The Watauga County Board of Commissioners attended a special meeting on Monday, March 4, 2013, in the 5th Floor Lobby of the Appalachian Athletic Center on the campus of Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.  The Intergovernmental Retreat agenda included presentations focused on High Country United Way’s Vision Council process including reports from the Education, Health, and Income Councils.  Those present were:  Chairman Miller, Commissioner Kennedy, Commissioner Welch, Commissioner Yates, County Manager Deron Geouque, Clerk to the Board Anita Fogle, and Planning & Inspections and Economic Development Director Joe Furman.  Others present were as follows:


·        Appalachian State University Representatives:  Clark Maddux, Todd Mortensen, Greg Lovins, and Susan McCracken.

·        Town of Blowing Rock Representatives:  Jim Steele, J. B. Lawrence, Scott Hildebran, Doug Matheson, and Sharon Greene

·        Town of Boone Representatives:  Rennie Brantz, Lynne Mason, and Kim Brown.

·        Town of Seven Devils Representatives:  Ed Evans, Larry Fontaine, Kay Ehlinger and Brad Lambert.

·        High Country Council of Governments Representatives:  Phil Trew.

·        High Country United Way:  Dick Jones, Gary Childers, Linda Slade, Nancy Reigel, Alice Salthouse, Bryan Belcher, Susan Jones, and Melissa Phillips (also representing Mayland Community College).

·        Others:  Kellen Moore, Watauga Democrat.


Mr. Phil Trew, High Country Council of Governments, called the joint meeting to order at 5:10 P.M. by welcoming everyone and calling for introductions.


After dinner was served, Mr. Trew introduced Ms. Nancy Reigel with the High Country United Way who gave a report included the following:


  • High Country United Way (HCUW) wanted to change the way of funds were allocated to service agencies – shift from funding direct services to focusing on funding projects based on outcomes
  • Used Buncombe County’s recent process as guidance
  • In September 2011, HCUW organized stakeholders to determine community focus
  • Process covered Watauga and Avery Counties
  • Three focus areas were determined – health, income, education
  • Councils were formed to address each focus area
  • Each council followed the same process – create vision, identify barriers, identify needed improvements, develop strategies to obtain improvements
  • In 2013, 30% of HCUW funding will go to projects with community impact
  • In 2014, 60% of HCUW funding will go to projects with community impact
  • In 2015, 90% of HCUW funding will go to projects with community impact
  • Each year, 10% of funding is reserved for emergency relief 

Mr. Bryan Belcher and Ms. Alice Salthouse gave a report from the Health Council which included the following highlights:


  • Health Council established three priorities:
    • Create an environment that supports health
    • Provide needed healthcare and resources
    • Reduce substance abuse
  • 23% of Watauga County residents have no health insurance
  • Working to establish a full-time Farmers Market
  • Working on Project Lazarus (a prescription drug abuse prevention program)


Ms. Susan Jones, Mr. Joe Furman, and Ms. Lynne Mason gave a report from the Income Council which included the following highlights:


  • Income Council wants to address both income of citizens, and cost of living
  • Income Council established three priorities:
    • Create affordable housing
    • Attract, obtain, and maintain diverse industries
    • Create sufficient affordable healthcare
  • Watauga Community Housing Trust has been established as a non-profit to provide “workforce” housing
  • A Housing Summit is being planned for early Summer 2013
  • The Watauga County Economic Development Commission’s Annual Economic Development Summit is scheduled for April 17, 2013 in Blowing Rock

Dr. Dick Jones, Mr. Gary Childers, and Ms. Melissa Phillips’ gave a report from the Education Council which included the following highlights:


  • Education Council established three priorities:
    • Expand non-traditional education opportunities
    • Increase/change perception of value of education
    • Increase collaboration to align resources
  • Watauga County has a 15% dropout rate
  • Education Council is not using (lack of) funding as an excuse for educational barriers
  • Availability/cost of childcare is barrier to adult education

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


The meeting was adjourned at 6:55 P.M.



Nathan A. Miller




Anita J. Fogle

Clerk to the Board