BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
JANUARY 14, 2003
Chairman J. R. Dowdy, Jr. called the meeting to order. Commissioners James D. Harris, A. James Nance, Joyce C. Pheil, Ferrell Henry, County Administrator John S. Pate, Jr., County Attorney Guy D. Pfeiffer and secretary Linda Finch in attendance. Mr. Henry gave the invocation. Chairman Dowdy welcomed Mr. Nance back and also welcomed Mr. Henry as a new Commissioner.
J. R. DOWDY, JR. ELECTED CHAIRMAN FOR 2003
Mr. Dowdy turned the meeting over to Administrator Pate. Mr. Pate opened the floor for nominations for Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for 2003. Mr. Harris nominated Mr. Dowdy, and Mr. Nance moved that the nominations be closed. It was unanimous to close the nominations, making Mr. Dowdy the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for 2003.
JAMES HARRIS ELECTED VICE-CHAIRMAN FOR 2003
Chairman Dowdy asked for nominations for Vice-Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for 2003. Mr. Nance nominated Mr. Harris and moved that the nominations be closed. It was unanimous to close the nominations, making Mr. Harris the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for 2003.
REHIRE ALL COUNTY EMPLOYEES
Motion by Mr. Nance, seconded by Mrs. Pheil and motion carried, rehiring all county employees.
REHIRE COUNTY ATTORNEY AND LANDFILL ATTORNEY
Motion by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried, rehiring Guy D. Pfeiffer as county attorney, and Charles Jones as landfill attorney.
Motion by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mrs. Pheil and motion carried, approving minutes of the meetings of December 10 and December 26, 2002.
RESOLUTION FOR CRISP ACADEMY FOOTBALL COACHES & TEAM
Mr. Henry stated that this is one of the most pleasant things he thinks we will do all year, it is his pleasure to recognize Coach Mike Roobin, Headmaster Jerry Garden, Sam Farrow, Cliff Hearn and Jack Hamilton here representing the coaching staff and the football team which won the state championship for the second year in a row at Crisp Academy, and Commissioners want to thank them for the leadership, congratulate them, and present them with this Proclamation Commending The Football Team And Coach Mike Roobin for being named the Class A Coach of the Year. Mr. Henry read the Proclamation.
By common consent, Commissioners approved the Proclamation.
Chairman Dowdy appointed the following committees for 2003: Mr. Harris and Mrs. Pheil on the Landfill Committee; Mrs. Pheil and Mr. Nance on the Water Committee; Mr. Henry and Mr. Harris on Public Safety Committee; Mr. Henry and Mr. Nance on Public Works Committee; Mrs Pheil, Mr. Harris and himself on the Power Commission Board for the next six months; Mr. Henry on the Chamber of Commerce Board; and Mrs. Pheil on the Crisp County Community Council.
APPROVED ALICE MCKENZIE SPECIAL USE PERMIT
Chairman Dowdy reported that we had the public hearing for Alice McKenzie’s special use permit request at our last meeting, Mrs. McKenzie was suppose to get some information from the Health Department, she has done this, and this is not a public hearing but if anyone wants to ask any questions as to what her plans are they can. Connie Sangster, Assistant Planning Director, read the ten criteria that the Commissioners base their decision on, and stated that the property is zoned rural residential which is lumped together like farm land and this is the least restrictive zoning that we have, the intent of this zoning is for low density housing but it is still farmland. Chairman Dowdy stated that in the December meeting, the Commissioners suggested that Mrs. McKenzie go back to the Health Department to see if she could acquire a well and septic tank permit, and she has a permit for a well and septic tank from the Health Department. Mrs. McKenzie advised that she also has signatures from the neighbors stating that they have no objection to a church being out there. Chairman Dowdy stated that they have had some calls about a church being put in this area, and some of the people are here today, and they might like for you to answer some questions. Nella Thompson stated that her property joins this property on the south side, she has a petition from neighbors in this area stating that they wish not to have another church in the Pateville Community, if they saw fit to put another church out there they would not have any objections to this but they have four churches in this vicinity now, and they want to know where the people are coming from to go to this church. Mrs. McKenzie advised that they are coming from Cordele. Mrs. Thompson asked why not build a church in town instead of driving fifteen miles out in the county, and Mrs. McKenzie advised that it is hard to find land for sale in the city limits and this land became available so she bought it. Mrs. Thompson advised that this will put more traffic on the road where these roads are not adequate for the traffic they have out there now. Mrs. McKenzie reported that this will be a Holiness Church, and they will meet every Sunday and not too much at night. J. O. Hall stated that he lives on Story Road, he is not here to try anybody’s religion, he is concerned about what will go on besides bringing the people in, and Mrs. McKenzie assured him that no one would do any harm to them, they will help them more than hurt them, she stated. James Banks asked if she didn’t have a church already, and she advised that she has service in her home now. Mr. Pfeiffer pointed out that in the report from the Planning Department, there was some recommendations for some buffers, and in granting the special use, Commissioners need to specify if any of those things are going to be a requirement. Mr. Harris ask if she had any concern about the dirt road when it rains, and Mrs. McKenzie stated that she has been out there when it had rained, and she had no problem getting through. Hermis Posey asked how many members she would have, and she advised that they have fourteen members now and she has a van that she picks up several of the members so everyone that went out there would not have their own vehicle. Mr. Henry ask where would the church be on the property, and Mrs. Sangster advised that it would be approximately 105 feet from the road per the Health Department report. Mrs. Pheil stated that when she sits in this seat, she cannot make decisions based on popularity and also can’t do it based on her friends as Mr. James Oren and his wife are very good friends, but she has to be fair and do what is in the best interest of the county, she was persistent in getting Mrs. McKenzie to go the Health Department and get approval for the well and septic tank, which she did, also this Commission has allowed four new churches in residential areas in the last year, and in order to be fair to all citizens, she has to vote in Mrs. McKenzie’s favor. Mr. Henry stated that he certainly supports putting a church anywhere, but he cannot vote for this recommendation because he is still not sure where the church is going.
Motion by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried with Mr. Henry opposing, granting Special Use Permit with restrictions of buffers suggested by the Planning Department and all other requirements of the Planning Department and also address some of the concerns of the residents in this area.
RECREATION DEPARTMENT SPLOST REQUESTS APPROVED
Cary Cason, Recreation Department Director, and Herbert Hughes, Recreation Department Advisory Board Chairman, met with Commissioners, and Mr. Cason stated that the requests he has before the Commissioners are in line with their priority list of SPLOST funds. He advised that one request is the park playground upgrades in the amount of $32,657.00 which includes the Recreation Department expansion, Northwest and Turner Park upgrades and safety border that goes under the equipment. He also stated that they have requested state pool mandates at Westside and Golf Course Pools in the amount of $39,417.00 and, at present, he cannot open the pools until this work is complete, Standard Softball Field fence repair of $460.00, and Standard Gym roof repair of $7,575.00.
Motion by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried, approving Recreation Department SPLOST requests in the amount of $80,109.00 coming out of the Recreation Department SPLOST account.
DISCUSS PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS
Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, reported that we have a D.O.T. contract to replace some substandard bridge structures on Listonia and Slade Road, he has some prices on this in accordance with the D.O.T. contracts. Chairman Dowdy stated that we have not given the contracts on Eddie and Hannah Road to anyone, but the people that are doing the work on Floyd/Harper, Culpepper and Arabi-Williford/Sandy Mount are going to do this since they will be in the vicinity, and Mr. Gamble said he had prices from Douglas Asphalt, contractor, to do Hannah and Eddie Roads. Chairman Dowdy stated that Mr. Pfeiffer still hasn’t told them whether they can do that are not without rebidding this, and Mr. Pfeiffer stated you have to bid the projects. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that if he will bring what he proposes to do, he will tell him what he can and cannot do, generally you should bid the roads but there is a statutory amount that a public works project doesn’t have to be bid, but you have to go back to the D.O.T. contract. Mr. Gamble has some prices on some small maintenance issues of patching to finish up some existing D.O.T. contracts on Wiley, Nesbitt, Newsome and McKenzie Roads for a total of $30,265.00. Mr. Harris stated that he would like to get all of the old projects out of the way before we go to see the D.O.T. Commissioner.
By common consent, Commissioners authorized $30,265.00 to do patching on Wiley, Nesbitt, Newsome and McKenzie Roads, and authorized Mr. Gamble to get with Mr. Pfeiffer and advertise the projects that need to be advertised so we can clean up some of the older projects.
APPROVE MITIGATION GRANT RESOLUTION
Sheriff Donnie Haralson met with Commissioners to discuss a proposed Resolution to establish a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Planning Committee, he advised that the President of the United States signed in 2000 the federal Disaster Mitigation Act that requires state and local governments to prepare and implement a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan to be eligible for federal financial assistance in the event of a disaster. He stated that the County Commissioners have to formally adopt this Resolution which creates a Planning Committee and prepares a pre-diaster mitigation plan in compliance with federal, state and local laws.. He advised that they have met a couple of times, already have another meeting planned, and they have selected Middle Flint RDC to prepare the grant. Sheriff Haralson stated that the Executive Committee has met which include three representatives from the county including himself, Mr. Dowdy and Mr. Pate, the City Manager Mrs. Burnette, City Commissioner Colson, and Arabi Mayor Reynolds. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that the Resolution identifies the Executive Committee by name, and since names change, he recommends to change this and identify them as the Sheriff, County Administrator, County Commissioner, City Manager, City Commissioner and Mayor of Arabi.
Motion by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried, adopting Resolution subject to changing the Executive Committee and naming them by position rather than by name and then designating Mr. Henry to serve as the County Commission member to serve on this Committee.
APPROVE SPEED DETECTION DEVICE PERMIT
Sheriff Haralson reported that the Speed Detection Device Permit is a formality which will enable the Department of Transportation to update all the roads in our county, and he recommends approval.
Motion by Mrs. Pheil, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried, adopting Speed Detection Device Permit.
APPROVE GRANT WRITER PROPOSAL
Mr. Pate reported that he and Mr. Drennan have worked out a plan in selecting a grant writer for the County and IDC, Mr. Drennan could not be here but wanted the Commissioners to know that the basic funding will be $15,000.00 from each the County and the IDC, and they are using a temporary grant writer now but they want to negotiate further to get the best deal that they can. He stated that Mr. Drennan advised that the major objection is to have it funded, use the funding as seed money and put 2% of this back in the fund and give 1% of successful grants to the grant writer for incentive, and hopefully this will make the fund self sufficient within two years. He advised that the grant writer will be negotiated in one of two proposals, 1) fixed fee plus a percentage of each grant as an incentive bonus, and 2) negotiate a compensation on a contingency yearly basis to be determined based on the number of grants applied for during the year, and in no case will the compensation exceed the funding that we have available. He advised that they are also working on goals and objectives for the grant writer so that they will have a clear cut position, and they are asking that the Commission approve in principle this selection and negation process to hire the grant writer.
Motion by Mrs. Pheil, seconded by Mr. Henry and motion approved, agreeing to hire the grant writer.
Mr. Pate reported that we have to either have a Public Hearing or an Administrative Hearing on the EIP Grant for Southern Wood Products, and since time is short, and it is allowed under the rules, he has set an Administrative Hearing for this coming Friday, which would not require the presence of the Commissioners; he would like the support of the Commissioners. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that this will still be a Public Hearing but will be held by the Administrator rather than by the Board, and he thinks it would be appropriate for the Board to vote on whether they approve of it or not.
Motion by Mr. Henry, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried, authorizing Administrator Pate to hold an Administrative Hearing on the EIP Grant this Friday.
APPROVE RESOLUTIONS COMMENDING WALLACE MATHIS, WILLIE PATRICK & REMEMBERING RANDY FOLSOM
Mr. Pate reported that we have Resolutions commending Wallace Mathis and Willie Patrick for their years of service as a County Commissioner, and a Resolution remembering Randy Folsom for his years of service on the Hospital Authority, and he will notify Mr. Mathis and Mr. Patrick to come to the next regular meeting to present these Resolutions to them. Mrs. Pheil read the Resolution remembering Randy Folsom.
Motion by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried, approving Resolutions for Wallace Mathis, Willie Patrick, and Randy Folsom.
E-911 RENEGOTIATION COMMITTEE APPOINTED
Chairman Dowdy appointed the two Public Safety Committee members to the E-911 Renegotiation Committee to meet with whoever the City appoints, and also get with Martha Baker before they meet with the City to see what she has to say regarding any changes we might want to make.
ADOPT FSA & NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION CONTRACT
Chairman Dowdy reported that he is glad the FSA and Department of Natural Resources want to stay in Crisp County, this is the same contract as before, it benefits our farmers considerably, they pay $19,620.00 annually on a monthly basis, and he hopes the Commission sees fit to adopt this contract.
Motion by Mr. Henry, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried, adopting lease for FSA & Natural Resources with them paying $19,620.00 a year.
APPOINT BOARD OF HEALTH MEMBER
Motion by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried, reappointing Emma Everett to the Board of Health for a six year term ending December 31, 2008 as she has written a letter requesting to be reappointed to this Board.
ADVERTISE FOR ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS & OTHER BOARDS COMING UP
By common consent, Commissioners authorized Mr. Pate to advertise for members on the Zoning Board of Appeals and any other upcoming Board members.
DISCUSS FINANCIAL STATEMENT FOR EMS OPERATIONS
Martha Hendley, Financial Director, stated that Crisp Regional Hospital has sent the financial statement reflecting $24,069 that is due to the county for EMS operations for last year, she advised that we send them a siphon every month and we could reduce their siphon by $4,011.50 for the next six months so the $24,069 will stay in our account instead of theirs. Chairman Dowdy stated that we are not doing this trying to strangle them, and we will fund them whatever they need to operate it since it is our responsibility, and since we are having to take money out of reserve, it looks like it would be our responsibility to keep it until such time as they need it.
Motion by Mrs. Pheil, seconded by Mr. Henry and motion carried, approving Mrs. Hendley’s recommendation and restrict $4,011.50 each month for the next six months for EMS operations.
Mrs. Hendley reported that as of November 30th, which is the date of the report, we were collecting our ad valorem taxes and we have a good cash balance, in the General Fund we have over $3 million and are 2.41% within budget, in the Landfill Account we have over $2 million, in Capital Projects Fund we have over $3 million but $787,000.00 is restricted to equipment purchases, and in Waterworks we have over $300,000.00. She advised that in the Capital Projects report summary, she changed it so that Commissioners could see where each department stands. Mr. Henry stated that he saw we are averaging about $266,000 a month in SPLOST funds, and ask how it is designated monthly, and Mrs. Hendley stated that they are not designated monthly, each project has a certain amount appropriated and it is up to the Board to say when they can spend the money.
Mr. Harris stated that last year when we did not have an Administrator for several months, Crisp County continued to move forward with the people we had, and he thanked Ms. Finch and Mrs. Hendley for their efforts to keep Crisp County going. He stated that we have verbally thanked them, but we have not compensated them for their efforts, and he would like to do that. Mr. Pate also advised that they are putting in a lot of overtime even with the present administrator.
Motion by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mr. Henry and motion carried, approving $1,000.00 bonus for Ms. Finch and Mrs. Hendley.
DISCUSS FINANCIAL POLICY REGARDING AUDIT
Mrs. Pheil stated that last year the issue came up of the financial policy for the county due to the audit, she volunteered to work on it, they did work on it but last year was not a good year to ask Mrs. Hendley anything else because of the changeover in the software, and the audit still recommends that the county have a financial policy, so if the Chairman likes, she will still be glad to work on it. Mrs. Hendley advised that every year this is cited in the audit, and we have to write a letter every year to the Department of Audits why we don’t have financial policies and procedures in effect, and it is up to the Board of establish these costs.
Chairman Dowdy appointed Mrs. Pheil and Mr. Henry to continue to work on setting up a financial policy and procedures.
WEB PAGE ON-LINE MONTHLY FEE APPROVED
Mr. Pate reported that the county’s web page is finished, the contractor is ready to go on line with it, and he is asking that the Commissioners approve funding of $19.95 a month for the on-line fee. He advised that the web address is crispcounty.com.
Motion by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mrs. Pheil and motion carried, approved $19.95 fee for the web page on-line fee.
DISCUSS COMMUNICATIONS TOWER
Mr. Pate advised that he has passed on to architect Larry Pope to solicit bids for the communications tower under the criteria that Mr. Pope will determine. He also stated that he is continuing to look for funding for the tower but so far we have not been able to find a grant source that would fit.
PERMISSION TO GO ON PRIVATE PROPERTY APPROVED
Mr. Pate stated that we need permission to go on private property, he has worked out a deal with Mr. Mathis to clean out the Cedar Creek portion that is on his property, he is amenable to us going on under circumstances that he will specify. He advised that he and Mr. Gamble feel like there is a way to get through down to the railroad so hopefully we’ll clear this out so Cedar Creek can flow, but according to Mr. Pfeiffer, we need the Commissioners approval to go on private property. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that we need to get an easement from Mr. Mathis to allow us to go down through there and clean out the ditch. Mr. Gamble agreed that this would help tremendously.
Motion by Mrs. Pheil, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried, authorizing Chairman Dowdy to accept an easement to go onto the Mathis property and clean out Cedar Creek.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT WITH CITY OF CORDELE
Mr. Pate stated that he has the Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Cordele to dispose of dogs, Commissioners have already passed the initial agreement on this, this is to authorize him to go ahead with the contract. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that this is an authorization for the county to execute and deliver the contract to the city for charging of $25.00 per animal, he advised that Commissioners approved this in principle but there was a provision in the last one where the County was indemnifying the City for the City’s acts and that provision is no longer there.
Motion by Mrs. Pheil, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried, adopting Intergovernmental Agreement with City of Cordele for disposal of county animals.
REMOVAL OF ASBESTOS FROM HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Mr. Pate advised that the company that is to remove the asbestos from the flooring in the Health Department is scheduled to come in on January 21st, it will take them about eleven days, everything in the Health Department has to be removed, they have had to buy boxes to put things in, they are renting storage containers to put bigger items in, and he is asking for $2,380.00 additional funds which includes $1,000.00 for the storage containers, $380.00 for boxes and $1,000.00 for carpet expense they did not anticipate of taking it out and putting it back in place.
Motion by Mrs. Pheil, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried, authorizing approval of $2,380.00 additional expenses for asbestos abatement in the Health Department.
Mr. Pate advised that he is asking Department Heads to start a budget process for this year so we can get moving on it.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mrs. Pheil and motion carried, agreeing to go into Executive Session to discuss litigation and attorney/client matters.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion by Mrs. Pheil, seconded by Mr. Harris and motion carried, agreeing to come out of Executive Session.
DISCUSS CITY OF CORDELE SPLOST REQUEST
Mr. Pfeiffer stated that the City of Cordele has sent a letter asking for $2,411,000.00 needed around April 1, 2003 for cost of professional services and improvements at the Gum Creek Water Pollution Control Facility, $500,000.00 anticipated within six months for Water & Sewer extension to GA 300 Park, and $100,000.00 anticipated within six months for renovation of a building. He advised that the county has the responsibility to ensure that these funds are expended on the projects that were set forth in the Special Local Option Sales Tax Resolution, and because there is no bond issue, the County cannot pay for these services unless we have the money. He stated that if the City wanted to borrow the money, we could pay them monthly on these expenditures, and we can pay them on a pro rata portion of the funds that we have received to date. Mr. Harris asked if Mr. Pfeiffer could write a letter to the City advising them of what money we have available and how we determined this. Mrs. Hendley advised that we have collected twenty-one months of sales revenue, and Mrs. Pheil stated that the county is responsible for these funds, and the City needs to be sending bills so we can balance and check them.
By common consent, Commissioners authorized Mr. Pfeiffer to draft a letter for Administrator Pate to send to the City of Cordele advising them that we do not have the money available that they requested and it will not be available within the time frame that they had requested in their letter.
Motion by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mrs. Pheil and motion carried, adjourned meeting.