January 5, 2004
The Alexander County Board of
Commissioners held its regular meeting on
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Keever called the meeting to
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Rev. Eddie Shumate, Pastor of Dover
Baptist Church, gave the invocation and Camille Hefner, student at
Alan Mackie, NC Employment Security
Commission, recognized Dana Robertson for 20 years of service. Mr. Mackie stated that Ms. Robertson had been an
employee of the
Dennis Wahlers, Forest Ranger,
recognized Frank Durmire for his service to the citizens of
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Chairman Robertson presented several amendments to the agenda including discussion of the recognition of Robert E. Lees birthday, consideration of a resolution of support to have the Department of the Navy reconsider its location of an outlying landing field in Washington County, as well as some adjustments to the tax release requests and tax refund request for December during the Consent Agenda.
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to adopt the agenda as amended. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC SAFETY GRANTS
Chairman Keever presented the following Public Safety Grant Awards:
Alexander Firemans Association Safety lighting for mobile air support unit. County grant $1,000.
Ellendale Volunteer Fire Department Purchase 2 sets of turnout gear. County grant $1,000.
Hiddenite Volunteer Fire Department Purchase 3 sets of turnout gear. County grant $1,000
Gwaltney Volunteer Fire Department Gwaltney Fire Department building. County grant $1,000.
Sugar Loaf Volunteer Fire Department Automatic Electronic Defibrillator. County grant $1,000.
Vashti Volunteer Fire Department Equipment for first responder / brush truck. County grant $1,000.
Wittenburg Volunteer Fire Department Replace 5 mobile radios and base unit. County grant $1,000.
Alexander Rescue Squad Medical / first-aid bags and supplies. County grant $1,000.
Little River Ruritan Firing range safety construction. County grant $500.
Chairman Keever stated that 16
applications had been received and he noted that all 16 had been funded. Chairman Keever also mentioned that these projects
would total $138,000 in materials and labor and would include 1,500 volunteer hours.
REPORT ON THE COMMUNITY CHILD PROTECTION TEAM
Kaye Greene, Family Services Supervisor, stated that the Community 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. Greene explained that the team was an interdisciplinary group of community representatives who met bi-monthly to promote a community-wide approach to the problem of child abuse and neglect.
Ms. Greene informed the Board that the categories of cases reviewed by the team were based on local need and she noted that cases were required to include children known to be at higher risk of subsequent injury or death as a result of child abuse, neglect, or dependency. She noted that the County had chosen to review the following:
· Substantiated cases of abuse, including sexual abuse.
· Child fatalities.
· Reports of abuse or neglect of children under the age of one, especially when the report was made by a medical provider.
· Cases in which there have been 2 substantiated reports within one year, regardless of the type of report or referral source.
· Cases in which there have been 2 reports within a 3 month period.
Ms. Greene stated that during calendar year 2003 through November 30th, the department received 470 reports alleging abuse and neglect of children. Of these reports, 314 were accepted for investigation. The numbers show an 8% increase in the number of reports and an 8.9% increase in investigations as compared to 2002. Ms. Greene stated that due to the continued increase, the county had authorized the hiring of a third protective service investigator that would enable the department to again be in compliance with the state recommended number of investigations per worker.
Ms. Greene stated that 13 cases were reviewed by the Child Protection Team during 2003 and she noted that there was an increase in the cases that came to the departments attention due to drug/alcohol abuse. Ms. Greene also mentioned that a secondary factor noted was an increase in domestic violence. Ms. Greene stated that during 2002, a contributing factor appeared to be the lack of adequate parenting skills and she noted that sufficient mental health resources continued to be a problem. During 2003, a part-time parenting instructor was employed and the first series of classes were completed in December 2003 with a second series scheduled to begin in early January 2004. Ms. Greene reported that the state was in the process of implementing policy regarding domestic violence issues, which would help address the increasing need for services in that area.
Ms. Greene stated that the Alexander County Department of Social Services was selected to become a Multiple Response System county in 2003. This system is more family centered and is designed to include families in identifying needs and decision making concerning their family. It also focuses on the community working together to assist families. Ms. Greene stated that extensive training was being provided by the state for staff that would be implementing MRS.
Commissioner Robertson asked if Foothills Mental Health was aware of the needs of the Child Protection Team and he suggested that, if not, they be made aware of those needs. Ms. Greene agreed.
REPORT ON THE FATALITY REVIEW TEAM
Leeanne Whisnant, Health Director, stated that the Child Fatality Prevention Team served 3 purposes including:
1. Identifing deficiencies in the delivery of services to children and families by public agencies.
2. Making and carrying out recommendations for changes that will prevent future child deaths.
3. Promoting understanding of the causes of child deaths.
Ms. Whisnant stated that all deaths of children under the age of 18 were reviewed by the County, irregardless of the cause of death. Ms. Whisnant stated that there were 4 child deaths in 2003 including 2 perinatal disorders, one suicide, and one drowning. Ms. Whisnant also reported that there were 3 child deaths in 2002 and 4 child deaths in 2001.
Ms. Whisnant stated that action steps taken to prevent child fatalities in 2003 included newspaper articles on summer water safety and bicycle safety, safety education provided to all children over 2 years old in licensed daycare centers and homes, and car seats provided and inspected by the Alexander County Partnership for Children. Ms. Whisnant also stated that plans were to distribute bicycle helmets in the upcoming spring event.
Chairman Keever asked Ms. Whisnant
NEW LAW FOR DNA TECHNOLOGY
Sheriff Hayden Bentley discussed the
passage of House Bill 79, which would allow law enforcement to take DNA samples from all
convicted felons to greatly enhance the chances of catching criminals using the DNA
database. Sheriff Bentley stated that this law
Sheriff Bentley discussed a recent
case in NC that demonstrated how powerful and effective DNA technology could be for law
enforcement. In the spring of 2002, a west
Sheriff Bentley stated that the SBI would provide Sheriffs Offices across the state with the necessary DNA database blood collection kits. Sheriff Bentley mentioned that all convicted felony offenders who were currently confined or were sent to the NC Department of Correction would have a DNA sample drawn to be sent to the SBI lab for processing and he noted that all convicted felons who were not committed to a state correctional institution, but who served their sentence in the county jail or who were given probation, were required to have a DNA sample drawn. Sheriff Bentley informed the Board that Leeanne Whisnant, Health Director, had agreed to allow her staff to draw the DNA samples at no charge.
Sheriff Bentley informed the Board
that training sessions would be held on this new law, one in
Commissioner Robertson asked if
Commissioner Harbinson mentioned a
DATA SHARING TECHNOLOGY THROUGH OSSI
Sheriff Hayden Bentley submitted a
request to join
Sheriff Bentley felt that sharing
access to Records Management Systems with
Sheriff Bentley explained that the Governors Crime Commission was expected to fund 75% of the cost for 2 years. Therefore, each public safety agency would be required to make a 25% match. Grant funds are expected in July 2004 if the grant request is successful. Sheriff Bentley discussed the specific funding for the grant, which included:
Governors Crime Commission $6,532.50
Alexander Sheriffs Department $2,177.50
Governors Crime Commission $2,407.50
Alexander Sheriffs Department $ 802.50
Sheriff Bentley stated that Dane
Mastin, Wilkes County Sheriff, had requested written authorization from the
Commissioner Robertson asked if surrounding counties were also considering this grant. Sheriff Bentley stated that he was aware that Caldwell and Catawba were considering the grant as well.
Commissioner Bolick suggested investigating Homeland Security grants to determine if the County could apply for a grant to cover the Countys cost for this project. Sheriff Bentley stated that he could research those grants.
Commissioner Robertson inquired about the Countys cost after the 2nd year. Sheriff Bentley stated that he did not have a set amount but he noted that he was certain that it would be less than the 2nd year cost.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion
to allow Sheriff Bentley to proceed with the collaborative grant to be submitted to the
Governors Crime Commission to obtain data sharing technology. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
NEW DOMESTICE VIOLENCE GUN LAW
Sheriff Hayden Bentley informed the
Board that effective
Sheriff Bentley stated that the Sheriffs Department could charge a fee per gun per day; however, he noted that most counties had not implemented a fee since there was no way to determine the volume of the gun seizures at this time. Sheriff Bentley stated that he hoped that the guns would be destroyed, sold, or returned to the owner quickly after their cases was resolved.
Chairman Keever mentioned that a house bill was in the works to make this law mandatory. Sheriff Bentley stated that this was correct.
PATROL CAR VIDEO EQUIPMENT GRANT (GOVERNMENT CRIME
Sheriff Hayden Bentley requested approval to apply for a grant for 5 video units for patrol cars through the Government Crime Commission. Sheriff Bentley felt that these cameras would be beneficial when prosecuting case and reviewing accidents or domestic violence cases at residences, etc. Sheriff Bentley also noted that these cameras would also make the officers safer.
Sheriff Bentley informed the Board that there were currently 3 video units in patrol cars and he explained that the cameras automatically came on when the blue lights were turned on. Sheriff Bentley also stated that officers currently wore a microphone on their uniforms as well to provide another source of proof if needed.
Sheriff Bentley stated that the total cost for the video units and installation was $18,250. However, he explained that the 75% federal share totaled $13,687.50 leaving the County with a 25% share of $4,562.50.
Commissioner Harbinson agreed that the video units were an asset in cases of confrontations and accusations of police brutality because the proof was there on video and audio tape.
Commissioner Robertson asked if
Chairman Keever asked when results would be received from the grant application. Sheriff Bentley replied that staff should receive word in April or May 2004.
Commissioner Hammer stated that he was aware that new equipment was needed; however, he felt that combining the Sheriffs Department and 911 Communications should be top priority. Commissioner Hammer stated that if all 3 of the Sheriffs request were approved tonight, it would total over $15,000, which he felt was funding that could be placed toward the combining of communications.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve grant application request.
Commissioner Keever requested an amendment to Commissioner Harbinsons motion to include that the funding would be encumbered from the current budget. Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to accept the amendment. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve the grant application request and to allow funding to be encumbered from the current budget. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Robertson mentioned that there was $4,500 left in the public safety grants that could be used to offset some of the cost for this project.
PATROL CAR LAPTOP COMPUTER AND RADIO MODEM GRANT
(GOVERNMENT CRIME COMMISSION)
Sheriff Hayden Bentley, requested approval to apply for a grant for 5 patrol car laptop computers and radio modems through the Government Crime Commission. Sheriff Bentley stated that the total cost for the laptops and modems was $39,322.20 and he noted that the Countys share would total $9,830.
Sheriff Bentley mentioned that he had put in a request to receive older laptop and radio modem units from the Fayetteville Police Department, who was updating their equipment. However, Sheriff Bentley informed the Board that the older units would not allow officers to use the main frequency to all counties and he noted that they would not be adaptable to future changes and upgrades.
Commissioner Hammer asked who would be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of these computers. Sheriff Bentley suggested that Greg Cronk, Information Technology Director, take that role since it would cost the County funding to contract with an outside agency.
Commissioner Robertson asked if there would be a licensing fee for the software. Sheriff Bentley replied that there would, in fact, be a licensing fee. Sheriff Bentley stated that the DCI fee was $50 per month but he noted that he did not expect that much for the laptop software.
Sheriff Bentley informed the Board that there was approximately $14,000 left in the Sheriffs Department drug fund that could be used towards the grant match.
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to approve the grant application request and to allow drug fund monies to be used towards the grant match if awarded. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Sheriff Bentley also requested that the Board send letters to Senator R.B. Sloan and Representative Edgar Starnes in support of HB918, which would increase the civil service fee from $5 to $15. Sheriff Bentley stated that he planned to write letters to Senator Sloan and Representative Starnes as well. Commissioner Robertson requested that Sheriff Bentley copy the Board on his letter so that the Board could follow-up accordingly.
ROBERT E. LEE RECOGNITION REQUEST
Larry Church, Member of the Sons of Confederate Rangers, requested that the Board recognized General Robert E. Lees birthday annually on January 19th. Mr. Church stated that General Lee was a great leader, a gentleman, and a Christian and he felt that he needed to be honored.
Mr. Church stated that over 1,000
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to
annually declare January 19th as Robert E. Lee Day in
Commissioner Harbinson mentioned that
Commissioner Harbinson requested an amendment to Commissioner Bolicks motion to include that if Martin Luther King Jr. Day fell on January 19th, Robert E. Lees birthday, that Robert E. Lee Day would be observed on the Saturday before. Commissioner Bolick made a motion to accept the amendment. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to
annually declare January 19th as Robert E. Lee Day in
FUTURE FORWARD ECONOMIC
Mr. French stated that the Future
Forward Alliance was challenged with implementing 10 strategies aimed at creating jobs,
improving the education and skills of local workers, and encouraging regional
collaboration. Mr. French noted that the US
Economic Development Administration had approved the Future Forward strategy as a
comprehensive economic development strategy after all 12 counties adopted resolutions of
Approve an investment of $1,711, which
is a share amount based on
Mr. French noted that this was conditional and based on the budget. Mr. French noted that it may be determined with more information that the County could not or did not want participate. Mr. French stated that the Board could withdraw if it was determined that the County would not benefit from the investment also.
Nominate a member of the Board to
serve as a member of the Future Forward Economic Alliance Board by
Nominate a private sector
representative to the Future Forward Economic Alliance Board by
Mr. French stated that the
fundamental philosophy of the effort was to promote voluntary regional collaboration as a
mechanism for overcoming the severe hardships our region has endured in the past 3 years. Mr. French informed the Board that the efforts of
the Alliance had already resulted in the creation of a website to facilitate communication
and involvement across the region, establishment of a business roundtable
providing a forum for local businesspeople interested in improving the regions
economy, and development of an internet-based people-job matching system to make finding
regional employment opportunities easier. The
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the investment of $1,711 conditionally in support of the Future Forward Strategy. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to nominate Commissioner Robertson to serve on the Future Forward Economic Alliance Board. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
The Board agreed to table the nomination of a private sector representative to the Future Forward Economic Alliance Board until more information was received.
BOARD APPOINTMENTS AND REAPPOINTMENTS
Commissioner Hammer presented the following appointments and reappointments:
A. JUVENILE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL
Reappoint Darlene Carrigan 2-year terms
Reappoint Scott Bath
Reappoint Hayden Bentley
Reappoint Carrie Clodfelter Garvey
Reappoint Vicki Bartholomew
Reappoint Jim Mock
Reappoint Rick French
Reappoint Caryn Bryzkcy
Reappoint Dale Graham
Reappoint Leeanne Whisnant
Reappoint Dan Davis
Reappoint Crystal Sain
Reappoint Gloria Hamilton
Reappoint Suzanne Rhinehart
Appoint Aleia Watson
Appoint Ralph Harper
Appoint Glenn Fox
Appoint Josh Millsaps
B. WPCOG REGION E AGING COMMITTEE
Appoint Angela Johnson 2-year terms
Appoint Max Smith
C. WPCOG SISTER CITIES ASSOCIATION
Appoint Jon Molesa 1-year terms
Appoint Nancy Coley (alternate)
D. PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION
Reappoint Eric Fritz 2 years
Reappoint Lloyd Jarvis 1 year
Reappoint Don Harrington 1 year
Appoint Jennifer Martin 3 years
E. CRIMINAL JUSTICE ADVISORY BOARD
Reappoint Tammy Lippard 1 year terms
Reappoint Ingrid Townsend
Reappoint Tony Jones
Reappoint Rick French
Reappoint Sarah Kirkman
Reappoint Kimberly Taylor
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the appointments and reappointments as presented. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Hammer noted that Jon Molesa had applied to serve on the Planning & Zoning Commissioner. However, he noted that Mr. Molesa was not chosen to serve. Commissioner Harbinson stated that Mr. Molesa had, in fact, been considered for this position. Commissioner Harbinson also mentioned that citizens could apply to serve on committees by visiting the County website and downloading the applications.
BUDGET ORDINANCE AMENDMENT #18
Budget Amendment #18 To budget for Heart and Stroke Prevention Funds from the NC Division of Public Health. To budget for Sixth-Grade Hepatitis B Immunization Initiative reimbursement from NCDHHS. To budget for the use of Federal and State drug funds. To budget for the use of insurance reimbursement received in June 2003 for Sheriff Department vehicle.
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve Budget Amendment #18. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
DISCUSSION OF INSURANCE FOR RETIRED COMMISSIONERS
Chairman Keever discussed the possibility of the County providing health insurance for retiring commissioners after 5 years of service.
informed the Board that he had talked with a county commissioner from
Chairman Keever also mentioned that he would like to have other issues discussed along with the health insurance issue including COLA adjustments for commissioners when given to employees as well as monthly expense checks for commissioners without any additional paperwork.
Commissioner Hammer asked that it be noted that the Board was discussing 5 years for commissioners when any other employee had to work for the County for 20 years to receive health insurance benefits after retirement. However, Commissioner Hammer noted that if a person age 60 worked for the State for 5 years, the State would pay for the employees health insurance.
Commissioner Bolick suggested that the County simply allow commissioners to purchase their own policies through the County.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to establish a 2 commissioner committee to study this issue. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
The following issues were discussed during Other Business:
Chairman Robertson presented a copy of the Martin
County Resolution in Support to Have the Department of the Navy Reconsider its Location of
an Outlying Landing Field in
Robertson made a motion that
Mr. French stated that the NCACC Economic
Development Conference would be held on
Mr. French also stated that Clerk to the Board
Jamie Millsaps wedding would be held on
Revised Charter and Bylaws for the
C. Tax Release Requests for December $961.37 and Tax Refund Requests for December $28,318.48.
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to adopt the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
CLOSED SESSION N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5 &
6) CONTRACTUAL & PERSONNEL
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 7:56 PM to discuss contractual matters and personnel issues pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5 & 6). Commissioner Bolick 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
W. Norris Keever, Chairman Jamie M. Starnes, Clerk to the Board