Pike County Times

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PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295.
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Editor Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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1:00 p.m. Thursday, April 20, 2023

ZEBULON - The Pike County Board of Commissioners held a Special Called Meeting on Thursday, April 20, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. at the Pike County Courthouse, Main Courtroom, 16001 Barnesville Street, Zebulon, GA. Chairman Briar Johnson convened the meeting and Commissioners Tim Daniel, Tim Guy, Jason Proctor and James Jenkins attended. County Manager Brandon Rogers, County Attorney Rob Morton and County Clerk Angela Blount were also present. (O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(e) (2)).

[Note from the Editor: This is straight from the Post Agenda unless there is a note in blue just like this. I spoke long enough that it is just easier to do this, and this is going to be the official record so I'm good with it.]

PLEASE NOTE: The links to the proposed 2023-24 budget (87 pages) can be found by clicking here and the proposed budget summary sheet can be found by clicking clicking here.

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

2. INVOCATION……………………………………………………………………....Silent Invocation

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

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

Motion/second by Commissioners Daniel/Proctor to approve the agenda, motion carried 5-0.


a. PUBLIC HEARING – FY 2023-2024 Budget David Brisendine, Chairman of the Board of Elections, thanked the Board of Commissioners for working with them on their budget. Mr. Brisendine handed out a 2023 Election Cycle Comprehensive Calendar from the Office of the Secretary of State/ Elections Division. The Board of Elections does a lot.

Tim Ingram addressed the Board of Commissioners wanting to know what is going to happen with McKinley Road. The county scrapes McKinley Road all the time when it does not need to be scraped so much. Some of the county money is going to this when it could be used somewhere else. Mr. Ingram stated he does not care if the road gets paved or not, but something needs to be put on the road to prevent the dust on the road from being scraped all the time. Mr. Ingram noted he asked three Commissioners to come sit at his house and called the other two and has not heard from any of them. Dust is a health hazard. If the county cannot do anything with this road, he will take it to the next level. Vehicles travel this road at 55-60 mph, and nothing is done. McKinley Road is the most traveled road in Pike County. Mr. Ingram requested an answer today or the next regular meeting for the Board of Commissioners.

Becky Watts addressed the Board with several questions regarding the FY 2022-2023 budget:

[Note from the Editor: I literally flipped through the budget page by page and asked questions that I had not been able to ask department heads or that I needed to have confirmed out loud on the record. County Manager Brandon Rogers wrote down notes and answered most of the questions after the public hearing was closed when the commissioners took the floor back for discussion with the county attorney and county manager. This is the same thing that I did last year. I am grateful to those who took the time to talk to me when I called and for having most of the questions answered in the meeting. There is a LOT going on in our county right now!]

• General Fund 100 Animal Shelter Donations - needs confirmation that the $1,000.00 is staying with the shelter.

County Mananger Brandon Rogers stated Animal Control donations are addressed in the policy. Anything that exceeds the expenses stays within Animal Control.

• Community Event Sale of Merchandise – nothing budgeted for this year but was last year, was this for the sale of t-shirts?

County Manager Brandon Rogers replied that was for the sale of bicentennial t-shirts and mugs, no bicentennial this year so no merchandise to sell. • Senior Citizen Center – the $1,200.00 requested/recommended is that Federal and State Funds?

CM Rogers stated this is for Wired Technologies (IT Services)

Mrs. Watts noted she likes how all the Impact Fees are listed out to include the Sheriff, the Jail, the Fire Department, and other departments, it is easy to track.

• Fund 215 E911 Tax Revenue Land - there is $80,000.00 sitting there that says for tax revenue land, what is that?

CM Rogers these are two different revenues, in the budget you will see four different revenues but, in the past, you saw two, one for land lines and one for cell phones. In this budget, you will see 6 months of revenues should the county move forward with the negotiations with the City of Zebulon and City of Molena to utilize E-911.

• American Rescue Plan (ARPA) – the county started out with $1,841,589.00 and now has $656,987.00, would like confirmation on these numbers and how much of it was for this year’s budget since we are still in this fiscal year and this budget is for the next.

CM Rogers stated all the funds used this year came out of the fund balance and not ARPA funds. ARPA Funds are only approved by the Board of Commissioners, on a case-by-case basis. The Board of Commissioner approved the Reidsboro Road water line and that was the last thing approved. Commissioner Proctor asked if there was more than $656,987.00 in ARPA. CM Rogers replied that is correct, it was right at a $3 million total fund, the county budgeted the anticipated expense last year at $1 million dollars.

[Note from the Editor: $1,841,589 is from the 2020-21 budget numbers on page 11 of 87 pages in the original budget that is listed above with the $656,987.00 listed as recommended for the 2023-24 budget. I made a mistake as I read through this and asked the question though because apparently it is a revenue rather than an expenditure. I am glad for the clarification.]

Mrs. Watts noted she likes the $100,000.00 in Contingency Funds. That has been done in the past and it is good planning.

• Department 13 Commissioners – uniforms have $300.00, would like to confirm if these funds are used for the shirts the Commissioners are wearing and what happens to those funds if they are not used?

CM Rogers stated the uniforms for Commissioners office is for the Board of Commissioners shirts as needed.

• Department 13 Commissioners – wants to confirm if the County Mananger is included in the 4% cost-of-living raise that is figured for all employees and how long must an employee be employed with the county before receiving the cost-of-living raise.

CM Rogers stated the 4% raise includes all employees that are eligible including himself. The criteria for that raise is to be employed with the county for at least six months. This is in the policy.

• Department 14 Board of Elections and Registrar’s Office – the money that is listed in the budget, is it enough to meet the new state guidelines? [Note from the Editor: I asked this specifically because election politics are nasty, and we do not want to be sued. I hope that there is enough money in there to fulfill all of the new state guidelines for elections.]

• Department 18 Buildings and Grounds – uniforms have $750.00, what can that be used for and what happens to that money if it is not used?

CM Rogers stated the uniforms for Building and Grounds have more allocated because they get a lot dirtier and use their clothes more often. There is no rolling over of any funds from one year to the next unless authorized by the Board of Commissioners. The funds must be spent.

• Department 33 Sheriff - requested $1,447,296.00 and recommended $1,435,147.00 for regular employees pay, is this because Snowden left the Sheriff’s Office? [Note from the Editor: This is answered further down. My concern with asking about funds is making sure that the Sheriff's Office has enough money to pay deputies so we are not training deputies who go elsewhere for better money.]

• Department 33 Sheriff Fund 210 Impact Fees – requested $24,000.00 and recommended $150,000.00, is this an accounting procedure?

CM Rogers stated the Sheriff’s Department payroll reflects the turnover the Sheriff’s Department has had.

• Department 38 E-911/ Fund 215 E-911 – looks like one has requested money and one has recommended money. Looks like with the two accounts you take money out of one and put it in the other account, would like this confirmed.

CM Rogers stated this is like Impact Fee and SPLOST funds.

• Department 42 Public Works of Roads Fund 210 – there is $100,000.00 in Impact Fees, what is that money for? Do they have any big projects coming up?

CM Rogers stated that Public Works Impact Fees can be used on roads and big projects. There are some big projects coming up this year like McKinley Road even though it is a SPLOST project. If there is something that needs to be done to a road or a bridge, instead of using M & R Funds, Impact Fees are used.

Mrs. Watts noted on Department 55 Community Services, she likes how the Opioid money is being used to help with that department and the fees.

• Department 56 Senior Center – there is $1,200.00 for Contract Services, what is that for? CM Rogers stated this if for Wired Technologies (IT Services)

• Department 56 Senior Center – Congregate Meal Expense and Home Delivered Meal Expense, are Federal and State Funds helping to offset these?

CM Rogers stated this impacted the county in the last couple of months, the meals have increased significantly. The state readjusted their numbers and provided the county with more funding. The county is still losing about $2-$3 more per plate. [Note from the Editor: I greatly appreciate our county taking care of our seniors from making sure that they are well-fed even though we are losing money to making sure that they have a fabulous new walking track. Click here to read "Ribbon Cutting Held for Pike Senior Center Walking Track."]

• Department 65 Libraries – the county has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Library Board that the only thing the county is in charge of is the employees, is the Board of Commissioner violating the Memorandum of Understanding by taking this over and paying for it. [Note from the Editor: The county manager is insisting on taking over paying the utilities when the MOU says that the library pays for that rather than the county. I clarified this with Chairman Briar Johnson after the public part of the meeting was ended so it isn't part of the minutes, but I am ok with that because he basically stated that the county is not taking over the library.] Mrs. Watts has a problem with $15,000.00 in Impact Fees being used for books when the library has long-term plans of expansion. Previous County Managers have told Mrs. Watts that it was not legal to use Impact Fee money for books.

County Manager Brandon Rogers stated he and Jeremy Gilbert reviewed a list sent over by the Chairman of the Library Board and a lot of the items are considered maintenance; examples are repairing parking lot, repairing the roof, replacing AC Units and painting are not covered by Impact Fees. Most of these are Capital Improvements. The county did get their hand slapped this year by not having any projects listed for the library and utilizing Impact Fees. If the Impact Fees are not being utilized, then the state sees it as a fee is being charged that is not needed. County Manager Brandon Rogers noted that the only reason the question has been raised about the county violating the Memorandum of Understanding with the Library is because this year the county has took the cost of electricity, water, and gas service into the county budget instead of paying it through the library. The facility belongs to the Board of Commissioners. The county handles all the utilities for other facilities the Board of Commissioners own the same way. The library budget did not change this year. [Note from the Editor: It may be a small thing to some, but if we as a county can't/won't/refuse to honor a written contract, what other things are going to be brushed to the side as unimportant? Forgive me for being blunt, but if there is a contract (and there IS), let's honor it or work WITH people to get it changed so that it is reflective of reality.]

Mrs. Watts thanked all the Department Heads who answered her calls and discussed questions she had about the budget.

• Fire Department 350 C.A.I.P. Fund - there is $100,000.00 in Fire Department Site Improvements, is this for the Blackmon Road Fire Station? Also, there is $165,000.00 in Impact Fees, how do these two funds work together?

CM Rogers stated this is for the Blackmon Road Fire Station. The county is using Impact Fees to pay for it, but it is a Capital Improvement so will be moving money from Impact Fees to Capital Improvement. The material was delivered for the Fire Station, it was delivered to Public Works.

• Department 91 Animal Control – compensation is enough for the two employees who work for the county now. There is not an Animal Shelter fund, does this mean the county is not moving forward with it? [Note from the Editor: This was not answered then and is still in discussion even from the April 26, 2023 Commission Meeting. Click here to read "Chandler Confronts Commissioners on Animal Shelter Donation; Calls $225,000 a Failed Donation."]

Mrs. Watts noted that Special Local Option Sales Tax is easy to track in the budget, she likes how it is set up.

• Department 99 Transfer Out Fund 100 General Fund – there is $275,780.00 for Transfers Out Capital Acquisition, what is this for?

CM Rogers stated Department 99 is a transfer account, it is not an actual department, it is an accounting department.


Commissioner Jenkins asked about McKinley Road, was that Road on SPLOST? County Mananger Brandon Rogers replied yes, it is the fourth road listed on SPLOST. The county started with Tanyard Road and is still working on it. Whitley Engineering was asked to pick some of the easier roads and the one section of McKinley Road between Williamson-Zebulon Road and Highway 19 would be an easy road to start. Tanyard Road is taking a long time for the county. CM Rogers stated he could not give a date that McKinley Road will be started but it is on the SPLOST to be done. Once the road is paved, the county can get the state to certify the road to run radar on it. County Attorney Rob Morton clarified that law enforcement can issue citations; they just cannot operate a speed detection device on dirt roads. State Patrol or any Law Enforcement in that jurisdiction can patrol McKinley Road.

Chairman Johnson noted that Becky Watts mentioned taking over the library, he is not aware of the county taking over the library. [Note from the Editor: See my note in blue above. I did make a clarification from the audience, but this was outside of the public comment portion of the meeting.]

Commissioner Jenkins stated he has asked several times about communication and processes on consolidating. Mr. Jenkins noted he has not seen anything on this. Mr. Jenkins changed services from Verizon to AT & T and they saved him personally around $160.00 a month. Commissioner Jenkins would like this to be looked at for the county. A meeting has been set up with AT & T Tuesday, April 25, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. The location has not been set yet, might be a virtual meeting. Commissioner Jenkins feels like the county could save a lot of money. This would need to include the Sheriff’s Department, EMA and Public Works.

County Manager Brandon Rogers stated the county currently has an emergency responders’ package with Verizon, the county gets a substantial discount with Verizon. CM Rogers stated he reached out to AT & T about a year and a half ago, and they could not match the Verizon cost for the county but if they are willing to work with the county, he will check in on it. CM Rogers state FirstNet is a great program that AT & T has for first responders.

Commissioner Jenkins asked how this month compares to last month on the Impact Fees, seems last month was a strong month. CM Rogers stated that the county had a good month last month. Over $100,000.00 was collected last month in Impact Fees and this month was around $40,000.00.

The first reading of the budget will be May 2, 2023, at 1:00 p.m.



Motion/second by Commissioners Guy/Proctor to adjourn at 1:46 p.m., motion carried 5-0.

Submitted 4.27.23