MINUTES OF CRISP COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
CALLED MEETING HELD ON MARCH 25, 2004
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Chairman J. R. Dowdy, Jr., with Commissioners James D. Harris, A. James Nance, Joyce C. Pheil and Ferrell Henry in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Gene Crapse, County Attorney Guy D. Pfeiffer, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett and secretary Linda Finch. Mr. Henry gave the invocation.
ADOPT FUNDING RESOLUTION FOR FY-04 CDBG
Administrator Crapse reported that they have before them a proposed Resolution that provides the funding to go with FY-04 Community Development Block Grant of $500,000.00, now that the City of Cordele has committed $20,000.00. He stated that it affirms the $20,000.00 each from the City and County, plus the $2,000.00 worth of in-kind work, along with $4,090.00 for the appraisals and evaluation of the water system, making a total of $540,000.00. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to approve the Resolution for the funding from the countyís general and special funds and the completion of the in-kind improvements for the purpose of matching a Community Development Block Grant of $500,000.00, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS ETHICíS RESOLUTION
Administrator Crapse reported that this proposed Resolution accompanies the CDBG, it is not a requirement but it does add leverage to the grant. He said there are a couple of things that are subjective, one being on page 4-2, it states that ďa gift means anything of value exceeding $50.00", and there may be some feelings that we need to increase this to $100.00 just to be on the safe side; the second one is on page 4-3, appointment of an Ethicís Officer, he thought the Probate Judge would be a good person to appoint as she handles all the ethics stuff for the elections, but he hasnít gotten in touch with her as of this morning. He advised that the rest of the wording in the proposed Resolution is pretty straightforward, it does require that if anyone gives Commissioners a $500.00 gift, they would have to report that to the Ethicís Officer, and you have to donate that as you canít keep it as personal property. He advised that it is essentially, with a couple of a minor things that fit Crisp County directly, the same as the State of Georgia has adopted for state offices. He recommends the adoption of the Resolution to help not only this grant, but with future grants. Commissioners agreed to table the decision until Administrator Crapse gets in touch with Probate Judge Griffin, and see if she is willing to serve as the Ethics Officer for Crisp County.
ADOPTION OF THE AUTHORIZING RESOLUTION FOR FY-04 CHIP GRANT
Susan Leger-Boike, Director of Cordele Housing Authority, reported that there is a need for repairing of housing county-wide, and she would like to make application for grant money to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for Community Home Investment Program (CHIP) funds. She advised that only cities and counties can apply for this grant, the City is not interested; she would like the County to apply, and the Housing Authority would be the fiscal agent. She stated that the work that would be done on the houses, if the grant was approved, would be by their personnel and what they couldnít do they would contract out, and reiterated that there is a desperate need for home renovation in the county as well as the city, and stated that they have a Public Hearing set for Sunday afternoon for citizens input. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to approve the Resolution Authorizing The Filing Of An Application With The Georgia Department Of Community Affairs For FY-04 CHIP Funds, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVAL OF GRANT WRITER POSITION FOR 2ND YEAR
Bruce Drennan, Director of Cordele-Crisp IDC, reported that when the grant writer position was originally presented last year, they discussed that the grant writer be funded for a two year period and with an option to renew it for a third year. He stated that what was actually voted on and transcribed in the minutes was a one time funding for $15,000.00 from the county with funds being matched from the IDC, but it was their intention that this be a two year funding with the third year at an option for Commissioners review. He advised that Administrator Crapse suggested that he bring it back to Commissioners and see what they would like to do. Administrator Crapse advised that the new year will begin in June and there is no problem with funding this for the next year, so essentially what Commissioners need to do, if they want to honor this commitment and fund this position for the second year, is to approve the $15,000.00 and we will put that in the budget for next fiscal year. He advised that the real option will come next year when the Board has to decide, based on performance, if they want to continue the grant writer position. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to reaffirm the grant writer position for the second year and budget $15,000.00 next fiscal year, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS IDA SPEC BUILDING
Mr. Drennan reported that he and Cliff Harpe wanted to mention to Commissioners that they are working on a request to fund a spec building and the financial arrangements associated with it, if they can get everything in order, they will probably bring it back to the next Commissioners meeting, but they wanted Commissioners to be aware of it. Mr. Harpe reported that the One Georgia Authority has approved a $500,000.00 grant to Crisp County-Cordele Industrial Development Authority toward the development of a spec building in the Cedar Creek Corporate Park, and USDA has approved a grant toward this project for $99,999.00. He advised that the recommendation of several different sets of consultants has been to build a building that starts off at 100,000 square feet and is expandable, with a concrete exterior wall, which would be a higher grade building than what they have had in the past; they are looking at a price of between $1.3 and $1.4 million on the building itself, plus an additional $150,000.00 to $300,000.00 in grading work that will need to be done on the site. He stated that there is a high probably that Southeast Forrest Products may exercise their option to purchase that building, this will result in certain cash flows back to the Authority, between $450,000.00 and $500,000.00 total, around $150,000.00 of this being a revolving loan fund debt to Crisp County, which would come out of that, but the remaining portion would also be available to go into this project. He advised that they would like Commissioners to consider setting that repayment of the loan to be a new loan on this project. He reported that another issue they are looking at is the remaining funding of the building, up to $l million total has been pledged, in theory, from the five banks operating in Crisp County, they would probably have a construction loan for this, but the banks need a guarantee of repayment, and if the county would be in a position to consider doing that, and maybe looking at the possibility that at some point this could be converted to SPLOST funds on the next SPLOST. He advised that the next thing the banks want is some assurance regarding the payment of interest if it is rolled forward, the problem here is the legal problem of how the county would stand in terms of how to structure something that could be legally done and go forward for more than one year. Commissioners authorized Mr. Pfeiffer to get with Mr. Harpe and Mr. Drennan and see what they can work out to the satisfaction of the IDA, the IDC the banks, and the County.
APPROVE REQUEST FROM JUDGE FORRESTER
Chairman Dowdy reported that we have a letter from Judge Forrester, and he thinks we need to accommodate him as he has been and continues to be an asset to our community. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil allowing Judge Forrester to retain his office space so long as this is acceptable to the incoming Superior Court Judge, if not, Commissioners will find an arrangement which is mutually acceptable for everybody, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVAL OF ARCHITECTS FEES FOR ARTS ALLIANCE
Administrator Crapse reported that on June 9, 2003, the Arts Alliance submitted to the Board a proposal that the Board pay for a survey and an architect to proceed with plans on their building, and along with the letter of request was the proposed preliminary drawing of the building they had drawn up by the architect, Larry Pope, at the cost of $10,500.00. He stated that the Board did approve the surveyor bill based on the permanent easement being provided by First Baptist Church for parking, the parking issue is still open so we have not done the survey. He advised that we have a letter from the Arts Alliance requesting that the survey be done, he sent a letter back to them telling them that until the issue of the easement was resolved, Commissioners would not commit the money for the survey. He advised that basically this architectural fee was money that was committed before any knowledge or notice given to the County, but Larry Pope did the work, and he feels like he did this work in good faith. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to pay Larry Pope $10,500.00 for the architectural fee on the Arts Alliance building, coming from SPLOST funds, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried.
AGREE FOR SUPPORT FOR CRISP COUNTY CENTENNIAL COMMITTEE
Administrator Crapse stated that starting an organization takes a little seed money to get started, and he would like for the Board to authorize the Centennial Committee $2,500.00 for seed money, and also budget $10,000.00 in the next fiscal year in support of the upcoming centennial next year. He advised that whatever proceeds from the seed money that will be left, will be returned back to the county. Mrs. Pheil reported that there were twenty-eight dedicated people at the first meeting, with a lot of enthusiasm and support, and Carol Anne Moore is going to be the Chairperson. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to provide $2,500.00 to the Crisp County Centennial Committee and, if there are any funds left over it will come back to the Commissioners, seconded by Mr. Henry, motion carried unanimously.
AGREEMENT WITH GLOBAL SIGNAL
Administrator Crapse reported that Mr. Pfeiffer has been working with the tower company, Global Signal, and they have offered us an agreement that will allow us to keep the tower until October 31st and then we have forty-five days to remove all equipment associated with the lease and restore the site back to its original condition. He stated that they have proposed a letter outlining conditions and termination of the tower lease effective October 31, 2004, they find the terms acceptable and agree to comply with them, and the letter also serves as notice that they do not intend to renew the automatic lease on July 1, 2004. He advised that if that is acceptable to the Commissioners, Chairman Dowdy can sign it and we will send it back to Global Signal. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to give Chairman Dowdy the authority to sign the letter from Global Signal terminating the tower lease effective October 31, 2004, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
RECOGNIZE CRISP COUNTY ROTC
Mr. Henry stated that he wanted to recognize Crisp County ROTC as they won the State Championship against eighty other schools, and he would like to see us not only write a letter of accommodation but also to invite the Commander to a Commission meeting so that we can present them a Resolution commending them for a job well done. Commissioners authorized Administrator Crapse to get with the person in charge and see if they can provide him with some information to put in a Resolution.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
PROBATE JUDGE AS THE ETHICíS OFFICER
Administrator Crapse reported that he has talked to Judge Griffin regarding being the Countyís Ethicís Officer, she had no objection to this so long as her Court Administrator advised that it was not one of the prohibitive things that she could not do, but she will let him know as soon as the Administrator calls her back. He advised that he told her all she would be doing is taking the reports, and if she reported anything to him, the Commissioners would be the one taking the action. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to adopt the proposed Ethicís Resolution, with change in the gift value from $50.00 to $100.00 and appointing Probate Judge Griffin as the County Ethicís Officer, contingent on her taking it, and if there is an alternative, it will be the Chairman of the County Commissioners, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
By common consent, Commissioners adjourned meeting at 11:00 a.m.