STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA )                    OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONERS

                                                            )                    STOKES COUNTY GOVERNMENT

COUNTY OF STOKES                   )                    DANBURY, NORTH CAROLINA

                                                            )                    MARCH 12, 2009

 

 

           

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

 

for a recessed Goals Planning Session (recessed from the March 5, 2009 session) in the Conference

 

Room of the Ronald Wilson Reagan Memorial Building (Administration Building) located in

 

Danbury, North Carolina on Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 1:00 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

                                               

                                                                                                           

Chairman J. Leon Inman called the meeting to order and 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 the challenges facing the County with the current economic climate

 

and the need for a Strategic Plan for Stokes County.

 

            The Board discussed the following:

 

·         State’s current funding shortfall and its effects on Stokes County

·         Lottery and ADM Funding possibly being withheld

·         Unemployment rate continuing to rise

·         County staff continuing to monitor expenditures and revenues

·         Some revenues could fall short this fiscal year

·         Possible increases for the upcoming fiscal year 2009-10 such as Health and Dental premiums, fuel cost, supplies, etc.

·         Upcoming fiscal year 2009-10 proposed budget

 

Chairman Inman suggested the County Manager submit two proposed budgets for the Board’s

 

consideration:  one including the Hold Harmless Funding and one not including the Hold Harmless

 

Funding.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted the possibility of the County not receiving the Medicaid Relief

 

Funding due to the State’s financial shortfall.

 

            Chairman Inman advised the Board that the County’s Financial Advisor Doug Carter stated

 

 if the County does not receive any of the anticipated $800,000 lottery proceeds this year, it

 

changes the County’s ability to do school construction without a tax increase.

 

            County Manager Bryan Steen noted that the county will need to anticipate other

 

changes/reductions in sales tax revenues due to changes in Article #42 and Article #44, uncertainty of

 

ADM and Lottery Funding, and not knowing exactly how much additional revenue the Revaluation

 

will bring in.

 

Commissioner Carroll noted his number one goal is to survive.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted his three goals were as follows:

 

1.      Survival

2.      Use the time to plan for better times

3.      What is the County going to see through and what is the County going to postpone regarding projects

 

County Manager Bryan Steen noted that the County had received proceeds from a financial

 

institution for paving, but have not used the funds yet.

 

            Commissioner Smith suggested looking at patching some of the bad places and transferring

 

the remaining of the funds designated for paving to other needed items such as the new EMS

Pinnacle station.

 

            The Board discussed areas that needed to be considered for patching:  Danbury

 

Library Parking Lot, Walnut Cove EMS Station, Community Services Parking Lot, and other

 

small areas in the Government Center Parking Lot.

 

            Manager Steen noted that the County would have to obtain permission from Local

 

Government Commission (LGC) and the financial institute to use the proceeds for things other

 

than paving.

 

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

 

LGC and the financial institute for specific details regarding using the funding for other

 

things instead of paving and to acquire bids for patching the areas suggested by the Board.

           

            Vice Chairman Walker noted the Manager’s responsibility to present a proposed

 

budget with different scenarios for the Board’s consideration.

 

            Chairman Inman feels that the County should not tap into the Fund Balance unless

 

there is an extreme emergency.  Board members agreed not to use fund balance unless extreme

 

circumstances occur.  Commissioner Smith stated at this time, his personal opinion is to create

 

a budget to provide for the needs of the county which would be a safety net for the most vulnerable

 

citizens in the County as noted by Commissioner Carroll.

 

            Vice Chairman Walker noted the County might have to reduce services if funding is not

 

available, some counties are already laying off employees.

 

            Commissioner Lankford feels that there has got to be strong leadership in the decision making

 

for the upcoming budget.

 

            The Board further discussed the goals and strategies listed at the March 5th planning

 

session.

 

            The Board discussed the current salary plan/benefits and identified the following possible

options if funding is not available for the upcoming fiscal year:

 

·         First, eliminate bonuses and evaluate funding needed for those who will receive longevity increases for the upcoming fiscal year

·         Second, freeze current salary plan eliminating bonuses and longevity increases

·         Third, reduce hours of employment – employee furloughs

·         Other option - Reduce 1% 401(k) county match for general employees

 

The Board discussed Revaluation, Revenue Neutral, Hold Harmless Funding, and maintaining    

and increasing the County’s  funding balance.

 

            The Board discussed the following school projects:

 

·         New elementary school in Yadkin Township – land already purchased

·         PODS needed to relocate students from Nancy Reynolds Elementary School

·         Cost of installation of PODS at Pinnacle Elementary School

·         Need for new walk-in freezer at Pinnacle due to the increase number of students

·         Land needed for renovation project at Nancy Reynolds Elementary School

 

Commissioner Carroll noted that the requested freezer could be taken from Food Services,

 

which is an Enterprise Fund.

 

            Vice Chairman Walker suggested putting a timeframe on the goals (anticipated target date).

 

            Commissioner Lankford suggested waiting until around August to place a timeframe

 

on the goals when more information would be available regarding funding.

 

            Chairman Inman noted that the timeframe will be a suggested “target date” and can be

 

revisited at any time to change or modify.

 

            Manager Steen noted the following regarding the Meadows site:

 

·         Contacted DEHNR regarding the Meadows site today

·         Contaminated site continues to grow (covers at least 4 acres of the 9 acre site)

·         More samples were taken on February 25th and 26th

·         Results from samples should be back in about 4 weeks

·         DEHNR can’t provide a timeframe

·         DEHNR suggest not building on the site until the site is completely clear of contamination

·         Need to look closely at water and sewer issues at the site

 

The Board discussed issues with using the Meadows site for the location of a community

 

college, the need for a feasibility study of the site, using existing buildings or building all new

 

facilities at the site, possible cost of contamination cleanup, need for additional adjoining land, and

 

an alternate location if the Meadows site can’t be used for the location of a community college.

 

            Chairman Inman noted that Representative Bryan Holloway and Senator Don East

 

have both introduced a bill requesting a legislative appropriation of $500,000 for planning of a

 

community college in Stokes County.

 

            Chairman Inman suggested contacting Golden Leaf Foundation to discuss plans for a

 

community college in Stokes.  Manager Steen noted that Economic Development Director Alan

 

Wood has already contacted representatives from Golden Leaf Foundation.

 

The Board discussed the following four primary areas that the EDC will be including in their

 

upcoming Strategic Plan:

 

·         Business Retention and Expansion

·         Recruitment of New Businesses and Industries

·         Entrepreneurship

·         Travel and Tourism

 

The Board discussed the unavailability of high speed internet services in several areas of the

 

County.   Manager Steen noted that the County is already assessing the areas in need of high

 

speed internet services.

 

            Vice Chairman Walker discussed the need for the County to take an active role regarding

 

utilities in the County such as pursuing water intake from the Dan River instead of leaving it all

 

up to the Water and Sewer Authority.

 

            County Manager Steen noted that Public Works Director Delehant is working on water intake

 

from the Dan River.

 

            The Board discussed Early College High School and the facility needed for Early College

 

High School.  Manager Steen noted other facilities in the County have been evaluated with no

facility that meets the criteria.

 

            The Board recessed the planning session to allow the Clerk to organize the following Goals

 

and Strategies discussed during today’s work session.

 

Goals and Strategies:

 

Survival

Given the current financial situation, a Strategic Plan for Stokes County. (Timeframe – immediately)

 

(Quality Cost Effective services)

·         Continue expenditures and revenues review

·         Minimize mileage on county vehicles (place mileage sheet in all county vehicles)

·         Assess county vehicles being driven home by county employees

·         Employee sharing in all departments, especially those departments associated with the current economic status

·         Meet with Department Heads for suggestions for cutting cost

·         Hiring freeze/selective hiring  (any hiring must be approved by the BOCC)

·         Control Comp. Time in all departments

·         Look into imaging process to make departments more efficient

·         Focus on eliminating any unnecessary spending, spending will be the key this year and next year just as the County has done during the past two years

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

·         Identify salary options

§  First, look at eliminating only the bonus with salary schedule still in tact

§  Second, eliminate longevity increases

§  Third, impose a salary freeze

§  Fourth, reduce work hours

Thrive

v  Strategic Plan for Economic Development (working with the Economic Development Commission and the new Economic Development Director) (Timeframe – ongoing)

·         Business Retention and Expansion

·         Recruitment of New Businesses and Industries

·         Entrepreneurship

·         Travel and Tourism

·         Obtain 3 new businesses/industries that will create 75 new jobs; add $2 million dollars of value for County taxes

 

v  Schools (school construction) (Timeframe – as soon as feasibly possible)

·         Nancy Reynolds Project - Possible decision after information is received (around first of May) from the Board of Education

·         Other school projects as soon as feasible

 

v  Community College in Stokes County (Tangible results for a community college)

 (Timeframe- 12/2009)

·         Feasibility study of the Meadows property

·         Developing a specific plan for a community college

·         Alternatives for water and sewer

·         Workable information by 12/2009

 

v  Strategic Plan for the Meadows Site (Timeframe - 12/2009)

o   Property contamination Clean up and cost

o   Infrastructure needs

o   Specific plan for a community college

 

v  More planning for health care and health care facilities – (Timeframe – ongoing)

 

v  Update all County policies  - (Timeframe - as soon as possible)

 

v  Strive to continue to maintain and increase the fund balance, not decrease the fund balance – (Timeframe - on going)

 

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

(Timeframe – ongoing)

 

v  Possibly join forces with school system on making available more wide band satellite systems for county use (Timeframe - on going)

 

v  Pursue water intake from the Dan River (Timeframe – 12/2009)

 

v  Investigate Stimulus funding for upcoming fiscal year (Timeframe- immediately)

 

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

 

Intermediate Goals/Projects

 

The Board reviewed the Goals and Strategies presented by the Clerk.

 

·         The Board unanimously agreed to change the “Identify salary options” as follows:

§  First option - make no changes to the current salary plan

§  Second option - eliminate only the bonus with longevity increases still in tact

§  Third option - eliminate longevity increases along with bonuses

§  Fourth option - reduce work hours

 

The Board unanimously agreed on the submitted Goals and Strategies as amended with the

 

option to review and amend at anytime.

 

            Chairman Inman expressed his appreciation to the Board for their commitment and

 

cooperation in developing the Goals and Strategies for Stokes County.

 

 

Adjournment

 

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

 

motion to adjourn the planning session.

 

Commissioner Smith moved to adjourn the planning session.  Commissioner Lankford 

 

seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________                                  _____________________________

Darlene M. Bullins                                                    J. Leon Inman

Clerk to the Board                                                    Chairman