May 23, 2000
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held a budget work session on May 23, 2000 in the County Administration Building.
Chairman Watts called the work session to order at 6:35 p.m.
Rick French, County Manager, informed the Board of some changes that have occurred in the budget since the last work session. Some OSHA and ADA monies have been moved to Public Buildings Department. Monies have been moved from Tax Office to Sheriff's Department and from Emergency Management to E911. Social Services has requested a Child Support Nurse position which would produce more revenue than cost. After revision of the budget, the total numbers show a 2.85 percent increase without the new Social Services position. With the position included, a 7.74 percent increase is projected for Social Services.
Mr. French stated that the County is currently reviewing a contract for GIS services through WPCOG for $48,084. The Board stated that the County should continue with WPCOG services for another year for GIS. This will give the Board and staff time to organize plans for the County's own GIS service and assess any potential problems.
Monies have been appropriated to the Hiddenite Center every year. In the 1998-1999 $12,000 was appropriated and $24,000 in the current year including painting and renovations. Commissioner Harbinson suggested $12,000 for 2000-2001.
As the budget currently stands, a 6 cent tax increase will be implemented. Property values may increase anywhere from 25 to 50 percent once revaluation is completed in the period 1994-2002.
Mr. French stated that he had met with Gary Sain regarding the Bethlehem property. Mr. Sain stated that he would lease the building to Alexander County for $3,000 per month for 10 years. The lease would run from June 30, 2000 to June 30, 2010. The building is being considered for several offices including a Satellite Sheriff's Department and a Tax Collections office.
Chairman Watts suggested using the Bethlehem property for several different offices daily. Use the building for a GIS terminal, a Planning Department one day, a Clerk of Court office one day, and a Tax Collection office one day. Commissioner Harbinson stated that the Bethlehem community needed Internet access. Commissioner Bolick stated that Bethlehem did not need just a Satellite Sheriff's office or a Tax Collection office, etc. He stated that Bethlehem needed some form of community entertainment. A movie theater was suggested. Commissioner Bolick stated that the County should wait another year on leasing the Bethlehem property from Mr. Sain. Chairman Watts instructed Mr. French to contact Gary Sain to inform him that the County may delay or decline the offer.
Robin Harris recently informed Mr. French that he is interested in the two smaller buildings (car wash building and paragliding store) on the Dayton property. Mr. Harris is interested in building a Tastee Freeze. The building will be leased for $750 per month. Mr. Harris is interested in purchasing the property and then tearing the buildings down. The Board stated that this could not be done. The building cannot be sold, it must be leased. Any County property sold must be declared surplus.
WILKES NATIONAL BANK PROPERTY
The County will not be leasing the Wilkes National Bank property for additional office space this budget year.
DUSTY RIDGE PARK
Commissioner Harbinson stated that he, County Attorney Ed Hedrick, County Manager Rick French, and Attorney Mark Davis met on the morning of May 23, 2000 to discuss Dusty Ridge Park. Commissioner Harbinson stated that the park would be a major asset to the community and that a lease arrangement should be made with Duke Power for the park which consists of about 80 acres. The park would contain ball fields as well as many scenic walking trails. An 8 year lease has been discussed. Chairman Watts stated that he would prefer a 25 year lease instead of an 8 year lease. A meeting with Duke Power has been scheduled for June 2, 2000.
Commissioner Robertson stated that he would like the Board to meet in Bethlehem occasionally. Mr. French suggested having quarterly community meetings. There are currently 8 areas or communities in the County based on fire tax areas.
ALEXANDER COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
Commissioner Harbinson stated that he received a letter from the Hospital Board stating that they were uncomfortable with the transferring of the title back to the Hospital. The Hospital Board is concerned that if the title is transferred back to the Hospital, BB&T will call the note and that it will cause employee and vendor uncertainty. LGC has informed Mr. French as well as Commissioners and Hospital Board members that it is unconstitutional for the County to have ownership of the Hospital. Chairman Watts stated that the lease is ultimately voided by constitutional law per conversation with Peter Michel, Bond Attorney. Commissioner Harbinson suggested meeting with the Hospital Board, as well as their attorneys, to discuss matters since this matter needs to be resolved by June 30 due to budget deadlines.
Ken White, Finance Officer, stated that to fund the Hospital and continue to grow County-wise, a tax increase must be implemented. Commissioner Robertson suggested requesting that the Town of Taylorsville appropriate some funds to the Hospital since it is located directly in Taylorsville town limits.
It was stated among the Board that if the County retains title to the Alexander Community Hospital for the 2000-2001 budget year, it may affect the County eligibility to borrow money for anything else. It was agreed that any action concerning the Hospital should be made public and that the Hospital Board should be invited to attend the next budget work session which will be held on Tuesday, May 30.
The work session was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
John F. Watts, Chairman Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board