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Attorney fees, comp time & water grants discussed at LCC workshops

Official minutes from the Feb. 9, 2017
workshops of the Liberty Commission
as recorded by the board secretary


WORKSHOP 4 P.M.
The workshop was called to order by Chairman Dexter Barber. Present at the meeting were Commissioners Dexter Barber, Scott Phillips, James Sanders, Dewayne Branch, Jim Johnson, Attorney Jack Myers, Clerk Kathleen Brown and Deputy Clerk Mason Kever.
Prayer was led by Dexter Barber.
Pledge of Allegiance was led by Scott Phillips.
Sheriff Eddie Joe White addressed the board on $10,070.05, requesting for attorney fees on behalf of Bret Phillips.
Myers explained that this money was a refund from the Sheriff’s budget from last fiscal year.
Sheriff White discussed Search and Rescue funds. Expressed the desire to get it going as he was accountable for the safety of the citizens of the county. Sheriff White requested these funds be transferred to his care.
Johnson expressed public concerns about accountability for these funds. The public had concerns about selling property that was purchased with these funds. Johnson expressed desire to have an agreement with the board that non fixed assets would be sold without permission from the board. Sheriff White agreed to these terms stating that it would be no problem.
State Attorney Campbell addressed the board. He discussed pro-active law enforcement and re-active law enforcement. He offered expertise and resources to the county.
Myers expressed concerns that the Judges who came into the county seem to not care about its citizens, and did not offer the citizens the care they deserved. Myers mentions sending the limited money we had over to Tallahassee for judicial services.
Phillips discussed national forest property, hoping that this could draw in more funding.
Campbell mentions the use of Federal lands for work camp, rehabilitating individuals and teaching them trades.
Sheriff White expressed thanks for having the workshop, then discussed comp time the Sheriff office had. White mentions $89,000 in comp time debt, $65,200 of which was associated with the county. The remainder of the balance was with the School Board. Sheriff felt this was a debt to be paid, asked that it be acknowledged and asked to remove it. Sheriff made a promise that it would never happen again under his control.
Sheriff White discussed working every day to increase the revenues of the Sheriff’s office. The Sheriff mentioned that not one hour of comp time had been added to his books while he was in office.
Johnson mentioned paying comp time as the employees leave.
Branch expressed desire to not pay out now, stating that if we spend out now, we no long have those funds. Branch mentioned being behind the Sheriff 110%.
Myers quoted the Fair Labor Standards Act, that comp time could be paid to Firefighters, Law Enforcement, and EMT related employees.
Johnson mentioned the problem seemed to be that the Sheriff had no money to pay comp time if the employee left.
Myers commented that there was no debt owed at this time. Referenced the 6 million owed in the future for retirement that is not a debt now.
Sanders commented that in the long run we would have to pay this amount. He also mentioned being on a 28 day pay cycle helping with this issue.
Barber suggested passing a motion to pay comp time for the Sheriff as it was needed.
Sheriff White stated that this was money owed to people and not a finance company.
Dick Stanley gave a report on the status of the jail. Engineers from Panama City came and inspected. He mentioned getting a plan and an engineer certificate for liability. Stanley mentioned grants for electrical work. Stanley introduced Shawn Collins.
Shawn Collins, owner of Star Fire Extinguishers introduction. Offered help with inspections of anything fire related. Collins has 25 years experience in the field and his company serves 4,800 customers.
Motion to adjourn by Branch, seconded by Sanders, and carried.


WORKSHOP 5 P.M.
The workshop was called to order by Chairman Dexter Barber. Present at the meeting were Commissioners Dexter Barber, Scott Phillips, James Sanders, Dewayne Branch, Jim Johnson, Attorney Jack Myers, Clerk Kathleen Brown and Deputy Clerk Mason Kever.
Prayer was led by Branch.
Pledge of Allegiance was led by Sanders.
Shaneta Forbes (present for Mary Gavin) from the USDA addressed the board.
Forbes discussed grants for the county and local businesses.
Forbes discussed water loans and grants.
Forbes mentions our current USDA loans, one for water of $560,000 at 4.5% interest. The other loan was for a Hosford fire station of $110,000.
Phillips discussed waste from having to flush 600% more than needed from our water lines. Phillips is looking to make adjustments.
Forbes mentions new rates available at 2.75% but the loan would need to be 50% great than we currently have, coming in at around 1.2 million.
Forbes mentions there were options to help individuals get water for themselves.
Bob Burns with the Florida Water Association addressed the board. He provides training and helps with grants. He was in attendance for a checkup. He reviewed our audit ad made several findings. He expressed concerns with the general fund supplementing the water fund. We are in need of a rate adjustment. If this is not done we will be outside of our loan compliance which will jeopardize our loan.
Burns offered a free rate study, stating that the rates must meet our debt service ratio. The last rate study was performed in 2013 and not adopted. Burns mentioned that if rates are not strong enough you can’t get new loans.
Branch discussed degeneration of wells and their increasing cost.
Burns mentioned a rate structure designed to charge more for those that use more. Burns expressed the need to at least break even.
Phillips mentioned rate charged for all 4 systems, being all on the same pay scale while there costs were different.
Burns mentioned that he had not seen anything as complex as our county.
Barber requested Bob Burns rate study approval added to the next month agenda.
Motion to adjourn by Sanders, second by Phillips, and carried.—————————————Kathleen E. Brown, Clerk of Court
Dexter Barber, Chairman

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Date
April 19th, 2017

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Staff

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