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.



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


            Stable economy

            Community values

            Good government

            It’s home

            Natural environment

            Great opportunities for future

            Great place to raise kids

            Great place to retire

            Safe place to live


            Community services

            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

            Septic tanks

            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

            Solid waste

            Government needs to listen to the people


            Lower taxes


The Consultant’s executive summary of the questionnaire listed the following as being least and most important issues:


Most Important

Protect air quality, water quality, and prevent development in the flood prone areas

Spending priorities

Air and water quality

Farmland protection

Open space protection


Least Important

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

State demands

Policy changes

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

            Open space

            Built environment

                        Impact on natural/open space

            Different opinions re: who is responsible?

            Smart growth


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:



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


                                    service delivery



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


                                                County/other Counties





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