MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON JULY 10, 2012
Chairman Wallace Mathis called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m., with Commissioners A. James Nance, William Culpepper, and Clark Henderson in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Tom Patton, County Attorney Rick Lawson, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Clerk Linda Finch. Commissioner Culpepper gave the invocation, and Administrator Patton led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. Chairman Mathis welcomed all in attendance, along with new County Administrator Tom Patton.
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the minutes of the regular meeting held on June 12, 2012, and the called meetings held on June 18 and June 21, 2012, seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.
UPDATE ON CURRENT ROAD/CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, reported that 1) the LMIG, resurfacing on parts of Tremont and Hatley Road, contractor is suppose to begin work on July 12th, and simultaneously on the state routes of Old Albany Road and part of Hwy. 257 north; 2) the Off-System Safety Plan on the seven various roads right-of-way certifications have been returned to the Department of Transportation, and we are waiting to get the proper paperwork back from DOT to proceed with those contracts; 3) in three to fours weeks the contractor will be finishing up with the Go Fish boat ramps and then putting the canopy at the end of the pier; 4) they are continuing to do some grading on Old Hatley Road in front of the school project along with the city continuing with the utilities; 5) River Valley Regional Commission should be getting finished with all the easements by the end of July on the Northside street and drainage improvements; 6) there has been a slight snag with the Darton project as they have found some additional asbestos under the roofing; 7) the water line replacement on Fanns Bridge Road has been awarded to Ultimate Underground; 8) the flashing beacons on Hwy. 300, on either side of Crisp Academy, permits have been returned with approval on June 11th, and the one on Hwy. 280 at Dorough Road has been returned with approval on June 13th, and we are waiting for DOT to schedule and install all of them; 9) they started the cleaning on the water tanks yesterday; they will start on the Hwy. 280 tank first, and we may have to paint them when they are cleaned since we have not painted them since they have been there; 10) he encouraged everyone to be conservative of the water they use; 11) they produced 8,528,000 gallons of water this month with 1255 customers on the water system; and 12) he encouraged all to vote and remember our TSPLOST. Mr. Patton advised that the TSPLOST has a constrained and an unconstrained list, and the constrained list is the regional projects, and for Crisp County that is work on Hwy. 280 West. That is important because that is commerce that moves goods in and out, which can create jobs. He stated that what is really important for our citizens is the unconstrained list, and for Crisp County that is over $800,000 a year that will be coming in. While TSPLOST is not the perfect plan, it is better than nothing, and if it doesn't pass, that is almost $1 million a year that Crisp County will not be getting to repair roads.
DENY REQUEST FOR TAX PENALTY REFLIEF FOR BILLIE CRANE
Sherrie Leverett reported that we have a request from Billie Crane for tax relief on property located at 353 North Cedar Creek Road. Ms. Crane was not the owner of record for this property for tax years 2010 and 2011; she had placed that property in her children's names for those years. She has requested that the homestead exemption be allowed for those years, even though she was not the owner of record. The Georgia Law requires that an individual must own the property and also has to be their primary residence. She has received a letter from the Chief Appraiser where the Board of Assessors has already heard this request and denied it. There is no county error involved, and in the past the Board's history is customary to deny these types of request, unless we can show there is some type of an error on the county's part, but it is up to the Commissioners. Mr. Culpepper stated that he has talked to her and she said the deed was filed incorrectly. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to deny the request for tax penalty relief for Billie Crane, seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE SECONDARY METALS RECYCLER REGISTRATION FEE
Mr. Patton advised that the secondary metals recycler registration fee came before the Assembly this year; the Governor signed it into law on July 1st, and basically what it does is all secondary metals recyclers must register with the Georgia Sheriff's Association. The sheriff can impose a $200 fee for this, and the Georgia Sheriff's Association will be handling the database. With the economy the way it is, people tend to get sticky fingers, and this is trying to overcome this problem. Our recommendation is the Board impose a $200 fee on this. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to impose a $200 fee for secondary metals recycler, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously. Mrs. Leverett stated that once the Georgia Sheriff's Association reaches an agreement with the Secretary of State's office to handle this database state-wide, $100 of that fee will be sent to the Georgia Sheriff's Association. She advised that if you are buying or selling recyclable metal you have to have a registration fee, but if you are cleaning up you shed, etc. you won't have to pay this fee but if you are in the business of buying and selling recyclables, you will need a registration fee and register with the Sheriff's Department. Mr. Nance stated that it removes the cash payment option, either a check or electronic transfer will be given and it cannot be redeemed until three days after the sale, and you also have to have an ID. Also the first two offenses will be misdemeanors but the third offense will be a felony. Mr. Patton stated that cans will be okay as they are aluminum, but they are looking to catch thieves and looking for pivot irrigation heads, catalytic converters, air conditioning condensers, and things like that. Mr. Mathis stated that it puts the burden on the receiver.
APPROVE THE 2011 SPLOST BUDGET SHORTFALL AND PROPOSED BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS
Mr. Patton reported that the economy has not played out quite like we thought when the SPLOST budget was approved, and he is of the opinion that we need to adjust the SPLOST accounts as you go to balance the budget. We are a little over $1 million behind where we thought it would be. If the economy gets better, we can always adjust it back up, and that way all the departments know where their projects stand in the way of funding. Mrs. Leverett stated that what they did was project the revenues based on the current average, which is a shortfall of almost $1.4 million; that calculates to be a 5.5% shortfall on the total budget. They have taken that 5.5% and applied it to each project. She advised that one of the issues is that we have some requests for financing for a couple of these projects, and we don't want to borrow the full amount of the project if we are not going to receive the revenue to totally fund that project. Before we put any financing mechanism in place to go ahead and expedite a project, we need to get the numbers right. Mr. Mathis advised that all the Commissioners are is a pass thru for the SPLOST money. Mrs. Leverett stated that the monthly average in order to generate the $25,725,000, the original projected revenues, is about $15,000 a month short. The Board has the authority to adjust projects, but you cannot remove projects. We can always restore it should the economy turn around and the revenues start to look better. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to adopt the amended budget to offset the shortfall of the SPLOST collections, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously. Mrs. Leverett advised that she will send out a revised budget to everyone that has a project associated with the 2011 SPLOST Issue.
APPROVE AUTHORIZATION TO FINANCE CAMERA EQUIPMENT FOR SHERIFF'S VEHICLES
Mrs. Leverett reported that part of the 2011 SPLOST allocation for the Sheriff's Department includes a purchase of some new camera equipment to go in the sheriff vehicles; most of the camera equipment they have know is obsolete as they have to take the tapes out and run them through the old fashion way. The Sheriff has received some quotes on the new cameras, and they would like for her to finance this project in order to expedite it so that they can get the much needed camera equipment in the vehicles. They have also taken quotes on financing, and Colony Bank came in with the best offer on the financing. Mr. Mathis stated that these cameras are fifteen to eighteen years old. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to approve the authorization to finance the camera equipment for the sheriff's department vehicles, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously. Mrs. Leverett advised that part of what the SPLOST budget will not cover, the Sheriff is going to contribute from his drug funds.
Mrs. Leverett reported that included in their packet is a very preliminary report for June 30, 2012. First is the report of revenues and expenditures for our three major funds based on the information we have available to us at this time. The General Fund recorded revenue in the amount of $616,950 bringing that year to date total to $13,796,766 and represents 94% what we had projected. $934,638 in expenditures recorded for the month brings that year to date total to $14,150,432 representing 96% of the amount budgeted on the expenditure side. This leaves the General Fund with expenditures exceeding revenues by about 2% as of this report. In the Landfill Fund, we are reporting $136,124 in accrued monthly revenue and $1,268,128 year to date. Monthly expenditures of $106,545, year to date, $1,233,452, leaves the landfill with a year to date preliminary net gain of $34,676. Total tonnage received for the month of June was 4,140.50 tons. Approximately 43% of that was received from Veolia under their commercial contract and 13% under the residential contract. Our total tonnage received for this fiscal period of 39,814.55 was down about 2,800 tons from previous year's numbers and also drops our monthly average about 200 tons. The GEFA loans are current at $5,099,188. For the month of June, the Water Fund recorded revenues of $43,025; YTD $488,524. Expenditures for the month totaled $40,972, YTD $432,438, leaving the Water Fund with a net gain of $56,086. Water consumption billed for the month was 6,697,000 gallons, and the USDA Bonds are current at $1,593,607. In the Cash Report for June, the General Fund has $5.4 million; the Landfill Fund, $849,432; the Revolving Loan Fund $241,817; the SPLOST Funds, $7.5 million; and the Water Fund ended the month of with $1.3 million, giving us a county wide total of $15.4 million. For the SPLOST budget to actual report for the 2000 ISSUE, as of June 30, 2012, we have spent $17 million of the $17.6 million dollars collected, leaving us with $586,650 to complete the various projects associated with this issue. Next is the same report of the 2005 SPLOST issue where total collections remain at $24.7 million. We have expended $19.4 million leaving us with about $5.3 million for the remaining projects budgeted under this issue. In the report for the 2011 SPLOST Issue, Distribution no. 5 in the amount of $333,955 is up about $9,000 over last month and about $17,000 over June of 2011, so again, we are continuing to see a small but steady climb in these numbers. The monthly average needed to meet full project budgets under this issue is short by $15,928 as we are going to need a monthly average of $352,000 or better from this point forward to meet revenue projections. To date we have collected $1.6 million in revenue under this issue and expended close to $1.2 million. Next is the monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures, for both issues. Total disbursements for the month of June were $398,653. Projects benefiting were the Crisp Co. Airport, Crisp Co. Recreation, Crisp Co. Sheriff's Department, the Crisp County Jail and the Cities of Cordele and Arabi. Following that is an updated spreadsheet on the Local Option Sales Tax Distributions. As you can see, this month's distribution of $156,959 pretty much mirrors the SPLOST percentages, up slightly, 2.96% from last month and 5.37% from this same time last year. Next is the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report. Our number of outstanding loans remains at 11 with a total balance due of $2,254,986. The last report is extremely preliminary revenue by fund and expenditures by department report. The summary report shows the expended percentage of appropriations for each individual department and the total for each fund. As of this report the, the General Fund expenditures were at 96%, the Water Fund at 70% and the Landfill Fund at 78%.
Chairman Mathis stated that we have a couple of candidates in the audience running for election and Mr. Culpepper running for reelection, and he asked them if they would like to speak. Mr. Culpepper stated that he is running for reelection of his county commission seat District 2, Post 2; he would like each and everyone's support, he felt like for the last six years he has tried to represent this community honestly; you might not agree with me every time but he has tried to look at the information that was in front of him to make the best decision possible for the voters of this community. A lot of things have happened over the last six years, and he would appreciate their support and wants to keep Crisp County moving in the right direction. Financing is a big topic and a good bit that we don't have control of, and he would like to save as much money as we can. Jerome Outlaw thanked the Commissioners for giving him the opportunity to speak. He is a candidate for District 1, Post 1 Commission seat, and he would like to say that the meetings that he has attended over the years and the things that are going on in the county, he commends this Board and all represented here for what they do. You have a thankless job, but to sit here today to look for ways to save money, as a taxpayer, he commends them. He would hope and pray that the citizens of Crisp County would give him an opportunity to serve them in this capacity to continue to save and to move Crisp County forward. This community needs to continue it's infrastructure for this community to grow as jobs and education plays hand in hand with moving Crisp County forward. If the citizens would vote him as a County Commissioner, he vows to continue to work with what the Commissioners have done and help to move this county forward. Larry Felton stated that he is running for County Commissioner, District 1, Post 1, and he would like to have their vote and support July 31st. He wants to work with the Commissioners for more recreation, more jobs, he is a voice for the people, and he will be a person that you could always call anytime they want, day or night. Charles Kerr reminded everyone that they will be having a forum next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Clubhouse. All of the candidates will be there, and all will have a unique opportunity to hear what their position is. He invited all to attend.
Mr. Patton 1) thanked the Commissioners for giving him the opportunity to serve the citizens of Crisp County, and he looks forward to the challenges and opportunities; 2) we have two Tax Assessor Board positions available. They are four-years terms beginning September 1, 2012 and ending on August 31, 2016, and they are currently held by Sammy Hill and Jeffery Hunt. Appointees must reside in Crisp County, and can apply by sending letter stating their willingness and commitment to serve and residential address by August 10, 2012 to Crisp County Board of Commissioners, attention Tom Patton, 201 S. 7th Street, Cordele, GA 31015 or your can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to attention Tom Patton at 229-276-2675; 3) we did have one SPLOST expenditure he authorized for the Sheriff's Department for two vehicles--an animal control vehicle and a transport van that were on state contract from Brannen Motor Company for total cost of $44,770, and they will be trading in three worn-out vehicles; 4) he has a thank you note from Laura Johnson, District Director for UGA Cooperative Extension, thanking them for approving the request to hire Justin Lanier as Crisp County Ag Agent, approving Emily Reid as CEC, and working with them during the transition; 5) the Tax Commissioner has requested an extension for the tax digest, as you know we are doing a full re-evaluation and being able to get that done has been difficult. They anticipate mailing out 12,500 assessment notices with about 75% showing an increase in value. They expect these to be mailed by the week of July 23rd, and with this in mind they see no way they will be able to submit the county digest by August 1st, so they have asked for an extension until September 4, 2012; and 6) we have a capital improvements program at the airport, and this is one of the best things going on for people that have airports, because the federal government pays 95%, state pays 2.5%, and the county pays 2.5% of the total cost. This is a five-year plan, and we had submitted for a new AWOS, Automated Weather Station, and the engineering design to resurface some of the taxiways and ramp area and also for an obstruction survey. We have a notice to proceed, and we expect the contract to be in probably this week. Mr. Henderson officially welcomed Mr. Patton to Crisp County, and advised that they want to work with him to move this county forward as you come highly recommended. Mr. Patton advised that he has hit the ground running, and he wants to publicly apologize to people if he doesn't remember their name the first time, second time around he will remember them. He looks forward to the opportunities we have in Crisp County. Mr. Mathis encouraged people to stop by the office and meet Mr. Patton, if they have any concerns or just want to stop by and meet him.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation and personnel, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, 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.
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adjourn the meeting at 11:22 a.m., seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.