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Regular Meeting Recap: June 21, 2022

Jackson County, FL. – June 21, 2022 at 6pm, the Jackson County Board of County Commissioners held a Regular Meeting. This is a recap of some of the reports and requests included in that meeting.

Request: Memoranda of Understanding/Emergency Management
The Jackson County Board of County Commissioners is always grateful for the support of local organizations. Communities are at their best when they work together. All County departments understand this concept; however, it is especially important for Emergency Management. At this meeting, Emergency Management Director, Keith Maddox requested Board Approval of Memoranda of Understanding between Jackson County and multiple organizations/agencies. These agreements ensure support for citizens of Jackson County in the face of Emergencies/Disasters. The Board approved the request for Memoranda of Understanding agreements with the following:

1. Jackson Hospital – to accept patients with special needs during disasters.
2. Jackson County Senior Citizens – feeding EOC personnel during disasters.
3. Jackson County Transportation (J-Trans) – to provide transportation and access to their fueling station during emergencies.
4. Rivertown Community Church – feeding EOC personnel during disasters.
5. Chipola Amateur Radio Club (HAM) – to provide emergency communications redundancy during disasters.
6. Jackson County School Board – to provide PSN shelter and feeding, transportation assistance, risk shelter and feeding, EOC feeding and additional fuel as necessary during disasters.
7. Washington County BOCC – COOP agreement for the respective County EOC Agencies.
8. Gulf County BOCC – COOP agreement for the respective County EOC Agencies

Request: Emergency Management Preparedness and Assistance Grant
The Emergency Management Preparedness and Assistance Grant from the State Division of Emergency Management is an annual cost-reimbursement grant agreement. Jackson County pursues this grant agreement each year as a source of salary funding for EM positions. The County uses this grant along with a Federal grant to provide staffing and subsequent equipment and operational costs for Emergency Management. The State funds requested amount to $105,806. The Board approved this request.

Request: Work Authorization/Re-Stripe Gardenview Rd
One of the Board’s top priorities is road safety and maintenance. After receiving reports form citizens about low visibility of road striping on Gardenview Rd, Jackson County Road & Bridge Director, Jeffrey Register, requested Board Approval of a work authorization to address the issue. Guettler & Guettler Inc. has provided a work authorization in the amount of $23,802.45 to re-stripe Gardenview Rd from US 231 to CR 167. The Board approved this request.

Request: Adoption of Amendment to Code of Ordinances/Spring Creek
During the regular meeting on May 24, 2022, Public Works Director, Rett Daniels requested Board approval to set a public hearing for a proposed amendment to the Jackson County Code of Ordinances, Section 70-1.1. In effort to reduce the amount of litter that gets left behind in Spring Creek.

Contrary to public perception, ordinances exist for a reason. They are put in place, managed, and amended for the safety and benefit of not only current and future citizens. They also play a big role in environmental protection for natural resources. Ordinances are typically born out of necessity and amended respectively. Some factors that may call for an amendment to a code of ordinances could include, outdated language, errors, changing landscape, public concern, changes in economic trends, state/federal regulations, etc.

In this case, an amendment was proposed for a combination of factors. One factor has been public concern. Many concerned citizens have expressed a desire for action to be taken to reduce the amount of trash in our natural waterways. The second factor is the litter. Regardless of individual opinions of the proposed ordinance, there is an undeniable trash issue. This is simply a step in the process of local government addressing concerns within its community.

 After much discussion and input from the community, the Board expressed a desire to spend additional time inspecting the language of the Ordinance itself before voting. The Board is dedicated to keeping our waterways clean and preserved for future generations, as well as setting up local businesses for success while maintaining a sustainable visitation and tourism draw. For these reasons, the Board believes it is vital to have clear and concise language in such an ordinance, and subsequently voted to set a special meeting on July 12, 2022 at 10:15 am for further discussion.

Public Hearing – Discussion: Florida Small Cities CDBG Program
The Jackson County Board of County Commissioners is considering applying to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for a Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The county intends to reapply if funding is not available in the prior cycle. The county is eligible to apply for up to $750,000.00 in the neighborhood revitalization, commercial revitalization, and housing rehabilitation categories. As well as up to $1,500,000.00 in the economic development category. Construction activities funded through the CDBG Program must meet one of the following National Objectives:

• Benefit to low- and moderate- income (LMI) persons;
• Prevent or eliminate slum or blight conditions; or
• Meet a need of recent origin having a particular urgency.

The types of activities for which CDBG funds may be used include constructing stormwater ponds, paving roads and sidewalks, installing sewer and water lines, building a community center or park, making improvements to a sewage treatment plant, and rehabilitating low-income homes.

During the regular meeting on May 24, 2022, Administrative Services Director, Hunter Potts requested Board approval to set a public hearing to discuss the small cities CDBG application cycle. This is the first of two public hearings. The purpose of this first hearing was to receive public input and ideas on projects that would be eligible for the grant’s funding. There was no public input on this matter.

Comm. Dev. – Request: Film/Motion Photography Special Use Permit
Director of Community Development, Wendy Schlesinger, requested Board Approval of a Film and Motion Photography Special Use Permit for the location of Blue Springs Park for a one-day event on June 30, 2022. This permit is for an air medical company, “One Floor Up”, to film a flight for life Air Method Shift Training video using a helicopter, drone, and simulator. Community Development staff requested to waive the requirement for a surety. The Board approved this request.

On Thursday June 30, 2022, there will be a delay in opening Blue Springs Recreational Facility until 1:00 pm. For this reason, entrance to the park will be discounted to $2.00 for the day.

Comm. Dev. – Request: Set Public Hearings
Director of Community Development, Wendy Schlesinger, requested Board Approval to set a public hearing on July 12, 2022 at 9:15 a.m. for a petition of road abandonment to abandon a county right-of-way located on property identified as a strip of land known as Gray Lane approximately 419.74 feet in length, ¼ mile north of the intersection of Oregon Trail and Gray Lane in unincorporated Jackson County. As well as the adoption of the Jackson County Code of Ordinances Chapter 18, Building Codes. The Board approved the public hearing date for road abandonment, and tabled the request for the public hearing for the adoption of County Code of Ordinances Chapter 18, Building Codes to be discussed at the July 12, 2022 meeting.

Request: Contract for Consulting Services
In May 2022, Ms. Karlyn Tidwell, resigned from her position as Deputy County Administrator. A large part of her role with the County was budget development. Ms. Tidwell spent time in budget training with County staff before she left. County Administrator, Wilanne Daniels, requested Board Approval of a contract with Ms. Tidwell. As the County enters a particularly difficult Budget Season, she will contract with the BOCC for the FY2022-23 budget development at a rate of $75.00 per hour. Ms. Tidwell will be contacted by County staff on an as-needed basis when questions or issues arise during the budget development process. This contract will continue through the budget process and end on October 31, 2022.  Wilanne Daniels said, “We are grateful for the Board’s support to set staff up for success with all the tools we need to navigate this challenging budget season.”