STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON JANUARY 4, 2001
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 3:00 p.m. in the Commissioners= Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building at 100 North King Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Those present were: Chairman Bill Moyer, Vice-Chair Marilyn Gordon, Commissioner Grady Hawkins, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Charlie Messer, County Manager David E. Nicholson, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.
Also present were: Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson, Finance Director J. Carey McLelland, and Project Coordinator Bill Blalock.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Moyer called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance. He stated that the purpose of this meeting was a county facilities workshop. Chairman Moyer turned the meeting over to David Nicholson.
David Nicholson reminded the Board that this had originally been scheduled for the mid-December meeting but was then postponed to a workshop. David thanked Bill Blalock and Carey McLelland for their assistance on this project.
At the first meeting in December, David was authorized to revisit our county facilities and to present a facility plan, not only looking at the Carolina Apparel Trading building but also our other county facilities.
David discussed what the facility plan goals were as follows:
Facility Plan Goals
1. Clients - how we serve our clients.
2. Use of other county facilities
3. Space plan for all departments.
4. Recommendation on needs.
5. Eliminate overcrowding in our facilities.
6. Provide for future growth.
David explained what his desired outcomes were for this meeting:
1. Approval of Aconcept@ - Board commitment to this type of plan.
2. Authorization to the County Manager to renegotiate architectural contracts.
3. Board approval to begin work on financing documents - debt on building/land purchases.
County Manager=s Recommendation
David=s proposal for the Carolina Apparel Trading (CAT) Building was to make it one stop shopping for Human Services, make it a Human Services Building for county government and include the following in it:
$ Department of Social Services (DSS) 24,470 sq. ft.
$ Dept. of Public Health 22,180 sq. ft.
$ ?Trend - possibly add an additional building in the future - - -
$ Veteran Services 135 sq. ft.
$ Common Spaces 9,515 sq. ft.
$ Shelled in space 6,620 sq. ft.
Total 62,600 sq. ft.
If we remove two of the residential homes on the properties behind the CAT building, we could have 280 parking spaces to utilize with egress onto Old Spartanburg Highway.
Mr. Nicholson also proposed renovation of the Historic Courthouse. The historic courthouse would include the main court building, the annex (currently Finance Dept./Magistrate), the Jail, and the Patrol Division which is located behind the main court building. He suggested relocating county administration to the historic courthouse as follows:
$ Commissioners Office
$ County Administration
County Manager=s Office
Public Information Officer
$ Other - David explained that he has spent substantial time trying to figure out some way to get Travel & Tourism into the building also or is there some way to get the Board of Elections into the building.
There are currently 18 parking spaces behind the Patrol Division. If we take down the Jail and the Patrol Division Offices we could get 38 parking spaces which is enough for the people who would occupy the building on a regular basis but would not be enough for some of the meetings.
He discussed the possibility of building a parking garage there. There has been some discussion with the City regarding a joint parking garage, either two levels with 100 parking spaces or three levels with 150 parking spaces. Discussion followed regarding city/county participation in a parking garage.
Mr. Nicholson=s proposal for the current Health Department would be to turn it into a Land Development Building including the following:
$ Environmental Health
$ Fire Marshal/Emergency Management
$ Property Addressing
$ City Zoning
This again would be one stop shopping for inspections/permits. There are 91 parking spaces currently on the property and that is felt to be sufficient for the proposed use of the building.
Mr. Nicholson=s proposal for the current County Office Building is to turn the whole building over to the Sheriff=s Department. There are 36,000 sq. ft. in the building and 79 parking spaces.
Mr. Nicholson felt that there would be growth space for each of these departments in each of these buildings for the next 7-10 years.
Carolina Apparel Building = Human Services Building = $ 9,732,000
Historic Courthouse = Seat of County Government once again 5,945,000
Current Health Dept. = Land Development Building = 410,000
Current County Office Building = Sheriff=s Department = 312,000
Sale of Buildings (at 80% of value) -1,180,000
current Land Development Building
and cancel lease on McAllister Building
Demolition of jail and patrol + 100,000
Trace Barn (use for county storage) + 100,000
To do all this, Mr. Nicholson felt the Board will have to consider up to a two cent tax increase. Mr. Nicholson explained that there will be costs for the opening of the New Detention Center in next year=s budget as well as costs for the opening of the Fletcher Elementary School.
David reviewed his desired outcomes from this meeting again:
1. Approval of Aconcept@ - Board commitment to this type of plan.
2. Authorization for the County Manager to renegotiate architectural contracts
3. Approval to begin work on financing documents - debt on CAT building/land purchases
The Board has had the materials for several weeks to review Mr. Nicholson=s proposal. Chairman Moyer asked for discussion and there was much discussion.
Board concerns included but were not limited to the following:
$ Space - sq. footage numbers
$ Parking garage - amount of city participation - letter of intent
$ Cost of renovation of the courthouse/? place on referendum
$ Timing critical - keep process going
Commissioner Hawkins offered a little different concept concerning the CAT building, adding the Board of Elections to it and therefore being able to do away with the lease of their current location which is in excess of $30,000 a year. He proposed to leave County Administration in this building, possibly move the Finance Department upstairs in this building and if the Detective Division could not fit in this building with the Sheriff=s Department (into current DSS) then locate the Detective=s Division in the current Magistrate=s Office and Finance in the Courthouse Annex. This again would free up the McAllister Building which is currently leased. Commissioner Hawkins stated that the Board had never really looked at what the Sheriff=s space requirements are. He stated that we could keep the McAllister Building for part of the Sheriff=s Department, because it=s location is close. He stated again the cost savings if the Board of Elections were moved to the CAT building. He felt that if we propose to move county administration to the historic courthouse at a cost of six million dollars, it should be put on a referendum for a decision by the voters.
Commissioner Gordon felt the Board should concentrate on the concept, not the details at this time. She was concerned about keeping the project going and was concerned about trying to pull the historic courthouse out of the project. She stated that the timing is critical on what to do with the historic courthouse, partly due to projects the City of Hendersonville is currently working on for downtown Hendersonville. Although she was not happy with the idea of a two-cent tax increase, it might be necessary. The Board should earnestly work to keep any increase as low as possible.
Commissioner Gordon explained that the courthouse renovation was on the table a few years ago but the bond referendum was defeated for the schools or a lot of these things would have been taken care of if we had not built schools out of the revenue that was coming into the county. The plan was to do that with a separate bond issue, that didn=t happen. We have been very successful at addressing some of the school needs. There are other needs that have to be addressed.
Chairman Moyer supported the plan also, stating that the Board needs to deal with the historic courthouse. We need to have a facilities plan for all of Henderson County Government for the next 5-7-10 years. The Board does need to take a hard look at space needs. He felt the Board should follow the County Manager=s recommendation and approve the concept, stating the worst would be a two cent tax increase and the Board would try to find a way to make that less than two cents. The Board needs to bite the bullet and forge forward with this concept and plan and authorize the County Manager to renegotiate with the engineers and the architects. The Board does want to look much closer at the Finance package.
The City of Hendersonville is interested in a parking garage and in a multi-purpose room.
Mr. Nicholson agreed to separate the renovation costs from the costs for plumbing, heating, electrical and air conditioning in the courthouse costs, and how much was for handicap accessibility. He will try to get these numbers from the architects and bring them to the Board.
Chairman Moyer made the motion to follow the County Manager=s recommendation:
1. Approval of the concept - Board commitment to this type plan,
2. Authorize the County Manager to renegotiate architectural contracts,
3. Authorize working on financing documents - CAP building/land purchases,
and work on the detailed costs and spacing needs and come up with a debt plan.
Mr. Nicholson wants to get Freeman White Architectural Firm (formerly Grier-Fripp) to come look at the cost estimates. He explained that there are new laws on how the County must select Architects. Mr. Nicholson is concerned about the firm we were working with and what they were proposing. He would like to pull the Committee back together that originally reviewed the Architects and share his concerns with the Committee. He may come back to the Board and ask the Board to consider a different Architectural Firm. He felt that their ideas and their focus on the CAP building did not necessarily agree with the County Manager=s ideas and focus on the CAP building. He also felt that the Architectural Fees were excessive.
Commissioner Hawkins stated that he could not vote for the concept because the concept says that the Board needs to relocate County Administration to the Historic Courthouse. He feels that is a lot of money to renovate the Historic Courthouse for the purpose and feels that there are other, less expensive places that County Administration could be located. He doesn=t like the idea of mixing this move with the preservation of the Historic Courthouse and establishing the need for county offices to be there. He feels they are two entirely different things.
Chairman Moyer stated that we need to go to the next step and study the whole concept so that the Board will have the facts with which to make the best decision possible. All the Board has expressed concern about the project and the costs associated with it and that was partly why this new proposal was made.
David Nicholson reminded the Board that in November he told the Board that he wanted to take over this project. He stated that it was time that the County Manager take over this project and make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners and that is what he will do.
There was again some discussion regarding the Sheriff=s Department. He currently has 126 personnel and there are 96 offices in what is currently DSS, will that be enough space for him?
It was stated that the Board needs to see all the numbers before they can actually make a decision.
Following much discussion, Commissioner Hawkins called the question on the motion.
A vote was taken and Chairman Moyer=s motion passed four to one with Commissioner Hawkins voting nay.
Chairman Moyer asked the County Manager to talk with the City Manager to see if we can get some more detail regarding the parking garage so the Board has all the details possible prior to making a final decision.
There being no further business to come before the Board, Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to adjourn the meeting at 5:30 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board William L. Moyer, Chairman