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Commission Capsule - April 17, 2012

Main Library Committee
The County and Public Library previously appointed a seven-member citizen committee to review the functions and utilization of the Main Library to consider the feasibility of consolidating, downsizing or relocating the functions of Main to ImaginON, other county-owned sites or other sites to achieve financial savings. The committee concluded that there is potential for significant savings by selling the building and/or land, though this is not the time for such a sale. The committee looked at leasing a portion of the building but found in its investigation that the building was designed so specifically to be a library that it is not and could not be reconfigured for a typical office setting. And the committee investigated the possibility of producing revenue by offering space inside to a vendor to sell coffee and food.  The Board received the report as information and may revisit the issue at some point in the future.

Volunteer Program
The Board heard a presentation about the County’s new Volunteer Services Program.

Background
In October, 2011, Mecklenburg County and Hands on Charlotte entered into a partnership to establish and operate the County’s volunteer program throughout all County departments. As part of this partnership, between October 2011 and March 2012, Hands on Charlotte provided six customized training modules to the 18 staff members comprising the County’s Volunteer Council. The mission of the Volunteer Council is to represent County departments in building an enterprise-wide understanding of volunteering and the capacity to utilize volunteers effectively in the work environment. Members of the Volunteer Council lead the volunteer program in their individual departments. They also attend the Hands on Charlotte training modules, meet with department staff to explore volunteer opportunities, report volunteer hours, and attend bi-monthly council meetings to discuss recruitment, retention and the evaluation of volunteers and the County's volunteer program.

In April, 2012, Hands on Charlotte and the Volunteer Council will meet to create volunteer job descriptions; in May, Hands on Charlotte begin recruiting volunteers for the County by listing those opportunities on its website. In June, the Volunteer Council members will begin posting volunteer opportunities directly to the site. Residents also can access the HoC volunteer recruitment site from the County's website. Volunteers recruited by the County and Hands on Charlotte provide assistance to County staff in the execution of their duties and, at times, provide expertise not otherwise available to County staff. The volunteer program also allows Mecklenburg County residents to experience first-hand the workings of their county government.  The volunteer program is one aspect of MeckConnect, Mecklenburg County’s multi-faceted strategy for increasing and enhancing citizen involvement.

The Future of Rail Service
The Board receive a report on the North Carolina Rail Vision. In January, 2010, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) was awarded $545 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to improve rail safety, capacity, and overall rail corridor service in North Carolina. NCDOT allocated $247 million of the ARRA funds to the Charlotte Railroad Improvement and Safety Program (CRISP). One of the CRISP projects involves a mainline grade separation (MLGS) project for the Norfolk Southern and CXST rail lines in Charlotte, which is one the most congested rail intersection in North Carolina. In addition to freight lines, this area also includes passenger routes for Amtrak, future high-speed rail and commuter lines (Red Line). The MLGS project is adjacent to the NC Music Factory and the County’s fleet maintenance facility. This report will describe the regional context for local rail projects and their relationship and potential impact to County property. The presentation also will include an update on the current status of local rail project work. No action was taken by the Board.



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