STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON APRIL 7, 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, Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson, County Engineer Gary Tweed, Finance Director J. Carey McLelland, and Deputy Clerk to the Board/Volunteer Coordinator Amy Brantley.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commissioner Messer led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
Chairman Hawkins announced that the scheduled Minister, Rev. Clarence Porter (Evangelist) could not be present today due to illness.
David Nicholson gave the invocation.
DISCUSSION/ADJUSTMENT OF AGENDA
Chairman Hawkins added under Update on Pending Issues: #3 - Process for the interview for the Tax Assessor as well as #4 - Mr. Moyer will update the Board on some Home Rule Legislation.
Commissioner Baldwin asked that two items be pulled from the consent agenda for some discussion: AD@ - Solid Waste Advisory Committee and AI@ Update on County Comprehensive Plan and Other Major Planning Initiatives@.
Commissioner Messer asked that one item be added - Discussion regarding a memo received about the Audit of the Sheriff=s Department.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the revised agenda. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
As well as the two items above that Commissioner Messer asked to be pulled from the consent agenda, Chairman Hawkins asked that item AH@ - State ADM Fund Application be pulled for some discussion.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the consent agenda as presented except for the three items pulled for discussion. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
The consent agenda then consisted of the following:
Draft minutes were presented for the Board=s approval of the following meetings:
March 3, 2003, regular meeting
March 19, 2003, regular meeting
Tax Collector=s Report
Terry F. Lyda, Tax Collector, had provided the Tax Collector=s Report dated April 4, 2003, for the Board=s information.
CDBG: Fair Housing Plan
The Board was presented with documentation that must be approved by the Board of Commissioners before the CDBG for the Highlander Woods Subdivision can go forward. These are updates for the County=s Fair Housing Plan as approved earlier.
Set Public Hearing - 10 Year Solid Waste Plan
The Board was requested to set a Public Hearing on the 10-Year Solid Waste Plan for Wednesday, May 21, 2003 at 11:00 a.m. This is a required Hearing to allow the public to comment on our updated Plan. At the Hearing, the Board will receive comments from the Solid Waste Advisory Committee.
Financial Report - February 2003
Cash Balance Report - February 2003
These reports were submitted for information and consent approval.
Non-departmental expense included the annual property/liability and worker=s compensation insurance premiums paid to the NCACC Risk Management Pools. A majority of these costs were allocated out to individual departments during the months of December and January. The remaining costs of $50,552 will be allocated out prior to fiscal year end.
The Revaluation Reserve Fund is reporting a year-to-date deficit primarily due to $30,000 in printing and postage expense incurred during the month of January to mail out property valuation notices to the public.
The Travel and Tourism Fund year-to-date deficit is primarily due to January and February being a slowdown time in the travel/tourism business. Therefore, occupancy tax collections are at their lowest during this time of year.
The deficits reported in the CDBG-Scattered Site Housing and Mills River Sewer Projects are temporary deficits due to timing differences in the expenditure of funds and the subsequent requisition of funds to reimburse these expenditures.
The Human Services Building Project deficit is due to architectural fees and demolition/abatement work performed at the former Carolina Apparel Building. It is anticipated that these costs will either be recouped from financing proceeds for the project or proceeds from the sale of the land and building.
Henderson County Public Schools Financial Report - February 2003
This report was presented for information and consent approval.
Discussion of Items pulled from the consent agenda:
Solid Waste Advisory Committee
When the Solid Waste Advisory Committee was originally chartered in 1991, one of it=s primary charges was to Astudy, identify, evaluate and recommend to the Board of Commissioners methods of handling and disposal of solid waste at the current site or such future sites as may be required.@ Since that time, the purpose of the committee has changed and they now Aadvise the Board of Commissioners on issues pertaining to present and future solid waste programs in Henderson County.@
At the March 19th meeting, the Board discussed the function of the Committee with regards to litter enforcement and education. Following some research by Staff, the bylaws have been revised to charge the SWAC with enforcement of litter.
The County Manager recommended the revision of the bylaws as proposed.
Commissioner Baldwin asked for a clarification of Article II of the bylaws. He wanted to be sure that this committee would not be enforcing litter laws. The County Manager confirmed that they would not.
State ADM Fund Application (ADM = Average Daily Membership)
The County=s current fiscal year budget includes an appropriation of $496,206 in State ADM Fund revenues to pay school debt service on the funds borrowed for construction and renovation of the Clear Creek and Etowah Elementary School Projects. Staff requested that the Board consider approving the prepared ADM Fund application that had previously been approved by the Board of Public Education at their March 10th meeting.
The County Manager stated that it would be appropriate for the Board to approve the ADM Fund application at this time. An application to use State ADM funds requires approval from both the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Public Education.
The fund is otherwise known as the School Capital Fund.
Mr. Nicholson explained that in the 1980's the State decided to raise the corporate income tax by 1% and provide that money for school construction. It is divided out to the School Systems by their average daily membership. For many years we used that money for repair work at the schools. A couple of years ago the State said they didn=t want to deal with all our invoices for carpet, paint, roof etc. and they preferred that we use the funds for debt service. At that time we switched to using the monies for debt service for schools. We normally let the money accumulate one year to see how much is there and appropriate it the next fiscal year. This agenda item appropriates $496,206 to pay this year=s debt service cost for Clear Creek and Etowah Elementary Schools. This account was not funded during the current fiscal year and in the Governor=s Budget he proposed that it not be funded in fiscal year 2004. This is a real concern to us because if this is not funded we=re going to be some $515,000 short in this coming year=s budget. The County Commissioners have written the Governor, he responded and commented that out of kindness they chose not to take the money that was already in the account but rather just did not fund the account for two years.
Mr. Nicholson explained that the money is $3.00 State money to $1.00 local match. The total amount that would go to debt service this time is $661,000.
Update on County Comprehensive Plan and Other Major Planning Initiatives
As part of the strategy approved by the Board of Commissioners for completing several major planning projects, Staff proposed providing regular reports to the Board on the status of the County Comprehensive Plan. At the meeting on March 19, 2003, the Board requested monthly reports, therefore, Staff provided this update which summarizes the tasks that are either in progress or have been completed related to the CCP and the other major planning initiatives. The update also included anticipated actions for the coming month.
Commissioner Baldwin commended Staff for the memo describing what is being done and what they are going to do but he stated he would like to see dates for the future items.
Karen Smith answered that she anticipated doing such a report on a monthly basis so the items on this report cover the coming month (a monthly work plan).
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the consent agenda, including the items that were pulled for discussion. 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. Juvenile Crime Prevention Council - 1 vac.
2. Transportation Advisory Committee - 1 vac.
3. Agriculture Advisory Committee - 1 vac.
4. Regional Vision 2010 (Land-of-Sky) - 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 - 9 vac.
Chairman Hawkins nominated Calvin Titus for reappointment. There were no other nominations at this time. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept Mr. Titus by acclamation. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
2. Mountain Area Workforce Development Board - 1 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
3. Child Fatality Prevention Team - 1 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
4. Asheville Regional Housing Consortium - 1 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
5. EMS Quality Management Committee - 1 vac.
Chairman Hawkins nominated Judy Lathrop to fill the R.N. position, #7. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept Ms. Lathrop by acclamation. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
There was some discussion of whether the Board wanted two additional members on this committee, one a voting member and one a non-voting member. It was the consensus of the Board to add the two additional members as requested by EMS Director Terry Layne.
Chairman Hawkins nominated Larry Russell to the voting member vacancy and Frank Simpson to the non-voting (ex-officio) member vacancy. There were no other nominations. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept both members by acclamation. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
6. Henderson County Planning Board - 3 vac.
Commissioner Baldwin nominated Paul Patterson for reappointment, Lyn Savage and Matt Matteson as new members.
Chairman Hawkins nominated Mike Cooper for reappointment.
Commissioner Moyer nominated Jack Lynch for reappointment.
There were five nominees for three vacancies. The Clerk will poll the Board at the next meeting to fill these vacancies.
UPWARD ROAD SATELLITE STATION
At the Board=s October 7, 2002 meeting, the Board approved in principle a letter of proposal from Park Ridge Hospital providing that Park Ridge would construct a substation within Appleland Business Park and would contribute $130,000 towards the building costs with the County paying the balance of the building costs. The Board wanted to see the final numbers on the project before giving final approval.
The architect=s final estimate on the substation is $180,000. The County=s anticipated contribution would be $50,000. In addition to the $130,000 contribution, Park Ridge is also paying for all of the site preparation work and water and sewer installation for the facility. Four new paramedic positions have already been approved and are in the process of being filled. No staffing above that which has already been approved will be necessary for this substation. Mr. Nicholson explained that 27% of the total calls are in the area that would be served by this substation. It would serve the eastern and the southern part of the county, East Flat Rock, Dana, Green River/Tuxedo area, Flat Rock, etc.
Park Ridge would enter into a lease arrangement with the County modeled after the current lease for the Mills River substation. A copy of that lease was presented for Board review. The County=s $50,000 would serve as a lump sum payment towards a 10-year lease for the facility.
If the Board gives final approval to the construction and lease of an EMS substation in accordance with these terms, Park Ridge would commence with the construction of the facility. During the construction, a new lease, similar to the existing lease for the Mills River facility would be negotiated with Park Ridge and brought back to the Board for final approval. The lease would not actually be signed until the facility was complete and ready for occupancy by EMS.
The procedure is consistent with that followed for the Mills River substation.
Terry Layne, EMS Director, was present and answered questions from the Board
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to direct Staff to proceed with negotiation of the lease and the County=s share as a lump sum payment ($50,000). All voted in favor and the motion carried.
MENTAL HEALTH REFORM - Local Business Plan
Recently the Board was provided a copy of the Local Business Plan that addresses the legislation that provides for mental health system reform. Mr. Nicholson explained that this Plan was developed by the County Managers group which represents the eight county area along with representatives from the current Mental Health Area Authorities. The law clarifies the relationship between the State and local governments in providing community based services. It calls for, within available resources, the LME (Local Management Entity) to ensure that certain core functions are done such as screening, assessment, referral, emergency services, service coordination, consultation, education and prevention. It indicates that the State will provide funding to put the services into the target populations with the exception of the entitled Medicaid Services. We did receive the targeted populations.
One of the requirements is to put together a multi-county program with a minimum population of 200,000 people or a minimum of five counties to be served. We are working with Buncombe, Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Polk, and Rutherford counties. Including Henderson and Transylvania Counties this is an eight county area.
Mr. Nicholson explained that the Business Plan calls for development of a local management entity which will meet the State standards and the laws and to ensure quality services are provided within the area. It is a three-year agreement. The Board of Commissioners have to participate in the development and review of the Business Plan. This Board did so by assigning the County Manager to help develop the Plan. Mr. Nicholson has spent a considerable amount of time over the past several months trying to ensure that a plan was put together to present to this Board of Commissioners that could clearly do what we can within the confines of this law and to protect these important community services. A preliminary plan was submitted to the State in January. The Plan calls for a phased in approach to this process. We are in the second phase with a plan to have our program changed from the Area Authority Model to the LME Model in January of 2004.
Mr. Nicholson touched on the following stating that we have come a long way on each of these, even since January when the preliminary plan was submitted to the State: governance of the system, access, emergencies, and provider network.
Governance - This is a brand new organization. A lot of the LMEs across the State took their current area authority and they became the LME. They didn=t change anything. Our group felt very strongly that we needed a brand new organizational structure. This is not a mental health provider. If there is no-one else to do it this LME can provide services but that is not the goal. They believe this plan calls for privatization of those services and that=s the way our group designed it. It is an administrative organization. It is a contract organization. It would have been much easier to have merged these area authorities into one and gone forward. The group proposes that initially the counties have a really strong hand in implementing this program. They designed a strong county program with county input up-front. The initial Board will consist of the eight County Managers (Buncombe County=s Assistant Manager). The law calls for over 50% of the Board members to be consumers or professionals. Mr. Nicholson proposed an 11 member Board including three consumers or professionals. Next year they would plan to add two more consumers or professionals to the Board and by the third year would have a Board that would meet the Statute. He proposed that the Board start meeting in July on a regular basis, develop the organizational structure, the management plan, the personnel system, the employee benefits, the operating budget, manuals, policies, procedures, contracts, staffing and salary plans, all those things that it takes to operate any kind of quasi-government organization. They will have to review all the contract relationships that all the area authorities have with people and work on coming up with the initial service provider contracts. All this must be in place by December 31, 2003 because at 12:01 on January 1, 2004 the new LME takes effect and becomes operational. The area authorities will not go away initially, they will still operate even though their responsibilities to provide mental health services will go away. They will still have a lot of close-out issues to deal with; audits, medicaid reimbursements, personnel issues, all those things that will happen as those organizations close themselves out. He expects the area authorities to be in effect for six to twelve months as they deal with all the issues.
Access - Currently if you have a mental health issue you call and make an appointment and go over to Trend=s office. The new system will not work that way. First there will be a screening effort that has to be done. The client will deal with a staff person of the LME who will find out what their issues are and then send them out if they are a target population. Basically they will screen to see if the person needs services, what they are, and where they should go. The next step is assessment unless it=s an emergency. This will be a face to face assessment by a clinician. It will not be done by the LME=s staff. He can visualize where the School System would do assessments of school children and where Pardee, DSS, and Health Department would have clinicians to do assessments. State funding will be provided for Staff. When the assessment is done an individual plan will be developed for that person. Once that plan is developed it will go back to the LME before anything else is done. The LME then goes through an authorization process (Utilization management). If it meets the normal standards then that individual is given a number of possible providers of their service because consumer choice is important. If there is a problem then the person at the LME has to call the person who did the assessment and find out why they asked for something that is out of the norm for the individual. If they get approved they are given a list of places to go to get the services. The patron must then seek the service. Case management is a function here to make sure the client or patron receives the service needed.
Emergencies - The LME must also ensure that there are programs in place for crisis stabilization. Services must be available on a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year basis. There will be a whole array of emergency services that will be needed; detox. unit, day treatment program, etc. Much of this will be contracted.
Provider Network - About 200 surveys have been mailed out. Only 50 or so have been returned at this time. There are agencies, private providers, multiple service providers, individuals who wish to do a particular service but noone will commit at this time because we haven=t seen the dollars associated with the program. The group is informing the providers and letting them know that they are eligible for the program. The LME must assure the Board of Commissioners that they will have the providers, recruit providers, or as a last resort must provide the services themselves.
Mr. Nicholson explained that there are still a number of outstanding issues. There is nothing in this law that talks about anything except maintenance of effort when it comes to local dollars. You can=t cut the dollars you have going to mental health services according to this law but it doesn=t say how these monies will flow. Everyone assumed it will flow to the LME but the law doesn=t specify. Mr. Nicholson feels those are County monies and he can foresee us using those monies for multiple uses. The Board has funded mental health at a level where they are going to have some money to help with providing the services in the community. It could be true additional access points, a grant program to start programs in our community, or even supplement services.
During the transition period we don=t know how funds will be provided to the interim Board or how to show the budget for mental health programs this coming year. The issue of facilities keeps coming up. In our case, Trend only owns one building. They lease their other buildings either from the Foundation or from private individuals. Facilities is not as big an issue to us as it is in some other places across the region. The divestitures of both Trend and Blue Ridge is an important issue.
Mr. Nicholson discussed a Resolution Concerning The Reorganization Of Mental Health, Developmental Disability And Substance Abuse Services In An Eight County Region. He feels that there will be plenty of opportunities for this Board to look at the issues associated with mental health services. Basically he requested the Board authorize the filing of the report and progressing with the program. He asked if the Board had specific issues, specific tasks or policies associated with the plan, then they will be placed in the Work Plan for the first quarter. Information will be accumulated from the eight counties, compiled and sent back out to all eight. He stressed the #4 statement in the Now Therefore paragraph of the Resolution which reads AThe State of North Carolina should ensure an adequate level of funding for mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse services so as to protect the most vulnerable citizens of this State.@
Mr. Nicholson recognized Judith West, who was in the audience, who came forward and answered some questions from the Board regarding transition in services for clients currently receiving mental health services. Ms. West is a representative from Trend Mental Health who has been working with the Managers on this project.
Following some discussion, Commissioner Messer made the motion to adopt this resolution as presented by Mr. Nicholson and Ms. West. A vote was taken and the motion passed three to two with Commissioners Moyer and Young voting nay. The Resolution basically allows us to file a Business Plan with the State.
INFORMAL PUBLIC COMMENTS
1. Dottie Effinger - Ms. Effinger stated she was representing her interests for quality health care generally in our County. She asked for a confiscated van (drug-bust van through Sheriff=s Dept.) for the Blue Ridge Health Center. She asked for the Board=s help in acquiring a van for Blue Ridge. We currently do not have a confiscated van at the Sheriff=s Dept. The Law requires that confiscated vehicles must benefit either the Sheriff=s Department or the Board of Public Education.
If the Board would support such a request, whenever a vehicle becomes available, then Ms. Effinger and others could address the Board of Education to request their support in giving a van to Blue Ridge Health Center.
TO PURCHASE FORECLOSED PROPERTY OFFER
LOT 16, and easement crossing Lot 17 of Cold Springs Park Subdivision
Henderson County had received an Offer to Purchase Lot 16 and easement crossing Lot 17, Cold Springs Park Subdivision in the amount of $10,700.00. This property was acquired pursuant to a Sheriff=s Sale, held for the nonpayment of taxes in 1972. Pursuant to the Policy Regarding the Sale of Real Property Owned by Henderson County As a Result of a Tax Foreclosure Sale, an initial offer was presented to the Board of Commissioners, who can either reject the bid, or issue a proposed acceptance. If the Board issues a proposed acceptance, the bidder is required to post a bid deposit in the amount of 5% of the bid or $150.00 whichever is greater. The bidder must also pay to the County $120.00 to cover the costs of advertising the offer for upset bids. A notice of the offer is then published inviting any upset bids. If no upset bids are received within the ten (10) days following the notice, the offer will come back to the Board for final consideration, at which point the Board may accept or reject the offer. If given final acceptance by the Board, the purchaser must pay the full bid price, and a quitclaim deed is issued.
The County Attorney has rendered a basic title opinion, which states that there were some irregularities in the foreclosure process and subsequent foreclosure sale. For this reason, she had prepared an Offer to Purchase, which has been signed by the Offeror, which acknowledges these irregularities, and requires the Offeror to sign a release as part of the purchase price for the properties before the Offer is advertised.
Board action to either give a proposed acceptance or to reject the Offer received would be appropriate at this time.
Following discussion, Commissioner Moyer made the motion to propose to accept the offer as proposed in the prepared Resolution and follow the procedure laid out in the second option of the Resolution. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
UPDATE ON PENDING ISSUES
Chris Coulson has been working on pulling together a ALitter Summit@. It is scheduled for Thursday, May 8, 2003 at 6:30 p.m. in Kaplan Auditorium of the Henderson County Public Library. The goal is twofold: the education of our community, and to encourage law enforcement and enforcement of the laws already on the books. The format will be a panel discussion with two panels. One panel is education based and entitled AWhere we are, how we got here, and what citizens can do@. The other panel is enforcement based which will talk about the laws and what various law enforcement agencies can and are doing. Some of the panel participants are from: Department of Transportation, Office of Beautification, NC Dept. Of Corrections, Buncombe County Correctional Center, Community Clubs, NC Highway Patrol, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, and Henderson County Sheriff=s Office.
After the panel discussions, they will open the floor for questions from the audience. They will be inviting Adopt-A-Highway participants, community clubs, Girl and Boy Scout leaders, our Solid Waste Department, and the general public to attend. The panel discussion is scheduled to last no more than an hour and a half. They will have some anti-litter items to give away, information on who to contact if someone is seen littering, and information on ways people can get involved in litter cleanup.
Ms. Coulson stated that when Stoney Mountain Prison was closed we lost a big asset in the prisoners who would pick up trash on the roadsides. The Buncombe County Correctional Center does have one eight-man litter pick-up crew that works in Henderson County only. They are here as much as possible, weather permitting. They are charged with cleaning up (Raleigh priorities) I-26 from the Buncombe/Henderson County Line to the North Carolina/South Carolina State Line, Highway # 64 and # 25 through the entire county. Their pick-up rotation currently is each road once a month. A request has been made that they start picking up Highway #191 as well. Currently the Community Work Service has litter crews picking up trash each Saturday in the City limits and two Saturdays a month they have 10-12 man work crews picking up litter in the county. They are primarily focusing on secondary roads because of the prison labor picking up I-26, 64, and 25.
Ms. Coulson stated that as part of the Swat A Litterbug Campaign you can call in or send an e-mail in if you see someone littering. There is a website where people can go and fill out an e-mail form and that is sent to Raleigh. That is really not enforcement. There is nothing legally they can do but a letter does go out from the Commander of the Highway Patrol to the individual based on their license plate number, description of their vehicle, etc.
Ms. Coulson stated that the NC Wildlife Resources Commission has Statewide jurisdiction. They patrol gamelands, National Forests, lakes and streams. They issue more tickets statewide than anyone but they don=t receive phone calls concerning littering. If they see people littering, they cite them.
Update - Mills River Sewer Project
Gary Tweed had reviewed with our consultant the status of the Mills River Sanitary Sewer Project. We have just recently submitted the final Environmental Assessment Document. The future work will depend on the approval of the EA, but in talking with the State staff he estimated the following schedule for the remaining work:
NC Dept. Of Environment and Natural Resources to write FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact) in 3 weeks and send to EPA
EPA to publish FONSI in 6 weeks.
30-day public notice, if no public comments, final approval issued by EPA.
Based on this schedule the project is estimated to proceed as follows:
April through June 2003 - Final Permitting, Final Plans
July 1 - Anticipated FONSI from EPA
July - August - Easement Acquisition
September - Bidding
October - Begin Construction
Mills River Crossing cannot be done from October 15 - April 15 during trout spawning season.
Mr. Tweed stated that based on this schedule, his goal is to have the project completed by the middle to the end of 2004. The Clean Water Management Trust Fund Grant expires at the end of 2004.
Mr. Tweed stated that we are actually drawing down this money now. The EPA funds have slowed this project by a year.
Tax Assessor Position (add-on)
Chairman Hawkins had sent the Commissioners a memo with applications attached that had been received to date for the position of Tax Assessor. The position was advertised as open until filled.
There was some discussion regarding the procedure to follow for interviewing applicants. Chairman Hawkins asked each Commissioner to prioritize the applications they had and let him have the priority list and interviews will be set up for the Board for the top three or so.
There was also discussion regarding the possibility of a change in Tax Collector/Tax Assessor into a Tax Administrator. Terry F. Lyda, Tax Collector, had been contacted about the possible change and he had responded that he planned to serve out his elected term as Tax Collector. Chairman Hawkins stated it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have a County Tax Administrator who has an elected Tax Collector working for him. The Board may have to wait on the idea of a change for the time being. He stated that the Board may want to make the applicants for the Tax Assessor aware that the County is considering at some point looking at a new organization using a Tax Administrator.
Home Rule Legislation (add-on)
Commissioner Moyer stated that 2-3 years ago a letter was sent on behalf of the Board of Commissioners to the NCACC with respect to the ongoing problems we=re having with the State on defining relationships regarding Home Rule or Dillion=s Rule (who has the right to do what). In the letter we asked the Association to take a look at this and establish a group to take a look at the changes that need to be made. It went to the Association=s Executive Committee and it went to the Board and they authorized moving forward with studying this problem. They established a Task Force to study it. Mr. Moyer was asked to serve on the Task Force called AThe North Carolina Association of County Commissioners County/State Financial Resources Functional Responsibility Task Force@. Their task is to study where Dillion=s Rule/Home Rule stands in the State. It is a very confusing picture. In many cases we have moved away from Dillion=s Rule, the Courts have moved back to Dillion=s Rule and clarification is needed. The Task Force met on March 27 and started the process. Senate Bill #160 was introduced which is designed to strengthen the autonomy of local governments. The Task Force has taken a look at this legislation but Commissioner Moyer thinks it does not go as far as he thinks is necessary. He asked if anyone had ideas with respect to what they would like studied to let him know. He will continue to inform the Board as things move forward.
Audit - Sheriff=s Department (add-on)
Chairman Hawkins stated that earlier this week the County Manager sent out a memo with some educational material about how confiscated funds are divided between those that the State is involved in, those the Federal Government is involved in, and how they are accounted for in our County Accounting System.
Commissioner Messer questioned how intent the Board is on doing an audit of the Sheriff=s Department. Aren=t all our departments currently audited as part of our budget process?
David Nicholson had responded to several requests about how the Sheriff=s funds are accounted for and audited. The Board now has a memo from the County Manager which would help them to answer questions from citizens on how it is done. The Sheriff=s budget is audited as part of the General County Audit. Every year an independent auditor comes in and audits all county departments. Results of the audit are issued in the CAFR - Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Mr. Nicholson reminded the Board that the Sheriff receives grants. Because of the fact that we get over a quarter million dollars worth of grants we are covered under the single audit act which means the auditors also have to do a compliance audit to make sure that we have followed grant requirements. That information is included in the CAFR. The Sheriff also gets other monies:
C Federal Forfeiture Money
This actually goes into our Trust and Agency Fund and is part of the CAFR. When those monies have to be used for law enforcement they are taken out of that account and put into the General Fund. A revenue is created and an expenditure for the use of the funds.
C State Excise Drug Tax
This money is handled similar to the Federal Forfeiture Money except that it doesn=t go into a separate account first.
Mr. Nicholson stated that we have good procedures in place to check on these issues.
Chairman Hawkins called a brief technical recess.
BUDGET GOALS - Social Services
Chairman Hawkins stated that as part of the ongoing budget process the Board had asked to have some discussion with some of our biggest departments, that consume about 75% of our budget - the Board of Education, DSS, Public Health, and the Sheriff=s Department.
Liston Smith distributed a AGoal Presentation@ to the Board which was a 23 page document. It had been presented to the Henderson County Department of Social Services on April 7, 2003 by Mr. Smith, Director of DSS - Department of Social Services. His recommendations to the Board of Social Services were presented based on need even though it is a fiscally tight year.
1. Increase access to affordable & reliable child care subsidy assistance to children
of low income families waiting for service(s).
2. Implement a County Assistance Program to support foster parents willing and able
to accept appointment as legal guardian for a child with unique health, social, or learning
3. Enable Sheriff=s Department and Social Services to implement a Partner Model on investigations, case planning, and case decisions for all child health and safety cases.
4. Increase resources in Medicaid services to maintain an acceptable level of service addressing both quality (timeliness and accuracy) and quantity (number of county residents).
Mr. Smith explained the rationale for each of these goals and discussed the requests associated with each in detail. Requests associated with the goals were as follows:
1. $625,000 in 100% county funds to supplement Child Care Block Grant.
2. $40,000 for subsidy payments.
3. $105,432 to contract for two detectives (hopefully State & Federal monies would pay in full for these two positions).
4. Three Income Maintenance II caseworker positions at a cost of $95,013, of which fifty percent would be reimbursed through Federal/State match.
Liston Smith had quotes and charts to demonstrate his goals and requests. He asked to table Goal # 2. He wanted to do some further study on it and bring it back before the DSS Board. He would like to create an incentive for really Special Needs Kids so that they can have a permanent home but in the meantime he doesn=t want to create a non-incentive for children to be adopted. He=s still wrestling with this one.
The Commissioners had previously discussed the following goals for DSS among themselves:
C Report on child support payments (amount and # participants)
C Reduce amount of time child is in foster care
C Reduce # of children on day care lists
C Look at stats of Asuccess@ in various cases
In response to these goals, Listen discussed Child Support. They currently serve 2072 children in the program. Their goal is to consistently collect as much child support as possible for the benefit and economic self-sufficiency of Henderson County children and families. He shared performance indicators demonstrating:
Percentage of children placed in non-family settings.
Percentage of children placed with relatives.
Percentage of children with one placement only.
Percentage reduction of children in backlog (Challenge for Children).
Average number of days in care.
Percentage in care after 12 months.
Grace Poli, Chairman of the DSS Board, informed the Board that the Multiple Response System will be mandated to be in place by 2005. If we could implement Goal # 3 we would be ahead of the curve. She would like to see that implemented. She stated that she understood that asking for $600,000 for child subsidy is an outrageous amount but she thinks the community needs to be aware of the fact that we have such a waiting list and have had for multiple years.
BUDGET GOALS - Public Health
The Board had previously discussed a couple of goals for Dept. of Public Health:
# days to process an environmental inspection.
# children inoculated and cost per child inoculated.
Tom Bridges, Director of Public Health Department, addressed the Board. He stated that the Health Department had been busy over the past year. One of the big issues has been HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It has been stated that HIPAA will cost probably 3-4 times what Y2K cost. They have also worked to unbundle Medicaid billing. They have also been busy with bioterrorism events and emergency activities. They did a joint flu shot campaign with the two hospitals that was highly successful. There will be some legislation, already on the floor, generated from Iredell County who wanted and insisted on a body piercing bill which would mean that the Health Dept. would be in the process not only of doing inspections of tattoo parlors but are likely to be facing having to do inspections of body piercing activities by December. He mentioned briefly the fate of animal services. Mr. Bridges stated that they have seen a trend in shifting demographics. He has gone from four bilingual staff to over ten. We have the limited English proficiency requirement as a Federal law which means we have to provide translation services at no charge to the client or to the patient.
Mr. Bridges stated that they realize this will be a tight budget year. They are trying to pretty much hold the line. He will have to ask for more money for HIPAA for forms, printing, etc. They have requests for vehicles in their budget which are based on the County Vehicle Replacement Policy. They have a couple of storage sheds in their budget.
Mr. Bridges addressed the Animal Control Budget stating it is based on the current activities. He realizes there could be a big change later. He would like to advocate for a full-time Environmental Health Supervisor. Robert Smith is retiring at the end of August with 31 years with Henderson County but this means that Mr. Bridges will be losing an Environmental Supervisor as well as an Animal Control Supervisor.
Mr. Bridges addressed the goals the Board had discussed - the Health Department provides immunizations free of charge. They get the vaccine free and they give it free as part of a public health service. They vaccinated almost 9,000 children in 2002. The Board had asked about the two week turn-around in septic tank permits. Actually this is pretty much the desirable level. A lot of Health Departments are seeking this as the majority of Health Departments are not near this. Mr. Bridges and staff would like to see this improved. He stated that he is encouraged by what he sees in technology enhancements in new type software and hardware to improve on this, especially if we can match with the GIS system. There has been some discussion about establishing a special fee (higher premium) if someone needs a STAT permit.
The Board of Commissioners had suggested performing another emergency response similar to the flu vaccination. Mr. Bridges stated that they just finished last fall doing a bioterrorism exercise and prior to that they did some actual work to be prepared for anthrax or smallpox.
Henderson County just finished smallpox vaccinations and exceeded every county in WNC. They vaccinated almost 70 people, 62 of them being in Henderson County. So we have our first stage responders ready in case we had to do a full blown public vaccination. Mr. Bridges stated that he would hesitate to take on another emergency response exercise at this time because they are just waiting now for the order to move to stage II where they would be vaccinating approx. 5,000 to 8,000 people in our county for the smallpox vaccination. If they implement stage II it would include all the remaining Health Dept. staff, Hospital staff of both hospitals, private physicians, emergency medical services, emergency management, fire, law enforcement, etc.
Mr. Bridges stated he was pleased to report that everyone who received the smallpox vaccination is doing OK.
He mentioned that mosquito control is a program they are looking at very earnestly. He has asked to more than double that budget, from $25,000 to $60,000. Henderson County has an active vector control program. They propose acquiring a used pick-up truck so they can use an idle second sprayer.
BUDGET GOALS - Public Schools
The Board discussed the following goals for the Board of Public Education:
C Reduce drop-out rates.
C Improve end-of-course test grades for minorities.
C Demonstrate education quality improvement with reduction in class size.
The Board will have a joint meeting with the Board of Education at a later date.
Commissioner Baldwin questioned the formatting, education, and training for department heads for the outcome focused or performance based budgeting process.
Staff explained that we are not far enough into the new process and they need time this year to train department heads in the new budgeting process.
Commissioner Baldwin would like for staff to set up the program so that the Board can see how the whole process will be implemented. Education/training for department heads will be a very important part.
There was some discussion concerning a joint meeting with the Board of Public Education. The preferred date was Tuesday, April 22 at 2:00 p.m. (here).
There was a problem with the April 17 date for the Public Hearing on the Animal Services Ordinance. David will look for an alternate date for the Board at the same location (Kaplan Auditorium).
The Board had previously set the NC DOT Secondary Road Public Hearing for May 14. The Legislative Briefing and Reception is that same day. One of our Commissioners has already stated that he would not be at the NC DOT Hearing because he (Commissioner Messer) would be out of town. We have to have three Commissioners present to have a quorum. Only one Commissioner stated that he might attend the Legislative Meeting (Commissioner Moyer). David Nicholson plans to attend the Legislative Briefing.
There being no further business to come before the Board, Chairman Hawkins made the motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:18 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board
Grady Hawkins, Chairman