Board of County Commissioners


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

4:00 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 Dixon, County Administrator

                                Clayton Knowles, County Attorney

                                Marcella Blocker, Deputy Clerk

                                Hannah Pope, Clerks Office




    The Chair welcomed everyone at 4:01 p.m.


   The Chair asked for a moment of silence then lead in the pledge of allegiance





Due to COVID-19 and the efforts of the 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.

The Board of County Commissioners would like to thank everyone for their patience and flexibility during this time.




Gadsden County Volunteer Fire Department Funding Presentation (Keith Maddox, Chief, EMS)

  Dixon introduced the above item for the board. He explained the counties role with the volunteer fire departments.

  Chief Maddox was introduced and he stated that this workshop was to help the board make decisions about funding.

  There are 15 departments. There are 11 volunteer departments and 6 of those departments are not in municipal. There are a few that have paid positions in other capacities (dispatcher). The Quincy is the main fire department for the county. The Florida State Hospital fire department is for the hospital and will only come out to aid. The volunteer will be called out to help paid fire departments to help with fires if they think they will turn into wildfires.

   The current distribution of how the amount of money that the departments are paid. Recommend that they continue with current budget and maintain consumer price increase. Then fund department projects later in the budget process.


Phase in pumper tankers throughout the county that preforms dual roles.

They recommend for standardized safety equipment. This would allow for assistance between departments. For unincorporated areas may have option to standardize reporting since there is not good data for those areas. Assist departments in long term plan for replacing the old equipment.


  The issues are bringing in new volunteers, facilitating/funding minimum training classes, and outreach programs in the high schools (this is not just fire ems as well).

  Consider language mandating all county funds be kept in separated accounts.

   Concerns over the towns and municipalities management of county funding for the volunteers. Report difficulty obtaining life safety equipment and lack of training.

  Future action to improve response in county is: integration of standardized equipment, training, standardized fire reporting, and centrally locate air filling system and bunker gear.

Grants to aid in man power for volunteers. They need special washers and dryers to keep form distorting the equipment


  Promote grant writing.  FEMA has grants for the different types of fire and EMS aid. Firehouse Subs grants, and safer grants allow you to put fire safety personnel in the public.

 V left at 4:19 p.m.

V returned at 4:19 p.m.

  Chair holt asked if they had left out any information. She asked what are some needs and have they forgotten any.

Maddox stated that they are working towards a training tower, safety equipment, bunker gear, and air packs.

Maddox was asked to introduced the volunteers for the different fire departments. They introduced themselves.

   V asked Maddox about 6 of 103 about the fire stations missing. He did not want any fire station left out and asked if it was being used for other purposes. 

Maddox stated that this is the up-to-date info.

   Green asked do they know how much money that the county is grant funding for the volunteers

Maddox stated that he would get them that info.

Green wanted to know how they were going to get that program for high school students.

Maddox stated that they are talking with TCC and Chipola for those programs.

Chair asked if there is a class credit if they attended those programs.

Maddox stated that they do not have that at this time.

Chair stated that it would be good for training hours and if there are scholarships.

Maddox answered no.


  NeSmith asked that they continue the funding at the current rates

Maddox answered yes and then looking at other needs/projects.

NeSmith before budget discussions would there be more information.

Maddox answered yes and the stations are putting together a critical needs list.

NeSmith asked about the consumer price index (7 of 103).

   Dixon stated that it keeps costs going along with price increase. The price growing with inflammation.

Dixon stated that this is the basic funding for the year. Fire department need the same equipment even if they don’t get the same number of calls. Get some software to keep up with the number of calls to keep up with investments. They need new gear and some need new trucks. The county’s commitment to fight the same fire.

   NeSmith asked about the funding request and if it was from all of the departments.

Maddox stated that they will get all of that info and meet with the county administrator.

NeSmith asked if they would need more money based off the needs of the different departments.

Maddox stated that the needs very based off circumstances.

NeSmith asked if legacy equipment was a nice way to say old. (8 of 103)

Maddox states that there are clear definitive plans for phasing in the new equipment. Clear plan based on need as fiscally responsible. To prepare for the possible problems.

   Hinson had issues with mic and did not speak

  Chair wanted to know about training and certifications.

Maddox stated that training volunteers is not exact now. Every department has a need to get volunteers to minimum standers.

Chair asked about the price for that training.

Maddox stated that it varied by who did it.

Chair stated that it would look good for grants, inventory of the equipment, and asked how many calls did they get in 2020.

Maddox said that he gets his info from marshals. Around 3000 calls for the county. This is an issue because they do not have the software to do this.

Chair asked for price of software

Maddox said it would be several thousand for the departments. Entering the data into the computer, solutions may be in play.

Chair would it be cumbersome going through 911 and would it be problem

Dixon said it would be easier. But the 911 would have to call each of the fire departments directly.

Chair asked do they not have the same radio system.

Maddox said he did not know.

Chair asked about how many trucks they had and the price for the trucks.

Maddox stated that it is based on the supply of water. Tankers are an art and science because of lack of hydrants.


  Dan Hunter stated that the need is real. He distributed the 2020 report to the board and this showed what they want and what they need. He received hours for his training while he was in school. This was for professional level not just volunteer. The need for volunteers. They do not have people to operate on fires. There are times when there are only one to two guys in the field. Since Greensboro covers 14 miles of I-10 most of their calls are on the interstate. Advances in tech make their jobs easier. Needs in communications. Facing $1,100 in portable radios. Communications is different from paid fire fighters and volunteers. They have to have to have radios for each volunteer.       

 Green asked what is there being done to invite/promote new volunteers.

Hunter stated social media, and face to face engagement. Local newspaper. Build community and family environment.

  NeSmith needs list tanker repairs and is it currently working.

Hunter stated that it works but is not working properly. 20 years is 40 years on fire equipment. Minor repairs have been done.


Chair stated that the current radio contract so all emergency services would be on the same system.

NeSmith asked if Hand radios are being used for EMS.

Maddox answered yes.

Dixon stated that system is not online yet.

Maddox stated that what we can afford and what we need.

NeSmith signed how many did we get

Chair requested an update meeting for the different departments

NeSmith stated that they look into the bad tires

Hunter stated that it is nearing replacement.

NeSmith asked are the tires on trucks.

Hunter answered yes.

Dixon stated that they need to know how they are spending the money once we give it to you. Hold on that information. Is it county or is it cities responsibilities?

Hunted stated that recurring expenditures are in the document. Insurance, repairs, utilities, maintenance, and fuel.

  Hinson did not have comments, but liked the questions.   

Green left at 5:05 p.m.

  Jim Roberts stated that their department received 75 calls, 156 call this year. They respond to calls for traffic, fire, and trees. Annual income from county is the lowest in the county.

Green returned at 5:08

Spend money on Truck, maintenance, phone bill, office supplies. No big histories in fundraisers. Had a community day. Fundraiser for a Flag pole for the station. Equipment is a need for the station. Need for standardize equipment. Thanked the board for the radio system. Yet needs hand radios so they do not lose lives. Training is important for the volunteers. Training has to be volunteer friendly. Serves the whole county not just their community.

  V stated that he wanted an update on the radio system. That they need an update on the agenda as soon as possible.

  NeSmith asked is the chief (Maddox) in constant communication from the departments. Do they all have budgets.

Maddox stated that they are trying to get that info to the county administrator when they get it.

NeSmith asked will that budget be broken down for that year.

Maddox stated that would be a smart idea.  Get with the county administrator.

Dixon stated that it is about the info and the priorities are being met.


  Maddox stated that all of the fire departments, let crews work with them to cover the area because of COVID.


  Chair asked if they own the facilities in Mt. Pleasant.


Ed Cullifer appeared before the bord to state that there is 99-year lease on the building - 20 years have gone by since that. They have a 20-year-old county truck.


  Chair asked where the funding is coming from for the departments.

Price said it is coming from the surtax and half of it goes to public works. 1.2 million each.

Chair stated when looking at equipment needs. Priorities need to be set. List of payments. Production being shown for grants. That they need a Fire grant writer or coordinator. At one time one fire station was only getting only $4000 a year. Evidence is needed.


  V asked when budgets are being done set please make it line item. It would be helpful to the board.

Chair wants to see where all of the departments are located.           




Review and Discuss January 19, 2021, Regular BOCC Meeting Agenda (All)

No items were discussed



 Adjourned at 5: 25 pm






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