WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2004
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, April 20, 2004, at 7:00 P.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 Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Coffey called the meeting to order at 7:02 P.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Coffey called for additions and/or corrections to the March 16, 2004, regular meeting and closed session minutes and the April 5, 2004, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the March 16, 2004, regular meeting and closed session minutes and the April 5, 2004 regular meeting and closed session minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Coffey called for additions and/or corrections to the April 20, 2004, agenda.
County Manager Nelson requested to add as 7(c) Discussion of May 14, 2004, Budget Work Session Date, 7(d) Optimist Club “Law Week” Proclamation Request, and an item for discussion under closed session in reference to Land Acquisition, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(i).
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to approve the April 20, 2004, agenda as amended.
DISCUSSION OF PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE SIGN ORDINANCE
The County Manager presented a proposed amendment to the sign ordinance, in reference to political signs, in accordance with direction given by the Board for proposed implementation effective January 1, 2005. The County Manager stated that traditionally a public hearing was held prior to the adoption or amendment of an ordinance.
By Consensus, the Board agreed to table discussion to set a public hearing until August or September of 2004.
DISCUSSION OF SIGNAGE REQUEST FOR OLD HWY 421
County Manager Nelson stated that business owners had been in contact with Board members regarding road signage directing the public to their businesses located on Old Hwy 421. The County Manager stated that the County had installed 911 signs.
Mr. Joe Furman stated that the North Carolina Department of Transportation had two programs in which signage could be placed on state roads. 1) Logo placed signs for interstates and full access highways only. 2) TODS, Tourist Oriented Destination Signs, oriented toward tourist businesses only. TODS allowed signs on all highways, however the business had to apply and meet standards set by DOT designating them as tourist businesses in order to be placed on the sign(s).
The Board directed Mr. Furman to determine types of signs allowed by DOT for “Old 421 South Hwy” to be located at each red light that intersected the new highway. Mr. Furman was also to determine any other types of signs allowed.
SCHOOL BOND RESOLUTION REQUEST
Ms. Doris Isaacs reviewed a proposed amended bond refunding resolution. The amended resolution confirmed the maturities and rates of interests that were borne by the bonds and also approved the preliminary official statement and final official statement. Ms. Isaacs stated that the bonds were sold at a higher rate than anticipated which was to net the County approximately $191,655 in savings over the next nine years.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to adopt the amended bond refunding resolution as presented by Ms. Isaacs.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson gave a first reading of an upcoming vacancy on the Department of Social Services Advisory Board occurring due to the expiration of the term of Shirlee Gaines Edwards on June 30, 2004.
As the above was a first reading, no action was required at this time.
County Manager Nelson stated that a vacancy existed for an ETJ representative for the Town of Boone Planning Commission.
Commissioner Trivette, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to appoint Shawna Rhyne as the ETJ representative for the Town of Boone Planning Commission.
B. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that the NCACC Legislative Update was to be held in Raleigh on May 19, 2004 and requested those wishing to attend to see the Clerk to the Board for reservations.
The County Manager announced that the Annual Project on Aging Volunteer Luncheon was scheduled for Thursday, April 22, 2004, at 11:30 A.M. at the Broyhill Conference Center.
The County Manager distributed the School Board budget request for Commissioner review.
The County Manager stated that public hearings were scheduled for the May 18, 2004, Board meeting to allow public input on the Manager’s Recommended Budget and the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Secondary Roads Plan.
C. Discussion of May 14, 2004, Budget Work Session Date – County Manager Nelson stated that due to a conflict the May 14, 2004, Budget Work Session date needed to be rescheduled.
By consensus, the Board rescheduled the May 14, 2004, Budget Work Session for May 17, 2004, from 3:00 P.M. till 7:00 P.M. The May 7, 2004, Budget Work Session remains from 6:00 P.M. till 10:00 P.M.
D. Optimist Club “Law Week” Proclamation Request – County Manager Nelson discussed a proposed proclamation designating the week of May 3-9, 2004 as “Law Week” in Watauga County. The County Manager read the proposed proclamation.
Vice-Chairman Hodges requested to change the title to “Respect for Law Week” in Watauga County.
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to adopt the Proclamation for “Respect for Law Week” in Watauga County as amended.
No one spoke during public comment.
Chairman Coffey called a brief recess prior to closed session.
At 7:37 P.M., Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3) and Land Acquisition, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(i).
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to resume the open meeting at 8:14 P.M.
Chairman Coffey called a brief recess prior to the scheduled work session. The meeting reconvened at 8:19 P.M. in the Manager’s conference room.
WORK SESSION ON PLANS FOR COURTHOUSE ADDITION
County Manager Nelson stated that the staff and architect had conducted programming with the various departments concerning the requested space in the planned courthouse addition. Basically, more requests were received than the initial scope was to allow. The Manager asked the architect, Jack Hemphill, to present several different options for the proposed addition.
Mr. Hemphill presented the following options and reviewed the details of each with projected costs:
6,000 sq. ft. addition at a cost of $1.3 – 1.4 million including the HVAC system
8,000 sq. ft. addition at a cost of $1.7 – 1.8 million including the HVAC system
*10,000 sq. ft. addition at a cost of $2.1 – 2.3 million including the HVAC system
*(may be an additional $100,000 cost on the 10,000 sq. ft. rendition due to possibly having to place fire sprinklers in the Courthouse and addition to meet code)
Currently, $1.25 million was budgeted for the project in addition to the $600,000 budgeted for the HVAC system.
By consensus, the Board agreed to direct Mr. Hemphill to proceed with the 8,000 sq. ft. option and to examine the costs associated with using 20 – 40% of the space in the large courtroom for additional office space.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:17 P.M.
James Coffey, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board