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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. Chairman Nance welcomed all in attendance.


Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the minutes of the meeting held on March 9, 2010, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


William McKee, Victims' Advocate with the District Attorney's Office, reported that beginning this Friday they will kick off National Crime Victim's Rights Week. They will begin with a road block in all four counties of the circuit, Monday the Proclamation will be read at the steps of the Courthouse, Wednesday they will have a program in the jury room of the Courthouse to advise the community what services they have available for victims of crime, and Thursday they have a service at the memorial wall at the Sheriff's Department, which is in celebration of the victims of crimes that have lost their lives. He thanked the Commissioners for supporting the District's Attorney's Office in signing the proclamation. Administrator Crapse read the National Crime Victims' Rights Week Proclamation proclaiming the week of April 18-24, 2010 as Crime Victims' Rights Week. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the National Crime Victims' Rights Week Proclamation, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Colonel Billy Hancock reported that the Crisp County Sheriff's Office employees, in conjunction with Relay of Life and in order to raise funds, have decided to put out purple bows for a $10 donation in honor of Sheriff Haralson. Many of the Sheriff's Office employees and others have somehow been affected by cancer, and in seeing what their mentor and leader Sheriff Haralson has been through and what has been available through clinical and experimental trials, they decided it was time for them to step up to the plate and raise money for this cause. He advised that Sheriff Haralson has always been a big giver with the Relay of Life in years past and is unable to get out and do that this year, so they are going to help him to raise money by putting out these bows; they call the campaign "Paint the Town Purple". Colonel Hancock advised that yesterday Commissioner Mathis came by and purchased a ribbon for the Government Center and asked him to present it this morning so that the Commissioners can be a part of their campaign.


Deborah Smith, Director of the Crisp County Department of Family and Children Services, reported that she is mandated by the State of Georgia to come and talk to them about child abuse and neglect. Their main focus is to try to work with families and let them be the driver of their own case, and they want them to tell them what they need from them so that they can be able to help them. She advised that in Fiscal- Year 2009, they had 270 reports of child abuse and neglect, which is a 19% decrease in last year's numbers. They substantiated and opened 33 of those cases, which meant that they did find cause of an incident of abuse or neglect, and substainted and closed 9 cases; those 42 cases are the number of pinwheels they have placed on the lawn of the Community Clubhouse. She advised that at the beginning of FY09, they had 34 children in foster care, and at the end of the year, they had 27 children, and 6 of their children were adopted. They do have sufficient foster parents in the county as they have 11 foster parents, and they do not bring children into foster care unless it is the very last resort as they try to place children with their own families because they believe that children do better with their own families. In our county, they do provide support for families through food stamps, TANIF, and Medicaid. For FY09, there was $241,000 expended in TANIF, $8 million expended in food stamps, and $32 million expended in Medicaid. She thanked Commissioners for what they do for their agency.


Mrs. Smith, along with Kelly Chadwick, President of Prevent Child Abuse in Crisp County, and Sarah Henderson, were present for the Child Abuse Prevention Month Proclamation. Mrs. Smith reported that the reason why the numbers are reduced on child abuse neglect is because of Prevent Child Abuse and groups like that which work with them. Ms. Chadwick advised that she is also the program manager of the Crisp County First Steps and Healthy Families Program. She advised that they are a prevention program that assess at risk moms at birth as she goes to the hospital when babies are born, and Ms. Henderson goes visits each week after they get home to teach parenting skills, child growth and development. This program is to keep these children from ever being reported. Mrs. Smith advised that once a family is reported to them, there is history with that family, and many times when a family has history, they are more prone for abuse, but if they can go into a program like health families where they go in and work with a young mother and child when it is born and the mother is learning skills to be a better parent, they don't see those types of families. Administrator Crapse read the Child Abuse Prevention Month Proclamation proclaiming April 2010 as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adopt the Child Abuse Prevention Month Proclamation, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that over 106,000 men, women, and children await life-saving or life-enhancing organ transplants, of which over 3,000 reside in Georgia, and a new patient is added to the national waiting list for an organ transplant every 11 minutes. He then read the National Donate Life Month Proclamation proclaiming April 2010 at Donate Life Month. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to adopt the National Donate Life Month Proclamation, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.


Monica Simmons, President of the Chamber of Commerce, reported that the chamber is the primary organization in our community that promotes all types of businesses, but small businesses makes up the biggest majority of businesses in our community as it does in the state and nationwide. They are going to be making plans in May to really celebrate the Small Business Week, and she thanked Commissioners for their support. Administrator Crapse read the proclamation proclaiming the week of May 17-21 as National Small Business Week. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adopt the National Small Business Week Proclamation, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously. Mrs. Simmons also reported that they have received a RBEG Grant to hire a Small Business Development Coordinator at the Chamber, and if there is someone that needs technical assistance to let them know.


Mrs. Simmons advised that she was asked to coordinate and promote the census in our community. She advised that they are going to have an event this Saturday, April 17th, at the High School in conjunction with a couple of other events to promote the census and ask that everyone be counted. She stressed the importance of being counted as this will effect how the government is funded; they have forms or if anyone has any questions they can call them at the Chamber. She advised that they also have census forms at the J. R. Dowdy Center and at Gillespie Seldom. They will be at the high school on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and they will also be holding their annual clothes collection in conjunction with the census. Catherine Mays, Director of Keep Crisp Beautiful, advised that the clothes they receive would be used to help people in need. Ms. Simmons also advised that Sunbelt Ford will also be at the high school on Saturday to do a "drive one" for the band program, and Commissioner Mathis will be providing snow cones also. She thanked Commissioners for their support of Keep Crisp Beautiful.


Tucker Price, Extension Agent with the University of Georgia, invited the Commissioners to the annual Georgia Association County Agricultural Agents (GACA) Farm House at the meeting in Savannah next weekend. They will provide all kinds of commodities from different parts of Georgia, and he wanted to personally invite them to the Farm House, as it is GACA's way of showing their appreciation to the local Commissioners.


Robert Cooke, Director of the ECEZ, reported that they had a visit from a representative of the National Empowerment Zone, USDA, and they mentioned that there was a new initiative that USDA would be proposing based on regionalism with more than two counties. It hasn't been officially announced, and they don't know what the requirements are going to be, but he has taken them at their word and began looking around; on a regionalism basis, we could reach out to as many as 28-30 counties in our area. He advised that we do have an opportunity to prepare for this initiative before it is actually announced, and he would like to have the authorization and the direction to go out and seek to create a regional initiative that will serve Crisp and Dooly counties in addition to serving the other counties involved. He would like to coordinate that with the Administrator and Commissioners as it moves forward so they can be aware of what it could look like and where it would go, and prepare to make an application and have the other counties that would be involved to be pre-signed on and ready to sign when announced. He is asking Commissioners to let him go ahead and get started and talk with the other counties, prepare for this application, and get it ready so when USDA does announce, they can have an application in their hands that all the counties can agree on quickly. Mr. Faircloth asked what were some of the things that regionalism is promoting. Mr. Cooke replied that from USDA's side it is based on economic development and will be about $1.5 million in the 2011 budget, so it will not be near as large as the empowerment zone. Depending on what the other counties and economic developers and on what ya'll want, it is possible that this could lead to some other cooperation between the counties. Mr. Cooke advised that this year they have some empowerment zone funds provided to them through the Crisp/Dooly Joint Development Authority but if this process extends into 2011, he may have to come back to them and ask for some support for writing this grant. If that is the case, it would be the actual cost of writing the grant divided by the number of counties participating, and he doesn't anticipate it being a very large amount. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to give Mr. Cooke guidance to proceed with the development of the initial grant process and making contact with the other counties regarding the new initiative from USDA, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Lisa Leggett, Environmental Health Specialist #3 with the Crisp County Health Department, introduced Lisa Ellenburg, the new County Nurse Manager. Ms. Leggett advised that most of the new Environmental Health Fees are realigning with the district terminology, as they have a new computer system and there were sixteen counties and sixteen different fees and terms. She advised that they have tried to consolidate to where there is a one-fee term; there are some prices that have gone up and they wanted to make sure that late fees were included. The state has added some services that they now have to provide. Mr. Harris asked what happens to the fee income, and Ms. Leggett advised that the fees do stay local to cover their overhead. She also advised that now they can provide birth and death certificates for the whole state, and collect revenue from that as well. Mr. Mathis asked Ms. Leggett to explain the permit process or procedure for people that are cooking for fundraisers. She advised that they do not have a fee because the city or county takes over at that point, but they do provide one exception to the Food Service Permitting if it is non-profit and it has an event lasting less than 120 hours and there is an event permit written by the city or county. She advised that they had addressed this issue with both the city and county and they asked it they wanted to do this, and both said yes; so if a church has a barbeque, they go to the city or county, wherever the church is, and they will get an event permit. Mr. Mathis replied that they don't actually go through her to get the permit, and she replied no they do not, they could choose a food service offer the event where they come out and cook it, or they have to have the event permit. Mr. Mathis asked if for non-profit they have to be an actual 5013C group, and Mrs. Leggett advised that is up to the city and county to determine. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the Environmental Health Fee changes, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Connie Sangster, Planning Director, reported that last month we had the Public Hearing on the request from Patrick's Investments to consider rezoning 4.89 acres from RS1(Single Family Residential) and GC(General Commercial) to HC(Heavy Commercial) for the proposed use of a Warehousing or Indoor Storage Facility/Office Headquarters. Property is located at the intersection of Hwy. 300 S. and Antioch Road. This is the decision meeting. She read the Rezoning Request Checklist that references the standards and the comments on the rezoning request. Commissioners deferred the motion on the rezoning request until after Ms. Sangster reads the Standards for a Special Use Permit since they coincide with each other. Ms. Sangster read the Standards and Comments for the Special Use Request. She advised that may want to discuss any conditions or restrictions that they may want to attach, if approved, as they will need to be made part of the motion on each approval. Administrator Crapse advised that they have come up with some conditions/restrictions that they think may be appropriate: 1) approval is only for the use that was presented at the 3/16/10 Public Hearing and must be built according to the presented site plan; 2) maximum building heights not to exceed 25' from top of slab to highest point; 3) required screening of at least 10' wide on property that abuts Old Coney Road and Antioch Road of a natural buffer utilizing existing vegetation or a structural buffer, whichever provides an opaque visual screen to a height of 6', or an combination of existing and replanted vegetation which can reasonably be expected to create an opaque visual screen 6' high within two growing seasons; 4) hours of operation: 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. - 7 days a week; 5) special measures to alleviate undesirable views, glare, noise, dust or odor to adjacent properties. All exterior lighting will have a type of reflector/diffuser to direct light away from roads and neighboring property; 6) after construction of building, equipment/heavy trucks shall not be located or stored on the property, and all equipment shall be stored inside of the building; 7) if Antioch Road or Old Coney Road is damaged due to the approved use - repairs shall be the responsibility of owner(s); and 8) Special Use Permit for this use will terminate if building has not commenced within one year from date of approval. Administrator Crapse advised that if the zoning and special use permit is in place, these will be the special conditions that they would recommend be placed on the property so that in the future any additional use of the property would have to comply with the same rules. These conditions are not directed at Mr. Patrick and what he is doing, they are directed toward future use. Milton Patrick stated that the office would face Hwy. 300 with an entrance off of Antioch Road and the warehouse will face Antioch Road with two entrances off of Antioch Road and one entrance off of Old Coney Road with the entrance about 100' off of Hwy. 300. Chairman Nance stated that it appears that the property is more suitable to the office space as opposed to the office and the warehouse. Ms. Sangster advised that the office would be allowed by right in the GC zone district; the question comes in from the warehouse that would have to have the HC zone district and the special use permit. On a major highway they try to leave a buffer of GC and then an area beyond a major highway they would go to a HC or Industrial zone district. Chairman Nance asked Mr. Patrick why they didn't want to put it across the road from Hwy. 300 on property that they own as to him that looks like it would be more suitable for the warehouse. Mr. Patrick advised that the water would be too close to the property as there is a pond beyond the road on that side, and they think this property is a natural for what they are going to do. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to approve the rezoning request for Patrick's Investments from RS1 and GC to HC with the eight conditions listed above, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to allow the warehouse as a Special Use as presented along with the eight conditions listed above, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


Mrs. Leverett reported that today's packet includes the executive summary for the month of March 2010 as well as year to date. The first page contains the report of revenues and expenditures for our three major funds. In the General Fund, monthly revenues are $1,640,826; year to date revenues of $10,765,729; monthly expenditures $1,755,876; and year to date expenditures of $10,013,945. These numbers bring General Fund revenues to about 75% and expenditures to approximately 70% of annual projections and leave us with revenues exceeding expenditures by $751,784 at the end of the month. (Slightly higher than at March 09 by about $80,000) For the Landfill Fund, we have $115,839 in accrued monthly revenues; $935,185, YTD; $113,430 in monthly expenses; $854,720 YTD, leaving the Landfill Fund with a net income of $80,465 at 3/31/10. The total tonnage received for the month of MARCH of 3544.86, is up over 500 tons from March, 2009 and also a little more than 600 tons over last month. Approximately 50% of that was received from Veolia under their commercial contract and 14% under their residential contract. Monthly average is still lagging behind by about 100 tons from FY 09. GEFA Loans are current at $3,220,948. For the month of March, The Water Fund recorded revenues of $30,867; YTD $300,835. Expenditures for the month totaled $38,059; YTD, $355,084 leaving it with a net loss at 3/31/10 of $54,249. Total usage for the month was 4,643,000 gallons and the USDA Bonds are current at $1,672,212. Cash on hand as of March 31st shows in the General Fund we have $6,395,066; the Landfill Fund, $1,982,079, the revolving loan fund $236,436, the SPLOST Funds, $2,237,264 and the Water Fund ended the month of with $1,032,742 giving us a county wide total of $11,883,587. In the SPLOST 2000 Issue report, as of March 31, 2010, we have spent $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. For the SPLOST 2005 Issue, distribution #50 of $368,638 was the best we have seen in quite a while. February retail sales moved our monthly average in the right direction, up to $354,868 but remains about $20,000 off last year's numbers. Total collected issue to date of $17.7, and we have spent $18.7. Following that is a monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues. Projects benefiting from the 1% Special Local Option Sales Tax revenues including the New Courthouse, The Cities of Cordele & Arabi, The Crisp County Airport, Crisp County Public Works and County Roads combined for a total of $105,951 in SPLOST Expenditures for the month of March. Next is the CDBG RLF monthly report, which includes the balance and status of all our CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts. We remain with ten outstanding loans, total balance due of $2,144,118. Of those ten, five are current and five delinquent. The last report is the revenues by fund and expenditures by department report for the end of the third quarter of this fiscal year. The summary report shows the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund. As of March 31st, all departments and divisions should be within 75% of their annual allowances. Overall, as of March 31, 2010 the General Fund was at 70%, the Water Fund at 91% and the Landfill fund at 56%.


Kathy Gill with the Crisp County Developmental Disability Center reported that they want Commissioners to be aware of the challenges that they are now facing as their center is being closed. They are asking for support from Commissioners and state officials to assist them in any way to help support and keep their center open. They are being met with challenges from cuts at the state level, and all of their funding comes through Medicaid and cuts in Medicaid are affecting them. She advised that there is a big need for this center in our community as they service about 67 consumers total and 34 of these will be impacted by this change; right now they have an option of being transferred to a facility in Americus or participating in a community based program. They are trying to find whatever they can financially to keep them up and going; they are working on proposals now. She wanted to make the Commissioners aware of what was going on because they are located in a county owned building and they may have to come to the Commissioners for help in reducing the rent or give them some time to get a plan in place to meet the cuts that they know are coming July 1st. She advised that the Mental Health outpatient in front of their building runs totally separate from theirs and theirs is not being affected by the budget cuts. Chairman Nance advised her to coordinate with Administrator Crapse. Administrator Crapse advised that he has talked to State Representative Buddy Hardin and so far no results. Mrs. Gill advised that the last she heard was that if they can find a way to keep the center running even with the budget cuts they would agree. She advised that they have talked to the parents about this, but the transporting of the people will not actually start until May 15th. She advised that they knew these cuts were coming last year, and they had already taken steps to try to do what they could before it got to this point as they consolidated the Crisp and Dooly counties centers, cut staff, transferred staff to other positions, and they are operating at a bone level now.


Administrator Crapse reported that he has received a refund request from 21st Mortgage Corporation stating that the 2010 taxes they paid to Crisp County should have been paid in Tifton County instead. He had written a memo to Chief Tax Appraiser Tim Quick regarding this. The Board of Assessors' agree that the taxes are due in Tift County and that the taxes paid to Crisp County should be refunded, so he would recommend the Board approve a refund for 2010 taxes in the amount of $204.92. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to refund the 2010 taxes for $204.92 to 21st Mortgage Corporation, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse advised that Hal Gibson Companies put together an abbreviated presentation for the Darton College of Higher Education Center in Cordele and was presented last week. He went over the plans that include land that was donated by the Perlis family, which will include about 104,800 sq. ft. of study space in all the buildings, the properties that are in the historic site that the outside cannot be changed, and the layout of the buildings and parking areas. He showed Phase I, which includes a lot of demolition and the site for the first buildings, and the streetscape; Phase II is working on the adapted re-use of the buildings on Wall Street, walking streets in between the buildings, and an elevator tower; and Phase III will include parking structures, multi-purpose buildings, and possibly some things that are re-used because they are adjacent to these buildings. The possible funding sources will include federal and state funds, foundation funds, individual funds, and county SPLOST funds. The estimated cost of Phase I is $8.75 million-$300,000 for project management, $574,000 for architect and engineer services, $1,055,000 for furnishings for the buildings, $90,000 for special costs, $743,750 for contingency funds, for a total new project cost of $11,500,000, and that added to the demolition cost of $750,000, and landscaping, lighting, and paving at $650,000, making the total cost of Phase I estimated at $12.9 million. He advised that is where they are now with this project and everyone was very impressed with what they came up with, and he was impressed until it got to the dollar page.


Administrator Crapse reported that we have received final EPD approval on opening of the new C & D cell, so we are ready to accept waste into that cell, and the current rate for C & D waste is our regular MSW cells fee of $32.85 a ton plus the .75 fee for EPD. The rate at the inert landfill is $21.50 plus the .75 EPD fee. The C & D Cell does not have the liner but it does have more than is required for the inert landfill so the cost is more than inert but less than the MSW cells to operate and maintain. He thinks the Board needs to set a separate fee for the C & D cell, as they have never had a separate fee for C & D cell. They may want to consider starting the C & D cell fee at 28.00 a ton plus the .75 for EPD fee, as it sort of breaks this between the other two numbers. He advised that the last change they made in the landfill fees were in 2008, and the change before that was in 2006, so if we follow that pattern, all our landfill fees will be up for discussion during the budget process this year. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to adopt a fee for the C & D Cell at the landfill at $28.00 a ton plus .75 for EPD fees, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.


Administrator Crapse reported that; 1) He attended several meetings and events this month; 2) There was one new SPLOST Purchase approved this month to replace a 20-year A/C at Fire Rescue Station #4 for $2,883.00; 3) I expect an avalanche of "Unfunded Mandates" to emerge from the General Assembly in the next two weeks. Possibly coming are state cuts in Indigent Defense, Car Tax, Annual Assessments, Transportation, low-flow fixtures, Leak detectors on municipal water lines, etc., etc.; 4) As the weather has improved so have our roads. We still have a lot of issues out there, but we are finally making progress. I would characterize the overall condition as fair instead of poor, and we are making some steady progress if the weather will continue to hold off some; 5) The Amboy Road at Lime Creek opened for traffic this morning at 8:00 a.m.; 6) Off System Safety Program request for 2009 (delayed until 2011) for 29.13 miles has been accepted by GDOT, now pending funding in FY-11. The October 2010 LARP work is in progress, the asphalt is down but the striping has not been completed (Catfish, Bryant & Antioch). The LARP from the April 2010 is also pending funding in FY-11; 7) The Meadow Park Sewer project is now about 70% complete and continuing forward; 8) Can't say we are on a roll yet, but SPLOST collection for February was $368,638 and for the first time since September 2009 it resulted in increasing our average. LOST collection for February was $173,239.58 the largest since September 2009 and larger than any other month in 2009 also. Most likely still a reporting issue; 9) The latest VA report of activities is out for FY-2008, and shows that Georgia has 769,567 Vets, with $1,389,107,000 being paid in Compensation and Pensions, and $2,650,267,000 in total expenditures in Georgia. Our local office made 5681 contacts from 3,337 Vets in the Crisp, Dooly, Wilcox area and spent $12,566,000. Crisp County accounts for $6,259,000 of the expenditures and 1,554 of those Vets; 10) The move of the Tax Assessors Office should be completed this month; 11) Mediacom has announced in two letters this month the increase in five of their services ranging from $.75 to $2.00 per service; 12) The "Go Fish Georgia" Boat Ramps remain on hold for now. By the time we get ours roads back up to par we should be able to continue the work at the park, pending Mother Nature too; and 13) Community of Character Trait for the Month of April is PERSEVERANCE. Working hard without giving up.


Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation, real estate, and personnel, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.


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


Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve a Beer, Wine, & Liquor By The Drink License for Dallas Porter at Porters Steak & Seafood, formally the old Ollde Inn, seconded by Mr. Mathis, motion carried unanimously.


By common consent, Commissioners set up a work session for April 20, 2010 at 4:30 p.m.


Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adjourn the meeting at 1:01 p.m., seconded by Mr. Mathis, motion carried unanimously.

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