STATE OF GEORGIA
COUNTY OF HENRY
The Henry County Board of Commissioners held a regular meeting at 8:30 a.m., on Monday, February 16, 2004, in the Community Room, County Administration Building, 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough, Georgia. Notice of this meeting was posted on the bulletin board in the entrance foyer of the County Administration Building. The Daily Herald was notified of this meeting. Those present were:
Leland Maddox, Chairman, presiding
Lee Holman, Vice-Chairman, District V Commissioner
Warren E. Holder, District I Commissioner
Gary M. Freedman, District II Commissioner
Jason T. Harper, District III Commissioner
Gerry Adams, District IV Commissioner
Linda G. Angus, County Manager; Susan B. Craig, County Clerk; Shay Mathis, Deputy County Clerk; Rob Magnaghi, Deputy County Manager and Public Safety Division Director; Jill Goodman, Deputy County Attorney; and others.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to approve the agenda, with the following amendments:
1. Remove Item III - “Executive Session;”
2. Remove Item IV – Approval of Affidavit and Resolution Pertaining to Executive Session;
3. Amend Item IV.A. to read “YMCA;”
4. Add Item IV.B. – “Proclamation for Government Week;”
5. Add Item IV.C. – “CDBG Grant;”
6. Remove Item VII.A – Mr. Mike Vining’s request to address the Board regarding an update of the streetlights in the Cotton Creek Subdivision;
7. Remove Item VII.C. – Request approval of an Ordinance to amend the Development Impact Fee ordinance for the purpose of changing the time of payment of impact fees assessed by the impact fee ordinance; and for other purposes;” - Commissioner Freedman stated he does not want to remove this agenda item.
8. Remove Item VIII.D. – Request authorization to advertise a public hearing – petition for abandonment of a portion of a public road known as Corporate Center Drive.
Chairman Maddox stated Ms. Angus is preparing two resolutions for Board consideration, however, she has not entered the meeting yet. He asked the Board to amend the agenda to add XI.A. and XI.B. for these two resolutions. He stated one resolution pertains to capital improvements and the second resolution pertains to the Courthouse project. Commissioner Holman amended his motion to include the two resolutions being prepared by Ms. Angus.
Commissioner Adams seconded the motion.
Commissioner Freedman stated he requested Item VII.C., “Request approval of an Ordinance to amend the Development Impact Fee Ordinance for the purpose of changing the time of payment of impact fees assessed by the impact fee ordinance; and for other purposes,” be placed on the agenda. He said he does not know why Commissioner Holman is taking off an item he had placed on the agenda. He asked Commissioner Holman to answer his question. Commissioner Holman said he is quite satisfied with the present ordinance. Commissioner Freedman said he had this matter put on the agenda and Commissioner Holman moved to have it removed from the agenda. He said it is an important issue and there will be many people present to discuss this at the Board’s next meeting. He said he wants to know why Commissioner Holman is removing an item from the agenda he had put on the agenda, even before the Board met.
Commissioner Holman called the question. Commissioner Freedman stated he cannot call the question because he (Commissioner Freedman) has the floor. He said “you don’t avoid the issue by calling the question for a vote. I want an answer.” Commissioner Holman said, “you’ve got an answer.” Commissioner Freedman said he wants the matter on the agenda because there are people coming in to discuss it and he does not want it removed from the agenda. He asked the Board not to vote to take this item off the agenda.
Chairman Maddox said he would like to give his explanation for this item being removed from the agenda. He said the Impact Fee Ordinance was passed some time ago and the County has been collecting the fees at the time the building permit is issued. He said the ordinance does not need to be changed to have the fees collected at the time you issue a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). He said in his opinion there are too many options in the ordinance. Chairman Maddox said, for example, if you do not collect the impact fees before the CO is issued, when there is a closing, the fee will have to be taken out at closing. Commissioner Freedman said that is not necessarily correct. He asked for the Board to discuss this as an agenda item during the meeting. Chairman Maddox said if you have a house that is going to be closed on and the attorney is in another county, the attorney would not, in most cases, know to take out the impact fees. He said this has been tried in counties which have impact fees. He said Mr. Bill Ross, who conducted the impact fee study, included information in his study that this method of collecting did not work properly.
Commissioner Holder stated what Mr. Ross was referring to, and he will take the blame, is when impact fees first came up, it was his intent to collect impact fees at closing. He said that is not the issue being talked about today; the Board is talking about collecting when a CO is issued, which will be prior to closing. He said collecting at closing is not a good idea because there is not a good tracking system, but at CO, that is the last opportunity for the County to say anything or do anything with that particular house or structure. He asked when the impact of this particular structure takes place on the County. He said it is after it is occupied; not during construction. Commissioner Holder said he was not originally correct in wanting to collect impact fees at closing, however, collection of impact fees needs to be on that end of the construction period. He said it does not need to be punitive toward developers or builders, or any citizen who wants to build a house. He said the County should receive the impact fee when the impact is created. Commissioner Holder said he was wrong in his suggestion about collecting the fees at closing when former-Commissioner Brian Williams first brought the issue to the Board. He said the issuance of the CO is the obvious point in the construction process when the impact fee should be collected.
Commissioner Freedman said this matter is being discussed now during acceptance of the agenda, which shows it needs discussing. He said that is why it needs to be left on the agenda so it can be discussed with all parties involved. He said the Board “just went through a seven minute discussion on an item you said didn’t need discussion, which shows well it needs discussion; the Board needs to interact on it. We change ordinances all the time and you said you did not feel; quite frankly what you feel and what I feel is not the issue. The issue is the Board should feel and discuss it; it’s an issue of discussion for the Board; it needs to stay on the agenda so we can discuss it openly, not just reject it and keep it from being discussed at all. It is an issue of fairness; it’s an issue of fairness of collecting $1,600 from people before the impact is felt. I’m reading Bill Ross’ memo which you said he said a lot of counties have tried it. There is nothing in his memo that says counties have tried it, and in fact, DeKalb County is entertaining this very issue on their agendas. So, other counties are looking to it. Just like we lead the way on other things, we should be leading the way on this. So, I would request the Board to leave it on the agenda for discussion. It has already shown it needs discussion. Let the community interact and address it, and do what we are supposed to be doing as the governing body.”
Commissioner Holman’s motion to approve the agenda, as amended, did not pass, with a tie vote of 3-3. Commissioners Maddox, Holman and Harper voted in favor of the motion, and Commissioners Freedman, Holder and Adams opposed the motion.
Commissioner Freedman made a counter-motion to accept the agenda with all of the amendments included in Commissioner Holman’s motion, except for the deletion of Item VII.C.; Commissioner Holder seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Adams, Harper and Holman in favor.
Mr. Emanuel Jones, District Attorney Tommy Floyd, McDonough Mayor Richard Craig, McDonough City Manager James Lee, Ms. Judy Neal, and Mr. Jeff Alevy were present during the discussion of this item.
Ms. Judy Neal stated she is a Board member with the YMCA, as well as a Board member for the Parks & Recreation Department. She thanked the Board for listening to a proposal the YMCA is bringing to the County asking for the Board to commit $5 million from SPLOST toward a YMCA youth and family facility. She said the YMCA has been in existence in a limited way for the last three years since 2000, and during that time there have been thousands of families and youth participating, and over 502 children who have been offered financial assistance because of strong community support. She said the YMCA has conducted studies and continually develops programs that the community families ask for and need.
Ms. Neal said she has provided the Board with an exhibit of a data base of over 1,100 Henry County families that have been part of the YMCA, and they all support a full facility being built in our County. She said this is only a portion of the total calls received daily by the YMCA, the City of McDonough and the County administrative building from residents who want to know where a YMCA is located. Ms. Neal said there are a lot of reasons to partner with the YMCA and make this project happen, one of which is stated eloquently in a quote from Bob White, Economic Development Director, “Corporate executives who must evaluate potential sites for future expansion for their companies place a high premium on the quality of life offered in a community. Having been associated with the YMCA in other communities in Georgia and having seen their positive impact on the community and its residents, I feel strongly that having a quality Y facility in Henry County would be a strong asset in promoting Henry County as the best location to live, work and play.” Ms. Neal stated in view of Mr. White’s statement, “we all recognize that if just one major company relocated to Henry County because of a YMCA facility being here for the executives and their employees, the investment in this project would pay for itself ten times over.”
Ms. Neal stated “what we are talking about here today is using taxpayer money to maximize the return on investment.”
Mr. Emanuel Jones, one of the two co-chairs of the YMCA, who is the owner of Legacy Ford, addressed the Board. He made the following statement:
“Just to give you a little history of my involvement, I’ve been the Chairman of YMCA, recently elected this past year, and more importantly, I’ve been working with the YMCA since its inception going back about three years ago. Today we are here to talk about a proposal that we would like to present to the Commissioners regarding a partnership between Henry County and the Henry County branch of the Atlanta YMCA. In your package you will find a proposal that we would like to formally present to our Commissioners.
“We are asking that you consider this proposal and, more importantly, we are asking that you support this proposal to bring a full-fledged YMCA to the Henry County community. We are asking that the Y and Henry County become true partners in this endeavor. We are asking, more importantly, that the Y invest the $5 million that has already been allocated under the SPLOST program for a family use facility so that we can, in turn, take that investment and maximize it. Under our proposal, you will see that we are proposing the YMCA and Henry County government enter into a 30-year operating agreement and that Henry County would own all of the facilities.
“More importantly, you will see further down in our proposal that Henry County YMCA is agreeing to take full responsibility for the entire operating budget, of which we estimate to be approximately $2 million a year. This operating budget funds would be raised by Henry County YMCA to sustain the projects and demanded programs that’s being offered by the Y in this community.
“It should also be noted that Henry County will have an option at the end of the expiration of this lease to buy out the YMCA’s investment in these facilities. Clear title would be transferred back to the County. I hope that on behalf of the citizens of this community and behalf of the Henry County YMCA that our Commissioners will vote in favor of forming a partnership between Henry County government and our Henry County YMCA.”
Mr. Jeff Alevy, Director of the Henry County YMCA, stated “in the County allocating the $5 million from SPLOST that was originally voted on for a youth and family facility toward this project, the YMCA would like to give Henry County the leverage that $5 million two-to-one, which means should the Board decide to invest in this project, the YMCA is committing to putting up approximately $10 to $11 million over the course of this project. He said the entire project then becomes a $15 to $16 million proposal and not a $5 million proposal.”
Mr. Alevy stated “the YMCA will be relieving the County of all operating responsibilities which means to operate a facility of this size, it is estimated to take $1.8 to $2 million a year to operate, and if you consider the proposal calls for a 30 year ground lease in order to build the facilities, and you take the $2 million a year operating expense times 30 years, the YMCA could be saving the County and the taxpayers $60 million over 30 years in the operation of such a facility.”
Mr. Alevy stated the YMCA will title over, even the $10 million in assets the YMCA will be responsible for, to the County at the end of the term of this project. He said this is a “win win win” between County residents because they have asked for a youth and family facility, not only in the SPLOST vote, but in the research and marketing study done last year in the County, which validated there is approximately 60 percent higher interest in YMCA programs in Henry County than nation-wide per average community where 500 studies just like this were done. He said the “win is for the County residents, there is a win for the County government in being able to leverage the $5 million against the YMCA’s $10 or $11 million, and plus having the YMCA totally responsible for all the operating expenses.”
Mr. Tommy Floyd, Flint Circuit District Attorney, stated “having grown up in this County, I’ve heard all my life that there is nothing for children and young adults to do in Henry County. Well, the YMCA is one way to provide something for them to do. Also, as a long-time taxpayer in this County, it’s attractive to me that this is a good deal for the County. The Board of Commissioners is obligated, at least according to their resolution that set out the general projects for the SPLOST that we are operating under now, $5 million for a family and children center. What better way to do that than to partner with the YMCA to create that center and the immediate advantage to the County is that the YMCA will run it. It costs money to hire people to run these facilities. I won’t even get into the liability that’s involved in swimming pools, basketball courts and all that might happen during those types of activities. Not to mention, we think the Hospital will become involved in some of the therapeutic uses of the YMCA facilities. So, and not to forget what Judy said about the industrial development aspect, to give the youth something to do, to attract quality industry to the County, we just think it’s a good deal for Henry County and I appreciate your favorable vote on this proposal.”
Commissioner Adams noted Mr. Floyd mentioned liability. He asked whether the YMCA would assume all liability. Mr. Floyd said, “yes, I think that’s right. The YMCA would run the facility; the County would own the facility and the land. It would be encumbered by the part that the YMCA builds for a period of time already stated. It would relieve the County of liability to a great extent.”
Mr. Alevy said, “right now, in the programs we do out in the community, when we partner with a hotel or church to do swim lessons or therapeutic warm water activity, we actually name them as additional insurers on our multi-million dollar liability policy. So in this case, our YMCA and operation would be covered under our own insurance which would relieve the County of that liability.”
Commissioner Adams said, “what the County needs to do to make this happen, is to commit the $5 million SPLOST, then you would take it from there.” Mr. Alvey agreed.
Deputy County Attorney, Jill Goodman, asked if Henry County residents would be charged a different fee for the use of the facility than out of Henry residents.
Mr. Alevy said, “we are a part of an association consisting of twenty-two (22) branches, and typically there are not different fee scales for people from outside counties. In an operating agreement that will be forthcoming if the Board decides to go forward with this, we can talk about whether there are concessions or items in the agreement that could be more favorable to the County in terms of representation on the Board. A fee scale could be discussed and negotiated later for different populations here in Henry County for a certain period of time. As an addendum to that, if any local government built a $5 million or $15 million youth and family center and you did not charge residents, there would be a negative cash flow. One of the ways the financial model works is in addition to charging fees for services, the YMCA will go and seek grants and also will continue to do our community base fundraising.”
“As a last point, the YMCA model also calls for a sliding fee scale. So any resident or program participant who could not pay the entire fee to participate would be allowed the opportunity to apply for a reduction in fees. Therefore, we are open to and serving all as our mission calls for.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “four or five years ago when a group got together to see about a youth and family facility in the County, two groups came forward; one was the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the other was the YMCA. The Boys and Girls Clubs of America talked about dropping kids off and then picking them up later. It was a different aspect of working with the community. The YMCA came forward and said, ‘we are family oriented.’ When we say something is family oriented that is doing things as families and serving the families of Henry County (both individually and as an entire group). Secondly, a lot of people who voted for SPLOST the second time around voted for it knowing there are certain things in there; such as, a senior center, a family youth facility, etc. A lot of people turned out because they recognized that as a YMCA facility. The YMCA has had programs in Henry County for over three (3) years; so they have programs going already. They even provide scholarships to the families who cannot afford for their kids to go to the summer camps, and they provide programs for the schools and the elderly. The SPLOST program called for a facility; what better way than having a facility that is run by a professional organization that has been doing this over 100 years and knows how to do it right. It relieves us of the responsibility of operating it as they take that burden on.”
“Alpharetta, Atlanta, Decatur and Canton are doing joint projects with the YMCA, as well as, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Newton counties. It has already been tried and proven; it is a successful program and I think we should support this. The question that I have to a YMCA board member or our attorney is that it states, ‘Henry County government will agree to retain the construction firm of Seay and Associates to oversee Phase I.’ I do not know if we can lock in to one particular firm as part of the agreement.”
Ms. Jill Goodman, Deputy County Attorney, said, “it is complicated because if we are the owner then we would need to go by our bidding procedures; if we are turning the money over to the YMCA, they will oversee the construction of the facility and they can hire according to their procedures. It is how the transfer of funds is structured.”
Commissioner Holman asked for Mr. Floyd to explain his statement when he said, “SPLOST obligated.” He referenced the list where it says ‘centers,’ which brings the question of the number to build, the location, and the purpose of the community center.
Mr. Floyd referred to the resolution and read, ‘you have resolved to build community centers for family and youth activity.’ He said, “I did not say you were obligated to build a YMCA facility. What I said was what better way to accomplish the promise to the citizens that you will build a family and youth activity center. It is a good deal financially for the County, because the YMCA will put so much into it and more than match what the County puts in.”
Commissioner Holman asked, “in this packet have you proposed a building site?”
Mayor Craig asked, “What is the difference in building this facility and leasing it back to the Y, any more than you building recreation facilities and leasing them back to the youth associations? It’s the same principle. They’re going to serve the same people, just in a different way. There is a physical fitness difference between the Y and the youth association. They have softball, football and soccer, where the YMCA offers much more than that. I don’t see any difference in the County building this with the $5 million that was voted on. I don’t know who changed it on the ballot, but it was supposed to go on the ballot as the YMCA to start with and somebody changed it to a family activity building.”
Commissioner Holman asked for an idea of the location in Henry County, and said he is getting the feeling the proposal is for one (1) $5 million facility because the ‘s’ is being dropped off the ‘centers.’
Commissioner Holder said, “before the program gets so convoluted that none of us knows where it is going, the purpose of you being here was to assure the commitment of the $5 million. The $5 million could be encumbered and could be bonded so the YMCA could plan their activities. Before we get into a battle as to the location and the particulars of the construction, we should commit the funds and make sure Ms. Angus and others who are trying to get the $25 million bond issue committed, that those funds can come to where they are supposed to go. As far as being fiscally responsible, when we can take $5 million and get a $10 million match with it, that sounds good. But, the most important part is the fact they run it and they are responsible for it and assume the liabilities.”
Mr. Emanuel Jones stated, “regarding the review of the locations in the County, we are site neutral. We have been offered two (2) sites, and we recognize you cannot undertake a building project without ‘due diligence’ prior to accepting a particular site. One of the sites is near the Henry Medical Center adjacent to its nursing facility, roughly twenty-two (22) acres running parallel to Eagles Landing Parkway. Another site offered is here in McDonough, a recent land purchase by the County and the City of McDonough jointly. We are considering both of these sites and hopefully will come to a site selection agreeable to both our elected officials as well as Henry County YMCA.”
“I have served in the past under the 5th District Commissioner as her representative to the SPLOST Committee. I was instrumental in seeing the funds allocated for a family and youth facility. My understanding was these funds were to be used for a YMCA facility. The YMCA is an organization that is inclusive; we serve all from a tender age of 4 up to 100. The Henry County YMCA has it’s own governing board, and currently I chair that Board. It is stated in our resolution a proposal to have the Board of Commissioners a part member to our Board as well to help us with the oversight and management of this facility. We are talking about one (1) facility and leveraging the funds in our association with the Metro YMCAs so that we can build not just a $5 million facility, but in essence, a $15 million facility which will be a full gym and swim facility. We are also looking at the community to chair in the work with us and provide programs that we can operate out of this facility. I have mentioned the Henry Medical Center as a potential partner, and they are considering partnering with the YMCA because I serve on the Medical Center Board and this has been a topic on our agenda.”
Chairman Maddox asked the Board if they would like to continue this discussion since the allotted time has run out for this particular topic on the Agenda.
Commissioner Freedman asked if the funds could be ear-marked for that facility to do this in conjunction with the YMCA so they can start their planning pending legal review.
The Chairman said he had three (3) questions and they needed to be addressed before a commitment is made.
Ms. Neal asked whether the money is encumbered today or not, could that money be blocked, so that if other decisions surface about money, this money will be left in the pot until we can answer all the questions.
Commissioner Harper said based on discussions with Commissioner Holder, there is a resolution on the table that has not been introduced yet to do just what Ms. Neal had asked. In essence, this would be to put a moratorium for thirty (30) days on the encumbering of any funds that leaves this in place. He said we should not deplete below $5 million until the Board studies this.
Commissioner Holder commented, “if this arrangement passes the legal litmus test, we can certainly proceed. As far as committing the funds, we need to save the $5 million out of the original bond issue because that was part of it. Also, the YMCA needs to know so they can make their preparations.”
Commissioner Freedman made a motion to encumber the $5 million set aside for the family and youth facility and, as part of that, enter into an agreement with the YMCA whereby they can be the operators of the family and youth facility after legal review and questions have been answered. Commissioner Adams seconded.
Commissioner Holman asked the County Manager, Linda Angus, for her input before the vote.
Ms. Angus advised not to exceed $5 million either from SPLOST or impact fee Park and Recreation funds, and recommended consideration for the funds to be taken from either source. She stated she would be more comfortable entering into negotiations with the YMCA where the joint acquisition and/or contractual management of the facility is considered. She said the commitment is there to do business with the YMCA.
Commissioner Freedman said due to time, he called the question.
The vote was taken; the motion carried 4-1-0 with Commissioners Holder, Harper, Freedman and Adams voting in favor and Commissioner Holman voting against the motion.
Commissioner Adams stated he would like to present a Resolution to Proclaim and Promote April 18 – 24, 2004 as National County Government Week in Henry County. This will support the development of programs promoting National County Government Week in Henry County, including the formation of an inter-governmental committee to organize special events and activities such as, but not limited to:
· Establishing a Government Career Day in local high schools.
· Hosting a Henry County “Expo” at which representatives from each area of County government are available to promote their programs and activities within the community (i.e. Parks and Recreation Summer Programs, Senior Services, Fire Safety, etc.).
· Hosting an essay contest for County high school students interested in Government, with winners becoming a “County Official for a Day.”
· Hosting a poster contest in the elementary schools promoting the week.
· Tours of County facilities.
Commissioner Adams made a motion to approve this resolution; Commissioner Harper seconded; the motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Harper, Freedman, Holman and Holder voting in favor.
Commissioner Harper said once again Henry County is eligible for a $500,000 CDBG Grant (Community Development Block Grant). He said we missed applying for it last year, and this year we do not need to forfeit the funds. The application deadline is drawing near, so we need to make a motion on this grant. Commissioner Harper suggested the appropriate thing would be to put this toward the Senior Center and, therefore, we could start a Senior Center in the City of Hampton and put the SPLOST allocation toward the City of Locust Grove. He said Mayor Lindsey of Locust Grove is in agreement with having the initial allocation from SPLOST go to Locust Grove, and Mayor Lewis in Hampton would be perfectly willing to take the CDBG Grant and put the $500,000 toward the City of Hampton.
Last year the City of Hampton had authorized and initiated a dialog with us about using one of their facilities in retro-fitting. But that offer is not on the table, at present. Commissioner Harper said it was his understanding they would be donating land in lieu of that. He said we cannot get that far unless we obtain the grant. The resolution reads as follows:
Resolution of the Henry County Board of Commissioners Regarding Application for 2004 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), for Further Establishment of New Senior Centers for Henry County and For Establishment of Position Related to Senior Services.
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners is aware of the positive impact that Senior Centers have upon the health and well-being of citizens over the age of 55 within Henry County; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners is aware that all seniors are not easily served by the geographic location of the two existing centers located in Fairview and McDonough; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners wishes to better serve the geographic locations of Locust Grove and Hampton; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners desires to apply for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in order to advance this objective; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners wishes to utilize both the CDBG grant and SPLOST funds to achieve this objective;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Henry County Board of Commissioners as follows:
This 16th day of February, 2004.
Commissioner Holman seconded.
Commissioner Freedman asked the reason the Board has not seen this resolution until now.
Commissioner Harper said it was passed out this morning.
Commissioner Freedman said he did not have it, nor did he know about it, and there is not lead time to have an important issue passed by the Board. He said he called that an unsavory surprise, because the Senior Centers are in the first and second districts, and the first and second district Commissioners have not been notified. He said, “I do not have any problem applying for the CDBG grant, but we have to apply under the small cities program to benefit the low and moderate income citizens. There is no guarantee; we have to compete through the whole State for that money. It is not an entitlement like some of the other grants. Of course we are required to have a public hearing and resolution prior to application for the funds. There are Federal government guidelines on that.”
“I want to go over the Senior Center issues. The resolution passed with the SPLOST II called for a Senior Center serving both Hampton and Locust Grove. One center in one city does not serve both of those, and I think that is in violation of what the resolution states. When the discussion took place between the SPLOST Oversight Committee and the County Commissioners, Mr. B.B. Wingo from Hampton, who is on the SPLOST Oversight Committee, objected to that strongly and said, ‘we need that Senior Center,’ and the agreement at that time said it would be between Hampton, Locust Grove, in Luella. Now to come up with a proposal, that I think is politicizing an issue, saying we are going to build two (2) when the Mayor of Hampton is not aware of the fact that there is only one (1) authorized in the SPLOST. So what you are saying is put all the money into one city, when it is supposed to serve two cities. What we need to do is separate the CDBG grant issue which we need to apply for, although we do not know if we are going to get it, from the Senior Centers on the SPLOST program; those two things should not be melded together. I would like to read a quote, ‘when politicians politicize community issues, it corrupts both the politician and the issue.’ We are politicizing this and it should not be.”
Commissioner Harper said he needed to respond. “To accuse me of politicizing this issue………I see you have the development community sitting back there because you want to amend the impact fee ordinance to carry favor with them. Secondly, Commissioner Freedman, you have said you have been ambushed today and had not heard of it. If you have not heard that this is coming, exactly how did you go and pull the stipulation for a CDBG grant? How did you pull the SPLOST ballot and prepare a speech responding to this if you had not heard about this until this morning? Are you that smart?”
Commissioner Freedman said, “I did not get it from you, did I?”
Commissioner Harper said, “We would not be applying if we didn’t think we stood a reasonable chance. We would have gotten it last year for ‘The Friends House’ and we forfeited it….$500,000. We are eligible for it for this purpose. We have to designate what it is for. I am asking this Board to designate it for the City of Hampton. You can have one center; I am saying designate it to the City of Locust Grove. If Commissioner Freedman does not want to do that, he can do what each of you can and that is to simply vote ‘no’ on the Senior Centers.”
Chairman Maddox said he had talked to the Chairman of the City Council in Hampton, and he said the City of Hampton would go along with the Senior Center over there.
Commissioner Holman had questions regarding the split between the cities and the County and an expected amount.
Ms. Angus stated we are applying for a grant of $500,000 and this would be applied to the ‘upfitting’ of the train depot in Hampton, and whatever money you wanted to take from SPLOST (assuming there is money remaining) up to $1,200,000 and would be used in total to build the center in Locust Grove. The best approach is for us to join with the City of Hampton and for the City and County to apply for a joint application for the CDBG grant.
Commissioner Holder said regarding the Senior Center to serve Hampton and Locust Grove. “That is exactly what it says. But also the one in McDonough that was built, does it serve only McDonough? I don’t think so; it serves other areas of the County and the same thing with the one in Fairview. The Mayors of Locust Grove and Hampton have agreed this arrangement could be made. If that is the arrangement, I certainly will be glad to have the Senior Center in Locust Grove. However, regardless of where or what city gets the $1.2 million and the other get one-half million, the Senior Center needs to be built in Locust Grove and Hampton, not in Luella. The concentration of your citizens are more in the cities. They would not utilize the center as much as they would if they are located within the city. If you put the center in either city, the cities will provide or property will be donated for it. If we go to Luella, you can bet there will have to be acquisition, and we all know what property there is costing.”
Commissioner Freedman said he talked to the Mayor of Hampton and he thought the money was going to be split. He said he had also talked to three (3) city councilmen in Hampton and they do not support having a separate center. “Before anyone moves forward too far, they may want to find out what the people in Hampton want. Does anyone know the operating cost of the Senior Center? The Hidden Valley operating cost is over $400,000 a year. Where are we going to get the cost to operate two (2) centers, when getting one more is a burden on the taxpayer?”
In the audience, Ms. Fannie Crawford, Chairperson of the Henry Council on Aging, said they had talked about this and are in agreement. She said they hoped the Board would approve this resolution.
Commissioner Harper called the question; Commissioner Holman seconded. The vote was taken on the resolution; the motion carried 4-1-0 with Commissioners Harper, Holder, Adams and Holman voting in favor and Commissioner Freedman voting against the motion.
Chairman Maddox announced he would like to move Agenda item XI.A. up on the Agenda to be heard next. He noted this Agenda item, if approved, would stop any spending of capital funds for thirty (30) days. Commissioner Holman stated that would affect the Board considering item VIII.E. Commissioner Adams agreed to delay consideration of item XI.A. until its previously approved place at the end of the Agenda.
Approval of Minutes for January 8, 2004 Committee Meeting. Commissioner Harper made a motion to approve the Minutes of January 8, 2004; Commissioner Holman seconded. Commissioner Holman reminded the Board that Commissioners Harper and Holman were the only two (2) present. The motion carried 4-0-1 with Commissioners Harper, Holman, Holder and Adams in favor and Commissioner Freedman abstaining.
Request approval to amend the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant Project #13-00801 to provide an extension. Mr. Michael Sabine, Human and Community Services Division Director, said Henry County has been offered a second extension of the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant in the amount of $50,000. This can be used to apply for an acquisition of property adjacent to J. P. Moseley Park.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to apply for the fund grant project #13-00801 in reference to the Moseley Park. Commissioner Adams seconded; the motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Freedman, Harper, Holman, Adams and Holder voting in favor of the motion.
Request approval of a bid pertaining to the rental of portable toilets for the Parks and Recreation Department. Mr. Sabine said this is the annual renewal of portable toilets for the Parks and Recreation Department which are used at various facilities where the brick and mortar restrooms are inadequate to serve the needs of the visitors.
Commissioner Harper made a motion to approve; Commissioner Holder seconded.
Chairman Maddox asked how long have we been using these portable toilets.
Mr. Tim Coley, Director of Parks and Recreation, stated fifteen (15) plus years.
Chairman Maddox said we have been using these long enough to where we could have had some permanent restrooms there.
Mr. Sabine said we are making progress under the SPLOST II.
Commissioner Holman said, “I know for a fact District V at Hidden Valley Park has portable toilets next to a permanent structure. When I inquired about this resolution, I was told the portable toilets will remain there until the weather warms up because our permanent facilities are unable to be winterized. I am against this, but this is a program that is already in play. I hope our staff will look into permanent facilities.”
The vote was taken on the motion; the motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Holman, Harper, Freedman, Holder and Adams voting in favor.
Request the approval to accept an increased funding under the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) (contract #93-45709) from the Georgia Department of Human Resources. The Georgia Department of Human Resources (GDHR) desires to increase the CSBG funding for Henry County by $11,502.38 for a new total of $65,466.42 to enhance Senior Services for low-income citizens. The GDHR is providing these additional funds to provide additional support for home delivered meals and home health services to Henry County senior citizens.
Commissioner Harper moved to approve this request; Commissioner Adams seconded.
Commissioner Holman asked Mr. Sabine by bringing in the $11,502.38 additional dollars, are we able to off-set $11,000 out of our General Fund?
Mr. Sabine said, “not directly. Community Services Block Grant Funds are programmed for those who are low income (below 125% of the Federal poverty level guidelines). You have folks who are on ARC, and Title III funding sources for example, and you are able to move them over from the Title III funding sources to CSBG. Obviously, these fund sources increase in eb and as they go up and down, people get moved back and forth. The goal there being, we want to make sure we have continuity and consistency in our service delivery and are constantly picking up people and then dropping them as the Federal resources go up and down. When you have an increase in fund sources, you are able to move folks from your other ARC sources over to your CSBG; that freezes up resources in your title three. Now the Title III resources cannot be used to supplant or replace existing commitments, but they allow you to then address other needs. This is basically accepting the increase of $11,000; it is not directing its expenditure until appropriate approval through the Manager or the Board is required. Ms. Sandy Craig has been working on a package coming up now that will address all the funding increases that we have received for the year which is around $230,000.”
Commissioner Adams called the question.
The vote was taken on the request to accept the increased funding; the motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Harper, Holman, Freedman and Holder voting in favor.
Request approval to accept a donation to Senior Services from the Henry County Council on Aging. The Henry County Council on Aging’s primary mission is to support and enhance the Senior Service programs in the County. The Council on Aging wishes to donate funds to the County in the amount of $20,000.00 for the purpose of providing home delivered meals and $3,000.00 for nutritional supplements to the County’s Cancer patients.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to approve the donation of funds; Commissioner Harper seconded; the motion carried 6-0-0 with Chairman Maddox, Commissioners Harper, Holman, Adams, Freedman and Holder voting in favor of the motion.
Ms. Fannie Crawford said, “thank you for accepting the resolution. We know you work hard and cannot make all the people in Henry County happy, but today the Board has made a lot of the senior population happy.”
Mr. Eddie Fowler of Senior Services commented there is another $45,000 that the Council is going to donate to the County in addition to this $23,000, giving a total $68,000.
Request approval of a bid pertaining to the purchase of an elevator maintenance contract for various departments. Mr. Sabine said this is the annual maintenance contract for elevator service. He said we have elevators in three (3) buildings, including the Courthouse. Five vendors submitted bids for this purchase and Premier Elevator Company’s bid in the amount of $18,144.00 met bid specifications.
Commissioner Freedman made a motion to accept the resolution awarding the contract to Premier Elevator Company for $18,144.00; Commissioner Adams seconded; the motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Freedman, Adams, Holman, Holder and Harper voting in favor.
Request approval of the Georgia Department of Transportation Transit Operating Assistance Grant. Each year the Transit Department applies for and receives grants for Capital Improvements and Operating Assistance from the Georgia Department of Transportation. By resolution the Board agreed to apply for this grant and on July 7, 2003 the Chairman signed the resolution to apply for these two grants for Transit Operating Assistance and Capital Improvements. This is part two of our DOT grant and is used to provide Operating Assistance to provide rural public transportation. With the County providing a local match of $200,916.00, we are eligible to receive reimbursements totaling $141,832.00.
Commissioner Adams made a motion to accept this grant; Commissioner Holman seconded; (Commissioner Harper left the room at 10:05 a.m.)
Commissioner Freedman said the County has to provide approximately $201,000. Is that already budgeted?
Mr. Sabine said, “under the DOT program budget, that’s not a cash match. Your DHR revenues under the unified program are a dollar for dollar credit. The DOT budget which exists on paper in DOT’s files, you can use your DHR as a dollar for dollar credit to buy down the local share; however, the DOT budget does not match back to what the County’s Transit Department budget is. The DOT comes up with a formulaic budget for this program only. For every dollar you spend in the Transit Department, you are actually paying about 30 cents on that dollar out of County coffers and the other 70 cents coming out of DOT and DHR.”
The vote was taken on the motion to accept the grant; the motion carried 4-0-0 with Commissioners Freedman, Holman, Holder and Adams voting in favor. (Commissioner Harper was out of the room and did not vote.)
Approval of the Human and Community Services Minutes for January 13, 2004 Committee Meeting. Commissioner Adams made a motion to approve the Minutes; Commissioner Freedman seconded; the motion carried 3-0-1 with Commissioners Holder, Adams and Freedman voting in favor, Commissioner Holman abstaining and Commissioner Harper was out of the room.
(Commissioner Harper returned to the room at 10:10 a.m.)
Economic Development Division
Ms. Carla Andrew’s request to address the Board regarding changing M-1 classification to include kennels.
“My name is Carla Andrews and I reside at 440 Longwood Court, Jonesboro, Georgia. We hope to open an independent dog kennel located at the Industrial Park off of Rock Quarry Road and Red Oak Road. The current zoning for this area is C-3, and we found that to be cost prohibitive for a small business like this. We found that an M-1 gives us as much area as we need, which is 8,000 feet or more and a much more affordable area.”
Chairman Maddox read the resolution and asked for a motion. Commissioner Adams made a motion to approve this request; Commissioner Holder seconded.
Commissioner Holder asked what zoning a kennel like this is required to be in.
Mr. Danny Taylor, Economic Development Division Director, said C-3.
Commissioner Holder asked, “why would M-1 not be acceptable for this kennel?”
Mr. Taylor said he thought it would be acceptable.
Commissioner Holder said, “if it is allowable in C-3, M-1 is a more restrictive zoning. I do not understand why it even becomes an issue.
Mr. Taylor said, “C-3 or M-1 would be an appropriate location for a kennel, giving the nature of kennels. The step the applicant would take after this would be to refer this to the Planning Commission for review and approval. Approval of this request will initiate the process to send it to the Planning Commission to change the text of the zoning ordinance and it eventually comes back to the Board.”
Commissioner Adams asked to amend his motion to send the request to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation. Chairman Maddox said not just for this one, but kennels in general. Commissioner Holder amended his second; the motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Holder, Harper, Freedman and Holder voting in favor.
Request approval of an Ordinance to amend the Development Impact Fee Ordinance for the purpose of changing the time of payment of impact fees assessed by the impact fee Ordinance and for other purposes.
Mr. Danny Taylor said this is an amendment to change the collection of impact fees from the time the building permit is issued to the time the CO is issued. He said he would like to make some comments:
“It speaks broadly just to impact fees for all building permits and all certificates of occupancy. With respect to residential building permits and residential certificates of occupancy, I think it is six of one and a half a dozen of the other. Whatever you think is in the best interest of the public. But in respect to commercial building permits and commercial certificates of occupancy, I would offer two (2) alternatives: 1) to leave it the way it is or 2) to collect the impact fee at the time that the certificate of completion is given for the commercial building. I think that would be simpler and cleaner, and that would occur before the certificate of occupancy is given. In some instances, commercial buildings are occupied 25% or 50% or they might be released to some lower number, and that would be very difficult to keep up with and account for. We need to begin the collection and assessment of the impact fee for commercial buildings, and tell the people how much it is going to cost and then collect it at the time the certificate of completion is given. On the residential side of it, I do not think it makes any difference.”
Commissioner Holman made a motion to make no change to this ordinance; Chairman Maddox seconded.
Commissioner Holman said if we make no change to this ordinance, it leaves it as it stands. We would collect the money when the permit is applied for, and we satisfy the request that our Division Director has recommended. Also, the Quality Growth Council has indicated this ordinance is not requiring a change.
Commissioner Holder said he did not hear Mr. Danny Taylor say that a change was not required or recommended. “Mr. Taylor made a plea for the commercial buildings but not for residential, and I tend to agree with him. I do have some concerns. As far as the Council for Quality Growth, that is a private organization. I do not know what their position may be, but the point is, the Council for Quality Growth represents some of the largest builders. That is not my concern. I have smaller people or contractors that I have more concern about that this $1,600 will impact. My question is, when does the impact start? Is it when the permit is issued or when the structure is occupied? I think that is the key. Do we make it punitive on anybody that is trying to do anything in this County? I don’t think so. The impact fee is for the person who is going to occupy the premises and create the impact. It is not on the person who is building the building.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “we are collecting an impact fee at the time the building permit is issued. It may take five or six months to build that house and it may sit there for five or six months before they sell it. We could be sitting on $1,600 plus for many, many months, and we will collect it before the impact is felt. The impact is not felt until someone moves in there. Also the impact fee law is specific in that the purpose of the impact fees is for the increase and services that are required by that increase in population. It is not to take care of today’s needs; it is to take care of the future needs impacted by their growth. It is a fair thing to do, because that cost is only built into the house anyway. The citizen is impacted, and I think it is unfair we collect it up front. I checked with the County Attorney and he stated the law does not specify when the fee has to be collected. I will vote to reject the motion on the floor, but I will then make a counter motion that we accept it and will include the fact, as Mr. Taylor recommended, that the impact fee at the CO time be for residential and as far as commercial goes, it will be at the certificate of completion.”
Commissioner Adams questioned the plan regarding commercial impact fees.
Mr. Taylor said, “either leave it alone or if you want to extend the time, then extend it to the time the building is completed rather than the time the certificate of occupancy is provided. The certificate of occupancy in a commercial building could be issued to a portion of the building. That portion could be leased for a certain period of time; the lease could end and then another lease could be issued for a larger portion and then we would have to look at what we had previously collected and then collect some more. So I would like a clean cut at certificate of completion.”
Commissioner Harper said, “my position was to do this at closing, but it was not a logistical possibility because if you had a closing attorney in Norcross that did not know to collect the fee, we would end up under collecting and trying to get it back from the homeowner which would not work. The legal definition of an impact fee is to offset the impact of the resident. But by CO, you have still collected the impact fee at the time the resident is coming in or closer to it. There just has to be a mechanism in the County to reset the system to collect it at that point.”
Commissioner Holman asked, “is it not easier for the County to collect the money at the issuance of the building permit?”
Mr. Taylor said, “it is indeed.”
Chairman Maddox said, “it is really pleasing to hear Commissioner Freedman say ‘this is a fair thing to do.’ He has been against impact fees since 1997.” The Chairman told a story of a lady who had purchased a home and had been living in the home one year. The Building Department asked her what she was doing living in that house and how did she get a CO. He said it came out the builder had forged a CO on her house. After investigation, the County found out there were 40 more that this particular builder had forged. He stated if we wait until we get our CO, are we going to get our impact fee money? The Chairman said he hoped we have corrected that in the Building Department. He said if you do it in the beginning, when the building permit is obtained, you pay the impact fee and it is all over with until the regular inspection is completed and you receive your CO. Regarding commercial, if you do not do it in the beginning, and if someone moves in part of the building, it will be more paperwork. Chairman Maddox said, “the Impact Fee Ordinance was passed where you get your impact fee when you receive your building permit.”
Commissioner Holder said, “I challenge the comment you made about people forging a CO. There is no question that happened. But did we not sit a couple of meetings ago with a zoning issue where the adjacent property owner had built an entire structure and never had a permit. So the point I am making is, people get by without having permits as well as they get by without a CO. I think we are trying to make some of the things look the way we want them to look but, in my opinion, the impact begins when the structure is occupied.”
Commissioner Freedman wanted to respond to Chairman Maddox’s comment about not wanting impact fees. “Two years before you came on this Board, Mr. Williams and I proposed impact fees. I do not think the builders objected to impact fees as much as the fact we were collecting them before we needed them.”
Commissioner Harper stated, “it is my understanding, if you take the Water Authority’s $2,900 assessment and call it an impact fee that you pay, and you have to pay that up front if I am not mistaken, you add the $1,600 to it up front, you are pushing $4,500 or so. If you float approximately $5,000 initially before the home is built, by the time you have completed the home and go to sell it, you are then passing that on to the homeowner. All of us recognized this when the Board passed impact fees. If you amortize the interest, the developer making the analogy said they tack on about $500 to that $5,000 and pass the price on to the homeowner. If you paid the $5,000 more toward the end, they would not have paid interest on that $5,000 all that time. So the homeowner ends up with a $500 more expensive product based on when we charge the fee. That is another issue of fairness. Our system has to be in place to be ‘check and balanced’ to make sure we collect the fee whether it is up front or at the end.”
From the audience, Mr. Stan Cameron, a member of the Board of Directors of the Council for Quality Growth, asked to speak.
“I want to speak in support of this motion Mr. Freedman has made. Also I feel I need to defend the Council of Quality Growth. I am involved on the Steering Committee on the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the Unified Development Code, and so many of these issues that we are addressing piece mill over and over again, I thought would be addressed at one time. For example, we have the issues of the impact fees, the number of lots off of one entranceway, and the change in the paving specs. All of these are part of the Unified Development Code and are getting addressed piece mill. The members of the Council feel compelled to attend each meeting to defend everything that happens to come up, and it is hard for us to earn a living. We feel we need to be up here because something is going to get passed that is directly against the growth industry. It has been said Quality Growth did not support this issue. We get these things thrown at us at the last minute. We have not had a Board Meeting on this issue. Last Friday we had members of the Council for Quality Growth who met personally with Commissioners Holder, Adams and Harper asking for your support on this issue. The impact is created at the time the CO is issued (when the house is occupied). It is not created at the time the building permit is issued. I hear it will not work because the closing attorney may fail to collect this fee. I was a closing attorney for 20 years and closed over 1,500 houses and never, ever did I obtain a CO for closing. It is not the closing attorney’s duty to get the certificate of occupancy, and it is not his duty to pay for the certificate of occupancy. The builder obtains the CO and comes to closing with the CO. The closing attorney is instructed in every closing by the mortgage company, ‘do not close this loan unless a CO is issued.’ So whether or not the closing attorney would fail to pay this fee is completely irrelevant. It should be paid when the CO is issued and that is when it should be collected. I am asking for your support on this issue to approve Mr. Freedman’s motion to collect this money when the impact is created which is the time of the issuance of the CO.”
Mr. Christopher Burke, a representative of the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association, asked to speak.
“I am here on behalf on the Henry County Chapter of Builders. Our association does not oppose impact fees, and we do support this resolution brought by Commissioner Freedman. I think we should look at on top of these impact fees, you have a group of other fees that are going up such as development fees, general permit fees, and NPDS (which is State mandated). When you lump these fees together in Henry County it came to my attention it is almost twice as much pre-construction to start a house as it is in Fulton and DeKalb Counties. Builders are definitely in agreement in paying their fair share. The impact is not felt until the house is occupied or, in the case of commercial, until the facility is being used. When you look at the impact fee as one fee being collected, the $1,600 does not seem that substantial. However, for people who pull ten (10) permits, fifty (50) permits at a time, that number gets to be quite great. And when you stretch that out over a period of time, for the time to complete that house, to sell that house, and recoup that money, it could be quite substantial.”
Mr. Len Brewer asked to speak.
“At first I was opposed to impact fees, but as time went along and I studied it more, and I feel it is the right thing to do. The State law mandates that is the way local governments are to get their roads paved. But to be fair with it, I would like to see it collected at the right time. I have talked to several judges about this, and they agree impact fee collected prior and spent prior is illegal and would warrant a case. We ask you support the building community and Commissioner Freedman’s proposal.”
Commissioner Holder responded by saying he was never opposed to impact fees but the division of the way the funds were to be distributed and also that the four (4) cities were not involved caused his concern.
Mr. Hugh Morton with Peachtree Homes asked to speak.
“Commissioner Harper, the number is greater than $5,000. If you take a $450 - $550 permit fee, water and sewer fee of $3,800, and impact fee of $1,671, it is more like $6,000. If all the houses closed within 3 or 4 months, it would not be a big burden, but I am closing one this month that has been around for about 2 years and a model home that has been around about 4 years. For a large builder, it is not a great burden; for the smaller builders who are based in our County, it is a great burden. I think it is fair to the local builders not to punish them in this manner. I recommend you approve this as presented.”
Commissioner Holman reminded the Board the motion is not to make a change to the current ordinance.
The vote was taken; the motion carried 2-4-0 with Chairman Maddox and Commissioner Holman voting in favor of the motion and Commissioners Freedman, Harper, Holder and Adams voting against.
Commissioner Freedman made a motion to approve the ordinance as it is written with one change to paragraph 2. The wording will say, “all development and impact fees shall be collected no later than the time of issuance of a certificate of occupancy for residential construction.” Commissioner Holder seconded.
Commissioner Holman called the question.
Chairman Maddox asked for the vote on the motion; the motion carried 4-2-0 with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Harper and Adams voting in favor and Chairman Maddox and Commissioner Holman voting against the motion. The motion passed.
Commissioner Holder said, “with this resolution that has just been passed, I have a concern and advise my representative to the Water Authority to consider the following. The line share of this impact fee is the $2,900 or $3,000 of water impact. It was allowed to be collected up until a couple of years ago, and I was told there was a problem with the County issuing a CO without the Water Authority collecting their $2,900 in fees. I think that can be worked out logistically here with our department in that they do not get a CO unless a receipt is shown from the Water Authority where the impact fee has been paid. I hope we can get the water impact put on the same CO schedule as the other impact fees are.”
Text Amendment to Article IV Improvements Standards, Section 3-8-94 Construction Requirements for Residential Subdivision Streets, of the Zoning Ordinance of Henry County adopted June 3, 1986, as amended, by amending Sections 3-8-94 and 3-8-95 to provide clarity and revise the Residential Subdivision Street Development Standards.
Chairman Maddox read the resolution, and Commissioner Holman made a motion to approve. Chairman Maddox seconded the motion for discussion.
Chairman Maddox stated this is a resolution, if it passes or fails, to change the ordinance and come back before this Board to be voted on.
Ms. Angus asked if the motion could be tabled to allow staff to research where this stands.
Chairman Maddox said if this is brought back, it will have to be an ordinance change rather than a resolution.
Ms. Angus said, “we need to see how it went through the Planning Commission and how they adopted it.”
Ms. Jill Goodman, Deputy County Attorney, said we can have an ordinance prepared and ready for the meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday, February 17th), and it can be voted on at that time.
Commissioner Holman said he would amend his motion and table it until tomorrow night for the proper resolution to be drafted. Chairman Maddox amended his second; the motion to table the resolution carried 4-0-0 with Commissioners Freedman, Adams, Holder and Holman voting in favor. Commissioner Harper was out of the room.
Request Approval of an Adjustment in the Fee Schedules for Certain Services Provided by the Henry County Planning and Development Division.
The staff of the Henry County Board of Commissioners has reviewed the current fee structure and performed a full-cost study that has resulted in a recommended fee structure for merit services provided to support the functions of the Planning and Development Division. The Board of Commissioners determined that the current fee structure is obsolete and is now subject to adjustment.
Mr. Taylor said this is a proposal to change the fees charged by the different departments in the Planning and Development Division to help us recover the costs of providing these services.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to approve the resolution; Commissioner Adams seconded.
Mr. Tom Couch was asked to speak relating to technical questions from the Board.
Commissioner Adams asked Mr. Couch how we have gone down in price (zoning application fee) from the existing $300 for residential to $250. Why would we go down; this is the age of inflation?
Mr. Couch said, “in this proposal there will be a two part tariff as far as zoning application fees are concerned. If in a ‘0’ to ‘5’ acreage range of $300, let’s say it was a five (5) acre development, under the present zoning schedule it would be $300. But under the new schedule, it would be $250 plus $50 per acre. If it is less than one (1) acre, we would just round if off. It is very unlikely you are going to get a single-family residential zoning for just an acre or less. It will be wrapped into your subdivision applications.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “these fees are what it cost to run that department. These fees 1) do not generate a profit; 2) these fees cover the actual cost of doing this, and 3) these fees are reasonable.”
Chairman Maddox asked, “how did you come up with the fee cost, and did you use everything (maintenance of the building, vehicle cost, phone service, etc.) in order to get this fee?”
Mr. Couch answered, “yes, we did a full-cost study which included overhead. We also compared fees for all of the counties in Metro Atlanta and in some cases outside of the State.”
Commissioner Holder said with this fee schedule we are about to adopt, it will generate more dollars than what we currently have in place. Is that correct?
Mr. Couch answered, “yes.”
Commissioner Holder said the fees are not going down; it will be an increase of revenue to the County.
Mr. Taylor said based on our present volume, it should be an increase in revenue of approximately $50,000.
Mr. Stan Cameron said, “we are addressing all these items piece mill; we are working so hard on the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Unified Development Code, and I thought that would address so many of these issues. We are trying to get this Code implemented and in the meantime, we keep changing the old Code instead of making one change at one time. This would make a lot more sense.”
Commissioner Adams said, “a lot of folks have said how we are slow to react in Planning and Zoning. This will allow additional people to be hired. We cannot make a profit on it by State law; we will have to expend that money to enhance that department. It is a better deal for you.”
Commissioner Harper stated, “all six of the Board Members need to declare a “daytant” and stop making motions regarding the Code. And that goes for the impact fee. If it benefits you, we cannot get up and say ‘do it,’ and then turn around on the next item and say ‘don’t.’ We have gotten these people hired to do a Unified Development Code; let’s all work with them and do it. That goes for all issues.
Commissioner Harper said, “this resolution rises to a level of urgency in the sense that we receive letters from law firms saying ‘we are hereby filing an open records request’ asking for all expenditures in those departments to compare to receipts, and threatening to sue us about it. So they have undertaken a study to determine what fees will justify what service. We have got to be able to base our fees and services, so we can defend an action should someone decided to file.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “this is not a new issue. Mr. Doug Gilbert had a meeting three months ago with the builders in the County and passed this data out. They have had it in their hands for a long time. We do not believe in surprises; but the comment in that meeting was ‘time is our enemy.’ Mr. Gilbert at that time made a commitment and said ‘if the fees go up, your time will go down.’ Every builder said ‘we can live with that’ if you give us better service.”
Commissioner Holman stated, “if you will consider all of the time that has been consumed every time we bring something to modify the ordinance, it draws me to an absolute different conclusion. I think it is good for us to piece mill; that way it tests the waters and allows you to see what the issues are early before you have an entire unified code that will never get passed. It will give you a ‘heads up’ and give us ‘heads up’ with what your concerns are, so that we can fix the problems, and when we do roll out the Unified Development Code, we do not have to revisit all these issues already brought up.”
Chairman Maddox asked for the vote to approve this resolution; the motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Holman, Adams, Freedman, Holder and Harper voting in favor of the motion.
Request Approval of an Ordinance to amend Chapter 3-6, Article III of the Code, entitled “Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control;” to provide for institution of a Residential Land Disturbance Permit; and also to establish a fee for this permit.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to approve the Ordinance to amend Chapter 3-6, Article III of the Code, entitled “Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control;” to provide for institution of a Residential Land Disturbance Permit; and also to establish a fee for this permit. Commissioner Harper seconded the motion.
Commissioner Harper noted the request is to establish a fee for the services and in the summary for this exhibit it states a fee for this permit may also be established by the Board of Commissioners. He questioned whether this ordinance establishes a fee or will the fee be established at a later time. Danny Taylor responded initially it was suggested a $50.00 fee but there was no discussion or approval. This request came about after numerous calls regarding the enforcement of the Tree Ordinance and the issue of the septic tank arose. This is to help enforce two ordinances by requiring a land disturbance permit so there is a record of what the land looks like before it’s disturbed at all. With respect to the Tree Ordinance the idea is for the applicant to apply for the land disturbance permit, pictures of the property will be taken and when the construction is completed more pictures will be taken so that there is a record of what trees have been removed.
Chairman Maddox stated an engineer does a soil study on a piece of property and proceeds to the Health Department to get a permit and the permit is then brought to the Building Department. If the trees have been removed and then the soil study done, how does this affect the enforcement of the Tree Ordinance. The land disturbance permit is applied for first, before any soil samples are taken. If the Health Department requires the applicant to remove some of the trees for the soil study, the applicant will already have the land disturbance permit. Once the permit is issued for the septic system, then you apply for the building permit.
Commissioner Freedman stated this came before the Economic Development Committee and there wasn’t a problem with this issue but he had a problem with assessing another fee. Commissioner Freedman asked Danny Taylor, at that meeting, if this fee could be absorbed in all the new costs and that’s why there is no fee stated in the exhibit. This needs to be done, but a fee does not need to be assessed for everything we do when this can be absorbed in the increased fees that are already being charged.
Commissioner Holder stated he is not on the Economic Development Committee but he “cautions the Board in regards to absorbing fees. Absorbing the fees will to no avail speed up the process because the additional staff needed for this process will be …..”
Commissioner Freedman responded that is why staff was asked to look at this. The fees were just increased and if this increase can cover this permit process then another fee doesn’t have to be added. That’s why it was asked that this be studied. If this can be done without an increase and it doesn’t impact on the timeliness and doesn’t impact on the work load then a fee doesn’t have to be assessed.
Commissioner Adams stated it appears the builders/developers embrace this idea if they receive better service. They don’t mind paying more in fees. If we extract a higher fee and we use that to employ staff, we are not increasing service at all and we have charged them more money. This is the only way this can be done, and it’s important to do this.
Commissioner Holman stated he is totally in favor of this ordinance. There are three lots on Fairview Road that went to the Health Department to get their septic permits. They did not have a permit and the three lots were graded, the pads were developed and the soil erosion was not in place. Bottom line, this Ordinance is to initiate a trigger.
Mr. Holman called the question.
The motion passed 4-1-0 with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Harper and Holman in favor and Commissioner Holder opposed.
Approval of the minutes for the January 15, 2004 Economic Development Committee Meeting.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to approve the minutes for the 1/15/04 Economic Development Committee meeting. Commissioner Adams seconded the motion. The motion passed 4-0-1 with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Harper and Holder in favor and Commissioner Holman abstaining.
Danny Taylor asked for clarification on an issue. Prior to January 26th the Board adopted a schedule of meetings regarding the Unified Land Development Code. Since then the Board has adopted a schedule of the Committee of the Whole and there are conflicts between these meetings. Mr. Taylor proposed the schedule adopted prior to January 26th for the Unified Land Development Code be rescinded because of complaints of the meetings being too long. Mr. Taylor suggested instead of Committee of the Whole meetings, let’s have staff training workshops and anyone who would like to attend may attend.
Commissioner Freedman moved to add this item to the agenda for discussion. Commissioner Holman seconded the motion. The motion passed 5-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Harper, Holder and Holman in favor.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to comply with the request of Economic Division Director’s request to rescind the resolution regarding the Committee of the Whole meeting during the Unified Land Development Code. Commissioner Freedman seconded the motion. Commissioner Freedman asked when Mr. Taylor prepares his schedule, try not to have a conflict with the Committee of the Whole or BOC meetings because he would like to attend as many of the meetings as he can. Chairman Maddox stated there are no more Committee of the Whole meetings; all meetings are regular Board of Commissioner meetings.
The motion passed 5-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Harper Holder and Holman in favor.
Chairman Maddox announced according to the County Attorney’s Office, the Impact Fee Ordinance cannot be amended without going to the Planning and Zoning Commission. The previous Ordinance Amendment will have to be rescinded.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to rescind the ordinance regarding the amendment to the Impact Fee Ordinance. Commissioner Holman amended his motion to add “and forward this amendment to the Planning and Zoning Commission.” Commissioner Harper seconded the motion.
Commissioner Freedman asked what the fall-out is; it’s not an issue unless it is challenged.
The County Clerk asked for clarification of the motion; to rescind the action taken previously during this meeting and to send it to the Planning Commission. Commissioner Holder added as soon as possible.
The motion passed 5-0-1 with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Harper, Holder and Holman voting in favor; Commissioner Freedman opposed.
Mr. Anthony Payne request to address the Board regarding Abandonment of an Entrance into the Twin Oaks Subdivision.
Mr. Payne passed out a petition regarding this item. He proceeded with the following statement:
“We the residents of the Twin Oaks Subdivision hereby draft a petition for a road abandonment issue we would like to address. Twin Oaks Subdivision is located between West Panola Road and East Atlanta Road. We are requesting that West Panola Road be closed off due to heavy traffic flow through our community. We currently have speed breakers on our streets, but it does not detour the speeders and the commercial vehicles from coming through our subdivision throughout the day and nighttime hours.
“Most of our residents have complained about the noisy vehicles traveling thru at night with loud music. We have had two high speed chases come through our community that caused damage to residential properties. The majority of our residents have small children that are under the age of five. The parents are concerned for their safety.
“We the residents would greatly appreciate it if you would assist us in this matter. We have 22 homes in our community. The majority is in favor. We chose to leave the East Atlanta side open because it is accessible by vehicles or walking to the new Publix shopping center as well as other stores located on the East Atlanta side. If the West Panola side had been closed we would not have experienced police chases, speeding vehicles, noisy cruisers or commercial vehicles that come thru at 5:30 in the morning that shakes your house. We take pride in our small community and we would like to make it a safe place for our families.
“We can’t express the gratitude we will have if the road abandonment is approved. Thanks for your time and attention to this matter.”
Michael Harris, Public Works Division Director, stated he has spoken with Mr. Payne on several occasions and his petition was for abandonment. Mr. Payne was shown what would be required to abandon this road. There will need to be some infrastructure work regarding the creation of a cul-de-sac at the West Panola end. There will have to be some land acquisition as well, utility relocation and new asphalt. Other departments affected by this change have been contacted. Right now the question that remains is if the Board is in favor of this action, who will bare the brunt of the cost to do the work.
Commissioner Harper asked if all the steps have been taken to abandon this portion of the road. Michael Harris stated negative. Commissioner Freedman stated the request is not to abandon but to close the road.
Mr. Payne stated they are just trying to stop the traffic from coming through, so the kids can play. Commissioner Freedman informed Mr. Payne that if this road is abandoned, the County will never take care of that road again.
Commissioner Adams made a motion to approve the request; Commissioner Harper seconded.
Commissioner Adams said it sounded like the residents want to cul-de-sac the street. The Commissioner asked if we can do that.
Mr. Michael Harris stated this street would fall in the category of a rural street; it is not a major, minor or collective road. Mr. Harris said the developer built the road and after a two-year time span it was deeded back to the County. Taking into account survey, demo, re-grading, additional asphalt, curb and gutter, sod cost, landscaping and more, the cost (ballpark) would be between $5,000 to $8,000. Regarding the land, that would be contingent upon those homeowners donating the right-of-way who would be immediately affected.
Commissioner Harper said to do this properly, “we need to cul-de-sac the end of your street. If people turn in and go to the end where a cement barricade is erected, they will back in someone’s yard to turn around.”
Commissioner Freedman asked if the residents on the Panola Road end have signed the petition saying they are willing to lose some of their front yard to get a cul-de-sac.
Mr. Payne answered, “yes, the residents are willing to donate their land.”
Commissioner Holder said anything consisting of 18 lots or more should require two (2) entrances. “Secondly, if we are serious about considering this a safety issue, which it could be, we do not need to take this petition; we should have right-of-way, have our own assessment of every property owner in that neighborhood, and in acquiring the right-of-way those people who have told you they will give, we need documentation to come back to us.”
Commissioner Holman said this is in District V, and Mr. Payne has brought an idea to this Board to “feel us out” about going forward. He advised the Board to take the necessary steps to initiate an abandonment at Panola and Leyland Cypress, and get the required signatures, etc. The Commissioner asked for clarification of the motion.
Chairman Maddox said a cost estimate needs to be done first. In addition, the Legal Department needs to type up a legal document for the two (2) residents at the end of the road to sign donating the land.
Ms. Jill Goodman, Deputy County Attorney, said “you can abandon a portion necessary to make it a dead-end street. If there are enough safety reasons to support doing this, then that would support the abandonment. Of course, the DOT would need to make an assessment. The interest of the subdivision would need to be weighed against impeding the cut-through traffic flow.”
Commissioner Holder said, “in summary, all we need to do is have DOT make an assessment on the entire road and what direction do we need to take. The DOT needs to come back with a recommendation to this Board.”
Commissioner Adams said he would amend his motion to reflect what Commissioner Holder just said. Commissioner Harper agreed to amend his second.
Commissioner Holman called the question.
The motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Holman, Holder, Harper and Freedman voting in favor of the motion.
Request approval to Amend the current Purchasing Policy to allow the Purchasing Department to advertise bid opportunities in the legal organ of the County or by electronic means on the County Website.
This is a resolution to amend our current Purchasing policy to allow the Purchasing Department to advertise all bids and contract opportunities by electronic means, as well as in the County’s legal organ (Henry Herald). By amending the current procedure, the mandatory four week advertising period will begin when the bid is posted on the internet, as opposed to beginning when the bid appears in the newspaper. Modifying our current procedure can reduce the bid process by as much as two weeks.
Commissioner Adams made a motion to approve the resolution; Commissioner Holman seconded; the motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Holman, Harper, Freedman and Holder voting in favor.
Approval of Minutes for the January 12, 2004 Board of Commissioners Public Works Committee Meeting.
Commissioner Adams made a motion to approve the Minutes; Commissioner Harper seconded; the motion carried 3-0-1 with Commissioners Adams, Holman and Harper voting in favor, Commissioner Freedman abstaining, and Commissioner Holder was out of the room and did not vote.
Request approval of Designation #5 of the SPLOST II Program.
In an effort to create a more equitable distribution of designated projects in the SPLOST II Program, a list of projects from District V have been identified, which have not yet been designated. By designating these projects, SPLOST staff can proceed with the scheduling of these budgeted projects. Prior to this designation, the total amount allocated for SPLOST II is $53,723,000. If approved, they new allocation total would be $59,687,000.
Commissioner Holman made a motion for discussion; Chairman Maddox seconded.
Listed are the following projects to be designated:
Capital Park & Recreation Hidden Valley Park $ 700,000
Capital Building Fairview Library 1,200,000
Intersection Improvement E. Atlanta/Mays/Stagecoach 204,000
Intersection Improvement Panola @ S.R. 155 135,000
New Road Construction Sorrow Road (S.R.155 to Mays) 950,000
New Road Construction Rowan Road (Fairview to Clark) 300,000
New Road Construction Ward Drive (to Panola Road) 300,000
New Road Construction Harper Drive (So. Of E. Mays) 330,000
New Road Construction Moseley Dr. (Reagan to Moseley Rd) 400,000
Culvert Replacement Airline Road over Camp Creek 45,000
Bridge Old Conyers over James Creek 600,000
Bridge Airline over Big Cotton Indian
Commissioner Holman said this is actually all of the projects recommended by the SPLOST Oversight Committee; this is everything remaining on the SPLOST list tier to be funded. He said District V has the least amount of monies that have been designated as a tier.
Commissioner Freedman said, “I would like to look at the list and see what impact this has, and if we are talking about moving roads from what was not done in SPLOST I to moving them to a priority list in SPLOST II, then I have some talking to do, also.”
Mr. Harris said, “when the original SPLOST II Program list came out, a hundred projects came forth such as recreation/park capital projects, capital building projects, transportation projects, bridges, resurfacing, etc. Of these projects, the total amount of money allocated to complete was $120,000,000. At this point, we have allocated $53,000,000. What Commissioner Holman has asked is the remaining projects in his District be designated (proceed with the scheduling). There is a total of $5.2 million that can be used for bridge and culvert replacement projects. Those projects have not yet been scheduled or a finite budget assigned to each one. So Commissioner Holman has asked the ones located in District V be designated at this time.”
Ms. Angus stated the reason she mentioned the Board might want to include the word “impact fee” in the YMCA designation is that she does not believe there is $2 million left in capital money in SPLOST. She said she does not think it can be allocated out of SPLOST today because she does not believe it is there. Ms. Angus noted a list of SPLOST projects for each District has been provided to the Commissioners. She noted Commissioner Harper took exception to the list because the Courthouse project was included in his District’s listing. She said she thinks that is a fair exception.
Ms. Angus stated the numbers for District V are quite low. She said she talked to Commissioners Holman and Holder about the list last Friday. She said there are three approaches the Board could take to all of the monies, including general funds, SPLOST and impact fees. She said one approach would be “free-for-all,” where whoever gets their resolutions in first gets their project. Ms. Angus said the other approach would be to divide funds equally among districts. She said another approach would be to proportionately disburse the funds, which is a harder approach, but perhaps a bit more equitable. She said Commissioner Holder made a point, and the paper work proves it, that in the SPLOST there is between 35 and 40 percent of all SPLOST projects that were allocated for his district, so of the total dollars available, his argument might be he should get that proportionate amount of the total. She said the capital funds are almost gone, if not completely gone at this moment. She said that does not include fire stations. Ms. Angus said that is the reason for the resolution. She suggested holding funding discussions at a meeting.
Commissioner Holder said one thing he cautions everyone about is that SPLOST resolution was passed, and if the Board varies from the projects and the funding of the projects from the way the people voted on the referendum, then “what are we doing other than what we’ve been accused of in SPLOST I by not following it.” Ms. Angus said “we are not varying from that list. We are not.” Commissioner Holder asked why the $5 million for the YMCA cannot be funded strictly from SPLOST. Ms. Angus said “because the distribution of probably $180 million of projects on the list and we have $90 million to spend, based on current calculations, after we give the cities their money. That distribution of the $90 million is 70 percent roads and 30 percent capital.” She said every project designated has been “to the penny, to the item in the list. It’s just that you have a lot more projects that are not going to fit in this number.” Commissioner Holder said, “so something is not going to get done.” Ms. Angus answered affirmatively.
Commissioner Harper said the Board does not need to deal with the District V resolution today because he does not fully understand the list provided by Ms. Angus. He said “if you deduct, let me use my district as an example, the building projects of $8,000,000, 7.3 of that I assume is the Courthouse, which leaves $700,000 for fire stations. What in the world in Locust Grove totals $6.1 million in buildings?”
Commissioner Holder said again he did not understand these divisions, because the numbers given to Ms. Angus, that had been adjusted, do not look anything like this.
Mr. Harris said he was the one who generated the list, and he would be happy to discuss each one.
Ms. Angus said, “unless it has been allocated by one of you by resolution, none of the projects on the list are going anywhere; they are going to stay on that paper.”
Commissioner Harper said we need to see an itemized list of what we have approved.
Commissioner Holder said, “we need to have another day called meeting and sit down and all look at this.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “I think all of us had things on SPLOST I list that we carried over to SPLOST II. Some of those were given a priority; some were not. There are still SPLOST I projects that have been carried forward and are not on the priority list.”
Commissioner Holman said, “as I look through these districts here, District III is $22,000,000; District II is almost $22,000,000; District I is almost $19,000,000; District IV is $17,000,000 and a big discrepancy when you get to District V at $5,000,000. The resolution will bring in $6,000,000 to District V for allocation funding by District. I ask for the Board to really consider what we are about to do. There is $6,000,000 here that will bring this in and put it on the table for discussion which is one of the other amendments that we are about to discuss later on in today’s meeting. I beg and pray the Board Members understand the situation that you are putting District V in. Those items deserve to be on that list so when we have the discussions, staff will determine where these monies have been spent by resolution. These projects on SPLOST for District V will remain outside that discussion.”
Commissioner Harper said he disagreed; why would they not be part of the discussion? Commissioner Holder agreed with Commissioner Harper.
Commissioner Holman responded, “what you will be discussing is projects that have made a list by resolution (by action of the Board); they have taken from the big list and selectively put it on a higher priority. Let’s say you have 100 items, and let’s just say you have identified 25 per district, let’s say, and it doesn’t work that way, but you’ve got 100 items and out of that 100 per district, let’s say there’s 25 that a Commissioner of that district has identified that is a priority. That means that he’s gonna leave the other 75, if we run out of money, unbuilt. It’s as simple as that. Mr. Holder, I hear what you are saying, but if you are going to allow a Committee that made this list, where District V already had less projects to look here and see that District V currently has identified $6 million where the other districts have somewhere in excess of $20 million. We need to get this on. . .”
Commissioner Holder said, “what you are saying is, Commissioner Holman, if you get $5.964 million dollars, you’ll have 100% of your projects, because District V was not entitled in SPLOST II but about $6,000,000 worth of projects.” Commissioner Holman stated “but it’s not a district thing; these are citizens up there in District V that pay a sales tax.” Commissioner Holder stated “the projects that were defined. . . The projects defined by this Committee and approved by the sitting Board and sent to the voters for approval identify approximately $6,000,000 worth of projects going into District V. That was the procedure; when we vary from that procedure, then if you are going to add projects or take projects from another District, then you are going to be guilty of tampering with the list the people voted on. How many times have you brought that to this Board?”
Commissioner Holman said, “Commissioner Holder, I did not generate this list; this is from the SPLOST list.”
Commissioner Holder said, “that is correct and you inherited that list; there is not a thing you can do about it.”
Commissioner Holman stated he wants this memorialized that “this Board is, if you don’t move this resolution, you’re the ones, not the representative from District V, that is holding this stuff back. It is the governing authority of Henry County. This disproportionate share of $6 million versus the highest of over $22 million.”
Commissioner Harper stated his suggestion is not to deny the request, but to discuss it on a day when the Board has more information. He said the Board needs more time to discuss this matter.
Commissioner Holman said “I just find it more interesting, Mr. Chairman, it amazes me all of you, except for the Chairman, have come in front of this Board and passed your resolutions to bring your items on some type of tier level, yet when the District V comes up to do it, you want to go into further discussions.
Commissioner Freedman said, “In my mind you did not bring enough documentation. It’s a matter of preparation. You are asking us make decisions. My first comment was, why should this move up in priority over other prioritized projects because that is how I look at it. If that’s not valid, we need more documentation. That’s all we’re asking. Maybe you won’t have a problem with this, but give us a chance to look at it before you ask us to give a vote on it. That’s all we are asking.”
Commissioner Holman said, “Mr. Chairman, it’s not that we don’t have documentation; the only thing that I missed was the bottom circle because I didn’t get into the free-for-all from the day one get go.”
Commissioner Holder said the “free for all is the current grab for all of the different type of funding. This is not going back one year. Your projects were identified before you ever came on board.”
Ms. Angus suggested if the motion is adopted, to add language to allow her to amend the budget to reflect any increases in collections. She said she does not believe the $27 million will cover all projects.
Commissioner Holman amended his motion to allow the resolution to comply with the County Manager’s request, which is to authorize Ms. Angus to amend the SPLOST total budget to reflect the increased collections over projections. She said there is a budget of $110 million, minus $20 million for the cities, so the budget is $90 million. She said it is possible to project another $5 million reasonably, and perhaps $10 million.
Chairman Maddox amended his second.
Commissioner Holder cautioned the Board on taking this action to increase the total budget $5 or $10 million, since this is being projected on eight months of collections. He recommended before the Board commits additional budget, to collect the funds for an additional period of time.
The motion did not pass by a vote of 2-4, with Chairman Maddox and Commissioner Holman voting in favor; and Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Adams and Harper opposed.
APPROVAL OF PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES:
Commissioner Holman made a motion to approve the Public Safety Committee minutes for a meeting held on January 27, 2004; Commissioner Holder seconded; and the motion passed with Commissioners Holman, Holder, Adams and Harper in favor; and Commissioner Freedman abstaining.
ORDINANCE AMENDMENT – CHAPTER 3-14 OF THE CODE, ENTITLED “ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES:”
Commissioner Harper made a motion to approve an amendment to Chapter 3-14 of the Code of Henry County, entitled “Alcoholic Beverages;” Commissioner Holman seconded.
No public comments were made.
Commissioner Harper’s motion passed with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor.
Ms. Angus presented a resolution for Board consideration to freeze spending for 30 days.
Commissioner Adams made a motion for the purpose of freezing all further capital expenditure commitments from all funds until the Board of Commissioners convenes to discuss all SPLOST, impact fee and general fund capital expenditures for the distribution thereof in total, and be it resolved the Henry County Board of Commissioners move no resolutions forward regarding capital expenditures until this information is provided by the Manager and a full Board meeting is held to discuss the issue indepth for a period of 30 days; Commissioner Harper seconded.
Commissioner Holman asked Ms. Angus which funds are being frozen. Ms. Angus stated this involves only capital funds in the general fund, impact fees and SPLOST. Commissioner Holman asked “are these important resolutions that you have given to us at the last moment? They weren’t even available to us Friday? I’m just asking why, if this is an important issue, we knew about it all along, why? It appears that we are being, it’s either, and I don’t know how to say this, it appears you’re being inconsiderate to us or we are being inconsiderate to you, but all of a sudden we get these; let’s spring something on to the Board of Commissioners so they don’t get an opportunity to think about it. And, I know that’s not your fault.” Commissioner Holder said he would like to respond to that. He said “in defense of Ms. Angus, she called me on Thursday or Friday, and said I have heard from basically every Commissioner, except you, and said it looks like a land grab or money grab. Did I not come back and ask you to come up with this resolution so we could put a halt to that until everybody could sit down to the same table and see where the money is going? And that’s exactly what it is. I’ll take the responsibility, don’t put it on her, because I asked her to do that, and that was Friday. It couldn’t have been before Friday because she didn’t call me until then. I had not made my request to put my wish list in and I said we all need to sit down and discuss this.”
Ms. Angus said when she called Commissioner Holder, “I was not calling him complaining; I was calling him saying I want you to know I am preparing resolutions for Heritage Park, Mt. Carmel Park, District V purchases, the Family Community Center. I’ve got this list of eight resolutions that, last night when I was trying to sort out what I should be doing with all this information, that’s what I thought about. So I apologize. I’m just not on top of it. I tell you what, it was Wednesday or Thursday of last week that we went over to the SPLOST office; they got the bids in on the Courthouse and they didn’t work. And so, we came to some resolution of that and I wrote it up and I didn’t do it Wednesday. I just apologize. Perhaps I’m not up to this.”
Commissioner Holman said “I don’t expect an apology from the County Manager; I didn’t mean it that way. But I think it’s very insightful what we’ve just learned here. District V has been attempting to get these issues onto the SPLOST for quite some time.” He stated “We’ve had some behind the scenes discussions and this has come because everyone else has had that free-for-all and then we had these discussions behind the scenes, and I call this the Holder Resolution. It’s just the way it looks, Warren.”
Commissioner Holder said “I think, in all fairness, this puts us all back on equal ground rather than it being the grab.” Commissioner Holman said “you should have done it earlier, there’s the problem.” Commissioner Holder replied “I didn’t know about it.” Commissioner Holman said “this should have been done months ago, it should have been done in January of last year.”
Commissioner Adams’ motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Adams, Harper and Holman in favor.
Commissioner Harper stated the previous vote renders the next agenda resolution moot (Courthouse project) and he asked when it is placed back on the agenda for State Court Judge Ben Studdard to be notified. Ms. Angus stated $7.3 million has already been allocated for the Courthouse project. It was agreed this project needs to be discussed indepth at a future meeting. Commissioner Harper made a motion to table the resolution concerning the Courthouse project; Commissioner Freedman seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor.
Commissioner Freedman stated Chairman Maddox said during the meeting “we don’t have Committee of the Whole any more. In fact, the resolution needs to be changed because in the resolution it says commencing February 16th the Board of Commissioners shall meet in its capacity as the Board of Commissioners and the Committee of the Whole.” He said if the Board is not going to be meeting as the Committee as the Whole, then the resolution needs to be amended.
Commissioner Freedman made a motion to amend Resolution No. 04-___ to say the Monday meetings will be “Board of Commissioners meetings” and not “Committee of the Whole meetings;” Commissioner Holman seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor.
Commissioner Harper made a motion to adjourn (12:40 p.m.); Commissioner Adams seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 5-0 with Commissioners Freedman, Harper, Holder, Adams, and Holman in favor.
Leland Maddox, Chairman
Peggy L. Malcolm, Deputy County Clerk