PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, AUGUST 3, 2009, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
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 2009-2010 Rural Operating Assistance Program Grant, which would be used to provide public transportation for the residents of Catawba County, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, August 3, 2009 at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton. The Board will also consider approving a request from the three public school systems in the county to apply for the use of Qualified School Construction Bonds, available as part of Federal "stimulus" legislation, for future school construction and a request for the abandonment of state maintenance for State Road 1902 (Harvel Road); and will present a National Association of Counties Achievement Award to Social Services’ Child Protective Services staff.
The Board will recognize Catawba County Social Services’ Child Protective Services division, which won a 2009 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award. The team was honored for creating a streamlined data compilation system to meet challenging new State requirements for the documenting of child protective services cases. The NACo Achievement Awards program, now in its 38th year, gives national recognition to significant and innovative programs that improve county organization, management and service delivery. Catawba County has won 187 awards over the history of the NACo program and has been honored during each of the program's 38 years.
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.
The Board will consider adopting a resolution recommending that the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) abandon maintenance of Harvel Road (State Road 1902). NCDOT has requested that the Board review and make a recommendation regarding the proposed abandonment. Under North Carolina General Statute 136-63, a Board of Commissioners may on its own motion, or on petition of a group of citizens, request that the North Carolina Board of Transportation change or abandon any road in the secondary system when the best interest of the people of the county will be served.
Harvel Road is a gravel road that serves two properties that do not front onto NC Highway 150. There are two homes located on the parcels that are now owned by Duke Energy and are zoned General Industrial. One home is vacant and is scheduled to be demolished by Duke Energy. The other home was scheduled to be moved from the property on July 25, 2009. Due to the removal of the homes from the property, the request to remove this road from the State maintenance system will not adversely impact any adjacent property owners or deny any access to any property owner.
Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC currently owns all of the land served by Harvel Road with the exception of a small triangular piece of privately-owned property that fronts onto Highway 150. Duke is beginning a process to have the right-of-way abandoned in order to better secure facilities that are part of Marshall Steam Station operations. To accomplish this objective, the first step is to have the road removed from the State maintenance system. The next step would be to abandon the right-of-way and recombine the land so it will have legal access onto Highway 150.
The Board will consider approving resolutions adopted by each of the County’s three public school systems authorizing the issuance of Qualified School Construction Bonds to take advantage of zero-interest funds available through Federal “stimulus” legislation for school construction projects. The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 included $11 billion for Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs) in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, the US Treasury Department has allocated $275,772,000 to North Carolina based on student population, relative wealth and other factors. Amounts for 2010 will be recalculated based on the usage in 2009.
The QSCB program offers federal income tax credits, at a level set by the Treasury Department, that are intended to allow the issuance of bonds without interest to willing financial institutions. The bonds may only be issued by local governments, which will then be responsible for repaying the principal amount. The maximum term for the bonds is twelve years. Bond proceeds must be used for construction, rehabilitation or repair of a public school or for land acquisition for such a facility. The bonds cannot be used for athletic stadiums or stand-alone buildings that are not used for the education of children, such as central office facilities. Applications for the bonds must be submitted to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction by July 31, 2009, and issued by December 31, 2009.
For Catawba County, QSCB allocations for 2009 total as follows: Catawba County Schools, $2,391,059; Hickory Public Schools, $1,357,984; and Newton/Conover Schools, $1,227,592 for a total of $4,976,635.
In the current four-year construction cycle, Catawba County Schools will be renovating Arndt Middle School, which has an approved budget of $4,251,000. For Newton-Conover Schools, a new middle school is planned on County Home Road at a cost estimated at $21 million. Both of these projects are eligible for QSCB funding, which would allow the County and the school systems to take advantage of the zero interest costs afforded by the bonds, with the remaining amounts financed through traditional means. A new allocation of QSCB funds for 2010 could be available to further offset these cost. The school systems understand that these revenues do not increase the approved cost of the project. The benefit to taxpayers is the fact that the financing is interest free.
The Hickory Public School system has no projects remaining in the current four-year construction cycle. However, they have requested to advance funds from the next four-year cycle, beginning in Fiscal Year 2011-12, to complete a Hickory High School Project. Bids were received on the final phase of that project last year in the amount of $1.9 million, but that cost is expected to decrease when it is re-bid this fall due to the current construction climate and the school system’s commitment to bid the project with alternates so funding will be within the $1.358 million allocation. The final amount approved for this project will be reduced from the next four-year construction cycle allocated to Hickory Public Schools.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464