STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA                                                             BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

COUNTY OF HENDERSON                                                                                             MARCH 17, 2004


The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a regularly scheduled meeting at 9:00 a.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 Deputy Clerk to the Board Amy Brantley.


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 and County Engineer Gary Tweed.



Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance.



Commissioner Baldwin led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.



County Manager David Nicholson gave the invocation.



Chairman Hawkins requested that the following item be added to “Staff Reports – E - Update on Pending Issues”: #3 – Economic Development Meeting, Larry Young

            #4 – Home Grants, Selena Coffey

            #5 – NACo Conference, Charlie Messer

            #6 – Regional Water Authority, Shannon Baldwin


Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept the agenda as presented and amended.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.



Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept the Consent Agenda as presented. All voted in favor and the motion carried. The Consent Agenda consisted of the following:


Tax Refunds

A list of ten (10) tax refund requests was submitted by the County Assessor for approval by the Board of Commissioners.


Tax Releases                     

A list of fifteen (15) tax release requests was submitted by the County Assessor for approval by the Board of Commissioners. 


Tax Collector’s Report 

Terry F. Lyda had submitted the Tax Collector’s Report dated March 15, 2004, for the Board’s information.


Request for Extension of Improvement Guarantee for Etowah Golf Villas Subdivision

On August 4, 2003, the Board of Commissioners approved an application by Etowah Golf Villas, LLC, for an improvement guarantee for the Etowah Golf Villas subdivision. As required by the Performance Guarantee Agreement for the improvement guarantee, the developer filed with Henderson County an irrevocable standby letter of credit from RBC Centura (Number SB002377, as amended) in the amount of $151,162.50 to cover the cost of completing road, drainage, water and sewer improvements to serve the subdivision. The Agreement specified that the required improvements were to be completed by March 31, 2004.


The Planning Department had received a request from Luther E. Smith, on behalf of Etowah Golf Villas, LLC, requesting that the County extend the deadline for completion of the improvements specified in the original Agreement from March 31, 2004 until September 30, 2004. The letter cites the need to complete installation of certain utilities, which was delayed due to weather conditions, prior to completing final paving of the roads. Section 170-39 of the Subdivision Ordinance allows the Board of Commissioners “upon proof of difficulty” to grant extensions to completion dates for improvement guarantees for a maximum of one additional year, provided that the time between initiation and completion of the required improvements does not exceed two years.


Staff provided for the Board’s consideration a draft Performance Guarantee Agreement which reflected the new completion date of September 30, 2004 and required the developer to file an amendment to the irrevocable standby letter of credit referenced above, which indicated that the letter of credit would expire no sooner than 60 days after the new completion date.


Fees for Copies

The Board had requested that the County Manager do some research on what other units charge for copies. The findings were that fees, if any, range from 5 cents to 25 cents. According to the law, we can only charge actual direct costs. An average of our costs ran from 8 cents to 10 cents per copy. If adopted, these fees would take effect across County government with the exception of those departments which have special fees that are included in our annual budget fee schedule or copies made in connection with official county business such as advisory committees. Mr. Nicholson recommended that the charge be 10 cents per copy after the first five copies. 


Budget Amendment

David Nicholson presented a budget amendment to fund the position of Assistant County Manager and the associated expenses to establish the office. In order not to increase the County’s budget for the current year, he requested that funds be taken from the following already budgeted line items:


Code                            Account Description                                                      Debit (+)           Credit (-)

115419-534001              Public Buildings – Electricity                                          $8,000

115420-525000              Garage – Automotive Supplies                                       $6,000

115496-532100 Land Records – Telephone and Communications             $1,000

115403-537108              County Manager – Employee Program                           $2,000

115435-535300 Inspections – M&R – Vehicles                                      $1,000

115495-518900 Cooperative Extension – Other Personnel                       $2,000

115403-547200              County Manager – Rental of Equipment                         $2,420

115403-512100 County Manager – S&W – Regular                                                       $15,000

115403-518000 County Manager – FICA                                                                       $1,200

115403-518100 County Manager – LGERS                                                                    $750

115403-518300 County Manager – Medical Insurance                                                    $850

115403-518400 County Manager – Dental Insurance                                                      $120

115403-552000 County Manager – Capital Outlay – Equipment                                       $2,000

115403-552000 County Manager – Capital Outlay – DP Equipment                                 $2,500

TOTAL                                                                                                            $22,420             $22,420


Request for Extension of Improvement Guarantee for The Homestead at Mills River, Phase I

Mr. Scott E. McElrath, on behalf of The Homestead at Mills River, LLC, and River Oaks Joint Venture, LLC, developers, had submitted an application for an improvement guarantee for a proposed subdivision known as The Homestead at Mills River, Phase I. The subdivision was being constructed off Whitaker Lane in the Mills River area, but outside of the jurisdiction of the Town of Mills River. Phase I would contain 63 residential lots. The Planning Board granted conditional approval of the Master Plan and Phase I Development Plan for the project in October of 2003 and was expected to approve a revised Master Plan and revised Phase I Development Plan on March 16, 2004. The improvement guarantee was proposed to cover earthwork (including, but not limited to, clearing, grading and seeding), road conditions (including, but not limited to, installation of gravel, asphalt, curbing, etc.) installation of erosion control measures and storm drainage work (pipes, ponds, etc.), for Phase I of The Homestead at Mills River.  


Pursuant to Sections 170-38 and 170-39 of the Henderson County Code, a developer may, in lieu of completing all of the required improvements prior to Final Plat approval, post a performance guarantee to secure the County’s interest in seeing that satisfactory construction of incomplete improvements occurs. One type of permitted guarantee is a performance or surety bond. The developers intend to post with the County a surety bond in the amount of at least $1,807,500.00 to cover the cost of the improvements ($1,446,000.00) as well as the required twenty-five percent (25%) contingency of $361,500.00. The proposed completion date for the improvements is October 31, 2004.


 Staff provided for the Board’s consideration a draft Performance Guarantee Agreement. If the application is approved, the developers must submit the surety bond in accordance with the terms of the Agreement.


CJPP Grant

Each fiscal year, the Criminal Justice Partnership Program (CJPP) grant application is placed on the Board of Commissioners’ agenda for review. There are no County funds required for the grant. The grant provides funding for substance abuse treatment to sentenced offenders and the County’s Pre-Trial Release Program. The grant application had been approved by the CJPP Advisory Board and must be submitted to the Division of Community Corrections by March 31, 2004.



Commissioner Young requested that an additional item be added to the agenda, a discussion item on immigration in Henderson County. Chairman Hawkins asked if this could be added as Discussion Item “B”. Commissioner Young agreed.


Chairman Hawkins made the motion to adjust the agenda.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.



Notification of Vacancies

The Board was notified of the following vacancy which will appear on the next agenda for nominations:

1.         Solid Waste Advisory Committee – 1 vac.



Chairman Hawkins reminded the Board of the following vacancies and opened the floor to nominations:    

1.                  Downtown Hendersonville, Inc. – 1 vac.

            There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


2.                  Equalization and Review - 2 vac.     

Commissioner Young nominated Vollie Good to position #7, an alternate position. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept Mr. Good by acclamation. All voted in favor and the motion carried.


There was some discussion of the appointment of a Chairman for this Board. Chairman Hawkins requested that Amy Brantley correspond with the members of the Board to determine their interest in serving as the Chairman.


3.                  Fletcher Zoning Board of Adjustment - 1 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


4.                  Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Authority – 1 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


5.                  Juvenile Crime Prevention Council - 1 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


6.                  Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee - 6 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


7.                  Planning for Older Adults Block Grant Advisory Committee – 2 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


8.                  Recreation Advisory Board – 1 vac.

Chairman Hawkins nominated Bo Caldwell to fill the vacant position, #11. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept Mr. Caldwell by acclamation. All voted in favor and the motion carried.


9.                  Senior Volunteer Services Advisory Council - 1 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


10.              Solid Waste Advisory Committee - 2 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.


11.              Western Carolina Community Action Board of Directors - 1 vac.

There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.



David Nicholson introduced John Howell of Communication Consulting Associates to present the results of the audit of Mediacom in accordance with the cable franchise. Mr. Howell thanked staff for their assistance, gave some background information and reviewed the work performed by his company for the county relative to that contract. The original franchise was entered into in 1991, and was set to expire in 2006. Mr. Howell had recently reviewed Mediacom’s compliance with the terms and conditions of the franchise, their reporting submissions, their customer service standards and initially reported that they had substantially complied with all facets of the terms and conditions of the franchise. He felt that was in large part due to the work of the County’s Advisory Committee, who had held Mediacom to task on many issues. In that report though, he had indicated that the franchise fee audit was not complete, and that he was still working on that.


Henderson County collects a 3% franchise fee. In 1984 the FCC approved municipalities and franchising authorities to raise that percentage to 5% if desired. Henderson County’s franchise agreement does allow the County to raise the franchise fee to 5%, which is generally the industry standard across the state and nation. Raising that fee would result in approximately $190,000 annually in increased revenue. In March 2002, the County requested detailed accounting documents from Mediacom, and it took until July 2002 for Mr. Howell to receive their first submissions. Upon reviewing that financial data, on July 17th, 2003 they had asked for an explanation of many of the accounting entries. In October, they received Mediacom’s explanations and then convened a conference call between the County Finance Officer, the County Attorney, Mr. Howell and Mediacom’s corporate staff in New York. During that conference call, detailed concerns were voiced with respect to the report and potential under payments. Mediacom requested those concerns be formalized in a letter. In that letter, the County contended Mediacom had misinterpreted the definition of gross receipts in the Cable Ordinance, Chapter 74, especially with regards to advertising sales, home shopping, FCC user fees, copyright fees, and franchise fees. Receipts from all of those categories had not been included in their calculation of franchise fees.


Mediacom responded in January with an offer for a settlement of approximately $59,000. After meeting with the County Manager and Finance Officer, Mr. Howell determined that Mediacom’s calculations were partially correct, but they had failed to capture the first six months of 1998 and the last six months of 2003. Additionally, they had failed to accrue any interest, provision of which is included of Chapter 74 of the Ordinance at 1.5% per month. Mediacom has since submitted a settlement offer for $101,379.39 which represents about $63,400 in principal and nearly $38,000 in interest. If the County leaves the franchise fee at 3%, these changes will result in an additional $5,000 annually in new revenue.

Mr. Howell then addressed the delay that had been experienced with the settlement offer. County staff had been relentless in their requests to Mediacom for information and for finalization of the calculations. However, one problem was that Mediacom’s corporate office is in New York. An additional problem was due to the fact that some documents that needed to be reviewed were from the predecessor to Mediacom. Some of these files were located in basements and off site storage facilities which created quite a bit of extra time. Mr. Howell noted that these settlements always take a protracted amount of time, and discussed the time lines of several additional cases he is working on. He also stated that while this settlement was for over $100,000, he had done some research and could find no other settlement in the State of North Carolina in recent years that approached this figure.


Mr. Howell answered some specific questions from the Board about internet revenues, why revenues differ so much from quarter to quarter, the effects of future changes in cable franchise regulations, and why it had taken so long for this discrepancy to come to light. Mr. Nicholson stated that now, staff knows what to look for, what type of detail to request, and will be tracking this carefully in the future. Following some additional discussion, Chairman Hawkins made the motion to accept the settlement agreement as presented. All voted in favor and the motion carried.       



David Nicholson summarized the sales tax distribution issue, explaining that North Carolina law allows a Board of Commissioners to choose distribution either on a Per Capita basis or Ad Valorem tax basis. Annually, Henderson County staff calculates each of these distribution methods to determine the financial advantages for the County. The impact such a change would have on the municipalities would vary from the City of Hendersonville’s loss of $11,534 to the Town of Mills River’s loss of $1,073,057. Also, because they levy no property tax, under the Ad Valorem distribution method, the Village of Flat Rock would receive no distribution.


At the Board of Commissioners meeting on February 18, 2004, the Board discussed alternative solutions should the Board not choose to change distribution methods. These discussions were based on a letter that the Board received from the Village of Flat Rock which requested that the County consider other alternatives such as an Interlocal Agreement.  County staff had since met with representatives from the Town of Mills River and the Village of Flat Rock and discussed some alternatives. Representatives from both municipalities indicated their support for an alternative. Flat Rock indicated their willingness to pay for County services and Mills River indicated their desire to be a partner in our economic development.  


David Nicholson and Angela Beeker had discussed the variety of options about what could be contained in an Interlocal Agreement. They came to an understanding that it could be a very simple agreement, that the County agrees not to change the allocation formulas if the cities agree to pay the County a percentage, or a flat dollar amount to do that. The following were the ideas for this framework:

A.                 Term based on fiscal year


B.                 Henderson County would agree to leave the Per Capita method of sales tax distribution in place instead of changing it to the Ad Valorem method for each term of the contract


C.                 The cities would agree to pay Henderson County for not changing the formula.


An issue had also come up regarding the effect of a change on the fire departments. There are a large number of contracts that the municipalities have with the fire departments that are tied to the tax rate that the county levies, with cities either matching that rate or providing even more. Mr. Nicholson stated that there is an issue with giving those folks time to renegotiate those contracts between the fire departments and municipalities. However, if the Board were to agree to an Interlocal Agreement, there would be no effect on the fire districts tax rates.


Mr. Nicholson discussed the scenario of the municipalities raising their property taxes to make up the same amount as would be lost if the distribution formula were changed. He distributed a chart to the Board with the numbers for this scenario outlined. The bottom line in this scenario was, if the municipalities raise their tax rates to make up the loss, the net gain to the County would go from $1,855,464 to $1,253,908.


Mr. Nicholson then outlined the first draft of the Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) summary. He stressed that this was just a draft, as the Board of Commissioners had not yet approved a CIP. He stated that the following were where he saw capital needs over the next few years: Historic Courthouse, County Services Building, EMS Main Office, Fletcher Library, Etowah Library, Tuxedo Park/Library, Blue Ridge Community College, Schools (Part A), Schools (Part B), Schools (Part C), Park Improvements, Sheriff’s Department, Animal Shelter, Solid Waste.


There was much discussion during this summary about the various projects and their estimated costs particularly with regards to county parks. Commissioner Messer stated that the Recreation Advisory Committee had recently held a workshop and are looking forward to presenting their 5-year master plan to the Board. Commissioner Baldwin stated that he felt before the County starts adding recreation facilities, we must be committed to maintaining what we have. Mr. Nicholson addressed some of the ongoing maintenance issues at the parks, and Selena Coffey discussed some of the related budget issues. There followed discussion regarding whether there is enough money in the budget for park maintenance, and if so why there are ongoing issues with maintenance at the parks.


Mr. Nicholson stated that the estimated cost for capital projects over the next five years was about $56,703,000. He then discussed some possible revenue sources which included Grants, Capital Reserve, Fees, Paid-Off Debt, Donations (Etowah Library), Previously Budgeted Revenue and other sources. He then explained in detail how previously budgeted funds work, and outlined how figures in several other revenue sources were defined.


Mr. Nicholson then outlined a proposal for sales tax distribution agreement between Henderson County and the City of Hendersonville, Town of Laurel Park, Town of Fletcher, Village of Flat Rock and the Town of Mills River. This proposal had been distributed at a recent LGCCA meeting. In addition to the ideas for an Interlocal agreement discussed earlier, Mr. Nicholson provided the example of how payments might be distributed if the County wished to stay with the Per Capita Method, but collect $500,000 from the municipalities for agreeing to do so. He stated though, that the $500,000 figure used was just for the purpose of the example and had in no way been directed by the Board of Commissioners. In that discussion, the following chart was referenced:



Ad Valorem Method

Per Capita Method


Sales Tax Loss

% of Loss

Yearly Payment

Net Savings











Flat Rock





Laurel Park





Mills River











Chairman Hawkins asked for discussion from the Board regarding their opinions on going with the Ad Valorem Method, or exploring the Per Capita Method with some ramifications. Commissioner Baldwin stated that the opinions among the municipalities are quite varied, from support of a change, to opposition to indifference. Commissioner Moyer felt that there needed to be a transition year, but that all the options should be explored. Chairman Hawkins suggested the Board look at the Per Capita Method that David Nicholson had outlined, and volunteered to correspond with the municipalities to see what their response would be to such an agreement.


Commissioner Baldwin discussed some research he had done on the amount of revenue the Village of Flat Rock was receiving versus what their expenditures were. He stated that Flat Rock had a fund balance of 575%, when the state average was 37%. He did not feel that promoted efficiency in government, and submitted to the Board that the excess money that Flat Rock was not using was being put in a savings account. He noted that if the Board does make the change in sales tax distribution, Flat Rock already has a $1.8 million dollar fund balance that could be used as a cushion during a transition.


Chairman Hawkins agreed that a transition was what the Board was considering, a transition into a different method of sales tax distribution. Commissioner Moyer expressed concern that if the Board just allows one year for a transition, the same issues will arise regarding advance notice. He thought if the Board did a transition agreement it should be longer than one year so everyone could know what was coming and plan for it. There was discussion about the amount of the draw-down for the county, and the possibility of having a 30% draw-down the first year with an increasing percentage in subsequent years. Chairman Hawkins also stated that he would want as part of an agreement that whenever the draw-down ended, in the process the cities would hold the fire departments harmless at the end of the term.


There followed discussion about the most appropriate time frame for the proposed draw-down, and what percentages should be considered for each year. Chairman Hawkins felt if 30% were to be drawn down in the first year, then he would look at a three year time frame. Commissioner Young favored a three year draw-down with the percentages being 30%, 40% and 50% (30% the first year, 40% the second year and 50% the third year).      


Chairman Hawkins called a brief technical recess.



1. Fielding Lucas – Mr. Lucas spoke to the Board on behalf of Blue Ridge Community College. The College had been working for several weeks on a facilities expansion project, and had reached the point where they felt it necessary to give the Board a heads up in anticipation of a request for capital funding. A plan had been agreed upon in concept, and the President had been authorized to proceed with the steps for preliminary architecture and information gathering necessary to complete the formal capital project funding request. He expected to submit the plan to the Board of Commissioners within the next two months. He went on to explain the need for the expansion, with growth in both curriculum and continuing education programs. Critical facility needs had been defined as a classroom building, including additional technology infrastructure, and a gymnasium. Mr. Lucas noted that BRCC already had the necessary land, and should not need any significant water or sewer upgrades.        


2. Dick Baird – Mr. Baird spoke regarding maintenance at the parks. He felt safety concerns had been corrected and things were looking better. He stated that the Board would receive a will-cost budget from the County Manager, but should be looking for a should-cost budget. He felt the Mediacom discrepancy appeared to be intentional, and it bothered him that they were getting off so easy. Regarding the sales tax distribution issue, stating that $500,000 did not sound like a fitting compromise but recommended $900,000. He did not feel the 60,000 residents of the county not in municipalities were being well represented.. He then spoke to the capital projects list, stating that there was $500 million dollars available, and the county should really try to get some of that money to address the capital needs.



Chairman Hawkins asked the Board if they would consider he and staff communicating with the municipalities on what the Board was considering in keeping the Per Capita Method with a percentage payback for a three-year phase in. Commissioner Baldwin stated that the County is losing $1.8 million, and $500,000 is only about 1/3 of that. He felt 50% would be fair and he would like to move it to two years rather than three.


David Nicholson stated that he had run some numbers to correspond to the discussed percentages. Commissioner Young had mentioned 30%, 40% and 50% for which 30% would be about $556,000, 40% would be $742,000 and 50% would be $927,000. Chairman Hawkins mentioned 30, 30 and 30 which would be $556,000, $1.1 million and $1.6 million over three years. Under Commissioner Baldwin’s plan it would be $927,000 the first year and the full amount for the next year. Chairman Hawkins stated the real question was probably what the municipalities would be left to operate with. Further discussion surrounded the Town of Mills River, which would not have any real fund balance on which to fall back versus the other municipalities who should have adequate fund balances on which to rely during a transition.


There followed much additional discussion about various possibilities of time frames and percentages versus dollar amounts. David Nicholson stated that if percentages are used the formula would have to be recalculated ever year. He proposed the alternative of using the same percentages, but using a dollar figure in the contract so the municipalities would know the dollar figure up front and could better plan. Commissioner Baldwin made the motion to go with a three year time frame and lock in the dollar amount of $500,000 the first year, $750,000 the second year and $927,000 the third year. Chairman Hawkins clarified that Commissioner Baldwin had a motion on the floor with a dollar amount and time frame as a condition of remaining with the Per Capita Method. The motion carried 4 – 1 with Commissioner Baldwin voting nay. Commissioner Moyer questioned whether Commissioner Baldwin could vote against his own motion. Angela Beeker stated that he could.     



Chairman Hawkins reminded the Board that there were a few things the Board needed to do during this Organizational Meeting. One of those items was whether or not the Board wished to elect a Chair. Chairman Hawkins stated that if it was the pleasure of the Board, he would serve in that capacity. The Board would then need to approve the organizational work done by the incorporators of HCHCC. The bylaws and appointments of successor directors could then be considered.


Chairman Hawkins made the motion for the Board to recess as the Henderson County Board of Commissioners and reconvene as the Historic Courthouse Corporation.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Chairman Hawkins made the motion for the Board to go out of session as the Historic Courthouse Corporation. All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Chairman Hawkins made the motion to appoint the seven persons already designated as candidates to the Historic Courthouse Corporation. All voted in favor and the motion carried. Chairman Hawkins then suggested that once the successor directors had a chance to have a meeting, that they then make recommendation to the Board of Commissioners regarding term length for the directors.


Angela Beeker requested direction from the Board on how much, and for how long, Henderson County would provide staff support to the new corporation. Chairman Hawkins stated that they would consider that question following the first meeting, but that it was fine to provide support at least for that meeting.  



Selena Coffey provided an update on the implementation of the new central permitting and inspections software application as was approved within the budget. The goal for the central permitting and inspections software was to have an application that would work in all counties in North Carolina. The North Carolina County Commissioner’s Association contracted with IIS (Integrated Information Systems) to develop that software.


During this process, the Committee of department heads defined the current business procedures within the various departments. Those procedures were then modified to best provide an efficient and effective process including the central permitting software. Individual committee members continued to work with IIS to refine these processes and customize the software to some degree to better suit the individual department needs, and a go live date had been established for April 5th.  


The new software will provide a more efficient and simplified, streamlined process with a lot less paperwork and quicker processing time. It is a browser or internet based application, meaning that in the future municipalities within the County would be able to utilize the software. The application will also provide a historical record for all improvements to a particular address which is helpful particularly in Inspections and Planning when looking at individual building needs.


Ms. Coffey provided the Board a copy of a draft brochure which would be provided to developers and the general public to give an overall look at the process. She also provided a draft of a flowchart describing what customers would do within the confines of the application. Basically, the customer begins at the Property Addressing Office and Property Addressing staff starts the process, which includes verification of the E911 property address, the physical address will be assigned and the parcel information will be entered into the date base. Staff will then cover the basic steps for each individual person according to their needs and inform them of the appropriate course of action. The next steps would be the Planning/Zoning Process and then the Environmental Health/Water-Sewer Process. Following these steps, the building permit will be issued and the inspections process would begin. After all inspections have been completed, the Certificate of Occupancy would be issued which would typically be the end of the process.


Ms. Coffey stated that the County is in the PR phase of the project, and wished to let the public know that the project is underway and hopefully will go live April 5th. She asked for patience as staff learns the project, and as the County continues to change business procedures to accommodate it. Mr. Nicholson provided some additional information on how this process would be a benefit to the community. Commissioner Moyer questioned why such a generic brochure was being considered which did not give a better outline of the process. Ms. Coffey explained that more specific information would be available to customers when they go to begin the process.



Mr. Nicholson reviewed the draft Responsibility Chart and Calendar for the Strategic Plan as was discussed at a previous meeting. He explained the various components included in the chart such as the goal, strategies for completing the goal, the action steps, the responsible parties, the resources required and the target date. He used the following example in the discussion:



Action Step

Responsible Parties

Resources Required

Target Date



To develop a growth plan.


Evaluate the major components of the County’s growth.

Determine the major driving forces affecting the County to be studied within the growth plan.

§ Commissioners

§ County Manager

CCP Completion

July 2004



Chairman Hawkins stated this was a piece of work that needed to be finished, and he felt this was a good start. Commissioner Baldwin felt the document should be formally approved. Commissioner Moyer stated that he had an issue with the target dates for the presentation of the CCP draft to the Board in June 2004 and the adoption of the CCP draft in June 2004. He stated the Board needed to hear from the people of the County regarding what they thought of the plan and what their comments were. Those comments should be taken into consideration. There followed much discussion about how much time needed to be allowed for citizens to review and consider the document, and the number of meetings necessary to allow those comments to be heard.


Commissioner Baldwin stated that he would like to see the CCP come to the Board almost in a menu format, such that the Board could pick and choose the elements they felt were important. Commissioner Moyer questioned how that could work time wise, given that staff had already begun their work on the CCP and it was scheduled to be before the Board on June 1st. Karen Smith addressed the Board, stating that the technical team and County Manager had discussed how to approach the issue because there will be some items that staff may recommend that either the Planning Board or the CCP Board or both may not agree with. Staff plans to try to reach consensus with those Boards, and on items where they can’t, they will present to the Board both elements.


Commissioner Moyer stated that he thought there should be reasonable time for input, and that if at the end of July there is still a lot of public comment that hasn’t been dealt with then the Board should reconsider an end of July adoption date. David Nicholson stated that a change in the adoption date would affect several other dates that are relying upon that. He requested the flexibility to massage those affected dates.


Commissioner Baldwin made the motion that the Board adopt the strategic plan as written with the exception of the date assigned to (CCP Action Step #), and that that date be changed to the last day of July, and also that the County Manager be given discretion to adjust the dates that are dependant on the new date that goes in the strategic plan. All voted in favor and the motion carried.



Architect Selection Process – Animal Shelter

Mr. Nicholson stated that he had received six proposals on the animal shelter project. He reminded the Board that they have to do a qualification based selection of an architect, that is the first step of a two step process. Some of the six applicants had experience, having built shelters in the past, while others would bring experience in other areas. The way the law is written however, the people who have experience in doing this type project are the ones the County must look at first.


There are three firms who have some experience, and they all have a relationship with shelter Planners of America. Mr. Nicholson stated that in the next week, he would begin having conference calls with these three firms because they are all out of state. Staff is also speaking with other counties in North Carolina who have built shelters in the past ten years, to determine what programs they are running and how that corresponds with the size of their shelter.    


Mental Health Update

Mr. Nicholson reminded the Board that on January 1st, the LME stood up as the local mental health provider. The LME Board had extended existing contracts that Trend had in almost every case. Thus most of the services went to Mountain Laurel Community Services. He explained that the LME had standing administrative committees, such as the finance committee that Mr. Nicholson chairs. There are also advisory committees: the Quality Improvement Council and the Strategic Planning Council. They are taking applications from individuals who wish to serve on one of those committees.


Starting in May, the LME will begin to expand the provider network in this area. Several meetings had been held in the County where the providers had been brought in and talked to about services and programs. He hoped that there would be a lot of interest among providers in Henderson County because under Medicaid regulations, which provide the majority of the cost for this system, you have to give people a choice.


Mr. Nicholson then discussed how local dollars would be dealt with at the LME level. The State has said that the maintenance of effort money that the County has in the budget is going to have to go to the LME. The Finance Committee recommended to the full LME Board, and the Board agreed, that they wish to be directed by the local government on how those monies will be spent within the individual counties.


Mr. Nicholson stated that they are still in the process of cleaning up the accounts receivable from Trend, having already collected $850,000 in outstanding Medicaid receipts, with another $300,000 they are getting ready to bill. He felt they were making great progress in this area. There followed some discussion on some issues happening in Michigan with regards to mental health.   


Demolition Bids – Carolina Apparel Building

Mr. Nicholson distributed the bid tabulation sheet for the project demolition. The County had three bidders, and the low bidder was E. Luke Greene Co., Inc. They are licensed in North Carolina, they submitted a bid bond, a waste management plan, the two amendments, and a low bid of $146,500.00. Mr. Nicholson noted that price was $100,000 less than when they had discussed taking that building down last year. The difference in the price was due to the large amount of metal in the building that could be recycled.


Mr. Nicholson recommended that the County hire E. Luke Greene Co., Inc. to demolish the Carolina Apparel Building. Commissioner Young made the motion to accept the County Manager’s recommendation to hire E. Luke Greene Co. All voted in favor and the motion carried.       


Access Video Program

Chris Coulson informed the Board that Access was a new program that the County had started taping. Ten programs had been done so far, and were designed to give citizens in the County a look into the daily operations of the departments. What the departments do, what services they provide for citizens, how they can access those services, where the departments are located, their hours and that sort of thing. All the taping for these shows should be completed by the beginning of May.


Mrs. Coulson also updated the Board on some ongoing programming such as County Connections. Three new programs that had been implemented in the past few months were military programs. One is from the Army, one from the Navy and Marine Corps. and one from the Air Force. Additionally, they are getting ready to add some exercise programs that had come from the City of Charlotte. 



In January, the County had begun an e-mail newsletter being sent out to citizens in the County who want more information about County government and the things government does on a regular basis. It includes information about the departments, events that are going on, meetings that are coming up, and services that are being provided. Two of those had been done thus far, and the March edition would go out within the week. At this point 220 people are on the list to receive the newsletter, which is really high number with three months. She noted too that the newsletter was being sent to all staff members, to keep them up to date on happenings in the community. 


Economic Development Meeting

Commissioner Young reminded the Board that he had recently attended Senator Elizabeth Dole’s Economic Development Seminar held at Haywood Community College. He stated that they talked about grants that are available to communities, and low interest loans. The USDA Rural development has loans with guaranteed low interest rates for terms of up to 40 years for things like affordable housing, renovations for low income individuals. The grants are out there, put people aren’t necessarily applying for them. He also spoke to some EPA and Brownfield’s information he had received. He found it very informative, and requested the Deputy Clerk send out copies of some information to local authorities.      


Home Grants

Selena Coffey stated that she had learned just last week that we had received $241,000 for affordable housing in the County. Habitat for Humanity (Highlander Woods Subdivision) and Housing Assistance Corporation (Highland View Apartments) had previously applied for funds, and those applications totaled $435,000. Henderson County’s original planning allocation was for $193,000. Because of some reversions of funds from prior years, and other governments, as well as because they are very good applications, we received full funding for those projects. She thanked Habitat and Housing Assistance Corp. for submitting wonderful applications and continuing their work on affordable housing in the community.  


NACo Conference

Commissioner Moyer and Commissioner Messer had attended the NACo Conference held in Washington DC in late February. Commissioner Messer noted that the major theme at this year’s NACo Conference was homeland security. They had heard from Secretary Tom Ridge, Senator Alexander from Tennessee, and the EPA. He felt that we would see a big change in communications in the next ten years because of homeland security. They attended a North Carolina caucus, where they were updated on some possible changes with County Health Departments such as what had recently happened with mental health.


Commissioner Moyer stated there was a major concern about the possible consolidation of the Health Departments. Henderson County is in the process of building a building to house the Health Department, while staff in the legislature is in the process of really trying to drive this through. Mr. Nicholson stated there was a district NCACC meeting scheduled for April 20th at 4:00. He felt that would be an important meeting to learn more about this issue.


The consensus of the Board was to have Tom Bridges address the Board on this issue, and following that have some correspondence with our representative.        


Regional Water Authority

Commissioner Baldwin stated he had recently met with the regional water authority. With each meeting he attends he picks up some additional intelligence, and what he learned yesterday was that the bond rating for the Authority was so poor because of the strange organizational structure which is written into the agreement. Additionally, there appears to be a certain lack of civility, so the organization has a poor reputation in the southeast, which makes it difficult to recruit a qualified director to oversee the operation of the authority. This promotes inefficiency, which translates to poor policy. For example two variances had recently come before the Board, and both were in favor of granting the variance because the policy was so poorly written.


Situations involving economic development and affordable housing issues had come before the Board, so there was a real need for cooperation. There are also a lot of capital needs for repairs and refurbishments in the system, and the next step is to look at the rate structure to raise the revenue to fund these repairs. 


Immigration in Henderson County

Commissioner Young had added this item to the agenda to discuss the fact that immigration laws are not being enforced in this country. He stated that illegal immigrants put a stress on all services such as DSS, the Health Department and schools. He thought there was a law on the books, which he asked the County Attorney to research and bring back to the Board, that only legalized citizens could own a business in the United States. If that is the case, he felt there were a number of businesses in the County that should be investigated.


Commissioner Moyer stated that at three of the NACo sessions he attended on Economic Development, the speakers all stated that an aggressive anti-immigration policy was a major negative in attracting Economic Development. Commissioner Young stated again that he had no problem with legal immigrants, but illegal immigrants cannot be accounted for and he had a problem with that.



Chairman Hawkins reminded the Board that Staff had requested a workshop on budget issues. He questioned whether March 31st would work for the Board. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to set a special called meeting on budget issues for March 31st at 5:00pm. All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Commissioner Messer stated that he had scheduled a Cane Creek Water and Sewer District meeting for April 13, 2004 at 4:00 pm at Fletcher Town Hall.


David Nicholson informed the Board that he had two items that could be taken off the Board’s calendar. The attorney representing Glade Holdings had faxed the County a letter stating that they wished to postpone the vested rights hearing which was scheduled for March 22nd because they are reconsidering their options. Commissioner Moyer made the motion to cancel the March 22, 2004 special called hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried.


David Nicholson also stated that the Public Hearing on the CDBG Application needed to be cancelled because the State had decided that they wanted to make a site visit. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to cancel and reschedule the CDBG Grant Public Hearing on April 5th. All voted in favor and the motion carried. 



Chairman Hawkins made the motion for the Board to adjourn at 1:17 pm.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.







Amy R. Brantley, Deputy Clerk to the Board                 Grady Hawkins, Chairman