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June 6, 2005

AGENDA 

Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
Monday, June 6, 2005, 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 Board’s Regular Meeting of May 16, 2005.

5.    Recognition of Special Guests.

6.    Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7.    Presentations:
a.    Distinguished Public Service Award presented to Dr. Ann Y. Hart, Superintendent, Catawba County Schools.
b.    Catawba County Drug Treatment Court presentation by Reva Cook, Drug Treatment Court Coordinator.
8.    Appointments.

9.    Consent Agenda:
a.    Two tax refunds totaling $108,487.04 (Alcatel and Gordon L. Fox).

b.    Donation of Vehicles to Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare.

c.    Electronic Citation Security Agreement.  

d.    Wellness Budget Revision.

e.    Adoption of Project Budget Ordinance Amendment for the 2005 North Carolina Housing Finance Agency Urgent Repair Grant, the Western Piedmont Council of Governments Administrative Agreement and authorization of Board of Commissioners Chair to sign funding agreement.

f.    Supplemental appropriation for Training under Homeland Security.

g.    Preferred Alternates for the Gregory Wood Products Sewer Line Project.

h.    Catawba County Co-Generation Facility’s Renewable Energy Credits Update and Contract Amendment.

10.    Departmental Reports:

a.    Emergency Services:
Implementation of Home Quarantine Fee for Monitoring Bite Animals and Assurance of Compliance with Quarantine Order under Limited Circumstances.  Presented by David Weldon, Director of Emergency Services.
b.    Utilities and Engineering:
1.    Landfill Alternative Site Study Update.  Presented by Barry Edwards, P.E., Utilities & Engineering Director.

2.    Road Closing and Maintenance Abandonment of a portion of Wilfong Road (SR-2020).  Presented by Barry Edwards, P.E., Utilities and Engineering Director.

3.    GDS Rate Change.  Presented by Barry Edwards, P.E., Utilities and Engineering Director.
c.    Finance:
2005 General Obligation Bond Refunding.  Presented by Rodney Miller, Finance Director.
11.    Attorneys’ Report.

12.    Manager’s Report.

13.    Other items of business.

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
Budget Hearings with Departments will be held on Monday, June 13, 2005 and Budget Public Hearings and Wrap Up will be on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 at 7:00 p.m.  The Board will hold a joint meeting with Newton, Conover and Maiden Councils in the Council Chambers of Conover City Hall from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on June 20, 2005 and their regular meeting and budget adoption will follow in the 1924 Courthouse at 7:00 p.m.  

       

PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2005,  9:30 A.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider setting a quarantining fee for the in-home monitoring of an animal that has been involved in a biting incident, provided the bite was to a person living at the same residence, the animal’s rabies vaccinations are current and the bite occurred on the owner’s property; consider a request from Garbage Disposal Service for a 3.3% fee increase for commercial, industrial and residential customers (the increase for residential customers would be forty cents per month), which would be GDS's first fee increase since July 1, 2001; and the re-financing of up to $17.5 million in County debt which is expected to result in savings of $500,000 over the next ten years, when the Board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, June 6, 2005, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.
 
The Board will also consider donating two vans owned by Mental Health Services to Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare, one of the new agencies created by the State's mental health reform initiative; an agreement with the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to use a new E-Citation system so Catawba County sheriff's deputies may issue citations directly from laptop computers by a printer and transmit the citation ticket information to the AOC computer system in Raleigh; the sale of renewable energy credits resulting from energy produced by the burning of methane at the Blackburn Landfill; a revision to the County's budget to appropriate an award from the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners to be used to continue a plan to promote and improve the wellness of County employees; a budget and administrative agreement with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments for the use of State grant funds to make urgent repairs to approximately fifteen homes owned by low-income persons; an appropriation of funds, which would be reimbursed to the County through a State grant, for homeland security training; the designation of a County staff member to conduct an open meeting on a preferred alternate for a sewer line project to serve the Gregory Wood Products facility, to make that sewer line compatible with the City of Newton system that will serve the line; an update to the County's Landfill Alternative Site Study, to reflect the County's purchase of land adjacent to the existing Blackburn Landfill since the study was first done in 2002; a proposed resolution asking the North Carolina Department of Transportation to close a portion of Wilfong Road which runs entirely through Blackburn Landfill property; and a set of tax refunds.

The Board will also issue a Distinguished Public Service Award to Catawba County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Ann Hart, who will become superintendent of the Chatham County, North Carolina School System on July 1; and hear a presentation on the operation of the Drug Treatment Court in Catawba County.

PRESENTATIONS
A.  The Board will hear a report from Reva Cook, coordinator of the Catawba County Drug Treatment Court.  The court is a recovery program for persons convicted of drug and alcohol related offenses that includes case management, probation supervision, treatment, court appearances every two weeks, attendance in Alcoholics Anonymous and similar programs, and mandatory employment or enrollment in an educational program.   The court was first held in Catawba County in 2002 for thirteen persons convicted of DWI.  It was expanded in 2003 to include persons with other chemical dependencies and, in 2004, served 42 persons with a retention rate of 86%.   There have been no re-arrests of any graduate of the program.

B.  The Board will present a Distinguished Public Service Award to Dr. Ann Y. Hart, who has served as Superintendent of the Catawba County School System since 2000 and will become the superintendent of the Chatham County, NC system on July 1.  Dr. Hart will be recognized for a career in public education that has spanned 31 years.  During her tenure, the Catawba County School System has improved curriculum offerings, achieved higher standings in ABC and AYP ratings, grown and strengthened its Parenting Education Program and, in the 2003-04 school year, had 24 of its 25 schools named Honor Schools of Excellence, Schools of Excellence and Schools of Distinction in North Carolina ABC ratings system.

CONSENT AGENDA
A.   The Board will consider two tax refund requests totaling $108,487.04.  Records have been checked and these refunds verified, so the Tax Collector recommends approval.  Under North Carolina 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.

B.  The Board will consider the donation of two 2005 Dodge wheelchair vans owned by Catawba County Mental Health Services to Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare (CVBH).  With the creation of CVBH as part of the State's mental health reform initiative, all vehicles owned by Mental Health were transferred to CVBH.  During this period, LifeSkills had one vehicle scheduled for replacement while a second vehicle was damaged in an automobile accident.  Two new 2005 wheelchair vans were bid and recently delivered.  Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare is now operating the LifeSkills program and the titles to the vehicles should be transferred to that agency.  North Carolina General Statute 160A-279 allows a county to 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 that the local government publish a notice summarizing the proposed donation, and the donation may not be concluded until at least ten days after the publication of the notice.  The Board's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the donation of the two vans.

C.  The Board will consider entering into an interagency agreement with the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to implement the E-Citation system, designed to automate and integrate information entered by personnel in clerks’ offices, magistrates offices and sheriffs’ offices statewide, eliminating the need for information to be re-entered into different systems.  The AOC's Technology Service Division has implemented the E-Citation system with the Highway Patrol and numerous other agencies across North Carolina for the purpose of providing data to the AOC.  This system allows law enforcement officers to use existing laptops with specialized interface software to submit traffic citations directly to the AOC through the Criminal Justice Information Network system and access N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles information files.  Officers will be able to issue citations directly from laptop computers through a printer, and transmit the citation information to the AOC computer system in Raleigh. This system will eliminate the need for the citation and court date information to be re-entered by the Clerk of Court.  The system is being offered to the County at no charge because the Sheriff's Office would be among those providing data to the AOC.  The AOC is supplying initial participants with free in-car printers. The Sheriff’s Office currently has ten laptops with necessary interface software to access the system and anticipates receiving ten printers, which would be sufficient for all officers who write tickets on a daily basis.  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the agreement.

D.   The Board will consider appropriating $10,000 awarded by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) to continue a program to promote and improve wellness among County employees.  In January 2003, the County received a $10,000 grant from the NCACC to implement a wellness/fitness program for paramedics.  The goal of the program was to enhance the physical agility of emergency medical response employees; reduce the incidence of worker's compensation claims and lost time; reduce sick leave use; and promote physical well-being. The program began with thirty volunteers and, after the first twelve months, 47% showed a decrease in body fat percentage; 76% increased strength and flexibility; 53% increased cardiovascular conditioning and 52% increased endurance.  The program is now open to any EMS employee.  It was named North Carolina's Most Innovative and Effective Risk Control Program by the NCACC in 2004, and the success of the concept led to creation of a separate program called Wellbucks to promote wellness among all County employees.  The $10,000 which came with that NCACC award would be used to fund this program.  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board appropriate these funds for the wellness program.

E.  The Board will consider adopting a budget for projects that will be funded by a 2005 North Carolina Housing Finance Agency Urgent Repair Grant awarded to the County, and an agreement with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) for administration of the grant.  This program makes repairs to unsafe or life threatening conditions in the homes of persons with either very low or low household income, mostly aged 62 and older and those with disabilities.  On April 18, 2005, the Board  approved acceptance of the grant in the amount of $50,000.  The WPCOG will administer the grant program for $7000.  The remaining $43,000 will be used for rehabilitation of urgent needs such as leaking roofs and non-functional heating units.  The grant is expected to fund urgent repairs to fifteen homes scattered across Catawba County, including all municipalities except for the City of Hickory, which was awarded a separate $50,000 Urgent Repair Grant for houses within the city limits of Hickory.  The Finance & Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the project budget and agreement with the WPCOG for program administration.

F.  The Board will consider appropriating $3981.66, which will be reimbursed by a Federal Homeland Security grant, for training.  The County has been awarded funds for training of personnel in areas related to bioterrorism or events where weapons of mass destruction were used.  The Emergency Services Steering Committee received a request from the Claremont Rescue Squad to allow three members of its structural collapse team to attend a NASA-sponsored structural collapse class in California.  These rescue squad members will have key roles on the County’s specialty rescue team.  Since the knowledge they learn in the class will be shared with others on the specialty rescue team, the Steering Committee approved the request.  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve this appropriation.

G.  The Board will consider delegating authority to Mr. Jack Chandler, County Public Services Administrator, to conduct an open meeting concerning preferred alternates for a sewer line and pump station to serve the new Gregory Wood Products facility.  North Carolina General Statute §133-3 provides for free and open competition on public contracts. It states that if a governing body approving a project such as this prefers a particular brand, product or material, the product shall be bid as an alternate to the base bid, one of which may be the preferred brand.   Only one product is being considered as a preferred alternate on this project, Flygt Pumps. The City of Newton, which will provide water and sewer service to this project, uses Flygt Pumps for all but one of its pump stations and prefers these pumps for this project because it will simplify operation and maintenance.  Any preferred alternate must be discussed at an open meeting. The County's intent is to discuss preferred alternates at a pre-bid conference not yet scheduled.  The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board delegate authority to Mr. Chandler to conduct the open meeting concerning the preferred alternate.

H.  The Board will consider approving an amendment to the County's Green Certificate Purchase and Sale Agreement with Three Phase Energy Services, LLC.  On August 2, 2004, the Board approved the marketing and sale of Green Certificate Credits by Three Phase Energy Services.  A Green Certificate Credit is similar to stock and can be traded or sold in the renewable energy attributes market.  The credit is sold or purchased for a given length of time and the seller has no control of the trading during the “sold” period.  In 2004, Three Phase Energy agreed to purchase credits from Catawba County at $1.45 per megawatt hour (MwH). Three Phase Energy has purchased 20,750 MwH to date, equating to $30,087 revenue for the County.  Catawba County’s Co-Generation Facility, which extracts methane gas from buried landfill waste and burns it to generate electricity, presently produces 16,300 megawatt hours per year.  The proposed amendment would call for Three Phase Energy Services to purchase Green Certificate Credits from Catawba County for $1.45 per megawatt hour through 2008. The Board's Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the amendment.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS

A.  EMERGENCY SERVICES
The Board will consider approving a home quarantine fee of $60 per animal, for the monitoring of an animal that has been involved in a biting incident, so long as the animal satisfies criteria set forth by state statutes and the County.  Under North Carolina General Statute 130A-196, a county health director has the authority to allow an owner to confine a bite animal on the owner’s property, for a period of ten days, under the following conditions: provided the bite was to a person living at the same residence, and the animal’s rabies vaccinations are current, and the bite occurs on the owner’s property. 

The Catawba County Health Director and Animal Services Manager are also recommending these additional qualifications for home quarantine:  1) that the animal shall be kept inside the residence at all times during the quarantine period, except for the need to eliminate waste.  When outside for elimination purposes, it shall be in a muzzled leash and under the control of the owner at all times, with no human or animal contact; 2) the pet owner shall allow Catawba County Animal Control officers to enter the property unannounced in order to assure compliance with the quarantine order; 3) the pet owner shall immediately notify Catawba County Animal Control and Catawba County Public Health if the pet owner observes the animal showing any of the following behaviors: aggressiveness, restlessness, increased salivation, muscle tremors, loss of balance and/or lack of coordination, and/or disappearance or death.  4) the quarantined animal shall not be allowed to come into contact with any other animal, inside or outside the residence; 5) the pet owner shall pre-pay Catawba County Animal Care & Control the designated fee of $60 to cover related expenses for monitoring the animal during the quarantine period; and 6) if an Animal Control Officer finds the owner to be noncompliant with the above restrictions, the animal will be retrieved and the quarantine period will be completed in the animal shelter. The owner will then be responsible for any and all additional fees related to the quarantine being completed at the animal shelter.

Catawba County Health Director, Doug Urland, has given a limited delegation of authority to permit a home quarantine under the above conditions to the County's Animal Services Manager.  The Animal Services Manager must send immediate notification to the Health Director after each occurrence of home quarantine.  The proposed fee is based on the average amount of miles traveled per call by animal control officers who will enforce these conditions, their time related to compliance of the order, and expenses associated with this new program of enforcement.  The current animal impoundment fee at the animal shelter, which includes quarantine, is $50 plus an $8 per day board fee paid by the owner if they reclaim the animal.  The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the implementation of the Home Quarantine Fee under the above specified conditions.

B.  UTILITIES AND ENGINEERING
1.  The Board will consider an update to a Landfill Alternative Site Study, prepared by Camp, Dresser and McKee and approved by the Board on November 14, 2002, which would apply the same analysis criteria used to prepare the original site analysis.  On September 16, 2002, the Board approved a contract with Camp, Dresser and McKee to complete a countywide Alternative Landfill Site Study.  At that time, the County was in the process of planning for additional landfill capacity, had acquired land adjacent to the Blackburn Landfill, and was considering additional property acquisitions as recommended in the County's Solid Waste Master Plan.  North Carolina General Statute 153A-136 [c], requires that, before undertaking such expansion, the Board must first consider alternative sites. The objective of the study was to identify and select alternative landfill sites; evaluate and compare those sites with the proposed expansion at the existing Blackburn Landfill; and recommend a single site on which to move forward with the permitting process.

The Board adopted four criteria which the selected engineering firm would use to evaluate alternative landfill sites: 1) the site shall be at least 600 acres in size and shall be made of not more than three contiguous parcels; 2) the site shall be as accessible as the existing Blackburn Landfill; 3) the site must provide at least 25 years of landfill capacity; and 4) the cost to acquire the site and operate a landfill on such site must be comparable to expansion at the Blackburn Landfill.  The 2002 Alternative Site Study recommended the proposed Blackburn Landfill Expansion Site as the preferred site for the County to proceed with the permitting process. Since the 2002 Alternative Landfill Site Study was approved, the County has acquired the former Knox, Hefner, and Xiong properties adjacent to the Blackburn Landfill property, requiring that the Alternative Site Study be updated.  Staff recommends the County apply the same criteria employed in the 2002 study, in accordance with North Carolina General Statutes.  The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the update of the 2002 study by Camp, Dresser and McKee, applying the same analysis criteria.

2.   The Board will consider a resolution to petition the North Carolina Department of Transportation to abandon the maintenance of a portion of Wilfong Road (State Road 2020), running 5250 feet south from its intersection with Rocky Ford Road (State Road 2019).  This portion of Wilfong Road dissects the Blackburn landfill property. The County’s Solid Waste Master Plan recommends the closing of this portion of Wilfong Road.  Under North Carolina General Statute 136-63, the Board of Commissioners may, on its own motion or on petition of a group of citizens, request that the N.C. 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 Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the resolution.

3.  The Board will consider a proposal for a fee increase from Republic Services of NC, LLC (doing business in Catawba County as Garbage Disposal Service, or GDS).   On October 6, 2003, the Board granted an exclusive contract for solid waste management and disposal services for all unincorporated areas of Catawba County to Republic Services of NC,  from July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2014.  The contract stipulates that, in January of each year, GDS and County officials will meet to review current fees and determine whether fee changes are appropriate.  Any suggested changes must be presented to the Board of Commissioners for consideration.  No such changes shall become effective except on approval by the Board, and shall not become effective until the following July 1. 

Republic Services of NC is requesting a rate increase of 3.3% for commercial, industrial, and residential customers in Catawba County and a 3.3% fee increase in operations of the County's convenience centers.  GDS has not had a fee increase since July 2001 and has experienced operational cost increases of 73% for fuels; 43% in steel prices, which effect vehicle costs, container costs, etc; 6% in parts and materials for truck repairs; and 135% in health insurance costs.  The Consumer Price Index has increased 8.1% since July 2001.  The increase for residential customers would be 40 cents a month, a 2.65% increase for residential customers who recycle and a 1.96% increase for residential non-recyclers.  The Board's Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the proposed fee increase, effective July 1, 2005.

FINANCE
The Board will consider a resolution providing for the issuance of up to $17.5 million in General Obligation Re-funding Bonds to take advantage of current interest rates, which is expected to save the County $500,000 over the next ten years.  On March 21, 2005, the Board authorized the issuance of the bonds, provided interest rates moved to a level where the County would have a 3% net present value savings from the refinancing, one of the State's requirements for issuing these bonds.  On May 18, 2005, market conditions improved to allow for the 3% savings and County Finance Director Rodney Miller notified the Local Government Commission of the County's intent to move forward with the issuance.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER    465-8464