Commission Meeting Agendas Archive

Regular Meeting Minutes - June 5, 2008

Rock Creek Park Community Room - 6:00 p.m.

ROLL CALL: Those present were Chairman Berg; Commissioner Pichon, District 1; Commissioner Tragesser, District 2; Commissioner Connor, District 3; Commissioner Nix, District 4; County Attorney Homans; County Manager Tanner; County Clerk Simpson and interested citizens of Dawson County.

OPENING PRESENATION – Diane Turner – Circle of Friends

INVOCATION: Chairman Berg



Chairman Berg announced the grand opening of the Adult Literacy Center tomorrow, June 6, 2008 at 10am and welcomed all who could attend. Chairman Berg stated the building was paid for out of the CDBG fund. This was a joint effort by the Dawson County Board of Commissioners, Board of Education and the Lanier Tech Foundation.


Motion passed unanimously to accept the minutes as submitted from the Regular Meeting held on May 15, 2008. Tragesser/Nix


Chairman Berg asked to the Board to consider moving the discussion of the Courthouse Architect before any public hearings due to the large amount of people waiting to hear information on this topic.

Motion passed unanimously to approve the agenda with the stipulation of changing the order of the agenda mentioned above. Nix/Tragesser

Chairman Berg announced the order of the Architects: Facility Design Group, HoK and Rosser. Chairman Berg explained to the audience that after visiting three facilities featuring the architects, the Board has asked the firms to come back for a question and answer session. The Board may take a vote after hearing from each group tonight.

Courthouse Architect recap and discussion:
Facility Design Group: Denis Parker, Chief Executive Officer of the Smyrna office. Mr. Parker stated there is a difference between the Facility Design Group and the other tow two firms. Mr. Parker stated the Facility Design Group has all disciplines needed for this project, those being: planning; engineering; architecture; builders and people specializing in cost control and scheduling. Mr. Parker reminded the Board his firm does have a department that specializes in justice and courthouse facilities. Mr. Parker stated since all these departments work together regularly they have an advantage against the other two firms bidding for the project.

Mr. Parker spoke to three key points: Knowledge, Innovation and Integration. Knowledge is using past experiences and understanding the needs of Dawson County; Innovation is 300 justice projects nationally with over 35 in Georgia; Integration is using a collaborative process with open communication with Dawson County on a daily basis, using the latest design software as well as BIM, and having a commitment to quality while maintaining cost and schedule control.

Mr. Gary Patel, designer and project manager of the Romae T. Powell Juvenile Justice Center & Dunbar Library answered questions from the Board. Mr. Patel reported the project was 190,000 sq.ft, eight courtrooms, a public library and a fully accredited juvenile justice holding center in the basement. Mr. Patel reported the project was approximately $32million or $160.00 per square foot.
Commissioner Pichon asked what the construction costs would be per sq.ft. in today’s market. Mr. Parker reported what he sees currently is approximately $225-$230, depending on quality the price can go as high as $400.00/sq.ft. Commissioner Pichon asked what the best and worst of the Fulton County project. Mr. Patel felt giving Fulton County a working building with all end-users and public needs met was the high point of the project. He also reported the only drawback was not having more money to design more facilities or higher end finishes in the building.

Chairman Berg asked about the carpet quality and who made the final decision to select that type flooring. Mr. Patel reported it was the best decision at the time but was not sure who made the final decisions on flooring. Chairman Berg also asked about the difficulties they faced having many different users in one building that weren’t associated with the Courts. Mr. Patel said having a public library in building made security even more of an issue. The area in the basement was originally a holding center for the court and became a full juvenile justice holding center. Chairman Berg stated all three facilities visited had entry and exit problems and asked how they would complete that aspect of the project differently. Mr. Patel stated this building was pre-9/11 and security is now a major issue than years past.

HoK: Mr. John Eisenlau stated in the past three years he has gained experience with the County which enables him to understand the business approach and sensibilities that make life important to the citizens of Dawson County. Mr. Eisenlau added he feels he as a grasp on where Dawson County has been as well as where it is heading with this project. Mr. Eisenlau added HoK has designed over 85 courthouses nationwide.

Mr. Eisenlau stated HoK referred the Board to the Harold R. Banke Justice Complex because of the following factors: 1) it is site inclined specific location. The original site was an old airport making it an interesting task; 2) linear courtroom set up which is very cost effective; 3) separation between the public and private buildings; 4) courtroom size is about the same with 1800 sq.ft.; 5) connection with the jail. Mr. Eisenlau also reported the Harold R. Banke Justice Complex has become an economic driver for Jonesboro and sees the same for Dawson County.

Mr. Eisenlau forecasts a very aggressive schedule being 30 months and feels the cost of this project to be in the mid-range at approximately $275.00 per sq.ft. This is all very similar to the new Law Enforcement Center in Dawson County.

Commissioner Pichon asked HoK what they thought were the best and worst aspects of the Jonesboro project was. Mr. Eisenlau reported the delivery method was wrong and could have achieved a higher level of quality if the delivery method was different. Mr. Eisenlau stated there were significant cost issues and trying to get them within the overall costs parameters. Mr. Eisenlau stated the biggest triumph was taking the money saved building the new justice center and renovating the old courthouse. Making the citizens very happy with the overall development. Mr. Eisenlau reported the specific needs of the users drove the location of the grand jury room to the first floor of the complex. He added in the future as the Courts grow, this space will grow

Chairman Berg asked why the building was set up to be a shallow rectangle as opposed square like. Mr. Eisenlau reported that decision was made by the owners because they wanted a glamorous lobby that made a statement. Chairman Berg asked whether the elevator was an afterthought. Mr. Eisenlau stated the users did not want to move down a complete level so they opted for a split-level making a handicapped elevator a necessity. Chairman Berg asked about security and the entry/exit problems. Mr. Eisenlau reported most of the current projects have single points of entry and would never recommend this strategy again. Also, HoK would give adequate staging areas for security.

Commissioner Tragesser asked where Mr. Eisenlau thought the higher price would come from. Mr. Eisenlau feels the higher prices would come from higher costs in steel. He felt the best way to lock in the prices is to bid now on construction materials. He reported he would wait on electronic security and technology.

Rosser International: Mr. Doug Shaw presented information for Rosser. Mr. Shaw stated he wanted the Board to walk away with an experience from visiting the Columbia County courthouse. Mr. Shaw said he wanted the Dawson County courthouse to fit with the Future Land Use Plan and for the end user to play a major role in the design of the facility. The contracting method was design-bid-build. Actual construction on the Columbia County courthouse took 16 months. Mr. Shaw stated they would design the entrances and exits would be different if it was built today. Mr. Shaw told the Board this project is more than a $40 million investment into a courthouse but a $40 million investment into downtown Dawsonville. Mr. Shaw stated all aspects of the project will be done within the company.

Commissioner Tragesser asked Mr. Shaw if he felt Rosser could give Dawson County the atmosphere desired given the space and economy. Mr. Shaw said Rosser could deliver but he would want to reconfirm the vision from the Board and the Courts. Mr. Shaw reported a few problem areas, like parking need to be addressed.

Mr. PJ Daka stated the courtroom set up was very specific to Columbia County in that no courtroom was solely for the use of one particular court. Commissioner Pichon asked for the strengths and weaknesses of the project. Mr. John Pilot stated to be able to change the design to fit the day to day operations of the facility to meet the end users needs was fulfilling. Mr. Pilot stated the Magistrate Court had a very progressive idea and needed a 24 hours facility with a secondary entrance. Mr. Pilot stated knowing this project would be completed in phases when needed was important to the vision of the project.

Motion passed unanimously to award the contract to construct the new courthouse and renovated the existing courthouse to Rosser International Inc. Pichon/Tragesser






Moving BOC meetings to Municipal Complex 2nd of 2 Hearings

Chairman Berg asked whether anyone wished to speak to moving the Board of Commissioners meetings to the Municipal Complex and hearing none closed the hearing.

Motion passed unanimously to move the Board of Commissioners meetings to the Municipal Complex. Connor/Tragesser

Chairman Berg stated two stipulations needed to be included: 1)a contract for a fee will need to be drafted and 2) the first available date for the move would be August 7, 2008 due to all current advertisements.

Motion passed unanimously to amend the first to include the two stipulations listed above. Connor/Tragesser

Commissioner Tragesser thanked the hospitality of the City in welcoming the Board to their complex.

2009-2011 Budget - 1st of 3 hearings

Chairman Berg stated this hearing is the first of three hearings. Chairman Berg asked whether anyone wished to speak to the proposed budget and hearing none closed the hearing. Chairman Berg announced the next hearing will be June 19, 2008.

The proposed budget is available online, in its entirety to the public. Copies are also available today.


Business License Ordinance:
Chairman Berg stated the Board has received a lot of information regarding the Business License Ordinance in the past few weeks. The Home Occupancy fee is $75.00 and the criminal penalties have been removed.

Motion passed unanimously to adopt the Business License Ordinance as submitted. Pichon/Nix


Application for Retail Beer & Wine License: Sybil Thurmond d/b/a Sweetwater Market
County Attorney Homans reported Sweetwater Market is located at 4822 Highway 53 West. Expected store opening is mid-August. Ms. Sybil Thurmond is the owner of the property and the store; she is the applicant for subject alcohol license and is a Dawson County resident. Federal and State background checks are complete. There is no advertising requirement for this application. The applicant is seeking: Conditional approval of this alcohol license pending completion of the structure and an exception to the six-month waiting period for issuance of the license (as described below.) The applicant has submitted a $1500.00 bond as required. Ms. Sybil Thurmond appeared before the Board to answer questions.

Commissioner Pichon reminded the applicant of past violations of the Alcohol License in Dawson County and asked them to do everything they can do avoid such a violation.

Motion passed unanimously to approve the Application for Retail Beer & Wine License: Sybil Thurmond d/b/a Sweetwater Market. Pichon/Connor

Annual Fundraiser for Station #6 “Wild land Firefighting Fundraiser”
Fire Chief Tim Satterfield presented information to the Board two week asking for approval of the fundraiser. Date of the event is June 14, 2008 from 11am-2pm.

Motion passed unanimously to approve the Annual Fundraiser for Station #6 “Wild land Firefighting Fundraiser”. Nix/Tragesser

Burn Room and Tower bid results
County Purchasing Agent Jill Rathe stated she presented the results at the Work Session two weeks ago and requests the Board award the contract to WHP Trainig towers. In addition, the Board is asked to approve the request to designate the budget balance up to $31,685.00 for site preparation, paving and concrete. Ms. Rathe reported $20,377 includes paving costs. Fire Chief Tim Satterfield reported this facility will be used for training but the citizens will not see any flames as the fire is small and contained in the building. Chief Satterfield reported having this facility will lower the ISO rating by one point.

Motion passed unanimously to award the contract in the amount of $148,315 to build the fire training Burn Room and Tower as proposed by WHP Training towers, a division of Jahnke & Sons Construction in response to Dawson County $6708RFP. In addition, the Board approved the request to designate the budget balance up to $31,685.00 for site preparation, paving and concrete. Nix/Tragesser

Letter of Support for North Georgia Regional Fiber Project-One Georgia Authority BRIDGE Grant application
Development Authority Director Charlie Auvermann stated the City of Dawsonville approved the motion to send a letter of support as well as the Board of Commissioners for the following counties: White, Lumpkin, Union and Forsyth County have added it to their agenda for vote. Mr. Auvermann added North Georgia College and State University and Sen. Chip Pearson have also sent letters of support.

Motion passed unanimously to approve the Letter of Support for North Georgia Regional Fiber Project-One Georgia Authority BRIDGE Grant application. Nix/Tragesser

Changing BOC meeting date from July 3, 2008 to July 10, 17, 24 & 31, 2008
Chairman Berg announced the Board would like to change the dates in order for some members of the Board to attend vacation.

Motion passed unanimously to change BOC meeting date from July 3, 2008 to July 10, 17, 24 & 31, 2008. Pichon/Nix


Motion passed unanimously to adjourn.

APPROVE: Mike Berg, Chairman
ATTEST: Davida Simpson, County Clerk