MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON DECEMBER 13, 2011
Chairman Wallace Mathis called the meeting to order with Commissioners James D. Harris, William Culpepper, and Clark Henderson in attendance. Also present were County Attorney Rick Lawson, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Phil Berryman gave the invocation, and Commissioner Culpepper led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. Chairman Mathis welcomed all in attendance.
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to approve the minutes of the regular meeting on November 8, 2011 and the called meeting on November 16, 2011, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
ADOPT RESOLUTION HONORING WAYNE CASTLEBERRY
Chairman Mathis advised that we have a Resolution honoring Wayne Castleberry, who was a long time friend of the airport, who loved the airport, and was a member of the Airport Advisory Board. Mrs. Castleberry and son Mike were present along with Airport Manager Dub Cooper, Mrs. Cooper, and Advisory Board members Chip Wells, John Gordon, and George Gay. Chairman Mathis read the Resolution honoring Mr. Castleberry for his loyal service to the Airport Advisory Board from April 12, 2015 until September 24, 2011. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the Resolution Honoring Michael Wayne Castleberry, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously. Commissioner Henderson stated that he never met or saw Wayne that he didn't speak and had a smile on his face, his family has experienced the ultimate loss, our sympathies are with you, and he is going to be missed by all. Mr. Culpepper thanked them for the service that Wayne had given to the county, and he was doing what he loved when he died. Chairman Mathis stated that he too always enjoyed being around Wayne, and he will be missed.
PUBLIC HEARING - SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR HELENA INDUSTRIES, INC.
Connie Sangster, Planning Department Director, reported that she has received a request from Helena Industries, Inc. (with the property owners authorization) for a Special Use Permit to occupy an existing building for the purpose of Warehousing/Indoor Storage Facility for chemicals. Property located in an HC zone district and being located at 1198 Hwy. 280 West. Chairman Mathis opened the Public Hearing. Ms. Sangster advised that Phil Berryman had contacted her about Helena going into the old Marvair building. That building was built and designed just for warehousing, and Helena wants to store chemicals here and, in order to do that in this zone district, it will require a special use permit. She advised that there will be no formulation on site and only house and store chemicals, and, if approved, they will put in curbing that will contain any spills on that property. Mr. Berryman stated that this is an expansion for their company, they service about twenty-eight different customers in Cordele, and local warehouses are very limited. They have been leasing from Union Compress, which is mostly for packaging, so they acquired a lease from this company back in the summer, and the sole purpose is distribution and to add an extra service to their existing customers; this will only be shipping directly to their customers. Their purpose is to take it from the manufacturing site and hold it for their customers as opposed to them having to ship it offsite for distribution, and also for their export business as they are doing a good bit of business in California now. He stated that they do have engineering drawings on the curbing as they want to make sure they are protecting the local community as well as themselves. Chairman Mathis asked Ms. Sangster if everything meets her specifications, and she replied yes. Commissioner Henderson stated that it sounds like a good expansion for local industry with a potential for job growth. Chairman Mathis asked Mr. Berryman how many employees they have, and he advised locally they have between 130 and 135 and just added another 20 positions this past fall. Commissioner Culpepper stated that it is good when you can utilize a building that is already built. Ms. Sangster read the Standards for the Review Checklist. She advised that she sent notices to the surrounding property owners, and she had no response, which is a good sign. Chairman Mathis asked if there was anyone that wanted to speak in favor or against the Special Use Permit, and there was none. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to close the Public Hearing, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR HELENA INDUSTRIES, INC.
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to grant the Special Use Permit for Helena Industries, Inc. as long as Ms. Sangster has all the engineering drawings, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
UPDATE ON CURRENT ROAD/OUTSIDE PROJECTS
Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, reported that 1) he has not heard anything back on the LMIG projects yet as they are processing the supplement of county funds that was approved last month for the portion of Tremont and Hatley Roads for resurfacing; 2) the building is being erected at the airport, doors are up and the building is about 80-85% complete, and Reeves Construction is about 95% complete with the paving; 3) the work regarding moving of trash that was put on one end of the landfill when it was wet last year has been done, and they are cleaning up the ditches in that area; 4) the other pier for the go fish project is approved, they are just waiting for the money is be turned loose; 4) there has been no permits issued to date for the drive construction on the new school project, however their has been three permits issued for utility construction; 5) they are ready to start advertising for construction management services for the new expansion at the jail; 6) they are working on the drainage easements for the CDBG grant in the Omar Heights area which will be replacing cross drains, paving on one small section of a street, and cleaning out the outfall ditches and reshaping them; and 7) the water production is down some, naturally because it is not in the peak time of the summer, and probably a good thing because the aquifers are still not where they need to be, although they are up slightly from last month. Chairman Mathis advised that he had a call last week from a man asking if we have any plans to stripe or put reflectors on Arabi-Warwick Road, and Mr. Gamble replied that is on our list, which is part of the Off System Safety Action Plan that has been submitted to the state.
Mrs. Leverett reported that included in the packet is a preliminary Financial Report as of November 30th for our three major funds. The General Fund is reporting monthly revenue of $1,282,972; YTD $3,888,179. Monthly expenditures totaled $1,065,827; YTD expenditures $5,472,907 leaving the General fund with about a 10% shortfall of $1.5 million at 11/30/11. As of this report we have collected about 10% of the 2011 Property Tax Levy, (slightly ahead of last year at this time). Hopefully by the end of the year, most of the revenue from the 2011 property tax digest will be collected and that “shortfall” gap will close completely. The Landfill Fund shows revenue for the month at $98,997, YTD $496,336. Expenditures for the month were $67,488, YTD $405,003 leaving the Landfill Fund with a net income of $91,333. The total tonnage of 3040.49 was down over 400 tons from November 2010. Of that total, 40% was delivered under the Veolia commercial contract and 18% under the Veolia residential contract. The principal balance on the GEFA Loans is current at $2.5 million. The new GEFA loan has been closed out at $2.7 million & we will begin repayment of that debt on January 1, 2012 at the rate of $20,300 per month for the next 15 years. The Water Fund is reporting November revenues at $38,484; YTD $218,640. Monthly expenditures, $34,879 YTD, $180,861, leave this fund with a net gain of $37,779. Water usage billed for the month was 5.5 million gallons. The USDA Bonds are current at $1,614,540. Cash on hand at November 30, 2011 shows our County wide total at $13.2 million. Of that $13.2 million, $6,975,00 is reserved or designated for special uses. In the budget to actual report for the 2000 SPLOST ISSUE, as of November 30th, we have spent $16.9 million of the $17.6 million dollars collected, leaving us with a little over $1 million to complete the various projects associated with this issue. Following that is the same report for the 2005 Issue. November's distribution of $305,314 brings the total collections for this issue after 70 months to $24,112 and drops our average another $728 down to $344,467. This number is down 3.5% from last month and a little over 2% from Nov. 2010. To date, we have spent $19.5 million on projects approved for this issue. Following that is a monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues. The total SPLOST disbursements for the month of November were $91,735, all going to the Airport improvements. Next is an updated LOST distribution report. November's receipt of $138,292 representing October retail sales was down about 3.5% from our pervious month and 2.2% from a year ago. For the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, which includes the balance and status of all our CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts, we still have 11 outstanding loans with a total balance due at 11/30/11 of $2,296,539. Of those eleven, five are current and six are delinquent. The final report is a preliminary report of revenues by fund and expenditures by department for the period of July through November 2011. The summary report shows the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund, and all departments and divisions should be within 42% of their annual allowances for expenditures. Overall, the General Fund ended at 37%, Water Fund at 29% and Landfill Fund at 26%. She reminded all the retail businesses in the County that sell beer that their 2011 licenses expire on 12/31/11 and should be renewed prior to that date to avoid any late charges or penalties.
BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS TO CLOSE OUT FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2011
Mrs. Leverett reported that this is a routine action that we take as part of the close out of each physical year to balance our expenditures with our budgeted revenues by category within each department. Their packet included a summary by fund and then a detail by category of each division and department. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adopt the Fiscal Year June 30, 2011 budget adjustments per the schedule, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS 2005 SPLOST PROJECT BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS
Mrs. Leverett advised that as we come to a close of our 2005 SPLOST Issue as far as revenue receipts is concerned, we need to formally adjust the project budget to include all the projects to apply the revenues available to the overage on the courthouse project. We have taken the $4,819,500 of initial revenue and applied that along with what we had in contingency to the new courthouse. Total cost of the courthouse was $10,819,493. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to close out and adjust the 2005 SPLOST Issue Project budget per the schedule, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
ADOPTION OF COOPERATING AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF CORDELE AND CRISP COUNTY FOR THE CHEXAR EIP GRANT APPLICATION
Mrs. Leverett reported that because the Chexar project is located within the City of Cordele but the EIP grant funding application is being submitted by the county, the Department of Community Affairs requires that we adopt a Cooperating Agreement between the City of Cordele and Crisp County. The City adopted the agreement at their last meeting. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to adopt the Cooperating Agreement with the City of Cordele as part of the EIP Chexar Grant Application process and authorize the Chairman to sign, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE $10,000 FUNDING REQUEST FROM IDA
Chairman Mathis advised that this is the $10,000 funding request from the IDA that was tabled at the October meeting waiting for money to come in; the power commission and city commission both gave the IDA $10,000 as the IDA is running into a money shortfall. He asked Mrs. Leverett if the money was available, and she advised that we are in a better position to fund that request, if they desire, than we were in October. She advised that the IDA did not make their December 1st Revolving Loan Fund payment of $1,166.67, and we would probably need to deduct that from the amount so that she doesn't have to list that account as delinquent on the Department of Community Affairs report. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to approve the $10,000 funding to the IDA with the authorization of the finance director to deduct the RLF December 1st payment of $1,166.67 from the amount, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett reported that we have received a letter from Mediacom where they are increasing their monthly rates on December 15, 2011; broadcast basic will go up $2.00, family cable up $3.00, family cable with digital star will go up .55, Cinimax will go up $2.00, Showtime up $2.00, wireless home networking up $1.00, and there will no longer be a credit on the paperless billing. Mr. Henderson stated that he has been with Mediacom for many years but that is a $10-$15 a month extra cost if you have all of these. He stated that sometimes when you have a rate increase, you will have diminishing returns because the people will have to change some of their services, and it is a tough environment to have this kind of rate increase.
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to take a five-minute recess at 9:56 a.m. to wait for the Public Hearing at 10:00 a.m., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF RECESS
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to come out of recess at 10:05 a.m., seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING - PREAPPLICATION ON EIP GRANT APPLICATION PERTAINING TO THE BIG TEX PROJECT
Mrs. Leverett stated that this is regarding the pre-application on the EIP Grant application pertaining to the Big Tex project. She stated that this is a routine part of any Community Development Block Grant EIP (Employment Incentive Program) application process; we are applying for $500,000 in economic development funding that will be used on the Big Tex Project. The money will be used for facilities, operations, and also inventory. She stated that it has been properly advertised and there will be no vote today. Chairman Mathis opened the Public Hearing. Mrs. Leverett advised that the grant is in the application process and has not been approved yet, but hopefully it will. That money will be paid back, if approved, into the county Revolving Loan Fund allowing us to then loan it out to businesses in the future for economic development and job creation. Chairman Mathis stated that Big Tex could have gotten this money a couple of years ago and, instead of getting the money then and ahead of when they needed it, they now have the sales level up to a point to where there is a stable need for manufacturing. He appreciates them taking their time and working the process and holding off as long as they could so that they can use the grant like it is designed. Mr. Henderson asked if each application was rated based on the number of persons served and need. Mrs. Leverett replied yes and one of the things the delay did was to allow them to raise their level of personal injection, which makes their grant application more attractive. Mr. Henderson asked if there was any county match; Mrs. Leverett replied no. Mr. Henderson stated that this is a win-win situation. Chairman Mathis asked for any comments in favor or against the request from the public, and there were none. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to close the Public Hearing, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING - CLOSEOUT CDBG 07 NORBOARD PROJECT
Mrs. Leverett advised that this funding was for the Norboard Project, and the money was used to extend the utility lines and to construct a D-cell lane into the facility. The project has been completed at a cost of $390,033, and as required by the Department of Community Affairs, we need to conduct a closeout public hearing. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to open the Public Hearing, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously. Mrs. Leverett advised that this is the Department of Community Affairs money and a Community Development Block Grant for the Norboard Project; it is a joint project between the city and county, and the money was used to extend the city's water and sewer line out to the Norboard facility and construct a D-cell lane into the facility. The project is complete. Chairman Mathis asked for any comments in favor or against the closeout of this grant, and there were none. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to close the Public Hearing and give Chairman Mathis the authorization to sign the letter to close out the project, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
MR. HENDERSON MOTION DIED FOR LACK OF SECOND REGARDING COUNTY COMMISSIONERS CREDIT CARDS AND COUNTY VEHICLES USE
Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to adopt a resolution that all county commissioners will abide by the employee handbook in that any purchases made for personal items will not be put on the county credit card and any use of county vehicles will be for official purposes only. He advised that we need to conduct ourselves in the way that we expect our employees to do, and he feels like this is the right thing to do; the county employees deserve for us to show leadership and how are we going to chastise them if we don't hold ourselves to a higher standard or at least the same standard that we expect of them. He stated that if the commissioners owe any money to the county, pay the county back. Also, if you attend the sessions, attend the meetings as it cost the county money. He advised that there are at least four projects that benefit disadvantaged youth in our budget, and if we have to have a budget cut and cancel the money one group gets, that would mean that group could no longer deliver services to disadvantaged youth; that would be tragic if we spent the money needlessly. We are abusing our privilege and we don't have that right. Chairman Mathis asked if anyone wanted to second Mr. Henderson's motion, and Mr. Culpepper stated that he was not going to second it, but he thought it was something that we need to bring up in Executive Session. Mr. Henderson stated that he thinks this is county business and not personnel, not contracts, not litigation, so it is not eligible for Executive Session. He asked Attorney Lawson if that wouldn't violate the Executive Session rules if we brought this up in Executive Session, as we are not personnel, these are policies that need to be adopted and followed just like we expect the county employees to do. Attorney Lawson agreed with Mr. Henderson. Mr. Henderson stated that he is not trying to embarrass anyone, he is not trying to be a sole commissioner, but he is trying to get us to do what is right. Mr. Harris asked Attorney Lawson if the Ethics Commission didn't handle those kind of issues, and Mr. Lawson advised that he would need to look into that, and he could be directed by the board to do that if they would like him to do that and report back to them. Chairman Mathis stated that if we don't get a second today on this, we may have a workshop on this after the first of the year and get this matter resolved. Chairman Mathis asked again if anyone wanted to make a second to Mr. Henderson's motion, there was none so it died for a lack of a second.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation and real estate, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
COMMISSIONER CULPEPPER'S COMMENTS
Mr. Culpepper stated that he wanted to clarify what he said earlier in that when he took his oath of office, when he raised his right hand, he thought pretty much inadvertently you adopted the personnel policies; the day he took office he was given a personnel book from the county and the power commission. That is the reason why he called them personnel and that is why he called for Executive Session; if he was wrong, then he is wrong. Personally he doesn't have anything to hide, he hasn't had a credit card in three years, and the last time he got behind the wheel of a county vehicle was in 2000 when he worked for the Crisp County Power Commission. He stated that since he thought they were under the personnel policies, he says let it ride, and he is like Mr. Harris, if there is any other action that needs to be taken, call the Ethics Commission.
ADOPT MID YEAR BUDGET ADJUSTMENT PER THE SCHEDULE
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adopt the mid year budget adjustments per the schedule for fiscal year ending June 30, 2012 which includes restoring the unpaid holidays, seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS ADMINISTRATOR POSITION
Mr. Culpepper stated that he has been approached by several people about the administrator position; he knows he was absent with the last interview, and asked if they were going to conduct any more interviews. Chairman Mathis advised that we have a couple of more interviews and with the holiday time coming we can either do it in December or wait until January. Mr. Henderson stated that we need to have a since of urgency as he has had a lot of calls also; it is not fair to the applicants for us to delay this process as we have been in this process for eight months. Surly in eight months we should have found the time to interview everybody, and the law states that you have to publish the top two applicants for a period of two weeks. Potentially, if we don't watch out, we are going to be a year that we have known that we needed an administrator. Chairman Mathis stated that he is trying to allow as much time so we can interview as many applicants as possible, we can schedule interviews for the next week or two, it is not a problem with him.
JOHN WOODARD COMMENTS
John Woodard asked who was in charge of Keep Crisp Clean and if any county money was going to that person because they need to be fired and the money go into some other activity. He tries to keep his property clean, the property owner in front of his property does nothing to keep his clean and it is run down. It doesn't matter what side of town you live in, it should be kept clean, but he has noticed that if there is any cleaning up done by the county, it is going to be done on the east or south side of Cordele. The highways are mowed and cleaned more often on that side, and if you go out Drayton to the Dooly County line or go North Hwy. 41 to Dooly County, all that property in the northwest area of the county grows up and only gets mowed twice a year. We have to have this equalized, we have to have those old houses torn down or condemned or brought up to date; there is an ordinance for that. The next thing he wants to talk about is the garbage business. They need to talk to the person in charge of Jackson County, North Carolina's garbage. He stated that when you take your garbage to the site, there is a person there, and you have to have it separated, and the guy told him that since they have gone that way they have made more money than they ever though they would make because all the canisters belong to the recycling company, and the only thing they take to the landfill is the kitchen garbage. You don't go up there and throw stuff out, you have to have it tied up and separated, and then they compress it. That is what Crisp County can do, and he guarantees that we will save $100,000 in one year. In Crisp County, we put our trash in a dumpster, and then you have people tearing it out of the dumpster hunting for cans, cooper, and junk. He has called the Sheriff's Department because they use to come out and arrest people, but they now say they don't want to make anybody mad. They get a lot of money a year to run the Sheriff's Department and they have deputies running all over town but they can't see about arresting people at dumpsters. Also people put everything in the dumpsters instead of just household garbage. If they have the sites, it will not cost that much money to put fences around it and fix it up. He stated that it takes the garbage people hours to clean up all the trash around the dumpsters, and if the health department was any good they would condemn the bar-b-que restaurant on Hwy. 257 North because of all the flies, dead hogs, cats, and dogs, and everything else out there. Also, there should be a fine on people throwing out garbage in front of houses, plus he knows tire dealers that throw out tires on Drayton Road, because they say it cost them too much to take them to the landfill. We have to keep Crisp County clean. He has called Keep Crisp Clean five times trying to get something done, and they say where do you want to start in Cordele, he is talking about Crisp County. Mr. Woodard stated that he saw the people picking up garbage beside the road on Hwy. 41 South one Saturday, and the next week the trucks hauling the garbage to the landfill had it all back on the road. These are some issues that we need to bring up so we have a beautiful place to live in. The next issue is when the scrap yard man went into business next to his house, he had a picture of how he was going to fix up the place and it looked very nice, he went along with it, but that is not what it is. He told Ms. Sangster that she needed to let him know that is not what he brought before the board, and he is going to have to fix it up or they are going to close his doors. He is suppose to have a fence around it, rocks, and some flowers around it, but grass and weeds are growing up on their side of the ditch. Another thing is the parking area out there as they jam up the highway and people can't through. The next thing is about the county credit cards; he is a taxpayer, and he says to either burn them or throw them away, and if anybody owes a dime to the county, he suggests that they either pay it or it will be taken out of the next check they draw from the county taxpayers. He doesn't want to have ill feelings with any of them but the main thing is he would like to see this garbage business taken care of. He appreciates everything that has been done in his area regarding sewage and water, it should have been done 40 years earlier, and he appreciates them listening to him. Chairman Mathis thanked Mr. Woodard for his concerns and comments.
CITY RATE INCREASE
Mrs. Leverett advised that she received a notice last week that the monthly storm water rates for the City of Cordele are going up from $2.00 to $4.75, the add-on security light fee is going from $1.00 to $3.50, they added a new charge for fuel surcharge of $2.45, the water rates are going from $5.00 to $6.42 per thousand gallons, and the sewer rates will go from $5.00 to $7.45 per thousand gallons. She advised that it is going to cost us another $1,000 or more o year on all our city accounts where we use city water and sewer.
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adjourn the meeting at 11:20 a.m., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.