121st Session Covering Calendar Year 2019
Minutes of the Board of Commissioners for 23 December 2019

☐ Ken Rivers, District 1, Chairman
☐ Keith Douglas, District 4 Vice Chairman
☐ Robert Henderson, District 2
☐ Joe Brown, District 3
☐ Russ Crumbley, District 5

☐ Steve Layson, County Administrator
☐ Michael Brewer, Deputy County Administrator
☐ Ben Vaughn, County Attorney
☐ Brandon Bowen, Zoning Attorney

Section 1: Special Called Session

Chairman Ken Rivers called the session to order at 8:30 AM with all five commissioners present and Commissioner Crumbley was asked to give the invocation and lead the pledge of allegiance.

Item 2019-12-237 Adoption of Docket
Commissioner Crumbley moved to take two items from the docket, item 187 and 238 which pertained to the rezoning of acreage at 16 and 75 and the approval of a development agreement. Commissioner Brown then requested to add Bill Jones to the docket as item 241 to speak about the intersection of Old Jackson Road, Windy Lane and Highway 16 west and to be added to Executive Session. Commissioner Douglas voiced objection to bringing Mr. Jones into Executive Session. Chairman Rivers then stated that the Board could combine Items 187 and 238 into one. He then called for a vote on the approval of the docket as amended. Mr. Rivers, Mr. Henderson and Mr. Brown voted in approval of the amended docket with Mr. Douglas and Mr. Crumbley in dissent. The docket that was approved is deemed to be an approval of the amended docket in total, with the items Mr. Crumbley requested be removed excluded; however, the intention of the Board was that the docket be approved with the additions included and without the deletions voiced by Mr. Crumbley; therefore, the docket was acted upon with additions.

Item 2019-10-187 Rezoning 1422 Acres Highway 16 & Development Agreement
Chairman Rivers opened by stating that the Development Agreement had been fluid and that all commissioners have been able to have input. He then called for discussion.

Zoning Attorney Brandon Bowen then gave an overview of the zoning and changes, noting that there had been numerous drafts that had gone back and forth between the developer’s attorney, Andy Welch, and Mr. Bowen, with Bowen receiving what was determined to be a final draft on Friday, December 20th and he had responded with a few changes, including ensuring that 200 acres of green space would be included in the Butts County portion of the development. Provision for fueling stations in the development would only be for personal vehicles, with a limitation of diesel pumps to no greater than 2; he also struck conflicting provisions regarding tilt slab constructed buildings and metal buildings. Representatives of the developer were present and stated for the record that they were in agreement with the changes.

Mr. Crumbley stated for the record “As counsel already alluded to, we got the final draft agreement at 6:22 on Friday afternoon. Folks, this is a billion-dollar decision we’re fixing to make, and we just got the final draft. I know we’ve been dealing with it for a while, but I as a commissioner, of course, I’m going to oppose it. I think it would be unwise of this board to act on a billion-dollar decision from Friday afternoon at 6:22 until today. I just think this thing needs more work…that’s just my opinion and I’ll reserve my further comments until after we’ve had a motion and a second on the agreement”.

Mr. Brown stated “I know that there has been a lot of work on this, and I know that we’ve met on this at least three times and all the commissioners have put their input into it. I know that over the last four weeks our Chairman has taken the bull by the horns and represented us as to what we felt like we wanted, and this has gone back and forth, and that you represented us during all of these talks between the two attorneys and the people involved, and I want to thank you for representing us in doing that, instead of us having to do that. We told you what we wanted and I think you delivered on what we asked you to”.

With no further discussion at this point, the Chairman called for a vote. Mr. Brown moved that the rezoning and development agreement be approved, seconded by Mr. Henderson. Mr. Bowen then stated that he had an ordinance written that would grant the rezoning application, subject to the condition that the development agreement begin and that any development must be consistent with that. Mr. Crumbley then spoke under discussion.

“Folks, we’ve been waiting sixty years for something to happen at the interstate on this side; now we’re going to adopt a bad plan, in my opinion. For me, no plan is better than a bad plan, and this is a bad plan in my opinion. Are we going to take the first thing that comes along and ruin a great piece of real estate with warehouses, just like Henry County has done up the road? I want to quote Commissioner Bruce Holmes from Henry County. He said, from an article in the newspaper not too long ago, that ‘We cannot generate enough revenue from the logistics industry to keep up with the damage that semi-trucks are doing to our roads. We have to attract other types of businesses to improve what we collect in our commercial tax base’. I agree with that statement Commissioner Holmes made. There’s a better plan folks. We just need to be patient for the right plan, but not this plan. This development agreement and rezoning, it might look good but it doesn’t pass the taste test to me. I just think that we’re making a bad decision here by approving this plan, and I just want to echo what somebody else has said, that ‘We must look at mistakes and successes other communities have experienced and make smart decisions for Butts County’. To me, this is not a smart decision, and if I could name this development agreement, I would call it “They’re getting the gold mine and we’re getting the shaft”.

He continued, adding “I believe our zoning board made the right decision a couple of months ago when they took action on this rezoning request. It was denied by a three to one vote, and their Chairman, who did vote in favor of the rezoning, made the comment that he was for the commercial area but not the warehouses, so I think the zoning board made the right decision then and I still think so today”.

With no further discussion, the board voted 4-1 to approve the rezoning and development as consolidated in the ordinance, with Mr. Crumbley voting in dissent.

Item 2019-12-238 Resolution CR201933 Fixing Year-End Appointments to Boards
Mr. Brewer introduced CR201933 for consideration, a resolution to fix appointments and reappointments to boards and authorities. It specifically named Zach Burden to fill the remainder of terms held by Bryan Bush on the Development Authority and Industrial Development Authority. It also reappointed Chief Mike Wilson and Assistant Chief Randy Prince to the West Georgia EMS Council for Calendar Year 2020. Mr. Brown moved to approve, seconded by Mr. Henderson with unanimous consent.

Item 2019-12-239 Approval of the 2020 LMIG Application to DOT for 2020
Mr. Henderson moved to approve the application, seconded by Mr. Crumbley with unanimous consent.

Item 2019-12-240 Bill Jones on Intersection of Windy Lane, Jackson Road and 16 West
Mr. Jones addressed the board on issues regarding the activating of the traffic signal that has been installed at this intersection, which DOT is not activating until some changes are made to the design project the County and State have funded to improve that intersection. Mr. Jones has concerns about the danger being posed by the lack of signalization currently at that interchange. He also brought up the work that his company had done to improve Midway Road and Windy Lane for truck, all total for about $190k which his company has paid for. Mr. Rivers outlined where the County was in trying to see if DOT will provide any further assistance before the County moves forward with spending local dollars on the state highway.

Mr. Brown brought up that Liberty Development was also party to the improvement agreement to Midway and Windy Lane, with the County agreeable to reimbursement from future impact fees from their development of that area. Further discussion ensued.

Section 2: Concluding Business

Item 2019-12-241 Executive Session for Personnel and Real Estate
Mr. Henderson moved to go into Executive Session for Personnel and Real Estate, seconded by Mr. Crumbley with unanimous consent. Mr. Brown later motioned to reconvene, seconded by Mr. Douglas with unanimous consent.

Item 2019-12-242 Attorney Summary of Executive Session
Mr. Vaughn stated that the Board discussed a real estate matter with Mr. Bill Jones and that they also discussed a personnel matter pertaining to the Elections Director.

Item 2019-12-242 Adjournment of the 121st Session of the Board of Commissioners
Mr. Douglas moved to adjourn the 121st Session of the Board of Commissioners, December 23rd Special Called Session sine die, seconded by Mr. meeting, seconded by Mr. Brown with unanimous consent. The Commission stands in recess until the convening of the 122nd session on January 13, 2020 unless the need to recall into session presents itself.

Ratified this 13th Day of January, 2020

Ken Rivers
On behalf of the Board of Commissioners
Chairman of the Board


I do hereby attest by my signature and seal below that the aforementioned minutes of the Butts County Board of Commissioners are an accurate representation of the official actions undertaken by the Board during the open meeting designated for the date and times stated herein. I also do swear and affirm that the Commissioners did enter upon an Executive Session for the purposes of discussing a real estate matter and a personnel matter, meeting the requisite conditions for going into closed session as allowed under Georgia law.

J. Michael Brewer, Deputy County Administrator
as Clerk of Butts County