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MARCH 19, 2012
AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, March 19, 2012, 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 Meeting of February 20, 2012

5. Recognition of special guests

6. Public comments for items not on the agenda

7. Presentations:

a. Certificate of Commendation to St. Stephens High School Swimmer Sava Turcanu, 200 and 500 yard freestyle State Champion.

b. Certificate of Commendation to Newton-Conover High School State Wrestling Champion, Franklin Wepner.

c. Certificates of Commendation to the Government Innovation Team Members: Program Analyst Steve Lackey, Application Development Administrator Valerie Jones Valerie Jones, GIS Application Specialist Ralph Dell and GIS Administrator Michelle Deese.

8. Public Hearings:


Rezoning request by Mr. David Hamby for 3.7 acres on Bethany Church Road. Presented by Planner Chris Timberlake.

9. Appointments.

10. Departmental Reports:


a. Budget:

1. Newton-Conover City Schools – Letter of Intent for Fiscal Year 2012/13 funding. Presented by Budget Manager Jennifer Mace.

2. Transfer of funds for Hickory High School sink hole repairs. Presented by Budget Manager Jennifer Mace.

b. Information Technology:


Government Innovation Grant Award (GIGA) for 2011 appropriation. Presented by Chief Information Officer Terry Bledsoe, GIS Administrator Michelle Deese and Application Development Administrator Valerie Jones.

11. Other Items of Business.

12. Attorneys’ Report.

13. Manager’s Report.

14. Adjournment.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: Individuals needing assistance should contact the County Clerk at 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 April Board of Commissioners Meetings will take place on Monday, April 2, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. and on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012, 7 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on a request to rezone approximately 3.7 acres, at 3464 Bethany Church Road in the Catawba Small Area Planning District, from RC-Rural Commercial to R-20 Residential District, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 19, 2012, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.

The Board will consider a request from the Newton-Conover City Schools for a letter of intent that the County will fund $250,000 in its 2012/2013 budget for HVAC replacements at Shuford Elementary School, and a request from the Hickory Public Schools to transfer $40,926 no longer needed for wheelchair ramp replacement to make emergency repairs related to a sink hole near the Hickory High School baseball field. It will consider a request to appropriate a $10,000 Government Innovation Grant Award, given to the County for its innovative use of Quick Response Codes on building permits, for use in continuing the County’s efforts to provide data and information via mobile devices and other online applications. And the Board will honor Franklin Wepner, a state high school wrestling champion from Newton-Conover High School and Sava Turcanu, a state high school swimming champion from St. Stephens High School, and recognize the County’s Government Innovation Team, which developed the innovative use of Quick Response Codes on County building permits.

PRESENTATIONS
A. The Board will present a Certificate of Commendation to St. Stephens High swimmer Sava Turcanu to recognize him for becoming state champion in the 200 and 500 yard freestyle and commend him for his spirit, motivation and effort.

B. The Board will present a Certificate of Commendation to Newton-Conover High wrestler Franklin Wepner to recognize him for becoming a state wrestling champion in his weight class and commend him for his spirit, motivation and effort.

C. The Board will present Certificates of Commendations to Government Innovation Team members Steve Lackey, Program Analyst; Ralph Dell, GIS Application Specialist; Michelle Deese, GIS Administrator and Valerie Jones, Application Development Administrator. The award will commend team members for their insight, ingenuity and vision in developing an innovative use of Quick Response (QR) Codes on building permits in Catawba County. QR codes are a type of barcode, or two-dimensional code, designed to be read by smart phones. When a picture of a QR code is taken with a smart phone, the phone is connected to more information via the internet.

PUBLIC HEARING
The Board will hold a public hearing to receive citizen input on a request to rezone approximately 3.7 acres, at 3464 Bethany Church Road in the Catawba Small Area Planning District, from RC Rural Commercial to R-20 Residential. This property is a vacant tract. Two parcels to the north and three to the south are zoned R-20 Residential and developed. Two other parcels to the south are zoned R-20 Residential and undeveloped. Two parcels to the west are zoned RC Rural Commercial and developed, with one housing a commercial establishment owned by the applicant. Two additional parcels to the west are zoned R-20 Residential, with one developed and one undeveloped.

Section 44-517 of the Catawba County Unified Development Ordinance states that the RC Rural Commercial district provides small areas for offices, services, and retail uses, designed in scale with surrounding residential uses. The R-20 Residential district is considered a high density district, compared to other districts, allowing one dwelling per half acre.

Public water is available along Bethany Church Road. Public sewer is not available at this location, which will be served by a private septic system. Bethany Church Road is a minor thoroughfare according to the 2035 Greater Hickory Urban Area Long Range Transportation Plan. The annual Average Daily Traffic count in 2009 along this portion of Bethany Church Road was 3,600 vehicles per day. Based on existing conditions, the roadway is constructed to serve approximately 12,500 vehicles per day. No transportation improvements are recommended at this time.

The Catawba Small Area Plan is the current land use plan for this area. It depicts the subject property as being outside any future commercial node. Staff considers the request to be consistent with the Catawba Small Area Plan and recommends this parcel be rezoned from RC Rural Commercial to R-20 Residential based on the request being consistent with the Small Area Plan and in harmony with the majority of the surrounding residential land uses, and on the R-20 classification.


The Planning Board held a public hearing on February 27, 2012. No one spoke in favor of or against the request. The applicant stated he is interested in establishing his residence on the property. A board member asked about access to the property. The applicant has access off Bethany Church Road and use of an access easement along the southwestern property line. The Planning Board voted, 9-0, to submit a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners to rezone the 3.7 acre parcel from RC Rural Commercial to R-20 Residential based on the staff recommendation noted above.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS


BUDGET

A. The Board will consider a request by Newton-Conover City Schools for a letter of intent for funding in the Fiscal Year 2012/13 budget. Newton-Conover City Schools has requested $250,000 to replace six HVAC units at Shuford Elementary School as its top funding priority for Fiscal Year 2012/13. The units were installed when the school was built in the mid 1970s and are in poor shape. This item will be recommended for funding in the County’s Fiscal Year 2012/13 budget. The replacements need to be made during the summer while school is not in session and the new school calendar only provides six weeks for the work to be completed. In order to complete the work prior to school resuming in the fall of 2012, the equipment needs to be purchased and ready for installation as soon as school is out for the summer. Accordingly, Newton-Conover City Schools is requesting a letter of intent for funds from the Board of Commissioners. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends giving priority in the Fiscal Year 2012/13 Schools’ Capital Outlay budget to fund $250,000 for HVAC replacements at Shuford Elementary School and issuing a letter of intent for this project.

B. The Board will consider a request from the Hickory Public Schools to transfer $40,926 in funds previously set aside for wheelchair ramp replacement at mobile units to make emergency repairs related to a large sink hole near the Hickory High School baseball field. The school system obtained three bids on repairs to provide a short-term solution and enable the use of the baseball field this spring. The current year budget included funds to replace wheelchair ramps at mobile units which are no longer needed because the school system received a private donation to replace the ramps. A long term problem is that a storm water pipe has eroded and will eventually fall in other areas, creating more sink holes. The Hickory Public Schools has amended its capital request for next year to make fixing the storm water pipe its top priority, at a projected cost of $100,000. Staff recommends the Board establish a new Hickory High School Sink Hole Repairs project and transfer $25,000 from the Mobile Units Ramp Replacement project so emergency repairs can be made this year

B. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
The Board will consider appropriating $10,000 received from the 2011 Government Innovation Grant Award (GIGA), to purchase mobile devices and software tools for the purpose of continuing and enhancing the County’s online presence. Catawba County won the top GIGA award for 2011 from the UNC School of Government, the Local Government Federal Credit Union, and the North Carolina Local Government Information Systems Association for its innovative use of Quick Response (QR) Codes on building permits issued in the County. QR codes are a type of barcode, or two-dimensional code, designed to be read by smart phones. When a picture of the code is taken with a smart phone, the phone is connected to more information via the internet.

Catawba County was recognized for implementation of a Building Permit QR Codes System, which provides building contractors and inspectors with up-to-the-minute job site and inspection information at their fingertips in the field. The County added QR codes to building services permit placards posted at job sites in order to quickly deliver data via use of a smart phone. The placard codes link to GIS information for the parcel of the building site, and to full permit information on the internet. All data is live and dynamic.

Catawba County has received several awards in the last year related to social media, mobile apps and QR codes. While the Information Technology Department has been very successful in bringing these services to citizens and employees, staff have been hampered by the lack of some necessary tools. Many of the mobile apps were tested on borrowed mobile devices. Some of the software currently being used provides only basic features. Video production has all been accomplished using low end tools. While staff has been very resourceful, they believe they can provide even better services with enhanced tools. Since the award was received for online services, staff feels the grant should be used to further enhance those programs. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends appropriating the grant funds to purchase mobile devices and software tools for the purpose of enhancing the County’s online presence.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464