|BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
December 7, 1998
STAFF: Charles S. Mashburn
Commissioner Darrell Robertson called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room in the Alexander County Courthouse. Commissioner Wes Bolick gave the invocation and Commissioner Robertson led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Commissioner Robertson welcomed to the meeting newly elected commissioners Joel Harbinson, John Watts, and David Odom.
Commissioner Robertson called as the first order of business the election of the chairman. Commissioner Odom made a motion to nominate Commissioner Harbinson as Chairman. Upon second and motion by Commissioner Watts Commissioner Harbinson was elected chairman by acclamation. Outgoing Chairman Darrell Robertson passed to Chairman Harbinson the gavel.
Chairman Harbinson called for election of the vice chairman. Commissioner Odom made a motion to nominate Commissioner Watts as the vice-chairman. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Robertson and passed unanimously.
Chairman Harbinson thanked his colleagues for allowing him to be chairman based on his prior service as county attorney. He indicated the chairmanship would be rotated.
Upon motion by Commissioner Watts and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to appoint Mr. Edward Hedrick IV as the County Attorney.
Upon motion by Commissioner Bolick and second by Commissioner Watts the Board voted unanimously to add to the agenda the water and billing contract and the selection of a voting delegate to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Legislative Goals Conference.
INTERIM COUNTY MANAGER
Upon motion by Commissioner Watts and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to appoint Charles S. Mashburn as Interim County Manager and Clerk to the Board for the a sixty day period not to exceed February 5, 1999.
BOARD AND COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS
Upon motion by Commissioner Robertson and second by Commissioner Bolick the Board voted unanimously to remove the current appointees and to make committee assignments as follows:
BI-STATE CATAWBA RIVER TASK FORCE- COMMISSIONER ROBERTSON
BOARD OF HEALTH-COMMISSIONER WATTS
BOARD OF EQUALIZATION AND REVIEW-COMMISSIONER WATTS
TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE-COMMISSIONER ROBERTSON
SOLID WASTE TASK FORCE-COMMISSIONER WATTS AND COMMISSIONER ROBERTSON
UNIFOUR CONSORTIUM-COMMISSIONER HARBINSON
UNIFOUR REGIONAL STRATEGIES-COMMISSIONER HARBINSON
CRITICAL INCIDENT STRESS DEBRIEFING-COMMISSIONER ODOM
SISTER CITIES-COMMISSIONER ODOM
REGION E EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE ADVISORY COMMITTEE-COMMISSIONER ODOM
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL-COMMISSIONER HARBINSON
REGION E DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL-COMMISSIONER HARBINSON
TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE-COMMISSIONER ODOM
WESTERN PIEDMONT COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS (ALTERNATE)-COMMISSIONER WATTS
FOOTHILLS MENTAL HEALTH-COMMISSIONER WATTS AND COMMISSIONER ROBERTSON
PEE-DEE RIVER STUDY COMMISSIONER-COMMISSIONR ROBERTSON
SMART START-COMMISSIONER WATTS
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES-COMMISSIONER ODOM
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES JOB PLANNING COUNCIL-COMMISSIONER ODOM
WESTERN PIEDMONT COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS-COMMISSIONER HARBINSON
YOUTH SERVICES BOARD-COMMISSIONER WATTS
RECREATION COMMISSION-COMMISSIONER HARBINSON
WATER AND SEWER STUDY COMMITTEE-COMMISSIONER ODOM
WELFARE REFORM COMMITTEE-COMMISSIONER ROBERTSON
UNIFOUR CHARMAN/MANAGER-COMMISSIONER HARBINSON
COUNCIL ON AGING-COMMISSIONER BOLICK
FAMILY VIOLENCE-COMMISSIONER BOLICK
LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES-COMMISSIONER BOLICK
REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION ADVISORY AUTHORITY-COMMISSIONER BOLICK
Commissioner Watts announced the Board would advertise for the vacant county manager position. The position will be announced in local, regional, and professional publications. The position is expected to be filled by February, 1999. Applications will be accepted until January 25.
Upon motion by Commissioner Watts and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to advertise for a county manager and to take applications until January 25, 1999.
HOME AND COMMUNITY CARE BLOCK GRANT
Senior Center Director Angela Johnson asked to Board to accept an additional $18,435 in Home and Community Care Block Grant monies, and to approve the required match of of 10%, and to approve a budget amendment.
Upon motion by Commissioner Robertson and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to accept the $18,435 Home and Community Care Block Grant, to authorize the required match, and to approve budget amendment #30 (Attachment #1), with stipulations that future spending is not assured and subsequent approval is subject to review.
TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT-SUBSTANCE ABUSE POLICY
Transportation Director Terry Foxx presented for consideration a proposed Substance Abuse Policy. He reported that such a policy is required by the North Carolina Department of Transportation as a requirement for getting federal and state transportation grants. Commissioner Robertson suggested the policy could and should be adapted so that all employees would be subject to the policy. Commissioner Odom observed that the policy requires employees to pay the cost of any treatment. He suggested that the health insurance program be utilized to the fullest when possible.
Upon motion by Commissioner Robertson and second by Commissioner Bolick the Board voted unanimously to approve the Alexander County Transportation Department Substance Abuse Policy as presented, and to direct the County Manager to proceed with incorporating the policy for all employees.
WESTERN PIEDMONT COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS-FUNDING RESOLUTION
The Board was asked to authorize the release of $3,341.54 to the Western Piedmont Council of Governments as its share of $48,015 allocated for the Unifour region. These monies were appropriated by the General Assembly but must be released by each county.
Upon motion by Commissioner Bolick and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to authorize the release of $3,341.54 to the Western Piedmont Council of Governments by resolution (Attachment #2).
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES-TRANSPORTATION FUNDING
Department of Social Services Director Nan Campbell reported that Alexander County has been allocated $4,808 by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to assist counties in providing transportation services to Work First participants. The money would be used to help the participants get to and from work. No local match is required.
Upon motion by Commissioner Watts and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to accept the $4,808 and amend the budget accordingly (Attachment #3).
Commissioner Odom stated that Alexander County should pursue the construction of a new prison in this county because of the many good jobs that it would bring to the county.
The Board discussed that a site for a proposed new prison would have to be selected by the county, and that Alexander County is still the county selected by the North Carolina Department of Correction to establish a regional maximum security prison.
Commissioner Odom made a motion that Alexander County submit a letter of intent with the North Carolina Department of Correction that it will host a new prison if one is funded by the General Assembly. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Watts and passed 3-2 with Harbinson, Odom, and Watts voting aye, and with Robertson and Bolick voting nay.
Commissioner Watts announced that the existing prison ceased operations and was vacated on December 1, 1998. He reported that this thirty or so acres located adjacent to new Highway 64 may become available to the county in the near future. He made a motion that Alexander County write a letter to the North Carolina Department of Correction and to the Council of State to request this property be transferred to the county for use by public safety agencies such as a future courthouse or jail. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Odom and passed unanimously.
"LAME DUCK SPENDING"
Chairman Harbinson reported that he and many citizens were very alarmed and concerned with the $1.6m that the outgoing board of commissioners expended in the period just after the November 3 election.
Commissioner Odom made a motion that in the future outgoing boards are prohibited from spending unbudgeted monies except for public safety emergencies, and that the County Attorney research the legality of such a policy.
This motion was seconded by Commissioner Watts and passed three (Harbinson, Odom, Watts) to two (Robertson and Bolick).
BOARD OF EDUCATION-"LAME DUCK"
Chairman Harbinson indicated the $1.25m supplemental appropriation to the Board of Education as approved by the outgoing Board of Commissioners was void because it was ultra vires, or outside the scope of the outgoing Board's authority. The motion referred to the money being for the purpose of moving the ninth grade students to the high school. Boards of commissioners may not make policy for the board of education, and thus, the action is void. Commissioner Robertson explained that the discussion may have mentioned this goal, but the motion did not specify which school the monies would be spent.
Commissioner Odom made a motion that the Finance Officer be directed to withhold distribution of the Board of Education supplemental appropriation pending a meeting between the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education, with Commissioner Watts being the Board's representative. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Watts and passed three (Harbinson, Watts, Odom) to two (Robertson and Bolick).
DAYTON CHEVROLET PROPERTY-"LAME DUCK"
Commissioner Watts commented that the outgoing board purchased the Dayton Chevrolet Property without adequate evaluation regarding underground fuel storage tanks, and without having a specific plan for the property. He asked that the county manager be directed to provide an inventory of all county property, leases, etc.
Commissioner Watts made a motion to direct the county manager to provide an inventory on all county owned and leased property in order to evaluate disposition of the Dayton Chevrolet property, as well as to provide the Board with any and all information the County had received or established concerning the County's plans for the Dayton property as well as information regarding the underground storage tanks. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Odom and passed three (Harbinson, Watts, Odom) to two (Robertson and Bolick).
Chairman Harbinson indicated that he sees a very strong need for improved long range planning for Alexander County. The three areas needing emphasis are education, public safety, and economic development. The Board indicated that a series of workshops would be scheduled in order for the Board to secure input for long range planning. He recommended Commissioner Watts to coordinate the education process, Commissioner Odom the public safety process, and himself to coordinate the economic development program.
Upon motion by Commissioner Bolick and second by Commissioner Robertson the Board voted unanimously to proceed with a series of workshops for long range planning in the areas of education, public safety, and economic development, with Commissioner Watts chairing the education workshop, Commissioner Odom chairing the public safety workshop, and Commissioner Harbinson chairing the economic development workshop.
BOARD AND COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS
Chairman Harbinson announced that the commissioners would initiate a recruitment process for future board and committee appointments. Committee vacancies will be announced so that citizens can express interest in serving.
Upon motion by Commissioner Odom and second by Commissioner Bolick the Board voted unanimously to initiate a recruitment process for selecting citizens to serve on the various boards and committees.
DUKE POWER-RECREATION SITES
The Board was reminded that Duke Power has asked for a letter of interest regarding the access sites now being operated by Duke Power but being offered to each county. The sites are located around Lake Hickory and will first be offered to the respective counties, and then possibly to private operators. Each county that accepts a site will need to develop an operations and maintenance plan. A letter of interest must be submitted by December 31, 1998.
Upon motion by Commissioner Bolick and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to submit a letter to Duke Power Company that Alexander County is interested in operating the Lake Hickory access sites in Alexander County, and that a specific plan will be presented at a later date.
The Board discussed a concept of scheduling only one meeting per month on the first Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., and holding workshops or called meetings for any second meeting that may be required, preferably at the third Tuesday.
Upon motion by Commissioner Bolick and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to approve the 1999 Board of Commissioners to meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. beginning January 5, 1999, and to cancel the meeting scheduled for December 21, 1998 (Attachment #3).
Upon motion by Commissioner Robertson and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to approve the 1999 Holiday Schedule (Attachment #4).
LEGISLATIVE GOALS DELEGATE
Upon motion by Commissioner Odom and second by Commissioner Bolick the Board voted unanimously to appoint Chairman Harbinson or his designee to be the voting delegate to the North Carolina Legislative Goals Conference.
WATER BILLING AND COLLECTION CONTRACT
Mr. Rod Watts from the Alexander County Water Corporation presented a contract for consideration. He indicated the Water Corporation would perform billing and collection for a price of $1.45 per customer per month, and continue maintenance on an actual cost basis. He indicated the cost might decline when a new billing system is installed in the near future. He proposed a three-year contract with a six-month termination clause.
Upon motion by Commissioner Odom and second by Commissioner Watts the Board voted unanimously to contract with the Alexander County Water Corporation for the billing and collection of water bills for the Sugar Loaf and South 16 water districts at a cost of $1.45 per customer per month, for a three year period beginning January 1, 1999, and to contain a six month termination clause, and to withdraw a proposal by the City of Hickory for similar services.
Mr. Dee Blackwell, Western Piedmont Council of Governments, explained to the Board the Geographic Information System project, presented a report on proposals received, and asked the Board to accept the bid by L.R. Kimball so the project could proceed.
Mr. Blackwell explained that Alexander County needs a GIS system for several reasons. First, a new mapping system will allow the property tax revaluation project to proceed more effectively and efficiently. Secondly, the planning department needs GIS to better operate the zoning, water protection, and flood control elements. Other departments that can greatly improve operations include utilities, E911, emergency management, public safety, etc. Eventually all the GIS will be available for public access and will be a great benefit to all citizens and departments.
Mr. Blackwell reported that bids for the photography, maps, etc. were opened and publicly read on November 20, 1998. A project committee composed of Mr. Blackwell, Scott Miller, Luther Stocks, Sylvia Turnmire, and Jennifer Pennell, met with each vendor and evaluated the bids. The committee recommended the L. R. Kimball proposal though it is not the least expensive bid. The recommendation is based on Kimball having a more thorough proposal, and because this company has the most experience in North Carolina. Mr. Blackwell emphasized that bids must be approved soon in order that the selected vendor has time to complete the flyover in the winter of 1999. Otherwise, the project will be delayed one full year.
Commissioner Robertson questioned why the low bid was not being recommended when the bids require a 100% performance bond. He asked that the bids not be approved pending a workshop to discuss the evaluation.
Mr. Blackwell reported that staff is applying for a $75,000 Rural Center grant and a $250,000 Appalachian Region Commission grant. Neither grant is certain but the project needs to proceed regardless.
Upon motion by Commissioner Robertson and second by Commissioner Bolick the Board voted unanimously to defer action on the GIS bids pending a workshop to be scheduled as soon as possible so the contracts can be signed by the end of the year.
Upon motion by Commissioner Bolick and second by Commissioner Robertson the Board voted unanimously to approve the consent agenda as follows:
The minutes of November 23, 1998, were approved as presented by the Clerk to the Board.
TAX RELEASES AND REFUNDS
Tax releases for $287.05 and refunds for $5,518.86 were approved as requested.
Chairman Harbinson announced the meeting scheduled for December 21 was being cancelled and the next regular meeting will be held January 5, 1999. A workshop to discuss the GIS bids was scheduled for Wednesday, December 16, 1998, at 6:00 p.m. in the County Administration Building.
Upon motion by Commissioner Robertson and second by Commissioner Watts the Board voted unanimously to adjourn until 6:00 p.m., December 16, 1998, to hold a workshop in the County Administration Building, to cancel the December 21 meeting, and to meet Tuesday, January 5, 1999.
Joel C. Harbinson, Chairman Charles Mashburn