The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, convened in a regular meeting on November 17, 1998, at 4:00 p.m., with the following members present to-wit:

Randy Durden, Chair

Sue B. Suggs

Fred Wilkerson

John Thomas

Wilbur Bush

Others in attendance were : Joseph W. Gilliam, Clerk of Circuit Court, Kim Yozgat, County Attorney, Ron McQueen, EMA/County Coordinator, Sam Ferguson, Finance Director, Sherree Pitzarell, Deputy Clerk, Mr. & Mrs. Ray Thomas, Don Thomas, Valerie Thomas, Nathan Martin, Patsy Bruce, Susan Bryant, Ray Earl Thomas, Linda Walker, Duke Lang, Gary Martin, Nancy Jordan, Mitchell Stricklin, Patrick Calahan, Judge Cates, Jimmie Sheffield, Faye Sheffield, Rayanne Ferguson, Connie Sanchez, Dan Thomas, Hazel Bryant, Judge Philman, Ted McFetridge, Clarance Feagal, Don Alexander.

Following the invocation, Chief Circuit Judge Cates administered the oath of office to Commissioners Fred Wilkerson and John Rance Thomas.

Chairman Durden read resolution 98-60:A aloud. This resolution recognizes the services rendered by out-going commissioner Jimmie Sheffield, and declares November 17th 1998, as "Jimmie Sheffield Day". Chairman Durden also presented a plaque to Mr. Sheffield, on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners.

Ms. Linda Walker, EMS Director presented Mr. Sheffield with a gift from the staff of the EMS Department, thanking him for the assistance he has provided that department over the last two years.

Courthouse Facilities Plan:

Mr. Gilliam reminded the Board that previously Judge Cates had asked the Board for an action plan to address the life safety and ADA compliance issues regarding the county courthouse. This plan would also address the space problems, which is also a concern due to the growth experienced in the county. The plan, presented by Mr. Gilliam includes a time line to address these issues . This plan includes the renovation and moving of the Roberts building to the vacant property south of the Weeks building. The fire marshall has made certain recommendations regarding the second floor of the courthouse; if the third floor is an unoccupied attic, the second floor could be used for offices. Based on the number of people located on the second floor and the building as a whole, a fire alarm system may not be required. If you have an open stairwell in a two story building, you are required to sprinkler the stairwell and building and provide an exterior escape or you can close the stairwell, provide a second floor exterior escape and not sprinkler the building. Certain corrections must be made even if the second floor is used for storage. Phase three of the plan will include a new judicial complex, targeted to be built on the Robert's property. Judge Cates stated that because this is such an extensive and important project, it would serve the Board well to not rush any phase of the project. Judge Cates stated that he met with representative Casey and he is very excited about the project. He feels that through a cooperative effort of legislators, funding for this project will be forthcoming. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve the concept plan and to accept the Judge's order. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. Vote of the Board was unanimous.

County Forestry Report:

Mr. Bobby Mikell, Forest Area Supervisor, presented the annual fire control report to the Board. The report for fiscal year 97/98 indicated an increase in wildfires, however, the total acreage burned was less than the last fiscal year. Mr. Mikell pointed out that Gilchrist County was fortunate compared to other areas of the state that experienced a great number of wildfire and devastation. Mr. Mikell introduced the new county forester, Ricky Jones.

Mr. Jones, submitted his report, which summarizes the acres planted in pines over the last fiscal year, as well as the number of requests for assistance made by county residents.

County Attorney's Report:

Mr. Yozgat reported that the special public defender contracts have been negotiated as follows: Evelyn Sapp @ $385 per case, Diane Elizabeth See @ $400 per case, Thomas M. Jaworski @ $425 per case and Michael Buchanan @ $425 per case. If an equal number of cases are given to each attorney, the price will average out to be the same. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion, to approve the contracts as presented. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush. Vote of the Board was unanimous.

Mr. Yozgat presented a copy of the letter his office sent to Patrice Boyes, inviting them to have their experts present information to the Board regarding nitrites and nitrates. Previously, the Board set the date for the next workshop for December 10th, at 5:00 p.m. The Board agreed to hold the workshop, providing they hear from Ms. Boyes by the 23rd of this month, otherwise, the workshop will be canceled.

Clerk's Report:

It has recently been brought to the Clerk's attention that a couple of SHIP recipients are not actually living in their SHIP homes, which is a requirement of the program. One has a "for rent" sign in front of the home. Mr. Gilliam has sent letters to each of these recipients, asking for a written response. He has not received a reply. The Board suggested that the attorney send a letter to these individuals.

Mr. Gilliam spoke to the Board about subordination agreements for SHIP loans. The Board needs guidelines for subordination requests. The following criteria have been developed: the refinancing must lower the monthly payments, while not increasing the terms of the payments, or the refinancing must be for the remodeling and/or repair of the home. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to authorize Mr. Gilliam and the commissioner for that department to develop a subordination plan. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush and unanimously approved.

Last year the Board agreed to pay the special assessments placed on the Spring Ridge and Wacasassa VFD properties from the Fire District trust fund (county-wide) budget. Following discussion, Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush, to pay the special assessments on Spring Ridge and Wacasassa, through the district-wide fire fund. Vote of the Board was unanimous. A copy of resolution 98-63 is on file in the Clerk's Office.

Mr. Gilliam presented a letter from Barry Lombard, a Sheriff's Office employee, requesting that the Board pay him directly the insurance benefit paid by the county on behalf of their employees. The Board instructed Mr. Gilliam to send Mr. Lombard a letter explaining that it is not a Board policy to pay an employee a direct benefit for health insurance. Mr. Yozgat pointed out that this is a county benefit that an individual may elect to participate if desired.

Mr. Gilliam presented an end of the year budget report for fiscal year ending 9-30-98. It is anticipated that general revenue fund will carry-forward approximately $126,400 more than initially calculated. The Board previously agreed to allow all constitutional officers to carry forward their fiscal year balances. The Supervisor of Elections has a carry-forward of $5604.23. This is the amount by which she will amend her new year budget. The Tax Collector has determined that his carry-forward amount will be $17,174.54. This will be added to his current year budget, which increases his total current year budget to $326,495.54. The Clerk anticipates his carry-forward as follows: Clerk to the Board budget @ $487.70, Clerk to the County budget @ $2686.16, and the Clerk's fee budget @ $93,379.33. Mr. Gilliam stated that he would like to keep a portion of his carry-forward, $50,000 and presented the Board with a check for the balance of his carry-forward in the amount of $46,553.19. Commissioner Bush made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to approve the carry-forward amount retained and refunded by the Clerk. The motion passed unanimously. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve and return the carry-forward amount of $17,174.54 to the Tax Collector. The motion passed unanimously. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve and return the carry-forward amount of $5604.23 to the Supervisor of Elections. The motion passed unanimously. Mr. Gilliam stated that he has not received carry-forward information from the Property Appraiser.

The Sheriff spoke to the Board about an inmate medical bill, totaling $36,539.20. Two years ago, the Sheriff purchased catastrophic medical inmate insurance coverage, and this will be his first opportunity to file a claim. According to the policy, the county must pay the bill and the insurance company will reimburse the county, less a $5000 deductible. Mr. Gilliam stated there is no line item in the general fund budget to pay this expense. Funds will need to be moved from reserve to some of the existing line items in the budget for insurance. General fund will be reimbursed after the insurance company pays their portion. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to transfer the funds within General revenue to cover the expense. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved.

Some members of the North Gilchrist VFD have approached Mr. Ferguson about building a small office inside their firehouse. They have received quotes from four different vendors for materials and the lowest quote received was from Lowes. The lowest quote from a county vendor was Gilchrist Building Supply @ $4541.14. This is slightly higher that the 5% local preference established by the Board. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to authorize North Gilchrist VFD to negotiate with Gilchrist Building Supply to lower their bid and to pay the building expenses through the county wide budget, since this will be a county owned building. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. Vote of the Board was unanimous.

Mr. Ferguson reported that the budget needs to be amended to include a grant from Enterprise Florida in the amount of $1,200,000.00. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to amend Capital Outlay budget #301 by $1,200,000.00, by resolution. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush. Vote of the Board was unanimous. A copy of resolution 98-64 (budget entry 990004) is on file in the Clerk's Office. Until grant funds are received, money is needed to pay start up expenses, such as engineering and surveying. Commissioner Bush made a motion to transfer $10,000 from general fund reserve to capital outlay fund #301. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved.

Another Quote has been received on moving the Roberts building: P.K. Hunt will move it for $9000.00, however, it does not include a permanent foundation on the new site. The previous quote received included the permanent foundation(concrete) for $22,000. The quote was from Green and Sons. Their quote just to move the house without a footer was $15,000. The Board agreed to wait until the next meeting to see if the third quote comes in.

Cave-Diving Policy:

Commissioner Wilkerson had asked the Board to review its current cave-diving policy in light of the recent accident that occurred at a private spring in the county. Mr. Brent Booth, representing the cave-diving group that dives the Hart Springs system spoke to the Board about their activities. Mr. Yozgat was given the county liability insurance policy to review and feels that the liability issue is of great concern for the Board. Revenues received from cave-diving are minimal. Mr. Booth stated that they never approached this as a commercial venture. They are not recreational divers, but rather they must have extensive experience in cave systems to be allowed entrance to the Hart Springs system. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion to suspend cave-diving until the December 7th meeting, authorizing Mr. Gilliam and Mr. Yozgat to review the diving policy and the liability insurance policy and report back to the Board. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs, and unanimously approved.

Alternative School Site:

Chairman Durden reminded the Board that at the last meeting, the Board voted to deny the School Board's request to construct a basketball court at the alternative school site. Coach Vickers is here today to speak to the Board about the issue, however, in order to do so, a member of the Board voting to deny the request, must place a motion on the floor to reconsider the issue. Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Bush to reconsider the Board's action. Vote of the Board was unanimous. Coach Vickers stated that if the Board would vote to allow them to place a concrete slab there, they would be willing to sign a contract stating that they would remove the concrete, when and if they abandon the site. The slab will be 40 x 40. Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson to approve the slab being installed, providing the school board provides a written contract to remove the slab, when and if the site is ever abandoned. Vote of the Board was unanimous.

Clerk's Report (cont.):

Mr. Gilliam reported that he met with Mr. Mutch, Mr. Yozgat, and Mr. Langford, to further define certain Class A properties for special assessment purposes. The current language does not provide clear guidelines for assessing businesses located within residences. After discussion, the consensus was to charge only one assessment, the higher of the two. Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to authorize the attorney to prepare an amendment to the ordinance for further consideration. Vote of the Board was unanimous

EMA/County Coordinator's Report:

Mr. McQueen stated that he would not be able to attend the December 7th Board meeting because he must attend a building inspector's seminar, along with Mr. Luzader. Mr. Luzader has a provisional license which is good for two years. At that time, Mr. Luzader must be a certified building inspector. A certified administrator is also needed to read building plans. Mr. McQueen will be able to get certification as a plan administrator, however, Mr. Luzader must have five years experience prior to becoming a certified plan administrator.

The contract between the county and the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council has been reviewed and approved by the county attorney. This contract reflects an annual payment of $20,000. Commissioner Suggs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to approve the contract. The motion passed unanimously.

The Board must enter into an agreement with the Department of Transportation for maintenance of CR 340, between U.S. 129 and state road 47. Mr. Yozgat reviewed it and he and Mr. McQueen have some questions for Mr. Mills, the county engineer and for DOT. Mr. Yozgat prepared a resolution that would allow the chairman of the Board to enter into the agreement on behalf of the Board. The agreement requires the county to maintain the road to DOT's standards, however, Mr. Yozgat does not know what those standards are and if the county can comply with those standards. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to adopt the resolution, contingent upon the attorney's approval of the agreement with DOT. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush. Vote of the Board was unanimous. A copy of resolution 98-65 is on file in the Clerk's Office.

Mr. McQueen and Commissioner Bush attended the DOT Five Year Work Plan meeting. They expressed the Board's disappointment that CR 232 was not included in the 5 year work plan. They also thanked DOT for work they have performed in Gilchrist County. Lee Mills, county engineer is checking on repairing the worst portion of CR 232, with the hopes of being reimbursed from DOT in the future, however, it is not feasible to wait on DOT to repair the road.

Mr. McQueen met with DOT regarding the turn lanes at Lancaster Correctional and the turn lanes on CR 341 south. The project is on schedule.

Pitts Custom Glass has supplied a quote to replace the front windows in the Finance Office and the Supervisor of Elections Office to eliminate sound from outside the building. The cost was $1198 for triple glaze windows. Commissioner Bush made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Thomas to approve the purchase of triple glaze windows for both offices. Vote of the Board was unanimous.

Mr. McQueen presented an equipment lease from Ring Power, similar to those previously executed by the Board. The interest rate is 5.5% and the lease has been reviewed by the county attorney. There is a guaranteed buy back from Ring Power of $95,000. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve the lease agreement for a new Caterpillar grader for five years. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved by the Board.

Mr. McQueen met with the clerk, property appraiser, building department, and tax collector regarding some mobile homes that are on the tax rolls. According to Mr. Harrison, these mobile homes are not owned by the same people who own the property. Mr. Harrison must purge these mobile homes from the tax rolls, and if a mobile home is not picked up as real property, the owner is supposed to buy a decal from the Tax Collector. The property appraiser feels this will affect about 100 mobile homes. The mobile homes generate more revenue on the property tax side than they would on the decal side, so the county will see a decrease in revenues. It is one of Mr. Langford's responsibilities to check for decals and if the mobile home does not have a current decal, the owner is given a 10 day notice to pay the taxes, which in this case, would be a decal. If they do not pay, they are given another 10 day notice. In the past, when an owner continues to fail to purchase the decal, no enforcement action is taken. Mr. Langford could write a ticket, which is a civil penalty, costing about $50-$60. So far, no tickets have been issued. Issuing tickets could create a greater workload for the judicial system, so Judge Philman may need to be involved. Mobile home owners can be assessed for up to three years that they have failed to purchase a decal. It is recommended that the Building Department verify ownership of the mobile home, which will ensure that they will be placed on real property or not. Chairman Durden advised Mr. McQueen to bring back a policy statement for the Board's consideration for the December 7th meeting.

The Solid Waste department has begun using the belt and sorter, which requires a retaining wall to be installed for safety and security. A 44 x 72 foot concrete pad is needed for the containers. Hughes Masonry can construct the concrete pad for $3200 and the wall for $875. The Board advised Mr. McQueen to get some quotes from contractors within the county.

Commissioner Suggs stated that the containers used to collect metal materials for recycling were placed there by a company from Gainesville, that routinely picks up the metal. It is her understanding that a local resident is getting the metal from the container and the recycling company is not very happy. The Board advised Mr. McQueen to check to see if this is occurring.

Since Mr. Weaver is purchasing a new personal vehicle, which he is willing to use for county business, provided the county reimburse him milage, the truck that he has been using is no longer needed in his department. It is still under a lease/purchase agreement through Tri-County Bank. The EMS department supervisor would like to use the truck and is willing to let her department's budget fund the balance of the purchase. The truck currently being used by the EMS director has extrication equipment on it, and she leaves it at the Bell EMS station when not on duty. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to allow the EMS department to purchase the truck from EMS funds. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved.

Mr. McQueen reported that he is still waiting on the title for a GMC 4 wheel drive pick-up purchased from Pinellis County which will go to the Road Department. Chairman Durden stated that since the last meeting, when the Board decided where the five vehicles would be assigned, there have been some changes; Mr. McQueen asked Chairman Durden if the Road Department needed them and after checking with the Road Superintendent, Chairman Durden reported that they were not needed, however, he is not voting for the Transportation Department to pay for them and then have them assigned to another area. Following a lengthy discussion, Commissioner Thomas stated that the issue was decided in the previous board meeting and suggested that the Board move onto another topic. Chairman Durden advised Mr. McQueen to have his vehicle, along with all other county vehicles marked by the next meeting.

Chairman Durden advised Mr. McQueen to set up an impact fee committee meeting.

Mr. Gilliam and Mr. Yozgat reported that they are concerned about some of the "standard" language in the CDBG contract with DCA. Mr. Yozgat would like to review the contract further to determine whether the Board can make certain assurances to DCA.

Commissioner Suggs reported that she was able to obtain two fire trucks from Citrus County for no charge.

Chairman Durden distributed the county department assignments for the new year as follows:

General Government- Randy Durden

Parks, Building & Zoning- Wilbur Bush

Solid Waste & Extension Services- John Rance Thomas

EMS & Fire- Sue B. Suggs

Road Department- Fred Wilkerson

Chairman Durden agreed to be the Board's representative on the Three Rivers Regional Library Board.

Chairman Durden reported that on S. W. 2nd Place there is an existing county grade. On the south side of the grade, Jimmy Shepard owns some property. After a survey, the property line is shown to vary from the road. He would like to clear out some trees and asked if the county would move the road to meet his property, where the survey stakes are located, whenever it is cleared. There is really no benefit for the county to move the road; it would only benefit a private resident. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to take no action on the request. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas and unanimously approved.

Mr. Roy Langford spoke to Chairman Durden about the county line road. It is Chairman Durden's recommendation that the milled asphalt be removed and the road re-rocked. The county's agreement is to maintain the county line road from SR 26 south. The Board agreed to check into the cost of placing gravel on the road.

Ring Power has located a used 2 yard dragline (Northwest Model 50D) for $110,000. The Ring Power representative has checked the machine and recommends it to the Board. Mr. Gilliam would like to do a request for proposals for used draglines. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to authorize an RFP for bid opening at the January 4th meeting. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. Vote of the Board was unanimous.

Don Alexander reported that the Spring Ridge Volunteer Fire Department broke ground this week on their new addition to the fire station. He would like to know if they can tap into the fire control budget, if they run short of funds for construction. He expects the cost to be less than $20,000. The Board pointed out that the existing building and the property is titled to Spring Ridge and not Gilchrist County. Commissioner Suggs stated she would meet with Mr. Alexander to determine specific costs for construction and bring back the information to the Board.

There being no further business to discuss, Commissioner Bush made a motion to adjourn at 8:30 p.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs and unanimously approved.