Board of County Commissioners

Gadsden County, Florida

Regular Public Meeting

February 2, 2021

6:00 p.m.



Present:               Brenda Holt, Chair, District 4

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

                                Eric Hinson, District 1

                                Kimblin NeSmith, District 3

                                Ronterious “Ron” Green, District 5

                                Edward J. Dixon, County Administrator

                                Nicholas Thomas, Clerk of Court

                                Clayton Knowles, County Attorney

                                Marcella Blocker, Deputy Clerk



  Welcomed everyone, asked for moment of silence and led in Pledge of Allegiance



  Add 3A-Approval of CareerSource Bylaws & 6a Settlement of Final Settlement Agreement


Green/V 5-0





  V/Green 5-0



Ratification Memo



Approval of Minutes

·         September 25, 2020 – Emergency Meeting

·         November 19, 2020 – Special Meeting

·         December 1, 2020 – Regular Meeting

·         December 15, 2020 – Regular Meeting

·         January 5, 2021 – Regular Meeting



Approval of Letter of Support for the Liberty County BOCC to Support their efforts to obtain State Owned Property Located in Tate’s Hell



Approval of the Bylaws of the Big Bend Jobs & Education Council, Inc.





Due to COVID-19 and the efforts of Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners to continue the practice of social distancing, Commissioners want to continue to hear from citizens under the Citizens Requesting to be Heard section of the agenda.


If citizens have any questions, comments or concerns, please email and anticipate receiving a response within 48 hours.

  Holt read aloud statement.



Bishop Willie C. Green, 296 Bradwell Road, Quincy, - General concerns


Les Epperson, 5491 Bainbridge Highway, Quincy – Citizens Zoning


Rosemary Fodor, 5491 Bainbridge Highway, Quincy


   Stanley Sims, appeared before the Board.  Asked Board to develop minority economic council.





PUBLIC HEARING-(Legislative) Consideration of Adoption of Ordinance 2020-005 to amend Section 7001.1, by repealing the ‘Citizens Growth Management and Planning Bill of Rights’ (LDR 2020-02)

   Dixon introduced the above item and stated it was for consideration for recommendation to adopt Ordinance 2020-005 amending Section 7001.1 by repealing the Citizens Growth Management and Planning Bill of Rights, Chapter 7, Development Orders, Development Permits and Development Agreements. 


   Diane Quigley appeared before the Board.  May, 2010, BOCC adopted CBOR; since amendment and/or repeal of CBOR been discussed by Planning and BOCC at numerous workshops and public hearings without consensus vote to repeal or amend.  December 7, 2020, Planning held workshop to discuss proposed Ordinance and whether entire CBOR should be deleted including the requirement of a community meeting.  January 7th, the Planning Commission voted 9-2 to recommend deletion of CBOR in its entirety.


  Holt announced was a public hearing.


  Don Stewart.  Chair Holt read aloud a portion of his email.


  Herb Sheheane.  Holt read aloud his email


  Hugh Stephens, Holt read aloud his email.


  The petition with 600 signatures in favor of keeping the CBOR


   Les Epperson, 5491 Bainbridge Highway, Quincy – Citizens Zoning – appeared before Board and said found it interesting in all years spent developing and selling property, Planning Commission wanted to suspend notification to citizens.  He stated Holt was his commissioner and the only one he could complain to because other 4 were not elected in his district and if drop back to 3 commissioners, means 3 that he could not vote for could decide what happened in his neighborhood.  He can only vote for 1 commissioner and why should other commissioners be able to vote for something that would affect him and he doesn’t have the right to vote for them.  He asked why they wanted to take away his rights.  He said he understood Planning and Zoning and was important to have regulations and that neighbors hear about it. 


Holt stated before had CBOR, had notification process in place; notified within


   Rosemary Fodor, 5491 Bainbridge Highway, Quincy appeared before the Board. 


   Bishop Willie C. Green, 296 Bradwell Road, Quincy, - General concerns – appeared before the Board.  Very concerned about this issue.  Think misnomer involved.  Not heard how this particular legislation has improved life in Gadsden County.  Other ways to accomplish what they want to accomplish.  No other county that has such restrictive requirements like this.


  V wanted to ask questions of Ms.


  He said there were some concerns that have been expressed regarding the CBOR.  She said it would add 2 additional meetings.  Advertisement would still go out and would still be in place.  Only removing community meeting up front and super majority.  V said his understanding was this met the requirement


  Green said in layman’s terms, as Mr. Sims stated, the land was ready.  Want to make sure growth process better.


  NeSmith said as Board knows, he informed all citizens of his district; they continued to express the need for economic in this economy.  Have to move forward with economic development and open the County for business.


  Hinson said first, there was a 9-2 vote for this on the Planning Commission.  Remembered with Peavy came about the tower in the Havana area because could not get good service.  Had one commissioner vote against it and would have only taken 1 more to vote against it and tower would not be there.  Agreed had to be notified.  Was situation on Strong Road where company decided to purchase building and 1 commissioner voted against it.  If one more had voted against it, business would not have gone in.  Even 1000 Friends of Florida was in agreement with this.  Gadsden is only County in Florida that restricts citizens without super majority.  Strongly agree with Planning. 


  Marion Lasley zoomed into the meeting.  Felt if project was a good project in right location, would be able to get all votes. 


  Holt said she been commissioner longest and had notifications.  We’re trying to get prospective companies here; no other county requires super majority vote.  Have to become a viable prospective site


Holt asked will of Board.


  V motion to approve option recommended by Administrator/NeSmith


Hinson had comment.


  Hinson asked Administrator and said maybe staff could answer.  How would this impact homeowners when comes time to divide property?  Dixon said no impact on homeowner from that perspective.


V asked for roll call vote


Green y

V yes

NeSmith y

Hinson y

Holt y




Holt said to clarify little more, Board can decide and what she used to do and can do as Commissioner, when something coming go out and ask if they want a meeting.


  V asked that his comment be entered for record with regard to this item.  All 5 voted in affirmation and anyone could if they think something need to bring back up with regard if they think need to be and redesign.  Can be brought back based on how affecting the County.


Holt said no reason to bring this item back, add as many meetings as want.  Don’t have to have audience.


  Dixon said Planning will address this issue again and send any recommendations they have.


  Quigley said this was not on all residential property; for commercial special exceptions and large major site plans and major developments. 


  Dixon said this really addressed speed and time.  Businesses like Hoover took more than a year to get approved.  Puts County in new ball-game dealing with industry.      





CARES Act Spending Plan

  Dixon introduced above item


  Reggie Cunningham appeared before the Board.  Item was discussed in workshop and never went to a vote and therefore was not included on Spend Plan.


Amount asked for was $109,602.40


  Dixon said would come from what left-over from current spending plan.  


Dixon asked Clerk what amount was and Clerk said was a moving number.  In last memo explained had been approved for Phase III spending reimbursement at $1.2 Million and now up to $1.7 Million but have not received $ yet.  That much been confirmed.; had to reimburse General Fund and been approved enough to reimburse that.  Will be $ left over, approximately $600-700,000 at this point after reimbursing General Fund.  But was moving number.  Should be money to cover this expenditure.


Holt asked Cunningham how was funded before-wasn’t funded.  Added sneeze guard and some other items when pandemic came and had to construct something.  With data collection system, is 1987 system and can’t do anything remotely with it.


  V asked if this request was for COVID or something that was very needed for the operation of his office.  Because if not something needed right now, County having to go through process and suggested they look at future budget amendment because PA is revenue generating office for County.  If needed right now, don’t know how will accommodate right now but if need for future for effective and efficient operations, will suggest upon draw-down, should, when $ goes into general revenue, look at making budget amendment to accommodate.


  NeSmith asked if he was asking for additional funds or to be included in the Spending Plan. 


  Green said the total would not be the whole $109,602.40.  Green asked the expected timeframe expected to be reimbursed.


Cunningham stated initial timeframe was back in September when request was made; was planning to use $ to buy server need. 


Holt said approximately $95,069.40.


  Hinson said he always ask every meeting when they are going to have a meeting regarding the CARES Act to take care of issues for citizens.  Was promised would have meeting in January and now February.  Had citizen call him in tears and thought before entertain any needs, take care of citizens first.


  Dixon said they always knew was a moving process not in control of and knew might have a good hold on it.  As Clerk just stated, situation is moving & soon as get a good hold of what number would be, will have that meeting about next move.


  Holt asked if got update at next meeting, possible?  Yes.  Can have Integrity, Clerk and everyone else in room at 4:00 next meeting.  Dixon said already have 4:00 meeting scheduled on FDOT and grants workshop on roads, but could squeeze in.  Holt said with that, may not be until 4 weeks from now.  Dixon said meeting could be scheduled at Board request. 


  Green said needed to have meeting and not workshop; knew impact virus has had, in money that was being asked for, was $ spent to protect citizens that had to go to office and was COVID-related.


  NeSmith asked if CARES fund still being drawn down.  Clerk said Phase 1, sent $1.9 Million upfront; Phase 2 sent money upfront & 1 & 2 totaled $3.5 Million and have to spend that money    & Phase 3 reimbursable but had not spent Phase 1 & 2 and drawing down from reimbursable now, payroll, law enforcement, EMS was complicated and went ahead & did some Phase 3 spending and had to front with general fund.  Completed Phase 1 & 2 spending and $ gone and continued and did Phase 3 spending but fronted that, about $1.1 Million and most was to small businesses, etc.  Entitled up to $4.3 Million reimbursement for Phase 3.  Been approved for $1.7 Million that will receive for Phase 3 that will go into fund.  But have to cover $ fronted with General Fund and have to go back first.  Whatever left will have to spend and could be difference from $4.3 minus $1.1 or less because only approve $1.7 of $4.3 and only received fraction of that.


  Cunningham said for sake of clarity, brought this to Board in September and wanted to be considered to be included in Spending Plan.  For sake of what need now, need 2 servers.  Will use money that will be reimbursed that was promised if put sneeze guard in, would be reimbursed.  Did that and now need to be reimbursed.


  NeSmith said was some that was not here in September.  He asked if a commitment was made and Reggie said was not a commitment.  When first started pandemic situation, was told whatever spend for offices, will reimburse for COVID-related items.


Holt said she told Sheriff and everyone else, may be reimbursed and may not; because that’s how you deal with County and State government.  You work by their timeline.  FEMA said they were paying for stuff and still waiting on little of it.


  Nesmith asked $ spent for sneezeguard totaled what?


Cunningham said was looking for reimbursement for initial COVID barriers and permanent COVID barriers and would help him purchase needed servers and rest of stuff to be included in spend plan.


  V moved to approve request to be added to CARES Act spending plan but did not understand amount asking for right now (Holt said to do approval-he will be added)/Green second  Hinson question    


Hinson said it was travesty to even consider putting money in anyone’s hands because need to be sensitive to residents.  Been asking for meeting regarding CARES. 


  Green said he was not asking for $109,000, and will only agree to give something was because was for protection of citizens, he was asking to be part of conversation when they do have the conversation.  Also understand every county, business and citizen has not benefited from CARES Act $ and we were privileged and hope when do meet, come up with better plan for citizens.


  Hinson said concurred with everything Green said, but where he coming from, don’t think about giving anyone a dime, have meeting for small business.  All he was saying was to put cash in citizens hands. 


  Holt said Cunningham wanted to be added to spend list and all had questions.


5-0 Hinson said voted for it so can bring back at later date.



Agreement between the Gadsden County Clerk and Property Appraiser

  Dixon introduced above item.


  Cunningham said past 9 years, Clerk’s office provided bookkeeping services and because have to do budget amendment to Department of Revenue and was why in front of them today.


  Clerk said this arrangement has saved the County 100’s of thousands of dollars and every year has returned money back to BOCC.  Clerk said came into this year underfunded; with CARES have had to spend hundreds of hours, BOCC hired Integrity to do initial process and things approved are sent to Clerk’s Office and have to be audited and processed; have same staff, spent hundreds of hours doing COVID/CARES Act, had 3 out with COVID and put audit prep behind, was a department already stressed and under-funded and this way to insure County able to receive all services need to receive from Clerk’s Office.  People worked really hard and will continue to do that, will need to work overtime to be able to get audit out.  Property Appraiser is constitutional officer and required to keep his books and separate audit for PA and have helped ensure he gets a good audit and has been a good arrangement and County has benefited as result of this.  This money will come from General Fund; have a budgeted line item that reserved for Contingency-$50,000 in it and won’t go into Fund Balance.


  Holt asked if Dixon had any ideas for $50,000.  Dixon said any other time would have to come up in budget cycle and can’t disagree as much as would like to.  Clerk been nice enough to provide line item.  Covid has changed things for everyone and this time just trying to get through and have no objection at this time.


  Nesmith asked what voting for.  Holt said option 1 


  V option 1/Holt second


  Knowles asked if this required a formal budget amendment and will have a subsequent hearing and approval.  Yes.


Holt called for vote 5-0



Execution of Final Settlement Agreement

   Knowles said asking for ratification of settlement agreements.


  Nesmith asked if this was settlement that was brought to attention of previous Board-yes.


Green/V 5-0






  Mr. Thomas stated he understood he was asked to be sure to be at meeting tonight because they wanted to discuss his memo.  Chair Holt said no, was through discussing that.  Clerk said good because his attorney has advised to not go into any details about that but wanted to put them on notice that he sticks by his Memo, have grave concerns that the contract puts the County at risk.  Been advised by Clerk’s attorney to not pay any invoices based on that contract at this time as is currently constructed; spending plan contrary to Florida law and puts the County at great financial risk and his attorney has advised the Clerk to not make payments based on that contract as construed at this time and not getting into any details about it because may be litigation.   


  Green said can’t discuss but…


Holt said to talk to their attorney, usually how handled.






  State of County Address coming up on Friday at 9:45


DOT Grant workshop with Dewberry will be 16th at 4:00


BOCC retreat will be Saturday, February 27th 9-4 at Extension office.


Gave shots to 65+ at St. James; on Saturday met goal on shots


  V said 4:00 workshops are putting pressure on him coming into the end of the semester and asked if could be pushed little later.


  NeSmith asked Administrator he said making good choices in keeping citizens safe, is there anything they need to do that have not done?  Will come back with education program.






  Knowles said had spoken with Chair prior to meeting-Chamber is open for business and citizens are welcomed to come to meetings.


  Received letter from Derick Elias’ attorney regarding complaint may or may not have against the County and is self-explanatory.  Call with any questions.





Report and Discussion of Public Issues



Commissioner Eric Hinson, District 1

  Hinson felt would be great if could purchase N-95 for all employees because of new variants of virus and was told could not come through the N-95 or KN-95 masks. 


  Brought up before regarding $250.00 for employees, think need to consider, for emergency workers as well, Public Works and EMS, been on streets sacrificing their lives, leaving family behind and should be rewarded.


  Thanked each Board member for working as hard as they can. 


  Stated had no clue what Clerk said, was hard to hear him.


Wanted to give Ms. McGriff and Ms. Simmons proclamation for turning 104/Green second 5-0  



Commissioner Kimblin NeSmith, District 3

  Think certain things that need to be done to meet optimal ability to thrive.  In order to attract business to County and wanted to thank Dixon; have called him countless times regarding trash on side of roads. 


  Holt said she and Administrator talked about large item pick-up and need to work on marketing plan for heavy item pick-up.  Need to encourage them to take to land fill.


  V said “Love where you live, Keep Gadsden beautiful”.  



Commissioner Ronterious Green, District 5

  Said would have to join choir with this conversation.  Wanted to stress to take pride in where live.  Hope can find resources to put lights in his district.



Commissioner Anthony “Dr. V” Viegbesie, District 2



Commissioner Brenda Holt, District 4

  Holt said one thing that would help with businesses with masks would be a flyer.  Going to have to look again at Comp Plan.  Know lot of concerns


  Received 3 different calls about people partying in different areas of county.  Hoping and was a suggestion to put up flag for every COVID death in County at Courthouse.


Been up there since ’02 and this was one of best commissions worked with and was a pleasure to work with ones that want to learn.


Receipt and File









  Adjourned at 8:23 p.m.





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