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Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Tuesday, September 8, 2015, 9:30 a.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.

3. Invocation.

4. Approval of the Minutes from the Board’s Regular Meeting of August 17, 2015.

5. Recognition of Special Guests.

6. Public Comments.

7. Presentations:

a. Distinguished Public Service Award to Leroy Lail for service on the UNC Board of Governors.

b. 2014 Sustained Professional Purchasing Award. Presented to Purchasing Manager Debbie Anderson, Facilities Coordinator Tammy Austin and Purchasing Specialists Beatrice Abernathy and David Adams.

c. Recognition of Graduates of County’s Leadership Academy. Presented by Human Resource Director Cynthia Eades to April Green (Library), Dawn Hughey (Social Services), Jennifer McCracken (Public Health), Amy McDonald (Human Resources), Jodi Stewart (County Manager’s Office), Christina Triplett (Social Services) and Karyn Yaussy (Emergency Services).

8. Appointments.

9. Consent Agenda:

a. Transfer of Funds from the Universal Power Supply (UPS) Cooling Project Account to the Technology Infrastructure Account.
b. Interlocal Contract for Cooperative Purchasing.
c. Map Review Officer Designation.

10. Departmental Reports:

A. Library.
Catawba County Library System Meeting Room Use Policy. Presented by Library Director Suzanne White.

B. Utilities and Engineering.
Landfill Gas Equipment Station Replacement to Meet Air Quality Permit Requirement 40 CFR 60.752 and Upgrade/Replacement of the Integrated Landfill Gas to Energy Engine Control System with a Fuel Blending Package. Presented by Utilities and Engineering Director Barry Edwards and Assistant Utilities and Engineering Director Jack Chandler.

11. Other Items of Business.

12. Attorneys’ Report.

13. Manager’s Report.

14. Adjournment.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: Individuals needing assistance should contact the County Clerk at 828-465-8990 within a reasonable time prior to the meeting. 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

CALENDAR: The next Board of Commissioners Meeting will take place on Monday, September 21, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2015, 9:30 A.M.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider awarding a bid for Landfill Gas Equipment Station replacement and an upgrade and replacement of Landfill Gas to Energy Controls, all of which are used to convert methane gas found naturally at the Blackburn Landfill into electricity for sale, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 8, 2014, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton. The new equipment would replace engines and controls that have been almost constantly in use since their purchase 17 years ago, and will insure the County can continue to meet Federal Air Quality Permit Requirements.

The Board will consider a proposed Catawba County Library System Meeting Room Policy to increase community access to meeting room spaces open to the public at the Sherrills Ford-Terrell, St. Stephens and Southwest Branch Libraries for nonprofit, educational, civic and community meetings. The Board will consider the transfer of unspent funds from a Universal Power Supply (UPS) Cooling Instracture Project to a Technology Infrastructure Account that is used to upgrade major areas of the County’s computer network infrastructure.

The Board will consider approving a proposed Interlocal Contract with the Houston Galveston Area Council for its cooperative purchasing program named HGAC Buy. This is similar to other cooperative purchasing programs already used by the County to obtain more competitive pricing, such as US Communities and the Charlotte Cooperative Purchasing Alliance. And the Board will consider a change in the list of desginated Map Review Officers in the county.

The Board will present a Distinguished Public Service Award to Mr. Leroy Lail in recognition of twelve years of service on the UNC Board of Governors. The Board will recognize the County Purchasing Department, which recently won the Sustained Professional Purchasing Award from the Carolinas Association of Governmental Purchasing for the fourteenth year in a row. And the Board will recognize County employees who completed this year’s Leadership Academy, working to develop their skills by expanding their understanding of leadership and management responsibilities through participation in professional development opportunities.

Please note the change from the Board’s normal first Monday of the month meeting date because the first Monday in September is Labor Day and County offices will be closed.

A. The Board will present Mr. Leroy Lail with a Distinguished Public Service Award for his twelve years of service on the UNC Board of Governors, where his efforts helped expand and extol the best qualities of higher education.

B. The Board will present the Catawba County Purchasing Department with the 2014 Sustained Professional Purchasing Award. This award is presented annually by the Carolinas Association of Governmental Purchasing to member agencies that have demonstrated excellence in purchasing standards. This is the fourteenth year in which this award has been received by the department.

C. The Board will recognize seven County employees who are graduating from the County’s Leadership Academy. These employees were identified to have leadership potential and over the last year have developed their skills by expanding their understanding of leadership and management responsibilities through participation in professional development opportunities, book studies, networking and team-building opportunities, development and completion of a team project, a Reading Garden at the main County Library in Newton, and the successful completion of six County-sponsored academic modules.

A. The Board will consider a request to transfer $127,000 in unspent funds located in the UPS Cooling Infrastructure Project account to the Technology Infrastructure account. This would cover ongoing enterprise-wide infrastructure replacement and upgrade needs. The Universal Power Supply (UPS) Cooling Infrastructure Project was created two years ago in order to update the cooling system for the County’s data center. A specific capital project account was established for this purpose. When the work was done, however, the funding was taken from Technology Infrastructure, which has an on-going annual allocation of $200,000. Because the UPS Cooling Infrastructure Project was completed using funds from the other technology capital project account, $127,000 from the UPS Cooling Infrastructure Project was left unspent and it is requested that these funds replenish the Infrastructure account.

Over the last several years, the Technology Department has been working to upgrade major areas of the County’s computer network infrastructure, including switches, servers, storage area and wide area networks, firewalls and related hardware. These devices manage the County’s most critical data and ensure 24/7 connectivity to citizens, County departments and the municipalities with whom the County partners. Keeping this infrastructure up to date requires adherence to a systematic multi-year replacement schedule. Transfer of the unspent UPS Cooling project funds to the Technology Infrastructure fund will allow the County to remain on that schedule. Without the transfer of funds, the Technology Infrastructure account will not fully support the necessary expenditures currently needed. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the transfer of these funds.

B. The Board will consider entering into an Interlocal Contract with the Houston Galveston Area Council for its cooperative purchasing program named HGAC Buy. North Carolina General Statute 143-129 authorizes an exemption from bidding for purchases made through a competitive bidding group purchasing program, which are formally organized programs that offer competitively bid products and services at discount prices to two or more public agencies.

In 1972, the Texas Legislature passed the Interlocal Cooperation Act to promote activities among local governments in Texas. HGAC Buy was established and products offered through it have been subjected to either the competitive bid or competitive proposal format. The program has been open to all governmental agencies for several years. HGAC Buy offers a multitude of products such as: general purpose and emergency vehicles; infrastructure equipment and services; communications equipment and services; grounds facilities and park equipment; public works equipment; emergency equipment and supplies; emergency preparedness and disaster recovery, and cooperative energy purchasing.

The County’s Purchasing Department would like to participate in this cooperative purchasing program for the Justice Center/Public Safety Project. The new E-911 Center will require new workstation consoles and the project team have selected Evans Consoles based on quality, warranty and design features. Evans Consoles can be procured via the HGAC Buy purchasing contract. Once HGAC pricing is received from Evans, staff will compare cost with what other agencies have been charged for Evans Consoles to ensure a fair proposal has been received. The E-911 console workstations are 911 fundable.

HGAC Buy requires Catawba County to execute a interlocal contract to participate in the program. Catawba County has purchased items through other cooperative purchasing programs such as US Communities and the Charlotte Cooperative Purchasing Alliance. Neither of these require an interlocal agreement. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends entering into this interlocal agreement.

C. The Board will consider approval of a request made by the City of Claremont and the Town of Catawba to amend the list of Map Review Officers. On July 17, 1997, the General Assembly ratified SB 875 - Maps and Plats Law. This law required all counties to appoint 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, so that any time 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 City of Claremont and the Town of Catawba have requested that Ms. Elinor Hiltz be added to their list of approved Map Review Officers and that Ms. Shelley Stevens be removed due to her leaving her position.

With approval of a resolution incorporating the changes noted above, the active list of Review Officers will be:

Catawba County: Jacky M. Eubanks, Susan Ballbach, Chris Timberlake and Lashana Marshburn
City of Hickory: Brian Frazier, Cal Overby, John Furmage, David Leonetti and Shamaury Myrick
City of Newton: Alex S. Fulbright
City of Conover: Q. Lance Hight, and Cara C. (Chris) Reed
City of Claremont: Laurie Locicero and Elinor Hiltz
Town of Long View: David Epley, and Charles T. Mullis
Town of Maiden: Travis Ramsey
Town of Catawba: Elinor Hiltz
Town of Brookford: Marshall Eckard


The Board will consider adopting a revised Catawba County Library Meeting Room Use Policy to allow the community access to meeting room spaces for nonprofit educational, civic, and community meetings that are open to the public. North Carolina Public Library Standards include a benchmark that library facilities are designed to maximize opportunities for community collaboration and provide meeting rooms and other spaces for community programs and events. An excerpt from the recently adopted Library Strategic Plan aligns with this benchmark:

Goal: As a community center of excellence, fuel citizens’ passion for reading personal growth and learning
Objective: Create welcoming, vibrant, comfortable, and secure library spaces.
Tactic: Enhance community access to library spaces by aligning applicable policies around facility use.

After reviewing options for increasing the community’s access to library meeting room space, staff developed a policy that offers after-hours facility use at Sherrills Ford-Terrell, St. Stephens, and Southwest Branch Libraries, based on the feasibility of securing the interior of the library while still allowing access to the meeting room.

The revised policy also clarifies the type of gatherings that are permitted, allowing for nonprofit educational, civic, and community use that is open to the public, includes provisions to ensure fair and equitable use that does not interfere with others’ ability to enjoy library facilities and services, and limits eligible uses to activities that are not commercial, political, religious, or social in nature.

Every effort was made to strike an appropriate balance between promoting community access and exercising responsible stewardship of public resources by maintaining the security of the facility. If the policy is adopted, staff will track facility use reservations, recording the names of individuals and groups that use the rooms and the estimated number of people who have benefited, and will report this back to the Board three months after implementation with discussion of any issues that have arisen.

Staff engaged the Library Board of Trustees in the development of the proposed policy, taking their concerns into consideration and integrating their input. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends this revised policy.

The Board will consider approval of a bid award for a Landfill Gas Equipment Station to SCS Field Services of Reston, Virginia in the amount of $1,068,500; authorization of the sole source exemption and purchase of a DIA.NE XT3 Engine Control System Upgrade and Fuel Blending Package from Nixon Energy Solutions in the amount of $489,498; approval of an agreement with the project design engineer, CDMSmith, for construction administration, inspection, and start-up, commissioning, and certification services for $49,300; and approval of a budget revision in the amount of $950,148 for a project total of $1,714,148, which includes an additional $106,850 for a 10% construction contingency.

In August 1998, Catawba County chose to purchase GE Jenbacher methane gas powered engine-generator sets (gensets) to destroy the methane gas generated within the landfill by converting the captured methane gas into electricity and selling the electricity to Duke Energy. Currently, there are three methane gas powered gensets located at the Blackburn Resource Recovery Facility. The 1998 Jenbacher gensets came equipped with DIA.NE Engine Control Systems. Along with the GE Jenbacher gensets, a landfill gas collection system was also installed. This system included the current landfill gas compression skid and flare. The current DIA.NE Engine Control Systems are antiquated and the landfill gas compression skid has been operating 24 hours a day every day since its installation, with only minimal downtime. Both the 1998 DIA.NE Engine Control Systems and existing skid and flare have reached the end of their useful lives after nearly 17 years of change in technology and time of use.

The replacement of both the landfill gas compression skid and flare and the DIA.NE Engine Control System were planned Solidwaste Capital Improvement Projects. Initially, staff planned to replace the landfill gas compression skid and flare and the DIA.NE Engine Control System as separate projects. However, updating the equipment together increases the efficiency and operability of the new landfill gas compression skid and flare. Staff believes it is in the County’s best interest to accelerate the replacement of the DIA.NE Engine Control System in order to fully optimize the overall landfill gas to energy system and ensure adherence to applicable environmental permits.

On May 21, 2015, bids were received on the Landfill Gas Equipment Station Replacement. The project includes the manufacture, delivery, installation and commissioning of a Gas Compression and Conditioning System along with the supporting civil and electrical work. The key reasons associated with replacing the system include improvements in system operations, establishment of a landfill gas treatment system, and air quality compliance monitoring. Below is an abbreviated bid tabulation from the May 21, 2015 bid opening:



SCS Field Services




Advance One Development


Methuen Construction


Based upon a recommendation letter from CDM-Smith, staff recommends awarding the bid to SCS Field Services of Reston, Virginia in the amount of $1,068,500.

In accordance with Federal Regulations 40 CFR 60.752, the active gas collection and control system shall be designed to “handle the maximum expected gas flow rate from the entire area of the landfill that warrants control over the intended use period of the gas control or treatment system equipment”. The average gas flow rate at the Blackburn Landfill ranges between 1,100 scfm (standard cubic feet per minute) and 1,400 scfm. The current gas collection and control system has a capacity of 1,400 scfm but the current flare has a rated capacity of only 1,200 scfm. In the event that all three engines were not operational, the current flare would not be capable of fully controlling the landfill gas in compliance with 40 CFR 60.752. Any uncontrolled emissions would be considered a violation of the County’s Title V Air Quality permit and potentially subject the County to fines and other penalties. Increasing the flare capacity will minimize fugitive emissions in the event that all three engines are not operational.

Accurate readings of landfill gas flow rate, cumulative landfill gas flow, temperature, and methane content for the engines and the flare are critical to meeting the air quality compliance monitoring requirements associated with the County’s Title V Air Quality permit and the Greenhouse Gas Mandatory Reporting Rule requirements. The current gas collection and control system was installed in 1998, is undersized to meet the current Air Quality Permit Requirements, and does not have modern monitoring equipment that will allow more accurate, automated data collection and reporting.

The new system will not only meet the Air Quality permit requirements, it will allow for infinite adjustment capability of the flare, which will allow landfill gas flow to be split between the engines and flared during conditions where the landfill gas flow rate is above the capacity of the operating engines. Additional flow will be handled by the flare without causing unstable flare operation, venting of uncontrolled landfill gas to the atmosphere, or the engines shutting down due to large pressure drops associated with sudden diversion of flow away from the engines to the flare. The upgraded gas collection and control system will improve control of the well field vacuum and engine pressure requirements for more consistent operations. Automatic vacuum control of the well field will require fewer manual adjustments to the well field resulting in less documentation and reporting. The upgraded gas collection and control system is designed to meet EPA’s presumptive definition of a treatment system as a system that filters the landfill gas to an absolute rating of 10 microns, dewaters the landfill gas to provide a 20 degree Fahrenheit reduction in dew point temperature, and compresses the landfill. Having the landfill gas conditioned through such a treatment system will eliminate the need to consider the engines as landfill gas control devices and reduce much of the Air Quality testing, monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting associated with the use of the engines themselves. The upgraded gas compression and conditioning system is anticipated to meet the County’s needs for the next 15 years.

Computer technology has a major role in the monitoring and fine tuning of the methane gas fired gensets. Each genset has a computer control system (DIA.NE system) that monitors multiple parameters within the gensets (i.e. exhaust, water, and oil system temperatures) to ensure the gensets are operating efficiently, safely and within guidelines. Additionally, the DIA.NE system regulates the fuel to air mixture of the gensets, which is critical in meeting Federal and State Title V Air Quality regulations by insuring the methane gas is completely destroyed. Computer technology is also used on the site to constantly measure and calculate the amount of energy sent to the power grid. This information, coupled with computer diagnosis, enables the operator to trouble shoot and correct problems before they escalate and damage the engines and/or cause or create EPA violations. Therefore, replacement of the DIA.NE system is planned to occur in 15-year intervals.

The current DIA.NE system, hardware and software, is now over 15 years old, is obsolete and cannot be updated to accommodate current computer operating systems that are needed to meet the strict monitoring and recording requirements of the County’s Title V Air Quality Permit. The County’s technicians are currently relying upon a rudimentary paging system to alert them to problems with the gensets. With the new Landfill Gas Equipment Station, County technicians will no longer be able to rely on a paging system for addressing problems; they will need full remote access to the Gensets and Landfill Gas Equipment Station to diagnose alerts and determine the level of response that is needed to avoid or abate permit violations. Full remote access will reduce operational cost through reduced overtime wages due to the technicians having the ability to address problems remotely when diagnosing alerts/alarms.

GE Jenbacher and Nixon Energy Solutions have submitted a proposal to address upgrading the engine control system. This upgrade will allow for installation and operations of GE’s most up to date proven engine control system (DIA.NE XT3), providing maximum visibility to current operating conditions, operational trend data, and improved ease of use. Access to this control data will allow site personnel to diagnose current or potential engine issues more efficiently, minimizing down time. In addition, the new engine control system components and fuel blending package will drastically mitigate current parts supply challenges of the existing obsolete system. Total cost per engine will be $163,166 or $489,498 for all three engines. Nixon Energy Solutions is the exclusive distributor for GE Jenbacher renewable energy generators including all control systems, operation systems, and parts for generators powered by natural gas, landfill gas, biogas and other site-specific gases.

North Carolina General Statute 143-129 allows an exemption from bidding for purchase contracts when performance or price competition for a product are not available; when a needed product is available from only one source of supply; or when standardization or compatibility is the overriding consideration. This exemption requires governing body approval. A record must be maintained of purchases made under this exemption. In this instance, the engine control system and fuel blending package are only available from Nixon Energy Solutions. No ad valorem tax proceeds go into the Solid Waste Management Enterprise Fund. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board actions listed above.