Pike County Times

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PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal at the link on the bottom of the page. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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Pike County Board of Commissioners Regular Meeting
Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 9:00 AM
Courthouse, Main Courtroom, 16001 Barnesville Street, Zebulon, Georgia
Town Hall Meeting at 8:45 a.m.

ZEBULON - Commissioners James Jenkins, Jason Proctor, Tim Daniel, Tim Guy, and Chairman Briar Johnson were present along with County Clerk Angela Blount, County Manager (CM) Brandon Rogers, and County Attorney Rob Morton.

1. CALL TO ORDER - Chairman J. Briar Johnson

2. INVOCATION - Keith Ford

3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE - Chairman J. Briar Johnson

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

a. Minutes of the August 30, 2022, Regular Monthly Meeting.
b. Minutes of the August 30, 2022, Executive Session.

Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.


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

Financial Reports

b. County Manager Report

Update on County finances for the following funds/accounts:
General Fund - $2,686,830.79
Fire Dept. Donations - $7,520.67
Cash Reserve Account - $467,509.49
Jail Fund - $35,509.68
E-911 Fund - $429,582.39
DATE Fund - $39,912.79
Juvenile Court Fund - $13,244.27
Residential Impact Fee - $1,275,407.06
Commercial Impact Fees - $169,879.31
C.A.I.P Fund $181,347.69
General Obligation S.P.L.O.S.T. Tax Bond Sinking Fund, 2016 - $1,457,719.49
L.M.I.G. Grant (DOT) - $261,119.51

c. County Manager Comments.

Christmas Parade Flyer. Asked for approval and suggestions. Thanked Meredith Maddox and the Chamber for their help on this. December 9 is our actual Bicentennial Day. Parade will be on Friday night. 7 p.m. start time. We want it to be dark for lights, etc. on floats. The Craft Fair will be on Saturday, December 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Motion to allow citizen to speak. Teri Totten advised that the Fire Department's Annual Christmas Party will be on that same Friday night so that is a conflict for having fire trucks in the parade. CM Rogers will get with the Fire Chief on this and work out the details because it was suggested that Chairman Briar Johnson could drive a fire truck.

CM Rogers received the last signature on the LOST last night so it can be sent to the Department of Revenue. Everything went well. He thanked everyone who was a part of the meetings. Said it was a lot of work and thanked everyone for their time and attendance on reaching an agreement.

CM Rogers asked commissioner to approve vacation time for Jennifer Gilow in the Commission Office. She was FT and then went PT and is FT again. Because of the swap, she has not been getting her vacation time. He wanted to bring this to the Board and asked the Board if we can consider her for her 80 hours of vacation time for her full 4 years. He said that he is asking for this because it is a policy issue. Motion to approve her as FT as well as her vacation time. Approved 5-0.

Discussion on annual millage rate and public hearings. Due to scheduling conflicts trying to get this done before October, tentatively have this scheduled for September 28 1st and 2nd hearings with the 3rd on October 5th with a SCM on the night of the 5th for the final adoption. The issue is whether the election will be held in December rather than January. Jenkins can’t make any of the meetings as they are scheduled now. The law requires that there be 7 days notice prior and one meeting has to be in the evening. This will give Tax Commissioner Donna Chapman everything that she needs. An email was sent out a couple of weeks ago to try to do this a week earlier. Classes, schools for people, and no county commission meeting on the 12th have made this complicated. Chairman Johnson asked that commissioners get back to the county manager as quickly as possible when he sends out emails on this.

Millage rate suggestion not to accept the full rollback this year. This requires 2 additional meetings. Set at 13.236 versus 11.986 last year. We are looking at an increase of about $100 to $125 increase on a $200,000 home. Fuel costs have doubled in the past year. Just fuel increase of $240,000 for the county. It’s a horrible time, inflation is terrible for everyone, but if we’re going to continue providing services to the people like they expect, we are going to have to do this. We will listen to citizens and make changes as needed. County Attorney Morton said that this is not establishing the millage rate today, but it is advising the public that there may be a change to the millage rate. The actual decision on whether or not to change the millage rate will be made at a later date, but the public must be advised in advance according to state law.

[Note from the Editor: This press release was sent to Pike County Times by request.]

"PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING A PROPOSED PROPERTY TAX INCREASE The Pike County Board of Commissioners today announces its intention to increase the 2022 property taxes that will levy this year by 16.93 percent over the rollback millage rate.

Each year, the board of tax assessors is required to review the assessed value for property tax purposes of taxable property in the county. When the trend of prices on properties that have recently sold in the county indicate there has been an increase in the fair market value of any specific property, the board of tax assessors is required by law to re-determine the value of such property and adjust the assessment. This is called a reassessment.

When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires a rollback millage rate must be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred.

The budget tentatively adopted by the Pike County Board of Commissioners requires a millage rate higher than the rollback millage rate; therefore, before the Pike County Board of Commissioners may finalize the tentative budget and set a final millage rate, Georgia law requires three public hearings to be held to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on the increase.

All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings on the tax increase to be held at the Pike County Courthouse courtroom at 16001 Barnesville St, Zebulon GA, 30295, on September 28, 2022, at 11:30 AM and 6:00 PM and on October 5, 2022 at 6:00 PM.

Jenkins asked when the emails were sent that were mentioned scheduling the millage rate meetings. CM Rogers advised that this was done about 2 weeks ago with the CM weekly update and the second was a week ago. There was a problem with Jenkins’ email at that time that has been fixed since then. [Note from the Editor: CM Rogers has begun sending weekly updates to commissioners. This was asked for quite some time ago but is finally being done. I like that it's being done. It keeps everyone on the same page. The tone of voice of meetings has completely changed from what it was even a month ago. There seems to be cooperation and respect for all of the commissioners that wasn't there before, and I even get quick replies to my emails when I send something to the county manager. I praised CM Rogers for what I'm seeing after the last meeting. In my 20+ years of sitting in county commission meetings, I have learned to praise the good stuff as well as calling out the bad stuff because I want to see more of the good stuff!]

There was an offer for accounts payable to an employee, and Heather Bell should start next Monday. CM Rogers said that it has been a struggle over the past couple of weeks. She is leaving a long-term job to come to us and won’t have vacation time by her scheduled vacation time in June of 2023. She is requesting that we give her some vacation time from the day of hire because she has a one week vacation scheduled for June of 2023. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

d. Commissioner Reports.

Guy – Call on Shortcut Road. Asked that Public Works look at this.

Proctor – Thanked Rosemary for her work at the library. He wants her and the Board to be aware that we might have had some inappropriate books at the library and asked that they would check what was being put into the library better. [Note from the Editor: There is great irony in this being discussed in a county meeting during Banned Book Week. Here are just a few books that have been banned in the past because someone in authority thought that they were inappropriate: Ferdinand the Bull, Yertle the Turtle, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Charlotte's Web, The Story of Babar, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Golden Compass, The Great Gatsby, Fahrenheit 451, Lord of the Flies, The Scarlet Letter, Uncle Tom's Cabin, A Wrinkle in Time, Huckleberry Finn, The Harry Potter Series, 1984, and The Bible... Y'all forgive me for being blunt, but I'm just going to say this the best way I know how. I don't agree with everything on FB, I don't agree with everything on the news, and I don't agree with everything in the library. However... this isn't about me because we have a big community with a lot of people and a lot of different opinions and things that they like too. As a parent whose kids grew up in this library, the Griffin Library, and libraries around the state that are connected to our library system (yes, I can tell you where the library is in Helen, Georgia!), my kids checked out ALL of their library books on MY library card until they were in their late teens (50 books is the limit on 1 library card--ask me how I know!), and I told them NO on some books depending on their ages. Why? Because it was my job to screen what they read when they were young and impressionable. Does it mean I didn't sometimes mess up and take something back quickly after realizing it? Nope because we did that occasionally. But I didn't make a fuss about it. Now there are exceptions where kids are being indoctrinated in school libraries where parents have no idea what they are reading and have been shut down in school board meetings for reading some of those books aloud. (NOT here but in different places around the country.) That is NOT what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a public library here in our county where parents SHOULD BE going in with their kids and monitoring what they read. If I complain about a book that I don't like and try to get it censored, someone else is liable to do the same to books that I like and agree with. The library is following guidelines put in place by the Flint River Library System. Personally, I follow the same way of thinking with the library as I do with FB when I don't like something. I just keep scrolling (or in this case moving to the next book) because this isn't about me, and parents have a responsibility when kids check out books at the local library. Rant done... with my apologies for having to say that out loud. In my opinion, someone needed to say it, and I might as well be the one. It's not personal toward anyone because I have no idea who made the complaint. It simply is what it is.]

e. County Attorney Report to Commissioners.

County Attorney Rob Morton said that he has filed response to frivolous action against 3 of the commissioners. He asked for a Motion to Dismiss to be granted.

Morton attended 3 of the meetings with the county manager in regard to LOST negotiations and told commissioners that they ought to be proud of the CM Rogers for the way that he handled things very professionally.


a. Discussion of the 2022 S.P.L.O.S.T. projects.

At the last meeting, Jenkins brought this up because there were discussions at a meeting that he couldn’t attend that affected his district. The order in how the roads would be paved changed including one in Jenkins' district. CM Rogers advised that this was done because we were anticipating that the school would be moving quickly on the new school, but after sitting with the School Superintendent, we found out that this will be done in stages rather than quickly. It may be something that commissioners want to look back over. Fossett Road is one that we need to talk about today as a high priority. It is almost number one on the list. However, it is probably not going to be affected for 5-7 years.

[From the Post Agenda: "On the primary list as it reads now, the roads listed in order include Tanyard Road, Fossett Road, Old Zebulon Road, Roberts Quarters Road, McKinley Road, and 2nd District Road. On the alternate list as it reads now, the roads include Blanton Mill Road, Woodcreek Road, McCard Lake Road, Arthur Road, Woodard Road, McCard Lake Road, Arthur Road, Woodard Road at Starks Road, Turner Road, and McKinley Road."]

Jenkins said that he wants to see the original list because it was advertised one way and then changed afterward. CM Rogers said that we still plan on doing all of the projects, but the order of projects changed. We are trying to use the funds as quickly as possible to the best of our ability. Jenkins was worried about this possibly costing us the SPLOST in the future. CM Rogers said that their first school will be up close on Hwy 18 and only have access to Hwy 18. There will be no access to Fossett Road to begin with. The second school will be 3 years or so after the first. Same for the third school after that.

Guy said that he is with Jenkins on this. 5-7 years is the perfect time for us to plan paving on this. Daniel said that this will still be a SPLOST project. Jenkins emphasized that he would hate for us to possibly hurt future SPLOSTS because of the change on this. CM Rogers said that we had no clue on how the schools would be on this. 3 schools, 3 different locations on that property. Suggestion to replace Fossett on the secondary list with Woodcreek and Blanton Mill being put back on the primary list where they were advertised in the first place. There was no vote on the change. CM Rogers just asked for direction on this so no vote was actually taken. Same thing is happening now without a vote and going back to the original list. RECAP: Fossett goes back on the alternate list and Woodcreek and Blanton Mill are back on the primary list.

The plan is not to push any road off of the schedule, but to get them done as quickly as possible. The original road plan was scheduled to be completed by 2040, but we’ll be done in the next 5 years. CM Rogers praised Public Works on this because they are saving us a ton of money on this and doing a great job on our road plan. Also talked about Green Street over by Fossett Road. That is also included in this. [Note from the Editor: Jenkins made a good point on this. Changing things after publicizing a certain order in the roads is not a good idea. On a side note, Pike County has been steadily using both SPLOST and LMIG funds to repave roads since the former SPLOST was put into place. They have done an excellent job of going through this list and doing exactly what they promised to do with roads around the entire county. On a side note, communication is SO MUCH better between commissioners and the county manager. Things were smooth enough in this discussion that it appeared that Jenkins had spoken to Rogers outside of the meeting so Rogers could get further information on the Hwy 18 school project and then bring that information to the meeting. This is SO MUCH more professional that some of the things I have seen over the past year. I hope that this communication continues because it is for the good of our county.]


a. Consider use of Courthouse Grounds from Meredith Maddox and Faith Hendrix of Pike County Chamber of Commerce on Friday, September 23, 2022 from 5:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. for Princess and Hero Meet and Greet.

Recommends approval. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

b. Approve/deny Water Trail Resolution.

Meriwether Chamber of Commerce has been working on this for quite some time. CM Rogers was able to sit in on a Zoom call with them. They have done a tremendous amount of work to establish this water trail. The Georgia River Guide has added this so people can see the stops along the river. New ramps throughout the area are listed. They provided a resolution to commissioners. We will support the River Trail and support this being a recreational activity for our citizens. He encouraged the Board to approve this and to continue to push for river access somewhere.

Guy said that we need to move forward on providing access to citizens here in Pike County. CM Rogers said that this is a great opportunity to show citizens that we are committed to trying to offer access to the river. Guy asked about the grant for the new road ramp in Meriwether. Johnson said that he talked to County Administrator Michelle Irizarry and said that state collections paid for that boat ramp. Guy said that we need to find a location here in Pike County. Johnson said that is being looked at. CM Rogers asked for approval. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

c. Discussion of Animal Control Part Time position.

This has been a discussion over the past couple of years. Our current PT officer possibly being offered FT. We have committed to move toward a full animal shelter, and this would be a good next step on this. Tanya Perkins speaks highly of him, and Scott Meyers is doing a great job. Only question is where to fund this. CM Rogers said that he can cover the funding for his pay, but benefits are an issue because those are not budgeted into this year’s budget. There will need to be an amendment or you can wait until next year’s budget if needed.

Johnson said that this is a tough job to fill, and he thinks that we need to do benefits. Can we do this? CM Rogers said that we need to find the funding on this. Maybe pull it out of contingency. Guy said that millage rate is going up and doesn’t want to change this right now. Asked if Rogers has spoken with him about this. Rogers has said that he has talked to Meyers and that he is in agreement with waiting until next year on benefits—and that Meyers brought up waiting until next year for benefits. He has a wife and kids, Rogers said that he was sure that he would accept the benefits if offered. Guy was adamant to not make the millage rate go up.

Jenkins said that if we lost a FT employee in another area, could we put Meyers in line to pick it up? Looking at the big picture. Rogers said that we could do this. We could wash one for the other as far as the budget goes. Morton said he would prefer giving him FT benefits from the beginning because that is what policy gives. Rogers then said that if it’s a FT position, we need to go by our policy. Motion to allow that position to be FT and offer benefits. Clarification from Morton. CM can make amendments as needed throughout the year so this is not out of the norm. Approved 5-0.

d. Approve/deny First Reading of Text Amendment to Title III: Administration, Chapter 36 Personnel Policy, Section 36.10 Training and Development and Related Expenses (B) (3) Lodging.

Morton advised that there was instruction on August 30 to go with this. Suggestion for 1st reading is to remove “while traveling to a location more than 60 miles from the county.” He will finalize this for the 2nd reading if that is agreeable. From the post agenda: The policy currently reads the actual and reasonable cost of lodging while traveling to a location more than sixty (60) miles from the County for county business may be prepaid or paid as a reimbursement. Documentation/Receipts must be submitted in support of the paid expense or requested reimbursement. The suggestion for the first reading for consideration would be to remove the phrase while traveling to a location more than sixty (60) miles from the County. It would simply read the cost of lodging for county business may be prepaid or paid as a reimbursement.] Motion to approve 1st reading. 2nd. Discussion: Morton read the entire text amendment aloud. Approved 5-0.

e. Discussion of the 2023 L.M.I.G. projects.

Trying to plan for LMIG. Concord Road was postponed because hoping that the bridge would be replaced. Hoping that the DOT would be done by now but they aren’t, but the road needs to be replaced ASAP. Public Works can do this. Because this is such a long road, it will be the only road on the list next year.

Rogers has talked with the City of Concord and will let them know what is going on. They are prepared to do the work in the city limits including fixing the water lines under the road and fixing the road junction area that needs fixing. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.



Executive Session. 9:58 a.m.

a. Chairman Briar Johnson is requesting an Executive Session to discuss the possible acquisition of real property pursuant to O.C.G.A. 50-14-3 (b)(1).


Back in session 11:02 a.m.

Motion to adjourn. 11:02 a.m. Approved 5-0.

Agenda subject to revision.