STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA                                                            BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

COUNTY OF HENDERSON                                                                                                          JUNE 7, 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, Assistant County Manager Justin B. Hembree, 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, Paralegal Connie Rayfield, Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson, Fire Marshal/Emergency Management Coordinator Rocky Hyder, Finance Director J. Carey McLelland, and Planners Josh Freeman,  Nippy Page and Anthony Prince. 



Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. He asked that those at the meeting observe a moment of silence in memory of former President Ronald Reagan who had recently passed away.  Our gratitude goes out to him for ending the Cold War and for his leadership of our nation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mrs. Reagan and the family.



Chairman Hawkins led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.



David Nicholson gave the invocation.



Chairman Hawkins stated that if our time schedule permits, he would like to move discussion item “A- Budget Workshop” just after the presentation of the CCP (County Comprehensive Plan) – the library portion of that workshop.  


There were no other adjustments.  Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the agenda.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.



Attorney Beeker referenced item “F – Board of Elections Lease” stating there was a typographical error in the date – it should read July 1, 2006.


Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the consent agenda as amended by Mrs. Beeker.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.



Draft minutes were presented for the Board’s review and approval of the following meeting(s):

            March 8, 2004, regular meeting

            April 5, 2004, regular meeting

            May 24, 2004, special called meeting

            May 25, 2004, special called meeting

            May 26, 2004, special called meeting


Tax Collector’s Report

Terry F. Lyda, Henderson County Tax Collector, had provided the Tax Collector’s Report dated June 3, 2004,

for the Boards information.


Financial Report – April 2004

Cash Balance Report – April 2004

These reports were presented for information and consent approval.


The negative financial position in the Travel and Tourism Fund will change to a positive one as the last quarter of the fiscal year is when occupancy tax and advertising revenue collections are at their highest.


The $1,600 YTD deficit in the CDBG-Scattered Site Housing Project, the $6,934 YTD deficit in the CDBG-Highlander Woods Housing Project and the $3,057 YTD deficit reported in the Mud Creek Watershed Restoration Project are all temporary due to timing differences in the expenditure of funds and the subsequent requisition of funds to reimburse these expenditures.


The $38,785 YTD deficit in the Mills River Sewer Project Fund is due to the expenditure of funds for engineering fees that will subsequently be reimbursed from the Federal EPA Grant and the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund Grant.


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.


Henderson County Public Schools Financial Report – April 2004

This report was presented for information and consent approval.


Petition for addition to State Road system

Staff had received petitions to add three roads to the State maintenance system:


1.                   Hudgins Road

2.                   North Egerton Road

3.                   Amywood Lane


The petitions meet the minimum requirements.  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.


Board of Elections – Lease

The existing lease agreement for the Elections Department that the Board approved in 1998 for the building located at 120 South Grove Street will expire on June 30, 2004.  Staff had prepared a new lease for the same space.  The new lease was structured as a two-year lease, beginning July 1, 2004 and ending June 30, 2006 at $39,000 a year.  Beginning on July 1, 2006 the lease will be on a month-to-month basis with a monthly lease fee of $3,500.  This will allow flexibility for the Board of Elections to move its office into the new County Complex when that facility is completed.


Staff requested approval from the Board for the new lease.

Request for Improvement Guarantee for Orchard Park Subdivision

Mr. Douglass S. Talbot of Land Resource Companies, LLC had submitted an application for an improvement guarantee for a proposed subdivision he is developing known as Orchard Park.  The subdivision is being constructed off Chimney Rock Road (Highway 64 East).  The subdivision will contain 70 single-family dwellings.  The Planning Board granted conditional approval of the combined Master Plan and Development Plan for the project on April 20, 2004.  The improvement guarantee is proposed to cover mobilization, clearing and grubbing, earthwork, erosion control measures, shoulder stabilization, storm drainage, grading, and asphalt paving of roads serving Orchard Park.


Pursuant to Section 170-38 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 surety performance bond.  Mr. Talbot (the developer) intends to post with the County a surety performance bond in the amount of $849,852.50 that includes cost of the improvements ($679,882.00) as well as the required twenty-five percent (25%) contingency ($169,970.50).  The proposed completion date for the improvements is January 1, 2005.


A draft Performance Guarantee Agreement was included for the Board’s consideration.  If the application is approved, the developer must submit a performance bond in accordance with the terms of the Agreement.  Once the County receives a bond in proper form, the (Assistant) County Attorney must certify the Agreement as to form prior to its execution by the Chairman and the developer.


The Applicant is considering changing the subdivision name.  The subdivision was conditionally approved under the name “Orchard Park”.  The Improvement Guarantee application shows the name as “Orchard Park”, which has already been used by another development.  The applicant has not yet provided a different proposed name. 


The County Manager recommended that the Board approve the application for an improvement guarantee for Orchard Park subdivision subject to the developer submitting a surety performance bond to Henderson County in accordance with the terms of the draft Performance Guarantee Agreement.


Water Line Extension

The City of Hendersonville had requested County comments on a proposed water line extension to serve Dana Elementary School.


The Dana Elementary School property and all properties along the proposed water line are zoned Open Use by the County.  The narrative by the project engineer indicated that water service would be available for all properties along the extension route.  Uses other than the school that could potentially connect to the water line may be subject to requirements of the Open Use district and other applicable ordinances.


The proposal does not fully conform with the County Land Use Plan because the Urban Services Area Map in the 1993 Land Use Plan did not anticipate that public utilities would be available to the site during the Plan’s 10-year span, however, the Urban Services Area map shows utilities were expected to serve portions of Sugarloaf Road and all of Dana Road, to the intersection of Dana Road and Upward Road/Ridge Road.  The 1993 future Land Use Plan map designates most of the land on the south side of Sugarloaf Road for “Residential” uses and much land on the north side for “Agriculture” uses.  The Water Distribution System map in the 1993 plan shows a proposed water line running along Ridge Road, past Dana Elementary School.


The project has adequate hydrant location and spacing.


Update on County Comprehensive Plan and Other Major Planning initiatives

Staff had provided an issue update that summarized the tasks related to the CCP and the other major planning initiatives that occurred over the past month.  The update also included anticipated actions for the coming month. No action was required.


Employee Recognitions/Awards

Henderson County Public Information Officer, Chris Salerno Coulson, had been recognized and received an award for the 2003 “Report to the Citizens” – Best of the Mountains the Mount Pisgah Award for Annual Reports presented by the PRA (Public Relations Association)of Western North Carolina.


Notification of Vacancies

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

1.                   Henderson County Board of Health – 1 vac.

2.                   Planning for Older Adults Block Grant Advisory Committee – 1 vac.



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

1.                   Child Fatality Prevention Team – 1 vac.

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


2.                   Henderson County Board of Health – 4 vac.

Chairman Hawkins nominated Commissioner Young to position #7 and Dr. Ty Hornsby to positions #2.

Commissioner Messer nominated David Jones to position #11.

Commissioner Young nominated Vollie Good to position #11.

Commissioner Moyer nominated Richmond Meadows to position #9 (currently serving).

The Clerk will poll the Board for votes at the next meeting.


3.                   Henderson County Planning Board – 3 vac.

Chairman Hawkins nominated Todd Thompson.

Commissioner Baldwin nominated Renee Kumor and Erica McArthur Allison.

Commissioner Young nominated Jonathan Parce.

Commissioner Moyer nominated Marilyn Gordon and Gary Griffin.

The Clerk will poll the Board for votes at the next meeting.


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

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


5.                   Juvenile Crime Prevention Council – 6 vac.

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


6.                   Land-of-Sky Regional Advisory Council on Aging – 2 vac.

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


7.                   Mountain Area Workforce Development Board – 4 vac.

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


8.                   Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation and Development – 1 vac.

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

9.                   Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee – 3 vac.

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


10.               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.


11.               Senior Volunteer Services Advisory Council – 1 vac.

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


12.        Solid Waste Advisory Committee – 1 vac.

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



Karen Smith presented the Recommended Draft.  The Draft was recommended by the Henderson County Planning Board on May 20, 2004 and by the County Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee on May 24, 2004. 


She stated that from the early development of the project to the present had truly been a collaborative process. The Henderson County Board of Commissioners, the County Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee, the County Planning Board, a Technical Committee or Technical Staff Committee that assisted, numerous other county Staff, other government representatives, agencies, organizations that are non-governmental, a number of contractors and consultants, and the citizens of Henderson County have all had roles in the preparation of this plan.  She gave special recognition to Joshua Freeman, Project Manager for the CCP, stating that when he accepted the position just over a year ago he likely did not know what he was getting himself into.  He jumped right in, assumed a leadership role of a project that had already been in progress, and has done an excellent job throughout the process overseeing community input, compiling, reviewing and analyzing data and planning documents, provided direction to staff and consultants who helped with the plan, writing a significant portion of the document, and managing the review of the draft by the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee and the Planning Board. 


In March of 2003 when the Commissioners adopted a new strategy timeline and budget for completing the CCP pretty much in-house, staff knew it would be one of the most complex projects the Planning Department had ever undertaken.  Mrs. Smith stated that she hoped it would be one of the most enduring projects as well. 


At this time Mrs. Smith recognized Tedd Pearce, Planning Board Chairman, and Jack Lynch, Chairman of the County Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee.   Mr. Pearce stated that the most important thing that the Plan shows is how much work the County has to do in the next 16 years and beyond.  He stated that the consensus of the Joint Boards is a reasonably accurate way of portraying the county’s work in land use.  Mr. Lynch concurred with Mr. Pearce’s remarks.  He particularly thanked County Staff for all their work and particularly Josh Freeman.  He also thanked the two Boards for their work.  He reminded everyone that this was a 20-year plan. 


Josh Freeman thanked the Chairman for his remarks, stating they were very generous.  He thanked Nippy Page and Anthony Prince for their work on the project. 


Mr. Freeman gave the Board an overview of the CCP as it is drafted at this time.  The Plan is broken into five distinct sections:

1.                   The Introduction

2.                   The Background Data

3.                   The 2020 Plan for Henderson County

4.                   Implementation Section

5.                   Appendices


By far, the most important sections are l, 3, and 4 with emphasis on sections 3 and 4. Josh Freeman informed the Board that he would skip over sections 2 and 5, unless they had questions for him. 


The Plan is now on-line, as of June 1, 2004.  There have been some problems with accessing the document because of the size, especially for people with older computers.  To help compensate, Staff is selling CD Roms for $1.00 each.  They are also available in the libraries. Copies are available for review in the Planning Dept. and in the Commissioners’ Office.


Mr. Freeman stated that the most important part of Section 1 (The Introduction) is the nine key principals of growth.  The purpose of the nine principals of growth were to provide a guiding framework for the development of the document.  Every recommendation and action strategy in the document is intended to be reflective of one or all of the principals of growth.  The nine key principals of growth are:

1.                   Maintaining a high quality of life.

2.                   Promoting a growth pattern that is balanced and sustainable.

3.                   Sustaining our heritage, culture, and traditions.

4.                   Maintaining economic sustainability or sustaining our economy and making

             sure that it is productive and compatible with our quality of life.

5.                   Fiscal sustainability or making sure that the pace of growth that we’re experiencing

doesn’t out-pace itself and cause a strain on county coffers or that our responses to that growth in terms of services are fiscally sound.

6.                   Environmental sustainability.

7.                   Efficient and equitable service provision.

8.                   Regional coordination, collaboration.

9.                   Community-based planning.


Section 2 is broken into six subsections.  The purpose of the subsections are to summarize information relevant to the development of the document.  It doesn’t actually contain any of the recommendations themselves.  There is brief county history, probably the most important one being the public input summary, then population trends, economic trends, land use trends, and then factors influencing growth. 


Section 3 is the heart of the Plan.  It was broken up into nine key elements:


1.                   Economic Development.

2.                   Agriculture.

3.                   Natural Resources.

4.                   Recreation.

5.                   Housing.

6.                   Transportation.

7.                   Sewer & Water.

8.                   Public Schools.

9.                   Growth Management.


Each element is broken down in a fairly regular manner.  It begins with a summary of the relevant public input and then establishes a series of recommendations and action strategies.  The recommendations are general policy statements that provide over-arching guidance and action strategies are meant to implement those recommendations.


Section 4 establishes the community planning framework and the implementation schedule for the Comprehensive Plan.  The Community Planning Framework is probably most important from the standpoint that it fairly radically changes the way we do long-term planning in the county.  The Implementation Schedule summarizes all the recommendations and action strategies set forth in section 3 in Table format.  The responsibility and the schedules for the table are blank.  The Advisory Committee and the Planning Board felt that it should be the role of the Board of Commissioners and the County Manager to set forth who is responsible and when it should be done.


Section 5 – The Appendices.  The maps and the Public Input are probably the two most important appendices.

Mr. Freeman stated that in his opinion public input was very important. 


Section 3 – The 2020 Plan for Henderson County

Josh Freeman stated that every recommendation and every actions strategy is consistent with the key principals of growth.  They may not entirely satisfy the key principals of growth but there should be no point where there is inconsistency. 


Overall, Section 3 steers the county toward a much more rigorous system of planning, being more integrated across themes.  It moves our planning system into a more long-term mode with development of a formalized system of planning and promotion of better coordination and cooperation between local governments within Henderson County.



It recommends a broad range of more in-depth planning documents.  It proposes an industrial and commercial zoning study.  It proposes the development of a tourism plan, a county-wide recreation Master Plan, an  affordable housing plan, multi-modal transportation plan, a county-wide sewer and water Master Plan, and a long-range school facilities Master Plan.


The question was raised whether public safety was discussed as part of the plan.  Mr. Freeman answered that it was not discussed in the plan other than in an informal way in the issue of where to place substations for the Sheriff’s department, fire stations, etc. It does not show up explicitly in the document in text form.  They do propose the establishment of community service centers in various locations around the county and those would be places where you would locate future facilities. 


The Plan proposes a broad range of next step type planning documents that will help us move into a more formalized system of planning.  Each of those documents is intended to cover a 10-20 year timeframe.  They are intended to provide direct guidance to the strategic plan, a long-term county budgeting process, the capital improvement program, and others as well as relating explicitly to one another. 


Section 3 also proposes a growth management strategy, the purpose of which is to shape development so that it is consistent with available and planned services and also that it recognizes development constraints.  It examines a broad range of key factors such as sewer and water, topography, and others.  The growth management strategy is intended to be reflected in other documents of the county, sewer and water Master Plan, School Development Plan, or Zoning Ordinance or Map.  Beyond the Growth Management Strategy, Mr. Freeman felt the next most important discussion in section 3 was that of the future land use map.  It takes the growth management strategy the next step and pulls in guidance from the 1993 Future Land Use Map and other land use planning documents to create the map presented.  It establishes a pattern of land use intensity that’s based largely on developability and staff’s understanding of what you can expect in the next 20 years or so in terms of utilities extension. 


Section 3 also proposes the development of a land development code.  A land development code proposes consolidating most of our ordinances into a single document, that would include, in particular, subdivision, watershed, and zoning.  If we never do that we still need to continue flow with the zoning ordinance rewrite and most of the recommendations of the plan would still apply.  From a zoning standpoint they propose reducing the range of allowable commercial and industrial uses in the Open Use areas of the county, creating new mixed use commercial districts, new high density residential districts, establishing residential density requirements based on the growth management strategy so intense urban medium density and rural areas that are actually reflected in our zoning map, incorporating incentives into the ordinance that would encourage property owners to protect agriculture and natural resources, historic sites and other defined features, and then tightening up regulations with regard to junked vehicles and abandoned manufactured homes. 


The question was raised whether the Plan addressed our library system. Mr. Freeman answered that it did not, other than that they would logically be located in your community service centers.  He stated that solid waste was another issue that was not addressed.


Section 4 establishes the community planning framework.  It builds upon the Henderson County Land Use Regulation Guide by continuing forward with its suggestion that we study high growth areas, municipal boundary areas, and transportation corridors.  Community plans are proposed.  The content of the community plans would be very similar to a comprehensive plan in that it would cover land use and zoning in particular with detail, as well as transportation, schools, recreation, natural resources, libraries, public safety, economic development, etc.  Mr. Freeman showed a map which depicted each of the proposed community planning boundaries which are based generally upon transportation corridors when you move into the more urbanized core of the county and in the rural areas it falls back upon township boundaries as the unit of delineation.  The CCP proposes a schedule for developing these community based plans, focusing on the urban core as the higher priority because of the intensity of growth and development in those areas and because of the impending transportation plans within the TIP.  Beyond that they used the rates of growth in the given townships to prioritize.  The community plans are intended to rely very heavily on public input. They would directly relate to the other, more detailed guiding documents referred to earlier. 


Discussion followed, including discussion of how to fund some of these efforts.  Staff hopes to acquire grant monies for parts of the plan.   


Chairman Hawkins stated that the Advisory Board, Planning Board and Staff had done a superb job in putting together a plan that had a unanimous consent out of both the Planning Board and the Steering Committee.  It was also done on time.  There is a lot to be done in a 20-year plan. He expressed that the key to implementing the plan will come in the community plans. 


Commissioner Baldwin felt it important to have an implementation schedule ready when the Board is ready to adopt the document.  Staff stated that they have been working on the implementation schedule. 


Commissioner Moyer stressed that emergency medical services are critical for a community of our age, population, etc. and there is nothing in the plan pertaining to that.  He also felt that the library system was important and should be in the plan.  Public safety and fire are not included in the plan either.


Mr. Freeman stated that this document is intended to be fluid and ever-changed.  He gave as example that every time the Board finishes a community-based plan, they would need to readopt the CCP and the future land use map and other elements. 


The Board had two up-coming workshops scheduled on the plan at which they would also accept public input.


Mr. Nicholson informed the Board that there had been a lot of public interest in the CCP.  Staff has had numerous requests for copies, people not just wanting to review a copy but wanting a copy to take with them to review in depth. 


BUDGET WORKSHOP – Library presentation

Library Director Bill Snyder introduced Doug Sparks who is Chairman of the Library Board of Trustees and was present at the meeting.


Mr. Snyder addressed Capital Facility Needs for the Library.  He reminded the Board that this library was formed in 1914.  We’ve come a long way, from about 200 books in the building that is currently the Chamber of Commerce to the main library on Washington Street with facilities in Fletcher, Etowah, Edneyville and Green River.  We currently have about 250,000 books.  Mr. Snyder stated that the problem we are running into is we have two growing communities, most specifically Fletcher and Etowah which have inadequate facilities for the amount of work they are doing.  Both of these libraries were formed approximately twenty years ago and have grown tremendously.  They started in a little trailer which was last used as the Edneyville library before the permanent facility was opened there four years ago.  We also have a library in Green River which is in a small building, the use of which was donated by Roscoe Green.  Roscoe Green was a good businessman who owned a store at the intersection of Green River Road and Hwy. 25 South.  This is a tremendously busy intersection.  Mr. Green raised the money himself and donated money and rounded up volunteer labor to build a 1,000 sq. ft. facility.  Since then, we have outgrown that facility which opened about twelve years ago.  Mr. Snyder stated that they are looking for a permanent location that we can control, we do not own the current facility and cannot add on to it.   They propose that they work with the school board and recreation department to acquire the old Tuxedo School property and in several years turn that into a combination recreation and library facility.  They have had a bequest given to the Friends of the Library that generates about $75,000 a year which can only be used for the Etowah Library and they think that excellent use of those funds would be to amortorize out a permanent location for that facility that would be adequate for its needs for many years to come.  The problem in Fletcher is that we have a 5,000 sq. ft. facility and the footprint of the facility is basically the footprint of the property.  They have no place to add on to the facility.  They have been working with the Town of Fletcher and there are several options available.  Fletcher has made it known that as they develop the new Town of Fletcher, assuming that it is developed, they have offered a site in that location.  So, we are several years away from undertaking any of these projects but they do wish to get them started into the planning process at this time.


Mr. Snyder then answered numerous questions from the Board. 


Mr. Snyder and Mr. Sparks both stressed that we are maxed out at the three facilities mentioned and we are experiencing steady growth.  Mr. Sparks stated that the library use we have now is second only in the State to Chapel Hill.  Chapel Hill has a completely different demographic.


Mr. Snyder stated that they did propose a calendar for these projects in a memo dated March 11 which was passed on as part of the budget process, stating “we’re kind of hostage to you, we can’t move forward until you give us permission to”.


Mr. Snyder stated that up until this year, when they changed their method of counting, library usage was increasing by 5-6% per year.  When you base that on approximately 900,000 circulations a year, that’s about 45,000-50,000 items a year in additional usage of your facilities.  The problem they are running into is staff workload.  They are already 40% busier per staff member than the average across North Carolina and that only includes book circulation.  As the staff gets busier some things don’t quite get done the way they’re suppose to be done.  Mr. Snyder proposed an average staff workload for their public library to be 1/3 higher than the state average.  That would still net a very efficient and economical staff that does a lot of work but it will give a benchmark to plan for future needs.  When you repeatedly request more and more from your staff there reaches a point where they are not able to give the time to the individual customer that they have been giving in the past and that means a degradation of services.  Mr. Snyder suggested working with the Board of Commissioners in establishing the benchmark and filling the staffing needs. 


Commissioner Moyer stated that Mr. Snyder and the Library Board spent a lot of time looking from a budget standpoint at what it would take to continue our system and to meet the needs of the communities we serve.  There are needs arising already that are not even in the plan, that are going to have to be looked at.  They did certainly take into consideration the volumes, the needs of the community, and tried to put together a plan that will just keep our program going and keep it at the level that we now have.  He stated that it was important to recognize that and step up and support it or recognize the consequences that will occur to the system by failure to support it.


A joint meeting between the Library Board and the Board of Commissioners was suggested in the coming fiscal year.



1. Mary Borowski – Ms. Borowski stated that she was a 10-year resident of Henderson County and one of the interested people that pulled the CCP up on the computer, all 250 pages of it.  There is a lot to be digested.  She thanked Jack Lynch, Tedd Pearce, Karen Smith, and Josh Freeman, stating this was a herculean task.


2. Eva Ritchey – Ms. Ritchey was proud of the place we have arrived to with our CCP. She expressed thanks to the voices who had gone on before that helped produce this document, people like Ken Weitzen, Ken Gaylord, Mary Jo Padgett, and Walter Carpenter. She did express concerns about the accessibility of the document and the limited amount of time for review of the document prior to the two scheduled meetings for public input.  The Board plans to try to adopt the document by the 18th.  She felt the Board was shoe-horning a very important document in too short a time. 


Transportation – Ms. Ritchey stated that in this document, under key principals of growth, the 7th statement “assesibility, efficiency, and equity – it is Henderson County’s objective to ensure that all people have access to and use of community facilities and services, irrespective of such factors as age, gender, racial, or ethnic origin, religion, disability, income, or geography.”  She stated that’s a wonderful statement – I think you mean it.  But there’s a disconnect between that statement and the statement under “Transportation elements – C – which says ‘continue to investigate the future of public transportation in Henderson County’”.  Mrs. Ritchey stated that we don’t need to investigate it, we need to strengthen it.  We need to make transportation available to all people in Henderson County.  She informed the Board that asthma rates among our children in Henderson County – hospitalizations have increased and are 33% higher than the North Carolina average.  Mrs. Ritchey stated “That’s not acceptable and it’s directly related to our air quality and air quality is directly related to our transportation choices and we have to make different choices.”


Schools – Ms. Ritchey stated that schools are the largest single impact in our community.  She recommended that the schools had to be included at the planning table.  She recommended one School Board member as a voting member of the Planning Board. 


Ms. Ritchey stated “If you adopt this document without strengthening its recommendations and an implementation schedule then it is little more than window dressing for a political campaign.”


3. Margo Nagel – Mrs. Nagel stated that the money needed for our public school system should not be combined with the money requested from Blue Ridge Community College and left up to the public for decision and running the risk of having the bond defeated.  “If the schools need money … please raise our taxes.”



Regional Water Agreement Update

Angela Beeker informed the Board that the City of Asheville had adopted a resolution to terminate the supplemental water agreement in 1 year.  The supplemental water agreement is the agreement that actually formed the Regional Water Authority of Asheville, Buncombe and Henderson.  The supplemental water agreement also provides that the City of Asheville holds title to the entire system that is operated currently by the Authority.  It provides for some payments that Buncombe County makes back to Asheville for recreation and law enforcement services.  Primarily it is an interlocal agreement just between Buncombe County and the City of Asheville.


In 1995 Henderson County entered into an agreement with the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, and the Authority to provide that certain services and infrastructure would be provided to citizens of Henderson County.  The agreement has a paragraph that provides that in the event the supplemental water agreement was to be terminated, that the City of Asheville must assume all of the Authority’s obligations under that agreement.  From a legal standpoint, she felt that to the extent that we’re getting services and things out of the Authority, the City of Asheville would be legally obligated to pick those up.  There will be some details that will have to be worked out, for instance if the Authority goes away do they have any obligation to have some sort of Advisory Committee of which the County would have representation on.  The Authority will go away in a year and we will be dealing solely with the City of Asheville and Buncombe County and our Regional Water Agreement. 


Commissioner Baldwin is a member of that Authority. 



Chairman Hawkins had provided an update by way of a bulletin he brought back from the last MPO meeting entitled “I-26 Connector – Asheville – NCDOT TIP Project 1-2513”.  There is another MPO meeting scheduled for July 14.  Chairman Hawkins will try to update the Board again after that meeting.


Justin Hembree held a meeting here today to discuss the public transit issue in terms of developing both a long-range and a short-range strategic plan, not only in terms of looking at public transit and how that affects primarily the municipalities of Fletcher and Hendersonville and Henderson County but also how are we going to pay for those services.  That’s the key item we need to answer between now and December. He hopes to be able to come back to the Board with some recommendations or options about mid-August. 



Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Hickory, N.C., Inc.

Chairman Hawkins made the motion for the Board to go into Public Hearing.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Scott Hamilton, from the Chamber of Commerce, addressed the Board and introduced Lee Teeter, President of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Hickory NC, Inc.  Pepsi-Cola is interested in locating a warehouse and distribution facility in Henderson County. 


Mr. Teeter addressed the Board, stating he is a third generation Pepsi bottler.  They started back in the 1930’s. The fourth generation is employed with the company too, his daughter.  They have four operations, they are family.  They have about 330 employees in their system starting in Catawba County and going all the way to Murphy.  They have four franchises, one in Hickory, one in Spruce Pine, one in Asheville, and one in Bryson City.  They sell Pepsi, Mountain Dew, some Cadbury products like Dr. Pepper, SoBees – all kinds of soft drinks and waters.  They want to expand, they have growing pains.  They need more room.  They need to build about a 140,000 sq. ft. facility.  In that facility 76 people will be in Sales, the rest will be in the warehouse, office, and service.  Based on today’s payroll, they would have about 120 people employed. 


Mr. Teeter stated that they are looking to locate in the Town of Mills River.


Public Input

There was none.


Chairman Hawkins made the motion for the Board to go out of public hearing.  All voted in favor and the motion carried. 


Chairman Hawkins made the motion to proceed with the application as presented for the five year period in the amount of $85,966.80 to Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Hickory, NC., Inc. and direct staff to prepare the necessary documents for final approval.



Chairman Hawkins made the motion (at 7:07 p.m.) for the Board to go into closed session as allowed pursuant to NCGS 143-318.11 for the following reason(s):


1. (a)(4)            To discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries or other businesses in the area served by the public body.


All voted in favor and the motion carried.


PUBLIC HEARING – Fiscal Year 2004-05 Budget

Chairman Hawkins made the motion for the Board to go into public hearing at 7:35 p.m.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Chairman Hawkins asked the Clerk to call the names of those who had signed up to speak and he requested each speaker to limit their comments to 3 minutes each.


1. Jim Howard – Mr. Howard spoke representing 12 human service agencies and the more than 4,000 people served by those agencies.  The Board has funded those agencies in the past and he hoped the Board would continue to fund them.   The Alliance for Human Services was a creation of the Blue Ribbon Commission which was established in 1997 as a partnership among the County Commission, the United Way, and the Community Foundation.  Those are the three principal sources of funding for human service agencies in the county.   Mr. Howard stated that the mission of the Alliance is to strengthen the delivery of human services in Henderson County by fostering agency collaboration and promoting increased efficiency and effectiveness within those agencies.  The Board is made up of six community volunteers, three representatives; one from each of the funders, and funder staff members regularly attend the Board meetings to act as advisors.  The Board of Commissioners had given them the responsibility to make annual recommendations for the non-profit human service agencies that apply to the county for funding.  The Alliance has made those recommendations for five years.  In each of the past years the funding the Board of Commissioners has provided for ten agencies has been constant at $180,000.  During that same period funding for social services has increased by 23%.  Human service needs within the county have grown and will continue to grow. He asked the Board to consider increasing the amount they fund the human service agencies by approximately 11%.  The Alliance, as a group, feels that there is a critically needed increase both because we have two additional new agencies this year, the Children and Family Resource Center and the Volunteer Medical Resource Center and because of the double digit growth in the human service needs in the intervening years.

In order to develop their recommendations, they reviewed the inputs from each of the agencies and reached a consensus view through discussions, questioning the agencies, and a final vote.  There were two principal criteria that they used to evaluate the agencies; the return on investment to the county and the economic benefits the county realizes because of the activities of the agencies. 


Mr. Howard gave examples of the returns from several funded agencies.  He stated that more than 1,750 volunteers work for the 12 agencies putting in 110,000 hours of unpaid time. 


2. Ross Sloan – Mr. Sloan also spoke to the request for Alliance for Human Services.  He serves as Board President for the United Way of Henderson County.  He urged the Board to approve the requested increase to $200,500 because of the reasons stated by Mr. Howard earlier and the positive impact this increase would have on the needs in our community.  He believes that the additional $20,500 requested will allow efficient and effective private human services agencies to meet growing needs that otherwise would require resources of the County at an even higher cost. 


3. Sherri Metzger – Ms. Metzger represented the Community Foundation of Henderson County.  She is the current President of the Community Foundation.  She is one of the original members of the Blue Ridge Commission that the County Commissioners appointed in 1997 to study forming the Alliance for Human Services.  They spent two years coming up with a model to assist the County Commissioners, the Community Foundation, and United Way in helping to set priorities and trying to see that we didn’t have duplication of effort between the various human services. 


4. Ervin Bazzle - Mr. Bazzle is Chairman of the Board of Public Education and spoke on behalf of the Henderson County Public Schools.  He spoke specifically to five items, five items that have a great chance of not being funded except for the County Commissioners:


1.                   Class-size reduction.  He stated they are in the third year of a five-year class size reduction.

They requested $347,777 for seven additional teachers.

2.                   Balfour Initiative. This had been discussed between the two Boards for over 2 years.  The funds that they requested to fund that is about $172,000.  They had raised between $50,000 - $60,000 on their own from the community. 

3.                   Personnel Positions. In QZAB funds they made certain obligations.  He urged the Board to look at that very carefully before not funding that position which is a career facilitator at Hendersonville Middle School. 

4.                   Recurring Capital. They asked for $2,300,000.  $300,000 of that actually comes from other sources.  The County Manager recommended just over $200,000.  He stated they are way below the state average, way below what is recommended.  They have increased their square foot size hugely in the last 3-4 years.

5.                   Major Construction. The last 3-4 years both Boards have worked very closely together to come up with a plan to phase in construction.  He feels it is a good plan which he believes the Board of Commissioners will support.  He stated  “I do not believe that some of our schools can wait for a bond referendum to be placed before the public, voted on, up or down.”  Dana and to some extent Hillandale needs are critical.  They have to be funded as soon as they can.  They have to start on those schools as soon as they can.  If we have to wait for a bond, it will be four years before we see an effect. 


5. Jan King – Mrs. King is a teacher at West Henderson High School.  On June 11 of last year she wrote this Board a letter thanking them for funding the public school system at the requested level.  She asked the Board “Don’t let up, now’s not the time to let up.”  She spoke to class-size reduction, technical support, and capital outlay. She briefly mentioned the use of mobile classrooms and stressed the need to get those kids into buildings.

6. Charles Snead – Mr. Snead is the Principal of Hendersonville Elementary School.  Six years ago he came here and inherited a building that was in some disrepair. It appeared to be in disrepair because there did not seem to be a good plain in place to take care of the facilities in our county.  In the years he has been here our school system has made a deliberate effort to plan, prioritize, and to fix those facilities to make sure that we are fully taking care of those buildings that our community has provided to put our children in.  In the building he serves in a roof has been put on, heating systems have been improved from the old strip electric heat to something a lot more efficient.  Carpets have been put in most of the rooms but not all, ceilings have been dropped and new fluorescent lighting has been put in some but not in all.  Furniture has been replaced but not in all.  A lot of things have been done and it’s the result of a lot of planning and because of both Boards working together. 


7. Dick Baird – Mr. Baird stated “Money does not equate to education… the only thing that improves the out-put effectively is to have effective teachers.  We’re not measuring the effectiveness of our teachers.”  He stated that Guilford County does measure the effectiveness of their teachers.  We can.  That’s where the pay-off is.  “Get rid of the dead wood, pay more to the master teachers, and encourage some education progress here.” 


Mr. Baird stated that this budget does not grow at 1.7%, it grows at 3.6%.  Someone figured from the final amount approved last year but should be taking the measurement from what was spent and what the original budget ordinance was last year. 


Mr. Baird stated it was difficult to turn over this money to this government who would select $180,000 (or more) to go to “charities”. 


He also stated that it was ridiculous that the Board only allowed three minutes for citizens to address the budget.


8. Leshea Ward – Ms. Ward is a concerned parent of a student at Dana Elementary School.  On Sept. 4 of last year she wrote to Dr. Burnham concerning the eight mobile units at Dana School.  She stated they need a building for their students, not mobile units.  The trailer her daughter was in this past year had holes in it.  You could see daylight through those holes.  Her teacher put paper in the holes.  She expressed safety concerns about the trailers, stating the children get cold in the winter and they get wet when it’s raining because they have to go outside to get to the main building to go to lunch, to go to the restrooms, or any other activity.  They do not have covered walkways.  When the ramps get wet they are slippery.  It is not safe for a child to go out by themselves to the restrooms.  The doors are left unlocked and anyone can walk right inside. Only parents who abide by the rules go by the office and get a pass to be on school grounds.  Anyone wanting to cause harm can walk right into any trailer.  There can be communication problems between the trailers and the office.  It’s hard to hear announcements.  She stated they need tax dollars at Dana Elementary School to build more classrooms and to renovate the entire school.  


9. Deborah Lancaster – Ms. Lancaster has been a special education teacher for 30 years, 28 of which have been at Dana Elementary with the last two being from a mobile unit.  In her time at Dana she has been in every single building on campus.  She spoke about safety and the intercom system in the mobiles.  They sometimes do not even hear the fire alarm when it goes off.  They are very noisy.  She does not feel comfortable in them on windy days. 


10. Justin Paige – Mr. Paige is the parent of two daughters at Hillandale Elementary and Flat Rock Middle School.  He spoke out of love for every child in school in this county.  If we fail these children we fail not only ourselves but we fail our future. He asked the Board to think about every child in the school system today.  He stated every principal and every staff person in this county does above and beyond the call of duty for these kids and these schools.  He asked “Is it important to set these kids aside or is it important to give them what they need, without schools, without proper education what do we have.  Education is the most important thing.  Without education you have nothing.  The schools give you that.”


11. Annie Jones – Mrs. Jones is a third grade teacher at Dana Elementary School.  She thanked the Board of Commissioners for working collaboratively with the Board of Education over the past several years to provide the needed facilities in our county schools.  Much has been accomplished but there is still much left to do.  Our schools are experiencing a population growth and on the east side more like a population explosion. Our present facilities are not adequate.  “A classroom is a child’s workplace, seven hours a day, 180 days a year.” For 150 students at Dana that workplace is a portable classroom located on the outer edge of campus in an area known as the trailer park.  There are 11 portables at Dana. A portable classroom is a small workplace that lacks the amenities of a regular classroom in a building.  It’s four walls basically, lacking cabinets, counters, shelves, closets, floor space, and running water.  This impacts instruction.  She spoke about the weather and the uncovered walkways.  She asked the Board to please not delay the building projects requested by the Board of Education. “Our children need and they deserve better facilities than portable classrooms and we need them now… please give our children the safest and best classrooms that we can provide as soon as we can provide them with them.”


12. Tabitha Perry – Ms. Perry is a third grade teacher at Dana Elementary School.  This was her first year teaching.  She chose to come back to Henderson County because it was where she was raised.  She stated that everything they needed as students was always provided to them and they never knew if there was a budget crunch.  They always had what they needed and the facilities they needed.  That was one reason she chose to come back.  She wanted to be in a county that cared about their children and supported their children and gave them what they need to become the future.


13. Georgia Rhodes – Mrs. Rhodes is the grandmother of two children at Dana where she volunteers.  She attended Dana Elementary School herself.  She is concerned about the mobile situation at Dana and the safety issue.  There are no phones in the mobile classrooms and the intercom system “is just about a joke”.  She mentioned numerous other issues that others before had mentioned such as the uncovered walkways, the unlocked doors, the trip to get to a bathroom, etc. 


14. Pam McMurray – Ms. McMurray is the parent of four children in the Dana School system.  Two of her children have already been in mobile classrooms.  She feels this is a huge safety concern.  She mentioned several concerns that had already been mentioned earlier by others.  “We are in a fast growing community at Dana and we are getting more mobile units every year, we have three more for next year which are already maxed out… we have the total of 11 units now.”  She asked the Board “Are you willing to put our children at risk for another three to six years?”


15. Dennis Justice – Mr. Justice lives in Fletcher.  He mentioned the gymnasium for Blue Ridge Community College, stating that they do need a gym at the school and needed one when the place was built.  But the idea of spending $17.6 million for a gym makes no sense.  If this is allowed on the referendum ballot with the public school issues he felt the bond issue would fail miserably.  The proposed gym would only seat 500 people which is smaller than any of the high school gyms in the county.  He spoke in favor of a gym for BRCC, but a much less expensive gym.  He felt if this is added to the referendum it would be the deal-breaker.


16. Lynn Carter/Hilda Hamilton – Ms. Hamilton is a 20 year veteran of the teaching profession, seven of those years at Rugby Middle School as an eighth grade teacher.  She is also the parent of an elementary and a middle school child.  She spoke to the need for class size reduction and the Balfour initiative.  She also spoke as a National Board Certified Teacher and an advocate for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.  Last year Henderson County was in the top 10% of National Board Certified Teachers in this State.  We have over 80 National Board Certified Teachers and at least 40 that went through the rigorous certification process this year.  She stated that as people move to our county and research our school system, our number of National Board Certified Teachers has become more and more a focus of their research. Teachers will not go through this challenging process when they are being shuffled from school to school or from classroom to classroom in relation to what our budget cannot afford to do.  Data proves that there is a significant impact on student learning in the classrooms of National Board Certified Teachers.  We need for the superior teachers of Henderson County to feel comfortable entering this process rather than fearing that they will step up to the challenge and then suddenly have their class assignment and curriculum changed due to budget cuts.


Ms. Carter stated that we have gotten rid of most of the dead wood in Henderson County.  She is a 25 year veteran of the schools here in Henderson County.  She stated she was amazed at the progress that we have made but that it is imperative to continue that progress.  She also spoke to the number of National Board Certified Teachers we have in Henderson County and how important it  is to support their efforts.  “We need to focus on the economy of Henderson County and having excellent Doctors and Attorneys who seek us out because of the school system we have is going to be very important for our economy and for those of us who are aging too.”


17. Tina Revis – Ms. Revis is a concerned parent of Dana Elementary.  Her child was in one of the mobile units this year.  Bathroom breaks are a real problem for students and teachers in the mobile units.  She asked the Board to consider helping them.


18. Sallie Carr – Ms. Carr is an educator and a parent in Henderson County.  She has an eighth grade daughter who has been very fortunate to complete her middle school years at the beautifully renovated Hendersonville Middle School.  She has taught in Hendersonville for the past 17 years with the last 7 being at Hillandale Elementary.  When she moved to Hillandale she took her middle school daughter with her who was then in second grade.  She was excited to be at Hillandale and her excitement was enhanced with the up-coming renovations that Hillandale was to be a part of.  That Nov. her excitement was dampened when the Henderson County voters did not pass the bond referendum.  When she first arrived at Hillandale there was one mobile unit, there are now six and they continue to grow in number of students. She stated “we at Hillandale do the very best to make the most of what we have but I am also placing with my very deepest trust to ensure that the Hillandale children will not have to wait for yet again another bond referendum to get what is going on at some of the other schools in our county.” 


19. Steve Easler – Mr. Easler thanked the Board for the fine job they do and did not envy them the task of deciding where the money should be spent.  He stated that the most important thing is the children in this county.  He asked that the Board would consider whatever budget cuts they had already made in the school’s budget, that they might ease those figures back up.  He even mentioned a tax increase to fund the schools.


20. Don Bryant – Mr. Bryant is the principal at Upward Elementary.  They currently have four mobile units. Mr. Bryant has been in the Henderson County Public School System for over 20 years.  He felt we have one of the best, if not the best, school system in the State.  He applauded the Board of Commissioners for funding the programs and buildings that they have in the last few years.  He felt confident that the Board would step up to the plate and continue to do that.  He is also a survivor of East Flat Rock Elementary School.  Upward Elementary has been full for six years.  He spoke in favor of the class size reduction and the Balfour Initiative. 


21. Debbie Clark – Ms. Clark is a third grade teacher at Mills River School.  She asked the Board to please support the funding for the class size reduction to help meet the needs of the students in Henderson County.  She thanked the Board for their support for schools in the previous years. 


22. Jill Swartzkauf – Ms. Swartzkauf teaches kindergarten at Mills River elementary School.  It is her goal to meet the individual needs of each individual child and she currently has 23 students.  She writes individualized education goals for each and every child.  She stated that she needed the Board’s help to get the class sizes down.


23. Ben Williams – Mr. Williams is the principal at East Henderson High School.  He stated that the difference between the County Manager’s proposed budget local current expense and capital outlay and the Henderson County School Board’s budget is $928,851.  Rather than to enumerate all the programs that this shortfall doesn’t fund, he discussed Balfour as an example.  “All school administrators must from time to time unfortunately suspend students out of school for disciplinary infractions. There is a direct relationship between the number of days you miss and the drop-out rate.  The program at Balfour called C-Stop ensures students will receive educational services while they are removed from the regular school setting thereby avoiding unnecessary absences as a result of these days suspended out of school. I assure you that this one feature of Balfour alone will begin to lower the drop-out rate in Henderson County.  Please consider this and all the needs you’ve heard here tonight as you fully fund our School Board’s budget.”


24. Bill Parker – Mr. Parker is principal at Mills River Elementary School.  He thanked the Board for their past support and looked forward to their continued support in Henderson County Public Schools.  He has spent his career teaching in a high school classroom, being a middle and high school and now elementary school administrator and he could speak from experience that class size does make a huge difference.  Mr. Parker stated that they too have mobile units.  They have 19 classrooms, four of which are occupying a building which was constructed in 1928 (76 years old).  Yes, there have been some renovations.  There are issues that have to be dealt with in a 76 year old building for 21% of their students every day, the vast majority of their day.  All the Mills River students go to a gymnasium which was built in 1941.  The cafeteria building was built in 1958 and the cafeteria is located upstairs.  They have had to add three classrooms under the cafeteria in the basement of that facility.  Their immediate needs are dealing with the issues involved with aging buildings.  They have future needs as well.  He urged the Board to continue to fund the budget as proposed by the School Board in its fullest, to continue to do the right thing for the students here in Henderson County.


25. Janet Gover – Ms. Gover is a parent of children at Dana Elementary and a substitute teacher who has taught primarily at Dana and Hillandale.  She has sat on a Parent Advisory Board for two years now with Dr. Burnham.  Parents representing the rest of the county as well as a few of the School Board members have been at those meetings.  The School Board has made a strategic plan and has tried to stick to that. She extended an invitation to all the Board to spend one day at Dana in a trailer on a rainy day to complete the work they do for one day.  Students have 13 years of minimal instruction time, that is their job.  “Try to do your job in a trailer with some of the constraints that we face.”


26. Martha Shoemaker – Ms. Shoemaker is the Media Specialist at Apple Valley Middle School.  She thanked the Board for their past efforts and said “Don’t let up.”  She works in what is referred to as “Library Heaven”. Apple Valley is such a wonderful facility and she felt so lucky to be there.  “Please, don’t let up, please help us continue to move forward.”  She also is a survivor of East Flat Rock Elementary School. Apple Valley is growing.  The school opened in 1993.  They currently have two mobile units but are getting more.  If the current needs are not taken care of now, we won’t be able to handle the new needs as they arise.  “Please again, don’t let up but help us keep moving forward.”


27. Alice Prince – Ms. Prince is a business-education teacher at Tuxedo Extended Day School.  They are moving to their new location – the Balfour Education Center and look forward to continued work with at risk students.  This is a group of students that people typically do not like to talk about but is one that really needs to be dealt with.  That will be done at Balfour.  They are traditionally the last stop for students before they drop out of school. The teachers strive to individualize education to meet the needs of these students where they create an environment for success, thereby keeping the student in school and moving them back to their base school where they ultimately will graduate.  They must work very hard with this group of unmotivated students but there is much more work to do.  At Balfour they will continue to work with them, to retain the students.  The typical student at Balfour has no plans to go to college so they work with them to stress the concept of having a trade.  At Balfour they will offer programs such as Cosmetology, Electronics, and Health Occupations.  These programs will enable the students to graduate fully prepared to enter an occupation in one of these fields.  Also at Balfour there will be many programs that will be available to them such as intensive counseling.  The programs are not free nor are they cheap but they are crucial to the growing at-risk student.  Without these programs we run the risk of our students dropping out of school, reducing the odds of their becoming gainfully employed.  Many will stay on the streets, they’ll go into a life of crime, or go on public assistance at the very least.  “We need to stop the cycle, we need to take care of the needs of these students now.  We’ll either … pay for it now or pay for it later.  I beg you to pay for it now.”


28. Eva Ritchey – Ms. Ritchey disagreed with Dick Baird (an earlier speaker on the budget).  She stated “Money does equal education.  Money doesn’t guarantee results but without it I can assure you you’re not gonna have any. Money buys books.  Money buys curriculum.  Money pays for excellent teachers.  Money pays for facilities where our children can learn.”


Mrs. Ritchey stated that today her daughter received confirmation that she had been awarded a $5,000 merit scholarship from the Savannah School for Art and Design.  She didn’t get that alone.  “We are what we are made. It takes a village.”  She got the scholarship because of Henderson County Public Schools because they created the opportunities for her to excel and succeed. She stated that without money all those good things couldn’t have existed. 


29. Julie & David Culbertson – Ms. Culbertson has children at Edneyville Elementary School.  They currently have six mobile units at Edneyville. This year a huge concern of hers regarding the school was that they would lose their computer lab in the up-coming year.  They have found a place to put it, in back of the library. She spoke to the age of some of the buildings, stating that they have a covered walkway but it is still cold for the students to walk between the buildings on rainy or wintry days.  She spoke to the growth in numbers of students.  


Chairman Hawkins pointed out that the Board of Commissioners doesn’t by line item delegate the School Board’s budget.  Those items that the Board of Education want to fund and whatever level they fund it is done by that elected body. We do fund a lump sum but we don’t designate in the budget that a certain amount goes to this program with some exceptions of big headlines and a certain amount goes to another.  He felt it was important for people to be aware of that when they look at the school budget.  When you look at the total budget of $17.9 million that the county is putting into public education, it certainly isn’t a small amount of money.  On top of that the Board comes up with an additional $6.8 million of debt service for programs that we’ve done in year’s past. 


Chairman Hawkins stated that Dana had been identified by the Board of Education as a top priority of needs for the public education system.  We have already been working on Dana in the last budget cycle, trying to get water and sewer out there.  There is a drastic shortage of restrooms at Dana but before we could even use the restrooms we have, we had to try to get a sewer line and some water out there.  If you look at the 2004-05 budget as proposed, he thinks the Board is looking at completing work and starting work on phase I at the Dana Elementary School, phase I is basically building a building in behind the walkway and the main part of the current building.  There is also a look at Hillandale and looking at the purchase of some new elementary land in the proposed budget.  “When you talk about mobile units, you know a lot of our families live in mobile units and so I would grant you that it’s not the best place to teach and for the lady that was teaching in a mobile unit, I taught in one of them out at Rugby so and also had a homeroom and the boy’s bathroom at Rugby so I have a fairly good feel of the situation of the space that you need in the classrooms and we’re working toward addressing some of those but I think that those are just a couple of points I’d make having listened to your comments.  I feel confident that the Board is going to work very diligently to meet as many of the needs as we can in this cycle and to continue to work with the Board of Ed. on all the projects that you’ve identified.”  He thanked everyone for their comments. 


Following much discussion, the question was asked how much the Board would have to raise property taxes to fully fund everyone’s request.  The answer was an additional 12.1 cents which would make our tax rate 59.6 cents. Our tax rate is 47.5 cents currently.


Chairman Hawkins made the motion for the Board to go out of public hearing.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Chairman Hawkins called a short recess, to change videotapes.



Chairman Hawkins reminded the Board of the need to set a meeting for the continuation of a Quasi-Judicial Hearing on an application for a Special Use Permit for Expansion to a Preexisting Mining and Extraction Operation (Hooper’s Creek Quarry).  Application #SP-02-01 by Junius Grimes.


Chairman Hawkins made the motion to continue the hearing to Wednesday, August 18 at 11:00 a.m..  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


BUDGET WORKSHOP - Sheriff’s Department presentation

Sheriff Erwin addressed the Board regarding the Sheriff’s Department 2004-05 budget.  He brought some of his staff with him (comprising 197 years of law enforcement experience in this community) to discuss the various areas of requests within their divisions.  Sheriff Erwin introduced Peggy Schaffer from the North Carolina Justice Academy.  She is the individual that did the staffing studies on the Detention Center and the E-9-1-1 Communications Center.  She did those studies at no cost locally.  If we had to commission an outside agency to do those studies it would have cost thousands of dollars.  He asked that Peggy be allowed to present the staffing studies first since she has about a five hour drive ahead of her. 


Sheriff Erwin stated that the terrorist attacks of 2001 have forced local law enforcement throughout the United States to adapt and change their operations to address the new age of domestic security.  The Federal government was also forced into changing and restructuring their law enforcement, intelligence, and military operations to address domestic security in the global war on terrorism.  Domestic security and the global war on terrorism are costly.  Local governments in North Carolina continue to struggle with economic issues and state actions that have depleted their funding. This funding is crucial to providing general and basic services to our citizens.  Henderson County is an active participant in this funding struggle.  Domestic security issues, tremendous growth, increased demand on services, and strategic long-term planning are only a few of the challenges that need to be addressed within our community.  Failure to address these issues will directly impact the quality of life in Henderson County, the fifteenth fastest growing county in North Carolina. 


In fiscal year 2003-04 the Office of the Sheriff in Henderson County aggressively pursued and obtained alternative funding to address domestic security, crime issues, and a demand for additional services.  Federal and state drug seizure monies were also utilized to relieve some of the financial burden from our citizens.  The Federal and State grants received by the Sheriff’s Office in 2003-04 totaled nearly $250,000.  Since 1995 Federal  and State grants have been aggressively pursued by the Sheriff’s Office and have resulted in nearly $1 million in grants awarded.  In fiscal year 2004-05 additional grants are being pursued to alleviate some of the funding burden locally.  Grants from Homeland Security, Bureau of Justice, and Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention will be pursued by the Sheriff’s Office in 2004-05, along with other alternative funding sources.  North Carolina has been allocated $54,524,000 for these grants in 2004-05.


Sheriff Erwin stated that personnel requests are the largest portion of the 2004-05 budget by the Sheriff’s Office.  The average officer per thousand citizens in the Southeast is 2.6 and in Henderson County the figure is 1.6 per thousand. Nationally the figure is 3.5 per thousand.  The increased demand for additional services and growth are having a tremendous impact on all public safety agencies within the county and especially the Sheriff’s Office.  The new personnel requests were for the following areas:

            E-9-1-1 Center

            Data Information

            Patrol Services

            Criminal Investigations

            Middle School Resource Officers

            Administrative Services Division


In 2002-03 the Sheriff’s Office responded to 44,648 calls for service.  In 2003-04 the calls for service increased by 9,653 to 54,301 and as of today we are 37% above last year’s calls for service at this time. This trend has continued over the last several years.  Some of the other areas of increase are officer arrests, civil papers served, warrants processed and served, and incident reports.  The increase in calls for service has a trickle down effect that starts in the E-9-1-1 Center.  The overall calls for service for all public safety in Henderson County increased by nearly 20,000.  These additional calls also start in the E-9-1-1 Center.  The E-9-1-1 Center has the same number of personnel today they were assigned when the Center initiated operations in 1997.  Patrol Services has not had any new personnel since 2001-02.  Data Information Systems has not added new personnel in nearly eight years.  The administrative services civil process division has not had any new personnel since 1993.  Criminal Investigations is experiencing an increase in Cyber Crime.  These types of crimes are labor intensive and require specialized training and equipment.  The Sheriff’s Office has two officers presently in the process of receiving their National Computer Forensics Specialist Certifications.  However, one of these officers is the Captain of Detectives and the other is a Patrol Sargeant.  This area requires a full-time Detective.  School Resource Officers have been very successful in High Schools and are presently paid for by the State Department of Public Instruction.  They are drastically needed in the Middle Schools to provide the same security that is afforded to the High Schools.  Increased demand for highway safety enforcement requires that patrol officers take on additional responsibilities and aggressively enforce traffic laws.  This has resulted in 4,440 citations that were issued in 2003, an increase of over 2,200 citations from the year 2001 where they issued 2,213.  The staffing levels at the Sheriff’s Office are at the critical stage.  Sheriff Erwin stated that staffing levels must be addressed for public safety and the quality of life that every citizen and visitor in Henderson County enjoys.  The Sheriff’s Office has restructured and reorganized in an attempt to address these issues in the short-term. In 1995 the North Carolina Justice Academy, at Sheriff Erwin’s request, did a staff analysis at the new courthouse.  In 1995 the Justice Academy recommended 11 personnel.  There are only 5 personnel assigned in a courthouse that is presently fully occupied. Sheriff Erwin requested that the North Carolina Justice Academy do a Detention Center Analysis Staff Study and also one for the E-9-1-1 Center.  Both had been completed and results sent for the Commissioners to review.  The Staffing Analysis Reports were compiled at no cost to the local taxpayer.  Sheriff Erwin stated “There is no one position in the Sheriff’s Office that is more important than another.  Every position is essential and vital to the organizational operation.  Quality of life, statistics, trends, alternative funding are addressed in this budget proposal and deserve serious consideration in the budget approval process.”


Sheriff Erwin then introduced Ms. Peggy Shaeffer to review the findings of the Staffing Studies performed by the NC Justice Academy. Mrs. Shaeffer is a Training Supervisor at the Justice Academy, supervising eleven trainers that do high-risk training state-wide for every agency across the state.  As part of their management technical assistance, they also do the Staffing Analysis Studies when requested by law enforcement agencies. She has done several for different departments across the state. This is a regular service they offer.  Harnett County paid $40,000 for this same service, not knowing that it was offered free of charge.  They have been doing Staffing Analysis Studies about six or seven years.  She mentioned over-time costs for the Sheriff’s Office in these two departments.  By law, they have to be at a certain minimum staffing level and that’s exactly what they have.  They are not receiving some of their needed training due to being so short-staffed. Both departments have to be operated 24/7.  Due to the staffing shortage in the Telecommunications (E-9-1-1) Center, the supervisors are having to work a shift and handle calls and are not available to do their super-visory duties.  Employees have mandatory training as well as vacation time and because of the short-staffed situation, supervisors have to take a more active role and work the schedules.  They are only receiving the State minimum training.    The Telecommunications Center was renovated in 1997.  They are only having to use two of the consoles to meet the current needs.  Calls for service have grown almost 50% with no increase in staff. As part of the study she did a comparison of other like agencies to see where we fit.  Henderson County is unique in that we do dispatch everything out of our area.  Not many in the state do that.  The Telecommunications Center receives 1,000 phone calls per day.  She expressed that the Telecommunications Center needs three personnel, someone to dispatch law enforcement, another person to dispatch fire and emergency personnel, and a separate call taker to answer those 42 calls per hour.  Based on their shift relief factor, it equals 5.79.  This equates to 17 positions that they need just to do the minimum level of staffing, they currently have 12. 


Ms. Shaeffer then switched and reviewed the Detention Center Staffing Analysis Study.  She stated that the biggest liability for the Sheriff’s Office is in the detention environment.  The jail population fluctuates and is very unpredictable.  Because of the population surge happening in Henderson County, you also see that surge in the detention environment.  The average daily population of the facility is about 128, which is up since 2001 when it was 77.  Caring for 50 additional persons every single day without an increase in staff equates to a shortage.  The very most recent figure (as of this meeting) was 172 inmates daily. Their overtime budget has been exhausted also.  Just to do the minimum level of staffing would require an increase of 8 detention officers, two for each squad at a cost of $259,000 to $260,000 per year. The officers are only receiving the minimal training.  Job satisfaction is very high but the biggest problem is morale and forced overtime.


Sheriff Erwin and his Staff answered many questions from the Board.  Numerous staff mentioned stories and examples of deficiencies in their departments of the Sheriff’s Office as well as growth in calls and population.


Sheriff Erwin stated that we are at that critical point of violating Fair Labor Standards if these issues aren’t addressed.  You have to give people time to eat and time off.  He stated that this concluded his departments’ budget presentation and asked that the Board give it the consideration it deserves.  The County Manager had asked the Sheriff’s Office to look at grants, quality of life issues, statistics, and growth.  Sheriff Erwin stated that they had addressed those issues. 





Chairman Hawkins made the motion to adjourn the meeting.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.







Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board                               Grady Hawkins, Chairman