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MARCH 18, 2013

AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, March 18, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse
30 North College Avenue, Newton, NC

1. Call to Order

2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

3. Invocation

4. Approval of the minutes from the Board’s Regular Session of February 18, 2013

5. Recognition of Special Guests

6. Public Comment for Items Not on the Agenda

7. Appointments

8. Consent Agenda:


a. Resolution to Approve Financing by Propst Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department


b. Urgent Repair Program Project Budget Ordinance Amendment – Interest Earned


c. Southeastern Catawba County Water System Water Shortage Response Plan


d. Justice Center/Public Safety New Construction – Preferred Alternates

9. Departmental Reports:


A. Finance:


1. NC Data Campus Loan – Department of Commerce. Presented by Finance Director Rodney Miller.

2. Finalizing Installment Financing Agreement. Presented by Finance Director.

B. Tax:

1. Settlement Report of Retiring Tax Collector. Presented by Retiring Tax Collector Ona Scruggs.

2. Delinquent 2012 Real Estate Property Tax. Presented by Incoming Tax Collector Lori Mathes.


10. Other Items of Business

11. Attorneys’ Report

12. Manager’s Report

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

CALENDAR: The Board of Commissioners April meetings will take place on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. and on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2013, 7 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Commerce for a $2.6 million loan to develop a 70 acre multi-jurisdictional business park in Conover, which would support approximately 75 jobs, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 18, 2013, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton. The Board will consider taking action to finalize 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, a new animal shelter and the final phase of the Highway 150 sewer system.

The Board will also consider a proposed water shortage response plan, a State requirement for the maintenance of the Southeastern Catawba County water system. It will consider a resolution that would allow the Propst Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department to obtain a better interest rate for financing of up to $380,000 toward the purchase of a new KME Pumper-Tanker and fourteen self contained breathing apparatus, which would not represent a financial obligation to the County; the use of interest accrued from funds in the County’s most recent Urgent Repair Program Grant, which would be used to pay for the remaining projects funded by that grant; whether to delegate authority to Rodney Miller, County Finance and Facilities Director, to conduct an open meeting concerning preferred alternates for the planned Justice Center/Public Safety Expansion; and will hear a settlement report regarding tax collection from retiring Tax Collector Ona Scruggs and a request from incoming Tax Collector Lori Mathes to advertise all unpaid 2012 tax liens pursuant to North Carolina General Statutes.

CONSENT AGENDA
A. The Board will consider adopting a resolution that will allow the Propst Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department to acquire a more favorable interest rate when financing an amount up to $380,000 for the purchase of a new KME Pumper-Tanker and fourteen self contained breathing apparatus. This is not considered a financial obligation for the County. The fire department plans to purchase the new KME Pumper-Tanker to replace a 1979 pumper and 1985 tanker. The purchase price of the new Pumper-Tanker is $315,276, plus taxes and fees. With the purchase of the apparatus, the department is also planning to purchase fourteen self contained breathing apparatus at a price of approximately $90,000. The difference between the total purchase price and the amount to be financed is being paid by the fire department in the form of a down payment.

The fire department would receive an interest rate of 3.2% on a seven year loan as a result of this resolution, as compared to a 3.5% interest rate without the resolution. This will result in approximately $4,600 in savings over the life of the loan. Approval by the County is required under the Internal Revenue Service code in order for the fire department to obtain the more favorable interest rate. The Propst Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department held a required public hearing on February 19, 2013, after published notice was completed in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service code. The fire department has reported the proceedings of the public hearing to the Board, and no public opposition to the financing was presented. The fire department can satisfy this financial obligation without requesting a tax increase. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of this request.

B. The Board will consider a request to amend the 2011 Urgent Repair Project Budget Ordinance to appropriate a total of $112 in interest earned to date. Catawba County received a $37,500 Urgent Repair Grant in September 2011. The County is allowed to earn interest on these funds received from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. During the last 18 months, interest has been earned on this project totaling $112. These funds will be expended through the rehabilitation line item, which will help complete repairs needed for the last houses obligated as the grant is completed. It is anticipated that ten homeowners scattered throughout Catawba County have benefited from this grant. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends this ordinance amendment.

C. The Board will consider adopting a resolution approving a Water Shortage Management Implementation Plan for the Southeastern Catawba County (SECC) Water System. North Carolina General Statute 143-355(i) requires that each local government that provides public water services shall, either individually or together with other such units of local government, prepare or submit a Water Shortage Response Plan. Catawba County contracts with the City of Hickory for operations, maintenance and management of the SECC Water System. The County and the City of Hickory developed a Water Shortage Management Implementation Plan in accordance with the provision of North Carolina General Statutes. The Plan will provide appropriate guidance for the future management of water supplies for the SECC Water System, as well as useful information to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) for the development of a state water supply plan as required by statute. This plan mirrors the City of Hickory’s Water Shortage Response Plan. Once approved, the plan will be submitted to NCDENR, as required. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends approval of this plan.

D. The Board will consider delegating authority to Mr. Rodney Miller, County Finance and Facilities Director, to conduct an open meeting concerning preferred alternates for the Justice Center/Public Safety Expansion. North Carolina General Statute 133-3 provides for free and open competition on public contracts. It states that “specifications shall contain a performance specification or name at least three brands of equal and equivalent design characteristics; if the owner prefers a particular brand or product or material then such brand shall be bid as an alternate to the three items or equivalent design in the base bid, one of which may be the preferred brand; the specifications for the preferred brand must also identify the performance standards that support the preference; the owner shall publish a notice announcing an open meeting for the presentation of the performance standards; the open meeting may be held separately or in conjunction with the project pre-bid meeting; a designated official of the owner will conduct the meeting and the justification must either indicate a cost savings or maintain or improve the function of any process or system affected by the preferred product or both”.

The following preferred alternates would be discussed at a pre-bid conference: Shaw Carpet, Trane Equipment and Controls, Corbin Russwin H2 Locksets, Tate Access Flooring “PosiTile” System, and Vapro Retarder Upgrade.

As of this date, the proposed timeline is to bid the project in June 2013. All general contractors will be prequalified. The expansion is expected to be completed in July 2015. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends delegating this authority to the County Finance Director.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS

FINANCE
1. The Board will consider approval of an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Commerce for a $2.6 million loan to develop a 70 acre multi-jurisdictional business park in Conover. In addition, the Board will consider the approval of an interlocal agreement with the City of Conover and the Western Piedmont Council of Governments to manage all construction/grant activities. On September 17, 2012, the Board held a public hearing and subsequently approved an interlocal agreement with the municipalities of Catawba, Conover, Hickory and Maiden for a business park for economic development. This agreement formed a group of governmental partners that jointly agreed to develop a business park on Highway 16 in Conover, sharing in the costs to develop and the revenues generated by the park. The County applied for a $2.6 million loan through the North Carolina Department of Commerce at a rate of 2% for seven years, with the first two years as interest only.

On January 4, 2013, the County was notified by the N.C. Department of Commerce that the loan was approved upon the execution of all required documentation and applications. Funds will be used to develop a 70-acre business park (North Carolina Data Campus) north of Interstate 40 in the City of Conover and support an expected 75 new jobs. Estimated development costs are $2.6 million and include the construction of the following items: 1) roadway, 850 linear feet with curb and gutters, including a sidewalk on one side of the road to provide access to three lots marketed as data center sites, $500,000; 2) 10,000 linear feet of 12-inch water line from NC Highway 16 through the NC Data Campus site to Lee Cline Road, $600,000; 3) 825 linear feet of 15/16 inch gravity sewer lines to serve three potential lots, $108,680; 4) three building pads including erosion control and drainage facilities, $1,061,320; and 5) electrical duct bank (proposed), $330,000. The County, as the loan recipient, will be responsible for annual loan payments in July of each year, with each of the governmental partners contributing their share of the loan repayment to the County. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of these agreements.

2. The Board will consider approval of a final resolution regarding 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 (CVCC), a new Animal Shelter and Highway 150 sewer lines. In the County’s Fiscal Year 2011/12 budget, the Board continued its practice of funding school and 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 School and completion of the Hickory High School project, though funds for both were advanced in the previous 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. These two projects were planned to be financed with the second-year projects to minimize financing costs. Apart from the school construction cycle, the County has set aside funding over multiple years in anticipation of the new animal shelter and 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.

In total, the County has approved the following construction projects and amounts to be financed: South Newton Elementary Project, $10,790,580 (September 2012); Longview Elementary School Project, $11,824,670 (February 2013); Animal Shelter, $4.2 million (December 2012); Highway 150 Sewer, $8 million (December 2012); CVCC Campus Renovations (former Ryan’s Steakhouse and Advising/Information Center), $1.5 million (April 2012); Hickory Career & Arts Magnet School, $1.5 million (September 2011) and Newton-Conover Middle School Conversion, $1 million (February 2012).

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. Both the Newton-Conover City and Hickory Public Boards of Education approved these agreements at their respective meetings on March 11, 2013. The County will pledge both the new Animal Shelter and sewer lines to the bank as collateral for that portion of the loan.

The County received bank bids on March 8, 2013, to finance the projects up to $39 million. SunTrust Bank was the low bidder at a 1.96% rate over 15 years. 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.

TAX
1. The Board is expected to receive a settlement report from retiring Tax Collector Ona Scruggs. In accordance with North Carolina General Statute 105-373(d), a settlement report is due upon a vacancy during a collector’s term of office.

2. The Board will consider a request from incoming Tax Collector Lori Mathes to accept a report on 2012 delinquent real property taxes and adopt a resolution authorizing Ms. Mathes to advertise the delinquent tax liens as prescribed by North Carolina General Statute 105-369. This statute requires that each county’s Tax Collector submit to his or her Board of Commissioners the total amount of unpaid taxes for the current year. As of January 31, 2013, delinquent real property taxes in Catawba County totaled $5,281,954, which represents 7.69% of the 2012 real property levy.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464