CALDWELL COUNTY                                                          BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Lenoir, North Carolina                                                  December 19, 2005

6:00 p.m.

 

 

Present:                        Faye R. Higgins, Chairman

                                    Herbert H. Greene

                                    Timothy E. Sanders

Dr. John W. Thuss

 

Absent:             Alden E. Starnes, Excused

 

Staff Present:                Kathy T. Myers, Clerk to the Board

                                    Diane Philyaw, Deputy Clerk

                                    David Lackey, County Attorney

                       

Chairman Higgins called the meeting to order, welcomed everyone, and asked for announcements.  The Clerk noted that Caldwell County offices would be closed Friday and Monday, December 23 and 26, in observance of Christmas as well as Monday, January 2 in observance of the New Year’s Holiday.  She reported that Caldwell County’s convenience centers would operate on a regular schedule except for Saturday, December 24.  The centers would close at 2:00 p.m. on that day. Chairman Higgins announced she had talked to Congressman Patrick McHenry about trying to arrange a meeting with local business/industry leaders concerning the job loss in Caldwell County.  She commended Congressman McHenry and his staff for their efforts.  Reverend James Ritch, pastor of Resurrection Hope Church of God, provided the invocation.  Luke Beach (son of Doug Beach), a Boy Scout who is working on his Eagle badge led the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Chairman Higgins requested that appointments to the County’s Subdivision Review Board be added as an item for decision, #H5, and asked if there were any other additions or amendments to the December 19, 2005 agenda.  Commissioner Thuss requested a closed session be added prior to the public comment period to discuss personnel matters pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6) and Commissioner Greene requested a closed session be added to discuss economic development matters pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(4).  Commissioner Greene moved to approve the agenda as presented and amended.  Commissioner Thuss seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

 

Caldwell County Retirees

 

The Board of Commissioners recognized the following individuals for their respective service to Caldwell County and each was presented a retirement plaque.  Nancy Pruitt with 30+ years service and Stephen Whaley with 20+ years service were unable to attend the meeting.  All individuals were extended great appreciation for their loyal and dedicated service to the citizens of Caldwell County.

·        Denise Bare                  22+ years

·        Janet Withers                7 years

·        Rachel Estes                 14+ years

·        George Marley 12+ years

 

Public Hearing—Economic Development Incentive to Colson Park Entertainment, LLC

 

Mr. Alan Wood, EDC Marketing Director, appeared before Commissioners to formally present the request from Colson Park Entertainment, LLC for an economic development incentive.  Colson Park Entertainment’s project is estimated at $8 million with a new taxable investment of approximately $6 million.  The entertainment center will contain 16 bowling lanes, 8 boutique bowling lanes, an arcade, and a 150-seat restaurant.  Mr. Wood said this request was actually the EDC’s 46th project since 1997 when the Economic Development Incentive Program was initiated.  This program since its start created approximately 1500 jobs and added $150,000+ million in taxable investment for the County.  Colson Park Entertainment’s project will create a total of 150 jobs (55-60 permanent full-time jobs and the remaining part-time jobs).  Based on a $6 million eligible investment, the company is entitled to a Level I incentive amounting to $72,888 over a three-year period ($24,296 per year).  The EDC would receive a total of $4,860 for the same three-year period ($1,620 per year) for continued marketing efforts of Caldwell County and its municipalities.

 

Beth Crigler with Colson Park Entertainment said the company is very excited about the project which they began researching about two years ago.  She provided details about the entertainment, food, design, etc. and explained that boutique bowling is more fun and hip than traditional bowling.  The restaurant, Everyday Café, will contain everyday food—everything from meat and three-vegetable plates to sandwiches, salads, appetizers, etc.  The restaurant has a talented chef and she said the food will be good.  The entertainment center would be fun for any age individuals. It is a traditional family center magnified.  She said a lot of time was spent on the design and COI in Caldwell County is helping with the interior design of the facility.

 

Commissioner Sanders moved to open the public hearing, Commissioner Greene seconded, and the vote was unanimous.  There was no public participation.  Commissioner Sanders moved to close the public hearing, Commissioner Greene seconded the motion, and the vote was unanimous.

 

Commissioner Sanders moved to approve the economic development incentive to Colson Park Entertainment, LLC subject to completion of the project and terms identified in the application.  Commissioner Thuss seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

 

Public Hearing—Special Use Request from Ginger Kapetanis

 

Randy Feirebend, Planning Director, presented Commissioners a request from Ginger Kapetanis to amend the special use on her property located on Union Grove Road.  The property, 1.22 acres, is located in an RA-20 zone and the current special use was approved in order that she could operate a beauty salon on the property.  However, the special use permit approval was subject to three (3) conditions.  During a recent inspection, it was discovered that Ms. Kapetanis was not compliant with two (2) of the conditions.  Therefore, the reason she has requested to amend the special use was to allow the following:

1.  parking in the front of the business rather than in the rear as stipulated; and

2.  a 19 sq. ft. sign rather than be limited to a 12 sq. ft. sign.

 

Mr. Feierabend showed a site location map of the property, NCPIN 2746154607, pictures of the site (before and after), and an aerial photo.  During improvements to the property, it was discovered that the septic system had to be located behind the structure.  Therefore, the Kapetanis’ put the parking lot in front of the structure not knowing that they needed approval before changing the plan.

 

Mr. Feierabend said that, following review of the request by the Planning Board, members recommended the amendment to allow parking in the front of the structure; however, not to allow a 19 sq. ft. sign (that it should be limited to 12 square feet).

 

Commissioner Greene moved to open the public hearing, Commissioner Thuss seconded, and the vote was unanimous.  There was no public participation.  Commissioner Greene moved to close the public hearing, Commissioner Thuss seconded, and the vote was unanimous.

 

Commissioner Thuss moved to approve amending the special use for Ginger Kapetanis’ property, NCPIN 2746154607, to allow parking in the front of the business and a 19 sq. ft. sign.  His motion failed for lack of a second.  Commissioner Sanders questioned the maximum sign size allowed and how far the business was located from the road.  Mr. Feierabend answered the questions and discussion followed about the sign.

 

Commissioner Thuss clarified the reason for the parking in front of the structure because of the septic tank in the rear of the property and noted the interior portion of the sign was 12 sq. ft. as approved.  He again moved to approve amending the special use for Ginger Kapetanis’ property, NCPIN 2746154607, located on Union Grove Road, to allow parking in front of the business and a 19 sq. ft. sign.  Commissioner Sanders seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.

 

Public Hearing—Rezoning Request from RA-20 to PUD by Landstar Development, LLC

 

Mr. Feierabend presented Commissioners the request from Landstar Development, LLC seeking a rezoning of 516 acres located on Old Johns River Road, NCPIN 1890873512, to PUD (Planned Unit Development).  He said the entrance to the proposed development would be just before the second bridge going north.  He noted the Forest Service is the predominant neighbor to the property on the south and some residential properties adjoined it as well.  Mr. Feierabend showed a site location map and other information regarding the plans for development of the property.  He said the Planning Board approved the PUD subject to several conditions and listed them for Commissioners.

 

Commissioner Thuss moved to open the public hearing, Commissioner Greene seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.  The following individuals made comments regarding the rezoning request from Landstar Development, LLC:

 

·        John Mackie said he and his wife owned property just next to the property proposed for development and, while he preferred no development, he understands that development will occur.  However, they were most concerned about the public access.  It would pass right through their property and he is currently in negotiations with the developer to sell a right-of-way.  Prior to the potential development, his property had been rather private and he has even used it for some camping.  The property has been in his family for about 50 years.  Mr. Mackie said the public access was ill-conceived, ill-planned and ill-advised.  He talked about how unsafe the public access would be and noted Johns River is not very suitable for kayaking or canoeing because the water is quite shallow and is not whitewater.  He talked about the difficulties kayakers/canoers would have going down the river when approaching the bridges.  He said Johns River is not a river recommended for this type activity.

 

  • Jeanie Walker provided pictures to illustrate what Mr. Mackie talked about earlier and said she lived directly across from the proposed public access.  Her house will face it.  She voiced her opposition to the access for canoe launching as it would be a negative impact on her family and their community.  The area is surrounded by hills and any type noise or voices carry.  They would be able to hear people in the river if it became a public access.  She also voiced concern about trash being left by those using the access and was concerned about who would monitor activities at the access.  She said it was not suitable for canoeing and felt the place would become a “hangout” and another place for the Sheriff Department to monitor.  She noted there are four bridges (two private) after the access and, if the water rises, the bridges could be dangerous for those canoeing in the rising waters.

 

  • Grayson Walker (son of Jeanie Walker) said the proposed public access was having a very emotional impact on him because it is where he has spent and still spending his life.  He reiterated some of his mother’s comments and said it was not a desirable spot to canoe or kayak.  He said he didn’t think there was enough information or evidence to put the public access there.

 

  • Tom Thuss expressed concern about having to again manage growth reactively rather than proactively.  He said two developments with over 500 lots had been approved in the past two months.  The area is remote with minimal infrastructure and is not prepared for potential growth that is about to occur there.  He said no money had been spent toward preparedness by developers or the County.  Although the community is not opposed to growth as they want the area to be an economically viable place for their families to grow and live in the future.   However, it has been unplanned, unmanaged, and out-of-control growth; and, if left alone, this development may change the character of the community.  He said the character was the very thing designed to help the County financially and, now, may cause the community to become a place where they may no longer wish to live. He said the bulk of the large tracts in the northern part of the County are zoned RA-20 which allows lots to be subdivided as small as ½ acre.  The majority of the land in Collettsville, Globe, and Happy Valley is zoned RA-20 and is mountainous.  That land should not be developed to that level of density.  Mr. Thuss said there were changes needed in the County’s zoning ordinance and subdivision policy to moderate and control development in the future.  He asked that Planning Department staff and the Planning Board be directed to consider making these changes as their top priority.  He encouraged Commissioners to direct the Planning Department to develop innovative policies that will protect natural resources tied to the slope of the terrain which could drastically reduce the density of development in areas that are not compatible with an RA-20 zone. 

 

  • Ed Spivey, a residential homebuilder, said he was definitely not opposed to growth, noting that everyone is somewhat tied to growth no matter what type work they are in.  He expressed concern about the public access because that portion of the river is very inappropriate for canoeing/kayaking.  It is also inappropriate for hiking.  His other concern was the impact the development would have on schools.  Although the development is considered retirement homes and would not impact schools, he cautioned Commissioners that it was dangerous to assume that it would remain a retirement community because the area was very attractive to not only retirees but also people working from their homes.  He reiterated some of Mr. Thuss’ issues about the density of development in the area and asked Commissioners to consider these issues as it would impact schools and roads.

 

  • Amy Gragg talked about the impact the development would have on the schools.  She said in Collettsville School there is mold in the older sections of the building that was affecting students and teachers.  She said one of her children has to be bussed across the County to enable him to obtain the education he needs.  She said, if only 25 children came from the development to enroll at Collettsville School that it would be 25 more than could be handled because the school is already at maximum.  She said Commissioners could not guarantee that the developers will only sell to retirees.  She also expressed concern about school traffic on the roads and noted the community is prone to flooding.  She wished that the community would maintain its beauty and tranquility, and said most community residents had their roots there.  She said the school was an excellent family-oriented school and did not want that to change.  Ms. Gragg said she appreciated Commissioners’ consideration to deny the request in order to eliminate the potential school overcrowding, traffic problems, change in the community’s environment, etc.

 

  • Kim Vance, resident of Old Johns River Road just past the proposed development site, said she was concerned that the development and the public access would not fit into the characteristics of the community and wanted the Commissioners to protect that area for the residents.  She said residents were very interested in what happens there and asked all residents in attendance of the meeting to stand in a show of their concern about the development.  She said they do care.  Ms. Vance said the PUD guidelines were to encourage development of land and its uses to compliment the adjacent land and to protect the safety and general welfare of the residents.  The Johns River community consists primarily of local, long-time residents who desire to live in a quite, rural community and they are accustomed to low density housing and open farmland.  Because of the low traffic, the community is a quiet and safe environment/atmosphere for the children to play in.  She said although the development is being marketed to retirees and individuals for second homes, it could not be promised that the future neighborhood would not change.  Ms. Vance said the development would impact Collettsville School overwhelmingly.  She talked about current developments and characteristics of the area.   There are approximately 268 landowners in the Johns River Community, averaging 79 acres each.  She asked Commissioners to please consider changing the zoning ordinance on future development to enhance communities.  Also, she said, to the best of her knowledge, there should be two exits for over 75 lots and the proposed development had not been asked to include two exits in its proposal.

 

  • David Sperry said he moved down here (North Carolina) to get away from living 12 feet from his neighbor.  He wished the community to stay as it was and is concerned about the development unless there is careful planning and supervision.  He also said that the development could not be guaranteed to remain as a retirement community.  He would like to keep things the way they are, i.e. being able to wave at people in the community he recognizes by the car they drive and letting his guineas run free without getting run over in traffic.  He enjoys living in the remote area and is concerned about congestion from extra traffic coming from the development on the narrow roads in the community.  He voiced concern about the community being changed for the wrong reasons.

 

There being no other public participation, Commissioner Greene moved to close the public hearing.  Commissioner Sanders seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.  Following discussion, Commissioner Thuss moved to approve the rezoning request of property, NCPIN 1890873512, to PUD subject to conditions as determined by discussion during the meeting, listed below.  Commissioner Greene seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

  1. Design of access to the site be approved by NCDOT;

 

  1. NCDOT standard right-of-way be established;

 

  1. No more than 11 lots shall be smaller than 2 acres; no lot shall be smaller than 1 ¼ acre; and the largest projected lot size category shall be 2-5 acre lots;

 

  1. The development shall have a minimum of 25% open space (130 acres).  The open space must be platted as a separate parcel and conveyed to the homeowners association or a conservancy, or any combination of the two;

 

  1. Flood areas shall be identified and utilized as part of the entrance design, and incorporated into the total open space;

 

  1. Upon sale of a lot, the developer must provide a community resource directory to the buyer to encourage use of local contractors and service providers;

 

  1. All alternative road designs must be approved by the County Fire Marshal or his designee to ensure public safety is not compromised.

 

Public Hearing—Rezoning Request from RA-20 to PUD by Landstar Development, LLC

 

Mr. Feierabend also presented a requested from the same developer, Landstar Development, LLC for a rezoning of 519 acres located on Mulberry Creek Road, NCPIN’s 2811574692 and 2811873574, to PUD (Planned Unit Development).  The properties are currently zoned RA-20 and Landstar Development, LLC requested the rezoning in order to locate a residential planned unit development marketed as retirement and secondary homes.  Mr. Feierabend showed a site location map and other information regarding the plans for development of the property.  He said the Planning Board unanimously approved the PUD subject to several conditions and listed them for Commissioners.

 

Commissioner Thuss moved to open the public hearing, Commissioner Greene seconded the motion, and the vote was unanimous.  There was only one individual that provided comment regarding the rezoning request.  Linda Bradshaw West, resident of 2501 Mulberry Creek Road, talked about the Mulberry Creek community and said many comments made earlier in the evening about the Johns River area was also true about her community.  She listed the roads that feed into Mulberry Creek Road and said the community consisted of a few families who had been residents of the community for decades.  She said the majority of the community is made up of  two-income residences now and the community has become more diverse; however, there are only about 50 mailboxes in the community with the highest concentration of them on the Dixon Hill Road.  Ms. West said the proposed 150-site development would have a major impact on the area.  She concluded with a brief history of the community and voiced her opposition to the proposed development.  Commissioner Greene moved to close the public hearing, Commissioner Thuss seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.

 

Commissioner Thuss moved to approve the rezoning request of properties on Mulberry Creek Road, NCPIN’s  2811574692 and 2811873574, to PUD subject to conditions as determined by discussion during the meeting.  Commissioner Greene seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

  1. Design of the access to meet NCDOT standards;

 

  1. No lot shall be smaller than 1 acre;

 

  1. The development shall have a minimum of 25% open space (130 acres).  The open space must be platted as a separate parcel and conveyed to the homeowners association or a conservancy, or a combination of the two;

 

  1. Flood areas must be identified and utilized as part of the entrance design, and incorporated into the total open space;

 

  1. Upon selling a lot, the developer must provide a community resource directory to the buyer to encourage use of local contractors and service providers;

 

  1. All alternative road designs must be approved by the County Fire Marshal or his designee to ensure public safety is not compromised.

 

Public Hearing—Rezoning Request from RA-20 to NB by Bernard Gosnell

 

Mr. Feierabend presented the request from Bernard Gosnell to rezone of 2.5 acres located on Dudley Shoals Road, NCPIN 2787916682, to NB-Neighborhood Business.  It is an old non-confirming use and the building was built before the County’s zoning was established.  It is located in a (unstudied) floodplain of a small creek.  Mr. Gosnell’s property is currently zoned RA-20 and his request for rezoning is so that he may sell his commercial building.  He showed a site location map, photos of the site, and provided information about the property being asked to be rezoned.  He said that, during the meeting of the Planning Board, Mr. Gosnell agreed to amend his request to rezone the property to NB—Neighborhood Business and the Planning Board unanimously approved the rezoning request.  Mr. Feierabend listed the conditions outlined in the Neighborhood Business zone.  He explained the major differences between the General Business and Neighborhood Business zones. 

 

Commissioner Sanders moved to open the public hearing, Commissioner Greene seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.  Gary Woods, resident of 1303 Dudley Shoals Road, said his property adjoins Mr. Gosnell’s property and, over the last 30 years, there have been several businesses located in the building on that property—some good and some bad.  He said he was opposed to rezoning the property from residential to commercial.  He said when he contacted the Planning Board, they said that if it was rezoned to commercial, the person who bought the property could open any type business allowed in the zone.  Mr. Woods said he was concerned about what type business that may locate there and that the community could not be involved in the decision (at that point).  There being no other public participation, Commissioner Sanders moved to close the public hearing.  Commissioner Greene seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Feierabend read the definition of a neighborhood business zone and listed the following permitted uses:  convenience stores and other small retail service-oriented businesses less than 2500 sq. ft.; government-owned facilities; and utility facilities.  He also listed the following businesses not allowed in a neighborhood business zone:  drive-in (or through) restaurants; outdoor storage buildings of any type; and sexually-oriented businesses.  However, conditional uses may be applied for the property only through the Planning Board with final approval by the Board of Commissioners to consider convenience stores and small retail establishments greater than 2500 sq. ft.; private utility companies; service (gas) stations; and wireless communication towers.

 

Following clarification from Mr. Feierabend, Commissioner Sanders moved to deny the rezoning request to Neighborhood Business from Mr. Gosnell; however, would waive the fee for a special use application submitted by the current owner only.  Commissioner Thuss seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.

 

Caldwell Economic Development Grant (EDG) Job Matrix Program

 

Commissioner Greene reported that it is believed that the County is not creating the number of jobs equal to the numbers lost.  He said a group of people including the county and municipal managers, commissioners, and the Economic Development Commission had been working on a revision to the current EDI program since June.  The group decided to change the verbage from Economic Development Incentive Program to Economic Development Grant Program for legalistic reasons.  He moved to adopt the revised verbage, to rescind the old program, and to adopt the new Economic Development Grant Program.

 

He then addressed the second part of the program, tied to job creation, and explained the matrix developed for job creation incentives.  He said the proposal had been submitted to the Commissioners and other municipalities for review.  Commissioner Greene moved to adopt the matrix as a job creation incentive to be added to the existing incentive package that is tied to capital investment and to add a category for 5 – 9 jobs at $8/hour to $10/hour and adjust the chart accordingly; and to instruct the County Manager to take the applications, moving forward with them, and for Caldwell County to monitor the (part of the matrix) average of 5 – 9 people at the rate stated for one year to determine the outcome.  He gave an overview of how the job matrix formula would be applied.  Commissioner Sanders seconded the motion and said he agreed with the job matrix; however, he expressed concern about beginning the hourly rate at $8.  He said there was $63,000 in funding identified for this fiscal year that could be committed; however, the funds would not be paid out until next fiscal year.  The vote was unanimous.

 

 

 

 

Caldwell County FY2004-05 Formal Audit

 

Mr. Roger Bowman with Bowman, Pegg & Starr formally presented Commissioners the FY2004-05 audit for Caldwell County.  He highlighted major points identified by the audit which is hereby incorporated by reference and made a part of these minutes (Exhibit A).  He informed Commissioners of the recommendation to approve a budget amendment to basically shift certain flow-through school funds from the general fund to a special designation fund.  The action would result in no reduced funding for the schools but would financially reduce the total general fund budget by approximately $2.4 million and, by reducing the general fund total budget, the percentage of undesignated fund balance would increase approximately 1.5%.  Mr. Bowman said the audit was submitted to the Local Government Commission and it was granted a clean opinion with no findings.  He noted the County’s audit last year was the ninth year for achieving the Financial Reporting of Excellence Award. 

 

Following the report, Commissioner Greene moved to formally receive the FY2004-05 audit report as presented.  Commissioner Sanders seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

 

Proposed Energy Conservation Plan for Caldwell County

 

Commissioner Thuss, member of the Unifour Air Quality Committee, presented Commissioners a proposed energy conservation plan for their approval consideration.  He said the policy addresses energy conservation measures in the construction of new buildings as well as renovations of old buildings and the operation of existing buildings.  He said Caldwell County would attempt to do those things anyway; however, the policy formally stated the County’s desire to accomplish energy conservation measures.  He said energy conservation measures would help improve air quality in the region by decreasing demands on the power plants which are major sources of PM2.5.  He said any measure to save energy consumption would have an impact on secondary sources and would also save taxpayer dollars. 

 

Commissioner Greene moved to adopt the energy conservation policy and resolution which are hereby incorporated by reference and made a part of these minutes (Exhibits B,C) and Commissioner Sanders seconded the motion.  Following clarification of Commissioner Sanders question about Item 5 in the policy, the motion carried unanimously.

 

Establish Alternative Fuel Task Force

 

Chairman Higgins briefed Commissioners about the general presentation by Ray Hoffman of Republic Services during the Board’s meeting on December 5th regarding a potential grant for a project associated with alternative fuels.  She referred Commissioners to Mr. Hoffman’s detailed proposal submitted for their review and consideration.  It was noted that the deadline to submit the grant to the State for consideration of NC Alternative Fuels Grant funding was December 31st. 

 

The $400,000 grant application outlines a pilot program of up to 1,000 gallons per day production of bio diesel product.  Matching funds for the project would be funding sources already committed by the County associated with the test methane wells at the Mt. Herman landfill along with technical and in-kind value assistance provided by Republic Services of North Carolina, LLC.  In addition, there would be a possible need for cash required for the gas piping and candlestick flare elements of the project.  The overall project is estimated at $687,000.00.

 

Chairman Higgins said, in conjunction with the grant and project development, it was decided to establish an Alternative Fuel Task Force for the purpose of serving as a focal point for ongoing discussions and designs associated with the bio diesel, methane recovery, and ethanol.  She reported the following individuals interested in serving on the task force.  It was noted that there was no limit on the number of members on the task force.

  • Commissioner Herb Greene
  • Commissioner Dr. John Thuss
  • Mike Lane, County Special Projects Coordinator
  • Ray Hoffman, Republic Services of North Carolina, LLC
  • Randy Dellinger
  • Larry Setzer, Sr.
  • Mitchell Setzer, Sr.
  • Dan McClure, Director of Carolina Land & Lakes
  • Allen Caldwell, Caldwell Cooperative Extension Director

 

Commissioner Greene recommended the task force subdivide into the four following identified groups:

    1. Production and procurement of raw product
    2. Development of necessary equipment
    3. Operation of the process
    4. Distribution of fuel(s)

 

Commissioner Sanders moved to create the Alternative Task Force and appoint the individuals previously listed with the stipulation that anyone else wishing to serve on the task force could submit an application for consideration.  Commissioner Thuss seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.  Commissioner Thuss moved to authorize the filing of a grant application to the State of NC up to the maximum amount of $400,000 with the $87,000 local matching fund requirement to be in-kind match.  Commissioner Sanders seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

 

Subdivision Review Board

 

Chairman Higgins moved to appoint Tim Sanders as the Chairman’s designee on the County’s Subdivision Review Board.  Commissioner Sanders seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

 

Consent Agenda

 

1.  Approval of Minutes

Ms. Myers recommended the Board of Commissioners approve the minutes of the following meetings as developed and presented.

  • October 17, 2005
  • November 21, 2005

 

2.  Budget Amendments

Ms. Myers recommended the Board of Commissioners approve the following budget amendments and to authorize staff to execute appropriate documents associated with the amendments.

 

a.  Yadkin Reservoir Property Acquisition Escrow Account; $1,440,312.00

The State Local Government Commission (LGC) approved the financing for the purchase of the reservoir property and RBC Centura loan documents have now been received by the County.  Plans are underway for a December 20th loan closing for the approximate 396 acres of property.  The loan funds along with Clean Water Management grant resources will be used to pay for the acquisition.  This action is in line with the approved budget and will not require any new local funding.  The following detailed budget amendment is needed to establish the necessary revenues to undertake the acquisition and other associated costs.

            Increase           61.7149.390000.60100           Lease/Purchase Obligations      $755,312.00

            Increase           61.7149.443000.60100           Deposit on Land                       $755,312.00

            Increase           61.7149.330000.60100           Other Grants                            $685,000.00

            Increase           61.7149.443000.60100           Deposit on Land                       $685,000.00   

            b.  DSS (Crisis Intervention—Emergency Assistance Program Grant); $36,665.00

Much discussion has taken place concerning crisis intervention and prevention funds on statewide and national levels.  The County received official notice of an additional federal award flowed through the State of North Carolina in the amount of $36,665.00.  The original allocation for the current year has already been exhausted and the additional funds will be used in accordance with the established DSS program.  There are no county funds involved with the following budget amendment which is necessary to reflect the additional funds:

            Increase           10.5692.331600                      Temporary Federal                   $36,665.00

            Increase           10.5692.438800                      Emergency Assistance  $36,665.00

 

            c.  Groundwater Monitor Fund; $5,309.00

Part of the audit comments reflected a budget question dealing with the CSI related groundwater monitoring program.  The FY2004-05 budget had indicated an expenditure and revenue budget of $410,000.00.  During that fiscal year, staff had planned a reconciliation of revenues that would include pro rata designation of interest earnings from the groundwater monitor fund.  The following detailed budget amendment, in accordance with the audit suggestion, reflects the designation of these interest earnings to the groundwater monitor fund.  The following detailed budget amendment is needed in order to reconcile this non-general fund project budget:

            Increase           14.4725.361100                      Interest on Investments $5,309.00

            Decrease          14.4725.397000                      Fund Balance Appropriated      $5,309.00

 

d.  EMS (Donation); $330.00

The EMS program received a donation in the amount of $330.00.  The following budget amendment is necessary to recognize the receipt and expenditure of these donated funds:

            Increase           10.4330.364000                      EMS Donated Fund                 $330.00

            Decrease          10.4330.426000                      Supplies                                   $330.00

 

 

 

e.  Robert Segal; $1,071.93

In accordance with the ongoing agreement with Robert S. Segal, Finance Department staff submitted the following information reflecting additional revenues amounting to $4,573 as a result of the work for the County.  The 35% contractual fee associated with this work amounts to $1,600.65 for Mr. Segal.  Caldwell County’s proportionate share of this fee is $1,071.93. Therefore, the following budget amendment is necessary to pay the invoice based on the additional revenues generated for the County:

            Increase           10.3000.313001                      County 1% Sales Tax               $1,071.93

            Increase           10.4130.444600                      C. Segal                                   $1,071.93

 

Commissioner Greene moved to approve the two (2) items on the consent agenda as presented and recommended by the Clerk.  Commissioner Thuss seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

 

Public Comment Period

 

Mr. Don Barrier contacted the Clerk to the Board and requested to speak to the Board of Commissioners during the public comment period.  He read the following statement.

 

 

Position paper on New Location of Caldwell County Department of Social Services and Health Department Facilities Presented to the Caldwell County Commissioner Meeting on Monday, December 19, 2005

 

Madam Chairman, Commissioners, thank you for all you do for Caldwell County.  My name is Don Barrier.

 

I represent a growing number if involved citizens to present a position on the future location of the Caldwell County DSS and Health Department facilities.

 

We believe the following:

 

There is a location for the above facilities that is more beneficial and fiscally responsible to the citizens of Caldwell County than the property located adjacent to the Sheriff’s Department Complex and we believe that to be the Lenoir Mall.

 

According to the listing Realtor, the Lenoir Mall has over 222,000 square feet under roof and 23 acres available for sale for a listed price of $3.9M.

 

The Mall has nearly double the stated capacity needs of 125,000 sq. ft. which provides ample room for future expansion.

 

It needs some renovation (new roof, HVAC refurbishment, etc.) which can be done for far less than the proposed new construction cost.

 

The Mall Complex is 26 years old and with proper renovations it can serve as well as new construction for a lesser cost.

 

The total price tag for even more square footage at the Mall would be below the cost of new construction of lesser space.  The cost of new construction for a 125,000 sq ft facility is estimated at over $15M.

 

The Mall Complex is readily available and is a predominantly vacant and under-utilized facility in a county that has too many such properties.

 

The Mall is parking and traffic ready.

 

The Mall location is a central and established location that offers convenience to employees and clients and easy access to medical facilities, the courthouse, and other county offices.

 

The Mall location is removed from the high volume of school related traffic present near the Sheriff’s office.  (Gamewell Elementary & Middle and West Caldwell High Schools)

 

Any concerns regarding the Mall’s location in a flood plane can be easily addressed.

 

The use of the Mall for this purpose could encourage future economic development of the highway 18 corridor and the county seat.

 

Our group is growing and we are leading a petition drive to support our position.

 

Given the uncertain condition of the local economy and tax base, use of the Mall location is a much more affordable option than new construction.

 

It is fiscally irresponsible to spend or borrow more money for future generations to pay back than is absolutely necessary.

 

If you are going to borrow on the citizens’ behalf and invest in our future, then we urge you to borrow and invest in things that will build prosperity and economic development such as educational, industrial, and commercial infrastructure.  Invest in things that will help reduce the ranks of those who need the services of the DSS and CCHD.

 

Thank you for your time and again thank you for your work.

 

 

 

Closed Session

 

At 8:00 p.m. Commissioner Thuss moved to go into closed session to discuss personnel matters pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(4) and Commissioner Greene moved to discuss economic development issues during the closed session pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6).  Chairman Higgins seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.

 

A motion was moved by Commissioner Thuss, seconded by Commissioner Greene, and carried unanimously to come out of closed session to regular session.

 

 

There being no further business to conduct, Commissioner Greene moved to adjourn and, by unanimous vote, Chairman Higgins declared the meeting adjourned at 8:43 p.m.