May 24, 2004
The Alexander County Board of
Commissioners held a regular meeting on
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Keever called the meeting to order at .
INVOCATION & PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commissioner Robertson gave the invocation and also led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
The following were recognized:
Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association
presented a plaque received from the Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association, which was
accepted by David Icenhour at a recent Sister Cities Meeting. The plaque was presented to
Chairman Keever recognized the following individuals who received awards:
Tim Chewning, Rescue Person of the Year
Mark St. Clair, Sheriffs Department Officer of the Year
Lisa Johnson, Taylorsville Police Department Officer of the Year
Commissioner Hammer conveyed his appreciation to these individuals as well as the organizations they represent.
The following issues were discussed during the Chairmans Report:
Chairman Keever discussed a letter
recently received from
Bolick felt that the Medicaid issue needed to be a top priority for candidates running for
Harbinson stated that this issue was discussed at the recent Legislative Briefing held in
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to approve Chairman Keevers request for approval of a letter of support at the next meeting. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
B. Chairman Keever stated that the General Assembly was discussing a fee increase for serving papers from $5 to $15; however, he noted that one individual was holding up this process because his county served papers a certain way and did not want to change.
Chairman Keever also stated that there was a hold up on the sales tax elimination on county schools. Commissioner Harbinson stated that there had been some discussion that the State may reduce the funding for county public school capital fund by half. Commissioner Harbinson stated that counties relied on this funding for school construction and he felt that reducing it would cause counties a major burden.
Commissioner Robertson stated that
Charles Davis, a representative from the Regional EPA Enforcement Group Air Quality
Division in Mooresville, met with Russell Greene on Wednesday 19, 2004 to discuss the
location of the ozone measuring monitor in
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Chairman Keever requested the addition of a Resolution Authorizing the Executing and Delivery of an Installment Financing Agreement, a Deed of Trust, a Lease Amendment and Subordination Agreement and a Construction and Acquisition Agreement and Related Documents in Connection with the Financing of Governmental Facilities and the Financing and Refinancing of Certain School Facilities during the Consent Agenda.
Commissioner Harbinson requested the opportunity to reaffirm and ratify the prior action of the previous Board regarding the placement of historical documents in each public school during Other Business.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to adopt the agenda as amended. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
RESOLUTION OF THE N.C. ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY FINANCE OFFICERS AND THE N.C. GOVERNMENT FINANCE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION
Chairman Keever presented a Resolution of the N.C. Association of County Finance Officers and the N.C. Government Finance Officer Association requesting the N.C. Association of County Commissioners and the N.C. League of Municipalities to make the exemption of county and municipal governments from paying sales tax a legislative goal of the highest priority. Chairman Keever also pointed out that the resolution stated that the N.C. Association of County Finance Officers and the N.C. Government Finance Officers Association recommended that the payment by the State, of the final annual refunds due to these entities, be spread over a 5-year period.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the resolution. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
APPOINT VOTING DELEGATE FOR 2004 NACo CONFERENCE
Chairman Keever requested the
appointment of a Voting Delegate for the NACo Conference scheduled for July in
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to appoint Chairman Keever as Voting Delegate for the 2004 NACo Conference. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
ADOPTION OF THE ALEXANDER
Terry Foxx, Emergency Management / Communications / Animal Control Director, presented the Alexander County Hazard Mitigation Plan for consideration. Mr. Foxx discussed the federal government Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (Federal DMA2K), which stated that each county or municipality must have a Hazard Mitigation Plan in place for their respective jurisdictions. Mr. Foxx stated that the plan assessed vulnerabilities and threats to each jurisdiction.
In the 2001-2002 session of the N.C.
General Assembly, Senate Bill 300 was introduced and adopted, which later turned into
N.C.G.S. 166A or the Emergency Management Act requiring counties and municipalities to
seek reimbursement for any declared disaster. Mr.
Foxx stated that at the
Mr. Foxx stated that the Hazard Mitigation Plan was drafted by Eplan LLC of Statesville along with the help of the Emergency Management Office, Planning & Development, Tax Office, GIS staff, and other County departments. Mr. Foxx stated that the Local Emergency Planning Committee had determined vulnerabilities and hazards for the plan. Mr. Foxx stated that the plan was submitted to the State and FEMA in August 2003 for review and approval and he noted that he had received word that both had approved the plan as presented. Mr. Foxx stated that the next step was for the Board of Commissioners to approve the plan and he mentioned that the Town Council had approved the plan on Tuesday, 18, 2004.
At this time, Commissioner Hammer entered the meeting. The time was .
Commissioner Robertson discussed the
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the Alexander County Hazard Mitigation Plan as presented. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Robertson conveyed his appreciation to all the emergency organizations for always working together during emergencies such as those included in the plan.
DECLARE SEIZED WEAPONS AS SURPLUS PROPERTY
Sheriff Hayden Bentley informed the Board that there were many weapons stored in the Sheriffs Department evidence room that needed to be disposed. Sheriff Bentley stated that the Sheriffs Department had taken in an increased amount of weapons since the Domestic Violence Law went into effect in December 2003. He also noted that some of the weapons stored in the evidence room had been there for 15 to 20 years.
Sheriff Bentley stated that staff had destroyed the weapons that had orders to be destroyed and had contacted or attempted to contact the owners of some of the weapons to be picked up. Sheriff Bentley stated that an affidavit was then prepared and presented to the judge who signed the order allowing the guns to be turned into a licensed dealer with the proceeds benefiting equipment for law enforcement. He noted that the weapons could only be turned into the dealer if declared surplus by the Board.
Sheriff Bentley stated that Southern Public Safety had agreed to give the Sheriffs Department $4,320 for the weapons and he noted that the funding would then be used to purchase bullet proof vests for officers. Sheriff Bentley noted that vests had been purchased from Southern Public Safety for many years.
Chairman Keever asked how many vests could be acquired with the $4,320. Sheriff Bentley replied that the proceeds would purchase 22 new vests for full-time officers excluding jail staff. He explained that once the new vests arrived, the old vests would be used by the part-time officers.
Commissioner Hammer felt that Sheriff Bentley should investigate a few more dealers to determine if the weapons would generate higher proceeds. Sheriff Bentley stated that he would be glad to check around with some other dealers. He explained that the reason he had looked at only Southern Public Safety was because he had dealt with them for many years and he felt that he would get a better deal with one company instead of several.
Commissioner Robertson asked if there was a determined timeframe that this business deal had to be completed. Sheriff Bentley replied that no timeframe had been determined.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to declare the designated weapons as surplus and allow the weapons to be turned over to a federal licensed dealer for no less than $4,320. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
BOARD APPOINTMENTS & REAPPOINTMENTS
Chairman Keever recommended that Kim Cowart be appointed to serve on the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council as a replacement for Dan Davis.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the appointment of Kim Cowart to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
BUDGET ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS #39 - #44
Budget Amendment #39 To increase the budget for expenditures greater than original budget estimates.
Budget Amendment #40 To increase the budget for expenditures greater than original budget estimates.
Budget Amendment #41 To transfer funds to line items that are over-budget due to merit bonuses paid in March 2004.
Budget Amendment #42
To transfer funds to line items that are over-budget due to Christmas bonuses paid
Budget Amendment #43 To transfer funds for salaries and benefits.
Budget Amendment #44
To budget for an increase in the
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve Budget Amendments #39 - #44. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
The following issues were discussed during Other Business:
Commissioner Harbinson stated that on
Commissioner Harbinson stated that Commissioner Bolick had began this process in 1999 when he presented a resolution to place the Ten Commandments by themselves in each school; however he noted that the Supreme Court had ruled decades earlier that placing the Ten Commandments alone in schools was unconstitutional, which resulted in several Board members voting against the resolution.
Harbinson stated that in August 2001, House Bill 195 was passed which allowed each pubic
school in N.C. to have a display of historical documents to include the Ten Commandments. Commissioner Harbinson explained that at the
Harbinson stated that he was recently contacted by Rev. Keith Childers, Chairman of the
Alexander Baptist Resolutions Committee, who requested information on what type of action
had taken place on this issue and why the Board of Education had not responded. Commissioner Harbinson informed the Board that he
provided information to Rev. Childers and he noted that on April 1, 2004 the Alexander
Baptist Association voted unanimously to request the Board of Education to do exactly what
had been asked of them by the Board of Commissioners on November 13, 2001. He noted that a letter had been mailed on
Commissioner Harbinson explained that there had been talk as to whether the current board was bound to the action taken by the previous board on November 13th and he requested that this Board simply go on record reaffirming and ratify the same action taken before with no other conditions added. Commissioner Harbinson stated that the Board of Education was not required to take action; however, he felt that the Board did deserve the courtesy of some type of response. He stated that he would understand if the Board of Education did not want to pursue the request on a legal standpoint but he noted that the Board of Commissioners had taken action and followed through with every single thing the Board of Education requested during the 5 years he had served on the Board. He stated that he was simply asking for the courtesy of a reply.
Commissioner Harbinson pointed out that he had placed a display of historical documents in the Alexander County Courthouse, at his own expense, to provide an example of what a display in the public schools could look like. The display included the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Ten Commandments. Commissioner Harbinson stated that the display cost $650 which would total approximately $6,500 if placed in each public school. Commissioner Harbinson mentioned, however, that he felt the citizens would contribute to the placement of these documents in ours schools if given the opportunity and he also felt that enough funds could be raised so that no County funding would be contributed.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion that the Board re-affirm and ratify the prior action of the previous Board of Commissioners at its November 13, 2001 meeting at which time the Board took action by a vote of 4-0 with Commissioners John Watts, Joel Harbinson, David Odom, and Darrell Robertson voting in the affirmative (with Commissioner William Hammer being absent) requesting that the Alexander County Board of Education give the County (a) the express permission to post in each of the 10 local schools in the county, 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 expense of the County, less private donations, if any, received specifically for this purpose; and (b) the exclusive authority to defend any and all lawsuits, if any, on the behalf of the Alexander County Board of Education filed as the result of this action under the direction of County Commissioner Joel Harbinson, who had agreed to represent either or both Boards in the defense of said lawsuits, free of charge. In consideration thereof, the County agrees to assume any and all liability incurred by the Alexander County Board of Education for any and all cost that it may incur as a result thereof. Chairman Keever seconded the motion.
Commissioner Keever asked if using private funds only for the displays would change the lawsuit situation. Commissioner Harbinson stated that no lawsuits were filed when he placed the display in the courthouse. However, he explained that in this case, some action would be taken by a governmental agency, which would make things a little different. He did note that if the displays were paid with only private funds and not government funds, it would certainly assist in the defense of the case. Commissioner Harbinson felt that private funding would be a factor the ACLU would not use against the County legally. Commissioner Harbinson also felt that Commissioner Bolick would be a good candidate to raise those funds.
Commissioner Robertson requested a Friendly Amendment to the motion made to include all documents listed in N.C.G.S. 115C-81(G)(3)b such as the Magna Carta, the Mecklenburge Declaration, the Justinian Code, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Preamble to the N.C. Constitution, the U.S. Constitution, the Mayflower Compact, the National Motto, the National Anthem, the writings of founding fathers and U.S. presidents, the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, and any acts of Congress. Commissioner Harbinson accepted the Friendly Amendment.
Commissioner Keever also requested a Friendly Amendment to the amended motion that the funding for the historical displays be made by private donations if the Board of Education voted to approve the placement of the documents since the ACLU would have less of a case if the displays were paid entirely with private donations instead of with County funds. Commissioner Harbinson accepted the Friendly Amendment.
Hammer pointed out that the Board had already approved this and he asked why the Baptist
Association came to Commissioner Harbinson instead of speaking directly with the Board of
Education. Commissioner Hammer felt that this
Board was simply caught in the middle since this request had already been made on
Commissioner Bolick discussed his presentation of a resolution in 1999 and he clarified that the resolution was not requesting that the Ten Commandments be placed in each school but that it was simply requesting the support of government officials to seek laws to be able to have the Ten Commandments placed in public schools. Commissioner Bolick stated that he was extremely disappointed after that meeting because the request was cast out and voted down. Commissioner Bolick stated that he was glad that a bill had been passed allowing historical documents to be placed in each school.
Commissioner Harbinson asked Commissioner Bolick if he would be willing to help raise private funds to pay for these displays if approved by the Board of Education. Commissioner Bolick stated that he would be glad to seek donations within the churches.
The Board voted unanimously to approve the re-affirmation and ratification of the prior action of the previous Board at its November 13, 2001 meeting to also include the amendments made to include other documents listed in N.C.G.S. 115C-81(G)(3)b as well as to raise private donations for the cost of the displays in each school if approved by the Board of Education.
C. Mr. French stated the County staff had received a dues request from the WPCOG for a Catawba River Open Space / Recreation Study and Air Quality. Mr. French felt that this issue needed to be discussed during the budget work session.
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion to approve the Minutes from the May 3, 2004 Meeting; however, the Board voted 4 in favor of the motion (Commissioners Bolick, Hammer, Keever, and Robertson) to approve the resolution and one against the motion (Commissioner Harbinson). The motion carried.
There being no further business for the regular meeting, Commissioner Bolick made a motion to adjourn at to reconvene in the work session. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
W. Norris Keever, Chairman Jamie M. Starnes, Clerk to the Board
May 24, 2004
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held a work session following the adjournment of the regular meeting.
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Keever called the work session to order at .
2004-2005 BUDGET OVERVIEW
Mr. French discussed the Water Fund,
which is broken up into 3 separate funds including the Bethlehem Water, Sugar Loaf Water,
and Highway 16 South Water. Mr. French
presented proposed budget for each water district including $679,000 for
Mr. French discussed the Solid Waste
Fund which included a proposed budget of $1,357,207. Mr.
French stated that there would be no changes in fees and he noted that the transfer
station debt would be paid off this year. He
also stated that he was happy to note that no funding would be taken from the General Fund
to support the Solid Waste Fund. Mr. French
mentioned that the
Mr. French stated that the proposed total General Fund was $24,299,562. There was only 1.3% to 1.4% new tax growth, meaning very little new revenue. Mr. French stated that he was recommending the tax rate remain at 46.5 cents based on 95% collections. He also noted that staff had calculated sales tax low for the budget based on the current year. He explained that sales tax was deposited monthly instead of quarterly like last year and he noted that the payments ran 2 months behind. Mr. French pointed out that this presented a problem when tracking the numbers because Junes payment wouldnt be received until September. Jennifer Herman, Finance Director, stated that staff had to simply guess at the total, which they did on the low side.
Commissioner Harbinson inquired about what percentage of the proposed budget equaled sales taxes and property taxes. Ms. Herman replied that sales tax represented 24% of the budget while 37% of the budget was property taxes.
Commissioner Robertson was concerned
that auditors would not be able to finalize the audit until October with Junes
payment not being received until September. Ms.
Herman explained that the auditors would have the Countys numbers up through
Mr. French discussed some projects
that the County would be undertaking if the proposed budget was approved including moving
forward with the consolidation of 911 Communications and the Sheriffs Department. Mr. French stated that 4 employees would be
transferred from the Sheriffs Department to 911 Communications during the
consolidation, which would become effective
Mr. French stated that he had budgeted in a full-time Economic Developer position to be filled by David Icenhour. He also pointed out that the budget included a new ambulance for EMS, a new van for the Transportation Department, 4 new vehicles for the Sheriffs Department, new debt payments for the DSS Addition totaling $119,000 and the Auditorium/Field House/ACHS Refinancing totaling $587,000, $4.5 million for Alexander County Schools, and a 2.5% cost of living increase for employees effective August 1, 2004.
Mr. French discussed some programs that had been recommended for less funding or no funding at all including the Pre-Trial Release Program. Mr. French stated that the budget for the Pre-Trial Release Program for 2003-2004 totaled $24,317 and he noted that the program had requested a budget of $30,149 for 2004-2005. Mr. French recommended $0 funding for this program because costs had increased since its conception. He explained that staff had researched what had been spent on food and medical in 2003 before the program began and 2004 after it began. Mr. French informed the Board that $113,740 was spent on an average of 29 inmates through the end of March 2003 and he pointed out that $128,150 was spent on an average of 32.5 inmates through the end of March 2004. Mr. French stated that the program was intended to greatly reduce the number of inmates as well as the cost for food and medical, which it did not.
Mr. French stated that WPCOG had
requested $2,794 for a Catawba River Open Space / Recreation Study as well as $8,847 for
air quality, which was not recommended. Others
that were not recommended for funding included Carolina Land & Lakes request for
$3,000 and Domestic Violences request for $3,000.
Mr. French stated that the
Mr. French discussed a computer ledger distributed to the Board that showed in detail the current and project revenues as well as proposed budget appropriations for all departments. Mr. French stated that the first 5 pages were the 2004-2005 projected revenues totaling $8,970,000 and he mentioned that there were 60 pages of General Fund expenses, most of which were at or below the 2003-2004 appropriation.
Mr. French reviewed a few of the General Fund expenses including the following:
Economic Development Budget
The proposed Economic Development budget totals $86,589. Mr. French stated that no funding had been proposed for the Chamber of Commerce since David Icenhour would be doing most of the Countys economic activities, industrial and business recruiting, etc.
The proposed Garage budget totals $164,512. Mr. French reiterated that most of the funding for this budget had come from each County departments Maintenance & Repair and Automotive Supplies line items. Mr. French stated that staff was in the process of getting all vehicle information computerized so that each service and repair could be tracked.
Pre-Trial Release Program
Mr. French stated again that no funding had been budget for this program due to increased costs of approximately $15,000 within the last year.
Commissioner Harbinson stated that he had been informed by the Sheriff that the County would save approximately $57,000 in the next year by getting inmate meals from the new prison. Commissioner Harbinson asked whey the Pre-Trial Release Program was being completely cut out if the County was expecting such a savings. Mr. French replied that the program had still cost the County more money instead of saving money as anticipated. Commissioner Robertson stated that program was expected to save $30,000 to $50,000 and he noted that those goals were far from met.
The proposed consolidated 911 Communications budget totals $293,204. Mr. French again noted that 4 Sheriffs Department employees were to be moved into this department due to the consolidation.
The proposed Library budget totals $400,227. Mr. French stated that this budget appropriation was the same amount appropriated this current budget year.
Commissioner Harbinson pointed out that the 2003-2004 funding for the Library showed in the ledger was $402,227. Ms. Herman stated that the Library had received 2 $1,000 grants from Wal-Mart which would account for the extra $2,000.
Board of Education
The proposed appropriation for the Alexander County School System / Board of Education totals $4.5 million.
Due to Other Funds
Mr. French explained that this budget totaled $3,341,228 and included items such as the debt payments for the DSS addition, Auditorium/Field House/ACHS refinancing, revaluation, etc.
Mr. French stated
that items included in this budget was funding for the
Mr. French stated that items included in this budget were funding for the cost of living increase for County employees, funding for the new Sheriffs Department vehicles, adjustments on property and liability insurance, workers compensation insurance, etc.
The proposed Solid Waste budget totals $1,357,207. Mr. French stated that the proposed budget was less than the current year.
Mr. French stated that a public
hearing would be held on
Mr. French took this opportunity to thank Ms. Herman and the Finance staff for all of their hard work during the preparation of the proposed budget. Mr. French also thanked Judy Feimster, Administrative Assistant, for the preparation of the budget books. Mr. French stated that this was a flat, balanced budget that would accomplish some things and follow through with some projects.
Commissioner Harbinson stated that he needed to leave the meeting. However, he thanked Mr. French and Ms. Herman for a great job on the budget preparation. At this time, Commissioner Harbinson was excused from the meeting. The time was .
Mr. French briefly discussed the
lease building in
Commissioner Bolick felt that the Board needed to schedule a time to allow citizens to visit the building and tell the Board what they wanted to see in that building. Chairman Keever suggested staff develop some initial plans to show the public and then have an open forum at the building. Commissioner Hammer suggested holding a Commissioners Meeting there. Mr. French suggesting waiting until August or September to begin intensive plans for the building.
Commissioner Hammer stated that he was pleased that no funding would be taken from the General Fund for the Solid Waste budget this year. Commissioner Hammer also discussed the $1 gate fee for the convenience sites that was approved during the last budget process and he asked what revenue had been collected from it. Mr. French replied that the $1 gate fee had brought in approximately $144,000 which had tremendously helped improve the Solid Waste fund.
Commissioner Robertson pointed out that a clause was added in as part of the budget ordinance for the 2003-2004 year that all invoices were to be turned into Finance in a timely manner. He requested that the same clause be included in the 2004-2005 budget. Mr. French noted that it would stay in place.
Commissioner Robertson conveyed his
appreciation to Mr. French and Ms. Herman for the job they have done on the budget as well
as the department heads who worked hard to put the budget requests together. Commissioner Robertson stated that
Chairman Keever also conveyed his appreciation for the hard work done on the budget proposal.
CLOSED SESSION N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(1, 5, & 6) TO PREVENT DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION, CONTRACTUAL, & PERSONNEL
Commissioner Bolick made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 8:07 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.
There being no further business, Commissioner Robertson made a motion to adjourn at. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
W. Norris Keever, Chairman Jamie M. Starnes, Clerk to the Board