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FEBRUARY 7, 2011
2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
4. Approval of the minutes from the Regular Meeting of January 18, 2011.
5. Recognition of Special Guests.
6. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda.
9. Consent Agenda:
10. Departmental Report:
11. Other Items of Business.
13. Manager’s Report.
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: Individuals needing assistance should contact the County Clerk at 828-465-8990 within a reasonable time prior to the meeting. A telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD) is located in the Government Center and can be reached by dialing 465 8200. 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.
INFOTALK/INTERNET: 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 http://www.catawbacountync.gov.
CALENDAR: The next Board of Commissioners Meeting will take place on Monday, February 21, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
FEBRUARY 7, 2011, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider a proposed economic incentives agreement with Sarstedt, Inc. regarding the company’s construction of a new 50,000 square foot distribution warehouse, which would create 20 new jobs and protect over 200 existing jobs; and report on the outcome of the Board’s goals for Fiscal Year 2009-2010, which ended last June 30th, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, February 7, 2011, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
The Board will also hear a report on a new Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), being organized by Palliative Care and Hospice of Catawba Valley, Lutheran Services for the Aging, Adult Life Programs and Catawba Valley Medical Center to address the needs of elderly individuals who want to remain in the community and receive home and community-based services rather than receiving care in a nursing facility. The Board will consider a proposed amendment to Section 28-201 of the County’s Personnel Code, to move detailed language regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act from the Personnel Code to an administrative policy. The Board will also consider accepting three federal grants. One was awarded to Catawba County Public Health to assist in educating the public and providing information on the reduction of the spread of influenza. The other two federal grants were awarded to Catawba County Emergency Services for 1) the purchase of additional personal protective equipment, specifically chemical protective clothing, to allow Emergency Services personnel to safely respond to certain types of emergencies for longer periods of time and 2) the purchase across the region of transfer switches to be installed at critical infrastructure sites, to allow for connection to mobile emergency generators at strategic locations, such as shelters, that need reliable electricity in times of emergency. And the Board will present a Distinguished Public Service Award to Mr. Ray Warren in recognition of his service to the county in the North Carolina House of Representatives from 2006 through 2010.
B. The Board will hear a presentation from representatives of Palliative Carecenter & Hospice of Catawba Valley on a new federally funded Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE. The program will address the needs of elderly individuals who want to remain in the community and receive home and community-based services, by providing care and services five days a week to people who would otherwise need nursing home care. Hospice, Lutheran Services for the Aging, Adult Life Programs and Catawba Valley Medical Center are working together to provide these service in a central location.
B. The Board will consider amending Section 28-201 of the County Personnel Code to move detailed language regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act from the Personnel Code to an administrative policy. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) was enacted for the purpose of allowing employees to balance family life and work by letting them take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave for certain family events and medical reasons. The Act was amended in 2008 and 2010 to expand the definition of who qualifies for this leave and the particular events that are covered by the Act. In addition, the federal regulations that interpret the Act and its amendments continually provide new interpretations with which the County must comply. The County’s FMLA policy is currently located in the County’s Personnel Code and, therefore, each time the Act is amended or a regulation is changed, a code amendment must be presented to the Board of Commissioners. In order to more efficiently keep FMLA policy updated, Human Resources recommends that the detailed FMLA language be removed from the Personnel Code and placed in an administrative policy that may be quickly updated as needed. The detailed language currently in the Personnel Code would be replaced with language that acknowledges the County’s intent to comply with FMLA and any relevant and applicable amendments and regulations. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of this amendment.
C. The Board will consider appropriating Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant funds in the amount of $150,000. A core mission of the DHS is to enhance the ability of state, local and tribal governments to prepare, prevent, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks and other disasters. The Homeland Security Grant Program is a primary funding mechanism for building and sustaining national preparedness capabilities. North Carolina manages this program’s process through nine Domestic Preparedness Regions. Catawba County is part of Domestic Preparedness Region 7 (DPR-7) which also includes Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanley and Union counties.
The North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety received a DHS grant for transfer switches to be installed at critical infrastructure sites in DPR-7. This project will allow those designated within DPR-7 to choose a critical infrastructure site for installation of an automatic transfer switch, which is capable of connecting to mobile emergency generators strategically located throughout the region. This addresses a DPR-7 critical infrastructure weakness identified in a 2008 Capability Assessment Program. Catawba County will serve as host county and subcontract with each jurisdiction authorized to receive a switch. This grant will fund the entire cost of the project. No appropriation of County funds will be needed. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends acceptance of this grant.
D. The Board will consider appropriating $6,000 in Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Grant funds to purchase Tyvex chemical suits. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (formerly the Office of Public Health and Emergency Preparedness) was created following Hurricane Katrina, to assist jurisdictions to prevent, prepare for, and respond to adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters. ASPR grants are offered periodically with the intent of strengthening the capabilities of hospitals and health care systems in public health emergencies and medical disasters. The State of North Carolina received an ASPR grant and distributed grant funds to Regional Trauma Committees to fund regional projects and State Medical Assistance Teams. Each Type III State Medical Assistance Team was awarded $6,000 to help offset ongoing equipment and training costs associated with the team.
Catawba County EMS’s State Medical Assistance Team is fully deployable with 29 members. The team is trained and equipped to provide rapid mass triage, mass patient decontamination, and support for responder health, safety, and rehabilitation at the local, regional, state and national level. Catawba County EMS’s State Medical Assistance Team submitted a proposal to purchase personal protective equipment in the form of Tyvex Level C chemical suits. Personal protective equipment such as chemical protective clothing has limited shelf-life and often cannot be reused. Catawba County’s Team also routinely trains and participates in exercises that require the use of equipment and supplies. For these reasons, certain equipment must be replaced in order to ensure that team members are adequately protected in the event of a response. This grant will fund the entire cost of the equipment. No appropriation of County funds will be necessary. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends acceptance of this grant.
To meet production demand, Sarstedt proposes construction of a new 50,000 square foot distribution warehouse including a high bay automated storage and retrieval system. The project will also include renovation of Sarstedt’s existing warehousing, adding 50,000 square feet and equipment to Sarstedt’s current production capabilities. Sarstedt plans to create a minimum of 20 new jobs. The new employees will earn a minimum of 130% of the estimated hourly entry wage for all Catawba County occupations ($11.54 an hour), as reported by the N.C. Employment Security Commission.
Based on the conditions of a total new investment of $14.2 million and creation of 20 new jobs, Sarstedt’s enrollment and participation in the Education Matters program and adherence to all North Carolina general statutes, a County incentive could be in the form of a performance based grant with a maximum payment of $37,985 per year for three years (a total maximum incentive of $113,955) upon approval of a contract and the satisfaction of conditions of that contract. This amount was derived by determining the guaranteed investment and subsequent income stream to the County over a three year period and multiplying that figure by 50%. The ad valorem tax receipts on $14.2 million equal $227,910 over three years. This investment will net a positive payback to the County immediately, similar to paybacks used to determine incentives in other County projects. Like all incentives provided by the County, these incentives will be based on a contractual performance agreement which requires Sarstedt to meet minimum thresholds of investment and job creation each year prior to incentive payment by the County. Repayment would be required should the investment and/or job creation amounts not be sustained.
OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS
The Board’s goal to create jobs through educational opportunities is being fulfilled through growth and new initiatives of Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) and the regional concept of the Appalachian State University Greater Hickory Partnership coordinating centers at Caldwell Community College, Western Piedmont Community College and the North Carolina Center for Engineering Technologies. In preparing the FY2010-11 budget, the Board considered the significant increase in enrollment at CVCC, as more unemployed citizens need training, as well as additional expenses arising from the increased enrollment. In response to this increased demand and expense, and in keeping with the Board’s goal to create jobs through educational opportunities, it increased funding allocated for CVCC’s current expense by $217,068, for a total current expense of $3,617,068. Catawba County became a gold level member of the Champions of Education’s Education Matters. This initiative has resulted in 88 county employers, with 17,000 employees, committing to hire based on at least a high school diploma or GED and encourage involvement in educational activities.
The Board participated in several economic development initiatives over the last two years. In fiscal year 2009-2010, 1495 jobs were created in Catawba County and 702 jobs were retained. This includes a Fiserv call center in Hickory, the new Target distribution center and a major consolidation of Ethan Allen’s operations at its facility in Maiden. The Board was successful in initiating $1.027 billion in new investment with the construction of the new Apple facility and expansion of existing businesses within the county. The job creation figures stated above do not include a State-estimated 2750 construction jobs for the Apple project alone.
With Apple purchasing the entire 183 acres proposed for the WestStar Mission Critical Business Park/Multi-Jurisdictional Park near Highway 321, a Letter of Intent has been signed with the cities of Hickory and Conover and the towns of Maiden and Catawba for the development of a multi-jurisdictional business/industrial park off Interstate 40. The site is under development, pending acquisition of a right-of-way for an access road and bridge.
The Fiscal Year 2009-2010 County budget included no countywide property tax increase for the second consecutive year and decreased operating expenses by 4%, while maintaining service levels despite increased service demands brought on by the recession. This was accomplished through more than $7 million in cuts that effected 39 positions, through a reduction in hours or by being frozen for a period of time in the last fiscal year. The Board succeeded in saving over $4 million in interest costs by utilizing unique funding opportunities that became available due to the economic downturn. By proceeding with construction projects during the downturn, the Board also succeeded in contracting projects at lower prices than previously bid.
Catawba County provides a comprehensive program of communications and public information. While it continues to use traditional media such as newspapers, radio and television, as well as one-on-one interaction with citizens via talks with civic groups and a class on county government, the County is also using the most modern internet-based tools. These include one of North Carolina’s first county government web sites and Facebook page, Twitter, video programming through You Tube and photo sharing through Flickr and blogs. The Catawba County Public Information Office continues to provide a program of public information, to keep citizens informed of important county government initiatives and action through news releases, a radio program, newspaper columns, Charter Communications’ Government Access cable television channel, a twice monthly e-newsletter and the County’s website at www.catawbacountync.gov.
Based on the recommendations of a Justice Center Renovation and Expansion Committee and a Public Safety Facility Committee, the Board awarded an architectural service contract for both projects and determined it would be in the best interest of the County to combine a Public Safety Facility and the Justice Center Expansion under one roof. With the hiring of a Court Improvement Facilitator, court processing procedures have been reviewed and backlogs identified and reduced. The County’s investment in a new mobile multimedia system for the courtrooms has been met with appreciation by judges and attorneys and has resulted in a substantial decrease in trial length, in at least one trial thus far.
In addition to the marketing opportunities resulting from national exposure achieved by being featured on CNN, the EcoComplex has expanded its research potential by partnering with Appalachian State University for a biodiesel education and research facility and with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for research on alternative technologies and business practices to reduce landfill operating costs and waste volume, and improve waste processing.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464
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