MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS REGULAR MEETING HELD ON DECEMBER 16, 2003
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Chairman J. R. Dowdy, Jr., with Commissioners James D. Harris, A. James Nance, Joyce C. Pheil and Ferrell Henry in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Gene Crapse, County Attorney Guy D. Pfeiffer, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and secretary Linda Finch. Ray Burnette, Pastor of Arabi Baptist Church, gave the invocation.
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the minutes of November 11th and December 2nd, 2003, seconded by Mr. Harris, and motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING - KENNY & SUSAN LYNCH
Connie Sangster, Assistant Planning Director, reported that Kenny and Susan Lynch have purchased the old Hubbard Junkyard, and they wish to rezone this property from RD (Two Family Residential) to I (Industrial), so they can do further recycling. Mr. Lynch stated that they want to add a building so that they can recycle metals and such, something that they can get into in when it rains, and advised that the building that is already there is falling down and is beyond repair. Mr. Harris advised that he looked at the operation yesterday, and whatever he builds will be an improvement. Mrs. Pheil stated that she has heard from a couple of his neighbors, and they say we are making it too difficult for him to get on with his work, and they were in support of tearing down the old building and putting up a new one. Mr. Nance stated that he was out there too, he thinks any time you try to make an improvement to your property, it is a good thing, particularly if you are going to continue to be productive in terms of work output, and he doesnít think this is a bad idea to allow him to improve his property. Chairman Dowdy stated that this is a Public Hearing and Commissioners will make their decision at the regular January meeting, and he asked if there was anyone in attendance, other than the Lynchís, that wanted to speak in opposition or for the rezoning, and there was none. Ms. Sangster stated that if the Commissioners choose to rezone the property to Industrial, then the junkyard they are asking for will have to come back to Commissioners for a Special Use Permit in order for them to operate a junkyard. She stated that she told the Lynchís that if Commissioners rezone this property and their house is located there and their house burns, it cannot be put back, if it is over 50% damage, because it will be a non-conforming use after it goes to another zone. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to close the Public Hearing, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried unanimously.
MORRIS COOK WITH ANNUAL FORESTRY REPORT
Morris Cook, Crisp-Dooly Forestry Director, and Bert Early, County Forrester, came before Commissioners to give the annual Crisp-Dooly Forestry Report. Mr. Cook reported that the year was pretty simple with all the rain that we had, fires were way down, tree sales were up a little bit, fire breaks were a littler lower than what they normally do because of the wet weather, and they are working on a new sign up for the CRP Program, and they always appreciate everything the county departments do for them. Mr. Henry thanked them for being courteous to him when he calls about once a month for a permit to burn trash. Mr. Harris asked if we could possibly have a situation like the one in California, and Mr. Cook stated that the same possibility is there but not as big of a scale. He advised that just last month they went to some training regarding this, they will start working with the Fire Departments, and will very slowly start identifying some neighborhoods and try to start a fire-wise program in the county. Commissioners thanked Mr. Cook and Mr. Early for their help and support in the county.
ROSA RICHARDSON REGARDING ROAD NAME CHANGE PROPOSAL
Administrator Crapse reported that according to her letter, Rosa Richardson is requesting to rename part of Pateville Road in honor of her grandfather, Mr. Willis Ray. He showed a map of the highlighted portion of the plat of land that is owned by the Ray family and has been subdivided to various individual children and grandchildren. Mrs. Richardson stated that for the last four and one-half years she has been ill, but her goal in life has always been to touch lives and make a difference; her family brought her up with great values and morals, she has travel around the U.S., but Cordele, Georgia has always been the place she loved the most. She stated that every time she comes up here, she is reminded how rich she is because of her family and the unconditional love she has for them, she went to great links to get her mother and her motherís sister together before her aunt died, and now their are only two siblings left, her mother, 82, and uncle, 72, and after she got sick, she realizes it is time for her to get in a hurry. She stated there were three things she wanted to do in her life: 1) to bring her motherís sister to her and she did this; 2) to come back and find out who all of the sisterís-in-laws were; and 3) the love she has for her uncle and her mother to be able to name the lower part of Pateville Road to Willis Ray Road, in honor of her grandfather, who taught her how to love unconditionally, gave her a Christian life and a solid foundation. She said her family would think this would be the ultimate gift for her mother and uncle. She stated that she is not asking to take down the Pateville Road sign, but they could put Willis Ray Road, then out to the side Old Pateville Road; she has talked with the Post Office, 911, and UPS, and they all said they could change the road name at no cost; but she understands there will be costs for maps for the county Mr. Nance stated that he is related to the Ray family, and he knows her relatives quite well, and he thinks it is very gracious for her to come in spite of her situation, we have a lot of requests like this, and in the past we have turned them down, it is difficult in making these decisions especially since he grew up and worked with her relatives. He commended her for coming here today and he admires her courage. Mr. Harris stated he sympathizes with her, but we have had requests in the past, also we have to think about whatever may come up later on. Mrs. Pheil stated that is seems such a simple request to change a road name, but it is not only about the routes, there are public safety issues, homeland security matters, and if the road was changed and there was some confusion about this road, a life could be in danger, and we have a lot of homeland security issues that the county has to abide by. She stated that she would like to say that while she may not be able to support this, she is definitely rich, because family is the most important thing, when you face death, you know what is important, and while the road name might not change, she is sure there are other options available to her to recognize him. She stated that she was just at a retirement party for a teacher, and one of her students had set up a scholarship in her honor, and she would ask her, even if we canít change the road name, to find another way, plus next year the county will be 100 years old; she would like to make a book of the countyís history, and if they do, she would like to get in touch with her to make sure her familyís history is included in the book. Mrs. Pheil stated that even if we canít change the road name, she would hope that she would consider us as a possibility if she was going to start a business to keep the Rayís in this community. Mr. Henry commended Mrs. Richardson for her presentation, and thanked her for coming this morning. Mr. Nance stated that maybe there is something we can do to recognize the Ray family, maybe a Resolution based on the number of years the farm has existed or something. Administrator Crapse stated that if the Board felt appropriate to consider allowing the family to post a sign, that was approved by the county, that just something like ďthis right-of-way is dedicated to memory of Willis RayĒ and Resolution, but do not change the name of the road because of all the public safety issues. Chairman Dowdy stated that they appreciate Mrs. Richardson coming today, and as Mrs. Pheil stated, we have had requests to change the names of roads that we have declined to do because of public safety, and if you change it you have to redo the maps and everyone has to get familiar with it again. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to take the Administratorís recommendation of placing a sign in the right-of-way on Pateville Road dedicating this right-of-way in honor of Willis Ray, let the sign be approved by Public Works, and maybe we can invite C. R. Ray to our next meeting, and he can receive a Resolution in honor of Willis Ray, seconded by Mr. Harris. After more discussion, Mr. Nance withdrew his motion until we can work on this situation because it could set a precedence, and asked Mrs. Richardson to get with the County Administrator and let him come back to the Commissioners with a recommendation at our next meeting.
JIM CROCKETT REGARDING HOLIDAY MUSIC
Jim Crockett passed out a handout to the Commissioners, and reported that he would like to address the problem of the Christmas music coming from the emergency speaker system, this is becoming an ongoing problem that supposedly was resolved in 2001. He stated that the emergency system was not meant to be a private jukebox, music from this system is played eight hours a day, forty hours a week, and they canít even hear it in the Administratorís Office. He stated that he lives on 14th Avenue and this music can be heard in his house, he has a severe hearing loss, and he can hear the music clearly without his hearing aide. He requested the Commission to end this practice, as it is the equivalent of a loud sound truck parked at your house and is an obvious violation and misuse of county property. Chairman Dowdy stated that the music was on hold, Commissioners donít want to cause anybody any problems, we donít want to make this season of the year objectionable to anybody, and if it offends anybody, he is sorry. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that he has a law office two blocks away, and when it was played before, he had to call over here and have them turn it down so that his secretaries could hear the Dictaphone, it is intrusive in the work environment, and the employees canít hear it in the Courthouse. He advised that if it were played in the Courthouse, he doesnít think it would be a problem. Mr. Pfeiffer recommended to suspend the playing of the holiday music until we can determine that we can lawfully play the music and under what circumstances it doesnít create a problem with the surrounding businesses. Commissioners asked the Administrator to temporarily discontinue the playing of holiday music until other options can be studied and achieve our purpose of spreading the will and the love during this time of the year.
SECURITY LIGHT AT FERRY LANDING RD. & HWY. 280
Mrs Pheil stated that she has had a request for a security light at the intersection of Ferry Landing Road and Hwy. 280 West, and this is a dangerous intersection on the curve. Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, stated that he has spoken with Lonnie Hall, with Department of Transportation traffic safety, and he stated that they were looking at the signage on Hwy. 280 as well as possibly some warning signs coming up to the intersection on the Ferry Landing side, and they are also looking into the possibility of putting a highway illuminator. Mr. Crapse stated that D.O.T. said they will not install the light, but will give us a permit to put the light in. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to install a security light at the intersection of Ferry Landing Road and Hwy. 280 West, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried. Mr. Crapse will contact the Power Commission regarding this.
BOARD APPOINTMENTS MADE FOR HOSPITAL AUTHORITY
Chairman Dowdy reported that Commissioners have a letter from Wayne Martin, Crisp Regional Hospital Director, stating what the Hospital Authorityís recommendation is regarding the two board appointments to that Board. He stated that Gene Ford is willing to serve, but Dr. Duvall does not want to serve at this time. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to abide by the recommendation of the Hospital Authority and reappoint Gene Ford and appoint Dr. Bill Pannell to the Hospital Authority, terms beginning January 1, 2004 and ending December 31, 2009, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried unanimously.
APPOINTMENTS MADE TO THE POWER COMMISSION
Chairman Dowdy appointed Mr. Harris, Mrs. Pheil and himself to a six month term on the Crisp County Power Commission Board beginning January 1, 2004.
ABANDON UNOPENED PORTION OF VIRGINIA AVENUE
Administrator Crapse stated that he has a request from Dr. Salami to abandon a designated right-of-way on a plot that has never been worked by the county, he has talked with Mrs. Florencia Smith who lives across the road, she agrees with this and has no objection to that part of the right-of-way being abandoned. He stated at the end of Virginia Avenue, past Hamilton Avenue, this propoerty belongs to the Glover Family out of Marietta, he hasnít spoken with them but donít think they would have any need for access through this subdivision to get to their property. Mr. Pfeiffer asked Mr. Gamble if the road had ever been worked past Hamilton Avenue, he replied no, and Mr. Pfeiffer stated then the county has never accepted that portion of the road, and he recommends that the county adopt a Resolution authorizing the Chairman to execute an Abandonment, which will recite that the county has never accepted this part, so they are not really abandoning it, just putting on record that the county does not and will not accept this part of the road for county work. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to take the recommendation of Mr. Pfeiffer and adopt a Resolution authorizing the chairman to execute an abandonment of countyís interest in the road that recites that the county has never accepted that portion of the road, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried unanimously.
AMENDMENT TO LEAVE POLICY & HOLIDAYS APPROVED
Administrator Crapse reported that he has talked with the Department Heads regarding the amendment to the leave policy that he had given Commissioners to study, and Chief Lunsford pointed out that this policy doesnít really address the fire department, and he has agreed to work with him on doing that. He recommended that the method of earning leave be changed, but those who had earned the three weeks annual leave as of December 31, 2003, be grandfathered in. He advised that it could cause difficulty with future employees that have fifteen days leave and those employees who have not accumulated over five years service would only have twelve days leave, he doesnít have any problems with that portion one way or the other. He recommended that in regards to the method of earing annual leave, that during the first three years of employment, the employee receive four (4) hours of paid annual leave per month, after completing three (3) years of employment, the employee receive eight (8) hours of paid annual leave per month beginning the four year. Comparatively as leave is accumulated, the break even point happens at the ninth year of employment, after the ninth year, leave would accrue at a slower rate of twelve days a year as opposed to the fifteen and create some savings over the long term for the county in terms of hours. He stated as a separate issue, the state authorizes three holidays a year that the county does not recognize, and he suggests that the Board, if they want, to conform with the twelve days that the state gives, which in effect would mean, if the Board decided not to grandfather in the three weeks leave, that would be three additional days of time off and/or pay in lieu of time off, and would remain the same at fifteen (15). He said this started out to determine the accumulation of leave, so that a person who resigns on December 31st gets paid for all of their leave, and the person who resigns on January 1st forfeits all the leave that they have accumulated. He recommends that the Board allow 160 maximum hours be carried forward from year to year, or whatever amount they like, and the rest of his recommendation is basically administration changes and descriptions of the types of leave. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to adopt the draft that Administrator Crapse has proposed, which grandfathers in the three weeks vacation for employees having over five years service, rollover the unused leave days to the maximum of 160 days, and adopt twelve holidays, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett reported that Commissioners have October and November reports before them, basically at the end of November, the year-to-date expenses exceeded the year-to-date revenues by about 9%, a little over $1 million, and stated that we know this is because we donít have tax bills out yet, but hopefully this will turn around in December, when we start collecting some ad valorem tax revenues. She advised that for the first time, they have included a detailed listing of the SPLOST expenditures, plus year-to-date expenditures by department and what they have left as far as their budgets go, plus they also have a detailed listing on the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund. She stated that all departments have been issued monthly reports showing where they are in relation to their budgets, and overall we are within budget, on the expenditures side of the general and water system funds, we are under budget by about 6% on each, and the landfill is about 5% under budget. Mr. Henry commended the Finance Department regarding their decision to stay open during lunch, which is a service to our community.
Administrator Crapse reported: 1) the Tax Digest has been approved and thanked all of those who helped; 2) the Cedar Creek Phase II study is still on track, but when he called to get an update, they told him they had not started yet, but they are suppose to begin today and report date is still confirmed for February 10th to present the findings and answer any questions; 3) a change order on the rail spur has been executed by the IDC, original soils tests did not pass so four feet of existing soil had to be removed, and this has been done; 4) the contract for the GSP building was signed on December 2nd, the prep work has been slowed because of the weather, but is proceeding and should be completed soon; 5) the RBEG Grant on the Tower has been forwarded, it is on hold because they havenít received funding yet for 2004, and he expects awards to be announced around March: 6) the SPLOST reallocation agreement has been approved by all parties, Cordele has signed it and he will be going to Arabi this evening to meet with them: 7) the Historic Preservation Study for the Hwy. 280 4-lane project between Cordele and Americus is beginning, and if anyone wishes to be a ďConsulting PartyĒ for the study, you have to respond by December 22, 2003; 8) As a result of great work by Connie & Jimmy on the floodplain management program, the County is now eligible for the Community Rating System Program that can provide reductions up to 45% in flood insurance premiums; 9) George Gay and his crew at the landfill received a perfect score of 100, and congratulations to George and all at the landfill; 10) the contractor on cells 8 & 9 at the landfill requested an additional 60 rain days on his contract, it was reviewed by our engineer and determined to be without sufficient basis, and the engineer computed the actual additional rain days on normal days plus the actual increase in days of rain/too wet days and recommended the contractor be allowed 39 additional rain days and no adjustment in contract price. He approved the change order which extends the contract completion date to December 16, 2003, but based on the latest construction estimate the project should be completed by February 28, 2004, which is 74 over contract time, but does not cost the county; 11) the Youth & Family Resource Center continues to go well; 12) we have received environmental clearance for the 03-CDBG New Town Streets project; 13) there were no new SPLOST expenditures approved during the month but coming soon, he expects a letter requesting approval of the ďBall ParkĒ complex on the Hunt property; all of his questions has been resolved on this issue; 14) the Grand Jury reappointed Charlie Denham and Phil Streetman for two-year terms on the Power Commission Board; 15) the deadline for Empowerment Zone Grants for 2004 is Friday, February 13, 2004; 16) Commissioner Pheil and I have begun to gather information on the Centennial Celebration, we will continue to pursue this effort; 17) he is continuing to work on the financial & vehicle policies; 18) the Commissioners Training Program is January 10th, classes are limited so let us know ASAP if you want to be registered; 19) the ACCG 2004 Legislative Conference is scheduled for February 2nd & 3rd, 2004, and if you want to go, let Commissioners Office know so we can get you registered; 20) the Board is invited to attend the Centennial Celebration of the Wilcox County Courthouse for an Open House and Reception on December 14th at 3:00 P.M.; and 21) so far, Commissioner Pheil & Henry & himself has signed up for the Kiwanis Desk Calendar ad, please let him know if you wish to participate.
INTERGOVERNMENT AGREEMENT FOR CDBG EIP FUNDS FOR RAIL SPUR
Administrator Crapse reported that he has an Intergovernmental Agreement for the application of the CDBG EIP funds for the rail spur, this is part of the documentation needed to get the grant paperwork in order, there are some technical changes that need to be made to this agreement, but what we would like is approval of this, with the changes to be made. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to authorize the Chairman to execute and deliver an Intergovernmental Agreement between the County and the Development Authority, which provides for the construction and maintenance of the rail spur in the Cordele-Crisp County Industrial Park, and administration of the CDBG & EIP Grant in conformance with the Grant application and the Statement of General and Special Conditions associated therewith, seconded by Mrs. Pheil and motion carried.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation, seconded by Mrs. Pheil and motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to adjourn meeting at 11:40 A.M., seconded by Mrs. Pheil and motion carried unanimously.
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