Hart County Board of Commissioners

September 23rd, 2003

FY'04 Budget Hearing



The Hart County Board of Commissioners met September 23rd, 2003 at 5:30 p.m. for the FY'04 budget hearing in the Hart County Administrative & Emergency Services Center.


Chairman Randy Banister presided with Commissioners R C Oglesby, Daniel Reyen, Ricky Carter and Joey Dorsey in attendance.


Chairman Banister called the meeting to order and offered prayer.


Interim Administrator Jon Caime gave an overview of the proposed FY'04 budget.


Chairman Banister opened the hearing up for input from the public.


  • Larry Poole, representing Hart Partners, remarked that they need local support to acquire grants for their programs. He reported that they received grants funds of $256,000 during FY'03.


  • Alice Glenn, representing the Downtown Development Authority, remarked that the county's support is vital for downtown economic health of the community.


  • Earl Johnson, representing the Downtown Development Authority, reported that the authority was charted in 1985 and the county has supported their efforts during the past six years. He said they needed $14,400 to continue work on the downtown project.


  • Carrie Jackson, representing the Downtown Development Authority, remarked that county support is vital for downtown development.


  • Mary Alice Applegate, representing the Downtown Development Authority, thanked the Board for their support. She reported that since 1997 they have been reporting statistics to the Georgia Main Street Program. She gave a summary of the report which included net of all gains and losses in jobs, new businesses and building improvements.


  • Carol Harvey, representing the NE Georgia Animal Shelter, reported that the shelter was opened in 1998 and they have not had an increase since 1999. She said that donations are down and they are running out of funds to operate the facility.


  • Sheri Johnson, representing the NE Georgia Animal Shelter, reported that they have taken in 21,000 animals since the facility opened and they are cut to the bare bones.


  • John McGarity, representing the NE Georgia Animal Shelter, reported that their funding request per capita is much more in other counties and that the shelter is open seven days a week.


  • Emily Gunnells, representing the Adult Learning Center, reported that they have helped a lot of people to further their education. She remarked that better educated people attracts economic growth.


  • Jay Earle, representing the Hart County Property Owners Association, proposed an additional cut in the Tax Assessors' computer system by going with the state's Wingap program. He said there are currently 110 counties in the state on the system at a cost of $1,000 per year.


  • Charles Campbell reported Cott Systems, the current Tax Assessors' software vendor, has sold their appraisal software to another firm and their annual support fee is unknown.


  • Gail Blackwell, representing Ninth District Opportunity, said she was shocked to hear funding was eliminated from the proposed budget. She reported that the agency does many services for the elderly and children. She asked the Board to reconsider supporting Ninth District.


  • Lenford Smith, representing the Recreation Department, requesting overtime funds for the park employees. He said they have 1,000 children involved in programs plus 350 adults involved in softball. He added that the county needs a first rate Recreation program to attract industry.


  • Gene Cleveland commended the Board for their efforts in preparing the proposed budget and added that there are many individuals unemployed in the county.


  • David Little, City Councilman, asked the Board to reconsider contributions to the DDA and Animal Shelter. Mr. Little requested the city's portion of the SPLOST funds in 2004. He invited the Chairman to meet with the Mayor to work out ways to consolidate services.


Commissioner Oglesby entertained a motion to restore funding as follows:

            Hart Partners             $  500.

            DDA                         6,000. (from Economic Development funds)

            NE GA Animal           2,500.

            Literacy Center          2,500.

            Ninth District  3,500.


Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion.


After public comment, Chairman Banister remarked that the Board would review the request for funds at a later date.


Chairman Banister called for a vote. The vote failed 2-3 (Chairman Banister, Commissioners Reyen and Carter opposed).


The public hearing was closed.





----------------------------------------------------------------                -----------------------------------------------------

Randy D. Banister, Chairman                                  Lawana Kahn, County Clerk