MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON AUGUST 10, 2006
The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m. by Chairman Ferrell Henry, with Commissioners James D. Harris, A. James Nance, and Joyce Pheil in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney David Forehand, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Rev. Phil Streetman, Pastor of Lake Blackshear Baptist Church, gave the invocation, and Administrator Crapse led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the minutes of the meetings of July 11th and July 21st, 2006, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTION COMMENDING DEPUTY SHERIFF STEVEN RANKIN
Administrator Crapse reported that this Resolution Commending Deputy Sheriff Steven Rankin only covers a small part of what this really means to the Commissioners and the community. He read the Resolution which commends Rankin for valor and bravery and for being chosen the 2006 Georgia Sheriffs Association Deputy Sheriff of the Year Award for Valor. All Commissioners thanked Deputy Rankin for his bravery and his dedication to the Sheriff’s Department, and congratulated him on the award. Sheriff Haralson commended Deputy Rankin for his bravery, he is an example of the men and women that serve our community each and every day, and he is proud of him and all of the men and women in public safety. His example of training, his demeanor, his ability, and his character shows what he is all about. Deputy Rankin stated that he appreciated having the opportunity to work for the Sheriff’s Department, and he can’t think of a better place to work than the Sheriff’s Department. By common consent, Commissioners approved the Resolution Commending Deputy Steven Rankin.
PUBLIC HEARING ON MILLAGE RATE FOR 2006
Chairman Henry opened the Public Hearing on the millage rate for 2006. He asked if there were any comments from the public regarding the millage rate for 2006, there were no comments, and he closed the Public Hearing. Mrs. Leverett reported that the 2006 tax rate including the rollback has been calculated to be 11.050 mills, and it has been property advertised. They would like to recommend adoption of the Resolution setting the county’s millage rate for non duplicated services at 14.678 mills, the sales tax rollback at 3.628 mills, giving a net county millage rate of 11.050 mills; state millage rate of .250 mills, making total county and state millage rate of 11.300 mills; the unincorporated special service millage rate of 1.390 mills; and the millage rate set by the School Board at 16.919 mills. Administrator Crapse reported that the millage rate was set at a previous session, buy we did have some administrative difficulty, and our numbers did not change from that millage rate that was adopted by the Board of Commissioners two weeks ago. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the Resolution Setting the Millage Rate for 2006 and giving the Chairman the authority to sign the Resolution, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
MEET AND APPROVE THE NEW COUNTY EXTENSION AGRICULTURAL AGENT
Sandra McKinney, Cooperative Extension Coordinator, thanked Commissioners for the support they continue to give the Extension Service, and advised that this is the day that we have all been looking forward to since last November when the position was vacant. We have a great need in this community for Ag Agents, and we are very pleased that we have a very qualified candidate to bring forward today, Tucker Price. He has worked with extension for over 11 years, so he comes to us with experience, and he is from Turner County. He will begin work September 1, 2006. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to approve Tucker Price as the new Agricultural Agent for Crisp County beginning September 1, 2006, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously. Commissioners welcomed and thanked Mr. Price for coming to Crisp County, and advised that they all look forward to working with him. Mr. Price commented that he is looking forward to moving to Crisp County and working for the community.
INDUCEMENT RESOLUTION FOR PROJECT GOLD
Bruce Drennan, Executive Director of the Industrial Development Commission, reported that they have a Project Gold that is going to reopen our foundry here, they will start with approximately 100 jobs, and probably be back at the level of where Wescast/Georgia Ductile was at their maximum level within a two to three year period. They are asking for permission to move forward with an EIP Grant from the Department of Community Affairs to help as bridge financing for this project. The Grant would be applied for through the County, recipient would be The Development Authority, and it would be applied to the purchase price of the building. The company that is going to reopen would pay that money back with a ten year loan to the county, and that money would revolve back into the County’s Revolving Loan Fund. They need the County’s approval by Resolution to move forward with this $500,000 EIP Grant to help bring this project here. Administrator Crapse reported that this is the same thing that was done for MBM, Southeastern Forrest Products, and NorBord. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the application for an EIP Grant in the amount of $500,000 to support Project Gold, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
REQUEST FOR TAX REFUND BY CORDELE CONCRETE
Administrator Crapse reported that they have a request for a tax refund from Cordele Concrete. It is a request for a refund of taxes for tax years 2002-2005 in the amount of $4,202.50. This request was the result of some personal property audit equipment in the 2005 audit. Cordele Concrete has paid their taxes, but they say a representative of the county and not the taxpayer made the errors. The Board of Assessors agrees and recommends that the refund to the taxpayer be approved. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to grant the request of the tax refund to Cordele Concrete for the incorrect assessment for tax years 2002-2005 in the amount of $4,202.50, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
REQUEST FOR TAX REFUND FOR RAY FAIRCLOTH
Administrator Crapse reported that they have a request for a tax refund from Ray Faircloth for the 2003-2005 tax years in the amount of $612.55. This error was in the computation of square footage in our records, and the field review done by the Tax Assessors Office on 6-26-06 verified the correct square footage that should have been charged. He recommends that the taxpayer be refunded that amount. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to grant the request of the tax refund to Ray Faircloth for tax years 2003-2005 in the amount of $612.55, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
ACCG-WORKERS’ COMPENSATION DISCOUNT VERIFICATION
Administrator Crapse reported that this discount is a recurring event where ACCG gives us a discount for following the correct procedures in Workers’ Compensation with regard to employee safety, the safety meetings we hold, and the Drug Free Workplace is maintained. If we comply with all the requirements of the program, we get a 7 ½ % discount on our Workers’ Compensation Insurance Premium. He met with our Safety Coordinator Ray Lunsford, and he assured him that we are in compliance, and he recommends that the Board approve the safety discount verification form and authorize the Chairman to sign. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the ACCG Workers’ Compensation Discount Verification and authorize the Chairman to sign, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTIONS ON E-911 WIRELESS AND WIRE LINE CHARGES
Administrator Crapse reported that the E-911 Wireless and Wire Line Resolutions must be renewed each year indicating that the need still exists for the collection of the 911 charge on wire lines and wireless connections to support the E-911 communications systems. We certainly need that income in order to support our system, and he recommends that the Board adopt both of these Resolutions. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to adopt Resolutions on E-911 Wireless and Wire Line Charges, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
PROPOSED LARP LIST FOR 2006
Administrator Crapse and Public Works Director Carl Gamble reported that they have completed the proposed LARP list for 2006. Administrator Crapse stated that the proposed list is in their packet to be submitted to the DOT, and this does contain the two finishing ends of Coney Road connecting to Highways 280 & 300. In addition to this, the roads in priority 2, 3 & 4 are other roads that were qualified but not funded last year, same with priorities 5 & 6 which were on the 2004 list. We can expect to get about 4 or so miles of these 8 miles, and then when we go to Atlanta in February we will ask for more county contracts to complete our active list as well as some new paving this year. Also, if we can do the grading and drainage on Floyd and Dockweiler Roads, then we will be able to ask the DOT for a base and paving contract on these new roads, and we are moving toward that now. There is a lot going on in the Industrial Park, public works crews are relocating utilities, clearing, and grading and drainage for the widening of Pateville Road, and we will soon be moving out of the ballparks so that we won’t get in the way of the other contractors. We have the old Mental Health building behind the Health Department that will be coming down soon, and we have to get ready for LARP contracts by clipping shoulders and patching roads. We will be putting more effort on our new roads in the coming year than where we have in the previous year. He advised that these are the recommendations that Carl and he would like to make to the Board, and it is their intent this year to go with the surface treatment on some of these roads since they are all short roads and are surface treatment roads now. Mr. Henry thanked Mr. Gamble for what he and his crew have done at the ballpark complex, and he knows it was a strain on him doing this and maintaining the roads. Mrs. Pheil asked Mr. Gamble where they were on putting the crush and run on the church projects, and he advised that is a top priority. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the LARP List for 2006 for submission to DOT and giving Chairman Henry the authority to sign the paperwork, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
REQUEST FOR ANNEXATION
Administrator Crapse reported that he has a request from the City of Cordele to annex a piece of property into the City. There is no reason why the County should not agree with this except that it creates an island, which is supposedly illegal, so what he will propose is that they either approve the request on the condition that they include the Kendrick property, which is parcel 1, or that they approve it and request that they include the Kendrick property into the city limits. By annexing this piece of property will create an island, which is a difficult situation for law enforcement and public safety to know who is suppose to respond. Mr. Henry stated that the only thing that bothers him is that we are considering asking the city to annex the Kendrick property, and that belongs to another taxpayer who has not requested annexation. After discussion, motion was made by Mrs. Pheil authorizing David Forehand to review the legal considerations of creating an island in the city, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously. Administrator Crapse will write the letter to the City after Mr. Forehand makes his findings known to him.
QUITCLAIM DEED FOR JONES/BARRY PROPERTY
Administrator Crapse reported that the County Attorney has been looking into several quit claims and has come to some conclusions based on the Georgia Code as to how we can best handle some of these issues. Mr. Forehand reported that there is a provision in the Code that permits counties to convey property that essentially does not have value, and the highest and best use of the property would be as a part of the adjoining pieces of property. When that happens, counties are permitted to by resolution to convey that property to an adjoining landowner, providing they give notice to all the other property owners whose property abuts that property. He has a request like this from the Jones and Barry individuals. This piece of property is between the Jones and Barry properties and is basically a drainage field between Swift Creek Road and Lake Blackshear. The property cannot be developed as zoned and cannot benefit anybody, and it falls within the statue that it is better useful to the adjoining landowners. They are proposing that the county convey Tract A to the Jones property, and Tract B to the Barry property, and he would recommend that so the county doesn’t occur any expense, that the property owners would pay for an legal expense the county will have. Administrator Crapse stated that this property is where the natural drainage flows into the area and into Lake Blackshear. He advised that conditional on this conveyance, would be that the property cannot be developed or built on, and also the county would have to retain an easement on the outfall ditch. The county does not maintain this area, it has grown up, and he thinks these peoples intentions are to clean this up and maintain the property so that it wouldn’t get so grown up next to them, The only value to us is the outfall ditch, and both tracts together are a tenth of an acre. If the county can realize a little tax money and keep this as an outfall ditch, that seems to be an appropriate situation. Mr. Gamble stated that this should have never been put on the plat of the subdivision and left as a drainage ditch when it was platted. Administrator Crapse stated if the Commissioners feel more comfortable, they could go out and look at the area. If so, they can table this until next month. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to table this decision until the next regular Commissioners meeting so they can go look at the area, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
QUITCLAIM DEED FOR SMOAK BRIDGE GROVE SUBDIVISION
Mr. Forehand reported that he has another one that is part of Smoak Bridge Grove Subdivision. He said he inherited this one from Mr. Pfeiffer; the subdivision plat was drawn years ago, and when they drew the plat, they show an extension of the county road to the lake. In fact, there was never a road built, and never assumed by the county, and if you look at the real estate title to the property, you would probably conclude that one or two people or entities own it, either the original developer of the subdivision or their heirs, or the county. He advised that this is a piece of property that is the length of the road right-of-way that goes back 140 feet. The people that have requested this are from Tifton, they are wanting to divide the strip in half, and let the county convey it to these individuals with the restrictions that the county retain the rights to drain water off of Swift Creek Road down to the lake. It will probably be good for Commissioners to go and look at this property also. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to table this request until they receive more information, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
ATTORNEY COME UP WITH WRITTEN POLICY ON TAX SALES
Mr. Forehand reported that through time as the Sheriff has had tax sales, sometimes there might be an assignment to those deeds to the county. When an attorney or someone looks at the real estate records, sometimes there will be an old unsatisfied Sheriff’s Tax Deed, with all the taxes paid, still on the books because it was never noted that it had been paid. You may have a situation of where it has been paid, and then after that, people have been buying and selling the property back and forth for years, but when you check the title, you run across this. This causes some confusion, and one way to handle this is to adopt a policy whereby if the county taxes have been paid on a piece of property, and the county claims no ownership in it, and the only interest the county claimed in it was because of the unpaid taxes, then the county can authorize maybe the County Administrator or some appropriate party to sign a release to clear up the real estate record. He will come up with a written policy for the next meeting.
GIVE PROPERTY BACK TO MR. SANDERS
Administrator Crapse read a letter from Cecil Sanders advising that he gave a right-of-way deed in 1966 for maintenance of his driveway, the county does not keep up his driveway, so he is requesting that the county either keep up his driveway or deed the property back to him. Mr. Gamble stated that this 30-foot strip he is talking about leaves the paved road and goes to this man’s front door steps. Administrator Crapse reported that it is not a public road, and we don’t intent to maintain his driveway, and if we have the deed to the property, he thinks we should give it back to him. Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to give Mr. Sanders property in question back as requested, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
EMPLOYEE HEALTH PLAN
Administrator Crapse reported that the insurance committee met this morning on the employee health insurance plan. He advised that things are pretty much as expected, and he went over the current rates with our present provider, and our annual premium is $229,087.80. We have also been trying to get the insurance renewal aligned with our fiscal year so that we can plan and budget properly for our health insurance plan. The consensus of the group is the best plan for us and the best thing we can do to help our administrative situation is to go with the Standard Security Stop Loss, which will save about $8,000, and the reason is they will have the opportunity to change in nine months instead of twelve, if we change to coincide with our fiscal year. Right now, we are pretty well off in the plan, we have about $447,000 in reserves, projected out to the end of September, we should end up, if everything goes as planned, with about $468,000 in reserves. We have been trying to get this at a level to have a consistent $500,000 cushion in the plan. There are two options Commissioners can think about going into the New Year. The first option is to not change the rate structure of the plan at all and if everything goes well, we will end up just about where we are now, but in a bad year, we could go in the hole. The second option is the one they anticipated at budget time, based on a 5% premium increase, and was budgeted. We could anticipate ending the year with $572,000 in reserves, and if we have a bad year we could end up with less than $100,000 in reserves. Based on the fact that they had budgeted the 5%, as opposed to 15% the previous year, the insurance committee recommends that the Board approve that 5% increase effective October 1, 2006, and also that we go with the Standard Security Stop Loss for the nine months instead of the twelve, so we can take advantage of those savings as well as administratively get in line with our fiscal year. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to take the Administrator’s recommendation and approve the 5% increase in employer and employee premiums effective October 1, 2006 and go with Standards Security Stop Loss for a nine month period, seconded by Mrs. Pheil, motion carried unanimously. Mrs. Pheil relayed a couple of problems she has had with the insurance company since Secure Health became the Commissioners secondary insurance. Administrator Crapse will check on these.
Mrs. Leverett reported that the first page of the executive summary prepared for today’s financial packet includes the report of revenues and expenditures by fund for the first month of the new fiscal year. Net revenues received totaled $375,318 while expenditures totaled $774,414. The 2.94% difference in those numbers is due to the 30-day lag time we experience in the actual receipt of a lot of our revenues. This should balance out within the next couple of months. Next are the Landfill Fund numbers for the month of July. Total revenues received were $117,421 and expenditures totaled $119,871. Adding the additional $13,306 in monthly depreciation leaves us with a net loss for the month of July in the Landfill Fund of $15,757. The total tonnage received for the month of July was 4,082.16 tons with 44% of that being delivered on the Onyx commercial contract and 14% under the City of Cordele free residential contract. The principal balance on the GEFA Loans is current at $4,146,872. In the Water Fund for the month of July, revenues were $49,614 and total expenses were $29,848, the Water Fund ended the month with a net income of $19,756. July’s water usage was considerably higher than normal, ending the month at 12,245,000 gallons. Waterworks has verified that this is correct. Our customer base is up to 1144, 51 more than this time last year. That accounts for part of the increase. Also, because of the way the dates fell in, there was an extra week’s consumption included in July’s billing cycle. The next page reports the cash on hand at July 31, 2006. In the General Fund we have $4,687,779, the Landfill Fund, $2,130,264, the Revolving Loan Fund $429,893, the SPLOST Funds, $5,076,108 and the Water Fund ended the month of July with $701,699 giving us a county wide total of $13,025,744. Of that, $158,047 is reserved for debt service, $53,380 for customer deposits and $5,076,108 for capital projects. Next is the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, which includes the balance and status of all our CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts as of July 31, 2006. Currently we have nine outstanding loans, with a total outstanding RLF balance at 7/31/06 of $1,495,480. Of those nine, six are current and three remain seriously delinquent and have been turned over to legal. Next is the SPLOST budget to actual by category summary report to the new 2005 Issue. July’s contribution of $352,051 brings our year to date collection total to $1,922,928 and gives us a five-month average of $384,586. To date we have spent $1,585,827 on projects budgeted under this issue. In the budget to actual report for the 2000 SPLOST Issue as of July 31st, we have spent almost $12.3 million of the $17.6 million collected, leaving us with a little over $5.3 million to complete the various City and County projects associated with this issue. Next is the monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues. Expenditures totaled $199,287 for the month of July, with the largest amounts being $118,672 on the Judicial Center, $74,454 on weapons and vehicles for the CCSO, $4,933 on the Hatley Fire Station and $1,225 on the BBSB Complex. The last report is the revenues by fund and expenditures by department report for the first month of the fiscal year. The summary report shows the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund. As of July 31st, all departments and divisions should be at 8% of their annual allowances. Overall, for the month of July, the General Fund expenditures were at 6%, the Landfill Fund at 7%, and the Water Fund at 5%.
Administrator Crapse reported: 1) he attended several meetings and events during the month; 2) there were no new SPLOST expenditures approved this month; 3) the Youth Ball Complex work is underway; work is in progress on the Fields, Irrigation, Electrical, & Sports Lighting; 4) we received a Letter of Resignation from Patti Smith as the Elections Supervisor. We have advertised the position, and we are seeking a replacement in coordination with that Board of Elections and Registration. Patti will be available to assist in the transition for the remainder of the Election Year; 5) the Advertisement for Bids is out on the Northside Water Project, and a Bid Opening date is set for August 29, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. here at the Courthouse; 6) we had an incident involving a Diesel Fuel spill at the landfill tank. Work is progressing under EPD guidance to assure that the contamination is thoroughly cleaned up and meets all standards. The transit company’s insurance is currently paying for the “Clean-up”. One fallout from the incident is that our fuel tank does not meet current standards, so it can’t be reinstalled and must be replaced with secondary containment provided under current codes. Chief Lunsford did our internal investigation as our Hazmat Officer, and he will assist George in identifying an appropriate site for the new tank. The landfill is temporarily getting fuel from Public Works; 7) the last parcel of land for the Judicial Center has been closed so the real estate acquisitions can now be made public record. Most folks, from my perspective, are basically interested in how much the County paid for the property, and where it came from. We purchased Watermelon Park from the City of Cordele for $250,000; the McKay property north of Sixth Ave. to the “Big Ditch” was purchased in two parcels for $60,000 and $40,000 respectively; and the Cordele Cleaners property from the Odom Family Partnership for $110,000. All in all the total cost was $460,000, which was less than half of the $1,000,000 that had been projected for the acquisition. All and all it was a great deal for Crisp County, the City of Cordele, and all the citizens of Crisp County; 8) the Board received a “Thank You” card from the Chamber for supporting the Watermelon Days Festival. We received “Thank You” letters from Crisp County 4-H and Carl Daniels of Clayton County 4-H for the presentation I made to the 4-H Rural - Urban Exchange Program; 9) we have received conformation from the Boys & Girls Club that all of their property is out of the old building behind the Health Department. Mike Coleman is now stripping all of the serviceable fixtures, A/C units, etc. from the building and we will soon be able to start the demolition of the building itself, as assets become available; 10) Captain Pete Chambers has made a couple of sample ID Badges for you to look at for Courthouse Employees. These will be made for everyone working in the courthouse and selected other individuals who need regular access to the building. The formats are flexible, so I though I would ask if anyone had a preference of one style over the other; 11) Work Session: We need to schedule a Commissioners work session(s) to work on the next three items in particular. If it’s convenient with you I might suggest August 23rd after the IDC meeting or August 30th. This would put it more or less half way to the September Commissioners Meeting; 12) I have prepared a draft Liquor by the Drink Ordinance based on Cordele’s Ordinance for a starting point. I have a copy for each of you to begin reviewing in advance. The copies are very expensive because of the color, so please bring your copy back; 13) on Tuesday we received the letter along with 30% preliminary plans for the Arabi siding extension that has been in the “Coffee House Talk” for a while now. There are a number of issues that I think the board should be able to brainstorm in the work session before it will be ready for a decision meeting; 14) the third issue is determining the process to use for the Design and Construction of the Judicial Center; and 15) the Character Trait for August is Virtue. Choosing to live right; choosing excellence.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mrs. Pheil to go into Executive Session to discuss pending litigation, seconded by Mr. Nance, 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.
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adjourn the meeting at 6:07 p.m., seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.