|BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
August 31, 1998
PRESENT: W. Darrell Robertson, Chairman
Wesley E. Bolick, Jr., Vice Chairman
Timothy A. Glass
W. Guy Kerley
K. Craig Mayberry
STAFF: Charles S. Mashburn, Clerk to the Board
Jerry Campbell, Attorney
Chairman Darrell Robertson called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the superior courtroom because of the large attendance. The Reverend Ken Walters gave the invocation and Chairman Robertson led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
CATV PUBLIC HEARING
Chairman Robertson called to order a public hearing as duly advertised and notice provided to consider citizen comment regarding the proposed CATV franchise renewal scheduled for October, 1998. Mr. Landon Barefoot, General Manager for Charter Communications, presented a short report on the current level of services being provided in Alexander County. He explained the results of a survey that revealed that 60% to 76% of the respondents thought the service was good. He explained that Charter plans to upgrade the system and service if a new franchise is approved.
Several members of the audience complained that Charter Communications provides poor service, is not willing to extend service, and does not provide the same number of channels as in other markets. Some complained that the service is too expensive, and that there is too much offensive programming on TV. Mr. Barefoot explained that a higher level of service (more channels) usually causes higher fees. Also, the local cable provider has no influence on program content. Several people complained that Charter has not responded to a request for service even though their road has more than 20 houses per mile. Mr. Barefoot took those names and committed to evaluate the request. One speaker advised the Board to request Charter construct fiber optic cable as it did in Catawba County. Charter intends to upgrade the service to allow 76 channels rather than the 40 or so that is now offered. Charter also plans to construct a master head-end that will provide the same service to all of the Unifour area.
Commissioner Mayberry asked if Charter could ignore county lines in offering service. Some residents, such as himself, live closer to a service from another county than the service in Alexander County. He also asked Mr. Barefoot to provide a comparison of rates and programs in the other counties serviced by Charter.
Upon motion by Commissioner Kerley and second by Commissioner Mayberry the Board voted unanimously to declare the CATV public hearing closed.
The Board took no action pending further evaluation and modification to the proposed franchise contract.
CATV FRANCHISE TRANSFER
Mr. Landon Barefoot, General Manager, asked the Board of Commissioners to approve the transfer of the franchise from Charter Communications, LP, to Charter Communications, LLC. Mr. Barefoot explained that the assets and operations are being transferred to a new limited partnership controlled by Mr. Paul G. Allen, founding partner of Microsoft. The financial position will be even stronger and the management will remain the same. According to FCC regulations, the transfer is automatic if no action is taken by the Board in 120 days. The franchising authority may only ascertain whether the transferee possesses the legal, technical and financial qualifications to operate the franchise, which has no effect on the pending renewal discussed above.
Upon motion by Commissioner Bolick and second by Commissioner Mayberry the Board voted unanimously to approve the CATV transfer as requested.
A delegation of concerned citizens presented to the Board a request for financial support for a proposed athletic complex at Alexander Central High School. Mr. Dale Fox and Mr. Gene Price explained that Alexander Central High School needs tennis courts, a softball field for the ladies, which have won the state championship several times, but do not even have a field to practice and play on, and other athletic fields. The tennis team must travel to Bethlehem to practice and play on courts that are too few and in not very good condition. A soccer practice and play field is also needed. The complex is expected to cost from between $500,000 to $1,000,000. The Board of Education has committed $100,000.
The Board of commissioners explained that it will need a plan that allows for expansion of the high school if it is needed in the future, and a plan that allows for the sports complex if it is needed. The Board indicated it is hesitant to commit to the project until it knows more of the details, has a list of educational needs and priorities, and a comprehensive plan regarding such issues as one or two high schools. Commissioner Kerley indicated his support for the project. Commissioner Mayberry reminded everyone that funds have been being placed in reserve for school capital needs so that any project might be funded without a large increase in the tax rate. No action was taken pending further evaluation.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR/PLANNING DIRECTOR
No announcement was made.
RESCUE SQUAD CONTRACTS
Consideration of rescue contracts was postponed until the September 21 meeting.
BELLE VIEW ADULT CARE FACILITY-WATER
Mr. Rick Conner asked the Board to finance a proposed 2" water connection to Belle View Adult Care Facility. The facility has experienced bacteria in the well water and is paying for expensive monitoring. After evaluating alternatives, he decided the quickest and least expensive option is to connect on Highway 90 and construct the line across an easement being provided by Ms. Mozelle H. Moose. Construction of a 6" line along Three Forks Road and Wood Lane would cost about $100,000. Mr. Conner indicated the owners will repay the loan by paying $381.00 per month for five years.
Upon motion by Commissioner Mayberry and second by Commissioner Glass the Board agreed to finance the construction of a 2" water line to Belle View Adult Care Facility, with the owners repaying the estimated cost of $20,900 at $381.00 per month for sixty months, with the County Manager and County Attorney directed to assist in drawing up the contract.
TAYLOR KING CDBG-MANAGEMENT CONTRACT
Upon motion by Commissioner Kerley and second by Commissioner Bolick the Board approved a contract with Western Piedmont Council of Governments for grant management assistance on Taylor King CDBG project.
HUNTINGTON HOUSE CDBG PROJECT-MODIFICATION
Ms. Nancy Coley, Western Piedmont Council of Governments, asked the Board to approve a modification to the Huntington House CDBG project. The project as approved included construction of a sewer pump station adjacent to Huntington House Furniture. The developers of nearby property have agreed to coordinate their project in order to construct one sewer pump station to serve both projects. Such coordination will eliminate one pump station and will save both construction cost and operating expenses.
However, the one pump station will require a somewhat different route and eliminate the need for a short section of gravity sewer line on Rink Dam Road. The amount of savings justify the modification. Homestead has agreed to pay the extra cost of the project.
Upon motion by Commissioner Glass and second by Commissioner Kerley the Board voted unanimously to approve coordinating sewer pump stations with developers of Wittenburg Farm, even if a short gravity line on Rink Dam Road is eliminated.
HICKORY HOLLOW LANE WATER LINE
The Board was advised that three of four residents on Hickory Hollow Lane have agreed to provide an easement and hook to the water line if they can approve the location of the line and a requested fire hydrant. Approval of water on this road was not approved by staff because it is a private road and the easement is uncertain.
Upon motion by Commissioner Robertson and second by Commissioner Bolick the Board voted unanimously to table this matter pending further evaluation.
WATER BILLING AND COLLECTION CONTRACT-WATER CORPORATION
The Board discussed whether to contract for water billing and collection or continue to perform the task with county staff. The Alexander County Water Corporation has offered to contract the service for $1.45 per account, which is slightly higher than the cost in 1990. With 1,165 accounts, the annual cost for contracting would be about $20,000 compared to an in-house cost of about $16,000 per year. There would be some efficiencies by having the Water Corporation perform sign-ups, billing and collection, repairs, etc. Some delays occur now because there are at times communication gaps.
It was suggested that the contract allow for a 90 day notice to cancel the contract and a clause regarding increases.
Commissioner Mayberry commented that in his opinion the billing and collection could be performed by the remaining staff in the tax office. Evaluation of outsourcing EMS should be evaluated because that is such a specialized process.
Upon motion by Commissioner Mayberry and second by Commissioner Bolick the Board voted unanimously to table the matter pending further evaluation.
Chairman Robertson announced that a selection committee has offered the recreation director position to a candidate and is awaiting his reporting for duty to make the formal announcement.
BOARD AND COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS
Upon motion by Commissioner Glass and second by Commissioner Mayberry the Board voted unanimously to make board and committee appointments as follows:
CHILD FATALITY REVIEW/CHILD PROTECTION TEAM
Ms. Brenda Fox and Officer Tod Jones were appointed to replace Gina Silva and Marty Loudermilk as members-at-large on the Child Fatality Review/Child Protection team.
SURPLUS PROPERTY SALE
Upon motion by Commissioner Glass and second by Commissioner Bolick the Board voted unanimously to declare as surplus and authorize the sale of property as follows:
Six Sheriffs Patrol Cars
One Dodge pick up
One Mazda RX7 (Confiscated)
One 1983 International Dump Truck
One 1989 Ford Van
Various chairs, desks, computers and computer accessories, other
One 1988 three quarter ton Ford Truck
Various office equipment, chairs, desks, computer parts, etc.
Upon motion by Commissioner Mayberry and second by Commissioner Kerley the Board voted unanimously to approve the Consent Agenda as follows:
The minutes of August 10 and August 17, 1998, were approved as presented by the Clerk to the Board.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT BUDGET AMENDMENT
Budget Amendment #8 was approved to appropriate $2,277.00 in special emergency management funds (Attachment #1).
SHERIFF'S OFFICE BUDGET AMENDMENT
Budget Amendment #6 was approved to appropriate $11,750.00 in insurance reimbursement for the Sheriffs Office (Attachment #2).
Upon motion by Commissioner Mayberry and second by Commissioner Glass the Board voted unanimously to go into closed session to discuss personnel issues.
Upon motion by Commissioner Kerley and second by Commissioner Mayberry the Board voted unanimously to adjourn until 7:00 p.m. September 21.
Charles S. Mashburn
W. Darrell Robertson, Chairman