September 22, 2003
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting on Monday, September 22, 2003 in the Catawba Valley Community College / Alexander Center Multipurpose Room, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Robertson called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commissioner Bolick gave the invocation and Commissioner Hammer led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Commissioner Harbinson presented a slide show of photos from the new prison to be opened in the spring of 2004. The slide show included photos of the visitation chamber, a general cell and a solitary confinement cell, the dining hall, the medical wing, and the furniture production wing.
Commissioner Harbinson stated that each cell included a reading table since each inmate would be allowed to have a number of books and he noted that the Alexander County Jail would be purchasing meals from the prison, which would save the County approximately $60,000. Commissioner Harbinson mentioned that medical work would be contracted through a local health care provider for the medical wing and he noted that the Alexander Correction Institution would be the only prison to have its own furniture production plant. Commissioner Harbinson explained that the inmates would make office equipment for schools and local counties and towns, which would save the taxpayers money. Commissioner Harbinson also stated that the prison would have a lasting affect on the County and he noted that it was something that he was very proud of.
Chairman Robertson asked if the Department of Corrections was taking applications for jobs at the new prison. Commissioner Harbinson replied that applications were being taken at the office stationed at the Old Wittenburg School on Highway 16 South and he noted that the Department of Corrections wanted to hire as many qualified local citizens as possible.
Commissioner Bolick stated that he had voted against the prison 4 years ago but he explained that he didnt vote against the prison but that he voted against using taxpayers money to purchase property for the prison or any other State institution. However, Commissioner Bolick stated that at the end of that particular meeting, he made the comment that if Alexander County was going to have a prison, he wanted to make it the best prison in the State and he wanted it to set an example.
Commissioner Bolick went on to discuss an organization called Forgiven Ministries and he presented a slide show of photos from a weekend that he spent with some inmates and their children at the Hickory Cove Bible Camp. Commissioner Bolick explained that the Forgiven Ministries organization arranged these types of activities for parents who have been incarcerated to spend quality time with their children. Commissioner Bolick stated that this was the first time this had ever been done in the State prison system and he noted that he greatly appreciated the fact that there was an organization in Alexander County that had stepped forward to help inmates.
Commissioner Harbinson pointed out that the new prison would include a chapel that would provide services nightly. Commissioner Harbinson stated that he felt sure that the chapel would be open to outside prison ministries as well.
Commissioner Bolick stated that he had spoken to Keith Whitener, Department of Corrections, regarding allowing the public to tour the prison at some time the see for themselves that the prison was a first class, safe facility.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Commissioner Keever made a motion to adopt the agenda as presented. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC HEARING: THE MITCHELL GOLD COMPANY APPLICATION FOR INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVE
Rick French, County Manager, presented an Industrial Development Incentive grant application submitted by the Mitchell Gold Company for a 62,500 square foot expansion to the current facility. Mr. French stated that the building and equipment included in the expansion would total approximately $2 million and would create 40 full-time positions by the end of 2004.
Mr. French explained that, according the IDI grant policy, the County required the business to annually pay in full the total property taxes due; however, the business would then receive a percentage of those taxes back. Mr. French stated that Mitchell Gold, if approved, would receive 80% of property taxes back during the first year of the grant, 70% during the second year, 60% during the third year, and 50% during the fourth year. Mr. French informed the Board that Robert Campbell, County Attorney, and Keith Hertzler, Chamber of Commerce & EDC Director, was present at the meeting to answer any questions.
Luther Stocks, Tax Administrator, stated that the Alexander County Tax Office Appraisal staff had estimated the value of the Mitchell Gold Company real property at $1,425,900 and he noted that business personal property would depreciate approximately 10% each year. Mr. Stocks presented the following chart:
Mr. Stocks noted that 2007 was based on a 30% increase on the value of real property value utilizing a rate that would produce revenue neutral taxes. Mr. Stocks also presented the following chart:
Mr. Stocks explained that these figures indicated the tax rate remaining the same until year 2007 and he noted that these numbers were estimates on the true value of the property.
Robert Campbell, County Attorney, informed the Board that he had drafted a Joint Economic Development Agreement that would need to be approved by the Board of Commissioners and the Mitchell Gold Company. Mr. Campbell stated that the grant would be subject to both parties entering this agreement.
Chairman Robertson called the public hearing to order and requested any public comment. There being no public comment, Commissioner Hammer made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Keever seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the Industrial Development Incentive grant for the Mitchell Gold Company subject to the signing of the Joint Economic Development Agreement. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
REPORT ON THE NORTH CAROLINA MOVING AHEAD PROGRAM
Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, discussed the N.C. Department of Transportation Moving Ahead Program, which would provide $38 million for road projects throughout the division. Ms. Turnmire stated that Alexander County would receive approximately $4.3 million for 10 projects, Caldwell County $6.7 million for 14 projects, Cleveland County $6.7 million for 10 projects, Gaston County $7.5 million for 15 projects, Iredell County $7 million for 9 projects, and Lincoln County $6.5 million for 9 projects.
Ms. Turnmire presented a project list for Alexander County, which included the following information:
The Board thanked Ms. Turnmire for her update on the N.C. Moving Ahead Program.
Commissioner Hammer updated the Board on the Liledoun Road curve project. Commissioner Hammer stated that the Historical Society was looking at purchasing the house located at the sharp curve, which had caused a delay in the repair of the curve; however, he assured the Board that the project would be completed.
UPDATE ON RABIES CASES IN ALEXANDER COUNTY
Terry Foxx, Emergency Management Director/Animal Control, began by informing the Board that 4 members of the Alexander County Rescue Squad had been deployed to the coast to aid in the damage from Hurricane Isabel. Members included Derek Getz, Hank Townsend, Wes Blackwelder, Ravonda Tucker.
Mr. Foxx provided a summary of 15 confirmed rabies in Alexander County, which included the following:
Mr. Foxx stated that Animal Control, in conjunction with Public Health, held a Rabies Clinic on Saturday, September 13, 2003. Approximately 134 animals were vaccinated and the net revenue for the County totaled $750. Mr. Foxx stated that citizens could have their pets vaccinated at the animal shelter for $10.00 and he noted that the vaccination was good for one year.
Commissioner Keever asked if Animal Control was interested in testing dead animals for rabies. Garry Bradshaw, Animal Control Officer, stated that Animal Control could test animals that had only been deceased a very short time. Mr. Bradshaw stated that Animal Control was particularly interested in pets that had been in human contact.
Commissioner Keever asked if Animal Control Officers were on call after hours and on weekends. Mr. Bradshaw replied that he and Larry Smith were on call for emergencies such as dog bits; however, Mr. Bradshaw noted that Animal Control was not responsible for picking up dead animals off the highway.
The Board thanked Mr. Foxx and Mr. Bradshaw for the update.
PUBLIC SAFETY GRANTS PROGRAM
David Icenhour, Human Resources Director, submitted a draft proposal for the Public Safety Grants Program. Mr. Icenhour stated that the purpose of the grants was to encourage projects that increased safety for citizens of the county. Examples of public safety projects include the purchase of fire fighting equipment or materials for fire safety programs, purchase of rescue and life-saving equipment, as well as other projects that can be justified as an enhancement for the safety of Alexander County citizens.
Mr. Icenhour stated that, if approved by the Board, $20,000 would be appropriated and the maximum grant for any applicant would be $1,000. Mr. Icenhour noted that grants would match 50 percent of the cost of equipment or materials for approved public safety projects. Mr. Icenhour stated that any volunteer organization could apply for a Public Safety Grant as long as the proposed public safety project was completed within the geographical boundary of Alexander County. Mr. Icenhour explained that applications would be awarded points based on the following items:
Under $500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
$500-$999 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
$1,000-$1,499 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
$1,500-$1,999 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
$2,000 + . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
Mr. Icenhour explained that applications scoring less than 50 total points would not be funded and he noted that any application judged to have no public safety value would not be funded. Mr. Icenhour stated that grants scoring 50 points and above would be eligible but not guaranteed funding and he noted that grants would be awarded in descending order by score as long as grant funds had not been exhausted.
Mr. Icenhour proposed that all applications be submitted to the County Managers Office by 5:00 PM on November 28, 2003. Mr. Icenhour also suggested that each organization awarded grants present paid receipts for equipment or materials in order to receive the matching grant.
Chairman Robertson asked who would be judging the applications. Mr. Icenhour replied either himself or whomever the Board suggested could judge the applications. Chairman Robertson stated that the person chosen to judge the applications should not be involved in the public safety field.
The Board agreed upon consensus to allow Mr. Icenhour to proceed with the Public Safety Grants Program as presented and to move forward the November 28, 2003 deadline.
Commissioner Harbinson felt that this was a great idea for the County to provide some financial incentive. Commissioner Bolick noted that this type of grant allowed for the taxpayers money to come back to them in a way and he thanked Mr. Icenhour for proposing the project.
BUDGET ORDINANCE AMENDMENT #9
Rick French, County Manager, discussed the purpose of Budget Amendment #9, which included the following information:
Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve Budget Amendment #9. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
SURPLUS PROPERTY SALE
Rick French, County Manager, presented a list of surplus items as of September 17, 2003 and he noted that one item, a set of steps, needed to be added to the list. Mr. French informed the Board that a date had not been set for a surplus auction; however, he recommended that the Board move forward with approving the list of surplus items, which included the following:
1979 Yellow Dodge Truck D14JE9S200408
1981 Red Chevrolet Truck 1GCCC14DXBB120564
1989 Red Ford Truck 1FTCR10A7KUB91929
1988 Red/Tan Chevrolet Truck 1GNEV18K5JE160383
Blue Jeep Cherokee JCWB7822FT061665
Metal video file cabinet (8)
Rotating cassette stand (6)
Rotating book rack (3)
Chairs (metal, wooden, office) (64)
Wooden book rack-display table (1)
Bench seat with cushion (1)
Folding metal table (1)
Pegboard display (2)
5 foot round wooden table (1)
Overhead projector (2)
Microfilm projector (1)
6 foot movie screen (1)
Wooden podium (1)
Computer monitor (5)
Record player (2)
Clock radio (1)
Rolling metal book rack (1)
Film projector (Micromatic II) (2)
Slide projector (1)
Metal table (1)
16 MM film projector (1)
Card files, wooden with metal files (1)
Rolling wooden bookcase (1)
Artificial Christmas tree (1)
Computer printer (4)
HJ Scanjet 5100C scanner (1)
APC 650 battery backup (1)
½ round wooden table (1)
Wooden/glass display cabinet with light (1)
19" Goldstar television (1)
Aquarium with stand and supplies (1)
Box of assorted computer parts and accessories (2)
Set of steps (1)
Commissioner Harbinson noted that he had a computer monitor that he would donate to the surplus list.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the surplus list as amended. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
BOARD APPOINTMENTS AND REAPPOINTMENTS
Rick French, County Manager, presented a request to appoint Dan Davis to the Child Protection Team.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the requested appointment. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
The following issues were discussed during Other Business:
Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the Animal Control Adoption Policy as presented. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Chairman Robertson requested that the draft proposed Animal Control Ordinance be placed on the agenda soon for the Boards review also.
Mr. Greene explained in detail the resolution for the Rocky Springs / Rocky Face Church Road area and stated that the resolution read that the County intended to construct 28,400 linear feet of 12-inch line and 8-inch line along several roads in Alexander County to become a part of the Sugar Loaf Water District to serve 750 customers. The resolution also read that Alexander County intended to request grant assistance ($400,000) for the project and would arrange for financing of the remaining cost of the project ($1 million).
Commissioner Harbinson stated that he was not comfortable with approving the resolution stating that the County would provide $1 million for a $400,000 grant. Mr. Greene replied that the County would only be required to provide that funding if the project was feasible and he noted that the County would have the option to fall back on the other 2 projects if needed. Commissioner Harbinson therefore suggested possibly rewording the resolution to say that the County "could" arrange the remaining cost.
Commissioner Keever felt that the Board needed to approve the resolution as is to show that Alexander County was making a positive commitment in order to get the grant.
Commissioner Harbinson felt that the resolution read like Alexander County was making a commitment of $1 million. Commissioner Harbinson stated that he had no problem committing to the Antioch Church Road/Highway 127 projects because it only required the County to finance a small amount of funding.
Commissioner Keever felt that it was the Boards intention when the vote was passed at the last meeting to apply for the $400,000 grant and then fall back on the others if needed. Commissioner Harbinson stated that he no problems if it was the Boards interpretation that the County was not committed to providing the $1 million.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the first resolution to be submitted with the grant application for the Rocky Springs / Rocky Face Church Road area with the understanding that there was 2 other options available for the Board to fall back on in the future if needed. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the second and third resolutions to be submitted with the grant applications for a portion of Highway 127 and Antioch Church Road (resubmission of application), and a water improvement study. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Chairman Robertson felt that the Board needed to put its efforts into water grants and try to find other sources of funding for sewer projects. Commissioner Hammer agreed. Commissioner Harbinson stated that he did not agree with that approach and he noted that he simply didnt want to give up hope on sewer grants. Commissioner Bolick agreed with Commissioner Harbinson and stated that there was a drastic need for sewer service in Bethlehem. Commissioner Bolick asked Mr. Greene if McGill Associates had made the recommendation to not resubmit the sewer grant application. Mr. Greene replied that the recommendation to not resubmit the grant application was based on conversations with the grant writer and McGill Associates. Mr. Greene noted that McGill Associates would be happy to resubmit the application; however, the County would have to pay a fee for them to redo the paper work, which would total approximately $2,000.
The Board agreed to approve Mr. Greenes recommendation to not resubmit the grant application for Bethlehem sewer.
CLOSED SESSION N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3, 5 & 6) ATTORNEY/CLIENT PRIVILEGE, CONTRACTUAL & PERSONNEL
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 7:23 PM to allow for the attorney / client privilege and to discuss contractual matters and personnel issues pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3, 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 8:40 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