Jasper County Board of Commissioners
August 21, 2017
Called Meeting Minutes
Commissioners Present: Chairman, Carl Pennamon, Vice-Chairman, Bruce Henry, Don Jernigan, Doug Luke, and Craig Salmon.
Staff Present: Mike Benton, County Manager, Clerk, Sharon Robinson, Finance Director, Rhonda Blissit, and County Attorney, David Ozburn.
Pledge of Allegiance:
District 5, Doug Luke
Comm. Salmon made motion approve the agenda as presented, Henry seconded; passed unanimously.
Luke: Asked if the Pitts Chapel Bridge meeting was today.
Mr. Benton noted it is tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.
Jernigan: In regards to the subdivision special exception; Called clerk in McDowell County, SC; she noted they are upstanding, have done everything they were asked.
Comm. Pennamon noted he asked Mr. Benton to prepare a draft of a pay back on the $6.2 million.
Comm. Luke asked to open up the floor to see what feedback other Commissioners are getting.
Comm. Pennamon noted he is getting feedback from people concerned with the debt.
Comm. Luke noted people are confused about amounts.
Comm. Pennamon also noted people think this is going to be added to their property tax. He was also questioned about ESPLOST.
Comm. Luke noted if we don’t get on the same page then everyone is misinformed.
Mr. Benton noted the Facebook page is up.
Comm. Pennamon noted once we get what we want we can use FB to get the word out with the actual facts.
Comm. Luke noted he hopes through Facebook we will get some feedback.
Comm. Pennamon noted he has thought about this over the weekend and suggests to stick with the $3.9 that SPLOST will bring in and change the projects to just the Jail and Recreation.
Comm. Luke said he feels roads and bridges needs to be on there and stay at 3.9
Commissioners had discussion about fund balance and how much they should have.
Comm. Salmon reminded the Board in 2008-2012 there was a $4 million fund balance and it was spent.
Comm. Henry noted he feels we should use the $3.9 million we will get from SPLOST to fund Roads and Bridges at $1.5 million, Sheriff at $1.5 million and Recreation at $900,000. He feels that people want Roads and Bridges on SPLOST.
Comm. Luke questioned if they are all in agreement to drop down to the 3.9 for SPLOST.
Comm. Jernigan noted he really doesn’t want to cut the Sheriff back anymore
Comm. Pennamon recommends go with the $3.9 million dollars; $2.5 million for Sheriff and $900,000 for Recreation to include interest fees and everything.
Comm. Salmon questioned if we list roads, do we have to list the roads.
Atty. Ozburn noted you don’t have to list specific roads, you can just list Roads and Bridges.
Comm. Henry noted we should spend the money we have.
Comm. Jernigan noted sometimes you have to borrow money.
Comm. Salmon noted you can do other things and stabilize your cash flow.
Comm. Luke noted if we pass the SPLOST for the regular amount, can’t we finance it after the fact.
Atty. Ozburn noted you would need to get permission to issue the GO bonds or debt.
Mr. Benton noted we really need to have this ironed out to get wording for ballot to Judge Keller next week.
Comm. Henry noted we can just borrow $2.4 million and save on interest.
Comm. Luke noted he does think Roads and Bridges needs to be on there.
Comm. Pennamon noted we have to look at all the variables, when it comes to using fund balance, we have to remember we cut curbside fund balance when it was reduced.
Comm. Henry made motion to go with Roads and Bridges at $1 million, Sheriff at $1.5 million, and Recreation at $900,000, for a total of $3.4 million, Comm. Luke seconded; Henry and Luke vote yes, Pennamon, Jernigan, and Salmon vote no; motion failed
Comm. Pennamon made motion to go with $2.5million for Sheriff, $900,000 for Recreation, and borrow $3.4 with interest rate not to exceed 4.5% and pay it back in a 6 year period, Comm. Jernigan seconded; Jernigan and Pennamon vote yes; Henry, Luke, and Salmon vote no; motion failed.
Comm. Luke made motion to borrow a total of $3.5 million with $1 million for Roads and Bridges $1.6 million for Sheriff, and $900,000 for Recreation; with a maximum 4.5% for term of 72 months for a total project cost not to exceed $3.9 million project and interest, Comm. Henry seconded; Henry and Luke vote yes, Pennamon and Jernigan vote no, Salmon abstained. Motion failed.
Commissioners took a 5-minute break.
Comm. Luke questioned if it is safe to say we can take $1 million for Sheriff; if we can work together to complete the facility, he feels we can make it work. We can do it in phases.
Comm. Luke questioned if we have $1 million of fund balance to help pay interest or fund Sheriff Project.
Ms. Blissit noted right now no, but down the road a few years she would say yes.
Mr. Benton noted we may want to consider the excess that the Sheriff has and get him to commit to not spending it.
Comm. Salmon noted he is passionate about having a reserve.
Sheriff Pope noted that the last proposal amount was $2.2 million for his project and the plan that was discussed was to figure out a way to build the structure and use inmate labor for the inside.
Comm. Salmon questioned Ms. Blissit, based upon what he said does it seem like the numbers would work to get the extra $900,000 for the Sheriff.
Ms. Blissit noted starting FY 2018; that is just a projection, as we tighten down on the budget it could get less; it depends on how we do the budget as to what the change in fund balance is.
Sheriff Pope noted if we could all work together to complete the facility, he is good with extending the time. He cannot do it for the $1.6 million. He feels this is a decent compromise.
Comm. Salmon made motion to set borrowing cap at $3.5 million with Roads and Bridges at $1 million, Sheriff at $1.6 million, Recreation at $900,000 not to exceed 4.5% over 72 months and any additional needed for the Sheriff is to come out of fund balance as it grows over 45%, Comm. Henry seconded; Salmon, Henry, and Luke vote yes; Pennamon and Jernigan vote no. Motion pass 3 to 2.
Atty. Ozburn noted he needs the specific names of the projects detailed enough to let the public know what the projects are.
Comm. Henry noted he feels Roads and Bridges is good.
Comm. Pennamon noted he feels it needs to be LMIG Match.
Comm. Henry noted that would just confuse voters, because most won’t know what LMIG is.
Sheriff Pope noted he would like to see the ballot wording as Sheriff Office Facility Expansion.
Comm. Jernigan suggested Recreation Multi-purpose Facility.
Comm. Luke made motion to list as Roads and Bridges as it was on the last SPLOST, Comm. Henry seconded, passed unanimously.
Mr. Benton noted current SPLOST has 2 more years of LMIG match.
Mr. Benton reminded Commissioners of the meeting at 6p.m. Thursday, August 24th .
County Attorney Items:
County Manager Items:
Comm. Jernigan made motion to adjourn at 8:05 p.m., Comm. Salmon seconded; passed unanimously.
Carl Pennamon, Chairman
Sharon S. Robinson, Clerk