MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON MARCH 13, 2007
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Chairman Ferrell Henry with Commissioners James D. Harris, A. James Nance, Brad Faircloth, and William Culpepper in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney David Forehand, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Commissioner Culpepper gave the invocation and Administrator Crapse led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the minutes of the February 13, 2007 meeting, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING – CHERYL MASON
Connie Sangster, Planning Department Director, reported that she has received a request from Cheryl Mason to rezone a parcel of property from RS1 (Single Family Residential) to NC (Neighborhood Commercial) for the proposed uses such as beauty salon, real estate, and office/general office space. Property is located at 2101 Ga. Hwy. 300 South. She showed a photo of the existing building that they are proposing to rezone. She advised that NC zone is for general office space, not a commercial incompatible use with the surrounding single family residential, and this property borders the old Buchannan Truckstop. Chairman Henry opened the Public Hearing, and advised the decision will be made at the next regular meeting in April. He asked for those to speak in favor of the rezoning. Cheryl Mason’s daughter, Michelle Hughes, who was here on behalf of her mother, advised that her mother has just recently purchased this property, and the property has been abandoned and overgrown with weeds for several years. They had tried to market this house for about a year or so, and there feedback was that is was zoned residential, and that was not a desirable place for people to live so close to the highway. Chairman Henry asked for anyone to speak in opposition to the request; there was none, but Ms. Sangster advised that the property owner adjacent to this house, the daughter of Mr. Buchannan called and advised that she was on the way, but didn’t think she had a problem with the rezoning as she thought there was some other problem. Chairman Henry closed the Public Hearing, and advised that the decision will be made at the next regular meeting. Susan Soto, daughter of James Buchannan, came in late. Ms. Sangster advised that there has been a couple of issues in the past where she has had letters or complaints about cleaning up the Buchannan property, and she thinks Ms. Soto is afraid that this may be an attempt to harass her to make her clean up the property. Her father has passed away and the property has been left in an estate to her and her brother, she has been making some progress trying to clean the property up, and she is afraid the issue will come up again with a new owner. Ms. Soto advised that she has made a good bit of progress alone trying to clean up the property, and it looks 100% better than it did at one time, as her father saved everything he could. Her son is now home from the military, and he will help her clean it up, but working full-time it is hard to get it cleaned up. She asked for any ideas or somebody to help clean it up. Ms. Sangster advised her that her property was Single Family Residential. Melvin Buchannan, Ms. Soto’s brother, agreed that they want to clean up the place, but financially it has been hard for them. They both had no problems with the rezoning of the adjacent property.
PUBLIC HEARING – ROBERT LITTLETON
Ms. Sangster reported that this is a request from Robert Littleton, with the property owners authorization, to rezone a parcel of property from GC (General Commercial) to HC (Heavy Commercial) for the proposed use of an automobile sales and service. Property is located at 1153 Hwy. 280 West, and adjacent to Jerry’s Auto body Shop. Robert Littleton advised that he has been in the car business for over twenty years and recently sold a new car dealership; he has been retired for a few months and realized that he was tired of that and began to look for a location and found this property next to Jerry’s Auto body Shop. He proposed to put in a late model used car lot and will not be a junky place, and would appreciate their consideration. Jerry Odom, owner of Jerry’s Auto body Shop, advised that they bought that place so they could have control of who is there, and he thinks Mr. Littleton would be a good tenant. Chairman Henry asked for anyone to speak in opposition to the request, there was none; he closed the Public Hearing and advised that we will make the decision at the next regular meeting.
CDBG FY-2007 APPLICATION AND FUNDING RESOLUTIONS
Administrator Crapse reported that we have two resolutions, one authorizes the submission of the 2007 CDBG application, which is the second year of the sewer project at Northside, and the second one is a commitment of local match funds and the in-kind contributions from the county. These are the same provisions that we used in the first year, but the in-kind changed a little bit since that is a dollar value based on the work that will be done by Public Works. He thanked the City of Cordele for once again making the $20,000 commitment to the project, and he would recommend the Board adopt both of the resolutions. Don tenBensel, Middle Flint Regional Development Director, advised that this would be the third year of the Northside area redevelopment program. Year one was for water for the Northside area, year two is the sewer in the eastern and southeastern part of Omar Heights with a lift station on the Northeast corner of Hoover, and now we are applying to expand to the rest of Omar Heights, run a gravity line over to DenMar Mobile Home Park to pick that area up. Year four would be to move over to Meadow Park, the City of Cordele has a strip of land right off the end of Spring Street, which would be suitable for a lift station so that wouldn’t have to any acquisition, and the next year would be the storm drainage and anything else including any street repair we need to do from all that we have done tearing up. It will be a six-year program. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the CDBG FY-2007 Application and Funding Resolutions and giving the Chairman the authority to sign the necessary paperwork, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
CRISP-SUMTER COUNTIES JOINT DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY BY LAWS
Administrator Crapse reported that last month the Board approved submission of legislation to form a Crisp-Sumter County Joint Development Authority for our mutual benefit. He has the bi-laws of that organization that were prepared by Sumter County’s representative and attorney. They are pretty straightforward and appear to be in order; basically it calls for five members of each county to be a member and they would serve for four years, the first appointees would be staggered terms so that they would continue to stagger once the initial terms are served, and then they would all be four-year terms. The Board of Commissioners in the respective counties would appoint the members, there would be no compensation to the members for their services, but they would be entitled to reimbursement for actual expenses incurred in performance of their duties. They would act in the same manner as The Development Authority laws in accordance with Georgia Codes; similar to the way we operate with Dooly County on that Joint Development Authority. He recommends approval of the bi-laws. Attorney Forehand reported that he has researched the creation and existence of joint development authorities, he thinks the code does not require that there be an act to the General Assembly as counties are empowered to do this unilaterally together, and the law has been amended recently to have more than one joint authority, and he thinks everything is in order from that standpoint. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to adopt the Bi-Laws of the Crisp-Sumter Counties Joint Development Authority based on the recommendation of the Administrator, seconded Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
EASTER FEST DISCUSSED
Commissioner Nance reported that the Ministerial Alliance and Darren McGill, who will be in charge of the Easter Fest this year, are asking for assistance from the Commissioners like we did a couple of years ago. He advised that they are going to try to have all activities at Reid Park, there is a meeting today at 2:00 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Department to discuss this, and he invited all Commissioners and Administrator Crapse to attend that could. He said it will be different this year as they will be asking all the churches to announce for all to go to the park, where they will have organized activities planned, instead of down 11th Street; he doesn’t’ know how that is going to work, but they hope it will be better. Administrator Crapse reported last time the Centennial Committee sponsored this event, and this year we probably need to look at picking a sponsor that we informally associate with to sponsor this event this year.
Finance Director Leverett reported that today’s packet includes an executive summary for the month of February, 2007 as well as year to date, which includes eight months of fiscal year ending 6/30/07. In the report of revenues and expenditures by fund, the General Fund reports monthly revenues of $961,388; year to date $10,076,964; monthly expenditures $1,066,761; year to date expenditures of $8,478,803 leaves the General Fund with a net gain of revenues over expenditures at 2/28/07 of $1,598,160. In the Landfill Fund, we are reporting $134,733 in monthly revenues; $1,008,145 year to date; $78,445 in monthly expenses; $974,310 year to date putting the Landfill back in the “black” again, with a net gain year to date of $33,835. Please be reminded that this includes the sale of the Baler for $100,000. The total tonnage received for the month of January was 3401.49 tons. Approximately 58% of that was received from Veolia under their commercial contract and 13% under the City of Cordele free residential contract. Monthly tonnage continues to lag behind FY 2006 averages by over 150 tons per month. The GEFA Loans are current at $4,030,475. The Water Fund recorded monthly revenues of $28,519; YTD revenues of $280,891. February expenditures totaled $9,812; YTD expenditures, $248,944 leaving it with a net gain at the end of the seven month period of $31,947. Water usage for the month was 3,840,000 gallons, and the USDA Bonds are current at $1,771,019. Cash on hand as of February 28, 2007 was $15,512,875. The largest deposits being $6,839,610 in various accounts representing the General Fund and $15,143,858 in SPLOST funds, which includes the bank accounts for both the 2000 and the 2006 Issues. Next is the SPLOST reports. As of February 28th, we have spent $14,211,090 of the $17.6 million collected on the 2000 Issue, leaving us with $3,422,234 to complete the various City and County projects associated with this issue. This significant item on this report is that we now have another category that has exhausted it’s funds provided through this SPLOST Issue, that being County Recreation. The entire $2,888,216 has been disbursed and we are now dipping into the new SPLOST Issue for payment of Recreation projects, primarily the BBSB complex. In the SPLOST budget to actual by category summary report for the 2005 Issue, to date we have total collections of $4,631,696, total expenditures $3,257,679. We have now collected twelve months of distributions associated with this issue for a monthly average of $385,975, which continues to exceed the monthly average of the previous SPLOST issue be about $92,000 per month. In the monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues, disbursements totaled $456,241 with the largest amounts distributed of $310,436 on the BBSB complex, $89,825 to the City of Cordele, $49,134 to the Town of Arabi, $3,840 on vehicle equipment for the CCSO and $1,200 on Airport equipment. In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, we remain at ten outstanding loans with a total balance due of $2,111,098. Six are current, one is about 30 days behind and two are seriously delinquent and have been turned over to legal. We will need to address possible legal action on at least one of these in executive session today. We are still on target for the Steel Road property auction on March 24, 2007. Carl and crew did a good bit of mowing and clean up work to get it ready for pictures. The Brochures, over 600 of them, went out yesterday afternoon and everything should be on target. Don’t forget this auction will also include the sale of property at 207 East Oak Avenue and 116 East 13th Avenue. The last report included in your packet is the revenues by fund and expenditures by department report for the eight-month period of July 2006 through February 2007. The summary report shows the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund. As of February 28th, all departments and divisions should be within 67% of their annual allowances. Overall, the General Fund was at 62%, the Water Fund at 45% and the Landfill Fund at 51%.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Administrator Crapse reported; 1) he attended several meetings and events this month; 2) there was one new SPLOST expenditure approved this month. A deputy vehicle for the sheriff’s department. The funds were from the City of Arabi’s SPLOST allocation at their request. This is part of their law enforcement contract with the sheriff and Crisp County; 3) the Coroner’s renovated vehicle should be delivered this week; we just have to wait for the bed liner to cure; 4) the Northside Project continues to move forward with no major difficulties to date. The contractor has requested a time hold on the contract for the City to catch up with meter installation. The first phase of water is scheduled to be done on time in 90 days. Engineering work on the first phase of sewer is also moving forward and the CDBG application for the second phase of sewer work was approved by you today, so we continue to move forward on all fronts; 5) work on the Youth Ball Complex is still moving forward at full tilt. The road and parking lot base work is nearing completion, as is the sports lighting being installed by the CCPC. The construction of the concession buildings is underway, but is moving slowly. They should pour pads this week and begin laying block. We are bringing in a temporary restroom trailer and a tent for concessions initially. The bleachers and player benches are here and the dugout covers will be installed in the next couple of weeks, they will be dark green, blend in very well and will fade less than some of the brighter colors. One cover was installed yesterday as a test, and it looks very good. Season Opening Ceremonies are in 32 days; on Saturday, April 24th at the new Ball Complex at 10:00 a.m. I would like to thank Marvair for their generous discount on the heating & air units in the concession buildings at the Youth Ball Complex, 6) as I mentioned last month, the County submitted a total of eight EZ Grant Applications from six different departments. There were among 45 applications requesting some $2M. The grant awards should be released next month in April. The EZ will also be assisting us with a RBEG for the ULDC updates; 7) as you will remember, last month we were notified by DOR that there might be anomalies in the sales tax collections due to the e-collections system. Sherrie sent a letter to the DOR requesting an analysis of our collections. The DOR has responded that there is no problem, just normal deviation in collections and reporting. This is good news, but we will continue to monitor it closely, and as you heard from Sherrie we were above $400,000 again in this monthly report that probably included some collections from December and January; 8) the Georgia National Fairgrounds has alerted us that there will be upwards of 6,000 motor coaches in the area for the Family Motor Coach Association’s 77th Annual Winter International Convention March 19-22, 2007. This is the second largest event at the fairgrounds coming in only behind the Georgia National Fair. We should all show them our most gracious southern welcome while they are in our area. Many of the anticipated 12,000 participants will come early and stay after the event to enjoy what our area has to offer; 9) Dub Cooper informed me that the Sail Plane group that is here each May has put in a bid to sponsor the “Nationals”. This could bring 40 to 50 participants to the County from all over the nation, not just the Southeast US. This will be another great opportunity for Cordele and Crisp County to shine. You will remember that the Kiwanis 8K Race on Memorial Day will also be the State of Georgia sanctioned 8K Race for this year. This looks like it can be a very good month for Tourism in Crisp County and a great month for sales tax; 10) we received the DFCS 2005-2006 Annual Report last week. Total disbursements were $39,718,409 including $24,531 of County funds; 11) the Chamber has been awarded its third Hands on Georgia Grant and will be at the Capitol on Monday, March 19th at 2:00 p.m. to receive the check. We will not know how much the award is for until that time; 12) letters have been provided to our State and Federal Legislators, at their request, for projects needing Financial Assistance; 13) the County Board of Health sent a letter to the Board imploring the County to continue with the Northside Project until all of the area is provided with public sewer; 14) Jerry Griffin sent a memo relating the praises from Governor Perdue and GEMA Director Charley English for the response of Counties and other local governments for the fast response to the Tornados that hit our neighbors last week; 15) the Board received a Thank you for supporting the Fishfry; and 16) the Community of Character Word for the Month of March is FAIRNESS. To treat everyone the same. To be honest and just.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to go into Executive Session to discuss pending litigation and personnel, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE SETTLEMENT WITH SOUTH GEORGIA BANKING COMPANY
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the settlement with South Georgia Banking Company, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adjourn the meeting at 12:05 p.m., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.