The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a special meeting on Monday, May 24, 1999 at 7:00 P.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.


PRESENT: Jimmy Hodges, Chairman

Sue Sweeting, Vice-Chairman

James Coffey, Commissioner

Art Kohles, Commissioner

Jack Lawrence, Sr., Commissioner

Jeff Hedrick, County Attorney

Barry J. Reed, County Manager

Libby Link, Clerk to the Board


Chairman Hodges called the meeting to order at 7:02 P.M. welcoming those in attendance.


Chairman Hodges declared a public hearing open to discuss the proposed 1999/2000 Fiscal Year budget.


The following individuals addressed the Board:


Ms. Jennifer Herman, OASIS, Inc. discussed several of the programs sponsored by OASIS and requested $8,000 for the next Fiscal Year budget.


Ms. Ceia Webb, Mr. John Robinson and Dr. Jim Greene spoke on behalf of the Hunger Coalition requesting $15,000 for their next year’s budget.


Ms. Sue Counts, Cooperative Extension Director, thanked the Board for their continued support and requested a 1.8% increase from last year’s budget.


Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Richard Jones, stated the school system could not maintain the current curriculum (programs) with the County Manager’s proposed $5,500,000 and $600,000 for capital outlay (an 8% increase). He then introduced Board of Education Chairman, Jim Deni, who stated he was present as a public servant representing students and parents. Mr. Deni encouraged the Board to approve the School Board’s budget request. In addition, Mr. Ted Greene, a Board of Education member, Mr. Jim Deal, Ms. Margaret Eggers and Mr. Alan Felker asked the Board to approve the School Board’s budget request as presented.


Mr. John Hovis, Chairman, Watauga County Board of Elections, requested an additional $5,000 in his budget to be used for a part-time position during election time.


Mr. Jack James, Ms. Suzanne Reed and Ms. Amy Huff spoke on behalf of the Volunteer Outreach Center (VOC). Ms. Reed, the VOC Executive Director, reviewed several of the VOC’s accomplishments which promoted volunteerism throughout the County and asked for the Board’s continued support.


Mr. Richard Rupp, Chairman, W.A.M.Y. Community Action, Inc. Board of Directors, requested $55,000 (a first time request). Mr. Rupp stated W.A.M.Y. received funding from grants to aid the poor, however, W.A.M.Y. needed these additional funds to help poor people with a variety of needs.


Mr. Rocky Nelson, Project on Aging Director, requested a new social worker position for the Care Alternatives Program. In addition, he requested health insurance be given to non-regular in-home aides.


Mr. Randy Collins with the Watauga Rescue Squad requested $94,000. He stated there were 35 members in the squad who served 80% of the County in both rescue and emergency services. Mr. Collins added these funds would continue to assist the Watauga Rescue Squad in serving County residents.


Sheriff James C. "Red" Lyons stated drug operation was the largest growing crime in the County and requested an additional employee (investigator) assigned to drug related cases only.


Ms. Tish Wilson, a Care Alternatives Program (CAP) In-Home Aide with the Project on Aging (POA) requested that In-Home Aides be eligible for health insurance benefits. In addition, she requested a new social worker position for the CAP.


Fire Marshal, Lisa Shoun, requested increasing that office’s part-time Secretary III position to a full-time position. Ms. Shoun stated that if this was not possible, and since the current Secretary was averaging 27 hours a week, she requested additional funds be provided in the budget so that the part-time Secretary could work more hours.


Ms. Marion Sofield, Economic Development Director, asked for the Board’s continued support and funding for the County’s small incubator. In addition, Ms. Sofield spoke on behalf of JobLink Career Center and requested funding for marketing materials as well as reference materials that would help residents acquire jobs.


Ms. Len Cone, Coordinator for the County’s Sesquicentennial, requested an additional $1,500.


Mr. Jim Thompson spoke on behalf of the Hospitality House and requested an increase of 5% of its current budget. He also thanked the Board for its continued support.


Ms. Anna Boyce Phillips spoke on behalf of the Alcohol/Drug Council. Ms. Phillips thanked the Board for their support and stated that the recommended funding should be sufficient for this agency.


Attorney, Karla Rusch, requested $3,000 for Legal Services of the Blue Ridge (a first time request).


Social Services Director, Jim Atkinson, requested the current Carolina Access Program part-time position become a full-time position and requested two additional full-time positions for clerical support.


Mr. Marshall Ashcraft spoke on behalf of the Children’s Council and requested additional funding to cover the costs for administrative duties.


Ms. Celia Roten, Chairperson of the Watauga County Democratic Party, addressed the Board stating she spoke on behalf of many democrats who were concerned about the built-in 10 percent increase designated for the Watauga Ambulance Service contract.


There being no further public comments, Chairman Hodges declared the public hearing closed at 9:20 P.M.




Commissioner Kohles seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:20 P.M.


VOTE: Aye-5






Jimmy Hodges








Elizabeth H. Link

Clerk to the Board