A regular meeting of the Butts County Board of Commissioners was called to order at 6:00 PM, Monday on January 5, 2015 in the C. Wayne King Auditorium, Jackson, Georgia by Chairman Roger McDaniel. Commissioners present at this time were McDaniel, Henderson, Hodges, Douglas, and Brown. Vice Chairman Henderson led the invocation.
Roger D. McDaniel, Chairman
Robert L. Henderson, Sr., Vice-Chairman
G.S. “Gator” Hodges, Commissioner
Keith Douglas, Commissioner
Joe Brown, Commissioner
Michael Brewer, County Administrator
Crystal Griggs-Epps, County Clerk
Michael O’Quinn, County Attorney
The Workshop was called to order by Chairman McDaniel at 5:05PM. The purpose of the workshop was to have a legislative discussion with the County’s legislators. Chairman McDaniel started the workshop by asking the legislators how to go about securing appointments to State boards. Representative Holmes stated if someone is interested in being appointed to a particular Board to let her or the others know as they will write a letter or make a phone call which has proven to be successful in the past.
Senator Jones advised there are a lot of proposals for transportation this year and that a gas tax has been mentioned. Some have suggested that it will be easier to take the fourth penny and put back in transportation. Gas taxes are the life line for some small communities and would make a 67% impact on Butts County. Representative Holmes asked are people willing to be taxed for better roads.
Chairman McDaniel asked what is the possibility of TSPLOST coming back. Representative Holmes advised that the previous TSPLOST was very poor planned and do not think that it will be proposed again because it was very hard to understand. Senator Jones stated it will be an ongoing conversation and doesn’t know how it will play out. Representative Welch added that there are discussions about possibly amending the penalties and provisions associated with TSPLOSTS and how projects are selected.
Chairman McDaniel invited all legislators to the upcoming Transportation Board meeting scheduled for January 22nd at 6:00PM. The Chairman then opened the floor up to the other Commissioners to bring up their concerns. Vice Chairman Henderson stated that the over growth is awful on Hwy 42S and can we get some help to get this cut down. Senator Jones said he will get this added on the agenda for DOT. The Senator also mentioned the constant wrecks at the intersection of Higgins Road and Hwy 16 and wanted to know if the County had any architectural drawings yet. Chairman McDaniel advised that there are no drawings yet; however, a smaller roundabout has been talked about for the Engle Chapel Road area. Senator Jones mentioned having a traffic count done to possibly warrant the installation of a red light. Representative Welch informed all that a study had been done and the results did not warrant a light.
Commissioner Hodges advised that his main concern is right-a-way maintenance. The County is getting torn up in “Hello Butts County” about not taking care of the right-a-way. The overgrown grass does not make us look good and it would be helpful to have DOT enforcement show up. Transportation has got to grow and be a priority at State level.
Commissioner Douglas wanted to know the status of Shiloh Road and Hwy 16 because there were talks of placing a roundabout in this area. The Sheriff is now placing a deputy out there to help direct traffic. The Commissioner also touched on the right-a-way maintenance by stating that the prison system used to have a detail and do not know if Butts county has been dropped out of it. Senator Jones stated that he had talked to Sheriff Long about potentially providing oversight for prisoner trash pickup. Commissioner Douglas advised that there is a lot of legal work that goes along with obtaining prisoners to do the work. Senator Jones stated he will follow up with Sheriff Long. Vice Chairman Henderson added that the appointee to the Department of Corrections will need to see what is available for us.
Senator Jones suggested that the Board prioritize their safety issues and maintenance projects and email the list to him and the other legislators. Representative Holmes added that DOT loves for the Community to put in money or in-kind. Chairman McDaniel advised that the Board had already identified priorities on the TSPLOST list and would go back and revisit the list to make updates.
Commissioner Brown asked is consolidation good or bad and how would this be implemented? Senator Jones advised that there would need to be a none binding election either the voter is against or for it. Other local governments have contacted the Carl Vinson Institute for assistance. Also, Commissioner Brown asked about the cut through of 1000 feet on Hwy 16 and 75; if coming from Jackson toward Griffin you might as well drive on to Griffin than turning around to get to the other side. Senator Jones advised that GDOT have proposals and conceptual drawings; hoping to get all the property owners to come out. Lastly, Commissioner Brown asked about the sale of liquor in the County. Senator Jones advised that state law requires 35% of registered voters to sign a petition to put forth to the Board and that he has proposed a bill to perhaps eliminate the 35% requirement. However, it will still need to come before the elected body.
Laura Hale of the IDA told everyone about the GEDA luncheon coming up on January 27th at 11:30AM in the Empire room. Senator Jones reminded everyone of the 2nd Annual Butts County day at the Capitol which would be on February 11th with lunch catered at the Twin Towers. Representative Holmes advised everyone to please stay in touch her and the other legislators as it is their jobs to help the County.
Approval of Docket
Item 2015-01-001 Commissioner Henderson made a motion to approve the agenda, Commissioner Hodges seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Item 2015-01-002 Commissioner Hodges made a motion to nominate Commissioner McDaniel as Chairman for 2015, Commissioner Henderson seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Item 2015-01-003 Commissioner Douglas made a motion to nominate Commissioner Henderson as Vice Chairman for 2015, Commissioner Hodges seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Item 2015-01-004 Vice Chairman Henderson made a motion to reappoint Crystal Epps as County Clerk for 2015, Commissioner Hodges seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Item 2015-01-005 Commissioner Douglas made a motion to extend the contract of the County Attorney until the regular commission meeting in March, Commissioner Hodges seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Item 2015-01-006 Commissioner Douglas made a motion to extend the contract of the County Administrator until the regular commission meeting in March, Commissioner Hodges seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Item 2015-01-007 Michael Brewer addressed the appointment to the Development Authority and the Industrial Development Authority. He advised that Bruce Bartholomew and Danny Edmonds were both interested in being reappointed to the Development Authority. Commissioner Hodges made a motion to reappoint Danny Edmonds to the Development Authority, Commissioner Douglas seconded for discussion to ask were these positions publicized? Mr. Brewer stated both positions were mentioned in the previous Commission meetings. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Commissioner Hodges made a motion to table Bruce Bartholomew seat for 30 days to see if someone else would be interested in the position, Commissioner Douglas seconded for discussion to state that these positions should be put out for proper advertisement to give others an opportunity to be considered. Commissioner Hodges stated that he would like to see new fresh ideas from members in the community. Commissioner Brown advised that Mr. Bartholomew “brings a lot to the dance” and has a lot of knowledge especially on the financial end. Vote 0-5, motion was opposed unanimously. Commissioner Brown made a motion to reappoint Mr. Bartholomew, Commissioner Douglas seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Commissioner Hodges made a motion to appoint Alicia Washington to the unexpired terms of Commissioner Brown on the Development Authority and Industrial Development Authority, Commissioner Brown seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Item 2015-01-008 Commissioner Douglas made a motion to approve the minutes from December 8, 2014 and Commissioner Hodges seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Item 2015-01-009 Doug Manning addressed the Board concerning the Animal Control SOP Manual. Mr. Manning stated that the manual includes updated policies and procedures for the Animal Control Department and he assured Chairman McDaniel there wasn’t anything in the revisions that would increase the department’s budget line. Commissioner Henderson made a motion to approve, Commissioner Douglas seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Item 2015-01-010 Mr. Manning addressed the Animal Control Ordinance item stating that the ordinance had not been revised in about six years and with the help of Mary Cobbs, he had revised it and is now bringing before the Board for approval. Commissioner Douglas made a motion to approve the first reading, Commissioner Henderson seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Item 2015-01-011 Chairman McDaniel presented the Condemnation of Property – Lewis Road item, stating that several years ago a property owner requested to close Lewis Road and in the process of doing so, did not include the Lewis family in the notifications for the Public Hearing and ultimately the road was closed creating a hardship for the Lewis family. The past County Administrator was directed to seek right-a-way of 60’ to reopen Lewis Road as a County Road, but that never took place. Chairman McDaniel made a motion to begin the process of declaration of taking contingent upon the receipt of survey of the property for appraisal, Commissioner Brown seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Item 2015-01-012 No Public Comments
Item 2015-01-013 Commissioner Douglas made a motion to go in executive session, Vice Chairman Henderson seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.
Item 2015-01-014 Commissioner Douglas made a motion to reconvene back in to the regular meeting, Commissioner Hodges seconded; Vote 5-0. Attorney O’Quinn stated that real estate was discussed during the session.
Item 2015-01-015 Commissioner Brown made a motion to adjourn, Commissioner Hodges seconded. Vote 5-0, motion carried unanimously.