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Gilchrist to purchase voting equipment, save $ over leasing

The Gilchrist County Commission took action on Monday to purchase voting equipment instead of leasing the voting machines to save over $100K by the end of the ten-year lease program. Gilchrist Clerk of Court Todd Newton reported to the Commission that after the finance committee took a closer look at the lease, they determined that in the eighth year the lease ballooned and that is where Gilchrist County would save tax payer funds by purchasing the required voting machines.
Connie Sanchez addressed the Commission during the Monday meeting to ask the board to approve the purchase of this equipment for Gilchrist County. A motion by Commissioner Thomas and a second by Commissioner Langford to approve the purchase of the equipment for $218,951.30. Vice Chairman Gray called for a vote as the Commission voted 4-0 in favor of the motion. A motion to advertise for a loan to purchase the equipment was also approved by the Commission.
The Commission heard a request for a preliminary site plan, SP2018-01 from applicant JR Trimm for an industrial 3.21-acre parcel on the south side of SR 26 just east of Trenton. The applicant intends to build a 4000 square foot building, parking lot and storm water management facility on this property. Laura Dedenbach, County Planner reported the proposed use is for an auction house. She explained the site plan is consistent with the Gilchrist Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code. Ms Dedenbach recommended approval with four conditions identified in the Commissioner’s information.
The County Planner reported to the Commission that an adjacent property owner has submitted a letter identifying their property has been flooded after site development has been occurring on the applicant’s property.
Tracey App explained that she and her husband Nathan have owned and lived on this property for 27 years and up until recently have never had there property flooded. She explained that the elevation on the east side of the construction parcel has become higher and this is causing water to flood the App’s property instead of having the water flow west to where a storm water retention area is being constructed to hold the storm water.
JR Trimm addressed the board apologizing for having the work done on the property without an approved site plan. He explained that he was new at all of this and he intended to have the problems that have become apparent corrected and would appreciate the Commission approving the site plan to allow the project to continue construction.
The Commission requested North Florida Professional Services engineer to review the site and the site plan to recommend a corrective action on the construction to alleviate the problems with the construction elevation. A motion by Commissioner Thomas to approve SP 2018-01 contingent upon the engineer reviewing the problems identified on the construction site and having these problems corrected. Commissioner Langford agreed as she gave a second to the motion. The board voted 4-0 in favor of the motion.
Mrs. App asked the Commission, “When this is said and done, what do we do if we are still being flooded?” Attorney Lang reported that the Apps’ would have legal recourse, but he explained that the county would have the applicant correct the issues involving the elevation in the construction site.
Bobby Crosby, Gilchrist County Administrator gave a report to the Commission of the Gilchrist County Tourist Development Tax. The TDC gives Gilchrist County 2% of the sales of visitors staying overnight in Gilchrist County. At this time Gilchrist County has five campgrounds and one small hotel that visitors can stay in when visiting Gilchrist County. Gilchrist County has received the following funds from the TDC over the last six years: 2012-$24,776, 2013-$28,492, 2014 - $30,660, 2015 - $35,600, 2016 - $42,900, and 2017 - $52,964. The funds are from 2% of the cost of camping overnight in Gilchrist County. The actual money spent in Gilchrist County to stay overnight is $2,648,150 per year. This is not counting the money spent on food, gas and other items purchased from independent businesses in Gilchrist County. Visit Florida research shows that on an average, travelers will spend an additional $50-$75 per day when on vacation.
Mr. Crosby explained that Donna Creamer and other staff members have done an outstanding job presenting Gilchrist County to people all over the world so these people will visit Gilchrist County and enjoy our beautiful natural attractions. The Commission complimented Mrs. Creamer and other staff involved in the TDC program.