The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, January 6, 2003, at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
                        PRESENT:       James Coffey, Chairman
                                                Jimmy Hodges, Vice-Chairman
                                                Keith Honeycutt, Commissioner
                                                David Blust, Commissioner
                                                Allen Trivette, Commissioner
                                                Rebecca Eggers-Gryder, County Attorney
                                    Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
                                    Deron Geouque, Assistant County Manager
                                                Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
            Chairman Coffey called the meeting to order at 9:02 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
            A moment of silence was observed.
            Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the December 2, 2002, regular meeting minutes, and the December 2, 2002, closed session minutes.
            Clerk to the Board, Anita Fogle, stated that Chairman Coffey and Vice-Chairman Hodges votes on the Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees appointments were transposed and should read as follows:
            Chairman Coffey – Stephen Fleming, Council Main, Paul Miller, Jr.
            Vice-Chairman Hodges – William Horn, Council Main, Paul Miller, Jr.
            Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the December 2, 2002, regular meeting minutes as amended, and the December 2, 2002, closed session minutes as presented.
VOTE:   Aye-5
            Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the January 6, 2003 agenda.
            Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the January 6, 2003 agenda as presented.
VOTE:   Aye-5
            Sheriff Shook requested to purchase a Crown Victoria from Bill Smith Ford in Southern Pines at the price of $20,786.00. The County had recently gone through a formal bid process in which the low bidder, Bill Smith Ford, agreed to furnish an additional car at the same price as the initial bid. Sheriff Shook stated that the Governor’s Highway Safety Grant Program and local match would fund the vehicle.
            Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to waive the local informal bidding process and approve the purchase of the 2003 Crown Victoria from Bill Smith Ford paid with funds from the Governor’s Highway Safety Grant Program and local match.
VOTE:   Aye-5
            Mr. Joe Furman, Planning and Inspections Director, Ms. Glenda Duncan, IT Director, and Detective Jamey Fletcher, requested an upgrade to the 911 Emergency Dispatch Center by replacing the current computer server and dispatch consoles. The Information Technology Department recently became aware that the current server needed to be replaced by a machine with additional capacity to run the required software as well as all of the incidental functions. Mr. Furman also stated that the communications consoles currently in service at the 911 center were 10 and 13 years old respectively.
            Mr. Furman stated that previously only the server would have been considered as an allowable expense when using 911 funds however, the County had received an opinion from the State that if a totally integrated system was installed, that both the server and consoles (computer assisted dispatching systems (CAD)) were eligible for purchase with 911 funds.
            It was anticipated that the cost was between $115,000 and $175,000. Mr. Furman stated that these funds were present in the County’s current 911 fund balance.
            Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to grant permission for an RFP to be prepared by staff to replace both the consoles and the server in an integrated system to be funded with existing 911 funds.
VOTE:   Aye-5
            [Clerk’s Note: Upon receipt and evaluation of proposals, staff will make a recommendation to the Board at a future meeting.]
            A.        Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Kelvin Byrd, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of December 2002.
B.         Releases and Refunds – Tax Administrator Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for December 2002 for Board approval:
            Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for December 2002 as presented.
VOTE:   Aye-5
            C.        Debt Setoff Program Request – Tax Administrator Byrd discussed the North Carolina Local Government Debt Setoff Program. Mr. Byrd stated that Legislation had been enacted which allowed counties to collect delinquent accounts that were over $50. The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners established a clearinghouse to collect delinquent accounts through the North Carolina Department of Revenue in which debt was matched and taken from individual state tax refunds.
            Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to adopt the Resolution Authorizing Watauga County To Participate In The North Carolina Local Government Debt Setoff Program as presented by Mr. Byrd.
VOTE:   Aye-5
Finance Director Doris Isaacs presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
            Account #                    Description                                                           Debit             Credit
            143583-333000           JCPC Grant                                                      $6,261
            143980-398010           Transfer from Gen. Fund                                    $1,429
            145890-469809           Watauga Youth Network                                                            $500
            145890-469810           WYN-County Match                                                                  $150
            145890-469807           Wrap Around Care                                                                  $1,499
            145890-469808           Wrap Around Care-JCPC                                                          $450
            145890-469803           Project Challenge                                                                     $2,762
            145890-469804           Project Challenge-Co. Match                                                      $829
            145890-469813           JCPC Task Force                                                                    $1,500
            109800-498014           Transfer to Public Assist. Fund                                                 $1,429
            104199-449900           Misc. Expense                                                   $1,429
            The amendment recognized the decrease by the state for JCPC funding and the corresponding County match. Approved at the November 19th Board meeting.
            Account #                    Description                                                           Debit             Credit
            103835-384000           Donations-Animal Control                                                           $250
            104380-429000           Donations-Euthanasia                                           $250
            The amendment recognized a contribution by Frances Uhlenhopp to purchase euthanasia medication.
            Account #                    Description                                                           Debit             Credit
            103839-389000           Misc. Revenue-Other                                                           $320,547
            103200-323400           Additional ½ cent Sales Tax                                                 $300,000
            109800-498021           Transfer to Capital Reserve Fund                                         $388,381
            104267-458000           Capital Outlay-Bldg. & Improv.                  $1,008,928
            The amendment recognized additional rock removal cost for the Health Department Building project as approved at the December 2, 2002, Board meeting.
            Account #                    Description                                                           Debit             Credit
            103200-323400           Local Option Sales Tax-Art.44                                            $699,832
            103315-331800           Intangibles Taxes                                           $370,000
            103315-332500           Food Stamp Reimb.                                        $22,800
            103315-332600           Sen. Citizens Tax                                             $29,000
            103315-332700           20% Inv. Tax Reimb.                                       $73,000
            103315-332701           80% Inv. Tax Reimb.                                     $143,000
            103315-332702           Manf. Inv. Tax Reimb.                                     $62,032
            The amendment recognized Article 44 Sales Tax that replaced Intangibles Tax, Food Stamp, Senior Citizens Exemption, and Inventory Tax Reimbursements.
            Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Chairman Coffey, moved to approve the budget amendment as presented.
VOTE:   Aye-5
            Assistant County Manager Geouque reported on the recently received dental insurance bids. Mr. Geouque recommended that the County award the contract to Fortis with the local agent being Mr. Paul Huffman with Insurance Plus. The new rates were an increase of 18% but were 11% less than the current carrier’s renewal rate and were within budgeted amounts for dental insurance.
            Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to award the Dental Insurance contract to Fortis for 2003, January 1 – December 31, as presented by the Assistant County Manager.
VOTE:   Aye-5
            A. Williamsons’ Public Water Funding Request – County Manager Nelson stated that at the Monday, August 6, 2001, meeting, the Board voted to pay the costs associated with the connection to public water estimated at $3,000 to $5,000 for the Williamson family. This action was taken relevant to a request by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources for groundwater mitigation as required in the County’s post-closure plan for the Landfill.
            On December 5, 2002, the County received notice from the Town of Boone that there was a problem with obtaining an easement from the adjacent landowner allowing the connection. It appeared that a condemnation action would be required to obtain the right of way and would cost an estimated $10,000. To date the County had paid for the availability fee and had authorized payment for the tap on fee and a property survey required by the Town of Boone allowing annexation of the Williamson property. The inclusion of the additional expense of the condemnation process would cause the total amount to exceed $15,000, thereby requiring Board approval per local practice.
            The Board, by consensus, agreed to table the issue until the next meeting to give the Board time to meet with the property owner facing condemnation (Greer-Darnell family) and to determine if the easement could be obtained without the condemnation process.
            Commissioner Trivette stated that he would like to accompany County Manager Nelson and County Attorney Eggers-Gryder to visit with the Greer-Darnell’s.
            B. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated that the Board of Directors for the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District were appointed by the Commissioners per their representative districts to coincide with their term in office. Commissioner Honeycutt reappointed Tommy Critcher to represent District 1. Commissioner Trivette reappointed Floyd Fuller to represent District 5. Commissioner Blust stated that he would make his appointment at a future meeting.
            The County Manager stated that Ms. Sue Counts, Director of Watauga County Cooperative Extension Service, had requested that a member of the Board of Commissioners be appointed to the Watauga County Cooperative Extension Advisory Leadership System board. Commissioner Honeycutt requested that the Board table the appointment until more information was received on what the Board does and when they meet.
            Ms. Angie Boitnotte, Director of the Project on Aging, stated that each year the Board of Commissioners was required to adopt a Lead Agency and a Home and Community Care Block Grant Advisory Committee (H&CCBG) to review and make recommendations for expenditures of the Home and Community Care Block Grant (Aging Services) that was a combination of federal and state money available to Watauga County. Ms. Boitnotte reviewed the recommendations with the Board. This was the first reading of the recommended nominees and therefore no Board action was taken.
            The County Manger stated that the following nominations were made for the Watauga County Recreation Commission:
            Mr. Brian Raichle to replace Mr. Gene Swift
            Ms. Terri Reynolds to be reappointed
            Mr. Denny Norris to be reappointed
            Commissioner Honeycutt stated that Mr. Gene Swift wished to continue to serve on the Recreation Commission. Commissioner Honeycutt also stated that he had contacted other members of the Recreation Commission who expressed that Mr. Swift was a valued member of the commission and most likely had the highest attendance record of all. This was the first reading of the recommended nominees and therefore no Board action was taken.
            The County Manager stated that Mr. Alex Jernigan, Regional Ombudsman with Region D Council of Governments, had requested that Mr. Fred Badders be reappointed to the Watauga County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee for a three-year term. This was the first reading of the recommended nominee and therefore no Board action was taken.
            C. Parks & Recreation Director Resignation/Search – County Manager Nelson stated that the Parks and Recreation Director, Ms. Deb Wynne, had tendered her resignation effective Friday, March 31, 2003. He highly commended Ms. Wynne on the job she had done for the County throughout her years of service. The County Manager stated that the Recreation Commission had volunteered to submit several members to sit with the Manager and Assistant Manager during the interview process. One or two Board members could also involve themselves in this process, or by special meeting, the Board as a whole could conduct this process. The County Manager explained the current ordinance stated that the Board, upon the recommendation of the Manager, made the appointments of department heads.
            Commissioner Honeycutt and Commissioner Trivette volunteered to review the applications with the Manager and Assistant County Manager.
            Commissioner Trivette volunteered to set on the interview committee.
            D. Annual Pre-Budget Retreat Discussion – The County Manager reviewed proposed topics and times for the Commissioners’ Annual Pre-Budget Retreat. The County Manager stated that the times and topics were recommendations only and for the Board’s consideration.
            The Board agreed unanimously to hold the Retreat on Friday, February 28, 2003 from 6:00 P.M. till 10:00 P.M. and Saturday, March 1, 2003 from 8:00 A.M. till 12:00 noon.
            E. Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute Meeting Request – The County Manager stated that Dr. Ken Boham, President of Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, had requested a dinner meeting with the Commissioners prior to their regularly scheduled January 21, 2003, meeting in the Manager’s Conference Room at 6:00 P.M.
            F. Announcements – County Manager Nelson stated that a joint work session with the Planning Board to discuss the Draft Ordinance on High Impact Land Use was scheduled for Monday, January 13, 2003 at 7:00 P.M. in the conference room of the Human Services Building.
            County Manager Nelson, in response to Vice-Chairman Hodges’ inquiry regarding memorializing Mr. Bill Edmisten, stated the Soil and Water Conservation Board and local farmers would be approaching the Board in the near future with a request to begin a program in memory and honor of Mr. Edmisten.
            Commissioner Honeycutt stated the family sponsored at Christmas by Board members (with personal funds) through the Giving Tree was very appreciative.
            At 9:59 A.M., Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Land Acquisition, per G. S. 143-318-11(a)(5)(i) and Personnel Matters, per G. S. 143-318-11(a)(6)
VOTE:    Aye-5
            Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to resume the open meeting at 10:20 A.M.
VOTE:    Aye-5
            Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to increase County Manager Nelson’s salary by 3% as a pay for performance per his contract due to his satisfactory job performance.
VOTE:    Aye-5
            A brief recess was held from 10:20 A.M. till 10:33 A.M. at which time the Board reconvened in the Manager’s Conference room for a Work Session with Draper Aden Associates regarding the Transfer Station and Maintenance Facility.
            Mr. Rick DiSalvo, Vice President, and Ms. Lynn Croy, Project Manager, with Draper Aden Associates met with the Board, Mr. J.V. Potter, Operation Services Manager, and Mr. Robert Marsh, Maintenance Director, to discuss and review programming for the new transfer station and maintenance facility.
            After lengthy discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to construct the 14,000 square foot transfer station as presented by Draper Aden Associates with a usable tipping floor of 10,300 square feet. The projected cost of the transfer station was $1,800,000.
            In addition, the Board by consensus directed Draper Aden Associates to add an additional 917 square feet to the proposed size of the maintenance facility extending the wash bay by 10 feet and providing additional storage. The additional 917 square feet will bring the total size of the maintenance building to 7,336 square feet at a projected cost of $535,000.
            Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to adjourn the meeting at 12:15 P.M.
VOTE:   Aye-5