WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2000
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, January 4, 2000 at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: Sue Sweeting, Vice-Chairman
James Coffey, Commissioner
Art Kohles, Commissioner
Jack Lawrence, Sr., Commissioner
Jeff Hedrick, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Libby Link, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges was unable to attend the meeting due to family health reasons. Vice-Chairman Sweeting called the meeting to order at 9:02 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Vice-Chairman Sweeting called for additions or corrections to the December 21, 1999 regular and special meeting minutes.
Commissioner Kohles seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the December 21, 1999 regular and special meeting minutes as presented.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting called for additions or corrections to the December 21, 1999 closed session minutes.
Commissioner Kohles seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the December 21, 1999 closed session minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Commissioner Kohles seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the agenda for the January 4, 2000 regular meeting as presented.
WATAUGA COUNTY LANDFILL SEMIANNUAL ASSESSMENT MONITORING EVENT REPORT
Draper Aden Associates (DAA) Representative, Ms. Lynn Croy, Project Manager and Team Leader for Watauga County solid waste projects, addressed the Board to review the Semiannual Assessment Monitoring Event Report for the County’s Landfill. She stated DAA had worked with the County for the past 10 years and very briefly summarized relevant background information as to the monitoring process. Ms. Croy then turned the meeting over to DAA co-worker, Mr. Jeff Smith, Environmental Project Geologist. Mr. Smith reviewed the horizontal and vertical plume delineation maps relative to the County Landfill. He stated the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources required this testing, and the report needed to be submitted to the State once approved by the Board. The Report was very positive in that both the plume area was shrinking, and the concentration of tested compounds was decreasing.
Ms. Croy stated the Landfill property was currently being used for the transfer station. Ms. Croy noted that although there was vacant property at the site, that the County should not use the property (capped area) for the next 10-15 years for a possible new recreational facility, because she felt the risks were greater than the benefits at this point in time.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved for Draper Aden Associates to forward the Semiannual Assessment Monitoring Event Report for the Watauga County Landfill to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
PARKS & RECREATION MASTER PLAN
Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, presented a Master Plan for Watauga County Parks & Recreation. Mr. Furman stated that he and Parks & Recreation Director, Deb Wynne, had worked on developing this Plan over the past year. He noted the purposes of the Plan were to: 1) Gather and assess the recreational needs of County citizens; 2) Look at what was currently offered in activities and facilities; 3) Compare N.C.’s recreational standards to Watauga County’s assessed needs; and 4) Plan for future growth. Mr. Furman briefly discussed the Plan’s assumptions which he stated set the tone for how he and Ms. Wynne wanted to proceed. In addition, he reviewed different sections of the Plan (i.e. Then…And Now; Population; Park Standards; and Recommendations (based on the assumptions, facilities analysis and citizen input). Vice-Chairman Sweeting thanked Mr. Furman and Ms. Wynne for their hard work.
Commissioner Kohles seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the Parks & Recreation Master Plan as presented.
LIBRARY FINAL CHANGE ORDER/CLOSEOUT
Maintenance Supervisor, Robert Marsh, presented a change order on the Watauga County Public Library which reduced the Contract Sum by $8,640.75 for acceptance of landscape work that did not comply with the requirements of the Contract. Mr. Marsh had met with Larry Greene, Howell Associates Architects, and both parties felt this was an appropriate and equitable method of resolving the problem for this project’s final completion.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the final change order on the Watauga County Public Library as presented.
BUDGET AMENDMENT – RESCUE SQUAD APPROPRIATION
Finance Director, Doris Isaacs, presented the following budget amendment for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
104370-449900 Wat. Co. Rescue Squad Special Allocation 22,219
103991-399101 Fund Bal. Approp.-New 22,219
To allocate additional funds needed for the $48,000 one-time allocation to Watauga County Rescue Squad (WCRS) for assistance in purchasing a new truck and equipment. This allocation was approved at the Board’s November 16, 1999 regular meeting. The remainder of the funds ($25,781) would come from excess funds from the previous contract for ambulance services. Ms. Isaacs had been told that the WCRS would address the Town of Boone at its next meeting for the remaining funds needed. However, the WCRS had the additional funds required if the Town of Boone declined its request.
Commissioner Kohles seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the budget amendment as presented.
Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, reviewed the planning for the revaluation and discussed the current status of the plan. Mr. McLean stated that there was a State mandate that counties had to do a revaluation at least every eight years. He added the County’s last revaluation was completed in 1995. The projected date for the current plan was January 1, 2002. Vice-Chairman Sweeting asked Mr. McLean what it would require "personnel wise" to do a revaluation every four years in-house. Mr. McLean did not feel it would be cost effective for the County to hire an appraising staff that did nothing but revaluation. He stated some of the larger counties had done this adding it was quite expensive to have two-three appraisers who handled revaluation only. Mr. McLean indicated the plan for revaluation would be done primarily by County staff, and the results would be checked and monitored in-house before approval. He stated the Board would need to pass a resolution to approve the revaluation scheduled for January 1, 2002 but was not asking the Board to do so at this time, because he was waiting to make sure everything could be in place for 2002. This item was for the Board’s information, and no action was taken.
TAX REVALUATION APPRAISAL CONSULTATION CONTRACT
Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, had received four proposals from potential revaluation consultants. Mr. McLean recommended contracting with one of these firms for primarily industrial and commercial appraisals. The following bids were received:
Cole-Layer-Trumble Company $139,750
Pearson Appraisal Services, Inc. $125,500
RS&M Appraisal Services, Inc. $110,900
Wingate and Associates, LTD. $196,000
Mr. McLean noted that Cole-Layer-Trumble Company and Wingate and Associates, LTD. would most likely not send the same consultant consistently rather they would probably send consultants on a first available basis. However, Mr. McLean stated the other two firms (Pearson Appraisal Services, Inc. and RS&M Appraisal Services, Inc.) were individual consultants. In addition, he felt it was important to have the same person conduct the appraisals. Mr. McLean added he knew the person at RS&M Appraisal Services, Inc. and felt that he would do a good job for the County. Mr. McLean stated that County Attorney Hedrick had reviewed the contract. Mr. McLean recommended the Board’s approval.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the RS&M Appraisal Services, Inc.’s bid of $110,900 contingent on County Attorney Hedrick’s review and approval of the final contract.
In addition, Mr. McLean stated that as part of the revaluation, the County planned to visit each piece of property to verify data, etc., and it would be a good opportunity to get digital images of property. However, Mr. McLean understood property owners’ concerns for privacy. County Attorney Hedrick stated this issue was being looked at in other counties across the State. This item was for the Board’s information, and no action was taken.
PLANNING & INSPECTIONS DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL REQUEST
Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, reviewed the increase in building permit requests from 1988 through 1999. He stated there were two building inspectors, and it was apparent that two inspectors were not able to handle the workload. In addition, the two inspectors were accruing overtime, which was contrary to County policy. In order to address this concern, rather than hiring a third inspector (which would cost the County approximately $32,100 for salary and fringe benefits, plus $18,000 for a vehicle) Mr. Furman recommended that Steve Suddreth, Fire Codes Inspector, who was also a certified building inspector in all four building trades, be used to fill-in when the inspectors were in class or on vacation. In order to make this possible, the Fire Marshal/Emergency Management secretary position (Secretary III, Sonia Stevens) needed to be increased from half-time to full-time which would eliminate the need for the other staff members to take turns "manning the office" from 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. each day. By increasing the secretary’s position to full-time, this action would allow Fire Marshal, Lisa Shoun, and Emergency Management Technician, Tim Nelson, to perform more fire code inspections. In addition, Steve Suddreth would have more time to regularly do building inspections. Mr. Furman felt that requested building inspections needed to be completed within 3 days. In addition, he stated that Ms. Stevens was willing to work full-time and felt this was the best way to address this concern. Mr. Furman added the funds to increase the secretarial position to full-time would cost approximately $11,750 per fiscal year, and the additional funds would need to come from the general fund balance.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the personnel request to make the Secretary III half-time position to full-time and to do a budget amendment in the amount of $5,875 from the general fund balance to cover the additional expense through the current Fiscal Year 1999/2000.
STATE MAINTAINED ROAD ADDITION
Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, presented a request for the addition of Lawrence Greene Road (.24 mile extension of NCSR 1503) to the State Maintained Secondary Road System.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the above request be forwarded to the N.C. DOT for consideration.
RESOLUTION BOOK #10, PAGE #13
FEBRUARY MEETING DATES
County Manager Nelson noted the Board’s regular meetings were scheduled for the 1st Monday of each month and the 3rd Tuesday of each month. However, the first Monday in February was February 7, 2000 and the third Tuesday was February 15, 2000. Therefore, Mr. Nelson asked the Board if it would like to combine the February meetings or to change one of the meeting dates.
Following brief discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to change the Board’s second meeting date scheduled for February 15, 2000 to February 22, 2000.
RECREATION CENTER FUNDING COMMITTEE
County Manager Nelson noted the High Country Recreation Task Force (HCRTF) had requested two Commissioners to serve on the Recreation Center Funding Committee (RCFC) and asked the Board if it would like to make appointments as requested. Commissioner Lawrence stated that on certain agencies the Board appointed an individual to represent the Board. In addition, since Parks & Recreation Director, Deb Wynne, served on this RCFC, the Board asked Mr. Nelson to contact a representative on the HCRTF informing them that the Board would prefer to appoint a person (rather than a Commissioner) to represent the Board on the RCFC and its request for the appointment of one representative rather than the two requested. County Manager Nelson stated he would contact the HCRTF per this request and discuss at the Board’s next regular meeting scheduled for January 18, 2000.
County Manager Nelson noted all members’ appointments expired in February, 2000 on the Home and Community Care Block Grant Project on Aging Advisory Committee, and nominees would be discussed at one of the Board’s future meetings.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to enter Closed Session at 10:11 A.M. to discuss: Personnel Matters, Manager’s Employment Contract - G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6) and Attorney Client Matters, Litigation Update Spiritual Center of America Tax Appeal - G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3). Following a brief recess, the Board entered Closed Session at 10:23 A.M.
Commissioner Kohles seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to resume the regular meeting at 10:53 A.M.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to approve the Employment Agreement between the County and County Manager, Robert E. Nelson, Jr., as presented.
Commissioner Kohles seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:54 A.M.
Elizabeth H. Link
Clerk to the Board