PROPERTY COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
13 APRIL 2023
The Chair Commissioner Tracy Wilburn opened the meeting asking Commissioner Roger Reedy to offer a prayer and lead the pledge. The minutes of the 16 March 2023 Property Committee meeting were moved for approval by Commissioner Joyce Woodard, seconded by Commissioner Annelle Guthrie, and were approved unanimously.
First Item for discussion: The Survival Flight Inc. proposal for administrative and training to locate at the Giles County airport. The County Executive (CE) Graham Stowe said he had met with other interested parties, e.g., Mayor JJ Brindley and Bill Myers, Director Emergency Services, and the time for a decision was too early. He considered the proposal good for the county but noted due diligence was required. Commissioner David Wamble said that although voting had happened on this item, he considered any 30-year commitment with no funding contribution to the county non-acceptable. Commissioner James Lathrop commented that the land is sitting there now with only grass growing, where we could do something for community. The CE said there is nothing to be signed at this time, and this subject can come back again.
First Agenda Item – Spring Property Lease. Per CE previously there has been a four-year lease for $750 a year. The same individual was the only bid for the current timeframe at $1020, has a $1M insurance policy and sees no conflict of interest. Per the CE this new contract would be starting May 1st and go through December 31st for the rest of CY 2023 and for CYs 2024-2026 thereafter. The Chair asked if the potential leaser was in agreement and the CE said yes. A motion by Commissioner Mathew Hopkins to execute the lease was made, and with Commissioner Gayle Jones, providing the second, the motion was approved unanimously after two final questions. Commissioner Evan Baddour asked if there were any other competitors bidding (CE – no), and Commissioner Tim Risner asked same amount each year (CE – Yes).
Next Agenda Item – Overview of other Leases. CE noted there had not been one location to “find” all leases. Now all will be held by the County Executive office’s, Financial Management Contract Specialist. The CE provided a power point presentation showing the various county owned property under leases. Commissioner Gayle Jones asked for copies of the presentation. The first one mentioned on Peach Road and that property is in the flood plain. It has been leased for $1 a year, and the information had been provided to the county attorney, since the timing had expired several years before. Next mentioned was the soccer field located near Giles County High School, the Convenience Center located on the Columbia Highway, the spring property in Campbellsville, and the Minor Hill lease for recycling. Others mentioned, the property outside the airport fence which also includes city ownership. Commissioner Roger Reedy mentioned the FEMA involvement with the Peach Road property and that the legislature had tried to sell before but people could come back and rebuild. Commissioner David Adams asked about the county owned lots at Milky Way which are still owned by the county and Commissioner Evan Baddour asked about the lease for the Courthouse Annex (Truist Bank leaser for a portion of the building) the renewal of which might be coming up soon, and may need lead time to let tenant know. Commissioner David Adams asked about the spring property noting the top of the property which is grown up now, that a neighbor had been talking about leasing and cleaning the area up for pasture. Commissioner Tracy Wilburn asked about a conflict with UTS using, but the CE noted that is a Memorandum of Understanding with UTS not a lease. Commissioner Adams also noted the usage by UTS and the “neighbor” would use separate parts of the property and he encouraged all commissioners to go look at the property. Commissioner Gayle Jones asked what would it take to sell the three Milky Way lots. Commissioner Wamble said you would have to go back to the courts since the property was bought by the county due to unpaid taxes. He mentioned that someone from that area had wanted to buy the lots but that you can’t sell for less than what’s owed, the amount being considerable, and more than most would pay. Commissioner Roger Reedy said a previous Commission had taken legal steps to sell for less but wasn’t sure of the outcome. The CE said he would check to see what the former county attorney, Lucy Henson has. Commissioner Evan Baddour discussed the property at the Milky Way and with county growth, might should not sell for less than worth (somewhere in the $200k.) The Chair mentioned there are no “passable” roads to those properties, and Commissioner Wamble mentioned no septic capability had been built either. The Chair asked if the CE would provide more information at a later meeting. Commissioner Evan Baddour said the access, if land locked, would be allowed.
Next Agenda Item – Emergency Services Site Selection. The CE showed a power point presentation developed after discussing with Bill Myers, and those slides presented a way to come to a decision based on certain criteria, if all could agree on what criteria should be used. In short, those unprioritized criteria were 1) a heat map (shows call usage) with most calls coming from within Pulaski, and included accessibility and response time 2) Future expansion including both known and unknowns such as growth 3) comparative cost (not inclusive driver) but considering life cycle costs, already some utilities but also might take viable property off tax roles 4) optimum land use, e.g. size for future use and 5) consolidation of services considering areas such as life cycle cost for one building. Next shown were the areas mentioned and considered from previous discussions 1) Minor Hill highway 2) GC Fire and Rescue [F&R] 3) Minor Hill bypass and 4) Agri-Park. All mentioned were shown with pros and cons. Weights were given to the different criteria, those being heat map 33%, consolidation of services 27%, costs 20%, land use 13 % and future use 7%. Scores were then applied to each of the above sites by individual criteria and those scores then gave an overall rating. The CE said he wants “to move the needle”, to pick the top 2 sites, and hire an outside assessor who has professional experience in evaluating sites. Commissioner Adams questioned the discussion on traffic, noted Maury County is located in one of the highest traffic areas and he wouldn’t consider traffic in criteria. Commissioner Wamble discussed the purchase price ($800K) of one of the sites and that would mean taking on debt. The Chair mentioned other organizational needs, that is the courthouse, which will possibly require debt assumption. Commissioner Gayle Jones said re the heat map, that the calls are generally in the Pulaski area moving patients from hospital to nursing home. Dr. Fite, Medical Director, said he considered having all under one roof a vulnerability. He mentioned the F&R’s location and one of two possible routes being the steep hill on West Madison having to be transversed by young drivers with a heavy vehicle as a dealbreaker. He further said with Agri-Park you can see what traffic you are pulling into. That the $800K property looks good but given now, the Agri-Park best, and would add safety to events being held there. He did discuss the county’s growth with an investment in the future he thought the $800K bypass property excellent. A motion by Commissioner Mathew Hopkins and seconded by Commissioner Evan Baddour was made to send forward the two potential sites, those being the F&R and the Agri-Park sites. Commissioner David Adams talked about not buying property but selecting one from property already county owned. On a discussion about staffing, Bill Myers said the ambulance staffing in Elkton and at Richland are almost staffed 100% of the time. He further said the consolidation criteria did not mean that all would be in one place. Commissioner Joyce Woodard said we have talked about a five-year vision, and having talked about including the 911 service, she liked the bypass, and perhaps others could be placed there as well. Agri-Park would be her second choice. She agreed the F&R with the hill, and potential of running through the UTS complex would be bad. Commissioner Roger Reedy said with only seven people (members of the property committee) picking out the spots leaves out the rest of the commissioners. He recommended letting all 21 narrow the number down to two for review. Bill Myers mentioned that in the last E911 meeting they had narrowed down to two sites and doing A&E on those sites. Commissioner mentioned a previous motion to ask E911 to go with the county’s site and Bill Myers said their perspective is they can’t wait on the county (new equipment must be installed quickly), and Commissioner Baddour noted smart to move in tandem. Considerable discussion continued with a request on Dr. Fite’s role by Commissioner Erin Curry. He noted his role as medical director but also as medical examiner (for morgue functions) and that he often has to do those in really poor conditions. Bill Myers and Dr. Fite both gave examples of discussions with Ambulance personnel and their concerns and wishes. Commissioner David Wamble said if seven people put an idea forward and the 21 commissioners vote those down, the discussion today would be a waste of time. For all to vote, the CE said he could put this information under new business for the next full legislative meeting. Commissioner Gayle Jones said she agreed however she thought it should be three sites, that she could not support the F&R site. The CE said first should decide if the $800K should be purchased and if answer yes, that would then become the number one choice. If not buy, then select two from the others. Commissioner Adams agreed with that, but knew his district did not want to spend for new property. The Chair asked about amending the motion to look at all options and Commissioner Mathew Hopkins said that’s just passing on, rather than doing the committee’s job. Other questions about the bypass property were, i.e., core drilling to determine how much of the property has good building possibilities, TDOT’s approval on egress/exit, option to purchase, and on considering what will be required to repair courthouse and/or build justice center. On Roll Call to send forward the two sites voting ayes were by Commissioners Judy Pruett, Evan Baddour, Mathew Hopkins, Annelle Guthrie, and three voted no Commissioners Joyce Woodard, Tracy Wilburn, and Gayle Jones. Motion passed.
The CE gave an update on the courthouse repairs, noting Commissioners Tracy Wilburn and Erin Curry had met with him and the contractor OHM as well as Crystal Greene, Master and Clerk and Chief Deputy Joseph Purvis. Two thirds of the cost will be for fire suppression, new windows and mechanical, with one third being for holding cells, elevator for security. Question about doing a justice Center now or do later, pulling out justice departments and build the Justice Center near the current jail with a price tag of $69M, $15M for other courthouse repairs and school renovations also being considered, somewhere around $10M for Giles County High and another $10M for two more schools. The CE thought the Ambulance might be funded with reserve and noted a statistic from the jail on increase over 10 years or more from 20 deputies then and 54 now. Commissioner Hopkins said the question is how long can we still use the courthouse. Commissioner Evan Baddour said in his profession as a lawyer he uses the courthouse almost daily and has yet to hear anyone say there isn’t enough room, and as a result doesn’t see the need for additional space. Commissioner David Adams said we are debt free and I like that. Commissioner Joseph Sutton asked what would be included in the Justice Center move with the CE answering anything connected with the courts, i.e., judges, DA, security holding cells. Commissioner Joyce Woodard said so many projects, we should prioritize them so we can focus on the most important and the CE said that comes with a strategic plan. Commissioner Woodard also said she would like to hear from Julie Phillips, Director Convenience Centers about any movement of those centers. Ms. Phillips expressed her concern about not being in the room while discussions were happening about the location movement. She noted it was not just moving containers, that TDEC has to approve any location movement, and that they are now seeing 500 cars daily. Commissioner Terry Jones said the one on the Ardmore highway is the most used so if move that one, would have to have another one to serve the south end of the county, and thus more cost. Ms. Phillips said there no current grants for any of this. Commissioner Evan Baddour said, to answer Commissioner Woodard’s priority question, the relocation of the EMS for the equipment placement should be the first priority, and in his opinion the courthouse doesn’t need the extra elevator and holding cells, for $15M. Agreed they do not need the Justice Center until do the Ambulance, high school. Commissioner David Wamble said, to Bill Myers, the ambulance site selection is down to two, should know on Monday at full legislative meeting. Commissioner Joyce Woodard asked about the work that was to be done in the current meeting room. Noting the carpet has been bought and is on hold, just put up some drywall and paint. She said before students from TCAT had done all the work and the county was just in for material cost; she would like to see something moving forward. The Chair noted the ceiling was the original holdup and the CE said on seeing that cost, noted excessively high. Commissioner Woodard noted according to the Financial Manager $70,964 has been set aside.
The CE informed the commissioners that the new voting software would be used at the Monday meeting. Also asked that email addresses be checked or Spam folders since some are going into junk. Re security for the annex, he had talked to Sheriff Kyle Helton but his shortfall of personnel is critical. Discussion on gun carrying was discussed with clarification requested. Commissioner Terry Jones mentioned the late information from Gov Lee for SROs for every school which the CE said might free up dollars since we do that now. Commissioner David Adams mentioned fire control and how in the past, number of people within this annex meeting room was a problem at times.
A motion by Commissioner Mathew Hopkins to adjourn was made, seconded by Commissioner Evan Baddour, and was approved unanimously.
Attendees: Members of the Committee – Commissioners Chair Tracy Wilburn, Annelle Guthrie, Gayle Jones, Joyce Woodard, Mathew Hopkins, Evan Baddour, Judy Pruett (for Shelly Goolsby absent) Other Commissioners – Roger Reedy, Joseph Sutton, Dr. James Lathrop, David Adams, Terry Jones, Erin Curry, David Wamble, Tim Risner Other County Executive Graham Stowe, County Medical Examiner Dr. Joe Fite, Bill Myers Director Emergency Management Services, members of the public