MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON OCTOBER 9, 2012
Chairman Wallace Mathis called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. with Commissioners James D. Harris, Authur James Nance, William Culpepper, and Clark Henderson in attendance. Others present were County Attorney Rick Lawson, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Clerk Linda Finch. John Woodard 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.
Motion was made by Mr. Culpeper to approve the minutes of the regular meeting held on September 11, 2012, seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried with Mr. Nance absent.
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT
Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, reported that 1) the 2012 LMIG grant of 5.02 miles of parts of Penia and Hatley Roads is now complete except for what they have to do with shoulder work on the roads, and they are now preparing the 2013 list, which has to be submitted to DOT before January; 2) they are still waiting on the contract for the Off System Safety Plan from DOT, but they are clipping shoulders and getting things ready on the roads that they know they are going to get; 3) DNR has installed the fishing pier on the Go Fish Georgia Boat Ramps, and they are waiting on the covered top and sidewalk to the parking lot; 4) the preliminary grading is in process on the Old Hatley Road new school project, are waiting on the water main installation, and the DOT contract is being prepared; 5) they completed the demolition on the Darton Project last week; however there are some other things that have to be done; and 6) it is the time of the year where they are clearing the thresholds and runway markings and when they get the surveys finished, they can proceed with the airport construction.
PUBLIC HEARING Ð REZONING REQUEST FROM BETTIE PLUMMER
Chairman Mathis opened the Public Hearing for a rezoning request from Bettie F. Woods Plummer to rezone a parcel of property from HC (Heavy Commercial) to RR (Rural Residential). Connie Sangster, Planning Director, reported that Mr. Plummer came in the office and asked about putting a mobile home on 3.09 acres of property that he owns, which is located at 2555 Hwy. 41 South, and just south of Hwy. 300. She advised that he has a total of 6.18 acres but he only wants to rezone 3.09 acres, which is next to Willie Pheil's residence. He wants to rezone this to place a mobile home on this property for rental purposes. The property is zoned heavy commercial now, which would help Mr. Pheil's property as it would put a buffer between Mr. Pheil and if anyone wanted to use the heavy commercial property on the other side of the proposed mobile home. Chairman Mathis asked if there was anyone that wanted to speak in favor of the request. Durwood Plummer stated that he has the property there, and the way it stands he would have to put something commercial on it, but he wants it to go residential so he could put a mobile home there so someone would be there to oversee the place and also use the property to bring in a little revenue. It would also put a buffer between Mr. Pheil and the heavy commercial property. He has had a mobile home there in the past. Ms. Sangster advised that this is only the public hearing, and the commissioners won't make the decision until the next regular meeting. At that time, she will prepare a report on the standards of making their decision. Chairman Mathis asked if there were any more comments for or against the request, and there were none. Chairman Mathis stated that this property is across the road from his family property, and his family does not have any opposition to it. Chairman Mathis closed the public hearing, and advised that the decision will be made in the regular November meeting.
APPROVE 2013 HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
Administrator Patton reported that we have prepared next year's holiday schedule, and there are no changes from this year. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adopt the 2013 Holiday Schedule, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried with Mr. Nance absent.
Mrs. Leverett reported for the month of September in the General Fund, we are reporting $426,954 in monthly revenue received and $991,331 YTD. On the expenditure side, we have $747,406 in monthly disbursements and $3,008,153 year to date. Those numbers leave the General Fund with a 15% deficit at September 30th of ($2,016,822). This is one of the highest General Fund deficits we have experienced to date. Next, the Landfill Fund monthly accrued revenues were $135,224, year to date $388,476. Monthly Expenses $118,296, YTD $346,216, leaving this fund with a small net gain at 9/30/12 of $42,261. The total tonnage received for the month of September was 3885.86. 32% of that was delivered on the Veolia commercial contract and 11% on their residential MSW contract. Principal balance on the GEFA Loans is current at just over $5 million. For the Water Fund, monthly revenues were $41,003, YTD $141,117; monthly expenses, $30,251, YTD $122,957, leaving the water fund with a net gain of $18,160. Water usage billed for this month was 5.8 million gallons and the USDA bonds are current at $1,584,513. Cash on hand at September 30th shows the General Fund ended the month at $3.5 million; the Landfill Fund, $929,586; the Revolving Loan Fund, $260,568; the SPLOST Funds, $7.4 million; and the Water Fund ended the month with $1.3 million, leaving us with a county wide total at 9/30/12 of $13.5 million. Our spendable cash remains low. That along with the delays in obtaining the 2012 Tax Digest leaves us in very guarded cash position right now, purchasing only those items necessary to maintain daily operations and current level of services to our citizens. Following that is the budget to actual report for the 2000 SPLOST ISSUE, and we have spent $17.1 million of the $17.6 million dollars collected, leaving us with $512,195 to complete the projects associated with this issue. Same report for the 2005 Issue, collections remain at $24.7 million with expenditures to date now totaling $19.4 million leaving us with $5.3 million for remaining projects under this issue. Also, the same schedule on the new SPLOST shows distribution no. 8 in the amount of $331,095 is down about 4% from last month but up about 7% over September of 2011. To date we have collected $2.7 million in revenue under this issue and expended $2.3 million. Following that is a monthly detail listing of all the SPLOST Fund expenditures. Expenditures for the month totaled $653,232. Projects benefiting this month were County Roads, The Crisp County Airport, The Darton Project, Crisp County EMS, Crisp County Detention Center, the Crisp County Sheriff's Department and the Cities of Arabi and Cordele. This month's receipt of $155,615 on the LOST, just like SPLOST, is over this same time last year by 3.96% but down from last month by 6.6%. Next is the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, which includes the balance and status of all our CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Accounts, which shows a total outstanding loan balance due of $1.4 million as of September 30th. Last is a preliminary budget to actual statement summary by department for the three major funds. All expenditures should be at or below 25%. Overall, the General Fund is at 23%, the Landfill Fund is at 26% & the Water Fund ended the month at 18%.
ADOPT ENERGY EXCISE TAX ORDINANCE
Mrs. Leverett reported that House Bill 386 passed at the last General Assembly which included in the 2012's Tax Reform Package a section that authorizes counties to levy a local excise tax on energy, which will recoup the revenues lost on the enactment of a Sales and Use Tax Energy Exemption for manufacturing companies. The county held, as required by the stipulations in the law, a meeting with the Cities of Arabi and Cordele to discuss our options, and the resulting impact regarding this issue. She stated that all parties agreed that the implementation of the excise tax was vital and agreed to present the Intergovernmental Agreements to the respective boards for adoption. It is a county tax, so we must not only adopt the agreement, we must also adopt the ordinance that implements that tax. She stated that it is a new tax, but it replaces the revenue that is going to be lost by the exemption on the local option sales tax; it will not cost the manufacturing companies any more money. They will now be taxed at the same percentage, 1% for LOST and 1% for SPLOST. Mr. Patton stated that over half of the counties in the state of Georgia are enacting this tax, which really falls along the lines of the counties that have the most to lose by it or have more industry. Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to Adopt the Energy Excise Tax Ordinance, seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried with Mr. Nance absent.
ADOPT ENERGY EXCISE TAX INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT
Mrs. Leverett reported that we have the Energy Excise Tax Intergovernmental Agreement and the authorizing signing resolution, which is part of the Energy Excise Tax Ordinance process; we must approve the Intergovernmental Agreement for distribution of the excise tax proceeds. The distribution will be on the same formula as the LOST and SPLOST that is already in place. We also will need a resolution authorizing the chairman to sign the Intergovernmental Agreement. The city of Cordele has already approved the Intergovernmental Agreement and the city of Arabi has it on their agenda for tonight. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to Adopt the Energy Excise Tax Intergovernmental Agreement, seconded by Mr. Harris, motion carried with Mr. Nance absent. Motion was made by Mr. Harris to approve the Resolution Authorizing the Chairman to Sign the Intergovernmental Agreement, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried with Mr. Nance absent.
COMMENTS FROM TRASH TASK FORCE
Connie Carney, a member of the trash task force, thanked commissioners for allowing her to bring an update on the special citizen's task force for a solution to the garbage problem in Crisp County. Since the last meeting, they have gathered a substantial amount of information regarding what other counties are now doing and what they have done to solve their waste problems. They have had a lot of citizen's support, and have spoken with people in favor and opposed to garbage curbside pickup, but the majority that they have interviewed are supportive in their efforts, especially in improving the environment. They are gathering information on cost and tax regarding the collection and removal of garbage, and are obtaining cost data for manned sites and curbside pickup in the county, and with this they are weighting the benefits to the residents in the county as a whole. Also, most of the property owners in the county don't realize that the special district tax on the tax bill is designated for trash collection at a millage rate of .00042% plus other revenues that are added to this. She stated that they are seeking a solution where everyone contributes to the cause, even those that are paying rent. Hopefully as they continue to process and collect data, they are going to arrive at a solution that they can propose to the commissioners at their next meeting. They ask that everyone keep an open mind to new and innovative ideas as we want Cordele and Crisp County to be the clean city and county of progress. Chairman Mathis commended all on the committee for taking time to work on this project. Mr. Henderson stated that we need to solve the trash problem and thanked them for their involvement.
DISCUSS TAX DIGEST
Mr. Patton reported that normally the tax digest is due in July and because of the total reevaluation that was done, there is still over 1,600 appeals outstanding. Sherrie, the Tax Commissioner, and Chief Tax Assessor have been working so we can get the tax digest and 5-year history and levy done. There is some problem with the numbers that the Tax Commissioners' has is not in line with the Tax Assessors numbers, and he would like to recommend that the county wait until we get more accurate data. He stated that if we use the data we have today basically we would be taking swag of how many of the appeals will be upheld. The problem is it is a state law that we have to do a rollback, and it could be quite a bit of rollback, which would mean, next year when things are back in order, that it would require an increase in taxes, which would appear to be a tax increase but really it would be an adjustment for this year. He recommends that we wait, and we may have to have a called meeting to approve the digest when we get more accurate data as the value of the appeals is $35 million.
RECOGNIZE RECREATION DEPARTMENT
Mr. Patton reported that they want to recognize and congratulate the Crisp County Recreation Department as they were the number one recreation department in our district for this year.
APPROVE L.O.S.T. CERTIFICATE OF DISTRIBUTION
Chairman Mathis reported that a few days ago they met with the cities of Arabi and Cordele to discuss the LOST agreement through mediation. We are proud to say that we have a situation where we are almost equally sharing the money for the next ten years. This money can be used in the general fund for operating expenses. Mrs. Leverett reported that mediation was held between the county and both cities to negotiate the LOST distribution formulas for the next ten, and after over 6 hours of negotiations, an agreement was reached pending approval of all the respective elective boards. The parties agreed to the following formulates: years 2013-2017, the city of Cordele will receive 50%, the city of Arabi will receive 2%, and Crisp County will receive 48%, which is a 1% increase for the county, and years 2018-2022, the city of Cordele will receive 49%, the city of Arabi 2%, and Crisp County will receive 49%. She stated that we will have to submit two LOST Certificates, since we will have one formula for the first five years and another formula for the last five years. The Cordele City Commission has already approved both of the certificates, and Arabi City Commission will be presenting theirs tonight at their meeting. Motion was made by M. Nance to approve both L.O.S.T. Certificate of Distributions, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously. Mr. Nance stated that a good thing in this is that the city and county were able to come together, and he commended our consultant, Phil Sutton, as one of the finest well-prepared consultants he has ever worked with and did a very good job in getting and presenting our data.
Mr. Patton reported that 1) he attended several meetings and events; 2) he attended the Fall ACCG Legislative Conference resulting in the finalization of the counties of Georgia platform of legislation for the General Assembly. Additionally, he received a brief on the new Motor Vehicle Tax Reform as well as the new Excise Tax Reform Legislation; 3) he participated in two IDC Strategic Plan Committee meetings. The goal is to update the Strategic Plan to reflect the future; 4) he attended the Ground Breakings for the new Chick-Fillet and Hospital ER. Both were well attended and exciting events; 5) he worked through several road complaints from citizens; 6) he had a meeting with our landfill Engineers and received a state of the landfill from them. We have an estimated 122+ years of airspace remaining in the landfill; 7) he had planning meetings concerning the Boy Scout area and Blue Hole area. Major issue centered on Crisp County maintaining that property for recreation use and developing a plan for same; 8) he renewed the annual contract with the State Properties Commission for the Georgia State Patrol property on Hwy. 300; 9) he meet with the Chairman and the Secretary of Agriculture on issues concerning the Farmer's Market. Ours is the most costly one in the state to maintain. They discussed ways to cut the costs. Ideas ranged from flea markets, other type vendors, concerts, etc. This will be a continuing effort so as to lessen the chance of the State closing our market; and 10) he worked with all interested parties on keeping the Darton College project on schedule.
CONDOLENSES TO FORMER ADMINISTRATOR LESTER CRAPSE
Mr. Nance stated he wanted to send condolences to our former County Administrator Lester Crapse in the death of his wife Jenny Sue Crapse. He, Mr. Patton, and Mr. Henderson were at an ACCG Convention and they were unable to attend the services. Chairman Mathis stated that as much as our people would have liked to have been there to support Mr. Crapse in his time of sorrow, they had already had this trip scheduled. Prayers and thoughts go out to Mr. Crapse in the loss of his dear wife.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to go into Executive Session to discuss personnel, real estate, and potential litigation, 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. Harris, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Nance to adjourn the meeting at 11:07 a.m., seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously.