MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON NOVEMBER 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 Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney Guy D. Pfeiffer, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and secretary Linda Finch. The invocation was given by Rev. Donnie R. Hall, pastor of New Birth Ministries Church.
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the minutes of the meeting of October 12, 2004, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the minutes of the called meeting held on October 19, 2004, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING - ANTHONY LAPORTE, JR. & MARTHA JANE LAPORTE
Connie Sangster, Planning Director, reported that she has a request from Anthony Laporte, Jr. and Martha Jane Laporte to consider a request to rezone approximately 3 to 4 acres (more or less) of property from RR (Rural Residential) to GC (General Commercial). Property is located 500' south and 3000' east of the intersections of Hwy. 280 & 90. She advised that Randy Conley, with Southern Music, plans to purchase two acres and move his business there. She has had no calls or opposition to this request. Mr. Laporte stated that he appreciates Commissioners considering this rezoning, and he is very excited that Mr. Conley wants to move his business to this new location. Mr. Conley stated that they have outgrown where they are at, and thinks this is a good thing. He said his building would be what it similar to what he has now, metal building with a nice front facade. Chairman Dowdy asked for any opposition, there was none. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to close the Public Hearing, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously. Chairman Dowdy stated that Commissioners would make their decision at the next regular meeting in December.
ENGINEERING CONTRACT FOR NORTH SIDE WATER & SEWER PROJECT
Don tenBensel, Executive Director of Middle Flint RDC, reported that the Commissioners voted in September to try again for a CDBG grant on the North Side multi-year redevelopment project, the Omar Heights and Meadow Park area. He stated that when they first sent out to request for proposal for engineering on this project last year, he wasn’t specific and did it as a one year project. Since we know that this is going to be a multi-phase project, the state will allow the county to select an engineer one time for the whole duration of the project. He sent out the request again stating that it was a multi-year, four to five year, project, and he received two proposals back, one from Regional Engineering, a local firm, and one from Hodges, Harbin, Newberry & Tribble. He handed out the packet with the evaluations of each firm, and advised that the main difference was in the fee; Regional Engineering had a fee not to exceed 10%, and Hodges, Harbin, Newberry & Tribble had a fee not to exceed 12%. He met with Mr. Crapse and Mrs. Pheil, they ranked them according to the evaluation sheet, and Regional Engineering got a slightly better score. He stated that he doesn’t have a recommendation other than this is the way it came out. Mr. Crapse reported that based on the data that was done, the comparison of the scores, and the fact that we have an opportunity that the low bidder is a local business, it is his recommendation that we hire Regional Engineering. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to take Mr. Crapse’ recommendation and go with Regional Engineering for the multi-year engineering development project in the Omar Heights and Meadow Park areas, seconded by Mr. Henry, motion carried unanimously.
MAKE PROPOSAL TO MR. TRULUCK FOR WATER SYSTEMS
Administrator Crapse reported that when we did not get the grant last year, the Board gave him direction to move forward with the engineering and to try and resolve some of those issues which they felt got in the way of getting the grant. He contacted Mr. tenBensel and instructed him to go ahead and prepare an offer for the purchase of the Truluck Water Systems so we could take that issue off the table and have a firm price. He advised that they are asking the Board to formally approve an offer to get an option on the purchase of those two water systems for the appraised price contingent upon receiving the grant money. Mr. tenBensel reported that the appraised price from Slappey Appraisal in Americus was $144,000.00; Meadow Park system appraised at $76,000.00 and Omar Heights system appraised price at $68,000.00. Mr. Crapse stated that we never made Mr. Truluck a formal offer last time, and one of the issues with the grant was that we didn’t know how much the system was going to cost, so that is why we are seeking this option, plus we do intend to ask the Empowerment Zone for money to help pay for this. Mr. tenBensel stated that any federal money that the county intends to use on this, unless they condemn the property, they are pretty much restricted to the appraised value, as this is the purpose of having an appraisal. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to allow the County Administrator to make a formal proposal to Mr. Truluck based on the appraisal of $144,000.00, seconded by Mr. Henry, motion carried unanimously.
RECOGNIZE BRAD FAIRCLOTH
Mr. Henry, Commissioners, and Administrator recognized Brad Faircloth, new County Commissioner elect. Mr. Faircloth responded that he appreciates the efforts of the Commissioners, Administrator, and all the staff of the county to make this transition as easy as possible, and he is looking forward to working with everyone.
LEASE AGREEMENT WITH GSP ON TOWER SPACE
Administrator Crapse reported that they have a simple lease agreement between the county and the Department of Public Safety, which allows the Georgia State Patrol to use the tower space as agreed at $1.00 a year for a term of twenty years, and if they stop using the patrol post, then the agreement is automatically terminated. He advised that Mr. Pfeiffer has reviewed this, and said it looks fine. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the lease agreement with Georgia Department of Public Safety on tower space, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
PROPOSAL FOR MEMORIAL AT RECREATION CENTER
Administrator Crapse reported that Cary Cason, Recreation Department Director, has had a request from a private citizen about putting a memorial at the recreation department. The lady had three children that were killed several years ago, and they were participates in the recreation department, and she asked what she could do to remember them at her cost. Mr. Cason advised her that one of the things he would like to do out there was to landscape the oval space between the parking lots, and she asked if she could do that for the county and place a small memorial at one end in memory of the three children. Mr. Crapse advised Mr. Cason that he would bring her request to the Board and see if that was acceptable to the Board under the condition that she would present the plans to the Board for approval before any work was done. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to allow the proposal to be made and bring back the plans to the Commissioners and Recreation Department Advisory Board, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
Administrator Crapse reported that as has been done in the past, it is now time to approve the Christmas bonus. The Board did budget a Christmas bonus for county employees equal to one forty hour week of work, and now it is time to formally approve this request for our employees. The bonus will be given out on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to approve the Christmas bonus for county employees equal to one week’s pay, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett reported that in the October report: The General Fund revenues are running a little behind, which is normal for this time of the year, expenditures are also running about 3.5% behind, which is good; Landfill expenses are exceeding the revenues year-to-date by about 16%, the tonnage is also down; Water Fund the revenues are about 3% ahead; Cash balances overall is $11,900.00, which is up about $2 million with a good bit of that in the SPLOST account; In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund there are three accounts with considerable outstanding balances, which they will talk about in Executive Session; and SPLOST summary report shows that we have spent some of the money to the City for the water tank, $10,556.00, so they are proceeding on the water tank. She advised that she has started the first quarter budget reviews with the department heads, and she should have those finished by the end of the week. She also advised that the audit report is almost complete, and they have assured her that we will have an audit report before December 31st of this year. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the Financial Report, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
Administrator Crapse reported: 1) he attended several meetings and such this month; 2) Hurricane Jeanne has still not been declared a disaster because the statewide public loss did not exceed the $9 million threshold; however, we are working for special consideration because we had more damage from Jeanne than Frances & Ivan combined, and we are continuing to work and are making good progress on reimbursement for Hurricane Frances damage; 3) Work has begun on Ray Road, with Slim & Fann’s Bridge Roads to follow; 4) Work is also underway on the New Town Streets contract; 5) SPLOST: There were no new SPLOST expenditures authorized this month; 6) The Youth & Family Resource Center Ribbon Cutting/Grand Opening has not been scheduled yet, but he is trying to get it set for December; 7) The Public Safety Communications Tower is up and operating as of November 3, 2004; 8) We have nothing firm on the theater situation at this time, but the prospect that has shown some interest did come back for a second visit with Monica at the Chamber last week; 9) He did look at a couple of new potential Ball Park sites this past month, but no definite commitment has been made to this point; 10) The O’Neal School Neighborhood has officially been listed on the National Register of Historic Places; 11) We received a “Thank You’ letter from the South Georgia Technical College Foundation for the County’s $5,000.00 contribution to technical education in Crisp County, and a “Thank You” letter from Americus Fire and Emergency Services for our Fire Departments assistance in fighting a warehouse fire in Sumter County on September 2, 2004. We also received a “Thank You” from the IDC for the grass cutting at the Cedar Creek Corporate Park in preparation for prospect visits; and 12) He has passed on the registration forms to the 2005 Legislative Conference and let us know what their preferences are, and we will get everybody squared away on that trip. Mr. Henry thanked Administrator Crapse for his diligent work in pursuing the ball park property.
DISCUSS HEALTH INSURANCE
Administrator Crapse stated that the insurance group, County, Power Commission, Solid Waste, & Empowerment Zone, met with our Third Party Administrator of our health and life insurance, and had some serious discussions of things we might do regarding the health insurance. There will be an increased emphasis on health care savings plans in the near future, plus we have looked at a health maintenance plan where people will join this plan and it will be monitored by our Administrator to see the individual’s participation in the plan and will monitor that in accordance with the plan that they have set up to see if they are complying with the plan. He advised that there are two ways to approach this: 1) With a carrot incentive offer of a cash incentive for completing the plan in accordance with their schedule, making successful progress or whatever, or it could be a return on a deductible, but if you fail to complete the program, then you would fall into another pool and you would have to pick up the full amount of insurance of what the county does not provide; and 2) Looking at a two tiered type of system where an employee, based on their personal situation and their family situation, would be able to choose among plans that may be a low deductible of $500.00 or $1,000.00 or a higher deductible of $3,000.00 to $5,000.00. He advised that we have nothing set in concrete, we just wanted to present this as far as where we are going, and see if there were any objections to moving down this general conceptual pathway in terms of our health insurance plan. We have also discussed a true flex plan and allow an employee to pick and choose the benefits they want, like higher level of health care or more days off based on a percentage of salary. He advised that we just want you to know we have nothing set in stone yet, but make sure that this is the way the Board wants to go, and the Board advised that there were no objections.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to go into Executive Session to discuss personnel and potential litigation, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
COME INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to adjourn the meeting at 11:10 a.m., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.