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May 2, 2005

AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, May 2, 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 Minutes from the Board’s Regular Meeting of April 18, 2005 and the Work Session on the FORESIGHT Jobs and Business Creation Report of April 25, 2005.

5.    Recognition of Special Guests.

6.    Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7.    Presentations:
a.    Older Americans Month Proclamation presented to Grace McLeod, Social Work Program Manager, Social Services.

b.    Mental Health Month Proclamation presented to John Hardy, Mental Health Director.

c.    Lenoir Rhyne College Master Plan presented by Dr. Wayne Powell, President, Lenoir Rhyne College.
8.    Public Hearing:
Catawba County Erosion and Sedimentation Local Control Ordinance – 2nd Reading.  Presented by Barry B. Edwards, PE, Utilities and Engineering Director and Toni Norton, PE, Water Resources Engineer.
9.    Appointments.

10.    Consent Agenda:
a.    Catawba County Schools’ Request for Capital Funds – purchase of land adjacent to Startown Elementary School.

b.    Right of First Refusal of Transfer of ½ Acre Lot from Catawba County Schools to Adjacent Property Owners.

c.    Transfer of ½ Acre Lot from Catawba County Schools to Catawba County Government.  

d.    Mental Health Budget Revision.

e.    Establishment of Menacta Fee.

f.    Donation of Vehicle to The United Hmong Association.
11.    Departmental Reports:
Register of Deeds: Back Conversion to digitized format of Deed Books 1811-2375 in the Register of Deeds Office.  Presented by Donna Hicks Spencer, Register of Deeds.
12.    Attorneys’ Report.

13.    Manager’s Report.

14.    Other items of business.

15.    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 Jail Expansion Groundbreaking ceremony will follow this meeting at 11:00 a.m. The next Board of Commissioners meeting will be on Monday, May 16, 2005 at 7:00 p.m.   


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, MAY 2, 2005,  9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.


NOTE:  A GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY FOR THE EXPANSION OF THE CATAWBA COUNTY JAIL, NEXT TO THE JUSTICE CENTER OFF HIGHWAY 321 BUSINESS IN NEWTON, WILL FOLLOW THE BOARD'S MEETING AT 11:30 A.M.
 
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold the second of two required public hearings on a proposal for the County to begin Local Sedimentation and Erosion Control effective July 1, 2005, which would result in County staff reviewing sedimentation and erosion control plans when such a plan is required, and speed up the process for plan approval; and consider appropriating funds for the digital imaging of Register of Deeds records back to 1993 so they will be available for computer search at the Register of Deeds Office or on-line searching via the internet, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 2, 2005, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.
 
The Board will also see a report on a strategic plan for Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory; consider a request from the Catawba County Schools for the appropriation of $18,000 to purchase land adjacent to Startown Elementary School that would be used for overflow parking and expansion at the school; a recommendation from one of the board's subcommittees to reject a right of first refusal on property owned by the Catawba County Schools, which would allow the school system to sell that land; the transfer of a half-acre lot from the Catawba County Schools to Catawba County Government for construction of a new communications tower by the County and the North Carolina Highway Patrol; the establishment of a fee for dispensing the new Menactra vaccine for treatment of meningitis by the Public Health Department; a revision to the current Mental Health Services budget to reflect the receipt of new funds by Mental Health Services, from the State and various grants; and consider the donation of a van, in good condition but no longer needed by the County, to the United Hmong Association.  The Board will also issue a proclamation declaring May as Older Americans Month and Mental Health Month in Catawba County.

PRESENTATIONS
1. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring May as Older Americans Month to recognize the valuable contributions made by the older citizens of Catawba County, their families and care givers.  The proclamation honors the County's 27,000 citizens 60 years of age and older, who represent 13% of our population.  Through its history, Catawba County has actively supported older adults with programs and services to sustain quality of life and help older citizens remain independent for as long as possible.  

2.  The Board will issue a proclamation declaring May as Mental Health Month to recognize the vital work done by the professionals at Catawba County Mental Health Services through outpatient services; counseling; job training; services for persons with developmental disabilities; substance abuse treatment; and more.

3.  The Board will see a PowerPoint presentation on a strategic plan for Lenoir-Rhyne College.  Dr. Wayne Powell, president of the college, is expected to discuss the college's interactions with the community and the strategic plan, which addresses the college's overall plans for the next few years with an emphasis on improving existing operations.

PUBLIC HEARING
The Board will hold the second of two required public hearings on the proposed adoption of a Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance.  At a work session on issues related to the environment on March 21, 2005, the Board voted to ask staff to proceed with plans to establish a local sedimentation and erosion control program, effective July 1, 2005, and to set a schedule for public hearings on the proposal.  The need for a local erosion control program was identified by 1) the FORESIGHT Committee; 2) during the process of the 2003 Building Services Division merger with the City of Hickory; 3) during the Board's goal setting process; and 4) through comments from citizens.  On November 15, 2004, the Board approved a draft Erosion and Sedimentation Control Program Ordinance and subsequent application for State approval of that ordinance.

Currently, the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources issues sedimentation and erosion control permits, which can take up to 90 days for approval. Under the proposed ordinance, plans and permits will be processed at Catawba County’s two permit centers, at the Government Center in Newton and at Hickory City Hall.  Staff anticipates being able to review erosion control plans within 10 days of submittal.

Under the proposed ordinance, the County would have rules that mirror the State’s restrictions. Catawba County would only require a formal plan when there is a disturbance of one acre or more. The proposed fees are based on what the program would cost if it were to "pay for itself", without the use of additional tax revenues.  A $200 plan review fee and $150 fee per disturbed acre thereafter is proposed in the fee schedule. Since there is an express plan review option already in place, erosion and sedimentation control plan review and permitting would become part of the existing process at no additional hourly charge.  However, the County would offer the option of Erosion Control Express Plan Review alone at a charge of $97.50 per hour, with the initial $200 fee for the first acre reduced to $150 per acre. There would also be a re-inspection fee of $125 for cases of non-compliance. In cases where a land disturbance of less than one acre results in a citizen complaint, there would be a project management fee of $50.  Circumstances defined under the law as "acts of God", and farming and lumber-related activities, are not covered under this law.

Catawba County is willing to provide erosion and sedimentation control to each of the county's municipalities, and has extended an offer to contract with municipalities for enforcement services within their corporate limits.  The City of Newton currently has its own program in place.  Two persons spoke at the Board's first public hearing on the proposal on March 18, one for the proposal and one against.  Following the second public hearing at this meeting, the Board will consider establishing a local sedimentation and erosion control program, effective July 1, 2005.

CONSENT AGENDA
A.  The Board will consider a request from the Catawba County Board of Education for an appropriation of funds from the Schools Capital Projects fund balance, for the purchase of land adjacent to Startown Elementary School.  Mr. Hal Abernathy, representing the Startown Area Development Association, has agreed to sell property that adjoins Startown Elementary School to the Catawba County School System for $23,000.   The property consists of 1.3 acres and has a tax value of $16,900.  The purchase of the land will provide for overflow parking and future expansion of Startown Elementary School.  In order to purchase the property, the Catawba County Board of Education is requesting the appropriation of $18,000 from the Schools Capital Projects fund balance.  The additional $5000 needed for the purchase would come from the sale of a half-acre parcel by the school system, addressed under item B, below.  The Board of Commissioner's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the supplemental appropriation of $18,000 from the Schools Capital Projects fund balance.

B.   The Board will consider a right of first refusal on property owned by the Catawba County School System.  On September 11, 2000, an agreement was made between Catawba County and the Catawba County Board of Education relating to a 31.37 acre tract of land near Riverbend Park.  Part of that agreement mandates that the Board of Education first offer the property or any portion thereof back to the County prior to any sale.  The County has no use for this half-acre parcel.   Michael and Shirley Duncan, adjacent property owners, have approached the Catawba County Schools and requested to purchase the parcel for the purpose of placing a doublewide mobile home on the tract.  On March 21, 2005, the Catawba County Board of Education unanimously agreed to sell the half-acre tract to Michael and Shirley Duncan for $5,000.  The Board of Education indicated the half-acre tract of land would not be used in the future construction
of an elementary school.  The half-acre lot has been surveyed and the appropriate documentation provided
to the County.  The Board of Commissioner's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board reject the offer for this tract, so the school system may sell the property.

C.  The Board will consider approving the transfer of an approximate half-acre of land from the Catawba County School System to Catawba County Government.  On September 11, 2000, an agreement was made between Catawba County and the Catawba County Board of Education relating to the 31.37 acre tract of land noted in item B, above.  The County conveyed the land to the school system, for a future elementary school, for $1.00.  The North Carolina Highway Patrol and Catawba County are now working on plans to upgrade equipment at both the Highway 16 North (Riverbend) and Newton communication tower sites.  These improvements will help create a new system which will continually compare signal strength between towers and select the best possible signal for an officer in the field who is talking with the Communications Center; and allow the County to upgrade from its current VHF system to other radio systems as they become available.  The half-acre property involved in this proposed transfer would be used to construct one tower.  The second tower will be constructed on the Justice Center property in Newton.  Both are critical to providing improved emergency services communications.  On March 21, 2005, the Catawba County Board of Education unanimously agreed to transfer the half-acre of land to the County.  The Board of Education indicated that transferring the half-acre parcel would not interfere with the future construction of an elementary school.  The Board of Commissioner's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the transfer of land from the Catawba County Schools to the County, and authorize the Board's Chairperson to execute an addendum to the September 11, 2000 agreement noting the transfer.

D.   The Board will consider a revision in the current Mental Health budget to reflect additional funds from the State, from grants, and from the Catawba County Mental Health Fund initiative.  The revision would increase the current Mental Health budget by $370,898, to $19,442,158, with no new staff positions and no additional County dollars.  The new funding includes $104,998 in additional State funds to cover transitional expenses related to the new Local Managing Entity and $43,618 in additional State funds for treatment of persons with Traumatic Brain Injury; $28,500 in grant funds from the N.C. Attorney General's Office and the State Criminal Justice Partnership Program to help fund psychiatric services and medications and additional substance abuse services needed in the community; $150,000 in additional Medicaid funds; $39,400 remaining from the Mental Health Fund, raised over a  two year period of time through donations, which will be used to cover additional expenses to complete the new LifeSkills building and cover unexpected expenditures; $25,000 from the Kate B. Reynolds Trust to cover expenditures previously funded by fund balance for furnishings and equipment at LifeSkills, a day activity program for adults with severe physical and developmental disabilities; and $48,000 from the Mental Health Fund Balance ($8000 to fund miscellaneous small items needed for the new LifeSkills facility and $40,000 to cover expenditures that were not originally budgeted, which includes utilities for LifeSkills and other one-time start-up costs).  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the budget revision.

E.  The Board will consider a request from the Catawba County Board of Health for the establishment of a fee of $100 per dose to administer a new drug called Menactra for treatment of meningococcal disease (meningitis).   The Catawba County Public Health Department has offered a meningococcal vaccine called Menommune over the past five years.   The Menommune vaccine was available for use with all age groups. Over the past few years, the Health Department has administered approximately 200 Menommune vaccinations and the demand continues to rise.  The Health Department has learned that, as of April 1, 2005, Menommune is no longer available for standard immunization against meningococcal disease.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that Menommune be stockpiled and used only in the case of an outbreak, and for those not included in the age range for Menactra, which was licensed in January 2005 for meningococcal vaccinations.  According to the CDC, Menactra is available only for persons ages 11–55 years, especially targeting persons who are 15-24 years of age.  Adolescents and young adults share certain risk factors that may account for increased risk of meningococcal infection.  However, 83% of the cases in adolescents and young adults can be prevented by immunization with the Menactra vaccine.  The proposed fee of $100 per vaccine for Menactra is based on the actual vaccine cost and related administrative costs.  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board of Commissioners approve the establishment of the above fee.

F.  The Board will consider the donation of a 1999 Dodge fifteen-passenger van to the United Hmong Association, as permitted under North Carolina General Statute 160A-279. The United Hmong Association uses the Piedmont Wagon Transit System for transportation of persons to the Seniors Morning Out Program and for transporting individuals to language classes.  The participants live within and outside of Catawba County and are transported to one location since there is only one language interpreter.  This has been a difficult service to manage because of the language barriers and the increase in trips.  Econoforce is surplusing a 1999 Dodge fifteen-passenger van and the Department of Social Services recommends this vehicle be donated to the United Hmong Association.  General Statute 160A-279 states that a county may convey property without monetary consideration, if the recipient agrees to use the property for a public use.  The Board must adopt a resolution at a regular meeting and authorize an official to dispose of the property.  Once the resolution has been adopted, the statute requires the local government to publish a notice summarizing the contents of the resolution.  The donation may not be finalized until at least ten days after the publication of the notice.
 
DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS

REGISTER OF DEEDS
The Board will consider appropriating funding in the amount of $103,500 for digital imaging of documents in the Register of Deeds Office.  The County began digitizing images of documents in the Register of Deeds Office on July 15, 2002, to address a long-term need to take the format used prior to that date to store records, microfilm, and convert it to a digital format.  This allows these documents to be viewed on the public computers in the Register of Deeds Office and from the County's web page, and frees up some space in a vault used by the Register of Deeds Office to store important items.  Since Logan Systems provides the indexing already in place at the Register of Deeds office, staff determined Logan would be the best choice for converting documents back to 1993, so that the images and indexes will coincide.  Logan's price quote is as follows:  Books 1811 – 2000, 1500 pages per book at $150 per book = $28,500; Books 2001 – 2375, 2000 pages per book at $200 per book = $75,000, for a total of $103,500.   This appropriation would come from funds raised by an increase in fees collected by the Register of Deeds Office, approved by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2004, which mandated that the proceeds be used for computer and imaging technology in Register of Deeds offices across the state.  The information being converted will be in TIFF format, an industry standard that is portable to other systems.  Logan Systems will not charge a fee if the County decides to change vendors in the future.  Staff has conducted research regarding Logan's pricing proposal.  Prices for this work ranged from 6.5 cents per image to 23 cents per image.  Logan’s proposed price is 10 cents per image.  With the addition of these digital images, there will be some loss of revenue to the Register of Deeds Office as citizens will no longer need to make as many paper copies of records.  There is no feasible way to accurately estimate the amount of loss of copy fees because of the variety of requests and documents processed, but staff would have more time to assist citizens with other matters, the cost of printer supplies and paper would diminish, and the major focus of serving the general public would be greatly enhanced.  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve funding in the amount of $103,500 for the digital imaging of Register of Deeds Office documents back to 1993.   Long- range plans call for digital imaging of other Register of Deeds records prior to 1993.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER    465-8464