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The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Chairman Ferrell Henry, with Commissioners James D. Harris, A. James Nance, Joyce C. Pheil, and Brad Faircloth in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney Guy D. Pfeiffer, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and secretary Linda Finch. Rev. Antwion Yowe, pastor of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Worth County, gave the invocation.


Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the minutes of the meetings of January 11 and January 29, 2005, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.


Connie Sangster, Planning Director, reported that she has received three rezoning requests from Crisp Bryan, LLC to rezone the following property: 1) from NC (Neighborhood Commercial) to RS2 (Single Family Residential; 2) from RS1 (Single Family Residential) to RS2 ( Single Family Residential); 3) from RR (Rural Residential) to RS2 (Single Family Residential). Property located on the east side of Coney Road and southeast of the intersection of Ferry Landing Road and Coney Road south. She showed this on an aerial map and advised that the decision cannot be made until the next regular meeting on Tuesday, March 8, 2005. Joel Owens, owner, stated that they would like to develop this area into five to seven acre tracts with houses being set back 600 to 800 feet from the road; it will be designed similar to Bryon Plantation in Albany. He advised that there is a low area in the middle that they intend to build a lake and every house in the subdivision will have access to the lake. He stated that their first project is to remodel the house that is already out there, which was built in 1860. Another unique feature will be the central 100 to 140 acres in the orchid will be left as a pecan orchid, so it will be like every house is sitting in a pecan orchid. Chairman Henry asked if anyone else would like to speak in favor or against the zoning change, and there were none. He reminded everyone that Commissioners will make their decision at the next regular meeting. Chairman Henry closed the Public Hearing.


Don tenBensel, Executive Director of Middle Flint RDC, and Jason Faircloth, engineer, met with Commissioners to discuss the GEFA Grant application for Northside Water & Sewer Project. Mr. tenBensel reported that Mr. Faircloth and Todd Lanier have been updating the figures from last year’s grant application. As part of that, there were looking for ways to cover some of the costs and the idea was presented to go to the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) and ask for some additional funding, and they have come up with a preliminary cost for the whole project of $660,000.00 - $500,000.00 coming from the CDBG, $160,000.00 coming through the GEFA. The $160,000.00 will be a subsidized loan, which basically means that at the end of the project, the county will input their $40,000.00 that has already been committed, and the debt will canceled. This is because of the fact that we are an Empowerment Zone, the medium household income in the county is such a low level, GEFA has declared the county a disadvantaged community, which qualifies the county for this special money. He advised that the target area is basically the same as last year; Omar Heights, and Meadow Park area, but they have picked up Den Mar Mobile Home Park, an additional line to the Sunrise Inn, plus a few fire hydrants. He advised that they will go ahead and schedule a Public Hearing for next Thursday afternoon. Mr. tenBensel brought a proposed Resolution, and advised that Mr. Pfeiffer has reviewed and suggested that they add another line that the county is included in the Empowerment Zone. He reported that the Resolution states that the county has a need to expand it’s water service, a need to apply for the $160,000.00 GEFA loan, have pledged $40,000.00 cash, and authorizes the chairman to sign all the necessary paperwork. Administrator Crapse reported that one thing this does is it allows the water to be completed all at one time, which will speed up the sewer system, and without the $160,000.00, we would have to piecemeal the water system. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to hold the Public Hearing on February 17, 2005 to consider the application for a GEFA loan for $160,000.00 to help pay for the CDBG project grant, and hold a meeting following the Public Hearing to make the decision on the application, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Ruby Jackson, Chris Martin, and Gene Ford met with Commissioners to discuss Boys & Girls Club. Ruby Jackson, on behalf of Bright Future Youth, thanked Commissioners for the support they have given Bright Future Youth for the last five years to allow them to use the facility that they are currently in. The long term goal for Bright Future was to become part of the Boys & Girls Club of America, and they have been serving youth after school and in summer programs since 1999. Last Friday they did sign the agreement with the Dodge County Boys & Girls Club, allowing Bright Future to become the Boys & Girls Club of Crisp County, but she has opted not to continue with this club as she has been called to other duties in the community. Mr. Martin stated that they are going to continue to utilize the collaboration they have made, the funding and staff they have, and the members that they have existing now. Their goal is to pursue different avenues so that they can serve more kids, and to increase their facilities. He advised that Boys & Girls Clubs of America is the largest youth development organization in the world, so they are trying to use their expertise and funding to utilize what has already been started here and carry it to another level. They have talked about using the former Recreation Department on 2nd Street and 8th Avenue, and they are here to make a formal presentation for the use of that land and facilities, and to let Commissioners know that they want to assume full responsibility of the facilities and the land, and they are not asking for funding. Immediate plans will be to put a couple of modular buildings there to get started, and long term plans is to place permanent buildings on the facility and use the baseball/softball field as well; then they want to seek out other areas in the community as it will not be a one site Boys & Girls Club. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to discuss the use of the old Recreation Department gym and land for the Boys & Girls Club of Crisp County, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously. Mr. Faircloth stated he was 100% behind the project, but his question is the location and is this the right place for it, as they had discussed other possibilities for location at their retreat. Mr. Nance reported that in their Strategic Planning Session, they heard from the City that the old Recreation gym was inhabitable and it had been deemed unsafe by the fire Marshall along with it not being handicap accessible. He advised that one of the possibilities that they had discussed was next to the Boy Scout Hut and the old Kids World property. Mr. Harris stated that he is also 100% behind the project and he went to Eastman with Gene Ford to look at their operation and was impressed. Mrs. Pheil agreed that she is 100% behind the project and wants to do everything she can to make the project move forward, but she heard some communication dialog between the city and county that she thought was good, and she would hate to make a decision without at least talking with them further. Mr. Martin stated that there is some money on the table for starting this new unit, so they are trying to fast forward this and get the club started. Chairman Henry stated that the Commissioners certainly support this project, and he thinks this is an opportunity for them to show their cooperation with the city and get their input. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to table the decision until Administrator Crapse can set up a meeting with the County Commission Committee, the City Commission & Boys & Girls Club of Dodge County to come up with a solution that everybody will feel comfortable with, and that Commissioners do support the project, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously. Commissioners thanked Mrs. Jackson for the fine work she has done with the Bright Future Youth in Crisp County and her help in getting the Boys & Girls Club here.


Chairman Henry stated that the Commissioners have just finished a Strategic Planning Session with the County Commissioners, City Commissioners, Arabi Mayor, County Administrator, Finance Director, City Manager, and Finance Director, and City and County Attorneys. They spent several hours working on short and long range goals. He advised that the Vision Statement that the County Commissioners came up with is one that we will be proud of it because it is something that was needed, and they came up with this as a whole body. Chairman Henry read the Vision Statement for the Crisp County Commissioners: “Crisp County is a strong integral community that uses its collective talents to create quality growth and enhanced quality of life thought economic development based on citizen participation, community values, sound land use principals, wise management of resources and intergovernmental collaboration”. He advised that this will be one thing that they will use as a background for decision making and goal setting. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the Crisp County Vision Statement, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse advised that we have received the details for the request of the memorial to the three children, and it includes the stone and landscaping of the parking lot medium at the Recreation Departtment. Ellen Adams and the family are funding this project, and the Recreation Department Advisory Board has recommended that the Commissioners approve the Memorial, he also concurs. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the Adams Memorial at the Recreation Department, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Pfeiffer reported that the state statue gives different bodies the power to make corrections to errors in taxes. This proposed Resolution makes it clear which body has that power and assures that information they need is provided by the Tax Commissioner and Tax Assessors’ Offices. Administrator Crapse stated that this proposed Resolution was a request from the Board of Assessors and reviewed by the Tax Commissioner, and he recommends adoption of the Resolution. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt Resolution on Correction of Tax Record Errors, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.


Wayne Christian stated that they have no dealings with Signature Finishers as they bought the note from the bank as it was in bankruptcy proceedings. He stated that the ad that ran in the paper made no reference to the inventory and the equipment in the facility, and he does not know how he can deal with what’s in there. He said there was some equipment in the facility, but it will take more money to get it out than it is worth, because it is obsolete. He would like the Commissioners to amend the original tax bill to the footage that is in the facility as it now sets, and Mr. Quick, Chief Tax Assessor, cannot tell them who made the error in inputting how much footage was in the building, but the square footage has decreased from the original appraisal. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to instruct Attorney Pfeiffer to pursue this and come back with a recommendation to the Board, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that he has received a copy of the draft letter that was sent from our auditor to go to the Solid Wast Management Authority, which addresses the process for an unqualified audit and an appraisal for the Solid Waste property. It is the recommendation of our auditor to send this letter to the Solid Waste Authority. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the auditor’s letter and to send the letter to the Solid Waste Authority, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Pfeiffer recommended that they table the Indigent Defense Application Fees, because the standards for local indigent defense systems have not been established yet by the Council, and until the Commissioners adopt an Ordinance authorizing the application fee there will not be an application fee. He advised that right now there are not a significant number of applications, and the county is not loosing enough money to even consider it. Both Judge Griffin and himself are authorized in appropriate cases to consider circumstances of the defendant and where or not a defendant should be required to repay the county for that, and they do take that into consideration. Neither of them, at this point, have a problem with tabling this. He recommends that Commissioners table this until they get the standards from the Indigent Defense Council and they have an opportunity to explore what there options are. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to table the Indigent Defense Application Fees, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Mrs. Leverett reported on the January report: General Fund revenues are exceeding the expenditures by about $1.7 million or 14% because the bulk of the taxes come in December; Landfill year to date loss is $508,000.00 not including depreciation, that is about $60-$70,000.00 loss every month, and total tonnage is 3489 tons; Waterworks year to date income is about $42,000.00, and water usage was 4,452,000 gallons; and Cash on hand is almost $14.3 million. She also went over the Revolving Loan Fund, SPLOST, with the net effect of SPLOST for January at $567,000.00, and the summary budget year to date totals by departments. She has completed the mid-year budget reviews with all the departments.


Administrator Crapse reported: 1) he attended several meetings and events during the month; 2) LARP resurfacing projects on Antioch Road & Lakeview Circle have begun and about half of Antioch Road has been completed; 3) work also continues on the New Town Streets contract, the contractor is continuing to install curb & gutter as weather allows; 4) clean up of the old GDOT Yard on Hwy. 257 has been completed and it looks a lot better. Suzanne Harper at SGTC has contacted him twice to say thank you to the Board of Commissioners for getting this accomplished; 5) The Department of Corrections will be here to meet with the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety and him on the facility renovations at the old GSP Post at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow; 6) County Retirement recommended contribution came in at $13,700.00 over budget for a total of $335,745.00. Based on last years decision by the Board to assure that the plan remained fully funded, he authorized the Finance Director to pay the full amount; 7) there were no new SPLOST applications approved this month; 8) effective in March, 2005 when we have our “Open Season” for cafeteria insurance plans, all county employees will be eligible to “Start, Change, or Stop” their coverage with any of the County’s existing plans. For now, the moratorium will remain on the Start-up of new plans with new companies; 9) the Notice of Intention to Introduce Local Legislation creating the Board of Elections and Registration has been published in the paper and the tear sheet with the Affidavit of Publication forwarded to Johnny Floyd in Atlanta; 10) the right of way clearing on the section of Floyd Road between Hwy. 90 and Muller Road, next in line for paving has been completed. Utilities are currently being relocated and the actual road construction will begin this spring. The paving is anticipated for our 2006 visit with GDOT; 11) we are continuing to work with GDOT on preparation for our visit to the Commissioner on February 22nd this year; 12) we received our check from our ACCG insurance for Hurricane Frances damage. All of the Project Worksheets for FEMA disaster funds have been submitted and approved, but to date we haven’t received a check; 13) we received notice from EPD that Helena Chemical has applied for an air quality permit for the addition of a new granular insecticide production unit and the decommissioning of other processing equipment; 14) new office hours have been implemented for the Commissioners Office and posted on the door. The office will now be open during lunch hour and every effort is being made to have someone from the admin office and planning here at all times to better address the public’s questions; 15) I have instructed the Recreation Department Director to begin for Free-Play Basketball at the Recreation Department Gym beginning on March 1st. This could be delayed a short time depending on how far our All-Star team gets in the playoffs and need a place to practice. Our current schedule would be Monday & Wednesday from 4:30 - 8:30 p.m. for adults and Tuesday & Thursday from 4:30 - 7:30 for 14 year old and under; 16) we will also offer “After School Swimming” beginning next season after school reopens; we will have at least one pool open from 4:30 - 6:30 during August and September; 17) we have initiated looking into a $25,000.00 “Skate Park” Grant, as that is one of the items in the Recreation Department priority list and scheduled in the upcoming SPLOST for 2006; 18) at this time we have one action coming up with regard to “Lovestuff”, an oral argument on their appeal before the Georgia Supreme Court at 2:00 p.m. on February 21, 2005 in Atlanta. More on this in Executive Session; 19) please note that the regular Recreation Advisory Board Meeting has been changed to the 4th Tuesday each month to better synchronize with the Board of Commissioners meeting; 20) we received a “Thank You” card from the family of L.D. Pate, my in-Laws, for your kind expression of sympathy. Also, we received two letters of thanks for our support from DFCS along with a copy of their annual report that I put in your boxes, and for the toys we donated from the Christmas Party; 21) the Crisp County High School “Senior Team” won 1st Place in the State at the 4-H “Horse Quiz Bowl”. They now go to Regional Competition, that is the highest level, as there is no National Competition. The Crisp County High School “Junior Team” won 2nd Place in the State at the 4-H “Horse Quiz Bowl”, and 22) there are lots of upcoming events on your calendars, so don’t forget to check them out.


Administrator Crapse showed the first drawing of the Youth Ball Facility that they hope to present at the “Fish Fry” in Atlanta; it contains sixteen ballfields of all types, baseball, softball, fields suitable for high school play, and four soccer fields, a lake, ample parking, and entrances off of 8th Street and Pecan Street. As far as the real estate issue, the county has signed a purchase agreement pending the completion of their due diligence and investigation of this property. The architect has determined that the site is of adequate size and adequate layout; they were anticipating buying about 100 acres of land in order to get 70 good usable acres, and this parcel of land maps out to 77.04 acres, saving about $200,000.00 that can go into the facilities. He stated that in order to provide this for the community, it is essential that SPLOST passes.


Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation and real estate, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.


Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that the County’s Landfill Attorney, Charles Jones, has researched an Ordinance with regard to requiring that all household solid waste generated within Crisp County remain in Crisp County and go into the Crisp County Landfill. He recommends that the county adopt this Ordinance. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to authorize the Landfill Attorney, Charles Jones, to prepare an Ordinance that requires household solid waste generated in Crisp County to remain in Crisp County and go into the county landfill, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously. This will increase the tonnage flow going into the landfill and improve our financial assurance at the landfill.


Administrator Crapse reported that the consensus of the Commissioners is that we don’t want a lot of garbage brought in from Atlanta or somewhere far off, however, we have to deal with the issue of financial assurance and the best interest of the taxpayers. He has a potential future opportunity to help out a small neighboring county with their waste of about 380 tons a month. If the opportunity came about, would we be; 1) willing to accept the waste in the county landfill, and 2) to help our financial assurance, willing to give them a discounted rate, maybe $1.00 ton, if they met a threshold of 300 tons a month. This would stabilize our funding stream and it would generate about $100,000.00 for the landfill, and would send a message to EPD, which we promised to do, that we would work diligently to fix the financial assurance issue with the landfill. He recommended that the Commissioners do this to help our landfill situation and be a good neighbor; Mr. Jones has reviewed this and sees no problem. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to accept the recommendation of Administrator Crapse to authorize accepting the garbage from a neighboring county at a discount, the same discount we offer to Onyx, at a 300 ton threshold, as a negotiable package should the opportunity arise, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously. Each request will be on a case by case basis brought back to the Board for individual consideration on its own merits.


Administrator Crapse reported that Ken Lewis with Cooperative Extension Service is not here due to illness. By common consent, Commissioners tabled this until the February 17, 2005 meeting.


Administrator Crapse reported that the GA DOT Contract for 2005 for the DCUTS operation, based on the GDOT for funding the 5311 program, came in on Friday, it is the same contract we have been operating on for a long time, and there are no financial implications with the county; it just allows DCUTS to get their money back. Steve Dorough, Director of DCUTS, is in a seminar in Tifton and he couldn’t be here today.


Dick Easom, on behalf of a group of citizens, stated that they understand that Mr. Childers has done everything in accordance with the law, he has called EPD, EPA & USDA, and they have said that he is at right to do what he wants to on his own property, but within a two mile radius of the proposed chicken house operation, there are sixty-four residences, that have signed a petition against it. Their main concerns are quality of air, insect control, water runoff, and odor. They are concerned that they will not dispose of the waste in a timely manner so that it smells, and who is going to guarantee that all these standards are kept up in a timely manner. He has been sick in the past because of a well contamination, and he doesn’t want anyone else to go through what he went through, and he thinks this needs to be thought out a little more because of the location and the residences around there. They are afraid that the water runoff is eventually going into Cedar Creek, along with the fact that Mr. Childers didn’t let the community know his intentions, as they would have been present at the last meeting. Frankie Johnson stated that he had an unfortunate loss in another county several years ago, and says it was because of chicken houses within a mile of his house. Chairman Henry acknowledged the research that Mr. Easom had done. Mrs. Pheil stated that sitting in her chair, she does not always get to do what she wants to do, she has to do what her oath requires her to do in upholding the law, and she sympathizes with them. Mr. Easom said that their property values are going down and the taxes are going up. Mr. Nance agreed that he sympathizes with them, but the process has not changed in a long time, and Mr. Childers has rights also. Mr. Harris agreed that chicken houses do smell, EPD & EPA have no regulations for this, and he sympathizes with them. Mr. Faircloth agreed and would not want to hurt anyone. Ellen Childers advised that she lives on Jamestown Road, and they will be catching that runoff from the water of the chicken houses, and does not want to get sick because of this. Chairman Henry thanked the group for their professionalism, and sympathizes with both parties.


Administrator Crapse reported that he has a package store license request for liquor, beer, and wine from Alton Hayslip, and understands there is some community sentiment about a package store at this location. He met with the county attorney, they reviewed the application and discovered that the application was incomplete and the data they needed to do the proper investigation was not done, also the letter that we received from Sheriff Haralson does not address liquor and wine, just beer. By common consent, Commissioners tabled this decision until the February 17, 2005 meeting.


Administrator Crapse reported that the EZ Grant Application closing is Friday, February 11th at 4:00 p.m. They have resubmitted the application for the Hatley Fire Station, and he has initiated two other applications for assistance on the Westside Gym Project and another for a special Revolving Loan Fund for Micro-Business incentives in the westside area. The last two applications would compete for the same funds; he needs to know which grant application do we proceed with. Then we have additional grants that he has received support letter requests from, which include Habitat for Humanity, Darton College, Arts Alliance, and Ag America. The Hatley Fire Station is in a separate category from the other two the county is pursuing, and he doesn’t know what category the other four requests for support are in. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to support the Westside Economic Development Project for the county project, and give a basic letter that we support the organization of Habitat for Humanity, Darton College, Arts Alliance, and Ag America for their contribution to the community, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that this is a Grant Application request due March 7th for expansion of the current program for helping girls on probation to a program that helps all at-risk youth. The request is for the Commissioners to approve applying for the grant and to be the fiscal agent, and the only cost to the county would be the administration of the grant. Mrs. Garwood reported that this is Title V Prevention Dollars through the Children and Youth Coordinating Council, is made available only to County Boards of Commissioners that have a Family Connection Collaborative. The grant is to prevent youth from entering the Juvenile Justice System and looking at the risk factors for delinquency such as youth violence, school failure, teenage pregnancy, and substance abuse. They want to sustain the programs that are already in existence that are in jeopardy of losing their funding, not creating new ones; she would write the grant, oversee the implementation of the program, and authorize financial expenditures in accordance with an approved budget. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to apply for the grant application request for at-risk youth, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.


Kenneth Cutts, representing Congressman Sanford Bishop’s Office, stated that they have been going to the counties in the Second Congressional District and requesting their needs and assessments, and are going to try to secure federal funding for these needs; that is why he is here today. Administrator Crapse stated that they do have a wish list, and he will E-mail him today with that list.


Administrator Crapse reported that he had a call from Charles Johnson of Citizen’s Telephone about the Board approving a Cable TV Franchise Transfer Agreement from LB Cable to Citizens Telephone. He advised that we need time to research a franchise transfer before we do this. Mrs. Leverett stated that LB Cable has never paid any franchise fees. In yesterday’s mail, Mr. Crapse received a renewal franchise agreement from LB Cable, and advised that they did include in the budget some monies to pay to do audits of franchise companies and see if they are paying us what they should, along with the ability to get a professional firm to assist us in renegotiating these franchise agreements. He recommends that we table this so they can look into this further. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to table this until they talk to Citizens Telephone, and if they approve, negotiate with them in September, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that last Thursday, Commissioners Nance and Pheil, and himself met with the Sheriff, other community leaders, and law enforcement at the Sheriff’s request. The subject was to review ways to reduce violence and other associated problems with the annual impromptu Easter gathering on the west side of Cordele. They had many ideas discussed; the Commissioners and himself floated an idea having to do with an alternate event that would give those who wanted something else to do other than be in a place where they could expand the violence. The idea was something that was seen to be proactive to help the innocent people in the community to not get hurt as by-standers when all the bottle throwing and whatever is going on. The suggestion was to maybe get the Lions Club Fairground and provide an alternative source, like a band appropriate to the community, that would draw the crowd away from the violent area. He and Commissioners Nance and Pheil talked about maybe getting the Centennial Committee to sponsor the event, and it may require some county funding. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to support the Westside Easter Program financially and otherwise, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.


Motion was made by Mr. Nance to adjourn the meeting at 1:48 p.m., seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.

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