Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, October 1, 2007, 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.
4. Approval of the Minutes from the regular meeting of Monday, September 17, 2007.
5. Recognition of Special Guests.
6. Public Comment for items not on the agenda.
a. North Carolina Department of Transportation Secondary Roads Construction Program. Presented by Jackie B. McSwain, District Engineer, North Carolina Department of Transportation.
9. Consent Agenda.
a. Acceptance of Grant Funds and Amendment of Outcomes for the After School Program.
b. Construction of Stairs to Connect Parking Lots at the Main Library.
c. Increase in County Employee Meal Reimbursement.
d. Buy Recycle Policy.
e. Donation of Used County Computers to Hickory’s Sunrise Rotary.
10. Departmental Reports.
Announcement of $1,000,000 Economic Development Administration Grant to Catawba Valley Community College. Presented by Dr. Garret Hinshaw, President, Catawba Valley Community College and Rodney Miller, Finance Director.
Settlement of 2006 Tax, Fiscal Year July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007. Presented by Jackie Spencer, Tax Collector.
3. Public Health:
School Nurse Initiative. Presented by Doug Urland, Director of Public Health.
4. NC Cooperative Extension:
Organization of a Catawba County Youth Council. Presented by Donna Mull, 4H Extension Agent, NC Cooperative Extension.
11. Other Items of business.
12. Attorneys’ Report.
13. Manager’s Report.
Amendment to County Code, Chapter 2 – Administration, Division 4 – Board of Trustees of the Catawba Valley Medical Center, Sec. 2-339(b) – Filling Vacancies: Reappointment and Sec. 2-349 – Treasurer.
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Individuals needing assistance should contact the County Clerk at 465-8990 within a reasonable time prior to the meeting. A telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD) is located in the Government Center and can be reached by dialing 465 8200. 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 http://www.catawbacountync.gov.
The Board of Commissioners will hold its Fall Retreat on Monday, October 15, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. in the 2nd Floor Meeting Room of the Government Center in Newton. The Board’s regular meeting will follow in the 1924 Courthouse at 7:00 p.m.
PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2007, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider approving the organization of a Catawba County Youth Council, to provide an organized method for greater youth involvement in public policy and decision-making, and the acceptance of State funds for one additional school nurse for both the Catawba County and Hickory Public School systems; and receive a report from the North Carolina Department of Transportation on the Secondary Road Improvement Plan for Catawba County for fiscal year 2007-2008 approved by the North Carolina Board of Transportation, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, October 1, 2007 in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.
The Board will also hear details from Catawba Valley Community College President, Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, on the award of a $1 million Federal Economic Development Administration Grant for creation of a simulated hospital on the CVCC campus, and consider an agreement to protect the grant in the event of foreclosure; consider appropriation of funds, provided in part by grants from Centro Latino and Community Schools of Catawba County, to enable the 4-H program to provide additional After School training and programming that will impact a larger, more diverse group of students in the county through increased staffing hours; a Buy Recycled Policy to encourage County employees to procure products that have recycled content, whenever feasible; an amendment to the County Code regarding the filling of vacancies on the Catawba Valley Medical Center Board of Trustees; funds for construction of stairs to connect two parking lots at the Main County Library in Newton; an increase in the dinner reimbursement allowed for County employees traveling on County business, from $15 to $18 per day; and the donation of fifty used County computers to the Hickory Sunrise Rotary Club, which is working to provide computers for school children in need. The Board will also receive a report on the settlement of taxes for fiscal year 2006-2007.
A. The Board will receive a report from Ms. Jackie McSwain, District Engineer of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, on the secondary road improvement priorities for Catawba County approved by the North Carolina Board of Transportation for fiscal year 2007-2008. Since North Carolina law gives the North Carolina Board of Transportation the authority to approve these projects, the Board of Commissioners will receive this report for information only.
A. The Board will consider appropriating funds, provided through grants from Centro Latino and Community Schools of Catawba County and $2871 in funds from the Cooperative Extension budget, to enable the county’s 4-H program to provide additional after school training and programming to a larger and more diverse group of students by increasing staffing hours. One staff position has been in existence since 1992, providing programs and training to elementary students and school-age child care providers through the After School Program. The original goal was to take 4-H programming into the schools to improve the quality of after school programs.
Since 1992, after school programs have been licensed and staff is now required to take a specified number of hours of training each year, which created another opportunity for after school staff training. Cooperative Extension’s 4-H After-School Coordinator currently provides programming and/or training for 21 After School staff in 21 elementary schools, and reaches 1031 youth through 4-H programs offered in cooperation with school-age child care programs. The administration of Community Schools of Catawba County has approached Cooperative Extension about providing additional training for their school age child care staff as well as on-site programming, and Community Schools will provide additional funding to expand the program. Centro Latino has also requested that Cooperative Extension work with their After School program to provide training for their school age child care staff. Funding for Cooperative Extension services with Centro Latino has been written into Centro Latino’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grant. The estimated annual cost to provide these services for Community Schools and Centro Latino is $10,512. The Community Schools program will provide $5256 to meet these costs, while Centro Latino will provide $2385 and $2871 in funds budgeted to Cooperative Extension in fiscal year 2007-08 will be used. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of this increase in the Cooperative Extension revenue and expenditure budget line items in the amount of $10,512, from the funding sources noted above.
B. The Board will consider appropriating $2200 to construct a stairway linking two parking lots at the rear of the Main County Library, located at 115 West C Street in Newton. A parking lot used by a now closed Hardees restaurant was recently purchased for additional parking for the Main Library. Accessibility to this lot is difficult for library users because of an incline across a strip of vegetation. A stairway would connect the lower level parking lot with the parking area directly behind the library, providing increased safety and convenience. Both parking lots are in good condition. The addition of the stairway would enable library users and those using the library auditorium to safely and conveniently access the library from the lower parking lot. A quote of $1200 has been obtained from Henry Burns Construction Company for grading out the area for the stairs and landings, forming the stairs, for the 300 psi concrete materials to make the stairs, and for placing and finishing of the concrete. A quote from Specialty Metals Works was obtained, not to exceed $1000, for a handrail. The total cost of the project will not exceed $2200. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the appropriation of $2200 to construct a stairway linking two parking lots at the rear of the Main Library in Newton.
C. The Board will consider an increase in the dinner reimbursement allowed for County employees from $15 to $18 per day, effective January 1, 2008. The reimbursements allowed for breakfast and lunch would remain unchanged. According to current County policy, actual meal costs incurred by employees while traveling on County business are reimbursed, upon departmental approval. Employees must provide receipts detailing expenses. Reimbursement rates for a 24-hour period for travel are as follows: breakfast, $7.00; lunch, $10.00; dinner, $15.00. These rates, which include tips, have not been adjusted since 1995 and, due to rising costs, staff is requesting the dinner meal reimbursement be increased to $18. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of a revision to Chapter 28 of the County Code, to increase the dinner reimbursement allowed for County employees while traveling on County business from $15 to $18 per day, effective January 1, 2008.
D. The Board will consider a proposed “Buy Recycled Policy”. The County’s Purchasing Division is responsible for ensuring all County purchases are made in compliance with North Carolina law and the County’s Procurement Code. The policy is intended to support environmental considerations during purchasing decisions for goods and services. There is an increasing focus on what are termed “green” policies and services, those that are environmentally conscious. There are many ways to evaluate “green products”. The term includes recycled content products as well as environmentally preferable products. The “Four R’s of Recycling” are reduce, reuse, recycle and re-buy. If this policy is put into effect, County employees will be encouraged to procure products that have recycled content, when feasible. Products made with recycled content create a market for the recyclables placed in home and office recycling bins. Recycled content products are usually cheaper or available at the same prices as virgin products. When a product is a little more costly, employees will be asked to consider the life cycle cost of the product, which gives additional consideration to attributes such as durability, maintenance, reusability and the cost of disposal at the end of the product life. The County’s Purchasing Agent will work with the County’s Waste Reduction Coordinator/Educator to inform County employees of the “green products” available that could be used to perform their duties. A Buy Recycled workshop will be conducted to start the Buy Recycled program. The policy will include tracking of all purchases related to recycled products. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of the proposed Buy Recycled Policy.
E. The Board will consider authorizing the donation of used County computers to the Hickory Sunrise Rotary Club, with the computers to be used for school children. The Hickory Sunrise Rotary Club works with the Hickory Public Schools, Exodus Homes, individuals and businesses who have donated computer equipment to provide computers for school children. Hickory Public Schools has provided a room at the old Green Park School where volunteers from the Rotary Club and Exodus Homes test and repair the computers. Each computer is loaded with an encyclopedia, a student writer and educational games. Families receiving the computers are selected based upon need. Thus far, the club has worked with Sweetwater, Longview, Southwest, Oakwood and Jenkins Elementary Schools. Computers to be donated to this program will be selected by the County’s Information Technology Department. The County currently has approximately 50 computers with monitors and keyboards that are outdated for the County’s use and are surplus. Before computers are disposed of, Information Technology staff deletes all information from the hard drives. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of the resolution authorizing donation of surplus County computer equipment to the Hickory Sunrise Rotary Club to be used for school children, and authorizing the future donation of other surplus County computers to non-profit clubs and groups, under the same procedure.
The Board will hear from Catawba Valley Community College President, Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, who will announce that the college has received a $1 million grant from the United States Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the creation of a simulated hospital in the new Cuyler Dunbar Building on the CVCC campus. Among the first of its kind at a community college in the country, the “Sim Hospital” will include all the features of a hospital environment and is expected to add over 300 registered nurses and other specialized health care workers to the workforce during the first three years of its operation.
The Board will also consider an agreement between the County and the Economic Development Administration that would secure the $1 million grant from the EDA that is being used to create the Sim Hospital. The agreement would specify that any excess proceeds that resulted from the sale of that property in the event of foreclosure, after payment in full to all parties involved with the original financing of the building, would be paid to the EDA to compensate for its Federal share of the grant award. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of the proposed agreement.
County Tax Collector Jackie Spencer will give the annual report on settlement of taxes for fiscal year 2006-2007, as required by North Carolina General Statutes 105 352 and 105 373. Ms. Spencer is expected to report an adjusted levy (as of June 30, 2007) of $61,893,002 and a collection percentage, not including vehicle tax collection, of 98.04%, expected to again be one of the highest collection rates in the state.
The Board will consider acceptance of State grant funds for one additional school nurse for both the Catawba County and Hickory Public School systems. The State of North Carolina’s budget for fiscal year 2007-2008 included funds to support 65 additional permanent school nurse positions, statewide. Formulas that take into account a school system’s current nurse to student ratio, the economic status of a given community and the health needs of children in a given community were used to determine which school systems across the state had the greatest need for school nurse services. Based on this formula, the Hickory Public Schools and Catawba County Schools demonstrated the need to receive a school nurse position for each school system. Funding has been awarded in the amount of $50,000 for each of these positions. These positions will be employed and managed by Catawba County Public Health. With the addition of these two school nurse positions, a total of 25 school nurses will serve the three schools systems in Catawba County, bringing Catawba County closer to the State’s recommended nurse to student ratio of 1 nurse for every 750 students. The ratio in the Catawba County Schools would now be 1 nurse to every 1009 students, while the ratio in the Hickory Public Schools would be 1 to 880 and the ratio in the Newton-Conover City Schools would be 1 to 963, a countywide average of 1 nurse for every 978 students. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of an increase in the Public Health revenue and expenditure lines in the total amount of $81,818 ($40,909 for each grant, with $50,000 prorated for October 2007 through May 2008), to fund two new school nurse positions effective October 1, 2007.
The Board will consider approving a resolution authorizing the creation of a Catawba County Youth Council. City and county governments and state agencies are increasingly recognizing the value of hearing the voices of young people and actively engaging youth in civic involvement. National youth development research shows teens want to be involved in meaningful ways with peers and adults to address serious issues. While youth comprise 24% of Catawba County’s population, the youth voice is often not heard even when decisions are made regarding youth-related issues. Research also shows that involving youth in the local decision-making process helps build the personal skills of young people and their future interest in civic and political involvement as adults. Youth who are more engaged in their communities have a more positive view of government. Development of a Catawba County Youth Council will provide an organized method for greater youth involvement in public policy & decision-making.
Locally, both the cities of Hickory and Newton have organized youth councils. Members meet regularly, serve on local city boards, attend city meetings, and conduct projects to benefit their respective cities. Interest in membership on the Hickory City Youth Council far exceeds the number of available spaces. Membership is restricted to youth living in those respective city limits. Although the Catawba County Youth Council will concentrate on county issues, there will be many opportunities for collaboration with the municipal youth councils.
Cooperative Extension was initially approached by County management about development of a Youth Council. Cooperative Extension’s 4-H long-range plan created in 2006 lists civic engagement of youth in political and policy-making systems as a primary focus, based on a statewide needs assessment. The Board of Commissioners has a goal in this fiscal year to increase citizen engagement and public information, and a public information plan endorsed by the Board in 2006 included development of a youth council as a citizen engagement strategy. Members of the Catawba County Youth Council will be recommended by individual schools across the county. Changes in the knowledge and attitude of these young people toward civic involvement will be measured by a Civic Engagement and Attitude survey developed by North Carolina State University Extension specialists. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board approve a resolution creating a Catawba County Youth Council.
OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS
The Board will consider an amendment to the County Code, Chapter 2 - Administration, Division 4 - Board of Trustees of the Catawba Valley Medical Center, Sec. 2-339(b) , to reflect the Board of Commissioners actual practice in the appointment of members of the Board of Trustees of Catawba Valley Medical Center. Historically, the Hospital’s Board of Trustees would submit two names, per vacancy, to the Board of Commissioners, which would then appoint one of the two individuals to fill the vacancy. In practice, this changed in the early 1990s, when the Hospital Board of Trustees began submitting one name per vacancy for the Board of Commissioners’ consideration. The hospital’s attorney and the County Attorney, in 1994, agreed to this change, however, corrected language to the code to reflect this change was never presented to the Board of Commissioners. The Hospital’s Board of Trustees had also previously carried a separate surety bond for its treasurer. For many years, Catawba Valley Medical Center has maintained a surety bond which includes the activities of the Board of Trustees’ treasurer. The proposed changes to the County Code, Chapter 2, would reflect both the change in practice whereby the Hospital Board of Trustees submits one name per vacancy for the Board of Commissioners’ consideration and the fact that the hospital now maintains a surety bond which includes the activities of the Board of Trustees’ treasurer. The Board of Commissioners Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends adoption of the revised language to the County Code, Chapter 2, Sec. 2-339(b) to reflect current practices.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464