Pike County Times
The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. Click here to donate through PayPal. 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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Wednesday, May 13, 2015 – 1:00 p.m.
Courthouse Annex, 79 Jackson Street, Zebulon, Georgia

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

2. INVOCATION……………………………………………………………………...Ben Maxedon

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

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


All 5 commissioners are present along with Jo Ann Wrye to type the minutes, County Manger (CM) Hanson, and County Attorney Rob Morton.

CM Hanson presented some changes. Contingency lowered again this year but we have only dipped into $1,000.

Elections Department – March and May elections next year. Runoffs will be budgeted in the following year.

There is a savings this year from last year including a savings of $48,000 to $35,000 on one contract and printing went down too. Travel expenses went down too. Phone services for AT&T have been a problem because of the continuing problems with billing.

CM Hanson said that Charter Communications was at an IDA meeting a while back and Charter has talked about giving a significant savings of $15,000 to $20,000 per year here at the County and the Sheriff’s Office as far as computers and land line phone lines go. If this contract comes through, there is a possibility of bringing coaxial cable into the county for some residents. [Note from the Editor: Hallelujah!! AT&T may have some competition FINALLY!]

Registrar’s Office. Discussion is ongoing on a state level because the state is demanding that we have a certain number of people at the polls even if we have light voter turnout and it costs the county money that really isn’t needed.

Clerk of Court’s Office. There are a couple of positions that need to be filled and will require training.

Tax Commissioner. She is trying to manage her office as efficiently as possible. There is going to be a 12 hour day on Thursdays and there will no longer be Saturday service at some point in the future. It will be the same service for no additional money. An additional line was added to her office so the citizens can get through even if they are on a line with the State, etc.

Tax Assessor. They want to add an Appraiser 2 position to be in the field on a daily basis. This is the $32,000 additional in their budget. Our county operates based on the funds that come in through appraisals in this office. This Board has been operating very efficiently.

Building and Grounds. Brandon has really stretched these budget dollars. CM Hanson said that we have tried to use probationers for work like this, but we haven’t had the results that we thought. If we used inmates, it was a different story because there was direct control. Probation help is not dependable at this point so we are hiring a part-time position to help with this.

Clerk of Superior Court. The Clerk of Court wanted to compensate a couple of employees extra because of taking on extra duties, but CM Hanson said that he is recommending the same for all employees across the board.

District Attorney. Went down nearly $3,000 from last year.

Magistrate Court. Her changes are salary related and she is trying to restructure her employees based on cases that come through her court.

Probate Court. There is an increase to add a fax line. He has been sharing with Superior Court prior to this, but

Court. This is for appeals for criminal cases or jury trials. You don’t know whether you’ll have this or not but have to budget for it.

Public Defender. Allen Adams has worked to keep this the same for many years and is trying to work to keep this the same or even reduced for county expenses. No change this year.

Inmate Care. We don’t know what kind of bills will be required to take care of patients. If we arrest someone and they need hospital care or mental health care, it is on the taxpayer dollar.

Inmate Medical. This was cut $90,000 last year and will be close this year, but we are going to keep it at $80,000 again this year.

Sheriff’s Office. This and Public Works are our largest budget expenditures. The purchase of two Chargers are in next year’s budget. He is working to purchase one through a salary line item and insurance will replace the one that was totaled a few months back. The Sheriff asked for one SUV next year so there will be a vehicle for each shift at some point in the future. The SUV that we have seems to be holding up well on our dirt roads, probably better for gas mileage, and holding up well maintenance-wise too. No salary or position changes in this budget. Our radio coverage system needs some updating at some point in the future because we have some dead spots in the county still. This will be for a future expense.

Jail. No major changes in this. One of the vehicles spoken about above will be for the Jail and actually come out of this budget. We have done a lot of work in house from Building and Grounds and Public Works.

Coroner. No changes. Training is involved in this new budget.

Ambulance Contract. We have to do an assessment on this. $395,000 is budgeted for this and will remain until this contract is approved. This will go down at least $25,000 because the highest bidder was $370,000 in today’s meeting. CM Hanson and County Attorney Rob Morton is going to go through this bid process and they will check references and make calls to ensure that we are getting the best information possible. He wants to finalize this on the 26th so commissioners can have a workshop on the 19th. Grady Reliant requested to be on the agenda this morning, but they are going to be treated the same as everyone else. Mid Georgia has asked to be on a future agenda to address issues with commissioners.

Public Works. Significant change is that we are doing county-wide patching with the new equipment so we won’t have to continuously be fixing the same places over and over again and some of this will be paid for with LMIG dollars. McKinley and New Hope are on the list after they finish Cook Road, and they will continue around the entire county.

Caterpillar Lease. There will be a reduction in a lease and interest on one of the pieces of equipment. This will enable us to pay more principle and $5,000 will be saved next year.

Maintenance and Repair. We budgeted $449,000 to $325,000 because we had to pay out for the winter storm. There was also a culvert that we had to replace but some of that was paid for with state funds. We have a plan for major repairs and there is still $52,000 from last year’s prior year fund balance that can still be used for gravel and other needed repair items.

DFCS. They have an increase, but there was a position that was split by the state last year. There was a clerical error last year where that position was only funded by ¼ instead of ½. They have given money back in the past and are operating as efficiently as they can with what they have.

Senior Center. There are some changes coming. The Council on Aging has had conversation with the county about their diminishing help in running our Senior Center. Butts and Lamar have left this umbrella and it’s just Pike and Spalding this year. Pike County may have to take this over as a county item. Services are under the Senior Center but really should be under another line item like McIntosh Trail items for transportation, etc. 3 Rivers runs it now and the federal and state government pay a certain amount based on meals served, etc. If Pike takes this over, that money would come to the county instead of the Council on Aging. We need to consider what we want to do as a county in case we want to take this over. We could possibly get grants on this too. Hanson said that we can take this over and our revenues would be about the same as the expenses that we have. Lanier Boatright is advocating the county taking this over because we can have more say so on what is going on and maybe get some more community support by running it here. The two buses that the Council on Aging gave to Pike County are not the same buses that do transit here. These two buses will be used to transport our seniors to events or places like the north Georgia mountains that seniors pay a small fee to attend. We already have a vehicle that delivers meals, the employees would stay the same, we already own the building, and we are already paying for the utilities so this would be a win for us as a county. This will be ready for the next reading.

Commissioner Powers had to leave during this part of the discussion.

Recreation. There is a $1,500 increase over last year and all departments are getting raises for their employees.

Library. He is recommending the same as before. They requested one part-timer to full-time and for 2 employees to increase their pay. That equates to $24,000 for these lines only and they want another $10,000 for books, but he is recommending that employees get the same raise increase as the rest of the county. $1,500 increase is what he recommended before and is staying with along with the raise across the board.

County Agent. There are some additional hours in the office that need to be covered so he recommended this change.

Planning and Development. There will be a part-time position that changes to full-time and will be split between Animal Control Officer including Code Enforcement. Hanson spoke to Novin Darcy and he said that he does not want to be the animal control officer so this will be advertised in June. We have been sharing a vehicle for needs but are planning to sell a car and buy a truck that is more for our needs.

IDA was cut to $80,000 last year and are at $100,000 this year. It was $170,000 in past years and included a split with the Chamber than included a paid person to help be an advocate for them. They have hired a consultant and thinks that we will see more effort from this year. Hanson spoke about them bringing Comcast to the table to speak with the county about the possibility of service earlier in the meeting. Discussion that members of the IDA are people with jobs and they are doing this right now with no pay. They have hired a consultant, but the commissioners are going to need to see results before they advocate extra money to help change our tax base.

Agribusiness. Got $13,000 instead of $12,000.

Fire Department. There is an overall decrease. Hanson said that there is $100,000 still in the account but there are some changes coming before the commissioners very soon because the end of the year is coming. The Fire Chief is discussing a grant today that would turn a heavy duty vehicle into a brush truck for the county at no cost. Hanson said that he is doing a good job and doing well with the money that they have to spend.

Animal Control. We are trying to be as frugal as possible and cover our expenses as well. We have a truck with two cages now. The major stuff like sewer was done last year and Building and Grounds have done a lot of work in house that saved the county money. At some point, this will be a stand alone department but for now, Planning and Development Director David Allen will continue to oversee this for now.

E911. They have a decrease based on positions. We will also be done paying off AT&T for upgrades to their system.

Hanson has asked commissioners to look at 2% or 3% raises for employees across the board.

Motion to accept as 1st reading of the budget with the suggested changes by the County Manager and a 3% raise for employees to be included for the 2nd reading. Daniel, Jenkins. Approved 4-0. (Powers was absent.)


Motion to adjourn 2:28 p.m.

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