WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, MARCH 5, 2001
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, March 5, 2001 at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
James Coffey, Vice-Chairman
Jack Lawrence, Sr., Commissioner
Sue Sweeting, Commissioner
Pat Wilkie, 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 February 20, 2001 regular and closed session meeting minutes.
Commissioner Sweeting requested an amendment to the discussion on the Resolution to the N.C. Division of Air Quality Regarding Maymead Materials, Inc. She noted that in regards to Maymead Materials, Inc. (who had applied to the N.C. Division of Air Quality for a revision to its existing permit that would allow a larger bag filter be installed) that even though the amount of tonnage permitted would be reduced, there would be a net increase in production. Commissioner Sweeting requested the minutes be corrected to reflect this statement.
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to approve the February 20, 2001 regular meeting minutes with the amendment and the February 20, 2001 closed session meeting minutes as presented.
(Clerk’s note: Chairman Hodges was unable to attend the February 20, 2001 meetings due to serious illness in the family, and therefore, abstained from the vote.)
APPROVAL OF MARCH 5, 2001 AGENDA
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to approve the March 5, 2001 agenda as presented.
PUBLIC HEARING – AMBULANCE FRANCHISE ORDINANCE AMENDMENT
Chairman Hodges declared a public hearing open at 9:01 A.M. to consider an amendment to the County’s Ambulance Franchise Ordinance.
Mr. Reggie Hassler, Chairman of the Watauga EMS Advisory Committee, addressed the Board to discuss an amendment to the County’s Ambulance Franchise Ordinance. (This amendment was discussed at the Board’s February 20, 2001 regular meeting). Mr. Hassler stated the County’s EMS Advisory Committee had met and recommended the following amendment (as underlined):
Section 7.2 The Franchisee must provide an EMT-Paramedic level of service for all emergency calls and transports. Non-emergency transports must be provided by no less than EMT-Basic level. They should provide enough equipment and personnel to meet the ambulance service and other pre-hospital emergency medical services needs of the county. At a minimum, this will include 7 day, 24 hour coverage by two paramedic crews and one back-up paramedic crew. The Franchisee must meet all demand, with the exception of a major catastrophe or emergency the Franchisee cannot be reasonably expected to handle.
It was noted that this was the only change to the Ordinance which was required to be passed at two successive Board meetings.
There being no public comment, Chairman Hodges declared the public hearing closed at 9:03 A.M.
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to adopt the amendment to the Watauga County Ambulance Franchise Ordinance.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES STUDY REPORT
Mr. Jerry Ashley, a Regional Representative of the N.C. Office of Emergency Services, was to present a report of the emergency medical study that was conducted for the County during the past year. (This study was discussed at the Board’s November 19, 1999 special meeting). Due to inclement weather, Mr. Ashley was unable to attend the meeting. Therefore, Mr. Nelson suggested that Mr. Ashley could present the report to the Watauga County EMS Advisory Committee for its review and recommendations prior to discussion with the Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Wilkie seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to refer this matter to the Watauga County EMS Advisory Committee for review.
CALDWELL COMMUNITY COLLEGE MATTERS
A. Resolution to Transfer Property – Finance Director, Doris Isaacs, presented a resolution to transfer property (the 5.27 Bolick tract) that adjoined Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute (CCC&TI) Watauga Campus to CCC&TI. Ms. Isaacs had addressed the Board regarding this request at the Board’s September 19, 2000 regular meeting. At that meeting, the Board had requested Ms. Isaacs to proceed with this request by obtaining appraisals to determine the current market value. Ms. Isaacs briefly reviewed the two appraisals with the Board. The transfer would allow the value of the property to be used as local match for the State Higher Education Bonds. Ms. Isaacs presented a resolution that the Board needed to adopt to transfer the property to CCC&TI.
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the resolution to transfer property from Watauga County to Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute as presented.
RESOLUTION BOOK #10, PAGE #47
Budget Amendments - Finance Director, Doris Isaacs, presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
143839-389000 Misc. Revenue 8,750
145480-438801 Energy Assist.-BREMCO 8,750
To recognize contribution by BREMCO from the BREMcare Crisis Fund to assist DSS clients with energy assistance.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103330-385501 Town of Boone 834
105890-463120 Middle Fork Greenway Project 834
To recognize revenue from the Town of Boone for its contribution to the Middle Fork Greenway Project.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
B. State Bond Projects Review - Dr. Ken Boham, President of Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute (CCC&TI), addressed the Board to review the plan for projects on CCC&TI’s Watauga Campus to be funded by the College State Bonds. Dr. Boham briefly discussed the proposed projects which extended over a 7-year period as well as renovations to the CCC&TI building located on Bamboo Road. This item was for the Board’s information, and no action was taken.
A. Discussion of Options Regarding Polluting Industries Moratorium – Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, noted the County’s Ordinance Establishing a Moratorium on Certain Polluting Industries expired April 18, 2001. Mr. Furman stated the Board had three options: 1) allow the moratorium to expire; 2) extend the moratorium; or 3) adopt an interim development ordinance to serve the same basic purpose as the moratorium. The difference was that the ordinance, adopted under zoning authority, was designed to regulate while the moratorium prohibited certain land uses. He explained the proposed Interim Development Ordinance contained a “sunset” date of June 30, 2002. The sunset provision was proposed to demonstrate the interim nature of the ordinance, both to assure the public that it was a temporary measure, and to establish a deadline for completing consideration of a more comprehensive ordinance.
B. Presentation of Proposed Interim Development Ordinance – Mr. Ric Mattar, Chairman of the Watauga County Planning Board, reviewed the proposed Interim Development Ordinance and answered questions. He noted the Planning Board had drafted the Ordinance, however, the Board of Commissioners could change the Ordinance as needed. Due to the complex nature of the Ordinance, it was the consensus of the Board to conduct a work session with the Planning Board on March 19, 2001 to be held in the Commissioners’ Board Room at 5:30 P.M.
C. Resolution to N.C. Division of Air Quality Regarding Maymead Materials Asphalt Plant Permit – Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, stated that at the Board’s February 20, 2001 regular meeting, the Board had been requested to adopt a resolution by Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League regarding the pending permit modification for Maymead’s Highway 105 asphalt plant at the Vulcan Quarry. Mr. Furman noted that he and County Attorney Hedrick had reviewed the resolution and presented a resolution for the Board’s consideration. Mr. Furman stated that, if approved, the resolution would be submitted to the N.C. Division of Air Quality, and comments were due by 5:00 P.M. this date.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to submit the Resolution Regarding Draft Air Quality Permit to the N.C. Division of Air Quality as presented by staff.
Prior to the vote, Chairman Hodges voiced his concerns that rather than submitting the resolution to the N.C. Division of Air Quality, a study needed to be conducted of the area.
The following vote was then made on Commissioner Sweeting’s motion.
VOTE: Aye-3 (Lawrence, Sweeting, Wilkie)
RESOLUTION BOOK #10, PAGE #48
PROPOSED BEECH MOUNTAIN OCCUPANCY TAX RESOLUTION
Mr. Tim Holland, Mayor of Beech Mountain, presented a draft resolution requesting the Board’s support in the Town of Beech Mountain’s effort to increase occupancy tax to fund a public recreation facility. The Town of Beech Mountain currently collected 3% occupancy tax. Upon approval by the N.C. General Assembly, the additional 3% collected would go to fund public recreation.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the resolution in support of the Town of Beech Mountain’s request to raise the occupancy tax to 6%.
RESOLUTION BOOK #10, PAGE #50
CRIMINAL JUSTICE PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM GRANT APPLICATION
Mr. Bill Neal, Chairman of the Watauga County Criminal Justice Partnership Program (CJPP) Board, presented the Fiscal Year 2001/2002 CJPP grant application. The local CJPP Advisory Board had approved the application. Mr. Neal stated the grant application required no County funds and requested the Board’s approval.
Commissioner Wilkie seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the Criminal Justice Partnership Program grant application as presented.
SOLID WASTE REDUCTION GRANT APPLICATION
Mr. Phil Trew with Region D Council of Governments reviewed a Solid Waste Grant Application proposal to set up a “swap shop” type facility near the County’s transfer station to allow citizens to drop off still usable goods (appliances, furniture, yard and garden equipment) that were useful but no longer needed. Mr. Trew stated he had worked with County Manager Nelson and Operation Services Director, J. V. Potter, to implement this program. He noted the grant amount was for $3,500, which was the maximum amount that a County might request. The County’s share to complete the building would be $5,300. Additionally the facility would need to be staffed Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at a cost of approximately $7,500. Waste diversion activities were a part of the County’s Solid Waste Management Plan as submitted to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Upon grant award, funding for the project would be included in the fiscal year 2002 budget.
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the Solid Waste Reduction Grant Application as presented.
CHILD FATALITY TEAM & CHILD PROTECTION TEAM REPORT
Ms. Gail Hawkinson, Director of New River Behavioral HealthCare, presented the annual report for the Child Protection Team and the Child Fatality Prevention Team. This report was for the Board’s information, and no action was taken.
Chairman Hodges declared a recess at 10:45 A.M. The meeting resumed at 10:53 A.M.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT PROGRESS REPORT
Mr. Randy Jones, David R. Jones Architecture, reviewed the updated blueprints for the new Appalachian District Health Department building. The changes incorporated the recommendations by the Board as discussed at its January 16, 2001 meeting. The recommended amendments to the original plan added approximately 2500 square feet to the building at an additional cost of between $403,375 and $451,780. Following brief discussion, Mr. Jones agreed to provide an alternate plan for 1) the space with office walls and 2) open space (with no walls) for future cubicles. In addition, Mr. Jones anticipated soliciting bids the first week of May to begin construction on June 1, 2001.
A. Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of February, 2001.
B. Refunds & Releases – Tax Administrator McLean presented the following Refunds and Releases for February, 2001 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report as presented.
C. 2001 Board of Equalization & Review Schedule – Tax Administrator McLean stated that in the past, the Board of Commissioners had served as the County’s Board of Equalization and Review, however, a special Board could be appointed to serve. In addition, if the Board of Commissioners continued to serve on the Board of Equalization and Review, meeting dates, times and logistics needed to be established at the Board’s regular meeting scheduled for April 2, 2001.
D. Business Personal Property Audit Proposal – Tax Administrator McLean had been directed by the Board (at its February 2-3, 2001 retreat) to arrange for a presentation by a company who specialized in performing business personal property audits. Mr. McLean stated the following firms (operating in N.C.) presented the following quotes:
Firm Cost Completion Date
County Tax Services, Inc. 28% Two Years
TMA, Inc. 35% January 1, 2002
Turner & Bost, Inc. 25% January 1, 2002
Based on the quotes received, Mr. McLean introduced Mr. Jim Turner with Turner & Bost, Inc. Mr. Turner explained that the cost represented the stated percentage of additional revenues discovered by the firm (taxes, interest and penalties). In addition, the completion date was based on the first 300 business accounts. Mr. Turner reviewed the detail and process included in such an audit and answered the Board’s questions.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to approve the proposal from Turner & Bost, Inc. contingent upon County Attorney Hedrick’s review of the contract.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Boards & Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that each year the Board was required to appoint a Lead Agency to conduct the Home and Community Care Advisory Board/Grant process. The County had routinely appointed Region D Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging as the Lead Agency. Ms. Angie Boitnotte, Director of the Project on Aging, recommended continuing this appointment.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve this request.
B. Future Appointments – County Manager Nelson stated that Ms. Jan Lamm had resigned her position on the Boone Planning Board. To date, no nominations had been received from the Town of Boone. This item was for the Board’s information, and no action was taken.
C. Announcements – County Manager Nelson stated the Boone Town Council had agreed with the Recreation Task Force request to meet with the Board of Commissioners on March 20, 2001 at 6:00 P.M. The meeting was scheduled and would be advertised to take place in the large conference room, 2nd floor, Watauga County Human Services Building. Since the Board’s regular meeting was scheduled the same date at 7:00 P.M., it was the consensus of the Board to conduct the Board’s regular meeting in the same location.
County Manager Nelson had provided the Board with a survey regarding intercity bus service between Boone and Blowing Rock to Charlotte via Lenoir, Hickory, Lincolnton and Gastonia. Mr. Nelson stated he planned to send a favorable response to the report (due March 23, 2001) and welcomed the Commissioners’ comments regarding the survey.
County Manager Nelson noted a Western North Carolina Land Use Planning Forum was scheduled for March 7, 2001 in Lake Junaluska.
In addition, Mr. Nelson informed the Board that an Environmental Leadership School was scheduled for April 10-11, 2001 at N.C. State University in Raleigh.
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to enter Closed Session at 11:48 A.M. to discuss: Land Acquisition, G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(i).
Vice-Chairman Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to resume the open meeting at 12:01 P.M.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Coffey, moved to adjourn the meeting at 12:01 P.M.
Elizabeth H. Link
Clerk to the Board