March 19, 2002
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held a Special Called Meeting on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 in the Commissioners Room of the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Harbinson called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
Chairman Harbinson stated that a opening ceremony for the Juvenile Detention Center would be held on April 9, 2002 at 11:00 AM.
Commissioner Watts explained that David Icenhour, Human Resources/Public Information Director had been working on a project involving local students to celebrate County Government Week which is April 8-14, 2002. Commissioner Watts explained that one student would be chosen from each school to serve as county commissioner for a day.
Chairman Harbinson also recognized Commissioner Odom, Commissioner Watts, and Fire Marshal Russell Greene for their participation in the Miss Apple City Womanless Beauty Pageant held on Saturday, March 16, 2002. Commissioner Odom was crowned Apple City Queen, Commissioner Watts was crowned Apple City Princess, and Mr. Greene was crowned Most Beautiful. It was noted that all proceeds from the pageant would benefit the Alexander County Special Olympics.
Commissioner Watts stated that he had spoken with Lorrie Zimmerman, ADW Architects, about the construction of the CVCC/Alexander Center. Commissioner Watts noted that plans for the building had been submitted to the State. The CVCC/Alexander Center will be discussed further at the April 2, 2002 Commissioners Meeting.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Commissioner Watts made a motion to adopt the agenda as presented. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION FUNDING
Chairman Harbinson introduced Alexander County Schools System staff present at the meeting which included Superintendent Jack Hoke, Board of Education Chairman Dale Clary, and Finance Officer Sharon Mehaffey.
Mr. Clary conveyed his appreciation for the cooperation and the good working relationship between the Board of Commissioners and Board of Education.
Mr. Clary discussed the school projects completed in the last 4 years which included a 90,000 square foot addition to Alexander Central High School, the new Ellendale Elementary School, and a new Wittenburg Elementary School. Mr. Clary noted that half-cent sales tax monies were used to pay for each of these projects. Mr. Clary also mentioned that staff would like to concentrate more on programs and support personnel once all school construction projects are completed.
Mr. Hoke presented a request for the Board of Commissioners to contact the Local Government Commission (LGC) in order to borrow $4.8 million for additional classrooms at East and West Alexander Middle Schools, Sugar Loaf Elementary School, and Stony Point Elementary School to be paid back with half-cent sales tax monies. Mr. Hoke stated that the classroom additions would include:
Mr. Hoke stated that the classrooms at Sugar Loaf and Stony Point would be for K-1 classrooms and would include self-contained rest rooms. East and West Alexander Middle Schools will have the group restrooms. Mr. Hoke stated that these classroom additions would meet the needs of the county as far ahead as the 2008-2009 school year in regard to student body size and classroom space.
Mr. Hoke stated that staff projections were to bid the projects in June, open bids in July, and begin construction shortly after. Mr. Hoke mentioned that plans were to be completed with construction and ready to open schools for the 2003-2004 school year but noted that the schools could still open if the additions were not completed in time.
Commissioner Robertson discussed sewer requirements and noted that 3 or 4 schools were on their own septic system. Mr. Hoke replied that he would be meeting with the architect and Environmental Health staff tomorrow, March 20, 2002, and would know more about the details after the meeting.
Commissioner Robertson asked if sewer was included in the $4.8 million request. Mr. Hoke replied that sewer was not included in the $4.8 million request but explained that there would possibly be some half-cent sales tax monies that could be used if sewer improvements were required for a school.
Commissioner Watts asked how many of the new classrooms at Sugar Loaf would be replacement classrooms. Mr. Hoke replied that some of the new classrooms would be replacements for the 25-year old "temporary" classrooms.
Chairman Harbinson asked for actual figures for financed school projects over the last 4 years. Mr. Hoke gave the following figures:
Wittenburg Elementary School
Project paid with State bond monies from 1993 bond
Cost: $8.8 million
Mr. Hoke noted that the Blue Ribbon Committee had established 3 top priorities that included a new Wittenburg Elementary School, a new Ellendale Elementary School, and moving the 9th grade to ACHS. Mr. Hoke stated that he was proud to report that all of those projects had been completed. Chairman Harbinson noted that he was proud to say that all of these projects were paid with half-cent sales tax monies and noted that these improvements were made with no effect on property taxes whatsoever.
Mr. Hoke projected the ability to borrow an additional $8 million within the next 5 years for another new elementary school but noted that this amount would commit the remainder of the half-cent sales tax monies for the next 10 years.
Commissioner Robertson again stated that his only concern was with sewer and asked if any information had been sent to the County Manager in order to prepare a proposal for the LGC. Mr. French replied that no information had been collected yet and that staff would not start the process until a decision was made by the Board of Commissioners.
Mr. French noted that the LGC would meet the first week of May. Mr. French stated that he would like to couple the school project with the DSS/ESC project. Commissioner Robertson asked how long it would take before county staff was informed of the LGCs decision. Mr. French replied that staff would receive word in late May and noted that funding would be received within 90 days if approved.
Commissioner Hammer asked if each school project would be bid individually or collectively. Mr. Hoke replied that some of the projects may be bid separately but reiterated that he would be meeting with the architect tomorrow to discuss the details.
Chairman Harbinson asked how Alexander County compared with other counties in regard to construction and facility needs. Mr. Hoke responded that most surrounding counties were having to consider school bond referenda. Burke had considered a $70 million bond and was no considering a $25 million bond for a new high school. Catawba citizens rejected a $70 million bond. Caldwell is considering a $30 million bond. The Board agreed that a bond of similar amounts would never pass in Alexander County
There being no further discussion regarding the proposed project, Commissioner Watts made a motion to accept the recommendation of the Board of Education and move forward with instructing the County Manager to work with LGC in order to borrow $4.8 million for the proposed project improvements. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Odom suggested that Commissioner Watts set up a meeting with the Board of Education at a later date to discuss the progress of the projects.
Ellendale Elementary School
Commissioner Robertson inquired about the status of the new Ellendale Elementary School.
Mr. Hoke stated that a construction meeting would be held on Tuesday, March 26, 2002. Mr. Hoke also noted that Components A & B would be completed by April 30, 2002 and that Component C would be completed on May 15, 2002. Staff will begin moving into the new building in early June 2002.
Mr. Hoke mentioned that the roof was complete as well as the heating. The curbing is up and the interior painting and cabinet work are progressing well.
Mr. Hoke stated that he met with the Ellendale Ruritans on Monday, March 18, 2002 and noted that they were very excited about the new school.
LILEDOUN AND RINK DAM ROAD 2001 CDBG WATER PROJECT
The following agreements were discussed:
Agreement between WPCOG and Alexander County for Grant Assistance
Rick French, County Manager, presented the Agreement between the Western Piedmont Council of Governments and Alexander County for Grant Assistance. Mr. French recommended approval of this agreement.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the Agreement between the WPCOG and Alexander County for Grant Assistance. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Agreement for Engineering Services
Mr. French also presented an Agreement for Engineering Services. Mr. French notified the Board that he and Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, had interviewed 3 engineering firms and recommended Martin-McGill Associates.
Mr. French stated that approval of these agreements would enable the county to move forward with the CDBG project to provide water on Liledoun Road and Rink Dam Road. The $794,000 grant requires a 10% match, approximately $150,000, and will serve 105 households.
Commissioner Robertson noted some concerns with Section 2.2.4 in the agreement which states "Coordinate the provision of documents necessary to assist the OWNER in obtaining any right-of-way easements or encroachment agreements from public bodies, entities or persons necessary for satisfactory construction of the project. Actual preparation of any required field surveys and legal descriptions shall be furnished by the OWNER or shall be provided as Additional Services in Section 3." Commissioner Robertson asked who would be doing the surveying. Andy Lovingood, Martin-McGill, explained that if a right-of-way easement or encroachment were needed, Martin-McGill staff would do the surveying. Mr. Lovingood noted that it was unlikely that easements or encroachments would be necessary.
Commissioner Robertson also expressed concerns with Section 2.3.2 which states "Consult with, and advise the OWNER as to the acceptability of contractors and subcontractors and make recommendations as to the lowest responsible bidder." Commissioner Robertson asked if there would be any assurance that the bidder was responsible before opening bids and suggested pre-qualifying bidders.
Chairman Harbinson agreed and asked if there was some way to prescreen so that and "unqualified" bidders did not waste their money by bidding.
Gene Haynes, City of Hickory Public Works, stated that the City of Hickory only advertised for bids locally so that staff didnt have to worry about outsiders that have no track record of responsibility.
Commissioner Robertson also had concerns with Section 2.5.1 which states "Prepare for the OWNER a set of reproducible record prints of drawings showing those changes made during the construction process, based on the marked-up prints, drawings and other data furnished." Commissioner Robertson asked if Alexander County could get electronic data as well in order to keep the new GIS system up-to-date. Commissioner Robertson noted that Martin-McGill staff could install the electronic data if they did not want to turn over the information to county staff.
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the Agreement for Engineering Services with Martin-McGill Associates to include amendments made by Commissioner Robertson. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CENTER SUPPLEMENTAL GRANTS PROGRAM
Rick French, County Manager, explained that Alexander Countys Tier designation had been lowered to a Tier 3 which qualifies the county for more grant funding with lower matches. Mr. French noted that Alexander County was eligible for a $400,000 water supplemental grant which requires a 10% match. Mr. French noted that this would enable the county to complete the lines from Oxford Dam Bridge along Rink Dam Road to Highway 127 and replace the lines at Wayside Church from 2-inch lines to 8-inch lines.
Mr. French also stated that Alexander County was eligible for a $3 million sewer grant which would also require a 10% match. Mr. French explained that in order to be eligible for the sewer grant, the county must first complete a sewer feasibility study. Mr. French notified the Board that a $40,000 grant was available for the sewer feasibility study.
Denny Martin, Martin-McGill, stated that he, Fire Marshal Russell Greene, and Gene Haynes, City of Hickory Public Works, had been working together in regard to these grants. Mr. Martin also notified the Board that a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) needed to be completed and noted that he, Mr. Greene, and Andy Lovingood were working to complete the CIP. The CIP is a 20-year plan for water.
Mr. Martin explained that to be eligible for the sewer grant, an area in the county must be demonstrated through the feasibility study to be eligible for a sewer system. Mr. Martin stated Bethlehem was ideal for sewer because there is population of approximately 4,000 which leaves a potential of 1,300 sewer customers. Bethlehem is also ideal because the area would have access to Hickorys sewer lines since Alexander County does not have its own treatment plant. Mr. Martin explained that the feasibility study would be completed and submitted during the September cycle for the $3 million grant.
Mr. French presented two resolutions and a Water Conservation Plan and recommended approval of each in order to move forward with the application for the water grant. Mr. French noted that the Water Conservation Plan would add points needed to be eligible for the grant.
Commissioner Odom made a motion to approve the two water resolutions and the Water Conservation Plan. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Mr. French informed the Board that the conveyance would have to be addressed before applying for the sewer grant. Mr. French suggested a conditional conveyance to allow time to work out some details.
Commissioner Watts made a motion to proceed with applying for the sewer grant inclusive of allowing the County Manager to draw up a letter of temporary conveyance to satisfy the needs of the grant process. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Mr. French also noted that the CIP was not finalized but recommended approval in order to receive additional points toward the grant.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to authorize the County Manager to use the current Water/Sewer Survey to put together a Capital Improvement Plan for our system. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Several items were discussed during Other Business including the following:
Commissioner Watts made a motion to move the April 2, 2002 Commissioners Meeting to 6:30 PM and adjourn by 8:00 PM in order to meet with Town of Taylorsville officials. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
CLOSED SESSION N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6) PERSONNEL
Commissioner Watts made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 7:40 PM to discuss personnel issues pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6). Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
There being no further business, Commissioner Hammer made a motion to adjourn at 8:00 PM. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Joel C. Harbinson, Chairman Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board