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OCTOBER 3, 2011

AGENDA 
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
Monday, October 3, 2011, 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

3. Invocation

4. Approval of the minutes from the Regular and Closed Sessions of September 12, 2011

5. Recognition of special guests

6. Public comment for items not on the agenda

7. Presentation:


a. Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week Proclamation. Presented to United Way Executive Director Jennie Conner, Reverend Bob Silber of Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministries and Mental Health Partners Housing Coordinator Teena Willis.


b. Fire Prevention Week Proclamation. Presented to Fire and Rescue Manager Mark Pettit.

8. Public Hearings:

a. 2011 Debt Refunding. Presented by Finance Director Rodney Miller.


b. Catawba County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2011-2012 Grant Cycle – 1st Public Hearing. Presented by Director of Planning, Parks and Development Jacky Eubanks.

9. Appointments

10. Consent Agenda:


a. Allocation of Lottery Funds for Hickory Career & Arts Magnet School Renovations.


b. Resolution Authorizing the Sheriff to Provide Assistance to Other Law Enforcement Agencies.


c. Extension for Listing Personal Property.


d. Countywide Appraisal of Real Property/Change in Revaluation Schedule.

11. Departmental Report:


Mental Health Partners.


Intent to Merge Agreement and Annual Report for FY 2010-2011. Presented by Mental Health Partners Director John Hardy.


12. Other Items of Business

13. Attorneys’ Report

14. Manager’s Report

15. Adjournment

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: Individuals needing assistance should contact the County Clerk at 828-465-8990 within a reasonable time prior to the meeting. 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 take place on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2011, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, NC

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider a request from Mental Health Partners to endorse that agency’s intent to merge with Crossroads and Pathways Local Managing Entities to form a single managing entity for oversight of the delivery of mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse services to citizens in Catawba and seven other counties, to meet a new State requirement for the population to be served by such an entity, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, October 3, 2011, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse, at 30 North College Avenue in Newton. The Board will also hold public hearings on 1) a proposed refinancing of existing County debt for the public schools systems and Catawba Valley Community College, which is expected to save the County $200,000 annually through the life of the loan and, 2) the Community Development Block Grant 2011-12 grant cycle.

The Board will receive the annual report of Mental Health Partners and also consider allocating funds received from the North Carolina Lottery for renovations at the Hickory Career and Arts Magnet School; a resolution authorizing the Catawba County Sheriff to enter into Mutual Aid Agreements with other agencies; a resolution 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, 2012, upon written request and for good cause shown; and a recommendation to continue with a four year property revaluation cycle in Catawba County, which would mean the next property revaluation would take effect on January 1, 2015. The Board will also issue proclamations for Fire Prevention Week and Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week in Catawba County.

PRESENTATIONS
A. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring November 13-20, 2011, as National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week to recognize that hunger and homelessness continues to be a serious problem for many individuals and families in Catawba County and encourage support for homeless assistance service providers as well as community service opportunities for students and school service organizations.

B. The Board will issue a proclamation recognizing October 9-15, 2011, as Fire Prevention Week, urging Catawba County citizens to protect their homes and families by practicing home fire safety and having a home fire escape plan in place.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
A. The Board will hold a public hearing on a proposed refinancing of existing debt, to take advantage of lower interest rates subject to certain restrictions, then consider adopting a resolution authorizing an application to the North Carolina Local Government Commission.

Local governments in North Carolina are allowed to refund, or refinance, existing debt to take advantage of lower interest rates subject to certain restrictions. One of those restrictions is that the North Carolina Local Government Commission (LGC), a division of the State Treasurer’s Office, approves the transaction. The LGC requires a net present value savings of at least 3% in order to begin the refunding process. With rates at historic lows, preliminary analysis shows the County’s 2004 Certificates Of Participation transaction, along with its 2003 and 2008 installment purchase loans, could be refunded at current interest rates to achieve approximately 4.4% net present value savings, amounting to more than $2 million in savings over the next 17 years. That amount could fluctuate as interest rates change between now and the sale date, which is expected in mid-November. Catawba County last refunded its debt in 2005, resulting in an interest savings of approximately $500,000 over ten years.

B. The Board will hold a public hearing in consideration of the 2011-12 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) cycle, to receive citizen input regarding the submitting of grant applications to the North Carolina Department of Commerce to address the needs of low and moderate income residents and neighborhoods in Catawba County. Each year, CDBG provides funding to local governments for hundreds of critically needed community improvement projects throughout the state that serve low and moderate income persons. The types of programs funded include housing rehabilitation, infrastructure, economic development, small business and entrepreneurship, capacity building and catalyst programs. During Fiscal Year 2010-11 CDBG Scattered Sites Housing funds were used in Catawba County to rehabilitate two homes and provide emergency repair to twelve homes. The Urgent Repair Program provided minor repairs to seventeen homes, and four first-time home buyers were assisted by the program’s Individual Development Account grant. Under its Water and Sewer Grant, 34 hooks-ups to water or sewer were provided and twenty homeowners in the Royal Heights community were hooked to water.

Two public hearings (general and specific to a project) must be held to receive public comment on any project. This is the general public hearing for the upcoming year. Should the County choose to apply for CDBG funds during FY 2011-12, a second public hearing will be held concerning that specific project and application.

CONSENT AGENDA
A. The Board will consider a request from Hickory Public Schools to dedicate $131,439.69 in available lottery funds to provide additional funding to the Hickory Career & Arts Magnet (HCAM) School renovation project. The Fiscal Year 2011-12 budget includes $1.5 million for HCAM renovations, to be debt financed. These funds will be used to make needed renovations to the former College Park Middle School building to support program needs for criminal justice, drama, culinary, graphic design and photography classes, and administration of the new magnet school. Hickory Public Schools has a balance of $131,439.69 in available lottery funds and has requested to use all of these funds to cover unexpected change orders on the HCAM project, including the need to supply more electricity to the building and address plumbing issues. Contingency funds set aside for the project are not adequate to cover the changes. Lottery funds can be used to fund education related construction and debt issued after January 1, 2003. This additional funding for the HCAM project is recommended by the Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee.

B. The Board will consider adopting a resolution to authorize the Sheriff to provide mutual aid assistance to other law enforcement agencies. North Carolina General Statute 160A-288 permits the heads of local law enforcement agencies to enter into Mutual Aid Agreements with one another and establishes certain requirements for doing so. The agreement must be temporary and any request for assistance must be put in writing. Specifically, the governing body must adopt a resolution authorizing the Sheriff to enter into Mutual Aid Agreements. In 1982, the Board of Commissioners adopted a similar resolution, but the North Carolina statute has since changed and a new sheriff has been elected, so it would be appropriate to adopt an updated resolution. The request to adopt this mutual aid resolution comes with the recommendation of the Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee.

C. The Board will consider a resolution which would adopt a four-year reappraisal of real property in accordance with North Carolina General Statute 105-286 (a)(2). With this action, the next reappraisal would become effective on January 1, 2015.

Upon a resolution adopted by the Board on September 4, 2007, the last revaluation cycle was accelerated to an effective date of January 1, 2011. Unless a resolution is adopted to again advance the eight-year cycle, the next revaluation would be effective on January 1, 2019. GS 105-286 (a)(2) states, “Any county desiring to conduct a reappraisal of real property earlier than required by this subsection (a) may do so upon adoption by the board of county commissioners of a resolution so providing”.

Staff cites several reasons for recommending the continuation of a four-year revaluation cycle. 1) A four-year revaluation cycle allows for a more accurate representation of current real estate market values. 2) Personal property is valued at 100% every year, while real property is only at 100% on the year of revaluation. The level of assessment between personal property and real property remains more equitable by conducting more frequent revaluations. The tax burden between real and personal property can become inequitable if there is eight years between real property reappraisals. 3) Public service companies receive an automatic reduction in the fourth and seventh years following the last revaluation if the level of assessment drops below 90% as determined by the North Carolina Department of Revenue. The level of assessment is the percent of value on which the public service companies’ tax bills are computed. Revaluations of four years or less eliminate this revenue loss. Catawba County lost $2,285,253.89 in revenue, for the years 1995-1998, during the last eight-year cycle. By accelerating the most recent two cycles to four years, the County avoided this loss of revenue. The adoption of a resolution adopting a four-year reappraisal of real property is recommended by the Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee.

D. The Board will consider granting the County Tax Administrator the authority, on an individual basis, to allow extensions for listing personal property. If the authority is granted, the extensions will not be granted beyond April 15, 2012. Businesses and corporations whose business year ends on December 31 of each year, and 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. North Carolina General Statute 105-307 allows the Board of Commissioners 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, 2012, and this letter must provide the reason the extension is being requested. Extensions granted on an individual basis cannot extend beyond April 15, 2012.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS

MENTAL HEALTH PARTNERS
The Board will consider endorsing an “Intent to Merge Agreement” which outlines Mental Health Partners’ intent to join with Crossroads and Pathways Local Managing Entities (LMEs) to form a single managing entity for the purposes of over sighting the delivery of mental health, developmental disability, and substance abuse services to the citizens of the eight counties of Catawba, Burke, Lincoln, Gaston, Surry, Yadkin, Iredell and Cleveland. The Board of Mental Health Partners adopted this Intent to Merge Agreement at its September 15, 2011, meeting.

This is a joint response to action by the North Carolina General Assembly that requires Local Managing Entities to serve a population of at least 500,000 by July 1, 2012. This merger will result in a population of 906,746 with approximately 140,000 Medicaid covered lives. This merger is also the basis for this new entity to perform as a Managed Care Organization and to be in the Medicaid 1915 (b) (c) Waiver program, effective January 1, 2013. In response to a Request for Application to operate a merged waiver site, the State has approved the submitted plan.

This “Intent to Merge Agreement” is a by-product of a joint meeting between the boards of Crossroads, Pathways and Mental Health Partners on August 20, 2011, where a consensus was reached on all of the key points. Concurrently, each of the respective LME Boards has approved this document and is in the process of seeking endorsement from the respective eight Boards of Commissioners. The Catawba County Board of Commissioners Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board’s endorsement of this Intent to Merge Agreement.

At the September 15th meeting, the Mental Health Partners’ Board accepted its Annual Report for FY 2010-2011. The contents of this report will be shared with the Board of Commissioners as part of this agenda item.

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