MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE GILCHRIST COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HELD APRIL 19, 1999.
The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County Florida, convened in a regular meeting at 5:00 p.m., April 19, 1999, 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:
Randy Durden, Chair
Sue B. Suggs
John Rance Thomas
Others in attendance were: Samuel A. Mutch, County Attorney, Joseph W. Gilliam, Clerk of Circuit Court, Ron McQueen, EMA/County Coordinator, Sherree Pitzarell, Deputy Clerk, Sam Ferguson, Finance Director, John Ayers, Gilchrist County Journal, Gary Martin, Wacasassa Volunteer Fire Department, Don Alexander, Ron Mills, George Cole, and Lee Schaltenbrand, Spring Ridge VFD, Herbie Brown, Doug Beach, and Grady Jones, FFA Alumni.
Public Hearing- Budget Amendments:
Mr. Gilliam stated that some funds were budgeted with a carry-forward of cash from the previous fiscal year, however, the carry forward amounts were more than what was budgeted. A public hearing is required to amend these funds for the unanticipated revenues. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion to amend general revenue fund in an increased amount of $298,812.88 by resolution. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs. Vote of the Board was unanimous. A copy of resolution 99-19 is on file in the Clerk's Office.
Commissioner Suggs made a motion to amend the MSTU fire budget by an increased amount of $23,298.13, by resolution. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. Vote of the Board was unanimous. A copy of resolution 99-20 is on file in the Clerk's Office.
Commissioner Suggs made a motion to amend the Court Facilities Trust Fund by an increased amount of $6984.02, by resolution. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved. A copy of resolution 99-21 is on file in the Clerk's Office.
Commissioner Suggs moved to amend the FEMA fund budget by an increased amount of $24,358.24, by resolution. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas. The motion passed unanimously. A copy of resolution 99-22 is on file in the Clerk's Office. Commissioner Suggs asked if all the work has been completed. Mr. Gilliam stated that the majority of the work must be complete by August.
Commissioner Suggs made a motion to amend the EMS fund budget by an increased amount of $59,180.04, by resolution. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas and unanimously approved. A copy of resolution 99-23 is on file in the Clerk's Office.
Commissioner Bush moved to amend the Solid Waste fund budget by an increased amount of $66,555.53, by resolution. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas. Vote of the Board was unanimous. A copy of resolution 99-24 is on file in the Clerk's Office.
Mr. Gilliam spoke to the Board about a SHIP recipient, Brenda Conrad, who was approved during the 94-95 fiscal year. During December 1998, Ms. Conrad spoke to Mr. Gilliam about a possible subordination. At that time, guidelines were being developed by the Board and was considering 100% of the existing SHIP and mortgage loan balance as a guideline. The Board also discussed using 80% as a guideline. Ms. Conrad has made some improvements at the home and a recent appraisal was for $86,000. She would like to refinance $65,000 and the current SHIP balance is about $9800. The combined loan balances are about 84%. Ms. Conrad's income status has changed due to a recent divorce and the refinancing would allow her to pay off some credit debts. Mr. Gilliam recommends that the subordination be approved due to the unusual circumstances. Commissioner Suggs moved to approve the subordination because at the time Ms. Conrad started the subordination process, she fell within the guidelines which existed. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. Vote of the Board was unanimous.
Mr. Mutch met with Mr. Gilliam, Mr. McQueen, and Chairman Durden earlier today to discuss impact fees and agreed that a public workshop would be helpful. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to set a workshop at 6:30 p.m. on May 3rd. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. Vote of the Board was unanimous.
The Planning & Zoning Board is in the process of discussing intensive agriculture and a recommendation should be forthcoming.
Dr. Marshall Breeze and Bea Covington, along with Dr. Carriker would like to have the names of the strategic planning committee members as soon as possible. The Board will select people from the community to serve. Commissioner Wilkerson recommends Dewayne Spears and Carol McQueen, both of whom have agreed to serve. Chairman Durden suggested Terry Parrish, Rachelle Martin, Billy Rogers, Paul Redd, Jeff Jones, Michelle Crawford, Derek Sanders, Dewayne Yates and Charlie Smith. Commissioner Thomas recommends Jeff Hayes, John Taylor, Clinton Rogers, Ron Mills, Robert Rankin and Dereck Sanders. Commissioner Bush recommends Ron St. John, John Ferguson, Brad Smith, Ray Thomas, John Ayers, Duke Lang, Mike Hayes, Jack Smith, Charles Bell, and Tommy Jones. Commissioner Suggs recommends Pat Crosby, Dewayne Yates, Howard Corbett, Hoyt Roberts, Evelyn Woods, Scott Guthrie, Mary Myers, Jim Troke, John Bischoff, and Debbie Gainey.
Mr. Mutch stated that he received a complaint about the advertising of the Nursing Home bonds. It is his opinion that the bond issue was advertised correctly.
John Landers is willing to pay the price needed for the lien placed against his subdivision.
Mr. Gilliam and Mr. Mutch stated that negotiations are continuing with the architect firm ranked in first place.
Mr. Mutch reported that he has not received notification from Ginnie Springs that they are going to appeal the decision made by the court in regards to Watson Dairy.
A number of communities have passed a state of emergency proclamation regarding wild fires. Mr. McQueen stated that FEMA has been requested to assist five counties, and Gilchrist County is included. An emergency declaration is ready to be enacted if necessary, however, he does not feel it is needed at this time. Since the 6th of this month, 14 brush fires have occurred in this county. Forestry will not issue a burn permit at this time.
Mr. Mutch reported that he met with David Kreider, state's attorney and Harvey Montgomery, chief deputy regarding the animal control ordinance. There are enforcement problems with the current ordinance. They would like some direction from the Board in regards to the level of funding available. Chairman Durden stated that the Board may not be able to determine that until the upcoming budget season.
The county's request before the Public Service Commission for extended area service has not yet been resolved. BellSouth has changed it's qualified representative to it's general counsel in Florida. Mr. Mutch will meet with the public counsel to see what can be done. Mr. Mutch disclosed a conflict of interest because he owns stock in BellSouth.
Mr. Mutch stated identification badges are needed for all county personnel. In emergency situations, some staff may not be allowed to enter an area, especially in a disaster situation, if they are not properly identified.
Road impact fees and capital facilities includes the entire county, however, Mr. Mutch suggests districts for road impact fees. Trenton, Bell and Fanning could be separate districts. The Planning and Zoning Board will have to hold two public hearings prior to the Board of County Commissioner's public hearings.
Greenways- Albert Gregory:
Mr. Gregory thanked the Board for allowing him to discuss the School Board's request for easements across the trail. The Division of Recreations & Parks will be managing the trails under a long term management lease from the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund through the Governor and Cabinet. Their lease does not authorize them to sublease any portion of the property or convey any easement across the property. This past month, they made a recommendation to the Division of State Lands, a division of DEP, which acts as the agent on behalf of the Board of Trustees, three easements across the trail for the new elementary school in Trenton. Their first recommendation was to grant two easements, however, they later learned from the School Board that three easements were needed. The Division of Recreation & Parks are in support of three easements. State Lands is ready to issue the three easements as soon as they receive the survey and legal description from the School Board. He would like to put to rest any concerns or fears that his department will unreasonably deny future requests for crossings and in the process stifle economic development. They know local governments and private landowners are going to need to cross the trail. They want to be a good neighbor, however, they can not promise every request will be approved. Mr. Gregory stated that the policies of the Board of Trustees is very confusing for these type of crossings. There are two ways of acquiring access across the trails: a crossing permit from the Division of Recreation & Parks or an easement from the Board of Trustees. Crossing requests are merely licenses to cross the trail; they do not convey to the holder of the permit any ownership interest. There is an application (with no application fee). The final authority is the director of the Division of Recreation & Parks. This is the easiest way of crossing the trail. The other way to cross the trail is an easement from the Board of Trustees. An easement conveys a legal right to cross the trail and the owner of the easement owns an interest in the property and it can not be revoked except for cause. There is a defined period of time that the easement is valid. The application is made to the Division of State Lands and the application fee is $300 (normally waived for governmental agencies). In certain cases, private landowners who have no other practical access to his property may qualify for a statutory way of necessity. In that case, there is no application fee. In those cases, they try to enter into an easement agreement with the landowner, which must be approved by the Governor and Cabinet, but it's not a long drawn out process. Other than those statutory ways of necessity, approval of an easement is a two step process. The first step is that the staff of the Division of Recreation & Parks reviews and approves the application. They will consider the impact of public recreational use of the trail, impacts of the physical surfaces of the trail (engineering), impacts to natural resources, etc. After their approval, the application is forwarded to the Division of State Lands and they will consider two policies in their review: the linear facility policy and the incompatible use policy. The linear facility policy applies to facilities such as power lines, pipe lines, telecommunication lines and public roads. The main point is to try to avoid impacting state lands where possible. Compensation is required for this type of easement (fair market value for the interest received ) and to the land manager that measure of additional money, land or services necessary to offset the actual adverse impacts reasonably expected to be caused by the construction, operation, or maintenance to the linear facility. If there are no adverse impacts, nothing is paid to the land manager. The incompatible use policy applies to all other easement requests (everything except linear facilities). Easements can be approved if the following occur: the use must be in the public interest, taking into account the environmental factors, economics, public safety and other factors; the use must not be incompatible with the purpose for which the trail was acquired and can not have an adverse impact on the public's use and enjoyment of the trail; there is no practical alternative to the proposed use that would have less adverse affect on the trail; and last, the use will provide a net positive benefit to the trail (this is negotiated between the applicant, the Division of Recreation and Parks Land Management and the Division of State Lands). There have been some very creative arrangements developed under the incompatible use policy, such as tree trimming near the trail, fishing platforms installed, etc. Crossing permits are processed within 4 to 6 weeks. Easement requests take 10 to 12 weeks.
Sheree Lancaster, private landowner, wants clarification that future easements do not have to be requested now. Mr. Gregory stated that easements can be applied for at the time they are needed. They have no interest in closing any existing easements.
Commissioner Wilkerson asked if trail users must yield to traffic on highways crossing the trail. Mr. Gregory stated that trail users must yield to all vehicular traffic.
Commissioner Suggs stated that she is concerned with the process and would like assurances from the Division of State Lands that landowners will not be prohibited from gaining access to their properties.
Mr. Mutch stated that he feels comfortable with the information submitted by Mr. Gregory.
Ms. Lancaster stated she would like the record to reflect that she and Mr. Lancaster are not opposed to the trail.
Mr. Robert Moeller reviewed some of the history behind the Nature Coast Trail, reminding the Board that easements and crossings would be an issue, regardless of who owns the property and adding that he feels the state will be cooperative.
Grady Jones spoke to the Board about their desire to expand their rodeo facilities. They are asking for an additional 140 feet on the back side of their existing property. Mr. Jones submitted a site plan of their proposed new building, stating that it will be placed in the best location in regards to drainage, property preparation and parking. Commissioner Thomas met with Mr. Jones on the site, however, the problem is not knowing at this time how much property the Road Department will need. Chairman Durden and Commissioner Bush both expressed that they are not sure how to accommodate the Alumni's request until the Road Department's needs are identified. The Board agreed to contact Parrish Land Surveying to determine the total amount of acreage available. Chairman Durden stated that he will contact them and Lee Mills to determine if the building can be located on the proposed site.
Mr. Mutch introduced Dr. Herb Platt to the Board. Dr. Platt is the vice-president of the Florida Motion Picture Corporation and may be able to assist the county. He would like to know what the Board wants in regards to a film commissioner. Because rural counties do not have sufficient funds to devote to a film commissioner, he feels a regionalized concept would be best. Dr. Platt could work on a percentage basis if the county is successful in having a film location here. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to request proposals for a film liaison consultant. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. If the county is successful at having a film location, the local businesses will benefit. Mr. Mutch stated that some communities have a fee schedule to cover the cost of use of public property. Additionally, private property owners who allow use of their property are compensated. The film liaison should be paid for out of pocket expenses. A permitting process may need to be established, which could allow the county to recoup the costs of paying the film liaison. Following discussion, Commissioner Suggs withdrew her motion and Mr. Mutch will research to determine how the county should approach this issue.
Mr. Gilliam reported that he has received three special assessment exemption requests after the March 31st deadline. In each case, the units are not livable and Mr. Langford has verified this information. Herbert West was assessed for two residences and one is not livable. Frederick W. Bloom Trustee was assessed for two units and one was burned and the other has no electric hook up. The third is Robert Finn and he was assessed for two units. One is only a cook shed (with electrical hook up). In previous years the Board has not granted exemptions after the deadline. Each of the assessments total $123.28. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to grant an exemption for the Bloom trustee only. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas. Mr. Mutch asked what the difference would be to allow the trustee to have an exemption and not the other two property owners. Following discussion, Commissioner Suggs withdrew her motion. Commissioner Suggs moved to deny exemptions to all three applications. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush. Vote of the Board was unanimous.
In regards to the sale of the Roberts property, Mr. Gilliam received a phone call from the MacDonald's bank requesting a bill of sale. Mr. Gilliam sent a draft of the bill of sale. The county has not been paid for the house yet. The Board advised Mr. McQueen to notify the MacDonald's that they are not to be going in and out of the house until they pay for it.
Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve payment of a bill from Summit in the amount of $7900. This is for the economic development project. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved.
Mr. Ferguson presented a request from the Building Department to have air conditioning installed in the second floor of the Weeks building. Two bids were received. Akins Heat and Air bid $2600 and Air Rite bid $2800 (and it's a smaller unit). This expense should be charged to other buildings. Mr. Ferguson stated that he received a bill of $2400 for replacing the compressors on the air conditioning units located on top of the jail. This work was completed without a purchase order. The Sheriff stated that he submitted a requisition to Mr. McQueen's office. Chairman Durden stated that there is confusion regarding repairs at the Sheriff's Department. Mr. Ferguson was on vacation at the time and Ms. Strickland called Mr. Akins to check out the problem, expecting to receive a quote first. However, Mr. Akins replaced the compressor. Chairman Durden stated that he will not sign a purchase order or invoice over $2000 because it requires full board approval. He will be meeting with Mr. McQueen and the Sheriff to discuss repair procedures. Mr. Ferguson reported that there is currently $11,200 in repair and maintenance of other buildings and the total of the above items is $5000. Mr. Ferguson recommends that these bills be paid from general fund reserve. Commissioner Wilkerson moved to approve payment of the bill and new unit for the Weeks building from general fund reserve. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Suggs and unanimously approved.
Mr. Ferguson reported that EMS has a county wide awards grant for $3000 and Ms. Walker would like to purchase an automatic external defibulator. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve the purchase. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush. Vote of the Board was unanimous.
Mr. Ferguson received a request from the Sheriff for the Board to pay inmate medical expenses totaling $35,700. The Sheriff's inmate medical insurance coverage will reimburse the county for the expense, minus the $5000 deductible. This particular inmate suffered a heart attack while incarcerated. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion to approve payment of the bill from the general revenue reserve. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush. Vote of the Board was unanimous.
Mr. Ferguson spoke to the Board about their previous action to purchase dumpsters for the Solid Waste Department, declaring the vendor as a sole source. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to request proposals for the dumpster/recycle trailer. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Bush met with Mr. Sifferlin and Mr. McQueen to determine a three month camping fee rate. His proposal is to charge $175 per month for three months in advance. The current camping fee and his proposed fee is for 6 people in each camp site. There is a $2 per person fee for each additional person. There would be ten designated sites. There are currently 45 sites and they hope to have about 55 by this summer, according to Mr. Sifferlin. Of the 45 sites 43 have water and electric. Following discussion, Commissioner Bush made a motion to charge $175 per month for camping, for a minium and a maximum of three months, paid in advance, plus $2 per person per day over the 6 included in the camp group, for a designated 10 camp sites. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Bush and Mr. Sifferlin spoke to the Board about establishing another enclosed pavilion building. The current building stays booked all summer for family reunions and there is a need for another building. Mr. Sifferlin distributed information on a portable building, which can be erected in two days and dismantled when needed (when the park is flooded). The total cost for the building alone is $12,485, plus $860 for shipping. A 2 x 8 frame platform and deck extending eight feet beyond each side of the building would cost approximately $3055. A 3 ½ ton AC unit will cost approximately $3500. The building would be approximately 800 square feet. Mr. Sifferlin stated that the current fees charged for pavilion rentals needs to be raised. Following discussion, Commissioner Suggs moved to request proposals for a portable building. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. Vote of the Board was unanimous. In regards to raising the rates for pavilion rental, Chairman Durden suggested that Mr. Sifferlin and Commissioner Bush get together and bring a proposal back to the Board.
Commissioner Suggs reported that she and Mr. McQueen, Mr. Schaltenbrand, and Mr. Martin went to Emergency One and Southern Coach to look at fire trucks. There are four or five trucks from Orange County for sale through Southern Coach. Southern Coach assured these truck would draft and the price has been lowered from $38,000 to $35,000 each, if three or more are purchased. Commissioner Suggs feels she may be able to get them to lower the price even more. She spoke to Mr. Ferguson, finance director, about financing the cost of the vehicles. Southern Coach is willing to service the trucks and make any repairs needed before the trucks are sold. Each of the trucks are 1983 models. Mr. Gilliam stated that there are no class A pumpers working properly within the county fire departments. According to Mr. Ferguson, there is about $140,000 in the district wide fire budget. Mr. Ferguson recommends that the county pay $25,000 down and finance the balance at 5.27 % for five years. The town of Bell may be interested in purchasing a truck at the county's price. They could repay the county from their annual budget allocation. Following discussion, Commissioner Suggs moved to purchase 3-4 trucks if they are all in good condition, paying $25,000 down and financing the balance over five years, extending the opportunity to the town of Bell to purchase trucks at the county's price. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. Vote of the Board was unanimous. There followed discussion about whether or not the Board should bid for these trucks. Mr. Ferguson stated that it is his understanding that because this is used equipment, the bid requirement does not apply.
Commissioner Wilkerson and Mr. McQueen spoke to the Board about the Road Department's communications needs. That department, along with the Solid Waste, Building and Parks departments are using the same channel. MTS recommends a PL tone, which means if you don't have the tone in your radio, you don't hear what the other departments are saying. This is also recommended for the Sheriff's Department. The cost would be approximately $525 for the equipment, plus a programming fee for each radio ($12-$18 per radio). Essentially, this will split one channel into four. A red light will indicate when the radio is being used and you can't use the radio until the light goes off. Commissioner Suggs moved to approve the purchase. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas and unanimously approved.
Mr. Howard Corbit, Save Our Suwannee, spoke to the Board about the proposed cement plant in Suwannee County. Currently, there is a law suit pending by the residents opposed to the cement plant. It is their contention that the Suwannee County land use plan does not allow this type of industry on agricultural lands.
Chairman Durden reported that he received a letter from DOT stating that the speed limit on state road 26 near Hardee's will change to 45 m.p.h.
Chairman Durden stated that appraisal were completed on the Walker curve property and the current Road Department site (land only). The Road Department property is appraised at $44,500 and the Walker curve is appraised at $25,000. He added that he spoke to the Sheriff and it is his opinion that if a trade of property occurs the Sheriff should make up the difference.
Mr. Gilliam stated that at the last meeting, the Board agreed to allow part time employees to accrue sick and annual leave at a reduced rate (50%). The Board did not specify an effective date. The Board advised Mr. Gilliam that the effective date would be the date of action.
Commissioner Thomas stated that Spring Ridge VFD would like to lease the fire station to the county and submitted a draft to Board members. The proposed draft is a five year lease. Commissioner Thomas would like a lease for 25 years or more.
Mr. McQueen stated that he contacted M. D. Moody in regards to a dragline. The rental rate is $7500 per month and $2000 each way for freight. They will allow 160 hours use per month. If the Board rents the machine for 2 months, the rental price paid will be applied to the purchase price if the Board would like to buy it. They can deliver it next week and will provide an operator to demonstrate the use.
Chairman Durden stated that the Sheriff spoke to him about a letter received from Washington in regards to the Walker curve property. It is the Sheriff's understanding that the land can not be sold or donated because of the way it was purchased. Mr. Mutch will provide a written interpretation at the next meeting.
School to work day is coming up next week and Mr. McQueen would like to know if the Board has a problem with some employees bringing their children to work. The Board indicated they had no problem.
Mr. McQueen submitted a modification to the local mitigation strategy plan, extending the deadline for completion by three months. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve the modification. Commissioner Thomas seconded by motion. Vote of the Board was unanimous.
Commissioner Suggs made a motion to adjourn. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas and unanimously approved.
RANDY DURDEN, CHAIR
JOSEPH W. GILLIAM, CLERK