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November 7, 2005
AGENDA 
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
Monday, November 7, 2005, 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 Special Joint Meeting with Catawba County Board of Education of October 17, 2005, the Regular Meeting of October 17, 2005 and the Closed Session Minutes of September 6, 2005.
  5. Recognition of Special Guests.
  6. Public Comment for items not on the agenda.
  7. Presentations:
    1. Adoption Awareness Month Proclamation. Presented to Regina Roberts and Sarah Shumate of Social Services and foster family Don, Kim, Jonathan, Stephanie and Elizabeth Brookman.
    2. National Philanthropy Day Proclamation. Presented to Austin Grainger, Director, Fund Development & Public Relations, Abernethy Laurels.
    3. Farm-City Week Proclamation. Presented to Vicky Shaw, Chairperson of 2005 Farm-City Week Planning Committee and Fred Miller, County Extension Director.
    4. Mini-Course Graduate Recognition. Presented by Debbie Bradley, Personnel Director.
  8. Appointments.
  9. Consent Agenda:
    1. Extensions for Listing Personal Property.
    2. Tax refund requests for Alcatel and Glidden Company.
    3. Timber Sale Award – Blackburn Landfill.
  10. Departmental Reports.
    1. Mental Health: Secretary Odom’s Proposal to Consolidate Administrative Functions into Regions. Presented by John Hardy, Mental Health Director.
    2. Emergency Services:
      1. Resolution to Approve Financing by Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire/Rescue. Presented by David Weldon, Emergency Services Director and Carol Lineberger, Chair and Keith Bost, Chief, Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire/Rescue.
      2. Adoption by Resolution of the National Incident Management System. Presented by David Weldon, Emergency Services Director.
    3. Planning: Statement regarding Thoroughfare Plan. Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Planning Director.
  11. Attorneys’ Report.
  12. Manager’s Report.
  13. Other items of business.
    1. 2006 Board of Commissioners Meeting Schedule.
    2. Adoption of Board of Commissioners Goals for FY 2006-2007.
  14. Adjournment.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
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.

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 November 21, 2005 at 7:00 p.m.

PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA>
NOVEMBER 7, 2005, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will deliberate on a draft set of goals for Fiscal Year 2006-2007 and may consider adopting goals; consider a resolution adopting the National Incident Management System as the method used by the County to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters; and discuss the County's response to a proposal from the North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services to consolidate into regions certain administrative functions currently provided by Area Mental Health Authorities; when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, November 7, 2005, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.

The Board will also issue a statement clarifying how current Thoroughfare Plans for Catawba County, approved by the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT), relate to the Startown Small Area Plan which was approved by the Board on October 17, to indicate that a Robinson Road Extension and a preferred alternate to a Catawba Valley Boulevard Extension are currently in the Thoroughfare Plan but will be the subject of discussion and public hearings by NCDOT in about two years; consider a resolution in support of a financing plan for the construction of a new fire station for the Sherrills Ford/Terrell Fire and Rescue Squad; the sale of timber obtained from the clearing of land for the expansion of the Blackburn Landfill, a proposed 2006 meeting schedule for the Board of Commissioners; a resolution to grant the County's Tax Administrator the authority to allow extensions for the listing of personal property beyond January 31, 2006 for some individuals, businesses and corporations whose business year ends on December 31 and have difficulty completing listing abstracts by the January 31 deadline; and two tax refunds. The Board will issue proclamations declaring November as Adoption Awareness Month, the week of November 18-24 as Farm-City Week and November 16, 2005 as National Philanthropy Day in Catawba County. The Board will also recognize 2005 graduates of the Catawba County Government Mini-Course for Employees.

PRESENTATIONS
A. 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, especially older children; those with emotional or medical problems; those who may be racially mixed or physically disabled; and groups of brothers and sisters who should be kept together. The proclamation will be accepted by Mr. Don and Ms. Kim Brookman and their family. The Brookmans are the adoptive parents of Jonathan (age 17), Stephanie (almost 6), and Elizabeth (almost 4). They have been married almost eighteen years and fostered thirteen children before adopting Jonathan, Stephanie and Elizabeth. Mr. Brookman is a district manager for Arby's, while Ms. Brookman is an administrative assistant at First Presbyterian Church in Hickory. From 2001-2003, the Brookmans served as President and Vice-President of the Family Builders of Catawba Valley Foster Parent Association and Ms. Brookman has also served as the foster/adoptive parent on a team from the Department of Social Services which focused on recruiting and retaining resource families.


B. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring Wednesday, November 16, 2005 as National Philanthropy Day in Catawba County to recognize that philanthropic organizations are responsible for enhancing the quality of life of people, and that voluntary associations formed to address societal needs are an integral part of American society; that their efforts have benefited universities, public libraries, volunteer fire departments and similar organizations; that, in 2004, Americans contributed more than $240 billion to a million charities registered with the Internal Revenue Service and more than16 billion volunteer hours to nonprofit organizations; and to encourage citizens to recognize philanthropy as it continues to improve and enhance the lives of all by promoting the common good.

C. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring the week of November 18-24 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 during which these beneficial relationships are highlighted, and programs designed to introduce people from both “worlds” to the lives and work of each other.

D. The Board will recognize sixteen graduates of the County's Employee Mini Course. Those employees who voluntarily take the course attend sessions, on their lunch hour, to learn more about the services each County department provides. The following graduates will be recognized: Angelita Acosta, Personnel; Susan Ballbach, Planning & Zoning; Diane Crooks, Social Services; Lisa Duran, Social Services; Savannah Glass, Technology; Debbie Hollifield, Public Health; Charles Ingold, Personnel; Jane Kale, Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare; Connie Killian, Planning & Development; Frances Propst, Finance; Tracy Pruitt, Register of Deeds; Steve Rader, Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare; Maria Reese, Public Health; Terry Saine, Social Services; Teresa Wofford, Utilities & Engineering; Debra Ann Young, Public Health.

CONSENT AGENDA
A. The Board will consider, as it does annually, giving the County Tax Assessor the authority, on an individual basis, to grant extensions for listing of personal property. Under no circumstances would extensions be granted beyond April 15, 2006. Businesses and corporations whose business year ends on December 31, and individuals who have a valid reason or good cause, sometimes have difficulty completing property listing abstracts by the deadline on January 31 of the following year. 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 with good cause shown. A written request must be filed with the Tax Assessor, postmarked no later than January 31, 2006.

B. The Board will consider two tax refund requests totaling $180,947.15. One refund for $180,922.17 follows an adjustment in the tax values for Alcatel NA Cable Systems Inc. of Claremont, NC for 2003 and 2004 following an appeal to the NC Property Tax Commission. Records have been checked for the second refund, in the amount of $24.98, and the refund 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.

C. The Board will consider accepting a bid from Shaver Wood Products of Charlotte in the amount of $52,100 for 31+ acres of timber located at the Blackburn Landfill site. On October 18, 2005, sealed bids were received for timber located along Rocky Ford Road, Jacobs Fork Township and the Blackburn Landfill, which was cleared to allow for future expansion at the landfill. The following bids were received: Shaver Wood Products, Charlotte, NC, $52,100.98; ASC Timber, Olin, NC, $50,794; Church & Church Lumber Company, Millers Creek, NC, $50,625.98; Parton Forest Products, Rutherfordton, NC, $50,295. Mr. Raymond Taylor, Registered Forester, conducted the sale for a fee of 8%. Mr. Taylor will provide a timber deed to the firm awarded the bid and monitor the harvesting operations. The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board accept the highest bid, from Shaver Wood Products, in the amount of $52,100.98.


DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS

EMERGENCY SERVICES

A. The Board will consider adopting the National Incident Management System as the method used in Catawba County to prevent, prepare and respond to disasters. In March 2004, the US Secretary of Homeland Security, at the request of the President, released the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS is a comprehensive system that improves local response operations through the use of an Incident Command System (ICS) and the application of standardized procedures and preparedness measures. It promotes the development of cross-jurisdictional, statewide and interstate regional mechanisms for coordinating response and obtaining assistance during a large-scale or complex incident. The Department of Homeland Security requires all federal departments and agencies to adopt and implement NIMS, and requires state and local jurisdictions to implement the NIMS system in order to receive federal emergency preparedness grant funding. For 2005, the Secretary of Homeland Security provided guidance to each state outlining initial actions to be taken to implement NIMS. The following goals are to be completed by local governments by the end of the year: 1) institutionalize the use of ICS; 2) have emergency services officials and top local government leaders complete an Internet-based NIMS Awareness Course; 3) formally adopt NIMS and NIMS principles and policies; 4) establish a NIMS compliance baseline; and 5) develop a strategy and time-line for full NIMS implementation.

Catawba County has been offering ICS training to its responders, and those serving all municipalities in the county. The implementation of NIMS was also addressed in the updated Emergency Services Strategic Plan presented to the Board on September 6, 2005. Realizing that local government, rather than the State or Federal government, has the primary responsibility for preventing, responding to, and recovering from disasters, County EMS officials will be contacting each municipality in the county and encouraging them to adopt NIMS as well. The completion of the 2005 goals listed above, and the adoption of NIMS, will insure that Catawba County is better prepared to address all disasters and be eligible for the federal funding available to assist in these efforts. The main cost associated in the implementation of NIMS, to this point, has been administrative in nature. Future costs will be in the area of training and exercise, and should be minimal. The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board adopt, by resolution, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as the method used in Catawba County to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters.


B. The Board will consider approving a plan for the financing of up to $1,620,000 for the Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire/Rescue, for the purchase of a 13,500 square foot building that will serve as the department's main fire station. This will not be a financial obligation of the County or involve the use of County funds. The Board's approval of the plan will allow Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire/Rescue to receive tax-exempt financing. A request for a new fire station at Highway 150 and Slanting Bridge Road is part of Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire/Rescue's current Capital Improvement Plan. The new station will include all non-rated parcels of land on the Highway 150 side of the fire department's district. This will assist these homeowners by improving their fire insurance rating, which is expected to bring the average homeowner an approximate 30% decrease in insurance costs. In order to have sufficient funds for the project, Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire/Rescue, in its 2004-2005 budget, requested a tax rate increase from .04 to .05. Through effective planning, Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire/Rescue has saved enough for a down payment of $646,028.17, meaning the department will have to finance less than $1,000,000.00.

Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire/Rescue made inquiries with five area banks and decided to use BB&T for the financing plan. BB&T has agreed to an interest rate of 4.23% over 15 years, with a resolution from the Board of Commissioners. Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire/Rescue held a public meeting on Thursday, October 27, 2005 in accordance with Internal Revenue Services requirements. No one attended the meeting to oppose the purchase. The Fire Chief and the President of the department's Board of Directors have discussed their plans with Emergency Services officials and feel that, unless conditions change, they will not need to ask for an additional fire tax increase. Staff recommends the Board adopt a resolution stating that it approves Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire/Rescue entering into the tax-exempt financing of up to $1,620,000 for the purchase of the building.

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
The Board will consider a strategy and response to a proposal from North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services, Carmen Hooker Odom, to consolidate into regions certain administrative functions currently provided by Area Mental Health Authorities. On September 21, 2005, Secretary Odom outlined a proposal to consolidate these functions to gain greater efficiencies from the system and to save $28 million annually. The specific functions to be consolidated are Utilization Review (UR) and after-hours Screening, Triage, and Referral (STR). The State has recommended that Catawba County’s efforts be consolidated with those of the Foothills Area Program (which includes Alexander, Caldwell, Burke, and McDowell Counties) and Mecklenburg County. This is not a consolidation of those area programs, but a merging of functions to be performed by ten Local Managing Entities across the State.


The Mental Health Board of Catawba County believes some consolidation of efforts will probably be forced by the State, and that the County should direct its energy to the selection of partners for such a consolidation. The Mental Health Board believes more appropriate partners for Catawba County are the Foothills and New River Area Programs (Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Watauga, and Wilkes Counties). This would represent ten counties that have more in common geographically, culturally and operationally. Catawba County would take the lead for UR functions, while the Foothills Area Program would take the lead for the after hours STR functions.

The Mental Health Board of Catawba County and Mental Health Services staff recommends that the Board of Commissioners adopt the following position with respect to regionalization of mental health administrative functions: "If it necessary for Catawba County to comply with any directives from the State to combine various or any mental health administrative functions, that Catawba County do so in partnership with the area authorities of Foothills and New River primarily, or others where practical economies of scale can be achieved. These intentions should be conveyed to Secretary Odom and the County's legislative delegation, asking that the practical time of a July 1, 2006, implementation date, be considered. Also to convey through the means of the County's legislative delegation, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, and NC Council of Community Programs, Catawba County’s desire for the Secretary to reconsider her reduction in dollars, and for her to look at all other possible solutions to solve the funding problem." The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the recommended position on this matter.

PLANNING
The Board will consider a statement clarifying how current Thoroughfare Plans for Catawba County, approved by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), relate to the Startown Small Area Plan, approved by the Board on October 17, 2005. At that meeting, the Startown Small Area Plan committee recommended that proposed Catawba Valley Boulevard and Robinson Road extensions not be supported. Members of the Board of Commissioners agreed with concerns that too many east-west extensions may currently be planned. Board members acknowledged that the County paid for a study to look at an alternative to the Catawba Valley Boulevard Extension which would not run through the campus of Catawba Valley Community College, and subsequently supported the study’s results requesting a realignment. The Board also discussed the need for an updated traffic study to determine how many east-west extensions were needed. The Board approved the Startown Small Area Plan as presented, indicating concern about the need for extensions.

After the October 17, 2005 meeting, County staff confirmed with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments that the existing Thoroughfare Plan does include the Catawba Valley Boulevard extension, with its preferred alternative which does not disrupt the campus of CVCC, and the Robinson Road extension. Due to the fact that actions of the Unifour Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) supercede those of the Board of Commissioners as they relate to transportation planning, the roadway layout in the Thoroughfare Plan remains in existence. Staff also learned the Thoroughfare Plan is being updated and public hearings to discuss the Catawba Valley Boulevard and Robinson Road extensions will occur in approximately two years. Prior to that time, NCDOT will undertake additional traffic studies to look at all of the east-west corridors between I-40 and Highway 10. Therefore, the concerns raised by the Startown Small Area Plan Committee will be addressed, as a thorough analysis will occur before a new Thoroughfare Plan is adopted by the MPO.


OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS
A. The Board will consider setting its meeting schedule for 2006. The first meeting in January would be scheduled for Tuesday, January 3, 2006, due to Monday, January 2, 2006 being a County holiday. The accompanying subcommittee meetings would be scheduled for Monday, December 26, 2005 which is also a County holiday. Consequently, scheduling a first meeting in January would be difficult, because the holidays conflict with scheduling an accompanying subcommittee. The Board's first meeting date in March, March 6, 2006, would conflict with the National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., which some board members and staff will attend. The first meeting date in July is Monday, July 3, 2006. County offices are closed on Tuesday, July 4, in commemoration of Independence Day and, since many people vacation during the week of July 4, the Board’s custom for many years has been to cancel the first meeting in July. NACo’s annual conference is scheduled for August 4 - 8, 2006 in Chicago, IL, which includes the first Monday in August when the Board normally holds its meeting. Therefore, staff recommends the Board’s hold one meeting in August, on August 21, 2006, with the subcommittee scheduled for Monday, August 14, 2006. Staff therefore recommends the following changes to the meeting schedule: 1) cancellation of the January 3, 2006 meeting and accompanying subcommittee session; 2) cancellation of the March 6, 2006 meeting and accompanying subcommittee session; 3) cancellation of the July 3, 2006 meeting and accompanying subcommittee session, with a regular meeting on Monday, July 17, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. and accompanying subcommittee session on Monday, July 10, 2006; 4) cancellation of the August 7, 2006 meeting and accompanying subcommittee session with a regular meeting on Monday, August 21, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. and accompanying subcommittee session on Monday, August 14, 2006; and 5) schedule, for Monday, December 4, 2006, from 8-9:00 a.m., the annual breakfast meeting with the staff of the Cooperative Extension Service.

The Board is also expected to consider one of two options for budget hearings with departments, a public hearing and wrap-up session, and budget adoption, which are currently scheduled for May 22, May 25 and June 5, 2006. Commissioner Barger will be out of the country for the last two weeks in May 2006 and is not available for these meetings. One option would be to hold budget hearings with departments on Thursday, June 8, the public hearing and wrap-up on June 13 and adoption on June 19, and the second option would be to hold budget hearings with departments on Monday, May 15, the public hearing and wrap-up on May 16 and adoption on June 5. The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board adopt a 2006 Meeting Schedule.

B. Commissioners will deliberate on the setting of goals for the Board for fiscal year 2006-2007 and may consider approving a set of goals for the year, which will begin on July 1, 2006. Staff members polled the commissioners individually to ask them for suggested goals each would like to see the full Board consider. The commissioners have developed the following draft goals for FY 2006-2007:
1. Continue work to diversify the county’s economic base and provide employment opportunities for citizens.

2. Continue implementation of the FORESIGHT recommendations.

3. Ensure development and infrastructure support of the County’s strategic growth plan.

4. Develop a plan to finance needed school construction over a four-year period, with funding recommendations.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464