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May 17, 2022 Minutes 

MEETING DATE: 5/17/2022

Meeting Location: HSWCD Conf. Room – Bert Harris Center
FINAL – Approved 6/21/2022
Recorded by: Susie Bishop


I. Welcome & Introductions
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
Drew Pitts MIL Manager Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
Carlos Torres District Cons. USDA- NRCS
Ray Royce Ex. Director Highlands Co Citrus Growers Assoc.
John Davis Auditor Wicks, Brown, Willimas, CPA

II. Approval of Agenda  
Motion to accept Agenda as presented (Fentress/Wohl) Unanimous approval.
Presentation of Audit Fiscal Year October. 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021
John Davis, CPA – Wicks, Brown, Williams, CPA
Davis presented the Annual Audit to the Board. There were No Findings of any
level discovered during the Audit. Motion to approve the Audit as presented.
(Fentress/Wohl) Unanimous approval.

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes – April 26, 2022
a. Bishop clarified a typo of a number figure on page 2 from $100,000 million to $100 million. Motion to approve minutes as presented with one noted edit. (Wohl/Deen). Unanimous approval.

IV. Financial Activity
a. Overview & Approval of Financial Reports- April 2022 – Bishop reviewed the
bank statements and financial reports. A larger cost share project paid from the FCO Account was explained by Bishop. Fentress shared concerns regarding the lack of input the Highlands SWCD Board has regarding approved cost share projects, the waiving of the annual $ 250,000.00 cap and payments being paid to BMP Projects outside of Highlands County. S. Smith and Bishop explained all cost share projects are at the discretion of FDACS-OAWP leadership. The District serves as a fiscal agent of the Department’s budgeted funds and a manager of additional field staff but has no authority to determine what or where cost share dollars are invested. Highlands SWCD has managed funds distributed statewide under multiple contracts and will continue to do so based on our performance, especially since Highlands SWCD falls into the Northern Everglades Area and a priority BMAP. If at any time a Supervisor has a concern Bishop explained to please let her know and the proper FDACS staff person will be contacted to answer any and all questions, but at no time does a Supervisor have the authority to contact an ag producer directly regarding cost share project funds being distributed from Highlands SWCD. The contract responsibilities include employment of technicians, provision of administration of the contract funds and completion of an annual financial audit. The District does have sole authority to manage the General Funds within the boundaries of law for use of public funds. With no further questions being asked motion made to approve financial reports as presented (Wohl/Deen) Unanimous approval.

V. Agency Partner Updates
a. FDACS – Bishop & Nickerson shared updates on status of meeting required number of completed IVs, Highlands staff has exceeded requirements. Staff is working to get cost share projects closed out prior to June 30, 2022.
b. MIL – D. Pitts presented a report showing the amount of potential and actual water savings per the MIL evaluations conducted for Highlands SWCD. Discussion regarding how the data figures were attained along with a monetary component to show the dollar amounts aligned with the water use took place.
c. NRCS – Torres presented the USDA-NRCS Civil Rights Policy. Supervisors verified their participation. Also, the partnership agreement between HSWCD and USDA- NRCS has been fully executed.
d. HCBCC – Commissioner Kirouac reported on Memorial Drive Culvert and the IMWID project in Lake Placid.

VI Old Business

VII New Business
a. Land Owner Expo – June 7, 2022 – Bishop distributed Flyers to Supervisors to
distribute. Registered to date are 28 attendees.
b. Summer Board Meetings – Supervisors agreed to keep the June 21, 2022 meeting scheduled and consider cancelling the July 19 meeting at the June 21 meeting.
c. Qualifying Dates – Pre-qualifying dates are May 31 – June 10 with Official qualifying dates from Noon on June 13 – Noon on June 17. Bishop has met with the Supervisor of Elections to discuss SB 1078 and will get qualifying packets to the Supervisors soon. All Supervisors will be required to run for Election in Nov. 2022.

VIII. Executive Director’s Report
-Bishop reported a new computer has been purchased.
-A description of the OPPAGA Audit and its’ due date to complete the audit of the SWCD throughout the state to present their report to the legislature is September 30, 2024 was explained. Consideration by all Districts will be discussed regarding engagement of a lobbyist to assist Districts through this process.

IX. Citizens Not on the Agenda – None

X. Supervisor Comments
Fentress – Expressed her concerns of the direction of the District with IVs being the focus of HSWCD. Additionally, a concern regarding the lack of community  outreach HSWCD conducts was shared.
Smith – None
Wohl – None
Deen – None
S. Smith asked to go into Executive Session to discuss an employee issue. Bishop explained an inappropriate charge on her District Credit card when used by the MIL staff while attending a statewide meeting in Ocala. Due to the lack of proof no actions will be taken.

Meeting Adjourned at 4:56 p.m.

May 17, 2022 Meeting Agenda 

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

Board Meeting Agenda
Tuesday, May 17, 2022 – 3:00 p.m.
HSWCD Conference Room- Bert Harris Agriculture Center

I. Call To Order, Welcome & Introductions

II. Approval of Agenda
Audit Fiscal Year Oct. 1, 2020 – Sept. 30, 2021 – John Davis
Wicks, Brown, Williams, CPA

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes
a. Board of Supervisors Meeting Minutes – April 26, 2022

IV. Financial Activity
a. Overview & Approval of Financial Reports –April 2022– S. Bishop

V. Agency Partner Updates
a. FDACS – S. Bishop
b. MIL – D. Pitts
c. NRCS Report – C. Torres
d. HCBCC – Scott Kirouac

VI. Old Business

VII. New Business
a. Land Owner Expo – June 7 , 2022
b. Summer Board Meetings – J. Causey
c. Qualifying Dates – S. Bishop

VIII. Executive Director’s Report

IX. Citizens Not on the Agenda

X. Supervisor Comments

Next Board Meeting – June 21 , 2022 – 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.