STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON JANUARY 6, 2003
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the Commissioners' Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building.
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: Planning Director Karen C. Smith, Budget and Management Director Selena Coffey, Paralegal Connie Rayfield, and Deputy Clerk to the Board/Volunteer Coordinator Amy Brantley.
Absent was Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson.
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commissioner Messer lead the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
David Nicholson gave the invocation.
DISCUSSION/ADJUSTMENT OF AGENDA
Chairman Hawkins added one item to Update on Pending Issues as #2 - ACommittee Discussion@.
David Nicholson informed the Board of the need to cancel one of our public hearings for this evening. One of the requirements to do a rezoning is to post the property. Staff had posted the sign but the wrong time was included on the sign. The rezoning hearing for Mr. Nathan Benson must be postponed.
Angela Beeker asked the Board to add one additional reason for going into closed session this evening - (a)(3) consult with an attorney.
Chairman Hawkins moved that the agenda be approved as revised. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Hawkins pulled one set of minutes from the consent agenda for revision - December 18, 2002 minutes. On page 4 the motion states that item I be included in the consent agenda. Since the Board had already approved the consent agenda, the County Attorney thought additional verbiage should be added to include Ain the consent agenda for approval@.
Chairman Hawkins moved that the consent agenda be approved as amended. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
CONSENT AGENDA included the following.
Minutes were presented for the Boards= review and approval of the following meetings:
November 20, 2002, regular meeting
November 26, 2002, special called meeting
December 18, 2002, regular meeting *see note above
December 20, 2002, special called meeting
Replacement Bond for the Sheriff
Our public official bonds are issued through Marsh, the insurance company associated with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. Staff was recently notified by Marsh that they have decided that the Sheriff needs to be named on an individual four (4) year bond, rather than placed on the master bond with the other public officials of Henderson County due to verbiage in the Sheriff=s statutes. This decision was a result of an interpretation by Jim Blackburn of the NCACC, and therefore all counties using Marsh are being asked to approve an individual replacement bond for their sheriffs, rather than list them on the master bond.
The individual bond in the agenda packet, therefore, had been approved as the appropriate public officials bond for the sheriff in North Carolina by the NCACC. The verbiage in the individual bond is virtually identical to the verbiage in the County=s master bond, and the amount is the same C $25,000. The bond will be considered effective as of December 2, 2002, the date the Sheriff=s re-election was effective.
Tax Collector=s Report
Terry F. Lyda, Tax Collector, had provided the Tax Collector=s Report dated January 2, 2003, for the Board=s review.
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Grants
The Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (J.C.P.C.) recently revised the funding plan for Henderson County. Therefore, a new funding plan needs to be approved and signed by the Board of Commissioners to reflect these changes. Additional funds are being provided to two of our existing agencies. In addition, the J.C.P.C. is in need of more funds to pay for its administrative expenses. All of these increases will come from already allocated J.C.P.C. funds, which are received for this purpose from the State of North Carolina. A certification revision form is required to be approved and signed by the Board of Commissioners.
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 - 1 vac.
2. Governmental Financing Corporation - 3 vac.
3. Henderson County Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee - 1 vac.
4. Juvenile Crime Prevention Council - 1 vac.
Chairman Hawkins reminded the Board of the following vacancies and opened the floor to nominations:
1. Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee - 10 vac.
Chairman Hawkins informed the Board that positions # 5 and #18 were vacant and a number of positions will come vacant during this calendar year. He asked Ms. Beeker to give the Board a brief overview of how the appointments are made to this particular board.
Angela Beeker reminded the Board that this committee is governed by the General Statutes in its make-up and how the appointments are made. The General Statutes require that approximately 1/3 of the members (designated positions) be appointed from persons that have been nominated by a majority of the Administrators of the nursing homes and community adult care homes. The other 2/3 of the positions can be nominated and appointed per the Board=s normal Rules of Procedure.
Ms. Beeker distributed and reviewed ARevised Process Proposed for Use in Making Appointments to the Community Advisory Committee@. This process had been written a few years back to help make it so that all the Adesignated positions@ would be processed at one time annually. Volunteers are to be solicited during the months of December and January and a pool of applicants would be gathered. Those names would be circulated to the nursing home administrators so that appointments could be made to these designated positions all at once rather than four or five times throughout the year. Before one of those designated positions could be reappointed, the nursing home administrators would have to approve that reappointment as well. Ms. Beeker stated that the Board could consider a change to the process because we really haven=t had good luck in recruiting a pool of volunteers. If the Board wished to streamline the process, they could take the pool requirements out and continue to send the letter in January notifying the nursing home administrators of all the vacancies for the coming year and give them 45 days to make nominations. Once the 45 days has passed, we typically don=t receive nominations and if that were the case then you could go ahead and appoint normally, like you do to all the other Boards. Ms. Beeker took the same process and scratched through to revise it further as she had described above. She distributed the newly revised process for Board review.
Ms. Beeker reviewed the revised process once again for the Board:
The Board would be notified of the vacancies for the year. The Board would send a letter to solicit nominations from the nursing homes. In case there were people eligible for reappointment that were already serving, include those in the letter. If no nominations are received you could make the nominations and appoint. If nominations were received you would have to go through the longer process. Appointees serve an initial one year term.
It was the consensus of the Board to approve the revised process.
Chairman Hawkins nominated Bryan McDermott to position #18. There were no other nominations. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept Mr. McDermott by acclamation. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
2. Zoning Board of Adjustment, Fletcher - 1 vac.
Commissioner Messer had nominated Don Rhodes at an earlier meeting. He has talked with Mr. Rhodes and he is willing to serve. Karen Smith had determined that Mr. Rhodes was eligible to serve. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept Mr. Rhodes by acclamation. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
3. Fire and Rescue Advisory Committee - 1 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
PARDEE HOSPITAL - CERTIFICATE OF NEED
Mr. Nicholson had received a letter from Pardee Hospital requesting the County=s assistance in their effort to seek a Certificate of Need for a third CT Scanner.
Robert Goodwin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pardee Hospital, was present to seek the Board=s support for certification for a third CT Scanner. Since Pardee Hospital is a county owned hospital, the State requires that Henderson County be a co-applicant for the Certificate of Need (CON) with Pardee Hospital. Application must be made to the State of North Carolina for the CON. The third scanner is planned to be situated near the new emergency room. The need for a third scanner is due to growth in both volume of tests as well as growth in population. In the last three years CT volumes have grown approximately 50%. The cost of the scanner is $1.6 million and the cost for renovation for the scanner is $370,000. The Hospital will receive $200,000 due to the generosity of the Pardee Hospital. They will likely utilize a capital lease with a local financial institution to lease the equipment and will fund the remaining balance of renovations out of operating funds. The Hospital expects to be approved between June and August of this year, 2003. Mr. Goodwin introduced Barbara Platt who was also in attendance. She is the Vice-President of Professional Services at Pardee Hospital. She is administratively responsible for a number of areas in the hospital, one of which is imaging and diagnostic centers. She was available to answer technical questions.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to adopt the certification as presented. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
2003 REAPPRAISAL UPDATE
Mark Edney, Assistant County Assessor and Chief Appraiser, presented an update on the 2003 reappraisal. He explained that the appraisal was due January 1, 2003. It is finished and the values are in place but notices will not be mailed out until about the first week in February. By Statute all counties in North Carolina have to reappraise at least once every eight years. In 1994, the County Commissioners adopted a resolution to do it every four years. There were two reasons for doing so:
1. To minimize the impact of the increasing market values in this county
which are substantially high each year.
2. To avoid the adjustment given to public utility companies. In the fourth and
seventh year of a reappraisal cycle, if you=re on an eight year cycle, if the assessed
value to sales price ratio falls below 90% you have to give that adjustment to all the
A large part of revenue is generated from those utilities. We also used to contract with an appraisal firm to do a reappraisal. Since 1990 they have been done with in-house appraisal staff who are county employees and county residents.
By statute all properties have to be accessed at 100% market value. Mr. Edney stressed that appraisers do not set the market value. Buyers and sellers of properties (homes and land) set the market values.
The total real property tax base will increase from approx. $5.7 billion to $7.1 billion, which is about a 25% increase. About 5% of that would be growth or new construction. This does not mean that every individual property owner can expect a 25% increase in value.
Mr. Edney explained that the purpose of reappraisal is to equalize values so that everyone pays their fair share of the tax burden.
He reviewed the present-use value changes recommended by the State of North Carolina and how they will affect Henderson County. There were numerous questions. The reasons for the change in present-use value were: 1. Just like market values, it was to equalize the values and distribute the tax burden equally among these types of properties 2. The North Carolina Department of Revenue recommends that the counties go to this one rate system. Many counties have already done so including our neighboring counties of Transylvania and Haywood. In Henderson County overall 22,700 acres will increase in value, 19,634 will stay the same, and 7,514 will decrease in value due to the change in the present-use value.
The question was raised if there was any reason why these numbers had not been brought to the Board first due to the amount of change. Mr. Nicholson answered that the Schedule of Values was presented to the Board of Commissioners by the County Assessor and there was some discussion at that time that there was going to be a change in present-use rates. The Board had a brief discussion at that time. The Board had approved the Schedule of Values.
Mr. Edney briefly discussed how his office will be handling public relations and reviewed the appeals timeline. Appeals will be handled a little differently this year. Property owners will be asked to appeal in writing. There is an appeal form on the back of the notice.
There was much discussion concerning the changes in the present-use values.
Evaluation of Motor Vehicles
A side issue was brought up about how the Board would deal with motor vehicles. This will definitely be a budget issue. It was the consensus of the Board to add this item to the agenda for the Board Retreat scheduled for this week-end. Mr. Edney stated that we use a service called TEC that provides motor vehicle values to all 100 counties in North Carolina. TEC offers three prices, a high, medium, or low value and Henderson County uses the high value. We have used the high value since 1993. There=s only about five counties out of 100 that use the high value. The Board had not been privileged to that decision in the past, it was made by the Tax Assessor.
NCACC - LEGISLATIVE GOALS
The Board had received a list of the NCACC Board of Director=s adopted legislative goals for the January Conference. Mr. Nicholson reviewed some of the goals with the Board. Mr. Nicholson stated that the NCACC compiled this list in-house by committee and sent it out to counties for any comments. NCACC will present this list at the Legislative Conference January 16 and 17.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to name David Nicholson as the representative for Henderson County as voting delegate. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
INFORMAL PUBLIC COMMENTS
There were none.
REQUEST TO WITHDRAW BID
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.
Under NCGS 143-129.1, a bidder may request to withdraw his bid. If such a request is received, the Board must award the bids as if that bid had not been received. The Board made such an award at the November 20, 2002 meeting. The statute also requires that the Board set a hearing to give the withdrawing bidder an opportunity to explain why he should be allowed to withdraw his bid without forfeiting his bid bond. That hearing was set for today=s meeting.
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 judgement 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?
Ms. Beeker informed the Board that if the answers to the six questions above are yes, the Board must allow the bidder to withdraw the bid without forfeiting the bid bond. A written ruling must be issued by the Board within 5 days of conclusion of the hearing.
She reminded the Board that at the last meeting copies of the original work papers were presented to the Board from Empire Dismantlement to demonstrate their claim that they made a mistake in the calculation of their bid. They submitted the original work papers to Ms. Beeker. She copied them for close examination by the Board but she also circulated the original documents for review.
Following review and discussion, it was the consensus of the Board that the answers to the six questions would all be yes. The claim was that the mistake was in the amount of $100,000.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion that the Board allow the bidder to withdraw his bid without forfeiture of bid bond. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Ms. Beeker reminded the Board that a written ruling must be issued within five days. She will draft the document and present it to the Chairman for execution.
UPDATE ON PENDING ISSUES
Chairman Hawkins asked the Board to consider appointing a Blue Ribbon type committee to look at some utilization for the courthouse, plans for use of the structure, whether or not it could be phased in, how to finance the plan, and getting numerous organizations involved. He suggested involving the following as part of the Blue Ribbon committee: Travel & Tourism, Downtown Hendersonville Inc., The Historic Preservation Society, City of Hendersonville, Chamber of Commerce, Historic Seventh Avenue Committee, Downtown Beautification Committee, and representatives from the various municipalities as well as individual citizens that might be interested to form a committee to study the issue. Several counties in North Carolina have taken this route. Catawba County has converted their courthouse into a Historical Museum and offices. Burke County has made a Historical Museum. Cabarrus County has several non-profit organizations including Downtown Development. He suggested that the committee make a 6 month report back to the Board of Commissioners.
There was much discussion. Some felt that numerous studies had already been done and we now need to move forward. There was also some discussion of the demolition of the old jail.
Mr. Nicholson updated the Board on the current status of the courthouse. He had walked the property today. Many questions have been raised lately about the dome and the columns. He had spoken with Dunlap Construction Company, who redid the dome in the 80's. He indicated to Mr. Nicholson that the dome does not need to be repainted, it just needs a clearcoat put over the top. Some of the clearcoat is clouding. The structure of the dome is fine according to Staff and people from Dunlap Construction Company. The columns are actually inside and are brick. You do not see the columns. They are covered with a plaster cover which cracks due to changes in temperature.
Commissioner Moyer expressed that if this project were divorced from our facility plan, then none of the planning would involve this building.
Chairman Hawkins stated that the Historic Courthouse had been locked into the capital plan and had precluded development of the capital plan for the past two years. He felt there were other portions of the Capital Improvement Plan that needed to move forward, one being the Human Services Building. It was the decision of the previous Board not to put a bond issue to restore the courthouse out for referendum.
Much discussion followed.
It was felt that the Committee should be charged with coming up with a plan for the rehabilitation of the facility, what it=s use should be and how to finance the plan.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion for the County Manager to draw up a Charter for a Blue Ribbon Committee to include as many of the organizations that have been mentioned as possible, to include some at-large members, and indicate in the charter the type report the Board would like to get back and a timeframe of 6 months to get that report back. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Hawkins called a brief technical break.
PUBLIC HEARING - Rezoning Application #R-04-02 (R-T to C-2 or C-4) Mr. Nathan Benson, Applicant This Hearing had been canceled earlier in the meeting, see above.
PUBLIC HEARING - Road Names
Chairman 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 December 18, 2002 meeting, the Board of Commissioners set a public hearing for this date for the following road names:
OLD NAME PROPOSED NAME
S. Meeting House Branch Rd Blueberry Farm Rd
Loma Linda Smokey Pines Way
There was none.
Commissioner Moyer made the motion for the Board to go out of public hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to adopt the road names as presented. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Hawkins had distributed a list to the Commissioners of Boards and Committees that Commissioners serve on and had asked for response back from them as to which Boards/Committees they wished to serve on, etc. He had received the responses back and had assigned Commissioners to openings where they wished to serve. He made sure that all the Committees that are required by General Statute to have a Commissioner on were covered. If he got no request back from a Commissioner he just left them where they were currently serving. There are several Committees where no one showed an interest in serving. He asked that if there were still Boards/Committees Commissioners were interested in serving on to please let him know.
Chairman Hawkins noted that under the Local Government Committee for Cooperative Action (LGCCA) that no-one asked to be placed on the Committee and he suggested that any Commissioner could attend any meeting they wished of that Committee.
If no-one wants to serve on the Alliance for Human Services, he asked how the Board wished to handle that. There are others in the same situation. Chairman Hawkins asked Ms. Brantley to compile a list of the Boards/Committees that there is no Commissioner serving on so the Board could decide whether to appoint someone other than a Commissioner to represent them or to revise By-laws or Charter if it requires that a Commissioner serve. He had also asked Ms. Brantley to check on the reports that these various Committees make to the Board of Commissioners and when they are due.
There followed some discussion from the Board with some Commissioners feeling that turnover on Boards/Committees was important to give a fresh perspective to the Board/Committee and to give other Commissioners a chance to see how some Boards/Committees operate. Others felt that a body of knowledge is established and would be hard to transfer to another Commissioner and wished to remain on a Board/Committee for a long time.
DISCUSSION ITEMS - There were none.
CANE CREEK WATER & SEWER DISTRICT - no business
Chairman Hawkins mentioned the retreat scheduled for January 10 and 11 and asked if the Commissioners had any items for that agenda, please let him or David know. There was some discussion of the start time for the Retreat on January 10. The consensus was to begin the meeting at 3:00 p.m. as advertised.
David Nicholson reminded the Board of the need to reschedule the rezoning application for Mr. Nathan Benson. He recommended the Board set that for February 3 at 7:00 p.m.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to set the rezoning application public hearing for Mr. Nathan Benson for February 3 at 7:00 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
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)(3) To consult with an attorney employed or retained by the public body in order to preserve the attorney-client privilege between the attorney and the public body, which privilege is hereby acknowledged. To consult with an attorney employed or retained by the public body in order to consider and give instructions to the attorney with respect to a claim.
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.
There was no action following closed session.
There being no further business to come before the Board, Chairman Hawkins made the motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:06 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board
Grady Hawkins, Chairman