October 2, 2001
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting on Tuesday, October 2, 2001 in the Commissioners Room of the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
There were no citizens present to speak at the Peoples Agenda.
Rick French, County Manager, gave an update on the following water project:
Chairman Odom gave the Chairmans Report which included the following information:
Commissioner Hammer thanked Chairman Odom for reading his letter at the September 18, 2001 Commissioners Meeting. Commissioner Hammer was unable to attend the meeting due to a previously scheduled Agriculture Steering Committee Meeting in Raleigh. Commissioner Hammer urged all to continue to show their patriotism by flying the American Flag proudly.
Commissioner Watts noted that he would be meeting with the CVCC Building and Grounds Committee to discuss the new CVCC/Alexander Center facility.
Commissioner Robertson briefly discussed the Gwaltneys Community Fire Department and stated that they would possibly look at some different types of buildings before construction.
Commissioner Harbinson mentioned that the State House of Representatives had proposed a plan to leave Alexander County as one House district which will also include parts of Yadkin and Iredell. The Board adopted a resolution in 2000 discouraging the House to split Alexander County into several districts. Commissioner Harbinson stated that they should know in a couple of weeks.
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Odom called the meeting to order at 7:04 PM.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Reverend Roger Underwood, Paster of First Baptist Church, gave the invocation, and Leanne Johnson, student at Sugar Loaf Elementary School, led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Commissioner Watts discussed the 150th Anniversary of First Baptist Church and gave some background on the churches history. Commissioner Watts noted that on October 6, 1851, 51 members of the Little River community along with others joined together to organize a new church that was named the Taylorsville Meeting House. The name later changed to Taylorsville Baptist Church and then to First Baptist Church in January 1949. Commissioner Watts noted that First Baptist Church would celebrate its 150th Anniversary on October 6-7, 2001 with a "dinner on the grounds picnic" beginning at 5:00 PM on the October 6th and closing of the Sesquicentennial Celebration on October 7th with former pastors and members in attendance. Commissioner Watts read a proposed proclamation naming October 6-7, 2001 as First Baptist Church Days in Alexander County.
Commissioner Watts made a motion to adopt the resolution naming October 6-7, 2001 as First Baptist Church Days in Alexander County. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Watts presented a framed copy of the resolution to Roger Underwood, Pastor of First Baptist Church, along with a plaque in honor of the church.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Chairman Odom asked for any amendments to the agenda. Commissioner Watts requested approval of the rescheduled meeting with the Board of Education for October 25, 2001 as Item 7A during Other Business. Commissioner Harbinson requested discussion of the 2002 Planning Retreat also during Other Business as Item 7B. Commissioner Robertson made a motion to adopt the agenda as amended. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC HEARING: APPROVAL FOR SCHEDULE OF VALUES
Luther Stocks, Tax Administrator, presented the Schedule of Values and stated that the public hearing had originally been scheduled for the September Commissioners Meeting but that there had been a mix-up in the advertisement and therefore had to be held at the October Meeting.
Commissioner Watts asked if the revaluation staff had received any comments regarding the Schedule of Values. Mr. Stocks replied that one person had come into the office to inspect the Schedule but did not comment.
Commissioner Harbinson asked if the Schedule of Values for Alexander County was similar to other counties. Ron McCarthy replied the Schedule of Values was very similar to other counties and also commented that all counties used the same principle when determining values.
Chairman Odom asked what the average increase would be incurred on property. Mr. McCarthy replied that there was no way to calculate an accurate average since each property could be impacted by different factors including highways and lakes. Mr. McCarthy also noted that some property would increase by 10 % and others would increase 100 %.
Mr. Stocks stated that staff had almost completed the field work and would begin on the review process and applying the schedule very soon.
Commissioner Robertson asked when the entire revaluation process would be completed. Mr. Stocks stated that the process would be completed in December 2001 and that staff would then generate notices to property owners to be mailed in January 2002 informing them of the increase and the informal hearings. Mr. Stocks noted that approximately 10 % of property owners appealed their new property value at the informal hearings during the last revaluation.
Commissioner Harbinson asked if staff had looked into holding regional meetings for different sections of the county. Mr. Stocks replied that they had discussed regional meetings but decided against them since staff would be mailing notices to all property owners. Mr. Stocks noted that staff would possibly include an appeal form with the notice. Mr. Stocks also explained that property owners would have the opportunity to appeal their property value at an informal hearing and then to the Board of Equalization and Review if no agreement is reached at the informal hearing. Property owners may appeal to the State is they are not satisfied with the Board of Equalization and Reviews ruling.
Commissioner Harbinson noted that David Icenhour, Public Information Officer, had placed a revaluation question and answer section on the county web page. Mr. McCarthy noted that the notices would also include that same information.
There being no public comment, Commissioner Watts made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to formally approve the Schedule of Values at the October 16, 2001 Commissioners Meeting. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
RESOLUTION FOR DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS FOR-GET-ME-NOT WEEK
Commander Roy Gragg, DAV Chapter 84, discussed the purpose of the DAV and the For-Get-Me-Not campaign and stated that their purpose was to raise funds to help veterans and their families in need. Commander Gragg explained that the DAV could provide up to $200 per veteran or per veteran family and also provided local veterans with transportation to and from their doctors office or hospital. Commander Gragg also stated that the State paid out approximately $60,000 to veterans and their families during Hurricane Floyd.
Commissioner Harbinson stated that he appreciated those who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for our country and thanked Commander Gragg and the DAV for their contribution to the veterans of Alexander County.
Commissioner Watts stated that he was overwhelmed with the amount of patriotism that has been shown during the past few weeks and complimented Commander Gragg and the DAV for their show of patriotism before the terrorist attacks.
Commissioner Robertson conveyed his appreciation to Commander Gragg and the DAV for their willingness to help the veterans of Alexander County.
Commissioner Hammer also thanked Commander Gragg and the DAV and stated and felt that they were a great contributor to making Alexander County a unique place to live.
Following the reading of the resolution, Commissioner Watts made a motion to adopt the resolution declaring the week of October 13-20, 2001 as Disabled American Veterans For-Get-Me-Not-Week in Alexander County. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Chairman Odom made a motion to approve another "cover charge" to all elected officials at the October 16, 2001 Commissioners Meeting as a contribution to the For-Get-Me-Not Campaign. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
RESOLUTION FOR VIGILANT, BUT NOT VIGILANTES
Chairman Odom asked Commissioner Watts to read aloud the resolution for Vigilant, But Not Vigilantes. The resolution condemned pointless acts of hate crimes and encouraged citizens to be vigilant in their efforts to help and heal.
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to adopt the resolution for Vigilant, But Not Vigilantes. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
BRIEFING ON THE BELL TOWER
Ben Hines, Register of Deeds, presented plans for a Bell Tower to be constructed on the Courthouse Lawn. The bell was purchased in 1850 for purpose of calling court into session and was later used to announce the arrival of fresh meat to be sold on the courthouse square. The bell was also used to announce fires, to ring in the new year, and was sometimes placed on a cart and pulled to the home of newlyweds and rung as the couple was being "serenaded". It also announced the end of World War I and II.
The bell was severely damaged in the 1967 courthouse fire when the bells supports were burned, causing it to tumble and strike the cement balcony at the top of the courthouse stairs. About 1/3 of the bell was broken into small pieces. The bell was restored and later placed on the courthouse square.
Mr. Hines discussed the plans for a 15-foot tower which would hold the bell as well as the cornerstone of the old courthouse. Mr. Hines stated that he had been negotiating with Larry Robinson in regard to the ACHS vocational students building the tower. The permits have been approved by the Alexander County Planning Department and the Town of Taylorsville. Mr. Hines informed the Board that the project would cost approximately $8,000 and stated that $779.44 was on hand in Taylorsville Savings Bank for the tower.
Mr. Hines requested $7,225 from the Board for the cost of the tower and stated that the tower was to be completed and dedicated on May 10, 2002 100 years since the cornerstone of the 1902 courthouse was placed. Mr. Hines also requested that Commissioner Robertson supervise the project with his engineering expertise. The project will be named either "The Bell Tower" or "The Veterans Memorial".
Commissioner Robertson noted that Martha Adams had also researched this project before Mr. Hines was elected Register of Deeds. Commissioner Robertson also noted that the tower would be an ideal place for the time capsule that was discussed in September 2000.
Commissioner Hammer suggested placing a plaque on the tower that would display the history of the bell for visitors to read. Commissioner Hammer also asked if the project would need to be bid. Commissioner Robertson replied that the project could be contracted directly without the bidding process since it was a small project.
Commissioner Robertson asked if anyone had viewed brick samples. Mr. Hines replied the brick would match the courthouse and also suggested that the Board hold a meeting to determine where to place the tower.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to fund the cost of the Bell Tower totaling $7,225 and to appoint Chairman Odom and Commissioner Robertson to work together to explore the possibilities of the history plaque and the time capsule. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
WAIVER OF BID PROCESS FOR AMBULANCE PURCHASE
Nolan Jarvis, EMS Director, presented a waiver of the bid process for the purchase of a new ambulance. Mr. Jarvis explained that North Carolina General Statute 143-129(g) states that a formal bid process may be waived by the governing body if another political entity has, within the last 12 months, made a purchase of the same equipment through a formal bid.
Mr. Jarvis stated that Northwestern Emergency Vehicles in West Jefferson had provided a quote of $81,944 for an AEV Type III ambulance essentially identical to the one purchased last year. The State contract price for a similarly equipped ambulance was $82,095 from Wheeled Coach out of Florida.
Mr. Jarvis noted that Forsyth County made a purchase in February 2001 of the AEV Type III ambulance from Northwestern Emergency Vehicles based on a formal bid and requested approval for Alexander County to "piggy back" on the bid with Northwestern Emergency Vehicles in West Jefferson.
Commissioner Hammer asked what model the ambulance would be. Mr. Jarvis replied the ambulance would have a 2002 chassis.
Commissioner Watts made a motion to waive the bid process and to "piggy back" Forsyth County for the purchase of a new ambulance from Northwestern Emergency Vehicles for the cost of $81,944. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Chairman Odom stated that he was very proud of Mr. Jarvis and the EMS staff for their increase work and manhours since the closing of the hospital. Chairman Odom also asked when the ambulance would be delivered. Mr. Jarvis responded that it would take a maximum of 60 days.
PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION APPOINTMENT
Chairman Odom stated that Terry Foster had resigned from the Planning & Zoning Commission effective August 11, 2001 and stated that a replacement was needed. In a memo from Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, she stated that a representative was needed from the Ellendale, Little River, Sugar Loaf, or Millers townships.
The Board made no recommendations for replacement of Mr. Fosters position. Chairman Odom requested the Board research for a replacement to be appointed at the October 16, 2001 Commissioners Meeting.
The following items were discussed during Other Business:
Meeting with the Board of Education
Commissioner Watts asked for approval of the rescheduled date of October 25, 2001 to meet with the Alexander County Board of Education. The meeting is to begin at 6:05 PM at ACHS with a tour of the new facilities and will continue with a 7:00 PM meeting at the Board of Education central office to discuss several issues including Ellendale Elementary School, Wittenburg Elementary School, current facilities, and future plans.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve the rescheduled date of October 25, 2001 to meet with the Board of Education. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
2002 Planning Retreat
Commissioner Harbinson discussed holding the 2002 Planning Retreat at the Hidden Crystal Inn in Hiddenite NC and suggested that the Retreat be held on January 18-19, 2001. Commissioner Watts suggested holding meeting all day on Friday, January 18th and Saturday morning, January 19th. The Board checked their calendars and agreed on the date.
Commissioner Watts suggested possibly meeting on Thursday, January 17, 2001 as well.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve January 18-19, 2001 for the 2002 Planning Retreat date and to authorize Rick French, County Manager, to make arrangements with Hidden Crystal Inn. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Animal Shelter Groundbreaking
Rick French, County Manager, stated that the ground-breaking for the new animal shelter was held at 6:00 PM before the Commissioners Meeting.
Mr. French stated that Gwaltneys Community Fire Department had requested the $25,000 appropriation that had been approved by the Board. Also, $100,000 has been requested for the Three Forks water project. Mr. French requested approval for payment and stated the budget amendments for the projects would be included in the agenda for the October 16, 2001 Commissioners Meeting.
Mr. French noted that he had been elected to serve as President of the Foothills Services and Commissioner Robertson had been elected to serve as Vice President on September 19, 2001. Foothills Services is a part of the Foothills Area Board.
Commissioner Robertson felt that Mr. French would do a good job as President and conveyed his appreciation for Mr. Frenchs interest.
Commissioner Watts made a motion to approve 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)(6) PERSONNEL
Commissioner Watts made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 8:15 PM to discuss personnel issues pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6). Commissioner Robertson 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 8:35 PM. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
David S. Odom, Chairman Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board