WATAUGA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2000
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Tuesday, November 21, 2000 at 7:00 P.M. in the Valle Crucis Elementary School cafeteria.
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 7:00 P.M. welcoming those in attendance.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Hodges called for additions or corrections to the October 17, 2000 closed session meeting minutes as well as the November 7, 2000 regular and closed session meeting minutes.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the October 17, 2000 closed session meeting minutes and the November 7, 2000 regular and closed session meeting minutes as presented.
APPROVAL OF NOVEMBER 21, 2000 AGENDA
Chairman Hodges called for additions or corrections to the November 21, 2000 agenda.
County Attorney Hedrick requested additional items to be discussed in Closed Session pursuant to G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3), attorney/client matters.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the November 21, 2000 agenda with the amendment as requested.
WATAUGA MEDICS, INC. OWNERSHIP TRANSFER REQUEST
Mr. Craig Sullivan, Co-owner of Watauga Medics, Inc., (WMI) had addressed the Board at its November 6, 2000 regular meeting requesting the Board’s approval to purchase former Co-owner, Lee Estep’s, one-half ownership of WMI. Mr. Sullivan informed the Board that the necessary documents had been signed in order to transfer ownership. When the original Ambulance Franchise Agreement (dated November 19, 1999) was signed, both Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Estep had signed affidavits indicating the officers of WMI were Lee Estep, President; Craig Sullivan, Vice-President; Pam Willis, Secretary; and Craig Sullivan, Treasurer. Mr. Sullivan stated that in addition to himself, Pam Willis remained an officer of WMI as Secretary/Treasurer. However, to date the County had not been provided an affidavit indicating the change of ownership. Mr. Sullivan agreed to provide any additional documents that the Board requested. County Attorney Hedrick noted the Board could request more detailed information (how this might affect the ownership of the equipment, etc.). Due to her concerns, Vice-Chairman Sweeting asked Mr. Sullivan if he would be willing to provide more financial information, and he agreed to provide whatever she might desire. In addition, Mr. Sullivan stated he would forward the affidavit of sole ownership and any other information the Board requested.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve the transfer of ownership.
VOTE: Aye-3 (Coffey, Hodges, Lawrence)
Nay-2 (Kohles, Sweeting)
EMS TRANSPORT POLICY AMENDMENTS
Mr. Reggie Hassler, Chairman of the Watauga EMS Advisory Committee, addressed the Board with proposed amendments to the EMS transport policy. Mr. Hassler stated the Board had appointed 12 individuals to the Watauga EMS Advisory Committee to review the services provided by Watauga Medics, Inc. and the County’s rescue squads. He noted the Committee met quarterly, with 10-12 members in attendance at each meeting. Watauga Medics, Inc. had provided quarterly reports to the Committee. A representative from Blowing Rock Hospital was unable to attend the Board’s meeting. Therefore, the County had received a letter from Ms. Pat Gray, Administrator, Blowing Rock Hospital, requesting a one-month delay before the Board considered the proposed amendments to the EMS transport policy.
Due to this request, it was the consensus of the Board to table further discussion regarding this matter until the Board’s first regular meeting in January, 2001.
WORK FIRST COUNTY PLAN 2001-2003
Social Services Director, Jim Atkinson, reviewed the County’s Work First Plan for 2001-2003. Mr. Atkinson stated the current program had been very successful noting the Work First caseload had been reduced by 65%. He briefly discussed the Plan’s contents noting the new Plan was developed by the County’s Work First Planning Committee. In addition, the Plan had been available for public comment, and no comments had been received.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the Work First County Plan 2001-2003 as presented.
A. Budget Amendments – Finance Director, Doris Isaacs, presented the following budget amendments for Board approval:
Account # Description Debit Credit
213991-399101 Fund Balance Approp.-New 225,000
219800-498010 Transfer to General Fund 225,000
103980-398121 Transfer from Cap. Reserve 225,000
105890-463115 Cove Creek Pres. & Dev. 225,000
Budget amendment to recognize a loan from the Capital Reserve Fund prior year set-asides for Economic Development to Cove Creek Preservation & Development, Inc. The loan would assist the group in the completion of the HVAC system for the old Cove Creek High School. The Board, at its November 6, 2000 regular meeting, approved this loan.
Account # Description Debit Credit
663200-327601 White Goods Management Grant 3,782
667420-449900 Misc. Expense 3,782
To recognize a White Goods Management Grant award and the appropriation of funds to cover costs for disposal of white goods.
Account # Description Debit Credit
103300-343301 Emerg. Mgt.-Terrorism Plan Grant 2,500
104330-449906 Misc. Exp.-Terrorism Plan 2,500
To recognize a grant award of $2,500 for the completion and adoption by the Emergency Management department personnel of a Terrorism Plan for the County. Per Lisa Danner, these funds might be expended for terrorism items.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve the budget amendments as presented.
B. Fixed Assets Removal – The County’s Sanitation Department had recently purchased 20 eight-yard refuse containers to replace worn out containers at the Aho container site. The containers that were being replaced would be taken to Johnson City Iron and Metal and sold for scrap. Therefore, Finance Director, Doris Isaacs, requested the following items to be removed from the County’s fixed asset record:
Asset Description Capitalization Value
8129 (6) 6-yd slant dumpsters $2,790.00
8235 (4) 4-yd slant dumpsters $1,660.00
8709 (2) 8-yd slant dumpsters $1,120.00
8888 (1) 8-yd slant dumpster $ 560.00
In addition, the County’s Communications Division had recently completed a 2000 upgrade of the E-911 emergency response system. The software was purchased from Southern Software and replaced the Visions software purchased in 1995. Therefore, Finance Director, Doris Isaacs, requested the following items to be removed from the County’s fixed asset record:
Asset Description Capitalization Value
09319-A E-911 Computer Aided Dispatch $73,174.38
09319-B Advantage Novell Network Server $ 1,752.00
09319-C Upgrade to Visions Record System $10,100.00
09319-D Visions Computer Record System $10,250.00
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve the requests to remove these items from the County’s fixed asset record.
C. Health Insurance Proposal – Finance Director, Doris Isaacs, stated the County’s Insurance Committee had reviewed proposals received from potential bidders for employees’ medical, life and dental insurance for calendar year 2001. The Insurance Committee recommended the Board approve the following:
Company Type of Coverage
Blue Cross/Blue Shield of N.C. - NCACC Plan Medical Insurance
(the County’s current carrier)
Companion Life Life, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, and Dependent Life Insurance
US Life/American General Company Dental Insurance
Ms. Isaacs noted that Blue Cross/Blue Shield of N.C. – NCACC Plan’s proposal included the best package of benefits with the lowest increase in cost (10%). In addition, she stated the other Companies’ proposals were the lowest in cost with comparable benefits.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to approve Blue Cross/Blue Shield of N.C. – NCACC Plan, Companion Life and US Life/American General Company for employees’ medical, life and dental insurance for calendar 2001 as recommended.
OUTPATIENT MEDICAL CARE FOR JAIL INMATES
Sheriff James C. “Red” Lyons addressed the Board regarding medical care for jail inmates. Sheriff Lyons stated the County must provide medical care if an inmate stated they were ill and needed attention. He explained that the Appalachian District Health Department (ADHD) had a nurse practitioner who provided this service, however, the nurse was no longer with the ADHD. Dr. Ellison with the ADHD could see inmates, but the hourly rate would be higher, and the inmates would have to be transported to the ADHD. Sheriff Lyons had spoken with Dr. Jay W. Cranston who had agreed to provide outpatient medical care to the jail inmates for $30 per half-hour. Although the County was paying the ADHD $30 per hour, since Dr. Cranston had agreed to see patients on an as needed basis on site (thus, not ‘tying” up a road officer to provide transportation), Sheriff Lyons felt Dr. Cranston would save the County money. In addition, Sheriff Lyons stated Dr. Cranston would be available by phone or pager. However, there was no coverage when Dr. Cranston was off, on vacation, or out of town. Sheriff Lyons felt the County was fortunate to find someone to provide this service and requested the Board’s approval.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to approve this request.
COMMUNITY RECREATION GRANT PROGRAM
Parks & Recreation Director, Deb Wynne, stated the Watauga Community Grant Program had received 13 grant applications from nine different communities requesting $93,047. During the current year’s budget process, there was $50,000 included in the capital reserve fund for recreational grant projects. The Watauga County Community Recreation Grant Selection Committee carefully reviewed each application and recommended the project awards listed below:
Name of Organization Project Title Project Awarded
Stewart Simmons VFD Triplett Play Park $ 5,585
Parkway School PTSA Outdoor Area Sports $ 5,000
Green Valley Community Park, Inc. Athletic Fields for Green Valley Park $ 5,000
Hardin Park PTA Athletic Field Improvements $ 615
Town of Beech Mountain Buckeye Lake Tennis Courts $10,000
Town of Boone Town of Boone Jaycees Park $10,000
Mabel School PTO Playground Update $ 2,900
Blowing Rock School Every Child’s A Winner Playground $ 5,000
Hospitality House of Boone, Inc. Shelter Playground $ 900
Bethel School PTO Bethel Community Recreation Area $ 5,000
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Kohles, moved to approve the recommendations of the Community Recreation Grant Advisory Board as recommended.
REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL TROOPERS
Chairman Hodges voiced his concerns regarding the number of traffic accidents that had been occurring in the County. He noted there were only seven highway patrolmen assigned to the County’s district. Therefore, Chairman Hodges requested the Board’s support in writing a letter to Colonel Richard Holden with the State Highway Patrol requesting more troopers.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to write a letter to the N.C. State Highway Patrol requesting additional highway patrolmen for Watauga County.
MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
A. Region D Council of Governments Funding Resolution – County Manager Nelson noted that Region D Council of Governments (COG) requested approval of a resolution which, if approved, would release State funds ($10,180.54) to Region D COG for economic development assistance to local governments.
Commissioner Coffey seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to approve this resolution.
RESOLUTION BOOK #10, PAGE #45
B. Boards and Commissions – County Manager Nelson stated the following nominations had been received from the Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees: Susan Barber, Robert Bumgarner, Lynn Castle, Armfield Coffey, Dwight Critcher, Connie Higby, Bill Moretz and Jan Winkler. It was noted that the current members’ terms did not expire until December 31, 2000, therefore, it was the consensus of the Board to table these appointments until the Board’s next regular meeting scheduled for December 4, 2000.
C. December Meeting Schedule – County Manager Nelson stated that in some years past, the Board had cancelled one of its regular meetings in December due to conflicts with the holidays. Mr. Nelson also informed the Board that its first meeting in January would occur on New Year’s Day.
Following brief discussion, Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to cancel the Board’s December 19, 2000 regular meeting and to conduct its December meeting on December 4, 2000 at 9:00 A.M. in the Commissioners’ Board Room, County Courthouse.
In addition, Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to change the Board’s January 1, 2001 regular meeting to Tuesday, January 2, 2001 at 9:00 A.M. in the Commissioners’ Board Room, County Courthouse.
D. Announcements – County Manager Nelson reminded the Board that the County’s holiday luncheon was scheduled for Thursday, December 14, 2000 at the Dan’l Boone Inn from 12:00-2:00 P.M., and the Commissioners as well as County Attorney Hedrick were invited to attend.
In addition, the 2001 Legislative Goals Conference of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners would be held on January 11-12, 2001 at the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in the Village of Pinehurst.
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
The following department heads introduced themselves:
Deb Wynne, Parks & Recreation Director
Sheriff James C. “Red” Lyons
J. V. Potter, Operation Services Director
Doris Isaacs, Finance Director
Joe Furman, Planning & Inspections Director
Glenda Duncan, Information Technologies Manager
Jim Atkinson, Social Services Director
Robert Marsh, Maintenance Supervisor
Angie Boitnotte, Project on Aging Director
Larry McLean, Tax Administrator
Mr. Gary Rupard thanked the Board for its support in writing a letter to the N.C. Department of Transportation regarding the poor road conditions on N.C. Highway 194. Mr. Rupard voiced his concerns that the repeater located on Beech Mountain had not been moved to Tater Hill and urged the County to proceed with relocation as quickly as possible. Mr. Robert Marsh, Maintenance Supervisor, responded that the work on this site had begun and was a high priority. In addition, Mr. Rupard requested the Board appoint a Commissioner to the Watauga County Fire Commission who would attend the Fire Commission meetings.
Mr. Bill Kaiser addressed the Board on behalf of the Stewart Simmons Volunteer Fire Department requesting the Board’s support in urging the N.C. Department of Transportation to repair and maintain all of Jake’s Mountain Road as soon as possible. Mr. Kaiser stated that if the road was properly maintained, it would save considerable time for responding emergency vehicles. He added this request had already been endorsed by the Watauga EMS Advisory Committee and the Watauga County Fire Commission.
Vice-Chairman Sweeting seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, moved to write a letter of support to the N.C. Department of Transportation requesting that Jake’s Mountain Road be opened all the way.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Commissioner Coffey, moved to enter Closed Session at 7:55 P.M. to discuss: Land Acquisition, G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(i) and Attorney/Client Matters, G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3).
Following a brief recess, the Board entered Closed Session at 8:06 P.M.
Commissioner Lawrence seconded by Vice-Chairman Sweeting, moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:58 P.M.
Jimmy Hodges, Chairman
Elizabeth H. Link, Clerk to the Board