MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON MAY 11, 2010
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 attending. Others present were County Administrator Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney Rick Lawson, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Commissioner Faircloth 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. Mathis to approve the minutes of the meeting of April 13, 2010, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE ANNUAL INDEPENDENT AUDIT
Craig Moye, with Maulden & Jenkins Auditing Firm, came to present the FY-2009 audit. He passed out the Audit Agenda, which basically states that the financial statements are the county's responsibility and their responsibility as auditors is to express an opinion on these financial statements; they audit these statements in accordance with Governmental Accounting Standards and generally accepted accounting principles. This document details and shows graphs of the General Fund and additional graphs concerning the proprietary funds, which include the Solid Waste and Water Funds. It also shows recommendations they have for management and some new standards that will be coming through later on in the next couple of fiscal years. He advised that the gray document is the actual Audit Report, which goes into great detail on all the county funds, their account balances and the activities throughout the fiscal year ending June 30th. He advised that the total assets of all funds were approximately $77 million at the end of the year, and the majority of those are the capital assets. The total loss for the county this year was approximately $700,000, which included the depreciation and debt. In the General Fund, there was a loss of approximately $700,00 leaving the county with a fund balance of $7.2 million, a healthy fund balance for a county your size. He stated that they had budgeted the General Fund to experience about an $800,000 loss, so showing the $700,000 loss shows some fiscal responsibility and you were actually able to come in under what was budgeted. He advised that their experiences around the state are that everybody budgeted for a loss this year, as these are some tough economic times. He stated that both of the Enterprise Funds are operating at a profit as of June 30th, which shows that you are charging enough for your services to outweigh your costs, and all in all it was a pretty good year giving the economic downturn. He asked if anyone had any questions, and stated that they appreciate the opportunity to provide the audit services to Crisp County. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to accept the audit report from Maulden and Jenkins, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
TABLED REQUEST FOR $6,674.50 TO FUND DARTON EXPENSES
Bob Evans and Monica Simmons came before the Commissioners to continue to partner with them in formulating Darton College, and a similar request has been given to the City, the IDC, and the Power Commission, and they have approved the requests. Mr. Evans advised that they are asking for 1/4 of the overhead cost of the building in the Industrial Park that houses Darton College, as their job is to furnish the building and take care of the operating costs associated with the building and Darton is covering all the other expenses. This is part of their overall master plan to move to a permanent campus downtown, as they are servicing 275 full-time students taking about 900 courses at Darton right now. He advised that the Chamber has been the administrative arm of this as they have been working between 8 & 9 years developing this plan, and it is a cookie cutter of the plan they did with South Georgia Technical College. Administrator Crapse advised that we have budgeted over $20,000 for the Chamber in 2010 and this was a reduction from last year's budget, which amounted to about $7,800. Since that time, they have committed $4,000 to the Master Plan for Darton College, and with this $6,674.50, basically what that means is that the Chamber didn't get cut $7,800 but are asking for a $3,000 raise. The auditor has just reported that we lost over $700,000 last year and we have some significant budget issues coming up in 2011 where we are going to have to commit to $1 million to cover shortfalls in our budget. He advised that these unbudgeted requests put us in a very difficult situation with cash we just don't have. He advised that from a staff point of view, we just don't have this money to spend, but that is not our decision, that is up to the Board, but it is not really a responsible fiscal thing to do for the county at this point concerning where are finances are and anticipating another loss for this year. Mr. Evans advised that as the Chamber of Commerce represents 450 business people and as taxpayers, they understand budgets, and the economy, but they are asking the Commission to look at this as not an expense but as an investment in the long term. This was the number one priority for the Chamber of Commerce to expand and have a college available in Cordele, as it helps them recruit new industry, and will be an industry within itself with 38 instructors over the next 5 years and 1,000 students; it will help to re-develop the downtown area that is deteriorating so badly. He advised that they are a group of individuals that are working for this community, they have gone and gotten the donation of the land, 2/3rds of 3 blocks in downtown Cordele, and it took them 7 years to get the University System to approve a permanent college campus; their job is to build the building and deed that building to the University, and Cordele will have a permanent satellite of Darton College. Mr. Evans advised that we need to look at this as an investment in the long term and is it in the best interest of our citizens. Mrs. Simmons advised that this money does not go to the Chamber, this is for the community, and they are just coordinating the effort. Chairman Nance advised that the Commissioners certainly appreciate the partnership with the Chamber and the work that they do, and he doesn't think there is a Commissioner or staff member that is not supportive of the project; Administrator Crapse did exactly what we wanted him to do in terms of financial analysis of the budget, but it is tough sometimes, and we will see if we can't work together and see what we can do. Mr. Evans advised that they have been able to get this portion of the Darton project funded through EZ in the past, EZ has lost their funding, their budget has changed, and that is why they are here today. It doesn't matter to them how the Commissioners fund as they have paid the first five months of this calendar year. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to table the decision to fund Darton College expenses of $6,674.50 to look at this further and see if they can't come up with some help, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
UPDATE FROM REPRESENTATIVE BUDDY HARDIN
Representative Buddy Hardin thanked the Commissioners and Administrator in the way they responded in helping him at the state level when the budget was in such a crunch. He advised that what he had just heard is why Cordele and Crisp County are doing so well, and that is that the folks here are working together. He knows there are some things that Commissioners and he would have like to had done this session, but he just wants to thank them for the input they gave him in getting through this budget crises, and keeping Cordele and Crisp County on an even keel. He also would like to request that some time in the near future they put together a meeting to discuss the transportation bill that was passed in the session, as is going to be extremely important to all the counties in our region. He advised that it is a regional bill, which is not exactly what he would have liked to have seen, but we need this bill, it is going to take a lot of discussion, and there will be round table discussions consisting of the Chairman of each County Commission and a Mayor from a City in each county in our region. He advised that those people will put together a transportation plan for the region; the people will then vote on whether or not to fund that with a 1% Regional Option Sales Tax (TLOST). He advised that it is a little bit complicated by the way it is put together, but he thinks it is going to be great for our county. He stated that the regional plan is set up so that now the state funds on the match will be 50/50 on projects, if the round table agrees by majority it goes to a 70% state match, and if the people approve the TLOST, it goes to a 90% state match. It is very important bill, we can get done the things we need to do, but we just have to make sure we work together to get this done. Mr. Mathis thanked him for hitting the ground running and looking out for our county.
APPROVE TRANSFER OF FUNDS FOR TAX ASSESSORS
Administrator Crapse reported that he has a request from the Tax Assessors Board as they are in need of some additional computer power to operate their new systems, especially the system that handles their mapping. The dollars are available within their budget but the dollars are personnel dollars, and the law requires that the Board approve any transfer from these dollars. He would request that the Board approve this request for a total transfer of $6,379.53. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the transfer of funds in the amount of $6,379.53 from personnel to operating funds for the Tax Assessors Office, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett reported that today's packet includes the executive summary for the month of April 2010 as well as year to date. The General Fund recorded revenue for April in the amount of $914,197, which brings the year to date total to $11,642,753, representing 81% of the annual budget. $1,136,794 in monthly expenditures brings that year to date total to $11,250,819 or 78% of budget and leaves the General Fund at the end of April with revenues exceeding expenditures by $391,934, about $100,000 less than at April 30, 2009. For the Landfill Fund, we recorded $121,253 in monthly-accrued revenue and $1,056,439 year to date. Monthly expenditures were $81,444; year to date, $938,104 leaving the landfill with a year to date net gain of $118,335. We received a total of 3610.78 tons of waste for the month of April. Approximately 49% of that was received from Veolia under their commercial contract and 16% under the City of Cordele free residential contract. This month's tonnage was up, slightly, over the previous month and also April of 2009, but is still running behind last year's averages by about 50 tons per month. The GEFA Loans are current at $3,202,544. The Water Fund recorded revenues of $33,362; YTD $334,578. Expenditures for the month totaled $38,614; YTD $393,782, leaving the Water Fund with a net loss at 4/30/10 of $59,204. Water usage billed for the month was 5,409,000 gallons. The USDA Bonds are current at $1,669,402. Next is the Cash Report for April. In the General Fund we have $5,732,735; the Landfill Fund, $1,996,605, the Revolving Loan Fund, $242,966, the SPLOST Funds, $2,925,435 and the Water Fund ended the month with $1,061,229 giving us a county wide total of $11,939,936, about $2 million less than at this same time last year. Of the balances on hand, only about $5.7 million is actually available to the General Fund in support of daily operations. This equates to less than 5 months of our annual budget and has now dropped below the level recommended for reserves and cash on hand for a government our size. In the 2000 SPLOST Issue, as of April 30, 2010, we have now 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. Following that is the 2005 SPLOST Issue report, we have total collections of $18,066,231, total expenditures of $18,971,073. Distribution #51 (of 72) in the amount of $322,816 received in April drop our average slightly from last month, down to $354,239. Next is the detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues. Total disbursements for the month of April were $197,091. Projects benefiting from SPLOST funds were the Town of Arabi, the City of Cordele, the new Courthouse, the CCSO, the Public Safety 800 MHZ upgrade project and County Buildings. In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, which includes the balance and status of all our CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts. We remain at ten outstanding loans with a total balance due of $2,138,801. Five are current and five remain delinquent. The last report is the revenues by fund and expenditures by department report as of April 30th. At the end of April, all departments and divisions should be within 83% of their annual allowances. Overall, the General Fund Expenditures were at 78%, the Water Fund, including depreciation, at 101% and the Landfill fund at 61%.
APPROVE REPAIRS & REPLACEMENT OF COMPONENTS FOR THE WATER SYSTEM MONITORING & SECURITY SYSTEM
Administrator Crapse reported that the we have discovered that there are some more issues with the water system now that we have the big leak fixed. They discovered that the radio's that run the monitoring and security systems for the water were down, we discovered that the FCC License had lapsed, and in order to get the license back, we have to replace some of the equipment as they no longer meet the frequency guidelines. It will be an expenditure of $14,650, and he recommends approval of this expenditure from the Water Fund; also based on the losses of the Water Fund, part of their budget recommendation would be to adjust some of the water revenues. Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to approve the expenditures in the amount of $16,650 for repairs and replacement of components for the water system monitoring & security system out of the Water Fund, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE SPLOST PURCHASES FOR PUBLIC WORKS & ROADS
Administrator Crapse reported that as part of the budget and with limited revenues that are going to be available in the future, Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, and he have been preparing for the new SPLSOT referendum. He advised that it is important that we position ourselves to optimize our operational capabilities while we minimize the operational cost over the next six years. In order to do this, he and Mr. Gamble have put together a list of items that they would like to purchase with 2000 SPLOST funds, which will take the pressure off the short-term needs of public works as well as some of the 2010 road projects. He recommends the Board approve the list for purchase during the remainder of 2010. The list includes ten pieces of equipment along with 6 miles of level/resurface/strip and 25 miles of stiping. The total amount of equipment is $515,500 and $720,000 for resurfacing and striping; we do have the funds in the 2000 SPLOST for both of these requests. He advised that we did not get any help at all from the Department of Transportation on resurfacing this year, and hopefully next year we will get some LARP and state aid. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to approve the SPLOST purchases for public works & roads, total amount of $1,235,500, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously. Commissioner Culpepper asked Mr. Gamble to explain why the paving was stopped on Antioch Road. Mr. Gamble reported that the resurfacing on Antioch Road was done with LARP money from the state, which comes from a list of roads that the county sends in, that in our opinion needs resurfacing. The state will access all the roads on that list, and give us resurfacing on part of that list; unfortunately they use the same formula that they have used for years and since asphalt has tripled in price you are getting less miles of resurfacing than in years past, and wherever that dollar amount runs out that is where they stop. He advised that fortunately he received notification last week that the state has let from where they stopped on Antioch Road to Raines Station Road, and it will be paved sometime between now and the fall. Mr. Gamble reported that we have received our December bridge report, and we have one tremendous deficiency, and we are by law required to notify the cities and school board as to what is on the list. He advised that this deficiency is the bridge on Primrose Road; it is no longer a multiple weight limit bridge but now it is 3-ton weight limit-bridge. He advised that they will be looking into what funds they can receive to repair this bridge.
DISCUSS LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN FY-10
Administrator Crapse reported that they met last week regarding our health insurance plan and learned that our stop loss premium will only be going up 1.84% versus the industry standard of 11-14%, and although the monthly premium will be going up about $6,400, we do not anticipate any need in increasing the county's or the individuals contributions. We started the year with $1.2 million in our fund balance, we actually spent $200,000 more than we took in, but we still ended the year with $1 million reserve in that fund. He advised that is where we need to be, and in a lean year, that is really good news. He advised that while we were in the meeting, we received a bid from a third company, and that is what resulted in our changing the underwriter for our insurance. He advised that we are still not sure when the new benefits from the government health insurance plan will kick in, but it looks like it will either be January 1 or July 1, 2011. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to approve the binding of the health insurance premiums, seconded by Mr. Faircloth, motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS PRELIMINARY FY-2011 BUDGET PRESENTATION
Mrs. Leverett reported that she has prepared a summary of the preliminary FY-2011 budget, and advised that we have received about 99.9% of the funding requests for FY-11, and she have done some reviews with the departments. She is presenting today the preliminary budget worksheet for outside agencies and major funds. The numbers include show the General Fund, as of right now, unbalanced with a shortfall of $762,901, it is actually a $1.762,901 shortfall as they have $1 million included coming out of prior year surplus. The other major funds are balanced, but in order to present them as balanced today the Landfill, E-911, and Jail Funds do include transfers from the General Fund. The Landfill budget is a little over $300,000, the E-911 Fund at $327,000, and the Jail Fund at $13,000. She advised that the General, Water, and Landfill Funds do include some proposed rate increases and some of those increases are already factored into those revenues that are presented today. She stated that a copy of the FY-2011 budget proposal is available for the public to review; it is not final, but it is in her office, which is Room 309 at the Government Center. Administrator Crapse advised that the cost of living increase is 1%, baseline for outside agency contributions were set at last year's level reflecting a 25% reduction, and virtually all of the outside agencies requested that there last year's funding be restored, however we have reduced those levels to 50% of the 2009 level, with the exception of the District Attorney's Office which was reduced by 25% from the 2009 level. He advised that the Tax Commissioner has been sending out non-mandatory courtesy letters to all tag owners letting them know when their tag is going to expire, and this has been eliminated and will save about $4,800. Also not included is the electricity bill for the house at Loren Williams Park, which is over $3,200 a year; this has been cut from the Recreation budget. He advised that there would be no new positions authorized this fiscal year, and one unfilled space in the Recreation Department is vacant, but it is not funded. The proposed recreation fee increases are included for their review along with the proposed water and landfill fee increases are there for their review. Some other things that they have considered, due to changes in the legislation, is there are going to be some additional expenses in the occupation tax in complying with collecting additional information and providing additional data to the state, and we may need to consider an increase in the occupation tax. Also, he thinks the Board needs to consider charging for the labor to put in pipes as before we did this as a courtesy. Mrs. Leverett advised that the General Fund expenditure total is $14.8 million, which is up a little over $500,000 from FY-10; the Water Fund is balanced at $410,600, up a little over $20,000 from last year; the Landfill Fund is balanced at $1.6 million, up about $92,500 over last year and includes a $300,000 transfer from the General Fund; the E-911 Fund is balanced at $808,850, up about $71,000 over last year and includes a transfer from the General Fund at $327,000; and the Jail Fund in balanced at $158,000, down $1,000 from last year and includes a $13,000 from the General Fund. She advised that they hope to have a balanced by July 1st. Administrator Crapse advised that they are proposing three workshops to discuss this in detail, which will be at 10:00 a.m. on May 18, 20, & 27th.
MOTION TO DISMISS BROCKEY BROCK DIED FOR LACK OF SECOND
Motion was made by Brad Faircloth to give Administrator Crapse the direction to dismiss Brockey Brock, died for a lack of a second.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to go into Executive Session to discuss personnel, potential litigation, and real estate, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to come out of Executives Session, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
APPOINT 2 MEMEBERS TO CRISP REGIONAL HOSPITAL AUTHORITY
Motion was made by Mr. Faircloth to reappoint Bettye Roberson to a five-year term on the Crisp Regional Hospital Authority, term ending 12/31/14, and appoint Craig Cotton to a five-year term on the Crisp Regional Hospital Authority term ending 12/31/14, replacing Cheryl Couturier, who did not want another term.
Administrator Crapse reported that 1) he attended several meetings and events this month; 2) There were three new SPLOST Purchases approved this month all related to the replacement of high mileage deputy vehicles totaling $46,304; 3) The microwave system between Cordele 911 and Albany 911 is installed as are the components of the 800 MHz upgrade. The acceptance test plan is now in progress and we could be completely on the new system in a couple of weeks; 4) As I expected an avalanche of "Unfunded Mandates" emerged from the General Assembly in the last two weeks. The Regional Transportation "TLOST" passed. Based on our preliminary calculation and the most recent formula, we would be fourth in tax collections and 14th in funds returned for County Projects in the region. We would collect about $3,768,733 per year and has $1,063,312 returned, that means that 71.79% of the tax collected in Crisp County would go somewhere else, mostly to the State and some to our neighboring counties. Overall $38,530,431 will go to the State and $12,825,000 would be returned to the region. A Property Tax bill also passed, it's bad, but could have been worse, it requires Annual Assessments Notices be sent out, which will cost $5,280 per year in postage alone. It gives the Superior Court Clerk oversight and administration of the BOE and requires us to use a standardized appeal form created by the DOR. The 40 cent per report of citations to DDS that the state reimbursed to Counties was not funded for FY-10 or FY-11, this will cost counties about $800,000 in un-reimbursed costs. HB 1251 gives Tourism businesses a tax refund of both state and local sales taxes for 10 years, total impact unknown. Counties will be required to conduct standardized water use audits, require and enforce low-flow fixtures, install Leak Detectors on municipal water lines, and more. Animal Shelters must scan animals for microchips, which will require new scanners. HB 1105 exempts watercraft from inventory tax. Also the Forestry assessment was increased from $.04 per acre to $.10 per acre. In appropriations, Funding for the DX project was eliminated, meaning that we will now have to house, operate and maintain that system at an unknown cost. All One Georgia funds were eliminated. All Georgia Rural Water Association funds were eliminated, resulting in additional costs for our water system testing. LARP funds were combined with State Aid, which means LARP resurfacing projects will require a County match. There was much more damage on a smaller scale which will result in additional indirect expense to comply with the new legislation. Overall 36 out of 66 bills passed will have some impact on Crisp County and the way we do business; 5) At ACCG we learned a lot about the Healthcare Bill and the drastic changes it included with regard to 1099 reporting requirements. Corporations and payments for merchandise are no longer exempt from 1099 reporting. This means we will have to issue a 1099 to every vendor we use to by merchandise. More directly, several other items have been ruled to be income to our employees, verses business expense; some of these are virtually all "allowances" are considered taxable and subject to Social Security withholding (blanket travel allowances, cell phone allowances, payment to Boards as per diem, meals reimbursed if not overnight travel, shoes and boots purchased by deputies, fire personnel and EMS employees); 6) Road conditions due to the weather have improved to just about normal; the rains last week did not result in significant new damage. We continue to work on the previous damage and we are making some steady progress if the weather will continue to hold off; 7) 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 Off System Safety Program request for 2010 is due by May 31st but will probably not be funded until FY-12. The October 2010 LARP work has been completed (Catfish, Bryant & Antioch). The LARP from the April 2010 is also pending funding in FY-11. The LARP after this will be rolled into the "Newest" new system. We anticipate a letter on this in July; 8) We had our STIP Meeting with GDOT on Friday and two significant items came out of it. The US 280 widening project has been dropped from the 2011 Ð 2014 program. The project is now scheduled for R/W acquisition in 2016 and Construction to begin in 2019! The second significant item is the plan to install a Roundabout (Traffic Circle) at the intersection of US 41 and SR 33 Connector. This seems to be serious overkill at that location. The projected cost is $1,000,000 and it is with current year funds. One thing that could slow the project is that there are no R/W dollars funded and the current R/W is not near adequate. The acquisition and environmentals could take a couple of years and give us time to challenge this plan; Johnny Floyd may be able to help with this. In addition the four-lane of Midway Rd. from south of 24th Ave. to SR 257 has been rescheduled to R/W acquisition in 2011 but construction not beginning until after 2014; 9) The Meadow Park Sewer project is now about 75% complete and continuing forward; 10) Can say we are NOT on a roll yet, SPLOST collection for March was $322,816 and once again lowered our average. LOST collection for March was $151,723.52 and also down. Most likely still a reporting issue; 11) On the SPLOST front for 2012 it looks like we can project $24-26M in collections and we have request to date of over $43M. It's going to be tough for us to get the numbers to fit together; 12) The move of the Tax Assessors Office has been completed. We plan to get the Sheriff's office moved by the end of thee month, but other than that we plan to take about 3 weeks off to catch up on other things. Next month we will tackle the VA Office and Administration; 13) The "Go Fish Georgia" Boat Ramps are back under construction with our forces. The DNR contractor is scheduled to return to work on May 18th and should start pouring slabs soon; 14) Ms. Mary Nell Titshaw came by the office to thank the Commissioners and County Staff for the quick and superb job the County Employees did in fixing her road when she reported problems on the road; 15) Community of Character Trait for the Month of May is COURAGE. To try even when you are scared. To meet a challenge without giving in to fear.
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adjourn the meeting at 12:46 p.m., seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.