Hart County Board of Commissioners
January 11th, 2005
The Hart County Board of Commissioners met January 11th, 2005 at 5:30 p.m. in the Hart County Administrative & Emergency Services Center.
Chairman Daniel Reyen presided with Commissioners R C Oglesby, Gary Mize, Ricky Carter and Joey Dorsey in attendance.
1. Call to Order
Chairman Reyen called the meeting to order.
· Election of HCBOC Chairman
Commissioner Carter nominated Commissioner Oglesby to serve as the Chairman to the Board of Commissioners for 2005. Commissioner Reyen provided a second to that nomination. Commissioner Oglesby then nominated Commissioner Dorsey for Chairman. Commissioner Mize provided a second to the Dorsey nomination. A vote was taken on the two nominations and Commissioner Oglesby was selected to serve as Chairman. (Commissioners Reyen, Carter and Oglesby in favor of Commissioner Oglesby, Commissioner Mize in favor of Commissioner Dorsey, and Commissioner Dorsey abstained from the vote.
Chairman Reyen turned the meeting over to Chairman elect Oglesby.
Chairman Oglesby announced that order and protocol will be followed in the meetings; special interest groups should appoint one individual from the group to speak during the meeting; individuals will be allowed five minutes to speak on a subject and no public outbursts will be allowed; no public comments on non-voting issues will take place until the end of the meeting.
Chairman Oglesby called for a moment of silence.
4. Pledge of Allegiance
Everyone stood in observance of the Pledge of Allegiance.
5. Approve Agenda
Commissioner Dorsey entertained a motion to amend and approve the meeting agenda as follows:
Remove item 14g) Building Permit Ordinance; add item 14l) BSC Pantry
Commissioner Reyen provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
6. Approve Minutes of Previous Meeting(s)
· 12/14/04 Regular Meeting
Commissioner Dorsey entertained a motion to approve the minutes as amended. Commissioner Mize provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
7. Reports by Invited Guests, Committees, Authorities
8. Reports by Constitutional Officers & Department Heads
County Attorney Walter Gordon noted that he has reviewed tax exemption information that is available in the Tax Commissioners' office. He distributed the pamphlets to the BOC members and explained the various types of tax exemptions that property owners are entitled to. He noted that individuals have to apply for exemptions and show proof of eligibility. He also noted that the amount of the maximum exemption is $10,000.
Commissioner Reyen asked where an individual would have to go to apply for exemptions. Attorney Gordon responded that individuals would have to go the Tax Assessors' office to file for exemptions during the first three months of the year.
9. County Administrator's Report
County Administrator Jon Caime reported the following:
· Chestatee/Chattahoochee RC&D meeting January 20th, 2005 in Baldwin
· Will schedule a Work Session to discuss Animal Control, Roads & SPLOST
· Verbal approval from the DOT for LARP funding for Airline School, Blackmon, Joe Findley, Chateau Estate Roads in the county.
· City/County Joint Meeting to discuss Service Delivery Strategy January 13th, 2005 at the Literacy Center
Administrator Caime also noted that if the SDS agreement is not approved then the county and cities will lose grant funds including DOT funding.
10. Chairman's Report
Chairman Oglesby requested that he wants each member of the BOC's input on county matters.
11. Commissioners' Reports
Commissioner Reyen noted that each BOC member received a letter from Ed Lane of L&J Hardware questioning why the City and County has different Beer & Wine Ordinances. Commissioner Reyen noted that it is time to update the current Beer & Wine Ordinance.
Attorney Gordon reported that he would review the City, County & State of Georgia Beer & Wine Ordinances and give a report at the upcoming Work Session.
Commissioner Mize took the opportunity to tell everyone that he is honored to be able to serve and appreciative of his supporters and people who voted for him. He also noted that he is open to telephone calls and suggestions.
Commissioner Carter welcomed Commissioner Mize to the Board.
Commissioner Dorsey addressed a matter with the appointment of Roy Segars to the Board of Tax Assessors. He reported that he visited the Tax Commissioners' office to review tax records for all the individuals that showed interest in serving on the BOA and found that everything was in order. However, further investigation in the Tax Assessors' office revealed a discrepancy with Mr. Segars. He noted that, according to records obtained from the Tax Assessors' office, in 1997 Mr. Segars did not acquire a building permit to build a house. He said he discussed the situation with Mr. Segars on January 4th, 2005 and told him he had two choices 1) resignation 2) make restitution to the county.
Commissioner Dorsey went on to say that no property taxes for the house were paid for 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001. In 2002 the house was found during the revaluation. Technically he owes no taxes because he was not billed by the county. He explained that the building permit process triggers the BOA to go out and appraise the property. With that being said and the scrutiny the BOA has been under, Commissioner Dorsey entertained a motion to rescind the vote to appoint Mr. Segars to the BOA until the matter could be resolved.
Commissioner Mize agreed with Commissioner Dorsey in which the BOA has had lots of problems and everyone's goal is to get the problems straightened out. Therefore, action to rescind the vote would allow the BOC to get more information and hear from Mr. Segars. Commissioner Mize provided a second to the motion to rescind the vote.
Commissioner Reyen noted that Mr. Segars also did not obtain a permit for a boat dock. He further noted that if Mr. Segars had returned his property as required by law he would have paid an additional approximate $10,000 in property taxes over the period of time his property was not reported.
Commissioner Reyen noted that the Segars issue is a continuation of an attempt to denigrate the reputation of appointments to the BOA. He also noted that when Don Burdick's name was being considered for appointment to the BOA, Chief Appraiser Crossley publicly remarked that "Mr. Burdick spoke rudely to her". However, since Mr. Burdick's appointment he has not heard of any complaints from the public about him being rude.
Secondly Mr. Fogerty was appointed to the BOA and he made an unfortunate comment to Ms. Crossley. This resulted in a “bogus” charge of sexual harassment. The matter was thoroughly investigated by an outside party and was determined not to be sexual harassment. The matter was also reviewed by the County Attorney and it was determined not to be sexual harassment.
Commissioner Reyen stated that whenever someone is willing and capable of doing the job on the BOA they are subject to all sorts of harassment. He stated "What are they trying to hide in the Assessors' office, is it illegal or incompetence?"
Joel Moore noted that when he was in 1996, contracted with a firm to build his home, and the contractor had stated that he had obtained the building permit. He noted that prior to 1998 the building permits were issued in the Tax Assessors' office and the county had gone through two revaluations in the period from 1996 to 2002. Mr. Segars' home was finished in 1997 and he later obtained a building permit for an independent stand alone garage built twenty feet away from his house.
Commissioner Reyen noted that Mr. Segars' property was assessed with a 302% tax increase in 2002 and that he then appealed the increase. It was this appeal action that triggered the fact that he had not obtained a building permit on the house. Mr. Segars has paid taxes he was billed and paid them on time. Commissioner Reyen commented that this points to the failure of the county assessors' staff to properly identify taxable property. Therefore, he did not see any reason to have to re-evaluate the Segars appointment.
Commissioner Dorsey noted that there was not a county-wide revaluation in 1996 or 1999. The issue was not about the fact that a building permit was not obtained but rather that Mr. Segars failed to return his property as required by law. He went on to say that he doesn't have a problem with Mr. Segars' ability to perform the job.
Commissioner Dorsey noted that Don Burdick contacted the local building contractor on this same issue several weeks prior to Mr. Segars being sworn into office. Commissioner Dorsey also noted that were sworn in by the Magistrate Judge on December 22nd, 2004 and a second time by the Superior Court Judge on January 3rd, 2005.Per policy in the Tax Assessors' office, the BOA secretary to schedule the oath of office with the Judge. However, Chairman Reyen was involved in scheduling the appointment with the Magistrate Judge this time.
Chairman Oglesby questioned why the members were sworn in twice. Commissioner Reyen responded that they read the law and there was some question as to how it read. Therefore, it was felt there would be some contention and the BOA members were then sworn in by the Superior Court Judge. He also clarified that he had nothing to do with the swearing in by the Superior Court Judge.
Chairman Oglesby questioned the County Attorney of the legality of past BOA members being sworn in by the Magistrate Judge. Attorney Gordon responded that the Magistrate Judge and the Superior Court Judges can swear in county officials.
Commissioner Reyen responded that in the past the Magistrate Judge has sworn in some members of the Board of Assessors and some have been sworn in by the Superior Court Judge.
Commissioner Dorsey also brought up the fact that three members of the BOA got together and called a meeting for January 3rd, 2005 when the BOA had already scheduled their January meeting in December. Commissioner Reyen responded that the two of the members of the BOA term began January 1st, 2005.
Commissioner Carter stated that Mr. Dorsey had checked out the individuals that were interested in the BOA position before the December meeting to appoint Segars. He noted that if we continue at the rate we’re going we won't be able to get anyone to serve on the BOA. In this country a person is innocent until proven guilty.
Pete Nagele noted that removing an individual
from the Board of Assessors can only be done for cause which is set forth
Ben Fant noted that some of the remarks indicate this county has been doing something wrong and he disagrees. Anyone in the Assessors' office needs to have a spotless record when it comes to his or her personal assessment of taxes; if they don't how will they justify their position. It is the property owner's responsibility to report what they own not Margaret Crossley or the BOA.
Mr. Fant noted he had also failed to obtain a building permit for a construction project on his property in 1996. However, he volunteered to give the information to the Chief Appraiser. He was told by Chief Appraiser Crossley that it was his responsibility to obtain a building permit.
Commissioner Mize remarked that he would like to hear from Mr. Segars to get answers to questions concerning the issue.
Commissioner Carter stated that we don't have to rescind the vote to find the information or problem.
Chairman Oglesby called for the vote to rescind the motion. The motion carried 3-2 (Commissioners Carter and Reyen opposed).
12. Consent Agenda
13. Old Business
a) Service Delivery Strategy
Administrator Caime gave a time line of the events with the Service Delivery Strategy. He explained that the County is no longer eligible to receive grants. This year the County budget is approximately 13% grant funded. He further commented that without grants the County would not have been able to secure TI industry which will provide 130 good paying jobs to Hart County. He stated that the County citizens have too much to lose to not move forward with resolving this SDS and the conflicts with the City of Hartwell. He then presented the BOC with a list of arbitrators.
Commissioner Oglesby made a motion to enter into arbitration. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Dorsey.
Hartwell Mayor Matt Beasley was then asked to address the BOC. He noted his concerns with the water SDS. He urged the BOC to keep working with the City to approve the SDS agreement without going to arbitration. He noted that it is in the County's and City's best interest to work toward an effort to come up with an agreement on water. He pledged to do everything they can to work the water issues out. No action was taken on the motion.
14. New Business
a) Request to fund Fire Dept. Pagers
Fire Chief Billy Ray Vickery requested $10,000 to fund pagers for the fire department from the Premium Insurance Tax funds. Commissioner Dorsey entertained a motion to purchase ten pagers from the Premium Insurance Tax account. Commissioner Carter provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
b) Bid opening-Communications Tower
With only one bid, Commissioner Carter entertained a motion to extend the deadline two weeks for receiving bids on the tower. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
c) Bid Award - Sheriff Vehicles
Commissioner Dorsey entertained a motion to award the bid for patrol cars to James Short Ford @$19,698 each. Commissioner Carter provided a second to the motion.
d) DFACS Grant Increase Acceptance
DFACS Director Tom Mullenix noted that Hart County
is the only county in the State of
Commissioner Reyen entertained a motion to approve the contract amendment to receive $5,000 additional funds for the transportation program. Commissioner Mize provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
e) Automobile Liability Coverage Limits
Administrator Caime explained that State law has changed on Automobile Liability Coverage limits. He noted that currently the county's limit is $1,000,000. 2005 the limit will be $300,000; 2006 $450,000 and 2007 $700,000 and that the BOC could decide to lower its coverage to the State minimum if they desire and that by lowering the coverage the county would receive a reduction in insurance premiums.
Chairman Oglesby entertained a motion to table the issue. Commissioner Mize provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
f) DDA Budget Request
Pat Fritz requested $8,000 for administrative costs for the DDA.
Commissioner Carter noted that at the DDA's December 28th, 2004 they voted to use local people for future projects. He also requested that they place bids on the county's website.
Chairman Oglesby entertained a motion to fund the DDA from the Economic Development funds. Commissioner Carter provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 4-1 (Commissioner Dorsey opposed).
g) Building Permit Ordinance
Item was removed from the agenda.
h) First Reading Non-Consensual Towing Ordinance
County Attorney Walter Gordon read the First Reading of the Non-Consensual Towing Ordinance.
Commissioner Carter noted that he has had several towing operators discuss the issue with him and they are concerned that the ordinance will take their business away. He noted that impoundment facilities should be limited to be within Hart County. He asked about expanding the ordinance to tow autos left on roads and streets etc. He also voiced his concern over out of county wrecker services being called to tow vehicles when other counties don't allow this.
Commissioner Dorsey entertained a motion to accept the First Reading of the Non-Consensual Towing Ordinance. Commissioner Carter provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
i) Policy for Distributing County Road Gravel to Private Citizens
Commissioner Carter entertained a motion to direct the County Administrator to determine a policy for distributing gravel to private citizens. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
j) Request for Bailiff Pay Increase
Commissioner Reyen entertained a motion to increase the bailiffs pay from $60 to $65 per day. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Commissioner Carter entertained a motion to increase the BOA pay from $50 per day to $75 per day. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion.
Joel Moore you have in this county a number of Board members that you appoint, recommended that the BOC take a look at all the positions and look at equity and uniformity. He also suggested that the BOC review during the budget process.
Chairman Oglesby directed Administrator Caime to review all the different Board's pay and come back with recommendations.
No further action was taken.
k) Proclamation for Abstinence Awareness Week
Commissioner Reyen entertained a motion to adopt the Proclamation. Commissioner Mize provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
l) BSC Pantry Beer & Wine License
Chairman Oglesby entertained a motion to approve the BSC Pantry Beer & Wine License for 2005. Commissioner Reyen provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
15. Public Comment
Tommy Warren noted that there is a discrepancy on the tax exemption application and the brochure that was in the Tax Commissioners' office. Attorney Gordon responded that he would review the matter.
Ben Fant reported some of the situations that have been going on over the past several months for the people viewing by television.
16. Executive Session
Commissioner Reyen entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Mize provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
R C Oglesby, Chairman Lawana Kahn, County Clerk