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October 17, 2005


Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
Monday, October 17, 2005
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 the Regular and Closed Session meetings of October 3, 2005.

5.    Recognition of Special Guests.

6.    Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7.    Public Hearings:
a.    Rezoning request from ALOTBETTER, LLC for property in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District. Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Planning Director.

b.    Startown Small Area Plan.  Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Planning Director and Mary George, Senior Planner.
8.    Appointments.

9.    Consent Agenda:
1.  Increase to the Rabies Pre/Post-Exposure Vaccine Fee Identified as Rabivert.

2.  Donation of Vehicle to the Work and Ride Program.

3. Request for Bid Award for Aggregate materials and delivery (gravel) for Blackburn Landfill.
10.    Departmental Reports.
a.  Utilities and Engineering:
Balls Creeks Elementary School Sewer Project. Presented by Debbie Anderson, Purchasing Agent and Barry Edwards, Utilities and Engineering Director.
b.    Sheriff’s Department:
Request for Lieutenant Position for Newton Detention Center.  Presented by Sheriff L. David Huffman.
11.    Attorneys’ Report.

12.    Manager’s Report.

13.    Other items of business.

14.    Adjournment.

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 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.

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

The next Board of Commissioners meeting will take place on Monday, November 7, 2005 and will include a work session wherein the Board will review and finalize their goals for Fiscal Year 2007.  The November evening meeting will take place on November 21, 2005 at 7:00 p.m.

OCTOBER 17, 2005, 7 P.M.


The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings on 1) a request from ALOTBETTER, LLC to rezone 1.38 acres, located at 5928 Highway 150 East, from R-2 Residential to O-I, Office-Institutional and 2) a proposed Startown Small Area Plan, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 17, 2005, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, on the second floor of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton. 

The Board will also consider a request from the Sheriff's Office to create a new position, with the rank of lieutenant, to meet the growing need for administration of a rapidly increasing population in the County Jail; a request from the Board of Health for an increase in the fee for administering the new Rabivert vaccine for rabies pre and post-exposure cases; the awarding of a bid for the purchase and delivery of gravel needed at the Blackburn Landfill; whether to give the County's Public Services Administrator the authority to hold an open meeting with potential bidders for a Balls Creek Elementary School sewer line project, to make them aware of a preferred alternate on that project; and the donation of a surplus County vehicle to the Work and Ride program.

A.  The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of ALOTBETTER, LLC to rezone a 1.38 acre parcel, located in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District at 5928 Highway 150 East, from the R-2 Residential District to the O-I Office and Institutional District.  The O-I District is intended to provide a transition zone between residential and commercial or industrial uses and districts, and to accommodate a mixture of moderate-density residential, office and institutional uses in appropriate locations in the county.  The adjacent parcel to the south contains a veterinarian's office and is zoned C-2 Commercial.  Properties to the west along Highway 150 represent an extensive commercial corridor.  The intersection of Highway 16 and Highway 150 is 0.8 miles to the west, zoned C-2 Commercial, and developed commercially.   Properties to the north and east are zoned R-2 Residential, with some developed with houses.  

Highway 150 is designated as a minor arterial which, in conjunction with the principal arterial system, forms a network that links cities, larger towns and other major traffic generators.  The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area.  The small area plan identifies this specific area as the Highway 150 Corridor-Office Institutional/Mixed Residential area, and this rezoning request is in conformance with the plan.  Staff recommended the rezoning be approved, based on: 1) the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan's identifying this area as an Office Institutional/Mixed Residential area; 2) the location of the property relative to existing commercial properties; and 3) the intent of the O-I District to serve as a buffer between commercial and residential areas.  The Catawba County Planning Board conducted a public hearing on this request on September 29, 2005.  The developer spoke in favor of the request and no one spoke against it.  The Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of the request.

B.  The Board will hold a public hearing on a proposed Small Area Plan for the Startown community.  A committee of citizens living in this small area has worked for more than a year to complete the plan, in part through two community meetings.  In May 2004, citizens from the Startown small area came to the first community meeting to discuss what they like about their community and how they would like to see the area grow in the future.  The committee took the ideas of citizens and, after much study and discussion, created a draft of a Small Area Plan for the Startown small area.   On May 19, 2005, a second community meeting was held to give citizens in that area the chance to comment on a draft of the actual plan.   The plan was then the subject of a public hearing of the Catawba County Planning Board on September 26, 2005.  The Startown Small Area Plan Committee has made recommendations in seven areas: land use and community design; transportation; community facilities and public services; housing; economic development; natural resources; and cultural resources.  A separate handout, with more information on the draft plan, is also available this evening.

1.  The Board will consider a request from the Catawba County Board of Health to increase the fee for administering a rabies pre/post-exposure vaccine called Rabivert from $210 per dose to $250 per dose, due to an increase in the agency's cost for purchase of the vaccine.  In August 2005, the Rabivert vaccine fee was established at the rate of $210 per dose, based on vaccine costs and direct and indirect agency costs.  The Health Department was recently informed by the distributor of the vaccine that the cost for Rabivert has increased by approximately $40 per injection.  Due to the increase in cost, the Board of Health is asking that the current fee be increased from $210 per injection to $250 per injection. The Board of Commissioner's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the fee increase.

2.  The Board will consider authorizing the donation of a 2001 Chevrolet Malibu to the Work and Ride Program, as permitted under North General Statute 160A-279.  The Work and Ride program is a partnership between Social Services, Cooperative Christian Ministries and the Faith Community Task Force on Poverty.  The program is designed to connect donated, roadworthy cars with low income adults who need reliable transportation to seek or maintain employment.  Donated vehicles are checked out by a mechanic at no cost to the donor.  Cooperative Christian Ministry of Greater Hickory receives and stores the vehicles until they are awarded to a selected family.   A selection committee conducts a screening process on all applications to insure the program’s goals are met.  The applicant must show financial need, prove transportation is a significant barrier in obtaining or keeping a job, have a driver’s license and a good driving record, and commit to attending a budgeting and basic car repair class. The participant may be required to pay for license, tag, and/or title.  The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board declare the vehicle as surplus and approve its donation to the Work and Ride Program.

3.  The Board will consider awarding a bid for aggregate materials (gravel) needed for operations at the Blackburn Landfill and for delivery of the gravel.  The active portion of the Blackburn Landfill will reach disposal capacity in the summer of 2008.  Construction on the next Subtitle D (lined) landfill cell is scheduled to begin in October 2007. The Subtitle D cell requires a  two foot thick layer of wash stone for drainage of leachate into a collection system.  120,000 tons of gravel is needed for construction of this drainage layer.  The gravel will be purchased and hauled to the landfill over a two year period, allowing the County to save funds because the gravel can be transported during winter months when the haulers are not as busy.  Specifications were prepared for 120,000 tons of the appropriate gravel and delivery services.  Bid notices were sent to numerous vendors and an advertisement was posted on the County's Internet site.  On September 22, 2005, the County received two bids, as follows: 1) C. Nelson Sigmon Paving, Inc., Conover, NC, $1,788,001, and 2) Eckard & Associates, LLC, Hickory, NC, $2,106,000.  The Board's Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board award the bid to the low bidder, C. Nelson Sigmon Paving, Inc., in the amount of $1,788,001.


The Board will consider authorizing Jack Chandler, Public Services Administrator, to conduct an open meeting concerning preferred alternates for the construction of a sewer line to serve the Balls Creek Elementary School area.  North Carolina General Statute §133-3 provides for free and open competition on public contracts. It states, in part, that specifications for a project shall contain a performance specification or name at least three brands of equal or equivalent design characteristics.  If the project owner prefers a particular brand, product or material, such brand shall be bid as an alternate to the three items or equivalent design in the base bid, one of which may be the preferred brand.  Specifications for the preferred brand must also identify the performance standards that support the preference and the owner shall publish a notice announcing an open meeting for the presentation of those performance standards.

Easement acquisition and design for the Balls Creek Elementary School Sewer Project are currently underway. At this time, only one product is being considered as a preferred alternate, Flyght pumps. The City of Newton, which will provide the sewer service for this area, uses Flyght pumps for all its pump stations except for the South Fork Pump Station. The City of Newton prefers using Flyght pumps for this project, since it will simplify operations and maintenance procedures for the city for all pump stations through the sharing of spare parts, dealing with one supplier, etc.  Since any preferred alternate must be discussed at an open meeting, staff requests that the authority to act as the official for the County in the open meeting be delegated to Mr. Chandler.  The preferred alternate discussion will occur at an advertised pre-bid conference for this project.  The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board give that authority to Jack Chandler, Public Services Administrator.

The Board will consider a request from the Sheriff to add a lieutenant position, effective in November 2005, to supervise the Criminal Investigations and Narcotics Divisions of the Sheriff’s Office.   Over the past few months, several changes have been made in supervisory duties and responsibilities in the Sheriff’s Office resulting from a need to add an administrative position to the jail to meet the growing prisoner population and increased work load.   The County's jail facility in Newton currently houses an average of 176 prisoners per day.  It is designed to house 98 prisoners per day. Ground has been broken for an expansion to the facility, expected to be completed in December 2006, which will increase the total number of beds to 268. The pressure of overcrowding, coupled with the ongoing construction of the new facility, has placed a strain on the current staff.  Finding other facilities to house inmates and coordinating the transportation of inmates to and from court is a full-time job.  The existing jail administration staff must also be involved in the-day-to-day activities of the expansion, working with the Sheriff's Office Business Manager, Purchasing Agent, Personnel Department, and Budget Office to develop an operating budget for the expanded facility including determining staffing needs, developing specifications for equipment quotes, obtaining quotes, and determining the overall increased costs of operating the larger facility.

Adding a new supervisory position is part of the overall staffing plan for the expanded jail.  Due to the increasing administrative workload, a decision was made to transfer a captain's position to the jail now instead of waiting until the next fiscal year.  This position is responsible for the overall supervision of the detention center and serves as Jail Administrator.  The reassignment of this captain's position left a vacancy in supervision for several divisions within the department and a need to reassign responsibilities for other positions. This captain's position was previously responsible for supervising the Uniform Patrol, Civil, Warrants and Lake Patrol divisions. A second captain was responsible for supervising Criminal Investigations, Narcotics, Crime Prevention, school resource officers, and active reserve officers. After reviewing the functions of each division reporting to the existing captains, staff determined the best structure for the department would be to place all uniformed direct service personnel under one captain, the Detention Center and Court under another captain, and the investigative functions of Criminal Investigations and Narcotics under a lieutenant.  The Sheriff is requesting that the lieutenant’s position be established in the Criminal Investigations Division, effective November 2005, with a budget for the remainder of this fiscal year of $39,015.  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board appropriate $39,015 from the County's General Fund to establish the new lieutenant position.