MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON FEBRUARY 14, 2006
The meeting was called to order 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., Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Rev. Ronne Youngblood, Pastor of Pleasant View Baptist Church gave the invocation, and Administrator Crapse led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.
Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to approve the minutes of the meetings of January 10th and January 24th, 2006, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
APPOINT DAVID FOREHAND AS COUNTY ATTORNEY
Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to appoint David Forehand as the County Attorney for 2006, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
LUKE RAINES REGARDING CEDAR LAKES STORMWATER PROBLEMS
Luke Raines asked Commissioners if they had a progress report on the water situation in the Cedar Lakes area. He advised that they are doing some big construction on Frontage Road, plus some other areas in the city and that water will have a direct impact on all three of the subdivisions in the Cedar Creek area. He wanted to know if the Commissioners are making any provisions for this. Mrs. Pheil stated that they have been to two meetings in recent weeks, one thing that she learned is there is a lot more to learn and it is going to be one of the hottest issues facing counties in the future; they are looking everyday for money to address this issue. Also, regulations are in place now that you have to take care of the stormwater runoff on your own property, so any new buildings will have to contain their stormwater runoff on their property. Mr. Faircloth stated that one of the significant things is that many of the wetlands that we have now are recharge areas for aquifers, so whenever they begin to address flooding in a certain area, they have to make sure what it is going to do to the water supply and acquirers; it is not anything that is on the back burner for the Commissioners. Mr. Raines stated that we dodged a lot of bullets last year, and he gets concerned the closer it gets to hurricane season. Administrator Crapse advised Mr. Raines that he has good news and bad news for him, the good news is that he does own the property north of his house, but the bad news is that he hasn’t paid taxes on this property since 1977, and he will get a tax bill in the mail for the back taxes. Chairman Henry advised that Mr. Crapse and the DOT reviewed underneath the bridge the area that they had been reported that had some washout, and the next day the problem was corrected; they are moving forward every opportunity that they get, they do not take lightly, and are going to stay on top of this and hopefully make the appropriate decisions at the appropriate time. Mr. Raines advised that the attempt to talk to Norfolk Southern Railroad may be a little easier now, as the contact person, Joel Harrell, has the studies and the pictures of the area, and it states in the study that part of the water problem in this area is the railroad.
AIRPORT RUNWAY/TAXIWAY RESURFACING OVERRUN APPROVED
Chairman Henry advised that the work that was done on the airport runway/taxiway resurfacing was by Folsom Construction. During the job the quantities of asphalt went over the original quantities and were used as a result of additional repairs to the old surface. The consultant negotiated the overrun down from approximately $24,000 to $13,115.50. Funds are available in the airport SPLOST account to pay for the overrun or the contractor will wait until we received next year’s federal funding. Administrator Crapse stated that even though the contractor has indicated that he will wait until we get next year’s funding, unfortunately that doesn’t really solve the problem, it just means we will be short of funds the next time. He has talked to Mr. Cooper, Airport Manager, who has assured him that the quality of work was very good and that the excess quantities were things that were spent on correcting problems on the runways that needed to be done anyway. Mr. Crapse advised that he approves the overrun, and to take it out of the existing SPLOST monies. Mr. Cooper stated that the consultant and DOT thought the contractor did an excellent job and that we should pay them if we could, and he agrees. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the airport runway/taxiway overrun and take it out of the existing airport SPLOST monies, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
AMENDMENT TO ADULT ENTERTAINMENT ORDINANCE APPROVED
Connie Sangster, Planning Director, reported that she has some general housekeeping on the Adult Entertainment Ordinance that Commissioners amended and re adopted last May. She stated that Section 4C (8) deals with asking the applicant about their intent to violate the law and recent law suggests that should not be a question asked as part of the ordinance. Essentially, that is what is being deleted from the ordinance and the other changes reference the deletion of Section 4C (8). Also in eighteen locations throughout the Ordinance, the expressions “this chapter” or “said chapter” are used. In these locations, the word “chapter” is replaced with the word “ordinance”. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to amend the Crisp County Adult Entertainment Ordinance, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVAL OF 2006 GEORGIA DOT AGENDA
Administrator Crapse reported that Commissioners have a hand out which will, at the Board’s approval, be their agenda that they submit to the DOT for the regular visit with the DOT Commissioner on February 27th. He and Public Works Director Carl Gamble went over the LARP lists from the past that did not get accomplished, as well as looked at new projects that have come along, as well plus other roads that need improvement. Included in this list are: Grandview Drive, Cypress Hill Drive, the other half of Coney Road that didn’t get done with LARP, 1.17 mi. of Twin Pines Road, .95 mi. of Pateville Road, Ball Park Drive, Crisp Academy Drive, .40 mi. of Lakeview Drive, .55 mi. of Scenic Route, .30 mi. of Sidney Wells Drive, .20 mi. of Brer Rabbit Drive, Brier Patch Road, and Welden, Slade, Lake, Odum, Claudin, Evergreen Church, and Allison Roads to provide aggregate for 20' wide dirt road just to the Churches. He advised that this amounts to about $1.5 million worth of projects, and he anticipates we will get about 3/4 of a million from DOT, which leaves about ½ million to be paid for out of SPLOST. Mr. Nance stated that he thinks this list is very good progress, and we need to notify these Churches to let them know what we are trying to do as several of these roads have had a lot of complaints in the past. He commended Mr. Gamble and Administrator Crapse for their hard work in coming up with this list.. Mr. Gamble stated that there has been a favorable change with DOT in regards of doing these small projects where you can’t get additional right-of-ways to improve the roads 100%. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the 2006 Georgia DOT agenda for road project requests, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
PROPOSAL FOR E-911 COST ALLOCATION FY 07-09
Administrator Crapse reported that the County and the City of Cordele were required to begin negotiating on the cost allocation for E-911 prior to January 1, 2006. The proposal Commissioners have is basically the result of the study and the same formula that was used in the current contract that runs out on June 30, 2006. He advised that the result is a modest increase for the City of Cordele for the operational cost, going from the current amount of $148,000 to $153,159 a year. In the past there was no COLA built in, but this proposal does provide for a cost of living increase on the anniversary of the contract, so that when we make an agreement, we don’t have to wait three years to get an adjustment. This was discussed informally at the City/County Planning meeting, there were no decisions made or no concurrence on this by the City of Cordele because it was not a decision meeting, but he believes this proposal is fair and that it follows the same formula we had before; he thinks it will be acceptable to the City. He also advised that since the beginning of these E-911 contracts, the City has not participated in any depreciation costs for the equipment, this equipment has been in use for about six years now, it was upgraded last year, and he anticipates after another three years, this equipment will need a major upgrade in order to stay technologically compatible with all the things that are happening out there and continue to bring us good service. He thinks at that point, it will be necessary to negotiate an agreement with the City that provides that they either participate in the upgrade of the equipment, or if it can be negotiated that they participate in depreciation costs, so the money will be there for major upgrades in the future. We do have some money allocated, which is pretty much to handle the 800 mgx upgrade in the future, but there is no money for the E-911 upgrade at this point. He believes that this is a fair proposal, and if it is their pleasure, he will present this formally to the City Commission for an upcoming agreement that will begin in July of 2006. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the proposal for E-911 cost allocation for FY 07-09 for negotiation with the City of Cordele, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
BILLY CARTER SERVICE STATION MUSEUM RESOLUTION APPROVED
Administrator Crapse reported that the request for the Billy Carter Service Station Museum Resolution came from the Better Hometown Director of Plains, Georgia. They are asking for Crisp County’s support for their One Georgia application to turn the Billy Carter Service Station into a Museum to promote tourism in the region, and stimulate the economy of Plains. Chairman Henry stated that this follows the pattern that we have established already with support for the Sam Shortline Railroad. Mrs. Pheil thinks this will increase the ridership on the Sam Shortline, and that is something all the communities involved in the Sam Shortline are trying to do. She stated that this is what the project is all about, and will be one more thing to offer the people riding the train to see, and they start here. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the Billy Carter Service Station Museum Resolution, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS TIPPER MACHINE FOR LANDFILL
Administrator Crapse reported that we have a contract with Randolph County for disposal of their solid waste, which is about 300 tons a month, and it helps us a little bit on our financial assurance at the landfill. Randolph County has had difficulty every since they started in that they have a walking bed truck, which has lots of moving parts that can go bad, and they have had difficulty keeping it up. As a result the truck is either broke down or the bed isn’t working and about half of their waste is going into Taylor County landfill. That costs them more and deprives us of more revenue, also he has been contacted by the Chairman of Randolph County several times plus he talked to a couple of other individuals at the ACCG Convention who are interested in this. We have a baler at the landfill that has been sitting idle for the last six years, and he thinks that if we could sell that baler, then we could work out a user fee or some type of an add-on or sur-charge, like $3.00 per ton, for trucks that needed to use the tipper. We could then use the money we received from the sale of the baler plus the sur-charge to offset the cost of the tipper. In the long run it may add to our profitability if it turned out that we could pay for the tipper and continue to bring in revenue. This is not a decision meeting, it is just to bring Commissioners up to date on what he has been discussing with these other counties, and to find out if the Board is interested in trying to continue these discussions. Mr. Faircloth asked if the baler will be able to sell pretty easily, and Administrator Crapse stated that the baler could be very efficient but not for the sort of things we were doing at the landfill. Commissioners all agreed that it sounds like a win-win situation, they support this and advised him to move in this direction as quickly as possible.
DISCUSSED COUNTY OWNED LOT AT 13TH AVE. & 6TH ST.
Administrator Crapse reported that the lot at the corner of 13th Avenue and 6th Street was originally bought from the Recreation SPLOST Fund in support of the Arts Alliance. This has discussed in the past, and he asked them to let him keep the lot and use it as a bargaining tool in regards to the Judicial Center. It doesn’t seem to be in that scenario any longer, and we have had an inquiry on the lot, so he wanted to see if the Board is amenable to disposing of that lot. We would have to get the lot appraised, then we could put it up for bid and see if we can sell it. That would help overcome some expenses, and it doesn’t have a very high potential for any county use. By common consent, Commissioners agreed to get an appraisal on this property at the corner of 13th Ave. & 6th St. and then put out for bids.
CALLED MEETING SET FOR FEBRUARY 23RD
Administrator Crapse reported that the Board needs to have a called meeting on February 23rd as the options on the land for the Judicial Center will expire February 27th or 28th. We have the environmental report, and it is clean, and as we speak they are doing the soil borings and we will have the engineering reports on the soil by the 22nd of February, so we need to have a called meeting on the 23rd as that will be our last opportunity before the options run out.
Mrs. Leverett reported that the first page of the executive summary shows that the General Fund completedthe month of February with annual year to date revenues exceeding expenditures by $1.7 million or about 13%. This is largely due to the seasonal collection of ad valorem tax revenue. To date, the Tax Commissioner has collected over 85% ($3.8 of $4.4) of what we had budgeted for this year’s digest. Expenditures continue to exceed revenues on a monthly basis for the Landfill Fund leaving us with a year to
date operating loss at the end of January of $233,647, not including depreciation. The 3,662.14 tons received for the month brings the fiscal year to date monthly average to about 600 tons per month higher than last fiscal year. However, nearly 16% of the tonnage received this fiscal year is from the City of Cordele residential contract. Although the numbers reported indicate some improvement in the Landfill Fund, they continue to remain short of the 300 tons per day needed to push the Landfill Fund back to a break even point. The principal balance on the GEFA Loans is current at $4.3 million dollars. The Water Fund ended the month of January with year to date revenues exceeding year to date operating expenditures by $58,453. This does
not include non-operating depreciation expense of $120,729, with that included the Water Fund has a fiscal year to date net loss of $62,277. The total usage for the month of January was 5,254,000 gallons. Cash on hand at January 31st: General Fund we have $6.8 million, Landfill Fund at $1.7 million, Revolving Loan Fund at $423,000, Splost Fund at $4.6 million, and Water Fund ended the month with $606,000 for a county wide total of $14.2 million. Of that $14.2 million, $159,408 is reserved for debt service, $52,100 is reserved for customer deposits and $4.6 million is designated for capital projects. In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts, we have received the payoff on one RLF account and we closed out a new RLF account leaving us with eight outstanding loans with a total balance due of $1,306,668 at this time. Of those eight loans, five
are current and three remain delinquent. Circle J has been turned over to legal. Mr. Crapse and I have discussed the other two delinquent accounts and will be recommending additional legal action on them today. However, before we officially make that recommendation, I would like to request that we discuss the details of the possibility of legal action on Verrick Manufacturing and Walker Vault in executive session today. On the monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures, for the month of January, including the current issue and advances on the 2006 issue, we had $860,078 in SPLOST cash disbursements. Major expenditures included $639,702 for the City of Cordele Elevated Water Tank Project, $148,584 on County
Roads, $31,934 on the Hatley Fire Station, $29,036 on a new vehicle and equipment for the CCSO, $5,000 on the Airport update Plan and $5,788 for the DMV remodeling project. On the SPLOST budget to actual by category summary report, we have now collected 59 of the 60 monthly distributions including the current
issue for a total received of $17,210,433 and as of January 31st we had net cash disbursements from this issue totaling $12,066,969. The current monthly average is $291,702. This report also details the amount of the
2006 Issue advances to date. As of January 31st, we had advanced a total of $778,716 to the City of Cordele, Water Tank project, $124 on the Spec Building project and $3,287 on the Judicial Center Project. The summary report of revenues by fund and expenditures by department year to date report shows that we are
slightly over in a couple of areas, but we discussed those overages with the departments during mid year budget reviews and they are monitoring those line items very closely. Overall, at January 31st, the General Fund and Landfill fund were at 51% and the Water Fund ended the month at 49%.
Administrator Crapse reported that; 1) he attended several meetings and events; 2) there were three new SPLOST expenditures approved this month; these included $23,673.06 for a new Deputy Sheriff Patrol Vehicle, $4,000 for a mower and $12,000 for a rotary cutter for capital equipment at the Airport; 3) we received a check for the pay-off of the Pless Peanut RLF for $339,888.07; 4) we received clearance for the environmental review for the Northside Water Project; 5) we received notification of $24,681 in funding from the 2006 Congressional Earmark Program for a “Crisp County Westside Youth” project from the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention. At this point he don’t know who initiated the request, but he is trying to find out; 6) he reported last month that resurfacing work on our County Contract resurfacing projects for 2005 were scheduled to begin by mid-January; he is now informed that the work will not begin until March and it is supposed to be completed by April; 7) Klip, LLC, who acquired LB Cable last year, has reported significant upgrades on the system with continuing technology upgrades; they also informed us that the Basic Cable rate will increase to $33.53/Mo. Other charges remain the same; 8) Commissioners Pheil and Faircloth, Steve Bridges, from the Stormwater Mitigation Advisory Committee, and he attended the Southeast Stormwater Association’s Stormwater Utilities Seminar January 26-27 in Atlanta. It was a very good session and we all learned a lot about how to go about financing major Storwater issues; 9) on Friday we submitted a Proposal to the EZ for $35,000 to conduct phase I & II of a “Stormwater Feasibility Study”; 10) we have not received any follow up on the Governors Discretionary Fund Grant for $125,000 to fund equipment and construct five enclosed Solid Waste Collection sites, or the request of additional current year road funds. Chairman Henry received a call to submit a request for local development funds that was confirmed yesterday. With the Boards consent, he will request a total of $50,000, including $10,000 for upgrading Weapons & Holsters for the Sheriff’s Department, $15,000 for Courthouse Security Upgrades, and $25,000 for continuing the Stormwater Utility Feasibility Study; and 11) the new Drivers License facility Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting is on Thursday, February 16th at 11:00 a.m.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to go into Executive Session to discuss personnel and potential litigation, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
JEFFERY HUNT APPOINTED AS TAX ASSESSOR
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to appoint Jeffery Hunt to the Tax Assessor’s Board to fill the unexpired term of Cecil Bagwell with term ending July 11, 2007 and also write Mr. Eldago a letter thanking him for his interest in serving on this Board and other Boards, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
UPDATE ON LEISURE DIRECTOR
Administrator Crapse reported that we have four applicants for the position of the Director of Leisure Services; he has not done any preliminary interviewing. He advised that he thinks we have two very good candidates, unfortunately there is a dilemma. None of the individuals are from the county, that may or may not be a big deal. This is also an opportunity for the county to excel and get someone extraordinary for this position in our expansion, he thought that it could help us if we try to recruit a quality person from the county, and wanted to know what the Board’s feelings are in terms of doing some recruiting. Mrs. Pheil thinks it might be an advantage to have someone out of county because of the problem with the baseball league. Mr. Crapse agrees with this but thinks it is necessary that we allow the Commissioners to take the lead in how far we want to go outside the county. Mr. Henry stated that his personal priority would be to get the best person that can coordinate recreational activities, tournaments and be a good PR person for the county, but if we didn’t have someone with a proven record and had to take a chance on someone, he would seriously want us to consider taking a chance on someone here is the county that we know. All commissioners agreed not to hurry with the applications as they would like to see the right person for this job, someone that has expertise in organizing tournaments, ballparks, etc. Commissioners asked questions about the new field complex as people have been telling them that certain things have already been decided. Administrator Crapse stated that the only things that have been decided on the ball park complex is the location, the number of fields and pinwheels, where the roads and parking lots go, where the pond is, and the fact that they are going to be bid out in trade packages as opposed to a general contractor. Mrs. Pheil’s envision of a Leisure Director is something more than sports because there is a segment of our population that she would hope they will be able to address other than sports. Administrator Crapse stated that is why they call this person Leisure Director because there are other leisure activities that take place besides sports.
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adjourn the meeting at 12:11 p.m., seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.