WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1998
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, December 7, 1998 at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: James Coffey, Chairman
Jack D. Lawrence, Sr., Vice-Chairman
Jimmy Hodges, Commissioner
Jack Wellborn, Commissioner
Stacy C. Eggers, Jr., County Attorney
James S. Ratchford, County Manager
Libby Link, Clerk to the Board
ABSENT: Linda S. Craig, Commissioner
Chairman Coffey called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the November 17, 1998 regular and closed session minutes and the November 18 and 19, 1998 special meeting minutes; there being none, they were approved as presented.
A recess was declared at 9:03 A.M. for the swearing-in of newly elected Commissioners Art Kohles, Jack Lawrence, Sr. and Sue Sweeting which was held in Courtroom #1.
The meeting reconvened at 9:16 A.M in the Board Room.
BOARD ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS
Chairman Coffey turned the meeting over to County Manager Ratchford for the election of a Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the Watauga County Board of Commissioners.
A. Election of Officers. County Manager Ratchford called for nominations for Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, nominated Jimmy Hodges for Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. There being no other nominations a vote was taken.
VOTE: Aye-4 (Coffey, Kohles, Lawrence, Sweeting)
County Manager Ratchford called for nominations for Vice-Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Kohles seconded by Commissioner Lawrence nominated Sue Sweeting for Vice-Chairman. There being no other nominations a vote was taken.
VOTE: Aye-4 (Coffey, Hodges, Kohles, Lawrence)
The meeting was then turned over to Chairman Hodges. Chairman Hodges stated it was an honor and privilege to serve as Chairman and looked forward to continuing his service for the County’s citizens. He also acknowledged former Commissioners Craig’s and Wellborn’s service to the County.
Chairman Hodges introduced Barry Reed who would replace present County Manager Ratchford. Mr. Ratchford had announced his plans to retire December 31, 1998. Mr. Reed stated he was thankful that he was chosen for this position and looked forward to working with the Board beginning January 4, 1999.
B. Staff Appointments – Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to re-appoint James S. Ratchford as Watauga County Manager through December 31, 1998.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to appoint Barry Reed as Watauga County Manager effective January 1, 1999 with an annual salary of $69,000 which included in-County travel, a 3-month severance contract to be reviewed in six months and moving expenses.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to re-appoint Robert A. Frye, Jr. as Assistant County Manager/Operation Services Director.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to re-appoint Elizabeth H. Link as Clerk to the Board.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to re-appoint Darcy Moore as Substitute Clerk to the Board.
Chairman Hodges expressed his appreciation for the service that Eggers, Eggers and Eggers law firm had provided the County. He then called for nominations for County Attorney. Commissioner Kohles seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to appoint Jeff Hedrick as Watauga County Attorney.
Chairman Hodges called for nominations for the County’s Department of Social Services (DSS) Attorney. Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to appoint Diane Griffin as Watauga County DSS Attorney.
In addition, Chairman Hodges stated there were several ongoing issues that Eggers, Eggers, and Eggers law firm were working on and requested granting authorization to Eggers, Eggers, and Eggers to handle those issues for the County through December 31, 1998.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to grant authorization to Eggers, Eggers, and Eggers law firm to handle ongoing issues through December 31, 1998.
C. Fidelity Bonds – Finance Director Doris Isaacs presented the following individual fidelity bonds for approval:
Position Bond Amount Statutory Requirement
Finance Director $50,000 At least $10,000, no more than
$250,000 G.S. 159-29
Deputy Finance Director $50,000 Same as above
Tax Collector $50,000 Amount considered reasonable
By BCC G.S. 105-349-c
Register of Deeds $50,000 At least $10,000 but no more than
$50,000 G.S. 161-4
Sheriff $25,000 $25,000 maximum G.S. 162-8
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the fidelity bonds as presented.
D. Commissioner-Boards & Commissions Appointments – The following Commissioner Board appointments were made:
Appalachian District Health Department Sweeting
AppalCart Authority Kohles
Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development Area Sweeting
Children’s Council/Child Protection Team Kohles
Committee of 100 Hodges
Criminal Justice Partnership Kohles
Economic Development Commission Hodges
Juvenile Crime Prevention Council Kohles
Library Board Lawrence
Motor Vehicle Valuation Review Committee Kohles
New River Mental Health Sweeting
Northwestern Regional Housing Authority Wilcox
POA Advisory Committee Lawrence
(Home & Community Care Block Grant)
Region D Council of Governments-Exec. Bd. Coffey
Job Training Consortium
Delegate to Regional Trans. Comm.
Social Services Board Craig
(term expired-June, 2001)
Watauga Advisory Board (CCC&TI) Hodges
Watauga County Medical Center Board of Trustees Lawrence
Watauga County Fire Commission Kohles
Watauga Opportunities, Inc. Coffey
Watauga County Recreation Commission Sweeting
YSAC (CBA) Kohles
EMS Committee Wellborn
E. Meeting Schedule – The Board’s regular meetings were held the first Monday of each month at 9:00 A.M. and the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 P.M. Vice-Chairman Sweeting requested the Board consider changing the first meeting time to 7:00 P.M. so that individuals who work out of the home could attend the meeting. It was noted that the meeting times were well advertised, and attendance at both the day and night meetings were comparable.
After brief discussion, Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to change the Board’s first monthly meeting time to 7:00 P.M.
VOTE: Aye-2 (Kohles, Sweeting)
Nay-3 (Coffey, Hodges, Lawrence)
ADOPTION OF DECEMBER 7, 1998 AGENDA
Commissioner Sweeting stated that under old business, appointments were made to the Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees at the Board’s previous meeting (November 17, 1998). Since the old terms did not expire until December 31, 1998, she requested the Board rescind those appointments.
County Attorney Hedrick joined the meeting at 9:43 A.M. Mr. Hedrick stated he would research this issue further for discussion at the next regular Board meeting scheduled for December 15, 1998.
SENIOR TAR HEEL LEGISLATURE
A. M. Denton, County Representative in the Senior Tar Heel Legislature, addressed the Board regarding that group’s accomplishments and issues for the elderly throughout the County. This report was for the Board’s information only.
Social Services Director Jim Atkinson presented the standard monthly report for that Department. In addition, Mr. Atkinson stated DSS could receive $4,000 from the State for transportation assistance and requested the funds be utilized the same as last year (a new AppalCart route was implemented from Highway 105, past Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute-Watauga Campus to the Human Services Building). Mr. Atkinson stated this route made transportation available to residents who lived in that section of the County.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to apply for the 1998-99 WorkFirst Transitional Transportation Assistance Funds.
In addition, Mr. Atkinson requested the County’s WorkFirst Plan be amended. He stated that when the plan was written, it was estimated that an additional social worker position would
be required to handle the WorkFirst caseload. However, there had been a 40% reduction of WorkFirst cases in the County, and Mr. Atkinson stated this position did not need to be created.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the WorkFirst Plan amendment.
Mr. Atkinson’s last item of business was a Day Care software agreement with Pitt County. He stated this software agreement would allow DSS to better operate the County’s daycare program. Pitt County had offered this software to the County for $95 (to cover the costs of the materials and staff time). Mr. Atkinson added other counties had used this program, and he requested Board approval.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the Day Care Software Agreement with Pitt County.
APPALACHIAN DISTRICT HEALTH DEPARTMENT ANNUAL REPORT
Danny Staley, Health Director for the Appalachian District Health Department, presented the annual report for that agency. The report was for the Board’s information only.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of November, 1998.
B. Refunds and Releases – Tax Administrator McLean presented the following Refunds and Releases for November, 1998 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.
PRISONER MEALS PROPOSAL
Sheriff James C. "Red" Lyons notified the Board that effective December 1, 1998 meals for inmates were no longer provided by the Watauga Correctional Center. The Correctional Center was now closed, and different meal arrangements had to be obtained. Sheriff Lyons stated he had worked with Shannon Scott, Watauga Medical Center Nutrition Services Director, to devise a meal plan. He added he had worked with the Medical Center because he was unaware of any other entities which would provide three meals a day, 365 days a year. He noted the following prices would be charged:
$2.25 for breakfast
$4.25 for lunch
$4.25 for supper
Sheriff Lyons stated the jail housed an average of 30 inmates. The contract with Watauga Medical Center could be cancelled with 60 days notification. Upon being asked if the Law Enforcement Center’s kitchen was functional, the Sheriff stated the kitchen had not been utilized for 6-7 years. He added that in order to prepare meals in-house, it would be necessary to hire two additional employees. After discussion, Sheriff Lyons stated he would explore additional options which included what the costs would be for preparing meals in the Law Enforcement Center’s kitchen, and the jail feasibility study would be provided at the Board’s next regular meeting scheduled for December 15, 1998.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the contract with Watauga Medical Center on a temporary basis until other arrangements could be fulfilled.
A 10 minute recess was declared at 10:45 A.M.
The meeting resumed at 10:57 A.M.
ROCK BUILDING CONSTRUCTION CHANGE ORDERS
Architect, Randy Jones, presented four change orders for the construction work at the Courthouse East Annex Building. Mr. Jones stated $10,000 in contingency funds had been included in the contractors’ building contracts and all the change orders could be covered under the project contingency funds.
Nor-Well Mechanical Contractors $ 373
(The general contractor cut a 1" galvanized water line in the concrete slab that was demolished in the toilet area. 50 feet of 1" copper pipe was placed overhead to restore water service to the second floor in the area above the new toilets).
Nor-Well Mechanical Contractors $ 450
(To extend vent piping from floor drains in mechanical room and at the elevator; to add an indirect waste funnel at floor drain which received discharge from the elevator sump pump; to remove existing drain pipe to eliminate dead ends in the toilet areas).
Nor-Well Mechanical Contractors $1,310
(To furnish labor and material to install plumbing per Proposal Request Number 3).
Hunter Construction, Inc. $ 800
(To cut existing concrete slab an additional 26’ (approx.) from the Janitor’s Closet 122, across the ramp (approx. 6’) to the existing wall. Then from the wall across the Magistrate’s Office floor to the exterior wall (approx. 20’). Removal of concrete rubble from demolition area. To make a 2’ wide cut across the Magistrate’s Office floor and an 18" wide cut across the ramp at Corridor 123. Plumbing Contractor would be responsible for removal of dirt for rough-in and would cover & compact. To provide 4" min. stone, with 6 mil poly, moisture barrier and a 4" thick concrete patch for floor. (As per directive in Proposal Request No. Two – dated 11/20/98).
Mr. Jones stated he was fairly confident that the remaining contingency funds for this project would be sufficient to cover any additional unforeseen construction costs.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the change orders with Nor-Well Mechanical Contractors ($2,133) and Hunter Construction, Inc. ($800).
Fire Marshal Lisa Shoun addressed the Board regarding the burning ban that was implemented December 30, 1998. She stated this was necessary due to the extremely dry weather. In addition, a 100 acre brush fire had occurred in the Sampson community. Ms. Shoun notified the media, and notices had been issued.
Planning & Inspections Director Joe Furman addressed the Board regarding the draft Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). He noted the TIP was now a two year document, and comments would be received twice in each Division. The first meeting for Division 11 (which included Watauga County) was scheduled for December 10, 1998 at the Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir, N.C. Mr. Furman added he was a member of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation Committee and provided the Board with 1998 TIP priorities for 1999 that had been adopted by the Transportation Committee. If the Board concurred, he planned to present the TIP priorities at the December 10, 1998 meeting.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to concur with the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce’s TIP priorities and authorized Joe Furman to proceed accordingly.
EMPLOYEE HEALTH INSURANCE
Finance Director Doris Isaacs provided the Board with information regarding the County’s health insurance renewal rates with Trustmark Insurance Company to be renewed as of January 1, 1999. She stated the renewal rates proposed were approximately a 60% increase from the current rates. Ms. Isaacs stated a committee of 13 County employees were reviewing options which she would present to the Board at the next regular scheduled meeting on December 15, 1998.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Boards & Commissions – Chairman Hodges noted board appointments were needed for the following: Watauga County Planning Board, Watauga County Board of Adjustment, Board of Directors for the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District and the Watauga County Library Board.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting nominated Mary Burrous as the District 4 representative of the Watauga County Planning Board with the term being the same as that of Vice-Chairman Sweeting.
Commissioner Lawrence reappointed Jay Vincent as the District 1 representative of the Watauga County Planning Board with the term being the same as that of Commissioner Lawrence.
Commissioner Kohles nominated Candy Winebarger as the District 5 representative of the Watauga County Planning Board with the term being the same as that of Commissioner Kohles.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting nominated Janet Beck to the Watauga County Board of Adjustment for a three-year term.
Commissioner Coffey reappointed Jane Nicholson to the Watauga County Board of Adjustment for a three-year term.
Commissioner Lawrence reappointed Tommy Critcher as the District 1 representative of the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District Board of Directors with the term being the same as that of Commissioner Lawrence.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting reappointed Wayne Sumner as the District 4 representative of the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District Board of Directors with the term being the same as that of Vice-Chairman Sweeting.
Commissioner Kohles reappointed Floyd Fuller as the District 5 representative of the Boone Rural Fire Protection Service District Board of Directors with the term being the same as that of Commissioner Kohles.
Commissioner Lawrence nominated Shelby Lane to fill the unexpired term of Bill Williamson on the Watauga County Library Board. Ms. Lane’s term would expire August, 1999.
B. Budget Amendment – County Manager Ratchford presented the following budget amendment for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
103910-391000 Loan Proceeds 604,177
104262-469103 Prof. Ser.-Architects 43,382
104262-458000 Cap. Outlay-Bldg. Imp. 560,795
To recognize loan proceeds to fund the renovation of the Old Library area of the East Annex Building. Bids for this project were approved at the September 15, 1998 Board of Commissioners meeting.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the budget amendment as presented.
C. Sheriff’s Position Salary – County Manager Ratchford stated it was appropriate to take action on the Sheriff’s salary since James C. "Red" Lyons was re-elected Watauga County Sheriff on November 3, 1998. Consistent with the resolution adopted by the Board of Commissioners on December 16, 1997, the actual salary for the newly elected Sheriff needed to be established. Sheriff Lyons’ current annual salary was $60,878.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve Sheriff James C. "Red" Lyons’ annual salary of $60,878.
D. Announcements – County Manager Ratchford informed the Board of the 1999 Legislative Goals Conference scheduled for January 14-15, 1999 in Research Triangle Park. A commissioner or other official needed to be designated as a voting delegate.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to nominate James Coffey as the Board’s voting delegate for the 1999 Legislative Goals Conference.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to enter closed session at 11:37 A.M. to discuss: Attorney/Client Matters – G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3), landfill litigation.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to resume the regular meeting at 12:08 P.M.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to adjourn the meeting at 12:09 P.M.
Elizabeth H. Link
Clerk to the Board