WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2007
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, October 1, 2007, at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building.
PRESENT: Jim Deal, Chairman
William R. Winkler, III, Vice-Chairman
John Cooper, Commissioner
Winston Kinsey, Commissioner
Mary Moretz, Commissioner
Andrea Capua, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Deron Geouque, Assistant County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 A.M.
Chairman Deal opened the regular meeting with a prayer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Deal called for additions or corrections to the September 12, 2007, special meeting minutes and the September 18, 2007, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Moretz, moved to approve the September 12, 2007, special meeting minutes as presented.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve the September 18, 2007, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve the September 18, 2007, closed session meeting minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Deal called for additions and/or corrections to the October 1, 2007, agenda.
Commissioner Moretz, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to approve the October 1, 2007, agenda as presented.
PROPOSED CONTRACT REQUEST FOR SCALE HOUSE REPLACEMENT
Randy Jones, Architect, discussed bids received for the Scale/Scale House Replacement Project at the Sanitation Department. The low bidder for the project was James R. Vannoy and Sons with a bid amount of $645,000. The original budget for this project was approximately $275,000 and was upgraded to $500,000 after the design work was completed. The low bid of $645,000 contained a $20,000 contingency as well as up to $33,300 in value engineering. County Manager Nelson stated that the additional funds needed for the project were planned to be taken from the Sanitation Department Retained Earnings Account which had a current balance of approximately $1,950,000. The County Manager stated that to complete this project a budget amendment transferring up to $500,000 from the Retained Earnings Account was required. Mr. J. V. Potter, Operations Specialist, stated that the current facility has outlived its usefulness and has already been renovated and repaired several times.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to award the contract to James R. Vannoy and Sons including value engineered item #2 with funds to be allocated from the Sanitation Retained Earnings Account.
PARKS AND RECREATION MATTERS
A. Request for Approval of PART F Grant Application – Mr. Stephen Poulos requested authorization to apply for up to $500,000 in Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PART F) Grant funds for Fiscal Year 2008. The grant application due date was January 31, 2008, with grants to be awarded in May and July 2008. Mr. Poulos proposed additions to the new Brookshire Park area that included a greenway trail, a Frisbee golf course, outdoor basketball court, multi-purpose grass area, picnic area, sand volleyball court, and other facilities including bathrooms, concession, and storage. The grant had a one-for-one local match requirement that could be met with the approximate $800,000 available in Recreation Capital Reserve Account.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Commissioner Moretz, moved to direct Stephen Poulos to prepare and submit the PART F Grant application as requested with up to $500,000 in matching funds to be allocated from the Recreation Capital Reserve Account if awarded.
B. Greenway Connector Request – Mr. Poulos reported on the cost of installing a Greenway connector link underneath the bridge on HWY US 421 adjacent to the existing Brookshire Park. Mr. Poulos stated that the approximate cost of this project was expected to be $400,000. Mr. Poulos stated that the report was for information only and requested further discussion at the annual Pre-Budget Planning Retreat for FY 2009.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator Kelvin Byrd presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of September 2007.
B. Releases and Refunds – Mr. Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for September 2007 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for September 2007 as presented.
NEW HIGH SCHOOL MATTERS
A. Proposed Early Steel Package – County Manager Nelson stated that, in order to facilitate the schedule for the construction of the new high school, Barnhill/Vannoy had submitted four options for early structural and concrete packages. The early package was to break the components out of the overall construction contract/budget and allow them to be bid separately and earlier than the overall project. It was anticipated that this allowed an early order of the steel and/or concrete components and was to save approximately two months in the overall schedule.
County Manager Nelson stated that the High School Sub-Committee recommended Option # 2 in the amount of $4,450,183 which was to include the shop drawing for the structural and reinforcing steel as well as the materials purchases. Funds needed were recommended to be obligated from the County’s General Fund Balance under the provision for reimbursement as outlined in a previously adopted resolution.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to approve Option # 2 in the amount of $4,450,183 as recommended by the High School Sub-Committee. Funds were to be obligated from the General Fund Balance to be reimbursed when project financing was obtained.
B. Selection of Testing Contracts for Geothermal Conductivity – County Manager Nelson stated that Jennifer Sisak with Shuller, Ferris, Lindstrom, and Associates, the Project Architect for the new high school, had notified the County that geothermal conductivity tests needed to be conducted on the property to determine how many wells must be installed for the geothermal HVAC system. The County Manager reviewed bids received and stated that Ms. Sisak recommended awarding the contract to R. A. Simmons Well Drilling Company in the amount of $25,420. The County Manager stated that a local well drilling company was not available with the specific skills needed for this type of testing.
Commissioner Cooper, seconded by Commissioner Moretz, moved to authorize staff to enter into a contract with R. A. Simmons Well Drilling Company in the amount of $25,420 for geothermal conductivity testing at the new high school site.
C. Surplus Property Request (Barns (2)) – County Manager Nelson stated that the Baker Edmisten property contained two barns that were currently occupied by Mr. Edmisten via a lease agreement which expired at the end of September 2007. Mr. Baker Edmisten had notified the County that he needed an additional month to occupy the house; however, County Manager Nelson informed him that the barns needed to be vacated as soon as possible. Mr. Edmisten relayed that he should be out of the barns by the middle of October. The County Manager requested that the two barns be declared as surplus and be approved for demolition in that the area was needed for fill as the site preparation progressed.
Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to declare the two “Edmisten property” barns as surplus and approve demolition thereof.
ANNE-MARIE DRIVE PARK PAVING REQUEST TO THE TOWN OF BOONE
Assistant County Manager Geouque recommended that the Board request the Town of Boone to assist in paving the parking area of the Anne-Marie Drive Park. The parking area was designed to be used by both the County and yet-to-be-built town park/s. The Assistant County Manager also requested the Board allocate $165,881 from the Capital Reserve Account that was forwarded by the Town of Boone according to the landfill settlement agreement. This was to allow for completion of the park and also reserve undesignated County funds for other Parks and Recreation projects such as the PART F grant for Brookshire.
Commissioner Moretz, seconded by Commissioner Cooper, moved to direct staff to request the Town of Boone pave the parking area available for the County park and yet-to-be-built Town parks.
Commissioner Kinsey, seconded by Vice-Chairman Winkler, moved to allocate $165,881 to the Anne-Marie Drive Park project from the Capital Reserve Account as requested by the Assistant County Manager.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Watauga Humane Society Space Request – County Manager Nelson stated that the Watauga Humane Society had experienced a problem with their existing facility that required them to relocate their office and cat housing area. Their request was to relocate temporarily to the County’s Animal Control facility. The County Manager stated that Mr. Dave Simpkins, Chief Animal Control Officer, was of the opinion that there was not available space to honor this request. Even though staff had a good working relationship with the Humane Society, honoring this request could not be recommended due to space restraints.
By consensus, the Board agreed to direct staff to respond to the Humane Society that the Board could not honor their request at this time but that staff was to review other options and bring a report back to the Board at a future meeting.
B. Hospitality House Property Request – County Manager Nelson stated that the Hospitality House was seeking to relocate their operations from downtown Boone and they had identified 1.9 acres adjacent to the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) Business Center off of Bamboo Road, adjacent to the Hannah Building. The County Manager stated that discussions had be held with Ken Boham, President of CCC&TI, who was in agreement to transfer the property back to Watauga County for Hospitality House use. The County has not received the deed transferring the property from CCC&TI.
By consensus, the Board agreed to inform the Hospitality House that the Board was agreeable to a long-term lease as long as the property was being used for housing and that the property was to revert back to Watauga County if Hospitality House ceased operation.
C. October and December Meeting Schedule Discussion – County Manager Nelson stated that the current second meeting in October, scheduled for the 16th, was in conflict with a meeting with the Bond Rating Team from Standard and Poors. The County Manager stated that staff recommended the rescheduling of the second meeting in October to the 23rd at 6:00 P.M. The County Manager stated that DOT had been contacted and was agreeable to hold their Secondary Roads Plan public hearing on the 23rd.
By consensus, the Board agreed to move the second October meeting from the 16th to the 23rd at 6:00 P.M., along with the public hearing on DOT’s Secondary Roads Plan.
County Manager Nelson stated that, historically, the second meeting in December was cancelled due to the Christmas holidays; however, a joint meeting was necessary this December with the School Board to approve the preliminary GMP for the high school project and provide authorization to bid the project. The recommended date for the joint meeting was 4:00 P.M. on Thursday, December 20, 2007.
By consensus, the Board agreed to reschedule their second meeting in December to December 20, 2007, at 4:00 P.M. to include a joint meeting with the School Board.
D. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that the Watauga County Library Board had recommended that Hugh Hagaman be appointed to a four-year term to the local Library Board.
Commissioner Moretz, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to appoint Hugh Hagaman to the local Library Board for a four-year term.
County Manager Nelson stated that the Town of Boone had a vacancy for a four-year term as an ETJ member to the Boone Area Planning Commission.
This appointment was tabled until a future meeting.
County Manager Nelson stated that the Workforce Development Board recommended reappointment of Ben Shoemake and Sandy Reese. Mr. Shoemake represented community-based organizations and Ms. Reese represented private sector business. County Manager Nelson stated that these appointments were to be made by the Chairman.
Chairman Deal reappointed Ben Shoemake and Sandy Reese to the Workforce Development Board.
County Manager Nelson stated that an appointment for a vacant three-year term as a regular member to the Boone Board of Adjustment was needed.
This appointment was tabled until a future meeting.
County Manager Nelson stated that an appointment for an un-expired term ending November 2009 to the Watauga County Board of Adjustment was needed.
This appointment was tabled until a future meeting.
County Manager Nelson stated that there was one vacancy on the New River Service Authority Board.
Vice-Chairman Winkler recommended Mark Hurst as a first reading for appointment to the New River Service Authority Board.
E. Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that the Alcohol and Drug Council was conducting their annual Red Ribbon Celebration Kickoff Breakfast on Monday, October 8, 2007, from 8:00 A.M. to 9:30 A.M. at the Broyhill Inn.
County Manager Nelson announced that the Department of Transportation’s Secondary Roads Public Hearing was rescheduled to the October 23, 2007, Board meeting at 6:00 P.M.
County Manager Nelson announced that the Rural Center had scheduled the 2007 Rural Partners Forum for October 24-25, 2007, in Raleigh.
There was no public comment.
At 10:22 A.M., Vice-Chairman Winkler, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3) and Economic Development Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(4).
Commissioner Moretz, seconded by Commissioner Kinsey, moved to resume the open meeting at 11:12 A.M.
Chairman Deal adjourned the meeting at 11:12 A.M.
Jim Deal, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board