Watauga County. Ms. Boitnotte recommended Region D Council of Governments as the lead agency and the appointment of Jack Lawrence, Sr., Jim Atkinson, Angie Boitnotte, Linda Bretz, Debbie Edwards, Fran Kelsey, Joyce Lowder, Margie Mansure, Anita Stroupe, Judy Vernon, Becky Councill, Joe Howser, Marian Long, Edward Harrill, and Otis Powell to the H&CCBG Advisory Board.
Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to appoint Region D Council of Governments as the Lead Agency and to appoint members to the H&CCBG Advisory Board as presented.
A. Budget Amendments – Finance Director, Doris Isaacs, presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
143583-333000 JJPC Grant 5,000
143980-398010 Transfer from Other Funds 1,650
145890-469803 Project Challenge-JCPC 750
145890-469804 Proj. Challenge-Co. Match 225
145890-469809 WYN-JCPC 250
145890-469810 WYN-Co. Match 75
145890-469811 Blue Ridge Dispute Ctr.-JCPC 250
145890-469812 B. Ridge Dispute Ctr.-Co. Match 75
145890-469813 JCPC Task Force 1,000
145890-469814 Rainbow Ctr.-JCPC 1,000
145890-469815 Rainbow Ctr.-Co. Match 300
145890-469816 Psychological Ser.-JCPC 250
145890-469817 Psy. Services-Co. Match 75
145890-469818 Crossnore School-JCPC 1,500
145890-469819 Crossnore School-Co. Match 450
145890-469820 JCPC Task Force-Co. Match 450
109800-498014 Transfer to Public Assistance Fund 450
103991-399100 Fund Balance Approp. 450
To recognize a decrease in the amount awarded by the state for JCPC programs and a decrease in the required County Match.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103586-384000 Donations-POA 1,000
105550-431500 Travel-Home Delivered Meals 1,000
To recognize a donation received from Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church for the Home Delivered Meals Program.
Account # Description Debit Credit
219800-498010 Transfer to the General Fund 471,005
219930-481600 Revco Bldg. Renovations 300,000
213991-399101 Fund Bal-Approp. Pr. Years 171,005
103980-398021 Transfer From Cap. Reserve 471,005
104199-457000 Capital Outlay-Land 471,005
To transfer funds budgeted for Revco Building renovations from the Capital Reserve Fund to the General Fund to purchase the Heilig Meyers warehouse building.
Account # Description Debit Credit
105550-429200 Program Supplies 2,622
105550-452000 Capital Outlay-Data Processing 1,440
105550-451000 Capital Outlay-Furn & Equip. 1,652
105550-469514 Contracted Services-Instructor 1,600
105550-432100 Telephone Service 864
105500-432500 Postage 135
105550-434100 Printing 162
105550-458000 Cap. Out.-Bldg. Improvements 2,520
105550-469505 Internet Access 369
103586-332004 State Senior Center Grant 11,364
To recognize the award of State Senior Center Grant award.
Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
B. Disposal of Fixed Assets – Ms. Isaacs requested that the two handguns that had been awarded to retirees at the Sheriff’s Department be deleted from the fixed asset list.
Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to delete the two handguns from the fixed asset list as presented.
A. Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Kelvin Byrd, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of January 2002.
B. Refunds & Releases – Tax Administrator Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for January 2002 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report as presented.
DISCUSSION ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Commissioner Wilkie requested to add an Affordable Housing discussion to the Retreat agenda and stated that she would like to see persons who are actually having problems locating affordable housing in Watauga County be appointed to the Task Force Committee sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce which is studying the issue. The Board requested that Mr. Mike Wagoner, Director of the Chamber of Commerce, attend the Retreat and present an update on the issue to the Board.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. “Spay Day USA” Proposed Proclamation – County Manager Nelson stated that Ms. Georgia Ayscue, Vice-President of WAGS, proposed a Proclamation declaring Tuesday, February 26, 2002 as “Spay Day USA” and encouraging citizens of Watauga County to have their pets spayed or neutered. The County Manager also stated that Ms. Ayscue greatly appreciated all that the Board has done to support animal issues in the past, present and future.
Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, made a motion to adopt the Proclamation and to proclaim Tuesday February 26, 2002 as “Spay Day USA”.
B. Designation of E-Communities Fiscal Agency – County Manager Nelson stated that at the November 5, 2001, meeting the Board appointed ARDI and WataugaNet, Mr. Paul Combs, Director, as “Champion” for the E-Communities program as funded by the NC Rural Internet Access Authority. At that time, Watauga County was identified as the fiscal agent for the grant. The County Manager stated that upon review by staff, the proposed contract for the $10,000 grant was determined to be very cumbersome and duplicative in processes required and in that ARDI, Appalachian State University, was a part of the State it would be more efficient to allow the contract to be issued to ARDI as fiscal agent. County Manager Nelson stated that Watauga County would continue to have oversite of the project in that the Manager and the IT Director, Glenda Duncan, serve as members of the E-Communities Board.
Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, made a motion to designate Appalachian State University, ARDI, as the fiscal agent for the NC Rural Internet Access Authority Grant as presented.
C. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that Ms. Gelene Atwood was nominated for reappointed for a three-year term to the Watauga County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to appoint Ms. Gelene Atwood for a three-year term to the Watauga County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee.
County Manager Nelson stated that Ms. Maggie McFadden, Ms. Mary Horn, and Ms. Lynne Mason (to replace Mr. Max Schrum, as the Town Council Representative) were recommended for appointment to the Watauga County Recreation Commission.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to appoint Ms. Maggie McFadden, Ms. Mary Horn, and Ms. Lynne Mason to the Watauga County Recreation Commission.
D. Announcements – County Manager Nelson stated that Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, along with the Watauga County School Board, requested a joint meeting with the Board of Commissioners on April 25, 2002. Commissioner Sweeting stated that she could not attend. The Board agreed to the meeting on April 25, 2002.
County Manager Nelson stated that the special meeting the Watauga County Board of Commissioners announced for Tuesday, February 12, 2002, at 10:00 a.m. at the offices of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, BB&T Financial Center, 11th floor, 200 West Second Street, Winston-Salem has been postponed. The County Manager stated that the rescheduled date would be announced when set. The purpose of the meeting was to attend a court ordered confidential mediation.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:45 A.M.
Anita J. Fogle
Clerk to the Board