MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON NOVEMBER 18, 2008
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Vice-Chairman James D. Harris, with Commissioners A. James Nance, Brad Faircloth, and William Culpepper in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney Rick Lawson, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Rev. Rodney Bradford, pastor of Arabi Baptist Church, gave the invocation, and the Administrator led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. Vice-Chairman Harris welcomed all in attendance, and advised that Chairman Henry was absent today due to a death in his family.
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the minutes of the meeting of October 14, 2008, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
REQUEST FOR RLF ALLOCATION FOR IDA
Bruce Drennan, Director of Cordele-Crisp Industrial Development Council, and IDA Attorney Cliff Harpe met with Commissioners to request an RLF allocation for the Industrial Development Authority. Mr. Drennan reported that they are proposing to set aside from the Revolving Loan Fund of $400,000 to enable them, as a bridge, to purchase some additional property for the Cedar Creek Corporate Park. They have approximately $1 million set aside in the SPLOST for the IDA to purchase property, but we have a shortfall in the availability of that SPLOST money to move forward in this fiscal year, as the other $500,000 will become available in the next two years. He advised that they have an option on approximately 300 acres of property and to keep this option they will have to exercise one-third of the property in a purchase before the end of the year. In order for them to do that, they will need some assistance out of the Revolving Loan Fund. It will be almost $900,000 for the first purchase, and it will probably be about a year before they can pay that back. They will write an equity grant thru One Georgia of $500,000 to repay the RLF for that, which will take about four months to get it submitted and reviewed for approval. They are asking that Commissioners make up to $400,000 available from the RLF fund to the Industrial Development Authority for this purchase. Commissioner Faircloth asked if this was an addition to the money set aside already or is it an advance, and Mr. Drennan advised that it would be an advance. Administrator Crapse advised that according to their cash flow projects, there is $1 million from SPLOST available to Industrial Development broken down in increments of $250,000 per year due on March 31st forfour years. If we make those distributions early, it is going to impact our cash flow to pay for the courthouse, plus to make matters more complicated, we do have another completed application for RLF funds sitting on his desk. The RLF rules say they are first come first serve, and that application was first and it is for $120,000; it is yet to be seen if that project would be approved, as we are in the process of scheduling a review of this application with the committee at the present time. He advised that we do need to know the total amount of money the IDA will need and when. Right now with our cash flow, our cash will run out in the quarter ending June, 2009, as that is when the new courthouse will be finished, and if we pay out more than the $250,00 of the SPLOST money prior to March, 2010, that is $250,00 more we will have to borrow to support the new courthouse. Mr. Harpe advised that they estimate the total of what they will need is $820,000 by the middle of December, but they won't know the exact amount until final negations and surveys are done. Mr. Nance asked if we could feasibly do this, and Mrs. Leverett advised that our objective was to cash flow the courthouse and not borrow the money. Administrator Crapse advised that given that timeline, if the Board wanted to they could commit to the $280,000 today, and then by their next meeting on December 9th, they will know what happens with the other RLF application for $120,000 and will also see what the next SPLOST distribution is. His recommendation would be to commit to the fist $250,000 in SPLOST, commit to $280,000 from the RLF pending the decision on the other application, and let's see how our cash flow goes and then the Board would make a decision on the remaining SPLOST advance on December 9th. He advised that if we are pushed up against an issue of losing the land because of not exercising the option, then that would have a critical impact on what the Board decides to do and would mitigate the additional interest costs, plus if we recoup that RLF money to a grant in the next six months, then that would replace our supply more rapidly than it would be through normal payments. Administrator Crapse stated that we also need to consider the funds that are available from the IDA and how they play into this puzzle, and Mr. Harpe advised that would have somewhere around $50,000. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to set aside the $280,000 RLF dollars for use by the IDA for land acquisition and to authorize the release of the first $250,000 SPLOST allotment to the IDA, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING Ð REQUEST FROM ASHFORD C. VENTURES, INC.
Connie Sangster, Planning Director, reported that she has a request from Ashford C. Ventures, Inc. (with the property owner's authorization) to rezone a parcel of property from RR (Rural Residential) to GC (General Commercial) for the proposed use of an Amusement/Recreation Attraction. Property is 187.709 acres and is located on the east side of Cown Road and north side of Farmers Market Road. She pointed out the area on an aerial map of the proposed rezoning request Vice-Chairman Harris opened the Public Hearing, advised that there will be no decision made today, it will be made at the next regular meeting on December 9th, and asked for anyone to speak in favor of the request. Leonard Ashley, Jr., president and C.E.O. of Ashford Ventures, Inc., said that they are currently pursuing the issue of rezoning this property. The project will be a family recreation facility and will have wet and dry activities. The wet side will consist of water slides, wading pools, different raft slides, and family activities and will cover 25-30 acres of the property. There will be a building on this site to house party rooms, game rooms, big meeting rooms, and office space. Also, on the dry side of the park there will be go cart tracks, batting cages, and other outdoor activities. The entire investment of the project is about $35 million, and he is in the process of acquiring the land if he can get it rezoned. Vice-Chairman Harris asked for anyone that wanted to speak against the project. Steve Jobe presented a petition, of about 100 signatures of people who lived in that area, and stated that they are not opposed to the project but to the location of the project. He lives 3/4 mile northeast of this property on Gum Creek, and he hopes Mr. Ashford knows, as he is proposing building this site in the middle of two flood plains, and at least two times those flood plains merged and the entire section was under water. What he understands from talking to some people that the largest impediment to natural water flow is man made obstructions. The only outlets for the water are two bridges with culverts, and there will be nowhere for this water to go, and they are just trying to protect their property from water. Mary Cown, on behalf of Fred Cown, Jr. and herself, who owns property on Cown Road, which is about 1/2 mile from this location, stated that they are not opposed to this project, somewhere else in Crisp County but not on this property. She advised that the land that is in question has been verified as Georgia Wetlands, and if these areas are filled in, then it will cause flooding, damage to the eco system, concerns about runoff, sewage, parking, noise, and also destroying what has been determined as wetlands. Maria Hough, who lives on Cown Road, stated that her concern is this property is less than 1/2 mile from her home, she thinks it would be great in another part of the county. Her concern would be the noise, traffic, plus there are small children in the area. She asked Commissioners if they would want this in their yard. Ray Hough, who also lives on Cown Road, advised that he bought his house where he did not to have an amusement part a half-mile beside him; most of this land is farmland, and he would like to keep it that way, plus he doesn't need to pay any more taxes. He appreciates what the county has done so far, but he likes where his house is, and why would he want to look at that every day plus there are enough building around here that have not made a go. He thinks that once people find out you can get to the interstate in Vienna by going this way, it will put more traffic going by his house. Jimmy Bray stated that he agrees with what Mr. Jobe said except that it doesn't take a flood for this area to be covered in water. Vice-Chairman Harris advised that Commissioners will take all comments into consideration and then closed the Public Hearing. Mr. Ashford advised that he understands all the citizens concerns as far as the traffic flow and the runoff of water to the various properties; there has not been a real wetlands study done on this property, but there has been a hydraulic soil count and an estimated assessment done as it relates to the flood plain in that particular area. He advised that their purpose is to build up the property and at the same time create retention ponds so that the water can runoff and not go into the other properties surrounding this area. Also, between this property and the closest house, there is about a 15-20 acre buffer zone, they will be in the middle of the 187 acres, plus another buffer zone will be created. He advised that they are looking at bringing in 400 or so jobs, and they will have their own day care, and all this will bring it revenue for the city and county. This will be a place for families to go to have clean fund, non-alcoholic, non-smoking environment, and they will have security guards 24 hours a day. The property can be accessed from Cown Road and Farmers Market Road. Administrator Crapse advised that the Board will take all the information given today, and based on this information and additional information that will be gathered, the decision will be made at the regular meeting in December. Mr. Ashford advised that they will do a formal delineation of wetlands on the piece of property as it makes no sense to his company to buy a piece of property if they can't do anything with it. Administrator Crapse advised that he thinks they will need a Phase I Environmental, and Mr. Ashford advised they would do that.
NAMING OF THE "CHARLES T. BOOKER PARK"
Administrator Crapse reported that the county has been involved in placing updated signs on all of our park properties. The basketball court that is adjacent to Sunset Homes has been referred to as "Project Park", and this name is offensive to some of the homeowners and residents of that area. Commissioner Nance has recommended that the Board approve naming and dedicating the park in honor and memory of Charles T. Booker. The Administrator read the Resolution recognizing the contributions of former County Commissioner and naming this park as the "Charles T. Booker Park". Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to rename the park adjacent to Sunset Homes as the "Charles T. Booker Park", seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously. Mr. Nance stated that Mr. Booker was a very honorable, kind, and a remarkable person and he appreciates the Board considering naming this park in honor of Mr. Booker.
APPROVE FY-08 BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS
Mrs. Leverett reported that she has about twenty pages of budget adjustments, and basically this is housekeeping for FY-08 to finalize and close out. The original budgets and final budgets are: General Fund, $13,547,745 to $13,541,122; Water Fund, $401,748 to $420,948; Landfill, $1,347,717 to $1,382,100; Law Library, $25,000 to $33,000; Jail Maintenance, $129,700 to $173,200; DATEF, $26,912 to $28,662; E-911, $759,213 to $748,013; Northside Sewer, $0.00 to $422,200; Northside Water & Sewer, $500,000 to $68,000; Hotel/Motel, $40,000 to $47,500; CDBG Revolving Loan Fund, $100,000 to $93,000; Asset Forfeiture, $50,000 to $159,000; and county-wide total, $16,928,035 to $17,116,745. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the line-item budget adjustments as proposed in the schedules, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE EMPLOYEE APPRECIATION CHRISTMAS BONUS
Administrator Crapse reported that the annual employee Christmas appreciation bonus was budgeted in this year's budget, and based on our year-to-date financials, we seem to be in good shape and on track. He recommends the Board approve payment of the employee appreciation Christmas Bonus as customary on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the employee appreciation Christmas Bonus for full-time employees as customary, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
CLOSING OF THE FERRY LANDING DUMPSTER SITE
Administrator Crapse reported that based on the Landfill and Solid Waste Collection Study that was done, this dumpster site on Ferry Landing Road and two more are close to the lake and are polluting the lake. The appropriate signs were posted on the site to close it as of today, and he understands that there is significant opposition in doing this. It is at the Board's discretion if you want to leave the site open or close this site and try to relocate the dumpster. The original proposal was to relocate the two dumpsters at this site and consolidate them with the two closest sites, one being on North Coney Road and the other one on the corner of Coney and Drayton Road. After discussion, motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to table the closing of this site at the present time, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS COUNTY'S CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT
Administrator Crapse reported that all of the county's certificates of deposit at the banks have matured, and they have only received two quotes so far from the local banks and both of those quotes are around 1.1/2%, where we were getting 4% or more. He advises they can keep the certificates locally or they can allow them to seek FDIC secured CD's outside of the county; we will probably be able to get over 3% interest on our money, but it will take it out of the county and our local banks. He stated that if you allow them to do this, they would need to give the Chairman the authority to sign the appropriate Resolution when it is prepared. Mrs. Leverett advised that they would use the same terms for security that they do for the local banks as this is public money and there are certain things they would have to do. Motion was made by Mr. Nance that if we don't receive a quote from the local banks at a rate competitive of outside the county, the Board will allow the Administrator and Finance Director the authority to go outside the county for investing the county's money, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett reported that today's packet includes a report of revenues and expenditures by fund for the four-month period ending October 31, 2008. General Fund revenues totaled $578,792, while YTD reached $1,947,281. Monthly expenditures were $1,209,181; YTD expenditures $4,185,526. YTD Expenditures were way ahead of YTD revenues at 10/31/08, over $2.2 million. Cash reserves remain sufficient to support daily operations until the 2008 property tax collections begin to show up in the numbers. Landfill revenue for the month totaled $87,946, YTD $397,170. Expenditures for the month were $98,585; YTD $427,718. YTD Expenditures exceed revenues for the landfill fund as well at October 31st, by a little over $30,000. The total tonnage received for the month of October of 3212.87 was slightly less than last month and continues to lag behind the previous years averages. 49% of this month's tonnage was delivered on the Onyx commercial contract and 16% under the City of Cordele free residential contract. The principal balance on the GEFA Loans is current at $3.6 million. The Water Fund recorded monthly revenues of $33,990 and YTD revenues of $144,432. October expenditures totaled $42,168, YTD $145,693 leaving it, also, with a net loss at the end of the period of $1,261. Water usage for the month was 5,759,000 gallons, and the USDA Bonds are current at $1,7 million. Cash on hand at October 31, 2008, the General Fund had just over $5 million, the Landfill Fund, $2.1 million, the revolving loan fund $480,000, the SPLOST Funds, $6.4 million and the Water Fund ended the month of with $865,000 giving us a county wide total of $15 million. Of that 15 million total, $184,260 is reserved for debt service requirements, $55,335 for customer deposits and $6.5 million for capital projects. In the budget to actual report for the 2000 SPLOST ISSUE, as of October 31st, we have spent $15.6 million of the $17.6 million dollars collected, leaving us with $1.9 million to complete the various City and County projects associated with this issue. In the SPLOST budget to actual by category summary report for the 2005 Issue, to date we have total collections of $12,116,726 and total expenditures for projects associated with this issue of $7,866,336. This month's contribution of $322,103 dropped our 32-month average down to $378,648. Next is the monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues for October. Total SPLOST disbursements were $549,732. Projects benefiting from SPLOST dollars last month were, the new Courthouse, $279,753, the City of Cordele, $122,630, the Health Dept, $51,684; the Crisp County Detention Ctr, $38,432; the Crisp County Sheriff's Dept., $23,950; Animal Control, $14,578; the Town of Arabi, $12,471; the Coroner, $3,976; County Roads, $1,722; and the Skate Park, $536. 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 October 31, 2008. We have eight outstanding loans with a total balance due at 10/31/08 of $1,944,638. Of those eight, four are current and four have been turned over to legal. The last report is the revenues by fund and expenditures by department report for the period of July through October 2008. The summary report shows the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund. As of October 31st, all departments and divisions should be within 33% of their annual allowances. Overall, our three major funds ended the month as follows: General Fund 30%, Water Fund at 25% and Landfill Fund at 29%.
Administrator Crapse reported that: 1) he attended several meeting and events this month; 2) there was one new SPLOST expenditure approved this month. That was $42,104 needed to purchase two new Deputy vehicles: 3) DCA has approved our request to reduce the number of turn-down letters from Banks from Five to Two due to the negative ramifications on Credit Reports. This situation was brought to our attention by Dravian McGill and prompted our request to DCA: 4) we have been alerted by Council of Superior Court Judges that the DHR Commissioner is proposing to consolidate statewide Mental Health Services in Milledgeville and privatilize forensic services. This will "increase the number of these defendants sitting in County jails at local expense. It will not only slow down our efforts to handle cases, it will cost shift to the counties": 5) our local participation numbers on the Courthouse Project are up to 47% and rising; 6) Local Economic Impact for the Ball Complex is now at $7,000,000 this year; 7) we have been notified by Mediacom that they are raising rates in Basic Cable by $3.00/Month ($18 to $21) effective o/a November 15th; 8) LARP work on the FY-08 projects is underway, the three roads in the Swift Creek area have been completed and work on the remaining roads should be done in late November or early December. The FY-09 LARP list has not been approved or released: 9) work continues on the Reedy Branch Bridge on Hawpond Road; 10) the Water Fountain at the Skate Park is installed and working; 11) my Bride, Jenny Sue, is doing very will; had great checkups last Wednesday and Thursday, but she must continue to take it easy for the remainder of the 8-week healing period. We thank you all for your many thoughts and prayers, and consideration of my on-station hours during her surgery and immediate recovery; 12) don't forget the many special events coming up; and 13) the Community of Character Word for the Month of November is LOYALTY. Faithful to a person, a team or your Country. Sticking by a friend through good times and bad times.
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adjourn the meeting at 11:37 a.m., seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.