The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held special meetings on Friday, February 20, 2004 and Saturday, February 21, 2004 in order to conduct a retreat to review goals and objectives for the County. The meetings were held in the Human Services Conference Room, Boone, NC.
PRESENT:          James Coffey, Chairman
Jimmy Hodges, Vice-Chairman
David Blust, Commissioner
Keith Honeycutt, Commissioner
Allen Trivette, Commissioner
Rebecca Eggers-Gryder, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Deron Geouque, Assistant County Manager
Doris Isaacs, Finance Director
            Chairman Coffey called the meeting to order on Friday, February 20, 2004 at 6:00 P.M. welcoming those in attendance.
            County Manager Nelson reviewed last year's goals and objectives and reported on progress to the Board. Manager Nelson stated the overall operations of the County had improved. Ms. Doris Isaacs presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2005 budget schedule. The Board of Commissioners reviewed a tentative schedule for budget work sessions on May 7, 2004 (6-10 pm), and May 14, 2004 (1- 5 pm). Ms. Isaacs reported on the current year budget and reviewed the Capital Reserve Summary.
            Ms. Jane Hodges, Board of Elections Director, addressed the Board in reference to the replacement of the County’s current voting machines. Ms. Hodges said the County was required to have an alternative voting system by January 1, 2006. The question was asked whether or not the County would lease or purchase the new voting machines. Ms. Hodges recommended purchasing the machines.
The Board met with the School Board to discuss issues in the upcoming budget year. The following individuals were present from the Watauga County Board of Education: School Board Members Mr. Andy Reese, Mr. Lowell Younce, Mr. Steve Combs, Dr. Lee Warren, Dr. Bobbi Short, Superintendent, and Paula Norton. The County Manager stated that there were various financing options for future school capital improvement projects. The County Manager asked Ms. Hodges, Board of Elections Director, to explain the Bond Referendum process. Ms. Doris Isaacs explained the installment purchase option.
            Mr. Craig Sullivan, Watauga Medics, discussed with the Board a proposed rate increase, a subsidy reduction and the renewal of the contract.
            Mr. Kelvin Byrd, Tax Administrator, briefed the Board on the upcoming revaluation process and schedule of values.
            Mr. J.V. Potter, Operations Service Director, updated the Board on the County’s recycling program. In addition, Mr. Potter informed the Board of the County’s “no scavenging” policy.
            Mr. Jim Atkinson, DSS Director, informed the Board of the need to scan and digitally store documents in the future to alleviate some of the paper files and filing cabinets stored at DSS.
A recess was declared at 10:00 P.M. The meeting reconvened on Saturday, February 21, 2004, at 8:30 A.M.
            Joe Furman, Planning and Inspections Director, spoke about the need for the County to update its comprehensive plan. Mr. Furman said a visioning process may aid in updating the current plan.
            The Board met with the Economic Development Commission to discuss potential economic strategies. The Board directed the EDC to develop a course of action and present it to the Board.
            Mr. Scott Eggers, Chairman of the Affordable Housing Taskforce, briefed the Board on the status of the Taskforce. Mr. Eggers said that a budget request would be forthcoming for funds to form a non-profit corporation.
            Mr. Lawrence Caviness, Appalachian Health District, reported to the Board on changes that had been implemented to reduce the amount of time it takes for a septic system permit to be approved. 
            Joe Furman gave a status report and recommendation from the water and sewer committee. It was the consensus of the Board tosend a letter to the Boone Town Council stating that the County was interested in the Town’s plan for water and sewer extensions, and desired to be a party to relevant discussions.
            The County Manager gave a summary of future goals and objectives for the County. The County Manager concluded the retreat by wrapping up the issues that were addressed and sought direction from the Board for Fiscal Year 2005.
            Commissioner Blust seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to adjourn the meeting at 12:00 P.M.
VOTE:    Aye-5
James Coffey, Chairman
Deron Geouque
Assistant County Manager