MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON FEBRUARY 16, 2010
Chairman A. James Nance called the meeting to order at 10:00 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. Rev. Victor Scott, Associate Pastor/Youth Minister at First United Methodist Church gave the invocation, and Administrator Crapse led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. Chairman Nance welcomed all in attendance.
PRESENTATION OF CHAMBER SERVICE PLAQUE TO COMMISSIONER HARRIS
Phil Berryman, Chairman of the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce, and Monica Simmons, President came to honor Mr. Harris. Mr. Berryman stated that on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce that they are here to present Commissioner Harris a Plaque recognizing his service to the Chamber Board of Directors for years 2007-2009. He stated that they appreciated everything Mr. Harris has done for the Chamber and also his service to our community for many years as a Commissioner. Mr. Harris thanked them for the Plaque and advised that this was a pleasant surprise.
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the minutes of the meeting of January 12, 2010, seconded by Mr. Mathis, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING Ð CLOSING A PORTION OF AIRPORT ROAD
Administrator Crapse reported that the Administrator in Dooly County contacted him on behalf of Lee Harris, Sr. regarding the closing and abandonment of a portion of Airport Road that runs east/west along the Crisp-Dooly County line. There was a sign posted on the road and a notice was in the paper for four weeks, regarding the proposed closing of this road and should both counties determine the road is no longer serving a public purpose, then both counties can jointly close and abandon the road, if they desire. The Dooly County Administrator advised him last week that his Commissioners did approve the request contingent upon Crisp County's approval. Chairman Nance opened the Public Hearing, and asked for any comments in favor of the request. Lee Harris advised that he was the one who petitioned the closing request and stated that he owns property on both sides of the road and is the only landowner that is affected by the closing of this road. There is no one that lives on this road and no one travels this road going to or from work, and he would appreciate it if Commissioners closed the road. No one else spoke in favor of the request; Chairman Nance asked if there was anyone in opposition to the road closing. Jimmy Stillwell advised that in 2004 the county agreed to pave Slim Road from Tremont Road all the way to the county line. The existing landowner would not give up his portion of the right-of-way because they wouldn't pay him for it, and they all gave up theirs and they paved it to Mr. Harris' property. Mr. Stillwell stated that when he goes to Vienna, he normally goes up Slim Road, but the unpaved part of this road stays washed out every time we get two to three inches of rain, so when that happens, they go up Ambrose Road and cross this piece of road on Airport Road that Mr. Harris is talking about closing to go to Vienna. There are also four families that live across the pond from him that the road will affect, and it also could be a public safety issue when the road washes out on the other side of the pond from him, and that is why he doesn't want it closed. Marvin Reagan, owner of Watermelon Capital Speedway, said he would love to see the road closed because a lot of people come down Airport Road and drop people off and go through the woods onto his property during the week and also during race week, they will try to slip in the racetrack. He doesn't see any need for the road to be opened and as far as if the other road washes out; he doubts you could get through Airport Road anyway. Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, stated that if Lee Harris would give a turn around spot on the north end of Airport Road, he would not see a problem in closing that portion of road that is between Airport Road that is perpendicular to I-75 and Slim Road. He advised that maybe we could get an easement or right-of-way on Slim Road across from where the creek is from the landowner so we can improve the creek crossing. Mr. Stillwell stated that if the place where it washes out on Slim Road were fixed, it would eliminate a lot of the problem. Mr. Harris advised that he does not have a problem with giving the county anything they need to maintain the road and the cul-de-sac on Airport Road. There were no further comments, so Chairman Nance closed the Public Hearing. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to close a portion of Airport Road, in conjunction with Dooly County, with Lee Harris agreeing to give the county a proper turn around area at the end of this road and also give some right-of-way around the creek so Mr. Gamble can improve the creek crossing on Slim Road, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING Ð CLOSING COUNTY ROAD 126
Administrator Crapse advised that Max Carden has requested that County Road 126 be closed as it serves no public service and poses a public danger when it is wet and slippery. There was a sign posted on this road and notice was advertised for four weeks in the newspaper. The road is a little connector road and there is plenty of alternate access around that road, and he thinks it was part of a right-of-way when that road straightened out years ago. The Administrator advised that where the road is, it is difficult to maintain, and it would save a little wear and tear on the county vehicles. Chairman Nance opened the Public Hearing and asked for anyone speaking in favor of the request; there was none. He then asked if there was anyone speaking in opposition to the request; there was none, so he closed the Public Hearing. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to close County Road 126, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING Ð RENAMING A PORTION OF SMOAK BRIDGE CIRCLE
Administrator Crapse reported that Mr. Fletcher, a resident of Smoak Bridge Circle, has requested that a portion of Smoak Bridge Circle between GA. HWY. 300 and eastward to the dead end be named Fletcher Road. He believes that since this is no longer a circle that it causes confusion with the other end of the road westward from Arabi-Warwick Road that has the same name. There is also a Smoak Bridge Circle off GA. HWY. 300 just across the bridge in Worth County. The Administrator advised that this change affects a lot of things instead of just putting up a new sign that people don't think about, such as the Post Office, all of Public Safety agencies including E911, other residents on the road, maps, GPS systems, and many other potential documents. In addition, it is not a best practice to name a road after a resident. Chairman Nance opened the Public Hearing, and he asked for anyone speaking in favor of renaming this road. Ray Fletcher, who requested the name change, reported that his family has owned land there for over 65 years, he is the only full-time resident on that road, there are two other roads named Smoak Bridge Circle, one in Crisp County and one in Worth County, and it confuses public agencies and anyone else trying to find Smoak Bridge Circle. He thinks the name should be changed, whether it is Fletcher Road or not, whatever Commissioners think is fair as long as we resolve this Smoak Bridge Circle name problem. There was no one else to speak in favor of the request; Chairman Nance asked for anyone to speak in opposition of the request, and there were none. Administrator Crapse reported that a sign was posted on the road, and the notice was advertised for four weeks in the newspaper. Mr. Fletcher stated that he has talked to his neighbors, and no one had any objections to the request. Chairman Nance closed the Public Hearing. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to change the name of a portion of Smoak Bridge Circle from GA. HWY. 300 eastward to the dead end to Fletcher Road, seconded by Mr. Mathis, motion carried unanimously.
AGREEMENT ON CDBG 2010
Jarrod McCarthy, Community Developer for River Valley Regional Commission, reported that it is time of the year again to begin planning for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application submittal. This will be for the 2010 round, and in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 the county was successful in getting CDBG's for water and sewage in the Northside area, which includes Meadow Park and Omar Heights. He advised that last year we did submit an application for drainage, but it was not funded. That application ranked 68th is the state and just missed being one of the 65 applications that was funded. Although they might be some stiffer competition this year with all the flooding in North Georgia, we hope to do some extra work on the application and re-submit it. There are three documents that have to be signed and one of them, the Letter of Agreement, has changed a little bit in. Administrator Crapse advised that several things have changed since the new River Valley Regional Commission took over in regards to grant applications, and this letter appears to place all of the responsibility on the county for doing the household information surveys and all the RDC does is provide the form. He advised that this is one of the biggest part of the grant application, but there were several comments noted on the application regarding the feasibility study which included that 1) the survey was less than 90% of the intended beneficiaries and an appropriate random survey methodology was not conducted, which he doesn't understand; 2) In the report, $10,000 was budgeted for acquisition but there was no details on the proposed acquisition; 3) It appeared that the outfall ditch is located on private property and the current owners are not identified, map doesn't show detail of pipe sizing documentation; 4) It doesn't appear that the drainage study was completed; 5) The review panel is not sure if the down stream impact were fully considered. Administrator Crapse advised that none of that was really considered because we don't do engineering during the preliminary phase. He then went over the other sections, which we scored high, on some, but one thing we really needed to approve on is leverage or the amount of money we put into the project. He would recommend putting in at least $20,000 to $30,000 if Commissioners agreed to go ahead with the grant. Mr. McCarthy advised that as far as the surveying goes, they did go out do the survey's, and he is hoping that this year they will not have to do any surveys because they should be covered from survey's done last year and the 2007 round as you can use survey's that are up to three years old. He advised that he has emailed DCA regarding the surveying, he used the survey form from the DCA's handbook, and it stated that you don't need a random sample, or the 90% rule, when you go to every household. Also, in their handbook you have to go to a certain number of households depending on the number of households that are in your target area, so he has asked them why the 90% rule of the people was applied to that, and that is an issue they are looking into. Administrator Crapse advised that the other change was that we have to pay $300 in addition to the $30,000 administration fee to redo the application, but his biggest concern is the survey's because we don't have the manpower and resources to go out and collect the survey data, but he does think it is important that we get that other 10% of the surveys completed. He stated that if the Empowerment Zone is not extended, then we could only submit an application every other year instead of every year as we do now. Mr. McCarthy reported that his understanding is that they do the surveys, and they will do that. He also explained that the $30,000 administration fee is only paid if the grant is approved and the $300 fee is to help cover their paper expenses, etc., and the $300 could come off the match leverage of the grant. He advised that the $10,000 match has to be cash but the leverage can be counted as in-kind. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the Resolution Authorizing the filing of an application with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for FY2010 CDBG Block Grant Program Funds not to exceed $500,000, the Letter Of Agreement with River Valley RDC, and the Resolution Authorizing the Obligation of $30,000 for the 2010 CDBG Funds from the DCA, seconded by Mr. Mathis, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE THE WITHDRAWAL OF ASHFORD VENTURES REZONING REQUEST
Administrator Crapse advised that if they have noticed in the newspaper and WSST-TV that Ashford Ventures plans to build their water park in Dooly County. The Board tabled the action when he came before the Board of Commissioners several months ago a pending wetlands report. This is just administrative paperwork so we can close it out in the Planning Department. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the withdrawal of Ashford Ventures rezoning request, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVAL OF FY-2009 BUDGET AMENDMENTS
Mrs. Leverett reported that basically these amendments are budget housekeeping for the FY-2009 Budget. She reported that countywide the FY-2009 beginning budget was $17,091,317; the adjustments that they are recommending of $459,816 will bring us to a final budget of $17,551,133 including all funds. She advised that about 85% of that, most of which is in the General Fund, around $374,000 was un-budgeted grant activities, which means that not only did we increase the expenditures, but we had revenues that came in to off-set that. The other thing she pointed out was in the General Fund we actually budgeted about $40,000 as coming out of prior year surplus to balance the FY-2009 budget, but with the decrease and shortfalls in revenues, we ended up transferring $748,816 out of prior year surplus just to break even for FY-2009. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adopt the FY-2009 budget amendments as presented, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett advised that the first report is the preliminary report of revenues and expenditures at January 31, 2010 for our three major funds. In the General Fund, numbers show monthly revenues at $2,385,763; YTD, $8,672,845; monthly expenditures of $882,798; YTD; $7,261,322. The good news is that the General Fund picture looks a little better this month with revenues exceeding expenditures for the first time this fiscal year by about 9%. This is primarily due to the fact that we have now received about 77% of our 2009 ad valorem tax revenue and leaves the General Fund with a net gain of $1.4 million. The bad news is that the net gain is down about $325,000/19% from this same time last year. For the Landfill Fund, we have monthly accrued revenue of $101,848, YTD accrued revenue of $719,920; monthly expenditures of $75,967, YTD $630,797, leaving the Landfill Fund with a net gain of $89,124 at 1/31/10.
The total tonnage received for the month of January was 3127.30 tons with approximately 50% of that being delivered under the Veolia commercial contract and 19% under the Veolia residential contact. The GEFA Loans are current at $3.2 million and we have drawn a little over $1 million on the new construction loan. In the Water Fund, we recorded monthly revenues of $35,806; YTD revenues of $240,504. January expenditures totaled $15,622; YTD expenditures, $287,905 leaving the Water Fund with a net loss at 1/31/10 of $47,400. Water usage for the month was 6.8 million gallons and the USDA Bonds are current at $1,677,810. In the cash on hand report as of January 31, 2010, the General Fund has $6.4 million, which is down about $2 million from Jan 31, 2009 and equates to about 25%. The Landfill with $2.2 million is about $100,000 less. The revolving loan fund $226,964, the SPLOST Funds, down also from this same time last year, $2.2 million, and the Water Fund ended the month with $1.1 million leaving us with a county wide total of $12.3 million, also down at about 27%. In the budget to actual report for the 2000 SPLOST Issue, we have spent almost $16.2 million of the $17.6 million dollars collected, leaving us with $1.4 million 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. January's disappointing distribution, representing December retail sales of $288,192, brings our total collections to $17,028,370 and drops our monthly average down to $354,758. We have spent $18.5 million on projects associated with this issue. Our monthly average has dropped $21,000 over the past 12 months. Next is a monthly detail listing of SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues. Disbursements for January totaled $221,577 and went out in support of projects for the City of Cordele, the Town of Arabi, the Crisp County Airport and the new Courthouse. In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, which includes the balance and status of all our CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts as of January 31, 2010, we remain with a total of ten outstanding loans with a balance due of $2.1 million. Five are current and five are delinquent. All of the delinquents have been turned over to legal. The last item included is the report of revenues by fund and expenditures by department as of January 31, 2010. All departments/divisions expenditures should be within 58%. Overall, for our three major funds, the General Fund is at 51%, the Water Fund is at 74% and the Landfill Fund finished the month at 41%. She also reported that the Finance Department has moved to Room 309, and thanked Mike Coleman, Carl Gamble, John Crow, her staff, Commissioners, and Administrator for allowing this move so that they can spread out.
APPROVAL OF FUNDING FROM AMERIS BANK FOR THE CORDELE-ALBANY MICROWAVE LINK
Administrator Crapse reported that this is for approval of funding from Ameris Bank for the Cordele-Albany Microwave Link. The Board approved the upgrade of the 800 Mgz system, and as part of that project, the way it was set up with Motorola, Crisp County would lease the lines between Cordele and Albany for the 911 hub, but it turned out that the lease costs on those lines were going to be $200,000 a year. So we went back to the drawing board and between Motorola and Albany Communications they came up with a different proposal that basically was a package of putting in a microwave system that we would own, and that was about $271,000 in total instead of the $200,000 a year lease. The Board approved this and we signed an agreement, and then about a month ago, Albany Communications came back and said that they couldn't honor that agreement because Motorola wouldn't go along with it; the reason Motorola would not go along with it is because in that microwave link there was only about 10% Motorola equipment; they weren't going to finance this big job if only 10% of the equipment was theirs. They did try to find some alternate financing, but none of the proposals were good for the county right now, particularly because of our cash flow. In the meantime, Mrs. Leverett started looking for some alternate methods of getting this handled, and with her discussions with Ameris Bank, where we previously borrowed the 800 MHz money, they agreed to add this amount on to the current loan and maintain the same interest rate, which was cheaper than the rate we had been given by Motorola. If we go this route, we will own the equipment from day one instead of the seven-year lease purchase and overall saving the county money. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the funding from Ameris Bank for the Cordele-Albany Microwave Link in the amount of $221,971.75, and authorizing Mrs. Leverett to sign the Loan Documents, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE TAX REFUND FOR CAROLYN M. SALAZ
Administrator Crapse reported that he has a request for a tax refund from Carolyn M. Salaz for tax years 2007, 2008, and 2009 due to an error in the tax valuation. In the particular case they were charged for a septic tank and well that was never on the property. Also, he has the Board of Assessors letter recommending that the refund be granted, and he recommends the Board approve the tax refund of approximately $349.79 subject to the Tax Commissioners calculation of the exact amount of overpayment; the refund should be in the form of a credit unless the 2009 taxes have already been paid, and then it would be a refund. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to approve a tax refund for Carolyn M. Salaz for tax years 2007, 2008, and 2009 of approximately $349.79, subject to the Tax Commissioners calculation of the exact amount of overpayment, and if taxes have not been paid for 2009 to issue a credit in that amount, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE CHANGES IN THE SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN
Administrator Crapse reported that the Department of Community Affairs requires some minor administrative changes to the Solid Waste Management Plan that the Board adopted last summer. The changes include wording changed from "generated rate" to "disposal rate", another changes the word "generated" to "disposed", and it adds the City of Arabi because they are under the county's collection system. Contrary to their immediate guidance, they had us go ahead and adopt the Solid Waste Management Plan in 2007 even though they had delayed the Comprehensive Plan to 2009, so the Plan that was adopted from 2007-2017, and now they say it needs to go all the way from 2007-2019. Basically we will just add two years on the end to make the Solid Waste Plan come out at the same time as the Comprehensive Plan. He advised that instead of adopting the Solid Waste Management Plan, Commissioners will have to approve these changes, have the document changed, have DCA review it again, and then they will send it back for final adoption by the Board. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to approve the changes to the Solid Waste Management Plan, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
Administrator Crapse reported that 1) he attended several meetings and events last month; 2) There were no new SPLOST Purchases approved this month; 3) The "Go Fish Georgia" Boat Ramps are obviously still on hold; 4) The Landfill C&D Cell is complete and we are waiting on Final EPD approval to open the cell for use. We have sent all the necessary info to the bondholder and they are getting bids to get the job completed; 5) As you are painfully aware I'm sure, the bad weather continues. Roads remain in poor condition and we are working steadily to keep the roads passable; 6) Not good news. SPLOST $288,191.58, lowest December collection since this SPLOST began, third lowest in 2009 despite it being Christmas time, 2009 total was lowest annual collection since this SPLOST began. LOST $135,782.33, lowest December collection since 2001, lowest annual collection since 2003; 7) We opened bids last week and we will let the contracts when we complete the bid review, but it looks like we will get better prices than last year on BB/SB/TB and Photography; 8) The Finance office has completed its move into the old District Attorney space, and we are starting on the move of the Elections Office into the old Probate Court space; 9) Our Annual Audit should be complete soon; they are now in the report writing stage. We should be able to schedule the audit presentation to you in March or April; 10) The Amboy Road at Lime Creek remains closed for the bridge replacement over Lime Creek; 11) Community of Character Trait for the Month of February is KINDNESS. Being friendly, considerate, and willing to help others.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to go into Executive Session to discuss real estate, personnel, and legal issues, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
TABLE APPOINTMENTSTO THE CRISP/TURNER JDA
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to table the appointments to the Crisp/Turner Joint Development Authority, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adjourn the meeting at 12:21 p.m., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.