RETREAT PLANNING SESSION
COLQUITT COUNTY COURTHOUSE ANNEX
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2009
The Seminole County Board of Commissioners held a Retreat Planning Session on Friday, September 25, 2009. The meeting was held in the Commission Meeting Chamber of the Colquitt County Courthouse Annex located in Moultrie, GA. Those present were, Chairman Tommy Rogers, Vice-Chairman Alton Harrison, Commissioner Dell Shingler, Commissioner Scott Miller, Commissioner Brenda Peterson, County Administrator Marty Shingler, Clerk Donna Jones, Moderator Dan Ponder, Sheriff Health Elliott, Clerk of Court Earlene Bramlett, Road Department Superintendent Bobby Aiken, Chamber of Commerce President Brenda Broome and several interested citizens.
The reason for having this planning session in Moultrie was to take a site tour of the courthouse annex site. The Colquitt County annex was built using SPLOST funds and they are presently in the process of adding a courtroom to the lower level.
Moderator Dan Ponder gave the invocation.
Clerk Jones distributed copies of the proposed amendments to the ACCG By-Laws. At the April 26, 2009 meeting, the ACCG Board of Managers proposed three amendments to the association’s by-laws. The proposal will be presented for consideration at the Business Session of the Fall Policy Conference in Atlanta which is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on October 9, 2009.
Clerk Jones distributed draft copies of the “Mass/Public Gathering Ordinance” and permit application that will come up for vote next week at a called meeting.
It was announced that a public hearing will be set for sometime next week to set the millage rate.
The first item on the agenda is office accommodations for the EMT who is located down in the lake area. EMT, Wayne Pinegar, is more or less using his county vehicle as a portable office. While the FDR Building at Hwy 374 and Burke Rd is available for his use, Mr. Pinegar feels that he is not visible in that area and being in the building adds a few minutes to his response time.
Chairman Tommy Rogers reminded the Commission that he and Commissioner Dell Shingler had previously looked at a couple of construction office type trailers in order to determine the cost to place a satellite EMS office at Spring Creek Rd and County Hwy 374, behind the former Ameris Bank Building. The satellite office would also have enough space to put in an office for the Sheriff’s office use.
The land is owned by Donalsonville Hospital and they have given us permission to put in a portable building. A portable building could be moved should in the future the hospital decide to use the land for another purpose.
The cost of placing a portable building on site is estimated to be between $18k-$20k.
Chairman Rogers asked that the full commission give the matter their attention and the issue will be placed on the agenda for a vote sometime in the near future.
Secondly, Road Department, Bobby Aiken, reported that when he first took over as road department superintendent there was a road crew of eighteen. The crew is now fourteen which includes the superintendent and assistant superintendent.
Aiken reported that he receives seven or eight calls a day from citizens who want projects taken care of and that with the smaller crew he’s getting further and further behind.
Projects that are behind include installing driveway culverts; cleaning out ditches; cleaning out blocked drainage pipes; and replacing crushed pipes.
Aiken asked that when the 2010 budget is prepared, please keep in mind that he needs to add at least two more crew members or he’ll never be able to catch up. Each storm just puts them further and further behind.
Thirdly on the agenda was the subject of replacing outgoing County Manager, Marty Shingler. Shingler had previously given his resignation with the effective date of December 31, 2009. Shingler distributed a “Public Notice” ad with the job description that he had compiled.
After a brief discussion, a suggestion was made to run the ad in additional sources such as CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com. This item will be placed on a future agenda for a vote.
Fourth was the discussion to determine if a policy should be written to establish rules for when county employees would be allowed to perform work on private property. In the past, drainage situations have arisen that has caused private property to be washed out and the road department supervisor and road department committee is asking for permission to make common sense judgment calls as to how to handle the situations.
Occasionally the road grade will be changed in order to move the runoff to another area and then that grade will cause problems down the way. There are only so many options of grading, you can go to the left, the right, or put a crown in the middle and have the runoff flow to both sides of the road. Also, sometimes during a road paving project we’ll find that the engineering drawings have left out a driveway or a drainage pipe doesn’t line up with the existing drain field.
The Road Department Superintendent, Bobby Aiken, wants to know who can make a decision to go onto the edge of private property and fix a problem such as stated above. The discussion resulted in having the county attorney, Kenneth Hornsby, write a policy that states who can make the decisions and to have that policy include exceptions of when it would be more cost effective to have the road department take care of a situation as it arises. Also, permission will need to be given to make cost effective decisions on when to dump excess dirt on private property rather than driving back to the county yard to dump.
While it is not always possible to seek permission from the full Commission to perform one of these tasks, it will be the responsibility of the road department supervisor to inform the Commissioner’s Office Staff, in order to have the service reported at the next public meeting.
This issue will be placed on an upcoming regular monthly meeting agenda for action purposes.
The fifth item on the agenda was to discuss modifying the purchasing policy to allow for small purchases for merchandise or services to be made without having to obtain three bids. This amendment to the policy would allow for purchases up to but not to exceed $500. These purchases would be made by the administrative staff.
Clerk Donna Jones gave a brief report on the IRS’s new ruling to pay all Councils, Boards, Commissions, Umpires and Concession Stand Workers by W-2 rather than 1099. This IRS ruling states that these positions are those of employees not contract workers. This item will be put on the agenda of a future meeting in order to determine if action should be taken as of October 1st, 2009 or if the county is to comply as of January 1, 2010, the beginning of the next calendar year.
One of the projects listed on SPLOST is to build a new fire department facility. Before any action can take place on the project, changes to the committee made up of County and City of Donalsonville personnel needs to be amended.
Names suggested for the fire department committee were Commissioner’s Dell Shingler and Scott Miller; EMS Director, Toby Roland; Fire Chief, Travis Brooks: City Council member, Charles Barineau; Sheriff, Heath Elliot; and the new incoming mayor of Donalsonville.
There will be an action vote at an upcoming meeting to accept or reject this committee.
Next on the agenda, and the focus of the retreat, was the discussion to develop a plan for future building projects for Seminole County. Included in SPLOST III and SPLOST IV are a Courthouse Annex; Fire Department Facility; Restoration of the Superior Courtroom; and re-designing the courthouse grounds to accommodate new drain lines, sidewalk, etc.
Architect, Royal Rankin, out of Tifton, GA discussed with the Commission the possibility of obtaining grant funds through the Easter Seal Society to restore the old Seminole County Training School in stages. Rankin stated that the building is still architecturally sound including the roof. The windows would need to be replaced first and then some cleanup. We would need to have a plan as to what purposes the building could be developed to serve. Chairman Rogers is to contact Easter Seal representative, Beth English, to search out ways to obtain funding.
Mr. Rankin presented two quotes for replacing the roof over the Superior Courtroom. The roof can either be membrane or metal. The roof leakage needs to be repaired before the walls of the courtroom could be repaired. Rankin suggested the membrane roof and stated it would come with a 30 year warranty whereas the metal roof would come with a 20 year warranty. Rankin said he could provide a list of contractors who are qualified for this type project.
Mr. Rankin had made a site visit last week and showed photos of the roof damages and explained what he felt would need to be done to replace the roof over the 2,900 sq ft of courtroom.
Before going further with any remodeling or building project, the Commission will have to make a decision as to which architect they wish to engage.
Discussion continued as to a courthouse annex. After seeing a photo of a new justice center that was featured in Georgia County Government magazine, Commission Shingler had asked Mr. Rankin to provide a sketch as to what we could do to add wings on the north and south of our existing courthouse as the photo represents. If it would be feasible, we would be able to add one wing with the SPLOST IV and then add another wing with the next SPLOST.
Rankin provided two sketches as to where the wings would attach to the courthouse and how many square feet each would have.
Chamber President, Brenda Broome, asked that if we added on to the courthouse, would we then loose our standing on the “National Register of Historic Places”. Rankin responded that yes we would.
After discussion as to the additional cost of the custom windows; ceiling height and brick exterior, Rankin stated that it would probably be cost prohibitive to build the wings.
Discussion then ensued as to a free standing annex that would be built on the north side of the courthouse and be connected by way of a covered breezeway.
After all items on the agenda had been addressed, moderator Ponder reviewed the meeting and suggested that the first thing that needs to be done is to prioritize projects. Ponder suggested that we contract with an architect who develops project plans for governments. The plan would include drawings for mechanical, drainage and closing of streets. There would be no actual blueprints included in the plan. Ponder estimates that the cost of these services would be between $25k-$30k.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting was dismissed by Ponder.
Immediately following the meeting, several members took a tour of the Colquitt County Courthouse Annex. During the tour of the building, the hostess, Colquitt County Clerk, Deborah Cox, reviewed the building process; cost and architectural services for the annex.
During the tour Ms. Cox informed the group of the changes that had been made to the original plans and also reviewed “the wish list” items that they would like to have done differently. Purposes of the site visit included being made aware of items that need to be included in our plan that other local governments overlooked, such as storage closets, and where to place offices in relation to others as well as hopefully to obtain insightful information for our own upcoming building project.
The Harvest Festival Parade will be held on Saturday, October 17th. Any Commissioner’s wishing to ride in the parade please contact Commissioner Dell Shingler and be prepared to line up by 9:30 a.m. for a parade start time at 10:00 a.m.
ADOPTED THIS __________ DAY OF OCTOBER, 2009
SEMINOLE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
DONNA JONES, CLERK