WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONDAY, MAY 8, 2000
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, May 8, 2000 at 9:00 A.M. in the Board Room of the Watauga County Courthouse.
PRESENT: Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
Sue Sweeting, Vice-Chairman
James Coffey, Commissioner
Art Kohles, Commissioner
Jack Lawrence, Sr., Commissioner
Jeff Hedrick, County Attorney
Robert E. Nelson, Jr., County Manager
Libby Link, Clerk to the Board
Chairman Hodges called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. welcoming those in attendance.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Hodges called for additions or corrections to the April 18, 2000 regular and closed session meeting minutes.
No changes were made to the April 18, 2000 closed session minutes, however, Vice-Chairman Sweeting suggested a change in the April 18, 2000 regular meeting minutes.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the April 18, 2000 closed session minutes as presented and the April 18, 2000 regular meeting minutes with the amendment as discussed by Vice-Chairman Sweeting.
APPROVAL OF MAY 8, 2000 AGENDA
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the agenda for the May 8, 2000 regular meeting as presented.
Ms. Debra Mackie, PEBSCO Regional Director, reviewed the deferred compensation services offered to the County’s employees. Ms. Mackie stated that in April, 2000 PEBSCO’s assistance became more automated making service more convenient for employees (a retirement specialist was available from 8:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M. to answer questions regarding investment options, etc.). She felt the automated service was more efficient/beneficial to employees. In order to address the Board’s concerns about a field representative having "one-on-one" contact with employees, Ms. Mackie stated a PEBSCO representative would come to meet with employees once a quarter for two-three days. In addition, she agreed to notify employees of the automated service/internet availability.
COVE CREEK PRESERVATION & DEVELOPMENT REQUEST FOR FINANCING
Mr. Paul Combs, representing Cove Creek Preservation & Development, Inc. (CCP&D) addressed the Board regarding a request for building improvements in the old Cove Creek School. Montage Data Systems (MDS), currently housed at the County’s small incubator, was expanding and planned to relocate to the old Cove Creek School. In addition, MDS wished to accomplish this relocation by the end of September, 2000. However, building improvements were required in the facility in order to accomplish this. Mr. Combs stated that CCP&D was applying for grants in order to pay for the building renovations. He noted the CCP&D had intended to ask the Board for financing in the form of a short-term loan from the County’s Economic Development capital reserve fund, however, upon further review, Mr. Combs felt it would be more beneficial for both parties if the County leased the space to MDS on a month-to-month basis for a period of up to six months until CCP&D could obtain the necessary funds to complete the building improvements.
In addition, Mr. Jack Simpson, representing CCP&D, stated the primary concern was to start the building improvements prior to cold weather and that he felt the work needed to begin by late August, 2000.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved for the County to lease space at the current location (130 Poplar Grove Connector, Boone) to Montage Data Systems on a month-to-month basis for a period of up to six months once the current lease expired.
HOME & COMMUNITY CARE BLOCK GRANT REQUEST
Ms. Barbara Barghothi, Administrator, Area Agency on Aging, presented the Home and Community Care Block Grant Advisory Board’s recommendation for funding for aging services for Fiscal Year 2001. She stated the recommendation was essentially the same as the current fiscal year (for the Project on Aging to provide congregate and home delivered meals, in-home aide services, transportation, and health screenings). In addition, the Advisory Board recommended that the County’s Project on Aging continue to be the service provider for the Home and Community Care Block Grant.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve this request.
LAND & WATER CONSERVATION FUND GRANT REQUEST
Parks & Recreation Director, Deb Wynne, addressed the Board requesting the Board’s permission to pursue the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant proposal. Ms. Wynne stated the grant request amount was $200,000 and would require a 50% local match (not to exceed $100,000). She noted these funds would be used to provide lighting for the old Cove Creek School Community Park’s outdoor facility. Ms. Wynne had spoken with nearby neighbors regarding this project in order to meet their needs. She felt this would be a good thing for the community and requested the Board’s approval. (Clerk’s note: Approximately $160,000 was available in the current capital reserve fund designated for new recreation projects).
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to approve the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant proposal.
CRESTON VFD INSURANCE DISTRICT RESOLUTION
Fire Marshal, Lisa Shoun, presented a resolution on behalf of the Creston Volunteer Fire Department (VFD). The resolution would establish a 5-mile rated insurance district for Creston VFD Fire Station #2 and would provide more affordable homeowner’s insurance for residents. Ms. Shoun noted that the Creston VFD (located in Ashe County) provided services to a portion of Watauga County by cooperative arrangement with the Meat Camp VFD. She added the Creston VFD was currently covering this area and requested the Board adopt this resolution.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to approve the Five (5) Mile Rated Insurance District for the Creston VFD.
RESOLUTION BOOK #10, PAGE #30
DSS TRAVEL REQUEST
Social Services Director, Jim Atkinson, addressed the Board regarding a travel request. He noted Board approval was required for any travel more than 325 miles from the County. Mr. Atkinson stated Roberta Yates, a DSS children services and foster care licensing worker, wished to attend a training seminar entitled "Becoming a Love and Logic Parent" in Denver, Colorado May 18-20, 2000. The cost of the trip was approximately $1,750, however, Ms. Yates had obtained funds from outside agencies to assist with the costs. The County’s portion was $148.12, and Mr. Atkinson stated there were sufficient funds in DSS’ current budget to cover this amount. He noted this seminar would enable Ms. Yates to train foster and adoptive parents and to lead parenting classes for outside agencies.
Commissioner Kohles seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve this travel request.
A. Collections Report – Tax Administrator, Larry McLean, presented the Tax Collections Report for the month of April, 2000.
B. Refunds and Releases – Tax Administrator McLean presented the following Refunds and Releases for April, 2000 for Board approval:
TO BE TYPED IN MINUTE BOOK
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the Refunds and Releases Report as presented.
A. Public Hearing Date for Proposed Amendment to Subdivision Regulations – Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, recommended the Board conduct a public hearing at its May 23, 2000 regular meeting to consider a revision to the County’s Ordinance to Regulate Subdivisions and Multi Unit Structures. The amendment would allow 10 days for staff to review subdivision plats (rather than five (5) days as currently required) before being forwarded to the Planning Board. Mr. Furman explained a public hearing was necessary because it was a change in the Ordinance.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to schedule a public hearing for the Board’s May 23, 2000 regular meeting as recommended.
B. Health Department Water & Sewer Bid – Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, stated the following bid was received for construction of water and sewer lines to the Hannah Building (Health Department):
Iron Mountain Construction $59,689.02
Mr. Furman stated it was a good bid (well within the budgeted amount), that Iron Mountain Construction had worked with the County on previous projects (at the baling facility and the new Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute site) and construction could begin immediately.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to approve the Iron Mountain Construction bid in the amount of $59,689.02.
C. N.C. DOT Strategic Plan Discussion – Planning & Inspections Director, Joe Furman, provided the Board with a draft of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Strategic Plan for Transportation in the 21st Century. In addition to the draft, a survey was included for the Board’s comments. The survey was due May 15, 2000, and Mr. Furman noted that Board members might want to complete it individually. Chairman Hodges stated he would be glad to get the plan and survey to the Boone Beltway Task Force members for their input. No action was taken.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Resolution on Delaying Congressional Action on Internet Tax Moratorium – County Manager Nelson presented a resolution that the National Association of Counties and the N.C. Association of County Commissioners requested the Board approve urging the U.S. Congress not to extend the current moratorium on the collection of sales taxes on internet sales. Mr. Nelson stated that should the moratorium continue, the County could lose up to 20% in State and local sales tax revenues.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the resolution as presented.
RESOLUTION BOOK #10, PAGE #31
B. Landfill Monitoring Report – Draper Aden Associates, the County’s engineering firm, had completed its semi-annual assessment monitoring of the Landfill and presented the County with a report to forward to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (N.C. DENR). County Manager Nelson noted that the size of the plume continued to shrink and the concentrations of the tested chemical compounds continued to diminish. He requested the Board’s approval to submit to the N.C. DENR.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve this request.
C. Public Hearing Date for Solid Waste Plan Update – County Manager Nelson stated that every three years the County was required to update its Solid Waste Plan. A public hearing was required to receive comments/suggestions, and Mr. Nelson recommended a public hearing be scheduled for the Board’s May 23, 2000 regular meeting.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to schedule a public hearing for the Board’s May 23, 2000 regular meeting as recommended.
D. Future Appointments – County Manager Nelson provided the Board with several Boards and Commissions whose terms expired in June, 2000. This item was for the Board’s information, and no action was taken.
E. Announcements – County Manager Nelson informed the Board that the N.C. Division of Emergency Management, Department of Crime Control and Public Safety would present a two-day class entitled "Exercising Leadership in an Emergency or Disaster" on June 20-21, 2000 in Huntersville, N.C.
In addition, he reminded the Board of the NACo Annual Conference & Exposition scheduled for July 14-18, 2000 in Charlotte, N.C.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to enter Closed Session at 10:05 A.M. to discuss: Attorney/Client Matters, G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3) and Land Acquisition, G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(i).
Following a brief recess, the Board entered Closed Session at 10:15 A.M.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:29 A.M.