The Heard County Board of Commissioners convened for its first meeting of 2013 Thursday night under the direction of new Commission Chairman Lee Boone.
All commissioners were in attendance for the meeting at the courthouse in Franklin including Sandi Allen (District #5), Frank Crook (District #4), newly re-elected Gwen Caldwell (District #3), Jacob Cammon (District #2), and newly elected Larry Hooks (District #1) .
Approximately 25 people were in attendance for the meeting including the former Commission Chair June Jackson.
Bryan Owensby gave the invocation which was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commissioner Boone then read a proclamation declaring February 12, 2013 as Georgia Day in Heard County.
The board approved the November meeting minutes by a 4-0 vote with Hooks abstaining.
Boone stated that the county attorney Jeff Todd had turned in his resignation and would not be seeking re-appointment as the county attorney for 2013.
Boone recommended to the board to appoint former county attorney Jerry Ann Conner as the county attorney for 2013. He then opened the floor for public comments about the appointment.
Tax assessor co-chairman Johnny Kistler, Clerk of the Superior Court Bryan Owensby, Development Authority Executive Director Julie Pope, Water Authority Board member Alvin Ginn, Tax Commissioner Sandra Nolen, Magistrate Judge Brenda Jennings, and Coroner Kathie Buchanan all came forward to speak in favor of Connor.
Commissioner Sandi Allen made a statement in opposition to Conner’s appointment. The board approved the appointment of Connor 4-1 with Allen opposed.
The board then voted unanimously 4-0 (Allen abstained) to appoint Sandi Allen as the vice chairman of the board for 2013.
The board unanimously (5-0) reappointed Kim Kimmel as the county auditor for 2013 and Patty Jiles as the county clerk for 2013.
The board unanimously approved an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Transition Plan with Floyd Toney as the representative for the plan.
Keith Brown was approved unanimously as an appointment to Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Board while Agnus Jackson was unanimously re-appointed to the Board of Tax Assessors.
In an added item under new business, Chief Deputy Jane Olinger of the Heard County Sheriff’s Office was presented with a 20 year service award.
Under old business, the board approved (5-0) the new L.O.S.T. distribution taxes, with 12% going to the City of Franklin and 4.5% to the cities of Ephesus and Centralhatchee, leaving 79% to the county.
The board unanimously approved a Short Term Work Program.
After a long discussion about the Commercial Pool Permit Fees for the Heard County Health Department, the board decided to postpone the topic. Rockridge Campground is in need of the approval in order to perform major repairs to their pool which is considered to be the only know commercial pool in the county.
Commissioners Allen, Crook, and Caldwell expressed concerns that the initial inspection fee of $250 and a yearly inspection fee of $150 as proposed by the Health Department were too expensive.
Boone then opened the floor for public comments, stating that members of the public would not be put on a clock or be subject to the long list of rules and regulations, as had been the case under the Jackson administration. Boone asked only that comments be delivered in a civil manner.
Paul King commented that he felt that county audits in the past were not in compliance with state laws and could subject the county to a loss of SPLOST monies in the future.
Mike Crockett asked that the board reconsider its postponement of the Commercial Pool Fee discussion, in order to allow Rockridge to be able to begin work on its pool immediately. Crockett stated that he would write a personal check then and there to cover the permit fees for Rockridge.
The board then re-opened the discussion and approved the initial $250 fee but voted to table the yearly $150 inspection fee until a later date. Under the motion of Allen the board went into executive session to discuss personnel.
Heard Citizen cameras were on hand for the meeting and video will be available here at HeardCitizen.com in the next few days.