PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, JUNE 21, 2010, 7 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider awarding a bid for the purchase of feedstock processing equipment for the County’s Biodiesel Research Facility, using funds from a grant from the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, and two proposed Revenue Sharing Agreements with the City of Hickory that would provide municipal quality water to low and moderate income customers in the Royal Heights Subdivision and to the Heatherbrook Subdivision, where residents have no water or very low levels resulting in poor water quality, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 21, 2010 at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
The Board will also consider a reciprocal easement agreement with Long Communications, LLC regarding Baker’s Mountain Park property, under which the County would waive normally charged tap fees for Long Communications to connect to a County-owned water line in exchange for easements and Long Communication’s extending of an electrical line from its facilities to a water tower which is part of the County’s water system in the area; resolutions authorizing the negotiation of one or more installment financing contracts associated with the construction of Newton-Conover Middle School, renovations at Arndt Middle School and Hickory High School, and renovations at Catawba Valley Community College up to the amount of $32 million; and a request to authorize the County’s Finance Director to declare the intent of the County to reimburse itself for expenditures incurred in conjunction with a capital project from the proceeds of future tax-exempt debt, an option now being made available to local governments through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Board will also recognize the Newton-Conover Men’s Tennis Team, winners of this year’s North Carolina 2A State Tennis Championship.
The Board will present the Newton-Conover High School Tennis Team with a Certificate of Commendation to recognize its outstanding performance in earning the title of 2A State Men’s Champions for 2010. Coach Brian Tate and members of the Red Devil team will be applauded for the spirit, motivation and teamwork that brought this impressive title to Newton-Conover High School.
A. The Board will consider adopting a resolution authorizing the negotiation of one or more installment financing contracts associated with the construction of Newton-Conover Middle School, renovations at Arndt Middle School and Hickory High School, and renovations at Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC), up to the amount of $32 million. Earlier this year, the Board approved a $1.9 million renovation project for Hickory High; a $5.2 million expansion of Arndt Middle and $20.8 million for a new Newton-Conover Middle School. All three projects have been bid and started, though the addition of a new gym at Arndt Middle School will be bid on July 8. In the current four-year construction cycle, the County planned for $3.3 million in renovations at CVCC consisting of upgrades at the East Campus, roofing projects at several buildings on campus, and the installation of an elevator at the Simulated Hospital. Bids on these projects are expected over the next few weeks.
Catawba County received an allocation of $11.5 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs), which were made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Of this amount, $5.2 million is pledged towards the Arndt Middle School project and the balance will be used for the new Newton-Conover Middle School.
These bonds were intended to offer an interest-free option to local governments for the financing of school construction projects. However, earlier transactions involving QSCBs in other counties across North Carolina have been financed at a 2% rate. Fortunately, the U.S. Congress passed legislation earlier this year that offers a rebate to local governments for the interest paid on the bonds, effectively giving local governments a 0% rate depending on the term of the bonds.
The County will attempt to issue the QSCBs at a 0% rate, and finance the balance of the four projects under traditional means, at a expected interest rate of 4.0-4.5%. This type of financing consists of pledging the asset acquired or constructed as collateral for the loan in case of default. Since the County does not own the land on which the middle school will be built, the Newton-Conover Board of Education must convey the land to the County in order for the County to borrow the funds for the new school. The County will then lease the new school and land to the Board of Education for its use, and at the end of the financing term, transfer all rights to the property back to the school system. The same arrangement may be required for the Arndt Middle School project.
All local governments in North Carolina that borrow funds greater than $500,000 or with more than five years to maturity must receive approval by the Local Government Commission (LGC), a division of the N.C. Department of State Treasurer. It is anticipated that the LGC will consider this project at its August 3rd meeting in Raleigh. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends adoption of the proposed resolution.
B. The Board will consider adopting a resolution giving authority to the County Finance Director to declare the official intent on behalf of the County to reimburse any and all expenditures with the proceeds of debt under United States Department of Treasury regulations. On May 25, 2004, the Board designated the Finance Director as the County official responsible for declaring the official intent of the County to reimburse itself for expenditures incurred in conjunction with a capital project from the proceeds of future tax-exempt debt. With the adoption of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, new types of taxable debt vehicles were made available to the County, which require additional authority by the Board to allow the County to reimburse itself for expenditures from the proceeds of the new types of taxable debt. The authority granted would insure adherence to U.S. Government regulations and afford the County some flexibility in issuing debt at the most cost effective time. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends adoption of the proposed resolution.
C. The Board will consider awarding a bid for feedstock processing equipment to A.R. McKay Processing Machinery, Inc, of Hickory, N.C. in the amount of $159,642, and the appropriation of $9,642 from the Solidwaste Management Fund.
A Feedstock Processing Facility will be a part of the Biodiesel Research and Production Facility under construction at the County’s EcoComplex. When feedstock crops such as sunflower and canola are harvested, the seeds must be cleaned and pressed to extract oil before it can be sent to the Biodiesel Facility for conversion into biodiesel fuel. In 2009, the County was awarded a Biofuels Development Grant from the Biofuels Center of North Carolina in the amount of $150,000. This money may be used only for the purchase of equipment used to process feedstock crops before they are used to make biodiesel.
Bids were received on June 7, 2010 for six individual pieces of feedstock processing equipment: Premier Grain Cleaner Company Indented Cylinder Separator Model PVSC-12 PF; A.T. Ferrell Vibratory Conveyor - 20.3 feet; A.T. Ferrell Vibratory Conveyor - 48.3 feet; A.T. Ferrell Clipper Conquest 586 Air Screen Cleaner; Universal Model C3-500 Bucket Elevator and GSI Model 1108 Grain Dryer. The project was advertised on the County’s web site and the State of North Carolina’s Interactive Purchasing System, and notices were sent to several vendors.
On June 7, 2010, one bid was received for the specified equipment from A.R. McKay Processing Machinery, Inc., of Hickory, North Carolina for $159,642. A.R. McKay is obtaining the equipment from various manufacturers. Some of those manufacturers can only guarantee their price if the bids are awarded within thirty days, due to fluctuating steel prices. An additional $9,642 not included in the grant will be appropriated from the Solid Waste Management Fund. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the bid be awarded to A.R. McKay Processing Machinery, Inc.
A. PLANNING, PARKS AND DEVELOPMENT
The Board will consider entering into a reciprocal easement agreement between Long Communications, LLC and the County regarding the Baker’s Mountain Park property. In 1988 the County obtained land on Bakers Mountain from Long Communications, which the County opened as a passive park in 1999. The park borders a 17.41-acre tract retained by Long Communications that is used for several communications towers. The communications site has access through the park property along a graveled road. Recently, Mr. Tom Long, Jr., Director of Engineering for Long Communications, re-aligned the road to allow for better access to several agencies having facilities on the Long property including N.C. Highway Patrol, U.N.C. Public Television, N.C. Department of Transportation, and Catawba County Emergency Services. Mr. Long is preparing to construct another tower in the near future. It is important for security purposes that Mr. Long limits access to the property. One security measure would require that the County permit him to place a fence and gate along the park property adjacent to the new Advent Crossroads water tower. He would also like to connect to public water and bring an electric line to the water tower that will allow the water tower, which runs on solar power, to have a secondary power supply. Baker’s Mountain Park would benefit from the proposed agreement because the park would gain a permanent access easement that would perpetually allow the County to continue to use a portion of trail that currently extends onto the Long property. The easement agreement will also provide permanent access across the Long property for County Parks and Emergency Services personnel to provide service to the park observation deck and surrounding areas within the park. Mr. Long has requested that, in return for the electric line extension to the water tower and the permanent easements, the County waive the water tap fee and associated capital fees for the existing water line. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends
approval of the proposed reciprocal easement agreement between Long Communications, LLC and the County.
B. UTILITIES AND ENGINEERING
1. The Board will consider entering into an interlocal agreement between Catawba County and the City of Hickory for a waterline extension in accordance with the County Code, Chapter 42, Revenue Sharing Program, for Heatherbrook Subdivision. On August 6, 2002, the County received a petition requesting municipal water service for the Heatherbrook Subdivision, located off Highway 10 West in southwestern Catawba County, signed by 15 property owners who are experiencing dry wells and poor water quality and quantity. 44 potential customers/properties could be served by this project, with 31 of these including residential structures. The payback period for the project is estimated to be approximately 25 years.
The Heatherbrook Subdivision Water Project consists of approximately 6,145 linear feet of water lines complete with valves, hydrants and related appurtenances, extending from an existing City of Hickory water line on Highway 10 along Heatherbrook Trail and Keeneland Trail. The project was approved in the County’s Fiscal Year 2009/10 budget, with an estimated cost of $325,000. On March 26, 2010, responses to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) were received from seventeen engineering firms. A selection committee consisting of Jack Chandler, Assistant Director of Utilities and Engineering, Debbie Anderson, Purchasing Agent, Jonathan Greer, Project Manager, and Kevin Greer, the City of Hickory’s Assistant Director of Public Utilities, reviewed the RFQs and selected Clark & Associates, Inc. of Hickory, NC, based upon that firm’s qualifications. The contract for engineering services is currently being reviewed by staff and is expected to be awarded by staff before June 21. Staff is able to award that contract since the engineering costs total $27,600, under a $50,000 threshold at which contracts must be awarded by the Board.
Before proceeding with the construction of this project, half of the 31 residential property owners in the subdivision, a total of 15 property owners, will be required to pay the County’s Water Capital Fee at a 50% discount. The discounted amount will be $500 per connection. Staff will inform the property owners of this requirement by letter, allowing them 30 days to commit to a water connection and pay the discounted Water Capital Fee. This project is being developed in cooperation with the City of Hickory under County Code Chapter 42, Revenue Sharing Program. An applicable interlocal agreement was approved by the Hickory City Council on May 18, 2010. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends approval of the revenue sharing agreement noted above.
2. The Board will consider entering into an interlocal agreement between Catawba County and the City of Hickory for a waterline extension in accordance with the County Code, Chapter 42, Revenue Sharing Program, for the Royal Heights Subdivision. On September 21, 2009, the Board approved an application to the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Community Assistance for a 2010 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The CDBG Program is designed to enable eligible local governments to install municipal public water and/or sewer line(s) with taps and connections to low to moderate-income households, which are defined as households at 80% or less of the median family income for the county or Metropolitan Statistical Area in which the residence is located. On January 29, 2010, the County received notification of funding in the amount of $308,500 for a 2010 CDBG Infrastructure Grant to provide municipal water service for the Royal Heights Subdivision, located off Old Shelby Road in the Advent Crossroads area of southwest Catawba County, to alleviate poor water quality and quantity. The grant will provide for approximately 2,100 linear feet of water lines to serve 22 homes, and provide 19 households with free taps and connections. These 19 households are eligible for assistance based on low-to-moderate income thresholds. The remaining three households are over the income limits for the grant and will be responsible for the cost of taps and connections. On March 15, 2010, the Board approved a project budget ordinance, a budget revision that included the $308,500 from the CDBG Infrastructure Grant and $21,500 (7%) in County funding, and an administrative contract with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments for the project.
On March 26, 2010, responses to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) were received from fourteen engineering firms. A selection committee, consisting of Jack Chandler, Assistant Director of Utilities and Engineering; Debbie Anderson, Purchasing Agent; Jonathan Greer, Project Manager; Kevin Greer, the City of Hickory’s Assistant Director of Public Utilities, and Laurie Powell, Grant Administrator for the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, reviewed the RFQs and selected McGill Associates, PA of Hickory, based upon that firm’s qualifications. A contract for engineering services in the amount of $25,400,was awarded by staff on May 25. The Royal Heights Subdivision Water project is being developed in cooperation with the City of Hickory under County Code, Chapter 42, Revenue Sharing Program. An applicable interlocal agreement was approved by the Hickory City Council on May 18, 2010. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends approval of the revenue sharing agreement noted above.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464