Hart County Board of Commissioners

August 8th, 2000

5:30 p.m.


The Hart County Board of Commissioners met August 8th, 2000 at 5:30 p.m. in the Hart County Administrative & Emergency Services Center.


Chairman Joel Moore presided with Commissioners Ken Brown, Don Burdick, Harry Hannah and R. C. Oglesby in attendance.


Call to Order, Welcome, Moment of Silence


Chairman Moore called the meeting to order, welcomed those in attendance and called for a moment of silence.


Approve Agenda


Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to approve the meeting agenda. Commissioner Hannah provided a second to the motion. The motion carried unanimously. The agenda is recorded in the "2000-2001" minutes book.


Approve Minutes of Previous Meeting(s)

07/24th, 07/25th, 2000


Commissioner Burdick entered a motion to approve the minutes of the meetings held July 24th and July 25th, 2000. Commissioner Brown provided a second to the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


Remarks by Invited Guests, Committees, Authorities, Etc.



Reports By Constitutional Officers & Department Heads

a.                  Greg Oglesby/Short term work program - Comprehensive Plan


County Administrator Gary Cobb introduced Greg Oglesby to explain the Short-term work program.


Mr. Oglesby explained under the Georgia Planning Act, each local government is required to maintain its status as a Qualified Local Government. Reporting, this is done by preparing and adopting an approved comprehensive plan and then keeping the plan current through five-year updates.


Mr. Oglesby reported the Short-term work program accomplishments for the previous five-year period. He also reported the work program goals for the period of 2000-2004. A copy of the report is recorded in the "2000-2001" minutes book.


County Administrator Gary Cobb announced a public hearing would be held to adopt the Short-term work program August 22nd, 2000.


Commissioner Burdick suggested Mr. Oglesby review the Chamber of Commerce's work program.


Chairman Moore thanked Mr. Oglesby for his report.


County Attorney Walter Gordon reported the City of Bowersville has executed the Hart County Water & Sewer Utility Authority's Intergovernmental agreement. He reported the Water & Sewer Utility Authority is still negotiating with the City of Lavonia. He also reported an agreement was tendered to City of Hartwell officials to extend the short-term agreement to five-year term. He said the Mayor did not warmly embrace the proposal, however, the Authority asked for a response from the City within two weeks.


County Administrator's Report


County Administrator Gary Cobb reported the FY'01 budget schedule has been set to meet with the Department Heads & Constitutional Officers beginning August 14th and 15th. He announced the digest numbers would be available Wednesday August 9th, 2000.


Mr. Cobb also announced the individual that was offered the Fire Training Officer's position received a better offer from his present employer. Therefore, the position has been offered to the second individual on the list, which is to respond by August 10th, 2000.


Chairman's Reports


Chairman Moore reported the E911 Ad Hoc Committee would meet August 10th, 2000 at 9:00 a.m. in the administrative building.


Commissioners' Reports



Consent Agenda

a.                  Wooden Bridge Grant Amendment

b.                  Reimbursement of Bowersville Right-of-way clearing expense

c.                  Master Planning & Recreation Design Services


Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Hannah provided a second to the motion. The motion carried unanimously. The Consent Agenda is recorded in the "2000-2001" minutes book.


Old Business



New Business

a.                  Bids/Ridge Rd., Kings Bench, Memorial Bridge Road


The following sealed bids were received for widening Ridge Road base and paving Kings Bench and sub base, base and paving Memorial Bridge Road:


        GA Highway Pavers $522,103.29

        Sloan Construction $589,607.78

        ER Snell $555,479.90


Commissioner Hannah entered a motion to direct the County Administrator and Public Works Director to examine and analyze the bids and make their recommendation to the Board. Commissioner Brown provided a second to the motion. The motion carried unanimously. The recommendation will be presented to the Board Monday August 14th, 2000.


Public Comment

a.                  Kevin Heaton/Video arcades


Mr. Heaton stated that Sardis community does not have a problem with the video arcades that it is a problem for Hart County. He introduced South Carolina Senator Mike Fair to speak.


Senator Fair remarked that Hart County would not have a greater problem than video poker. He said there would be cash payoffs involved in the video poker industry. He called video poker the crack cocaine of gambling.


Senator Fair advised everyone to contact Georgia General Assembly to do everything in their power to ban the video poker machines.


Chairman Moore asked if Senator Fair is currently serving in South Caroline and what district he is serving. Senator Fair responded that he is representing District 6/Greenville County.


Commissioner Burdick remarked that the State Legislators reduced the penalty for cash payoffs to a misdemeanor.


Senator Fair stressed that individuals should lobby the State Legislators. He wished the county well and God speed to ban the machines.


b.                  Dr. Hugh Kirby/Video arcades


Dr. Kirby remarked that it is never too late to do the right thing. Adding that people have got to determine that we don't want video poker. He said since his home state of South Carolina can ban the machines he couldn't believe we couldn't. He encouraged the board to find a way to eliminate the kinds of things that are happening on Highway 29.


Kevin Heaton said that he has not found one positive thing about video poker. He added that Hart County would end up being a case study for economic, social and moral problems. He said he is concerned about Hart County.


c.                  Arch Adams/Video arcades


Arch Adams thanked the board for their service to Hart County. He reported on data he has gotten pertaining to the areas where video poker is or was. He said in all the areas the crime rate increased and for every job video poker adds, it takes away three. He named example after example of people who became addicted to the games. He added this is an emergency situation and action needs to be taken as soon as possible. He thanked the board for considering the issue.


Local Attorney Eugene Harper said it would take an effort from the local officials to encourage State Legislators to get involved. He urged the board to take some action to limit or regulate video arcades. He also complained about the traffic problems in the Sardis community.


Chairman Moore asked Mr. Harper since he is an attorney what the county could legally do. Attorney Harper responded that a general business license to limit or regulate poker machines. He also added that the State Legislators usurped local powers to apply regulatory fees to video poker machines.


Chairman Moore said video poker opens the floodgate to undesirable activities. He suggested license all businesses in the county.


Ben Fant encouraged the commissioners to do whatever can legally be done to protect the citizens of Hart County. He said he would be praying for them as they make a decision.


John Lewis also spoke in favor or an ordinance and offered to pray for the commissioners.


Kevin Heaton wanted to know what the commissioners are going to do and when do they plan to do something.


Commissioner Burdick entered a motion to schedule a time and place for the sole purpose of taking evidence relating to the impact of video poker on lives and families. He added that based on the evidence obtained at the meeting the commissioners would immediately proceed to adopt an ordinance. Chairman Moore provided a second to the motion. Motion was then open for discussion.


County Attorney Walter Gordon said he was very moved by presentations and that it is very obvious that the commissioners should take action to insure the quality of life in the county. He remarked that the failed zoning ordinance, that the self anointed Take Back Georgia takes credit for, would have kept Sardis community zoned residential. He said if zoning had not failed we would not be here talking about the video poker issue.


Mr. Gordon explained the county could require owners of video poker machines to register the machines. He said there are certain requirements, which are not only necessary but could legally stand. Accordingly the temporary ordinance will regulate the location of machines and place limits on the number of machines a business establishment can have.


Mr. Gordon stated the county can not charge a fee for the video arcades therefore, the cost to enforce the ordinance will be born by the taxpayers. He suggested the commissioners accept the draft ordinance for the first reading. Adding it is imperative to gather further evidence at the hearing scheduled August 14th.


Commissioner Burdick also stated they need people to provide supportive evidence against video poker.


Chairman Moore said the board is following the Roberts Rule of Order and further discussion will be among the commissioners.


Commissioner Burdick said he appreciated the demeanor of the group. He reminded everyone that video arcades are already in the county, naming The Stor, Silver Dollar and Dad's II.

Commissioner Burdick remarked that he was in favor of adopting an ordinance as soon as possible and amended his motion to accept the ordinance presented by Mr. Gordon for a first reading of today.


Commissioner Oglesby stated he agreed to go ahead and act on a temporary ordinance. He remarked that he is still against a zoning ordinance and he wants people to understand what the ordinance is about. He said he is definitely against video arcades.


Commissioners Hannah and Burdick stated they believe zoning will stand to benefit everyone in the county. Commissioner Burdick asked for support from the people who approve zoning rather than against naming Troy Worthey as opposing zoning.


Commissioner Brown remarked that he is against video arcades and is ready to act on an ordinance.


Chairman Moore stated he is ready for battle and is willing to go forth in approving an ordinance. He said the road ahead will not be easy and they will have to face the legal challenge. He added that the county would have to use enforcement capability diligently.


Chairman Moore added that the video arcade ordinance will be an interim measure and they will pursue an occupational business license ordinance.


Chairman Moore called for a vote on the motion. The motion carried unanimously to accept the ordinance presented by Attorney Gordon as a first reading and proceed with a video arcade hearing as rapidly as possible.


Troy Worthey stated he did not appreciate being singled out by Commissioner Burdick as being opposed to zoning. He also reported he has witnessed a crime being committed and the District Attorney or Sheriff would not investigate it. He said he presented the evidence to the GBI.


Rev. Hulon Bryant asked if the ordinance would affect businesses already established in the county. County Attorney Gordon responded that no one could anticipate what the court system would do, however, the ordinance should apply to establishments.


Joyce Sanford requested that everyone should be in earnest prayer over the matter.


Commissioner Burdick entered a motion to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Hannah provided a second to the motion. The motion carried unanimously.




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Joel Moore, Chairman Lawana Kahn, County Clerk