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Chairman Authur 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 August 11, 2009, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to approve the called meeting minutes of August 26, 2009, seconded by Mr. Mathis, motion carried unanimously.


Jennifer Edwards, Partnership Specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, was present to give Commissioners an update on the 2010 Census, as we are less than 210 days away from the census date of April 1, 2010, the day that they would like the census forms back. Earlier this year, they completed address canvases, where they sent people out in the community to verify addresses, and now they are gearing up for group quarter canvassing, which will include Nursing Homes, Personal Care Homes, Group Homes, Jails, Juvenile Detention Centers, etc. She advised that the U.S. Constitution, started in 1790, mandates that the census is done every ten years in the years ending in zero. The census is important because there are more than $300 billion that the federal government will be distributing each year, and she is here to make sure Crisp County gets our fair share of the funding. She stated that in 2000, Crisp County had a final response rate of 56%, and they would like to increase that by at least 5% this time, but the ultimate goal is to get a complete and accurate count. The total population also helps to determine how the voting districts are drawn for the U.S. House of Representatives, and State Officials. This year there are only ten questions, much shorter than in 2000; they still have the long forms, but they will only be sent out randomly this year. The form will be mailed out in the middle of March, and they would like them back by April 1st. She advised that the form is safe because they keep the information confidential for seventy-two years, they do not share it with law enforcement, IRS, DFACS or any other agency, and then it is turned over to the National Archives, which will be distributed to the libraries. She advised that the other reason she is here today is that she would like the Chairman to appoint a liaison to work with her along with a group of citizens in the community to promote the census here in Crisp County. She thanked Commissioners for their time and attention in this matter, and looked forward to hearing the appointment of the county's liaison.


Billy Cannon, Chairman of the Board of the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce, advised that the Chamber appreciates the support that the county gives the Chamber. He advised that Monica Simmons has prepared a program of work update from the Chamber Committees, and he would like to highlight a few of those things. They have had ten ribbon cuttings and one groundbreaking, four sessions of getting members together that are in the same type business, hopefully by the end of September they will achieve a Georgia-Work Ready Status, they began a "shop locally" campaign and distributed signs around town, they received a RBEG Grant for $99,000 to provide small business technical assistance, they sponsored the ninth annual triathlon, and they have developed and completed a new tourism and community DVD. Greg Turton, Vice-Chairman of the Tourism Committee, reported that tourism has held a hospitality training session for the front-line employees to promote Cordele-Crisp County in the right way, they are trying to encourage picking up of litter on the highways and sidewalks, they are supporting the Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park, Lake Blackshear Resort, Sams Shortline, Thomas the Train, Watermelon Capital Motor Speedway, and the Farmers Market all during the year plus hosted the sail planes over a three-week period. He advised that Tourism has worked with the Department of Transportation regarding the I-75 work, trying to make the best of the closures and how to get finished with this project, along with revamping the billboards. He advised that right now, hotels are having a hard time because of the economy and the work on I-75, and in the last twelve months, the occupancy in Cordele's biggest hotels was 49%; that sheds a lot of light of what is happening in tourism. They are going to keep working on this and try to promote Cordele as positively and as they can in our community. He also thanked Commissioners for their support of the Chamber.


Mrs. Leverett reported the first page of today's financial packet includes a very preliminary report of revenues and expenditures for the County's three major funds for the first two months of the new fiscal year. Based on the data we have received, for the month of August, we are reporting revenues of $481,604 and expenditures of $1,087,628 bringing year to date revenues to $1,115,964 and year to date expenditures to $2,018,887. With expenditures exceeding revenues by about 6.5%, this leaves the General Fund in a deficit position of ($902,923). This is normal for this time period of our fiscal year. Cash reserves are down about $1.5 million from this same time last year, but remain adequate as long as we continue to be conservative with our spending until we begin collection of tax revenue generated by the 2009 digest. Next are preliminary numbers for the Landfill Fund for the same time frame. August revenues totaled $94,798, expenditures $79,328. YTD revenues was $206,968 and expenditures $145,135, leaving the Landfill Fund with a net gain YTD of $61,833. The total tonnage received for the month of August was 3375.94 tons with 44% of that being delivered on the Veolia commercial contract and 18% under the City of Cordele free residential contract. The average after two months of 3838.27 is up slightly, about 100 tons over this same time last year. The principal balance on the GEFA Loans is current at $3.3 million dollars. The new GEFA Loan has been finalized but we have not processed any drawdowns yet. Preliminary numbers for the Water Fund showed August revenue at $36,225, expenditures at $12,284. Year to date revenues totaled $76,060, year to date total expenditures $29,546 leaving this fund with net gain after two month of $46,514. Water usage billed for the month was 6,704,000 gallons. The USDA Bonds are current at $1,691,671. Cash on hand at August 31, 2009, in the General Fund we have just over $4.million, the Landfill Fund, a little over $2 million, the revolving loan fund $179,271, the SPLOST Funds, $3.1 million and the Water Fund ended the month with $1,014,035 leaving us with a county wide total at August 31st of $10,418,081. In the revenues by fund and expenditures by department report for the first two months of the new fiscal year, the summary report is supposed to show the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund. But since the budget has not been approved, those numbers are not included, therefore no %'s. are showing. In the budget to actual report for the 2000 SPLOST ISSUE, as of August 31st, we have spent $15.8 million of the $17.6 million dollars collected, leaving us with $1.7 million remaining for projects associated with that issue. Following that is the SPLOST budget to actual by category summary report for the 2005 Issue. Our 43rdh monthly distribution of $329,591 brings our total receipts to date on this issue to about $15.4 million and our monthly average to $358,005. To date we have spent $16.5 million on projects budgeted under this issue. The final SPLOST report included is the monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures, for both issues. Projects benefiting from the support of SPLOST dollars for the month of August were the New Courthouse, the City of Arabi, the City of Cordele, Pateville Road and the Airport. The final report included to day is the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, which includes the balance and status of all our CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts as of August 31, 2009. Currently we have ten outstanding loans, with a total outstanding RLF balance of $2,183,371. Of those ten, six are current and four are delinquent.


Bruce Drennan, Executive Director of the Cordele/Crisp Industrial Development Commission, reported that he went down to Turner County and spoke to the Rotary Club and their Development Authority a couple of weeks ago regarding the Cordele Intermodel Facility. They are very interested in this, and they see it as a promotion for jobs in their community as well as here. The Turner County Commissioners have passed a Resolution at their last County Commission meeting to form a joint Development Authority with Crisp County, if Crisp Commissioners are so inclined to do so. He advised that this Resolution will benefit both counties as it applies to grants, etc. He stated that there are several businesses in Turner County that are looking at using the inland port facility here to ship products overseas. It would be trucked from Turner County to here and then shipped out of here by rail to Savannah and then to points overseas. We do have joint Development Authorities with Sumter and Dooly counties already. Most of the granting agencies are a big proponent of counties getting together. Administrator Crapse agreed with Mr. Drennan and recommended that the Board enter into a Joint Development Authority with Turner County. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to adopt the Resolution in support of a Joint Development Authority with Turner County, and allowing the Chairman to sign the Resolution, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that Big Tex needs a support letter, if Commissioners approve, that he will prepare for the Chairman to sign in support of the Big Tex EIP Grant. He advised that they are really moving forward as they have a good many trailers on their lot. They expect them to begin hiring people in November, primarily welders. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to allow Administrator Crapse to draft a letter of support of the Big Tex EIP Grant project and authorize Chairman Nance to sign, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Drennan reported that the inland port, now called the Cordele Intermodel Center, locally will hire between fifty and one hundred people for unloading and loading containers, moving containers around the yard, etc. They are in the process of writing two grants to purchase the property and the money for putting in two twenty-four hundred foot tracks for the rail. They expect to be shipping containers out of here in the first quarter 2010, they have commitments from five different companies right now to ship as many as 15,000 containers a year, and they expect within the first 5 years, there will between 2,000-3,000 direct jobs associated with this project. He advised that companies will purchase land from them, and will build warehouses, etc. along with trucking companies. CSX was directly involved in this as they were one of the decision makers on where this facility was going to go on the east side of town, as they control all the access into and out of the port of Savannah by rail. The Development Authority of Crisp County is partnering with the Georgia DOT to apply for a Tiger Grant for $37,500,000. This grant deals with transportation projects that center primarily on rail and ports, and Heart of Georgia will form a subsidiary company that will actually operate the inland port for them.


Administrator Crapse reported that he has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Columbus Department of Public Health. They are responsible for coordinating the public health emergencies for the West Central Georgia district, which we are a part of. The Board of Commissioners provide facilities to receive, store, and dispense the Strategic National Stockpile in the event of a public health emergency in the West Central Georgia District. This MOU is updated annually; a major benefit of this is that whatever this emergency stockpile is, whether a flu shot or whatever it is, our people are the first ones to get it. He recommends the MOU with the Columbus Department of Public Health. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the Memorandum of Understanding with the Columbus Department of Public Health and authorize the Chairman to sign, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse advised that he has received a request from Perimeter Partners for a tax refund for 2008; they have paid the 2008 tax bill since the last time this was brought before the Commissioners, and they request a refund based on an error in the completion date of the hotel. They sent some information suggesting that a refund would be based on room availability as far as they were concerned, however, this is not a valid methodology for assessing property. For tax purposes, the value is determined by the real property value on January 1st of each year, and they contend that the hotel was not complete on January 1st. His research confirms that this is true and, in fact, the contract documents obtained from the building contractor confirmed that the building was 79.37% complete on January 1st. The original tax bill was $51,774.47 and at 79.37% complete would leave the tax at $41,093.00, with adjusted penalty and interest due, that would make it $47,257.00. He advised that with talking with the Tax Commissioner, the Board is not obligated to return their penalty and interest because they did not file an appeal. Commissioners have three things they can do: 1) nothing, 2) authorize a refund of just the tax and not the penalty and interest, or 3) authorize the refund of the tax and the penalty and interest. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth, for discussion purposes, to address the Perimeter Partners tax bill, seconded by Mr. Mathis. After discussion, motion was made by Mr. Mathis to give a credit to Perimeter Partners on their 2009 taxes for their 2008 taxes based on the 79.37% of completion and penalty and interest be assessed on that amount, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that he has the Personal Property Audit Contract with Traylor Business Systems. This is a standard requirements contract, which is based on a budgeted figure, and the audits are assigned to the company based on what they actually have to audit, we don't exceed our budget number, so he would recommend the Board approve the Contract. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to approve the Personal Property Audit Contract with Traylor Business Systems and authorize the Chairman to sign the paperwork, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried with Mr. Faircloth absent.


Chairman Nance appointed Commissioner Mathis as an alternate member to the Cordele/Crisp Chamber of Commerce behind Mr. Harris in case Mr. Harris cannot attend the meetings.


Administrator Crapse reported that we have received an email addressing changes to the Drug Testing Policy for the Federal Transit Authority, which are the people that control the drug testing for the transit buses. He has highlighted the changes, which he went over, mostly just some additional definitions that were added to the policy, when a retest will be conducted, who the test results apply to, and what happens if it looks like an original specimen appears to be tampered with. He recommends approval of the changes so we can keep our transit system. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to adopt the FTA Changes to the 5311 Transit Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy and authorize the Chairman to sign, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Chairman Nance appointed Commissioner Faircloth as the voting delegate to the Association County Commissioners Fall Policy Conference in Atlanta in October.


Administrator Crapse reported that he received a memo from the Director of the Middle Flint Behavioral Health Care, and they are requesting that the Board reappoint David Fallin, which is a three-year appointment. Based on the Director and their letter specifying his dedicated performance to this Board, he would recommend the Board reappoint Mr. Fallin to this Board. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to reappoint David Fallin to the Middle Flint Behavioral Health Care Community Services Board , term running three years through June 30, 2012, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that; 1) he attended several meetings and events this month; 2) The Courthouse project continues to work down the "punch list". Final completion is scheduled for the end of this month. Landscaping is about done as well and Audio, Data T/P and Security work are underway. The plaque for the inside the Courthouse and the Logo on the Marquis Sign are still due; 3) There were no new SPLOST Purchases approved this month; 4) The RC notified me that Crisp County did not get awarded a CHIP or CDBG grant this cycle. I haven't heard about the Cities yet, but this is bad news for our community; 5) Work is going well on the Landfill Cell Construction and on schedule as of my last report; 6) Work on the "Go Fish Georgia" Boat Ramps at the State Park was delayed until after the Labor Day holiday, but should now kick off within the next 10 days; 7) We received conformation that GDOT will let a LARP contract in October for 1.9 miles of resurfacing so that's good news that some dollars are flowing out of GDOT for the first time in a long time; 8) We have received our first Public Works check from the Presidential Declaration on the weather event in the spring in the amount of almost $58,000; that was the federal share, we have about another $9,000 coming when this project is closed out, which we are working on right now; 9) New and improved Driver's Licenses will soon be issued by DDS. These licenses are supposed to cut down on identity theft due to several new security features; 10) Mediacom has advised us that several rate changes will become effective in September and October. Most cable package rates will go up $, and Total Family Cable will be increased by $4.00. In October PPV & On Demand new releases will go to $4.99 and Library movies to $3.99; 11) The Amboy Road at Lime Creek remains closed for the bridge replacement over Lime Creek; and 12) Community of Character Trait for the Month of September is COURTESY. Saying "please, thank you, I'm sorry, yes ma'am, no ma'am. Polite, well-mannered behavior toward others.


Mrs. Leverett reported that the Public Hearing on the proposed millage rate for 2009 is part of the process of setting the millage rate and continuing on with the digest process. The rate remains the same at 10.749 as in 2008, and there will be a slight drop in the tax digest from last year. The assessments were up about $5 million but the exemptions went up about $10 million, which left about a $5 million drop in the bottom line, which means we will anticipate collecting about $50,000 less than last year. Chairman Nance opened the Public Hearing and asked if there was anyone who wanted to speak in favor or against the proposed millage rate for 2009, and there were none. Administrator Crapse advised that the proposed millage rate also applies to the Special Service District rate of 1.340, as it did not go up either, plus the School Board millage rate for 2009 is the same as last year's also. Mrs. Leverett advised that they did incorporate the full rollback for the Local Option Sales Tax as a credit to the tax rate, as they do every year. There being no further comments, Chairman Nance closed the Public Hearing.


Mrs. Leverett reported that we have been working on the budget since March of this year, we did adopt and are operating under a Continuing Appropriations Resolution since July 1, 2009. The reason is because we were waiting to get more final figures on the Tax Digest numbers before we set the budget. We did make some slight adjustments on these final numbers, nothing major, and we need a motion to adopt the proposed Resolution, which contains all of our funds for the 2010 budget. Funds include the General Fund, $14,342.045; which includes $974,591 of prior year surplus that was needed to balance that budget; Law Library, $31,000; Jail Fund, $159,000; Dare Fund, $25,000; E-911 Fund, $738,052; Northside Sewer Phase II, $10,000; Northside Sewer Phase III, $365,000; Hotel-Motel Tax Fund, $50,000; 2000 SPLOST, $250,000; 2005 SPLOST, $3,748,500; Water Distribution Fund, $390,500; Landfill Fund, $1,531,000; CDBG Revolving Loan Fund, $72,500; and Asset Forfeiture Fund, $50,000, for a County-Wide total of $21,762,597. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the FY-2010 Budget, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to adopt the 2009 Millage Rate at 10.749, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to go into Executive Session to discuss Potential Litigation, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


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


Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adjourn the meeting at ll:43 a.m., seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.

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