MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE GILCHRIST COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HELD AUGUST 3, 1998.
The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, held a regular meeting at 9:00 a.m., on August 3, 1998, 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:
Jimmie Sheffield, Chair
Sue B. Suggs
Others in attendance were: Joseph W. Gilliam, Clerk of Circuit Court, Samuel A. Mutch, County Attorney, Sherree Pitzarell, Deputy Clerk, Ron McQueen, EMA/County Coordinator, John Ayers, Gilchrist County Journal
Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush to approve the minutes of the meetings held June 15th, June 29th, July 6th and July 20th. The motion passed unanimously. Chairman Sheffield asked Commissioner Suggs if she had the opportunity to speak to Verna Mae Eady, director of the Development Authority, about their request for a purchase order to restore the old Coca-Cola sign on a main street building. Commissioner Suggs replied that Ms. Eady is supposed to come by the meeting today to speak to them about the request.
Commissioner Durden made a motion to approve the bills and journal entries numbered 98107, 98109-98120. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush and unanimously approved.
Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to approve journal entry 98108 by resolution. The motion passed unanimously and a copy of resolution 98-36 is on file in the Clerk's Office.
Mr. Gilliam stated that Mr. McQueen has requested that funds be transferred from machinery & equipment to salaries within his budget (approximately $2000) to cover overtime and vacation time. Commissioner Bush made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to transfer funds within Mr. McQueen's budget. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Mutch reported on the status of Ginnie Springs, et al v. Gilchrist County. His office has been substituted as counsel of record from Apgar & Pelham. Apgar & Pelham failed to prepare the order and also failed to advise him that the county's motion to dismiss had been denied and that the petition for writ of certiora had been issued. Judge Cates had given the county twenty days to respond and they did not let Mr. Mutch know until two or three days prior to the deadline. All parties agreed to put the issue of the law suit off until the administrative hearings are completed. If Ginnie Springs, et al prevails in the administrative hearing and the permit is denied, there is no reason to go forward with the writ of certiora. The county feels that DEP will prevail at the administrative hearing, at which time, the case may proceed. The geology report from the Watson Dairy site has been received and a copies were distributed to the Board. If the case moves forward, the Board may want to hire their own geologist. The report suggests that the water flows to the northeast from the Watson Farm. Mr. Mutch recommends that the report be submitted to the experts from the University of Florida who recently presented a workshop to the Board. He and Dr. Carraker have not set a date for a second seminar at this time.
Mr. Mutch reported that he has not heard from Dewaye Yates regarding the food bank building. According to Commissioner Suggs, the building use has not be confirmed.
Commissioner Suggs spoke briefly about a grant application that has been written for transportation services through the Florida Crown Workforce and the Gilchrist County Development Authority. The grant would provide transportation to anyone, regardless of income. The grant will be over $800,000 and there will be funds available in the grant to administer the program. Mr. Mutch stated that he would like to see the by-laws of the Development Authority.
Mr. Mutch reported that he sent a letter to Florida Power last week, informing them that the Board intends to continue to collect the 1% franchise fee.
Mr. Mutch has reviewed the contract with Municipal Code Corporation for the codification of ordinances and recommends execution by the Board.
Mr. Mutch stated that Paul Redd will be in this afternoon to speak to the Board about filing a petition to vacate a portion of public road. Mr. Mutch stated that anyone who uses the road to access their property must also join in on the petition. Mr. Mutch explained the road closure procedure to the Board.
Mr. Ferguson introduced Karen Givers, candidate for Secretary of State to the Board.
Mr. Mutch submitted a report regarding Lakewood Subdivision. Commissioner Suggs stated that this land is the bottom of a slew. Two letters in 1989 from former county attorney, Ted Burt, stated that the subdivision met the criteria of a subdivision at that time. The county accepted the former attorney's opinion and permits have been issued based on that decision. The county could be sued if permits were not issued, if the county changed their position. Florida Woodlands, developer, has been known to sell lots by contract for deed and not having those contracts recorded. Most of the lots are approximately 10 acres in size. Because of the letters from the county attorney, at that time, the county, in his opinion, is estopped. Mr. Mutch stated that he would like to do some research because in the state of Florida, contracts for deeds are supposed to be recorded. The county may be able to require that contracts for deed be recorded in order for the sale of the property to be recognized.
Chapter 177 of the Florida Statutes has been modified, requiring a surveyor to review all subdivision plats prior to approval by the Board. Mr. McQueen advised Mr. Mutch that the county engineer also reviews the plat as a surveyor.
Information was provided in the agenda packages concerning 1998 Growth Management Legislation. According to Mr. Mutch, the information is confusing and he may be able to supply the Board with more concise information.
Mr. Gilliam distributed a packet of information, for the Board's review, regarding the budget workshop scheduled for August 17th.
A late budget request has been received from Another Way, Inc., for $1000. They operate a program which provides assistance for victims of domestic violence. The Board agreed to hear their presentation at an upcoming budget workshop.
Mr. Gilliam reported that Dean Drummon will perform a jail inspection on August 21st, to evaluate the structural and mechanical features of the building. Someone else will be needed to perform the security evaluation.
Mr. Gilliam announced that some budget reductions have been made through meeting with the departments, however, general is still out of balance by $333,495.
Mr. Gilliam reported that he has submitted information to Davis, Monk & Company regarding the use of county vehicles by county employees. They will have an opinion prepared for the Board by the August 17th meeting.
Rob Ayers- DOT:
Mr. Ayers, Gainesville Regional Planning Administrator for DOT, presented the department's adopted five year work program. The first project is resurfacing CR 340 from SR349/US 129 to SR 47. Other projects include installation of turn lanes on SR 26 near Lancaster, drainage improvements from Trenton to the Alachua County line on SR 26, resurfacing SR 47 from Trenton to CR 232, widening & resurfacing U.S. 129 from the Levy County line to Bell, and widening and resurfacing U.S. 19 from the Suwannee River to the Levy County line.
Mr. Ayers stated that October 1st is the deadline to submit new projects for the next five year work program and this deadline also applies to the cities. Commissioner Wilkerson asked if the county could get reimbursed for work the county performs on a road if they can not wait on DOT (i.e. resurfacing CR 232). Mr. Ayers stated it's possible, however, DOT would have to certify the county in order to do the work and the county would have to prove they can do it for less cost than DOT.
The Board asked Mr. Ayers why DOT is not requiring turn lanes to be installed at the new post office site. Mr. Ayers stated that DOT would not require turn lanes for the post office being constructed; the city would be the agency requiring the turn lanes. Only if it becomes a safety problem will DOT get involved. The Board asked Mr. Gilliam to send a letter to the city requesting them to ask the post office to install turn lanes.
Mr. Mutch asked if the county designated CR 232 from county line to county line as an arterial road, in the comprehensive plan, would it make a difference to DOT. Mr. Ayers stated that it possibly could make a difference for federal dollars. Mr. Mutch asked that if it were coordinated with Alachua County, Dixie County and Lafayette County if it would make a difference. Again, Mr. Ayers stated that it possibly could.
Paul Redd & Steven Hendrix- road closure:
Mr. Redd and Mr. Hendrix spoke to the Board about the possibility of closing a portion of a public road near Hart Springs. According to Mr. Redd, the traffic in the area is tremendous and the type of traffic (people congregating to look at the river) concerns him for the safety of his family and property. He and Mr. Hendrix are the only two property owners using the road, with the exception of D. Ray Harrison who uses the road to access his property. Mr. Redd added that he has talked to Mr. Harrison, and Mr. Harrison does not have a problem with his proposal. The portion of road that he would like the Board to close is approximately 75-80 yards. He also has a problem with campers missing the turn off at Hart Springs; they continue down the road and use his front yard as a turn around spot. Mr. Hendrix stated that this weekend cars were congregated near his drive-way and he does not feel safe leaving his home unattended. Mr. Mutch stated that the Board will have to make the determination as to whether or not the road closing is in the public's interest. Mr. Mutch wants to modify the petition to include witness signatures and a notary certification.
Danny Herring- Bail Bonds:
Mr. Herring spoke to the Board about the county's bond procedure. The first 35 days after a person fails to appear in court, they (the bondsmen) can get the person and put them back in jail, or then it will go to a judgement (for the full amount of the bond). Currently what is happening is the first 35 days, the judge has ordered bondsmen to pay $100 administrative cost and he has no problem with that. There is another 10% percent (remaining amount of the bond) that is being asked to be paid. It is his understanding that once he posts bonds and the person flees, if he picks up the person after 6 months, then he owes the county a percentage; the longer period of time elapses, the less he can get back. He does not have a problem with this procedure. He does have a problem with being asked to pay the 10 percent, within the 35 day period. He should be given the chance to apprehend the defendant and place him back in jail. Mr. Mutch stated that if the bondsman returns the person, they have not been charging anything other than the $100 administrative fee, however, if a law enforcement agency returns the person within the 35 day period, then the $100 plus the remaining 10% is being collected. Mr. Mutch explained that the same procedure applies to persons posting cash or property bonds, not just bail bondsmen. According to Mr. Herring, this procedure is only followed in Gilchrist County. Mr. Herring stated that he does not mind paying the law enforcement agency the cost incurred in picking up and returning the person to jail. Mr. Herring would like Mr. Mutch to contact the Department of Insurance to determine if what the Board is doing is okay and if so, he will not do business in Gilchrist County. He suggested that Gilchrist County could require cash bonds only, however, this may prevent people from bonding out, causing over-crowding in the jail. Mr. Mutch agreed that he should talk to the Department of Insurance and the Board should talk to the sheriff about the procedure as well.
Clerk's Report (cont.):
Mr. Gilliam stated that last week one of the older A/C units quit working (Judge's office) and he contacted the chairman about having the unit repaired. The lowest estimate was for $2000. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush to approve the purchase order for $2000. The motion passed unanimously.
The Board recessed for lunch at 11:45 a.m. and reconvened at 1:20 p.m.
Mr. Martin spoke to the Board about purchasing a motor for a 1972 grader, using FEMA funds. The total cost to replace the motor is $12,304.59. In addition, culverts are being purchased with FEMA funds. Commissioner Durden made a motion to approve the purchase of the motor for the grader. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs and unanimously approved. Mr. Martin anticipates that the pit will be blasted this week so that additional rock can be mined. Mr. Martin stated that Ring Power will be delivering a back hoe for the county to use on a trial basis, with the option to purchase.
Mr. Alexander would like to spend approximately $3500 on bunker gear for the Spring Ridge VFD, which will require a budget transfer. He would like to move $500 from repairs & maintenance to machinery & equipment. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Suggs to approve the request to move the funds and purchase the equipment. The motion passed unanimously.
EMA/County Coordinator's Report:
Mr. McQueen submitted a letter from Don Derber, resigning from the Code Enforcement Board, along with a letter from Mr. Miguel A. Ortiz, who has applied for a position on the Board. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Suggs to appoint Mr. Ortiz to the Code Enforcement Board. Vote of the Board was unanimous.
Mr. McQueen submitted the Building Department report for the month of July, indicating a total of 18 permits issued for mobile homes and 5 permits issued for new residential construction. A total of $6000 was collected for impact fees.
Mr. McQueen submitted a proposed letter regarding the drug free workplace, which will be presented to all county employees. If an employee tests positive for drugs or alcohol, this policy would require his or her removal from a safety sensitive position to another position, if there is another position available. The second chance policy is at the discretion of the personnel director, supervisor and commissioner of that department.
The Road department will begin random testing once the policy becomes effective. Any constitutional officer that wants all their employees tested up front must bear the cost of the expense.
Following discussion, Commissioner Suggs made a motion to continue membership in the Small County Coalition for fiscal year 1998-99 and approve payment of the annual dues in the amount of $1403.10, by resolution. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden and unanimously approved. A copy of resolution 98-37 is on file in the Clerk's office.
There is a roof leak where the old section meets the new section on the courthouse, over the ladies restroom. Johnson Roofing has submitted a quote of $2200 to make the repairs. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush to accept the quote. Vote of the Board was unanimous.
Sheriff Turner submitted a request to repair three toilets at the jail for $1100 each, plus installation charges. The Board agreed to wait until the Sheriff comes in before approving the repairs, indicating they would like to know the cost of installation.
Mr. Ferguson submitted a bill from Fason Electric to reroute the power line going into the jail (including moving a transformer) for $2960. He anticipates another bill for relocating a line for the road department. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion to move $5000 from the general fund reserve to cover the cost for the electrical repairs. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs and unanimously approved.
Commissioner Sheffield stated that it is his understanding that the new vehicle purchased for the Solid Waste department is being used exclusively by the supervisor. It is his further understanding that she is on vacation this week and the truck is parked at her house. Commissioner Bush stated that he knew she was going to be on vacation this week, however, he did not know the truck would be parked at her house and advised the Board that he would check into the situation.
Mr. Harold Mikell spoke briefly to the Board, introducing Bobby Pickles, who works for Congressman Allen Boyd. Mr. Pickles is here in the courthouse every other week.
Commissioner Bush departed the meeting at 2:10 p.m.
Mr. Mutch suggested that the board request someone from the USDA to do testing in regards to the nitrate levels in Gilchrist County. Mr. Pickles will meet with Jerry Scarborough prior to seeking USDA assistance.
Mr. Lee Mills, county engineer, and Mr. McQueen spoke to the Board about potential road paving projects. The landfill road survey has been completed and Mr. Mills will review the survey prior to getting the right-of-ways secured.
Mr. McQueen stated that the CR 340 project needs to move forward due to the grant time line constraints. In regards to CR 232, he is in the process of getting bids for testing. There are 15 different soil types along CR 232 and to do testing according to DOT standards (every 100 feet), it would cost $13,000 - $14,000 per mile. There is no information, or plans, on this road, even though he feels it was constructed by DOT. It will cost $4000 - $5000 for the preliminary work (to establish the standards which the road was built). With that data, a program can be established in regards to the testing levels. He would like direction from the Board because the funds will need to be established prior to performing a lot of work. On CR 340, they have basically all the information needed in order to start developing the plans; he would like to call the testing lab for testing on both CR 232 and CR 340 at the same time, in order to get a better price. There are only two soil types on CR 340 and the cost will probably be less. According to Mr. Mills, he has about $15,000 invested in the CR 340 project and it is his understanding after speaking to Mr. Gilliam that the condition of the grant prevents funds from being disbursed until the project is awarded to a successful bidder. Mr. Gilliam stated that FEMA funds are available to pay a portion on CR 232. The Board may want to consider borrowing funds from Solid Waste for the CR 340 project, with the funds being paid back once the grant reimbursements are received. The Enterprise Florida grant will award the county approximately 80% of the grant, once the contracts are let, which is scheduled for sometime around December. The total grant is $1,200,000 to widen and resurface 5.1 miles of CR 340 and to install turn lanes at the Aqua-Penn Water Bottling Company. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion to borrow $75,000 from Solid Waste. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs and vote of the Board was unanimous.
Ms. Walker, EMS Director, reported that 64 runs were made in July, with charges totaling $20,172.75. A total of $22,331.67 was collected during the same month. Ms. Walker explained the billing process for medicaid and medicare patients.
Ms. Walker asked the Board to consider moving the billing department to the upstairs section of the Weeks building to free up space at the Bell EMS station. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Suggs to authorize Mr. McQueen to send a letter to the Marines asking them to vacate that space in order for the EMS billing department to be relocated. The motion passed unanimously.
The Board discussed having a meeting with Dr. Cox to establish a procedure whereby the nursing homes will sign taking responsibility for payment of non-emergency transports if the patient's insurance refuses to cover the cost. The Board asked Ms. Walker to set a meeting with Dr. Cox to discuss this problem.
Ms. Walker reported that the county will receive a $55,260 matching grant for the remount of an ambulance. She can piggy-back off a Dixie County bid with Statline Industries for $52,700. The county must provide a match of approximately 10% which could be used to pay the cost of radios and other equipment needed to upgrade the unit. Commissioner Durden made a motion to approve piggy-backing the bid on Dixie County's bid. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs and vote of the Board was unanimous.
Mr. Mutch introduces his partner Kim Yozgot, who has extensive experience with sheriff's departments. Thirty-five days before the bond becomes forfeit, according to Ray Earl Thomas, state attorney, if the bondsmen assists or brings back the person breaking bond within that period of time, the county will take $50 as an administrative fee. If the Sheriff brings the person back, the county will take $50 plus any cost incurred by the law enforcement agency. Over the 35 day period, one idea would be to accept the $100 administrative fee, plus the cost incurred in bringing the person back. If the bondsmen brings the person back before 90 days, they would receive 100% back, less the administrative fee. The issue is between 35 days and 90 days, there would be a $100 fee, plus costs, but if the bondsmen brought them back or assisted in bringing them back, they could get up to 100%. If however, they didn't assist and law enforcement brought the person back, the bondsmen would not receive any returns. Mr. Mutch stated they will prepare a written procedure.
The Board spoke to the Sheriff about the estimate for installing three new toilets in the jail. It will take 4-6 weeks for the toilets to come in and the Sheriff does not know what the installation cost will be. The Sheriff stated that because of this problem, he has closed three cells. The Board would like to know the cost of installation.
Mr. Gilliam advised the Sheriff that Dean Drummond will do an inspection at the jail on August 21st to evaluate the structural and mechanical features.
Clerk's Report (cont.):
Mr. Gilliam presented a family mediation contract with Alison Gerencser. Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to approve a mediation contract. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Ferguson presented a purchase order for North Gilchrist VFD for the purchase of electric roll-up doors for their new building for $5623. This is a county building and the cost should be paid by the district wide budget. Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to approve the purchase order. Vote of the Board was unanimous.
EMA/County Coordinator's Report (cont.):
Mr. McQueen stated that he has information on a new dictaphone system for the Sheriff's Department for $28,250. This system will allow 24 lines to be recorded simultaneously. Commissioner Durden made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson to look at this item during the budget workshop, scheduled for August 17th. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Wilkerson stated that John Vickers has requested permission to pour a concrete pad on the property at the new Alternative School, if they pay the expenses. The Board indicated that they do not have a problem with the request, however, the location of the pad should be coordinated with the Sheriff.
Commissioner Wilkerson stated that several people have asked that the $1.00 entrance fee to Hart Springs park for senior citizens be eliminated. Following discussion, Commissioner Suggs made a motion to waive the fee for persons 65 or older. The motion died for lack of a second. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion to waive the entrance fee for persons 70 years of age or older. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden. There followed discussion regarding the amount of revenues that would be lost if this fee was eliminated. Because the family reunions consist of a lot of people, many of whom are elderly, this could possibly be a significant revenue loss. Commissioner Wilkerson withdrew his motion and Commissioner Durden withdrew his second until more information can be gathered regarding the amount of funds that the $1.00 fee generates.
Commissioner Wilkerson reported that someone asked if they could have a piece of lightered log laying near the Hart Springs boat ramp. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to declare it surplus and give it to the man if its on high dry ground. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden and unanimously approved.
Commissioner Suggs spoke to the Board about road maintenance for a road that used to be maintained when it was being accessed by a school bus. The county has not maintained the road for more than three years, however there is a terminally ill man that lives down that road and hospice has asked that the county go in one time to make improvements. Mr. Mutch stated that morally it should be done, but it is not legal for the county to use public funds to improve private property. The Board could set a fee for services and charge the individual for the improvements or the county may be able to find someone willing to donate the labor and equipment to improve the road.
Rayanne Ferguson spoke to the Board about the county's Adopt-A-Road policy. The current policy requires that the garbage be hauled off. This is not a problem if the transfer facility is open, however, sometimes the facility is closed. The state Adopt-A-Road program allows the people to leave the garbage bagged on the road side and DOT staff pick it up later for disposal. Commissioner Bush stated that he will discuss the problem with Ms. Avery. He feels the state's policy, where the bagged garbage is left at the Adopt-A-Road sign is a good procedure.
Clerk's Report (cont.):
Mr. Gilliam reported that in conjunction with filing the new 3 year SHIP plan, a resolution is needed, reaffirming that the administration cost exceeds 5%. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to establish the administration fee at 10% by resolution. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden and unanimously approved. A copy of resolution 98-38 is on file in the Clerk's Office.
Mr. Gilliam presented the new SHIP plan for the Board's approval. Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to adopt the plan, by resolution. The motion passed unanimously. A copy of resolution 98-39 is on file in the Clerk's office.
Mr. Gilliam reported to the Sheriff that the current cash total in the traffic surcharge fund is $8545.
Commissioner Wilkerson said people are asking him about a new jail being built. Sheriff Turner stated that both TV stations were at the last corrections committee meeting and the idea was discussed but it was not stated that a new jail would be built.
Mr. McQueen stated that the homeowners group at Waters Lake are interested in providing maintenance to the county park, if the septic tanks are pumped and the current doors are replaced with metal doors and locks. The cost should not exceed $500. Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson to approve the expense for the new doors and the septic pumped. Vote of the Board was unanimous.
Mr. Yozgot voiced his concern about the procedure for procuring a Dictaphone system at the Sheriff's office. He suggested that the county solicit bids. Mr. McQueen stated that the Board has the ability to waive the bid requirements, especially if it is a sole source item. Mr. Yozgot does not feel this would be a sole source item. Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Durden to direct the Sheriff and Mr. McQueen to put together a bid package for a new communications system. The motion passed unanimously.
There being no further business to discuss, Commissioner Suggs made a motion to adjourn at 5:20 p.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden and unanimously approved.
JOSEPH W. GILLIAM, CLERK