Board of County Commissioners

Gadsden County, Florida


First Budget Public Hearing

Wednesday, September 5, 2012 – 6:00p.m.

Present:           Sherrie Taylor, Chair, District 5

                                Gene Morgan, Vice-Chair, District 3

                                Eugene Lamb, District 1

                                Doug Croley, District 2

                                Brenda Holt, District 4

                                Jeff Price, Budget Director

                                Arthur Lawson, Interim County Administrator

                                Beryl H. Wood, Deputy Clerk


1.       Public Hearing – First Budget Public Hearing for Adoption of Tentative Millage Rate and Tentative Budget for Fiscal Year 2012/2013  


Millage Adoption

Chair Taylor called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and turned it over to Interim County Administrator Arthur Lawson. 


Mr. Lawson announced that this meeting is the first public hearing to adopt the Tentative Millage Rate and Tentative Budget for FY 2012/2013 Fiscal Year.


Mr. Price expounded on the fiscal year tentative budget.   He said they are asking the Board to adopt the County Millage Rate 8.9064 and adopt the tentative FY 2012/2013 County Wide Budget.


Chair Taylor announced the Public Hearing and called for public comment.


Mary Deckle & Juanita Thigpen -  121 Jackson St. – Legal Services of North Florida  request.


Jack Peacock, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce – asked the Board to help and continue fully funding as requested the Economic Development of Gadsden County.


Chair Taylor asked for Board discussion.

Commissioner Croley asked Attorney Minnis a question concerning the last Workshop being a Special Meeting.  He asked were the votes binding.


Attorney Minnis – stated Statue 129; 285.102


Commissioner Croley inquired about voting conflicts.


    Attorney Minnis asked to give a very brief caveat; everything is case by case. Her discussion with staff on the Ethics Commission stated that membership between the group and the member.  There was concerned that were expressed.  Two different laws under the Ethics Code also voting under public meeting law. They can opt not to vote on the matter.


Commissioner Croley questioned the contractual relationship. He asked Attorney Minnis to expound.


Attorney Minnis explained contractual agreement/ relationship. She noted there is a concern to doing business contractual agreement.


    Brenda Holt – Concerns with Contractual Agreement also she asked about Special Public Meeting. Public was misinformed they don’t know  votes would be taken at that meeting.


Attorney Minnis stated when it is advertised as a Special Meeting votes may be taken.


    Commissioner Morgan commented they all members of this board are members of other Boards. He said they could simply disclose the information. He asked is there any benefit or personal gain.


Commissioner Holt we need to abstain from voting on things that we are apart of.


   Chair Taylor stated we will follow from policy, procedure and statue.  She asked Mr. Lawson why the last meeting was advertised as a Special Meeting and not Workshop.


   Mr. Lawson so we could have specific directions, so they would not have to guess on the budget.


Motion: Croley/ Morgan: Adopt the Tentative FY 2012/2013 County Millage Rate 8.9064 – 4-1 (Commissioner Holt opposed the motion.)

Question/Comment Commissioner Morgan- explained the Millage Rate is the same as last year.


Motion: Adopt the Tentative FY 2012/2013 County Wide Budget

Commissioner Croley – not prohibited from bringing up items.(Fire Engine for City of Quincy for the County.) He asked that they add in the Capital Improvements to come out One Cent Sales Tax for the purchase of the Fire Engine. Interlocal Agreement explained what contract covers.


Mr. Baker said the basic is staffing, fire engine is County’s responsibility.


Croley need is well established.


Chair Taylor stated more dialogue is needed. She said she did contact the City Manager and he also had desire.


Chief Smith stated he had spoken with the City Manager and they would work with Mr. Baker to get USDA dollars or the best possible scenario.  He said the engine responds to 90% of the County calls, it’s the workhorse for the County. It is the rescue engine for entire county and structure call.


Chair Taylor referenced it is 80/20. She said some type of line item is needed.


Commissioner Morgan asked Chief Smith questions concerning the Fire Engines.  He said if there is a true need we need to find a way.


Commissioner Holt referenced lease purchase option and USDA on something else.


Commissioner Lamb said they should use some of the $400,000.


Chair Taylor this is something we need to look at.


Mr. Baker grant program is based on the USDA is based on the needs. He said the process she recommended a list of items that will probably be on the agenda next week.  Minimum of 30 days for review. 60-90 days for a initial answer.  He said Mr. Parramore would help guide them in the process.


Chair Taylor expounded on Lease purchase option.


    Commissioner Croley said the longevity of fire equipment.  Not suggesting you put $200,000 out for fire, but I am suggesting you put $75,000. Out of One Cent Sales Tax.


Croley/Morgan 2-3 (Motion died)

$75,000 be placed in Capital Outlay from the One Cent Sales Tax. (Half Fire and the other Public Works)


Commissioner Holt not in favor during Hurricane Season. In favor of Lease/Purchase Option


Chair Taylor Line Item let’s put something in there between $5-10,000 out of Contingency, so we don’t have to touch anyone’s budget.


**Motion: Holt/Croley: Commissioner Holt recommended $25,000 out of Contingency for a line item for the Fire Engine 4-1 (Motion passed. Morgan opposed.)


   Economic Development Council to work with Chamber because there is a need.

Motion: Holt/Croley: they form an Economic Development Council to work with the Chamber.


                Commissioner Croley asked what was that the group the Chamber. He asked for clarification.


Holt - Looking for a group that we appoint. This Board needs to be accountable to the Citizen’s.


  David Garner – Gadsden County Chambers they do business as the Economic Development Council not be conflicted with Community Development Council. Same Board of Directors. Gadsden Chamber of Commerce

Economic Development Council


   Henry Grant, County Extension Director - clarified the group was point together in 2000. He said he has a legal 5013C.


Chair Taylor stated Dr. Grant and Manager work together and activate group.


   Motion: Holt/Croley:  Withdrew motion.


    Morgan: Compliment Administrator and Department Heads for the 3% reduction. Clear challenges being met. He asked for a 3% reduction across Board in all areas. Protection of largest Employer –

§  Florida State Hospital (lobbying services) find $10,000 to provide lobbying service can be met with reduction all other non-profits. (passed)

§  Fund Non- Profits across the Board with 3% cut

§  Economic Development -3% reduction;

§  Protection of Apalachicola River- Natural Resources (Riparian) $5,000 (passed)


Chair Taylor entertained from the Board.

Lobbying for Florida State Hospital –

Croley no problem with $10,000, problem we don’t have money. We agree with cut of 3% from Non- Profits.

Lamb – No comment

Holt – No problem, not interested in cutting departments

Taylor – Agree with Commissioner Croley, we pay FAC to lobby for us.

Morgan – I think with more involved with privation of FSH because it was in our district. He spoke of the importance of Lobbyist and it does work, they had access to Legislature.  He said he ran numbers; Contingency Fund is not needed. He suggested all non-profits take 3% cut, it would add additional funds.

Holt – Agree to help Lobbyist.

Motion Morgan/Lamb: - for $10,000 from Contingency Funds for lobbyist. 4-1 (Taylor opposed motion.)

   Morgan/Lamb: Economic Development be funded additionally $29,000 to make it funded at the full amount from last year $95,000.


Garner – shared cost in everything we do.


Croley – Is money held in separate trust.

Garner – Yes

Taylor – does it pose conflict? Can Commissioner Croley vote?

   Attorney Minnis - can’t give specific answer. Agreement is with Economic Development Chamber, I’m hearing there is not a true separation.

Croley - abstain from voting if not clarified.

Minnis – explained Contractual Agreement.

Holt – Would it apply to Commissioner Morgan? Which Economic arm are we funding?

Grant – Gadsden Economic Council set up back in 2000 to emulate the Jackson County Program. They met on Tuesday.

    Mr. Peacock – Why hasn’t this been discussed prior.  Spoke in support of Chamber.

    Garner – Simple solution – set up a different corporation.

Morgan – anything we fund, we want it done properly and fair.  My motion is to budget for $29,000 to bring them whole.

Croley – my business is not a member of the Gadsden County Chamber.  It has not been an issue in the past.  Has a Contractual Relationship

    Attorney Minnis – Ethics Commission has changed opinion.

Croley – Right now it’s $66,000 & can’t put myself in position.

Morgan –have dollars budgeted, and then determine if we can’t, abstain from vote.

Attorney – Not issue of dollar and issue of vote.

    Taylor - Your motion has to be  withdrawn.

Motion:  $29,000 to fund Chamber -Lamb/ motion died for lack of second.

   Taylor/Lamb – to increase from $66,000 to $75,000 ($50,000chamber, $25,000small business) 2-1 (Motion passed) (Commissioner Holt opposed) (Commissioner Morgan, Croley abstained from voting due to conflict.


**Attorney was asked to check into the validity of vote. It was later determined vote was not valid and could not be honored.


Question: Holt – Why don’t we fund Dr. Grant’s group.

   Riparian -$5,000 from Contingency Morgan/Croley 3-2 (Motion passed) (Holt, Taylor opposed)

All Non- Profit decrease by 3%: Morgan/Croley 3-2 (Motion passed) (Holt, Taylor opposed)

    Taylor - Public Works significant increase in Right A Way maintenance - $621,000; Hospital Maintenance (Chiller)- $150,000


Lawson - $400,000 to purchase Heavy Equipment for Public Works coming out of their Reserve. He added the additional increase in the Hospital Maintenance is carry over. He said they had previously approved the Chiller - $150,000.

   Croley- Board Finance – continuing not receiving benefits restoration -$17,000, to reduce from the Judge’s Travel & give to the Board Finance Department.

Croley/Morgan 3-2 (Opposed- Lamb, Holt, Taylor) Motion denied.


**Attorney – Commissioner Holt is correct majority vote of who are present. Chamber will stay at $66,000.


    Motion: Holt/Croley – First Public Hearing for Adoption of the Tentative FY 2012/2013 Countywide Budget 3-2 (Opposed Lamb, Croley) (motion passed.)


2.       Direct Staff to advertise on September 15, 2012, in accordance with the Florida Statutes, the Tentative Millage Rate and Budget for FY 2012/2013 and the Date, Time, and Place of the Public Hearing to Adopt the Final Millage Rate and Budget for FY 2012/2013 (September 18, 2012, 6pm. At BOCC Chamber). – Motion: Holt/ Taylor 5-0 (passed.)


3.       Other Items as Necessary


            Nothing else came before the board.  8:20 adjourned.