PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2010, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider appropriating $1.9 million, to be advanced from funds available for the Hickory Public Schools in the next four year construction cycle, to complete renovations at Hickory High School and the waiver of the County’s annual dog park permit fee, for one year, for each dog adopted through Animal Services, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, February 1, 2010 at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
A. ANIMAL SERVICES
The Board will consider waiving the County’s annual dog park permit fee, for one-year, for each dog adopted through Animal Services in an effort to promote responsible pet ownership and encourage the adoption of dogs from Catawba County Animal Services. The dog park permit fee is currently $20 per year.
Catawba County’s dog parks at Riverbend and St. Stephens Parks provide a safe environment for dogs and their owners to exercise and play. Dogs and dog owners who use the parks benefit from being outdoors and from socialization and interaction with other dogs and people. If the Board approves the waiver of the permit fee, vouchers would be given to each person adopting a dog after he or she completes an adoption from Animal Services. The adoptee would present a validated voucher, completed dog park permit application and a copy of the required veterinarian records at either Riverbend or St Stephens Park, where an annual dog park permit would be issued. The permit would be valid for one year and subject to the established dog park rules. Adopted puppies would not be allowed to receive a permit until they are four months old and all vaccinations are completed. Permits associated with this program would not be eligible for a cash refund.
The Board will consider appropriating $1.9 million to complete renovations at Hickory High School. These funds would be advanced from the next four year funding cycle, to begin in fiscal year 2011-12. It is understood that this is the top building priority for Hickory Public Schools and no other major renovations will be needed for Hickory High School within the next four years. In fiscal year 2007-08, the Board set aside two cents of the property tax rate to finance school construction over a four-year period. The Hickory High School project was included in this construction cycle and included a complete replacement of the existing HVAC system; restoration of the ceiling, lights and electrical systems; removal of asbestos; and replacement of fire rated ceiling tiles and the roof on the building, which was built in 1970. Bids for the project were received in July 2008. An appropriation of $7,647,577 was approved by the Board and the work is almost complete. At that time, several bid alternates were not recommended for the current construction cycle unless another revenue source materialized.
In the summer of 2009, the Hickory Public Schools were allocated $2 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs) through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These bonds offer federal income tax credits to allow the issuance of these bonds interest-free to willing financial institutions. Hickory Public Schools then requested funding from the County to complete the Hickory High School project by funding bid alternates 2 and 3, which are the replacement of all windows, doors and exterior fascia panels along the outside of the school. These two projects would complete the conversion of Hickory High’s 1970 structure into an energy efficient structure for the 21st century.
In August 2009, the Board agreed to advance funds from the next construction cycle to complete the Hickory High School project. Bids for alternates 2 and 3 totaled $2.2 million in 2008. In September 2009, Hickory Public Schools negotiated with Hickory Construction Company, which was in the final stages of HVAC and roof replacement and which agreed to complete alternates 2 and 3 for $1.68 million. Testing of the fascia panels showed they contain asbestos, which would add an additional cost of approximately $140,000 to remove and properly dispose. This, combined with a contingency of 4%, brings the total cost to complete the energy efficiency changes to the school to $1.9 million. Since the County was not able to issue the QSCBs until the spring of 2010 when Arndt and County Home Middle School projects would be bid, Hickory Public Schools has agreed to transfer its $2 million QSCB allocation to Newton-Conover Schools, to be used for the new County Home Middle School, so the County will not miss out on reduced borrowing costs afforded by the QSCBs. This transfer was approved by the N. C. Department of Public Instruction, and could save the County approximately $700,000 in interest.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464