April 2, 2002
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 2, 2002 in the Commissioners Room in the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Harbinson called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Rev. Bill Orren, Pastor of Millersville Baptist Church, gave the invocation and Commissioner David Odom led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Chairman Harbinson gave the Chairmans Report which included the following information:
During the Chairmans Report, Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, gave an update on water. Mr. Greene discussed the $800,000 CDBG grant for Liledoun Road, Sipe Road, Herman Road, and a portion of Rink Dam Road and noted that McGill Engineering would be surveying this week to complete Rink Dam Road. Mr. Greene also mentioned that an application had been submitted for a $400,000 supplemental grant for water as well as a $40,000 capital development grant for sewer. Both will require a 10% match. Mr. Greene stated that if the $40,000 grant was awarded, it was probable the county would receive the $3 million grant for sewer.
Mr. Greene also discussed the Mitchell Gold CDBG project which took place approximately 4 or 5 years ago and stated that Mitchell Gold had also received a $188,000 ARC grant which was for a water tank for the plant. Mr. Greene stated that Mitchell Gold did not need the tank and felt that the $188,000 could be used for a water line that would run from Millersville Road at Highway 16 South and connect to the EnergyUnited Line at Mitchell Gold. Mr. Greene stated that he had been discussing this issue with Sherry Long, WPCOG, and would report back to the Board as information became available. Mr. Greene also noted that the county could possibly be responsible for some engineering costs if this proposed project took place.
***SPECIAL PRESENTATION TO THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS***
Chairman Harbinson discussed the new animal shelter that is located beside of the National Guard Armory on Highway 16 North. Chairman Harbinson stated that this was the first modern animal shelter in the history of the county. Chairman Harbinson explained that Dr. David Linzey had approached the Board in 1997 with a request that the Board consider building a new animal shelter. Chairman Harbinson noted that the county had set aside $19,000 in a capital reserve fund for the following 4 years. The current Board appropriated $100,000 in the 2001-2002 budget to complete the project. Chairman Harbinson also stated that the Animal Action League had also done its part to raise funds for the project. Chairman Harbinson stated that the Animal Action League was at the meeting to present a check for what they had raised in the last 4 or 5 years.
Dr. David Linzey presented a check to the Board in the amount of $57,000. Dr. Linzey thanked the Board and staff for their help with the project.
Chairman Harbinson inquired about the naming of the road leading to the animal shelter. Dr. Linzey explained that they would be having a contest to allow citizens to suggest road names.
Commissioner Robertson thanked Dr. Linzey and the Animal Action League and stated that he appreciated their efforts. Commissioner Robertson also suggested keeping the large check and placing it in the animal shelter once the building is completed.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Chairman Harbinson noted that appointments to the Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Agricultural Advisory Board were needed to be discussed during Agenda Item 8 (Appointments). Commissioner Watts asked that discussion of the Article 44 sales tax resolution be held during Other Business as well as scheduling a second meeting in April and discussion of convenience center hours.
Commissioner Robertson noted that Bill Johnson was present at the meeting for information regarding community grants. Commissioner Robertson asked for clarification on when the Board would approve the community grant applications. Chairman Harbinson replied that the deadline for applications was Friday, April 5, 2002 and noted that the grants would be awarded at the May 7, 2002 Commissioners Meeting.
Commissioner Watts made a motion to adopt the agenda as amended. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
Chairman Harbinson explained that he, Commissioner Watts, and Commissioner Odom had proposed when elected that the Chairmanship would split during the 4th year of their term. Chairman Harbinson nominated Commissioner Watts to serve as Chairman for the next 4 months and noted that Commissioner Odom would serve during the last 4 months of their term.
Commissioner Harbinson noted that it had been a pleasure and privilege serving as Chairman and noted that the position was to be taken seriously. Commissioner Harbinson also commended his appreciation to his fellow Board members, especially Commissioners Watts and Odom, and noted that he was glad he had come to know and respect Commissioners Robertson and Hammer.
There being no further nominations, Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve the nomination of Commissioner Watts as Chairman of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Chairman Watts asked that the Board be brief and precise with their comments during the meeting to remain on schedule in order to meet with the Town of Taylorsville officials at 8:15 PM at the Taylorsville Town Hall.
PUBLIC HEARING: NC DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION 2002-2003 SECONDARY ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM
Clay Lunsford, District Engineer, introduced Joe Lamb, Division Engineer, to present the 2002-2003 Secondary Road Construction Program. Mr. Lamb explained that some of the roads listed on the 2002-2003 Secondary Road Construction Program were partially funded during the 2001-2002 program and would be completed this year. These roads included Carl Fox Road and All Healing Springs Road. Mr. Lamb stated that NCDOT would fund an additional $430,000 to complete paving on Carl Fox Road and an additional $555,000 to complete paving on All Healing Springs Road. Mr. Lamb stated that Old Vashti Road would be partially funded for paving during the 2002-2003 Secondary Construction Program totaling $90,000.
Mr. Lamb noted that there were 2 roads and a right-of-way work order to be completed as well. Mr. Lamb stated that NCDOT would finish funding for paving on Daniels Ridge Road and Lona Daniels Road during the 2002-2003 year. NCDOT will fund $265,000 for Daniels Ridge Road and $25,000 for Lona Daniels Road, and $40,000 for the right-of-way work order.
Mr. Lamb also mentioned that during the middle of the program there would be various spot stabilizations and secondary maintenance. Mr. Lamb stated that funding for these projects would be taken from the Secondary Trust Fund and Construction Funds. Mr. Lamb stated that these projects would include widening, small bridge replacement, and spot stabilization of secondary unpaved roads.
Mr. Lamb also discussed the State budget situation and stated that their budget was also unknown. Mr. Lamb stated that there was a projected 6.75% decrease in the Trust Fund but noted that staff would not know for sure until word was handed down from the Legislature. Mr. Lamb stated that the 2002-2003 Secondary Road Construction Program projects were subject to funds being available. Mr. Lamb stated that there was some talk of using highway funds to balance part of the State budget and, if so, NCDOT would not have a Trust Fund and projects would be limited for a few years.
Chairman Watts asked if the paving priority presented was what NCDOT planned to complete unless their budget was reduced. Mr. Lamb replied that Chairman Watts was correct.
Commissioner Hammer inquired about the widening and resurfacing of Rink Dam Road. Clay Lunsford, District Engineer, stated that the contract had just been completed and noted that staff would probably begin the project within the next 30 days.
Commissioner Odom asked where Ramie Mitchell Road and Shew Road were located on the paving priority list. Mr. Lamb stated that Ramie Mitchell Road was No. 16 on the rural paving priority list and Shew Road was No. 52 on the list. Mr. Lamb noted that there were a total of 77 rural unpaved roads in the county and 6 unpaved subdivision streets. Mr. Lamb discussed the formula to determine the paving priority and stated that road received points for criteria found. There are 6 points awarded for each home. Points are awarded for businesses and churches. A school bus route is awarded 6 points. If the road is next to a connecting road, it is awarded 10 points. Mr. Lamb stated that they had been using the formula for about 30 years.
Commissioner Odom asked how Alexander County ranked statewide in regard to the number of unpaved roads. Mr. Lamb stated that he wasnt sure because he didnt have the information with him but noted that Alexander County had 56 miles of unpaved roads while Iredell County had over 100 miles left. Gaston County has approximately 30 unpaved roads left. Mr. Lamb noted that Alexander County was the next lowest in their NCDOT division.
Commissioner Hammer asked for a copy of the unpaved road paving priority list. Mr. Lamb distributed a copy to the County Clerk for distribution to the Board.
Commissioner Odom stated that he would like to compliment the local NCDOT staff for their hard work and cooperation with Alexander County.
Chairman Watts asked for any public comment. Martha Childers Oliver stated that she lived on Lawson Childers Road (SR1434) which was .3 miles long and had 4 homes. Ms. Oliver inquired about where the road was located on the paving priority list. Mr. Lamb replied that Lawson Childers Road was No. 64 on the paving priority list. Ms. Oliver noted that timber cutters were working in the area and traveled along Lawson Childers Road which made it very dusty.
There being no further public comment, Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC HEARING: ROAP GRANT APPLICATION
Patti Foster, Transportation Director, presented the application for the 2002-2003 Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP). Ms. Foster explained that county governments were the only eligible applicants for these funds and noted that it was the intent of the program to provide additional transportation beyond the other funding sources and levels of service. The amount of funding tentatively allocated to Alexander County for this year is $67,613.
Ms. Foster noted that since public agencies have funding sources earmarked for transportation, it would be recommended to designate the Transportation Department as the recipient of the EDTAP funds ($40,395), the RGP funds ($21,910) and to distribute the Work First/Employment fund ($5,308) both to the Department of Social Services and the Transportation Department.
Ms. Foster also presented a description of what each of the funds would be for which included the following information:
Chairman Watts asked for any public comment. There being no public comment, Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Odom made a motion to submit the application for the 2002-2003 Rural Operating Assistance Program and to accept the recommendation to designate the EDTAP funds, RGP funds, and Work First/Employment funds as proposed. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC HEARING: REZONING CASE 02-3: SOUTHWORTH
Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, presented Rezoning Case 02-3 submitted by William Southworth. Mr. Southworth requested rezoning of the property located on the southern side of US Highway 64/90 West and just west of Lower Little River. The size of the property is 4 acres and the current land use is a single-family site-built residence. Ms. Turnmire stated that zoning within 100 feet of the property was RA-20 (Residential-Agricultural) to the north, south, and west and R-20 (Residential) to the east. There is a single-family site-built residence and pump station to the north of the property. There are also single-family site-built residences to the east and west of the property and the property to the south is vacant. Ms. Turnmire noted that US Highway 64/90 West was served by a 12-inch water line and a 4-inch pressurized sewer line. Ms. Turnmire noted that Mr. Southworth would like the property rezoned H-C (Highway-Commercial) in order to establish a veterinary clinic.
Ms. Turnmire briefly discussed traffic counts and stated that the average annual daily traffic counts for the intersection of US Highway 64 and NC Highway 90 were in excess of 7,400 trips per day. The average daily traffic counts for the intersection of US Highway 64 and Church Road were in excess of 6,700 trips per day.
Ms. Turnmire stated that the property requested for rezoning was surrounded by residential zoning which presented an issue of spot zoning. Ms. Turnmire stated that spot zoning was "invalid or illegal unless there is a clear reasonable basis for treating the singled out property differently from adjacent land." Ms. Turnmire referred the Board to the County Attorneys memorandum first presented at the March 5, 2002 Commissioners Meeting which states that the Board must address 2 questions in the case of spot zoning which include:
Ms. Turnmire addressed staff comments in regard to these 4 factors to show a reasonable basis for zoning which included:
Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that the Planning & Zoning Commission met on March 7, 2002 and unanimously recommended approval of the rezoning request based on the following facts:
Commissioner Odom pointed out that Mr. Southworth had noted that his proposed use for the property was written "not determined at this time" on the application for rezoning. Commissioner Odom asked that Mr. Southworth, who was present at the meeting, to verify that he was proposing a veterinary clinic. Mr. Southworth stated that he was planning to have a veterinary clinic on the property if the rezoning request were approved.
Commissioner Harbinson commended Ms. Turnmire on the outline memo presented to the Board and stated that the memo and presentation were excellent and included the appropriate information needed by the Board.
Chairman Watts asked for any public comment. There being no public comment, Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve Rezoning Case 02-3. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC HEARING: TEXT AMENDMENT 02-1: MANUFACTURED HOUSING APPEARANCE CRITERIA & SCHEDULE OF USES
Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development,
presented Text Amendment 02-1 to the Manufactured Housing Appearance Criteria and Schedule
of Uses. Ms. Turnmire explained that at the Annual Retreat held on February 1-2, 2002, the
Board requested revisions to the Manufactured Housing Appearance Criteria. Staff requested
that revisions to the Schedule of Uses be included in the same public hearing. Ms.
Turnmire stated that the Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously recommended the
proposed revisions listed below. The deletions are
Manufactured Housing Appearance Criteria
Singlewide Manufactured Homes
Commissioner Odom suggested that the Planning & Zoning Commission and staff look into allowing auto repair in RA-20 (Residential-Agricultural) Districts. Commissioner Odom felt that this issue would be reoccurring as the county grows.
Commissioner Hammer discussed the portion of the Manufactured Housing Appearance Criteria that addressed electrical service to manufactured homes. Commissioner Hammer explained that the criteria currently does not allow electrical service to be re-hooked to a manufactured home if the electrical service has been disconnected for more than 6 months. Commissioner Hammer felt that this should be deleted from the criteria. Ms. Turnmire stated that the words "with electrical service" could be removed from the portion of the criteria which states "Any manufactured home that exists in the county prior to the adoption of this Ordinance that does not meet the Manufactured Home Appearance Criteria, but is constructed to HUD standards and contains the appropriate seals to verify this fact, and has been used as a habitable dwelling unit with electrical service, may be moved to any other location in the county that allows manufactured homes."
Commissioner Robertson discussed the "habitable space" wording. Ms. Turnmire explained that that wording was placed in the criteria to keep individuals from using manufactured homes as storage space. Commissioner Harbinson asked who would determine if the home was a habitable space. Ms. Turnmire replied that the building inspector would make that determination.
Ms. Turnmire mentioned that 2 individuals, which were manufactured home dealers, looked at the proposed text amendments and had no problems.
Chairman Watts asked for any public comment. There being no public comment, Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Odom made a motion to approve Text Amendment 02-1 to the Manufactured Housing Appearance Criteria and Schedule of Uses to include the additional amendment suggested by Commissioner Hammer concerning electrical service. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
RESOLUTION FOR COUNTY GOVERNMENT WEEK
David Icenhour, Human Resources/Public Information Director, presented the Resolution Proclaiming April 7-13, 2002 as National County Government Week in Alexander County.
Mr. Icenhour stated that several events were scheduled to take place during County Government Week including the Commissioner for a Day Program. Ten students will assume the roles of county commissioners for a day and will attend the Juvenile Detention Center Grand Opening. Mr. Icenhour also stated that a tour of county offices would be given to several high school groups during the week.
Commissioner Odom made a motion to adopt the Resolution Proclaiming April 7-13, 2002 as National County Government Week in Alexander County. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
AMENDMENT TO PERSONNEL POLICY
David Icenhour, Human Resources/Public Information Director,
presented an amendment to the Alexander County Personnel Policy which is listed below. The
additions are in bold italics and the deletions are
Section 2. Health Insurance Benefits
Mr. Icenhour briefly explained the pro-rated basis and gave an example that a 50% part-time employee would pay 50% of their monthly premium.
Commissioner Harbinson asked how many employees this change would affect. Mr. Icenhour replied that the change would affect approximately 15 employees and noted that it would result in a $20,000 yearly savings.
Commissioner Harbinson stated that he appreciated the purpose of the pro-rated basis proposal but had a problem with it. Commissioner Harbinson stated that he knew of several part-time employees that would have never taken their job if the county hadnt paid 100% of their insurance. Commissioner Harbinson noted that he had some mixed feelings about this and did not want to lose any employees because of the change.
Commissioner Robertson also noted that he did not feel comfortable with this proposal and suggested dealing with it during the budget process instead of making a decision tonight.
Commissioner Hammer asked how other counties handled their insurance. Rick French, County Manager, stated that most counties had a pro-rated policy where part-time employees paid a portion of their premiums.
Commissioner Harbinson proposed using the money from the salaries which he and fellow commissioners Watts and Odom gave up to put towards insurance premiums for part-time employees.
Mr. French informed the Board that they could go ahead and adopt the amendment and make if effective July 1, 2002 to allow employees to prepare for the change.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to adopt the amendment to the Alexander County Personnel Policy effective July 1, 2002 with the understanding that the Board would revisit the amendment at that time for possible revision based on the budget situation. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
APPOINTMENT LEPC MEMBERSHIP
Chairman Watts presented a memo from Terry Foxx, Emergency Management Director, which requested that Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, be appointed to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). Mr. Foxx explained in his memo that the LEPC would soon be working on the Hazard Mitigation Plan and noted that Ms. Turnmire would need to be involved in the process.
Chairman Watts also presented appointments to the Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Agricultural Advisory Board which included the following individuals:
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve the appointments as presented. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
The following items were discussed during Other Business:
Mr. French explained that the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners had urged all counties to move forward with adopting this resolution in hopes that it would send a message to the State that these monies were desperately needed and hopefully be able to enact the sales tax on July 1, 2002 instead of July 1, 2003. Mr. French noted that Pasquotank County had adopted the resolution.
Mr. French estimated that the county could lose $1.8 million in tax reimbursements held by the State and increased Medicaid costs within the next 15 months. Mr. French noted that liability and property insurance was expected to increase 80%-90%. Mr. French noted that the State budget was in the worst shape its been in since the Depression and that counties had never seen anything like this before. Mr. French stated that the increase in Medicaid costs could even be worse than the withholding of tax reimbursements.
Mr. French explained that a $1.8 million loss equaled a 15 or 16-cent local property tax increase which was not feasible. This means the county will have to take other actions. Mr. French noted that he had asked each department to cut 5% of their overall budget. This will only equal 1% of the total county budget. Mr. French also stated that he anticipated some layoffs and possibly some reorganization of departments as well as a possible interim 2002-2003 budget.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to hold a public hearing and adopt the resolution on the Article 44 local option sales tax at the May 7, 2002 Commissioners Meeting. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
There being no further business, Commissioner Odom made a motion to adjourn at 8:00 PM. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
John F. Watts, Chairman Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board