PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2009, 7:00 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will receive an update from County Manager J. Thomas Lundy on the impact of current economic conditions on the County budget for the current fiscal year; consider awarding a contract, in the amount of $100,750, for the design of a planned Rocky Ford Road/Startown Road water project, to AECOM, Inc., and recognize Catawba County Public Health, which was recently accredited by the North Carolina Local Health Department Accreditation Board, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 16, 2009, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
The Board will also consider a resolution authorizing a 1.2% gross receipts tax on the short-term rental or lease of heavy equipment effective July 1, 2009, as authorized by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2008 when it exempted this equipment from the property tax base (businesses dealing in this equipment will have the option to apply to the County Tax Assessor for the property tax exemption); a budget revision to account for funds received by Public Health in prior years that are restricted for specific purposes; an application for a State grant for the Criminal Justice Partnership Program; a set of tax refund requests; and a new Records Retention and Disposition Schedule for the Sheriff's Office.
The Board will recognize Catawba County Public Health for achieving accreditation from the North Carolina Local Health Department Accreditation Board. The accreditation signifies that Catawba County Public Health complies with the highest established standards for public health in the State. State legislation now requires all health departments to attain this accreditation and Catawba County joins 44 other health departments in North Carolina which have accomplished this goal.
A. The Board will consider a request from Public Health to transfer $38,081, from funds set aside for specific purposes received in prior years and held in a restricted fund until needed. $22,500 awarded from the Susan G. Komen Foundation will be used for breast health related patient services and $15,581 from the Healthy Carolinians program will be used for the Medical Access for Catawba County Program to provide access to health care, a substance abuse coalition, a cancer task force and Eat Smart Move More program. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of this request.
B. The Board will consider an application for a State grant of $122,893 for the Criminal Justice Partnership Program (CJPP). A local Criminal Justice Partnership Board is charged with administering this annual grant. The CJPP provides an effective bridge between the criminal justice system and community agencies for Intermediate Sanction offenders on supervised probation who are at risk of incarceration. Through a detailed needs assessment, appropriate referrals, treatment services for substance abuse and cognitive skills and transportation when needed, the partnership program seeks to combine the influence of community-based legal sanctions and non-incarceration punishments with structured services in the community. By providing treatment services appropriate to the offender’s needs, the program seeks to address those issues that maintain criminal lifestyle for offenders. Utilizing the State’s accepted offender management model, the program seeks to provide those services that will decrease criminal involvement and increase productive, socially acceptable behaviors. This grant would provide funds to serve approximately 75 people. Since July 1, 2008, 38 participants have successfully completed the program, and were diverted from jail and increased their odds against returning to jail. Other participants are continuing in the program, while 15 have been incarcerated. The program’s current successful completion rate is 66%, which far exceeds the statewide average rate of approximately 42%. The average daily cost of a participant in this program is $15. The approximate cost of local incarceration is $45 per day, while the cost for those incarcerated with the N.C. Department of Corrections is over $80 per day. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends submission of this grant application.
C. The Board will consider an updated Records Retention and Disposition Schedule for the Sheriff’s Office. The Records Retention and Disposition Schedule is distributed by the State Division of Archives and History, under North Carolina General Statutes 121-5, and addresses the retention and destruction of public records. The updated schedule requires Board approval and the return of an executed signature to the Division of Archives and History in Raleigh. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends approval of the updated Records Retention and Disposition Schedule.
D. The Board will consider three refund requests totaling $1785.13. Under North Carolina General Statute 105-381, a taxpayer who has paid taxes may request a refund (in writing) for an amount that was paid through error. The records have been checked and these refunds verified; therefore, the Tax Collector is asking for approval of the refund requests.
The Board will consider a resolution authorizing a 1.2% gross receipts tax on the short-term rental or lease of heavy equipment, effective July 1, 2009. During the 20
08 legislative session, the North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1852, which exempted certain types of heavy equipment from the property tax base. This law also allows local governments to replace the lost property tax revenue by adopting a gross receipts tax on the rental of the exempted equipment.
Prior to the enactment of this legislation, counties and municipalities had the authority to levy ad valorem taxes on heavy equipment. The new law repeals that authority with regard to heavy equipment on which a gross receipts tax may be imposed, designating this heavy equipment as property excluded from the tax base. The statute now requires companies engaged in the business of short-term heavy equipment lease or rental, per General Statute 105-187.1, to submit an application to the County Tax Assessor on an annual basis seeking exemption of property tax. The legislation also provides a mechanism to replace the ad valorem property tax previously levied on this equipment. It amends General Statute, Chapter 160A by adding a new section, 160A-215.2, which authorizes a county or municipality to levy a tax on the gross receipts from the short-term lease or rental of heavy equipment at retail. Under the terms of this statute, the new tax for counties is 1.2%, with an additional amount of 0.8% allowable for municipalities.
Staff believes there are seven businesses in the county that could be impacted by this legislation, four in the City of Hickory (Sunbelt Rentals, Valley Rentals, Home Depot and G&W Equipment), one in Conover (Gaston Rentals) and two outside municipal limits (Cooke Rental and Springs Road Rent-All). These businesses currently pay approximately $22,000 in annual property tax payments. Both the City of Conover and City of Hickory have adopted resolutions levying the gross receipts tax for their jurisdictions, effective January 1, 2009. The County has been notified that Conover will begin assessing the gross receipts tax on April 1, 2009 and Hickory will begin levying it on July 1, 2009. The County will notify all known companies in the equipment rental business of this new legislation and provide them with forms and instructions to submit their gross receipts tax on the short-term rental of heavy equipment, which will be required on a quarterly basis beginning on July 1, 2009. The County will also notify those businesses of the option to apply to the Tax Assessor for a property tax exemption under General Statute 105-282.1. Businesses must file for the exemption on an annual basis. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the adoption of the resolution detailed above.
B. UTILITIES AND ENGINEERING
The Board will consider awarding a contract for the design of the planned Rocky Ford Road/Startown Road Water Loop to AECOM, Inc., formerly Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern, in the amount of $100,750. This project was initially introduced to the County by the City of Newton to enhance Newton’s ability to provide water service to industrial property on Highway 10 West. This project will also enhance the fire flow rates to the County’s EcoComplex by looping the existing water line on Rocky Ford Road to the existing water line on Startown Road. A total of $1,240,000 has been appropriated for the engineering, design and construction of the project.
Statements for Qualifications were received on February 17, 2009 for engineering services to assist Catawba County and the City of Newton with this project. The project includes construction of approximately 18,000 linear feet of 12-inch diameter water line from the existing line along Rocky Ford Road near Woodtech Drive to Startown Road, then along Startown Road to intersect with an existing City of Newton water line on Startown Road near Fire Department Road.
Twenty-seven firms responded to the County’s Request for Qualifications. Staff recommends AECOM, INC., formerly Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern, based on their credentials, past work and services. The total contractual agreement of $100,750 includes $43,750 for surveying and mapping, $52,000 for design and permitting, and $5,000 for bidding. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends awarding this design contract to AECOM, INC. in the amount of $100,750.
County Manager J. Thomas Lundy is expected to update the Board on the impact of current economic conditions on the current Fiscal Year 2008-2009 budget and actions the County has taken to meet current conditions..
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464