Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, April 19, 2010, 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
4. Approval of the minutes from the Regular Meeting and Closed Session of April 5, 2010
5. Recognition of Special Guests
6. Public Comment for Items Not on the Agenda
a. NCACC Outstanding County Program Awards. Presented by NCACC Outreach Associate David Nicholson.
1. Human Services Category– Educational Advocate Initiative. Presented to Amy Herman Program Manager and Adrienne Overby, Educational Advocate.
2. Human Services Category – Crisis Intervention Program. Presented to Karen Heffner, Social Worker Supervisor III and Jo Sloan, Family Support Program Manager.
b. Spring Litter Sweep Proclamation. Presented to Kelly Groves, Extension Agent, Cooperative Extension.
9. Departmental Reports:
A. Economic Development Corporation:
Turbotec Products. Presented by Julie Pruett, Director of Business Recruitment, Catawba County Economic Development Corporation.
B. Planning, Parks and Development:
2009 (IDA) Individual Development Account Unifour 1st Time Homebuyer Program. Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Director of Planning, Parks and Development.
C. Emergency Services:
1. Supplemental Appropriation of Grant Funds for Tablet Computers for Emergency Services. Presented by Bryan Blanton, Emergency Services Director.
2. Supplemental Appropriation of Office of the Governor Citizen Corps Grants for Team Development and Refresher Training. Presented by Bryan Blanton, Emergency Services Director.
3. Amendment to Animal Services Fee Schedule. Presented by Bryan Blanton, Emergency Services Director.
10. Other Items of Business
11. Attorneys’ Report
12. Manager’s Report
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: Individuals needing assistance should contact the County Clerk at 828-465-8990 within a reasonable time prior to the meeting. A telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD) is located in the Government Center and can be reached by dialing 828-465-8200. 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 May Board of Commissioners Meeting will take place on Monday, May 3, 2010 at 9:30 a.m. and on Monday, May 17, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2010, 7 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider a proposed Economic Development Agreement with Turbotec Products that would facilitate an expansion of Turbotec’s Hickory operation that would create 73 new jobs, and amendments to the County’s Animal Services Fee Schedule to offer citizens recovering pets from the Animal Shelter the option of having a micro chip implanted in their pet and set fees for heartworm and feline leukemia testing, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 19, 2010 at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
The Board will also consider an agreement to continue Catawba County’s participation in a Unifour area program providing assistance to first time home buyers; and acceptance of federal and state grants that would develop two new Community Emergency Response Teams composed of volunteers; provide refresher training for existing Community Emergency Response Team members and place tablet computers in each ambulance operated by Catawba County Emergency Medical Services, to make record keeping more efficient. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring the period from April 17-May 1, 2010 as Litter Sweep in Catawba County and assist as the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners honors Catawba County Social Services’ Community Based Crisis Intervention Program and Educational Advocate Initiative Program with the Association’s 2010 Outstanding County Program Award.
A. The Board will assist a representative from the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) in the presentation of 2010 NCACC Outstanding County Program Awards to two programs of the Catawba County Department of Social Services. The Educational Advocate Initiative Program created a position within Social Services to serve as a liaison with the three public school systems in order to improve educational continuity and stability for children in foster care in the county. The Community Based Crisis Intervention Program joined the forces of the Salvation Army of Hickory, the Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry and the Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry with Social Services to more efficiently assist families faced with crises as they struggled to meet heating and cooling needs in their homes.
B. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring April 17-May 1 as Spring Litter Sweep in Catawba County to encourage local governments and communities, civic and professional groups, businesses, churches, schools, families and individuals to participate in the cleanup of roadsides and common areas such as parks and lake shores. During these weeks, citizens who bring trash collected from roadsides, parks, lakesides and other common areas in special orange bags, or recyclable materials collected from the same areas in blue bags, to the Blackburn Landfill or one of the County's five convenience centers may dispose of the bags free of charge. Bags are available at the Utilities & Engineering Department on the second floor of the Government Center in Newton; the Cooperative Extension Office off Highway 321 Business in Newton; the North Carolina Department of Transportation's County Maintenance Office at 1302 Prison Camp Road, south of Newton; and at Garbage Disposal Service's office at 4062 Section House Road in Hickory.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
The Board will consider economic incentives to facilitate Turbotec Products in the purchase of a 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility in the Fairgrove Business Park in Hickory. In addition to the 16 people currently employed at its existing Hickory location, Turbotec plans to create 73 new jobs. While salaries will vary from position to position, the 73 jobs will have an average salary of $37,403 per year, which is above the Catawba County average wage of $32,500. The capital investment by Turbotec is projected to be $6 million, with the requested incentive covering only improvements to real property above the current value and in new machinery, equipment and technology. Total investment in these improvements will be $3.5 million, including $1 million in building up-fit and renovations and $2.5 million in machinery and equipment.
Catawba County began working with Turbotec about two years ago as the company contemplated a move to the southern US from Connecticut. Turbotec operates two facilities in Windsor, Connecticut as well as the Hickory location. Turbotec manufactures heat exchangers and heat transfer products. It supplies leading manufacturers serving a wide variety of heating, air conditioning, refrigeration and geothermal applications. Their products are energy efficient and support Energy Star and green conservation programs and initiatives.
Based on the condition of a total new investment of $3.5 million and creation of 73 new jobs paying above Catawba County’s average wage as determined by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, and adhering to the Board of Commissioners requirements regarding the hiring of high school graduates below the age of 25 and GED recipients above the age of 25 and all North Carolina general statutes, a County incentive could be in the form of a performance based grant with a maximum payment of $8,025 during the first year and $14,044 for years two and three (with a total maximum incentive of $36,113) upon approval of a contract and the satisfaction of conditions of that contract. This amount was derived by determining the guaranteed investment and the subsequent income stream to the County over a three year period and multiplying that figure by 75%. As with all incentives provided by the County, these incentives will be based on a contractual performance agreement which requires Turbotec to meet minimum thresholds of investment ($2 million by 2010 and an additional $1.5 million by 2011) and job creation (32 by 2011 and an additional 41 by 2012) each year prior to incentive payment by the County. The proposed agreement would require repayment should the investment and/or job creation amounts not be sustained.
PLANNING, PARKS AND DEVELOPMENT
The Board will consider adopting a Joint Cooperation Agreement and budget ordinance in connection with the 2009 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Individual Development Account (IDA) Unifour First Time Homebuyer Program. Catawba County has received $70,000 from the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Community Assistance for this program. Catawba County is to be the lead entity for three years for this program which involves all four “Unifour” counties (Alexander, Burke, Catawba and Caldwell). These funds will be used to provide down payment assistance as potential clients are selected for an IDA class and approved to purchase a home, to be used with the available Unifour Consortium First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program Funds of $5,000 for an existing home and $7,500 for a newly constructed home in the four county area. Funding equal to $1000 per person, for a total of 30 clients, was provided through the CDBG-IDA program. The Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) will administer this grant for Catawba County. An agreement between the WPCOG and the County was approved on September 21, 2009 for administrative services required for submission of this grant. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the adoption of this agreement and budget ordinance for this program.
A. The Board will consider a supplemental appropriation of $32,000, from a federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant, for the purchase of tablet computers for Emergency Medical Services. The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations. A grant application in the amount of $40,000 for tablet computers was submitted to the AFG Program by Catawba County Emergency Medical Services. The grant program funds 80% of the total project cost, which is $32,000 in this case. Local funds must be used for the remaining $8000, and these funds are available in the County budget for this fiscal year.
These funds will provide a tablet computer for each ambulance operated by Catawba County Emergency Medical Services. This will allow staff to complete required documentation in a more timely and efficient manner. EMS utilizes an electronic patient care reporting system (emsCharts). This software consists of both desktop and mobile applications. Patient care reports are currently completed at EMS bases using the desktop application, or by using the mobile application on a laptop computer in ambulances. Laptop computers are difficult to use inside an ambulance due to their size and configuration. Additionally, all of the ambulances are not equipped with laptop computers at this time. State and Federal regulations require EMS agencies to obtain a number of signatures each time they provide care to a patient. This is currently accomplished by using paper forms. Staff scan these forms and import an electronic copy to the associated patient care report after each response. Tablet computers are smaller and can be configured to use inside an ambulance in a safe and effective manner. Tablet computers are capable of capturing signatures electronically which will reduce the use of paper and the extra time associated with scanning and attaching items to the patient care report. Staff will be able to complete and submit entire patient care reports prior to returning to a base. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the appropriation of these grant funds.
B. The Board will consider a supplemental appropriation of a Citizen Corps Grant, from a federal Homeland Security Grant through the North Carolina Governor’s Office, in the amount of $7659.20 for development of two new Community Emergency Response Teams and $4704 for Citizen Corps refresher training. These grants will fund the entire costs of the training and refresher programs with no appropriation of County funds.
The objective of these projects is to form, educate and provide equipment for two new Community Emergency Response Teams and conduct a full day of refresher training for the existing teams. The teams will be prepared to take care of themselves and their neighbors in the event of a disaster. By utilizing these grants, the County hopes to train disaster volunteers within Catawba County and increase the diversity among its Community Emergency Response Team members. The new teams are expected to consist of a group of faculty and students from Lenoir-Rhyne University and Catawba Valley Community College, and a team from the Hispanic communities in Newton, Conover and Hickory.
A Catawba County Citizen Corps Council was established in 2002 and trained its first Community Emergency Response Team during that year. The Council supports six Community Emergency Response Teams, twenty-four neighborhood watch programs, a Volunteers in Police Service program and a Fire Corps program. The County provides no direct financial support to Citizen Corps, but provides indirect support by serving on the Citizen Corps Council and assisting with the coordination of training, activities, and grant management. The Board of Commissioners Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the appropriation of these grant funds for this team development and refresher training.
C. The Board will consider amendments to the Catawba County Animal Services Fee Schedule to include $15 fees for micro-chip insertion, heartworm testing and feline leukemia testing. The shelter initiated a micro-chip program in September 2009. This program insures that every dog and cat adopted from the shelter has a micro-chip inserted prior to leaving the shelter. This allows animals to be quickly identified and returned to their owners as soon as possible. To keep adoption cost down, a decision was made not to add the extra cost of the micro-chip to the adoption fee. By offering this program to individuals recovering pets from the shelter and the general public for a $15 fee, the County expects to assist the shelter in identifying and returning pets to their rightful owners in a timely manner. The shelter also sends animals to rescue groups in New York and New Jersey for adoption. These animals must be tested for heartworm and/or Feline Leukemia prior to being transported. The costs associated with this testing are currently not being recovered. The Animal Services Manager has spoken with rescue groups that work with the County’s Animal Services and they all agree the fee should be implemented to recover these costs.
Section 2-622 of the County Code states that the County’s fee policy is intended to insure equitable and consistent fees for County services and that fees are grouped into basic categories. These requested amendments to the Animal Services fees fall under the “Fees paid directly by citizens for services” category. The philosophy of these fees is that a citizen should pay the bulk of the cost of services if the citizen is the primary benefactor, but recognizes that most citizens are county taxpayers and the cost of service should also be supported by tax revenues. The cost of a micro-chip itself is $8.95. Staff spends approximately ten minutes inserting the chip, educating the animal owner, completing documentation, and submitting data to a national database for each animal that receives a micro-chip. The cost of the heartworm test is $6.50 and requires staff to spend approximately 15 minutes drawing blood, analyzing the blood test, and documenting the results. The cost of the Feline Leukemia test is $12.91 and also requires staff to spend approximately 15 minutes drawing blood, analyzing the blood test, and documenting the results. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends these amendments to the Animal Services Fee Schedule.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464