The Charlton County Board of Commission held its monthly workshop Thursday, November 7.
During the meeting, the commissioners heard from Phillip Saussy with J. Smith Lanier who spoke about the county’s upcoming insurance renewal. He suggested the board change the reinsurance from Sun Life to Blue Cross Blue Shield and to increase the amount from $62,500.00 to $65,000.00 with no change in benefits or network of providers. He stated the renewal from Sun Life came back with higher rates and administrative difficulties for filing a claim. After 90 days, Saussy will meet with commissioners again to discuss a three-year strategy to adjust administrative and employee contributions for 2021, 2022, and 2023.
Also during the meeting, the board discussed slowing down the projects at Davis Field Airport. County Administrator Hampton Raulerson suggested to take out the taxiway and apron and only work on the fence. The board will stick to the plan, however the projects will be pushed back by one year.
The commissioners received project costs from Hofstader and Associates, an engineering consultant firm. for future road projects. The county will receive a Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) for improvements of area roads. The board was given different options – to pave Settlers Way, Briarwood Road, or Grace Chapel Road in three sections. The county hopes to receive around $350,000.00 from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for the 2020 projects. The cost of each project would mean only being able to choose two of the three options. The commissioners suggested, if possible, paving Settlers Way and section one of Grace Chapel Road, saving the other projects for the future. The board will make an official vote during the November 21 meeting. Road Superintendent Ronnie Pollock also stated during the meeting, the right-of-way for the Davis Road Bridge will be postponed until after hunting season, which ends January 15, 2020. Once the project begins, the construction will only last 60 days.
The board discussed changes to the 2020 Proposed budget, including the General Fund Revenue. Raulerson stated the biggest changes for the county is from the Chesser Island Road Landfill. He said the county will now receive $2.50 per ton from the landfill instead of $1.00. The revenue stream will go from $1,650,000.00 to $2,360,000.00, which the state mandates 50% must be used for certain projects, including the funding of the county public works. The county also saw an increase from the building permit fees. The revenue increased from $65,000.00 to $87,500.00. Raulerson told commissioners Traders Hill has received more business and was given a suggestion to possibly rent the building at the campground for use to a vendor, offering necessities.
The commissioners also reviewed the General Fund Expenditures report. An increase was shown for the elections funds in preparation for the 2020 elections. The report showed a decrease for the Tax Assessor salary, which is from the downsizing of office personnel. The budget for vehicle maintenance for the Sheriff’s Office was increased, due to consistent strain to the amount. Raulerson stated the amount shown for non-county prisoners has increased, as the number fluctuates, but is anticipated to increase in the next year. The board has also budgeted for much-needed Fire Safety grants, as certain grants require a price match. Commissioner Luke Gowen stated it looks as though the county will be spending 10% more, when it is not the case. The county will only be spending about five percent more, but is made up for by the landfill revenues.
County Administrator Raulerson discussed salary raises with the commissioners, asking them to look over the list of salaries. He stated the county has reached a point where it will become difficult to hire new talent if Charlton cannot compete with high-enough salaries combined with benefits to present an attractive package. The commissioners will review the list and made an official vote at a later date.