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County Commission Approves Letter of Support for Nestle Water bottling plant in Gilchrist County

The Gilchrist County Commission held a Commission meeting on Thursday afternoon to take action on numerous agenda items in Gilchrist County. The Commission held a discussion during Commission’s reports when Commissioner Thomas spoke of supporting the Nestle Water Bottling plant renewal permit that has become very controversial by interests outside of Gilchrist County.
Commissioner Thomas told his fellow board members and those attending the Thursday meeting that he felt the County Commission should send a letter of support to the Suwannee River Water Management District to support the renewal of the permit by Seven Springs Water Company, which is owned by the family that owns Ginnie Springs Park in Northeast Gilchrist County. “The water bottling plant employs a lot of people from Gilchrist County and the company pays a lot of taxes to this small rural county,”
Commissioner Langford explained that she felt that Gilchrist County should not get involved in this dispute over the renewal of this water bottling permit. “Gilchrist County does not have any jurisdiction involving the permitting of water,” Mrs Langford explained.
Commissioner Thomas made a motion to have attorney Lang send a letter of support to the SRWMD supporting the renewal of the pending water bottling permit issued to Seven Springs Water Company which sells the water to Nestle Water North America. Commissioner Poitevint gave a second to the motion before Chairman Gray called for a roll call vote. The Commission approved the motion by a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Langford voting No. The water permit allows the pumping of 1.152 million gallons of water a day.
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The Commission as part of the Consent Agenda approved a payment of $199,319.38 to Clemons, Rutherford, & Associates, Inc., architects, planners, interior designers, and construction managers for the Gilchrist County Jail remodel for professional services from July 30, 2018 to January 31, 2019. The services identified as: Conceptual Plan - $19,500, Schematic Design - $86,459.14, Design Development - $86,459.14. A previous fee billing of 19,500 was included as well as Civil Engineers consultant George & Associates Consulting Engineers for $26,401.10. A motion was made by Commissioner Martin to approve the Consent Agenda with Commissioner Langford giving a second to the motion. The Commission approved the motion by a unanimous vote.
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The Commission was addressed by Veterans Mary Long and Pat Clemons representing American Veterans Post 422. The veterans listened as Commission Chairman Gray read Resolution 2020-01which recognize the many veterans who have made countless sacrifices for Florida families. In 2012 the United States began the commemorations of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, a 13 year program to honor and thank those who answered the call to serve in the war. On March 28, 2017,President Donald Trump designated every March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. More than 58,000 service members made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War, thousands more were wounded, and 1,600 remain missing in action. The State of Florida is home to 519,000 Vietnam era Veterans and we can never fully repay our debt of gratitude to those brave men and women who served.
A Vietnam War Veterans Day program will be held on March 28, 2020 at the Old Town Historical Center. The public is invited to attend and thank the veterans for their service. A motion to approve Resolution 2020-01 was made by Commissioner Thomas and Commissioner Langford gave a second as the Commission approved the motion by a unanimous vote and they thanked the veterans attending for their service to this great nation.
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Bobby Crosby, Gilchrist County Administrator gave a report involving the Spring Ridge Special Assessment community meeting. This Spring Ridge Community meeting was held in the Spring Ridge church as 83 people signed in. Of these attending, 64 properties were represented as 50 people presented petitions involving the paving of the residential subdivision roads. These petitions identified 39 in support of the program and 10 were opposed to the project and 1 did not have a decision. These statistics identify 79% support the program being proposed by Gilchrist County to allow a Special Assessment program pave the roads in Spring Ridge Subdivision.
Mr Crosby asked the Commission to allow the county to move to the next phase of the project; to send letters to each property owner giving details of the estimate to pave the residential roads. A motion was made by Commissioner Poitevint to approve moving to the next step in sending letters to the property owners of Spring Ridge subdivision. Commissioner Martin gave a second to the motion as the Commission approved the proposal by a unanimous vote.
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The County Administrator reported to the Commission that the Road Department is interested in the purchase of a used Vibratory Roller to be used in the repair of county roads in Gilchrist County. Mr. Crosby called on Lou Leone, the Road Superintendent as he pointed out that the roller has been very useful involving a current road project in Gilchrist. Mr. Leone explained that the roller has less than 3000 hours of use and the price is $50,000. A new roller of this type was reported to be $125,000. Mr. Leone reported the roller will work well with the asphalt millings the county is beginning to use. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve the purchase of the used Vibratory Roller from Linder Industrial Machinery for $50,000 as Commissioner Poitevint gave a second to the motion and the board approved the motion by a 5-0 vote.
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Mr. Crosby presented the proposed new rates and policies for Hart Springs Park. New Park Manager Faye Harding explained that she has discussed several changes with Bobby Crosby. The recommended changes include: no car or boat load prices, no annual pool passes, no pool pavilion rental, change off season to October through April and update rates for the park. The board discussed the new policies and rates and agreed to take action in the February 3, 2020 meeting after the members have time to review the new procedures.
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The Commission questioned Bobby Rush, Supervisor of Gilchrist County Solid Waste Department involving the newly considered operating procedures for the refuge department. The Commission agreed that the Solid Waste Department needs some improvements and they were willing to try these considerations involving new hours at several locations. Commissioner Martin made a motion to approve the new procedures and purchases for the Solid Waste Department and add 1 part time employee to the Department of Solid Waste. Commissioner Thomas gave a second to the motion before the Commission approved the motion by a unanimous vote.
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Attorney David M Lang, Jr. presented Resolution 2020-02 which declared Gilchrist County a Second Amendment Sanctuary. Commissioner Martin gave a motion to approve Resolution 2020-02, a Resolution which supports the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of our nation and the Second Amendment to the Constitution states, a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed upon. Commissioner Langford gave a second in support of the motion. Chairman Gray called for a vote as the Commission approved the declaration, which supports our country’s independence. The Commission agreed, “We have and stand for our Second Amendment.”

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