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OCTOBER 1, 2012

AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, October 1, 2012, 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 and Special Joint Meeting of September 17, 2012.


5. Recognition of Special Guests.


6. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda.


7. Appointments.


8. Departmental Reports:


1. Tax:


Extension for Listing Personal Property. Presented by Tax Administrator Mark Logan.


2. Finance:


South Newton Elementary School Funding. Presented by Finance Director Rodney Miller, Newton-Conover Schools Superintendent Barry Redmond and Newton-Conover Construction Manager Allen Kirby.


3. Economic Development:


a. Economic Development Project Overview. Presented by Economic Development Corporation President Scott Millar.


b. Revisions to Fee Waiver Program to Encourage Economic Development. Presented by Economic Development Corporation President Scott Millar.


9. Other Items of Business.


10. Attorneys’ Report.


11. Manager’s Report.


12. Adjournment.


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2012, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider the transfer of $800,000 from the recently completed Newton-Conover Middle School project, and the appropriation of an additional $790,580, needed to complete the South Newton Elementary School Project; and receive a report from the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation regarding a possible economic incentive agreement, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, October 1, 2012, at the 1924 Courthouse, at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.

The Board will consider revising a program approved by the Board on June 18, 2012, under which the County would waive for one year certain landfill fees and erosion control permit fees to encourage development of pre-graded sites, demolition and removal of dilapidated buildings, and rehabilitation of historic buildings to promote economic development. The proposed changes would broaden the program to projects situated on land suitable for future development other than industrial development, change the minimum acreage for consideration under the program from five acres to two acres, and change the amount of investment in new construction to be considered for the program to a minimum of $1 million. The Board will also consider delegating authority to the County Tax Administrator to allow, on an individual basis, extensions for listing of personal property beyond the State’s deadline of January 31, 2013, upon written request and for good cause shown, with no extensions granted beyond April 15, 2013.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS


NEWTON-CONOVER CITY SCHOOLS

The Board will consider a request that the County transfer $800,000 from the recently completed Newton-Conover Middle School project and the appropriation of an additional $790,580 to complete the South Newton Elementary School Project. In fiscal year 2011-12, the Board continued the practice of a new four-year funding cycle for school construction by pledging three cents of the property tax rate, along with lottery funds, to finance approximately $69 million in school/community college improvements. Projects included in the first year of the funding cycle were improvements to Hickory High and Murray Elementary, both financed in the last fiscal year. Improvements to the Hickory Career Arts & Magnet (HCAM) School and the campus at Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) were also included, though these two projects have not yet been financed.

In fiscal year 2012-13, plans include two new elementary schools: South Newton, estimated at $10 million and Longview, estimated at $11 million, as well as renovations to the old Newton-Conover Middle School and CVCC for $1 million and $2 million, respectively. These projects are expected to be financed along with the HCAM and CVCC improvements later this year.

Bids were received in September for the South Newton Elementary School Project, with a low bid of $12,723,580, which included the base construction bid plus multiple alternates, design fees, furnishings and technology. The budget amount was derived assuming that one or more existing buildings, ranging in age from 1958 to 1993, were to remain on the site and an addition was to be added to the existing structure(s). However, after reviewing the plans with the architect, the Newton-Conover Board of Education determined the best option was to demolish the existing structures and build a new two-story building based on the 11-acre site, which is smaller than Department of Public Instruction property standards. The project consists of 28 classrooms plus a media center and multipurpose room (gym, cafeteria, stage) with classroom capacity of 450 students and a core of 600. The facility is approximately 68,000 square feet, with a two-story classroom wing and is designed to obtain a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver classification. After a review with County staff, it was determined that several options could be taken to reduce the low bid by using annual school capital funding and technology funds to pay for furnishings, technology and security equipment separately, pledging State sales tax refunds to the project and reducing some other items, resulting in a total project cost of $11,590,580.

The Board’s Finance & Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of the transfer of $800,000 from the Newton-Conover Middle School Project and the appropriation of $790,580 to fund the South Newton Elementary School Project.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
A. The Board will consider revising a program approved by the Board on June 18, 2012, under which the County would waive for one year certain landfill fees and erosion control permit fees to encourage development of pre-graded sites, demolition and removal of dilapidated buildings, and rehabilitation of historic buildings in order to promote economic development. The Catawba County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) reports the fee program has had limited appeal due to two primary factors: 1) the program as written limits the availability of the program to future industrial uses only, and 2) the requirements limit the opportunities for small parcel development. These changes attempt to broaden the allowable scope of the program in order to consider these limitations.

This program’s purpose is to eradicate dilapidated and vacant industrial buildings (exclusively) to clear property for redevelopment, encourage the development of recognized historic structures for adaptive reuse, and initiate the creation of pre-graded industrial sites. Coordinated with and included in marketing by the EDC, this program is designed to promote economic development throughout Catawba County by providing incentives to attract business development. Fees will be waived for solid waste to include all State-permitted waste streams accepted at the Blackburn Landfill, such as land clearing debris, municipal solid waste and construction and demolition debris, and for erosion control and demolition permits, oversight, and inspections. This waiver program is subject to cancellation at any time and will expire no later than June 30, 2013. The program will be monitored on a monthly basis, with reporting to the Board no less than quarterly. Proposed changes to the program guidelines are as follows:

Under Demolition/Rehab Program
“Projects must be situated in a location reasonably suited for future development as determined by Catawba County EDC.” This would remove the word “industrial” from the previous sentence.

“Projects must meet all requirements to be listed on North Carolina Department of Commerce (NCDOC) site/building database; a minimum size of 2 acres (may be combined with adjacent properties if all properties meet NCDOC site data sheet requirements); and have either a specific sales or lease price. Should the owner be redeveloping the site, the requirements will be waived with a minimum committed investment of $1 million in new construction.” This would add the word “minimum” to the last sentence.

Under Pre-Graded Sites (In addition to the requirements for the Demolition/Rehab Program)
“Must be a minimum of 2.0 acres (less acreage may be considered with a committed investment of $1 million in new construction).” This would change the minimum acreage from 5 to 2 acres if approved.

B. Catawba County Economic Development Corporation President Scott Millar is expected to give a report to the Board on a possible economic development agreement. Information on the possible agreement will be given at the meeting.

TAX
The Board will consider giving the County Tax Administrator authority, on an individual basis, to allow extensions for listing personal property. If approved, extensions will not be granted beyond April 15, 2013. Businesses and corporations whose business year ends on December 31 of each year, as well as some individuals, can have difficulty completing their listing abstracts by January 31 of each year. This is due to the fact that they are unable to calculate an inventory taken on December 31 and submit this figure to the Tax Administrator by the January 31 deadline. North Carolina General Statute 105-307 allows the Board to grant individual extensions of time for the listing of personal property, upon written request and for good cause shown. The request must be filed with the Tax Administrator no later than the ending date of the regular listing period. This means a letter must be written and postmarked no later than January 31, 2013, and this letter must provide the reason the extension is being requested. Extensions granted on an individual basis cannot extend beyond April 15, 2013. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board authorize the Tax Administrator to grant extensions for listing to those making a written request and showing a “just cause”.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464