STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON DECEMBER 18, 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 at 100 North King Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Those present were: Chairman Grady Hawkins, Vice-Chairman Larry Young, Commissioner Bill Moyer, Commissioner Charlie Messer, Commissioner Shannon Baldwin, County Manager David E. Nicholson, County Attorney Angela S. Beeker, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.
Also present were: Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson, Assistant to the Manager Selena Coffey, Fire Marshal Rocky Hyder, Planning Director Karen Smith, County Engineer Gary Tweed, Finance Director J. Carey McLelland, Tax Collector Terry Lyda, Deputy Tax Collector Darlene Burgess and Deputy Clerk to the Board Amy Brantley.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commissioner Moyer led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
David Nicholson gave the invocation.
Chairman Hawkins welcomed Rosanne Douglas to discuss an award Henderson County recently won at the Western North Carolina Community Development Association. Ms. Douglas noted that the award was a calico cat that was awarded to the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Community Club for outstanding improvements to their community building. She stated that they had previously received two smaller cats, but were pleased to have received this one to help complete the family.
He also welcomed Sue Myers, stating that she was the Treasurer of the Western North Carolina Community Development Association in Henderson County. The County Council was awarded the Henderson County Community Development Council Award in recognition of outstanding achievement. Ms. Myers particular unit at Crab Creek also won an award for a development program on senior citizen=s awards. Ms. Myers noted some specifics about various awards won. She thanked Chairman Hawkins and Commissioner Young for attending a previous meeting and invited all the commissioners to join them in the future.
DISCUSSION/ADJUSTMENT OF AGENDA
Chairman Hawkins added as Discussion Item AA@ - Debt Setoff Program.
He requested that Staff Report AD-5@ - Regional Water Negotiations, be pulled from this agenda and held for discussion at the upcoming retreat. Commissioner Moyer stated that he would like to discuss that item and asked that it be left on the agenda. Item AD-5@ was left on the agenda.
Chairman Hawkins also added one additional item under Closed Session, (a)(4) dealing with the location or expansion or industry served by the public body.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the agenda as presented. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Commissioner Baldwin requested that Item AI@ - Proposed Amendments to the Henderson County Planning Board Rules of Procedure be pulled.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the consent agenda except for Item AI@. All voted in favor and the motion carried. The Consent Agenda consisted of the following:
Draft minutes were presented for the Board=s review and approval of the following meetings:
December 2, 2002, regular meeting
Tax Collector=s Report
Terry F. Lyda, Tax Collector, had provided the Tax Collector=s Report dated December 16 for the Board=s information.
Darlene B. Burgess, Deputy Tax Collector, had provided the Deputy Tax Collector=s Report dated December 16 for the Board=s information.
The Tax Assessor had submitted a list of 10 tax release requests for the Board=s approval.
The Tax Assessor had submitted a list of 159 tax release requests for the Board=s approval.
The Board of Public Education had requested the Commissioners= approval of their purchase of three neighboring properties of the Hendersonville Middle Grade School. According to state law, the Board=s approval is only to the price that is to be paid for the land.
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Grants
Due to the changing of the focus of the County=s group home from an emergency shelter to a home for children in foster care, Henderson County had funds remaining from this program. The Henderson County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) had approved a second round of funding for local juvenile crime prevention programs. These funds were for the remaining Fiscal Year 2002-2003 and were available for this purpose through the State of North Carolina. Each program was required to provide a minimum of a 30% match. The programs approved by the JCPC are as follows:
Trend Mental Health - In-Home Services $17,278.00
YMCA of Henderson County - Guided Growth $ 7,500.00
Request for Extension of Improvement Guarantee for Rock Creek, Phase I
On February 4, 2002, the Board of Commissioners granted approval for Southern Development, Inc., to post a surety performance bond in the amount of $72,118.78 to guarantee completion of remaining road improvements in Phase I of Rock Creek Subdivision. Rock Creek is located off Green River Road, in Green River Township.
The Performance Guarantee Agreement between Southern Development and the Board of Commissioners required that the developer complete the required improvements by January 4, 2003. Mr. Luther E. Smith had submitted a letter on behalf of Southern Development requesting that the completion date for the improvements be extended to February 1, 2004. According to Mr. Smith=s letter, the developer wanted to wait to install pavement until heavy construction traffic associated with road construction in Phase II subsided. The Board of Commissioners approved a separate improvement guarantee for Phase II of Rock Creek in October of 2002.
Section 170-39 of the Subdivision Ordinance allows the Board of Commissioners, upon proof of difficulty, to grant an extension of an improvements completion date for up to one additional year, provided that the time between initiation and completion of the improvements does not exceed two years. If the Board grants the extension as requested by Southern Development, Inc., the time period between execution of the original Performance Guarantee Agreement for Phase I and the proposed completion date of February 1, 2004, would be within the two year maximum.
A draft Performance Guarantee Agreement, which reflected the proposed new completion date had been prepared for the Board=s consideration. If the extension request is approved, the developer must submit a bond that expires no less than 60 days after the new completion date. The County Attorney must review the bond and certify the Agreement as to form prior to its execution.
The County Manager recommended that the Board approve the request to extend the completion date for the improvement guarantee for Phase I of Rock Creek Subdivision subject to the terms of the draft Performance Guarantee Agreement.
Request for Improvement Guarantee for Winfield Cove, Phase 2, Section 2, by Winfield Cove Development Company
Thomas McHugh, President of Winfield Cove Development Company, had submitted an application for an improvement guarantee for road improvements in a subdivision known as Winfield Cove. Winfield Cove is located off Macedonia Road in Green River Township. The Planning Board granted conditional approval of the Development Plan for the project on July 16, 2002. The improvement guarantee is proposed to cover the cost of installing additional gravel and paving the roads in Phase 2, Section 2, of Winfield Cove. Currently, the roads are graded, drainage improvements and part of the stone base have been installed and the banks have been seeded. There are a few remedial items that need to be addressed regarding the site improvements, including the developer submitting information to obtain approval of a reduction in the cut slope near lot 21. The developer will need to complete these items as well as satisfy any other Subdivision Ordinance requirements and/or conditions imposed by the Planning Board prior to Final Plat approval.
Pursuant to Section 170-38 of the Henderson County Code, a developer may, in lieu of completing all of the required improvements prior to Final Plat approval, post a performance guarantee to secure the County=s interest in seeing that satisfactory construction of incomplete improvements occurs. One type of permitted guarantee is an irrevocable letter of credit. The developer intends to secure a letter of credit from MountainBank in the amount of $53,389.05, which includes the cost of the remaining road improvements ($42,711.24) as well as the required twenty-five percent contingency of $10,677.81. The proposed completion date for the improvements is June 30, 2003.
A draft Performance Guarantee Agreement had been prepared for the Board=s consideration. If the improvement guarantee application is approved, the developer must submit a letter of credit in accordance with the terms of the Agreement. The County Attorney must review the letter of credit and certify the Agreement as to form prior to its execution by the Chairman and the developer.
The County Manager recommended that the Board approve the application for an improvement guarantee for Winfield Cove, Phase 2, Section 2, subject to the developer providing the County with an irrevocable letter of credit in accordance with the terms of the draft Performance Guarantee Agreement.
Item AI@ - Proposed Amendments to the Henderson County Planning Board Rules of Procedure
Commissioner Baldwin requested to pull this item off the consent agenda to discuss Section 6-11, D(5(a)). He noted that this section makes it very clear that the comprehensive plan is a recommendation from the Planning Board to the Board of Commissioners. He wished to emphasize that the code makes a strong link between the comprehensive plan and the Planning Board, and that it is important that the Planning Board stay involved in the development of the comprehensive plan.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion that Item AI@ be included in the Consent Agenda for purposes of approval. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Notification of Vacancies
The Board was notified of the following vacancies which will appear for nominations on the next agenda:
1. Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee - 8 vac.
Chairman Hawkins reminded the Board of the following vacancies and opened the floor to nominations:
1. Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee - 3 vac.
Commissioner Young nominated Patricia Stanley to fill one of the vacancies. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept Ms. Stanley by acclamation. All voted in favor and the motion carried. Following a brief discussion on which position Ms. Stanley could fill, Chairman Hawkins amended his motion to specify that Ms. Stanley would fill position #14. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
2. Zoning Board of Adjustment, Fletcher - 1 vac.
Commissioner Messer nominated Don Rhodes. There were no other nominations. A vote on this nomination will be taken at the next meeting.
3. Travel & Tourism Board - 1 vac.
Chairman Hawkins stated that the vacant position was #4, a Commissioner position. He noted that Commissioner Young had expressed an interest in serving on that Board. It was the consensus of the Board to have Commissioner Young serve as the representative on the Travel and Tourism Board.
Appointment of Chair
Commissioner Moyer nominated John Shiery to continue as Chairman of the Travel & Tourism Board. There were no other nominations. Following discussion, Chairman Hawkins made the motion that John Shiery be accepted as the chairman by acclamation. All voted in favor and the motion passed unanimously.
4. Fire and Rescue Advisory Committee - 1 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
5. Henderson County Zoning Board of Adjustment - Assignment of positions
At the December 2nd meeting, the Board appointed Dr. Phillip Stanley to fill a vacant position on the Board of Adjustment. The vacant position at that time was for a regular member. It had been the practice of the Board to move existing alternate members into regular slots, and appoint new members into the alternate slots.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to appoint Dr. Stanley to position #8, and that Ann Pouch be moved to position #5. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
UPDATE ON EPA PHASE II STORM WATER PERMIT PROGRAM
Over the past three years the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) has been working on the implementation of EPA=s Phase II Storm Water NPDES Permit Program, which was published in the Code of Federal Regulations in December 1999. EPA has delegated responsibility for implementation of this program to the NPDES Permitting States, as is North Carolina. The DENR held a public hearing on the proposed rules on June 24, 2002 at AB Technical College in Asheville. The Temporary Rule was adopted by the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) on October 12, 2002. The EMC plans to continue with permanent rule making.
The Temporary Rule gives Henderson County three options in complying with the Phase II Storm Water Permit Program. The County can conduct a full program, partial program, or certify that we own no municipal storm water systems (MS4's) and assume no storm water management responsibilities. Henderson County must submit application or certification on the Phase II Storm Water NPDES Permit by March 9, 2003.
Mr. Tweed presented a PowerPoint presentation to the Board which highlighted the following:
Designation into the Program
C Asheville Urban Area extends into Northern Henderson County
C Henderson County designated into program on December 8, 1999
C EPA delegates program administration to States with NPDES Permit Authority
Overview and Six Minimum Control Measures
C Public Education and Outreach
C Public Participation/Involvement
C Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
C Construction Site Runoff Control
C Post-Construction Runoff Control
C Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping
Administration by North Carolina
C Program to be administered by NC Department of Environmental and Natural Resources
C Implemented by issuance of NPDES Permits
C Application deadline - March 9, 2003
C Under Temporary Rules Henderson County would have three options: conduct a full program, partial program, or no storm water management responsibilities.
C Full program is all six elements
C Partial program is two elements: post construction runoff control and pollution prevention/good housekeeping
C Certify that we own no MS4's and not conduct a program
What This Means
C Board of Commissioners must decide which option and,
C Submit an application or certification by March 9, 2003
Mr. Tweed then discussed the hearing officers= report from the public hearings that were held. He pointed out some specifics about the permanent rule making process, specifically that even though the counties can opt out at this time, it is their recommendation that the EMC proceed with the permanent rule making and use the state regulatory authority to require the designated entities to implement storm water measurements throughout their jurisdictional area. Mr. Tweed felt that when the permanent rules come out, they will contain stronger language and requirements for local governments.
Mr. Tweed answered several questions from the Board, particularly on the specifics of the six control measures. There followed much discussion on the ongoing costs for the county and land developers, with Mr. Nicholson stating that there would be substantial long-term costs associated with any kind of development going on within the county.
Mr. Nicholson stated that one of the major issues is the fact that the County does not own streets or roads, and does not own storm water collection systems. Mr. Tweed had been in contact with the County Commissioners Association, through which there had been an attempt to get county governments exempted from this process. Mr. Tweed agreed that the federal regulations were written on the basis that counties owned the systems. However, there are only three states in the U.S. where counties do not own roads. Because of this, the rules written at the federal level do not really fit North Carolina. That had made it hard to rewrite the rules to fit North Carolina counties.
Following additional discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to defer action at this time, to explore the ramifications of Option 2, and to have Gary Tweed update the Board on this issue again at the mid-January meeting.
EARLY ACTION COMPACT
David Nicholson informed the Board that several weeks prior, he had attended a meeting held on a regional basis to discuss whether the region wanted to develop an early action compact. This was before the Board for two reasons. First, because the air quality monitoring station at Bent Creek had exceeded the EPA 8-hour standard for the area. Second, because the metropolitan statistical area that the census bureau will come out with in the spring, expands into areas outside Madison and Buncombe County, and is proposed to include a majority of Henderson County.
What the Early Action Compact does, is call upon the local governments in the region to cooperatively deal with the pollution issue. Those local governments are Buncombe County, Madison County, Transylvania County, Haywood County and Henderson County. Thus far all the listed counties had approved the resolution, with the exception of Henderson County.
Mr. Nicholson felt that a limited local effort was appropriate for the County, and that we should promote good air quality practices. He then introduced Jim Stokoe, Interim Director of Land-of-Sky, and Paul Mueller from the Division of Air Quality, who were present to answer any questions from the Board. There followed discussion, during which Commissioner Moyer spoke strongly in support of joining the early action compact. Chairman Hawkins spoke in favor of approaching air quality from a regional basis, and supported entering into the early action compact.
Commissioner Messer asked for some clarification on the EPA=s 8 hour standard. Paul Mueller explained that for many years a one hour standard had been used. When ozone is measured, the units used is parts per billion. The one hour standard was 120 parts per billion. In 1997, the EPA went to an 8 hour standard for which ozone is measured over an 8 hour period and the readings are averaged together. The new standard was set at 80 parts per billion. If the score is as high as 84, it is rounded down to 80. If it is 85, it is rounded up to 90. The measurements recorded in this area were 85, thus putting the area in non-attainment with the standard.
Following additional discussion, Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept the resolution as presented. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
MENTAL HEALTH REFORM UPDATE
David Nicholson reminded the Board that North Carolina is undergoing the most radical change in the provision of mental health services since the early 1970's. Prior to the 1970's, mental health services were handled on a county by county basis. In the 70's the state went to a model called an area authority, and Trend was formed for Henderson and Transylvania counties. In October, 2001, legislation was passed that will eventually eliminate the Area Authority model. The new model calls for the creation of a larger multi-county Local Management Entity (LME) to provide the administration and the contracting of services within the private sector and other appropriate agencies.
To address this issue, Mr. Nicholson had been working with seven other counties. He explained that there were so many counties involved because there is a minimum threshold of 200,000 people. Also, they are trying to deal with regional issues from a standpoint of items such as in-patient beds. There has also been much discussion of how the LME costs will be funded, and how the funds provided by Henderson County will be used.
He noted that a year into this process, there are still a lot of major issues being dealt with. Some of those issues are the assets and liabilities of each area authority, fund balance issues, facilities either owned or leased, and outstanding contracts. One item never discussed in the bill was how to deal with closeout issues. He questioned how to deal with issues such as staffing, HR, audits and finances when a public authority is closed.
The group Mr. Nicholson has been working with had developed a survey, which was sent to every possible identified provider. That survey had gone out to approximately 90 individuals, non-profits, government agencies, and school systems. He hoped that once those surveys were returned, they would help provide a matrix of each of the services mental health programs are mandated to provide.
Mr. Nicholson stated that within the next few weeks, he planned to begin the sections of the local business plan which is a major requirement of the project. He informed the Board that a Consumer and Family Advisory Council had been developed, that had representatives from either individuals or family members with certain disabilities. That group has to approve each of the sections of the business plan. The Board of Commissioners is required to submit and sign off on a business plan by April, 2003. There had been some discussion of holding a regional workshop, to which the various Commissioners and communities would be invited, to hear an overall presentation from the managers on how the law will be addressed.
Another issue that will need to be addressed will be a request from Blue Ridge Center for Henderson County to suggest membership to the Western North Carolina Human Services, Inc., a non-profit organization that is being expanded to address regional issues associated with mental health reform. He expected that several issues such as in-patient psychiatric and substance abuse beds would need to be addressed on a regional basis due to the cost. Mr. Nicholson recommended the Board consider requesting that a representative from Pardee Hospital, Park Ridge Hospital and from the Partnership for Health serve on this Board.
Mr. Nicholson answered several questions from the Board, particularly in the area of cost to the County and current levels of funding. He also updated the Board on the timing on this project, stating that the focus at this time was the April 1 deadline for approval of the business plan. The next timing issue will be the date for implementation. There were three options possible, with the group recommending a date of January, 2004.
Commissioner Moyer spoke in opposition to suggesting membership to the Western North Carolina Human Services, Inc. He felt that the Board should not be involved with or show preference to any of private or non-profit providers. Mr. Nicholson stated that he was sensitive to that discussion, and questioned whether the Board would allow him to be involved with that group. It was the consensus of the Board to table this issue until additional information was received concerning Western North Carolina Human Services.
UPDATE ON PENDING ISSUES
Taping of Public Input
Commissioner Moyer reminded the Board that when this had been brought up previously, the consensus was to have the new Board decide whether or not to tape Informal Public Comments. When the meetings began to be taped, Informal Public Comments were not taped for a variety of reasons. Since that time however, several legitimate issues had been raised with respect to taping this portion of the meeting. Commissioner Moyer recommended that Informal Public Comments be taped, with the Board retaining the right to control the time and certain content of those comments.
Chairman Hawkins agreed that it was worth a try, and that if issues arose that the Board had not considered, they could be addressed at the time. He stated that the Informal Public Comments were just that, whatever the public felt might be an issue.
Following some additional discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to proceed with taping the Informal Public Comments. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to tape the Informal Public Comments during the meetings and rebroadcast it along with the other proceedings. There was a question regarding whether the policy would need to be revised to state that Informal Public Comments would be taped. Chairman Hawkins amended his motion to add such language to the policy if necessary. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
INFORMAL PUBLIC COMMENTS
1. Dick Baird - Mr. Baird wished the Board a Merry Christmas. He stated that the new Board had a great opportunity to take advantage of numerous projects near completion, which they could complete and take credit for. He did complain that he felt there was too much secrecy in local government, stating that the meetings almost always end with closed session. He asked the Board to try to keep closed sessions to a minimum.
He mentioned a recent incident involving the death of a teenager at the hand of another teenager. He stated that he had information that there was more to the story than was being told, and that the county should look to see if there was a way in which this could have been prevented.
He stated that the EPA information provided earlier was arbitrary, and the Board should not put up with stuff like that. He also informed the Board that over 50% of real estate in the United States is owned by some level of government. He felt that when real estate is taken off the tax roles, it yields no income. He felt government should not be in the real estate business.
He spoke to the Article 44 Sales Tax, stating that it should go through a Public Hearing again if there are plans to adopt it.
Chairman Hawkins commented on Mr. Baird=s discussion of closed session. He reminded everyone that the minutes of closed sessions are periodically released and become available for public scrutiny.
Commissioner Moyer also commented on Mr. Baird=s discussion with respect to DSS cases. He stated that by law, DSS cases cannot be discussed. He agreed that it was unfortunate that there is occasionally misinformation published about such cases, but the Board does not have the right to discuss such cases.
2. Doug Coggins - Mr. Coggins spoke about the EPA discussion, stating that the rounding up of the numbers did not seem fair. He also stated that he felt very strongly about the water issue with the City of Asheville. He felt the agreement was the worst thing Henderson County had ever entered into. He had heard that there was a possibility of Henderson County joining into an agreement with some other municipalities and finding a way to buy the system, and supported such an agreement.
He hoped the Board would reject the offers put forth by Asheville thus far.
3. Mike Earle - Mr. Earle stated he had yet to see anything put forth that would be reasonable enough for Henderson County to get out of the agreement. He did not think $2,000,000 would be worth a lifetime of having to deal with the City of Asheville. He supported Henderson County finding a way to take over its own water system.
DEBT SETOFF PROGRAM
Ms. Beeker stated that the question before the Board was whether they wished to continue with the debt setoff program originally entered into a year ago. The program allows the county, for debts that are delinquent to the county including tax debts, to submit those debts to a clearinghouse which can garnish a North Carolina Income Tax Refund to reclaim those delinquent monies. She reminded the Board that Darlene Burgess had been administering this program on behalf of the Tax Collector=s Office, and had agreed to work with other county departments to collect other delinquent revenues.
Ms. Burgess explained that last year was the first year the program had been offered, and that Henderson County had chosen to participate. She stated that motor vehicle tax bills had been isolated to begin the program because the statutes were very clear on what could be released and what had to be paid. She explained the following steps that had to be taken to administer the program:
C Mail a Debt Setoff notice to the debtor.
C Give the debtor 30 days to either pay the bill or to request a hearing
C After 30 days send the debt to Five Star Computing, a third party acting between Henderson County and the clearinghouse, who submits it to the Department of Revenue.
Last year when the initial notices were sent out, the County collected about $23,000 in voluntary payments. About $21,000 had been collected throughout the year through income tax garnishment, bringing the total to $44,000. She informed the Board that for this year, they had identified about 800 motor vehicle tax bills amounting to $83,000 that they would like to submit. They also plan to submit 569 EMS bills, amounting to about $210,000, and about 50 miscellaneous debts totaling over $25,000. She stated that they would like to send the notices out on January 1st.
Following brief discussion, Chairman Hawkins made the motion to join the program as the county had in the past year so that notices could be sent January 1st. Ms. Beeker stated that a Resolution had been prepared that outlined all the specifics of the Debt Setoff Program. She requested the Resolution be amended to include in number three Athe North Carolina Local Government Debt Setoff Program Local Collection Assistance Fee Rider.@ Chairman Hawkins amended his motion to include those changes and to adopt the Resolution. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Article 44 Sales Tax
Commissioner Moyer had requested that this be put on the agenda for the new Board to review. He felt the County would need the funds that would be generated for various projects, to restore the fund balance, and for the possible incorporation of Mills River. Based on a memo from Ms. Beeker, it appeared that the tax could not be enacted after January 1st, and there was now not enough time to have it enacted before then. The only option available would be to try to get a local bill to enable the County to shorten the notice time, or to be authorized to enact the tax at a later date.
Mr. Nicholson and Ms. Beeker answered several questions from the Board on the specifics of the various sales taxes and the Article 44 Sales tax. There was also discussion on the ability of the Governor or the General Assembly to withhold this tax as they have the other sales taxes.
David Nicholson reminded the Board that they had scheduled the afternoon of Friday, January 10th and the morning of Saturday, January 11th for a retreat. He stated that work would begin with the Chairman at about noon, and move into the retreat. Saturday morning the Board will begin at about 9:00 to deal with the previous day=s issues. Following some discussion on Friday=s beginning time, it was the consensus of the Board to begin on Friday at 3:00.
Mr. Nicholson stated that the retreat would be held at the Quality Inn in Hendersonville. He had spoken to several facilitators, and recommended Jeff Willette. Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Willette had established the following framework for the agenda:
C Setting of the groundwork
C Review of Mission Statement
C Discussion on the role of the Commissioners and of the Manager
C Organizational structure of County Government
C Budget overview
C Discussion and Development of a work plan
C Budgetary issues with more specific discussion
Commissioner Baldwin noted that he liked the approach of starting with general concepts and moving into specific issues. He stated that the Commissioners all bring different ideas to the table, and this will be an opportunity to bring those ideas together.
David Nicholson explained that schools are funded in three ways: current expense, recurring capital expenses, and major capital projects. From a current expense standpoint, the County has striven to increase funding to education. He reminded the Board that on a monthly basis, the school Finance Director estimates what the expenditures out of the current expense fund are going to be for the next month. A request is then made to the County Finance Director to transfer that portion of the budget to them. At the end of the month, the funds are balanced out. From a capital expense standpoint, the County provides funds based on specific projects.
There had recently been an issue related to monies at the school system, however Mr. Nicholson felt it would be inappropriate to have a specific discussion about that issue. Eventually there will be a report issued, and that will be shared with the Board of Commissioners.
Regional Water Negotiations
Chairman Hawkins had distributed to the Board information on the recent history of the Water Agreement. Commissioner Moyer stated that with respect to the agreement entered into in 1994 and 1995, he had been opposed to it all along. However, the fact remains that it does now exist. There had been information put out that was not accurate that the Board needed to consider. Some of those inaccurate issues, and the true meaning within the agreement were as follows:
C That the agreement obligates Asheville and the Regional Water Authority to create a true regional water authority.
In fact, they simply have an obligation to discuss it and negotiate it.
C The Authority has the obligation to build regional water lines in Henderson County when Henderson County wants them to do so.
They are only obligated to build regional water lines if there is a nine year payback. There are very few projects where there is a nine year payback, in those cases the county picks up the tab.
Commissioner Moyer stated that the County is at a critical point with respect to the negotiations. He felt the Board needed to consider which way it wants to go. When that agreement was set up, it was contemplated that Henderson County would get into the water business and service customers. The City of Hendersonville however has a water system in the northern area of the county, has a plant, is producing water, and has discussed expanding their treatment capacity to sell additional water. To complete their system, the City would need to run a loop over to Fletcher. Once that loop is created, they would be able to serve the bulk of that area. The City had looked at the treatment plant that is there, but that is a very expensive water treatment plant, costing over $30 million to produce 5 million gallons of water. He did not feel the option of purchasing that plant, with the City of Hendersonville paying half and the County paying half, was in the best interest of the citizens.
Therefore, he felt the best that could be hoped for, would be for the City and the Authority to build regional water lines in Henderson County on a nine year payback. He stated that through their refusal to build those lines, it was clear that the City of Asheville didn=t like the agreement as currently structured. Because of that refusal, up to this point Henderson County had gotten nothing out of the agreement, and would continue to get nothing out of it other than aggravation and continued legal cost. He felt that getting the $2 million to help build water and sewer lines in that area would be far better than getting nothing.
He also noted that with respect to other issues, we were being pushed by the State and Federal Government into regional approaches for all issues. He felt that Buncombe County and the City of Asheville would like to resolve this matter, so that we can move forward jointly on the other issues facing the region. He felt those issues, such as transportation and mental health, were extremely important, and continual fighting and litigation would not be in the best interest of Henderson County and the region. He asked the Board to look at all the facts involved, what could be done and what Henderson County stands to gain, and the importance of getting the issue resolved.
Chairman Hawkins responded that if the City of Hendersonville was willing to pay $17 million to expand their water capacity, they still wouldn=t have another source of water. The current plan does have an additional source of water, not only in Mills River but on the French Broad. He felt that $17 million would be a lot of money to still only have one source of water. He agreed that existing plant did make some expensive water, about $.53 per 1,000 gallons. They have a 5 million gallon capacity, but are currently well under that capacity.
Chairman Hawkins reminded the Board that the dates for the retreat had been scheduled earlier in the meeting for January 10th and 11th. Chairman Hawkins made the motion that January 10th and 11th be used as the dates for the retreat. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
David Nicholson stated that occasionally there are some conflicts with the Schedule for 2003 Board of Commissioners Meetings. Those problems are usually with the two National Association of Counties Meetings held annually. The first of those is the Legislative Conference in March. No Commissioners indicated that they planned to attend the Legislative Conference, and that meeting date was left as the first Monday in March.
The second conflict is the Annual Conference in July. Mr. Nicholson suggested that the Board might consider moving that meeting from the third Wednesday of the month to the fourth, which would be July 23rd. Chairman Hawkins stated that scheduling that meeting for July 23rd might be a good idea. It was the consensus of the Board to change that meeting to July 23rd.
Mr. Nicholson also reminded the Board that the NCACC Legislative Goals Conference would be held January 16-17, 2003. He stressed that this was an important meeting, an opportunity to introduce any goals over and above what the state had put into effect. Issues that were discussed to be taken to the Conference dealt with: Storm Water Runoff, Security Issues dealing with Open Session versus Closed Session meetings, Medicare and Medicaid.
David Nicholson requested the Board set a Public Hearing for Special Use Permit Application for Hoopers Creek Quarry for January 15, 2003 at 11:00 am. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to set the hearing for January 15, 2003 at 11:00 am. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
David Nicholson requested the Board set a Public Hearing on Road Names. The road names in question are: a change from ASouth Meeting House Branch Road@ to ABlueberry Farm Road@, and
a change from ALoma Linda Drive@ to ASmokey Pines Way@. He requested that Public Hearing be set for January 6, 2003 at 7:00 pm. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to set the hearing for January 6, 2003 at 7:00 pm. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
REQUEST TO WITHDRAW BID
Ms. Beeker informed the Board that she had been contacted by the company President, Mr. David Mazur, who said there may not be anyone present at this meeting, but he would be sending documentation to the Board regarding the mistake they made in the calculation of their bid. That had not yet been received, but was enroute. Ms. Beeker requested the Board wait as long as possible on this item, to see if it did arrive.
Chairman Hawkins stated that the Board would deal with Closed Session at this time, and make a determination on this item following closed session.
Chairman Hawkins 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.
2. (a)(6) To consider the qualifications, competence, performance, character, fitness, conditions of appointment, or conditions of initial employment of an individual public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee; or to hear or investigate a complaint, charge, or grievance by or against an individual public officer or employee.
All voted in favor and the motion carried.
REQUEST TO WITHDRAW BID - continuation
The information sent by Empire Dismantlement Corp. had arrived while the Board was in Closed Session. Ms. Beeker reminded that Board that when the bids were received for the demolition and abatement of the Human Services Building properties, the low bidder, Empire Dismantlement Corp., requested that they be allowed to withdraw their bid due to an error. The statutes are very specific on when a bidder can withdraw a bid without forfeiting their bid bond. Ms. Beeker noted that under the statute, the Board must determine:
1. Whether there was a mistake made?
2. If so, was the mistake a substantial error?
3. Was the bid submitted in good faith?
4. Has the bidder submitted credible evidence that the mistake was clerical in nature as opposed to a judgment error?
5. Was the error due to an unintentional and substantial arithmetic error OR an unintentional omission of a substantial quantity of work, labor, apparatus, supplies, materials, equipment or services made directly in the compilation of the bid?
6. Can the unintentional arithmetic error OR unintentional omission be clearly shown by objective evidence drawn from inspection of the original work papers, documents or materials used in the preparation of the bid sought to be withdrawn?
If all of the answers to the six questions above are yes, the Board must allow the bidder to withdraw the bid without forfeiting the bid bond. Otherwise the bid bond would be forfeited. She felt the decision should be based on credible evidence.
There followed much discussion on the information received from Empire Dismantlement Corp., and where the miscalculation actually occurred. There was some confusion over what appeared to be the error versus the error noted in the explanation. Commissioner Moyer stated that he didn=t feel the burden should be on the Board to figure out where the error was made.
Following some additional discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to have Ms. Beeker contact Mr. Mazur to find out if he would like to produce the original documents and present his case on the matter, and to defer action on this matter until the January 6, 2003 meeting.
CANE CREEK WATER & SEWER DISTRICT - no business
There being no further business to come before the Board, Commissioner Moyer made the motion to adjourn the meeting. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board Grady Hawkins, Chairman