Bulloch County

Board of Commissioners

Minutes ● August 15, 2017

              Special Meeting              North Main Annex Community Room              6:30 PM

                            115 North Main St, Statesboro, GA 30458

1.              Call to Order, Welcome Media and Visitors

Chairman Thompson welcomed guests and called the meeting to order.

2.              Invocation and Pledge

Chairman Thompson gave the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance.

3.              Roll Call

Mrs. Olympia Gaines, Clerk of the Board performed the roll for the commissioners and staff.

Attendee Name

Title

Status

Arrived

Ray Mosely

Vice-Chairman

Present

 

Robert Rushing

Commissioner

Present

 

Anthony Simmons

Commissioner

Present

 

Curt Deal

Commissioner

Present

 

Roy Thompson

Chairman

Present

 

Walter Gibson

Commissioner

Present

6:40 PM

Jappy Stringer

Commissioner

Present

 

 

The following staff were present: County Manager Tom Couch, Assistant County Manager Andy Welch, Chief Financial Officer Whitney Richland, County Attorney Jeff Akins, and Tax Assessor John Scott.

 

4.              Approval of General Agenda

I.              A motion was made to approve the General Agenda as presented.

RESULT:              Approved [Unanimous]

MOVER:              Ray Mosely, Commissioner

SECONDER:              Curt Deal, Commissioner

AYES:              Mosely, Rushing, Simmons, Deal, Gibson, Stringer

5.              Public Hearing- Proposed Property Tax Increase

Chairman Thompson stated the next item of business was a Public Hearing regarding the proposed property tax increase. He called on Mr. Couch to begin discussion on the matter. Mr. Couch stated as required by the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, the County is required to hold a public hearing to notify the taxpayers in language stipulated by the state legislation of a tax increase if the Board of Commissioners does not intend to roll back the millage rate to account for any inflationary increase in the tax digest. He stated despite the notice being advertised as an increase, the Board will maintain the current 12.34 millage rate. Mr. Couch stated the previous millage rate increase was to fund public safety and reach the County's five-year plan objectives. He stated the County has not reached the ideal fund reserves and will need a few more years to achieve this objective. Mr. Couch stated the purpose of maintaining the current millage rate was to maintain and meet the fiscal responsibilities of the County.

I.              1094 : A motion was made to open the floor to the public for questions and/or comments regarding the proposed property tax increase.

RESULT:              Approved [Unanimous]

MOVER:              Jappy Stringer, Commissioner

SECONDER:              Ray Mosely, Commissioner

AYES:              Mosely, Rushing, Simmons, Deal, Gibson, Stringer

Dr. Ruth Green expressed her concerns that the notification to the public concerning the proposed property tax increase and the Statesboro TAD was not provided in a timely manner for the Statesboro Herald to disseminate notice to the general public so that the public could be informed of what is going on. She also stated the wording of the notice lacked clarification on what the general public was being notified about.

 

Mr. Couch provided some clarification by stating the notice for the proposed property tax increase and the Statesboro TAD were two separate items. He further explained that proper notification was sent to the Statesboro Herald notifying the public of the required Public Hearings to be held on August 15th at 8:30am and 6:30pm, with the last Public Hearing being held on August 22nd at 8:30am. Mr. Couch explained that the notice to the public has to be written according to state legislation and that though advertised as an increase the Board will maintain the existing 12.34 millage rate.

 

Jimmy Hayes expressed his concerns that he is being penalized by being taxed for services he does not use as a result of growth in the area. He asked the County to look at ways to cut taxes and review the current County organizational structure to see where costs could be reduced by removing unnecessary positions. Mr. Hayes expressed his concerns with seeing County issued vehicles being used improperly costing the taxpayers money. He also stated he is still concerned with the freight truck traffic on Old River Road and believes that the Sheriff's Department should monitor more due to this issue. Mr. Hayes stated the County should look at how farm land is being assessed and come up with a different method.

 

William Emily asked the Board what measures have been implemented to lower expenditures. He also asked why the taxes have not decreased. Mr. Couch explained as part of the five-year plan one of the objectives was to rebuild the fund reserves to the ideal level in order to have sufficient cash flow in the General Fund for contingencies and to be able to sustain County operations. He stated the County has been successful in gaining surpluses with the current millage rate and anticipates a surplus for this fiscal year. Mr. Couch stated the County is always looking at ways to reduce and save costs every day. He stated despite those efforts savings are hindered by growth. Mr. Couch stated there may be an opportunity for the County to roll back the millage rate in a couple of years.

 

Chairman Thompson also clarified for Dr. Green that the notice to the public concerning the proposed property tax increase and the Statesboro TAD were separate items. He stated further discussions concerning the TAD will be upcoming and invited Dr. Green to attend. Tax Assessor John Scott also extended an invitation to Dr. Green to come by his office to discuss further her concerns and issues with the property taxes. Chairman Thompson invited the audience to attend the board's monthly meetings to discuss any issues and/or concerns they may have.

6.              Public Comments

There were no public comments from the audience at large or in writing.

7.              Commission and Staff Comments

Chairman Thompson called for general comments from the commissioners and staff. Mr. Scott thanked the County for providing the resources his department needs to be able to efficiently carry out their responsibilities and duties. He stated the County should work more towards informing the citizens of all the good things that the County does. The commissioners thanked the citizens for their comments and feedback, and invited them to attend future meetings to express their concerns.

8.              Adjourn

Hearing no further comments from the commissioners and staff, Chairman Thompson called for a motion to adjourn.

I.              A motion was made to adjourn.

RESULT:              Approved [Unanimous]

MOVER:              Jappy Stringer, Commissioner

SECONDER:              Walter Gibson, Commissioner

AYES:              Mosely, Rushing, Simmons, Deal, Gibson, Stringer

 

Chairman

 

Attest:

Olympia Gaines, Clerk