The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, convened in a budget workshop on August 26, 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

Randy Durden

Jimmie Sheffield

Wilbur Bush

Fred Wilkerson

Other persons in attendance were: Joseph "Joe" Gilliam, Clerk of Circuit Court, Sam Ferguson and Sherree Pitzarell, Deputy Clerks, Ron McQueen, EMA/County Coordinator, Michael McElroy, Rayanne Ferguson, and Suzanne Gilliam, Chamber of Commerce, Mark Wray, Ginnie Springs

Chairman Suggs announced that Ginnie Springs has signed an agreement with Aquapenn, Milesburg, PA., to construct a water bottling facility at Ginnie Springs. Mr. Mark Wray was in attendance to answer questions. The new facility will be 82,500 square feet initially, with expansion expected to reach 300,000 square feet. The SRWMD issued a permit to pump 1,200,000 gallons of water per day. This represents about 1.38% of the total water pumped from the springs each day. Aquapenn would like the county to assist them in paving the road (CR 340) from SR 47 to the county line.

Proposed Budget for FY 97-98:

Mr. Gilliam stated that all funds are balanced and general revenue has a reserve of $137,000. Included in general revenue is $22,800 from the school board for the school resource officer.

Chamber of Commerce- Michael McElroy:

Mr. McElroy asked that the Board consider funding their budget for the original amount requested, $10,000.00. They are trying to staff the office on a full time basis. The Chamber has printed and distributed over 20,000 maps over the last two years and they are in the process of going into the third printing of the map. The Chamber is also applying for a grant for $2500, which requires a $2500 match. The Board advised them that if they get the grant, the Board will fund the match.

Property Appraiser:

Mr. Gilliam reminded the Board that at their last workshop, they cut the Property Appraiser's reserve by $7500. He spoke to Mr. Harrison and was advised that the cost for the software to produce the special assessment notices is $10,440. Mr. Harrison indicated that he is willing to pay that bill, if the Board does not cut his reserve. The Board agreed to fund the Property Appraiser's budget at the original request, not reducing it by $7500, providing that the Property Appraiser pay the bill.

Mr. Gilliam distributed copies of an objection to assessment for the solid waste services, submitted by W. O. Clifton, along with two letters of complaint from other property owners. Mr. Gilliam stated that Mr. Tompkins from Misty Farms spoke to him about his special assessments. The Board asked Mr. Gilliam to send Mr. Langford to Misty Farms to check on the assessments.

Commissioner Durden stated that $21,000 was cut from the Transportation budget for next fiscal year, from various line items within that budget. He wants the Board to understand that they may need those funds before the end of next fiscal year to meet operating expenses, but for now, those funds have been cut. The Board agreed that should the department run short, prior to the end of the fiscal year, they will consider additional funding.

Mr. Gilliam stated that the need still exists for a county wide MIS director. He has funds available to assist in funding a position if the county and constitutional officers contribute as well. If not, he is may hire a MIS director for his office after October 1. There is about $8000-$9000 throughout the Board's budget that could be used for that position. Several of the constitutional officers are currently contracting those services, however, it is very costly, considering you're paying by the hour, which includes their driving time to and from Gilchrist County. It is estimated that the cost for the position would be $25,000 to $30,000 plus benefits. For that amount you could hire someone knowledgeable, though not to the extent of the former MIS director. Mr. Gilliam added that he will be meeting with the constitutional officers on Friday to discuss this matter, as well as courthouse renovations.

Chairman Suggs discussed the possibility of increasing the Board members in county travel reimbursement. The current rate has been in effect for at least 12 years. The Board tentatively agreed to raise the reimbursement to $200 per month.

During the last Clerk's certification conference, the topic centered around finance. They discussed expenditures which must meet the following criteria: is it a legal purchase and does the purchase serve a public purpose. The Clerk and Chairman must consider these criteria when signing checks.

Mr. McQueen suggested raising the Building Department permit fees to generate money to fund the clerical position for his office. He suggests initiating a plan review fee, which other counties have already instituted. In addition, he would like to raise the mobile home permit fees, along with plumbing, electric and heating and air. About $2000 would need to come from General Fund reserve to complete funding for the position. Permit fees have not been increased for many years and our fees are much lower than other counties.

For clarification of the Chambers funding, the Board advised Mrs. Ferguson that when the Chamber spends their $7500, they are to come back to the Board for an additional $2500, whether or not they need it for a grant match.

Mr. Gilliam is researching a possible revenue item; he received information from Ms. Deen, Trenton City Manager, regarding a county tax charged by Altel on mobile phones. It appears that Altel is collecting a "county tax", however, they are not remitting those funds to the county.

Chairman Suggs received a letter from Ben Dickerson regarding a mass media document. The issue deals with new towers and radio frequencies. This rule, if passed, could supersede the local authority in regulating towers. Chairman Suggs stated that she will refer the letter to Mr. Mutch.

Commissioner Sheffield asked the Board what their intentions are in regards to implementing a animal control program. Sheriff Turner has indicated that he may be able to provide someone from his staff to be the animal control officer. Fanning Springs contracts their service and the city of Chiefland leases their pens, which are state certified. They may have some pens available. The Animal Control Committee is meeting this week and they hope to have more information for the Board to consider.

Commissioner Bush thanked Mr. Gilliam and complimented him and his staff on the budget process this year, stating that it was one of the easiest budget processes he has ever experienced.

There being no further business to discuss, a motion was made by Commissioner Durden to adjourn at 7:40 p.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved.