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March 20, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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Page 6B March 20, 2019 iRElSorter i Ridmrd I mm forsyth@mymcr.net Several citizens told Monroe County commissioners on Tues- day, March 5 that they opposed commissioners' decision last month to raise their annual pay to $15,000 each. Mayfield Road resident Heath Autrey told commissioners he isn't they deserved their raises. Autrey's wife Cathie echoed her husband's comments, saying she preferred additional funds to be dedicated to school safety enhancements, mad improvements and for raises for law enforcement officers. Cathie Autrey added she didn't under- stand why commissioners raised their pay by 46 percent the average increase of the four district com- missioners, who each previously had different salaries). "Y'all are crazy for a 46 percent increase in your income," Cathie Autrey said. "Five percent, 3 per- cent, or 10 percent, but 46? Why didn't y'all just go ahead and round it on to 50 (percent)?" District 3 commissioner John Ambrose said the increase was necessary because commissioners' part-time pay doesn't square with their myriad, often full-time, job re- sponsibilities. Ambrose told Cathie Autrey commissioners currently make an average of under $700 per month and asked her if she would serve as a commissioner for that. When Cathie Autrey replied that she would, Ambrose challenged her to run in the next election. Cathie Autrey responded, "I just might Just to see the county thrive and the community thrive, you could pay me 400 bucks a month." In other Board of Commission- ers' news: Weldon Road resident Leila Stone urged Monroe County com- missioners to impose impact fees on local builders. Stone told commissioners on Tuesday, March 5 that she's con- cemed about erosion on her prop- erty, which she said was caused by nearby construction. Stone added that she knows of a number of local builders who are still receiving building permits despite having county tax liens on their properties. Commissioners revise By Richard Dumas forsyth@mymcr.net Monroe County commissioners retroac- tively amended the minutes of their Nov. 6, 2018 meeting after county officials discov- ered an error. At the conclusion of a six-hour-long meeting on Nov. 6, 2018, commission- ers granted Maynards Mill Road resident Joseph Egloff a conditional use variance in agriculture allowing him to build a cattle processing facility/slaughterhouse on a 60.18-acre tract on Hwy. 42 South. A number of stipulations were placed upon Egloff's project as part of the vari- ance, including the requirement that Egloff tap onto county water should it become available at the location. The Nov. 6, 2018 meeting minutes were approved six weeks later on Dec. 20. 2018 with 17 listed stipu- lations. The third listed stipulation stated: "Water use will be high and should be sup- plied through the county water system and not from wells so as not to impact neigh- boring water supplies" After Egloff notified the county that he was ready to proceed with building the slaughterhouse despite county water not yet being available on the property, several neighbors, including Larry Letson and Craig Martin, objected, citing the stipula' tion listed in the minutes that water use on the site should be from the county water system and not from private wells. In response to the neighbors' concerns, District 2 commissioner Eddie Rowland, in whose district the slaughterhouse will be built, listened to the audio of the Nov. 6, 2018 meeting and re-wrote the stipulations as outlined during the meeting and came up with 15 stipulations. In regard to the water supply, Rowland wrote: "Municipal water is currently unavailable at the prop- erty. Should municipal water be run to the property at the road, the business shall tap on to the new water line at the expense of the processing facility." After Rowland read his adjusted stipu- lations aloud, he asked the other two commissioners present, District 4 commis- sioner George Emami and District 3 com- missioner John Ambrose ff they believed it was commissioners' intention not to allow Egloffto begin building the slaugh- terhouse until after he had county water available. Ambrose replied that it wasn't. Emami then followed by noting that Egloff would have had to start his business within six months of the variance approval, per county regulations, and it would have been virtually impossible for county water lines to be In place at the tract within that time frame. Emami said, "My recollection of it was that if and when water is run out that way, he (Egloff) would be required to hook up to it. And if he didn't at that point, he would be In violation of what he was ap- proved to do" Martin, a Hwy. 42 South resident, then gave commissioners a copy of a legal opin- ion from Macon-based attorney Wayne Crowley citing a 1974 Georgia Supreme Court decision (Bowen v. Pendley) which states that once a governing body makes a zoning decision it cannot change the action by revising the minutes. Martin told commissioners they had six weeks to make changes to the minutes before they were approved on Dec. 20, 2018 and argued it was too late to adjust the minutes on March 5. Martin said neighbors are concerned that the amount of water the slaughterhouse will use could cause nearby wells to dry up and said the project's opponents thought commissioners had banned Egloff from using well water at the site. "I would greatly appreciate y'all looking at things from our (opponents) side of view a little bit" Martin said. "Because it seems this whole process it seems like we've been fighting an uphill battle and we have had no one on our side the whole time It just does not seem like a neutral fight" Emami said commissioners have the right to adjust the minutes to reflect more accurately what occurred in a prior meet- ing. Emami asked rhetorically: "Isn't that what is most important is that whatever we agree to in the public hearing is what is reflected in the minutes and what is carried out? Otherwise, it's just a mess" After about 40 minutes of discussion, commissioners voted 3-0 to amend the Nov. 6, 2018 minutes to indude the stipula- tions Rowland drafted upon listening to the recording. County attorney Ben Vaughn refused to advise commission- ers on how to handle the matter since he recused himself from the process because his father James Vaughn owns property next to Egloff. Emami said after the meet- ing that commissioners had discussed the matter with legal council prior to voting to amend the minutes but did not specify with whom they met. Madison-based attorney Christian Henry stepped in for Vaughn during the initial zoning hearing. Commission chairman Greg Tapley and District 4 commissioner Larry Evans were absent from the March 5 meeting. By Richard Dumas forsyth@mymcr.net Monroe County Com- missioners plan to limit the amount of time to 15 minutes that each side has to state its case during a zoning hearing. At the request of the Monroe County Planning & Zoning board, commis- sioners approved by a 3-0 vote on Tuesday, March 5 an amendment to the county's zoning ordinance to reduce the amount of time each side has from 10 minutes per speaker to 15 minutes total for each side. The next step in the pro- cess is for the P & Z board to hold a public hearing on the proposed change with commissioners to make the final decision following public comments. In other Board of Com- missioners' news: Monroe County Com- missioners approved a preliminary plat for a new subdivision offWeldon Road. Commissioners ap- proved by a 3-0 vote on Tuesday, March 5 to ap- prove the preliminary plat for Weldon Farms subdivi- sion after county zoning officer Anita Buice said it met all county require- ments. Local real estate agent Kerri Swearingen, speak- ing on behalf of Mc- Donough-based developer Brian Wesley, said all 32 new homes in the subdivi- sion will be at least 1,500 square feet of heated space in size. to repair By Richard Dumas brsyth@mymcr.net Monroe County commission- ers hired Houston Asphalt for $62,900 to repair the entrance road of the new Five Below facil- ity at the Rumble Road industrial park. County manager Jim Hedges recommended on Tuesday, March 5 that commissioners approve the repairs on Logistics Center Parkway as a short-term fix since Five Below intends to open next month. The funds for the project, which was approved by a 3-0 vote, will come out the county road department's 2019 budget. Hedges said the long- term solution is to replace the asphalt with concrete but said that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. By Richard Dumas forsyth@mymcr.net Monroe County Commission- ers re-appointed Dennis Benson and Robert "Steve" Slocumb Jr. to new three-year terms on the Monroe County Board of As- sessors on Tuesday, March 5. According to a Feb. 20 e,mail from county manager Jim Hedges to commissioners, the other Assessors' members unanimously requested that both Benson and Slocumb be re-appointed. Benson and Slocumb have each served on the Board of As- sessors for three years. In other Board of Commis- sioners' news: Monroe County commis- sioners re-appointed District 1 commissioner Larry Evans to the Middle Georgia Consor- tium Executive Committee/ Board of Directors. With Evans and commission chairman Greg Tapley each absent from the Tuesday, March 5 meeting, District 3 commis- sioner John Ambrose motioned to appoint Tapley to replace Evans on the board. After Ambrose's motion failed to get a second, District 2 commissioner Eddie Rowland motioned to re.appoint Evans, which passed 3-0. on concession By Richard Dumas forsyth@mymcr.net Monroe County commission- ers tabled a decision on Tues- day, March 5 on hiring a new concession stand operator at the Monroe County Recreation Department. Monroe County received two bids, one from Cristi Landers and the other from David Bailey of Peachtree Sales & Market- ing, Inc. Landers proposed the county receive $300 per month in concession rental fees while Bai- ley proposed the county receive $126 per month in concession rental fees. According to county manager Jim Hedges, Landers proposed offering a larger variety of food, drinks, candy and snacks than Bailey at a lower retail price. Therefore, Hedges recommended commissioners contract with Landers. Landers' proposal was for a one-year contract with the op- tion to renew for two additional one-year terms. Since commis- sioners were unsure whether Landers intended to maintain her same retail prices and rental fee payments over the length of a three-year deal, commission- ers approved 3-0 to table the contract until county attorney Ben Vaughn could draft a revised version. e on e e By Richard Dumas forsyth@mymcr.net Monroe County commissioners have begun the pro- cess of dosing the railroad crossing on Hwy. 41 South at Charlie Benson Road. County manager Jim Hedges said Norfolk Southern railroad has agreed to widen the railroad crossing on Hwy. 41 South at Old Rumble Road, including the installation of crossing arms, if the county doses the Charlie Benson Road crossing. ,er commissioners approved the measure by a vote on Tuesda March 5, the next step is for the county to hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. on April 2 about the proposed dosing before rendering a final decision on the matter. By Richard Dumas forsyth@mymcr.net Monroe County commissioners hired Harbin Engineering to review the permit for the county's Strickland Loop landfill. Commissioners approved by a 3-0 vote on Tuesday, March 5 to pay Harbin Engineering up to $170,000 for work to fulfill a new requirement by the Georgia Environmental Pro- tection Division (EPD) that all solid waste handling facilities undergo a permit review every five years. According to county manager Jim Hedges, the county landfill was granted its EPD permit on April 15, 1992, but that was the last time that the facility's plans were approved. Hedges said the deadline for filing the permit review is Sept. 1, 2019. Harbin Engineering president Steve Harbin estimated the process will take 16 months to complete, including EPD's review time. Harbin and vice president Cur- tis Reynolds represented Harbin Engineering at the March 5 meeting. Reynolds said future five-year plans won't be nearly as costly as the initial one. However, Harbin said he hopes the initial permit review will cost considerably less than the estimated $170,000. Harbin said, "It is a large investment for the county, and we will honor that investment by doing the very best that we can and spending that money as flit was our own" In other Board of Commissioners' news: Monroe County commission- ers spent $91,368 to buy a new front end loader/backhoe for the county's public works department. At the recommendation of county manager Jim Hedges, commissioners approved by a 3-0 vote on Tuesday, March 5 to buy a Caterpillar 416F2 HRC model from McDonough-based Yancey Bros. Co. The front end loader will be paid for using Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds.