MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE GILCHRIST COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HELD AUGUST 18, 1997.
The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, convened in a regular meeting on August 18, 1997, at 5:00 p.m., in the Commissioner's Meeting Room at the Courthouse in Trenton, Florida, with the following members present to-wit:
Sue B. Suggs, Chair
Other persons in attendance were: Joe Gilliam, Clerk of Court, Sam Mutch, County Attorney, Ron McQueen, EMA/County Coordinator, Sherree Pitzarell, Deputy Clerk, Tom Pelham, Special Legal Counsel, Tom Worthman, Nathan Martin, Road Superintendent, George Cole, Bill & Bobbie Wray Suggs, John Ayers, county residents.
The Board unanimously approved the minutes of the meetings held July 21st and July 22nd, following a motion by Commissioner Durden, which was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson.
Mr. Tom Worthman spoke to the Board about a problem he encountered today regarding a building project at his home. According to Mr. Worthman, he has a licensed contractor working at his home and Mr. Rehberg, county building inspector, has advised the workers to discontinue working until more permits are secured. Mr. Worthman agreed that the electrical contractor does not have a county license, however, he does have a state license. In the interim, Mr. Worthman has no electricity and there are holes in the roof. Mr. McQueen stated that the permit purchased by Mr. Worthman was for Mr. Worthman to do the work himself. The other contractors on the job do not have county licenses. One contractor has an application for a county license, which will be reviewed by the Competency Board tomorrow evening. Chairman Suggs suggested that Mr. Worthman meet with Mr. McQueen, Mr. Rehberg, and Commissioner Wilkerson tomorrow morning to resolve the problem.
Mr. Nathan Martin, Road Superintendent, reported the main bulldozer has a blown motor and the undercarriage is in bad shape. Ring Power estimates that it will cost $16,500 to repair it and they are willing to reduce the cost by $2000 if the county agrees to trade in an old surplus dozer that is no longer being used. According to Mr. Martin, it will take about 10 days for the repairs to be completed and they are willing to pick it up and deliver it upon completion. Mr. Gilliam stated that it would cost the county $13,000 to rent a D-7 (dozer) for a month. Ring Power advised that the cost to totally refurbish the county's dozer would be approximately $130,000 and new bulldozers are selling for $300,000. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield to authorize the repair for $14,500. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Martin reported that he has been contacted by a company out of Georgia that buys used heavy equipment. They will be here this week to look at some equipment that the Road Department no longer uses, such as the roller and drag line. Mr. Martin asked if the county would be interested in selling these items. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson to declare the roller and drag line surplus property and advertise for sealed bids. The motion carried unanimously. The Board advised Mr. Martin to submit a list so the other items could be declared surplus. Once declared surplus, those items must be advertised for sealed bids as well.
Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush, to approve journal entry 97146. The motion carried unanimously.
Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden, to approve journal entry 97145. The motion carried unanimously.
Bid Opening- Roll Off Containers:
Mr. Gilliam open the sealed bid for roll off containers. Mr. McQueen noted that the request for bids was advertised and mailed to various vendors, however, only one vendor responded. United Truck and Body Corporation submitted a bid for the following: four 20 cubic yard containers @ $2290 each, for a total of $9160 and six 20 feet long containers @ $3390 each for a total of $20,340. The total for all containers is $29,500. Commissioner Bush made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield to accept the bid submitted by United Truck & Body Corporation. The motion carried unanimously.
Final Plat- Vargas Woods:
The developer for Vargas Woods subdivision, John Lane, was not present, therefore Commissioner Durden made a motion to table the plat until the developer could be present. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush, and unanimously approved.
Final Plats- Pine Ridge Estates, Cedar Ridge & Oak Ridge Subdivisions:
Mr. Billy Woodington, developer, presented the final plats for the Board's consideration. Each of the plats are composed or two and three lots and are considered minor subdivisions. Chairman Suggs recused herself from the meeting and turned the chair over to Vice-Chairman Sheffield because the developer is related to her. Mr. McQueen read the concurrency reports prepared by the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council. These subdivisions front U.S. 129 south of the Santa Fe River bridge on the west side. There are no roads involved with the subdivision, and the roads will be built up, according to the developer. Commissioner Sheffield expressed his concern that this area has been known to flood in the past. Mr. Woodington stated that a statement will be recorded from the homeowner acknowledging that the area floods and flood elevation requirements will be provided to each property owner. Mr. Mutch stated that the location of the county boundaries are to be accurately tied to the lines of the subdivision by distance and angles. In addition, the plat should contain the following: the width of the pavement should be specified and the exact location with the names of all streets within and immediately adjoining the subdivisions, as well as the certificate of payment of taxes and certificate of title. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson to approve the plats, subject to the attorney's recommendations. The motion carried unanimously. Commissioner Suggs returned to the meeting and resumed her position as chair.
The Board unanimously approved resolution 97-50, conveying property to the Town of Bell, following a motion by Commissioner Durden, which was seconded by Commissioner Bush. A copy of the resolution is on file in the Clerk's Office.
Mr. Mutch reported that the county will be defending the Taylor case through their former insurance carrier, Generalli.
The Board was asked what their position would be legally, regarding the verified complaint which was served on the Board on the Watson Dairy special exception permit. It was announced in the last meeting that the Board would be making a decision during this meeting. The Board had withheld a decision, pending the Board of Adjustment's action at their last meeting. Mr. Mutch stated that he prepared a memo which was sent to Mr. Pelham, the Board's special attorney for land use issues. In essence, the memo stated that the Board has the ability to make a decision on whether they wish to answer the verified complaint. Mr. Pelham stated that several things have transpired since the Board of Adjustment issued a special exception permit for the Watson Dairy. Two groups, Ginnie Springs and Blue Springs, have filed verified complaints, under Florida Statute Chapter 163.3215, alleging the Board of Adjustment's decision was inconsistent with the county's Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations. Mr. Pelham stated that their first step would be to file the verified complaint to allow the local government to change it's decision. The Board of Adjustment considered the complaint and denied the same by a 4-1 vote. The complainant has 30 days to file an action in circuit court to challenge the Board of Adjustment's decision. At about the same time that they filed the verified complaint, they also filed a petition for a writ of certoria with the circuit court, asking the court to quash the order of the Board of Adjustment. It is Mr. Pelham's opinion that these parties do not have the right to a writ of certoria review of their complaint that the Board of Adjustment's decision was inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan or LDR's, but rather their relief should be by trial de novo in the circuit court. Mr. Pelham further stated that the county has a decision to make regarding a defense and he would think that the Board would wish to defend one of their agencies, in this case, the Board of Adjustment. The county needs to decide how it wants to provide the defense. The county does not have to respond until the court asks for a response or a show cause. The decision for the Board will be how it's attorneys will proceed in regards to mounting a defense. Chairman Suggs asked Mr. Pelham if they could make that decision tonight. Mr. Pelham replied that the Board could make that decision. As a named party, if the Board does not have an attorney put in an appearance, a default judgement could be entered against the county, but the Board could instruct their attorney to file a response, which could be a joinder in the response of Mr. Watson. Simply joining in that response, means Mr. Watson would be carrying the responsibility of the cost of defending the case, reducing the cost for the county versus the county mounting it's own defense, which would be considerably more expensive.
Ms. Patriece Boyse, attorney representing Ginnie Spring and Blue Springs advised the Board that the state of the law requires two actions; one challenging the consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations, which has been done through the verified complaint and the other is the petition for writ of certoria. Ms. Boyse asked that the Board take a neutral position on this case.
Mr. Pelham disagreed with Ms. Boyse, stating that the standard which the court will use in making that determination is whether there is substantial competent evidence in the record to support the BOA's determination that it was consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and LDR's, adding that they are closely related. Show cause orders are routinely issued in these type cases.
Mr. Ken Frey asked Mr. Pelham if he has read the transcripts of the BOA's hearings and what his opinion is as to what extent the BOA effectively met the requirements set forth in the Comprehensive Plan and LDR's.
Mr. Pelham replied that it would be inappropriate to answer that question as this time, since he will be a defending attorney.
Mr. Frey stated that it is his understanding that Chairman Suggs is the only commissioner that has read the transcripts from the BOA hearings and asked how the Board could make a decision as to whether or not there is enough merit to the case to warrant their involvement, without having read the transcripts.
Mr. Pelham responded that he feels Mr. Frey's suggestion is entirely inappropriate since the county has a system of regulations which includes the Comprehensive Plan and the LDR's, specifying that the Board of Adjustment has the final authority to grant or not grant special exceptions for this kind of land use. It would be inappropriate for this Board to second guess or over rule their BOA. It will be up to a court to decide whether the BOA made the right decision.
Mr. Mutch stated that the Board has heard from the petitioner's attorney, asking that a neutral position be taken. He feels it would be appropriate for the Board to talk to Mr. Watson about how he intends to defend this case. The Board tabled further discussion.
Public Hearing- CDBG:
Commissioner Bush made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, to amend the CDBG budget by $755.28. The motion carried unanimously. Mr. Edwards stated that the program will now be closed out.
Mr. Ronnie Hodge thanked the Board on behalf of his mother for her new home, which was purchased through the CDBG program. Mr. Hodge stated that he was aware that the Board received criticism regarding the program and he and his mother would like to go on record thanking the Board.
Continuation of Special Exception Discussion:
Mr. Craig Watson appeared before the Board, stating that he is waiting to see if the petitioners are going to follow through on their threat of a suit. Mr. Watson stated that he is willing to borrow money, if need be, to provide his defense, however, he does not feel the county should require him to bear the total cost of upholding the county's stipulations in the LDR's and Comprehensive Plan.
Mr. Pelham stated that he feels the court will issue a show cause order and the Board can make their decision as to the type of defense they would like to provide. Mr. Pelham added that he feels Mr. Watson should provide the lead defense in the case.
Commissioner Sheffield stated that he agrees with Mr. Pelham, especially in light of the fact that the county has already spent about $8000 on this issue. Commissioner Sheffield made a motion to authorize Mr. Pelham to defend the Board of Adjustment's position, not defending Mr. Watson's position, but joining his defense, defending the Board of Adjustment. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush and unanimously approved.
Mr. McQueen asked the Board which attorney will represent the county in issues outside the realm of the moratorium, such as zoning, variances, etc. Following discussion, Commissioner Durden made a motion to leave the attorneys responsibilities as originally hired, indicating Mr. Pelham will represent the county on all land use issues at this time. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, and unanimously approved.
Mr. McQueen announced that a workshop has been set for the Board of Adjustment for September 11, 1997, at 7:30 p.m. to begin working on the LDR amendments, one of which would be to institute a two tier approval process for special exceptions.
Public Hearing- Proposed Recycling Collection Center at the S. E. Community Center:
The Chair announced that the Board has already approved a manned collection site for the S.E. Community Center, and cleaning of the property has begun. Ms. Avery spoke to the Board about the possibility of constructing a softball field at the site, using revenues from the sale of recyclables. Several members of the Gilchrist Recreation Authority were present and stated that they would be willing to assist in the maintenance of the field. According to Ms. Avery, the county collected about $6000 this year from the sale of recyclables. Commissioner Durden asked who would be paying for the lights, bleachers, etc. and who would be held liable should someone get hurt playing ball. The GCRA has insurance that covers the players, coaches, and others. A county resident expressed concern about the eye sore which may be created by the collection center itself. Ms. Avery stated that they intend to plant shrubs to provide a buffer between the collection center and the perimeter fence. A representative from the GCRA stated that they would provide the Board with a drawing of the proposed softball field. In addition, GCRA requests that the Board allow a Solid Waste employee to haul 17 loads of clay to their field of dreams property because the Transportation Department has not been able to provide someone. The Board indicated that they did not have a problem with this, providing they schedule it with Ms. Avery at a time when an employee could be available.
Mr. Gilliam presented budget entry 97147 for the Board's consideration, transferring funds from the reserve for postage to mail the TRIM notices. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson to approve the budget entry. The motion carried unanimously.
Following discussion, the Board unanimously agreed to reappoint Jean Troke, Jon Bischof, Preston Jones and Jimmy Leggett to the SHIP committee, upon a motion from Commissioner Durden, which was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson.
Mr. Gilliam reported that Mr. Burt has expressed an interest is continuing his involvement with the SHIP closings and classes, however, he wanted the Board's approval. Mr. Mutch stated that it would be more convenient for the county and the SHIP program to have Mr. Burt's office to continue providing that service. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush to approve Mr. Burt's participation in the SHIP program. The motion carried unanimously.
The annual population estimate from the University of Florida has been received, and as usual, the figures appear to be low. The Board agreed to accept the estimate because numerous attempts in the past to get the figures changed have failed.
AV-MED has submitted a proposed increase of $19.85 for family coverage and $8.63 for single coverage (per month). Commissioner Sheffield made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to pass the increased cost to the employee. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gilliam presented a purchase order for workers comp deductibles in the amount of $7132.43. This amount represents deductible amounts owed for several years. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to approve the purchase order. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gilliam announced that he is in receipt of a notice of class action law suit, which the county may participate in, against Progressive Insurance. Mr. Mutch stated that he would respond to the notice.
Commissioner Sheffield made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden, to approve budget entry 97144 in an amount of $2100.00, amending the Transportation Trust Fund, by resolution. The motion carried unanimously. A copy of the resolution is on file in the Clerk's Office.
Mr. Gilliam announced that he, Commissioner Bush and Mr. Weaver met last week and reduced the County Agent's budget by $1000.
Mr. McQueen announced that an appropriation from the state has been received to assist in funding the 911 emergency operations. The revenues and expenditures for next fiscal year will reflect this $10,000 appropriation.
Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush to approve the interlocal recycling agreements with the City of Fanning Springs and the Town of Bell. The motion carried unanimously. The city of Trenton has not signed their agreement yet and have indicated that they can no longer supply an employee to work on the recycling truck.
There being no further business to discuss, Commissioner Sheffield made a motion to adjourn at 9:40 p.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, and unanimously approved.
SUE B. SUGGS, CHAIR
JOSEPH W. GILLIAM, CLERK