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The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners held their regular monthly meeting on Monday, November 13, 2017 at 5:30 pm. Members present were Leland Adams, Chad Kenney, Greg Palmer, Clarence Thomas and Tim Williamson.

These are excerpts from the unofficial minutes of the meeting.

County Manager Brandon Braddy introduced two representatives with the Southeastern African Farmers Organic Network. Tamara Jones and Blaine Snipstal.

Appearing before the board was Michele Johnson, incoming Director of the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce after the retirement of Bill Mitchell at the end of December. Ms. Johnson informed the Board of upcoming Chamber events.

Joe Filippone, Executive Director of the Development Authority, gave his report. Mr. Filippone informed the Board the Development Authority will be hosting a dinner for the businesses in the County next March. There are Seven people who have signed up for the Economic Development class to represent Montgomery County. A new business, Hardeman’s Hardware and General Store will be having ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, November 20th at 10:00 am. This business will be in the former Allcare Pharmacy building. Mr. Filippone is working with another prospect to open another business in the County perhaps at the business park on 280. Mr. Filippone requested for the rest of the trees and debris to be cleaned up at the business park on US 280.

Probate Judge Rubie Nell Sanders appeared before the Board to announce a scholarship is being offered by the County Officers Association of Georgia. Judge Sanders also requested an Express Pole machine for the early voting. This machine will cost around $500.00. Judge Sanders also informed the Commissioners they may want to consider combining some of the voting precincts to save money. Other Counties are combining some of their precincts. Judge Sanders also asked if the County will replace some of the voting machines with the machines that the state of California is discarding. These will cost around $500.00 as well. Judge Sanders informed the Board that she is in the process of working with Judicial Alternatives of Georgia to increase the traffic fines for the County.

Brian Myers appeared before the Board to express concerns about litter on County Roads. Mr. Myer was informed that littering is an ongoing issue throughout the County.

Under Reports, Homer Rivers informed the Board about the requirement for first responders to be a volunteer fireman. Mr. Rivers recommended this requirement to be abolished. Mr. Rivers stated there is a need for more first responders. The requirement for a first responder to be a volunteer fireman is hindering others from volunteering to be a first responder. The Commissioners agreed with Mr. Rivers request.

Under Road Department reports, the Road Department held a safety meeting on October 31st with the topic being boom truck safety. There were nine employees at the meeting and there were no accidents in October.

The Board reviewed the pending work orders and projects list. The Board discussed the bump on Red Bluff Road at the bridge. Road Superintendent Fountain will check on renting a grinder from Brooks in Dublin to grind the bump down. The Board also discussed the dip on Spur 56. After it is inspected to see what needs to be done to repair the dip, the Board may ask Sikes Brothers to apply leveling over the dip while the company is working in the City of Mt. Vernon.

County Manager Brandon Braddy and Road Superintendent Milton Fountain completed Commissioner Kenney’s questionnaire regarding the need for a dozer. Copies of the questionnaire were distributed to the Commissioner to review.

The Board discussed the cost of base and paving of the roads in Tara Plantation. Road Superintendent Fountain estimated it would take around $89,000.00 for rock.

The Solid Waste roll off truck is at Sweet Onion Truck Center. They are determining what needs to be repaired before a decision is made. The backup roll-off truck’s alternator went out Friday and a Road Department employee repaired it.

The Board reviewed the financial and accounts payable reports.

Under Old Business, the Board adopted the amendment to the Nuisance Ordinance (Res. No. 17-11-01) on a motion by Commissioner Thomas, seconded by Commissioner Kenney. Motion carried unanimously.

The Board agreed to adopt the Oconee Drug Task Force Intergovernmental Agreement for $13,379.00 per year on a motion by Commissioner Thomas, seconded by Commissioner Kenney. Motion carried unanimously. Sheriff Maybin has already signed the agreement and has been assured they will continue with the work they have been performing.

The Board discussed purchasing a new Zero-Turn lawn mower. County Manager Braddy presented the Board with the following quotes:

Westover Lawn & Garden      Hustler FasTrack SDX Kohler, 60 in              $6,250.00

Vidalia Small Engines             Hustler 25 hp Kawsaki Engine, 60 in             $6,300.00

Bragg Motor Service               Hustler x-one Kawsaki Engine, 69 in             $8,596.00

Alston Saw Shop                    Lazer z 29 hp Kawaski Enigne, 60 in             $,8850.00

After further discussion, the Board made no decision on purchasing a new lawn mower at this time.

House Bill 146 requires a supplemental cancer insurance policy to be carried on firefighters effective January 1, 2018. County Manager Braddy presented the Board with the following quotes on cancer coverage:

                                                                        Number              Annual                    Total

of members        Premium                 Annual

Agency                                                                                       per Member            Premium

Adamson Insurance Agency -VFIS/SE          74                     $ 186.00                $ 13,764.00

Partners Benefit Group                                   74                     $ 266.40                $ 19,713.60

Taylor Insurance Services                               74                     $ 469.48                $ 34,741.80

(If all members are non-smokers)

Taylor Insurance Services                               74                     $ 704.29                 $ 52,117.56

(If all members are smokers) 

On a motion by Commissioner Kenney, seconded by Commissioner Thomas the Board agreed to accept the quote from Adamson Insurance Agency – VFIS/SE for $13,764.00 annually with funding to be determined. Motion carried unanimously.

After discussion on the Insurance Premium Tax Resolution and perhaps meeting with the Cities to ask them to contribute toward the firefighter cancer policy, the Board postponed adopting the resolution at this time.

On a motion by Commissioner Thomas, seconded by Commissioner Kenney the Board agreed to adopt the Private Probation Contracts for the Probate Court and Magistrate Court.   Motion carried unanimously.

After receiving bids for road striping, the winning bid came in at $20,450.00 lower than the grant proceeds. This created funding for an additional 16.2 miles of County roads that can be striped. The Board agreed to adopt the change order allowing additional roads to be striped on a motion by Commissioner Palmer, seconded by Commissioner Kenney. Commissioner Thomas abstained because he was not present when the bid was accepted and awarded. Motion carried.

Commissioner Palmer requested establishing a fee policy for mowing the Development Authority property and for performing work in the incorporated areas. Commissioner Palmer alleged that the Road Department equipment was damaged by performing work on the Development Authority’s property. Chairman Adams disagreed with Commissioner Palmer’s allegation. Commissioner Palmer asserted that the Cities and Development Authority should pay for work provided by the Road Department. Chairman Adams explained that the Cities pay for their own materials and the County provides the labor. Chairman Adams was concerned with double taxation within the incorporated areas by explaining that the incorporated and unincorporated areas pay the same property tax millage rate. Chairman Adams asked Commissioner Palmer, “You got a proposal or fee you want to charge or what you want to charge?” Commissioner Palmer stated “I think we need a fee for anything, I don’t why you sitting there smiling. I mean this is business.” Commissioner Adams responded, “Well, you want to look sad and cry?” Commissioner Palmer said, “No, I want you to act like you concerned about it instead of sitting there looking like a jackass eating briers.” Commissioner Adams replied, “Hey now, that’s not necessary.” Commissioner Palmer believes the County needs a price chart for services. Commissioner Palmer made a motion to create fees to charge the Development Authority and municipalities. The motion was seconded by Chairman Adams. Commissioner Palmer voted in favor of the motion. Commissioners Adams, Kenney, Thomas, and Williamson voted against the motion. The motion failed by a vote of 1 to 4.

Commissioner Kenney presented the Board with a draft of a Board Appointment Policy to consider. During discussion, Commissioner Palmer expressed stern opposition to the policy. Commissioner Kenney informed the board that the proposed policy will allow for transparency as the Commissioners consider candidates for boards. The intent of the policy is to inform the public of vacant or expiring board seats for those boards that the Commissioners are responsible for appointing and to provide for an applicant process. Commissioner Kenney stated that he wanted to give the expiring board member and everyone else the “same opportunity.” Also, Commissioner Kenney stated the policy will allow for time to review the applicants to “make sure they meet the qualifications”. Commissioner Palmer’s response was, “So that you will have time to try to dig up some dirt on somebody as you nominate them. Right?” Commissoner Kenney responded, “No Greg.” Commissioner Palmer asked Commissioner Kenney, “Why now? Why now? Why is this on the heels of the two appointees that I…” Commissioner Kenney interjected and requested the floor. The Chair granted Commissioner Kenney’s request and Commissioner Kenney continued with presenting the proposed policy. Commissioner Kenney expressed the need for the Commissioners to do their due diligence and to have procedures. Commissioner Palmer continued with asking, “Why now on the heels of last meeting we got two old timers put off and two new people coming in and now we changing the policy.” Commissioner Kenney responded, “We used your recommendations for that. I don’t know why you are complaining?” Lendle Hamilton, a citizen at the meeting asked if he could say something. Chairman Adams allowed Mr. Hamilton to speak. Mr. Hamilton stated his son was one of those appointments and he felt like Commissioner Kenney was doing this because his son was one of these appointments. The Board made no decision on the board appointment policy at this time.

County Manager Brandon Braddy presented the Board with a contract from Kenwood USA Corp. to provide a radio system design for the County’s emergency agencies. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to adopt the engineering and design contract with Kenwood USA Corp., seconded by Commissioner Kenney opening the motion up for discussion. This engineering and design contract will cost $12,975.00. This cost may be reduced if they County goes with Kenwood Communications. Commissioner Palmer stated if Kenwood would give us 20 hand held units in lieu of this cost of the contract he would go along with it. Commissioners Kenney, Thomas, and Williamson voted in favor of the motion. Commissioner Palmer voted against the motion. Chairman Adams abstained. Motion carried.

Commissioner Palmer stated he felt the meeting needed a public comment section on the agenda. The Commissioners agreed to discuss the development of a policy in a work session.

Under Comments, County Manager Braddy gave the Board the upcoming board appointments and board qualifications. These Boards are the Heart of Georgia Altamaha Regional Commission, Health Department Board, and Development Authority

Also, under Comments Commissioner Palmer stated, “I would like to read a statement into the minutes regarding recent policy changes the Montgomery County Commissioners have implemented. It seems that I am in a constant battle with the other Commissioners and the County Manager in experiencing retaliation for policies that I try to put forth. If the Commissioners and the County Manager put as much effort into trying to quash and destroy my efforts to make Montgomery County a better place as they did running the county we would have far less problems in the county and maybe save some money in the process. Case in point if you want particulars. The key policy, implemented that, when I got a key to go look in a couple buildings. Work sessions, we never seem to have them but all of a sudden, we going to have one next week. That’s great, been trying to have it ever since I took office. Tonight’s changes in policy of nominating board appointments. That just popped up. Pricing and buying used equipment. I just want to say, that we taking bids on a bulldozer. It’s going to be around $150,000 next month and I found a used one, perfect condition, 90% under carriage, little over 3000 hours, it sold for $51,000 on the sale Thursday. Selling surplus equipment, which we can’t ever seem to ever get around to. A working relationship with the fire chiefs and the property owned by the county and support them and that’s it.

Commissioner Thomas said he was not here at the last meeting but after the meeting with the Kenwood representative he asked what could be done right now and was told “nothing”.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:50 pm on a motion by Commissioner Williamson, seconded by Commissioner Adams. Motion carried.