STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON JUNE 5, 2001
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 7:30 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 (arrived late), Vice-Chair Marilyn Gordon, Commissioner Grady Hawkins, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Charlie Messer, County Manager David E. Nicholson, Budget Analyst/Assistant to the County Manager Selena Coffey (videotaping), and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Vice-Chair Marilyn Gordon called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance, in the absence of the Chairman. She stated that the purpose of this meeting was to get public input on the proposed FY 2001-2002 budget. She explained that the budget is a work in progress as there are still a number of meetings scheduled as work sessions on the budget.
She also explained that Chairman Moyer was attending a NC DOT hearing this evening on the widening of I-26. He will be here a little later. She turned the meeting over to the County Manager at this time.
County Manager comments
David Nicholson explained that this was a public hearing required by the NC General Statutes before the Board can adopt a budget. He reminded everyone that this is a very unusual year, primarily because of the budget crisis in the state of North Carolina which affects counties in the state. This public hearing was advertised according to NC State Law. The amount of the budget is $84.6 million and the general fund $71.1 million.
Mr. Nicholson explained that each person who wished to speak would be given three minutes to address the Board.
Vice-Chair Gordon stated that since there were only eight persons signed up to speak, she increased that time a little, up to five minutes each.
1. Barbara Hughes - Ms. Hughes stated she was a Mother of three Henderson County school children and an active volunteer at Hillandale Elementary School. She spoke against the purchase of the Carolina Apparel Trading building, stating that twenty million dollars to house two departments is an unsound financial move. She asked the Commissioners to please not cut out the assistants in the elementary schools.
2. Jim Hall - Mr. Hall stated that he was the parent of one daughter at East Henderson High School. He spoke of the need for a Vocational Career and College Center in each of the four high schools. He stated that the Community Foundation has set aside monies in the amount of $144,000 for the above program. Henderson County would have to contribute $112,000 for the start-up cost of this program. Thereafter there would be an annual cost of significantly less dollars to fund this program on an on-going basis.
3. Bob Brackett - Mr. Brackett stated that he has been a resident of our county for 9 years. He expressed the need for smaller class size in our schools and asked the Board not to shortchange the children in our county.
Chairman Moyer arrived, at approximately 7:45 p.m.
4. Rick Wood - Mr. Wood is a teacher at West Henderson High School. He addressed the need for smaller class size and the seven new teaching positions.
5. Mary Singleton - Ms. Singleton is a retired school teacher in Henderson County. She asked the Board to consider the need for 6.18 additional teachers, reduced class size, not to cut out the teacher assistants and to consider the $200 increase requested per teacher for the middle grades for supplies and materials for their classroom ($37,000).
6. Jim Howard - Mr. Howard addressed the Alliance for Human Services, whose mission is to improve the delivery of human services in Henderson County. He distributed a hand-out. He reviewed briefly some of the human service providers in our county and explained how the Alliance recommended the money be distributed. They requested that human service funding be maintained at $180,000 for FY 2001-2002.
7. Nicholas J. Steenstra - Mr. Steenstra asked for full funding of each of the School Board=s requests, stating these requests were reasonable and modest. He spoke of the need for additional teachers, assistants, and the need to reduce class size.
8. Ervin Bazzle - Mr. Bazzle is the Chairman of the Board of Public Education in Henderson County. He thanked those in attendance for coming to support the school budget. He also thanked the Commissioners for their support and the progress that has been made jointly, stating Afor us to stand still means to go backwards for our children. What we value we support.@
Since there was no-one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Hawkins asked if he could ask a question of Mr. Bazzle. He asked if Mr. Bazzle had any feel at this time of how many positions would be funded by the State. The answer was 7.2 positions or 8 positions by the state and 6 by the county.
Commissioner Gordon reminded those in attendance that the Budget Workshop on schools, scheduled for June 12 at 3:00 p.m., would be videotaped and will air on Channel #11 of Cable TV. The Board has been making a real effort to videotape all of their workshops for public viewing.
Chairman Moyer recognized Superintendent Tom Burnham, who was in the audience as well as most of the members of the Board of Public Education. Chairman Moyer expressed that this is the chance for public comment on the proposed budget and asked if there was anyone else who wished to speak. Several others expressed an interest in addressing the Board.
9. Debbie Greene - Ms. Greene is a first grade teacher here. She spoke about the importance of smaller class size and the amount of attention that can be given to each student, based on that number. She stated that she has no children of her own but she has 400+ children and asked the Board to Aplease protect my children with the teachers they need, the assistants they need and just your consideration for deciding what=s most important in the county@.
10. Molly Zink - Ms. Zink is a teacher=s assistant and explained that the assistants are a big plus for the teachers and are very needed. She has decided to become a teacher and certainly hopes that she will have an assistant.
11. Bill Modlin - Mr. Modlin stated that when you talk about education what you=re talking about is maintaining the middle class in America. He asked the Board to fund our schools to give the kids the success and the future they deserve. Each generation is responsible for the education of the next generation.
12. Lisa Whitman- Ms. Whitman is a native of our county and a product of the Henderson County School system. She spoke for the need of smaller class size and the need to keep teacher assistants in the schools.
13. Tom Dennison - Mr. Dennison is a life-long resident of Henderson County, a business-owner, and a father of two school children. He expressed that his children are at the top of his list of priorities. He asked the Board to fund the school requests.
14. Tony Taddel - Mr. Taddel asked the Board to fund everything that=s been requested by the School Board and School Superintendent.
Chairman Moyer thanked everyone for attending and for the input. The Board has listened to what has been said and will take it very seriously. Schools have been a priority for the Commissioners for the past several years.
Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to adjourn the meeting. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board William L. Moyer, Chairman