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APRIL 2, 2012
AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, April 2, 2012, 9:30 a.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 March 19, 2012

5. Recognition of special guests

6. Public Comments for items not on the agenda

7. Presentation:


National County Government Month Proclamation – “Healthy Counties, Healthy Families”. Presented to Public Health Director Doug Urland.

8. Other Items of Business


Proposed 2012 State and Federal Legislative Agendas. Presented by Assistant County Manager Dewey Harris.

9. Attorneys’ Report

10. Manager’s Report

11. 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 next Board of Commissioners Meeting will take place on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
APRIL 2, 2012, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider proposed State and Federal legislative agenda, for use in working with Catawba County’s delegations to the North Carolina General Assembly and United States Congress in 2012, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, April 2, 2012, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Ave. in Newton.


The Board will also issue a proclamation declaring the month of April as County Government Month in Catawba County.

PRESENTATION
The Board will issue a proclamation declaring April as County Government Month in Catawba County. The theme of this proclamation is “Healthy Counties, Healthy Families” and it recognizes that Catawba County enables healthy families by promoting and protecting the health of all county residents; by assuring critical health and emergency services; and by advocating for healthier lifestyles through education, policies, and environmental strategies.

OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS
The Board will consider adopting proposed 2012 State and Federal Legislative Agendas, to highlight legislative issues of local importance. The Short Session of the North Carolina General Assembly begins on May 16, 2012, so it is time to consider a new agenda. The agenda were developed in collaboration with County department heads, the Catawba County School System, Hickory Public Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools, Catawba Valley Community College, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, Catawba County Economic Development Corporation, Western Piedmont Council of Governments, municipalities, and legislative advocacy staff of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. Assistant County Manager Dewey Harris will provide more details on the proposed agenda goals during the meeting

The proposed State Legislative agenda includes the following goals, with the text of the goals in bold:

1) Support an increase to $35,000 in the Homestead Exclusion Income Limit. The Board has supported this increase, which would provide property tax relief for the senior citizens of Catawba County, since 2007.

2) Support an equitable distribution method in the School Capital Fund Formula/Lottery Proceeds as long as North Carolina chooses to conduct an educational lottery. Of the lottery funds dedicated to school construction, 35% is given to counties that have an effective tax rate higher than the statewide average. Since Catawba County has a lower than average tax rate, the current distribution formula penalizes Catawba County with reduced funding levels. If the 35% that is distributed based on the effective tax rate were distributed based on a per student allocation to each county, Catawba County could receive an additional $1 million annually.

3) Oppose transferring the responsibility of North Carolina’s secondary road infrastructure to counties, the elimination or decrease in current road infrastructure funding levels for municipalities, or the transfer of any State maintained road to municipalities.

4) Oppose any State efforts to force additional unfunded mandates or take away local revenues to balance the State Budget and restore previous cuts when possible.

5) Oppose attempts to reduce a local government’s tax base, which leads to more burden on property taxpayers.

6) Oppose any attempts to increase the time that County jails are required to hold misdemeanants and support an increase in a $40 reimbursement rate for State inmates in county jails and reinstatement of an $18 misdemeanant reimbursement.

7) Support an exemption of State sales tax on purchases made by local school systems.

8) Support a rate increase for Medicaid and State mental health services to at least cover cost of service.

9) The State should maintain “Electing Counties” status and maintain the County’s financial incentive. Electing county status gives Departments of Social Services greater control over local welfare policies and available funding.

10) Restore state day care administrative Child Care and Development Funding from 3% to the original 5%.

11) Support flexible local revenue options to reduce the burden on the property taxpayer.

12) Support maintaining local control of the North Carolina ABC System and preservation of local revenues received from the system.

13) Support local legislation similar to legislation passed in 2010 (Cleanfields Act of 2010) to allow Catawba County to provide triple credit toward renewable energy portfolios. During the 2011 session, the County supported local legislation that will provide triple credit toward renewable energy portfolios of electric power or renewable energy certificates generated in the Catawba County EcoComplex, to ensure renewable energy projects in the EcoComplex remain viable and maintain market competitiveness with renewable energy projects being developed in the private sector.

14) Support legislation to provide for less expensive alternatives for run-off elections. A recent second primary, a run-off for a Democratic Senate Primary, cost Catawba County an additional $51,000.

15) Support legislation, similar to municipalities, which will permit counties to provide high-speed internet either through direct service from the county or a public private partnership. When possible, encourage private industry to partner with counties to expand service

16) Restore North Carolina’s Community Colleges Management Flexibility. The Board would support the concept that, as the State’s economy transitions, it is imperative that community colleges are able to offer the quantity and quality of instruction and service with state-of-the-art equipment critical for economic recovery. The State budget reduced individual college multi-campus funding by distributing funds to more colleges while not increasing the allocation. This further stretches resources to those colleges making commitments to meet the needs of multi-county service areas for commuting students.

17) Support release of Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds

The proposed Federal Agenda includes these goals:

1) Reauthorization of LIHEAP Protection Act: This program provides heating assistance to the elderly and poverty stricken populations. In Catawba County, it serves approximately 1250 residents.

2) Reauthorization of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and supplemental grants: This is a major source of funding for Social Services programs such as child welfare services. In Catawba County, this funding reaches approximately 3300 residents and is spread over a number of programs. Reductions could also impact Electing County Status and shift additional unfunded mandates to the county.

3) Support transition of Next Generation 911: The transition to a Next Generation 911 system will provide enhanced information for first responders through text, photos, and videos, improved access to 911 for people with disabilities, and a more robust and reliable 911 system.

4) Oppose all attempts at the Federal and State levels, including Federal Senate Bill 3991 Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2010, that circumvent North Carolina General Statute 95-98. Additionally, the North Carolina General Assembly should pass legislation to strengthen the prohibition against any participation in public sector mandatory collective bargaining in North Carolina: The United States Senate considered legislation that would make it possible for collective bargaining to occur at the state and local level in North Carolina. Catawba County opposed Senate Bill 3991 introduced on December 1, 2010. Catawba County encourages and supports the General Assembly in passing legislation which will further strengthen the rights of NC cities and counties to treat all employees fairly and professionally and protect citizens from fiscal burdens generated as a result of union influence into personnel management.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464