August 25, 2003
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting on Monday, August 25, 2003 in the Catawba Valley Community College / Alexander Center Multipurpose Room, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Robertson called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commissioner Bolick gave the invocation and Commissioner Keever led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
The following items were discussed during the Chairmans Report:
Commissioner Bolick felt that the first step would be to buy American made products. Commissioner Bolick stated that buying items made in other countries was hurting our own industries and he encouraged all citizens to seek products made in the U.S.A.
Commissioner Keever stated that China was also dumping merchandise into the United States through Mexico to avoid the quota limit. Commissioner Keever felt that our congressional delegates needed to see that the laws on merchandise dumping for enforced. Commissioner Keever stated, in regard to Commissioner Bolicks statement, that he had been boycotting products made in China and other countries for over a year; however, he noted that American made products were becoming harder to find.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Commissioner Keever made a motion to adopt the agenda as presented. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC HEARING: AMENDMENT TO THE 2001 CDBG WATER PROJECT
Nancy Coley, WPCOG Community Development Administrator, stated that in 2001, Alexander County was awarded $794,000 in CDBG money to install waterlines, taps, and connections to serve 105 households on a portion of Liledoun Road, a portion of Sipe Road, Herman Road, and a portion of Rink Dam Road. The County committed $150,000 of local funds to the project and $112,455 in waived tap fees.
Ms. Coley stated that Neill Grading and Construction Co. submitted the low bid of $523,635.51 for 21,960 linear feet of 8-inch waterlines and 105 water taps and connections to serve 233 persons. Ms. Coley informed the Board that the project was complete and she noted that the engineering firm, McGill Associates, had estimated that the overall project would have approximately $226,000 remaining in uncommitted funds that could be used to extend waterlines into areas adjacent to the current project area.
Ms. Coley presented a project amendment to install approximately 10,080 linear feet of additional waterlines along with 24 water taps and connections to serve 24 additional households meeting income guidelines of the CDBG program. Ms. Coley explained that the amended area was located on Liledoun Road from the existing project area to the intersection of Church Road. The number of beneficiaries will increase from 237 to 292, and the benefit to low and moderate persons will be 91%.
Ms. Coley requested that the Board approve the amendment and instruct staff to submit it to the NC Division of Community Assistance for approval.
Commissioner Harbinson mentioned that he was Chairman when this particular CDBG grant was applied for and received. Commissioner Harbinson stated that these type grants were what it took to run water in the County and he noted that he was glad to see the remaining funds administered. Commissioner Harbinson thanked Ms. Coley for her efforts.
Chairman Robertson called the public hearing to order and requested any public comment. There being no public comment, Commissioner Hammer made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Keever seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the requested amendment to the 2001 CDBG Water Project for submission to the NC Division of Community Assistance. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
RESOLUTION DESIGNATING SEPTEMBER 2003 AS PROSTATE CANCER MONTH
Leeanne Whisnant, Health Director, presented a proclamation declaring the month of September 2003 as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Alexander County.
Ms. Whisnant stated that prostate cancer was the most common form of cancer among men in the United States and the noted that prostate cancer was second to lung cancer in deaths among men. The American Cancer Society has estimated that in 2003 over 220,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and approximately 28,900 men will die from the disease.
Ms. Whisnant noted that, due to early detection and treatment, the survival rate had increased from 67% to 97%. Ms. Whisnant mentioned the importance of educating men of the risks of prostate cancer and she noted that the Health Department could provide more information if anyone was interested.
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to adopt the proclamation declaring September 2003 as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Alexander County. Commissioner Keever seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
ALEXANDER COUNTY INCIDENT MANAGEMENT PLAN
Terry Foxx, Emergency Management Director, discussed the proposed National Inter-Agency Incident Management System (NIIMS) for Alexander County and stated that, if approved by the Board, the plan would become an appendix to the current Emergency Operations Plan.
Mr. Foxx explained that since September 11, 2001, a Homeland Security Presidential Directive was issued to all federal agencies to adopt a single comprehensive incident management system. In response to this directive, many states are beginning to adopt an incident management system for their responders and governing agencies. Mr. Foxx stated that North Carolina had not yet made an official adoption; however, he noted that plans were being made with different incident management system to adopt a common system across the state.
Mr. Foxx stated that many state departments such as Emergency Management, Department of Transportation, Highway Patrol, National Guard, and the Office of Emergency Medical Service were using the NIIMS system as well as local agencies including Fire, EMS, Rescue, Law Enforcement, health departments, and hospitals. Mr. Foxx stated that the system could be used for a major fire or law enforcement problem to management of a parade event.
Mr. Foxx stated that the Local Emergency Planning Committee adopted the NIIMS program at its April Meeting and the Town of Taylorsville at its August Meeting. Mr. Foxx also mentioned that a grant was received approximately 2 years ago to purchase teaching materials and general operations guides for the NIIMS program.
Commissioner Keever asked if there would be any additional costs associated with the implementation of the NIIMS. Mr. Foxx replied that he still had 100 sets of curriculum, which could also be downloaded from the Internet, and he noted that there was still grant funding available to purchase additional general operations guides.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the NIIMS plan as presented. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
COURTHOUSE LAWN OAK TREE REPORT
Russell Greene, Fire Marshal/Public Service, stated that since the last meeting, Terry Waugh, a certified arborist and employee for Duke Power, had performed a thorough examination of the courthouse lawn oak tree and had declared the tree dead.
Mr. Greene presented a slide show presentation that included photos of the damaged areas of the tree, which included fungi growing at the bottom of the tree from the decaying surface roots, decay from lightning damage, as well as one hollowed out limb that was funneling water directly into the tree. The slide show also showed Mr. Waugh inserting a large saw into the center of the tree with no trouble signifying that the center was rotten. Mr. Greene informed the Board that after inspecting the tree, Mr. Waugh stated that "he wouldnt have the tree on his property for another day."
Mr. Greene recommended that the tree be removed and the stump and roots be removed completely by a backhoe to eliminate continuous growth or rotting of the roots. Mr. Greene also noted that a replacement tree could be planted if it was the Boards desire.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to seek bids for removal of the courthouse lawn oak tree and to plant a reasonably sized replacement tree in the fall. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
CONSIDERATION OF RURAL CENTER GRANT WATER
Russell Greene, Fire Marshal/Public Service, informed the Board that Alexander County was eligible for an additional Rural Center grant, according to McGill Associates. Mr. Greene stated that McGill Associates had developed 3 options for implementation of the $400,000 grant, which included the following:
Option 1 Total Cost $1,397,900
Mr. Greene noted that service taps and connections were not included in any of the 3 options.
Mr. Greene recommended that the Board approve the application preparation for Option 1 because, although more costly, would allow the County the ability to tie up the southern end of the northern Sugar Loaf water system to make the system more efficient and provide potential for growth in the future for the northeastern section of the County. Mr. Greene also noted that the Board could apply for Option 1 and fall back on Options 2 or 3 later if the grant was received.
Commissioner Harbinson asked if the County would have a better chance of getting a smaller grant. Mr. Greene explained that the total grant to be applied for was $400,000 no matter what option the Board chose but he felt that the County would have a greater chance at getting the grant if the County showed that it would be contributing approximately $1 million to the project instead of the required match of 10% or $40,000. Mr. Greene also stated that staff would not receive word on the grant until approximately January so he noted that the funding would not be required until the 2004-2004 budget cycle.
Rick French, County Manager, added that Option 1 would be a long-range option and would give the County more ability to serve water in the northeastern section of the County in the future. Mr. French noted that if the Board chose to go with Option 3, it would not allow the ability to extend lines further.
Commissioner Harbinson asked how many households each of the options would serve. Mr. Greene replied that Option 3 would pick up the most remote area of Rocky Springs and Rocky Face Church Road, totaling approximately 30 households. Mr. Greene stated that Options 1 and 2 would pick up a few more households but he again noted that those options would allow for future expansions.
Commissioner Hammer agreed that Option 3 would only be a quick fix and would not allow for future expansions. Commissioner Hammer agreed that Option 1 was the best way to go for future plans.
Commissioner Bolick requested more details about Option 2. Mr. Greene stated that Option 2 would require utilization of the Towns tank; however he noted that the Town Manager had informed him that the Town was currently exceeding their limit of 500,000 gallons per day. Therefore, there would be no water available for the Countys plans.
Commissioner Harbinson asked how the $1 million would be funded if the Board chose to proceed with Option 1. Commissioner Keever stated that the only option would be to borrow the funds. Commissioner Harbinson asked if staff had information regarding rates and length of terms, etc. Chairman Robertson replied that staff had not checked on rates or terms and he noted that staff simply wanted to see if the County would be awarded the grant before looking into that information.
Commissioner Harbinson pointed out that some citizens would have a problem with paying property taxes on a $1 million loan that would not directly benefit them. Mr. Greene stated that the County could do a special district loan and allow the water system to borrow money against itself.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the application for the Rural Center grant using Option 1 totaling $1,397,900. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, informed the Board that Stony Point and Hiddenite Volunteer Fire Departments underwent the NC Response Rating Survey last week. Mr. Greene explained that the survey included a detailed review of several documents, inspections of all trucks and equipment, timed dumping and loading of tankers as well as fire side setup and hydrant setup, etc. Mr. Greene stated that both departments did an excellent job and he congratulated the volunteers for their hard work.
Mr. Greene stated that it would probably take about 6 months to get the results from the survey; however, Mr. Greene anticipated both to receive lower insurance rates for taxpayers.
BUDGET ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS #1 - #7
Rick French, County Manager, discussed the purpose of Budget Amendments #1 - #7, which included the following information:
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve Budget Amendments #1 - #7. Commissioner Keever seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT UPDATE
Keith Hertzler, Chamber of Commerce & EDC Director, introduced Wiley Ballard, Chamber Board Member, and noted that Mark Odom, Chamber Vice-President, who was to be present at the meeting was having some heart problems and had been admitted to the Frye Regional Medical Center.
Mr. Hertzler presented a recommendation from the Chamber Board of Directors to convert the Government Affairs Committee into the Economic Development Advisory Council. Mr. Hertzler stated that the council would be made up of industrial business leaders and owners, contractors, etc. and would meet once a month. Mr. Hertzler stated that the council would fall under the Chamber umbrella and would be responsible for advising the Board of Commissioners on incentives, expansions, new businesses, and economic development issues at Commissioners Meetings.
Mr. Hertlzer requested a meeting with the Board of Commissioners in September to establish guidelines for the council and to have open dialogue about economic development in the County.
Chairman Robertson asked Mr. Hertzler if he had a written proposal on this recommendation. Mr. Hertzler replied that he did not have anything in writing but he noted that he would prepare something for the Board.
Commissioner Harbinson inquired about whom would appoint the members to the council. Mr. Hertzler replied that the Chamber would have that responsibility. Mr. Hertzler also noted that there would be 4 County representatives, one Town representative, and many business leaders and owners.
Chairman Robertson asked if this recommendation was a part of the Economic Development Plan that the Board requested during the budget process. Mr. Hertzler replied that it was. Chairman Robertson asked Mr. Hertzler if he had a worked on a draft of some sort for the Economic Development Plan. Mr. Hertzler replied that he had given the Board a draft of bylaws and asked for feedback, which he had not received, from any Board member.
Chairman Robertson instructed Mr. Hertzler to provide the Board with a list of citizens to serve on the council as well as an explanation of how the council would be established, to whom the council would be responsible to, how the council would report, how much funding would be involved, and a timeframe for implementation, etc. Chairman Robertson stated that Mr. Hertzler needed to begin formulating a plan and he felt that no efforts had been made to get the process started. Chairman Robertson mentioned that he and Rick French, County Manager, had conversed with neighboring counties to see how their economic development was organized and what projects were prioritized. Chairman Robertson stated that other counties were set up to work internally with their businesses and industries in order to sit down and discuss what the business owners thought the priorities should be and what they needed to make their businesses function better. Chairman Robertson also discussed helping people that had a desire to start a business but were not aware of legal and financial responsibilities. Chairman Robertson also briefly discussed incentive plans and he noted that he felt that there was some potential to create jobs within the County. Chairman Robertson felt that Mr. Hertzler needed to take these items into consideration and begin developing an Economic Development Plan.
Mr. Hertzler also updated the Board on several projects including a planned 62,500 square foot addition to Michell Gold. Mr. Hertzler stated that this would be a $2 million investment and would create 50 additional jobs by the end of 2004. Mr. Hertzler stated that Mitchell Gold had completed an Industrial Development Incentive (IDI) pre-application form and he noted that he had met with the Department of Commerce in regard to incentives and would be meeting with Duke Power on Wednesday, August 27, 2003.
Mr. Hertzler stated that Scotts Deli had opened in Bethlehem as well as the new management recruiting building. Mr. Hertzler also informed the Board that a local business owner was interested in the old Leviton building and he noted that Curves Fitness Center for Women was possibly interested in the old Walmart area. Mr. Hertlzer also noted that he would be meeting with John Howard, the new EDC Director in Caldwell County, in regard to possible collaboration between Alexander and Caldwell counties.
The following items were discussed during Other Business:
September 1, 2003 Labor Day Holiday
September 4, 2003 Joint Meeting between the Board of Commissioners, Town Board, and Board of Education CVCC at 6:00 PM.
September 8, 2003 Commissioners Meeting CVCC at 6:00 PM.
September 22, 2003 Commissioners Meeting CVCC at 6:00 PM.
September 25, 2003 Open House/Ribbon Cutting Ceremony CVCC at 11:00 AM.
Mr. French also stated that any suggestions for invites to the Open House/Ribbon Cutting needed to be given to Jamie Millsaps, Clerk to the Board, or Judy Feimster, Administrative Assistant, as soon as possible.
Commissioner Keever stated that after reading the resolution, it appeared that another bureaucracy was being established; however, Commissioner Keever stated that he did not see that the Board had any choice but to participate.
Chairman Robertson stated that he had discussed this issue with Doug Taylor, WPCOG, and he explained that this was the first step in the WPCOGs plan to establish an economic development area or district to give some emphasis where grants may be available to benefit more than one county or municipality. Chairman Robertson stated that this was another step toward hopefully working together as a region.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to adopt the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
CLOSED SESSION N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5) CONTRACTUAL
Commissioner Keever made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 7:12 PM to discuss contractual matters pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5). Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
There being no further business, Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to adjourn at 7:37 PM. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
W. Darrell Robertson, Chairman Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board