STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON NOVEMBER 7, 2003
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 8:30 a.m. in the Cafeteria Building at the WNC Justice Academy in Edneyville. The purpose of the meeting was a Fall Retreat (day one of two days).
Those present were: Chairman Grady Hawkins
Commissioner Bill Moyer
Commissioner Charlie Messer
Commissioner Shannon Baldwin
County Manager David E. Nicholson
County Attorney Angela S. Beeker
Planning Director Karen C. Smith
Budget and Management Director Selena Coffey
Fire Marshal Rocky Hyder
County Engineer Gary Tweed
Finance Director J. Carey McLelland
Deputy Clerk to the Board Amy Brantley
Facilitator Steve Allen
Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.
Also present were: Larry Rogers, President of Partners for Economic Progress
Dick Baird, WHKP Radio Commentator
Jack Lynch, County Comprehensive Plan Chairman
Absent was: Vice-Chairman Larry Young.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order at approximately 8:37 a.m. and welcomed all in attendance.
Selena Coffey reviewed some housekeeping items with everyone, breaks, bathrooms, lunch, etc.
Steve Allen stated that his responsibility for the retreat was process and the Board’s responsibility was content. He started out by asking everyone present to name the good things about Henderson County:
Quality of life
Great opportunities for future
Great place to raise kids
Great place to retire
Safe place to live
Access to good healthcare
Mr. Allen then asked for a list of constituent concerns which were enumerated as follows:
What neighbors are doing with their property
Out migration of local human resources
Absence of planning
Losing sense of “place” because of growth
Cost of living
Cost of housing
Cost of land
Decline in agri-business
Mr. Allen then reviewed some of the comments from written surveys and read excerpts aloud. Some of the comments were:
Government cannot do it all
Government should protect water, air, noise limits, etc.
Eliminate wasteful spending
Send all developers back to Florida and South Carolina
Make expenditure of every tax dollar count
Give up old courthouse restoration and tear it down
Protect and improve existing neighborhoods
Roads and bicycles don’t mix
Person buys property and pays taxes and should be able to do what they want with it
Government needs to listen to the people
The Consultant’s executive summary of the questionnaire listed the following as being least and most important issues:
Protect air quality, water quality, and prevent development in the flood prone areas
Air and water quality
Open space protection
Cost of affordable housing
Regulation of outdoor lighting
Establish architectural standards
Programs that encourage tourism
Support public transportation
Following a short recess, Mr. Allen distributed a hand-out, attached as “A” which defined a strategic issue, listed three kinds of strategic issues and the benefits resulting from the identification of strategic issues. Everyone then brainstormed, listing strategic issues:
1. Where should economic emphasis be?
Travel & Tourism
Have/maintain a stable thriving economy/balance
2. Prioritize fiscal priorities
Only have so much money
Only so many things we can do
3. Must take (or continue to take) the pulse of community citizens
Population growth continues, in-migration with different mixture of interest, education, background, etc.
Rate of growth and demographics impact demand
How do you accommodate?
4. County government’s response to service needs in response to growth
How efficient and effective are we in performing these services?
5. Hispanic population or Diversity of population
Difference in values
Mass transit needed “buses smell bad”
Sports, recreation interests
Culture – raised in a democracy that understands responsibility vs. doesn’t understand the concept
Different expectations – rural, urban
Government role: public health, DSS, eventually use more services
Matter of acceptance
6. Our relationship with other governmental units within our county
State and Feds pushing regionalism
A lot of mandates
How do we deal with other governments?
State pushes to save themselves
Dollar underuse of regionalism
7. How do we do what we “have” to do?
Deal with growth
Be efficient and effective
8. Fundamental functions and responsibilities of County Government
Perception vs. reality
Do fundamentals and do them well
Fundamentals are changing
How to plan for changes when State makes the rules?
9. Mitigate the impact of urbanization on the environment
Soil and sedimentation control
Storm water run-off
Impact on natural/open space
Different opinions re: who is responsible?
Steve Allen distributed a hand-out of key definitions “B” and “C – The Role of the County”.
We broke for lunch and enjoyed spaghetti and salad in the cafeteria of the Justice Academy.
After lunch everyone worked hard at cleaning up the strategic issues:
MISSION OF GOVERNMENT
Provide public safety
Carry out state/federal mandates
Insure quality educational opportunities
Quality of life & public welfare
Supplement services that aren’t covered – authorized vs. mandated
Establish policy to implement
Preserve natural resources
Indentify/define level of growth desired in each area
(what is happening and what you would like to happen – kind, where, how much)
Infrastructure and role of utilities
Impact of growth on: culture
Analyze component parts and pursue accordingly (agriculture, retirement, industry)
Maintain balance of components
Utility planning – proactive vs. reactive (heretofore has been decided by developers)
Pursue joint efforts with: City/County
Provide facilities: Schools, Court System, DSS, Law Enforcement, County Government, Library, etc.
Programs with citizen input
Pursue all other funding opportunities to preserve tax rate
Develop alternative ways to provide services (study effectiveness and efficiency)
Insure funding levels are concurrent with services being provided.
The meeting broke up about 3:30 p.m.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board Grady Hawkins, Chairman