WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2000
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, October 2, 2000 at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
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 called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Hodges called for additions or corrections to the September 14, 2000 Special Meeting Minutes as well as the September 19, 2000 regular and closed session meeting minutes.
County Attorney Hedrick suggested an amendment to the Closed Session meeting minutes and briefly discussed the change with the Board.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the September 14, 2000 Special Meeting Minutes as well as the September 19, 2000 regular meeting minutes as presented and the September 19, 2000 closed session meeting minutes with the amendment as discussed.
APPROVAL OF OCTOBER 2, 2000 AGENDA
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the October 2, 2000 agenda as presented.
PUBLIC HEARING – FARMLAND PRESERVATION PROGRAM ORDINANCE
Chairman Hodges declared a public hearing open at 9:02 A.M. to consider establishing a Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Ordinance.
Mr. Bill Edmisten addressed the Board noting he had discussed this matter with the Board at its August 15, 2000 meeting and had presented a draft Ordinance at the Board’s September 5, 2000 regular meeting. Mr. Edmisten voiced his support of the Ordinance. In addition, the following individuals addressed the Board and encouraged the Board to approve the Ordinance: Wade Moretz, Robert Shipley and Jim Bryan. Mr. Dale Hayes, a local farmer, addressed the Board, however, it was noted that his concerns were not relevant to this Ordinance.
Mr. Bill Edmisten stated he did not know how many would choose to participate in this Program but felt the Ordinance represented the majority of the County’s farmers. He briefly explained the application process.
The Board requested minor changes to the Ordinance, and County Attorney Hedrick discussed amendments to the Ordinance which would address these concerns. Mr. Edmisten felt the Board’s concerns were valid and accepted the amendments.
There being no further public comment, Chairman Hodges declared the public hearing closed at 9:28 A.M.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the Watauga County Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Ordinance with the amendments as discussed by County Attorney Hedrick.
ORDINANCE BOOK #10, PAGE #111
GOLDEN LEAF FOUNDATION GRANT APPLICATION REQUEST
Ms. Sue Counts, County Cooperative Extension Director, addressed the Board requesting permission to submit a grant application to the Golden LEAF Foundation. Ms. Counts explained that in November, 1998, the states’ attorneys general and cigarette industry signed a $206 billion Master Settlement Agreement compensating the states for Medicaid costs attributed to smoking. The cigarette industry would make annual payments to the states averaging $8 billion per year over the next 25 years. Ms. Counts noted that North Carolina was expected to receive $4.6 billion over the next 25 years. In September, 2000, Ms. Counts attended a meeting where the Golden LEAF Foundation was introduced. Its main purpose was to improve social and economic conditions in economically affected or tobacco-dependent regions throughout the state. The purpose of the grant was to development growing of organic vegetables as a cash crop to replace lost tobacco revenue. Ms. Counts added she had already been approached by several individuals, including members from the Heavenly Mountain Community, who were interested in buying organic foods. However, she stated that if tobacco farmers chose not to plant organic foods, Cooperative Extension Service staff would work with those farmers.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to approve the grant application to the Golden LEAF Foundation.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of September, 2000.
B. Refunds and Releases – Tax Administrator McLean presented the following Refunds and Releases for September, 2000 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report as presented.
A. Communications Study Contract Request – Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, addressed the Board regarding a communications study request. He stated that in the current year’s budget the Board had approved funding for a radio communications study. Mr. Furman noted that a Request for Proposal was sent to four (4) consulting firms, however, only one (1) firm responded, Spectrum Resources, Inc. of St. Charles, Missouri. He stated that Spectrum’s fee was $16,690 plus expenses not to exceed $20,000 and requested the contract be awarded to Spectrum Resources, Inc.
Commissioner Kohles seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to award the contract to Spectrum Resources, Inc. contingent on County Attorney Hedrick approving the contract.
B. Planning Board Progress Report – Mr. Ric Mattar, Chairman of the County’s Planning Board, presented a progress report from the seven community meetings which the Planning Board and Cooperative Extension Service had conducted during August, 2000. Mr. Mattar stated the Planning Board had discussed the information received but was not yet ready to make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. He added that the Planning Board might want to conduct another joint meeting with the Board of Commissioners, and this matter would be discussed during the Planning Board’s October 16, 2000 meeting. This item was for the Board’s information, and no action was taken.
ANIMAL CONTROL RENOVATIONS/REPAIRS REQUEST
Operation Services Director, J. V. Potter, reviewed a proposal received from Cornerstone Exterior Products (CEP) in the amount of $18,896.98 for repairs and renovations to the County’s Animal Control facility. Mr. Potter had solicited bids from three additional construction companies, however, the only bid received was from CEP. Mr. Potter voiced his concern that these repairs needed to be made before the winter season, and if the bid was approved, CEP would start work on October 9, 2000. In addition, these repairs would address some of the concerns voiced by citizens during the Board’s September 19, 2000 meeting. Mr. Potter felt that CEP would perform the work in a satisfactory manner and recommended the Board’s approval.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to approve the proposal from Cornerstone Exterior Products contingent on County Attorney Hedrick approving the contract.
SPECIAL ARTS GRANT REQUEST
Parks & Recreation Director, Deb Wynne, requested permission to submit a Special Arts Grant Application to the Public Schools of North Carolina. This application would allow the County’s Parks & Recreation to be eligible to receive $500 in grant monies to assist with the art education, entertainment and guest artist fees associated with the day-long festival (planned for early December, 2000). Ms. Wynne anticipated getting volunteers from Appalachian State University to assist during the festival. She added there was funding in the current year’s Parks & Recreation budget to cover the costs for the festival.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the Special Arts Grant Application.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Landfill Semi-Annual Assessment Monitoring Report – County Manager Nelson noted that Draper Aden Associates, the County’s engineering firm, had completed its semi-annual assessment monitoring of the Landfill and presented the County with a report to forward to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (N.C. DENR). County Manager Nelson noted that the size of the plume continued to grow smaller, and the concentrations continued to diminish. He added the County was required to submit the report every six months and requested the Board’s approval.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the report for submission to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
B. Substance Abuse Prevention Awareness Proclamation – County Manager Nelson stated a request had been received from the Alcohol/Drug Council of Watauga County to proclaim October 22-31, 2000 as “RED RIBBON CELEBRATION, A Substance Abuse Prevention Awareness Campaign” in Watauga County. In addition, Ms. Anna Boyce Phillips spoke on behalf of the Alcohol/Drug Council and thanked the Board for its continued support.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve this proclamation.
C. Announcements – County Manager Nelson stated the N.C. Association of County Commissioners was conducting regional meetings to discuss issues facing rural county governments. The location nearest the County was scheduled for October 13, 2000 from 9:00-11:00 A.M. at the Yancey County Courthouse in Burnsville.
In addition, County Manager Nelson informed the Board that there were no Board & Commission appointments which needed to be made during October, 2000. However, future appointments would need to be made on the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District Board of Directors and the Watauga County Board of Adjustment.
County Manager Nelson reminded the Board that its October 17, 2000 regular meeting would be held at the Mabel Elementary School cafeteria (404 Mabel School Road – Zionville) at 7:00 P.M.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to enter Closed Session at 9:48 A.M. to discuss: Land Acquisition – G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(i) and Personnel Matters – G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6).
Following a brief recess, the Board entered Closed Session at 9:57 A.M.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to resume the regular meeting at 10:24 A.M.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:24 A.M.
Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
Elizabeth H. Link, Clerk to the Board