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August 15, 2005


Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
Monday, August 15, 2005
Council Chambers, Claremont City Hall
3288 E. Main Street, Claremont, NC



1.    Call to Order.

2.    Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

3.    Invocation.

4.    Approval of the Minutes from the Regular Meeting of August 1, 2005.

5.    Recognition of Special Guests.

6.    Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7.    Presentation:
The Board of Commissioners Performance Report on Goals for FY 2005.  Presented by Chair Kitty Barnes.
8.    Public Hearing:
Rezoning request for a 4.33 acre parcel of land in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, Mountain Creek Township (Parcel ID 3686-11-75-0676) from R-2 Residential District to C-2 Commercial District.  Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Planning Director.
9.    Appointments.
a.  Tax Assessor
10.    Consent Agenda:
a.   Tax Refund Requests – Ronald Ned Whitener Heirs and Lifeline Electric, Inc.
b.   Establishment of a Rabies Pre/Post Exposure Vaccine Fee identified as Rabivert
11.    Departmental Reports.
a.    Public Health:
School Health Nurse Expansion.  Presented by Doug Urland, Public Health Director.
b.  Utilities and Engineering:
Duke Energy Easement on Bakers Mountain. Presented Jack I. Chandler, Public Services Administrator,  Utilities and Engineering.
c.    Finance:
Sale of Surplus Property.  Presented by Rodney Miller, Finance Director.
12.    Attorneys’ Report.

13.    Manager’s Report.

14.    Other items of business.

15.    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

The next Board of Commissioners meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 6, 2005 at 9:30 a.m. and on Monday, September 19, 2005 the Board will meet jointly with Hickory, Brookford and Longview Councils in the Hickory Council Chambers from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. with their regular meeting in the Hickory Council Chambers at 7:00 p.m.

AUGUST 15, 2005, 7 P.M.


The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on a request to rezone a 4.33 acre parcel at 5718 Highway 150 East in the Sherrills Ford Small Area from R-2 Residential to C-2 Commercial; and consider appropriating funds from Catawba Valley Medical Center to the Health Department budget to fund five new school nurses, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, August 15, 2005, at the Claremont City Council Chambers at Claremont City Hall, located at 3301 East Main Street in Claremont, North Carolina.

The Board will also give a report on the status of the Board's goals for fiscal year 2004-2005; consider setting a fee for the Health Department for distribution of the Rabivert pre- and post-exposure rabies vaccine, since the Imovax vaccine the Health Department had been using is at least temporarily unavailable; the proposed sale of a 0.08 acre parcel of surplus County property; the granting of a 20 foot wide easement across County-owned property on Baker's Mountain to allow for the installation of an electrical distribution line for use with a water storage tank that is part of the Advent Crossroads water line project; and two tax refund requests.

Board Chair Kitty Barnes will present a report on the status of the Board's four goals for fiscal year 2004-2005 (given here in summary).  The first was to provide support for targeted recruitment of manufacturing and non-manufacturing business and industry, emphasizing quality job creation and diversified tax base growth, and to provide opportunities for the retention of current Catawba County job providers.  This includes providing an environment conducive for long-term economic growth; and the County's continuing to be the largest supporter of the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation, working to implement recommendations suggested by the FORESIGHT Committee, and continuing to support the Hickory Metro Higher Education Center.  Chair Barnes will report on the Board's work session in April to discuss the FORESIGHT report on Jobs and Business Creation, during which the Board was updated on important transportation projects and the addition of all-jet service in and out of Hickory Regional Airport; discussed a proposed "most favored businesses" concept; and identified industries to be targeted.  The Board continues to support 51.5% of the overall funding of the Economic Development Corporation, which worked on projects throughout the County that created more than 755 jobs and brought over $26,850,000 in new investment to the County during 2005, following up on commitments totaling over $242 million, with 779 new jobs, in 2004.  The Board's June 2005 joint meeting with the Conover, Maiden and Newton city councils included discussion of a proposed multi-jurisdictional business park, with the Board directing County staff to create a task force to study this concept and investigate the County’s options.  And the Board has continued to support the Hickory Metro Higher Education Center, which currently has approximately 500 students enrolled in allied health, business, education and engineering programs.
The Board second goal for fiscal year 2004-2005 was to adopt new zoning and subdivision regulations through a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) which reflects the county's small area plans.   Chair Barnes will report that progress has been made toward that goal.  Phase I of development of a UDO began in September 2003 when the County contracted with Freilich, Leitner & Carlisle to complete an overall assessment of the County’s Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance and related land development regulations, and conduct interviews to determine the public’s perception of the County’s land use regulations.  A list of 222 points resulted from the key issues raised by interviewees.  The next step was an examination of each of the four adopted small area plans to determine if the objectives, principles and recommendations of each were compatible with the County’s current land use regulations.  The last step in Phase I was to produce a report which provided a detailed plan to create a well thought-out and synchronized UDO, and produce a skeletal outline of the UDO concepts.  Phase II began in March 2004, when the County amended its contract with Freilich, Leitner & Carlisle to include the drafting and development of the UDO.  Completion of an initial draft is currently scheduled for August 2005, with a presentation to the Board of an initial draft outline for a UDO scheduled for September 2005, and a series of stakeholder and small area plan meetings to be held between October and December 2005.  Following another review by the Board in January 2006, a general public review session could be held later in that month, followed by workshops on the UDO by the Catawba County Planning Board and Board of Commissioners in the spring of 2006.  If this time line is followed, the Planning Board could hold a public hearing on a final UDO in April or May of 2006, with the Board of Commissioners possibly holding a public hearing in June or July of 2006.        
The Board's third goal was to continue to develop and foster strong intergovernmental relationships with municipal, board of education, state and federal, and regional elected officials and the business community.  Chair Barnes will report on the Board's joint meetings with municipal councils (June 20, 2005 with Newton, Conover and Maiden; August 15, 2005 with Claremont and Catawba; and September 19, 2005 with Hickory, Brookford and Long View) to focus on common issues and encourage communications and cooperation among the entities. Two joint meetings were held by the Board and the three public boards of education in Catawba County, on January 4, 2005 and on March 2, 2005 (including Chamber of Commerce representatives), to discuss educational recommendations of the FORESIGHT Report.  A February 4, 2005 meeting was held by Board members with Margaret Klutz, State Director, and Graham Fields, Western Regional Representative of the office of Senator Elizabeth Dole to discuss items the Board included on this year's Federal Legislative Agenda, and Board members traveled to Washington, DC in March 2005 to present the County’s Federal legislative priorities to the local delegation to the U.S. Congress.  Two of the three top priorities of the Board, Medicaid relief and the expansion of revenue options for counties, were included among the three top legislative priorities of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.  In an effort to increase Catawba County’s representation on State boards and commissions, the Board reviewed all State boards, committees and commissions, and set a goal to add 10 Catawba County residents to statewide boards and commissions by 2010.   The Board identified 13 boards on which  they would focus in seeking these appointments.  The Board also continues to actively participate in meetings with local government managers and elected officials of the Unifour region.

The Board's fourth goal was to develop a public information theme regarding customer service and a rewards and recognition system to honor departments and individuals who demonstrate exemplary customer service.  The Board has continued its commitment to providing good customer service to citizens.  The County's Public Information Office distributed a series of news releases, newspaper columns and radio programs which focus on the County's commitment to customer service, including: positive comments from across the community on the customer service of the new Family NET program of the County's Mental Health Services and Department of Social Services; the work of the Department of Utilities and Engineering to improve customer service in the Building Services Division by seeking local erosion and sedimentation control plan review as requested by the county's development community; the Public Health's Department's work to find as much flu vaccine as possible in the wake of a national shortage and make sure citizens at highest risk received the vaccine; the work of the Tax Office to seek information from the public at the start of the 2007 property revaluation cycle; the work of Emergency Services staff to do everything possible to bring local, State and Federal aid to people living on the Catawba River who suffered from serious flooding after the remnants of hurricanes passed through; and the creation of new citizen-friendly internet pages for the Building Services Division, and for children and parents.

At the majority of its meetings, the Board has presented awards and commendations to County employees for exemplary service to the citizens of Catawba County.  It budgeted and supported the recognition of outstanding customer service through department rewards such as gift certificates and movie tickets.  From July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2005, over 525 employees were recognized for outstanding customer service.  The Board has supported and applauded the implementation and increased frequency of Household Hazardous Waste collection events.  Citizens are now given the opportunity two times per year to depose of hazardous waste and electronics at organized and efficient collection events.  In an effort to provide a higher level of customer service to citizens and the building community, the Board adopted a local erosion and sedimentation control ordinance to improve the support and response time citizens and builders  receive when an erosion and sedimentation control plan is required.  The budgeted implementation of a "Mobile Highway" project will also improve building services.  This project allows building services officials to work from their vehicles via laptop computers, and will increase their time in the field performing approximately thirty more inspections per day and allow them to provide inspection results more quickly to contractors and owners.  The Board appropriated funds to digitize deeds and recorded instruments for access via the Internet so that, by the end of 2005, citizens, the building community and real estate professionals can view deeds back to 1993 without having to go to the Register of Deeds office.  An expansion to the Animal Shelter will provide a more customer-friendly environment for citizens who visit the shelter with an interest in adopting animals, by moving more aggressive, less adoptable animals to a different location.  The expansion will provide space for an additional 40-60 animals, and allow the shelter to hold animals longer to give them a better chance of being adopted.

A.  The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of Ms. Martha Laney and Ms. Beatrice Buff to rezone a 4.33 acre parcel, located in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District at 5718 Highway 150 East, from the R-2 Residential District to the C-2 Commercial District.  The C-2 Commercial District is intended to provide land for the provision of convenience shops, specialty retail goods, and business and personal services to the traveling public and the residents of neighborhoods.  This property is located in the State’s WS-IV Protected Watershed, which limits the amount of land allowed for development when more than one-acre of land is proposed for development.  State regulations allow up to 24% built-upon area with curb and gutter, or 36% built-upon area without curb and gutter.    This parcel is surrounded almost entirety by other C-2 zoned property, in an extensive commercial district that extends to the east and west along Highway 150 and to the north and south along Highway 16.  The intersection of Highway 150 and Highway 16 is located 900 feet to the west and contains a variety of businesses. Land outside of this corridor is zoned R-2 Residential.  

Highway 150 is designated as a minor arterial which, in conjunction with principal arterial system, 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 recommends this parcel and the surrounding land  develop as a Regional Commercial/Mixed Use District, designed to provide a mixture of uses, such as commercial, office-institutional and multi-family, to serve the needs of a population service district of 40,000 – 50,000 people within a 20-30 minute drive.  Staff recommended the rezoning be approved, based on 1) the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan's recommending this area as a commercial district; 2) the zoning districts and land uses of the surrounding properties; 3) the intent of the C-2 Commercial District and 4) access to public water.  The Catawba County Planning Board conducted a public hearing on this request on July 25, 2005.  Ms Laney spoke in favor of the request and no one spoke against it.  The Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of the rezoning.

A.  The Board will consider two tax refund requests totaling $776.99.  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 a request from the Catawba County Board of Health to establish a fee for Health Department distribution of a rabies pre/post-exposure vaccine fee called Rabivert.  The Catawba County Public Health Department previously offered a rabies pre/post-exposure vaccine called Imovax, at a rate of $162.  The last time the Health Department attempted to order Imovax from its manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, the department was told it was currently not available.  In order to provide citizens with an alternative and insure a rabies pre/post-exposure vaccine is available if needed, the Health Department is requesting the establishment of an additional fee rate for Rabivert.  The fee for providing the Rabivert vaccine will be $210 per injection, based on the actual vaccine cost and related administrative costs for the Health Department.  The Health Department will continue to include the $162 fee for Imovax and anticipates that Imovax will be available again in the future.  The Board of Commissioners' Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the full Board approve the establishment of a fee for the distribution of Rabivert at a rate of $210 per injection.


The Board will consider a request from the Catawba County Board of Health to approve an increase in the Health Department's revenue and expenditure lines within the 2004-2005 Catawba County budget, in the amount of $266,500.  These funds are being provided by Catawba Valley Medical Center for the establishment of five new school nurse positions, one for the Newton Conover City Schools and four for the Catawba County Schools.  Every day, 23,822 children attend public school in Catawba County.  For children to succeed in school, they must be able to learn.  Unfortunately, more and more children are identified whose health issues are adversely affecting their ability to excel in school.

In recognition of the enormous health needs of school age children and the linkages between health and academic success, Catawba Valley Medical Center is allocating funds to partner with the Health Department for these five new school nurse positions to provide services to the Catawba County Schools and Newton Conover Schools.  In its September 2004 report, the FORESIGHT Committee suggested the addition of four public health nurses to decrease the school nurse to student ratio to fewer than 1 to 2000 students, and served as a catalyst to engage the partnership with Catawba Valley Medical Center to meet the strategy of decreasing the school nurse to student ratio.  Since 2001, the School Health program has grown tremendously, from five to nine school nurses.  This growth has allowed more targeted services to middle and high schools over the last two years, but there are still not enough school nurses to adequately address the health needs of the 23,822 students in Catawba County (a nurse to student ratio of 1 to 2382) and meet the nationally recommended school nurse to student ratio of 1 to 750. Funding five additional nurses would reduce the school nurse to student ratio to 1 to 1621.  

As a result of the addition of the five school nurses, the Health Department will significantly change some of its goals for fiscal year 2004-2005.  The percentage of children screened and identified for vision problems will increase from 45% to 90%; the percentage of children with acute medical conditions receiving appropriate care, after being referred by the school nurse, will increase from 80% to 95%; the percentage of children identified by the school nurse as not meeting the State's immunization requirement, and then immunized to meet those requirements, will increase from 80% to 95% and whereas all kindergarten children now have an Individual Health Plan and 50% of the Hickory Public School system's 5th graders are screened for Body Mass Index (BMI), the increase in school nurses will result in all children having an Individual Health Plan and 50% of 5th graders in all three school systems being screened for BMI.  The Finance and Personal Subcommittee recommends the Board approve this increase in the Health Department budget.

The Board will consider granting a 20-foot wide easement to Duke Energy, across County-owned property on Baker's Mountain, for the installation and maintenance of a new underground electrical power distribution line.  The Advent Crossroads water line project included the location of a water storage tank on County-owned property adjacent to Baker's Mountain Park.  In order for Duke Energy to provide needed electrical power to the tank, a new electrical distribution line must be installed from Duke’s existing lines at the top of Baker's Mountain.  The County must grant an easement to Duke Energy for this electrical distribution line.   Duke Energy will locate the power lines along a gravel access road which leads from the water storage tank to the top of the mountain. The Board's Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the full Board grant a 20-foot wide easement to Duke Energy for installation and maintenance of a new underground electrical power distribution line.

The Board will consider declaring a 0.08 acre parcel of real property, located at 445 3rd Street, SW, Hickory and owned by the County, to be surplus and authorize it be sold using the upset bid process.  The tax value of this property is $1,400. As a result of a judgment issued against the former property owner, Catawba County obtained this parcel in January 2001 at a cost of $759.32 plus $116.73 in taxes owed on the property.  Catawba County does not have any use for this property at the present time or the foreseeable future.
Mr. Richard Lee Giles has made an offer to purchase this property for $1,450 and has submitted a bid deposit of $75, which is 5% of the offer.  North Carolina General Statute 160A-269 authorizes the sale of real property via the negotiated offer and upset bid process, which begins when the County receives an offer to purchase the property and it is reported to the Board of Commissioners.  The person submitting the offer is required to submit a bid deposit in the amount of 5 percent of the bid.  If the Board agrees to accept the offer, the upset bid procedure begins.  After the Board has acted, a notice is published in a local newspaper.  The statute requires that upset bids may be received within ten days from the date the notice is published.  To qualify as an upset bid, the bid must raise the original or current offer by an amount at least 10 percent of the first $1,000 of that offer and 5 percent of the remainder.  When a bid has been successfully raised, the new bid becomes the current offer, and the local government then conducts another upset bid process, on the same terms and under the same procedures as the first.  The process continues until a ten-day period passes without receipt of a qualifying upset bid.   The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the full Board approve the sale, through the upset bid process, of the property located at 445 3rd Street SW, Hickory.