STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON JANUARY 4, 2000
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 4, 2000 in the Commissioners= Meeting Room of the Henderson County Office Building.
Those present were: Chairman Grady Hawkins, Commissioner Renee Kumor, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Marilyn Gordon, County Manager David E. Nicholson, Assistant County Manager/Interim County Attorney Angela S. Beeker, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.
Also present were: Finance Director J. Carey McLelland and Planning Director Karen C. Smith, and Public Information Officer Chris Coulson.
Absent were: Vice-Chairman Bill Moyer, Staff Attorney Jennifer O. Jackson, and County Engineer Gary Tweed.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commissioner Gordon led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
David Nicholson gave the invocation.
Chairman Hawkins explained that Commissioner Moyer would not be at the meeting this evening. He was in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl with his son who was playing in the Hendersonville High School Band at the Sugar Bowl half-time ceremonies.
DISCUSSION/ADJUSTMENT OF AGENDA
Chairman Hawkins deleted one item, #1 under Notification of Vacancies. That position is appointed by the Social Services Board, not the Board of Commissioners.
Chairman Hawkins added one item under Update on Pending Issues as #2 - Discussion on Asheville Airport Racetrack.
Commissioner Ward added item AE@ under Staff Reports - Taping our workshop sessions in between regular Commission meetings.
Addition to the Record
Chairman Hawkins asked the Clerk to distribute copies of a prepared statement that had been presented to her just prior to the meeting to be included as part of the proceedings. He gave the Commissioners time to read the comment from Mr. Harold Engleman. They were as follows:
AMy name is Harold Engelman and I am the Vice-President and a Director of the Carriage Park Homeowners Association. Our Association respectfully requests that the Board of Commissioners give no further approvals to Carriage Park Development Corp. until they bring themselves in full compliance with the terms and conditions of Special Use Permit 93-13 by immediately conveying open spaces and common areas in previously approved development parcels. We further ask that our request be made a part of your official record. If my verbal statement will not be a part of the record, please tell me so that I can follow up with a letter to the Board. Thank you for your consideration.@
After the Board had time to read the above statement, Commissioner Ward requested that item AE@ be pulled from the Consent Agenda - ARequest for Improvement Guarantee for Off-Site Improvements for Carriage Park, Section 20 (Carriage Meadows).
It was the consensus of the Board to approve the changes to the agenda.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the Consent Agenda with the omission of item AE@. He stated that item would be on the next agenda. All voted in favor and the motion carried. The CONSENT AGENDA included the following:
Henderson County Financial Report - November 1999
The Financial Report for November was presented for the Board=s review.
Henderson County Public Schools Financial Report - November 1999
The Financial Report for November was presented for the Board=s review.
Tax Refunds (8)
A list of 8 tax refund requests was presented for the Board=s review and approval by the County Assessor.
Tax Releases (27)
A list of 27 tax release requests was presented for the Board=s review and approval by the County Assessor.
Extension of Improvement Guarantee for High Vista Falls, Phase III
As allowed by the former Land Development Ordinance (Chapter 170 of the Henderson County Code), the Board of Commissioners, on April 5, 1999, approved the posting of an Irrevocable Letter of Credit in the amount of no less than $249,839.00 as an improvement guarantee for High Vista Falls, Phase III. The Agreement related to the improvement guarantee, executed April 7, 1999, required that the water, sewer, road and drainage improvements be completed by January 18, 2000. In May of 1999, the County released a portion of the Irrevocable Letter of Credit in the amount of $67,876.25. An amended Letter of Credit was submitted to the County in the amount of $182,124.75.
A letter was reviewed from Robert J. Duffy, Jr., on behalf of Carolina Development Resources (and K&M Development Resources, Inc., d/b/a Development Associates, LLC), requesting that the Board of Commissioners extend the completion date for improvements to January 18, 2001. Due to refinancing, the developer had to stop work on the improvements for a period of time and has recently begun working on them again. The developer is willing to post an amended Letter of Credit (with a new expiation date) in the amount of $182,124.75 to cover the cost estimate of the remaining improvements plus 25% as required by the Land Development Ordinance.
Staff stated that it would be appropriate for the Board to take action at this meeting on the request for an extension. If the Board wishes to grant such an extension, Staff had prepared a draft Agreement for the Board=s consideration. The County Attorney will review the amended Letter of Credit, once submitted, and the Agreement before certifying them as to form.
In the event that the Board declines to grant the requested extension, Staff would be seeking direction from the Board on whether Staff should pursue any remedies under the Letter of Credit should the Developer fail to complete the improvements by January 18, 2000.
Request for Improvement Guarantee for White=s Lake Subdivision
An application and supporting documentation had been received from Smith & Lowe Development, Inc., for an Improvement Guarantee for White=s Lake Subdivision. Pursuant to Section 170-38 of the Henderson County Code, Smith & Lowe Development, Inc. proposes to post with Henderson County an Irrevocable Letter of Credit to guarantee completion of road improvements in White=s Lake. A Letter of Credit will be provided in the amount of $93,603.75 which is 125% of the cost of the improvements. The anticipated completion date for the improvements is June 1, 2000. A draft Performance Guarantee Agreement was presented for the Board=s review.
The Henderson County Planning Board approved a revised Master Plan and a revised Development Plan for White=s Lake subject to several conditions on November 30, 1999, including approval of the variances that were considered by the Board of Commissioners on December 13, 1999. Approval of the Improvement Guarantee will allow Planning Staff to approve the Final Plat for the subdivision prior to completion of the improvements.
Planning Staff has reviewed the improvement guarantee application and recommends approval. Board action to approve the Improvement Guarantee subject to the Staff Attorney or County Attorney reviewing the Letter of Credit, once submitted, would be appropriate.
Smith-Lowe Development Co. Variance - Draft Order
At the Commissioners meeting on December 15, 1999, the Board considered the Application for Variance from Section 170-21 of the Henderson County Subdivision Ordinance submitted by Smith-Lowe Development Company, the developer of a 41 acre subdivision to be known as AWhite=s Lake Subdivision@ off Macedonia Road in Henderson County.
The Board conducted a Quasi-Judicial Proceeding to consider the requested variance. After hearing all of the testimony the Board discussed the matter and voted to grant the variance.
The Board had directed Staff to prepare proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law consistent with the information presented and with the Board=s discussion and vote to grant the variance.
Staff presented the proposed order for the Board=s review and consideration and stated that it would be appropriate for the Board to adopt the Order as presented or as the Board wished to revise it.
Notification of Vacancies
1. Social Services Board - 1 vac. (Chairman Hawkins had deleted this item from the agenda, above)
2. Land-of-Sky Regional Council - 1 vac. (Economic representative from each county).
Chairman Hawkins suggested that he write the Economic Development folks for some input or suggestions. Mr. Nicholson stated that he had spoken to Bob Williford of the Chamber of Commerce today and they will send Chairman Hawkins a letter with their recommendation.
Chairman Hawkins reminded the Board that they had received a letter of resignation from Mr. Frank Blazey who served for many years on the Social Services Board. Chairman Hawkins suggested that the Board send a letter of thanks to Mr. Blazey. He has been active for a long time in the Department of Social Services and has acted as Chairman of their Board. Chairman Hawkins stated that Mr. Blazey had made a significant contribution to the county via his efforts with DSS.
Commissioner Kumor stated that the Social Services Board has asked Commissioner Moyer to sit on the DSS Board because they felt they needed to improve the communication with the Board of Commissioners.
Chairman Hawkins reminded the Board of the following vacancies and opened the floor to nominations:
1. Hendersonville City Zoning Board of Adjustment - 1 vac. (alternate)
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
2. Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee - 5 vac.
Chairman Hawkins nominated James Edwards. A vote will be taken at the next meeting.
3. Transportation Advisory Committee - new committee
Chairman Hawkins stated that he had received a letter from the new Mayor of Flat Rock but had not received their nominee yet. The Transportation Advisory Committee will be composed of a total of 15 people. He made an appeal for interested persons to serve on this committee.
There was some discussion that the Board may want to increase the number of persons from 15 so that they could cover all the areas of interest and the people interested in serving on this committee.
The Nominees from the last meeting for this committee were:
Paul Stepp Commissioner Kumor
Jack Lynch Commissioner Ward
Chip Gould Commissioner Ward
Bob Eklund Commissioner Gordon
Ray Bryson Commissioner Gordon
Robert Johnston Chairman Hawkins
Rochelle Miller Commissioner Moyer
Nominees from this meeting:
Tom Looby Commissioner Gordon
Virgil McClure Commissioner Gordon
Rodney Raines, Capt. Commissioner Ward
Greg Gosnell Commissioner Gordon
Ed Green (DOT) Commissioner Ward
There was some discussion of trying to get someone on the committee that was familiar with school bus routes. It was decided that the Chairman should write a letter asking for a recommendation for someone in this capacity from the Chairman of the Board of Education.
4. Henderson County Fire Commission - 3 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
David Nicholson had scheduled this time to report to the Board on any issues associated with Y2K. He stated that it would be a brief report but all went well. The 9-1-1 system, telecommunications, our tax systems, finance systems, our billing system, our LAN system at DSS, all checked out and we have had no problems with them. Our major systems and even our minor systems in county government are operating well.
Mr. Nicholson reminded the Board that staff operated the emergency operations center for Y2K on the evening of December 31 in the large meeting room. The Board of Commissioners had approved a preparedness plan around the first of December. The plan was carried out.
David asked Rocky Hyder to update the Board, as emergency management coordinator, on any issues that he saw on the evening of December 31. David thanked all those who helped out on the evening of December 31.
Rocky Hyder characterized what was done on the evening of December 31, 1999 as an excellent drill preparing for the winter season. Rocky Hyder recognized all the different agencies that either participated here in the operation center or in the field:
Henderson County Board of Commissioners
The American Red Cross
North Carolina Forest Service
Town of Fletcher
Ham Radio operators (ARES group amateur radio emergency services)
Communication Services (the Vendor for our 9-1-1 center)
Finance Department personnel
NC Department of Motor Vehicles
Sheriff=s Department personnel
Dept. of Social Services personnel
Health Department personnel
Fire Departments, cities and towns and the county
City of Hendersonville
Girl Scouts of America (some were working on merit badges)
Village of Flat Rock
N C National Guard
N C Highway Patrol
Town of Laurel Park
Assistant County Manager
and Rocky=s wife.
He gave all these people credit for being here through the New Year.
David Nicholson stated that it was a very quiet evening. About the only phone calls received were people checking in to say that everything was OK. David stated that the key is to be prepared and Henderson County was.
CDBG - ADMINISTRATIVE CONTRACT
David Nicholson informed the Board that Henderson County has been awarded $207,822 in a Community Development Block Grant for Habitat for Humanity=s Grove Hills Subdivision. Within the grant, funds are available to cover a contract with Land-of-Sky Regional Council to provide assistance in project planning and other administrative assistance. A copy of the contract was reviewed. Staff and Habitat for Humanity recommended the Board=s approval of this contract. This is primarily for infrastructure needs.
Commissioner Kumor made the motion that the Board approve the contract as presented. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
CAPITAL PROJECT FINANCING - Fletcher Elementary School
Carey McLelland explained to the Board that there were several actions associated with this agenda item that the Board needed to consider to facilitate financing a new Fletcher Elementary School Project. The first one is to award the financing. The County mailed out requests for proposals to banks and three financial institutions responded to the RFP. A summary was reviewed. Staff had certified that the proposal from Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T) was the lowest responsible proposal and recommended that the Board consider awarding the financing to BB&T.
There was some discussion regarding responsible bids and the bidding process.
Commissioner Ward made the motion to approve awarding the financing to BB&T. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Angela S. Beeker then reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding proposed to be entered between the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Public Education. It outlines basically the responsibilities of each Board with respect to the new school. The School Board will transfer title to the real estate to the County. The County will be responsible for procuring financing and will then enter into a contract back with the School Board so that the School Board will actually make the award of the construction contract. Once the school has been constructed, the Board of Commissioners will then lease the facility back to the School Board so that they may use it. They will be responsible for the insurance and the maintenance with respect to that school. The Commissioners will primarily act as the financing agent for the project and hold title to the property.
Mrs. Beeker then reviewed the financing/construction timetable.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept the Memorandum of Understanding as presented. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Carey McLelland then informed the Board that a Public Hearing is required on the Installment Contract Financing. This public hearing will be on the financing documents only.
Chairman Hawkins moved the adoption of the following resolution:
RESOLUTION TO SET A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE
PROPOSED INSTALLMENT CONTRACT FINANCING
WHEREAS, the Henderson County Board of Commissioners desires to hold a public hearing on the proposed documents for the installment financing by the County of a new elementary school in the Fletcher community:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Henderson County Board of Commissioners as follows:
1. That a public hearing upon the proposed financing documents for the installment contract financing of the new Fletcher Elementary School shall be held on the 19th day of January 2000, at 11:00 a.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room of the County Administration Building located at 100 N. King Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina, 28792;
2. That the Clerk to the Board is hereby directed to cause a notice of such hearing to be published in a qualified newspaper no fewer than then (10) days prior to such public hearing.
This the 4th day of January 2000.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Kumor and was adopted by the following vote:
AYES: Chairman Hawkins, Commissioner Kumor,
Commissioner Gordon, and Commissioner Ward.
Carey McLelland then requested the Board authorize the filing of an application with the Local Government Commission (LGC). This is also a requirement.
Chairman Hawkins moved the adoption of the following Resolution:
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE FILING OF AN APPLICATION FOR
APPROVAL OF AN INSTALLMENT CONTRACT
IN CONNECTION WITH THE ACQUISITION, CONSTRUCTION, INSTALLATION
AND EQUIPPING OF THE NEW FLETCHER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners of Henderson County, North Carolina desires to provide for the acquisition, construction, installation and equipping of a new elementary school for the Fletcher community pursuant tot he request of the Henderson County Board of Public Education pursuant to N.C.G.S. 153A-158.1; and
WHEREAS, as allowed by N.C.G.S. 153A-158.1, the Board of Commissioners desires to finance the elementary school by use of an installment financing contract authorized under North Carolina General Statutes 160A-10; and
WHEREAS, findings by this governing body must be presented to the North Carolina Local Government Commission so it can make the findings set forth in North Carolina General Statutes 159-151 prior to approval of the proposed contract;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners of Henderson County, as follows:
1. The proposed contract is necessary and expedient because of the pressing need for a new elementary school in the Fletcher community.
2. The proposed installment financing contract is preferable to a bond issue particularly because a general obligation bond authorization cannot be obtained in a timely manner and will not permit the alternative financing structures and repayment provisions available in the proposed financing contract.
3. The sums to fall due under the contract are adequate and not excessive for the purpose and can be included in the County=s budget without difficulty.
4. Past audit reports of the County indicate that its debt management procedures and policies are good and have been carried out in strict compliance with law.
5. The Board of Commissioners has increased the County=s ad valorem tax rate 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation ($769,500.00) to meet the sums to fall due under the proposed contract, a tax increase not considered excessive.
6. The County is not in default on any of its debt service obligations.
7. The Interim County Attorney has rendered an opinion that the proposed project is authorized by law and is a purpose for which public funds may be expended pursuant to the Constitution and laws of North Carolina.
8. The Board of Commissioners hereby authorizes its Chairman, the County Manager, the Finance Director and the Interim County Attorney to submit to the Local Government Commission an application for approval of the installment financing contract.
9. This Resolution shall become effective immediately upon its adoption.
Approved by the Board of Commissioners of Henderson County this 4th day of January, 2000.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Kumor and was adopted by the following vote:
AYES: Chairman Hawkins, Commissioner Kumor,
Commissioner Ward, and Commissioner Gordon
UPDATE ON PENDING ISSUES
Needs Assessment of the Elderly - Renee Kumor
Commissioner Kumor referred to a report entitled AAssessing the Social Service Needs of Senior Citizens@. Since the Board has encouraged some strategic planning for children, she suggested that a comparable parallel strategic plan be done for the elderly in the community. Some of the services are similar, such as transportation needs. Some of the things that will be studied and researched with regard to children would also fit the aging adult population with regards to accessing the community risks. She suggested that the Board write to the groups in the community who are advocates for the elderly and make this suggestion to work together:
Barbara Hammer, Chairman, Planning for Older Adults Committee
Mae Harter, DSS Manager of Adult Protective Services
Karen Smith, Director, Council on Aging
Ask for information in a timely manner from them regarding strategic planning for elderly with prioritized needs.
Commissioner Kumor requested that if the Board agreed with this proposal, that letters be drafted to the above three individuals and ask them to come back with a proposal on how they would have a strategic plan ready for the Board of Commissioners. The consensus of the Board was for Chairman Hawkins to send the letters and await replies from Barbara Hammer, Mae Harter, and Karen Smith.
Discussion on Asheville Airport Racetrack - Grady Hawkins
Chairman Hawkins mentioned briefly pending actions by the Asheville City Council. This Board has previously written Mayor Sitnik and asked for any additional input that might be forthcoming in their discussions on the plans of the City of Asheville and/or the Airport Authority in reference to some proposals for locating a racetrack in the area of the Airport which borders on the Buncombe and Henderson county lines. We have received on letter back from Mayor Sitnik but subsequent to that letter the Asheville City Council has met and had some more discussions on the possibility of locating a racetrack in that area. Chairman Hawkins had drafted a letter to Mayor Sitnik and distributed it to the Commissioners. He requested that Mayor Sitnik include the Henderson County Board of Commissioners in any further discussions that the Asheville City Council has in regards to this property and the airport racetrack. This Board is particularly concerned about the locating of a racetrack in that area and the impact it would have on future airport expansion and some other land issues. The Henderson County Board of Commissioners does not feel that this is a suitable location for a racetrack. It was suggested that Chairman Hawkins indicate that he would be glad to meet with Mayor Sitnik.
Discussion regarding taping of Board workshops
Commissioner Ward had asked that this be an add-on to the agenda. He requested that the County Manager look into the possibility of taping additional Board meetings, such as workshops and the costs of such taping. Much discussion followed bu it was the general consensus of the Board that more of the meetings should be discussed. Much work of the Board is done between the two regularly scheduled meetings at special called meetings. The Commissioners prefer the informal setting for workshops and would like to continue to sit down below at table and chairs with other Boards/staff participating at the table. There is a problem with the current set-up of our cameras and taping of that type meeting, also a problem with our microphones picking up discussion at the table. Staff will look into the possibilities and the costs.
INFORMAL PUBLIC COMMENTS
1. Bob Black - Mr. Black spoke in support of a racetrack for Western North Carolina. He is a native North Carolinian, having lived in Henderson County for the past 45 years. He currently lives in Etowah. He stated that our airport use has decrease over the years. He suggested that the airport let their needs be presented, whether they have a future use for the property in question.
2. Dick Lantrip - Mr. Lantrip is President of the High Vista Home Owners Association. He opposes the airport racetrack. He is also one of the organizers of the Regional Organization Against the Airport Racetrack known as ROAR. Mr. Lantrip read a prepared statement on behalf of members of both organizations who could not attend this meeting. This property in question is not in Henderson County but it is surrounded on three sides by Henderson County.
He stated that the Airport Authority Board has identified this property in their strategic plan as critical to expansion, passed a Resolution opposing any use of this property for other than airport use, and presented that to the Asheville City Council on December 21. So far, the Asheville City Council has not honored that Resolution.
The boundaries between Buncombe and Henderson County were adjusted with State approval in 1959 for the express purpose of building a regional airport. Almost, of not all of the current Asheville Regional Airport is on land that was provided by Henderson County to Buncombe County. Subsequent to the adjustment of the county boundaries, the City of Asheville, again being a satellite annexation, with State approval, proceeded to annex the airport property which was previously Henderson County property, for the purpose of building a regional airport.
He stated that this item (the Airport Racetrack) will be back on the January 11 agenda for the Asheville City Council. He urged the Board of Commissioners to get involved and become a party to this issue.
3. Bob Chapman - Mr. Chapman is a member of ROAR. He has lived in North Henderson County for 12 years. He thanked the Board for enacting the Noise Ordinance and the Racetrack Ordinance. He is not against racetracking but feels that it must be put in the right location. He spoke some about noise and stated that a drag strip=s noise is somewhat louder than a racetrack=s noise. He requested the Board of Commissioners have personal contact with Asheville City Council to voice citizen concerns regarding the airport racetrack.
4. Gerry Pasternack - Mr. Pasternack is a Mills River resident and spoke strongly against an airport racetrack. He stated that more than 4,000 residents of Henderson County will be directly affected, negatively. He requested that the Henderson County Board of Commissioners register their concern to the Asheville City Council and do so in an official and public manner prior to the Asheville City Council=s January 1lth meeting on this subject.
5. Ron Bailey - Mr. Bailey is a Buncombe County resident. He is a property owner at the Buncombe County/Henderson County line. He spoke in opposition to the airport racetrack.
Chairman Hawkins mentioned briefly about annexation laws.
Commissioner Gordon asked the County Attorney to check the terms of the original agreement regarding the airport construction. Was this property exchange for the express purpose of the airport? She asked that the legal issues be clarified.
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)(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. 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 claims:
Henderson County v. Crosby (File No. 99-CVS-527)
Henderson County v. Jackson (File No. 99-CVS-526)
2. (a)(4) To discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries or other businesses in the area served by the public body.
All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Commissioner Ward made the motion for the Board to go out of Closed Session. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting back to order and distributed copies of the signed letter to the media as promised before going to a break and Closed Session. It was a letter addressed to Mayor Sitnik, Asheville City Council, regarding the airport racetrack. Commissioner Ward requested a response from Asheville City Council prior to the January 11 meeting. David Nicholson stated that he would relay that concern to the Asheville City Manager. Commissioner Kumor read aloud the letter in question.
Chairman Hawkins reviewed the Commissioners= calendar with the Board. There was discussion of a need for a budget workshop in January. No meeting dates were set as we did not have a full board in attendance.
TRAVEL EXPENSES - Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee
David Nicholson stated that Jack Reed, Chairman of the Community Advisory Committee, and he had discussed this item prior to the presentation of the budget to the Commissioners last year including Mr. Nicholson making sure there were funds available in non-departmental costs to grant the travel expenses. However, staff omitted this and did not bring it to the Board=s attention. Mr. Nicholson felt it was imperative that the Board discuss this and make a decision.
Mr. Nicholson stated that this is an unusual case - this committee=s job is to travel, to go between different facilities. These committee members travel on a regular basis.
Jack Reed - Annual Report
Mr. Reed presented the annual report for 1999. Mr. Reed distributed copies of the annual report for all the Commissioners. He stated that there is still a shortage of CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants). As long as the unemployment figures stay around 1.2-1.4%, there is no readily available source for personnel to fill this need. Sign-on bonuses of $1,200-1,500 are being offered in the newspapers for CNAs. He suggested that the only short-term answer is for the community to get involved. There needs to be more involvement by community residents who themselves will need help in these facilities at some point in the future. There are many small tasks that volunteers could perform that would be of major assistance to the staff and the residents.
Mr. Reed stated that the committee did visit all the facilities in excess of the minimum requirements of the State. There are approximately 30 facilities they are required to visit and are asked to visit them on a quarterly basis.
There were 11 resignations from the committee this past year.
A retired veterinarian has donated approximately 100 pet birds, cages and food for distribution by the committee to Nursing/Adult Care Homes. The therapeutic effect of the bird program on the residents (and staff) has been phenomenal.
As of this report date, committee members have devoted over 960 hours and traveled 5,300 miles. This is an incomplete record as many of the resigned members did not turn in an activity report. These figures when extrapolated project 1,300 hours and 6,500-7,200 miles for the year.
He thanked all the hard-working members of the committee. Most of them are professionals with experience in the health care field.
Mr. Reed stated that each member of the Committee would be required to document his/her mileage and then submit a request for payment to the County to receive reimbursement. The payment would be based on the County=s travel policy. This policy indicates that they would be reimbursed for mileage at the IRS approved rate. Mr. Reed projected that annually members of the Committee travel approximately 7,000 miles. Based on this projection, the annual cost would be $2,275 (7,000 x .325 cents per mile). Funds are available in the Non-Departmental - Travel Account.
Commissioner Kumor made the motion to approve paying this committee=s travel expenses. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
PRESENTATION ON PUBLIC TRANSIT
Paul Stepp stated that in most every needs assessment, public transit falls near the top of needs. He distributed a proposed route (#1) for a local transit system and stated that $7,500 would be needed to do this one route. This would be the first increment in a projected multi route system. As ridership grows and public requests dictate, other routes would be suggested and tailored to the demands of those it serves. Connection with other nearby communities would be possible as the project matured. This proposal is above and beyond what Apple Country Transportation is currently providing.
Mr. Stepp explained that the fare recovery would be about 8-20%, depending on how much services were offered. The plan that he presented did not involve government money. He proposed two options for financing this project:
1. Have advance sell of tickets, either weekly or monthly passes, selling them to
Churches and business organizations. In turn, they would be offered to customers
and to residents who need public transit. He could not estimate how much revenue
that would create. He did state that we have 104 Churches. If each Church bought
$100 worth of tickets a month, that would go a long way toward financing the project.
2. Property tax bills go out in September each year. These bills bring in $30 million
a year in revenue. He suggested sending these tax notices, anticipate that date by a
year and include a letter that any monies that are sent in prior to the due date would
be set aside and invested and the dividends would be dedicated to the public transpor-
tation system. The people who send in their money early would be making a contribution.
Mr. Stepp anticipates a ridership of 500-600 people a day just from school children who cannot drive and the elderly. Mr. Stepp felt that the biggest problem at the present is getting some group with credibility in the community to get behind this project and support it.
Commissioner Ward suggested taking this project to the LGCCA as 90% of the proposed route is in the municipalities. He suggested getting this project going. The Commissioners asked Mr. Stepp if he had made this presentation to the City of Hendersonville. He had to Mayor Niehoff but not to the City Council. It was also suggested that he address the Community Foundation. It was also suggested that the Transportation Advisory Committee review this project.
Mr. Stepp has talked with numerous business people. They are currently trying to get a bus donated. There was a mention of the possibility of utilizing school buses during the day for such a project. State regulations may prohibit it.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:11 p.m.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk Grady Hawkins, Chairman