The Watauga County Board of Commissioners attended a special meeting on Monday, September 26, 2011, in the Broyhill Room at Broyhill Inn, ASU, Boone, NC.  The Intergovernmental Retreat agenda included a presentation focused on the economy.  Those present were:  Chairman Miller, Vice-Chairman Blust, Commissioner Gable, County Manager Geouque, and Clerk to the Board Fogle.  Others present were as follows:


·        Appalachian State University:  Interim VC for Business Affairs Greg Lovins; Attorney Dayton Cole and Professor Harry Davis

·        Town of Beech Mountain:  Council Member Rick Miller; Town Manager Randy Feierabend; and Town Clerk Jennifer Broderick

·        Town of Blowing Rock:  Mayor J. B. Lawrence; Council Members Doug Matheson, Jim Steele, Thomas Klutz, Albert Yount, and Phil Pickett; Town Manager Scott Hildebran; and Town Clerk Sharon Greene

·        Town of Boone:  Council Members Andy Ball and Rennie Brantz; Town Manager Greg Young; Deputy Town Clerk Kim Brown, and Robert Ohlen

·        Town of Seven Devils:  Town Manager Ed Evans

·        High Country Council of Governments:  Planning Director Phil Trew

·        Others:  Lauren Ohnesorge, Watauga Democrat; and Anna Oakes, High Country Press


Mr. Phil Trew, High Country Council of Governments, called the joint meeting to order at 5:05 P.M. by welcoming everyone and calling for introductions. 


After dinner was served, Mr. Trew introduced Dr. Harry Davis, Professor in ASU’s Department of Finance, Banking, and Insurance, who gave a presentation entitled “The National, State, and Local Economies.”  The main points of Dr. Davis’ presentation included the following:


·       US has officially been out of the recession for two years

·       Past recoveries have been fueled by residential construction which was currently not the case

·       Large companies were doing well, but were holding onto capital and, therefore, not investing in machinery and/or people

·       Manufacturing output was growing, but slowly and with fewer workers

·       Companies that sold product internationally were doing well

·       Ratio of household debt/income rose from 80% in 1990s to 116% in 2010

·       Fastest growing area of consumer debt was in the form of adults borrowing money for education

·       US ranks 17th in the world in homeownership rates

·       Housing values continued to fall, but were beginning to stabilize

·       Mortgage applications were at a 15-year low

·       20 million adult children currently live with their parents

·       Tax systems in other developed nations were structurally different than in the US – other countries give tax breaks to businesses; US gives tax breaks to families

·       US was experiencing a lot of layoffs in state and local governments

·       More than 50% of US debt was owed to foreigners

·       10,000 Americans reach retirement age per day

·       Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that there were currently 3.2 million job openings; however, employees skilled for those positions were not available

·       After six years of college, 44% of attendees did not graduate

·       Most new jobs being created do not require college degrees


Mr. Trew stated that the date and time for the next Intergovernmental Retreat would be announced when scheduled.


The meeting was adjourned at 6:57 P.M.



Nathan A. Miller, Chairman



Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board