STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA                                       BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

COUNTY OF HENDERSON                                               OCTOBER 21, 1999


The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special-called meeting on Thursday, October 21, 1999 at 4:00 PM in the Commissioners Meeting Room, the County Office Building, 100 North King Street, Hendersonville, NC.  The purpose of the meeting was a joint meeting with the Department of Public Health and the Department of Social Services to discuss facilities.


Those present were: Chairman Grady Hawkins, Vice-Chairman Bill Moyer, Commissioner Renee Kumor, Commissioner Marilyn Gordon, Commissioner Don Ward and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.


Staff present were: County Manager David E. Nicholson, Interim County Attorney Angela S. Beeker, Finance Director Carey McLelland, Budget Analyst Selena Coffey, and Facilities Project Coordinator, Bill Blalock.  Tom Bridges, Director of Department of Public Health and Liston B. Smith, Director of Department of Social Services were also present.  Peggy Rutledge, Administrative Staff of Department of Social Services and Grace Poli of the DSS Board were also present.



Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance.  Chairman Hawkins reminded the Commissioners that previous discussions had indicated that the Board wished to sell some of the County buildings and consolidate some of the County agencies into other buildings in an effort to cut the cost of rent/lease and maintenance of the facilities.  Today=s meeting was to discuss the facility and future space needs for the Department of Social Services and the Department of Public Health. 


Department of Social Services Facility and Space Needs

DSS Director Liston Smith discussed with the Commissioners some long-term growth projections.  He presented to the Commissioners a handout that showed the growth in the Medicaid program for the last ten years in Henderson County.  From 1988 to 1998, the number of families for the basic income assistance program had risen from 2,000 to 7,000.  DSS staff had doubled in size to accommodate the increased demand in these services. Mr. Smith noted that with an increase in staff came a need for increased space. 


Mr. Smith commented that having DSS in the same facility with the Health Department would provide an excellent opportunity to launch programs that would serve both the social service needs and healthcare needs of clients in a one-stop-shop approach. 


Peggy Rutledge of DSS Administrative support informed the Commissioners of space needs to accommodate the DSS staff.  Ms. Rutledge noted a major issue was appropriate office space of 95 to 120 square feet in accordance with the State standards.  State standard for appropriate conference room would be 2500 square feet.  A need for several smaller conference rooms was also requested to accommodate training, storage and supplies, filing, client visitations, etc.

Mr. Smith noted that for Social Services to get reimbursed in Federal and State funds the minimal State standards for office space must be met. He noted that a minimum of 121 parking spaces were needed. 



Tom Bridges, Director of Department of Public Health, echoed the sentiments of Mr. Smith in terms of the opportunity to think more creatively in ways to better serve the public, the customers.   He noted although there was a space crunch at the Health Department, the greatest  deficiency for the Health Department was the data management system.  Mr. Bridges commented that the Health Department was the most complex facility due to the varied services rendered by that agency.


Jon Laughter, a Board of Health member, expressed his concern to the Commissioners about the space needs for the Health Department in the proposed new facility. He also suggested the Commissioners consider locating a Human Services complex near I-26 to accommodate easier access for the customers and to promote community relations. Mr. Laughter noted that parking is a big issue for the Health Department.



County Manager David Nicholson noted a need for a one-stop-shop approach for land development, i.e. building permits and inspections, septic/well permits, etc.  To accommodate that approach, Mr. Nicholson encouraged the Board to consider locating Environmental Health, Planning and Zoning, Inspections, Fire Marshal, and Utilities under one roof in the current Health Department building. The facility would also need the capability to accommodate parking for very large vehicles, i.e., large utility trucks, dump trucks, backhoes, etc.  Mr. Nicholson proposed that the Sheriff=s Department and the Finance Department would be moved to the current County Offices Building.  The Board had stated it wanted to look for a long term discussion with Trend Mental Health about the possibility of being co-located on the site.  Mr. Nicholson also discussed with the Commissioners technology needs, telecommunications, storage and parking. 


Mr. Nicholson=s proposal would free up the Land Development Building, the Health Department Building, the Nuckolls Building as well as the Historic Courthouse Annex. 



After considerable discussion among the Commissioners, it was the consensus of the Board to have Mr. Smith and Mr. Bridges to look at how they could consolidate their services and spaces, what the effect would be, how long it would take to study that and to bring that input back to the Board.








Chairman Hawkins adjourned the meeting at 5:10 PM.













Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board