Board of County Commissioners

Gadsden County, Florida

Regular Public Meeting

June 1, 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

                                Clayton Knowles, County Attorney

                                Marcella Blocker, Deputy Clerk



  Chair called meeting to order at 6:02 p.m., asked for moment of silence and then led in Pledge of Allegiance.



  Dixon asked to pull Item 7 & 11

Knowles pulled Item 9


Holt added Item 5a-Citizens to Speak and timer being used


V/Green 5-0





V/NeSmith 5-0


Ratification Memo



Approval of Minutes

·         April 6, 2021 Regular Meeting



Approval of Signatures for Special Assessment Liens and Rehabilitation Contract-SHIP Program





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.


NeSmith read aloud the statement.



   Alice Grandberry, 223 Whetherbine Way West, Tallahassee, FL appeared before the Board.  Have property on Woodberry Road.  Have 4.09 acres and have been denied the ability to build on that property because the property was classified as 1 per 5 acres.  Was advised to speak with Laurel to make appointment to speak with Mr. Dixon.





Public Hearing-Quasi-Judicial-Harbin Road Cruz Soccer & Recreational Complex Special Exception Use (SEU 2021-02)

   Knowles explained there was a timer placed at the podium that will allow citizens to speak for 3 minutes.


  Dixon introduced the above item and stated was for consideration of an application for a Special Exception Use for the Harbin Road Cruz Soccer and Recreational Complex.


Jill Jeglie Reeves appeared before the Board and was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.  She gave a brief synopsis of the agenda item. 


  Daniel Cruz, 1960 West King Street, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board and was sworn in by Deputy Clerk.  He read aloud his statement regarding himself and soccer. 


Holt separated the Speaker Request forms to ones for and ones against.


  William Martinez, 1960 West King Street, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board, was sworn in by Deputy Clerk and spoke in favor of soccer field.


  Alicia Martinez, 1960 W. King Street, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board, was sworn in by Deputy Clerk and spoke in favor of the soccer field.  


  Jonathon Garcia, 57 Dewey Johnson Way, Quincy, FL, appeared before the board, was sworn in by Deputy Clerk and spoke in favor of the soccer field.


  Yesenia Gonzolez, 85 Penny Kever Road, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board, was sworn in and spoke in favor of the soccer field.


  Stanley Johnson, 898 Joe Adams Road, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board, was sworn in by Deputy Clerk and spoke in favor of the soccer field.


  Jaquelin Cruz, 5845 Pat Thomas Parkway, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board, was sworn by Deputy Clerk and spoke in favor of the soccer field.


  Bishop Willie C. Green, 296 Bradwell Road, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board and was sworn in by Deputy Clerk.  He spoke in favor of this item.


A citizen in the audience spoke up, asked for respect and said there were people talking in the Chamber behind peoples’ back and could incite something.  Chair asked that there be no talking in the Chambers and for the audience be respectful of the ones coming up.


  Marlon Phillips, 179 Alday Road, Quincy, FL was sworn in by Deputy Clerk, lived there 37 years, and spoke against this item


  Juan Hernandez, 221 E. Franklin Street, Quincy, FL was sworn in by Deputy Clerk and spoke against soccer field.


  Benancio Luna, 1401 Gilchrist Street, Quincy, FL., appeared before the Board, was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk and spoke against this item.  Said would be a huge problem, not place for soccer field. 


  Alberto Arriaga, 979 Harbin Road, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board, was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk and spoke against this item.  Was a narrow road and was dangerous, not built for that traffic. 


  Kevin Magana, 936 S. Cleveland Street, Quincy, FL, appeared before the Board, was sworn in by Deputy Clerk and spoke against this item.  Said 2 fields on MLK Blvd that are not being used for softball and could easily be changed to fit for soccer.


  Nancy Romero, 1020 S. Magnolia Drive, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board and was sworn in by Deputy Clerk and spoke against this item.  This is residential area, what is purpose of having business in residential area.


  Yesenia Romero, 1020 S. Magnolia Drive, Quincy, FL (Nancy Romero translated for her and was sworn in and she translated for Yesenia) Not against them having soccer but should have it in appropriate place.  Asked if this area was residential, commercial or both.  Diane said was agricultural.  Asked if residential area, to find appropriate place this could go.  Not saying ones running league would cause problem, but can’t control others that will be there. 


  Eduardo Monroy, 1396 Harbin Road, appeared before the Board and was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.  Was not totally against this item.  Point was, about to build house and moved there to have peace with his family.


Holt stated had letter from Martha Arellano that was opposed to soccer field


  Chris Arellano, 1531 Harbin Road, Quincy, FL was sworn in by Deputy Clerk and spoke in opposition of the location of this item. Said not against what Danny was attempting to do, but was against the location.


  Arturo Magana, 936 S. Cleveland Street, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board, was sworn in and spoke against this item. 


  Cynthia Reese-Donaldson, 1066 Harbin Road, Quincy, FL appeared before the Board, was sworn in and spoke in opposition to this item.  Just purchased property and built house and want to be able to sit outside and enjoy her property. 


  Adam Gaffey, 350 Rozena Loop, Havana, FL appeared before the Board, was sworn in and spoke in favor of this item.


  Erica Rojas, 1302 Carson Drive, Tallahassee, FL was sworn in by Deputy Clerk and spoke in favor of the soccer field.


  Holt said they would now move to the Commissioners.


  Green thanked everyone that appeared tonight.  He said he was torn about this and the impact it may have.  On flip-side understood if purchased property in area and wanted peace.  Will never be win-win for everyone.  Wished could meet halfway and have options in making this work for everyone.  Hear what people say there are other places this could have gone and asked if he had


  Danny Cruz re-appeared before the Board to answer questions the Board members had.  When they bought the land, there was no houses around.  


  V said he was also a soccer player from Nigeria.  Soccer is religion to those that watch it.  He said he was for soccer but was also for community harmony.  When he read letter that came with application, request was this property should be approved because would be used to provide vegetables for community.  Also, would be recreational area for all soccer youth.  Danny Cruz reappeared before the Board and said there would not be any partying going on.   He said one part would be used for agriculture and the other part for soccer.  V said this has been said numerous times about different locations that had quick access to citizens.  Asked why he was not working in collaboration with 5F Farms in Havana.  Asked what led to divorce. 


Cruz said from games V spoke of, Cruz was in charge.  Due to how small it was, took that into account there needed to be better entrance.  Looked for a better centrally located property. 


V asked question of Diane Quigley.  She appeared before the Board and was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.  5F Farms does weddings and other items that was classified under the agri-tourism statute.  Will be a traffic study done and may have to put in turn lanes. 


  V asked what if applicant does not meet requirements?  Today is only to allow him to do special permit for soccer field and will come back to Board for approval.  Think Mr. Cruz needs to sit down with the people and see what their concerns were. 


  NeSmith said Green and V did excellent job in echoing what he wanted to say.  Was trying to balance youth activities and economic growth. 


  Hinson said was curious about CBOR meeting.


  Holt stepped out at 7:55 p.m.


Diane reappeared and said CBOR had been removed and were not required to hold one.  Clayton said they could direct them to hold one.  Maybe need to have special meeting in future


  Holt returned at 7:56 p.m.


Hinson continued and asked County Administrator what his rational was in recommending this.  Dixon said they met the requirements. 


  Holt asked Mr. Cruz to come back to the podium.  She said she wanted everyone to know she met with Mr. Cruz, his mother and brother.  She asked if he had any concerns of what he would be asked to do.  He said why he was here and they would comply with everything.  He said they planned on having officers on the roads.  He stated the locations they would have LEO on different roads. 


  Diane reappeared and said they had talked about Ben Bostick as a second entrance. 


  Holt said the items that P&Z put in, if this was approved, what was starting date.  Can’t say, maybe in month.  Was said he would need to come back for another review.  Diane said could be 6 months or so. 


  Diane reappeared and Planning suggested there be a traffic study and may need to be turn land installed. 


  Erica spoke with FDOT and was told if needed to be done, would be in 2025. 


  Dixon said Ben Bostick was part of road improvement plan.


  NeSmith asked Danny if he had chance to look at all 16 items requested by Planning.  Yes and have already complied with lot of it.


  V said only concern he had, wanted this activity to go in harmony with ones that lived there.  Did not want to disrespect decision of Planning, suggested the applicant have some meeting of the minds with neighbors and their concerns be addressed to see if can come to resolution.  Did not want this to go through without some type of amicable relationship.  Wil not disrespect Planning and Zoning but will add other requirements to protect neighbors. 


  Green said one thing that stuck out to him and concurred with V, one comment that he said was “as much as possible” that stuck out to him


  V stepped out at 8:009 p.m.


  Danny said wanted to make sure whatever they wanted, he would comply with it.  He added that Dr. V said he would go to the other facility.  He gave sheet where showed they have already started playing just adults and no youth.  Was trying to understand procedures he was having to go through.  How does he have to go through all this and they are allowed to operate.


  Dixon said was different process, was different level and the two were not the same.  In order to maintain and not get lot of issues, V asked for public meeting, asked to add Item Q to require public meeting.


  V returned at 8:12 p.m.


Dixon said to add item Q and required public meeting, would attenuate situation.


  Holt said they have to vote when it comes back and has time and will have opportunity to see if Cruz and neighbors have chance to come to agreement.


  Green said in all honesty, think neighbors are here and are voicing their concerns.  Don’t see based on what heard, their minds would be changed.


  Hinson said again, was there a reason CBOR not had.  Asked for copy of minutes (January meeting).


  Diane said at time CBOR was in January and voted to do away with that.  Was not a requirement at the time submitted application.


Quigley said if this was denied, Cruz can start working under the agritourism statute and do what 5F was doing.


  Holt stated under agritourism, would not have to go through this process, was allowed through the State.  If he wanted to go through this process, he can follow this.


  NeSmith said wanted to be clear.  Asked Cruz why he chose to go through this process as opposed to go through agritourism.  Cruz said out of respect for everyone. 


  NeSmith asked who gives them approval. 


  V asked Cruz that he was still going to make recommendation and said he still had to be neighborly with neighbors.


   Hinson asked where was ordinance or documentation about he could circumvent process.    


  Dixon explained was not circumventing process, was already a process


  FL Statutes 570.85 -Knowles read statute aloud. 


  Holt said if contacted


  NeSmith wanted to bring this to close and Board add caveat to engage with citizens about their concerns. 


  NeSmith moved approved option 1 as presented along with add item Q to add public meeting/Holt second  Hinson question


  Hinson said one reason could not vote for this today, requested they have community meeting and hard to vote on that


  Holt wanted to make sure there is motion and second with condition him to meet with neighbors.  Also wanted to make sure he knew he could go through agritourism option.


Chair called for vote.  Board cast their vote and Chair stated they voted 3-2 and motion passed. 


Commissioner Viegbesie requested roll call vote because was hard to tell who voted.  Holt stated they had already voted.  Hinson asked how know who voted.  Holt said in their procedures, no vote was yes.  Knowles said a non-vote was considered a yes vote under Code.  Green said he also wanted to know who voted how.


Chair asked for roll call vote.


Green                  no          

Hinson                  no          

NeSmith               yes        

V                             no

Holt                       yes


Board voted 2-3 Motion did not pass


Holt stated to Cruz reason she voted yes, required him to come back through the process and to meet with people in community. 


Green said reason voted no, felt majority of community was here and wanted to make sure they were assured for safety of citizens.


Holt explained motion failed 3-2


Chair called for 10-minute recess.


Reconvened meeting at 8:43 p.m.



  Dixon said before moved forward, wanted to introduce Ms. Linda Blackshear, new Director with Elder Affairs.  


  V commended Dixon and said was program have been fighting for longest to put that into Commissioner Meeting.


  She appeared before the Board and thanked the Commissioners for the opportunity to serve.


  Green said he was so excited to have her. 



Approval of Funding for Boys and Girls Clubs for FY20/21

   Dixon introduced above item, said funds were in proposed budget and funds were there but was not re-addressed to be put in Final Budget.  Was put into Reserves in Final Budget.


  Holt said when looking at non-profits, some were there and some did not function because of COVID.


Dixon said for this, there was a list of non-profits they had in budget and will bring those back to them.  For Boys and Girls Club there was set amount in budget.  For other non-profits, was general amount with those non-profits mentioned.  Holt asked if they were looking at functioning and non-functioning non-profits. 


Dixon said for B&G Club, have to maintain facilities, staff whether one kid or 50 show.


  V said the Administrator said all he was going to say


  V made motion to approve/NeSmith Hinson question


  Hinson asked if he could bring to next meeting where they are located in Havana.  Dixon said will bring to next meeting and Hinson asked also where located in Chattahoochee.


  Dixon said these non-profits had to maintain their ability to function. 


  Hinson said before they vote, thought they needed to see that money went directly to kids in Gadsden County.


4-1 Hinson opposed 



Approval to Apply for the State E-911 Maintenance Grant, Grant Acceptance & MSA for Grant 20-10-05

  Dixon introduced above item.  Was grant used to maintain E-911 call system and have to apply for reimbursement. 


Holt asked how this related to Motorola.  Dixon explained this was just E-911 system and maintenance of system.  Holt said need to look at how working with that.  Dixon said attempting to see how to piece together.


  Green/V second 5-0.



Approve of the Federally Funded Sub-Award and Grant Agreement Z2622 with the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) for Hurricane Sally

Item Pulled



Approval of the Willacoochee Creek Bridge Repair-Professional Services

   Dixon introduced above item and explained for approval of task order with Dewberry Engineers for design of Willacoochee Creek Bridge as funded by FDOT and had no impact on County.


V/Green 5-0



COVID-19 Resolution Update (Proposed Mask Ordinance)




Appointment to the CareerSource Capital Region

  Dixon introduced above item and seeks approval to appoint Michael Temple as Seat 2 Representative and re-appointment of Scott Watson as Seat 3 to CareerSource Capital Region Board.


  V motion to approve appointment of 2 candidates/Hinson had question


Hinson said was on Board and if had commissioner that wanted to be on Board, he would remove himself and let someone else serve.


Green second


  V said Hinson has done yeoman’s job and if he wanted to step down, would have no problem in nominating or appointing NeSmith/Green said would be glad to be second.


Chair called for vote 5-0 



Approval of the Synergy PACT Work Authorization (Hurricane Sally)

Item Pulled



Approval of Funding for the Gadsden County American Rescue Plan Program

  Dixon introduced above item.  Have recommendations as well as task order for Integrity and included $500,000 direct funding to Sheriff’s office that they requested additional funds.  Also, been in touch with Circuit Judge that was requesting County improvements in Courtroom as well as other instrumentation they will need in order to carry out new technology of zooming, etc.  Recommendation is be approved so can continue with timeline that began today. 


  V made motion to approve item/Green second for discussion


  Green said had brought to his attention in reference of language of the church assistance program and asked if could change language to religious groups


  Hinson said this $4.4 Million, went to CARES Program.  Took almost 3 months, had meetings after meetings and Board has not had open, decisive meeting to decide.  Talking about $9 Million between this year and next year, and refuse to have input from citizens.  See why constituents don’t trust government, if don’t have workshops, not working for community.  Said are abandoning themselves from residents of Gadsden County.  


  NeSmith said would make quick.  Was looking at attachment for $200,000.  Dixon said was money there not only for this room, but how to reconfigure for COVID and to look at entrance.  This is most unsecure facility in the County.  Have need to make this building more secure. 


NeSmith said they received a draft copy of this plan last meeting.  Dixon said 4th or 5th meeting on this.  NeSmith asked Hinson if he had opportunity to express his concerns to Administrator after receiving initial draft. 


Hinson said going to refurbish building for $200,000 and lot of info he don’t know about but was going to vote on it.


NeSmith asked once he originally received the plan, did he have opportunity to sit with him to provide his input. 


Hinson said read through everything, why letting them know was $200,000, answer was yes.  Tried getting in contact with Administrator but both had scheduling conflicts and couldn’t get together.  Can’t vote on something that will affect this constituents. 


  Holt asked NeSmith if he met with any of them outside of Chambers-no.


Holt asked V-


Holt asked Green-no.


Holt said wanted to make sure she clarified that.  There was a bomb threat earlier, need a metal detector.  Said she calls and they get together on the items.  Said can decide on what want to do with document.  Has been before them before. 


  Hinson said for the record, if can recall, have not had too many workshops.  Have been brought to Board the day of. 


  Bishop Willie Green, 296 Bradwell, Quincy appeared before the Board.  Said he cared very deeply about this item.  Found this plan very encouraging.  Agreed with Hinson should be able to do more.  Had meeting with Administrator along with NAACP, process should be simplified.  Said tonight, knew everyone wanted as much as they could get.  Said everyone was impacted by the Church


  V emphasized what Green said on changing from Churches to religious community.  Said if don’t spend it, will not get it.  Had a sit-down with Administrator and when he pointed out deficiencies with building, he was shocked to know the number of safety issues.  If don’t spend what get, will not be able to get more.


  Green said he also had opportunity to sit with Administrator on what he wanted to see on this plan.  Would like for him to explain process as to other pots of money as relates to housing.


  Dixon asked Fredricka Hamilton to come forward.  


  She said in addition, have churches, food card, non-profits, non-profit health, small businesses and have other programs available for this program.  First is Emergency Rental Assistance Program.  Can register online at; mortgage assistance; Small Business Administration that providing loans to small businesses financially impacted by COVID-19; paycheck protection program; Small Business Administration with Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, that has closed.  Dixon interjected and said that program came in and went out in matter of weeks.  He and staff went to every restaurant could fine and encouraged them to apply for money. 


  Green said she fulfilled his purpose in making citizens aware.


  Hinson said reason thought should have meeting, ideas start flowing and things start happening.  School Board just sold Gretna School to Town of Gretna.  Looking at closing Quincy Middle School.  Was thinking part of that money should go to areas.  Could make them into community centers. 


  Holt asked Fredricka if she knew anything more about PPE funding, heard it ran out.  She said had not heard anything more.  Holt said people could also apply under the programs.  She said marketing plan of this was what wanted to bring up.  Wanted to make sure they let everyone know to use this venue.  Said to Administrator, have small amount of money and lot of people. 


  Dixon said using every media outlet available to them.  Wanted people to get the money.  Tried to leave no stone unturned.  If did, was unintentional.


Holt said was first come, first served. 


  Fredricka said will be doing mail applications.


  NeSmith said Hinson brought something to his attention.  Did have opportunity to visit Havana Northside and did not know was community that needed “shot in arm”.  Has tremendous opportunities and inclined to support Hinson on workshopping this. 


  Dixon said nothing stopped the Counties from looking for money


  Holt said did meet with Commissioner in Gretna and told them County would be willing to work with them. 


  Hinson said would love to see Havana Northside added to and wanted to talk about it.  Said his vision was to put $600,000 to Gretna, $600,000 to Quincy High School and $600,000 to Havana Northside.  Said would love for NeSmith to rescind his motion and them have a workshop.


  Green asked when they needed to have this approved-now. 


  Dixon said if want to change program, can do that.  This is when need to approve it.


  Green asked now, there is no governmental…No


  Holt said they can apply for funding but want them to consider, governments can apply for their own funding.  Hopefully, they apply, County applies and they have matching funds.  Asked how long they wanted people to wait.  Chair said have motion and second.


  NeSmith asked what they would lose if workshop this.  Only one that Board set.


  Chair called for vote.3-2  NeSmith and Hinson opposed.  Item passed


  Hinson said last year they agreed on something, voted on it, V said wanted to do something else and they made


  Fredricka reappeared before the Board.  Hinson asked if they could change if have workshop.  She said they changed to shift funds but not the program.      



Approval of the Gadsden Youth Initiative Program and Funding

  Dixon introduced above item.  Was for approval of Gadsden Youth and funding to assist with program.  Has been before them.  Approval for $60,000


  Hinson said not trying to go against it.  Where funding coming from.


Dixon said previous board approved it in last budget.


  Hinson said not against program.  Wanted to make sure young kids have chance. Said was for program, was not going to vote against it, but was it fair to take away what they approved last year from 14-16 year olds and give it to 17-18 year old. 


  Hinson approve/NeSmith 5-0



Approval of Funding for the Gadsden County Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Residual Funds

  Dixon introduced above item.  


  V said was something was going to meet with Administrator with but classes did not give him that opportunity.  Asked what was COVID-19 Media campaign-if something happens in spring or fall, will have pot of money and they can be ready for it.  V asked about position “Assistant to County Administrator” for $65,000.  Have Executive Assistant to Administrator and will now have Assistant to County Administrator.


  Dixon said hoping could work themselves into new programs and new funding to meet new programs knew was coming.  Understand 1 time position and if funding doesn’t come, will lose position. 


  NeSmith asked if positions listed, already in Organizational Chart-no. 


  Hinson said this was something they should workshop.  Told constituents would use majority of money on housing, etc.  People are struggling.  Hinson said they already covered what he wanted to cover.  Not that pressing right now.  Small Businesses need money, people need assistance. 


  V said this was something he did not like doing, asked Dixon with Gadsden Youth approved $60,000 and asked if this was part of the $1.3


  Dixon said this part of money was housed for re-design and $60,000 see is what they just approved; this was just funding source. 


  Holt said they need someone in budget, need grant coordinator, have too much money, are short-handed in housing.  Holt said have to have these people in place.  Needed help couple of years ago.  Don’t have anyone on County side monitoring contracts.  These positions were needed years ago before COVID.  Position with budget way overdue.  Grants monitoring, no way have this much money through County.


  Green said understood importance but, would have been nice to discuss individually and with more detail.  Workshop would have been good.


  V said there was no doubt needed positions to effectively operate as a government.  Going to have to add to operating budget to enhance operating of County.  Should look into working this into personnel budget. 




The discussed different dates for workshop and could not decide.


Dixon said needed motion and second to table.

V motion to table/Hinson second 5-0



2021 Summer Youth Program

  Dixon introduced above item and said was proposal from Hinson.


  Hinson said also include 10 students with special needs.  Can come from Rescue funds or CARES Act. 


Hinson motion to approve option 1 and motion died for lack of second.




















Report and Discussion of Public Issues



Commissioner Eric Hinson, District 1

  Thanked citizens for being responsive.  Still see lot of people still wearing mask. 



Commissioner Kimblin NeSmith, District 3

  Thanked Administrator for keeping District 3 as clean as can.



Commissioner Ronterious Green, District 5

  Thanked Mr. Lee and the Administrator as related to keeping county clean. 



Commissioner Anthony “Dr. V” Viegbesie, District 2

  Got text from citizen about transportation.  Said will convert to email and send to Administrator.  


Commissioner Brenda Holt, District 4

  Met with 30 minority farmers and asked farmers to contact USDA for more information.


Receipt and File









Adjourned at 10:58





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