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June 5, 2006

AGENDA 

Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
Monday, June 5, 2006, 9:30 a.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 Special Session of May 12 and 13, 2006, the Regular meeting of May 15, 2006 and the Special Session and Closed Session of May 29, 2006.

5.    Recognition of Special Guests.

6.    Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7.    Presentations:
a.    World Adult Abuse Awareness Day.  Presented to Terri Franco, Social Services Adult Services Supervisor.
8.    Appointments.

9.    Consent Agenda:
a.    Sale of Surplus Voting Equipment by Upset Bid Procedure.

b.    Appropriation in Parks/Historic Preservation Fund to address marketing.

c.    Finance Department budget revision for increased billing fees associated with increased ambulance collections.

d.    Clean Water Bond Resolution.

e.    Resolution Requesting the Addition of NC 150 as a Strategic Highway Corridor.

f.    Resolution in Support of Medicaid Relief for Counties.

g.    Change in Board of Commissioners Meeting and Subcommittee schedule.

10.    Departmental Reports.
a.    Budget/Catawba County Schools:
Catawba County Schools’ Request for Capital Funds for Bunker Hill Classroom Addition and Addendum to Contract between Catawba County and Catawba County Schools.  Presented by Judy Ikerd, Budget Manager and Dr. Tim Markley, Superintendent, Catawba County Schools.
b.    Utilities and Engineering:
1.    Request to amend County Code, Chapter 42, Water and Sewer.  Presented by Barry B. Edwards, Director of Utilities and Engineering.

2.    Balls Creek Elementary Sewer Project Budget Revision, Capital Project Ordinance, Grant Acceptance, Bid Award and Construction Administration.  Presented by Barry B. Edwards, Director of Utilities and Engineering.   
11.    Other items of business.
       
12.    Attorneys’ Report.
   
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
If approved at the June 5, 2006 meeting, The Board of Commissioners’ subcommittee meeting previously scheduled for June 12, 2006 at 8:30 a.m. will be rescheduled to Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at 8:30 a.m.  Budget hearings are scheduled Wednesday, June 14, 2006 from 1-5:00 p.m. and Thursday, June 15, 2006, 8-12 noon.  If approved at the June 5, 2006 meeting, the Board of Commissioners Meeting scheduled for June 19, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. will be rescheduled to Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 4:30 p.m. with the Budget Public Hearing and wrap-up at 5:30 p.m. and budget adoption to follow.

       

PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
JUNE 5, 2006,  9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider appropriating funds for construction of a nine-classroom addition at Bunker Hill High School; a resolution in support of legislation in the North Carolina General Assembly to bring counties relief from Medicaid costs; and the sale of surplus voting equipment using the upset bid process which, if the sale is completed, will raise sufficient funds to cover the amount of funds appropriated by the Board earlier this year to buy new voting machines, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, June 5, 2006, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.  

The Board will also consider amending Chapter 42, Water and Sewer, of the Catawba County Code to clarify and simplify the ordinance and incorporate policies for County-owned water and waste water utilities; a revision to the budget for the Balls Creek Elementary School/Bunker Hill High School sewer line project; a request to appropriate $10,000 from the Parks/Historic Preservation Fund in the County budget for the printing of cookbooks which will be sold to raise further revenue for the Parks/Historic Preservation Fund; a revision to the County Finance Department's budget to account for costs associated with increased ambulance bill collection this year; a change in the schedule for the Board's regular meeting for mid-June, to move the meeting from 7 p.m. on Monday, June 19, 2006 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, 2006 at the 1924 Courthouse in Newton; a resolution requesting that the North Carolina Department of Transportation designate NC Highway 150 as a "Strategic Highway Corridor"; and a resolution calling on the North Carolina General Assembly to enact a $1 billion Clean Water Bond initiative this year, similar to the 1998 Clean Water Bond which has helped fund several projects in Catawba County, and present that bond to voters statewide for approval.  The Board will also issue a proclamation declaring Monday, June 15 as World Adult Abuse Awareness Day in Catawba County.

PROCLAMATION
The Board will issue a proclamation declaring Monday, June 15, 2006 as World Adult Abuse Awareness Day in Catawba County to recognize that abuse of disabled and senior adults is a tragedy inflicted on vulnerable adults, an ever increasing problem in today’s society that crosses all socio-economic boundaries; that combating abuse of disabled and senior adults will help improve the quality of life for all disabled and senior adults across this country and allow disabled and senior adults to continue to live as independently as possible and contribute to the life and vibrancy of Catawba County; the importance of building safer communities for Catawba County’s disabled and senior adults; and that the well being of Catawba County’s disabled and senior adults is in the interest of everyone.

CONSENT AGENDA
A. 
The Board will consider a resolution declaring voting equipment as surplus and authorizing the sale of the equipment by the upset bid procedure, which will be outlined during this meeting.  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).  The County purchased a combination of ES&S electronic tabulators for one-stop voting and optical scan  tabulators for use on Election Day.  Since the Hart Intercivic voting equipment is no longer certified by the State of North Carolina, the Board must declare the existing equipment as surplus in order to sell it.  North Carolina General Statutes require that personal property at this value be sold either by 1) sealed bid; 2) upset bid; or 3) auction.  

County staff sent out flyers throughout the United States to governmental units where Hart Intercivic is certified.  Knox County, Tennessee expressed interest in purchasing all of the County's equipment, but their Federal funding would not permit them to purchase used equipment.  Knox County has made an offer to purchase some of Catawba County's equipment with local governmental funding.  Knox County is unable to purchase used equipment, for the dollar amount being considered, directly from a North Carolina local government.  For this reason, Hart Intercivic has proposed to purchase Catawba County's Hart tabulators and will then sell them to Knox County, Tennessee at no profit.  Hart has made an offer to purchase from Catawba County 244 eSlate tabulators at $1100 each ($268,400), 5l Hart tabulators for disabled voters at $1300 each ($66,300) and 9 judge's control booths at $1100 each ($9900) for a total of $344,600.

On February 6, 2006, the Board appropriated $218,391 in General Fund Balance to partially fund the purchase of the new ES&S equipment.  The offer from Hart will allow for that appropriation to be reimbursed completely.  Remaining funds from this sale and additional sales will be placed in the County's General Capital Projects Fund to assist with future capital needs.  This sale would leave the County with 117 e-Slates and 43 judge's control booths to be sold.  Other governmental units are interested in purchasing small quantities of the remaining equipment.  The County's Purchasing staff will  contact each of those units and the procedure for sale will depend on the dollar value.  The Board's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the sale of the voting equipment noted above by the upset bid procedure.

B.   The Board will consider the appropriation of $10,000, from the balance of the Parks/Historic Preservation Fund in the County budget, for the purpose of printing marketing items which will be sold to generate revenue for the Parks/Historic Preservation Fund.  In fiscal year 1999-2000 the Board set aside $500,000 to establish a fund to leverage grants for parks and historic preservation.  Revenue for this fund has also been generated from the sale of timber at Riverbend Park.  These funds have been used to match State grants for projects at Riverbend Park, Bakers Mountain Park, and Murray’s Mill.

To educate the general public about Riverbend and Bakers Mountain Parks and generate additional revenue for the Parks/Historic Preservation Fund, a marketing program is being developed. The program will initially include the publication of a new cookbook and the reprinting of a 1998 cookbook to create a two-volume set. The books will include recipes from County employees and contain information pages on the parks. This appropriation will provide funds for publishing, set-up fees, and other costs associated with the marketing program. It is anticipated that the net revenue will be approximately $9800.  The first cookbook, sold in 1998 and 2000, brought in approximately $7000.  The Board's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board appropriate $10,000 from the Parks/Historic Preservation Fund  balance for the purpose of printing marketing items to generate additional revenue for the same fund.

C.  The Board will consider a proposed budget revision to increase the current Finance Department budget by $70,000, to account for increased ambulance billing fees associated with increased ambulance collections received this fiscal year.
Catawba County contracts with EMS Management Systems & Consultants, Inc. to provide routine billing, bill processing and fee collection services for ambulance charges and account management.  The County pays EMS Management Systems & Consultants a monthly fee equal to 8% of net ambulance collections.  The County also pays fees to two collection agencies that work to collect delinquent accounts for the County.  The initial budget for ambulance fees for this fiscal year was set at $200,000, or 8% of anticipated revenues of $2,500,000.  Analyzing revenues collected to date, staff estimates that ambulance revenues will exceed $3,360,000, or $860,000 in excess of budgeted revenues.  Staff estimates expenses resulting from these additional revenues will be around $270,000, including EMS fees on current billings and fees paid for delinquent accounts.  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the budget revision.

D.  The Board will consider approving a resolution urging the North Carolina General Assembly to enact a $1 billion Clean Water Bond bill in the 2006 session.  If such a bond issue was passed by voters statewide, the $1 billion bond would fund construction and repair of urgently needed water, sewer and stormwater facilities.  A total of $4,295,705 from a similar 1998 Clean Water Bond was awarded to Catawba County as follows: $1,295,705 to provide municipal water service to the East Maiden Road and Clark's Creek areas, and $3,000,000 for sewer lines to serve Balls Creek Elementary and Bunker Hill High Schools, and surrounding areas.  County staff fully anticipates that Catawba County and its local governments will be eligible for funds allocated from such a bond. North Carolina and Catawba County’s continued prosperity depends on protecting the state’s water resources for current use and future generations. North Carolina is expected to grow by 3.5 million people, to exceed 12 million by the year 2030, placing further pressures on state and local water resources. North Carolina and Catawba County’s businesses, both traditional and emerging industries, depend on reliable supplies of clean water, reasonable utility costs and an attractive natural environment.   The Board's Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board approve a resolution urging the North Carolina General Assembly to enact a $1 billion Clean Water Bond bill in the 2006 session.

E.  The Board will consider adopting a resolution to join and support the Greater Hickory Metropolitan Planning Organization's and Unifour Planning Organization’s request that North Carolina Highway 150 be designated as a "Strategic Corridor" by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), from I-77 to the NC 16 Bypass.  NCDOT adopted the Strategic Highways Concept in September 2004.  The concept is an initiative to protect and maximize the mobility and connectivity of a core set of highway corridors throughout the state, while promoting environmental stewardship through maximizing the use of existing facilities to the extent possible, and fostering economic prosperity through the quick and efficient movement of people.  With 2003 Annual Average Daily Traffic counts of 35,000 vehicles per day in Mooresville, 29,000 vehicles per day where NC 150 and NC 27 merge in Lincolnton and 14,000 vehicles per day in Catawba County, NC 150 is a significant connector in the region and heavily influences the mobility of persons in Iredell, Lincoln and Catawba Counties.  The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board adopt a resolution supporting the designation of NC Highway 150 as a Strategic Highway Corridor.

F.  The Board will consider a resolution expressing the County’s support of State assumption of counties' share of Medicaid costs.  In February 2005, the Board adopted a resolution supporting the full phase-out of the County’s share of Medicaid funding. Relief from Medicaid funding is the Board's top legislative priority.  The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners has focused a great deal of effort on the dilemma of the Medicaid burden and has requested that all 100 North Carolina counties now adopt a resolution urging the North Carolina General Assembly to include County Medicaid relief when it adopts its budget for 2006-07 and designate $65 million of the State's $2.4 billion 2006-07 budget surplus for Medicaid relief.  Staff estimates that, in fiscal year 2006-2007, Catawba County will spend $7,500,000 or approximately 3.8% of its expenditures (7% of local revenues) for services to Medicaid eligible citizens.  North Carolina is the only state that requires its counties to pay a fixed percentage of the state’s Medicaid service costs.  While the $65 million currently being sought from the budget surplus will provide some relief for counties in 2006-07, State assumption of the counties’ share of Medicaid is the ultimate goal and the Board will recommend that efforts to that end should be continued.   Staff recommends the Board adopt a resolution urging the North Carolina General Assembly to designate $65 million of the $2.4 billion 2006-07 State budget surplus for County Medicaid relief, and urging the continued pursuit of full State assumption of the counties’ share of Medicaid.

G.  The Board will consider making changes to its meeting schedule for mid-June.  Due to conflicts that have arisen in Commissioners’ schedules, staff recommends the following changes in the Board of Commissioners meeting and subcommittee schedule:  1) the rescheduling of the Regular Board of Commissioners meeting of Monday, June 19, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. to Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 4:30 p.m. at the 1924 Courthouse in downtown Newton  The public hearing portion of the meeting, which includes a public hearing on the budget as well as a rezoning request, will follow departmental reports on the agenda to comply with the advertised time for the budget hearings.   The County Manager polled the Board regarding this change on Friday, May 26, 2006, so the necessary advertisements for the rezoning public hearing could be published on June 5, 2006. 2) the rescheduling of the Board's subcommittee meetings of June 12, 2006 at 8:30 a.m. to Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at 8:30 a.m. in Second Floor Conference Room of the Government Center in Newton

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS

BUDGET/CATAWBA COUNTY SCHOOLS

The Board will consider a request from the Catawba County Board of Education to appropriate funds from the Schools Capital Projects Fund Balance for a classroom addition and renovations at Bunker Hill High School, and approve an addendum to an agreement between the County and the Catawba County Schools related to the reimbursement of funds once the old St. Stephens Elementary property sells.  Bids have been received for a nine-classroom addition at Bunker Hill High School, with an alternate bid to add air conditioning to the gym.  The air conditioning bid would retrofit the gym with wall mounted, self-contained air conditioner units, saving considerable cost over the installation of traditional ductwork and air handlers.   The lowest bid received was $1,682,243.  $139,000 in County funds is available from planning funds for this project, so the request for additional funding is in the amount of $1,543,243.

In May of 2004, the County and Catawba County Schools entered into an agreement under which the County advanced the school system money to add on to and renovate St. Stephens High School, and the school system agreed to reimburse the County from the proceeds of the sale of the old St. Stephens Elementary property.  The Catawba County Board of Education is requesting the needed $1,543,243 as an advance from the Schools’ Capital Projects Fund Balance and agrees to reimburse the County from the sale of the real estate that housed the former St. Stephens Elementary School, in addition to the $3,100,000 the County School system currently owes the County from the St. Stephens High School renovation project. An addendum to the May 2004 contract between the County and Catawba County Schools has been prepared reflecting these requests and reimbursements.  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the appropriation of the $1,543,243 and the addendum to the 2004 agreement, as specified above.  

UTILITIES AND ENGINEERING
1.  The Board will consider 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, to address County-owned water and waste water utilities, to define the 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 recommends the Board adopt these proposed amendments as detailed above.

2.  The Board will consider adopting a budget revision in the amount of $484,524 for construction of the Balls Creek Elementary School and Bunker Hill High School sewer projects.  In July of 2001, Catawba County was awarded a State Clean Water Grant.  The primary focus in applying for the grant was to serve Balls Creek Elementary School with municipal sewer service.  In order to be eligible for the grant, the County had to include a residential component and show that residences with failed or failing septic systems would be served.  The area being served is located a few miles southeast of Newton, off Highway 16 and Mt. Olive Church Road.  Balls Creek Elementary School had a septic system repair in early 1998 to replace part of the original system, which was designed for 650 students.  Currently there are over 800 students at the school.  The repair has not worked well because the original septic tank is too small, resulting in insufficient storage space to allow for adequate rest for the new bed.  Poor soil structure that is not conducive to good water drainage often results in effluent sitting on top of ground.  
    
On April 12, 2006, the County received approval for State grant assistance in the amount of $3 million to provide funding for this project.  On May 15, 2006, the Board adopted two contracts with the City of Conover to provide sewer service to this area.  On May 18, 2006, the County received bids for the installation of approximately 15,728 linear feet of gravity sewer lines, a wastewater pump station, approximately 7,646 linear feet of force main sewer, and all related appurtenances.  

A total of five bids were received, ranging from $1,632,282 to $1,081,385.  Ronny Turner Construction Co., Inc., of Hickory, NC, is the lowest responsive bidder with a total bid amount of $1,081,385.  The project engineering firm, W.K. Dickson Engineering, also recommends the bid be awarded to Ronny Turner Construction Co. in the amount of $1,081,385. W.K. Dickson Engineering will perform construction administration and observation on the project for a fee of $159,420. The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the proposed budget revision in the amount of $484,524; accept by resolution the NC State Bond Grant for Wastewater Projects in the amount of $3 million for the construction of these projects; award by resolution the bid to construct this project, to Ronny Turner Construction Co., Inc. in the amount of $1,081,385; and approve W.K. Dickson Engineering to perform construction administration and observation in the amount of $159,420.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER    465-8464