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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Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
Courthouse, Main Courtroom, 16001 Barnesville Street, Zebulon, Georgia
Courthouse Doors on East/South Sides open at 6:00 p.m.

All five commissioners were present along with County Clerk Jo Ann Wrye, County Manager John Hanson, and County Attorney Rob Morton.

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

2. INVOCATION…………………………………………………………………….Bart Brock

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

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

[Note from the Editor: I arrived after the agenda had been amended to discuss appointing the County Manager as the Interim Planning and Zoning Director until the county can finish doing interviews and get someone in place in that department.]


a. Approve/Deny 2nd Reading of the FY 2018-2019 Budget

Discussion began with creating a separate department in line 77 labeled Economic Development. Click here to see a copy of the Annual Budget Estimate for Deparment 77: Economic Development and the job description for the position: Economic Development Director and Governmental Affairs Liason.

The Board of Commissioners and IDA would work together with this and money is coming to this department from both places. Ginny Blakeney would be working with the IDA and that would bring down the Commission line item and the IDA line item as well. This includes gas/diesel if she doesn’t use her vehicle. Jenkins asked about travel - $4,000? Training and registration $7,500 total for next year. CM Hanson said that this is similar to her training now. Helping provide info on the sale of lots. The IDA is in the ownership of property. This would have someone in the field to help move and sell these lots. Jenkins asked what the IDA is for? CM Hanson: They ought to be an advisory board to help with bonds and tax. Ginny would serve as their director but be under the county. This would be as a director to serve their board. They sold another lot yesterday so now under $300,000 for debt. We reduced the IDA budget by $12,000.

Currently Ginny is accounts payable, assistant to Public Works, liason to the IDA through the intergovernmental agreement. She would be the director and work on governmental affairs for us as well as grant writing, etc. for the county. They have property on the digest and we have put some effort toward this to make property marketable but there hasn’t been any real effort in this endeavor.

Then the VA was brought into the discussion. James Jenkins said that the VA has to be within 5 miles of a hospital by federal law, and we don’t fit. He brought this rumor to the attention of the Board. [Note from the Editor: I don't have a clue, but I do know that the VA approached Pike County about this and would assume that someone knows that we do not have a hospital within 5 miles of us already.] CM Hanson said that we have to focus on economic development with or without them. CM Hanson: We have two industrial parks that need to be put on the market and we need to be proactive on business to help reduce our tax digest.

Commissioner Daniel said that we are the only county in our region that do not have someone doing this. He said that the plus on this is that this person is going to be housed out of our office so we know what is going on. CM Hanson that she could continue doing our accounts payable for right now even though it’s not in her job description. She’s already doing a lot of this already and the IDA is supportive of this.

Commissioner Jenkins said that other counties have IDA or economic development except for Spalding County that is much bigger than we are. They are the only one that has someone who answers directly to the county commission. John said that he has seen problems with power and purse strings in other cases between the IDA and the county.

Commissioners Daniel said that in 25 of the 159 counties, the development person works directly for the county. Henry and Coweta County are in that list. Further discussion included that they are bigger than we are.

Discussion on pay. $41,911 is what she is making now. She has said that she is willing to serve however the county chooses. Salary range is normally $48,000 to $60,000. CM Hanson said that he thought that we ought to bring her up to date with others around the state. She’ll need a cell phone and a jet pack. It would be an additional $115 a week for her salary. Can we do this as a trial for three years and see how it goes? John said that the board can do anything that they want. This would put one person as a contact for our county.

Commissioner Daniel said that he read several years worth of minutes for another county and a lot of that county representative's work was writing grants. Statement was made that she might be able to save us money down the road from property sales, etc. CM Hanson said that if she wanted to do this for the same amount now, she has said that she would do this. Commissioner Guy said that he is good with the extra money going up to $48,000. Commissioner Powers said that he agrees with Tim but said that he disagrees with 36 months on this.

Chairman Johnson said that we need to give her something for being a department head and asked if they need to go into executive session for further discussion. Rob said that it could be discussed in Executive Session if the commissioners chose to accept it but it doesn’t have to be discussed in Executive Session.

Commissioner Daniel asked, Her position with Accounts Payable will not be replaced in the office? CM Hanson said that we are going more electronic in our process. Chairman Johnson asked about changing her salary from $41,000 to $48,000 and what commissioners wanted to do. Commissioner Powers said that he doesn’t have a problem with this. Motion to move forward with this with a salary of $48,000. Powers, Guy.

Discussion: Jenkins. We’ll still have an IDA and a County Manager. He made it clear to the board and asked to have it stated in the minutes that his decision on this has nothing to do with the person who is being considered. He said that is a business decision for him. We have people in our office who are awesome at what they do.

Approved 4-1. Jenkins opposed.

[Note from the Editor: I missed the first budget hearing because I had other plans, but I am glad that I came to this meeting even though I was the only person sitting in the audience. It sounds like money is coming out of the IDA and Commission Office line items to help fund this new department, but I am concerned with whether this is effectively eliminating a position in the Commission Office or if someone is going to come back later and want another person in the office. I have a lot of other questions too and will update this after I get my answers. I usually look through the budget closely for new positions, raises, equipment, programs, etc. anyway. My issue here isn't with Ginny either because I've seen her work and she is thorough. My problem here is that I was surprised with all of this, and I have followed Pike County government long enough that I don't like being surprised. I'll update after I get more information. The final budget meeting will be on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. prior to the 6:30 regular meeting. The public is welcome to attend.]

B. Discuss Planning and Zoning Interim Director.

2 interviews have been conducted and 2 more are coming next week. CM Hanson has been reviewing permits and plats up until now, but legally, he needs to be designated as the Interim Head of the department until someone is brought in for this position.

Motion to appoint the County Manager as the Interim Director and Zoning Administrator. Discussion: Rob Morton said that this is a proper zoning decision and there is a new person in there who is serving as a secondary position but this would clear up any issues.

Motion to approve. 5-0. Approved.


Motion to adjourn. 7:07 p.m.

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