|BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
March 17, 2003
|W. Darrell Robertson, Chairman
|William L. Hammer, Vice-Chairman
|Wesley E. Bolick
|W. Norris Keever
|David S. Odom
|Rick French, County Manager
|Jamie Millsaps, Clerk to the Board
|David Icenhour, Human Resources Director
|Gary Herman, The Taylorsville Times
|Norris Keever, WACB Radio
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held its regular
meeting on Monday, March 17, 2003 in the Commissioners Room of the Alexander County
Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Robertson called the meeting to order at 6:02 PM.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commissioner Bolick gave the invocation and Commissioner Hammer
led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Chairman Robertson requested the addition of a Resolution to
Approve the Request of Grant Assistance from the Rural Center Supplemental Grant Program
for Water Line Extensions along NC Highway 127, Antioch Church Road, and Caldwell Pond
Road during Agenda Item #4 (Report on Water Projects).
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to adopt the agenda as amended.
Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT UPDATE
Keith Hertzler, Chamber of Commerce and EDC Director, gave an
update on economic development activity during the last few months which included the
- Mr. Hertzler informed the Board that he regularly attended the meetings of several
committees including the Workforce Development Board, Future Forward which was started by
Congressman Ballenger, Region E Development Board, Job Link, and the Rural Economic
- In an effort to save money and paper, the Chamber of Commerce has begun sending
CD-Rom business cards to individuals and industries interested in relocating to this area.
The CD-Rom business cards include pictures of the County, building information, the
incentive policy, etc.
- Within the next 60 days, the Chamber of Commerce will complete a full color 16-page
welcome and membership guide for Alexander County. The guide will also include important
information about the County such as history, agriculture, industry, recreation, etc.
- Mr. Hertzler informed the Board that, since the disassociation from the Charlotte
Regional Partnership on March 7, 2003, he had spoken with surrounding counties in regard
to forming a new partnership. Mr. Hertzler stated that the surrounding counties were
interested but felt that forming a new partnership would require a tremendous amount of
time and effort. There was also some concerns expressed with county funding that would be
required to form a new partnership. Mr. Hertzler, however, requested that the Chamber of
Commerce/EDC have the lead role if a new partnership was formed in the future.
- In an effort to provide the same information as the Charlotte Regional Partnership,
the Chamber of Commerce is striving to make www.alexandercountyedc.com available as soon
as possible. The web site will feature information on available industrial and retail
buildings, the incentive policy, county demographics, etc.
- Mr. Hertzler discussed the incentive policy and he stated that staff was
considering adding a job creation clause to the policy which would allow for better
incentives for an industry that created more jobs.
- Mr. Hertzler informed the Board that the Chamber of Commerce had been seeing an
increase in citizens wanting to start their own business and he noted that the Chamber had
received 3 inquiries this year mainly from plastic industries. These industries were
looking for buildings in the 200,000 square foot range which are not present in Alexander
County. Mr. Hertzler stated that he had received another inquiry from a product
warehousing company for a 10,000 square foot building and 50 to 60 acres and he noted that
there would soon be a company moving into the Industrial Park. Mr. Hertzler mentioned that
a current company in the County would be expanding in the near future, mainly for
warehousing. Mr. Hertzler also stated that he was constantly receiving calls from the
retail and food industry.
Mr. Hertzler informed the Board that Alexander County had again
been designated as a Tier 3 county. Mr. Hertlzer requested a work session with the Board
in order to discuss economic development in the County, the direction of the economy, and
a 5-year economic strategic plan for the County. The Board was also in favor of scheduling
a work session in the future. Chairman Robertson also felt that the job creation clause in
the incentive policy should also be discussed at the work session.
Commissioner Bolick asked if the Chamber of Commerce had
researched the possibility of any type of bi-product businesses to support the new state
prison such as a hotel or motel. Mr. Hertzler replied that there was a hotel chain looking
at Alexander County but he felt that the chain would want the County to help financially.
Commissioner Hammer asked if any industry had ever qualified for
the incentive policy in the past. Mr. Hertzler replied that Textron, who was to be located
in the Industrial Park, had qualified to benefit from the incentive policy. However, due
to the economy since September 11, 2001, Textron decided not to relocate to Alexander
Commissioner Bolick asked if there was anything that could be done
to entice large chain restaurants to locate in Alexander County. Mr. Hertlzer stated that
large chain restaurants would not locate in Alexander County because there could be no
alcohol sales. Mr. Hertzler explained that alcohol sales was where these restaurants made
the most profit. Commissioner Bolick asked if the Chamber of Commerce received inquiry
calls from these types of restaurants in regard to alcohol sales. Mr. Hertzler stated that
he usually received 3 or 4 inquiry calls per week from local citizens and chain restaurant
Chairman Robertson felt that Alexander County did not have the
concentrated population to sustain a large chain restaurant. Chairman Robertson also noted
that approximately 57% of the County population worked outside of the county, causing
these people to spend their money in the county in which they worked.
The Board conveyed its appreciation to the Chamber of Commerce and
to Mr. Hertzler.
ALEXANDER COUNTY TAX UPDATE
Luther Stocks, Tax Administrator, presented a report on the
status of collections for Alexander County which included the following information:
- The Tax Office is currently trying to implement procedures to increase the
collection rate for the County. Mr. Stocks stated that the Tax Office had some problems in
the past year with motor vehicle taxes.
- The Tax Office staff is currently sending correspondence to delinquent taxpayers
informing them of the result of not paying their taxes. This action is having some
positive results on collections. Mr. Stocks stated that staff sent second notices after
January 6 when the taxes become delinquent. Staff also advertises the real estate accounts
in The Taylorsville Times in April which also helps to collect those taxes.
- Real estate accounts that are over 3 years delinquent have been send to Caryn
Brzykcy, a local attorney, with the exception of those taxpayers making payments. Ms.
Brzykcy has collected $131,702.85 from June 2000 to December 2002; however, this project
has been put on hold for the time being. Mr. Stocks explained that many of these
delinquents are estates which causes the process to be much slower. Title searches on
estates require more time to trace all heirs to the property and notify them that the
property will be sold.
- Mr. Stocks stated that the Tax Office worked with the taxpayers on their
delinquents and also set payment schedules for them. Delinquent accounts are only
submitted for foreclosure proceedings if there is no response to payment correspondence.
- Staff is in the process of garnishing wages on delinquent taxpayers. The Tax Office
has the authority to garnish wages if the taxes are delinquent, provided information
concerning place of employment is available. Mr. Stocks reported that the Tax Office had
received delinquent taxes by garnishment proceedings in the amount of $169,444.78 as of
February 2003. The employers are withholding 10% of the employees payroll check to
apply to the delinquent taxes.
- Mr. Stocks stated that staff was currently in the process of implementing the State
Debt Setoff program for the County. This program allows a delinquent taxpayers State tax
refund check or a portion to be sent to the County to be applied to delinquent taxes.
Notices have been sent to 175 delinquent taxpayers. Mr. Stocks stated that he was required
by law to give individuals 30 days to appeal their taxes. If they do not pay the taxes,
these accounts will be submitted to the State. Mr. Stocks stated that the program had
changed, requiring the taxpayer to incur the $15 charge instead of the County.
- Motor vehicle collections are a well-known problem over the entire State. Mr.
Stocks explained that a taxpayer had eight months time on his or her registered vehicle
before a tag would be blocked which creates problems for the Tax Office to collect on the
billing. The Tax Office sends out approximately 42,000 vehicle billings per year and this
represents around 18% of the total levy. Mr. Stocks noted that motor vehicle billing
required a lot of staff time in relation to the amount of taxes collected.
- Mr. Stocks presented a summary of Cash and Investments and Property Tax Levies for
the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2001. The report indicated that most counties were having
problems with motor vehicle collections. Mr. Stocks mentioned that Alexander County was in
a group based on county population between 25,000 and 49,999. The summary indicated that
the average percent collected for motor vehicles within the group was 84.93%. Alexander
Countys motor vehicle collection is slightly above average at 86.43%. Mr. Stock
stated that Alexander County collected 96.51% of regular collections on real estate and
personal property excluding motor vehicles but had a collection rate of 95% including
- Mr. Stocks discussed an article posted in the Charlotte Observe in January 2003
that reported that other counties in North Carolina were having problems with the way
vehicle taxation was being implemented in the State. Mr. Stocks stated that he would like
to see a change in the way motor vehicles were taxed such as requiring that the taxes be
paid when the tag is purchased. However, Mr. Stocks felt that the DMV would probably not
be interested in collecting money.
Mr. Stocks presented the following information concerning the
collection status for past 8 years. The 2003 levy is through February 2003:
Commissioner Odom asked if the Tax Office had
received many calls regarding hardship cases due to increasing unemployment. Mr. Stocks
stated that staff usually received a few of those but he noted that staff would work with
those individuals through payment schedules.
Commissioner Keever discussed the real estate accounts that were
turned over to Ms. Brzykcy and asked if there was any cost to the County. Mr. Stocks
stated that there was no cost to the County but he noted that there was a cost to the
taxpayer whose account had been turned over. Commissioner Keever inquired about the fee to
the taxpayer. Mr. Stocks replied that the fee was not based on a percentage but a set fee
agreed upon by the attorney and the Clerk of Court.
Commissioner Keever suggested requiring citizens to prepay motor
vehicle taxes before purchasing a tag. Mr. Stocks was in favor of the suggestion but he
noted that the laws would have to be changed in order to implement the requirement.
Commissioner Keever discussed the possibility of allowing wreckers
to tow vehicles when the taxes were not paid. Mr. Stocks stated that this was not a State
law but he noted that the Board might want to consider making it a County law.
Mr. Stocks informed the Board that the Tax Office was now using a
very resourceful tool which allowed staff to find social security numbers for citizens who
had delinquent taxes. Once the social security numbers are acquired, staff can find the
citizens place of employment in order to mail a notice for wage garnishment. Mr.
Stocks stated that staff collected $500 the first day that the tool was used.
Commissioner Bolick suggested that the Board schedule a work
session in the future with Mr. Stocks, the County Attorney, and the Clerk of Court to
discuss tax collections. The Board agreed.
RESOLUTION IN OPPOSITION TO GOVERNOR EASLEYS BUDGET
Chairman Robertson presented a Resolution in Opposition to
Governor Easleys Budget which declared to impose the Governors proposed budget
and implore the Governor to develop and adhere to a balanced budget between available
revenues and required expenditures for services remanded by the citizens of NC and stop
penalizing local governments for the States financial problems. The resolution will
be mailed to Governor Easley.
Commissioner Odom made a motion to approve the Resolution in
Opposition to Governor Easleys Budget. Commissioner Keever seconded the motion. The
Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
REPORT ON WATER PROJECTS
Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, gave a report on several water
projects in Alexander County which included the following:
- Engineers called the pre-final inspection for the Millersville water project on
March 7, 2003. Some minor corrections are to be made to the drainage ditches and river
crossing. Mr. Greene stated that the City of Hickory was free to make taps on the line and
he noted that EnergyUnited was working to get approvals to make their connection.
- Construction has begun on the Liledoun Road, Herman Road, Sipe Road, and Rink Dam
Road CDBG Project. The Rink Dam Road portion will end just short of Bowmans Cutover.
Mr. Greene stated that crews had had some problems with one piece of equipment while on
Rink Dam Road and had not been able to make the river crossing at the foot of the hill.
Neil Grading and Construction began work on Herman Road out to Sipe Road recently. Mr.
Greene stated that, as of Friday (March 14, 2003), crews were working in the area of
Mr. Greene informed the Board that there was approximately
$200,000 in excess funds from this project and he explained that staff had identified
several areas in which water lines could be installed including a portion of Liledoun
Road, Jenkins Loop, Arthur Jenkins Lane, Fess Little Road, and Valley Hill Drive. Mr.
Greene stated that surveying and design work had begun in these areas.
- The design work and all paperwork has been submitted to the State for awaited
approval for the $400,000 Rural Center Grant for Rink Dam Road. Mr. Greene stated that
staff should receive approval from Duke Power to hang line on the bridge within 4 weeks.
- Mr. Greene presented the Resolution to Approve the Request of Grant Assistance from
the Rural Center Supplemental Grant Program for Water Line Extensions along NC Highway
127, Antioch Church Road, and Caldwell Pond Road. Mr. Greene informed the Board that the
deadline to submit applications for the $400,000 grant was March 31, 2003. Mr. Greene
stated that the estimated cost of the project totaled $621,000 which would require the
County to provide some funding toward the project. Mr. Greene noted that if approved,
these lines would provide another tie-in with Caldwell County.
- Mr. Greene stated that he and Commissioner Hammer had met with Tim Glass of Quail
Hollow Road who has agreed to work with County staff to secure the pledges from the
citizens in that area for the water line. Mr. Greene stated that digging had begun and he
noted that the City of Hickory had agreed to put the water line in the ground. Mr. Greene
stated that he anticipated construction to begin on April 1, 2003.
Commissioner Odom inquired about the financial pledges. Mr. Greene
stated that the citizens of Quail Hollow had agreed to pay $1,200 each which would pay the
tap fees and a hydrant.
Commissioner Hammer discussed the proposed water line for Fess
Little Road, which he thought was a private road. Mr. Greene informed Commissioner Hammer
that Fess Little Road was not private and that there was a right-of-way there. Mr. Greene
stated that the residents of Fess Little Road had agreed to give the County right-of-way
in order to get water to the houses, including those in the back. Mr. Greene noted that a
2-inch line was proposed.
Chairman Robertson requested action on the Resolution to Approve
the Request of Grant Assistance from the Rural Center Supplemental Grant Program for Water
Line Extensions along NC Highway 127, Antioch Church Road, and Caldwell Pond Road.
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the resolution. Commissioner Bolick seconded
the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Chairman Robertson noted that the Board had asked McGill
Associates staff to research the possibility of water lines for Sulpher Springs Road,
Cheatham Ford Road, and the Rocky Springs and Vashti area for the September Rural Center
grant cycle. Mr. Greene stated that McGill Associates staff would be presenting this
information at the April 21, 2003 Commissioners Meeting.
RECOGNITION OF VOLUNTEERS
Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, informed the Board that a $2,300
grant had been received for materials and installation of 250 smoke detectors. Mr. Greene
stated that a training session was held today in regard to the installation of the smoke
detectors and he noted that 5 out of the 8 volunteer fire departments were represented at
the training session. Mr. Greene stated that he wished to take this opportunity to brag on
the volunteers for the hard work that they do.
CONSIDERATION OF ALEXANDER COUNTY RESOURCE CENTER APPLICATION
Rick French, County Manager, presented the annual application
to apply for continuation of the Criminal Justice Partnership Program. Mr. French stated
that this program was 100% State funded. The application is requesting $60,323 for the
Resource Center, formally known as the Day Reporting Center.
Commissioner Odom made a motion to approve the annual application
to apply for continuation of the Criminal Justice Partnership Program. Commissioner Bolick
seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
BOARD APPOINTMENTS / REAPPOINTMENTS
Commissioner Hammer presented the following appointments and
reappointments for consideration:
- BOARD OF HEALTH
Reappoint Joann Ballard 3-year term
Reappoint Donald Robertson 3-year term
Reappoint Clint Canaday 3-year term
- CRIMINAL JUSTICE PARTNERSHIP BOARD
Reappoint Kimberly Taylor 1-year term
- JUVENILE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL
Appoint Jason Hampton, DARE Officer Terms end January 2004
Appoint Erin Salyer, ACHS Student
Appoint Carrie Clodfelter, Assistant District Attorney
Appoint Crystal Sain, Commissioner Appointment
Commissioner Hammer noted that 2 additional appointments were
- PARKS & RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD
Need appointment to replace Donny Pennell
Commissioner Hammer noted that appointments were needed for the
Juvenile Crime Prevention Council as well as the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board and
he asked the Board for suggestions to be presented at the next Commissioners
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the appointments and
reappointments as presented. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted
unanimously in favor of the motion.
Rick French, County Manager, discussed the following issues
during Other Business:
- Mr. Rutledge has withdrawn his request for a conditional use permit to have mining
operations on Emerald Lane.
- The Board will hold a public hearing on March 24, 2003 at 6:00 PM for the Bethlehem
Sewer District. The Board will also be meeting with the Board of Education on March 31,
2003 at 6:00 PM at the Central Office.
- County staff recently received a letter from Carolina Land & Lakes, Inc.
requesting $5,000 to do a groundwater survey in the county. Mr. French suggested that this
request be considered at budget time (as part of the 2003-2004 budget).
- County staff has received the schedule for the NCACC district meetings. Mr. French
stated that meeting for Districts 13, 14, and 15 (including Alexander County) would be
held on April 24, 2003 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the Burke County Agriculture Building.
- Representative Howard Hunter has introduced two bills in regard to Medicaid. HB410
proposes to scale back county Medicaid contributions for 2003-2004 budget based on
economic development tiers. Mr. French stated that Alexander Countys contributions
would decrease from 15% to 9%. HB411 proposes to reduce all county Medicaid contributions
entirely, not just those with federal share. Mr. French noted that the NCACC had proposed
a plan to phase out county Medicaid contributions over a 6-year period.
CLOSED SESSION N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5 & 6)
CONTRACTUAL & PERSONNEL
Commissioner Odom made a motion to enter into Closed Session
at 7:21 PM to discuss contractual matters and personnel issues pursuant to N.C.G.S.
143-318.11(a)(5 & 6). Commissioner Keever seconded the motion. The Board voted
unanimously in favor of the motion.
There being no further business, Commissioner Bolick made a
motion to adjourn at 7:40 PM. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted
unanimously in favor of the motion.
W. Darrell Robertson, Chairman
Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board