WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2015
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting, as scheduled, on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at 8:30 A.M. in the Commissioners' Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building, Boone, North Carolina.
PRESENT: Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
David Blust, Vice-Chairman
Billy Kennedy, Commissioner
John Welch, Commissioner
Perry Yates, Commissioner
Kimberly Eggers, County Attorney
Deron Geouque, County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges called the meeting to order at 8:30 A.M.
Commissioner Yates opened the meeting with a prayer and Commissioner Welch led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Minutes
Chairman Hodges called for additions and/or corrections to the September 15, 2015, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to approve the September 15, 2015, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Proposed amendments to the closed session minutes were presented to the Board for consideration.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to approve the September 15, 2015, closed session minutes as amended.
Approval of Agenda
Chairman Hodges called for additions and/or corrections to the October 6, 2015, agenda.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to approve the October 6, 2015, agenda as presented.
[Clerk’s Note: Due to technical difficulties with the electronic presentation for AppalCART; the Food Hub Proposal was presented first.]
Food Hub Proposal - Development of Food Hub in the Cooperative Extension/Maintenance Building
Ms. Carol Coulter, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA), presented a proposal to lease space in the County’s Cooperative Extension/Maintenance building. The purpose is to create a food hub which would support local farmers and community gardens by providing much needed storage space for frozen and dry goods. Rent is proposed to be one dollar ($1) per year with subleases to be approved by the Board. BRWIA will provide funding for the up fit of the space and pay a portion of the utilities associated with the space. Ms. Coulter stated that the request was originally for a twenty-five (25) year term; however, due to North Carolina General Statues BRWIA understood that the lease needed to be less than ten (10) years.
The County’s Maintenance Department would relocate items currently stored in the requested space to the old AppalCART facility which was recently awarded to the County.
Property owned by the County may be leased or rented for such terms and upon such conditions as the Board may determine, for up to ten (10) years. Property may be rented or leased only pursuant to a resolution of the Board authorizing the execution of the lease or rental agreement adopted at a regular Board meeting upon 10 days' public notice. Notice shall be given by publication describing the property to be leased or rented, stating the annual rental or lease payments, and announcing the Board's intent to authorize the lease or rental at its next regular meeting.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to adopt the resolution authorizing the execution of a lease after a ten day notice of intent to approve the lease at the next regular meeting.
A. Introduction of New Director and AppalCART Update
Mr. Craig Hughes, AppalCART Director, introduced himself and provided an update on AppalCART matters. Mr. Hughes highlighted the economic benefits of public transportation as shown through a study provided by the Institute of Transportation Research and Education (ITRE). Mr. Hughes also demonstrated NextBus which is a real-time passenger information system that AppalCART has been using since June. The system allows passengers to receive real-time information on the estimated arrival time of their bus and to see the location of the bus by utilizing the map feature through AppalCART’s website.
The presentation was for information only.
B. Proposed Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP) Grant for FY 2016
Mr. Hughes reviewed the North Carolina Department of Transportation Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP) grant application for Watauga County. County governments are the only eligible applicants for ROAP funds and must submit an annual application to receive the funds. Mr. Hughes reviewed the application, which totaled $142,343, and stated that a public hearing is not required this year. No County match is required.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to authorize the submission of the Rural Operating Assistance Program Grant Application as presented.
Proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
County Manager Geouque presented a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for consideration between the County and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for the Pine Run River Access. The MOU details the responsibilities of both the County and the Commission regarding the access. The County would be responsible for maintaining the grounds surrounding the site which would include weed eating and trash removal. Trash removal should be minimal as trash receptacles will not be placed at the facility. The County previously approved an encroachment agreement for the access with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between the County and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for the Pine Run River Access as presented.
Parks and Recreation Out-Of-State Travel Requests
Mr. Stephen Poulos, Parks and Recreation Director, presented two of out-of-state travel request. The first request is for Mr. Poulos to attend the Carolina Recreation and Parks Association’s 2015 Carolinas Joint Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The second request is for Ms. Keron Poteat, Recreation Specialist II, to attend the 2015 Special Olympics North America National Tennis Championships Hilton Head Island, SC. Mr. Poulos stated that there would be no costs to the County other than their time.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to approve the out-of-state travel requests for both Stephen Poulos and Keron Poteat as presented.
Request for Public Hearing to Allow Citizen Comment on Proposed Amendments to the Following Ordinances:
A. Ordinance to Regulate Wind Energy Systems
B. Ordinance to Regulate High Impact Land Uses
Mr. Joe Furman, Planning & Inspections Director, presented amendments to the High Impact Land Use (HILU) and Wind Energy Systems Ordinances as directed by the Planning Board. Buffers and setbacks were reviewed regarding the HILU Ordinance and procedural changes for hearings and permitting for the Wind Energy Systems were examined. Mr. Furman requested a public hearing be scheduled if the Board wished to consider the proposed amendments.
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to schedule a public hearing for both ordinances on October 20, 2015, at 5:30 P.M. in the Commissioners’ Board Room.
Vehicle Bid Award for New Fire Marshal Truck
Mr. Jeff Virginia, Emergency Services Director, presented the following bids for the purchase of a new Fire Marshal vehicle.
Mack Brown Chevrolet $38,185.95 (emergency equipment not included)
Discovery Chevrolet $32,212.00 (emergency equipment not included)
State Contract $27,790.00 (emergency equipment not included)
Ashe County Ford $26,869.00 (emergency equipment not included)
Ross Chrysler $51,840.00 (emergency equipment not included)
Light-N-Up, LLC $30,735.00 (emergency equipment included)
Bobby Jones Ford $30,190.38 (emergency equipment and installation
included; delivery charge ($360) and color
charge ($425) for red vehicle not included)
Mr. Virginia requested the bid be awarded to Bobby Jones Ford in the amount of $31,527.10 which includes taxes, tag, and emergency equipment (installed) for a new red 2016 Ford F250.
Chairman Hodges tabled the matter to allow for further review of the bids with breakouts showing the amounts of equipment and installation for each bid.
A. Monthly Collections Report
County Manager Geouque presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of September 2015. This report was presented for information only and, therefore, no action was required.
B. Refunds and Releases
The County Manager presented the Refunds and Releases Report for September 2015 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Kennedy, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for September 2015, as presented.
Commissioner Kennedy updated the Board on mental health issues and stated that Smoky Mountain Center, the County’s Local Management Entity (LME), was outperforming other LME’s across the state. Commissioner Kennedy warned that budget cuts proposed by the State could drive up the costs for emergency rooms, social services, and jails.
Miscellaneous Administrative Matters
A. Proposed Easement for Frontier Gas
County Manager Geouque stated that Frontier Natural Gas had requested the County grant two easements so that they may service the Hospitality House with natural gas. One easement is a permeant ten foot (10’) wide right of way and easement and the other is a temporary thirty-five foot (35’) temporary work space which would expire six (6) months upon completion of construction of the pipeline. There would be no cost for the Hospitality House to connect to the gas system or for the running of the lines to the facility. The County Manager stated that Frontier Natural Gas also planned to have the availability to connect the County’s Detention Center to the system within a five to seven year period.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Welch, moved to grant the two easements to Frontier Natural Gas as presented.
B. Boards and Commissions
Watauga County Board of Adjustment
County Manager Geouque stated that Mr. Adam Rhyne’s term expires in November. He is willing to continue to serve if so reappointed. It is a three-year term. This was a first reading and, therefore, no action was taken.
County Manager Geouque announced the following:
? A Household Hazardous Waste Day will be held for Watauga County Citizens from 9:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M. on Saturday, October 10, 2015, at the Watauga County Sanitation Department located on Landfill Road.
? Operation Medicine Cabinet will be held on Saturday, October 10, 2015, from 10:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M. All prescription and over-the-counter medications will be accepted for disposal with no questions asked. This event will take place at Foscoe Volunteer Fire Department and the three Food Lions (located in Boone, Blowing Rock, and Deep Gap). There is a permanent drop box available at the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office.
? The afternoons of October 14, 15, 19, and 22 are available to schedule tours of The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s new post-acute care facility that will open next summer. Construction is now 60% complete.
By consensus, the Board directed the County Manager to arrange the tour on October 19, 2015.
There was no public comment.
At 9:45 A.M., Commissioner Welch, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3), Land Acquisition, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(i), and Personnel Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(6).
Commissioner Welch, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to resume the open meeting at 10:33 A.M.
Chairman Hodges adjourned the meeting at 10:33 A.M.
Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board