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MARCH 17, 2014

AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, February 17, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse
30 North College Avenue, Newton, NC

NOTE: PRIOR TO THIS REGULAR MEETING, MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS WILL BE ATTENDING THE GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY FOR THE CLAREMONT SPEC BUILDING AT 4:00 P.M. AT 2421 BGA DRIVE, CLAREMONT, NC.

1. Call to Order

2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

3. Invocation

4. Approval of the minutes from the Board’s Regular and Special Meeting of February 17, 2014

5. Recognition of Special Guests

6. Public Comment for Items Not on the Agenda

7. Presentation:


National Library Week Proclamation. Presented to Library Director Suzanne White

8. Public Hearings:


a. Proposed Amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance – Modified Definition of bona fide farm. Presented by Planner Chris Timberlake


b. Proposed Amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance – Board of Adjustment Procedures. Presented by Planner Chris Timberlake

9. Appointments.

10. Departmental Reports:


a. Catawba Valley Medical Center:


Installment Purchase Contract Financing for Medical Equipment. Presented by Sr. Vice President David Boone, Catawba Valley Medical Center


b. Financing/Purchasing:


Bid Award – HVAC Controls in Existing Justice Center. Presented by Finance Director Rodney Miller and Purchasing Manager Debbie Anderson


c. Legal/Utilities and Engineering:


Bunker Hill School Sewer Assignment of Easements and Quitclaim Deed to City of Conover. Presented by Assistant County Attorney Jodi Stewart

11. Other Items of Business.

12. Attorneys’ Report.

13. Manager’s Report.


Progress Update on Communications Enhancement Initiative. Presented by Assistant County Manager Mary Furtado

14. Adjournment.

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 you with easy to understand instructions. Reach Catawba County on the Internet at http://www.catawbacountync.gov.

CALENDAR: April Board of Commissioners meetings will take place on Monday, April 7, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. and on Monday, April 21, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse, 30 North College Avenue, Newton, NC.


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, MARCH 17, 2014, 7 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold two public hearings on 1) a proposed amendment to the County’s Unified De¬velopment Ordinance (UDO), which would include a modified definition of the “bona fide farm”, pursuant to North Carolina House Bill 168; and 2) a proposed amendment to the County’s Unified De-velopment Ordinance (UDO), specific to the Board of Adjustment procedures, pursuant to North Caro¬lina House Bill 276, when it meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 17, 2014, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton. The Board will also receive an update on steps taken to address a Board goal for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 to “increase citizens’ awareness of County programs and services and promote healthy activities throughout the County by strengthening communications and outreach to citizens.”

The Board will consider approving a resolution authorizing Catawba Valley Medical Center to execute an installment purchase agreement in order to finance $5 million of medical equipment, and consider a recommendation to assign and convey the Bunker Hill School Sewer Project easements and an associated quitclaim deed to the City of Conover, as specified in a 2011 agreement with the City of Conover regarding that sewer project. It will consider awarding a bid for Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Controls for the existing Justice Center building to Trane U.S., Inc., in the amount of $440,000, following an energy audit that determined that new controls would result in an estimated energy savings of more than 850,000 kilowatt hours per year and $65,000 per year, equal to a return on investment of 7.2 years. And the Board will issue a proclamation declaring April 13-19, 2014, as National Library Week in Catawba County.

PRESENTATIONS
The Board will issue a proclamation declaring April 13-19, 2014 as National Library Week and encourage all residents to visit the library to take advantage of the wide variety of resources available to library patrons.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
A. The Board will hold a public hearing to receive citizens’ comments and consider amending the definition of bona fide farm as listed in the County’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), in order to be consistent with North Carolina General Statute (NCGS) 153A-340. Historically, North Carolina General Statutes have exempted bona fide farms and their activities from county zoning regulations. Since the adoption of Catawba County’s first zoning ordinance in 1974, bona fide farms have been exempt from zoning regulations. Although the first ordinance made exceptions for farms, a definition for bona fide farm was not included in the zoning ordinance until 1989. In 2011, House Bill 168 made further modifications to the State’s definition of bona fide farm specific to the types of evidence the farmer can provide demonstrating the property is a bona fide farm. Staff is submitting text amendments to bring greater consistency between the County ordinance and State law. The Planning Board held a public hearing on February 24, 2014, to consider the proposed amendment. Mr. Josh Grant, owner of Red Wolf Farms in Maiden, spoke in support of the amendment. There were no questions from the Planning Board about the amendment. The proposed definition is as follows:


Bona fide farm – The production and activities relating or incidental to the production of crops, grains, fruits, vegetables, sod, ornamental and flowering plants, dairy, livestock, poultry, and all other forms of agriculture, as defined in NCGS 106-581.1, and as provided in NCGS 106-743.4 (Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural Districts) regarding the sale and production of nonfarm products recognized as “Goodness Grows in North Carolina” and subject to NCGS 153A-340(b). Any of the following shall constitute sufficient evidence that the property is being used for bona fide farm purposes:

a. A farm sales tax exemption certificate issued by the North Carolina Department of Revenue, or
b. A copy of the property tax listing showing that the property is eligible for participation in the present use value program pursuant to NCGS 105-277.3, or
c. A copy of the farm owner’s or operator’s Schedule F from the owner’s or operator’s most recent federal income tax return, or
d. A forest management plan, or;
e. A Farm Identification Number issued by the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.

B. The Board will hold a public hearing to receive citizens’ comments and consider amendments to the County’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) concerning Board of Adjustment procedures, in order to be consistent with North Carolina General Statute 160A-388.

North Carolina General Statutes authorize counties to adopt local zoning and land use regulations. Subsequently, the State authorizes the appointment of a Board of Adjustment. The board is quasi-judicial, having a partial judicial character with the right to hold hearings and conduct investigations into disputed claims and infractions of regulations, as well as make decisions in the general manner of the courts. The board hears requests for appeals, special use permits and variances, and interprets the zoning and land use regulations (Unified Development Ordinance) adopted by the Board of Commissioners. Catawba County’s Board of Adjustment has existed since the adoption of the first zoning ordinance in 1974. In 2013, House Bill 276 made modifications to board of adjustment legislation. In an effort to bring greater consistency between the County ordinance and State law, staff is submitting substantive text amendments affecting the appeal process; notification of hearings; how the board votes on certain matters; variance requests and notifications of quasi-judicial hearings mailed to abutting property owners; and the site being posted but with advertising not required in a local newspaper.

When applying the appropriate changes to the UDO, staff recognized the opportunity to consolidate sections of the ordinance that cover Board of Adjustment procedures, hearing and notification processes, appeals, special use and variance requests. In doing so, staff is also proposing simple text modifications offering clarity, correcting grammar, revising section numbers and references, and placing some procedural matters (i.e. the option to subpoena witnesses, limiting the number of cases to be heard, limiting time limits for presentation) in a Board of Adjustment By-laws/Procedures document. The Planning Board held a public hearing on February 24, 2014, to consider the proposed amendment. No one from the public spoke about the proposed amendment. The Planning Board did not have any questions regarding the proposed amendments and reorganization of the text.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS
CATAWBA VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER

The Board will consider adopting a resolution that would authorize Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC) to execute an installment purchase agreement to finance $5 million of medical equipment. CVMC is proposing an installment purchase contract through US Bancorp to finance the purchase. Seven installment purchase agreement proposals were received from banks with a North Carolina presence. The Catawba Valley Medical Center Board of Trustees reviewed the proposals at its regular monthly meeting on February 24, 2014. US Bancorp was selected because of its competitive rate and fee structure. The term of the installment purchase agreement is 59 months, with a fixed interest rate of 1.326 percent. CVMC’s bond attorney, Steve Cordell with Nexsen Pruet, PLLC, developed this resolution and has reviewed and approved the other documents associated with this financing.

FINANCE/PURCHASING
The Board will consider a request to award a bid for HVAC Controls for the existing Justice Center building to Trane U.S., Inc. in the amount of $440,000 and approve the required budget revision. In April of last year, the County engaged Sud Associates to conduct an energy audit of multiple County buildings. The first building selected was the Justice Center, which has experienced numerous heating and cooling issues and complaints from building occupants over the years. The major recommendation from the report was to install an HVAC control system, which will add a new controller and actuator to each air handling unit and allow staff to remotely adjust temperature settings. In addition, the system will allow for time of day scheduling for heating and cooling so occupied and non-occupied temperature settings can be maintained separately. Estimated energy savings from this project are more than 850,000 kilowatt hours per year, resulting in savings of more than $65,000 per year, equal to a return on investment of 7.2 years.

In June 2013, the City of Newton issued a Request for Proposals, from its customers that have a peak annual billing demand of at least 250 kilowatts, for energy efficiency grants offered through ElectriCities. As a major utility user, the County submitted a proposal and was awarded an $85,000 grant from the City of Newton to install an HVAC control system in the existing Justice Center. The County will receive $50,000 as a credit to the electric bill once installation begins and the additional $35,000 as a credit to the electric bill when the project is finished. On December 2, 2013, the Board authorized a preferred alternate for Trane and Trane Tracer Summit Controls, which are the prominent equipment and building automation systems used in County buildings.

McKnight-Smith-Ward-Griffin Engineers, Inc. prepared the plans and specifications for the project. The estimated cost of the project was $450,000, with the grant funds offsetting approximately 20% of the cost. Funding for the project will come from General Capital project fund balance, which was planned in the current budget in the event the grant request was approved. A pre-bid conference was held on January 23, 2014, with two contractors present; a bid opening was then held on February 5, 2014, with only one contractor presenting a bid (Trane). Since North Carolina General Statute 143-132 and 143-129(b) requires three bids for formal construction projects, the bid from Trane was not opened and the project was re-advertised. A second bid opening was held on February 18, 2014. One bid was received and opened from Trane U.S., Inc. North Carolina General Statutes 143-132 and 143-129(b) allow the bids to be opened when less than three bids are received after a re-advertisement. The bid from Trane U.S., Inc. was a base bid of $446,300, with an alternate bid of $38,600 for 10-year parts and labor warranty for all equipment and controls. McKnight-Smith-Ward-Griffin Engineers, Inc. negotiated with Trane U.S. Inc. and Trane agreed to lower the bid to $440,000 and include a two-year parts & labor warranty for all equipment and controls.

LEGAL/UTILTIES AND ENGINEERING
The Board will consider approving the assignment and conveyance of the Bunker Hill School Sewer Project easements and executing a quitclaim deed to the City of Conover. On May 15, 2006, Catawba County approved a revenue sharing agreement entitled “Agreement between Catawba County and City of Conover for Revenue Sharing on Bunker Hill School Sewer Project” and amended the Agreement on May 2, 2011. The purpose of the Agreement was to locate, fund, and maintain sewer lines to serve Bunker Hill High School and the surrounding area. The County acquired easements for the project and acquired fee simple title to property from Mr. James F. Moser and wife, Ms. Linda Allred Moser, for the purpose of locating a pump station on the property for the sewer project. The Agreement required the County to transfer the rights-of-way, easements, and encroachments acquired for the project to the City of Conover upon completion of the project. The sewer lines have been installed, and the City of Conover is operating and maintaining the sewer lines. The property will be transferred to the City of Conover by recording the Assignment of Easements and Quitclaim Deed.

MANAGER’S REPORT
The Board will receive an update on the activities staff has undertaken to further the Board’s goal to increase citizens’ awareness of County programs and services and promote healthy activities throughout the County by strengthening communications and outreach to citizens. These activities, which strive to proactively push relevant information to citizens in an interesting and engaging way, span a continuum of communications tactics. Many of the activities focus on enhanced web presence and strengthened use of social media. Some will focus on strengthening inter-departmental communications. Others attempt to heighten the availability of frequently requested or useful information to citizens while presenting it in a package that is more visually appealing.

The efforts to be presented to the Board at this meeting represent initial steps aimed at enhancing the County’s current efforts to keep citizens informed and engaged. These include:

• strategically strengthening the County’s use of available social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, using these channels to promote a “Did You Know?” video, which includes numerous facts and figures about Catawba County Government’s program and service impacts in the community; strengthen promotion of County programs and events; publically release the synopsis of Board of Commissioners meetings previously located only on a web link; deliver real-time updates on Board of Commissioners actions at Board meetings via Twitter and Facebook and use Twitter to deliver a minimum of two tweets a week that feature miscellaneous County facts and figures, information on County events and programs, or other relevant information to citizens;

• Make information on advisory board and committee membership more easily accessible to the general public via the County’s website by posting the names and number of terms served of all board and commission members, accompanied by contact information for the assigned staff contact.

• Designing and implementing ideas for content of the back side of business cards carried by staff to send key messages to the public (including QR codes for County website, links to information on County awards, volunteer opportunities, and timely information such as availability of flu shot clinics, etc.)

• Integrating key messages and themes from ICMA’s “Life, Well Run” campaign, which promotes the value of professional local government management, into the County website via creation of a video focusing on the role of the County and neighboring jurisdictions in fostering strong quality of life.

• Freshening up the look and feel of information about County services.

Future efforts will focus on increasing the visibility of available local government and community offerings related to community health, active lifestyle, and healthy living, as well as enhancing the quality and visual appeal of the information being communicated.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464