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July 17, 2006
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
Monday, July 17, 2006
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 Budget Hearings with Departments on June 14 and 15, 2006 and the Regular meeting of June 15, 2006.

5.    Recognition of Special Guests.

6.    Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7.    Presentations.
Certificates of Commendation presented to Arthur E. Howison and Lawrence James Neuen as recipients of the President’s Volunteer Service Awards.
8.    Public Hearing.
Request to rezone two adjoining parcels in Mt. View Small Area Planning District from R-2 Residential district to the C-2 Commercial district.  Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Planning Director.
9.    Appointments.

10.    Consent Agenda.
a.    Sale of Surplus Voting Equipment by Upset Bid Procedure to San Patricio County, Texas.
b.    Work First County Plan 2007-2008 – Intention to pursue “Electing County Status” and recommended appointments to Planning Committee.
c.    Tax Refund Request.
11.    Departmental Reports.
a.    Economic Development Corporation: 
Proposed Incentives for Koehler/Baker Furniture.  Presented by Julie Pruett, Director, Non-Manufacturing Recruitment, Economic Development Corporation and Scott Millar, President, Economic Development Corporation.
b.    Utilities and Engineering:
Three Year Mandatory Update to 10-Year Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan.  Presented by Jack Chandler, Public Services Administrator.
c.   Planning:
Approval of Duke Power’s Catawba-Wateree Relicensing Final Agreement.  Presented by Mary George, Senior Planner.
12.    Other Items of business.
13.    Attorneys’ Report.

13.    Manager’s Report.

14.    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 http://www.catawbacountync.gov.

Due to the NACo Annual Conference scheduled for August 4-8, 2006, there will be only one Board of Commissioners Meeting in August, which is scheduled for Monday, August 21, 2006.  There will be an informational meeting regarding the County’s Revaluation Process at 6:00 p.m. on that date in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse, with the Regular Board of Commissioners meeting to follow at 7:00 p.m.

MONDAY, JULY 17, 2006, 7 P.M.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on a request to rezone two adjoining parcels totaling 3.18 acres, located on Bethel Church Road near the intersection of Highway 127 in the Mountain View Small Area Plan District, from the R-2 Residential District to the C-2 Commercial District; and consider authorizing the signing of a Duke Power Catawba-Wateree Relicensing Final Agreement, when the Board meets beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 17, 2006, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room on the second floor of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton. 

The Board will also consider proposed economic incentives for Kohler Company, which plans to invest more than $12 million in Catawba County to create a new distribution center for its Baker Furniture subsidiary in the former Corning Specialty Cable Plant in Hickory, creating 76 new jobs; hold a public meeting on a proposed three-year update to the County's ten-year Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan and allow time for citizen comment before the plan is considered for approval; consider approving the creation of a Work First Plan for Catawba County for Fiscal Years 2007-2009; and consider approving the sale of surplus voting equipment by the upset bid process and a tax refund request.   The Board will also recognize volunteers working with the Sheriff's Office who were recently presented with the President's Volunteer Service Award.

The Board will recognize Mr. Arthur E. Howison and Mr. Lawrence James Neuen, who were recently honored by President George W. Bush with the President's Volunteer Service Award for work with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office.  Mr. Howison was honored for 2540.5 hours of volunteer service to the Sheriff's Office in the past two years, while Mr. Neuen was honored for 4858 hours of volunteer service to the Sheriff's Office over the past three years.

The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of Ms. Rebecca W. Huffman and Mr. Randle Whitener to rezone two adjoining parcels (2.08 acres and 1.1 acres), located on Bethel Church Road at the intersection of Bethel Church Road and Highway 127 in the Mountain View 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.  Properties directly to the north are zoned C-2 and vacant.  Other properties to the north are zoned C-2 and in use by the Mtn. View Fire Department, a market and a restaurant.  Properties to the east on the south side of Bethel Church Road are zoned R-2 and developed with some housing.  Properties to the east on the north side of Bethel Church Road are zoned C-2.   Properties to the south are zoned R-2.  Properties to the west are zoned commercially and being used commercially. 

Bethel Church Road and Highway 127 are both designated as major thoroughfares by the Hickory-Newton-Conover Urban Area Transportation Plan.  Major thoroughfares are defined as primary traffic arteries of the urban area, designed to move traffic from city to city and within urban areas, therefore strip development and multiple driveway access is to be discouraged.  The Mountain View Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area.  It recommends a highway corridor along Highway 127 at the Bethel Church Road intersection, containing a mix of commercial, retail and office uses.  This rezoning request is in conformance with the current development pattern for this area. 

The Catawba County Planning Board conducted a public hearing on this request on June 26, 2006.  Several persons spoke in support of the request; no one spoke against it. The Planning Board concurred with the staff recommendation to support this rezoning request, based on the Mountain View Small Area Plan's recognizing this area as a future highway corridor district, and the commercial zoning and uses of the neighboring properties. 

A. The Board will consider a resolution declaring voting equipment as surplus and authorizing the sale of the equipment by the upset bid procedure.  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 that 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.  On
June 5, 2006, the Board approved the sale of 244 Hart eSlate tabulators to Knox County, Tennessee by upset bid.  Catawba County has now received an offer from San Patricio County, Texas to purchase 48 eSlates at $1,000 each, for a total sale of $48,000.  The offer from Knox County was $1,100 per unit, $100 per unit more than the offer from San Patricio County.  Catawba County staff is finding few additional jurisdictions interested in the tabulators and the County does not have many units left to sell.  Staff believes that, although the offer is lower, it is in the best interest of Catawba County to sell the equipment as quickly as possible to take advantage of the remaining interest.  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 a request from the Board of Social Services to apply to the State of North Carolina for another two year period of “Electing Status” for Catawba County’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (Work First) program, and appoint a committee to assist in developing the plan.  In 1996, Congress ended the national welfare program called Aid to Families with Dependent Children and allowed states to implement their own welfare reform.  The North Carolina General Assembly allowed counties to compete for “Electing County Status”, offering a limited number of counties the opportunity for greater control over local welfare policies and available funding.  Catawba County applied for “Electing Status” in 1998 and was not selected.  Because of staff concerns about the amount of funding that would be available from the State, the County did not apply again until 2004, when it was selected as an “Electing County” for fiscal years 2005-2007.

Social Services staff reports that Work First had a highly successful first year in Catawba County.  164 participants became employed and 62% of the cases were classified as “caregiver”.  Caregiver cases most often are grandchildren living with grandparents, or other relatives, where the normal Work First work requirements do not apply.  Many of these cases are known to the Child Welfare system.  332 Catawba County citizens were diverted from welfare dependency by the Work First staff’s intervention, and only six able-bodied citizens have received Work First for twelve months or longer. 

Information from the State of North Carolina indicates that the Chair of the Board of Commissioners must notify the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, by August 31, 2006, of a county’s interest in being either a Standard or Electing County.  General Statute 108A-27 requires County Commissioners to appoint a committee of local leaders to assist in the development of the county’s Work First Block Grant Plan.  Membership on that committee must include, but is not limited to, representatives of the Board of Social Services; Board of Public Health; local school systems; business community; Board of Commissioners; and Community-based organizations. Staff and the Board of Social Services feel the first year of Catawba County's electing status indicates the possibilities from such status, and that an additional two years of electing county status is appropriate. The Board of Commissioners' Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board inform the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services that Catawba County intends to pursue “Electing County Status”, and appoint members to serve on the planning committee. 

C.  The Board will consider a tax refund request totaling $772.69.  Records have been checked and this refund verified, so the Tax Collector recommends approval.  Under N.C. 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.


The Board will consider a proposed economic grant to the Kohler Company, parent corporation of Baker Furniture.  Kohler Co. has proposed to purchase the 344,000-square-foot former Corning Specialty Cable Facility located off McDonald Parkway in Hickory. The company plans to invest more than $12 million over the next three years, including the purchase of the building.   Baker Furniture will relocate its operations headquarters from Grand Rapids, Michigan and consolidate distribution centers into a single source distribution center in the former specialty cable plant. The company will invest $5,628,000 and create a minimum of 76 new positions in management, accounting, administration, transportation, programming and other functions.

North Carolina Governor Mike Easley has committed One North Carolina Fund incentives of $76,000 based on the creation of 76 new jobs.   The City of Hickory has agreed to provide an economic grant not to exceed $14,070 per year for five years, or $70,350.   The proposed County grant, based on the condition of a total investment of $12,328,000 including a minimum of $5,628,000 in new taxable investment and the creation of a minimum of 76 new jobs paying at or above Catawba County’s median average wage, would equal a maximum payment of $55,430 payable over a period of five years upon approval of a contract and the satisfaction of conditions of that contract and the payment of property taxes annually.  Since the ad valorem tax receipts on $5,628,000 will be $137,886 over five years, this investment will net a positive payback to the County immediately, similar to paybacks used to determine the County's grant involvement in other Catawba County projects.   The Catawba County Economic Development Corporation recommends the Board of Commissioners approve the proposed economic grant for Kohler Company.

The Board will consider adopting a mandatory 3-Year Update to the 10-Year Catawba County Solid Waste Management Plan after holding a public meeting and allowing for a public comment period.  On June 16, 1997, in accordance with North Carolina General Statute 130A-309.09A, the Board adopted a State mandated 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan. The purpose of the 3-year update, as well as the original Solid Waste Management Plan, is to meet local solid waste needs and document measurable progress made toward achieving both the local governmental waste reduction goal and the State's waste reduction goal.

The 3-year update must include the current status of the County's Solid Waste Management effort, determine needs, address goals and describe how goals will be achieved.  Planning elements considered include reduction, collection, recycling and reuse, composting and mulching, incineration, transfer outside geographic area, disposal, education with the community through the schools, special wastes, illegal disposal/litter, purchasing recycled products and disaster response.  A draft of the 3-year update and the full plan will be available for public review at the Main Branch of the Catawba County Library at 115 West C Street, Newton and the Catawba County Utilities and Engineering Department at the Government Center, at 100-A Southwest Boulevard in Newton, during normal operating hours from July 6-17, 2006.  The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board adopt the mandatory 3-Year Update to the 10-Year Catawba County Solid Waste Management Plan.

The Board will consider authorizing the signing of a Duke Power Catawba-Wateree Relicensing Final Agreement.  On April 3, 2006, the Board authorized County Commissioner Barbara Beatty and Senior Planner, Mary K. George, who were appointed as primary stakeholders for the County in the process of negotiating this agreement, to sign Duke Power’s Agreement-in-Principle (AIP), with minor reservations based on six areas of concern.  Since the signing of the AIP, County staff worked with Duke Power, State personnel and a Final Agreement Committee to address Catawba County’s six remaining key issues. 

The status of these issues is as follows:  1) Aquatic habitat flow below Oxford Dam.  Catawba County requested a minimum continuous flow of 450-500 cubic feet per second instead of 150 cubic feet per second below Oxford Dam. State staff reviewed the County’s request for mitigation, but there are no river sections in the county that meet the State’s mitigation criteria.  Since mitigation criteria is a function of the State, Duke Power has no control over this issue and it has not been resolved in the Final Agreement.  2) An additional Lake Hickory swim beach.  The County requested that a second swim beach on Lake Hickory be constructed and maintained by Duke Power.  Duke Power has agreed in the Final Agreement to construct and maintain a second beach on Lake Hickory in the 4th five-year period of the recreation schedule, at a location to be determined by Duke Power.  3) Mountain Creek property acquisition deadline.  The County requested that a Mountain Creek purchase option deadline of December 1, 2007 be deleted and that only an August 1, 2009 deadline for final acquisition remain, to allow Crescent Resources more time to obtain funding from grant sources.  The Final Agreement still includes the original deadlines but specifies that if Crescent Resources is a party to the Final Agreement, it will remain a willing seller of this property until August 1, 2009. Also, language was included to allow a justified extension for the final acquisition date.  4) Catawba gamelands.  The County requested a first right-of-refusal for gameland properties in Catawba County, to give the County an opportunity to secure funding from grant sources to purchase the gameland properties for future recreational opportunities.  The Final Agreement did not include this request.  However, Duke is providing $4 million to the State for the purchase of public recreation and gamelands and the County may request that the State support the acquisition of Catawba gamelands with this funding source.  5) Inconsistency with jurisdictional agencies. Duke included language in the AIP which would allow it to withdraw from the Final Agreement if a jurisdictional agency, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, requires additional flows as part of that agency’s mandatory conditions.  The County was concerned that this statement could undermine the entire Final Agreement which has been negotiated by over 150 stakeholders.  Duke has kept the withdrawal language in the Final Agreement; however, a multi-level process was developed, which includes arbitration before a party will be allowed to withdraw from the Final Agreement.  The Catawba-Wateree Relicensing Coalition and other stakeholders, including Catawba County, continue to support Duke's working with the jurisdictional agencies to reduce the risk of inconsistent actions which could lead to withdrawal.  6) Focus group for Island Point public recreation site.  Due to concerns from residents in the Island Point Road area over a commercial recreation site identified in the AIP, a request was made to Duke to establish a focus group to provide citizen input on the amenities and site design for the access area.  The Final Agreement includes language for such a workgroup to be established by Duke Power and Catawba County.

Staff and the Board's Policy & Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board authorize the signing of the Final Agreement subject to the following qualifications:  1) with the provision that Crescent Resources, LLC will be a signing party in order to ensure the sale and financial support for the Mountain Creek tract; and 2) that the technically-corrected signature copy of the Final Agreement provided by Duke Power in mid-July will not substantially deviate from the signature copy of the Final Agreement provided on June 8, 2006.


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