January 6, 2003

PRESENT: W. Darrell Robertson, Chairman
William L. Hammer, Vice-Chairman
Wesley E. Bolick
W. Norris Keever
David S. Odom
STAFF: Rick French, County Manager
Jamie Millsaps, Clerk to the Board
David Icenhour, Human Resources Director
MEDIA: Gary Herman, The Taylorsville Times
Norris Keever, WACB Radio


The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting on Monday, January 6, 2003 in the Commissioners’ Room of the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.


Chairman Robertson called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM.


Rev. William Wease, Pastor of Linney’s Grove Baptist Church, gave the invocation and Kyndal Payne, student at East Alexander Middle School, led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.


Chairman Robertson referred to the information provided in the agenda packets in which the Board had a chance to review prior to this meeting.


Rick French, County Manager, requested the addition of a Tax Refund Request in the amount of $846.49 to the Consent Agenda. Mr. French also requested that the Board pull Budget Amendment #26 (to budget for the purchase of a new ambulance and increase line items in the EMS Department) from the agenda to be considered at a later meeting.

Commissioner Hammer made a motion to adopt the agenda as amended. Commissioner Keever seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.


Dent Allison, President of Shook Builder Supply and Wittenburg Springs Subdivision Developer, expressed some concerns he had with the Hi-Vue Manufactured Housing Park located across the street from the Wittenburg Springs Subdivision.

Mr. Allison stated that the Wittenburg Springs Subdivision had a total of 244 lots, 144 of which were developed. At an average cost of $160,000 per lot, there is a potential tax base of $39 million and potential tax revenues of $195,000 at a tax rate of $50 per $1,000. Mr. Allison noted that there were currently 53 lots sold in the Wittenburg Spring Subdivision for a total cost of $8,480,000 which generated $42,400 in present tax revenue. Mr. Allison stated that the Hi-Vue Manufactured Housing Park had a tax base of $185,600 and generated $928 in tax revenue.

Mr. Allison expressed his concerns with the Hi-Vue Manufactured Housing Park which included the following:

The property is not maintained
  • Lowers property value surrounding the property and in the vicinity.
  • Unsightly
  • Perceived as an "economically depressed/backward area"
The lack of paved and State maintained road which will not be taken over by the State
  • Poor access in adverse weather conditions or even in good conditions, wear on county vehicles.
  • School system is not allowed to pick up students in the manufactured housing park but on Rink Dam Road which becomes a safety issue.
Additional demands for County services
  • Sheriff, fire departments, EMS, sanitation, and Animal Control
There is no sanitary sewer system, only septic tanks
  • Problems with ground water contamination
  • Unpleasant smells
  • Control on diseases and vermin
Private water system
  • Does not meet State standards, will not be taken over
  • Subject to numerous failures and breakdowns
Garbage and refuse
  • Burned on site or dumped in surrounding neighborhoods
Large Pet Population
  • Animals run wild, no leash law in Alexander County
  • Large pet population is unvaccinated causing a high possibility of rabies
Trailer park regulations are not being enforced by the owner
  • Non solid or continuous materials surrounding the bottom of trailers
  • Trailers not maintained or kept up

At this time, Mr. Allison distributed pictures of the Hi-Vue Manufactured Housing Park to the Board. Mr. Allison requested that the Board consider better standards for new and existing manufactured housing parks such as mandatory garbage pickup, buffering, State maintained roads, and water and sewer regulations.

Chairman Robertson informed Mr. Allison the Board had discussed mobile home requirements at the last Commissioners’ Meeting and had agreed to review the current standards for possible amendments. Chairman Robertson noted that the Board would also consider minimum housing standards that would affect all housing, not just mobile homes. Chairman Robertson stated that staff would keep Mr. Allison informed in regards to the possible changes in standards.

Mr. Allison felt that the owners of these manufactured housing parks would not make improvements until the standards were changed and they were forced to make improvements. Mr. Allison felt that a 5-year limitation would be a reasonable time limit for manufactured housing park owners to bring their mobile homes up to standard.

Commissioner Odom asked Mr. Allison if he had spoken with the owner of the Hi-Vue Manufactured Housing Park. Mr. Allison replied that he had spoken with the owner several times and had offered to buy the property. Mr. Allison explained that the land and the mobile homes were owned by separate individuals and he noted that the land owner was not interested in selling the property.

Commissioner Bolick stated that he had spoken with Mr. Allison personally and had also visited the Hi-Vue Manufactured Housing Park. Commissioner Bolick agreed that the park lacked in appearance. However, Commissioner Bolick noted that he had seen several houses that looked worse than these mobile homes. Commissioner Bolick felt that the Board definitely needed to consider a beautification ordinance or minimum housing standards to apply to everyone in the County.


Nan Campbell, Director of Social Services, gave an update on the Child Protection Team and Leeanne Whisnant, Health Director, gave an update on the Child Fatality Prevention Team which included the following information:

Child Protection Team

Ms. Campbell stated that the Child Protection Team was established by law as a means for the State and local communities to form a partnership to strengthen child protection. Ms. Campbell stated that the Child Protection Team was an interdisciplinary group of community representatives that met bimonthly to promote a community-wide approach to the problem of child abuse and neglect.

Ms. Campbell stated that categories of cases reviewed by the Child Protection Team were based on local need and included children known to be at a higher risk of subsequent injury or death as a result of child abuse, neglect, or dependency. Alexander County chose to review the following:

    • Substantiated cases of abuse, including sexual abuse
    • Child fatalities
    • Reports of neglect of a child under age one, especially when made by a medical provider
    • Cases in which the department has substantiated two reports within a specific period, regardless of the type of report or referral source.

Ms. Campbell stated that during the 2002 calendar year through December, the Department of Social Services received 394 reports alleging abuse and neglect of children. Of those reports, 280 were accepted for investigation. Ms. Campbell noted that there was 100 fewer investigations in 2002 than in 2001, although the number of reports remained consistent. Ms. Campbell reported that the normal substantiation rate for Alexander County averaged about 40 percent.

Ms. Campbell stated that the Child Protection Team had seen less alcohol and drug related cases in 2002 but had seen more poor parenting skills, poverty, and lack of proper parenting knowledge. Ms. Campbell stated the Child Protection Team was continuing to work to provide parenting skills training.

Child Fatality Prevention Team

Ms. Whisnant stated that the Child Fatality Prevention Team reviewed all child fatalities which occurred during the past year. Ms. Whisnant noted that the families of the children were not contacted during the reviews to prevent causing any further grief. The Child Fatality Prevention Team reviews the fatalities and reports to staff with a recommendation to hopefully prevent these fatalities and learn from them.

Ms. Whisnant reported that there were three fatalities in 2001 which included one birth defect, one perinatal condition (prematurity), and one motor vehicle accident. Ms. Whisnant stated that from 1997 to 2001, Alexander County had 25 child fatalities and she also noted that the NC fatality rate had dropped 4.6%.

Ms. Whisnant stated that since the inception of the Child Fatality Prevention Team in 1995, the team had been responsible for recommending several programs such as the Graduated Drivers License Law, gun safety, and the distribution of smoke detectors and infant car seats. Ms. Whisnant also noted that the Child Fatality Prevention Team worked with other County agencies such as the Partnership for Children to keep children safe and healthy.

Chairman Robertson asked Ms. Campbell and Ms. Whisnant if minimum housing standards would benefit them any. Ms. Campbell replied that it would benefit the Child Protection Team because the team saw many cases of housing that was not maintained and was not a healthy environment for children. Ms. Whisnant stated that the standards would be beneficial to the Child Fatality Prevention Team as well.


Chairman Robertson recognized Nan Campbell, Director of Social Services, who will be retiring at the end of January 2003. Chairman Robertson stated that Ms. Campbell had been with Alexander County for 40 years and had been a very dedicated and active DSS Director. Chairman Robertson, on behalf of the entire Board, conveyed his appreciation to Ms. Campbell for a job well done and wished her the very best in her future endeavors.

Commissioner Bolick stated that approximately 4 years ago, the County was without a County Manager. Commissioner Bolick stated that several County employees including Ms. Campbell helped out and filled the gap until the Interim Manager was hired. Commissioner Bolick thanked Ms. Campbell personally for her efforts.


Barbara Poole, Veterans Service Director, gave an update on the ordering, placement, distribution, and current location of the Veteran’s Flag Holders which included the following information:

A.  In January 2002, Commissioner Odom asked Ms. Poole to secure lists of veteran’s graves from all churches in Alexander County.
B.  Letters were mailed by Ms. Poole to 101 churches in January 2002. Addresses were secured from the 911 Addressing Department and the Chamber of Commerce.
C.  Of the 101 letters that were mailed, 20 were returned. A new mailing was made if a different address was available.
D.  In March 2002, all churches that had not responded to the letter were telephoned. A message was left if no one was available to take the call.
E.  The following took place in April and May 2002:
a.  A total of 28 churches responded with a total count of 927 veteran’s graves.
b.  A total of 164 basic brass flag holders with rods were ordered at a cost of $10.50 each ($1,846.75 with shipping).
c.  Mr. Gene Thomas, member of the DAV, assisted Commissioner Odom in this order as he had previously worked on this type of project. Mr. Thomas picked up the flag holders from the County Office and distributed them to the local veteran organizations.
d.  Ms. Poole gave Mr. Thomas a copy of the 28 lists of veteran’s graves that had been submitted.
F.  In November 2002, Mr. Thomas ran an article in the Taylorsville Times advising the local churches to submit their list, if they had not already, to Mr. Thomas or to the Veteran’s Office. Ms. Poole has received 4 names to date.
G.  The following is the current status of 130 of the 164 flag holders as of December 2002:

Mr. Allie Robertson – 57 to be placed at Stony Point Cemetery

Bill Randlett – 60 to be distributed

Gene Thomas – 13 to be distributed

Mr. Thomas is to submit a list of distribution for the other 34 flag holders.

H.  Dale Chapman with the American Legion advised Ms. Poole that the VFW Post 5466 and the American Legion maintained the graves at the Taylorsville Cemetery. Mr. Chapman felt that these type markers would not be suitable for this cemetery as mowing would destroy them. Therefore, they did not wish to receive any flag holders for placement.

Chairman Robertson asked if the Board had originally voted to purchase a certain number of flag holders. Commissioner Odom explained that the Board voted to allocate $1,500 towards the purchase of the standard U.S. flag holders. Commissioner Odom stated that some citizens had informed him that they would like for the flag holders to show what war the veteran served in; however, Commissioner Odom stated that those markers would be much more expensive. Therefore, the Board agreed to purchase the standard U.S. flag holders which would cover all branches of service.

Chairman Robertson stated that a follow-up plan was needed as well as a system for getting information in for placing orders and making sure the flag holders are delivered to the appropriate cemeteries. Chairman Robertson stated that he would like to have this issue resolved by Memorial Day. The Board agreed.

Commissioner Odom suggested that someone from County staff assist Ms. Poole in this endeavor since Ms. Poole had many other responsibilities in the Veteran’s Office. Commissioner Odom felt that this person could do some field coordination or distribution of flag holders.

Chairman Robertson felt that the flag holders could be ordered in bulk and stored until they were to be distributed. Ms. Poole stated that if the churches would send her lists of veteran graves, she could determine where the flag holders were to be distributed.

Commissioner Hammer discussed the Taylorsville Cemetery and asked if the Board could purchase a different kind of flag holder for that cemetery that would not be destroyed by mowing. Ms. Poole stated that the Board could order flag holder with a concrete footing but she noted that the flag holders would be much more expensive. Ms. Poole also stated that it was possible to bore a hole into the base of the grave marker but she noted that such action would require a release form from each family because boring the hole could possibly crack the grave marker. Commissioner Keever noted that boring these holes would need to be done by a grave monument professional which would also be very costly.

Commissioner Hammer asked Ms. Poole for a copy of the churches that had responded to the letters sent requesting lists of veteran graves. Ms. Poole stated that she would give copies to Jamie Millsaps, Clerk to the Board, to be given to the Board. Commissioner Hammer stated that he would be willing to contact some churches himself. Commissioner Bolick agreed to do so as well. Commissioner Hammer suggested that Ms. Poole get a few of the flag holders from Mr. Thomas to show to these churches if needed.

The Board members conveyed their appreciation to Ms. Poole for her service and for handling this project.


Chairman Robertson stated that representatives from McGill Associates, who were present at the meeting, would be discussing some issues related to contracts with the Board during Closed Session. Chairman Robertson noted that McGill Associates had been looking at Alexander County’s water system and investigating what grants were available for water lines.

Rick French, County Manager, reported that the Millersville Road water line would be completed this week and he noted that the Rink Dam CDBG project began today. Mr. French stated that Rural Center project for Rink Dam was submitted to the State for review as well as the Antioch Church Road project.


Chairman Robertson presented the following appointments and reappointments:

Appoint Jan Schoepplar 3 years
Appoint Max Smith 2 years
Appoint Shirley Mayes 2 years
Reappoint Janice Jones 3 years
Appoint Sallie Hartis 3 years
Appoint Eric Burgess 3 years
Appoint Crystal Sain 2 years
Appoint Hayden Bentley 2 years
Reappoint Barbara Carrigan 2 years
Reappoint Susie Barkley 2 years
Reappoint Tammy Lippard 1 year
Reappoint Ingrid Townsend 1 year
Reappoint Tony Jones 1 year
Reappoint Rick French 1 year
Reappoint Sarah Kirkman 1 year
Reappoint Kimberley Taylor 1 year
Appoint Commissioner William Hammer
Appoint Ray Combs 3 years
Reappoint Lloyd Jarvis 1 year
Reappoint Don Harrington 1 year
Reappoint Coy Reese 2 years
Also included were commissioner appointments to:

Chairman Robertson stated that the Board would like to take a look at the individuals serving on all County boards and committees and their length of terms. Chairman Robertson felt that a system was needed in order to insure that experienced citizens were serving where needed most. Chairman Robertson suggested tabling the proposed appointments and reappointments until the next Commissioners’ Meeting to allow time for the Board to review this information.

Commissioner Odom made a motion to table the proposed appointments and reappointments until the next Commissioners’ Meeting. Commissioner Keever seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Chairman Robertson also noted that due to the concerns with the convenience centers and the landfill and the expense of solid waste, the Board would be reinstatting the Solid Waste Committee at the next Commissioners’ Meeting.

Commissioner Odom stated that he was aware that Commissioner Keever had an interest in serving on the DSS Board. Commissioner Odom stated that he would like to continue to serve on the DSS Board until the transition of the new Director was completed. At that time, Commissioner Keever will be appointed to take Commissioner Odom’s place on the board. Commissioner Odom stated that the DSS Board would soon be discussing some construction issues which Commissioner Odom felt Commissioner Keever should be apart of.


Chairman Robertson stated that the Board needed to designate a voting delegate for the Legislative Goals Conference to be held on January 16-17, 2003 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center in the Research Triangle Park.

Chairman Robertson made a motion to nominate Commissioner Keever to serve as the voting delegate for Alexander County since he would be attending the conference. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.


Rick French, County Manager, discussed the purpose of Budget Amendments #23, #24, and #25 which included the following information.

    1. Budget Amendment #23 – To budget for the transfer to the Solid Waste fund in lieu of commissioners’ pay increase 2002-2003. To budget for the purchase of sponsor signs at Dusty Ridge ballpark. To budget for employee merit bonus. To budget for the increase in Health Department services and corresponding local receipts.
    2. Budget Amendment #24 – To budget for the transfer from the General Fund in lieu of Commissioner’s pay increase for 2002-2003.
    3. Budget Amendment #25 – To increase the budget to cover school system’s Central Office project.

Mr. French noted that Budget Amendment #26, which was pulled from the agenda earlier, was to budget for the purchase of a new ambulance and increase line items in the EMS Department. Mr. French stated that he needed to look at some items before the Board considered Budget Amendment #26.

Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve Budget Amendments #23, #24, and #25. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.


The following issues were discussed during Other Business:

    1. Rick French, County Manager, informed the Board that the reception honoring the retirement of Nan Campbell, Social Services Director, was scheduled for Friday, January 10, 2003 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the Senior Center.
    2. Mr. French stated that David Icenhour, Human Resources Director, had prepared some changes to the County’s Sexual Harassment Policy. The proposed policy is now referred to as the Unlawful Workplace Harassment Policy. Mr. French noted that a copy was enclosed in the front of the Board’s agenda books. County staff would like to place this on the agenda for the January 20, 2003 Commissioners’ Meeting or the February 3, 2003 Commissioners’ Meeting.
    3. Chairman Robertson suggested holding a work session on January 20, 2003 after the meeting with Senator R.B. Sloan and Representative Edgar Starnes in order to begin reviewing the proposed minimum housing standards. Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, informed the Board that the Planning & Zoning Commission had met on January 2, 2003 and was ready to present a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners when requested. The Board agreed to hold a work session on January 20, 2003 to begin reviewing the minimum housing standards and to hear the recommendation from the Planning & Zoning Commission.


  1. Tax Release Requests for December $6,363.67 and Tax Refund Requests for December $25,430.68.
  2. FEMA Resolution.
  3. Additional Tax Refund Request for December $846.49.

Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.


Commissioner Keever made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 7:04 PM to discuss contractual matters and personnel issues pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5 & 6). Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.


There being no further business, Commissioner Keever made a motion to adjourn at 8:45 PM. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.



W. Darrell Robertson, Chairman                 Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board