WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2016
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting, as scheduled, on Tuesday, December 20, 2016, at 5:30 P.M. in the Commissioners' Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building, Boone, North Carolina.
PRESENT: John Welch, Chairman
Billy Kennedy, Vice-Chairman
Jimmy Hodges, Commissioner
Larry Turnbow, Commissioner
Perry Yates, Commissioner
Anthony di Santi, County Attorney
Deron Geouque, County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Welch called the meeting to order at 5:30 P.M.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy opened with prayer and Commissioner Yates led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Minutes
Chairman Welch called for additions and/or corrections to the December 5, 2016, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to approve the December 5, 2016, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Yates, moved to approve the December 5, 2016, closed session minutes as presented.
Approval of Agenda
Chairman Welch called for additions and/or corrections to the December 20, 2016, agenda.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Vice-Chairman Kennedy, moved to approve the December 20, 2016, agenda as presented.
Request to Accept the Keep America Beautiful/Coca~Cola Grant Funds for Recycling
Recycling Coordinator Pamela Thomas stated that in October, the Board granted authorization to apply for a grant from Keep America Beautiful/Coca~Cola Program. The County was awarded the grant, in the amount of $680, which will provide ten (10) sixty (60) gallon recycling bins to provide recycling containers for aluminum and plastic bottles at special events. Acceptance of the grant requires the County to purchase three (3) additional sixty (60) gallon recycling bins. Funds are available to purchase the three (3) bins to fulfill the grant requirement.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to accept the grant in the amount of $680 from the Keep America Beautiful/Coca~Cola Program and authorize staff to purchase three (3) additional sixty (60) gallon recycling bins to serve as the grant match.
Brookshire Wetlands Requests
Mr. Joe Furman, Planning & Inspections Director, stated that in 2012, the County contracted with Blue Ridge Development Group (BRDG), aka Blue Ridge Environmental Consultants (BREC), to construct a greenway which connects to the oval greenway at Brookshire Park and extends along the river the length of the County’s property, approximately 3,000 feet. Fifty percent (50%) of the cost of the construction was provided by NC Division of Water Resources; the remaining fifty percent (50%) was provided by BRDG. In return, the County agreed that BRDG could construct wetlands on the property that would serve as a wetlands mitigation bank controlled by BRDG under the program of the Army Corps of Engineers (COE). The County would also place the wetlands under a permanent conservation easement.
At present, the greenway has been in place for three (3) years, however, the wetlands construction has not yet occurred. It now appears that the COE does not wish to use the proposed wetlands as a mitigation bank, therefore BRDG will not be able to recoup their investment through selling of wetlands credits as originally planned. However, there is an opportunity for BRDG to construct the wetlands using grant funds from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF), provided the County agrees to be the applicant. There would be no cost to the County; the match would be provided by BRDG. The application is due February 6th; amount to be requested is $460,000. The conservation easement would need to be recorded upon completion of the wetlands.
Mr. Furman requested approval from the Commissioners to proceed with the grant application and to amend the contract with BRDG to accommodate the change. If approved, the proposed contract amendment would be presented to the Commissioners at a future meeting.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Hodges, moved to approve the submission of the grant application and change the contract contingent upon the County Attorney’s review.
A. Monthly Collections Report
Tax Administrator, Mr. Larry Warren, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of November 2016. The report was presented for information only and, therefore, no action was required.
B. Refunds and Releases
Mr. Warren presented the Refunds and Releases Report for November 2016 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Hodges, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for November 2016 as presented.
Proposed Audit Contract for FY 2016-2017
Ms. Margaret Pierce, Finance Director, presented a proposed contract with Misty Watson, CPA, PA, in the amount of $37,000, for audit services for FY 2016-17. The contract price is the same as last year. Ms. Watson has provided exceptional service and is responsive to staff inquiries and requests.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to approve the contract with Misty Watson, CPA, PA in the amount of $37,000 for audit services for FY 2016-17.
Miscellaneous Administrative Matters
A. Proposed Dates for the Annual Pre-Budget Retreat
County Manager Geouque presented the following proposed dates for the Annual Pre-Budget Retreat: February 16 & 17 or 23 & 24, 2017, with times proposed as 12:00 to 6:00 P.M. on Thursday and 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. on Friday. Two days are required for the Retreat and should the Board wish, times and dates may be adjusted accordingly.
By consensus, the Board agreed upon the dates of February 16 and 17, 2017, for the Annual Pre-Budget Retreat.
B. Boards and Commissions
County Manager Geouque presented the following Boards and Commissions appointments for consideration:
Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees
The Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees has recommended Mr. Sam Adams and Mr. Kenneth Wilcox for reappointment and Mr. Jim Deal for appointment as Board Trustees. Each of their terms would be effective January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2019.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to waive the second reading and reappoint Mr. Sam Adams and Mr. Kenneth Wilcox and appoint Mr. Jim Deal.
Watauga County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee
The term of Watauga County Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee member, Ms. Wanda Branch, will expire February 2, 2017. High Country Council of Governments’ Ombudsman, Stevie M. John, has nominated Ms. Branch for reappointment. Ms. Branch is willing to continue to serve if so appointed.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to waive the second reading and reappoint Ms. Wanda Branch to the Watauga County Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee.
Economic Development Commission
There are two vacancies on the Economic Development Commission. One vacancy is an unfulfilled term expiring June, 2017, and the other is an unfulfilled term expiring June, 2018. Those seats were occupied by individuals who have moved from Watauga County. The EDC has fourteen members; nine are appointees, the other five serve by virtue of their organizations, including one Commissioner. All members vote. Consideration of appointments was tabled.
Mabel Elementary School Principal, Mark Hagaman, nominated Ms. Roxanne Saltman to serve as the Mabel School representative on the Watauga County Recreation Commission. This is a first reading and, therefore, no action was required.
County Manager Geouque announced that the January 3, 2017, Board of Commissioners meeting has been cancelled. The next regular meeting of the Board will be on January 17, 2017, at 5:30 P.M.
Dr. Harvard Ayers, with Climate Times, requested the Board consider a resolution supporting 100% clean energy by the year 2050 in Watauga County.
At 5:58 P.M., Commissioner Turnbow, seconded by Commissioner Hodges, 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).
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commission Turnbow, moved to resume the open meeting at 6:34 P.M.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Vice-Chairman Kennedy, moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:35 P.M.
John Welch, Chairman
ATTEST: Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board