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December 19, 2005


Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
Monday, December 19, 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 Regular and Closed Session meetings of December 5, 2005.

5.    Recognition of Special Guests.

6.    Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7.    Presentations:
a.    Certificates of Commendation for 4-H National Contest Winners Casey Wentz, Tom Devine, Lisa Baxter and Debbie Wentz.
8.    Public Hearings:
Plateau Small Area Plan.  Presented by Mary George, Senior Planner and Donna Cullum, Vice-Chair, Plateau Small Area Plan Committee.
9.    Appointments.

10.    Consent Agenda:
a.    State Criminal Alien Assistance Program
b.    New Position Titles
c.    Flexible Spending Account Plan Document
d.    Appointment of Map Review Officers for City of Hickory
11.    Departmental Reports.
Social Services:

Prescription Drug Discount Program.  Presented by Bobby Boyd, Social Services Director.

12.        Other items of business.
Incentives for Centro Plastics.  Presented by Scott Millar, President, Catawba County Economic Development Corporation.
13.    Attorneys’ Report.
14.    Manager’s Report.

15.    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

County Offices will be closed December 22, 23 and 26 for the Christmas Holiday and January 2, 2006 for the New Year Holiday.  There will be only one January 2006 Board of Commissioners meeting. Due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, this meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 17, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.

DECEMBER 19, 2005, 7 P.M.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on a proposed Plateau Small Area Plan; and consider an economic grant for an expansion project at the Centro Plastics facility in Claremont that will bring 30 to 50 new jobs to the county, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, December 19, 2005, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room at the 1924 Courthouse in Newton. 

The Board will also consider: a contract with the National Association of Counties to offer a prescription drug discount plan to uninsured and underinsured Catawba County citizens; accepting a Federal grant to meet the cost of housing undocumented criminal aliens in local jail facilities; two new job titles which will not add any additional County staff; the appointment of new Map Review Officers as requested by the City of Hickory; and changes to the County's Flexible Spending Account Plan to meet new Internal Revenue Service guidelines.  The Board will also recognize winners of regional and state 4-H award programs.

A.  The Board will present Certificates of Commendations to four persons who recently won regional and state 4-H competitions.  Debbie Wentz, Coach of the North Carolina 4-H Horse Hippology Team, led the team to first place in both the Eastern National 4-H Horse Round-Up and the Hippology Contest at the Southern Regional 4-H Show, and is also commended for her sound leadership and dedication to the youth of the 4-H organization.  Casey Wentz will be recognized for his membership on that team, and for winning first place as a member of the North Carolina 4-H Horse Bowl Team at the American Quarter Horse Youth Association World Show and an individual fourth place award at the Southern Regional 4-H Horse Show.  Lisa Baxter and Tom Devine will be recognized as members of the four-person North Carolina Livestock Skillathon Team which won first place at both the 4-H Livestock Nationals Contest in Louisville, Kentucky and the Keystone International Livestock Competition in Pennsylvania.  Devine placed 7th and Baxter placed 9th in individual competition at the 4-H Livestock Nationals.

A.   The Board will hold a public hearing on a proposed Small Area Plan for the Plateau 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.  On November 4, 2004, citizens from the Plateau 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 Plateau small area.   On August 18, 2005, a second community meeting was held to give citizens in the small area an opportunity to comment on a draft of the actual plan.  The Catawba County Planning Board held a public hearing on the plan on November 28, 2005.  The Plateau 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.

A.   The Board will consider accepting a grant from the US Department of Justice, State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), in the amount of $7605.  This grant is available to help counties meet some of the costs associated with housing potentially undocumented, criminal aliens in local jail facilities.  The increase in inmates housed at the Newton Detention Center over the past several years has resulted in a greater demand for medical treatment at the facility. A large amount of medications also have to be set up daily for inmates. Compounding these demands is a growing amount of paperwork generated with each inmate visit to the doctor or nurse, decreasing the amount of time available for medical care.  Having a contract for medical services in the facility has helped decrease the costs of unnecessarily removing inmates from the facility for medical care.  The grant amount is based on individuals held in the Newton Detention Center, and those held for Catawba County at the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility, during fiscal year 2003-04.  The Sheriff’s Office received $5966 in SCAAP funds in the last fiscal year, which were used to provide additional nursing hours to the medical program at the Newton Detention Center.  The Sheriff’s Office has asked to use 2005 SCAAP funds to continue supplementing the medical program with additional nursing assistance.  The Board's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve acceptance of this grant for the purpose stated above.

B.   The Board will consider adding two classifications to the County’s pay and classification plan.  This will not result in any additional staff members for the County.  The first new classification is for a Chief Information Officer. The County has had an Information Technology Director since 1996, a position responsible for day-to-day operation and administration of the Information Technology Department.  Catawba County has traditionally been at the forefront in terms of innovation and use of technology.  Assistant County Manager Lee Worsley, who is currently serving as interim Technology Director, has reviewed the current position.  He has recommended the County broaden the scope of the position and classify it as Chief Information Officer, who will serve as department head for Information Technology, Geographic Information Systems and the 911 Communications Center.  Other duties will include responsibility for the County’s telephone system and cable television franchise agreement; to establish, recommend and implement the County’s technology vision; develop and maintain a long-term technology strategic plan; and work with departments and external governmental, non-profit and private sector agencies.  Funds are available for the position in the current County budget.

The second reclassification would change the title of the Health Department's Bioterrorism Coordinator to "Public Health Preparedness Coordinator".  Following the events of 9/11/2001 and concerns about bioterrorism activities, the Federal government made funds available through the State of North Carolina for positions to review and plan for a possible bioterrorism event.  This position is fully funded by a Federal grant, under which the Bioterrorism Coordinator position had to be dedicated to Public Health.  The County has learned that the State is changing the title of this position to "Public Health Preparedness Coordinator". The direction of the position has changed to include the addressing of other emergency events in addition to bioterrorism.  In the event of some sort of emergency or health threat, this person would coordinate with other divisions.  A Health Department employee is presently in this position.  This will involve a title change only for that employee.  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the addition of Chief Information Officer and Public Health Preparedness Coordinator job titles to the County's pay and classification plan.

C.  The Board will consider a revision to the County's Flexible Spending Account Plan to reflect recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) changes.  Flexible spending accounts are allowed by the IRS.  The accounts allow employees to set aside payroll dollars, pre-tax, and use the funds for reimbursement of certain health costs or dependent care costs.  IRS rules are very specific about the kinds of reimbursements that are allowed.  Plans of this type have had a provision that any money left in a Flexible Spending Account at the end of the year would be forfeited.  On May 18, 2005, the IRS loosened this “use-it-or-lose-it” provision to allow spending plan participants to make claims against their accounts for up to two months and 15 days after the end of a benefit year.  This means employees may now use 2005 Flexible Spending Account contributions for expenses incurred as late as March 15, 2006, resulting in fewer employees forfeiting money left unused in the plan.  The IRS requires that employers amend Flexible Spending Account documents to permit this grace period.  Employers have until December 31, 2005 to amend their 2005 calendar-year plan.  Since employees will benefit from the change and fewer employees will forfeit money left in the plan, staff recommends the plan be amended to allow this change.  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the revision to the plan.

D.  The Board will consider a request from the City of Hickory to appoint Brian Frazier, Donna Cullum, Brendon Prichard and John Furmage as Map Review Officers.  The resolution would remove Keith Stahley as a review officer since he is no longer employed by the city.  On July 17, 1997, the North Carolina General Assembly ratified Senate Bill 875 which requires all counties to appoint review officers to review each plat or map before it is recorded, and certify it meets statutory requirements for mapping.  The law states that individuals be appointed by name, not by job title so, when a change occurs in staffing, a new Review Officer must be appointed and approved by resolution of the Board and recorded in the Register of Deed’s Office.  Staff recommends the Board adopt a resolution appointing Brian Frazier, Donna Cullum, Brendon Prichard and John Furmage as Map Review Officers for the City of Hickory.



The Board will consider approving a contract with the National Association of Counties (NACo) to provide a  Prescription Drug Discount Plan to uninsured and underinsured Catawba County citizens.  NACo has developed a Prescription Drug Discount Program available to citizens of counties that are members of the association.  The card will be available to any uninsured and underinsured Catawba County resident regardless of age, income or existing health coverage.  There are no enrollment fees and no eligibility determination.  A citizen may expect to save 15-20% on the cost of their prescriptions.  A participating county enters into a contract with NACo and Advance PCS,  a division of Caremark, Rx, which will manage the program.  Caremark was selected following a two-year process involving NACo's Membership Committee, a consulting firm and a special evaluation committee appointed by NACo's president due to Caremark's price savings, ease of use & understanding.

The cards provide immediate discounts at participating pharmacies for all uninsured and underinsured family members.  Upon presenting the card, a customer will pay the lower of a discounted price or the pharmacy's regular retail price.  Currently, there are 41 participating pharmacies in Catawba County.  There are no claim forms to fill out and no limit to the number of times the card may be used.  The card cannot be used in conjunction with other prescription cards, but the customer may use the card to purchase prescriptions not covered by their own insurance plan.  Cards will initially be available at the following locations:  the Department of Social Services, Public Health Department, Catawba County Public Libraries, County nutrition sites, West Hickory Senior Citizens Center, Cooperative Christian Ministry of Hickory, Eastern Catawba County Christian Ministry and Salvation Army.  The Catawba County Chamber of Commerce will also offer cards to its members and, over time, cards will be made available to all hospitals and medical offices in the county, to Personnel and Human Resource offices at local industries and to church groups through the Faith Community Task Force on Poverty.  Staff recommends the Board approve the contract with NACo to provide a Prescription Drug Discount Plan to uninsured and underinsured Catawba County citizens and make it effective as quickly as it is approved by NACo.

The Board will consider an economic grant to Centro Plastics of Claremont, NC  to assist the company to expand production of rotational moldings lines that create parts for John Deere and Caterpillar, which added 49,500 square feet to the facility and created 30-50 new jobs.   The expansion doubled the current size of the facility which now employs about 130 people.  Centro's industry sector (plastics pipe, fittings & profile shapes) qualifies it as a “most favored” sector in the 2004 FORESIGHT Report, and in the regional Future Forward analysis. 

The County's economic grant will total a maximum of $24,120, paid over three years at a maximum of $8,040 per year.  The City of Claremont has offered to continue to delay annexing the facility, in essence yielding two additional years of tax collection for the County at 100%.  Centro will participate in Federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) and State Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs, to facilitate an $800,000 water tank ($400,000 from EDA, and a $300,000 CDBG, with the City of Claremont providing a matching $100,000).  The State is also providing approximately $167,300 in grants and credits. 

Staff recommends the Board approve an economic grant for Centro Plastics, based upon the creation of at least 30 net new jobs at above the average manufacturing wage with an investment of $2.5 million, to be paid in installments of no more than $8040 per year over three years and used to reimburse Centro expenditures, as provided under North Carolina General Statute 158-7.1(a).  The Board also directs County staff to execute a contract between Centro Plastics and the County under these terms and conditions.