Crisp County Commission covers Increased Property Taxes, Crisp Fire Department Pay and Resolution to honor Tyee Browne. 

Published 12:32 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

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By: Sarah Brown – Managing Editor

Crisp County board of Commission met on August 8, 2023 at 9 am 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 who said, “Work didn’t stop.” They handed out many warrants, civil papers, and subpoenas. Grand Jury met August 7, 2023 and court will start Wednesday August 9, 2023. Croshawn Cross has been indicted for the murder of Tyee Browne. No further information on that matter at this time. As of today (August 8th) there are 223 people in the jail with 33 being federal cases. They received 6,371 911 calls and patrolled a total of 77,000 miles. They were also able to purchased the FLOCK System which allows them to be notified when someone comes into the county who is wanted or driving a stolen vehicle. They have recently purchased a couple cars for the department using money that has been confiscated, as well as use of SPLOST funding. Hancock encourages citizens to look into what SPLOST funds do for the department, as that is money not coming from the county. They have been able to hire a few officers, one 911 operator, and two detention officers. They are still nine officers short, two detention officers, two – three traffic, one court and one civil.

Finally, Congressman Scott is presenting a flag that has been flying above the capital to the family of Tyee Browne today August 8th, more to come on that.

We then heard Citizen Comments from Robert Davis who spoke in regards to property tax increase on his properties (61 acres) which is both lived on, has an nonproductive pecan orchard and is used for church services. He plans to give his property to his only surviving daughter as inheritance and believes the constant increase of property tax in unfair. Sean Sammons who is the Chief Appraiser, spoke in regards to this issue mentioning that he does understand that it is frustrating, as well as goes over that the reason for increase is more than likely due to a, “surge in land values.” He explains that they have to follow the market. Sammons explains that there are homestead exemptions in place for seniors citizens in which Davis has. There is also, “other counties in the state that have an increase senior exemption that does away with the school tax. Davis is looking for a solution to decrease property tax for senior citizens.

April and Joel Owens brought forward the issue with the Crisp County Fire Department and the pay in which the firefighters receive along with issues that are coming about due to low pay. In summary Crisp County Firefighters starting pay is $13.14/hr, which compared to City of Cordele is $3.76 lower. This issues that have come about from the low pay is the inability to find people to hire and those who were at the Crisp Fire department leaving for higher paying positions in different cities and counties. There has been a total of 4 firefighters leave Crisp County in the past few months. An issues that was addressed in regards to the ones who are leaving is that Crisp County trained them, which means money from the county went towards their training just for them to leave due to lack of pay. Many potential solutions were brought up, but it is up to the County to figure out and decide what can be done. Further information will be addressed in regards to this issue.

They then went into new business, with the first item being a resolution 2023-015 to honor the life and sacrifice of Tyee Browne. This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

The second item was Middle Flint Behavioral Healthcare Commercial property lease in the amount of $2,478 per month, continuation property lease. This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

The third item was a resolution 2023-016 to amend ACCG defined benefit plan for Crisp County Employees. This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

The fourth item 2023 LMIG (Local Maintenance Improvement Grant) bid award. Reeves construction was the low bid at $541,800. This is to repairs parts of Perry Road and North Cedar Creek Road. This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

The last item was the 5-year tax digest for advertising. This will be advertised for adoption on September 12, 2023. This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

We then heard from the finance director Sherrie Leverett who covered the Crisp County finances as they currently stand.

Following we heard from Clark Harrell, County Administrator who gave a brief report covering the firing range which has started preliminaries on that, Brock Road project is still ongoing in Arabi.

They then went into executive session for personnel.