PREVIEW OF BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS AGENDA
MONDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2010, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, NC
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider an appointment to fill the vacancy on the Board of Commissioners resulting from the resignation of Commissioner Glenn Barger, effective on September 30, 2010, and the formal adoption of 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 9:30 a.m. on Monday, October 4, 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 a proposed expansion to Catawba Valley Medical Center; receive a report on the collection of 2009 taxes; present a Distinguished Public Service Award to Brian Drum, who was recently named the North Carolina National Emergency Number Association’s Supervisor of the Year; and consider a proposed Board Ethics Policy to meet the requirements of a new State law mandating that local governing boards adopt a code of ethics by January 1, 2011; the delegation of 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, 2011, upon written request and for good cause shown; the appropriation of interest earned from a grant for an urgent home repair program to fund the last repair project being completed with that grant; acceptance of a 2010 Help America Vote Act grant, which will provide some of the funding needed for the Catawba County Board of Elections to operate one-stop voting sites for the 2010 General Election; a request to waive normally charged solid waste disposal fees for the Lake Hickory Association’s participation in the statewide Big Sweep lake cleanup on Saturday, October 2, 2010, provided that each disposal adheres to North Carolina General Statutes and the County’s recycling programs; the proposed addition of three goals to the Board’s list of proposed legislative goals submitted to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) for consideration during the Association’s 2011-12 legislative goal process; and a recommendation that the Board cancel its October 18, 2010 meeting and accompanying subcommittee meetings.
APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
The Board is expected to consider a nomination to fill the vacancy on the Board of Commissioners that occurred upon the resignation of Commissioner Glenn Barger, effective September 30, 2010. Mr. Barger will begin serving as Interim Superintendent of the Catawba County Schools on October 1st.
A. The Board will issue a Distinguished Public Service Award to Telecom Shift Supervisor Brian Drum, who was recently named the 2010 Supervisor of the Year by the North Carolina Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association. Mr. Drum’s dedication to the employees who work in the 911 Communications Center and his leadership and reliability will be recognized by this award.
B. The Board will receive an update on a planned expansion of Catawba Valley Medical Center. The expansion will include the renovation and reconfiguration of the entire surgical suite, providing at least 600 square feet in each operating room to give optimal space for modern and future technology as well as intensive orthopedic surgeries. In addition, the renovated space will include a new Sterile Core area, with separate patient and staff access to the twelve operating rooms, a new decontamination area, equipment storage, an anesthesia work area, and expanded office and break areas. Additions and upgrades are also planned for the Central Energy Plant to address current and future utility needs.
A. The Board will consider amending the 2009 Urgent Repair Project Budget Ordinance to appropriate interest earned through the rehabilitation line item. Catawba County received a $75,000 Urgent Repair Grant in February 2009. The County is allowed to earn interest on these funds received from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. During the last 18 months, $449 in interest has been earned. These funds will help complete repairs needed for the last house obligated as the grant is completed. It is anticipated that 16 to 18 homeowners scattered throughout Catawba County will benefit from this grant. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of the amendment to this project’s budget ordinance.
B. The Board will consider accepting a $20,000 Help America Vote Act Grant, administered by the North Carolina State Board of Elections. In the past, Catawba County has operated one-stop voting sites at the Highland Recreation Center at 1451 8th St. Dr., NE in Hickory, the Southwest Library at 2944 Highway 127 South in Mountain View, and the Sherrills Ford Fire and Rescue Headquarters at 4011 Slanting Bridge Road in Sherrills Ford, in addition to the Main Library at 115 West C Street in Newton. Available grant funds will support operating the three additional sites for the November 2, 2010 General Election on a schedule approved by the Catawba County Board of Elections and the North Carolina Board of Elections. This grant may only be used for staffing cost at the additional sites. Other costs (approximately $2,000) for paper, toner and other supplies will be paid from the Elections budget. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of the acceptance of these grant funds.
C. The Board will consider waiving the normally charged solid waste tipping fees for two 40-cubic yard waste containers for the Lake Hickory Association’s participation in the Big Sweep lake cleanup in October, provided that each disposal adheres to North Carolina General Statutes and the County’s recycling programs. The Lake Hickory Association and Lake Lookout Protective Association cooperate annually with the Big Sweep organization in North Carolina to remove litter from area lakes. The cleanup event will be held on October 2, 2010. Garbage Disposal Service will donate the cost of the containers and hauling to the Blackburn Landfill. A $2 per ton State Solid Waste Disposal Tax will not be waived, and will be charged to Garbage Disposal Service as the hauler. This waiver of fees will expire on October 30, 2010.
The County will require that all materials banned from landfill disposal under North Carolina General Statute §130A-309.10(f), or other County recycling programs, be segregated from other garbage and recycled accordingly. If any or all loads of debris are found to contain more than 2% recyclable materials, the full disposal fee will be charged to the hauler. The waiver of disposal fees is applicable to any tires that may be collected, but special handling procedures for used tires are mandated by the State. Tires cannot be mixed with other debris. They must be removed from the rims, contain no mud and stacked in the designated tire collection area at the Blackburn landfill. The $2 per ton disposal tax is not applicable to used tires. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends approval of the waiver of the normally charged solid waste tipping fees.
1. The Board will consider adopting a 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, under North Carolina law, must 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 that 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 statewide schedule is formulated by the N.C. 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. Property owners eligible for present use value must make an initial application in order to qualify.
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 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 and the Board of Commissioners held a public hearing at its September 20, 2010, meeting, during which the Board received comments from the public on the proposed Schedule of Values. 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.
Once the Board adopts the Schedule of Values, 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 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 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 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.
2. The Board will consider granting the Catawba County Tax Administrator the authority, on an individual basis, to allow extensions for listing personal property. 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 that is taken on December 31 and submit this figure to the Tax Administrator. 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, 2011 and this letter must provide the reason the extension is being requested. Extensions granted on an individual basis cannot extend beyond April 15, 2011.
3. In accordance with North Carolina General Statutes, the Board will be asked to approve the Fiscal Report and Settlement of 2009 taxes for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2009 and ending June 30, 2010. The report is expected to reflect that $76,789,019 (97.30%) in real estate and personal property tax, and $5,230,011 in motor vehicle tax has been collected as of June 30, 2010, with $2,132,124 outstanding in real estate and personal property tax.
OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS
A. The Board will be asked to consider amending its list of proposed legislative goals submitted to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) for consideration during the Association’s 2011-12 legislative goal process. On September 9, 2010, Board Chair Kitty Barnes submitted an initial set of goals on behalf of the Board for the consideration of NCACC. Since that date, three additional legislative items have surfaced and the Board is expected to consider adding the following additional goals to their submittal of goals for consideration by the NCACC:
1) retain the NCACC’s 2009-10 biennium goal of retaining the financial incentive for counties to be “electing counties”, for funding and programs of Social Services;
2) support a portion of Nash County’s legislative goal regarding runoff elections that states, “support legislation to provide less expensive alternatives for run-off elections, such as: ranking choices in the general election (first, second, third…)”.
3) Support submitted legislative goals of Nash, Rutherford and Warren Counties regarding high speed Internet. In supporting these goals, it is important that the federal definition of the term “broadband” not be used. This definition does not provide sufficient Internet speeds to accommodate economic development and job creation needs in the county. Nash County’s submitted goal stated, “seek legislation to permit counties to engage in cable/broadband”. Rutherford County’s submitted goal stated, “support legislation and funding that provides solutions to ensure that all North Carolina citizens have access to broadband service approaching 100 MB to the home by the year 2020”. Warren County’s submitted goal stated, “support funding for last-mile broadband solutions to increase accessibility and options for Internet access in rural areas”.
B. The Board will consider cancelling its October 18, 2010 meeting due to a lack of items requiring Board action at that time.
The Board will consider a proposed “Code of Ethics for the Board of Commissioners of Catawba County, North Carolina”. North Carolina General Statute 160A-86 mandates that local governing boards adopt a code of ethics by January 1, 2011. The proposed Code of Ethics states that the purpose of the Code is to “establish guidelines for ethical standards of conduct for Board members and to provide guidance in determining what conduct is appropriate in particular cases”. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends approval of the proposed Code of Ethics.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464