May 7, 2008


 The Commissioners voted 4-1 with Pennamon against to   Establish a ‘Designated Fund Balance’ for Road Improvements.  Comm. Bernard moved to establish the fund in the amount $500,000 this year and $500,000 next year.  The County CFO asked, “Is this a fund or a fund balance?”  Comm. Bernard said, “Yes, a fund balance.”  Comm. Johnson added, “It’s a designated fund balance” and  2nd the motion.  Comm. Pennamon asked, “How can you designate funds if you don’t have money?”  Please note: The public had never seen copy of this resolution before the meeting.  This resolution states that “surplus” money over and above 90 days of operating money will be used for Road Improvements.

During the Agenda Comments, a citizen reminded the Commissioners that over $3 million of tax receipts were put into the General Fund in 2007 that were for 2008 expenditures.  The citizen questioned if there was really a surplus and brought up the fact that Atlanta thought they had a surplus last year too only to find they were $60 million in the red now.  No one on the BOC seems to recall that tax receipts all come in at the end of the previous year and are operating funds for the entire current year.

Later in the meeting the Jackson Lake Road Paving item on the agenda was addressed.  Commissioner Bernard said the County Engineer prepared 4 different project costs--$87K, $189K, $412K, and $1.6M.  He wanted to know “which one we are going with?”  He said, “This is a health and safety issue.  This is an emergency. We just created a road fund so now we can do this.”   Comm. Bernard made a motion--$187K to repair very poor areas on Jackson Lake Rd. this year and then increase to $412K in next year’s budget.  Comm. Johnson 2nds.  Comm. Johnson said, “This is a temporary quick repair.” 

Comm. Pennamon asked if this would be taken out of SPLOST.  (Remember this road is on the SPLOST list and is being moved ahead.  Taxpayers will all pay for this road repair cost; it will come out of the General Fund.) Comm. Johnson replied, “No, not until everything else on SPLOST is done first.  We have to do something because the road is in bad shape.  I ride it every day.” Comm. Yarbrough then chimed in with “We have roads in the county that are in worse shape.  But this is a major thorough-fare with lots of traffic.”  Comm. Yarbrough did mention County Line Rd but said “It’s not got any through traffic.”  Comm. Pennamon said, “This is a Political year—this is a political road—Jackson Lake Rd.  The only thing Jackson Lake Rd needs right now is striping.”   
Comm. Bernard added, “We can use rest of the $500K in the fund to do County Line Rd.  We’ll have $300K left.”  Comm. Hill asked the CFO  if this money exists.  The CFO replied, “ NO.  There can not be a cash transfer.”  (Folks, the Commissioners don’t understand a designated fund is much different than having FUNDS to use.)    Even though there are no funds, Comm. Bernard was determined this project would be done and stated, “THIS IS NOT a POLITICAL THING!”    The vote was to approve 3-2 with Johnson, Bernard, and Yarbrough approving.   

At the end of the meeting a citizen made the following comments.  “My wife and I rode  down Jackson Lake Rd. The problem is the design of the road in the first place.  The   condition of road is not nearly as bad County Line.  I can’t believe Comm. Yarbrough voted to do Jackson Lake Rd. and not County Line Rd. which is much worse.” 

Several people have attended BOC meetings and brought up this same issue.  County Line Rd is in need of repairs and has been talked about for several years with nothing being done. 

Remember, it’s still a few months before voting takes place and anything can still happen.  It always does during an election year.  It’s the time our Commissioners become responsive to the citizens in their district.



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