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June 15, 2006

AGENDA 

Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
Thursday, June 15, 2006, 4:30 p.m. 

Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse 
30 North College Avenue, Newton, NC 28658
 
1.    Call to Order.

2.    Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

3.    Invocation.

4.    Approval of Minutes from the Regular meeting of June 5, 2006.

5.    Recognition of Special Guests.

6.    Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7.    Appointments.

8.    Consent Agenda:
a.    Supplemental Appropriation for Purchase of Certified Voting Equipment

b.    Supplemental Appropriation for Funds for Installation of Lift Gate on Ambulance

c.    Supplemental Appropriation of State Homeland Security Planning Grant Award

d.    Execution of documents in connection with the 2006 CDBG (IDA) Individual Development Account Unifour 1st Time Homebuyer Program

e.    County Management Records Retention and Disposition Schedule
9.    Departmental Reports.
Utilities and Engineering:
a.    Request to amend County Code, Chapter 42, Water and Sewer – 2nd Reading.  Presented by Jack Chandler, Public Services Administrator.

b.    Gregory Wood Products Sewer Project Bid Award.  Presented by Jack Chandler, Public Services Administrator.
10.    Public Hearings.
a.    Request to rezone a 7.57 acre tract from R-2 Residential district to C-2 Commercial District.
b.    Budget Hearing, Wrap-Up and Adoption.

11.    Other Items of business.
Request for a Special Meeting for a Presentation on 2007 Revaluation.
12.    Attorneys’ Report.
a.    Distinguished Public Service Award to County Attorney Robert O. Eades

b.    Appointment of Interim County Attorney

13.    Manager’s Report.

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
Due to the July 4th Holiday, there will only be one Board of Commissioners Meeting in July, which is scheduled for July 17, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.

PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
THURSDAY, JUNE 15, 2006, 4:30 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings on a proposed Catawba County Budget for fiscal year 2006-2007 (the public hearing to begin at 5:30 p.m.) and on a request to rezone a 7.57 acre tract, located at 4764 Common Drive in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, from R-2 Residential to C-2 Commercial zoning; and consider adoption of a County budget following the public hearing, when the Board meets beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, 2006, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room on the second floor of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton. 

The Board will also award a bid for the construction of a pump station and sewer system to serve the Gregory Wood Products facility, as called for in the County's 2003 Joint Economic Development Agreement with Gregory Wood Products, which is creating 115 new jobs in the county; hold a second reading on a proposed amendment to Chapter 42 of the County Code to clarify and simplify this ordinance and incorporate policies for County-owned water and waste water utilities; consider formally appropriating grant funds, from the Federal government through the State, which were used to purchase new voting equipment for the county; appropriate funds (to be reimbursed by Catawba Valley Medical Center) to install a lift gate on an ambulance, necessary for the ambulance to be used for neonatal transport for the hospital under an agreement with the County; the acceptance of a federal Homeland Security grant to create a continuity plan, to assure depth of personnel within departments or agencies in situations involving long-term emergency operations or when a reduction in staff has occurred, such as could happen in a flu pandemic; a Records Retention and Disposition Schedule for certain records of five County departments; and the endorsement or execution of documents associated with Catawba County's role as lead agent for the Unifour counties for a 2006 Community Development Block Grant Individual Development Account (IDA) Unifour 1st Time Homebuyer Program.  The Board will also schedule a special meeting, following Board Subcommittee meetings which begin at 8:30 a.m. on  Monday, July 10, 2006, to receive information on the County's 2007 property revaluation process, and present a Distinguished Public Service Award to Mr. Robert Eades, who is retiring from his duties as County Attorney as of June 30, 2006 and consider the appointment of an Interim County Attorney.

CONSENT AGENDA
A.  The Board will consider a supplemental appropriation in the amount of $603,755 to accept a Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Title II grant for the purchase of new certified voting equipment.   The Catawba County Board of Elections purchased new Hart Intercivic voting equipment in December 2003.  At the time of the purchase, the North Carolina Board of Elections certified the Hart Intercivic system as approved equipment.  Senate Bill 223, passed in August 2005 by the North Carolina General Assembly, required that all equipment be re-certified.  The State's bid request had some requirements Hart Intercivic was not willing to accept, so Hart Intercivic did not submit a bid in North Carolina.  Catawba County has purchased new voting equipment from the only vendor certified in the State of North Carolina, Election Systems and Software (ES&S).  To assist with this new purchase requirement, the North Carolina Board of Elections provided a grant to Catawba County in the amount of $603,755. 

On February 6, 2006, the Board approved the purchase of new voting equipment from ES&S at a cost of $824,146. Since the HAVA grant had been received from the federal government, the State Board of Elections agreed to become the paying agent for new machines up to the amount of the grant, and paid $603,755 directly to ES&S.  Catawba County was responsible for the remaining $220,391.  The Board of Commissioners approved an appropriation for $220,391 on February 6, 2006.  Since the grant funds were not actually coming to the County, it did not appear necessary at that time for the Board of Commissioners to appropriate the $603,755 in HAVA grant funds.   However, on April 28, 2006, the North Carolina Local Government Commission issued a memorandum saying that, under generally accepted accounting principles, the County should treat the HAVA grant funds as restricted intergovernmental revenue and equipment expenditures.  Although the County did not receive the grant funds directly, it is necessary to budget and record these transactions in the County's 2005-2006 fiscal year.  No additional County funds will be used for the project.   The Board of Commissioners' Finance & Personnel Subcommittee recommends the appropriation of $603,755 in HAVA II grant funds.

B.   The Board will consider appropriating $9,510.23 to install a lift gate on an Emergency Medical Services ambulance.  Catawba County EMS has contracted to provide Catawba Valley Medical Center with an ambulance and driver for the purpose of providing a neonatal transport service.  The County EMS is allowing the hospital to use an ambulance that was originally set up as a bariatric unit.  This ambulance already has a lift gate, which is necessary for a neonatal transport unit. Under the contract, Catawba Valley Medical Center has agreed to reimburse the County for the lift and installation.  The cost of the lift, installation, and unit modification associated with the lift was $9,510.23.  The lift will be installed on a new ambulance being purchased in July 2006.  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the appropriation of $9,510.23 for the installation of a lift gate on an Emergency Medical Services vehicle.  
         
C.  The Board will consider a supplemental appropriation in the amount of $42,000 for the purpose of creating a Continuity of Operations Plan for Catawba County Emergency Services.  A Continuity of Operations Plan is a plan of succession by position, which assures depth within a department or agency so the agency can continue operations during long-term disasters or in a case where reduction of staff has occurred, such as might occur in a pandemic flu.  A grant received from the US Department of Homeland Security in 2003 included money for equipment, training and exercises and has been expended by the County.  The State had a surplus of funds and received an extension for the appropriation of those funds from the Department of Homeland Security.  The State reallocated the money to counties wishing to apply for funds to write a Continuity of Operations Plan or update their Emergency Operations Plan. Catawba County applied for $84,000 to write a Continuity of Operations Plan for the county and its eight municipalities. The County has received $42,000, with State officials indicating there was only enough money to fund plans for county jurisdictions. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the appropriation of $42,000 for creation and implementation of a Continuity of Operations Plan by a vendor with experience in creating such plans.

D.  The Board will consider a request to endorse or execute documents associated with the 2006 Community Development Block Grant Individual Development Account (IDA) Unifour 1st Time Homebuyer Program.  The County has received $70,000 from the NC Department of Commerce, Division of Community Assistance for the program. Catawba County will be the lead entity for the three year term of this program on behalf of all four Unifour counties.  These funds will be used for down payment assistance for potential clients selected for an IDA class and approved to purchase a home ($1,000 per person for a total of 30 clients).  The Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) will administer this grant for the county.  The WPCOG requests that the Board approve a resolution adopting program policies, procedures and plans; a project budget ordinance; and a resolution adopting a Joint Cooperation Agreement and the participation of Catawba County in the program. 

E.  The Board will consider approving a Records Retention and Disposition Schedule, as required under North Carolina General Statutes § 121-5, for records of certain County departments. These include records of County Administration, the Sheriff’s Office and Tax Administration, updated on April 1, 2006; Veterans' Services Office records updated on November 1, 2004 and 1987 records from the County Library System which were not approved when released.  Retention of these records and any destruction of public records will be carried out under the guidance of the schedule, as determined by the North Carolina Division of Archives and History.  The Board's Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the use of the Records Retention and Disposition Schedules as required by North Carolina General Statutes §121-5.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS

UTILITIES AND ENGINEERING

A.  The Board will consider, on second reading, adopting proposed amendments to Chapter 42, Water and Sewer, of the Catawba County Code of Ordinances. The proposed amendments serve to clarify and simplify the water and sewer ordinance, and incorporate policy for County-owned water and waste water utilities.

Article II of Chapter 42 previously addressed the extension of water and sewer service. The amendment would separate the two, with a revision to Article II that addresses extension of water service and the addition of Article III that addresses extension of sewer service.  The proposed amendment also includes a new Article V, regarding County-owned water and waste water utilities, to define the County's purpose, procedures and standards, including metering and connections of County-owned water and sewer infrastructure, such as the existing Southeastern Catawba County water distribution system.  The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommended the Board adopt these proposed amendments as detailed above, and the Board approved the amendments on first reading at its meeting on June 5, 2006.

B.  The Board will consider awarding a bid for the construction of a pump station and sewer project to serve Gregory Wood Products.  In December 2003, the Board approved a Joint Economic Development Agreement between Gregory Wood Products and Catawba County.   Gregory Wood Products has built a dimensional lumber facility on land adjacent to the Catawba County Landfill, which is expected to bring up to 115 jobs to Catawba County.  As part of this agreement, the County agreed to provide municipal water and sewer, and an access road to the Gregory Wood Products property.  The County has already provided the access road and municipal water. 

An initial bid opening for the project was scheduled for May 25, 2006, but only one bid was received.  Under North Carolina General Statutes, when less that three bids are received after one advertisement for bids, the project must be re-advertised.  On June 8, 2006, the County held a second bid opening and received bids for installation of approximately 16,670 linear feet of 6-inch sewer force main, a submersible waste water pump station, and all related appurtenances.  A total of two bids were received ranging from $1,149,333.09 to $1,220,434.36.  Ronny Turner Construction Co., Inc. of Hickory, NC, is the lowest responsive bidder with a total bid amount of $1,149,333.09. 

The City of Newton made two requests that were included as alternate bids: 1) that a portion of the project be converted from force main sewer to gravity sewer along Highway 10 in order to accommodate industrial development. The City has agreed to pay the cost difference of $207,192 between the force main and gravity sewers along that portion of the project. 2) that Flygt Pumps be used, because they are compatible with Newton infrastructure.   The project will be funded through Federal and State grants awarded for this project in late 2004, from the County's Solid Waste budget and from the City of Newton as follows: a US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration grant in the amount of $348,600; a North Carolina Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $344,155; $336,552 from the County Solid Waste budget and $207,192 from the City of Newton, for a total of $1,236,499. The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board award the bid for construction of the Gregory Wood Products Pump Station and Sewer Project to Ronny Turner Construction Co. in the amount of $1,149,333.09.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
A.   The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of Mr. Melvin Little to rezone a 7.57 acre parcel, located at 4764 Commons Drive in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, from R-2 Residential to C-2 Commercial zoning.  The intent of the C-2 Commercial District is to provide land for convenience shops, specialty retail goods and businesses, and personal services to the traveling public and the residents of neighborhoods.  The adjacent property to the north is zoned R-2 Residential.  Properties to the east are a mixture of residential, commercial and office zoned properties, with an area of C-1 and C-2 Commercial zoning a half mile east.  Tracts to the south are mostly vacant and zoned R-2 Residential.  Properties to the west along Highway 150 represent an extensive commercial corridor.  The intersection of Highways 16 and 150 is 0.8 miles to the west, zoned C-2 Commercial and developed commercially.

NC Highway 150 is designated as a minor arterial road on the Catawba County Thoroughfare Plan.  This system, in conjunction with the principal arterial roads, forms a network that links cities, larger towns and other major traffic generators. The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area.  It identifies this area for Regional Commercial/Mixed Use.  The Catawba County Planning Board conducted a public hearing on this rezoning request on April 24, 2006.  The property owner, Mr. Little, was the only person who spoke at the public hearing. The Planning Board concurred with a staff recommendation to support the rezoning of the property from R-2 Residential to C-2 Commercial based on the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan's recognizing the area as a future Regional Commercial/Mixed Use area, the commercial zoning of neighboring properties, and the commercial uses of neighboring properties.

B.  At 5:30 p.m. the Board will begin a public hearing on the proposed Catawba County Budget for fiscal year 2006-2007.   The County Manager's proposed budget totaled $198,958,818, a 2.3% increase from the budget adopted by the Board on June 6, 2005.  The Board is expected to consider adjustments to the proposed budget and the adoption of the budget following the public hearing, which could change the final figures for fiscal year 2006-2007.   The proposed budget addresses economic development efforts, strategic growth, and school construction needs included in the Board of Commissioners’ goals for Fiscal Year 2006-07, including continuing work to diversify the County’s economic base and provide employment opportunities for citizens; continuing implementation of the FORESIGHT Committee recommendations; ensuring that development and infrastructure support the County’s strategic growth plan; and development of a finance plan for school construction over the next four-year period.  

Funds are included in the budget to complete an expansion to the Newton jail and for operational costs of the expansion, which is needed to alleviate severe overcrowding in the jail.  It funds service improvements that benefit citizens and provide better access to information including: an increase in the hours of operation of the Veterans’ Office to 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each weekday; continued indexing and imaging of real estate records by the Register of Deeds Office to make them available online, with images back to 1980 scheduled to be available by the end of the fiscal year; programs to educate local businesses on the information needed by E-911 Telecommunicators to dispatch public safety services to correct locations; implementation of an Emergency Citizen Notification System to provide automated calls to citizens in the event of an emergency; the opening of a dog park at Riverbend Park, a special fenced area that will be available for dog owners to allow their dogs to visit the park off-leash for a one-year $20 permit; color orthophotography from the most recent County flyover, which will be available online through the County’s GIS website; and the use of technology to expand the number of reports and information which can be securely entered and transmitted through laptop computers, reducing unneeded trips to central offices for reporting, thereby keeping public safety personnel, inspectors, home health nurses and other County employees in the field and serving citizens.

OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS
The Board will consider scheduling a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners to receive information about, and discuss, the County's 2007 property revaluation process.  If approved, the meeting would be held on Monday, July 10, 2006, immediately following Board Subcommittee meetings that will begin at 8:30 a.m.   The County revaluation staff is continuing a two year process of analyzing the actual local real estate market, which determines an estimated market value for all properties.  Property owners will be mailed notices of the new value of their property in November 2006.  New property values will take effect on January 1, 2007. 

ATTORNEY'S REPORT
A.  The Board will present a Distinguished Public Service Award to Mr. Robert O. Eades, who is scheduled to retire as County Attorney on June 30, 2006.

B.  The Board is also expected to consider the appointment of an Interim County Attorney.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER    465-8464