PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, JULY 12, 2010, 7 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing regarding proposed financing, in an amount up to $32 million, for construction of a new Newton-Conover Middle School, renovations at Arndt Middle and Hickory High Schools, and renovations at Catawba Valley Community College, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 12, 2010 at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton. The Board will also receive an update on Phase I of the County’s Aging Leadership Plan and consider the appointment of team members for Phase II of the plan.
The Board will consider adopting a resolution related to rules and regulations for the use of any county inmate work crew established by the Sheriff’s Office; a resolution to declare a County-owned vehicle as surplus and the donation of that vehicle to the Bandys Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department; and the appropriation of State grant funds to hire a consultant to lead the community, the County Library Board and Library staff in a strategic planning process.
The Board will hold a public hearing regarding proposed financing of a new Newton-Conover Middle School, renovations at Arndt Middle and Hickory High Schools, and renovations at Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC), up to the amount of $32 million and a resolution authorizing County staff to complete all documents necessary for the financing.
Earlier this year, the Board approved a $1.9 million renovation project for Hickory High School; a $5.2 million expansion of Arndt Middle School and $20.8 million for a new Newton-Conover Middle School. These projects have all been planned for the current four-year construction cycle that the Board approved beginning in Fiscal Year 2007-08 and will be repaid with existing property tax revenues and lottery funds that have been dedicated for this purpose. All three projects have been bid and started, though the addition of a new gym at Arndt Middle School was to be bid on July 8. In addition, 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 have been received, and funding is needed in the amount of $2.25 million.
Catawba County received an allocation of $11.5 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs), made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Of this amount, $5.2 million is pledged toward the Arndt Middle School project and the balance would be used for the new Newton-Conover Middle School. The County Finance Department has been informed that an additional allocation of QSCBs will be available within the next week or two and staff is requesting the Board’s approval of the pursuit of these funds for this financing, when they become available.
The QSCBs 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. 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. If successful, the County will save approximately $4 million in interest costs over the life of the loan, expected to be fifteen years. The balance of the four projects will be financed under traditional means, at an expected 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, in turn, 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. The size and value of the new Newton-Conover Middle School and renovated Arndt Middle School are such that these two buildings will serve as collateral for the entire loan.
All local governments in North Carolina that borrow funds greater than $500,000, or longer than five years to maturity, must receive approval from the Local Government Commission (LGC), a division of the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer. It is anticipated that the LGC will consider this project at its August 3rd meeting in Raleigh.
A. SHERIFF’S OFFICE
The Board will consider a resolution adopting rules and regulations contained in Policy Number 5.09 of the Catawba County Detention Facility, and authorize the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office to implement an inmate work crew program. North Carolina General Statute §162-58 requires a county board of commissioners to adopt a resolution related to the rules and regulations of any county inmate work crew established by a county sheriff. Catawba County Sheriff L. David Huffman has proposed the establishment of inmate work crews as a means of providing service to the community. Inmates selected for work crews will perform various work assignments throughout Catawba County while remaining in the custody of, and under the direct supervision of, Catawba County Sheriff’s deputies. Sheriff Huffman has established Policy Number 5.09 for the Catawba County Detention Facility which sets forth appropriate rules and regulations by which inmates would be selected, managed and assigned duties as participants in this program.
The Board will consider appropriating grant funds in the amount of $20,000, received from the North Carolina Library Services and Technology Administration administered through the State Library, for a Library strategic planning process. The grant would be used to hire consultant Sandra Nelson to lead the community, Library Board of Trustees, and staff in a strategic planning process. Ms. Nelson is the author of the Public Library Association’s Strategic Planning for Results and will use this model to lead the planning. Community leaders and the Library Board will identify service priorities and the Library staff will create the goals and objectives for the new plan. One important goal will be to work with staff of the City of Hickory Library to jointly identify further opportunities for partnership, such as the Big Read program. The planning project is scheduled to begin in August 2010 and be completed by March 2011.
C. EMERGENCY SERVICES
The Board will consider adopting a resolution declaring a 1999 Ford F-350 service vehicle as surplus and donating the vehicle to the Bandy’s Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department. For fiscal year 2010/2011, the Bandy’s Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department requested $163,120 for start up costs to provide rescue and medical first response. This amount was for the purchase of all required medical first response equipment, and equipment necessary to meet the standard for light rescue. These funds would also have been used for the purchase of a new Quick Response Vehicle (QRV).
This budget request was not granted. However, an agreement was reached to provide the department with $30,000 for the purchase of medical supplies and a surplus EMS supervisor’s vehicle rather than the purchase of a new QRV. The 1999 Ford F-350 service vehicle has been driven for 209,265 miles and has an approximate value of $8,650. North Carolina General Statute 160A-279 authorizes the County to convey personal property to a nonprofit organization without monetary consideration as long as the property will be used for a public purpose.
D. SOCIAL SERVICES
The Board will consider endorsing Phase I of Catawba County's Aging Leadership Planning Team and appointing new members of the team for Phase II.
The Catawba County Aging Planning Leadership Team was formed in July 2009 to provide leadership in a collaborative planning process to promote a livable and senior-friendly community for Catawba County. The primary purpose for this community-driven planning effort is to assess the county’s current state in the arena of Aging Services and determine Catawba County’s “readiness” to provide programs, policies and services that meet the needs of a growing older population, families and caregivers while building a livable and senior-friendly community.
The Planning Team focused on eight components of a livable and senior-friendly community. The components addressed during the first phase of planning included access and choice in services and supports; healthy aging; safety and security; and public accountability and responsiveness. Phase I team members were appointed by the Board of Commissioners and included older adults, community and agency representatives and individuals with experience and/or interest in aging issues. The Western Piedmont Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging and Catawba County Social Services served as lead agencies for the planning effort.
The results of the planning process will provide insight for the community at large, service providers and elected officials, with ways to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of the county’s aging population. The results are not a product for the Board of Commissioners to solve or fund, but for the community as a whole to use to become more livable and senior-friendly.
Committee members reviewed demographic information, best practices in the field of aging and Catawba County’s current situation as it relates to aging services. In addition, the Committee conducted a Livable and Senior Friendly Community survey to determine unmet needs in Catawba County. At the conclusion of Phase I, the committee developed objectives, specific strategies and recommendations, and responsible parties for each of these objectives. The objectives included:
1. Establish an aging coalition to promote the general well being of older adults and their caregivers and to advise the Catawba County Board of Social Services, Catawba County Board of Commissioners and the community at large concerning aging issues. (The Aging Coalition would also monitor and assist in implementing the Aging Plan objectives.)
2. Provide information to the community concerning the importance of receiving vaccinations and the steps to take in the event of a pandemic health crisis.
3. Increase awareness of the importance of maintaining/improving dental health for older adults and residents of Long Term Care Facilities by identifying resources for direct dental care and dental health information.
4. Promote vision and hearing wellness through services, products, information and consumer education.
5. Promote and provide for the safety and protection of older adults, especially those most vulnerable.
6. Promote awareness of currently offered Senior Reassurance and Elder Crime Prevention Programs.
7. Build and strengthen collaboration among community stakeholders to help keep older adults safe from fraud/scams.
8. Collaborate with AARP to promote older adult driver safety.
9. Train First Responder staff on the importance of addressing the needs of older adults when assisting and responding to calls.
10. Strengthen efforts to provide education on home safety (fall prevention, fire, Telephone Alert).
11. Promote planning and preparedness for disasters and emergencies with special attention to older adults at greatest risk.
12. Support and publicize information regarding legal assistance programs for older adults and their caregivers, including information on how to access legal services.
13. Increase public awareness about the needs of older adults and caregivers and the resources available to them.
14. Provide public awareness, education, assistance and alternatives in the process of obtaining guardianship of an adult individual.
15. Conduct a community readiness assessment to determine the feasibility for establishing a community resource connection (single portal of entry) to access long term services and supports.
16. Catawba County will have a multi-purpose senior center that functions as a community resource connection and is sufficient in size to meet the needs of a growing aging population.
17. Create a coordinated network of services/providers that is designed to reduce duplication and ensure that services are accessible for older adults and caregivers
18. Ensure seniors and their caregivers have knowledge of services and how to obtain them. Provide a single access point of information, for English and non-English speaking older adults and their caregivers.
19. Develop evaluation tools to assess existing services and share information with service organizations. Verify that established needs from assessment are solved in a timely manner. Assure all long term planning efforts include a focus on the senior population.
20. Support feasibility and implementation efforts to establish local PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) program.
21. Identify and seek financial resources to fund community priorities.
Phase II of the project will begin in August 2010 and be completed by June of 2011 with a full report (on Phase I and II) completed by September 2011. Once new members are appointed for the second phase, they will focus on the following four areas: economic security; physical and accessible environment; social and cultural opportunity, and technology.
Individuals selected to serve during the second phase will include County/city planners, transportation providers, real estate developers/agents, bankers, financial planners, business owners, churches, media, educational institutions, libraries, cultural/social programs, health care providers, etc.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464