MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON JULY 11, 2006
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Chairman Ferrell Henry, with Commissioners James D. Harris, Joyce C. Pheil, and Brad Faircloth in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney David Forehand, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Rev. Phil Streetman, Pastor of Lake Blackshear Baptist Church, gave the invocation, and Administrator Crapse led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION FOR FAIRCLOTH, PHEIL, & HARRIS
Administrator Crapse reported that we have several Commissioners that have recently completed their programs of training at various levels, and he would like the Chairman to officially present them with their Certificates. Commissioner Faircloth is recognized as completing the certified County Commissioner Course with the University of Georgia, Commissioner Pheil is recognized as completing the certified County Commissioner Advanced Program with the University of Georgia, and Commissioner Harris is recognized as completing the certified County Commissioner Advanced Program Economic Development Mobile Workshop.
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the minutes of the meetings of June 16th and June 29th, 2006, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
DECISION ON SPECIAL USE PERMIT FROM TERMINUS TOWERS
Connie Sangster, Planning Director, reported that this Special Use Permit request and the Southeast Towers request has been pending since the Public Hearings on May 9, 2006. Terminus Towers faxed information this morning stating that at this time they wish to withdraw their request for a Special User Permit for a tower on Hwy. 41 north. Administrator Crapse stated that according to our Unified Development Code, if the action is still pending at the time of the withdrawal, the Board has the option of approving or disapproving the request of withdrawal with or without prejudice. Giving the they have voluntarily asked to withdraw, he would recommend that the Board approve the withdrawal request with prejudice. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to grant the request of Terminus Towers for withdrawal with prejudice, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
DECISION ON SPECIAL USE PERMIT FROM SOUTHEAST TOWERS
Ms. Sangster reported that the second Special Use Permit request is from Southeast Towers, property being located off of Elbert Road. She has provided Commissioners with several documents that were sent to her. She advised that they were waiting to hear from the Department of Transportation for confirmation, and they have that letter now with their recommendation. Administrator Crapse asked County Attorney David Forehand to review the factors that shall be considered in determining whether to issue a permit in accordance with our United Land Development Code (ULDC). Mr. Forehand reported that there is a specific code section in the ULDC that pertains to Special Use Permits and factors for consideration in either granting or denying such requests. He read those five pertinent provisions and nine factors that are enacted for the purpose of safeguarding the public health, safety, and welfare of our establishing general guidelines for the location and placement of antennas and towers, and went over the goals of this section. Administrator Crapse reported that the Public Hearing was opened and closed at the May 9th meeting, and asked Ms. Sangster to review the Checklist for the Special Use Permit request that applies to this particular section. Ms. Sangster read and went over the ten Checklist questions. Attorney Forehand pointed out that the material information just presented by Ms. Sangster is to be taken into account in connection with all the other materials that has been previously presented at the Hearing before the decision was tabled as a part of the overall consideration, and that consideration is to be made pursuit to the code and to the material that he quoted earlier from the code. Administrator Crapse advised that he wanted to address the nine factors that were pointed out by the county attorney and the third one - the nature of uses on adjacent and nearby properties is the one that we are significantly concerned about. In accordance with all the data that we have collected, the Southeast Tower request in it’s current location, would be four feet below the “horizontal surface” of the Airport. The issue is not in what exists presently, the FAA did find that there was no hazard to navigation with regard to the tower in that location as currently exists. The difficulty that we have is that we have spent approximately $40,000 to develop a Master Airport Plan, which includes the extension of the runways as well as a precision instrument approach. We now have an instrument approach with a minimum or ceiling of 375'. It has been noted in our comprehensive and long-range planning, that the airport is essential to our growth and economic development, and it must remain viable in order to handle the kind of aircraft that will be coming to our airport. If we were to insert this tower at the proposed location, we would likely not be able to improve the minimum ceiling height. Our goal is to put this precision approach in and reduce the 375' minimum to a 200' minimum. If this happens, at that point this tower as it exists will be greatly above that ceiling. He wants to make it clear that their objection is not with the tower, we have long supported better cellular service for our community, as we have a monthly review of how all of our carriers are doing with regard to triangulation and trying to improve that. He is not talking about what exists today, he is speaking about what we hope to have, and have had approved, and what they have planned for the airport in the future. He believes that a tower located at this height and this location would severely impede the advance and expansion of our airport and it’s capabilities beyond where they are now. He advised that we are not an aviation experts, we depend on our airport manager and our consultants, and those consultants believe that this tower would be counter-productive to our future plans for the airport with regard to the precision instrument approach. They have discussed the airport on numerous occasions at the IDC & IDA, they have requested funds from our congressional delegation not only for the precision approach but also for an upgraded terminal. If there was anything that he thought that they could do on the research and information that they have gotten that would make this compatible, he would think they would do everything possible that they could. Most of the data they have is related to surface traffic, not air traffic. We also have a lot of people that come and go from our airport, we have a very high level of agriculture in this County, and we have crop dusters that fly, and it is important to us that we make our airport jet aircraft compatible. Every proposal that he has seen forwarded to Crisp County from the Department of Economic Development and anywhere else includes the question, “does your airport have all weather capability and if so, what kind”?, and he reads that to mean that they are looking for the best possible and the highest caliber of precision approach that they can get. The precision instrument approach has been approved, we have the money set aside, and he is almost assured that if we were to put this tower that extends within our airspace horizontal surface, that we will not be able to provide that minimum of 200' in order to allow these aircraft to come in. He advised that the county would certainly assist anyone that wants a tower in any compatible location, but he believes that their priorities this time is to protect the viability and future expansion of our airport, and he would recommend that the Special Use Permit for this tower on the Wade property not be approved. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to deny the Special Use Request by Southeast Towers off of Elbert Road on the Wade property, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE APPOINTMENT TO THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF FAMILY & CHILDREN SERVICES
Administrator Crapse reported that Don Tucker’s term was up on June 30th on the Crisp County Board of Family & Children Services Board. He has received two requests from excellent candidates for appointment to this Board, Mrs. Marolyn Green and Don Tucker. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to reappoint Don Tucker to the Crisp County Board of Family & Children Services Board, term running from July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2011, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously. Administrator Crapse will write a letter thanking Mrs. Green for her willingness to serve on this Board.
JUDICIAL CENTER FACILITY DELIVERY METHODOLOGIES & PROCUREMENT OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Administrator Crapse reported that this is just an information session on the various methodologies and means of designing and delivering a Judicial Center that he received from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia. His strategy is to go over this with Commissioners and then once the preliminary decisions are made, to have some specific presentations for the Board so that they may hear from those candidate methodologies and ask any questions that they have. The first method, called design, bid, and build, which most everybody is familiar with, is the traditional way, where you engage an architect to design a building; based on those plans and specifications, it would then be bid out to a general contractor, and that general contractor and his subs would build the building. The second method is called a design and build, which is where the Board would select a single firm that would do the design, engineering, and build the building, this concept is being used more and more by the DOT in the design and building of roads. The third is construction management, and is most useful in controlling time of delivery of the particular structure, and if you have a really firm end date that you must be in a facility, this is one of the strongest ways that one could go. The fourth is construction management at risk, which is useful in controlling the cost and the time of the delivery, and if the job doesn’t get done according to the specifications, they pay. The fifth one is program management, this methodology is intended to control costs, control time, and control all the services needed to put together a building. He advised that first Commissioners will have to define the project mission statements, goals and objectives of the project, we generally know what those goals are, but we would have to define those for this project with as much specificity as possible. He then went over the good and bad factors involved in each of these methods. He advised that the funding of this project has pretty much been established, the largest portion of it being out of SPLOST funds, but in conjunction they may use a combination of a revenue bond scenario or an ACCG financing program. Once the Board comes to a decision on the methodology, the next thing will be to come to a decision on the specifics on the financing. Finally in a decision making process, somebody has to be in charge. In the selection process, there are basically two processes, the first one being one that would be followed if the professional services were the driver and process two is if there is a fixed price contract that is the driver. He went over the processes for funding that best suits the various methodologies, and advised that this is food for thought and this is a very serious first step in order to determine how the Board wants to proceed. He stated that it is critically important that every stakeholder in this building must have input on their individual space, and the Sheriff’s Department has offered assistance in the planning in making sure that security considerations are up front and constant.
ACCEPTANCE OF 2006 BYRNE GRANT
Administrator Crapse reported that Commissioners need to accept the 2006 Byrne Grant in the amount of $99,249, which provides most of the funding for the Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force. This is applied for every year, and the Sheriff has reviewed the grant and it is in order, also it is a matching grant where the communities provides 25% of the money. He recommends the Board accept this Grant. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to accept the 2006 Byrne Grant in the amount of $99,249, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
WESCAST REQUEST FOR TAX RELIEF DENIED
Administrator Crapse reported that Wescast has paid their delinquent taxes in the amount of $156,742.69. They asked if the Board would waive the penalty and interest on these taxes. They closed their office in Crisp County in March 2005, and they made arrangements for the Post Office to forward their mail for a year. The Tax Assessors Office had a number of correspondences going to that address during the course of that time regarding their taxes and assessments, none of which were returned to them, so therefore we would take the position that they were in fact forwarded to them. Also, they said that they contacted everybody that were their current vendors and gave them the change of address, and they had not paid any taxes prior to 2005 because of the tax abatements they had in place, so they didn’t know they were due any taxes. He can’t believe that they were unaware that they did not owe the taxes in Crisp County. The Board cannot waive the interest because that money is shared with the state and school board. Of the $22,800, $13,394.24 is penalty that is within the Board’s authorization to waive if they feel that is the appropriate thing to do, and in accordance with the law, all of these things are clearly the responsibility of the tax payer. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to deny the request for tax relief for Wescast, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett reported that the executive summary prepared for today’s packet includes a very preliminary report of revenues and expenditures by fund for the year ending June 30, 2006. We still have several outstanding invoices to be paid and adjustments to make before the final figures can be published. As of today, revenues in the General Fund are exceeding expenditures by only $106,000 or less than 1%. She does expect that gap to close as the final numbers are calculated and even anticipate that expenditures may actually end up exceeding revenues in the General Fund for FY-2006. As of today, year-end totals for the Landfill Fund include revenues of $1,224,471 and operating expenditures of $1,570,069. Add to that an additional $159,681 in depreciation expense and we end up with a year to date loss in the Landfill Fund of $505,280 before the annual transfer from the General Fund for which we have $628,000 budgeted. We won’t make that transfer until the auditors calculate the final closure and post closure cost. June tonnage received of 4,102.58 brings the yearly tonnage total to 47,750.74, which is about 23% higher than the previous fiscal year. 49% of this year’s total tonnage was delivered by Onyx on the commercial (paying) account and 14% was delivered under the City of Cordele free residential contract. The principal balance on the GEFA Loans is current at $4.162 million. As of today, the Water Fund is showing year to date revenues of $330,109 and operating expenses of $172,476. Add to that, depreciation and debt service, and the Water Fund ends up with a net loss, before year-end adjustments, of $82,227. The total usage for the month was 9,479,000. June 30th cash on hand in the General Fund, we have $5,602,432, the Landfill Fund at $1,983,884, the Revolving Loan Fund at $440,137, the SPLOST Funds at $5.7 million, and the Water Fund ended the month with $680,560 giving us a county wide total of $14,413,220. Of that, $167,031 is reserved for debt service, $53,140 is reserved for customer deposits and $5.7 million is designated for capital projects. Next is the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, which includes the balance and status of all our CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts as of June 30th. Currently we have nine outstanding loans, with a total outstanding RLF balance at 6/30/06 of $1,494,505. Of those nine, six are current and three remain seriously delinquent and have been turned over to legal. As of June 30th in the SPLOST budget to actual by category summary report, we have spent almost $12.2 million of the $17.6 million collected, leaving us with a little over $3.7 million to complete the various City and County projects associated with this issue. In the monthly budget to actual report for the new 2006 SPLOST issue, the June contribution of $417,181 brings our monthly average after 4 months up to $392,719. To date we have spent $1,415,142 on projects budgeted under this issue. In the monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues, total expenditures for the month of June were $474,270 with the largest amounts disbursed being $38,390 on equipment for the Sanitation Department and $59,045 on the new Youth Baseball/Softball complex. The last report included in the packet is the revenues by fund and expenditures by department year to date report. The summary report shows the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund. As of June 30th, they should all be within 100% of their annual allowances. Again, because we still have a large number of outstanding invoices to be submitted and adjustments to make, these numbers are very preliminary. As of today, they indicate that overall, the General Fund expenditures were at 92%, the Landfill Fund at 88%, and the Water Fund at 83%.
Administrator Crapse reported that 1) he attended several meetings and events during the month; 2) there were two new SPLOST expenditures approved this month, which were the purchase of a Chipper for the sanitation department to dispose of yard waste and storm debris as part of our initiative to upgrade the county collection sites, and extension of the fiber optic cable to Fire Station #1; 3) the OJJDP (Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention) Grant for Westside Youth submitted by the Commissioners Office for a LEARNetwork Truancy Prevention was approved and the funds should be awarded this month; 4) the Youth Ball Complex Trade Package Contracts have been awarded and work should begin as soon as the certificates of insurance are received and the County signs the contracts; 5) improvements on SR 300 at Crisp Academy by the DOT have been completed. This work was done by DOT as a result of Carl’s efforts and their meeting with the DOT Commissioner in February, at no cost to the county; 6) we have no word yet from Senator Carter on our request for assistance with GEFA in securing Grant verses Loan funding for the Northside Project. However, the letter to Senator Carter from GEFA is included in your packet. He spoke with Jason Bodwell about the letter, but he could not change the perspective on the project; 7) he received a letter from Warren Swint concerning the closing of Marvair Road. The letter states that the sale to Marvair did not close, which was a condition of the closure. He would like the record to reflect that the road will remain open. At this time the status of the road remains unchanged, and we have no intention of beginning to work the road again. Since the road has not been worked since 1993, well over seven years, it has essentially become a private road for use of the Swints and Marvair. He doesn’t see any harm in leaving the road in it’s current status, except there may be a potential liability; 8) the annual Chamber of Commerce Washington Fly-In is in September this year and he is currently preparing the “Congressional Wish List’ to be presented to our Washington Legislators; 9) the RDC has invited us to participate in a meeting on the new Rural Internet Service initiative through the OneGeorgia Authority BRIDGE Funding Program on July 21st in Ellaville. They suggest that we include an economic development representative in our contingent, and since that is the day of our meeting on the Millage Rate, which cannot be changed, he recommends we ask Bruce Drennan to attend on our behalf; 10) the ACCG Fall Policy Conference is scheduled for September 25-27 at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta. Please get your information to Linda ASAP so we can save money on the early bird rates; and 11) Mediacom has notified us that the rate for Digital Video Recorder Service will be increased by $1.00 from $4.95 to $5.95 effective with the August billing.
Mrs. Pheil thanked Administrator Crapse for his good presentation at a dinner held over the weekend honoring our local troops.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
HELP SECURE ROW FOR WILCOX COUNTY
Administrator Crapse reported that Wilcox County has asked if Crisp County would assist them in getting some right-of-way in our county on Powell Road, which is only about 200' in our county. By common consent, Commissioners authorized the Administrator to see if Carl Gamble can secure the 200' of right-of-way on Powell Road.
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adjourn the meeting at 11:50 a.m., seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.