By Ron Fitzwater
March 21, 2012. BOONE — The Watauga County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, March 20, and made very quick work of a full agenda.
After opening ceremonies were concluded, the board approved a trio of minutes from March 5 and 6 before moving on to other business.
First before the board was Captain Kelly Redmon with two requests from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Department (WCSD); first was to obtain permission from the board to sell K-9 Officer “Chesska” to her department handler Officer Wes Hawkins. According to Redmon, the dog is 12-years old and beginning to have health problems that make it necessary to retire the animal from duty. The board agreed unanimously to the sale of the animal as “surplus property” as provided for in General Statute 160A-266:267. Next, the board unanimously approved a WCSD request to sell retiring Civil Division Sergeant and Bailiff R. C. Aldridge his badge and service weapon, a Sig-Sauer, Model P229, 357 semi-automatic pistol for $1. Authority to make the transaction comes from General Statute 20-187.2 which permits governing bodies permission to sell retiring officers their service weapons at a price the governing body sets. When new, the pistol retails for just over $1,060.
The heard four requests from the Watauga County Board of Education (WBEd) for project funding. Ly Marze of the WBEd requested the board authorize lottery and grant funds to be used for capital improvement projects. The projects will be a roof for Cove Creek School, Basement repairs at Valle Crucis School and flat-roof renovations for Harden Park and Parkway schools. The board voted unanimously to approve all four of the requests. There was no request for matching funds from the county for any of the projects.
The board held the first of two public hearings to seek public comment on the County’s potential application for $250,000 through the Community Development Block Grant, Small Cities Catalyst Program on behalf of the Hospitality House to purchase an existing structure to be used as transitional housing for the homeless. No public comment was made and the hearing was closed. A second public hearing is scheduled for April 17, 2012, as required by the grant program.
- Adoption of a memorandum of understanding that the Division of Soil and Water Conservation was moved from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, passed unanimously.
- The board unanimously approved redirecting funds from the Bill Edmisten fund (established 2003) to be used to aid “Watauga County students to attend workshops and training sessions related to natural resources and other relevant courses.” The fund was initially established to further farmland preservation in Watauga County and is administered by the Watauga County Agriculture Advisory Board.
- Planning and Inspections/ Economic Development Director Joe Furman presented a proposal to the board from the Top O’ Boone Subdivision that the county pay a onetime fee of $350 and annual road maintenance dues in the amount of $150. The subdivision has an informal road maintenance agreement in which two thirds of the property owners are participating. No funds were budgeted for the expense and approval of this request required an allocation from the administrative contingency fund. The county maintains a lot in the subdivision with two emergency communication towers. After a short debate the board voted 3-2 to approve a $200 onetime gate construction fee and one $150 road maintenance payment. The agreement to pay for road maintenance will have to appear before the board annually for approval.
- The board approved a resolution to proclaim May 14 –19, 2012 as Community Pride Week.
- The board approved the renewal of the lease of office space to the N. C. Highway Patrol at the County Law Enforcement Center at a rate of $12.49 per square foot.
- The board set 6 p.m., April 17, 2012 for a public hearing to hear comments on proposed refinancing for the new high school. As part of the refinancing of the high school debt, a public hearing is required to allow citizen comment. Upon closing of the public hearing, the Board will be asked to adopt a resolution which authorizes the financing and other relevant matters pertaining to the financing.
- The board voted to approve a lease with The Art of Living Foundation International for Meditation and Well Being, for the parking lot of the old high school for off-site parking from June 28 to July 4 for $1,800. The organization will be holding a “grand inauguration” of its new facility on June 29.
The board approved the appointment/reappointment of the members of the AppalCART Advisory Board. The board consists of Jerry Moretz (at-large member); Greg Lovins (ASU representative); Angie Boitnotte (at-large member); David Blust (Board of Commissioners representative); Donald Ray (user representative); Barry Sauls (ASU representative); Andy Ball (Town of Boone representative); and Jeannine Taylor (Human Service Agency representative).