Draft

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS 

ALEXANDER COUNTY

REGULAR  MEETING

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA

October 1, 2002

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

 

The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 in the Commissioners’ Room of the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.

PEOPLES’ AGENDA

No citizens asked to speak at the Peoples’ Agenda. Therefore, the following items were discussed:

    1. Chairman Odom announced that he and several other members of the Board had attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new animal shelter prior to coming to the meeting tonight. Chairman Odom thanked several county staff members for their work with the animal shelter as well as Commissioner Robertson for his help with the design work on the building.
    2. Chairman Odom also stated that Commissioner Robertson had helped with the design and engineering of the bell tower project. Chairman Odom stated that the County had appropriated approximately $7,000 towards the project and noted that Ben Hines, Register of Deeds, was accepting donations from the public for this important monument.

    3. Rick French, County Manager, stated that he had attended the two House meetings concerning the half-cent sales tax last week. Mr. French reported that the second reading passed with a vote of 60-55 after a 3 hour debate and that the third reading passed with a vote of 58-54. The Senate also passed the sales tax. Mr. French explained that in order to enact the half-cent sales tax, the Board must approve another resolution before November 1, 2002 in order for the tax to be enacted by December 1, 2002.
    4. Commissioner Harbinson asked how much revenue the half-cent sales tax would bring into Alexander County. Mr. French replied that the NCACC projected about $583,000 for Alexander County. Mr. French also stated that this half-cent sales tax would be in effect for the 7-month period of December 1, 2002 through June 30, 2002 and would then sunset. The original county option half-cent sales tax adopted by the Board in May is scheduled to begin July 1, 2003. Commissioner Harbinson noted that the half-cent sales tax would also benefit the Town of Taylorsville.

    5. Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, informed the Board that a pre-construction meeting was held on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 regarding the Millersville water line project. At the meeting, NCDOT representatives asked for certain documents to be corrected since the length of the water line to be installed had been shortened slightly from the original plan. Mr. Greene stated that the engineering firm had taken care of those documents on Friday, September 27, 2002. Neil Grading and Construction will be on site in 10-14 days to construct 6,500 feet of 12-inch line and will stub out the line in order for EnergyUnited Water Corporation to connect. Mr. Greene stated that the line should be in the ground and operational withing 30 days. Mr. Greene also noted that he would be meeting with EnergyUnited’s engineer to convey pertinent information in order for EnergyUnited to get their line constructed.
    6. Mr. Greene also reported that staff expected to bid the Liledoun, Sipe, Herman, and Rink Dam CDBG project within 30 days. Mr. Greene stated that the engineering was complete and staff was waiting on approval of the project from the NC Erosion control due to some concerns with the spring crossings.

    7. Mr. Greene discussed the $5,000 grant received by the Fire Marshal’s Office for a permanent car seat fitting station and stated that 11 EMS employees and one volunteer fire fighter completed 16 hours of training this afternoon at the Central Alexander Fire Department. Mr. Greene stated that signs would be mounted on Highway 90 within the next 2 or 3 weeks and guidelines would be published in The Taylorsville Times to notify the public of the new permanent fitting station at the Taylorsville EMS base. Mr. Greene noted that the grant funds would be spent to purchase a trailer to transport car seats instead of training expenses and meals. Mr. Greene also reported that the current permanent fitting station located at the Partnership for Children Office had inspected some 400 cars in the last 4 years.
    8. At this time, Commissioner Hammer entered the meeting. The time was 6:47 PM.

    9. Chairman Odom asked if Mr. French had had any correspondence or conversation with the Town of Taylorsville or EnergyUnited in regards to the water capacity partnership. Mr. French stated that he had spoken with representatives from both entities and informed them that Alexander County had received a draft copy of the capacity agreement from the City of Hickory and that County staff would be in touch with them as soon as possible. Mr. French stated that the agreement would be for 3 million gallons of capacity from the City of Hickory plant with EnergyUnited purchasing 1.5 million gallons, Alexander County purchasing 1 million gallons, and the Town of Taylorsville purchasing 500,000 gallons.

CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Odom called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Rev. D.W. Chapman, Pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, gave the invocation and Ashley Harrington, student at Sugar Loaf Elementary School, led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

CITIZEN OF THE MONTH

Commissioner Watts presented the Citizen of the Month Award to 0dell Poole. Commissioner Watts read the following biography about Mr. Poole before presenting the award:

Odell Poole believes service to the public is the greatest work of life as evidenced by his 50 years in private business; first, the Hotel Service Station in 1963 to his present Poole’s HiLite Service Center. As a lifelong resident of Alexander County, Odell and his wife of 42 years, Velma Shuford Poole, have 3 living children, 6 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.

As a lifelong member of Macedonia Baptist Church, Odell has faithfully served on the Financial Committee for 30 years, as a Trustee for 10 years, in the Choir for 8 years, and as Sunday School Superintendent for 4 years.

The onset of cancer in 1995, a heart attack in 1999, and lung cancer in 2000 has not kept Odell from continuing to keep his business open to serve the public. During a recent conversation with a customer who reminded him the "he was eligible for medical retirement" and asked "why didn’t he retire?," Odell replied, "I can’t retire – who would take care of my customers?" An example of how well his customers are cared for includes checking the air in tires for little old ladies as he interrupts an immediate repair job and always smiling saying "no charge."

Odell received the Moore-Dula Award in 1998 for his contributions to the history and heritage of the Alexander County African-American community.

The Board thanked Mr. Poole for his service to the citizens of Alexander County.

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

Commissioner Watts read a Proclamation Declaring October 2002 as AARP Month in Alexander County. The proclamation urged all Alexander County citizens to recognize this observance and join in local AARP activities celebrating the value of the citizens of our community who are 50 and older.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the Proclamation Declaring October 2002 as AARP Month in Alexander County. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION

David Icenhour, Human Resources/Public Information Director, discussed the Water Conservation Contest and stated that he had received several entries of similar nature such as reusing bath water or dishwater, etc. Mr. Icenhour explained that part of the criteria for the contest was that the idea submitted had to be unique. Therefore, staff chose Wayne and Rachel Shook of Taylorsville who submitted the idea of collecting a reusing condensation from air conditioners.

The Board presented $100 to Wayne and Rachel Shook for the winning idea and thanked them for striving to conserve water.

RECOGNITION OF BOY SCOUTS TROOP MEMBERS

Chairman Odom recognized the members of Boy Scouts Troop #280 from Hiddenite present at the meeting. Jameson Reid, Senior Patrol Leader, explained that he and his fellow troop members were present at the meeting to earn the Citizenship in the Community Merit Bade and the Communications Merit Badge.

Mr. Reid also introduced his fellow troop members which included Nathaniel Reid and Clinton Frantz.

ADOPTION OF AGENDA

Chairman Odom requested the addition of a Tax Refund Request of $7,472.81 to be added to the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Watts requested consideration of a second meeting during Other Business.

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.

PUBLIC HEARING: CLOSEOUT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) WATER HOOK-UP DEMONSTRATION PROJECT

Nancy Coley, WPCOG Community Development Administrator, stated that the purpose of the public hearing was to receive citizen comment before submitting the closeout forms to the Department of Commerce Division of Community Assistance for grant number 01-C-0814 Water Hook-Up Demonstration Project.

Ms. Coley explained that the County had received $75,000 in CDBG funds to pay for water taps and connections to existing lines for low and moderate income persons. Ms. Coley stated with the grant, 39 households were connected consisting of 65 persons, the majority of which were elderly.

Ms. Coley stated that the grant was very successful and noted that she had received 6 more inquiries since the completion of the connections. Ms. Coley reported that she had asked if Alexander County would be able to reapply and was informed that any local governments that applied for the grant in 2001 could not reapply in 2002 and future applications were questionable due to the uncertainty of grant availability.

Chairman Odom called the public hearing to order and requested any public comment. 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 approve the closeout of CDBG 01-C-0814 Water Hook-up Demonstration Project. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Commissioner Watts conveyed his appreciation to Ms. Coley for her hard work in trying to get grants for Alexander County.

Commissioner Robertson reported that the Governor had recently announced that $20 million would be set aside for interconnects in municipalities that needed assistance with backup water supplies. Commissioner Robertson felt that Alexander County should send a letter to the Governor’s Office as well as the grant source that would state that it was a tragedy when approval was passed for water lines and citizens couldn’t afford to tap onto them and urged consideration of redirection of some of these monies for that purpose.

PUBLIC HEARING: APPROVAL OF ROAD NAMES

Rick French, County Manager, request approval of the following road names:

Road No. Road Name Road Location
3736BL Callie Lane Off Church Road
3756WF Friendship Estates Lane Off Friendship Church Road
3756WF2 Idaho Drive Off Friendship Estates Lane
3850AAL Waggin’ Trail Off National Guard Armory Drive
3810BC Walking Horse Way Off Blair Road

Mr. French stated that all road names had been advertised and checked for duplication and sound indexing.

Chairman Odom called the public hearing to order and requested any public comment. 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 Robertson made a motion to approve the road names as presented. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

WORK FIRST PLAN FOR FY 2002-2005

Sherry Hart, DSS Income Maintenance and Work First Supervisor, presented the Work First Plan for FY 2002-2005 for the Board’s consideration and reported that the proposed plan had been on public inspection during the month of September.

Ms. Hart stated that there were 2 major changes to the proposed plan which included services to low income families which are under the 200% poverty levels and services to non-custodial parent with children who are currently receiving Work First assistance. Ms. Hart stated that the proposed plan would help low income families not receiving Work First assistance with car repair or schooling. Ms. Hart also stated that the proposed plan would help non-custodial parents to support their children by helping them gain employment or increase their earning capacity.

Commissioner Watts asked if the Work First Program had seen a financial impact due to difficult economic times. Ms. Hart stated that staff had not seen a big financial impact but noted that the biggest barrier with putting people to work was transportation and education. Ms. Hart explained that many people only had an eighth grade education and had to obtain a GED before qualifying and also noted that many people didn’t own an automobile. Commissioner Watts asked if there would be a cap on the grants for automobile repair. Ms. Hart replied that there would be a $600 cap on those grants.

Commissioner Robertson noted that the Christian Women’s Job Corp accepted donated vehicles in working order and would assist in helping people with transportation. Commissioner Robertson stated that Ms. Hart may want to contact the organization.

Chairman Odom noted that the DAV also collected vehicles and felt that they could possibly assist with the program.

Commissioner Watts made a motion to accept the Work First Plan for FY 2002-2005 as presented. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

OTHER BUSINESS

Rick French, County Manager, discussed the following issues during Other Business:

    1. Mr. French informed the Board that Angela Johnson, Senior Center Director, would be applying for a $75,000 grant from the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund to fund an employee’s salary for several years.
    2. Mr. French stated that he had met with the engineers regarding the sewer feasibility study which would be started soon. Mr. French stated that during the meeting, discussion took place regarding the possibility of Alexander County being eligible for a $400,000 Rural Center grant to be applied for next year.
    3. Mr. French reported that the State’s bond rating was recently lowered due to economic problems but noted that this rate lowering would not impact NC counties.
    4. Mr. French requested that the Board schedule a second meeting in October to consider the half-cent local option sales tax. Mr. French noted that staff would need to provide at least 48 hours notice for the meeting.

Commissioner Harbinson asked if the Board could review and amend several departmental budgets due to the enactment of the half-cent sales tax and increased revenues. Mr. French stated that the Board could do so. Commissioner Harbinson suggested scheduling the second meeting on October 29, 2002 to allow ample time for each Board members to look back at the budget in order to give their input to the County Manager for a revised budget. The Board agreed.

Therefore, Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to schedule a Special Called Meeting on Tuesday, October 29, 2002 at 7:00 PM in the Commissioners’ Room to allow the County Manager to bring a revised budget including the anticipated revenues of the additional half-cent sales tax. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

CONSENT AGENDA

  1. Tax Release Requests for September $4,949.15 and Tax Refund Requests for September $918.18.
  2. Minutes from the September 10, 2002 Regular Meeting.
  3. Budget Amendments #5 and #6.
  4. Abandonment of SR1573 / Houser Farm Road.
  5. Tax Refund Request for September $7,472.81.

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

CLOSED SESSION – N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5) CONTRACTUAL

Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 7:33 PM to discuss contractual matters pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5). Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to adjourn at 7:50 PM. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

 

                                                                                                           

 David S. Odom, Chairman                 Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board