MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2007
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Ferrell Henry, with Commissioners 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. Rev. Phil Streetman, past of Lake Blackshear Baptist Church, gave the invocation, and the Administrator led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. Commissioner James Harris was out due to illness.
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the minutes of the meeting of August 14, 2007, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING Ð LAKE BLACKSHEAR BAPTIST CHURCH SPECIAL USE PERMIT
Chairman Henry advised that we have a request from Lake Blackshear Baptist Church for a Special Use Permit to locate a Church/Place of Worship in as RS1 (Single Family Residential) zone district. Property is located at 650 South Coney Road, and the decision can be made today. Rev. Phil Streetman, pastor of the Church, reported that they have been blessed to acquire five acres of property that is adjacent and to the south of the current piece of property where their church and fellowship hall now sit. They are running out of space for handling the people who worship with them on Sunday; they are proposing to build a new sanctuary on the five acres, to sit around three hundred people, and it will be tied back to the current building. He advised that their church is solidly behind this, and they will be planting pine trees on the west side of the property as a buffer, even though there are no homes really close to them. They hope to have the building started by next year, and they are on the county water, and they have their own septic tank. Connie Sangster, Planning Director, read the review checklist standards for a Special Use Permit. Chairman Henry opened the Public Hearing to consider this request from Lake Blackshear Baptist Church for a Special Use Permit to locate a Church/Place of Worship in an RS1 zone district. He asked if anyone else were present to speak in favor of the request, there were none; he asked for any opposition, there were none, so he closed the Public Hearing. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to approve the request from Lake Blackshear Baptist Church for a Special Use Permit at 650 South Coney Road to locate a Church/Place of Worship in an RS1 zone district, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
CDBG 2007 AWARD FOR NORTHSIDE SEWR PHASE II
Don ten Bensel, Executive Director of the Middle Flint Regional Development Center, reported that the county has been blessed to get year three of the Northside Area Redevelopment Program, not just approved, awarded last Friday. Chairman Henry and Commissioners Culpepper were there to pick up the award, and he has the paperwork that needs to be signed that was provided for them to accept the award, so we can go ahead and get started. He advised that with this award, we will have one-half of the money we were anticipating to use as we are in year three of a six year improvement; they can already see the impact in this area along with just the attitude of the people that things are changing in this area. We need to sign the Resolution to accept the grant that will allow the signing of all the papers. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to adopt the Resolution to accept the grant and also authorize the Chairman to sign the necessary paperwork associated with the CDBG 2007 award, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
Bruce Drennan, Executive Director of the Industrial Development Commission, reported that they applied and received an Employee Incentive Program Grant for Norboard, which is based on the number of jobs that a business expands to, for infrastructure to connect Norboard to the City water and sewer systems and also to add some acceleration and deceleration lanes coming into the plant, as they have somewhere between 1300 and 1400 trucks a week in and out of that plant. They have invested around $135 million in this plant with this expansion and about 120 additional jobs will be added, plus this is the largest OSB plant in the world. The amount of the grant was $418,393. Commissioners thanked Mr. Drennan and the IDC for the work they do in the county.
SECTION 5311 TRANSIT OPERATING CONTRACT
Administrator Crapse reported that this is the standard operating contract that we have with the Georgia Department of Transportation for the transit system. This is the second one we had this year because of the transition to the fiscal year running from July 1st to June 30th, 2008. He recommends approval of the contract. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the Section 5311 Transit Operating Contract for 2008 with the GDOT, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
RESURFACING CONTRACTS FOR HATLEY ROAD & SIDNEY WELLS DRIVE
Administrator Crapse reported that this is the standard DOT contract for the resurfacing of roads that we have on county contract, Hatley Road and Sidney Wells Drive. These were some of the roads that went beyond our LARP allocation last February and these contracts are now ready to go. They have been checking on the ball field contracts, but for some reason they are not quite ready, so hopefully we will have them soon. He recommends approval of the contracts. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to approve the resurfacing contracts for Hatley Road and Sidney Wells Drive, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER CONTRACT
Administrator Crapse reported that this is the state contract that the Board discussed with the Public Defender during the budget workshop. It has been updated to reflect the funding the same as last year, and he recommends approval of the state contract, which covers the Superior and Juvenile Courts Public Defender operations. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the State Public Defender Contract for 2008, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried.
LOCAL PUBLIC DEFENDER CONTRACT
Administrator Crapse reported that the local Public Defender Contract has been back and forth a couple of times, and this is the contract with the Public Defender that covers the costs of the local courts, which include the Probate and Magistrate Courts, and the Municipal Courts in Cordele and Arabi. The contract is for $14,000 and it is pro-rated among the courts within the county, the county's share being $9,800, and we did budget this amount. He recommends the Board's approval. Chairman Henry reported that the county's part is 68%, 30% for the City of Cordele, and 2% for the Town of Arabi. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to approve the local Public Defender Contract for 2008 with county's part no more than $9,800, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
RIGHT OF WAY PURCHASE FOR BRIDGE PROJECTS
Administrator Crapse reported that anytime you deal with the DOT these days it is somewhat of a fleeting though as to where we are going to be on the totem pole as far as funding is concerned. We are continuing to be told that these bridge projects are still in the 2008 work program for the DOT, although most things have been moved out, and he wouldn't be surprised that these may slip a little bit because of the funding and other changes taking place in the DOT at this time. There are actually eleven of these contracts, these today represent contracts for the first five parcels that we need for the bridge projects on Hawpond and Amboy Roads. The contracts total $5,045 as negotiated under the new DOT system as we have to purchase these right-of-ways at a fair market negotiated price by a DOT approved negotiator. Once the Board approves the purchase of these right-of-ways, then we can turn these over to the county attorney to certify the right-of-way, and in the coming months when they get the other six parcels put together, we will have to pick those up. We are working on the scheduling so that we don't have both roads closed at the same time. The current parcels cost $1,215, $700, $500, $780, and $1,850 for a total of $5,045, and he recommends the Board approve the purchase contracts for the right-of-way for these bridge projects. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the purchase contracts for the right-of-way for Hawpond and Amboy Roads for 2008 at $5,045, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously. Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, stated that they have to follow all the federal guideline, and Attorney Forehand's office has been pretty punctual in getting everything together for them so they won't get so flooded with paperwork.
REQUEST FOR TAX REFUND FOR CONNIE S. HUNT
Administrator Crapse reported that the Tax Assessor's office has verified the error and corrected the record on the Connie S. Hunt property. There is a letter of request for a refund from Mrs. Hunt for years 2005 and 2006, and the approximate amount is $256.93 over those two years. There was a measurement error by the Tax Assessors' office, and he recommends the Board's approval of a credit on the 2007 current tax bill in the approximate amount of $256.93, subject to the Tax Commissioner's computation. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to approve a credit in the approximate amount of $256.93 on the 2007 tax bill for Connie S. Hunt, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
REQUEST FOR TAX REFUND FOR RIVERVIEW LEASE/LOAN HOLDING
Administrator Crapse reported that the Tax Assessor's office has reviewed this request and has been unable to verify the taxpayer, Riverview Lease/Loan Holding, claim of overpayment. The taxes assessed were based on the taxpayer's own return, and the taxpayer has requested a refund of these monies on four different occasions using three different amounts, and has yet to provide any documentation that there has been an error for verification by the Board of Assessors. The Board of Assessor's has recommended no adjustment be made, and he concurs with that recommendation. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to deny the request for tax refund for Riverview Lease/Loan Holding, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
FUNDING RECOMMENDATION FOR THE IDC
Administrator Crapse reported that he has prepared a letter for their concurrence prior to delivering it to the IDC. The Blue Ribbon Panel, which was made up of eight quasi-public organizations, has, in his opinion, been sort of spinning their wheels with a lot of ideas and thoughts but no real way to come to a conclusion. He proposes to send a letter to the IDC Executive Director for the panel to either vote up or down on this recommendation for the IDC's permanent funding, and then based on that, they would make a recommendation to the IDC and ultimately to whoever is involved in the funding. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to submit the letter written by the Administrator as a recommendation to the Blue Ribbon Panel from the Board of Commissioners regarding the IDC's funding, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
APPOINT VOTING DELEGATE TO THE ACCG FALL POLICY CONFERENCE
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to appoint Chairman Henry as the voting delegate to the ACCG Fall Policy Conference, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY REQUEST
Administrator Crapse reported that the District Attorney had requested to address the Board on the subject of funding some additional positions for that office. She came to visit with him, and he indicated that she should put something in writing for this meeting. He reported that along with the new judgeship will come a new Assistant DA, a new Assistant Public Defender, and a new law clerk. Ms. Fachini's specific request was for the county to fund and additional investigator and an additional secretary for the office of the DA. He indicated that he would not be a good spokesman for that cause because he believes the Board is not suppose to pay for the operations of the office of the state, but she was welcome to come and represent that, but she isn't here. He advised that is on the table for a possible request in the future.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT WITH THE HOSPITAL AUTHORITY
Administrator Crapse reported that the proposed Intergovernmental Agreement with The Hospital Authority of Crisp County has to do with the bonds for their expansion. The language in the draft that we have was really not consistent with what the county would be willing to do. He met with Mr. Martin again, and he indicated to him that he felt like if the Board of Commissioners understood the obligation, and if that obligation was closed in, as opposed to an open ended obligation, which could be changed in terms of the interest, the length of the contracts, and adding other projects that the county would be responsible for, if we could work out that language, then he would be willing to present that to the Board as a possible alternative. He has gone through the proposed Intergovernmental Contract and made some recommended changes to it that basically fixes the obligation to the county at the level as defined by the CON, which is specific to the expansion of the ICU unit at the hospital. It also limits that obligation being changed as to interest rate, adding additional debt for the county to pay, and changes to read that instead of determining how much money they have in the sinking fund to pay this obligation and reporting that to the county, it requires them to assure that there is a sufficient amount in the sinking fund to pay the principle and interest on the obligation. In such terms that if that would happen, his intent would be that since the obligation remains basically, the county, as a co-signer or grantor of debt, would have to agree to provide the dedicated mileage, and if that stayed the same and if they are willing to accept the obligation of providing adequate funding for that sinking fund, then the potential of the county coming at risk would be pretty much a catastrophic situation, and in that case, he thinks the county would be willing to do whatever it had to keep the hospital viable. He did not think it was a good idea to sign on to projects and money that the Board had not agreed to and he didn't think it was wise to do a document that did not require them to pay the note. He advised that they said they would be responsible for the note, but nowhere in the document did it say they were responsible to pay the note. Mr. Forehand has also gone through it and made some changes and some clarification with regard to the obligation that he would like to share with you. The obligation remains if the county signs this document, you are obligated for $13 million over 20 years and if it is not paid, you have to assess mileage in order to pay it. The difference in the original document and this one is that it is a closed end, you know what it is, and it requires them to sign that they are obligated to keep that amount of money in the sinking fund. He would propose that if the Board agrees and if the County Attorney agrees, that we send that back to them as our proposal on the original contract. Mr. Forehand stated that when they reviewed the initial draft of the Intergovernmental Agreement and clarified some of the language in the proposed changes, primarily to define the obligation of the county so that it wasn't subject to change, and they defined the project so that it was not an opened ended type of obligation. He also talked with the attorney for the bonding company and he went over the process the county faces in terms of the validation of the bonds. He advised that we would go back to Craig Cotton, the Hospital Authority's Attorney, and present him our proposed revisions which would be to define the obligation of the county, define the project, and see where we are in the process. Administrator Crapse stated that we do need a viable hospital in our community, so the key to this is that if the Board wants the Hospital to continue to progress, it is going to be necessary to accept this obligation, but he doesn't think it is necessarily prudent to accept an open ended obligation. Commissioners agreed that what the Administrator and County Attorney has been able to work out is a fair balance, and they definitely support the hospital.
Mrs. Leverett reported that today she has the report of revenues and expenditures for the County' three major funds for the first two months of the new fiscal year. For the month of August in the General Fund we are reporting revenues of $512,436 and expenditures of $884,890. YTD revenues reached $808,514 and YTD expenditures $1,792,327. Expenditures continue to exceed revenues by a little over 7% or $983,813. This is normal for this period of our Fiscal Year. The 2007 property tax notices have been mailed so hopefully we will start to see the gap between those two numbers close. Cash reserves remain adequate to support daily operations. In the Landfill Fund for the same frame, revenues totaled $121,318, expenditures of $119,484. YTD revenues reached $245,060 and expenditures $239,017 leaving the Landfill Fund with a net gain YTD of $6,044. We did, finally, receive a check from ConAgra for $87,324, paying their account up through 7/31/07 and leaving them with a balance of about $16,000, which is tipping fees for the month of August. The total tonnage received for the month of August was 4,232.62 tons with 50% of that being delivered on the Onyx commercial contract and 15% under the City of Cordele free residential contract. The average after two months is 4,211.51, which is about 100 tons above the FY 07 average. The principal balance on the GEFA Loans is current at $3.9 million. The Water Fund recorded August revenues of $36,821, expenditures at $30,253. YTD revenues totaled $77,974, YTD total expenditures of $61,197 leaving this fund with a net gain after two months of $16,777. Water usage for the month was 7,564,000 gallons. The USDA Bonds are current at $1.7 million and the USDA annual compliance audit was conducted last Thursday. We should have the review letter in a couple of weeks. Cash on hand at August 31st, in the General Fund we have $4.7 million, the Landfill Fund at $2.8 million, the Revolving Loan Fund at $313,066, the SPLOST Funds at $5.4 million, and the Water Fund ended with $1,012,363, leaving us with a county wide total of $14,284,318. Of that, $5.4 million is reserved for special projects, $170,000 for debt service, and $54,000 for customer deposits. In the budget to actual report for the 2000 SPLOST Issue, we have spent $14.7 million of the $17.6 million collected leaving us with $2.8 million left for projects associated with that issue. In the SPLOST budget to actual report for the 2005 Issue, our 18th monthly distribution of $406,771 brings our total receipts to date on this issue to $6.8 million and our monthly average to $378,573. To date we have spent almost $4.3 million on projects budgeted under this issue. We also prepared a bar graph comparing the monthly distributions received in 2006 to the distributions received in 2007 and to the individual monthly average of the previous Issue. In the monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues, benefiting from the support of SPLOST dollars for the month of August were the Airport T-Hanger Project at $3,150, the BBSB Complex at $24,826, the City of Cordele at $64,398, E-911 Equipment at $5,044, the Hatley Fire Station at $1,149, County Roads at $3,035, County Sanitation at $122,430, and the Town of Arabi at $6,549. In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, which includes the balance and status of all our CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts as of August 31st, currently we have ten outstanding loans, with a total outstanding RLF balance of $2,035,440. Of those ten, six are current, one is thirty days past due and three remain seriously delinquent and have been turned over to legal. The last report is the revenues by fund and expenditures by department report. The summary report shows the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund. As of August 31st. all departments and divisions should be within 17% of their annual allowances. Overall, all three of our major operating funds were within that %, the General Fund at 15%, the Water Fund at 11%, and the Landfill Fund at 16%.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR'S REPORT
Administrator Crapse reported that 1) he attended several meetings and events during the month; 2) there were no new SPLOST expenditures approved this month; 3) the first phase of sewer on the Northside project is now underway and should be completed next spring. Chairman Henry and Commissioner Culpepper picked up the $500,000 check for Phase II of the sewer project on Friday; 4) we found some issues on the door measurements for the repair of our racquetball court. The repairs will be delayed for a short time we hope. We are tying to get a new ship date now; 5) we received another unwelcome bit of news from the GDOT, announcing that Commissioner Linnenkohl will retire in November; 6) everyone is registered for the ACCG Fall Policy Conference in Atlanta. Commissioners Faircloth and Culpepper will go up for the training day on Monday and the rest of us on Monday for the Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday; 7) there is a Public Hearing scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on October 4th, the day after we get back from Atlanta, on the proposal to close the Hatley voting precinct. The Public Hearing will be in the Commissioners Conference Room; 8) we received word that our GIS Data Conversion Project is ahead of schedule and will probably be completed this year. This is good news because we will have all the new data for the 2008 digest; 9) we received our remaining capacity reports on the landfill in August. We have an abundance of airspace in our permitted cells over 100 years; however, the remaining capacity in our current cells, 8 & 9, is only 2.81 years. This means we must begin planning now for developing new cells. Sherrie is doing some research now on the ratio of C&D to household garbage (MSW). I believe we should look to developing a C&D cell to reduce cost and extend the life of any new MSW cells; 10) on the down side, we received word that we would not be eligible for a Hazard Mitigation Grant to provide weather radios to Crisp County households. Due to limited funding the State's priority is to fund projects in federally declared counties; 11) we received a Thank You Card from Ms. Pearl Booker for honoring her during the 58th Annual Watermelon Days Festival this year; 12) remember, our Local Government Health Plan Health Fair on September 20, 26, and 27th, at the Ag Center; and 13) the Community of Character Word for the Month of September is SELF CONTROL. To control the way you act. The control of your actions and emotions.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation, real estate, and personnel, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to adjourn the meeting at 12:00 Noon, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.