Draft

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS 

ALEXANDER COUNTY

REGULAR MEETING

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA

November 3, 2003

PRESENT: W. Darrell Robertson, Chairman
William L. Hammer, Vice-Chairman
Wesley E. Bolick
Joel C. Harbinson
W. Norris Keever
STAFF: Rick French, County Manager
Jamie Millsaps, Clerk to the Board
David Icenhour, Human Resources Director
MEDIA: Gary Herman, The Taylorsville Times
Norris Keever, WACB Radio

 

The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting on Monday, November 3, 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

Rev. Ernest Sheldon, Saint Lukes Lutheran Church, gave the invocation and Ethan Grant, student at Ellendale Elementary School, led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

Chairman Robertson discussed a letter received from the North Carolina Department of the State Treasurer that acknowledged that Alexander County’s undesignated fund balance as of June 30, 2003 was $1,745,091, which represented 7.94% of the general fund expenditures for the 2002-2003 fiscal year.  Chairman Robertson stated that the fund balance as of June 30, 2002 was at $470,919.  Chairman Robertson noted that the letter read “We commend you, the Board of Commissioners and the county management team for this improvement and urge all involved to continue your successful efforts to improve the overall financial condition of the General Fund.”

Chairman Robertson stated that Rick French, County Manager, had advised the State Treasurer as well as the Local Government Commission (LGC) that Alexander County was still working to improve the fund balance.  Chairman Robertson thanked all County staff for working together to improve the fund balance.

ADOPTION OF AGENDA

Commissioner Bolick requested the addition of a Proclamation Declaring December 6-14, 2003 as Christmas in Bethlehem Week in Alexander County as well as discussion regarding a recycling area for disposal of yard waste during Other Business.

Chairman Robertson also stated that the Board needed to appoint a representative to serve on a WPCOG Future Forward Strategic Planning Committee during Appointments and Reappointments.

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.

CONSIDERATION OF PARTNERSHIP WITH ALEXANDER COUNTY SCHOOLS FOR ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES – AUDITORIUM AND FIELD HOUSE

Chairman Robertson presented information in conjunction with the request from the Alexander County Board of Education for Alexander County to partner with the Alexander County School System in the planning, designing, and construction of an auditorium and field house / ROTC classroom at Alexander Central High School.  The information included the 1996 Blue Ribbon Study Committee recommendations, an estimate for the projects from Orkan Architecture, the remaining balance of half-cent sales tax for Alexander County Schools, capital obligations for 2003-2004, sales tax remaining for use, an estimated power to borrow for Alexander County Schools for 20 years at 5%, and options for financial responsibilities for both parties.

While information was being distributed, Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the Board of Education’s request and move forward with a 50/50 partnership between Alexander County and the School System for the construction of an auditorium and a field house / ROTC classroom.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.

Chairman Robertson stated that the project would be subject to LGC approval for financing.   Chairman Robertson stated that the proposed cost of the auditorium totaled approximately $3,030,000 and the cost of the field house totaled approximately $695,000 for a total of $3.7 million; however, Chairman Robertson noted that the final cost of the project could not be determined until bids were received from contractors as well as information from lending institutions in late spring or early summer.

Chairman Robertson requested comment from each commissioner regarding the auditorium and field house project.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that he felt that the Board needed to take a lot more consideration into a project costing $3.7 million.  Commissioner Harbinson stated that the Board of Commissioners had met with the Board of Education less than 2 months ago to begin discussion about an auditorium and field house and he noted that tonight was the first time there had been information presented or any discussion about the financing and payment of the $3.7 million.  Commissioner Harbinson stated that Jack Hoke, Superintendent, gave a presentation on the auditorium and field house, which ran on the Government Access Channel, where he spoke 15 minutes on the benefit of an auditorium and field house but only 15 seconds on how the project would be paid for.

Commissioner Harbinson discussed the Blue Ribbon Study Committee recommendations as well as the Board of Education’s Long-Range Facility Plan, which included additions to ACHS, a new Ellendale Elementary School, additions to East and West Middle Schools, and additions to Sugar Loaf and Stony Point Elementary Schools.  Commissioner Harbinson stated that these were all necessities and he noted that he was glad that the School System was in a position to consider luxuries such as an auditorium and field house.  However, Commissioner Harbinson felt that moving forward with these projects would “tie the County’s and the Board of Education’s hands” for future projects and he noted that he had emailed Jack Hoke, Superintendent, twice with spreadsheets showing how these projects would do just that. 

Commissioner Harbinson stated that the Long-Range Facility Plan, from 2005 to 2007, called for construction of an auditorium and a new high school in the southern part of the county from but he noted that there was no mention of a field house.  Commissioner Harbinson also stated that from 2007 to 2010 the Long-Range Facility Plan called for renovations to Bethlehem Elementary School as well as a new elementary school in the southeastern portion of the county.  Commissioner Harbinson mentioned that Alexander County was one of only 8 counties that had used only sales taxes for school construction and he felt that moving forward with the auditorium and field house projects would put the County and the Board of Education in a position that this elementary school could not be built without using property taxes.

Commissioner Harbinson read an excerpt from the minutes of a work session held on October 25, 2001 which read “Mr. Hoke noted that 10 additional classrooms were needed at each middle school and that a gym was need at Stony Point Elementary School.  Mr. Hoke also noted that Hiddenite and Bethlehem Elementary Schools were at their max capacity.  Commissioner Darrell Robertson suggested either building new schools in Bethlehem and Hiddenite or redistricting.”  Commissioner Harbinson also read an excerpt from the minutes of the 2002 Planning Retreat held on February 1-2, 2002 at the Hidden Crystal Inn which read “Mr. Hoke discussed the space issues at the elementary schools and noted the Hiddenite and Bethlehem Elementary Schools were at full capacity.  Bethlehem is exceeding its population and is landlocked.” 

Commissioner Harbinson stated that each school system was required by law to file a School Facilities Plan with the State to show that there is a Long-Range Plan to meet goals laid out and he noted that the School Facilities Plan on file with the State did not include any mention of an auditorium or a field house but that it did mention the need for an elementary school in the Drumstand area.  Commissioner Harbinson stated that when he asked the Board of Education about how future plans would be funded he received this reply:  “We have been very successful in using the restricted half-cent sales tax to meet the building needs; however, there may be a time when the amount of restricted half-cent sales tax will not be able to cover capital projects.”  Commissioner Harbinson felt that tying up $300,000 per year for an auditorium and field house would eventually impact the school system by forcing students back into mobile units because of the need for more space, which was a problem that was recently solved by doing away with mobile units.

Commissioner Harbinson discussed the proposal for the County to fund half of the cost for the auditorium and field house, which he noted would affect funding appropriated for the general needs of the school system, such as computers and teacher supplements, or would increase property taxes.  Commissioner Harbinson mentioned that an auditorium had been constructed in Caldwell County approximately 10 years ago and he noted that half of the funding for the auditorium came from a bond referendum and the other half by private donations.  Commissioner Harbinson read another excerpt from the minutes of the 2002 Planning Retreat which read “Commission Hammer stated that the County desperately needed an auditorium and he felt that funding of this project would be a joint effort between the County, School System, Town, and from the general community.  Commissioner Hammer stated that he had spoken with Lenny Rogers, Cooperative Extension Director, who would be willing to raise funds from the community.  Commissioner Hammer stated that he would like to see staff start planning this project as well as looking at costs.”  Commissioner Harbinson stated that he had written a Letter to the Editor stating that he would like to look into collecting private donations, especially for the field house.  Commissioner Harbinson noted that not one tax dollar went into the field houses at East Burke and Freedom High Schools.

Commissioner Harbinson proposed an alternative plan in order to save $2.5 million and still build an auditorium and field house which included allocating $550,000 towards the construction of the field house and raising private donations for the remaining amount while also renovating the old gym at ACHS for a 1,000 seat auditorium.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that it was his understanding that the meeting held September 4, 2003 between the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education was simply for informational purposes.  Commissioner Harbinson read an excerpt from the minutes of the October 20, 2003 work session where he had asked Mr. Hoke about the financing of the auditorium and field house which read “Mr. Hoke stated that the details had not been discussed and he noted that this meeting was simply to allow the Board of Education to provide information regarding the project for each board to determine if there was an interest in partnering with the school system…Alexander Chairman Robertson suggested that Superintendent Jack Hoke, County Manager Rick French, and Town Manager David Odom meet to exchange information and ideas on the proposal to later discuss with each full board… Chairman Robertson suggested holding some work sessions at a later date to allow for more discussion regarding this proposal.”  Commissioner Harbinson stated that no work sessions had been held and no other discussion had taken place.   Commissioner Harbinson also felt that it was ironic that neither Mr. Hoke or any Board of Education member was not present at tonight’s meeting to officially request funding for the auditorium and field house.

Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to make an amendment to Commissioner Keever’s motion to table this issue for one month to allow for another work session to discuss the financing of these projects and to have a public hearing during the December 1, 2003 Commissioners’ Meeting to allow citizens to give their opinion on which plan they would prefer.

No second was made to Commissioner Harbinson’s motion.  Therefore, Chairman Robertson announced that the motion died for lack of a second.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that in November 2001, the Board of Commissioners went on record requesting that the Board of Education display the historical documents (Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and Ten Commandments) in each school.  Commissioner Harbinson noted that 4,000 residents signed the petition to have these documents placed in each school including former Democrat commissioner Johnny Campbell, former Republican commissioner Guy Kerley, former Board of Education member Neil Summers, current Board of Education member Scott Ferguson, former Sheriff Ray Warren, Clerk of Court Seth Chapman and Commissioner William Hammer.  Commissioner Harbinson stated that the Board of Education had not taken action to date on this issue and he felt that since the Board of Commissioners would be allowing the Board of Education to hire an architect for $300,000 to begin plans on the auditorium and field house then the Board of Education should give the Board of Commissioners the consideration of doing what was requested 2 years ago.  Therefore, Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to make another amendment to Commissioner Keever’s motion as follows (subject to the Board of Education taking formal action on or before December 25, 2003):

1.       The Board of Education gives the County express permission to post in each of the ten local schools, pursuant to state law, a historical display of documents – including but not limited to the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Ten Commandments – at the inside entrance of each of the schools in a place and in a manner determined by Alexander County Board of Commissioners Chairman Darrell Robertson and Alexander County Board of Education Chairman Craig Mayberry.

2.       The Board of Education authorizes Board of Education member Scott Ferguson to assist County Commissioner Wes Bolick to head a fund-raising effort to raise monies from private individuals and organizations to pay for the cost of such historical documents so that no public funds are used to purchase said documents.

3.       The Board of Education gives the County exclusive authority to defend any and all potential lawsuits on its behalf filed as a result of this action under the direction of County Commissioner and former School Board Attorney and former County Attorney Joel Harbinson, who has agreed to represent both Boards in the defense of said lawsuits, free of charge.

4.       In consideration of the above, the County agrees to assume any and all liability incurred by the Board of Education as the result of any and all potential lawsuits and to reimburse the Board of Education for any and all costs which it may incur as a result thereof.

No second was made to Commissioner Harbinson’s motion.  Therefore, Chairman Robertson announced that the motion died for lack of a second.

Commissioner Bolick stated that he had given a lot of thought to the auditorium and field house and he noted that he had spoken with several other commissioners and members of the Board of Education about the specifics of the project.  Commissioner Bolick stated that his only concern was that the 1,000 seat auditorium would not be adequate; however, he noted that he had been assured by several commissioners and the Board of Education that the auditorium would be adequate.  Commissioner Bolick stated that all schools had auditoriums years ago where family values could be expressed in the events that took place and he felt that the Board would be failing the children of the county by not allowing them the space to hold important events.

Commissioner Hammer stated that he had, at one time, served on the Board of Education and he noted that the Board of Education did not like to have the Board of Commissioners telling them what to do or how to spend their money.  Commissioner Hammer stated that the Board of Education would have enough half-cent sales tax over the next 10 years to pay for the auditorium and field house but he noted that it would take every penny of the half-cent sales tax for the projects with nothing left for anything else.  Commissioner Hammer stated than an auditorium had been discussed for more than 20 years and he mentioned that the Alexander County School System was one of the best in the state in regard to school facilities.  Commissioner Hammer mentioned that there would not be one single mobile unit in the county once the field house was built and the ROTC was moved into the facility.  Commissioner Hammer stated that the Board of Education had informed him that there would not be the need of another school for 10 years or more and he noted that the new Ellendale and Wittenburg Elementary Schools could accommodate 250 more students if needed.   Commissioner Hammer felt that the County needed to contribute since the auditorium would benefit the County in many ways and he noted that the Town would possibly contribute as well.  Commissioner Hammer discussed his comments regarding the need for private donations and he felt that it would be difficult to raise a substantial amount of money for the auditorium and field house through private donations.  Commissioner Hammer gave an example of the Central Park Project where only $20,000 was raised in private donations over a 4 year period.  Commissioner Hammer commented on Commissioner Harbinson’s suggestion to convert the old gym at ACHS into an auditorium by stating that the school system already had a gym / auditorium at Taylorsville Elementary School.  Commissioner Hammer thanked Rick French, County Manager, and Jack Hoke, Superintendent, for their hard work on developing a plan for the auditorium and field house.

Commissioner Keever stated that it was the job of the Board of Education, not the Board of Commissioners, to decide what school facility was to be next in line for construction.   Commissioner Keever stated that it was his understanding that the Board of Commissioners was to allocate the funding that the State specified for school construction and then allow the Board of Education to make the decision on the construction.  Commissioner Keever stated that approving the request tonight simply meant that the Board of Commissioners would be partnering with the Board of Education to show support for their activities.   Commissioner Keever stated that he had been assured that there was no immediate need for additional classrooms and he felt that now was the time to move forward with an auditorium.  Commissioner Keever stated that he had crusaded for an auditorium for more than 15 years because of the many events that could be held, included fundraising events.  Commissioner Keever felt that the plan presented was feasible and he stated that he had been in favor of it from the beginning.

Chairman Robertson stated that the issue of converting the old gym at ACHS into an auditorium had been discussed when the Board of Education presented plans for the additions at ACHS in February 2000.  Chairman Robertson explained the Board of Education had informed him at that time that the old gym would be needed because of student population and that it was not the most feasible plan for an auditorium.  Chairman Robertson stated that the auditorium and field house were in-line with the Facilities Plan laid out by the Board of Education and he noted that it was a great shame that students didn’t have a place to hold band and chorus concerts, etc.  Chairman Robertson felt that now was the best time to build an auditorium and field house in regard to an economical standpoint and construction value and he felt that the project would be an excellent value for the money to be spent.  Chairman Robertson conveyed his appreciation to each commissioner for comments made and he stated that each made very good points.

There being no further discussion, the Board voted 4 in favor of Commissioner Keever’s original motion (Commissioners Bolick, Hammer, Keever, and Robertson) and one against the motion (Commissioner Harbinson).  The motion carried.

RESOLUTION FOR THE FY 2005 COMMUNITY TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM GRANT

Patti Foster, Transportation Director, presented a resolution to apply for the FY 2005 Community Transportation Program Grant due November 21, 2003.  Ms. Foster stated that a public hearing was required only if one was requested and she noted that a public hearing had not been requested. 

Ms. Foster explained that the grant would provide funding for administrative, employment development, capital, technology, and facility renovation / repair funding grant programs.  Ms. Foster stated that the application was for $81,651 for total administrative expenses and $1,500 for total employee development, which are done at 85% reimbursement back to the County and a 15% local match, totaling $83,151 with a local math of $12,472.65.

Ms. Foster also stated that she would be applying for $45,350 for capital, technology, and facility renovation / repair funding with a local match of $12,472.65 which would bring the total grant application to $128,501 with a local match of $17,007.65.

Chairman Robertson asked Ms. Foster how this grant compared to the current grant.  Ms. Foster replied that the current grant totaled $148,463 with a local match of $18,785 and she explained that the reason the current year was a little higher was because a couple vehicles were replaced and only one would be replaced during the next year.

Commissioner Bolick made a motion to approve the FY 2005 Community Transportation Program Grant as presented.  Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

REPORT ON HYDROPOWER RELICENSING

Mike Struve, WPCOG Water Quality Administrator, presented a Power Point slide show presentation regarding Hydropower Relicensing on the Catawba-Wateree River, which included the following information:

            What is Relicensing?

        The Federal Power Act requires that licensed hydroelectric projects obtain a new license prior to the expiration of the current license.

        The final decision as to the terms and conditions of the new license is made by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

        State and Federal resources agencies, tribes, local governments, nonprofits, and others can participate in the relicensing process.

        New licenses are usually issued by FERC for 30 to 50 years and contain conditions that regulate project operations.

Relicensing:       A process that ultimately results in a set of conditions regarding the

operation of a hydro project to ensure that a public resource is adequately protected and managed over the terms of a license granted to an entity that is using the resource for private gains.

Federal Power Act:       Electric Consumers Protection Act:  Requires FERC to give “equal consideration” to fish and wildlife resources as well as other nondevelopment values with consideration of power production.

Affects of Dams and Project Operations on Rivers:

        Alter river levels and flow

        Affect water quality conditions

        Alter and destroy habitat

        Turbines can cut up fish (entrainment)

        Block passage

        River access can be limited or prevented

        Destroy and eliminate historic and cultural resources

Catawba-Wateree Project Information

        13 hydropower stations and 11 reservoirs are covered under one license.

        Includes nearly 300 river miles, about 80,000 acres of impounded water, and 1,700 miles of shoreline.

        This project is the 7th largest in terms of kilowatt power produced out of 210 projects seeking a new license between 1999 and 2008.

Relicensing Process

        Duke Power has established four Regional Advisory Groups and 2 State Relicensing Teams.

        In North Carolina – Foothills and Metro Advisory Groups.

        Exact role of the Advisory Groups is somewhat unclear.

        Advisory Groups and State Teams will meet regularly over the next 3 years and will review the results of studies conducted by Duke Power.

        Over time “consensus” will be reached among stakeholders on key issues.

        A Settlement Agreement will be produced that will outline how the project will be operated over the term of the new license and will be part of the license application package.

        Duke Power will file a license application with FERC in August 2006.

        The new license is scheduled to be issued in 2008.

Major Issues:  Water Quantity and Flow

        Establishing minimum release below dams.

        Increasing flows to support paddlers in some areas.

        Establishing flows and lake levels sufficient to protect public water supply systems.

        Reintroducing water to bypass reaches of the River.

FERC Form L-1 (1975):  Article 13. 

        Gives the licensee the right to “receive reasonable compensation for use of its reservoir or other project properties…”

        Specifically covers “water supply for the purpose of steam-electric irrigation, industrial, municipal, or similar uses.” 

        Article 13 is not directly related to relicensing but may be discussed during the relicensing process.

Water Quality:               Examining the affects of project operations on lake and river water quality conditions, particularly in the tailraces.

Shoreline Management:             Identifying restrictions necessary to protect environmental,

recreational, and cultural values associated with pier permitting and similar activities.

Recreation:

        Examining the adequacy of existing facilities.

        Evaluating the need for additional facilities and additional public access.

Historic and Cultural Resources:            Identifying and protecting archaeological sites and sites eligible by the State Historic Preservation Officers for the National Register of Historic Places.

Catawba-Wateree Relicensing Coalition

        Nonprofit based in Charlotte dedicated solely to working on relicensing issues.

        Mission is to “facilitate a process to protect, enhance, and restore the natural, cultural, recreational, and economic resources of the Catawba-Wateree River.”

        Currently focusing on education and technical support as well as participating on the State Teams and Advisory Groups.

Mr. Struve stated that staff anticipated that Duke Power would begin to charge local governments for water withdrawn in the very near future.  Commissioner Keever felt that there should be some way for local governments to petition that effort.  Commissioner Keever also noted that Duke Power was making a lot of money by selling lake property.

Chairman Robertson stated that Lake Hickory and Lake Rhodhiss had lost 20% to 30% of their volume due to sedimentation, which Duke Power had no concern with.  Chairman Robertson stated that it greatly bothered him that Duke Power didn’t care that lakes were losing their volume; however they would charge municipalities if there’s not enough water to go through their turban.

Commissioner Bolick asked what would take place if Duke Power did not relicense.  Mr. Struve stated that he did not anticipate Duke Power not relicensing but he noted that Duke Power could continue to operate without a license until 2008.  Mr. Struve explained that Duke Power could file for a temporary license annually.

Chairman Robertson stated that Duke Power’s reasoning for selling off lake property was so that they could reduce their debt; however, he noted that Duke Power’s profits went up 3% to 4% each year.  Chairman Robertson felt that Duke Energy, which was world wide, was receiving profits from Duke Power to pay its debt.  Chairman Robertson noted that Duke Power was taking money from the citizens while blocking public access to the lakes.  Chairman Robertson also mentioned that he had received word that Duke Power could actually sell the entire lakes as well.

Commissioner Hammer stated that Duke Power had sold approximately 1,500 acres of lake property for $100,000 plus and acre.  Commissioner Hammer felt that Duke Power needed to use some of that money to help dredge the lake to help with the sedimentation problem.

Commissioner Keever felt that Duke Power needed to help with the removal of sedimentation if they planned to begin charging local governments for water.

Commissioner Hammer asked Mr. Struve to research Article 13 and also see what surrounding counties were doing in regard to this problem.  Mr. Struve stated that he would keep in touch with Rick French, County Manager.

REPORT ON MULTIPLE RESPONSE SYSTEM

Karen Hoyle, Director of Social Services, began by introducing Kay Greene and Susan Dickerson, Children Services Supervisors with Alexander County Social Services.

Ms. Hoyle informed the Board that Alexander County had been selected by the State to participate in the next round of the Multiple Response System, which would allow a differential response to reports of child abuse, neglect, and dependency.  Ms. Hoyle stated that the system was family centered and would be a better service for families and a better use of resources.  There are 10 counties in N.C. serving as pilot counties and there will be 23 more counties to participate in the next round for statewide implementation scheduled for 2005.   Ms. Hoyle mentioned that DSS staff would be ready to begin once their training was completed within the next couple months.

Ms. Hoyle stated that about 20 states had been participating in the system for a few years and she noted that it had been a great success because families were allowed to have more of a voice in cases and there were fewer incidents of repeat cases.  Ms. Hoyle stated that there were 7 strategies involved in the system including:

        Strength based structured intake

        Two approaches to reports of neglect and dependency

        Closer coordination between law enforcement and CPS on abuse

        In-home redesign

        Child and family team meetings

        Shared parenting

        Collaboration with Work First and other programs to greatly involve foster parents

Ms. Hoyle stated that the system would help families struggling with child supervision, unmet basic needs, educational neglect, inappropriate discipline, substance abuse, and domestic violence without imminent child harm. 

Commissioner Harbinson conveyed his appreciation to Ms. Hoyle and all DSS staff for the extremely good job that they all do.

PROCLAIM NOVEMBER AS ADOPTION AWARENESS MONTH

Karen Hoyle, Director of Social Services, presented a Proclamation Declaring November 2003 as Adoption Awareness Month in Alexander County.

Ms. Hoyle informed the Board that there were currently 6 children in Alexander County that needed adoptive homes and she noted that DSS would be doing several things during November, which is National Adoption Awareness Month.

Commissioner Bolick made a motion to adopt the Proclamation Declaring November 2003 as Adoption Awareness Month in Alexander County.  Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

AMENDMENT TO ALEXANDER COUNTY’S 2003-2005 WORK FIRST STATE PLAN

Karen Hoyle, Director of Social Services, explained that the State allowed counties the option to select its own income eligibility limit between 110% and 200% of federal poverty level for Emergency Assistance and Services to low income families when adopting the Work First Plan.  Ms. Hoyle stated that the income eligibility limit for Alexander County was set at 200% when the Work First Plan was adopted for 2003-2005. 

Due to the changing economic conditions in the County and the increased demand for services and limited resources, Ms. Hoyle recommended that the income eligibility limit be decreased to 110% of federal poverty level to allow assistance to a greater number of lower income families.

Commissioner Bolick asked how this change would affect the current budget.  Ms. Hoyle replied that the budget would not be affected and she explained that they would be able to service lower income families with the same amount of money allocated.

Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the amendment to Alexander County’s 2003-2005 Work First State Plan as presented.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

SCHEDULING OF A WORK SESSION

Chairman Robertson suggested that the Board hold a short business session at the regularly scheduled Commissioners’ Meeting on November 17, 2003 and then hold a work session immediately afterwards to discuss several issues including the Animal Control Ordinance and economic development.

Commissioner Keever made a motion to schedule a work session immediately following a short business session on November 17, 2003.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

SCHEDULING OF DECEMBER COMMISSIONERS’ MEETING

Chairman Robertson stated that the action would need to be taken on some industrial revenue bonds at some point in December.  Therefore, he requested that the Board hold its regular meeting scheduled for December 1, 2003 and then continue the meeting until such time that a hearing on the industrial revenue bonds would be needed.  Chairman Robertson requested that the December 15, 2003 Commissioners’ Meeting be canceled.

Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve the request as presented.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

BUDGET ORDINANCE AMENDMENT #12

Rick French, County Manager, discussed the purpose of Budget Amendment #12, which included the following information:

Budget Amendment #12 – To allow for the addition of funding for a bioterrorism grant totaling $56,927.

Commissioner Keever made a motion to approve Budget Amendment #12.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

BOARD APPOINTMENTS AND REAPPOINTMENTS

Industrial Facilities & Pollution Control Financing Authority

Commissioner Hammer presented the following names to be appointed to fill the expired terms of current members on the Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority:

                        Andrew Jackson           

                        Randy Street

                        Wesley Fox

                        Robert Feimster

                        Paul Barkley

                        Andy Deal

                        Terry McBride

Commissioner Hammer stated that these appointments would be for 2 year terms and he noted that and a meeting was being scheduled for Friday, November 7, 2003.

Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the appointments as presented.   Commissioner Keever seconded the motion.   The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

            WPCOG Future Forward Strategic Planning Committee

Chairman Robertson requested the appointment of a representative for the Future Forward Strategic Planning Committee meeting to be held on November 12, 2003. 

Commissioner Hammer made a motion appoint Chairman Robertson to serve as the representative.  Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

OTHER BUSINESS

The following issues were discussed during Other Business:

A.       Rick French, County Manager, informed the Board that the Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority would, in fact, hold an organization meeting on Friday, November 7, 2003 to begin the process for industrial revenue bonds for the Mitchell Gold Company.

B.       Mr. French stated that he and several commissioners would be traveling to Raleigh on Thursday, November 6, 2003 to attend a NCACC Taxation and Financing Steering Committee Meeting and also to meet with Billy Ray Hall, Chairman of the Rural Center.

C.       Mr. French discussed a recent report from NCDENR regarding the landfill and solid waste.  The letter noted some improvements with the leachate at the landfill.

D.       Mr. French discussed a memo submitted by Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, regarding a Firewise Conference to be held in February 2004.  The County Ranger has requested that the Chairman, County Manager, and Fire Marshal attend this conference if possible.

E.        Commissioner Bolick presented a Proclamation Declaring December 6-14, 2003 as Christmas in Bethlehem Week in Alexander County. 

Commissioner Bolick made a motion to approve the proclamation.  Commissioner Keever seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

F.        Commissioner Bolick stated that he had received a complaint from a Bethlehem resident who took some leaves to the landfill to find out that they would not accept any leaves or yard waste.  Commissioner Bolick explained that landfill staff encouraged the citizen to acquire a burning permit from the Sheriff’s Office and burn the leaves herself.  Commissioner Bolick stated that burning leaves could cause a problem for people with respiratory problems as well as for citizens who lived very close to others.  Commissioner Bolick proposed that County staff begin looking into developing a recycling center for yard waste or establishing a section of the landfill to take yard waste.

Mr. French stated that he had spoken with John Byrd, Solid Waste Director, regarding this issue and he noted that the County could set up a section at the landfill to handle yard waste.  Mr. French explained that, in order to do this, the County would have to purchase a tub grinder to make mulch or contract with someone for this service.  Mr. French stated that he would provide more information to the Board as it became available. 

CONSENT AGENDA

  1. Tax Release Request for October $1,890.60 and Tax Refund Requests for October $978.52.
  2. Minutes from October 6, 2003 Regular Commissioners’ Meeting and October 20, 2003 Regular Commissioners’ Meeting.

Commissioner Keever 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)(3, 5 & 6)  ATTORNEY/CLIENT PRIVILEGE, CONTRACTUAL & PERSONNEL

Commissioner Keever made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 7:49 PM to discuss contractual matters and personnel issues pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3, 5 & 6).  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 9:20 PM.   Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.   The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

 

                                                                                                           

W. Darrell Robertson, Chairman         Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board