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Watauga Commissioners To Meet Tuesday, Check Out the Agenda, Meeting Docs

By Jesse Wood

The Watauga County Board of Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the Administration Building on King Street.

Two Public Hearings

Watauga_county_NC_sealThe agenda includes two public hearings, one on proposed amendments regarding ordinances about panhandling and solicitation in the county and another about a property transfer with Beaver Dam and Cove Creek fire department to ensure fire coverage for a property off of Laurel Creek Road that is inaccessible – or not efficiently so – from within its own district.

Rec Center Economic Impact

Representatives of High Country Recreation will present on an economic impact a rec center would have on the county. Watauga County doesn’t have a rec center and a YMCA isn’t viable.

Estimated cost to build a rec center is about $26 million over multiple years. In 2010, voters did not approve a 1/4 penny sales tax increase to build a rec center.

A conclusion in the report that will be presented to commissioners:

“Community benefits are estimated to range from $7.2 million to $15.6 million. Economic impacts are estimated to range from $7.4 million to $14.9 million. The health care savings benefits are estimated to range from $1.3 million to $10.9 million. The average of 1000 draws from the sum of the uniform distributions is $36.26 million with a 90% confidence interval of $26.51 million and $46.34. Comparing these estimates to the cost of the recreation center the present discounted value of the net benefits is $10.135 million. Since the lower point of the 90% confidence interval is greater than the cost estimate, we conclude that we can be 90% certain that the benefits exceed the costs given our assumptions and estimates.”

Road Replacement at US 321/Aho Road

Because the N.C. Department of Transportation is replacing the bridge at Aho Road and U.S. 321, the opportunity for the Middle Fork Greenway to go under the future bridge rather than overtop the existing bridge has become available.

“In order for the trail to go under the bridge, NCDOT would require a 40 percent match. Staff understands that the Middle Fork Greenway Association is willing to cover this cost and change orders that may occur with the trail relocation. However, the County would still be required to be the signatory on the agreement. Currently, the projected match is estimated at $160,000. The Middle Fork Greenway Association has received $200,000 in funding from the County TDA and the County received $100,000 to be used for the Middle Fork Greenway,” a memo from Watauga County Planning Director Joe Furman to commissioners reads.

Staff is requesting the go-ahead from commissioners to pursue an agreement with the NCDOT regarding the new bridge and covering the 40-percent match.

Donation of Blowing Rock Property

Here’s a memo from County Manager Deron Geouque regarding a Richard Promin, who wants to donate a one-acre property in Saddle Hill off of U.S. 221 in Blowing Rock.

“The County Manager was contacted by Richard Promin, who wishes to donate property which he owns to the County. He is the owner of a one acre lot located in Saddle Hill (221 Blowing Rock) area. The tax value is $52,000 on the lot. Taxes are current. Staff is unaware of any liens on the property or any property owner’s association dues. Mr. Promin has spoken with the Blueridge Parkway and they indicated there were no funds available to pay for the necessary requirements to accept the donation. Staff contacted the Blue Ridge Conservancy who had no interest in the property. Direction from the Board is requested to accept the donation of the lot or decline the offer.”

To view the entire meeting packet, click here. See agenda below: