PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
FEBRUARY 5, 2007, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will continue public hearings on a proposed Unified Development Ordinance and is expected to act on the ordinance, and will receive an update on discussions Catawba County officials have had with officials in surrounding counties regarding a possible State-mandated merger of mental health services, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, February 5, 2007, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.
The Board will also receive a report on the new Champions of Education initiative and consider a revision to the current Mental Health Services budget to account for additional State funding and an adjustment to reflect actually billable Medicaid services, with no new County funds or positions added; and consider designating the Department of Social Services as the County’s lead agency on aging for fiscal years 2007-2010 and a set of tax refunds. It will issue a proclamation declaring February 18-24, 2007 as NC Association of School Based/School Linked Health Centers Week and recognize Sibongiseni Buthelezi, Manager of Visible Service Delivery for the City of Johannesburg, South Africa, who is spending three weeks in Catawba County as part of a program of study regarding government in the United States.
A & B. The Board will continue public hearings on the text and maps of a proposed Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), which will combine all of the County's existing regulations concerning land use and development into a single, coordinated ordinance. The draft UDO is based on the recommendations of seven Small Area Plans, created by groups of citizens appointed by the Board of Commissioners to develop long-range plans for their respective communities, with input from citizens in their area. A UDO Steering Committee, including citizens & professionals in related areas, reviewed existing Catawba County policies on zoning and subdivision regulations and administrative procedures, and worked to combine them into a user-friendly, flexible ordinance, which is consistent throughout and organized in a manner that will make it easy to use. The County's UDO will only apply to areas outside of cities and towns & their planning jurisdictions.
A series of meetings with stakeholder groups, and two public meetings, were held in June and July 2006 to provide information on the UDO and offer citizens the opportunity to comment on the draft ordinance. More than 150 persons came to a series of informational sessions in August 2006 that gave citizens an opportunity to talk one-on-one with County staff about how the UDO would effect their property. The Board held public hearings on the UDO on August 21 and September 18, 2006. It held three work sessions on different concerns about the UDO raised by citizens during those public hearings, focusing on minimum lot sizes at a work session on October 2nd; on cottage businesses on November 7th; and on affordable housing at the third work session on December 11, 2006. During each of the three work sessions, the Board discussed changes to the proposed UDO and asked staff to provide more information on those changes.
After hearing more public comment at its meetings on December 18, 2006 and January 16, 2007, the Board continued the public hearing until this morning’s meeting. It released a new list of proposed changes to the UDO, and the final draft of the UDO, on January 22, 2007. The list of changes, and the entire amended UDO, are available for public review on the County’s web site at www.catawbacountync.gov; at all branches of the County Library, and at the County Office of Planning and Community Development on the first floor of the Government Center in Newton.
A. The Board will recognize Sibongiseni Buthelezi, a participant in the Institute for Local Government Management/
International City-County Management Association Fellowship program. Ms. Buthelezi, who is Manager of Visible
Service Delivery for the City of Johannesburg, South Africa, is taking part in a six-week study program during which she will spend three weeks in Catawba County and three weeks in Winchester, Virginia. While Ms. Buthelezi is in Catawba County, she will observe and participate in the daily operations of Catawba County Government and other local agencies.
B. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring February 18-24, 2007 as North Carolina Association of School Based/School Linked Health Centers Week in Catawba County to recognize that optimal physical and mental health of students leads to optimal academic achievement, and that all youth in Catawba County deserve access to comprehensive health care. All school based and school linked health centers provide a vital link in a health care network within many communities across North Carolina. These centers provide accessible, affordable quality health care and health education that improves the lives of young people and their families, and positively impacts the health “safety net” system in Catawba County by providing youth with access to health care providers. The proclamation urges all citizens to recognize the adolescent health partnership between Catawba Pediatrics Associates and the Catawba County Health Department’s Totally Teens Health Center for its role in improving the health and well being of youth in Catawba County.
C. The Board will hear a report on the Catawba County Champions of Education program from Ms. Suzette Plaistead, Vice-President of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce. Champions Of Education was created as a result of discussions on ways to meet goals recommended in the 2004 FORESIGHT Committee report regarding education. The Champions of Education program seeks to transform educational achievement by raising the level of awareness of the value of education and engaging broad community participation to improve education in Catawba County.
The Board will consider designating the Department of Social Services as the County’s lead Agency on Aging for fiscal years 2007-2010, with responsibility for planning and coordinating the County’s funding plan for a Home and Community Care Block Grant for Older Adults, which is awarded by the State. The Board has designated the Department of Social Services as lead agency on aging since fiscal year 1993-94, under requirements stipulated by the North Carolina Division of Aging. In February 2004, the Board named an Advisory Committee to carry out this responsibility, with terms expiring in February 2007. The Board will also consider appointing a 10-member Advisory Committee for a new three-year term.
A. The Board will consider a request from the Catawba County Mental Health Services Board to approve a revision to the current Mental Health budget to decrease that budget by $3,822,489, bringing it to a total of $15,215,107.31. This revision adds no new positions & requests no additional County funding. Adjustments to the budget include $226,905 in additional allocations from the State government, as follows: a) $98,200 has been allocated to Mental Health Services of Catawba County (MHSCC) on a one-time basis to serve clients with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). The funds will be used to purchase additional services for the TBI population from within the local provider network; b) $130,000 awarded to MHSCC on a one time basis for the support and/or development of Mobile Crisis services. The basic philosophy for these services is to meet clients in their need and deliver services at the needed location. MHSCC will contract with Catawba Valley Behavioral Health to provide these services; c) Catawba County has been allocated $39,705 in public psychiatry funding ($13,235 on a one time basis), which may be used for all ages and disabilities, to support psychiatrists at the local level. $9,930 will be distributed to Family N.E.T. while $29,775 will be allocated to Catawba Valley Behavioral Health, based on average current usage; d) A reduction of $41,000 is included in this part of the budget revision. MHSCC budgeted $354,000 in its initial FY 2006/07 budget process for Mental Health Hospital Downsizing – Adult Admission, in expectation of this actual allocation. The State reallocated these funds this year in the amount of $313,000, on a one-time basis, for the purpose of developing and providing services needed to decrease admissions to State psychiatric hospitals. These funds are to be used to support ongoing funding for inpatient indigent care in local hospitals and continued support for two mental health staff located in the emergency department. MHSCC recognizes the need for these services and will transfer funds from other sources to cover this shortfall in the expected State allocation. This revision also includes a decrease of $4,049,394 to more accurately reflect billable Medicaid services, due to providers being able to direct-bill Medicaid. Initial projected Medicaid contracts were high due to prior year usage. This revision will more closely align MHSCC to actual budget needs. County staff recommends the budget revision be approved.
B. The Board will consider three tax refund requests totaling $997.20. Records have been checked and these refunds verified, so the Tax Collector recommends approval. Under N.C. General Statute 105-381, a taxpayer who has paid his or her taxes may request a refund in writing for an amount paid through error.
Assistant County Manager Joellen Daley will give the Board an update on discussions and study that have been ongoing for more than a year regarding the possible merger of mental health services in North Carolina into ten regional agencies, as proposed in a September 2005 plan from the North Carolina Division of Health and Human Services. She is expected to update the Board regarding merger options with two adjacent area programs, Crossroads and Foothills, and options that staff believes are now available for Catawba County.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464