MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
CALLED MEETING HELD ON JUNE 7, 2006
The meeting was called to order at 10:00 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., Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Mr. Faircloth gave the invocation.
Susan Arnett, Executive Director of DCUTS, advised that DCUTS has been the Third Party Operator for Crisp County transportation since November, 2002, and the county has provided them with the use of three vans, van insurance, and rent for office facilities. The county has not been asked to provide DCUTS with operating funds; DCUTS has been able to cover the local share with grant funds and purchase of service revenues, which come from the Middle Flint Behavioral Healthcare. They have a contract with Middle Flint to provide services for the DHR clients through DFACS and the Crisp County Senior Center Council on Aging. They operate off of a DOT budget, the local share is 50% of the DOT budget, and they are now no longer able to provide the local share to operate the transit system. She has explored other funding opportunities such as other grants, beside the Empowerment Zone, which has been a great supporter of DCUTS, and she has looked into providing Medicaid trips. That contract is not available at this time, but maybe in the future. She would like to have the opportunity to renegotiate a new contract with Crisp County Commissioners, and if Crisp County does not provide the local share, DCUTS will no longer be able to provide the service and be the Third Party Operator for Crisp County. She advised that they are not asking the counties and the cities to repay their debt as she is trying to pick up that debt now with the Southwest Georgia Empowerment Zone in the amount of a bridge loan with 0% interest. They have until January to repay this, and if DCUTS is not able to repay this loan, they will ask for that loan to be a forgivable loan of $85,000. She has made every effort to provide Mr. Crapse with the information that he has requested, and she is asking for Crisp County to pick up the local share of $65,247.50. Ryan Kelley, consultant, advised that he helped put DCUTS together about five years ago, it is a great program, they had the money then but because of Katrina, world terror, and other things, that money has been cut from the state transportation budget. They are working with Dooly County as well, and Mrs. Arnettís has done an excellent job with what she has had to work with, they also have caring drivers that havenít had a pay raise in two years, and a team that is dedicated to the residents of the county to make sure that they have great public transportation. He came back on board with this system in October when they had a change in management, and his one goal was better communication with the partners and Commissioners to assure that everyone was on the same page; he thinks they do have a good program, and they have been talking with Mr. Crapse in working with them. He stated that they have not given up, and he is looking at other opportunities, but he has nothing now, and if DCUTS keeps him as their consultant, they will continue to look for opportunities to save the taxpayers of Crisp County money. The biggest mistake that was made was when the regional contract was bid, they did not bid and act as the regional operator, but they canít look to the past, and it wonít be open for negotiation until the fall. Mrs. Pheil asked him to explain his reasoning of why they didnít come earlier to tell them the status of DCUTS until it gets to this point, and he stated that unfortunately some former folks knew where they were headed but they didnít want to come to Commissioners. In October when he came on board, he made sure that people started getting good information, and they did not want to come ask for money and tried to do everything else but all the doors they went to were closed. He assured them that from now on they will get quarterly reports so they will know what it going on, and the only outstanding bill is the fuel bill with Crisp County of $6,000.00 that they are going to take care of soon. Mrs. Arnett advised that they are going before the Cities of Unadilla and Vienna to ask for help, along with Dooly County to ask them their share. Chairman Henry asked how he could come and ask Commissioners to offset a program that was started by the state, subsidized by D.O.T. and was such a good program when it started out. He advised that we are proud of our senior citizens but there are some mountains that Commissioners canít climb. He has no doubt that Mrs. Arnett does a fabulous job but that doesnít excuse the fact that we are sitting here on budget day being asked to finance a program that hasnít been very successful financially. Mr. Kelley agreed and stated that when they first started, the numbers looked wonderful, there were all these things that were going on in the state, and initiatives tricked down to Dooly and Crisp Counties, but unfortunately that money is no longer available, so we are all trying to grasp at straws. With the money that they are asking for, if DHR goes away, they will still be solvent, he advised. They have now put an honest budget in front of them, and will still be able to provide quality reliable transportation to the residents. Mr. Faircloth asked if it was the policies or priorities that have changed in Atlanta or are they one in the same, and Mr. Kelley stated that he thinks public transportation is still on the agenda but policies have changed. If he had known a couple of years ago this was going on, he would have been here, but he didnít know until October. Mr. Nance asked how they arrived at the $65,247.50 local share, and Mr. Kelley advised that D.O.T. comes up with the budget. Mr. Nance asked if this grant was like most other federal grants and gives seed money for a few years and then the local governments have to pick up the rest, and Mr. Kelley advised that this grant was not like that. Mr. Harris advised that his constituents will be upset if we donít continue this, but it takes money. Mrs. Pheil asked if part of their operating money was from the Empowerment zone, and Mrs. Arnett advised yes. Administrator Crapse wanted to know what time period the $65,000 applies to, and Mrs. Arnett said they are asking for it to start July 1, 2006 and end June 30, 2007, and they are not asking for anything from January until June, 2006. She also said she was just asking for the local share but if she could get the fuel surcharge of 10% and the operating reserves, she would be glad to have it, making the total $83,227.00, broken down and paid every quarter. Mrs. Bertha Harrell, on behalf of the citizens here today, thanked Commissioners for this service and asked for their continued support for this program, and this service is cheaper than a cab as most of the customers are on fixed incomes. Chairman Henry thanked them for their presentation, and advised that Commissioners will take this under consideration.
RADARS FOR GSP
Administrator Crapse reported that the Georgia State Patrol has asked for two radar machines at $2,710.00 each which will replace radars that are eleven to fifteen years old. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve two radars at $2,710.00 each for Georgia State Patrol to come out of this yearís budget, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
RETIREMENT CALCULATOR INCREASE FROM 1.25% TO 1.50% EFFECTIVE 1-1-07
Administrator Crapse reported that the Board has been committed to improving the countyís retirement system, the Board raised the multiplier January 1, 2006, which will be paid for in this upcoming yearís budget. He recommended that in order to keep that full commitment to our employees, that we make this calculator increase adjustment from 1.25% to 1.50% effective January 1, 2007, and the increase will be funded in the FY-08 budget. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to increase the retirement calculator from 1.25% to 1.50% effective January 1, 2007, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
ADOPT RESOLUTION ON PLANNING & ZONING FEES
Administrator Crapse reported they have a resolution that amends and readopts the fee schedule for various requests in Planning and Zoning, and like most things, our fee request has not kept up with the cost of doing business. This doesnít amount to a whole lot of money, but it is integrated into the budget, and will only bring in about $1300.00, but it will help pay the cost of doing the things we do. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to Amend and Readopt Fee Schedule for Various Requests, effective July 1, 2006, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
ADOPT PUBLIC DEFENDER CONTRACT
Administrator Crapse reported that in the budget review of the Public Defender Contract, they had originally recommended to cut a personnel space that is suppose to be taken care of by the state; however, when Burt Baker presented his case he basically said that the impact of not providing this space would result in him not being able to fulfill the contract that he was absorbing now. He advised that we have a separate contract with him of $10,000.00 to cover public defenders in Probate, Magistrate, and Municipal Court, but without an additional person in his office, he will not be able to renew that contract, which would mean we would have to hire a contract attorney to represent everybody that goes before those three courts where there was any possibility of jail time. The total contract will be $111,857.00 for the FY-07 budget for Public Defender, and he recommends approval as this will be the less expensive way to go. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to execute the operating cost contract agreement for the Public Defender, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
USE OF WATERWORKS BUILDING BY THE DRUG TASK FORCE
Administrator Crapse reported that Commander Jeff Youngblood of the Mid-South Drug Task Force and Sheriff Haralson has asked to use the Waterworks building as the drug task force headquarters because of the deplorable condition of the house they are presently using. The Waterworks building was being used by Gary Rice with GEMA and the driving license person, who has gone to the new facility, and just Mr. Rice is there now. Mr. Rice does have allocated space at the Law Enforcement Center, but Administrator Crapse advised that if the Board wants to approve this, he recommends to let the Sheriff and GEMA representative decide where the GEMA guy will be located. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to table this request until the Administrator, Sheriff, and GEMA Director can get together and come up with a recommendation, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS 5311 TRANSPORTATION PROPOSALS
Administrator Crapse reported that Commissioners have a letter from Resource Management Systems, Inc., Camilla, Ga., a Third Party Operator for Mitchell/Baker, Miller and Early Counties, and has just reached an agreement with Colquit County. This is basically a company that provides the same service as DCUTS does, except. He has had the opportunity to speak with two of the counties, and they have no complaints with this company. It cost the county nothing, and he has tentatively set Mr. Pinson, President of Resource Management Systems, to present a proposal to the Commissioners formally at the June 16th meeting. He thinks this is another alternative that the Board should consider, and he can start with the three vans we now have on the road. Mr. Faircloth asked what the difference would be in this service to our citizens as compared to what we have now. Administrator Crapse said this is a for profit business. Mr. Crapse also presented a sheet of numbers he ran as to what it would take for the county to operate the system. He encouraged Commissioners to look over the information, listen to the presentation on the 16th, and hopefully the Board will be in a better position to make a decision in regards to transportation in this county.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
RECESS UNTIL 1:30 P.M.
Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to recess the meeting until 1:30 p.m., seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to reconvene the morning session, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE PROPOSED BUDGET FOR ADVERTISING
Administrator Crapse reported that he and the finance director has done what they had requested them to do. Mrs. Leverett stated that in the last work session they had cut the out of balance number down to $444,224.00, and they asked them to go back and find everything else they could find and come up with some options. The first thing they did was to try to come up with some additional cuts in the expenditures and adjustments in the revenues. They also put in the $140,000.00 assuming that the preliminary digest numbers will hold, leaving us no cushion in those numbers, they reduced the contingency in half, left all the merits in at 1% and added Mr. Quick to receive a merit raise, and they have tweaked the revenues and expenditures once again and came up with another $15,650.00 there, and took out one member of the mowing crew, and then funded the Public Defender budget with the extra person as requested so they had to add $24,000.00 back in. That gets them down to $216,685.00 as a shortfall number now. She and Mr. Crapse have come up with four different options Commissioners might want to consider, and they went over all of the options. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to go with Option #2 and cut out #1, #2, #3, #4, #9, deal with #8 later, and work with #11 on capital needed, and, if needed, the remaining will come out of reserves, and also giving Mrs. Leverett the authority to advertise the budget in the paper, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE PROPOSED LANDFILL & WATERWORKS BUDGETS FOR ADVERTISING
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the proposed Waterworks Fund with a 25% rate increase & approved the Landfill Fund Budgets for advertising, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
STEERING COMMITTEE BE FORMED
Chairman Henry advised that between now and next budget time, Commissioners create a steering committee to study the countyís garbage landfill situation, so we can put this to rest one way or the other. If there is a savings out there that can make a difference in our budget next year, he thinks it merits a good investigation. He suggests a committee of eight to ten members and let them be a part of the solution. Commissioners agreed with this idea.
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to adjourn the meeting at 2:34 p.m., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.