Board of County Commissioners

Gadsden County, Florida

Regular Public Meeting Notes

June 15, 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

                                Nicholas Thomas, Clerk

                                Marcella Blocker, Deputy Clerk



   Chair welcomed everyone, called meeting to order, asked for moment of silence and then led in Pledge of Allegiance



  Dixon asked to add12a-Cares Act; 12b-CareerSource; 12c Addendum to Broadband; 12d-Cochran Road; 12e-Hurricane Sally


V appeared at 6:02 p.m.


  Hinson appeared at 6:03 p.m.


  V expressed same concern has expressed-discourage adding items, citizens should be given opportunity to preview and make comments.   Too many items being added


  Green concurred with V-does not give them opportunity to do their due diligence and hoped they could get handle


V move for adoption of Agenda/NeSmith 5-0





Proclamation Honoring Dr. Adrian Cooksey and the Gadsden County Health Department

  Dr. Cooksey stepped forward and V read aloud the Proclamation and it was presented to her.  She had few words to say.



Audit Presentation

  Ryan Tucker, Purvis Gray, appeared before the Board.


Had total of 3 audit findings and all were resolved.  Main thing was issued unmodified report and is highest rating.  Comparison of revenue expenses County Wide.  Had Ag Center, CARES Funds,


General Fund at end of year down by about 3%, just above recommended amount.  Long term debt-new items there-1) purchase of 4 ambulances; Sheriff had vehicle purchases $1.3 Million of new debt.  Also pointed out Federal Grant Expenditures $6.1 Million and had to do additional compliance work under CARES Act.  On State Grants were 30 different state grants and had to do additional work.  Were 2 findings on Board side-1 transitional item-EMS reconciliation & other was accounts payable cut-off-found 1 understated account.  Board issued their response and will go in Report.  Was finding related to fixed assets.  Overall, County making progress.


  V thanked him for presentation-reviewed response from County Administrator and asked if he had chance to review same. 


  V/Green motion to accept 5-0



  Holt said they were going to need to really look over the Minutes and restate Motion for approval of items so there will be clarity between them and the Clerk’s Office and they have clarity on the items.  She said they would make sure what they vote for matched the Minutes.  If there are any corrections that need to be made, make note at that time. 


  V motion to approve Consent Agenda with any necessary changes needed on Minutes/Green 5-0



Ratification Memo



Approval of Minutes

·         May 4, 2021 Workshop

·         April 20, 2021 Regular Meeting



Approval of Signatures for Satisfaction of Special Assessment Lien





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.


   Clayton read statement aloud.


  Alan Dust, 477 Scotland Road, Havana, FL  32333 appeared before the Board.  Have concerns with County employees not doing their jobs.  He and wife moved to Gadsden County and built their “dreamhouse”.  Due to couple of neighbors and County not doing anything when they are in violation of different ordinances.   


Have one neighbor on one side that has recreational vehicle that they have people live in from time to time.  Code Enforcement has not gotten back in touch with him for 2 years.  Suzanne Lex did not do her job and have not had County Administrator with impedance to do their job.  Talked with Administrator 2 months ago and was told would have someone contact him and has not happened. 


  Dixon said have met with Mr. Dust and informed him someone would be getting in touch with him and they will.  Dust is entitled to enjoy his property, so does the neighbor next door.  Not easy issues to resolve.  Have not ignored him or turned back on him.  Get list for the record


Dust said when people don’t follow up, when don’t return calls, wouldn’t say that was cooperating, County not doing anything.  Said he needed to take a look at the violations of the County Ordinances and need to see it.


Holt stated felt Administrator would be willing to look at those violations and work with him and they have his list of complaints.



  Karen Stansberry


  Marion Lasley




Public Hearing-Legislative-Consideration of Adoption of Ordinance 2021-004 to add Subsection 1306, Community Meeting, to Chapters 1, Administration and Enforcement of the Land Development Code

  Dixon introduced above item. 


Diane Quigley appeared before the Board and gave description of item. 


Green stepped out 6:36 p.m.


Asking to add community meeting requirements back into Subsection 6.  Public hearing was had on May 15th


  Green returned at 6:37 p.m.


  Shared brief presentation with Commissioners. 


Have options of: adopting; not approve; Board direction.


Holt announced public hearing and asked for comments.  Holt said Lasley in favor of public hearing


  Bishop Green appeared before Board.  Thanked Board for American Rescue Plan and things put in place to help citizens and Churches.  His concern was, believed community meetings can be good but in wrong place.  Said not many major corporations that want to bring their business to the County would be interested in doing so with this meeting in place.  We are unique County.  Convinced all want economic growth and development and need to be consistent.  Asked they remember couple of weeks ago, had public hearing and had citizens to come to meeting and felt was proper place for them to come.  He asked they not approve it.


Holt asked for other comments and there were none.


  NeSmith said he was little perplexed.  How did this come before them, did Board ask for it?


Dixon said yes.


NeSmith asked Quigley difference in this and Citizens Bill of Rights.  Quigley said CBOR had super majority and this does not.  NeSmith said currently citizens have capability to appear before Planning-yes. 


  Green said glad to hear statement about CBOR-want citizens to have opportunity to give input but wanted to make sure they were allowing something the voted against to come back.


  Hinson said for last 7-8 years was at point of getting rid of CBOR and felt it slowed down growth.  Thought he said wanted to have community input.  Something as simple as hotel coming in and have sexual predators floating around, chemicals floating around in air and killing pear trees, causing cancer.  Was on Planning Board for years.  Think need to have input from community but to have 4 out of 5 votes to pass is stretch.  To have community meetings was showing wanted them to be part.


  Holt said did research and called 8 counties.  Jackson notify within 300 feet, do not do community meetings.  Liberty does not require community meetings but notify people in area.  Majority of counties do not notify and have them come to P&Z or Board meeting.  Not in favor of this item and will have to vote against it. 


  V said also was not in support of this, remember when was sworn in, first meeting was to get rid of CBOR, including this portion of it.  Cannot run with rabbits and bark with dogs. 


  Hinson said for record, just came out today feel if some kind of way can notify because almost lost business coming because guy was out of the county and could not keep coming back and forth.  Agree still should send letter to people outside encouraging them to come to meetings.  Wanted to make sure public knew they could come to P&Z and County meetings to let their opinions be known.  Hinson said had heartburn over 1000 feet because of chemicals. 


  Hinson made motion deny/NeSmith 5-0


  NeSmith said point of clarification-current notification process been denied-Quigley said no


  Dixon said Hinson wanted to readdress-Clayton said will need to have another hearing.


  Holt said would like to see stay at 1000 and company pay. 


  Holt asked Hinson if he wanted ½ mile-he felt within ½ mile would cover everyone.  ½ Mile, company pay fees and


  NeSmith asked if asking Administrator to add to agenda.  Quigley said need to go to Planning.


  Quigley said County does notification already and only change is the ½ mile. 



Public Hearing-Legislative-Consideration of Adoption of Ordinance 2021-005 to amend Subsections 5606 and 5607, Standards for Off-Street Parking and Off-Street Parking Requirements of the Land Development Code

  Quigley said was to amend land development code.  Have found with churches, have problem raising money and church development order does not expire.  Holt said need to look at restricting and if do not build within certain number of years (time), need to look at that.


  V said his comment was on procedure-should have public input before Commissioners insert their opinion. 


  Quigley said because left open, have 16-17 that currently have open development orders.  Paving was one of the issues.  Look at changing churches would have to pave handicapped parking spaces, per statutes.  Think this would relieve burden on churches.  Ask they adopt Ordinance 2021-005 and recommend option 1


  Holt asked if anyone in audience wanted to speak for or against.


  Bishop Green appeared before Board.  Applauded P&Z for bringing this forward.  Asked they approve it. 


  V said would support it and made a politically correct statement and asked if could change to political organization. 


  Diane said they did catch that


  Green said they get in habit of saying that


  NeSmith asked if language was in and asked for her to direct him to it.


  Hinson said so interesting and heard them.  One thing had, they speak one way on growth.  He said to imagine communities with sidewalks and driveways.  Imagine church purchases a building and does so next to a restaurant.  That business can’t expand their business because have church next to it.  Restaurants can’t come to Gadsden County because of number of churches. 


  Green said was thinking what Hinson stated was totally different and wanted clarity that will have opportunity to address those issues. 


  V said was surprised to hear alcohol relevance-V motion to approve/Green passed 5-0


Diane asked for clarification – have Ordinance that states churches, developments near bars, etc.  Land Development Code does not allow church development orders to never expire.  Asked if they would like to address each one as separate…


Holt said would like to address that and distance and scenario of different buildings coming.  Overall, bring back and can look at other items.


  V said think administrator, in considering need to consider possibility of grandfathering in those that have been there because would hate for restaurant to be in place and church come next door.


  Green said in reference to V’s comments in grandfathering in, if restaurant tries to come within certain feet…


  Dixon said to add to equation, think City of Quincy now evaluating getting rid of that because even across street, those places can’t open because of religious institution on corner. 


Holt stated they were there first.  Dixon said did not matter because law says.   





Consideration of a Work Order for a Consultant to Assist in Conducting Community Visioning Workshops for the Update of the Comprehensive Plan

  Diane introduced above item.  First step in visioning workshop


Proposing to host 4 workshops total and will be inviting – asking requesting be able to hire consultant.  Want to use Dewberry contract that is in place.  Requesting $49,775 and funding is in current budget.  Asked they approve work order.


  Dixon said have had conversations with Quigley


  V said thought was something that was long overdue.  Commended Dixon for last statement and


  Holt said Comp Plan is so difficult.


  NeSmith said need to be up to date on Land Use Code and channeled Hinson at this moment.  Asked Knowles what was procurement policy.  Asked Administrator’s recommendation.  Dixon said he and Quigley had this conversation and this is means to end.  This fits with contract have with Dewberry and makes easier


NeSmith asked last time Comp Plan was updated-2018. 


  V motion to adopt option 1/Green 5-0



SHIP/HHRP Housing Rehab-Bid 21-10 Recommendations and Awards

  Dixon introduced


Sonya Burns appeared before the Board and gave report. 


Have 2 homes currently under construction-both should be completed by end of month.  Remaining balance is $

No contractor shall be issued more than  


Recommended Jackie Hill 2 jobs; Florida Homes 4 jobs; Blue Chip  ; Lockwood



Have approximately 10 houses but due to heir property issues, probate, etc.  and have been put on hold. 


Staff recommending approve option 1


  Hinson said saw list of names just today.  Was shocked to see relative’s name on list and will recuse from voting.


  V said that was his question concerning contractors.  Know have had some real issues with some contractors.  Asked how much has been vetted.  Sonya said staff recommended some of the best.  V wanted to make sure they provide   


  Green asked if possible for her to present workshop in future on what SHIP has to offer. 


  Bill and Debbie Herring, Florida Homes, Inc. appeared before the Board.  Very passionate for affordable housing.  Was low bidder on 8 homes.  Current bid process is costing $152,???.  That amount could be used on another home 


  V asked Administrator if he could ask question of Sonya.  Would rather stretch money and would be beneficial to County. 


  Sonya said Herring called her yesterday.  She also spoke with several contractors and one question she was asked was why was Blue Chip awarded   She said during bid opening was announced no bid was final until approved by Board. 


  Dixon asked her to tell how she arrived at her conclusion and also wanted to make clear not only price was concern, had tough time finding contractors.  Tried something new and also did not want contractors having 6-8 houses because would mean months before could get house.  People have been waiting for years and need to move.


  V said want to attract contractors; if heard correctly if comparing apples to apples and one apple cost $50 and one costs $25, not being fiscally responsible. 


  Dixon said met them at opening they had and those factors were stressed. 


  Hinson said had opportunity to review and asked f RFP and not bid.  Sonya said was bid and way always done housing.  Hinson said should be RFP. 


  Knowles said in conflict of interest section read……


  NeSmith thanked Ms. Burns and wanted to understand process.  How was jobs awarded-not been awarded, just recommendations.  Nothing final and nothing been awarded. 


  Dixon said everyone understood would not be receiving 7-8 awards and all signed Notice to Bidder about number of jobs.  Dixon said they also understood there could be special recommendation if Board decided. 


  Mr. and Mrs. Herring reappeared before Board.  She said they were not questioning number of bids, was looking at excessive difference County is spending on houses. 


  Sonya reappeared before Board.  Said all other contractors contacted her as well and different things were taken into consideration.  It was not always about the lowest bid. 


  Dixon said more at play that low bids. 


  V asked if any contractors that submitted and was not awarded-no everyone awarded something.  He asked probability of tabling this item and making awards more equitable. 


  Dixon said if Board going to meet again, would be optional.  If not, delaying two months. 


  Green said his concern was process had in place was probably apprehended for everyone and everyone was aware of process.  Know people need this but must agree with V.  Want to make sure everyone has equal opportunity.


  Dixon said while may not agree with Ms. Burns and Quigley thought process, no question about quality of contractors.  Whatever will of Board is, will make work.


  Green said was process in place and every contractor had opportunity.


  Knowles made suggestion 1) could remove things that have conflict 2)


  Dixon said problem is they want an award of houses that is recommended to be awarded to someone else; an award that they may not be ….


  V said felt procedure, procedure, procedure.  Was process and not in

2) everyone does know have…need to be fiscally responsible.  If want to approve this recommendation, someone make motion and approve up or down.


  Holt made comment on withdrawing


  Green said based on questions he asked, the person they put in that position and have to trust.


Green Made motion to approve option 1/NeSmith 2-1 to approve V opposed



Approval of Hurricane Michael FEMA Claims and Insurance Claims Audit

  Dixon said he was asked to look at all programs.  Bringing request to do audit because claims were sp

Believe may


Statute of Limitations runs out October this year. 


Asked permission, through Integrity contract, to conduct this audit and come back.


  V said Integrity and Phoenix has done work since he has been aboard.  Asked if this would be in addition to Integrity’s fee-will get 20% of adjusted claim. 


  Hinson said 4-5 years had law firm come and do same thing and they may have capability to do same thing. 


  V stepped out 8:59 p.m.



  NeSmith asked Administrator, talking about 70-80% of any new resources located by consultants-yes.  Have deadline of October 10th.  


  V/Green Hinson question


Hinson said his opinion, even though he suggested they take off in July, also his opinion to come back to work in July.  Can meet next week and want to make sure put RFP out. 


  Daniels appeared before Board and said according to FEMA, cannot be reimbursed if go out for procurement.


  Hinson asked if could get that information before make that decision.  Think fair to have information in front of them.


  V said knew was motion and second but reason was supporting it, Integrity was brought in to help with relief. 


  NeSmith wanted to make sure Asst. County Administrator-whatever amount of 20-30% from Phoenix, have opportunity to apply for reimbursement-no.  If have $1.00 in claims, they get 20% of it.


Daniels said this would


  Hinson said thought customary as well, things that affect budget have to have all information.  This was not properly advertised, not on website and going to vote on something citizens don’t have chance to review.  Not on website at all.  How can they vote on something don’t have chance to review.


  NeSmith said point of clarification-asked attorney f they could legally vote on it-of course.


  Holt said wanted to say, not paying out any money, would really be receiving money. 


  Green thanked for clarity but some situations where ay be presented information but  have been elected to make decision


  Chair called for vote 5-0 passed.



Oak Grove Tower Site Generator

  Dixon introduced above item.


V approve/Hinson 5-0



American Tower/Oak Grove Lease Amendment

  Dixon introduced above item.


For record, $298.00

V/Green 5-0



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



  V motion to approval contingent on changing title to County Operations Coordinator and changing Granicus to sole source website service provider/NeSmith  Hinson question


Hinson as said earlier and still stand by it, $100,000 was to go to homeless and now taken out.  Then asked Board about ?program and only  have ? remaining and have $1.2 Million for residential assistance program because difficult for residents to get into it.  Small Business, Residential Assistance and homeless program. 


Chair called for vote 4-1 Hinson opposed



Appointment to the CareerSource Capital Region Board

  Dixon said for appoint of NeSmith


Hinson/V 5-0



Approval of the Addendum to the Gadsden County Broadband Agreement

  Dixon introduced next item and said Clerk asked them to bring back for clarity and them revote now that’s been signed.


Hinson motion to approve/Holt second


  V said when reading, have questions and will said what say on every item and have already addressed today.  Question on item for clarity and nothing personal, do not know, have not met anyone with FCI. 


1)      What is status of verification of devices;

2)      How many residents have been reached;

3)      How many residents received device and when received did not work;

4)      How many received and worked, is there an Excel Spreadsheet to show for determinations;

5)      Is county responsible for paying for devices that residents say did not receive or received and did not work;

6)      IF FCI assertion is to have provided devices to residents who responded that did not receive any device why should continue discussion on any operation with evidence of questionable integrity;

7)      Now that school ending and businesses reopening and no longer need broadband, what is necessity for spending almost $1.7 Million when have other pressing needs?


Dixon said gave document this evening of report. Staff attempted to verify allocation of 617 devices based on attestation from Figgers and wanted to verify identify, home address, if received a hotspot, if did, to get the serial number.  Based on calls, 143 devices were acknowledged as received, only 32 serial numbers were provided and were eligible for payment.   Of 143 devices received, 16 devices conformed operable for minimum of 1 day and was deemed eligible for payment.  Remaining 111 devices were unverifiable via serial number and was ineligible for device payment and the 111 devices were reported inactive and was ineligible for service payment.  Based on verification, their conclusion is BOCC responsible for $1,765.20.


V stated had not had opportunity to see this and…


Dixon said they conducted the survey over time, over days and evenings and where could leave contact information, did so and staff was available to receive any information that was sought.  If could not verify by phone. They continued to attempt to contact based on information given for weeks and was as far as was able to get as far as confirmation.


  Green said have citizen wanted to be heard.


  Bishop Green reappeared before the Board and hoped this was the last time this item will appear on the Agenda.  Hope they approve and move on from this item.  Think process, as heard Dixon speak to verification process that was in contract and what they were obligated to do based on what he saw and read was to only pay him for devices that were verifiable and operational.  Believe time to move on from this issue and honor contract.  Question was, why is this still coming up as an agendaed item.  Think if was this vendor, would be suffering from vendor abuse and frustrates him as a concerned citizen.  Wasting taxpayer dollars.  Said for them to approve this item, live by what in contract, respect vendor, allow him to address any issues he needs to address.  Had privilege of addressing group in another County, that Chair gave advice, said cannot vote against Bishop. 


  NeSmith asked attorney if he read this draft of contract; Knowles said wrote it.  Same document and no changes except what Board requested at April 20th meeting. 


  V said his concern was, asserted 617 devices distributed and was only 18 asking to be paid for.  Think cause to satisfy what have verified and terminate particular contract.  Contract should be revoked and should be cause for termination.  Upon verification, gap is so wide, to him is questioning integrity and truthfulness of the deliverables and services provided and cause to terminate.  No problem to pay what been verified and to end contract and not be placed on agenda any more.


  Holt said going to vote.  NeSmith said have motion and second.  Chair asked will of Board, have motion and second.  Board voted voice vote and not everyone stated ‘aye’.  Holt stated item passed 5-0. 


  V said voting for Addendum.  Holt said already had contract signed and need to make sure was voting for contract this time.  Said to attorney to remember what Clerk said, you voted for Addendum.  Clayton stated had approved Agreement, had not approved Addendum. She said wanted to make sure so no problem when come back.  Dixon said if question, approve contract and addendum.


Holt asked for motion to approve Agreement.


NeSmith asked point of clarification-if on agenda.


Holt stated already been approved one time, just doing it for redundancy.  She asked for motion for approval of contract and addendum


Hinson motion to approve contract and addendum/NeSmith second


Board voted 4-1 Viegbesie opposed.


V said his comment was



Cochran Road

  Dixon introduced item

NeSmith/V 5-0



Board Approval of the Sub-Grant Agreement Number Z2622 for Hurricane Sally and Authorize Staff to Accept and Execute the Agreement in the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) Automated Grant System

V/NeSmith 5-0











  Dixon said will not be meeting for month of July and asked for Proclamation honoring Immigrant Heritage Month

V/NeSmith 5-0


Thursday, June 17th is budget workshop










Report and Discussion of Public Issues



Commissioner Eric Hinson, District 1

  Hinson thanked citizens and asked for updates on virus at every meeting.


Asked status on Midway Road for mailboxes being moved-Brickyard Road.  Dixon said
Mr. Lee and staff has been in touch with DOT.


Justin said was DOT project.  County hands been out of it.  DOT stance is brick mailboxes in clear zone don’t allow it and won’t pay for it to be removed. 


Hinson mentioned this is Mental Health Awareness Month.


Subcontracting lawn services – need to have special meeting within next 2 weeks-grass growing heavily all over County.  Asked for it to go on Agenda.



Commissioner Kimblin NeSmith, District 3

  NeSmith thanked Administrator and staff and Public Works-community looking much better.  Thanked Laurel for keeping up with schedule and Jeronda for keeping up with training he has to attend.


Also met with City Commissioner and asked if could establish consortium.  Dixon said managers have agreed to sit down and start conversation.  



Commissioner Ronterious Green, District 5

  Green thanked for those that participated in Shiloh Day.  Green made motion/V 5-0



Commissioner Anthony “Dr. V” Viegbesie, District 2

  V made request-at one point in past had email group for citizens of County, when Olivia Smith was PIO had email batch and if still have email bank, suggested they use it.  So, when things going on and announcements need to be made, can get information out.  Have found no longer getting information out and may not have access to that email bank. 



Commissioner Brenda Holt, District 4

  Holt asked if had Development and Review Committee.  Another thing, talked about churches not having paving, increase size of ditch.


Hinson mentioned cutting crew and road striping in District 4. 


Also, when city annexed need to look at them taking or not taking roads.  Knowles said working on it.  


Receipt and File





 Adjourned at 10:06 p.m.





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