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The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Chairman Ferrell Henry, with Commissioners James D. Harris, A. James Nance, Brad Faircloth, and William Culpepper in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney David Forehand, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Retired Rev. Don Howell gave the invocation, and Administrator Crapse led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.


Administrator Crapse opened the floor for nominations for Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for 2007. Mr. Faircloth nominated Ferrell Henry. Mr. Nance made a motion that the nominations be closed, and Ferrell Henry was appointed Chairman of the Crisp County Board of Commissioners for 2007. Chairman Henry thanked his fellow Commissioners, stated that we have made some real progress in the last several years, and anticipates that 2007 will be a banner year for us, as we are in the middle of some big projects. He solicits their total support and efforts to help this year be prosperous, and also thanked the Constitutional Officers and Directors for their total support and cooperation.


Chairman Henry opened the floor for nominations for Vice-Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for 2007. Mr. Faircloth nominated James Harris. Mr. Nance made a motion that the nominations be closed, and James Harris was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Crisp County Board of Commissioners for 2007. Vice-Chairman Harris dittoed the Chairman’s remarks. He agreed that he doesn’t ever remember any bigger projects at the same time as we have now, and he thanked the Commissioners for the confidence they have shown in electing him again.


Chairman Henry welcomed William Culpepper to the Commission, stating that it is refreshing to have him with them, they look forward to working with him, and presented him with at Crisp County lapel pin. Mr. Culpepper stated that he looks forward to working together with each of the Commissioners to keep Crisp County moving forward. While he was at school, he learned that there are a lot of people that are envious of Crisp County, we have a lot to be proud of, and he looks forward to working to keep Crisp County moving in that same direction. Other Commissioners also welcomed Mr. Culpepper.


Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the minutes of the meeting of December 12, 2006, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.


Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to reappoint David Forehand as the County Attorney for 2007, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to reappoint Charles Jones as the Landfill Attorney for 2007, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Meredith Lipson, representing Mauldin & Jenkins, advised that they have really enjoyed working with Sherrie and her staff, and appreciates the opportunity to perform the annual audit for the County. They did complete the report on time, she had already forwarded Commissioners the audit report, and she also handed out their audit agenda, as there are certain things that they are required to communicate to Commissioners as auditors under the standards that guide them. She advised that they did that in written form, and included are some graphs and charts that summarize the activities of some of the county’s larger funds, revenues and expenditures, and the audit findings and recommendations. They did issue an unqualified opinion this year, which is a clean opinion. She advised that in the General Fund, total assets at June 30, 2006, of $7.2 million, total liabilities of $958,000, and fund balance of $6.27 million; total revenues of $12.4 million, total expenditures of $11.86 million, and increase in fund balance of $345,000. The fund balance the county has is a good 5 to 6 months worth of reserve, this is great as it is not too much or not too little. Total assets of the Water Fund is $5.48 million, total liabilities is $2 million, and net assets are $3.4 million, and a lot of that equity is tied up in the capital assets. In the Landfill Fund, total assets of $5.5 million, total liabilities of $6.5 million, with a deficient of $1.1 million. She advised that most landfills are difficult to be able to generate enough revenue to cover the operating costs. The operating expenses of the landfill are $950,000, so we are generating operating income from the landfill, but the interest expense is why the total expenses are more that the revenues. In the Water System, we have $322,000 in revenues and $361,000 in operating expenses, and that is not generating income. The county did implement an increase in water rates beginning July 1, 2006, so hopefully next year that number will turn around. The county did receive in excess of ½ million dollars this year in federal grant awards, which requires you have a single audit, they did that through testing of the awards. Ms. Lipson said they did have some findings, but nothing of any great significance, and she then went over the findings. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to accept the audit as presented, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Chairman Henry appointed Mr. Harris, Mr. Faircloth, and himself to a six-month term on the Crisp County Power Commission, term running from January 1, 2007 through June 30, 2007.


Chairman Henry stated that he has come up with an appointment of Commissioners to various committees, but nothing is set in stone, and if someone has a special area that they would like to serve, he would certainly entertain any adjustments. Chairman Henry appointed himself to the IDA and Board of Health; Mr. Faircloth to serve on the Agri-Industrial Development Committee; Mr. Culpepper to the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Faircloth to the Tourism Committee; Mr. Harris and Mr. Culpepper on the Train Authority; Mr. Harris and Mr. Culpepper on the Mid South RC&D Council; Mr. Harris and Mr. Culpepper on the Landfill Committee; Mr. Faircloth and Mr. Nance on the Water Committee; Mr. Faircloth and Mr. Harris on the Public Safety Committee; Mr. Nance and Mr. Culpepper on the Public Works Committee; Mr. Nance on the Crisp County Community Council; Mr. Faircloth and Mr. Nance on the City-County Planning Committee; and Mr. Henry and Mr. Nance on the Finance Committee.


Mrs. Leverett reported that we do approve the budget calendar every year, and it sets forth the projection of the dates that we try to meet relating to the budget and tax assessing process and tying that all together to get our budget adopted by July 1st, which is required. This calendar gives our Tax Commissioner a cushion that she can make her trip to Atlanta and have our tax digest approved on time, and a little cushion in getting the budget adopted by July 1st. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the FY2008 Budget Calendar, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that this approval of the Amendment to the ACCG Defined Benefit Pension Program is a routine thing that we have to do each year, this employ’s whatever language changes the IRS made to the pension plan, and there is no impact on our plan as a result of this. He recommends approval. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the Amendment to the ACCG Defined Benefit Pension Program, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Attorney Cliff Harpe reported that the Goldens’ Foundry has purchased the former WesCast plant and some of the equipment, they are in the middle of tearing out old equipment and putting in new equipment, and looking to be operational in March or April. As part of that, the Crisp County-Cordele Industrial Development Authority has agreed, provided that all legal steps are taken, to allow the issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds of up to $6 million toward the project. These bonds are not an obligation of the Authority, they are not an obligation of the County, they are pure revenue bonds, which means to the extent that Goldens’ makes payment pursuit to a trust indenture, loan agreement and a lease, then the bondholders will receive those payments; if Goldens’ doesn’t make the payments, then neither the Authority nor the County nor any governmental institution will have any obligation to make the payment. He advised that they are at the stage now where they are requesting approval from the Chief Elected Officer of the County. They had a TEFRA Hearing last Tuesday, there were no public comments received, and now they ask that this Commission execute the Resolution Approving Issue of Revenue Bonds for Goldens’ Foundry, and giving the Chairman to sign the paperwork. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the Resolution Approving Issue of Revenue Bonds for Goldens’ Foundry and giving Chairman Henry the authority to sign the necessary paperwork, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that the Board of Elections and Registration has hired Brenda Turner as the Crisp County Election Supervisor. State Law requires that this appointment be approved by the Board of Commissioners and recorded in the minutes, and he recommends appointment of Mrs. Turner as the Election Supervisor of Crisp County. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to appoint Brenda Turner as the Crisp County Election Supervisor, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that the coroner has requested that the county reimburse him for damages done to his vehicle while transporting a body. Apparently the body bag in which he used had a hole in it and bodily fluids from the decomposed body leaked into his Hurst leaving behind a rank odor that he has been unable to get rid of through normal cleaning. The county contracts with the coroner for these services, just as we do with any other private contractor, and if any other contractor has equipment damaged while doing work for the county, we do not assume liability for that damage. Unfortunately, he believes that this is the same contractual relationship we have with the coroner, and paying one contractor for damage to his equipment and not others could set a precedent in his opinion. He has a bill from the coroner for $3,233.02 to change the front and rear carpet, front and back insulator, front and back headliner plus retainers, and he is not sure the county should be paying for damage to a contractor’s vehicle. At the present, we do have a vehicle that is being converted for his use and his specifications as we speak. Mr. Nance advised that he thought that he had a vehicle furnished to him by the Sheriff’s Department, and he thought the vehicle he was talking about was a county vehicle. Administrator Crapse stated that this is a 2001 Suburban, and he thinks it belongs to the coroner. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to table this request until it is decided whether this is a county vehicle or not, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.


Mrs. Leverett stated that this is something that we routinely do when we have a new member come on board, as we have to change all the signature cards on all of our accounts at all of the banks. We will be rescinding Mrs. Joyce Pheil and adding A. William Culpepper to all of our bank accounts. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the Resolution on Check Signing Authorization, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that the state is proposing a Constitutional Amendment to provide for four year terms for all the state offices, it has been discussed several times, but now is the time, if the board wishes, to pass a Resolution to go to the General Assembly to make adjustments to the Board’s terms for four years instead of six years. Chairman Henry stated that he has been an advocate of changing the terms to four years the whole time, but never officially done anything about; personally he thinks six years is too long a commitment and two years is too short of a commitment, and he would like to see this Board consider this. Mr. Nance states that he feels the same as Chairman Henry, but he doesn’t know if he is ready to change it right now, maybe we need to discuss it more, but he does feel six years is extensive. Mr. Culpepper stated that when he went to the new commissioners school in December, he was the only candidate there with a six-year term. Mr. Harris thinks six-year terms are a little too long, also. Chairman Henry would also like the Commissioners to consider adopting a Resolution on a non-partisan election for County Commissioners, and he has been an advocate of this for a long time also. Administrator Crapse reported that there are several things at stake, particularly at the state level, but since this is a non-election year, it may be a good time to adopt this Resolution. By common consent, Commissioners authorized Administrator Crapse to prepare these two Resolutions for discussion at a called meeting later this month.


Mrs. Leverett reported that in their packet today is the FY-2007 mid-year financial report. On the first page, they will find the report of revenues and expenditures by fund for the month of December as well as year to date. The General Fund reported revenues of $1,872,804 for December and $6,079,933 year to date; monthly expenditures of $1,666,925 and year to date expenditures of $5,908,211. Those numbers, which include approximately 41% of the FY07 property tax revenue budget, carry revenues, for the first time this fiscal year, ahead of expenditures by $171,722. For the Landfill Fund, we are reporting $101,943 in monthly revenues and $765,289 in revenues year to date; $81,623 in expenditures for the month of December and $716,447 year to date. Revenues ended the month at 44.30%; expenditures at 37.76% of annual budget, leaving the landfill fund with a year to date net gain of $48,842. The total tonnage received for the month of December was 3,679.24 tons. Approximately 55% of that was received from Onyx under their commercial contract and 19% under the City of Cordele free residential contract. The monthly tonnage continues to lag behind the averages from Fiscal Year 2006 by about 100 tons. The GEFA Loans are current at $4,089,096. For December, the Water Fund recorded monthly revenues of $28,356; YTD revenues of $218,170. December expenditures totaled $11,355; YTD expenditures, $184,382, leaving it with a net gain at the end of December of $33,789. Water usage for the month was 4,371,00 gallons, and USDA Bonds are current at $1,776,083. Cash on hand as of December 31, 2006, the General Fund had $5,448,836, the Landfill Fund had $2,400,053; the Revolving Loan Fund had $601,030, the SPLOST Funds had $4,975,400, and the Water Fund ended the month with $838,259, giving us a county wide total of $14,263,580. Of that, $162,502 is reserved for debt service, $53,385 for customer deposits, $4,975,400 for capital projects and $455,000 of the RLF balance has been committed to project Golden. In the budget to actual report for the 2000 SPLOST Issue, as of December 31st, we have spent $13,848,429 of the $17.6 million collected, leaving us with $3,784,895 to complete the various City and County projects associated with this issue. In the SPLOST budget to actual by category summary report for the 2005 Issue, to date we have total collections of $3,914,291, total expenditures of $3,056,363. This month’s revenue collection of $275,060 was the lowest monthly distribution received so far under this issue and the first one to drop below the 2000 SPLOST Issue final average of $293,000. Our new monthly average, including 10 of 72 distributions, drops to $391,429. In the monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues, for the month of December, disbursements totaled $161,825, the largest amounts distributed were $66,047 on the BBSB Complex; $74,725 in pro rate distributions to the City of Cordele and Town of Arabi; $15,806 on the Health Department Renovation project; $2,300 for jail improvements; and $1,050 on Airport improvements. In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, which includes the balance and status of all our CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts, we have nine outstanding loans with a total balance due of $1,536,638. Six are current and two are seriously delinquent. (We did receive a payment from Ga. Stair and Rail on Monday, so they are now actually current). Finally, the last report included in the packet is the revenues by fund and expenditures by department report for the period of July through December, 2006. The summary report shows the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund. As of December 31st, all departments and divisions should be within 50% of their annual allowances. Overall, the General Fund and Water Funds were at 44%, and the Landfill Fund at 38%.


Administrator Crapse reported that 1) he attended several meetings and events this month; 2) there was one new SPLOST expenditure approved this month for E-911 for $500; 3) work on the Youth Ball Complex is still moving forward. The curb and gutter work has begun at the Complex. Sports lighting fixtures are being assembled by CCPC. The Bid opening for the concession buildings is on January 18th. We wish to thank Monica Simmons for her contribution of $100 for use at the Youth Ball Complex; 4) the Northside project continues to move with no major difficulties to date as far as I know. The first phase of water is scheduled to be done in 150 days. We are still working with the City of Cordele on the purchases and installation of the water meters; 5) the Public Hearing on the Map & Text Amendment for property adjacent to the Airport and Youth Ball Complex will be on January 24, 2007. Board members are encouraged to attend and hear any comments from the public first hand; 6) we have been notified of our 2007 LARP results. The approved projects include both ends of Coney Road, a selection of Scenic Route between McKinney and Lincoln Pinch Circle, and a section of Ferry Landing Road between Coney Road and Hwy. 280. Carl and he will be putting together our request for County Contracts for their approval to go to the GDOT Commissioner for the February meeting; 7) Mr. John Woodard has been nominated for the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for 2007. We are preparing letters in support of John to go forward with the packet this week; 8) the EMA has scheduled a Pandemic Flue Outbreak Planning Meeting for 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 18, 2007 at the Public Safety Training Center. Please let me know if you can attend or call Tammera Sears at the CCSO 276-2600; 9) the Annual Farmers Appreciation Dinner is on January 25th at 7:00 p.m. He needs a count of who wishes to attend so that he can RSVP to the Chamber; 10) the 16th Annual Southwest Georgia Economic Outlook Seminar will be on Wednesday, January 31, at 11:30 a.m. Once again, he will need a count of who wishes to attend so that he can make reservations. If you want to take your spouse it will be $50.00 a plate; 11) we received very nice letter from our Public Defender, Burt Baker, thanking the County for our support in establishing the Office here. Burt is moving on to be the training officer at the State level, and we wish him well in the future; 12) don’t forget the bid opening on the concession buildings is January 18th at 3:00 p.m., and the deadline for EZ grant submission is February 9, 2007; 13) the Community of Character Word for the Month of January is RESPECT FOR OTHERS. To be nice to others. Not to take things that are not yours. To care about how others feel. Not to be mean to someone who is different from your. To feel or show honor for the feelings and rights of others. He also advised that Catch A Cart, our new service is up and running.


Administrator Crapse reported that he received an email from Monica Simmons yesterday on the status of Watermelon Park, and would we moving any dirt by June 23rd out there. According to the plans that he would like to have going on regarding the Justice Center, sometime January or early February, we will have an RFP ready to go on the street for the Justice Center, it will take probably thirty or forty-five days on that RFP, so around the middle of March we should get those back, then if we get back prior to the March meeting, he would like to have the opportunity for the Board to look at these and pick out three or four, and have some direct interviews with during the month of March, and maybe go to contract by meeting day in April. At that point, you would usually have about a thirty day start time, which would be sometime in May, so there wouldn’t be much of a delay, if we allowed them to use Watermelon Park for the Festival in June. Also, we have to clean up Williams Field Park when the new park opens. Chairman Henry had hoped that we would have Williams Field cleaned up by around April 1st, and asked if that was going to be a possibility. Administrator Crapse stated that he didn’t know as Leisure Director Brock asked him if he would ask the city to let them practice on those fields right up until they start playing real games, which is April 8th, at the new complex to let the grass grow longer. We will have close to two months to clear that field before the Watermelon Festival, we could probably do that, but there wouldn’t be any grass on Williams Field, and if it rained, that would be a mess for the Festival. Chairman Henry stated that he would love to cooperate with the Chamber, but you know on the street they will say that ya’ll said you were going to do this and once more you didn’t do it. He is not opposed to putting it off a few days though. By common consent, Administrator Crapse will work this out to the best interest of the County and the Chamber.


Motion was made by Mr. Harris to go into Executive Session to discuss personnel, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Motion was made by Mr. Harris to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adjourn the meeting at 12:28 p.m., seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.

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