The Henry County Board of Commissioners held a Called Public Meeting with the Henry County Board of Education at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 8, 2009, in the Community Room, County Administration Building, 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough, Georgia. Notice of this meeting was posted in the entrance foyer of the County Administration Building. The Daily Herald was notified of this meeting. Those present were:

Board of Commissioners

                        Elizabeth “BJ” Mathis, Chairman,

Reid A. Bowman, Vice-Chairman, District IV Commissioner

Warren E. Holder, District I Commissioner

            Randy Stamey, District III Commissioner

Johnny B. Basler, District V Commissioner

(Commissioner Rick Jeffares, District II was not present)

            Board of Education

                        Ray Hudalla, Chairman, District V

                        Pam Nutt, Vice-Chairman, District I

                        Brian Preston, District II

                        Charles Vickery, District III

                        Erik Charles, District IV

                        Michael Surma, Superintendent

Also attending were Shay Mathis, County Clerk; LaTonya Nix-Wiley, County Attorney; Rob Magnaghi, County Manager; Mike Bush, Finance Director; Michael Harris, Planning & Zoning Services Division Director; Terry McMickle, Public Works Division Director; and others.

Call to Order

            Chairman Mathis called the meeting to order and recognized members of the Local Delegation: Senator Gail Davenport, Senator John Douglas, Representative John Yates and Representative Steve Davis. 

Acceptance of Agenda

            Commissioner Stamey made the motion to accept the agenda; Commissioner Holder seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.  

Legislative Agenda

            Mr. Michael Surma, School Superintendent, stated one area of concern is for local control over issues that affect the County.  Another area of concern is for actions to be taken care of early on in the Legislative process.  And finally for continued funding of school systems from transportation to equipment and man power that is needed.


Henry County Technical College

            Mr. Surma stated a Technical College has been a joint effort that has been ongoing for a long time.  Henry County Board of Education dedicated, next to Henry County High School, approximately 25 acres of land to be used by higher education in the future.  The Chamber of Commerce along with thirteen other Boards passed resolutions supporting a Technical College within Henry County.  Henry County is the largest populated county in the State that does not currently have a technical college.  Over 20% of Henry County students enroll in Griffin Tech for higher education.  Education is the key to developing the workforce. 

            The Commissioner for Technical Colleges has added to his projects list funding for the first of several buildings at the 25 acre site.  This would be funded through and would be a part of Griffin Tech but would be a campus in Henry County.  By the fall there could possible be Clayton State College, Gordon College and Griffin Tech at the Henry High Facility.

One Henry Planning Efforts

            Mr. Ray Hudalla, Chairman of the Board of Education stated they would like to continue with meetings (Board of Education, the Cities, the Board of Commissioners and the Community) so that the County can be looked at as whole and not individual pieces. 


Discussion of the School Bond Referendum

            Chairman Mathis stated the Board of Education has the right to request a referendum at anytime but the Board of Commissioners would like to request assistance in funding the election.  Mr. Hudalla stated this issue was discussed and they believe the Board of Education can take care of this.  Chairman Mathis thanked the Board of Education for their cooperation.

            Commissioner Bowman stated he had gathered information regarding existing bonds of the Board of Education, 1992 A Bond, 2000 and 2001 Bond, the 2004 Bond, the 2007 Bond and the 2007 A which is a SPLOST Bond.  Commissioner Bowman asked if the other series 2007 was SPLOST Bond.

            Mr. Jeff Allie, Assistant Superintendent of Finance stated the 2007 sale was part of the 2004 Bond Referendum.  There were two bond sales from the referendum that was approved in 2004.

            Commissioner Bowman stated the total debt in bonding is approximately $232,521,380 +/-.  The referendum is to bond $256.5 million that will bring the total of bonds out to approximately a half a billion dollars.  Should there be a default, where does it go from there?  Does it come back to the County and the Board of Commissioners has to raise property taxes to pay for the bonds.

            Mr. Allie stated half a million of the bond debt is for the 2007 A SPLOST Bond.  Currently the bond millage rate is 3.06 and has been consistent since 2000 and before that it was 4 mills.  The 3.06 is sufficient to pay the bond debt.  If the current tax digest is not sufficient to pay the bond debt then yes the millage rate would need to be increased.  Currently there are two millage rates, maintenance and operation millage rate and bonding millage rate.  The maintenance and operation millage rate is at the state maximum of 20 mills.  The bond millage rate is separate revenue received from the Tax Commissioner. 

            Commissioner Bowman asked if there were any concerns regarding the current SPLOTS collections.  Mr. Allie stated based on collections received for 2008 there was a 5% decrease from 2007.  There are concerns and it was noticed that December 2008 was slightly higher than 2007.  The projects have been lowered to less than $30 million per year for the next three years.  There is potential, do to the short fall in the SPLOST collections that the bond millage rate may have to be reviewed once the tax digest is received.

            Commissioner Stamey asked if this bond referendum did not pass how that would affect the school board’s plans.  Mr. Allie stated there are seven schools planned with this referendum.  Initially it would mean more classroom trailers and construction of the seven schools would be delayed.

            Commissioner Stamey asked what schools will be opening this fall.  Mr. Surma stated the new schools for this fall are:  Locust Grove High School, Locust Grove Middle School (both located on Peeksville Road), Hampton Middle School and Rocky Creek Elementary (both located on Hampton/Locust Grove Road). 

Update on road construction projects associated with area schools

            Mr. Terry McMickle, Public Works Division Director gave the update on the road projects:

·         Walker Road and Highway 155 Intersection (Luella Schools) – A traffic signal is under construction and should be up and running in a couple of months

·         The improvements are completed at Peeksville Road and South Ola Road (Locust Grove Middle and High Schools) – The intersection was improved to include a traffic signal when needed.

·         Funding is being sought for a traffic signal and turn lanes on East Lake Road (East Lake Elementary and Union Grove Schools)

·         There are plans to install a traffic light at Fairview Road and Anvil Block Road for a school that is planned in the Fairview Area.

·         Improvement plans are being discussed for the intersection of Hampton/Locust Grove Road and Rocky Creek Road.  There are plans for a interim improvement until a permanent improvement can be completed.

There was discussion regarding funding on State Routes/Highways.  Chairman Mathis asked Representative Steve Davis regarding the Eagle’s Landing Extension, could the County apply for funds from the Economic Stimulus Package for that project and can the Delegation help in making sure the County is on the list to receive some of those funds.

Representative Davis stated the final project list for the stimulus request will be done in February.  There are stipulations on the projects and what meets the criteria for the package.  The project will have to have all of its PE and design completed and ready to go to construction within 180 days.  There is a preliminary list and the Eagle’s Landing Project is not on that list but Eagle’s Landing has a dedicated funding source for the FY 2010 Budget.  Representative Davis stated he is not sure if that project could be add to the stimulus package list since it already has a funding source but he is sure that they could.  The time frame may be shorten to 120 days but either way, no matter which requirement, the project will meet the requirements.  Representative Davis stated if the County would like for him to make this request to add the Eagle’s Landing Project to the project list to Commissioner Evans he would; he thought that’s where the Chairman was going with the question.  Chairman Mathis stated yes it was.

Mr. McMickle stated he would like to add another project that meet the requirements and that is Highway 81 and Keys Ferry Road.  The request would be for full funding for the project. 

Representative Davis stated he can ask the Commissioner to add both projects and would do so on tomorrow.

Next meeting date

The next meeting is scheduled for April 2, 2009 and will be held at the Board of Education Administration Building.

Board of Commissioners to approve an agreement regarding a turn lane at Bill Gardner Parkway and Tanger Boulevard  

            Terry McMickle, Public Works Division Director presented the agenda item to the Board.  The Board approved an agreement with the City of Locust Grove and a developer in June, 2008 to add a turn lane beginning at the northbound exit ramp from I-75 (Locust Grove/Hampton Exit) and would continue as a right turn lane onto Tanger Boulevard.  The developer, who will be extending Tanger Boulevard, has agreed to deposit $300,000 into what is called an escrow account for the estimated total cost of the project.  The developer will provide the design work and submit it to the county to be bid out by the county purchasing department.  If the project exceeds $300,000 the developer has agreed to pay any overages.  The County will be responsible for $100,000 which is the same amount agreed to in the original agreement.  The developer is in agreement with this contract.

            Commissioner Holder stated the cost of this project will be shared with the County, the City of Locust Grove and Shi Investments. 

            Commissioner Holder made the motion to approve the agreement; Commissioner Bowman seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.


            Commissioner Bowman made the motion to adjourn the meeting; Commissioner Stamey seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.


                                                                                    Elizabeth “BJ” Mathis, Chairman


Shay Mathis, County Clerk