Click to go to Catawba County Home Page
Bookmark and ShareShare Page    print pagePrint Page
JUNE 20, 2011
AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, June 20, 2011, 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 Budget Hearings with Departments and Outside Agencies of May 31, 2011, the Budget Public Hearing and Wrap-Up of June 2, 2011 and the Regular and Closed Session Meeting of June 6, 2011

5. Recognition of Special Guests

6. Public Comment for Items Not on the Agenda

7. Presentations:


a. Certificate of Commendation to Ira Cline


b. Department of Transportation Proposed Catawba County 2011-12 Secondary Road Construction Program. Presented by NCDOT District Engineer Jackie McSwain

8. Public Hearings:


a. Closeout Public Hearing for Water/Sewer Hookup, Community Development Block Grant. Presented by Utilities and Engineering Assistant Director Jack Chandler


b. 2011 Community Development Block Grant Award of $96,956.97 for Emergency Repair Funds Grant. Presented by Director of Planning, Parks and Development Jacky Eubanks

9. Appointments

10. Consent Agenda:


a. Finance Department Budget Revision for Ambulance Billing Fees.


b. 911 Funds Expenditures


c. Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement 54: Accounting for Special Revenue Funds


d. Code of Ordinances Updates for Administration and Purchasing

11. Departmental Report:


a. Sheriff’s Office:


Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Formula Program Grant Allocation. Presented by Sheriff’s Office Business Manager Susan Branch and Reverend Donald Gray, Mt. Sinai Baptist Church Community Outreach Center


b. Utilities and Engineering

Request for Fee Increase from Republic Services d/b/a Garbage Disposal Service. Presented by Director of Utilities and Engineering Barry Edwards and Drew Isenhour, Area President, Republic Services


12. Other Items of Business

13. Attorneys’ Report

14. Manager’s Report

15. Adjournmen.

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
There will be only one Board of Commissioners Meeting in July due to the July 4th holiday and the National Association of County Commissioners Meeting. This meeting will be on the SECOND Monday of July, July 11, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. in the 1924 Courthouse.


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2011, 7 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, NC

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider a request from Republic Services (doing business as Garbage Disposal Service or GDS) for a 2% fee increase, which would take effect on August 1, 2011, due to a 28% increase in fuel costs in the past year and 6% increase in parts and materials over the past two years for GDS, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 20, 2011, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton. The Board will also hold public hearings on 1) the County’s acceptance of a Community Development Block Grant to be used for emergency home repairs for very low and moderate income homeowners and 2) the closeout of another Community Development Block Grant that funded water and sewer connections to 31 low and moderate income homes.

The Board will hear a presentation on the 2011-2012 Secondary Unpaved Road Program approved for Catawba County by the North Carolina Board of Transportation and consider the appropriation of a Federal grant to a program that has helped prevent drug abuse and gang activity in the Town of Catawba. It will consider a budget revision to account for an increase in fees associated with higher than expected ambulance bill collection for the current fiscal year; and an appropriation of $1,595,455 from the County’s Emergency Telephone Fund to a Justice Center/Public Safety Project and a Microwave Link to Anderson Mountain Project so these already spent funds qualify for the one-time use of 50% of 911 Funds allowed by the State for expenses related to public safety. The Board will consider the reclassification of several special revenue funds as required by federal Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement 54, and an update to the County Code related to Purchasing. The Board will present a Certificate of Commendation to Mr. Ira Cline in recognition of his induction into the North Carolina Vegetable and Fruit Growers Hall of Fame and a lifetime of contributions to the betterment of farming, agriculture and his community.

PRESENTATIONS
A. The Board will present a Certificate of Commendation to Mr. Ira Cline, which recognizes his recent induction into the North Carolina Vegetable and Fruit Growers Hall of Fame. The commendation also honors his countless years of commitment to the farming industry in Catawba County and his devotion to the art of farming and preservation of family farms for years to come.

B. The Board will receive a report on the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) 2011-2012 Secondary Road Program for Catawba County, as approved by the North Carolina Board of Transportation. The presentation will outline the paving priorities approved by NCDOT for unpaved roads in Catawba County, which will utilize an anticipated $1.5 million allocation in State highway funds.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
A. The Board will hold a public hearing to receive citizen comments before submitting a Closeout Performance Report for a Water/Sewer Hookup Grant to the Division of Community Assistance of the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Catawba County was awarded a $150,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to provide taps and connections for municipal water and/or sewer, where available, for 34 low-to-moderate income households located in the county. With this grant, 31 homes were connected to municipal water and/or sewer. The County will be de-obligating $31,749.50 in CDBG grant funds. At the time of the application to the Division of Community Assistance, all homes had to be selected and determined as qualified in order to receive the funds. The original project proposed $75,000 and connected twenty households to municipal water and/or sewer. Since the original project was completed in a timely manner, the County received an additional $75,000 to assist more households. An additional eleven households were connected to water and/or sewer. The Division of Community Assistance has time limitations on seeking more applicants, so the County must de-obligate a portion of the grant funds. De-obligation does not affect future grant applications or funding. CDBG funds financed 100% of project expenditures. No local funds were used.

B. The Board will conduct a second public hearing on the acceptance of a 2011 CDBG award of $96,956.97 for an Emergency Repair Funds Grant and consider adoption of an authorizing resolution and certification, a project budget ordinance; an agreement with the Western Piedmont Council Of Governments (WPCOG) for grant administration, and a Language Access Plan.

The WPCOG was approached by the Division of Community Assistance (DCA) in April 2011 to determine whether Catawba County had any projects for which it could use this additional funding (de-obligated in 2007), and whether additional funds could be spent by January 2012. Since there is already a waiting list of potential housing applicants for Emergency Housing Repair, the WPCOG suggested the County use these funds for this purpose since it could meet the deadline date set by the DCA. The County requested the funds on April 13, 2011, to use for emergency repair work such as heating, roofing, new floors and disabled accessibility items for 26 very low and low income homeowners. Recipients of Federal financial assistance are required to have a Language Access Plan to ensure that Limited English Proficient persons are provided meaningful access to benefits and services. It is similar to plans previously adopted by the County for Public Health and Social Services.

CONSENT AGENDA
A. The Board will consider a budget revision to increase the current Finance Department budget by $70,000, to account for ambulance billing fees associated with an increase in ambulance collections received in this fiscal year. Catawba County contracts with EMS Management Systems & Consultants, Inc. to provide billing, bill processing, fee collection and account management associated with ambulance charges. EMS Management has a net collection rate of approximately 83%, compared to a rate of 71% collected by in-house staff years ago. The County pays EMS Management a monthly fee of 8% of net ambulance collections and contracts with a collection agency that collects delinquent accounts on the County’s behalf. A lower rate will be in effect beginning with the 2011-12 fiscal year. Through contract renegotiations, the rate was reduced from 8% to 6.5%. In addition, the North Carolina Debt Setoff program is used to collect delinquent accounts. The initial budget in the current fiscal year for ambulance fees was set at $380,000; $348,000 (8% of budgeted revenues of $4,350,000) plus $32,000 for collection of delinquent accounts. Based on revenues collected to date, staff estimates that current ambulance revenues will exceed $5.2 million, an increase over budget of approximately $850,000 in this fiscal year. This will result in an estimated additional $70,000 in billing fees. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends this budget revision.

B. The Board will consider appropriating $1,595,455 from the Emergency Telephone Fund and transferring $1,555,455 to the Justice Center/Public Safety Center project and $40,000 to a new Microwave Link to Anderson Mountain Project to improve radio communications. In July 2010, the North Carolina General Assembly ratified House Bill 1691, which has impacted the 911 funds the County receives. A committee was formed that established a new funding model for distributing 911 funds to Primary Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), such as the County’s Communications Center, based on data collected for the last five years of approved eligible expenditures reported to the North Carolina 911 Board. As a result, Catawba County will receive an annual allocation of $502,077 in 911 funds beginning in fiscal year 2011-12. The Statute expanded the use of 911 funds, which includes furniture, chairs and radio consoles inside the building where a PSAP is located. In addition, this includes training for PSAP managers and supervisors, which was previously disallowed.

The legislation allows a one-time use, in FY 2010-11 and/or FY 2011-12, of 50% of the County’s 911 fund balance, as of July 1, 2010, for public safety purposes. These funds may not be transferred into the General Fund, but must remain in the Emergency Telephone System Fund. As of July 1, 2010, the County had a fund balance of $3,190,910 in the Emergency Telephone System Fund, with a one-time authorization to spend $1,595,455 for public safety use. The County has spent approximately $1.6 million in public safety expenditures in the current fiscal year from the General Fund and General Capital Projects Fund, for ambulances, ambulance equipment, Sheriff’s Office vehicles, radios and other equipment. For these expenditures to qualify for the 50% one-time use of 911 funds, they must be transferred to the Emergency Telephone System fund. The net effect will reduce the 911 fund balance by $1,595,455 as allowed in the statute, and increase the Justice Center/Public Safety Center project by $1,555,455 and establish a new project to fund a microwave link to Anderson Mountain to improve radio communications, for $40,000. Approval of this appropriation and transfer of funds is recommended by the Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee.

C. The Board will consider budget amendments to reclassify certain special revenue funds and change the revenue source for the Rescue Squad Fund. Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement 54, Fund Balance Reporting and Governmental Fund Type Definitions, will be effective for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. One significant change from this Statement is a modification to the definitions of certain governmental funds. This will impact the County’s treatment of its special revenue and capital project funds. Other changes include new classifications of fund balance for all funds: non-spendable, restricted, committed, assigned and unassigned.

According to GASB No. 54, a Special Revenue Fund is to be used to account for and report the proceeds of specific revenue sources that are restricted or committed to expenditures for specified purposes. A Capital Project Fund is used to account for and report financial resources that are restricted, committed or assigned to expenditures for the acquisition or construction of major capital facilities or assets. Three current Special Revenue Funds need to be reclassified to meet the new requirements. The Reappraisal Fund, which accounts for all of the activity related to the County’s four-year revaluation, will now be treated as a sub fund to the General Fund, similar to the Self-Insurance Fund. The Capital Reserve Fund, which includes prior year reserves for capital outlay and economic development activity, will also be affected. The County will transfer $225,156 of its fund balance to the General Capital Projects Fund for future capital needs and the remainder, as of June 30, 2011, to the General Fund for future economic development purposes. Finally, the Hospital Capital Reserve Fund will be reclassified and merged with the Hospital Construction Fund, which is a Capital Project Fund. The Rescue Squad Fund will remain a Special Revenue Fund. Its current revenue source comes from property taxes but is recorded as a transfer from the General Fund. Since the specific revenue must be recorded directly in the fund, a budget amendment is included to reclassify the revenue source from a transfer-in account to a property tax revenue account, which is a direct source. These budget amendments come with the recommendation of the Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee.

D. The Board will consider changes to the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 2 (Administration) – Section 119 and Chapter 30 – Purchasing. The County Code related to Purchasing has not been updated in several years. Significant changes include:

Local Buying. A section is added to include language that the County Purchasing Office, along with County departments, will strive to provide local vendors and contractors an opportunity to quote and contract with the County, when feasible.

Evaluation. A section is added for evaluation of Request for Proposals. Eileen Youens, formerly with the UNC School of Government, prepared several documents related to ARRA and other federal funding. One publication titled “14 Keys to Federal Grants” states that a purchasing policy should establish a method for evaluating proposals and address how to develop evaluation criteria, how to form an evaluation committee and how to score proposals. This section is added to comply with federal funding requirements.

Construction Formal Bid Threshold. The North Carolina General Statutes were changed in 2002 to increase the formal bid threshold for formal construction projects to $500,000. However, the County Purchase Code threshold for formal construction projects is $300,000. The requested change to the code increases the bid threshold to reflect the General Statute threshold of $500,000. Informal construction projects do not require advertisement, so informal bids could be solicited from local contractors along with required minority outreach efforts.

Surplus Library Books. A section is added to address the practice of the Friends for the Library of selling surplus and donated library material on behalf of the County. The Friends manage the proceeds and use the funds to provide new library materials and programs.

Chapter 2-199. The requested change corrects this section to reflect an early code change to Chapter 30 authorizing the County Manager to award formal bids of less than $250,000. All of these changes are recommended by the
Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS


SHERIFF’S OFFICE

The Board will consider a joint grant application with the City of Hickory for a 2011 Justice Assistant Grant (JAG). Catawba County’s share of the grant funds will be $15,552. JAG funding allocation is based on population and violent crime statistics. The 2011 JAG award directives specify that a grant application be reviewed by the governing body within 30 days of application, that there is an opportunity for public comment prior to application submission, and no local match is required.


This JAG grant will be used for a local initiative that will enhance a prevention and education program. Mt. Sinai Baptist Church Community Outreach Center, Inc. has a proven program directed by Reverend Donald Gray. It provides summer camp for 45 to 50 school age children, with the goal of teaching them skills to build self-esteem, and prevent drug abuse and gang activity. It encourages youth to stay in school and set goals for college. In the last five years of operation, twenty children who participated in this program are now enrolled in college. This has all been done through community donations. Reverend Gray approached Sheriff Coy Reid to request any grant funding or other help to further their goals. The Sheriff’s Office has identified known gang activity in the Catawba community, has seen proven effective program results, and is encouraged to see proactive community efforts to prevent drug abuse and gang activity. The positive interaction of this community program helps keep children out of gangs, and helps youth walk away from gang activities so the cycle that exposes them to violent crime is broken. This grant of $15,552 will cover travel and supplies to be used in the program. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends submission of this joint grant application.

UTILITIES AND ENGINEERING
The Board will consider a request from Republic Services, doing business as Garbage Disposal Service (GDS), to increase the service portion of its fees by 2%, effective August 1, 2011. In accordance with the County’s Franchise Agreement, the Board must approve GDS’s fees and any increases for collection services. The last approved increase to GDS fees was on July 1, 2008. The requested increase affects the service portion of GDS fees only, not landfill tipping and disposal fees.

Since its last rate increase, GDS has experienced substantial increases in fuel and other operating costs. Fuel expense has increased 28% over the last year; parts & materials for equipment repairs have increased 6% in the past two years; and employee health insurance has increased 15% since 2008.

If the 2% increase is approved, the impact to GDS customers would be a residential curbside fee increase of 28 cents per household, per month, or $3.36 a year. For residential customers, an optional cart rental fee of $2.50 will not be increased. Front loader (commercial dumpster) fee increases would range from $1.00 to $8.46 per month, depending on the size of the container and number of scheduled pickups. Roll-off (construction & demolition) fee increases would range from $1.97 to $3.06 per month, depending on the distance from the landfill and whether pickup is pre-scheduled.

The impact to the County’s Solid Waste budget would be an increase to convenience center expenses, for site management paid to GDS, ranging from an increase for the Cooksville site of $81.09 per month to an increase at the Blackburn site of $172.20 per month. The total annual increase to convenience center expenses will be $6,805.

GDS continues its commitment to working cooperatively with Catawba County to improve the appearance of the convenience center sites. GDS supervisory staff visits each center twice weekly to monitor potential litter issues and keeps County staff informed of any issues or concerns. All waste hauled from the centers by GDS is covered, secured, or in enclosed containers. All solid waste activities, including the landfill and convenience centers, are funded from the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund, derived from solid waste tipping fees containing no ad valorem tax proceeds. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends approval of this increase.

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