WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, JULY 6, 1998
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, July 6, 1998 at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: James Coffey, Chairman
Jack D. Lawrence, Sr., Vice-Chairman
Linda S. Craig, Commissioner
Jimmy Hodges, Commissioner
Jack Wellborn, Commissioner
Stacy C. Eggers, Jr., County Attorney
James S. Ratchford, County Manager
Libby Link, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Coffey called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
A moment of silence was observed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the June 16, 1998 regular and closed session minutes; there being none, they were approved as presented.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Coffey called for additions or corrections to the July 6, 1998 agenda.
County Manager Ratchford stated he had an additional item to discuss with the Board regarding an update on the Blue Ribbon Growth Study Commission. It was agreed to add this item to the Agenda under Item 12 (Planning Matters).
Vice-Chairman Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Wellborn, moved to approve the agenda for the July 6, 1998 regular meeting with the amendment.
PUBLIC HEARING – COUNTY GOVERNMENT
ELDERLY & DISABLED TRANSPORTATION GRANT APPLICATION
Chairman Coffey declared a public hearing open at 9:03 A.M. regarding the grant application for elderly and disabled transportation grant funds for Fiscal Year 1998/99.
AppalCart Director Chris Turner addressed the Board and stated Watauga County was eligible for $37,775 from the State to aid elderly and disabled residents of Watauga County. He added this was a non-matching grant, and the EDTAP Advisory Committee had recommended distribution of these funds for each agency as shown:
Project on Aging $10,000
Watauga Opportunities $ 9,500
Carolina Friendship $ 3,200
AppalCart-Paratransit $ 7,000
AppalCart-Appal-A-Day $ 1,000
Dept. of Social Services $ 7,075
There being no public comment, Chairman Coffey declared the public hearing closed at 9:06 A.M.
Commissioner Craig seconded by Vice-Chairman Lawrence moved to approve this grant application.
ETJ EXTENSION REQUEST
Mr. Dempsey Wilcox, Boone Mayor Pro Tem, addressed the Board requesting approval for the Town to extend its extraterritorial jurisdiction on the east side of Boone which included the Roby Greene Road area. Mr. Wilcox stated that normally the Town would not go beyond the one-mile area, but the Town had received requests from citizens to do so. A map indicating the proposed area was presented for the Board’s review. Mr. Wilcox noted people in the proposed area had been notified, and the Town had held a public hearing on June 23, 1998 receiving numerous comments from residents. He added another public hearing was scheduled for August 13, 1998, and any modifications the Commissioners made would be incorporated prior to the meeting for the public’s input. It was the consensus of the Board to exclude the area to the south of Highway 421. Pursuant to N.C. G.S. 160A-360, a resolution needed to be adopted which established the extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction.
After discussion, Vice-Chairman Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Hodges moved to approve the Town’s proposed ETJ with two changes; (a) exclusion of the area south of U.S. Highway 421 and (b) adding approximately five lots between the Seven Oaks and East Ridge Subdivision.
Prior to the vote, Commissioner Craig stated she would vote for this motion but voiced concerns that property owners would face restrictions that they had not had before, however, she acknowledged it appeared the majority of people in the area were in favor of the ETJ extension.
Commissioner Hodges noted he had seconded the motion, but he also shared Commissioner Craig’s concerns. He added that since the majority of the people affected support the ETJ, as their representative, he too would support the ETJ extension.
RESOLUTION BOOK #9, PAGE #33
APPALACHIAN ENTERPRISE CENTER LEASE
Mr. Omer Tomlinson, President, Committee of 100, addressed the Board regarding the lease on the Appalachian Enterprise Center (AEC), the Committee of 100’s small business incubator. The current lease was due to expire June 30, 1999, however, the Committee of 100 requested the lease be extended through September 30, 2000 under the same terms and conditions that were presently in effect. This extension was necessary to accommodate one of the AEC’s client’s office expansion.
Commissioner Wellborn seconded by Commissioner Craig moved to approve extending the lease at the Appalachian Enterprise Center through September 30, 2000.
FRONTIERVISION CABLE TV SERVICE ISSUES
Veterans Service Officer/Safety Director Jim Harmon addressed the Board and stated he had not seen any noticeable improvement in FrontierVision’s (F.V.) cable TV service. He asked Mr. Don Geisler, F.V. Regional Government Relations Manager, to address the Board and report on the progress of service issues. Mr. Geisler stated service continued to improve and reiterated that F.V. would do whatever was necessary to upgrade the system. Chairman Coffey informed Mr. Geisler that the Board was still receiving phone calls from F.V. customers reporting poor quality service. Mr. Geisler noted that he would take the names of customers who had complaints and would personally contact them.
Ms. Kay Baumgardner and Ms. Juanita Swift voiced their concerns about F.V.’s continued poor cable service and billing problems. Mr. Geisler stated he would attend the next regular Board meeting scheduled for August 3, 1998 to report on service.
After discussion, Commissioner Hodges seconded by Vice-Chairman Lawrence, moved to continue the $50 per day fine in accordance with the County’s Cable Television Ordinance, section 13 (e), until the next regular meeting scheduled for August 3, 1998. The fine would be effective from June 1, 1998 when it was originally imposed.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION MATTERS
A. New Horticultural Agent – Cooperative Extension Director Sue Counts introduced David James Tucker, Watauga County Extension Service’s new horticulture agent (effective July 1, 1998). Mr. Tucker addressed the Board noting his past experience in landscaping as well as Christmas tree farms. He stated he was eager to work with the County’s Christmas tree growers.
B. Memorandum of Understanding – Cooperative Extension Director Sue Counts presented a Memorandum of Understanding which involved the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University and the Board of County Commissioners. This agreement better defined what each parties’ responsibilities were in providing the extension services in the County. Ms. Counts stated this agreement had not changed substantially since the last time it was signed but was required to be updated every four years.
Vice-Chairman Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Wellborn, moved to approve this Memorandum of Understanding.
A. Monthly Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of June, 1998. In addition, Mr. McLean recognized Tax Collections Director Merle Adams and thanked her and staff for doing an outstanding job.
B. Refunds and Releases – Tax Administrator McLean presented the following Refunds and Releases for June, 1998 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Wellborn seconded by Commissioner Craig, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report as presented.
Social Services Director, Jim Atkinson, presented the standard monthly report for that Department. In addition, Mr. Atkinson updated the Board on the electronic benefits transfer program scheduled to begin September 3, 1998 for all food stamp recipients.
WHS ATHLETIC COMPLEX JOINT USE AGREEMENT
Parks & Recreation Director Deb Wynne presented the revised Joint Use Agreement (originally submitted at the March 17, 1998 regular meeting) for the new Watauga High School Complex. She stated that County Attorney Eggers and County Manager Ratchford had reviewed the revised agreement. Ms. Wynne addressed the joint use of the football and baseball fields noting that the School Board felt it best for Parks & Recreation to request the use of these particular fields on an individual basis.
Commissioner Wellborn seconded by Vice-Chairman Lawrence, moved to approve the WHS Athletic Complex Joint Use Agreement.
A. Pond Creek Watershed Protection Ordinance – Planning & Inspections Director Joe Furman stated the State had reclassified the Pond Creek Watershed to a WSIII. To be consistent with this change, the Board needed to revise the County’s Ordinance that regulated this area. Mr. Furman noted a public hearing was required to amend the Ordinance.
Commissioner Craig seconded by Commissioner Wellborn, moved to schedule this public hearing for the August 18, 1998 meeting.
B. CDBG Economic Development Funds – Planning & Inspections Director Joe Furman presented a project ordinance for the receipt and expenditure of $456,000 CDBG economic development funds with Lynhaven II for the new Glenstone Nursing Home facility. The project had been delayed about a year, and this Capital Projects Ordinance needed adoption by the Board to monitor the use of funds for this grant project.
Vice-Chairman Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Craig, moved to approve the Capital Projects Ordinance as presented.
ORDINANCE BOOK #9, PAGE #91
C. Weather Radar System Agreement – Fire Marshal Lisa Shoun addressed the Board and noted that the County was eligible for a computerized weather radar tracking service. This computer system would be located in the County Sheriff’s dispatch center and would hopefully improve the weather watch and warning signals for residents in the community. The system, provided by the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, would be free of charge for the first three years. At the end of the three-year period, if the County elected to retain the system, there would be a $125/month charge. Ms. Shoun added that she felt this system would be very beneficial to the citizens throughout the County.
Commissioner Wellborn seconded by Commissioner Hodges, moved to approve this Agreement.
D. Blue Ribbon Commission – Planning & Inspections Director Furman updated the Board on the progress of the Blue Ribbon Commission. He noted that eight residents had submitted their names and would present a "pool" of names at the August 3, 1998 regular meeting.
Chairman Coffey declared a recess at 10:43 A.M.
The regular meeting was resumed at 10:57 A.M.
TRANSFER STATION FLOOR REPAIR CHANGE ORDER
Assistant County Manager/OSD Bob Frye addressed the Board and explained that while preparing the transfer station floor (subsequent to a thorough cleaning) it was discovered that an additional 200 square feet, adjacent to the area, also needed repair. After discussing with the County’s solid waste engineering firm, Draper Aden Associates, a change order with Duracon, Inc. in the amount of $6,062 was required to complete the additional work. Mr. Frye added that funds were available to cover this additional cost.
Vice-Chairman Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Wellborn, moved to approve the change order with Duracon, Inc. as presented.
AGRICULTURAL CENTER ADDITION CHANGE ORDER
Architect, Bill Dixon, addressed two items regarding the Agricultural Center addition construction project.
The first item discussed was a request for a change order (from Pyatt Heating & Air Conditioning) in the amount of $298 for material and labor to install an outdoor air louver at the Agricultural Center addition.
The second item was an itemized list (from General Contractor, Hunter Construction, Inc.) for additional drainage work at the entrance to the Agricultural Center in the amount of $7,499.40. Mr. Dixon stated that he and Maintenance Director Robert Marsh had reviewed these costs just prior to the Board meeting. Due to the excessive charges, he requested 30 days to further review these expenses and planned to meet with the Board at the regular meeting scheduled for August 3, 1998 for discussion.
After discussion, Commissioner Wellborn seconded by Commissioner Hodges, moved to approve the change order with Pyatt Heating & Air Conditioning as presented.
NACO/PEBSCO BENEFITS PRESENTATION
PEBSCO Deferred Compensation Representative Patricia Thomas addressed the Board to make them aware of the investment benefits available for County Commissioners. County Manager Ratchford noted that Ms. Thomas visited the County about once a month and would be available for questions.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Correctional Center Lease – County Manager Ratchford presented a map indicating an area of the Correctional Center property that the County would like to obtain for a future jail facility (the area presently used by the Watauga Correctional Center and its immediate environs). Mr. Ratchford had met with Department of Transportation Division Engineer Wade Hoke at the site and had come to an understanding regarding the portion of the property which might be leased. He noted the County could obtain a 20-year lease with an option to renew for 20 years. A feasibility study was needed to determine how best to utilize the space for a jail and what improvements, as well as, operational issues needed to be addressed.
Vice-Chairman Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Hodges, moved to formally request a lease for the area as described to be used as a future jail and to have a feasibility study completed.
B. Criminal Background Check Agreement – County Manager Ratchford presented an amended agreement between Watauga County and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) which would enable POA to use the Watauga County Sheriff’s office for electronic submission of fingerprints to the SBI for background checks on newly hired employees. The cost for this service remained the same ($10 for name checks and $14 for fingerprint checks) as the current agreement.
Commissioner Wellborn seconded by Commissioner Hodges, moved to approve the amended Criminal Background Check Agreement between Watauga County and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation as presented.
C. Forest Service Contract – County Manager Ratchford presented an annual contract with the Cooperative Forestry Program for Fiscal Year 98/99. The total amount of the contract was $75,876, and the County’s share was $30,350. The County’s portion was consistent with the amount that had been approved in the County’s Fiscal Year 98/99 budget.
Commissioner Craig seconded by Vice-Chairman Lawrence, moved to approve the Forest Service Contract for Fiscal Year 98/99 as presented.
D. Boards & Commissions – County Manager Ratchford noted board appointments were needed for the following: the Region D Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council, the Boone Board of Adjustment, the Boone Planning Commission, and the Council on the Status of Women.
Region D Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council – It was noted that no names were submitted to serve on this board. Current members were Mr. Tim Wilson, Mr. George A. Flowers and Mr. Michael Fletcher.
Vice-Chairman Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Wellborn moved to reappoint the current members, Mr. Tim Wilson, Mr. George A. Flowers and Mr. Michael Fletcher to the Region D Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council.
Boone Board of Adjustment – Two names were submitted from the Town of Boone to fill the expired terms of Mr. Bill Fox and Mr. Truman Critcher. The nominees were Ms. Lori Dean and Mr. Rick Foster.
Boone Planning Board – The Town of Boone requested that Ms. Carmella Baruth be reappointed to this Board.
Commissioner Wellborn seconded by Commissioner Hodges, moved to appoint Ms. Lori Dean and Mr. Rick Foster to the Boone Board of Adjustment, and to reappoint Ms. Carmella Baruth to the Boone Planning Board.
Council on the Status of Women – The following names were submitted to fill the expired terms of Ms. Jennifer Herman, Ms. Mary Sue Miller, Ms. Beth Petersilie, Ms. Martha Hester, Ms. Mary Burrous and Ms. Colene Bolick, and the unexpired term of Ms. Mary Greene. The nominees were Ms. Kathy Triplett, Ms. Loraine Richardson, Ms. Jean Williamson, Ms. Gail Hawkinson, Ms. Louise Bell and Ms. Myra Shumacher. It was noted that Ms. Jennifer Herman, Ms. Colene Bolick and Ms. Mary Burrous were eligible for reappointment.
The following votes were made:
Chairman Coffey – Herman, Triplett, Hawkinson, Richardson, Shumacher, Burrous, Bolick
Vice-Chairman Lawrence – Herman, Triplett, Hawkinson, Richardson, Bell, Burrous, Bolick
Commissioner Craig – Herman, Triplett, Hawkinson, Richardson, Burrous, Bolick
Commissioner Hodges – Herman, Triplett, Hawkinson, Richardson, Williamson, Burrous, Bolick
Commissioner Wellborn – Herman, Triplett, Hawkinson, Richardson, Williamson, Burrous, Bell
Due to the tie between Ms. Williamson and Ms. Bell, the following votes were made:
Chairman Coffey – Bell
Vice-Chairman Lawrence – Bell
Commissioner Craig – Bell
Commissioner Hodges – Williamson
Commissioner Wellborn – Bell
Based on the results of the votes, Ms. Jennifer Herman, Ms. Mary Burrous and Ms. Colene Bolick were reappointed for three year terms; and Ms. Kathy Triplett, Ms. Gail Hawkinson, and Ms. Loraine Richardson were appointed for three year terms to the Watauga County Council on the Status of Women. It was agreed to appoint Ms. Louise Bell to fill the unexpired term of Ms. Mary Greene whose term would expire June, 1999.
E. NCACC Conference Delegate – A voting delegate needed to be appointed to represent the Board of Commissioners at the Commissioners Association annual conference in Mecklenburg County on August 13-16, 1998. Also at this meeting the delegate would vote on the District 14 representative to the County Commissioners Association Board of Directors.
Vice-Chairman Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Wellborn, moved to appoint Chairman James Coffey as the Board’s voting delegate at the NCACC annual conference in August, 1998.
F. Budget Amendment – County Manager Ratchford presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
104330-429003 Other Supplies-Hazmat 1,677
103991-399101 Fund Bal. Approp.-New 1,677
To recognize reversion funds awarded by the Division of Crime Control and Public Safety late last fiscal year. These unspent funds reverted to Fund Balance at year-end; therefore, the revenue recognition was a fund balance appropriation. Funds would be expended for a Global Positioning System (GPS) Unit, hazmat supplies, and other hazardous materials response supplies.
Commissioner Wellborn seconded by Commissioner Craig, moved to approve the budget amendment as presented.
G. Announcements – County Manager Ratchford informed the Board of the NCACC annual conference in Charlotte scheduled for August 13-16, 1998.
Mr. Ratchford reminded the Board that the second meeting scheduled for July 21, 1998 had been cancelled.
Commissioner Wellborn seconded by Commissioner Hodges, moved to enter closed session at 11:54 A.M. to discuss: Personnel Matters – G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6).
Vice-Chairman Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Wellborn, moved to resume the regular meeting at 12:15 P.M.
Commissioner Craig seconded by Commissioner Wellborn, moved to adjourn the meeting at 12:16 P.M.
Elizabeth H. Link
Clerk to the Board