MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON OCTOBER 12, 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 Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney Guy D. Pfeiffer, and secretary Linda Finch. Rev. Ray Sullivan, pastor of First Baptist Church, gave the invocation.
Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to approve the minutes of the September 14, 2004 meeting, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
REVOLVING LOAN FUND REQUEST FROM THE CORDELE-CRISP COUNTY IDA
Bruce Drennan, Executive Director of the Cordele-Crisp Industrial Development Council, reported that The Development Authority has asked for the Commission to consider reserving $250,000.00 of the Revolving Loan Fund for a project that we have that is close to committing to them. This will help with the rail spur extension into the Cedar Creek Park, cost on the rail spur will run approximately $400,000.00, which will be about a mile of rail line that will run from 24th Avenue to the southwestern terminus of the rail spur. He stated that they feel strongly that they will get the grant money for the project, but The Development Authority has to commit to putting this rail spur in, in order for them to get a commitment from the company, so the reserve of the money would pay for the majority of the rail spur, and the other $150,000.00 would come from a commitment from the banks to The Development Authority, along with some money from The Heart of Georgia Railroad. Mr. Drennan stated that the construction date will be January 1, 2006; there is close to $250,000.00 in the Revolving Loan Fund now, and projects that are requesting that money will not be affected by this request because it would be a little over a year before The Development Authority would need the money, if in fact they do need it. He advised that this would be a loan and would be paid back through revenue from the company that locates in the park, also they have strong interest from a project that will generate 150 jobs and invest approximately $60 million in building and equipment. Mr. Pfeiffer reported that the Revolving Loan Fund Committee did meet and it is recommended to the Commission that they do this, and the terms will have to develop later once this project is developed. He advised that the Resolution he has prepared is more general than what we normally have, but it provides that the county would make available $250,000.00 from the Revolving Loan Fund to the Cordele-Crisp County Industrial Development Authority not later than January 1, 2006. The terms of the loan agreement would be agreed upon by the Chairman in accordance with the Revolving Loan Fund criteria. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the Resolution to commit up to $250,000.00 from the Revolving Loan Fund to the Cordele-Crisp County Industrial Development Authority, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
DISTRIBUTION OF PROCEEDS OF FUNDS FROM SPEC BUILDING PROCEEDS
Mr. Pfeiffer reported that he received a call from King and Spalding concerning the structure of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the County, the City, and the Industrial Development Authority as it relates to the building. He advised that the question is whether or not the county wants the interest rate on the loan to be tax exempt, which would reduce the interest by about 2% and reduce the county’s obligation by that amount. He said the problem is that in order for it to be tax exempt interest, the building that is built, which is anticipated to be in private hands, cannot be security for the loan and the proceeds from the sale of the building, or the lease of the building have to be retained by The Industrial Development Authority. He said the principal changes are 1) the line that reads “it provides that IDA will not allow the use of the building by any party without the party providing payment to the IDA of either proportional to the reasonable value of the utilization or the prevailing market of the space or, if it is lesser than that, then the amount sufficient to amortize the debt”, will need to be struck out because the funds from any lease cannot go to apply to the debt if it is going to be tax exempt; it can be lesser than that if IDA receives approval from the county for a lesser compensation; 2) need to add “that the IDA will pledge the payments to be made by the county under this agreement to the consortium, which is the group of banks, as the sole security for the loan from the consortium and the IDA will pledge neither the building nor the revenues from a lease or sale of the building to secure the loan, and that they will use the revenues from the lease or sale of the building to acquire or construct another industrial speculative building”. Also, there was a change to clarify to make sure with the 2006 SPLOST proceeds would pick up all of the county’s cost in the building Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the Resolution Authorizing The Restated Intergovernmental Agreement, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
PRESENTATION OF CENTENNIAL CALENDAR
Monica Simmons, Executive Director of the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce, presented the Commissioners with the new Centennial Calendars, made possible by the Cordele-Crisp Carnegie Library and the Crisp Visual Arts Association, and advised that part of the proceeds from the sale of the calendars will be split between the library and scholarships for South Georgia Tech and Darton College. Also, the Chamber will be administering the scholarships for those groups. Justin Abercrombie designed the Logo for the Centennial Committee, and that logo is on the front of the calendar. She advised that the Crisp Visual Arts Association had commissioned Huey Theus to do the paintings several years ago, and they are at the library, and she said if they haven’t viewed them, then go by and see them because they are beautiful. She said they are also donating a calendar to each classroom in Crisp County. Mrs. Pheil and Commissioners thanked all the people involved in making the calendars.
RED RIBBON WEEK PROCLAMATION
Mrs. Simmons reported that every year the Chamber sponsors red ribbon week activities, they include all aspects of the community including schools, public safety, churches, and governments. They would like the county to pass a proclamation designating October 23-31, 2004 as Red Ribbon Week. She gave a pack of ribbons to Administrator Crapse to hand out to county employees, plus she had some for the Commissioners. Administrator Crapse read the Proclamation Red Ribbon Week 2004. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt Red Ribbon Week Proclamation 2004, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
LIGHTS ON AFTERSCHOOL PROCLAMATION
Administrator Crapse reported that this Proclamation was submitted by the Board of Education, it is something that is done annually, and it is done to recognize the importance of after school programs in the community. He read the Proclamation. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to adopt the Lights On Afterschool Proclamation, seconded by Mr. Henry, motion carried unanimously.
DECISION ON TEXT AMENDMENT TO UNIFIED DEVELOPMENT CODE
Administrator Crapse reported that last month the Board entertained a public hearing on the Text Amendment to the Unified Development Code, which requires that a mobile home have a minimum 6' X 6' front porch and code complying rear steps, and there were no comments from the public at that time. He reported that in the packet was the checklist, and it specifies that the proposed amendment is consistent with the purpose and intent of the Unified Development Code, it is compatible with the purpose of the intent of The Comprehensive Plan, it does adequately address new or changing conditions to properly implement the Comprehensive Plan, and it does reasonably promote public health, safety, morality and general welfare, so all the tests in the checklist are met affirmatively. This is the decision meeting on adopting the Text Amendment, and this will be the final action on this. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the Text Amendment to The Unified Development Code, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTION TO OBTAIN CREDIT CARD
Administrator Crapse reported that back when the Board approved the county financial policy, one of the provisions called for the issuing of credit cards through the Finance Department instead of issuing an advance check. He said that individuals that do not have a credit card that is permanently issued to them, would be issued a credit card in the name of the county to charge their expenses for meals and incidentals, etc. This gives the Finance Director the authority to obtain those credit cards to issue to individuals on official travel for the county, and it also specifies that she will monitor and verify those expenses on behalf of the county. It was reviewed by Mr. Pfeiffer, and he would recommend that the Commissioners adopt this Resolution to obtain credit cards for the purpose of official traveling. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to adopt the Crisp County Board of Commission Resolution To Obtain Credit Card, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
Administrator Crapse reported that in the General Fund our revenues are at 15%, which are up, expenditures are at 23%, which is pretty much even with last month, we should be getting taxes in the next two months so the revenue will catch up pretty quickly; Landfill fund, the year-to-date income is quite a negative, we have a -$213,000 so far this year; Waterworks, we had a plus of $20,000 this month, so Waterworks is still in good shape; SPLOST expenditures for the month include the City of Arabi expenses for the Health Clinic that was approved last month, plus other normal payouts; and CDBG Revolving Loan Fund, one account was written off by the auditors. He advised that cash on hand in all accounts is $11.3 million, with most of this being in the SPLOST account, and everything seems to be on tract overall in all accounts. Amy Westenfeld sat in and was available to answer questions in the absence of Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, who was out on medical leave.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Administrator Crapse reported: 1) he attended several meetings and ribbon cuttings; 2) Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne continued to be the big events through middle and late September. The EOC once again functioned very well as did all of the County elements during the multiple emergencies. Local damage also continued to be very light, all things considered. We meet again tomorrow on reimbursement for Hurricane Frances damage; 3) We received DOT’s “Notice to Proceed” on Ray, Slim and Fann’s Bridge Roads. Bid date is October 14 at 2:00 PM, and I have tentatively scheduled a Called Commissioners Meeting on October 19th at 9:00 AM to award the contract; 4) The keys to the GSP building have all been turned over to the Post Commander. Their furniture has been delivered, and they are now in the process of moving in. The operational cut over to the new building is scheduled for October 19th. The GSP plans to have a ribbon cutting/open house in conjunction with the Department of Public Safety Board Meeting to be held here in November; 5) SPLOST: There were no new SPLOST expenditures authorized this month; 6) I would also like to note that we paid the County’s $5,000.00 contribution to the South Georgia Technical College Foundation this month, continuing to demonstrate the Commissioner’s support of technical education and recognition of the jobs and other economic benefits that it helps to bring to Crisp County; 7) The Youth and Family Resource Center Building parking lot has been completed. Kathy Garwood will schedule a Ribbon Cutting/Grand Opening when they finish moving in and get organized; 8) The start of work on the New Town Streets contract, scheduled for September 10th has been delayed. Some pipe has been delivered to the site, and hopefully we will make some significant progress soon; 9) The Contractor says that the Public Safety Communications Tower work is still on schedule to be operational by October 31st; 10) The City of Cordele did approve our request to allow the DMVS to use their building and parking lot across from the Tarver building as a temporary location while the DOC Mobile Construction Team renovates the old GSP building for their use. As soon as the GSP move is complete, we will be starting on that project; 11) We were awarded a grant for accessibility improvements at our polling places; unfortunately the announcements were six weeks later than the August 31st schedule. We will not be able to complete all the work by Election Day; however, we are working on the parking pads as we speak and should have that done by Election Day, leaving only the interior work to complete; 12) The Centennial Celebration Committee meets tonight at 5:30 PM in the CCPC Conference Room. Interested parties are encouraged to attend; and 13) Next month we plan an Official Photo of the Board, so please bring your best smile, wear a dark jacket or whatever’s most photogenic.
LOVE STUFF UPDATE
Administrator Crapse reported that we have responded to the inquiry on the Love Stuff, we have opposed the operators motion for writ of supersedes to allow them to continue to operate while it is under appeal. This was filed under the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia.
Mr. Henry wanted to take a minute to brag on our Emergency Operation Center, he was fortunate to be there for two and three meetings, our county is very fortunate to have the building and the organization, and it was a safe feeling to see thirty or forty people there and that their major concern was the safety of the citizens of our county. Administrator Crapse stated that it is quite a major asset to see a group of professionals gathered with that one thing in mind to assure the safety of the citizens of the county, given the fact that there is so many things going on and people take the time to come and concentrate to have the latest information in order to make proper decisions, this is a very good thing. There were individuals representing every department of the city, county and the community to assure that there was proper coordination being done, along with Phil Streetman’s adjournment prayer with our continued safety and that of our neighbors, which certainly kept us in good stead. The whole organization should be commended beginning with Sheriff Haralson and his staff, along with everybody in the other departments, as all were willing to stay as long as necessary to do whatever needed to be done.
CONTRACT WITH TRAYLOR BUSINESS SERVICES, INC.
Administrator Crapse reported that Chief Assessor Quick brought him the contracts for the new fiscal year with Traylor Business Services, Inc., who do our personal property verifications, it is an ongoing contract for the new year, and it is funded in the budget. He said it is an open ended contract, where we can spend a certain amount of money up to that which is in the budget, but we can also spend it frugally because it is only charged when the Board of Assessors gives the contractor an account to go out an audit. He advised that through this contract, last year we should realize about $200,000 in increased revenue based on the under reported taxable property and the associated penalty and interest that goes with that. We are looking at this to make sure we are actually collecting those dollars as well as just having them on the books. Tax Commissioner Cricket Adkins is going back line-by-line to see if we are actually getting this money. He recommends the Board approve the Contract with Traylor Business Systems, as it has been approved by the Board of Assessors. Motion was made by Mr. Henry to approve the Contract with Traylor Business Services, Inc. for personal property verification, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to go into Executive Session to discuss Real Estate and Potential Litigation, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Henry to adjourn meeting at 11:00 A.M., seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.