BURKE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS REGULAR MEETING August 11, 2009
The Burke County Board of Commissioners held their Regular Meeting for July at 6:00 PM on August 11, 2009. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Wayne Crockett. Other Commissioners present were Lucious Abrams, Alphonso Andrews, Allen DeLaigle and Henry Tinley. Also present was Barry Fleming, County Attorney and Administrator, Merv Waldrop. The invocation was given by Commissioner Alphonso Andrews. Then Commissioner Henry Tinley led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States Flag. The first item on the agenda was approval of the minutes from the July 14th, 16th and 23rd meetings. Mr. Abrams moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Andrews seconded the motion and it was adopted on a 5 to 0 vote. Next the Commissioners heard from Ellis Godbee regarding a road sign that was removed from Godbee Road. He noted that the road used to have a sign that said “Private Road” on it. It was removed several months ago and he wanted to know why. He also wanted to know who asked to have the sign removed. Mr. Crockett responded that back in September of 2003 the Georgia DOT asked the Board to consider closing Godbee Road at the end of the pavement. The Board voted at that time to keep the road open. Recently the County has been requested to maintain the road as it is still listed as a County Road. Mr. Godbee pointed out that the road is being used by people at night making drug deals and they are coming in at all times of the night. Rev. Ellis Godbee, Jr. also spoke stating that the road is narrow and that people are coming down it at night. He said the Mr. Hogan who owns property at the end of the road wants the County to maintain that road for his benefit. Mr. Godbee was angry with the Commissioners, staff and members of the audience. The County attorney pointed out that we need to do some research to find out if the road is public or not and then how far the public road goes. He said that he would research DOT records, Courthouse records and county road maintenance records to make a determination. Mr. Godbee accused the County of maintaining a private road. Mr. Andrews moved to put the private road sign back up. Mr. Abrams seconded the motion. The attorney cautioned the Board to wait until they knew if it was private of not before putting up the sign. The Commissioners wanted to help out Mr. Godbee and agreed to go ahead and replace the sign until they knew definitely. The motion carried unanimously. After that the Board heard from Mrs. Myrtis Steadman from the Concerned Citizens of Gough. She thanked the Board and particularly Mr. Burke and Mr. Owens for their help in Gough. There has been a lot of work done to clean up the community, but she added that there is still a lot more work needed. She wants some help in getting people to clean up their properties. Chairman Crockett expressed that the Board is in complete agreement with her. Mr. Andrews stated that he appreciated Mrs. Steadman’s persistence. Mr. Tinley noted that Danny Meeks with the Community Service program is looking for places to have clean up crews pick up trash. Next the Board considered a request from Georgia Power for an easement across County property on Stripp Lane in Morris Village. The Company wants to provide better service for the neighborhood. It was noted by the Administrator that Georgia Power has been very cooperative with us on getting power to the new recreation concession building at Citizens Park. Mr. Tinley moved to grant the easement to Georgia Power. Mr. Andrews seconded the motion. It carried by a vot of 5 to 0. After that the Board reviewed a request from Johnny Shivers for waiver of penalty and interest on past due taxes on property that he received from the life estate of Wilson Roundtree. The property has come back to Mr. Shivers but taxes are owed for the last two years. During the research on this issue, County Attorney, Barry Fleming found that the Board has delegated its authority on the matter to the Tax Commissioner by ordinance some years ago. The Chairman stated that the Board will therefore refer the matter to the Tax Commissioner for a decision.
Next on the agenda was a request for East Georgia College for a waiver of fees for the use of the Office Park auditorium for two informational sessions. They want to hold two meetings at the Office Park but they have a very limited budget. The Board felt like this was a worthwhile cause trying to bring a college into Burke County. They also wanted to communicate that this was a one time only waiver. Mr. Andrews moved to waive the fees for two informational sessions for East Georgia College. Mr. Abrams gave the second and the motion carried unanimously. After that the Board considered a proposed agreement with the Georgia DNR for revision of Flood Maps in the State. The DNR wants Counties to agree to participate in the Flood Insurance Program by enforcing the Flood Zone Maps and a Flood Zone Ordinance. The Administrator pointed out that the Board has asked for FEMA to study the flood maps in Burke County particularly along the Savannah River. Mr. Tinley made a motion to approve the agreement with DNR. Mr. DeLaigle seconded that motion and it carried by a 5 to 0 margin. The next item of business was to consider approval of a change order for adding a handicapped ramp to the Archive Building. The Board had pulled the original masonry ramp out of the plans. The building will need a ramp of some sort to meet ADA requirements. The proposal was to build a wooden ramp at about half the cost of the masonry one. The cost for the wood ramp is $11,240.00. Mr. Tinley moved to approve the change order. Mr. Abrams seconded the motion and it carried with all voting in favor. Next the Commissioners discussed a request for a Class B, Beer & Wine license for Mr. Ronald Jenkins, Jr. The license will be for a new convenience store that is being built near Girard. The Administrator pointed out that the property meets all distance requirements and there has been no objection to this request. He further noted that Mr. Jenkins has a clean background check. In light of these facts, Mr. Abrams moved to approve the class b license for the Ronald Jenkins for 155 Claxton Road, near Girard. Mr. DeLaigle seconded the motion and it carried with all voting in favor. After that the Board considered roads to submit for the 2010 Local Assistance Road Program through the Georgia DOT. The DOT uses funds through the LARP to resurface county roads. Counties are being asked to submit their requests by September 1st. The Board discussed revising the list by removing the two roads that are to be completed soon, (Creek Road and Springhill Church Road) and then resubmitting the list. Mr. Tinley moved to resubmit the 2009 LARP list minus Springhill Church Rd and Creek Rd. Mr. Abrams gave the second and the motion passed by a 5 to 0 margin. The Board then reviewed a proposed policy Prevention of Identity Theft. The Federal government is requiring all governments to adopt policies to protect the identities of customers of government services. The only area where this would apply to Burke County is in the emergency medical services. The EMA Director and County Attorney have worked out a policy that protects the public and also is workable for EMT’s and Paramedics in the heat of emergency response. Chief Sanders recommended adoption of these policies. The County Attorney told the Board that they would have to adopt some kind of policy and that this was a good solution. Mr. Abrams made a motion to adopt the Identity Theft Prevention Policies and Procedures. Mr. Tinley offered a second and the motion was adopted unanimously. Then the Board discussed approval of the contract with the CSRA Regional Commission for Transportation Services. There were some concerns from the Board over the cost of the service but also other concerns for our citizens who do not have any transportation. The Chairman tabled the item until it could be discussed at a budget worksession. There was no objection from the other commissioners. The final item on the agenda is the County’s Group Health Insurance renewal. Blue Cross and Blue Shield will renew our current policy with no changes but the premiums will increase by almost 20%. They have offered to accept changes to the plan and give a smaller increase to the premiums. The Administrator noted that we have had some high claims over the past few years. The rates would be substantially lower if we went with an 80/20 Co-insurance plan. All other provisions remaining the same we would only have a 3.9% increase. Mr. Tinley moved to approve the renewal with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Mr. Andrews made the second and it passed on a 5 to 0 vote.
Judge Wimberly reported that things are quiet in his office. He will be holding county ordinance court in his office this Wednesday at 2:00 PM. Barbara Hammett gave a report on the upcoming city elections and the work her office is doing to prepare for the cities. Jackie Brayboy thanked the Board for their support and funding to purchase vans for the Senior Center. Ralph Hankerson reported that Sheehan Construction is still brining in some big loads to the landfill. Chief Sanders had nothing to report but Chairman Crockett noted that while we were at the Board meeting last month his son needed emergency medical treatment for some yellow jacket stings. Mr. Tinley complimented Chief Sanders on the good program with Sheriff Hunt on the Graniteville train accident. Jesse Burke told that they are grading on Wyatt Place Road and working on maintenance on various roads in the county. Jennifer White reported that the construction of the concession buildings is coming along well. There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 7:22 PM.
Wayne Crockett, Chairman
Alphonso Andrews, Vice Chairman
Merv Waldrop, Administrator