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The meeting was called to order at 10:00 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., Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Administrator Crapse gave the invocation.


Administrator Crapse reported that it is time for the Board of Commissioners to set the millage rate in order to support the amount of funds that the county will need for our operations and maintenance functions over the course of the next year. The budget was approved before the end of the fiscal year, and a new fiscal year began July 1st. Setting the millage rate establishes the rate of ad valorem tax on property in Crisp County. Chairman Henry opened the Public Hearing for setting of the Millage Rate for 2006, and asked for any comments from citizens. There were none. Administrator Crapse reported that there was a revaluation this year and the bottom line results in an offset, or rollback, to the millage rate for the people in the county. The millage rate offset is required by law to avoid a back door tax increase. If there is a back door tax increase based on the revaluation of property, then the Board would have to hold three public hearings to allow input from the citizens to comment on that increase, but as it is, the full rollback has been made and the millage rate has not increased. Last year’s millage rate was 11.327 mills; this year due to the rollback, the millage rate will be 11.050. Last year the School Board’s millage rate was 17.351, this year it will be 16.919, and last year the state’s millage rate was .250, which will remain the same this year, making the total millage rate in the incorporated areas at 28.219 mills. In the unincorporated areas those numbers are the same with the exception of the Special Service District, which last year was 1.432 mills, and this year it will go to 1.390 mills, for a total of 29.609 mills. He advised that the one thing that made this possible was the real growth in the County, we had about $12 million of inflationary growth and $24 million worth of new growth. There being no other comments, Chairman Henry closed the Public Hearing.


Administrator Crapse stated that the rules of the one cent lost tax is you can only have that tax if you rollback the ad valorem tax and millage. He read the Resolution Adopting the Millage Rate for 2006 setting the Millage Rate. The County Millage Rate for non duplicated services necessary without the consideration of the joint sales and use tax is 14.678 mills, the County Millage Rate which produces an amount equal to the joint sales and use tax received during the preceding year is 3.628 mills, and because we have the LOST, it reduces the property tax by approximately 20%. The net county millage rate will be 11.050 mills, state is .250 mills, making a total of 11.300 in the incorporated areas, the Special Service Millage Rate in the unincorporated areas is 1.390 mills, and the School System Millage Rate is 16.919 mills. This brings the total millage rate in the incorporated areas to 28.229 mills and in the unincorporated areas to 29.609 mills He recommends that the Resolution be approved. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the Resolution Adopting The Millage Rate for 2006, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that they have a completed Franchise Agreement from Plant Telenet, Inc. regarding their CATV & associated services. The Agreement sets the franchise fee in the same manner as our other franchises are set throughout the county, and this is an additional franchise to allow Plant Telephone, the parent of Plant Telenet, to provide the same services that the other companies are providing in their service area. This means that those on the Warwick system will be able to have high speed internet services and cable TV services that others throughout the county have. He recommends approval of the Franchise Agreement. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to approve the Franchise Agreement for Plant Telenet, Inc. CATV & Associates Services, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that the Public Defender Contract for FY-07 was reviewed during the budget process, and it was approved. This is the contract that allows us to retain their services, it is actually reduced by $2,400 because of some adjustments in the personnel costs, and he recommends the Board execute the contract. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to execute the Public Defender Contract for FY-07 and give the Chairman the authority to sign the contract, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that the Sheriff has requested a vehicle lease/purchase for his department, and this request takes advantage of a new program that they can use to leverage their SPLOST money even further. Ford Motor Company has come up with a special package on law enforcement vehicles. They have offered the vehicles to the Sheriff’s Department at an exceptionally good price, slightly over $20,000 for each vehicle. It is a lease/purchase agreement and under that agreement, the Sheriff’s Department would actually be getting eight vehicles at the cost of $163,200, and they will be financed at 5.6% by Ford Motor Company. At the end of three years, we could buy those vehicles out for one dollar each. We typically run 18,000 to 20,000 miles a year on sheriff department vehicles, so at the end of three years, they will have about 60,000 miles on them and will only be about half-way through their life cycle. Also, the payments will be $57,500 a year which means that the money allocated for the first SPLOST cycle will mostly be saved to be used later and can be used for other vehicles as they begin to wear out. They don’t have to take delivery all at one time, and they will program these cars so that they can spread out the millage and the life of the cars. Right now there are fourteen vehicles in the patrol division that have between 135,000 and 215,000 miles, and it is our policy to try to trade these cars out at about 150,000 miles due to danger on the highways with the work that a deputy vehicles does. There are also four more cars in the investigator’s division that have 120,000 miles. As you know we were fortunate enough to have some extra money collected in our last SPLOST and the Board had agreed to provide $50,000 of that to the Sheriff’s Department, they have purchased one car already, so we have about $25,000 left there. They are requesting to take this $25,000, put it toward the $57,500, they would also take the proceeds from the cars that are sold as surplus, and then take the rest out of the drug funds to apply to the payment for this year. We did check with ACCG on their interest rate, and the best we could get was 6.64%. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to approve the vehicle lease/purchase for the Sheriff’s Department vehicles and giving Chairman Henry the authority to sign the paperwork, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that the Department of Community Affairs has put in place a new policy to update the qualified local government comprehensive plans on a ten year cycle instead of a five year cycle because of the level of effort that it takes at their level and our level. In accordance with this policy, they tried to reorder these things to even out their workload. The county can update this plan at any time we think it is necessary, but these will be the mandatory updates. In accordance with that policy, they have proposed that our comprehensive plan be delayed until June 30, 2008, right now it is due June 30, 2007, which would give us an additional year to get everything together. The RDC, in consideration of their workload, has asked for some further modifications that basically evens out their workload, and they have proposed some adjustments which would bring the Crisp County Plan to 2009. He advised that what we believe will happen is that DCA will either decide to leave it at 2008 or they may concur and move it to 2009. At any rate, there is no immediate need to do anything now, unless the Board has any objection to the plan.


Administrator Crapse reported that last month the Board approved the purchase of two radars for the Georgia State Patrol, subsequent to that approval, he has received a letter from the Post Commander asking for a signature to the donation of the radars. The GSP has the radars in their possession, but they can’t actually install them until we execute this Donation Resolution. He would recommend that the Board accept the Donation Resolution to the GSP. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to accept the Donation Resolution and authorize the Chairman to sign, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that there was an old Sheriff’s Deed that had been recorded against this property back in 1937, and it was discovered in the process of transaction on the property. David Forehand has gone back and researched the situation, got a printout from the Tax Commissioner, and verified that all the taxes have been paid on this piece of property. Whenever this happened, the Sheriff’s Deed in 1937 was never taken off the books. They are asking for a quitclaim of this property through a Quitclaim Deed and release the property to the owner because all of the taxes have been paid, and the property is in good standing. In the letter from David Forehand, he states that he thinks there needs to be a policy set in regards to these type things that come up with where the deed still exits but all the taxes have been paid. He recommends that the Board approve this Quit Claim Deed, and that the Board follow the attorney’s recommendation and be prepared to set a policy toward this. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to execute the Quit Claim on an Old Sheriff’s Deed and give Chairman Henry the authority to sign the necessary paperwork, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Faircloth stated that it is time to get a list of names to be on the Solid Waste Committee, he is sure that the Board probably has some ideas of who they would like to have to oversee this and make some recommendations to the Board. He stated that Mr. Crapse had mentioned this and he told him that he had a pile of names but he had said that basically we would like for each Commissioners to be able to have input on that, and he thinks this is a good idea that everybody has input on whose is on the Board and also it would be a diverse group so that we can get the information we need. Administrator Crapse reported that at the last meeting the Board by consensus gave the Chairman authority to check with an individual to chair this committee, and it came to his attention yesterday that that individual has other commitments and respectfully declined that position. His previous recommendation was that we set up a committee with approximately nine folks, four being from the county organization, four being from citizens, and then a chairman being a citizen as well, that is not a fixed format but that will be a good starting point. This committee would be an advisory committee so ultimately this would be the Board’s decision regardless of what recommendations the committee may come up with. He thinks that the committee could do some research on the pros and cons of some alternatives along with discussing the revenues and expenditures. Mrs. Pheil stated that she also has some names for the committee, but she didn’t bring them with her today. Chairman Henry stated that it was his intention to come up with a committee solely because he has been a commissioner for four years, and we have tried, talked, and discussed ways to come up with some ideas on how we can improve the garbage problem that we have. We have a big shadow hanging over our head for the next forty or so years because the city is going to get the free dumping, so we start out the game way behind, so at best it is going to take all of our efforts to try to work through it and come up with as good a situation as we can. He is embarrassed when he sees dumpsters running over on the ground, and that relates back to the Commission, so he hopes that we can have several proposals that the Board can analyze and think through and try to come up with some kind of sound plan so we can start our short and long range goals. His hope is that a citizenry committee and some of our county personnel through their efforts could come up with some kind of a recommendation that this Board has not been able to do. Mr. Faircloth stated that unless a person sits on this Board, they don’t know what we need and the problems we face, and he believes that someone on this Board needs to be on that committee. Chairman Henry thinks we need a little more time as we are not ready to dive into this, as it is a very important item to all of them.


Administrator Crapse reported Georgia Pacific has contracted George at the landfill with regard to taking some sawdust waste from their organization. The Dooly County Landfill has told them that they can no longer bring that waste to their facility, and they are looking at an alternative place to take that waste. They have contacted the Landfill Operator at the Dooly County Landfill, it turns out that this waste is about the consistency of talcum powder and has adhesives and glue mixed with it, and for that reason it cannot go into the inert landfill, which means it would have to go in our regular landfill. They also advised that because of the consistency of this, they have had a considerable amount of problems with it clogging their radiators, clogging their machinery, and has increased their maintenance problems. The cost of this disposed in Dooly County is $22.50 a ton, and they want to try to continue to do that here. Administrator Crapse stated that he doesn’t think it would be appropriate for this Board to accept this waste for anything less than our standard rate of $33.65 a ton, and if Commissioners wanted to make a proposal to then, that we add $5.00 per ton because of the increased maintenance and wear and tear of our equipment. We could make them an offer of $33.65 a ton if they bag the waste like we did with Wescast, then it would not be a hazard to us. Commissioners by common consent agreed to offer acceptance of the Georgia Pacific waste at a cost of $33.65 a ton, bagged.


Administrator Crapse stated that they have a request to use the baler building by Rev. Brown on behalf of Brown Chapel Recycling in order to facilitate his operations of baling cardboard for resale. His first proposal was to set up an operation in the baler building and put a crew of manual laborers in the landfill to pick out the cardboard from the garbage that came in and take it to the baler building and bale it up and ship it out. First off, he told him that it was unacceptable to have people running around the landfill pulling out cardboard. Then he wanted to know if we would allow him to use the baler building and have the trash come in on the tipping floor and let them sort it there and then take the other stuff to the landfill; he told him that when you take waste and dump it on the tipping floor and start segregating, then you have to deal with the liquids and whatever else there is, and then there are other rules you have to comply with and he didn’t think that would be acceptable to the Board as we are not permitted for all those things. Administrator Crapse stated he told him he would ask the Commissioners about him just leasing the baler building and for him to think about making a proposal. He did advise him that there would be some security problems for the county but he didn’t tell him it couldn’t be done. He stated that we use that building for storage now and it is in the emergency plans to be used for storage of public safety vehicles in the event of a major event. He thinks it would be a good idea to try to come up with a pricing structure just in case something came along that we could better utilize that building, and then Rev. Brown can make a proposal. Mrs. Pheil thinks the county could better use that building ourselves. Chairman Henry agreed, and stated that if we make that facility available to the public, we would have to advertise for use. Administrator Crapse advised that he and Finance Director would look into this and see what kind of figure they can come up with.


Administrator Crapse reported that the DOT is tearing down the old GSP building on the corner of 24th Avenue and 7th Street. Long before he came, this Bright Futures building was scheduled for demolition, but it was being used by Bright Futures and then it went to the Boys & Girls Club, but now they are out of it. We have talked with those folks and they assured us they would have all of their stuff out by today. It would be his intention that as Carl Gamble gets time to go ahead and let them demolish that building. Then we will have the opportunity to go in and clean up what remains on our property, and that can be the first stage in making some improvements at the Health Department. Chairman Henry asked if there was a plan in place to be able to help the senior citizens to have better access to getting into the Health Department, as it is not easy for the senior citizens to get into that building at present. Administrator Crapse advised that when we donated the property and sold the old GSP building, in conjunction with that negotiation of the overpass, we made arrangements for them to put an entry level off of 7th Street as well as a paved entryway and cull-de-sac turn around on 23rd Avenue. When we get all of this cleared out we will be in a better position to do the plans to re-orient the entrance and parking to make it a lot more favorable. Also, he thinks we would be wasting money and doing things that would have to be adjusted later if we ask someone to come and design something around all the junky buildings, entrances, exits, and parking lots until they are out of the way. When we get all of this out of the way and get those lots graded up, we can select an architect, and then go from there. We do have a plan and the Health Department will be an integral part of that plan, he advised.


Administrator Crapse reported that we started the beginning of the year with $148,900 in our health insurance account; we have taken in $1.3 million, paid out $991,000, making our balance at the end of June at $475,612. We have been trying to get a $500,000 reserve for our plan, we are nearing that, and we will have a meeting on August 10th to finalize the plan for the year, and we have projected a 5% increase this year as opposed to a 15-18% that we have had the last couple of years. Bottom line, we are a lot better shape than we have been in several years.


Administrator Crapse reported that the Michael Martinoff zoning appeal case, that they have discussed before, has been resolved, he will be issued his permit with the appropriate penalty, and he won’t be denied his variance.


Administrator Crapse reported that at the Power Commission they discussed the MEAG Development Contract and the Amendment to the Municipal Trust Agreement, and the Power Commission approved these. The first agreement that will allow MEAG to participate in the construction of the new facilities at the Vogel expansion with no commitment in funds. The second agreement is the Amendment to the Municipal Trust, which allows the Power Commission to say they want their money in 2009 instead of 2018. He recommends approval of both contracts. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the MEAG Development Contract and the Amendment to the Municipal Trust Agreement and authorizing the Chairman to sign, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse stated that for their information he has been talking to two auctioneers, and they are looking at probably September 9th to auction off those two parcels of property on Oak Street and 6th Street. Both auctioneers are to send proposals, and then we will advertise and sell in September.


Brockey Brock, Leisure Director, reported that he got a call from the Recreation Department in Lee County stating that Crisp County has everybody so excited in south Georgia about building this new complex, and his new County Administrator asked why they don’t we have one. He asked for our plans, and Brockey said no. He said that if Crisp County has one, so can they. Mrs. Pheil advised that she heard that Houston County is going to build one also.


Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to adjourn the meeting at 11:50 a.m., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.

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