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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., Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Commissioner Culpepper gave the invocation.


Administrator Crapse advised that this has been a good budget season, with General Fund budget at almost $14 million, and a total budget of $24.5 million; this budget will allow us to maintain our current millage rate. There will be a Public Hearing on July 8th, and we will have a called meeting on July 24th to adopt the millage rate for 2008. Mrs. Leverett reported that there have been a couple of changes since the Public Hearing as we did receive the final digest numbers; they were down about $1 million on the assessed value, so we had to make that adjustment, which was about $10,000. Everything is balanced with the General Fund at $13.9 million, Water Fund at $393,000, Landfill Fund at $1.2 million, Jail Fund at $151,000, E-911 Revenue Fund at $747,854, Northside Water and Sewer at $350,000, Hotel/Motel Tax at $60,000, CDBG at $65,000, DATE Fund at $30,000, Asset Forfeiture Fund at $50,000, Law Library at $36,200, 2000 SPLOST Fund at $352,000, and 2005 SPLOST Fund at $6.9 million, for a county-wide total of $24,424,660. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the FY-09 County-wide Budget of $24,424,660, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that the county had put in an application with the USDA Rural Development to assist us in funding the major update of the Unified Land Development Code. It was a nice bonus when Jo Ann Jones, with USDA, called and advised that we were on track to be funded for that grant. He advised that typically once the Board agrees to the standard conditions, it would be relatively automatic that it will be approved. Mrs. Jones stated that the grant is for $19,000 and that the main purpose of it is to help the county update the Land Development Code as defined in the scope of work that was in the application. She brought the all the paperwork that needed to be signed. She advised that the county will have to contribute $20,000 and that will mostly be salaries, and stated that we will probably be finished in twenty-four months but do have five years to complete everything. Administrator Crapse recommended approval of the Grant. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the Letter of Conditions for the RBOG Grant to Update the Crisp County Unified Land Development Code, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse welcomed Rusty Simpson, State Senatorial Candidate, and reported that he has provided the highlights and issues that are most important to Crisp County and went over them as follows:

  1. Cordele Inland Port
    • Must take the reins running, and assure funding in the '09 session
  2. Tax Reform (Including Tax Exemptions)
    • If the State wants to cut taxes, CUT STATE TAXES not local taxes.
    • Can support Senate Compromise to cut State Income Tax by 10% and cap property assessments at the rate of government inflation.
  3. Transportation Funding
    • Shifting the burden to local government through LOST is unacceptable.
    • Eliminating the Motor Fuel Tax for road construction and maintenance cannot be done unless another source of State revenue is identified.
    • Must fight, and win the fight, with GDOT Board Member Steve Farrow's plan to divert South Georgia transportation funding to the Atlanta Metro Area.
    • Expansion of the Crisp County Airport with runway extension to 6000', a new terminal, and improved all weather instrumentation.
    • Support of HOG Railroad.
    • Agriculture is the largest industry in Georgia, and we need the transportation corridors open and improved to sustain agriculture, manufacturing and distribution investment.
  4. Healthcare
    • Support rural hospitals with fair Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements.
    • Keep the Certificate of Need (CON),
  5. Water
    • Oppose Interbasin Transfers. (The door has been opened for counties like DeKalb to take water from the Flint River that is destined for SW Georgia, and sell it to Fulton County, etc.
    • Agriculture is the largest industry in Georgia, and we need the water that God has provided to sustain agriculture.
  6. Full Funding of State Mandates (Including Federal Mandates)
    • Indigent Defense
    • Laminating Handicap Hangers
    • GISCA
    • Wetland Mitigation
    • R/W appraisal & acquisition
  7. Tourism, Recreation and Retirement.
    • Tourism, Recreation and Retirement are becoming a more and more important segment of our local economy.
    • Continued Expansion of the Resort at Lake Blackshear & Georgia Memorial State Park.
    • Support for the Sam Shortline Excursion Train from Cordele to Plains/Archery.
  8. Full Support of the EZ Extension for Crisp & Dooly Counties.
    • This is a Federal issue, bet we need strong, unwavering support from our local legislators.
  9. Home Rule, Home Rule, Home Rule!
    • Hope you get the message? Local Government is a tough job.
    • One size does not fit all in local government.
    • Local Governments know best what services their citizens want and how to prioritize them.

Administrator Crapse went over the reasons why he and Commissioners think the way they think as they think our record speaks for itself with:

  1. No Tax Increase in seven years with millage lower than 1997.
  2. Adequate Reserve Fund for "Rainey Days".
  3. AAA Bond Rating.
  4. SPLOST approved in 2005 by 93.5%.
  5. New $3 million Youth Ball Complex.
  6. Building a new 35,000 SF, $9 million Courthouse.
  7. Community heavily invested in progress.
  8. Supportive of, and Invested in Regional Development and belong to two Joint Development Authorities, the only County in MEAG* and Mutual Aid Agreements with all our contiguous counties and beyond.
  9. The Crisp County Power Commission has just invested in Plant Vogtle Units 3 & 4 that will come on line in 2016 and assure the County's energy needs for the next 40 years.
  10. We are progressive, but manage our risk and act responsibly.
  11. We do provide Sound, Conservative Government and have a proven track record.
Mr. Simpson replied that with the county's record and looking at these issues and how up to date you are on the issues, it seems like the county is on track. This is why he came up here to find out these issues and concerns. He advised that the same things that qualified him to be the Superior Court Judge will allow him to represent us in the Senate. He has practiced law in Tift County for over 30 years, he is now semi-retired, and he thinks he can represent communities as well as people if he knows what there needs are, as each county is unique and have their own specific needs and agenda. He assured Commissioners that if he becomes the Senator from this District that he will be their Senator and we will get the same representation as any other county in the District. He thanked Commissioners for allowing him the time to be here today.


Administrator Crapse reported that he and George Gay have been out to Goldens' Foundry and talked with them about taking their sand for landfill cover. We were told that their sand, which is a bi-product of their operation, would be much different from the Wescast sand because of the nature of their operation. It is not any different; it is still like powder. He advised that the last time we used this sand we had a lot of difficulty with clogging radiators and getting in the equipment and making a mess. When they were taking the sand from Wescast, they had them to put the sand in bags, but Goldens' does not want to do that, as they want us to use it as daily cover. They will only have about one truckload a week, and we would have to make provisions for that, plus they want us to take it for free. This would be a burden on our operation as well as detrimental to our equipment. We believe that we should recommend to you all that we don't take this, even though this is a new industry trying to make it in our community. He and George do not believe it is in the county's best interest to take that sand at this point, plus they do have a stockpile of this sand at the present time. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to not utilize the sand at the landfill provided by Goldens' Foundry, but will take it into the landfill at a reduced rate equal to the inert material rate, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that all Elected Officials that will have offices in the new Courthouse have looked at and suggested colors they like which includes the tile in the lobby, bathrooms, all offices, jury, and courtrooms. He advised that each office picked their own colors and then they all came back and discussed and saw what other offices had chosen. They also went over the brick and stone on the outside of the building along with the windows trim and the lettering across the front of the new Courthouse. He also showed a proposed monument sign that will be on 7th Street. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to accept the color codes presented by the Administrator and staff, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adjourn the meeting at 11:36 a.m., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.

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