MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE GILCHRIST COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HELD OCTOBER 6, 1997.
The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, convened in a regular meeting on October 6, 1997, at 9:00 a.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: Joseph W. Gilliam, Clerk of Court, Sam Mutch, County Attorney, Ron McQueen, EMA/County Coordinator, Sherree Pitzarell, Deputy Clerk, Gary Martin, Wacasassa Volunteer Fire Department, Sheriff David Turner, Harvey Montgomery, Chief Deputy, John Duncan, Ring Power Corporation, Melvin Meece, Paul Fuller, Road Department, Bud Riffle, North Gilchrist Volunteer Fire Department, Kathryn Deen, Billy Rogers, Mike Edwards, Duke Lang, Al Milito, Tim Kinsey, Charlotte Kearney and Cloud Haley, City of Trenton, Lamar Hines, Richard Felhmy, Brian Lewis, county residents.
Mr. Burt reported that the Public Service Commission held a telehearing this morning and two recent filings have caused the hearing time to be extended until next March or April for extended area service. Mr. Burt requested that the Board authorize Mr. Mutch to follow through with the on-going hearings on extended area service for Gilchrist County. The Board advised Mr. Burt to transfer his files on this issue to Mr. Mutch.
Commissioner Durden stated that he invited John Duncan from Ring Power to speak to the Board after lunch about some concerns in the Transportation Department.
Minutes of the Meetings:
Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield to approve the minutes of the meetings held September 23, 1997, September 15, 1997, September 8, 1997, August 26, 1997, August 25, 1997, and August 18, 1997. The motion carried unanimously.
Journal Entries and Bills:
Commissioner Sheffield made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to approve the bills and journal entries numbered 97152-97154, 97156-97168. There followed discussion regarding the number of pagers and cellular phones currently being funded by the county budget. The Board discussed the Wacasassa Volunteer Fire Department. Mr. Gilliam explained that many of the budget entries are for end of the year balancing of accounts. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gary Martin asked about the county's opinion of the status of Wacasassa Volunteer Fire Department. The Board advised Mr. Martin to continue their operations.
Chairman Suggs stated that since Commissioners Wilkerson and Bush are absent, the Board may want to postpone the meeting with the City of Trenton. The Board discussed law enforcement services provided to the city at no cost to the city. According to Mr. Mutch, whether or not the city has a police department, the Sheriff has an obligation to respond, because the Law Enforcement Services are funded by the ad valorem taxes. Establishing a MSTU for law enforcement could be done. Mr. Mutch will research the various funding methods for law enforcement, as well as types of interlocal agreements between cities and counties.
Communication has been received indicating a summary judgement will be issued in the Vincent v. Gilchrist County, et al case.
There is a possible SHIP foreclosure pending, involving the Jean and Stephen Bell home. Mr. Mutch will stay apprised of the situation and report any progress to the Board.
In July, Mr. Mutch was instructed to comply with the statutory structure of bond estreachures. Mr. Mutch submitted a letter showing several people who have skipped bond. Some attorneys are threatening to advise bail bonds companies to not issue bonds in Gilchrist County, requiring the inmates to stay at the county jail, which is an increased cost to the county for housing the inmates. The Board indicated that the jail is there for housing the inmates and whether or not a bond is issued is not the point. The Sheriff is bearing the expenses of recapturing these inmates skipping bond, not the bondsmen. The Sheriff is keeping up with the costs involved in recapturing these individuals.
An interpretation has been requested of section 951.26, Florida Statutes, as to whether the Public Safety Coordinating Council should be involved in the design of the new law enforcement facility. According to Mr. Mutch it appears that they will be involved to some extent.
Mr. Mutch announced that the Animal Control Ordinance is ready to be advertised. Instead of having a department of animal control, the ordinance provides that the county coordinator's office will be responsible for the program. Any animal that is injured can be euthanised immediately and any animal that threatens the animal control officer may be put away. Commissioner Durden reported that the Bell Town Council agreed to fund $1500 to the program and would like a copy of the ordinance once adopted. Sheriff Turner stated there are grant funds available between $4000-$10,000 to fund an animal control program. He is meeting with two county residents to discuss the possibility of applying for a grant. Commissioner Sheffield will look at the material and try to meet with the Sheriff as well. The Town of Bell would like to know if this will be an annual cost to them or if they could pay next year based on the number of calls. Commissioner Sheffield made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to authorize the application for the grant in the amount of $10,000. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, to set a public hearing for November 3, 1997, at 2:15 p.m. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Mutch presented a proposed drive-way ordinance. The ordinance would regulate drive-ways within the county, with a for obtaining drive-way permits for any paved or unpaved road, except state roads. For county roads, the permit application will be reviewed by the building department and a certificate of occupancy will not be issued until the permit is secured and the drive-way is inspected and approved. The ordinance will not affect any drive-ways in existence prior to the date of adoption of the ordinance. Mr. Mutch stated you can charge residents for drive-way permits in private subdivisions to regulate the number of drive-ways. Commissioner Durden made a motion to set this issue for a workshop for a date in November, to be determined at the October 20th meeting. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Sheffield and unanimously approved.
Mr. Mutch stated that Mr. McQueen just received a motion to dismiss the complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, which was filed by Mr. Pelham in regards to the suite that has been filed against Mr. Watson and the Board of Adjustment.
At a meeting of the Florida Association of Counties held September 25, 1997, the executive director was asked to send a memo to all counties to oppose rule of judicial administration which would require two attorneys to be assigned in capital cases, if the public defenders office can not handle the case. Currently, two attorneys are not required. In addition, the rule would require that the lead attorney have a minimum of 9 prior jury trials, which would prove to be burdensome in Gilchrist County. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, to approve a resolution related to court appointed attorneys in capital cases. The motion carried unanimously and the resolution 97-68 is on file in the Clerk's office.
Mr. Gilliam presented the annual Meridian Health Care contract for services at the same amount of last year's funding level. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield to approve the contract. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gilliam submitted the Drug Detection and Eradication Grant for approval of the Board. Commissioner Sheffield made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to approve the grant. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gilliam presented the annual contract for engineering services with Mills Engineering. Engineering fees will remain the same as the current fiscal years. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield to approve the contract. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gilliam presented a grant contract from the Department of Community Affairs for comprehensive plan review in the amount of $14,069. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, to approve the grant and name Mr. McQueen as the contact person. The motion carried unanimously. These funds will be used to pay the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council to do the work required under the grant provisions.
Property Appraiser's budget for fiscal year 1997-98, has a new field position approved. According to Mr. Gilliam, Mr. Harrison has requested permission for the new field man to use the county's vehicle on an as needed basis. The Board indicated that the new person could use the vehicle only if other county staff were not using it. The Board reiterated that Mr. Harrison needs to understand that if the vehicle is needed by another county staff person, the new field person would need to make other transportation arrangements.
Proposals for engineering & administration of the CDBG grant have been evaluated by the committee and ranked. Summitt was ranked in first place for both engineering and administration. North Florida Regional Planning Council was ranked second for administration and Jordan & Associates was ranked third. For engineering, Mittauer & Associates was ranked second and Charles Bell, Jr. was ranked third. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield to enter into professional negotiations with Summitt for engineering services. The motion carried unanimously.
Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, to enter into professional negotiations with Summitt for administration services. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gilliam reported that seven proposals were submitted for engineering services for the proposed jail complex. After evaluating each proposal, the committee ranked Bailey, Bishop & Lane as number one, with Karl Thorne Associates, Inc. ranked second and Genesis Group rank third. Following discussion, Commissioner Sheffield made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden, to enter into professional negotiations with Bailey, Bishop & Lane for engineering services. The motion carried unanimously.
There followed discussion regarding hay being cut on the Board's firing range property. Mr. Mutch recommends a written agreement between the county and whoever cuts the hay from the property, showing that it is a donation to the FFA Alumni, and holding the county harmless to any damage which may occur to bailing equipment.
Mr. Gilliam stated that a MIS Director position selection committee needs to be established. The constitutional officers met and recommended Mr. McQueen, Mr. Harrison and Commissioner Durden. Commissioner Sheffield made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to approve the committee. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gilliam stated that he received a bill from Florida West Coast Railroad for signal maintenance, covering a two year period, for a total of $1637.50. According to Mr. Forbes, we (the county) had a contract with Seaborad Coastline for the last ten years (Mr. Forbes has taken over the maintenance). He will try to find a copy of the contract. Mr. Forbes never paid a bill of $2168.90 for the county assisting him in removing the tracks that were taken out. Mr. Forbes stated that the county caused damages to him when dirt was placed on the tracks and his train derailed, with damages totalling approximately $10,000. Mr. Forbes indicated that he felt the two were a fair swap. There followed discussion of maintaining signals and whether or not DOT has specifications stating how many times a train must cross a road to warrant which signal maintenance. Mr. Mutch stated he would research whether or not the county or the railroad company must maintain the signals.
Mr. Felhmy asked the Board to consider doing something at the Walker Curve where it meets US 129. At night, when you're heading north on CR 307, it appears that the vehicles heading south on US 129 are on the same road that you're traveling.
Mr. Gilliam asked permission to borrow funds from Solid Waste if it proves necessary to start up the new year. The Board indicated they did not have a problem with the request.
The Board recessed for lunch at 12:00 p.m. and reconvened at 1:25 p.m.
Mr. John Duncan spoke to the Board about an excavator to use to dig rock. The most they have been able to dig with the excavator is 13 feet. After speaking to Mr. Martin, he does not feel that an excavator is needed at the pit they are using. The drag line will dig an additional 8 feet. Mr. Duncan suggests that they repair the dragline and sell it while it is working and able to be demonstrated. It will cost about $8000 to repair the dragline. Commissioner Durden made a motion to repair the dragline. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Sheffield. The alternative, according to Commissioner Durden, is to buy another pit. He spoke to Jimmy Shepherd and he is ready to sell 20 acres. Core samples need to be done prior to negotiating a purchase price for the property. The motion carried unanimously.
Commissioner Sheffield made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden, to take core samples of Mr. Shepherd's pit and negotiate a purchase price for the property, if warranted. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Duncan submitted a quote for the price of a used motor grader (1996 120h Caterpillar). The cost is $17,500 after the guaranteed buy back of $85,000 after 44 months. Commissioner Durden made a motion to authorize the chair and the clerk to negotiate with local banks to do a lease/purchase for the motor grader. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Sheffield and unanimously approved. If the local banks can not meet or beat the interest rate offered by Caterpillar (5.75%) they will secure financing with Caterpillar.
The Road Department has four Hubard's and Mr. Duncan suggests they auction them because they are bringing a good price right now. He recommends that they try a local auction first with a no sale option.
Mr. Martin stated that a Spring Ridge resident is complaining about another resident hauling heavy equipment into that area, causing damage to the road. Mr. Mutch will research the requirements for speed limits and weight requirements on county roads in residential areas, as well as the definition of residential areas.
Mr. McQueen contacted Anderson Columbia Paving and they met with a representative regarding road paving. The county would need to advertise and be specific to bid with financing included. Bids should be under DOT specifications. Piece meal paving is not cost effective. It would be better to do 20-30 miles for about $1,000,000 which would mean an asphalt plant could be set up in the county. This would cost about $38,460 per mile, based on 26 miles.
Public Hearing- Vargas Woods Subdivision:
Mr. John Lane presented the revised plat for Vargas Woods Subdivision, indicating the access road has been shifted to the south side of the property, to alleviate the previous problem with access to the subdivision. According to Mr. Mutch, they have met all the requirements. Commissioner Sheffield made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to approve the subdivision plat. The motion carried unanimously.
Clerk's Report (cont.):
Mr. Gilliam distributed a report indicating the total revenues and expenditures for the fiscal year ending 9-30-97.
Commissioner Sheffield asked about the Velma Osteen job and if there is any recourse for holding the contractor responsible for work performed. According to Mr. Gilliam, the warranty was for one year. Mr. Mutch will send a letter to the contractor.
EMA/County Coordinator's Report:
Mr. McQueen submitted a site plan for the Board's information regarding the AquaPenn Water Bottling Company.
Mr. McQueen submitted a Building Department report, indicating a total of 24 permits issued for mobile homes and 4 permits for new construction for the month of September.
The Suwannee River Water Mangement District's legislative breakfast will be held 10-22-97, from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Lake City.
Mr. McQueen reported that large commercial building permits require a fire inspection and the charge is one cent per square foot. Mr. Jimmy Branning is certified to do the inspections. Commissioner Durden made a motion to appoint Mr. Branning as the fire code inspector. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Sheffield and unanimously approved.
End of the year purchase orders were initiated for the heliport at the Southeast Community Center. Approximately $3500 is needed to bring in the clay and begin development of the baseball field in the same area. Commissioner Durden stated that he has received negative comments regarding the baseball field. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, to approve a purchase order for approximately $5200 for the heliport. The motion carried unanimously.
Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, to table discussion on the funding for the baseball field. The motion carried unanimously.
The Solid Waste Department would like to do a clean up at Hart Springs boat ramp on October 18th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Keep America Beautiful tee shirts have been ordered and they would like to give away shirts to the first 50 people who arrive. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield, to authorize the giving away of 50 tee shirts to the first people to arrive. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. McQueen asked for clarification of the Board's policy regarding benefits for permanent part time employees. The personnel policy provides that permanent part time employees may receive health insurance. Commissioner Durden made a motion that permanent part time employees do not receive sick or vacation leave, nor holiday pay. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Sheffield. The motion carried unanimously.
The EMS union should be delivering their contract this coming Friday.
The Board discussed a quote from Better Lawns & Gardens Nursery for the replacement of plants/foliage allegedly damaged during herbicide spraying by the county, totalling $1920.00. Commissioner Durden stated that he looked at the right-of-way and the foliage appears to be alive and doing well. The Board agreed to video the supposed damage. According to Mr. Mutch, if it is on the right of way, the Board does not have any responsibility to replace any damaged foliage.
The Sheriff requested the following budget transfer to close out the old fiscal year: $25,750.00 from Law Enforcement Personnel Services to Correctional Personnel Services. Commissioner Durden made a motion to approve the transfer. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Sheffield and unanimously approved. The other transfers are interfund transfers: $2400 from School Resource Officer Operating to School Resource Officer Equipment; $2900 from Selective Enforcement Unit Operating to Selective Enforcement Unit Personnel Services; and $1025 from Cops More Equipment to Cops More Operating.
The Board briefly discussed a letter of complaint received on Hart Springs Park and agreed to discuss the matter with Commissioner Wilkerson at a future Board meeting.
The Transportation for Disadvantaged Program would like to address the Board for possible funding. Commissioner Durden will know the amount of funding needed this week.
The Board discussed, along with Mr. Mutch, prosecution of violations of county ordinances. Mr. Mutch stated that they could be codified and kept at the Sheriff's office, as well as other places. Mr. Mutch will draw up a work program to see how much it would cost.
The Board viewed a video of the AquaPenn Spring Water Company. A grounds breaking ceremony will be held October 16th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheffield to recess at 4:45 p.m. The motion carried unanimously.
The Board reconvened with the city of Trenton at 5:35 p.m. Chairman Suggs did not return to the meeting due to illness.
Vice-Chairman Sheffield spoke to the city officials regarding topics of mutual interest. Beginning with fire services, Mr. McQueen stated that interdepartmental cooperation has been high and he is not aware of any problems. Mr. McQueen added that they are in the process of adopting some county-wide procedures.
The recycling program interlocal agreement has been renewed with the City of Trenton. Mr. McQueen met with representatives from Lancaster Correctional and he suggests that the inmate crew working at the courthouse could work the recycling truck on Fridays, since they are fairly caught up with the lawn work on Fridays. Mr. McQueen is drafting a letter to Lancaster requesting this change.
Sheriff Turner stated that he was asked to prepare a list of services which he provides to the city residents: Trenton School crossing, dispatch & communications, housing inmates, medical care for inmates, transportation of inmates, special events traffic control, funeral escorts, and back up or assistance in the form of mutual aid, which includes providing an officer when no one is available in the city of Trenton.
Commissioner Durden stated that the meeting at Hart Springs was not very fruitful and since that time he has heard comments that the county does not provide any services for the city of Trenton. Commissioners Sheffield and Durden both apologized for the way the last meeting was conducted. Mr. Haley asked if it isn't common that cities do not have jails. Mr. Mutch stated that very few cities in Florida provide a city jail; most inmates are housed in the county facility. The cost to house inmates (arrested by city police) was over $100,000 last year, according to Sheriff Turner. Mr. Haley stated that if the city did not have a police department, the cost to the county would be higher. Mr. Milito stated that the city was paying $45,000 per year to provide an officer to the city of Trenton. Mike Edwards stated that we have a good Sheriff's department and he enjoys the good working relationship, but most of the services provided are mandated by statute that the Sheriff provide.
Chairman Sheffield would like to see roads identified as city or county roads. Mr. Milito claims that the city gets no benefit from the ad valorem taxes collected in the city, which is over $20,000,000. Mr. Mutch stated that the city benefits from the services provided by the constitutional officers, court services, social services, health services, law enforcement services, and road improvements. Mr. Haley stated that does not feel it is right for the county to through what they provide in the city's face. There followed discussion regarding the provision of school guard crossing services.
Chairman Sheffield reported that the Board adopted a budget with funding for an animal control program. The city of Bell will be paying a portion for animal control services.
There being no further business to discuss, the Board adjourned at 6:30 p.m.
JOSEPH W. GILLIAM, CLERK SUE B. SUGGS, CHAIR