STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON
FEBRUARY 17, 1999
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a regularly scheduled meeting at 9:00 a.m. in the Commissioners' Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building.
Those present were: Chairman Grady Hawkins, Vice-Chair Bill Moyer, Commissioner Renee Kumor, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Marilyn Gordon, County Manager David E. Nicholson, Assistant County Manager Angela S. Beeker, County Attorney Don H. Elkins, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.
Also present were: Staff Attorney Jennifer O. Jackson, Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson, Planning Director Matt Matteson, Finance Director J. Carey McLelland, and County Engineer Gary Tweed.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commissioner Kumor led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
David Nicholson gave the invocation.
Chairman Hawkins informed those present thatAInformal Public Comments@ was scheduled for 11 a.m.
DISCUSSION/ADJUSTMENT OF AGENDA
Commissioner Moyer added one item asAE@ under Discussion Items - Blue Ridge Community College Civic Center.
The Clerk pulled one set of minutes from the CONSENT AGENDA, the set dated February 8, 1999.
David Nicholson pulledAC@ from Discussion Items - Fire Protection Districts.
It was the consensus of the Board to approve the revisions to the agenda.
Commissioner Kumor made the motion to approve the consent agenda as amended. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
The CONSENT AGENDA consisted of the following:
Minutes were presented for the Board=s review and approval of the following special called meetings: January 18, 1999, January 25, 1999, and February 3, 1999.
Tax Collector=s Report
Terry F. Lyda, Henderson County Tax Collector, had provided the collection report dated February 9, 1999 stating the collection efforts and a breakdown of the progress since the last report along with the steps taken to collect all unpaid property taxes.
Notification of Vacancies
The Board was notified of one vacancy on the Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee, due to resignation. This will appear on the next agenda underANominations@.
Monthly Capital Improvement Project Reports
The January monthly reports concerning the County=s capital projects were presented for the Board=s information only.
Chairman Hawkins stated that there was quite a thick packet of information for review under Nominations. He suggested that the Clerk purge the appointment applications by date and suggested that a statement be added to the top of the applications indicating that the applications will be purged (x) years from the date of the application. He then asked that the Clerk verify the remaining applications that we have, as to whether the applicant is still interested in that particular position.
Following discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to keep applications three years from the application date. Mrs. Corn was instructed to keep applications dated 1996 and forward. Commissioner Kumor asked if the application process could be added to the County Web Site. A residency verification was also suggested for the applications. Commissioner Gordon requested that once a person is appointed to a Board that their application be pulled from the file. There was a suggestion too that a separate book be compiled (one for each Commissioner) of Boards and Committees listing vacancies and any applicants. There was some discussion to whether to send letters to those applicants who are purged from the file so that they could fill out a new appointment application if they are still interested or whether to call all the applicants who are remaining after the purge.
Chairman Hawkins informed the Board of the following vacancies and opened the floor to nominations:
1. Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee - 6 vac.
There were no nominations at this time. The Board was awaiting a recommendation from the Chairman of the Advisory Committee. This was rolled to the next meeting.
2. Henderson County Zoning Board of Adjustment - 2 vac.
There are two alternate vacancies, one must be filled from an applicant in the Lake Summit area and one from the Bearwallow area.
Commissioner Gordon nominated Jim Miller to fill the Lake Summit vacancy and James P. Clouse to fill the Bearwallow vacancy with the stipulation that these be confirmed by Matt Matteson before appointment letters are made. A vote will be taken at the next meeting.
3. Henderson County Planning Board - 2 vac.
Commissioner Moyer nominated Tedd Pearce to fill the unexpired term that expires 05/01/99 plus an additional three year term.
Commissioner Ward nominated Gene Stuart Stepp to fill the unexpired term that expires 05/01/00.
Commissioner Gordon nominated Rebecca Nesbitt to fill the unexpired term that expires 05/01/00.
A vote will be taken at the next meeting.
4. Henderson County Agriculture Advisory Board - 2 vac.
Chairman Hawkins nominated Theron Maybin for reappointment. Commissioner Kumor made the motion to suspend the rules and appoint Mr. Maybin. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Hawkins asked the Clerk to contact Billy Johnston to see if he would be willing to serve another term, if nominated.
5. Henderson County Board of Health - 3 vac.
One of these vacancies if for a public member, one must be filled by an Optometrist and one by an RN.
Ms. Karylee Clark had indicated her willingness to serve another term, if nominated.
Commissioner Kumor requested that the Chairman contact Vollie Good who had served on the Board of Health as the Commissioner representative and ask if he would be interested in serving on the Board as a public member. It was the consensus of the Board for the Chairman to do so.
Commissioner Gordon stated that Bonnie Stewart is interested in serving in the RN slot as she is a retired RN. She has an application in for the Planning Board.
6. Special Board of Equalization and Review - 2 vac.
Commissioner Ward nominated Van Estes. Commissioner Gordon nominated William G. Ferrell. Chairman Hawkins informed the Board that both Marvin Smith and Charles Porter were willing to serve another term. Commissioner Kumor made the motion to suspend the rules and appoint Mr. Ferrell and Mr. Estes.
Chairman Hawkins stated that we are giving up a lot of experience on that Board. Commissioner Kumor withdrew her motion. The Board requested information regarding appointment dates, attendance records, etc. for Mr. Smith and Mr. Porter. There was discussion that if new appointments are made that they might be made as alternates and move two of the current alternates up to regular positions.
David Nicholson reminded the Board that the Board of E & R will be required to put a lot of time in this spring/summer.
It was the consensus of the Board for Commissioner Ward to investigate and bring the information back to the Board at the next meeting.
7. Mountain Valleys Resource, Conservation, and Development Program - 1 vac.
Mr. Heffner has indicated that he does not wish to serve another term. There was a question of whether the Board of Commissioners or the Soil & Water Conservation District appoints the person in the vacant slot. Commissioner Ward said he would investigate and bring that information back to the Board. There was a suggestion that the Board might wish to move Mr. Brannon from his alternate position up to Mr. Heffner=s vacant slot.
8. Hendersonville City Planning Board - 2 vac.
Commissioner Gordon nominated Nick Pryor and Hall Waddell for reappointment. Commissioner Kumor made the motion to suspend the rules and reappoint both gentlemen. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
9. Recreation Advisory Board - 3 vac.
Commissioner Kumor nominated Terry Maybin. Commissioner Moyer nominated Ralph King. Commissioner Ward nominated John Shepherd. Commissioner Kumor nominated David Laidlaw. A vote will be taken at the next meeting.
10. Community Child Protection Team Board - 1 vac.
Commissioner Gordon nominated Fred S. Nordstrom. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to suspend the rules and appoint Mr. Nordstrom. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Juvenile Crime Prevention Council
At earlier direction of the Board, David Nicholson had contacted a number of people regarding possible appointees to this Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and he made several recommendations.
Commissioner Kumor made the motion that the Board appoint the following:
John Moss - Chief of Police
Ben Bentley - Substance Abuse Professional
Scott Shelton - Juvenile Defense Attorney
Jim Rasmussen - United Way
Tim Hopkin - Parks and Recreation
Commissioner Ward nominated:
Ellen Moss - Public
All voted in favor and the motion carried.
MINERAL & LAPIDARY MUSEUM REPORT
Larry Hauser, President of the Mineral & Lapidary Museum of Henderson County, Inc. made a presentation to the Board on their first year of operation. The museum is located in the lower level of the County=s building at Fourth and Main. They have 1,100 square feet of museum space plus work rooms. They are entirely staffed by volunteers.
Before opening, their goal was to average 100 people a week for the first year or 5,200 for the year. For their first full year, through November 5, 1998, their total attendance was 14,932. For calendar year 1998, it was 15,376 or nearly three times their goal! During the four days of the Apple Festival, when they had a Moon Rock on display, they counted 5,113 visitors.
Mr. Hauser stated that since their rental is $1 a year, with utilities paid, they do not need additional financial support from the County and are still able to maintain their free admission policy. He did explain two possible clouds to their viability. One is an increase in their overhead costs by having to pay for rent or utilities, and the other, concerns the discussions the Board has been having regarding the utilization of county owned buildings. He stated that he understood that they may be asked to go to the historic courthouse. Mr. Hauser pointed out that it would not be inexpensive to rebuild the museum in a different location. He also stated that the historic courthouse is out of the tourist shopping area. Even with free rent and utilities there, they might lose enough traffic to make their operation unsustainable without additional financial help. This would not be the case at 400 North Main Street.
Commissioner Gordon congratulated Mr. Hauser on their success that they have had. She emphasized that no discussion would get very far without involvement from all the affected parties.
AUDIT REPORT - Pardee Hospital
Bratton Fennell, Auditor for Pardee Hospital, presented a short summary to the Board of Commissioners on Pardee Hospital. He works with PrincewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Their audit is an unqualified opinion which means it is a clean audit opinion.
The financial results of the Hospital were impressive this year. Revenues went from about $6.1 million in the prior year to about $72.8 million in the current year. With a 6.8% increase in revenues, operating income actually increased 42% from $3.9 million in the prior year to $5.5 million in the current year. Excess revenues over expenses also increased from $5.6 million in the prior year to $7.2 million in the current year. Cash flow from operating activities were also very good going from $7.7 million in the prior year to $10.5 million in the current year which is an increase of 37%. The Hospital has been able to operate without incurring any debt. The Hospital has also been absorbing any indigent patients. They also have continued to modernize at a rapid rate.
John Hester, of Pardee Hospital, spoke briefly about some of the financial aspects of Pardee Hospital.
TAX COLLECTION QUESTIONS
Terry Lyda, Henderson County Tax Collector, informed the Board that the Stars System is up and running. Darlene Burgess, Paralegal for the Tax Collector=s Office, answered some questions regarding the Stars System. STARS stands for State Title and Registration System. They can pull up the DMV records from Raleigh on the InterNet.
Mr. Lyda addressed three issues:
1. Setting an earlier date for advertisement of unpaid taxes,
2. The breakdown of unpaid tax bills by individuals and
3. The schedule of the In Rem Foreclosure process.
Mr. Lyda read a prepared letter addressed to the Board of Commissioners, a copy of which is attached as part of these minutes.
1. The Tax Collector=s Office is mid-stream with this year=s process and the Board can make a suggestion to advertise earlier in next year=s process.
2. A list was presented of the unpaid tax bills by individuals and businesses.
3. Darlene Burgess reviewed the In Rem Foreclosure process briefly and requested a workshop with the Board of Commissioners to further review the process as well as any others the Board wishes to review.
There was some discussion then regarding Cranston Print Works. Darlene informed the Board that Cranston has applied for an extension to list their personal property, it was approved, so they have through April 15 to list. She read a letter addressed to Chairman Hawkins, dated February 9, 1999. A copy of that letter is attached as a part of these minutes.
A number of questions were asked that neither Terry nor Darlene could answer, that they referred to Robert Baird. It was the consensus of the Board to hold a work session in the future regarding these issues.
PROPERTY TAX RECONCILIATION
The Board of Commissioners had requested that staff provide them with an update on the property tax reconciliation issue. Staff has been working with both a software development firm and an audit firm to resolve this issue.
Mike Peters of Good Pickin= Software has been hired to begin the development of a report that will provide a clear picture of our taxes receivable. Mr. Peters has over twenty years of experience with our tax software.
Staff has also met with the accounting firm of Crisp Hughes Evans LLP to develop a procedural audit of the tax system.
Carey McLelland introduced Brian Broom, an audit manager with Crisp Hughes Evans, who reviewed a formalized proposal. Mr. Broom stated that it was a broad estimate to give the Board an idea of what his firm will do. If retained, they will issue a formal engagement letter. Henderson County calls this process a Property Tax Audit and his firm calls it Agreed Upon Procedures. In the letter they will itemize the specific procedures that they will perform.
Commissioner Moyer made the motion to proceed with this on the basis of the letter and the information received.
The summary of significant issues to be addressed is a follow-up from the audit that we just concluded that had the discrepancy of reporting between the Tax Assessor, the Tax Collector, and our General Fund Balance of some $435,000 that we weren=t quite sure of how we ended up with it in the General Fund. Out of $30,000,000 we were off $18.11 in cash. It is felt that it is something in the reporting system.
Following discussion, a vote was taken on the motion which passed unanimously. Commissioner Kumor requested that any correspondence from the audit form be copied to all Commissioners.
INFORMAL PUBLIC COMMENTS
There were none.
REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL - Annual Audit
Carey McLelland informed the Board that Henderson County=s current contract for the annual financial and compliance audit services has expired. Mr. McLelland has prepared a Request for Proposal for Audit Services. Staff requested approval from the Board to solicit proposals from qualified firms for the annual audit.
It has been four years since we last solicited auditors.
Following discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to proceed with the request to solicit proposals.
FINANCIAL CASH MANAGEMENT POLICIES
At the Board=s Retreat on January 29, 1999, the Finance Director requested the need to implement county policies that would address the issues of returned (non-sufficient funds) checks and charging a finance charge on charge customer accounts that have a delinquent status.
The Board expressed interest in addressing these issues and asked staff to present these policies at a future meeting. Staff surveyed other local governmental units for information that should be included in these policies.
Carey McLelland presented draft policies on these issues for the Board=s review and approval.
The draft policies were reviewed. Following discussion, Commissioner Moyer made the motion to accept the proposed draft policies with a stipulation for Carey to get back to the Board with standards on returned checks. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Hawkins reminded the Commissioners that the NACo Conference is scheduled for February 27 through March 2 in Washington, D.C. Commissioner Ward is planning to attend and will return on Tuesday, March 2; therefore, he will miss the March 1 Commissioner= meeting.
After some discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to add items to the scheduled special called meeting of February 25 to include the Chamber of Commerce/Agriculture issue.
Commissioner Kumor reminded the Commissioners of the Land Of Sky Dinner planned for February 24. Commissioners Kumor and Gordon are planning to attend at Highland Lake Conference Center.
There was some discussion regarding a need to meet with the Town of Fletcher and MSD and possibly Buncombe County regarding sewer issues. It was the consensus of the Board for the County Manager to follow up with Fletcher to see if they can meet with
our Board March 8 at 5:30 p.m. This would be Fletcher=s regularly scheduled meeting.
It was also decided to hold a work session on the subdivision ordinance on March 15 at 3:00 p.m.
March 25 was set for a pre-budget meeting with Parks/Recreation Department and the Library at 3:00 p.m.
The Board of Commissioners requested input from the Solid Waste Advisory Committee on the closing of the Maple Street Recycling Center and Land of Sky Regional Council=s proposed RFP on recycling.
We have received written notification on February 3, 1999 from GDS, Inc. of their intention to terminate their contract with Henderson County to operate the Material Recovery Facility (MRF). The contract requires a six month cancellation notification. On February 9, 1999, we received a follow up letter from GDS, Inc. offering to continue to operate the MRF locally for a support fee. Gary Tweed prepared a report on Henderson County=s recycling alternatives and discussed those with the Board, both short term and long term.
On January 26, 1999, the SWAC met, discussed the issue and made the following motion:
MOTION: It is recommended that the Maple Street Recycling Center be closed and that the County look for another property to be volunteered for the relocation of the Maple Street Recycling Center.
The SWAC felt the County should relocate the Center if a new site can be found under similar arrangements as the current site, where its use was volunteered by the property owner. Providing staff for the operation of the center should also be on voluntary basis, if possible.
Land of Sky Regional Council of Governments is looking at going out for an RFP for a regional material recovery operation. Mr. Tweed asked the Board=s permission for him to talk with the folks at Land of Sky. We are still bound by our contract that we have currently for the next six months.
In the meantime, we are looking at franchising waste haulers in the county. Gary Tweed showed the Board a map of 12 districts identified by the Waste Haulers. The areas marked by green on the map will have curb-side blue bag service (for recyclables). The green areas will be controlled by GDS. The green areas represent about half the county.
Mr. Tweed informed the Board of this information that required no action at this time. He is still negotiating and researching these issues. If we give GDS a six month out notice, Gary will go out to bids to sell our equipment about July (2-3 items).
It was the consensus of the Board to give Gary Tweed the latitude and some flexibility to work through these recycling issues and explore how to get the most revenue for our product. It was also their consensus to allow Gary Tweed to communicate his comments to Land Of Sky.
Public information presentations were discussed briefly regarding recycling.
YEAR 2000 COMPLIANCE
Kelly Pounder reminded the Board that Henderson County staff has been reviewing Y2K compliance of our information systems for the past several months. In the summer of 1998, Kelly began the development of a Strategic Information Technology Plan for Henderson County. A Technology Steering Committee was established to perform an assessment of the technology needs in each of the County=s departments and make recommendations on future technology implementation. This plan will be provided to the Board of Commissioners later this spring.
In August of 1998, the County Manager also charged this committee with the responsibility of determining Henderson County=s compliance with Y2K. The Committee has now delivered a detailed analysis of Henderson County=s Y2K compliance. Their detailed analysis of each individual item of hardware and software was based on Y2K compliance information provided by the vendors. This report has been broken into three major categories. These categories are:
Year 2000 Compliant
Compliant with Minor Issues
The items identified as Not Compliant are being recommended for either upgrades or replacement. This report details $217,228 in associated costs for these items.
The Board approved $150,000 in the current fiscal year budget for upgrades to the County=s information systems. The Budget Ordinance specifies that these funds can only be used upon approval of the Board.
Staff requested that the Board approve this Y2K effort and release the funds. The balance of these funds will be requested in the Fiscal Year 1999-2000 Budget to complete our effort to become Year 2000 compliant.
It was Board consensus for staff to proceed with this process and to release the funds on an on going basis. The Board would like to receive a report back as to where the shortfall will be.
Commissioner Kumor asked about the proposed Y2K celebration and wanted to know where that stands. Mr. Nicholson explained that the City Managers and he have been meeting and discussing a community celebration for December 31, 1999/January 1, 2000. The Recreation Department and Travel & Tourism have also been included in plans. As plans progress the Board will be kept up to date.
PROPOSED NOISE ORDINANCE
On February 11, 1999, the Board of Commissioners held a work session as a follow-up to the Board=s recent retreat. At the work session, the Commissioners asked that the draft noise ordinance be placed back on the Board=s agenda for today.
Staff understood that the Board may be giving some guidance with regard to the draft noise ordinance, setting some parameters and offering some suggestions for review in preparation for the Board=s work session on the noise ordinance that has been scheduled for February 25 at 3:00 p.m.
Commissioners Gordon and Moyer will incorporate comments from all the Commissioners and will come back to the Board with a suggested draft for February 25.
BLUE RIDGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Chairman Hawkins has spoken with Dr. David Sink regarding the difference in operating costs versus utility costs for the expanded auditorium at Blue Ridge Community College. Dr. Sink will put his thoughts into a letter and forward the same to the Board of Commissioners.
Following much discussion, it was the consensus of the Board for the County Manager to contact Dr. Sink and see if he can address the Board of Commissioners concerning this issue at the Board=s special called meeting scheduled for February 22.
Commissioner Kumor made the motion for the Board to go into Closed Session as allowed pursuant to NCGS 143-318.11 for the following reasons:
1. (a)(1) To prevent disclosure of information that is privileged or confidential pursuant to the law of this State or of the United States, nor not considered a public record within the meaning of Chapter 132 of the General Statutes as allowed by and pursuant to NCGS 131E-97.3.
2. (a)(1) To prevent disclosure of information that is privileged or confidential pursuant to the law of this State or of the United States, or not considered a public record within the meaning of Chapter 132 of the General Statutes as allowed by and pursuant to NCGS 143-318.10(e) and Article II of Chapter 11 of the Henderson County Code.
3. (a)(3) To consult with an attorney employed or retained by the public body in order to preserve the attorney-client privilege between the attorney and the public body, which privilege is hereby acknowledged and to consult with an attorney employed or retained by the public body in order to consider and give instructions to the attorney with respect to the following claim:
Multimedia Publishers of North Carolina, Inc. d/b/a Asheville
Citizens Times Publishing Company v. Henderson County and the
Henderson County Board of Commissioners; Hend. Co. 98-CVS- 1630.
All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Commissioner Moyer made the motion for the Board to go out of Closed Session. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
ACTION FOLLOWING CLOSED SESSION
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the April 6 and April 15, 1998 Closed Session minutes.
Commissioner Moyer asked to be excused from voting on these minutes as he was not a Commissioner at the time.
Commissioner Gordon asked to also be excused from voting on these minutes for the same reason.
Chairman Hawkins= motion to approve the minutes was withdrawn. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to require Commissioners Moyer and Gordon to vote on the minutes. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Commissioner Kumor made the motion to approve Closed Session minutes for April 6, 1998, April 15, 1998 and November 12, 1998.
A vote was taken and the motion carried.
Both Commissioner Moyer and Commissioner Gordon asked that the record show that they had asked to be excused from voting and the Board voted to not excuse them from voting.
Chairman Hawkins stated that the Board would not consider release of the November 12, 1998 minutes until the lawsuit has been resolved. Don Elkins suggested that the language be that the release of the information not be considered until the lawsuit has been resolved.
Commissioner Kumor made the motion regarding the release of the November 12, 1998 minutes - that issue will not be considered until the pending lawsuit with Multimedia has been fully resolved. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Commissioner Kumor made the motion for the Board to adjourn at 1:17 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk Grady Hawkins, Chairman