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County Commission: CSX charges $60,000+/- to county

Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.

During the regularly scheduled meeting of the Madison County Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday, April 12, the commissioners heard from County Road Department Coordinator Lonnie Thigpen, who informed the Board that CSX Railroad had sent an invoice for repairs to the railroad crossing at CR 255 in Lee. The invoice was for approximately $60,000 more than the estimate given to the County. Thigpen will keep the Board informed about the negotiations. Thigpen also asked the Board to consider paying for a maintenance map for SW Frank Morgan Rd. The approximate cost would be $3,600 to $4,000. A maintenance map shows if the County has maintained a road for seven years, the road then becomes county property. The Board voted to approve the obtaining of the maintenance map, provided the cost could be absorbed into the current Road Department budget.

In other business, the Board voted to approve the consent agenda. Items on the consent agenda included the approval of a tourist development grant for the Jellystone Park Jam 2017 in the amount of $3,600. Other items were budget amendment requests for Sheriff's Office employee payouts of $479.05, $1,626.50, and $14,193.22. Resolution 2017-04-12; authorizing the Chairman to execute the construction and maintenance agreement was also approved as part of the consent agreement.

Under petitions from the public, Benjamin G. (Guign) Wyche addressed the board regarding flooding on his property. He had previously informed the Board that he wanted a price of $10,000 per acre for the part of his land that was prone to flooding. Wyche had been informed that price was too high. Wyche brought up that the Board had approved the purchase of another small parcel of property that came to equal more than $10,000 per acre. Wyche also expressed concern over the $3,600 grant given to the Jellystone Park Jam 2017 event. Also under petitions from the public, Jerome Wyche informed the Board he would be bringing a Mother's Day resolution to the next meeting of the Board for their consideration.

Sheriff Ben Stewart informed the Board of changes to Florida statutes regarding the transport of Baker Act cases. Stewart told the Board that a plan needs to be in place by Saturday, July 1, so the Sheriff's Office, Emergency Medical Services and other agencies need to meet and form this plan soon. The Board agreed to have Stewart arrange the workshop date, time and location.

County Property Appraiser Leigh Barfield asked the Board to send out a Request for Proposals for IT services for the County Annex Building. Barfield felt that although the services the County has been receiving have been good, if the same services could be attained for a better price, it would be in the County's best interest to receive proposals. A motion was made and passed to send out a Request for Proposals.

Engineer Frank Darabi gave a power point presentation on the financial conditions of the Aucilla Area Landfill.

Matt Pearson, Executive Director of the Suwannee River Economic Council and Stephanie Barrington, Director of the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) presented the Madison County SHIP program's Local Housing Assistance Plan (LHAP) along with Resolution 2017-04-12B approving the LHAP to the Board for their consideration. The Board voted to approve the plan.

County Coordinator Brian Kauffman presented Resolution 2017-04-12A, “A Resolution by the Board of County Commissioners of Madison County, Florida requesting the State Legislature to significantly increase funding for the acquisition of conservation lands and conservation easements in the 2017-2018 budget.” The Board voted unanimously to approve the resolution.

Kauffman read a Proclamation for Power Talk 21 Day. On Friday, April 21, parents are encouraged to talk to youngsters about alcohol and the dangers of alcohol abuse. The Board voted unanimously to approve the proclamation.

Commissioner Ronnie Moore and Kauffman gave an update to the Board on the latest information regarding the Amtrak train. The latest meeting was held in Live Oak, Fl. with Amtrak officials, a representative from Sen. Bill Nelson's office and representatives from the Southern Rail Commission. Everyone is encouraged to contact their US Representatives to seek support for this endeavor.

The next scheduled meeting of the Madison County Board of County Commissioners is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26, at 6 p.m. in the Courthouse Annex, located at 229 SW Pinckney St., in Madison.

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