PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, JULY 7, 2008, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, NC
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider appropriating funds 1) to complete renovations to Hickory High School, 2) for replacement of the chiller at the Government Center, and 3) for improvements to the heating and air conditioning systems at the County’s Animal Shelter mandated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, July 7, 2008, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
The Board will also consider authorizing the donation of a truck, no longer needed by the County, to the Catawba County School System and the waiving of building inspection permit fees for the 2008 Greater Hickory Classic, which generates substantial revenue for the local economy. The Board will also present two National Association of Counties Achievement Awards, won by the Department of Social Services’ Expedited Paternity Testing Program and the Regional EcoComplex.
A. The Board will present a National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award to the Department of Social Services’ Expedited Paternity Testing Program. NACo Achievement Awards give national recognition to significant and innovative programs that improve county organization, management and service delivery. Catawba County has won 186 awards over the history of the NACo program and has been honored during each of the program's 39 years. This program expedited the paternity testing process for families appearing before the court in child welfare matters. Juvenile Court judges who hear cases relating to child abuse, neglect and dependency frequently require paternity testing to verify the paternity of children whose cases are before the court, and ensure the court is addressing the rights of biological parents. This previously required scheduling an appointment with an independent testing lab. Many parents are difficult to locate and even more difficult to motivate to appear at a lab for a paternity test. As a result of the program, staff were trained to do paternity testing, and now attend court sessions and perform the tests as soon as the order for paternity testing is given.
B. The Board will present a National Association of Counties Achievement Award to the County’s Regional EcoComplex and Resource Recovery Facility. The EcoComplex was designated “Best of Category” in the Environment Protection and Energy category of the NACo Awards program. The EcoComplex, in and near the Blackburn Landfill, is designed to promote economic development and create new jobs in the green energy, green business, agricultural and environmental sectors. It will accommodate research involving all aspects related to biologically-derived energy recovery and use, as well as the research of alternative fuels and minimization of greenhouse gases for environmental, agricultural and energy use.
A. The Board will consider appropriating $203,300 from the General Capital Projects Fund for replacement of the chiller at the Government Center in Newton, and associated costs. On May 26, 2008, the air conditioning at the Government Center stopped working. Staff determined that the motor that operates the chiller unit had stopped working and the manufacturer was called in to inspect. A rental chiller was ordered, placed at the rear of the building, and put in operation the following day. The existing chiller and motor were installed when the Government Center was built in 1990. Damage to the chiller itself could not be determined, and the useful life of the chiller with a new motor was unknown. The chiller operates year round due to the heat load on the building. Staff engaged two engineering firms to provide mechanical and electrical design work for a new chiller, in addition to the price for a new motor. Brittain Engineering was selected, based on the lowest fee of $8,800 and the company’s experience on past County projects. The cost to replace the motor alone was $58,000, and would require tearing down the unit and installing the new motor. Pricing for replacement chillers and installation included several options: 1) a water-cooled 192 ton chiller to be located in the basement of the building (approximate cost $150,000), an air-cooled 200 ton chiller located on a concrete pad behind the building (approx. cost $175,000), or a new MultiStack chiller, to be located in the basement (approx. cost $175,000). After reviewing all options, staff recommends the MultiStack chiller system for several reasons. The system uses two 80-ton Turbo-Core compressors bolted together for 160 ton capacity so, if one goes out, the other compressor will provide some backup cooling for the building. Secondly, the Turbo-Core is the most efficient of the chiller options and uses a more environmentally friendly coolant. The MultiStack is also much quieter than the other models. Several reference checks on the MultiStack were favorable, with little or no maintenance problems associated with it. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends $203,300 be appropriated from the General Capital Projects Fund to replace the chiller at the Government Center ($175,000), for associated design fees ($8,800) and to cover the cost of renting a chiller in the interim ($19,500).
B. The Board will consider appropriating $125,500 from the General Capital Projects Fund Balance for heating and air conditioning improvements at the Animal Shelter. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture recommends an ambient temperature in shelters of between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Ambient temperatures above 85 degrees create an environment that encourages bacterial growth and the spread of disease, posing a threat to animals housed under those conditions. These improvements were originally included in the County’s Fiscal Year 2009/2010 Capital Improvement Plan. After reviewing the Department of Agriculture regulations, County staff determined the current system is not able to adequately meet these requirements, so the project was expedited. The current kennel area has hanging gas heaters and wet fans that do not maintain the minimum ambient temperature requirements on extremely hot days. Also, the quarantine building does not have hot water, another new requirement of the Department of Agriculture for sterilization purposes. Plans and specifications were prepared by Brittain Engineering and informal bids were received on May 29, 2008. Ingold Company of Hickory is the lowest responsible bidder for a total bid of $125,500, including a hot water heater in the quarantine building with a heater unit. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends appropriation of $125,500 from the General Capital Projects Fund Balance for heating and air conditioning improvements at the Animal Shelter.
C. The Board will consider adopting a resolution to donate a vehicle to the Catawba County Schools. A 1994 Ford F-250 truck used by the County’s Maintenance Department has 136,000 miles. It is of no further use to the County and has an approximate value of $3,000. Catawba County Schools has requested the truck for use by summer cleaning crews and as a spare on a regular basis. Under North Carolina General Statute 160A-274, a governmental unit may transfer personal property to another governmental unit with or without monetary consideration, upon action by a governing body. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends adoption of a resolution donating the truck to Catawba County Schools.
D. The Board will consider the waiving of building permit fees for the 2008 Greater Hickory Classic. On May 29, 2008, the County received a request from Peter Fisch, Tournament Manager of the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn, to waive permit fees for the 2008 Greater Hickory Classic, scheduled to be held at the Rock Barn Golf and Spa in Conover from September 8-14, 2008. Building permit fees have been waived for all previous Greater Hickory Classic events. The request to waive permit fees is applicable only to the Catawba County Fee Schedule, Building Permit Fees, and would not negate permit issuance and inspections to protect the safety, health and welfare of the citizens of, and visitors to, Catawba County. The waived permit fees are estimated to be less than $5,000. The Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn brings thousands of visitors to the County and has significant impact on the local economy. The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the waiving of the permit fees for the 2008 Greater Hickory Classic.
HICKORY CITY SCHOOLS
The Board will consider a request from the Hickory Public Schools to advance funds originally planned for fiscal year 2011/12, transfer funds remaining from a completed Fitness and Wellness Center Project, and use the system’s fiscal year 2006/07 lottery proceeds to complete a renovation project at Hickory High School. In fiscal year 2007/08, the Board set aside two cents of the property tax rate to finance school construction over a four-year period. Projects included in the first year funding cycle were a new Snow Creek Elementary School and improvements and/or additions to Bunker Hill, Bandys, Newton-Conover and Hickory High Schools. Construction has begun on all of these projects except Hickory High. The Hickory High project consists of a complete replacement of the existing heating, venting and air conditioning system; restoration of the ceiling, lights and electrical systems; removal of asbestos and replacement of fire rated ceiling tiles; and replacement on the roof of the building built in 1970. Bids for the project received in June totaled $7,647,577. Funding approved in fiscal year 2007/08 for this project was $3,940,000. Funds originally planned in fiscal year 2010/11 in the amount of $2,750,000 would be advanced to supplement the project, and financed this fall.
On April 7, 2008, the Board approved the issuance of 2007 Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs) in the amount of $700,000, through the State of North Carolina. These funds were combined with County funds to construct a Fitness and Wellness Center at Hickory High School. After accounting for legal and financing fees, $680,000 in QZAB funds were applied to the project. The County funds originally dedicated for the wellness center project would be transferred to the Hickory High School Renovation Project. Finally, the Hickory Public Schools has requested to use its fiscal year 2006/07 lottery funds, totaling $277,577 including interest, for the renovation project. The other two school systems used their lottery proceeds earlier this year. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of this funding request.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464