The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, convened in a special meeting on January 11, 1994, at 4:30 p.m., at Hart Springs Park, Trenton, Florida, with the following members present to-wit:
Fred Wilkerson, Chairman
V. C. Cannon
Sue B. Suggs
Other persons in attendance were: Jackie R. Barron, Ex-Officio Clerk, Ted Burt, County Attorney, Sherree Pitzarell and Denise Troyer, Deputy Clerks, D. Ray Harrison, Property Appraiser, Richard Perryman, Civil Defense Director, Jim Floyd and Jim Cooper, Gilchrist County Sheriff's Department, David Brittin, EMS Director, Vernon Layfield, Trenton Volunteer Fire Department, Harold Sanders, Gerald Blackwell, and Peggy Sapp, council members for the Town of Bell, Jesse Arnold, Town Manager of Bell, W. O. Clifton, Charlotte Kearney, George McMath, Al Milito, and Terry Parrish, Trenton City Commissioners, Kathryn Deen, Trenton City Manager, Mike Edwards, Trenton Chief of Police, Joyce Perryman, City of Trenton, John Russell, Bell Volunteer Fire Department, Carol McQueen and Bill Wilson, Fanning Springs City Council, Ronnie McQueen, Fanning Springs Volunteer Fire Department, Sonny Bishop, Fanning Springs City Attorney, Joe Myer, Suzanne Adams, and Jim Helms, Division of Emergency Management, and Jim Martin, State 911 Coordinator.
Chairman Wilkerson addressed those present, stating that the reason for calling this meeting is to discuss disaster preparedness and 911 services.
Mr. Joe Myer, Director, Emergency Management, spoke to the Board regarding the need for state wide coordinated disaster preparedness. During the Storm of '93, fifty-two people in the state of Florida lost their lives. The effects of the storm, as well as those of Hurricane Andrew, demonstrated the need for coordinated efforts among state and local agencies. During a disaster situation, it is important to have intergovernmental coordination, without turf wars. During this time, each department must work together. Each county must adopt an emergency management plan, which specifies the persons involved during a disaster, and their specific role in emergency management. A needs assessment should be completed and incorporated into the emergency management plan. For instance, residents who are homebound, or have special needs should be identified, what are the available resources should a disaster occur, and where is the emergency command center? In addition to the county's plan of operation, the Division of Emergency Management encourages counties to adopt a mutual aid agreement, which calls for the rendering of assistance to other counties in the state during a disaster. Because of the recent disasters in Florida, each county will have the opportunity to receive grant funding for a full or part time emergency management coordinator.
Ms. Suzanne Adams, Division of Emergency Management, stated that each county can choose to employ a full time or part time coordinator. The amount of grant funds available for a full time coordinator is approximately $71,000, and approximately $46,000 for a part time director. According to Ms. Adams, the state, realizing that each county is in need of a coordinator, required insurance companies to add a $2 surcharge for residential homeowner's policies, and $4 for commercial policies, in order to fund these positions. Ms. Adams stated that the additional money from the state, does not relieve the counties from their current funding levels for emergency management. In addition to grant funding for the emergency management coordinator, grant funds are also available on a competitive basis, for an emergency operations center.
Following the presentation by the Division of Emergency Management's staff, buffet dinner was served, whereafter the Board reconvened to discuss 911 services.
Chairman Wilkerson addressed the group, stating that the Board has considered offering county residents 911 services, however, the Board is not currently in a posture to completely fund those services. Chairman Wilkerson asks for suggestions on how the fund 911, as well as to determine the level of interest from the various municipalities within the county. The county has a grant for $102,000, requiring a cash match of $40,000. These funds can only be used for capital items. In addition, the county has been collecting 50 cents per month through county resident's telephone bills. It has been determined by county staff, that the cost to fund the dispatch positions for the first year will be approximately $110,000. According to Mr. Barron, the grant must be spent by September 30, 1994 or returned to the state. He added that the surcharge collected on the phone bills must be spent within three years.
The sheriff's department has been providing dispatch services for EMS, fire and law enforcement, however, due to the increase in inmate population, dispatchers also function as jailers. The sheriff stated that he would need at least 4 additional positions to operate an enhanced 911 system.
Mr. Blackwell, Bell council member, asked what is the current response time for EMS and law enforcement, with both the Sheriff and Mr. Brittin replying approximately 14 minutes.
Mr. Jim Martin, state 911 coordinator, stated that the state wide average, shows approximately 71% of all incoming calls being directed to law enforcement.
Mr. Ronnie McQueen, fire chief, Fanning Springs Volunteer Fire Department, stated that Fanning Springs has the unique problem of being located in two counties. It is his understanding that Levy County will be going on the 911 system, leaving part of the residents in Fanning Springs without the service.
Commissioner Bush suggested the three boards discuss the need for 911 services and present their views at the regular county commission meeting scheduled the first Monday in March. Mr. Blackwell, as well as Trenton's Mayor W. O. Clifton, asked for information to take to their respective boards, such as the amount of money currently spent on EMS, law enforcement and fire services. Mr. Barron replied that he would make the information available, as well as make a presentation to each board.
There being no further business to discuss, a motion to adjourn was made by Commissioner Bush, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, and unanimously approved.
FRED WILKERSON, CHAIRMAN
JACKIE R. BARRON, CLERK