Board of County Commissioners

Gadsden County, Florida

Regular Public Meeting

August 6, 2019

6:00 p.m.


Present:               Dr. Anthony “Dr. V” Viegbesie, Chair, District 2

                                Sherrie Taylor, Vice Chair, District 5

                                Eric Hinson, District 2

                                Gene Morgan, District 3

                                Brenda Holt, District 4

                                Arthur Lawson, Interim County Administrator

                                David Weiss, County Attorney

                                Marcella Blocker, Deputy Clerk



  Chair called meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and asked that phones be muted.   Rev. Sandra Mayer, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church gave Invocation and led in Pledge of Allegiance.



  Couple of amendments-Pull Items 5 & 7, bring back at later date.


Change Item 24 to Item 13a; change 13 to 13b


Morgan/Holt Taylor question


Said 2 items requested to be on agenda: attorney contract and Citizens bill of rights. V said was not on because of lengthy agenda but asked them to be placed on next agenda.


Weiss said 14 needed to precede Item 13 , Lawson said was indicated to him didn’t matter as long as did Item 24 first


Chair called for vote 4-0





Presentation from 850 Magazine

  Jill Blackman, Program Manager for GCDC, here on behalf of Beth Cicchetti, introduced McKenzie Burleigh of 850 Magazine

  Burleigh said 850 is quarterly publication and partners with counties to focus on economic development. 


Hinson appeared at 6:08 p.m.


Holt said looking at what don’t have


V asked if they work with Counties and municipalities


V asked if they have had time to sit with the Interim County Administrator so he would know what they


Chamber Update

  David Gardner, Gadsden Chamber of Commerce, appeared before the Board.  Sold the old office and relocating to the Women’s Club on King Street.  


Rumors of West End Grill being a restaurant again, not happening, will be a laundromat.  Tractor Supply also not happening.  Two major projects looking at Gadsden County.  Three major renewable energy companies looking at Gadsden County.  Weavex Business Park at full expansion.  Working with United Way on Hurricane program.  Exploring employment boot camp with schools.  Introduced Chief Operating Officer with Trulieve, Kevin Dormity.


He appeared before the Board.  Have 60% of market share here in State.  Have a 75 person call center in Clearwater and take over 3,000 calls a day.  Have over 2,000 employees; 70% are minorities.  Have a difficult time with hiring, have to pass a level 2 background check, even once hired, have problem with people showing up for work. 


V asked how much Trulieve used the churches to reach out, there is a stigma that goes with this product.  The head of Shipping is a minister and will talk with him tomorrow about this. 


Morgan said there were so many opportunities here and think they as a Board need to look at ways


Morgan stepped out at 6:51 p.m.


Taylor asked if the rules and regulations were set by government and that sometimes some should be given a second chance.  He said he has asked the same question. 


Holt asked if they had worked with economic development.  Would hate to see them go to Tallahassee for training.  Asked if opening a dispensary center here.  Right now no plans, also limited by State as to how many total in region can have.



  Holt/Hinson 5-0



Ratification Memo



Approval of Minutes

a.       February 26, 2019-Workshop

b.      March 12, 2019-Workshop

c.       March 14, 2019-Special Meeting

d.      April 2, 2019-Special Meeting

e.      May 21, 2019-Regular Meeting

f.        June 4, 2019-Regular Meeting



Approval of County Auditing Services

Item pulled


Approval to Request to Receive Reimbursement from Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) for Hurricane IRMA



Public Officials Bond Reviews

Item Pulled



Approval of Memorandum of Agreement between the Gadsden County Sheriff Department Facility and the Social Security Administration



SBA Tower Site Amendment



Approval of Agreement with Demandstar Corporation



Approval of Participation in the Approval for the 2018 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG)







   Monica Smart-Gainous, 4620 Hosford Hwy, Quincy, FL Survive & Thrive Advocacy Center
(STAC) intro, services, trainings in Gadsden County appeared before the Board to speak about Human Trafficking and passed out information.





Public Hearing: Adoption of Ordinance No. 2019-010, An Ordinance of the BOCC of GC, FL amending Section 74-1 of the Gadsden County Code of Ordinances, to include EMS services and improvements as an authorized use of the discretionary sales surtax proceeds levied pursuant to Section 212.055(3), Florida Statutes; providing for repeal, severability, inclusion in the Gadsden County Code of Ordinances, modifications that may arise from consideration at public hearing, and correction of scrivener’s errors; and providing for an effective date.

  Mr. Lawson introduced the above item and said it would amend Section 74-1 of the Gadsden County Code of Ordinances to include EMS services and improvements as an authorized use of the discretionary sales surtax levied


V asked if anyone from audience wished to speak and there was no-one.


Morgan said no heartburn about supporting EMS dollars but hoped Board did not intend to not write check to expand EMS services.  Should be to bridge gap.  Heard comments on how collections improved but don’t want to budget on that and then not be there.


V said his comment was this was worthy of strong consideration of approval & by splitting would be $800,000 less to find from budget.


Holt said would be about $700,000 and asked length of time for 3 way split-Lawson said they would designate length of time.  Weiss said if wanted to put time limitation on it they could and it could be amended at any point and time.


Morgan said they could amend the Ordinance and would be no reason to sunset it.  Understands need for it but taking money away from Public Works and Fire doing this.


Taylor said Morgan spoke on some of her concerns.  Other concerns was EMS has come to podium and spoke on things she was not on board with. 


  Mr. Lawson and Mr. Weiss addressed her questions.


Mr. Lawson said that was questions that could be answered during the budget sessions.  They were doing better with the billing but was not in the black yet.


Holt motion option 1/Morgan second Taylor asked if language included-Taylor go in record will support day-to-day operations and not outside things talked about


Hinson said reason going against it not clear and reason cannot support it tonight especially when moved EMS from Midway


Chair called for vote


Weiss said does require super majority vote.


Hinson said when disaster happens, it’s Public Works, it’s not the Sheriff. 


Morgan said did not know why not clear


Holt                                        y

Hinson                                  n

Taylor                                    n

Morgan                                                y

V                                             y

Failed 3-2  Taylor said did not want to adequately fund EMS and will need to come back





UF/IFAS Gadsden County Multipurpose Facility

   Mr. Lawson introduced the above item and said it was for approval for a change order in the amount of $47,092.94


Morgan option 1/Holt Taylor question


Change order for $47,092.94.


Hinson said lot of change orders coming and asked reason why.


Lawson said contract was bid several years ago and price increase.


4-1 Taylor opposed




Resolution No. 2019-021 authorizing and approving the $707,000 Gadsden County, FL Capital Improvement Bond Anticipation Note, Series 2019

  Lawson introduced item. Required by USDA prior to them funding.


Holt/Hinson 5-0



Approval to Accept Construction Loan with BB&T Bank for Completing the Requirements for USDA

   Mr. Lawson introduced the above item and said this was for approval to enter into the construction


Morgan option 1/Holt 5-0



City of Quincy Dump Truck Request

  Mr. Lawson introduced the above item and said this was concerning conveyance of a 2005 Mack CV713 Granite Dump Truck from Public Works Department to City of Quincy for relocation of power lines and poles for roundabout project that amounted to $47,637.62 and City agreed to waive costs if County conveyed dump truck in exchange for services rendered.


V asked if this was some form of bartering.


Morgan asked for help on this one.  He asked if the City of Quincy met and their Board approved this to come before the County and asked what was being done.  Said knew had costs of roundabout that came out of Holt’s paving dollars and no mention of additional costs for lighting or anything else to pay for.


Lawson said when project was cost out there was no cost in project for lights to relocate and for additional lights.  Prior to his coming back on Board, this was negotiated between the previous County Administrator with the City Manager and the previous Public Works Director.  Morgan said never brought before the Board for approval until now.  Lawson said that was his understanding.


Holt made motion for approval/Taylor second


Weiss said there is a statutory requirement that a resolution be adopted if they intend to convey the dump truck.


Morgan said what hearing a County Commissioner, former County Administrator and former Public Works Director made deal for this without coming before Board that will cost $47,000 or in this case, a dump truck.  Morgan asked if this dump truck was currently being used by Public Works.  Lawson stated according to the current Director it is.  Morgan said the County was giving away a dump truck that we use to pay for a project we know nothing about that was an additional cost of $47,000, why not pay out of paving dollars in those funds.


Holt said not agreement between a commissioner.  Spoke with former administrator, they were going to surplus the truck and City wanted a truck, agreed to move power lines.  City did say if they moved lines would be a charge. 


V said Mr. McLean was present and Holt said did not want to put him in controversial situation.


Morgan said this was truck they were using and Lawson said yes.  Morgan said was right way to do things and not right way and this not right way.  Have budget session coming up.  All different things to consider and now giving trucks away or paying money out when can’t afford to meet budget have before us.  Doesn’t smell right.  Do it the correct way. 


Holt asked if the Manager would bring up Mr. McNealy.  Mr. Lawson said he was told by Mr. McNealy they needed and were using the truck and did not see a reason to bring him up and put him in front of the commission.  Holt said in the fall they gave the City of Chattahoochee a building and Morgan said it was done the right way.  Holt said the previous manager may not have known the right process. 


V asked if the City had provided their services they were going to be trading the truck for, if so, maybe they should pull this item and handle this the proper way.


Morgan suggested since they know the truck was needed in Public Works, Holt pay the balance from her paving funds.


Hinson said he thought they were getting new trucks and Lawson said it was work trucks not dump trucks.  Hinson said comment made months ago promise was a promise.


Taylor said Weiss said Resolution needed to be done.  She wanted to make sure included in motion they do Resolution and wanted to move motion including motion to amend Holt’s motion. 


V asked if one came before other of both dealt with concurrently. 


Weiss said think Motion should be worded is to direct Staff and County Attorney to move forward with potential conveyance to bring Resolution to the Board for consideration; don’t think can approve Resolution (beforehand).





Approval of Health Insurance Rates

  Lawson introduced the above item.  V asked who made up the committee.  Lawson said Committee made up of representatives  from constitutional , County Administrator, and HR Director. 


Morgan option 1/Holt Hinson question


Morgan stepped out 8:11


Hinson asked about full time workers that could not afford insurance


Morgan returned at 8:12 p.m.


Lawson said rates he saw was what Board paid for employees. 


Chair called for the vote.  5-0



Appointment of Commissioner and Alternate to the Canvassing Board

  Lawson introduced above item.


Hinson appointed V and Holt.


Holt said had to decline and wanted to appoint Lawson.  He said to keep in mind campaign would be in 2020.  V said they have an Assistant County Administrator and should be one to be alternate.


V said motion is for current Chair and Assistant to be Alternate, Holt motion and Chair second 4-1



Fifth Amendment to the Hospital Lease

  Mr. Lawson introduced the above item. 


V said this was to accommodate for the workshop scheduled for the 13th and Lawson said yes.


Holt said was at workshop last week and does not think October 30th was enough time.  Have not seen where steps have been taken where a night can be spent in hospital yet, and Medicaid funds, and they are willing to give back $600,000 back but want control of building, and think need more time than October.  Also during hurricane, there were no vacancies in Tallahassee at hospitals and what will happen next time.


Weiss said the extension has been approved by GHI and CRMC but could be extended again. 


Holt said when in the meeting, some of GHI members were asking about the financials and what they looked like.


Taylor said she was confused and asked who put this on the Agenda.  Lawson said GHI approved the October expension.


Taylor made motion to approve/Morgan second Hinson question


Taylor stepped out at 8:28 p.m.


   Hinson said been controversial thing since he’s been here


Taylor returned at 8:29 p.m.


Chair called for vote.  5-0



CR269 (Little Sycamore Road) SCRAP Change Order #1

  Lawson introduced above item.


Morgan option 1/Hinson second 4-1 Taylor opposed



CR 269 (Little Sycamore Road) Change Order #2

  Lawson introduced above item and said was a deduction.

Justin said deduct in amount of $86,266.00.


Morgan option 1/Hinson 5-0



Bell Road (SCRAP) Amended Contract with Peavy and Son

  Lawson introduced above item.


Hinson/Holt 4-1 Taylor opposed



Approval of Resolution 2019-020 to Adopt Specified Fees for Building Permits Utilizing Private Provider Services

  Lawson introduced above item.


Holt said could not go along with this until see what going on with fees.


V asked if this was mandatory that municipalities must adopt this ordinance.


Suzanne Lex appeared before the Board.  She said currently Gadsden County has a minimum $100 application fee with residential & $200 commercial to cover a processing and administrative cost that would be credited against the final cost of permit. Fees reflect about 90% reduction of what would pay if paid for full building permit because paying for someone else to pay for review or do inspections.  Law has been in place since 2002.  Another option when have high demand and volume for inspections for these services. 


Holt said they need to sit down, contractors and citizens need to be there so they have their input into this.


Morgan asked how this could benefit citizens and business owners in the day to day standpoint beyond the cost of lower fees.  She said there was only one contractor utilizing private provider and that was their choice.  She said they have not been charging re-inspection fees and don’t want to penalized people ; have been working hard to educate people and would like to do an outreach on a formal basis with contractors and have monthly meetings so they would know what to they expect in terms of the changes. 


Taylor asked if the private providers would be qualified/certified and Lex said according to the Division of Business of Business and Professional Regulation, they have the licenses for private providers listed and they check to make sure they are in effect and meet the requirements.


Taylor motion to approve/Chair second Holt question-Holt said before doing,  citizens will be billed from independent contractors and County and won’t know this information and only asking for chance to have them come in along with contractors so can hear what they are saying.


Hinson said he had calls as well and think needs workshop


Chair called for the vote.  3-2  Holt, Hinson opposed.



Approval of the Local Hurricane Housing Recovery Program Funding (LHHRPF)

  Lawson introduced above item and said was for approval for Board to accept $3,005,000 for Gadsden County from the Local Hurricane Housing Recovery Program


Taylor motion to approve/V second with question  V said when talk about State Housing Initiative Partnership–there are limitations stipulated as to how and what can do and second question is can they deviate if have shingle roof and want to put metal roof on and pay difference, can that be done. 




UF/IFAS Gadsden County Multipurpose Facility

Moved to 13a






Nothing to report






  Sent copies of applications-6 met qualifications wanted direction from Board

V said read the applications and feel have 6 potential applicants and suggest allow Administrator and staff to eliminate one and bring 5 before the Board for interviews and drop to 3.  Suggested to Commissioners when get a County Administrator to let them do their work.


Taylor said they were independent commissioners and all have own opinion and she would not be dictated to by another Commissioner.


V said whether he was Chair or not comments he makes he will make, gavel does not make him make the comments, wanted that on record.


Morgan said he appreciated the info Mr. Lawson sent out and felt the issues hearing regarding the applicants, one thing had reservations about was lack of day to day operational experience as County Administrator and recommendation is need someone that has that.  Recommended they rebid this, look at qualifications again to see if appropriate for what and who trying to have as County Administrator.                   


Holt said she would like to interview the ones that made the cut and put them in different offices and visit them.


Taylor said she agreed with Morgan and felt they needed someone that was seasoned.


Holt said some applied that had experience, she googled them.


Holt moved to interview 6 candidates/V second


Hinson said when first got it looked at qualifications and was curious, narrow down to three and move forth and only way would vote.


Holt amended motion to 3/V amended second


Holt                        yes

Hinson                  yes

Taylor                    no

Morgan                no

V                             yes


Motion passed 3-2










Report and Discussion of Public Issues



Commissioner Eric Hinson, District 1

  Thanked Lawson for beautifying area

Said noticed with Work Program why took long time and had 3 zones and why took so long and how could make more effective



Commissioner Gene Morgan, District 3

  Morgan said he received information issues regarding signage issues on Attapulgus Highway and said Chair Viegbesie may be aware of them since they were in his District


Juniper Creek Road status and was very aware of issues there and appreciate pro activity of Public Works. 


Justin Ford, Dewberry/Preble-Rish appeared before the Board.  State in process in awarding $300,000 for Roadway improvements associated with Storm Damage as part of appropriation package and proposing be opportunity to utilizing funding because most impacted roadway in County from storm associated from debris trucks.  Funding won’t cover repairs necessary on road but Commissioner Morgan willing to add additional funds from his remaining paving funds and will get to point to put band aid on road.  Applied for funding from State and don’t know status yet and may be October or November before will know if have permanent funding but will put band aid to get by and is in terrible shape.  Basically is an unpaved road right now.


Morgan said that is a safety issue there and a lot of traffic there. 


Commissioner Brenda Holt, District 4

  Holt said she was receiving calls regarding that road also.


Morgan left meeting at 9:31 p.m.



Commissioner Sherrie Taylor Vice-Chair, District 5

  Taylor asked if they could use their paving funds for sidewalks and he said yes.



Commissioner Anthony “Dr. V” Viegbesie, Chair, District 2

  V asked for a motion to present a Resolution for Jimmy Salter for Sheriff’s Office Taylor/Holt 4-0


V had 2 items presented to Administrator he asked they come do presentation at a meeting.


Receipt and File









  Adjourned at 9:44 p.m.