TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2011


            The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, at 8:00 A.M. in the Commissioners’ Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building.


                        PRESENT:       Nathan A. Miller, Chairman

David Blust, Vice-Chairman

                                                Jim Deal, Commissioner

                                                Tim Futrelle, Commissioner

                                                Vince Gable, Commissioner

                                                Four Eggers, County Attorney

                                    Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager

                                    Deron Geouque, Deputy County Manager

                                                Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board


            Chairman Miller called the meeting to order at 8:07 A.M., welcoming those in attendance.


            Vice-Chairman Blust opened the meeting with a prayer and Commissioner Futrelle led the Pledge of Allegiance.




            Chairman Miller called for additions and/or corrections to the April 19, 2011, regular and closed session minutes.


            Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the April 19, 2011, regular meeting minutes as presented.


VOTE:   Aye-5



            Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the April 19, 2011, closed session minutes as presented.


VOTE:   Aye-5





            Chairman Miller called for additions and/or corrections to the May 3, 2011, agenda.


County Manager Nelson requested that a JCPC budget amendment request be added to the agenda after Item # 10.


            Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the May 3, 2011, agenda as amended.

VOTE:   Aye-5






            Students of Dr. Cameron Lippard and Dr. Jammie Price, Professors at Appalachian State University, presented information regarding research on living wages and affordable housing in Watauga County.


            Ms. Lauren White, with the support of her classmates, shared the report on affordable housing.  The report defined affordable housing as rent that costs less than 30% of the area median income level and, in the case of homeownership, houses that cost less than 95% of the area median purchase price.  Ms. White shared the methods the class used to obtain data; the results of the data; and the solutions and conclusions that the class determined from the data.


            Mr. Sam Sussy, Ms. Brittani Powell, and Mr. Alex Rogers, with the support of their classmates, shared the report on living wages including data collected, statistics, and the impact of big box retailers in the area.  Mr. Sussy stated that the same report was presented to the Town of Boone and Ms. Powell stated that the class requested the Board's consideration of the adoption of a living wage ordinance.


            County Attorney Eggers stated that State action was required to set wages.


The reports were presented for information only and, therefore, no action was required.




Captain Jeff Virginia and Captain Kelly Redmon, Watauga County Sheriff's Office, shared several ideas regarding courthouse security.  Captain Virginia stated that the Sheriff had spoken with the Town of Boone and requested that several parking spaces on King Street be designated as handicapped spaces which would allow for the front entrance of the Courthouse to be the designated entry for the public.  This entrance could then be secured with the use of metal detectors, x-ray equipment, etc.  Other recommendations included: using the current Courtroom # 3 as a jury lounge and using the current jury lounge on the top floor as a third courtroom; moving the Sheriff's Office Civil Division to the space currently occupied by the Board of Elections and moving the Board of Elections Office to the Appalachian Enterprise Center; and closing off the back portion of the Clerk of Courts Office with a window which would allow for a secured door. 


County Manager Nelson stated that County staff had identified $25,000 which could fund the securing of one entrance and key fobs for the others; however, that amount would not fund all of the proposals presented.  The County Manager stated that the Sheriff had also requested two additional sworn deputies in his FY 2012 budget request. These new positions were not currently recommended for funded.


Captain Virginia stated that the Sheriff's Office was awaiting direction from the Board of Commissioners as to what funding was available for the project.


By consensus, the Board tabled action since this project was to be discussed during the two upcoming work sessions designated for review of the Proposed Budget for FY 2012.




            Mr. J. V. Potter, Operations Service Director, stated that the following bids were received for paving at the 421 West container site, Green Valley container site, and Landfill Road including adjacent areas:  Moretz Paving in the amount of $172,620.00; Oliver Paving in the amount of $185,640.00; and Maymead in the amount of $190,000.00.  Mr. Potter requested that the projects be awarded to the low bidder, Moretz Paving, for the amount of $172,620.  Funds were available due to the additional revenue that was generated during the processing of storm debris during the past fiscal year. 


County Manager Nelson stated that citizens were allowed to dispose of storm debris from the 2009 Christmas Day ice storm at no charge; however, agencies and business were charged the usual rates for storm debris disposal as many were reimbursed by federal government aid.  Due to those charges, approximately $200,000 in extra revenue was available to fund these paving projects.


Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to award the bid for Sanitation Department paving projects to Moretz Paving in the amount of $172,620 as presented by Mr. Potter with funding to be allocated from Sanitation Department funds.


VOTE:   Aye-5





Ms. Angie Boitnotte requested the acceptance of $254,659 in Home and Community Care Block Grant (H&CCBG) funds for FY 2012.  The required local match was $27,851 and was included in the Project on Aging's FY 2012 budget request.  The H&CCBG Advisory Committee requested the allocation be budgeted as follows: 


H&CCBG Service                  H&CCBG Funding                 Local Match Funding

            In-Home Aide                                    $122,011                                      $13,556

            Congregate Meals                                $43,597                                        $4,844

            Home Delivered Meals                         $82,499                                        $9,167


Non-H&CCBG Service       Non-H&CCBG Funding            Local Match Funding

            Part D Health Screening                         $1,889                                           $210

            Medications Management                          $662                                            $74

            Family Caregiver Respite II                    $4,001                                              $0


Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the Project on Aging's Home and Community Care Block Grant allocation as presented by Ms. Boitnotte.


VOTE:   Aye-5






            A.        Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator Kelvin Byrd presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of April 2011.


B.         Releases and Refunds – Mr. Byrd presented the following Refunds and Releases for April 2011 for Board approval:




           Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for April 2011, as presented.



VOTE:   Aye-5





A.        Hospitality House Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Discussion – Mr. Joe Furman stated that the Hospitality House had learned that additional Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds may be available within the Division of Community Assistance to cover construction expenses above the contract amount for their new facility.  Mr. Furman stated that Hospitality House requested the County apply for approximately $125,000 of the additional funds as a pass-through grant.  There was no cost to the County. 


            Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to authorize staff to apply for Community Care Block Grant funds in the amount of $125,000 as a pass-through to the Hospitality House as presented.


VOTE:   Aye-5



B.         House Bill 332 Discussion – Mr. Furman stated that, at the April 19 Board meeting, discussion of House Bill 332 which clarifies the development moratoria authority was tabled.  Mr. Furman reported that the Bill has passed the House as amended to include the following:  "As provided in this subsection, cities/counties may adopt temporary moratoria on any city/county development approval required by law, except for the purpose of developing and adopting new or amended plans or ordinances as to residential uses."


            Mr. Furman stated that Watauga County had not experienced the need in the past to adopt a moratorium relating to residential.


            No action was taken.




Ms. Margaret Pierce, Finance Director, presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:


Account #                    Description                                                              Debit            Credit

103612-389001           Donations - Recreation                                                                 $600

106126-469509           Special Pop - Contracted Travel                              $600


            The amendment recognized donated funds given for summer camp program travel to lessen the cost to parents.


Account #                    Description                                                              Debit            Credit

234310-454000           Capital Outlay - Vehicle                                      $11,120

233991-399101           Fund Balance Appropriation                                                    $11,120


The amendment funded the purchase of a vehicle within the Narcotics Budget per request of Sheriff Hagaman.  These are State funds received and restricted to law enforcement use.


Commissioner Deal, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented by Ms. Pierce.


VOTE:   Aye-5





            Ms. Pierce presented an amendment to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council's (JCPC) budget for FY 2011.  The amendment reallocated funds within the budgeted amount for FY 2011.


            Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to approve the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) budget amendment as presented.


VOTE:   Aye-5





Deputy County Manager Geouque distributed the County's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for review prior to discussion during upcoming budget work sessions.  The Deputy County Manager stated that no funding was recommended for FY 2012; however, the following projects were recommended to be funded with appropriations from the Capital Reserve Balance:  Information Technology requirements in the amount of $115,000; the Animal Care and Control Shelter agreement in the amount of $400,000; paving needs in the amount of $34,568; safety-related pool repairs in the amount of $105,000; and debt service for Qualified School Construction Bonds in the amount of $54,304.


The Capital Improvement Plan was presented for information only and, therefore, no action was taken.




County Manager Nelson stated that an offer to purchase the old high school property was received from Lincoln Harris, Inc.  The proposal included development to approximately 50-60% of the property in the range of $38,000,000 to $50,000,000 of improvements which would bring additional property tax revenue to both the County and Town of Boone.  Additional sales tax revenues (based on a conservative estimate of $50,000,000 in retail sales) were projected at approximately $728,000 for the County and $237,000 for the Town of Boone.  Job creation related to the finished project allowed for the potential of 250 to 475 total jobs.


The County Manager stated that the offer was in the amount of $7,000,000 and stipulated that the County remove all structures currently on the property.


After lengthy discussion, the Board agreed, by consensus, to direct staff to get an appraisal for the property and table further discussion until the appraisal was available for review.




A.        Presentation of the Manager's Recommended FY 2012 Budget – County Manager Nelson presented the Fiscal Year 2012 Recommended Budget and stated that budget work sessions were scheduled to allow time for editing and review.


The Recommended Budget was presented for information only and, therefore, no action was required or taken.


B.         Proposed Resolution in Support of the Town of Boone's Water Intake Project – County Manager Nelson presented a proposed resolution in support of the Town of Boone's Water Intake Project including the reclassification of the watershed as required by the State.   



After discussion, Commissioner Deal, seconded by Commissioner Futrelle, moved to adopt the resolution as presented.


VOTE:   Aye-5



C.        Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated the Region D Development Corporation assisted the US Small Business Administration in marketing, packaging and delivering loans for small businesses throughout the region.  Per their bylaws, each county was required to appoint four persons to serve as members of the Development Corporation in May of each year.  The representative categories were local government (1); private lending institution (1); and community organization or a business organization (2).  The current members representing Watauga County are:  Mr. Fowler Cooper (Local Government); Mr. Brian Crutchfield (Community Organization); Mr. Jim Furman (Business Organization); and Mr. Brian Riggins (Private Lending Institution).  These members could be re-appointed or new members could be chosen.


            County Manager Nelson stated that the Chairman was responsible for appointing members to the High Country Workforce Development Board.  The terms of Sandy Reese, representing the private sector, and David Edwards, representing, public sector community–based organizations, were set to expire June 30, 2011. 


            The above were first readings and, therefore, no action was required nor taken.


County Manager Nelson stated that the Town of Boone Clerk had informed Ms. Fogle that Mr. Michael Button, who was recently appointed as an ETJ alternate to the Town of Boone's Board of Adjustment, lived within the Town limits and, therefore, outside of the ETJ area.


            No action was taken regarding the ETJ alternate representative position for the Town of Boone's Board of Adjustment.


            Mr. Joe Furman shared that several terms were set to expire on the Economic Development Commission Board in June 2011.  Recommendations were to be presented at the May 17, 2011, meeting for consideration.


D.        Announcements – County Manager Nelson announced that the Board of Commissioners' had scheduled budget work sessions for Thursday, May 5, 2011, at 4:00 P.M. and Monday, May 9, 2011, at 5:00 P.M. in the Commissioners’ Conference Room, Watauga County Administration Building.


            County Manager Nelson announced that a public hearing had been scheduled for the Tuesday, May 17, 2011, regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners, to allow citizen comment on the recommended budget for FY 2012.  The regular meeting was to begin at 5:00 P.M. and the public hearing was scheduled to begin at 6:00 P.M.


County Manager Nelson announced that the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) had waived the registration fee for County Commissioners who pre-register (by May 18) to attend the County Assembly Day on May 25, 2011, in Raleigh.  County officials from across the State were to gather in Raleigh on that date for an update on key legislative issues and to meet with their local delegation.


County Manager Nelson recognized Community Pride Week and shared the following related events: free disposal of residential debris Monday, May 9 through Saturday, May 14; Household Hazardous Waste Day, Saturday, May 14; and Pharmaceutical Take-Back, Saturday, May 14.




The following citizens spoke during public comment:


Ms. Peri David, Mr. Howard Brafman, and Mr. Johnny Byrd shared concerns regarding safety issues with Justus Road, specifically the issue of emergency vehicles not having a wide enough turn radius to enter the road from the left.


[Clerk's Note:  Mr. Billy McDaniel signed in for public comment but was not present to speak.]


            Discussion was tabled until a future meeting to allow for presentation of a proposed letter and resolution regarding the safety concerns.


            Mr. Gayle Henson shared concerns and recommendations regarding the old high school property.




            At 10:07 A.M., Commissioner Futrelle, seconded by Commissioner Deal, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3).


VOTE:   Aye-5



Commissioner Deal, seconded by Chairman Miller, moved to resume the open meeting at 10:41 A.M.


VOTE:   Aye-5





Chairman Miller adjourned the meeting at 10:41 A.M.



Nathan A. Miller, Chairman



Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board