The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County, Florida, convened in a regular meeting on Thursday, August 26, 1999, at 5:00 p.m., 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

Wilbur Bush

John Rance Thomas

Fred Wilkerson

Sue B. Suggs

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 Pitzraell and Cheryl Watson, Deputy Clerks, Verna Mae Eady and Frank Grant, Development Authority, Jeff Jordan

Gilchrist County Development Authority:

Mr. Frank Grant, representing the Gilchrist County Development Authority, stated they are requesting $7500 for the next fiscal year. Commissioner Suggs asked if there has been a merger of the Development Authority and Chamber of Commerce. According to Mr. Grant the Development Authority is not interested in a merger. Commissioner Wilkerson moved to approve their request as submitted. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bush. Vote of the Board was unanimous.

Budget Update:

Mr. Gilliam submitted information regarding the budget for fiscal year 99-2000. The initial carry-forward for MSTU Fire Services will not be as great as earlier anticipated. Privilege fees are no longer being received for fire services. Mr. Gilliam reported an organization, Another Way, has requested funding for next fiscal year in the amount of $1000. According to Commissioner Suggs, Another Way has served over 100 battered women and children in Gilchrist County this past year. Commissioner Suggs moved to approve their request. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas. Sheriff Turner stated that he is involved with a tri-county task force for domestic violence. According to Sheriff Turner, Another Way provides needed services to persons in this area and his department. Vote of the Board was unanimous.

Clerk's Report:

Mr. Fergurson reported that the grant funds received on the OTTED grant were not placed in an interest bearing account. The county is responsible for paying the interest back to the state that the funds would have accrued had they been placed in an interest bearing account. The amount of interest that needs to be refunded to the state is $2855.71. Commissioner Thomas moved to approve payment from the general fund reserve. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson. Mr. Ferguson added that this will close the project. The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Gilliam stated he has received a letter from Catherine McDonald for an extension of the deadline for moving the Roberts house from the county's property. The Board agreed to allow her an additional 30 days.

Mr. Gilliam reported the Sheriff has requested to transfer $2100 from each of his contingencies to the Law Enforcement budget and the Corrections budget. Commissioner Suggs made a motion to approve the transfers. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas and unanimously approved.

Mr. Gilliam presented the annual lease agreement between the county and the Department of Agriculture for the inspection station. Commissioner Wilkerson made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Suggs to approve the lease agreement. The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Gilliam spoke to the Board about the possibility of Ms. Charissa Strickland doing the minutes of the mid month meetings, as well as serving as back up for Ms. Pitzarell for the first meetings of the month. Similarly, Ms. Pitzarell could be Ms. Strickland's back up for the mid month meetings. Because the mid month meetings primarily deal with land use issues, it was suggested that Ms. Strickland serve in this capacity since she is familiar with those issues. Commissioner Suggs moved to approve the request. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas. Mr. Gilliam, Mr. McQueen and the Chairman will meet to determine a way to compensate Ms. Strickland. Vote of the Board was unanimous.

There are approximately $270,000 of FEMA funds, which the Board previously pledged to spend $200,000 on the Walker Curve project, $15,164 to pay off the old drag line, and $15,000 towards the cost of the new drag line. Doing this will leave a balance of $125,000 for the purchase of a new drag line. The Board has already agreed to finance that balance. This will leave a balance of $39,836 in FEMA funds, which can be placed into next year's budget to make the first principle payment on the new drag line. Mr. Gilliam stated that if the Board does not want to spend the FEMA funds as outlined, he needs to know before the budget is finalized. Commissioner Bush made a motion to spend the FEMA funds as outlined by Mr. Gilliam. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved.

Road Department:

Mr. Gilliam and Commissioner Wilkerson spoke to the Board about the Road Department budget for next fiscal year. During their budget meeting, two new positions were budgeted for the next fiscal year; a supervisor position and a clerical position. Mr. Gilliam feels that there needs to be an individual responsible for the paper work for that department. Commissioner Wilkerson stated that Mr. Martin also needs some additional labor positions. At one time, there were 21 positions for that department and now there is 18, including Mr. Martin. Commissioner Bush acknowledged that the clerical position is needed, however, he feels more laborers are needed. There needs to be more laborers certified to work inmate crews. Chairman Durden feels a supervisor and clerical position is needed and added that if a person were keeping track of how much money was being spent to maintain a particular road, they may find that it would be cheaper to pave the road. Currently there are no records being kept on road maintenance and equipment maintenance. Commissioner Wilkerson suggested that the funds be left in the budget but not encumbered or spent until the Board makes a decision about what is needed for the department. Commissioner Bush asked if there are enough funds budgeted to hire a supervisor and two laborers. Mr. Gilliam replied that $28,000 has been budgeted for the supervisor position and $14,000 for a clerical position, plus benefits for both positions. Commissioner Wilkerson stated that if the Board hires a supervisor, they need to be certain about what they want this position to be responsible for. Commissioner Bush stated that he feels a supervisor and more laborers are needed. Chairman Durden agreed, but added that there are some employees in that department that do not work at a desired production level. Commissioner Thomas reminded the Board that the county nearly lost several thousand dollars because the FEMA paper work was not what it should have been. Commissioner Suggs stated a job description needs to be developed before a supervisor is hired. If a clerical position is going to be hired, the new supervisor should be the person hiring the clerical position. Commissioner Wilkerson asked if the Board could fund a supervisor and some labor positions. Following discussion, the Board agreed to leave the funds in the budget and Commissioner Wilkerson will meet with Mr. McQueen to develop a job description for a supervisor position and bring it back to the September 9th meeting.

MSTU Fire Services Budget:

Mr. Gilliam submitted information to the Board showing the amount of revenue that would be generated by .5 mil, .7 mil and 1 mil. The carry-forward has been revised (decreased). Because the School Board is rolling their millage rate back a little, the increase to 1 mil in fire will not affect the property owners very much. The Board has indicated they would like to consider imposing a special assessment for fire services. Mr. Yozgat explained the definition of special assessments; they are not taxes, they are charges for services. If the study is done on fire services only, he feels it can be done in house. Commissioner Suggs moved to approve the one mil for funding fire services next fiscal year, with the understanding that it will be lowered or removed once a special assessment is in place. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas. Vote of the Board was unanimous. The Board agreed to set a workshop on special assessments during the September 9th meeting.

Commissioner Reports:

Chairman Durden stated that Susan Bryant spoke to him about placing a sign on the courthouse lawn that states "Gilchrist County Courthouse" because people unfamiliar with the courthouse do not know that this is the courthouse building; the only place that states this building is the courthouse is near the top of the building on the south side, which is not visible in other directions. Mr. McQueen will look into some prices. Ms. Bryant has also requested more electrical outlets outside for the Christmas decorations. The Sheriff spoke to the Chairman about a 500 gallon gas tank on wheels at the Road Department that he could use. According to Mr. McQueen one is a potable water tank. Chairman Durden asked Mr. McQueen to speak to the Sheriff.

Commissioner Suggs stated that the Board previously agreed to spend up to $4000 for personal breathing apparatus for the fire departments. She has found some and they cost a great deal more than $4000. She would like those funds rolled over into the next fiscal year because she does not feel they will be purchased before the end of the fiscal year. She added that two insurance companies have agreed to sponsor EVOC training.

Chamber of Commerce:

Mr. Frazier advised the Board that the Chamber is requesting $15,000 in their proposed budget. Their funding level this year is at $7500. Commissioner Suggs asked if the Development Authority is paying any of the salary for the clerical position at the Chamber office. Mr. Frazier stated the Development Authority is supposed to pay half, according to their contract. The Board asked Mr. Frazier to provide a report to the Board of the Chamber's activities. Commissioner Suggs moved to fund the Chamber at a rate of $9000 next fiscal year. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas. Vote of the Board was unanimous.

Soil & Water Conservation:

Mr. Gilliam stated that he met with Mr. Downing and over the years, their budget has been cut because they were not spending all of their funds. Their budget request for next fiscal year includes funding for a portion of a clerical position (34% of the cost). Previously, Levy County has been paying the entire amount of the clerical position. The total budget request for the Soil & Water Conservation Department is $9950 for next fiscal year. Commissioner Suggs moved to increase their budget to $3500 for next fiscal year. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Suggs submitted information to the Board from a contractor for boat ramp repairs.

Mr. Gilliam presented a resolution authorizing the purchase and financing of a dragline for $125,000 with Capital City Bank. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to accept the loan by resolution, from Capital City Bank and authorize the chairman to execute a promissory note in the amount of $125,000 in order to purchase a dragline. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved. A copy of resolution 99-38 is on file in the Clerk's Office.

The Board had previously agreed to purchase a new grader from Ring Power through their lease/purchase plan with the buy back option. Another company has contacted the finance office and they also have a buy back option, therefore, bids will be solicited for this item.

The City of Trenton is planning a retirement party for Vernon Layfield. They would like to use the pavilion at Hart Springs park on Tuesday night at 7:30 with the fee waived. Commissioner Suggs moved to adopt a resolution, declaring August 31, 1999, as Vernon Layfield Day, waive the pavilion fee and authorize the purchase of a plaque and a life time pass at Hart Springs. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and unanimously approved. A copy of resolution 99-38A is on file in the Clerk's Office.

Chairman Durden stated he and Mr. Gilliam will be attending the Trenton City Commission and Bell Town Council meetings to discuss impact fees.

Bud Riffle commended Mr. Martin, road superintendent for his crew's work on the Bossman Turner Road. According to Mr. Riffle, loggers created a problem on the road and Mr. Martin and his crew responded three times in one week to keep up with the maintenance.

Mr. Riffle stated DOT has some extra under drain (plastic pipe placed along roads and sidewalks to drain water). According to Mr. Riffle, DOT advised him that Gilchrist County could have approximately 2100 feet if they have a need for it. The Board indicated they could probably put the under drain to use.

Mr. Gilliam reported that there are four property owners that have not signed right-of-way deeds on the landfill road and Mills Engineering is working on the bid specifications.

Commissioner Suggs spoke to the Board about Rural Caucus. According to Commissioner Suggs, eight years ago, the incoming president failed to recognize the need for a Congressional Rural Caucus. There are 9 legislators in Florida interested in re-establishing a Congressional Rural Caucus. These legislators are meeting on the 30th and 31st to take testimony from rural areas across the nation. In a meeting last week, Commissioner Suggs was elected as one of four delegates to testify in support of re-establishing a Congressional Rural Caucus. Mr. Mutch had previously drafted a letter for her to take to NACo about the need for rural areas to continue in Florida and she would like the Board's approval to submit the letter as part of her testimony. Commissioner Suggs added that USDA will be paying the cost for her to travel to Washington D. C.

There being no further business to discuss, Commissioner Bush made a motion to adjourn at 7:35 p.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas and unanimously approved.