MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON MAY 10, 2011
Chairman Wallace Mathis called the meeting to order, with Commissioners James D. Harris, A. James Nance, William Culpepper, and Clark Henderson in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Lester E. Crapse, Jr., County Attorney Rick Lawson, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. The invocation was given by Commissioner Culpepper, and Administrator Crapse led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. Chairman Mathis welcomed all in attendance.
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to approve the minutes of the April 12, 2011 minutes, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to approve the minutes of the called meeting of April 27, 2011, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
INTRODUCTION OF NEW FSA DIRECTOR, CINDY STONE
Cindy Stone, new FSA Director, introduced herself along with her office staff, which included Charlotte Ham, Cathy Gibbs, and Mindy Crane and advised that she has a good staff in agricultural backgrounds that are willing and ready to help. She stated that they issued over $6 million in program payments last year in Crisp County and counties contiguous to Crisp County received $72 million; this speaks volumes of the activity we have in this agricultural community. She also stated that they have a committee that represents different parts of the county that keeps her office informed of what is going on in these areas, such as the hail from the storms a few days ago. The committee members are Kenny Sheffield, Chairman; Steve Whelchel, Vice-Chairman; Charles Hardin, CSC member; and Ms. Branda Cole, advisor. She went over some of the important dates that were coming up in the near future for the farmers. They also have a long leaf pine program, which is continuous, meaning that until they run out of acres they will have the program, and last count they had about 12,000 acres available. She advised that she is glad to be here and be a part of this community, is looking forward to serving the farmers here, and appreciates the opportunity to speak today. Chairman Mathis advised that Ms. Stone replaces Michelle Slappey. Ms. Stone advised that Michelle was able to get closer to home, and this allowed her to come back closer to her home, as she is a native of Wilcox County.
DISCUSS LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN FY-10
Administrator Crapse reported that the health insurance committee met last Thursday and from the information we received, it looks like we are going to need to increase our contribution to the health insurance plan. The committee tabled any action as far as recommendations to the Board to look at other items, such as plan alterations, which could potentially reduce the amount of increase. Year to date, we have had $178,000 cost over revenues, as we started this year with a little over $1.1 million and we are down to $900,000. We are projecting next year's expenditures to be around $227,500 over revenues, which will drop us to $701,000, and that is at 80% of the claims. In our worst case claims, we could have a much greater loss, which would drop our balance very low, which are not good numbers for health insurance because one bad case can cost close to $1 million; that is why we like to keep close of $1 million in reserves. Several years ago, we did have to contribute an extra $200,000 into the plan during the middle of the year unanticipated because the health plan ran out of money, and we are trying to avoid that situation again. The plan changes that we are looking at are adding an option that would be a higher deductible, but one of the things that we are up against because of the new health care plan is that now we are "grandfathered" in until we make certain changes in the plan such as we can't raise the contribution, the deductibles, and other things except by a certain amount. There are some things we can do to retain our "grandfather" status and it is important that we retain this status through 2014 when all aspects of the plan are implemented. This is the only way we can protect ourselves until some of the returns from the Health Care law come in. He advised that this is the first increase we have had in three years, but this year we had a bad year and you have to project that forward in next year. They are going to have some budget workshops this month, and at one of those meetings we can have a called meeting in combination with the workshop so that we can take care of this when we get some more numbers. He stated that the only insurance quote we received that was competitive was a renewal of the reinsurance we have now, and we have bound that reinsurance part, and the portion of our self insurance plan that we pay out of pocket is where we are spending more than we are taking in. Hopefully if we can make some plan adjustments and spread the cost, unfortunately, to both the employee and employer we can make that impact minimal across the full spectrum. Mr. Henderson asked what are the policy limits are on the reinsurance, and Administration Crapse advised it is $1 million and very shortly it will be unlimited because that is what the health care law says.
DISCUSS CRISP COUNTY COMMUNITY COUNCIL ACCOUNT
Mrs. Leverett reported that during the budget adoption last year, one of the cuts we made to balance the budget was to cut the payment of the utility bills at the Crisp County Community Council building to 75% and bill the council for the other 25%. The account is past due, and we thought we needed to bring it to the Commissioners attention and see if there is any action that they would like them to take. Administrator Crapse advised that this is a community service that is provided by a consortium of social groups that are targeting at-risk kids for the most part, for various things like abstinence, drugs, truancy, etc. This is sort of an add-on thing of what DFACS is able to do, and basically the federal money has dried up, but the groups want to continue their programs. The plan years ago was when they occupied that building that these different groups would pay a little rent, but now most of all the grants have just about gone away, and if they do get a grant, it is restrictive where they can't pay rent as part of their services. It has put the county in a bind where if they can't pay the bill, we either have to keep paying the bill or has to shut it down, which is not a popular position. They are facing tough issues just like the county, and it is an issue that we need to address in the budget itself for the coming year. Chairman Mathis asked how much they owed, and Mrs. Leverett replied about $1,400 through March. Mr. Henderson advised that this is a "catch 22" as he thinks that the Community Council does a great thing, and asked if there were any restrictions on the use of that building such as could they rent some space out for different occasions. The Administrator advised that they have some co-corporative programs with the recreation department, but they do use a room for other functions as the last community meeting we had with Sanford Bishop was in their big room, and that the county has not put any restrictions on them being able to earn money from the building. Mr. Henderson, as a member on this Council, is going to encourage the Council to derive some source of revenue from that facility. Administrator Crapse agreed with Mr. Henderson and stated that it is going to take an outreach to move beyond their normal sphere of activities to garner some of that business from the community, and even if it is not but a couple hundreds dollars a month, that will help. Mr. Nance said the only thing is they would have to pay someone to be there during those meetings, as this is the same thing they had with the Council on Aging, as they had to cut it out because they couldn't afford to man it. He stated that if there is any money available, Kathy Garwood has pursued it, and Administrator Crapse advised that the money was supposed to dry up about three years ago, and she keeps going out there and finding some money. Administrator Crapse advised that he thinks we can just take the loss now, but it is going to take some real thought at budget time so that we are not back in the same situation next time; it doesn't do any good to budget an expense and not have a revenue to go with it. By common consent, Commissioners agreed to take the loss and discuss this situation again at budget time.
Mrs. Leverett reported that today's packet includes the executive summary for the month of April 2011 as well as year to date. First is the report of revenues and expenditures for our three major funds. In the General Fund, recorded revenue for April in the amount of $716,848 brings the year to date total to $12,329,257, representing 81% of annual budget. $1,177,163 in monthly expenditures brings that year to date total to $12,406,806 or 82% of budget and leaves the general fund at the end of April with expenditures exceeding revenues by $77,549. Although we are still within annual projections, this is about a $460,000 increase in net loss for the general fund over where we were on April 30, 2010. For the Landfill Fund, we recorded $118,349 in monthly-accrued revenue and $1,748,500 year to date. We had monthly expenditures of $111,405; year to date, $988,930 leaving the landfill with a year to date net gain of $759,570 including the $548,000 settlement. Take that out of the mix and the actual operating income YTD would be $211,570, about $90,000 better than for this same period of FY10. We received a total of 3755.62 tons of waste for the month of April. Approximately 33% of that was received from Onyx under their commercial contract and 16% under the residential contract. This month's tonnage was down less than 30 tons from the previous month but up about 140 tons over April of 2010. Monthly average continues to run slightly ahead of last FY by about 400 tons per month. The GEFA Loans are current at $2.6 million and we have drawn $1.6 million on the new construction loan. For the month of April, the Water Fund recorded revenues of $36,191; YTD $383,396. Expenditures for the month totaled $39,796; YTD $396,218, leaving the Water Fund with a net loss at 4/30/11 of $12,822. Water usage billed for the month was 4,696,000 gallons. The USDA Bonds are current at $1.6 million. In the Cash Report for April, the General Fund had $6.1 million; the Landfill Fund, $1.2 million, the revolving loan fund $373,125, the SPLOST Funds, $4.6 million and the Water Fund ended the month with $1.2 million, giving us a county wide total of $13.5 million, up about 2 million over last year with most of that increase being in the SPLOST funds. $5.1 million of our cash on hand is reserved for specific purposes such as debt service or capital outlay. The budget to actual report for the 2005/current SPLOST Issue shows Distribution #63 (of 72) of $321,886 up over last month by almost 4% but slightly down over this time last year by 0.3%. It also drops our average another $331 down to $342,425 and brings our issue to date collections to $21.5 million. We have spent $19.5 million as of April 30. If we stay on course with this average, we will fall about $181,000 short of funding all the projects. We also used that same average to update the revenue projections for the 2011 SPLOST Issue, and as you can see, if things don't get better, we are projecting a $4.2 million shortfall on funding needed for projects associated with that issue. Next is the SPLOST budget to actual by category summary report for the 2000 Issue. Total collections to date are $17.6 million, total expenditures $16.6 million, leaving us with $967,000 to complete projects associated with this issue. Next is a monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures for both issues. Only $31,555 was expended over the last 30 days. Projects benefiting from the 1% Special Local Option Sales Tax revenues during the month of April include Crisp County Roads, Crisp County Airport, the Crisp County Fire Dept and the CCSO. The next page includes an updated L.O.S.T. schedule. April distribution, representing March retail sales pretty much mirrors the percentages mentioned earlier for SPLOST. Up 4.12 % over last month and down over this same time last year by less than 1%. The CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report includes the balance and status of all our CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts. We did receive the payoff of Cordele IDA Loan #6, so we now have 10 outstanding loans, with a total balance due of $2,071,868. As you know, we also approved a loan of $275,000 to CIS, Inc., during the month. We have not closed that loan yet, so it does not appear on the schedule. The last report included is the revenues by fund and expenditures by department report, which shows the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund. At the end of April all departments and divisions should be within 83% of their annual allowances. Overall, the General Fund Expenditures were at 82%, the Water Fund, at 62% and the Landfill fund at 69%.
DISCUSS PRELIMINARY FY-2012 BUDGET PRESENTATION
Mrs. Leverett reported that when the initial budget requests came in, we were $2.2 million short in the General Fund, we have managed to trim that down to $1.3 million, and we are going to have some budget workshops to get some guidance from the Commissioners on which options they would like them to pursue to try to get this budget balanced. The operating budgets are cut to the bone, some departments are even less than they were last year, and the shortfall comes primarily because the revenues are down; our talks with Tim Quick, Chief Tax Assessor, indicates that the digest could be as much as $100,000 down, plus sales and insurance premiums taxes are down along with timber tax, mobile home tax, intangibles, business licenses, and this list goes on. Administrator Crapse advised that the Local Option Sales Tax is our second largest revenue source after property tax, so when the L.O.S.T. sales tax falls, it really has a big impact on our operating budget. He stated that for the last two years, we haven't actually spent every penny of what we were projecting out of fund balance, this year we will probably spend more than was projected by $300,000 to $400,000, so we are going to have to be a little bit more conservation this year than we were last year. Mrs. Leverett stated that as of today in the General Fund, revenues are $13,303,850, expenditures $14,686,632 leaving the General Fund short $1,382,782; Water Fund is balanced at $441,722; Landfill Fund is balanced with a General Fund transfer of $51,004 at $1,371,204; E-911 Fund is balanced with a transfer from the General Fund of $313,079 at $742,579; and Jail Fund is balanced with a $58,500 transfer from the General Fund at $195,500. She advised that she does have a copy of the preliminary budget in her office, Room 309, at the Government Center that is available to anyone that would like to look at it. Administrator Crapse advised that last year our General Fund revenues were $15,203,000 and now our revenues stand at $13,303,000, so you can see that our revenues are going to be considerably short. Commissioners agreed to have budget workshops on May 20th at 9:00 a.m., May 23rd at 9:00 a.m., and if needed May 26th at 5:30 p.m.
Administrator Crapse reported that 1) He attended several meetings and events this month; 2) There was one new SPLOST purchase approved this month, replacement of the roof on the Tarver Building for a total of $19,000; 3) We got another court order to pay $2,599 for the unbudgeted Defense Counsel Expenses; this brings to date paid to Attorneys for the Roger Lloyd case to $19,310.70. This is the 1994 Death Penalty Case appeal that was referred to a Senior Judge in Warner Robbins, he is ordering the payments, and there could be a lot more bills forthcoming; 4) We opened bids on the T-Hanger and Taxiway project at the Airport on April 18th. The low bids were $259,900.00 for the T-Hanger and $155,605.00 for the taxiway, for a total of $415,505.00. This is a big investment that the Board should look at carefully. Currently we do not get any revenue from the rental, it seems to me that the hangers should be provided free or the County shares in the revenues. The bids are being tabulated by Robert and Co. and the GDOT should have a Notice to Proceed in about six weeks; 5)The projects for the Regional Transportation SPLOST that were submitted last at the end of March, including our eight, have been forwarded to the Planning Director, Todd Long. The list of projects that meet the criteria are due to the RTR Executive Committee by June 1, 2011. Then GDOT and the RTR Executive Committee will whittle down the list to a fiscally constrained list. GDOT will deliver this list to local governments by August 15, 2011, followed by a couple of regional public hearings and a vote by the RTR. The final list will be delivered to local governments and legislators by October 15, 2011; 6) We received a check in the amount of $60,000 from the UIDC, to pay off the IDA RLF loan on the 4-acre tract at the CIP interim site; 7) On the "Go Fish" project, the docks were delivered on Monday, May 2nd; however, installation was delayed due to the tornado damage to facilities in North Georgia, primarily FDR State Park. One crew is scheduled to start work today on the installation and we will be helping with spreading some rock, etc. We are also still working on the parking area; 8) The repairs to the water line on the Hwy 280 Bridge are substantially complete, the "Off System Safety Action Project" work is underway on North and South Coney Road, and the street lights for US 41 and Exa, and GA 90 and Old Hatley have been ordered; 9) I have requested a county district/post map with the new census numbers so that you can see what is to be done with regard to local redistricting; 10) The mediation in the Shoreline Development Case has been rescheduled for 9:00 a.m. on May 17th. Rick, Connie and I are scheduled to attend, but it may be about to go away. We still do not have any word on the landfill case disposition; 11) The Crisp County Higher Education (Darton) Committee that was scheduled for May 6th has been delayed to a future date, so I have no update since the March 31 meeting. Concerns remain with regard to building size and costs that were revealed at that meeting; 12) Progress on the revaluation is still ahead of schedule, 3094 parcels have been visited through April 14th; 13) The Board received a Thank You note from Candice and Joel Turner (Carl's Daughter & Son-in Law) and a request to keep them in your hearts and prayers; 14) The Community of Character Trait for the Month of May is CREATIVITY. Able to pretend easily. Using your imagination to make something or to solve problems. Having imagination and inventiveness.
ADMINISTRATOR CRAPSE' LETTER OF RESIGNATION
Administrator Crapse handed a letter to the Chairman and then began to read his letter of resignation to the Board of Commissioners stating that he has had to spend a lot of time with Jenny Sue, his wife, over the last few months due to her health issues. It is clear to him that those issues will not be resolved in the short term, he must have more time to devote to her as her primary care giver, and he is submitting his letter of resignation as provided in his contract and notifying the Board of his intent to retire upon expiration of his current contract on August 10, 2011. He is now unable to devote his full attention to his work as he has always done in the past, he and Jenny Sue have been blessed by the opportunity to serve Crisp County and its Citizens, but they will be relocating to the Augusta area as soon as practical where they can take full advantage of the healthcare services offered at the Eisenhower Army Medical Center. Mr. Henderson stated that your family has to come first and he commends him on that, our prayers go with you and your wife that she will get better. Mr. Nance stated that this shows what type of man you are to not put anything before your family, and he commends him for all the hard work and dedication that he has provided for them, and in spite of this you were still dedicated to your job. He thanked him for everything he has done, and stated our prayers go with them. Mr. Culpepper stated that he has been a joy to be around, he has always known him as a fine fellow, an outstanding person but you have to look after your family first. Mr. Harris stated that was hard to swallow. Mr. Henderson advised that the one thing he found out about Mr. Crapse is you are very, very, very smart in finance, and he is finding out that is most important in this job. He commends him for the knowledge that he has brought to this Board as far as finance, you have done a good job with that. Chairman Mathis stated you have to look after your wife especially when you have the resources that you mentioned, you need to be close because there is really no good road between here and Augusta, but we will definitely miss you, we wish you well. He stated that they do want him to know that he has gained their respect, and they appreciate his time here. Commissioners accepted his resignation.
DISCUSS SURPLUS FIRE TRUCK
Administrator Crapse reported that we have a surplus fire truck that we have tried to sell on GovDeals and everyway we can, and we haven't been able to come up with any offers that were worth taking. Rayburn County lost a fire station and three fire trucks in the tornados. Fire Chief Lunsford and Public Works Director Gamble have looked at the fire truck again, we can't fix the truck, but we can get it up and running for $300 to $500. The question is if Rayburn County would want to take the fire truck, would the Board be willing to make that donation of that fire truck to Rayburn County. He advised that the biggest thing with the truck is the pump is old and hard to get parts for, it might help Rayburn County, and it is not providing us any use. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to donate the surplus fire truck to Rayburn County, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
DISCUSS LOVE STUFF LICENSE
Administrator Crapse advised that the people that own Love Stuff have tried to stay pretty clean with regarding to their licenses and paying them, but one thing is they didn't include the theater that is in the building now as they expanded their operations to things that were not on their license to begin with. He would encourage the Board to act as swiftly and as strongly as possible as soon as the attorney can provide the complete legal advice that we need. We do have the citation and summons that went with the folks that were involved in the license itself. He advised that the reason they are here is that they are basically "grand fathered" in because we couldn't stop them based on the strength of our Ordinance at the time, and we have now revised our Ordinance and are protected now. They are clearly beyond their license here as they have gone into things that are conduct beyond what our Ordinance allows, and they are in violation of that. He advised that our attorney will have to research and see if suspension is the strongest course of action we can take, can we go straight to revocation because of the conditions without having a thirty day suspension first and the rest of it would take place in the courts but we might be able to pull the license and keep them from opening the doors at least for thirty days, or possibly for revocation. Attorney Lawson said he would look into this Ordinance immediately and get back with the Commissioners. The Administrator advised that if their license is revoked because of actions they do, then to reopen they would have to comply with the new Ordinance, which would mean they couldn't reopen in that location.
DISCUSS FIRE TRUCK INCIDENT
Administrator Crapse reported that we had an incident on Story Road where a fire truck ran over a septic tank line, we couldn't get anyone else to bid on this repair except the original business, whose price has now gone from $750 to $1,495. This business has finally applied for their business license, but they only applied for it for the current year, and we know they has been in business long before January 1st, and also he owes back taxes. Our policy says you can't have a business license if you don't pay your taxes, but he also is in bankruptcy so we might not be able to hold the back taxes against him. Administrator Crapse advised that we need to get the gentlemen with the septic tank situation made whole and get it completed. It is his disposition to go ahead and get the tank fixed and move on, and the best course is to let the guy that put it in, fix it. By common consent, Commissioners agreed to allow the Administrator to take care of this situation.
DISCUSS ATKINS ROAD
Johnny Atkins asked if anybody had found out about the name change on Rock Road. He advised that it was called Atkins Road years ago, and then someone took the sign down not long after it was put up and changed it to Rock Road. Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, stated that part of that road is in the City of Arabi, but he doesn't know how that came to be. Mr. Atkins said that he thought when they got a different Mayor in the City of Arabi is when the sign came down. He advised that the road is in the City of Arabi and the county. Mr. Gamble advised that some of those roads that are in the City of Arabi have duel names, and when a committee of county citizens named all the roads in the county years ago, they might have changed it to Rock Road at that time. Mr. Atkins also asked if they were going to try to repair Rock Road, or are they still working on trying to get the road paved. The Administrator advised that the county does not have any paving projects on the list except for Floyd and Dockweiler Roads, and they are so far out in the future because of the dollars he doesn't think the county is going to be paving any new roads anytime in the foreseeable future. Administrator Crapse advised that if he would leave some contact information, they will try to research the situation about the name change and somebody will get back with him. Commissioner Nance asked Mr. Gamble if he could give them any relief on that road. Mr. Gamble advised that they did a little work out there a few days ago, and they have some more work to do out there. Mr. Atkins asked if they could put gravel on the road, and Mr. Gamble advised that primarily they mix sand with stiff clay as the gravel is so expensive the only places they have put the gravel on is roads where churches are located.
Motion was made by Mr. Harris to adjourn the meeting at 11:23 a.m., seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.