The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, February 5, 2001 at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT:  James Coffey, Vice-Chairman
                   Jack Lawrence, Sr., Commissioner
                   Sue Sweeting, Commissioner
                   Pat Wilkie, Commissioner
                   Jeff Hedrick, County Attorney
                   Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
                   Libby Link, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges was unable to attend the meeting due to serious illness in the family. Vice-Chairman Coffey called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
Vice-Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the January 5, 2001 regular and closed session meeting minutes as well as the January 16, 2001 regular and closed session meeting minutes.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the January 5, 2001 regular and closed session meeting minutes and the January 16, 2001 regular and closed session meeting minutes as presented.
VOTE: Aye-4
Absent-1 (Hodges)
Vice-Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the February 5, 2001 agenda.
County Manager Nelson informed the Board that N.C. Senator Virginia Foxx wished to address the Board to review a Mental Health Study Commission Update.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to approve the February 5, 2001 agenda with the amendment.
VOTE: Aye-4
Absent-1 (Hodges)
N.C. Senator, Virginia Foxx, presented an update on the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. Senator Foxx stated she had served on this Committee, which addressed accountability to the people being served by the Mental Health System. The Committee realized good management at the State level was required to ensure this Program was being properly administered. In addition, the Committee wished to make the Board of Commissioners aware of how the funds were spent. Senator Foxx stated the bill had not been introduced to the Legislature but anticipated it would be introduced in approximately two weeks. She added the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee would be looking at this over the next five years, and no changes would take place prior to July, 2002. Senator Foxx requested the Board review the update (Interim Report to the General Assembly) and notify her of specific concerns on how the plan could be improved.
This item was for the Board’s information, and no action was taken.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of January, 2001.
B. Refunds and Releases – Tax Administrator McLean presented the following Refunds and Releases for January, 2001 for Board approval:
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report as presented.
VOTE: Aye-4
Absent-1 (Hodges)
C. Tax Lien Report and Request to Advertise – Tax Administrator McLean requested permission to advertise the report of taxes that were liens on real estate in the County. Mr. McLean stated the total outstanding tax bills amounted to $1,222,474.43. Mr. McLean added that, if this request was approved, the advertisements would be in the Watauga Democrat on March 14, 2001. The County was required by law to advertise the liens.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the request to advertise the outstanding real estate liens.
VOTE: Aye-4
Absent-1 (Hodges)
D. Request for Declaration of Surplus Property – Tax Administrator McLean stated the County had recently acquired the following lots in the Powder Horn Mountain Subdivision:
PIN No. Description Size Tax Value
2859-61-7740-000 Lot 53 Bright Penny .78 ac. $7,500
2859-81-3243-000 Lot 87 Horseshoe Ridge --- $6,000
2859-61-1463-000 Lot 62 Bright Penny .73 ac. $4,500
2859-60-7240-000 Lot 21 Trout Lake .55 ac. $7,500
2859-50-8483-000 Lot 35 Bright Penny .73 ac. $3,000
2859-31-4341-000 Lot 53 Laurel Ridge .52 ac. $6,000
Mr. McLean requested these lots be declared surplus property in order that the lots could be disposed of at the same time as the Beech Mountain and Mill Ridge lots that were declared surplus property by the Board at its September 5, 2000 regular meeting.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to approve this request.
VOTE: Aye-4
Absent-1 (Hodges)
Ms. Doris Isaacs, Finance Director, presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
103300-349602 421 Mitigation – NCWRC 7,500
104960-449902 Misc. Expense-Technical Asst. 7,500
To recognize 421 Mitigation funds from N. C. Wildlife Resource Commission to reimburse for administrative services provided by Gary Brown and Al Childers per the March 25, 1999 Memorandum of Agreement between Watauga County Soil and Water Conservation District and the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103612-385503 ASU-Field Use 6,000
103612-385502 Town of Boone – P&I 513
106125-451000 Capital Outlay – Equip. 6,000
106127-457001 Capital Outlay – Land Improv. 513
To recognize revenue from field use agreement with ASU approved at the Board’s January 16, 2001 regular meeting. ASU would provide an additional $1,000 above the agreed contract price to compensate for use of fields prior to written agreement per Parks & Recreation personnel. In addition, the Town of Boone had agreed to contribute $513 towards the cabling cost for the netting at the large Industrial Field adjacent to the National Guard facility.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103255-360026 Wireless E-911 40,000
104311-449901 Misc. – E-911 Wireless 40,000
103991-399101 Fund Bal. Approp.-New (1999-2000) 78,430
109800-498026 Transfer to E-911 Fund 78,430
263255-360126 Wireless E-911 118,430
264331-429000 Other Supplies 505
264331-469500 Contracted Services 56,000
264331-449900 Misc. Expense 402
264331-451000 Capital Outlay-Equip. 11,770
264331-475026 Project Reserves 49,753
To reclassify fiscal year 1999-2000 and current year E-911 wireless funds to appropriate fund per amendment of recommendation by the Local Government Commission.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
VOTE: Aye-4
Absent-1 (Hodges)
Mr. Robert Marsh, Maintenance Supervisor, addressed the Board stating that last year (December, 2000) the caretaker’s house at the old campus of Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute had been vacated. He added that due to extensive damage, the cost for repairing the building would exceed $15,000. Due to the building’s small size and deteriorated condition, Mr. Marsh recommended the building be demolished and the site leveled. Mr. Marsh had spoken with Operation Services Director, J. V. Potter, who indicated the Sanitation Department’s staff could do all demolition.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the demolition as recommended.
VOTE: Aye-4
Absent-1 (Hodges)
A. Employee Assistance Program Contract Renewal – County Manager Nelson stated the County had received an updated contract with New River Behavioral HealthCare (NRBH). This was the annual Employee Assistance Program Contract, which provided mental health services for County employees. He noted the terms were the same as the existing contract, and the new term began January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2001. Mr. Nelson explained that the County paid NRBH $25 per visit, and employees were eligible for three free visits per year for counseling. Commissioner Wilkie questioned whether three sessions were enough to adequately help someone. In addition, Commissioner Sweeting asked if other providers had been considered to provide this service. Commissioner Sweeting requested tabling further discussion regarding this matter in order to receive additional information. No action was taken.
B. Future Appointments – County Manager Nelson noted there were two vacancies on the Watauga County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee: Mrs. Sara Spann (whose term expired March, 2002 had expired) and Mrs. Zeb Shook’s term expired in March, 2001. To date, no nominations had been received. Vice-Chairman Coffey asked the Clerk to the Board to contact Region D Council of Governments for recommendations.
Commissioner Lawrence informed the Board that he had been contacted by W.A.M.Y. Community Action, Inc. with a request for a Board member or Board appointee to serve on its Board of Trustees. It was the consensus of the Board for staff to contact representatives of W.A.M.Y. to clarify the request.
C. Announcements - County Manager Nelson reminded the Board that the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service would host its annual Report to the People Luncheon on March 5, 2001 at 12:00 P.M.
Vice-Chairman Coffey stated the County had received notification from the N.C. Association of County Commissioners that the final disbursement of funds in the amount of $4,693.72 of the $25,000 allocation for legal expenses that the County had to pay for defense in the Spiritual Center of America tax exemption case had been received. Mr. Coffey requested the County write a letter to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners thanking the Association for the financial support that was received.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 A.M.
VOTE: Aye-4
Absent-1 (Hodges)
James Coffey, Vice-Chairman
Elizabeth H. Link, Clerk to the Board