MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
CALLED MEETING HELD ON SEPTEMBER 29, 2005
The meeting was called to order at l0:00 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, Secretary Linda Finch, Sheriff Donnie Haralson, Fire Chief Ray Lunsford, and Public Works Director Carl Gamble. The invocation was given by Mr. Nance.
RESOLUTION TO AMEND, RESTATE, AND ADOPT THE UPDATED ACCG DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN
Administrator Crapse went over some of the highlights of the old 2nd Restated Retirement Plan that went into effect in January of 2000. He advised that we are trying to address the benefit that goes to the employee, the early retirement, which now there is a significant reduction for early retirement, and the post-retirement death benefit, the county did not request, but there is a considerable change with this in regard to the New Model Plan that ACCG has adopted. According to the rules, we cannot make changes in the Old 2nd Restated Plan, we must adopt a New Model Plan before we can make changes to our individual plan. He stated that Commissioners have a Memorandum that was sent when we asked that ACCG look at our Defined Benefit Plan. He advised that he gave them some guidance about early retirement and that the Commissioners would like to improve the payment to our beneficiaries, and they came up with these items. He went over the five options that they had presented, and stated that there is a one time charge of $1,700.00 which we have to pay for the IRS to review our plan. Based on the amount of funding that was available was what led to his recommendation that the Board adopt a combination of the increase of formula of 1.25% of the final average multiplied by the years of service with unreduced early retirement with 35 years of service, which is a cost of $74,000 additional to the existing costs, which is budgeted. Talking to other individuals, getting an early retirement with an unreduced early retirement was a high priority. Mr. Faircloth stated that we need to set up where we want to be at, to be competitive in the workplace, and then find a way to get there; he doesnít think we should wait and see what is available for our people, he thinks we should make it a priority to make it be there. Chairman Henry advised that he doesnít think there is any doubt that the intent of this Board, and the oneís previous to this Board, has been to consider ways to improve the retirement for our employees, and the increase this year that has been recommended by the Administrator is a sign of improvement, but the biggest question is how far do we go each year. Sheriff Haralson advised that he is excited that the Commissioners have taken this initiative, it has been a problem for years, and he has lost a good many people in the last couple of years because of our retirement plan. He stated that most of his employees would like to go with a thirty year unreduced early retirement and they can work to increase the formula. He presented Commissioners with a study of public safety officers that shows that their average expectancy of life is 57 years of age, and when you have to work until age 65 to receive any benefits, you can see that hardly anyone lives that long. He stated that he does know it takes money to do this. Mrs. Pheil said to her the number one function of county government is public safety, and we are going to have to commit every budget year to take care of retirement. Administrator Crapse reported that the actuaries can figure anything that the Commissioners want them to, and they can tell you what the cost will be. Mr. Nance stated that he hates for us to be bogged down again and wait another six months for a study. Mrs. Pheil stated that she does not want to make a quick decision here and then put off making another decision another year from now, she wants to know more now about how to fix the problem now instead of just changing a little bit. Administrator Crapse reported that if they make a change today to begin on January 1, 2006, we will not get billed until December 2006, and payable in January 2007. Fire Chief Lunsford agreed with Sheriff Haralson, and stated that there are so many options out there for retirement plans, and if he has more options to be able to give his folks, he thinks he would be able to keep his folks, and it will be easier to sell when he is hiring people. He applauded the Commissioners to a least getting started, and if we start now, we have something to tell the employees. Public Works Director Gamble stated that he has just had an employee that had a stroke with almost thirty years of service, but he canít retire because he cannot afford to as he is only fifty-two years of age. Most of his employees have an average of fifteen years of service with the county, have worked out in the hot sun, and driving those big pieces of equipment have beat them pretty hard. Mrs. Leverett advised that the concern of being competitive with the private sector and other government agencies is not just in the public safety area, it is everywhere, and she thinks there needs to be a cola for retirement in the future. She stated that the better the benefits are, the higher quality of employees you can attract and keep, and these people want cost you the workers compensation and liability claims. Motion was made by Mr. Pheil to change the retirement plan to a thirty year plan with no reduced benefits, and increase the formula at 1.25% of the final average multiplied by the number of years of service, January 1, 2006, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE HEALTH INSURANCE STOP LOSS QUOTE
Administrator Crapse reported Commissioners have already approved this at the Power Commission, basically the recommendation from staff was to renew our health insurance current stop loss coverage with the same company as last year, there is a slightly less expensive quote from Chub, but it leaves the plan open to a whole lot more liability. Motion was made Mrs. Pheil to renew the stop loss coverage with Standard Security, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
WORK SESSION DISCUSSED
Administrator Crapse reported that because our meetings have become so long, the Chairman has asked that each Commissioner come up with three priority items to be brought to the October 13th meeting, and the Board will assign a priority to them, then they will schedule a work session to talk about those items.
REQUEST FROM AUDITORS
Mrs. Leverett advised that the auditor has requested her to have Commissioners to approve for him to reserve some amounts on the delinquent revolving loan fund accounts, which means that he will write off these amounts, then if we recapture any of that, he can go back and make an adjustment. She advised that it is his recommendation that we reserve $120,000 for Circle J, and 50% of the Walker Vault account. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to take the recommendation of the auditor and reserve $120,000 for Circle J and 50% for Walker Vault in the revolving loan fund accounts, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS BUSINESS LICENSE/OCCUPATION TAX
Administrator Crapse reported that in their proposal for the business license/occupation tax, anyone that has a license in the state of Georgia, issued by a county or city, based on gross receipts, only has to show that license to register to do business in another county, and in some cases they may have to pay a registration fee, but they will not have to buy another business license. He advised that if they bought a license based on the number of employees, or the number of work days in a week, that does not exempt them from buying another business license and paying the occupation tax, so the key is it has to be based on gross receipts. The discussion was around what we could do to support and help our local businesses and not hinder them or the city, and also allow us to control or monitor those people that are doing business in the county. He advised that this is not anything that people arenít used to doing, they are doing it outside the county already, and the fee they pay here may be cheaper than what they pay in Americus or Albany or wherever they have to work, plus we need to generate enough revenue to cover the cost of doing business. If we are going to do this, we need to do it quickly, because we canít wait until January 1 and put this tax in effect, we need to inform the public so that they will have the opportunity to do the right thing; he did recommend that we delay the vote until the regular meeting because this is a decision that is going to impact the whole county, and that should be made in a regular meeting.
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to adjourn the meeting at 1:30 p.m., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.