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Gilchrist County population is reported to be less than anticipated

By John Ayers
The Gilchrist County Commission was surprised when Clerk of Court Todd Newton reported that the population information presented by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research of the University of Florida was lower than expected by 172. Mr. Newton explained that he was supplied these population estimates by the University of Florida and their population estimates were based on the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. The Census population supplied to Gilchrist County was 17,864 on April 1, 2020.
The Clerk of Court explained to the five member Commission, the figure 14,310 is the preliminary population estimate that will be used for state revenue funding for Gilchrist County for the fiscal year 2022-2023.
Mr. Newton reported to the Commission that the U.S. Census uses information supplied by the local electrical companies, Duke Energy and Central Florida Electric Cooperative to support the increasing population through new electric service accounts in Gilchrist County.
Billy Wilson, a representative of CFEC addressed the Commission during the Monday afternoon meeting. He explained that CFEC would be glad to review the data that they have and supply Gilchrist County with information involving the new customers in Gilchrist County.
Bobby Crosby, Gilchrist County Administrator reported that he would contact Duke Energy and request information about new accounts that Duke is providing electrical service to in Gilchrist County.
Mr. Newton reported to the Commission that Gilchrist County has to submit information to the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida by November 12, 2021.
Commissioner Bill Martin gave a motion to approve the population estimates supplied by the University of Florida, but if the population figures from the electric companies serving Gilchrist County were different, then Gilchrist County would move forward to challenge the population figures. Commissioner Darrell Smith gave a second to the motion before the Commission approved the motion by a unanimous vote.
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The Commission held a time certain portion of the agenda schedule at 4:15 p.m. to consider budget amendment Resolution 2021-27. This resolution would amend the General Fund Budget and increase the budget for the CARES Act related expenditures by $241,267. A motion by Commissioner Darrell Smith to approve Resolution 2021-27 to amend the budget by $241,267 involving CARES Act related expenditures. Commissioner Bill Martin gave a second to the motion as the board approved the action by a 5-0 vote.
The Commission discussed Resolution 2021-28, a resolution amending the fire district fund budget. This amendment increases the budget for the CARES Act by $98,856 for CARES Act related expenditures. Commissioner Kenrick Thomas made a motion to approve Resolution 2021-28 to increase the budget by $98,856 for CARES Act related expenditures. Commissioner Marion Poitevint gave a second to the motion before the Commission approved the proposal by a unanimous vote.
The Commission discussed Resolution 2021-29, a resolution amending the EMS fund budget by $634,664. This amendment would increase the budget for the CARES Act related expenditures using unanticipated CARES revenues received. Commissioner Bill Martin made a motion to approve Resolution 2021-29 to increase the EMS budget by $634,664. Commissioner Kenrick Thomas gave a second to the motion before the board approved the motion by a 5-0 vote.
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The Commission received three bids for a Dixie Chopper zero turn 60” riding lawnmower. The County Administrator presented the three bids: Tri-County Rentals & Sales - $10,649.00 ea, Power Mower Sales - $10,799.00 ea, and SLE Equipment - $11,569.00 ea. Commissioner Bill Martin made a motion to approve the low bid from Tri-County Rental & Sales for $10,649 each for 2 lawn mowers for Gilchrist County. Commissioner Darrell Smith gave a second to the motion as the board approved the action by a 5-0 vote.
The Commission adjourned this meeting at 4:10 p.m. Monday afternoon.
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