Hart County Board of Commissioners

November 28th, 2000

7:00 p.m.

 

 

The Hart County Board of Commissioners met November 28th, 2000 at 7:00 p.m. in the Hart County Administrative & Emergency Services Center.

 

Chairman Joel Moore presided with Commissioners Ken Brown, Don Burdick 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 Burdick entered a motion to amend the agenda to move item b. Harry Hannah III Proclamation to the top of the agenda and approve the meeting agenda. Commissioner Brown provided a second to the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

Chairman Moore read the proclamation and presented it to Joanna Hannah.

 

Approve Minutes of Previous Meeting(s)

10/27th, 11/13th, 11/14th '00

 

Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to approve the minutes of the meetings held October 27th, November 13th and November 14th, 2000. Commissioner Brown provided a second to the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

Remarks by Invited Guests, Committees, Authorities, Etc.

None

 

Reports By Constitutional Officers & Department Heads

 

County Attorney Walter Gordon announced the Hart County Water & Sewer Utility Authority met at 5:00 p.m. today and entered into a memorandum of understanding with Enron Power. He said Enron would provide the Authority with funding to enhance water storage and future water needs for Hart County. He said the company has an option to purchase property in the unincorporated area of the county. He reported Enron would be paying for a feasibility study, which would cost approximately $52,000. He added that the impact on Lake Hartwell will be minimum and will be a benefit to the Water Authority to re-allocate water. He also stated if the company decides to locate in the county the tax digest will increase between $150 million to $200 million, sales tax to the county will be increased and the potential to build water lines in the county could be county-wide water within a ten year period.

 

Executive Director Jere Johnson remarked that he appreciated the peoples votes approving the 1% SPLOST to help fund water projects in the county. He said if Enron constructs a site in the county the Authority would derive approximately $150,000/month, which would aid the county to complete the water project in ten years. He said the project looks very good.

 

Chairman Moore remarked that the water project would also make an impact on the county fire insurance rating. He said it appears to be a win win situation. He said water will be allocated to someone so why not residents within the county.

 

Commissioner Burdick thanked Fort Oglesby and Jere Johnson for their time and effort they provide to the Water Authority.

County Administrator's Report

 

County Administrator Gary Cobb reported the following:

        County holidays 1/2 half day December 22nd, 2000

        December 25th & 26th Christmas

        Fireman's appreciation dinner December 2nd

        Employees appreciation luncheon December 22nd

 

Chairman's Report

 

Chairman Moore announced cancellation of the December 25th and December 26th meetings due to the holidays.

 

Chairman Moore reported the county auditor has not completed his report of the fiscal year ending September 30th, 2000 however, the county received an excess of $221,987 in revenues. He also reported the county had underspent expenditures by approximately $94,157.

 

Commissioners' Reports

 

Commissioner Burdick reported he and Dr. Charles Lattuada represented Hart County at the Ga. Mtns. RDC meeting. He remarked that there are various senior programs available. He suggested inviting Pat Freeman to come to a meeting to inform the commissioners of the programs that will benefit Hart County's senior citizens.

 

Commissioner Burdick also reported the Board of Health adopted local rules pertaining to public swimming pools at their recent meeting.

 

Consent Agenda

 

None

 

Old Business

 

None

 

New Business

a.                  Bids/Patrol cars

 

County Administrator Cobb reported the county received one bid for the patrol cars. The sealed bid was presented by James Short Ford and was opened for review. James Short Ford bid was $19,895 + $50 (floor mats) each for a total of $19,945.

 

Administrator Cobb reported delivery date to receive the two patrol cars will be by the end of the year. He also stated local merchants were given the opportunity to place a bid.

 

Administrator Cobb was directed to review the bid and make a recommendation to the board at their next meeting.

 

c. Hospital Authority of Royston Revenue Bonds

 

County Attorney Walter Gordon presented the Resolution authorizing the Ty Cobb Heathcare Systems Inc to issue revenue bonds not to exceed $5,000,000. He said the purpose of the bonds is to reimburse the cost of acquisition, construction and installation of miscellaneous equipment at their facilities.

 

Attorney Gordon remarked that there is no cost to Hart County and the Authority is asking the board's approval of the issuance of the bonds.

 

Commissioner Burdick entered a motion to authorize Chairman Moore to sign the request from Ty Cobb Healthcare Systems Inc. Commissioner Brown provided a second to the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

Public Comment

a.                  Blane Harris

 

Blane Harris voiced his concern for a four way stop sign that was installed on Ridge Road. He said the intersection is more dangerous than its ever been and he has never witnessed a back log of traffic in the area. He said there was not a DOT road study done before the signs were placed. He felt that the manner in which the signs were erected that the county could be held liable for accidents. He said there was no discussion between the Board of Commissioners and questioned whether a board member could authorize installing signs.

 

Mr. Harris said he did not want to make the situation a personal matter but wanted to compromise so both sides could benefit. He requested the board consider removing the stop signs and install a caution light at the intersection. He said everyone wants to be reasonably safe, follow proper procedure and that resident should have been given the opportunity to voice their concerns.

 

Commissioner Burdick responded that safety is foremost important and that the intersection is dangerous. He said there is not a county policy for installing stop signs. He reported that he talked with Hugh Tyner and Larry Dent of the DOT and was informed the DOT does not conduct traffic studies on county roads. However, he met with Keith Canup, DOT District Engineer, to discuss the intersection.

 

Commissioner Burdick said that according to a report he received from the Hart State Park officials there is an annual figure of 168,831 visitors to the park. He said there is an average of 150 vehicles per day going in and out of the park. He said you could not see over the intersection, there is a dip and curve in the road. He stated he did not try to bias the DOT Engineer he was only trying to preclude accidents. He quoted the DOT Engineer as saying "the DOT don't have a dog in this fight." He felt he was doing right to have the stop signs installed.

 

Carl Ivey thanked the board for widening Ridge Road, however he does have a problem with the most recent decision to install stop signs. He said he is qualified by the Postal Service to investigate accidents and most accidents are caused by failure to yield right of way at four way or three way stops. He said he felt there is a greater hazard and that the four way stop is the most hazardous intersection in the county.

 

Bill Rogers remarked that he felt that installing the four way stop signs created a false sense of safety for individuals traveling on Ridge Road.

 

Vernon Sauer stated the day his wife was hit by another vehicle at the intersection on Ridge Road was not related to the weather. He made a plea that the stop signs remain, adding that people are creatures of habit and everyone could get in the habit of stopping.

 

Doris Emmel said she uses Ridge Road to go to Hart State Park. She said drivers have the responsibility to pay attention, to time distances and have time for their own protection and safety.

 

Bill Morea reported he has a petition with 150 individual signatures that want the stop signs to remain at the intersection.

 

John Williamson said the stop signs are the best solution for the intersection and that everyone needs to be responsible for their driving habits.

 

Commissioner Burdick said he talked with the DOT Safety Engineer and he suggested installing rumble strips as an additional caution for the intersection.

 

Bill Leard said he did not have a problem with the four way stop but he felt the board needed to consider installing a caution light.

 

Frank Herring remarked that the intersection is the most dangerous one in the county. He said people are not paying attention to what they're doing.

 

Lynne Adams remarked that she thought proper procedure was followed to install the stop signs. But if it is posing a problem everyone needs to consider his or her neighbor. If it does pose a danger then install rumble strips or a caution light.

 

Park Ranger Jim Huggins voiced his concern that the intersection is hazardous.

 

Commissioner Oglesby asked if the board created more of a hazard by widening Ridge Road. The audience response was no. He said the board discussed Ridge Road in a planning meeting and no one recommended installing a light. He said he would be in favor of requesting the DOT to complete a traffic study.

 

Carl Ivey said he spoke with Larry Dent of the DOT and they will do a traffic study if the Board of Commissioners requests it.

 

Dr. Jonathan Merrill said that people have to come to a stop coming from the State Park and that vision was not a problem coming out of the park. He said his concern was that Ridge Road was built as an artery and there is going to be accidents.

 

Dr. Charles Lattuada said that visibility is not that great coming out of the park.

 

Ken Fetta commended the board for the improvement of widening Ridge Road. He said there needs to be a lot of awareness at the intersection and individuals needs to proceed with caution.

 

Virgil Ayers remarked that in other areas of the county where there are dangerous intersections they don't have four way stop signs. He said that if every intersection in the county had four way stop signs it would take a whole lot of signs. He said drivers have responsibility to use their own judgement.

 

Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to install more warning devices, caution lights, rumble bars or whatever is necessary at the intersection. Commissioner Burdick provided a second to the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

Commissioner Oglesby requested that Administrator Cobb establish a policy or procedure to install stop signs.

 

Chairman Moore reported he requested a four way stop sign be installed at the intersection of Speedway & St. John's CME Church Road without a traffic study. He said the board is trying to do what is in the best interest of the county. Adding that the county is responsible to post speed limit signs and doesn't have the funds to hire a traffic engineer to determine speed limits for county roads. It said "the buck stops here" and cautions everyone to adhere to safety.

 

b.                  Bruce Bates

 

Mr. Bates was not in attendance.

 

Executive Session As Required

 

 

Adjournment

 

Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Brown provided a second to the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

 

 

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Joel Moore, Chairman Lawana Kahn, County Clerk