April 4, 2019 Regular Session


The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners met in Regular Session on April 4, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Conference Room, Administration Building, Bakersville, NC.  Those present for the meeting were: Danny Burleson, Chairman; Vern Grindstaff, Vice-Chairman; Jeff Harding, Member; Steve Pitman, Member; Jacob Willis, Member; and Kathy Young, County Manager.  Also present were: Mavis Parsley, Finance Director; Lloyd Hise, County Attorney; and Cory Spiers, Reporter with the Mitchell News Journal.


  1. CALL TO ORDER – Chairman Burleson called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.
  2. INVOCATION – Commissioner Willis gave the invocation.
  3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE– Commissioner Pitman led the Pledge of Allegiance.
    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– Commissioner Grindstaff moved to add a Memorandum between Mitchell County Animal Rescue and Mitchell County to the Agenda as Item 11. B.  Commissioner Harding seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
  6. ADOPTION OF AGENDA– Commissioner Willis moved to adopt the Agenda. Commissioner Grindstaff seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
  7. APPROVAL OF MINUTES– Commissioner Grindstaff moved to approve the minutes for March 5, 2019 DSS Regular Session, March 5, 2019 Regular Session and January 25, 2019 Special Session.  Commissioner Pitman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
  8. PUBLIC COMMENTS/BOARD COMMENTS– Eron Thiele, Director of May Coalition updated to the Board on the new May Calendar.
    1. Tax Collector– Tax Collector Presnell provided the Board with the March Tax Collection report (a copy is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes).

      Total collected through the month of March is $223,378.52.  Our ongoing efforts being made on uncollected delinquent taxes include:

      1. Garnishments, which we are continuing to process, is $119,000 year to date.
      2. Monthly Payment Plans:   There are currently 34 taxpayers on these plans. The total active dollar amount is $63,206.91.
      3. As you are aware, the 1stWave of Letters that were mailed out in the first part of January for the NC Debt Set Off process has triggered several taxpayers in response by bringing in a total of $12,445.00.  February letters triggered the amount of $24,144.34. March letters brought in $8064.46.  With that being said, this shows the effectiveness of the letters, which is a total for the 1stquarter of $44,653. There were 104 Debtors with a total amount of $302,520 in this program.  As April is the month for final tax preparations, we will have a collected total of the results for you in the next couple of months.
    2. Veterans Service Update– Eddie Williams Veterans Service Officer invited the Board to attend the placing of a foot marker for Sgt. Charles A. Murphy USMC on May 26, 2019 at the Spruce Pine Cemetery.

      Chairman Burleson was excused from the meeting at 7:15 p.m.

    3. A Caring Alternative Update– Teagan Brown, Chief Operating Officer informed the Board that they implemented their program at Greenlee on January 4, 2019 with four students.  She stated they had just added their eighth student.  Ms. Brown said that of the eight students enrolled, four are from Greenlee; three are from Deyton and one is from Gouge.   She stated they were expecting twelve students to be enrolled by the beginning of the summer session.
    4. AMY Regional Library Update– Amber Briggs, Regional Library Director thanked County Manager Young for her support.  Ms. Briggs stated she would like to speak briefly about the Regional Library System – how the system is organized and about their funding.  “The Regional Library was officially recognized as an organization in 1961, in which county governments entered into a contract by NC General Statutes. This contract was rewritten and renewed in 2011 and will be compliant until 2021.  The purpose of this library system is to provide the most effective and efficient use of local resources for the benefit of the residents of Avery, Mitchell and Yancey Counties.  This type of regional system provides opportunities for services and resource allocations otherwise beyond the financial and service capabilities of individual counties.

      State Aid supplements each county and town budgets for each individual library with funding for services and salaries for regional staff.

      The benefits of being a regional system are tremendous.  Some of the benefits are as follows:

      • State statutes require that in order for a library system to receive state aid, a library must have a Public Library Director with a NC Certification. If there were not a regional system, each library would have to employ a Certified Director.
      • State Aid gives us funds for books, technology, and resources no other budget can provide. These items are not included in several of the budgets we receive from counties and town governments. Two of our libraries within the system have no budget for books.
      • We have access to LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) funds that provide most of the public access computers and equipment you see in our library labs.
      • Access to NC Live, the database that provides thousands of services, which are available to only the largest of public and academic libraries in the state.
      • At the regional level, we have fulltime Technical services, Financial Manager, Children’s Librarian, Bookmobile Librarian and Part-time Outreach Librarian.
      • Funds for children programming, materials, summer reading programming.
      • Library materials for each library, around $5,000 or more to each library annually.
      • General technology support.
      • Integrated library system, circulation, support – $25,000-$28,000 would be the cost per county/library if the majority were not paid for by regional system.
      • Annual audit – majority of which is paid by regional system.

      Our State Aid application based on eligibility, which is due at the beginning of each fiscal year and is administered by the North Carolina Department of Cultural and Natural Resources, requires:

      • Application
      • Maintenance of Effort form (We have to secure funds from local government sources at least equal to the average amount budgeted for the previous 3 years).
      • Assurance that the professional librarian salary is funded with state aid money.

      State Aid is appropriated by the General Assembly, and then the State Library calculates the amount each individual library will receive. They use a formula that takes into account:

      • Service area
      • Per capita income
      • The formula allocates 50% of the total State Aid to public libraries in block grants, plus an additional block grant to each multi-county regional library. (city/town libraries do not receive block grants)

      For us to be compliant these block grants can only be used for materials, regional salaries, equipment, and operating costs.

      Mitchell County Library/AMYRL year in review specifics:

      • Star Planetarium (grant)
      • Staff training
      • Children’s programming
      • New website, specifically Ancestry Library, several eBook and audiobook platforms, educational programs and continuing education databases are available for FREE to any citizen who has a library card.
      • publicity reboot for our Bookmobile/Outreach Services, which includes, through an anonymous donor, a mini-documentary series to increase patronage and funding opportunities for Bookmobile and Outreach services. These videos are available for view and sharing on our AMY Regional Library website (very proud of this long tradition of our mobile library services, which are unique to North Carolina history (oldest mobile library in the state). Our bookmobile was recently the recipient of two grants, one from the National Lois Lenski Foundation for children’s materials and the other from Malaprops Independent Bookstore, who gives a portion of their sales at the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival to a community nonprofit who benefits local citizens.

      Ms. Briggs told the Board she appreciated their support and on behalf of our local librarians at Mitchell County Library, and thanked them for their continued advocacy at both the county and state level in making certain public libraries are included in the conversations surrounding equalization of services for all citizens.

    5. Bakersville Farmers Market– Matt Mazzuckelli informed the Board that having multiple markets at different locations in the County creates an unnecessary rivalry between markets.  He explained that it also spreads vendors and attendees thin and it makes it very difficult to publicize the markets.  Mr. Mazzuckelli suggested to the Board that a fresh start was needed for a local farmers’ market.  He stated a new unified location for all markets in the county would be more effective for everyone.  Mr. Mazzuckelli said that he thought that hiring someone to manage the farmers’ market would help promote and organize the market.
    1. Resolution Supporting Litter Sweep 2019– Commissioner Willis moved to adopt the Resolution Supporting Litter Sweep 2019 (a copy is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes)Commissioner Pitman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
    1. Animal Cruelty Investigator– Commissioner Harding moved to appoint David LaPlante as Mitchell County Animal Cruelty Investigator. Commissioner Pitman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
    2. Memorandum of Understanding between Mitchell County Animal Rescue and Mitchell County – County Attorney Hise reviewed the MOU with the Board.  Commissioner Willis moved to approve the Memorandum of Understanding (a copy is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes).  Commissioner Harding seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
    • Revised FY 18/19 Home & Community Care Block Grant Budget Funding Plan
    • Young, Miller & Gillespie Audit Contract
    • Neighborhood Revitalization Grant Documents
      • Code of Conduct Resolution
      • Complaint Procedure
      • Equal Employment & Procurement Plan
      • Fair Housing Analysis of Impediments
      • Fair Housing Compliant Procedure
      • Fair Housing Plan
      • Language Access
      • Local Economic Benefit – Section 3 Plan
      • Optional Relocation Plan Resolution
      • Procurement Policy
      • Project Ordinance
      • Residential Anti-Displacement and Relocation Plan
      • ADA Grievance
      • Citizen Participation Plan
    • Mitchell County Transportation Certifications & Assurances for FY 20 Applications
    • Nature Conservancy Deed
    • Resolution Supporting Local Control of School Calendars
    • Records Retention Schedule
    • High Country Council of Governments Agreement
    • Thomson Reuter Renewals (Tax, DSS & Sheriff)
    • Property Releases/Refunds/Discoveries for March 2019
    • Vehicle Releases/Refunds for March 2019

    Commissioner Willis moved to approve the Consent Agenda Items (a copy is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes). Commissioner Pitman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

  13. COUNTY MANAGER’S REPORT– County Manager Young gave the following Report the Board:


    • Worked on Bradshaw Fire Department Hazard Mitigation Grant
    • Held Monthly Conference Meeting on the 911 Center
    • Monitored progress of 911 Center Building
    • Worked with NC Department of Administration on Locust Knob Tower Road
    • Worked on financing for new school
    • Scheduled a meeting with Robbie Ryerse, Store Manager Wal-Mart
    • Met with Pam Cote, MCAR Director; Sheriff Street and County Attorney Hise concerning Mitchell County Animal Rescue
    • Attended Vaya Health Meeting
    • Attended the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast
    • Correspondence with Charles Shelton
    • Attended EDC meeting
    • Attended Risk Management Meeting
    • Attended Litter Pick Up meeting at Tipton Hill Community Center on March 23, 2019
    • Worked with the Nature Conservancy on mineral rights
    • Attended 4-H Achievement night
  14. BOARD COMMENTS– Commissioner Harding expressed his concern for the following issues:
    • Litter Issue
    • Appearance of Grassy Creek
    • Junk Car Ordinance
    • Planning Meeting – Wanted to see priorities documented on paper
    • Schedule for quarterly meetings with Towns, Board of Education
    • Filling the Clerk to the Board/HR position – last people interview not being told they didn’t get the position
    • To require any agency that receives money from Mitchell County to present an audit or at least a balance sheet
    • To have department heads give a monthly report to the Board

    Commissioner Pitman agreed with Commissioner Harding about the appearance of Grassy Creek, but he would have a hard time supporting zoning.

  15. ADJOURNMENT – Commissioner Willis moved to adjourn mthe meeting. Commissioner Pitman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    The meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.