MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
CALLED MEETING HELD ON AUGUST 28, 2012
Vice-Chairman Authur James Nance called the meeting to order at 1:06 p.m. with Commissioners James D. Harris, and Clark Henderson present at that time and Chairman Wallace Mathis and Commissioner William Culpepper came in a couple of minutes later. Others present were County Administrator Tom Patton, County Attorney Rick Lawson, and Clerk Linda Finch.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
REAFFIRM TAX ASSESSORS PAY REDUCTION
William Brookard stated that he has been living in Crisp County most of his life, and he got the word that there was some discussion relating to the Board of Assessors, and he asked why the special meeting, and why in the middle of the day. Chairman Mathis stated that we usually have our meetings in the middle of the day and today it was at 1:00 p.m. because they have a power commission meeting at 2:00. Mr. Henderson stated that it is on the agenda to "reconsider Tax Assessors' Board salary", and the reason that is on the agenda is that last meeting he made a motion, it was seconded and voted on to lower the Board of Assessors salary down to what the Sumter County Board makes, which is $2,700 a year. Our Tax Assessors' Board makes $7,446 per year for about 10 training days and 12 meetings days. The question is are we being good stewards of the taxpayers money if we cave in to pressure from the Board of Assessors. It has been said that they are basically saying if the commissioners don't restore their pay, they are going to resign. Chairman Mathis stated that we have to come up with a digest and a lot of other things that need to get done to get our digest in place; they are already behind, and the goal in doing this is to keep this board in tack until we get this revaluation finished. He thinks it is only right that they stay there and straighten this stuff out. Mr. Brookard said he still thinks this county is a government of, by, and for the people regardless of what others may say, and he feels strongly that if any board member wants to resign if they don't get a few extra dollars, they need to resign. Chairman Mathis stated we are not talking about giving them a raise but we are talking about the same thing they have been making for the last several years. Mr. Brookard wanted to know how Crisp County could pay so much more for their members than Sumter County, and Chairman Mathis stated that each county sets the board's salary and other counties pay different amounts. Administrator Patton stated that we need to stick to the agenda, and there was another item before we get to the Tax Assessors Board. Chairman Mathis stated that he didn't have any problem finishing with this one first. Mr. Brookard stated that he had several people that were working that stated that they are opposed to that board receiving $7,400 salary a year, and he can assure them this is not the end of this if this board approves $7,400 salary instead of the $2,700 that has already passed and approved by this board. Chairman Mathis stated that once we get all this stuff settled, he thinks the whole board is in agreement to revisit this issue in January and come to some kind of agreement of probably a lesser salary. Mr. Henderson stated that we need to take a stand and say if ya'll are not willing to work for $2,700 a year, as he is sure we can find other citizens that will. Mr. Brookard stated that he would be the first to volunteer for it, and Velesia Grant stated that she would be the second. Chairman Mathis stated that we are only talking about one to three more months of that salary, and we will revisit this in January as we need to get past all of the stuff we are in the middle of right now as we need to get a digest passed. Mr. Henderson stated that the reason we have so many appeals is because that board did not do their job. Mr. Henderson made the motion that we reaffirm the county's commitment to bring the Tax Assessors Board pay in line with Sumter County at $2,700 a year, we understand the board's service to the county is important and hopefully they will see this as community service. Mr. Henderson read off what some of the other counties pay. Mr. Culpepper stated that if you make your bed, you ought to have to lie in it, so the Tax Assessors have got us where we are now, and he thinks we ought to re-instate the salary and let them fix it, and change the salary the next time we put someone on this board. The people that know about this is not worried about the Board of Assessors, they want to know what is going to happen to the assessor of this county, so let's charge them to do whatever it takes to get this right; they can't be liable for everything as they are not full-time employees. In the past, we do have a hard time getting people to apply for any board. Mr. Brookard stated he is asking this board to deal with the problem we have now. He asked how the board was ranked as far as the highest or lowest paid, and Mr. Henderson stated they were the second highest paid in the state with Fulton County being the highest. Mr. Brookard stated because of the economic situation we are in, we need to start looking at cutting, just like he is. Mr. Henderson asked which board members said they would resign, or are we sure they would resign. Mr. Culpepper stated that the message that was relayed to him was that the consensus of that board was that they would resign, and he did not personally hear from everyone on the board. Mr. Nance stated that the terms of two of the assessors' are up, so we will have two people starting another term of office, if they start under a certain amount, then you will be changing them as well. Mr. Henderson stated that there were 50 children that couldn't afford to play ball, he has given James Nance $50 to help one of those kids play ball, and we could take that $19,000 that we save and give $2,500 to some non-profit to help these children play ball, and we could also man a dumpster sight behind the farmers market. Plus he doesn't think all the appeals will be settled by January. Mr. Harris stated that since the Tax Assessors got us in this mess, let them stay there through January and get us out of it; Mr. Culpepper and Chairman Mathis agreed. Velesia Grant advised that she just retired from the state, they hadn't had a raise in years, they were furloughed, and the state didn't care when it happened, they did it. If her pay can be stopped because we are in trouble, what is the difference in the county as that is our money, and that amount is unreasonable and not logical. Has Crisp County got so much money that they can pay people that because if they do, we should be doing better than we are doing as far as the whole county. If the public knew that, there will be an outcry of everybody's head that agreed to it. She stated that if she told someone that she wasn't going to do something because you took my money, they would say goodbye. Right is right and if somebody said they were going to quit because you are not going to give them what they want, they need to go as they are not there for the public and for whatever the board is they are serving on. Also, Sumter County is a bigger county than Crisp. Mr. Nance stated that there were about 40 kids that couldn't pay ball. They met with the Recreation Department Director about kids that couldn't play as different organizations stated that they would sponsor some kids. They were sending kids to the rec department to sign up, and it became as issue with 40 kids as it was county policy that they couldn't sign up if the county didn't have the money, and there is no county policy; it was a headache for him and he got pissed him off as he was trying to be an advocate for the kids and trying to make sure they had an opportunity to play. If we intervene on this side now, we can prevent having to pay so much money to house our kids in jail. He appreciates the help he has had in raising money for these kids, and feels more comfortable in doing something like that. Mr. Nance seconded the motion Mr. Henderson made to reaffirm the county's commitment to bring the Tax Assessors' Board pay in line with Sumter County at $2,700 a year, motion carried with Mr. Culpepper voting no and Mr. Harris abstaining.
DISCUSS REQUEST FROM MIDDLE FLINT BEHAVIORAL HELATCARE
Administrator Patton reported that last meeting they discussed charging Middle Flint Behavioral Healthcare the same rental rate as other agencies that rent space from the county at $6.00 per foot. They had a meeting yesterday with them, and found that in accordance to the Community Development Block Grant, funds that help build this building, there was a stipulation that $29,736 a year be redirected in existing rentals. We probably need to stick with that, he doesn't think that binds us forever, but if they choose, he would recommend that we do that but that they authorize the county attorney and himself to come up with a standard lease agreement with the Middle Health organization for five years, automatic renewal but with an option of 30 days of their anniversary that we could renegotiate it. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to give the county attorney and administrator authority to enter into a standard lease agreement with Middle Flint Behavioral Healthcare for a period not exceeding 5 years based on the $29,736 amount, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE RESOLUTION FOR BIG TEX TRAILER MANUFACTURERS
Attorney Lawson stated that this concerns the loan that has been granted by DCA and is concerning a $470,000 loan through a grant to assist Big Tex Trailer Manufacturing. He stated they are trying to get the documents signed as soon as possible, so if we could get these resolutions approved today, sometime with the next couple of weeks, they will get the documents finalized. He read the resolution to advance $470,000 from the CDBG EIP grant to the Crisp County Industrial Development Authority, payable over 10 years at equal monthly payments with interest at the rate 3%. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adopt the Resolution and authorize the chairman to sign the necessary paperwork, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE APPLICATION FOR APRON AND TAXI-LANES AT AIRPORT
Administrator Patton stated that one of the items on the capital improvements program this year is the rehabilitation of the apron and taxi-lanes at the airport. He needs their approval to accept the funds from the federal and state; our portion of that is $7,500, which is 2.5 % of the total cost of the project. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to make application and accept funds for the rehabilitation of the apron and taxi-lanes at the airport, seconded by Mr. Nance, motion carried unanimously.
ADOPT LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY POLICY
Administrator Patton reported that the Justice Department now requires the county to have a policy and procedure for effective communication with persons with limited English proficiency. He has a policy for their approval so we can be in compliance. Motion was made by Mr. Nance to accept the Limited English Proficiency Policy, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to adjourn the meeting at 1:58 p.m., seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.