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JANUARY 21, 2014
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse
30 North College Avenue, Newton, NC

1. Call to Order

2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

3. Invocation

4. Approval of the minutes from the Board’s Regular Meeting and Closed Session of December 16, 2013

5. Recognition of special guests

6. Public comment for items not on the agenda.

7. Public hearing:

a. Request to Enter into an Amendment to an Existing Installment Financing Agreement Pursuant to North Carolina General Statutes for the Purpose of (1) Providing Funds to Pay the Costs of Constructing and Equipping an Expansion of, and Addition to, the County’s Justice Center; (2) Refinance Prior Installment Financing Obligations of the County; and (3) Pay Costs related to Entering into the Amendment. Presented by Finance Director Rodney Miller.

8. Appointments.

9. Departmental Reports:

a. Catawba Valley Medical Center:

1. Approval of Transfer of Property Owned by the County and Used for Medical Facility Owned by Catawba Valley Medical Center. Presented by Eloise Bradshaw, Attorney for Catawba Valley Medical Center.

2. Approval of Sale of Property Owned by the County for the Benefit of Catawba Valley Medical Center in Alexander County. Presented by Eloise Bradshaw, Attorney for Catawba Valley Medical Center.

b. Economic Development Corporation:

HSM Economic Development Project. Presented by Economic Development President Scott Millar.

c. Social Services:

Annual Community Child Protection/Fatality Prevention Report. Presented by Social Services Director John Eller.

10. Other Items of Business

Resolution in Support of Filling Vacant North Carolina Cooperative Extension Positions. Presented by Assistant County Manager Mary Furtado.

11. Attorneys’ Report

12. Manager’s Report

13. Adjournment


PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: Individuals needing assistance should contact the County Clerk at 828-465-8990 within a reasonable time prior to the meeting.   Access to the 1924 Courthouse for individuals with disabilities is at the south side (“A” Street). The elevator is located at the north end of the building. Participation in public meetings is without regard to race, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, color, or disability.

The Catawba County Telephone Information System will allow you to use your touch tone telephone to obtain current information on Catawba County 24 hours a day. Information is updated on a regular basis. Dial 465-8468 and INFOTALK will direct your questions with easy to understand instructions. Reach Catawba County on the Internet at

CALENDAR: The February 2014 Board meetings will take place on Monday, February 3, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. and on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse, 30 North College Avenue, Newton, NC.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 21, 2014, 7 P.M.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments to an installment financing agreement, a deed of trust and related documents in connection with the construction of an expansion of the County’s Justice Center, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21, 2014, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton. The Board will also consider a recommended economic development agreement, in partnership with the Cities of Hickory and Conover, with HSM (formerly Hickory Springs Manufacturing) regarding the expansion of several HSM facilities located in the county that will create up to 162 new jobs and a target investment of $3.3 million in new facilities and equipment.

The Board will consider the proposed transfer of property in the Denver Lakes Professional Park, owned by the County and used by a medical facility owned by Catawba Valley Medical Center, so that the property may be correctly reconfigured to encompass the footprint of the building. It will consider the proposed sale of County-owned property in Taylorsville, which includes an old, closed medical office building, to the Town of Taylorsville for the sum of $50,000. It will consider a resolution in support of the filling of vacant North Carolina Cooperative Extension positions in Catawba County. And the Board will receive an annual presentation from the Community Child Protection/Fatality Prevention Team.


The Board will hold a public hearing and consider adopting a resolution to approve amendments to an installment financing agreement, a deed of trust and related documents in connection with the construction of an addition to the County Justice Center that will house additional courtrooms, a 911 telecommunications center, an Emergency Operations Center and office space for Emergency Services, Clerk of Court and District Attorney staff. In 2007, the Board approved, after a countywide referendum, the addition of a 1/4 cent sales tax that would generate funds for additional courtrooms, a new Communications Center, an Emergency Operations Center, water and sewer needs and school operating costs. The funding from this revenue source totals approximately $4.2 million annually, of which $2,350,000 has been allocated to expand the Justice Center. These funds, along with 911 revenues, have accumulated every year since then and will total approximately $20 million at the end of the current fiscal year.

In 2013, the Board approved construction bids for the Justice Center Expansion Project, which will consist of an expanded facility of approximately 140,000 square feet, a parking deck to accommodate the additional traffic, multiple utility/maintenance items and renovations to the existing facility. The contract was awarded to Hickory Construction Company and the total cost of the project is anticipated to be $40 million, leaving a balance of $20 million that will be financed by the County and repaid with the proceeds from the 1/4 cent sales tax.

All local governments in North Carolina that borrow funds greater than $500,000, or for longer than five years to maturity, must receive approval from the Local Government Commission (LGC), a division of the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer. If approved by the Board of Commissioners, the LGC will consider this financing at its February 4, 2014, meeting in Raleigh. The County plans to sell Limited Obligation Bonds (similar to the Certificates of Participation issued for the County Jail expansion in 2005) on February 12, 2014. A notice of public hearing has been advertised more than ten days in advance of this January 21 meeting of the Board, per state law.


1. The Board will consider entering into a series of real estate transactions to correct an error in the configuration of a Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC) medical office facility located in the Denver Lakes Professional Park, a planned unit development. It consists of two building sites located on Highway 16 in Denver. Because of narrow road frontage and zoning requirements, the development is “townhome” style, with the individual owners owning only the land on which the buildings sit and the balance of the land being common area, intended to be owned by the owner’s association. CVMC purchased its lot in 1998 and began construction of the building shortly thereafter. The building was completed in late 2000. For reasons that are unknown to the current management at CVMC, the medical office was not built wholly within the boundary of the lot purchased. This was discovered several months ago, when CVMC had a survey done. To remedy this situation, CVMC contacted the original developer, Hash Howard Sherrill & Associates, Inc. (“Hash Howard”) and requested its cooperation. It was also discovered that Hash Howard has never conveyed the common area to an owner’s association. Hash Howard has agreed to cooperate with CVMC to address both the lot configuration and the common area issues. An exchange of deeds will essentially correct the recorded real property records to reflect what is and has been the case on the ground. The proposed transactions to correct these errors include: 1) the County would deed the original lot back to Hash Howard with the statement that it is in consideration of a re-conveyance from Hash Howard to correct the error in the legal description; 2) a revised plat would be filed reconfiguring the CVMC lot so that the building is located wholly within the lot (lot remains 8,000 square feet in size); 3) Hash Howard would deed the reconfigured lot to the County; and 4) Hash Howard would deed all common areas within Denver Lakes Professional Park to the owner’s association.

2. The Board will consider a request from Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC) to approve the sale of an old medical office property located in Taylorsville to the Town of Taylorsville for the sum of $50,000. The property in question is a one-half acre lot with a small medical office building located on 2nd Avenue in Taylorsville. CVMC purchased the property in May 1998 as part of the purchase of the assets of a medical practice. The medical building was constructed in the 1960s and was not deemed suitable by CVMC for use. Since its purchase in 1998, the building has been vacant and the hospital has made efforts to sell the property throughout that time. CVMC recently received an offer to purchase the property from the Town of Taylorsville for the sum of $50,000. David Odom, manager of the Town of Taylorsville, has advised that the Town intends to purchase the property and lease it to a third party for an urgent care facility.

CVMC has no use for this property and its dilapidated condition makes it difficult to sell. The tax value of this parcel is $186,419, but CVMC caries the property on its books at $48,266. The hospital has not had a formal appraisal done, but the offer is within the range of the estimates of values that Paul Gadd, its real estate agent, has provided to the hospital from time to time. CVMC management has considered demolition of the structure, but believes that selling the property for $50,000 is a better result.

The Board will consider approval of an economic development agreement by and between Catawba County and HSM (formerly Hickory Springs Manufacturing), and approval for the County to enter into an agreement with the State of North Carolina under the NC One Fund Grants program in order to provide that funding under terms of the State of North Carolina and the North Carolina Department of Commerce Finance Center. In August 2013, HSM announced the expansion of several Catawba County facilities in the Cities of Hickory and Conover, creating up to 162 new jobs and a target investment of $3.3 million in new facilities and equipment. The expansion projects were predicated on the subsequent approval of economic development agreement matching funds being provided by the State of North Carolina. The Catawba County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), in conjunction with the legal staff of the County and HSM, is bringing forward the final agreements for approval as allowed under North Carolina General Statutes. As is typical, the EDC has performed a cost benefits analysis showing the economic benefits of the proposed agreement, the creation of jobs and the net effects of the investment. Key to consideration of this project are the aspects of innovation and the transformation of this company into a high-tech, R&D-oriented global producer, all desired elements under the Innovate Catawba economic transformation process. As is usual, no incentives will be awarded until after the company has already achieved progress on its contractual obligations.

This project represents the total transformation of HSM from a basic supplier of furniture parts into an integrated and global manufacturer and seller of complete product lines, including seats for mass transportation, end-user products such as outdoor and beach seating and many other products. Hickory Springs has changed its name to HSM to reflect this total transformation. HSM is placing a heavy reliance on innovation, research and design, creative product design and marketing as shown by this multi-part project. The project components include creation and investment in two Conover locations (Innovations Center on Debra Herman Road, with a $500,000 investment and 19 jobs, and the Foam Tech Center on Farrington Street, with a $1.55 million investment and three jobs) as well as two Hickory locations, which are manufacturing facility investments in a State-recognized Urban Progress Zone. The State has committed to over $278,000 participation, requiring a local match. Conover has approved its participation and the Hickory City Council will consider approval of Hickory’s participation at a January 21 public hearing.

The County’s usual incentive grants process of granting a percentage of future receipts based on investment alone is not sufficient in this case to provide the required local match. The EDC is recommending a grant from each local governing unit of $500 for each job created and a 3-year, 50% grant based on the realized income from these investments. Under this proposal, HSM would receive a one-time grant of $1000 for each job ($500 from the municipality for the job created within their jurisdiction and $500 from the County, one time in the year following certification of the creation of that job) in addition to a 50% grant on the income received from the investment in their jurisdiction for each of three years following the investment (if the qualified investment were made in year three, the incentive would pay in the three years following the receipt of the payment of taxes on that investment). The total maximum payout of incentives for each jurisdiction under this proposal is as follows: Catawba County, $110,839; Hickory, $82,690; Conover, $23,300.

Other considerations include that The Main Avenue, Hickory project is in a State-certified Urban Progress Zone, qualifying it for special treatment for North Carolina-based incentives; that this is an existing Catawba County corporate headquarters with a long standing track record of investment and jobs; that the entire transformation of the company is based on extensive investment in R&D and innovation and the type of jobs that investment requires; that HSM has contractually agreed to exceed Catawba County’s average wage by $6000 for all hires, and that the financial impact modeling for the project, using IMplan Analysis, totals $69,887,015 for the years 2013-2015.

The Board will receive, and consider approving, the annual report of the work of the Community Child Protection & Fatality Prevention Team. This annual report is to update and keep the Board informed on activities to date. Upon the Board’s approval, the Annual Plan will be submitted to the State.

The Catawba County Child Protection Team was established in 1992 as the result of an executive order by Governor James Martin. North Carolina later mandated a Child Fatality Review Team and Catawba County elected to combine the two into a single team as allowed under State guidelines, which first met in 1995. The combined teams have met quarterly since inception, except for specially called meetings.

This report addresses the work of the Community Child Protection and Fatality Prevention Team. The Child Protection Team has the legal responsibilities for reviewing cases of child fatalities when the family is known to Social Services, and identification of areas in Protective Services needing improvement in order to maximize the safety of the community’s children. The Child Fatality Team’s purpose is to provide a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary approach to study cases of childhood death in Catawba County in order to attempt to reduce child fatalities. The local directors of Social Services and Public Health have specific responsibilities for each team. Efforts continue to be made for the group to review additional individual Child Protective Services issues and satisfy the State’s agreement with the federal government to use Child Protection Teams as a review mechanism in the Child Protective Services arena.

The Community Child Protection and Child Fatality Prevention Team has worked diligently in 2013 on fatality reviews; promoting Signs of Safety Training for case planning and engagement with families that have histories of maltreatment; supporting the Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center’s effort to reach 6000 citizens by 2016 regarding sexual abuse prevention; awareness regarding the dangers of distracted driving among teens; promoting a “Neglect with Injury” protocol with law enforcement and Social Services; implementing an Infant Safe Sleeping Campaign to educate about the dangers of unsafe sleeping among parents with young children; and supporting the Project Lazarus initiative to curb drug overdose with prescribed drugs.

The Board will consider adopting a resolution in support of filling vacant North Carolina Cooperative Extension positions in Catawba County. For many years, Catawba County has had a long-standing partnership with North Carolina State University (NCSU) in funding and delivering programs of Cooperative Extension Services to the community. While the County and NCSU each fund approximately 50% of the salary and benefits expense associated with employees in the County’s local Extension Office, technically, these staff are employees of NCSU.

In recent years, Catawba County’s local Extension Office has been plagued by vacancies in a number of key positions. Most recently, vacancies in the Cooperative Extension Director, Family & Consumer Sciences and Livestock/Agriculture program areas have gone unaddressed. In the interest of maintaining program continuity and continuing to deliver these critical services to the public, the County has consistently pledged to contribute its share of the salaries associated with filling these positions and has requested through administrative channels – on numerous occasions – that NCSU commit to do the same. To date, these efforts have not yielded the desired results, as the vacancies remain unfilled. This situation is not unique to Catawba County. Recently, Perquimans County passed a resolution affirming the value of Cooperative Extension Services to the local community and supporting the filling of existing vacancies within Perquimans County’s local office as well as in neighboring counties.