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MAY 7, 2007
AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, May 7, 2007, 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 Regular Meeting of Monday, April 16, 2007.

5. Recognition of Special Guests.

6. Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7. Presentations:


a. Peace Office Memorial Day and National Police Week Proclamation. Presented to Sheriff L. David Huffman, Police Chiefs and representative of the Catawba County Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.


1. Public Safety Officers Memorial. Presented by J. Thomas Lundy, County Manager.


b. Mental Health Month Proclamation. Presented to John Hardy, Area Mental Health Director.


c. Older Americans Month Proclamation. Presented to Grace McLeod, Social Work Program Manager.


d. Certificate of Commendation to Catawba County Tax Link Program. Presented to Jo Sloan, Family Support Program Manager.


e. Catawba County United Way 2-1-1 Program. Presented by Jennie B. Connor, Executive Director and Tammy H. Dotson, Director of Volunteer Center/Information and Referral, Catawba County United Way.

8. Appointments.

9. Consent Agenda:

a. Mental Health Budget Revision.

b. Amended Bylaws and Charter of the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.

c. Criminal History Check Ordinance.

d. Tax Refund Requests.

e. Approval of County Manager’s Signature on Development Agreement

10. Department Reports.

Mental Health:


Interlocal Agreement with Burke County. Presented by Area Mental Health Director John Hardy.

11. Other Items of business.


Update on Immigration. Presented by Danny Hearn, President, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce and Sheriff L. David Huffman.


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. A telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD) is located in the Government Center and can be reached by dialing 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 next Board of Commissioners meeting will take place on Monday, May 21, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. Budget Hearings with Departments will take place on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the Budget Public Hearing and Wrap-Up will be held on Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.

PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MAY 7, 2007, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider approving an interlocal agreement between Catawba County and Burke County to form a partnership for the delivery of mental health services for one year, with the goal of a full merger by the two counties for the delivery of mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse services by July 1, 2008; and consider authorizing a Public Safety Officers Memorial, to be located adjacent to the flag pole at the Catawba County Justice Center in Newton, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 7, 2007, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.

The Board will also receive an update from Sheriff L. David Huffman and Catawba County Chamber of Commerce President, Danny Hearn, on issues related to immigration. The Board will hear a presentation from Catawba County United Way officials on the 2-1-1 community information telephone system and will consider an ordinance to outline the procedures to be used for criminal history checks, as required by the State Bureau of Investigations; a revision to the current Mental Health Services budget to reflect adjustments in State funding provided to the County; a proposed amendment to the bylaws of the Western Piedmont Council of Governments to specify that local governments may appoint a representative of their governmental unit, rather than an elected official, to serve on the council’s Policy Board; a set of tax refunds; and take action to place in the Board minutes the Board’s authorization of Catawba County Manager J. Thomas Lundy’s signing of a development agreement finalized by the County, Crescent Resources, LLC, Carolina Centers, LLC, Key Harbor Communities, LLC, and Key Harbor Holdings, LLC regarding proposed development in southeast Catawba County. The Board will also issue proclamations for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week, Mental Health Month and Older Americans Month, and issue a Certificate of Commendation honoring County employees involved with the Catawba Tax Link program, which recently won an Acts of Caring Award from the National Association of Counties.

PROCLAMATIONS
A. The Board will issue a proclamation designating Tuesday, May 15 as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and the week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week, to recognize that the members of the law enforcement agencies of Catawba County and its municipalities play an essential role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms of the citizens of the county, and encourage all citizens to know and understand the duties, responsibilities, hazards and sacrifices of their law enforcement officers. The proclamation will direct that all flags on County property be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and urge all citizens to recognize these officers’ faithful and loyal devotion to their responsibilities and participate in events celebrating these important occasions.

1. The Board will consider authorizing a Public Safety Officers Memorial which would be located adjacent to the flagpole at the Justice Center. On April 17, 2006, the Board was approached by Mr. Carl Pope, President of the Catawba County Fraternal Order of Police, about a memorial for peace officers. A committee was established representing local law enforcement, (police and sheriff departments), fire, emergency medical service and rescue, to discuss a memorial, draft guidelines and make a recommendation on an appropriate location. Committee members included Sheriff David Huffman; Gary Lafone, Conover Police Chief; Gerald Tolbert, Claremont Police Chief; Tom Adkins, Hickory Police Department; Kevin Yoder, Newton Fire Chief and President of the Catawba County Firefighter’s Association; Jody Smyre, Claremont Fire Chief and Rescue Association Commander; David Weldon, Catawba County Emergency Services Director; and County Manager Tom Lundy.

After several meetings, the committee unanimously recommends the Board authorize a Public Safety Officers Memorial and that it be used to honor local law enforcement, fire, EMS or rescue personnel who died in the line of duty. The committee recommends the memorial be three feet high by five feet wide and contain four symbols representing local law enforcement, fire, EMS and rescue. The cost of the memorial would be borne by the County and participating cities. Donations from other organizations or individuals would be accepted to defray the cost of upkeep and maintenance. The committee recommends a groundbreaking for the memorial be held during the week of May 13-19, 2007. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board authorize a Public Safety Officers Memorial, as outlined above.

B. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring May as Mental Health Month to recognize that Catawba County has made a commitment to community-based systems of mental health care for all residents and encourage all Catawba County citizens, government agencies, public and private institutions, businesses and schools to increase their awareness and understanding of mental illness and the need for appropriate and accessible services for all people with mental illness.

C. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring May as Older Americans Month to recognize the valuable contributions made by the older citizens of Catawba County, their families and care givers. This year’s theme for the month, “Making Choices for a Healthier Future,” acknowledges a more diverse group of seniors whose numbers are growing due to the aging of 78 million baby boomers. This demographic shift carries profound economic and social implications for the nation, as well as our state and county. Catawba County is home to more than 27,000 citizens 60 years of age and older, representing 17% of the population. Older adults are not only living longer, but are staying healthier and more actively engaged in their communities.

D. The Board will present a Certificate of Commendation to Jo Sloan, Family Support Program Manager for the Catawba County Department of Social Services, to recognize that the Catawba Tax Link Program recently won a 2007 Acts of Caring Award from the National Association of Counties. This award recognizes the top county volunteer programs in the country and the Board applauds the program for being one of three winners in the Health and Social Services category. During its three years of operation, the Tax Link Program has steadily increased the number of Catawba County citizens served and reached 270 low income families this year, resulting in over $40,000 in tax preparation fees saved and $407,564 in refunds generated.

E. The Board will receive a presentation from Catawba County United Way Executive Director, Jennie Connor,
and Director of Volunteer Center/Information and Referral, Tammy Dotson, on the 2-1-1 telephone service. 2-1-1 is an easy to remember, three-digit telephone number that connects people with important community services to meet everyday needs and the immediate needs of people in crisis.

CONSENT AGENDA
A. The Board will consider a revision to the current Mental Health Services budget, to increase the current budget by $25,081 to a total of $15,240,188.31. Adjustments to the budget include the following: 1) $147,615 in additional State allocations, as follows: a) $35,500 which would be distributed to Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare. Mental Health Services of Catawba County (MHSCC) identified the need for an independent Information Technology system with full connectivity capacity for the county’s comprehensive Adult Mental Health service provider. These funds will be used to acquire this system; b) $55,600 in one time State funds to strengthen the crisis services continuum of care and decrease inpatient admissions to State facilities. These funds will be used to provide for start up of services. Efforts will also focus on immediate and aggressive follow-up of consumers who have received a crisis service and/or been discharged from a State facility, to assure they become engaged in treatment with a community provider. c) $56,515 in one time State funds to strengthen the substance abuse services continuum of care. Efforts will focus on expanding crisis service capacity so both treatment eligibility and accessibility “barriers” are addressed for the substance abusing population. This budget revision also includes a decrease of $160,534 in developmental therapy funding after the State reviewed the utilization of Developmental Therapy (DT) funding which was previously awarded to Local Managing Entities. A 6 month review of data from 7/1/2006 to 12/30/2006 caused a decrease in both Child and Adult DT funding. The State will continue to review Developmental Therapy utilization and make other adjustments if necessary. The budget revision includes an appropriation of $38,000 from the Mental Health Fund Balance to assist Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare with the purchase of an additional van for Lifeskills. The van will have the capacity to seat nine ambulatory passengers or two wheelchairs and five ambulatory passengers, and will allow Lifeskills to add another route. The revision also reflects MHSCC’s intent to add two full-time equivalent positions to this year’s budget, in an effort to position the department to support clients of Burke County following a merger of services to be discussed by the Board of Commissioners later at this meeting. MHSCC will recruit a Network Specialist to identify, establish and implement all IT functions necessary to ensure streamlined connectivity between the providers and the LME, and a Social Work Clinical Specialist to meet the requirement of staffing a 24/7/365 Access unit responsible for screening and triaging for all services. Funding for these two positions will be provided by currently lapsed salaries that already exist in the Mental Health budget. The Board of Commissioners Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends this budget revision be approved.

B. The Board will consider a request from the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) to approve proposed amendments to the WPCOG Charter and Bylaws. In 2004 the WPCOG was designated as an Economic Development District for purposes of working with the US Economic Development Administration (EDA). At that point, the WPCOG amended its bylaws to add seven Policy Board members to satisfy EDA requirements that 20% of this board represent minority and private business. The latest EDA rules require that the WPCOG Board include 35% business representation. In order to continue to receive EDA planning funds and technical assistance as well as additional grants for local governments, the WPCOG needs to again change its board composition to reflect at least 35% business-related representation.

The current charter and bylaws specify that each local government member shall appoint “an elected official” to serve on the Policy Board. Unless that language is changed, the WPCOG will have to appoint seven additional members to satisfy EDA requirements because the board member from each local government may only be classified as an elected official. By changing the language of the charter and bylaws to say that the required appointment be “a representative” rather than “elected official”, the WPCOG may count some of the present board members as business representatives and it will not have to change the size of the current board. Member governments may still appoint elected officials and the WPCOG strongly requested that member governments continue to appoint elected officials. The Board of Commissioners Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends approval of the amended Western Piedmont Council of Governments Charter and Bylaws.

C. The Board will consider adopting a Criminal History Check Ordinance as required by the State Bureau of
Investigation (SBI). In 1997, the County entered into an agreement with the Sheriff’s Department and the SBI to allow access to computerized criminal histories for the purpose of employment. Additionally, the County’s Personnel Ordinance contained language allowing background checks of this nature. Since then, whenever a conditional offer of employment is extended by the County, the Personnel Department has contacted the Sheriff’s Department with the necessary information and a criminal history check is conducted. The information is returned to the Personnel Department and reviewed. If the candidate has criminal convictions that are in conflict with public employment, the offer of employment is rescinded and the candidate notified. The date of the conviction, nature of the offense, and the position to be held by the candidate are considered. Prior to denying employment, every effort is made to confirm that the record is accurate and verify that the record is that of the candidate being considered. When a candidate is notified of the results of the history check, the candidate may challenge the record.

A routine audit of the Sheriff’s Department was recently conducted, and the auditor advised staff that the SBI now requires that a criminal history check ordinance be adopted by the Board of Commissioners to allow for the checks required under Section 28-153 of the Personnel Ordinance. The SBI also requires the County Manager to sign an agreement which details the County officials who are allowed to have access to criminal information. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of the recommended Criminal History Check Ordinance.

D. The Board will consider two tax refund requests totaling $926.32. Records have been checked and these refunds verified, so the Tax Collector recommends approval. Under N.C. General Statute 105-381, a taxpayer who has paid his or her taxes may request a refund in writing for an amount paid through error.

E. The Board will formally acknowledge for the Board’s minutes its authorizing County Manager J. Thomas Lundy’s signing of a development agreement by and among Catawba County, Crescent Resources, LLC, Carolina Centers, LLC, Key Harbor Communities, LLC, and Key Harbor Holdings, LLC, filed in the Catawba County Register of Deeds Office on April 30, 2007. On April 16, 2007, the Board approved this Development Agreement which deals with the development of four parcels of land in the Sherrills Ford community. On April 30, 2007, the County was notified by counsel for the other parties that the Development Agreement had to be signed and recorded that day. Each member of the Board of Commissioners was contacted and all agreed that it was appropriate to authorize County Manager Lundy to sign the Development Agreement on behalf of Catawba County so the document could be recorded.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS

MENTAL HEALTH
The Board will consider an interlocal agreement with Burke County to create a partnership for the provision of mental health services for one year, with the goal of a full merger by the two counties of the delivery of mental health, developmental disability, and substance abuse services by July 1, 2008. Catawba County officials have been involved in a long process of discussing with different neighboring counties the possibility of becoming partners, in order to meet the new State requirement (under Mental Health Reform) that all area mental health programs serve a population of 200,000 people. Conversations have occurred with the Crossroads Area Program (Iredell, Surry, and Yadkin counties) and the Foothills Area Program (Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and McDowell counties). During those conversations, Burke County officials approached Catawba County with the idea of a possible partnership between just those two counties. Further study illustrated this could be a viable partnership. There has been a long-standing working relationship between these two counties on different joint projects. Burke County has since taken action to begin the process to withdraw from the Foothills Area Program and align with Catawba County. The goal is for a full merger with Catawba County for the formation of a Local Management Entity (LME) to oversee the delivery of mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse services in Burke & Catawba Counties.

Since these kinds of changes need to coincide with the beginning of the State fiscal year on July 1, there is not enough time to finalize a full merger before the start of the 2007-2008 fiscal year. Therefore, an interim interlocal agreement is being established to provide the means by which a transitional year will be managed, as the details are worked out to create a new expanded LME by July 1, 2008. This transitional year also provides the time necessary to allow Burke County to settle its proportionate share of assets with the Foothills Area Program. The agreement also provides for a process to plan for the future through an “Integration Committee”.

At its April 19, 2007 meeting, the Board for Mental Health Services of Catawba County approved the proposed agreement and is suggesting that the respective Boards of Commissioners of Burke and Catawba counties consider the same. Burke County approved the proposed agreement at its May 1, 2007 Board of Commissioners meeting. The Catawba County Board of Commissioners Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends approval of the proposed Interlocal Agreement.

OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS
Catawba County Sheriff L. David Huffman, and Danny Hearn, President of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, will give the Board an update on issues related to immigration. Sheriff Huffman is expected to speak from a law enforcement perspective, while Mr. Hearn is expected to discuss the issue as it relates to businesses.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464

 

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