STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA     )                    OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONERS

                                                            )                    STOKES COUNTY GOVERNMENT

COUNTY OF STOKES                  )                    DANBURY, NORTH CAROLINA

                                                            )                    JANUARY 20, 2007

 

           

            The Board of Commissioners of the County of Stokes, State of North Carolina, metto continue the Board Retreat session (first session - January 6, 2007) in the Commissioners’

 

Chambers of the Ronald Wilson Reagan Memorial Building (Administrative Building) located in Danbury, North Carolina on Saturday, January 20, 2007 at 10:00 am with the following members present:

 

                                                Chairman Leon Inman

                                                Vice-Chairman Jimmy Walker

Commissioner Ron Carroll                                              

Commissioner Ernest Lankford

                                                Commissioner Stanley Smith

 

                                                County Personnel in Attendance:

                                                Clerk to the Board/Interim County Manager Darlene Bullins

                                                Finance Director Julia Edwards

                                   

 

Chairman Leon Inman called the meeting to order.

 

Chairman Inman delivered the invocation.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT-GOVERNING BODY-PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

            Chairman Inman opened the meeting by inviting the citizens in attendance to

join the Board with the Pledge of Allegiance. 

 

            Chairman Inman welcomed those in attendance to the Board Retreat.

 

Tourism- Continuation

 

            Commissioner Smith presented the following brief overview from the Regional

 

Tourism Initiative meeting on January 19th. 

 

·         Steering Committee meeting (which Commissioner Smith and Interim Manager Bullins serve on) discussed the current $7500 allocated from the participating counties

·         Projected allocation from each county for the 2007-08 fiscal year will probably remain $7500

·         Regional website is under construction – when website is developed all Boards of participating counties will be invited to a regional meeting for the presentation of the website before releasing the website to the public

·         The meeting was designed for branding a name for the Regional Tourism Initiative – first choice “Rocking on America’s Front Porch” second choice

“Crossing Borders” – Branding names will be submitted to the Steering Committee for further consideration

 

            Interim Manager Bullins noted the need for a definite direction of where the Initiativeis headed, how many counties are going to belong in the Initiative, and to determine if the Initiative will benefit Stokes County.

 

            Tourism Committee member Sam Hill who also attend the January 19th meeting noted the need to know exactly who will be included in the Region and that most counties have a Tourism Director along with the Economic Development Director.

 

            The Board discussed the need to know exactly who will be included in the Region,how will the Initiative help Stokes County, will the Region have something in common with Stokes County, and what is Stokes County actually getting for its allocation.

 

            Commissioner Smith concluded that the Board’s concern would be presented to the Steering Committee.

 

            Chairman Inman iterated the need for a motel/conference center in Stokes County to promote tourism.

 

            Vice Chairman Walker presented the vision from the Angelo Study pertaining to Stokes County. The Board also discussed the identity of Stokes County and the current County Seal.

 

District Plan for Electing Commissioners and School Board Members

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted that Stokes County has three regions of its own- North, Southeast, and Southwest which is part of our geography, our history, and part of our heritage which must be embraced to work together.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted the following concerns regarding a District Plan for Electing Commissioners and School Board members:

 

·         Timing is right – issue has been on the table – citizens have been discussing the issue

·         Very important step telling everyone in Stokes County that they are part of the county

·         Blue Ribbon Commission need to be formed and charged with the responsibility to talk to the citizens, gather citizens’ input, and make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners

 

Vice Chairman Walker expressed concerns with a District System for Stokes County, wants what is best for the entire County.

 

            Commissioner Lankford noted the need to pull all areas together and to have some representation from all parts of the County.

 

            Chairman Inman expressed the need for public hearings possibly in each precinct in the County, citizen input, informative information available for citizens, and would support a Blue Ribbon Commission to study.    

 

Commissioner Smith expressed concerns with a District System for Stokes County, but would support a commission to study the issue and review a recommendation made to the Board.

 

            The Board continued discussion of a District System in Stokes County, development of a unbiased Commission to study the issue, opportunity for the voters to decide on a reasonable plan, and communication with Board of Education for input in the formulation of the commission.

 

            Chairman Inman noted the need to take agenda issues that impact specific parts of the County to that particular area when possible and holding Commissioners’ meeting in different parts of county.

 

Schools

School Facilities, Bond Referendum, Schools Funding

           

            Commissioner Lankford submitted the following information from the Stokes Schools Construction and Renovation Cost Summary dated February 14, 2005:

 

·         Estimated Construction and Renovation Cost Summary = $53,690,761 which includes new construction, additions, renovations, furniture/equipment, and land to meet the present needs for the next five years

 

Commissioner Lankford noted the need to identify the county’s position at this point, and collectively discuss with the school board a plan on where we need to be six months from now, a year from now, ten years from now, etc. 

 

            Chairman Inman noted the continuous growing population in North Carolina with movement into Stokes County, national real estate market is slow, but the local market is still strong.

 

            The Board discussed the five-year plan prepared by the Stokes County Schools, statistical information from the OrED Study, the county’s financial status, Local Government

 

Commission’s approval for a Bond Referendum, other financial avenues to investigate, and the need for both Boards to work together to develop a plan.

 

            Commissioner Lankford noted the need to know what the County’s financial statusis currently and where Stokes County stands with the Local Government Commission.

 

            Chairman Inman suggested possibly setting up a conference call during a regularafternoon meeting to discuss the County’s financial status with the Local Government Commission.

 

            Finance Director Julia Edwards noted possibly setting up a Financial Advisory Committee, which would be made up of County and School Officials and a Financial Advisor who could offer all aspects of financing.

 

            Commissioner Lankford noted the School Board would be receiving a report in February from a committee detailing the schools’ need at this time which could enable both Boards to begin a planning process.  Commissioner Lankford also noted the top three  2007-08 Legislative goals are: (1)Medicaid relief, (2) School construction and (3)Revenue options. Eliminating the County’s Medicaid cost, could increase revenues by $2 million dollars if sales tax were not affected.

 

            The Board agreed the need for school construction is a top priority.

           

Community College Facility in the County

 

            Chairman Inman noted that Stokes County is one of the few remaining counties in North Carolina that does not have a true satellite campus, actually the largest county remaining in North Carolina that does not have a true satellite campus.

 

            The Board discussed the need for Stokes County to have a stand-alone facility that has its own identity, possible location at the Old Prison Camp site for a Community College, a site adequate for Stokes County needs, possible feasibility study for the Old Prison Camp site, and renovation costs to the Old Prison Camp site.

 

            Chairman Inman directed the Interim County Manager to provide the Board with information regarding the two mobile units that had been previously sold and should have already been moved.

 

            Vice Chairman Walker noted the need for a facility to represent Stokes County and the central location of the Old Prison Camp site.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted the recent facility built in Yadkin County by special appropriations from the Legislature and the need to have a facility that can serve Stokes County.

           

            The Board agreed to further investigate the possibility of using the Old Prison Camp site as a possible location for a stand alone facility for a Community College or other possible County uses, seeking outside funding, and the need for the Forsyth Tech

Community Advisory Council to promote the need for a stand-alone facility that Stokes County can be proud of.

 

Code of Ethics/Salary Classification Study

           

            Commissioner Carroll noted the need for further discussion regarding the Code of Ethics Policy adopted by the previous Board and the possible need for a Salary Classification Study at a later date.

 

Compensatory Time – Holiday Time – Vacation Time Pay Off

 

            Chairman Inman noted the need to review the County’s policies regarding  the amount of compensatory time and holiday time that employees are allowed to carry forward from year to year.  The large amount of pay offs when employees resign or retire causes budgeting issues during the fiscal year.

 

County Manager’s Vacant Position

 

            The Board discussed the current county manager’s vacant position. Chairman Inman noted the cutoff date for the county manager’s position is January 31, 2007.

 

            Chairman Inman noted that he had spoken with Dennis Thompson, who was

employed last year by Stokes County as a Budget Consultant.  Mr. Thompson confirmed with  Chairman Inman that he would be able to assist the County with the 2007-08 county budget if needed.

 

County Vision

 

            The Board discussed developing a vision for Stokes County. Commissioner Lankford presented the following statements for discussion:

 

The Stokes County Government will operate as an effective and efficient local government that will promote a friendly and open environment for its citizens and will provide needed services in an accountable and professional manner.

The Stokes County Government will provide for its citizens an effective and efficiently managed local government that will move our county forward in a friendly and open environment with high quality employees accountable for providing needed services.

            Commissioner Walker noted the following statement:

 

            “To make Stokes County an outstanding county in this area.”

 

            Commissioner Smith noted the following statement:

 

            Stokes County is a good place to be, not just a good place to be from.”     

 

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted a vision statement needs to identify what this Board  wants Stokes County to be.

 

Development of One-year/Four-years Goals – Strategies to Achieve Goals

 

            The Board discussed the need to have another planning session to develop a vision statement, set priorities, establish goals, and set strategies.  The Board agreed the need to develop a “road map” to get to those goals and the “road map” continuously monitored to make sure that the County is on the right track to reach that goal.

 

Vice Chairman Walker requested the Clerk to the Board to prepare a list of priorities and goals from the January 6th and January 20th meetings for the Board’s review.

 

            Chairman Inman suggested that each member develop his vision for Stokes County, prioritize goals and establish strategies from the Board Retreat meetings for the next planning session.

 

            The Board discussed meeting with all Department Heads to communicate the Board’s expectations.

 

            Chairman Inman directed the Interim County Manager to have all Department Heads at the February 12th meeting.

           

            The Board will schedule another planning session at the next regular meeting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Adjournment

 

            There being no further business to come before the Board, Chairman Inman

entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting.

 

Vice Chairman Walker moved to adjourn the meeting.  The motion was unanimous.

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________                                  _____________________________

Darlene M. Bullins                                                    J. Leon Inman

Clerk to the Board                                                       Chairman