Pike County Times

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PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. Click here to donate through PayPal. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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This online news website is owned and operated by Becky Watts. The Editor can be reached at 770-468-7583 or at editor(at)PikeCountyTimes(dot)com. Pike County Times is a website for citizens to keep up with local events and stay informed about Pike County government. It began on November 13, 2006 as a watchdog on county government and has turned into an online newspaper.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022 – 6:30 p.m.
Courthouse, Main Courtroom, 16001 Barnesville Street, Zebulon, Georgia
Town Hall Meeting at 6:15 p.m.

Click here to see the documents that have been uploaded with the agenda on the Pike County government page.

Several people spoke during the Town Hall Meeting.

Commissioners James Jenkins, Jason Proctor, Tim Guy, and Tim Daniel were present along with Chairman Briar Johnson, County Clerk Angela Blount, County Manager (CM) Brandon Rogers, and County Attorney Rob Morton were present.

1. CALL TO ORDER ...... Chairman J. Briar Johnson

2. INVOCATION ...... Karen Brentlinger

3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE ...... Chairman J. Briar Johnson

4. APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA - (O.C.G A. § 50-14-1 (e) (1))

Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

5. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES - (O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(e) (2))

a. Minutes of the November 9, 2022, Regular Monthly Meeting.

b. Minutes of the November 9, 2022, Executive Session.

Motion to approve both. Approved 5-0.


7. REPORTS FROM COMMISSIONS, DEPARTMENTS, COMMITTEES, AUTHORITIES a. Monthly Reports submitted from County Departments and County Authorities, including a Revenue/Expenditure Statement for all departments and a summary check register. There are no Department reports as they will be provided during the first Board meeting of December. Revenue/Expenditure Statement and Detail Check Register is included.

b. County Manager Report

Update on County finances for the following funds/accounts:
General Fund ...... $2,359,945.90
Fire Dept. Donations ...... $7,520.86
Cash Reserve Account ...... $467,520.93
Jail Fund ...... $38,175.96
E-911 Fund ...... $454,403.47
DATE Fund ...... $40,741.11
Juvenile Court Fund ...... $13,494.60
Residential Impact Fee ...... $1,108,715.85
Commercial Impact Fees ...... $163,952.74
C.A.I.P FUND ...... $178,745.17
General Obligation SPLOST Tax Bond Sinking Fund, 2016 ...... $3,920.52
L.M.IG. Grant (DOT) ...... $229,293.76

c. County Manager Comment

CM Brandon Rogers advised that he got back in the office yesterday.

Said that he received information this afternoon that needs to be considered and discussed about the next meeting. The county has completed and all roads in our LMIG but did not meet our 30% with GDOT. He gave some suggestions and advised that need $133,000 to break even.

Said that a tort law firm has contacted them about the fire in Molena on Short Cut Road. Working with Attorney Rob Morton to get them what they need.

BOE moving forward with an LMIG request. The BOC will have to ask for these funds on their behalf. Trying to help with traffic Maybe not a red light, but this is to help with the traffic there. GDOT has said that it doesn't qualify (for a red light) since the traffic is only bad for a short period of time. Maybe some excel and decel lanes.

Every year, we plan a luncheon for the employees. We can’t get anything in town for $10 a person. This requires everyone coming in at once to do this if we go through a local vendor. They have talked to the Concord Cafe and maybe using the Strickland Building. We need to make a decision on this tonight because waiting until December 14 is not feasible. December 13 and 15 are the only two days that they are available. A couple of options. $14 and $17 per person. 150 employees. Total about $2,100 for $14 a meal with commissioners serving. $2,550 if they serve. What is done here will affect the employee appreciation lunch for next year. 1 entrée and 2 sides. CM Rogers asked the commissioners for a consensus on what they could do. Leaning toward that Thursday rather than the Tuesday. More discussion: We really want to keep this within the county. Thursday, December 15. Basically a free lunch. Really want to save as much as possible for the employee luncheon. Concord Café will be serving. Commissioner Jenkins said that he is willing to contribute to this in order to keep it at $10 an employee if that is needed. Other commissioners said the same. Motion to approve $14 a plate for December 15. The commissioners, county clerk, and county manager will be serving the employees. Approved 5-0. [UPDATE 12.5.22: THE DATE FOR LUNCH WAS MOVED TO DECEMBER 13 BECAUSE THE 15TH WAS ALREADY RESERVED BY ANOTHER GROUP.]

d. Commissioner Reports

Commissioner Jason Proctor. Impact Fees. Have talked about making changes, and nothing happened. Still need to fix this. [Note from the Editor: Thank you for keeping on at this until it is done.]

Commissioner James Jenkins. Talked about some checks on this last go around. $150 pair of boots on Building and Grounds with only 3 employees. The Commission Office has $300 for uniforms that hasn't been used the past couple of years. Public Works is allowed $100 for 25 employees. $200 for Animal Control. Back to boots bought under Building and Grounds' line item. Their budget was $500 last year and $750 this year for 3 employees. Said that this should be equitable for everyone. The Sheriff’s Office is not an issue on this because their equipment is very costly. [Note from the Editor: How I have missed this up until now, I do not know, but I will be looking for this next year.]

Also asked about insurance for the county manager because he thought what was listed might be a typographical error.

Commissioner Jenkins made a motion that any spending for anything over $5,000 except for fixed expenses like cell phone bills, electrical, etc. would need to come back before the commissioners for a vote. Commissioner Jason Proctor asked about current policy. Morton said that there is no limit on the county manager's spending. Morton said that there needs to be a second to discuss this. Jenkins made the motion. Proctor doesn’t want to make a second without knowing what we currently have. Motion dies for lack of a second.

Discussion: Morton said that his understanding is that the CM is the purchasing agent and only limitations are thresholds on some items like services, materials, etc. with oral bids, sealed bids, etc. Proctor couldn’t find a limit when he looked through our ordinances. Can we set a limit on this and set aside some things? Morton said that you can do whatever you want to as long as it doesn’t violate state law. If you follow the recommendation of the motion and agree to it, then anything other than regular fixed expenses will have to come to commissioners for approval. Right now, he is not aware that there is a limit. [Note from the Editor: I looked through our ordinances and could not find where there was a limit on purchase amount for the county manager either.]

Chairman Briar Johnson explained to the public that the donation of $700+ for fireworks and the $12,000+ for the Christmas Tree have brought this up. He said that the commissioners have been taking questions on this.

Motion to limit the county manager to $5,000 limit for expenses that are not fixed expenses. Jenkins, Proctor. With the second, there was further discussion.

Discussion: CM Rogers asked that we clarify that the fireworks check was not a donation. Jenkins said that the check register said that it was a donation. Rogers reiterated that there was no donation to Christ Chapel. He said that the check went to the pyrotechnics company and not the church. He said that he did not want people to be confused because there was no donation to Christ Chapel. [Note from the Editor: Here is part of my write up from the 7.26.22 BOC meeting where both the Christmas Tree and this fireworks donation were made public. Please understand that I have a paper trail for everything that is reported here.

[Beginning of 7.26.22 report] Check #130576 was pulled from the Commissioners General Fund and budgeted from a line item for "Community Events." The description is "Donation-Christ Chapel" as this was the entity that put on the 4th of July Fireworks for the community again this year. (I was out of state but heard that the celebration was wonderful!) But that is beside the point because of this check made out from the General Fund that consisted of taxpayer funds and could be a violation of State Law. Please note: This has nothing to do with the recipient being a church. The expenditure itself is the issue. After doing a quick search on the Gratuities Clause online, I pulled up a page from the Georgia Municipal Association which read as follows, "Text of Gratuities Clause
• The GC of the Georgia Constitution provides, in pertinent part, that except as otherwise provided:
– The General Assembly shall not have the power to grant any donation or gratuity or to forgive any debt or obligation owing to the public, and
– The General Assembly shall not grant or authorize extra compensation to any public officer, agent, or contractor after the service has been rendered or the contract entered into.
• Ga. Const. Art. III, Sec. VI, Para VI
I am not an attorney, but this is why we have an attorney on staff for the county. Communication on expenditures is THAT important. [End of 7.26.22 report]

I haven't seen any kind of a write up or heard any kind of direction given regarding these two checks until tonight. $5,000 is low and may require special called meetings to ok some things that need to be done in the county, but if the commissioners think that this is what is needed to ensure that expenditures are in line with state law (the fireworks check) and are acceptable to them as a Board (the Christmas Tree), so be it. This should not have been necessary, but communication between the county manager, the board members, and the county attorney is THAT important.]

Approved 4-1 with Commissioner Tim Daniel opposed. He said that this is a "haphazard decision." Morton said that this will require a text amendment that will be brought before commissioners at a later date.

[Note from the Editor: Pike County Times put in an open records request on November 29, 2022 as follows: "Pursuant to the Open Records Act, I request a copy of the three bids that were obtained prior to buying this Christmas Tree and/or anything written that shows how our budget officer adhered to our financial policy such as a state contract if that is applicable."

The undated memorandum from the Director of Building and Grounds to the County Manager reads as follows:

(Beginning of memorandum - verbatim)

"When given the task of buy a Christmas tree for the courthouse, I looked at several vendors on the internet as well as calling Holiday Designs and talking to Luke Jensen. After talking to Luke and discussing trees that were practical for our location, I went with the 22 ft panel tree for easy setup, warranty, and longevity. I looked at other vendors but none could provide all the things that I was looking for including
• Georgia based vendor that if problems occurred I could contact someone directly • The county didn’t have to pay shipping charges as we went and picked it up. 500.00 dollar savings.
• Luke originally quoted a lower wrong price for the 22 ft tree that he honored saving the county 1604.00 dollars
• Brandon had seen a tree on display at a conference and did attest to its design, durability and quality. Something we could not get by buying one on line when investing in an expensive tree.
• The ability to add to the tree year after year with other levels by using the same control box.

Holiday Designs was the only vendor that could meet the requirements that I had for the Christmas tree that was in the best interest of Pike County. The price comparison websites that I looked at were



I hope this memo satisfies any further questions on why I was not able to obtain the three required bids by the county. Feel free to call me to discuss."

(End of memorandum)

This answers all of the questions that Pike County Times has asked (or been asked to ask) on this expenditure.]

Chairman Briar Johnson said that there are several board appointments coming up: Library Board, 3 Rivers Regional Commission, IDA, McIntosh Trail Community Board, WSA, Agribusiness, 2 Rivers Regional Council, and Board of Elections. Deadline has been extended for these seats.

e. County Attorney Report to Commissioners

Distributions are coming on the class action opioid lawsuit. Our county will be on the list to receive the opioid money. May be a direct payment. That needs to be taken care of.

Said that the county did receive what looked like an open records request but was a preservation of evidence notice in reference to the two young deaths the fire on Short Cut Road. He asked if they want to sue the county and for what reason. We followed up on this, but they clarified that this was not an ORR and said that something more formal should be coming.



a. Approve/deny issuance of alcohol license (Pouring – beer, wine, and distilled spirits) for Tracy Wallace d/b/a Barnstormer’s Grill and Event Center, LLC, 349 Jonathan’s Roost Rd, Williamson, GA. Applicant has met criteria.

Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

b. Approve/deny the 2023 Board of Commissioners Regular Monthly Meeting Schedule.

Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

c. Approve/deny the 2023 Holiday Schedule.

Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

d. Consider Tax Refund Application from Manning/Vaughn in the amount of $2,680.93.

Greg Hobbs said that this was at White Horse. His home had burned in February. The timeline wasn’t filed. 45 days to file a written appeal. 180 days for the appeal. Said that the Assessor's Office has worked all of the appeals and things are getting done. A former set of commissioners set a precedent on this even though the law says that this can be charged all year. He is due a refund on this. Motion to approve this refund. Daniel/Proctor. Approved 5-0.

e. First Reading of Text Amendment of the Pike County Code of Ordinances Title III: Administration, Chapter 30 Board of Commissioners, Section 30.03 (C)(2).

Changes to this on the hire only section to include and removal in reference to the county manager and a decision to remove any department head. Motion to approve 1st reading. Approved 5-0.

[Note from the Editor: After the Second Reading at the next meeting, Section 30.03(C)(2) of Pike County's Code of Ordinance will read, "To appoint and remove all department heads with the approval of the Board of Commissioners" where it had previously only said, "To appoint all department heads with the approval of the Board of Commissioners." Please Note: For those who are not familiar with how county government works, the County Manager has no authority over elected officials. This is in reference to department heads in county appointments only.]

f. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input regarding the first reading of the proposed text amendments intended to change all references in the Pike County Code to Planning Commission (PC) and Board of Appeals (BOA) to the new Pike Zoning Board (PZB).
Action: Discuss/Approve/Deny

Text amendment that will affect the zoning part of our ordinance. We went through 150, 155, 160, and 164 and anywhere that it referenced the two boards, it was changed to reference the Pike County Planning and Zoning Board. That is the only thing that changed. Planning and Zoning heard this and approved it. No comments. Motion to approve the 1st reading. Daniel/Guy. Approved 5-0.

g. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input regarding SE-22-04. Peach State Aerodrome, owner and Keven Sasser, applicant request a special exception to allow residential pilot quarters in the C-2 Zoning District on a portion of Parcel ID 050 022 and 050 022A located on Jonathan’s Roost Road, Williamson, GA 30292 in Land Lots 232 and 249 of the 8th Land District. The property consists of 28.16 +/- acres. Commission District 4, Commissioners James Jenkins.
Action: Discuss/Approve/Deny

Allow residential in a commercial zoning district. Asking for private pilot’s quarters in some of the hangars. New hangars to have the ability in place for a pilot to stay overnight including a kitchen, lounging area, etc. They are asking for the ability to build on these 10 available lots. Planning staff recommended approval with two conditions: 1) Residential lots on these 10 lots only 2) use of the building as residential shall be subordinate to use as a hangar. The Planning Commission recommended a third: 3) no individual driveways from Jonathan’s Roost Road. There have been additional conversations about limitations on these residential quarters.



Jody Shaw lives right across the road from what will be apartments. This is probably one of the worst sections of paved road in the county. Buses can’t pass in this area. Two cars cannot pass at the entrance of this development. That road is not ready for prime time. The road is great on the north side. He appreciated the commissioners and the applicant listening to his concerns.

He understands why a business would want this, and y’all would understand why he doesn’t want this. Why does the county want these apartments? Let’s take any hobby and include the word apartment, and he would likely be turned down. In his estimation, there is zero appetite for apartments in Pike County. He thinks that people move here to get away from apartments.

He said that nobody has given him a good reason for this. He said that this will open the door to apartments. Where will it close?

He grew up north of here in Henry County. He worked for a commissioner who told him that in the next 25 years during the 1990’s, it’s not going to go well. If you ever get developments and developers room, that’s the end. If we ever open the door to apartments, we probably won’t be able to close it.

He asked for restrictions/conditions on this. Two conditions aren’t structure in his opinion, and it makes him squeamish. How about square footage? 70 foot by 70 foot for a hangar. Do we really want a 5,000 square foot apartment? How about square footage? How about the number of apartments? There are apartments in the Hampton Airport just 20 miles north of here. He said that we signed up for airplanes when we moved in there, but we don’t want apartments. There are multiple apartments in the Hampton Airport. This is the side with really nice homes. Why would we want to put this up against single family dwellings?

He thanked the commissioners for their work and asked them to put some structure around these plans like they do for homeowners. Can we please put some structure around these apartments?

9 minutes left. No one else spoke. Closed the public hearing.

Discussion. What is the lot size? Most were under an acre. These are all existing lots. The applicant can come in tomorrow and build a hangar. When initially done, every hangar has a bathroom in it with a septic system for every two lots. Having one bedroom would be the same as the one bathroom. The septic system will tell them what they are able to put in as far as more than one bedroom.

Apartment definition: a suite of rooms forming one residence. Jeremy said that this would be no different than a guest house. Live on a temporary basis. Not a permanent residence. Currently the ordinance doesn’t allow the plane owner to stay there overnight. Size was a discussion at the Planning Board meeting though they did not act on this. The full 5,000 feet cannot be a residence. Special exception says that any item not listed as a permitted use can be brought before the board. Concern about renting as a short-term rental. There is an ordinance about short-term rentals that would require them to come before the board. There is nothing to keep a pilot from sleeping on a cot now. It’s hard to police, but we do have these processes. The conditions for building standards will be enforced. Based on the site plan, there are 5 behind and 5 on the other side, but they will use the existing access. Motion to approve with limitation on size of maximum 1,200 square foot. The plans say 800 square feet now. Is it better to do this than have a percentage? It could be larger if it is a percentage. This would be built on stilts in the back of the hangar. Jenkins/Proctor. Morton asked about the rest of the conditions. Jenkins and Proctor said that they will go along with their recommendations as well. Motion to approve with the three conditions as well as 4) a 1,200 square foot limitation on living quarters. Approved 5-0.

h. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input regarding SE-22-25. Joshua Denton, owner and applicant, request a special exception to operate a general home occupation for property located at 264 Walker Road, Meansville, GA 30256 in Land Lot 89 of the 8th Land District, further identified as Parcel ID 093 035CB. The property consists of 3.0 +/- acres and the request is to allow the parking of three trucks in association with a general home occupation. Commission District 3, Commissioner Jason Proctor.
Action: Discuss/Approve/Deny

The applicant has a current home occupation license. The office received a complaint and code enforcement found that employees are working there and storing trucks there. Specific items in code include percentage of buildings for homebased business, where to put the trucks, how many employees, etc. Required to be in the side yard and not the front. 1) no more than 2 employees 2) side or rear yard 3) no storage 4) ……. Planning Board recommended denial. The applicant did not show up for the meeting. Not sure if the applicant is here tonight.



Close the public hearing. Discussion. Appreciate him bringing his business here, but motion for denial. Motion to deny. 5-0. Said that the IDA needs to call this business owner.


11. EXECUTIVE SESSION: 7:57 p.m.

The post agenda said that Commissioner James Jenkins left the meeting at 7:57 p.m.

a. Chairman Briar Johnson requests an Executive Session for discussion or deliberation on the appointment, employment, compensation, hiring, disciplinary action or dismissal, or periodic evaluation or rating of a public officer or employee or interviewing applicants for the position of the executive head of an agency, as provided in O.C.G.A. § 50-14-3(b)(2), germane to personnel.

b. Chairman Briar Johnson requests an Executive Session to discuss the possible acquisition of real property pursuant to O.C.G.A. 50-14-3 (b)(1).

c. County Attorney Rob Morton requests an Executive Session for consultation with the County Attorney, or other legal counsel, to discuss pending or potential litigation, settlement, claims, administrative proceedings, or other judicial actions brought or to be brought by or against the county or any officer or employee or in which the county or any officer or employee may be directly involved, as provided in O.C.G.A. §50-14-2(1), germane to potential litigation.

Back in session.

12. ADJOURNMENT: 8:45 p.m.

Agenda subject to revision.

[Note from the Editor: If you appreciate being able to read information from county meetings for free on Pike County Times, please make a donation to Pike County Times through the PayPal link at the bottom of the page or by check to Pike County Times at PO Box 843, Zebulon so I can justify the amount of time that I am spending away from family. It may not seem like much but sitting in a meeting and then typing it up takes a lot more time than you might imagine! Thanks for reading Pike County's only FREE newspaper.]