Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Oconee County Commissioners Approve Hiring of New County Administrator And New Parks And Recreation Director

Held Tax Hearing Also

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners appointed Justin Kirouac as county administrator and Lisa Davol as director of the Parks and Recreation Department at its regular meeting last (Tuesday) night.

Kirouac, currently assistant manager in Johns Creek in Fulton County, was given a five-year contract starting at $110,000. Kirouac replaces Jeff Benko, who is retiring at the end of the month.

Davol, currently deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department, is replacing John Gentry, who is going to Gwinnett County to head up its Parks and Recreation Department.

The Board last night also denied an appeal by Broome Street LLC of a decision by B.R. White, director of the county’s Planning and Code Enforcement Department. White had determined that Broome cannot go forward with its Rhino Storage project at U.S. 441 and Hog Mountain Road for three years.

Prior to the meeting, the Board held the first of three public hearings on its proposed millage rate for the current fiscal year, which represents a 4.19 percent property tax increase, on average, for property owners in most of the county.


The Board named Kirouac as the sole finalist for the county administrator position on June 21.

Daniell said last night that Kirouac had cleared all of the Human Resource requirements. The vote to hire Kirouac had the support of all four voting commissioners.

Daniell did not indicate the salary that Davol will receive. Department heads do not receive multi-year contracts.

The Board approved her appointment unanimously as well.

Davol has been with Oconee County since 2004, Daniell said.

Rhino Storage

On April 12, Sandy Weinel, assistant director of the Planning and Code Enforcement Department, wrote Broom Street saying that clearing of a portion of the lot for Rhino Storage had occurred on Feb. 8 prior to the company obtaining a grubbing and ground clearance permit.

As a result, Weinel said, a three-year moratorium on issuance of a permit for the project is in effect, ending on Feb. 7, 2020.

Broom Street appealed that decision last night in a formal hearing before the Board of Commissioners, arguing that it wasn’t told that it needed the clearance permit.

The Board denied the appeal by a vote of 4-0 without comment.

Millage Rate Hearing

The Board of Commissioners has based its 2018 budget, which went into effect on July 1, on continuation of the current 6.686 millage rate in the unincorporated parts of the county and 7.656 in the incorporated areas.

Because property values are increasing, that millage rate actually represents a 4.19 percent property tax increase in the unincorporated parts of the county and 5.01 percent increase in the four cities in the county.

State law requires that the county hold hearings on such a rate increase.

John Webb, 1320 Bent Creek Road, off Hodges Mill Road, told the Commissioners he wants a tax rollback equal to the amount of the increased property tax valuation.

Nedra Johnson, a member of the Bishop City Council, asked why the millage rates are higher in the incorporated parts of the county than in the unincorporated parts.

County Administrator Benko said it was because of a state insurance property tax rollback that comes to the unincorporated parts of the county and not the cities.


I was unable to attend the meetings last night, but Sarah Bell did attend and video recorded both the hearing on the tax rate increase and the regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

The videos are below in that order.

Bishop Mayor Johnny Pritchett spoke during the citizen comment section of the meeting, calling for a bypass of Bishop.

Rep. Chuck Williams followed with additional comments on the controversy regarding the widening of U.S. 441.

That discussion runs from 1:05 to 19:09 on the second video.

The hearing on Broome Street and Rhino storage begins at 21:15 in the second video.

The announcement of the two appointments is at 55:45 in the second video.

OCO: BOC 7 11 17 Tax Hike Hearing from Lee Becker on Vimeo.

OCO: BOC 7 11 17 from Lee Becker on Vimeo.

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