The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, held a regular meeting on April 6, 1998, at 9:00 a.m., in the County Commissioner's Meeting Room, located in the Gilchrist County Courthouse, 112 South Main Street, Trenton, Florida, with the following members present to-wit:






Others in attendance were: Joseph W. Gilliam, Clerk of Circuit Court, Samuel A. Mutch, County Attorney, Ron McQueen, EMA/County Coordinator, Sherree Pitzarell, Deputy Clerk.

Minutes of Meetings:

Commissioner Durden made a motion to approve the minutes of the meetings held March 2, and March 9, 1998. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs and unanimously approved.

Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve the bills and budget entries numbered 98048-98069. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden and unanimously approved.

The Board discussed the recent decision by a judge regarding Alachua County's privilege fees. The issue in Alachua County was whether or not it was a tax or privilege fee. Alachua County's privilege fees were going into their general revenue fund. The Board discussed Gilchrist County's privilege fee, which is used to provide fire services in the unincorporated areas of the county. In order to change the fee structure, a six months notice is required by the collector (electric utility companies).

Commissioner Bush recommended that the impact fees be reviewed to determine whether the county is collecting an adequate amount.

The Board discussed requiring developers to pave roads in subdivisions in Gilchrist County and agreed this issue needs more review.

Attorney's Report:

A complaint has been received from Diana Ping regarding the SHIP program, stating that she has been discriminated against. The complaint is being answered. The individual did not comply with the program requirements, therefore there does not appear to be a legitimate complaint.

A public hearing will be set for the next meeting to amend the SHIP ordinance, sun setting the Affordable Housing Task Force.

Mr. Mutch has drafted an interlocal agreement for maintenance of the Alachua County Line road and has sent it to Alachua County. It is his understanding that Gilchrist County will provide maintenance for the south portion of the road and Alachua County will provide maintenance for the north portion of the road.

Mr. Mutch stated that he has not heard from Alachua County regarding the outstanding bill for animal shelter services.

According to Chairman Sheffield there is a problem in Cain Mill Subdivision, a large subdivision consisting of five acre lots. One resident has a firing range in that subdivision and there does not appear to be any laws prohibiting a person from having a private firing range. Mr. McQueen stated that a firing range would require a special exception permit and he is in violation of the land development regulations. Commissioner Suggs stated that there should be a law prohibiting the discharge of firearms in a subdivision. The Sheriff will be in later today and the Board will discuss the problem with him.

Chairman Sheffield spoke to Mr. McQueen about a recent fire and a problem with the road numbering system. Mr. McQueen stated that he has already installed the correct street sign. According to Mr. McQueen, the address was correct. The problem arose by the method in which the areas are zoned. There followed discussion regarding the 911 and enhanced 911 address systems. Commissioner Wilkerson stated that it was his understanding that the system would show the address of the caller and the best route to the address. Mr. McQueen stated that two things are needed before that can happen. A CAD system, which the Sheriff just purchased (Computer Aided Dispatch) and the center lines need to be added to the base maps.

Clerk's Report:

Mr. Gilliam stated that he spoke to the Suwannee River Economic Council about adding the information the Board wants in the monthly reports, such as the names of the recipients and the amount of funds expended per household. Ms. Terry will try to get the information extracted from the data field to include in the reports.

Judge Cates has sent a fax declaring this Friday as a holiday in observance of Good Friday. The Eighth Judicial Circuit will be observing the holiday and no court activity will be scheduled. Commissioner Durden made a motion to observe Good Friday as a holiday. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs. The motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Gilliam spoke to Ms. Osteen regarding the replacement of the vinyl flooring in her home. He sent a letter to Ms. Osteen, asking her to sign it but has not received it back as of this date. He spoke to her son and he said the new vinyl was installed and they were pleased.

Commissioner Suggs stated that she attended a meeting last week regarding courthouse safety, specifically the second floor and the judge, state attorney, and other representatives from the Eighth Judicial Circuit could not assure her that the Board would not be responsible for any liability should someone be injured. Commissioner Suggs stated that she wanted the record to reflect that she does not feel the School Board should continue occupying the second floor another day. Mr. Mutch stated that the fire and the handicap liabilities are very real liabilities. Someone could sue the School Board and/or State Attorney and the Board of County Commissioners would be included in the suit. The outcome of the meeting was to find a temporary solution to keep the State Attorney upstairs until the renovations can be made. Mr. Drummond and the Fire Marshall are going to put together a proposal to make the second floor ADA accessible and safe.

Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to authorize Commissioner Bush and Mr. Gilliam to negotiate a purchase price for the Prime property, located east of the courthouse. The motion carried unanimously. Commissioner Suggs stated that it is her understanding that the Roberts property is for sale. Commissioner Durden stated that he would like the School Board to begin making efforts to vacate the offices upstairs, and not wait until June 1st to begin moving.

Sheree Lancaster:

Chairman Sheffield asked Ms. Lancaster if the School Board took any action regarding the Board's request to be paid for sending the EMS unit to the Bell School. Ms. Lancaster stated that it was discussed and she advised the School Board that it should be the parent of the sick or injured child and not the School Board's responsibility to pay the bill. Ms. Lancaster stated she would check to see if the School Board has any kind of insurance that could cover such incidents. Mr. Mutch recommends that the School Board adopt a policy whereby the school personnel would call the EMS, should a child become sick or injured and the parents would be responsible for payment. According to Chairman Sheffield, the problem began when the School Board eliminated the nursing position at the Bell School. The EMS unit was sent to the Bell campus 18 times during a three month period.

Ms. Lancaster, representing the Eighth Judicial Bar Association, requested that the Board of County Commissioners adopt a proclamation declaring May 1st as Law Day and the month of May as Law Month. Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to approve the proclamation presented by Ms. Lancaster. The motion carried unanimously.

Clerk's Report (cont.):

Following discussion, Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush, to adopt a resolution supporting the efforts of The Original Florida Tourism Task Force to establish the 11 county region of The Original Florida as the "eighth" tourism region for the state of Florida. The motion carried unanimously. A copy of resolution 98-17 is on file in the Clerk's Office.

Two sample resolutions have been received from Preservation 2000, asking for the county's support for their continued funding by the legislature, and the creation of a new conservation program, which will begin after the P-2000 program expires in two years. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to authorize Mr. Mutch to prepare a resolution supporting the funding of the P-2000 program. The motion passed unanimously.

The annual report for economic development prepared by the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council was presented to the Board along with a resolution to adopt the report. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush to adopt the annual economic development report, by resolution. The motion carried unanimously and a copy of resolution 98-18 is on file in the Clerk's Office.

Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson to recess the meeting at 11:25 a.m. The motion carried unanimously.

The Board reconvened at 1:15 p.m.

Road Department Report:

Mr. Martin reported that there are flooded areas in some sections of the county and drought in others. They have been repairing the roads and will continue as each road becomes accessible. The city of Trenton has a back hoe they would like to swap for a grader. The back hoe needs new hydraulic lines and that part has not been tested. If the county agrees to trade for the back hoe, it would be used to install culverts. There is a company in Georgia that would like to bid on any equipment the county no longer uses.

The Board advised Mr. Martin that they have no objections to the Road Department employees attending Mr. Delton Sander's funeral. Mr. Sanders retired from the county Road Department.

A private property owner has submitted a request for the county to maintain a private road while it is being used for a public purpose since he is allowing the public to use it due to flooded conditions. Mr. Mutch stated he would prepare a resolution for the Board to consider, providing the maintenance for this road.

Mr. Don Alexander spoke to the Board about road maintenance needed in Spring Ridge subdivision. Mr. Martin stated that he will have his crew in that subdivision tomorrow. As to a long range solution, it may be one of the roads the county could consider when they start their next large paving project. Mr. McQueen advised the Board that he has a meeting with Lee Mills to look at the CR 340 project and will take Mr. Mills to Spring Ridge to see what needs to be done.

EMS Department:

Ms. Linda Walker spoke to the Board about the EMS account write-offs. The write-off's submitted today cover a total of 284 calls. Of that total, there were 226 patients, and the balance were by-stander calls or other non-transport calls. A total of $74,114 was billed to the patients and/or their insurance carriers and $43,683.79 was collected. The balance, $30,430.21 is submitted to the Board to be written off.

There followed discussion regarding EMS services provided to the inmates at the county jail. The Sheriff's Office does not want to pay for these charges. The Board advised Ms. Walker to bill the Sheriff's Office for inmate medical bills. Mr. Mutch stated that he could train the EMS staff to file small claims in court for uncollected bills. The alternative would be to turn the outstanding debts over to a collection agency, however, the collection agency will keep a percentage of the collection. The Board also discussed the fee charged for dry runs. Dr. Cox, Medical Director, feels the $30 fee is too low. According to Mr. Gilliam, the auditors have recommended that write-off's be submitted on a quarterly basis. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve the write-offs. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden, and unanimously approved. Commissioner Durden made a motion to establish a procedure, whereby demand letters would be sent to all future delinquent accounts, followed by the filing of small claims for any accounts not collected, with the training to be provided by Mr. Mutch. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs, and unanimously approved.

EMA/County Coordinator's Report:

Animal Control Services- According to Mr. McQueen, until there are permanent pens in Gilchrist County, it will be difficult to use Mr. Smith's services. Currently only vicious animals and serious complaints are being processed through he Sheriff's Office, using Mr. Frierson because he has access to pens. The daily boarding fee is $5 per day. The city of Trenton is preparing to build more pens and an interlocal agreement could be considered. Chairman Sheffield stated that at their last meeting, Chief Montgomery informed the animal control committee that the pens would not be placed at the Walker curve property. Mr. McQueen stated there was recently an animal quarantined for 10 days, which cost $15 per day. The owner paid the total to retrieve the animal at the end of the quarantine period. The vaccination fee is $15 and the owner pays the vet directly. There is an adoption fee of $10, plus the cost for sterilization. The Humane Soceity is willing to pay a portion of that fee. There is also a pick-up fee whenever a person retreives their animal from the shelter, starting at $25 for the first occurance, $50 for the second, etc., in addition to the boarding fee. These fees need to be adopted by resolution. Commissioner Durden made a motion to authorize Mr. Mutch to prepare a resolution setting the fees for animal control services. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved. Commissioner Suggs spoke to Sheriff Turner about the Chief's comments regarding the kennels at the Walker curve property. Sheriff Turner stated that the Chief was not correct. Sheriff Turner stated that he understood that the kennel would not be there until the jail is constructed so that there would be inmates there to feed and care for the animals. According to the Sheriff, the animal kennels are on the master site plan of the new correctional facility.

Summit Professional Services:

Status reports were submitted to the Board by Ms. Alday. The deadline for submission of the neighborhood revitilization grant applications has been postponed until June 30th. DCA has set aside $6,000,000 for hazard mitigation. There may be an additional $250,000 available for neighborhood revitalization grants (in addition to the $600,000) due to the recent disaster declaration. In addition to the FEMA emergency funds, CDBG emergency funds will also be available.

In regards to courthouse preservation, it could cost approximately $8000 to get the building designated as a historical preservation project. Once that is completed, approximately $300,000 could be available for renovations. The Board agreed to set a workshop on April 16th at 6:00 p.m. for further discussion of an economic development grant application. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Suggs to authorize negotiations for a base contract for an economic development grant with Summit. The motion passed unanimously. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to appoint Commissioner Wilkerson, Mr. McQueen, and Mr. Gilliam to serve on a committee to negotiate a base contract and an economic development contract. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush and unanimously approved.

Sheriff Turner & D. Ray Harrison- Centerline & 911 Addressing:

The Board asked Mr. Harrison for an update on completing the center lines for the county maps. Mr. Harrison stated that when they first began working on the maps, they were including building all the layers at once, which included parcels, texts, ownerships, section lines, easement lines, etc. They later learned that Mr. McQueen could not begin his portion of the work (911 addressing) until the centerline layer was completed. The mapping office started over and thus far, the north half of the county has been completed. They are working on the south half and anticipate completion in about two months.

Bailey, Bishop & Lane:

Mr. Bishop presented a cost estimate break-down and a revised floor plan of the jail administration building. The EOC (Emergency Operations Center) room was moved and meets with the approval of the Sheriff and Mr. McQueen. The room can be used by the Sheriff as a conference room by moving EOC equipment into a storage room when not in in use as an EOC. Commissioner Durden made a motion to approve the plan as submitted. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush, and unanimously approved.

Attorney's Report (cont.):

Mr. Mutch presented a resolution for maintenance of a private road, which is being used for a public purpose temporarily. Commissioner Bush made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson to adopt the resolution. The motion carried unanimously. A copy of resolution 98-19 is on file in the Clerk's Office.

The Board asked that Mr. McQueen check on whether animals and personal property were removed from the mobile home at Hart Springs.

Mr. Mutch reported that he spoke to David Branson, district manager of Florida Power, and advised him that the Board is considering increasing the privilege fee. Mr. Branson stated that Florida Power is considering discontinuing the collection, due to the recent ruling on the Alachua County case. They agreed to wait until the appeal could be ruled by the supreme court. Mr. Gilliam stated that he understood that Florida Power was going to discontinue collecting the fees until the appeal could be heard. The county can not afford to challenge Florida Power in court because their legal budget alone exceeds the county's entire budget. Up until this point, the county should not have to reimburse any fees that have been collected. Mr. Mutch will contact Florida Power's attorneys to get their position on the continued collection of privilege fees.

Following discussion, Commissioner Durden and Mr. Mutch agreed to draft a policy on the county's position in regards to drive-ways for mail boxes on rural routes.

Chairman Sheffield spoke to the Sheriff about the problem in his district with an individual who has a firing range in a subdivision. The Sheriff stated there are several private individuals who have firing ranges in the county. The Sheriff added that if the Board has an enforceable policy, he would like to have a copy. He and Mr. Mutch will also look at the state statutes.

Sheriff Turner reported that two of the fans for the attic at the jail have been installed and motors for the other two fans arrived last week. They need to have the last two fans installed as well as the louvers. Mr. McQueen will have Mr. Lewis install the fans and louvers.

EMA/County Coordinator's Report:

Mr. McQueen distributed information indicating that Gilchrist County has had a 24% population increase since 1992.

Mr. McQueen stated that the Board needs to consider the extension of the moratorium. The Planning and Zoning Board will hold their first public hearing on April 9th and by June, the Board should receive their recommendations on all three issues. Once that is done, the Board will begin the process of amending the comprehensive plan. If the moratorium is lifted, prior to the effective date of the comprehensive plan, the county's old regulations would be in place.

Mr. McQueen stated that a total of approximately $79,000 has been spent on individuals and families by FEMA, as a result of the recent floods.

Following discussion, Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to adopt a resolution declaring a state of emergency for Gilchrist County, due to the flooded conditions. The motion carried unanimously. A copy of resolution 98-20 is on file in the Clerk's Office.

Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to approve BellSouth as the long distance carrier for the pay phone at Hart Springs. The motion carried unanimously.

Mr. McQueen reported that a total of 61 building permits were issued during the month of March, 1998.

Mr. McQueen presented a purchase order for the Board's approval which exceeds $2000. The purchase order is for the purchase of signs and sign posts, totaling $2069. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush, to approve the purchase order. The motion carried unanimously.

Mr. John Elton has resigned from the Code Enforcement Board and the Board needs to appoint a replacement. There has been a complaint about a resident who has enlarged his pit beyond the half acre limit and it is an issue that should go before the Code Enforcement Board.

A total of $27,900 has been spent on special land use attorney services, since they were hired last year. Almost $15,000 has been spent this fiscal year.

The Board discussed the Philpot property and agreed to ask the family if they would like to have the property back. Commissioner Durden stated that he is not in favor of continuing to maintain the property because it is being abused and vandalized.

There being no further business, a motion to adjourn at 6:05 p.m. was made by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Suggs, and unanimously approved.