Pike County Times

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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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Tuesday, July 26, 2022 – 6:30 p.m.
Courthouse, Main Courtroom, 16001 Barnesville Street, Zebulon, Georgia
Courthouse Doors on East/South Sides open at 6:00 p.m.
Town Hall Meeting at 6:15 p.m.

Click here to see the agenda and all uploaded items for this meeting.

Attended by all Commissioners James Jenkins, Jason Proctor, Tim Guy, Tim Daniel, Chairman Briar Johnson, County Clerk Angela Blount, County Manager (CM) Brandon, and County Attorney Rob Morton.

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

2. INVOCATION ........ Keith Ford

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

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

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

a. Minutes of the July 13, 2022, Regular Monthly Meeting.



a. Monthly Reports submitted from County Departments and County Authorities, including a Revenue/Expenditure Statement for all departments and a summary check register. There are no Department reports as they will be provided during the first Board meeting in August. Revenue/Expenditure Statement and Detail Check Register is included.

b. County Manager Report

Update on County finances for the following funds/accounts:
General Fund ........ $3,476,641.38
Fire Dept. Donations ........ $7,520.67
Cash Reserve Account ........ $417,445.85
Jail Fund ........ $34,218.57
E-911 Fund ........ $373,582.60
DATE Fund ........ $40,967.37
Juvenile Court Fund ........ $13,059.27
Residential Impact Fee ........ $1,228,411.25
Commercial Impact Fees ........ $169,879.31
C.A.I.P FUND ........ $33,347.69
General Obligation SPLOST Tax Bond Sinking Fund, 2016 ........ $2,140,390.51
L.M.IG. Grant (DOT) ........ $570,982.64

c. County Manager Comment

County received 2nd distribution of ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds. $3,589,089.06 in the account now. Projects have already started.

Received impact fee refund requests from two houses in Zebulon. The county does not collect for the city. These were collected by the city by mistake. He asked to refund $2,404.15 each to the person who built these. Motion to approve. Discussion: Is there are reason that the city of Zebulon does not pay impact fees? They do not allow the county to accept impact fees on their behalf like the other cities. County Attorney Rob Morton advised that the city has its own impact fee program and water fees, and it's from the mid 1990's. This was negotiated at that time, but the other cities allowed the county the collect impact fees on their behalf. Comments: So they are not contributing to the Recreation Department, ambulance, etc.? Correct. Approved 4-1 with Jason Proctor opposed.

CM Rogers and Commissioner Jenkins sat in on LOST (Local Option Sales Tax) negotiations. Each city will discuss this at their next council meeting.
Current percentages are: 74% Pike County, 11.88% Zebulon, 3.4% Williamson, 4.17% Molena, 3% Meansville, and 3.55% Concord.
Proposal for the committee is 80% Pike County, 8.4% Zebulon, 4% Williamson, 3.5% Molena, 1% Meansville, and 3.5% Concord.
Cm Rogers said that it appears that Molena, Williamson, and Concord are in favor of the numbers while Meansville has some questions and needs to discuss with its council before proceeding. Zebulon wants a higher percentage than this.

d. Commissioner Reports

Commissioner Tim Guy said that there has been discussion about the boat ramp. He wants the citizens to know that I am working on it for the county and for the people of the county. He would like to see something nice go in that area for the people of the county. We don’t have any access right now. He’d like to see something nice in the future. [Note from the Editor: pikecountytimes.com/secondary/BOA7.21.22.html is the recent Board of Appeals Meeting which centered around an appeal request regarding the rocks that were removed at the boat ramp.]

Commissioner Jason Proctor said that as far as employees go, we have talked about CM evaluations, but we should implement something for employees and do something based on evaluations rather than across the board. Constitutional officers handle their own employees.

Proctor also asked about information on consolidated government for the counties and cities. He thinks that we should at least look at this for our county.

Commissioner James Jenkins went through the check register and had some questions. A check was written on 7.19.22 to National Business Furniture for $14,0000+. CM Rogers advised that this is part of the EMA grant for the Emergency Operations Center. Desk, chairs, to outfit the Emergency Operations Centers building. Hazard mitigation grant. [Note from the Editor: Citizens can look through the check register and see what our county is writing checks for on our behalf by clicking on the link at the top of the page. I ask about things like this from time to time too. It makes me happy to see commissioners paying attention to details like this.]

A check was written on June 21, 2022 to Pyrotechnico for $7,500. Sounds like fireworks. CM Rogers said that the Bicentennial committee had money to put into the events. One that they helped with was the Christ Chapel fireworks. Rather than us doing this, we chipped in to help them with this event. Commissioner Jenkins said that the check stub reads that it’s a donation to Christ Chapel. He asked the County Attorney, Can we do this that way? County Attorney Rob Morton said that the county is not authorized to donate to a 3rd party. That is a violation of the gratuities clause.

CM Brandon Rogers said, "I will look at it, and we will fix this." The question was asked whether the Committee could do this rather than the county. Morton said that funds donated to an event like this may be a violation of the gratuities clause as well after it being established that this is taxpayer money.

[Note from the Editor: The Recreation Authority has provided fireworks for the county in the past. However, that is an authority that receives its money from the county without direction on how to spend it. They also used money from the concession stands that may have funded these events along with the $5 a car. I don't know all the ins and outs of this, but that was not a violation of the gratuities clause, and the Rec Authority 4th of July Celebration was discussed at length by the commissioners and the attorney prior to the events in open meetings. That didn't happen with this event. There wasn't communication with the county attorney beforehand, or this would not have occurred. Communication is an issue that needs to be corrected immediately if it hasn't been corrected already. Now for the open records requests on this issue.

Check #130576 was pulled from the Commissioners General Fund and budgeted from a line item for "Community Events." The description is "Donation-Christ Chapel" as this was the entity that put on the 4th of July Fireworks for the community again this year. (I was out of state but heard that the celebration was wonderful!) But that is beside the point because of this check made out from the General Fund that consisted of taxpayer funds and could be a violation of State Law. Please note: This has nothing to do with the recipient being a church. The expenditure itself is the issue. After doing a quick search on the Gratuities Clause online, I pulled up a page from the Georgia Municipal Association which read as follows, "Text of Gratuities Clause
• The GC of the Georgia Constitution provides, in pertinent part, that except as otherwise provided:
– The General Assembly shall not have the power to grant any donation or gratuity or to forgive any debt or obligation owing to the public, and
– The General Assembly shall not grant or authorize extra compensation to any public officer, agent, or contractor after the service has been rendered or the contract entered into.
• Ga. Const. Art. III, Sec. VI, Para VI
I am not an attorney, but this is why we have an attorney on staff for the county. Communication on expenditures is THAT important.

That brings another question to mind. As of April 18, 2022, $3,264 had been spent from the $13,200 that was budgeted in that account. This is from the Amended 2022-2023 Budget. There was no money in this line item in 2020-2021 according to the amended preliminary budget shown above. A discussion that needs to be held at the next meeting includes what is that line item and what all has come out of it for expenses besides the Fireworks check.

UPDATED 8.8.22: I realized that I missed something in this part of the write up after reviewing my notes on Saturday night. After Mr. Morton said that the county is not authorized to make ANY donations to a 3rd party and that it sounded like a violation of the State Constitution's Gratuities Clause (which prevents taxpayer funds being spent on pure entertainment), CM Rogers asked what the date on the check was. He was advised that it was made on June 21, 2022. Then he said, "I wasn't here at that time. So I'll look at it, and we can fix it. That's not a problem."

The April 25, 2022 minutes from the Pike County Bicentennial Celebration Committee read, "Special Guest: County Manager, Brandon Rogers." Section V New Business was a discussion of the Independence Day Celebration/Pike Pride Celebration that says, "Pike County will team with Christ Chapel this year to provide a more robust celebration. "1) The event will take place on June 26, 2022. 2) The County will represent the Bicentennial Committee in financially supporting a larger firework display and public safety/public works personnel." 3) There was also going to be a discussion about a t-shirt collaboration that featured this event and the Bicentennial logo. I don't know if the t-shirt collaboration happened but in the big scheme of things, that was not my biggest concern. My biggest concern is the implication that this committee along with Economic Development Director might have acted without the knowledge of the county manager. And looking at these minutes--which were not provided to the county in the Morning Meeting Agenda Department Head Monthly Reports along with the Economic Development Report each month but IMO should be forwarded to the County Clerk from this point forward--that is most certainly NOT the case. The county manager was aware of what was going on because he had been a part of the initial discussion months ago, there was money in a specific account for this expenditure, and the county received a W-9 and invoice for the check which implies that there was permission given to write this $7,500 check for the fireworks. Perhaps it wasn't meant this way (insinuate anything against the committee--added to be sure that this was clear), but it needs to be said out loud.

My concern is that we have a great group of volunteers working together to plan events including the August 20 Celebration on the Square and the two upcoming Christmas events as well as working with various groups around the county for smaller pop-up type events to celebrate our Bicentennial, and this should not reflect on them in any way. This was discussed and was written in their minutes, and the county manager was there. Our volunteers are our most precious asset here in Pike County, and I do NOT want any of this reflecting on them because they did exactly what they were told that they could do or they wouldn't have done it. I know almost everyone on that committee, and their reputations are outstanding.]

[Note from the Editor: This was discussed after the Christmas Tree but moved up so it would be with the rest of the discussion on this report.] More discussion on the fireworks. For clarification about the fireworks, will it matter if it comes from the county or the Bicentennial Committee? Rob hasn’t been asked to look at this. Any agency connected to local government is subject to the gratuities clause. If they fall under the BOC, his immediate thought is that the Committee is subject to the clause.

On April 26, 2022, a check was written to 144 Marketing Group for $10,096 Sheriff’s Office. This was for outfitting the cars for the Sheriff's Office.

Commissioner Jenkins then said that it was brought to his attention that the county bought a Christmas Tree for $12,700. CM Rogers said that Building and Grounds had some extra funds that were not utilized, and he did agree to this. Commissioner Tim Guy asked about the tree. Prelit and 18 feet tall. We were having issues getting trees donated. Jenkins said that he orders a 12 foot tree every year for $75. The vendor that it was purchased from was there in a booth at the ACCG Conference, but it was not bought at the conference.

[Note from the Editor: Check #130618, invoice date of June 23, 2022, was written from Department: 18 Buildings & Grounds Fund: 100 General Fund for an 18 foot Christmas Tree in the amount of $12,756.85. This is an 18 foot Natural Branch Garland Tree with 4 foot CD Star on a 9 foot base (C9 LEDs on Tree, C7 LED Cool White on Star) ($10,000) and includes an Lor Animation for 188 foot Panel Tree and hardware for 3 different colors with silent animation ($2,756.85). The invoice says that the customer would pick this up at the business location in Gainsville, Georgia. Click here to see how these trees work.

Pike County Times requested emails going back 5 years that mentioned the word "Christmas Tree." Current emails show that a Holiday Designs employee sent information to the county manager on April 28, 2022 advising that the company looked forward to seeing him at the ACCG Conference. An email from May 26, 2022 from Holiday Designs to Ken Lalumiere, Director of Building and Grounds, gave a quote on panel Christmas Trees that ranged from a 14 foot Christmas Tree with a 3 foot star and a 7 foot base at $5,995 to a 30 foot Christmas Tree with a 4 foot star and a 15 foot base at $29,195. Trees are made in the USA, steel frames are acid washed and coated with a baked-on powder finish, all steel frames are warranted for 10 Christmas seasons and electrical components are warranted for 3 Christmas seasons, LED bulbs are warranted for 2 Christmas seasons (burned out bulbs ONLY-I have no idea what that means), 2 extra LED bulbs are included. On June 14, 2022 at 8:48 a.m., an email that went from Lalumiere to Rogers asked, "Do you want me to order the tree? 11-12K" The reply was given on June 17 from Rogers to Lalumiere that said, "If you still have the funds go ahead and order the tree."

The line item for Maintenance Rprs/Exp - All Facilities had an actual expenditure of $155,407.00 in the 2020-2021 budget. There was $72,085.80 budgeted in the 2021-2022 budget that had an actual expenditure of $37,079,00 by April 18, 2022 at 4:51 p.m. as can be seen at Amended 2022-2023 Budget.

Looking back at emails that go back to 2018, Building and Grounds has been in charge of putting up the Christmas Tree along with setting up the square for the annual Christmas celebration. This event was cancelled because of the weather. (Is that the year that it was so cold?!) In 2019, there was an email from Ginny Blakeney to Brandon Rogers, John Hanson, and Rob Morton that laid out the specifics for the event and asked if the county needed help seeking out a Christmas Tree. I remember a couple of big trees being donated from beside a resident's driveway maybe two years in a row, but I don't have information about specific donations over the past couple of years. I guess it's a moot point right now anyway. I do not know if there is a dollar limit for expenditures to come before the commissioners for discussion, but if there isn't, now might be the time to do this. I've seen counties that have a $10,000 limit without commissioner approval. That would not have helped with the fireworks, but it certainly would have with the tree.]

Chairman Johnson advised that there are two board openings: Region 4 EMS Council and Agribusiness. He also advised that the Sheriff is going to present commissioners with a notebook and needs assessment study for jail, 911, etc. Completing a cost analysis for this. He will present this to everyone at the next meeting.

e. County Attorney Report to Commissioners

Morton advised that a bond petition and complaint with a hearing on August 9 for validation order for the bond. All of the documentation is completed.

He had an in-person meeting with Walker Chandler. Reviewed documentation for Flat Shoals access information and Chandler identified what documentation he needed..


a. Open sealed bids for review regarding the design and engineering services for the road construction, drainage improvements, and paving for 11.6 miles of unimproved roads in Pike County. [Note from the Editor: This is for Blanton Mill Road, Wood Creek Road, Shady Lane, McKinley Road, Roberts Quarters Road, and Old Zebulon Road.]

Todd Goolsby from Public Works is here, but Rogers would like to postpone this until the end of the meeting and make a recommendation at the end of the meeting. There are 4.

Civil Survey Inc. $896,000

Whitley Engineering. Options. 0-1 million 6-8%. 1-2 million 5-7%. 4-6 % over 2 million. Survey, etc. There were several other costs in here including 3-5% of construction costs.

Perspective Engineering. $1,545,211

Falcon Design. Total to be given at the end of the meeting it is broken out by percentages rather than a total. [Note from the Editor: This amount was $1,064,900.]

In the past, we have made a motion pending final review with Public Works Director. Doesn’t really want to postpone until the next meeting. Can postpone if we need to. Rob made a suggestion to receive the bids. Motion to receive the bids. Approved 5-0.

Motion to table until later in the meeting. Approved 5-0.


a. Consider five appointments to the Pike Zoning Board. Applicants have met criteria.

New process because we are making decisions based on districts. CM Rogers interviewed everyone, and commissioners reached out as well. Going to go through districts. Chairman Johnson had someone call who was not familiar with the process. This is going to dissolve one board and bring two boards together with 5 members for variances, appeals, and zonings. If they make the final decision, they will continue to do that. If they make a recommendation, that will remain the same. These will be rotating appointments.

District 1 applicant is Jason Leatherman.

District 2 applicants Ron Snowden and Brandy Loggins.

District 3 applicants are: Scott Huckaby, Bryan Pate, Bonnie Byrd-Gardner.

District 4 applicants are: Windell Peters, Ed Penland, Jason Brisendine, Kel Brannon, Charles Kelly Barrow.

Rogers noted that 2 of the applicants are not currently here. If Bryan Pate or Kel Brannon are appointed, then we need to postpone because they are required to be here if not a current serving. What have we done in the past? They need to be present to be appointed, but this could be postponed.

District 1 Commissioner Tim Daniel. Motion to appoint Jason Leatherman. Approved 5-0.

District 2. Commissioner Tim Guy thanked both applicants and especially Ron Snowden for his service on this committee in the past. Motion to appoint Brandy Loggins. Approve 5-0.

District 3 Jason Proctor thanked Bonnie Byrd-Gardner and Scott Huckaby for the work they have done serving on this board, but he is going to motion to postpone to appoint Bryan Pate. Motion to postpone to appoint Bryan Pate. Approved 5-0.

District 4. James Jenkins said that this was a tough decision and that he thinks that all of them would do an awesome job for the county. Reviewed applications and talked to them about why they wanted the job. He said that Ed Penland spent the first years of his career in automotive, but for the last 20 years, he has done commercial, residential, etc. He started the buildings on 362 and said that this was well done for the commercial side. He purchased a trailer park that was an eyesore and turned it into commercial. It was a job well done. Numerous homes that he has bought from blight, etc. and turned them around and done a good job for the last 20 years. That is why I’m choosing Ed Penland. Motion to appoint Ed Penland. Approved 5-0.

Chairman Briar Johnson was able to pull from the all of the applicants for an at-large position. He said that all would be brand new on this committee so he is going to choose someone with some experience. Scott Huckaby brings experience and his heart is in it. Everyone was a good applicant. Please continue to apply for decisions. Motion to appoint Scott Huckaby for the at large position. That board will pick their chairman. Approved 5-0.

CM said that Commissioner Jenkins asked to be the representative… Commissioner Jenkins normally does this. Motion to appoint Commissioner Jenkins. Approved 5-0.

County Manager and Todd Goolsby left the meeting.

b. Appoint County voting delegate for the 2022 Legislative Leadership Conference.

Commissioner Jenkins normally does this. Motion to appoint Commissioner Jenkins. Approved 5-0.

c. Ratify Use of Courthouse Grounds.

Chamber of Commerce approached at the last minute about the square last Friday. It was determined to allow the courthouse grounds, but the courthouse grounds use will come to the county from now on. Asked a motion to ratify the use of courthouse grounds. Approved 5-0. [Note from the Editor: This is for the Old Plank Crawl event that was held in downtown Zebulon on July 23.]

d. Approve/deny SUB-22-08 - Mark & Joy Lane owners and Forrest Lane applicant are requesting a major 14 lot subdivision (Lane's Place). The owner and applicant are requesting concurrent preliminary and final plat approval. Property Location: Eastside of Reid Road, South of E. Milner Road. Land Lots: 100 & 125 of the 8th Land District. Parcel ID: Portion of 091 019. Acreage: 155.27 acres. Commission District: 3, Commissioner: Jason Proctor. FEMA Data: Does not lie within a flood zone.

14 lots. No new infrastructure. AR zoning. All larger than 3 with 20.77 acres for the largest. No public utilities available. 1500 square feet minimum. Planning Commission recommended approval with no conditions. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

e. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input regarding REZ-22-04 Priscilla Killingsworth, owner and applicant request a rezoning from C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) to A-R (Agricultural- Residential) for property located at 3265 US Highway 19, Meansville Ga, 30256 in Land Lots 205 of the 8th District, further identified as Parcel ID number 084-001A. The property consists of 0.18 +/- acres and the request is to revert the zoning back to A-R. Commission District 3, Commissioner Jason Proctor.
Action: Discuss/Approve/Deny

PUBLIC HEARINGS. 20 minutes for each side.

Applicant made request to revert to AR. There is an old general store that hasn’t been in operation since 2010. Planning Commission made recommendation with no conditions. Staff agrees.


Bonnie Byrd Gardner. Mrs. Killingsworth doesn’t want to speak, but common sense says that you should be able to revert it back to match the rest of the property.


Discussion. None. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

f. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input regarding REZ-22-05 Shannon Pittman, owner and applicant request a rezoning from M-1 (Manufacturing-Rural) to C-3 (Heavy Commercial) for property located at 1407 US Highway 19, Meansville, GA 30256 in Land Lot 206 of the 8th District, further identified as Parcel ID 084 024C. The property consists of 3.55 +/- acres. Commission District 3, Commissioner Jason Proctor.
Action: Discuss/Approve/Deny

Planning and Development Director Jeremy Gilbert spoke and advised that this rezoning is for an auto repair shop to allow an auto paint supply. It had a 2015 special exception in M-1. Currently not allowed in M-1. Denied M-1 to C-3 in 2014 and had to wait a year. Hence the special exception. C-3 is around this. Planning Commission and Staff recommendation with recommendations: (from the post agenda) 1) An annual business license is required, 2) Any new signage shall conform to the Pike County Sign Ordinance, 3) Any added lighting shall be night sky friendly, 4) Vehicles in any state of disrepair shall not be stored outside, 5) The buffers and setbacks of the adjacent stream shall not be encroached upon, 6) The use and storage of all applicable materials, chemicals, etc. pertaining to the business shall conform to all local, state and federal guidelines.



Discussion: Chairman Johnson asked that this is a supply place and not a workshop. The purchaser was at the meeting. Gilbert said that he will supply paint and does demonstrations, but this is more like C-3 than M-1. C-3 allows him to sell the products. No automobile repairs there. If he sells or leases, there is a special exception. Since no neighbors are here to oppose, motion to approve with conditions: (from the post agenda) 1. An annual business license is required. 2. Any new signage shall conform to the Pike County Sign Ordinance. 3. Any added lighting shall be night sky friendly. 4. Vehicles in any state of disrepair shall not be stored outside. 5. The buffers and setbacks of the adjacent stream shall not be encroached upon. 6. The use and storage of all applicable materials, chemicals, etc. pertaining to the business shall conform to all local, state, and federal guidelines. Approved 5-0.

Back to discussion of the sealed bids. Public Works Director Todd Goolsby and CM Rogers back in the meeting. Whitley Engineering was a little different with variable percentage based on the cost of each road. Apples to apples comparison. Went with option 1. Figuring that this will be about $800,000. That will be higher percentages.
Civil Survey Inc - $896,000
Falcon Design - $1,064,900
Perspective Engineering - $1,545,211.
Recommended award to Whitley Engineering and go with option 1 and then figure whether this will be 6 or 8%. Figured on the 8% so this would be apples to apples. Motion to award the bid to Whitley Engineering pending the final negotiations. Approved 5-0.

10. PUBLIC COMMENT (Limited to 5 minutes per person) - NONE

11. EXECUTIVE SESSION: 7:36 p.m.

a. County Attorney Rob Morton requests Executive Session for discussion or deliberation on the appointment, employment, compensation, hiring, disciplinary action or dismissal, or periodic evaluation or rating of a public officer or employee or interviewing applicants for the position of the executive head of an agency, as provided in O.C.G.A. § 50-14-3(b)(2), germane to personnel.

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 pending and potential litigation.

Back in Session. 9:54 p.m.

Working on the RPF when new business came up for item D. What is an entrance for a subdivision? 155.36 a.1.b any entrance into a subdivision requires the planning commission to tell the developer how much to pave. Determination by Attorney Rob Morton and Planning and Development Director Jeremy Gilbert is that the entrance is a one or two entrances into a major subdivision. Not 14 curb cuts. CM Rogers suggested clarifying this because each of these houses is an entrance to a major subdivision but it’s not a traditional entrance into the major subdivision. Was the intent for the road to be paved? Morton and Gilbert both said no and that this is just for the traditional entrance. Brandon said that it cost the county a lot of money to curb and cut the right of way on Fossett. There needs to be something to improve the road width, etc. Commissioner Jason Proctor mentioned cutting ditches. CM Rogers said that you can spend a lot of money putting down gravel too. CM Rogers asked for ideas from commissioners to clarify this. Commissioners Jenkins and Proctor said that it needs to be paved. Morton said that policy provides for a paved road, but there is one section that talks about gravel roads. Morton suggested talking to people about agreements so builders know what is expected of them. If they are not going to pave it, CM Rogers said, it needs to be brought to county standards with ditching and gravel because it’s hurting the county to do this when the gravel should be used to maintain the roads.

Motion to adjourn. 10:02 p.m.


Agenda subject to revision.

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