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FEBRUARY 18, 2013
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Approval of the minutes from the Board’s Regular and Closed Session Meeting of February 4, 2013
5. Recognition of special guests
6. Public Comment for items not on the agenda
7. Public Hearing:
9. Consent Agenda:
11. Other Items of Business
12. Attorneys’ Report
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. 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: Due to the Board members’ attendance at the NACO Conference in Washington, DC in early March, there will be only one March Board of Commissioners Meeting. This meeting will take place on Monday, March 18, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing to hear public comment on proposed installment financing, not to exceed $40 million, for construction of new Longview and South Newton Elementary Schools, renovations to two existing school facilities, improvements at Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC), a new animal shelter and the final phase of the Highway 150 sewer system, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 18, 2013, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton. The Board will also consider a request from the Hickory Public Schools to transfer $180,000 in funds from other projects, and appropriate an additional $824,670, for the new Longview Elementary School.
The Board will consider a request to approve the conversion of a temporary/hourly position to a part-time position in the Purchasing Division of the County’s Finance Office to assist with project management of multiple County construction projects currently in progress. It will consider donating a surplus Sheriff’s Office vehicle and strobe light bar to the Sherrills Ford Fire and Rescue Department. It will consider accepting a $40,000 federal grant to allow Catawba County Emergency Services personnel to take part in incident management team training and a $20,000 federal grant for a training exercise that would allow emergency responders including law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire and rescue, and CVCC staff and students to practice the college’s planned response to life-threatening incidents on the campus. It will consider amending the list of Map Review Officers approved for the County and its municipalities. It will consider a resolution specifying that the Board concurred with the Secondary Roads Improvement Plan for Catawba County for fiscal year 2012-2013, approved by the North Carolina Board of Transportation, as presented at the Board of Commissioners February 4, 2013, meeting. And the Board will be formally introduced to Suzanne White, the new County Library Director.
In the County’s Fiscal Year 2011-12 budget, the Board continued its practice of funding school/community college projects by dedicating two cents of the property tax rate towards a new four-year construction cycle. The first year of this cycle included an addition at Webb Murray Elementary and the completion of a Hickory High School project, though both were advanced in the previous funding cycle and reduced from the current four-year allocation. The other two projects included renovations to the Hickory Career and Arts Magnet School and campus improvements at CVCC.
Apart from the school construction cycle, the County has set aside funding over multiple years in anticipation of a new animal shelter and the addition of sewer lines along Highway 150 to account for population growth in the County. Total projects to be financed are approximately $39 million and no future tax increase is planned or needed to account for the annual debt service.
The County has approved the following construction projects and amounts to be financed:
The Longview Elementary School Project was originally estimated at $11 million, with an additional $824,670 needed to complete the financing for the project.
For more than a decade, Catawba County has financed school construction through an installment payment method, described under North Carolina General Statute 160A-20. This type of financing pledges the asset acquired or constructed as collateral for the loan in case of default. Since the County does not own the land on which the two elementary schools will be built, the Boards of Education for both school districts must convey the land to the County in order for the County to borrow the funds for the new schools. The County will, in turn, lease the new schools and land to the Boards of Education for their use, and at the end of the financing term, transfer all rights to the property back to the school systems. For the County projects, the County would pledge both the new Animal Shelter and sewer lines to the bank as collateral for the loan. It is anticipated that these four projects will be sufficient collateral to secure the loan for all seven projects.
All local governments in North Carolina that borrow funds greater than $500,000, or for longer than five years to maturity, must receive approval by the Local Government Commission (LGC), a division of the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer. The LGC will consider this financing at its April 2, 2013, meeting in Raleigh.
Staff recommends the Board hold a public hearing regarding the proposed installment purchase financing for the construction of two new elementary schools (Longview and South Newton), renovations to two existing school facilities and improvements to Catawba Valley Community College, along with County projects including a new Animal Shelter and Highway 150 sewer lines, and consider a resolution making certain findings and determinations regarding the financing, seek approval from the Local Government Commission and authorize the execution of an installment financing agreement, deed of trust, construction and acquisition agreement, lease agreement and related documents in connection with the installment financing for public school improvements.
Last fall, staff added a temporary/hourly employee to assist the Finance Director and Purchasing Manager with the management of all construction projects noted above for a total of twenty hours per week. This was in addition to an earlier agreement with Newton-Conover City Schools to contract with their construction coordinator (Allen Kirby) to assist the County with design development and construction management of County projects.
In light of the timing of the four major construction projects, it has become evident that more staff time is needed to manage all of the projects, including meetings with architects and end users; coordinating the relocation of underground utilities; procuring adequate technology equipment; insuring each contractor is following schedule/plans; handling logistics of moving staff and furnishings/equipment, and assisting with countywide purchasing functions while the Purchasing Manager is involved with construction activities. The part-time position would replace the temporary/hourly position, and work a schedule of thirty-two hours per week with benefits, beginning immediately when filled. With the construction of the Justice Center/Public Safety Project projected to end in late 2015, the position is needed for a multi-year period. In addition, this position will be needed for future construction plans including expansion of the existing Register of Deeds space, renovations to the existing Emergency Operations Center and 911 center, future expansion of the Jail and possible renovations to the current Clerk of Court space and Animal Shelter building. Funding is sufficient in the current Finance Department budget to account for the increase in hours and switch from hourly to part-time. The conversion of this temporary/hourly position to a part-time position is recommended by the Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee.
B. The Board will consider the donation of a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria and strobe bar light to the Sherrills Ford Fire and Rescue Department, which has requested a surplus Sheriff Office vehicle and surplus strobe bar light to conduct fire department business such as transportation of firefighters to and from fire and rescue training, delivering station supplies and day to day fire department operations.
The approximate value of the vehicle is $2,000 and the approximate value of the strobe bar light is $20. North Carolina General Statute 160A-279 authorizes the County to convey personal property to a nonprofit organization without monetary consideration as long as the property will be used for a public purpose. The process begins with the governing board adopting a resolution authorizing the conveyance of the property and a ten day public notice. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends this donation.
C. The Board will consider the appropriation of a Department of Homeland Security Grant in the amount of $40,000 to fully fund incident management team training. A core mission of the Department of Homeland Security (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 through activities such as training, exercises and plan development.
Catawba County Emergency Management applied to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety for a DHS grant to sponsor a fifty hour U.S. Fire Administration training program which prepares emergency responders to function on Type 3 incident management teams. The program will be conducted in cooperation with Catawba Valley Community College and will be open to emergency response personnel from across North Carolina.
Incident Management Teams are designated groups of trained personnel from different departments, organizations, and agencies who manage major and/or complex incidents requiring a significant number of local, state, or federal resources. They manage incidents that extend into multiple operational periods and require a written Incident Action Plan, such as weather-related disasters such as tornadoes, earthquake or flood; a joint law enforcement operation; public health emergency; planned exercise or event. There is no County or local cost share for this project, as this grant will fund the entire cost. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the appropriation of these grant funds.
D. The Board will consider the appropriation of a Department of Homeland Security Grant (DHS) in the amount of $20,000 for a planned Catawba Valley Community College exercise. The Homeland Security Grant Program is a primary funding mechanism for building and sustaining national preparedness capabilities through activities such as training, exercises, and plan development.
Catawba County Emergency Management applied to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety for this grant to sponsor a multi-stage, active shooter exercise which will allow emergency responders, including law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire, and rescue, CVCC staff and students to practice their planned response to life-threatening incidents on the campus. The grant will be used to work with a contractor to develop and facilitate all phases of the drills and full-scale exercise, and provide Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program documents. Annual documentation of exercises is required for various entities to receive assistance and grant funding from state and federal agencies or as part of certification and compliance programs. There is no county or local cost for this project as it is funded entirely by the grant. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends appropriation of these grant funds.
E. The Board will consider a request of the Town of Maiden, City of Newton and County staff to amend the list of Map Review Officers. On July 17, 1997, the North Carolina General Assembly ratified Senate Bill 875 - Maps and Plats Law, which required all counties to appoint review officers who would review each plat or map before it is recorded and certify that it meets the statutory requirements for mapping. The law states that individuals have to be appointed by name, not job title, so any time a change occurs in staffing, a new Review Officer has to be appointed and approved by resolution of the Board of Commissioners and recorded in the Register of Deed’s Office.
If the list is amended as requested, the active list of Review Officers will be:
Catawba County: Jacky M. Eubanks, Mary K. George, Susan Ballbach, and Chris Timberlake
Staff recommends the Board amend the list of Map Review Officers for the Town of Maiden, City of Newton, and Catawba County.
F. The Board will consider a request from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) that the Board adopt a resolution specifying that the Board concurred with the Secondary Roads Improvement Plan for Catawba County for fiscal year 2012-2013, approved by NCDOT, as presented at the Board’s February 4, 2013, meeting.
In fiscal year 2011-12, the Board continued its practice of a four-year funding cycle for school construction by pledging three cents of the property tax rate along with lottery funds to finance approximately $69 million in school/community college improvements. Projects included in the first year of the funding cycle were improvements to Hickory High and Murray Elementary Schools, both financed in the last fiscal year. Improvements to the Hickory Career Arts & Magnet School (HCAM) and on the campus at CVCC were also included, though these two projects have not yet been financed.
In fiscal year 2012-13, plans included two new elementary schools, South Newton, estimated at $10 million, and Longview, estimated at $11 million, as well as renovations to the old Newton-Conover Middle School and CVCC for $1 million and $2 million, respectively. All of these projects are planned to be financed along with the HCAM and CVCC improvements in April 2013.
Bids were received in January 2013 for the Longview Elementary School Project with a low base bid from Hickory Construction Company of $11,430,000, which equals $151.74 per square foot. Including architectural fees (5.9%), inspections, furnishings and technology, the total project equals $12,672,670, compared to the budget of $11 million. The South Newton Elementary School project was bid in September 2012 at a total cost of $12,723,580, or $158/square foot.
The project consists of 28 classrooms with a capacity of 450 students and a core of 600, in addition to a media center, administrative area, and cafetorium (gym, cafeteria, stage). The facility has 70,321 heated square feet plus 5,003 unheated square feet for entranceways and bus drop off areas. It is designed to obtain a LEED Silver classification. After a review with County staff, it was determined that several options could be used to reduce the project amount by using existing County appropriations to pay for technology separately, pledging State sales tax refunds to the project, transferring funds from existing and/or closed projects, and reducing some other items, resulting in a total project cost of $11,824,670.
The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the transfer of $180,000 from existing and/or completed school projects and the appropriation of the additional $824,670 to complete the Longview Elementary School Project.
OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS
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