MINUTES OF A WORKSHOP MEETING OF THE GILCHRIST COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HELD MARCH 11, 1996
The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, convened in a workshop meeting on March 11, 1996, 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, Sam Ferguson, and Eileen Walsh, Deputy Clerks, D. Ray Harrison, Property Appraiser, Susan Bryant, Supervisor of Elections, James Floyd, Sheriff, Robert Beauchamp and Steve Kattell, Davis, Monk & Company audit firm.
Mr. Barron reported that the loan balance for the road paving projects is $246,978.16. The initial amount borrowed was $350,000 and the payments have been made from the Impact Fee Fund.
Mr. Barron stated that he asked the auditors to speak to the Board today about the county's financial position.
Mr. Steve Kattell, audit manager for Gilchrist County presented information to the Board on a fund by fund basis. Beginning with general revenue fund, Mr. Kattell stated that the trend analysis indicates that the expenditures have increased greater than the revenues, leaving less excess or reserve for general fund.
In transportation trust fund the 1995 ending fund balance is higher because road repairs and maintenance costs have been reduced, however, certain maintenance tasks, such as equipment upkeep, are not being performed and will probably impact this budget soon.
Mr. Kattell reported that the EMS fund balance has decreased over the past few years because of a decline in revenues, specifically grants. In addition, services were increased without a significant increase in revenues.
The solid waste trust fund is in good shape with no indications of significant change.
Mr. Kattell reported that the fire fund (MSTU) ending fund balance has been greatly reduced each year because of expenditures increasing at a faster rate than revenues.
Mr. Kattell stated that although the capital funds are reflective of the greatest amounts of debt for the county, these debts are not of an excessive amount. Mr. Kattell pointed out that upkeep of capital expenditures will impact other funds for on-going maintenance.
Mr. Kattell summarized that the county's financial position is good, though it is obvious that more revenues are needed to stay abreast with the county's growth.
Mr. Barron advised the Board that the Florida Counties Foundation is sponsoring a budget and finance workshop in Dowling Park and it is his intention to send some staff from his office.
Mr. Barron stated that he met with Mr. Harrison, Mr. Welch, Mr. Burt, Mr. McQueen and Mr. Langford to discuss special assessments. Together, the group submits the following suggestions and/or questions to the Board for direction:
1. It is recommended that Mr. Langford be designated the
Special Assessment Coordinator, under the Boards
2. Clarification from the Board is needed for the
definition of a dwelling unit.
3. The deadline for exemption applications should be set
for March 31st to coincide with similar deadlines.
4. The Board may want to readdress the hardship variances
criteria (i.e. percent of poverty & asset limits).
5. All complaints received by the Board and others should
be referred to Mr. Langford for possible resolution.
6. Determine if commercial rates apply to home occupations.
Mr. Barron stated that the special assessment coordinator will have other duties as well as field work and this task would probably involve 50% of his time. The special assessment coordinator must certify the roll and make sure the notices are printed. Mr. Welch stated that he will have to check to see if Mr. Langford can be a part-time deputy tax collector through his payroll and a part-time special assessment coordinator under the supervision of the Board.
Mr. Barron pointed out that payment plan established for the collection of ad valorem taxes may impact budget forecasting.
The Board discussed occupational licenses and the low rate charged by the county ($10 per year). If a person is required by law to maintain an OCC license, the commercial rate for special assessments could be imposed. Mr. Burt stated that he would check the statutes to see what the maximum amount is for OCC licenses.
Sheriff Floyd spoke to the Board about his operations and need for additional funding. According to the Sheriff, his office is receiving an average of one call every 90 seconds. The Sheriff stated that he is having difficulty retaining quality personnel due to the low paying positions. Civil cases are up; last month 115 civil papers were served. Sheriff Floyd said he is currently housing 30 local inmates and could keep about 10 feds if the Board is interested.
Mr. Burt spoke to the Board about special assessments as a possible source of funding for fire services. If a base rate of $10 per parcel (unimproved) were assessed, along with a charge of $18.52 per business and residence, a total of $113,000 could be generated. Mr. Barron stated that in order to fund fire adequately $170,000-$190,000 would be needed, assuming that the county can get some surplus trucks from the federal program. Mr. Barron added that no one has identified what is needed for an ISO rating of eight. In addition, collection rates for homeowners insurance needs to be established. Mr. Barron reported that according to Marvin Weaver, the university is giving the county's fire service project top priority, in regards to securing equipment.
Commissioner Wilkerson departed the meeting at 3:00 p.m.
Mr. Barron and Mr. McQueen discussed with the Board the possibility of using impact fees for the capital costs of the buildings for the satellite fire stations.
Mr. McQueen reported that the milling material from I-75 can be stock piled, according to the Suwannee River Water Management District, as long as it does not caused a run off problem.
Mr. McQueen stated that Mr. Joyner calculated that in order to improve the roads to various churches with milled asphalt, it will take 100 truck loads per mile for a 3 inch thick surface. It is Mr. Joyner's suggestion that the road in front of the library be paved to see how the material works.
Commissioner Suggs departed at 4:15 p.m.
Mr. Barron stated that the flashing on the roof of the courthouse needs repaired, and the roof over his office needs to be replaced. He added that the previous quote submitted by Kennedy & Sons is still good.
There being no further business to be discussed, a motion to adjourn was made by Commissioner Cannon at 4:30 p.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, and unanimously approved.
WILBUR BUSH, CHAIRMAN
JACKIE R. BARRON, CLERK