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BOCC Special Minutes March 8, 2011

                                                                                                                                                                   BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

5:00 P.M.
The Board of County Commissioners of Madison County, Florida met this day in Special Session with the following members present: Justin Hamrick (District 1), Wayne Vickers (District 2), Renetta Parrish (District 3), Alfred Martin (District 4), and Roy Ellis (District 5). Also present were County Coordinator Allen Cherry, County Clerk Tim Sanders, and County Attorney George T. Reeves.
            The Chair, Honorable Renetta Parrish, called the meeting to order and called the roll.
Chairperson Parrish stated the purpose of the meeting was to consider approval of an Interlocal Agreement between Madison County and Madison County Hospital District on use of the Hospital Sales Tax.
The County Attorney advised the proposed Interlocal Agreement provides for the transfer of the one-half cent sales surtax to finance and construct a hospital facility from the County to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development), to pay debt service on the Bonds to finance said construction.
The Chair opened the meeting for public comments.
Mr. Joe Todd presented a paper to the Board regarding “depreciation monies” and asked the Board to consider adding language that requires the Hospital to forward all said funds to the Clerk’s Office to help cover debt service. Mr. Todd also asked the Hospital to provide accountability on what and how the one-half cent sales surtax funds were used that were transferred to the Hospital last October. In closing he stated people also want the salaries of the Hospital employees published.
 Mr. George Pouliotte stated he was opposed to the surtax. He also questioned the Hospital’s contract with Clemons, Rutherford, & Associates for architectural services and thought said services should be re-advertised.
Mr. Tom Gniewek expressed concerns about the fiscal viability of the Hospital and asked for more accountability by the sharing of their financial records. He asked the Board to postpone consideration of said Agreement for time to look into said records.
Mr. Warren Irwin was provided information by the County Attorney that the issuance of bonds to finance the Hospital construction was similar to a loan and that the Clerk would annually transfer all tax revenues to USDA.
The Chair turned the meeting back to the Board. Commissioner Hamrick expressed concern about the change in wording of the first sentence in Section 2. Mr. Reeves advised the Bond Attorney felt the wording as presented was more proper.
Commissioner Vickers stated he would like for the Interlocal Agreement to provide more transparency of the Hospital for the Board of County Commissioners. Hospital Chief Executive Officer David Abercrombie stated the Board meetings are open to the public and suggested the Commissioners might want to rotate its liaison to get a better understanding of the Hospital operations.
Commissioner Ellis stated he was comfortable with the proposed Interlocal Agreement as presented, and as the Board’s liaison to the Hospital, welcomed another Commissioner to take his place to become more familiar with the Hospital.
Commissioner Martin stated because the Hospital uses public funds, he would like for the Hospital to come under Florida’s public records act and sunshine laws as a provision in the Interlocal Agreement, outside of laws that require confidentiality. Mr. Abercrombie suggested that if the Hospital were required to become a public entity, then the Hospital corporation would go away, the Hospital licensing would go away, the Critical Access designation would go away, along with the USDA loan of $22,500,000.
Former Hospital Board Chairman and current Hospital Board Member Howard Phillips explained the current corporate structure of the two Hospital Boards and that both operate under the sunshine laws of the State of Florida. He stated the only time a meeting is closed is to discuss specific matters that are statutorily confidential.
Chairman of the Hospital Board Ben Harris again stated the Hospital Board operates in the “Sunshine” and all people are given ample opportunity to attend meetings and learn more about their Hospital. He also reported the Hospital’s annual audit is open and the Hospital would be happy to provide financial information to the County. He appealed to the County Commission to approve the proposed Interlocal Agreement and move forward with construction.
A motion was made by Commissioner Martin and seconded by Commissioner Vickers to place a provision in the Interlocal Agreement for the Hospital to fall under the public records act and sunshine laws from this time forward. Motion carried 4-1 with Commissioner Ellis opposed.
            By consensus the Board agreed to hold another Special Session on Friday, March 11th  at 5:00 P.M. to consider the County Attorney’s revised Interlocal Agreement.
    There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chair adjourned the meeting at 5:55 P.M.
                                                                        Board of County Commissioners
                                                                        Madison County, Florida
By: ____________________________
                                                                               Renetta Parrish, Chair
Tim Sanders, Clerk to the Board of
County Commissioners

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