Crisp County Commission Meeting

Published 1:31 pm Friday, June 16, 2023

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The Crisp County Board of Commission met on Tuesday June 13, 2023 at 9am at the Crisp County Government Center. Chairman James R. Dowdy, III called the meeting to order welcoming everyone. Rick Smarr gave the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Clark Harrell. The agenda was adopted and the board approved last meetings minute. The meeting started with an update from Sheriff Billy Hancock with updates on recent events and grants to be approved for application.

We then heard from Sean Sammons from the Crisp County Assessors Office in regards to current and past values of residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural. He spoke that the primary responsibilities of the Board of Assessors is to assess property at the correct level of value and insuring the uniformity of these assessments. This includes real property, personal property, and manufactured homes. They also manage the public utility digest. The assessor’s office reports to a board of five residents and property owner of Crisp County. Crisp County is fortunate to have such dynamic board members with professions in accounting, business management, finance, real estate sales, and real estate construction. Every single year the assessors office is required to pass audits by the Department of Audits and Accounts. Their assessment to sales ratio must be between 36% and 44%, basically needing to be within 90% to 110% of market sales. The DOAA also audits assessments bias with the price related differential and they audit uniformity with the coefficient of dispersion. If their values are out of compliance, the county can be fined $8 per parcel, which would equate to $100,000 per year that they are out of compliance. Counties like the size of Crisp, typically contract revaluations with a cost ranging from $450,000 and up. This cost over a three-year term would be $150,000 per year. The work that the assessors office has completed this year in-house is saving the county between $100,000 to $150,000 per year. The office also manages real and personal property exemptions. Crisp County had a great local senior homestead exemption for individuals 65 and over that exempts a portion of the school and county taxable value. There are also agricultural and forest land covenants that can exempt significant amounts of value for bona fide agricultural uses. These exemptions can be applied for between January 1st and April 1st of each year. This year the Governor and the General Assembly of the State of Georgia have enacted a ‘homeowner tax relief grant’ that applies and additional $18,000 property exemption to all millage rates except Bond Millages for homestead property.

Following a public hearing was opened up in regards to the Fiscal Year July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024 Budget. There was discussion around this, as money from the reserve fund will be used to balance the budget for this fiscal year. This years budget was 34 million and next years is looking to be 33 million, making approximately 1 million taken from the reserve fund in order to balance the budget for next year.

There was suppose to be Citizens Comments from a Robert Davis in regards to Relief on Property Tax, unfortunately Robert did not attend the meeting. The meeting then moved on to New Business in the county.

The first new business subject was Health Insurance, which was brought to the board’s attention by Clark Harrell County Administrator and Noel Williams our local representative from Partners Benefit Group. They spoke about the current Health Benefits for the employees of Crisp County, Blue Cross Blue Shield that is coming up for renewal. Unfortunately this renewal comes with an increase in cost, which has struck some concern for those who have this insurance. There initial increase was 18% brining the total cost to 2.5 million for the year, but a new insurance company has come into play; CIGNA. This insurance company had originally a 12% increase in cost, luckily they were able to get it down to 10%. They are now looking at 2.3 million for the year if using CIGNA. The board made a motion that was second and passed to not increase the deductions for the employees, to keep them at 8% in order for them to not only save money but for them to be able to see the increase in pay that they will be receiving.

  1. Timber Harvest Ordinance 2023-012 – a motion was made, second and passed.
  2. Criminal Justice Coordinating Council Drug Court Grant for $278,000 – a motion was made, second and passed.
  3. Second Amendment-Power Purchase Contract MEAG – a motion was made, second and passed.
  4. Professional Services Agreement- Holt [Airport] – a motion was made, second and passed.
  5. Resolution 2023-013 Imposing a One Percent Sales Tax (SPLOST) Starting January 1, 2024 – motion was made, second and passed.

We then heard the Commission and administrative reports, starting with the Finance Director Sherrie Leveret with not much to update. We then heard from the County Administrator Clark Harrell who spoke in regards to a firing range that they will be building, the Crisp County Power Commission has started to draw out plans for power.

They then went into executive session to go over personnel, litigation and property.