Secondary Road Hearing

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Mitchell County Commissioners
Minutes, Regular Session
May 5, 2008


The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on May 5, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in the Superior Courtroom, Mitchell County Courthouse, Bakersville, NC.  Those present for the meeting were Lisa Sparks, Chair; Phil Byrd, Vice-Chairman; Mike Hensley, Member; Patrick Phillips, Member; Jim Saylor, Member; and Charles Vines, County Manager.  Also present were Hal Harrison, County Attorney; Mavis Parsley, Finance Officer and Jonathan Robbins, Reporter with the Mitchell News-Journal.

  1. CALL TO ORDER – Chairman Sparks called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

  2. INVOCATION – Commissioner Saylor gave the invocation.

  3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE -  Commissioner Hensley led the pledge.

  4. ADDITIONS OR CHANGES TO THE AGENDA  -  Commissioner Saylor stated he would like to suggest at the end of the hearing that they follow right on  through with the regular meeting.

  5. ADOPTION OF AGENDA - Commissioner Hensley moved to adopt the agenda.  Commissioner Saylor seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

  6. APPROVAL OF MINUTES- Commissioner Saylor moved to approve the Minutes for April 7, 2008. Commissioner Hensley seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

  7. CHAIRMAN’S COMMENTS – Commissioner Sparks stated she was going to make a comment on Dr. Cooper’s report.  She added that it was mentioned in the last meeting and it’s something she thought needed to be followed through with but right now they are still looking at numbers.  She stated they were looking at what it was going to cost to hire a director. She relayed that County Manager Vines was currently talking with some of the other counties that has a planning board in place and what their guidelines and by-laws are; what it will cost to hire the director and some other expenses that go along with this.  She stated this has been a little bit of a time consuming process and it’s not something their going to put in a filing cabinet and forget about it.


    1. NC DOT Secondary Road Hearing – Mr. Ed. Green began by introducing himself, stating he was with Division Maintenance #13 in Asheville and that he was glad to be able to meet with the Board this afternoon.  He stated they were here  for the Public Hearing to be held to present the Mitchell County Board of Commissioners the estimated proposed expenditure as secondary construction for the period of 2001 to 2008 through 2008 to 2009. He then began to introduce the staff that he had brought with him today.  He introduced Gabe Johnson, County Engineer; Scott Keller, technician and Lloyd Tate both from the District Office in Marion.  He then turned it over to Gabe to let him present the program. He stated they would take any questions after the program was presented from the Commissioners or the public, adding that at the end of the program they would request a resolution for the current proposed public.

      Gabe Johnson stated he was going to explain their priority system and how they go about prioritizing paved roads  and the funding and present the program for 2008-2009 paving season.  He stated he would begin first with the priority system and how they prioritized on paved roads.  He stated the current policy requires that this survey be done along with the district personnel collection data concerning the number of homes, businesses, etc. that are on the road.  He stated essentially those homes get like six points and parking lots get three points, stores get ten, so and so forth and basically the ones with the highest score get the highest priority. He then shared about the funding for the secondary road program and stated that Mitchell County probably receives $650,000 annually for secondary construction at that funding loan we expect it to take about four years to complete the paving program.  He stated if all the roads were ready that are right-hand available and are ready to get that right-of-way then we expect it will take about 19-years to completely path them. He also stated that the number of miles paved, basically depends on the availability of the funds and construction cost for that year; the average cost per mile in Mitchell County is about $350,000 to construct and pave the road.  He shared that last year they paved .42 miles in Mitchell County and that served twenty one business and there are currently 70 unpaid roads remaining with actual right-of-way, including the right-of-way unavailable for 62 unpaved roads, a total of 36.22 miles; 17 unpaved totals approximately 69.7.  He then stated he was going to present the program for 2008 to 2009 for the paved program.  He shared the first was on rural roads SR1113 Walker Gap Road and Swamp Gap Road but it didn’t actually go on to the Park Way but does go on the Park Way boundary.  He stated that road was partially funded last year; it is 20-miles long and the estimated cost for this year is $240,000. The second road on rural list is SR1180 which is Sam Gouge Road, which is 23.9 miles for a cost of $150,000, estimated that totals 1.19 miles road for a total of $3009.  He shared there was also a safe project which is here in town, SSR1260 South Mitchell Avenue, a plan to widen and improve the drainage for a cost of $200,000.  He then stated the grand total would be $590.000 for a program. He then asked if there were any questions.

      Chairman Sparks asked about South Mitchell Avenue where they plan to widen the road at Bowman, what the distance would be.

      Mr. Johnson stated there was not a distance given but essentially it was from 226 just beyond the entrance to Bowman Middle School.

      Commissioner Hensley asked if was about a tenth.

      Mr. Johnson relayed that it was probably about a tenth.

      Chairman Sparks asked when this was projected to begin.

      Mr. Johnson stated it might possibly over the summer or actually when school lets out next year because they really don’t want to be doing it while school is still in. He stated they would see what they could do.

      Chairman Sparks replied “OK”.

      Mr. Green then stated they couldn’t start till July anyway, because funds would not be available till then.

      Commissioner Saylor asked about Emmanuel Church Road, stating he understood it was the old 226 and that they had tried for years to get it put back on the state map so the state would maintain it.  He stated there was a bad slide out that way that is really dangerous to drive by.  He added he didn’t know how many residents were on it, but there was a church and a cemetery. He stated he knew they were short on money, but that was something that really needed to be looked at.

      There was discussion between Mr. Johnson and Ed Green about the matter.

      Mr. Green stated he couldn’t really remember how it stands.

      Commissioner Saylor thanked Mr. Green for what he had done a while back after he had talked to him.

      Commissioner Hensley asked about Hattie William’s Road off of Dale Road, which was held up for a while.  He stated there were about 14 families that live on it and a school bus can’t get on it because it is a single lane.  He stated that Gay Lord Perry had refused to sign the right-of-way out there and now it’s that particular land has been sold to a new owner and this one is ready to sign the right-of-way.  He stated it was on the books.

      Mr. Green asked him to name the road again.

      Commissioner Hensley stated it was basically the first road to the right after you pass Dula Road and then you turn to the left and you go through to 226 off of Dale Road and then Hattie William’s is the first or second road up. He stated he thought the right-of-way had already been signed except for the little bit on the front entrance.

      Commissioner Sparks asked about the money that was reserved for contingencies, adding she does know that if something costs more you have to go into that pot.  She then asked what happens at the end of the physical year to that money if it is not used and where it’s put. She stated she assumed it went into a fund balance for an amount of time, but asked if the money was put back into Mitchell County as part of our funding or does it get moved to somewhere else?

      Mr. Johnson stated that in Mitchell County they usually spend the majority of their money anyway so there’s very little to be left over, but what little bit would be left would remain in Mitchell County.

      Mr. Green stated it would depend on how it was stated in the General Statute of the county.

      County Manager Vines asked if it would be used to rollover in Mitchell County.

      Mr. Johnson stated that was right and gave an example of how it would work.

      Commissioner Sparks asked if there were further questions.

      Commissioner Phillips asked about cut-off lanes like at Penland off of 226 and   Mine Creek because trucks are coming down that hill and cars are stopped there making it hard to slow down and we’ve had a lot of wrecks.  He stated this was like you are turning to go to Penland School or the Penland area off of highway 226 and there are a lot of wrecks there and Mine Creek.

      Commissioner Saylor stated his daughter was in a wreck there and he was going through there at the time and he stopped and asked if anyone was hurt and they stated “no” and he went on.

      Commissioner Phillips stated that with tractor-trailer trucks coming off that hill that it was hard for them to slow down.

      Commissioner Saylor stated there were five people that had been killed there.

      Commissioner Phillips shared that there was a produce stand right there.

      Commissioner Sparks stated Mountaineer Produce was there.

      Commissioner Phillips stated that was right and that area really needed to be looked at and Mine Creek also.

      Commissioner Saylor stated that Mine Creek needed a turning lane really bad.

      Commissioner Phillips stated a lot of people entering the county use that road.

      Commissioner Saylor stated the other one mentioned at Penland that there were five people killed there about a year ago.

      Commissioner Saylor stated last summer he was driving through there and looked up and the power line was falling and he went to the other side of the road and tried to stop and the power lines fell behind him and in front of him and he was trapped in the middle with live lines down.  He stated a car had left the road and hit a pole and knocked the power lines loose leaving him caught in the middle of it.  He stated another man was coming from the other direction and they fell down across his truck and he was trying to back up and get out from under them.

      Mr. Green stated they would take a look at those areas and see what could be done.  He stated that they couldn’t use the funds talked about on that type project.

      Commissioner Phillips stated he just wished they would look into it.

      Commissioner Hensley asked that it at least be looked into.

      Commissioner Sparks asked if there were any further comments or any public comments concerning secondary roads.  There were no pubic comments concerning secondary roads so she thanked Mr. Johnson and asked for a motion to close the public hearing on the secondary roads.  Commissioner Hensley made a motion and it was seconded and carried unanimously.


    Dr. Carroll stated he appreciated the time to speak and that he would be very brief adding he hoped everyone had a chance to look at the study that was mentioned earlier. He stated that he thought the people had really worked hard on the study for several months and now the people would like to hear from the Board.  He stated they would like to hear a motion to approve or otherwise make a commitment to follow through with some of the recommendations.  He stated he thought it would be a timely thing for the Board to do for the county and for the Board to take initiative and put their emphasis behind that and let the public know they are planning to move forward. He stated that he knew there had been a lot of talk, but he did have concerns that there’s energy out and it may start fueling-up if the Board delays for a long time; it’s a definite possibility.  He stated there were obviously a lot of questions that have to do with financing, but there are things the county can do so that it don’t really cost much money such as putting together a planning board.  He stated that was one of the things he personally would like to see moving forward on the some of the other things that is going to cost some money and it certainly needs some time.  He stated that a commitment to even say we will do it, when finances are available would certainly be a positive step.  He then encourage the Board to endorse the study as it was done and go ahead and try to keep the ball rolling and not let it sit.  He relayed if it sits it looses it’s power and we don’t have a lot of time with every month that goes by without a decision another month to be potentially be put behind.  He stated he would appreciate their time and thoughts on that and would certainly be interested as to what the Commissioners think about this or if there’s some good reason why you would delay it.  He stated he thought that everybody would like to know what those reasons would be.

    Commissioner Sparks stated she guessed there would be no more public comments and asked if any of the Commissioners would like to comment to Dr. Carroll concerning this issue.

    Commissioner Saylor stated he would like to see the planning board put together what he was talking about and maybe we could get volunteers to do that.

    Commissioner Phillips stated he would like to see a planning board for each area of Mitchell County.  He stated that Spruce Pine had a different need from Buladean or Tipton Hill; Jim’s totally right, we need to get it going.

    Commissioner Sparks stated as she had before that Mr. Vines had been working on gathering some of the information from other counties that currently have a planning board.  She stated it is a little time consuming and were not sure what by-laws we will have to follow through with and what we will have to go along with on it.  She stated again that it is a little time consuming putting some numbers together; it’s not something that she felt like will find it’s way to a filing cabinet and stay there.  She stated it was being worked on, but you could not put a planning board together if you don’t have the guidelines and the by-laws to follow and stated they were in the process.  She shared it was not going to happen tomorrow and she wouldn’t guarantee it would happen next month, but has she stated before the study wasn’t something done frivolously for no apparent reason.   She relayed that she thought it was something that the Board would move forward with and that she definitely planned for that to happen because it’s important for the County, taxpayers and everybody in it and we need to know the direction we’re going to take in the 10 years.  She then asked if there were any more comments. 

    Commissioner Saylor made a motion to close the public comment period. Commissioner Hensley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.


    1. TRHD Proposed Fees for Well Program & Public Pools – Jessie Greene discussed Toe River Health District proposed fees for well program and public pools.

      Commissioner Saylor moved to table this to allow for further study.  Commissioner Hensley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

  11. CONSENT AGENDA – Commissioner Hensley moved to approve the Consent
    Agenda Items as presented (a copy of the Consent Agenda Items are hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes).  Commissioner Phillips seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    • NC DOT Secondary Road Improvement Resolution
    • Budget Amendment # 4 for FY 2007-2008
    • Designation of Lead Agency for H&CCBG
    • Appointment to the H&CCBG Advisory Committee
    • Memorandum of Understanding between Mitchell County and the Mitchell County Development Foundation
    • Secondary Road Program Resolution
    • Western Highlands Networks’ 3rd Quarter Fiscal Monitoring Report
    • CHPP Proposal Summary, Application for Continuation of Implementation Funding and Contract for Professional Services


    County Manager Charles Vines began by telling the Board he had left a two-month calendar in front of each one of them that has to do with the budget. He stated that as you could see the 12th through the 16th of May is the discussion of the budget with Board members and stated he would be doing this in pairs of two.  He stated he had allowed a week incase one of the Board members could not be there and he could work that out to go over the budget with the Board.  He stated Mavis Parsley and himself would like to go over the budget with the Board and take a look at any ideas of recommendation they might have and once done they will get those logged down and take that into consideration before doing that.  On May 19th a special meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. in the morning and they will present the budget to the Board of Commissioners on that day.  He added in the month of June on our regular scheduled meeting on Monday the 2nd we’ll begin our meeting at 5 p.m. with a public hearing to solicit comments from the public on the budget.  He stated after that whatever is done from that point up until the time we adopt a budget and changes made known at that time.  He stated that on June 26th at 8:30 there would be another special meeting to adopt a budget, so if those dates seem to be pretty well okay with everyone he stated he would go ahead and schedule and set-up times to do that.  He shared that currently right now the budget is about 85% complete and we still lack the Board of Education and Mayland at hand. He stated they’ll have to be discussed at that point and that will be done during that period of time, adding if the dates given were good for Board that he would leave that with them and he would notify them when we can begin to get together and go through two of Board members at a time.  The second update he shared he had was a quick update on the paid channel with Charter which will be on channel 4 and Country Cable will be Channel 22 and we should be online in operation shortly after the 16th.  He stated that the equipment is all here and in place and it’s being validated now and they believe that it is going to be able to move smoothly and both Charter and Country feel like that shortly after the 16th that we’ll be live and operating on the cable television channels.

    Commissioner Hensley asked if this meant they ought to wear neckties.

    County Manager Vines stated only if you want to be on T.V. He stated that to begin with, we’re just looking at a scrolling operation to provide maybe a community calendar, meetings, and things of this sort that go on in the community and hopefully next year we’ll be able to air some things from the school such as basketball or volleyball and possibly football and any other events we may be able to video.  He stated that would probably come six-months to a year after were online, adding we’ll start out small with the scroll that has a beautiful background of our county which it will be up against and we’ll be able to update it and it will be at a point so that it can be centrally updated by several people.  He stated the high school was working some with Dr. Charles Nash, who is heading this up on behalf of the county and Richard Canipe in the Town of Spruce Pine; there will be people to update it and it will be a good avenue for the Board of Education when they have snow days and things like that and we’re going to make it available to where Mr. Spurling or people like him could go home and from a computer put in closings for that day or whatever they might be when we have bad weather.  He stated they felt it would be very good for us and would help out in lots of ways, adding we’re going to expand it as quickly as we can.

    Commissioner Saylor asked if the budget meeting on June 2 would be at the County Building or here at the courthouse.

    County Manager Vines stated he felt we should have it here just incase there are more than 28 people who can be here; we can’t put any more than 28 in our room so that is probably why will have it here. He stated the regular scheduled meeting would be followed right behind that one at the same time.


  14. ADJOURNMENT – Commissioner Hensley moved to adjourn the meeting.
    Commissioner Phillips seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.