MINUTES OF A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE GILCHRIST COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HELD AUGUST 14, 1995
The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, convened in a special meeting on August 14, 1995, at 9:00 a.m., in the Commissioner's Meeting Room at the Courthouse in Trenton, Florida, with the following members present to-wit:
Wilbur Bush, Chairman
V. C. Cannon
Sue B. Suggs
Other persons in attendance were: Jackie R. Barron, Ex-Officio Clerk, Ted Burt, County Attorney, Ron McQueen, Emergency Management/County Coordinator, Sherree Pitzarell and Cheryl Watson, and Sam Ferguson, Deputy Clerks, David Brittin, EMS Director, Chris Rolling, Danny Davis, Deborah Jones, Linda Walker, Edwin Bass, Patricia Gralak, EMS employees, Joe Blanchard, Steve Bivins, Wacasassa Volunteer Fire Department, George Cole and George Manners, Spring Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, John Russell, Bell Volunteer Fire Department, Frank Pelaez, C. D. Moore, Willie Bass, Jean Sails, Aubrey Rehberg, Patricia Barry, Deborah Davis, Joe Gilliam, and Damon Hursch, county residents.
Mr. Barron reviewed a budget summary with the Board.
General Revenue Fund:
Mr. Barron reported that anticipated revenues for the general revenue fund for one cents sales tax has been increased by $100,000. Since the last meeting, he has received information from the Department of Revenue, which indicates that the sales tax revenues will be increased from his original estimate. Even with the increase, general fund is still approximately $50,150 short with no funds budgeted for reserve and cash carry over. The transportation fund is short approximately $169,000 with no reserve or cash carry over. There will be very little change in solid waste; this fund will work with departmental cuts. EMS is short approximately $144,000 with no reserve or cash carry over. Last year $20,000 was put into EMS from general to balance. Mr. Barron stated that it is his opinion that the Board will have to generate additional revenues or make some severe cuts from the requests, in order to balance the budgets. Mr. Barron stated that in order to balance the EMS budget as requested, with an adequate reserve, special assessments would have to be raised from $50 per residential unit to approximately $88.71.
Mr. Brittin reviewed the fees charged by surrounding counties for emergency medical services. The fees charged by Gilchrist County are the lowest in the area, and Mr. Brittin suggests that those fees be raised in order to generate additional revenues. Commissioner Sheffield commented that he would rather raise the fees for services than the special assessments. Mr. Brittin also suggested that the expense budgeted for the rescue unit remount be eliminated from the proposed budget.
Mr. Barron reminded the Board that there is a deadline for publishing special assessment rates and mailing the notices. The notices will indicate a public hearing date of September 11, 1995, at 7:15 p.m.
Following discussion, Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to raise the EMS rates, by resolution. The motion carried unanimously.
A RESOLUTION OF THE GILCHRIST COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY
COMMISSIONERS SETTING EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE RATES.
WHEREAS, Gilchrist County is authorized and has the power to maintain ambulance service, pursuant to Section 125.01, Florida Statutes; and
WHEREAS, Gilchrist County does, in fact, maintain an ambulance service known as Emergency Medical Services, which is funded partially by non-ad valorem assessments; and
WHEREAS, current assessments and fees provide insufficient revenues to operate the Emergency Medical Services; and
WHEREAS, the Director of Emergency Medical Services has proposed rate increases in order to facilitate budgeting for the fiscal year 1995-1996;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners that the fees and rates for Emergency Medical Services provided by Gilchrist County shall be as follows:
Basic Life Support $200.00
Advanced Life Support 325.00
Mileage (per mile rate) 3.50
Critical Care 200.00
RESOLVED this 14th day of August, 1995, A.D., by the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners.
GILCHRIST COUNTY BOARD OF
/s/Wilbur Bush, Chairman
/s/Jackie R. Barron, Clerk
The Board asked Mr. Harrison, Property Appraiser, how much longer the GIS mapping system would continue to need financial support from the Board. Mr. Harrison replied that originally there was a five year plan at a cost of $60,000 per year to develop and maintain the system. The equipment has been paid out the GIS mapping funds and next year all or most of the expense of the equipment will be paid off. The first computer purchased filled to capacity and another system had to be purchased. According to Mr. Harrison, he maintains a separate budget for mapping but it is within his property appraiser's budget.
Mr. Burt presented an agreement for family mediation services with Marilyn Peterson. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Cannon, to approve the agreement. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Barron explained to the Board and others present that the proposed EMS budget will require either an increase in revenues, a substantial cut in services, or a combination of both, in order to balance. The action taken earlier today by the Board to increase service fees will not be sufficient to balance the budget. Mr. Barron further explained that the EMS department has doubled over the past two years, with the addition of the full time EMS station in Trenton. The increased expenditures over the last two years have been absorbed by the cash carry-overs from the EMS fund, however, those funds have been depleted and are no longer available. Ms. Jean Sails, county resident, stated that she was present to support the EMS department, because their efforts recently saved the life of a family member. Ms. Sails further stated that if the service was cut back to one full time station, as it has been rumored, she is certain that this family member would no longer be alive. Others present also spoke in favor of keeping both EMS stations open and operational.
Following discussion, Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, to publish a notice of intent to increase the EMS special assessments, in order to generate an additional $390,512.00 in revenues, in order to balance the EMS budget, with a $29,000 reserve. The motion carried unanimously and the proposed rates are as follows:
Solid Waste Assessments:
Mr. Barron stated that the proposed solid waste budget is adequately funded without an increase in special assessments. Mr. Barron also stated that if the state refunds closure costs to small counties, it is his suggestion that the funds be put into a capital account for future disposal alternatives. Currently, the county is taking its garbage to the landfill in Alachua County, however, that agreement is only good for the life of that landfill, and it is anticipated that it will close in 1998.
Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to publish a notice of intent to adopt the same solid waste assessment rates as currently imposed. The motion carried unanimously, and the rates are as follows:
Class A- Bell, Fanning & Unincorporated $53.93
Class A- Trenton $44.24
Class B- Bell, Fanning & Unincorporated $80.90
Class B- Trenton $66.36
Class C- Bell, Fanning & Unincorporated $107.87
Class C- Trenton $88.48
Nursing Home- Bell, Fanning & Unincorporated $ .93/bed
Nursing Home- Trenton $ .76/bed
Motels- Bell, Fanning & Unincorporated $2.32/room
Motels- Trenton $1.91/room
Campgrounds- Bell, Fanning & Unincorporated $2.32/unit
Campgrounds- Trenton $1.91/unit
Mr. Barron stated that the proposed fire budget will have to be cut by $32,986.00 to balance without a reserve. The Board previously took action to leave the millage at the same level (.50 mills) and no longer has the option of raising the millage, therefore, cuts will need to be made in order to balance the budget. The Board unanimously agreed to delete funding for the Town of Branford, and the city of High Springs, for mutual aid, upon motion from Commissioner Cannon, which was seconded by Commissioner Suggs. The Board agreed that they will encourage a mutual aid scenario with both municipalities but will no longer fund either, since Gilchrist County receives no reimbursement for responses to their fire requests.
The Board asked Mr. McQueen if he has any information to report regarding the North Gilchrist Volunteer Fire Department. Mr. McQueen replied that he has called twice and sent two letters and to date has received no response. It is his understanding that they have four fire trucks.
Following discussion, Commissioner Sheffield made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to cut North Gilchrist 's level of funding to $2500 for next fiscal year, and to cut the funding for Spring Ridge, Wacasassa, Trenton, Bell, and Fanning Springs Volunteer Fire Departments to $5000 for next fiscal year. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Barron stated that the above action will balance the fire budget with no reserve.
Mr. Steve Bivens, Wacasassa Volunteer Fire Department, stated that their fire department can not and will not operate on $5000. He further stated that their situation is different because their funding is dependent upon the county and fund raising, whereas the cities supplement their fire departments. Mr. Bivens stated that he is in favor of the county imposing special assessments or franchise fees to generate more revenues for fire departments.
Chairman Bush suggested that the Board will look to see if any funds are available in the general revenue fund to help the fire fund, however, it is his understanding that general revenue fund is also in need of additional revenues.
There being no further business to discuss, a motion to adjourn at 6:20 p.m. was made by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, and unanimously approved.
JACKIE R. BARRON, CLERK WILBUR BUSH, CHAIRMAN