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March 15, 2022 Minutes 

MEETING DATE: 3/15/2022

Meeting Location: HSWCD Conf. Room – Bert Harris Center
FINAL – Approved 4/26/2022
Recorded by: Susie Bishop


I. Welcome & Introductions:
John Causey Chairman Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
Steve Smith Vice-Chair Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
Doug Deen Sec./Treasurer Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
Pam Fentress Supervisor Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
T.J. Wohl Supervisor Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
Susie Bishop Ex. Director Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
Kayla Nickerson BMP Tech Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
Carlos Torres District Cons. USDA- NRCS

II. Approval of Agenda 
Noted Agenda (Smith/Wohl) Unanimous approval.

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes – February 8, 2022
a. Motion to approve minutes with correction as discussed. (Fentress/Deen). Unanimous approval.

IV. Financial Activity
a. Overview & Approval of Financial Reports- February 2022 – Bishop reviewed the financial reports with no questions being asked. Motion to approve financial reports as presented (Fentress/Smith) Unanimous approval.

V. Agency Partner Updates
a. FDACS & MIL – Bishop reported the MIL is on schedule with deliverables. Concerns were shared regarding the role of the MIL which currently is very different than years in the past due to changes to priority MILs to be completed in regards to the IV Audit process of SB 712.. FDACS is working to complete cost share projects.
b. NRCS –C. Torres shared he and Bishop have reviewed the MOA with HSWCD. They both have some questions to discuss with the regional conservationist regarding the provision of a vehicle to the District from one of the USDA fleet vehicles and office space provided to NRCS via the District. Bishop will contact Jeff Schmidt when he returns to his office next week.
c. HCBCC – Commissioner Kirouac shared the HCBCC continues to work on gaining easements needed to construct phase 2 of the IMWID water storage project. Once all easement agreements are signed the funding will be reviewed. He also shared the County has wide spread water drainage issues and they are working on a plan to correct and improve theses sites.

VI Old Business
a. HB 783/SB 1038- Updates – Bishop reported the bills have passed on both the Senate & House sides. Board was presented several documents regarding the final engrossed version that will become law. Additionally Bishop explained the need for a lobbyist to assist with the efforts made in Tallahassee. The one recommended to the District by experienced lobbyists was Natalie Kato, who has already provided valuable assistance while Bishop was in Tallahassee and continues to provide her
services to Highlands & Okeechobee SWCD with no mention of any fees being charged to date.. Bishop will inquire about the fees to date. Ms. Kato had previously been in conversations with Palm Beach SWCD in regards to assisting them through the OPPAGA Audit scheduled to start statewide in late 2022. Bishop asked the Board to consider partnering with Okeechobee & Palm Beach SWCD in hiring Ms. Kato for the OPPAGA process. Motion made to approve $1000.00 to be paid to Palm Beach SWCD for a portion of the expense to hire Natalie Kato (Smith/Deen) Unanimous approval. Expenses to date for Bishop’s travel to Tallahassee 5 times totals $ 1,719.29.

VII New Business
a. Okeechobee SWCD Funding Request – A funding request from OSWCD was Explained. Because expenses increased this year and because Highlands County had one school participate this request was submitted to HSWCD. Motion made to contribute $250.00 to OSWCD (Fentress/Wohl). Unanimous approval.

VIII. Executive Director’s Report
-Bishop reported the annual audit has started for HSWCD
-Dates for Election Pre-Qualifying is May 31 – June 10
-Dates for Qualifying are June 13-17.
-The new Bill/Law will be effective immediately unless the Governor doesn’t sign it or it doesn’t make it to his desk. It does NOT need to make it to his desk for approval in order to become law. The Bill reads that once it becomes law all sitting Supervisors will need to resign from their seats and file to run again in the Nov. 2022 Election, signing an affirmation form
regarding their qualifications as written in the new law. Supervisors Causey, Smith, Deen & Wohl stated they would resign and file to run for their seats; Supervisor Fentress stated she doesn’t plan to resign or file to run again for her seat.
-Bishop informed the Board about issues & concerns regarding an employee of the District and will keep Board informed of the situation.

IX. Citizens Not on the Agenda – None

X. Supervisor Comments
Fentress – None.
Deen – None
Smith – None
Wohl – None
Causey – None

Meeting Adjourned at 5:04 p.m.