STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA )                    OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONERS

                                                            )                    STOKES COUNTY GOVERNMENT

COUNTY OF STOKES                   )                    DANBURY, NORTH CAROLINA

                                                            )                    FEBRUARY 23, 2010

 

           

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

 

for a Goals Session in the third floor conference room of the Ronald Wilson Reagan

 

Memorial Building (Administration Building) located in Danbury, North Carolina on Tuesday

 

February 23, 2010 at 1:30 pm with the following members present:

                                                                       

Chairman Jimmy Walker

Vice Chairman Ernest Lankford

Commissioner J. Leon Inman                        

Commissioner Ron Carroll

                                                Commissioner Stanley Smith

                                                                                                                       

                                                County Personnel in Attendance:

                                                County Manager K. Bryan Steen

                                                Clerk to the Board Darlene Bullins

                                                Finance Director Julia Edwards

                                                                                                                       

Chairman Jimmy Walker called the meeting to order.

 

Vice Chairman Lankford delivered the invocation.

                       

GENERAL GOVERNMENT-GOVERNING BODY-PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

            Chairman Walker opened the meeting by inviting the citizens in attendance to join the

 

Board with the Pledge of Allegiance. 

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT – GOVERNING BODY – APPROVAL OF AGENDA

 

Chairman Walker entertained a motion to approve or amend the February 23, 2010

 

Agenda.

           

Commissioner Inman moved to approve the February 23, 2010 Agenda as presented.

 

Vice Chairman Lankford seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

 

Opening Remarks

 

            Chairman Walker requested the amount of time for today’s meeting.

 

            The Board unanimously agreed to try to end today‘s session by 4:00 pm.

           

            The Board unanimously agreed that the discussion during today’s goals session would be of

 

an informal nature.

 

Review of 2009 Goals

 

            County Manager Bryan Steen noted the following 2009 goals which were adopted at the

 

March 12, 2009 meeting:

 

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

 

Manager Steen spoke briefly regarding the following “survival” goals which can be

 

considered ongoing each year:

 

·         Items listed in the survival section that are ongoing:

o   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)

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

                               (Quality Cost Effective Services)

o   Create new revenue streams – grants

o   Continue expenditures and revenues review

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

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

o   Meet with Department Heads for suggestions for cutting cost

o   Control Comp. Time in all departments

o   Focus on eliminating any unnecessary spending

o   Will continue to identify salary options

 

Manager Steen spoke briefly regarding the following “thrive” goals:

 

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

·         Business Retention and Expansion (Business Extravaganza held 01-21-10 and ED Director talking with existing businesses in the County)

·         Recruitment of New Businesses and Industries (Continuous efforts to recruit)

·         Entrepreneurship (ED Director working to provide classes for new startup businesses)

·         Travel and Tourism (subcommittees have been created to work on these items)

·         Obtain 3 new businesses/industries that will create 75 new jobs; add $2 million dollars of value for County taxes (no new businesses, no new jobs or new tax values during 2009-10 f/y)

 

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 (Project under construction and moving forward)

 

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 (Land purchase for community college and Early College Project underway)

 

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

·         Property contamination Clean up and cost(nearly complete – only a small portion of the site that needs some additional cleanup) (NCDOT is responsible for the cleanup cost)

 

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

(Working with hospital officials of Stokes-Reynolds Memorial Hospital regarding the operation of Stokes-Reynolds Memorial Hospital)

(Health Department has been very active trying to provide H1N1 and Seasonal Flu Vaccines to as many citizens as possible)

(Health Department currently has two middle level providers on staff providing more services to the citizens)

(Home Health moving forward with trying to increase revenues)

 

v  Strive to continue to maintain and increase the fund balance, not decrease the fund balance – (Timeframe - on going) (Successfully increased fund balance at the end of fiscal year 2008-09 in a very struggling economy)

 

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) (BOCC approved funding for feasibility study to determine the need for broadband services to those unserved and underserved and the County is currently working with Rockingham County for a possible join application for stimulus funding

 

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

 

v  Pursue water intake from the Dan River (Timeframe – 12/2009) (Preliminary findings indicate the project would not be cost efficient at this time)

 

v  Complete Danbury Water System Project in 2009 with no additional funding (Danbury Water System is ongoing)

 

Intermediate Goals/Projects

 

Vice Chairman Lankford requested additional information regarding Business Retention/

 

Expansion, Recruitment of New Businesses/Industries and loss of any businesses during the past

 

year.

 

            Manager Steen noted the loss of Stevens Roofing (Dow Chemicals) in the Westfield area,

 

operation transferred to another state when Dow Chemicals purchased the company.  Manager

 

Steen noted that he was unaware of any expansions or new businesses in the county, but the

 

EDC is committed to business retention and expansion along with recruitment of new businesses.

 

            Vice Chairman Lankford confirmed with Manager Steen that steps had been made to

 

minimize mileage on county vehicles with mileage sheets being placed in all county vehicles and

 

mileage sheets being monitored by department heads.

 

            The Board discussed a stand-alone community college facility in Stokes County.

 

            Manager Steen noted that Economic Development Director Alan Wood has been talking

 

with representatives from the Golden Leaf Foundation about a possible grant funding for a

 

community college with a meeting scheduled for March 5th.

 

            Commissioner Inman, who serves on the EDC, confirmed that Golden Leaf Representatives

 

had been contacted regarding grant funding for a community college. Commissioner Inman noted

 

the need to challenge Forsyth Technical Community College to make a stand-alone community

 

college a reality in Stokes County along with talking to legislators about a legislative appropriation.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted the need to decide if a stand-alone community college in

 

Stokes County is a top priority and if so, make plans to do it.

 

            Commissioner Inman, assuming the economy continues to make a turn, discussed a possible

 

bond referendum in 2012 for a new elementary school in the Yadkin Township, renovations to

 

Southeastern Middle School, and a stand-alone community college at the Meadows location.

           

            The Board discussed the $300,000 being allocated each year for losses at Stokes-Reynolds

 

Memorial Hospital which could be diverted for other uses if things go well with the recent

 

management operational changes that takes effect on March 1, 2010.

 

            The Board discussed the favorable progress made during the last year regarding the

 

following:

 

o   New EMS Station

o   New ambulance remounts

o   New law enforcement vehicles with new detective position added

o   Video Probable Cause Hearing

o   DSS – fully staffed with minor vacancies

o   Health Department – adequate staff and improvements to billing procedures

o   Community College Site

o   Schools – capital needs

o   Stokes-Reynolds Memorial Hospital

o   Roofing – Government Center

o   Renovations of offices

o   Increasing the Fund Balance

 

Commissioner Inman noted the huge demands being placed on the Department of Social

 

Services and the Health Department due to the economy.

 

            Commissioner Inman requested Manager Steen to obtain recreational statistical data

 

regarding the programs and number of participants from the YMCA.

 

            Commissioner Inman noted that officials from HMC are talking with officials from

 

Novant and Baptist regarding co-ventures which could be very beneficial to the operation of

 

Stokes- Reynolds Memorial Hospital.

 

            Commissioner Smith agreed with Commissioner Inman regarding the need to take a closer

 

look at the statistical information regarding recreational activities associated with the YMCA and

 

the need for explore PARTF Grant Funding.

 

The Board unanimously agreed there had been tremendous progress made regarding the

 

2009 goals.  Manager Steen agreed with the Board regarding the tremendous progress made

 

regarding the 2009 goals.  Manager Steen noted the implementation of the following collection

 

services recently started by the Tax Department:  use of Interstate Collection Agency, use of

 

debt setoff, and use of lockbox for payments which eliminated a position that was currently vacant.

 

            Manager Steen noted the continuous efforts being made regarding the community college

 

site such water & sewer to the location and reconstruction of the intersection at 8&89.

 

            Manager Steen noted the recent Board approval regarding longevity steps that will be given

 

in the March payroll along with Lunch and Learn sessions being offered by Forsyth Technical

 

Community College for employees.

 

            The Board discussed some type of identification system for residents of Stokes County

 

who use the Greenbox Sites, eliminating trash being deposited in the Greenbox Sites from

 

individuals who do not live in Stokes County.

 

2010 Capital Needs

 

            Manager Bryan Steen presented the following 2010 capital needs: (preliminary list)

           

o   Building and grounds – paving estimated at $400,000

o   Generator at the new EMS Station

o   Upgrade to Emergency Communications –FCC mandates by 01-01-2013

o   Facility to store salt for inclement weather

o   Replacement of Booth Mountain generator

o   Investigate the possibility of the County taking over the C&D operation instead of contracting the service

o   Normal change out of vehicles and computers

o   Possible capital equipment at Stokes Reynolds Memorial

o   Generators for emergency shelters

 

Commissioner Carroll noted the immediate need for gravel at the Pinnacle site.

 

2010 Planning Goals

 

            Chairman Walker requested Board members to bring their list of goals for 2010 to the

 

March 11th Goals Session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming 2010-2011 Fiscal Year Budget Discussion

 

            The Board discussed the following:

 

o   Budgets from departments are due March 15th

o   Increase in health and dental premiums

o   Increase in employer contributions for retirement

o   Estimated $96,000 tax revenue from in new growth within the county

o   Look at every opportunity to keep costs down

o   Possible grant funding from the State for “going green”

 

The Board discussed the request from Stokes Rockingham Vol. Fire Department

 

regarding a new fire district for their area.  Manager Steen noted information received from

 

various sources regarding the topic has been sent to the Fire Chief at Stokes Rockingham Vol.

 

Fire Department.  Commissioner Carroll requested the information be sent to the Stokes

 

Rockingham Vol. Fire Department – Board of Directors.

 

The Board discussed a possible tax rate for 2010-11.

 

Chairman Walker polled the Board regarding a possible tax rate for 2010-11:

 

Chairman Walker responded:  keep the same

Commissioner Inman responded: keep the same – “not etched in stone”

            Vice Chairman Lankford responded:  keep the same

Commissioner Carroll responded:  same philosophy- “Expect the county manager to present the Board with a realistic budget to meet the needs of the county with a corresponding tax rate to fund the budget and evaluate it when it is presented”

            Commissioner Smith responded:  keep the same – “not etched in stone”

 

Requests for Additional Information from Manager/Staff for March 11th Goals Session

 

            The Board requested the following information for the March 11th goals session:

 

o   Current Financial Report

o   Current Debt Service Schedule

o   Updated Sales Tax Revenue

o   Information from EMS Director regarding convalescent transports/revenues/sixth truck

 

 

Adjournment

 

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

 

a motion to adjourn the goals session.

 

Commissioner Smith moved to adjourn the goals session.   Vice Chairman Lankford

 

seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________                                  _____________________________

Darlene M. Bullins                                                    Jimmy Walker

Clerk to the Board                                                    Chairman