WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2001
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, April 17, 2001 at 7:00 P.M. in Courtroom #1 of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
James Coffey, Vice-Chairman
Jack Lawrence, Sr., Commissioner
Sue Sweeting, Commissioner
Pat Wilkie, Commissioner
Jeff Hedrick, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Anita Fogle, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges called the meeting to order at 7:03 P.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Citing a typo in the Agenda, Chairman Hodges called for additions or corrections to the March 22, 2001 special meeting minutes and the March 27, 2001 special and regular meeting minutes.
Commissioner Sweeting noted in the March 27, 2001, regular meeting minutes, the Director of New River Behavioral Healthcare is Don Suggs, not Don Soggs, and she requested the minutes be corrected to reflect this correction.
Commissioner Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the March 27, 2001 regular meeting minutes with the amendment as discussed and the March 22, 2001 special meeting minutes and the March 27, 2001, special meeting minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF APRIL 17, 2001 AGENDA
Chairman Hodges called for additions or corrections to the April 17, 2001 agenda.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the April 17, 2001 agenda as presented.
APPOINTMENT OF CLERK
Commissioner Wilkie seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to appoint Ms. Anita Fogle as the Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners.
JUVENILE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL (JCPC) GRANT REQUEST
Ms. Melissa Johnson, the chair of the Watauga County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC), presented and reviewed the Council’s FY 2002 grant request. The amount of $128,419 that requires a $37,776 local match is available for youth services in Watauga County in FY 2002. Ms. Johnson seeks Board approval for the funding plan and the $37,776 local match. These funds will be budgeted in the FY 2002 County budget.
Commissioner Wilkie seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to approve the grant request and local match of $37,776 for the JCPC Grant.
JAIL FEASIBILITY STUDY
Mr. Steve Allen with Freeman/White, Inc. presented a feasibility study updating the study completed in 1998 entitled “An Assessment of Building Reuse Options for the Watauga County Jail and the Watauga Correctional Center”. The updated report focused on verifying and updating the space needs of the Sheriff’s Office and the Jail, including Communications and Dispatch functions; identifying the operational and space needs of Emergency Management, currently located in the lower level of the Sheriff’s Office/Jail facility; and identifying probable construction and development costs to collocate these functions at the previously studied state-owned site once occupied by the Watauga Correctional Center. Mr. Allen discussed several options and the costs involved for the Board’s consideration.
Following brief discussion, Chairman Hodges called upon Sheriff Lyons for comment. Sheriff Lyons stated that the County’s lease on the Correctional Center property had been extended to 45 years, which would likely be the lifespan of a new correctional facility. Sheriff Lyons stated that the current Jail continues to experience overcrowding and as the feasibility study shows a projected 34 months for project completion he encouraged the Board to take a good strong look at the study.
This report was for the Board’s information and no action was taken.
INTERIM DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE CONSIDERATION
Mr. Joe Furman, Planning and Inspections Director, came before the board to reaffirm the April 18, 2001, deadline of the County’s Ordinance Establishing a Moratorium on Certain Polluting Industries. Mr. Furman also reminded the Board of their options which are as follows: (1) extend the Moratorium, (2) adopt the Interim Development Ordinance, (3) allow the Moratorium to expire with nothing in place.
Mr. Furman stated that changes were made to the Interim Development Ordinance after the April 9, 2001, Public Hearing and at the request of Commissioners. Mr. Furman reviewed in detail the changes that were made.
Commissioner Sweeting suggested the following two changes as well: (1) Article II Section 3b state “an expansion shall duly be allowed upon issuance of a conditional use permit set forth in Article VI; and (2) Article II, Section 3e (pg 2) state “provided the use is of no greater size than prior to destruction.
Commissioner Wilkie, seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, made a motion to accept the Interim Development Ordinance as amended prior to and including amendments made at this meeting.
After lengthy discussion, Commissioner Sweeting called for the question on Commissioner Wilkie’s motion.
VOTE: Aye-2 (Wilkie, Sweeting)
Nay-3 (Hodges, Lawrence, Coffey)
Commissioner Hodges, seconded by Commissioner Coffey, made a motion that the Board appoint a Committee consisting of 6 to 8 open-minded citizens (who fairly represent all areas of the county) and 1 Board member who were opposed to the Interim Ordinance and 6 to 8 open-minded citizens (who fairly represent all areas of the county) and one Board member who supported the Interim Ordinance, with Planning Director Furman and County Attorney Hedrick. The committee will meet and work for six months to review the ordinance and come up with a compromise. The committee will report to the Board of County Commissioners within 6 months to present a recommendation for consideration.
Commissioner Sweeting, seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, made a motion to extend the existing Moratorium for an additional 7 months.
Chairman Hodges asked County Attorney Hedrick for his opinion on extending the Moratorium. County Attorney Hedrick stated that there is no clear precedence on the issue but that a moratorium should not be longer than necessary and typically are for 6-12 months. County Attorney Hedrick stated that his legal opinion (not political opinion), being cautious and conservative in an effort to prevent legal problems, would be to not extend the Moratorium.
VOTE: Aye-2 (Wilkie, Sweeting)
Nay-3 (Hodges, Lawrence, Coffey)
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Transfer Station Feasibility Study Proposal – County Manager Nelson was instructed at the CIP Work Session to plan for a feasibility study regarding the life expectancy and usefulness of the existing Transfer station and also to examine the relocation of a new facility that would include a maintenance facility for all county vehicles. County Manager Nelson stated that the County has a long standing relationship with Draper Aden Associates, Inc. who have done all the County’s work with the Landfill and Transfer Station in the past. County Manager Nelson stated that State statutes allow (A) A County to exempt itself from soliciting proposals from competing firms if a project is less than $30,000 or (B) A County may exempt itself in writing by justifying its reason for not announcing or advertising.
County Manager Nelson stated that this proposal is $19,800 which is less than $30,000 and that Draper Aden Associates, Inc. has extensive knowledge of the County’s operation due to the existing relationship in which they conduct the County’s post-closure monitoring, testing, and engineering and also prepared the post-closure plan. Draper Aden Associates, Inc. have also done extensive work with our existing bailer-transfer station. County Manager Nelson recommended accepting the Draper Aden Associates, Inc. proposal in the amount of $19,800.
Commissioner Coffey, seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, made a motion to accept the Draper Aden Associates Transfer Station Feasibility Study Proposal in the amount of $19,800.
B. Request for Addition to Secondary Road System – County Manager Nelson stated that property owners of Highland Ridge Road in Sorrento Skies Development have duly petitioned the County to request that this road be included as an addition to the State Maintained Secondary Road System.
Commissioner Coffey, seconded by Commissioner Wilkie, made a motion to include Highland Ridge Road in Sorrento Skies Development as an addition to the State Maintained Secondary Road System.
1. County Manager Nelson announced that the NACo 2001 Annual Conference is July 13-17, 2001, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. County Manager Nelson requested that Board members wishing to attend to notify himself or Ms. Fogle prior to May 1, 2001, to make arrangements for this conference.
2. County Manager Nelson requested that the Board designate May 7, 2001, as the date for a Public Hearing for consideration of amendments to the County’s Personnel Ordinance regarding Computer and Cell Phone use. The Board approved a Public Hearing for the April 17, 2001, meeting but due to the absence of a Clerk proper public notice was not given.
Commissioner Coffey, seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, made a motion to hold a Public Hearing at the May 7, 2001, Board Meeting for consideration of amendments to the County’s Personnel Ordinance regarding Computer and Cell Phone use.
3. County Manager Nelson announced that the Capital Improvement Program Budget is available at the Public Libraries in Blowing Rock, Boone, and Western Watauga Community Center as well as in the Manager’s Office for public review and comment.
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
Several citizens of Watauga County commented regarding the Board’s decision on the Interim Development Ordinance. Ms. Deborah Greene also asked to be considered to serve on the Community Council to be established.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Sweeting, moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:49 P.M.
Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board