MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON JUNE 10, 2008
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. 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 Rick Lawson, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. The invocation was given by Commissioner Culpepper followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America led by Administrator Crapse.
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the regular meeting minutes of May 13th, and the called meeting and emergency called meeting minutes both held on May 28, 2008, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
WATERMELON DAYS PROCLAMATION
Monica Simmons, Chamber of Commerce Director, thanked the Commissioners for allowing her to be here today to present the Proclamation declaring June 13th through June 21st as Watermelon Days in Crisp County. She advised that this year they have combined everything into one week, are moving to a new location, and they think change is good and it is going to be better. Administrator Crapse read the Watermelon Days Proclamation proclaiming June 13-21 as Watermelon Days in Crisp County, noting that this festival is Georgia's oldest festival, Crisp County is the number one watermelon county in Georgia and has the highest concentration of watermelons in the world, and honoring the watermelons, watermelon growers and brokers, and it's economic impact on Crisp County. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to approve the Watermelon Days Proclamation, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
INDEPENDENT AUDITORS REPORT FY-2007
Meredith Lipson with our auditors, Mauldin and Jenkins, came with the annual audit report for FY-2007. She handed out an Audit Agenda and advised that they are required to communicate to the Commissioners under the standards that guide them, and go over some of the recommendations that came out of the audit. She advised that the audit report is a little later than normal as they were waiting on the infrastructure information that had to go into the statements this year. She advised that as far as the General Fund goes, as of June 30, 2007 total assets were approximately $9 million, liabilities of about $1.2 million, which left a fund balance of about $7.8 million. The county spends about $1 million a month, and the fund balance really has to carry from June 30th until we start collecting property taxes in the fall, and the county has a good strong fund balance position on June 30th. As far as operations for the year, the General Fund shows we have about $14.3 million in revenues, about $12.5 million in expenditures, and the fund balance increased by about $1.5 million from $6.27 million at June 30, 2006 to $7.8 million at June30, 2007. She advised that in regards to the budget to actual comparison, which shows the original budget that was adopted as well as the final amended budget, the county was pretty close to what the final budget ended up being, there were not many variances, which is very good. In regards to the Proprietary Funds, which include the Water System Fund, Landfill Fund, and the Self Insurance Fund, both the Water and Landfill Funds have positive net assets at the end of the year, and the cash that was provided by the operating activities of these two funds were a positive number, which is also important. This shows that these funds are able to operate on their own. Also included are their reports on internal control and compliance and the single audit. They did have several findings that are included, and in their opinion, none of them reflect poorly on the county. They do have a couple of repeat findings; one deals with segregation of duties, they recognize that the county has to weigh the cost benefit, but as auditors they are required to let the county know this, and the other finding has to do with a couple of the Elected Officials Offices that are carrying excess cash, but those offices are working to get this resolved. She also brought the auditor's adjustments that they made, and she will leave them with Sherrie.
SENATOR JOSEPH CARTER UPDATE ON 2008 GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Senator Carter reported that it was a tough legislative session, but in the end he thinks Crisp County came out okay and better than some. Some of the requests that we put in the budget did not survive but some counties did not get anything, so we felt fortunate to get some things. He publicly thanked Johnny Floyd for the things he has done for Crisp County, not only to make sure that the county is taken care of in the budget, but to represent you and put a great face forward, and the county has been fortunate to have him as a representative. He also has been a great friend to him and helped him out an awful lot. He advised that the last few years we have been fortunate that the local assistance grant program has been available for us to use, and he hopes that will continue as it gives us the ability to put forth some requests for things that are difficult for them to include in their budget. This year there were four of those that we were able to keep in the budget. They were a grant to Crisp County to purchase hardware and software in accordance with the Judicial Data Exchange Program for the Probate Court in the amount of $10,000; a grant to Crisp County to assist with funding of the Crisp County Arts Alliance for materials and supplies for the Arts Alliance Pre-K Program in the amount of $5,000; a grant to Crisp County for the implementation of a reverse 911 System called Code Red in the amount of $10,000; and a grant for an upgrade to the audio and visual technology in Superior Courtrooms in the amount of $10,000. One other item he would like to update Commissioners on is the Inland Port Project. He is happy to report that this past session that got a tremendous amount of attention. He advised that about a year ago, they held here in Cordele a meeting of a Senate Study Committee to look at the feasibility of an inland port project, and they heard testimony from the trucking industry, the Georgia Ports Authority, railroad groups, and citizens at large as to whether or not the idea of taking containers from a ship and railing those from Savannah inland to Crisp County and working those containers here from a facility would be a feasible concept. After all those players came together, a report was put together and that report was signed off on by all those members of that committee, and it was filed with the Secretary of the Senate and distributed to the members of the General Assembly during this past session. What that report concluded was that it was feasible and was a concept that not only the General Assembly but the Governor's Office, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Community Affairs should take a look at it from an economic development standpoint from the logistics freight movement standpoint around the state. He has had conversations with the Governor and members of his staff who deal with economic development and also transportation, and they have all made the point very clear that while it probably will not happen tomorrow, but this report that was put together not only by the study committee but also Georgia Tech, who played an integral part of putting together the data, will be an integral part of a new concept and a new focus on how to move freight around the state. They were very excited of this becoming a reality and about the ability of Cordele and Crisp County to step forward and provide resources to help make it happen. They are continuing to push that but they do finally feel like they got some recognition to this. Georgia Tech has made it real clear that if this could become a reality that the face of South Georgia could change in the next ten to fifteen years, not only with imports coming in but with the ability to export agricultural products throughout the South Georgia area. Chairman Henry thanked Senator Carter for his leadership in this project and also the hard work other people have put into this project as it could be that economic boost to our area we need. Senator Carter also thanked the Administrator, IDC Director Bruce Drennan, and former Representative Johnny Floyd, who have pushed this idea. All Commissioners thanked Senator Carter for looking after Crisp County and also being a friend to our county. Administrator Crapse advised that Inland Port Project is the biggest thing that could happen to economic development in our region, and he is very excited about this, and in regards to Senator Carter, he is always available and approachable, and that makes it nice for us.
CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF FAMILY & CHILDREN SERVICES ANNUAL REPORT
Mrs. Deborah Smith, Director of Crisp County DFACS, and Linda Rawlins, Social Services Supervisor, met with Commissioners to bring the annual DFACS report. Mrs. Smith reported that she is happy to report that they think things are getting better with them. They investigate reports of child abuse and neglect in the community; last year there were 397 reports that came into their agency, they screened out 80, they accepted for service 249, they substantiated and opened 53, they substantiated and closed 51, they unsubstantiated and opened 3, they unsubstantiated and closed 142, and they did diversions on 68. This year they were able to screen out more cases because they are doing a better job with collaborating in the community. They have met with the School System and talked with them about what makes a report a report so that they are not getting reports in that they don't do anything with, as they don't want to go in an invade somebody's home life if they don't have to; screening out cases is very good for them. The 249 they accepted this year was down from 307 last year. They also unsubstantiated and closed 192 last year versus 142 for this year, and she thinks this is because of the better training they have and they have a better grasp in the community along with the Prevent Child Abuse group and Crisp County Community Council. They had 372 children involved in the child protective services, 221 were black, 146 were white, and 197 of these being female and 175 males. Mrs. Rawlins added that the disparity between the number of male and female abuse is they have a higher number of sexual abuse of females as opposed to males. They do have professional vendors that they contract within the community that go in an offer parent aide, homestead therapy, transportation to doctor appointments, and financial aide. This is available to families at all times day and night. Mrs. Smith advised that in their foster care system, they served 143 children last year, and they have eleven foster homes in Crisp County. Of the 143 children, six of these were pre-adoptive homes, 60 went to relative foster homes, 59 in non-relative homes, 9 in group homes, 5 in institutions, 2 ran away, and 2 in trial home visits. She also went over the federal and state funds they receive with the biggest assistance coming for the Food Stamp Program at a little over $6 million and Medicaid Program at over $30 million, with total disbursements at over $39 million for Crisp County. Mrs. Smith thanked the Commissioners for the county funds they receive from the county.
SOLID WASTE COLLECTION & LANDFILL MANAGEMENT STUDY RESULTS
Jim McNaughton with Environmental Business Services was present to give his findings and recommendation of the Landfill Management & Solid Waste Collection services. Administrator Crapse reported that the study was approved because of the appearance of our green boxes in the county, the abuse of this system by the disposing of unauthorized items, use by businesses, and people scavenging in the dumpsters which makes this is very costly. We struggle with this every day and this is why we are looking at alternatives. Typically this is a costly item to a citizen because most governments aren't set up to handle the complete system and they depend on the individual households to be responsible and to get rid of their own trash; on the other hand the citizens feels like this is the county's responsibility and that is what we pay taxes for. We have an asset with our landfill, and at our current rate we have about 103 years of air space, meaning capacity, which is a commodity in today's world, but there are issues with EPD and with protecting the public health. This is a look at how we can best optimize our assets in the landfill and how we can best deliver a service, meaning collection of that garbage, and hopefully bring those together in a solution that will be the best, most effective, and most cost efficient solution for the county citizens. We need to make the best use of these assets and part of this study was to determine if we were making the best use of that asset and if not, how we could make better use of that asset, with an unbiased outside look. Mr. McNaughton advised that there are two issues, the landfill management and the collection. He went over the landfill management study in depth, the advantages and disadvantages of the landfill, management cost components, operations and revenues of the landfill based on the 2007 figures, and also other alternatives. He also went over the ownership and management options of the landfill of either county owned, managed and operated; county owned and managed and contractor operated; county owned/contractor managed and operated; and sale to private company. Based on the Landfill Management Study, his recommendation would be the county enter into a county owned/contractor managed and operated agreement. He would not recommend the county sell the landfill unless we get all the money up front and have requirements for a long period of time, capacity assurance for 20-30 years, most favored customer pricing, and host fees and benefits. He also went over the solid waste collection side, the current unmanned green box system versus the manned convenience center with no compactors and with compactors, and mandatory curbside collection. He would not recommend the county continue an unmanned green box system; it is economically viable but environmentally, it is not a viable thing citing several factors, and would almost be better doing nothing. The manned convenience center with compactors is more economic viable and environmentally viable than the centers without the compactors. His recommendation would be to try to bring together two convenience centers and curbside collection, but if you have seven convenience centers, you can service all households in the county within a four-mile radius. He advised that if the Commissioners had any thoughts that they were going to look at a landfill alternative, he would do that first and while they are working on that, negotiate with that company to try to help with the county-wide garbage situation. Commissioners thanked Mr. McNaughton for his report, advised that they will digest it and have a work session at a later date. Administrator Crapse advised that we would need three things: consulting assistance on the ordinance, consulting assistance on developing the contract, and then expertise in negotiating that contract. Those services are available and we can take advantage of them based on whatever the Board's decision is on which way to go.
RESOLUTION TO ADOPT AMENDED AND RESTATED DEFINED BENEFIT PLAN
Administrator Crapse reported that this is a routine action we do every year, and we have to do it in order to adopt the IRS changes to the law changes that have been made over the past year. It makes no substitutive changes to the plan, it just reflects the Resolution to adopt the IRS filing requirement for government plans from February 2008 until January 2009. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to adopt the Resolution to Adopt Amended And Restated Defined Benefit Plan and authorizing Chairman Henry to sign, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
ACCG IRMA LOSS CONTROL & SAFETY 5% DISCOUNT PROGRAM
Fire Chief Ray Lunsford, County Safety Coordinator, reported that we have completed all the standard requirements for the 5% discount on our ACCG property and liability insurance premiums again this year. These requirements include having quarterly safety meetings, monthly inspections, and attending classes sponsored by ACCG. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to authorize Chairman Henry to sign the Safety Discount Verification Form from ACCG Interlocal Risk Management Agency for our 5 % insurance discount, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
WETLAND MITIGATION CREDITS FOR LIME CREEK BRIDGE ON AMBOY ROAD
Administrator Crapse reported that we received a letter from the Department of Transportation informing us that they have determined that we will be required to purchase wetland mitigation credits at the local level for Lime Creek Bridge on Amboy Road. He has gone back and pulled up our emails when we were negotiating these. We asked the Commissioner at a February meeting to consider helping us, and he said he would look into that; he did and we received an email in April of last year stating that the DOT will take care of the mitigation needs of Crisp County on three bridge projects, one of those being this project. Then when they sent the letter down, that put the responsibility back on us. He has sent a letter to the Commissioner advising that we want to appeal this particular ruling and requesting that DOT follow up on it's commitment to provide or purchase the wetland mitigation credits that will be required for this project. He does have high hopes that the Commissioner will agree to do that, since we already had a written commitment, but it has been three weeks or so and he has not heard back from her, but the reality is, we can't just not do it. If it is okay, the Board could approve buying these 4.6 wetland credits at $2,500 a credit, or $11,500, just so we can move forward in this project. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to allow Administrator Crapse to pursue the DOT payment for the wetland mitigation credits on Lime Creek Bridge on Amboy Road, and if not take the proper steps to purchase these 4.6 wetland credits at $11,500, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
REVIEW FINAL DRAFT FY-09 BUDGET
Mrs. Leverett reported that Commissioners have a Summary Budget of what they discussed at length yesterday, and basically they are presenting the 2009 proposed budget making sure that the public knows that it is available in detail for their inspection in Room 308 at the Crisp County Courthouse. At this point, the FY-09 budget is still a working document, it is subject to change, and we will have the Budget Public Hearing on June 17th at 11:00 a.m. in Room 305. She advised that the General Fund went up to $13,900,000, which is an increase of less than 3% over last year; the Law Library is about the same as last year at $36,200; the Jail Fund went up over last year about $22,000 to $151,700; the DATE Fund is the same at $30,000; the E-911 Fund is a reduction of over $11,000 at $747,854; the Northside Water Phase II Fund is at $350,000; Water distribution is at $393,800, up a little; Landfill is up about $85,000 to $1.2 million; CDBG is at $65,000, and Asset Forfeiture at $50,000 for a county-wide budget proposal for FY-09 of $24,425,650, which is about $1.8 million over what we had last year county-wide, and the majority of that being in the SPLOST Funds. She advised that the budget is balanced without a tax increase, and there is a 4% cola for county employees, assuming that the preliminary numbers hold through the final digest. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to approve the final draft FY-09 budget proposal, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously. The called meeting to adopt the FY-09 Budget will be June 27th at 9:00 a.m.
APPROVE 5-YEAR HISTORY AND PROPOSED MILLAGE RATE FOR ADVERTISING
Mrs. Leveret presented the 5-year history and proposed millage rate for advertising, and advised that this is not setting the millage today, it is just approving what we have in the proposed budget so she can advertise as required by the state statue. The tax rate for last year was 10.749 mills, and we are proposing that the net tax rate remain at 10.749 mills. The Local Option Sales Tax roll-back has been calculated at 3.819 mills, or $558,000, and this will be a credit against the ad valorem taxes, as we always do. The reason we can do this is because we had an increase of $216,464 in the digest, which is all new growth. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the 5-year history and proposed millage rate for advertising, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously. Administrator Crapse reported that we have set July 24th at 10:00 a.m. as the date to adopt the proposed mileage rate.
REAPPOINT BETTY LYNN BAKER TO BOARD OF FAMILY & CHILDREN SERVICES
Administrator Crapse reported that he has coordinated with the DFACS Director Deborah Smith, and she confirmed that Betty Lynn Baker is doing a good job on this Board and is the current chair of this board; she also wishes to continue to serve. He and Mrs. Smith recommend Mrs. Baker's appointment to the Board. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to reappoint Betty Lynn Baker to a five-year term on the Board of Family and Children Services to run from 07-01-08 to 06-30-13, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
APPOINT MEMBERS TO THE MIDDLE FLINT RDC
Chairman Henry reported that Mr. Harris advised that he just can't do all that traveling right now and would like someone else to serve on the Middle Flint Regional Development Board. He and Jeff Courturier are the Board's appointments to this Board. Administrator Crapse advised that he has talked with Jeff and he is willing to continue to serve. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to reappoint Jeff Courturier and appoint A. James Nance, if he will serve, to a one-year term on the Middle Flint RDC serving from 07-01-08 to 06, motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett reported that today's packet includes the executive summary for the month of May 2008 as well as eleven months year to date, and includes revenues and expenditures for our three major funds. In the General Fund, they recorded revenue for May in the amount of $676,051, brings the year to date total to $12,199,112 representing 90% of annual budget. $1,179,880 in expenditures recorded for the month brings the year to date total to $11,842,504 or 87.58% of budget and leaves the General Fund at the end of May with revenues exceeding expenditures by $356,607. For the Landfill Fund, we have $99,052 in monthly revenue and $1,264,274 year to date. Monthly expenditures of $76,733; year to date, $1,205,629 leaves the landfill with a year to date net gain of $58,645. The total tonnage received for the month of May was 3,459.92 tons. Approximately 44% of that was received from Onyx under their commercial contract and 16% under the City of Cordele free residential contract. The GEFA Loans are current at $3,726,715. For the month of May the Water Fund recorded revenues of $34,182; YTD $371,202. Expenditures for the month totaled $35,655; YTD $377,282 - leaving the Water Fund with a net loss at 5/31/08 of ($6,079). Water usage for the month was 6,594,000 gallons. Water usage is down considerably. Over 1,000,000 gallons less than the monthly average for FY 07. Good for conservation, but not so good for revenues. The USDA Bonds are current at $1,732,150. In the Cash Report for May, the General Fund has $7.1 million; the Landfill Fund, $2.1million, the revolving loan fund $553,000, the SPLOST Funds, $7,041,000 and the Water Fund ended the month of with $841,000 giving us a county wide total of $17.6 million. Of that, $180,041 is reserved for debt service, $54,985 for customer deposits and over $7million for capital projects. In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund 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 $1,859,611. Five are current, one is 30 days delinquent and three have been turned over to legal. Next are the SPLOST reports, and the first is the budget to actual report for the 2000 Issue. As of May 31, 2008, we have spent $15.6 million of the $17.6 million dollars collected, leaving us with $2,027,378 to complete the various City and County projects associated with this issue. Note that $1,084,602 of that balance is designated for County Road projects. Following that is the SPLOST budget to actual for the 2005 Issue. To date we have total collections of $10,233,108, total expenditures of $5,816,367. We crossed the $400,000 line again with Distribution #27. $403,943 was received bringing our issue to date monthly average up to $379,004. In the monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues, total disbursements for the month of May were $602,152. Projects benefiting from SPLOST funds during the month of May were the Airport T-hanger Project, Animal Control, The Town of Arabi, the BBSB Complex, County Roads and parking lots, the CCSO, the City of Cordele, the Crisp County Coroner, the new Courthouse project, the Detention Center, the Health Department and the County Public Works Department. 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. At the end of May all departments and divisions should be within 92% of their annual allowances. Overall, the General Fund Expenditures were at 87%, the Water Fund at 65% and the Landfill fund at 79%.
Administrator Crapse reported that 1) he attended several meetings and events this month; 2) between the Courthouse and the Budget we have had plenty to do, and a lot has been accomplished this month; 3) there were one new SPLOST expenditures approved this month that was $4,000 for Geotechnical boring and engineering evaluation for footing design; 4) we received the 1st GMP package last week on the Courthouse. The GMP covers the Steel Package, the Mechanical Package, and the Electrical Package. These make up about one third of the total and can only go down from here. The Steel came in $39,607 below budget; 5) work continues to go well with the work at the Sheriff and Health Departments. The work is approximately 50% complete, ahead of schedule and under budget; 6) we have had two break-ins at the Ball Complex Concession Buildings; suspect kids out of school, into mischief, candy; 7) work is underway on Pateville Road and Demolition work at the Courthouse Site; 8) Carl and I have been talking about the possibility of putting some of our crews on a four-day, ten-hour schedule to save on fuel cost to the County and to our Employees. This would also improve productivity by reducing mobilization time. We would keep some crews on regular schedule to be covered on the fifth day without overtime. We are looking at getting volunteers and maybe rotating crew schedules if there is enough interest. More on this as we progress further; 9) all has been quiet on the Hospital Bond since May 28th, it might be over; 10) It's time to update our ACCG Policy Committee members, so if you wish to make changes, let me know; 11) remember "This is You Life" honoring Buddy Leger is on Friday, June 20th; 12) the Watermelon Parade is June 21st with line-up at 8:00 a.m. at the Southgate Plaza; 13) the Hawpond Road remains closed at the Deep Creek Bridge replacement; and 14) no Community of Character Trail until August.
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adjourn the meeting at 12:21 p.m., seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.