The Heard County Board of Commissioners meeting was called to order at 6:30 on the evening of April 25.
After the welcome was given, Johnny Kistler gave an invocation and the pledge of allegiance was said by all in attendance.
The approval of the minutes from the previous meeting was then called for. Commissioner Sandi Allen of district five motioned to approve the minutes as written and her motion received a second from Commissioner Frank Cook of district four seconded her motion and all were in favor.
The floor was then opened for amendments to the agenda. Commission Chairman Lee Boone suggested adding item d: Bids on Skid Steer Loader for the Road Department, item e: Bids on Mower and Gator for the Recreation Department, item f: Approve LMIG Bids, item g: Appointment to Development Authority, item h: Mike Meredith with New Ventures, item i: Jim Peterson with Advantage Tactical Company, and item j: Discuss Insurance and Budget.
Commissioner Allen added item k: Discuss Per Diem for Commissioners’ Travel to the list of suggested amendments and then made a motion to approve all amendments in question. Commissioner from district three, Gwen Caldwell, seconded this motion and it passed unanimously.
New business began with item a: Discuss Purchase of New Truck for Sheriff Henry. Chairman Boone announced that three bids were received for a new truck for the Sheriff. Sheriff Ross Henry informed the board that his current truck, which was purchased in 2007, will be passed down to an investigator. Commissioner Caldwell motioned to approve the low bid of $29,543 from Pugmire Ford in Carrollton, Georgia. Commissioner Crook seconded this motion; all were in favor.
Item b of new business included a discussion regarding a request from Community Action for Improvement (CAFI) for a donation of $2,500. Chairman Boone expressed his wariness for making this donation due to the county revenue currently standing at 64% compared to the typical 75% at this point in the year. He also informed the board that he spoke with the organization regarding the donation of the same amount that they were given last year and asked for an explanation of how it was spent and there was approximately $500 that was not accounted for. Commissioner Allen motioned to address the matter at an upcoming budget session. Her motion was seconded by Commissioner Jacob Cammon of district two.
The final original item under new business was a discussion on an equipment surplus. Public Works Director Darold Wiggins previously told Boone about a 1991 freight liner and two large pieces of damaged old metal pipe that were no longer in use and requested that they be classified as surplus. Commissioner Allen motioned to fulfill this request and district two Commissioner Larry Hooks seconded this motion; the entire board agreed in passing this motion.
Item d, bids on skid steer, was then brought to the floor. Wiggins expressed his need for a new skid steer for the Road Department and had bid the item out. After a brief discussion regarding the precise accessories needed, Commissioner Caldwell motioned to approve the bid for a Caterpillar skid steer with a canopy costing $52,868 with an extra $100 for an 84 inch bucket addition. Commissioner Crook seconded Caldwell’s motion and all were in favor. Commissioner Cammon then asked where funds for this new equipment would be coming from and Chairman Boone answered SPLOST.
The next item on the agenda was to approve a bid for a zero-turn lawn mower and gator for the Recreation Department. After much discussion debating whether a substantial portion of the low bid’s cost was due to its name brand, Commissioner Allen motioned to delay the item until the next meeting to acquire bids from different brands. Commissioner Crook seconded this motion and all commissioners except Commissioner Cammon were in favor.
Item f called for the approval of LMIG bids. Chairman Boone explained that no bids had been received for single surface treatment. However, Commissioner Allen motioned to approve the low bid from C.W. Matthews totaling $301,647.94 for resurfacing. Commissioner Cammon seconded Allen’s motion and it passed unanimously.
An appointment to the Development Authority was then called for. Commissioner Caldwell recommended Hazel Reeves and motioned to appoint her to the authority; Commissioner Crook seconded and all were in favor.
Mike Meredith of New Ventures then introduced himself to the board and explained that their program was to benefit the teens of Heard County by providing them with summer work experience. He told the board about his current collaborative efforts with Rodney Kay and Julie Pope and also said that his organization is “pushing soft skills,” and will give high school students “the skills they need for the real world.” The board thanked him for his efforts and for being present.
Jim Peterson of the Advantage Tactical Company then addressed the board. He stated that he and all his business partners are veterans and “saw a need in the community to teach citizens self-reliance.” He also told the board that his company does much more than offer firearm lessons, they offer CPR certification, teach survival skills such as purifying water, and much more.
Peterson explained to the board that he had no intention of breaking rules and reported that he checked the zoning requirements and even asked county zoning officials as well as multiple county government offices if he was correctly fulfilling the necessary requirements to open his business.
When asked about a misleading advertisement in the newspaper, he apologized to the board and informed them that the Tea Party group the event was held in coalition with was in charge of advertising and said that once he was made aware, he quickly fixed the error in the ad.
After expressing his need to proceed with his business, Commissioner Crook stated “you should have been guided in the right direction from the very beginning.” County Attorney Jerry Ann Conner advised the board to motion for the planning commission to meet and then request an amendment to have conditional usage in a zone that would allow for a firing range. Commissioner Crook made this motion, Commissioner Hooks seconded the motion and all were in favor.
After a five minute recess, Chairman Boone told the board that Conner had spoken with Peterson and asked if the board wanted to allow the tactical school to operate until the rezoning per a signed statement agreeing to proceed with the rezoning process. Commissioner Crook made a motion to proceed with Conner’s suggestion. His motion received a second from Commissioner Cammon and the entire board was in favor.
Item j regarding the insurance and budget workshops was simply deciding on a date and time to meet and discuss the budget for the coming year and the decisions regarding possible changes to the current insurance plan. The commissioners decided to have a called meeting on Monday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m.
The final item of new business was a discussion on per diem payments for meals. Commissioner Allen informed Chairman Boone that in 2009, the board voted to raise the per diem payments for meals to $40. Chairman Boone shared his concern that on many commissioner conferences and trainings, meals were provided and therefore he felt that instead of per diem payments, commissioners should bring their receipts and be reimbursed if need be. Commissioner Allen expressed that this was not the current policy and Chairman Boone agreed to follow the current policy and pay Commissioner Allen the per diem payments.
The floor was then opened for public comments; there were none.
Commissioner Cammon then motioned to move into executive session for a discussion regarding “real estate.” Commissioner Hooks seconded this motion and all were in favor. After executive session, the meeting was adjourned.