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Gilchrist Commission approves SCOP program to pave Gay Road

The Gilchrist County Commission approved Resolution 2021-25, to enter into a Small County Outreach Program (SCOP) with the Florida Department of Transportation to pave 2.5 miles of county grade north of Bell. The SCOP program provides $3.8 million in funding to pave NW 30th Street, NW 20th Avenue from US 129 to CR 340 in Gilchrist County. The Commission discussed this proposal before Commissioner Darrell Smith made a motion to approve Resolution 2021-05 to accept the SCOP program proposal for $3.8 to pave the county road from US 129 to CR 340 in north Gilchrist County. Commissioner Bill Martin gave a second to the motion before Madam Chair Langford called for a vote. The Commission approved the motion by a unanimous vote. Commissioner Kenrick Thomas explained that Gilchrist County would also like to pave Dixie Grade as a part of this program.
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Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz addressed the Commission during the Constitutional Officers segment of the Monday afternoon meeting. He explained that the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s office would be returning approximately $175,000 of their 2020-21 budget to Gilchrist County. He requested the Commission approve $55,791.92 to purchase a new van to be used to transport inmates to both Dixie and Levy County Jails.
Commissioner Kenrick Thomas made a motion to approve the request to purchase a inmate transport van for $55,791.92 for the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s office. Commissioner Bill Martin gave a second to the motion before the Commission approved the request by a unanimous vote.
Sheriff Schultz asked the Commission to approve an $8,000 proposal to allow the Sheriff office to purchase material that will be used in the Crime Prevention programs in the Gilchrist County Elementary Schools. The Commission approved this request by a unanimous vote.
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Gilchrist County Commission was addressed by Elizabeth Phillips, representing Haven Hospice of the Tri-County area. Attorney David M. Lang, Jr. explained that Gilchrist County is designating the month of November 2021 as “National Hospice and Palliative Care Month” in Gilchrist County. Mr. Lang read the Proclamation during the public hearing segment of this meeting. Commissioner Bill Martin made a motion to approve the Proclamation declaring the month of November, 2021 as “National Hospice and Palliative Care Month” in Gilchrist County. Commissioner Darrell Smith gave a second to the motion as the Board approved the Proclamation by a 5-0 vote.
Ms. Phillips thanked the Commission for the Proclamation and allowing Haven Hospice to be involved in the care and providing service to the many people in the Tri-Counties. The Commission thanked Ms. Phillips and Haven Hospice for the great job they do in providing care for the people when the care is needed the most.
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Gilchrist County Administrator Bobby Crosby asked the Commission to consider approval of the SHIP Administration agreement with the Suwannee River Economic Council. “The SREC administers the SHIP program in Gilchrist County”, Mr. Crosby explained. He reported the SHIP program is working real well in Gilchrist County and the SREC does a great job for Gilchrist County with this program. Commissioner Bill Martin made a motion to approve the Administration of SHIP program agreement with SREC. Commissioner Marion Poitevint gave a second to the motion as the board approved the motion by a 5-0 vote.
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Mr. Crosby requested the Commission to consider the purchase of 2 Dixie Chopper mowers for Gilchrist County from Tri-County Rental & Sales for the total price of $21,298.00. The County maintenance supervisor explained to Mr. Crosby that the Dixie Chopper is a Commercial designed mower that has a stainless steel under carriage that will last longer and do a better job than some of the other mowers that Gilchrist County has used in the past. The Dixie Chopper Classic 27/60 is on the state contract price sheet for $10,499.00 each. Tri-County Rental & Sales is an authorized Dixie Chopper dealer and the price quote for the two mowers includes a $300.00 freight charge for a total of $21,298.00.
The Commission asked Mr. Crosby if Gilchrist County had checked with other local dealers on commercial mowers that are equivalent to the Classic 27/60 unit? Mr. Crosby explained that Tri-County Rental is the only authorized dealer for the Dixie Chopper brand.
Commissioner Kenrick Thomas made a motion to approve the purchase of the two Dixie Chopper Classic 27/60 mowers for $21,298.00 which is the state contract price for these mowers. Commissioner Marion Poitevint gave a second to the motion before the Commission approved the motion by a unanimous vote.
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The Gilchrist County Administrator identified the Gilchrist County Animal Control had budgeted the purchase of a new truck for the use of animal service in Gilchrist County. The department had found a 2021 Ram Classic 1500 4x4 Quad cab with a 6’4” cargo box. Gerber Fleet Sales dealership of Green Cove Springs, FL has this unit in their inventory and quoted Gilchrist County $23,923.00 for this truck on the state contract pricing. Mr. Crosby reported that Gilchrist County has looked at other makes and models of this type truck, but the other makes are asking from $5,000 to $10,000 more for the same comparable unit and the other trucks will not be available for up to 2 months from now.
Commissioner Kenrick Thomas made a motion to approve the purchase of the 2021 Ram Classic 1500 pickup for $23,923.00 which is on state contract pricing. Commissioner Bill Martin gave a second to the motion as the Commission vote 5-0 in favor of the purchase.
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Commissioner Darrell Smith reported to the Commission during the Commissioner Reports portion of the meeting that he had recently attended a meeting that discussed expanding broad band and internet service to the rural counties in North Central Florida. Mr. Smith explained that the meeting gave information to the county representatives on how to establish county volunteer committees to be prepared for the funding that has been identified and will soon be available to the counties to expand broadband service in there areas.
John Rutledge, a resident of Gilchrist County reported that fiber optic cable is available in his neighborhood in north Gilchrist County, but he has no connection to a service provider that will install the improved internet service to his residence. He also explained that he too, is interested in the Gilchrist County Broadband committee.
Mr. Crosby reported that Gilchrist County has a fiber optic line that runs through Gilchrist County, but the connection to that line is not economically feasible at this time. He explained that Gilchrist County was interested in connecting the Emergency Operations Center to the fiber optic line. Gilchrist County contacted AT&T for that service and AT&T quoted the county $3,000 a month for the up grade to the fiber optic service. Mr. Crosby explained that he did not bring this request to the Commission because he felt the fee was too expensive.