June 5, 2001
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 in the Commissioners Room in the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
No citizens asked to speak at the Peoples Agenda. Therefore, Chairman Odom discussed several informational items including:
Ben Hines, Register of Deeds, discussed the new marriage certificates that are now available at the Register of Deeds Office. The certificates are gold trimmed and are ready to frame. Each certificate costs $5.00.
Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, informed the Board that the Hiddenite Fire Department received no matching grant from the State of North Carolina for the new substation. Mr. Greene stated that citizens in the Hiddenite area were dedicated to the construction of a new substation and would do all they could to see it built.
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman David Odom called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Dr. Jack Carver, Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, gave the invocation and Brandon Louie, student at Stony Point Elementary, led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Chairman Odom gave the Chairmans Report which included:
Commissioner Harbinson also commented on the prison issue and stated that there was a reversionary clause included in the property deed for the property purchased by the county for the prison. The reversionary clause states that the property would be reverted back to Alexander County if construction on the prison had not begun within 5 years. Commissioner Harbinson felt that Alexander County elected officials should travel to Raleigh next week to rally for the prison which would provide up to 700 jobs for the county.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Commissioner Watts made a motion to adopt the agenda as presented. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC HEARING: 2001-2002 PROPOSED BUDGET
Rick French, County Manager, conducted the public hearing on the 2001-2002 proposed Alexander County budget which totals $27,273,087 for all funds. This is a 1.5% increase from the 2000-2001 budget of $26,820,653. The General Fund budget totals $21,632,230 and contains a 2-cent tax decrease. The only increase in the budget is a 3.4% increase in water rates due to an increase from the City of Hickory.
Mr. French reviewed the following factors with the Board regarding the budget:
Mr. French stated that the budget was a "work in progress". Commissioner Robertson noted that during a normal budget cycle, the counties usually dont receive confirmation from the State until October after adopting the State budget in June or July. Mr. French stated that he was receiving mixed signals on when the State expected to approve the budget.
Commissioner Watts clarified that the $7.3 million for the schools would be funded through the ½ cent sales tax monies. Commissioner Watts discussed the county debt which included the prison, CVCC building, sheriffs vehicles (to be paid off this year), and EMS defibrillators.
Chairman Odom noted that the communications projects were being funded through the E911 surcharges.
Mr. French discussed the Undesignated Fund Balance and stated that the balance would total $3.2 million by July 1, 2001 which is equal to 13.85%. Counties are only required to keep 8% in Undesignated Fund Balance. Revenues exceeded expenditures during fiscal year 2000-2001. Mr. French noted that the county slowed spending when the State budget shortfall began to materialize. Also, $300,000 was put into Contingency as a back up. The total Fund Balance would be significantly higher than Undesignated Fund Balance.
Duane Coley, Hiddenite Center, discussed Alexander Countys yearly contribution. Alexander County began funding the Hiddenite Center in 1982 with a $10,000 contribution. Mr. Coley explained that in 1999, the county contributed $24,000 to the Hiddenite Center. The funding for 2000-2001 for the Hiddenite Center contribution was decreased for 1 year due to the funding of Alexander Community Hospital. No funding has been budgeted for 2001-2002. Mr. Coley urged the county to continue to fund the Hiddenite Center with $24,000 and stated that their ability to get State grants would be affected if the county government didnt show an active interest in the Hiddenite Center.
Chairman Odom inquired about the Hiddenite Centers annual budget. Mr. Coley responded the budget totaled just over $500,000. Commissioner Watts inquired about the grant process. Mr. Coley responded they were in a grant cycle at the present time and would begin another grant cycle in October.
Commissioner Harbinson read an article which discussed the Caldwell County proposed budget. Caldwell County is also cutting funding of nonprofit organizations due to the State budget shortfall. Commissioner Harbinson stated that the county should further look into funding the Hiddenite Center as more information is received from the State. Commissioner Watts agreed.
There being no further public comment, Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC HEARING: APPROVAL OF ROAD NAMES
Lisa Harrington, 911 Addressing Coordinator, conducted the public hearing for approval of the following road names:
Ms. Harrington stated that all road names had been checked for duplication and sound indexing.
Ms. Harrington informed the Board that petitions had been submitted to rename the following roads:
Commissioner Hammer asked if the county would be responsible for the cost of the new signs. Ms. Harrington stated that the cost of new road signs would be the responsibility of the person requesting the change, not the county. The county would be responsible for the cost if no sign had originally been posted.
There being no public comment, Commissioner Robertson made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Watts made a motion to approve the new road names and road changes. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC HEARING: TEXT AMENDMENT 01-03: ALEXANDER COUNTY ROAD NAMING ORDINANCE
Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, conducted the public hearing to present Text Amendment 01-03: Alexander County Road Naming Ordinance which was adopted in 1998. Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that she and Lisa Harrington met with Emergency Communications, Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, and the Fire Marshal in proposing the revisions to update the ordinance to current practices and procedures.
Commissioner Hammer discussed exempt farm buildings which currently do not have their own 911 address. Commissioner Hammer felt that farm buildings that are a long distance away from the owners residence should have its own 911 address in order for emergency vehicles to find the building easier if an emergency call is placed.
Ms. Turnmire stated that that Board would need to set a distance to be placed in the ordinance
Discussion was also held regarding municipalities doing their own road naming ordinance. It was stated that the Town of Taylorsville could adopt their own road naming ordinance or could be incorporated with the countys ordinance.
There being no public comment, Commissioner Watts made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to table this item until the June 21, 2001 Commissioners Meeting to allow time for the Board to review the Road Naming Ordinance and make the necessary changes. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
CONSIDERATION OF FRANCHISE AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT SERVICES GDS
Rick French, County Manager, presented the franchise agreement to provide solid waste management services with GDS. The agreement started in 1996 to provide solid waste service to the unincorporated areas in the county. Mr. French suggested the Board consider renewing the agreement for another 5 years. Mr. French stated that no action was needed tonight; the agreement was simply for review and action could be taken on June 21, 2001.
Bill Schrum, Director/Municipal Contracting with GDS, stated that the agreement included the same terms and conditions as the 1996 agreement. Commissioner Watts inquired about the fee structure rate. Mr. Schrum stated that there would be a 2 % increase in the service portion of the rate but no increase in the disposal portion. These increases are tied to the consumer price index.
The GDS franchise agreement will be considered at the June 21, 2001 Commissioners Meeting.
Commissioner Robertson suggested that Mr. French prepare RFPs (Request for Proposals) for garbage disposal service for the county landfill. Mr. French stated that he was researching the issue.
CONSIDERATION OF DOCUMENT IMAGING COMPUTER SYSTEM
Greg Cronk, Information Technology Director, presented a proposed lease for a Document Imaging System for the Department of Social Services, Health Department, and Planning & Development Department. The system would allow staff to store the estimated 1.4 million documents between the 3 departments on DVDs and allow access through the PCs already in use by staff. The documents would be scanned, indexed, and saved in computer format for easy access.
Mr. Cronk recommended a 60-month lease with Parker-Lowe and Associates. The lease would be $1,278.83 per month with an annual maintenance contract of approximately $9,000. The second proposal was from Ikon with a $2,224.34 per month contract and a $14,000 annual maintenance contract. The county already utilizes computer systems from Parker-Lowe in the Register of Deeds Office and the Clerk of Court Office. Additionally, Parker-Lowe has agreed to waive the first year maintenance costs for a savings of $9,000.
Commissioner Watts asked Ben Hines, Register of Deeds, about the imaging system currently in the Register of Deeds Office. Mr. Hines stated that it was very fast and efficient.
Commissioner Hammer asked where the imaging systems would be placed. Mr. Cronk responded 1 would be placed at DSS and 1 in the Health Department/Planning & Development Department. This imaging system would be shared between the 2 departments.
Commissioner Robertson asked about procedures to be taken regarding connections if any of these departments were to move to a different location. Mr. Cronk responded if the new location was not fiber-optic ready, the county may have to look at some type of wireless connection.
Chairman Odom asked what would be done with the old files once they were in the imaging system. It was noted that some files would have to be kept permanently and others could be destroyed.
Mr. French noted that the imaging systems were not included in the budget but could be included very easily. The funding will be taken from the DSS, Health, and Planning & Development Department budgets.
Edward Hedrick, County Attorney, stated that he had reviewed the lease contract and made suggestions which were included in the updated lease. Included in the first draft lease was an option to purchase. Mr. Hedrick suggested that that be taken out. The purchase price would be the same as the lease price which would not save the county any money.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the lease contract for a Document Imaging System for the Department of Social Services, Health Department, and Planning & Development Department. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
CONSIDERATION OF LEASE FOR DUSTY RIDGE PARK
Rick French, County Manager, presented the Dusty Ridge Access lease for the transferring of property to Alexander County. Barry Hollar, Chairman of Dusty Ridge Task Force, stated that this project began in 1993. Grading began in 1995 and a lease was signed with Duke Power. Mr. Hollar stated that there were currently 3 ball fields staked, the banks have been sewn and resewn and the concession stand is partially complete.
The lease is for 20 years. Mr. Hollar felt that the $50,000 budgeted in the 2001-2002 county budget for Dusty Ridge Park would be sufficient for Phase I of the project which includes completion of the 3 ball fields and the main parking lot. Phase II includes the playground construction and equipment and picnic area. Phase III includes 2 football/soccer fields and an additional parking lot.
Mr. Hollar stated that the Boy Scouts were interested in constructing the walking trail at the park. The walking trail will be 1.4 miles when completed. Mr. Hollar mentioned that Dusty Ridge Park would be the only park in the area that could hold regional and state tournaments.
The lease is currently being reviewed by the county insurance carrier, Sedgwick-James. Edward Hedrick, County Attorney, suggested the Board wait to consider of the lease after being reviewed by the insurance carrier.
Commissioner Robertson expressed concerns regarding a section of the lease on Page 6 which discusses FERC requirements of additional recreation facilities supplied by the Lessee. Commissioner Robertson felt the section of the lease was stating that Alexander County would be obligated to pay for additional facilities at a later date. Mr. Hedrick felt that the clause meant that Alexander County had to agree to meet to discuss the request and was not necessarily obligated to implement those changes at county expense. This is similar to all other agreements with Duke Power in the area. It was suggested that Mr. Hedrick look into the matter before consideration.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve the Dusty Ridge Access lease subject to the County Attorneys and Insurance companys approval of the lease. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted 4 for the motion (Commissioners Hammer, Harbinson, Odom, and Watts) and 1 against the motion (Commissioner Robertson). Motion carried.
REPORT ON COUNTY MILEAGE AND MEAL ALLOWANCE
Rick French, County Manager, requested that the Alexander county mileage and meal allowance be increased to coincide with the IRS guidelines. As of January 2001, the IRS guidelines for mileage allows 34.5 cents per mile and a standard per diem rate of $25 per day for meals with higher rates in certain high cost areas including Raleigh at $38 per day. This rate is broken down into 20 % for breakfast and lunch and 60 % for dinner. Alexander County currently allows 31 cents for mileage and $5 for breakfast, $7 for lunch, and $13 for dinner.
Nan Campbell, Director of Social Services, researched the rates of several other counties. After researching the rates, Mr. French made a recommendation of $6 for breakfast, $8 for lunch, and $15 for dinner.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the county mileage rate at 34.5 cents and meal allowance at $6 for breakfast, $8 for lunch, and $15 for dinner. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
APPOINTMENTS AND REAPPOINTMENTS
Chairman Odom presented the following board and committee appointments and re-appointments:
Re-appoint James Alan Keever 3 year-term
Re-appoint Van Tarlton 3 year-term
Re-appoint Sterling Howard 3-year term
Re-appoint Keith Hertzler (no specific term)
Nominate Susie Barkley 2-year term
Appoint Commissioner Odom (no specific term)
Appoint Marie Shindler (no specific term)
Commissioner Hammer made an announcement that he had been appointed to the NCACC agriculture committee. He, along with 16 other county commissioners, were appointed to represent agriculture aspects of each county.
Chairman Odom commended Commissioner Hammer for this appointment.
BUDGET AMEMDMENT: PUBLIC INFORMATION BUDGET 2000-2001
Rick French, County Manager, presented budget amendment #35, which is listed under Consent Agenda, for the Public Information Budget 2000-2001 totaling $10,830. Included in the budget amendment was $3,900 for the Public Information Officer salary and $5,500 for computer and office supplies for the month of June.
Commissioner Robertson stated that he did not disagree with the countys need for the Public Information Officer position but felt that the hire was done in poor timing since there had been a budget freeze during the 2000-2001 budget year. Commissioner Robertson also inquired about a job description and asked what type of duties the Public Information Officer would be performing. Mr. French responded the Public Information Officer would be responsible for duties such as press releases, web page work, government channel, annual county reports, special projects, the new meeting room in CVCC building, etc.
Commissioner Hammer agreed with Commissioner Robertson and felt that it was bad timing to hire the Public Information Officer during the 2000-2001 fiscal year. Commissioner Harbinson felt the county needed the position and that it was not a big issue since there were only 3 weeks left in the 2000-2001 fiscal year.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to move budget amendment #35 out of Consent Agenda to be voted upon separately. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve budget amendment #35 for the Public Information Budget at a total of $10,830. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted 3 for the motion (Commissioners Harbinson, Odom, and Watts) and 2 against the motion (Commissioners Hammer and Robertson). Motion carried.
SECOND MEETING SCHEDULE IN JUNE AND RESCHEDULING JULY COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MEETING
Rick French, County Manager, stated that a second meeting needed to be scheduled in June to consider the budget ordinance for 2001-2002, budget amendments for 2000-2001, and other necessary county business. Discussion was held regarding possibly holding the meeting on June 21, 2001.
Mr. French stated that there had also been some interest in holding an additional budget work session. Discussion was held regarding possibly holding the meeting on June 12, 2001.
The July 3, 2001 Commissioners Meeting was to be rescheduled for July 10, 2001 at 7:00 PM.
Commissioner Watts made a motion to hold the budget work session on June 12, 2001at 6:00 PM; the second Commissioners Meeting on June 21, 2001 at 7:00 PM; and the July Commissioners Meeting on July 10, 2001 at 6:45 PM. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Rick French, County Manager, discussed several items which included:
Commissioner Watts made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Chairman Odom also mentioned the resolution from the Union County Board of Commissioners in opposition of changing the Veterans Day Holiday to be celebrated on Election Day and asked that it be placed on the agenda for the next meeting. It was suggested that the Board move ahead with voting on the resolution. Chairman Odom agreed. Commissioner Watts made a motion to approve the resolution in opposition to changing Veterans Day Holiday in order to be celebrated on Election Day. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
CLOSED SESSION N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(4) Economic Development
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 9:15 PM for the purpose of discussing economic development matters pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(4). Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
There being no further business, Commissioner Watts made a motion to adjourn at 9:25 PM. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
David S. Odom, Chairman Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board