COUNTY OF HENRY
The Henry County Board of Commissioners held a regularly scheduled public meeting at 9:00 A.M., Monday April 19, 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
Also attending were Susan B. Craig, County Clerk; Patrick Jaugstetter, County Attorney; Angie Bailey, Executive Assistant to the County Manager; Rob Magnaghi, Deputy County Manager and Public Safety Division Director; Shay Mathis, Deputy County Clerk; Michael Harris, Public Works Division Director; Tom Couch, Human and Community Services Division Director; Danny Taylor, Economic Development Division Director; and others.
Chairman Maddox called the meeting to order and asked for an Acceptance of the Agenda. Commissioner Adams made an announcement to remove Item No. VI, Potentially Dangerous Dog Hearing, from the Agenda to be postponed to a later date. Mr. Patrick Jaugstetter, County Attorney, said it would be up to the Animal Control Department to reschedule it.
Commissioner Holman moved to accept the Agenda with the recommendation to reschedule Item No. VI. “Also it came to my attention that Item No. IX, a Partial Road Abandonment on North River Road, is advertised for tomorrow’s meeting of April 20th. Also, Commissioner Harper has asked that we put the 1) Jonesboro median, 2) the East Lake/155 Drainage, and the 3) Courthouse Annex Presentation by the Judges on the Agenda under Item No. XII. Also I have just talked to Lynn Bledsoe and I have asked him to join us in the Community Room (with the Judges) and his timing is at 10:30 A.M. to 11:00 A.M.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “before you is a copy of the resolution regarding the installation of Leyland Cypress trees, and I would like to add that to the Agenda under Item No. XII.”
Commissioner Harper seconded. The motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Holman, Harper, Freedman, Holder and Adams voting in favor.
Presentation by HDR – Update on progress on the Comprehensive Plan:
Mr. Ron Huffman approached the podium as consultant for the Unified Development Code.
Commissioner Holman commented, “on page 4 of the Plan, it states, ‘the Plan shall take precedence over our current ordinances.’ Also this Plan is now getting into assigning millage rates and they want to dedicate a mill for a historic district. Next, they want to pass a sales tax for a parks program and a millage. There is no index, the charts, tables, graphs, and legends are incomplete. There are letters in here that you have to be in the industry to know what they are. This document was designated to be a guide for all of us, and I find it highly incomplete. I hope somebody addresses these issues.”
Chairman Maddox asked Commissioner Holman to give Mr. Huffman a copy of his questions after Mr. Huffman gives his update.
Mr. Huffman responded, “the notebook is a courtesy notebook that, as we have handed out materials to the public, we have given them to you in a notebook form. It does not represent a final or draft document, but represents draft pieces. It is truly ‘convenience’ so you can keep track of the handout materials.”
Commissioner Freedman asked, “has the Steering Committee seen what we are seeing today and blessed it? Have they approved it before it moves on, and has the Planning and Zoning Commission seen this? I just want to make sure we are not prematurely seeing this.”
Mr. Huffman said, “yes, they have seen it, and nobody has blessed anything at this point. Everyone is still in the draft stage, and everyone has their notebooks for review. Today is an update; we are getting ahead of things here. The schedule is to have our Open House on May 3rd which, at that point, we will have the complete draft of everything. The Open House will be from 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. on that day.”
Commissioner Freedman remarked, “before you do a draft, I would hope the Steering Committee, the Planning Commission, and the Board would have some input. I do not understand why this is at this level yet.”
Chairman Maddox said, “Mr. Holman and I met with the Steering Committee last Thursday night. They asked if they could have a meeting with the Board of Commissioners on May 5th or May 6th at 3:00 P.M. Would the Board Members look at those dates and see if it would be a good date and time.”
Mr. Huffman said, “overall, we have had a very open process, and we are trying to build this Plan with citizen input. What we have completed last week was our 21st public workshop, and we have worked through some draft documents; one was a goals and policies document and the other was a land use element. The most recent round of the last eight (8) workshops had approximately three hundred (300) to participate in those workshops. Collectively, we are in the neighborhood of seven hundred, fifty (750) Henry County citizens participating in the workshops, and we received some great input. We received very favorable response to the goals and policies. I would like to thank the Public Relations Staff, Julie Hoover-Ernst and Larry Stanford, who did a fantastic job; we could not have had the turn out and participation without their help.”
“In the handout to the Board, it keys in changes discussed during the workshops, and it is for your review. In the second document, are policy revisions to the objectives and policies, and it goes element by element listing suggestive changes to the policies. We also heard from some citizens more than once about providing senior housing and senior living communities in the County. As we go through community facilities and satellite government service centers, we have received copies of plans through the Department of Natural Resources regarding access to Panola Mountain.”
“When we received our notice to proceed, we will have a 540-day contract, and the best I can tell, we are ten (10) months ahead of schedule. We have been at this for two hundred, forty (240) days and we plan to have a final draft on May 3rd for our Open House. The format for the Open House is a library style; we will have a dozen or more copies of the draft and map. The intent is for folks to come and sit, study and learn quietly without interruption. About two (2) weeks after that Open House is a couple of Planning Commission workshops to get them up to speed with the draft. This is where we are at this point.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “on that May 3rd meeting, we have a Board of Commissioners Meeting that morning. Will the public have an opportunity for input and changes?”
Mr. Huffman said, “absolutely.”
Commissioner Holman asked if the map was going to be the future Land Use Map.
Mr. Huffman answered, “it is getting closer. We are trying to get an agreement in general to the concept; so we have made a lot of refinements. We have worked through densities and locations for all kinds of different types of development.”
Commissioner Holman asked, “what is a land use map, and what is a land use plan?”
Mr. Huffman responded, “you have been to our workshops, and first of all, we are not preparing a Land Use Plan; we are preparing a Comprehensive Plan. A Land Use Plan is old terminology that we need to abandon. When the State redid our legislation back in 1989, it created the Georgia Planning Act, and we are calling it a Comprehensive Plan because it no longer means a map. The heart and soul of the Plan is the document that says goals, objectives, policies and acts of strategy. The map is an attempt to be a graphic depiction of many of the key goals, but there are many things that are not mapable, such as senior housing and senior living communities. The core of it is this: the map is an integral component of it because, in essence, what happens is your Unified Land Development Code is the first tool used to implement the Comprehensive Plan. When we make reference to the Plan taking precedence, that Unified Land Development Code or your zoning is suppose to follow this as a guide first and not the other way around. The map is designed to be flexible.”
Commissioner Freedman stated, “I am a little troubled by this color coded map that, to my knowledge, has not been approved or blessed by the Steering Committee which was appointed by the Commissioners as citizens from the community, and has not been approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission, and you have not sat down and gone over with each individual Commissioner and their District. As a matter of protocol, before you present something in public, you should have sat down with that Commissioner and asked, ‘how does this fit for your District for what you know the people want in that District.’ I understand you are preparing a proposal, but I do not think any proposals should come to us in a public forum until we have a chance to look at it individually.”
Mr. Huffman responded, “our process system received input from all areas; you all asked us to have a public process, so we held these 21 workshops and it is still draft. This map has been around for a month and one-half, and the Steering Committee is welcomed to come to review. Workshop participants know we had walls full of maps and what we are attempting to do is build and share that data base of information. My job for you is to take that information and the public’s information and put it together to present to the Commissioners and say, ‘this is what we are hearing, and using some of our judgment, this is what we think; this is Heaven.’ Now is a perfect time for us to have a dialogue in fine tuning the maps and making revisions to goals and policies.”
Commissioner Holder said, “as far as the map is concerned, I understand the text is really the plan, not the map. But if this map does not closely depict what’s in that plan, how many people are going to walk in and look at that map and say, ‘o.k. I live here,’ and they will go to their particular location and see what is going to be here. Before it goes to the public, there needs to be interaction and input between the Steering Committee members and Board as to what this thing should look like, because people will think this is ‘the plan.’ Everything you are doing in these 21 meetings has been building to what you are presenting in the text and the map.”
Mr. Huffman said, “the intent of the Open House on May 3rd, even though it represents a final draft, it is still a draft and there is opportunity for the public to come and I listen to them one on one. They can point to that map and say, ‘here is my issue.’ This is not an end; it’s just another way for public input.”
Commissioner Holman said, “I am not slamming his work product or his company. What is happening is it is not clear what the Comprehensive Plan is. Looking through the draft, there are only a few areas that specifically define an area in the County. The rest of it, I’d say 99% of it, is very generic, and it addresses these eight (8) different elements. I still do not understand the purpose of the Comprehensive Plan. What does Henry County Government gain by having this plan?”
Mr. Huffman said, “a Comprehensive Plan is a general guide to a 20 year vision for development of Henry County. Its intent is to be a living document, which means it can be revised. I call it a policy document, because it gives general guidance to help make decisions that affect the development of the County. It provides a lot of value when you are faced with a decision that you are not sure about.”
Chairman Maddox thanked him for coming, and directed the Board to write any questions down and submit them to Mr. Huffman.
A Resolution of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority to Begin Providing a Regional Express Commuter Service:
The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority in partnership with Henry County, and other counties in the region will begin providing a regional express commuter service. GRTA would like to brief the County on the current status of the system and the implementation process to follow.
Mr. Jim Ritchie, Deputy Director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, said he appreciated this time to make the presentation. “Beginning June 7th, there will be a new way for Henry County citizens to express in getting out of the line of traffic and helping the citizens to make it into downtown Atlanta more quickly and conveniently. This express coach service is a partnership among 11 counties in the Metro Atlanta Area and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority.”
“Governor Purdue approved the implementation of the express service, and the full funding of the arterial road program last summer. We have executed 48 agreements totaling $263,000,000 for the arterial road portion. The counties have provided twenty-one and a quarter million dollars in transit support. We have received federal grants so far totaling twenty and a half million dollars with $29.5 million still pending approval. During fiscal year 2004, state bonds were issued of $9.7 million and we are expecting $24.8 million to be issued in the fiscal year 2005 bond issue.”
“In Henry County there are real key issues. First of all, Henry County contributed $1.8 million, which is all in the bank at GRTA, for this express service. We are contributing for Henry County $22.5 million in state bonds for seven (7) Henry County projects. I want to emphasize the way the agreement is structured with Henry County. The State is simply providing construction dollars. Henry County is completing all of the other phases of work for each of these seven (7) projects. We have $6.08 million that was available for construction on Patrick Henry Parkway and on McDonough Road extension that is available now. As DOT takes those roads to construction, we will reimburse on a monthly basis as construction costs are incurred. $10.9 million is expected in the 2006 bond issue and $5.5 million for construction in the 2007 issue. Now for each of these years, we will be looking at that bond issue and making sure those projects are ready. Project readiness is the real key to making these projects move and it lies entirely in the County’s hands. The Governor’s announcement this past week was the bond program we will be pursuing. He had approved last summer $1.5 billion in bonds over a six (6) year period that will be for the arterial roads and the express bus services. The $3 billion in Garby bonds is to further help us accelerate major projects. In the southern area, it is primarily the I-75 HOV lanes that will be under design, not under construction, by the year end of 2010. Shortly thereafter, we will be able to go into construction. This program also has real initiatives involving the expansion of our HERO Systems, expansion of our traffic signal timing, etc.”
Mr. Jerome Parker, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority’s Transit Director, came to the podium to discuss the services that will be implemented. “The type of coaches used for the express service will be luxury type coaches similar to the type Greyhound uses in their day to day services. These coaches have a seating capacity of 57 and are wheelchair lift equipped. They do have added features such as lap top outlets and reading lights. The provider who will be operating this service is McDonald Transit, and they currently operate the Gwinnett express service and the Athens transit service. The first route to begin will be on June 7th from Hampton to the Justice Center to downtown Atlanta. More specifically, in Hampton this will begin at the Atlanta Speedway, and the first coach leaving from the Speedway will be at 6:00 A.M. There will be a service every thirty (30) minutes, and also there will be reverse commute service in this particular program and that will be running about every hour starting at 9:00 A.M. On this reverse commute, the service will actually leave from downtown and come back to the Justice Center. We will have a coach that will come all the way back to the Atlanta Speedway at 12:00 noon as part of our guaranteed ride home.”
“On June 2nd the next route to begin will be the McDonough to downtown Atlanta (Route 430). This service is the McDonough Village Green by DRA Development on Industrial Boulevard between Exit 216 and 218. This service will begin with the first route leaving from McDonough Park at 5:45 A.M. and will go directly to downtown Atlanta. The next route will be Route 435 and will start in 2005. It will be leaving McDonough to Stockbridge to the Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport. This service will begin leaving from the McDonough Park and Ride Lot at 5:10 A.M. and run approximately every hour but there will be trips at 30 minute increments.”
“The one-way fare will be $3.00; round trip fare will be $5.00, and we will have a 20-ride pass costing $45.00, and the monthly pass will be $80.00.”
Commissioner Adams asked, “am I to understand the County is to provide right-of-way and design work, and you will provide only the construction?”
Mr. Ritchie answered, “yes, that is correct. When your projects and your engineering staff and consultants have gotten GDOT to approve your design and your right-of-way plans and environmental documents, then when you take it to construction, you’ll award a contract and every invoice you bring in, we will reimburse you 100% within a month of when you pay that invoice.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “so that our people will know, this is GRTA not MARTA. I think it is very important we gave $1.8 million and we received $22.5 million and that is a pretty good return and that should be stressed to our citizens. Thirdly, on Hwy 138 in Stockbridge, you have a shopping center that has a large parking lot on the west side of the interstate and you might want to take a look at that. It is very central to the Stockbridge area and it has plenty of room and Garden Ridge is in there.”
Mr. Ritchie suggested, “as you see new developments proposed, keep your eyes on potential Park and Ride lots. We are grateful to Mayor Craig for providing the Park and Ride Lot that we will be starting roughly a 350 space parking lot. The development and the City have largely paid and that ultimately serves as a great foundation for the express service.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “you might want to take a look at Jodeco Road in Commissioner Adams’ District. That bridge widening is a 2006 project and they are planning a Park and Ride in that area. When they talk to GDOT, and when they start the design on that, to ask them to look very seriously at a bus place in there. It happens to be on the east side of the interstate.”
Commissioner Adams asked, “concerning the roads again, the $6 million to continue the construction of Patrick Henry Parkway and McDonough Road extension in 2004, what if we do not use all of 2004 money?”
Mr. Ritchie responded, “one of our issues with the timing of these bonds is we have to spend all of the dollars within three (3) years or we get into an arbitrage issue with the Federal Government. As these projects move along, if they are not ready, we might have to delay a project a year so that we do not get into that arbitrage issue on issuing the bonds. The money is not lost if we do not spend it in the first year. Now at the end of three (3) years, if we have not spent it, then the State will have to take measures to move it into projects where it can be spent.”
A Resolution Regarding the Georgia Forestry Commission’s Annual Report for 2002 – 2003:
Ms. Jenny Lynn Bruner, Chief Ranger for Butts, Henry and Clayton Counties, stated a copy of the annual report from last year has already been sent to the Board for review to see what services are available and what has been done for Henry County. “We have picked up our numbers a lot this year on wildfires here in Henry County and have issued a lot more burning permits.”
Commissioner Holder stated, “many people take for granted the fact the Forestry Commission is just there….Smokey the Bear. It is a lot more than that, and as Henry County becomes more developed, the need for their services may diminish because it is handled through the local fire departments. Any time we have an opportunity to keep the Georgia Forestry Commission located in Henry County, we need to do it.”
Commissioner Holman asked for the record to reflect the Commissioner from District V does not have the Annual Report for 2002 – 2003 that was to be presented to the Commissioners this day.
In Appreciation of Don Ash, Director of Henry
Emergency Communications, For His Exemplary Service and
in Honor of His Recent Appointment by Governor Perdue to the
911 Emergency Communications Advisory Committee
WHEREAS, Don Ash has demonstrated exemplary service to his community as Director of Henry County’s Emergency Communications for the past eight years; and
WHEREAS, Don Ash was appointed by the Georgia Emergency Management Association to serve as a member of the All Hazards Committee in District 7, which makes recommendations to the State regarding hazardous issues and the distribution of grant money; and
WHEREAS, Don Ash was recently honored as one of ten appointments chosen by Governor Perdue from among the 159 counties in the State of Georgia to serve on the 911 Emergency Communications Advisory Committee.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED, the Henry County Board of Commissioners wish to express their appreciation to Don Ash for his dedication and service to our community and to thank him on behalf of the public for always endeavoring to improve emergency communications and make the County and the state of Georgia a safer place for all.
(Pictures were made of Don Ash and the Board of Commissioners)
Chairman Maddox said, “it is a real honor for Mr. Ash to be asked by Governor Perdue to serve on the Board two years in a row, especially when we have 159 counties in the State of Georgia.”
Resolution Pertaining to the Purchase of Fire Protection Clothing for the Fire Department:
Sealed bids were solicited for the purchase of Fire Protection Clothing for the Fire Department, and eight (8) vendors submitted bids for this purchase. Funds are budgeted for fire protective clothing and gear. Bennett Fire Products’ bid in the amount of $88,200.00 best meets bid specifications and is recommended by department personnel, and this purchase of personal protective clothing is to outfit firefighters for structural firefighting duties. This equipment will be purchased to outfit new employees and to replace existing equipment that is damaged beyond repair.
Mr. Tommy Smith, Interim Purchasing Director, stated there were a couple of bids lower than Bennett Fire Products’ bid. Wally’s Fire and Safety was unable to bid on a substantial amount of the items, and that is why that bid came in at $21,375.00. They did not bid on the trousers, jackets and hoods, and the replacement suspenders. T&B Fire Protection also was unable to bid on the knee boots, gloves and the helmet, and that is why their bid is lower. The best bid was Bennett Fire Products, Woodstock, Georgia for $88,200.00 which was the third lowest bid.
Commissioner Holder moved to award this bid to Bennett Fire Products in the amount of $88,200.00; Commissioner Adams seconded. The motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Harper, Holder, Adams, Freedman and Holman voting in favor.
Resolution to Accept Grant from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency for the Purpose of Updating the Henry County Local Emergency Operations Plan:
The Henry County Emergency Management Agency is required to update its Local Emergency Operations Plan this calendar year and has made funds available for this purpose through a grant. The Henry County Board of Commissioners has previously agreed to enter into a contractual agreement with the Georgia Tech Research Institute for the purpose of assisting with the project. The Henry County Emergency Management Agency has applied and received funds in the amount of $15,881.00 for the purpose of updating the Local Emergency Operations Plan. The Georgia Tech Research Institute will complete their portion of the project for $4,266.00 with the remainder of the funds to be utilized by the Henry County Emergency Management Agency for the completion of the project.
Commissioner Holder made a motion to approve the resolution; Commissioner Harper seconded. The motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Holder, Harper, Freedman, Holman and Adams voting in favor.
Resolution Pertaining to a Request by the Vineyards Homeowners’ Association to Appear Before the Board:
Earlier this year, the Property Owners Association for The Vineyards at Eagles Landing subdivision contacted the County to request that all of their signs be replaced with DOT approved signs. The developer had installed decorative signs that did not meet DOT’s regulations. The residents are requesting to address the Board to request additional signage, which also does not meet DOT regulations. In particular, they want to install 4-way stop signs at intersections that warrant only 2-way stops.
“My name is Cathy Edwards and I am the current President of the Vineyards at Eagles Landing Homeowners’ Association and this is Leah Frickey and she was on the Board last year and was the contact person when we began. We are coming before you today asking for the installation or changing of some of our stop signs. We have met with the DOT and they have agreed to our initial request; they have begun replacing some of our stop signs, but there are several we are in disagreement and would like to ask the Board to approve. There were several intersections the DOT was not able to grant; therefore, it was suggested that we should come before the Board. We are asking for 4-way stop signs at the intersections of Vintage Trail and Chateau Terrace, Vintage Trail and Eagle’s Pass, and Chateau Terrace and Eagle’s Pass. We are also asking for stop signs to be added at Eagle’s Pass and Castlerock Way. Late last year, we had a child hit at that intersection. We are also asking for 3-way stop signs at Old Ivy Path at Waterford Lane. Our subdivision is located between two heavily traveled intersections at the corner of Jodeco Road and Hwy 42. We also ask for the installation of several ‘Children at Play’ signs in the neighborhood to assure the parents their children are protected. Several of our residents have interest in the possibility of speed humps to try and slow down our speeders in the subdivision, and if signatures are required, we can furnish a list to the Board. We are asking for the County to pay for the project of switching over the signs.”
Commissioner Harper said he is in support of this for the reasons she mentioned. “The four (4) streets where they request 4-way signs, three (3) of them are already four (4) ways. We suddenly do not need to open up the traffic there; we are simply replacing the sign. Due to the child being hit at Eagle’s Pass and Castlerock Way, that is what got the ball rolling on that issue. If you are on Hwy. 42, you can hang a right and go in their entrance by the gas station, zoom down Old Ivy Path and put yourself out on Jodeco Road and you have avoided that red light. So suddenly their neighborhood has become a cut-through. They are asking for speed limit signs at the Jodeco Road entrance and the Campground Road entrance to slow traffic down. Also, ‘Children at Play’ signs are standard practice in neighborhoods when people request it.”
Commissioner Harper made a motion to approve the request; Commissioner Adams seconded.
Commissioner Freedman stated, “I also asked DOT to approve Children at Play signs, but I will tell you, they are meaningless. They are as meaningful as the speed limit signs and you know how effective those are. DOT does not like putting them up for two reasons. First, it is a workload, and secondly it is a violation of the Uniform Traffic Control Devices Manual. I think your salvation is going to be when the road is done, but that will be awhile. The interim salvation will definitely be the speed humps, and I would encourage you to get that 50% + 1 to get your citizens to agree to do that, but you will find a lot of reluctance.”
Commissioner Holder said, “we know what the results are if we install a stop sign where it is not required and do not meet the warrants. I would like to hear what the DOT has to say about it.”
Mr. Michael Harris, Public Works Division Director, stated, “we have met with the residents from the Homeowners Association, and the areas where they are requesting the 4-way stops installed by the developer, our position was we could not go out and put standard signs where they do not meet the warrants. Currently, they meet the warrants for 2-way stop signs on the busier streets, but not for the side streets.”
Commissioner Holder asked, “why did we as a County accept those signs to begin with when they did not meet the requirements? I do not think we have any choice but to replace them.”
Mr. Neo Chua, Interim DOT Director, stated, “in order to meet the requirements for the 4-way stop signs, we have to do a warrant study. As it stands, one out of the four requests would meet the warrant; the other three definitely would not meet the warrant as set forth in the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices. In order for us to install a 4-way stop sign at any intersection, if a traffic signal is warranted and a 4-way stop sign is a temporary measure until the traffic signal is ready to be installed, that is the first criteria. The second is a crash problem. On any 12-month period, you have to have at least five (5) crashes at the intersection; one accident will not warrant a 4-way stop sign. Thirdly is the volume; you have got to have at least 300 vehicles per hour for a total of eight (8) hours in a 24-hour period. It does not have to be eight (8) hours continuously. In my opinion, none of the requested intersections will meet the warrant set forth in the manual.”
Commissioner Adams said, “so if we issue stop signs and they are not warranted, then we are legally liable should someone run a stop sign or if an accident occurred; is that correct?”
Mr. Chua replied, “that is correct pertaining to a 4-way stop sign. We could be sued if anything happened.”
Commissioner Harper said, “if failure to install signals and stop signs exposes us to liability, then the County faces so much liability now, it would probably be staggering if you considered it. We have made exemptions to this before; we did it in District V in some of the neighborhoods. In this incident, we did not have five (5) accidents, but we had a child struck. Now is one child being struck equivalent to five (5) accidents? Had that child been killed, the damages would have been immeasurable for the family and the neighborhood. We do not need to risk that again. The risk is too great. This neighborhood did not ask to be a cut-through when the Campground Road extension began, and now we have put them in danger. This is a corrective measure, and we should exempt them on this occasion.”
Commissioner Adams asked if we could install the speed humps instead of the stop signs and accomplish the same thing.
Mr. Chua responded, “the speed humps will slow down the traffic; the Manual does not recommend using a stop sign as a speed control device.”
Ms. Edwards said, “we had some homeowners who were interested in starting a committee to get the consensus of the neighborhood. We would definitely be open to speed humps.”
Chairman Maddox asked the DOT staff, “does the County have a sign you can post to prevent people from using that as a cut-through?”
Mr. Chua answered, “we have a sign ‘No Thru Traffic,’ and we can install that at both entrances of the subdivision.”
Commissioner Harper amended the motion to 1) include street signs stating ‘No Thru Traffic’ on either end, and 2) maintain the 3-way stop that I previously moved at Vintage Trail and Waterford Lane, which they say do not meet the warrants, until such time as speed humps are installed, and at which time that stop sign will come down. Commissioner Adams seconded.
Commissioner Harper said, “my motion will be to go ahead and install these signs. The Homeowners have got to see if they can get the number of signatures, and let’s assume they do; if they would get with the DOT, they can put on this map where they can strategically locate these speed humps to eliminate the need for so many stop signs. And if you are in agreement, we can start taking the stop signs down.”
Commissioner Holder said, “Jason, if you would include in your motion that DOT be allowed to install the signs according to the warrants, I do not think anybody would have a problem with that.”
Commissioner Harper said, “the problem is, they do not meet the warrants.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “we are creating a liability issue if we install warrantless stop signs; I do not think we should purposely go against the Manual.”
There was no opposition to this request.
The motion tied at 3-3-0 with Commissioners Harper, Maddox and Adams voting in favor of the motion and Commissioners Freedman, Holder and Holman voting against.
Commissioner Harper said, “this Board must have amnesia because we have done this several times; maybe if it was a different District, it would be more favorable.”
Commissioner Freedman suggested, “have the DOT study those intersections on a recurring basis; sometimes as the traffic increases and the speed increases, the warrant situations change; it happens all the time.”
Resolution to Modify the Henry County DOT District IV Priority List by Adding Four Streets to be Resurfaced.
The Henry County DOT has a Project Priority List established by the Henry County Board of Commissioners, and each District was appropriated approximately $1.3 million to make transportation improvements in their respective districts; and to date, the Commissioner representing District IV still has funds available to allocate towards projects. Approval of the following streets to be added to the District IV Priority List at the end of the existing DOT schedule is as follows:
Wake Drive 0.61 miles $ 27,450
Highland Boulevard 0.66 miles 29,700
Woodland Drive 0.29 miles 13,050
Village Place 0.22 miles __9,900
Commissioner Adams made a motion to approve the resolution to add the above-mentioned streets to the Project Priority List for District IV; Commissioner Holman seconded.
There was no opposition to this request.
The motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Holman, Freedman, Harper, and Holder voting in favor of the motion.
Resolution to Modify the Current District V DOT Priority List by Reallocating Project Funds to the Austin Road at Fairview Road Intersection Project:
The Project Priority List has been established by the Board of Commissioners for the purpose of sequencing the non-maintenance DOT projects, and the resurfacing of Crumbley Road and the intersection improvement at East Atlanta and Thurman Road are both SPLOST II projects. The Commissioner representing District V proposes that these projects be completed through the SPLOST II program, rather than the DOT district allocation. The proposed funding for Crumbley Road ($135,000) would be added to Austin at Fairview, as well as the East Atlanta Road at Thurman project; with the exception of the design work, which is currently being done as a DOT District V project.
Commissioner Holman moved to approve the resolution; Chairman Maddox seconded for discussion.
Commissioner Holder said he had a couple of questions. “These funds from Crumbley and where you are actually transferring funds, where did those funds come from? Why are they not part of SPLOST, or why are they being reallocated?”
Michael Harris responded, “when we first started the District allocations, some of the projects and some of the District Commissioners opted to be placed under DOT District allocation. The thought was if you put them under DOT District allocation, it would get done in a quicker time frame as opposed to the SPLOST List (which may extend up to a 5-year period). At this time, the Commissioner has opted to go ahead and allow them to be handled under the SPLOST Program and free up the DOT District allocations, and he has taken those funds and reassigned them into another project within his District V List. There is no additional money being added to his list; he is just taking those funds and reallocating to another assigned project.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “I understand what you are doing; but my question is, on the SPLOST II Road List, there are so many roads. I know we have not allocated all those funds, if I remember correctly. It seems to me that there are still a lot of roads on that list that was part of SPLOST II that we still have to take care of.”
Mr. Harris replied, “the allocation amount we have now, based on the current six (6) designations, equates to a ballpark figure of $46 to $48 million for transportation only projects, which would leave approximately $17 to $18 million left to be allocated. We are looking at going through and revamping those estimates. Having looked at those SPLOST transportation projects, I believe a lot of those estimates are low, so we do not want to go over designated projects and run the risk of getting over our heads. There is still funding available.”
Commissioner Adams asked what kind of shape East Atlanta and Crumbley Roads are in.
Mr. Harris responded, “Crumbley Road has been recognized as a need for resurfacing; it is not falling apart. The Thurman Road/East Atlanta intersection is an intersection improvement project.”
Commissioner Harper said, “these District Lists are being done, at least the resurfacing portions are. I fear when you move something off of a District List into the SPLOST Program, you have suddenly thrown it into this pool of quagmire where you have all these roads listed that will take forever to do, and not all of them are going to be done. I think Crumbley Road needs to be done, and half of Crumbley Road lies in District III. On my portion of the DOT List, I’ve paid to take it from 155 to the bridge; the Chairman paid for the bridge out of his funds and you took it from the bridge to Kellytown, so we will end up with half of a road paved and a bridge, and then you will go back to the old pavement. I do not think that will be logical.”
Commissioner Holman said somehow this has gotten convoluted; it is a very simple issue. “The projects identified here should have already been through our first tier designation. How that is so, I do not know. But these are SPLOST funded projects; the SPLOST funds still have, based on the collection of $90 million which includes the capital projects, money available for these projects. District V is now being robbed of capital project money that was taken out of the General Fund as we just did for District IV for road projects. That is as simple as this resolution is, and I encourage my fellow Commissioners to vote for it.”
The motion failed 1-4-0 with Commissioner Holman voting in favor and Commissioners Adams, Holder, Freedman and Harper voting against.
Resolution to Designate Two (2) Projects: Crumbley Road Resurfacing and Intersection Improvements at East Atlanta and Thurman Road, in the SPLOST II Road Improvement Program:
The Commissioner representing District V has requested two (2) projects, Crumbley Road resurfacing and East Atlanta @ Thurman intersection improvements, be added to the SPLOST II Designation List as Designation #7. Both projects are on the SPLOST II Master List and were previously included on the DOT District Priority List. The design for the intersection improvements @ East Atlanta and Thurman Road is currently being done with funds from the DOT District Allocations. The financial impact of this designation would be as follows:
Crumbley Road Resurfacing $135,000
E. Atlanta @ Thurman Road 350,000
Commissioner Holman moved to approve the resolution; Commissioner Adams seconded for discussion.
Commissioner Holman said, “this is SPLOST money and still there are monies available.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “these all seem interconnected. I do not understand why we have different resolutions when they all seem to be saying the same thing.”
Mr. Harris responded, “they are two separate actions; the first action was to modify the District V Project Allocation List and how the Commissioner is going to reallocate his funds. Those were projects designated on the DOT District Allocation. He is going to take money from those two (2) projects and reassign them into a different project. And subsequently designate those two (2) projects (Crumbley Road resurfacing and East Atlanta at Thurman intersection improvements) in a SPLOST II Program.”
Commissioner Holman said, “the citizens and the taxpayers of District V are going to be disappointed with the actions of this Board. Our districts are comprised, made or shaped based on the population, not by the geographical area. Looking at the southern part of the County, District I is the largest geographical district. Each district has roughly 20% of the population and those people are shoppers and they go to these stores, spending their money and the sales tax is collected. When they ride around in District V and see that District V is the least spended or allocated monies, I want the public to recognize that I am trying to get every penny I can. But this Board, for some reason, is derailing these intentions. The capital monies set aside for roads are in dire need in District V to take care of the oldest district in the County. The taxpayers voted for a sales tax that has a large percentage for roads; this Board is derailing that very intention of that ballot. District V is going to have the least amount of SPLOST expenditures. Take a look at the GRTA monies; there is very, very little that is being done to address the transportation needs of District V. We are about to have brought before this Board a $2 million consulting fee to look at a transportation plan. District V does not need a consultant to come out and share with you that we are in desperate need of transportation monies.”
Commissioner Holder responded, “there is no doubt this County is divided on equal population. The SPLOST Committee, that was formed long before most of this Board was in place, determined and allocated the funds from each District. The resolution the Commissioners adopted, that was later a part of the ballot, gave District V about $6 million, and I cannot sit here and change what was actually voted on and approved by the Board of this County. Now why District V got $6 million and other Districts received more, I cannot answer that. But that is what the people of this County voted on, and we need to try and uphold it.”
Commissioner Harper called the question; Commissioner Freedman seconded; the motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Harper, Freedman, Holman, Adams and Holder voting in favor.
The motion to approve the resolution failed with a vote of 1-4-0; Commissioner Holman voted in favor and Commissioners Harper, Freedman, Adams and Holder voted against.
COURTHOUSE ANNEX PROJECT:
Juvenile Court Judge A.J. Welch, Jr.; State Court Judge Ben Studdard; and State Court Solicitor Charles Spahos appeared before the Board to discuss the proposed Courthouse Annex, which is a SPLOST-funded project.
Judge Studdard stated he wished to talk to the Board about the proposed Courthouse Annex project during this cycle of the next Fiscal Year budget. He noted $7.3 million was allocated toward construction of the annex, which was originally intended to include State Court, Juvenile Court, Magistrate Court and Probate Court. He said the $7.3 million designation was not based on any particular study of what it would actually take to construct a building for those four courts. Judge Studdard said the Committee has been in the process of accepting and reviewing bids for a design/build construction process for the building, and the SPLOST Office received six bids, each of which greatly exceeded the allocated $7.3 million, especially if you are looking at an eight to ten year life expectancy. He said the Committee has already made a decision in this process, unofficially, this building could not possibly accommodate all four of the courts, and recognizing that, Probate Court Judge Buttrill has bowed out of the facility.
Judge Studdard said the lowest bid is $20 per square foot lower than the other bids. He said the low bidder has never done this before, which set off “all kinds of warning bells.” He said the committee agreed the second lowest bidder was, by far, the more responsible bidder and of the six original bidders, and had the most relevant experience as far as building courthouse facilities in the State of Georgia.
Judge Studdard said the committee is preparing to bring a contract to the Board for consideration. He said there are two choices:
1. Take the money allocated and build a building that will be full the day the courts move into it in two years; or
2. Try to build a building now that should accommodate these courts for the ten years originally anticipated for approximately $9 million.
Judge Studdard said the committee and SPLOST Office need help from the Board to figure out which direction will be traveled on this project. He said the committee thinks it would be unwise to build a building that is full when the courts move into it, which was not the original intention. He noted it will be more expensive to build more building within the immediate future than if approximately 26,000 square feet can be shelled in now for an extra $2 million. He said the building would be approximately 50,800 square feet built out to start with, and an additional 26,000 square feet of shelled in space. He said as judges are added in the future, a courtroom and offices will be finished in the shelled space.
Chairman Maddox asked how the Board could budget an additional $2 million for the Courthouse annex when additional road projects could not be budgeted. He said the only area the additional funds could come from would be from the general fund which would make this project exceed the amount on the ballot.
Judge Studdard stated he is not talking about adding a project, but adding unfinished space in the building. He said his understanding is that so far SPLOST’s intake is regularly exceeding projections. He said County personnel has indicated there may be some leeway, noting he understands a certain percentage of SPLOST has been designated for capital improvements versus roads. He said it is not inappropriate to allocate additional funds for this project since it is on the list and was designated as one of the top priority items.
Judge Studdard said the committee has had discussions with Ms. Angus about additional funding. He noted that is not his territory and he does not know the answer.
Commissioner Holman said “I hope your Honor can recognize the position I will champion here.” He commended the Committee for its foresight in building a facility that will not be outdated and full in two years. He said “I hope you witnessed the beat up that District V got with SPLOST money and it’s this integrity that the voters voted for a court annex to be paid by sales tax and I’m for that. I have no problems getting the $2 million shortfall, actually it was just $1 million last week and then in a week’s time it has gone up to $2 million, and I’ve had discussions with the SPLOST management and it was $1 million just last week. Anyway, my preference is that the shortfall, regardless if it’s $1 or $2 million, I’m not going to get in that argument, it’s just the source of the money should be the sales tax source and I can guarantee you this Board is already very sensitive to that argument, again, through discussions with District V for $1.2 million for a library in District V. They were instructed by the County Manager that they would have to revise the budget to $94 million to be able to get enough capital to come up with $1.2. So, already now, to get this up, if you forget about the library in Fairview, you need $2 plus million, I guess we’ll have to adjust that SPLOST budget in the neighborhood of $98 million. I think I know where Commissioner Harper’s going to come from with the additional funding and there are impact fees we are collecting for public safety. It really disturbs me to take general fund money to make up the shortfall. District V certainly could use that money for its roads.”
Commissioner Harper stated he discussed this matter with Ms. Angus. He said we have a finite number of buildings, the SPLOST budget was deemed too high prior to the election, and rather than cutting buildings from the program, we lowered the estimated price on each of them. He said this building should have been allocated $12 million, which was the initial request and suggestion. Instead of doing that, this Board cut it back to $7.3 to make the numbers work, which was not a smart thing to do. He said that applies to other buildings in the program, as well.
Commissioner Harper said he questions whether the Board can start adjusting the SPLOST budget, even for this project. He said Ms. Angus has acknowledged this is a project that will take us across the span of two fiscal years, and therefore, you have two fiscal years of impact fees coming in and two fiscal years of general fund being allocated. Commissioner Harper said Ms. Angus’ suggestion to him is to amortize this over a two year period at least and that way it will be paid for upon the building’s completion, rather than bond it and carry it over a number of years, and include the additional square footage. He said that would keep the Board from violating the SPLOST resolution by paying for it upon its completion.
Commissioner Holder said this Board needs to ask itself a question, do you build for the future or do you build what you just have to have for today. He said “I think the answer to that question is very obvious. It would not be wise to build for today. Think about something else. We know that we’re limited in downtown McDonough and people will bring the question back up: it didn’t need to be there to begin with. I couldn’t agree more, but the point is the people voted to keep everything in downtown McDonough in SPLOST I and that’s what we have done. But if we build a building today for the $7 million and we build it and shell it, the whole business, we are limited on how much parking. We can’t come back in ten years, five years, three years and expand the footprint of that building without taking up more parking spaces. That’s just one point. I think it’s the right thing to do to build the best we can get, and as far as the funding of it, I would not increase or project increases in SPLOST. There has to be alternative financing. Many things, because of SPLOST, frees up general funds. We are looking at general funds as almost sacred; it is, they are hard to come by, but nevertheless, those are taxpayers’ dollars as well as SPLOST funds, so I don’t have a problem with looking at general funds and impact fees. The second thing, and I want to ask somebody, and I vaguely remember this about the parking. Some of those funds that were charged against this building were actual funds we used to purchase the five acres from Planters Warehouse when, in fact, all of those funds should not be charged to this particular building. Am I right or am I wrong. Somebody speak up because I know there is an answer to this.”
Commissioner Harper said, “you are right. They charged the price of that building against this project.” Commissioner Holder said that is not right because there are parking lots all over the place that provides parking for the Courthouse, off-street parking for McDonough, many things, but it should not be charged against this particular building.”
Commissioner Freedman stated “if you want to save a million dollars, you build the building now and you don’t wait five years because I almost feel confident that on a $7 million building, if you wait five years or whatever, it’s going to be another $1 million to build it. So building it now not only from the perspective of doing it while it’s necessary, but doing it while costs are less makes a lot of sense. $7.3 million originally, or $7.2, I’m not sure which it is, I’ve heard a couple of different figures, $9 million, maybe a little bit less, bids received, so you’ve got about a $2 million shortfall. We can use legally and rightfully some of the impact fees in that for the public safety portion of that. The jail portion of that $2 million expansion is probably one-half million dollars. So if you can take $500,000 out of impact fees, which is rightful and proper and legal and meets all those litmus tests, that brings you down to $1.5 million. Now that’s not a drop in the bucket. Now we’ve got to figure out where to get the $1.5 million or maybe even a little bit less than that and I think the challenge we have to meet is to recognize the fact that we need to find that money some place. Maybe with the help of the Judges we can do that. Secondly, to recognize the fact that this is a legitimate request. Thirdly, that this request, if we do it now, is going to save us money in the long run. It would fulfill the needs of what’s now. It doesn’t make sense to put this off, even if you didn’t look at the space needs, even if you didn’t look at the judicial needs, it doesn’t make sense from an economic point of view to put it off. It needs to be done, we need to find the money for it. Now I don’t know where the answer is. Ms. Angus didn’t give me quite the positive response that Mr. Harper got, so we need to talk to her and see exactly where we are on this. But I think we need to make the commitment to at least philosophically, if maybe not monetarily, to say we are going to find some way to try to round that money up because it makes sense and there’s no more legitimate reason than it makes sense economically, from a cost based point of view, from a utilitarian point of view and everything you think about, it makes sense to do it. I guess the challenge now is to find the money.”
Chairman Maddox stated a real good example of not building for the future is the County Administration Building. He noted the building is already outgrown.
Mr. Roy Clack, SPLOST Management, stated the money allocated in SPLOST is not enough to build a building that is adequate now and in planning for the future. He said the request for additional funding is justified and it is up to the Board to determine how much and where the additional funding will come from for this building. Mr. Clack stated the SPLOST Department is still in negotiations with Turner Construction to determine how much shell space could be included in the project. Mr. Clack stated the project will be approximately 80,000 square feet of finished space with 26,000 square feet of unfinished area. He stated approximately $500,000 was used for land acquisition. He said there were other costs for testing and demolition.
Chairman Maddox recommended the Board table this matter for a recommendation from Ms. Angus.
Commissioner Harper made a motion to place this matter on the April 28th agenda for consideration of the amount of funding to be designated for the Courthouse annex; Commissioner Holder seconded; and the motion passed with Commissioners Freedman, Holman, Harper, Holder and Adams in favor.
Judge Studdard stated the committee’s goal this morning was to determine whether the Board is looking at an existing needs building or a building for the future, and the Board has answered the future needs should be considered.
RESOLUTION TO DESIGNATE $250,000 IN THE SPLOST II PROGRAM TOWARDS THE RESURFACING OF SEVERELY DETERIORATED STREETS IN DISTRICT V:
Chairman Maddox read the resolution to designate $250,000 in the SPLOST II program for the resurfacing of streets, as Designation No. 7. It was noted the funding impact of this resolution would be $250,000, which would come from the transportation element of the SPLOST II program.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to approve the resolution; Commissioner Holder seconded for discussion.
Commissioner Holder asked whether the source of the $250,000 has been identified. Mr. Michael Harris, Public Works Division Director, stated there is a line item on the master list of the SPLOST II program that calls for $1.25 million to be used for the resurfacing of severely deteriorated streets. Commissioner Holder asked “does it show it as actually being at the end of the program?” Mr. Harris stated he does not recall an actual time frame; it is just on the master list. Commissioner Holder noted “if there are projects that are going to be overrun, the $250,000 could be used to make up some of that.” He said all Commissioners have severely deteriorated roads. Mr. Harris stated there have been six designations to date and this would be designation number seven. He said the projects would be worked in as the schedule dictates, noting they can only be programmed subsequent to the money coming in, opposed to capital projects.
Commissioner Freedman stated he did not know there was a line item in the amount of $250,000 for resurfacing in SPLOST II. He asked “what are projects one through six?” Mr. Harris stated they are designations which the Commission decided upon previously. Commissioner Freedman said “if the money is there, and you are saying it is, $250,000 for District V, I have no problem adding that to the list because it’s not on there now; he’s got the money, he certainly has the right to be on the list someplace. If he doesn’t get on a list now, he’s never going to so I don’t have a problem with that if that money is there that is allocated for that purpose.”
Commissioner Holman’s motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Holman, Harper and Adams in favor.
PROCLAMATION – SUPPORTING THE METRO ATLANTA TRAFFIC INCIDENT MANAGEMENT ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM:
Commissioner Harper read a proclamation in support of the Metro Atlanta Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program. It was noted a task force, comprised of concerned incident responders from transportation agencies, fire, rescue, police, towing, emergency medical services, and others, will be formed to address the critical issues related to incident management in the region.
Commissioner Harper made a motion to approve the proclamation; Commissioner Adams seconded; and the motion passed with Commissioners Freedman, Holman, Harper, Adams and Holder in favor.
PRESENTATION BY CH2M HILL – FINDINGS ON SEWER MORATORIUM IMPOSED BY THE HENRY COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY:
Ms. Heather Dyke, Mr. Dave Muckerman, P.E., and Ms. Heather Heindel, P.E., Ch2M Hill, presented their results from the Springdale Basin moratorium study.
Ms. Dyke stated CH2M Hill is an employee-owned project delivery firm providing engineering, construction, operations and related services for public and private clients on six Continents. She said their headquarters is in Denver, Colorado. She said their firm “save clients billions of dollars through our project delivery system. That’s actually how we really distinguish ourselves from other competitors is the fact we are particularly good at bringing things in on schedule and under budget.”
Ms. Dyke stated CH2M Hill has four separate offices in Georgia, with one at Perimeter Center. She stated their firm acquired Lockwood Green, which is another engineering firm, which has an office is Midtown. She said they have a project office in Augusta and another office in Jonesboro. Ms. Dyke stated they do “quite a bit of work for both Clayton County and the Clayton County Water Authority.” She said they are engineer of record for the Authority and were the program managers for their wetlands project in the south part of the county.
Ms. Heindel stated “we looked at the Water and Sewer Authority’s facility located within the Springdale Basin, which, it gets confusing, but it breaks down to the Springdale Road Wastewater Treatment Facility, the Springdale Road Land Application site, the Springdale Road/Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility and the Hudson Bridge Facility, which was decommissioned in 2000. We looked at data back to 1998, so we did take the data for that facility so we could compare it along with the rest.”
Ms. Heindel continued “currently these facilities, as a whole, are permitted to treat 2 million gallons per day (MGD) and we looked at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s records from 1998 to 2003, and just for your records, I am sure you are completely aware, but the moratorium was actually issued on October 28, 2003.”
Ms. Heindel continued “now for a little quick brief overview on how you track wastewater capacity. The thing about wastewater flow is that it obviously varies greatly during the day. In the middle of the night there is not very much, early in the morning there is a lot because everyone’s taking a shower and getting ready for school and work, and after work it increases also. So what the State looks at is a daily average flow and that helps you out because if you actually reported the peak every day to the State, it would be harder to track what you are actually treating. So every day the Water and Sewer Authority reports the quantity and quality of wastewater flow internally and then once a month they send that data to the Georgia EPD, which becomes public information then.”
Ms. Heindel stated “new plant flows are added in as you approve building permits, and your Building Department does. Someone should be adding in these new flows as they come on line to the capacity that is designated for this particular area. Usually in a smaller situation, when plants are less than ten MGD, which is the situation here, when you begin to reach 75 percent of your capacity is sold, a warning light comes on and you begin to look at how we are going to increase our capacity because going from 75 to 100 percent in a small plant is a pretty small jump. And then when you get to the point where that 75 percent is actually coming in your plant, beyond when they are sold and when the developments are on line, then the new facility should be close to coming on line so that you don’t have any situations where you are over your capacity.”
Ms. Heindel stated “the next slide here shows the moratorium study findings and this graph should be in your packets. What you will see is on the dark blue line at the bottom is the Springdale/Walnut Creek Facility, which came on line somewhere around 2001. The light aqua blue line is the Hudson Bridge Road Facility that was decommissioned. Red is the Springdale Road Facility and green is the mechanical portion of the LAS.”
Ms. Heindel continued “we have circled some areas where you have reached 75 percent of your capacity, so you can see that in 2001, approximately April, 75 percent of the basin’s capacity was reached for a period of about four months. Now, these are the average monthly data, they are not one-time events. This is over a whole month’s period. And then again, you increase that value in approximately October, 2002, a year before the moratorium is called. And then you can see the blue line is the moratorium.”
Ms. Heindel stated “there is a quick summary of the violations that were reported to the EPD in the year 2003. I guess what is key here is that the flow was violated in the basin between March 2003 on the average flow and October 2003. The other thing that is important to note is that phosphorous violations occurred, which since you are upstream of Jackson Lake, this is a critical area to address because phosphorous is limited in Jackson Lake.”
Ms. Dyke stated “that is one of the points, as you well know, that EPD monitors for phosphorous.”
Ms. Heindel stated the findings and the big picture here “the linear lines indicate that the flow has been increasing in the Springdale basin since 2002, and if you drive around that area you know that that is obvious because a lot of homes are built from that time on. Facility use has been violating permitted average daily flows since October 2003, and the violations continue through October 2003. The other thing to remember is the moratorium does not prohibit existing development if the sewer taps were purchased before it was put in place. So when you drive around the district or the area that is served by the Springdale basin, there is still construction that is occurring, most likely because it was approved prior to the moratorium being in line, which means that those flows are entering the basin.”
Commissioner Adams stated “that means we are even more overboard.” Ms. Heindel answered “I can’t answer that yes or no right now because the data isn’t up at EPD, there is a lag time before the data is available.” Commissioner Adams stated “if we are already violating, but we continue to add flow. . .” Ms. Heindel responded “as a person with the numbers, until I actually saw them, but yes, a practical standpoint you continue to increase the flow.”
Commissioner Freedman said “I would hope that the Water Authority anticipated that, based on what permits they issued.” Ms. Heindel said “I can’t answer that.” Commissioner Freedman said “they know when a building is built and the building permit said they could handle that, I would hope they knew when they did their moratorium, they already factored that into the total number.”
Commissioner Holder said “they came on that particular date in October and said we are not issuing any more permits; they didn’t give anybody warning, which they shouldn’t have. . .” Commissioner Freedman said “I would hope that they said, well we can’t issue any permits because of capacity now plus what we have already permitted. I hope they had sense to do that.” Ms. Heindel said “I guess the key from the data is that at the time the moratorium was issued, they were already at full; they were already in violation.” Chairman Maddox asked “they were over in February 2003?” Ms. Heindel responded “yes.” She said “that is on average daily flow that is reported to the Georgia EPD.” Commissioner Freedman asked “why were they still issuing permits?” Ms. Heindel said “that is a good question; can’t answer it for you.” Commissioner Adams asked “does that mean we are way, way over now?’ Ms. Heindel said “there are some things I don’t know; you would have to get the data, we’d have to get the data from the Water and Sewer Authority because there is a lag time.”
Commissioner Adams asked “are there fines involved when they are over like this?” Ms. Heindel said “sometimes there can be; and a search of the public records I can’t find a fine. To me, the Water Authority is not looked at as a large violator. The issue with that is that at any time, EPD could start to put on fines and once they put on fines, they could put on a consent decree which would require the Water and Sewer Authority to fix it immediately, which obviously would increase the cost of any sort of fix that you need when you are mandated.”
Mr. Muckerman stated the Water and Sewer Authority “have projects already under construction that will relieve this moratorium effect and gain capacity in the basin, so they obviously have had discussions with EPD showing for just a short time until this relief is on line.” Ms. Heindel said, “I know for sure that some of the pipelines are getting pretty close to completion over there in the Springdale basin that would be transporting the wastewater over to the new Walnut Creek facility, which I think is scheduled to start up relatively soon. It’s getting close. So I guess the big question is, how to avoid another moratorium because it seems like if you are in the catch-up mode all the time, at some time you have to avoid the next step.”
Ms. Heindel said “a coordinated plan for reaching the desired level of service throughout the County is required between not only the Comprehensive Development Plan you are currently developing, but also the Metro North Georgia District’s Long Term Wastewater Plans, and Henry County Water and Sewer Authority’s Water and Wastewater Master Plans and the Capital Improvement Programs and your needs for schools and fire departments and courthouses and everything is a very big enterprise sort of direction forward on where does this pot of money that you have go. And, then a timely comparison of what you plan the growth to be versus what it actually is and the infrastructure utilization that’s occurring in the County. Our current recommendations are that the County perform an audit of each wastewater facility, including capacity, number of taps sold or issued, building permits issued, including the number of dwelling units in the building permit, and the number of sewer taps currently in use. A lot of times what happens is that a building permit is obviously given with a certain planned unit development and it takes time before that comes on line. Now whether or not that time is accounted into the capital improvements program is what this would help you establish. Also, a system of checks and balances should be instituted that requires sewer capacity is, as Commissioner Freedman noted, accounted for when the building permit is issued or a development plan is approved. In addition, the approval of large subdivisions and commercial developments should be accounted for in the sewer capacity long-term. If you know of an area that the zoning is changed for a specific purpose that would include large wastewater users, that needs to be coordinated with each different wastewater basin’s plan.”
Commissioner Freedman asked “what caused the overage. I’m reading in your book, 90,000 gallons of additional capacity were committed to six commercial clients. Have you identified those commercial clients. I know a lot of apartments are in there.” Ms. Heindel said, “no, but that is actually directly out of the Henry County Water and Sewer Authority meeting minutes in November 2003.”
Ms. Dyke said “the Henry County Development Authority’s website, for example, still has that you have significant or at least half GMD available in that basin, and so knowing how you want to try to expand and diversify the tax base, we just want to try to make sure to plan adequately ahead so that capacity’s there when you try to bring in…… .”
Ms. Heindel said “the easy answer is growth causes the increase.” Commissioner Freedman asked “are apartments considered commercial or residential clients.” Ms. Heindel stated they are residential clients.
Commissioner Holman asked, “how much did the study cost?”
Ms. Dyke answered, “I think it was about $8,000.00.”
Commissioner Holder asked Ms. Dyke who hired their firm. Ms. Dyke stated “the County Manager’s Office did.” Commissioner Holder said “it’s never come before this Board and let me say this, I know you have done your work and I appreciate it. It comes down to a fact, and there has to be checks and balances, there is no question about that, but the bottom line is that we do not trust the Water Authority nor their consultants as far as giving us the right information, and I think that’s very, costly number one. If anybody said that’s not it, let me know because that is the bottom line, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s costly. I think their findings shows that the moratorium was justified; in fact it was a few months past justification. Exactly what the Water Authority has told us, but we have to spend money to find out these things when, in fact, you had just mentioned communicate, just like the difference in zonings, that is the key word: communication, and that’s where we failed.”
Chairman Maddox asked, “would we have known about that, Mr. Holder, if they had not checked it out?” Commissioner Holder responded, “yes sir, it’s public record. You certainly would have known that.”
RESOLUTION CREATING STORMWATER STAKEHOLDERS ADVISORY COMMITTEE (SSAC) CONSISTING OF RESIDENTS AND PROPERTY OWNERS OF UNINCORPORATED HENRY COUNTY TO HELP DEFINE AN OPTIMAL LEVEL OF SERVICE FOR THE PENDING STORMWATER UTILITY:
Commissioner Harper read a resolution creating a Stormwater Stakeholders Advisory Committee. Mr. Danny Taylor, Economic Development Division Director, suggested there be one appointment from each Commission District.
Mr. Jim Luebbering, Stormwater Manager, recommended the six-member Committee be comprised of a diverse group, including:
1. Resident of unincorporated Henry County; or
2. Property owner within unincorporated Henry County; or
3. Designated representative of a business, corporation, or trust within unincorporated Henry County.
Commissioner Harper said it will be problematic if all six Commissioners name the same type person. A discussion was held concerning the make-up and nomination process for this committee.
Commissioner Holman recommended Mr. Sam Chafin from District V as a citizen nominee. Commissioner Adams recommended Mr. Max Anderson from District IV. Commissioner Harper recommended Mr. Chris Rodgers from District III. Chairman Maddox said he would allow someone from the Chamber of Commerce who lives in the unincorporated area of the County to serve as his appointee. Commissioner Freedman stated he will appoint an environmentalist after he contacts the individual to make sure they will serve. Commissioner Holder stated he will appoint someone from the business perspective to this committee.
Commissioner Harper made a motion to approve the resolution to create a six-member Stormwater Stakesholders Advisory Committee, with one member appointed by each Commissioner; Commissioner Freedman seconded.
Commissioner Holman asked how long the terms will be for this committee. Mr. Luebbering stated Arcadis will spear-head three of the meetings over the next two months and if the appointees want to continue to meet, Mr. Luebbering will continue to meet with them. Chairman Maddox stated a time certain needs to be put on the terms. Mr. Taylor recommended the committee remain in place until Arcadis finishes their contract.
Commissioner Holman stated his only concern is the Board does not receive feedback from committees and boards.
Commissioner Harper amended his motion to make the term of the Committee through he end of Arcadis’ contract with Henry County; Commissioner Freedman seconded; and the motion, as amended, passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Harper, Holman and Adams in favor.
RESOLUTION FOR A BUDGET AMENDMENT IN THE SENIOR SERVICES DEPARTMENT TO REFLECT INCREASED GRANT, DONATION AND REVENUE ALLOCATIONS:
Commissioner Holman read a resolution to approve a budget amendment in the Senior Services Department to reflect increased grant, donation and revenue allocations in the amount of $238,166.
Mr. Thomas Couch, Social Services Division Director, stated the funds are designated to improve and enhance senior adult programming in Henry County during the remainder of the Fiscal Year. He noted sources for these increased revenues include:
Title III – Older Americans Act
Community Based Services
Georgia Income Tax Check-Off
Henry Council on Aging
Increased Cafeteria Revenue
Mr. Couch stated it is expected that the increased funding level will be sustained in the next Fiscal Year to support the proposed personnel modifications, and to execute the one-time purchase of additional resources.
Commissioner Holder made a motion to approve the resolution; Commissioner Harper seconded.
Commissioner Freedman noted the total personnel costs in the budget amendment are $42,600, which include wages, group insurance, Social Security, retirement contributions and workman’s comp. He asked whether this is for current or new employees. Mr. Couch stated new positions of Licensed Practical Nurse, two Certified Nursing Assistants, Case Management Supervisor, two lead Senior Senior Center Activities Coordinators and an Accounts Administrator will be funded with this revenue.
Commissioner Holman asked why this budget amendment is being considered now rather than during the budget process. Mr. Couch stated typically the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) funds come through the Federal government and their Fiscal Year is from October through September, and we do not receive notification typically until this time of year. Commissioner Holman asked whether the additional ten employees will be reflected in the next Fiscal Year budget. Mr. Couch stated the new positions will be included in the new budget, however, there will be some relief offered in other equipment areas, which will be funded through other grants.
Mr. Eddie Fowler, Interim Director, Senior Services Department, stated these positions will be carried over to the next Fiscal Year. He said if this money is not spent by June 30th, the County will lose the funds, so he has taken the positions which were going to be asked for in the next budget and put them in this allocation. He said the funding will be available next year. Ms. Sandy Craig, Grants Coordinator for Senior Services, stated the annualized budget for the positions has been calculated and included in next year’s allocation. She noted the reason vehicles and equipment are being bought out of this year’s money is because it has to be pre-spent because the first budget amendment in September was approved, but the use of the money was not approved at that time. She said there have been two other budget amendments and the subject budget amendment is a culmination of all three budget amendments. Ms. Craig stated the funds cannot be rolled over to another year; it would have to be returned if it is not spent.
Commissioner Holder’s motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor.
RESOLUTION TO DEOBLIGATE THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES TRANSPORTATION FOR ELDERLY PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES GRANT (5310):
Commissioner Holman read the resolution to deobligate the Georgia Department of Human Resources Transportation for Elderly Persons with Disabilities Grant.
Mr. Couch stated the purpose of this resolution is to amend the contract between the Georgia Department of Human Resources and Henry County. He noted from time to time during this contract period, DHR will make amendments to the contract and more times than not it will be an addition and not a subtraction of funds. He stated this contract is amended based on how the groups under DHR utilize the monies that have been set aside for them. He noted if the group needs more money and DHR approves same, the contract amount will increase, and if they anticipate not using all of their money it could result in the money being transferred to another group or a reduction in the contract amount.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to approve the resolution to deobligate the Georgia Department of Human Resources Transportation for Elderly Persons with Disabilities Grant; Commissioner Harper seconded.
Chairman Maddox asked whether Henry Transit goes outside the Henry County lines. Mr. Bob Bullington, Transit Director, stated under this program, the transit goes to Griffin, Clayton County and Butts County.
Commissioner Holman’s motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Holman, Adams and Harper in favor.
RESOLUTION REGARDING FUNDS FOR LANDSCAPE DESIGN OF JONESBORO ROAD MEDIAN:
Commissioner Harper noted Jonesboro Road is being widened from I-75 to the McDonough Square. He said currently State D.O.T. has plans to put a divided four-lane highway with a center concrete median. He said State D.O.T. will allow the median to be landscaped, however, the City and/or County will have to do the design work for the project. Commissioner Harper stated he has met with the City of McDonough, which received a bid from Jordan Jones & Gouldin. Commissioner Harper stated 26% of the road lies within the City of McDonough, with 74% in the unincorporated part of the County. He stated this resolution will allow the County’s portion to be paid out of District III D.O.T. Transportation funds.
Commissioner Harper read and made a motion to approve the resolution regarding funds for landscape design of Jonesboro Road Median; Commissioner Adams seconded.
Commissioner Freedman asked who will take care of the landscaping. Commissioner Harper stated the City and County will need to maintain them.
Commissioner Holman asked Commissioner Harper how he knows how much money he has in his transportation fund. Commissioner Harper stated $84,000 was taken off the North Salem Road project, which was partially funded by Georgia LARP, which freed up the money in the District III list.
Commissioner Harper’s motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor.
RESOLUTION REGARDING A DRAINAGE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT ALONG S.R. 155 AT EAST LAKE ROAD:
Commissioner Harper read a resolution and made a motion to fund a drainage improvement project along S.R. 155 at East Lake Road. He noted District III transportation funds were freed up because the State D.O.T. partially funded the resurfacing of North Salem Road. He requested Board authorization to use $25,000 for a drainage improvement project along S.R. 155 at East Lake Road. Commissioner Adams seconded.
Commissioner Harper stated when the red light was installed at the intersection of S.R. 155 and East Lake Road, drainage problems resulted, which floods certain areas. He said County engineers prepared a plan to alleviate the flooding problem.
Commissioner Holman asked Commissioner Harper, “since he voted against District V’s moving monies in our funds, how is this different?” Commissioner Harper stated this is “extremely different.” Commissioner Harper stated “you are dividing up Crumbley Road into two portions. I have allocated one-half that road to be paved and you are to do the other half, and the Chairman was going to do the bridge. You asked to take it and put it in the SPLOST II, which would significantly delay that; it would be two or three years before they repaved that road under the SPLOST program, if at all. You keep it in your District list and it’s done immediately. Besides the other argument you heard that that’s double dipping by pushing your roads onto SPLOST and then redesignating stuff under your District list, which is not what we’ve done. All I’m doing is saying North Salem Road is already resurfaced, there’s $84,000 left unallocated. I want to put it here. This is not a SPLOST-approved project. I cannot pay for this drainage work out of SPLOST II.”
Commissioner Holman said “I’m glad he answered it that way. Number one, the bridge we know, we went to a homeowners association and they won’t be driving over that for another two years and speaking of double dipping, the projects that I attempted to remove off of the capital road projects is exactly the reason I wanted to do that, they should be funded from SPLOST only and not from the citizens’ millage money. That’s where the capital project funds come from, it’s general fund money.”
Commissioner Harper’s motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Harper, Holman and Adams in favor.
RESOLUTION REGARDING THE PURCHASE AND INSTALLATION OF LEYLAND CYPRESS TREES ALONG GEORGIA HIGHWAY 20 IN THE VICINITY OF ARBORS AND IVEY’S SUBDIVISIONS:
Commissioner Freedman read a resolution and made a motion to purchase and install Leyland Cypress Trees along Georgia Highway 20 in the vicinity of Arbors and Ivey’s Subdivisions. He stated the funds are available in District II’s special projects funds previously allocated. Commissioner Adams seconded the motion.
Chairman Maddox stated the Special Projects Funds, which were allocated for specific projects, had to be spent before the end of the next fiscal year. Commissioner Harper said the funds had to be designated by May 5, 2003, spent that year, and by July 1, when the new budget took effect, they were over. Commissioner Freedman stated he checked with Ms. Angus, who told him the funds are available.
Commissioner Harper said he just checked with Angie Sorrow, Budget Analyst, and as of July 1, those accounts were zeroed out and there are no funds available. He said Ms. Sorrow said the funds will have to be taken out of Fund Balance. Commissioner Adams said that is not the information he has been receiving.
Commissioner Freedman said the resolution adopted by the Board did not void the funds, it allocated the funds. He said he allocated funds for tree planting. He said Ms. Angus told him one month ago the money was there.
Commissioner Holder stated the impression he received was the funds had to be committed by a certain date and it would be zeroed out at the end of the budget year. He said “I had $223,000 in my Special Projects Fund and had to commit it to roads, period, because it was going away as of the end of the next budget year, so that’s why I had to do it and that’s my impression of what took place. That’s why I had to commit every penny of mine, which I disagreed with, but the Board said we’re going to do it.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “we all allocated it.” Commissioner Adams said “I thought we had to allocate it and I don’t recall that it had to be spent.”
Chairman Maddox said this needs to be delayed for further research. Commissioner Freedman asked to re-word the resolution because “if it’s there, then I don’t want to wait two weeks because we are missing the planting season. I’ll add to this resolution, pending the availability of funds.” Commissioner Adams amended his second.
Chairman Maddox said he would like to postpone this resolution. Commissioner Freedman called for the vote; Commissioner Adams seconded the call; and the motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Holman, Harper and Adams in favor.
Commissioner Freedman’s motion, as amended, did not pass, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder and Adams in favor; and Commissioners Maddox, Harper and Holman opposed.
Commissioner Freedman made a motion to place this matter on the April 28th agenda; Commissioner Adams seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 4-1, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Holman and Adams in favor; and Commissioner Harper opposed.
Commissioner Holman said questions were not asked because the question was called on the previous agenda item. He asked “is it possible for any of us on the Board to call Purchasing, for example, and go out for bids? Mr. Tommy, if I called your office and asked you to send out bids, I’m just curious about the procedure here. I thought that bid letting was a more formal process than just making a phone call. I thought that the Board of Commissioners normally identified a need, which would generate this litany of bids, request for proposals or take it from an approved vendor list. Help me out here.”
Mr. Tommy Smith, Interim Purchasing Director, stated procedure is for the request to come from a Division Director. He said “it can come from someone less than that, but only the formal request comes from the Division Director.” Commissioner Holman said, “then a Commissioner could go to a Division Director and ask for a bid to be placed and that happens?” Mr. Smith said “I will tell you that I’m not familiar as to how the request gets to a Division Director. In this case this request did come from a Division Director.”
Commissioner Holman said “I’m not too concerned that it came from a Commissioner to a Division Director. Where my issue is is that Division Directors are able to issue bids that this Board does not know. Is that standard government operation.” Mr. Smith said “I will tell you, until further advised, we will react to a Division Director request on bidding.” Mr. Smith said “once it comes to Purchasing, we have a criteria that the Board has accepted. We bid in that respect. If it is over $10,000, we will initiate a resolution to put before you and that will be Purchasing’s recommendation.”
Commissioner Holman asked “if a Division Director wanted to go out and get a bid for a $5 million gidget, how does this Board know that the bid was let?” Mr. Smith said “in a lot of cases you would not know until you were presented the resolution.”
Mr. Magnaghi stated there are two different levels of bids Mr. Smith made reference to here. “One is the formal bid process, of which you have to advertise and go out and receive official bids. There is also functions we go through many times at the request of a number of Commissioners, to gather information to determine the feasibility that actually requires quotes and not actual bids. Many times those quotes will be to gather information for a Commissioner to determine whether or not he would like to go forward based upon the Board’s approval. This particular process here was more of an information gathering situation to determine whether or not it was even feasible. Again there’s no commitment, there’s no guarantee that we even have to go out and accept the bids or anything, but it’s two different levels. If somebody went out as Mr. Smith said in excess of $10,000, you are going to have to have Board approval for that in order to go out for bids and it would have to go through a much formal process. This is almost more like quotes rather than actual bid processes.”
There were no public comments.
Commissioner Harper said the City of McDonough came forward to him last week and they have asked the Board review a matter. He said the City of McDonough wishes to build a Sunshine League field for disabled children and they are willing to pay half the amount if the County will partner with them. He said they have passed a resolution of the City Council to extend that offer to the Board of Commissioners. He said his recollection is that this is a SPLOST-approved project. Commissioner Harper asked Mr. Couch to look at possible funding sources. Commissioner Holman asked if this is a designated project. Commissioner Harper stated he is not sure.
Commissioner Holder stated the Sunshine League field was initially going to be located at Alexander Park, however, the facilities were not adequate. He said there was also discussion about building the field at Richard Craig Park on South Cedar Road.
Commissioner Holder stated the rezoning request of Fayette Environmental, which has been advertised for public hearing at tomorrow’s meeting, will be postponed at the applicant’s request. He said the applicant will pay for the re-advertisement cost.
Commissioner Holder made a motion to convene into public session in accordance with the Official Code of Georgia and pursuant to the advice of the County Attorney to discuss personnel, legal and real estate matters; Commissioner Adams seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Harper, Holman and Adams in favor.
(An executive session was held. Commissioner Freedman departed the meeting during executive session and did not return to the meeting.)
Commissioner Holman made a motion to reconvene into public session; Commissioner Holder seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 4-0, with Commissioners Holder, Holman, Harper and Adams in favor. Commissioner Freedman was absent.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to sign an affidavit in support of the Chairman pertaining to executive session; Commissioner Harper seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 4-0, with Commissioners Holder, Holman, Harper and Adams in favor. Commissioner Freedman was absent.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to move the resolution to authorize the acquisition of 6,821 square feet of land, Tract A; and 240 square feet of land, Tract B, more or less, and a total of 22,471 square feet of temporary construction easement, and a total of 1,000 square feet of driveway easement in Land Lot 103 of the 12th District of Henry County, Georgia, by negotiated contract or condemnation pursuant to the provisions of O.C.G.A. Section 32-34 through Section 32-319; Commissioner Harper seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 4-0, with Commissioners Holder, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor. Commissioner Freedman was absent.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to authorize suit on behalf of Henry County against developers and builders in Huntcliffe Subdivision to recover damages for destruction, grading and tree removal on County property; Commissioner Harper seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 4-0, with Commissioners Holder, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor. Commissioner Freedman was absent.
Commissioner Harper made a motion to adjourn (1:00 p.m.); Commissioner Adams seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 4-0, with Commissioners Holder, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor. Commissioner Freedman was absent.
Leland Maddox, Chairman
Peggy L. Malcolm, Deputy County Clerk
Susan B. Craig, County Clerk