MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 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. Nathaniel Jackson, pastor of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Houston County, gave the invocation.
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to approve the minutes of the meeting of February 10, 2004, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
DECISION - REQUEST FROM 13TH STREET CHURCH OF CHRIST
Connie Sangster, Planning Director, reported that this is the decision on the rezoning request of property located on Fish Hatchery Road from the members of the 13th Street Church of Christ, and she then read the review checklist. Chairman Dowdy reported that we had the Public Hearing at the last regular meeting, and it is now time to either grant or deny the request to change the rezoning from I to HC. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to deny the request to rezone property on Fish Hatchery Road from I to HC, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried, with Mr. Harris opposing and Mr. Nance abstaining.
DECISION MEETING - TEXT & MAP AMENDMENT
Ms. Sangster reported that this is the decision on the Text and Map Amendment on Coney Road South to rezone the property from RS2 to RS1, she read the review checklist for the rezoning request, and advised that we had the public hearing at the last meeting. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to grant the request on the Text and Map Amendment and rezone the property on Coney Road South from RS2 to RS1, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
2004 CDBG RESOLUTIONS
Don tenBensel, Executive Director for Middle Flint Regional Development Center, reported that Jeffery Brown with Hodges, Newberry & Tribble, has been working with him, they have pretty much tied down the 2004 CDBG project to close to the $500,000.00 grant award, and this will be a three to four year project in the Northside area. He showed an aerial of the boundaries of the area they will be working within, first year will be a water system. He stated that there are two major water systems in this area owned by Mr. Truluck, along with a lot of shared wells. He reported that there are a lot of problems in this area with water and sewer, they have to do water first as you have to have something to base your charge on, and stated that they can complete most of the area with water the first year. He presented a cost estimate on the water system improvements of around $540,000.00, of which about $17,000.00 is in contingencies; the biggest single item is the fair market value of the two systems owned by Mr. Truluck, and this price is taking into consideration the future value of money expected to be received over the lifetime of the system. He advised that they will be tieing onto the city system in a number of places, and DCA will make their award decisions the later part of July. He advised that another area of need that has come up is some storm drainage, and he doesn’t know if county crews can address some of this in the meanwhile, but it is something that needs to be addressed in the three or four year period of effort. He also stated that he would like to allow for about ten well closings at the county’s expense, he doesn’t know how many people, if any, will request this, but if there is not a category in the application, DCA is going to say we are not covering all the bases. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to adopt a Resolution authorizing the filing of an application with the Department of Community Affairs for 2004 CDBG funds in the Northside area, not to exceed $500,000.00, and giving Chairman Dowdy the authority to sign Resolution, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
ADOPT AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE FLOOD DAMAGE PREVENTION ORDINANCE
Ms. Sangster reported that this Amendment is just a clarification in that it defines the base flood elevation for the different areas at Lake Blackshear, and also on the 50% rule, this is FEMA’s interpretation of what is allowed in a flood area. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that the Ordinance currently says that there are certain things that apply when a base flood elevation is established, and the only base flood elevation we have established in the county is the Lake Blackshear area; this Amendment puts that technical data into the Ordinance so anybody in that area knows what is the base flood elevation, what is it they can build to, and what they have to not build below, and this just clarifies two sections of The Development Code. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to adopt the Ordinance Amending the Flood Damage Prevention Provisions of The Development Code and giving Chairman Dowdy the authority to sign Ordinance, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
ADOPT RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE MARKETING OF WATER RIGHTS & PERMITS
Administrator Crapse stated that this is basically an Ordinance which opposes the marketing of water rights or water withdrawal permits currently referred to as “permit trading” within the State of Georgia, whereby the rights to water or already existing permits can be sold on the open market to the highest bidder. He advised that there has been a lot of research on this, fifty counties as of last month has signed a Resolution of this nature, along with almost one hundred cities. He stated that the purpose is to put the water in Georgia not up for sale but under the espouses of a comprehensive water plan for the State that will not be subject to bidding out water and allowing water from one area to go to another without due diligence of the Comprehensive Water Management Plan. He advised that he has talked with Ken Lewis and they both feel this would not be in the best interest of the agricultural community in Crisp County to allow water sales or trading of permits, so he would recommend that the Board adopt this Ordinance Opposing The Sale of Water Rights And Permits. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to adopt an Ordinance Opposing The Sale of Water Rights And Permits and giving Chairman Dowdy the authority to sign Ordinance, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
REPORT ON NACO CONVENTION
Commissioner Harris reported that he has just returned from the NACo Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., advised that the President has appropriated $7.1 million for upgrading health services in all states, this will be coming down in the form of grants and loans to the Health Departments to help in the health service fields, and he brought some material back to Administrator Crapse to see if our county is eligible to apply for any of this money to upgrade our health services. He also brought back information on the “senior bomb” he gave to Administrator Crapse.
Mrs. Leverett reported on the February financial report, which is eight months into this fiscal year. In the General Fund, the revenues moved ahead of the expenditures for year-to-date by about $1.3 million over, and we are 3.2% within budget. The Landfill revenues are over expenditures by about 4%, tonnage is down on the average for this month, and we are pretty much breaking even each month, excluding depreciation and end of year adjustments to closure and post closure costs. The Waterworks revenues are up about $50,000.00 over expenditures for year-to-date, which is also excluding depreciation. SPLOST average has gone up to about $278,000.00 a month, year-to-date total expenditures at $6.1 million with county spending $4.3 million on projects other than roads, county roads we have spent almost $1.2 million, City has spent $394,000.00 and City of Arabi has spent $240,000.00. She advised that Friday is the deadline for the new budget requests, and she and Mr. Crapse will be giving Commissioners updates on this as they go along. Mr. Henry commented that he and Mrs. Pheil spent almost all day here last Friday working with Mrs. Leverett and Mr. Crapse, we are fortunate to have these two handling county business, and he expressed his appreciation to both of them; Mrs. Pheil echoed these remarks.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Administrator Crapse reported: 1) he attended a number of events during the month with a breakdown on his report; 2) the Youth & Family Resource Center continues to go well and is about 60% complete, the shingles are on, and the building looks very nice; 3) the GSP Building is moving along nicely, the walls are up and exterior wallboard is almost complete, the trusses are up and the roof decking is almost complete, the metal beans for the covered parking and front porch are in place and this project is about 28% complete; 4) the resurfacing of Cannon Road is almost complete and should be finished shortly, work on Slim Road is temporarily on hold until the utility relocation is completed; 5) he has tentatively rescheduled the first meeting of the Centennial Celebration Committee for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23rd, he has received even more names wanting to serve on this Committee, and is anxious to get started; 6) the Crisp County Hazard Mitigation Plan has been forwarded by the State for Federal review with a recommendation for approval. This plan was a great community effort and the Sheriff and Pete Chambers did a commendable job in pulling it all together; 7) they had a great trip to Atlanta for the meeting with the D.O.T. Commissioner, the Legislative Fish Fry and Commissioners at the Capitol; 8) there were no new SPLOST expenditures authorized this month; 9) the Cordele Judicial Circuit has been approved for the pilot program on the new Public Defender program at no additional cost to the County this year and FY-2005. Judge Pridgen did a great job on behalf of the Cordele Judicial Circuit and the taxpayers of Crisp County with this initiative, and he hopes to move forward soon on the “Courthouse Facilities Steering Committee”; 10) the contractor on cells 8 & 9 at the landfill has been doing better, but is still somewhat behind. We received clearance from the State to proceed with the plastic liner if the engineer is satisfied with the “as built” survey scheduled for today, and if that is OK, they should be starting the plastic liner on Wednesday; 11) he personally thanked Commissioners Pheil and Henry for their work on the Financial Policy as they spent hours with he and Sherrie on Friday to come up with the latest draft policy to send to the full Board for review. Also Commissioner Nance has been very helpful as a member of the committee, had to be out of town on Friday, but he did meet with him on Monday on the policy and other issues. He hopes to have the final product presented to the Board in April; 12) last week the Health Department adopted the required Rabies Control Rules and Regulations to allow them to be enforced in Crisp County. As soon as we get the final signed copy of those Rules and Regulations, he will be coordinating with the Sheriff and County Attorney to prepare a Rabies Control Ordinance. This will allow the Sheriff’s Department to enforce these provisions, issue citations, bring violators before the Magistrate Court, and establish fees and fines associated with rabies control through the Animal Control Officer; 13) all of his information from the Presidential Preference Primary indicates that voting went very well, and the Election Superintendent and the Registrar did a great job with poll worker training, touch screen set-up, advanced voting, and absentees; 14) HB 1714, the SPLOST/Land Use ACCG and GMA compromise bill, was introduced into the legislature on March 4th. As with any compromise the counties did not get everything that we would have liked, and based on what they were told at the Capitol, we should support the compromise; 15) he would like to empress on everyone that the E-911 number signs that are being placed at structures throughout the county are for the protection of the citizens of this County in that they greatly assist emergency responders in rapidly locating the correct address. These signs are being put up by the Explorers of the Fire/Rescue, so please do not remove these signs; 16) HB1720 has been introduced to restore Medicaid cuts, which basically effect our ambulance services. The Hospital and EMS have asked for Commissioners support of this bill, the money that was cut is our money, it is money that we pay in because of our Ambulance License fees according to our agreement for reimbursement. This goes to the Indigent Care Trust Fund, if this bill does not pass the TRUST in Trust Fund will go the same way as the TRUST in Hazardous Waste Trust Fund and Solid Waste Trust Fund have gone; out the window; 17) the meeting to discuss and obtain local input for the Regional Development Plan will be on March 11, 2004 at 6:30 p.m. in the Ag Center building; and 18) FY-05 Budget input is due from all officers and departments of the County by this Friday, March 12th.
PUBLIC DEFENDER’S OFFICE REP TO BE IN CRISP COUNTY IN APRIL
Mrs. Pheil reported that one of the meetings she attended in Atlanta was with the Public Defender’s Office, they expressed an interest in coming to civic clubs and explaining the program that they plan to implement in different counties, she has contacted the April program chairman for the Lions Club, and someone from the Public Defender’s Office will be down in April to explain how they plan to implement their program in Crisp County. She will be sure to get word to the Administrator, and anyone who would like to come hear this program will be welcome.
COMMENTS ON ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
Mr. Henry commented about the good work the animal control officer does, he sees her out all over the county, he reads the paper about how many calls she gets, this is a new position that we created last year, and he hopes that one of these days when we get more money, that we have the same kind of officer helping us with our trash program.
ADVERTISE FOR MEMBER ON TAX ASSESSOR’S BOARD
Administrator Crapse reported that he has a letter which indicates that Floyd Hudgens term on the Board of Assessors expires at the end of March, the Board has requested that he be reappointed, it is his understanding that in accordance with the rules of the Board that we advertise these positions, so if that is what the Board wants to do, we will advertise this position. By common consent, Commissioners agreed to stick with the policy of advertising, and ultimately will be the Board’s decision to appoint whomever they choose.
REQUEST FROM CRISP COUNTY YOUTH BALL
Administrator Crapse reported that the Crisp County Youth Ball League has requested that the county provide them with a junior portable pitching mound at $1,695.00 and netting for the softball field at $1,040.00 making total request of $2,735.00. Mr. Pfeiffer recommended that the Recreation Department look over this request and make a recommendation back to the Commissioners. Administrator Crapse stated that the Rec Board meets tonight, and if Commissioners want to approve this based on the Rec Department approval, then he will get with them. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to approve the Crisp County Youth Ball League request for $2,735.00 worth of equipment based on the approval from the Recreation Department, with money coming out of the Recreation Department expense account, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EIP GRANT LOAN
Mr. Pfeiffer reported that the county received an EIP Grant for the Southeastern Forest Products, Inc. project, a portion of the grant will be a loan, the county will receive the grant from the state, and the county will loan the money to The Development Authority who then enters into a lease with Southeastern Forest Products. He stated that they have a proposed Resolution before them that sets out that the county has received the grant, the Authority has representated to the county that the Authority and the Company are in compliance with the general and special conditions of the grant, and that the qualifying loan amount is $181,285.93. He stated that the Loan Agreement, attached to the Resolution, along with modifications approved by Georgia DCA, complies with the EIP Grant conditions. He advised that the Agreement is basically to lend them the money, payable over twelve years with interest rate at 3% per annum, and they are guaranteeing not less than thirty-five new employees. He said that the Resolution resolves that the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners is authorized to execute the ultimate Loan Agreement that is approved by the state, and the County Administrator to attest and affix the county seal. Mr. Pfeiffer reported that this is a current draft, it hasn’t been to the State yet, he is fairly certain they will make some modifications, but it won’t be anything substantial as it relates to the County, but it may be as it relates to the Authority. Chairman Dowdy advised that when we receive the money back, it will go into our Revolving Loan Fund. Motion was made by Mr. Harris authorizing EIP Grant Loan Resolution to Crisp County-Cordele IDA, and authorizing the Chairman to execute the Loan Agreement approved by the State, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to go into Executive Session to discuss personnel and pending litigation, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adjourn the meeting at 11:10 a.m., seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.