WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, MAY 5, 2003
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, May 5, 2003, at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: James Coffey, Chairman
Jimmy Hodges, Vice-Chairman
David Blust, Commissioner
Keith Honeycutt, Commissioner
Allen Trivette, Commissioner
Rebecca Eggers-Gryder, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Deron Geouque, Assistant County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Coffey called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Coffey called for additions and/or corrections to the April 7, 2003, regular meeting and closed session minutes and the April 15, 2003, regular meeting minutes.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the April 7, 2003, regular meeting and closed session minutes and the April 15, 2003, regular meeting minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the May 5, 2003, agenda.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the May 5, 2003, agenda as presented.
PUBLIC HEARING – NCDOT FISCAL YEAR 2004 SECONDARY ROAD PROGRAM
A public hearing was opened at 9:05 A.M. to consider the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) proposed Secondary Road Improvement Program for Fiscal Year 2004.
Chairman Coffey turned the meeting over to Mr. Sam Erby, Board of Transportation Member for Division 11. Mr. Erby introduced the following NCDOT staff who were present: Mr. Carl McCann, Division Engineer; Mr. Mike Pettyjohn, Division Maintenance Engineer; Mr. Kipp Turner, District Engineer; and Mr. Brandon Greer, District ROW Agent.
Mr. McCann stated that funds available for the Fiscal Year 2004 Secondary Roads Program included $2,358,876 in secondary road funds and $2,993,520 in trust funds for a total of $5,352,396.
Mr. Pettyjohn explained the priority formula for paving and improving secondary roads and improvements to unpaved roads.
Mr. Turner reviewed the proposed program for Watauga County. Of the $5,352,396 allocated, $3,665,000 was to be used for paving unpaved roads, $665,000 for paved road improvements, $486,560 for unpaved road improvements, $262,620 for other paved and unpaved road improvements, and $273,216 in reserve for road additions, surveys, right of way signatures, overdrafts, and entrances to fire departments and rescue squads.
Chairman Coffey called upon those present for comments. Mr. Mark Poteat with the Stewart Simmons Fire Department asked about the Elk Creek Road Bridge and about paving fire department entrances. Chairman Coffey asked about replacing the wooden posts on 421 near the Hilltop Restaurant with a metal guardrail.
There being no further public comment, Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing closed at 9:22 A.M.
Mr. Pettyjohn requested the Board take one of the following actions:
1) concur with the secondary roads plan as presented
2) take no action
3) recommend changes (as long as they did not deal with paving or paving priorities)
Commissioner Honeycutt seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the NC Department of Transportation’s Secondary Road Plan for Fiscal Year 2004.
Mr. Erby gave a brief update on the 321 Landslide situation and stated that an announcement would be made Wednesday, May 7, 2003 regarding a possible completion date.
PUBLIC HEARING – SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN UPDATE
Chairman Coffey declared a public hearing open at 9:25 A.M. for discussion on the County’s Solid Waste Management Plan Update.
Assistant County Manager Geouque discussed the 3-year update to the County’s 10-Year Solid Waste Management Plan, which was adopted in 1997. Mr. Geouque stated he had worked with Mr. Jason Vance, High Country Council of Governments, to complete this update. The Plan was required to be updated every three years and be submitted to the N.C. Department of Environment Health and Natural Resources by July 1, 2003. The last update was in 2000.
There being no public comment, Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing closed at 9:27 A.M.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to accept the Solid Waste Management Plan Update for submission to the N.C. Department of Environment Health and Natural Resources and to approve the resolution as presented.
CALDWELL COUNTY REQUEST FOR A RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT FOR RECLASSIFICATION OF YADKIN RIVER WATERSHED
County Manager Nelson stated that Caldwell County Commissioners were delayed and requested that the Board continue with other business until their arrival.
At a later time during the meeting Caldwell County left word that they respectfully requested to withdraw from their scheduled appearance and apologized for any inconvenience.
[Clerk’s Note: Items are recorded in the minutes in the order heard. Items were out of order due to the Caldwell County request.]
WATAUGA MEDICS CONTINUATION FUNDING REQUEST FOR 12-HOUR CREW
Mr. Craig Sullivan, owner of Watauga Medics, Inc., reviewed a funding request for the additional 12-hour crew. The Board of Commissioners previously approved the rate of $6,184 per month for January through March of 2003. Mr. Sullivan requested a rate of $5,016 per month and proposed that the rate be retroactive to January 1, 2003, which resulted in a cost savings of $1,168 per month from the existing rate. Mr. Sullivan was to credit the County for monies already paid at the old rate beginning January 1, 2003.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the submittal funding amount of $5,016 retroactive to January 2003.
SMALL BUSINESS WEEK PROCLAMATION REQUEST
Mr. Joedy Eller announced that the Small Business Expo was to be held on Thursday, May 15, 2003 at the Boone Mall from 10:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M. Mr. Eller also announced that the Small Business of the Year was to be announced at a ceremony scheduled for May 13, 2003. Mr. Eller then read a proposed resolution declaring May 12-17, 2003 as Small Business Week in Watauga County.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to adopt the resolution declaring May 12-17, 2003 as Small Business Week in Watauga County.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Kelvin Byrd, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of April 2003.
B. Releases and Refunds – Tax Administrator Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for April 2003 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for April 2003 as presented.
ARTS AWARENESS MONTH PROCLAMATION REQUEST
Ms. Cherry Johnson announced upcoming events associated with the arts in Watauga County for the month of May. Ms. Johnson read a proposed resolution declaring May 2003 as Arts Awareness Month in Watauga County.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to adopt the resolution declaring May 2003 as Arts Awareness Month in Watauga County.
PLANNING AND INSPECTION MATTER
A. Hwy 321 Repairs Update – Mr. Joe Furman, Planning and Inspections Director stated that he had been to the site of the landslide and had pictures available for review. Mr. Furman added to Mr. Erby’s earlier statement that the DOT crews were working around the clock to complete repairs.
B. Fire District Boundary Change Public Hearing Request – Mr. Furman stated that due to the construction of the new Hwy 421, a boundary adjustment needed to be made between the Deep Gap Volunteer Fire Department fire tax district and the Boone Fire Department service district. Mr. Furman stated that even though the only property owner involved was the North Carolina Department of Transportation, a public hearing was required prior to making the change. Mr. Furman requested a public hearing for this matter be set on May 20, 2003, prior to the budget public hearing.
The Board agreed, by consensus, to set the public hearing to allow public comment on the boundary adjustment for the Deep Gap Volunteer Fire Department fire tax district and the Boone Fire Department service district for May 20, 2003 at 7:00 P.M.
C. Stewart Simmons Fire Tower Request – Mr. Furman and Commissioner Honeycutt reported on the progress to date on the proposed tower to improve communications for the Stewart Simmons fire department.
After discussion, future consideration in the matter was tabled until the May 20, 2003 meeting.
D. DOT “Moving Ahead” Submittal Report – Mr. Furman reviewed the County’s submittal to the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s “NC Moving Ahead Program” for consideration of funding.
No action was required as the report was issued for information only.
County Manager Nelson presented the following budget amendments for Board approval, as Finance Director Doris Isaacs was not in attendance due to a family illness:
Account # Description Debit Credit
103300-343305 HMEP Grant $5,000
104330-449910 HMEP Grant $5,000
The amendment recognized the award of the Hazard Materials Emergency Planning Grant to be used to conduct tabletop and full-scale hazardous materials exercises.
Account # Description Debit Credit
213991-399101 Fund Balance Approp.-New $784,354
219800-498010 Transfer to General Fund $784,354
103980-398121 Transfer From Capital Reserve $784,354
104263-458000 Capital Outaly-Bldg. Improvements $784,354
The amendment transferred funds from Capital Reserve for anticipated costs for the Heilig Meyers building.
Account # Description Debit Credit
145850-440900 Purchased Daycare Title XX $22,710
143585-323000 Title XX-FSA Daycare $22,440
143839-389000 Misc. Revenue-Other $270
145850-440901 Smart Start Daycare $4,692
143585-323002 Smart Start Purchased Ser. $4,692
The amendment recognized a decrease in Title XX daycare funds and an increase in the Smart Start daycare funds.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
JCPC FUNDING REQUEST
Ms. Melissa Johnson, Chair of the Watauga County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC), reviewed the funding request for services to at risk youth for Fiscal Year 2004. $117,158 was available to Watauga County and required a local match of $34,547. Ms. Johnson requested approval of the funding plan as well as obligating the local match. County Manager Nelson stated that the local match would be included in the Fiscal Year 2004 budget upon adoption.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the funding request as presented by Ms. Johnson contingent upon adoption of the Fiscal Year 2004 budget.
WORK FIRST PLAN REVISION
Mr. Jim Atkinson reviewed revisions to the Watauga County Work First Plan for 2003-2005, which were required by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to adopt the amendments to the Watauga County Work First Plan for 2003-2005 as presented by Mr. Atkinson.
UNIVERSITY HIGHLANDS APPEAL
County Attorney Eggers-Gryder stated that Appalachian State University gave notice of appeal of the North Carolina Property Tax Commission ruling on their application for exemption.
No action was required as this report was for information only.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Discussion of Additional Emergency Management Planning Funds – County Manager Nelson called upon Mr. Joe Furman to inform the Board of additional planning funds available for Emergency Management. Mr. Furman stated that since Watauga County had received a $15,000 grant for the Hazard Mitigation Plan and the County was qualified for up to $7,500 in additional funds if part of a Multi-Jurisdictural Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the request for application as presented by Mr. Furman.
B. Proposed Agenda for Water/Sewer Joint Meeting – County Manager Nelson presented the tentative agenda for the joint meeting scheduled with the Boone Town Council on May 13, 2003 at 5:30 P.M. to discuss water and sewer issues.
C. NCACC Public Education Steering Committee Report – County Manager Nelson stated that the North Carolina Association of County Commissions was seeking support from counties for legislation to authorize a study of the low wealth supplement public school funding to assure that all counties received their maximum and fair share.
After discussion, the Board agreed, by consensus, to send a letter to the legislators supporting the legislation to authorize a study of the low wealth supplement public school funding to assure that all counties received their maximum and fair share.
D. Hannah Building Discussion – County Manager Nelson stated that discussion of surplusing or potential reassignment of the Hannah building was tabled at a recent Board of Commissioners meeting to allow time for Commissioner to tour of the building.
After discussion, Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to declare the Hannah Building as surplus property and to authorize the upset bid sale process.
E. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that Mr. Rick Herndon, Planning and Development Director at High Country Council of Governments, requested the annual appointments (4) to the Region D Development Cooperation. The County Manager stated that the Board may reappoint the current members (Carl Roten, Carroll Garland, Bill Williamson, Jr., and Patricia Wilkie) or appoint new members.
The County Manager stated that Ms. Shelby Lane, Chair of the Watauga County Library Board, requested that Ms. Dot Barker be appointed to a four-year term as a Regional Board Member of the Appalachian Regional Library System. Ms. Barker was currently a member of the local board, and both terms would expire in August 2006.
This was the first reading of the above requests and recommendations and therefore no action was required.
F. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced upcoming meetings and events.
At 10:44 A.M., Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to enter into Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3).
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to resume the open meeting at 11:10 A.M.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:10 A.M.
James Coffey, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board