|BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
January 5, 1999
STAFF: Charles S. Mashburn, Interim Clerk to the Board
Chairman Joel Harbinson called the meeting to order at 6:45 P. M. in the Commissioner's Meeting Room in the Alexander County Courthouse. Commissioner Odom gave the Invocation and Commissioner Bolick led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
RECREATION GRANT-PUBLIC HEARING
Chairman Harbinson called to order a special meeting to consider public comment regarding a proposal to apply for a grant to help fund construction of athletic fields near Alexander Central High School. Mr. Byron King explained that a fund-raising committee has already secured commitments for about $315,000 toward the anticipated $800,000 cost to construct softball fields, tennis courts, and other facilities on property located behind the Board of Education Offices. Mr. King indicated the Board of Education is willing to deed to the county the proposed property in order to qualify the County for grant funds. He announced another public meeting is being scheduled for January 14, 1999, at which details will be discussed.
Sam Irwin, Western Piedmont Council of Governments, advised the Board that it would need to approve a certification that the county will abide by the grant requirements, should the grant be approved. A primary issue concerns who will guarantee and perform the maintenance.
Commissioner Bolick made a motion that the Board authorize the grant application, and that it agrees to the stipulations as outlined by Mr. Irwin. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Odom and passed unanimously.
Upon motion by Commissioner Odom and second by Commissioner Watts the Board voted unanimously to add to the agenda; clerk to the board appointments, tax refunds and releases, and the appointment of a Criminal Justice Advisory Committee.
Commissioner Watts presented to Haroldine Watts a retirement plaque in recognition for her twenty years of service to the citizens of Alexander County, most of which has been as Board of Elections Supervisor. The Board praised her for the excellent, non-partisan job she did for many years.
Ms. Watts thanked the boards of commissioners and boards of elections for which she had served and for the privilege of serving the citizens of Alexander County. She also thanked her family for their support over the years.
RETIREMENT-R. W. WATSON
Commissioner Watts presented to Mr. R. W. (Sarge) Watson a retirement plaque in recognition for his twenty years of service in the Solid Waste Department. Mr. Watson was praised for the outstanding job he did as an equipment operator over a long period of time.
CLERK TO THE BOARD
Upon motion by Commissioner Odom and second by Commissioner Watts the Board voted unanimously to appoint Ms. Helen Anthony as Clerk to the Board and Ms. Judy Feimster as Deputy Clerk to the Board. (Later in the meeting Chairman Harbinson clarified upon inquiry by Commissioner Bolick that Ms. Anthony would be paid $7,200 per year as clerk, and that Ms. Feimster would be paid $19,680 per year as full-time secretary to the county manager and as deputy clerk).
(Chairman Harbinson later clarified that Ms. Anthony would take office upon attending a clerks school later in January, and upon the departure of the interim clerk to the board in early February.)
Chairman Harbinson called to order a public hearing as advertised and notice duly provided to consider a request by Homestead Land and Timber Company to rezone a 14 acre parcel from RA-20 to R-20, and to modify the setback requirements for the same property. Planning Director Sylvia Turnmire explained that this request is an extension to property previously rezoned for the same subdivision, and that the Alexander County Planning Board had voted unanimously to recommend the rezoning. She also explained that lesser setback requirements were requested for lots served by both water and sewer. The Planning Board approved this request also.
Ms. Turnmire reported no adjacent property owners have submitted any objections to the rezoning requests. One resident was informed upon inquiry that no houses will be constructed until sewer is available, and that sewer is certain.
Upon motion by Commissioner Robertson and second by Commissioner Bolick the Board voted unanimously to approve Rezoning Petitions 98-5 and 98-1 as requested.
Mr. Dee Blackwell, Western Piedmont Council of Governments, reported the staff and Board held a workshop on December 16, 1998, and agreed to recommend the Board accept a proposal by L. R. Kimball and Associates to initiate and install the first phases of a Geographic Information System for Alexander County for a base price $842,114 for digital orthophotos, planimetric maps, topographic maps, and cadastral maps.
Mr. Blackwell reported that negotiations are pending with Kimball for any possible cost reductions, and that all options are being explored to save money on the project. He also reported that grants have been applied for at the Rural Center but approval has not been received yet. Another grant for software will also be applied for.
Upon motion by Commissioner Bolick and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to approve a contract with L. R. Kimball and Associates in the amount of $842,114 to install a GIS for Alexander County.
FIBER OPTIC PROJECT
Mr. Marty Hubbard, Computer Systems Administrator, presented to the Board a summary of bids to construct a fiber optic cable between the Library and County Administration Building. He reported the low bid of $43,707.02 was submitted by B & L Telephone Company and that funds are already budgeted and available for the basic project. The basic project was funded by a $55,745 state grant and a $13,937 local match. The Library used part of the money to purchase computers and other equipment as part of a project to provide a faster access service for library staff and patrons. Additional money (about $44,026.74) is needed to connect the Courthouse, Annex, DSS, Health, and Senior Center.
Chairman Harbinson inquired if the other departments have funds to help pay the additional cost. Mr. Hubbard reported that the Health Department may have funds for its share. The project will take about two months to complete after a notice to proceed. The Board discussed adding the Employment Security Commission and Town of Taylorsville to the project also.
Commissioner Robertson inquired whether the contract includes clauses to cover additional cost if rock is incurred during construction, what the payment schedule would be, and if there is an acceptance performance standard that is to be met prior to final payment. Mr. Hubbard indicated that some of these items needed to be clarified in the final contract. Chairman Harbinson suggested that Commissioner Robertson be designated to help get these items clarified.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion that a vote on this project be postponed until the first meeting in February pending a clarification of the questionable contract issues and funding for the additional cost. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion provided that Commissioner Robertson is designated to coordinate the review. The motion passed unanimously.
LIBRARY-ADDITIONAL STATE FUNDING
Library Director Doris Stephens asked the Board to accept an additional $13,839 in State Library Aid, and to approve a budget amendment to spend the money as recommended. Ms. Stephens indicated this money is in addition to the appropriation previously budgeted. She suggested the money be spent for computer equipment, office equipment, and books.
Upon motion by Commissioner Bolick and second by Commissioner Watts the Board voted unanimously to accept the $13,839 and to approve the budget amendment as recommended (Budget Amendment #31, Attachment #1).
TAYLORSVILLE HOMETOWN DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
Mr. Lenny Rogers reported that the Taylorsville Hometown Development Council continues to grow in number and continues to make progress toward its goal of improving downtown Taylorsville. Ms. April Cline reported the Council and Chamber of Commerce is now working together. She shared a list of projects and events that had been sponsored by the Hometown Council. Upon inquiry she could not give an exact Council budget. The Board was advised that the Town of Taylorsville has committed $10,000 per year and another $5,000 was requested from the county.
Commissioner Odom made a motion that another $5,000 be appropriated out of the 1998-99 budget to the Hometown Development Council. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Bolick and passed unanimously. (Budget Amendment #32, Attachment #2).
Chairman Harbinson announced that one of the goals of the new board is to evaluate how the Economic Development Commission, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Hometown Development Council can better work together.
CATAWBA VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Ms. Susie Barkley introduced the other community college officials that were present, including Dr. Linda Phillips, Dr. Harry Cooke, Dr. Linda Lutz and Mr. Ron Valentini.
Dr. Cooke advised the Board that CVCC desires to establish a distant learning center in Alexander County. This project will require additional equipment and a faster telephone line for the connection. The college will install the equipment if Alexander County Board of Commissioners will commit to paying the yearly service fee of $12,184.20 on a T-1 line. Having a distant learning center will allow county residents the opportunity to take certain classes at the local center rather than having to drive to Hickory. High school students will be able to take college credit courses here rather than having to drive outside the county.
Commissioner Odom made a motion to appropriate $12,184.20 to Catawba County Community College for a T-1 telephone line that will be used to provide a distant learning center in Alexander County. Commissioner Watts asked that the motion be withdrawn so that he, as education liaison, could discuss the project with the school system. Upon motion by Commissioner Watts and second by Commissioner Bolick the original motion was withdrawn until Commissioner Watts has time to meet and discuss the project with the Board of Education.
RAIL PARK SEWER
The Board was reminded that a Rural Center grant of $50,000 and a matching local grant of $50,000 was budgeted to construct water and sewer to the new industrial park located on Highway 90 East. The project has already been extended to January 30, 1999, one time beyond the original grant deadline of September 15, 1998, because of a delay in deciding where the sewer lines should be constructed. The Board was advised to request another extension on the grant. The bids have been opened but not presented to the Board pending further evaluation.
This item was tabled until the next regular meeting.
Commissioner Odom recommended the Board establish a public comment period prior to the first regularly scheduled meeting of each month. Citizens could attend unannounced at 6:45 p.m. and address the Board on any county issues and concerns. There would be no intent to respond or vote on issues. Rather, they could be placed on future agendas if action is deemed necessary.
Upon motion by Commissioner Odom and second by Commissioner Watts the Board voted unanimously to establish a public comment period prior to the first regularly scheduled meeting of each month.
Chairman Harbinson recommended the Board establish an ongoing citizen recognition program, in which local citizens would be recognized. Commissioners would take turns naming a citizen of the month. Commissioner Odom is designing a plaque. The Board would take turns alphabetically.
Commissioner Bolick indicated he would prefer not to be first since he was going to be out of the country for most of January. The Board reached a consensus to begin in March with Commissioner Bolick naming the first Alexander County Citizen of the Month.
Upon motion by Commissioner Harbinson and second by Commissioner Bolick the Board voted unanimously to establish a citizen recognition program as presented above.
KEYS TO THE COUNTY
Chairman Harbinson recommended the Board establish a "Key to the County" tradition similar to the "Key to the City" used by many municipalities to honor visiting dignitaries and other worthy visitors. Each board member would be able to award up to two each year, with the entire board being able to vote for additional as warranted.
Upon motion by Commissioner Harbinson and second by Commissioner Bolick the Board voted unanimously to approve a "Key to the County" program.
PUBLIC SAFETY WORKSHOP
Commissioner Odom announced he was scheduling a workshop for the public safety departments and agencies for January 29 and 30, 1999. The goal will be to establish a five-year plan.
Commissioners Bolick and Watts asked if the dates are firm or could they be changed since it is unlikely they will be able to attend both days.
Upon motion by Commissioner Odom and second by Commissioner Robertson the Board voted unanimously for Commissioner Odom to proceed with the public safety workshop with Commissioner Odom having discretion to arrange the schedule as necessary.
HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE-TWO CENT GAS TAX
Chairman Harbinson shared a request from Perquimans County that the Board support an increase of two cents in the gasoline tax that would be used to fund additional maintenance money for state maintained roads. The Perquimans Board reported that the tax would provide $98,000,000 and could be divided among the counties based on the existing formula. Commissioner Robertson suggested road maintenance is a state function and the Governor and Department of Transportation should decide funding.
No action was taken.
LOCAL REVENUE OPTIONS
The Board was presented a copy of a resolution as passed by Burke County that requests the North Carolina General Assembly authorize Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba counties to choose from a menu of local revenue sources. These taxes would include a room occupancy tax; a one- percent prepared meals tax, a one-half cent sales tax, and a 1% real property transfer fee. Counties would not be required to implement these taxes but would be allowed to choose from the menu if they desired.
Upon motion by Commissioner Bolick and second by Commissioner Watts the Board voted unanimously to support the local revenue options by resolution (Resolution 99-1).
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT DESIGNATION
The Board evaluated a request from the North Carolina Department of Commerce that the existing Western Piedmont consortium be designated to administer the newly created Workforce Investment Act. The latter replaces the Job Training Partnership Act and is intended to provide a one-stop career center for job seekers and employers. Ms. Sheila Dotson, Workforce Development Board Director explained that the Western Piedmont Council of Governments would continue in the same role.
Upon motion by Commissioner Watts and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to designate the Western Piedmont consortium as the designated administrator of the Workforce Investment Act.
DAYTON BUILDING LEASE-TOWN OF TAYLORSVILLE
Chairman Harbinson reported that the Town of Taylorsville desires to lease the Dayton Building service bay as a storage facility for equipment for a three-month period. Commissioner Odom proposed that the lease be approved at no cost to the Town provided there is no cost to the county, and provided the Town agrees to repair windows in the Rescue Squad building as compensation.
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to lease the Dayton Building service bay to the Town of Taylorsville for a three month period at no cost, provided there is no cost to the county, and provided the Town repairs windows in the Rescue Squad Building as compensation. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Odom and passed unanimously.
BOARD AND COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS
Upon motion by Commissioner Odom and second by Commissioner Robertson the Board voted unanimously to appoint Mr. Russell Greene as interim fire marshal because of the recent death of Fire Marshal Ben Buchanan.
REGION E AGING ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Upon motion by Commissioner Watts and second by Commissioner Robertson the Board voted unanimously to reappoint Mr. Darrell Moffitt to the Region E Aging Advisory Committee.
BETHLEHEM RECREATION COMMITTEE
Upon motion by Commissioner Harbinson and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to appoint Commissioner Bolick to the Bethlehem Recreation Committee.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR
The Board was advised that Nolan Jarvis is serving as interim emergency management coordinator, partly because of the Ben Buchanan illness.
Upon motion by Commissioner Robertson and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to postpone consideration of a permanent emergency management coordinator pending the fire marshal appointment.
Upon motion by Commissioner Robertson and second by Commissioner Watts the Board voted unanimously to approve the Consent Agenda as follows:
The Minutes of December 7, 1998 were approved as presented by the Clerk to the Board.
TAX REFUNDS AND RELEASES
Tax refunds for $5,217.81 and tax releases for $605.84 was approved as requested.
Commissioner Robertson read a memorandum from the county manager that praised county staff for the excellent job they did cleaning sidewalks and parking lots of ice and snow on January 3, 1999. Those commended included Kim James, Sarge Watson, Freddie Mitchell, Randall Clark, John Byrd, Bobby Carrigan, and Luther Reid. Board members also praised emergency response agencies such as Sheriffs Office, Rescue Squad, EMS, etc.
Commissioner Robertson read a letter from the state that commended the county for presenting a financial report that revealed no instances of non-compliance. The Board also commended staff for the good audit.
Upon motion by Commissioner Watts and second by Commissioner Odom the Board voted unanimously to go into closed session to discuss personnel and to return to open session for purpose of adjournment only.
Upon motion by Commissioner Watts and second by Commissioner Robertson the Board voted unanimously to adjourn until January 19, 1999, at 7:00 p.m. in the County Commissioner's meeting room.
Charles S. Mashburn
Joel C. Harbinson, Chairman