COUNTY COMMISSION MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING 8/13/2014
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
MADISON COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2014
The Board of County Commissioners of Madison County, Florida met this day in Regular Session with the following members present: Wayne Vickers (District 2), Ronnie Moore (District 3), Clyde Alexander (District 4), and Rick Davis (District 5). Also present were County Coordinator Allen Cherry, Assistant County Coordinator Sherilyn Pickels, County Attorney George T. Reeves, and County Clerk Tim Sanders. District 1 Commissioner and Chairman Justin Hamrick was unable to attend at this time.
The Vice-Chairman, Honorable Ronnie Moore, called the meeting to order and called the roll.
Upon a motion by Commissioner Vickers, seconded by Commissioner Alexander, the Board voted unanimously (4-0) to approve the agenda as amended: at the request of Mr. Cherry, add to the Consent Agenda item No. 6. Consideration of Tourist Development Grant Application for the Annual North Florida Cattle Battle; and at the request of Commissioner Davis, add to New Business item No. 6. Discussion with possible action on the County’s policy and procedures to accept private roads for maintenance; also at the request of the Clerk, delete the agendaed time of “1:30 PM” for New Business item No. 5. Budget preparations for Fiscal Year 2014-2015.
Under Petitions from the Public, Mr. David Langston who resides on County Road 255 south of Interstate 10, shared his and his neighbors concerns about the changes in land use and installation of deep water wells for commercial farming purposes in the area of his property and residence. He stated that citizens in that area would be very appreciative of the Board’s assistance and that he was also in the infancy stage of preparing a moratorium on the matter. He stated that his efforts do not concern existing farms, but only the corporate buying and conversion of residential properties. The County Attorney advised that the County does not regulate wells and any regulatory action would come from the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD). Mr. Reeves also disclosed that he also serves as the SRWMD attorney. The Board by consensus agreed to agenda for the next Regular Meeting a discussion and possible action on the preparation of a statement on said water and land use concerns to present to the SRWMD, The Florida Association of Counties, and the County’s legislators.
Also under Petitions from the Public, Mr. Jerome Wyche speaking as a citizen, thanked the Board, Constitutional Officers, County Attorney and all the community partners for their support of the Back to School event held last Saturday at North Florida Community College and making it a success. He reported over 1100 students, parents, and volunteers attended the event and approximately $8,100 was spent in Madison County for school supplies given to the students.
The minutes of the Special Meeting held on July 18, 2014, the minutes of the Special Meeting held on July 23, 2014, the minutes of the Regular Meeting held on July 23, 2014, and the minutes of the Special Meeting held on August 1, 2014 were presented for review. Upon a motion by Commissioner Vickers, seconded by Commissioner Alexander, the Board voted unanimously (4-0) to approve said minutes as presented.
Supervisor of Elections Tommy Hardee gave the Board an update on early voting times and dates for upcoming elections. He reported some expressions of concern by voters of third party calls for absentee ballots that link up to his office. He also reported Madison County is not affected by the Legislature’s new court-ordered redistricting map.
Upon a motion by Commissioner Davis, seconded by Commissioner Vickers, the Board voted unanimously (4-0) to approve the Consent Agenda (1. Approval of Budget Amendment Request for Solid Waste; 2. Approval of Budget Amendment Request for Sheriff’s Department; 3. Approval of Budget Amendment Request for Transportation; 4. Approval of Budget Amendment Request of $7,261.28 for Sheriff’s Office employee payout; 5. Approval of termination of yard trash/debris removal contract; and 6. Approval of Tourist Development Council Grant Application for the Annual North Florida Cattle Battle in the amount of $2,250).
County Solid Waste/ Recycling Coordinator Jerome Wyche made reference to a paper regarding “Solid Waste Increase on Commercial Rates” dated August 8, 2014 and explained projected revenues for new rental fees for 4, 6, and 8 cubic yard containers. Mr. Wyche reported an annual revenue increase in the amount of $107,172 beginning September 1, 2014 upon approval by the Board. A motion was made by Commissioner Alexander and seconded by Commissioner Vickers to approve said increase in fees for all commercial 4, 6, and 8 yard containers beginning September 1st. Motion carried 4-0.
Discussion followed on a request by the City of Madison for the County to assume maintenance of Harvey Greene Drive located in the City Industrial Park. Mr. Cherry referred to a letter from the City Manager dated August 5, 2014 and a request for assistance in repaving said roadway which is in a state of disrepair. Mr. Cherry reported the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) may be able to use a special fund for improvements, but like the Crane Avenue project in the City, the County must assume temporary maintenance through an Interlocal Agreement for the road to be eligible for state funding. A motion was made by Commissioner Alexander and seconded by Commissioner Davis to approve the preparation of said Interlocal Agreement between the City and County to obtain said FDOT road improvement funding and agenda approval for the next Regular Meeting. Motion carried 4-0.
County Road & Bridge Coordinator Lonnie Thigpen also brought the Board up to date on the Flowers Road and Little Cat Road paving projects, as well as the sinkhole that has affected the driving surface of Celosia Drive near the intersection with Country Kitchen Road. He reported the investigative field work is complete on the sinkhole and a recommendation on Celosia Drive may be available for the Board to consider in September. At the request of the Board, Mr. Thigpen stated he would place “No Through Traffic” signage at the Celosia Drive intersections with State Road 145 and Country Kitchen Road.
Mr. Thigpen also reported rumble strips for one intersection on Byrd Avenue would cost $800. Commissioner Davis asked that this matter be placed on the agenda for the next Regular Meeting of the Board.
Mr. Cherry referred to a Memo from him to the Commissioners dated August 12, 2014 regarding the Solid Waste Special Assessment and a table of estimated revenues based upon one dollar increments from the current rate of $187 per household. The information was provided in response to a discussion during a recent budget session on the Solid Waste/Recycling Department’s shortfall in the proposed 2014-2015 fiscal year in the amount of $26,000. The County Attorney reviewed the County’s authorization of the creation of the Special Assessment for solid waste collection and disposal in the unincorporated areas of the County and the Town of Lee and the required study made in 2011that set the maximum rate of $194 per household. He advised the Board must determine the amount of the Special Assessment by September 15th.
The Solid Waste/Recycling Coordinator reported that an increase in the Special Assessment is needed in order to maintain the same levels of service and benefits to the citizens in the county. He also stated that the current rate of $187 per year has remained the same for the past seven (7) years. Mr. Wyche reported an increase in the Special Assessment from $187 to $191 per year would yield an estimated $23,528. He also reminded the Board that the Collection Center hours of operation were cut last year in order to balance the current fiscal year budget. A motion was made by Commissioner Alexander and seconded by Commissioner Davis for the Board to increase the Solid Waste Special assessment from $187 to $191 per year. Motion carried 4-0. Commissioner Davis suggested the public be educated about the need to increase the Special Assessment in order to maintain current services. Mr. Wyche stated that he would prepare a media release for educational purposes.
Discussion followed on the revision of Special Assessment rates for Fire Services. Mr. Cherry reported Chief Deputy Epp Richardson determined that 3.87% of all calls to the Sheriff’s Communications Center are dispatch related to county volunteer fire departments.
Commissioner Hamrick arrived at the dais.
County Attorney Reeves advised the dispatch fire-related calls at the Communications Center would qualify as an expense of the Special Assessment for Fire Services. Chief Deputy Richardson explained the study he made that determined the fire-related percentage out of 70,000 calls to the Communications Center last year. The Board by consensus agreed to authorize the County Coordinator to ask the company that performed the last Special Assessments study, Government Services Group (GSG), to provide several scenarios of possible rate increases and associated Fire Assessment revenues that amount to $17,000 to $18,000. Mr. Cherry reported GSG could do the study for about $400 to $500.
Intermedix Vice-President of Business Development-Southeast Don Passaro reported that after a couple of meetings with staff and a review of the most recent Emergency Medical Services (EMS) financial numbers, he felt confident Intermedix can bring operational and billing/recovery improvements to Madison County. He and his associate, John Mulligan, both emphasized that the current EMS billing/collections employee would continue to play an important role locally working with the public and acting as a checks and balances between Madison County and Intermedix. Mr. Passaro also explained the typical term of the contract is for a three (3) year period in order to amortize the technology equipment which costs $5,000 plus software per unit. He further explained amortization of the four units of equipment in the proposed contract would be complete in 18 months.
Mr. Passaro reported the first order of business, if the Board wished to move forward with a contract, would be assessment of all EMS fees for services, which could produce up to a $200,000 increase in revenues based upon current financial analysis. Mr. Passaro also listed cities and counties in Florida that are served by Intermedix, which includes Jefferson, Hamilton, Leon, and Bay Counties in North Florida. Upon a motion by Commissioner Alexander, seconded by Commissioner Davis, the Board voted unanimously (5-0) to approve an agreement between Madison County and Intermedix, subject to the County Attorney’s review.
The County Attorney was replaced by his law firm associate, Mr. Clay Schnitker.
Ms. Mary Brown, a resident on Almond Street, asked the Board to consider paving the road on which she lives. Mr. Thigpen estimated the paving cost to be $400,000 and suggested the Board place it on the Paving Priority List for further analysis and scoring. Commissioner Hamrick asked Mr. Thigpen and County Engineer Bill Steves to place Almond Street on said Priority List.
Emergency Management Director Tom Cisco explained the Board several months ago approved moving forward with an Emergency Management grant application to replace windows and doors in the Courthouse Annex that required a 25% match in the amount of approximately $26,000. He volunteered the remaining $22,000 of the County’s required $25,000 fiscal year 2013-2014 Emergency Management match to be used for said Annex improvements. Upon a motion by Commissioner Hamrick, seconded by Commissioner Vickers, the Board voted unanimously (5-0) to use said $22,000 of Emergency Management’s remaining local match funds for the County’s Courthouse Annex window and door grant match. Motion carried 5-0.
Mr. Jerome Wyche, member of Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Madison, presented to the Board for approval a PROCLAMATION that proclaims Sunday, August 31, 2014 as “Charles W. Evans, Sr. Day” in recognition and appreciation of Pastor Evans’ life of service to his community and his church, where he has been ministering for sixteen (16) years. The Clerk read the PROCLAMATION for the record and a motion was made by Commissioner Hamrick and seconded by Commissioner Vickers for approval. Motion carried unanimously (5-0).
Commissioner Davis opened discussion on the County’s current policies and procedures to accept and maintain private roads. He stated a constituent who lives in a subdivision east of Lee has questioned the policy that requires a private road to be paved before the County will accept it for maintenance. County Engineer Steves explained that the new standards were put in place by the Board in 2007. Prior to that, graded roads could be brought up to standards, such as the placement of 6 inches of limerock, for County acceptance. Commissioner Davis questioned whether the policy could be amended to go back to the old policy for developers prior to 2007. Mr. Steves explained taking over a limerock road places a greater burden on the County than taking over a paved road. Mr. Schnitker advised the Board could amend its policy of accepting roads for maintenance, but recommended the Board look at the number of eligible roads that fit this model and the financial impact before proceeding.
Property Appraiser Leigh Barfield reported a special taxing district for subdivision road improvements is an alternative that gives property owners the ability to pay the County back on their tax bill annually for County-incurred paving expenditures. She added that 50% of the subdivision property owners must agree to have said expenses added to their ad valorem tax bill.
The Board by consensus agreed to hold a Workshop on the County’s Road Paving Priority List and improvements at 2:00 PM prior to the next Regular meeting on August 27th.
The Clerk along with Finance Director Lessia Freeman and Assistant Finance Director Kaytrena Joseph presented a new budget booklet entitled MADISON COUNTY BOCC TENTATIVE MILLAGE & BUDGET FY 2014-2015 dated August 13, 2014. Mr. Sanders also presented a paper entitled 2014-2015 FISCAL YEAR BUDGET RECAP dated August 13, 2014 based upon Tentative Millage Rate of 10.00; Health Insurance @ 4% decrease; Retirement contribution rate increase effective 7/1/2014; and 0% Cost of Living Adjustment.
Mr. Sanders reported the following present budget fund balances: General Fund +$4,636,198; County Transportation Trust Fund balanced at $0; Fine & Forfeiture –($4,724,678); Solid Waste (-$27,364); Recycling $0 (balanced); Emergency Medical Services $0 (balanced with $473,746 with Small County Surtax); Landfill Closure $0 (balanced with proceeds from Local Option Gas Tax in the amount of $100,000 and $60,000 from General Fund); Fire Services $0 (balanced). The Clerk explained the net balance for the General Fund, which includes General and Fine & Forfeiture, is now a negative (-$88,480) due in large part to voluntary revenue and expenditure adjustments in the Sheriff’s Fine & Forfeiture Fund.
The Clerk presented another paper for informational purposes entitled 2014-2015 FISCAL YEAR BUDGET RECAP based upon the same aforementioned factors, no increase in Departmental and Constitutional Office expenditures from the current fiscal year budget funded by the General Fund, and all Florida Retirement System increases funded by the Board. He explained this scenario would produce a negative General Fund/Fine & Forfeiture balance in the amount of (-$45,880). After further discussion the Board by consensus agreed to allow the Clerk to contact each Board Department Head and Constitutional Officer about budget cuts needed to meet said standards resulting in said negative $45,880 balance.
There being no further business, the Chairman adjourned the meeting at 11:40 A.M.