The Henry County Board of Commissioners held a Called Meeting at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, March 9, 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:


                        Elizabeth “BJ” Mathis, Chairman,

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

Warren E. Holder, District I Commissioner

Rick Jeffares, District II Commissioner

            Randy Stamey, District III Commissioner

Johnny B. Basler, District V Commissioner

Also attending were Shay Mathis, County Clerk; LaTonya Nix-Wiley, County Attorney; Rob Magnaghi, County Manager; and others.

(NOTE: Audio of this meeting is available with the County Clerk in the Board of Commissioners’ Office and will be retained for a period no less than twelve (12) months from the date of this meeting.) 

Chairman Mathis called the meeting to order and called for an acceptance of the agenda.  Commissioner Bowman made the motion to approve the agenda; Commissioner Holder seconded.  The motion carried 5-0-0.

Henry County Development Authority enabling legislation be amended to clarify its powers

            Clark Rainer, Technology Services Director presented the agenda item to the Board.  This legislation clarifies some issues and gives the Development Authority the ability to sell revenue bonds for the purposes of constructing any item that would boaster the economic development in Henry County.  The Technology Authority will not be pursued.

            Chairman Mathis stated by approving the legislation, Henry County is not committing to anything.  If approved by the State we would simply b e given the ability to explore the possibility of a fiber optic network for the county through the Development Authority and this is not in any way obligating Henry County at this time.

            Mr. Rainer stated that was correct.  This legislation sets the stage in order to move forward to the next step of exploring the structure of how this might work. 

Chairman Mathis stated at that time staff would come back and make a presentation to the Board.  Mr. Rainer stated yes an added, to the extent that it might include other government entities within Henry County, the same would be done to each Board so that everyone goes through the same process.

            Commissioner Bowman stated he looked into this issue and asked for some opinions from the State Legal Council.  To be clear he stated that by approving this legislation, we would only be asking for the opportunity to explore it further; we’re not asking for anything other than that.

            Mr. Rainer stated we are asking the Development Authority for clarification in their bill.  This would enable the Development Authority to sell bonds on behalf of an entity that would be created to run the fiber network and network operations center.  The idea right now is a public/private non-profit organization comprised of both the public sector and private sector.

            Commissioner Bowman stated the bond would be revenue based bond not a general obligation bond.  Mr. Rainer stated that was correct.

            Commissioner Bowman stated according to the Atlanta Journal & Constitution, the City of Marietta had issues with keeping the program up.  They spent approximately $35 million and at the end of the day sold it for $11.5 million.  Where would this program end up; it begins with fiber optic service and would it end with the government owning a telephone service, voice over service, etc.

            Mr. Rainer stated the model that they focused on the most was the City of Thomasville.  Their program includes telephone, cable TV, and the entire realm of data services.  Their customer base includes not only the governments but commercial businesses and residential customers as well.  Their competition is Al-Tel Communications and Comcast or Charter.  Their program has been successful.  Last year a check was given back to the City of Thomasville in the amount of $384,000.00 which went to the general fund to pay for the initial investment and other cost.

            Commissioner Bowman asked who would be served by “Henry County Fiber Optic”.  Mr. Rainer stated the entire county.  The goal is to be able to reach every citizen in all parts of the county.

            Commissioner Bowman asked what the anticipated costs for the fiber optic program are.  Mr. Rainer stated in the initial phase, which would included 170 government locations, the cost is anticipated to be $12 million, which is a three (3) year operating budget to include the equipment, the fiber into each facility, the equipment to hook it up and the cost to manage and maintain the system.   Commissioner Bowman stated after three (3) years the cost would decrease.  Mr. Rainer stated that was correct.

            Chairman Mathis stated it was discussed the type of system the county would be running and the amount of width being more than what’s currently being offered by the cable carriers.  Also there are rural counties that have better fiber service than Henry County and because of that we have lost business to county’s such as Douglasville because this service is not available.  This would be an economic benefit to Henry County to be able to offer this to technology based businesses.

            Mr. Rainer stated the City of Thomasville is offering a gigabyte of connectivity to all of their customers at about half the price of their competitors.  The same could be done in Henry County with ten times the level of service including a 100 byte of connectivity to every building.  There’s cooperation with Georgia Power and the two EMC Company’s.  One proposal offers free service to those companies and they would be responsible for building out the last mile off the major network to get to them.  In exchange they would handle all the pole attachment agreements.

            Commissioner Holder made the motion to approve the resolution; Commissioner Jeffares seconded.  The motion carried 6-0-0.

Approval of a resolution regarding a Bill to repeal an Act approved during the 1987 Session so as to provide that no person shall be eligible to seek election to or to serve as a member of the Board if such person holds or is seeking election to any other Federal, State or Local Office

            Janet Shellnutt, Director of Elections and Registration presented the agenda item to the Board.  House Bill 847 is in conflict with the State Constitution, Article II, Section II, and Paragraph V.  Laws to the State Constitution can be more stringent but cannot take away from them.  The request is to remove this part of State Law.

            Commissioner Holder stated the intent of House Bill 847 was to protect the tax payer so that a special election would not have to be held.  As long as the term expired at the same time that a term would begin, that person would not have to resign.

            Commissioner Bowman made the motion to approve the resolution; Commissioner Stamey seconded.  The motion carried 5-0-0.



                                                                        Elizabeth “BJ” Mathis, Chairman


Shay Mathis, County Clerk