Strategic Plan

Success for Catawba County means driving economic and population growth through creating jobs and strengthening quality of life.

To view Catawba County's strategic plan, you may use your keyboard arrows or previous and next buttons to scroll through the slides.


The Strategic Planning Process

The Strategic Planning Process

In response to data indicating an ongoing gradual decline in Catawba County’s working age population, the Board of Commissioners embarked on a collaborative strategic planning process to proactively drive local economic and population growth. Beginning in September 2016, the Commissioners quickly identified eight critical growth sectors that would bring focus to the strategic plan and its overarching goal: Economic Development, Water & Sewer, Education, Healthy & Safe, Arts & Culture, Housing, Parks, and Branding & Marketing.

Over the course of the next 15 months, the Board examined each of these areas through a series of workshops and site visits that explored opportunities for the Board to catalyze action, either through their own leadership or through collaboration with other community partners. Twenty-one plan-specific workshops, retreats and presentations featured detailed research into the current status of each strategic area, identification of alignment among strategies and County operations, and thorough evaluation of potential Board actions. Site visits included assessing economic development sites in both Catawba County and other areas, such as Gaston, Lincoln, York and Durham counties; examining paramedicine initiatives, jail programs and shared service center operations in Durham and Wake counties; and exploring the planning process for multi-use housing developments in Chapel Hill and Chatham and Mecklenburg counties.

In addition, multiple community meetings and presentations were held to gather input, enhance collaboration, and inform both partners and residents about the strategic planning process. These included providing strategic plan updates to all eight city and town councils; hosting a Municipal Summit to foster connectivity and collaboration among municipal leadership; facilitating an arts & culture workshop to gather community input; conducting County brand development site visits and focus groups; facilitating public forums to gather feedback on park development; and supporting partner-led meetings to discuss housing opportunities and needs.

All of this culminated in identification of key goals, strategies and tactics that, taken together, position Catawba County for growth that not only supports a strong economy but also enhances the County’s existing quality of life.

Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles

The Board’s leadership of the strategic planning process is rooted in the County’s overarching principles that are part of its organizational DNA and serve as a compass in its service delivery: Effectiveness, Efficiency, Transparency, Stewardship, Collaboration, and Alignment.

These principles are reflected in the work accomplished throughout Catawba County government, which serves as a solid foundation for the strategic plan. County employees’ commitment to operational excellence has enabled the Commissioners to shift their focus toward growth strategies grounded in strong County services and partnerships.

From the outset, the Board’s strategic planning process has been deliberately and inherently dynamic. When opportunities have arisen for the Board to take action, they have taken action. When research into specific strategies has not yielded opportunities for action consistent with the role of County government, the Board has changed course.

Examples of major actions already taken by Board throughout this process include:

  • Investment in a second speculative business park building (Economic Development)
  • Formation of K-64 and establishment of its multi-sector governing board (Education)
  • Expansion of Riverbend Park and establishment of Mountain Creek Park (Parks)
  • Initiation of a Southeastern Catawba County master planning study (Water & Sewer)
  • Initiation of a formal County branding process (Branding & Marketing)

This fluid approach is still, and always will be, a vital component of the strategic plan. As a result, this document represents a point-in-time culmination of the Board’s strategic plan and will continually evolve and change as progress is made. Once the County’s brand is finalized, this document will be redesigned to reflect the County’s new brand identity and will be housed on the County’s redesigned website.

Key components of the plan* include the following:

  • Success Statements: Define why each focus area matters to achieving the strategic plan’s overarching objective – driving economic growth, creating jobs, and enhancing quality of life.
  • Strategies: Pinpoint what actions the Board is taking within its sphere of influence.
  • Tactics: Detail how the Board is tackling each strategy.
  • Partners: List the many partners with whom the Board may collaborate to research, define, and/or implement each strategy.
  • Linkages: Demonstrate how each strategy connects to other strategic plan areas and represent secondary linkages to external partners who may help inform the strategies as they evolve.

*Note: Timelines are under development and will be added into the plan at a later date.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information about the Board of Commissioners’ Strategic Plan, visit www.catawbacountync.gov
or call the Catawba County Manager’s Office at (828) 465-8201.

Economic Development

Economic Development

Success in Economic Development means catalyzing a positive business climate to ensure diversified opportunities that retain and attract quality employers and investment in our community.

1
Foster Positive business Climate

Tactics

  1. Maintain low cost of government – competitive tax rate and development fees.
  2. Ensure land development framework supports growth and aligns with municipalities, as appropriate.
  3. Monitor development-related process cycle times to ensure efficiency/responsiveness.

Partners

  • Municipalities
  • State of NC
  • Chamber of Commerce

Linkages

  • Housing
  • Water & Sewer Infrastructure
  • Branding
2
Support stratified approach to product development, ensuring market-ready product offerings that appeal to diverse prospects.

Tactics

  1. Park 1764 – develop and aggressively market site.
  2. Spec building #2 – Market second spec building in Claremont.
  3. Prioritize remaining site prospects and perform targeted site development activities (utilities, broadband, grading, etc.) to improve marketability.
  4. Proactively plan for future product development activities by establishing reinvestment mechanism and supporting incentive structure and identifying future potential sites.

Partners

  • Economic Development Corporation
  • Municipalities
  • State of NC
  • Private Sector

Linkages

  • Water & Sewer Infrastructure
  • Branding
3
Support aligned workforce development efforts to recruit and retain a qualified workforce that meets the current and future needs of Catawba County’s employers.

Tactics

  1. Improve Catawba County's desirability as a place to live, work, and play by focusing County resources on overall strategic plan implementation to enhance quality of life.

Partners

  • Chamber of Commerce
  • WPCOG Workforce Dev. Board
  • NCWorks
  • Catawba Valley Community College
  • Lenoir Rhyne University
  • Catawba County Schools
  • Hickory Public Schools
  • Newton-Conover City Schools
  • Private Sector

Linkages

  • K-64
  • Branding
  • Housing
  • Parks
  • Arts & Culture
  • Healthy & Safe Community
  • Manufacturing Solutions Center
  • CVCC Small Business Dev. Center
  • NC Center for Engineering Technologies
K-64 Education

K-64 Education

Success in K-64 means partnering business with education to cultivate connections between the classroom and real-world careers for our students of all ages.

1
Promote accountability and sound fiscal stewardship by supporting K-64 Board in developing tangible work plans with specific timelines and resource requirements for each priority area and in driving work plan implementation.

Tactics

  1. Catalyze $1.95M in matching private and grant dollars by fulfill commitment to invest $1.3M in initial seed funding for 2 years, through FY19.
  2. Appoint committed and qualified private sector representatives to K-64 Board, as opportunity presents.
  3. Monitor K-64 initiative’s progress through required Annual and Quarterly reports of the K-64 Board, and through participation of Commissioner appointee on K-64 Board.
  4. Provide facilities in alignment with evolving educational instructional models and community needs.

 

Partners

  • Private Sector
  • Catawba Valley Community College
  • Catawba County Schools
  • Hickory Public Schools
  • Newton-Conover City Schools
  • Economic Development Corporation
  • Chamber of Commerce
  •  

Linkages

  • Economic Development
  • Branding
  • Manufacturing Solutions Center
  • NC Center for Engineering Technologies
  • Lenoir Rhyne University
  • State Board of Education

 

Water & Sewer Infrastructure

Water & Sewer Infrastructure

Success in Water & Sewer Infrastructure means anticipating and skillfully planning for our community’s business and residential growth.

 

1
Lead growth through targeted water/sewer extensions by maintaining infrastructure capable of balancing smart growth infill opportunities with fast growth expansion opportunities and maintaining quality of life.

Tactics

  1. Develop short- and long-term area plans for targeted growth corridors (ex. SECC).
  2. Restructure municipal loan program to incorporate expanded geographic applicability, greater flexibility on terms, and higher levels of municipal discretion in project management and oversight.
  3. Partner with municipalities in developing prioritized multi-year investment plan for system expansion and up-fit.
  4. Develop a tool for assessing utility investments for economic development opportunities and private sector partnerships.

 

Partners

  • Municipalities
  • Economic Development Corporation
  • Developers
  • WPCOG

Linkages

  • Economic Development
  • Housing
  • Branding

 

2
Ensure financial sustainability of water/sewer program.

Tactics

  1. Proactively plan for long term financial viability of Water/Sewer system by establishing funding mechanism and coinciding governance structure.
  2. Conduct periodic evaluation of tap fees, balancing full cost recovery with maintaining regional competitiveness.

Partners

  • Municipalities
  • Economic Development Corporation
  • Developers
  • WPCOG

Linkages

  • Economic Development
  • Housing
Housing

Housing

Success in Housing means fostering an environment conducive to the creation of affordable, desirable housing options for our workforce and families.

 

1
In collaboration with municipalities, develop holistic County-wide strategy for concentrating resources in areas of need to increase impact.

Tactics

  1. Continue participation in WPCOG-administered homeowner/renter assistance programs using state funds dedicated to Catawba County.
  2. Consider County infrastructure investment in neighborhood re-development and infill revitalization initiatives.
  3. Explore establishing priority geographic areas for public investment with defined boundaries, in partnership with municipalities.

 

Partners

  • Municipalities
  • WPCOG
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • State of NC
  • Banks
  • Private Sector
  • Major employers
  • Habitat for Humanity
  •  

Linkages

  • Water & Sewer Infrastructure
  • Economic Development

 

2
Address vacant and substandard housing throughout the County.

Tactics

  1. Actively engage in WPCOG’s Vacant and Substandard Housing Task Force to identify promising practices.
  2. Continue to support WPCOG in foreclosure prevention activities.
  3. Explore potential of minimum housing ordinance to improve aesthetics in blighted/poorly maintained neighborhoods.
  4. Support municipal redevelopment efforts.

 

Partners

  • Municipalities
  • WPCOG
  • Banks (rehab loans?)
  • Habitat for Humanity

 

Linkages

  • Economic Development
3
Address the issues of private road degradation and septic system failures as barriers to development of quality housing.

Tactics

  1. Continue lobbying NC General Assembly to develop strategy to address the issue.
  2. Determine appropriate policy stance and develop systematic approach to addressing private road degradation.
  3. Ensure alignment of County development standards for private infrastructure (roads, culverts, bridges) to NCDOT standards.
  4. Determine appropriate policy stance and develop systematic approach to addressing septic failures.

 

Partners

  • Citizens
  • NCDOT
  • NCACC
  • NCLM
  • Local legislative delegation
  • WPCOG

 

Linkages

  • Water & Sewer Infrastructure
Healthy & Safe Community

Healthy & Safe Community

Success in Healthy & Safe Community means protecting the well-being of our citizens.

 

1
Ensure provision of Right Care, Right Place, Right Time emergency/public safety response to citizens.

Tactics

  1. Continuously monitor response times and deployment models and refine as necessary to ensure most effective, efficient service possible.
  2. Explore collaborative service hub to provide citizens with single point entry to access mental health services and resources.

 

Partners

  • Municipalities
  • Catawba Valley Medical Center
  • Frye Regional Hospital
  • Partners Behavioral Health Management
  • Catawba Valley Behavioral Health
  • Rural Fire Districts
  • Rescue Squads
  • Catawba Valley Medical Group
  • Gaston Family Health Services
  • Faith Community

Linkages

  • Economic Development
  • NACo Stepping Up Initiative
  • State-wide paramedicine pilot initiatives
2
Work with the Court Improvement Board to optimize public resources dedicated to operating County jail by developing and implementing evidence-based policies and programs to effectively and efficiently manage the local inmate population.

Tactics

  1. Consider expansion of pre-trial services to cover wider range of offense categories.
  2. Explore development of electronic in-home monitoring program.
  3. Proactively manage case docketing to minimize length of time between arrest and court appearance.

Partners

  • Catawba County Court Improvement Board
  • Municipalities
  • Non-profit community partners
  • Catawba Valley Behavioral Health

 

Linkages

  • Economic Development
3
In collaboration with key community partners, engage in a localized strategy to address substance abuse and addiction, with a primary focus on opioids.

Tactics

  1. Continue to monitor local multi-sector data to understand and convey the magnitude of the impact of opioid abuse in our community.
  2. Explore opioid and other drug treatment options in the jail.
  3. Establish local asset inventory ensure a full shared understanding of existing resources, as well as identify gaps and weaknesses.
  4. Review national and state-wide leading practices across the spectrum of prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery.

Partners

  • Catawba Valley Medical Center
  • Frye Regional Hospital
  • Partners Behavioral Health Management
  • Municipalities
  • Community-based non-profits
  • Community mental health providers

Linkages

  • Economic Development
  • State Opioid Action Plan
  • NCACC Presidential Priority
Parks

Parks

Success in Parks means providing scenic outdoor experiences for our citizens and visitors through a community-wide approach that invites a variety of adventures.

 

1
Create synergy between the three major County parks by offering a distinct set of featured amenities at each location, taking into consideration complementary regional and local offerings.

Tactics

  1. Based on evaluation of local and regional availability, incorporate unique park amenities into specific County park site plans.
  2. Develop site-based revenue strategy for each park, incorporating exploration of private sector partnerships (as appropriate) to provide adventure-based amenities.
  3. Determine priority capital improvements, renovations, and amenity additions for each County park, accompanied by cost estimates, funding plan, and proposed phasing.
  4. Through community partnerships, continue to offer value-added programming that aligns with community interests and appeals to a wide range of citizens and visitors.
  5. In alignment with brand identity, systematically market and promote County parks and recreation amenities.

Partners

  • Catawba County Friends of Parks
  • Northwest NC Mountain Bike Association
  • Private Sector
  • Catawba Valley Community College
  • Lenoir Rhyne University
  • Catawba County Historical Association
  • Keep Catawba County Beautiful
  • Catawba Riverkeepers
  • United Arts Council and funded affiliates
  • Hickory Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • WPCOG

Linkages

  • Economic Development
  • Housing
  • Arts & Culture
  • Healthy & Safe Community
  • K-64
  • Branding
  • Municipalities
  • Regional park operators (State of NC, neighboring counties and municipalities)
  • WPCOG Greater Hickory Recreation Plan
  • Duke FERC Relicensing Plan
Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

Success in Arts & Culture means elevating our sense of place by showcasing entertainment and creative offerings that enrich our community.

1
Develop clear description of County’s role in culture and arts.

Tactics

  1. Explore development of County-wide arts master plan for county as a whole.

Partners

  • United Arts Council and funded affiliates
  • Local cultural and arts organizations
  • Municipalities

Linkages

  • Economic Development
  • Housing
  • Parks
  • Branding

 

2
Enhance awareness of cultural and arts assets and explore new opportunities and initiatives through partnership and collaboration.

Tactics

  1. Continue to promote and support local activities and events through in-kind contributions.
  2. Support efforts by local institutions to develop central hub for local events and information.

Partners

  • Municipalities
  • Hickory Metro Convention & Visitors Center

Linkages

  • Economic Development
  • Housing
  • Parks
  • Branding
  • Media
Branding

Branding

Success in Branding means amplifying our story in ways that reflect who we are and inspire people to be part of it.

1
Cultivate brand recognition and affiliation among Catawba County residents.

Tactics

  1. Integrate County brand identity and messaging throughout Catawba County government.
  2. Develop general resource materials, including a digital platform on the County website, that explain and promote brand identity and messaging.
  3. Implement high-impact outreach strategies to deliver the County’s brand identity and messaging to all stakeholders and inspire buy-in.

Partners

  • County employees and departments
  • Citizens
  • Municipalities
  • Hickory Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Catawba County Schools
  • Hickory Public Schools
  • Newton-Conover City Schools
  • Community organizations
  • Private businesses

Linkages

  • Economic Development
  • K-64
  • Parks
  • Arts & Culture
  • Water & Sewer
  • Healthy & Safe Community
  • Housing
  • Media
2
Leverage Catawba County’s brand image to “tell our story” and promote the County as a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

Tactics

  1. Implement branded community marketing strategies to effectively reach relevant target populations.
  2. Develop collaborative community marketing strategies demonstrating connectivity between the County’s brand message and partners’ unique identities.
  3. Reinforce the County’s commitment to enhancing quality of life by integrating community marketing strategies into strategic plan initiatives.
  4. Continue leading local communicators’ group to develop resource lists and messaging that enable the shared promotion of community assets.

Partners

  • Citizens
  • Municipalities
  • Economic Development Corporation
  • Hickory Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • WPCOG
  • Catawba County Schools
  • Hickory Public Schools
  • Newton-Conover City Schools
  • Community organizations
  • Private businesses

Linkages

  • Economic Development
  • K-64
  • Parks
  • Arts & Culture
  • Water & Sewer
  • Healthy & Safe Community
  • Housing
  • Media