The Hart County Board of Commissioners met February 25th, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. in the Hart County Administrative & Emergency Services Center.
Chairman Randy Banister presided with Commissioners R. C. Oglesby, Dan Reyen, Ricky Carter and Joey Dorsey in attendance.
1. Call To Order
Chairman Banister called the meeting to order.
Chairman Banister welcomed those in attendance.
Chairman Banister opened with prayer.
4. Pledge of Allegiance
Everyone stood in observance of the Pledge of Allegiance.
5. Approve Agenda
Commissioner Dorsey entered a motion to amend and approve the agenda as follows:
c. Credit for Prior Year - Maintenance Department
d. Jail Improvements
Commissioner Carter provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
6. Approve Minutes of Previous Meeting(s)
2/11/03, 2/12/03 and 2/18/03
Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to approve the minutes of the meetings of February 11th, 12th, and 18th, 2003. The Clerk is to review the minutes of the 18th to include a statement that Commissioner Carter made about homeowner's rights. Commissioner Reyen provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
7. Remarks by Invited Guests, Committees, Authorities, Etc.
8. Reports By Constitutional Officers & Department Heads
County Attorney Walter Gordon did not have anything to report.
9. County Administrator's Reports
County Administrator Gary Cobb did not have anything to report.
10. Chairman's Report
Chairman Banister did not have anything to report.
11. Commissioners' Reports
Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to assist the Shoal Creek Fire Department with grading for a new building and consider refunding the fire station $21,000 in the next fiscal year budgeting process. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Commissioner Oglesby announced that the Hart County Board of Education has adopted 4-1 the redistricting map Plan #3.
Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to adopt Plan #3 and move forward. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion.
Commissioner Dorsey remarked that Representative Powell stated at the Eggs & Issues Breakfast that he would not introduce two separate maps one for the Board of Education and one for the Board of Commissioners to the Reapportionment Committee.
Commissioner Reyen remarked that he has serious issues with Plan #3 in that there are three major changes in District #2 and for that reason he is opposed to it. He said he has been presented with a signed petition dated February 17th, 2003 by every resident in Hillandale Subdivision requesting that they remain in District #2. He remarked that he did not solicite the individuals in Hillandale.
Commissioner Oglesby remarked that the School Board did not have any problems with the map.
Commissioner Reyen remarked that the purpose of redistricting is to achieve parity between the districts. He said Plan #4 & #5 achieved much greater equity between each district than Plan #3.
Commissioner Dorsey remarked that Plan #4 & #5 had major geographical changes in the Bowersville area. Commissioner Reyen added Plan #3 has the same thing.
Commissioner Dorsey remarked that he has talked with City Manager Phil Hertz concerning the City's status on the 2000 census appeal. He said if their population is increased Plan #4 & #5 will be obsolete. Adding that if the City's population increased by 300-400 that Plan #3 would accommodate the increase.
Commissioner Reyen added that Commissioner Dorsey was dealing with speculation as the effect of the census results if they are approved. If there were an additional 800 people (400 each way), the current districting plan would suffice.
Commissioner Dorsey encouraged each member of the Board to contact the City officials and discuss the issue.
Chairman Banister reported that he has talked with the County Administrator and County Attorney and he can't make a decision on information that's not there.
Commissioner Dorsey remarked that Plan #3 meets the criteria of the Reapportionment Committee and would still have to be approved by the Justice Department.
Commissioner Reyen remarked that you can do a job and do it well or you can do a job and do it good enough. He said Plan #3 is good enough, but it is not acceptable for all possible locations.
Chairman Banister stated that he has asked for everyone to compromise and work together and approve a plan that would be good for Hart County.
Commissioner Oglesby voiced his opinion that he thought the City of Bowersville should not be divided by two commissioners. Adding that we already have two commissioners splitting up the City of Hartwell.
Commissioner Reyen responded that Plan #5 meets those criteria. Plan #4 also fits the criteria, the City of Bowersville stays in Mr. Carter’s district. Adding that in Plan #3, District # 1 is identical. Commissioner Oglesby responded that maybe he needed to go to Atlanta.
Commissioner Dorsey stated again that the Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners need to have the same map. Reminding the members that the Board of Education approved Plan #3.
Chairman Banister stated that last year he told Commissioner Dorsey that he would work with everyone. He said that this Board either needed to formally adopt or request Plan #3. Then we can go back to the drawing board.
Chairman Banister stated that one member of the Board of Education did not vote for Plan #3. Therefore, what the Board of Education does has no factor in what the Commissioners do. Adding that we want to work with them.
County resident Tommy Warren said he has already reviewed the maps and asked if anyone in attendance would like to see them. He thought it might help for everyone to understand what’s going on.
County Administrator Cobb invited anyone that wanted to review the maps that they are on the conference room wall.
Jerry Linne’ asked if both Boards could set down together and work something out.
Commissioner Carter remarked that Plan #3 takes a lot out of District #2 and takes so much out of District #4 in the northern end of the county, that he must go back to the southern end to pick up the difference.
Commissioner Oglesby said it was going to be that way around in all of them. He asked Attorney Gordon and Administrator Cobb which of the maps met the criteria discussed. Attorney Gordon and Administrator Cobb responded that all three.
Chairman Banister called for a vote. The motion failed 2 (Commissioners Oglesby and Dorsey), 3 (Chairman Banister, Commissioners Reyen and Carter).
Commissioner Oglesby asked Public Works Director Jon Caime to explain the situation on Cline Drive.
Public Works Director Caime explained that the road slopes into Highway 77 and the there is not an apron on the road. He said the cost to tar and gravel the entire road length is $1,700.
Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to tar and gravel Cline Drive. Commissioner Carter provided a second to the motion.
Jay Earle questioned if $1,700 was material costs only. Public Works Director Caime explained that $1,700 is material costs that would be funded through the 1%SPLOST II funds and labor costs are through the General Fund.
Chairman Banister called for the vote. The motion carried 3-1. Commissioner Dorsey stated that the reason he voted against the motion was because the county does not have the right-of-way on the road. Commissioner Reyen abstained from voting, stating that he did not have the proper information to make a decision.
Commissioner Oglesby reported that last year the Board approved to furnish labor to the City of Hartwell to pave Poplar St, Harry Hannah Dr and Hattie Brown. He stated he did not want to see the project dropped. He requested that the Public Works Director get with the City and put the project on the Road Department’s schedule.
Commissioner Carter reported that there is a problem on Junction 77 Road with a cross drain. He said there is brick and concrete at Hartwell Elementary School that has to be hauled off. He suggested that the debris from the renovation of Hartwell Elementary could be used as a fill in the hole. He said the county would not have to purchase stone to fill in the hole.
Public Works Director Caime said if the material is suitable to be used that it would save money. However, there could be some environmental issues. He said the relocation of the materials could take a lot of effort.
Commissioner Dorsey reported that we had a full time employee that recently went to a part time status and as a result of the move; the person was paid comp time, sick and personal leave. He said last year that a full time employee requested to be changed to a part time status and had to quit in order to be paid their leave time.
Administrator Cobb explained that the person last year had "banked" time on the books. He said the county has a policy not to pay banked time until their employment is terminated. He explained that it made sense to pay the vacation and sick leave to the recent person in order to not create a problem with a part time person taking leave, while other part time employees do not have leave benefits.
Commissioner Oglesby stated there are serious problems paying a clerical position $16+ an hour, when some full time employees are paid much less. He further stated that he does not have a problem with the individual that the issue is the pay.
Commissioner Reyen asked if the individual’s sole responsibility was to do administrative secretarial work. Administrator Cobb responded that he distributed a revised job description that included training and keeping up with records in the Fire Department. He said there isn’t as much training responsibilities involved as there used to be. He said after he distributed the job description he only received one comment from the Board.
Commissioner Oglesby asked why we need a part time training officer. He said he had a problem with paying a part time clerical worker to do paperwork $16+ an hour. Adding that the county has another part time employee that could take over the clerical responsibilities and make her position full time. Therefore, the part time training officer's position could be cut out.
Administrator Cobb reported that he discussed the matter with the employee; then the employee and Billy Ray Vickery and finally the employee, Billy Ray Vickery and the Chairman and there was no objection raised by the Fire Chief to change the position to part time.
Chairman Banister stated that we have to rely on the Fire Department's Chief Vickery position on the matter because they know what they need. He reported that the Fire Training officer helped to get the fire rating reduced for the county.
Chief Billy Ray Vickery remarked that he agreed for the position to change to a part time status. She is knowledgeable about all the paperwork that is involved in the Fire Department and it would be hard to replace her. Commissioner Oglesby asked about the current salary. Chief Vickery responded that he has nothing to do with her rate of pay.
Commissioner Oglesby asked whom the person answers to. Chief Vickery responded that she answered to Administrator prior to becoming part time. However, she will be working under his supervision as of the change.
Chairman Banister asked if the person could be replaced with less money and get the job done. Billy Ray responded that it would be hard to replace her with the knowledge that she has.
Administrator Cobb asked if the Board is talking about firing this employee. He said that she is doing more than clerical work. He agreed to downgrade the position to part time at the employee's request. He said this person is doing more than clerical work according to the job description. Commissioner Oglesby responded that anything could be put on paper.
Commissioner Oglesby said that the pay for the individual should be cut, we can get a $9 an hour person to do paperwork. He brought up the fact that the county hired a high school student last year to do clerical work. Administrator Cobb responded that the student was a highly skilled individual and we were very fortunate to have had him.
Commissioner Oglesby objected to the pay. He added that all the full time clerical positions in the Clerk of Court, Magistrate and Probate Court don't make $16+.
Mr. Howard asked if there are other part time employee's positions that could be used in comparison with this position. Administrator Cobb responded that the county does not have anyone else in comparison with the position. He added that the Training Officer position and the Administrative Assistant require highly qualified individuals.
Mrs. Howard asked if there are part time deputies and how much their pay is. Administrator Cobb responded that part time deputies starting pay is $11+ per hour.
Mr. Warren stated that $16+ per hour could be misleading, in that part time employees do not have any county benefits.
Commissioner Carter said he has been in the Fire Department for twenty-six years and recently the ISO fire rating has been reduced. He said he was not giving the individual all the credit, however, she played a very important role in obtaining the lower rating.
Commissioner Oglesby stated again that he is against the salary for the individual, not the position or the individual.
Commissioner Dorsey brought up the fact that the Sheriff has requested six Southern Link telephone devices at a cost of $204 per month to be used for drug raids. After discussing the matter. Commissioner Dorsey entered a motion to fund the items from the contingency funds for the remainder of the fiscal year. Commissioner Oglesby provided a second to the motion.
Commissioner Carter entered a motion to table the matter. Commissioner Reyen provided a second to the motion.
Mrs. Warren said she has worked in dispatching before and the county needs to take measures to protect the officers lives. She added that a walkie-talkie device keeps calls from going out such that scanners can listen.
Chairman Banister called for a vote. The vote was 3-2 to table the matter. Commissioners Oglesby and Dorsey opposed.
Commissioner Dorsey reported that he has gotten complaints from taxpayers that go to the Road Department and a secretary is not there to assist them. He also reported that the position was abolished after the previous secretary left due to health reason. He entered a motion to discuss the position at a work session. Commissioner Oglesby provided a second to the motion.
Public Works Director Caime said he understood Commissioner Dorsey's concern. However, they have centralized a lot of the clerical work to the Public Works office. He commended Laurie Adams for doing a superb job since she has taken over the added responsibilities of the Road Department Secretary. Adding that it is saving the taxpayers money.
Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to remove his second from the table.
13. Old Business
a. Board/Authority Appointments
Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to re-appoint Larry Haley to serve on the Hart County Water & Sewer Authority. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Commissioner Dorsey entered a motion to re-appoint R. C. Oglesby to serve on the Hart County Water & Sewer Authority. Commissioner Carter provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 4-0. Commissioner Oglesby abstained.
b. Pipe Policy
The County Administrator and Public Works Director presented the pipe policy to the Board for their consideration last month. Both individuals addressed questions concerning the policy.
Public Works Director Caime remarked that since the county does not have a written pipe policy that, the policy in review would be a start and that there would be amendments from time to time.
After discussing the matter at length, no action was taken on the matter.
c. Road Adoption Policy
The Road Adoption Policy was presented to the Board for their review and comments. After discussing the matter at length, no action was taken on the matter.
14. New Business
a. Recreation Park Plan
County Administrator Cobb presented a breakdown on the cost for the new Recreation Park Plan. After discussing the matter, Public Works Director Caime suggested the matter be discussed in a called work session.
No action was taken on the matter.
b. Literacy Center Lower Level Use Policy
After discussing the proposal, no action was taken on the matter.
c. Credit for Prior Service - Maintenance Department
Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to allow the individual six years prior service for the mechanic position. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
d. Jail Improvements
Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to approve the purchase of materials to improve the cell area from contingency funds in the amount of $3,500. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
15. Public Comment
Charlene Lee stated that her father and she developed a subdivision known as Freedom Heights in 1999 and she was under the impression that the road was accepted into the county road system. Mrs. Lee asked the Board to reapprove the road. She reported that she received a letter from the Public Works Director Jon Caime informing her that there was work to be done on the road before the county would accept it into the county road system. She also stated that the road bond had been released, which therefore led her to believe that the county had accepted the road.
Former Public Works Director Rick Haney reported that there was engineering plans submitted for Freedom Heights Road and the road/plans was approved. He reported that he inspected the road and addressed some concerns that he had. Adding that the road bond would cover expenses incurred if the road did not meet county standards. He said he understood that the county released the bond and that one of the problems that existed was waived.
County Attorney Walter Gordon stated that the right-of-way deed fell through the cracks. He reported that the developer did everything that was required to comply with the county land development ordinance in 1999-2000. He said his records reflect that the Board approved the plat in September 1999. He added that there was an $80,000 road bond posted in September 1999 and it was released approximately a year and a half later. He added that he does not have any documents that reported any of Mr. Haney's findings. He said that the only thing that was lacking on the road was the physical drafting of the right-of-way deed. He further added that the subject was presented to the Board in January 2003 for consideration. He also stated that to reject the road would be taking back something that the Board has already done.
Commissioner Reyen asked if the road standards had been changed since 1999. Administrator Cobb reported that the road standards changed in 2000 to include a different type of top coating.
Administrator Cobb reported that the county does not have any records of inspections for the road nor engineering plans as reported by Mr. Haney. He added that the road is a substandard road under certain areas and aspects. Furthermore, he did not believe the cul-d-sac as built, which does not have any base on the road, was on the original plat.
Mrs. Lee stated that she shouldn't be penalized because the county does not have any records.
Commissioner Oglesby questioned who released the $80,000 bond. Mrs. Lee reported that former Board Chairman Joel Moore released the bond.
Attorney Gordon strongly suggested that the procedure to release bonds be examined by the County Administrator, the Chairman and himself. Adding that primarily bonds are released by word of mouth.
Chairman Banister said that since he's been in office, roads are presented to the Board for approval. He questioned Rick Haney if he approved Freedom Heights Road. Mr. Haney responded that he inspected the road and addressed some concerns. He said since the bond was released that indicated to him that the road met the county standards.
Pam Fields remarked that she turned in their paperwork that documented the amount of materials that were used on the road. Furthermore, they should not be penalized because the county doesn't have paperwork.
Public Works Director Caime said the road has 3/4" in two areas asphalt and no shoulders along some length. Therefore, it is substandard. Ms. Fields responded that they have gravel tickets to support the amount of gravel that was placed on the road.
Commissioner Oglesby remarked that since the bond was released that the road met county specs.
Commissioner Dorsey responded that if former Commissioner Joel Moore released the bond that they need to understand why. Further stating that he wants to make sure the county has documentation in place. Mrs. Lee responded that she has documentation of the materials that was used on the road.
Chairman Banister asked Rick Haney how he approved roads. He responded that it was done verbally. However, after Administrator Cobb was hired, he was instructed to request developers submit an engineering design along with the subdivision plat.
County Attorney Gordon remarked that the road bond would not have been released unless the road met the county standards.
Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to table the matter. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
16. Executive Session
Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Reyen provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Randy D. Banister, Chairman Lawana Kahn, County Clerk