WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, AUGUST 2, 2011
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, August 2, 2011, at 8:00 A.M. in the Commissioners' Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building, Boone, North Carolina.
PRESENT: Nathan A. Miller, Chairman
David Blust, Vice-Chairman
Jim Deal, Commissioner
Tim Futrelle, Commissioner
Vince Gable, Commissioner
Stacy C. Eggers, IV, County Attorney
Deron Geouque, County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Miller called the meeting to order at 8:02 A.M.
Vice-Chairman Blust opened the meeting with a prayer and Commissioner Gable led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Chairman Miller called for additions and/or corrections to the July 12, 2011, regular and closed session minutes along with the July 13, 2011, special meeting minutes.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to approve the July 12, 2011, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to approve the July 12, 2011, closed session minutes as presented.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to approve the July 13, 2011, special meeting minutes as presented.
Chairman Miller called for additions and/or corrections to the August 2, 2011, agenda.
County Manager Geouque requested to add a proposed resolution approving Blowing Rock's rural six-mile insurance district boundaries and a proposed Boards and Commissions appointment.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the August 2, 2011, agenda as amended.
Mr. Bruce Kaplan, American Red Cross Board Member, shared information regarding consolidation to form a five-county American Red Cross Chapter serving Watauga and Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, and Wilkes Counties. The Chapter, currently operating in Watauga County, uses space donated by the County in the East Annex building. Mr. Kaplan stated that Wilkes County had offered donated space as well; however, the American Red Cross preferred and planned to house the newly consolidated office in the current Watauga County location. The office will be staffed with two full-time employees.
This report was given for information only and, therefore, no action was required.
Mr. Kent Graham, Town of Blowing Rock Emergency Services Director, presented a proposed resolution approving the Town of Blowing Rock's six-mile insurance district boundaries. Mr. Graham stated that a previous resolution had been adopted; however the map designating the district included a breakout of the Blowing Rock Fire Department Sub-Station which was not acceptable. Mr. Graham requested approval of the proposed resolution accompanied by "Attachment A" which was the corrected map.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to adopt the resolution approving Blowing Rock's six-mile insurance district boundaries as presented by Mr. Graham.
Mr. Phil Trew, Director of Planning and Development with the High Country Council of Governments (HCCOG), stated that the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) had recently contracted with HCCOG to develop a Regional Bike Plan. The regional plan is intended to compliment existing municipal bicycle plans and, therefore, will not include circulation routes within town limits. The purpose of the plan is to improve safety, access, and mobility for cyclists by identifying road improvements and providing signage to mark the designated routes. The plan was to develop routes that would provide transportation connections while also recognizing the recreational and economic benefits that cycling provides. Mr. Trew requested appointment of three members, representing Watauga County, to serve on a steering committee for the Regional Bike Plan. Mr. Trew stated that Mr. Dan Scagnelli, Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation Director, and Mr. Eric Woolridge, Watauga County Tourism and Development Director of Tourism Planning, had been suggested to serve as members of the steering committee. Commissioner Deal suggested the possibility of appointing a Blood, Sweat, and Gears representative as well.
By consensus, the Board agreed to table the appointment of members to the Regional Bike Plan Steering Committee until the August 16, 2011, Board meeting.
Mr. Jason Gaston, representing Temple of the High Country, presented a request for easements on County-owned property. The Temple of the High Country planned construction of a new temple on property adjoining County property. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) required curb and guttering which was proposed to extend onto County-owned property. The Temple of the High Country requested a temporary construction easement for the placement of the curb and guttering and the NCDOT requested a permanent easement once the construction was complete. The curb and guttering would be located on the southwest corner of the Agricultural Services Building beside the County's impound lot on Poplar Grove Road. The Temple of the High Country planned to fund the installation and the NCDOT planned to maintain the curb and guttering. The County would benefit by reduced costs of future sidewalk construction as the curb and guttering would already be in place.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to approve a temporary construction easement with the Temple of the High Country and a permanent easement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the installation and maintenance of curb and guttering on County-owned property located on Poplar Grove Road adjacent to Temple of the High Country property, at no cost to the County and contingent upon the County Attorney's review.
Mr. Chris Turner, Director of AppalCART, requested the Board schedule a public hearing to allow citizen comment on Watauga County's Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP) application as required by the State. ROAP funds were available to counties to assist with transportation costs and required no local match. Mr. Turner requested the public hearing be scheduled for the August 16, 2011, meeting.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to schedule a public hearing for the August 16, 2011, regular meeting, at 6:00 P.M. to allow citizen comment on Watauga County's Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP) application.
1. Parks and Recreation
2. Project on Aging
Mr. Turner presented contract renewals for the Watauga County Parks and Recreation Department and Project on Aging (POA). These contracts are renewed each year with AppalCART to provide transportation for each of these departments. POA contract amounts were proposed to remain the same for FY 2012 at .69¢ per vehicle mile and $13.09 per vehicle hour. The Parks and Recreation Department contract amount of $14.48 per vehicle hour was proposed to remain the same; however, a .10¢ increase in the per vehicle mile rate was proposed, bringing the new rate to $1.10. Mr. Turner stated that the rates differed between the departments as the POA used smaller vans to serve their transportation needs; however, the Parks and Recreation required the utilization of larger buses for their programs.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the contract between AppalCART and the Watauga County Parks and Recreation Department as presented.
VOTE: Aye-4(Blust, Deal, Futrelle, Gable)
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the contract between AppalCART and the Watauga County Project on Aging as presented.
Ms. Angie Boitnotte, Director of Project on Aging (POA), requested the Board accept the FY 2012 grant/contract for the Senior's Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). The grant amount is $8,803 and requires no local match. Ms. Boitnotte stated that the funds are used to cover the cost of attendance at the SHIIP Coordinator's Training conference along with providing assistance and outreach to low-income citizens.
Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Deal, moved to accept the FY 2012 Senior's Health Insurance Information Program grant/contract in the amount of $8,803 as presented by Ms. Boitnotte.
Mr. Jim Atkinson, Director of Social Services, presented a contract with Northwoods Consulting Partners, Inc. for the installation and implementation of an electronic document management system. The system will improve efficiency as staff will no longer be required to input client information multiple times. Mr. Atkinson stated that, through implementing this system, clerical service needs would be reduced, thereby allowing for the reduction of positions.
The Board approved the purchase of an electronic document management system during the Fiscal Year 2011-12 budget process. The total contract price is $210,624. Staff estimates the County will be eligible for $35,000 in reimbursements with the remaining $175,000 appropriated in the Department of Social Services budget.
Commissioner Deal shared concerns that confidentiality of records be kept. County Attorney Eggers assured the Board that protection for the County was included in the contract which he had already reviewed. The County Attorney stated that the maintenance contract also included confidentiality clauses as well.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to approve the contract with Northwoods Consulting Partners, Inc., as presented.
Mr. Brian Chatham with the Watauga County Soil and Water Conservation District presented a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the North Carolina Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services (NCDA) and the Soil and Water Conservation District. Mr. Chatham shared the background of NCDA 2008 grant award to the New River Community Partners (NRCP) in the amount of $22,020. The NRCP was to use these funds to purchase farm equipment for use by growers in northwestern North Carolina to improve their productivity and profitability.
The grant agreement required the NRCP to retain ownership of the equipment for five years from the date of purchase and maintain the equipment; however, NRCP is no longer in a position to carry out those responsibilities. There have also been issues with the equitable availability of the equipment to area farmers. Due to a good continuous working relationship, the NCDA has requested that the Watauga County Soil and Water Conservation District take over the operation, maintenance, and leasing of the equipment. Security deposits and delivery fees, to be set by the Soil and Water Conservation District Board, were allowed under the agreement to off-set associated costs. Marketing was also planned to promote the availability of the equipment. The Watauga County Soil and Water Conservation District Board has reviewed and approved the MOU.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to approve the Memorandum of Understanding, contingent upon County Attorney review.
Tax Administrator Kelvin Byrd presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of July 2011. This report was presented for information only and, therefore, no action was required.
Mr. Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for July 2011 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for July 2011, as presented.
Mr. Robert Marsh, Maintenance Director, stated that, in August 2010, Watauga County awarded a three-year custodial services contract to American Cleaning Services, Inc. After approximately ten months, the contractor was unable to fulfill their obligations per the contract. The County Attorney is investigating potential damages and penalties against American Cleaning Services, Inc.
The Maintenance Department is currently providing limited cleaning services to all County facilities until a replacement contract or another suitable arrangement can be determined.
The County solicited bids for custodial services for a three-year contract period in July 2011 and received the following proposals:
Company Location Amount of Bid
Deep Reflection Wilkesboro, NC $131,734.70
IH Services, Inc. Spartanburg, SC $119,450.83
Teresa Kimbrough Clemmons, NC $89,266.74
Carolina Cleaning Services Deep Gap, NC $69,028.00
Mr. Robert Marsh stated that, upon review of the bids, the two lowest bidders were deemed non-responsive, leaving only two eligible vendors. Mr. Marsh stated that the proposal from IH Services, Inc., did not, in staff's opinion, allow for an adequate number of hours to realistically complete the work required. Mr. Marsh stated that he would recommend awarding the bid to Deep Reflection in the amount of $131,734.70; however, the issue remained as to the budget shortfall of approximately $57,000.
County Attorney Eggers stated that if a contract was awarded it must be to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder. Therefore, IH Services, Inc., would have to be deemed legally non-responsible in order to award the contract to Deep Reflection. Mr. Marsh stated that the IH Services bid was framed around a cost-per-night with a certain amount of hours committed per night.
Mr. Marsh offered the following alternative options for consideration as well:
Option One proposed the County provide in-house cleaning services at the current bid level. This would require an increase in staff and equipment at an annual cost of approximately $154,129. This option not only exceeded the bids received but also exceeded the budgeted amount for cleaning services in FY 2011-2012 by approximately $79,000. However, maintenance and custodial needs would continue to be fulfilled at the level of standards expected by the Maintenance Department.
Option Two proposed the County provide in-house cleaning at a reduced level of service. This plan also proposed additional staff, at a lower number than Option One, and the reclassification of existing staff to help meet custodial needs. Option Two would stay within the existing $74,799 budgeted amount for custodial services; however, the current level of custodial services along with facility maintenance (due to staff reclassifications from maintenance to custodial) would be reduced.
County Manager Geouque stated that, if a contract was awarded, it would be the third contract for custodial services with the first two ultimately not providing services as required. The County Manager stated that if Option Two were chosen, then a re-evaluation could be performed after a few months to determine if the services provided were adequate.
Mr. Marsh stated that if additional staff was hired now, it would make the transition back to contracting the services more difficult without laying off employees. The County was fortunate in that vacant positions originally allowed the move toward contracting out the services without causing a reduction in force.
County Attorney Eggers stated that bid bonds could continue to be held for the proposals received until the next meeting to allow for continued discussions.
By consensus, the Board agreed to table further discussion until the August 16, 2011, meeting and to direct staff to present additional information regarding costs associated with the provision of custodial services.
1. Closeout of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the Hospitality House Construction Project
2. Road Names
Mr. Joe Furman requested that the Board schedule two public hearings for the August 16, 2011, regular Board meeting. One was to allow for citizen comment on the closeout of the Hospitality House Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project and the other to allow for citizen comment on new private and public road names as required by N.C.G.S. 153A-239.1.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to schedule a public hearing for the August 16, 2011, regular meeting at 6:00 P.M. to allow for citizen comment on the closeout of the Hospitality House Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project.
Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to schedule a public hearing for the August 16, 2011, regular meeting at 6:00 P.M. to allow for citizen comment on new private and public road names as required by N.C.G.S. 153A-239.1.
Mr. Furman stated that, at the April 5, 2011, regular meeting, the Board tabled setting a date for an Emergency Management Training which could enhance funding opportunities for the County.
After discussion and by consensus, the Board scheduled the training for September 20, 2011, from 3:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. prior to the regular Board meeting scheduled for 5:00 P.M. that evening.
County Manager Geouque stated that, after discussions with the Sheriff, it was determined that relocating the Civil Division to the East Annex building as proposed at the July 13, 2011, work session, would not accomplish the goal of increased Sheriff's presence at the Courthouse to assist with Courthouse security. After discussions with Board of Elections and Information Technologies (IT) staff, a suitable location for the Civil Division was determined to be the front office of the IT Department, thus allowing a quick and efficient response time to the Courthouse entrance. However, placing the Civil Division in space currently used by IT would require the relocation of two staff IT members. The County Manager offered the following options for reallocation of space within the Courthouse:
Option One required the Board of Elections give up their current Boardroom to allow for the relocation of the two IT staff positions. In order to replace the lost space, the Board of Elections would use Courtroom # 3, as graciously provided by the Clerk of Court, for One Stop Voting and Board of Elections' meetings.
Option Two proposed switching IT and Board of Elections office spaces. This option would allow the Board of Elections to retain its current Boardroom and public access areas. The current IT training room would be converted into storage space for Board of Elections. This option would alleviate the use of Courtroom # 3.
The County Manger stated that staff recommended Option One as it allowed for the least amount of public inconvenience and fewer renovations, thereby, providing cost and time savings. Funding for the renovations would be allocated from the Maintenance Department funds and the Administrative Contingency fund if needed. Sheriff Hagaman was present and stated that he was comfortable with Option One.
The County Manager stated that the Courthouse security measures recently adopted would go into effect after the completion of Town of Boone curb improvements to the sidewalk in front of the Courthouse.
Commissioner Gable, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to accept Option One as proposed by County Manager Geouque with funding to be allocated from, first, the Maintenance Department budget and second, if needed, from the Administrative Contingency fund.
County Manager Geouque shared a letter received from Dr. Marty Hemric, Superintendent of Watauga County Schools, verifying that Barnhill/Vannoy had completed Change Order # 50R and satisfactorily addressed the soil and erosion issues covered under warranty at the new Watauga High School. The letter requested the release of $345,031.75 in retained funds to Barnhill/Vannoy. The County Manager stated that the request included the following: $200,000 held in retainage, $140,917 for Change Order 50R, and $4,114.75 for Barnhill/Vannoy's share of the Construction Manager's contingency after subtracting the $8,000 for roof repairs. The County Manager stated that Dr. Hemric had ensured him that there were no outstanding issues with Change Order # 50R and that all soil and erosion issues had been completed to the Board of Education's satisfaction.
After discussion and by consensus, the Board agreed to table further discussion until the August 16, 2011, regular meeting to allow for a report regarding the roof repairs.
[Clerk's Note: Commissioner Deal left the meeting at 9:30 A.M. to meet a prior obligation; therefore, the following votes marked as absent, that are unexcused, do count as an Aye vote.]
County Manager Geouque presented the proposed Watauga County Animal Care and Control Ordinance as updated after the July 12 public hearing to include definitions for "commercial kennel" and "public place." The updated document also included the deletion of Sheriff's Deputies serving as Animal Care and Control Officers.
County Manager Geouque stated that the amendments reflected the transfer of shelter operations to the Watauga Humane Society. In addition to the Ordinance amendments, a promissory note and deed of trust needed to be prepared by the County Attorney to complete the County's agreement with Watauga Humane Society regarding the construction of the new facility and consolidation of services.
Chairman Miller share continued concerns regarding "Section 2D. Prohibition against giveaways in public places."
Commissioner Futrelle moved to adopt the Watauga County Animal Care and Control Ordinance as presented and to direct the County Attorney to prepare a promissory note and deed of trust as necessary per the County's agreement with the Humane Society.
Due to a lack of a second, Commissioner Futrelle's motion died.
Chairman Miller, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to adopt the Watauga County Animal Care and Control Ordinance as presented with the exclusion of "Section 2D. Prohibition against giveaways in public places" and to direct the County Attorney to prepare a promissory note and deed of trust as necessary per the County's agreement with the Humane Society.
VOTE: Aye-3(Miller, Blust, Gable)
County Manager Geouque stated that the appointment of a voting delegate for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners' (NCACC) Annual Conference had been tabled at a previous Board meeting.
After discussion, Chairman Miller appointed Commissioner Futrelle to serve as the Watauga County voting delegate at the NCACC Annual Conference.
County Manager Geouque stated that the Town of Beech Mountain has requested the appointment of their new Recreation Director, Dan Scagnelli, to serve as their representative on the Watauga County Recreation Commission.
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to waive the second reading and appoint Dan Scagnelli as the Beech Mountain representative on the Watauga County Recreation Commission.
VOTE: Aye-4(Miller, Blust, Futrelle, Gable)
County Manager Geouque announced that the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners' (NCACC) 104th Annual Conference is scheduled for August 18-21, 2011, in Concord.
County Manager Geouque announced that the Town of Boone is interested in meeting with the Board of Commissioners to discuss topics of interests. The Manager noted that the Town Council's schedule was busy until the end of August and requested that the Board provide dates to presented for consideration. The Town indicated that there was no need for a moderator for the meeting and suggested the meeting be held at the Broyhill Inn. The County Manager also requested topics of interest for the joint meeting.
After discussion and by consensus, the Board agreed upon the prospective dates of September 8 or September 12 at 5:00 P.M. with the meeting to be held in either the Town Council Meeting Chamber or the Board of Commissioners' Board Room. Topics mentioned for discussion included ETJ appointments, clarification on the water allocation for the old high school property, and centralized dispatching.
County Manager Geouque announced that the Hospitality House Board of Directors invites the Board to attend their 6th Annual Food and Shelter for Hope Luncheon on Thursday, August 25, 2011, at 11:30 A.M. at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center.
County Manager Geouque announced that Register of Deeds JoAnn Townsend invited the Board to attend the Opening Banquet for the 59th Annual North Carolina Association of Register of Deeds Conference which will be held September 10-13, 2011, on the campus of Appalachian State University. The Banquet is scheduled for Sunday, September 11, 2011, at 6:30 P.M.
County Manager Geouque announced that agenda packets for Board of Commissioners' regular meetings will be available on the County's website effective with the August 16 meeting by 5:00 P.M. the Friday prior to the meeting.
There was no public comment; however, Chairman Miller offered public appreciation to Avery County staff for their recent celebrations in honor of Avery County's 100th Anniversary.
At 9:47 A.M., Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3).
VOTE: Aye-4(Miller, Blust, Futrelle, Gable)
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to resume the open meeting at 11:16 A.M.
VOTE: Aye-4(Miller, Blust, Futrelle, Gable)
Chairman Miller adjourned the meeting at 11:16 A.M.
Nathan A. Miller, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board