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OCTOBER 2, 2006
AGENDA 
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
Monday, October 2, 2006, 9:30 AM
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 Minutes from the Regular meeting of September 18, 2006

5. Recognition of Special Guests

6. Public Comment for items not on the agenda

7. Presentations:


a. North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Paving Priorities for Catawba County. Presented by Jackie McSwain, District Engineering, NCDOT  Note:  This item has been postponed and is expected to be presented at the Board of Commissioners' meeting on October 16, 2006 beginning at 7 pm at the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.

8. Appointments

9. Consent Agenda:

a. Bunker Hill/Oxford School Sewer Project Engineering Award


b. Amendments to Economic Development Agreements with Gregory Wood Products and P1 Catawba Development Corporation


c. Reduction in Influenza and Pneumococcal Pneumonia vaccine fee


d. Social Services Fee Collection for FY2005-2006


e. Extension for Listing Personal Property


f. Pesticide Environmental Trust Fund Grant


g. Request from North Carolina Big Sweep in obtaining White Goods and Tire Management Fund Grant

10. Departmental Reports.


a. Tax Department:

1. Request for adoption of the Proposed Schedule of Values, Standards and Rules for the Catawba County 2007 Revaluation. Presented by Randy W. Moose, Tax Administrator.


2. Report and Settlement of 2005 Tax, Fiscal Year July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006. Presented by Jackie A. Spencer, Tax Collector.

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 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 828-465-8200. 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.

INFOTALK/INTERNET
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.

CALENDAR
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will be Monday, October 16, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.

PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
OCTOBER 2, 2006, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider formally adopting a Schedule of Values, Standards and Rules to be used for the 2007 property revaluation which will become effective on January 1, 2007 and consider awarding a contract for engineering services for a Bunker Hill High School/Oxford Elementary School sewer line project, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, October 2, 2006, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.

The Board will also consider a reduction in the fee originally set for this year for influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccinations; an amendment to Economic Development Agreements with Gregory Wood Products and P1 Catawba Development Corporation that would result in the transfer of 5.14 acres of land from Gregory Wood Products to P1 Catawba Development Corp.; formal acceptance of a State grant to help fund the proper disposal of white goods and an application for another similar grant for tire disposal; acceptance of a grant to improve the County's pesticide collection program; and a request from the Tax Department that the Board give the County Tax Assessor the authority, on an individual basis, to grant extensions for listing of personal property. The Board will also receive reports on the settlement of tax collections and Social Services fees collected for fiscal year 2005-2006.

NOTE: The Board will hold the first of what are expected to be three work sessions to study, and receive more information on, issues regarding the proposed Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) prior to this meeting. The work session will begin at 7:30 am, also in the Robert E. Hibbitts meeting room at the 1924 Courthouse.

CONSENT AGENDA
A. The Board will consider awarding an engineering contract for the proposed Bunker Hill High School/Oxford Elementary School Sewer Project, with the costs to be paid by a State grant. On April 12, 2006, the County received approval for State grant assistance in the amount of $3 million for this project, which will provide sewer service to Bunker Hill High School, Riverbend Middle School and Oxford Elementary School to address aging sewage disposal systems that have had increasing operating and maintenance costs at these schools. On May 15, 2006, the Board approved a revenue sharing agreement between Catawba County and the City of Conover for the portion of the project to provide sewer service to Bunker Hill High, Riverbend Middle School and surrounding areas, and a revolving loan contract with the City of Conover for the portion of the project to provide sewer service to Oxford Elementary School and surrounding areas.

Request for Qualifications for engineering services, to provide assistance to Catawba County and the City of Conover on this project, were received on July 21, 2006. The project includes the installation of approximately 27,050 feet of gravity and force main sewers and a sewer pump station. Engineering services will include, but are not limited to, route surveying and easement/right-of-way map preparation; engineering design; document/contract preparation; bid opening, tabulation and recommendation; construction field inspections; and securing of all required approvals and permits. Eight RFQs were received and reviewed by Catawba County and City of Conover staff. The City of Conover and Catawba County recommend the contract be awarded to McGill Associates based on McGill's credentials, past work and services. The Board's Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board award the engineering contract for the project to McGill Associates, PA for a total of $235,500.

B. The Board will consider a set of proposed amendments to Economic Development Agreements with Gregory Wood Products and P1 Catawba Development Corporation. On December 1, 2003, Catawba County entered into a joint economic development agreement with Gregory Wood Products, Inc. to build a state of the art lumber facility creating up to 115 new jobs. Economic incentives included the transfer of fee simple title to 71.1 acres of real property owned by the County. Gregory Wood Products was to be responsible for removing no more than 510,000 cubic yards of material (approximately 210,000 cubic yards of useful clay material and approximately 300,000 cubic yards of other earthen materials), and transporting these materials to a location on County owned Blackburn Landfill property to be determined by the County. On May 15, 2006, Catawba County entered into a joint economic development agreement with P1 Catawba Development Company (P1), as a component of a proposed Catawba County EcoComplex. P1, a pallet manufacturing facility and a division of Pallet-One, will create 35 new jobs. Economic incentives for P1 included the transfer of fee simple title to 12.59 acres of real property. P1 was to be responsible for removing no more than 50,000 cubic yards of material (approximately 25,000 cubic yards of useful clay materials and 25,000 cubic yards of general soil material) at its own expense, and transporting these materials to a location on Blackburn Landfill property to be determined by the County.

P1 is in need of additional property for their site and Gregory Wood Products has agreed to transfer 5.14 acres to P1. The proposed amendments to these Economic Development agreements modify the amount of property being transferred to each company and the amount of earthen materials each company is required to remove and transfer to the County. The transfer of 5.14 acres of property and an associated 39,200 cubic yards of earthen material from the Gregory Wood Products site to the P1 site results in Gregory Wood Products maintaining 65.96 acres and P1 increasing the size of its site to 17.73 acres. The amount of earthen materials Gregory Wood Products is required to transfer to the County is reduced from no more than 510,000 cubic yards to 470,800 cubic yards and the amount of earthen materials P1 is required to transfer to the County is increased from 50,000 cubic yards to 89,200 cubic yards. The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the proposed amendments to the Economic Development Agreements with Gregory Wood Products and P1 Catawba Development Corporation.

C. The Board will consider a request from the Catawba County Board of Health for a reduction in the fees originally set for this year for influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine, to reduce the total fees by $13. The Catawba County Health Department established a new fee structure for fiscal year 2006-2007. While reviewing this structure for the upcoming flu season, staff determined that the rate charged for “direct and indirect costs” could be reduced for the influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine. The reduction is due to the fact that these vaccines, when given in mass vaccinations, require only a small amount of nursing time with clerical staff handling the data input portion of the vaccine, thereby reducing the costs associated with nursing time, per vaccine. The fee charged to the public will now be $24 for an influenza vaccination and $37 for a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination, which will not actually represent an increase to citizens because the higher fees were never charged. The Board's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the reduction in influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines by $13.

D. The Board will accept a report on fees collected by the Catawba County Department of Social Services in fiscal year 2005-2006, as Social Services is required to give under North Carolina General Statute 108. Social Services collected $111,486.26 in FY 2005-2006 as follows: trust accounts, $5,588.81; Family NET, $54,779.70; adoption fees (net), $5318.75; CAP In-Home, $605; NC Health Choice, $40,575; child support, $4619.

E. The Board will consider, as it does annually, giving the County Tax Assessor the authority, on an individual basis, to grant extensions for listing of personal property. Under no circumstances would extensions be granted beyond April 15, 2007. Businesses and corporations whose business year ends on December 31, and individuals who have a valid reason or good cause, sometimes have difficulty completing property listing abstracts by the deadline of January 31 of the following year. 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 with good cause shown. A written request must be filed with the Tax Assessor, postmarked no later than January 31, 2007.

F. The Board will consider accepting a State grant to help pay for improvements to the County's pesticide collection program. On August 25, 2006, Catawba County was awarded a Pesticide Environmental Trust Fund Grant from the NC Department of Agriculture in the amount of $4,635. The funds will be used for improvements to the County's existing pesticide container recycling program. Improvements include the purchase of three enclosed trailers, repairs to and improved signage for an existing storage building located at the Blackburn Landfill, and educational materials needed for public awareness. The trailers will be located at each of the three convenience centers that currently accept pesticide containers: the Blackburn, Newton, and Oxford convenience centers. The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board accept this grant and approve a budget revision in the amount of $4,635.

G. The Board will consider accepting a grant from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) to offset costs to clean up illegally dumped white goods during the 2005 Big Sweep and an application for a similar grant for this year. On May 22, 2006, Catawba County received a request from the North Carolina Big Sweep to assist with their environmental cleanup efforts in North Carolina counties. NC Big Sweep officials indicated they were working with NCDENR to obtain specific grant monies, but that the grant funds must be channeled through a county for disbursement. In July 2006, an application was submitted to NCDENR and on August 14, 2006, Catawba County received notification of the award of $1318 to be used to meet expenses related to the clean up of illegally dumped white goods during the Fall 2005 Big Sweep campaign in the Catawba County area. Catawba County now has the opportunity to further assist NC Big Sweep through an application to NCDENR for grant monies available through the Tire Management Program, and a possible award of up to $25,048. If this grant is awarded, it will be executed in the same manner as the White Goods Management Program Grant with Catawba County channeling the funds to NC Big Sweep. The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board accept the $1318 grant for the White Goods Management Program and approve an application for a North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources grant for the Tire Management Program and, upon awarding of the grant, to accept it. The Board will also consider approving a budget revision in the amount of $26,366 to account for these two grants.

TAX
1. The Board will consider approving a proposed Schedule of Values, Standards, and Rules to 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 and defines market value 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 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.

Once the Board acts to adopt the schedule, 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 at this meeting, property owners would have until Thursday, November 2, 2006 to challenge the schedule.

2. Tax Collector Jackie Spencer will give the annual report on settlement of taxes for fiscal year 2005-2006, 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, 2006) of $59,926,161 and a collection percentage, not including vehicle tax collection, of 98.14%, expected to again be one of the highest collection rates in the state.

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

 

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