PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, AUGUST 2, 2010, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, NC
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on a proposed application to the North Carolina Department of Transportation for a fiscal year 2010-2011 Rural Operating Assistance Program Grant, which would fund public transportation for the residents of Catawba County; and consider reductions in the budget for the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council imposed on the Council due to cuts in funding from the State of North Carolina, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, August 2, 2010, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
The Board will also receive an update on the permitting process for a planned expansion of an existing landfill at Duke Energy’s Marshall Steam Station; and consider a request from the City of Hickory, Town of Catawba and Town of Maiden to amend the list of Map Review Officers appointed for the County and its municipalities; the waiver of fees, normally charged for building inspection services, for the 2010 Ensure Classic at Rock Barn (the inspections to protect the safety, health and welfare of the public will be performed and proper permits issued); and a resolution supporting a proposed interlocal agreement between Catawba, Alexander, Burke and Caldwell Counties, the City of Conover and the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, which would provide added security for the financing of a new building for the Council of Governments. The County’s new Human Resources Director, Cynthia Eades, will be formally introduced to the Board and the Board will also present 2010 National Association of Counties Achievement Awards to Catawba County Social Services, which won two of these awards, and to Catawba County Public Health and the Sheriff’s Office, which each won one award.
A. The Board will present four National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards to winning County departments. The NACo awards program, now in its 39th year, gives national recognition to significant and innovative programs that improve county organization, management and service delivery. Catawba County has won 191 awards over the history of the program and has been honored during each of the program's 39 years. The first award will be presented to the Sheriff’s Office for its Domestic Violence Unit (DVU), a part of the Criminal Investigations Division. The DVU investigates cases encompassing all forms of domestic violence, from misdemeanor assaults and communication of threats to more serious offenses such as felony assaults with weapons, assaults on or in front of children, sexual assaults and murder. The DVU works closely with Social Services, the First Step Domestic Violence Center, and the Rape Crisis Center of Catawba County to provide the highest quality of services to the victims of domestic violence.
B. The Board will present a NACo Achievement Award to Public Health’s School Nurse Alternative Schedule Project, which found a creative way to reduce the effects of the economic downturn on the school nursing program. In order to control costs as much as possible, a new staffing schedule needed to be developed to decrease program expenses while maintaining the same high level of services to students. At that time, all school nurses worked a 12 month schedule, using summer months for program planning, case management activities and the staffing of various Public Health clinics. School nurses had expressed an interest in being off during the summer while school was not in session. A 90% work schedule was created that allowed improved program efficiency, provided the opportunity for school nurses to be off for 5.2 weeks every summer, more effectively used program funding, and more closely aligned the school nurse work schedule with the school schedule. By transitioning to this modified work schedule, a cost savings of $117,129 was realized. The decision to transition to the 90% work schedule saved school nursing jobs in uncertain economic times. The integrity of the program remained intact and outcomes were not compromised, leading to healthier school children and a healthier community.
C. The Board will present a NACo Achievement Award to Catawba County Social Services for its Improvement Initiative for Children in Foster Care program, which is aimed at improving educational continuity and stability for children in foster care in Catawba County. The program established a communication protocol and identified designees at 44 schools to minimize school moves or facilitate school record transfers; a coordinated database to capture school progress and special needs; the inclusion of educational information in court reports; raised awareness of the educational needs of children in foster care among child welfare and educational staff; a focus on special educational needs of children in foster care; and the establishment of an Educational Advocate position at Social Services to assure coordination of transportation, school enrollment and information sharing. The work of the program and staff reduced the school “move rate” for children entering foster care in Catawba County from 24% to 6% in 2009, compared to the national average of 66% of children experiencing school moves. In addition, while 50% of children in foster care were not on grade level in 2006, staff found that 79% of children surveyed in 2009 either maintained a passing grade or improved a letter grade in a subject area of need.
D. The Board will present the fourth NACo Achievement Award to Social Services’ Community Based Crisis Intervention Program (CIP). This program found a way to address administrative problems caused by a dramatic increase in the need for assistance for families unable to pay for basic heating and cooling costs, in the wake of the economic downturn. The CIP provides federal funds to low-income families in heating and cooling crises. Social Services was overwhelmed with the volume of applicants for these funds in late 2008 and early 2009. In April 2009, Social Services' staff met with representatives from three local non-profit agencies to discuss the possibility of joining forces to serve families in a more holistic manner. As a result of these discussions, CIP funds were made available to these agencies. When families visit these agencies, their needs are assessed and assistance can be provided in a more seamless manner. The agency is able to help the family out of the crisis using their resources or those of the CIP program. In addition, families are able to apply for these services closer to home, as the three agencies are located in areas nearer to the population centers of the county. The non-profits agencies involved are the Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry, the Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry, and the Salvation Army of Hickory. These agencies provide a diverse range of services to struggling individuals and families including clothing closets, food pantries, a medical clinic with pharmacy services, and financial assistance with shelter and utility costs.
The Board will hold a public hearing on a proposed application for a fiscal year 2010-2011 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); 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 Employment Transportation Assistance Program is intended to provide operating assistance for general public employment transportation needs. RGP funds provide operating assistance for transportation services to individuals who are not human service agency clients. The Fiscal Year 2010-2011 Rural Operating Assistance Program allocation to Catawba County totals $283,602. $126,271 would go to the EDTAP program, $37,363 would be allocated to the Employment Transportation Assistance Program, and $119,968 would be appropriated to the RGP Program. This funding would have no fiscal or budgetary effect for Catawba County.
A. The Board will consider adopting a resolution to amend the list of Map Review Officers, at the request of the City of Hickory, Town of Catawba and Town of Maiden. On July 17, 1997, the General Assembly ratified Senate Bill 875-Maps and Plats Law. This law required all counties to appoint Map Review Officers who would review each plat or map before it is recorded and certify that it meets the statutory requirements for mapping. The law states that individuals have to be appointed by name, not by job title. If a change occurs in staffing, a new Review Officer has to be appointed and approved by resolution of the Board of Commissioners and subsequently recorded in the Register of Deed’s Office. The resolution would designate the following individuals as Review Officers: for Catawba County: Jacky M. Eubanks, Mary K. George, Susan Ballbach, Chris Timberlake and Michael Poston; City of Hickory: Brian Frazier, Cal Overby, John Furmage and David Leonetti; City of Newton: Glenn J. Pattishall, Alex S. Fulbright and Ben McCrary; City of Conover: Q. Lance Hight and Cara C. (Chris) Reed; City of Claremont: Laurie Locicero; Town of Long View: David Epley and Charles T. Mullis; Town of Maiden: Sam Shultz; Town of Catawba: John Kinley; and Town of Brookford: Marshall Eckard.
B. The Board will consider waiving building permit fees for the 2010 Ensure Classic at Rock Barn. The County has received a request from Mr. Peter Fisch, Tournament Manager of the Ensure Classic, to waive permit fees for the 2010 Ensure Classic, scheduled to be held at the Rock Barn Golf and Spa in Conover from September 27-October 3, 2010. Building permit fees have been waived for all previous years of the tournament, formerly known as the Greater Hickory Classic. The request to waive permit fees is applicable only to the County’s Building Permit Fees, and would not negate the issue of permits and inspections to protect the safety, health and welfare of Catawba County residents and visitors. The value of the waived permit fees is estimated to be less than $5,000. The Ensure Classic at Rock Barn is estimated to attract more than 65,000 spectators, volunteers and vendors, with an impact to the local economy in excess of $15 million.
JUVENILE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL
The Board will consider reducing the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) budget for each program by 5%, because the State of North Carolina is imposing a 5% budget reduction on all Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils. The JCPC’s finance committee recently met and recommended to the full JCPC that the reduction apply to each program’s budgeted amount. As with prior budget reductions, the committee feels this is the fairest approach. The full JCPC has also approved this recommendation. The original amount of funding approved for Fiscal Year 2010-2011 was $349,859. The reduction changes the total amount to $332,366. The proposed funding for each program is now as follows: Administration, $14,250; Corner House I & II, $164,979; Family Net, $61,858; Conflict Resolution Center, $20,462; Parenting Network, $25,305; Project Challenge, $45,512.
PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT AND PARKS
Catawba County Planning Director Jacky Eubanks will give the Board an update on the permitting process for a planned expansion of an existing landfill at Duke Energy’s Marshall Steam Station, which is used for the disposal of fly ash from the steam station.
OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS
The Board will consider adopting a resolution in support of an interlocal agreement, with Alexander, Burke and Caldwell Counties and the City of Conover, with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG). The agreement is required by the North Carolina Local Government Commission and would provide added security for the WPCOG to obtain financing to acquire real estate and construct a new building to serve as its office facility.
County Manager J. Thomas Lundy will introduce Cynthia Eades, the County’s new Human Resources Director. Ms. Eades is a long-time resident of Catawba County, who previously served as the Human Resources Director in Iredell County and has ten years of experience in local government human resources. She began her new duties with Catawba County on July 1, 2010. Ms. Eades is responsible for directing the operation of Catawba County’s Human Resources Office, including the recruitment of applicants for positions with the County, and assisting departments as they make decisions on the hiring of personnel, administration of the County’s Human Resources Code, and management of insurance and other benefits for County staff.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464