MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
REGULAR MEETING HELD ON JANUARY 29, 2004
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. Rev. Dr. Ulysses Morgan, Pastor of Power of Deliverance Church, gave the invocation.
J. R. DOWDY, JR. ELECTED CHAIRMAN FOR 2004
Mr. Dowdy turned the meeting over to Administrator Crapse, who opened the floor for nominations for Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for 2004. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to nominate J. R. Dowdy, Jr. as Chairman, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried unanimously, appointing Mr. Dowdy as the Chairman for 2004.
JAMES HARRIS ELECTED VICE-CHAIRMAN FOR 2004
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to nominate James D. Harris as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for 2004, seconded by Mr. Henry and motion carried unanimously, appointing Mr. Harris as the Vice-Chairman for 2004.
COUNTY ATTORNEY & LANDFILL ATTORNEY REHIRED
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to reappoint Guy D. Pfeiffer as County Attorney and Charles Jones as Landfill Attorney for 2004, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to approve the minutes of the meetings of December 9th and December 22nd, 2003, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried unanimously.
APPOINT COUNTY COMMITTEES
Chairman Dowdy appointed the following Committee members: Landfill-James Harris and Joyce Pheil; Water System-Joyce Pheil and James Nance; Public Safety-James Harris and Ferrell Henry; Public Works-James Nance and Ferrell Henry; City-County Planning-James Nance, Ferrell Henry, and Gene Crapse; Finance Policy-Joyce Pheil, James Nance, Ferrell Henry, Gene Crapse, and Sherrie Leverett; Centennial Celebration-Joyce Pheil and Gene Crapse; Crisp County Emergency Food & Shelter-Wallace Mathis; Crisp County Community Council-Joyce Pheil; Excursion Train Authority-James Harris and Joyce Pheil; Tourism Board-Ferrell Henry; and Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce-Ferrell Henry.
DECISION - REQUEST FROM KENNY & SUSAN LYNCH
Chairman Dowdy reported that we had the Public Hearing on the rezoning request of Kenny & Susan Lynch to rezone property from RD to I, located at 130 Drayton Lane. Connie Sangster, Planning Director, read the Standards for the rezoning request of the Lynch=s. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to rezone the property of Kenny & Susan Lynch on Drayton Lane from RD to I, seconded by Mrs. Pheil and motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING - SPECIAL USE PERMIT
Ms. Sangster stated that now that the approval was made on the rezoning, the Lynch=s are requesting a junkyard at 130 Drayton Lane, this falls under the Special Use Request under the Industrial Zone District, and that is what it has pretty much been operating as, but in order for them to enlarge or build a new building, they have to go through this process. She stated that the special use will just apply for them, and the standards are pretty much the same as the rezoning. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that under Standard 3, it states that conditions should be stipulated such as hours of operation, noise and pollution control, and if Commissioners want to do that, this is the time to do it. Mrs. Lynch stated that their hours of operation will be 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to approve the Special Use Permit with the inclusion of the operating time, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTION OF ABANDONMENT IN SOUTH LINCOLMPINCH SUBDIVISION
Mrs. Sangster reported that Martha Easom and Robert Powell has sent a letter and asked that Commissioners abandon a strip of land in South Lincolompinch Subdivision that has never been developed. Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, stated that the county has never worked this stip of land. Administrator Crapse stated he has a proposed Resolution of Abandonment that states that Crisp County has never accepted the dedication of the property for county road purposes and that the property is not useful for county road purposes, and he said this is consistent with what Commissioners did last month on Hamilton Avenue in Meadow Park Subdivision. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to abandon property in South Lincolompinch Subdivision between Mrs. Easom and Mr. Powell, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANTS UPDATE
Don tenBensel, Middle Flint RDC Director, reported that on the 01 CDBG, Newtown Sewer Phase II, the contractor has completed his work and has turned in his pay estimate, we wound up with about $15,000.00 unobligated, and he will be working with Mr. Crapse on some ideas where we can spend this legally that is within the area. Mr. Crapse stated that when the final bill came in, the contractor actually used about $12,000.00 less material than was budgeted, and what they are going to try to do is to obligate this money and get it below $5,000.00, once it is below $5,000.00, there is no questions, if we can=t obligate it below $5,000.00, then we will have to return to the State what they are entitled to get back. Mr tenBensel stated that we couldn=t keep the $5,000.00 indefinitely, but Federal Law allows you to keep up to $5,000.00 in the bank without a time constraint. Mr. tenBensel stated that on the 02 Grant, the Youth & Family Development Center, the building is looking real big, it fits well within the site, and he has a meeting with Kathy Garwood and the architect today to discuss some issues that Mrs. Karwood had. On the 03 Grant, the street paving in Newtown, the right-of-way survey=s are complete, he has met with Mr. Gamble and Hal Newberry, they can work with the right-of-way=s they have and will not have to acquire anything other than what is accepted as right-of-way, and the bid opening on the streets is tentatively set for the middle of March. Mr. Crapse stated that on the right-of-ways, they do effect people, and it may be a little bit more costly for the county to stay within the right-of-way, but we do need to do that and not impose on someone=s property. Mr. tenBensel stated that on the 04 Grant, he retitled it the Northside area, as it keeps growing, they met with the City of Cordele to get their ideas on where the sewer connection should run next year when we go after that, and what sort of study we need to justify, and he would like to have the grant application hearing within the month, and asked about a neutral site in this area to have a meeting. Mrs. Pheil mentioned that the Houston Baptist Association Building is in that area.
DISCUSS OPTICAL FIBER EXTENSION PROJECT TO LEC
Administrator Crapse reported that he met with Steve Rentfrow and their software people about how to get this optical fiber extension project put together, and in order to make the E-911 upgrade functional, it is dependent to this fiber optic line connecting the two. He stated that we cannot use a dial-up line or an Internet connection for this based on the Motorola protocol on the system, so there is no real alternative to make the E-911 system work other than this, and it will cost around $80,000.00, but this is pretty much old money. He advised that the plan is to connect E-911 to the Detention Facility first and then to expand that to include the Courthouse, Fire Department, Public Works, and Water, and ultimately to the State Patrol, YDC, DOT and others in that area. He stated that as we faze out all of our independent Internet connections and some of the lease lines we have to these places, this will more than pay for the expense of putting in this project. He advised that the Power Commission will work with us in any way we want on this as far as funding, as we can enter into a five year contract with them for $80,000.00 which includes $500.00 a year for a maintenance agreement, or they can do it for ten years or twenty-five years. He stated that if the Commissioners would like, with a new SPLOST, County could pick that up as a capital expenditure and can pay this off and not have to worry about that expense. He stated that we will recoup more money per month than we are actually paying for this, they can have the fiber run within three to four weeks, and we can hook up whatever office wants it in the Courthouse without any problem plus we can work with the Sowega Internet provider to have a central pipe for Internet, and that will be a considerable savings to the county. He stated that the cable is already at the Power Commission, it is his recommendation to approve the installation of the cable to be put up by the Power Commission plus the cost of lighting that fiber with the termination equipment at the respective locations. He also stated that he recommends that we enter into an initial agreement for ten years at $715.00 a month with the Power Commission, following this the Board can address paying the capital investment off with a new SPLOST when those negotiations come up. Mr. Henry stated that he thinks Administrator Crapse has done his homework, he would support the fact that all of these improvements will be made, as we have quite a bit invested already, and he would like to see us support this. Mr. Crapse stated that the IT person that did all the work on the City=s side is also involved to make sure everything is compatible. Mrs. Pheil stated that in order to get our system up and working and everybody in law enforcement talking with everyone else and doing what we need to do in the future with computers, we definitely need to move ahead with great speed. Chairman Dowdy replied that we need to thank the Power Commission for putting us in the right direction and get this going, and it will certainly make things better for us. Mr. Harris stated that the Train Authority was talking about using something of this nature, and Mr. Crapse stated that the way the fiber backbone goes now, if the Train Authority is interested in getting into fiber, he is sure the Power Commission can make that happen. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to accept the Administrator=s recommendation and addressing paying the remainder as a capital investment in the next SPLOST, seconded by Mr. Henry and motion carried unanimously.
AGENDA FOR D.O.T. VISIT IN FEBRUARY
Administrator Crapse reported that he and Carl Gamble have come up with a list for assistance from the Department of Transportation when we meet with the D.O.T. Commissioner when they go to Atlanta in February. He stated the request for paving includes Ray Road, which is about 80% complete and will be ready in the spring, Fans Bridge Road is about 95% complete and will be ready in the spring, and Slim Road is about 25% complete, but will be ready to go by time to let a contract. He advised that in addition to road paving projects, there are paving requests for the Georgia State Patrol and the Youth and Family Resource Center parking areas. Mr. Gamble stated that he met with a D.O.T. representative yesterday on all of our current projects, and we are about 95 to 99% complete with those projects. Mr. Crapse stated that a couple of months ago, we had D.O.T. bridge inspections throughout the county, and there are a couple of drainage structures that need to be replaced, which include Floyd Road over Lime Creek and Brock Road over Reedy Creek, and our intent is to get these let by D.O.T. in April or May of this year. He advised that Mr. Gamble talked with the local D.O.T. people, they believe they can handle the striping locally, so they would prefer that we give the striping list to them with a request to do the striping and they will do all the paperwork on that. He stated that this that would entail about 62.65 miles of road striping and will cost about $600.00 a mile, and stated that the list that he and Mr. Gamble came up with is not set in stone, but what they believe are the highest priorities, and if Commissioners see roads that are in bad need of restriping, if they would let him or Carl know, they can take care of that as well. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to allow the Chairman to sign a letter on the striping request, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried unanimously. Mr. Henry extended a special thanks to the Sanitation Department for the hours that they gave up during the holidays in cleaning and picking up the trash in and around the dumpsters.
RESOLUTION FOR SETTING THE QUALIFYING FEES
Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to adopt the Resolution Fixing & Ordering the Publication of the Qualifying Fees, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried unanimously.
BUDGET CALENDAR FOR 2004-2005 FISCAL YEAR
Administrator Crapse reported that he and Mrs. Leverett have come up a budget calendar in detail that shows everything that the County is required to go through in regards to the budget production and approval process, it shows where the Tax Assessor=s actions are that will get us to within the law of August 1st, and it also shows a couple of budget workshops to make sure that all the Commissioners understand what is going on, plus there is regular reviews with the various departments of the current budget. Mr. Henry commended Mr. Crapse and Mrs. Leverett on the hard work of this calendar. Administrator Crapse asked if the Board wanted to set up a separate budget committee or use the existing finance committee to work as a budget committee, and by meeting time next month, they would like the Commission to provide them with guidance as to where they want to go with this budget. Mrs. Pheil stated that she would like to see the County have a finance policy in place before the next audit. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to adopt the Budget Calendar for 2004/2005 fiscal year, seconded by Mr. Henry and motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett reported that Commissioners have the mid-year report before them, and the General Fund revenues are still lagging expenditures by about $1 million, which is because of the tax revenue running behind, and through yesterday we had received about 40% of the tax revenues. She advised that everything else looked good and asked if they had any questions. Mr. Harris asked about one of the delinquent Revolving Loan Fund account as he thought it had opened up again, and Mr. Pfeiffer stated that he would look into this. Mrs. Leverett advised that she has sent the mid-year reports to all the Department Heads and requested that they call her to set up a meeting for the mid-year review, and she will be handing out the budget calendar along with the 2005 budget request forms so they can begin work on the new budget.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR'S REPORT
Administrator Crapse reported: 1) we received the ANotice of No Hazard to Air Navigation@ from the FAA on the Communications Tower, it has been forwarded to the FCC for the final review; 3) the survey portion of the Cedar Creek Phase II study has been completed, the design/report phase is underway, and Mike Talley will be at the February meeting to present their findings and answer any questions that the Board may have; 3) On December 31, 2003, the DCA Commissioner formally notified the County that the Solid Waste Management Plan Short Term Work Program had been accepted and the County, along with Cordele and Arabi, retained our eligibility for State Grants, Loans, and Permits; 4) the Board asked him to continue to work with Ms. Rosa Richardson on something for the AWillis Ray Road@, he has contacted her and she will be happy if the family is allowed to put up a sign designated as a Private Road and placing the AWillis Ray Road (PR)@ off the right of way where their private drive is designated on the plat; 5) progress has been made on the rail spur, all the ballast, x-ties, and rail=s are in and the only remaining work is on the switch and the turnout, and completion should be by the end of the month; 6) the ground breaking ceremony for the GSP Post was on January 6th, the footing is poured and the slab should be poured this week, and county will continue to work on the parking area; 7) the Youth & Family Resource Center continues to go well, the siding is almost complete, felt is on the roof, windows will be set soon, and the building will be dried-in; 8) the contractor on cells 8& 9 at the landfill has been sent a letter from the Landfill Attorney stating that the county is prepared to take actions to have the work completed by another party and recover liquidated and other damages if the project is not completed based on his latest schedule, February 10th; 9) back in 2001 there was some fire gear stolen from the Fire Department, the suspected perpetrator has been caught with fire and other public safety gear, and the case is in the hands of the District Attorney, so this should resolve that case; 10) he approved one new SPLOST expenditure for December, $4000.00 for the Soil Scientist Investigation for development of the ABall Park@ complex on the Hunt tract; 11) the Commissioners were provided a letter from our ACCG Board of Managers District Representative regarding SPLOST, there has been much discussion regarding this in the last two legislative sessions, and we should all take the opportunity to assure our legislative delegation that we need to keep the system like it is currently structured, and Commissioners instructed Mr. Crapse to write a letter regarding this to Senator Bowen & Representative Floyd; 12) we received a dividend from the ACCG-GSIWCF of $20,143.00, which reduces our 2004 Worker=s Compensation from $167,962.00 to $147,829.00; 13) he appointed Connie Sangster as Planning Director, as she has served in this position for some time and has done an outstanding job, and this was done on December 15, 2003; 14) the deadline for Empowerment Zone Grants for 2004 is Friday, February 13th at 4:00 p.m.; 15) he and Mrs. Pheil have placed an Ad in the paper for committee members willing to serve and devote their time and energy to the Centennial project, responses are due in by January 30th, and in about mid February he would like to get started; 16) he is continuing to work on the financial and vehicles policies, the second portion of the financial policy was sent to the committee for review, hopefully he will have more time to devote to this now that the holiday season is over, and he agreed with Mrs. Pheil that we need to get this in place as soon as possible so we can get credit on our new audit; 17) field survey and soil investigations for the US 280 4-lane will begin soon in Crisp & Sumter counties, and it will require work on private property so be aware that it is going on in case some of our citizens ask; 18) the ACCG 2004 Legislative Conference is February 2nd & 3rd; 19) don=t forget the Crisp Regional Health Fair on Friday; and 20) there is a proposed Code of Ethics= Resolution in Commissioners packet for them to look over, Mr. tenBensel said this is not a requirement to keep us in good standing regarding CDBG, it is a strong suggestion that county=s adopt an Ethic=s Resolution, and we will bring this up next month.
APPROVE CONTRACT WITH ASSESSORS
Administrator Crapse reported that last month Commissioners approved the Contract for the Ag revaluation, subject to review by Mr. Pfeiffer and himself, this has been done, they have made one change on the method of payment, which allows us to formally do it the way we agreed, it is being retyped now; the Board needs to approve this Contract with the change in the method of payment allowing the Commissioners to pay half out of this fiscal year and the remainder next fiscal year. Mr. Pfeiffer advised that the change limits the county=s liability for payment to 50% prior to July 1st, and it continues to provide for a 10% retainage which isn=t paid until the digest is approved. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to authorize the Chairman to execute the Agricultural Land Revaluation Contract and the County Administrator to attest, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried unanimously.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO DISCUSS PERSONNEL & POTENTIAL LITIGATION
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to go into Executive Session to discuss personnel & potential litigation, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made and seconded to come out of Executives Session and motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made and seconded to adjourn meeting at 11:40 a.m. and motion carried unanimously.