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Watauga County Commissioners and Boone Town Council Preparing for Phase 2 of Reopening NC with a Busy Week of Meetings

By Nathan Ham

The Watauga County Commissioners, and Boone Town Council are meeting this week with Phase 2 of Governor Roy Cooper’s reopening plan expected to take place in the next few days.

While there is no guarantee that North Carolina will enter Phase 2, the initial timeline for taking the next step to reopening could happen as early as May 22. Gov. Cooper will have a media update at some point this week to discuss when the state will enter Phase 2.

The changes that Phase 2 will allow are much more significant than the previous phase. Restaurants and bars can reopen for limited indoor seating. Fitness centers, salons, and other personal care services can reopen as well. Public playgrounds will be opened up and entertainment venues can open at a reduced capacity.

Locally, county commissioners had hoped to put forward a centralized and consistent set of protocols and restrictions going forward. However, Boone Town Council is considering their own sets of reopening regulations.

The Boone Town Council met on May 7 and voted to consider additional restrictions for businesses and town offices. The vote, which passed by a 4-1 margin with Nancy LaPlaca as the lone holdout, came after councilmember Sam Furgiuele made proposals to continue the 14-day quarantine for out-of-town residents and limit a business’s occupancy to 25 percent for an indefinite period of time or until a COVID-19 vaccine is ready.

These measures, if approved in another vote following public comment, differ quite a bit from the plan supported unanimously by Watauga County Commissioners and county manager Deron Geouque. The county’s proposal would end the 14-day quarantine period on June 5 and would stick with Gov. Cooper’s reopening plans in every other aspect.

Watauga County Commissioners are set to meet at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19 and the Boone Town Council is set to meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19 and at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 21. Since both boards are discussing COVID-19 agenda items, the Boone Town Council will hold off on its further discussion of additional COVID-19 restrictions until the Thursday meeting.

Individuals who wish to address the Boone Town Council during remote public participation can do so through WebEx either online or by phone. If you wish to provide public comment, please email Town Manager, John A. Ward III at [email protected] or call in at 828-268-6205 and you will be provided with an invite to the meeting. All registrations must be completed by 5:45 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

Watauga County Commissioners Agenda, May 19

1 – Call Regular Meeting to Order

2 – Approval of Minutes

May 5, 2020, Regular Meeting

May 5, 2020, Closed Session

3 – Approval of May 19, 2020 Agenda

4 – Public Hearing to Allow Citizen Comment on the FY 2021 Proposed Budget (Deron Geouque)

5 – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Community Update (Jennifer Greene)

6 – Discussion Regarding Current County COVID-19 Restrictions (Deron Geouque)

7 – Ratification of a Proposed Appropriation for Economic Development Purposes Pursuant to NC G.S. 158-7.1 (Joe Furman)

8 – Tax Matters (Larry Warren)

Monthly Collections Report

Refunds and Releases

9 – Bid Award Request for Courthouse Exterior Waterproofing Project (Robert Marsh)

10 – Parks and Recreation Discussions on Summer Camps and Youth Sports Programs (Stephen Poulos)

11 – Finance Matters (Misty Watson)

Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) Expansion of Funds for 2019-2020

Proposed Audit Contract for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2020

12 – Miscellaneous Administrative Matters (Deron Geouque)

CARES Act Relief Funds Plan

Boards and Commissions


13 – Public Comment

14 – Break

15 – Closed Session

Attorney/Client Matters

Land Acquisition

Personnel Matters

16 – Adjourn

Boone Town Council Agenda, May 19

1 – Call to Order

2 – Announcements

3 – Tentative Agenda Adoption

4 – Public Comment

5 – Requested Appearances

Heather Ramsey – Tourette Syndrome Awareness Proclamation

Jeff Mangas – EMH&T

Dave Freireich – Harmony Lanes

6 – Approval of Items on Consent Agenda

Consideration of Budget Amendments

7 – Council Matters

Consideration of P&I Meeting Schedule for June and July 2020

Reconsideration of ASU Board of Trustees of the Endowment Fund Annexation Petition

Request for Joint Meeting with the HPC, CAC and Town Council

Request for Funding – Digital Watauga Project

Consideration of Agreement – Provision of After-hours Communication Services

Request for Report – Predatory Landlord-Tenant Practices & Potential Next Steps

Request for Report – Water/Sewer Bill Round-up Program & Potential Next Steps

8 – Closed Session

9 – Possible Action Following Closed Session

10 – Adjournment

Boone Town Council Agenda, May 21

1 – Call to Order

2 – Announcements

Announcement of Board Vacancies

3 – Tentative Agenda Adoption

4 – Public Comment

5 – Requested Appearances

6 – Approval of Items on Consent Agenda

7 – Council Matters

Draft COVID-19 Pandemic State of Emergency Declaration

Town Manager Update

Town Attorney Update

Consideration of Delegating Authority for the Town to Accept & the Mayor to Sign Utility Easements

Consideration of Chances to Code of Ethics Regarding Gifts

Consideration of Modified Take Home Car Policy

8 – Closed Session

9 – Possible Action Following Closed Session

10 – Adjournment