MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON NOVEMBER 13, 2012
Chairman Wallace Mathis called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. with Commissioners James D. Harris, A. James Nance, William Culpepper, and Clark Henderson in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Tom Patton, County Attorney Rick Lawson, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Clerk Linda Finch. Commissioner Nance gave the invocation, and Administrator Patton 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. Nance to approve the minutes of the regular meeting held on October 9, 2012 and the called meeting held on October 30, 2012, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT
Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, reported that 1) they are still waiting on DOT approval regarding the Off-System Safety Plan; 2) the Old Hatley Road contracts have been signed and they are waiting on our notice to proceed on that project; 3) we think we have everything in order regarding the Omar Heights street drainage and street improvements grant; 4) the Darton project is on hold right now; 5) they are continuing to work on some corrective actions at the landfill; and 5) our right of way obstruction and glide paths at the airport are almost complete.
CLOVERS AND COMPANY TO COME TO CORDELE NEXT YEAR
Emily Reid, County Extension Coordinator, reported that Clovers and Company is the nationally acclaimed performing arts group of Georgia 4-H. It is composed of 48 singers, dancers, and instrumentalists from across the state, and around 160 auditions for a spot in the group, and they are excited to have three from Crisp County in that group: Dustin Musgrove, Hannah French, and Cody Swint. They have them booked to come to Cordele on May 18, 2013. She stated that they didn't have a date to begin with, someone dropped their date, and they picked it up. She advised that they are planning on charging $5.00 admission fee to generate funds, as it does cost around $2,200 plus liability insurance, janitors, and feeding the cast crew. They are really excited to have them as this will be the first time they have come to Cordele. Chairman Mathis thanked them for coming in and stated that hopefully they can have enough money donated to take care of the expense, and anyone that wants to contribute can contact Emily at the Extension Office.
TRASH TASK FORCE PRESENTATION
Connie Carney and Angie Ellis came with their proposal from the trash task force. Mrs. Carney thanked the committee members that have worked long and hard on this presentation, which include Angie Ellis, Janice Summers, John Woodard, Herbert Gladden, Tom Patton, Sherrie Leverett, Carl Gamble, Catherine Mays, Wallace Mathis, and the concerned citizens that gave them their opinions. In their research for the best solution for Crisp County as a whole, they talked with county residents, county health officials, power commission, Cordele City Manager, county attorney, and officials from the contiguous counties around us, numerous counties in other parts of the state, and vendors for curb-side pickup. The county has lowered their dump sites to 18 sites in accordance with the approved Crisp County Joint Solid Waste Management Plan, but as our population grows, so grows our trash. In maintaining the strategy set forth in the approved plan, they encourage Commissioners to accept their proposal. They think the proposal meets the needs of the entire community plus county property owners are now paying .0042% in a Special District Tax. Those collected monies plus monies from the general fund now cover the cost of collection, and county property owners alone carry the burden of the full cost to collect all the trash. They studied manned sites and curbside pickup. One manned site would cost approximately $90,000 to build; there would be an on-going expense of personnel, operations and maintenance of each site which equates to an additional expense and burden on the property owners. Curbside service is the most economical and beneficial for the county as a whole as the cost is distributed among all county citizens, property owners would have a tax reduction/relief on their tax bill equivalent to the .0042% that the Special Distract Tax now charges, county wide appearance will improve through the elimination of dumpsters and trash blowing from vehicles to and from the sites, health issues reduced, perception of our county would improve, collection would be by a private vendor, cost would be the same or less than what property owners are now paying, and it will help cut down on identify theft. Mrs. Ellis read the proposal that they would like to offer, which is a four step proposal: 1) reduce the county dump sites to two or three current sites, and would be best for the Commissioners to decide how to handle that; 2) go to curb side pick-up, and ask that they bid this out this with a goal to keep the monthly fee of $18 or less, but that would be up to the Commissioners since they know more about that; 3) coordinate with Keep Crisp Beautiful, local law enforcement, and county judges to enforce the current laws and ordinances concerning secure loads, illegal dumping and litter, and 4) to develop and implement a litter awareness program. They would like the Commissioners to approve this proposal with full implementation by June, 2013. Dennis Frasier stated that his opinion is that he doesn't think the majority of the people want curb side. He thinks the county personnel do a good job of cleaning up the sites, it makes it convenient for people, plus with curbside, trash trucks will be stopping every few feet on the main highways, and the cans will be at your house for a week that is going to bring flies and insects to your house. Chairman Mathis stated that all of the counties around us and the city have gone to curb side service. Mr. Fraser stated that his other concern is for people that rent property, if the renter didn't pay the bill, was it going to be levied against their property owner, as he doesn't agree with that. Also, he doesn't want trash being dumped on other people's property because they don't want to drive to the landfill. Chairman Mathis stated that Commissioners understand we have a trash problem but we have got to get the solution in the right spot. He stated that in the city you don't have very far to the alley to take your trash, but in the county you have people living back off the road. Mrs. Carney stated that for the elderly who cannot physically roll a cart to the street, the vendors that they talked with advised that their policy is the garbage attendant will go to their back door and get the can and bring it back to them, if they have a doctor's letter. Mr. Nance stated that he thinks the logistics of the operation can be worked out, and the overall focus is to determine whether or not there is a need that exits to make the transition. There are models all over the state. Mr. Fraser stated that if they were going to take this step, why not take the step into recycling. Mr. Henderson stated that the way we are handling garbage right now is not working. Janice Summers stated that she is excited about the direction that our county is finally going. One of the foolish things we have done as a community is that we have been irresponsible for our trash. If you want people to look to this community, you have to make it appealing. She knows that there is opposition to the curb side pickup, let's do it really quick, get the pain over with, and move this community in the right direction. Let's get out of the way of what is killing growth and opportunity for us. A lady stated that we have been kicking the cans down the road since 2007, and it is time to do something, and they want the Commissioners to do it. A gentleman commended the committee for doing such a good job, and he thinks every person in the county wants to see the county cleaned up and move into the 21st century. Mr. Harris stated that we do have a $75 million waste disposal facility sitting there doing nothing, we have been trying to sell the facility or do something with it for years. There is a lot that facility could do for the county if we could get it worked out. Mrs. Carney stated that she would love to see the county go to recycling, and when they started this project, knowing how the county feels about that recycling facility, they didn't even want to bring up recycling. Mr. Culpepper stated that 100% of the people in this county would agree that we need to do something about the trash situation, we have to get people educated, because if he had to vote today based on the people that he has talked to have told him, about 90% of those people are against curbside service, but we need to do something. He commends these ladies for serving on this committee. Chairman Mathis asked if this was just about curbside service only, and Mrs. Carney stated it is about the best solution for Crisp County. She advised that also people they talked to didn't realize that they were paying for the trash, they thought it was free. Mr. Culpepper stated that most of the 90% that he talked to that was against curbside would probably be for it if they knew it was cheaper. Mr. Henderson stated that all the counties that the Solid Waste Authority has entered into contracts with have curbside pickup. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to accept the proposal from the committee and to receive any additional proposals, if there are any, and to set up a couple of hearings in the future, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously. Administrator Paton advised that he has lived in a lot of counties in this country, and 80% of the counties in the U.S. have curbside recycling. He owns property in three states, and this county is the trashiest of them, and industry will not come to a trashy county.
PUBLIC HEARING – AD VALORUM TAX
Mrs. Leverett reported that as part of this year's process of setting the millage rate for 2012, we are required to hold three public hearings, this will be the first one scheduled today at 10:00 a. m. Chairman Mathis opened the public hearing. Mrs. Leverett reported that the County Commissioners have tentatively adopted a millage rate, which will require an increase of 1.14% over the rollback rate. The rate is not an increase over the millage rate from last year but it is an increase over the rollback rate. We are required to hold three public hearings because it is an increase from the rollback rate, we will have another public hearing at 6:00 p.m. today and the last one at 1:00 on November 27, 2012. The increase will result in a millage rate of 10.778, which is an increase of 0.122 mills and without this tentative increase; the millage rate would be 10.656 mills. The proposed tax increase for a home of fair market value of $100,000 is approximately $5.00, and the proposed increase for a non-homestead property with a fair market value of $75,000 is approximately $4.00. The public notice on the property tax increase and the Five-Year History have both been published in the local newspaper and on the county website. She stated that the proposed mill rate of 10.778 for 2012 as compared to 11.433 on the net mill rate for 2011 will generate about $215,000 more than the tax digest for 2011. However, the Five-Year History does not include any calculations for the $37 million in appeals that we have. We estimated what kind of affect that might have on the revenue generated from the 2012 digest, and the millage rate that we have proposed basically gives us a breakeven point to collect the same amount of tax revenue as we did in 2011. Chairman Mathis explained that the $37 million dollars in appeals is not the value of those properties; it is only the amount that is in dispute. She stated that those people that have filed a formal appeal of their property and have not been settled prior to the formal adoption of the millage rate, their taxes will be billed by the Tax Commissioner at 85% of what their tax liability would be for this year based on the rate the commissioners adopt. Once that appeal is settled, they would either be sent a refund or revised bill for the difference. Robert Powell stated that he understands that the difference in the full rollback rate and the amount of rollback the commissioners are proposing is about $72,000 in new revenue to the county. Mrs. Leverett advised that is correct. Mr. Powell stated they asked last year when there was a tax increase that commissioners look at expenses, and he was here a couple of meetings ago and showed them their salaries compared to all the surrounding counties; you haven't done anything about your salaries but yet you are willing to raise the millage rate in this county. Mr. Nance stated that if he wanted to run for a commissioner's seat he could run, and everyone is entitled to their point of view, and he stated that he has no problem in making the Assessors' pay what it used to be as long as the job is done. Chairman Mathis stated that he is tired of hearing about other counties as we are completely different than other counties and this is where we operate. Mr. Powell stated that the point is the millage rate increase, we are faced with a not too big amount here, but we are faced with an increase, but what the tax payers of this county are really faced with is the Board of Education going up two mills. Mr. Nance stated that the county has no control over the school board. Robert Pless asked if the $37 million is the biggest question mark now, and Mr. Leverett replied yes. Mrs. Leverett stated that the rollback rate including those appeals values would have produced a millage rate even less than what is proposed, but we did not use the 100% rollback as we tried to factor in enough of the rollback to generate the same amount of revenue for taxes that we had in 2011. Dennis Fraser asked why they didn't wait until all the appeals are heard before they set the millage, and Mrs. Leverett stated that it will take several months to hear all the appeals and the state tells us we have to produce a tax digest within a certain time. Mr. Pless stated that it looks to him that the whole valuation of this county is isn't worth much more than it was last year if that is all the difference in last year's numbers and this years. Mr. Powell stated that some of the values went up but some of the values when down also. Connie Carney asked what was the process of the independent group that went out and evaluated the properties. Mr. Powell stated it was one of the most advanced appraisal process that exists today, everything is digitized; there were errors that were made, and that is what the appeals process is about. Mr. Culpepper stated that pretty much this will be a two year process since it will be sometime next year before we get all the appeals heard and complete, and we have to have our millage numbers in soon since we have already been granted two extensions. This year we will have a small rollback and maybe next year we will have another rollback, but we are just stuck in the process. Mr. Nance stated that if there is any rollback to give back, the board would certainly do that. There were no other comments, and Chairman Mathis closed the public hearing and stated there will be another public hearing tonight at 6:00 p.m. and another one November 27, 2012 at 1:00 p.m.
APPROVE BETTIE F. WOODS PLUMMER REZONING REQUEST
Connie Sangster, Planning Director, reported that this is the decision meeting of the request from Bettie F. Woods Plummer to rezone a parcel of property (3.09 acres) from HC (Heavy Commercial) to RR (Rural Residential) for the purpose of locating a single family structure on the property. Property is located at 2555 Hwy. 41 South. She read the standards in making the decision on the zoning request. Chairman Mathis stated that we had the public hearing on the rezoning last meeting, and asked if anybody had any questions. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to rezone 3.09 acres of Bettie F. Woods Plummer property from Heavy Commercial to Rural Residential, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE LOCAL MAINTNENACE IMPROVEMENT GRANT
Carl Gamble reported that it is the time of the year where we have to submit our list to the Department of Transportation for our local maintenance improvement grant (L.M.I.G.), as we have to have it in before January 1st. We have come up with a couple of options for you to choose. Option #1 would be full depth reclamation of Old Nesbitt Road from Cemetary Road to the Heart of Georgia Railroad. The cost of this project will be approximately $455,800; L.M.I.G. will pay $387,850, leaving the county to pay $67,950 from SPLOST. Option #2 would be to resurface and stripe 5.23 miles on portions of four county roads and stipe only 1.38 miles on another road. This will be a continuation off of the resurfacing list, which will be portions of District Line, Haw Pond Connector, Penia, Old Hatley Roads, and stipe a portion of Old Penia Road. This project will be approximately $499,381; L.M.I.G. would pay $387,850, leaving the county to pay $111,531 from SPLOST. Mr. Gamble stated that the county is required to have at least a 10% match to the projects. We are fortunate since our region voted in the T-SPLOST as other counties will have to put in a 30% match. He thinks the first option is probably the best was to go because of the great concern of safety on this road. Mr. Henderson agreed that this road is in bad shape, and Mr. Gamble stated that road was not built to handle that kind of traffic. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adopt Option #1 to resurface Old Nesbitt Road as our road to submit for L.M.I.G, seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE RESOLUTION TO ADOPT AMENDED AND RESTATED DEFERRED COMPENSATION PLAN
Mrs. Leverett reported that from time to time the IRS makes changes to the deferred compensation plans. This plan is an employee benefit which the employee pays their own contribution. The resolution basically restates our 457 Deferred Compensation Plan to comply with the most recent changes that have come down from the Internal Revenue Service. She had inserted in their packets a copy of the summary of the plan changes. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to adopt the Resolution to Adopt Amended and Restated ACCG 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan, seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT WITH IDA RELATING TO APPLICATION OF SPLOST FUNDS
Mr. Lawson reported that it is being requested to approve a resolution authorizing the Intergovernmental Contract with the IDA. The IDA is going to use its own SPLOST money, up to $9 million of the total expected $25 million from the current SPLOST, to pay back this bond that will receive money from the holder of that bond. We are being asked to agree to apply those funds as they come in from SPLOST, but if they don't come in a manner that can service that bond, then the General Fund can be used monthly, as needed, to make up the difference. He stated that future SPLOST money that is in excess of what the allocation might be for the IDA will then be used to pay back those funds. The county is being asked to guarantee to a point the servicing of this loan, as we are being asked to be a party to the Intergovernmental Agreement to make sure the SPLOST funds and any additional monies up to 1 mill per year are paid, if needed. Mrs. Leverett stated that the county would be guaranteeing the loan, first with SPLOST revenues, but if SPLOST revenues don't generate that revenue then you are guaranteeing General Fund revenues up to a mill of tax a year. If the SPLOST revenues come in close to the projection, there will not be a problem, plus this is standard language with any revenue bond issue. Commissioners agreed that the Darton project is important to this community. Mr. Henderson asked if we executed the agreement, will they be able to start the work, and Administrator Patton replied yes. Chairman Mathis stated that we are talking about a $12-$14 million project, and asked where the rest of the money going to come from after they get this money. Mrs. Leverett stated that the county knew that we were not going to fund the total project. Chairman Mathis stated the original plan was not for the county to be a fiscal agent for this. Mrs. Leverett stated that the original plan was for IDA to borrow the money and we basically would transfer a certain percentage of the SPLOST over to them each month to cover the debt service on the money. IDA was unable to obtain the funding, they asked the county to obtain the money, but we couldn't do it because it was not on the referendum. Now we are at a point where IDA is again borrowing the money with the county backing their loan, which we probably would have had to do in the original plan anyway. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to approve the Resolution Authorizing Intergovernmental Agreement With IDA Relating To Application Of SPLOST Funds so that they can proceed with getting their bond money, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett reported that the first page of the packet includes a preliminary report of revenues and expenditures for our three major funds. General Fund revenues for the month of October totaled only $488,169, bringing the FYTD total to $1.5 million. Monthly expenditures were $871,956, bringing that FYTD total to $3.8 million leaving the General Fund in a deficit position at 10/31/12 of over 19% or $2.3 million. As you are aware, our “dry” revenue season is lasting longer than normal due to the delay in processing the tax digest. Accrued landfill revenue for the month totaled $112,666, YTD $501,143. Expenditures for the month reached $108,759; YTD $436,955 leaving the landfill with a net income at 10/31/2012 of $64,188. At 3689.32, this month's tonnage was down about 200 tons from last month but up about 400 tons from October of 2011. 40% of this month's tonnage was delivered on the Veolia commercial contract and 13% under the Veolia residential contract. The principal balance on the GEFA Loans is current at $4.9 million. The Water Fund recorded monthly revenues of $45,063 and YTD revenues of $186,180. October expenditures totaled $42,923, YTD $165,880 leaving it, also, with a net gain at the end of the period of $20,300. Water usage billed during the month of October was 6,853,000 gallons. The USDA Bonds are current at $1.5 million. The cash on hand report shows the General Fund $3.5 million; the Landfill Fund, $977,128; the revolving loan fund $311,983; the SPLOST Funds, $7.32 million; and the Water Fund ended the month with $1.3 million giving us a county wide total of $13.5 million. Over half of that $13.5 million is reserved for debt service or restricted to special projects. In the budget to actual report for the 2000 SPLOST ISSUE. As of October 31st, we have spent $17.1 million of the $17.6 million dollars collected, leaving us with $511,000 to complete the various projects associated with this issue. For the 2005 SPLOST Issue, the summary report shows we have spent $19.4 of the $24.7 million dollars collected, leaving us with $5.3 million to complete the various projects associated with this issue. Following that is the same schedule on the new SPLOST. Distribution no. 9 in the amount of $314,390 was down about 5% from last month but up about 3% over October, 2011. To date we have collected just over $3 million in revenue under this issue and expended $2.6 million. Total SPLOST disbursements for the month were only $416,854. Projects benefiting were the Crisp County Airport, The Recreation Center, Darton College, the Crisp County Jail, the Crisp County Sheriff's Department and the cities of Arabi and Cordele. The Local Option Sales Tax Receipts, just like the SPLOST, receipt of $147,763 fell 5.05% from last month but was up slightly 2.97% over October of 2011. In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, the closing on the Big Tex loan took place during the month of October, and we have now added it to the schedule, bringing the outstanding loan balance to $1.8 million. Following that is preliminary revenue by fund and expenditures by department report for the period of July through October 2012. All departments and divisions should be within 33% of their annual allowances at October 31st. As of this report, the General Fund is at 30%, the Water Fund at 24% and Landfill Fund at 33%.
APPROVE BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS TO CLOSE OUT FY ENDING JUNE 30, 2012
Mrs. Leverett reported that she has the budget adjustments to close out FY2012. These adjustments are routine action that we take part in each year after the close out of the fiscal years to balance the expenditures with budgeted revenues by category within function. She advised that originally the General Fund budget was at $14,621,913, the budget adjustments will bring it to $14,771,713 with most of the increase coming from unbudgeted grant revenue, and we were able to reduce the amount coming from surplus from $275,563 to $195,743; the Law Library original budget was $30,000 adjusted budget will be $57,000; Jail Fund will go from $210,600 to $202,900; DATEF Fund will go from $25,000 to $26,725; E911 will go from $735,142 to $744,030; Northisde Water & Sewer/CDBG 06 will go from $150,000 to $30,675 because of the delay in that project; SPLOST 2000 will go from $635,000 to $736,700; SPLOST 2005 will go from $1,802,000 to $336,150; SPLOST 2011 will go from $1,802,000 to $1,683,100; Water Fund will go from $440,348 to $488,698; Landfill will go from $1,366,821 to $1,543,171; CDBG Revolving Loan Fund will go from $20,500 to $78,600; and the Asset Forfeiture Fund will have no budget adjustments, bringing the county-wide total to the original budget of $21,889,324 down to $20,749,462. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to adopt the FY2012 budget adjustments, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Patton reported that 1) he attended several meetings and events last month; 2) he attended the Fall ACCG District Meeting in Shellman, Ga. and topics of discussions were County issues and ACCG's Legislative Priorities for the 2012 Session; 3) he participated in two ICD Strategic Plan Committee meetings. The goal is to update the Strategic Plan to reflect the future. They batted around ideas with plans to meet again to formulate a new plan; 4) he attended the Red Ribbon Kickoff event. Focus is to keep kids off of drugs, etc. and keep them in school; 5) he worked through several road complaints from citizens; 6) he worked on several property tax inquiries from citizens; 7) he had several meetings concerning the financing of the Darton College project; 8) he renewed the annual contract/memorandum of Understanding between UGA on behalf of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and the Crisp County Board of Commissioners; and 9) there are several updates in their packets for ongoing projects in the County.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation and personnel, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.
APPOINT DALE MITCHELL TO ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to appoint Dale Mitchell to the Zoning Board of Appeals to fill the unexpired term of Emmett Walker, who resigned, term expiring 12-31-12, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
APPOINT MATTHEW WHITEST TO REGION 6 BOARD
Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to appoint Matthew Whitest to the Region 6 Mental Health Developmental Disabilities Board to fill the unexpired term of Lonnie Jacobs, who moved, term expiring 12-31-14, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
OPENINGS TO BE FILLED NEXT MONTH ON A COUPLE OF BOARDS
Administrator Patton advised that we have openings on the Recreation Advisory Board and maybe another one or two, we will advertise those, and they can contact me by either by email, fax or letter.
TABLE SUBORDINATION AGREEMENT FROM CIS
Mrs. Leverett stated that they have received a revised subordination agreement from CIS as a result of the restructure of their financing and loan agreements for the Inland Port project. She presented what she had to the commissioners for review. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to table the decision until CIS brings the information requested by DCA and take due diligence on the part of the county, seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adjourn the meeting at 1:45 p.m., seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.