STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON JANUARY 5, 2004
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, Fire Marshal Rocky Hyder, Finance Director J. Carey McLelland, Planner Josh Freeman, and Assistant County Attorney Russell Burrell. Deputy Clerk to the Board Amy Brantley was present through nominations.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commissioner Baldwin led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
David Nicholson gave the invocation.
DISCUSSION/ADJUSTMENT OF AGENDA
Chairman Hawkins requested one item be added to the agenda under Staff Reports – Update on Pending Issues. Commissioner Baldwin wanted to add an item #2 “Strategic Plan”.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept the agenda as revised. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Hawkins pulled item “J – Water Line Extensions” for some discussion.
He had some concerns about the Ingles Market Water Line Extension. It does not have adequate hydrant location and spacing. He stated that continues to be an area of concern from a safety standpoint, particularly for fire-fighting. The City continues to run water lines out in the county without the adequate hydrant locations and spacing series. The County has sent letters in the past expressing concern over this issue.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the consent agenda as presented. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Henderson County Public Schools Financial Report – November 2003
The Public School System had provided their November financial report for the Board’s consent approval.
Henderson County Financial Report – November 2003
Cash Balance Report – November
These two reports were submitted for Board information and consent approval.
Non-departmental expense includes annual property/liability and worker’s compensation insurance premiums paid to the NCACC Risk Management Pools. The remaining $153,048 in expense will be allocated out to all departments prior to fiscal year end.
The County Services Building Project deficit is due to architectural fees, demolition/abatement and utility line relocation work performed at the former Carolina Apparel Building. It is anticipated that these costs will be recouped from financing proceeds for the project in 2004.
The $15,294 deficit in the CDBG-Highlander Woods Project and the $16,294 deficit reported in the Mills River Sewer Project is temporary due to a timing difference in the expenditure of funds and the subsequent requisition of funds to reimburse these expenditures.
Approval of Closed Session Minutes
The Board was requested to adopt the following motion:
Motion – The following closed session minutes are hereby approved and shall be deemed sealed as provided by Section 11-6 of the Henderson County Code:
1. Minutes for the closed sessions held on November 26, 2002, December 2, 2002, December 18, 2002, November 3, 2003, and December 1, 2003, each as presented and revised during the closed session of December 17, 2003.
Pawnbroker’s License Renewal – Etowah Pawnbroker, Inc.
Bruce Gosnell who operates Etowah Pawnbrokers, Inc. had filed an application to continue operating a pawnshop at the Etowah Shopping Center in Henderson County.
Mr. Gosnell first applied for a pawnbroker’s license in 1990 and has renewed his application/petition every year since. If approved, this license will expire on September 30, 2004. A complete renewal application had been submitted and was attached for the Board’s review with the exception of his financial records. They were submitted, but were not included with the agenda item in order to maintain their confidentiality in accordance with the public policy of the State.
The County Attorney had reviewed the application/petition and the attachments and believed that everything was in order. Should the Board wish to renew such license, action at today’s meeting to renew Mr. Gosnell’s pawnbroker’s license through September 30, 2004, would be appropriate.
Petitions for addition to State Road system
Staff had received road petitions to add the following road(s) to the state maintenance system:
1. Oxford Drive
2. Old Town Way
3. Patriots Drive
It has been the practice of this Board to accept road petitions and forward them to NC Department of Transportation for their review. It has also been the practice of the Board not to ask NC DOT to change the priority for roads on the paving priority list.
The County Manager recommended the Board accept these petitions and forward the requests to NC Department of Transportation.
Tax Collector’s Report
Terry F. Lyda had submitted the Tax Collector’s Report dated January 2, 2004, for the Board’s information.
Elected Officials Salaries
At the December 17, 2003 meeting, the Board approved salary increase for the Sheriff, Tax Collector, and Register of Deeds. However following the meeting, staff realized they had listed the Sheriff’s current salary incorrectly. The Board was requested to correctly approve the cost of living increase for the Sheriff.
Position Current Proposed
Sheriff $69,256 $70,641
Update on County Comprehensive Plan and Other Major Planning Initiatives
Staff had provided an issue update which summarized the tasks related to the CCP and other major planning initiatives that occurred over the past month. The update also included anticipated actions for the coming month.
Voluntary Dismissal and General Release – Hensley v. Henderson County #02 CVS 1662
A Voluntary Dismissal and General Release was provided for information purposes and for entry into the minutes as required by N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3). No Board action was required.
Water Line Extensions – see above – pulled and discussed.
The City of Hendersonville had requested County comments on four proposed water line extensions for the following projects:
1. Ingles Markets, Inc. – Mills River Store
2. Mountain Vista Subdivision
3. Shuey Knolls Subdivision
4. Skytop Farm Subdivision
The County’s review sheets as well as the Project Summary sheets from the City of Hendersonville for each project were attached for Board review.
Chairman Hawkins reminded the Board of the following vacancies and opened the floor to nominations:
1. Apple Country Greenways Commission – 1 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
2. Downtown Hendersonville, Inc. – 1 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting. Chairman Hawkins asked Ms. Brantley to contact Downtown Hendersonville, Inc. to see if they have any recommendations to fill this vacancy.
3. Henderson County Transportation Advisory Committee – 18 vac.
Chairman Hawkins suggested that the Board look at the up-dated charter Ms. Brantley had provided for this Committee. The change on that charter is to stagger the terms so that we won’t be having 18 vacancies at one time again in the future.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the charter as presented. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Hawkins suggested taking the five municipalities and assigning the positions of # 14 through # 18 for ease of trying to work through this. That left 13 positions to fill. He asked Ms. Brantley to contact the municipalities for their nominees.
Chairman Hawkins nominated Chip Gould, Duane McKibbon, Larry Blair, and Ron Schwartzel.
Commissioner Baldwin nominated Erica McArthur and Renee Kumor.
Commissioner Messer nominated Robert Johnston and Jack Lynch.
Commissioner Young nominated Joe Wright, Flaughn Lamb, Jim Crafton, Jack Summey, and Don Michalove.
Chairman Hawkins nominated John Antrim, Virgil McClure, Tedd Pearce, and Irv Hendricks.
Commissioner Messer nominated Paul Stepp.
Commissioner Moyer nominated Javonni Burchett and Rick Merrill.
There were 20 nominees for 13 positions. The Clerk will poll the Board at the next meeting.
Chairman Hawkins nominated Eddie Henderson to fill the Town of Fletcher slot and Keith Maddox to fill the Laurel Park slot.
Commissioner Moyer reminded the Board that when this was first set up the Board discussed having a person from the Emergency Medical Services because of their extensive use of the roads (formerly Ray Bryson), someone from the school system because of the school bus information they could offer (formerly Dr. Flynn), someone from law enforcement (formerly Rodney Raines), and someone from the public transporation sector (formerly Javonni Burchett). Chairman Hawkins asked Ms. Brantley to contact those agencies between now and the next meeting.
4. Henderson County Zoning Board of Adjustment – 1 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
5. Juvenile Crime Prevention Council – 3 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
6. Land-of-Sky Regional Council – 1 vac.
Chairman Hawkins stated that it was getting harder for him to attend these meetings. Commissioner Baldwin has stated that he would be interested in serving on that Council. Chairman Hawkins named Commissioner Baldwin as the secondary member since he serves as the primary member.
7. Mud Creek District Advisory Council – 3 vac.
The current members are Commissioner Moyer, Tom Cooper, and Bill Merrill. Chairman Hawkins nominated these three for reappointment. There were no other nominations at this time. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to appoint these three as the Mud Creek District Advisory Council and that they also serve as the County Water and Sewer Advisory Committee. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
8. Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee – 13 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
9. Planning for Older Adults Block Grant Advisory Committee – 15 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
10. Senior Volunteer Services Advisory Council – 1 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN (CCP) UPDATE
Josh Freeman updated the Board on the public input process associated with the Henderson County Comprehensive Plan. On March 3, 2003 the Board of Commissioners authorized a revised CCP schedule. That revised schedule was in the agenda packet. This revision added a public input component to the comprehensive plan schedule. Since March 3 staff has been developing and executing that public input process. The overall public input process was summarized on a chart on page 2 of attachment 1of the staff report.
Josh Freeman explained that there were five primary components to the public input process:
1. Citizen Survey
2. Community Meetings
3. Community Committee
4. Informal Public Input
5. Scanning Outside Data Sources
He explained that the two most important components of that process are the citizen survey and the community meetings.
Kate Stockman, Henderson County Dispute Settlement Center (DSC), thanked the Board for the experience, stating that it enabled them to get to know our county better. She reviewed the Citizen Input Process with the Board stating 14 public input meetings were held which ran from August 28 through December 4. They were organized to educate the participants about planning and their community profile, to help them become comfortable with the small group sharing process that was introduced to them, and then to gather focused input of information the Board wished them to gather.
Each meeting’s agenda was the same: First an explanation of the land use planning process, secondly specific information about each fire district that Josh offered, and thirdly the DSC gave information about their services as well as an explanation of the small group process. Then they divided up into small groups after a brief break and gathered information from the participants. The small group format was consistent with each meeting. Josh and staff had provided reference information that folks could look at directly that were included in his slide show. Literacy volunteers from the Blue Ridge Literacy Council were available at almost every meeting to help anyone who was not comfortable reading or writing or writing legibly “cause if we couldn’t read the writing we couldn’t record their feedback.” All the placemat forms were completed individually by the participants in each small group and then flip chart information was recorded by each facilitator based on comments that were stated and discussed by the group. The information needed was gathered through six different questions focusing on the individual fire districts. The first set of questions was about the current community assets and needs and the second set of questions was about future community growth and needs. The current community assets and needs questions were “Identify one to three things that are really positive about this area of the county, why, and circle the one item that’s the most important”. The second question was “Identify one to three things that are your concerns about this area of the county, why, and to circle the most important” so that folks would be able to focus on the most important during group discussions. Future growth and needs dealt with four questions: The first was “What does your community have now that you would like to see maintained or increased over the next ten to twenty years and what does your community have now that you would not like to see over the next ten to twenty years increased.” While the second set of future questions dealt with what was not available now in their community “What does your community not have now that you would like to see brought in the next ten to twenty years and what does your community not have now that you would not like to see brought into the community over the next ten to twenty years”. Based on those six questions and the response of the participants, volumes of information were collected.
Kate Stockman then reviewed how they compiled the information and summarized the information compiled from the placemats. They did not analyze the information, that’s what county staff will do.
From Question 1 “What is positive about your community” the natural resources was the top response countywide with 41% of respondents stating that the natural resources are the most positive thing about their area. Secondly 22% of the respondents valued their community which includes the people, the history, and the churches of a community. So 63% of the respondents felt the natural resources and the community environment or sense of place was the most important.
From Question 2 “What concerns you about your fire district and community” the two top answers fell into the categories of planning and infrastructure with 61% total who had concerns about planning and infrastructure in the area, followed by services. Those services for the most part are public services.
Next - dealt with what folks like and want in their communities, questions 3 and 5. The most frequent response had to do with services, 32% of the countywide responses dealt with liking and wanting services. Infrastructure was 17% while business and natural resources and planning gathered 12 to 14% of the responses as what they like and want.
Next – dealt with questions 4 and 6 of what people don’t like and don’t want in their community. The top response was planning. These responses were positive and negative in nature but showed the area of concern. Large business was the second area of response and infrastructure was the third.
Commissioner Baldwin thanked Kate and the Dispute Settlement Center for the work they did, it was super smooth and very professional.
Josh Freeman introduced Tolley Mitchell, Insight Research, who said he enjoyed working with the county staff. The county provided them with a list of property owners from which they drew a random sample and mailed out just over 2,000 surveys which were distributed by first class mail. They were returned by business reply mail, postage paid. The surveys were anonymous. However the surveys were coded in two fashions: first of all by fire district and then by whether or not the person lived inside or outside a corporate limits. Of the 2029 surveys distributed, 101 were returned to the county by the post office as undeliverable. A total of 596 surveys were returned to Insight Research in time for processing, for a response rate of 31%. This was considered a very good response rate, given that surveys such as this often yield response rates of 10 to 20%. The highest response rates were from Gerton, Bat Cave, Hendersonville, and Valley Hill. Dana and Green River had lower response rates. About one third of the responses were from respondents inside corporate limits. The response rate was similar for Incorporated and Unincorporated citizens. Mr. Tolley stated that we are dealing with a 95% confidence level or higher. The statements where there was the strongest agreement were “An attractive, pleasing community is good for economic growth and development” and “Development should respect the rural and scenic qualities of the county”. There was strong agreement with the following: “Development should be visually attractive”, “Growth and development should be directed away from flood-prone areas”, “A clean, safe, and natural environment is good for economic growth and development”, “Growth and development should be environmentally responsible”, and “Development should respect cultural and historic sites”. On most of the statements on the survey there was at least modest agreement. There was considerably weaker agreement with the three items: “There is a need for more affordable housing in Henderson County”, “Commercial development in rural areas should be concentrated near road intersections”, and “The County’s economic development policies should support tourism”. Mr. Tolley stated that in several different areas they found that there is not strong support across the board for the county doing more to bring in more tourists.
Under policies and regulations the question was “How important is it that county regulations address each of these items?” The two items that had the strongest support were “Protect water quality” and “Protect air quality”. The weakest support was for “Promote the construction of affordable housing in each community” and “Regulate outdoor lighting”.
Under spending priorities the question was “How important is it that the County’s spending address each of these items?” Again water quality and air quality rose to the top. The weakest support was “Support a public transportation system” and “Programs to encourage tourism”.
For the question “Which road improvements, if any, are most needed in your community?”. The strongest answers were for: Repaving 45.6%, Shoulder Improvement 38.6%.
For the question “Which of these recreational items, if any, are most needed in your community?”. By far the most chosen answer was walking and bike trails with almost half the respondents choosing that answer. A distant second was a swimming pool. That varied a lot, depending on community. Gymnasium/fitness facilities was third with other choices way down the list.
For the question “Which of these services, if any, are most needed in your community?” The most chosen answer was restaurants at 21%. Daycare was next at 13.1% with grocery store at 10.2% and banks at 9.4%.
Mr. Tolley stated that there were 76 pages of information in the survey report and he had just tried to hit the highlights.
Josh Freeman stated that this had been an incredible learning experience for staff. With the two contractors he felt that a really top-notch public input process was developed. He thanked Insight Research and Dispute Settlement Center for their hard work. All the public input gathered so far, both the survey and the community meeting results are in the Planning Department. They will be going to the public libraries some time this week as well as a variety of other places around the county. They will also be on the County Web Page at www.hendersoncountync.org at the Comprehensive Plan link.
Mr. Freeman stated that from this point forward what staff will be doing is taking this information and sorting through it with the Advisory Committee and with the Planning Board and trying to come up with a summary of what the information says. Once they have completed the summary document, they will use it throughout the development of the various chapters of the comprehensive plan, looking back to that document for guidance on staff’s recommendations and using the information to help make decisions as we move forward. Staff intends to finish a draft of the comprehensive plan by June 1. The Board will likely have a rough draft to them prior to June 1.
Mr. Freeman stated that staff is available for presentations. They have one planned for next week with the Civitan Club. They also conducted a Latino meeting in December.
Commissioner Young asked if we were still on track to have our comprehensive plan completed by May of ’04. Josh Freeman answered that June 1 there will be a copy in the Commissioner’s boxes. The schedule from that point forward will be up to the Board of Commissioners to determine how to move forward.
Commissioner Baldwin asked “As we move forward do we have two boards doing the same thing? Would it be wiser for us to try and consolidate those two committees? Would it be helpful?”
Josh Freeman answered “That’s probably not a question for me to answer necessarily. But I will say that the Advisory Committee – we will be using barring some change in the structure – we will be using the Advisory Committee to bounce off drafts of various chapters of the document and that will happen on an increasingly regular basis from this point forward. Whether you restructure that process, I’d have to defer that.”
Commissioner Baldwin stated that the Board has the authority to appoint Ad Hoc Committees to do planning but at the end of the day it’s the North Carolina General Statutes that recognize that the Planning Board is an advisory body, specifically with regard to long-range planning. He felt it was important for the Board to use that body as the state has assigned for the use to be exercised. He stated he didn’t have a problem continuing with the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee but he thought that to have two committees to give input on the same item might result in a mixed message. He would rather see the two Boards work together in such a way that there is consensus from one body when it comes to the end.
INFORMAL PUBLIC COMMENTS
Chairman Hawkins stated that informal public comments had been overlooked on the agenda. He made the motion to amend the agenda and add this item. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
1. Dick Baird – Mr. Baird addressed the Animal Control Ordinance which was on the agenda for discussion at this meeting. He referred to Section 66A-12, stating that the County is giving officers a license to execute dogs and he thought that needed to be looked at closely.
Mr. Baird stated “you put garbage in and you get garbage out”. He said be leery of the CCP Citizen Survey Report because it only went out to property owners. He stated “you’re getting a very specific segment of this county that’s responding, the richer, the older, the property owners. You’re missing out on the young folks who are struggling. You’re missing out on a lot of people who are just getting by. They are a valid segment of our community that don’t have a voice, particularly in this one… be very leery of this one.”
PLANNING BOARD RECOMMENDATION ON PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE HENDERSON COUNTY WATER SUPPLY WATERSHED ORDINANCE AND RELATED MATTERS
Karen Smith stated that at the Board of Commissioners’ November 19 meeting the Board discussed a proposed amendment to the County’s Water Supply Watershed Protection Ordinance (“WSWS Ordinance”) to add a requirement for a minimum 100-foot buffer for development that uses the “10/70” or Special Intensity Allocation (SIA) provisions. Staff proposed the amendment after receiving written notice from the staff of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Water Quality (DWQ), that the County’s ordinance needed to be revised to be consistent with State rules regarding the buffer required for projects developed under the “10/70” provisions.
After discussing the proposed amendment at that time, the Board of Commissioners, in summary:
1. Directed staff to have the State review the County’s WSWS Ordinance in its entirety to see if there were any other issues regarding its compliance with State rules.
2. Requested that the County Planning Board review the proposed amendment regarding the 100-foot buffer requirement and return a recommendation within 30 to 45 days. The Board of Commissioners raised the possibility of the Planning Board recommending a moratorium on SIAs within 30 to 45 days if it was not ready to make a recommendation on the proposed amendment until the issue of SIAs could be studied in more detail.
3. Asked that the County Planning Board, in cooperation with the Town of Mills River, examine broader issues of where the County should take its WSWS Ordinance in the future. The Commissioners suggested that this might include studying whether the County should grant to the Town of Mills River any of the County’s “10/70” allocation in the event that the Town decides to adopt its own Watershed Ordinance and/or whether the County should add, subtract or modify the “10/70” or other provisions in its ordinance. The Planning Board was to respond back to the Board of Commissioners regarding a timeframe for completing such a study.
In response to the direction from the Board of Commissioners, the following actions have occurred:
1. The Planning Director staff sent a letter to State staff requesting a full review of the County’s WSWS Ordinance. No response had been received as yet.
2. The County Planning Board discussed the proposed amendment to the WSWS Ordinance at its meeting on December 16, 2003. During that meeting, the Planning Board discussed a staff report that provided background information on the proposed amendment as well as a summary of input on the subject that staff gained from a meeting of the Mills River Planning Committee. The Planning Board also heard comments from two members of the Mills River Town Council and reviewed correspondence submitted by the Town that indicated that Steve Zoufaly, of the DWQ, had submitted a request (via e-mail) to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office for an opinion on whether the 100-foot buffer requirement applies to development using the “10/70” provisions. After much discussion and a failed motion to recommend adoption of the proposed amendment, the Planning Board voted 3 to 2 to recommend that the Board of Commissioners impose a 45 day moratorium on further SIA permits and that the Commissioners request an Attorney General’s opinion regarding the applicability of the 100 foot buffer. For reference, staff had attached a draft table (Attachment 6) to the agenda packet showing the County’s Watershed Administrator’s most recent calculations of the amount of SIA used and remaining in Henderson County as well as a draft map (Attachment 7) showing the location of SIA applications approved to date.
Ms. Smith informed the Board that Ms. Beeker had talked with someone in the Attorney General’s office. They understood that this person had issued a verbal opinion to Steve Zoufaly with DWQ and that e-mail back to Ms. Beeker indicated that the Attorney General’s office had told DWQ staff verbally that they agreed with the way DWQ was interpreting the 100-foot buffer requirement. After that verbal opinion was provided, apparently the Town of Highlands requested a written opinion and the Attorney General’s office is working on that written opinion.
3. Regarding the broader issues related to the WSWS Ordinance, on December 16, 2003, the County Planning Board agreed to establish a subcommittee to study the subject. The Planning Board decided to appoint three of its members to the subcommittee and to ask the Mills River Planning Committee to appoint two members. Regarding a timeframe for completing its study, the Planning Board decided to inform the Board of Commissioners that its work could take until at least June 30, 2004.
She reviewed several options the Board of Commissioners had regarding the 100 foot buffer issue, including, but not limited to, the following:
1. The Board could set a public hearing on the proposed amendment to the WSWS Ordinance to add the 100-foot buffer requirement.
2. The Board could consider adopting the proposed amendment without holding a public hearing per Section 192-26 of the WSWS Ordinance.
3. The Board could consider implementing the Planning Board’s recommendations to impose a moratorium on SIAs under the WSWS Ordinance and request an Attorney General’s opinion on the 100-foot buffer question. In order to impose a moratorium, staff would need to draft an ordinance and the Board would need to hold a public hearing on such ordinance.
The County Manager had provided the following recommendation:
“I can not recommend that the Board impose a moratorium. I would suggest that the Board amend the WSWS Ordinance to meet the State’s requirement of a 100-foot buffer. The reason that I make this recommendation to you is two fold. First, I believe that Henderson County’s current WSWS Ordinance is out of compliance with State regulations and by law we must meet the minimum standards. I realize that some persons would like to wait until we receive further clarification from the AG and have suggested that the best approach would be the moratorium route. However, this would prevent a person who wishes to meet the State’s minimum standard of 100 feet from proceeding with their development. This approach would accomplish both concerns – putting a hold on any development of less than 100 foot (same as would exist under a moratorium) but allow development that meets or exceeds the State’s minimum standards to proceed.”
Much discussion followed. Chairman Hawkins reviewed a letter with staff he had received today from Mayor Roger Snyder, Town of Mills River – “It’s an update where the Town of Mills River is concerning the buffer requirements that are located in the watershed. It says their attorney along with the Town Attorney of Highlands has officially requested an opinion. Roger says that he has also contacted a Staff Attorney with the North Carolina League of Municipalities that specializes in Environmental Affairs to contact the Attorney General regarding an opinion on this issue. The Town of Mills River has made a request, Highlands has made a request, and apparently the League of Municipalities has made a request for the Attorney General to make some kind of ruling. He goes on to say that we also support Henderson County Planning Board’s recommendation to wait on the State Attorney General’s review of this regulation from the Division of Water Quality. Along with the Planning Board’s recommendation is also approved a request for the County Attorney to join in on this request.”
Angela Beeker expressed a concern that the standard in our ordinance is dependent upon somebody else’s interpretation. She felt the Board could formally request the Environmental Management Commission to clarify it’s rules and felt that should happen just to make things crystal clear.
Ms. Beeker recommended the Board hold a public hearing. She reminded the Board that since this ordinance was adopted under police powers, in order to amend it tonight the vote would have to be unanimous, otherwise it would have to come back for a second reading.
Commissioner Baldwin made the motion that the Board amend the Ordinance to comply with what the Division of Water Quality has said that we need to do and that is to create a 100-foot buffer so that we’re in compliance with State Law. He amended his motion to include a revision to Chapter 192, Part 1, of the Henderson County Code (the Water Supply Watershed Protection Ordinance) by adding a requirement for a minimum 100-foot buffer for development that uses the “10/70” or Special Intensity Allocation (SIA) provisions. A vote was taken and the motion passed four to one with Commissioner Moyer voting nay. Chairman Hawkins stated that the motion carried but for a police power ordinance it will have to come back to the Board for a second reading. He stated that we may or may not get an opinion from the Attorney General between now and the next meeting.
Commissioner Moyer requested staff to write to the Division of Water Quality and to also get a ruling from the Attorney General, not from a Staff Attorney regarding the policy of the State. Chairman Hawkins directed Ms. Beeker to correspond as requested in both instances.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion for the Board to go into closed session as allowed pursuant to NCGS 143-318.11 for the following reason(s):
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.
All voted in favor and the motion carried.
UPDATE ON ANIMAL CONTROL ORDINANCE AND SHELTER
David Nicholson reminded the Board that during their mid-month November meeting they asked him to get up with the folks from the Public Health Department and see where we stood from the standpoint of the ordinance and the shelter. He met with them last month. He introduced the following who were present at that meeting:
Dr. David Chapman, Chairman of the Board of Public Health
Tom Bridges, Director of Public Health
Brenda Miller, Animal Control Supervisor
Russell Burrell, Assistant County Attorney
At the meeting they went through some of the proposed changes and how they proposed some things would be handled. They also discussed the shelter.
Mr. Nicholson informed the Board that the agenda item is a replacement of the current Animal Control Ordinance. It basically cleans up, adds a few bits and pieces but does not have all the programs, services and amendments that the Board saw in the first draft a few months ago. From a facilities standpoint we are not prepared to do a lot of those programs. They did feel it was appropriate to go ahead and replace the current ordinance. He asked Russell Burrell to give the Board a quick overview of the changes in the draft ordinance.
Russell Burrell reviewed the following which were changes (in italics) from what the Board originally saw months ago:
Sec. 66A-2. Authority and Territorial application.
This Article is adopted pursuant to the power granted the county in N.C.G.S. 153A-121, 153A-127, 153A-153 and 153A-442. This chapter shall apply to all unincorporated areas of Henderson County and to those incorporated areas of any city or town specifically requesting its enforcement by Henderson County upon the consent of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners. (In making such a request, the city or town must comply with the requirements of N.C.G.S. 153A-122.) The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the Animal Control Officer of the County of Henderson.
Henderson County may contract annually with any municipality located within Henderson County to enforce any animal restraint ordinance (“leash law”) adopted by such municipality, on such terms and conditions (including the acceptability of the terms of such restraint ordinance) as are deemed advisable. Such contract shall require any such municipality to reimburse to Henderson County all the costs associated with the enforcement of such a restraint ordinance.
.5. Effective Date. Sections 66A-19.3 and Section 66A-19.4 shall not be effective until an effective date for such Sections is adopted by the Board of Commissioners of Henderson County at a meeting subsequent to the meeting at which the remainder of Chapter 66A is initially adopted. Pending such effective date, Animal Service employees and its supervisor are hereby empowered, upon having knowledge of a violation which would result in a civil penalty under Section 66A-19.4 if such section were in effect, to issue a warning citation, notifying the recipient of the violation alleged and the penalty which would result from such violation if Section 66A-19.4 were at that point effective.
Sec. 66A-61. Reserved.
3. Effective date. Except as stated expressly above, this Ordinance shall be effective on adoption.
Mr. Burrell first addressed Sec. 66A-2. This makes this ordinance, if adopted by the Board, effective within the municipalities if those municipalities first request the Board to make it effective in the municipalities and the Board agrees to do so. It uses language that is consistent with other ordinances the Board has passed in the past that deal with this specific issue. The second paragraph of 66A.2 allows animal control to, if the Board contracts with the municipalities to allow them to do so, enforce leash laws (restraint ordinances) within municipalities so long as the terms and conditions of some contract that allows that are acceptable to the Board of Commissioners. Staff would recommend that those terms be that whatever leash laws that the Board chose to enforce be consistent in the municipalities so there would not be a different leash law in Fletcher from the City of Hendersonville or another of the municipalities. And, of course, that the cost associated with the enforcement of the leash law be covered by that contract and be reimbursed to the county.
Currently Hendersonville and Laurel Park are the only municipalities with a leash law. Should they wish to, they could contract with Henderson County to enforce a negotiated leash law.
Mr. Burrell explained that the second major change was in the provision about citations. He stated that the citation provision really cannot be enforced from a facilities standpoint at the present time. If you tried to enforce that you would end up picking up so many animals that you don’t have a facility to handle. This change delays the effective date of any kind of citation enforcement until such time as the Board votes and sets an effective date for citation enforcement. It also states that in the meantime the animal control folks can hand out warning tickets stating that there is a provision of the animal control ordinance that has been adopted that is not yet effective, that you have violated and had it been effective today your penalty would have been xxx. This will educate people of the existence of the ordinance and of the violations that they would have incurred. This will also give us some data of the number of violations we might deal with in the future.
Mr. Nicholson asked if the Board wished to have a public hearing. This is a police power ordinance and does not require a public hearing; however, if the Board decides to adopt it, it would have to be a unanimous vote or the Board would have to bring it back to a future hearing.
Ms. Beeker stated that each of the municipalities would need to adopt a resolution requesting the County to enforce the ordinance in their municipality.
Following discussion, Commissioner Young made the motion to adopt the revised Animal Control Ordinance, effective March 1, 2004.
More discussion followed. A vote was taken and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Nicholson had issued a memo to the Board dated January 2 which he reviewed at this time. Mr. Nicholson had met with representatives from the Health Department to discuss the construction of the Animal Shelter. Shelter Planners of America had projected the cost of a new shelter between $600,000 and $850,000. We have only budgeted $400,000 from Fund Balance. He reviewed the following alternatives with the Board for beginning the process:
1. Construct a $400,000 Shelter This would allow us to begin the construction immediately. However, the size would have to be greatly reduced. This size facility would not allow for the County to provide any additional programs such as a “leash law”. The facility could be designed to allow for expansion at a later point.
2. Increase the amount of Fund Balance Appropriated Another option would be to provide additional funding this current year by appropriating additional Fund Balance. This would allow for the construction of a shelter that would meet our needs. However, it would reduce Fund Balance.
3. Wait until FY 2004-05 The construction of the facility could be postponed until the new fiscal year and appropriate additional funds. This would only cause a delay in the start date.
4. Utilize the Solid Waste Fund Gary Tweed approached Mr. Nicholson concerning this alternative. The Animal Shelter will sit on property owned on the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund. Gary suggested that the Solid Waste Fund construct and own the shell of the building and that Animal Control (General Fund) would fund the cost of upgrading and provide the necessary equipment. An agreement would be drawn up between the Animal Shelter and the Solid Waste Fund to lease the facility. The asset would be owned by Solid Waste and at some point should the Animal Shelter move the facility could be used for solid waste activities.
Staff had spoken to our auditors concerning the financial implementation of such an arrangement. They saw no problems since the facility would be owned by the Solid Waste Fund.
Mr. Nicholson suggested the Board consider alternative 4. He strongly believed that we need to proceed with the construction of a shelter and then amend the ordinance to allow the additional services that the community is requesting. This alternative would allow us to proceed immediately with the selection of an architect for the project. If the Board is not comfortable with this option, he recommended alternative 3 that would delay the project until next fiscal year.
Following discussion on this issue, Chairman Hawkins made the motion to authorize staff to begin selection of an architect. A vote followed and the motion carried unanimously. We have $400,000 budgeted so we can fund the start of the process.
FISCAL YEAR 2004-05 BUDGET
The Board has set the budget calendar for the coming year. In the meantime the Board held a retreat and developed a strategic plan which will mold the budget process this year.
Discussion followed about zero-based budgeting, outcome-based budgeting, and performance-based budgeting and the pros and cons of each.
Mr. Nicholson stated that he felt the Board set as one of the goals in the strategic plan – to go through each department and analyze what each department’s programs are and whether they are in line with the mission statement of this Board of Commissioners. Mr. Nicholson explained that will take a while because it is a pretty substantial effort. Staff plans to put together a full CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) plan again for this budget process. Mr. Nicholson explained that Department Heads will be meeting on January 7 for their budget direction from the County Manager. They will each receive a copy of the Strategic Plan.
Mr. Nicholson and staff will pull two or three departments out for scrutiny of their programs and whether or not they fit with the Board’s mission statement. It will take several years to work through all the departments in such detail. Mr. Nicholson felt that staff received definite direction from the Board through the Strategic Plan.
Ms. Coffey thanked the Board for the hard work they did on developing the Strategic Plan this year and stated that would be the foundation for this year’s budget process. Hopefully the Board will be able to see some elements of the Strategic Plan in every department’s budget.
UPDATE ON PENDING ISSUES
Chairman Hawkins brought up the fact that we currently do not have a copies policy. Staff had a request in December for a sizable copy job. The Chairman had questioned about a policy for charging at that time. In discussing this item with the County Attorney it became apparent what a job it would be to justify the cost if we did charge for copies. It also would create a problem with keeping records regarding petty cash in all our departments.
Chairman Hawkins suggested that we make available via information to everyone that we can that there is a lot of information online that is available to them. The County Library has computers for public use also.
There was much discussion concerning a policy. The County Manager stated he would put the question out there on the County Manager’s list serve to see what other counties are doing. It was the consensus of the Board for the County Manager to pursue this further.
Commissioner Baldwin felt that there should be an addendum to this document, to calendar the action steps and to assign responsibilities to the appropriate staff person to carry those things out so that the Board could see things moving forward as they do and who is responsible for doing them.
David Nicholson stated that Ms. Coffey had just today sent him a proposed format for calendaring and assigning responsibilities to the Strategic Plan. Staff will work on that and present it to the Board soon. He would like to see the Board adopt it but give staff some flexibility in it. Then the Board can hold staff accountable for completing the Strategic Plan.
DISCUSSION ITEMS – none
The Board reviewed the Commissioners’ calendar.
On January 15 the Water and Sewer Advisory Committee will meet. Commissioner Messer has a Cane Creek Water and Sewer District Advisory Committee meeting in Fletcher on January 8. On January 13 at 3:00 and 7:00 the Highway #25 North Study meeting (for public input) will be held.
Chairman Hawkins reminded the Board of the up-coming special called meeting for Vested Rights scheduled for January 14.
CANE CREEK WATER & SEWER DISTRICT – no business
There being no further business to come before the Board, Chairman Hawkins made the motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:20 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board Grady Hawkins, Chairman