STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON JUNE 19, 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, Finance Director J. Carey McLelland, Assistant to the County Manager Selena Coffey, Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson, Fire Marshal/Emergency Management Coordinator Rocky Hyder, County Engineer Gary Tweed, EMS Director Terry Layne, Property Addressing Technician Curtis Griffin, and Deputy Clerk to the Board/Volunteer Coordinator Amy Brantley.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Moyer called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commissioner Ward led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
Rev. Gus Martschink, of the Chaplaincy Program of Pardee Hospital, gave the invocation.
DISCUSSION/ADJUSTMENT OF AGENDA
Commissioner Hawkins added Discussion Item 1, fire department budgets. Commissioner Ward added Discussion Item 2, Animal Control Temporary Policy. Chairman Moyer added an Update on the LGCCA meeting as Discussion Item 3. County Manager Nicholson requested the Board to go into Closed Session to discuss an economic development issue. There were no further adjustments to the agenda. Chairman Moyer made a motion to approve the agenda with the addition of those four items. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Commissioner Hawkins requested to have Item J, Waterline Extension(s) pulled from the Consent Agenda. Chairman Moyer made a motion to approve items A through I. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Commissioner Hawkins explained that Consent Agenda Item J, Waterline Extension(s) was a request from the City of Hendersonville Water Department for Board action for a waterline extension into the Appleland Business Park satellite annexation. He wanted some discussion and staff comments on that application which indicated the City was still looking into the specifics of the manufactured home park. Commissioner Hawkins inquired of Ms. Karen Smith, Planning Director, since this is a satellite annexation of the City, why was the County involved in waterline extensions in the jurisdiction of the City. Ms. Smith replied that she did not understand that it had been annexed at this point or that it was being considered for that. Mr. Nicholson explained that it was adjacent to the Appleland Business Park which is a satellite annexation. Ms. Smith further explained this site was across Upward Road from the Appleland Business Park. Commissioner Hawkins stated it appeared the City was planning to annex it. Ms. Smith replied the City was extending sewer and that it was their policy to annex such properties. Commissioner Gordon further explained the City=s policy was to annex if the City pays for the sewer extension but the City doesn=t necessarily annex if the developer is paying for the sewer extension. County Attorney Beeker explained that a satellite annexation can only be extended by petition of people. They can=t do ameba-like satellite annexation so it would have to be by petition of these people if they wanted to be in the City. Commissioner Gordon stated the waterline extension request stated that the developer/owner of the property is paying for the sewer extension. Chairman Moyer stated this was a developing area and clearly water and sewer would be needed in that area. He felt this request was appropriate. Ms. Smith expressed concern that they might not be able to use it to expand as a manufactured home park. She wasn=t necessarily saying anything for or against the sewer line extension itself but she didn=t want the developer to be under the impression by granting the sewer line that they would be able to violate the Zoning Ordinance. Staff had been unable to get good information about what=s out there other than eighteen spaces existing and they=re looking at the same sixteen existing and sixteen new. It=s just that expansion may constitute a violation of the Zoning Ordinance. Chairman Moyer further commented that it should be made clear to the developer that approval of the water line extension doesn=t mean that the land use the developer is asking for is appropriate or legal under the County Ordinance. Mr. Nicholson stated staff would make that clear to the City and the applicant in a memo.
Commissioner Hawkins asked for clarification on the matter. The part the City was requesting to extend the sewer line to is actually still in the County and not a part of the satellite annexation. Ms. Smith replied that was correct. Commissioner Hawkins further stated the County doesn=t know whether their plan complies with the City=s manufactured home park zoning regulations. Ms. Smith was speaking to the County=s zoning regulations. She further explained it was a highway commercial zoning district so they wouldn=t normally be able to expand a pre-existing non-conforming use there but staff doesn=t have enough information about what they=re doing.
Commissioner Hawkins made a motion to approve Item J under the Consent Agenda with a stipulation as Mr. Nicholson had mentioned that a cover letter accompany the approval with the previously discussed concerns. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
The CONSENT AGENDA consisted of the following:
Minutes were presented for the Board=s review and approval of the following meetings:
May 14, 2002, special called meeting
June 3, 2002, regular meeting
June 6, 2002, special called meeting
A list of 52 tax release requests was submitted for approval by the Board of Commissioners.
A list of 8 tax refund requests was submitted for approval by the Board of Commissioners.
Proposed Contract with Medical Emergency Ambulance Transport, Inc.
The Board of Commissioners had in the past granted an ambulance franchise to Medical Emergency Ambulance Transport, Inc. under the County=s Emergency Medical Services Ordinance which is codified as Chapter 87 of the County Code. The service primarily provided by Medical Emergency Ambulance Transport, Inc. in Henderson County is hospital-to-hospital transport of patients from hospitals in Henderson County to Mission/St. Joseph=s in Asheville. They also provide much of the out-of-county ambulance transports. The renewal of the franchise to Medical Emergency Ambulance Transport, Inc. is overdue, the previous franchise having expired on December 2, 2001; however, Staff recommended that the Board delay consideration of the renewal of the ambulance franchise.
The State has recently adopted temporary EMS regulations. Those regulations are now under review in order to have them adopted as permanent regulations; however, there are some changes that are contemplated within those rules. With the EMS permanent regulations still in draft form, Staff recommended that the Board consider delaying action on the granting or renewal of any ambulance franchise until the permanent EMS regulations are adopted and our EMS Ordinance and related standard franchise agreements are reviewed.
So as not to diminish the ambulance service level in Henderson County, EMS Director Terry Layne recommended that the Board consider entering into a one-year contract with Medical Emergency Ambulance Transport, Inc. A proposed contract was available for the Board=s review which maintains the services that Medical Emergency Ambulance Transport, Inc. was providing under the expired franchise agreement. This contract would be authorized by NCGS 153A-250(b), a copy of which was in the agenda packet.
The County Manager agreed with the EMS Director=s recommendation on delaying consideration of the renewal of the franchise. Approval of the proposed contract was recommended in order to preserve the ambulance service level in Henderson County.
Lease of McCallister Property
The Henderson County Sheriff=s Office has for several years utilized the building and property located at 201 North King Street (formerly known as AMac=s Auto Supply@) for its Criminal Investigation Division. This property has been leased by the County from Margy H. McCallister for that purpose. The County has exercised all of the available extensions under the current lease and the final term is due to expire on June 30, 2002.
Ms. McCallister has agreed to continue leasing the property to the County under similar terms as the current lease. The only change is an increase in the rental payments. The proposed annual rent for the first year term (7/1/02 to 6/30/03) under the proposed lease is $26,400 with the rental payments for the second and third year terms increasing by $1,200 each year if such terms are extended by the County. Copies of both the current and proposed lease were provided for the Board=s review.
The County Manager recommended that the proposed lease be approved. Money to cover the annual rental payments for the first year which begins July 1, 2002 and ends on June 30, 2003 ($26,400) has been included in the recommended FY 2002-2003 budget.
Henderson County and Cane Creek Water and Sewer District v.
Asheville-Buncombe-Henderson Water Authority; Buncombe County
and City of Asheville [Henderson Co. File No. 01-CVS-344]
The Consent Judgment was provided for information purposes and for entry into the minutes as required by NCGS 143-318.11(a)(3), attached hereto and incorporated as a part of these minutes.
Tax Collector=s Report
Tax Collector, Terry F. Lyda, had provided the Tax Collector=s Report dated June 14, 2002 for the Board=s information.
Reappointment of Deputy Tax Collector for Delinquent Taxes
On September 10, 2001, the Board appointed Darlene Burgess as Deputy Tax Collector for the collection of delinquent taxes for a term that will expire June 30, 2002. At that time, the Board was desirous of having the Tax Collector=s term be coterminous with the budget cycle. If the Board is desirous of re-appointing Ms. Burgess as Deputy Tax Collector for the collection of delinquent taxes for a term to run July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2003, it would be appropriate to do so at this time.
(The Board had previously set the bond for the Deputy Tax Collector at $250,000. It would be appropriate for the Board to review this bond amount at the settlement in August of this year in conjunction with the review of the Tax Collector=s bond, rather than at today=s meeting.)
The County Manager recommended the Board reappoint Darlene Burgess as Deputy Tax Collector for Delinquent Taxes for a term to run July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2003.
Request for Improvement Guarantee for Portions of Oleta Falls
On October 23, 2001, the Board of Commissioners approved a subdivision improvement guarantee for Waterside Properties, LLC, for various sections of Oleta Falls. The improvement guarantee, cash on deposit in the amount of $101,925.00, covered the following improvements: (1) reducing the grade of a section of Bear Landing Drive, (2) reconfiguring the curve on Oleta Mill Trail in the vicinity of the Stepp Cemetery to increase the curve radius to at least 110 feet, and (3) making remedial improvements to increase road shoulder widths along certain sections of road. This amount also includes the required contingency amount of twenty-five percent (25%). Under the performance guarantee agreement between the County and Waterside Properties, the completion date for improvements was April 30, 2002. Because the work has not been completed and because there is no expiration date for a letter of credit or bond involved, the County is still holding the funds.
In a status report provided to the Board for its May 6, 2002 meeting, Staff stated that Waterside Properties intended to revise its cost estimates and resubmit an improvement guarantee application to replace the application approved on October 23, 2001. At that time, Waterside Properties was awaiting a decision by the Board on the variance request for the grade of Bear Landing Drive. The grade problem was one of the items covered by the October 23, 2001 improvement guarantee.
Since the granting of the grade variance by the Board on May 7, 2002, Waterside Properties has revised its cost estimate to subtract funds previously included to correct the grade and to adequately reflect the cost of the other remaining work. Waterside Properties has submitted a new request for improvement guarantees with an engineer=s cost estimate to cover the remaining work consisting of increasing the radius of a curve near the cemetery on Oleta Mill Trail to 110-feet and performing work related to extending shoulders on roads in Phase II, all to meet the standards of the Subdivision Ordinance.
According to the new application materials, Waterside Properties intends to post with Henderson County a total of $107,740.00, which includes the estimated cost of the above-mentioned remaining work plus the required contingency amount of 25%. The new improvement guarantee request is intended to replace the one approved on October 23, 2001. Waterside Properties intends to post the new improvement guarantee using a combination of two methods, an irrevocable letter of credit from Palmetto Farm Credit and cash on deposit. As mentioned previously, the County is currently holding funds deposited in accordance with the performance agreement for the October 23, 2001 improvement guarantee. Waterside Properties is requesting that the Board allow the release of $31,740.00 from the cash already on deposit because it is no longer needed to cover the grade work on Bear Landing Drive. The applicant is also requesting that the remaining $70,185.00 of the cash on deposit be applied to the new improvement guarantee and that a letter of credit in the amount of $37,555.00 be used to supplement the cash on deposit, for the total improvement guarantee of $107,740.00. The proposed completion date for the improvements is March 1, 2004.
Should the Board choose to approve the improvement request, a draft performance guarantee agreement was provided for the Board=s consideration. If the request is approved, the developer must submit the letter of credit in accordance with the terms of the Agreement. The County Attorney or Assistant County Attorney must review the letter of credit and certify the agreement as to form prior to its execution by the Chairman and the applicant. Once the letter of credit and the performance guarantee agreement are properly executed, then the County could proceed with releasing the $31,740.00 portion of the cash on deposit as requested by Waterside Properties.
The County Manager recommended that the Board approve the request for a new improvement guarantee for the reconfiguration of the curve radius on Oleta Mill Trail and the shoulder work in Phase II of Oleta Falls as presented, subject to the terms of the draft performance agreement and subject to the County Attorney (or Assistant County Attorney) reviewing and approving the new letter of credit as to form. He further recommended that the Board allow the release of the $31,740.00 previously associated with the road grade work on Bear Landing Drive upon the execution of the new performance guarantee agreement.
The City of Hendersonville had requested any County comments on proposed waterline extension(s) as follows:
Lakewood RV Resort
This is a project to bring water service to a piece of property located approximately 2 1/3 miles southeast of the Hendersonville Corporate Limits off Ballenger Road just north of Upward Road.
The project requires approximately 1,060 lineal feet of 6" C900 DR-18 PVC water line.
Fire protection will be provided via the installation of two fire hydrants located along Ballenger Road to a proposed 12 Master Water Meter.
Water pressure and flow in this area is as follows:
Static pressure = 90 psi.
Residual = 50 psi.
Flow = 830 GPM
The intended use of this property is residential with 230 RV units, 1 single-family residence and a clubhouse proposed.
The entire cost of the proposed water line extension is to be paid for by the owner/developer, Lakewood RV Resort of N.C., LLC. of Flat Rock, North Carolina.
Based on the above information, the Water Department can support the additional connections and recommended approval of the project contingent upon approval of the final plans and specifications from the Water and Sewer Department.
The Board of Commissioners granted a development vested right for the final phase of the project on 4/11/02. Plans for the final phase indicated that the developer might tap into public water.
2. Oak Hill Mobile Home Park
This is a project to bring sewer service to a piece of property located approximately 750 feet west of the Appleland Business Park Satellite Annexation project off Upward Road.
The project requires approximately 420 lineal feet of 8" gravity sewer line and the installation of one additional pre-cast concrete manhole.
The intended use of this property is residential with a maximum of 32 mobile home sites, 16 existing and 16 future sites proposed.
The entire cost of the proposed water line extension is to be paid for by the owner/developer, C. Lemule Oats of Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Based on the above information, the Water Department can support the additional connections and recommend approval of the project contingent upon approval of the final plans and specifications from the Water and Sewer Department.
Staff is still looking into the specifics of the manufactured home park. It appears to be a pre-existing nonconforming use in a C-4 Highway Commercial zoning district. C-4 does not allow manufactured home parks. We need additional information from the owner before commenting on whether expansion is allowed.
Chairman Moyer reminded the Board of the following vacancies and opened the floor to nominations:
1. Equalization and Review - 1 vacancy-There were no nominations so this vacancy was rolled to the next meeting.
2. Juvenile Crime Prevention Council - 3 vacancies
Commissioner Messer nominated Mr. Skip Sheldon for position number fifteen. He is currently serving and indicated a willingness to continue to serve. Commissioner Ward made a motion to suspend the rules and elect Mr. Sheldon. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
3. Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee B 4 vacancies
There were no nominations so these vacancies were rolled to the next meeting.
4. Zoning Board of Adjustment, Hendersonville City B 1 vacancy-There were no nominations so this vacancy was rolled to the next meeting.
5. Zoning Board of Adjustment, Fletcher B 1 vacancy-There were no nominations so this vacancy was rolled to the next meeting.
6. Mountain Area Workforce Development Board B 3 vacancies.
Commissioner Hawkins nominated Mr. Beatty for position number two. Commissioner Gordon nominated Cindy Debaibeh for position seven. Chairman Moyer made a motion to suspend the rules and appoint those two by acclamation. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MASTER PLAN
A Comprehensive Economic Development Master Plan for Henderson County was recently completed. It was done under a contract with Lockwood Greene by the Committee of 100 of the Greater Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce. Henderson County participated in the funding of this plan.
Scott Hamilton, Vice-President of Economic Development of the Committee of 100, distributed printed materials to the Board of Commissioners. Mr. Hamilton noted that Robert Pittman from Lockwood Greene was present and Jim Crafton, the Immediate Past Chairman of the Committee of 100 who is the current chair of the Steering Committee for the Mastrack Development Plan. Mr. Hamilton stated that Mr. Crafton would explain to the Board how the Committee of 100 got to this point, why it got to this point and Robert Pittman, principal consultant with Lockwood Greene would go over their findings for the Board in a very short version to what the Committee of 100 presented previously. Mr. Hamilton reminded the Board the Committee of 100 presented a request for proposal and a scoping to Lockwood Greene and some other national site consulting firms to help the Committee of 100 to do its business which is looking at creating jobs for those that have lost their jobs, increasing the economic opportunity for everybody in the County by maybe creating a job to where somebody that is working two jobs would only have to work one job; maybe creating a job to where a family that is working three or four jobs would be able to work fewer than that and be able to increase their economic vitality. The Committee of 100 looked at industry. Mr. Hamilton explained that when the term industry is used a lot of people go to the mind set of smoke stacks and the stereotypical term of industry. However, the Committee of 100 looked at industry in a broad sense of what brings the most economic impact to a community regarding investment, the number of jobs, the wages those jobs pay, the benefits that those jobs pay, the type of corporate citizen that industry might be, keeping in mind that industry is not just the manufacturing and smokestacks. The Board would hear Mr. Pittman talk about that industry used in the global sense of the term could be the cult setter industry or back office industry, white collar industry, could be the software development industry, the knowledge-based industry, just not manufacturing in terms of smokestacks when the term industry is used.
Mr. Hamilton introduced Jim Crafton and explained that Mr. Crafton is the Immediate Past Chair of the Committee of 100. Also under Mr. Crafton=s tenure as Chairman spear-headed through the RFP and got the Committee moving along with this plan. Chairman Wayne Johnson, current Chair of Committee of 100, asked Mr. Crafton to continue on to chair the steering committee for this Mastrack Economic Development Plan.
Mr. Crafton gave the Board the background about how the Committee of 100 got to the point of where they are today. About a year and a half ago, the Committee of 100 began to address the fact that over the years it tried many different approaches to economic development which have been spot approaches. It occurred to some of the members that it would be very useful for the community and Henderson County to develop a master plan for economic development to take a look at where the Committee was, what its strengths and weaknesses are, where the Committee wants to go and generate a map on how the Committee wants to get there. So about a year and a half ago, the Committee started discussing this at the Committee of 100 level and as it went along it talked about how do we do this. As Mr. Hamilton had mentioned, the Committee eventually came to the point where they needed to engage a consulting firm who had background and experience in doing this type of thing. Lockwood Greene was engaged to do the study for the Committee of 100. The Committee of 100 then set out to raise the funding to be able to do that. The County contributed some amount but the principal amount of money raised was from private sources, private funds in the community to help fund this study.
The value that the Committee of 100 sees in having an economic development plan is looking at economic development at all as opposed to just standing still in the community. Mr. Crafton stated he is a firm believer that you can never stand still, you either move forward or you move backwards. As Mr. Hamilton had previously mentioned, the two primary issues that the Committee of 100 sees as important in economic development are jobs and tax base. The Committee believes both items are important to this Board of Commissioners by providing jobs to the citizens, providing the opportunity for them to have jobs and generating the tax base in order to garner the fees and funds that the Commissioners need to generate the ever-increasing demand for services to the community and its citizens. The Committee recognizes and understands the budget constraints the Board deals with on a normal basis and especially in this day and time with a shortfall from the State but the Committee invites the Commissioners to please look at the presentation as opportunities for the future, as an investment for the future of the community, the County and its people. The Committee of 100 stands ready to move forward with this matter as a public-private combination but it needs the Commissioners support. The County needs the Commissioner=s support in this particular area to help it to move forward. Mr. Crafton introduced Robert Pittman of Lockwood Greene Corporation who would explain to the Commissioners the results of the study and recommendations generated for the Committee of 100.
Mr. Pittman explained there were four components to the study. One was a competitive assessment; one was a labor study, a targeted industry analysis and a marketing plan. Under the competitive assessment, Mr. Pittman noted that in the course of the research, Lockwood Greene discovered some very interesting facts about Henderson County. Henderson County is a beautiful place to work and live as everybody present knew. There are a lot of apple orchards, there=s a lot of beautiful countryside for tourism for arts and crafts and that=s the impression people get when they come into this community. However, underlying all of that is still a strong sense of a manufacturing-based service economy. Henderson County from the numbers that Lockwood Greene looked at is still a heavy manufacturing area. Twenty-three point two percent of the private sector employment in the County is manufacturing compared to twenty point three percent for North Carolina and fourteen point two percent for the US. So despite the fact that Henderson County is a beautiful outdoor recreational and tourism and apple growing area, Henderson County is also a heavy manufacturing area. Reflecting the tourism and art strength of the local economy, the retail sector has a larger employment share in Henderson County, about nineteen point three percent compared to North Carolina and the US. However, almost all service, such as professional services, hairdressing, restaurants, postal services, service wholesale distribution and finance industries, the more mature industries and some of the faster growing industries in the US have a smaller share of employment in Henderson County than they do in North Carolina or the US. So Lockwood Greene came to two key conclusions that formed some of the underpendings of the study regarding Henderson County. Number one, manufacturing in the broad sense of the word like Mr. Hamilton had mentioned, not just smokestack manufacturing but all kinds of technology and other kinds of manufacturing, has a much larger impact on local economy than tourism or arts. These manufacturing and professional service industries tend to pay much higher wages and they=re higher growth and they have higher job and income multiplier effects throughout the economy.
The second key conclusion was that targeted industries for Henderson County, in Lockwood Greene=s opinion, to diversify the economy be a real mixture of industries with some manufacturing, because that=s the County=s strength, distribution, finance and service sectors to diversify and grow the economy. Lockwood Greene=s philosophy of economic development is to diversify and create strength of local economies so that=s the way the study was approached.
Mr. Pittman noted that a competitive assessment was made by Lockwood Greene. The firm looked at communities from the standpoint of the way a business would when making an investment decision. As Mr. Hamilton had previously mentioned, Lockwood Greene works with companies, be they white-collar or manufacturing such as Boeing or Toyota or Intel, to help them make location decisions as to where they are going to make an investment and create jobs. Lockwood Greene classified the location factors of the County into strengths, weaknesses or neutrals. Over one hundred individual business executives, elected officials and other stakeholders were interviewed and benchmarked Henderson County, Hendersonville and other communities to similar communities to see how Henderson County compared and Lockwood Greene used its own professional experience and judgment in coming to conclusions. The firm selected seven metropolitan areas with which to compare Henderson County. He further explained that the Business Bureau does not include Henderson County in the Asheville Metropolitan area. However, Lockwood Greene knows that the County is integrated economically strongly into Asheville-Buncombe County and vice versa. So Lockwood Greene attempted to look at smaller metropolitan areas like Asheville with counties similar to Henderson adjacent to them. Lockwood-Greene selected some metro-areas, such as Decatur, Alabama; Greenville-Spartanburg; Knoxville; Gainesville, Florida; Lexington, Kentucky; Richmond, Virginia and Savannah on which to benchmark Henderson County. With the data that was gathered from these benchmark areas and the data gathered about Henderson County and the professional judgment and countless interviews, Lockwood Greene classified the following economic development strengths for Henderson County:
P Potential available workers
P Labor productivity, work ethic and labor management relations. Mr. Pittman noted that having Blue Ridge Community College and technical training which is a critical part of attracting industry.
P K through twelve education. The County is outstanding statewide for that.
P Quality of life. That means different things to different people but clearly the quality of life in Henderson County is excellent. Lockwood Greene documented how that quality of life compares in terms of numbers to some of the other communities.
P Health care is strength.
P Proximity to a metro area with national visibility. A lot of companies like to look at metropolitan areas but yet have a smaller community adjacent to that with a good quality of life which suits Henderson County to a tee.
P Favorable economic geography and highway access which Henderson County has.
P Ground transportation.
Those were the strengths that Lockwood Greene identified as excellent strengths to recruit industry and taut in marketing materials as the County tries to recruit industry in the broad sense of the term.
Lockwood Greene looked at some factors that weren=t strengths but weren=t necessarily weaknesses. The reason the firm does the strengths and weaknesses analysis or SWAT analysis is to give the Commissioners and the Committee of 100 and the Chamber, the ammunition to help recruit companies and help to retain existing companies. A main component of economic development is retention and expansion and the Committee of 100 does that as well. So these strengths, weaknesses and neutrals are relevant for retention and expansion and new business start up as well as recruiting new industry.
Mr. Pittman noted some of the neutrals, i.e. those that weren=t necessarily strengths but not necessarily weaknesses:
P Labor costs. Henderson County is about in the middle of the pack with regard to the comparison areas in terms of labor costs, although the manufacturing labor costs are low.
P Immediate labor availability. Even though the potential available workers in the long-term were found to be strong, there were some issues of immediate skilled labor availability that were troublesome to many of the companies interviewed.
P Air transportation. Although Henderson County is fortunate to be adjacent to the Asheville Regional Airport, many companies prefer hub airports.
P State and local taxes. Taxes in Henderson County are among the lowest in North Carolina. However, North Carolina is not a particularly low-tax state compared to other southeastern states and other states in the nation.
P State and local incentives. In Lockwood Greene=s opinion, the County has a good clearly stated incentive policy. However, North Carolina as a state is not known as a strong incentive state compared to other states like Mississippi or Alabama.
P Water and sewer. Lockwood Greene understands the County is working on that and recently made announcements regarding the expansion of those systems.
P Telecommunications. Businesses these days look for high-speed Internet access on a wide spread basis. Henderson County has that throughout some of the County but not all the County.
P Electricity and natural gas, the cost and services.
Mr. Pittman noted the economic development weaknesses. These are areas, in Lockwood Greene=s opinion, that the County needs to work on to make it more competitive with existing industry and new industry. He further commented that all communities have relevant weaknesses and this firm=s charge in the study was to look at the County as a business and identify the relative weaknesses that it has in attracting industries. A kinder term for weaknesses would be opportunities for improvement. Weaknesses as defined by Lockwood Greene relative to Henderson County is not a pejorative term; it just indicates that this firm thinks the County needs to work on that aspect of what it has to offer to attract business and grow the business that already exists in the County. Mr. Pittman briefly explained each identified weakness:
P Industrial land cost and availability is a strong weakness. This firm looked for serious flaws that would lead to potential elimination if the County were under consideration for an investment by a business or industry. Industrial land in the County runs anywhere from sixty-five thousand to one hundred two thousand dollars per acre. That compared with many of the competitor areas that were looked at where land sells for one half to one third of that price and in many cases is given away free by the city or the county to the appropriate industries. Since that is what competitors to Henderson County are doing, the firm ranked current land price and the availability of prime industrial and white collar sites as a relative weakness for the County. The business climate was, by some business leaders that were interviewed, viewed as a weakness mainly due to some of the ordinances that were passed by the City of Hendersonville such as the stream buffer, landscaping ordinance and other things that many businesses viewed as being onerous.
P Lack of unified support and vision for economic development. The firm found in its many years of doing such studies that a unified county or community putting a strong face forward to the industry that it is trying to recruit is the one that usually gets the best industries. Many communities have various factions in them which are not exactly united behind economic development and some of those factions exist in Henderson County. Feedback that was received from interviewing businesses and stakeholders is that the County needs to unify behind whatever plan it=s going to be to move forward from the economic development and quality of life standpoint.
P Limited cooperation among regional governments was a strong finding that emerged from the interviews and surveys. Although no region has perfect cooperation, many businesses and others that were interviewed said that the County and City could cooperate better for economic development, Asheville-Buncombe as well as Henderson County and surrounding counties could work together better. In the report, the firm had listed specific instances and examples of this matter.
P Limited resources devoted to economic development.
P Cost of living. The cost of residential and industrial land is not cheap in Henderson County and is viewed as a weakness.
P High health insurance costs. Articles in the local newspapers have cited some these weaknesses as stated by certain businesses that have declined to locate in Henderson County as being a reason they did not locate here.
Mr. Pittman discussed the recommendations made by the firm based on the assessment.
P Increase the supply of prepared industrial sites and buildings and make them available on a cost competitive basis. In Mr. Pittman=s professional opinion, that is the County=s number one issue and number one challenge from the standpoint of creating good high-paying jobs for your citizens.
P Consider a regional approach to water and sewer infrastructure and service to improve the economic development situation.
P Increase the resource and funding base for economic development.
P Work to improve commercial air service.
P Establish a committee of retired executives to serve as an economic development liaison with the retirees in the County. In the interviews, it was repeatedly noted that some of the individuals that may be opposed to economic development, to transportation improvements and the like are people that have in effect already made their money or income and they don=t necessarily have to worry about jobs. Many of those people were cited as being retirees or people that have second homes here. Mr. Pittman noted there are retired persons in the County that previously were executives in businesses that understand that it is possible to have a positive business climate as well as a good place to live and raise children. The firm suggested that the County tap into that resource of executives to help with the County=s economic development program.
P Communicate the importance of manufacturing in the economic development future of Henderson County. Mr. Pittman hoped that it would be the understanding of many people in the County that the County is not only agricultural and tourism but it is also manufacturing and the County can also attract white collar high-tech in a variety of industries to balance the economy.
P Explore options that will increase the supply of affordable housing.
P Minimum or living wage. Mr. Pittman shared the goal of everybody in the County of raising the standard of living and increasing more and better jobs for all citizens in the area. However, Mr. Pittman felt very strongly as an economist and an economic development site and location professional that it is counterproductive to that goal to automatically or artificially impose a minimum or living wage because it does two things. Number one, businesses have a choice to either hire the laborer or not. If you raise the cost of a business resource, they will hire or utilize less of it. Number two, if you mandate a living or minimum wage, that would make Henderson County a less desirable place for businesses to locate because the labor cost is automatically raised and it sends a negative signal to businesses that are looking in Henderson County and surrounding metropolitan areas that if the government chooses unilaterally to raise the minimum wage and impose restrictions on business, that sends a negative message and businesses will be asking what are they going to do next. In the firm=s opinion, that would be counterproductive to the goal of increasing the standard of living for all. In the firm=s opinion the way to do that is to have a strong economic development program that=s going to attract and grow new industries and new jobs that will create higher paying jobs with good benefits and stability for all the citizens.
Mr. Pittman did an overview of the labor study. The unemployment rate in a County is not necessarily the best way to identify the available labor. The firm=s task was to assess and describe the existing labor force by quality and quantity and the potential available work force. That is a new concept that is powerful from the labor market analysis conducted by the firm. The sources of information that were used to describe the County=s labor force were confidential employer interviews, telephone surveys of residents of four hundred households and a mail survey of one hundred businesses and forty-one responses from the survey were received.
The technical definition of underemployment is people that are employed but in jobs that are beneath the true skills that they have. They are capable of doing much more but because that opportunity is not available to them, they are working jobs that are way below their skill and income levels. So the firm looked at in the household labor interviews conducted by phone would the interviewee be potentially interested in changing jobs for a better wage or salary and the firm also looked at job satisfaction, was the interviewee dissatisfied with their job because there were not appropriate job opportunities available, or the salary and wage levels did not match the job, the education and skills did not match what the worker had and other similar things to describe workers that would be available if a new industry came in or an existing industry worked to expand and offer a better opportunity for those workers. The broader definition of the unemployed is that the government classifies people as unemployed only if they=ve looked for a job in the past four weeks. However, there are many people who aren=t employed that haven=t necessarily looked for a job in the past four weeks so they=re technically not in the government definition of unemployed but they are unemployed.
The firm provided in the report illustrated the calculation used for the potential available workers that is equal to those that are underemployed and/or dissatisfied that were potentially interested in changing jobs and the job seeking unemployed. The study looked at the prime working years of eighteen to fifty-five years of age. If the underemployed and the dissatisfied that indicate they would be willing to change jobs with the job seeking unemployed, the results were fifteen thousand three hundred thirty potential available workers for Henderson County. That amounted to a very high forty point seven percent of the civilian labor force. There are two significant aspects to this finding. Number one, this is good ammunition for the Chamber of Commerce and the Committee of 100 to use in recruiting new industries coming in and to encourage existing industries to expand. The second thing is that there is a situation in Henderson County where a lot of people are working below their full potential. In order to develop those people and allow them to work to their full potential attracting new industries, new opportunities that have higher skill levels and pay a higher wage, would serve the Board=s constituents very well.
The targeted industry part of the study defined the broad spectrum of economic activities such as a call center, a technology research center, a lab or any of those things. The firm looked at all potential sectors for targets including manufacturing, wholesale distribution, finance and back office, service industries and the so-called new economy industries such as information technology industries which include manufacturing, distribution, service and other types of industry as well. The firm identified a blend of industries to diversify the Henderson County economy. They looked at traditional industries as well as technology industries. Again manufacturing is still important but the firm realizes that many other sectors of the economy are relevant for Henderson County and should be grown. The criteria that was used to select the suggested target industries for the County to consentrate on, the firm was not advocating that the County nor the US nor the state of North Carolina pick winner industries or loser industries. Several years ago, the Japanese government made a habit of selecting industries like steel that they wanted to back and subsidize and make more competitive around the world. However, this firm doesn=t subscribe to that theory of the government supporting certain types of industries. This is entirely different from the situation of a community proactively selecting those industries that it=s going to try to attract. In this business that approach is called that the rifle over shot-gun approach. There are thousands of communities that are trying to attract industry just like Henderson County. Many of these communities put a shot gun up in the sky, pull the trigger and see what falls down. That is an inefficient way to attract industry. Henderson County is a wonderful location for certain types of industries and for other types of industries like semi-conductors it=s not a particularly good location because of lack of available land and water capacity for semi-conductors. The whole purpose of the target industry analysis is to identify those sectors in the economy for which Henderson County has a competitive advantage in terms of the location factors that those industries look at when they=re locating. The County wants to attract those industries that are a good locational match for the area and growing and help diversify the County=s economy in the future. A mix of industries that would be a good fit in the short run and in the long run five to fifteen years down the road such as some of those technology industries that are going to continue to grow that would be a challenge right now for Henderson County but down the road would make excellent candidates. Firms that are export based in that they don=t just serve the local market but they serve the broader market area.
Targeted industry clusters were listed in the report. Auto parts are already a strong part of the economy that is growing nationwide. Plastics manufacturing and distribution, recreational and sporting goods manufacturing and distribution would be a good target for Henderson County, as would electronic components, computer programming, finance, back office operations and some secondary clusters such as bio-technology, optical instruments and a few others. After analyzing a lot of data that was gathered during the study, the firm provided a list of industries that it feels sure that Henderson County has a good chance of recruiting, bringing to the County and growing for the future. That=s not to say the County doesn=t stand a chance of attracting other industry, but the first suggested that in the County=s target marketing plan that these be the industries that the County concentrate on. The rifle, rather than the shot-gun, approach has been the most efficient way to grow communities.
Mr. Pittman discussed the marketing plan. He talked about best practices in economic development. The business of economic development has been successfully done by many communities and not successfully done by many communities. What Lockwood-Greene does in its research is to look at communities and ask what have the successful communities done from the economic development standpoint, what are the best practices that tend to tie those best communities together. Mr. Pittman listed a few of those best practices. Number one was public/private partnerships. The County already has that in the Committee of 100 in that there is public funding as well as private funding for economic development. The best practice is the private and public sectors working together to make the most effective economic development programs. Marketing funding is defined as going to trade shows, calling on prospects is what the County has to do to have an effective industry recruiting program these days and the best practice communities fund one to three dollars per resident and even more for marketing budgets. Mr. Pittman was not talking salaries, overhead or copy machines but he was talking just the actual marketing activities of contacting prospects and bringing them here and closing the deal. Develop a regional approach and write and review a marketing plan and have a targeted marketing approach are the key best practices.
The marketing plan was divided into three elements:
P Goals, what the County wants to accomplish.
P Objectives, what the County needs to do in order to meet those goals.
P Strategic action items.
The four economic development goals are very broad but they=re all encompassing:
P To create and communicate an economic development identity and image for Henderson County. In Mr. Pittman=s opinion, the County needed to begin that process immediately to create an image in the minds of those industries and executives that the County is going to try to recruit, illustrating that this not only a good place to live but it=s a great place to do business.
P To attract new business and industry to Henderson County through an aggressive targeted marketing campaign.
P Achieve a broad base of local support for a coordinated economic development marketing effort. Successful best practice counties are those which the broad constituency throughout the county, elected officials, stakeholders, citizens of all walks of life, understand what it is that the county or the community is trying to accomplish with its economic development program. They might have differences about certain goals and objectives but at least they agree to move forward with the program.
P To facilitate the retention and expansion of local business and industry through an active marketing effort. Although the Committee of 100 is already doing an excellent job of tending to the County=s existing businesses, additional recommendations were made that would be helpful. One statistic that is telling in economic development is that in the average American community sixty to seventy percent of all new jobs are created by the expansion and retention of existing industry. That should not be omitted from a successful economic development program.
Mr. Pittman discussed Lockwood Greene=s recommendations for budget and funding for the marketing plan. As mentioned previously, best practice communities spend between one and three dollars and even more per capita for successful marketing programs. For Henderson County realizing that the County is behind some competition and facing some tough budget choices, the firm started off with a program that mimics the old saying you have to crawl, then you have to walk, then you have to run. So the firm recommended an initial budget of sixty-nine thousand dollars for marketing only, not staff, not overhead but marketing only, and worked out that to be about seventy five cents per capita. That=s a relatively modest budget compared to what many of the County=s competitor=s areas are doing. The firm then recommended a permanent marketing budget of about one hundred forty-one thousand dollars which amounts to one fifty-six per capita. In the marketing plan, the firm presented very detailed line items and showed how they came up with these numbers. It is not just numbers they pulled out of the air but were bottom up numbers the firm came up with that in its opinion would provide the Commissioners with the most cost-effective economic development marketing plan.
Mr. Pittman stressed also the firm=s recommended budget would be a net increase in addition to all the current funds, public and private, that are going for economic development. Mr. Hamilton was available to answer questions on that matter. He further stressed the way the firm thinks of economic development and marketing plans and successful communities think of economic development marketing plans is not necessarily just another line item expenditure on the budget but the firm views it as an investment that will pay dividends. Mr. Pittman could not think of another more cost-effective way to spend public and private sector dollars in order to generate a return in terms of higher jobs, more income and more tax dollars. The firm commissioned Dr. Michael Walden, a professor at North Carolina State who is famous in this state and elsewhere well known for doing economic impact analyses. Dr. Walden was asked if Henderson County as a result of an improved proactive marketing plan had even a modicum of success, and over the next two to three years attracted only one manufacturing firm that employed sixty-six people which is a modest level of success, what the impact would be to the County. Dr. Walden equated that to eight point eight million in new annual income for the County, that would equate to a net annual public sector revenue after taking into account the increased expenditures necessary to support those people over and above that, that would result in a net annual public sector revenue increase of one hundred forty-four thousand five hundred per year which is like an annuity which would result in one time construction spending of seventeen point eight million with one hundred thirty-one construction jobs. That=s a significant impact from even a modest level of success and in Mr. Pittman=s opinion, if the Commissioners supported a proactive economic development program given the good product the County has to sell and the County works on its available land and the land price problem, the County would attract the kind of industry it wants to attract because this community is attractive to industry.
Public and private funding - the National normal is fifty/fifty. Right now our private sector funding is a little below fifty percent so they recommended that Henderson County move forward with public sector and private sector money. They also recommended an initial staff of at least three full-time persons, staff necessary to follow up with the mailings, make the telephone calls, and entertain the prospects that come to look at our county. They recommend four to five full-time persons for a permanent marketing budget of about $141,000. These are relatively modest goals for an economic development plan for a community similar to ours.
Implementation recommendations - Mr. Pittman came up with these numbers subject to debate and the Board=s own decision along with the Chamber of Commerce and the Committee of 100 and other public and private partners. He recommended an initial marketing plan and budget for January 2003 and the permanent marketing plan and budget for 2004 and 2005, while we hopefully are addressing our issue of limited land availability and high cost. He firmly believes that successful communities do two things:
1. Develop a good product to sell - good land, good infrastructure, good transportation. We already have a lot of that.
2. They do a good job of marketing their product.
He closed with a concluding observation from one of the marketing gurus in the country, Phillip Cotler, which sums things up pretty good AThe fortunes of places depend in the final analysis on the collaboration of the public and private sectors, teamwork among governmental units, business firms, voluntary and civic associations, and marketing organizations unlike commercial product marketing place or community marketing requires the active support of public and private agencies, interest groups, and citizens. A place=s potential depends not so much on the places location, climate, and natural resources as it does on human will, skill, energy, values, and organization.@ Mr. Pittman interpreted that to mean that you cannot control what you were born with or given but you can control how you use it. He thinks that pretty much sums up economic development marketing.
A full copy of this plan was included in the agenda file for this meeting.
Chairman Moyer stated that there has been extensive involvement of the business people in this community with Lockwood Greene.
Commissioner Hawkins had sat through this presentation twice now and felt that a lot of the information in the report was very thought provoking.
Commissioner Gordon mentioned the timing of this report. Henderson County is actively trying to finish up a County Comprehensive Plan (CCP) that would include economic issues so report can be folded into the CCP very well. The focus of this report has been jobs that will really improve the standard of living.
Chairman Moyer stated that the Board has received a request from the Committee of 100 with respect to the budget for the coming year which would begin implementation of this plan. The Board is currently having budget workshops and discussing budget items. The Board will take all this into consideration during budget deliberations and hopefully will be able to help the Committee of 100 move forward with a plan. He stated that the report contains valuable information.
HEALTH INSURANCE PORTABILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT (AHIPPA@) COMPLIANCE RESOLUTION
Federal regulations (existing and proposed) pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (AHIPAA@) require the County and County departments to comply with its provisions, particularly those billing codes and information privacy (due date 14 April 2003). To comply with the provisions of HIPAA , significant actions are and will continue to be required of the County.
Russell Burrell explained that the first required steps toward HIPAA compliance are designation of Henderson County as a Ahybrid entity@ status, directing the legal department to survey all of county government regarding covered functions, and analyzing gaps between current practices and practices in compliance with HIPAA.
Mr. Burrell explained that a very large part of how HIPAA affects county government is the privacy concerns - a large part of what HIPAA does to Henderson County. This will require a great deal of work from county staff and the Board of Commissioners to comply with HIPAA. DSS, Health Department and EMS will all have to meet HIPAA standards.
The County Manager recommended adoption of the prepared proposed resolution. Mr. Burrell explained that the resolution would accomplish three things:
1. It would adopt status as a hybrid entity under HIPAA - that means that some parts of county government will be covered and some parts will not. We would avoid having to unnecessarily train staff in how to comply because some staff will not have to comply.
2. It would direct a survey of the county agencies to determine which fall under HIPAA.
3. It would begin the formulation of a plan to ensure compliance.
Commissioner Hawkins questioned how HIPAA would affect our County Hospital, Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital, as a hybrid entity as part of county government. Mr. Burrell explained that Pardee Hospital would be a separate entity from the county as they are able to be sued. Pardee Hospital will have its own compliance plan.
Following some discussion, Chairman Moyer made the motion to adopt the prepared resolution presented, only because we have no alternative. We must get started on compliance. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
UPDATE ON EPA PHASE II STORM WATER PERMIT PROGRAM
Mr. Tweed reminded the Board that over the past two years the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been working on the implementation of the EPA=s Phase II Storm Water NPDES Permit Program, which was published in the Code of Federal Regulations in December 1999. The EPA has delegated responsibility for implementation of this program to the NPDES Permitting States, as is North Carolina. The DENR has scheduled a public hearing on proposed rules for June 24, 2002 at Asheville Buncombe Technical College in Asheville, North Carolina.
The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) through Congressman Price requested a ruling from the EPA on the participation of NC Counties in the Phase II Storm Water Permit Program since NC Counties do not own roads or storm sewer systems. The response to Congressman Price from the EPA indicates that the North Carolina Counties not owning roads would not be regulated by the Federal Regulations. However, the proposed DENR rules still include the Counties as being regulated. Presented was the latest information sent to the Counties from the NCACC with their recommendation that the Counties file comments at the public hearings. Staff recommended that a response from Henderson County be developed for presentation to DENR at the public hearing.
The County Manager suggested that Henderson County go on record opposing these new regulations. He suggested Henderson County attend the public hearing and feels that one of the reasons that DENR has not addressed this issue appropriately is due to the State Budget Crisis. One of the possible reductions in their budget is to have the Counties take over the sedimentation and erosion program.
Mr. Tweed reminded the Board that local governments would be subject to the Phase II rules generally and would be required to carry out these six minimum measures:
C Public education and outreach program.
C Public involvement and participation program.
C Program to detect and eliminate illicit discharges within the MS4.
C Program to reduce runoff to the MS4 from construction activities.
C Program to address post-construction runoff from new development and redevelopment projects.
C Pollution prevention/good housekeeping program for all operations of local jurisdictions subject to the Phase II regulations.
He stated that this would affect the municipalities and the State DOT that own road systems. They will have to develop programs to cover the six elements. The counties however, who do not own roads, may only have to work on the last two of the elements
In the proposed rules, as currently drafted, they are looking at giving the counties three options:
1. Develop a full program and do all six measures.
2. Just comply with the last two measures.
3. Ask for individual permits for the small storm sewer systems.
Mr. Tweed is leaning toward falling under the third category. We do not have any storm sewer systems under the control of the county. That would mean that the state would come in and regulate development under the storm water program, meaning those projects that disturb more than an acre would fall under a state regulated program and not a local government program. The decision would have to be made whether we want that to happen or not. Based on the letter that was issued by the EPA, Mr. Tweed questioned whether we should even be regulated under the program or not. The state may want to regulate us under state law but under the federal NPDES permit program, Mr. Tweeds questioned whether we would be regulated.
David Nicholson suggested the Board write a letter in opposition and to allow staff to appear at the meeting and read the letter and make comments. Ms. Beeker clarified that the letter would be opposing the inclusion under the Federal designation. The letter from the EPA is directed to that effect that the Federal Government did not intend to include counties that did not operate roads in the program. The State still has the ability though to come back under their designation program and designate us later. She recommended that in the letter and in the verbal communication that the Board not only oppose inclusion into the Federal designation program but also request that we not be included later in the state designation program so that you cover both bases when you appeal. Mr. Nicholson further stated that he did not think the Board should assume that these are the final regulations.
Following discussion, Commissioner Hawkins made the motion that the Board go on record opposing the Federal and the State regulations. We need exempted up front because:
1. We do not operate municipal storm water collection systems.
2. We do not own roads.
and ask that counties be exempted for those reasons. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
PROPERTY ADDRESSING PROGRESS REPORT
The Property Addressing Project is nearing completion. Data collection has been completed for all of the Rural Route customers. All of these customers have been notified with the exception of 19 routes (1 in Horse Shoe and 18 in Hendersonville). All collected data has been processed by the 3Di contractor and forwarded to the USPS in Charlotte. The area route coordinator in Charlotte has completed the data entry and staff is awaiting approval by the local Post Offices before notification can be completed.
Property Addressing (PA) staff is still in the process of collecting data on the City Routes (some county customers are on City Routes). 19 of the 24 City Routes have had the data collection completed, with 2 of these routes having the notifications sent out. The City Routes are experiencing a 15% to 20% change in the current address, with a majority of the changes made to County residents. Laurel Park is working with PA staff to update addresses within Town boundaries. The plan provides that PA staff develop recommendations, the Town reviews these recommendations, Town Council conducts a public input period on the proposed changes, the Town modifies the proposal based on public input, then the Town releases PA staff to update postal records and send final notices to the Laurel Park customers. This plan requires a considerable time investment for PA staff.
PA staff has sent out approximately 26,000 change of address notices over the past few months. Staff is experiencing a nine tenths of one percent error rate with the new addresses (the vast majority being on corner lots). The requests concerning possible errors are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, with approximately 10% of these requests resulting in no change. Subsequent to the mailing of notifications, staff receives about 50 to 60 calls a day for about a one-week period. Ninety-nine percent of these calls are questions about the process used to determine the address, how to properly display the number, is this really my mailing address and other general questions concerning the project. One percent of the calls are outright complaints about the program.
Staff continues to withhold all payments to the addressing contractor until more substantial progress has been made toward the completion of this project.
PA staff anticipates completion of the Rural Route notifications by June 30, 2002 and completion of the notifications for the City Route customers by Labor Day 2002 (with the exception of Laurel Park residents).
Completed areas: Arden, Fletcher, Penrose, Gerton, Bat Cave area, Saluda, Zirconia, Etowah, East Flat Rock.
Partially completed areas: Flat Rock (Kenmure area only), Horse Shoe (one route remaining), Hendersonville (18 rural routes ready for notification upon release by USPS and 22 city routes remaining).
Notices sent: 26,000
Notices pending: 13,000 (not including city route areas).
Mr. Hyder had just received an update from the post office in the last couple of days - they have returned fifteen additional rural routes from the local carriers and postmasters which means we only have four routes outstanding that they=re still reviewing. Staff will begin notification of those as soon as they hear back from our contractor. He also stated that our staff continues to work within the City of Hendersonville and with the Town of Laurel Park to try to complete those processes. About 15% to 20% of those residences will need some type of change, a fairly small percentage.
Mr. Hyder stated that when we first started this project he estimated about 18,000 notifications would have to be sent out. To date they have sent out 26,000 and estimate that they have about 13,000 left to mail out. This project certainly has been larger in scope than originally estimated. The good news was that the error rate on their notifications is nine tenths of one percent, a good statement of the quality of work that has been done by our staff and our contractor. He explained that they continue to withhold payments to the contractor, to encourage them to move this project along a little faster. They expect by the end of June to have all the notifications done for all the rural route customers.
It was stressed that at the completion of this project, everyone in the county will have a physical address for their property so that we can provide emergency services to them, that continues to be our goal.
INFORMAL PUBLIC COMMENTS
1. Eva Ritchey - Ms. Ritchey brought greetings from Apple Country Transportation. She arrived on the bus this morning. She thanked the Board for their support of the public transit system and challenged every person in the room, especially every Commissioner, to ride the bus.
She also stated that she appreciated the report from Lockwood Greene. She agrees that jobs are important to this community. She thought it was an excellent report. She took exception to the statement made by some businesses that buffers and city ordinances were onerous. She asked the question AIs dirty air onerous?@ Today is a yellow alert, bordering on orange.
She stated that if Bullington came to the Board requesting support, she encouraged the Board to give them the support. She thinks they are as good a candidate for help as the Chamber of Commerce. They both will be supporting economic development in this community. Horticulture is the largest agricultural industry in our community with a yearly earnings of $74,075,000. We need Bullington as a research and education center to promote and improve the caliber of nursery products that we sell.
2. Dick Baird - Mr. Baird reinforced Ms. Ritchey=s comments about the Lockwood Greene report. He views the local economy as a four legged stool with the four legs being manufacturing, agriculture, elder care, and tourism. If you weaken one of those legs the stool becomes in danger of collapse. He cautioned against too much emphasis on the manufacturing aspect.
AMENDMENT TO RULES OF PROCEDURE
Recently it became necessary to appoint a Temporary Chairman of the Board due to the unavailability of both the Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Because the Board=s Rules of Procedure made no reference to the appointment of a Temporary Chairman, reference was made to Roberts Rules of Order and the procedure therein was followed.
Presented for the Board=s consideration was a proposed amendment to Rule 5 - Election of the Chair, to address the appointment of a Temporary Chairman. Presented also, for reference, was the language of the applicable statute, NCGS 153A-39.
Angela Beeker discussed the following recommendation for amendment to Rule 5:
Rule 5. Election of the Chair.
(a) Annual Election of the Chair. The chair of the Board shall be elected annually for the term of one year and shall not be removed from the office of chair unless he or she becomes disqualified to serve as a Board member.
(b) Election of a Temporary Chairman.
(1) In the event the Chairman and Vice-Chairman are both absent from a meeting of the Board, the members present may choose a temporary chairman, assuming a quorum is present. Such election of a temporary chair shall terminate with the adjournment of the meeting. No special notice shall be required for election of a Temporary Chairman pursuant to this subsection 5(b)(1).
(2) If appointment of a Temporary Chairman for a duration longer than one meeting is required due to the actual or anticipated unavailability of both the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman, the Board may at any regular or special-called meeting elect a Temporary Chairman from among the remaining members. Such election shall be for a term certain. Compliance with the Open Meetings Law shall be the only notice required for an election of a Temporary Chairman pursuant to this subsection 5(b)(2).
Following discussion, Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to adopt the amendment to rule # 5 of the Board=s Rules of Procedure as presented by Ms. Beeker. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Recess - Chairman Moyer called a recess until 11:00. At 11:00 the Board will hold the public hearings as scheduled.
PUBLIC HEARING - FY 2002-2003 Budget
Commissioner Messer made the motion for the Board to go into public hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
The County Manager=s Recommended FY 2002 - 2003 Budget was submitted to the Board of Commissioners on May 6, 2002 during a regularly-scheduled board meeting. This Public Hearing on the FY 2002 - 2003 Budget was held in accordance with the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act and G.S. 159-12(b) to allow for public comment on the proposed budget.
This public hearing was advertised in the Times-News in accordance with NC General Statutes.
A copy of the budget has been available for public inspection at the Clerk to the Board=s office, as required by law. We have also had a copy at the Henderson County Public Library for public inspection. This was the first of two public hearings the Board had scheduled on the budget.
Chairman Moyer explained that the purpose of this hearing was only to receive comment about the budget. He would only allow comments that directly relate to the budget.
1. Mac Hart - Mr. Hart was present on behalf of the Faith Link Living Income Task Group to ask the Board not to cut back on the services rendered to the working poor as they deliberate the budget this year. Working poor families in our community cannot provide basic needs for their families. Faith Link is a group which links the people of the faith community to assist people attempting to come off welfare. About twelve teams from twelve churches have supported thirty or so families in the process of their attempting to come off welfare. He stated a real need in our community for a basic living wage for full-time work.
Mr. Hart was even willing for this Board to raise his taxes so as not to cut services to the working poor families in our community.
2. Eva Ritchey - Ms. Ritchey applauded Mr. Hart=s courage.
Ms. Ritchey spoke about the purchase of the Carolina Apparel Trade (CAT) building on the Spartanburg Highway. She stated that this money could be better spent elsewhere and asked the Board to discontinue the project and make the first loss the best loss. She stated the money could be spent to keep the Green River Library open, for DSS programs, and to the Chamber of Commerce for economic development.
3. Dick Baird - Mr. Baird stated that the budget process in Henderson County is not citizen friendly. He stated that a budget summary would be very helpful. He stated that there was no way for the citizen to directly participate in the budget review process except in this form of public input. He suggested a citizen review committee.
He implored the Board to not let the State get away with stealing $3.2 million of our tax revenues. He felt there should be 100 lawsuits against the state from all the counties. He suggested numerous cuts to the budget. He also suggested that if there must be a half cent tax increase to let the state do it, not the county.
4. Jim Howard - Mr. Howard was present as a representative of the Alliance for Human Services, a collaboration of the three principal funders (Community Foundation, United Way, and Henderson County Government) for human service agencies in Henderson County. He was present as an advocate for the clients of the nine non-profit human service agencies and the Alliance has recommended for funding next year by the county:
Blue Ridge Literacy Council
Council on Aging - Meals on Wheels
Dispute Settlement Center
Pisgah Legal Services
The Healing Place
These agencies and the volunteers that support them make invaluable contributions to the quality of life for hundreds, maybe thousands of Henderson County residents, both the working poor and the non-working poor. They also significantly reduce the financial impact to the County that would occur if these services did not exist.
5. Michael Brown - Mr. Brown is Republican candidate for Sheriff. He challenged the County Manager and the County Commissioners to examine the Sheriff=s Budget item by item and cut away excessive spending of non-essential, non-critical items. He felt this would not affect basic or essential law enforcement services to the citizens of Henderson County. He felt that the County should get away from the Vehicle Lease Program, stating this program costs the taxpayers almost one half million dollars per year. He stated that the Sheriff=s budget has increased five times the rate of population growth, 110% increase over the last seven years. He stated that it is time for true conservative leadership and time for budget restraint.
Commissioner Gordon made the motion for the Board to go out of public hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried. No action was taken at this time.
PUBLIC HEARING on Road Names
Commissioner Hawkins made the motion for the Board to go into public hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Rocky Hyder reminded the Board that at the June 3, 2002 meeting the Board of Commissioners set a public hearing date of June 19, 2002 at 11:00 a.m. for the following road names:
Old Name New Name
Heatherly Heights (one section) Upchurch Orchard
Oakwood Lane Level Stone Drive
New Road Names
Libby Home Lane
There was none.
Commissioner Gordon made the motion that the Board approve the road names as presented. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Commissioner Hawkins made the motion for the Board to go out of public hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
UPDATE ON PENDING ISSUES
Legislative Update - Angela Beeker
Chairman Moyer specifically asked Ms. Beeker to update the Board on Article 44 Sales Tax and whether Henderson County is in compliance with the regulations.
Ms. Beeker reviewed SB 1292 (Article 44 Sales Tax) which was introduced on June 6. She had already provided the Board with a detailed analysis of that Bill in their mailboxes. She focused on what the County must do in the event that Bill passes. It passed the Senate and has already been received by the House and referred to their committee on finance. It passed through the Senate in a week (including three readings) so it has some momentum behind it. The Bill provides that the Article 44 Sales Tax can now have an effective date of August 1, 2002. Previously the Board had given notice to the public that they would consider voting on the Article 44 Sales Tax on August 5, 2002. That was done for a number of reasons. The existing law states that the Board must give a certain number of days notice to the Secretary of Revenue before enacting the Tax. We were trying to comply with the current law and yet still provide a mechanism to enact the sales tax earlier if possible. What this Bill has done for the Board is it has made it extremely easy. It has done away with the public hearing requirement and we don=t have to give ten days notice. We must notify the Secretary of Revenue by July 15, 2002. For this to be enacted in Henderson County with the Board=s regular meeting schedule as it has been amended for July, the Bill would have to pass before or on July 8 because that=s the Board=s first meeting date in July. The Board would then have to vote to adopt the resolution levying this sales tax on July 8 instead of August 5 and then immediately send a certified copy of that resolution to the Secretary of State before July 15. That would enact the half cent sales tax effective August 1, 2002. If the Board waits until August 5 to enact it, it would not be effective until September 1, 2002. We have already given the Secretary of State notice that if the General Assembly authorized an earlier date the Board would vote to enact the earlier date. If the Board want to have it effective August 1, they would need to consider it and vote on it July 8, 2002. She also recommended a notice in the paper canceling the other one, making the public aware of what is going on. This is not a legal requirement but it would help to clarify things.
Ms. Beeker explained that many amendments have been proposed to the hold harmless statute. The one that is part of this same Bill provides that for this next fiscal year, 2002-2003, they=ve set the amount that the distribution factor would be multiplied by for this year only and that amount is $309,000,000. Whatever our distribution factor is would be multiplied by the $309,000,000. In the future they would base it on actual revenues received as part of Article 44. The hold harmless provisions are still in place.
Following discussion, Chairman Moyer made the motion to place this item on the July 8 agenda for Board consideration and to set a public hearing on this issue for July 8 at 7:00 p.m. to hear public comments. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Another main bill of interest that seems to have a lot of momentum behind it was HB 1490, to secure local revenues. It appears it may pass. It has passed the House and has been received by the Senate and referred to committee. This Bill prohibits the Governor from withholding what are basically local funds.
Ms. Beeker reviewed briefly some of the sources for revenue that the State is looking for for various things. There have been several bills introduced to impose a cigarette tax (at least 5 bills). There have been several bills introduced to tap the beer, wine, and liquor sales for an additional tax. The lottery is a large topic of conversation. There have been three bills intro-duced referencing the lottery, one would be to amend the Constitution to allow for a lottery which would force a vote of the people, the second is to just have a referendum on the question of a lottery and the third is to enter into a compact with the states around North Carolina that would allow us a share of their revenues because some of our people are going to other states to buy lottery tickets (Interstate Lottery Compact). Tobacco lawsuit settlement funds is another source of funds that they are looking at as well as Hurricane Floyd funds. There is a Bill on the Hurricane Floyd funds that the balance would be distributed to local governments. Removal of income tax breaks is another source being reviewed. Some Corporate Income Tax loop holes are proposed to be plugged. There is even a Bill that was introduced Monday to impose a surtax on everyone in the State as 3%. You would calculate your NC State Income Tax Bill and then add an additional 3% to go towards education.
She has seen some movement in the Mental Health arena. There are some proposed amendments to the Mental Health Reform Legislation. They are looking for a source for the CAP MRDD funds for mental health. A Bill has been introduced to allocate one half of the state=s sales tax to fund the county portion of Medicaid.
Senate Bill 1381 is called the ATax Me More@ fund. That is a fund where people can voluntarily pay more income taxes if they wish to or if they wish to donate money to a particular state project.
There is a proposal to possibly tax soft drinks, three cents a bottle. There are some temporary revenue increases that have been proposed to protect children, for instance eliminating the tax credits from the Bill Lee Act for the higher tier counties.
There is a Bill that would limit the Governor=s ability to transfer money between line items in the budget. She also mentioned a Public School Building Bond Act that was introduced. This would be a referendum for the State to issue, $6,250,000,000 in general obligation bonds and the money would be used to make grants to counties that you would not have to repay for capital school funding. There is a schedule of who would get how much, Henderson County was listed on it.
Commissioner Gordon mentioned an economic development report. That report stated that North Carolina is currently 16th from the top in state taxes that are collected. If taxes continue to be raised, it will make things worse in that it will become harder to recruit businesses into North Carolina.
Mr. Nicholson informed the Board that the County had received a request for an abandonment. The request was for an abandonment of approximately 50 feet of the end of Thomas Street. A property owner was attempting to place a double-wide mobile home onto the property, but was unable to because of right-of-way issues. Several approaches had been attempted, to no avail. Chairman Moyer stated that there was a concern that if the abandonment is rushed through, there may be a later problem. However at this time everyone in the area is in agreement, and no one appears to object to the abandonment. Mr. Nicholson stated that traditionally the Board would hold a public hearing on an abandonment, but this seems to be a minor issue, a small stretch of road, and all neighbors are in agreement.
Following some additional discussion, Chairman Moyer made the motion to approve the abandonment subject to the findings that it will not adversely affect public health, safety, or access from fire, sheriff or other situations and it is in the best interest of the public to abandon the road. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
FIRE DEPARTMENT ISSUES
Commissioner Hawkins stated that he wished to have some fire department issues addressed by the Fire Marshal. Those issues were as follows:
Six Mile Fire District - Mr. Hyder stated that the six mile fire district was adopted by the NC Department of Insurance, also known as the State Fire Marshal=s Office, in March 2001. The purpose of allowing this district, was to include more people in a fire insurance district service area. In doing so, they realized response time would be delayed in the six mile area, so they only allowed a class 9 rating for the area between five and six miles from the fire department, regardless of the insurance rating of the department serving them. The requirements were that the entire county would have to be included in any six mile extension. Additionally, the county fire departments that could provide service to a six mile area would be polled, and they would sign an agreement as to the boundary lines of the area and an automatic mutual aid agreement that would coincide with the response to an area. Mr. Hyder stated this had been done in Henderson County and it should improve the situation for the customer from the perspective of reducing their insurance premiums. The issue that remains is that the people in between the 5-6 boundary are not in a tax district. Once the new boundaries are improved by the Department of Insurance, Mr. Hyder stated he would ask the Board to approve a boundary system that is more inclusive and will include the entire county. He stated that at that time the Fire Department would start petitioning the people in those new areas to become part of the district.
Budget Shortfalls Created by State Withheld Money - Mr. Hyder stated that this would be the third year Fire Departments have dealt with the issue of whether or not they would get the full reimbursement from the State for the Inventory Tax. The Inventory Tax was done away with by the Legislature, with the County being reimbursed at a flat rate. The Fire Departments realize this is a tight budget year, did not wish to pass an additional tax burden along to their customers, and have absorbed the cutbacks into their budgets.
Relationships between Volunteer Fire Departments and Municipalities - Commissioner Hawkins expressed concern that Laurel Park is paying a lower insurance rate than other people in Valley Hill are paying. He felt they should pay the same rate for the same service.
Chairman Moyer stated that the Board had identified the issues, and had come up with ways to address those issues. He stated that the decision in this instance was to bring it up to a norm over a three year period. He believed they were in the second year of that period, and next year the final step would be taken to bring it up. He felt that had been a reasonable way to address the issue, and he supported the agreement.
Commissioner Ward referred to a complaint the Board had received about animal control. The issue was that of a loose puppy. Law enforcement had been contacted, and called animal control who refused to come out because it was within Hendersonville=s jurisdiction. He felt a policy should be set until the new Animal Control Ordinance was adopted, to allow the County to respond to such a situation.
Mr. Nicholson stated that during the deliberation of the new Animal Services Ordinance, there was another issue of a dog within Hendersonville limits. The question that arose was whether or not the County=s Ordinance was applicable within the City of Hendersonville (Athe City@). Legal staff had done some research which determined that the County=s Ordinance was in effect within the Village of Flat Rock and the Town of Fletcher. Mr. Nicholson has spoken with the Hendersonville City Manager about the County=s capability to go into the City and bring an animal out. Staff needs the authority to proceed with negotiations to serve citizens within the City.
Chairman Moyer stated that he had told the City that if they would pass a Resolution, or provide some indication that they wish the County to enforce the Ordinance within city limits, the County could then do so. The second issue was with respect to cost, which would be dealt with later. Chairman Moyer felt that the City did intend to provide such a request.
Angela Beeker stated that the City had their own Animal Control Ordinance, and the two ordinances contain differences such as the leash law. If the County=s Ordinance is to apply, the City would have to repeal their Ordinance and turn jurisdiction over to the County. She stated that it is more involved than just going out and picking up an animal, and explained the liability issues involved.
To bridge the gap right now, to prevent another bad situation until the issue can be resolved, the County could enter into a contract with the City in which the City would contract with the County to pick up an animal under the City=s Ordinance. The County would be performing a service under the City=s authority. Ms. Beeker stated that from a legal standpoint, it has to clear that when animal control goes out to pick up an animal, it is on behalf of the City.
Chairman Moyer asked if the Board would be comfortable with a brief contract with the City to bridge this gap until the larger issue could be resolved. It was the consensus of the Board to proceed in this manner. Chairman Moyer made the motion to have a very simple contract with the city that would allow the County to pick up an animal within the City limits on behalf of the City and take it to the County=s animal shelter, and that would protect the County from any liability with the understanding that the Board would pursue resolve on the bigger issue of how municipalities are treated and charged. Following some additional discussion, Chairman Moyer requested a vote on the motion. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Moyer wished to make the Board aware of two issues. First, the US Senate passed an action with respect to a commemoration surrounding September 11. The LGCCA authorized setting up a committee with the County Manager and others to develop ideas with respect to what the community might do.
Second, was the Hwy 25 South Corridor Study and how it had been moving along. The City=s Planning Board had reviewed the Study and it would next go the City Council. At a meeting sometime in July, Chairman Moyer stated the Board could determine how they wish to implement that plan.
Set Hearing Date for Appeal Concerning Horizon View Drive
The Clerk to the Board received an appeal letter on June 7, 2002, a copy of which was included in the agenda packet, that is signed by Lyn D. Sutton, Danee A. Hoover, Joanna Walker and Mark L. Muir. The letter indicates that they wish to appeal the assignment of new physical addresses along Horizon View Drive, a road off Ray Hill Road in Henderson County. Section 142-17 of the County Code provides that actions taken by the Property Address Coordinator or under guidelines set forth in Ch. 142 (Property Addressing) may be appealable to the Board of Commissioners but such appeal must be filed in writing with the Clerk to the Board within 30 working days of written notification of required owner action.
Staff recommended that the Board schedule the hearing on this appeal for July 24, 2002 at 11:00 a.m. The property owners that have appealed have been consulted about this date and it appears to be an acceptable date for such hearing.
Commissioner Ward made the motion to schedule the hearing on this appeal for July 24, 2002 at 11:00 a.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Request to set a Public Hearing - Habitat for Humanity Request for Redirection of Funds
Habitat for Humanity has requested the redirection of $50,000 in HOME Program funds as approved in January 2002. This request is further explained in the letter included in the agenda packet. Because the redirection of HOME Funds does constitute a major amendment to the one-year action plan, a public hearing is necessary.
Staff requested that the Board of Commissioners set a Public Hearing on the redirection of 2002 HOME Funds for Wednesday, July 24, 2002 at 11:00 a.m.
Commissioner Gordon made the motion to schedule the Public Hearing for July 24, 2002 at 11:00 a.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Set Quasi-Judicial Public Hearing on Vested Rights Application #VR-02-02 for Harry L. Schenimann
On June 11, 2002, Mr. Harry Schenimann submitted to the Planning Department an application and development plan seeking a statutory vested right under Chapter 189 of the Henderson County Code for two potential uses of property he owns at 1536 Howard Gap Road. According to the submitted application materials, the two options Mr. Schenimann would like the Board of Commissioners to consider are: (1) a mini storage facility and (2) a mini storage facility with office buildings.
Chapter 189 implements the provisions of NCGS 153A-344.1, which provides the ability for a landowner to establish a statutory vested right for a development project through the approval of a site specific development plan. Generally, the establishment of a vested right allows a landowner (or his/her successors in ownership) to proceed with specific development plans regardless of whether there is a change in zoning or other land use regulations that might affect such development. In order to establish a statutory vested right under the Vested Rights Ordinance, a property owner must submit an application and a site specific development plan to the Planning Department. The Board of Commissioners must then schedule a public hearing on the application.
The Vested Rights Ordinance requires that the public hearing for a development vested right be held within 45 days of submittal of a vested rights application, therefore a hearing must be held on or before Thursday, July 25, 2002. The hearing will be conducted as a quasi-judicial proceeding. Mr. Schenimann=s attorney will not be available between July 8-12, 2002, therefore Staff proposed that the Board of Commissioners schedule the hearing for Wednesday, July 24, 2002, at 11:00 a.m., or for a Special Called Meeting sometime on or before July 25, 2002.
A full set of application materials and the site plans will be included in the agenda packet for the hearing.
The County Manager recommended that the Board schedule the quasi-judicial public hearing on the vested rights application either for Wednesday, July 24, 2002, at 11:00 a.m. or for a Special Called Meeting having a date and time to be determined by the Board, provided such meeting is held on or before July 25, 2002.
Chairman Moyer made the motion to schedule the quasi-judicial Public Hearing for July 22, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Hollabrook Farms - Public Hearing (add on by Commissioner Ward)
Commissioner Ward informed the Board that the Planning Board meeting the previous evening lasted three hours. There were approximately 65-70 people present. The public hearing is currently scheduled for July 8th, which corresponds to a regularly scheduled meeting. He felt it may be in everyone=s best interest to hold this public hearing as a special called meeting. Chairman Moyer made the motion to reschedule the Public Hearing on the Rezoning Application for Hollabrook Farms from July 8 to July 10, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
MUD CREEK WATER & SEWER DISTRICT
Chairman Moyer made the motion for the Board to go into Mud Creek Water and Sewer District. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Moyer made the motion for the Board to go out of Mud Creek Water and Sewer District. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Commissioner Ward 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)(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 Gordon made the motion for the Board to go out of closed session. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Action following closed session
Chairman Moyer made the motion to set a public hearing to consider economic development incentives for Liquidlogic for July 8 at 7:00 p.m. based on an initial investment of $600,000 and within 3-5 years an additional $400,000 investment. The amount of the economic incentive grant would be for the initial phase - $2,400 a year for five years for a total of $12,000 and for the future investment $1,600 for three years at a total of $4,800. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
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