Skip to main content


September 12, 2020 Meeting Agenda 

Highlands Soil and Water Conservation District
4505 George Blvd.
Sebring, FL 33875-5837
Board of Supervisors

Board Meeting Agenda
Tuesday, September 15, 2020 – 3:00 p.m.
HSWCD Conference Room- Bert Harris Agriculture Center OR GoTo Meeting

I. Call To Order, Welcome & Introductions

II. Approval of Agenda

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes
a. Board of Supervisors Meeting Minutes – August 25, 2020

IV. Financial Activity
a. Overview & Approval of Financial Reports – August 2020– S. Bishop
b. FY 2019-20 General Fund Budget Amendments – S. Bishop
c. FY 2020-21 General Fund Budget Adoption – S. Bishop

V. Agency Partner Updates
a. NRCS – C. Torres
b. FDACS & MIL – S. Bishop
c. HCBCC – J. Brooks
d. CFRPC – C. Allison

VI. Old Business
a. Lake Lotela Project Update – S. Bishop
b. MIL Technician Position – S. Bishop

VII. New Business

VIII. Executive Director’s Report

IX. Citizens Not on the Agenda

X. Supervisor Comments

Next Board Meeting – Tuesday, October 20, 2020– 3:00 p.m.

** Citizens Not on the Agenda requesting to speak will be limited to 3 minutes unless additional time is allotted by the Chairman. The Chairman reserves the right to remove anyone from the meeting who is unruly or displays disruptive behavior.

September 12, 2020 Minutes 

MEETING DATE: 9/15/2020

Meeting Location: HSWCD Conf. Room & GoTo Meeting
FINAL – Approved 10/20/2020
Recorded by: Susie Bishop


I. Welcome & Introductions
Scott Kirouac Chairman Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
John Causey Vice-Chair. Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
Doug Deen Sec./Treas. Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
Steve Smith Supervisor Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
Pam Fentress Supervisor Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
Jim Brooks Commissioner Highlands Co. Bd. Of Co. Commissioners
Susie Bishop Ex. Director Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
Carlos Torres Conserv. USDA-NRCS
Chad Allison CFRPC
TJ Wohl Citizen Public Citizen

II. Approval of Agenda
Motion to approve agenda with removal of Item IV.b. (Fentress/Smith). Unanimous approval.

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes August 25, 2020
a. Motion to approve minutes noting a correction to bullet # 1 in Executive Director’s report; change Nov. to Aug. (Causey/Smith). Unanimous approval.

IV. Financial Activity
a. Overview & Approval of Financial Reports – August 2020 – Bishop reviewed the bank statements and financial reports. Motion made to approve financial reports as presented (Causey/Deen). Unanimous approval.
b. FY 2019-20 General Fund Budget Amendments – Removed from Agenda.
c. FY 2020-21 General Fund Budget Adoption – Bishop presented the proposed General Fund Budget adding the fund balance from the 2019-20 year will be included at the close of the fiscal year. Discussion regarding addition of a line item in the budget for funds to support a county water improvement project. Commissioner Brooks and the Board discussed the Lake Lotela project in detail and consensus was to adopt budget as presented. If a project from the county is presented in the year an amendment can be adopted into the budget at that time. Motion to adopt the FY 2020-21 General Fund Budget as presented (Causey/Deen). Unanimous approval.

V. Agency Partner Updates
a. NRCS – C. Torres reported at the fiscal year end of 9/30/2020 it is projected to have 18 approved applicants covering around 6,000 acres with a value of approximately $750,000.00. Deadline for finishing the approval process is 9/23/2020
b. FDACS & MIL –S. Bishop gave an update as to the focus of the OAWP in the BMAP region and the IV process that has been implemented. The process is still presenting many challenges and discussions are taking place within the leadership of the department. Cost Share applications are still not being accepted. The MIL is beginning to work off of list of NOIs that are undergoing their IV since an evaluation is a requirement of many of the NOIs.
c. HCBCC – Commissioner Brooks reported the final budget hearing is this evening and no expected issues. Otherwise nothing pressing in the County.
d. CFRPC – C. Allison reported a 750 acre easement with SY Hartt will be closing soon. The REPI application is being completed. There is an Okeechobee easement project being worked on with DEP and if it doesn’t move forward then these funds could be transferred to Highlands County where multiple projects are being considered. Allison also reported recent conversations he had with Ray Royce regarding the Town of Lake Placid’s wastewater services to the Hwy. 70 area, offering assistance to the Town for potential funding opportunities.

VI. Old Business
a. Lake Lotela Project Update – Topic was discussed under item IV.c.
b. MIL Technician Position – Bishop reported a new technician, Connor Cook,
started today and will be introduced next month.
VII. New Business
No New Business on Agenda – Kirouac distributed the annual evaluation forms to the Board. Supervisors were asked to complete the annual performance review of Bishop. Returning them to Kirouac prior to October 20, 2020 meeting. Fentress requested a summary of contracts be prepared and distributed to the Board.

VIII. Executive Director’s Report
a. Bishop shared her findings regarding the District contributing to an employee’s health savings account. It is a flexible spending account in government and the employer can not contribute on behalf of the employee as a benefit.
b. The annual City of Avon Park mitigation inspection will be conducted on September 22, 2020 with assistance from Carlos Torres with NRCS.
c. The AFCD Annual Meeting has been re-scheduled for Nov. 4 & 5 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Bishop may attend and asked Supervisors to notify her if they would like to attend so she can register them.
d. Bishop will be preparing the Annual Report and updates to the strategic plan with presentations to follow. She plans to participate in the new Commissioner Orientation the County is planning presenting an overview of the role of the District and the partnership we have with the County. The Annual Report will be presented in one on one meetings since this format has been very successful in the past. Bishop invited Supervisors to attend with her when she meets with their respective Commissioner.
e. As discussed at the August meeting, if Kirouac wins his bid for County
Commissioner , the remaining Supervisors will nominate and appoint his replacement at the November meeting with swearing in taking place in January 2021 for returning Supervisors and the newly appointed Supervisor.

XI. Supervisor Comments
Causey – Based on the requirements of the BMP Manuals and the IV process
Causey asked if the District could develop a program to assist producers with water sample testing as to the levels in waters discharges off their properties. Bishop will investigate this idea and report back to the Board.
Deen – Deen asked Bishop to inquire about the timing of their Oath of Office being due to the election office.
Fentress – Fentress shared with the Board receipt of a thank you message from the Lake McCoy property owners for the efforts she and the District put forth for the lake Improvement project.
Smith – None
Kirouac – None

Meeting Adjourned 4:17 P.M.