November 21, 2014
There didn’t appear to be any special emergency to call a meeting on a Thursday night, but here is what happened at the meeting. This was the 3rd meeting that Carl Pennamon has missed. He had back surgery in early October.
There were no citizen comments. The BOC has moved “Commissioner Items” up on the agenda to be after citizen comments. These are their comments:
- Comm. Henry once again asked for a more detailed report from Public Works (this is the 3rd time at least) and Karen Degges said she had asked Selective Solutions to give her access to the online work orders “but she hasn’t gotten anything back from them yet.” Neither the BOC nor Comm. Henry pressed her for just when something might be done and when they would get better reports.
- Comm. Trammell handed out the “Short Term Work Program” (something the county is required to file approximately every 5 years) and said it was part and parcel with the Strategic Plan that is being worked on. He then said, “There are lots of items charged to Economic Development to do [in the Short Term Work Program], and we need to add money and staff for economic development to do them.” Maybe this is why he and economic development director David Dyer are seen in each other’s company frequently. Why not let county staff do this since they have so much extra time, according to the County Manager, that they can take on all of JCWSA day to day operations, billing, and management?
The curbside pickup contract was next on the agenda. Advanced Disposal wanted another contract or a 3 year extension on the current contract. NO DETAILS were discussed in public about this contract and the county attorney made no comments. There was no indication that the county attorney had looked at the contract extension. When Comm. Henry brought up that they had agreed to put out contracts for bid before extending them, Comm. Trammell made the comment that this is a service that people don’t complain about. He then said, “This is good and won’t get better if we do get bids.” Wow! Really? How would he know this, if the service is never allowed to be bid out? The vote was 4-0 to extend the contract for 3 more years.
During the curbside discussion, Comm. Henry asked why this contract wasn’t put out for bids. Karen Degges said that she had just finished an RFP for audit services. (We have heard rumors that this would happen since last year.) She also said that RFP’s and bidding take time and she has four other RFP’s to work on and she needed to prioritize what she already had been asked to do. Of course, she was at home most all day Wednesday (11/19/14) and didn’t come in to work until after 2pm if at all, and she is late to work and not at work frequently. It seems the BOC just has to wait for some things that they want done unless they actually require Ms. Degges to be at work on a daily basis like most employees. Watch this short video here and listen to the excuses:
Next on the agenda was a DNR Trail Grant for the Recreation department. Karen Degges said there was a grant opportunity with DNR, and the deadline was next Wednesday. Based on the conversation, the grant didn’t just appear, but most things this BOC is presented with are always at the last minute so the details are sketchy, not all questions are answered, and they have to vote right then. The grant can be from $25,000 – $100,000 based on the design and cost of the project. Based on what we could understand from the conversation, there is a proposed walking trail around the lake, then from the lake to Sr. Center. Ms. Degges said there would be a 20% match, but then said the maximum the county would pay would be $25,000, indicating a 25% match. Karen Degges asked the BOC to authorize her to apply for grant. She said any match money would be taken out of contingency. This passed 4-0.
Ms. Degges then informed the BOC that there was a workshop in Macon that she was going to in order to get helpful tips from DCA about applying for grants. She said, “I have managed CDBG grants, but I have not applied for them.” She then proceeded to tell the BOC that DCA/CDBG grants can be used to pave dirt roads and address blighted neighborhoods. Then she said, “We don’t have blighted neighborhoods, but do have blighted parcels.” She continued that the BOC would propose the project and DCA approves it or doesn’t. Comm. Trammell said, “CDBG grants can be used for sewer and water.” After all this conversation it was decided that she was going but no BOC member was going.
An update on signage at Bethel Church Road/Hwy. 212 revealed that signs saying “Cross traffic does not stop” were placed under the new “Stop Ahead” signs approaching the intersection on Wednesday. There was quite a bit of discussion about this and where the signs should be placed—the BOC preferred at the intersection. We will keep you updated on this issue.
The BOC adjourned into Executive Session to “get an update on litigation.” Remember, there is nothing that requires them to go into Executive Session; this is a choice to keep information from the citizens. We have already reported that the judge dismissed the injunction, so maybe, just maybe the BOC went into executive session to decide on their next steps with JCWSA–out of the public eye, which is how everything with JCWSA has been done. They stayed in Executive Session for an hour and 22 minutes; no telling what kind of “back door deal making” went on during that length of time.
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