October 16, 2001
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held a special called meeting on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 in the Superior Court Room of the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Odom called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND INVOCATION
The Alexander Central High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp (NJROTC) performed the Presentation of the Colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Commissioner Darrell Robertson gave the invocation.
Commissioner Harbinson presented the Citizen of the Month Award to Jerry Durmire and a Key to the County to R.B. Sloan. Commissioner Harbinson noted that Mr. Durmire had served as Secretary of the Water Corporation from 1980-1996 and was presently serving as President of the EnergyUnited Water Corporation. Mr. Sloan a native of Stony Point, a former Iredell County Commissioner, and is the present CEO of EnergyUnited. Commissioner Harbinson commended these gentlemen for providing water to the citizens of Alexander County.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Commissioner Watts made a motion to approve the agenda as presented. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC HEARING: WATER NEEDS IN ALEXANDER COUNTY
Chairman Odom welcomed all to the public hearing and discussed the water needs in Alexander County. Chairman Odom also discussed the Water Task Force and stated that he was pleased that so many people were interested in serving on the Water Task Force.
Commissioner Hammer thanked all those present for coming and stated that noted that the need for water was great. Commissioner Hammer felt that Water Task Force was a great way to unite citizens from all areas of the county to find the best solution for water needs. Commissioner Hammer noted that installation of county water was a long process and very expensive, costing approximately $100,000 per mile.
Rick French, County Manager, gave an update on the following information:
Mr. French stated that there had been some discussion about undoing the current districts and making the remainder of the county into one district except for Bethlehem because of the debt service, the Town of Taylorsville, and EnergyUnited areas.
Mr. French noted that water projects would take time and money and stated that staff would continuously be looking for grants to install water lines.
Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, also gave a report on water projects which included the following information:
Glynn Gwaltney, a resident of Cheatham Ford Road, stated that his spring had recently went dry and that he was hauling water to his home as well as his renters. Mr. Gwaltney also noted that his neighbor had recently dug a well and had only gotten 2 gallons of water per minutes. Mr. Gwaltney also stated that he was concerned for all citizens of Alexander county in regards to the need for water.
J.D. Spivey, a resident of Cheatham Ford Road, discussed the water line along Cheatham Ford Road which only reaches Jim Millsaps Road. Mr. Spivey stated that he had spoken to Energy United who told him it was not possibly to run the line any further unless residents pay $20,000 up front. Mr. Spivey stated that he and his family had been without water since May and that he had been hauling water to his home in 55 gallon drums. Mr. Spivey also stated that he and his family were considering moving out of Alexander County if they could not get assistance soon.
Patsy Elliot, a resident of Cheatham Ford Road, stated that she and her family had spent $20,000 digging 4 wells with no success. Ms. Elliot noted that she made her living by maintaining 3 chicken house but stated that she needed water to operate the chicken houses. Ms. Elliot stressed the need of water along Cheatham Ford Road.
Steve Whisnant, a resident of Cheatham Ford Road, noted that he was J.D. Spiveys neighbor and that he and his family were having to take their baths from 2 liter water bottles because their spring had dried up. Mr. Whisnant requested assistance from the Board.
Dennis Rogers, a resident of Highway 127, commented on the petition that was submitted requesting water lines for 1.9 miles of Highway 127. The petition originally included 25 names. Mr. Rogers noted that 1 name had been added since the petition was submitted. Mr. Rogers stated that residents wells were going dry and noted that his sister had her children brush their teeth in shifts in fear of running out of water. Mr. Rogers asked the Board to help in any way possible.
Donnie Holman, a resident of Antioch Church Road, also commented on the petition that was submitted. Mr. Holman stated that his well had gone dry and that he had to dig another, but wasnt sure how long the water would last. Mr. Holman also noted that he had to move his mother from her home because she had been without water since April. Mr. Holman stated that he wanted to help get county water to the entire county.
Todd Hefner, a resident of Antioch Church Road, stated that his dads well was currently being used by 3 households and was unsure of how long the water would last. Mr. Hefner also stated that his dad lived 1,700 feet from the Caldwell County line where water was available and 5,000 feet from the nearest water line in Alexander County. Mr. Hefner stated the he wished for the entire county to have water and supported any efforts to get water.
Seth Chapman, the Clerk of Court and a resident of Black Oak Ridge Road, stated that he currently had water but did not know for how long. Mr. Chapman discussed the grant process and noted that the grant process took time and that grants were not free. Mr. Chapman stated that the Board would possibly have to raise taxes to pay for the local share of the grants in order to get water to as many areas as possible. Mr. Chapman encouraged citizens to stick together and support the Board.
Kenneth Picklesimer, a resident of Black Oak Ridge Road, stated that he shared his well with his parents and his brother-in-law and stated that he was concerned that the well wouldnt last long. Mr. Picklesimer expressed his concerns regarding fires and the ability to get water to the fires if there were no water lines nearby.
Reverend Darren Lambert, the Pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, conveyed his concern for the citizens that spoke of water needs and discussed the fire that destroyed Pleasant Hill Baptist Church on April 21, 2001. Rev. Lambert stated that approximately 60-75 loads of water were hauled to the church totaling approximately 80-90,000 gallons of water. Rev. Lambert applauded the efforts of Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, and all volunteer fire fighters. Rev. Lambert also stated that a church should be a place for citizens to go when in need of food, shelter, heat, and water and stated that he would be willing to pay higher taxes in order to have water available to him and the church. Rev. Lambert also asked about the possibly of receiving grants for individual citizens.
Chairman Odom stated that there was no question that water was a great need and he felt now was the time to act to try to get water to areas in need. Chairman Odom recognized the Board members for their comments.
Commissioner Watts stated that the Board was committed to doing whatever possible to get water to all areas of the county and felt that citizens should work together. Commissioner Watts also felt that the Water Task Force could establish a good plan of action to get water for the entire county.
Commissioner Hammer stated that the Board was dedicated to finding a way to provide water to all citizens but noted that the process would take time. Commissioner Hammer discussed the Water Task Force and explained that all those that signed up could not be chosen since the Water Task Force would consist of equal representation of all areas of the county.
Commissioner Harbinson discussed the agreement with the City of Hickory which will provide ample water to all when water lines are in place. Commissioner Harbinson stated that the Board would be committed to getting as many grants as possible but expressed his concerns with getting grants for the entire county. Commissioner Harbinson explained that it would be difficult to get grants for roads that are less populated. Commissioner Harbinson also stated that one of the goals of the Water Task Force would be to develop a strategy for the least costly way to get water to the entire county.
Commissioner Robertson stated that he was president of the Water Corporation in 1975-1976 and explained that he and Lynn Sharpe came to the Board consisting of Doc Deal, J.M. Lackey, and Mack Treadway to discuss getting grants for water lines. Commissioner Robertson discussed the longevity of the grant process and stated that it took 5 years to get a grant for Cheatham Ford Road and that the Little River began in 1995 and was funded last year in 2000. Commissioner Robertson stated that every Board of Commissioners elected since 1975 had worked to get as many water lines installed as possible and noted that the current Board would do the same.
There being no further public comment, Chairman Odom declared the public hearing closed.
Discussion on Water Task Force
Chairman Odom thanked those who signed up to be considered as a Water Task Force member and suggested that officials from EnergyUnited, Town of Taylorsville, and City of Hickory be appointed to the Water Task Force as advisory members. Chairman Odom asked those interested in serving on the Water Task Force to place their phone numbers on the list so that they may be contacted. Chairman Odom suggested the Water Task Force meet the first Monday of each month at the DSS Conference Room until ground rules are set and a plan of action is established. The Water Task Force can them begin holding the meetings in different sections of the county. Chairman Odom also asked that Russell Greene and Rick French also attend the meetings. Chairman Odom noted that Jamie Millsaps, Clerk to the Board, would be contacting those chosen to serve on the Water Task Force.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to establish the Water Task Force including the additional members from Energy United, Town of Taylorsville, and the City of Hickory for approval at the November Commissioners Meeting. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
BETHLEHEM INCORPORATION TASK FORCE UPDATE
Bob Hopper, Chairman of the Bethlehem Incorporation Task Force, gave an update on the survey concerning the incorporation of the Bethlehem community.
The results were as follows:
Mr. Hopper stated that the next Task Force meeting was scheduled for November 20, 2001 and noted that he would inform the Board of any decisions made at the meeting. Mr. Hopper also noted that, if the Task Force decided to proceed with the process, a Referendum Bill would not be introduced until the 2002 Session of the General Assembly.
Mr. Hopper also requested that the 4 Task Force members who live outside of the proposed Bethlehem town limits be replaced or removed since they would no longer have an interest in the incorporation.
Mr. Hopper also distributed to the Board a letter from David Lawrence, Institute of Government, that explained the 15 % requirements for a referendum.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to remove and not replace the 4 Task Force members who live outside of the Bethlehem town boundaries. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
ADOPTION OF THE SCHEDULE OF VALUES
Luther Stock, Tax Administrator, requested the Board adopt the Schedule of Values to allow time for advertisement and appeals. Mr. Stocks noted that November 15, 2001 would be the last day for an appeal to be submitted.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to adopt the Schedule of Values. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
BOARD APPOINTMENTS AND REAPPOINTMENTS
Chairman Odom presented the following appointments:
Commissioner Watts made a motion to approve the appointments. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Board of Education
Commissioner Watts stated that he had proposed several items to be discussed at the Board of Education work session to be held tonight. Commissioner Watts also noted that he would be meeting with Jack Hoke, Superintendent, in the morning.
Commissioner Hammer discussed the Governors Awards to be presented in Morganton on Thursday, October 18, 2001. The Board announced their nominees which included:
Commissioner Watts Polly Wagner
Commissioner Hammer Brushy Mountain Shriners
Commissioner Odom Keith Mundy
Commissioner Harbinson The Redneck Club, Inc.
Commissioner Robertson Dr. Josephine Foster
Chairman Odom noted that the groundbreaking for the prison would be held on November 8, 2001 at the prison site and that Governor Easley would be scheduling a time soon.
County Managers Report
Rick French, County Manager, gave an update on the following information:
CLOSED SESSION N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(6) CONTRACTUAL/PERSONNEL
Commissioner Watts made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 8:25 PM to discuss contractual and personnel issues pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5)(6). Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
There being no further business, Commissioner Robertson made a motion to adjourn at 8:50 PM. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
David S. Odom, Chairman Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board