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FY 2008-2009 Budget

Toe River Health District Proposed Fees for Well Program & Public Pools

USDA Rural Development

 

 

 

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Mitchell County Commissioners
Minutes, Regular Session
June 2, 2008

NORTH CAROLINA
MITCHELL COUNTY

The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on June 2, 2008 at 5:00 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Conference Room, Administration Building, Bakersville, NC.  Those present for the meeting were Lisa Sparks, Chair; Phil Byrd, Vice-Chairman; Mike Hensley, Member; Patrick Phillips, Member; Jim Saylor, Member; Charles Vines, County Manager and Kathy Young, Clerk to the Board.  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 5:00 p.m.

  2. INVOCATION – Commissioner Hensley gave the invocation.

  3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – Commissioner Phillips led the pledge.

  4. ADDITIONS OR CHANGES TO THE AGENDA – By consensus the Board agreed to remove Item 9.0 to Item 8. B. and to add a Resolution to the LGC as Item 9. R.

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

  6. PUBLIC HEARINGS/MEETINGS

    1. Public Hearing the Proposed Budget for FY 2008-2009 – Chairman Sparks called the Public Hearing to order at 5:07 p.m.

      No oral or written comments were received.

      Commissioner Hensley moved to close the public hearing.  Commissioner Phillips seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

  7. PUBLIC COMMENTS

    Daniel Barron - stated that the last time he spoke before the Board he congratulated them sincerely for investing in the community and the community study for the Dr. Cooper Report.  He stated he wanted to repeat that again tonight and thanked the Board for having started what he believed will be one of the most important things that any group of county commissioners has done here in Mitchell County.  He stated he has been involved in education and government affairs almost all of his entire professional life and he knows that long-range planning is not the norm. He stated we resist it because there seems to be too many fires; all these things need to be put out immediately and while we know better we tend to think that next year will take care of it’s self.  He stated the process that the Board has begun will prove to be the sort of thinking to show that this kind of process is dying here in Mitchell County and that we have a more enlightened approach to considering the future here in Mitchell County for ourselves, children and our grandchildren. He stated that when the report was presented, he saw nods of agreement and expressions of approval and although it was not formally adopted by vote, it seemed to be the Board was supporting the recommendations that you would consider action on this.  He stated his purpose tonight was to ask that the Board please keep the process moving. He stated he realizes there are many things that the Board has on their plate and many things that occupy their time and attention, but he really believes that taking action on this report will be one of the most important accomplishments that you can be proud of as a county commissioner.  He shared also that he wanted to assure the Board that there are many people in the county that are behind them and willing to help them to take the next step to take this report off the table and put it into action.  He stated that none of the recommendations can be put into place without additional study; he added one of the things as you know is you can always take something and you can study it to death.  He stated there’s nothing so important that it can’t be talked too death; the idea is that while the recommendations in the report are clear, there’s no doubt that additional information and examples of other successful efforts would be considered.  He stated that everyone in this room has jobs that require your time and what you are doing right now and you can’t be expected to know everything immediately on every topic that you have to consider.  He shared that one positive example of what can be done is the Historic Courthouse and added that the Board appointed committees to study various aspects of the building and it’s use and each of the committees were successful.  He stated that the last committee brought to the Board recommendations that were critiqued and then approved.  He stated that without the Boards action the building would continue to deteriorate, but now it is more than a dream of what it can become to serve the people of Mitchell County.  He shared that he believed that if the Board would appoint an interim committee of five to seven people to address the Cooper Report and come back with specific recommendations and information; we can take action that will make a positive difference for many years to come.  He added that it wouldn’t require any money it would just require the time of the people who are devoted to it.  He stated that while he had not gone out to recruit people, having seen the energy and enthusiasm of community members during the town meetings and the commitment of the stock holders; in the several months it took to generate that report, he sincerely believes that all has to be done is to ask and you will have as many people as you want, to work with you.  He thanked the Board again for their initial investment, their continued support, and considering this request for Mitchell County’s future and to appoint as soon as possible, an interim planning committee to gather information for your consideration for action.

    Dr. Carroll - stated that he had talked a little bit with Dr. Barron and has discovered that there is a wealth of talent in our county, people involved in all sorts of different fields and we need to start tapping into that wealth and use it for the betterment of the future.  He shared that there are people who are builders and do development; people that are involved in industry; people that are involved in planning and have experience in planning for counties similar, but obviously are not identical to ours.  He added there’s lots of talent and education; people involved in recreation fields and environmental conservation; people who do grant writing and have excess to lots of people that can help us in writing grants through funds. He stated he knows the budget is a big concern and we can’t put to much strain on the taxpayers; we need to be able to leverage the money from outside.  He shared that there was no question in his mind that there are thousands, if not millions of dollars to help us with this project if we’ll start putting the action together.  He stated he appreciated that this Board has taken a big step of moving us toward doing some planning; it’s been along time coming and we just need to keep moving along.  He stated he hoped we would make some concrete steps in that direction, adding that he felt it would be a huge mistake to put this off and leave it with the next Board because they’ll have their hands full just trying to know what’s going on before they get started with something else.  He stated this Board is the most familiar with the process and he would be very enthusiastic to see this Board take some concrete steps to bring it to the next step and if the Board could put together and help you make that process happen would be an excellent benefit.

    Don Baucom - thanked the Board and stated he wanted to relay as the other two speakers, the step that the Board has taken in getting the planning process in Mitchell County.  He shared now there is a golden opportunity that has been given to take the steps that are necessary to begin to put the formation together for this kind of activity in it’s prospective for Mitchell County.  He told the Board that the future is really in their hands, and we don’t need to wait for the next Board because their going to be tied up, as already pointed out, with many things; one being the revaluation which will probably eat them alive for the first period of time that they are in office.

    Commissioner Sparks stated she hoped that didn’t happen.

    Mr. Baucom stated he hoped it didn’t happen as well, but was just saying that now is the time to check out the guidance and leadership for Mitchell County.
    He told the Board they have this opportunity to take the steps that are necessary to put us on the right road to success. He told Commissioner Byrd that he has promised us that when he is the Chairperson those actions that were approved and brought forth to the committee from Dr. Coopers report would be enough to get the job done and he is holding him to it.  He stated he would like to put him in a position of making some motion of putting together a planning group and as it has already been pointed out, it will not cost any money.  He shared that he would like to encourage the Board to go even one step further and look at the possibility of a county planner, who could draw up grants and applications of grants that could draw in much, much more money.  He stated he thought this was a logical step at this point and time as people have wanted many, many changes in Mitchell County and they have spoken out in Dr. Cooper’s report and there’s things that has been brought to this meeting; we would like to encourage that to be done.  He asked the Board to please continue with this process, starting tonight not letting another month go by without some positive attitude on behalf of the Board towards the future of Mitchell County.

    Mr. Lorden - asked if he was to comment on the budget.

    Commissioner Sparks told him he was down to comment on action planning and that if he wanted to comment on the budget he was too late.

    He stated he read the papers all the time, sometimes two papers, sometimes six, adding he reads them all the time on Sundays, holidays, he never misses.

    He shared that he had been watching what has been going on and for the time he has lived in Mitchell County which is since 2000, the mind-set of the commissioners was to vote no on all expenditures, no matter what it is, unless it is absolutely necessary, to avoid the taxes going up. He stated it worked, but from this point on he didn’t know how that was going to work, not with the price of fuel. He stated barrel oil has gone up 100% in the last year from $74 to $135 dollars which has raised the cost of everything and those costs have not caught up yet, but they will.  He stated it appears that this year’s budget will be fine because you have moved some things around.  He relayed that with the revaluation coming up things will still be okay for a while because the property values go up. He added that when people’s taxes go up, for example, if someone has 100 acres of land that eight years ago was $2,000 an acre, they paid a rate of $200,000 worth of property.  He stated that if now it’s gone up to $5,000 an acre, that property is going to be worth $500,000 and if taxes go up two and a half times, it might be stated that taxes were not increased, but the value of his property increase, well, that’s neither here or there.  He urged the Board to do a pyridine shift and if they didn’t want people’s taxes to go up, instead of having the mindset of “no” on all expenditures you are going to have to do one or two things, just like on an individual budget.  He stated expenses would have to be cut and you would have to increase the taxpayers, one or the other, or both. He suggested to the Board that they start thinking about it now and be a little proactive and not reactive and if it can’t be figured out on how to increase the tax base, he would be glad to talk to anyone about it because he has done work on that before.  H e stated that he had drawn up an action plan and couple of the Board had looked at it, the county manager has looked at it and he’s free to give it out if anyone else would like to look at it.   He shared again that at the very least to think about cutting expenses, adding that one way, which there’s probably a dozen, is to cut back to a four-day-work-week both for the school system and all county employees (ten-hour-days, instead of eight-hour-days).  He stated he thought the Board really ought to start thinking about doing that now to cut the expense back, otherwise, the bottom line is, that five, six, seven years, you’ll see everybody’s cost go up twelve percent a year; three or four percent just from inflation.  He added that it’s going to go up another eight or nine percent on top of that and if you paid twelve percent and multiply it over six years, you’ve doubled everybody’s taxes (twelve percent compounded over 6 years, you’ve done better with these taxes). He urged the Board to be a little proactive and to think about where we want to be five years down the road, adding that’s if everyone could live with everyone’s taxes doubling, on top of the revaluation, which could double it again and make it four times more.  He told the Board if they could live with it, he could live with it, stating the last comment he wanted to make was that he had checked on five counties and three counties around here all reading have active plans in place that their planning on carrying out to not pass this additional cost that were going to see in the future on the taxpayers.  He stated that their taking proactive steps now to either eliminate or mitigate those costs that are going to come in the future; he added he would like to see Mitchell County do the same.  He concluded by thanking the Board.

    Commissioner Sparks stated that was all she had down for public comments, but asked if anyone else would like to speak.

    Danny Marlow - began to speak; he stated he had come here tonight to find out what is going on with Pineridge Run Road. He stated that he called and talked with Phillip Frye about it, but he tells him he needs to get his County Commissioners involved in it.  He stated he had talked with Gabe Johnson and he says that it’s not on any kind of priority list.

    Commissioner Sparks asked where it was located at.

    Mr. Marlow shared that it’s right across from Mayland Community College. He shared it’s only from where the pavement ends to where the state maintenance ends about three-tenths of a mile.  He shared that they were thirty-three homes on the road and Mitchell Well Drilling comes in and out of the road everyday with trucks.  He stated there was a man who lived down the road that had some kind of Porsche thing going on because there are Porsches going in and out of there everyday; he has UPS and Fed Ex coming in and out everyday.  He also stated there’s a Spanish man who has a business (he lives on the road) and Spanish folks come in and out all day long, they pile-up in vans and leave and it’s only three-tenths of a mile long.  He shared that for the pavement we have wasted from the county line to Stamey’s the road could have been paved twenty times.

    Commissioner Sparks asked him that in talking to Gabe, were there no plans to pave the road.

    Mr. Marlow stated that every time he has talked with Gabe Johnson, that he tells him that road is not on the priority list and that it will be around two to three years.  He relayed again that it’s only three-tenths of a mile and there’s so much traffic, adding he would like to know if there could be something placed to county the amount of cars that come in and out of that road every single day.  He stated it’s crazy, he stated he went out there this morning before he went to work and washed his bike and he counted twenty cars of Spanish people coming in and out, not including the school buses which come in and out thirteen times a day.  He stated there’s one way in and one way out and they go by his house thirteen times a day and the dust is unbelievable.  He shared that you clean your home and you clean your car and two days later it’s a mess and something needs to be done with it; it’s ridiculous.  He stated he had talked with Gabe Johnson about putting Calcium Chloride down and he talked about that with Mr. Frye; Mr. Frye told him it could be done, but those on the road would have to pay for it.  He stated the people that live on the road agreed to it, but Mr. Johnson told him that was not going to happen and that they will not put Calcium Chloride on the road.

    Commissioner Sparks told him at the end of the meeting to write down his name and telephone number.  She stated they would see what they could get done, adding she had heard that road mentioned before. 

    Mr. Marlow added that they had just came through and widened the road at the end of this year and when they widened it, they just left it for a week without touching it.  He stated the only reason they had come and put gravel down was because the lady that drives the little bus down that road flies.  He shared that she had wrecked on that road and Mr. English told him they had gravel put down on the road.

    Commissioner Saylor asked Commissioner Byrd if that road was not looked at two years ago.

    Commissioner Byrd stated they were good on the state maintenance two years ago.

    Mr. Marlow told them that the road would have improved in 1991 or 2001 if it had been on state maintenance and it was never took over until 2006.

    Commissioner Byrd stated 2006 and that they were on that Board at that time.  He stated it should be on a list and that there should be some number that they should give you.

    Mr. Marlow relayed again that Mr. Johnson tells him it’s not on any kind of list whatsoever.

    Commissioner Hensley added that if they had improved it, it should be on a paving list.

    Commissioner Byrd stated he didn’t see how it couldn’t be because every road in each county is supposed to have a priority list with a number and more information.

    Commissioner Sparks asked if anyone else would like to make a public comment, adding she appreciated all comments made and asked if any of the Commissioners had anything to add.

  8. ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION

    1. TRHD Proposed Fees for Well Program & Public Pools  - Commissioner Sparks stated this was brought up at the last meeting, but it was tabled till the next meeting, which is this meeting.  She stated that Mr. Hughes was here tonight and asked if there were any questions adding that Commissioner’s Hensley and Saylor have questions as well as the entire Board.

      Mr. Hughes stated that a couple of things that needed to be cleared up were that site visits beyond the standard therein; when wrote originally we were considering the first visit, not in that.  He stated they were figuring on the septic plans and the welding to be included in the same visit, so that would actually be one in three more and water samples were included so that is actually four visits instead of three. He stated that is not a mandatory thing to charge because we have always had revisit fees with out septic program and we don’t always let it, because it depends on how egregious it is.  He shared that he had contractors put in systems and call him at nine o’clock and he would have to go at twelve and inspect it and if he showed up at twelve-thirty and the tank didn’t come, they didn’t pick up that cell phone and call him.  He stated he would charge them because it was kind of at our discretion, but we don’t randomly charge unless it’s an imposition; we like to be there if we need too, but we get a lot of time wasted. He stated we get calls like this and we get there and they’re not ready and we would like to have this in place; it’s an egregious thing that we can charge them for a revisit. He added that is what is beyond the standard and beyond the county’s original sit visit.

      Commissioner Sparks stated that it needed to be clarified and that Commissioner Hensley had a couple of other concerns.

      Commissioner Hensley stated that he was concerned, and for one thing was there a reposition as a lot of people wanted their well witched in that someone can tell them where there’s water.  He asked them if they took that into consideration or not.

      Mr. Hughes stated that if someone wants a well witched (which you will have various opinions all through the state because some say it’s worthless, some say it’s good and I really don’t know) you have people such as a man in Avery County that’s witched wells and he’s pretty consistent in finding water, so we can’t discount it altogether.   He shared they have an application out that we want you to submit a site plan from where your house is, where you want your septic and where you would like for your well to be; we try to work it in.  He stated we can dig the way you want and that’s how we’ll do it, basically when we do the well site visit we have to figure out where the septic system is going to go and then we can tell you where you cannot drill the well.  He stated they make as big of an area as possible there including all set backs to drill that well, hopefully that takes into account if they have had it witched prior to that it will fit in that area. He stated they always take the homeowners desire into account’; what they want is what we like to give them if at all possible.

      Commissioner Hensley relayed that in other words what he was saying was it was not mandatory by state ruling to put a well in a certain place.

      Mr. Hughes stated that once in a while it may come to that.  He shared an example of a house site that was picked out and a place to put their septic system and there was one corner on the property to put a well, maybe 20 x 30 or 30 x 20 and the very top corner was the only place to put a well because of certain restrictions.  He stated that once in a while you can be narrowed down to a very small area, but if possible we’ll make it a big area because we always try to do what the homeowner wants. He stated than in regards to repairs, he didn’t know a lot in detail, but he would try to answer their questions. He stated he talked with Aaron in Watauga County and he’s been working over there about three years and he’s yet to see his first repair; it’s just not something that happens all that often.  He stated that when they say “repair” their not just talking about replacing a pump.   A repair is when you have to go in and make a well deeper or the casing depth deeper or you have to channel some kind of contamination that’s got to be sealed off; we sometimes have to put in a new line or grout around the line to hopefully seal off whatever is contaminating the well. He stated it’s just doesn’t happen enough and he doesn’t have enough experience to really give out details.

      Commissioner Hensley asked him if a well goes dry, and their going to set up on the same well location, with everything that you’ve got, that you’ve already inspected, we’ll they have to get another permit or anything like that?

      Mr. Hughes stated that would constitute a repair if it went right and we had a well dug in there; we would have to break the seals and make the well deeper.

      Commissioner Hensley asked him how he would know and would it be the homeowner or the well driller who would be responsible for the problem.

      Mr. Hughes stated it would be both.

      Mr. Hensley then stated that would be because you are doing it with an existing well.

      Mr. Hughes stated that was right.

      Mr. Hensley then asked if all that would be done was to make the hole deeper or more water.

      Mr. Hughes stated that it would be the homeowners repair because the well seal still has to be broken; we have to inspect the grout on it, the structure of it and we’ve got to do a completion till the well is put back in place.

      Commissioner Saylor stated he thought the well also had to be broken to replace the pump.

      Mr. Hughes stated that was right, but according to state rules that does not constitute a repair; pump replacement is not a repair. He stated he had also had that same question and he asked their “reading the well guy” about that and if you always had to break the seal.  He stated the seal didn’t always have to be broke, but even if you do, it’s still not a repair.

      Commissioner Sparks stated as she did before that this is something that is state mandated and something they said that every county had to do. She added it was an expense they didn’t want to have to put on everybody as everyone had already had enough expense put on them.  She stated this is something the state says you have to do.  She stated that one of the things that she knows the Board looked at very closely in doing this was making sure that the fees were not put back on the counties to have to pay and that the program could support itself.  She shared that there has been a lot of programs through Toe River Health that have been put on counties stating you have to do it and of course it comes back that the consumer has to take care of it or the taxpayer; we fund Toe River Health so we don’t want anymore programs where their not going to be self supported. She also shared that this had been an issue and that was one of the things that in being apart of the Board was looked at very closely and from what she can understand our numbers did not come out the way our total was represented.  She stated we didn’t get anything off of it, but we did come out to where we weren’t looking at extra money coming from the county or the taxpayers in order to support the program and the state mandate it; they’ve done enough of that to us.

      Commissioner Hensley stated he would like to propose a change and do this. He stated that he had looked over the different counties and Buncombe County charges less than we do and even Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany all together, even the district charge that they are asking.  He stating that Jackson County charges, Lincoln County, Jackson County which is down in the Piedmont charges a whole lot more; Anderson, Madison and Haywood look the same, Catawba and Transylvania, the majority of the counties that’s listed is less than we’re going to be.  He stated that what he would like to do for a six month trial period is to take the new replacement wells, which would be when you replace a well you would doing the repairs as far as I’m concerned and from the way he looks at it.  He stated there would be $200 dollars plus the cost of the water sampling kit which would be $260; this would be a total cost of $260 unless the state raises it for the kit they would be able to recover it or if an alert that came by the state by the first of July that they could charge $65 for the kit. He stated to do away with the existing well kit altogether and after 5 years you still have the $200 dollar site visit with US mileage, 50 cents a mile.

      Commissioner Phillips asked Commissioner Hensley if it could be done on a three-month basis to see how works.

      Commissioner Hensley stated that would be up to the Board and added he wouldn’t be here in six months.

      Commissioner Sparks asked him if he was talking about replacing a well because that was on of the things she had wondered about was that initial visit for a new well.

      Commissioner Hensley stated no, that if you look at it and they have four site visits beyond the standard, $50 dollars for each visit, they would be $50 per visit that they could be getting for the $200 and that’s the same thing as the site visit down here.  He stated that would divide it up into $200, $50 each visit then you would have your water sampling that would be added to that, otherwise if we take $250 that’s $310 that you’re paying total for a new and replacement well.  He stated the existing well repairs, they say they don’t have those hardly at all, do away with that whole thing. He stated to set it six, or three months, whatever the Board decides then the renewal after 5 years would be another $200 and then mileage.

      County Manager Vines added that would be 50 and 1/2 cents a mile due to federal rate and that subject to change, depending.

      Commissioner Saylor added that at the end of the three months if they bring documentation in showing that was what it cost them (we don’t want to lose money, but we don’t want to make money either).

      Commissioner Hensley asked Mr. Hughes if they would bring in itemized statements of what their doing and us this for a trial period and see if this works.

      Mr. Jesse Green of the Toe River Health District stated it they could do this and knowing how they do their accounting it would probably be about a month after the first month after the trial period before they could have the information that is being requested.

      Commissioner Saylor suggested setting it to four months.

      Commissioner Hensley stated that wouldn’t be any problem and the only reason he suggested 6 months or 3 months was because that would give you a period of time, or 5 months doesn’t matter.  He added he would just like to see.

      Mr. Hughes stated whatever the Board decides, 3 or 6, but added that 6 would probably give them a lot more accuracy because they probably want be able to give any data until the seventh month out.

      Commissioner Hensley stated, collect the whole data and present it at the following meeting.

      Commissioner Saylor asked if that would be acceptable and fair to Commissioner Phillips to go six months so the data would be more accurate.

      Commissioner Phillips stated that would be fine and the reason he had mentioned 3 months is because it would still be 4.

      Commissioner Saylor stated that he agreed with Mr. Green that it would take about six months to get much accuracy with no more than there’s going to be.

      Commissioner Byrd asked County Manager Vines how that fit in with our structure as far as the three counties and now that we have worked that out, last year.

      County Manager Vines stated he had talked with Mr. Greene about that and had asked him if he could provide him something either in bylaws or rules for the Toe River Health District stating that the majority of the counties would rule as to the dollar amount and I really haven’t gotten any thing back from them.  He stated he was going to have to assume that there’s nothing said that each county can set their own rates, unless there’s something to be given him tonight.

      Mr. Greene stated that County Manger Vines was correct and that he did check with Raleigh on that and the General Statues that guide the Board of Health activities and our relationship with the County Commissioners; the general statues do not get prescript enough at the county level.  He stated that what they are doing right now is a way to set, now logically we would like to move toward having harmony in our fee schedule among the three counties that are in the three counties of the Toe River Health District, but having a different fee in Mitchell as compared to that of Yancey and Avery is acceptable as long as the County Commissioners can live with it; we can live it.  He relayed that again, logically they would like to have fee schedules that are consistent across the district, but there’s no law prohibiting a different fee schedule in one county versus another.

      Mr. Hughes asked Mr. Vines if that answered his question.

      Mr. Vine stated it certainly did.

      Commissioner Byrd stated he didn’t want to waste a lot of time, but on the last budget they were trying to get things squared away on how we were  going to get a law set a side, but basically we agreed that we were going to fund each other equally, is that right?

      County Manager Vines stated that what we did before the budget process began, was come up with a base amount that each county could live with and a percentage based off of population would obtain the additional funding for the three counties.  He stated the three counties are paying three different amounts.

      Commissioner Byrd stated it would be a different amount, but percentage wise?

      County Manager Vines added that percentage wise it’s based on population. The base figure was an agreed amount on the three counties and the Board at that time was all in agreement to include Yancey and Avery counties were all in agreement based upon, per capita, what the population was for the county.

      Commissioner Byrd asked if this schedule was not based upon the same as far as per capita, not per capita, but upon the cost.

      Commissioner Vines stated he didn’t believe it was because it’s a new state mandated service that they had.

      Commissioner Byrd stated that he wanted to rephrase what he said before.  He stated that what he was trying to say was that if Yancey County lowers what they charge Yancey County citizens then if this is a true figure of what it costs to run this program, Mitchell County would be subsidizing the cost to Yancey, if this is correct.  He then asked if anyone followed him on this.

      Commissioner Sparks then asked if it had a per capita.

      Commissioner Byrd stated it’s a fee per county, but this is what they have laid out for each county.

      County Manager Vines stated that Toe River Health set the fees to start with.

      Commissioner Byrd relayed that’s based upon what it costs to run the program and asked if that was not correct.

      Commissioner Saylor stated that’s what they are trying to find out.

      Commissioner Byrd then stated that if were not paying a third of it or what the fees are, then in essence, Yancey and Avery would be subsidizing Mitchell County.

      Commissioner Sparks stated that Commissioner Byrd said it backwards a few moments ago and stated we would be subsidizing Yancey.

      Commissioner Byrd stated that yes he did, but what he was trying to say was that we wouldn’t like it if Yancey County done that.

      Commissioner Hensley stated that what he was thinking of was our taxpayers, our elderly and our people that are making initial investments and well is a ton of money to put in and if we can save them a few dollars then that’s what he’s thinking about Toe River Health District, but the people that’s here in Mitchell County when he does this.

      Commissioner Byrd stated that he agreed with him on that but by the same token as far as the rest of the citizens we might be using this to be funding through the taxes we can get if this is not sufficient.

      Commissioner Saylor stated that was the whole point of what Mr. Green had stated and like he himself stated a while ago, he knows what it cost the Health Department but we don’t want to make the money on it either, so let them show us in 6 months what it’s costing.

      Commissioner Byrd relayed to Commissioner Saylor was that not basically what they were saying this is.

      Commissioner Saylor stated they don’t know because they’ve not done it yet.

      Commissioner Hensley added that when you’ve never done a project, you really don’t know.

      Commissioner Byrd and Commissioner Sparks were not convinced by what was being said and Commissioner Sparks asked where we would be in 6 months if we do this and the fees are not enough to cover the cost in 6 months then what does Mitchell County do.

      Commissioner Saylor stated it would be their loss up to that point and then it would have to be raised.

      Commissioner Hensley also stated it would have to be raised.

      Commissioner Sparks then asked Mr. Green to speak.

      Mr. Green stated that he was going to ask that question and addressed it to Commissioner Saylor, about what they would do in six months if it was less; is it didn’t meet our cost and would we consider probating to catch up.

      Commissioner Saylor stated that would be up the Board at that time.

      Mr. Green stated that it was his understanding that by law (adding, when it comes to this type of general statute there’s fee setting by County Commissioners for health activities and told Mr. Byrd he was right) we are charged by a general statute and we can’t charge more than what it costs us and that’s in the general statute.  He stated that right now this is new and we don’t know what it’s going to cost us.  He stated that Alan and Linda had put forth the best guess they could and those were the fee schedules that were presented to the Board; it was based at the Board of Health last Thursday night, an action item offsetting up an accounting budget just for this program so we’ll be able to give you the data that you’re asking for.  He added that they also would be giving it to the other counties.

      Commissioner Byrd asked Commissioner Sparks if she was on that Board.

      Commissioner Sparks stated she was.

      Commissioner Byrd stated that was just another way of looking at it and let’s you know what the other two counties are saying they will pay.  The Health Department anticipates what it’s going to cost and when they get to the end of their six months then we’ll cut it back. He stated that’s what we have, but stated he would go along with the Health’s District Board recommendation and our member recommendation if you recommend we do that. He addressed the question to the Madam Chairman (Commissioner Sparks) and asked if she would go along with it since she is on the Health District Board and asked her also if she was in agreement.

      Chairman Sparks stated she was in agreement with the figures that have been given to them and as she had stated before there is no reason why every taxpayer in Mitchell County should have to pay for this, for someone to get wealthy.  She added that if they do look back at it in six months and see that we’re not charging enough and the numbers are above what we should be charging then Mitchell County, like Commissioner Byrd stated, will have Avery and Yancey subsidizing Mitchell.  She shared that right now we have a better working relationship with Toe River Health than we’ve had in a while concerning the amount of money the county pays to them and how they are funded; and how Mitchell County funds them per capita (Yancey and Avery) and she added she thought that had been a very good joint effort on behalf of all the three counties.  She stated it was scary to her to reduce these fees right now and then go to it in six months and say, “okay, they weren’t charging enough.

      Commissioner Byrd stated that everyone wants the same thing; it’s just about getting there.

      Commissioner Saylor stated he would like to ask Mr. Green one more question.  He asked him if they went with those figures that he had presented to us and went ahead with the study and brought all the figures back to the Board in six months, then if it’s not costing you that much, will the Toe River Health District reimburse the well owners that put the wells in the difference.

      Mr. Greene stated that was a good question and he didn’t know if they could do that; it would be the right thing to do.

      Commissioner Sparks asked if there was some reimbursement when it came to the fees that were being charged for inspections.  She asked was this not done in the past.

      Commissioner Saylor stated that this was a whole new ballgame and that it may not fall under the same kind of criteria.

      Mr. Green stated that Mr. Hughes says, “yes, that’s been done in the past precedence that’s been set and we should be able to do it this time, Mr. Saylor.

      Commissioner Hensley moved to make the following changes to the fee schedule.

      Total cost of new wells $200 (plus the cost of the sampling kit) currently $60 TRHD has to ability to increase the fee based on the cost of the sampling kit.

      Removal of the fee for the Existing Well Repair

      Site Visits beyond the standard 4 will be based on the mileage reimbursement at federal rate (currently 50.5 cents) instead of the flat rate of $50 per visit.

      Toe River Health District is to track the costs associated with the well permits for six months and present their finding to the Mitchell County Board of Commissioners at their January 2009 meeting to ensure that these fees are adequate to cover all costs associated with the well permit fee program.  Commissioner Saylor seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

      County Manager Vines added to delete the existing well repair fee. He added the requirement for them to do that is there, their just not going to have to pay.

    2. USDA Rural Development – Commissioner Byrd moved to accept the Letter of Conditions from USDA to obligate the $930,000 subsequent loan.

      Commissioner Phillips seconded the motion and it carried 3 to 2.  Commissioner Saylor and Commissioner Hensley opposed the motion.

  9. CONSENT AGENDA - Commissioner Byrd moved to approve the Consent
    Agenda minus Item 9. O. as presented (copies of the Consent Agenda items are hereby attached and becomes part of the minutes).  Commissioner Hensley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    • Appointment to the Mitchell County Library Board and the AMY Regional Library Board
    • Resolution Requesting the NC Dept. of Transportation to Cease the Use of Liquid Materials for Snow Removal on the Roads in Mitchell Count
    • Appointments to the Region D Development Corporation
    • Amendment to Contract K61190 Mitchell County Safe Place
    • DSS Contract with Mitchell County Transportation Authority K61195
    • DSS Contract with Mitchell County Transportation Authority K61196
    • DSS Contract with Mitchell County Transportation Authority K61197
    • DSS Contract with Harrison & Poore K61198
    • DSS Contract with Mitchell County Safe Place K61199
    • DSS Contract with Shirley Lovelace K61200DSS Contract with Shirley Lovelace K61201
    • DSS Contract with Gabriel Yoder K61202
    • DSS Contract with Rosa Sistare K961203
    • Professional Services Agreement with Kimball Associates
    • Contract Between NCDENR and Mitchell County
    • Releases/Refunds
    • LGC Resolution

  10. COUNTY MANAGER’S REPORT

  11. BOARD COMMENTS

  12. ADJOURNMENT – Commissioner Saylor moved to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Byrd seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    The meeting adjourned at 6:07 p.m.