WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2020
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting, as scheduled, on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at 5:30 P.M. in Courtroom # 1 at the Watauga County Courthouse in Boone, North Carolina.
PRESENT: John Welch, Chairman
Billy Kennedy, Vice-Chairman
Larry Turnbow, Commissioner
Charlie Wallin, Commissioner
Perry Yates, Commissioner
Anthony di Santi, County Attorney
Deron Geouque, County Manager
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Welch called the meeting to order at 5:38 P.M.
Commissioner Wallin opened with a prayer and Commissioner Turnbow led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Minutes
Chairman Welch called for additions and/or corrections to the February 4, 2020, regular meeting and closed session minutes.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to approve the February 4, 2020, regular meeting minutes as presented.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Wallin, moved to approve the February 4, 2020, closed session minutes as presented.
Approval of Agenda
Chairman Welch called for additions and/or corrections to the February 18, 2020, agenda.
Chairman Welch stated that there has been a request to add an appointment to the Watauga Council under Boards and Commissions.
Vice-Chairman Kennedy, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to approve the February 18, 2020, agenda as amended.
A. Monthly Collections Report
Tax Administrator, Mr. Larry Warren, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of January 2020. The report was presented for information only and, therefore, no action was required.
B. Refunds and Releases
Mr. Warren presented the Refunds and Releases Report for January 2020 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Vice-Chairman Kennedy, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report for January 2020 as presented.
Miscellaneous Administrative Matters
A. Upcoming Meeting Schedule
County Manager Geouque stated that the Board of Elections required the use of the Commissioners’ Board Room through March 4 due to the room being a one-stop voting place and an official Polling site for the Primary which is on March 3, 2020. At the January 21 Board meeting, the Board moved the February 18 meeting location to Courtroom # 1 in the Courthouse and discussed cancelling the March 3 meeting. Mr. Geouque stated that the Board of Elections also had other County facilities reserved on March 3 due to the elections which limited the availability of a meeting space to hold a meeting.
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Vice-Chairman Kennedy, moved to cancel the March 3, 2020, Board of Commissioners meeting due to the Board of Elections use of County facilities.
B. Boards and Commissions
County Manager Geouque presented the following:
Economic Development Commission (EDC)
EDC member Savannah Garland has had to resign due to accepting a new job in Kingsport, Tennessee. Ms. Garland’s three-year term expires in June, 2022. The un-expired term could be filled now and would expire in June, 2022 at which time the member could be appointed to serve their first full term. Another option would be to wait and replace the position at the beginning of the full term which would be in June. Four other terms also expire in June. One of those four members will not be eligible for reappointment per the EDC rules; the other three will be eligible for reappointment, provided they are interested in continuing to serve. A request for volunteers has been advertised.
By consensus, further discussion was tabled until the receipt of volunteer applications.
Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Advisory Board
The Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Advisory Board recommends the appointment of Ms. Kristy Hackler to fill the vacancy of Mr. Johnny Moretz who recently resigned due to health issues. This is a second reading.
Commissioner Wallin, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to appoint Ms. Kristy Hackler to the Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Advisory Board as requested.
Watauga County Arts Council
At the February 4, 2020, the Board discussed appointing a Commissioner as a liaison to the Watauga County Arts Council Board.
By consensus, the Board agreed to appoint Commissioner Wallin to the Watauga County Arts Council and to include the appointment in the future under the Chairman’s appointments during the organization portion of the first regular meeting in December of each year.
County Manager Geouque announced the following:
· The High Country Council of Governments invites you to their Legislative Luncheon on February 27, 2020, from 10:00 A.M. until 12:00 P.M. at Blue Ridge Energy’s Community Room. Please let Anita know if you plan to attend and she will be glad to RSVP on your behalf.
· The Senior Center will host an advocacy event from 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. on Monday, February 24, 2020, at the Lois E. Harrell Senior Center to allow seniors the opportunity to meet their elected officials and allow conversations to be held about issues that are concerning to seniors.
· The Board of Commissioners will hold a joint meeting with the Boone Town Council to discuss the County-owned Turner building located on Water Street. The meeting will be held on Monday, February 24, 2020, at 6:30 P.M. in the Agriculture Conference Center located on Poplar Grove Road.
· Budget Work Sessions are scheduled on May 14 and 15, 2020.
· Watauga County Cooperative Extension invites you to the Annual "Report to the People" on Monday, March 9, 2020, from 11:45 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. at the Agricultural Conference Center. Lunch will be provided and staff will report on Extension results from 2019 and issues that are being worked on in 2020. The Watauga County Master Gardeners and High Country Grown will also highlight their ongoing work in the county. If you wish to attend, please let Anita know and she will be glad to RSVP on your behalf.
There was no public comment.
At 5:50 P.M., Commissioner Turnbow, seconded by Vice-Chairman Kennedy, moved to enter Closed Session to discuss Attorney/Client Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(3) and Personnel Matters, per G. S. 143-318.11(a)(6).
Commissioner Yates, seconded by Commissioner Turnbow, moved to resume the open meeting at 6:35 P.M.
Commissioner Wallin, seconded by Vice-Chairman Kennedy, moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:35 P.M.
John Welch, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board