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Editor Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
Welcome to Pike County Times.com

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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Pike County Board of Commissioners
Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 6:30 PM
Courthouse, Main Courtroom, 16001 Barnesville Street, Zebulon, Georgia
Courthouse Doors on East/South Sides open at 6:00 p.m. Town Hall Meeting at 6:15 p.m.

ZEBULON - The Pike County Board of Commissioners will hold a regular night meeting on Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 6:30 PM in the Main Courtroom (upstairs) of the Courthouse located at 16001 Barnesville Street, Zebulon, Georgia. Courthouse Doors on East/South Sides open at 6:00 p.m. Town Hall Meeting at 6:15 p.m. The public is invited to attend this meeting.

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

Town Hall

Several residents from Watering Hole Pass spoke to commissioners about speed bumps. History first...

[Note from the Editor: Here are my notes from the meeting.]

20 citizens have asked for 11 speedbumps in Ranchland Estates. Information has been gathered. $810 per set. Over 5,000 vehicles that went through. 25 mph is the speed limit, and half of the people who came through were speeding. Most of the people were doing between 26 and 35 mph. Less than 9% of the overall 5,000 that exceeded 35 mph. They are effective to slowing traffic, but they are not good for ambulances, fire trucks, and school buses. Discussion: Jenkins. Said he has been contacted on this with those concerned about speed. CM provided a map for commissioners. 20 citizens in Ranchland Estates. CM suggested not going with 11. Where are they really needed? Did the state check this mph. Motion to approve with 6 sets of speed bumps. Discussion: Where are we going to get the money? CM will figure this out. Approved 5-0.

[Note from the Editor: Here is what was decided in the January 10, 2024 Commission Meeting from the official minutes of the meeting.

f. Discussion of Ranchland Estates speed bumps.
County Manager Brandon Rogers stated that the county has received a request from 20 citizens to allow 11 sets of speed bumps to Ranchland Estates. The cost per set of speed bumps is estimated to be $810.00 per set. This does not include installation which would be completed by Public Works. In November, the county recorded over 5,000 vehicles traveling on the roads in Ranchland Estates. The posted speed limit is 25 mph, 54% of the vehicles were exceeding the posted speed, with 45% of those exceeding the speed limit between 25-35 mph, and 9% exceeding 35+mph. Speed bumps are being requested for Watering Hole Pass, Ranchland Gap, and Trails End. Commissioner Jenkins agrees it is a problem in Ranchland Estates. CM Rogers noted speed bumps will slow the traffic, but they also have a negative impact on school buses and emergency vehicles. County Manager Rogers stated the letter from the residents of Ranchland Estates listed specific locations of the speed bumps. CM Rogers recommendation is installing some speed bumps but not 11 sets, and he does not believe Trails End needs a speed bump. Commissioner Guy does not see installing 11 sets of speed bumps. Commissioner Jenkins stated he would like to start with half the amount of speed bumps they have requested and see how it goes. Motion/second by Commissioners Jenkins/Daniel to approve installing six sets of speed bumps in Ranchland Estates, motion carried 5-0.

[Note from the Editor: This is the actual discussion from the Town Hall Meeting.]

A resident said that he heard about speed bumps. Wants to know if there is some middle ground. He asked about speed limit signs and enforcement of the speed limit before we go that route. Damages to vehicles may be the responsibility of the municipality. Is there some way to find something in the middle?

Another resident said that she recognizes that commissioners are trying to make the neighborhood happy and safe. She was able to sign the petition from a guy who came by her home. She thought that one or two speed bumps at the other end of Trails End was all that they were looking to get. Maybe she didn’t read it as well as she should have before signed it. She wanted commissioners to know that if she could remove her name, she would, and several other neighbors have said the same thing.

Another resident. There used to be a chain across the road (on the dam) so there was no public access, but now the chain is gone, and Google is bringing people through the neighborhood. Those who have trailers for work, etc. are going to be punished for those who live outside of the neighborhood who are coming through speeding. Maybe a gate could be put back up, but a vast majority of the neighborhood does not want speed bumps.

Another resident. Suggested a change to Google maps on the road over the dam. Said that people are coming from 362 and cutting across Reidsboro.

Also added: The school buses are not allowed to go across that dam because it is not a public road.

[Note from the Editor: There will be more on this in the Commissioner Reports below.]

1. CALL TO ORDER - Chairman J. Briar Johnson

2. INVOCATION - Ricky Shepherd

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 the agenda. Approved 5-0.


a. Minutes of the February 14, 2024, Regular Monthly Meeting.
b. Minutes of the February 14, 2024, Executive Session.

Motion to approve the minutes. Approved 5-0.



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 in March. Revenue/Expenditure Statements and Detail Check Register is included.

Financial Reports

Motion to approve the reports. Approved 5-0.

b. County Manager Report

Update on County finances for the following funds/accounts:

General Fund - $4,434,399.84
Fire Dept. Donations - $9,845.95
Cash Reserve Account - $36,799.24
Jail Fund - $27,474.70
E-911 Fund - $167,156.54
DATE Fund - $35,639.49
Juvenile Court Fund - $13,982.78
Residential Impact Fee - $760,271.33
Commercial Impact Fees - $185,501.69
C.A.I.P Fund - $27,461.23
General Obligation SPLOST 2022-2028 - $1,317,076.87
L.M.I.G. Grant (DOT) - $6,256.72
[Note from the Editor: Some money in these funds is being invested and tracked so it is bringing in a decent amount of interest. You can look at the financials through the link at the top of the page to see these amounts.]

c. County Manager Comments.

Asked to add an executive session for possible real estate acquisition. Motion to amend the agenda. Approved 5-0.

Next week is qualifying week.

Next week, we will have everyone cycle through for the budget workshop after the morning meeting.

RFQ for property acquisition plan will be presented soon.

Budgets are due by Friday.

Received a request from Todd Goolsby from Public Works. The roller was costing us about $6,000 a month to rent. They found a used roller in Texas for us to look at $48,050. Suggested looking at purchasing this because it is needed. Suggested using Impact Fees. $250,000 or $280,000 news. Only 1,500 hours on it so it has set up some, but Public Works will look this over first with no obligation to buy it. Motion to approve the purchase of this asphalt roller as long as we use impact fees, and it doesn’t affect the budget. Approved 5-0.

d. Commissioner Reports.

Jenkins. Wanted to discuss Watering Hole Pass. He has been on the phone for 5 days about this. He doesn’t want to finalize anything tonight because he still has people to talk to. He has talked to people at the entrance and 5 couple have said that they didn’t understand what they were signing. He would like to have the rest of the week to go door to door on this. On March 13, he plans to come back with what he anticipates possibly asking to rescind the earlier vote. He apologized to the public and those in attendance because there was no one in opposition at the meeting where this passed, and they thought that they were doing what the neighborhood wanted. Nobody that he has spoken to is in favor of this. He would have gone door to door before this if he had known.

SPLOST and spring time. Jenkins said that there has been no communication on this. CM Rogers said that engineering on Tanyard and McKinley 100% and 90% done, Roberts Quarters about 60 to 70% done on that but need to get right of way done. Old Zebulon and Woodcreek are on the list but not started.

e. County Attorney Report to Commissioners.

Working on litigation. Appeal on the Board of Assessors has been filed. Title work on Tanyard Road with right of way issues. Open records requests for several departments.

Opioid Settlement. Involved in a mass litigation and it is moving along.

Jenkins asked to add something about Watering Hole Pass. He talked to an engineer who lives out there. Traffic coming across the dam has been discussed. GIS can reach out to Google and have that taken off. Rogers. The board did a land swap for a cul-de-sac there. Planning and Zoning Director Jeremy Gilbert just got the documents today. Rogers suggested fixing the cul-de-sac so buses can turn around there and then see what can be done about the dam. The Sheriff got a call this morning about the traffic problems out there during the morning hours. Discussion on signs. There is a need for a couple more speed limit signs out there. One sign is not visible from one direction. Rogers is going to handle this part.


a. Consider one appointment to the Pike County Board of Tax Assessors to fill an unexpired six-year term, set to expire June 30, 2027. Applicant has met criteria.

Christopher Tea. Rogers made a recommendation on this. Said that Tea has met the criteria asked commissioners to wait until the audit is completed. Tea had concerns that were voiced to Rogers and asked to be able to express his concerns about the audit group. Johnson said that he disagrees with the county manager on this and that this new member would be a part of the process because he was a former member. Even if you fill the position tonight, Rogers said, there is another position available. Guy. I would like to see him back on the board because he was there at the time. Motion to put Christopher Tea back on that board. Approved 5-0.

[Note from the Editor: Christopher Tea's appointment to the board was not renewed last year with Kristen Cudnohufsky being placed on that board in his position. Cudnohufsky has since resigned and there are two positions open right now. Pike County Times has been attending Tax Assessor meetings for the past 6 months. Click here to read from those meetings. There is a link to all of the meetings that I have attended at the bottom of each page. You can read about the upcoming Department of Revenue's review of the Tax Assessor's Office by clicking here.]


a. Appoint County voting delegate for Consideration of Three Statewide Opioid Settlement Advisory Commission Members (GOSAC) and Regional Advisory Council (RAC) Members.

The clerk and Rogers sat through a call on this. We get one delegate who can attend and speak on how these statewide funds are spent. Many meetings are virtual, but there is at least one that requires an in person appearance. Need a commissioner to attend. If we don’t have a delegate there, the chances of us being able to use additional funds is slim to none. Does it have to be a commissioner? No, but we need to turn this in asap. Motion for the Chairman to be the appointee. Approved 4-0-1 with Johnson abstaining.

b. Consider Tax Refund Application from Harold White in the amount of $346.71.

12.60 acres with a house and a garage. A mistake as made in 2008. Put on as a garage with a finished area above it. It has been corrected. He is eligible for a refund back through 2018. Motion to approve the refund. Approved 5-0.

c. Discussion of year 2023 property tax on 2.29 acres on Highway 19 in the name of The Estate of Jerry Colwell.

Chief Appraiser Greg Hobbs explained that this is the land on Old Zebulon across from Christ Chapel. He was asked, If the church is taking care of the property, would they be exempt from paying for taxes? No. The church did not own the property on January 1, but there was a quit claim deed in February. Recommendation? Not to. Tim Guy said the same thing, but stressed that we need to follow policy. Hobbs also said that the church needs to apply for their exemption now that they own it because it is not automatic. Morton further clarified that property taxes were due on January 1, and the estate owned it on January 1. Rogers recommended to do the same as Greg Hobbs to follow policy. Motion to deny based on policy. Denied 4-1 with Proctor opposed.

10. PUBLIC COMMENT - (Limited to 5 minutes per person)

a. Becky Watts with Pike County Times to address the Board regarding the County Manager’s performance and his secret evaluation.

"On March 28, 2023, I brought concerns to this board about the county manager’s lack of communication, poor leadership, and blatant lack of respect for county employees, the public, and members of this board. I spoke on the record in a meeting because I didn’t know what else to do. Yet here we are, a year later, in the exact same situation--actually worse--because there has been no accountability for his actions.

I’ll ask again tonight, is communication better, worse, or the same as it was at this time last year? Are commissioners and staff being notified by text or email when the county manager is going to be out of the office? Are you getting regular weekly county manager reports like you’ve been asking for since he was hired 3 1/2 years ago? Are your employees in the county being treated better than they were a year ago?

Are you confident that when your county manager speaks on your behalf that a complaint won’t end up before a county committee, a judge, or the EEOC? Are you confident that the county manager will consult the entire board -- including the county attorney -- before making decisions on your behalf?

Do your county manager’s actions make you proud of your choice to hire and retain him as your county manager? In July of 2023, the county manager conducted evaluations of office staff and county department heads that are available through open records. Yet the county manager’s last public evaluation was conducted on May 26, 2022.

What has improved since your last public evaluation almost two years ago, and why would a majority of the members of this board choose to do an evaluation of your county manager in the executive session of the January 31, 2024 meeting? Better yet, why would this evaluation not be mentioned in a public meeting?

Is there accountability in an evaluation that you made behind closed doors? What are you afraid of?

I questioned the legality of this secret evaluation and was advised by our county attorney that: “the evaluation of the county manager was conducted in Executive Session as authorized by the applicable provisions of law and is not subject to public disclosure.”

It may be legal, gentlemen, but is it ETHICAL? And are you proud of that decision as you face members of the voting public here tonight?

Actions SHOULD have consequences, but the only consequences I’m seeing are going to affect the employees and citizens of this county with not one but two EEOC lawsuits now pending against the county.

ACCG’s Code of Ethics says:

“As the duly elected or designated commissioner(s) of this Georgia county… we subscribe to the ACCG Code of Ethics.

1) To continue to make honesty the keystone of our efforts, by being always mindful of our oath of office, and by practicing honesty and impartiality in all our actions.

2) To keep the public informed on county operations and activities since we believe that ‘county business is ever public business’...” ( https://accg.org/mission_ethics.php )

There is more, but you should get the picture.

You are elected by the people of this county to work with our county manager for the good of Pike County. If you are not happy with what you see, NO ONE ELSE can fix the problem.

And when a majority of this board decides that the county manager’s annual evaluation should be given in secret rather than insisting that our county manager be held to the same standard as all of our other employees, YOU are part of the problem.

In closing, I ask the Pike County Board of Commissioners to release the results of the county manager’s secret evaluation to the public so it can be compared to his annual evaluation from May of 2022.

In the future, please choose to make the hard decisions for the good of the entire county. That means praising the county manager when he does his job well, writing him up when he breaks state law or your trust, and holding him to the same standard as all of our county employees.

If you, as an individual board member, choose to continue hiding behind closed doors when it comes to the performance and evaluation of our county manager, you probably need to consider stepping down from your responsibilities as a county commissioner because you are NOT doing the job that you were elected to do.

Integrity matters."

[Note from the Editor: These are my words verbatim, and I thanked them for listening to me when I was done in about 4 1/2 minutes. There was no discussion on this in the open meeting either before or after the Executive Session.]


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. County Manager Brandon Rogers 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

c. County Manager Brandon Rogers requests Executive Session for discussion of the future acquisition of real estate as provided by O.C.G.A. § 50-14-3(4).

Motion to go into Executive Session. 7:14 p.m.


Back in Session. Motion to adjourn. 9:03 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.]