MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MEETING HELD ON MAY 13, 2014
Chairman Authur James Nance called the meeting to order with Commissioners Wallace Mathis, Clark Henderson, Sam Farrow, and Larry Felton in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Tom Patton, County Attorney Rick Lawson, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Clerk Linda Finch. Rev. Ulysses Morgan gave the invocation, and Administrator Patton led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. Chairman Nance welcomed all in attendance.
Sheriff Billy Hancock reported that last month the Sheriff’s Office served 144 warrants, 288 civil papers, 57 subpoenas, issued 631 citations, with estimated total fine revenue for the month of $172,811. They arrested three for DUI charges, 11 on felony drug charges, 7 on misdemeanor charges, and 3 felony charges. They also seized 5,153 in cash and a BMW; the automatic tag reader was able to get 6 people for expired tags, 2 for no insurance, 3 for suspended restoration, and 1 license, which generated approximately $4,000. He advised that they received a check of $54,846 that came from the U. S. Marshall Service for a couple of months of housing federal inmates; this morning they have 71 federal inmates in the county jail, which is generating approximately $3,000 a day in revenue. He advised that the county expenses would be estimated at about $22,940 in feeding and transporting those inmates. The April Federal Inmate Report shows they made 13 trips, total number of miles on trips at 1,602, average daily number of inmates was 16, total number of days billed was 486 with total amount billed to the USM at $20,412. He advised that Mrs. Leverett helped them reduce a $32,000 inmate hospital bill to $5,000. They have met with the DNR rangers and have a plan in place since they do not have a live-in park ranger anymore. Chairman Nance commended the Sheriff and his employees.
PUBLIC HEARING – CONSIDER ROAD CLOSINGS OF A PORTION AND PART OF CARROLL ROAD AND A PROTION AND PART OF ALLEN ROAD
Chairman Nance opened the public hearing and advised that this is a request from Darryl K. Lewis to close portions and parts of Carroll Road and Allen Road. He advised that Carroll Road has not been maintained by the county for several years and begins at a point bounded on the west by properties of the Wesley R. Odom Family Partnership, LP and continues in a northeasterly direction to I-75. The portion of Allen Road that is requested to be closed is a platted but unopened road. It begins at a point bounded on the north by property of John and Dorothy L. Blackwell and on the East by I-75 for approximately 1700 feet. Carl Gamble, Public Works Director, reported that a portion of Allen Road was platted during the construction of I-75 but has never been opened, it runs parallel to I-75 to the intersection of Carroll Road. Mr. Lewis wants to close both roads due to he has bought all the property on each side of these portions of the roads. He advised that there are no utilities, no bus route, and serves no purpose as it has never been opened. Chairman Nance asked if there was anyone present to speak in favor of closing of Allen Road; there were none. He asked if there was anyone to speak in opposition of closing of Allen Road, and there was none, so he declared the public hearing closed. Chairman Nance opened the public hearing for the closing of Carroll Road. Mr. Gamble reported that Carroll Road is a portion and part of Land Lots 45 and 20 in the 13th Land District, there is no bus or mail route, there are no utilities on this road, it serves no connecting purposes, not travelable by a common vehicle, and meets all the criteria that we have for closing of a road. Chairman Nance asked if there was anyone to speak in favor or against closing of Carroll Road, and there was none. He closed the public hearing on Carroll Road. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to close Carroll Road, seconded by Mr. Felton, motion carried unanimously. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to close Allen Road, seconded by Mr. Farrow, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING – CONSIDERATION AND PUBLIC INPUT OF A PROPOSED TEXT AMENDMENT TO THE UNIFIED LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE
Connie Sangster, Planning Director, reported that last month she asked for permission to initiate a request to add an Event Facility to the existing Unified Land Development Code, they gave her permission, and she has advertised the public hearing for today. Chairman Nance opened the public hearing for consideration and public input of a proposed text amendment to the Unified Land Development Code. Ms. Sangster read the criteria that the Commissioners consider when a text amendment is considered to the Code. She advised that she did put in their packet use restrictions in the event that they do approve this facility to the Land Development Code. Chairman Nance asked if anyone would like to speak in favor of the request. Dennis Fraser stated that he thinks anything that would bring income into the county would help the county, and Roe Davis stated that he thought it would be an asset to the county. Chairman Nance asked if there was anyone that would like to speak opposing the request, there were none, and he declared the public hearing closed. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to allow a Text Amendment for an Event Facility to the Unified Land Development Code to include the restrictions presented, seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING – CONSIDER A REQUEST FROM FRITZ FARM FOR A SPECIAL USE PERMIT TO LOCATE AN EVENT FACILITY IN AN RR ZONE DISTRICT
Chairman Nance opened the public hearing to consider a request from Fritz Farm for a Special Use Permit to locate an Event Facility in an RR (Rural Residential) Zone District. Ms. Sangster read the review checklist for a special use request. Paige Dockweiler reported that this property on the corner of Hwy. 280 East and Dockweiler Road has been in her family since 1923. Her uncle “Fritz” Dockweiler owned the piece of property, he died in 1974, and it had been completely unattended since then. She lived in Atlanta, and when she would come home and leave to go back she would look at that property and wish that she could untangled the estate, obtain the property and bring it back to life. In 2010 her dream became a reality, and thanks to family members, they were able to untangle this estate in order for her to be able to purchase the land from her family. She is here now and plans to stay, and she and her friend, Amy Williams, want to bring value to the community plus they want to help all around here grow and flourish. She and Ms. Williams, partners, began contacting local builders, two of the builders said tear it down, but one builder did agree to help, and they were able to save the cottage and basically built around it. She showed pictures of the cottage in disarray and how it looks today. Ms. Williams stated that in 2010 they incorporated the farm and named it “Fritz Farm”. She advised that she found out there was not an event facility in Crisp County, and they realized that they could bring money to the county as farm weddings are the newest and hottest thing these days. They also have transformed the barn that was on the property and have added a pavilion that has a bar-b-q pit area and restroom facilities that are handicap accessible. She went over some revenue statistics that the county could possibly receive when these events are going on. She advised that you could use this property for events other than weddings like family reunions, church organizations, birthday parties, anniversaries, etc. She advised that they have implemented a majority of the landscaping on the property. Mr. Henderson stated that this sounds like a win-win proposition. Mr. Mathis advised that he thinks this would be a good venue, help put our county in line with other counties, and he appreciates them doing this. Ms. Williams advised that they don’t think they will be competing with any local people, since we have nothing like this here, but will help bring attention to Crisp County. Chairman Nance stated that they have done an astounding job of cleaning up the property. Rev. Morgan asked how do you go about reserving the space and Mrs. Dockweiler advised they can go to their website and get all the information they need. Chairman Nance asked if there was anyone that would like to oppose the request, there was none, so he closed the public hearing. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to allow the Special Use Permit to locate an Event Facility in an RR Zone District, with restrictions, seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion was made by Mr. Felton to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of April 8, 2014, seconded by Mr. Farrow, motion carried unanimously.
ADOPT WATERMELON DAYS PROCLAMATION
Administrator Patton read the Watermelon Days Proclamation proclaiming June 1st thru June 28, 2014 as Watermelon Days in Crisp County. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to adopt the Watermelon Days Proclamation, seconded by Mr. Felton, motion carried unanimously.
ADOPT RESOLUTION COMMENDING RICKY JOHNSON, 2014 GRPA STATE CHAMPION TRACK – 100M DASH AND 200M DASH
Eric Bozeman, Recreation Director, reported that they started the track program early in February, this is the third year of the program, and they got invited to Riverdale this year as we are getting a reputation across the state of having a quality program. They had about 50 kids from Crisp County participating and showed the Atlanta people how it was done. They then went to District in Americus, and the kids had to qualify from District to go to State; 33 of the kids did qualify and participate in the State meet. They participated in 39 events, and 17 events they finished in the top 5 in the State. They brought home 3 State Championships, and Ricky Johnson won two of those Championships; he won in the 100M Dash and the 200M Dash, was 2nd in the running long jump, 2nd in the 4 X 400 relay, and 3rd in the 4 X 100 relay, which is very incredible for an 8 year old, and they are very proud of him. Bernard Harvey, head coach, advised that they have Ricky’s parents and grandparents here along with Sgt. Fox, who is the Recreation Advisory Board’s Chairman. Mr. Harvey advised that they have been reached out by his track coach when he ran track and field to get a track club started here for USA Track and Field, and they are going to make that happen in Crisp County with no expense to the county; he, Eric Morgan, coach, and Eric Bozeman will be putting that together. Also the high school track coach will be helping them as he is pleased with the quality of talent that we have brushed up and sent his way. He stated that they appreciate the Commissioners and parents for supporting them. He advised that Ricky is a real coachable kid as he listens to what they say and applies it. He stated that the program has only been at the Rec. Dept. for three years, and last year they had one championship and this year they have three, so we are moving forward. Mr. Harvey advised that he and Eric Morgan competed at the highest level in high school, he turned down a track scholarship, later on he got picked back up with the USA Track and Field, and in 2004 he went to the Olympic Trails and placed 5th. Chairman Nance told Ricky that they are very proud of him, and he read a Resolution recognizing his accomplishments. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to adopt the Resolution Commending Ricky Johnson as the 2014 GRPS State Champion Track- 100M Dash and 200M Dash, seconded by Mr. Felton, motion carried unanimously.
ADOPT RESOLUTION COMMENDING REAGAN BOZEMAN 2014 GRPS STATE CHAMPION TRACK – SOFTBALL THROW
Mr. Bozeman reported that his daughter, Reagan Bozeman, competed in the 400M, 800M. and softball throw. When she went to the Atlanta meet, she won that competition, which surprised him. When they went to district, she beat the closest competition by 30 feet, and when they went to state she won by 14 feet with a distance of 70 feet, which was an all-time high for her. She also finished 9th in the 800M and 11th in the 400M. He advised that she and Ricky are very humble kids, all they do is smile, but when they compete they are as fierce as they come. He advised that Reagan’s mom was present also. Mr. Harvey advised that don’t let the pretty dress fool you on Reagan as when it comes time to run and throw, she laces up her shoes and goes. He stated that they asked Mr. Bozeman to help them with the softball throw because they didn’t know a lot about that, and they also brought in other people to help as well. He stated that as soon as Reagan finished one race, she had to do the next race, and he appreciates hers and Ricky’s determination, and if you ask either one of them to do something, they don’t question it, they do it, and these are the results we have. He advised that they are extremely proud of these two and all that participated. Mr. Henderson stated that the fact that we have had two years where we have had kids go to the state meet and bring back #1 Championship is saying a lot, and he is proud of Mr. Bozeman, Mr. Harvey, and the staff, as it is a team effort. Chairman Nance told Reagan that they are very proud of her, and he read a Resolution recognizing her accomplishments. Mr. Felton stated that he would like to see us start the USA Track and Field club. Mr. Bozeman thanked the Commissioners for what they do for the Recreation Department. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to adopt the Resolution Commending Reagan Bozeman as the 2014 GRPA State Champion Track-Softball Throw, seconded by Mr. Felton, motion carried unanimously. Chairman Nance thanked the Recreation Department Director, the coaches, and the parents for the job they do.
PUBLIC HEARING – EIP PRE APPLICATION FOR SYNERGY SOLUTIONS PROJECT
Mrs. Leverett reported that this is the pre-application for the 2014 round of CDBG-EIP funding. Chairman Nance opened the public hearing at 10:00 a.m. Mrs. Leverett advised that the purpose of the public hearing was to allow the public an opportunity to provide ideas concerning potential projects. She announced that program activities eligible for this type funding must create job opportunities for low and moderate income persons, stated that the maximum amount for an EIP grant is $500,000, and that any industry assisted must invest $1 for each EIP $1 received. This particular potential project that the county is recommending is for the Synergy Solutions Project which has taken over at the Solid Waste Facility. Chairman Nance opened the floor for comments from citizens present concerning potential EIP projects. There were no comments for or against the potential project, and he closed the public hearing.
ADOPT RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE PREPARATION AND SUBMITTAL OF APPLICATION FOR THE CDBG EIP-14 FUNDING CYCLE
Mrs. Leverett reported that the Resolution Authorizing the Preparation and Submittal of Application for the CDBG EIP-14 Funding Cycle is part of the package that will be submitted with the application. She read the resolution. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to adopt the Resolution Authorizing the Preparation and Submittal of Application for the CDBG EIP-14 Funding Cycle, seconded by Mr. Farrow, motion carried unanimously.
TOM CURLES COMMENTS REGARDING CEDAR LAKE SUBDIVISION
Tom Curles stated that his family and many other families built their homes in Cedar Lake Subdivision many years ago, it was a new subdivision, and Royal Road was a dirt road. The creek that meandered thru and near their subdivision was hardly noticeable at the time, also there was no Timberland North, no Timberland South, no Timberland Lake, no new high school or elementary school, no Home Depot, and other businesses that are in that area now. All of these entities generate runoff that is channeled thru Cedar Lake, the amount of runoff has dramatically increased, and they have had significant flooding in 1994, 1998, 2005, and 2010; fortunately no one has lost their home yet. He advised that the residents of Cedar Lake did not move into a designated flood zone but it has become a flood zone. Many of the residents live in fear anytime they have a heavy rain. He cannot understand why our county has paid for at least two engineering studies that specifically recommended the installation for four 60 inch pipes under the railroad and nothing has been done. He and Luke Raines met with a group of First Baptist Church members and their project managers and various contractors to review their drainage plan, and First Baptist Church has met the guidelines for adequately sizing the holding pond and has plans for another should it become necessary. The consensus of those professionals at that meeting was that installing the pipes under the railroad is the best course of action. He advised that major flooding will have irreversible effects on their subdivision; more growth near Cedar Lakes is likely therefore more runoff is likely, flooding is eminent, and they are asking Commissioners to reevaluate and implement the recommendations set forth in the 2004 Engineering Study as a bare minimum. He has talked with a representative of Norfolk Southern, and for the first time they are willing to take a look at this and make their recommendations, but they need an affirmative vote that says we want to get this done. Mr. Mathis stated that we have to find a right place to plant these seeds, and he thinks this board would be willing to listen to the railroad plan as the creek was there first, and if they are stopping up the creek eventually the railroad is going to have to accommodate some adequate sizing to go under the railroad; it is their railroad and we would expect them to follow up on this. He thinks it is a good step that we have someone that is willing to listen and talk to us, and our board will be glad to meet with this guy or some representatives from the railroad. If we can get some pass-through under the railroad then our next step is to figure out what other measures we are going to have to work on from there to get that water towards Lake Blackshear, plus he doesn’t think the railroad would like the publicity of knowing that a house is setting in water because of a blockage under their railroad. Mr. Felton advised that he thinks we should go ahead and move on this since this study was done in 2004. Mr. Henderson advised that in order to correct the problem there is going to have to be pretty substantial boring as that is a main line and he doesn’t think the railroad will stop the trains to cut the track, doing nothing is not an option. Maybe we can get the state and federal agencies involved, and any way we can help as a board we want to do that. Mr. Curles stated that the guy at the railroad was extremely receptive, he has been with the railroad one year, and his job specifically is to maintain waterways underneath the railroad. Mr. Raines advised that the current county administrator in 2001 wrote the design engineer of construction of the railroad asking for certain claims about the railroad on February 14, 2001, and he received no response, again on April 3, 2001 he wrote the railroad again and still no answer, and also in 2007 the current administrator called and tried to get the railroad, still no answer, and if this man has agreed to come and talk, let Administrator Patton write him a letter and see what we can get going on this now. Chairman Nance stated that we never had any response before so at least maybe the door is open. Mr. Mathis stated that we recognize that this is the railroad’s place to do this. Mr. Curles stated that the second time he called the individual from the railroad he was open again, but he did say that he had spoken with his supervisor about the issue and they are willing to come down and take a look and get back with him in a couple of weeks, which at that time he will turn them over to Administrator Patton, but he did make one little comment that bothered him, because prior to this he said it is by law they were required to maintain these openings, and it is really as issue of who is going to pay for it.
CANDIDATE RANDY HEARD’S COMMENTS
Randy Heard, a candidate running for State Representative District 148, was present to introduce himself, and he appreciated the Commissioners letting him sit in and observe the meeting today.
APPROVE PROPERTY FOR NEW FIRE STATION
Ray Lunsford, Fire Chief, reported that they have been searching for quite a while for some property on the northern side of the county for a fire station as we are severely wide open as far as fire coverage, but he thinks he has finally found a good piece of land. This property is on Cown Road, it is a more centered location than most he has looked at, and they have said they would sell the county 1.5 acres with 150 feet along the road. He would like to get the approval from the Commissioners to buy the land. Mr. Henderson stated that this piece of property will cover North Hwy. 41 to the county line, South Hwy. 41 to the city limits, Omar Heights and Meadow Park Subdivisions, Saddle Creek, Green Acres, and Lambstown, and the amount of money that people in these areas will save on their insurance premiums will be substantial. Mr. Lunsford advised that there will still be some gray areas to the edge of the county. Dennis Fraser stated that he had a couple of acres he would donate in the Omar Heights area if that would help. Mr. Lunsford stated that he has looked at that area and another family wanted to give some land on Hwy. 41 North but the biggest problem with that is that it doesn’t cover anything on Hwy. 257 as it just gets over to I-75, and we are bordered with the city limits at the Farmers Market. He loves the idea that it is not expensive, but to be centrally located he prefers this particular tract. Chairman Nance thanked Mr. Fraser for the offer. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to give the County Administrator and Fire Chief the authority to move forward with purchasing the property on Cown Road if the property percolates, seconded by Mr. Felton, motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Leverett reported that this report shows the monthly and YTD activity for the General and three major Special Revenue Funds through April 30, 2014. Combined, monthly revenues were $871,129 and monthly expenditures at $1,059,519 bringing year to date numbers to $12.2 million for revenues and $11.3 million in expenditures providing a positive 6% revenue over expenditure balance of $922,660. In the Water Fund, monthly revenues were $45,953; YTD $450,375. April expenditures totaled $57,920; YTD, $402,581 leaving the Water Fund with a net income of $47,794. Customer usage billed for the month was 5,986,000 gallons, and the USDA Bonds are current at $1.5 million. In the Landfill Fund, we are reporting $127,906 in accrued monthly revenue; $1.1 million year to date; $101,515 in monthly expenses; $1.1 million year to date leaving the landfill fund with a net loss of -$24,852. Total tonnage received for the month was 3998.03; approximately 50% of that was delivered under the Advanced Environmental commercial contract and 14% under the residential contact. The GEFA Loans are current at $4.4 million. We ended the month with $5.6 million in the General and Special Revenue Funds combined, $2.8 million in the proprietary funds and just over $9.0 million in the SPLOST & TSPLOST funds giving a county wide total at 04/30/14 of $17.3 million. For the 2000 SPLOST Issue, we have spent $16.7 million of the $17.6 million collected, leaving us with $944,477 to complete the various projects associated with this issue. For the 2005 SPLOST Issue, total collections remain at $24.7 million. To date we have expenditures of $19.7 million leaving us with just under $5 million to complete the projects included in this issue. For the 2011 SPLSOT, distribution no. 27, received in April representing March retail sales in the amount of $350,143.30 is up about 11% over last month and 3% over April 2013. To date we have collected $8.9 million in revenue and expended $7.8 million. Projects benefiting last month were County Roads, County Buildings, the Darton Project and the cities of Arabi and Cordele. The LOST distribution receipts came in at 10.85% more than last month and 2.9% more than April 2013. In the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund monthly report, we ended the month of April with a total outstanding balance of $2.2 million for all these accounts. The revenues by fund and expenditures by department preliminary summary report for the period of July 2013 through April 2014 shows that all departments and divisions should be at or below 83% of their annual allowances. Preliminary numbers indicate the General Fund and Special Revenue Funds at 71%, the Water Fund at 72% and the Landfill Fund at 82%.
PRESENTATION OF FY 2015 PRELIMINARY BUDGET & SET PUBLIC HEARING DATE
Mrs. Leverett advised that the finance committee has had meetings with the Department Heads and Election Officials in an effort to try to balance the budget, which is required by law; it is not balanced as of today but we do present it unbalanced at this time, and we will continue to work on it until it is in balance. She advised that the General Fund is showing a shortfall of $376,69 with total budget requests at $12,845,004, Special Service District is balanced at $1,603,496, the Water Fund is showing a shortfall of $52,915 with total budget of $597,945, the Landfill Fund is balanced at $1,311,000, the E-911 Fund is balanced with a transfer in of $280,964 from the General Fund at $796,954, the Jail Maintenance Fund is balanced at $214,000 with a transfer from the General Fund of $64,000, TSPLOST fund is balanced at $716,000, 2000 SPLOST and 2005 SPLOST Funds are balanced at $500,000 each, 2011 SPLOST Fund is balanced at $3,800,000, D.A.T.E. Fund is balanced at $30,000, Law Library Fund is balanced at $50,000, Hotel/Motel Tax Fund is balanced at $13,000, Asset Forfeiture Fund is balanced at $50,000, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Revolving Loan Fund is balanced at $20,100, and the CDBG 2014 Fund is balanced at $500,000. She advised that this is just a preliminary proposed budget for 2015 to present it to the public and to the Board of Commissioners at this time. We will continue to get this budget balanced. By common consent, Commissioners set the 2015 Budget Public Hearing for June 10, 2014, the regular meeting date.
APPROVE JOSEPH PAKULA TAX REFUND
Administrator Patton reported that he had received a letter from Joseph Pakula requesting a tax refund, he sent it to the Board of Assessors, and they agreed that there was an error in their recording, and estimated about a $576 refund subject to the Tax Commissioner’s calculation. Their recommendation is to approve the refund. Motion was made by Mr. Mathis to approve the tax refund to Joseph Pakula subject to the Tax Commissioner’s calculation, seconded by Mr. Felton, motion carried unanimously.
APPROVE CONVERSION OF LAWN MOWERS AT RECREATION DEPARTMENT FROM GASOLINE TO PROPANE GAS
Administrator Patton reported that we have talked about conversion of the lawn mowers at the Recreation Department to propane gas with savings of around $4,000 to $5,000. He found out the window of closing this federal free conversion program will be in a couple of weeks, and there is no one locally that does the conversion. He advised that part of the package of going with the conversion from this company is buying the fuel from them for only the first year, and after that we can bid that out locally. Administrator Patton advised that there is a push by the state to go green, and if it doesn’t work out for us, we can convert it back. After discussion, motion was made by Mr. Henderson to approve the conversion of the lawn mowers at the Recreation Department, seconded by Mr. Mathis, motion carried with Mr. Felton voting no.
GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to go into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation, real estate, and personnel, seconded by Mr. Felton, motion carried unanimously.
COME OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Mathis, motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to adjourn the meeting at 12:10 p.m.. seconded by Mr. Felton, motion carried unanimously.
Tom Patton, Administrator
Authur James Nance, Chairman
&nbsp;&nbsp;&copy; Crisp County Board of Commissioners