Newberry Church is requesting a variance for a cemetery to be located off River Rd, south of Highway 84 on Land Lot 345 in the 14th Land District. The Church has outgrown its current facilities and the cemetery is nearing maximum capacity.
The church has purchased 8.86 acres with the intention of using 4-5 acres for a new church building and reserving the remaining four acres for a cemetery. The land is zoned Agriculture.
The Planning and Zoning Board has approved this variance and recommends that the Commission approve it also.
REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING
SEMINOLE COUNTY COURTHOUSE, SECOND FLOOR, SUPERIOR COURTROOM
TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011
The Seminole County Board of Commissioners held their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 in the Superior Courtroom located on the second floor of the courthouse. Those present were, Chairman Tommy Rogers, Vice-Chairman Dell Shingler,
Commissioner Scott Miller, Commissioner Roger Lane, County Manager/Clerk Donna Jones, and several interested citizens. Commissioner Brenda Peterson was absent.
The regular monthly meeting was called to order by Chairman Tommy Rogers.
The invocation was offered by EMS Director, Toby Roland.
Minutes from the Regular Monthly Meeting held on April 12, 2011, Budget Work Sessions held on April 12th and April 21st were approved on a motion by Commissioner Roger Lane, seconded by Commissioner Dell Shingler. Motion passed.
The March, 2011 Financial Statement was approved on a motion by Commissioner Scott Miller, and seconded by Commissioner Roger Lane. Motion passed.
Constitutional Officer and County Officer Response:
EMS Director, Toby Roland, also representing the Sheriff and Road Department Superintendent, addressed the Commission concerning wage increases for county employees. Roland stated that while the BOC has the daunting task of doing the most with the tax payer’s money providing services while balancing the budget, department heads have the responsibility of providing those services effectively and efficiently. Roland reported that some employees work hard, long hours to accomplish their duties. As it gets harder for the county to maintain its budget in these trying times, let us not forget that it gets harder for the county employees as well. Roland requested that the BOC consider doing what is necessary to provide the employees with a cost-of-living adjustment. Speaking for all three departments, it’s been three (3) years since his staff, the Sheriff’s Department or the Road Department employees have received a raise. Roland expressed his concern that going a fourth year without raises would result in losing good employees.
Sheriff Elliott stated that he agreed with Mr. Roland and that while times are tough for the citizens, they are tough for our employees also. They are living with the same recession the rest of the citizens are. He too was concerned that we will start losing good employees if we don’t give a raise this year since it’s been three (3) years since they have received even a cost-of-living-adjustment.
Commissioner Shingler stated that the department heads should go back to their employees and see if they would rather have a 3% COLA at the first of the new fiscal year, or receive it in a lump sum at Christmas as a bonus as has been done in the past. Shingler stated that she didn’t see how the County could do both.
Commissioner Miller stated that to give a 3% COLA would cost the taxpayers $100,000. There is no room in the budget for this increase, therefore, there would have to be a millage increase to the taxpayers to raise the funds. That’s where we are, having to make a tough decision.
Probate Judge, Amos Sheffield, thanked the members of the Commission and their staff for sitting through three court system software presentations. Sheffield is researching vendors for a software system that can provide connectivity to the Corrections Department, Probate/Magistrate Courts and Superior Court. The integrated system could cut down on double doing the same work. He asked that funds are left in his budget to accommodate the software purchase.
Commissioner Dell Shingler, addressed Sheriff Elliott and asked for an update on the replacement cameras for the jail that were approved some months ago. Sheriff Elliott replied that he was still working with ADT and other vendors to finalize the system design and Elliott agreed to get back on the project and bring an update to the Commission in the near future.
Road Department Superintendent, Bobby Aiken, stated that the east side of Fish Pond Drain had been mowed and is looking good. The process to mow the west side started today. He stated that it takes about two (2) weeks to mow each side because the employee has to watch out for the bigger growth that could damage the mower.
County Manager, Donna Jones, stated that she had a follow-up conversation with Jan Sammons of the Department of Natural Resources’ Atlanta office. Jones will be working with the DNR’s staff to apply for a “Blanket Buffer Variance for Maintenance” on Fish Pond Drain. Sammons stated that the DNR could issue an emergency variance if any structures, roads or utilities were in danger of damage. This emergency variance would also cover any other compelling reason. Sammons continued that this blanket variance process is new and to this date no project has been completed. The staff is writing the policy as they go so this is a good time for us to apply in order to be able to make suggestions for the policy.
Sammons further stated that what we are looking for is more of a dredging permit since no dams will be involved. Sammons stated that the silt that is removed cannot be used to build an access road and has to be removed beyond the twenty-five (25) foot barrier. We can cut trees to the ground but can’t disturb any roots. We will be allowed to use mats or sod to stabilize the banks for our equipment.
Jones will be working with DNR employee, Michael Barry, on this variance process.
Mrs. Margo Harrell, of Burke, Worsham and Harrell, presented the engagement letter for auditing services for the quickly approaching FY-11 year end. Harrell stated that the fees are the same as last year and are quoted at a “not to exceed” limit. Harrell will charge for her time and may not need to use the full amount on the engagement letter.
Mrs. Harrell gave an update on the Probations/Corrections office audit as well. Harrell stated that no funds were found to be missing and the temporary staff is nearly complete at working through the files. Now that the deposited funds have been verified, checks can be disbursed to the various courts. Harrell also reported that she has volunteered to attend the Probation Council meeting set for May 19th in Forsyth. She feels that attending the meeting and re-enforcing the Sheriff’s opinion that staff and practices have been put in place to keep from having reports fall back into arrears may help the County retain the probation services.
Harrell further reported that the Magistrate/Probate Court office is almost complete with bringing overdue records up to date. The staff is in the process of completing last November’s records. January 2011 has yet to be posted. Records from February through now are being kept current so it’s just a matter of finishing the catch-up work.
Lastly, Mrs. Harrell informed the Commission that during the audit they could set aside funds for a specific purpose. Once designated, this “fund balance” could not be used for other purposes. During the FY11 audit process, she will need to be informed of what we want to do and how much the fund would be.
Mr. Shane Kelsey of the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission presented an update on the Regionally Important Issues and the Regional Plan.
The Regional Plan should be ready to go to DCA by July and adopted in October. The list of minimum standards to remain as a Qualified Local Government will be released soon and local governments will be given three (3) years to meet the minimum. Kelsey stated that Seminole County would not have any difficulty meeting the minimum standards.
Mr. Kelsey left a copy of the Regionally Important Issues document as well as a map and stated that all documents can be found on their website at www.swgrc.org.
Chairman Tommy Rogers, stated that we were still waiting on word from Judge Bishop before we voted on approving the request for $20,000 in substance abuse treatment funds for Georgia Pines.
On a motion by Commissioner Dell Shingler and seconded by Commissioner Scott Miller the request for a cemetery variance for Newberry Church was approved. Motion passed.
On a motion by Commissioner Scott Miller and seconded by Commissioner Roger Lane, the Commission approved the State’s recommendation to set a minimum acreage to quality for CUVA (Current Use Valuation Assessment). The minimum was set at ten (10) acres. The State statute, OCGA 48-5-7, pertains to small parcels, and the exemption can only be used by individuals, family owned farm entities, trusts, estates, non-profit conservation organizations or clubs. This tool will help the Tax Assessors better identify small farms.
After reviewing quotes for replacing the gas and diesel pumps at the Road Department, Commissioner Scott Miller made the motion to go with the low bidder, Wiregrass Petroleum. Commissioner Roger Lane provided the second. Motion passed. These purchases will be made using Road Department SPLOST funds.
Wiregrass Petroleum (Dothan) …..$8,341.75
Leaves old hoses and nozzles and will not dispose of old pumps.
Turner’s Pump Shop (Dothan)…...$9,125.65
Dispose of old pumps and replace hoses and nozzles
MST Construction (Havana)……..$9,686.00
Dispose of old pumps and replace hoses and nozzles
County Manager, Donna Jones, discussed implementing a Prescription Discount Card to be made available to uninsured citizens. Jones is researching two programs, the NACo (National Association of Counties) and DataRx. The County would not incur any cost for either program other than running some newspaper ads to inform the citizens of the availability of the cards once a program is selected.
The information gathered to date shows that the discounts will be for generic prescriptions only that are in each company’s formulary and available only to persons who are not covered by Medicaid, Medicare Prescription coverage or private insurance prescription coverage.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned on a motion made by Commissioner Scott Miller, seconded by Commissioner Dell Shingler with Commissioner Roger Lane, and Chairman Tommy Rogers voting yes.
ADOPTED THIS __________ DAY OF JUNE, 2011
SEMINOLE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
DONNA JONES, CLERK