Draft

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS 

ALEXANDER COUNTY

REGULAR  MEETING

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA

August 6, 2002

PRESENT: John F. Watts, Chairman
William L. Hammer, Vice-Chairman
Joel C. Harbinson
David S. Odom
W. Darrell Robertson
STAFF: Rick French, County Manager
Jamie Millsaps, Clerk to the Board
David Icenhour, Human Resources/Public Information Director
MEDIA: Lonnie Carrigan, WACB Radio
Gary Herman, The Taylorsville Times

 

The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting on Tuesday, August 6, 2002 in the Commissioners’ Room of the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.

PEOPLES’ AGENDA

Glenn Mays, Adams Funeral Home, informed the Board that Adams Funeral Home would be holding a remembrance ceremony on the morning of September 11, 2002 at the Alexander Central High School stadium. Mr. Mays stated that the ACHS band, chorus, and JROTC would be participating and that an art contest would possibly be held for the younger school children. Mr. Mays stated that our local heroes would also be recognized including law enforcement officers, firefighters, rescue workers, and Red Cross workers in order to thank them for putting their lives on the line for us every day. Mr. Mays stated that this ceremony would be broadcast on WACB as well. Mr. Mays asked for moral support from the Board and stated that he would inform them of additional details at a later date.

Commissioner Robertson asked if a definite time had been set for the ceremony. Mr. Mays replied that a definite time would probably to determined next week.

The Board conveyed their appreciation to Mr. Mays and Adams Funeral Home for holding such a ceremony.

CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Watts called the meeting to order at 6:55 PM.

INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Pastor Todd Rauscher, Friendship Lutheran Church, gave the invocation and his children, Nicole and Daniel Rauscher, led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Each was presented with an Alexander County pin.

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

Chairman Watts gave the Chairman’s Report which included the following:

    1. Chairman Watts reviewed the August 1, 2002 Legislative Bulletin (which is hereby made a part of these minutes) which reported that the House and Senate conferees had this week begun efforts to resolve differences between budget proposals approved by each body. On Monday, July 29, 2002, the House gave third reading approval to a proposal that would authorize a half-cent local option sales tax to take effect January 1, 2003 and replace a state half-cent sales tax that would expire on that date. Chairman Watts stated that the bill was sent to the Senate, which failed to concur with the House proposal (Senate proposal enacted sales tax option earlier), thus setting the stage for appointment of conferees to resolve differences. The Senate revenue package also includes an accelerated local option sales tax but the State sales tax would stay in effect until July 1, 2003. Chairman Watts stated that while revenue options were being discussed, House Appropriations leaders prepared to spend the weekend generating a House budget proposal to be brought to the Floor within the next week or two. Both the House and Senate adjourned before lunch Thursday to enable conference and budget committees to continue their efforts.
    2. Commissioner Robertson discussed an article that he read in the Raleigh News Observer which stated that the State had found $120 million worth of funds from last year’s budget to be used during this year’s budget. Commissioner Robertson stated that the article outlined how the money would be spent but noted that there was no discussion on appropriating any funds to NC counties.

    3. Chairman Watts stated that he and CVCC President Cuyler Dunbar had recently received confirmation from the NC Office of State Construction that 4 area contractors had been awarded construction contracts for the renovation of the college’s new Alexander Center. Chairman Watts stated that the construction contracts were to be awarded as follows:
David E. Looper Company (General Contractor) $552,350
Tommy Caldwell (Plumbing) $ 60,480
Lake Electric (Electrical) $115,591
Huffman Metal Works, Inc. (Mechanical) $146,358

Chairman Watts stated that a pre-construction conference had been scheduled for Monday, August 12, 2002 at 1:00 PM at the job site. Kenny Hunt, NC State Construction Supervisor, will be meeting with all contractors to outline state requirements for the project. Chairman Watts also stated that ADW Architects of Charlotte completed the design work for the project which included 10 classrooms, office space, a conference room, and a large multi-purpose room. Chairman Watts stated that all renovations were projected to be completed in early 2003.

***SPECIAL RECOGNITION***

Commissioner Harbinson stated that David Icenhour, Human Resources/Public Information Director, had received 2 awards from the National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO) during an awards banquet on July 12, 2002 in New Orleans, LA, which he attended at his own expense.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that the Association presented Superior, Excellent, and Meritorious awards in a variety of categories. Mr. Icenhour received a Meritorious Award in the Annual Report category for the "Working for the Future Project Report" and also an Excellent Award in the Photography category for a photo of Buelah Redmon doing the Hula Hoop during a Senior Nutrition Education Program.

Commissioner Harbinson mentioned that Mr. Icenhour was hired in June 2001 as Public Information Director and later took the position of Human Resources Director as well. Commissioner Harbinson stated that he had researched the number of news release done by surrounding counties from June 2001 to July 2002 and reported that Caldwell County had 11 news releases and Catawba had 37 news releases. Commissioner Harbinson noted that he was very proud to say that Alexander County had 191 news releases in that period of time due to Mr. Icenhour’s efforts.

Commissioner Harbinson felt that Mr. Icenhour had done an excellent job keeping staff and citizens informed about the ongoings of county government with his news releases and his work with the government channel. Commissioner Harbinson, on behalf of the entire Board, thanked Mr. Icenhour publicly for his work.

ADOPTION OF AGENDA

Commissioner Hammer requested discussion of the Water Task Force Meeting held on Monday, August 5, 2002 during Other Business. Rick French, County Manager, requested several items to be considered during Other Business including acceptance of the Alexander County School bids, an LEPC appointment, and scheduling of the August 13, 2002 Special Called Meeting for a public hearing in order to consider the filing of the application with Local Government Commission (LGC) for the financing of the school projects.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to adopt the agenda as amended. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN

Chairman Watts explained that he, Commissioner Harbinson, and Commissioner Odom had proposed when elected that the Chairmanship would be split between them during the fourth year of their term. Therefore, Chairman Watts nominated Commissioner Odom to serve as Chairman for the remaining 4 months of their term.

There being no further nominations, Commissioner Watts made a motion to approve the nomination of Commissioner Odom as Chairman of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

FIRE DEPARTMENT INSURANCE DISTRICTS

Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, explained that in the late 80’s and early 90’s the Department of Insurance allowed fire departments to expand their insurance districts to 5 miles, thus providing property owners to receive an insurance break by being within an approved insurance district. Mr. Greene stated that, due to equipment and road conditions, the State approved 6-mile insurance districts this year for Ellendale, Sugar Loaf, Vashti, and Stony Point.

Mr. Greene presented fire district maps to the Board and stated that the Chief of each fire department had reviewed the maps. Mr. Greene also stated that the maps were approved by the Office of the State Fire Marshal on July 17, 2002. Mr. Greene requested approval by the Board so that the Clerk to the Board could prepare appropriate resolutions to be filed with the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Mr. Greene stated that the Hiddenite insurance district was a 5-mile district which included the newly constructed Hiddenite Station 2 Gwaltney Community facility. Mr. Greene explained that on July 15, 16, and 17, 2002 a member of the Office of the State Fire Marshal inspected the 9S fire departments (Ellendale, Sugar Loaf, Vashti, Stony Point, and Hiddenite) and certified the new Station 2 Gwaltney Fire Department. Mr. Greene stated that the electrical work was one week away from being completed, the mechanical permits were being applied for today, and staff was waiting for shipment of a piece of metal to put in the bay door at the station. Mr. Greene stated that the anticipated completion date was approximately 30 days.

Commissioner Watts asked if Mr. Greene had an average estimate of the savings impacted by a property owner being located within an insurance district. Mr. Greene stated that before the 6-mile district was allowed, everything outside of the district was considered a Class 10 fire department. If the class dropped from a Class 10 to a Class 9, the decrease of insurance premiums for a 1970’s home at a tax value of $100,000 would total approximately $100 per year.

Commissioner Robertson asked if Mr. Greene would be double checking road numbers on the maps and pointed out that SR1477 on the Hiddenite map was labeled as SR1456 on the East Alexander map. Mr. Greene replied that he was aware that one of the maps was labeled incorrectly and noted that he would make the change to correct the map.

Commissioner Robertson noted that Stony Point Fire Department was East Alexander Fire District and asked if the Board would be approving the East Alexander Fire District. Commissioner Robertson also mentioned that 2 of the fire departments borderlined other counties and noted that the insurance districts would only affect the districts located within Alexander County and would not carry over to the other county.

Commissioner Watts made a motion to approve the fire department insurance districts as presented by Russell Greene, Fire Marshal. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

FRYE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER – ALEXANDER CAMPUS UPDATE

Janice Buckner, R.N. and Frye Regional Medical Center - Alexander Campus Administrator, gave an update on the progress of the facility since opening on June 3, 2002.

Ms. Buckner stated that 7 days after opening, the facility was surveyed and certified by Medicare and Medicaid. Ms. Buckner reported that for the month of June the facility had 533 patients in the emergency room (17 per day average), transferred 41 patients to other facilities, and had 2 inpatient admissions. For the month of July the facility had 656 patients in the emergency room (21 per day average), transferred 45 patients to other facilities, and had 4 inpatient admissions.

Ms. Buckner stated that staff had handled many different injuries and cases including a stumped toe, lacerations, heart attacks, heart failure, automobile accidents, and fractures. Ms. Buckner stated that staff had resuscitated 3 patients before transferring them to another facility. Ms. Buckner felt that the facility had exceeded all expectations and had met the needs of the community.

Ms. Buckner stated that the facility had some future plans and explained that only 4 inpatient beds were made available on June 3, 2002. Ms. Buckner stated that the facility was planning to expand with an additional 10 beds in late fall or early winter and also put in some swing beds for nursing home patients that would be admitted for approximately 30 days.

Commissioner Watts conveyed his appreciation to Ms. Buckner and the entire staff at Frye Regional Medical Center - Alexander Campus for their presence in the community. Commissioner Watts stated that he had only had one contact regarding the facility since its opening from a lady with some simple questions. Commissioner Watts stated that the facility’s staff quickly checked on the lady’s problems and noted he was pleased with the quick response.

Ms. Buckner also asked the Board to inform her of any calls or comments received so that she and her staff could help or follow up in any way possible. Ms. Buckner informed the Board that the facility held a luncheon meeting with physicians from Family Care Center to discuss patient care and had plans to hold luncheon meetings with other physicians in the area.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that he had spoken with Dr. Trevor Craig, Family Care Physician and EMS Medical Director, who informed Commissioner Harbinson that he had gone to the facility to get some stitches for a cut he had received while playing ball. While there, Dr. Craig did not inform the staff that he was a doctor so that he could see what type of care he would receive. Mr. Craig later informed Commissioner Harbinson that he received great service at the facility and that the staff was very helpful and caring.

Commissioner Hammer stated that he had not heard a single complaint since the facility had opened and conveyed his appreciation to Frye Regional Medical Center. Commissioner Hammer asked if the facility was still evaluating possibly performing surgeries. Ms. Buckner replied that elective surgery was allowed under Critical Access designation but noted that they were still looking into the possibility at the present time.

Commissioner Robertson felt that the facility and staff had exceeded expectations in the reception of the community and staff as well.

Chairman Odom presented Ms. Buckner with an Alexander County pin. The Board thanked Ms. Buckner for her presentation.

2002 NORTH CAROLINA AWARDS FOR OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER SERVICES

David Icenhour, Human Resources/Pubic Information Director, discussed the 2002 NC Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service. Lenny Rogers, Cooperative Extension Director, was unable to attend the meeting to discuss the awards.

Mr. Icenhour stated that several months ago, the Board submitted 5 names for the 2002 NC Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service, a program sponsored by the Governor’s Office. Mr. Icenhour stated that staff had recently received word that all nominations had been accepted and would be awarded. The nominees included:

Lucille Warren for her work with Alexander Community Hospital
Richard Walker, for his work with Alexander Community Hospital
Lee Sharpe, for his work with Alexander Community Hospital
Shields Jolly, for his work with Alexander County Schools
Alexander YMCA, for community work

Mr. Icenhour stated that the awards program had not been scheduled by the Governor’s office yet but noted that he would notify the Board when the date was set.

OTHER BUSINESS

The following issues were discussed during Other Business:

    1. Commissioner Hammer discussed the Water Task Force meeting held on Monday, August 5, 2002 and noted that he felt that the 2-hour meeting was very positive. Commissioner Hammer stated that Tonya Mitchell, Alexander Soil & Water, discussed the Farmland Preservation Program and Nancy Coley, WPCOG, discussed the grant process. Commissioner Hammer stated the he hoped the information presented at the meeting helped address some issues and some questions that citizens had. Commissioner Hammer reported that the next meeting would be held in September and stated that he had heard that the Federal Agriculture Department was helping poultry farmers get water.
    2. Chairman Odom stated that he and Commissioner Hammer brought up the idea of voluntary water conservation to the members of the Water Task Force to get their opinions. The members were proactive in regards to the idea. Chairman Odom proposed a contest in order to raise public awareness and explained that the public would have the opportunity to come up with the best way to conserve water. Chairman Odom asked each Board member to donate $20 each for a prize of $100 to be given away in October to the person that has the best idea. Chairman Odom also noted that county staff had recently received the first water petition where county residents had pledged their own money towards a water line. Chairman Odom stated that this action helped tremendously and he appreciated such effort. Chairman Odom also mentioned that he had just today received another petition for Quail Hollow Lane and noted that these citizens had also pledged money towards a water line extension.

      Commissioner Hammer also noted that the next water bill from the City of Hickory would include a flyer explaining how citizens could conserve water.

      Betty Presnell, who was present at the meeting, stated that there was 1 mile on Highway 127 that did not have water lines and had wells and springs going dry. Ms. Presnell stated that 6 widowed women lived on this portion of Highway 127 and noted that the citizens in this area greatly needed water. Chairman Odom asked Ms. Presnell to talk with Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, after the meeting regarding her water request.

    3. Jack Hoke, Alexander County Schools Superintendent, stated that he would like to thank Commissioner Harbinson for speaking at the ACHS Opening Ceremonies on Friday, August 2, 2002 at 8:30 AM. Mr. Hoke also stated that the Ellendale Elementary School Open House was held tonight, August 6, 2002 for the community and students beginning at 6:00 PM. The Ellendale Ruritan Club provided barbecue and sold over 650 plates and would use the money for playground equipment at the new Ellendale Elementary School. Mr. Hoke stated that the Board would be invited to the formal dedication when scheduled. Mr. Hoke also mentioned that an Athletic Open House was held tonight at 7:00 PM at ACHS.
    4. Mr. Hoke stated that the Board of Education met on August 2, 2002 and unanimously approved to move forward with requesting the Board of Commissioners to request permission from the Local Government Commission (LGC) to borrow $3,850,000 to construct 32 classrooms at the following sites:

      East Alexander Middle School 11 classrooms
      West Alexander Middle School 11 classrooms
      Stony Point Elementary School 4 classrooms
      Sugar Loaf Elementary School 6 classrooms

      Mr. Hoke stated that the LGC loan would be paid back with the current half-cent sales tax monies. Mr. Hoke stated that if the request was reviewed at the September LGC meeting, construction could begin and students would be in the new classrooms sometime during the 2003-2004 school year.

      Commissioner Watts asked if any funds would be used from the Public School Building Fund. Mr. Hoke replied that sewer was not included in the $3,850,000 for school construction and that the lines would cost approximately $100,000 to be paid for with funds from the Public School Building Fund.

      Commissioner Harbinson stated that he appreciated the working relationship with the Board of Education and Mr. Hoke and was proud that Alexander County had no debt service in the general budget for school construction. Commissioner Harbinson explained that Alexander County was 1 out of 9 NC counties that had no debt service in its general budget for school construction because it was paid for by half-cent sales tax monies restricted for schools.

      Commissioner Robertson noted that one of the goals of the Blue Ribbon Committee was to have the county’s funding per pupil in line with the State average and noted that during that time, Alexander County was 75% behind the State average. Mr. Hoke replied that the State average was $1,300 and Alexander County’s average was over $900 and was in-line with Caldwell County.

      The Board agreed to hold a Special Called Meeting on August 13, 2002 for a public hearing in order to consider the filing of the application with Local Government Commission (LGC) for the financing of the school projects.

    5. Rick French, County Manager, submitted a recommendation from Terry Foxx, Emergency Management Director, to appoint Janice Buckner, R.N. and Frye Regional Medical Center - Alexander Campus Administrator, to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) as the hospital representative.
    6. Commissioner Watts made a motion to appoint Janice Buckner, R.N. and Frye Regional Medical Center - Alexander Campus Administrator, to the LEPC. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

    7. Mr. French requested moving forward with scheduling the August 13, 2002 Special Called Meeting to be held at 7:30 PM in the Commissioners’ Room.

Commissioner Watts made a motion to schedule the August 13, 2002 Special Called Meeting at 7:30 PM in the Commissioners’ Room. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

CONSENT AGENDA

  1. Tax Refund Requests for July $649.13 and Tax Release Requests for July $992.25.
  2. Minutes from the July 16, 2002 Regular Meeting.
  3. Closed Session Minutes to be UNSEALED ONLY: April 3, 2001; April 17, 2001; November 13, 2001; December 4, 2001; December 18, 2001; January 8, 2002; January 22, 2002.
  4. Alexander County Scattered Site Housing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Project.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

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 8:05 PM to discuss contractual matters and personnel issues pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5 & 6). Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, Commissioner Robertson made a motion to adjourn at 8:45 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