October 3, 2000
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held their monthly meeting on October 3, 2000 in the Commissioners Room in the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
Chairman Watts called the regular meeting to order at 6:53 p.m. No citizens asked to speak during the Peoples Agenda.
Rev. D.W. Chapman from Mt. Olive Baptist Church gave the invocation and George Denis, Jr. From Taylorsville Elementary led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
CITIZEN OF THE MONTH
Commissioner Odom presented the Citizen of the Month Award to Owen Echerd. Mr. Echerd has lived in Alexander County for all of his life. He was a barber for more than 50 years and also a supporter of American Legion Baseball in Alexander County. Commissioner Odom stated that Mr. Echerd was a great role model and an excellent listener who has given to others during his life. Mr. Echerd has a wife, Thelma and a daughter, Melinda, who were both present for the award.
CHAIRMANS REPORT **SPECIAL RECOGNITION**
Chairman Watts gave the Chairmans Report which included announcement of County Government Day, to be held on October 17 and 24, 2000. During County Government Day, 9th graders from East and West Junior High Schools tour Alexander County offices and talk with employees in those offices to learn more about the County, how each department operates, and how county government works.
The Chairmans report also included special recognition of several individuals as follows:
Jesse Riddle, Alexander County Parks & Recreation Department, presented the Bubba Watts Award to the following individuals:
James & Patsy Adkins from
Commissioner Odom stated that on September 22-24, 2000 the members of the Alexander Rescue Squad and EMS attended the 44th annual convention of the North Carolina Association of Rescue and EMS held in Fayetteville. During the convention, competitions are held in the areas of Heavy Rescue, Basic Life Support (First Aid), and Rescue Challenge. Alexander County Heavy Rescue and Basic Life Support Teams were crowned the 2000 State Champions. This is a new state record as no other county has won both titles in the same year. Tank Townsend and Zenda Townsend, with the Alexander Rescue Squad, described the heavy rescue and basic life support competitions that took place at the convention. Both Heavy Rescue and First Aid teams were present at the meeting and are as follows:
Heavy Rescue Team: Tank Townsend, Richard Smith, Greg Foster, Patti Foster, Wes Blackwelder, Anthony St. Clair, and John Adams
First Aid Team: Zenda Townsend, Pat Allen, Billie Moore, and Tiffany Rogers
At this time, Commissioner Robertson stated that Foothills Area Programs has reviewed their capital expenditures for the coming fiscal year and the mental health facility located in Alexander County is scheduled to be remodeled. The plans will be finalized next week and the project will be complete 8 or 9 months from now. The facility will be more usable for staff and clients after the remodeling is complete.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to adopt the agenda as presented. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
REQUEST FOR COURTROOM ELECTRONIC SECURITY DEVICES
Ray Warren, Alexander County Sheriff, stated that a security survey was conducted 2 years ago by several sheriffs, clerks of court, and other agencies throughout the state. It was recommended that Alexander County add two additional courtroom security officers and metal detectors. This could become very expensive since it would cost approximately $36,000 to hire one officer after benefits and equipment are included. Sheriff Warren requested purchasing a wireless emergency call system from Lookout Portable Security Systems. With this system, panic alarm buttons would be placed in the courtrooms as well as several others offices throughout the courthouse. If a problem arises, the panic alarm button could be pressed which will alert the Sheriffs Department, City Police Department, and Sheriff and 911 dispatchers through radio. The system will cost $9,310 and includes the sensor receiver system, extended repeaters, 12 panic alarm buttons, software, on-site installation, setup and training. Sheriff Warren stated that he felt this would be a good investment since there is increasing violence in courtrooms. Rick French, County Manager, stated that the system could be purchased with funds from Public Buildings line item.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve the purchase of the emergency call system. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Larry Sharpe, Alexander County YMCA, presented a resolution requesting that October 29, 2000 be declared as YMCA Sunday in Alexander County. Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to adopt the resolution. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
FUNDING REQUEST FROM NON-BUDGETED ORGANIZATION-CHRISTIAN CRISIS CENTER
Debra Hollingsworth, Christian Crisis Center, presented a funding request of $5,000. Ms. Hollingsworth stated that The Christian Crisis Center has recently lost several of their funding sources. A corporate donation of $5,000 was lost due to a buyout of a local business. Energy United is no longer donating their usual $4,000. The Christian Crisis Center decided to forfeit United Way funding of $2,000 because they required an audit to be prepared which would have cost $5,000. Ms. Hollingsworth stated that The Christian Crisis Center provides a transition home for fire victims and domestic violence victims. Funding is needed for lot rent and utilities for the transition home. The Christian Crisis Center has sought other corporate sponsorships, has contacted several agencies, and gotten a response from one. Commissioner Harbinson stated that he felt this item should be tabled so the Board could discuss a detailed request policy for funding non-budgeted organizations. This policy should include information concerning types of organizations to fund, audits necessary, and potential alternate funding sources. Commissioner Robertson suggested reviewing local churches for any available benevolence funding.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to table this item until a request policy is implemented. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
WATER INTERCONNECT REQUEST FROM TOWN OF TAYLORSVILLE
The Town of Taylorsville has requested a water interconnect to Alexander County Highway 16 South system to provide adequate water and pressure at the new Wal-Mart and the Juvenile Detention Center located on Highway 16 South. Jerry Twiggs, West & Associates, presented the proposal and agreement to the Board. This new interconnect would give the Town a third source of water. The Town would be responsible for all planning, construction, and financing of an estimated $150,000 to construct an 8 inch line from the existing line along Highway 16 South to a point where it will connect with the system at Wal-Mart. The County will provide a quantity of water to the Town not to exceed 250,000 gallons per day. The County will charge the Town on a per thousand gallon basis.
Commissioner Robertson stated that he felt the 250,000 gallons was too much and felt the Town would maybe use 100,000 gallons in the case of an emergency. Commissioner Robertson stated that he saw no reason to tie up that many gallons of water for if it is not going to be used. Chairman Watts stated that the number of gallons could be negotiated if needed.
Chairman Watts stated that he would recuse himself on this issue due to his employment with Wal-Mart.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to table this item. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. Commissioner Harbinson requested to add a Friendly Amendment that members of the Board meet with the Town Manager and Town Council to discuss the proposal and enter into an agreement ASAP. Commissioner Robertson agreed to accept the Friendly Amendment. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted 4 for the motion (Commissioners Bolick, Odom, Harbinson, and Robertson) and 1 recusal (Commissioner Watts). Motion carried. The Board suggested Commissioners Odom and Robertson, along with Rick French, County Manager, meet with Town officials.
COMMUNITY COLLEGE UPDATE
Chairman Watts stated that several members of the Board as well as Wiley Doby, Superintendent Alexander County Schools, and Keith Hertzler, Chamber of Commerce, had visited Caldwell and Mitchell Community Colleges and spoken with the college presidents. A meeting with Gordon Burns, President of Wilkes Community College, is scheduled for Wednesday, October 4, 2000. Also, Catawba Valley Community College is hosting a luncheon on October 4, 2000. Chairman Watts stated that he would be attending the luncheon and hoped to arrange a discussion with Martin Lancaster, President of the State Community College System, to express the concerns of Alexander County. Chairman Watts also stated that the Board had received another letter from Dr. Cuyler Dunbar, President of CVCC, which again did not include any commitment for funding or a specific dollar amount.
Chairman Watts informed the Board that on August 23-30, 2000, the Alexander Central High School Counseling Center conducted a survey of 592 sophomores and juniors at ACHS. The survey was to determine student interest in CVCC courses. The results are as follows:
Chairman Watts stated that according to the survey results, many individuals in Alexander County were interested in community college services.
RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT FOR THE 2000 COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOND ISSUE
Chairman Watts presented the resolution of support for the upcoming Community College Bond Referendum which was originally discussed at last months meeting. Chairman Watts recommended that the Board adopt the resolution and include an attachment letter outlining the Boards position of receiving a fair share of bond monies for Alexander County.
Commissioner Robertson stated that he would like the Board to discuss the situation with Martin Lancaster, President Community College System, and request that he help secure community college service for Alexander County. Commissioner Harbinson stated that he agreed and that Alexander County needed some assurance of service and bond monies.
Commissioner Harbinson stated that he would personally not vote in favor of the resolution unless CVCC appoints two persons from Alexander County to serve on the Board of Trustees and gives Alexander County a commitment to provide up to $1 million of the bond monies which will be used to make repairs to a new building to house the CVCC Center. Commissioner Harbinson also stated that he would be the first to vote to go with another community college if CVCC does not provide a commitment and a concrete plan. Commissioner Harbinson stated that he felt that if the resolution was approved, Alexander Countys requests for some of the bond monies and adequate representation would be forgotten.
Commissioner Robertson stated that more funds (other than the $1 million) will be needed to implement programs for students. Chairman Watts stated that the new prison will house a furniture manufacturing section that would provide a benefit to the community colleges. The servicing college could use it as hands-on training for students.
Commissioner Bolick stated that he felt that Alexander Countys fight was with CVCC, not with the bond issue. Commissioner Bolick stated that the County owed it to local citizens to vote for the resolution and to get as much money for the schools as possible.
Commissioner Odom stated that he felt it was an obligation for us to give our children the best education possible and that it was the Boards obligation to find the best community college service for Alexander County. Commissioner Odom suggested that the Board seriously look at other colleges and "go shopping" for the best service.
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to adopt the resolution and to add the attachment letter outlining the Boards position on the above mentioned issues. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted 3 for the motion (Commissioners Bolick, Robertson, and Watts) and 2 against the motion (Commissioner Harbinson and Odom). Motion carried.
DISTRICT REPRESENTATION DISCUSSION
Chairman Harbinson stated that he had given his reasoning over the past several meetings as to why district representation should be implemented in Alexander County and was allowing Commissioner Robertson to state his views and reasoning in opposition to district representation at this time.
Commissioner Robertson stated that he was against district representation for the following reasons:
Commissioner Robertson stated that within the state, there is only 1 county whos commissioners are elected purely by district. The majority (42 counties) is nominated and elected at-large.
Commissioner Harbinson read the minutes from January 19, 1987 when the Board of Commissioners voted to approve the resolution to change the Board from 3 members to 5 members for staggered terms. Commissioner Harbinson stated that his initial plan was wrong, that the numbers were wrong, and that the people would not be represented fairly with this plan. Commissioner Harbinson presented a revised district representation plan to the Board as well as a resolution to adopt the revised district representation plan.
Commissioner Robertson stated that in 1987 when the Board of Commissioners voted to change from 3 to 5 members, a study group was appointed beforehand to research the changeover. Commissioner Robertson stated that he felt more input and information was needed and suggested that the current Board appoint a study group also.
Commissioner Bolick stated that he felt a public hearing should be held to get input from the public on how they feel about changing the form of government. Commissioner Bolick stated that there may be a lot of misconception about the issue and felt that the people may not be aware.
Commissioner Harbinson responded by stating that no public hearing was held in 1987 when the Board voted to change from a 3 member board to a 5 member board and also reminded the Board that the General Assembly must pass the bill for the district representation plan before it can be implemented.
Commissioner Odom stated that most governing bodies are elected by districts such as the School Board and the Legislature. Every district and community has special needs and some communities unfortunately get left out. Commissioner Odom stated that he felt each community would like a say in County government and that each deserved their own school and fire district as well as their own representative who will speak for them.
Commissioner Bolick again stated that a public hearing should be held before an agreement is reached. Commissioner Bolick stated that he didnt realize that this issue was going to be decided on so quickly and felt that it was being used to posture politics, not just to allow each district adequate representation on the Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Harbinson responded by stating that this issue was presented over 2 months ago to allow citizen input and felt that it was in the best interest of the County that this plan be implemented for each district to receive equal representation.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to adopt the resolution to implement District Representation. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted 3 for the motion (Commissioners Harbinson, Odom, and Watts) and 2 against the motion (Commissioners Bolick and Robertson). Motion carried.
UPDATE ON BETHLEHEM INCORPORATION
Commissioner Harbinson stated that on August 27, 2000, the Bethlehem Incorporation Task Force met at the DSS conference room. The Bethlehem Incorporation Task Force was informed that their responsibility was to study the advantages and disadvantages of the incorporation of Bethlehem to assist in making a just decision for the Bethlehem community.
On September 19, 2000, another meeting was held at the Bethlehem Elementary School cafeteria. Jake Wicker from the Institute of Government in Raleigh was in attendance at the meeting. Mr. Wicker explained to the Bethlehem Incorporation Task Force the process of incorporation, advantages and disadvantages, services available for an incorporated town, etc.
Commissioner Harbinson stated that a letter was received from the City of Hickory stating that there was no intention from them to annex Bethlehem presently. There were some concerns about the annexation of Bethlehem earlier when the incorporation issue began.
Commissioner Harbinson stated that the Bethlehem Incorporation Task Force had decided to meet on the third Tuesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 17, 2000 at 7:00 p.m. in the Bethlehem Elementary School cafeteria. Chairman Watts informed Commissioner Harbinson that a meeting with the Alexander County Health Board and Serge Dihoff with N.C. Rural Health Division was scheduled for October 17, 2000 and requested changing the date of the Bethlehem Incorporation Task Force Meeting. Commissioner Harbinson stated that the meeting would be changed to Tuesday, October 24, 2000 and requested that the proper arrangements be made.
RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE N.C. GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO PLACE ALL OF ALEXANDER COUNTY INTO ONE STATE HOUSE DISTRICT IN 2001.
Commissioner Harbinson stated that during the last two sessions of the N.C. General Assembly when the State House districts were re-drawn, Alexander County has been split into multiple House districts. As a result, a citizen from Alexander County has no realistic chance of being elected to the N.C. General Assembly as evidence by the fact that no one from Alexander County has served in the General Assembly since the 1970s.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to adopt a resolution requesting the N.C. General Assembly to place all of Alexander County into 1 State House district. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
DISCUSSION OF CREATING A YEAR 2000 TIME CAPSULE FOR ALEXANDER COUNTY
Commissioner Odom discussed creating a year 2000 time capsule. The issue was discussed during the radio show "What Do You Think" recently and had no public response. Commissioner Odom stated that he felt this would be a worthwhile endeavor and instructed Rick French, County Manager, to contact Iredell County for information concerning costs of the project. Commissioner Odom also empowered Mr. French to get input from local schools, speak to civic groups, churches, and to collect any artifacts appropriate for the time capsule.
It was questioned where the time capsule would be placed. The County Administration Building was discussed. Commissioner Robertson stated that this issue was discussed several years ago and a monument was designed to house a time capsule on the Courthouse grounds. Commissioner Robertson stated that Ben Hines, Register of Deeds, would have a drawing of the monument. It was suggested that this issue be tabled until further information is available.
Commissioner Odom made a motion to table this item. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
2001 HOLIDAY SCHEDULE FOR ALEXANDER COUNTY OFFICES
Chairman Watts presented the 2001 Holiday Schedule for County offices as follows:
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to strike December 26, 2000 and approve the holiday schedule as otherwise presented. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
COMMISSIONERS MEETING SCHEDULE DISCUSSION FOR NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 2000
Chairman Watts stated that the regular date for the November Commissioners meeting will fall on election day, November 7, 2000 . Chairman Watts stated that the meeting date will be changed to November 14, 2000. The meeting will be held at Bethlehem Elementary School cafeteria. A reception for outgoing Commissioner Wes Bolick will be held at 6:00 p.m. The Commissioners meeting will begin at 7:15 p.m. There will be no Peoples Agenda. The December meeting is scheduled for December 5, 2000.
Commissioner Robertson suggested declaring Commissioner Bolicks laptop computer as surplus and allowing him to keep it in appreciation for his service as an Alexander County Commissioner.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the meeting schedule for November and December 2000 and to allow Commissioner Bolick to keep his laptop. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
APPOINTMENTS AND REAPPOINTMENTS
Chairman Watts made the following appointments and reappointments:
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve the appointments and reappointments. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Chairman Watts also made appointments to the Work First Planning Committee which are listed below. Some individuals have still not been contacted in regard to serving on this committee. Chairman Watts made the following appointments to the committee and stated that others will be added as confirmation is received.
Darrell Robertson, Tom Jones, David Odom, Keith Hertzler, Paula Brawley, Nancy Witherspoon, Dana Robertson, Susie Barkley, Sarah Loudermilk
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve the appointments to the Work First Planning Committee and those who will be contacted later. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
COUNTY MANAGERS REPORT
Rick French, County Manager, gave the County Managers report which included:
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
CLOSED SESSION CONTRACTUAL
There being no further business, Commissioner Bolick made a motion to adjourn at 9:40 p.m. and to reconvene in Closed Session. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
John S. Watts, Chairman Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board