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The meeting was called to order by Chairman Ferrell Henry with Commissioners James D. Harris, 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. Ronnie Youngblood 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. Faircloth to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of March 11th and the called meeting of March 19th, 2008, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse introduced Jim McNaughton with Environmental Business Services, who is collecting the information on the solid waste collection and landfill management study. Mr. McNaughton thanked Commissioners for allowing him to work with Crisp County; he has tremendous experience in solid waste and has worked with a lot of communities. He advised that he has met with several members of the staff and Chairman Henry, and he has been quite impressed with everyone's level of knowledge; no other client that he has worked with has had the staff that has any higher level of organization and knowledge of their individual departments than Crisp County. He is evaluating the solid waste collection and evaluating opportunities of the landfill; he should have a draft report for them next month, and he looks forward to working with Crisp County.


Administrator Crapse reported that April is National Donate Life Month, and this is an opportunity to share life-saving information about the need for organ and tissue donation. LifeLink of Georgia, the state's non-profit organ and tissue recovery organization is asking that we designate April as Donate Life Month is Crisp County. He read the Proclamation proclaiming April 2008 as Donate Life Month in Crisp County and honors all those who made the decision to give the gift of life and sign up on Georgia's Donor Registry. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the National Donate Life Month Proclamation, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that we have Courtney Hamilton and Monica Simmons from the Chamber, and they are here for the National Small Business Week Proclamation. Administrator Crapse read the Proclamation proclaiming April 22 through April 28, 2008 as National Small Business Week in Crisp County, and during this week they celebrate small business owners and employees who are willing to take risks and work hard in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their families. Ms. Hamilton advised that they want the small businesses to know that they will do whatever they can to help them, and they also appreciate the Commissioners for all they do for them. Mrs. Simmons stated that if there is someone that is thinking about opening a business, they should call or come by and see Courtney. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adopt the National Small Business Week Proclamation, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously


Amy Lapeza, Assistant District Attorney, reported that National Crime Victims' Rights Week is going to be from April 13th through April 19th, 2008, and this is the time every year that they take time out to look around and think about victims of crime and how we as a community can help them. The theme this year is Justice For Victims, Justice For All, and if there is no justice for victims, we can't achieve justice for all. She advised that justice for victims requires that first of all the offenders be held accountable for their crimes, but it also involves victims receiving compensation so that they can help rebuild their lives, so that they can come as close to being whole as they can; it involves our community protecting their safety, the chance for them to be heard in court regarding their case, and the recognition of all of us that crime can happen to anyone at any time. She went over the activities that they have planned for this week. Administrator Crapse read the Proclamation. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the Crime Victims' Rights Week Proclamation, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Ronaver Boatwright, Gateway Center Director, and Betty Kelum, First Steps Coordinator, met with Commissioners, and Mrs. Boatwright reported that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. She advised that Prevent Child Abuse Crisp County has several activities this time every year to remind people that child abuse is still a problem in our community, even though our numbers have decreased over the last couple of years. She advised that this year, per DHR Annual Report, we had 396 cases reported and of those that were reported, only 104 of these were substantiated for abuse, which is a great decrease from years past. Administrator Crapse read the Child Abuse Prevention Month Proclamation proclaiming April 2008 as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Crisp County and urging all citizens to protect Crisp County's children and help prevent child abuse. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the Child Abuse Prevention Month Proclamation, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that this is a proclamation that the employees of the Library do, and he read the National Library Week Proclamation proclaiming that the employees of the Cordele-Crisp Carnegie Library proclaim National Library Week as April 13-19, 2008, and encourages all residents to visit the library, to take advantage of the wonderful library resources available, and to thank their librarians and library staff. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adopt the National Library Week Proclamation, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Tucker Price, Ag Extension Agent, reported that each of the Commissioners should have gotten an invitation to attend the Georgia Association of County Ag Agents Farmhouse during the Association County Commissioners meeting in Savannah. He wanted to personally invite them the GACA Farmhouse at the meeting in Savannah at the end of April.


Administrator Crapse reported that this is a MEAG Confidentially Agreement that must be signed by the Board of Commissioners and each individual Commissioner and anyone else that is provided access to details of the MEAG Contracts for the purchase of shares in Plant Vogel 3 & 4. There are several presentations that are going to be given on this beginning this evening at 6:00 p.m. in Albany, and to gain admittance to these meetings, you must have signed a Confidentially Agreement and present a picture ID to verify your identity. All the Commissioners have previously signed their Agreements at the Power Commission, he has executed one as well as our County Attorney Forehand, but the county as an entity has to sign a Confidentially Agreement as well. This is what they are being asked to sign today. This Agreement will provide energy security to Crisp County for the next 50-60 years. The idea is to secure that energy independence for the 50-60 years and you are insuring yourself of a good price for the electric output; we can use the output ourselves or sell it. He recommends approval of the Confidentially Agreement. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to sign the Confidentially Agreement with MEAG, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that in their packet they have a letter from Jean Rogers, Clerk of Court. It has sort of came to their attention that the state statues have not covered all the bases. He said for a regular citizen of the county, we pay $25 to be a witness or a part of that court proceeding; however, for the same purpose, the way the statues read, we only pay $20 to our off-duty law enforcement officers, unless the governing authority of the county takes action to set per diem at a higher rate. Most of the time, our officers are there on-duty, but sometimes that is not the case and is paid $5 less than any citizen on the street. He thinks it is in order that the Board takes the appropriate action to adopt a Resolution setting the witness compensation for off-duty law enforcement officers the same as any other witnesses are paid. He advised that the total amount for off-duty officers for 2007 was $620, and this increase would be an additional $155. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to increase the witness compensation for off-duty law enforcement officers from $20 to $25 to begin April 8, 2008, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported they have a request for a tax refund from Jimmy and Tonya Graham due to an error in the tax assessment. Also there is a recommendation from the Board of Assessors to approve the request based on them verifying the error. This is a house that from the exterior it appears to be a two-story house, but based on an inside inspection of the house, it is actually one story, and that is why the difference in the assessment; he recommends the Board approve the tax refund of around $834.67 for Tax Year 2006, subject to the Tax Commissioner's calculation of the exact amount of overpayment. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the request for tax refund based on the calculation of the Tax Commissioner to Jimmy and Tonya Graham, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that the state statues require the county local governments to implement provisions of the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, an unfounded mandate, by July 1, 2008, based on our number of employees. The provisions of the act are far-reaching and will ultimately be very costly to all counties, but failure to comply can result in the county's loss of it's qualified local status, which results in the county's ineligibility for the county's grants, permits, and other things we need from the State Government. He has prepared a program through a series of training memorandum to be distributed, implemented, and maintained, and he recommends that the Board approve this program for the County. He went over the requirements of the program, which is quite extensive; it only applies to newly hired employees, but it will also be our responsibility to get any contractor that is working for the County to sign an Affidavit and Agreement saying that they are also in compliance with this Act. Also, all of their sub-contractor's will have to sign the Affidavit saying that they are in compliance. We also have to maintain all the records on these, subject to inspection, unannounced, by the Department of Labor. It is going to be costly in dollars and will require quite a bit of indirect costs with staff and our own people handling this. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act and adopt it for the County, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that this is a Quit Claim deed on a utility easement for Sander Creek Estate Subdivision. Years ago we granted an easement basically to the Turtons for a utility easement in a certain area, that property has now been sold, and that deed needs to be released to clear up the deed for the new owners. Then we will enter into another easement with the new owners for the utilities on this piece of property. It was a subdivision that was laid out many years ago, it was never implemented, but the easement never came off the books. Mr. Forehand advised that by Charter, the Power Commission is not permitted to own real estate and because this is interest in real estate earlier on when this easement was done in contemplation of the development of this subdivision, the easement rights were granted to the County. Also, in order to modify it and fix it for the new developers, it will be a simple transaction involving the execution of a Quit Claim Deed that would release the first instrument, and the Power Commission will prepare a second one to take its' place after being updated. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to authorize the Chairman and Administrator to sign a Quit Claim Deed releasing the existing easement rights in respect to Sanders Creek Estate Subdivision, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Commissioner Faircloth advised that he has been asked by the travel ball team to ask for an amendment to the policy regarding the travel ball teams that was set last month. The amendment that they are asking for is instead of $45 for both seasons, that $45 would include the whole year. He told them he would bring it up at the meeting and see if anyone else felt the same way. Chairman Henry advised that it was determined at the last meeting unanimously that we would take the recommendation of the four people that met and came up with this request, but if the majority of the Board chooses to do this, that is what we will have to do. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth that the $45 fee for each travel ball member for the two seasons of the year would be cut in half or instead of $90 per year, is would be $45 a year for travel ball members for both seasons, there was no second, so it died for a lack of a second.


Mrs. Leverett reported that today's packet includes the executive summary for the month of March 2008 as well as year to date, which includes three quarters of this Fiscal Year. In the General Fund, we are reporting monthly revenues of $490,246; year to date revenues of $10,549,102; monthly expenditures $1,938,715; and year to date expenditures of $9,591,876. These numbers bring General Fund revenues to 78.01% and expenditures to 70.93% of annual projections and leave us with $957,225 in net revenues over expenditures to date. For the Landfill Fund, we have $88,407 in monthly revenues; $1,066,590, YTD; $151,706 in monthly expenses; $1,017,486 YTD. The Landfill lost $63,299 during the month of March dropping its' YTD net gain down to $49,104. The total tonnage received for the month of March was 3222.32 tons, which is almost 1,000 tons off what our averages have been running. Approximately 50% of that was received from Onyx under their commercial contract and 14% under the City of Cordele free residential contract. GEFA Loans are current at $3,743,630. The Water Fund recorded revenues of $28,516; YTD $301,934. Expenditures for the month totaled $44,839; YTD, $308,177 leaving it with a net loss at the end of the third quarter of $(6,243). The usage for the month was 3,984,000 gallons, is about 200,000 gallons off our average. The USDA Bonds are current at $1,737,424. Cash on hand as of March 31, 2008; the General Fund we have $8,031,440; the Landfill Fund, $1,915,475, the revolving loan fund $512,160, the SPLOST Funds, $6,965,397 and the Water Fund ended the month of with $784,516 giving us a county wide total of $18,208,988. Of that, $7,239,122 is reserved for specific purposes such as debt service or capital projects. In the SPLOST reports, in the budget to actual report for the 2000 Issue, as of March 31, 2008, we have spent $15,424,584 of the $17.6 million dollars collected, leaving us with $2,208,740 to complete the various City and County projects associated with this issue. Following that is the SPLOST budget to actual by category summary report for the 2005 Issue. March's receipt of $271,454, represented January retail sales was the lowest distribution received to date under this issue, over $100,000 off what our averages have been running. Issue to date collections of $9,456,328 and distributions of $5,280,314 leave us with available cash in this fund of just over $4,000,000 at 3/31/08. Following that is a monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues. It was a fairly large month for SPLOST disbursements, total reaching $640,895. Projects benefiting from the 1% Special Local Option Sales Tax revenues included the parking lot at the BBSB Complex, $319,745, Hatley Road and Sidney Wells Drive project, $72,248, the City of Cordele, $60,759; Ball Park Drive, $50,967, the town of Arabi, $6,178 and the Drayton Road project, $2,976. As shown on your, we also received GDOT funding assistance in the amount of $94,801 on the Hatley Road/Sidney Wells Drive project and $42,143 on the Ball Park Drive Project. Next is the CDBG RLF monthly report, which includes the balance and status of all our CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts. We remain at nine (9) outstanding loans with a total balance due of $1,893,354. UPDATE…The schedule shows six current, three delinquent. Actually we received a payment yesterday from Heartland. The last report included is the revenues by fund and expenditures by department report for the end of the third quarter of this fiscal year. The summary report shows the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund. As of March 31st, all departments and divisions should be within 75% of their annual allowances. Overall, as of March 31, 2008 the General Fund was at 71%, the Water Fund at 53% and the Landfill fund at 67%. She also advised that since the water system is operating in the red now, we are obligated to the bond people on the USDA Bonds for the water fund to at least break even. We did not raise the water rates last year, and we may have to actually consider a small rate increase just to keep up with inflation.


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


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


Motion was made by Mr. Harris to authorize the attorneys to initiate condemnation proceedings against the leaseholder, Mr. Hodges, to continue to negotiate under the authority the attorneys have previously been given by the Board in Executive Session, and to authorize the Administrator to take steps to close 6th Avenue on April 21, 2008, subject to their verification that the City has complied with the road closure procedures, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that: 1) he attended several meetings and events last month; 2) there was one new SPLOST expenditure approved this month, which was $5,000 for the temporary fence to be placed at 225 ft. on one of the 300 ft. fields; 3) work is going well with the worked at the Sheriff and Health Departments. The work is approximately 10% complete, and we have paid Crumleys Construction first pay request; 4) the trees and large shrubs have been relocated from Watermelon Park to the Ball Complex, 79 in all, and the Complex looks great as a result. We are currently putting in irrigation to assure maximum survival. Some of the trees will be returned to the New Courthouse site eventually, that is, the season after it is completed. The Flagpole and flag are also in place; 5) we have received the Notice to Proceed to the Pateville Road Extension Project, so all the contracts are now in place for that project and we will be beginning that work this month; 6) we were disappointed to hear that Crisp County did not make the cut and therefore will not be considered for the MacArthur Affordable Housing Grant; 7) a group of volunteer divers has contacted Chief Lunsford about forming a local Volunteer Diving Team for Search and Rescue. We currently depend on diving teams from Colquitt or Lee County when we need that service. The Chief and I will be working with the group to set up the team appropriately; 8) I met with Don 10 & Gerald Mixon last Thursday to officially begin the Comprehensive Planning Process. Our Comprehensive Plan is due by June 30, 2009; 9) it looks like we are going to be selected to host the GHSA Class 5A Championship Tournament at our Ball Complex in October of this year. Another opportunity to excel and bring folks to our community along with their economic impact; 10) we are required to be a participant in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Various levels of training are needed at various levels of the County Government. One course that is required of County Commissioners is the "Executive Briefing for Incident Command". It is being offered in Thomasville on April 23rd if anyone wishes to attend. Col. Hancock is also setting up a class here locally to be announced in the near future; 11) Sine Die has come and gone and the latest we have heard about replacement of Representative Johnny Floyd in House District 147 is that it will probably not be done and the regular election will be the vehicle for filling the seat; 12) we have received the deed for the 6th Avenue FOW. I anticipate closing the street to traffic later on April 21st after placing notices in the paper so that we can begin construction work preparation; 13) the City of Cordele also sent notice on annexation of 15 acres across from Southwestern Elementary for development of single-family housing. This is in keeping with the Comprehensive Plan, so we responded with no objection; 14) the Open Meeting for the public to view the New Courthouse Plans is scheduled for 4:00-6:00 p.m. on April 16th in the Main Courtroom; 15) we did hear from UGA and they have approved the transfer of excess funds in the 2006 & 2007 CDBG programs in order to extend the water service area to include the Denmar Trailer Park as part of the Northside Area Redevelopment Program; 16) the Hawpond Road was closed at the Deep Creek Bridge on March 31st. It should be closed for nine months according to the schedule; 17) Chief Lunsford and I met with Phil Berryman, Helena, and the Fenn Family yesterday on property for Fire Station #7 in the north of the County. They are willing to donate 1% acres on Farmers Market Road. It's a good location and the family is putting the final agreement together now for the Board's approval. They would also like the station to recognize their Grandparents John H. Fenn & Annie Whelchel Fenn; 18) on a bit of a sour note, we received a PSC violation letter against Public Works having to do with several excavation projects. We have reviewed the alleged violations and we will rebut the allegations because we do not believe any of them to be valid; 19) remember, we all have reservations at the DeSoto Hilton for the ACCG Annual Meeting in Savannah for the 26-29th of April; and 20) Community of Character Trail for the Month of April is RESPECT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. To take care of our air, water, and land. To feel or show honor for the Environment.


Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adjourn the meeting at 11:32 a.m., seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.

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