STATE OF GEORGIA

 

COUNTY OF HENRY

 

The Henry County Board of Commissioners held a Called Public Meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 8, 2009, in Conference Room B, 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,

            Warren E. Holder, District I Commissioner

Randy Stamey, District III Commissioner

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

Johnny B. Basler, District V Commissioner

Not Present was:

Rick Jeffares, District II Commissioner

Also attending were Shay Mathis, County Clerk; LaTonya Nix-Wiley, County Attorney; Phyllis Shrader, Interim County Manager; Michael Sabine, Assistant County Manager;  Mike Bush, Finance Director; Terry McMickle, Public Works Division Director; Jim Luebbering, Building and Development Services Division Director; 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 an acceptance of the agenda.  Commissioner Bowman made the motion to accept the agenda with the addition of a request to purchase a used lo-boy; Commissioner Holder seconded.  The motion carried 4-0-0.

Request to purchase a lo-boy for the Department of Transportation

            Terry McMickle, Public Works Division Director presented the agenda item to the Board.  Currently the department has a used 1992 lo-boy trailer that has been in use for approximately 18 years.  Numerous repairs have been made to this trailer and it has become a hazard to use and the cost to repair the current equipment is increasing.  The current lo-boy is either a 35 or 40 tons.  The lo-boy that the department is requesting to purchase is 55 tons at a cost of $40,000; this should be able to handle future projects.

            The equipment to be purchased is a 2007 TH 55 Fontaine Specialized MFLD 26 lo-boy with no repairs needed.  A new 55 ton trailer would cost approximately $55,000 to $65,000. 

            Commissioner Holder asked for clarification on the equipment that was quoted to cost $48,000.  This item was postponed so that more information could be presented.

 

Discussion regarding Stimulus Money for Bond Funds

            Jim Monacell, Esq., Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP and Bond Counsel for the County presented the agenda item to the Board.  The discussion is regarding the Recovery Zone Program under the Stimulus Act.  The President signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009, as part of the economic stimulus recover package (the “Stimulus”).  The Stimulus law has significant effects on bonds affecting economic development.  The program is temporary and effects bonds issued in 2009 and 2010.  The legislation authorizes the County to designate recovery zones and to allow bonds to be issued in two different categories, Economic Development Bonds for County projects and Facility Bonds for private activity projects.  Any of the bonds have to be located within what the County has designated as recovery zones or it can be outside of the zone if it has a significant impact on a recovery zone.  Recovery zones can include any area designated as having significant poverty, unemployment, high rate of home foreclosures and general distress.  The Board can designate any number of zones within the County.  Zones can be determined in any reasonable manner determined in good faith. 

            Economic Development Bonds for county projects are taxable bonds called Build America Bonds.  This means they carry a 45% tax credit.  There are two ways this can be handled by the county; sell the bonds to investors who receive a tax credit or retain the credit and receive a wire from the Federal Treasury every six months before paying the interest on the debt (the Treasury would basically be paying 45% of the county’s interest cost with the county paying the other 55%).  Any capital expenditures for governmental property inside a Recovery Zone are allowable if there is private economic activity or development.  County projects can consist of public infrastructure or facilities outside of a Recovery Zone if they promote economic activity or development inside the Zone.  Expenditures must have been made after February 17, 2009 and “Declaration of Official Intent” rules apply. 

            Facility Bonds has to finance property that is used by a private business in a Recovery Zone.  When this type of debt is issued, just like anything else the Development Authority does, it doesn’t bind the Authority or the County but the borrowers that are using the bonds have to repay that facility bonds.  Any type of property may be funded (except for residential property, golf courses, country clubs, massage parlors, hot-tub facilities suntan facilities, racetracks, gambling facilities and liquor stores).  It needs to be either new property or property that will be renovated by the private business.  The property must be acquired after the designation as a Recovery Zone.

            Recovery Zone Bonds must be issued during 2009 and 2010.  Henry County’s amounts have been allocated on the basis of the 2008 employment decline.  There is the ability to issue $9,440,000.00 in RZ Economic Development Bonds and $14,160,000.00 in RZ Facility Bonds.  The Board must decide how to sub-allocate the funds, how to designate the particular projects in Zones to allow the Bonds to be issued.  The Bonds can be issued by the County or by any Authority that acts for the County.  Bonds are issued by the usual methods, General Obligation Bonds, Revenue Bonds, Authority Bonds or Lease-Purchase or Certificates of Participation. 

            The County will need to identify projects, and designate the Zones that are impacted by those projects.

            Commissioner Holder asked if the municipalities were included in this program or is the funding given to the County and disseminated.  Mr. Monacell stated there is a certain amount that can be done for the entire Country and when it was decided how to divvy it up, it was divided County by County.  The Cities didn’t receive any specific allocation of their own.  If there is a city project, they would need to contact the County.

            Chairman Mathis stated staff had discussed how the bonds can be beneficial to the County.  Mike Bush, Finance Director discussed the Economic Development Bonds.  There are some projects that the economic bonds could be used for.  Mr. Bush stated he had a bank to run some numbers and the current tax exempt interest rate was 4.31%.  The current non-tax exempt interest rate was 5.35%.  The Build America Bonds, the county would pay 55% of the 5.35% or we would be paying 2.95% interest which is better than the tax exempt bonds.

            There is $9,440,000.00 available in RZ Economic Development Bonds.  Staff listed four projects that are on the current SPLOST List: 1) Senior CenterHampton; 2) Senior Center – Locust Grove; 3) Flippen Road replacement fire station; 4) Recreation Center (West of I-75).  The question now becomes how to pay the bonds back.  Because they can be bond issued, there can be longer terms.  It was discussed to have a twenty year bond.  Currently there will be approximately $600,000 that will fall off of the general fund debt in 2011.  If we do twenty year bonds that equals approximately $600,000 and this could be funded with no increase to anything.  Also since the projects are SPLOST related projects, if SPLOST dollars increase, that can fund the debt also.  Staff would like to consider the Private Payment Bonds instead of General Obligation Bonds. 

            As the buildings come on-line the Board should be aware of operational cost for the buildings.

            Clark Rainer, Technology Services Director addressed the Board regarding the Facility Bonds.  If a private company would like to build something such as the 130 mile fiber network, the county could lease it back from that company over a period of time.   This would not be considered a government project; a private company would come in and build it.  They would have certain profit margins built in and employ, hopefully, local residents to work on the project as they build it out and operate it for a number of years.

            Mr. Bob White, Development Authority Executive Director was present and stated the Development Authority will be contributing $6,000 of their stimulus money that comes from the EMC’s for the last several years (unclaimed capital credits) toward the feasibility study. 

            Mr. Rainer discussed with the Board the scope of services and terms of engagement as proposed by Rural Broadband, LLC.      

            Chairman Mathis asked if other governmental entities had agreed to contribute to the project.  Mr. Rainer stated there were discussions with the Water & Sewer Authority but nothing had been finalized.  No other entity has agreed to contribute.

            Commissioner Holder asked about the Cities contributing.  Mr. Rainer stated there were meetings with the City of McDonough.  The Cities currently do not have a lot of buildings that would participate.

            Commissioner Basler asked if Henry Medical Center had been contacted.  Mr. Rainer stated the plan is to give the hospital free service.  A number of the potential paying customers will include doctor offices that need to have access to information that is located at the hospital. 

            Ms. Wiley, County Attorney asked how long would it take for the feasibility study to be completed.  Mr. Rainer stated approximately 45 days. 

            Commissioner Holder made a motion to amend the agenda to add discussion regarding the Communications Department; Commissioner Bowman seconded.  The motion carried 4-0-0.

Continuation of the Request to purchase a lo-boy for the Department of Transportation

            Mr. McMickle stated the 2007 Fontaine is a 55-ton used piece of equipment.  The cost was $42,500 and staff was able to negotiate the cost down to $40,000.  There was also a quote for a new 51-ton Fontaine for $50,000 and a new 55-ton Fontaine would cost between $55,000 and $57,000.  There was a quote of $48, 500 for a 55-ton Dynowell.  The dealer did not recommend this equipment for city or county use.  There was also a quote for a 55-ton Lydell for a cost between $60,000 and $65,000.  The source of the funds to purchase the equipment is through savings in the lease purchase account. 

            Commissioner Holder made a motion to approve the purchase of the used 2007 TH 55 Fontaine lo-boy; Commissioner Bowman seconded.  The motion carried 4-0-0 approving the following resolution:

            WHEREAS, Henry County’s DOT has in its fleet once a 1992 Boaz Lo-boy Trailer; and

            WHEREAS, the trailer frame has cracked or broken five times since January 2009; and

            WHEREAS, TM Trailer Sales, Inc. has in stock one used 2007 TH 55 Fontaine Specialized MFLD 26 55 ton 26’ Lo-boy in the amount of $40,000.00; and

            WHEREAS, a new 55 ton 26’ lo-boy trailer ranges in price from $55,000.00 to $65,000.00          

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Henry County Board of Commissioners approve the purchase of one used 2007 TH 55 Fontaine Specialized MFLD 26 55 ton 26’ lo-boy trailer in the amount of $40,000.00.  Funds are available in the Lease Purchase Fund.

Communications Department

            Mrs. Julie Hoover-Ernst discussed the Board’s workshop meetings that were being held in Conference Room B.  There were concerns regarding the meetings not being televised.  The options are to continue in Conference Room B with a single camera, move back to the Community Room with tables set up in the middle, have the meeting the way it’s always been done or continue in Conference Room B with no video. 

            The consensus of the Board was to move the workshop meeting back to the Community Room.

            Commissioner Stamey made the motion to adjourn; Commissioner Basler seconded.  The motion carried 4-0-0.

 

                                                                        Elizabeth “BJ” Mathis, Chairman

 

            Shay Mathis, County Clerk