Board of Supervisors Meeting Minutes
Meeting Date:  4/16/2019

Meeting Location:  Bert Harris Agricultural Center-Room 3
Sebring, FL
FINAL – Approved May 14, 2019
Recorded by:  Susie Bishop

In Attendance:
For Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District:
Dr. John Causey, Vice-Chairman
Doug Deen, Secretary/Treasurer
Pamela Fentress, Supervisor
Steve Smith, Supervisor
Commissioner Jim Brooks, Liaison for HCBCC
Susie Bishop, Executive Director
Carlos Torres, USDA-NRCS
Chad Allison, CFRPC
Gary Ritter, Florida Farm Bureau Foundation

Meeting Scheduled Start:  3:00 P.M. Call to Order @ 3:09 p.m.
Public Meeting Announcement Read by Chairman

I. Welcome & Introduction

II. Approval of Agenda
Vice-Chairman Causey presented an edited agenda and asked for approval.
Motion to approve edited agenda as presented (Fentress/Smith).  Unanimous approval.

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes – March 19, 2019
Motion to approve minutes as presented. (Fentress/Smith).  Unanimous approval.

IV. Financial Activity
Overview & Approval of Financial Reports –March 2018 – Bishop reviewed the bank statements & financial reports for March. Motion to approve March financial reports (Smith/Fentress).  Unanimous approval.

V. Agency Partner Updates
a. NRCS – C. Torres explained NRCS is still waiting on the rules and budget of the new Farm Bill of 2019. NRCS is now using the landowner/producer files of FSA for their  work, so all producers need to be sure they update their FSA forms/records annually.  The Intern student will start May 9 with an internship of two months. Apps for EQIP are still being accepted. NRCS will participate in the Sentinel Landscape Expo being planned for early June.   NRCS will present its Civil Rights Policies to the Board in an upcoming meeting.
b. HCBCC – J. Brooks reported County is expecting half of their FEMA Hurricane Irma relief funds very soon.

VI. Old Business
a. Website – ADA Compliance & Maintenance – Bishop explained the website re-build is near completion.  The local company engaged to do the work and maintenance was planning to get the site officially certified ADA compliant but it was very costly.  Other Districts Bishop inquired with stated they were not going to that extent, so HSWCD will not either – until we are told it is required. There will be a training on ADA compliant websites for Districts at the annual AFCD meeting in July.
b. PSWCD – Bishop reported PSWCD invoices are paid to date.  Bishop shared she had a discussion regarding the arrangement HSWCD has with PSWCD, the current operation of the District with FDACS staff.  She shared the comments included they are getting more organized and having the assistant of one of the Supervisors has helped with the record keeping.  At this time they will not be getting any cost share contract.
c. Sun Trust Property – Bishop reported no meetings have taken place since the last BOS meeting, but  asked Mayor Shoop for an update. The building was scheduled to be demolished this week, but the work has not started yet.
d. County Storage/Mylar Maps – Bishop explained the County Engineer tried to digitize a few of the maps on his system, but it proved to not be successful.  County staff is sending a few of the maps to the Tampa company who would do the digitizing so they could run a few trails. The County will see if the digitized file is useful and then a decision can be made.  C. Torres brought up a new idea regarding the interest of Archbold Biological Station in taking the historical maps so Bishop will inquire with Archbold soon.

VII. New Business
a. Sentinel Landscape/Easement Expo – this proposed event for Wednesday, June 5 was introduced to the Board. Chad Allison shared some of the details and planned format.  Board was asked to sponsor the lunch/refreshments. Motion made to contribute up to $500 towards the food and beverage for this event (Fentress/Smith). Unanimous approval.
b. NRCS State Technical Committee – May 21 – Bishop explained this meeting is the annual meeting she attends to present the results/concerns from the Local Working Group Meeting and will be held on May 21 in Gainesville.  Discussion took place regarding changing the BOS meeting scheduled for May 21. Motion made to re-schedule the May Board meeting to Tuesday, May 14 at 1:00 p.m. in Conf. Room III at the Bert Harris Center.
c. AFCD Area 4 Annual Meeting – Smith shared with the Board the day at Adams Ranch when he attended the AFCD Area 4 Annual Meeting.  The attendance was high and a proposed Resolution was discussed. The Resolution was supporting the idea of asking the ACOE to consider leaving Lake Okeechobee at its proven levels. Following much detailed discussion the Resolution passed.

VIII. Executive Director’s Report
Bishop reported she attended the Citrus Mutual Lunch today.  She was able to meet and have a brief conversation with Commissioner Freid.  She briefed the Board the key points the Commissioner spoke about. It was a good opportunity to tell the Commissioner briefly what we do for Agriculture.
Mentioned last month was the GRIP program that is now called CRAFT (Citrus Research and Field Trials). No details are being shared yet.
On May 15 Chairman Kirouac and Bishop will attend the annual Cost-Share Partner meeting on May 15 in Gainesville.
A request came from the FFA Foundation for an opportunity to come present some Environment/Natural Resource programs for students.  This program is seeking some sponsorship funds.
Water cooler was purchased for the office and Bishop shared her appreciation for adding this amenity for the office.

IX. Citizens Not on the Agenda – None

X. Supervisor Comments
Deen –   None
Fentress –  Photos were shared of the Children’s Gardening project SWCD contributed to.  It is flourishing and more funds may be considered. The LPMS Ag Program is growing too.  Fentress said the dollars HSWCD contributed to these two on-going school projects are proving to be worthwhile.   Fentress also touched on the recent scare of a student with a loaded gun at LPMS, expressing her concern of the demographics of some of the County’s schools.
Causey –  None
Smith – None

Meeting Adjourned 4:10 P.M.