STATE OF GEORGIA

 

COUNTY OF HENRY

 

††††††††† The Henry County Board of Commissioners held a joint meeting with the Henry County Board of Education at 6:30 p.m., on Thursday, October 4, 2007, at the Henry County Administration Building, 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough, Georgia.Notice of this meeting was posted in the foyer of the Henry County Administration Building.The Daily Herald was notified of this meeting.Those present were:

 

††††††††† Henry County Board of Commissioners

 

††††††††† Jason T. Harper, Chairman

††††††††† Elizabeth ďBJĒ Mathis, Vice-Chairman/District II Commissioner

††††††††† Warren E. Holder, District I Commissioner

††††††††† Randy Stamey, District III Commissioner

††††††††† Reid A. Bowman, District IV Commissioner

†††††††††

(Johnny B. Basler, District V Commissioner was absent)

 

††††††††† Rob Magnaghi, County Manager

††††††††† Janine Robertson, Deputy County Clerk

††††††††† Patrick Jaugstetter, County Attorney

††††††††† Terry McMickle, Public Works Division Director

††††††††† Phyllis Schrader, Deputy County Manager

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

††††††††† Henry County Board of Education

 

††††††††† Ray Hudula, Chairman/District V

Pam Nutt, Vice-Chairman/District I

††††††††† Brian Preston, District II

††††††††† Dr. Jack Parish, Superintendent

†††††††††

 

Call to Order Ė Board of Commissioners and Board of Education

 

Acceptance of Agenda(s)

Chairman Harper and Chairman Hudalla called the meeting to order for both Boards.Chairman Harper amended the agenda moving the presentation of the recycling program to item E and item F will be a presentation on the HR 900.Commissioner Mathis made the motion to accept the agenda; Commissioner Stamey seconded.The motion carried unanimously.

Presentation regarding the recycling program

††††††††† On August 6, 2007, the Board approved initiation of the planning process to prepare a new ten (10) year Joint County and Cities Solid Waste Management Plan, as required by the State, to continue the qualified local government status.There have been meetings within each of the Cities and the County. Part of the plan involves public education and within the implementation part there is a public education part which the school district can be a part of. The Solid Waste Management Plan involves five (5) key components; 1) collection; 2) disposal; 3) land limitation for management facilities; 4) public outreach and 5) reduction.A new incentive is being proposed to see how we can improve the way solid waste is handled to achieve the state goal of reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills.

††††††††† The Solid Waste Management Plan is our guide as to how solid waste is to be handled over the next ten (10) years.Also it will explain how to meet the stateís per capita reduction goal of 25%.A solid waste management plan to reduce waste is important because itís environmentally responsible.There is onlyso much land available for landfills.Henry County relies on landfills in surrounding counties to take our waste and by reducing waste it reduces the rate at which those landfills will become full.Once they are full we will have to take our garbage even farther away and that will drive the cost up.Without a Solid Waste Management Plan in place, Henry County is not eligible for Federal Funds to assist in solid waste management programs and services.

††††††††† Everyday Americans throw away an average of 4.4 pounds of garbage per person, per day.Georgiaís goal in 1993 was to reach a waste disposal rate of 5.3 pounds yet today the average is 6.5 pounds of waste.Henry Countyís population is expected to increase 85% or by 142,000 people by the year 2020 adding nearly 463 tons of garbage per day to our waste stream.To achieve the stateís 25% reduction goal Henry County must divert more than 36,000 tons a year from the landfills.Some of the options being considered in this plan is 1) opening a solid waste handling facility such as a landfill in Henry County, 2) opening new or expanding the current recycling center, 3) zoning the garbage collection services, 4) curbside recycling collection, 5) implementing a pay as you throw program, 6) working with businesses and residents to develop recycling, reuse and exchange programs, 7) developing green workshops and working with the school system to develop recycling and environmental education and outreach programs.

††††††††† Zack Parker, a teacher, and some members of Club-E presented the recycling program they are doing at Eagleís Landing High School.The program (Club-E) began last year and currently paper, plastic, and aluminum cans are being recycled.The main goal is to get the students involved.The plan is to eventually adopt a stream and adopt a road in addition to the current programs.

††††††††† Dr. Jack Parish, Superintendent of Schools, stated Club-E should be commended for the job they are doing at their school.Environmental stewardship is incorporated into many of the courses that are being taught.Itís great to have students involved.Eagleís Landing High is probably not the only school that is involved.Last year at Handís on Henry a lot of school organizations were represented.The Board of Education has a stretch of road on Highway 81 East that was adopted approximately three (3) years ago as part of the Adopt-a-Highway Program and they are out there at least four (4) times per year picking up liter on the side of the road.The Board of Education is interested in the students being involved in service learning type projects.The Board will try and encourage other schools to follow the model of Eagleís Landing High in developing a program.

HR 900 (Speaker Richardsonís GREAT Plan) and tax reform

††††††††† Jerry Griffin, Executive Director of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), presented the agenda item to the Board.

At the 2007 session of the Georgia Legislature, Speaker Richardson and others filed House Resolution 900, a proposal for a comprehensive revision of Georgiaís state and local tax structure. The legislation was introduced with the expectation that it would be studied and possibly refined before the 2008 session of the General Assembly.

HR 900 calls for a change in the current personal income tax and for the adoption of a value added tax.It would eliminate nearly all other state and local taxes.Much of the legislation changes existing language to accommodate the change in tax structure.HR 900 is a proposed Constitutional amendment. To be enacted, the legislation requires approval by 2/3rds of the Georgia House of Representatives and of the Georgia Senate, and by a majority of Georgia voters.The Governor would have no legal say regarding the matter. If the proposed Constitutional amendment is adopted, its provisions will bind the General Assembly.As currently proposed, if it is approved by the General Assembly, the amendment would go to the voters in November 2008, and if approved by the votes, it would become effective January 1, 2009. (Information from the a Policy Brief of the Fiscal Research Center)

ACCG is concerned with House Resolution 900 (HR900).This is about a major shift in the intergovernmental system of the State; about making the House Speaker probably the most powerful speaker in the state; about a system where local decision making is transferred to Atlanta and about a system that has to raise ten billion dollars in new taxes.The Speaker says that new sales taxes would have to be raised or remove exemptions and tax for example, hair cuts, lawn service and groceries.Itís not known where the ten billion will come from and that has been the focus.If big stuff is not taxed (agriculture, health service, business to business sells) then ten billion cannot be found.Speaker Richardson indicated there is a study that shows the ten billion but he did not want to publish it.After a recent meeting, it was stated that medical canít be taxed.The question was raised regarding out of state ownership of property.A survey was done of 58 counties and there are eight hundred and fifty million in taxes that are billed to out of state property owners.The bottom line is thereís too many unanswered questions to make such a fundamental change in the economic structure of the State; ACCG will continue to ask questions.

Chairman Hudalla stated the Henry County Board of Education has been following this resolution very closely.There are so many questions that are unanswered.It sounds great that there is a proposal to eliminate property taxes but itís hoped that citizens would say ďwhat is going to replace it because we still want the servicesĒ.That information is not being communicated.No one is against looking at this issue but whatever the plan is, it has to be well thought out, presented so that each person can apply it to their situation and then make an informed decision.

Commissioner Mathis stated her biggest concern with the proposal is the fact that it will take away a lot of control from the local government.While the concept sounds good, it could spell disaster for the counties.

Commissioner Holder asked if there was bipartisan support for this resolution.Mr. Griffin stated no, there was not.

Commissioner Holder stated in past years the Henry County Board of Commissioners has presented local legislation to the local delegation for introduction and have found that it has come under great scrutiny by the legislative delegation and in many cases they refused to introduce the legislation.

Patrick Jaugstetter, County Attorney, stated there was some discussion regarding bonds; bond to debt in context to new debt. What happens to existing debt?Mr. Griffin stated the county would have to keep it and would continue to levy property tax to pay it off.In Henry County the Water Authority and the Hospital Authority both have long term bond to debt thatís ultimately backed by property taxes.So in Henry County at least, the citizens would continue to pay some property taxes.

Mr. Griffin stated they commend Speaker Richardson for bringing up the subject of tax reform.The approach right now is wrong.

Chairman Harper stated he would give the Speaker credit for thinking outside the box but the State has discussed a regional sales tax or a statewide sales tax and dedicate every dollar to transportation.The proposed resolution will divert attention away from transportation.

Chairman Harper thanked Mr. Griffin for his presentation regarding the HR 900.

Successful opening to the school year and appreciation for completion of road improvement projects associated with the new schools:Bethlehem Road, N. Moseley Road, and McDonough Parkway

††††††††† Dr. Jack Parish, Superintendent of Schools, said thank you to the Board of Commissioners for assistance for a successful opening to the school year.Things went extremely well, especially where new schools were located.

(Commissioner Holder left the meeting)

Current school projects:

Tussahaw Elementary, August 2008, Coan Drive and Rock Spring Elementary, August 2008, Stroud Road

††††††††† These schools are under construction that is scheduled to open for the next school year.Neither of the schools will require significant road improvements but there is always coordination required with the driveways and road alignments.

Locust Grove Middle School and Locust Grove High School, August 2009, Peeksville and S. Ola Roads

††††††††† Both schools are currently under construction.The road improvements for these schools have been completed.

Additional school projects to begin soon:

Wolf Creek Elementary, August 2009, South Unity Grove Road Ė Will help relieve some of the over crowding in the Locust Grove area.

Rocky Creek Elementary, August 2009, Hampton-Locust Grove Road Ė Three schools will be located on this site, Rocky Creek Elementary which is scheduled to open in 2009 and Hampton Middle School is scheduled to open in 2010 and Hampton High School is scheduled to open in 2011.The schools are located on a road that will require minimal if any improvements.

Update on 2007-08 student enrollment (second consecutive year of below projection)

††††††††† Student enrollment was anticipated to be down at the beginning of the school year and that has proven to be the case.Most, if not all, school systems are being affected this year.Henry County is down approximately 1,000 students from what was projected.Current enrollment is 39,150 and the projection was 40,145 students.It is believed the decrease is due to the housing market.As soon as the housing trend rebounds the numbers will probably go back to where they were.

Henry County Career Academy/collaboration with Griffin Technical College

††††††††† There was an article in the Henry Herald that gave an updated to this project.The Board of Education has continued to try and locate a satellite campus for Griffin Technical College in Henry County on property in McDonough owned by the Board of Education.The property is contiguous to Henry County High School and there was an offer of 25 acres of land if they were willing to construct the facility at this location.To date it has not occurred but the BOE will continue to work with Dr. Arnold, who is the president of Griffin Technical College. At some point soon, the Board of Education will ask for the Board of Commissioners support in endorsing this project and in putting together a small delegation to make a presentation to the Department of Technical and Adult Education and express that this is a genuine need.Itís not a need that will only serve the school system but will serve the needs of all of Henry County.It will also be good for economic development, students and Henry County in general.

††††††††† Henry County High School is undergoing a major renovation project and when the project is completed in 2009, if a building is not constructed through the Department of Technical and Adult Education the plan is to have some collaborative programs with Griffin Technical College so students can receive technical college credit at the same as fulfilling their high school requirements.

 

Pledge of support for Countyís SPLOST III

††††††††† The Board of Education pledged they would help support the County in their efforts regarding SPLOST III.

Impact of total outdoor watering ban

††††††††† There is a total outdoor watering ban in affect in Henry County.Based on the latest information from the Henry County Water & Sewerage Authority, Henry County is comfortably as good if not better shape as any of the northern tier counties in the State.

Set date for next joint meeting

††††††††† Both Boards set the next joint meeting for January 10, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. at the County Administration Building, 140 Henry Parkway.

Adjourn

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

††††††††† Chairman Huddalla adjourn the Board of Education meeting.†††††††††††††††