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  • Nantahala/Pisgah Forest Plan Revision
  • Mitchell County Jail

1 to 1 Initiative

 

Tax Collector Appointment

 

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Mitchell County Commissioners
Minutes, Special Session
July 7, 2014

NORTH CAROLINA

MITCHELL COUNTY

The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners met in Regular Session on July 7, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Conference Room, Administration Building, Bakersville, NC.  Those present for the meeting were: Bill Slagle, Chairman; Joe Street, Vice-Chairman; Keith Holtsclaw, Member; Rickey McKinney, Member; Charles Vines, County Manager and Kathy Young, Clerk to the Board.  Commissioner Hollifield was absent from the meeting.  Also present were: Lloyd Hise, County Attorney, Mavis Parsley and Andy Mendhenk, Reporter with the Mitchell-News Journal.

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

  2. INVOCATION – Commissioner Street gave the invocation.

  3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – County Manager Vines led the Pledge of Allegiance.

  4. ETHICS AWARNESS AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST REMINDER:  
    In accordance with the State Government Ethics Act, it is the duty of every Board member to avoid both conflicts of interest and appearance of conflict. Does any board member have any known conflicts of interest or appearances of conflict with respect to any matters coming before the Board?  If so, please identify the conflict or appearance of conflict and refrain from any undue participation in the particular matter involved.

  5. ADDITIONS OR CHANGES TO THE AGENDA – None

  6. ADOPTION OF AGENDA – Commissioner Street moved to adopt the adjusted Agenda. Commissioner Holtsclaw seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. 

  7. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Commissioner Street moved to approve the Minutes for  June 2, 2014 and June 23, 2014. Commissioner McKinney seconded the motion and it   carried unanimously.

  8. PUBLIC COMMENTS/BOARD COMMENTS – None.

  9. REPORTS/PRESENTATIONS

    1. Nantahala/Pisgah Forest Plan Revision – Matthew McCombs, District Ranger for the Pisgah National Forest provided the following update on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forest Plan Revision:

      Overview
      The U.S. Forest Service will revise the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Land and Resource Management Plan (the Plan) beginning in November 2012.  The process is expected to take three to four years to complete.  When the revision is completed, the Plan will guide management of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests for approximately fifteen years.  The Forest Service published the original Plan in 1987.  A significant amendment was published in 1994, and smaller amendments occurred in subsequent years.

      Each national forest and grassland is governed by a management plan in accordance with the National Forest Management Act.  These plans set management, protection and use goals and guidelines.

      Revision of the Plan will occur in three phases:

      • Assessment – During this phase, the Forest Service will collect and compile data and other information on the current state of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests.  The assessment phase will focus on what changes are needed to the management plan for the two national forests.  Numerous public meetings will take place to receive input from stakeholders during this period.

      • Planning Period – During this phase, the Forest Service will analyze the data collected; determine the management practices needed to accomplish the desired goals and the effects those management practices may have on the land; draft the revised Plan; receive and respond to public comment; and release the final plan.

      • Monitoring – The monitoring phase begins after the final Plan is released and continues throughout the Plan period.  During this phase, the Forest Service monitors the progress of Plan implementation to make sure goals are achieved.

      Timeline for Plan Revision:

      • Assessment (Phase 1) – November 2012 – Fall 2013
      • Planning Period (Phase 2) – Fall 2013-2015/Early 2016
      • Monitoring Phase (Phase 3) – Early 2016 and Beyond

      Information on the current Plan (before revision) is posted online here.

      New Planning Rule
      A new Planning Rule, finalized by the Forest Service in May 2012, will guide the process for revising the Nantahala- Pisgah National Forests Plan.  This means that the Plan will be amount the first forest plans nationwide to be revised under the new rule.  The new Planning Rule replaced the 1982 rule.

      The new Planning Rule includes:

      • Mandatory components to restore and maintain forests and grasslands.
      • Requirements to provide habitat for plant and animal diversity and species conservation.  The requirements are intended to keep common native species common, contribute to the recovery of threatened and endangered species, conserve proposed and candidate species, and protect species of conservation concern.
      • Requirements to maintain or restore watersheds, water resources, water quality including clean drinking water, and the ecological integrity of riparian areas.
      • Requirements for multiple uses, including outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, wildlife and fish.
      • Requirements to provide opportunities for sustainable recreation, and to take into account opportunities to connect people with nature.
      • Requirements for the use of the best available scientific information to inform the planning process and documentation of how science was used in the plan.
      • A more efficient and adaptive process for land management planning, allowing the Forest Service to respond to changing conditions.
      • Opportunities for public involvement and collaboration throughout all stages of the planning process.   The final rule provides opportunities for Tribal consultation and coordination with state and local governments and other federal agencies and includes requirements for outreach to traditionally underrepresented communities.

      Collaboration
      Collaboration is the keystone for revising the Plan. Public input and collaboration throughout the revision process will help ensure that the Plan meets the needs of the wide variety of stakeholders who enjoy the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests each year.  The public will have numerous opportunities to collaborate with the Forest Service and provide input to the Plan.

      Mr. McCombs also provided the Board with a Fact Sheet on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests.  A copy is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes.

    2. Seth Banks, District Attorney – Chairman Slagle discussed Mitchell County’s jail cost and the possibility of Mitchell County building a jail.  He stated that Mitchell County was looking for ways to reduce its jail costs. 

      County Manager Vines reviewed with the Board the jail cost for the last four years and the amount included in FY 2014-2015 Budget.

      Seth Banks, District Attorney thanked the Board for the overwhelming support he received during the primary.  He stated that his first priority was to maintain the safety of the community, but he did feel there were things that could be addressed. He said there has been a rise in drug addiction and drug related issues.  Currently there are delays in getting lab results in order to proceed with the court process.  There is going to be a new lab built with the next eighteen months so this should help speed getting lab results.  There have also been changes in the bonding guidelines which has increased the amount of bond that can be set, which in turn means more people are not able to make bond.  He explained that Schedule H & I felonies can be heard in District Court.  In the past District Court has not handled these cases due to the DA’s office not being ready to try these cases.  He stated he had already had a discussion with the District Judge about this matter.  DA Banks said that having the Schedule H & I Felonies handled in District Court would be a priority for him.

    3. 1 to 1 Update – Kim Hodson, CTE Director/IMC/1:1 Laptop Director stated that evidence strongly suggests that the laptop program has been effective in reaching our ambitious goals.  Our school has a compelling vision of how laptops can contribute to students’ and teachers’ work.  Teachers are encouraged to be innovators and partners in the 1:1 program.  The technical support staff shares this vision.

      Mitchell High School invests in professional development, software licenses, servers, computer projectors, and other ancillary equipment needed to maximize the utility of the laptops.  The laptops themselves are part of a complex, interconnected web of devices, networks, activities and goals whose purpose is to support the school community’s efforts to carry out its ambitious mission.  The laptops do not stand alone.

      We have learned that a 1:1 laptop program can be a powerful tool for helping to reach ambitious goals.  Laptops are not stand alone.  It is the support system, the school goals, the digital resources that teachers and students use, and other factors that enable the laptops to be used as powerful tools.  The devices are primarily a means not ends – even though bridging the digital divide by providing access to computers and information resources is itself an important goal.

      The laptop program contributes to important ways to the school community’s efforts to reach its goals.  Mitchell’s 1:1 laptop program, which has been operating for less than four years is off to an excellent start.

      She stated the 1:1 laptop program had produced more engaged learners. They have found that when the students are engaged in our laptop immersion program they are less likely to have disciplinary problems that students in schools without laptops.  They have developed better technology skills – so much so that after three years, low-income students in the laptop schools displayed the same levels of technology proficiency as wealthier students.  This initiative has created cost efficiencies.  There is savings in reduced cost for textbooks, paper, assessments, and paperwork as well as a reduction in disciplinary actions.

      Because of the 1:1 program we have had higher levels of achievement because of the following:

      • We have ensured uniform integration of technology in every class.
      • We have provided time for teacher learning and collaboration.
      • We have used technology daily for student online collaboration and cooperative learning.

      We know that technology alone never holds the key to success.  However, when used right, technology is an essential drive in accelerating forward momentum.  In Mitchell County Schools we are improving educational outcomes and increasing equality to resources with the 1:1 program.

      Schools today are given the task of not only educating students with the three R’s of Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic but also are expected to give students strong backgrounds in science, technology, global studies and a diversity of so-called “21st century skills” such as critical thinking, collaboration, agility, initiative, oral and written communication, analyzing information, and imagination.

      Realizing that we now live in a digital rather than analog world, we felt that it was necessary to have 1:1 computing initiatives to help accomplish these academic goals.  We have had improvements in writing, literacy, science, exam scores and GPA’s because of the 1:1 environment.

      Other impacts we have seen fall into a number of various categories, including student engagement, attendance, behavior and motivation and teacher practices.  Although many people worry about the distractions that may come with providing students laptops, student academic engagement may be one of the most substantial benefits of the 1:1 program.  Teachers in the 1:1 school lecture less and there is more individual and group project work.  We have also observed increases in teacher collaboration in our 1:1 school.  Our teachers report that the computers are very important as a tool for teaching, assessment, communication, and for administrative work. 

      The following is some additional data we have obtained:

      • Better Testing Environment:  With our 1:1 Initiative we are able to have very smooth testing cycles for interim, formative, summative and state initiative testing.  We do not have to reserve computer labs and have complex testing schedules since we have had the infrastructure and the hardware necessary to test all students as the same time when necessary.  We have had zero misadministration using our computers for online testing for all CTE post-assessments, EOC tests, WorkKeys, PLAN and ACT testing.  We are very fortunate to be able to provide students with an environment conducive to testing.
      • Increased Student Interest:  According to survey results, our students reported at the end of our grant period that over 95% of the students were more interested in their classes and in school because they had their MacBooks for learning.  Teachers have also reported that students became more engaged in their learning when the assignment required the use of their MacBooks.
      • Homes with Internet Access:  Prior to the 1:1 environment approximately 88% of the homes had internet access for our student body.  At the conclusion our grant cycle, approximately 95% of the homes have internet access. 
      • Teacher/Parent Communication:  One of the major school improvement goals for several years have been to improve Teacher/Parent communication in our school.  This initiative has been a vital tool in aiding us in improving this issue.  We use Haiku for our Learning Management System and parents have access to see students’ attendance and grades daily.  Parents have the ability to communicate with the teachers by sending a message to them immediately through Haiku.  From Haiku parent log-ins we are able to see how often and how many parents have logged into Haiku.  Last year 87% of the parents logged onto to Haiku at least once a month to check student progress or to directly communicate with a teacher.

  10. ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION

    • 1 to 1 Resolution – Commissioner Holtsclaw moved to adopt the 1:1 Resolution (a copy is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes).   Commissioner Street seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
    • Annual Settlement of Taxes – Tax Collector Garland stated the unpaid amount for the 2013 taxes is $389,719.
    • Appointment of Tax Collector – Commissioner Street moved to appoint Brian Garland as Mitchell County Tax Collector.  Commissioner McKinney seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.  Seth Banks, District Attorney swore Brian Garland in as Tax Collector.   A copy of the Tax Collector’s Oath is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes.
    • 2014 Charge to the Tax Collector – A copy of the 2014 Charge to the Tax Collector is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes.
    • Designation of Voting Delegate to the NCACC Annual Conference – Commissioner McKinney moved to appoint Commissioner Street as the Voting Delegate to the NCACC Annual Conference.  Commissioner Street seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

  11. APPOINTMENTS

    • Smoky Mountain LME/MCO County Commissioner Advisory Council – Commissioner Holtsclaw moved to appoint Commissioner McKinney to the Smoky Mountain LME/MCO County Commissioner Advisory Council.  Commissioner Street seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

  12. CONSENT AGENDA

    • FY 2014-2015 Home & Community Care Block Grant for Older Adults County Funding Plan
    • Home & Community Care Block Grant for Older Adults Agreement for the Provision of County-Based Aging Services
    • DSS Contract K61264 with Nycole Howard
    • DSS Contract K with Hal Harrison
    • Mitchell County Transportation Change Request # 2 for FY 2014-2015
    • Releases/Refunds/Discoveries for June 2014
    • Vehicles Releases/Refunds

    Commissioner Street moved to approve the Consent Agenda (a copy of the Consent Agenda Items are hereby attached and become a part of the minutes). Commissioner McKinney seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
  13. COUNTY MANAGER’S REPORT – County Manger Vines reminded the Board of the Grand Opening of Mike Brown’s on July 8th and the DOT Public Hearing on July 13th in Marion.

  14. BOARD COMMENTS – None.

  15. ADJOURNMENT – Commissioner McKinney moved to adjourn the meeting.

    Commissioner Street seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    The meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.
MITCHELL COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Bill Slagle, Chairman

Joe Street, Vice-Chairman

Ken Hollifield, Member

Keith Holtsclaw, Member

Rickey McKinney, Member


ATTEST:

Kathy Young, NCCCC Clerk to the Board