PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2006, 7 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold the second of two public hearings on a proposed Catawba County Unified Development Ordinance, or UDO, which would combine all of the County's existing regulations concerning land use and development into a single, coordinated ordinance, and also hold public hearings on the Schedule of Values, Standards and Rules to be used for Catawba County’s 2007 Revaluation and on the proposed issue of Industrial Revenue Bonds (with no financial obligation for the County) for an expansion of Fiber Line's existing facility that is expected to create 25 new jobs, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, September 18, 2006, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room on the second floor of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.
The Board will also consider approving resolutions necessary to finalize two Economic Development Agreements previously approved by the Board and issue a proclamation declaring September 25 as Family Day.
The Board will issue a proclamation declaring Monday, September 25, 2006 as Family Day, A Day To Eat Dinner With Your Children in Catawba County. Surveys conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University have consistently found that the more often children and teenagers eat dinner with their families the less likely they are to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs. Studies conducted by respected researchers and institutions have found that children who eat dinner with their families are more likely to have healthier eating habits and less likely to be overweight or have eating disorders. Teenagers who virtually never eat dinner with their families are 72% more likely than the average teenager to use illegal drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, and teenagers who almost always eat dinner with their families are 31% less likely than the average teenager to use illegal drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Parental influence is known to be one of the most crucial factors in helping children form lifestyle choices and in determining the likelihood of substance abuse by teenagers. The Board will proclaim September 25 as Family Day, A Day to Eat Dinner With Your Children, to encourage all citizens to recognize and participate in its observance, and urge all families in Catawba County to sign a Family Dinner Pledge and make the time and commitment to eat together often as a family.
A. The Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed Schedule of Values, Standards, and Rules that will be used for Catawba County’s 2007 Revaluation. The county’s next county wide revaluation will become effective on January 1, 2007.
North Carolina General Statue 105-386 mandates that all real property be reappraised at least every eight years. Many of North Carolina's 100 counties have moved to cycles of four or five years rather than eight. The Board passed a resolution on August 18, 2003 to keep Catawba County on a four-year revaluation cycle first established
in 1999. The Board cited the following reasons for advancing the revaluation cycle:
It generally will help reduce the "sticker shock" for taxpayers from dramatic increases in values. Values are not apt to rise as rapidly in a four year cycle versus an eight year cycle.
The level of assessment between personal property and real property remains more equitable with more frequent revaluations. Personal property is required by law to be appraised at 100% value every year; whereas real property is only at 100% on the year of revaluation. The more years that come between revaluations, the more distorted the values on record become, thereby creating an inequity of the tax burden among taxpayers.
Public service companies receive an automatic reduction in the 4th and 7th years following the last revaluation if the level of assessment drops below 90% as determined by the North Carolina Department of Revenue. That level of assessment becomes the percent of value on which public service companies' tax bills are computed. Revaluation cycles of four years or less eliminate this loss. Catawba County's revenue loss for years 1995-1998 was $2,285,253.89.
A more accurate future tax base and tax rates can be forecast with a reduced period between revaluations.
North Carolina General Statute 105-317 sets forth the essential elements of a revaluation. Catawba County has approximately 84,000 separate parcels of land which must be individually appraised at 100% of market value by the effective date of January 1, 2007. The State has established “market value” as the standard by which all real property is to be assessed. Market value is defined by the State as “the price estimated in terms of money at which the property would change hands between a willing and financially able buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of all the uses to which the property is adapted and for which it is capable of being used”.
County staff has worked for many months researching and analyzing local property sales, building data, cost data and other information, culminating in the formulation of an appraisal manual, or as the General Statute describes it, a “uniform schedule of values, standards, and rules” to be used in appraising real property in the county. The schedule was formulated from three primary sources: 1) the local real estate market, 2) nationally developed data on the cost of building construction, adjusted to reflect local building costs, and 3) income and expense data from income producing properties in the county.
The Board of Commissioners held a work session to receive information on the 2007 revaluation process on August 21, 2006. On August 28, 2006 a Value Review Committee met to scrutinize the proposed Schedule of Values, Standards, and Rules. After an in-depth discussion with staff regarding formulation of the schedule, the committee offered its opinion that the schedule is legal, accurate and, when utilized properly, generates a fair estimate of market value for real property in Catawba County. Value Review Committee members attending included Mr. Charles Preston, Mr. Clement Geitner and Ms. Lynda DeHart.
Following this evening's public hearing, the Board will consider formal adoption of the Schedule of Values at its meeting beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, October 2, 2006, at the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse. Afterwards a newspaper notice must be published stating that the schedule has been adopted and that property owners have 30 days from the date of the first publication to challenge the schedule by appeal to the State. If the Board formally adopts the Schedule of Values on October 2, property owners would have until Thursday, November 2, 2006 to challenge the schedule.
B. The Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed financing of $4,500,000 in Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs) for a proposed Fiber-Line Inc. expansion project. As with all IRB projects, there is no financial obligation to Catawba County or North Carolina. The money comes from private investors and the bonds are sold in national capital markets to insurance companies, and bond and mutual funds.
The proposed project includes a 60,000 square foot expansion of Fiber-Line’s existing manufacturing facility located in Shurwood Business Park in Hickory. It also includes the acquisition of equipment to be used in the manufacture of coated synthetic yarns, fiberglass yarns and various resin products. Fiber-Line would add 25 new jobs, increasing its employment from 33 to 58 over the next three years. The average expected wage would be approximately $14 an hour for machine operators and administrative personnel. Training programs offered through Catawba Valley Community College will be used to help offset training costs for the company. This expansion would generate approximately $44,550 in annual combined tax revenue for Hickory and Catawba County. The Catawba County Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority recommends the Board of Commissioners give preliminary approval to the proposed IRB financing.
C. The Board will hold a public hearing on the text and maps of a proposed Unified Development Ordinance. NOTE: There is additional information available at tonight's meeting on the proposed UDO, in the form of other hand outs on the same table at this preview of the entire Board of Commissioners meeting.
The Unified Development Ordinance will combine all of the County's existing regulations concerning land use and development into a single, coordinated ordinance. The draft Unified Development Ordinance is based on the recommendations of seven Small Area Plans, created by groups of citizens appointed by the Board of Commissioners to develop long-range plans for their respective communities, with input from citizens in their area. A UDO Steering Committee composed of citizens and professionals in related areas reviewed existing Catawba County policies on zoning and subdivision regulations and administrative procedures, and worked to combine them into a user-friendly, flexible ordinance, which is consistent throughout and organized in a manner that will make it easy to use. The County's UDO will only apply to areas outside of cities and towns and their planning jurisdictions.
The draft UDO has been available for public review since late May on Catawba County's internet site at www. catawbacountync.gov. Users should look for a link to the UDO information at the center of the page. Copies of the proposed UDO are also available for review at all Catawba County libraries and the City of Hickory's Patrick Beaver Library.
The Catawba County Planning Board unanimously voted to recommend adoption of the proposed UDO following a public hearing at its meeting on August 7, with a recommendation that existing single-wide manufactured homes may be replaced with another single-wide manufactured home in any case, not just in hardship situations. A series of meetings with stakeholder groups, and two public meetings, were held in June and July 2006 to provide information on the UDO and offer citizens the opportunity to comment on the draft ordinances. More than 150 persons came to a series of informational sessions held at the Catawba County Government Center on August 2, 3, 4 and 7, and designed to provide citizens with a chance to talk one-on-one with County staff about how the UDO would effect their property. The Board of Commissioners held a first public hearing on the issue on August 21.
D. The Board will hold a public hearing on the propsed new zoning maps that would be put in place with the passage of the proposed Unified Development Ordinance and would be based on Small Area Plans and the UDO.
The Board will consider approving resolutions necessary to finalize two previously approved Economic Development Agreements. The Board took action on an agreement with Flowers Foods on October 21, 2005 and on an agreement with Kohler Company, parent company of Baker Furniture, on July 17, 2006. The agreement with Flowers Food called for the County to grant a maximum of $268,000 over five years. Flowers Foods agreed to locate a minimum of 158 employees (90 employees initially, with the addition of a new bakery line and 50 additional jobs by 2007) at a new $40 million bakery facility in Newton. The County's grant to Baker Furniture would total a maximum of $55,430 over five years, with Baker/Kohler agreeing to invest $12,328,000 to relocate its operations headquarters from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Hickory, creating a minimum of 76 jobs. These documents have now been executed by Flowers Food and Baker/Kohler and the Board of Commissioners must adopt resolutions to complete contractual requirements, prior to Board Chair Kitty Barnes's signing of the contracts. Staff recommends the Board approve the resolutions outlining these incentive agreements.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464