MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE GILCHRIST COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HELD JULY 6, 1998.
The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, convened in a regular meeting on Monday, July 6, 1998, at 9:00 a.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
Sue B. Suggs
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, and John Ayers, Gilchrist County Journal.
Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve the minutes of the meetings held May 18th, May 26th and June 1st. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden and unanimously approved.
Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to approve the bills and journal entries numbered 98094-98102, 98104 and 98106. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. A. L. Cox spoke to the Board about a subdivision near his home, Santa Fe Ranch Acres, which is an unapproved unrecorded subdivision that the Board took action on during their last meeting. The Board advised Mr. Cox that the only parcels approved are those owned by Mark Sullivan. Mr. Sullivan agreed to combine those parcels to come as close to conformity as possible. Those parcels are the only lots in Santa Fe Ranch subdivision that were approved; building permits will not be issued on the remaining parcels.
Commissioner Bush arrived at the meeting at 9:20 a.m.
Mr. Mutch stated there should be some sort of disclaimer given with each tax deed sold, releasing the county from responsibility if the property is not able to be permitted. The Board advised Mr. Mutch to prepare a disclaimer, which also urges the individual to check with the Building Department prior to purchasing tax certificates.
Mr. Mutch prepared a letter of appreciation, along with a resolution, for the participants of the June 25th workshop. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to adopt the resolution. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden and vote of the Board was unanimous. A copy of resolution 98-32 is on file in the Clerk's Office.
Mr. Mutch reported that he and Mr. Gilliam attended a seminar last week sponsored by the Commission on Ethics. If you have an ethics questions, you can call them and they will try to provide an answer right away. When they receive a complaint, they determine if there was probable cause. If there is a question of ethics violation, it goes to the advocate, who also serves as the prosecutor. From there it can go before the Commission for determination or to an administrative hearing. If found guilty, it goes back to the Commission on Ethics for their recommendation. They also spoke to the attorneys about who their clients are and whether or not there is attorney-client privilege. According to the information provided, the county attorney represents the government and not the elected officials. They were informed that for executive meetings, a court reporter must be present to record the minutes. Mr. Mutch recommends that as many board members as possible attend the seminar next year, as it was very informative.
Mr. Mutch recommended that the Board go back and reaffirm their previous vote on borrowing funds from Tri-County Bank to purchase the Roberts & Prime properties. This action is recommended because Commissioner Bush seconded and voted on the motion and he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Tri-County Bank. Commissioner Bush apologized and stated that it did not occur to him to abstain from voting. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to borrow $175,000 and authorize the chairman to sign the loan note. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden. Commissioner Bush filed Form 8B Memorandum of Voting Conflict and abstained from voting. Commissioners Suggs, Durden, Wilkerson and Sheffield voted in favor of the motion. Chairman Sheffield asked if Capital City Bank was given the opportunity to submit a quote. Mr. Gilliam stated that they were not, however, he has talked to Capital City Bank representatives and assured them that they will be given the opportunity to submit quotes on all future loans that the Board may consider.
Mr. Gilliam presented a resolution and journal entry number 98103, amending the general revenue fund by the amount of the loan for the purchase of the Prime and Roberts properties ($175,000). Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Suggs, to amend the general revenue fund by resolution, in the amount of $175,000. Commissioner Bush filed Form 8B Memorandum of Voting Conflict and abstained from voting. Commissioners Suggs, Durden, Wilkerson and Sheffield voted in favor of the motion. A copy of resolution 98-33 is on file in the Clerk's Office.
Mr. Gilliam presented a resolution and journal entry number 98105, amending the State Attorney/Public Defender Trust Fund by $10,000. According to Mr. Gilliam, there were not enough funds budgeted to pay the bills for this fund, and it is necessary for general revenue fund to transfer $10,000 from reserve. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Suggs to amend the State Attorney/Public Defender Trust Fund, by resolution. The motion carried unanimously. A copy of resolution 98-34 is on file in the Clerk's Office.
Mr. Gilliam presented the Certification of Taxable Value provided by the Property Appraiser. The proposed roll back rate is 5.99%. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush, to approve the taxable value and set the tentative budget hearing for September 14, 1998, at 5:15 p.m. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Gilliam and Sheriff Turner spoke to the Board about maintenance at the current jail facility. So far this year, approximately $22,000 has been spent on repairs at the jail. Sheriff Turner stated it is a problem finding a plumber to do repairs. According to Sheriff Turner, two of the attic fans were installed incorrectly and need to be repaired. Mr. Gilliam stated there are two problems: the amount spent on repairs and the length of time it takes to get the repairs completed. Mr. McQueen stated that some plumbers do not want to do repairs at the jail. Mr. McQueen added that last week he received a call about the air conditioner not working in the administration building. He made several calls to get an air conditioner repairman and when he called back to the Sheriff's Office, he was told that Cooper's Heating & Air was there working on the system. This is an example of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. Commissioner Suggs raised a question about whether the county should spend funds to build an administration building when the jail is in such bad repair. Sheriff Turner stated that this is a concern for him and he discussed the issue with the Corrections Committee. One of the suggestions made at the committee meeting was to look at possible privatization and he is awaiting information on that possibility. Mr. Gilliam stated that he and Mr. McQueen and Ray Earl Thomas are supposed to meet to discuss this issue. Commissioner Wilkerson asked Mr. McQueen if any progress has been made on hiring a maintenance person and if that would help. Mr. McQueen replied that it would help, depending on the person's experience. The person that was being considered took a job elsewhere. Mr. Gilliam stated that he has spoke to some of the local air conditioner repairmen and they are not interested on bidding on those services on a yearly basis. According to Roto-Rooter, the pipes beneath the concrete floor needs to be replaced. Commissioner Suggs asked if any additional federal funds are anticipated so that a new jail facility can be built. Sheriff Turner stated that he has not been able to get an answer on additional federal funds. Commissioner Bush stated that he agrees with Commissioner Suggs that it may be better to build a jail rather than an administration building. Commissioner Durden suggested that the Sheriff contact the Dixie County Sheriff and find out if he can house our inmates until the problem can be resolved. Commissioner Suggs stated that the Board can justify a new jail facility before they can justify a new administration building; the chances of being sued over the administration building is not as great. Commissioner Wilkerson asked if impact fees could be used for the construction for a new jail facility. Mr. Mutch stated that impact fees and a MSTU could be used, however, he suggests that the Board seek funding from the legislature first. The Board instructed Sheriff Turner to find out how much Dixie County will charge to house the inmates on a temporary basis. Mr. Gilliam reminded the Board that the immediate concern is to determine a method of having repairs made until the Board finds a long term solution. The Board agreed that all repairs should be directed to Mr. McQueen. The Board suggested that Commissioner Suggs meet with the Sheriff to determine a point of contact at the jail for repairs, while Mr. McQueen will serve as the Board's point of contact.
Mr. Gilliam stated that he received notification from the Mid-Florida Area Agency on Aging that there is currently a vacant Gilchrist County seat on their advisory council. They have asked if the Board has a person they can recommend for consideration to fill that vacancy. Commissioner Suggs stated that she would ask John Frazier if he would be interested in serving. The Board agreed that he would be a good candidate.
The Gilchrist County Development Authority has recommended Dr. Robert Vaughan to fill a vacancy. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Suggs to appoint Dr. Vaughan to the Development Authority. The motion passed unanimously.
Sheriff Turner submitted a check to the Board for $3675.00. This represents payment received for housing federal inmates for the month of May.
Sheriff Turner stated that portable classrooms are to be delivered at the Walker Curve property tomorrow for the alternative school. Mr. Mutch stated that he gave Ms. Lancaster, school board attorney, a draft contract for their lease of the property but has not received any further communication. Mr. Thomas arrived at the meeting and confirmed that the portables would be delivered tomorrow. Mr. Thomas stated that it is their intention to install their own septic tanks, but they would like to use the well that's already on the property, with the understanding they will pay for any upgrades or improvements needed.
Mr. Thomas reported that the remodeling of the Trenton Elementary School has been completed and they are ready to move their administrative offices.
The Board recessed for lunch at 12:00 and reconvened at the Library at 1:15 p.m. for a building dedication ceremony. Following the ceremony, the Board returned to the Commissioner's Meeting Room at 2:00 p.m.
Clerk's Report (cont.):
Mr. Gilliam presented a request from the Sheriff for authorization to use state law enforcement trust funds to meet budgetary obligations established in his 1997-98 budget request as follows: $33,098 for the COPS Universal Grant, $7819 for the COPS More Grant, $16,537 for the Drug Grant and $718 for the Matching Computer/Marine Grant, for a total of $58,172. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Suggs, to approve the request. Vote of the Board was unanimous.
Disbursements from the Clerk to the Board for the month of May totals $10,283.25.
There is a surplus copy machine at the library and they would like to donate it to the Friends of the Library for use at the Bell library. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Suggs to declare the machine surplus and donate it to the library at Bell.
Mr. Gilliam presented a request to do emergency SHIP repairs for Junior Philman's home in the amount of $5000. Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to approve the request. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Gilliam announced that Suwannee River Management District sent payment in lieu of taxes in the amount of $8288.31.
The Roberts property survey and termite treatment have been completed. A-1 recommends an initial termite treatment for $587, with annual treatments for $125. Currently the Board does not have a termite treatment schedule for their buildings. The Board directed Mr. Gilliam to bid these services for next fiscal year.
Mr. Gilliam presented the tentative proposed budget. These budgets include the requests as submitted by the departments and constitutional officers. General Revenue has $100,000 budgeted in the reserve and should probably be increased. There is a total shortage of revenues throughout the funds of $515,295. Approximately $60,000 has been budgeted for animal control services, which includes a vehicle and position. Another item in the budget for the first time is a request from the Gilchrist County Recreational Authority of $10,000.
The Census Bureau has asked for a representative from the Board for a complete count committee for Gilchrist County. Commissioner Durden stated he would serve in that capacity.
Mr. Gilliam discussed with the Board a letter he received from the Supreme Court of Florida regarding the $200,000 for courthouse improvements. These funds are anticipated next fiscal year. After reading the letter, it appears that the funds are restricted to consulting or architectural studies related to the improvement of courthouse facilities, improving court facilities to assure compliance with the American with Disabilities Act and other federal or state requirements, other renovations in court facilities, improvements in court security and any other court-ordered improvements. In other words, the funds are to be used for court facilities. The same restrictions will apply to the $100,000 anticipated this year and the $40,500 already received.
Summit Professional Services:
Corbett Alday spoke to the Board about the CDBG Neighborhood Revitalization grant application. It has been submitted and the preliminary list shows that it will be funded, however, many things can change before the list is finally approved.
The Economic Development grant application has been submitted and it is the last grant in line for funding, providing that there are not changes. Mr. Alday would like to do a site visit on the 23rd of this month at 9:00 a.m.
Mr. Alday stated that a concept letter for the Economic Development grant application is needed from the Chairman of the Board. Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to authorize the letter. The motion passed unanimously.
The CDBG Set Aside Disaster Assistance grant cycle has a maximum of $350,000 available. These funds can be used for the purchase of property or the improvement of property (such as elevation of homes) of persons affected by the flood and who qualify within the income guidelines. The deadline for submitting this application is the end of July and requires two public hearings. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson to set the first public hearing for July 20th at 5:30 p.m. and the final public hearing for July 23rd at 5:00 p.m. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Alday submitted a contract for administration of the CDBG Set Aside Disaster Assistance Grant in the amount of $6000. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush to approve the contract with Summit for administration services, subject to Mr. Mutch's review and approval. The motion passed unanimously.
The 1998 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds can be used by the county to do small drainage projects, installation of culverts, etc. It can also be used for property acquisition even if the property owners do not qualify in regards to income guidelines. Mr. Alday stated they will need the detailed DSR's and any historical information that can gathered.
Attorney's Report (cont.):
Mr. Mutch reviewed the proposed lease with the school board for property at the Walker Curve. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson to approve the contract, subject to the language being changed to a "year to year lease", as previously discussed. The motion passed unanimously.
Alberta Thompson- complaint regarding vehicle damage:
Ms. Thompson claims her vehicle sustained damages totaling $1148.50, when she was traveling on a graded road. A claim was submitted to the county's insurance carrier and denied because the county had no prior knowledge that there was a problem with the road. This claim was filed on June 19, 1998 and according to Ms. Thompson, the damage occurred on July 5, 1997. Ms. Thompson stated she gave the information to Commissioner Durden in August 1997, however, Commissioner Durden stated that she did not give notify him of the problem or give him information until recently. Mr. Mutch asked Ms. Thompson if she filed a claim with her insurance company and she acknowledged that she did and in fact received over $600 from her insurance company, after they disallowed approximately $1100. Mr. Mutch advised her that if her insurance company felt the county was liable, they would have filed a claim with the county's insurance company.
Diana Bond- Fly Problems:
Ms. Diana Bond spoke to the Board about problems she has encountered with flies on her property. She has lived off SR 26 east of Trenton for eight years and claims that the flies are extremely bad this year. She feels that the problem is a direct result of the local dairies. The Board advised Ms. Bond that DEP regulates dairies and she should contact DEP. Commissioner Durden stated that he would provide her with the names of some effective fly control procedures and chemicals.
Commissioner Suggs sent a letter to Mr. Martin about an employee she felt was not performing well. Mr. Martin stated that he did not have a problem with the employee's performance, however, in order to satisfy Commissioner Suggs, he transferred the employee to Commissioner Sheffield's district. Chairman Sheffield stated that he does not think a commissioner should interfere with a department of another commissioner. Commissioner Suggs stated that she spoke to Mr. Martin because she would be in violation of the sunshine law if she spoke to Commissioner Durden about the problem. The Board agreed that any complaints they have should be directed to Mr. Martin.
County Extension Agent:
Mr. Weaver stated that he may need funds to cover other salaries while his secretary is out for surgery. Commissioner Bush made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to authorize Mr. Gilliam to transfer up to $500 within his budget to other salaries. The motion carried unanimously.
Sheriff Turner reported that the Dixie County sheriff stated he would help the county any way he can in housing our inmates in his facility. He receives $34.50 per day for federal inmates and $32 per day for state inmates and could house our inmates for $30 per day, providing we provide medical and transportation, however he will not be able to use our staff. Mr. Mutch suggests that the corrections committee meet and establish a plan for repairing or constructing a new facility. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to pursue relocating the inmates to the Dixie County jail, and have the corrections committee meet to establish a plan. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden. Vote of the Board was unanimous. Chairman Sheffield suggested a meeting be set on July 16th. The Board asked Mr. Gilliam to contact Dean Drummond about looking at the current jail facility.
EMA/County Coordinator's Report:
Mr. McQueen spoke to the Board about a contract with Alachua County for Hazardous Waste collection. According to Mr. McQueen, the contract has been reviewed by Mr. Mutch and some minor changes have been made. The contract amount has been increased to $5000 due to the increase of collections. Commissioner Durden made a motion to approve the contract in an amount not to exceed $5000. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs and vote of the Board was unanimous.
Mr. McQueen talked to the Board about a generator located at the jail, which is used for emergencies. The timer that runs the generator is obsolete and a new one will cost $412.20. The repairs for the jail have been paid from the other buildings repairs line item in general fund and that line item is depleted. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to move $3000 from general reserve to the other buildings repairs line item. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden and unanimously approved.
A total of 56 building permits were issued and $7600 was collected in impact fees for the month of June.
The EMS Department has been awarded a grant for $55,260 for a remount. The department has also received a grant for $27,300 for extrication equipment to be used by the six fire departments in the county.
Commissioner Suggs reported that written notification has been received that the FFA Alumni will receive a grant in the amount of $300,000. They plan to put in a concession stand, restrooms, and a cover for the arena. According to Commissioner Suggs, the appropriation of these funds were allocated for agriculture associated projects. This grant will be a reimbursement type grant and the funds should go directly to the FFA Alumni.
Mr. McQueen reported that the Code Enforcement Board met and they recommended that Mr. Christie be removed because he has not been attending the meetings. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to terminate his position. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Derber and Mr. Bell would like to come off the Competency Board and these positions must be filled with persons in certain trades. They agreed to stay until the positions are filled, however, after advertising several times, no applications have been received.
Ring Power has sent a contract for the lease purchase of a grader. The county has leased this grader for three months at $5000 per month and paying the lease through the FEMA disaster funds. They reduced the purchase price of $121,000 by the $15,000 previously paid. They have provided the same arrangement as the previous lease purchase agreements to pay the balance. The Finance Department has reviewed the paperwork and the lease agreement needs to be signed by the chairman. The guaranteed buy back will occur in five years for $89,000. The annual lease payments are $25,000.
Mr. McQueen updated the Board on the Drug Free Workplace Policy. The policy will require initial drug testing for all new hires, probable cause and random testing for CDL licensed employees. This policy meets with the requirements of the law and the Florida League of Cities has approved this policy. He has spoke to the constitutional officers and all have agreed to participate. The Chiefland Medical Center is the provider for the group that will be contracting with the county. The group is also interested in using the Trenton Medical Center. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to adopt the Drug Free Workplace policy and the second chance program. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden. Vote of the Board was unanimous. There must be a 60 day written notice provided to all employees. The documents will be prepared and presented to the Board on the 20th for signatures, after which time employee notices will be sent out. Mr. Mutch stated that a second chance may not be recommended for employees in safety sensitive positions. This policy will also affect the volunteer fire fighters.
Commissioner Suggs spoke to the Board about a possible moratorium placed against new subdivisions and divisions of land (except for familial divisions), until the evaluation and appraisal process with the comprehensive plan is completed. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to establish a moratorium on any new subdivisions or divisions of land for a period of time not to exceed one year (except for familial divisions). The motion died for lack of a second. Several commissioners expressed concern about growth and subdivisions in particular, however, they do not feel a moratorium is needed at this time.
Commissioner Durden made a motion to direct the Planning and Zoning Board to adopt regulations to require paving of roads in subdivisions over 10 acres. Commissioner Suggs stated paving is not the only issue. They need to look at water and sewer as well. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved.
Mr. Mutch asked the Board how much they would like to increase the impact fees and if they would like to use impact fees for uses other than road improvements. The Board stated they need to know who much they can possibly increase the fees, according to the formula related to the volume of use.
Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Suggs to issue a lifetime pass to Hart Springs to Mr. Albert Martin and his wife, in appreciation for Mr. Martin's contribution to the county. Commissioner Suggs asked to include Mr. Frank Grant and his family in the motion. Commissioner Wilkerson modified his motion to include the Frank Grant family for issuance of a lifetime pass for Hart Springs. Commissioner Suggs seconded the modified motion. Vote of the Board was unanimous.
Commissioner Suggs stated that Charlie Waters was pick up by the EMS unit about two years ago, while he was on duty at Lancaster Correctional. He signed the necessary forms to refuse treatment and transport, however, his employer insisted that he be transported. A bill was sent to Mr. Waters and to Lancaster Correctional, however, his employer has advised him that the bill is his responsibility to pay. Mr. Waters does not feel he should pay the bill since he refused transport. Mr. Mutch asked if he was transported because his employer felt he was incompetent. Mr. McQueen stated that he was transported because it is Lancaster's policy to transport. Mr. Mutch stated that he feels Lancaster should be responsible since they insisted he be transported. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve the write-offs submitted, totaling $14,918.33, and the charges for Mr. Waters. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden. Commissioners Suggs, Durden, Bush and Wilkerson voted in favor of the motion. Chairman Sheffield voted in opposition because he feels Mr. Waters should pay his bill. The motion passed by majority vote.
There being no further business to discuss, Commissioner Durden made a motion to adjourn at 6:50 p.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs and unanimously approved.
JIMMIE SHEFFIELD, CHAIR
JOSEPH W. GILLIAM, CLERK