March 5, 2019 Regular Session


The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners met in Regular Session on March 5, 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 6:06 p.m.
  2. INVOCATION – Commissioner Harding gave the invocation.
  3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – Commissioner Grindstaff 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.
  6. ADOPTION OF AGENDA – Commissioner Grindstaff moved to adopt the Agenda. Commissioner Pitman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
  7. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Commissioner Willis moved to approve the minutes for February 4, 2019 DSS Regular Session, February 4, 2019 Regular Session and January 29, 2019 Special Session.  Commissioner Grindstaff seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
    1. Tax Collector – Tax Administrator Hyder provided the Board with the February Tax Collection report (a copy is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes).
    2. Senior Tar Heel Legislative Update – Norma Duncan provided the Board with an update on the Senior Tar Heel Legislature.  She informed the Board that she and Kathy Garland serve on the Community Care Advisory Committee.  Mrs. Duncan stated they go into the adult care homes to visit the patients and to see if there are any needs.  In 2018, they had logged 1,149 hours and traveled 6,736 miles.Commissioner Grindstaff told the Board that he serves on the High Country Council of Government’s Board and they received a report from the Council on Aging.  He stated that according to that report Mitchell County had logged more visits than any of the surrounding counties.  Commissioner Grindstaff expressed his appreciation to Mrs. Duncan for her willingness to serve on this committee and he was very proud of the work she does for Mitchell County.
    3. S.P.A.C.E.  – Jimmy Hinshaw – Chairman Burleson stated Mr. Hinshaw was unable to attend the meeting tonight.  The following is the information Mr. Hinshaw sent in an e-mail.Jimmy Hinshaw is hosting a unique festival June 14th & 15th, 2019 on Lower Street in Spruce Pine. The goal of the festival is to generate awareness, entertainment and of course revenue for the town of Spruce Pine & Mitchell County at large. The event is called S.P.A.C.E. – The Spruce Pine Alien Conference & EXPO. Yes, aliens…. I understand this may sound pretty far out there (pun intended) but I assure there is a business plan in place and a positive outcome for the community expected. I have presented the concept & plan to the Spruce Pine Main Street organization and the Town of Spruce Pine and have received the approval and permission from both entities for this event. While this festival is eccentric in nature a town down the mountain from us had a VERY successful event that was equally eccentric in nature. Vern Grindstaff & Jeff Harding have been present for my presentation and can provide some insight to the intentions.I was born and raised in Mitchell County and returned about three years ago after a 25-year absence. I have seen the economic, employment, educational and health care struggles the community has faced over the past years. As a solutions provider I have researched extensively ways to rapidly create revenue opportunities for the local businesses; attract entrepreneurs, investors and hopefully large-scale employers to the county. This S.P.A.C.E event is my first action plan to bring a substantial one-day positive revenue experience to the town and county at large. I forecast this event having a large & positive impact on the entire county. Mitchell County has additional lodging, dining, shopping, cultural experiences and economic development opportunities beyond the town of Spruce Pine that MUST be represented at this festival.Therefore, I am reaching out to you and the Commissioners to present the festival details, mission statement & vision in hopes of receiving your endorsement as well. It is my hope you & the commissioners will bring suggestions & ideas to help improve the festival overall. I wish to ensure our town & county can be best represented and share in the benefits of a potential one day increase of 10,000 visitors & attendees.Commissioner Harding stated he attend the Town of Spruce’s Council meeting when Mr. Hinshaw gave his presentation.  He said Mr. Hinshaw had done his homework.  He has national speakers coming to participate in the event.  Mr. Hinshaw has worked with Mayland Community College to use the Observatory, has tours setup to see the Brown Mountain Lights.   Commissioner Harding stated this event was expected to bring in ten to fifteen thousand people into the Town of Spruce Pine and Mitchell County.  He stated this event could be a huge economic impact on Mitchell County.

      Commissioner Grindstaff stated Mr. Hinshaw has a speaker lined up from the Investigation ID Channel that has a program on that channel.  Commissioner Grindstaff moved that the Mitchell County Board of Commissioner wholeheartedly endorse this event.  Commissioner Pitman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    4. Community Conversations on Healthcare – Karin Rolett informed the Board that SEARCH (Sustaining Essential and Rural Healthcare) had initiated a Community Conversations Project. She stated they were attempting to meet with as many diverse groups in Yancey and Mitchell Counties as possible to listen to people’s concerns and ideas about Health and HealthCare. After putting the information together, they will make it available to the community and to organizations, which may want to request funding for various projects, which reflect the needs of the community they serve. This is a true grass roots project that we hope will lend a lot of useful, qualitative  information to complement the quantitative data of the Community Health Assessment.Commissioner Harding thanked the SEARCH committee for taking the bull by the horns and he was sure it was not an easy ride, but without the committee’s hard work and persistence, we might not have gotten the five extra years. He stated it was all volunteer time and he appreciated their efforts.
    1. Budget Amendment # 2 for FY 18-19 – Finance Officer Parsley reviewed Budget Amendment #2 for FY 18-19 with the Board.  Commissioner Willis moved to approve the Budget Amendment (a copy is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes).  Commissioner Harding seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
    2. Bid on Windows at Library – Tommy Winchester updated the Board on the windows at the Mitchell County Library.Commissioner Harding moved to contract with Rich Browder to replace the windows at the Mitchell County Library for $9,400.  Commission Pitman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
    3. Change Order #2 for Hickory Construction – County Manager Young review Change Order #2 with the Board.  Commissioner Grindstaff moved to approve Change Order #2 (a copy is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes).  Commissioner Pitman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
    4. Schedule for Board of E&R and Dates for Training for new Board Members
      April 1, 2019 – Danny Burleson ½ Day a.m. / Jeff Harding ½ Day p.m., Jacob Willis Vern Grindstaff
      April 2, 2019 – Steve Pitman, Danny Burleson, Jeff Harding
      Commissioner’s Harding and Pitman will schedule their training with Tax Administrator Hyder.
    1. JCPC Membership – Commissioner Grindstaff moved to approve the JCPC Membership (a copy is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes).  Commissioner Willis seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
    • NCEM Mutual Aid & Assistance Agreement
    • Grant Agreement and Funding Approval for CDBG 17-C-2985
    • DSS Contract K61363 with Young Unlimited
    • DSS Contract K61364 with A Caring Alternative
    • Designation of Lead Agency/Appointment of H&CCBG Advisory Committee
    • Property Releases/Refunds/Discoveries for February 2019
    • Vehicle Releases/Refunds for February 2019

    Commissioner Grindstaff 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. CLOSED SESSION – Commissioner Grindstaff moved to enter into Closed Session in accordance with NCGS §143‑318.11 (a)(3) To consult with an attorney employed  or retained by the public body in order to preserve the attorney-client privilege between the attorney and the public body, which privilege is hereby acknowledged. General policy matters may not be discussed in a closed session and nothing herein shall be construed to permit a public body to close a meeting that otherwise would be open merely because an attorney employed or retained by the public body is a participant. The public body may consider and give instructions to an attorney concerning the handling or settlement of a claim, judicial action, mediation, arbitration, or administrative procedure. If the public body has approved or considered a settlement, other than a malpractice settlement by or on behalf of a hospital, in closed session, the terms of that settlement shall be reported to the public body and entered into its minutes as soon as possible within a reasonable time after the settlement is concluded. Commissioner Harding seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    Commissioner Willis moved to go out of Closed Session.  Commissioner Harding seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    Closed Session was held from 6:45 p.m. until 6:55 p.m.

    Commissioner Grindstaff moved to allow County Attorney Hise to negotiate with the State on the lease for the tower site on Locust Knob Tower Road.  Commissioner

    Pitman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

  14. COUNTY MANAGER’S REPORT – County Manager Young gave the following report to the Board:

    • March 2019

      • Building Inspections Energov Upgrade completed

      • 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

      • Attended Comprehensive Transportation Plan meeting

      • Worked on financing for new school

      • Attended Workforce Development meeting

      • Scheduled a meeting with Robbie Ryerse, Store Manager Wal-Mart (No Show)

      • Met with Jennifer Rambo concerning Mitchell County Animal Rescue

      • Held a NC Debt Setoff hearing with Tax Administrator Hyder and Tax Collector Presnell

      • Met with Drug Court Coordinator – She will have an office in the Historic Courthouse

      • Met with DSS Director Spotila

      • Correspondence with Charles Shelton

      • Met with Josh Sparks, Chief Deputy concerning Grades for the Lieutenant and budget status

      • Attended EDC meeting

  15. BOARD COMMENTS – Chairman Burleson reviewed the following proposed Budget Schedule:
    March 1, 2019 – Budget Worksheets to County Departments
    March 4, 2019 – Letters sent to outside agencies
    March 29, 2019 – County Department budgets are due
    April 18, 2019 – Outside agencies budgets are due
    May 20, 2019 – Presentation of Budget
    June 3, 2019 – Public Hearing on the Budget
    June 10, 2019 – Budget Adoption and final budget amendment

    By consensus the Board set April 30, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. for a budget work session.

  16. ADJOURNMENT – Commissioner Grindstaff moved to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Pitman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    The meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.