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OCTOBER 7, 2013
AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, October 7, 2013, 9:30 a.m.
Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse
30 North College Ave, Newton

1. Call to Order

2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

3. Invocation

4. Approval of the minutes from the Board’s Regular Meeting of September 16, 2013

5. Recognition of Special Guests

6. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda

7. Presentations:


a. NCDOT Strategic Transportation Investment (STI) and the Strategic Mobility Formula. Presented by Pam Cook, NCDOT Transportation Planning Branch.


b. Recognition of Graduates, Catawba County Leadership Academy. Presented by Human Resources Director Cynthia Eades to Graduates Regina Arrowood, Cari Burns, Julie Byrd, Steve Lackey, Chantae Lail, Phillip Overholtzer, Stephanie Pannell, Paulette Smyre, Angie Triplette, Dawn Wilson and Lori Wray.


c. Proclamation Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Catawba County Public Health. Presented to Public Health Director Doug Urland.

8. Appointments

9. Departmental Reports


Tax


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


b. Report and Settlement of 2012 Tax. Presented by Tax Collector Lori Mathes

10. Other Items of Business


Report on Board of Commissioners FY2012/13 Goals.

11. Attorneys’ Report

12. Manager’s Report

13. 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 828-465-8468 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 21 at 7:00 p.m. in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse, Newton.


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2013, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.


The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will give a report on the status of its goals for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 and recognize the 75th anniversary of Catawba County Public Health, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, October 7, 2013, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.


The Board will also receive a report on the settlement of taxes for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012, and ending June 30, 2013, and consider, as it does annually, granting authority to the County Tax Administrator to allow extensions for listing personal property on an individual basis, upon written request and for good cause shown. If approved, extensions will not be granted beyond April 15, 2014. The Board will hear a report on the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s new Strategic Transportation Investment (STI) legislation and new Strategic Mobility Formula. And the Board will recognize eleven County employees who are the first graduates of the County’s new Leadership Academy, designed to identify County employees who have leadership potential and interest and develop their skills by expanding their understanding of leadership and management responsibilities.


PRESENTATIONS

A. The Board will receive a presentation regarding the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s new Strategic Transportation Investment (STI) legislation and a new Strategic Mobility Formula. This presentation will provide the Board with an overview of how the Formula will address how traditional Equity-eligible funds, Urban Loop funds, Mobility Funds, Powell Bill and Secondary Roads paving funds will be allocated, based on a prioritization criteria using a 0-100 point scale.


B. The Board will recognize eleven county employees who are the first to graduate from the County’s new Leadership Academy. These employees were identified to have leadership potential and, over the last year, have developed their skills by expanding their understanding of leadership and management responsibilities through participation in professional development opportunities, book studies, networking and team-building opportunities, development and completion of a team project and the successful completion of six County-sponsored academic modules. The Academy graduates are: Regina Arrowood, Social Services; Cari Burns, County Manager’s Office; Julie Byrd, Public Health; Steve Lackey, Technology; Chantae Lail, Public Health; Phillip Overholtzer, Library; Stephanie Pannell, Technology; Paulette Smyre, Human Resources; Angie Triplett, Human Resources; Dawn Wilson, Social Services and Lori Wray, Tax.


C. The Board will issue a proclamation celebrating the 75th anniversary of Catawba County Public Health. The proclamation will commend Catawba County Public Health for 75 remarkable years of serving the people of Catawba County by promoting health, preventing disease and assuring access to vital health services.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS

TAX
A.
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, 2014. 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, 2014, and this letter must provide the reason the extension is being requested. Extensions granted on an individual basis cannot extend beyond April 15, 2014.

B. In accordance with North Carolina General Statutes, the Board will be asked to approve the Fiscal Report and Settlement of taxes for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012 and ending June 30, 2013. The report is expected to reflect that $80,516,247 (96.95%) in real estate and personal property tax has been collected as of June 30, 2013, with $2,537,459 outstanding in real estate and personal property tax.

OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS
Board Chair Katherine W. Barnes will summarize the actions taken to achieve the Board's goals for Fiscal Year 2012-2013, which were as follows:

Goal #1) Support a coordinated effort to create jobs and property tax base by investing in infrastructure, the development of the County’s quality of life, and educational opportunities. Participate with the private sector in determining a long-term vision.

Specific strategies include:


a. Aggressive recruitment of most favored industries;
b. Support of and participation in a multi-jurisdictional business park;
c. Advocating for the widening and completion of Highway 16;
d. Insuring that County regulations support orderly growth and business development;
e. Supporting an environment for entrepreneurship, emphasizing the development of small business;
f. Continued support of public education, Economic Development Corporation, Convention and Visitor Bureau, CVCC and the Chamber of Commerce.

In keeping with the County’s broad and long-term approach to funding water and sewer infrastructure needs countywide, Board action resulted in: an agreement between the County and the City of Hickory for the Hickory-Catawba Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion which will increase treatment capacity to service areas including the Town of Catawba and the commercial and industrial areas along Highway 150, as well as providing needed service provisions in the southeast Catawba County service area in anticipation of growth; an interlocal agreement with the City of Newton for a water project to service Highway 16 South, Balls Creeks Road and Buffalo Shoals Road; and the utilization of grant funds to extend the Old Shelby Road Water Line to provide water to 131 persons and 63 households, the majority of which have severe water needs.

The Board also entered into a new exclusive solid waste management franchise agreement with Republic Services of NC, LLC to ensure a substantial increase in the number of items collected for recycling and the initiation of “single stream” collection of recyclable commodities so recycled materials would no longer have to be separated at curbside. This agreement increased Republic Services’ investment in Catawba County by $13 million and protected over 150 local jobs. The County also entered into agreements with the Cities of Hickory, Newton and Conover and the Town of Long View for the continued acceptance, management, and disposal of municipal solid waste collected within the municipalities’ jurisdictions.

With an eye on all aspects of services which impact the County’s quality of life, the Board addressed the need to increase the capacity of the Animal Shelter, which receives animals from both the incorporated and unincorporated areas of the County, by awarding a bid for construction of a new shelter.

Further Board actions taken to improve the quality of life of county citizens included: appropriation of existing fund balance in the amount of $30,000 to assist Bandys Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department in construction costs for replacing one station and building one new fire station; action which enabled Propst Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department to acquire a more favorable interest rate when financing the purchase of a new pumper-tanker and self-contained breathing apparatus; donation of a surplus County vehicle to the Western North Carolina Epilepsy Association to assist with use at their HOPE (Help Our People Eat) Garden; amending the Unified Development Ordinance regarding setbacks for principal structures on corner lots, thus allowing homeowners more flexibility in placement of structures on these lots; revision of the Unified Development Ordinance to address setbacks from gravesite’s crypts, vault or grave markers in cemeteries in unincorporated areas of the County.

When floods in May 2013 threatened the quality of life of the northern and eastern parts of the County, the Board’s action to waive solid waste, building permit, zoning and flood plain development permit fees associated with the affected property eased some of the burden caused by this natural disaster.

During the Board’s retreat in December 2012, the Board received an interim report from the Southern Growth Policy Board on the ongoing joint effort of the areas’ public and private sectors to identify opportunities for economic competitiveness. This effort has resulted in a public/private project named Innovate Catawba that has identified six work areas: Inspiring Communities, Reinventing Spaces, Workforce Connectivity, Entrepreneurship, Building for Jobs, and Leading and Communicating. The Board also adopted the Farm & Food Sustainability Plan to sustain agricultural land in the County, recruit younger farmers and provide tools for farm transitioning, focus on agricultural economic development and agri-tourism, and ensure local food sustainability by developing and marketing a “Farm-to-Fork” initiative.

Further actions taken toward the specific strategies of this goal were:

Aggressive recruitment of most favored industries;
The Board approved incentives, along with the City of Claremont, for Bed, Bath and Beyond to locate a disaster recovery facility/backup data center (later to become their primary data center) in Claremont’s CenterPoint Shell Building. The new investments, equal or greater than $36,800,000, and a minimum of seven new jobs created by 2018 paying substantially above Catawba County average wages, will add this Fortune 500 company to our base.

Included in the Board’s 2013 Legislative Agenda was support to abolish the existing guidelines specific to State incentives, grants, and assistance programming. The existing system ranks North Carolina’s 100 counties based on economic well-being and assigns each a tier designation. Catawba County, with higher than average the State unemployment rate, is not well supported as the result of the tiering structure’s eligibility factors. Continued in the Legislative Agenda was emphasis on completion of the widening of Hwy. 16 from Newton to Tower Road in SE Catawba County to better facilitate transportation to and from Charlotte.

Support of and participation in a multi-jurisdictional business park;
The Board entered into a joint development agreement with the Town of Catawba, the City of Conover, the City of Hickory and the Town of Maiden to acquire, develop and operate a business park on a 70 acre tract of land off of US Interstate 40, Exit 132 at Highway 16 in Conover.

Insuring that County regulations support orderly growth and business development;
The Board revised the demolition/rehab program it adopted in the last fiscal year to make the program less restrictive regarding the type of development and the minimum acreage required. This program will 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. Based on the waiver program producing significant re-investment through improved aesthetics, positive net tax income, and re-investment by private developers which spurred new job creation and new businesses, the Board acted to extend this waiver program for an additional 24 months.

Supporting an environment for entrepreneurship, emphasizing the development of small business;
The County’s continued support of the Chamber of Commerce’s Edison Project focuses on the need to identify and foster new small businesses.

Continued support of public education, Economic Development Corporation, Convention and Visitor Bureau, CVCC and the Chamber of Commerce.

The Fiscal Year 2012/13 budget authorized $25 million in school construction projects: a new Longview Elementary School, a major renovation to South Newton Elementary and Newton-Conover Middle Schools and renovations for Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC). The County’s funding of CVCC increased 2.6 percent to $3,712,188 in the FY 2012/13 budget, which should maintain the County’s ranking in community college funding at 15th out of 58 community colleges. In support of the capital needs of public education, the Board appropriated an additional $824,670 to ensure the completion of the Longview Elementary School Project.

The adopted budget continued to support the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center and the Chamber of Commerce’s Edison Project. For the 10th year of the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn, the Board again waived applicable permit fees for the event. The impact of this event on the local economy is estimated at $15 million, with more than 65,000 spectators, volunteers and vendors as well as over 15 hours of live and replay coverage on the Golf Channel.

Goal #2 ) Prepare a Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget which provides needed County services within available revenues, including no property tax increase, ensuring that the County addresses its short term needs while planning for long term growth and maintaining the Board of Commissioners’ policy of two months of operating expenses.

The Fiscal Year 2012/13 budget was adopted with no countywide property tax increase and maintains the tax rate at $0.53 per $100 of valuation, which is the 8th lowest tax rate of the 27 urban counties (populations over 100,000) and the 28th lowest of all 100 counties in North Carolina. This is the sixth year without a property tax increase. The budget reflected a 1.2 percent increase in County operations and maintained the Board of Commissioners’ policy of two month operating expenses. The County continues to examine the way it does business and meet service needs within available revenue.

With a sound and fiscally responsible budget in place, the Board continued to take action which benefited the financial security of the County, such as refinancing of a portion of the County’s installment payment obligations to take advantage of lower interest rates and realizing more than $850,000 over the next thirteen years, as well as approving installment purchase financing in the amount of $31 million at a low 1.96% interest rate over 15 years for the construction of two new elementary schools, renovations to existing school facilities, improvements to Catawba Valley Community College and a new animal shelter. When the construction of the Highway 150 sewer lines was excluded by the bank from the above financing, separate installment purchase financing was identified for this remaining $8 million construction project at a rate of 1.81% for twelve years.

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