The Heard County Board of Commissioners meeting was called to order on September 27 at 6:30 in the evening. After the welcome was given, senior at Heard County High School Gracie Rowe gave the invocation, after which the pledge to the American flag was led.
The floor was then opened for the approval of minutes. Commissioner Sandi Allen of district five made a motion to approve the minutes from the August 23 meeting as submitted. Commissioner Karen Isenhower from district one seconded her motion; all were in favor and the minutes were approved.
Allen then motioned to approve the minutes from the executive session held on August 23. District four commissioner Frank Crook seconded Allen’s motion; all were in favor and the motion passed.
Commissioner Gwen Caldwell of district three motioned to approve the minutes from the September 6 meeting. His motion received a second from Commissioner Isenhower. The motion passed unanimously.
Commission Chairman June Jackson then opened the floor for amendments to the agenda. Commissioner Isenhower motioned to add a discussion on county credit card invoices. Jackson recommended that said discussion be postponed until the next meeting and then asked the board if they approve discussing the matter in an upcoming work session to which the board agreed.
Commissioner Isenhower then made a motion to add a discussion about the returning of a television won at a county Christmas raffle in recent years. Her motion received no second and therefore died on the table.
After the floor was opened for public comments and the rules and regulations were read, Heard County resident Paul King made a comment regarding the Heard County Water Authority and SPLOST dollars.
Old business began with a discussion regarding employee compensation. Chairman Jackson recommended to give all county employees a one-time supplement of $400 during December and use funds from the interest on the county’s million dollar CD to pay for this. Isenhower said that they should “leave the CD alone,” and expressed concerns about using any money from it since the CD was allotted for emergency use.
Jackson told the board that the penalty for using the interest would only be around twenty dollars and that the full million dollars would remain in the CD. Caldwell then motioned to give a $200 one-time supplement to all county employees out of the contingency fund. Allen seconded this motion and the entire board was in favor so the motion carried.
New business began with item a, “discuss county water authority SPLOST.” Chairman Jackson presented the board with the following information: SPLOST revenue is down 15.2% and the county as well as all of its cities has taken substantial hits from this. The usual revenue that SPLOST dollars collect is 41 million and the current revenue is only 32 million.
She then told the board that “the decision on the table,” was whether or not to decrease the Heard County Water Authority’s SPLOST allotment by 15%. Jimmy Knight of the Heard County Water Authority told the board that he understood the need for a cut and readily accepted this stating “we don’t want to break our good will with the county.”
He also told the board that the water authority does not owe any money to anyone due to lack of overextending their budget. Commissioner Caldwell stated “That’s good business.” Jackson then told Knight to “please thank the Water Authority,” for their understanding. Commissioner Caldwell made a motion to proceed with the 15% cut of the Water Authority’s SPLOST funding. His motion received a second from Commissioner Allen and the motion passed unanimously.
“Discuss request from Murray Barnes Finister LLP regarding Heard County Sales Tax,” was listed as item b under new business. Chairman Jackson reported that the firm was charging for the lack of Heard County’s floating bonds. She also stated that to her knowledge, no contract with the firm existed.
Crook motioned not to pay any charges. Commissioner Caldwell seconded the motion and Allen agreed stating “I agree, we shouldn’t pay anything without a contract.” The entire board was in favor and the motion passed.
Item c of new business, “discuss request from city of Franklin for fire code inspection services,” Jackson recommended to postpone this item of business until a later date. Item d, “discuss requested changes to Heard County Parks and Recreation facility lease agreement,” was presented to the board by current Recreation Department Director Chad Brown.
Brown explained that the new regulations “cleared up a lot of grey area,” and changed the rates to be more similar to those of surrounding counties. He changes had already been approved by the Heard County Recreation Department Board.
He also expressed to the board that each time traveling softball tournaments come to the recreation department, the recreation department budget takes a hit. The tournament conductors were essentially making money off of the Heard County Recreation Department. These new regulations will prevent this in the future.
Item e concerned the rescheduling of the November and December commissioner meetings. Chairman Jackson articulated that the November meeting fell on Thanksgiving and that the December meeting fell two days after Christmas, which proposed a problem.
Commissioner Allen made a motion to reschedule the November 22 to November 29 and to reschedule the December 27 meeting to December 20. Commissioner Crook seconded her motion and all were in favor; the meetings were rescheduled.
The final item of new business involved a discussion about the changes to the Heard County Personnel Policy regarding bank time. Jackson reminded the board about the previously made decisions to cap bank time at 240 hours effective January 1, 2013 and that if bank time exceeding 240 hours was not used by December 31 of this year, the employees with this excess time will be paid out at fifty percent.
However, existing excess time built up by employees will not be affected by these decisions. Commissioner Caldwell made a motion to have all pay outs regardless of the amount come in front of the board first.
Commissioner Jacob Cammon of district two seconded this motion and it passed unanimously. Commissioner Caldwell then motioned to adjourn the meeting and his motion received a second from Commissioner Crook.
All the commissioners were in favor and the meeting was adjourned.