MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON AUGUST 9, 2005
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Chairman Ferrell Henry, with Commissioners James D. Harris, A. James Nance, Joyce C. Pheil, and Brad Faircloth in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney Guy D. Pfeiffer, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, introduced his father, Rev. C. R. Gamble. Rev. Gamble, pastor of Oakfield Missionary Baptist Church, gave the invocation. Administrator Crapse led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the minutes of the meetings of July 12th and July 21st, 2005, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING - SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR RANN FOLSOM
Connie Sangster, Planning Director, reported that this is a request from the Residences of Ironwood, Rann Folsom, owner, for a Special Use Permit to locate a temporary sales office in a RS2 (Single Family Residence). Property located on Lot #32 Antioch Church Road and being a part of Ironwood Subdivision, and the decision can be made today. She advised that they are asking to place this temporary sales office here to promote the sales of the homes in this subdivision. She stated that in her review checklist, she did note a few restrictions, if approved, that could become a part of the motion, along with the attachment on the Unified Land Code in reference to the sections of temporary sales offices for subdivisions. She passed around photos of what the intent of the unit will look like. Chairman Henry opened the Public Hearing, and asked anyone to speak in favor of this request. Keith Adkins, representing Ironwood Subdivision, advised that they would like to place a sales office at the entrance of the subdivision to try to market the golf course and sales of houses in this subdivision. Chairman Henry asked if there was anyone else to speak in favor or anyone in opposition to this request, there were none, and he closed the Public Hearing. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to approve the Special Use Request with the restrictions that Ms. Sangster noted, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
AMEND & ADOPT NEW CATEGORY OF THE UNIFIED LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE
Ms. Sangster advised that Commissioners had the Public Hearing last month on the Amendment to the Unified Land Development Code that will provide for approval of family care housing, and this is the decision meeting. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to amend and adopt a new category of the Unified Land Development Code for the purpose of creating Article 2. Special Exception Variance, which allows the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant variances to accommodate special family needs, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
REQUEST FOR PROPOSED TEXT AMENDMENT
Ms. Sangster reported that the Unified Land Development Code was amended in 2000, and billboards have not been an issue in the past as they have not had any replacements, but now it seems that some of the owners of billboards have chosen to go with another company. She advised that when this happens, the billboard has to be completely taken down and reestablished. In the old code the sign could not be more than a 12' X 48', which was DOT regulated, but when they redid the Codes, they went with a 10' X 30' restriction, or 672 square feet per space. DOT allows 1200 square feet per sign facing each direction. She advised that there has been a request from a sign company, that they may want the county to re-look at the Ordinance to see if we can amend it for advertisement on the Interstate. Our Ordinance stated that signs have to be 40' from a major highway, and sign companies and advertisers say that is too far off, which is normally 10'. If Commissioners are interested in changing this, they will need to initiate a proposed Test Amendment to the Ordinance, and this will allow for a Public Hearing for any comments. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to initiate a proposed Text Amendment for billboards and have a Public Hearing at the regular meeting in September, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
GEORGIA FORESTRY ANNUAL REPORT & REQUEST FOR NEW SOUTHERN LINC UNITS
Carl Lowell, Chief Ranger of the Crisp-Dooly-Macon Forestry, and Marty Fore, Ranger I, met with Commissioners, and brought their annual Forestry Report. Mr. Lowell advised that in January, 2005, their state headquarters in Macon made the decision to combine the Crisp-Dooly Forestry Unit with the Macon County Forestry Unit. He has been the Chief Ranger in Macon County for three years, and he is real excited to take over the combination of the three counties; it is a big territory, but he has five of the best employees they have in the state. He advised that they had a good year this year as far as wildfires are considered in Crisp County, they had 25 fires that burned a total of 29 acres of land, that is very low, and he thinks the rain has something to do with the low numbers along with the residents of Crisp County. They issued 1259 burn permits this year, they worked over 140 miles of fire breaks, and they assisted 18 landowners in burning 832 acres of land. He advised that he and County Fire Chief work really well together, and they have each others Southern Linc number that really speeds up dispatch time. Total assist for Crisp County Fire/Rescue was 585. Mr. Lowell advised that over the last three years, the Southern Linc Radios that the County Commissioners have provided have been a great improvement to their communications needs, and it is his understanding that Southern Linc is undergoing a re-banding process, and some of the radio models will need to be reprogrammed and some will need to be replaced. Crisp County has provided three Southern Linc radios to their unit, they need a total of four radios, and he has talked with Dooly County, and they have agreed to provide two radios. So the three radios that Crisp County provides, according to his information, will need to be replaced, and he would like to request just two of the radios and turn the other one back in. Administrator Crapse reported that he called the Southern Linc dealer in town, this is a change that should take place in January or later, and they have the equipment here to do the re-banding, and if they could bring the radios up there, they can tell if they will take the re-banding or not. He recommends that Mr. Lowell take the radios up there sometime in the near future to see if they can be re-banded, if not, the county will replace them. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to take the Administrator’s recommendation, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVAL TO ISSUE BONDS FOR MCELROY METAL MILL, INC.
Cliff Harpe, Attorney for Crisp County/Cordele Industrial Development Authority, reported that he is here today relating to an issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds. He advised that Industrial Revenue Bonds issued by their Authority are not an obligation of the general government to make payment, nor an obligation of the Authority, beyond the extent to which the company that makes the agreements to pay lease payments or other payments in relation to the bonds makes those payments. As a part of the law relating to this, in about 1987, the Federal Government added an additional requirement in the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act, TEFA, in which the Authority, before issuing the bonds has to take a couple of steps. One step is to have a public comment hearing, which requires an advance notice in the newspaper, and that hearing was conducted at 8:00 a.m. yesterday at the Power Commission conference room. There was no one who appeared in person in favor or against it, but there was written report filed in favor of it, and he presented the Commissioners s copy of those reports. The next step for the Authority, after it receives the public comment, is to present that public comment to the Chief Elected Official of the Jurisdiction for approval, and that is interpreted by most of the Bond Council to be the Chairman of the County Commissioners, and that approval be represented by a Resolution of the Commissioners authorizing the Chairman as Chief Elected Official to endorse and proceed forward on the bonds. He stated that McElroy Metal Mill, Inc., referred to at confidential times as Project Steel, is a steel fabrication outfit that will employ not less than 25 people, and has multiple plant locations in the southeastern United States. He stated that this is part of moving forward with them and allowing them to finance the project in the most economical means possible. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the Resolution that endorses the project and the issuance of bonds for the McElroy Metal Mill, Inc., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
ACCG-WORKERS COMPENSATION DISCOUNT VERIFICATION
Administrator Crapse reported that he has received the annual ACCG Workers Compensation discount verification, which is a verification that the county is in compliance with the provisions of the ACCG Group Self Insurance Workers Compensation Fund. It affirms that the Commissioners have read and support the requirements of the activities of the program. Ray Lunsford is our Safety Coordinator, and compliance with the program makes the county eligible for a 7.5% discount on our 2006 Workers Compensation premium. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to attest to the county’s compliance with the ACCG Workers Compensation program and authorize the Chairman to sign, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTION TO AMEND THIRD RESTATED PLAN & AMENDMENT
Administrator Crapse reported that this action is to bring our Retirement Plan in compliance with IRS language from the latest federal changes, and it does not effect any benefits. He advised that in the next couple of months, they will be addressing the changes in the benefits plan that the Board approved along with the budget. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to adopt the Amendment and approve the Resolution to Amend the Third Restated Plan and authorize the Chairman to sign, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTIONS ON E-911 WIRELESS & WIRE LINE CONNECTION CHARGES
Administrator Crapse reported that these are requirements that have to do with E-911 wireless and wire line connection charges, and we do have a Resolution that requires the payment of $1.00 for wireless and $1.50 for wire line connections. The Resolution states that in order to support the operation of the system, we do require the funding from the authorized tariff’s in these two areas, and it has to be done every year to cover our charges to support 911. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to adopt the Resolutions Authorizing the E-911 Wireless and Wire Line Connection Charges and authorizing the Chairman to sign, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTION ON CRISP/DOOLY-JOINT DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
Administrator Crapse reported that the Resolution for the Crisp/Dooly-Joint Development Authority is not prepared as yet. He advised that Dooly County Commissioners met last Thursday night, they did address the item, but they tabled it until next Thursday night, as they had a question-basically no problem, but why. He advised the Dooly County Administrator that there was no particular reason, we had people serving on the Board, and we wanted our IDC Executive Director on the Board also, and basically we didn’t want to fire anybody.
FIRE/RESCUE & LAW ENFORCEMENT SERVICES TO THE CITY OF ARABI
Administrator Crapse reported that he has spoken to Mayor Douglas regarding the Fire & Rescue and Law Enforcement services to the City of Arabi, and he indicated to him that there is a committee of two councilmen that is preparing their case for negotiations in this matter, and they expect that it will either be dropped or addressed at tonight’s Council Meeting in Arabi. The Mayor indicated that he would do everything he could to get this item on the negotiating table, so that we may proceed.
REIMBURSEMENT RESOLUTIONS FOR FUNDING OF THE JUDICIAL CENTER & BALLPARK COMPLEX
Administrator Crapse reported that this is a simple Resolution that allows us to borrow money between funds to pay for some of the things that we may need to pay for the Judicial Center and then it allows us to reimburse that back to the General Fund when the SPLOST monies come in. There is also one for the ballpark complex. He advised that they discussed this with Mike Stewart from ACCG, and he provided them with the appropriate formats for the Resolution. He stated that it may never be used, but it is his recommendation that we go ahead and put these two Resolutions in place so that if it came up, we wouldn’t have to react at the last minute. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to adopt Reimbursement Resolutions for the Judicial Center and for the Ball Park Complex, and authorizing the Chairman to sign the necessary paperwork, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
GRAND JURY APPOINTMENTS
Administrator Crapse reported that the Grand Jury met yesterday, and Judge Pridgen appointed Mary C. Stewart and Patti R. Smith as members of the Crisp County Board of Elections & Registration, their terms will be for four years ending June 30, 2009. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to certify the appointment of Mary C. Stewart and Patti R. Smith to the Crisp County Board of Elections & Registration by Judge Pridgen, so that the Administrator can send the affidavit to the Clerk of Court, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously. Chairman Henry commended all the people involved in getting qualified members of the Board of Elections & Registration.
APPROVE COMPENSATION FOR BOARD OF ELECTIONS & REGISTRATION
Administrator Crapse reported that we need to have some kind of compensation for the Board of Elections & Registration, he has reviewed compensation of similar board members, and he would recommend their compensation be set at a per diem of $75.00 per day and $100.00 per day for the Chairman. They are required to meet once a month, and then work during election time. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the compensation of the Board of Elections & Registration as recommended by the Administrator, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
LUKE RAINES COMMENTS
Luke Raines wanted to find out where they stand with the Cedar Lakes storm water runoff. Chairman Henry asked if he was at the last Storm water Committee meeting, and he replied that he had to work that afternoon. Administrator Crapse said they do have another committee meeting coming up in the next couple of weeks, and there has been no great movement since the last meeting. A lot of things have been put in place, but they have not flowered. He advised that the committee did appreciate the call that they made on the Lake Blackshear Watershed Association, they agreed to invite some of those folks to one of the meetings to share with the Committee what they shared with Commissioner Pheil and himself when they attended the meeting. The Committee pretty much agreed that if the Watershed Association felt like this was too big a nut to crack at one time, that we would concentrate on the Gum Creek area where they are working on the Northside project, and use that same scenario to do some internal testing on Cedar Creek. They have had some more discussions with some of the landowners with possibly doing some preliminary work in clearing out some low lying areas on Cedar Creek. Mr. Raines stated that he watches the television every day to see when another hurricane is coming our way, and he asked Commissioners if they would go ahead and apply for a permit to do this project, he thinks it doesn’t mean you have to do it, you can apply and maybe it could bring some engineers down here from Norfolk Southern. Also, he said that the more building on the east side of the county is making their situation worse. Administrator Crapse agreed that we could apply for the permit, but the permit requires that you enclose construction plans, and that we don’t have. Chairman Henry advised that our vehicle of communication is the committee that has been appointed, he is always welcomed to come to these meetings, and Commissioners are always going to be concerned about the problem, and will continue pursuing this, but the process is not going to be quick. Administrator Crapse stated that we did qualify for emergency funds as a result of Hurricane Dennis, which is one of the events that caused the high water, but the unfortunate part of that was that businesses, landowners, and homeowners were eligible for small business administration low interest loans, and the only individual assistance that was available were in communities where forty or more structures had been declared uninhabitable or destroyed. He advised that this is one of their biggest challenges, to deal with the problem when we fail to meet these preset criteria established by someone else. Mrs. Pheil advised that the reason they started with Gum Creek is that you have to have very specific testing and criteria to get into the grant money, and Gum Creek has already had some studies and since the money would not be available to look at all the creeks, they thought they could get some valuable information by taking what they already had on Gum Creek, doing some additional testing to give them some before and after criteria, and then get some specifics that would apply to Cedar Creek. Administrator Crapse reported that the county has not been eligible to go for money in the environmental area because Cedar Creek has not been declared an impaired stream, so there idea is if they can document the environmental side, and maybe get some money that will help on that side at the same time maybe that will help us with the flood area.
Mrs. Leverett reported that the first thing included in today’s packet is a summary Financial Statement by fund for the first month of the new Fiscal Year. For the month of July, the General Fund revenues received were $663,774 and expenditures totaled $818,295; The Landfill Fund had revenues of $90,896 and operating expenses of $107,362; The Water Fund ended the month with $26,494 in revenues and $10,644 in operating expenses; The Landfill and Water Funds also had non-operating expenses (depreciation and debt service) of $19,494 and $22,177 respectively. The total tonnage received by the Landfill for July was 4,443.07 tons, which is 24% higher than the previous month and 9% higher than July of 2004. The tonnage delivered by Onyx is actually 10 tons less than July of 2004 and 13 tons less than last month, and she and Mr. Crapse are tracking this and will keep the Commissioners advised on this. The total water usage recorded for the month was 5,477,000 gallons, and we installed three new taps bringing our customer total to 1,093. Next is the cash report for all accounts in all Funds. As of July 31, we had $4.9 million in the General Fund, $1.3 million in the Landfill Fund, $524,000 in the Revolving Loan Fund, $3.9 million in the SPLOST Fund and $503,000 in the Water Fund for a county-wide fund total of $11.2 million. This is about $550,000 over July 31, 2004. She advised that we have six open CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts with a total outstanding balance of $1,175,030. IDA, Pless Peanut, and Heartland Manufacturing are current, while Circle J, Verrick Manufacturing, and Walker Vault remain delinquent. We will need to address possible further legal action on these delinquent accounts in executive session today. The June 30th loan status report has been forwarded to DCA as required. The SPLOST budget to actual by category summary report 53 of the 60 months included in this issue have been received for a total of $15,250,349 and as of July 31st, disbursements totaled $11,248,144. The current monthly average is $287,742. This report also includes the advances made on the 2006 SPLOST issue to date. As of July 31, the City has received $123,412 on the Water Tank Project. We have spent $124 on the new Spec Building Project and $749 on the Judicial Center Project. Also, included is the monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures, totaling $253,699 for July, and the budget to actual revenues by fund and expenditures by department, each department should be within 8% of their annual allowances. Overall, the General Fund and Landfill Fund are at 6% and the Water Fund ended the month at 7%.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Administrator Crapse reported: 1) he attended several meetings and events, along with the 75th Anniversary of the Power Dam, and he hopes people come out and support the Historical Exhibition this Thursday and Friday along with the Birthday Party the 17th at the Rec Center ; 2) there was one new SPLOST expenditure approved this month, $97,000 for the purchase of four new Sheriff’s Department deputy vehicles; 3) our Tax Digest for 2005 has been accepted by the Department of Revenue (DOR); 4) our Tax Digest for 2004 has been given final approval of DOR; 5) we will be advertising this month for citizens to serve on several County Boards including the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Board of Family and Children Services and the Area Agency on Aging. If you know of anyone who would like to serve, please encourage him or her to apply; 6) we received notification from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the permit for a 60-slip marina at Lake Blackshear had been approved on July 22, 2005. Further expansion to 200 slips will be subject to further review when applicable; 7) when the Grand Jury met yesterday, they returned 40 of 40 true bills of indictment, and made appointments to the Boards of Equalization; 8) we received a letter from Georgia Trend Magazine stating that they would be featuring Cordele-Crisp County in their October addition of the magazine. Advertising cost from $1,505 for a 1/6 page B & W, to $13,000 for a two page color spread. The advertising deadline is August 23rd and copy must be submitted by August 26th. As we did last time, the County, City, Power Commission, Chamber, IDC, Cordele Main Street, Tourism, MEAG, and the Housing Authority agreed to buy a two-page color spread with the Board Of Education participating this year; 9) the ACCG Revenue & Finance Committee will hold their final meeting at the Resort at Veterans Memorial State Park on August 31, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. Commissioner Pheil and he are members of that committee; and 10) we received a Thank You from Governor Perdue for inviting him to speak at our Centennial Ceremony on August 17th, he will not be able to attend, but will be represented by Senator Joseph Carter at the Ceremony.
CANNON ROAD UPDATE
Administrator Crapse reported Cannon Road is still dirt, very nicely done, and they are trying to coordinate with the DOT as they owe us 1 ½ days of work, we are trying to be patient and get a professional job done with professional road paving machine, and we ask people to be a little patient with us until we can get it complete. There are signs posted that it is a hazardous area, so please be careful if you are riding on Cannon Road between North and South Valhalla, and it is going to be to our financial advantage to deal with the DOT.
UPDATE ON CENTENNIAL DRAMA
Mrs. Pheil announced that this Thursday night there will be a full practice with the churches and service clubs, they need to be at the Middle School Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. The Drama will be Friday and Saturday nights at 7:00 at the Middle School, admission is free, and they will have a commemorative program and history book for sale, along with t-shirts and other items. The citizens of Crisp County will be telling the story of Crisp County. Also, on the 17th, we will have a Birthday Party at the Recreation Department, and on the 18th, there will be a “quiz bowl” game. Five members of the Lions, Rotary, and Kawains Clubs will face off to see who knows the most about the history of the county.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation and real estate, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to adjourn the meeting at 12:01 p.m., seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.