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BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS 

ALEXANDER COUNTY

REGULAR MEETING

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA

April 5, 2004

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

 

The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, April 5, 2004 at the Catawba Valley Community College / Alexander Center Multipurpose Room, Taylorsville, North Carolina

CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Keever called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM.

INVOCATION & PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Pastor Craig Hamlin, East Taylorsville Baptist Church, gave the invocation and Haylee Morrison, student at Hiddenite Elementary School, led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

***SPECIAL RECOGNITIONS***

Glenn Deal, Catawba Valley Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, presented the 2003 Alexander County Firefighter of the Year Award to Whitney Daniels.  Randy Walker, Chief of Wittenburg Fire Department, and Craig Gwaltney, former chief, were present at the meeting.  Mr. Deal stated that Mr. Daniels responded to almost every call, signed up for all the training classes, and set a good example for other firefighters.  Mr. Deal presented a plaque to Mr. Daniels in appreciation of his efforts.

Commissioner Robertson recognized Gary “Dino” Rhyne for 36 years of service to the Stony Point Fire Department, the Stony Point Community, as well as Alexander and Iredell Counties.  Commissioner Robertson stated that Mr. Rhyne jointed the Stony Point Fire Department in January 1968 and served as Training Officer from 1977 to 1998 and Captain from 1988 to 2004.  Commissioner Robertson also stated that Mr. Rhyne has served at the Air Pack Man since 1968.  Commissioner Robertson stated that Mr. Rhyne willingly volunteered during fundraisers and Ham Days and well as taught firefighters driving skills during hazardous conditions.  Commissioner Robertson presented a plaque to Mr. Rhyne for 36 years of dedicated service.

Commissioner Robertson pointed out that Commissioner Harbinson had presented several Keys to the County at the March 15, 2004 Commissioners’ Meeting to individuals who had been instrumental in bringing the Alexander Correctional Institution to Alexander County.   However, Commissioner Robertson noted that Commissioner Harbinson had been very instrumental in the project as well, but had not received a Key to the County for his efforts.  Therefore, Commissioner Robertson presented a Key to the County to Commissioner Harbinson on behalf of the Board for his efforts and contribution to the Alexander Correctional Institution.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that he was fortunate to be in a position as county commissioner at the time of lobbying for a new prison, which he felt would be in the best interest of the County.  Commissioner Harbinson felt that it was very classy that Commissioner Robertson and the entire Board would present him with a Key to the County, even though some members of the Board had not supported the prison at the time when it was being discussed.  Commissioner Harbinson thanked the Board for this recognition.

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

Chairman Keever discussed an upcoming NCACC Legislative Briefing and Reception to be held on May 19, 2004 at the Sheraton Capital Center Hotel & NC Museum of History in Raleigh.   Chairman Keever stated that any Board member interested in attending needed to contact Jamie Starnes, Clerk to the Board, or Judy Feimster, Administrative Assistant.

ADOPTION OF AGENDA

Chairman Keever stated that he had received a letter from the NC Department of Health and Human Services which stated this his term on the Social Services Board would expire on June 30, 2004.   Chairman Keever requested that his reappointment to the Social Services Board be considered during Agenda Item #7 – Board Appointments & Reappointments.

Chairman Keever made a motion to adopt the agenda as amended.  Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

PUBLIC HEARING:   FY 2004-2005 RURAL OPERATING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (ROAP)

Patti Foster, Transportation Director, presented the 2004-2005 Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP) grant application for the Board’s consideration.  Ms. Foster stated that the grant would provide funding for the Elderly Disabled Transportation Assistance Program (EDTAP) as well as for the Rural General Public (RGP) and the Work First / Employment Program.

Ms. Foster explained that the 2004-2005 grant application totaled $73,280 of which $40,918 would be designated for EDTAP as well as $27,408 for RGP and $4,954 for Work First / Employment.  Ms. Foster also noted that a 10% match was required for the RGP allocation.

Chairman Keever called the public hearing to order and requested any public comment.  There being no public comment, Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to close the public hearing.  Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the FY 2004-2005 Rural Operating Assistance Program grant application as presented.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

RESOLUTION TO REQUIRE COMMUNITY TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS TO IMPLEMENT REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES

Commissioner Hammer presented a proposed NC Board of Transportation resolution to regionalize all community transportation systems, which he noted would be considered by the Public Transportation Association in May 2004.  Commissioner Hammer informed the Board that a meeting was held last week with Thomas Herman from the Public Transportation Division of Asheville to discuss the possible combination of the Unifour area and he noted that Mr. Herman did not have very many answers to their questions.  Commissioner Hammer felt that a regionalized system would negatively affect the citizens of each county involved and he recommended that the Board develop some questions to send to the Public Transportation Association to be submitted by 5:00 PM on Friday, April 9, 2004.

John Tippett, WPCOG Transportation Planner, discussed the origin as well as the pros and cons of a regionalized system.  Mr. Tippett explained that the Transit 2001 Committee decided to recommend a more regional approach to transportation and he noted that their philosophy was that airplanes and highways didn’t stop at county boundaries so why should Transportation Service vans.   Mr. Tippett informed the Board that there was only 4 truly regional transportation system in the entire state of North Carolina that ranged from 3 to 5 counties within each region, leaving approximately 85 counties still operating as community transportation systems.   

Mr. Tippett stated that the Transit Committee felt that regionalism would create better planning and do away with duplication of services.  Mr. Tippett stated that he wasn’t exactly sure what the Board of Transportation meant by “participation” and he noted that he had attempted to contact several individuals about this but had received no response.

Mr. Tippett stated that Catawba County had a community transportation system like Alexander County up until 5 years ago when they coordinated with the Piedmont Wagon Transit System.  Mr. Tippett briefly discussed the Piedmont Wagon Transit System in Hickory, which was an urban fixed route system that has buses that travel into Hickory, Newton, and Conover on an hourly schedule. 

Mr. Tippett stated that the recommendation for the Unifour could be to establish a system that would be based out of Hickory, the geographical center of the Unifour, and he noted that it would still be possible to have satellite offices in each county.  However, he noted that he did not know for sure what the recommendation would be for the Unifour until the study was completed.  Mr. Tippett stated that there would be some benefits to a regionalized system.  For example, staff could schedule one large group to be taken to Baptist hospital or the V.A. hospital in one trip instead of several small trips.  Mr. Tippett also stated that there could be one main number for the entire Unifour.  However, he stated that there were still several concerns that needed to be addressed including who would own the vans and who would be responsible for maintenance of vehicles, etc.

Patti Foster, Transportation Director, stated that some incentives of regionalism were discussed during the October NCDOT session but she noted that no more discussion had taken place until she received the proposed resolution on Friday, April 2, 2004.  Mr. Tippett he was surprised that he didn’t receive word about this resolution since he worked for a regional planning organization.

Mr. Tippett also suggested that the Board send questions and concerns to the Public Transportation Association and the Department of Transportation.

Commissioner Robertson asked if there was a date established for the completion of the study.   Mr. Tippett replied that no completion date had been established.

Chairman Keever stated that the expectations of a regional system outlined in the resolution was very ambiguous and he felt that it would cost more money to operate a regional system because of the many rural areas in the Unifour that would require transportation services from a central location.

Commissioner Robertson did not feel that the Unifour would be willing to regionalize until a plan was develop that addressed all of the major concerns.

Rick French, County Manager, asked if the recommendation would be approved by the Public Transportation Association in May.  Mr. Tippett stated that it was possible that the recommendation could be approved in May; however, he did not feel that recommendation would be approved without any finalized studies.

Mr. French asked if the Department of Transportation was aware that a study was underway.  Mr. Tippett stated that the previous board member, Frank Johnson, was aware of the study but he noted that he was no longer on the board.  He stated that Judge Robert Collier had taken his place and was not aware of the study.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that he personally knew Judge Collier and he noted that he would be glad to schedule a meeting with him so that the Board could address this issue as well as ask questions.  Chairman Keever suggested that the Board meet with Mr. Collier at the April 19th meeting since a work session was already scheduled.  Mr. French also noted that a meeting had been set up for April 26th if the April 19th meeting would not work with Mr. Collier’s schedule.  Commissioner Robertson suggested that Mr. Tippett be present at the meeting as well.

Commissioner Bolick made a motion that the Board not take any formal action to develop a regional system until a formal plan was developed.

Chairman Keever asked if Commissioner Bolick would accept a Friendly Amendment that the Board develop a list of questions and concerns and send them to the Public Transportation Association by Friday, April 9, 2004.  Commissioner Bolick made a motion to accept the Friendly Amendment to his original motion.  Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Commissioner Bolick made a motion that the Board not take formal action until a formal plan was developed and to send a list of questions and concerns to the Public Transportation Association.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Commissioner Hammer suggested that Rick French, Patti Foster, and John Tippett work together to develop the list of questions and concerns.  The Board agreed.

ALEXANDER COUNTY PRE-TRIAL RELEASE PROGRAM

Anita Price, Resource Center Director, presented a Power Point slide show presentation on the Pre-Trial Release Program, which included the following information:

            Mission Statement

        It is the mission of the Alexander County Pre-Trial Release Program to provide a structured, supervised environment and offer treatment services and referrals for defendants in the productive community who are awaiting trial, with all efforts focused on successful disposition of the court case.

Program Goals

        Reduce Local Jail Overcrowding

o        Maintain a minimum case load of 7 defendants

        Provide Alternative to Traditional Bonding

o        Maintain supervision of defendants awaiting trial

        Improve the Efficiency of the Court System

o        Provide advocacy to court officials through reports and testimony which will help determine the sentencing process

Selection Process

        Type of Crime Charge with

o        No violent crimes (murder, rape, etc.)

o        No sex crimes

o        Non-acceptable DWI charges

         Repeat offenders, high alcohol level, children in vehicle, at-fault accidents, etc.

        Criminal History

o        Preferably county residents only

o        No previous failure to appear

o        Communication with all parties involved

         Victim

         Arresting officer and / or court officials

         Defendants household members

         Attorney

Requirements of Defendants

        Appear at all court hearings

        Daily contact with Pre-Trial Director

        Weekly office visit

        Random drug and alcohol screenings

        Must be a student, employed, or disabled

o        If not employed, must be actively seeking employment

        Have no contact with victims and / or co-defendants

        Must notify Director of any address, phone number, or employment changes

        Must not violate any local, state, or federal laws

Additional Requirements

        Special Conditions of Release Order as Needed

o        Curfew

o        Substance abuse treatment

o        Mental health referrals

o        Cognitive behavior intervention

o        Like skills

o        Job development skills

Current Statistics

        Total number of clients interviewed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

        Total number presented to judge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

        Total number of successful program completions . . . . . . . . 9

        Total number terminated from program

o        Violations of Pre-Trial Release conditions . . . . . . . .2

o        Re-arrests for new charges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

        Disposition of charges

o        Pending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

o        Supervised probation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

o        Dismissed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

o        Active prison sentence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

FY 2003-2004 Projections

        Goal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 defendants

        Served . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 defendants

Current Savings to the County

Jail Bed Savings

Number of Days

Pre-Trial

2,021

Expedited

0

Total

2,021

                        2,021 days x $40 per day = $80,840 savings to the County

Commissioner Robertson asked Ms. Price how exactly she was able to monitor the defendants in regard to not contacting the co-defendants.  Ms. Price stated that they, in fact, could not monitor everything the defendants did and she gave an example of a case where several teenage boys, who attended the same school, were involved in a breaking and entering case.  Ms. Price stated that in a case such as this, the defendants would be required to not have any contact with each other outside of school grounds.  Ms. Price also noted that the most crucial way to make sure that no contact has been made is by requiring the defendant to contact her every day.

Commissioner Bolick asked who made the decision to accept a defendant into the Pre-Trial Release program and if a defendant would be accepted if the victim did not want the defendant involved in the program or out in society.  Ms. Price replied that she made the decision to accept any defendant; however, she noted that the judge could always object to the defendant taking part in the program.  Ms. Price also stated that a defendant would not be accepted into the program if the victim in the case was adamant about the defendant taking part.

Commissioner Bolick asked if proof was required to show that a defendant was actively seeking employed if not already employed.  Ms. Price replied that the defendants were required to apply for jobs with the Employment Security Commission and she noted that the defendants who were employed were required to submit check stubs.

Chairman Robertson discussed the $80,840 savings to the County and he inquired about the cost of the Pre-Trial Release Program.  Ms. Price replied that the program cost was approximately $25,000, which was a substantial benefit to the County.  Commissioner Harbinson pointed out that the $80,840 did not include the savings on inmate medical visits.   Commissioner Harbinson stated that he remembered an inmate several years ago that ran up a bill of approximately $50,000, which the County was obligated to pay.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that Ms. Price did an excellent job with her credibility with judges and court officials and he conveyed his appreciation.

CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH PROCLAMATION

Karen Hoyle, Director of Social Services, presented a Proclamation to Declare April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Alexander County.

Ms. Hoyle informed the Board that the number of reports of abuse and neglect had increased.   When comparing the first 3 months of 2003 with the first 3 months of 2004, there is a 52% increase in the number of reports and an 80% increase in the number of cases investigated.  Ms. Hoyle also noted that the reports were becoming more serious, involving substance abuse issues.

Ms. Hoyle stated that the proclamation was the first step in the activities scheduled for this month.  Ms. Hoyle invited the Board to attend the Blue Ribbon Ceremony scheduled for Tuesday, April 5, 2004 at 12:00 Noon.  Ms. Hoyle also stated that the NC Division of Social Services Director would be visiting Alexander County on April 16, 2004.  She noted that a reception would be held for the Director at the Senior Center at 3:00 PM and she invited the Board to attend.

Commissioner Bolick made a motion to approve the Proclamation to Declare April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Alexander County.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Commissioner Robertson felt that it would be beneficial to distribute copies of the proclamation to ministerial associations, the school system, the Health Department, as well as the Mental Health Department to make people more aware of the problem.

PROCLAMATION SUPPORTING THE RECOGNITION OF GOD AS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR NATIONAL HERITAGE

Chairman Keever presented a Proclamation Supporting the Recognition of God as the Foundation of Our National Heritage, which was discussed at the March 15, 2004 Commissioners’ Meeting.

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

BUDGET ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS #28 - #31

Rick French, County Manager, discussed the purpose of Budget Amendments #28 - #31, which included the following information:

Budget Amendment #28 – To budget for State funds allocated for Vaccine Storage and Handling Improvements.  To budget for additional Title X Family Planning State funds.  To budget for 2003 Department of Homeland Security Part II Grant Funds.  To budget for a transfer to the Capital Improvement Funds to pay for the architect’s fees for the DSS addition.

Budget Amendment #29 – To budget for a transfer from the General Fund to pay for the architect’s fees for the DSS addition.

Budget Amendment #30 – To increase the budget for workers compensation claims.  To budget for the annual Ernie Matheson tournament at East Park and Dusty Ridge Park.  To increase the budget for referees and umpires at recreation games.   To decrease a budgeted transfer to the Revaluation Fund in order to improve the Fund Balance.  To budget for a transfer from the E911 Fund to cover a portion of the operating costs of 911 Communications.

Budget Amendment #31 – To decrease a budgeted transfer from the General Fund in order to improve the Fund Balance.

Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve Budget Amendments #28 - #31.  Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

BOARD APPOINTMENTS & REAPPOINTMENTS

Commissioner Hammer presented the following appointments and reappointments:

A.      Board of Health

Appoint Dr. Amy Inman   (To fulfill the unexpired term of Dr. Joel Inman, the new County Medical Director.  Term expires May 2005.)

B.      SOCIAL SERVICES BOARD

Reappoint Norris Keever

Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the appointments and reappointments as presented.   Commissioner Harbinson 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:

A.      The 2004 NCACC District Meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 at the Hudson Uptown Building in Caldwell County from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.  Topics to be discussed include financing of the new mental health system, services management, budget impact, Medicaid, and maintenance of effort.   Mr. French asked the Board to contact Jamie Starnes, Clerk to the Board, or Judy Feimster, Administrative Assistant, if any member wished to attend the meeting.

B.      Mr. French presented a list of proposed surplus items for the Board’s consideration.  Mr. French explained that County staff planned to participate in a joint auction with the school system on April 22, 2004 and May 6, 2004.  This list included the following items:

Vehicles

1979 Yellow Dodge Truck – D14JE9S200408

1981 Red Chevrolet Truck – 1GCCC14DXBB120564

1989 Red Ford Truck – 1FTCR10A7KUB91929

1988 Red/Tan Chevrolet Truck – 1GNEV18K5JE160383

1985 Blue Jeep Cherokee – JCWB7822FT061665

1993 Gray Chevrolet Caprice – 1G1BL5375PW141782

1993 Blue Chevrolet Cavalier – 1G1JC544XP7275391

1983 Tan Chevrolet Step Van – 1GCHP32M7E3313570

                        Equipment

                        Metal video file cabinet (8)                                 Metal table (1)

                        Rotating cassette stand (6)                                 16 MM film projector (1)

                        Rotating book rack (3)                                      Card files-wooden w/ metal files (1)

                        Chairs-metal, wooden, office (many)                  Rolling wooden bookcase (1)

                        Wooden book rack-display table (1)                 Artificial Christmas tree (1)

                        Bench seat w/ cushion (1)                                  Computer printer (many)

                        Folding metal table (1)                                        Projector (1)

                        Pegboard display (2)                                         Calculator (1)

                        5 ft. round wooden table (1)                              Telephone (2)

                        Overhead projector (2)                                      HJ Scanjet 5100 scanner (1)

                        Microfilm projector (1)                                      APC 650 battery backup (1)

                        6 ft. movie screen (1)                                         round wooden table (1)

                        Wooden podium (1)                                          Wooden/glass display cabinet (1)

                        Computer (many)                                              19” Goldstar television (1)

                        Computer monitor (many)                                  Aquarium w/ stand and supplies (1)

                        Record player (2)                                              Box of assorted computer parts (2)

                        Rolodex (4)                                                       Hanging cabinet (1)

                        Typewriter (2)                                                   Metal floor cabinet (1)

                        Clock radio (1)                                                  Metal magazine stand (2)

                        Rolling metal book rack (1)                                Wooden bookshelf (1)

                        Corkboard (1)                                                   Large Fan (1)

                        Film projector-Micromatic II (2)                        Christmas Ornaments (many)

                        Slide projector (1)

Commissioner Hammer requested the addition of a set of metal steps located at the Barn to be added to the list of surplus items.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the list of surplus items as amended.  Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

C.      Information was received on Friday, April 2, 2004 from the Rural Center regarding the Water 2030 Initiative.   Mr. French stated that Regional Spring 2004 Meeting for Alexander County would be held on April 14, 2004 at 3:00 PM in Catawba County.

D.      The Alexander County Habitat for Humanity has requested that Alexander County waive the permitting fees of $419 for a home being built on Paul Payne Store Road.

Commissioner Bolick made a motion to waive the permitting fees of $419 for the Habitat for Humanity home project.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

E.       Mr. French stated that he had spoken with David Odom, Town Manager, regarding the 10% noncontiguous voluntary annexation.  Mr. French recommended the Board support the Town’s request based on that discussion.

Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the Town’s request for support of noncontiguous voluntary annexation.  Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

F.       Mr. French presented a Resolution Authorizing the Filing of an Application for Approval of a Financing Agreement Authorized by North Carolina General Statute 160A-20, which would begin the process to finance the construction of an auditorium, field house, and the DSS expansion.  Mr. French stated that a meeting would be held on April 26, 2004 at 6:00 PM to discuss the financing of these projects in detail.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that he would be voting against the resolution, simply because he had not seen any numbers concerning the financing of these projects.   Commissioner Harbinson stated that he would like to see those numbers before voting on the project.  Commissioner Robertson referred to Commissioner Harbinson’s comments by stated that, although an architect’s budget had been reviewed, the Board would not have any definite numbers until bids were received.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the resolution.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted 4 in favor of the motion (Commissioners Bolick, Hammer, Keever, and Robertson) and one against the motion (Commissioner Harbinson).  The motion carried.

CONSENT AGENDA

  1. Tax Release Requests for March $947.83 and Tax Refund Requests for March $745.02.
  2. Minutes from March 15, 2004 Regular Commissioners’ Meeting.

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

CLOSED SESSION – N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(1 & 5)  TO PREVENT THE DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION & CONTRACTUAL

Chairman Keever made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 7:34 PM to prevent the disclosure of confidential information as well as to discuss contractual matters pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(1 & 5).  Commissioner Robertson 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 8:20 PM.   Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion.   The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

 

                                                                                                           

W. Norris Keever, Chairman         Jamie M. Starnes, Clerk to the Board