STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA )                    OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONERS

                                                            )                    STOKES COUNTY GOVERNMENT

COUNTY OF STOKES                   )                    DANBURY, NORTH CAROLINA

                                                            )                    OCTOBER 15, 2007

 

 

 

           

            The Board of Commissioners of the County of Stokes, State of North Carolina, met

 

for a Goals Planning Session - Overview in the Commissioners’ Chambers of the Ronald

 

Wilson Reagan Memorial Building (Administrative Building) located in Danbury, North

 

Carolina on Monday, October 15, 2007 at 4:00 pm with the following members present:

 

                                                Chairman J. Leon Inman

Vice-Chairman Jimmy Walker

Commissioner Ron Carroll                                         

Commissioner Ernest Lankford

                                                Commissioner Stanley Smith

                                                                                                                       

                                                County Personnel in Attendance:

                                                County Manager K. Bryan Steen

                                                Clerk to the Board Darlene Bullins

Finance Director Julia Edwards

           

                                   

Chairman Leon Inman called the meeting to order.

 

Commissioner Lankford 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. 

 

 

Goals Planning Session - Overview

 

            Chairman Inman expressed his appreciation to the Board for their willingness to

 

meet to review the Board’s goals.     

 

 

 

Chairman Inman requested Board members to note issues they would like to discuss.

 

Commissioner Carroll noted the following:

·         Where are we going?

·         What are we going to do?

·         What are our plans?

·         Economic Development

·         Schools

·         Forsyth Technical Community College

·         County facilities and space issues

 

Commissioner Lankford noted the following:

·         Making sure the County has a fund balance that will enable the county do accomplish its goals

·         Economic Development

·         Employee benefits

·         Control spending

·         County facilities and space issues – need for a plan

 

Finance Director Edwards noted that the audit is due in Raleigh by October 31, 2007

 

and plans are scheduled for the audit report to be delivered to the Board of Commissioners at

 

the first meeting in November.

 

Vice Chairman Walker noted the following:

·         Economic Development

·         Schools

·         Fund Balance

·         Finding out where we are at relating to the goals – need for a progress report

·         Would like to add county-wide internet connectivity to the goals

·         Discussion to start planning to save valuable farmland

·         Plans for river protection- Dan River

 

Commissioner Smith noted the following:

·         Reopening Southwestern Service Center which has been opened – the need to continue to increase services at the Center

·         Health Department Services – increasing services for the citizens of the County

·         County owned facilities – best use of county property

·         Fund Balance

·         Location of EMS station at Sauratown Fire Department still viable

·         Employee benefits

·         Schools- Workforce Development

·         Conclusion to the Fire Service District Funding Agreement

Chairman Inman noted the following:

·         Echoed the sentiments of his fellow Commissioners

·         Need to evaluate the on-going goals

·         Need continuously to add to the on-going goals

 

Vice Chairman Walker noted that King City Manager has made reference wanting to

 

start communication with the County regarding county utilities.

 

 

Fire Service District – Funding Agreements

 

            Chairman Inman read correspondence received from Chairman Mike Merritt –

 

Stokes County Fire & Rescue Association.  Chairman Inman noted the following:

 

·         Received a signed funding agreement from the Fire Departments in the Service District along with a revised 8-page document (Guidelines for Fire Commission) for the Commissioners’ approval

·         Revised Guidelines incorporates the Open Meetings Laws

·         Funding Agreements received are not the revised funding agreement approved by the Board of Commissioners

 

Chairman Inman directed County Manager Steen to review the submitted agreements.

 

Commissioner Carroll noted the Open Meeting Laws was not the only issue in

 

8-page document. 

 

            The Board discussed the positive feedback being received from citizens in the County

 

regarding the fire service districts agreements.

 

            Commissioner Carroll requested that the funding for paying the Fire Commissioners be

 

transferred and paid from a line item in the Governing Body’s budget.  This funding should

 

not be allocated to the Stokes County Fire and Rescue Association, the Board of

 

Commissioners created the Fire Commission.

 

            County Manager Bryan Steen requested the Board to indicate their desire to have a

 

budget amendment at the next meeting which would transfer the allocated amount currently in

 

the Fire & Rescue Association budget for reimbursement to Fire Commissioners to a line item

 

in the Governing Body’s budget.

 

            The consensus of the Board was to have the County Manager present a budget

 

amendment at the next meeting for the Board’s consideration.

 

            Vice Chairman Walker questioned what the Board needs to do to resolve the issue with

 

the fire departments. Vice Chairman Walker noted the valuable service provided by these

 

organizations.

 

            The Board discussed the revisions made to the agreements, what steps to take next, and

 

possibly providing factual information to the public.

           

County Manager Steen suggested placing a generic copy of the recently approved

 

revised agreements along with factual information pertaining to fire service district funding

 

on the county’s website.

 

            The consensus of the Board was to direct the County Manager to place a generic copy

 

of the approved revised agreement along with factual information regarding this matter on the

 

county’s website.

 

            Commissioner Carroll reiterated that the Board of Commissioners sets the tax rate along

 

with the fire tax for Stokes County.

 

            Chairman Inman stated that he would be willing to meet with any fire department to

 

discuss the issues.

 

 

Schools

 

            Chairman Inman noted a recent meeting with Chairperson Sonya Cox- Board of

 

Education, Interim Superintendent Nelson Jessup and County Manager Bryan Steen, which was

 

held to start discussion for a future bond referendum.

 

 

 

Chairman Inman presented a request received from Chairperson Sonya Cox- Board of

 

Education to the Board regarding the need to update the OrEd Study.   Interim Superintendent

 

Jessup had requested (on behalf of the Board of Education) if the Board of Commissioners

 

would consider funding half of the cost for an update to the OrEd Study.  The cost of the update

 

is estimated at $6500 (County’s share $3250).  The Board discussed the request from the

 

Board of Education regarding the funding for the update.  Vice Chairman Walker noted he

 

would need more information regarding the update before making a decision.  It was the

 

consensus of the Board not to fund half of the cost ($3250) of the OrEd Study update.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted that the Board of Education should submit their list of

 

needs/projects and the Board would then decide what could be funded.

 

            The Board discussed the growth in the County not only in the King area but other

 

growing areas in the County.

           

Economic Development

 

            Chairman Inman noted that the Economic Development Director would be retiring on

 

October 31, 2007 at which time the County Manager would assume the role of Interim

 

Economic Development Director.

 

            County Manager Steen discussed his current role as Interim Health Director and the

 

time involved with that department.  Manager Steen did not have any idea how long this

 

interim position would last.

 

            Vice Chairman Walker noted the response he had received from the public regarding

 

the elimination of the Economic Development Director in the adoption of the fiscal year 07-08

 

budget.  Citizens have commented that the County needs to stress Economic Development in

 

the County.

           

            The Board discussed the County Manager taking on another role while serving as

 

Interim Health Director, current Economic Development in Stokes County, cost effective

 

economic development in the County, and the status of the Economic Development

 

Department when Mr. Morgan retires at the end of the month.

 

            Commissioner Smith noted the need to look at reinstating the position as a

 

full time position or a contract position.

 

            Commissioner Lankford expressed his desire to wait until the current situation is

 

resolved before making a decision to reinstate the full time position.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted the need to know what is being done and where we are

 

as far as Economic Development in Stokes County.  Commissioner Carroll noted the possibility

 

of reinstating the Economic Development Director position as a full time position.

 

            Vice Chairman Walker reiterated the need to have a full time Economic Development

 

Director to continue to bring Economic Development into Stokes County to keep Stokes

 

County citizens from having to leave Stokes County to work and to help the existing businesses

 

in the County.

 

            County Manager Steen further discussed his current role as Interim Health Director,

 

overseeing Public Works/Utilities until the new Director comes on board, and being County

 

Manager.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted that the projected savings of $87,000 from Medicaid

 

could be used to fund the position for the remainder of the fiscal year.

 

            The majority of the Board requested the item be placed on the Discussion Agenda

 

at the October 22nd meeting.

 

 

 

            Vice Chairman Walker reiterated the need to have a full time Economic Development

 

Director to keep the County moving in the right direction, to help plan for the future, and to

 

help strengthen tourism in the County.

 

            The Board discussed the feasibility study funded by the Water & Sewer Authority

 

and the Board of Commissioners.

 

            Chairman Inman, with full consent of the Board, directed the County Manager to

 

schedule Golder Associates NC, Inc. for a future board meeting for a presentation update.

 

            County Manager Steen updated the Board regarding the current provider

 

MLP who is contracted by the Water and Sewer Authority to provide billing services to the

 

County and service the water lines servicing the Germanton area.   Manager Steen noted the

 

new Public Works Director will be on board October 22nd has experience in water and

 

sewer services and should be an asset to the Water and Sewer Authority.

 

            Vice Chairman Walker noted another reason to reinstate the full time Economic

 

Development Director position - to work with the Water and Sewer Authority to expand water

 

and sewer in Stokes County.

 

Chairman Inman suggested a possible joint meeting with the Water and Sewer

 

Authority at a future date to discuss the current and future water/sewer needs in Stokes County.

           

            Commissioner Smith noted the recent feasibility study should help in obtaining

 

grants for water and sewer projects.

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schools

 

            Commissioner Carroll reiterated the need for the Board of Education to present

 

their needs to this Board so that we can start looking at all funding options available to the

 

County.

 

            Chairman Inman noted after receiving the results of the fiscal year 2006-07 audit in

 

November, the need to schedule a meeting with the Local Government Commission (LGC) to

 

see where the County stands as far as consideration for holding a future bond referendum.

 

The referendum could include funds for a Forsyth Technical Community College stand-alone

 

campus in Stokes County.

 

            Finance Director Julia Edwards noted that the projected lottery revenues are not

 

expected to be as high as the earlier projections.

 

            The Board discussed the Meadows Property, which had been approved by a previous

 

Board as the location for a FTCC stand alone campus.  Chairman Inman noted that FTCC has

 

discussed the possibility of conducting a feasibility study related to a stand-alone campus in

 

Stokes County.

 

Proposed VA CBOC Clinic

 

            Vice Chairman Walker noted that Crow McGee had not received information allocating

 

funding for a CBOC in Stokes County yet.   Mr. McGee is still working on the project.

 

            Commissioner Smith questioned if it would be possible to place the Veterans Officer

 

in King at the America Legion or Southwestern Service Center one day a week.  Commissioner

 

Lankford noted the District Office does not recommend a satellite office at the current time due

 

to having to transfer clients’ records between Danbury and King – confidentiality of records.

 

 

 

Southwestern Service Center

 

            Interim Health Director/Manager Bryan Steen briefed the Board on the possibility of

 

hiring another mid level provider in order to provide additional services in Danbury

 

and King.  Interim Director/Manager Steen also noted that the Maternal Outreach workers

 

would be moving to Southwestern Service Center which will save time and gasoline, and

 

allow workers to be able to see clients more efficiently in that area.

 

            Interim Director/Manager Steen stated he is currently working with health department

 

personnel to look at other possible options to be able to provide more services to the citizens of

 

Stokes County.  Interim Director/Manager Steen stated he did not know how long he would be

 

serving as Interim Health Director.

 

 

Old Correction Property located in the Meadows

 

            County Manager Bryan Steen updated the Board regarding the clean up work being

 

done at the old Prison Property in Meadows. 

 

 

Animal Control

 

            County Manager Bryan Steen updated the Board regarding the work being done

 

at the Animal Shelter, which was mandated by the State at the last inspection.  Manager Steen

 

noted that most of the work has been completed.

 

Space Issues

 

            The Board discussed the need for a complete facility inventory/space needs assessment

 

in order start working on space issues (District Attorney, Board of Elections, etc.) in the

 

County.

 

 

 

Chairman Inman expressed appreciation to the Board for a very productive meeting.

 

 

Adjournment

 

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

 

entertained a motion to adjourn the Goals Planning Session.

 

Commissioner Smith moved to adjourn the Goals Planning Session.   Vice Chairman

 

Walker seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________                                  _____________________________

Darlene M. Bullins                                                    J. Leon Inman

Clerk to the Board                                                    Chairman