Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, July 20, 2009, 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.
4. Approval of the Minutes from the Budget Hearings of June 15, 2009; Regular Meeting and Budget Wrap-Up of June 15, 2009; Closed Session of June 15, 2009; Special Session – Budget Adoption of June 17, 2009 and Special Joint Session with the Town of Maiden of July 6, 2009.
5. Recognition of Special Guests.
6. Public Comment for Items Not on the Agenda.
a. Voluntary Agricultural District Program Proclamation presented to Agricultural Advisory Board President Clarence Hood.
b. Voluntary Agricultural District Poster Contest Winners.
8. Public Hearing:
a. Public Hearing on Western Piedmont Regional Transit Authority FY2009-2010 Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP) Grant Application. Presented by Michael C. Bradshaw, Planning Manager, Western Piedmont Regional Transit Authority.
b. 2nd Public Hearing on Catawba County Community Block Grant (CDBG) 2009 Scattered Site Housing Grant Application. Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Director of Planning, Parks and Development.
10. Consent Agenda.
a. Supplemental Appropriation for Planning Digitalization of Local History Records by County Library and Hickory Public Library.
b. Supplemental Appropriation of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant for Library Technology Project to Manage Computer Print Processes and Install Self-Check-Out at All Seven Library Locations.
c. Waiver of Permit Fees for 2009 Greater Hickory Classic.
d. North Carolina Housing Finance Agency 2009 Urgent Repair Program.
11. Departmental Reports:
A. Finance/Catawba Valley Medical Center.
1. Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC) Funding Request. Presented by CVMC President Tony Rose and CVMC Chief Financial Officer David Boone.
2. Disposal of Surplus County-Owned Real Estate located at 1037 Zion Church Road, Hickory and Notice of Sale of Said Real Estate by Upset Bid. Presented by County Attorney Debra Bechtel, CVMC President Tony Rose and CVMC Chief Financial Officer David Boone.
B. Utilities and Engineering.
Lease Agreement with Duke Energy Carolinas (Sherrills Ford Convenience Center). Presented by Barry Edwards, Director of Utilities and Engineering.
12. Other Items of business.
13. Attorneys’ Report.
14. Manager’s Report.
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.
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.
The August Board of Commissioners Meetings will be on Monday, August 3, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton and on Monday, August 17, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at a location to be announced (moved from Courthouse due to Soldiers’ Reunion).
PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, JULY 17, 2006, 7 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider a proposed lease agreement with Duke Energy which will allow Catawba County to continue operating a solid waste convenience center at the present location at 8876 Sherrills Ford Road in the Sherrills Ford/Terrell community and will hold public hearings on 1) a proposed application to the North Carolina Department of Transportation for a fiscal year 2009-2010 Rural Operating Assistance Program Grant, which would be used to provide public transportation for the residents of Catawba County and; 2) a required second public hearing on a proposed Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Scattered Site Housing Grant, which would be used to rehabilitate or repair homes across the County owned by low income owners, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 20, 2009, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
The Board will also consider approval of proposed financing for Catawba Valley Medical Center, using Federal stimulus grants with no financial obligation to the County, to fund a renovation and reconfiguration of the hospital’s entire surgical suite and associated office and work areas, and additions and upgrades to the hospital’s Central Energy Plant; whether to declare 7.95 acres of County-owned property located at 1037 Zion Church Road, Hickory as surplus, and accept an initial purchase offer of $1,152,750 for the property from Lutheran Home Hickory West Property, Inc. and adopt a resolution authorizing the upset bid procedure for disposal of the property; the appropriation of a State grant that would be used to develop a plan for the digitalization for local history resources jointly with the Hickory Public Library, and the appropriation from another State grant that would be used to improve service to library users by installing self-service technological solutions to allow staff to spend more time helping patrons make effective use of the library; a proposed agreement with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments for management of a State Urgent Repair Housing Program grant that would assist approximately sixteen low income households by providing energy efficiency improvements and minor structural repairs; and consider waiving building inspection permit fees for the 2009 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. The Board will also issue a proclamation recognizing the County’s Voluntary Agricultural District Program, which promotes and preserves agriculture in the County, and present awards to the first, second and third place winners of the County’s recent Voluntary Agricultural District Poster Contest.
A. The Board will issue a proclamation recognizing the County’s Voluntary Agricultural District Program, adopted by the Board in October 2008. Agriculture contributes over $30 million in crop and livestock sales to the local economy and the Voluntary Agricultural District Program will promote and preserve this important way of life in Catawba County.
B. The Board will present Alex Malyszko, Aaron Morrison and Emma Roseman with first, second and third prizes, respectively, in the Voluntary Agricultural District Poster Contest. The County’s Agriculture Advisory Board sponsored the contest to help promote agriculture in the county and to seek designs that would be used as inspiration for Voluntary Agricultural District signs that will be placed throughout the county. Students in after-school, 4-H and library summer reading programs participated.
A. The Board will hold a public hearing on a proposed application for a fiscal year 2009-2010 Rural Operating Assistance Program grant. Funds from this North Carolina Department of Transportation grant are used to provide public transportation for the residents of Catawba County. The grant includes funding for three programs: the Elderly and Disabled Transportation Assistance Program (EDTAP); Work First Transitional/Employment Transportation Assistance Program and Rural General Public (RGP) Program. EDTAP provides operating assistance funds for transportation of the elderly and persons with disabilities to allow these individuals to reside for a longer period in their homes, thereby enhancing their quality of life. The Work First/Employment program is intended to provide operating assistance for transitional Work First and general public employment transportation needs. RGP funds provide operating assistance for transportation services to individuals who are not human service agency clients.
The FY 2009-2010 Rural Operating Assistance Program allocation to Catawba County totals $279,072. $127,224 would go to the EDTAP program, $29,610 to the Work First/Employment Program and $122,238 would fund the RGP Program. EDTAP and Work First funding will be provided with 100% State funds and requires no local match. The RGP Program is funded at 90% of the fully allocated cost of each general public trip. The remaining 10% RGP match is funded through the Western Piedmont Regional Transit Authority General Budget and fares.
B. The Board will hold a public hearing to receive citizen input on the development of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) applications for the coming year. North Carolina receives approximately $50 million in CDBG funds each year. Local governments may apply for these funds for various activities that benefit low and moderate income persons with severe needs, including installation of infrastructure for businesses that will create jobs for low and moderate income persons, neighborhood revitalization, and housing development and rehabilitation. Two public hearings must be held to receive public comment regarding any project that may be eligible. The County held an initial public hearing on February 16, 2009 to receive citizen input on the development of the application.
A. The Board will consider accepting $22,000 from a Library Services and Technology Act planning grant (LSTA) that would be used to develop a plan for the digitalization for local history resources jointly with the Hickory Public Library. No match is required for this grant. The libraries will hire a consultant with an extensive background in digital collections creation to assess the scope of unique local history materials and determine priorities for a joint digitalization project. The project will explore options for a future project to assess, digitalize and make accessible through the Internet some portion of the local history resources owned and/or held by the participating libraries. It will culminate in a letter of intent and, if invited to continue, a grant proposal application for a joint digitalization project in the next grant cycle. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends acceptance and appropriation of these grant funds.
B. The Board will consider accepting $60,732 in LSTA grant funds to improve service to library users by installing self-service technological solutions that permit staff to spend more time helping patrons make effective use of the library’s resources. This grant requires a match of $15,184, which has been budgeted in the FY 2009-2010 Library budget. Funds will be used to purchase software to increase the effectiveness of library services and significantly improve customer service. The project includes PC Reservation and print management software which will allow customers to sign on, reserve and manage print processes, and allow for increased privacy and autonomy. The most beneficial result will be the increased attention staff will be able to give to library users who have more complex and personalized needs. The library currently employs this software at the St. Stephens Branch and the Main Library in Newton. This grant will enable the library to expand this solution to the other five library locations (Conover, Claremont, Maiden, Southwest and Sherrills Ford.) In addition, installation of self-check-out technology will be completed at all seven libraries to further benefit users. Customers who are able to manage and want to manage their materials checkouts will have that choice, freeing up staff time for more personal and individualized attention. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends acceptance and appropriation of these grant funds.
C. The Board will consider waiving building permit fees for the 2009 Greater Hickory Classic. On May 13, 2009, the County received a request from Mr. Peter Fisch, Tournament Manager of the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn, to waive permit fees for the 2009 Greater Hickory Classic, scheduled to be held at the Rock Barn Golf and Spa in Conover from September 14-20, 2009. 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 the issue of permits 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 a significant impact on the local economy. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the waiving of building permit fees for the 2009 Greater Hickory Classic.
D. The Board will consider entering into an agreement between the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) and Catawba County for grant management assistance for the Urgent Repair Housing Program from July 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010. The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency has awarded Catawba County a 2009 Urgent Repair Program Grant in the amount of $75,000. The program will assist approximately sixteen low-income households by providing energy efficiency improvements and minor structural repairs. The WPCOG will provide day-to-day management of the program with administration oversight being provided by the County’s Planning Department. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of the agreement for grant management assistance, a program budget in the amount of $75,000, and the adoption of an Assistance Policy for the program.
CATAWBA VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER
1. The Board will consider financing for the expansion and renovation of the Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC) surgical suite, as well as other capital improvements, for an amount not to exceed $25 million and the adoption of a series of associated documents. Catawba Valley Medical Center will be responsible for this debt and no County funds will be utilized for repayment of the debt.
Catawba Valley Medical Center, a county-owned healthcare facility, has requested that Catawba County borrow funds to finance capital improvements at CVMC. These improvements include the renovation and reconfiguration of the entire surgical suite, providing at least 600 square feet in each operating room to provide optimal space for modern and future technology as well as intensive orthopedic surgeries. In addition, the renovated space will include a new Sterile Core area, with separate patient and staff access to the twelve operating rooms, a new decontamination area, equipment storage, an anesthesia work area, and expanded office and break areas. Additions and upgrades are also planned for the Central Energy Plant to address current and future utility needs. CVMC also plans to use approximately $3.5 million for routine capital expenditures and to refinance two existing notes for the same amount.
To finance these projects, CVMC plans to issue Build America Bonds (BABs), which were part of 2009 federal “stimulus” legislation. These bonds are taxable, unlike the tax-exempt debt the County has issued over the last few years. Issuers of these bonds are eligible for a 35% refundable credit, however, which will make the net interest rate comparable to recent County transactions. The issuance of BABs will not affect the existing or future tax-exempt debt of the County and the County’s $30 million debt limit for calendar years 2009 and 2010. CVMC is also proposing to use Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds, which were also made available in the 2009 federal legislation, to supplement the Build America Bonds. These bonds are available to local governments that have been designated as part of a “recovery zone”, and issuers are afforded a 45% refundable credit. Catawba County qualifies for these bonds due to its current unemployment rate and has been allocated $8.57 million for 2009.
This financing will be repaid with revenues derived from operations of Catawba Valley Medical Center and no revenues of the County will be obligated to repay the debt. Some of the required documents must be approved by the Board before the Local Government Commission’s (LGC) August 4, 2009 meeting and two documents, a Supplemental Bond Order and a Master Trust Agreement, will need to be approved by the Board after the LGC’s August 4 meeting. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of the financing for the expansion and renovation of the surgical suite and other capital improvements for Catawba Valley Medical Center, in an amount not to exceed $25 million, and the adoption of the associated Series Resolution, Remarketing Agreement, Letter of Credit and Reimbursement Agreement, Bond Purchase Agreement, and Official Statement.
2. The Board will consider declaring approximately 7.95 acres of County-owned property located at 1037 Zion Church Road, Hickory as surplus; whether to accept an initial offer of $1,152,750 from Lutheran Home Hickory West Property, Inc., and the adoption of a resolution authorizing the upset bid procedure for disposal and authorizing the appropriate County officials to execute documents if no upset bid is received. The sale is contingent upon Carolina Orthopaedic Specialists’ sale of property adjacent to this property.
In 1998, Catawba Valley Medical Center purchased a 16.17 acre tract of land (the old Mountain View Elementary School site) from Catawba County Schools for $1,250,000. In December 2007, SBBH, LLC, on behalf of Walgreens, purchased 2.24 acres of that property for $2,135,416. With the culmination of this proposed purchase, CVMC will have realized an approximate 300% return on its original investment in the subject property.
Catawba Valley Medical Center/Catawba County has received an offer from Lutheran Home Hickory West Property, Inc. to purchase a portion of the property consisting of approximately 7.95 acres. The offer from Lutheran Home Hickory West Property, Inc. is for $1,152,750. A 10% deposit was wired to the County on July 10, 2009. CVMC has reserved a parcel at the back of the original 16.17 acre tract of land for Catawba Country Emergency Services’ use. There is a fifty foot easement from this parcel out to Zion Church Road to ensure ingress and egress to the parcel. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has already issued a driveway permit for this purpose.
North Carolina General Statute 160A-269 authorizes the sale of real property via the negotiated offer and upset bid process. The process begins with the receipt of an offer to purchase the property. If the Board proposes to accept the offer, the upset bid procedure begins. The party making the offer is required to submit a bid deposit in the amount of at least 5% of the bid. Once the Board has acted and that bid deposit has been received, a notice is published in local newspapers. The statute requires that an upset bid be received within ten days from the date the notice is published. To qualify as an upset bid, the bid must raise the original or current offer by an amount of at least 10% of the first $1,000 of that offer and 5% of the remainder. The minimum upset bid for this property would be $1,210,482.50. When a bid has been successfully raised, the new bid becomes the current offer, and the local government conducts another upset sale, on the same terms and under the same procedures as the first sale. This process continues until a ten-day period passes without receipt of a qualifying upset bid. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends declaring the subject property as surplus, accepting an initial offer of $1,152,750 from Lutheran Home Hickory West Property, Inc., adopting a resolution authorizing the upset bid procedure for disposal, and authorizing the appropriate County officials to execute documents if no upset bid is received.
UTILITIES AND ENGINEERING
The Board will consider authorizing County Manager J. Thomas Lundy to execute a proposed Lease Agreement with Duke Energy Carolinas that will allow Catawba County to continue operating a solid waste convenience center at the present location at 8876 Sherrills Ford Road in the Sherrills Ford/Terrell community. Catawba County first opened the Sherrills Ford Convenience Center in 1976. The original lease agreement with Crescent Land & Timber ended in 1986. During the time following the expiration of the original lease agreement, Carolina Centers acquired the property and the County was unable to reach a lease agreement with Carolina Centers. Catawba County offered to purchase the portion of the property it uses at fair market value, but was unable to reach an agreement with Carolina Centers. The property was sold to Duke Energy Carolinas in 2009.
Duke Energy Carolinas has been very gracious and willing to reach a lease agreement with terms agreeable to all parties involved. The new lease agreement would begin on June 1, 2009 and end on May 31, 2014. During this initial five year period, Catawba County would pay Duke Energy an annual rental amount of $1,000. The lease shall automatically be renewed for one five year period extending from June 1, 2014 until May 31, 2019. During the second five year period, Catawba County would pay an annual rental amount of $1,100. The agreement provides a means for termination by either party with a 60 days written notice, effective on the 60th day, but allows one year for the County to vacate the property while continuing to operate the site during that one year period. The annual rent during the one year termination period would be prorated based on the date the County vacates the property. The Board’s Policy and Public Work Subcommittee recommends the Board authorize the County Manager to execute the Lease Agreement with Duke Energy Carolinas. The Board is expected to extend thanks to Duke Energy Carolina for its help and partnership in reaching an amicable solution that allows Catawba County to continue to offer uninterrupted solid waste and recycling convenience center services to the Sherrills Ford area.