STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA                                            BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

COUNTY OF HENDERSON                                                                                  MAY 23, 2002


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 Bill Moyer, Vice-Chair Marilyn Gordon, Commissioner Grady Hawkins, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Charlie Messer, County Manager David E. Nicholson, County Attorney Angela S. Beeker, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.


Also present were: Planning Director Karen C. Smith, Assistant County Attorney Jennifer O. Jackson, Finance Director J. Carey McLelland, Assistant to the County Manager/Budget Analyst Selena Coffey, Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson, and Deputy Clerk to the Board/Volunteer Coordinator Amy Brantley.



Chairman Moyer called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance.



Chairman Moyer led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.



Rev. Gus Martschink, of the Hospital Chaplaincy Program, gave the invocation.



Chairman Moyer added one item to ADiscussion Items@:

#1        Governor=s Proposed Budget


Commissioner Hawkins added one item, AEssay Writing Contest Winner@. The student who won the contest will read his essay which concerns what it means to be an American. The timing on this was left flexible.


Chairman Moyer made the motion to approve the agenda with the two additions. All voted in favor and the motion carried.



AA@ - Minutes

Minutes from the March 11, 2002, regular meeting and April 4, 2002, special called meeting were presented for the Board=s review/approval.


AB@ - Tax Collector=s Report 

Terry F. Lyda, Tax Collector, had submitted the Tax Collectors Report dated May 13, 2002, for the Board=s information. 




AC@ - Tax Releases

A list of 130 tax release requests was submitted by the County Assessor for the Board=s review and approval.


AD@ - Tax Refunds

A list of 26 tax refund requests was submitted by the County Assessor for the Board=s review and approval.


AE@ - Waterline Extension(s)                          

The City of Hendersonville had requested any County comments on proposed waterline extension(s). Copies of the City=s request(s) and the County=s review sheet(s) were attached for Board review.

The Project Names of the proposed extensions were:

C                  Champion Hills, 2002 Water System Improvements, Phase I

C                  Highlander Woods Subdivision

C                  Springfield Subdivision


Chairman Moyer made the motion to approve the Consent Agenda. All voted in favor and the motion carried.



Chairman Moyer reminded the Board of the following vacancies and opened the floor to nominations:


1.             Equalization and Review - 1 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


2.             Juvenile Crime Prevention Council - 5 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


3.         Henderson County Board of Health - 5 vac.

Commissioner Gordon requested this item be rolled until the next meeting, as there were several positions open, and we had not yet heard from the current members regarding their willingness to continue to serve.


4.         Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee - 5 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


5.               Community Child Protection Team - 1 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


6.               Zoning Board of Adjustment, Hendersonville City - 1vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


7.               Zoning Board of Adjustment, Fletcher - 1 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


8.               Land-of-Sky Regional Council Advisory Council on Aging - 1 vac.

Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to reappoint Jerald Wright to the Board. Commissioner Hawkins also made the motion to suspend the rules and appoint Mr. Wright by acclamation. All voted in favor and the motion carried.


9.               Mountain Area Workforce Development Board - 4 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


10.            Social Services Board - 1 vac.

Commissioner Messer nominated Chuck McGrady for appointment to position #2. Commissioner Ward stated that he had several people he would like to contact concerning this board, and requested this item be rolled until the next meeting.                    


Draft Order for Oleta Falls - Road Grade Variance

Chairman Moyer reminded the Board that he had been recused from this matter, and asked Vice-Chair Gordon to take over this segment. Commissioner Gordon reminded the Board that on May 7, 2002 the Board concluded the quasi-judicial proceeding on the road grade variance requested by Waterside Properties, LLC. A draft order granting the application for variance had been prepared by staff in accordance with the findings, attached hereto and incorporated as a part of the minutes. Commissioner Gordon made the motion to adopt the order as presented in the matter of the application for the variance for Waterside Properties. All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Audit of Carolina Village

Recently, the Assessor recommended that Carolina Village be audited to determine whether they are a qualified retirement facility that qualifies for a tax exemption under recently enacted legislation. Angela Beeker presented a proposed contract for the audit of Carolina Village in relation to that new statute. The agreement must be entered into by the Board of Commissioners, as the Assessor does not have that legal authority. The City of Hendersonville had agreed to split half of the cost for the audit, and had reviewed the proposed contract, as had the City Counsel.  


Tax Assessor Eddie Mitchum previously suggested to the Board that a CPA be used for this audit. He had located a CPA with which he was comfortable, to conduct this compliance review. Mr. Mitchum also presented a letter from City Manager Chris Carter stating their willingness to pay for half of the audit.


Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to approve the contract as presented. Following brief discussion, Chairman Moyer restated the motion on the floor as a motion to approve the contract and move forward with the auditing on the basis of splitting the cost with the City of Hendersonville, and approve the terms of the contract. All voted in favor and the motion carried.     


Mental Health Reform - Community Input

Mr. Nicholson updated the Board on the status of the Mental Health Reform Program. A planning  group consisting of County Managers and Area Authority Directors have been working on this since last December. The planning group areas consist of Trend and Blue Ridge. There is still a lack of information coming from Raleigh on this topic, but Mr. Nicholson stated that he still felt it important to keep the community aware of what is happening.


Chairman Moyer stated that it appears to him that fundamental changes in the system are being made on the basis of a plan that the Board has not approved. Mr. Nicholson stated that HB#381 last year required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide the state with a mental health plan, to change the future operations of mental health. Though there may be some minor changes to that plan, the state mental health plan will have to be dealt with. Because of the population requirements in the law of 200,000 people, Mr. Nicholson has been forced to look north for a larger population.


Mr. Nicholson expressed his concern that the state has yet to provide the counties with targeted populations or the service standards associated with those populations. He estimated that 10%-15% of the population that Trend currently serves will not have services in the future.


Commissioner Hawkins questioned how established the composition of the proposed 32 member Board was. Mr. Nicholson stated that a nine member committee was called for, which seemed far too small for an issue of this magnitude. Mr. Nicholson=s group has proposed a 27 member group, because the state requires it be some segment of nine people. Within those nine people, the following requirements must be met:

1. Someone from Mental Health

2. Someone from Developmental Disabilities

3. Someone from Substance Abuse

4. A man

5. A woman

6. A child or teenager (or a parent who represents that child or teenager)  

The appointments to this committee, the Consumer and Family Advisory Committee,  will be brought back to the Board of Commissioners.


Chairman Moyer stated that there would be a County Commissioners meeting at the end of the month. He would like to be authorized to at least take the position that the state should be pressed to get some detail on the program, find out the true implications to the counties, and to proceed to set the target dates back to allow the counties enough time to deal with the proposed plan once it is known. He felt the counties should not be forced to meet the dates, when the state is not meeting the dates they have set to provide counties the necessary information. There followed much discussion among the Board.


Mr. Nicholson stated that the real push is to take services into the private sector. He reminded the Board that if Henderson County does not opt into an LME (Local Management Entity) with Buncombe County, we will lose the substantial number of mental health providers available in that area. One of the things the LME will do is contract with providers to provide a service, hopefully at a lower cost.

Chairman Moyer stated that he will draw up a letter on these concerns to present at the Commissioners meeting, and give it to the Board for additional comment.  


Mr. Nicholson returned to his suggestion of letting the community know what is happening in mental health. He felt it very important that the people who are receiving these services understand what is in the state mental health plan. He suggested that there also be a public meeting held prior  to the Board making it=s final recommendation to the State. There was much discussion on how to hold public information sessions when it is still unclear what the final outcome will be. Mr. Nicholson requested direction on updating the citizens of the pending changes. There was no objection to Mr. Nicholson holding such public meetings. 


Essay Writing Contest - What it Means to be an American

Commissioner Hawkins introduced Mr. Christopher Towe, winner of the essay writing contest.     Mr. Towe read his essay for all present. Commissioner Hawkins led a round of applause, and noted that Christopher has recently been selected as a Presidential Scholar. Chairman Moyer also commended Christopher on his essay and it=s presentation, and thanked Dottie Effinger for her work on this project.    


E-Community Report           

Mr. Nicholson updated the Board on the progress of this project, stating that it is almost complete. He reminded the Board that the E-Communities program was part of a state-wide effort to look at technology and infrastructures within communities, sponsored by the Rural Internet Access Authority (RIAA). Mr. Nicholson had been appointed the E-Champion for this community. He noted the groups who had been involved with the project including the school system, community college, Pardee Hospital, members of County government, BellSouth, the Henderson Area Computer Society, churches, non-profits, several towns and the Chamber of Commerce.


The group first assessed the county=s information technology status to see what resources existed and what would be needed in the future. A survey was done within the county, with the results generally in favor of increasing technology. Two reports were presented to the Board, first was the Assessment tool for the community, and the second was the Strategic Plan. 


Mr. Nicholson presented John Howell of Telecommunications Consulting Associates, who developed the plan addressing the issues within the community. Mr. Howell reviewed the plan, stating that it was an effort to make sure that all citizens across North Carolina had access to high speed Internet connections. He noted a direct correlation between school grades and digital literacy. He also spoke to the importance of keeping citizens from becoming lost in the search for jobs.


The RIAA established several initiatives for the committee. First was to access the community, which has been done. This process identified the assets and the infrastructure, and is now in a document that can be used for economic development. Second was the creation of a strategic plan to make sure future initiatives would be identified for possible grant monies, and establish a candidate for the next level of RIAA funding. RIAA will fund $12,000 to establish high-speed public access points across the county through the public libraries. Possible future initiatives were also identified and discussed, such as a future fiber optics line. Mr. Howell then answered several questions from the Board concerning the public access.


Mr. Nicholson requested authorization to file the reports with the Rural Internet Access Authority. Chairman Moyer made the motion to authorize the submission of the plan to the RIAA. All voted in favor and the motion carried. 


Governor=s Proposed Budget

Chairman Moyer expressed his concern over how the budget was made available to the Commissioners. Mr. Nicholson then stated that the Governor had presented his revised budget to the General Assembly, reminding the Board that the Governor is the State Budget Officer and is required to present a budget to the State. He detailed the following items of importance in this budget:

C                  Revenues from a lottery which North Carolina does not have

C                  Suspension of $335 million in funding of local government reimbursements

C                  Support of an additional 2 cent sales tax though the last increase is being withheld

C                  Cutbacks of funds and positions in the school system, community college and libraries

C                  Reduction of $16 million for SmartStart, but an increase of $28 million for a similar new program


Chairman Moyer stated that the Board had feared the worst case scenario, and that is what has been received. The Board now has to work with the legislature to get the message through that this is an unacceptable situation. There has been no fundamental change in how government works, and this does not fix the underlying problems. Mr. Nicholson made available a chart of our local delegation and how they can be reached to let them know that the lack of financial responsibility is unacceptable.


Commissioner Messer questioned the proposed 2 cent sales tax. Following some discussion, he stated that the County had to have a budget in place within the next few weeks, and there were many unanswered questions concerning items such as local libraries and employee benefits. There followed much discussion on what may happen with the state budget.



1. Judy Cox - Ms. Cox requested that Commissioners not close the Green River Library. She spoke about the importance of the library for the children of the county, especially in areas of computer access and the reference area. She asked the Board what the community can do to keep the library open. 

2. Liz Ball - Ms. Ball spoke to the importance of having a library close by for residents of the community.


3. Candler Willis - Mr. Willis spoke on behalf of the library. He stated that this issue spoke to the relationship between the government and the people. He stated that government needs to be respectful of citizens, and keep its commitments. Many years ago the community did everything asked of it to get a library, and the county should now keep it=s commitment and keep the library open. 

4. Carl Taylor - Mr. Taylor read a statement written by his sister-in-law Katherine Taylor. She was one of the first to request a library for Green River, and was concerned about the distance to the main library for children and the elderly. She had circulated a petition, on which she had received 737 signatures. 


5. Eva Richey - Ms. Richey spoke in opposition of the closing of the Green River library. She stated that she felt it was unfair to close the library while spending money to pursue the Carolina Apparel Building. 


6.  Lindsey Ward - Ms. Ward spoke to the amount of homework assigned to highschool students such as herself, and how the reference materials help the children in the community. She also spoke to the importance of computer access for foreign campers in the area.


7. Douglas Coggins - Mr. Coggins acknowledged the budget crisis across the country, and it=s impact on the community. He spoke to the close knit spirit in the community, and their feeling of being left behind while money continues to be spent in other areas of the county. He suggested limiting operations at each of the libraries rather than just impacting one. 


8. Ed Bell - Mr. Bell stated that the community feels strongly about their library, and discussed the actual savings of closing the library. 


9. Mary Singleton - Ms. Singleton stated that she is a retired educator, and spoke in support of retaining the library. She stated that there are people who rely on the libraries to feed their minds. She asked the Board to find the money necessary to keep this branch open.


10. Dick Baird - Mr. Baird stated that he is the WHKP Crab Creek Cracker. He is writing some columns and will be on the air shortly. He applauded the managers within the county for dealing with the budget, and Flat Rock for their upcoming AUnity in Community Day@. He spoke to some concerns such as the budget and library censorship. He informed the Board that they will receive from him a proposed Proclamation for AStrive to Drive Week@, in support of small businesses who use automobiles.


11. Leon Allison - Mr. Allison spoke in support of retaining the Green River Library. He suggested  that either taxes should be raised or money taken out of the reserve fund. He stated the state was in trouble because it did not have a rainy day fund, and the county should make sure it had such a fund.


12. Chuck McGrady - Mr. McGrady stated his support for his neighbors in the Green River area. He requested on behalf of the summer camp directors that the Board find a way to keep the library open. 

13. Audrey Snyder - Ms. Snyder stated she was a resident of the Mt. Olivet community, and spoke about her good experiences with the Green River library.


Chairman Moyer reminded the audience that Informal Public Comments are not a videotaped portion of the meeting. He stated that several people had spoken during this time about the Green River Library and the proposal to consider closing this library. That proposal was based on the state budget crisis. He reminded everyone that no decisions had as yet been made with respect to proposed cuts, they were suggestions from the County Manager. He thanked those who had come forward to share their concerns, and shared the Board=s concerns over having to make any cuts.


Commissioner Gordon reiterated that the proposal to close the library was only a part of the County Manager=s recommendation for a balanced budget. The Board has not yet had an opportunity to discuss the specific items in the budget. She too thanked those who had come forward to share their concerns and for their willingness to help the community. She agreed that more than just the per book cost should be considered, because the need for other services may be much greater. She stated that closing a library is a very drastic measure, and not one that she would support at this point.     

Commissioner Hawkins stated that to make up over $3 million dollars, property taxes would go up 3 to 4 cents. The dilemma that the Board faces is whether to raise taxes, take money out of the fund balance, or cut services. There will probable be some combination, and the Board will be challenged with setting the priorities to get as many services as possible out of the available dollars.


Commissioner Ward made an analogy between different areas in the county, and how many areas are now up to speed with recreation areas and libraries. He stated that there are some tough decisions to be made, but everyone should be treated equally and perhaps each library should close some hours instead of taking it all from one.


Commissioner Messer stated that he agreed with the rest of the Board, and that everyone would have to give and take on this matter. He told the people in Green River that they didn=t have to worry about their library.


The Commissioners took a 10 minute recess.



Commissioner Ward made the motion for the Board to go into public hearing.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Rocky Hyder informed the Board that the purpose of this public hearing was to receive public comments on the following list of road names:


Renaming of Existing Road Names

Old Name                                            Requested Name                                

Light Breeze Drive                              ZZYZX Rd.

Cobble Cove Lane                              Oak Creek Court

Plum Hollow Drive                             Fender Drive


New Road Names

Loveland Lane

Rock Haven Lane

Sequoyah Trail Rd.

Blueberry Farm Rd.


Chairman Moyer requested some comment on the request to change Light Breeze Dr. to ZZYZX Road. He reminded everyone that one of the main purposes of renaming is to allow emergency services to be able to respond. Mr. Hyder stated that it is a novel name, but has no place in public safety. It is hard to pronounce, and could cause confusion in the dispatch environment. He stated that his recommendation would be not to accept that road name, and ask the people on that road to come up with a more common and pronounceable name.   


Public Input

1. Dick Baird - Mr. Baird pronounced the name ZZYZX, stating he didn=t have any problem with it and didn=t think anyone else did either. He felt it was a First Amendment issue, stifling expression. He noted several other areas that would be equally confusing for dispatch. 


2. Brad Harris - Mr. Harris stated that he is the one proposing the ZZYZX name change. He stated that most people who see the name can pronounce it. He answered several questions from the Board concerning the number of people on the street, and how much property each person owned. He stated that he would be open to discussing other possibilities, and would come up with something acceptable.


Mr. Hyder addressed the issue mentioned by Mr. Baird of roads that have similar names. He stated that they have worked to change those road names because they are duplicates, and continue to do so. Commissioner Gordon questioned what the policy had been on road names that are not actually words. Mr. Hyder answered that this was the first one they had encountered, but they would prefer to have a system in place in which dispatchers would not have to struggle to pronounce road names.


Commissioner Hawkins noted that this was not a First Amendment issue since it was being discussed, but an issue of eliminating roads with duplicate names and supplying everyone with a unique physical address for safety purposes. He stated that no one cares what the name of the road is, but safety is a higher purpose.


Chairman Moyer asked Mr. Harris if he would be willing to withdraw his request and work with staff on a name acceptable to everyone. Mr. Harris stated that he did not wish to create a complication, and would propose the name of Off Road. Following additional discussion, it was decided to have staff work with Mr. Harris on a road name. Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to adjourne this meeting until June 3, and hold the same public hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Mr. Douglas Coggins came forward to speak. Ms. Beeker reminded that Board that his comments would be received outside the Public Hearing. Mr. Coggins stated that he lived on a road that had a name change, and that was his basis. His address is now on Lamplighter Road. He plans to request a name change and asked the Board to extend the same courtesy to his group that they have extended to Mr. Harris.

Ms. Beeker stated that it would be appropriate to ask Mr. Coggins if he would like his comments incorporated into the continued date, so his comments could be transcribed and made a part of that public hearing. Mr. Coggins indicated he would like his comments to be included in the record. It was agreeable to the Board to do so.



Set Public Hearing on Budget  - Mr. Nicholson recommended the Board set a Public Hearing on the Budget on June 19, 2002 at 11:00am. Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to set the Public Hearing on June 19 at 11:00am. All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Possible Need to Change Mid-Month Meeting Date in July - Mr. Nicholson reminded the Board that several Commissioners would be at NACo on the regularly scheduled date for the mid-month July meeting. Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to move the mid-July meeting to July 24th. All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Mr. Nicholson then passed around possible dates for budget workshops. He noted the possibility of the Tuesday and Thursday in the first week of June. It was the consensus of the Board to hold  budget workshops on the following dates:

Thursday, June 6 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.  

Thursday, June 13 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Monday, June 17 at 7:00 p.m. for the Fire Departments

Thursday, June 20 at 2:00 - possibly for the schools

Thursday, June 27 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.


Public Hearings on the FY 2002-2003 Budget were scheduled for:

Wednesday, June 19 at 11:00 a.m.

Tuesday, June 25 at 7:00 p.m.


Commissioner Ward made the motion to set the Public Hearings on the Budget on Wednesday, June 19 at 11:00 a.m. and Tuesday, June 25 at 7:00 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Commissioner Hawkins questioned who this years Mayor=s Cup Raft Race participants would be. Chairman Moyer stated that so far it is himself and Commissioner Messer, and Recreation employees Rick Harris and Tim Hopkins.


Mr. Nicholson informed the Board that the county has again been challenged by the Town of Fletcher to a game of softball. That has been scheduled for June 15th at 10:00 a.m.


There being no further business to come before the Board, Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to adjourn the meeting at 12:40 p.m.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.





                                                                                                                                                          Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board        William L. Moyer, Chairman