10/11/2016 BOC Work Session Minutes

OCTOBER 11, 2016

The Gordon County Board of Commissioners held a Work Session Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. in the conference room of the Administration Building.

Chairman Hood called the meeting to order.

The Board discussed each item on the agenda for the Regular Meeting and made no changes or additions.

County Administrator King explained the Budget Amendment for additional work on the renovation of the Government Plaza Building. The Finance Committee met and has discussed the budget amendment for this additional work. Commissioner Steward commented that he was given a list of additional work that needed to be done for the renovation that could not be covered by the contingency fund and the budget amendment would be to cover those items. County Administrator King advised that the budget amendment that the Finance Committee has presented would include additional work to improve efficiency and make some repairs to external sewer and will allow us to go ahead and allow us to do all the things that we initially intended to do. Commissioner Steward commented that a lot of the projects that we are looking at were planned for phase two but with going ahead and doing some of them now, we are actually saving money.

Administrator King advised that the list of firearms that the Sheriff’s Department is requesting to be declared surplus are shotguns that they wish to trade in on new equipment. Also, the item for bid award for the remodel of the Ranger Fire Station is on the agenda. Gordon County received bids from two local vendors. The staff recommends Danco Builders with the lowest bid of $31,250.

The final item under the agenda new business is a resolution authorizing Georgia Recreational Trails Fund Grant submission to include a 20% county match. The grants are for projects up to $100,000 and the 20% means that the county would pay up to, but not exceed $20,000.

County Attorney Ledbetter advised that the attorney for the re-zoning application for Con-onaula Farms, LLLP has sent a request asking that the Board table the application until November 1st.

Attorney Ledbetter also advised that the item under old business is for the second and final reading of the Electrical Wire Ordinance. The ordinance amendment would then be eligible for adoption by the Board.

Commissioner Sexton had requested an opportunity to make some comments regarding the ordinance amendments that the Board and staff have been working on for several months. He commented that he has learned just before the meeting that two of the ordinance amendments went before the Planning Commission last evening for their comments and recommendations. Chairman Sexton said that his purpose is to do what is best for the county and he thinks that we need some guidelines and rules; it is a necessity to keep things in order. The Planning Commission looked at the grass height and the backyard chickens ordinance; they recommended setting the grass height at 30 inches. These are complex issues to be solved and the way he suggests to do that is for this Board to come together, talk about them in a public meeting and see if we can work out some differences and draw a plan and present to the Planning Commission and put the two together to come up with something that is feasible and will enhance the residential areas in the county. I call on the Board, we are not individuals, we are a Board and if we have situations, everybody needs to put their opinions and their solutions, and disagreements and agreements into solutions. I’m for coming up with the best solution, the only way we can do that is to get together and talk about them and all five of us can come up with, hopefully, a good solution and maybe a better solution. Maybe in the next meeting or so we can spend time talking about at least two of these ordinances. Let us talk about them and those that we don’t feel is feasible, then remove them. Some of us may want to add something. Our legal counsel has spent hours and hours coming up with something that he feels is appropriate. The Ordinance Officer needs some guidance to where he can have something to tell these people calling him. We just need to get them done and make sure it is in the best interest of the county. We need to address them as a body.

The other thing I want to address. I believe there are better ways to do things in the county that will bring businesses into the county, as well if not better, than tax cuts. If we have the right infrastructure and have the things they are looking for and above all have it presentable and the county appeals to them I believe that a business would bypass a tax cut to have a place that they are pleased with and have the facilities that they are looking for. Every meeting I go to, when they are talking about bringing in business and growing, the first thing when someone comes into the county to consider putting in a business is the roadsides, the second thing is the exits. If these don’t pass, you are not going to get them any further than where they are. I really feel we need to do a major deal as far as the upkeep of this county. I don’t really believe we have done anything to enhance this county as far as this goes in ten years. We have built buildings but we have also let some areas get real trashy. We need to address those things, I really believe it is more beneficial to have a county that is pleasant to look at, as well as live in, over a tax cut. I don’t see anything that it’s brought to the county so far, but if we could have a county that people and business wants to live in I think that will override any tax cut they will get. Let’s look at things that we can do besides tax cuts, do something to enhance Gordon County where people will want to come in. Let’s get together on these ordinances, it’s not a cure all, but it’s a start. Some people might say that we have people that pick up trash. The Sheriff’s office only has two people that go all over Gordon County, it’s impossible, we need to consider giving some help in that area.

Chairman Hood commented that positive things that the Board has done to try to help get business here is the Career Academy. Businesses don’t come unless they have a workforce. The Freeport has moved the needle a little bit; businesses want to see that we’ve moved that needle because everybody else around us has gone to zero. John and Jim and I went down and met with the Commissioner of Economic Development, so we are moving the needle, we are trying to get businesses in. Our downtown has been developed, that’s nice, so there are things being done, but government moves very slowly unfortunately. I don’t want to give the misconception that we as a Board are not working, we’re working on the trail grant and we are trying to get the film industry in. Commissioner Steward commented that regarding the Freeport, we don’t really see a lot of the results yet because we’re not at 100% yet. There is a map that shows that there are only a handful of counties that are not at 100%. To be honest, we can’t afford to go to 100%, but we are on our way. Businesses look at the map and if you are not at 100% then they just keep moving on, the counties below us and above us and to the west of us are all at 100%. Why wouldn’t you go five miles another way to save thousands of dollars. I don’t object to our looking at the ordinances, it could help because everybody looks at the quality of life, I understand that. But we are trying to attract business, but everything you do to attract business, it costs money, and that’s the bottom line. There are some different options that we’ve got to attract businesses, it just takes time.

Commissioner Gazaway made a motion to close the Work Session. Commissioner Steward seconded the motion and all voted aye.

There being no further business, the Work Session adjourned at 5:55 p.m.

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