The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, in and for Gilchrist County Florida, convened in a regular meeting on Monday, January 7, 2002 at 1:00 p.m. in the courtroom, located in the Gilchrist County Courthouse, 112 South Main Street, Trenton, Florida, with the following members present to-wit:


Commissioner John Thomas, Chairman  

Commissioner Wilbur Bush, Vice Chairman

Commissioner Randy Durden

Commissioner Sue B. Suggs

Commissioner Fred Wilkerson


(Commissioner Wilkerson arrived at 1:30 p.m.)


Others in attendance were:   Joseph W. Gilliam, Clerk of Court, John McPherson, County Attorney, Sam Ferguson, Director of Finance, Karen Heaton, Deputy Clerk, Ron McQueen, EMA/County Coordinator, Nathan Martin, Paul Bryant, Roy Langford, David Brooks, Don Strickland, Sharon Weidner, John Ayers, Frank Grant, Chris Ruggles, Will Weathers, Sheriff Turner, Jan Chesser, Judge Philman, Gene Parrish.


Call to Order:


Chairman Thomas called the meeting to order at   1:20 p.m.  Commissioner Bush delivered the Invocation and Commissioner Suggs led the Pledge of Allegiance. 


Agenda Changes:


  Amendment to Agenda – Road Department moved to 1:30 p.m.

  Addition:  Mike Cheryl, Division of Forestry , re: Tower  (4:30 p.m.)


Motion by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Suggs, to accept the agenda with the changes noted.  The motion carried unanimously. 


Consent Agenda:


1.                  Approval of Bills

2.                  Approval of David Salter & Miles Kinsell to Conflict Attorney List

3.                  Approval of Minutes: Regular Meeting, November 5, 2001


Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Bush, to approve the consent agenda.  Commissioner Durden pointed out a typographical error on the page C-21.  The amount for the City of Trenton should be $3,750 instead of $41,875.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/071)


Road Department: 


Mr. Nathan Martin reported that the Road Department mined and hauled 230 loads of rock in the month of December.  Work begin on County Road 232 on this date. 

Commissioner Suggs advised the Board that there was a $300 error in the amount stated to the Board for the purchase of the vehicle from Palm Beach County.  Motion by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Suggs, to approve the additional $300 for the purchase of the vehicle from Palm Beach County.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/104)


Mr. Gilliam asked the Board to approve milage and travel expenses for Melvin Meece.  Mr. Meece picked up the vehicle in Palm Beach County over the Christmas holidays while he was in the area.   Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Durden, to pay Mr. Meece  the milage and expenses for one day.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/167)


Commissioner Bush stated that he has received a request from Roy Langford regarding the road to Union Baptist Church.  This road was constructed with milled material which needs to be replaced.  The Board discussed paving the road and asked Commissioner Bush to obtain a quote for asphalt.  (1/207)


Mr. David Brooks, 12979 NE 5th Avenue, Branford, addressed the Board regarding the issue of fence setbacks on NE 125th Street.  This issue was discussed at the regular meeting on December 10, 2001.  Mr. Brooks asked the Board when they were going to take the action that had been decided at the last meeting.  Chairman Thomas explained that Mr. Martin had been out to complete the measurements.  He had determined that the road was approximately 15 feet wide.  Mr. Martin measured five (5) feet on the North and South side of the road which is determined to be the setback. 


Mr. Brooks stated that they are not satisfied with the action that had been taken.  He suggested that surveyors be sent out to establish the boundaries of the road.  Mr. Brooks contended the measurements are not based on the actual boundaries and that the County has not been maintaining the entire road.  Mr. Martin affirmed that they have not trimmed this portion of the road as it does not need it.  Mr. McPherson explained that in this issue, a surveyor is not necessary and the County’s responsibility was carried out when the Road Superintendent and a Commissioner went out and made a good faith effort to determine the width of the maintained portion of road.  He suggested that the County go back out and make sure the post are five (5) feet from the line established.  After further discussion, Chairman Thomas directed Mr. Martin to go back out and check the distance to the fence post.  (1/445)


(Commissioner Wilkerson arrived at 1:30 p.m.)


Attorney’s Report:


Proposed Ordinances – The proposed ordinance for “inspection of mobile homes prior to move-on” and the proposed ordinance for “exemption of farm buildings from permitting” will go before the Planning and Zoning Board at it’s next scheduled meeting for a recommendation to the County Commission.  (1/1355)



Animal Control – Mr. McPherson reported that he received materials from Duke Land regarding joint animal control.  He will be working with Mr. Lang to draft an interlocal agreement with the City of Trenton and the Town of Bell.  (1/1381)


Associated Uniform Rental Service – Mr. McPherson advised that Associated Uniform Service has filed a law suit against Gilchrist County.  Mr. McPherson recommended that the Board authorize him to locate a contract attorney in Dade County to handle this litigation.  Motion by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to hire a contract attorney to represent the County in this case.  The Board discussed the estimated cost of attorney fees for these services.  Mr. Gilliam recommended that Mr. McPherson be authorized to negotiate a settlement with the attorney representing Associated Uniform.  Mr. McPherson suggested that the County offer to pay an amount of $1,300 which represents the balance of the invoices.  Commissioner Durden amended the motion to authorize Mr. McPherson to negotiate a settlement and if that is not possible to pay a contract attorney a maximum of $200 per hour.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/1412)


Ginnie Springs v. Gilchrist County – Ginnie Springs has agreed to voluntarily dismiss the two (2) 1997 cases (Case #97-213 and #97-258) if the County agrees not to seek reimbursement of its attorney’s fees from Ginnie Springs.  As decided at the last meeting, Mr. McPherson advised the attorney’s for Ginnie Springs that the County agrees to this request.


Concerning Case No. 99-181, Mr. McPherson has researched this case and enforcement of the settlement agreement.   He stated that in his opinion  the law is in the County’s favor and he does not believe that witnesses will be required at the hearing.  The hearing has been scheduled for January 29th.   (1/1680)


Mr. McPherson discussed a question posed to him as to whether or not the Commission or County staff may continue to deal with a citizen once litigation has been threatened.  The past legal council advised the County not to communicate with the citizen’s in such cases but to refer them to the County Attorney.  Mr. McPherson advised that communication should continue within the realm of County business whether litigation is pending or not.  (1/1783)


Sharon Weidner / Request re: Impact Fee:


Mrs. Sharon Weidner submitted a request to waive an impact fee for a mobile home to be located at 7001 NE 24th Loop, High Springs.  Chairman Thomas explained that Mr. Thomas Weidner had contacted him about this request.  Their son had a mobile home on this property in the past which was repossessed.  At that time, they had paid the impact fees and special assessments and intended to replace the mobile home at a later date.  They were advised by Mr. Carl Rehberg at the time that they would not be required to pay a second impact fee when they replaced the mobile home.  The last special assessment was paid in 1998 but in 1999 the special assessment was not on the tax roll.  They intend to place another mobile home on this property this week and were advised that they will need to pay the impact fee.  Mrs. Weidner stated that at the time the special assessment was taken off of the tax roll, they were not made aware of the reason it was taken off.  They are requesting that the Commission allow them to pay the past two (2) years of special assessments instead of the impact fee.



Mr. McQueen explained that the special assessment is only placed on livable units.  The previous ordinance in place specified that if you paid for a livable unit, you did not pay an impact fee.  This has been the standard in place to determine whether or not an impact fee would be required.  The current ordinance states that the Building Department makes that determination but only the Board of County Commissioners may waive the impact fee. 


Commissioner Durden asked if an impact had been paid on this property at one time.  Mrs. Weidner replied that they had initially paid the $400 impact fee.  The Board discussed the fact that the special assessment was removed from the tax roll by the Property Appraiser’s office without the knowledge of the homeowner.  Motion by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Suggs, to allow Mr. and Mrs. Weidner to pay special assessments for the past two (2) years instead of the $1,400 impact fee if they provide proof that they paid the initial $400 impact fee.  Mr. McPherson referred to the impact fee ordinance and explained that a motion is not needed in this case.  If she can prove that she paid the initial $400 impact fee she has complied with the ordinance and it is not required to pay the past special assessments if they were not on the tax roll.  Commissioner Durden withdrew the motion.  Mrs. Weidner stated that she would provide Ron McQueen with proof of payment of the impact fee.  (1/2070)


Clerk’s Report:


Rayonier Property – Mr. Gilliam advised that prior to the scheduled closing on the property, a problem was discovered with the legal description submitted by Rayonier.  Mr. Gene Parrish found that a section of property, 30' x 800' feet to the South and 50' x 800' to the North, was donated from the Williams property to the Coastline Railroad but never conveyed to ITT Rayonier.   Mr. Gilliam referred to a boundary survey of the property which depicted a total of 5.45 acres.  He explained that Rayonier may agree to extend the Eastern boundary by 84'.  The Board reviewed the boundary survey and discussed the proposed changes.  Motion by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Bush, to accept the change in the property description.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/2786)


Mr. Gilliam pointed out that there is a road that runs through the property.  The property adjacent to the Rayonier property is used as a hunting camp.  Mr. McQueen stated that the property owner is aware that he does not have legal access by this road.   (1/3100)


Cypress Shores, Lots #1 & #25 – Mr. Gilliam presented an offer from Mr. Elliott Herschel to donate Lots #1 and #25 in Cypress Shores to the County.  Mr. Gilliam explained that these are unbuildable lots.  Motion by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Suggs, to not accept the offer.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/3340)


Burn Awareness Week – Proclamation 02-01.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Durden, to approve the proclamation declaring the week of February 3, 2002 as Burn Awareness Week.  The motion carried unanimously. (Proclamation 02-01 is on file in the Clerk’s Office.)  (1/3340)


Workshop / Draft Ordinanced, Right of Ways:


Mr. McPherson prepared a draft ordinance for the regulation and use of County right of ways.  He also provided a copy of Resolution 98-03 regarding permitting and licensing of County right of ways.  He recommended that the portion of the ordinance dealing with fees or rent be deleted due to recent litigations in other counties.  Mr. McPherson reviewed the proposed ordinance and discussed permitting for construction in right of ways and licenses for long-term use of right of ways.  Mr. McPherson will revise the ordinance to exclude the rental fees.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, second by Commissioner Durden,  to schedule a public hearing for the proposed ordinance on January 22nd at 7:15 p.m.  The motion carried unanimously.  (1/3565)



EMA/County Coordinator:


DOT Annual Maintenance Report – Mr. McQueen referred to a letter from the Department of Transportation regarding the annual maintenance report.  He discussed the findings for CR 55A.  This road was recently resurfaced by DOT and they were responsible for placing the signs and object markers.  Mr. McQueen stated that he would send a response to Blake Hunter, Maintenance Engineer.  (2/406)


Operation Cleansweep – Mr. McQueen advised the Board that Operation Cleansweep has been scheduled for February 26th at the Solid Waste Department.  He suggested that a proclamation be approved declaring that date as Operation Cleansweep Day. Motion by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to draft and approve a proclamation declaring February 26, 2002 as Operation Cleansweep Day in Gilchrist County.  The motion carried unanimously.  (2/452)


North Central Florida Regional Planning Council – Mr. McQueen reported that he had contacted Charlie Justice, North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, regarding the annual agreement for FY 2002.  Mr. Justice will make the necessary changes to the annual contract as requested and return for approval. (2/600)


Evaluation and Appraisal Report Amendments – Mr. McQueen stated they are also moving forward with the E.A.R. amendments.  The amendments will be advertised for the next Planning and Zoning Board meeting.  Mr. McPherson explained that the report was completed in 1998 and the amendments are to be made to the Comprehensive Plan to implement the recommendations.  (1/613)


Personnel Policy – Mr. McQueen discussed the payment of leave time upon termination of employment.  Currently, employees are paid for their vacation leave and one half of the sick leave in a final check issued the pay period after the last check for hours worked.  Recently an employee requested to receive payment for leave time with his last check.  For clarification purposes, Mr. McQueen recommends that it be made policy to issue the final check after the last check for hours worked.  The Board directed Mr. McQueen to meet with the Department supervisors and bring back a recommendation to the Board.  (1/731)


Cell Tower – Mr. McQueen mentioned the agenda change regarding the cell tower and explained that one of his strategic goals on the five-year plan for Emergency Management is to coordinate the local Ham Operators for the emergency shelters for the transmission of information.  He intends to place a repeater site on the tower that the County owns.  (2/821)


Workshop / Zoning Map:


Mr. Chris Ruggles, with the Property Appraiser’s Office, was present to discuss the County’s zoning map.  Mr. McPherson explained that the County has a future land use map and a zoning map.  The future land use map is a general map which depicts the areas of agriculture, residential etc. and the zoning map gives more specific information relating to the types of zoning.  The two (2) maps must be consistent.  Mr. McPherson also explained that Gilchrist County’s zoning map and land use map are exactly the same and zoning map is not necessary.  The only requirement by the State is the future land use map.  He suggested that the County wait until the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (E.A.R.) is completed and any amendments to the future land use map is made before eliminating the zoning map. 

Mr. McPherson stated another issue is the Official Zoning Atlas produced by the Property Appraiser’s Office.  Mr. D. Ray Harrison had used the information provided by Mr. McQueen and created this map.  As long as the information is valid and is consistent with the future land use map, this may be considered the official zoning map.


Mr. McQueen commented that the only way to obtain an official zoning for a piece of property is to obtain a zoning compliance.  Mr. Frank Grant addressed the need for obtaining accurate information for the sale and purchase of land.  Mr. Grant, a realtor, had a piece of property that was listed ‘commercial’ but there was a question as to whether or not it had been reverted back to ‘residential.’  Mr. McQueen discussed instances when a piece of property may be reverted back to a particular zoning or uses allowed through a special exception.  He recommended that any updated maps include a revision date.


Chairman Thomas asked Mr. McQueen to meet with Commissioner Durden, Mr. McPherson, Mr. Grant and Mr. Ruggles to discuss a solution to making zoning information readily available.  (2/892)


Public Hearing / Judicial Complex Financing:


Mr. Gilliam recognized Mr. Will Weathers, Judge Philman, Sheriff Turner and Jan Chesser who were present to discuss the financing of the judicial complex project.  Mr. Gilliam reviewed the requirements for a loan application to USDA Rural Development for $5,245,000.  A letter was received from Mr. Charles Nichols regarding the use of a standard competitive bid process verses construction management.  Mr. Nichols indicated that should the County choose the construction management method, it may delay the project.


Mr. Weathers, Gardnyr Michael Capital, has submitted the pre-application and is preparing the formal application.  Mr. Weathers provided a list of documents to be submitted with the application and discussed the application process.  The Commission reviewed the materials and pointed out changes that needed to be made in the Legal Services Agreement.


Mr. Weathers provided a list of the following documents for Board approval:


1)                  Standard Form 424 Application for Federal Assistance

2)                  Form RD 1942-27 Loan Resolution

3)                  Form RD 400-1, Equal Opportunity Agreement

4)                  Form RD 400-4, Assurance Agreement

5)                  Form AD-1047, Certificate Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters, Primary Covered Transactions

6)                  Form AD-1049, Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace Requirements

7)                  FL Instr. 1942-A Guide 31, Certification for Contracts, Grants & Loans

8)                  Form RD 1910-11, Certification, Federal Collection Policies for Consumer or Commercial Debts

9)                  Florida Instruction 1942-A Guide 23 Certificate of Public Meeting

10)              RD FmHA 442-7 Operating Budget

11)              Letter from Gilchrist County Concurring with proposed project

12)              Florida Instruction 1942-A Guide 16 Applicant Certificate of Prior Indebtedness

13)              FmHA Guide 14 Legal Services Agreement (five copies)

14)              A1A Document B141 Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect

15)              Gilchrist County Resolution 01-01 adopted January 7, 2002 relative to contribution of $1,000,000 for construction, equipment and furniture and Security Pledge for Debt Service

16)              Copy of Letter from the County Commission relative to use/nonuse of PPI for Construction Management Services

17)              Copies of 2001 Resolutions & Loan Agreements

18)              No Comment notice from North Central Florida Regional Clearinghouse


The Commission discussed the competitive bid process verses a construction manager.  The competitive bid process would require a ‘clerk of the works’ on staff.


Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to activate the agreement for the application process and to approve items 1-8.  The motion carried unanimously.


Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Durden, to adopt Resolution 02-01.  Chairman Thomas read the short title of the resolution.  The motion carried unanimously.  (A copy of Resolution 02-01 is on file in the Clerk’s Office.)




Motion by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Suggs, to approve the letter of concurrence.  The motion carried unanimously.


Motion by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to select the Construction Manager process for the project.  Mr. Ferguson commented that he has worked with both the construction manger process and the clerk to the works and discussed the advantages of having a construction manager in the bid process.   In order to prevent a delay in the project,  Judge Philman suggested the possibility of choosing the competitive bid process and hiring someone temporarily to assist with the bidding process.  He also expressed concern that if a construction manger is hired, they should not also be the contractor.  Commissioner Durden agreed that this may be feasible if someone could be hired that would look out for the County’s interest from the beginning.    Commissioner Durden amended the motion to choose the construction management process unless an individual can be hired as a consultant or a contractor, to look out for the County’s best interest from the beginning.  The motion carried unanimously.  (2/1963)


Building Department:


Mr. McQueen presented the Building Department Report for the month of December 2001.


Mobile Homes               8 total / 4 replacements

4 impacts ($5,765.24)

(Capital/$1,479.52 and Transportation/$4,285.72)



New Construction         7 total / 3 replacements

4 impacts ($5,765.24)

(Capital/$1,479.52 and Transportation/$4,285.72


House Move-on            1 Total / 1 impact fee ($1,441.31)

(Capital/$369.88 and Transportation $1,071.43)



Remodeling/Additions                5

Barns                                       4

Sheds                                       2

Roofing                         1

Pools                                        1

Garages                                    1

Miscellaneous                           4


Mr. McQueen mentioned that with the new ordinance, only the Board of County Commissioners may transfer the use of the impact fees from one (1) property to another.  He asked the Board if they wish every circumstance to come before them for approval.  The Board agreed that all requests to transfer the impact fee should come before the Commission. 


Mr. McQueen presented a request from Mary Prescott to transfer an impact fee.  Motion by Commissioner Bush, seconded by Commissioner Durden, to grant the transfer of the impact fee with the use.  The motion carried unanimously.  (3/1020)


Public Hearing / Budget Amendment, Sheriff’s Budget:


Mr. Gilliam explained the purpose of the budget amendment.  The Sheriff’s Office provides deputies for special events as requested.  In these instances, the deputies are paid for overtime hours worked out of the Sheriff’s budget but when the Sheriff’s Office is reimbursed, these funds are turned over to the Board of County Commissioners.  Davis & Monk, the County’s auditors, has recommended that a budget be established for the purpose of recouping personnel expenses for special detail pay as encumbered throughout the fiscal year.   Sheriff Turner submitted a budget amendment to create  “Law Enforcement 521 “Special Detail” Budget in the amount of $22,000.  Motion by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Suggs, to approve the budget amendment in the amount of $22,000.  The motion carried unanimously. 


Mr. Gilliam requested authorization from the Board to transfer any funds received for “special detail” reimbursement since October 1st into the Special Detail budget.  Motion by Commissioner Durden, second by Commissioner Bush, to place any funds received from special detail since October 1, 2002 into Law Enforcement 521 “Special Detail” Budget.  The motion carried unanimously.  (3/1160)


Sheriff Turner reported that the annual fire inspection has been scheduled for the jail and Gator Fire Services has completed the system repairs.  Sheriff Turner also reported that he has been in contact with Baily Bishop & Lane and they are in the process of revising the bid package for the new administration building project.  (3/1267)

Road Department (continued):


As requested in the morning session, Mr. Nathan Martin reported that he had inspected NE 125th and found the fence line to be within compliance with the required distance of five feet (5') from the edge of the road.  The Board took no action.  (3/1480)


Commissioner’s Reports:


Commissioner Durden stated that he will attend the Animal Control meeting on Wednesday and will report back to the Board at the January 22nd meeting.


Commissioner Durden received information from Susan Bryant, Supervisor of Elections, regarding a Canvassing Board workshop to be held February 28th at the Orange Park Convention Center.  The registration fee will be $40.00.  Motion by Commissioner Wilkerson, seconded by Commissioner Suggs, to pay the $40.00 registration fee and expenses.  The motion carried unanimously. 


Considering that Chairman Thomas will be running for reelection this year, the Board discussed appointing Commissioner Durden to serve on the Canvassing Board.  Motion by Commissioner Suggs, seconded by Commissioner Bush, to appoint Commissioner Durden to serve on the Canvassing Board.  The motion carried unanimously. 


Commissioner Wilkerson reported on the Solid Waste Department.  Due to the holidays, the department experienced an overflow which set operations back a few days.


Commissioner Suggs stated that the Florida Association of Counties Legislative Day will be held in Tallahassee on February 20th.  She plans to attend the core curriculum meeting on January 25th for Commissioner Certification.  Gilchrist County has been chosen as an educator for the Legislators and the Florida Association of Counties request that Commissioner Suggs designate two (2) days for three (3) different weeks to be available in Tallahassee.  She also plans to attend the NACCo Conference in March.  Motion by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson, to approve the expenses for Commissioner Suggs to attend the Florida Association of Counties conferences and the NACCo Conference.  The motion carried unanimously. 


Commissioner Suggs requested Chairman Thomas to allow her to change one of her departments with one of the other Commissioners.  She explained that she has many family members involved with the Fire Departments and it may present a conflict for her to serve as Commissioner over the Fire Departments.  Commissioner Durden offered to take the Fire Departments and allow Commissioner Suggs to take the EMS Department.  The Board Agreed.


Mr. Ferguson stated that he received a check in the amount of $9,742.50 from Division of Recreation and Parks for reimbursement to the Gilchrist County Recreational Authority.  Motion by Commissioner Durden, seconded by Commissioner Suggs, to reimburse GCRA.  The motion carried unanimously.


Chairman Thomas reported the he attended a meeting with the Library Board.  They received a grant which will allow them to place computers in the Bell Library and hire someone for approximately 10 hours a week to help set them up and to provide instruction. 

Old Business:



New Business:



Public Participation:


Mike Cheryl, Division of Forestry addressed the Board concerning the County’s tower North of Bell.  They currently have a base station in Forest Grove on a fire tower.  He explained that this does not provide adequate coverage for North Gilchrist County.  They are requesting permission to gain access to the County’s tower to determine if it would benefit them to move the base station to that location.  Mr. McQueen commented that the Division of Forestry does provide mutual aide to Gilchrist County.  Motion by Commissioner Wilkerson, seconded by Commissioner Durden, to allow the Division of Forestry to explore the possibility to place a base station at the tower North of Bell.  The motion carried unanimously. 


There being no further business to discuss, Commissioner Suggs moved to adjourn at 6:05 p.m.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Durden and carried.