The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, held a budget workshop on Monday, August 17, 1998, at 1:15 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

Wilbur Bush

Randy Durden

Fred Wilkerson

Others in attendance were: Joseph W. Gilliam, Clerk of Circuit Court, D. Ray Harrison, Property Appraiser, John Ayers, Gilchrist County Journal, Mike Edwards, Trenton Police Chief, Ron McQueen, EMA/County Coordinator, Sheriff David Turner and staff.

Mr. Gilliam reviewed the budget recap with the Board, stating that the overall deficit has been reduced to $402,164.

Property Appraiser:

Mr. Harrison stated that he has used the state guidelines to calculate salary increases for his staff. His budget reflects an overall increase of 4.6% or approximately $14,000. He has budgeted an increase in his reserve, from $11,500 to $15,000. Mr. Harrison stated that all though he did not budget an increase for purchasing vehicles next fiscal year, because of the age and condition of the vehicles, they will be needed in the future.

The state's recommended salary increases are $1200 for those employees earning $20,000 or less and $1000 for employees earning over $20,000 annually.

Supervisor of Elections:

Ms. Bryant explained that the only increases in her budget are for salary increases for staff and herself, which reflects an overall 4.4% increase. Capital, operating and reserve have remained the same for three years.

Tax Collector:

Mr. Gilliam presented Mr. Welch's budget information. There is an increase in capital outlay, due to upgrading some computers. The overall increase is 7.8%.

Clerk of Circuit Court:

Mr. Gilliam submitted his budgets for the Clerk to the Board and Clerk to the County Court. The largest increase is operating expenses. According to Mr. Gilliam, the traffic program has to be upgraded to be year 2000 compliant and the legislature did not agree to fund this expense as anticipated. He has budgeted $30,000 for this expense but is could be spread over several years. There is a possibility of the legislature still funding a portion of the cost, however, it is not known at this time whether they will or to what extent. Without the $30,000 in the budget request, the increase is only 3.3%. Mr. Gilliam stated that to his knowledge, the traffic program is the only program that is not year 2000 compliant.


Mr. Gilliam explained that when the budget process began the budget was out of balance approximately $515,000. It has been reduced to $402,162 (the deficit) through meetings with department heads. Sheriff Turner stated that he was advised that he would need to cut $500,000 from his budget. Sheriff Turner brought many of his staff to the meeting and stated that he did so because he is proud of his staff and they take pride in their jobs. The Sheriff feels his budget has been cut as much as possible. His department has been greatly impacted due to the growth of the county. Since he submitted the budget, his contract with the Trenton Medical Center has doubled, from $750 to $1300. He has to compete with the Department of Corrections and the Florida Highway Patrol to hire and keep staff. Gilchrist County is tied with another county as being the lowest paid law enforcement staff. Another factor which inflates his budget is that his department is providing 24 hour per day, seven days a week services. Last year he trimmed over $100,000 from his budget to assist the Board in balancing the budget. The Sheriff complained about the fiber optic line not being installed after a long period of time, as well as the zoning change needed for the administration/jail complex.

Mr. Gilliam stated that Dean Drummond will be here this Friday to look at the jail. Upon the Board's request, Commissioner Suggs contacted DOC to do a safety and security inspection of the jail, which has been completed.

Commissioner Suggs arrived at the workshop at 2:30 p.m.

Mr. Barry Lombard submitted information regarding calls the Sheriff's Department receives related to children and family services, indicating an average of 21 calls per month. Officer Lombard stated that he needs another investigator to assist him with his caseload. Commissioner Suggs pointed out that in the Sheriff's budget request, he has not asked for a position for that area.

There was discussion regarding who determines where the Sheriff's budget cuts are made, with Commissioner Suggs stating that once the Board approves his budget, the Sheriff determines who gets raises and the amount of each raise.

Officer Lombard stated that 40% of our cases are going to court, compared to 10% for surrounding counties because he feels Gilchrist County is doing a better job.

Officer Webster reported that the jail is falling apart and a new jail is needed; someone is going to get hurt and it may be a corrections officer. There are currently 37 inmates with only two correctional officers on duty at any time. Officer Webster explained the process involved in becoming a corrections officer. The average correctional officer starts out at around $16,000 annually.

Sheriff Turner stated that maybe the Board should look at parody in pay for different positions. He feels that many of the Board's and other constitutional officer's clerical and administrative staff earn more than deputies, who often put their lives on the line.

There followed discussion regarding the salary of the chief deputy, whose total salary with benefits is over $70,000. The Board does not have employees making that rate of pay. Commissioner Suggs stated that she told the Sheriff and the Chief that their department would not get the $500,000 increase they were asking for and she wants that to be clear.

COPS Universal cost will be absorbed in February 1999 and the COPS MORE will be absorbed in July 1999, which means that in order to continue those positions, the county will need to fund them.

Court Administrator- Pat Callahan:

Mr. Callahan stated that his budget is a maintenance budget with the exception of a court reporter and judicial hearing officer. The total increase is $5900 and hopefully there will be additional revenues from the legislature to offset this increase. The Guardian Ad Litem and County Judge's budgets have no increase.

Chamber of Commerce:

Dewayne Yates stated that they are not asking for a budget increase next fiscal year. Next year they anticipate establishing a trash-a-thon for picking up roadside trash and a food bank. They have an agreement with the Development Authority to share office space and utilities.

Development Authority:

Frank Grant appeared before the Board in place of Ms. Eady. They are asking for $13,100 for next fiscal year. Their expenses will increase because they are anticipating sharing half of the expenses with the Chamber. The Board agreed to fund the Development Authority at the current rate of $7500.

Public Health Unit:

Sable Bolling spoke to the Board about the services they offer and the volume of services rendered. The total increase is $2600, which will be used for salary increases. The state only funds 50% of their salary increases and the Health Department must provide the remaining 50% through the partnership with the county or through fees for services. The Board took no action on her request for increase.

G.C.R.A.- Tommy Andrews:

Mr. Gilliam stated G.C.R.A. submitted a request for funding for $10,000. Commissioner Wilkerson stated that the county could possibly help them with in-kind services as in the past. Commissioner Sheffield stated that he is not in favor of funding this organization. Commissioner Suggs would like to see a token amount placed into the budget, but Commissioners Bush and Durden stated they would like to hold off until they find the funds.

Soil & Water Conservation:

This budget is less than the current year because no budget was received, according to Mr. Gilliam. There was no request submitted for next fiscal year.

Commissioner Durden made a motion to recess until 5:00 p.m. on August 20th. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush and unanimously approved.