Board of County Commissioners

Gadsden County, Florida

1st Budget Workshop

June 2, 2022

4:00 p.m.


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

                                Ronterious “Ron” Green, Vice Chair, District 5 - zoom

                                Eric Hinson, District 1

                                Kimblin NeSmith, District 3

                                Brenda Holt, District 4

                                Edward J. Dixon, County Administrator

                                Clayton Knowles, County Attorney

                                Marcella Blocker, Deputy Clerk

                                Crystal Jimenez, Deputy Clerk



  Chair Viegbesie called the workshop to order at 4:12 p.m. Then led to the invocation.

Followed with the Pledge of Allegiance.


  Mr. Dixon welcomed everyone to the budget workshop. He stated that they had a better fiscal year than last year. He said amendments will be made as they go through the budget workshop. This year they have had more time and opportunities to revisit things in the budget. He thanked the staff for their diligence. It has been a blunt less process. The American Rescue Plan still has about 1.7 million dollars in it. The CARES program has 2.9 million dollars, with a lot of it formally incumbered. He said they will meet with everyone individually to talk about their wishes and desires and their ability to pay.


  Commissioner NeSmith asked how much of CARES residuals is unincumbered? Ms. Daniels said $1.7 million and another $130 thousand is not incumbered.


  Ms. Daniels said on June 1st the property appraiser gives them their preliminary taxable value. Having this meeting to talk about the preliminary taxable values. Will go through some things related to the upcoming budget process. Most of it is for informational purposes.


  Chair Viegbesie asked if item 5 will be discussed later on? Ms. Daniel said that is correct.   


  Ms. Daniel went over the property taxes. Blue line is the taxable value for the current fiscal year, which was 1.6 billion dollars. The Millage rate was 9 millage, which generated about 14 million dollars in property tax revenue. At 95% was $14 million. They have included some information about what’s already been collected for this current fiscal year. Currently they have collected about $13 million. Already paid CRA payments. Amount collected after CRA payments is about $12 million.

The green line is the fiscal year 22-23 taxable values from property appraiser, which is $1.788 billion. That is about a 9% increase. If they stay at 9 mills, they would generate about $16 million, so $1.3 million more than last year. At 95%, it drops to $1.27 million. The orange lines are if they went 9.25, 9.5 and 10. Pg 2 is preliminary numbers. The auditors are still working on the draft for the year that ended on 9/30/2021. She went over the general fund. At October 1, 2021 was $5.4 million, if all things work out, they will end fiscal year 2021 at $5.9 million. Portions of that is restricted or assigned for some activities in the fall. The transportation fund where gas tax dollars go, the ending balance at October 1, 2020, was $2.8 million, the ending balance at September 30, 2021 would be $3.4 million. The Building Inspection Fund, beginning balance was $266,000, the ending balance $320,000. The EMS Fund revenue was accounts receivable. The constitutional officers submit budgets as well. Everyone’s budgets are due June 1st, except the tax collector. The Clerk of Court is asking for an increase of about $54,000, due to increases in FRS and health insurance. The property appraiser’s total budget has an increase of about $188,000. They have not received Shariff’s Department budget yet. The Supervisor of Elections is asking for replacement of vehicle and needs a bilingual person, they are asking for $16,000.


  Commissioner Green asked for the Clerk of court increase amount. Ms. Daniels said it is $54,000. It is increasing FRS and Health Insurance.


  Ms. Daniels said the tax collectors’ budget is due August 1st.


  Commissioner NeSmith asked if the information can be posted for Commissioner Green and Commissioner Hinson?  


  Ms. Daniels said the other item is non-profits. In previous budgets there was a non-profit human services aspect of the budget where there would be applications and they would apply and the Board would set aside monies directly for those non-profit agencies. Didn’t do it the past couple of years, only to BGC. That is currently budgeted about $96,000 that they give to them on an annual basis. Due to the money of the CARES Act that went to small businesses, they had money from the American Rescue Plan that went to small businesses and non-profits and they did not address that in the budget. They did set aside a reserve for about $41,000. They need some dialogue on what to do with non-profit agencies. They will be having another workshop for June 16th.


  Commissioner NeSmith asked if there are procedures already in place for the non-profit?


  Commissioner Holt said she was following a plan that they were using in Tallahassee where they set aside a certain amount of money. Then the committee looks at that amount of money and the people would apply to that committee. So that there won’t be a fight between commissioners. Everyone will be able to get some funding.


  Commissioner Nesmith asked so there’s a structure? Commissioner Holt said it’s been a while ago but during that time, yes, that’s what they were doing. They set up a group with the applicants. Commissioner Nesmith said there should be a record of that committee? Commissioner Holt said they don’t have it. Ms. Daniels said from her understanding they did not have that in place. They were looking at going towards that model.


  Chair Viegbesie said he was a part of the committee. It was organized by United Way of the Big Bend. Members from the Big Bend community would travel to each facility that needs funding to look at their conditions.


  Ms. Daniel said the property appraiser is here to discuss his budget request for fiscal year 2022-2023.





Clerk of Court


Property Appraiser-Reginald Cunningham 

 Mr. Cunningham stated that they will send letters out to people about their property values and what created the market value change. There are a lot of sales. The sales are coming in hot. Over the years, the values have not changed much. DOR reached out to him last year and said his tax goal was not passed. This year sales have changed tremendously. It does not affect the homestead people; it will hurt the people who have the lower properties. Milage rate has increased. The property appraiser’s office is asking for an increase of about $100,000 due to vehicles, they have 4 Nissan Frontiers, when lease is up, they won’t be able to get another vehicle for another 6 months so extended their lease. $77,000 just to purchase vehicles. In the budget, included the 3% increase of staff, that’s an additional $20,000. Retirement of GIS person, transitioned a young lady, trying to get her trained. Another $10,000-$15,000 increase for training. Needs GIS because it controls the map on their website.


   Chair Viegbesie said the comment with the GIS, asked will the GIS be something other departments can use or they need to go to the property appraiser’s office to get access to that service? Mr. Dixon asked Mr. Steel.


  Justin Steel said they do have GIS services in the planning and zoning. GIS is very extensive and requires a very dedicated person to do the job. Currently they use an outside source, the ARPC for larger projects. Mr. Dixon asked if it be an asset if it is in his office? Chair Viegbesie said the question is how to get most effective service for that budgetary item? Where can they house that expertise that will make it accessible. Mr. Steel said a dedicated GIS person would be more ideal. Chair Viegbesie suggests to have a person dedicated to it as a County employee, not dedicated to a certain department.


Commissioner Hinson entered at 4:52 p.m.


  Commissioner Holt said planning and zoning said GIS service needs to be at both locations. Need to train two people. She is all for the training. She says they also need another planner.


  Commissioner Green asked for the cost for a GIS system. Mr. Cunningham said getting someone trained is the cost.


  Commissioner Holt asked for the people that are homestead, they will not be affected? Mr. Cunningham said not more than 3%. Commissioner Holt asked if there is anyone that would not be affected? Mr. Cunningham said a small percentage of people. They are looking at commercial sales right now. Commissioner Holt thinks they need to have some time to go through this. The minimum is 3% increase for homestead. Commissioner Holt said they need more time to explain this to the community. She said they will need a workshop to let everyone know.


  Commissioner Nesmith asked Mr. Cunningham, the GIS is software? Mr. Cunningham said yes, a mapping software. Commissioner Nesmith asked if they have had a staff person to maximize using it? Mr. Cunningham said no, person needs to be trained more. Commissioner Nesmith said there are benefits to maximize. Mr. Cunningham said it helps for when they are trying to figure out maps. Commissioner Nesmith asked how long is the training? Mr. Cunningham said program is online classes. Commissioner Nesmith asked what percentage increase between sales from last year to this year? Mr. Cunningham said about 45% increase.


  Chair Viegbesie said Commissioner Holt’s suggestion is something they should consider. Citizens should know why property taxes have gone up.


  Commissioner Holt asked administrator she wants to make sure they are getting monies in. If they need advertising for positions, need to raise the amount they are offering. After seeing murders in Texas, officers had different radio systems. She asked how ours work; school board is different. She said they need to make sure when they call from a school, they get who they need to get. Gadsden High doesn’t have law enforcement on campus.   


  Chair Viegbesie said that was an issue in Leon County, that’s why they came up with dispatch consolidation.


  Commissioner Holt said the schools and school buses should have a panic button.


Chair Viegbesie said this is work in progress and the next workshop is June 16th.  They should have a more robust document to work with.


  Ms. Daniels added the $15 minimum wage increase. Have already brought everyone to $10 per hour.


  Commissioner NeSmith asked what’s the start date for $15 per hour. Ms. Daniels said by 2026.

Mr. Dixon said they are starting to feel the pains now. It is not something they can wait to address. He said it is not only at the bottom, it creates compression. They have to handle it strategically.


  Commissioner Hinson asked how much does it take for them to get to $15 an hour. Ms. Daniels said they are looking at it now. Commissioner Hinson asked if they could have the number in the next meeting? Chair Viegbesie said it is something they need to look at. Attrition is an issue.


  Commissioner Holt said if you can’t recruit your people, look at salary scale. Said how will they use funds to make it effective.


  Commissioner Hinson said the price of gas is almost $5. Everything is going up and it is something they need to look into. County offered free insurance last year.


  Mr. Dixon agrees with Commissioner Hinson. It is not just money; they have created a great work environment. People enjoy working for the County. There are no better benefits at any agency than at Gadsden County.  He said they need to recognize that custodial workers are special people doing a special job. They can’t lose EMS personnel either.


  Commissioner NeSmith echoed Mr. Dixon, the atmosphere they have created County wide. He said they have to stay competitive. The board talked extensively last year about needing Revenue to meet expectations.


  Commissioner Green thanked Ms. Daniel for bringing it up to make $15 an hour as minimum wage.


  Commissioner Hinson appreciates Ms. Daniel as well. There’s a huge disconnect between someone who makes $8-$9 to someone who has worked to where they are. Some people make so low and the person next to them making $30 an hour doing the same thing. In a major conundrum, everyone else is moving but we are paralyzed. Only thing keeping them afloat is their insurance, this needs to be addressed now.


  Chair Viegbesie said all 5 commissioners stated it is a priority to talk about the pay scale. They need to see how the compression can be dealt with.             





Supervisor of Elections


Tax Collector – Due August 1st




Financial Outlook for FY22-23



Fund Balance/Reserve








Adjourned at 5:27 p.m.





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