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SRWMD awards $39,369.22(PILT) to Gilchrist County on Monday

The Gilchrist County Commission welcomed Gilchrist County resident Hugh Thomas, Executive Director of the Suwannee River Water Management District to their July 1st meeting on Monday afternoon. Mr. Thomas told the five-member Commission that it is always good to meet with his home Commission and present a check for $39,369.22, payment in lieu of taxes for property that is owned by the water management district in Gilchrist County. The water management district is a state agency, and therefore pays no property taxes to the states’ sixty-seventh county.
Mr. Thomas gave the Commission a detailed update on several programs that the SRWMD is involved in right now in Gilchrist County. He explained that the district which involves all or parts of fifteen counties is growing, with population estimated to be at 340,000 residents. The SRWMD is working with the City of Fanning Springs on the up dating of the water and sewer system. The district is also working with Gilchrist County on improvements to the Santa Fe River Park on State Road 47. The opening of the JH Anderson Jr. Memorial Park has recently opened to the public and is a beautiful addition to the natural springs attractions on the Suwannee River.
The Commission was addressed by Mr. Robert Wells, a Prevention Specialist working to create a Gilchrist County Prevention Coalition 501c3, that is working with a local volunteer board to assist children in need in the Gilchrist County schools. Mr. Wells explained that he is seeking a letter of support for a grant that if funded would provided $125,000 a year for five years for students in the middle and elementary schools in Gilchrist County.
The Commission asked the director of the coalition program if he was seeking funding from Gilchrist County. Mr. Wells explained that Gilchrist County would not be requested to fund this program, but would like to have a County Administrator or an appointee to serve on the volunteer board of directors. A motion by Commissioner Martin to approve the letter of support for the grant initiative for the Gilchrist County Prevention Coalition. Commissioner Thomas gave a second to the proposal before the board voted in favor of the motion.
Ralph Smith, Gilchrist County Emergency Management Director addressed the Commission seeking support for a Gilchrist County Public Safety Touch-A-Truck program. The director explained that he recently attended a program held in Putnam County that allows the public to get a hands on experience with emergency service providers and equipment.
Mr. Smith explained that if this type of program is held in Gilchrist County, that county residents would come out to the Emergency Operations Center, see and meet the people that provide emergency services, and be able to touch and get a hands on experience through this program.
The Commission thought that this would be a good idea for the public to enjoy and they agreed to provide hotdogs for lunch to those people attending this program in the future. The director was asked to bring back a date in the future. Commissioner Martin pointed out that if the program is held after the beginning of school, the director should communicate and advertise through the schools to have the students and their families attend this free public program.
A variance application hearing for VAR 2019-05 by James Moore to have a storage building located on a vacant lot in north Gilchrist County was opened at 4:15 p.m. David M. Lang, Jr., Gilchrist County Planner explained to the Commission that due to a time problem concerning this hearing, he recommended the Commission continue the hearing to July 15 at 5 p.m. The Commission agreed to the continuance to be held at the next meeting.
A hearing to review SP 2019-07 by Nestle North American, Inc. was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. The County Planner asked the Commission to continue this hearing to July 15 to be placed on the agenda for 5:15 p.m. The Commission agreed to continue this public hearing in the July 15, 2019 meeting.