The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, convened in a regular meeting on Monday, July 19, 1999, at 4:30 p.m., in the County Commissioner's Meeting Room, located in the Gilchrist County Courthouse, 112 South Main Street, with the following members present to-wit:

Randy Durden, Chair

Wilbur Bush

Sue B. Suggs

Fred Wilkerson

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, Sam Ferguson, Finance Director, Dennis Edwards, Gilchrist County Journal, Kelly Mims, Gilchrist County Sheriff's Department.

Doug Starr- Mental Health Services:

Dr. Starr spoke to the Board about the services provided to Gilchrist County residents. Dr. Starr reviewed the number of clients served and the types of services they receive. The total cost of these services for 11 months is $646,000. Two hundred and fifty-three adults and 99 children received services during that 11 month period of time. The state of Florida is ranked near the bottom nationally in regards to funding for mental health services. They have not asked for a budget increase for several years, however, they would like the Board to consider an increase for next fiscal year.

Senator Mitchell:

The Senator spoke to the Board about some of the funding issues faced by the legislature last session. The reason he is here is to discuss how requests will be handled in the future. The Governor has set up criteria that he would like the legislators to follow. He would like the Board to think about issues and concerns for the next session and send that information to him soon. The Board expressed that the repair of county road 232 is a top priority and it was placed on the DOT five year work plan for several years, however, DOT has not listed it. Senator Mitchell asked if this road was placed on the Small County Road Assistance Program. The Board advised him that they have placed it as their number one priority. Ms. Gilliam spoke to Senator Mitchell about the court order to address the ADA and safety issues for the courthouse. Senator Mitchell advised Mr. Gilliam to request the total amount needed for the project. Senator Mitchell stated that he has asked EMS directors in his district to attend a meeting in Live Oak on the 21st of this month. There are federal funds available for rural counties, which must be spent by October 21st for equipment, facilities and training (in the form of grants and low interest loans). Mr. Gilliam asked Senator Mitchell if there is any movement in the legislature to require insurance on personal water craft. The Senator replied that he is not aware of any such legislation.

Public Hearing- CPA 99-02:

Chairman Durden reminded those present that this public hearing was continued from the July 6th Board meeting. The first issue is a Comprehensive Plan change for 5.61 acres from A-2 to Commercial. This is a legislative hearing. The second issue is a Land Development Regulation amendment to change the zoning from A-2 to C-1 or C-2. Because these two issues are inter-related, the Mowrey's (who are the applicants) could agree that both items be heard together (CPA 99-02 is a legislative issue and LDR 99-02 is quasi-judicial). CPA 99-02 must occur first and if not approved, LDR 99-02 would not need to be approved. The Planning and Zoning Board recommended approval of CPA 99-02 and denial of LDR 99-02. The concurrency assessment does not find any adverse affects. Mr. Mark Feather, attorney representing the Mowreys stated that he has no objection to holding an informal hearing. Mr. Jeffrey Wolfe, pastor of the Nazarene Church will be the representative for the church's interest and Mr. H. Michael Klineman will represent citizens in the area that are opposed to the proposed changes. Mr. Mutch explained that the petitioner's competent substantial evidence must prove they meet the requirements of the comprehensive plan.

Mr. Feather presented an ariel photograph from the Property Appraiser's office, of the proposed zoning change area, showing a depth of 954 feet from state road 26 to the current C-1 zoning. This photo was entered as petitioner's exhibit # 1. Mr. Feather entered map number 45B, exhibit 2, which is an ariel of the adjoining property. According to Mr. Feather, S. W. 25th Avenue is next to the subject property, which is located next to other commercial property. Additionally, there is a buffer of trees dividing the subject property and the church's property. Mr. Feather submitted a color rendition zoning map from the property appraiser's office, exhibit # 3. Mr. Feather submitted exhibit # 4, the official zoning map. The property across the street (state road 26 is zoned industrial) and is twice as deep as the subject property. Mr. Feather asked if he could question Mr. Hendrix, former owner of the subject property about the former classification of the property (the subject property was formerly classified as commercial). When the commercial use of the property ceased, the property reverted back to it's original agriculture classification. Commissioner Suggs moved to allow the testimony. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. Vote of the Board was unanimous. Mr. Dan Hendrix testified that he owned the property in February 1990, operating a real estate license and mobile home sales office. Mr. Hendrix further testified that the church purchased their property during the time that the subject property was previously zoned commercial. Ms. Jean Troke, realtor, testified that the property was zoned commercial when she sold the property to the McNally's in September 1991. Mr. McQueen testified that the property was zoned commercial when the comprehensive plan was adopted. When the use of commercial ceased, it lost the vested right as commercial and reverted back to agriculture. Mr. Feather feels that the Board has an opportunity to expand it's tax base with the zoning change.

Mr. Wolfe stated that he realizes there are other commercial uses in the area, but feels that the county used existing roads as boundaries. They purchased the property for the church in 1987 and began loan documents to build a church in 1988. Mr. Feather objects to Mr. Wolfe's testimony stating that it is speculation. Mr. Cloud Haley, testified that the church construction began in late 1988 and 1989.

Mr. Feather presented his closing argument, as well as Mr. Wolfe. Mr. Feather contends that the subject property is located in the prime area of the county for this type of use. Mr. Wolfe contends that the zoning change could also allow other types of businesses in the future which may not be compatible with the residences. Traffic congestion may be a problem. Mr. Klineman feels that the proposed change is not compatible with the surrounding uses.

Following discussion, Commissioner Wilkerson moved to approve CPA 99-02, upon recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Board, changing the use from agricultural to commercial. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush. The motion passed by majority vote as follows:

Wilkerson- yes

Bush- yes

Thomas- no

Suggs- no

Durden- yes

Commissioner Suggs moved to deny the commercial intensive classification (LDR 99-02), stating that there was not enough evidence presented to justify the change. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas. Vote of the Board was unanimous to deny the commercial intensive zoning classification.

The comprehensive plan change will go DCA for approval. The issue of zoning is clear in regards to commercial intensive. The owner may apply for a lower commercial type use. The owner may apply for general or neighborhood commercial at anytime. They must wait until 6 months before applying for another commercial intensive classification.

Public Hearing- CPA 99-03 School Board:

This is an application to amend the comprehensive plan to change 35.5 acres from industrial zoning to public for the construction of a new elementary school. This application must be submitted to DCA for review and comments. It will then come back to the Board for a second and final public hearing. Commissioner Bush moved to approve the application and transmit same to DCA. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas and unanimously approved.

Designated Swimming Areas:

Mr. Mutch submitted a proposed ordinance for the Board's review. Mr. Mutch spoke to representatives from the Game & Freshwater Fish Commission, who directed him to the Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of State Lands. It is unclear whether or not the county has the ability to govern over sovereign lands, which in this case is the water. The county does have the ability to designate idle speed/no wake zones, providing DEP is given a hold harmless agreement by the county. Blue Springs does not own the boil or spring run because they are sovereign lands, and whether or not the county can exclude these areas is unclear. Mr. Mutch needs a definitive answer from the state. According to the Blue Springs manager, Captain Al Richards is the appropriate person to contact to get a determination as to the county's authority on this issue. There followed discussion regarding the county's liability if a hold harmless agreement has to be executed. The Board directed Mr. Mutch to call Captain Richards to get an opinion as to the county's authority.

Becky Sanford:

Ms. Sanford, represents the Suwannee River Cruisers and they are requesting the Board to designate a section of the Suwannee River as an idle speed/no wake zone. The area would be 1/3 mile from the bridge at highway 19 to the marina, from the beginning of Memorial Day weekend to the end of Labor Day weekend on weekends and holidays. Toby Weeks stated Game and Fish could enforce it during that time. The Board would like to know the liability issue. Mr. Mutch stated that it may be more appropriate for the Board to petition the legislature to place regulations on the rivers, holding the counties harmless whenever they designate an idle speed/no wake zone. Mr. Mutch will prepare a resolution which can be presented to the legislature.

Attorney's Report:

Mr. Mutch reported that the Planning and Zoning Board will be considering impact fees this Thursday evening.

A motion to dismiss was filed today on the Ginnie Springs issue. A hearing has been tentatively scheduled for September 13th.

Mr. Mutch met with two firemen from Spring Ridge VFD to review the terms of the proposed lease.

Mr. Mutch stated that he has not ordered a survey of the county line road. Commissioner Suggs stated that there is one property owner remaining that she needs to speak to about right-of-way.

A total of $1354.75 has been returned to the Board for reimbursement of Mr. Mutch's time spent on the Tri-County Nursing Home bond issue.

Mr. Mutch received a call from Deputy Mims regarding lost or abandoned property. The Sheriff has requested Mr. Mutch to get a title for an abandoned vehicle. This should be a Sheriff's expense.

The Summit contracts have been reviewed and revised for the Neighborhood Revitalization grant and are ready for execution. Commissioner Suggs moved to approve the contracts for engineering and administration. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush and unanimously approved.

Clerk's report:

Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve the minutes of the meeting held April 27th. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved.

Mr. Gilliam has met with most of the departments in regards to their budget requests for the next fiscal year and some cuts have been made. Mr. Gilliam reminded the Board that a decision needs to be made about the drag line currently being leased by the county. The two months lease will expire before the next Board meeting. There will be approximately $313,800 in FEMA funds. Of that amount, $10,000 has been designated for administration and $46,958 has been reserved for a paving project. Approximately $256,000 will be available to fund the purchase of a drag line or paving on CR 232. Mr. Gilliam asked the Board for some direction. It will take approximately $150,000 to pay off the drag line if the Board wants to purchase it. Chairman Durden suggests that the Board use $200,000 for the Walker Curve project. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to allocate $200,000 of the FEMA funds to construct a new road department facility and purchase the drag line, paying the cost down to $125,000 with FEMA funds, financing the balance for five years, pledging impact fees for repayment. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. Vote of the Board was unanimous.

Mr. Ferguson presented a purchase order for the repair of two septic tanks (at Osteen's voting precinct and Water's Lake). The estimate is $550 for each from Smith's Septic Tanks. Commissioner Bush made a motion to approve the purchase order. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Suggs reported that Summit needs to know if the Board wants them to resubmit a FERDAP grant application for Water's Lake Park. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to authorize Summit to submit an application for the next funding cycle. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved.

Mr. Ferguson presented a budget adjustment for the Building Department, to move funds to allow for the purchase of a new vehicle. Mr. Luzader has found $9990 in their budget that can be used towards the cost of a new vehicle. Commissioner Wilkerson moved to approve budget entry 99086. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush and unanimously approved. Mr. Luzader found a 1999 GMC extended cab four wheel drive pick up for $19,095. A 1999 Ford Ranger similar truck can be purchased for about the same price. These prices are lower than the state bid price for the same vehicles. Upon further discussion, it was determined that the state bid prices Mr. Luzader was looking at was for the Sheriff's Association.

EMA/County Coordinator's Report:

Mr. McQueen submitted the county's Emergency Management Plan for review.

Only one bid was received for the construction of turn lanes at the Overstreet Mulch business on state road 26. Whitehurst Construction submitted a bid of $171,645.82. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion to approve the bid. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush and unanimously approved.

The Florida Counties Foundation is providing a class on ethics for county commissioners and will count towards certification.

The first meeting of the Work Place Safety Committee was held last week and they will be submitting a safety plan for the Board's approval soon.

Mr. Ferguson provided some prices from the state contract for vehicles. Following discussion, Commissioner Wilkerson moved to approve the purchase of a vehicle, not on state bid because the price from Wade Raulerson, at $19,950 is less. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush. The motion passed by a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Suggs casting the vote in opposition to the motion.

Mr. Ferguson reported that there are not enough grant funds to complete the CR 340 project. There are outstanding invoices from Mills Engineering and Whitehurst Construction. Mr. Ferguson suggests that funds be borrowed from general revenue. Once the grant reimbursement is received, general revenue will be repaid. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion to authorize the transfer of up to $71,000 from general revenue fund to the OTTED capital outlay fund. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas and unanimously approved. Mr. Ferguson added that funds will be drawn from general revenue as needed, rather than transferring the entire amount.

Commissioner Suggs reported that the tanks on the personal breathing apparatus for the fire departments need to be replaced because they are expiring and cannot be replaced. These apparatus can not be serviced after the 15 year expiration date (30 units were purchase five years ago for $3000). The cost will be about $4000 to purchase new ones. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve the purchase of personal breathing apparatus (30 units) for approximately $4000 from the district-wide budget. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved.

There being no further business to discuss, Commissioner Thomas made a motion to adjourn at 9:00 p.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved.