MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON JULY 12, 2005
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. Brad Faircloth gave the invocation, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the minutes of the meetings of June 14 an June 30, 2005, and the Public Hearing on June 22, 2005, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION - ASHLEY BUFORD
Administrator Crapse reported that we have a Resolution honoring Ashley Buford. He read the Resolution recognizing her work in creating a program to reduce the mosquito population in Crisp County and educating others on the risk of mosquito bites. She was honored by the National 4-H Council, was featured in the J. C. Penney After-School Fund video for their nationwide fund-raising benefit for After-School programs, and for her work in creating this program. Ms. Buford thanked Commissioners for inviting her, she is just one of about 650 4-Hers in this county who have had success stories, hers was a little bigger as she received recognition on the nation level, which she is very excited about. She stated that all that the 4-Hers do in Crisp County is possible through the Commissioners and their support, and they really appreciate the support. Sandra McKinney advised that they had a very special treat today, a video, but due to problems with the sound, they will show this at a later meeting. She advised that a professional video crew came in April to videotape Ashley’s project, and there also is a clip from Mr. Henry and Jimmy Black, City Commissioner, talking about the importance of this project to the community. She stated that it is an excellent video that highlights Ashley’s work, they are really proud of her, and just recently she and herself were chosen as the only team in Georgia representing Georgia at the national level on the Youth Director’s Team. Chairman Henry and the Board congratulated Ms. Buford, Mrs. McKinney, and Ken Lewis on the excellent work they do. By common consent, Commissioners approved the Resolution.
NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE COMMUNITY RATING SYSTEM
Connie Sangster, Planning Director, advised that Collis Brown, State Coordinator for FEMA, would like to present the county with recognition. Mr. Brown advised that he works for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in the Flood Plain Management Office, and it is a pleasure for him to be her today to present a special recognition to Crisp County as it relates to flood plain management. He stated that Crisp County has been a participate in the National Flood Insurance Program since August, l996, and as a participating community, the county had to adopt local land use regulations as it relates to flood plain management, issue permits as it relates to development activity in the flood plain, and continue to enforce that Ordinance to maintain its compliance in the National Flood Insurance Program. In doing that, citizens are able to purchase flood insurance, plus, it makes the county eligible for numerous federal grants that are tied to participation in the National Flood Insurance Program. Over the years, he has had the opportunity to work closely with Ms. Sangster and Jimmy Mumphery, Building Inspector, who have been directly involved in the county’s flood plain management, and they have grown immensely in their role as flood plain administrators. Through their efforts and the pro-active activities they have undertaken, on behalf of the county, he encouraged them to apply for a Community Rating System, which is similar to the fire rating system. He stated that it is a means by which the National Flood Insurance Program (FEMA) recognizes those communities that go above and beyond those minimal standards of the National Flood Insurance Program. To be selected as a participating community and the community rating system, Crisp County had to undertake certain activities prescribed by FEMA. The fact that they have undertaken those activities, and to continue to do well, they are being recognized today. He advised that we are one of few communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program; currently there are 446 city and county governments in Georgia that participate in the Program, and only 27 communities have been selected to participate in this program. This means that Commissioners and the Planning Department have reduced participates flood insurance costs through participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, and it is very seldom that local officials are recognized for reducing costs. There are currently 316 flood insurance policyholders in Crisp County, with over $40 million worth of coverage; so those persons will immediately begin to see reductions in their flood insurance premiums, 5% at this time. As Commissioners and the Planning Department continue in this effort, he advised that we can get up to a maximum of 45% reduction. Mr. Brown read the Plaque, and then presented it to the Commissioners. Chairman Henry thanked Mr. Brown for the Plaque, and thanked Ms. Sangster and Mr. Mumphery for their efforts in making our citizens eligible for this discount.
DECISION - TEXT AMENDMENT TO LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE
Ms. Sangster advised that this is the decision meeting on the Text Amendment to the Land Development Code. We had the Public Hearing last month to adopt an Ordinance of revising and amending the Crisp County Unified Land Development Code to regulate location and zoning districts of sexually oriented businesses in the unincorporated areas of Crisp County. She had given them a handout that specified the differences between the existing Ordinance and the proposed Ordinance. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to revise and amend the Crisp County Unified Land Development Code that regulates location and zoning districts of sexually oriented businesses in the unincorporated areas of Crisp County and to adopt various definitions applicable to same, to repeal conflicting Ordinances and for other purposes, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING - TEXT AMENDMENT TO UNIFIED LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE
Ms. Sangster advised that this is a Public Hearing for a Text Amendment to the Unified Land Development Code for the purpose of adding a category in Article 2 to provide for a family care dwelling, which we do not have at the present time. She advised that when a family member is sick or elderly and needs to stay on the same property as the family, but not in the same house, this would be a provision that would allow this to go through the Zoning Board of Appeals for a special exception variance. Chairman Henry opened the Public Hearing, and asked anyone who wanted to speak for or against this Text Amendment, and there were none. He closed the Public Hearing. Commissioners will make the decision at the next regular meeting.
PUBLIC HEARING - SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR C & C PETERSON INVESTMENTS
Ms. Sangster advised that this is a Public Hearing for a Special Use Permit to locate a bar, tavern, or cocktail lounge in the GC (General Commercial) zone district. Property located at 2528 Hwy. 280 West, and she advised that this decision can be made today. She stated that the Peterson’s were here last month and gave the Commissioners an overall view of what their intent is. Chairman Henry opened the Public Hearing, and asked anyone to speak in favor of the Special Use Permit. Mr. Peterson advised that this will be a Before & After establishment serving appetizers, desserts, and beverages, which will basically compliment Daphne Lodge and The Olde Inn, as they want to stay with the tradition that they have created. Mike Clark, owner of The Olde Inn, stated that he is very much in favor of this as he thinks this will help his business, as on Friday and Saturday nights they turn people away, and sending people there for an hour or so to wait will be very beneficial to them. Sonny Burke, owner of Daphne Lodge, stated that he supports this young couple, and he thinks it will be an asset to them and to Crisp County. Angie Ellis stated that it excites her to see a young couple want to come to Crisp County, and she thinks we need to open our arms to them. Chairman Henry asked if there were anyone to speak in opposition, there were none, and he closed the Public Hearing. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the Special Use Permit for C & C Peterson, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously. Mrs. Pheil wanted to make sure that parking will hot hinder the fire trucks getting out of the fire station, since the station is next door to this establishment. Mr. Peterson advised that he met with Chief Lunsford, and they are satisfied that they have ample parking capacity without interfering with the fire trucks.
BEER & WINE LICENSE APPROVED FOR C & C PETERSON INVESTMENTS
Administrator Crapse reported that since last month, we have the letter from Sheriff Haralson on both the Peterson’s, stating that neither one has a record on the GCIC & NCIC databases, and he recommends approval of a beer and wine license for the Peterson’s to operate Before & After at 2528 Hwy. 280 West, Cordele, Ga. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to issue a Beer & Wine License for Before & After operations at 2528 Hwy. 280 West, Cordele, Ga., seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
ACCG-IRMA LOSS CONTROL & SAFETY INCENTIVE DISCOUNT
Administrator Crapse stated that he has the annual verification that the county is in compliance with the provisions of ACCG-Irma Loss Control & Safety Incentive Discount Program, and affirms that the Commissioners have read and support the requirements and activities of the program. He stated that this is a 5% discount on our property and auto insurance premiums. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to attest the county’s compliance with the program and authorize the Chairman to sign the Verification Form, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
AMENDMENTS TO THE FINANCIAL POLICY APPROVED
Mrs. Leverett reported that in April of last year, the Commissioners adopted the Financial Policy, and this is an Amendment to Chapter Five, use of personal vehicles, of that Policy. She read the Resolution that the Finance Committee is recommending to adopt. This Amendment sets the reimbursement rate of using one’s personal vehicle for official Crisp County business to be equal to the federal mileage reimbursement rate, current rate is $.405 a mile, and will be updated annually as required to reflect the federal rate adjustment. Also, all request for reimbursement of costs associated with the use of personal vehicles while on official county business, must be accompanied by an itemized travel voucher or log. Administrator Crapse pointed out that this is the pleasure of the Board, and they can adopt both, one, or none of these amendments. Chairman Henry stated that he opposes this Amendment, and suggests that anything this important be reviewed with a work session as this is a major step. Mrs. Pheil said that she is on the Finance Committee, and thinks that this levels the playing field between those employees that the county furnishes a vehicle and those employees that they ask to use their personal vehicles and reimburse mileage; that was the reason the Finance Committee made this recommendation. Mr. Nance said that he also is on the Finance Committee and he agrees that this will level the field for those that use their vehicle, and the wear and tear on their personal vehicle. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to adopt both Amendments to the Financial Policy for reimbursement of out of county travel, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried with Chairman Henry voting no.
APPROVE LARP LIST FOR 2005
Administrator Crapse reported that Commissioners have the recommended LARP list for 2005. He and Public Works Director Carl Gamble have gone out and looked at all the roads that were on their previous LARP list as well as some new roads that are in less than desirable condition, and this is the proposed list they came up with. He said that he and Mr. Gamble rated all the roads on a scale of one to ten in terms of what their condition was and what they anticipate DOT to look at. He said that we can anticipate getting somewhere between four and five miles approved by DOT, and then we would ask, within our budgeted assets, for DOT to allow us to join in county contracts that they would pay a portion of some of the other roads that we chose to have resurfaced on our own. He asked if there were any questions or concerns about this list, and there were none Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the proposed LARP list, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously. Mr. Faircloth stated that he has had the opportunity to listen and work with Mr. Gamble, and listening to some of what was done over the weekend during the rain, he appreciates his efforts for our citizens for the past couple of weeks, and for all he does every day. Chairman Henry echoed these sentiments, and included the Public Works staff.
APPROVAL OF RLF APPLICATION FOR DR. DONNAN
Administrator Crapse reported that the Revolving Loan Fund Committee met on July 6th to review the application of Dr. Donnan. He advised that this is a $270,000 loan for the construction of new offices for their practice, the loan will retain six employees and create the potential for expansion in the future. The total project cost is $526,000; this includes $100,000 each from the Middle Georgia and Middle Flint RDC’s and $56,000 of Dr. Donnan’s personal investment. The RLF Committee voted to recommend approval of the loan. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the Resolution authorizing the loan from the RLF in the amount of $270,000 and authorizing the Chairman to sign the necessary paperwork associated with the loan, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously. Mr. Faircloth stated that he appreciates the service that Dr. Donnan does for our citizens.
APPROVAL OF WESTSIDE RLF CONTRACT WITH EZ
Administrator Crapse reported that this is a standard contract with EZ that will allow the county to receive $35,000 for the purpose of establishing a Westside Revolving Loan Fund to foster business development on the west side of Cordele. He said this project originated at their Strategic Planning Retreat; we applied for $100,000 from the EZ fund, we only received $35,000, but if we can turn this money over and benefit folks on the west side, he feels sure that we can get some more money to add to this particular fund. He said this is a little bit different than the other RLF funds in that it is locally run and operated, and also it is not necessarily based on job creation, it is based on people that can improve their business with infusion of some capital. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the Westside RLF Contract with EZ, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously. Mr. Nance advised that this was one of his ideas, he wasn’t sure the Commission would support it, but it gives the people on the west side an opportunity to get a loan, improve their business, and continue to grow. He appreciates the Commissioners support.
PUBLIC HEARING - PROPOSED MILLAGE RATE FOR 2005
Chairman Henry declared the Public Hearing open on discussion of the proposed millage rate for 2005. Mrs. Leverett reported that she has advertised the proposed millage rate and the five-year history in The Cordele Dispatch. There is no tax increase, with the proposed rate of 11.327 mills, the same as last year, and the budget is balanced with this proposed millage rate. Administrator Crapse stated that any comments received in the Public Hearing will be considered in the called meeting for July 21st at ll:00 a.m. to adopt the millage rate. Chairman Henry asked how a person could recognize the LOST as a benefit to the county. Mrs. Leverett advised that the rollback because of the LOST is 4.001 mills, or about one-third of our tax digest, and it was increased this year so that the net millage remains the same as last year. Chairman Henry asked for any comments from the public either for or against the proposed millage rate, and there were none. He closed the Public Hearing.
APPROVE INDUCEMENT GRANT RESOLUTIONS
Administrator Crapse reported that the IDA approved these general Inducement Resolutions yesterday, which include Owens Corning for a $500,000 Edge Grant, a $500,000 Equity Grant, and a $500,000 EIP Grant. These grants are to induce companies to come into our community. He stated that there are some formal documents that are being drawn up, as they were approved yesterday. With regard to Norbord, they approved two $500,000 grants in support of Norbord’s expansion, which will make Norbord the largest OSP Mill in the world. Bruce Drennan, IDC Director, reported that the grants that they applied for does not directly go to the companies, these grants are to put the infrastructure in place, and they will be there to help support other businesses that we attract to the area. These grants help in such things as roads, water, sewer, natural gas line, and telephone communications that support these companies; it will be money coming to the county. He said this is leverage and an incentive for the company to provide the basic services that they need to be able to generate jobs and build those facilities in the new Cedar Creek Corporate Park, and he said the money has been put aside by the State, and the Governor has committed funds also. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to authorize the Chairman to execute the consents to the inducement grants, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously. Mrs. Pheil commended Mr. Drennan on the way that he works, she thinks he will play a large part in the good changes she thinks we will see in the county in the next few years, and thanked him for the great job he is doing. Chairman Henry and other Commissioners agreed.
ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR SPEC BUILDING DISCUSSED
Cliff Harpe, attorney for IDA, reported about a pending purchase of property by Southeast Forest Products, and if they purchase that property, then essentially the funding is in place to complete the spec building, with one $10,000 adjustment at this time relating to a cost overrun relating to getting water off the side. His concern is in terms of timing, this is just information today, and they will be providing more detailed information on this when they sit down and go over all the numbers. This is for Commissioners to consider advance funding of part of the IDA and IDC SPLOST money for the next SPLOST to complete the project, and then to be deducted from that as soon as it is returned. Mr. Drennan stated that they are here today to give Commissioners a heads up on where they stand on the financial status of the building, so that they can come back with the exact numbers at the next regular meeting. He advised that this spec building is being paid totally from SPLOST and grant money.
APPROVE MIDDLE FLINT BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE LEASE
Administrator Crapse reported that Middle Flint Behavioral Healthcare occupies our building and in accordance with their lease, they have a five year renewable contract at the same cost. This request from Middle Flint Behavioral Healthcare is to exercise their option to renew their rental contract at 1335 North 5th Street at the monthly rental of $2,500, for a term of one year running from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the contract extension with Middle Flint Behavioral Healthcare for $2,500 a month, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett reported that she has the very preliminary report for the end of the fiscal year, as they still have a lot of entries for the year that have not been made. General Fund revenues are exceeding the expenditures by 4.15%; Landfill Fund is more of a loss this year than the year before; Waterworks has a year-to-date profit of $48,000; and cash on hand in the General Fund is $5 million, Landfill is $1.2 million, Revolving Loan Fund is $524,000, SPLOST is $3.3 million, and Waterworks is $485,000, for a total of $10.7 million. In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund, there is one adjustment, as they received the quarterly payment from Heartland Manufacturing yesterday, they have not had any receipts from Circle J in two months, and this report does reflect the large payments from Verrick Manufacturing Company and Walker Vault. SPLOST collections to date are $14.9 million, and we have eight months left on the 2005 SPLOST. She advised that the SPLOST collections are a little up, they disbursed $347,427 out of this fund this month, and the auditors will be here in the next few weeks to begin the new audit.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Administrator Crapse reported: 1) he attended several meetings and events this month; 2) there were no new SPLOST expenditures approved this month; 3) Crisp County and the Sheriff’s Department were notified that we did get a $120,000 Byrne Memorial Grant for 2005, which is the funding that primarily supports the drug taskforce; 4) Mediacom is making more programming changes in the near future, WALB weather will be on Channel 26, WALB HD on Channel 810, Home Shopping Network moves to Channel 14, and the Customer Information Channel moves to Channel 77; 5) he received a reply to his letter regarding the Crisp/Dooly Joint Development Authority (JDA) membership from Neil Joiner, Chairman of the JDA. He advised that the Authority was established by the two counties under a Georgia Statue, and the basic form was established by the two counties. He further advised that membership decisions are solely the decision of the two County Commissions, and that the amendments to the bylaws can be made to implement any changes approved by both counties. At this point, if the Board wants to pursue this action, the County Attorney could draft a Joint Resolution to be approved by our Board and then forward it to the Dooly County Commission for their consideration. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to pursue this action and the County Attorney to draft a Joint Resolution to reflect an amendment to the membership of the Crisp/Dooly Joint Development Authority, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously. 6) we received our land disturbing permit on the ball complex, and the roadways & parking lot have been staked. We will begin this week with the tree removal and grading, weather permitting; 7) again, he gave each of the Commissioners a draft copy of the letter that he is proposing to send to the City of Arabi on Fire & Law Enforcement Services. There has been no acknowledgment from the Arabi City Council on his May letter, and Commissioners agreed for Administrator Crapse to write another letter to the Arabi City Council asking them to respond by July 29th with a meeting date to sit down and work with them on the Fire & Law Enforcement Services for the City of Arabi; 8) The Storm Water Mitigation Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled for July 14, 2005 at the Law Enforcement Training Center at 5:30 p.m.; 9) we received a Thank You letter from Norbord for the Chairman speaking at their Groundbreaking; 10) Johnny Floyd has invited all the Commissioners to the Rotary Meeting on July 27th, where the DOT Commissioner will speak, and we are scheduled to have about 30 minutes with the Commissioner after the meeting; and 11) The ACCG Fall Policy Conference is September 26-18, 2005 in Atlanta. He put a copy of the registration form in each of their boxes last week. Please get the information filled out and returned to Linda as soon as you can, we don’t want to miss the “Earlybird” rates.
LUKE RAINES COMMENTS
Luke Raines advised that he appreciated going to the Emergency Management Facility and watching how things were carried on down there. He stated that once again, they dodged another bullet with Hurricane Emily, another hurricane is on the way, and it looks like it is following that same path. Something needs to be done.
SIGNATURE COMMUNITY PROGRAM
Administrator Crapse reported that the Department of Community Affairs is starting a new program called Signature Community Program, and it is their way of reorganizing their services. He read over it yesterday when he got it, he discussed it very briefly with Bruce Drennan, and both of them feel like this is a program that could be headed up through the Chamber of Commerce. He advised that this Program looks at community imitators, like comprehensive planning, downtown revitalization, economic development, environmental management, infrastructure development, safe and affordable housing, etc. The good part of this is that their are not that many signature communities, and the benefits are access to signature grant programs, up to $50,000 assistance in identifying other financial resources, state-wide recognition, access to DOT matching funds for LARP of up to $100,000, access to GEFA State Loans at reduced rates, etc. The basic factors to this are a commitment to comprehensive planning, having a positive track record in those community programs that he mentioned first, and other things the community has chosen to pursue with program assistance. He thinks this is something that we should pursue. By common consent, Commissioners agreed that the Signature Community Program needs to be pursued, and authorized Administrator Crapse to get with the Chamber of Commerce regarding this program.
TRANSPORTATION ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM
Administrator Crapse reported that he received a letter from DOT inviting the county to submit applications for the Transportation Enhancement Programs in the county, he and Carl Gamble will be working on this, and he will get back with Commissioners later on what the county may want to try to achieve in the whole community. He advised that applications will be due on September 23rd.
GUM CREEK WATERSHED ASSOCIATION MEETING
Administrator Crapse reported that he and Mrs. Pheil attended the Gum Creek Watershed Association meeting a few days ago. They have offered us some assistance in trying to work on some of the pollution issues that we have through the county. The agreed that we needed some updated information on Gum Creek, Swift Creek, and Gulley Creek, and they agreed to try to help us put a plan together. They also addressed Cedar Creek, even though it is not on the impacted streams list in the county, because of the concerns that residents had there with septic tanks during the last flooding. It seemed to be the consensus of the group that this was too big to handle at one time, and that they pick a target project. They agreed that our biggest issue is on the north side of the county in the Omar Heights and Meadow Park areas, and that would be a good place to start. It will also be a benchmark for them as they move into that project and start completing the project, as they can do some testing and tell what impact the project has by putting in water and sewer and storm water improvements in that area. He said once they get that set up, they could probably use the same scenario to assess Cedar Creek, even on their own, to test it at some point, and then test it again at some point downstream, to see if there is any significant impact as that water flows though the populated areas. He said that several of those members volunteered to help us out with this.
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to adjourn the meeting at ll:03 a.m., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.