MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS CALLED MEETING HELD ON JULY 21, 2003
Meeting was called to order by Chairman J. R. Dowdy, Jr., with Commissioners A. James Nance, Joyce C. Pheil and Ferrell Henry in attendance. Others present were County Administrator John S. Pate, Jr., County Attorney Guy D. Pfeiffer, Finance Director Sherrie Leverette and secretary Linda Finch. Mr. Dowdy gave the invocation.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to go into Executive Session to discuss personnel, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried unanimously.
SELECTION OF ADMINISTRATOR TABLED
Chairman Dowdy stated that it was the consensus of the Commissioners that were present to wait until the regular meeting on August 12, 2003 when all Commissioners are present to make the selection of the County Administrator.
CITY OF ARABI SPLOST REQUEST APPROVED
Mr. Pate reported that the Arabi City Council is requesting SPLOST allocation in the amount of $20,250.00 for a Sheriff’s Department patrol car from Brannen Motor Company. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to grant Arabi’s request of $20,250.00 out of their SPLOST funds for a new patrol car, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE REVOLVING LOAN FUND FOR HEARTLAND
Mr. Pfeiffer reported that he has prepared a Resolution based on Heartland Building Systems proposal. He advised that they are going to purchase the Cavialer property, they have some equipment need, and the total project is to be $3 million, with them injecting $750,000.00 of their own funds; they are applying for a One Georgia Grant, a loan from the Revolving Loan Fund, and will be borrowing money from a bank. He advised that the first lien will be $1.5 million from the bank, we will have a second lien position on the building and equipment, and they have agreed to provide 154 jobs within the first two years with 51% of those jobs being low to moderate income applicants. He reported that they did ask for a twelve year loan, but the committee recommended, because of the number of jobs created, that the county do a ten year loan on a twelve year amortization with a balloon at the end of the loan, the interest rate will be 2% below prime, and they are making a $250,000.00 request. He also advised that they would provide life insurance and guarantees of two of their three principles, and the committee recommends this loan. Mrs. Leverette advised that we did have enough funds in this account to make the loan. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to approve the Resolution authorizing a Revolving Loan Fund to Heartland Building Systems for $250,000.00, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS ANIMAL CONTROL
Mr. Pate stated that the Commissioners gave him the task of coming up with a solution or options to choose from in regards to the animal control problem, and he and the Sheriff have come up with twelve elements that they propose: 1) Sheriff’s Department be the controlling agency, 2) one year test, 3) add one personnel position to the Sheriff’s Department at an annual cost of approximately $25,000.00, 4) effect no change in the existing animal control ordinance, 5) animal control function will also include policing garbage dumpsters, 6) include a “311" line a the E-911 center for all public service information and inquiry calls at a $1,150.00 startup cost plus $50.00 per month continuing expense, 7) create a public awareness program to educate the public as to the functions of the animal control program, garbage dumpster policing and the public service “311" system, 8) provide a holding kennel as a temporary shelter, 9) Sheriff Haralson agrees to provide a pickup truck he already has plus some of the needed equipment, 10) additional equipment will be needed such as radios, holding kennel, traps & snares etc. at approximate cost of $3,500.00, 11) total equipment cost is $5,000.00, and 12) Sheriff estimates an in-service date of September 1st if the program is approved today. Sheriff Haralson stated that they have acquired a vehicle that he thinks will work with some of the equipment they already have, but they will have to prepare a small kennel to hold animals temporarily. He advised that he would like to try this one year because he thinks we will still have complaints, but at least they would have someone dedicated to taking the calls. He stated that he visualizes this person going on TV and The Cordele Dispatch to educate the public more, and he stated that they have received over 400 animal calls this year. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to accept the proposal by the Sheriff and Mr. Pate for one year, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, and motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS LANDFILL & APPROVE LANDFILL BILLS
Hal Newberry, engineer for the landfill, Charles Jones, Landfill Attorney, and George Gay, Landfill Supervisor, met with Commissioners, and Mr. Newberry reported that at the last meeting they talked about the overrun on the earthwork and going to need about another 80,000 yards of fill dirt to construct Cells 8 & 9, and the question came up of how to handle this in the contract and they were going to consult Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones advised that part of the concern was how we got into this situation in regards to the deficient of the dirt, the topo survey was part of the bid package, and the contractor made his bid based on this information that the dirt would be available, and after the second topo was done, it showed that the dirt was not there and it wasn’t something that the contractor was aware of at the time they put in their bid, and he thinks that the county has an obligation to the contractor to do the change order. Mr. Pate stated that he has gotten a bill for part of the dirt hauling, and he needs to know what they want to do. Mr. Jones recommended that they submit the change order and pay the bills as he knows the contractor wants his money. Mr. Henry advised that he hopes we take extreme steps to make sure that this miscalculation doesn’t happen again. Motion was made by Mr. Nance issue a change order to the contractor to include 80,000 cubic yards of additional fill dirt at the unit price in the contract, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, and motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS TRANSPORTATION FOR CORONER
Mr. Pate stated that the issue is whether to pay Coroner Jimmy Rainey on a rate per trip or to furnish a vehicle, for the trips to the state crime lab; Mrs. Leverette has worked out one solution with the Coroner, and the other solution is to buy a Suburban vehicle, which they have two bids in Commissioners packet. Mr. Rainey reported that the state, as of July 1st, has quit transporting bodies to and from the crime lab, they are putting this back on the county, and they have worked out a schedule to pay the various funeral homes to transport. He advised that he is at the Commissioners mercy to do whatever they would like, but a vehicle would probably be the best solution as they have had some complaints on the transporting system. He advised that the vehicle they have has worked out well, but it is totally unsatisfactory to put on the road, and the county has spent many dollars trying to get the air conditioner fixed to no avail. Mr. Henry ask how much we are spending now compared to a $28,000.00 vehicle, and Mr. Rainey stated that they don’t have anything to compare this to because this is the first year we have had to do it. Mrs. Leverette said we did not budget for a new vehicle in this department. Mrs. Pheil stated that she received a complaint from a funeral home that was not in favor of transporting bodies for the coroner. Chairman Dowdy stated he didn’t know where the money was coming from, and he ask Mr. Pfeiffer if we could use SPLOST funds for the purchase of the vehicle. Mr. Pfeiffer stated he would take a look and see if it fits into any of the categories that is listed on the Resolution, and will have that for the next regular meeting. By common consent, Commissioners tabled the decision until the August regular meeting, and Mr. Rainey will come up with a recommendation after he researches what other counties are doing.
DISCUSS MAINTENANCE DEPARTMENT VEHICLE
Mike Coleman, Maintenance Supervisor, reported that the funding for the proposed vehicle was designated thru the SPLOST funds, and he is requesting a vehicle to replace one that is very old, has high mileage, and currently sitting in the parking lot broken down. He stated that he and Mr. Pate have received two bids for an extended cab truck with low bid of $21,800.00. Mr. Henry asked if we had any policy procedures for replacement of vehicles, and Mr. Pate stated no. Mr. Henry stated that he has no doubt that Mr. Coleman doesn’t need one, but he thinks we need some kind of new vehicle evaluation, Mrs. Pheil stated that she would like to take a look at what we have and maybe develop a policy, and Mr. Nance agreed. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to table this request and organize a committee to make up a systematic working agreement to handle all new vehicles. The committee will be composed of Mr. Henry, Mr. Pate, Mrs. Leverette and Mr. Gamble, and they will come back to Commissioners with a recommendation.
Martha Baker, E-911 Director, reported that Mr. Pate had asked her to put together all the expenses of when they are putting the new system all together, the furniture she has included was not a last minute thing but came about in a progressive manner as to the first time they had their meeting with Motorola, and now they realize what they need. Mr. Brown, salesman for the furniture, handed out some literature, and stated that over the years electronics have changed and more and more monitors have been added to dispatch environments, and as the dispatchers work at these systems they have to have certain standards that need to be met, there company addresses three functions that the dispatch environment has, 1) where the dispatcher sits, 2) technical aspect, and 3) electronics aspect. He advised that the furniture is modular so that if you grow later on and want to move the furniture, there will be no problem. Mrs. Baker stated that she has been to several vender shows where she has seen this equipment, and this is what she would recommend that we need and would like to go ahead with this since they do have the new equipment coming in. Chairman Dowdy asked when the new equipment will come in, and she advised within the next few weeks. She also stated that the portable radios are about $2,000.00 each, and they use these when the 800 system is down, she bought the county’s, but she does need two for the City. Mrs. Leverette advised that Commissioners need to understand that Mrs. Baker is requesting for this to come out of SPLOST money, and that would require a reallocation of funds. Mrs. Pheil asked if she had anything from other venders that they could compare, and Mrs. Baker stated that she had something in her office, but the equipment does not vary much, others have more bells and whistles than she needs and she likes the way this is designed. Mrs. Leverette stated that they are in the process of getting a year-to-date analysis by detail of SPLOST equipment that has been purchased compared to the initial requests from the departments for Commissioners to have something to compare with. She stated that when she finishes, she needs Commissioners to prioritize this for her as the Finance Director, and that might give them something concrete to look at and help justify where we spend SPLOST money. Mr. Pate asked if we could delay the equipment installation, and Mrs. Baker stated yes, it will not effect the service. Motion was made by Mr. Henry approving $4,000.00 out of the E-911 General Fund for radios, and if there is not enough at the end of the year in the E-911 budget, they will make a budget adjustment, and also Commissioners tabled the decision of the furniture until Mrs. Leverette gets the SPLOST report. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to replace the circuit board for about $1,400.00 out of the E-911 General Fund, so she will have a spare in the radio room, seconded by Mrs. Pheil and motion carried unanimously.
SIGN LETTER FOR SOUTHWEST GEORGIA EMPOWERMENT ZONE
Kathy Garwood reported that Southwest Georgia United Empowerment Zone is submitting an application for compassion capital funding, this funding is intended to improve capacity for a community based organization, and if the funding is approved, Southwest Georgia United Empowerment Zone would be the intermediatory for the funding and organizations within the county and other counties will be able to apply for the funding. She advised that is it a 25% match, she is asking to use the Youth and Family Resource Center as a commitment of an in kind match of $596,450.00. She stated that she needs a letter of commitment from the Commissioners, and, if this is funded, the Community Council will apply to Southwest Georgia Empowerment Zone for funding to improve capacity for providing services out of the Resource Center. Mrs. Pheil asked if we have any conflict, and Mr. Pfeiffer replied no, this is federal funding. Motion by Mrs. Pheil to authorize the Chairman to sign letter of commitment for this project , seconded by Mr. Henry and motion carried unanimously.
HERSEY METERS SETTLEMENT
Mr. Pate reported that he and Mr. Pfeiffer got together and agreed to propose to Hersey Meters a $20,000.00 settlement with the water meter problems, they will replace all of the bad meters and pay us $20,000.00 as a cash up front settlement to take care of the past meter failures that we have had. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that this includes the approximate $11,000.00 that they owe us and will have the same warranty as a new meter. Mr. Pfeiffer reported that the letter says that they are going to send 150 meters and that this will close out all returns by Crisp County of failed pic pacs and then they say at no additional charge they will exchange any failed pic pacs, so they are not going to replace them if they have not failed. Mr. Pate stated he didn’t like that and has already circled it and will get into that before he accepts this. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that the agreement needs to be that they will replace all the pic pacs as we remove them, and they will send them back whether they have failed or not. Commissioners agreed that we remove all of the pic pacs so we will have all meters alike. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to replace all pic pacs whether they have failed or not and accept the $20,000.00 cash for the meters, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried unanimously.
NEW TOWER SPECS COMPLETED
Mr. Pate reported that the new tower specs are complete and he has forwarded the ad to The Cordele Dispatch to be advertised for bids and will go on the web sites tomorrow, and bid opening will be August 22nd.
STATE PATROL SITE COMPLETE
Mr. Pate reported that the Georgia State Patrol wanted to place their building with the helicopter pad at an angle between Hwy. 300 and Rehab Road, and plans looked ok to the Commissioners if FFA approves.
CARL GAMBLE SALARY APPROVED
Chairman Dowdy stated that a few years ago, Mr. McKnight took away $4,000.00 of Mr. Gamble’s pay, he would like to see this reinstated back to the first of July, as he doesn’t think this was justified in the first place. Mrs. Pheil stated she has looked on the Internet at Public Works Director’s salaries of counties our size, and the only other one already paid more than Mr. Gamble is Hart County who builds their buildings, she has no problem with Mr. Gamble plus he just go $1600.00 raise with his 3%, and he is already the highest paid employee in the county other than the Constitutional Officers. Mr. Henry stated the he certainly agrees that Mr. Gamble is second to the County Administrator in amount of work and responsibility, hardly ever a weekend goes by that he doesn’t either hear or see him doing something above and beyond the call of duty, he would like to see not only compensated but an additional responsibility. He stated that he does as much good will for this community as anyone and twice recently he has been singled out for work he did above and beyond the call of duty for this new industry. He also would like to see him named something other than Road Superintendent and placed in a position of a little more leadership, authority and compensation. Mr. Nance stated that he needs to be compensated, and also agreed with Mr. Henry about the revamping. Motion was made by Mr. Henry giving Carl Gamble an additional compensation of $4,000.00 and more duty effective July 1, 2003, seconded by Mr. Nance with Mrs. Pheil opposing and Chairman Dowdy voting for the motion.
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to adjourn, seconded by Mr. Nance and motion carried unanimously, and meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.
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