MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON MARCH 8, 2005
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Chairman Ferrell Henry, with Commissioners A. James Nance, Joyce C. Pheil, and Brad Faircloth in attendance. Mr. Harris was in Washington, DC at a NACo Conference. Others present were County Administrator Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney Guy D. Pfeiffer, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Father Lawrence Lucress, St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, gave the invocation.
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the minutes of the meetings of February 8th and February 17th, 2005, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
DECISION TO REZONE PROPERTY FOR SUBDIVISION
Chairman Henry advised that the Public Hearing for the three rezoning requests from Crisp Bryan, LLC to rezone the property from: 1) NC to RS2; 2) RS1 to RS2; and 3) RR to RS2 was held last meeting and there were no comments received in opposition to these changes. In all three cases, the zoning change represents an improvement in the zoning restrictions and the zone districts. All Commissioners had read the Legal Standards prepared by Ms. Sangster. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the three zoning changes, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
TRANSFER OF CABLE TV FRANCHISE FROM LB CABLE TO CITIZENS TELEPHONE
Lee Hall, representing Citizens Telephone, was present. Administrator Crapse reported that LB Cable has paid their franchise fees due up through the end of the year, and they have agreed to pay the additional fees resulting from the upcoming audit as well as the fee dues between January thru March 31st. The transfer will become effective April 1, 2005. He advised that Citizens Telephone already owns a cable franchise in the county, he welcomes their interest in operating this system, and he recommends that the Board approve the transfer. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to approve the Cable TV Franchise from LB Cable to Citizens Telephone, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
TAX REFUND FOR SIGNATURE FINISHERS/CONTINENTAL TIMBER
Mr. Pfeiffer reported that the Tax Assessor’s have determined that the assessment on the property, which was formally Signature Finishers, now Continental Timber, was in error, as they had them for more square feet in their building than they actually had along with some other problems. He has met with the attorney for Continental Timber, and they have come up with a proposed Resolution, which adjusts the taxes to meet the property that actually exists, it requires them to pay the taxes due based on this as well as the interest by the 20th of March, in order to avoid a tax penalty, and it waives the prior penalties if they pay before the 20th of March. It also requires them to pursue the disposition of the personal property, and to include the Crisp County Tax Commissioner and the City of Cordele in this proceeding. In the liquidation, the City and County would receive their pro-rata share of the taxes of any net proceeds. He recommends approval of the proposed Resolution. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to take Mr. Pfeiffer’s recommendation and adopt the Resolution to adjust the taxes because of the error and to provide for other matters, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
DISPOSITION OF I-75 FRONTAGE ROAD ROW @ EXIT 104
Mr. Pfeiffer reported that when the widening of I-75 is coming in at the 104 exit and will cut into some property, and a portion of that is Frontage Road, which is a county road. He is unclear, from their diagram, whether they are going to build a road to provide for access to the property owners. He advised that what is being requested from the State is that the County convey to the State the portion of the taking that is included within the Frontage Road, and he recommends that the Commissioners authorize this on the condition that we receive necessary assurances that the County is not going to be required to spend money to rebuild this road. Administrator Crapse advised that he and Mr. Pfeiffer have discussed this, and they are going to set up a meeting with Carl Gamble, and the I-75 Project Manager, and discuss with them exactly where the right-of-way is going to be and what rerouting is going to be done, if any, on Frontage Road. He agrees with Mr. Pfeiffer, that as long as there is no impact on the county, that we do this, but they need assurance that they have the County’s protection against any liability before they sign the documents. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to authorize the Chairman to execute and deliver a Quit Claim Deed requested by the State, subject to determining these other matters, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
RENEWAL OF FRANCHISE AGREEMENT WITH CRISP COUNTY POWER COM.
Administrator Crapse reported that in the discussions he has had with Steve Rentfrow, the adjustments of the Franchise Agreement with Crisp County Power Commission that are being made really put the county in a better position from an economic development point of view. It brings the county’s rates in line with all the commercial rates, so it cannot be perceived that the county is getting subsidized power at the expense of companies that might want to come to the area. The franchise fee rate has been adjusted to account for this so that there will be no loss in funds to the county, and will be a passthru from the Power Commission, so there will be no loss to the Power Commission either. He says it is a win-win for both sides, and he recommends the Board adopt the Franchise Agreement. Motion was made by Nance to adopt the Franchise Agreement with Crisp County Power Commission, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
DMVS FACILITIES CONTRACT WITH CRISP COUNTY
Administrator Crapse reported that this is an agreement that was presented to us by the DMVS, it is really contrary to the approach that he thought was intended when the County made it’s commitment to DMVS. This agreement calls for DMVS to lease the property, they could break the agreement at any time with 120 days notice, plus the lease terms has the county pretty much paying for everything including landscaping, grass cutting, routine maintenance, light bulbs, and security system. He has discussed this with Mr. Pfeiffer in detail, and he would like Commissioners to authorize him to work with DMVS to try to get this agreement into a similar form that we have with GSP, which he thought was the original intent. That intent was to rehab the building and then deed the building to DMVS, it would be theirs to operate and maintain as long as they were there, and when they stopped using it as a drivers license center, it would revert back to Crisp County. Mr. Pfeiffer advised that apparently the GSP has special legislation to allow them to enter into an agreement like we have with them, and apparently DMVS has less leeway as to how they go about things. Mrs. Pheil stated that originally when we first talked about this, we had authorized the Sheriff to begin some negotiations with them, so she would like Mr. Crapse to talk with him and see if he has any input and may know some contacts that might help. By common consent, Commissioners authorized the Administrator, along with input from the Sheriff, to get with DMVS and see if they can work out an agreement similar to that of the GSP building.
FIRST READING OF SOLID WASTE ORDINANCE AMENDMENT
Administrator Crapse reported that this is a proposed Amendment to the Solid Waste Ordinance that requires that household commercial waste generated in Crisp County be placed in the Crisp County Landfill, unless the county gives specific and written approval for some other disposition of that waste. Our Landfill Attorney, Finance Director, and himself recommend the adoption of this Amendment. The purpose of the first reading is to introduce the proposal to the Commissioners and the public, and to open the discussion on adoption of this Amendment. He advised that this is a major step in improving our financial assurance, and in his opinion, it sends the right message to EPD with regard to what we said was going to be our corrective action plan in fixing that situation. He advised that Onyx currently takes the county’s waste to numerous other places other than our landfill, we get very little of that tonnage coming into our landfill, in fact, since we gave them a discount for tonnage, over the long term, our tonnage from them continues to decline, and that is hurting our revenue stream and landfill, creating an imposition on our financial assurance. Mr. Faircloth stated that this is a step in the right direction to improving our financial assurance, and to not to do it would be irresponsible on our part. Chairman Henry advised that this has nothing to do with the City and their recently approved privatization of their garbage disposal, and he thinks we owe it to the people to utilize every opportunity that we have financially to offset the situation at the landfill, and he would like the Landfill Committee to get involved and work closely with the Administrator along with the Onyx and/or the City on this matter. Mrs. Leverett advised that the February, 2005 tonnage from Onyx was 800 tons less than the February 2004 tonnage, and this tonnage was less than the February, 2003 tonnage, so they are steadily dropping off the tonnage and taking it elsewhere. She stated that the 800 tons computes to about $20,000.00 a month, which is over $200,000.00 a year, and this was a recommendation that came out of the meeting she had with EPA. Mrs. Pheil stated that this is the right thing to do, and do we need to do anything in addition to this to let the citizens know that we intend to adopt this Ordinance. Mr. Nance thinks that the public would be obliged that we are taking some steps to improve the financial situation in our landfill. Administrator Crapse advised that we are going to have to provide for an implementation that we think will be fair for Onyx for them to re-organize the truck routes, etc. in keeping with the spirit of allowing the public time to look at this. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve an advertisement to be placed in the paper an on WSST TV Station and adopt this Ordinance in the April regular meeting, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
GEFA GRANT APPLICATION FOR NORTHSIDE WATER & SEWER PROJECT
Don tenBensel, Jason Bodwell (GEFA) and Jason Faircloth met with Commissioners to discuss the Community Development Block Grant and the GEFA Grant Application for the Northside Water & Sewer Project. Mr. tenBensel stated the cost figures went up from last year plus we are adding the Northside Trailer Park in this application, we are still counting on using all the money, so we will definitely need the GEFA Grant to help pay for this project and also to increase our points on our leverage. Mr. Bodwell advised that the $160,000.00 Crisp County is requesting is from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program, a federally funding water program to improve water systems throughout the state. The engineer would submit a preliminary report and an environmental information document, which they have done; this would get reviewed by EPD, after edits and such, the project will be signed by EPD, then the project goes to the State Clearing House, after review and complete, EPD issues a notice of “no significant impact”. At this time, he can bring the Project before the Board. He advised that projects are initially reviewed at a 3% interest rate, and if a 3% interest rate cannot be afforded, they can start rationalizing that interest rate all the way down to 0%, with entities just paying back the principle. Since the benefactors in this case are specifically identified, they can do an income survey to determine the income level of those customers. Mr. tenBensel advised that they have done a household survey in this area, and 86% of the households are low/moderate income according to the federal definition. Mrs. Pheil asked at what point in the process would the county know if they qualify for free money or if we going to have a loan to pay back? Mr. Bodwell advised that he could run some numbers with this assumption. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve both applications for the funds of the CDBG and the GEFA loan for the Northside Water & Sewer Project, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the Resolution authorizing the filing of an application for a GEFA loan in the amount of $160,000.00 and a Resolution authorizing the filing of an application for CDBG not to exceed $500,000.00, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
REQUEST TO CLOSE PUBLIC ROADS
Administrator Crapse reported that they have received two requests for road closings, and one of the things that Commissioners do before closing of a road is advertise in a local paper and post the road closing. The two roads in discussion is Milldale and Morgan Roads. In both instances, the person requesting the road closings are the sole property owners on both sides of the road, neither road is used for a school bus route, but both are used for mail routes. Also, there are some utilities on Milldale but there are major utilities on Morgan Road. It has always been his opinion that public roads should not be closed unless the Board of Commissioners can determine they serve no public purpose. Both of these roads serve as connectors to other main roads. Mr. Faircloth suggested, that since he in on the Public Works Committee, he would like to get with the Public Works Director and try to come up with a process of getting the Commissioners more information so that they can make a better decision. By common consent, Commissioners tabled this until the Public Works Committee can come back with a recommendation or process regarding closing of roads.
Mrs. Leverett stated that she has the February report. In the General Fund, the revenues are still exceeding the expenditures by about $1.5 million year-to-date; In the Landfill Fund, we have a year-to-date loss of $576,000.00 which averages to about $72,000.00 loss per month and tonnage continues to decrease; Water Works year-to-date income is $42,000.00; Cash balances county-wide are $12,541,000.00; SPLOST fund took a big hit this month as we paid off the lease-purchase loan on equipment we had with Wachovia Bank, which was ten months early,.and the purchase of the ball park complex. Net effect was $1,047,000.00 which included a $79,000.00 reimbursement from DOT for Fanns Bridge Road; and CDBG Revolving Loan Fund balances, and Arabi Gin Company made their final payment in February. She advised that the Department of Audits has accepted the Corrective Action Plan we sent after that they had requested this Plan because of the lack of audit and financial statements for the Solid Waste Management Authority, and the lack of compliance for the financial assurance ratio on the landfill. With acceptance of this, the June 30, 2004 audit is complete. We also have received the EMS final report, and they will be refunding the county about $83,000.00 from last years budget.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Administrator Crapse reported: 1) He attended several meetings, etc. during the month; 2) Our 2004 LARP resurfacing projects on Antioch Road & Lakeview Circle have been completed. Our 2005 LARP, 4.3 miles of resurfacing projects, will be let to Contract in April, and will include sections of Amboy Road, Hatley Road and Lakeshore Way; 3) Work continues on the New Town Streets contract, with curb & gutter installation and street preparation as weather allows; 4) There were no new SPLOST expenditures approved this month, 5) Utility relocation is almost complete on Floyd Road for road construction to begin in the spring. The paving is still anticipated for our 2006 visit with GDOT; 6) Random Drug Testing for CDL and Safety Sensitive Employees began on February 28th; 7) The Local Legislation creating the Board of Elections and Registration has passed the House and the Senate Committee and been referred to the Senate for passage. Senator Carter said it should go to the senate floor this week, 8) The Beer, Wine and Liquor License application form has been revised and simplified based on the current Ordinance. There have been several applications since last month, so pending the establishment of a policy by the Board, I have directed that I will review all beer & wine applications and approve those that are in compliance with our current codes. In addition I will review all Liquor Licenses and refer those that are in compliance with our current codes to the Board of Commissioners for approval. If this interim guidance is acceptable to the Board, I recommend that the Board appoint the County Administrator as the approval authority for Beer & Wine Licenses, subject to the recommendation of the Sheriff, and that the Board reserve unto itself approval of Liquor Licenses, but authorize the County Administrator to approve renewals in coordination with the Sheriff; 9) We received our first check from GEMA/FEMA in the amount of $64,480.00 for Hurricane Frances damage claims from the Power Commission and Public Works damage; 10) The E-911 maintenance agreement for 2006 has been renewed at the rate of $8,820.00. The price goes up next year to approximately $22,000.00; 11) Free-Play Basketball at the Recreation Department Gym began on March 1st. Unfortunately our ALL-STAR teams did not progress very far in the playoffs. I think it was a huge success, with 94 participants the first night, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. Our schedule is Monday & Wednesday from 4:30 - 7:30 PM for 14 year olds and under, and Tuesday & Thursday from 5:30 - 9:00 PM for adults. Thursday there were 82 participants, and there were 36 in the 14 & under group; 12) The City Commission gave their concurrence for the Boys & Girls Club to tear down the old barracks building at Standard Field and approved the proposed concept pending the Site Plan. This should pave the way for them to use the site and rehab the Gym; 13) The $25,000.00 “Skate Park” Grant is progressing, 365 individuals have responded to the on line support survey and over 50 people showed up for the organizational meeting. There will be another meeting soon to organize a “Skate Park” Club for the purpose of fund raising, which is a requirement of the grant, and all is going well for a September 1, 2005 grant submission; 14) Norboard has contacted Chief Lunsford about donating some firefighting equipment to the County as a result of a change in their internal firefighting program. It is professional equipment and the Chief will recognize them for the contribution to the County; 15) Chief Lunsford has been working with the local chemical companies to improve their fire protection plans. Drexel will be installing a large tank to assist with firefighting and Helena will be increasing their tank three fold to assist with their protection; 16) We have been informed that the GDOT needs to purchase about a 1/4 acre for right of way for the new ramp at Exit 102, this is land that was just purchased for the Youth Ball Complex. We will meet with them on Thursday so we can begin negotiations and also have the exact location and dimensions for the Architect on Friday; 17) Also regarding the Ball Complex, we plan to begin burning the tree trimmings and stumps next week if there is no objection. The area is in the County and we can burn well beyond the 100 ft. distance from the closest residence required by EPD, and the prevailing wind should dissipate the smoke away from residential areas; 18) We have identified needs for 10 of the 18 golf carts within our operations and Cary is working on an ad now to sell the remainder by sealed bid. The mowing equipment has been sold and payment received as approved by the Board ($24,475.00); 19) The latest drawing of the Marina at Lake Blackshear is at your place for information. Hope it gets started soon; 20) We won both of our contempt hearings in superior court with regard to “Love Stuff”’ and attended the oral argument on their appeal before the Georgia Supreme Court on February 21, 2005 in Atlanta. The Supreme Court ruling could come as soon as April or as late as August; 21) As a result of the Commissioners Strategic Planning Committee meeting and other actions, there is a need for several of the Commission Committees to meet. I would like to try and set a standard time to make things easier to plan around a “Committee Meeting Day”. My recommendation would be the 4th Tuesday in the morning before the Power Commission meeting 9 AM - 12 noon for two 1 ½ hour committee meetings or the 4th Thursday at the same time. This month we need to begin with the Finance and Public Works Committees, if you will give me your pleasure. By common consent, Commissioners agreed to have committee meetings on the 4th Tuesday mornings from 9:00 AM to 12 noon; 22) Commissioners at the Capitol days will be March 9 & 16, 2005 at the Capitol in Atlanta starting at 8:00 AM; and 23) We received a “Thank You” Letter from Bobby Shepard on the resurfacing of Lakeview Circle. He informally thanked Commissioners, staff, friends, and everybody for the support they have given him with regard to his wife’s recent surgery and continued convalescent. She is doing very well.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation and real estate, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
PURSUE FORECLOSURE OF VERRICK RLF
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to pursue foreclosure of Verrick Manufacturing Company regarding their Revolving Loan Fund as long as they don’t pay by close of business today, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to adjourn meeting at 11:51 A.M., seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.