The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County Florida, convened in a regular meeting on Monday, February 5, 2001, at 9:00 a.m. in the School Board Meeting Room, located at 310 NW 11th Avenue, Trenton, Florida, with the following members present to-wit:


Commissioner Randy Durden, Chairman

Commissioner Wilbur Bush

Commissioner Sue B. Suggs

Commissioner John Thomas



Absent: Commissioner Wilkerson


Others in attendance were:   Joseph W. Gilliam, Clerk of Court, Sam Mutch, County Attorney, Sam Ferguson, Director of Finance, Sherree Pitzarell, Deputy Clerk, Karen Heaton, Deputy Clerk, Ron McQueen, EMA/County Coordinator, Sarah Collis, Maggie Labarta, Rick Weder, Gary Martin, Sheriff David Turner, Allen Luzader, Valerie Anderson, Charissa Strickland, Marvin Weaver.



Call to Order:


Chairman Durden called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.  Commissioner Thomas led the invocation.


Agenda Changes:



Consent Agenda:


C-1  Approval of Budget Entry’s:


a.          BE1-049, Transfers within the Capital Projects Fund (301) for Courthouse Renovations. ( $297,822.00)


2.                  BE1-050, General Fund (001)/Hart Springs, transfer from Interest to pay off Principal. Final Payment. ($593.00)


3.                  BE1-051, Fire District Trust Fund (122), transfer of funds to Southeast Gilchrist VFD.   ($1,549.77) and Fire Control ($6,800).


4.                  BE1-052, General Fund (001), transfers funds as follows; Supervisor of Elections, Attorney fees ($4,792.85), Visioning Committee ($400.00), Correction of interest on prime on Roberts property ($1,215.57). 


C-2      Approval of Bills


C-3      Approval of Proclamation declaring February 25 – March 3, 2001 to be “Hazardous Materials Spill Prevention Week.”


C-4      Approval of request to add Robert H. Fishback, Jr. to the conflict attorney list.


Motion by Commissioner Suggs, second by Commissioner Bush, to approve the Consent Agenda.  The motion carried unanimously.



Attorney’s Report:


Southeast Gilchrist VFD - Mr. Mutch reported that the Southeast Gilchrist VFD held their election on Saturday, February 3rd.  Commissioner Thomas also commented on the election.  It was noted by the Chairman that they are seeking their own liability insurance.


Mr. Mutch reported that he sent a letter to the Sheriff regarding the dispatch of fire emergency calls in the Southeast area of the County.  The letter was sent at the direction of the Board after it was reported that dispatch was still calling out the Waccasassa VFD.  (1/128)


Code Enforcement and Planning Policies - Mr. Mutch stated that they have reviewed the program provided by the software company on code enforcement.  The Building Department does not recommend purchasing the program as it is a DOS based program and not compatible with the current system in use.  (1/219)


Complaint submitted by Rick Weder - Mr. Mutch discussed with the Board, the complaint submitted by Mr. Weder.  Mr. Weder stated in his letter that allegations had been made against him by a County employee regarding suspicious fires in the Southeast Area.  (1/244)


Fowler vs. Watson- The “roads-driveway closing” will be scheduled for the February 19, 2001 meeting.  (1/290)


Fire Special Assessments-  Mr. Mutch asked for partial services from Nabors, Giblen & Nickerson, however, they will not split their services.  The fee may be paid in two fiscal years.  This proposal does not include any legal defense if the County is challenged.  They indicated that they would be willing to combine EMS with Fire for the same amount.  Mr. Mutch stated that the issue of combining EMS and Fire special assessments is currently before the Florida Supreme Court and the ruling is not expected until July 2001.  If the ruling is favorable, the Board may want to consider a combination assessment.  Commissioner Suggs stated that the Florida Association of Counties is following this issue closely because it will affect 56 Florida Counties.  Mr. Mutch stated the Board needs a defendable methodology.  The University staff may be able to assist in that regard, as well as other counties who have already established a methodology. The Board scheduled a workshop on the 19th at 4:00 p.m to discuss fire special assessments. (1/298)


Resolution / Purchase of Motor Grader - Mr. Mutch presented a resolution authorizing a loan in the amount of $100,000 from Capital City Bank for the purchase of the John Deere Motor Grader. Motion by Commissioner Thomas, seconded by Commissioner Bush, to adopt the resolution authorizing the borrowing of $100,000 from Capital City Bank for the purchase of a John Deere 670C motor grader.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/562) (A copy of  resolution 01-10 is attached and made part of these minutes.)


Special Public Defender contracts- Contracts have been received from Ms. Candace Bower, Ms. Diane See and Mr. Tom Jorwarski.  The fees have been negotiated and determined to be $425 for criminal cases, $575 for dependency cases.  Additional fees will be paid for dependency mediation, $50 per hour with a maximum of $300.  Up to $500 will be paid for each civil dependency case extending into a second year. If there is a dependency case which continues and a termination of parental rights case is filed against a parent, the attorney will be permitted to withdraw and then be reappointed by the Court.     In cases which are of unusual length or complexity, the attorney may make application to the Court for a fee of $50 per hour.  The attorney’s have agreed to accept these fees for a period of three years and a half years.  Each agreed to take 20 criminal and 20 dependency cases per year.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Bush, to approve the Special Public Defender contracts and authorize the Chairman to execute the same.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/619)


Public Hearing- Pasco County Health Facilities:


Mr. Jack McWilliams addressed the Board in regards to the proposed resolution.  Mr. McWilliams is with the law firm, Livermore, Freedman & McWilliams.  This firm represents the Pasco County Health Facilities Authority.   The Pasco County Health Facility Authority has authorized the issuance of Mortgage Revenue Bonds, not to exceed  $34,000,000.  The purpose of the Bond issue is to finance or refinance indebtedness of six (6) nursing homes owned by Care Foundation of America. Three of these nursing homes are in Pasco County, with the others located in Gilchrist County (Ayers Health and Rehabilitative Center), Hernando County and Citrus County.  The Interlocal Agreement included in the resolution, permits the Pasco County Health Facilities Authority to exercise its financing abilities in Gilchrist County, subject to approval by the Board of County Commissioners and the holding of a public hearing. 


Mr. Denvestin, from Care Foundation, spoke to the Board about the refinancing and stated that the bonds will be highly rated and the interest rate will be the most competitive in the market place.  Approximately 7.2 million dollars will be the maximum attributed to the Ayers facility.  Mr. Ralph Cellon stated that his company will be involved in the bond financing.  Mr. Mutch explained that the County will not be repaying any of the bond with County funds.  The funds for repayment will be paid from the revenues of the nursing home. 


Motion by Commissioner Bush, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to approve the resolution.  The motion carried unanimously.   (1/800) (A copy of the resolution 01-09  is attached and made part of these minutes.)


Public Hearing- Bay County Housing Authority:


Mr. Ralph Cellon, with Morgan Keegan, spoke to the Board in regards to the resolution before them approving a joint program with the Housing Finance Authority of Bay County, Florida. The resolution includes an Interlocal agreement with the Bay County Housing Authority for the issuance of revenue bonds.  Mr. Cellon explained that this resolution was approved on November 6, 2001, however, to comply with the advertising requirements it was necessary to advertise again two weeks prior to a public hearing.


Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to approve the resolution.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/1520)  (A copy of the resolution 01-08 is attached and made part of these minutes.)





Road Department:


Mr. Nathan Martin spoke to the Board, stating that they should have another person working a grader in Mr. Cannon’s district.  They are waiting on the delivery of the new grader. Mr. Martin reported that 228


loads of rock was distributed throughout the County in January.  Chairman Durden reminded Mr. Martin that speed limit signs need to be replaced on CR 340 since the resurfacing project is near completion. 


Commissioner Suggs stated that the quote to the City of Trenton for the use of the County’s grader work at $100 per hour is too high.  After discussion, the Board directed Commissioner Suggs to contact the City and negotiate a rate for this service.  It was suggested that the rate at least include the cost of the employees overtime and the cost of fuel.


Commissioner Thomas pointed out that more trucks are needed prior to hauling asphalt to the Spring Ridge project. Commissioner Suggs stated she should know the prices of some surplus trucks later today. The Board indicated they were interested in the surplus trucks from Pinellas County.


Commissioner Bush mentioned that Loncala will be cleaning up some property and has requested  the  tipping fees be waived.  Commissioner Bush went out to the site which is being used as a duping ground from unknown sources. The Board agreed to provide them a container, however, they will have to pay the tipping fees involved.  (1/1673)


Clerk’s Report:


SHIP Loan / Scott Allen - Mr. Gilliam presented a SHIP Loan application for Mr. Scott Allen. The loan is with Capital City Bank in the amount of $65,000 for new construction.   Mr. Allen qualifies for the moderate income category ($10,000).  The SHIP Loan Review Committee recommends approval.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to approve the SHIP Loan for Mr. Scott Allen.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/2600)


SHIP Loan / Lorene Hogan - A SHIP Loan was approved for Ms. Lorene Hogan for the moderate income category.  Mr. Gilliam explained that Ms. Hogan had been ill for a period of time and unable to proceed with the purchase of the home and after 120 days it was necessary to re-certify her income.  After the re-certification, it was determined that Ms. Hogan now qualifies for the low income category ($17,500).  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, second by Commissioner Bush, to approve the re-certification for Ms. Lorene Hogan.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/2638)


Special Assessment Request - Mr. Gilliam spoke to the Board about a request received from Mr. Ray Fitzgerald and his sister Vickey Carney.  They had inherited their fathers property which had special assessment liens placed on it.  They are willing to pay the assessments but request the interest on the assessments be waived.  Ms. Carney contends that they did not know about the assessments when the estate was in probate.  The interest totals $1,005.84.  The Board discussed the request and Mr. Mutch explained that these assessments were in the Official Records and should have been brought out during probate proceedings.  Motion by Commissioner Bush, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to deny the request to waive the interest.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/2698)






Courthouse Renovations / Invoices -   Mr. Gilliam presented the following invoices for approval:







Invoice #








Architects Design Group, (ADG)






Redesign sanitary piping.

Redesign fire stair foundation.




Perry-Parrish, Inc. (P.P.I.)






Balance remaining to complete, $431,428.54




Perry-Parrish, Inc.


Change Order #1




*Remove direct purchase items.  Paid direct by County. $3,930.25, Sales Tax savings added to Contingency/Retainage.


Motion by Commissioner Thomas, seconded by Commissioner Suggs, to approve payment of invoice #7 from Architects Design Group in the amount of $3,046.  The motion carried unanimously. 


Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to approve payment of invoice #5 from Perry-Parrish, Inc. in the amount of $73,146.42.  The motion carried unanimously. 


Motion by Commissioner Bush, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to approve payment to Perry-Parrish, Inc. for Change Order #1 in the amount of $70,804.10.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/3080)


Courthouse Renovations / Update - Mr. Gilliam reported that most of the sprinkler system has been installed upstairs, the sheet rock has been hung and painted.  The work downstairs is scheduled to begin in April.  The Tax Collector’s office will be temporarily relocated to the Property Appraiser’s office, the Supervisor of Elections’ office will be relocated to the mapping room (the old BOCC meeting room) and the finance staff will be moved to the Judge’s office.  (1/3278)


SHIP Program / Maximum Allowable Cost - Due to the current prices of land and housing, the SHIP Loan Review Committee has recommended the maximum purchase price be increased from $65,000 to $75,000.  The Board scheduled a public hearing for the February 19th meeting to consider a resolution to establish the maximum cost per housing unit at $75,000.  (1/3278)


 SHIP Loan Foreclosure - A letter was received from Gregory Beauchamp, attorney for Capital City Bank in regards to a SHIP Loan foreclosure on Kimberly Seig’s property.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to authorize the County Attorney to contact Capital City Bank and Gregory Beauchamp to negotiate the County’s position in this foreclosure.  The motion carried unanimously. (1/3571)


Sheriff’s Office / Medical Bills - Mr. Sam Ferguson presented bills on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office to pay medical/hospital expenses for an inmate, totaling $28,325.61.  These expenses will be covered under the catastrophic inmate medical insurance and reimbursable less the $5,000 deductible.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to approve payment.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/3700)


County Coordinator’s Report:


Division of Forestry Department - Mr. Ron McQueen submitted a report from the Forestry Department.  Mr. McQueen recommended the State of Emergency be extended another seven (7) days.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to extend the State of Emergency status for the threat of wildfire.  The motion carried unanimously.  (2/024)


Building Department Report - Mr. McQueen submitted the Building Department Report for the month of January.  The report indicates a total of 41 permits.  Commissioner Suggs informed the Board that the Building Department’s truck, used by Allen Luzader, has broke down.  Considering this vehicle has 472,000 miles on it, Commissioner Suggs recommends obtaining a surplus vehicle from Pinealls County.  Mr. Luzader will be using his personal vehicle and will need to be reimbursed for mileage.  Commissioner Bush will look into having the transmission repaired.  (2/082)


DOT / SW 70th Ave. - The agreement for SW 70th Avenue from CR 337 to SR 26 is still pending.  The cost will be approximately 30% more than the landfill road.  A specific amount cannot be obtained until the survey  has been completed.  Executing the contract with DOT will not obligate the County at this time.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to execute the contract.  The motion carried unanimously.  (2/261)


Landfill / Well Testing -  Ms. Avery reported that two wells have tested bad at the landfill.  DEP has notified Lee Mills, County Engineer, of these tests.  Considering the permit will be renewed this year, more extensive testing will need to be done.  (2/358)


Alachua County / Animal Control Services - Alachua County has contacted Mr. McQueen in regards to an interlocal agreement to share animal control services.  They are offering the use of their facility and a truck if Gilchrist County adopts a similar ordinance as Alachua County.  (The Board took no action.) (2/392)


Mid-Month Meeting in March:


Commissioner Suggs advised the Board that she and Sam Mutch will be attending the NACo Conference on March 5th which is in conflict with the first scheduled BOCC meeting that date.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to reschedule the regular scheduled meeting on March 5th  to March 12, 2001. The Board agreed to schedule this meeting at 1:00 p.m. The motion carried unanimously.  (2/478)


Gilchrist County Visioning Committee:


Chairman Durden commented that the Visioning Event held on January 27, 2001 was a success.  The Board discussed the  event and commended the work done and the citizens participation.  The Committee will be submitting their final report at the first meeting in March.  (2/548)


Meridian Behavioral Health: 


Ms. Maggie Labarta, Meridian Behavioral Health, Inc. came before the Board to discuss their programs.  She stated that the Legislature is currently proposing to require the counties to fund the mental health programs. Meridian Behavioral Health, Inc. serves ten (10) counties, most of which are rural, therefore it would be difficult to fund the programs as larger counties may do.  (2/600)


County Coordinator’s Report (cont.):


DCA / Hazardous Analysis Agreement - The Department of Community Affairs has submitted a modification to the Hazardous Analysis Agreement (#01CP-11-03-31-22-014) for approval and execution.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to approve and authorize Chairman Durden to execute the Hazardous Analysis Agreement modification.  The motion carried unanimously.  (2/806)


DCA / Hazard Mitigation Grant - The Department of Community Affairs has approved the obligation of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds for the purchase of shutters for the buildings the County submitted as ‘emergency shelters’ (at Trenton High School and Bell High School).  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Bush, to approve the contract.  The motion carried unanimously.  (2/836)


Hart Springs - Mr. McQueen and Commissioner Suggs met with DCA last week in regards to Hart Springs.  The County is expected to receive more funding from the State (for the statewide match) for the County’s portion of the match.  Mr. McQueen recommends that the funds received for the disaster match be used for the Hart Springs match.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to use the disaster funds as a match for the Hart Springs project.  The motion carried unanimously.  (2/907)


Letter from David MacKay - Chairman Durden referred Mr. McQueen to the letter from David MacKay and pointed out that Mr. MacKay intends to proceed with an application for a land use change and zoning change in order to locate a transfer station and ultimately a bottling plant.  The three (3) year plan outlined in the special exception coming before the Board in March does not include the construction of a bottling plant.  Mr. McQueen affirmed that this would be an additional application for special exception that would be required to go before the Planning and Zoning Board before going to the Board of County Commissioners.  (2/957)


Commissioner’s Reports:


Commissioner Suggs reported that she met with Phil Chauncey at Hart Springs last week.  They have drafted the conceptual plan for the FRDAP application.  Commissioner Suggs also discussed the recently acquired Lindsey property for Hart Springs. (2/1140)


Commissioner Thomas reported that he had attended a meeting at the Southeast Gilchrist VFD in which they elected their Board of directors.


Commissioner Thomas has received complaints concerning the boat ramp at SR 47.  The Board discussed the condition of the park.  Commissioner Suggs will contact Mr. Philman to remove the debris from the broken tables and to remove the one remaining table.  The Board agreed that the tables should not be replaced as they are continually being vandalized. (2/1285)


Commissioner Thomas received a letter of resignation from Sharon Johnston, a full time EMS employee.   Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to accept her resignation effective immediately.  The motion carried unanimously.  (2/1513)


Commissioner Bush stated that the Road Department is in the process of stock-piling rock while the opportunity exists.  (2/1570)


Chairman Durden stated that he will be the Board’s representative on Three Rivers Regional Library System, which was mutually agreed upon between him and Commissioner Thomas.  (2/1673)


Sheriff Turner:


In regards to the medical bills approved earlier in the amount of $28,325.61, Sheriff Turner informed the Board that the deductible for the catastrophic inmate medical insurance has increased from $5,000 to $10,000. (2/1770)


Sheriff Turner discussed the letter he recently received from Sam Mutch concerning dispatch paging out the Waccasassa VFD instead of Southeast Gilchrist VFD.  Sheriff Turner explained that dispatch now uses station identification numbers.  He pointed out that the letter referenced possible liability associated with the Sheriff’s Office in such dispatches and he does not agree with that statement. (2/1860)


The meeting recessed at 12:00 p.m.


The meeting reconvened at 1:15 p.m.


Commissioner Suggs stated that she had asked to extend Valerie Anderson’s probation at the last meeting and she wanted to clarify intent of the Board.  Was it the intent of the Board when the Planner was hired to take Ron McQueen out of Planning and Zoning issues so that he would have more time to fill his other responsibilities.  Chairman Durden stated that one of the main objectives in hiring a planner was to eliminate the need for the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council and to take some of the responsibilities from Ron McQueen. Mr. McQueen stated that he is the Director of Planning and Zoning, and Valerie Anderson is the Planner. Commissioner Suggs suggested that Ms. Anderson take the responsibility of the presentations and most of the responsibilities with Planning and Zoning.  (2/2180)


County Extension Agent’s Report:


Mr. Marvin Weaver, County Extension Agent, presented the Board with an overview of the activities of the County Extension Office for the year 2000.  The presentation included data collected from a survey compiled by the University of Florida.  The survey indicates the statistics from Gilchrist County in comparison with the statistics for the State of Florida.


Mr. Weaver predicted the coming year would not be a good year for agriculture in the County.  The Board discussed the current conditions.  (2/2560)


Documents Filed With the Clerk:


The Board discussed the various documents filed with the Clerk’s Office.  A letter was received from Bob Crawford, Commissioner, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, in regards to predications for the wildfire season.  (3/400)


The meeting recessed at 2:45 p.m.


The meeting reconvened at 5:00 p.m.



Suwannee Valley Internet Service:


(No one was present to represent Suwannee Valley Internet Service.)


Sheriff David Turner:


Sheriff Turner informed the Board that the Governor has appointed a wildfire task force.  An article will appear in the paper this week. He also mentioned that another task force has been formed to deal with cargo theft.  The Sheriff’s Office is a member of this task force.  Because of the agriculture in the area, there is a potential of stolen farm equipment being brought in. (3/1147)


Sheriff Turner reported that juvenile crime is slightly increasing again.  There have been several burglaries in the County involving juveniles.  One of the recommendations in the Governor’s Budget is to have the bill for juvenile crime back to the County.  (3/1360)



Public Hearing / Planning and Zoning Department / Proposed Increase in Fees:


(Notice of this public hearing was published in the January 11 and February 1, 2001 edition of the Gilchrist County Journal and proof of publication is on file in the Clerk’s Office.)


Valerie Anderson referred the Board to Resolution 01-04 which includes the proposed increases in fees for the Planning and Zoning Department.  Commissioner Suggs read the short title of Resolution 01-04.

Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to approve Resolution 01-04 adopting  the new fees for the Planning and Zoning Dept.  Valerie Anderson brought it to the attention of the Board that the proposed charge for copies ($.25) should be changed to $.15. It was also pointed out that the “Comp Plan Amendment major” was intended to be $1,500 instead of $150.  Mr. Mutch suggested that the “Construction Plan review” through “Final Plat review non-residential” be restated  for clarification with brackets. Commissioner Suggs amended the motion to reflect “effective March 1, 2001 and to approve with the changes; changing the copies for $.25 to $.15; the typographical error for the Comp Plan Amendment major, from $150 to $1,500, and the effective date March 1, 2001.  The motion carried unanimously.  (3/1472) (A copy of Resolution 01-04 is attached and made part of these minutes.)



Public Hearing / Building Department / Increase in Fees:


(Notice of this public hearing was published in the January 11 and February 1, 2001 edition of the Gilchrist County Journal and proof of publication is on file in the Clerk’s Office.)


Chairman Durden read the short title of Resolution 01-03 setting fees for specific Building Permits.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Thomas, to approve Resolution 01-03 adding an effective date of March 1, 2001 and revising the 2nd and 3rd clauses to be the Standard Building Code instead of the County Land Development Code. The motion carried unanimously. (3/1909) (A copy of Resolution 01-03 is attached and made part of these minutes.)  (3/1909)


Mr. McQueen mentioned that he had talked with Ryan Dobb about doing the County’s fire inspections.  Mr. Dobb charges $100 per inspection.  The Board discussed enrolling Allen Luzader in the courses to receive certification as a fire inspector. In the interim Mr. Dobb could be contacted for these inspections.  Commissioner Suggs will also contact Lee Shaltenbrand who has expressed an interest in doing the fire inspections as well.  The Board agreed the position should be advertised. Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Bush, to advertise for a fire inspector for Gilchrist County.  The motion carried unanimously.  (3/2000)


 Old Business:



New Business:



Public Participation:


Mr. Rick Weeder appeared before the Board to discuss the letter of complaint he had submitted.  Mr. Weder read a copy of the letter.  He contended that this letter should have been addressed at the last Board meeting as he intended.  Mr. Weder had requested an investigation into the allegations made against him by Tom Smith, a County employee. 


Mr. Mutch explained to Mr. Weder that if Mr. Smith was on duty, there was an issue as to whether or not he was doing that in an official capacity.  It is not Mr. Smiths position within this County to make any public statements or to make policy statements.  Mr. Smith was exercising his right of freedom of speech and the Board of County Commissioners cannot be responsible. Mr. Mutch was present at the time Mr. Smith made comments in regards to the suspicious fires.  Mr. Mutch told Mr. Weder that Chief Smith stated that there were allegations made and that those allegations were made about former fire fighters.  There were no names mentioned.  (3/2290)



There being no further business to discuss, Commissioner Suggs moved to adjourn at 5:43 p.m..  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Thomas and unanimously approved.