February 3, 2003
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting on Monday, February 3, 2003 in the Commissioners Room of the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Robertson called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Rev. Rick Safriet, Pastor at Poplar Springs Baptist Church, gave the invocation and Edgar Bartolo, student at Taylorsville Elementary School, led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Commissioner Hammer stated that he had some proposed amendments to Agenda Item #4 Appointments and Reappointments as well as some comments to be made during the Chairmans Report. Chairman Robertson noted that Commissioner Bolick had some comments during the Chairmans Report as well.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to adopt the agenda as amended. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Bolick discussed the ice storm that North Carolina experienced on December 5 and 6, 2002 which resulted in approximately 45,000 power outages. Commissioner Bolick conveyed his appreciation to EnergyUnited and Duke Power for getting everyone back online within one weeks time.
Commissioner Hammer thanked the local Department of Transportation for continually doing a great job with snow and ice removal. Commissioner Hammer also thanked the County Maintenance employees for keeping the County parking lots clean during inclement weather.
PUBLIC HEARING: APPROVAL OF ROAD NAMES
Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, requested approval of the following road names:
Ms. Turnmire stated that all roads had been advertised and checked for duplication and sound indexing. Ms. Turnmire noted that staff had not received any calls regarding the proposed road names.
There being no public comment, Commissioner Keever made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Odom made a motion to approve the road names as presented. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
DISCUSSION ON MINIMUM HOUSING ISSUES
Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, presented the Board with a copy of the Alexander County Manufactured Housing Appearance Criteria, a draft copy of the proposed Minimum Housing Code, a portion of the North Carolina Mobile Home Code, a portion of the North Carolina Manufactured Home Code, manufactured home permit information, information on homes within the Hi-Vue Manufactured Home Park, and manufactured home permitting and inspection history with comparisons.
Ms. Turnmire discussed the following information:
Hi-Vue Manufactured Home Park
Manufactured Housing Permitting and Inspection History
Draft Minimum Housing Code (Chapter 158)
The following is a brief summary of the main standards in each section:
Ms. Turnmire presented a comparison of the major standards of ANSI and HUD compared to the draft Minimum Housing Code and Anthony Georges doublewide manufactured home (which is hereby made a part of the minutes).
Ms. Turnmire noted that the Planning & Zoning Commission, as well as Building Codes Administrator Doug Kerley, was present to answer any questions from the Board.
Chairman Robertson inquired about the placement of the HUD label. Doug Kerley stated that the HUD label had to be on the manufactured home to show that it had been inspected by a third party.
Commissioner Keever asked if the Appearance Criteria would be done away with if the Minimum Housing Code was adopted. Chairman Robertson stated that the North Carolina Building Code addressed manufactured homes and site-built residences separately and felt that Alexander County would probably do the same. Chairman Robertson felt that one standard would not cover all structures.
Commissioner Keever discussed several concerns that he had with the draft Minimum Housing Code which included the following:
Commissioner Keever stated that he was concerned with the word "morals" being included in the Minimum Housing Code and felt that the Board should not be legislating the morality of county citizens.
Commissioner Keever asked if the wording gas burning equipment included gas burning heating units. Ms. Turnmire stated that the wording could be clarified.
Commissioner Keever inquired about the enforcement procedure for declaring a dwelling unfit and vacating someone out of the home. Commissioner Keever asked if the County would have that authority or if a court order would be required. Ms. Turnmire replied that staff would work with the County Attorney to obtain a court order to vacate the home.
Commissioner Keever felt that many homes would not comply with the Minimum Housing Code which could cause a problem if they were deemed inhabitable.
Commissioner Keever felt that adopting a Minimum Housing Code would be too intrusive on citizens and he asked the Board to proceed with caution on this issue. Commissioner Keever expressed his concerns about putting more restrictions on citizens.
Commissioner Bolick asked how the Health Department determined homes to be unfit for children and if there were any provisions that inspectors followed to vacate a home. Ms. Turnmire replied that she was unaware of what authority the Health Inspectors had but could contact the Health Director to get that information. Commissioner Keever noted that Social Services would play a major role if the safety and health of a child were involved. Doug Kerley, Building Codes Administrator, stated that a building inspector would sometimes accompany a social worker to a home and he noted that the Inspections Department did have the authority to disconnect the power to the home if deemed inhabitable. Mr. Kerley mentioned that staff usually allowed the homeowners ample time to bring the house up to standard.
Ms. Turnmire briefly discussed N.C.G.S. 143-149 which states: No person shall sell or offer for sale any manufactured home n this State that does not have a label. It is a defense to any prosecution for a violation of this section if a person shows that a certificate of title for the manufactured home as required by G.S. 20-52 was obtained before June 15, 1976, or produces other satisfactory evidence on file with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles that the manufactured home was manufactured before June 15, 1976. Commissioner Keever asked if a manufactured home with an ANSI label could be sold if it was brought up to the required standards. Ms. Turnmire stated that the manufactured home could be sold if the owner could show proof through DMV records, etc.
Commissioner Odom asked how many manufactured homes without a label were in Alexander County. Ms. Turnmire replied that there were approximately 1,220 pre-HUD manufactured homes located in the County. Commissioner Keever stated that that number did not include those with ANSI labels and he also noted that some labels could fall off the home during transporting from one location to another.
Commissioner Odom discussed the previous Boards action to adopt the Appearance Criteria and he stated that he would, in fact, reverse his vote in favor of the adoption of the criteria if he could because he felt it was intrusive and unfair to citizens who could not afford to purchase a new manufactured home. Commissioner Odom felt that the County was setting a double standard by imposing restrictions on the sale of manufactured homes but yet taxing those homes as a habitable dwelling. Commissioner Odom also felt that a Minimum Housing Code would put even more restrictions on citizens which he was not in favor of.
Chairman Robertson asked if the Department of Agriculture set different housing standards for migrant workers on farms and felt that this issue may need to be addressed. Coy Reese, member of the Planning & Zoning Commission and local farmer, stated that housing standards for migrant workers were very strict. Mr. Reese noted that the standards were more lenient for permanent residents.
Chairman Robertson felt that the Board had made several good points that needed to be reviewed by the Board and the Planning & Zoning Commission. Chairman Robertson agreed that the Appearance Criteria and the Minimum Housing Code needed to be reviewed together and he suggested a joint meeting between the Board of Commissioners and the Planning & Zoning Commission to discuss these issues in detail.
After discussion, the Board agreed to hold the regular Commissioners Meeting on Thursday, March 6, 2003 at 6:00 PM and invite the Planning & Zoning Commission to attend for further discussion of the Minimum Housing Code.
CONSIDERATION OF A NEW AMBULANCE
Nolan Jarvis, EMS Director, presented a request to purchase a replacement ambulance for the Alexander County Emergency Medical Services. Mr. Jarvis stated that EMS currently had 5 ambulances and he explained that it was common procedure to replace the oldest ambulance in use each year. Mr. Jarvis noted that staff put approximately 120,000 each year on an ambulance.
Mr. Jarvis explained the different type of ambulances in use in North Carolina which included:
Mr. Jarvis stated that the County had purchased the Type III ambulances for the past 3 years which worked well, providing sufficient storage and working space while retaining the better handling characteristics of a van-sized vehicle. Mr. Jarvis recommended the purchase of another Type III ambulance through American Emergency Vehicles (AEV).
Commissioner Keever asked what would be done with the ambulance being replaced. Mr. Jarvis replied that the oldest ambulance would be traded in on the new ambulance. Commissioner Keever asked if the estimated costs presented included the trade-in price. Mr. Jarvis replied that the trade-in price was not included in those estimated costs. Mr. Jarvis stated that he expected the oldest Type II ambulance to bring a trade-in price of $8,000 to $10,000. Mr. Jarvis also noted that there would be some cost involved in putting the ambulance on the road such as registration, license plate, and switching the communication equipment from one ambulance to the other.
Commissioner Keever questioned the feasibility of purchasing a chassis and installing the boxes on them. Mr. Jarvis stated that there would be continual changes in the chassis styles which would make it more difficult to remain up to standard. Mr. Jarvis also noted that it would cost as much to remount a box and chassis as it would to simply purchase a new ambulance.
Commissioner Keever felt that 120,000 miles was very low mileage for the diesel engines in the ambulances. Commissioner Odom explained that the concern was with the wear of the suspension, ball joints, tie rod ends, electrical wiring, and brakes. Commissioner Odom stated that these items were taken into account more so than mileage.
Commissioner Odom stated that he was inclined to purchase a Type II instead of a Type III due to the uncertainty of the upcoming budget. Commissioner Odom asked Mr. Jarvis if he felt a Type II ambulance would detract from the level of patient care provided by EMS. Mr. Jarvis stated that, in his opinion, a Type II ambulance would detract from the level of patient care provided because it was much smaller which limited access to the patient. Mr. Jarvis explained that Type II ambulances were used more for convalescence care and rescue squads.
Commissioner Odom felt that the State had set a double standard because it would certify a Type II ambulance yet frown on counties who use them.
Commissioner Keever asked if it would be cost effective to inspect the suspension, ball joints, wiring, etc. of each ambulance at 100,000 miles to refurbish and possibly get an additional 30,000 or 40,000 miles out of them. The Board agreed and asked what the cost would be to refurbish an ambulance. Mr. Jarvis replied that he was not sure what the cost would be but he noted that he would research that suggestion.
Commissioner Odom discussed the QRV Suburban and felt that it may prove to be beneficial even though it could not be certified as a transport vehicle. Commissioner Odom stated that it needed to be taken into consideration that, even though a new ambulance was not originally budgeted in the 2002-2003 budget, the QRV Suburban was put on the road.
Mr. Jarvis informed the Board that EMS had run 330 calls within the month of January which was more calls than ever before in a months time.
Commissioner Odom asked if AEV had any Type II ambulances in stock that would meet the State requirements. Mr. Jarvis replied that AEV had a couple of Type III ambulances in stock as of a few weeks ago. Mr. Jarvis noted that he did not inquire about any Type II ambulances in stock.
Commissioner Hammer asked if the County could possibly get a better price by working with another company. Mr. Jarvis explained that AEV was located in West Jefferson, NC which was an advantage in case there was a problem with the ambulances because it was close. Mr. Jarvis also noted that staff could visit during the construction of the ambulance as well.
Commissioner Bolick felt that the request for a new ambulance should be considered during the 2003-2004 budget because of the uncertainty with the remainder of the 2002-2003 budget year. Mr. Jarvis informed the Board that there was approximately $200,000 in unexpected revenues coming in from EMS fees due to changes in Medicare payments. Rick French, County Manager, added that the Board had, at the last meeting, approved the revenue and expense by a budget amendment.
Commissioner Odom felt that a demonstrator ambulance could possibly be purchased that would still be under warranty. Mr. Jarvis explained that he liked to keep the setup and design of the ambulances fairly the same to reduce confusion and the need to rearrange equipment. Mr. Jarvis felt that a demonstrator ambulance would be a totally different setup which would cause this confusion.
Commissioner Odom asked the Board to consider allowing the County Manager and Mr. Jarvis to research a Type II or Type III demonstrator ambulance to determine if it would meet State regulations and the Countys needs. Commissioner Odom felt that the Board should be very careful with spending since the Fund Balance was extremely low.
Commissioner Keever stated that he was inclined to research a Type III ambulance because of the increased working space. Chairman Robertson agreed and also asked Mr. Jarvis to research the cost of refurbishing a chassis as well.
Mr. Jarvis asked the Board what type of mileage he should look for in a demonstrator model. The Board agreed that 15,000 miles would be sufficient.
Commissioner Odom made a motion to instruct Rick French, County Manager, and Nolan Jarvis, EMS Director, to inquire about the purchase of a Type III demonstrator ambulance to determine if it would result in a substantial cost savings but still meet the needs of the Alexander County EMS. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Keever asked Mr. Jarvis to provide a cost report for upgrading the ambulances at 100,000 miles to determine if it would be cost effective and would extend the life of the ambulances. Mr. Jarvis replied that he would do so.
APPOINTMENTS AND REAPPOINTMENTS
Chairman Robertson presented the following appointments and reappointments:
Appoint Jan Schoeppler 3 years
Appoint Max Smith 2 years
Appoint Shirley Mayes 2 years
Appoint Bill Shepherd 2 years
Reappoint Janice Jones 3 years
Appoint Sallie Hartis 3 years
Appoint Eric Burgess 3 years
Appoint Kay Bebber (replacement for Perry Austin, term ends 1/2005)
Appoint Crystal Sain 2 years
Appoint Hayden Bentley 2 years
Reappoint Barbara Carrigan 2 years
Reappoint Susie Barkley 2 years
Reappoint Tammy Lippard 1 year
Reappoint Ingrid Townsend 1 year
Reappoint Tony Jones 1 year
Reappoint Rick French 1 year
Reappoint Sarah Kirkman 1 year
Reappoint Kimberly Taylor 1 year
Appoint Commissioner Hammer
Appoint Ray Combs 3 years
Reappoint Lloyd Jarvis 1 year
Reappoint Don Harrington 1 year
Reappoint Coy Reese 2 years
Nominate Karen Hoyle (to replace Nan Campbell)
Reappoint Hayden Bentley, Law Enforcement
Reappoint Brian Sharpe, NC Highway Patrol
Reappoint Lynn Marshall, NC Department of Transportation
Reappoint Terry Foxx, Emergency Management
Reappoint Russell Greene, Fire Marshal
Reappoint Nolan Jarvis, EMS
Reappoint Leeanne Whisnant, Health Department
Reappoint Sylvia Turnmire, Planning & Development
Reappoint Doug Ferguson, Environmental Health
Reappoint Janice Buckner, Hospital
Reappoint Patti Foster, Transportation
Reappoint Stephen Townsend, Rescue Squad
Reappoint Gary Herman, Print Media
Reappoint David Icenhour, Human Resources
Reappoint Ben Zachary, Rotary Club
Reappoint Tony Setzer, Manufacturing
Reappoint Greg Atchley, NCEM
Reappoint Commissioner Odom
Appoint Commissioner Bolick
Appoint Commissioner Odom
Appoint Commissioner Keever
Appoint Commissioner Hammer
Appoint Commissioner Keever (replacement for Commissioner Odom)
Commissioner Hammer stated that he had reviewed the entire list of County boards and committees and suggested eliminating the District Representation Committee and the Public Safety Council.
Commissioner Hammer asked Commissioner Odom if he would like to continue serving on the DSS Board. Commissioner Odom replied that he would continue to serve on the DSS Board until the next budget year at which time he would turn the position over to Commissioner Keever.
Commissioner Hammer also noted that Commissioner Odom had been serving on the WPCOG Regional Transportation Advisory Committee. Commissioner Hammer explained that the Regional Transportation Advisory Committee had recently merged with the Rural Transportation Advisory Committee on which he served. Therefore, Commissioner Hammer agreed to serve in both capacities.
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the appointments and reappointments as amended. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Rick French, County Manager, asked the Board to appoint a Chairperson to the LEPC. Commissioner Odom made a motion to appoint Terry Foxx, Emergency Management Director, as Chairman of the LEPC. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
CONSIDERATION OF ADDITIONAL HOURS FOR THE ALEXANDER COUNTY LIBRARY
Rick French, County Manager, stated that he had discussed the Library budget with Doris Stephens, Library Director, who had requested that the Board approve to reopen the Library on Saturdays for 6 hours. Mr. French stated that this would cost $3,271.03 which would come from the State Grant line item. There is currently $50,375 in this line item. Mr. French suggested moving forward with this project beginning on Saturday, February 8, 2003.
Commissioner Bolick asked if there was much Library usage on Saturday. Mr. French replied that most Library usage took place on Saturdays.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to reopen the Alexander County Library on Saturday for 6 hours beginning on Saturday, February 8, 2003. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
BUDGET AMENDMENT #30
Rick French, County Manager, presented Budget Amendment #30 to budget for an increase in DSS grant funds for the Crisis Intervention Program and to budget for the installation costs and sales tax on equipment for the multi-purpose room at the CVCC/Alexander Center.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve Budget Amendment #30. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Rick French, County Manager, stated that the Board had been invited to meet with local contractors to discuss Senate Bill 1217 on February 6, 2003 at 6:30 PM at Shiloh Lutheran Church in Bethlehem.
Chairman Robertson noted that this bill was discussed at the last meeting with Senator R.B. Sloan and Representative Edgar Starnes. Chairman Robertson stated that Senator Sloan had received approximately 85 petitions opposing this bill.
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to instruct Rick French, County Manager, to draft a resolution requesting that Senate Bill 1217 be reviewed and revoked. Commissioner Keever seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Chairman Robertson asked Mr. French to have the resolution ready for adoption at the February 17, 2003 Commissioners Meeting.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Odom 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 Hammer made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 7:59 PM to discuss contractual matters and personnel issues pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5 & 6). Commissioner Keever 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 9:24 PM. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
W. Darrell Robertson, Chairman Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board