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NOVEMBER 5, 2007
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, November 5, 2007, 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 to the Flag.

3. Invocation.

4. Approval of the Minutes from the retreat and regular meeting of Monday, October 15, 2007.

5. Recognition of Special Guests.

6. Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7. Presentations:

a.  Farm-City Week Proclamation.   Presented to Fred Miller, Jr., Cooperative Extension Director and Donna Mull, 4-H Agent.

b. Adoption Awareness Month Proclamation. Presented to Social Workers Regina Roberts, Bernie Boags, Desiree Benfield and Sybil Good and foster parents Kerry and Joy Reeves.

c. American Education Week Proclamation.  Presented to Chris Gibbs, Claremont Elementary, Wachovia Principal of the Year; Diane DeRienzis, Sweetwater Elementary, Teacher of the Year and Dr. Tim Markley, Superintendent, Catawba County Schools.

d. Recognition of Graduates of the Catawba County Mini-Course on County Government. Presented to graduates by Personnel Director Debbie Bradley.

8. Appointments.

9. Consent Agenda.

a. Recommended Increase in Cost Avoidance Outcome for Social Services.

b. Extension for Listing Personal Property.

c. Tax Refund Requests.

d. Resolution Approving Year 2008 Meeting Schedule.

10. Departmental Reports.

1. Sheriff’s Office.

2007 Secure Our Schools (SOS) Grant Acceptance. Presented by L. David Huffman, Sheriff.

2. Emergency Services:

Appropriation of Existing Fund Balance to Catawba Rescue Squad for an Addition to their Current Rescue Base. Presented by David Weldon, Emergency Services Director.

11. Other Items of business.

12. Attorneys’ Report.

13. Manager’s Report.

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 http://www.catawbacountync.gov.

The next Board of Commissioners Meeting will take place on Monday, November 19, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2007 9:30 A.M.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider accepting a $127,800 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for equipment and connections for internal and external video surveillance of schools; and the appropriation of the Catawba Rescue Squad’s existing fund balance for a six bay addition to the squad’s base, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, November 5, 2007, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.

The Board will also consider a change in a cost avoidance budget outcome for the Department of Social Services due to an increase in the nursing home costs that are avoided through services provided by Social Services; whether to give the County Tax Assessor the authority, on an individual basis, to grant extensions for listing of personal property, with no extensions to be granted beyond April 15, 2008; two tax refund requests; and a proposed meeting schedule for the Board for 2008. The Board will also recognize graduates of the County’s mini-course on county government and issue proclamations for Adoption Awareness Month, American Education Week and Farm-City Week.

A. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring the week of November 16-22 as Farm-City Week to foster cooperation and an exchange of information between two essential segments of our society: farmers and city dwellers. The week includes a banquet, to be held on November 20, during which these beneficial relationships are highlighted, and programs designed to introduce people from both “worlds” to the lives and work of each other.

B. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring November as Adoption Awareness Month, to recognize the County’s efforts to create better public awareness of children seeking permanent homes through adoption. Caring adults can make a positive difference in the lives of young people, siblings, children of different ethnicities and youth who have been harmed by abuse. Last year, more than 1420 foster children in North Carolina were adopted. 65 of those were children adopted out of the Catawba County foster care system. More than 700 foster children in North Carolina are currently legally available for adoption. Thirteen of those children are in Catawba County and more will continually be added to the list.

C. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring November 11-17, 2007 as American Education Week and November 15, 2007 as “Walk in My Shoes Day” in Catawba County schools. This proclamation will recognize public schools as the backbone of our democracy and praise education employees, including substitute teachers, custodians, teachers, bus drivers and librarians, for their tireless work to serve our children. The proclamation will also encourage business and civic leaders to shadow educators in order to get a true picture of public education in action.

D. The Board will recognize thirteen graduates of the County's Employee Mini Course. Employees voluntarily attend sessions during lunch hours to learn more about the services each County department provides. This year’s graduates include: David Abbott, Technology; Deborah Black, Social Services; Joy Eckard, Public Health; Tona Heffinger, Social Services; Valerie Huffman, Social Services; Christine Hulley, Tax; Cee Lee, Personnel; Crystal Loggins, Social Services; Miriam Powell, Personnel; Paulette Sigmon, Personnel; Martia Vang, Personnel; Brenda Ward, Social Services and Rebecca Wilson, Social Services.

A. The Board will consider amending a cost avoidance budget outcome of the Department of Social Services. Due to a recent increase of 24.91% in nursing home costs, the Adult Services area will significantly exceed the current outcome by ensuring senior and disabled citizens have an opportunity to remain in their own homes in lieu of nursing home placement. These services will now result in the avoidance of $2,500,000 in Medicaid expenditures ($2,367,000 federal and state and $133,000 in county share), an increase from the $1,750,000 noted in the original outcome. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of the amendment to this budget outcome for fiscal year 2007-2008.

B. The Board will consider granting the County Tax Administrator the authority to allow individual extensions for listing of personal property, with no extensions to be granted beyond April 15, 2008. When businesses and corporations end their business year on December 31, it is difficult to complete listing abstracts by January 31. NC General Statute 105-307 allows the Board to grant individual extensions for listing of personal property upon written request and with good cause shown. Requests must be in writing and postmarked no later than January 31, 2008, and extensions will not extend beyond April 15, 2008. Staff recommends the Tax Administrator be granted authority to approve written requests that show just cause.

C. The Board will consider two tax refund requests totaling $313.07. Records have been checked and these refunds verified, so the Tax Collector recommends approval. Under N.C. General Statute 105-381, a taxpayer who has paid his or her taxes may request a refund in writing for an amount paid through error.

D. The Board will consider setting a meeting schedule for 2008. Its first meeting in January would be scheduled for January 7, 2008, with accompanying subcommittee meetings scheduled for December 31, 2007 during the holiday week between Christmas and New Year. Scheduling a first meeting in January is traditionally difficult. The Board's first meeting date in March conflicts with the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., which some board members will attend. The August 18, 2008 meeting falls during Soldiers Reunion Week so it would not be feasible for the meeting to be held at the Board’s usual meeting location, the 1924 Courthouse in Newton. The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the following changes to the Board’s meeting schedule for 2008: 1) cancellation of the January 7, 2008 meeting and accompanying subcommittee session; 2) cancellation of the March 3, 2008 meeting and accompanying subcommittee session; 3) moving of the August 18, 2008 meeting to a location other than the 1924 Courthouse; and 4) scheduling of the Board’s annual breakfast meeting with the staff of the Cooperative Extension Service for Monday, December 1, 2008 at 8 a.m. The Board’s calendar would also include budget hearings with departments during the entire working day on May 28, 2008 and a public hearing and wrap-up session beginning at 7 pm on Thursday, May 29, 2008 at the 1924 Courthouse, with budget adoption scheduled for the Board’s meeting at 9:30 am on Monday, June 2, 2008.



The Board will consider accepting 2007 Secure Our School grant funds, in the amount of $127,800, from the U.S. Department of Justice. This grant will provide for the placement of security cameras in Newton-Conover City and Hickory Public Schools; wireless internet connections in these schools and to existing cameras in some schools in the Catawba County system for the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies; and equipment for remote monitoring of all these cameras at the Sheriff’s Office and in the Sheriff’s Office’s Mobile Command Unit.

The effectiveness of School Resource Officers, and increased school safety, would be enhanced by providing secure internal and external video surveillance of schools. An external monitoring station would be maintained in the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, its Mobile Command Unit and the Emergency Operations Center. Wireless monitoring would be available to officers’ mobile data terminals outside of buildings on school grounds. This would provide a secure link to each school’s video surveillance system and a secure internet link for officers to upload reports from their patrol cars, thus allowing officers to assess the situation inside a school before entering.

The Newton-Conover City and Hickory Public Schools will fund a required 50% match for this grant, for camera equipment and installation in schools, from $200,000 in the General Capital Projects Fund set aside for ongoing infrastructure upgrades and to enhance building wireless capabilities. The Catawba County School System, which has security cameras in some schools, chose not to participate. Funds would need to be appropriated for installation of remote monitoring equipment in the Sheriff’s Office. The Finance & Personnel Subcommittee recommends acceptance of these grant funds.

The Board will consider appropriating Catawba Rescue Squad’s existing fund balance of $111,826 for the addition of six bays to their existing facility. Prior to 1999, each squad had its own fund balance, used for major projects such as new buildings, building additions, truck replacements and other large ticket items, which was carried over from year to year unless the squad made a request to appropriate it. In 1999, rescue squad fund balances were merged into one fund balance, with each squad’s fund balance at that time set aside in each squad’s name until the squad chose to appropriate it. In order to access fund balance, a squad must now submit a proposal voted on by the Rescue Association and agreed to by the County.

Most squads have spent the remaining funds in their individual fund balances, but Catawba Rescue has been saving its fund balance for an addition to its existing building. Catawba Rescue has been sharing space with Catawba County Emergency Medical Services since the inception of EMS. The six additional bays will allow both agencies additional space for equipment and allow EMS to move a spare ambulance that is being stored outdoors to a bay indoors. The building will be a pre-engineered metal building with pre-finished galvanized steel metal walls and a brick veneer front, with 12 x 14 foot steel roll-up doors. The building addition will add 2580 square feet and cost $113,000, and is being constructed by Carolina Metal Building Technologies, Inc. The Catawba Rescue Squad anticipates completion by December 1, 2007. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the approval of this appropriation.



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