MINUTES OF CRISP COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
CALLED MEETING HELD ON JULY 28, 2004
The meeting was called to order by Chairman J. R. Dowdy, Jr., with Commissioners A. James Nance, Joyce Pheil, and Ferrell Henry in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney Guy D. Pfeiffer, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, Tax Commissioner Cricket Adkins, and secretary Linda Finch. Mr. Henry gave the invocation.
ADOPTION OF THE 2004 MILLAGE RATE
Administrator Crapse reported that all of the appeals have come in, the Tax Assessorís Office worked over the weekend to get all the information into the system, this was sent to TBS to do a consolidation sheet of the taxes. We have received that information back, and we have a significant amount of property that was put into conservation use as a result of the revaluation. He stated that when we advertised the millage rate, we advertised a millage rate of 11.054 compared to a millage rate of 11.848 last year, but when the final figures came in, to maintain the millage rate of 11.054, we will fall about $130,000.00 short in our budget. He said we can increase the millage rate to 11.327 in order to cover our budget, which will continue to be a reduction in taxes and the millage rate; they have talked with the Department of Revenue, and thus far their judgement has been that if we go with the 11.327 millage rate, because the change is less than 3%, we may proceed with this without going through the formal re-advertising and another public hearing because 1) their is no increase in taxes, and 2) the millage rate that was advertised is within 3% of the millage rate of the taxes being collected. He advised that they passed this information on to the school board, they too felt like it was difficult to make a last minute change, however they did adjust their millage rate to 17.351 mills, and he has their letter in hand confirming this. He stated that Commissioners have two options: 1) to stay with the advertised millage rate of 11.054 for the M & O and suffer a $130,000.00 loss of revenue, or 2) approve a slightly higher millage rate of 11.327, which is still a reduction in millage and taxes compared to last year. He said the worst case scenario when they take the digest to Atlanta tomorrow is they could have us re-advertise, if for some reason they say it doesnít meet with the 3% range. He recommends, after talking with Mrs. Adkins and Mrs. Leverett, to go ahead and approve the adjusted millage rate of 11.327 for the unincorporated area, 1.432 for the unincorporated special service district, .25 for the state, along with the school millage rate of 17.351. He advised that because of the change, they will publish the Tax Levy Resolution and 5-Year History in the paper so everyone will know what the millage rate is, then he read the proposed 2004 Tax Levy Resolution, with total millage rate of 30.360 mills. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to adopt the 2004 Tax Levy Resolution, seconded by Mr. Henry, motion carried unanimously.
YOUTH BASEBALL COMPLEX DISCUSSED
Administrator Crapse reported that we received a letter from SP Design Group after they completed their study of the Old Hatley Road property for the youth baseball complex. He advised that the bottom line is when the wetland delineation was done, the usable acres was only 41 acres as opposed to the 60 or 70 that we thought we had by everybodyís visual look at the property. He advised that with using some portions of wetlands as well as the reserved corner toward Frontage Road, which would drive the cost of the usable acreage upward, they could increase the size to 44 acres, which would still only yield 14 ballfields instead of 16 and it would not include the initial 2 soccer fields and no expansion area for more ballfields. He stated that another thing was, in the expansion, most of the grading work would have to be done in phase I so that there wouldnít be a great drop off in contour of the land when we went into phase II, so the up-front cost would be much greater. He said the conclusion that the architect came to was that they believe that the site ďfails to meet the program design and is only forced to be used if no other is available at an affordable costĒ. He recommends that we have the county attorney take whatever action is necessary to cancel our purchase agreement, and we continue to pursue other lands that will meet the suitability for our total design. He informed Commissioners that when they had their community group meeting is when they first got the hint that there was a problem with wetlands delineation, and the group felt unanimous that it would be unwise to proceed with this piece of property if it did not meet our specified goals. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to accept SP Design Groupís and Administratorís recommendation that we pursue a different tract of land for our youth ballpark complex, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
ADOPTION OF THE OUTDOOR WATER USE ORDINANCE
Administrator Crapse reported that this Outdoor Water Use Ordinance was presented for first reading at the regular meeting this month, we have had a public hearing on the proposed ordinance, and received no comments from the public. He recommends the adoption of the proposed ordinance. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to adopt the Ordinance To Adopt The Rules Of The Georgia Department Of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division, seconded by Mr. Henry, motion carried unanimously.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT FOR SPEC BUILDING
Mr. Pfeiffer reported that the Intergovernmental Agreement for the Speculative Building the county sent to the city has been returned to the county with some changes, which basically says if the SPLOST does not pass any loan that we make to the City for the water tower does not have to be repaid. He went over the changes that the City made to the Agreement. Administrator Crapse reported that at the meeting he and Mrs. Pheil went to with city representatives, there was some discussion that they could not afford a 500,000 gallon tank and wanted to bid out a 300,000 gallon tank also, and even the city engineer said the 500,000 gallon tank would be more feasible. Commissioners agreed that the only way there is going to be a tower on this site is if the county provides the money to build the tower. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that if the county does that, then the county could decide what size tank is going there. Mr. Henry asked how the county would pay for this, and Administrator Crapse informed him that we would take it out of county reserves as a loan. Mrs. Pheil reported that a concern the city has is if they are going to get at least what they got last time from the SPLOST funds as they have heard of several projects that has been discussed regarding the 2006 SPLOST funds. Chairman Dowdy stated that we have spent $2 million on an Industrial Park that is not going to be any good until there is a spec building and water tower on this site. Mr. Henry asked why do we have to put ourselves on the line when we are going to vote on another SPLOST next year, and Mrs. Pheil replied that we donít have a spec building to show, and Bruce Drennan is not able to do his job because of this, and we may lose some 600 or so jobs if we donít move forward, plus the package has already been put together by the banks and The Department of Economic is already under the impression that this is a go. Administrator Crapse reported that because the projects have to be tied together, the rush is over the building because 75% of the prospects that look at properties, will not look at us or be referred to us unless we have a spec building under construction, therefore, in order to meet that gate and get the financing of the spec building, the tower is irrevocably inseverable from the building Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil for the county to lend the money to the City of Cordele to pay for a 500,000 gallon elevated water tower tank, plus connections, up to $1 million cap. The city will reimburse the county at 3% interest, which will come out of cityís part of the 2006 SPLOST, and construction will be complete by December, 2005. Mr. Pfeiffer will make those corrections and send the Intergovernmental Agreement to the city for their approval, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
COMMUNITY CLUBHOUSES/VOTING PRECINCT SUPPORT
Mr. Pfeiffer stated that the county needs a contract for services with the community clubhouses/voting precincts. Mrs. Leverett stated that we need a contract for services in that they are not governmental entities, and we can get in trouble because it looks like we are donating services. Chairman Dowdy reported that Hatley is having a hard time paying for grass cutting services as well as other expenses, and Administrator Crapse stated that the county could appropriate money up front for each of the three precincts for upkeep of those voting precincts, and then have Mr. Pfeiffer draw up a contract for services for the them in the next few weeks. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to give each community clubhouse $300.00 a year in exchange for use of the buildings for voting precincts, and Mr. Pfeiffer will draw up a contract with each clubhouse, Coney, Hatley, and Tremont for services, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
Administrator Crapse reported: 1) the tower at the Georgia State Patrol will be delivered at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 2nd; and 2) we have received the letter from DNR accepting the work on cells 8 & 9.
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 Mrs. Pheil to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to adjourn the meeting at 1:00 p.m., seconded by Mr. Henry, motion carried unanimously.