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Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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This online news website is owned and operated by Becky Watts. The Editor can be reached at 770-468-7583 or at editor(at)PikeCountyTimes(dot)com. Pike County Times is a website for citizens to keep up with local events and stay informed about Pike County government. It began on November 13, 2006 as a watchdog on county government and has turned into an online newspaper.

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[Note from the Editor: There is a 15 minute Town Hall Meeting prior to every Commission meeting. During this time, anyone can speak to commissioners without having to ask to get on the agenda. However, the drawback to this is that comments are not recorded as part of the official record like it would be if someone asked to be an invited guest on the actual agenda.

I came in at the end of Shannon Mullinax speaking. Her words are written verbatim here as I asked for them to be emailed to me. I spoke to Steve Reeves about what he said and just wrote a synopsis. Steve speaks in meetings on a regular basis about following our code of ordinance and treating everyone the same rather than making an exception here and there with fees, etc.

I have included these comments so the commissioners' comments will be better understood during the meeting.]

Steve Reeves spoke to Pike County Times and said that permit fees and application fees have to be justified by cost. He also said that permit fees can't pay for the entire department/whole office because you can only charge what it costs for the county to provide this service. (Impact fees and permit fees are not the same thing. Impact Fees are to help cover the newcomer's impact on future growth needs for parks, fire protection, police protection, etc.)

For example. What does it cost for the director and staff to do the work that is required such as review the plat for a subdivision application, go out and visit the site, do what is needed to set up meetings, run the ad in the paper, etc. Whatever the cost is, that's what it needs to be for the permit to develop the subdivision.

There should be a report with numbers that is used to justify the cost. Where did the numbers come from to justify what these fees should be? To build a house, a barn, pave a road, build a subdivision. (Impact Fees should cover future costs.)

If it costs you a $1,000 to review something for a rezoning, you can't charge somebody$4,000. Rezoning and base application fee plus so much per acre. For subdivisions, he said that this has been done per acre when it should be per lot because that is the impact on the county.

He said that we are encouraging people to do more lots because they have to pay more per acre. He gave an example of the 400 plus acre subdivision that is only 37 lots. $18,000 is the impact fee for this subdivision. He asked, Are you telling me that it costs $18,000 to sit down and review that plat and submit it to the Planning and Zoning Board and to Commissioners for review and approval? It doesn't cost $18,000. It costs a couple hundred dollars to run the ad, but where does the rest of the money go?

He cited two court cases that readers can dig into: Monticello, LTD v. City of Atlanta, Court of Appeals of Georgia (1998) and Home Builders Association of Savannah, Inc. v. Chatham County. One quote that I took a picture of from Steve's documents said: "The distinction between a tax and a license is not one of names but of substance. A tax is primarily intended to produce revenue, while a license is primarily intended for regulation under the police power." From Cotton States Mutual Ins. Co. v. DeKalb County, 251 Ga. 309, 50 S.E. 2d 386, 387 (1983).

Shannon Mullinax read the following:

"I am here this morning, along with many of my fellow stakeholders to address and inquire about the recent increase in residential impact fees.

Are all of you aware that the impact fee for Pike of $6775.99 for residential homes is the 3rd highest in the entire state. Only 3rd behind the City of Milton and the City of Sandy Springs. Of 159 counties, only 22 in the state of Georgia impose residential impact fees. For any of you who would like a copy, I have one for you. The information is provided by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

When a municipality enacts impact fees, State law requires that a Development Impact Fee Advisory Committee be established consisting of 5 to 10 members, with at least half of the membership consisting of representatives from the development, building or real estate industries. Who are the members of this Committee?

How is the cost of capital facilities so much more in Pike? In many areas of rural Pike roads are not paved and fire insurance is more because there is no fire department available to service the area.

According to the allocation of impact fees, Sheriff, Detention Facilities and 911 account for 61.3% of the impact fees… so for every $6775 collected, $4153 will be passed on to public safety. While public safety is important, is that the proportionate impact of one home to public safety? It seems out of balance when compared to roads, fire, and parks

If there is, in fact, a deficiency in the County budget as we have been told then what other areas of growth is the Board considering? Has there been any consideration given to starting a Quality Growth Advisory Committee? Currently the economic development director position has been vacant for a year. Smart economic growth would help solve some of this problem so what is the County doing to fill this position and encourage healthy growth?

You have all received a call or calls from concerned constituents so it should be no surprise to you that there would be some opposition to this drastic and what we would call reckless increase without more thought or consideration given to the effect of this increase. We don’t understand how you justify the increase based solely on a report that was ‘found’ in an old email. I would hope that each of you Commissioners have read the report? I have requested a copy and plan to review it and I hope you will too.

As our nation heads towards an economic recession, the implementation of fees like this will only further lead Pike County into an even worse recession. I would like to remind you all that construction is the largest economic growth generator in the US. Without construction we are destined to fail. I, along with many people here today would like to request that the vote to increase the impact fees to $6775.99 be rescinded and the Commission go about a review of the impact fees in a proper and legal way.

End of Shannon's comments.

[Note from the Editor: Chairman Briar Johnson ran the comments until a little after 9 a.m. because the Town Hall portion of the meeting didn't start until late.

For a fuller understanding of Impact Fees, read from the documentation and discussion in the January 31, 2023 BOC meeting. (Scroll down to 9d and the comments in blue to see the Georgia Policy publication that Shannon referenced above, the old layout of Impact Fees versus the new layout of Impact Fees, the December 20, 2022 Impact Fee letter that Shannon referenced, the 2017-2020 Capitol Improvements Element (CIE) that were submitted to the state, a copy of the Impact Fee Methodology Report from 2021, and copy of the old and new building fee schedules which are separate from Impact Fees. I also included payments to Paragon, the entity that was paid to prepare the Impact Fee information for the county.]

Submitted 2.27.23
Wednesday, February 8, 2023 – 9:00 a.m.
Courthouse, Main Courtroom, 16001 Barnesville Street, Zebulon, Georgia
Town Hall Meeting at 8:45 a.m.

Click here to see the documents that have been uploaded with the agenda on the Pike County government page.

Townhall ran late. Began at 9:06 a.m.

1. CALL TO ORDER ..... Chairman J. Briar Johnson

2. INVOCATION ..... Carson Whiteside

3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE ..... Chairman J. Briar Johnson

4. APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA - (O.C.G A. § 50-14-1 (e) (1))

Motion to approve the agenda. Approved 5-0.

5. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES - (O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(e) (2))

a. Minutes of the January 31, 2023, Regular Monthly Meeting.

b. Minutes of the January 31, 2023, Executive Session.

Motion to approve the minutes. Approved 5-0.


a. Employee Recognition for service to Pike County.

• Amy Hardy – Sheriff’s Department

Amy Hardy couldn’t be here today. 5 year certificate.

• William Walker – Sheriff’s Department

This was rescheduled from November. Thanks for all that you do. Sheriff: 24 years in the military. Lives here in the county. Been a versatile employee—from the jail to the courthouse. Been a lot of help in there.

• Scottie Brooks – Public Works

15 years. Done some great things for us. Todd. Said he takes a load off my back. He knows why I need and helps me out so much.


a. Monthly Reports submitted from County Departments and County Authorities, including a Revenue/Expenditure Statement for all departments and a summary check register.

Chairman Johnson-Before we go any further, want to address some of the comments. Proctor-Can we discuss it under 9C?

Motion to approve reports. Approved 5-0.

b. County Manager Report
Update on County finances for the following funds/accounts:
General Fund .....$6,114,111.91
Fire Dept. Donations ..... $7,721.04
Cash Reserve Account ..... $467,532.59
Jail Fund ..... $39,769.41
E-911 Fund ..... $460,184.39
DATE Fund ..... $39,607.56
Juvenile Court Fund ..... $13,839.94
Residential Impact Fee ..... $986,593.67
Commercial Impact Fees ..... $166,477.07
C.A.I.P FUND ..... $132,062.17
General Obligation SPLOST 2022-2028 ..... $395,973.89
L.M.I.G. Grant (DOT) ..... $721,738.73

c. County Manager Comment

No CM report.

d. Commissioner Reports

Commissioner Jenkins. Said that we are about 2 million short on property taxes. Asked for a follow up with the Tax Commissioner on this. Building permits-It looks like we are going to have a shortfall of $75,000 to $100,000. Rogers said also had problems with interest rates and recession--slowing of growth. This impacts revenues and expenses. Hope to see some of the expenses not so high.

It was noted that there are 2 openings on the Water Authority, and 1 on the Agribusiness Authority.

e. County Attorney Report to Commissioners




a. Consider Tax Refund Application from Carraway/Osbolt in the amount of $920.56.

20.72 acres. Presented with a new plat and this was corrected. 2020-2022. $920.56. Motion to approve the refund. Approved 5-0.

b. Second reading of the Pike County Code of Ordinances be amended by adding Section 39.03 entitled “2022 EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ORDINANCE” to Chapter 39 entitled “EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT Services” of Title III entitled “ADMINSTRATION.”

Nothing changed between the 1st and 2nd reading. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

c. Discussion of Moratorium on Minor and Major Subdivisions.

After 1 ½ months of discussion on fees at the last meeting, there is nothing else to keep the board from releasing the moratorium unless you have other duties for us to take care of. Guy- Is Jeremy where he needs to be with releasing this? Rogers - Jeremy and I reviewed the charges. We are not holding you back from this. Motion to lift the moratorium. Approved 5-0.

Discussion of questions from Town Hall. Johnson – When we are accused of doing things behind the scenes or illegal, people should know better.

Discussion: How do Impact Fees work? State law requires that when you work with Impact Fees, there must be a committee. When enacted in 2004/2005, there was a committee. It is not needed by law moving forward? Planning and Zoning Director Jeremy Gilbert - It is my understanding that it is not. [Note from the Editor: There was an Impact Fee Committee with the Citizens Advisory Task Force (CATF). Discussions on Impact Fees were extensive and go all of the way back to 2007.]

Daniel - How did you come up with the fees? We did a fee schedule analysis of surrounding counties, what costs with each application, how much it takes for the office to run today and in the future, etc. The county has been paying probably half of our general budget for years. We are trying to be a self-sufficient department. Rezoning application of $200 doesn’t pay for even the first meeting so the rest of the community is paying my salary for the rest of this rezoning. From a subdivision, when public works goes out, everything is included in the final plat fee. Proctor - How much is your budget roughly? Rogers is working on this but don’t know for sure. $424,000 was budgeted last year/this year. Proctor asked about generated revenue. Jeremy said doesn’t know exact figures, but his office has run a deficit for years. Guy-When was 2004-2006. State law says that we have to have a board. Asked for names. [Note from the Editor: We had a board.]

Guy says that he knows that the numbers are high, but as of right now, it looks like we will have to hold where we are until we come up with a resolution but would like to work for a number with the builders, citizens, county. Rogers - Fees in general but two different kinds of fees. Permit and general fund as well as Impact Fees which are separate. Those are not going to impact the budget. Supposed to impact the future. The reason our fire taxes are so high is because we don’t have infrastructure now. This is planning for the future. The jail is a problem now. He doesn’t want people to get confused.

Steve Reeves spoke about being fair. Shannon was talking about Impact Fees.

Daniel - Something is not right if we are one of the highest in Georgia. How do other people handle the problem without charging $6,700 in Impact Fees? Rogers - We fit in with southern counties more, but they don’t have the growth that we have. We are caught in the middle with planning for growth. 30% increase in population. We are one of the top growing populations in the state, and that impacts the county.

Johnson - We are charged to run this county with growth, etc. Not an easy job. Looking for the best for the county as a whole with what we have to operate the county in the future. We are the 27th fastest growing county in the state. $2400 in Impact Fees. He’s not happy with this easy because his son is planning to build and will have to pay the $6700 Impact Fee. This is not about me, you, him. This is what we have to do to run this county in the future. Growth is coming with areas that we are not ready for. We are charged to run the county and look the entire picture—not one group of people. Not aware that we are the 3rd highest in the state. If this is what we have to do, that’s what we’ve got to do. It’s about Pike County moving forward.

Guy - He wants to look for something that will accommodate everyone.

Johnson - We have paid firefighters from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. when many of the volunteers are working regular jobs. We are years away from a paid fire department, but we’re working toward it. Are we satisfied with our dirt roads? It’s an issue. But look at your paid roads. They are saving us about half of what other counties would pay for paving a road. We have some room to go on dirt roads. Especially with the weather that we’ve had.

[Note from the Editor: Many left at this point in the meeting because what they had come to hear had been addressed.]

Johnson said that appreciates those who stayed for the rest of the meeting. You’ve got to have the whole picture to make an educated decision about what the county is doing.

d. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input discussing the completed activities for the FY 2019 Community Development Block Grant program.

To close out the CDBG project in Hilltop. Carol Southard is here. Grant writer. Affects 259 people in Hilltop. Assisted with 6 blighted houses and 3 families with housing improvements. $600,000 for just streets and drainage. No comments.

Closed public hearing. Daniel - The work down there looks good. Thanked for her work. Johnson - Almost every road in Hilltop was resurfaced. Thank you to Goolsby and Public Works for your work there.

[Note from the Editor: Many of those who left came back in to hear the rest of the meeting. I’ll mention this again at the end of the meeting.]

Thanks to Public Works, we were able to get all of the roads. Over $600,000 to streets and flood and drainage.

e. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input regarding the development of the application of the Community Development Block Grant project.

Carol Southard. Grants are due on June 2. We are required to ask the public for a project.


Patricia Beckham. Next project. She would like to see a property at the Outreach Center with the gym, she would like to see it developed for something for children to do. All they can do right now is the roof, but they would love some help with the gym and the buildings. There is so much potential there. She would like to see this in the next CDBG grant.


Daniel - Are we looking at Tanyard Road again? Yes, that and anything else from today.



a. County Manager Brandon Rogers requests an Executive Session to discuss the possible acquisition of real property pursuant to O.C.G.A. 50-14-3 (b)(1).

b. County Manager Brandon Rogers requests Executive Session for consultation with the County Attorney, or other legal counsel, to discuss pending or potential litigation, settlement, claims, administrative proceedings, or other judicial actions brought or to be brought by or against the county or any officer or employee or in which the county or any officer or employee may be directly involved, as provided in O.C.G.A. §50-14-2(1), germane to potential litigation.

Executive Session. 9:50 a.m.


Motion to adjourn. 10:28 a.m.

Agenda subject to change.

[Note from the Editor: There is a picture up top with a crowd of builders, etc. standing and talking to Chairman Briar Johnson after the meeting that goes back to Johnson's comment about wishing they had stayed. It appears that someone texted a member of this group of people and told them that the commissioners were talking badly about them. I didn't hear anything from the commissioners with the exception of that one comment though there was a lot of jack jawing from members in the audience as this group of people walked out of the meeting. I was glad to see them walk back in to hear the end of the meeting. Johnson did say that he wished that they had stayed to see other ways that the county is trying to bring in money, but he did not ridicule anyone.]

[Note from the Editor: If you appreciate being able to read information from county meetings for free on Pike County Times, please make a donation to Pike County Times through the PayPal link at the bottom of the page or by check to Pike County Times at PO Box 843, Zebulon so I can justify the amount of time that I am spending away from family. It may not seem like much but sitting in a meeting and then typing it up takes a lot more time than you might imagine! Thanks for reading Pike County's only FREE newspaper.]