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Chairman A. James Nance called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. with Commissioners James D. Harris, Brad Faircloth, William Culpepper, and Wallace Mathis in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney Rick Lawson, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Commissioner Culpepper 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. Harris to approve the minutes of the meeting of February 17, 2009, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that the Board of Assessors have reviewed a request from Rhonda Stillwell in regards to her request for dismissal of a tax debt of $793.00 on Jack Carter's estate, her father. The Assessors feel that the assessment was based on the best information that was available at the time, the assessment notice was sent out, and there was no appeal to that notice. They also feel that they have no authority to make an adjustment. Administrator Crapse advised that he does not think the Board has the right to dismiss a valid debt to the county, but he did ask the County Attorney to look at this. Attorney Lawson sent an email back saying that unless the Board independently of the Tax Assessors can reasonably determine that this debt is erroneous or illegal, then the Board doesn't have the authority to dismiss a debt rightfully due to the county. He went on to say that if the Commission reasonably determines that the default giving rise to the penalty and interest was due to reasonable cause and not due to gross and willful neglect or disregard for the law or regulations and instructions issued pursuant to the law, then the Board could waive the penalty and interest. Administrator Crapse advised that in this case, Mr. Carter never filed his return for some ten years according to Chief Assessor Quick, and the amount owed includes the penalty and interest. Mr. Mathis asked how much the penalty and interest was, and Mr. Lawson advised that Tax Commissioner Adkins stated that if the penalty and interest were waived, that the amount owed would be less than $500. If the Commissioners wanted to waive the penalty and interest, they could provide written approval to the Tax Commissioner, but the actual determination of the amount of the penalty and interest would come from the Tax Commissioner after the Commissioners provide written approval for her to do so. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to approve waiving the penalty and interest on the debt owed by the Jack Carter Estate pending that determination by the Tax Commissioner, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried, with Mr. Harris abstaining.


Administrator Crapse reported he has a tax refund request from Cole Woodruff. This is also a case where the Board of Assessors feel that the assessment was made based on the best information available at that time in that the assessment made was proper for 2007 and 2008 and no appeals were filed. However, an error was found with the survey that was filed on December 29, 2008 on which the tract contained 29.52 acres less than that which was on the tax rolls and had been taxed and paid. When the assessment areas are discovered, the taxpayer is allowed to request an adjustment and refund going back three years, and in this case of Mr. Woodruff, on behalf of Blackshear Springs LLC, he is requesting a refund for tax years 2007 and 2008 of approximately $908, $454 for each year. This was a legitimate error; he recommends the Board approve a refund of approximately $908 for tax years 2007 and 2008, subject to the Tax Commissioner's computation of the exact amount. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to approve the 2007 and 2008 tax refund for Cole Woodruff subject to the Tax Commissioners computation of the exact amount owed, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Mrs. Leverett advised that as part of the construction of the new cells at the landfill, we will need to obtain some financing from GEFA, and this Resolution is the first step in that direction; the Resolution gives her the authority to fill out the loan application. She read the Resolution Authorizing Submission of an Application to GEFA for Financing of Landfill Construction of New Cells. Administrator Crapse reported that Mrs. Leverett also spoke to GEFA about refinancing a couple of our other GEFA Loans that are over 5%, and if they approve, we could get those loans refinanced at around 3.6%, which will help us in the long run; we would have to have an additional Resolution to refinance the existing loans that we already have. As you are aware, our air space will be gone in May of 2010 based on our schedule. We met with the engineers last week and laid out a schedule that allows us a little extra time; constructing these two cells and combined with the C & D cells we already have should give us ten years of airspace. The new cell construction would cost around $2.56 million, engineering cost will be $71,700, and the up front work that has to be done will be $159,757. Regarding the up front work, the first thing they will do is remove the wells that are in the current cell 10 and place them on the border of the permitted area; then they have to bore new wells to monitor the landfill again; they will have to develop the wells which basically is a process whereby the PH is reduced to zero so it will get clean samplings; and then install the methane wells. We hope to start construction of the new cells around July or August of this year. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth for discussion purposes, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously. Administrator Crapse advised that the construction of these new cells would take pressure off the Sub Title D Cells. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to adopt the Resolution to submit the application for financing construction of the new cells and also to apply for refinancing for the other loans and authorize the Chairman to sign, seconded by Mr. Mathis, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that the 2009 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) has many new rules that are in effect for this award that hasn't been in the past. Previously we were able to use an engineer that would deliver us the preliminary engineering based on getting the award; now DCA requires that we receive competitive proposals, and the applicant must declare in writing the reasons for making the selection of the engineer that is ultimately chosen. This has to be done pretty quickly as the application is due on April 1st. He went over the six proposals that were submitted. They rated the proposals based on their fee for the services, experience with both this type work and grants, references, if all costs are inclusive, preliminary engineering fee and report, and the proximity to the county, which cannot be scored as DCA does not allow a formal scoring of proximity any longer. He has gone over these proposals and since we are required to negotiate, we will have to do that, but he would recommend that we negotiate with the top three scorers: Hofstadter and Associates, Macon; LAI Engineering, Marietta; and Regional Engineering, Albany and Cordele. He advised that once we have negotiated with all three firms, we would probably need to have a called meeting for approval, since we have to have it in by the 1st of April. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to approve negotiation with the top three engineers, Hofstadter and Associates, LAI Engineering and Regional Engineering, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that TTL was selected for our geotechnical services for the landfill last year. Their proposal is for $159,757. Michael McNeal, with TTL Services, advised that the process at the landfill will be the abandonment of the existing wells and replacing of new groundwater and methane wells, and getting that information reported. They feel their proposal is very representative as they spent a good bit of time reviewing the last several years of history of the landfill, which includes the previous installations to determine what the conditions were. He advised that they are very comfortable and welcome the opportunity of doing this work at the landfill. Administrator Crapse advised that TTL is also doing our technical services on the new Courthouse and have done other things in the past. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to award the contract to TTL for the geotechnical services for the landfill, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that this the ACCG-IRMA safety discount verification form that is approved every year; it is a requirement to get our 5% discount from our ACCG Property and Liability Insurance Premium. Chief Ray Lunsford, our Safety Coordinator, has reported that we have completed all the standard requirements to receive the 5% discount, which include having quarterly safety meetings, monthly inspections, and attending classes sponsored by ACCG. He recommends the Board approve the Safety Discount Verification Form. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the ACCG-IRMA Safety Discount Verification Form and authorize the Chairman to sign, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse advised that there is a request from Colonel Hancock to donate a surplus vehicle to the Tech College Police Academy in Americus. The vehicle is only worth about $500 and would buy a lot of good will with the Technical College. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to allow the Sheriff's Department to donate the surplus vehicle to South Georgia Technical College Police Academy, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Dravien McGill, representing the Crisp County Westside Leadership Team, thanked Commissioners for being a partner with them in the Easter Fest. For the last two years, the Westside Leadership Team, in conjunction with the NAACP and the Ministerial Association, has put together an Easter Fest to try and circumvent the activities of previous years, and to his knowledge over the last two years, there have been no bad or illegal activities on those days. This year they thought about expanding it to turn it into a festival, but the community told them they were not quite ready to do that, so they will keep the Fest in the same format as before but expanding it to include a basketball tournament. He advised that there attempt is to move it off of Easter Sunday and make it a festival over the weekend; they were prepared to do that this year, but they had a request from a car show and motorcycle group to come into the city. This would have caused an increase of about 7,000 to 10,000 people, and they didn't have a facility to house that big of an event; they are seeking to move that event maybe into June or July and on Saturday. They have contacted one of the local property owners and they were more than glad to accommodate that event. They are also trying to see how they can generate dollars, not only for that day, but also for the city as a whole, and they are working with Monica at the Chamber to try to structure those events. Mr. McGill advised that this year they are requesting the same funding as last year to continue the Easter program, and if these two other programs are successful in June or July, they promise they will reduce their request next year. It is a successful program, they have enjoyed working with City and County officials along with the Sheriff and Police Departments, and they want to make it a citywide event rather than just keeping it in one area. Administrator Crapse reported that if the Board approves, we would do the regular contractual arrangement. He advised that the county budgeted $5,000, and the request is for $5,075, so Commissioners would have to approve that change. Mr. McGill said they could work with the $5,000. Commissioners thanked Mr. McGill and his team for the work they do for the good of the children and keeping Easter a Holy Day. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to authorize the contract funding of $5,000 with Westside Leadership for the Easter Fest, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that he has received a request for a Resolution Recognizing National Professional Social Heath Month in 2009. He read the Resolution proclaiming March 2009 as Professional Social Health Month, which calls upon the citizens to join the National Association of Social Workers in celebration and support of social workers and the social work profession. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the Resolution Recognizing National Professional Social Health Month in 2009, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that he has received a Beer, Liquor and Wine License Application from Sachin Patel for an existing facility, and it will just be changing ownership. Mr. Patel has purchased the County Line Package Store at 4404 Hwy. 280 East. It has been reviewed by the Sheriff, who has no objection to the individual listed on the application, and he shows no record found in the GCIC and NCIC data basis. He recommends the Board approve the new license for Mr. Patel located in the existing County Line Package Store. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the Beer, Liquor and Wine License Application for Sachin Patel, seconded by Mr. Mathis, motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Faircloth advised that he would like the Commissioners to have a work session on the retirement benefits for public safety. By common consent, Commissioners scheduled a work session on March 26th at 10:00 a.m.


Mrs. Leverett reported that today's packet includes an executive summary for the month of February 2009 as well as eight months FY 09 year to date. The first report is the revenues and expenditures by fund. The General Fund reports monthly revenues of $831,620; year to date $9,780,644; monthly expenditures $1,466,387; year to date expenditures $8,833,499; leaving the General Fund with revenues collected at 70% and expenditures at 63% and a YTD net gain as of 2/28/09 of $947,145. In the Landfill Fund, we are reporting $75,012 in monthly revenues; $740,422 fiscal year to date; $121,494 in monthly expenses; $863,993 year to date leaving the Landfill with a net loss at 2/28/09 of $123,571. The total tonnage received for the month of February was 2685.62 (3877.47) tons. Approximately 51% (40% @ 2/08) of that was received from Onyx under their commercial contract and 16% (14% @ 2/08) under the City of Cordele free residential contract. Monthly tonnage continues to drop. Current average is down to 3251.29, over 700 tons off of last years ending number. The GEFA Loans are current at $3.5 million. For February, the Water Fund recorded monthly revenues of $28,259; YTD revenues of $270,845. February expenditures totaled $22,382, YTD expenditures, $265,960. The Water Fund continues to virtually "break evenÓ with a net gain, YTD of $4,885. Water usage for the month was 4,032,000 gallons. The USDA Bonds are current at $1.7 million. Cash on hand as of February 28th was $15,565,070. The largest deposits being $7.0 million in various accounts representing the General Fund and the $5.1 million in SPLOST funds, which are reserved for capital expenditures as budgeted under the 2000 and 2005 SPLOST Issues. Next are our SPLOST reports. In the budget to actual report for the 2000 ISSUE, we have spent $15.7 million of the $17.6 million dollars collected, leaving us with $1.9 million to complete the various City and County projects associated with this issue, most of which is County Roads. Following that is the same report for the 2005 ISSUE. To date we have total collections of $13,509,289 and total expenditures $10,984,143. We have now collected 36 of the 72 months of distributions associated with this issue for a monthly average of $375,258. Following that is a monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures. For the month of February, disbursements totaled $725,462 most of which was spent on the new Courthouse, $657,595. Other projects also benefiting from SPLOST for the month were $41,766 to the City of Cordele, $18,553 on vehicles for the CCSO, $4,247 to the Town of Arabi, and $3,300 on the Airport. In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, we now have a total of nine (9) loans with a balance due of $2.3 million. Of those nine, six are current and three have been turned over to legal. The last report included is the revenues by fund and expenditures by department report for the eight-month period of July 2008 through February 2009. The summary report shows the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund. As of February 28th, all departments and divisions should actually be at 67% of their annual allowances. Overall, the General Fund was at 63%, the Water Fund at 46% and the Landfill fund at 59%.


Administrator Crapse reported that; 1) he attended several meetings and events last month; 2) there were one new SPLOST expenditure approved this month, $43 for the purchase of Courthouse equipment; 3) the reinstating of the Homeowners Tax Relief that the General Assembly approved and the Governor signed is still on hold until the budget is done and a decision is made on how much will be covered in the '09 supplemental and the '10 budget; 4) work on the Reedy Branch Bridge on Hawpond Road is now complete and the road is open end to end. The contract on the Lime Creek Bridge on Amboy Rd. has been awarded, but the work could be delayed until next fall due to barn swallow nesting; 5) our prospects on our Grant Applications for 2010 State Aid Projects have improved since the Stimulus Package provided $175 million for roads in communities of less than 50,000 in population; and our Byrds Mill Rd. in the "Economic Development' category was the best in the division according to our District State Aid Coordinator, but we will have to wait and see until after July 1st if the system remains in place with the new GDOT Commissioner. Only the shadow knows!; 6) Tommy Hauesler is home from the hospital in Atlanta, and there is a welcome home reception for him at the Cordele Community Clubhouse next Sunday from 2:00-4:00 p.m.; 7) the Courthouse project continues on track. The Fire Marshall has now signed-off on the construction plans, and we are now back in the "all ahead fullÓ mode. Brickwork is completed on the retaining wall and the Sally Port and is continuing on the exterior north face. The roof is complete, the 1St floor studs are 90% complete with in-wall MEP at 80%. The elevator shafts are 70% and the 2nd floor studs are 67% complete. Second floor in-wall MEP will start on Thursday as will the Stucco Cornice. Sprinkler pipe and ductwork are 30 and 50% respectively. Finally, parking lot work will begin on the 13th; 8) the CCLO 7-8 year-olds won district on our home court but traveled to Effingham County for the State Finals. Unfortunately they lost in the first round on Friday and were eliminated. We had 30 Girls Softball teams in over the weekend, and CCLO soccer evaluations have been completed. We have a State High School Soccer match scheduled at Cason Field, which will be great for our new soccer programs at CCHS. We also have Crisp Academy playing some High School Tennis Matches at the courts at Turner Field. I will cover CCLO personnel in Executive Session; 9) we have started on the Cleaning Work for the Big Tex Project at the Hwy. 280 Industrial Park between Midway Road and I-75. We have about 10 Acres to clear; 10) we have accepted a GEMA Grant and provided the match to expand the Code Red system to include NWS warnings using the reverse E-911 system. This should be in place by October 1st; 11) we received our insurance check from ACCG for the fire truck and equipment lost in the accident. We received $72,000 for lost equipment, but only $70,000 for the truck. We are searching and addressing every avenue for additional funds to replace the truck, with no success thus far. If we don't have success by our next meeting, I will have a recommendation for purchasing a truck; 12) we received a Thank-You letter from Crisp County DFCS for contributing gifts that allowed them to meet the needs of several families during this past Christmas Season; 13) we received a very nice e-mail from Cook Industrial Electric, thanking us for our interest and effectiveness in using local contractors on the Courthouse project, and for our interest in getting them paid on time. They also report that their dealings with Turner SPD and Gallagher Electric were "cordial and cooperative; 14) don't forget the special events coming up in the next few weeks; and 15) the Community of Character Word for the Month of March is SELF-RESPECT. To like yourself and take good care of yourself. To demonstrate a positive opinion of yourself.


Administrator Crapse reported that we still don't have an asking price from the owner of the land the Gun Club was on. The Aviation people have asked us for a copy of the lease agreement that the Gun Club has with Mr. Buford, and that is in conjunction with considering providing some relocation money. Wayne Castleberry is getting him a copy of the lease to send to them, so it looks fairly good that we may some relocation assistance. Mr. Faircloth asked if the 4-H Club could use that land temporarily to practice their BB practice, and Administrator Crapse advised that the 4-H Club has a different place for BB practice, but the word now is no they can't use that facility. He did agree with Danny Jones to send a letter to DOT requesting an exception for the 4-H activity, shotguns only. He did tell Mr. Jones that it is not a done deal since they have already been turned down twice before, but he did tell him that if the DOT would support that, he was sure this Board would support it. Mr. Culpepper advised that the 4-H Club has a different place for shotgun practice now.


Administrator Crapse advised that he and Chairman Nance attended a briefing last week regarding the stimulus package. He advised that there are money for infrastructure, health, roads and bridges, and money for communities less than 150,000, but to put that in perspective if the money includes bridge money, which is 90% federal money, it will be a drop in the bucket because bridge projects are extremely expensive. There is some energy money available, and he plans to meet with Steve Rentfrow on Thursday to talk about this. Also there is a tax credit of $400 per person or $800 per family but the way that works is on the first of April you will go to your employer and ask that your withholding be reduced by that $13 a week. There is a program for COBRA where the federal government will pay 55% of the COBRA premiums for people who involuntarily lost their jobs in the last six months. This stimulus money will be split up two ways: half will be administered by the federal government and the other half will be administered by the state, and you will have to apply directly to the agency that is administering those funds. There will also be some money for recreation, grants, water and waste water grants, rural internet services, rural communities, new business guaranteed loans to 90-95%, operations and maintenance of schools along with money for building modernization and renovation for schools, and some public safety funding.


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. Culpepper to correct the minutes to reflect a merit increase for Administrator Crapse instead of a bonus to begin January 1, 2009, and also reflect that Commissioner Faircloth was absent at the time of this vote, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adjourn the meeting at 12:14 p.m., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.

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