The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, convened in an emergency meeting on February 25, 1998, at 5:30 p.m., in the County Commissioner's Meeting Room, located in the Gilchrist County Courthouse, Trenton, Florida, with the following members present to-wit:

Jimmie Sheffield, Chair

Randy Durden

Wilbur Bush

Fred Wilkerson

Others in attendance were: Ron McQueen, EMA/County Coordinator, Sherree Pitzarell, Deputy Clerk, Sheriff David Turner, Chief Harvey Montgomery, Gilchrist County Sheriff's Department, Trenton Mayor Billy Rogers, Trenton City Manager Kathryn Deen, Trenton Police Chief Mike Edwards, Marvin Weaver, County Agent, and Eric Black, County Forester.

Mr. McQueen advised the Board of the conditions of the county due to the recent heavy rains and the rising rivers. Many of the roads in the county are closed and more are anticipated. Following discussion, Commissioner Bush made a motion to declare a state of emergency in Gilchrist County, by resolution. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden and unanimously approved. A copy of resolution 98-05 is on file in the Clerk's Office.

Mr. McQueen reported that he and Mr. Brideson accompanied representatives from FEMA on a tour of the county earlier in the week, and Gilchrist County has been declared to be eligible for two types of federal emergency disaster assistance. The types of assistance are public and individual. Individual assistance includes individual and family grants whose needs can not be met through insurance, U.S. Small Business Administration loans or volunteer agencies. In addition, individual assistance provides temporary housing, unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, SBA loans, and agricultural assistance. Public assistance for local governments include debris clearance, emergency protective measures, road systems, water control facilities, building and equipment, public utility systems, and assistance to parks and recreational facilities.

Mr. McQueen stated that the city of Trenton may be able to apply for assistance with their drainage problems thru the hazard mitigation grant program. City Manager Kathryn Deen advised Mr. McQueen that the 700 linear feet of roads identified in the preliminary damage assessment summary does not cover the total of the city's streets flooded. Mr. McQueen stated that FEMA county everything back to 10% of the funds they have available, however, they are coming back to re-evaluate the damage.

Mr. McQueen advised the Board that the county may have to provide up to a 12% match to receive these federal funds, however, the legislature has indicated that they may be able to assist the county.

Sheriff Turner reported that there are about 43 roads closed within Gilchrist county, including CR 232 between SR 47 and US 129, Waters Lake road, U.S. 129 north of the Trenton city limits to Walker curve, Hard Springs road, Shady Grove road, and many of the roads in Ira Bea's Oasis. Many areas of Fanning Springs are expected to be closed and a portion of SR 27 may also close if the waters continue to rise.

Mr. McQueen announced that the Suwannee River is expected to crest on March 9th.

Following discussion, Commissioner Durden made a motion to declare voluntary evacuation for those areas that are flooded. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, and unanimously approved.

Commissioner Bush made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to require residents to raise their electric meters to a higher location, as requested by Central Florida Electric. The motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Bush made a motion to adjourn at 6:23 p.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, and unanimously approved.