MONDAY, MAY 3, 2004
            The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, May 3, 2004, 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
                                                Stacy C. Eggers, IV, 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 April 20, 2004, regular meeting minutes and the April 20, 2004, closed session minutes.
            Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the April 20, 2004, regular meeting minutes and the April 20, 2004, closed session minutes as presented.
VOTE:   Aye-5
            Chairman Coffey called for additions and/or corrections to the May 3, 2004, agenda.
            County Manager Nelson requested to add, under item 10, a FY 2005 H&CCBG budget request and, under item 15, a request to schedule a public hearing for a proposed Rural Center grant.
            Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to approve the May 3, 2004, agenda as amended.
VOTE:   Aye-5
Mr. Richard Sparks, CEO, Watauga Medical Center, Inc., made two requests based on the intent of Watauga Medical Center to assume oversight in the operations of Cannon Hospital in Avery County. The first request involved the intention of the Medical Center to create a new 501(c) 3 umbrella corporation entitled Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, Inc., that was to have management oversight over both Watauga Medical Center, Inc., and Cannon Hospital, Inc. The Watauga Medical Center Board of Directors was to continue to function and the membership was to automatically serve as majority members of the new Regional Healthcare System Board. Therefore, the Watauga County Commissioners were to retain appointment authority over both the majority of the new Board and the existing Watauga Medical Center, Inc. Board.
The second request was for an extension on the lease. In order to make the assimilation of Cannon Hospital an economically viable project, the current lease for the Watauga Hospital from Watauga County to the Medical Center Board was requested to be extended to thirty years effective June 1, 2004.
            The Board agreed, by consensus, to table action until the next regularly scheduled Board meeting.
            Dr. Bobbie Short introduced Ms. Leta Councill, Watauga County Board of Education Finance Director, who requested to reallocate public school capital funds for projects as endorsed by the School Board. The public school capital funds (State funds) had a balance of $625,456. The request was to reallocate money for boiler replacements at Hardin Park, Parkway, and Bethel schools leaving a balance of $511,988 as unbudgeted in the public school capital fund.
            Chairman Coffey stated that $200,000 of the $511,988 balance was required to be earmarked for renovation at Watauga High School as this amount was agreed upon by the School Board and the Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to approve the reallocation of public school capital funds as requested by Ms. Councill
VOTE:   Aye-5
            Dr. Paul Combs with the Appalachian Regional Development Institute (ARDI) stated that the Blue Ridge Resource Conservation Development Council had received notification from the State that funding was approved to install a methane collection system at the County’s closed landfill site. Dr. Combs requested the County join ARDI to apply for a grant to the National Science Foundation to develop a fuel cell program to extract hydrogen from the landfill gas to power fuel cells that would in turn produce electricity for applications on site. If the grant was awarded the project was to require approximately a half acre to an acre of land and also the approval to utilize the methane gas collected.
County Manager Nelson stated that Mr. Potter, Operation Services Director, had located suitable land that would be unobtrusive to the County’s operations.
            Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the request for the Board to join ARDI and apply for a grant to the National Science Foundation to develop a fuel cell program by submitting a letter of recommendation and to develop a long term lease agreement for $1 per year for space at the closed landfill.
VOTE:    Aye-5
Mr. Joedy Eller requested the adoption of a proclamation designating May 10-16, 2004, as “Small Business Week” in Watauga County.
            Commissioner Blust, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to adopt the proclamation as presented by Mr. Eller.
VOTE:    Aye-5
            Ms. Wendy Tonker, Executive Director of Watauga Youth Network, Inc., stated that the Youth Network had leased the “old Junaluska School” from WAMY Community Action since 1985. The lease was originally at $1 per year due to the fact that Watauga Youth Network had conducted extensive renovations on the property. In July of 2003, WAMY Community Action notified that the rent was going to $4,500 a month which led to subsequent negotiations for Watauga Youth Network to purchase the property for $425,000 with payments beginning July 1, 2004. Ms. Tonker stated that Watauga Youth Network was to be conducting a capital campaign to raise money to go towards the purchase and renovation of the property. The request was for a one time allocation of $35,000 to help bridge the gap until the capital campaign produced enough funds to cover expenses.
The Board agreed, by consensus to table consideration of the request until further discussion at an upcoming scheduled budget work session
            Mr. Mike Trew reviewed a change order in the amount of $3,463 for expenses incurred for the installation of underground drains where ground water was encountered and not anticipated or identified prior to the excavation process.
            Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the change order in the amount of $3,463 as presented by Mr. Trew.
            Mr. Trew proposed a second change order which would allow the use of sod on the fields in place of seeding as indicated in the project’s construction contract. Using sod on the fields was to allow for use of the fields several months earlier than if seeding occurred as scheduled. Mr. Robert Marsh, County Maintenance Director, agreed that using sod would be best for the project.
            Mr. Trew stated that the contractor had asked for an extension in the amount of 28 (twenty-eight) days.
            County Manager Nelson stated that the County was in the process of requesting an extension from the grantor if needed due to inclement weather.
            No action was needed on the above issues at this time as they were for information only.
            Watauga County was notified that an additional $2,000 was available to the Project on Aging in family caregiver support funds. The funds required no local match and were to be used to provide additional respite services to the elderly population in the County.
            Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to accept the additional $2,000 H&CCBG funds for the Project on Aging family caregiver support program.
VOTE:    Aye-5
Ms. Boitnotte stated that Watauga County was to receive $229,597 in Home & Community Care Block Grant funds for Fiscal Year 2005 with a required local match of $25,008. The local match was included in the Manager’s recommended budget for Project on Aging.
Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Vice-Chairman Hodges, moved to approve the local match of $25,008 and accept the H&CCBG in the amount of $229,597.
VOTE:    Aye-5
Mr. Stephen Poulos, Director of the Watauga County Parks and Recreation Department, reviewed a proposed lease for the Optimist Park. The proposed lease was for five years at $1,500 per month.
            The Board agreed, by consensus, to table further discussion until a future meeting.
            Mr. J. V. Potter is requesting to contract with a new company for tire disposal. In the existing contract the County pays $60 per ton and transports the tires to Concord for disposal. Under the proposed contract with Eastern Companies, Inc., the amount per ton was to be $55. The County was to realize additional savings in that Eastern Companies, Inc., was to pick up the tires at the landfill. 
Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve a contract with Eastern Companies, Inc. for scrap tire disposal contingent upon the County Attorney drafting a more thorough contract.
VOTE:    Aye-5
Ms. Isaacs presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
            Account #                    Description                                                           Debit             Credit
145480-438800           CIP-Energy Assistance                                    $11,397
143531-323000           Admn. Cost Reimb.-Feb/State                                                $11,397
            The amendment recognized the increase in the CIP Energy Assistance allocation from the state.
            Account #                    Description                                                           Debit             Credit
145850-440900           Smartstart Child Daycare                                                          $2,270
143585-323002           Smartstart Daycare Revenue                              $2,270
            The amendment recognized a reduction in the subsidy from the state for Smartstart Daycare funding.
            Account #                    Description                                                           Debit             Credit
663200-327501           Scrap Tire Grant                                                                          $965
667420-469566           Contracted Services – Tire Removal                     $965
            The amendment recognized the award of additional scrap tire grant funds.
            Account #                    Description                                                           Debit             Credit
103300-343303           NC Hospital Bio-Terrorism Grant                                           $14,280
104330-449915           NC Hospital Bio-Terrorism Exp.                     $14,280
            The amendment recognized award of NC Bio-terrorism Grant to purchase equipment and provide training for emergency response personnel which was approved at the January 20, 2004, Board meeting.
            Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
VOTE:    Aye-5
            A.        Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Mr. Kelvin Byrd, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of April 2004.
B.         Releases and Refunds – Tax Administrator Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for April 2004 for Board approval:
            Commissioner Blust, seconded by Commissioner Honeycutt, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for April 2004 as presented.
VOTE:    Aye-5
Mr. Joe Furman shared a request from a group of citizens to add Mountainaire Lane to the State’s Secondary Road System. The road was .3 of a mile long and was located off of Snaggy Mountain Road which was State Road 1606.
            Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to adopt and forward the Resolution for this request to the State DOT.
VOTE:   Aye-5

            Mr. Joe Furman requested that the Board of Commissioners hold a public hearing at two upcoming meetings to consider submission of an application for $50,000.00 in Community Development Block Grant funds to establish a demonstration program for entrepreneurship development. The funds, if received, were to be provided by the NC Division of Community Assistance, through the NC Rural Economic Development Center.
            By consensus, the Board agreed to set a public hearing for the May 18, 2004, meeting and the June 7, 2004, Board meeting to consider the submission of the application for the CDBG funds as requested by Mr. Furman.
A.        Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson gave a second reading of a vacancy on the Department of Social Services Advisory Board occurring due to the expiration of Shirlee Gaines Edwards’ term on June 30, 2004. Mr. Jim Atkinson, Director of the Department of Social Services, recommended her reappointment.
            Commissioner Honeycutt, seconded by Commissioner Trivette, moved to reappoint Ms. Shirlee Gaines Edwards to the Watauga County Department of Social Services Advisory Board.
VOTE:   Aye-5
            The County Manager stated that Mr. Phil Trew, Planning and Development Director at High Country Council of Governments, requested the annual appointments (4) to the Region D Development Cooperation. The County Manager stated that current members (Linda Craig, Carroll Garland, James Wilcox, and Bill Rucker) could be reappointed or new members appointed at the pleasure of the Board.
            As this was the first reading, no action was required at this time.
B.         Announcements – County Manager Nelson stated that the High Country Host Heritage Forum was to be held May 14, 2004, 9:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. at the Broyhill Conference Center. The purpose of the event was to share information regarding heritage development in Western North Carolina. Should you wish to register, please see Anita in order that she might forward your registration.
            The County Manager announced that the Recommended FY 2005 Budget was distributed for review.
            The County Manager stated that Budget Work Sessions were scheduled for Friday, May 7, 2004, from 6:00 P.M. till 10:00 P.M. and Monday, May 17, 2004, from 3:00 P.M. till 7:00 P.M.
            The County Manager announced that a joint meeting was scheduled with Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute’s Advisory Board on Thursday, May 13, 2004 at 6:00 P.M. at the White Oak Road campus.
            The County Manager stated that mediation was scheduled for May 5, 2004, in Winston-Salem regarding the Vines/McNeill lawsuit.
            County Attorney Eggers-Gryder stated that the Court of Appeals heard the ASU Student Housing case on Monday, March 29, 2004. The County Attorney stated that it could be months before a ruling was declared.
            At 10:32 A.M., Commissioner Trivette, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318-11(a)(3) 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 11:17 A.M.
VOTE:    Aye-5
            The Board agreed, by consensus, to set a public hearing for the May 18, 2004 Board meeting to consider the request presented by Watauga Medical Center previously in the meeting.
            Vice-Chairman Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Blust, moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:18 A.M.
VOTE:    Aye-5
                                                                                                James Coffey, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board