The Henry County Board of Commissioner held a called public meeting at 3:35 p.m., Thursday, May 13, 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 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

          Gerry Adams, District IV Commissioner


          Linda G. Angus, County Manager; Patrick Jaugstetter, County Attorney; Susan B. Craig, County Clerk; Rob Magnaghi, Deputy County Manager/Public Safety Director; Danny Taylor, Economic Development Division Director; Michael Harris, Public Works Division Director; Mike Bush, Finance Department Director; Angie Sorrow, Budget Analyst; and others.


          Commissioner Holman made a motion to accept the agenda as published; Commissioner Holder seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Maddox, Holman, Holder, Freedman and Adams in favor.


          Ms. Angus stated the purpose of this meeting is to hold a budget workshop.  She stated she would like to focus on questions about a list of projects for inclusion in the budget. 


          Commissioner Freedman asked for clarification about the percentage of appropriations for each division.  He noted Public Safety is projected to receive 38.54% of the budget, which remains unchanged as far as percentage is concerned.  Ms. Angus said the Public Safety Division may be more fully staffed this year because they may have been down 20 people when the budget was prepared last year and there are fewer vacancies at this time, so the numbers will look different.  She said she has not added any new people.  She said the only thing added to the proposed budget that is capital in nature is what will be required of the County, in the County Clerk’s Office, Finance and ultimately Building Inspections, to move our records into digital form. 


          Commissioner Freedman asked whether the proposed budget contains the same percentages as last year for each Division.  Ms. Angus answered affirmatively.  Commissioner Freedman noted the dollar amount will increase because it will be a percentage of a higher amount. 


          Chairman Maddox asked whether any vacancies have been eliminated.  Ms. Angus stated throughout the year vacancies have been eliminated. 


          Commissioner Holder recommended the $7 million surplus be placed in a Capital Contingency account.  He said there is no equipment included in any  departmental budget.  He said before the $7 million is committed, it needs to be budgeted in a Capital Contingency account and as needs arise, they should be brought to the Board for approval.  Ms. Angus stated a lump sum was set aside this past year and she received requests from every department last year.  She said once the budget year began, most departments did not ask for the same things contained on the original budget list.  She said they should be considered on an as-needed basis.


          Chairman Maddox stated the Election Board asked him about Purchasing new machines, which cost $51,000 each.  Commissioner Freedman noted the Election Board is mandated to provide security for the building where the machines are stored.  Ms. Angus stated Mr. Magnaghi is currently addressing the security issues.  Chairman Maddox asked whether the County will be able to get through the elections this year without any additional machines.  Ms. Angus stated a major purchase was made this past year for the Election Board of all the equipment they requested and that is not a piece of this budget she would recommend.  She said she believes the elections can be run with the current elections equipment. 


          Commissioner Freedman suggested the Board take the percentages contained in the proposed budget and the percentages in the current budget and leave the $7 million in Capital Contingency and the Board address needs as they arise, whether they be personnel or capital.  Ms. Angus stated that may be a good approach; her only concern is when money starts flowing, it will be first come first serve.  Commissioner Freedman stated the County Manager and the Board would have to evaluate the requests and determine priorities.  Commissioner Holder noted the needs change, even within departments.


          Commissioner Holman stated he likes Commissioner Freedman’s approach.  He noted there is a historic trend in the Legislative and Executive appropriation section of the budget which reflects a $13 million increase in a four-year period; in the Public Safety section there is an increase of $14 million; and in the Public Works section there is an increase of $300,000.  He said it does not appear the Board is focusing attention on roads.  Ms. Angus said the perspective, on its face, is not an accurate view because the proposed budget reflects only the General Fund, and $14 million was moved last year into roads and capital, which is not reflected in the historical data.  She stated $11.3 million of the $14 million was used for roads, plus a GRTA payment was made in order to draw the $22 million, so the data is not an accurate picture of the County’s commitment to roads financially.


          Ms. Angus said the reason $18 million and $22 million is reflected in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 budgets for Legislative and Executive issues is because electrical, maintenance, insurance and other similar expenditures were combined and classified in this division of the budget.  She said when the Contingency account is established, it will reflect in this division budget, so the budget does not reflect an accurate picture of what is being spent on Legislative and Executive divisions. 


          Commissioner Holman asked Ms. Angus how funding is being addressed for the Department of Transportation for maintenance.  He asked if the funds are not in the General Fund, where the money will be when needed for repairs.  Ms. Angus stated there is no other money available, other than what is proposed in the budget.   Commissioner Holman said that means there is no money for the Department of Transportation.  Commissioner Adams said there is $9 million in the budget.  Ms. Angus said there is no additional money to do anything with, but there is maintenance money in the budget.  Ms. Angus stated if the Board wants a road striped, it will have to come out of Contingency or the $7.5 million.  Commissioner Holman asked how much of the budgeted money is for payroll.  Ms. Angus stated probably the bulk of the money is for payroll.


          Ms. Angus stated there is approximately $7 million to carry over from the current budget year.  She stated the operating budget has been cut back to $89 million, which is a tight budget.  She said the difference between the projected revenues and the minimum expenditures is $4.5 million.   She said available fund balance from this past year is $2.5 million and that is where the $7 million comes from.  She said that is the money available to use against the “want” list previously provided, which included police officers, etc. 


          Ms. Angus stated, included in the $89 million expenditure line item, is $1 million Contingency, which is not a lot in a $93 million budget.  She said there is a 4% increase, plus benefits, for all employees.  She said the increases will be performance based, with some piece of longevity in it.  She said there is a vacancy variance of 5% that is in the $89 million, so the budget covers the cost of operations and what she assumed the Board wanted to do regarding the employees and vacancies.


          Commissioner Freedman said the Board may decide to allocate the entire $7 million to roads, and that is the advantage of having a Contingency, so it can be used as needed.  He said the key is, if a Capital Contingency is established, the Board can move on and the budget percentages will not be raised.  Ms. Angus stated that is a smart approach and staff can provide requests in detail as they occur.


          Commissioner Holman asked whether a portion of the money could be allocated to be specific to Districts for expenditures.  Commissioner Freedman said that could possibly be done at a later time.  Commissioner Adams said the Courthouse Annex has a shortfall which will have to be addressed, which is a County-wide issue, not just a District project.  Ms. Angus said instead of spending $2 or $3 million for fleet, the County may be able to lease-purchase $2 or $3 million of cars each year on a rolling per year plan because the County is so far behind, and it would not be $3 million today; it might be $1 million.  She said the Board may be able to bond or borrow $2 million over a ten-year period for the Courthouse Annex, then that will be different than using part of the $7 million.  Ms. Angus said if the Board decides to use a designated amount on roads and parks, that might be the time to designate by Districts.


          Commissioner Holman stated there is an encumbered amount of money of $5 million for the YMCA.  He asked whether it is possible to reallocate a portion of the $5 million for the Courthouse Annex.  Ms. Angus said it is her understanding of Mr. Jaugstetter’s interpretation is the Board cannot do that until the end of the SPLOST, at which point it would be too late to make that decision, and the Board could only do so if all of the other projects were addressed on the capital. 


          Ms. Angus stated the County can build a Courthouse Annex that will hold everyone today within the SPLOST budget.  She said renovation of the old Courthouse is included in the list of capital projects for consideration in designating the $7 million.  Mr. Bush stated the projects list has been amended to include the airport issue.  Ms. Angus stated the $33 million “wish list” is not part of the budget, and the Board will need to consider them at a later time.  She said the list may not include all projects the Board wants to ultimately consider.


          Commissioner Holder stated the Board needs to give staff directions today so they can prepare for the public hearing on the budget which will be held on Monday.


          Commissioner Freedman made a motion for staff to prepare the budget for the public hearing Monday, based on the appropriations provided; Commissioner Adams seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 4-0, with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Adams and Holman in favor.


          Commissioner Adams made a motion to adjourn (4:05 p.m.); Commissioner Freedman seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 4-0, with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Adams and Holman in favor.


                                                          Leland Maddox, Chairman


Susan B. Craig, County Clerk








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