PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
DECEMBER 4, 2006, 9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
NOTE: THE BOARD WILL HOLD ITS ANNUAL BREAKFAST MEETING WITH THE STAFF OF THE COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, BEGINNING AT 8 A.M. ON DECEMBER 4, AT THE AGRICULTURAL RESOURCE CENTER OFF HIGHWAY 321 BUSINESS IN SOUTH NEWTON.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will receive the County Financial Report for fiscal year 2005-2006, which ended on June 30, 2006; and consider a series of leases, purchases, declarations of surplus property, and agreements to formalize the County’s relationship with Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare, a non-profit organization created to deliver comprehensive services to adults with serious conditions of mental illness and developmental disabilities, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, December 4, 2006, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.
The Board will also observe as re-elected County Commissioners Glenn Barger, Kitty Barnes and Lynn Lail and Sheriff L. David Huffman take the oaths of their offices; hold its annual organizational meeting to select a chairperson and vice-chairperson for the coming year and appoint commissioners to serve on Board subcommittees; and consider a set of amendments to the County’s Work First Plan recommended by the Catawba County Board of Social Services, a request for a transfer of funds already budgeted for Catawba Valley Community College, a set of tax refunds, a recommendation to the North Carolina Board of Transportation regarding a request from citizens that the NC Department of Transportation abandon maintenance of the last 217 feet of State Road 2648 (Saunders Road) where it dead-ends into the Long Island Airport community, and the recommended appointment of a new Map Review Officer for the City of Hickory.
OATHS OF OFFICE
The Board will observe as re-elected County Commissioners Glenn E. Barger, Kitty W. Barnes and Lynn M. Lail, and re-elected Sheriff L. David Huffman take the Oath of Office for new four-year terms in their respective offices.
The Board will hold its annual organizational meeting to select a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson for the next year, as well as to appoint a County Attorney, and appoint commissioners to serve on Board subcommittees and as members of the Public Health, Social Services, Mental Health Services and Catawba Valley Medical Center Boards, as well as several other community boards.
The Board will receive the Catawba County Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, for the fiscal year which ended on June 30, 2006, from County Finance Director Rodney Miller and Paula Hodges of Martin, Starnes and Associates, CPAs, the accounting firm which has contracted to perform the County audit. Mr. Miller's report is expected to show the County has maintained a sound financial position by carefully controlling spending.
A. The Board will consider proposed amendments to the Catawba County Work First Electing Plan for fiscal years 2005-07 and 2007-09. The Board approved the Work First 2007-09 Electing Plan on October 16, 2006. The plan is now under review by the NC Division of Social Services and was developed with suggestions from a group of citizens appointed by the Board. During recent planning for the Catawba County Department of Social Services’ budget outcomes for 2007-08, a new strategy for child support and Work First was developed, resulting in a need for the current and proposed Work First plans to be amended. The strategies were not considered at the time of the Work First plan’s development, but appear to be worthwhile and justify the need to change the current and proposed plans. County plans may be amended at any time, subject to approval by the NC Division of Social Services. If counties wish to amend their plans, they must submit the changes along with documentation showing that the Board of Commissioners has reviewed and approved the changes. The amendments to Catawba County’s current Work First plan, as well as the proposed plan for 2007-09, include three changes:
1. To provide job search services through an existing contract with the NC Employment Security Commission to non-custodial parents of children in a Work First case. These services should help absent parents in the child support caseloads meet their financial obligation by assisting them in securing employment.
2. To provide job search services to adults with income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level who meet the eligibility criteria set forth by the State for services for low-income families. These services will assist absent parents in the child support caseloads, as well as other adults in the county who meet the following criteria, to find employment:
a. the family must have a child who lives with a relative as defined for Work First Family Assistance and who meets the age limit for Work First Family Assistance;
b. total gross family income must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, and;
c. family members must meet the same citizenship requirements as for Work First Family Assistance.
3. To enhance a Swift Sanction policy which is designed to encourage participants to be more responsible for their actions. Consequences for non-compliance with Work First requirements should be swift in order to affect behavior. Currently, participants must receive a ten day notice of any adverse action to their case. Present policy often causes the consequence to be delayed. The enhancement to this policy would place a statement on all Mutual Responsibility Agreements regarding prior notification which would state, “It has been explained to me that my benefits cannot be adversely affected without Catawba County Social Services first giving me ten working days prior notice. I hereby waive the ten working day prior notice of adverse action.”
The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends approval of the amendments to the current and proposed fiscal year 2007-2009 Catawba County Work First Electing Plans, as noted above.
B. The Board will consider a request from Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) to transfer funds remaining in a completed project to replace the college’s student transportation van. $220,000 was appropriated in the FY 2005/06 County budget for a roofing project for the East Campus and Dental Hygiene Building at CVCC. This work is now complete and $26,017.91 remains in that project budget. CVCC is requesting the transfer of these funds to replace a 1996 van used for student transportation. The van has
over 92,000 miles and has had numerous repairs over the past six months. It is now having transmission problems, as well as problems with a side door that will not close properly. This van is used to transport students for various academic and sports programs, and is used by the CVCC Show Choir. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the requested budget transfer of $26,017.91 be approved.
C. The Board will consider a request from the City of Hickory to appoint Ms. Sandra Trevathan as a Map Review Officer. On July 17, 1997, the North Carolina General Assembly ratified Senate Bill 875, Maps and Plats Law. This law requires all counties to appoint review officers to review each plat or map before it is recorded and certify that it meets the statutory requirements for mapping. The law states that individuals have to be appointed by name, not by job title, so any time a change occurs in staffing, a new Review Officer has to be appointed and approved by resolution of the Board of Commissioners, subsequently recorded in the Register of Deed’s Office.
D. The Board will consider making a recommendation to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) on a request from citizens for the abandonment of maintenance for the last .04 mile (approximately 217 feet) of Saunders Road (State Road 2648) where it dead-ends at the Long Island Airport community. Under North Carolina General Statute 136-63, the Board may on its own motion, or on petition of a group of citizens, request that the North Carolina Board of Transportation change or abandon any road in the secondary system when the best interest of the people of the county will be served. The request came to the NCDOT from the owners of the properties that abut this portion of Saunders Road, in order to accommodate property owners’ airplanes on a private road network within their development. A cul-de-sac for a turn-around of vehicles is currently constructed and is where the State would end maintenance. This request would not authorize the developer of the Long Island Airport community to construct a gate, which could deprive other property owners, south of the Long Island Airport community, of access to their properties. County staff has reviewed this request and has no objection to the proposed abandonment.
E. The Board will consider two tax refund requests totaling $234.72. 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.
The Board will consider approving the execution of leases, purchases, declarations of surplus property, and agreements to formalize the County’s relationship with Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare (CVBH). As Catawba County’s Mental Health Services Board implemented the State’s Mental Health Reform Act, it formed CVBH, a non-profit organization created to deliver comprehensive services to adults with serious conditions of mental illness and developmental disabilities through outpatient, day treatment and residential services. As a free standing non-profit organization, CVBH has voluntarily accepted this mission through a contractual arrangement, taking on the responsibility for a major portion of high-risk services that were previously publicly operated.
Staff believes it is in the best interest of consumers, the community, and Catawba County to assure the success of CVBH to accomplish this mission. The Board will consider requests from the Mental Health Services Board, negotiated with County management, to assure there is stability in the delivery of services to consumers over time, and that CVBH be given the opportunity to develop and mature as a financially viable organization. Five areas need to be addressed as CVBH formalizes its relationship with Catawba County:
1. Establish a long-term lease on the primary service site buildings of Lifeskills and the former Mental Health Center. Catawba County would agree to a 30-month lease for the CVBH Main Center and LifeSkills buildings, beginning January 1, 2007. For the first 18 months, the rental rate would be $10 per square foot for 35,954 square feet, or $359,540 per year. On July 1, 2008, the rate would increase to $10.25 per square foot for 36,456 square feet, or $373,674 per year, for a total of $912,984 for the 30-month period. A termination provision in the agreement would allow either party to give a six month notice. Rates exclude utilities and cleaning services, but include maintenance on the buildings and grounds and providing security through Catawba Valley Medical Center. Any future lease renewals will be based upon a negotiated rate. Proceeds from the lease would be used to enhance the County’s Capital Improvement Program.
2. Establish a lease on four homes in Newton used as Residential Services. Four homes near the Main County Library in Newton have been used for several years to provide supervised housing for consumers. A four-year lease for these County-owned homes, currently managed by CVBH Residential Services, is being requested. The lease cost would be $1 per home per year, plus any agreed upon maintenance costs (at $25 per hour labor, plus materials). A termination provision in the agreement would allow either party to give a 120 day notice. Renovations and upgrades have been completed at these houses using Mental Health funds.
3. Purchase of Connections property by CVBH. In order for CVBH to seek grant opportunities to further the development and expansion of the Connections psychosocial rehabilitation program, it needs to have ownership of that property. CVBH is offering to buy the Connections clubhouse building, contents and property, on Highway 321 in south Newton, for $125,000. The property has been used by Connections since March 1994. The tax value of the Connections property is $302,100. Ownership of the Connections property by CVBH will allow CVBH to pursue capital fund raising for expansion of the facilities there. There appears to be no other governmental use for this property. North Carolina General Statute 160A-279 provides that whenever a statute permits a county to appropriate money to a non-profit organization, the county may also convey real or personal property to the organization and may do so by private sale.
4. Declaration of surplus property (furniture and computers). The Board is being asked to approve the permanent donation to CVBH of furniture and equipment, including computers, that were once used by Mental Health Services and are now used by CVBH. The value of the ten year old furniture and computers is already beyond normal depreciation schedules and there would be nominal return if the same equipment was declared surplus and auctioned. Inventory of the Main Center’s furnishings and computers, calculated at the original purchase prices, gives an estimated value of $78,900. It is also estimated that auction of that furniture and equipment might yield 10-15% of that value. Furnishings and equipment purchased under a Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust Fund grant for LifeSkills will continue to be owned by Mental Health Services of Catawba County. General Statute 160A-279 also authorizes a governing board to convey property to a non-profit organization without monetary consideration, if the recipient agrees to use the property for a public use.
5. Contract for Information Technology Services. CVBH desires to purchase computer technology support services and access to Catawba County’s network. A detailed purchase of service agreement addressing technology management, licensing, staff time, shared resources, and compliance with established operating standards, has been developed. It would reflect the proposed 30-month lease on the buildings and has an annual value of approximately $76,020, charged monthly dependent upon the number of active computer units.
The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of 1) the execution of a 30-month lease with CVBH for the LifeSkills and Main Mental Health Center properties for a total value of $912,984; 2) the execution of a four-year lease for the four County-owned homes near the Newton Library that have been historically used for mental health related supervised housing, for $16 over the life of the lease plus maintenance; 3) the sale of the Connections property, and associated buildings and furnishings, to CVBH for $125,000 without any conditions except that the property will continue to be used for a public purpose and the County will have first right of refusal if the property is sold; 4) the declaration of the furnishings and computers in the Mental Health Center as surplus, and donation of those to CVBH as a non-profit agency performing governmental responsibilities; and 5) the execution of a 30-month agreement between Catawba County and CVBH for computer technology support and network access for an annualized value of approximately $76,020.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464