Board of County Commissioners

Gadsden County, Florida

Regular Public Meeting

December 3, 2019

6:00 p.m.


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

                                Brenda Holt, Vice Chair, District 4

                                Eric Hinson, District 2

                                Gene Morgan, District 3

                                Sherrie Taylor, District 5-arrived late

                                Wesley Hall, Interim County Administrator

                                David Weiss, County Attorney

                                Marcella Blocker, Deputy Clerk



  Chair called meeting to order at 6:03 p.m.  Morgan gave Invocation and then led in Pledge of Allegiance.



   Holt/Morgan (Motion was not carried)





 Resolution honoring Bonnie Ann Francis

  The Board presented a Resolution to Major Bonnie Ann Francis, Retired, and pictures were taken.



  Chair Viegbesie made note that Commissioner Taylor (who was present at the meeting earlier) may not be returning due to not feeling well.


Holt motion to approve consent agenda; Hall said want to pull 6 for discussion, Hinson want to pull item 5 for discussion/Morgan second Board voted 4-0



Ratification Memo



Training Funding Request  for 2019 Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Assembly of Cities



Approval of the Proposal and Service Agreement with Johnson Controls Fire Protection LP for Suppression Gas Systems Test and Inspect-FM200 System



Approval of the Amendment to Agreement No. T1710 required by Department of Environmental Protection of the Grant Agreement for the East Gadsden Park and Multipurpose Complex at St. Hebron

Pulled for Discussion



Approval of the Agreement for State Lobbying Services with Lawson & Associates for Fiscal Year

Pulled for Discussion



Approval of Minutes

a.       July 18, 2019-Budget Workshop

b.      October 1, 2019-Regular Meeting





Approval of the Amendment to Agreement No. T1710 required by Department of Environmental Protection of the Grant Agreement for the East Gadsden Park and Multipurpose Complex at St. Hebron

   Hall introduced above item

  Hinson said he asked to have pulled because received phone call because things being cut out that were detrimental to park, i.e., lights so would not be able to use restrooms, drainage and other issues and potential to have other change orders and think need to address those issues before vote.  V said would just be walking trail for now.  Hinson said still part of $200,000 and need to make sure before moving forward.


Taylor arrived at 6:17 p.m.


  Holt asked what suggestions were because they approved walking trail and would the restrooms come second.  Would things be in stages?  Hinson said before getting into it, make sure all were on same page first.


  Allan Meeks appeared before the Board.  He said originally restrooms started out to be compost restrooms and now will have water and will have skylights.  Walking trail has been shortened up because did not have needed funds nor the acreage to do mile and holding pond has been reduced; no need to build huge holding pond until ready to build parking lot, which will come at later phase.


Hinson said in his humble opinion, maybe need to halt this and hold brief workshop so it could be explained to Commissioners so they know what was going on and to keep change orders down.  Meeks said this was reducing costs so they could build park and this was an amendment to the Agreement for the State for the scope of work. 


  Morgan said did not vote because of costs to park but looked this was simply extending the agreement by one year with DEP.


Hinson said did not have to extend the agreement, don’t mind stopping the agreement right now; but if going to continue, need to know what doing; had problem with this because have bridge that collapsed and took $200,000 out of this funding to take care of this and should take care of bridge first.


V said if recalled correctly at last meeting project was approved to be conducted and explained this only asking for DEP extension and changing from compost restroom to regular toilet.  Hinson said there would not be lights in restrooms and not fair to have citizens walk in and no lights, would not be safe.


  Holt asked if deadline on this and what impact would be if not approved.  Hinson said to table it until workshop.


Hinson said in short, voted for this, after Hurricane Michael, had bridge that collapsed and took money out of Public Works, and was told another bridge at risk. 


Hinson motion to table/Taylor second  Holt question


Holt asked Manager


  Morgan called for point of order on agenda item


Chair called for vote.  2-3  V, Holt, Morgan opposed.


Holt motion for extension/V second 5-0   



Approval of the Agreement for State Lobbying Services with Lawson & Associates for Fiscal Year

  Hall introduced above item


  Hinson said he brought this up and for sake of time and effort, go with $24,999


Weiss explained there were different levels on their procurement policy; that was accurate for a formal bid.  There is an existing agreement for $15,000-can increase but would need to get quotes.  Hinson said to put back on agenda.


  Morgan said he was actually one that pulled this for discussion and thought he would have a chance to comment on it.  He said there were 2 lobbying firm agreements in place.  Weiss said there was one with Gunster and Lawson.


Morgan said he did not see the need for the agreement and the lobbying firms and the County did not have the money.  He pulled it to encourage them to not approve it at this time.


  Morgan made motion for approval of option 2 to not approve and motion died for lack of second.


  Holt said the County has no representation and a lot of progress was made last year. 


Holt motion to approve at $15,000/V second 2-3 Hinson, Taylor Morgan opposed


  Hinson motion to approve at $25,000 for lobbying services and Taylor second with question


Taylor asked if take that amount in this particular agreement, would it be one that warrant a bid or could they move forward with lobbying service.


Weiss said their policy would not require formal bid but did require 3 quotes


Hinson motion for $20,000


Taylor said preferred to not go to limits where have to do bid or get themselves in quagmire with regards to procurement policy.  Said to stay with $15,000 that originally on floor.


Chair said there was a motion and second on floor and asked if she was suggesting friendly amendment


Option 1 4-1 Morgan opposed





Mary Alice Tiller, 815 Sunset Drive, Quincy, Items 8 & 9



Sean Marston, 2851 Remington Green, Items 8 & 9



Ronnie Dawkins, 28305 Blue Star General questions



Down Bot, 958 Ames Barineau Road, Items 8 & 9



Tracy Johnson, 1246 Carl Pitts Road, Chattahoochee, FL Item 8



Richard May, 331 N. Monroe Street, Quincy, Items 8 & 9



   Rosetta Rolle Hylton-Anderson, 825 Virginia Street, Quincy, Vote appeared before the Board on behalf of the Walk/Knock/Knock Vote/Vote and registered 45 people and this past Saturday registered 13 people.


Also pointed out on new Round-about the arrows are pointed in wrong direction.  City said it was County and County tells her it is City.


Holt said regarding the Round-about it was the County and it would be addressed first thing in the morning.



Jerry Potter, 1807 Tallavana Trail, Havana,





PUBLIC HEARING-(Quasi-Judicial)-RFM Day School Special Exception Use (SEU 2019-01)

  Hall introduced the above item and gave a brief description.


  Jill Jeglie, Senior Planner, appeared before the Board and gave a description of the item.


  Sean Marston, 2851 Remington Green Circle, Tallahassee, FL appeared before the Board to address any questions the Board might have.  He said they looked at other sites but this was the best site they looked at. 


   Tracy Johnson, 1246 Carl Pitts Road, Chattahoochee, FL appeared before the Board and spoke on behalf of the school.


   Jerry Potter, 1807 Tallavana Trail, Havana, FL appeared before the Board and read a prepared statement.


   Richard May, 331 N. Monroe Street, Quincy appeared before the Board


  Mary Alice Tiller, 815 Sunset Drive, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board and said she was an alumnus of the school and was a chair member.


   Ronnie Dawkins, 28305 Blue Star Highway, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board and had questions regarding the buffer along Highway 90.  What is impact regarding noise, lightning, on people now that are in school zone?  Does traffic study warrant light at Lanier and South Lanier?  He said he felt it was a dangerous intersection. 


  Mr. Marston re-appeared before the Board to address the questions asked by Mr. Dawkins.  He mentioned there was a significant number of trees in the median that would buffer noise and they could not take them down, they are DOT trees.  Did perform traffic study and met with DOT; asked about light at intersection and DOT told them light was not required and they wanted to see more; DOT wanted to do Speed Reduction Study.


Mr. Dawkins re-appeared and said when DOT was putting in turn-lane, there were accidents after hours. 


  Marston said there was a 


  Dawn Burch, 261 White Oak Drive, appeared before the Board on behalf of RFM School and said she believed in the school and taught there. 


   Melissa Darby, 1010 Sunset Drive, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board and spoke on behalf of RFM School.  She said she teaches 68 students at the school.


Morgan stepped out at 7:32 p.m.


  Christy Ulrich, 114 Westwood Drive, Tallahassee, FL appeared before the Board and spoke on behalf of RFM School.


Morgan returned


  Hinson said this was in his district and he wanted to disclose he had spoken with Mr. Dawkins and he had concerns and they were discussed tonight. He asked if this would trigger a traffic light in Midway and said may spark that conversation because there were a lot of traffic accidents there as well.  He also wanted to disclose he talked with someone that worked at the school and was thankful Mr. Dawkins brought his concerns forward. 


  Holt said she met with Mr. Marston and he answered her questions.  She said when it came to Highway 90, US 27, I-10, they had to be careful about them and they had to work with FDOT.


  Morgan said usually when they fill up a room they get a little nervous but this was a good thing.  He said he also appreciated Mr. Dawkins questions and concerns, especially since this was in his neighborhood.  He said he also spoke with Mr. Marston concerning his questions and issues.  He said the campus would be built out in phases and thought that was a great thing for the community.   


  V disclosed he also met with Mr. Marston.  He felt this was a very good project for the County.


  Taylor said anytime a chance to grow education was good and she was ready to move the question.  She said she also had a business on 90 and she was concerned about the egress and ingress and this was a chance to partner.  She said this was an asset.  She said she would yield to Hinson because it was his district but she was ready to go home.


  Hinson move to approve/Holt second 5-0  



Public Hearing-(Quasi-Judicial)-RFM Day School Conceptual and Preliminary Site Plan (SP 2019-01)

   Hall introduced the above item and gave a brief description


V announced it was a public hearing and asked if there was anyone that wished to speak.  Before that, Jill Jeglie appeared before the Board.


  Jill Jeglie, Senior Planner, appeared before the Board and gave a brief description. 


  V announced this was a public hearing and called out names of ones that filled out Speaker Request Forms


  Hinson motion to approve option 1 with conditions a-t/Holt second with question


Holt asked about the cemetery.  Jill said they could not


Chair called for the vote 5-0




Public Hearing-Approve the Funding of the Summer Youth Program in the FY 19/20 Budget

  Mr. Hall introduced the above item and said it was presented to the Board to discuss and take action regarding the funding of the Summer Youth program


   Lori Bouie, 816 Hardin Street, Quincy, FL, appeared before the Board in support of the Summer Youth program. 


  Cathy Johnson, 517 Country Lane Havana, FL  in support of Summer Youth funding, said it would reduce delinquent behavior in community.  She said the Town of Havana hires two youth and she was going to ask them to increase the amount.


  V said this was for public discussion and he asked that staff explore ways to fund this and he asked if they were successful.  Hall said most private businesses would not hire students until they reached the age of 16.


  Taylor said what the Interim did with private business, was what she did with Constitutional Officers; she reached out to some of the Constitutionals who had requested and received increases in their budgets to see if they would be willing to return some of the funding to support some of the Non-Profits they did not fund and support some of the programs they did not fund.  She made her way to the Sheriff and Property Appraiser and they agreed to turn back some of the money they were given.  She said in piggy-backing off the Chairman that gave directions to reach out to private sectors, call the Constitutional Officers.  She said she was still rocking and rolling over the $1 Million increase in EMS budget and was primarily for raises, not equipment or services, and asked they look into that.


  V said that was the direction he was going.  He said they could think outside the box to be able to continue this.


  Hinson said they needed to be honest to citizens, their budget was not tight-how could they increase $3-4 Million increase-they fatten the budget so they could not hire the students.  They did the same thing last year.  The Clerk told them they gave $1.5 Million in selective raises last year to 1/3 of staff.  He told them they needed to be careful but the Board approved it anyway.  He said how could you not want to protect the kids of Gadsden County?  If the kids had jobs, they would not get in trouble.  Pastor told him a child broke into his house and when he asked why he did that, he responded because he did not have a summer job.


  V said one thing brought to his attention by staff was there was some that worked 4 day week and some worked 5 day week-did not know how much could extract if had uniform 5 day work week for everybody and might cut down on overtime and might be source of funding. 


  Hinson suggested they give CA direction to increase budget by $3-4 Million-he said they said they could approve it and then amend it.  He said if he could not find anything, would stop talking.


  Holt said in 2006 two commissioners were fighting for the Summer Youth program.  She said the Clerk never said what raises he gave (Deputy Clerk said none).  She said this Board approved the budget.  She said the Board approved the budget; they were down by $1.5 Million; FEMA has not sent a penny; they have $2 Million in the bank; if they stumble they would be in trouble and could not pay the bills after two months.  She said she would not vote to move penny out of reserve until get money coming in.  People working every day have right to get paid.  She said they have contractors that work with them every day.  She said if it was there-fine, but it’s not there.  It gives impression we’re giving away money.  She said to go out and lobby people for money for the summer youth fund. 


  Jeff Price appeared before the Board.  Hinson asked him if raises were given last year to a certain group of people-yes; Hinson asked how many -Jeff said about 200; Hinson asked if there was about $1.5 Million in raises given and Jeff confirmed.  He then asked how much budget increased this year by, Jeff said $3 Million.  Hinson asked if did not have money, how could they increase the budget.  Jeff said had money and did not know about $1.5 payroll increase at time and catching that up.


  Holt said they have had this discussion before-they discussed the amounts of money paid for overtime for employees; positions that were not being filled and asked if he had those numbers-he said not on him.  She said he does the budget and should have had the figures attached to the agenda item.  She asked the Interim County Administrator for the figures to be attached for the next meeting.  She said information on the budget should come from budget person, not Clerk, Clerk steps in when he sees something wrong.  Finance person lets them know by State Statute whether you’re spending money correctly.


  V said his comment was to the County Attorney-he asked if there was any policy regarding work days for employees or was it at the County Administrator’s discretion


Holt stepped out 8:44 p.m.


He said for the ICA and Jeff to determine what the County would save between 4 day work week versus 5 day work week


Holt returned 8:46 p.m.


  Taylor said she listened to both Hinson and Holt.  She said the budget they just approved, everyone was up in arms they send balanced budget to State and wanted to make sure County did not falter on sending balanced budget and had concerns but knew in due time had an opportunity to come back to make adjustments. 


V stepped out 8:48 p.m.


Here are some facts: $1.5 Million increase in staff salaries-explanation was that some employees took on responsibilities of others that were not here-must have meant no-one was working and 1 person was working for 5-6 people to warrant that kind of increase and not rationale as to why received increases when get chance to look closer and commend it being looked at closer; $1 Million to EMS for raises; $750,000 to Constitutional Officers who wanted to see increase in budget-that’s where $3 Million came from.  Board had genius idea to cut non-profits and saved them $250,000.  Just heard some say won’t touch Reserves but then went into Reserves to fund Boys and Girls Club.  She said they fund programs they want to fund. 


  V said they were going to find a way and there was going to be a meeting of the minds.


  Taylor motion to give staff direction to find money outside of Reserve/Hinson second


  Morgan said he has been pretty consistent on his position-he said he knew Summer Youth program was important to the children and they had funded in the past years; their primary job was to set policy, and make decisions and understand how important prioritizing was when it came to funding.  He asked Board if they wanted to go to Finance, not just ask them to find money for Summer Youth, but how to responsibly prioritize all needs they have in County.  He said when they go to someone and say they cannot make the repair on the road because they were funding Summer Youth, they would have problem, there would be folks not happy with that; important to look at everything, not just one item; not the correct way to spend taxpayers’ dime.


Chair called for vote 4-1 Morgan opposed



Public Hearing-Approval to re-establish the Emergency Housing Repair Account to $100,000 in the FY19/20 Budget

  Hall introduced above item


  Hinson said he brought this item up and reason why was it was needed.  He said before Hurricane Michael they needed to refurbish homes before a tropical storm and instead they had a hurricane.  Clerk said they had $750,000 that hadn’t been touched in about a year or so and they have money for housing that wasn’t being used to help people that need help and some people been on SHIP list for almost 13 years. Have people that need ramps and that what emergency fund for, for Seniors, emergencies, etc. and each Commissioner had $20,000 and was able to repair a lot of homes and put ramps for people that need ramps.  Said was not into being shot down and wanted to table this issue for another night.


  Hinson motion to table/Holt second  Taylor question – said Hinson was on roll


Taylor said $500,000 there-problem was setting up the program fairly so program could be used, that’s the direction the Interim County Administrator needed to take.  She said no-one calls in and she didn’t do it because she didn’t trust those people over there so she didn’t call in and tell anyone to do anything.  She said it needed to be set up where it was done fairly and equally across the Board, money just sitting there because there was a waiting list.  We voted to have some of those dollars used in this emergency housing after it got zeroed out, that money is out there; it’s just not being used, “he” needed to be tasked on how to move forward and get it used by the people that need it.  This program for two groups of people; seniors and people with disabilities.  Instead of $100,000 there is $500,000; you don’t want to turn this back to State, you don’t not want to use what has been given because if do, hard to get next time go over there.  She said she thought maybe get another group of people, pull from another department that can help go through applications, and award services, give repairs that are needed.  Have heard a lot going on in that department, a lot having to be responsible for so dome of this stuff needs to go to other departments.  We’re a big group, money sitting there not being used so it needs to be, in her opinion, coming up with a mechanism to be put in place so that the money could be used to help disabled and seniors.  She said she did not want $100,000 for her district, just wanted money to be used.  She said she did not need to take part.  She told Hall to come up with plan to put where needed to be.


Chair called for the vote.  4-1 Morgan opposed.


Taylor said it was being tabled to give Interim opportunity...


Chair said he heard conversation and hoped he heeded the conversation and one was find a plan to make sure the $500,000 was used.










Nothing to report.
















Report and Discussion of Public Issues



Commissioner Eric Hinson, District 1

  Got text and was told Boys and Girls Club don’t want to be part here anymore.  Said Board made it clear if they were not going to continue service for Havana, Quincy and Chattahoochee, the Board would not honor their commitment.   V said he talked with Executive Director the Board of Directors was actually meeting to see how they are going to work into continuing services for all the locations in Gadsden County.  V told them to put the plan together and bring back to the Commission to explain to them how they would be fully operational.  Hinson said the letter he received was more consistent to what has taken place.  He said he was trying to be proactive.  A lot of parents were taking the children out and placing them in 21st Century in Havana and Quincy because there was no place to go.  Thought maybe could help them out little bit because him being fan of Club, need to be proactive and if we give them $25,000 we keep $75,000, they have to show they using for outreach and we’ll save $75,000 but they have to use it for areas like traveling, outreach.


He said also increase Revenue-how can they increase revenue-with whoever they have for economic engines; they need to start having meetings with them about increasing revenue.  Maybe start having meetings twice a week or once a month with economic engine and they have to tell us what they have in place to increase, not worried about jobs anymore, that sounds farfetched.  Need to have infrastructure in place.  Just want to have conversation once a month or every two weeks, whatever, with both groups.



Commissioner Gene Morgan, District 3

Had no items.



Commissioner Sherrie Taylor, District 5

  Veterans Association-can a fundraiser be done so they could have some soft money?  Lots of times veterans call in needing assistance with utility bills and rental assistance.


Morgan left at 9:11 p.m.


Hall said he would check with Mr. Jackson.  Taylor said she did and was shy she was asking.


  Holt said they would do better if they went after economic development; they were not asking companies what they could do to help them expand.  When they approved the tax exemption ordinance with Coastal, the County won’t receive revenue, but Coastal will be employing at least 30 additional families.



Commissioner Brenda Holt Vice-Chair, District 4

  About Manager and staff looking at some of these things they just discussed, she wanted that money to be used also, but always fell back to State and Federal law, and she was going to follow that because she was not going to jail. 



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

  Would like for Board to pass Ordinance banning human trafficking in Gadsden County


Taylor so moved/Holt 4-0


Receipt and File





Adjourned 9:22 p.m.