STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA )                    OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONERS

                                                            )                    STOKES COUNTY GOVERNMENT

COUNTY OF STOKES                   )                    DANBURY, NORTH CAROLINA

                                                            )                    MARCH 5, 2009

 

 

           

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

 

for a recessed Goals Planning Session (recessed from the February 26, 2009 session) in the

 

Conference Room of the Ronald Wilson Reagan Memorial Building (Administration Building)

 

located in Danbury, North Carolina on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 1:30 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 J. Leon Inman called the meeting to order.

 

Commissioner Smith 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. 

 

Budget Work Session – Continuation

 

            The Board discussed “fine tuning” the recent short and long term goals discussed at

 

the February 26th meeting.

 

            Vice Chairman Walker noted the need to set “realistic goals” that the County could achieve

 

and to prepare for the future.

 

            Commissioner Lankford noted the need to focus on the upcoming goals for fiscal

 

year 2009-10 due to the uncertainty of the economy.

 

            Commissioner Smith noted the need for an updated scenario from the County’s

 

Financial Advisor Doug Carter due to the recent financial news from Raleigh.

 

            County Manager Steen noted that the last payment of $660,000 for the Administrative

 

Building’s debt service was paid March 1, 2009.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted the need to strive to maintain the current level of services

 

in light of the current economic climate.  Commissioner Carroll reiterated the need to make sure the

 

County has a safety net in place for the most vulnerable citizens in the County (first and foremost

 

priority as far as programs).

 

            Commissioner Lankford reiterated one of his goals stated on February 26th which was

 

to try to keep jobs for Stokes County employees at today’s present level and to look at a hiring freeze.

 

            The Board discussed the following goals and strategies:

 

Ø  Given the current financial situation, a Strategic Plan for Stokes County

Long Term Strategic Plan for the County

o   Short Term Goals and Strategies

o   Continue to review expenditures and revenues on a quarterly basis

o   Inventory of county vehicles

o   Review  use of county vehicles – vehicles driven home daily by county staff

o   Minimize mileage for county vehicles

o   Mileage book in all county vehicles

o   Vehicle sharing between departments

o   Employee sharing in all departments

o   Look at all departments who might have employees who are not busy due to the current economic status

o   Monitor comp. time for all departments

o   Request non-exempt employees use comp. time as soon as possible

o   Hiring freeze/Selective hiring freeze – all positions will be looked at on an individual basis with exceptions being approved by the Board

o   Request department heads to look at ways to cut unnecessary spending

o   No funding being borrowed for recurring expenses, just capital needs

o   Focus on eliminating any unnecessary spending

o   Make sure the County has a safety net in place for the most vulnerable citizens in the County

§  Prioritize the current services to include mandated services such as CPS, Foods Stamps,  Public Assistance Programs, Health Services, 24/7 operations (Jail, EMS, Communications, Sheriff’s Department)

o   Provide services to the citizens of Stokes County as most cost effective as possible

o   Create new revenue streams – grants

o   Look at imaging services which will reduce staffing needs for the future

o   Look at current salary plan for the upcoming fiscal year 2009-10

o   Making sure billing in departments is up to date

o   Long Term Goals and Strategies

o   Need for a Strategic Plan for Stokes County

o   Infrastructure needs – water/sewer

o   Need for a Comprehensive Land Use Plan

o   More planning for health care and health care facilities  

 

Ø  Economic Development

A Strategic Plan for Economic Development (working with the Economic Development Commission and the new Economic Development Director)

o   Economic Development Commission has already started putting things together to develop an Economic Development Strategic Plan

o   New Economic Development Director Alan Wood has identified the following four primary areas for the EDC to concentrate on:

o   Business Retention/Expansion

o   Business Recruitment

o   Entrepreneurship

o   Travel and Tourism

o   These four areas will be molded to Stokes County

o   Retain and promote growth for all the present business/industries in the County; obtain 3 new businesses/industries that will create 75 new jobs; add $2 million dollars of value for County taxes

 

Ø  Schools (school construction)

o   Nancy Reynolds Project – PODS

o   Discuss new elementary school in Yadkin Township when the State adopts a budget

o   Southeastern Middle School – need for redirection of traffic coming into the school

o   Financial arrangements for the school projects – COPS, private financing, Bond Referendum, etc.

 

Ø  Community College in Stokes County

Tangible results for a community college

o   Need for a specific plan to be in place

o   Need for water and sewer plans

 

 

 

 

Ø  Update personnel policies along with a salary market study if possible

Review all county policies for updates

o   Long term goal

o   Need to be done as soon as possible

 

Ø  Complete EMS Station

o   Need for a target date

o   To be occupied by the end of calendar year 2009

 

Ø  Strive to continue to increase the fund balance, not decrease the fund balance

o   Must always be a long and short term goal

o   Must continue to maintain and increase the fund balance

 

Ø  Keep property taxes at the present rate of $.60 or less

 

Ø  Technology – Promote the need for providers to make available better technology such as faster internet service, better cost effective telephone services, and other communications

o   Long Term Goal

o   Need to investigate all possible options to provide high speed internet to as many citizens as possible

 

Ø  Possibly join forces with school system on making available more wide band satellite systems for county use

o   On going – long and short term goal

 

Ø  Complete Danbury Water System Project in 2009 with no additional funding

o   Should be completed in 2009

 

Ø  Pursue water intake from the Dan River

o   Goal should be ongoing

o   Public Works Director currently looking into the issue

o   Seek stimulus funding for the project

 

County Manager Bryan Steen stated that he had received information from CEO Betty

 

Taylor that CenterPoint would not be funding the Mental Health position after Ms. Grubb’s

 

resignation in March due to funding issues.  Manager Steen noted that he is currently working with

 

Health Director Josh Swift regarding the possibility that the duties could be covered by the Public

 

Health Educator on a temporary basis.  Manager Steen noted that the item would be placed on the

 

March 9th Agenda for further discussion by the Board.  Manager Steen noted the County is currently

 

pursing a Kate B. Reynolds Grant to fund the position.

 

            Vice Chairman Walker expressed concerns with CenterPoint not honoring their commitment

 

to fund the Mental Health position for the entire fiscal year 2008-09.

 

            Manager Steen noted current grant positions: Sheriff’s Department and Communications.

 

            Chairman Inman requested Board members to review the Goals for further discussion.

 

            The Board discussed the Volunteer Recognition Reception being on April 27th at 4:30 pm. 

 

The Board had no issues with having the reception being on April 27th at 4:30 pm.

 

Adjournment

 

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

 

Goals Planning Session until Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 1:00 pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________                                  _____________________________

Darlene M. Bullins                                                    J. Leon Inman

Clerk to the Board                                                    Chairman