PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2010, 7:00 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, NC
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2011 Schedule of Values, a set of standards and rules created following the study of the county’s current real estate market which, after approval by the Board, will be used to set property values in Catawba County for the 2011 revaluation, when the Board meets at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, September 20, 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 informational report on the conversion of the routing protocols used in the County’s 911 Communications Center from analog to internet based, which will move the County closer to the use of “Next Generation” 911 technologies that will provide a number of benefits to citizens and rescue personnel, and will honor County Commissioner Glenn Barger, who has resigned from the Board effective September 30, 2010, in order to become Interim Superintendent for the Catawba County School System, effective October 1, 2010.
The Board will honor Dr. Tim Markley, who is leaving the office of Superintendent of the Catawba County Schools System to become Superintendent of the New Hanover County, North Carolina School System, with a Distinguished Public Service Award; consider the purchase of 94 Motorola 800 Megahertz portable radios for the Sheriff’s Office, and issue a proclamation declaring October 3-9, 2010 as Fire Prevention Week in Catawba County.
A. The Board will present a Distinguished Public Service Award to Catawba County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Tim Markley, who is leaving Catawba County to become Superintendent of the New Hanover County School System. The award will commend Dr. Markley’s sustained dedication to children, educators and the betterment of public education.
B. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring October 3-9, 2010 as Fire Prevention Week. The proclamation reminds the public of the importance of smoke alarm installation and maintenance to help keep homes and families safe.
The Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed Schedule of Values, Standards, and Rules for Catawba County’s 2011 revaluation, as prescribed by North Carolina General Statute 105-317. Pursuant to a resolution adopted by the Board of Commissioners on September 4, 2007, Catawba County’s next countywide revaluation will become effective on January 1, 2011. Catawba County has approximately 87,000 separate parcels of land which are required by North Carolina law to be appraised at 100% of market value, as of the effective revaluation date. To that end, Catawba County staff has worked for many months analyzing data derived from real estate sales, building cost data, and income and expense statements from income producing properties in the county. This has resulted in the creation of the proposed Schedule of Values, Standards and Rules, which will be utilized, after it is approved by the Board of Commissioners, to generate market value appraisals for all real property in Catawba County. Individuals who buy and sell real estate in the open market establish the market value. Market value is not set by the Catawba County Tax Department.
Also included in the proposed Schedule of Values is a special schedule for appraising eligible agricultural, horticultural, and forest land at its “present use” value. This is a statewide schedule formulated by the North Carolina Department of Revenue. Properties whose owners qualify for “present use” assessment will receive two values: a market value mandated by law and a “present use” value.
Adoption of the proposed Schedule of Values is an important step in the revaluation process. Because of its importance, the Machinery Act of North Carolina requires the Board of Commissioners to only adopt it after holding a public hearing and then publicizing that it has done so. After the Schedule is adopted, property owners will have 30 days to challenge the Schedule of Values by appeal to the North Carolina State Property Tax Commission. In accordance with North Carolina General Statute 105-317(c), the proposed Schedule of Values was formally presented to the Board at its September 7, 2010 meeting. The Board notified the public on September 8, 2010, through newspapers of general circulation, that it had received the proposed Schedule of Values, that the Schedule is open for inspection at the Tax Assessor’s office on the first floor of the Catawba County Government Center at 100-A Southwest Boulevard in Newton, and that a public hearing would be held at this September 20, 2010, meeting.
Staff has recommended that a vote for formal adoption of the Schedule of Values occur at the Board’s Monday, October 4, 2010 meeting, at 9:30 a.m., in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in
Newton, NC. Afterwards, a newspaper notice must be published stating that the Schedule of Values has been adopted and that property owners have 30 days from the date of the first publication to challenge the Schedule of Values by appeal to the North Carolina State Property Tax Commission on grounds that the Schedule of Values does not adhere to the appropriate statutory valuation standard (that it will produce values that are too high, too low, or inconsistent). The North Carolina State Property Tax Commission has the power to order the Board of Commissioners to revise the Schedule of Values if they do not adhere to the statutory valuation standard. The North Carolina State Property Tax Commission’s decision may be appealed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Assuming an October 4, 2010 adoption, property owners will have until Wednesday, November 3, 2010 to challenge the Schedule of Values.
The Board will consider a request to authorize the sole source exception in order to purchase 94 Motorola 800 MHz portable radios for the Sheriff’s Office. Catawba County is phasing in an interoperable 800 Megahertz (MHz) public safety communications network by capitalizing on partnerships with other local jurisdictions and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. The Highway Patrol’s VIPER network was built for public safety interoperability across the state. The Sheriff’s Office was recently awarded a Governor’s Crime Commission Grant to purchase 800 MHz portable radios. The grant award is for $243,248, with a 50/50 match, and will allow for the purchase of 94 portable radios and accessories.
Only two manufacturers of 800 MHz Viper radios are approved by the State of North Carolina–Motorola and E.J. Johnson. There are certain features available on the Motorola radio that are not provided on the E.J. Johnson units and are desired by the Sheriff Office staff. These include: (1) channel announcement, which allows emergency personnel to change channels on their radio in the dark. A voice announcement function in the radio will tell the user which channel they are on. This eliminates the need for pulling the radio out of a pocket and looking at a screen to see what channel the officer is on; (2) 4-way navigation and soft function keys, which allow users quick access to additional radio functions; (3) an Emergency Keep Alive and Voice Follow feature, which ensures emergency communications even if the radio power is switched off; and (4) IMPRES battery technology, which keeps the radio system charged and ready to go whenever it is needed.
A partnership of all fire departments and rescue squads in the county with Catawba County Emergency Services resulted in a grant award earlier in 2010 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that will provide 356 portable radios to be distributed among those partners. County staff negotiated with Motorola and received a significant discount off the State contract price for those radios. Motorola has agreed to extend the same discount for the purchase of the 94 portable radios for the Sheriff’s Office. North Carolina General Statute 143-129 allows an exception from formal 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 exception requires the Board’s approval and a record of purchases made must be maintained.
The Board will receive an informational report on the conversion of the routing protocols used in the County’s 911 Communications Center from analog to internet based, which will move the County closer to the use of “Next Generation” 911 technology that will provide a number of benefits to citizens and rescue personnel. This will allow for improved transfer of data back and forth among different entities. One potential use involves vehicle communications systems such as OnStar. With Next Generation 911 technology, the data collected by these systems could be sent directly to the 911 Center and then to first responders. Citizens would be able to send text messages, pictures or video from mobile phones to the 911 Center, which could be helpful to fire and rescue personnel as they are traveling to the scene of an incident. Next Generation 911 technology will also allow for more efficient use of audio and video conferencing in the 911 Center. This could be useful for hearing or speech impaired citizens, who would be able to use video conferencing technology to communicate with the 911 Center visually by the use of American Sign Language, handwritten signs or gestures.
OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS
The Board will honor County Commissioner Glenn Barger who has resigned from the Board, effective September 30, 2010, in order to become Interim Superintendent for the Catawba County Schools System, effective October 1, 2010.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464