MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2011
Chairman Wallace Mathis called the meeting to order with Commissioners A. James Nance, William Culpepper, and Clark Henderson in attendance. Others present were County Attorney Rick Lawson, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Secretary Linda Finch. Commissioner Culpepper gave the invocation and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. Chairman Mathis welcomed all in attendance.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Henderson stated he would like to discuss the minutes of called meeting as at the last vote Mrs. Leverett stated that if they go this way the Board will need to amend the motion to include the other elements of the resolution; were we amending our budget from a prior approval at that time because that was what his intent was and that is why he was reading off the list of cuts that would be necessary to implement that reduced millage rate. Mrs. Leverett stated that she was referring to the tax rates for the other jurisdictions, and the resolution only addresses the tax rate. Mr. Henderson stated that if that didn't include amending the budget, we would be taking those funds out of our reserves, and she advised that was correct. Mr. Henderson stated that we need to have a balanced budget, and we approved a lower millage rate, he thought that is why we went over that list and he read off all of those cuts, as if we implement one of those cuts, we have to implement them all. Mrs. Leverett advised that the budget adjustments need to be a separate motion. Mr. Henderson asked if we approve these minutes, are we implementing those cuts of the Tax Assessor's salaries and the increase in the airport fees or not, and if not, why did he go through the process of finding money that would reduce the expenses. Mrs. Leverett advised that was part of the discussion but there was no motion made for any budget adjustments. Mr. Henderson stated to have the Board of Assessor's pay at about $300 an hour is excessive, and he thinks the tax payers of this county would agree with him; we should definitely bring that Board's pay down to $2,700 per year as if we don't do that, he doesn't think we are doing our job. He disagrees that we should take a blanket approach across the board and let everybody take a cut. Mrs. Leverett advised that they would need a formal budget adjustment in order to make any more cuts to the budget. She stated that this motion would be to approve the minutes, and then if you want to amend the budget for clarification, then that is certainly your option. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the minutes of the August 9, 2011 regular meeting and the August 25, 2011 called meeting, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING - REZONING REQUEST FROM FAMILY DEVELOPMENT TASK FORCE, INC.
Chairman Mathis opened the public hearing. Connie Sangster, Planning Director, stated that she has a request from Rosie Watkins, Family Development Task Force, Inc. (with the property owners authorization) to rezone property from RD (Two-Family (Duplex) Residential) to OI (Office Institutional) for the purpose of a Social Services, Individual, and Family Center. Property located at 2112 South Joe Wright Drive. She stated that first we would have to rezone this area to OI, which is the permissible use that it would take to have this kind of service, which is a community-based service. She advised that this is just a public hearing to get response from the adjacent property owners for the rezoning, and they won't make a decision today. We will have this hearing and after we hear the response from Mrs. Watkins and the adjacent property owners, then we will go into a public hearing for a special use. If the rezoning passes, it also will require a special use to conduct this type of business in that area. Mrs. Watkins stated that she has been working in the community for the last fourteen years, and she brought a packet of information for the commissioners, which included everything they have been doing for the last fourteen years. She also gave them a proposed diagram of the building that they would like for it to look like when they get the building complete. She stated that the program they do stems from AmeriCorps, and they involve parents and grandparents in their programs while helping low income families and they are a father friendly organization in partnership with the Department of Labor. They have many certifications and partner with Moorhouse College; they want to continue these services in the new building, nothing new, just a continuation. She was chosen for the USDA AmeriCorps Member of the Year Award out of 1,000 members of the United States; they do a lot of work and are dedicated to what they do. She is the fourth of 30 brothers and sisters, mother of 5, 13 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren, and none of her children has gone to jail or had any problems because she has been working with her own family and is just replicating with others what she is doing herself. She advised that any programs they have going own is announced to the media and The Cordele Dispatch, as she is concerned about drop out rates, teen pregnancy, and literacy. They do basic skills and outsource others to come in and help with the services they can't provide, plus they will be using some of the high school students to help with tutoring. They also will have a resource center at this site as a lot of parents don't have any education tools in their home, such as paper, pencils, etc. They also try to get the seniors involved by getting them involved in the community as community service work. They also partner with probation, where people can come and do their community service with them and right now they have five doing their community service with them. They also are applying for funding to help fathers that don't have jobs to find and create jobs. Commissioner Henderson commended her for doing this for the right reason. A couple of ladies that live in that area stated that they do need some type of constructive services in this area. Charles Hardeman stated that he supports what she does just as long as that is all that will be going on in that building. Frankie Burnell stated that she lives across the street from the building, and she asked how she was funded, and Mrs. Watkins advised she is funded through grants from Moorehouse College and donations, and is looking for money now. Mrs. Burnell asked where she was located prior to coming to this building, and Mrs. Watkins stated that she was at the old Gillespie Seldom dormitory building for the last ten years and the reason she left was because she didn't have the money to pay rent, and they will not have to worry about paying rent at this new building. Mrs. Burnell asked what age group would be in that building, and Mrs. Watkins replied they work with all age groups and with whole families at different times. Mrs. Burnell stated that she would like to see something that is positive, something to help kids and adults too if they are going to do what she is saying they are going to do, but she does see a problem when you say one thing and do another; if that is what she is going to do she has no problem with that and she is in support of anything positive, she will keep her eye on the place. Mrs. Burnell asked what steps she was going to take to ready the facility, and Mrs. Watkins stated that she would like to sit down and talk with her. Mr. Hardeman stated that they have had problems in this building before, and that is what Mrs. Burnell is talking about. Mrs. Burnell asked how many days would she be there, and Mrs. Watkins stated that they would be in and out but not a whole lot of people at one time, but they would have times when families would come out on certain nights and talk about certain issues of their families. She assured the people if there was something that they didn't like, they would change it, and nothing will go on in there that is not open to the whole family and for the community. Commissioner Nance stated that he appreciates the work Mrs. Watkins has done in the past. No one else spoke in favor or against the proposal. Ms. Sangster reported that before the establishment is able to open, there will be a lot of rehab on the building as right now it does not meet code, and the parking lot will have to be paved. This will be in phases, our department will monitor it, and several things will have to take place before the actual opening. Chairman Mathis asked Mrs. Watkins if she understood that, and she replied yes. She is used to working in phases, and they are looking for people to give funding. Mrs. Watkins advised that she is going into retirement, she will train young adults to do the things that she has been doing, and she is a master trainer for curriculum training. Chairman Mathis declared the public hearing closed.
PUBLIC HEARING - SPECIAL USE PERMIT REQUEST FROM FAMILY DEVELOPMENT TASK FORCE, INC.
Ms. Sangster advised that in order to have this type service, you have to have a special use permit, and Mrs. Watkins has already explained what the special use will be used for, but we do need to open the public hearing for this; neither decision will be made at this time, and both decisions will be made at the October 11th meeting. If the rezoning does not pass, the special use goes away. Chairman Mathis opened the Public Hearing for a Special Use Permit for Family Development Task Force, Inc. at 2112 South Joe Wright Drive. Ms. Sangster stated that on a special use conditional permit, the Board is allowed to make conditions as you can stipulate that this approval is for this use only, if this use goes away, so does the conditional zoning and it would go back to the original zoning; if the use changes, another applicant would have to come back to this Board and ask for another request. Chairman Mathis asked for any comments in favor or against the special use. Mrs. Burnell stated that she is not against this, she does have reservations, and she plans to see that it is what Mrs. Watkins says it is going to be. Ms. Sangster asked Mrs. Watkins where she was located right now, and she replied at home. There were no other comments, so Chairman Mathis closed the public hearing.
ANNUAL REPORT FROM THE CRISP DOOLY FORESTRY SERVICE
Marty Fore, Chief Ranger with Crisp-Dooly Forestry Service, reported that they have had a pretty busy fire season this past year, normally it ends around April but this year it has been so dry that fire season has continued right on. We have had a few showers of rain that has helped a little at times but it is getting pretty dry again. The landowners of Crisp and Dooly County have been good about working with them and encourage the landowners to make sure they get a permit before they do any outdoor burning. He advised that there is still a little fire activity going on around the Okefenokee Swamp, it is more of a monitoring stage as the fire is not completely out, it is still in the swamp but with the right conditions it could blow up and come out. They do have people going down and monitoring that situation and they also have some of their people going out to Texas to help with the fires there. He stated that they work very well with the Crisp County Fire Rescue; he would like to commend them for the job they do, and they couldn't do this job without them. In the last few years they have been averaging 30 - 45 fires a year for both counties, but this past fire season they had 121 fires in both counties. They have also had more lightning fires this year than they have had in a number of years. They have a toll-free number to call for fire assistance, they only issue fire permits for natural vegetated material, and they also have the nursery with trees for sale. Chairman Mathis stated that they appreciate the job they do in the community and also working well with Crisp Fire/Rescue. Commissioner Culpepper thanked them for the job they do as he has seen first hand how big an asset they are to the community.
UPDATE ON CURRENT ROAD AND CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, reported that the LMIG has been submitted but they have not heard anything back from the highway department yet; Jones Constructions should pour the concrete Thursday for the airport hangars; we should be receiving the letter of acceptance on the new cells before the end of this week and that will give them the opportunity to move into the other cells and get into a controllable situation. He asked if they wanted to use or not use the debris on the tippling floor at Solid Waste as a fluff layer on the bottom of the new cells; he would recommend that they use that as a fluff layer, however they know how many cubic yards it is but they don't know how much it weighs. He advised that if they don't have a problem with the county using it that way, he will get with whoever has the best proposal, and they will be able to handle all of the debris that is there. He stated that they have submitted the twelve roads for the off system safety plan and are waiting to hear back from them. DOT is back in our area inspecting bridges since it is dry. On the Go Fish project, they are now accepting bids on the competition of the docks that are in the water and the walkways from the ramps to the fishing pier, and if they have enough money left over they want to pave an apron in front of the boat ramps. Chairman Mathis thanked public works for all the work they have done on that project, and stated that the actual gravel that was used came from the old Arabi Motel that was torned down. Mr. Gamble stated that they are still waiting on the final funding from FEMA on the 2009 rains; they are working on the west ingress and egress on the Old Hatley Road project and are waiting on some DOT permits on the east side; as soon as they finish with the second opinion on some conditions on the Omar Heights Street drainage improvements, they should be able to proceed with this; the surveys have been done on the jail expansion; they are clipping shoulders and cleaning ditches right now; the well is back up an running at the Recreation Complex as they tied back to the old well after the well that was there went dry; August of 2010, the wells and water system at the lake's static water level was 54' from the top of the casing to the top of the water, and in August of 2011, it was 76" from the top of the casing to the water, so that is 22" lower within that well casing within one year; and the pumping level of the wells in August 2010 were at 75', and in August 2011 it was 96". He stated that we are not in an emergency situation, but we would like people to conserve the water.
APPROVE RESOLUTION FOR TERRY JONES FAMILY
Commissioner Nance reported that Terry Jones family wanted to do some kind of memorial to honor Mr. Jones, one of Carl's long-time dedicated employees, and he has agreed to write a resolution. The family is going to buy something, like maybe a bench, to be placed in Terry's memory. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve a Resolution honoring Terry Jones, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVED SPLOST ADVANCE OF $100,000 TO IDA
Mrs. Leverett advised that the Industrial Development Authority needs about $350,000 in order to enter into the contract with the architect and design consultant on the Darton project; once this is done, those people can begin the work needed to present the final design, final cost estimates, and construction timeline on the Phase I programming of the project. Approximately $200,000 of that estimated fee will be due before we start receiving revenues from the 2011 SPLOST, and the IDA had issued a verbal request for an advance of $100,000 from Crisp County to be repaid from their share of the 2011 SPLOST proceeds once they start coming in; they also requested $100,000 from the city. If the Board chooses to approve this, we would need Attorney Lawson to draw up a loan agreement between the county and the IDA for this. She stated that their might be an alternative to that if they didn't want to go this way in that the hospital has pledged $100,000 to this project, and we could request that money now, but it is whatever the Board wants her to do. She stated that in order for them to move forward they have got to let the architect and design engineer get to work, as they don't really have a final cost until they do their work. Chairman Mathis asked where we would get the money from, and Mrs. Leverett advised it would come from the General Fund to be repaid after the first of the year. Commissioner Nance asked if we could do it financially. Mrs. Leverett stated we could and it would be loaning the IDA $100,000 from now until next March or April. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to loan the IDA $100,000 as soon as Mr. Lawson can get a loan agreement drawn up between the county and IDA, which will be paid back by their initial share of the SPLOST with due date on or before April 30, 2012, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
CONFIRM APPROVAL OF CONTRACT WITH CVIOG FOR TECHNICAL SERVICE
Chairman Mathis advised that we are going to contract with the Carl Vincent Institute of Georgia for technical service for hiring of a new administrator. Mr. Nance asked exactly what the Institute is going to do and what part are the Commissioners going to be involved in. Mrs. Leverett stated that the specifics are on page one, and Mr. Henderson advised that the final decision would be the Commissioners but the Institute will do the screening process. Mr. Nance asked if they were going to set up the interviews, and are we going to interview, and Mrs. Leverett advised that they would develop an interview guide for use by the Commissioners. Mr. Nance thinks we need to move forward on this but the bottom line is it is still going to come back to Commissioners to make the final decision, we are just getting someone to screen the process for us; he is a little mixed on this as he kind of thinks we need to sit down and do it. Chairman Mathis stated that the Institute would give them a written background report and search on educations, etc. from all the applicants. Mr. Henderson stated that we don't have the faculties or resources to do that. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to contract with Carl Vincent Institute of Government for technical service to assist them in the administrator search for a fee of $3,250 with Clerk Linda Finch to be the point of contact for communication with the CVIOG, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried with Commissioner Nance voting no.
APPROVED UPDATED DRUG/ALCHOL POLICY FOR CRISP AREA RURAL TRANSIT
Mrs. Leverett reported that the Department of Transported requested that we update out drug policy on our 5311 program to include the latest federal requirements. The changes were highlighted on the copy in their packet, and basically this is a must do if we want to continue our grant program to operate the rural transit service. She recommends the Board adopt the revised policy, which includes this update. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to adopt the Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy for the Crisp Area Rural Transit so that we can continue to monitor the drivers in accordance with DOT compliance, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVED INTERNSHIP OF ALBANY STATE UNIVERSITY MPA STUDENT
Mr. Nance stated that one of his advisors when he was doing his thesis has contacted him regarding the possibility of a partnership with Crisp County to allow a student from Albany State University to come and participate in an internship program. When he was in graduate school he participated in an internship program, and this type program helps graduates participate in city and county government. Also, the lady that teaches this program has some former city managers and police chief from Albany that have come through that program. He wanted to establish a precedence in Crisp County and allow some students to come in and work and gain some experience and hopefully go on and get a job in county government somewhere. Mrs. Leverett stated that the Finance Department has participated in something similar to this with the high school, and they can find something for them to do and expose them too. Mr. Nance stated that it will help them in getting experience. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve pursuing an unpaid internship with an Albany State University MPA student, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVED VOTING DELEGATE TO ACCG LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
Mrs. Leverett reported that the Board needs to appoint a voting delegate for the ACCG Leadership Conference Business Session, which is next month. In the past it has been either the chairman or an alternate that will be there for the whole conference; the business is Monday October 3rd at 3:30 p.m. Chairman Mathis stated it would be nice to have an alternate if the delegate for some reason couldn't attend the business meeting. Mr. Henderson made the motion to appoint Chairman Mathis as the voting delegate to ACCG Leadership Conference with Mr. Henderson as the alternate, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett reported that the first page of the executive summary for today's financial packet includes a preliminary report of revenues and expenditures for the County's three major funds for the first two months of the new fiscal year. Based on information submitted to date, for the month of August, we report revenues of $572,205 and expenditures of $890,143 bringing year to date revenues to $789,939 and year to date expenditures to $2,051,363. These figures leave expenditures exceeding revenues by around 9% placing the General Fund in a deficit position at 8/31/11 of $1,261,424. Next are preliminary numbers for the Landfill Fund. Accrued August revenues totaled $109,155, expenditures $70,123. YTD accrued revenues reached $212,266 and YTD expenditures $163,352 left the Landfill Fund with a net gain of $48,914. Total tonnage received for the month of August was 3848.22 tons with 35% of that being delivered on the Veolia commercial contract and 15% under the Veolia residential contract. The principal balance on the GEFA Loans is current at $2.6 million, and we have drawn $2.5 million to date on the new GEFA Construction loan. The Water fund recorded August revenue at $44,891, expenditures at $34,904. Year to date revenues totaled $96,016, year to date total expenditures $72,701 leaving this fund with net gain after two month of $23,315. Water usage billed for the month was 8,138,000 gallons and the USDA Bonds are current at $1,623,391. Cash on hand at August 31, 2011 shows the General fund at $4.3 million and is down almost $1 million from August of 2010. The Landfill Fund at $1,099,949 is also down about $500,000. The revolving loan fund ended the month with $188,006, the SPLOST Funds, $5.6 million and the Water Fund with $1.2 million leaving us with a county wide total of $12.5 million. Of that $12.5 million $5.8 is reserved or restricted for debt service or specific uses such as capital improvements. Next is the budget to actual report for the 2000 SPLOST Issue. As of August 31st, we have spent $16.7 million of the $17.6 million dollars collected, leaving us with $882,000 remaining for projects associated with that issue. For the 2005 SPLOST Issue, Distribution #67 representing July retail sales of $315,911, brings our total receipts to date to $23,193,599. This is down 11.5% from last month and about 9% from August of 2010 and drops our monthly average another $459. To date we have spent $19.5 million on projects as budgeted under this issue. Projects benefiting from the support of SPLOST dollars for the month of August were the Recreation Department, The Airport, County Public Works and County Roads. This month's Local Option Sales Tax, representing July retail sales of $148,478, just like SPLOST, is also down 11.46% from last month and 8.77% from this same time last year. In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, we have eleven outstanding loans with a total amount due at 8/31/11 of $2,321,982. Of those eleven, six are current and five remain delinquent. We do have a couple of legal issues on at least two of these accounts that will need to be addressed in executive session. The last report is a preliminary report of revenues by fund and expenditures by department for the first two months of the new fiscal year. All divisions should be at 17% or less as of August 31st. As of this report, for our 3 major funds, the General Fund was at 14%, the Landfill Fund at 10% and the Water Fund at 12%. She also reported that the Commissioners received a thank you note from CASA, our new tenants, thanking them for helping them move into their new offices, and the 19th annual Public Safety Appreciation Diner is scheduled for October 13th at 6:00. She stated that Mediacom has reached an agreement with the NFL Network and Red Zone, plus they have completed their process of transforming all of their channels to digital.
DISCUSS CITY OF CORDELE GRANT
Mrs. Leverett advised that they have received a Memorandum of Understanding from Kay Hagler at River Valley Commission as she is working on an application for the City of Cordele on a sustainable community-planning grant, and this MOU is part of that application. If the Board wishes to participate and support their application, we would need a motion to approve the MOU and authorize the Chairman to sign. Mr. Henderson asked what would be our funding portion if we partnered with them, and Mrs. Leverett stated that it does not outline any local funding but we do not have the specifics. Mr. Henderson stated that he would like to know what our specific share would be prior to entering into this. Mrs. Leverett stated that she did send Mrs. Hagler an email asking for that information, but she has not responded. By common consent, Commissioners tabled this decision until they get more information.
CHANGE PRESCRIPTION DRUG INSURANCE
Mrs. Leverett reported that effective October 1, 2011, our prescription drug insurance coverage will change from Express Scripts to Redo. She stated this was mentioned during the budget work sessions as we had asked our TPA to take quotes on the prescription coverage; they did and came back with a recommendation to change to Redo. The local pharmacies have all been accepted into this network and we should see an average increase in discounts of over 10%, plus it is going to save the plan about $50,000 a year.
APPROVED PURCHASE OF SCANNER DEVICE FOR SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
Mrs. Leverett reported that the Sheriff wants to purchase a new scammer device that will go in the cars that allows them to drive through a parking lot or sit on the interstate, and this device reads every tag as far as checking to see if that car is stolen or has any outstanding warrants, etc. It is not in the budget, and he indicated that the total cost of the machine, software, and training of the personnel would be about $45,000. Commissioners stated that the Sheriff had told them it would be in the $20,000's. Mrs. Leverett stated that she has asked him to send her the numbers, and he hasn't done that yet, but she thinks the $20,000 or so is just the machine and the training and software is the difference. Mr. Henderson stated that he has no problem with law enforcement having a tool like this, as it would definitely help. Mrs. Leverett stated that the Sheriff has assured her that the machine will pay for itself, but she had suggested that he buy this out of his drug funds; we will track the revenues generated by the machine, and the first proceeds from the revenue generated would go to reimburse the drug fund for the cost of the machine. The county will benefit from the revenue once we pay for the machine. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to approve the scanner machine for the Sheriff's Department with money to purchase it coming from the drug fund, we will reimburse the drug fund from the revenues once they start coming in, and after that the revenue goes into the county funds, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to go into Executive Session to discuss pending litigation and personnel, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
REDUCE WALKER VAULT'S REVOLVING LOAN FUND
Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to accept the Attorney Edgar Duskin's recommendation to reduce the Walker Vault Loan to $20,175.00 at 5% interest for sixty months and authorize Mrs. Leverett to authorize Mr. Duskin to draw up the agreement, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
RIVER VALLEY LOOKING FOR NEXT CDBG PROJECT
Mrs. Leverett reported that there were three things that Mr. Crapse had asked River Valley Regional Commission to look and give a recommendation for the best site they think would be the most feasible and stand the best chance of getting funding for the Community Development Block Grant this year. She advised that they are looking at continuing with Meadow Park/Omar Heights area with storm water drainage, the health department, and the Newtown/Rosewood area with some sidewalks, curb and gutters. She doesn't have a report back from them yet, but she knew they did look at the Meadow Park/Omar Heights area and they don't think there is enough of a problem there that we will get that funded. Chairman Mathis stated that the value of the application has to be great or they will kick it out. Mrs. Leverett stated that is what we depend on River Valley for is to look at all of them and give us a recommendation of which one they think stands the best chance of getting funded.
AMEND THE BUDGET DIED FOR LACK OF SECOND
Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to amend the budget to reflect and implement the changes that he outlined when we set the millage rate in the August 25, 2011 meeting so that our expenditures will not be coming out of reserves, motion died for lack of second.
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adjourn the meeting at 12:49 p.m., seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.