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Board Meeting

March 19th, 2024 Meeting Agenda 

Highlands Soil and Water Conservation District
4505 George Blvd. Sebring, FL 33875-5837
Board of Supervisors Meeting
Tuesday, March 19, 2024 – 3:00 p.m.
Conference Room 3 - Bert Harris Agriculture Center

I. Call To Order, Welcome & Introductions – Chairman Causey

II. Approval of Agenda – Chairman Causey

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes
a. Board of Supervisors Meeting Minutes – Feb. 20, 2024

IV. Financial Activity
a. Overview & Approval of Financial Reports - February 2024 – S. Bishop

V. Agency Partner Updates
b. MIL

VI. Old Business
a. OPPAGA – S. Bishop

VII. New Business
a. Partnership for Soil Testing – Kati Lawson, Highlands Co. Extension Director
b. AFCD-Area 4 Meeting/Ethics Training – May 23, 2024
c. Computer Security & Back-Up – K. Nickerson
d. Website Updates – K. Nickerson
e. Local Working Group with NRCS – K. Nickerson

VIII. Executive Director’s Report

IX. Citizens Not on the Agenda

X. Supervisor Comments

Next Board Meeting:
Local Working Group - Tuesday, April 16, 2024 – 1:00 p.m
Board Meeting – Tuesday, April 16, 2024 – 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.

March 19, 2024 Meeting Minutes 

MEETING DATE: 03/19/2024
Meeting Location: Conf. Room 3 – Bert Harris Center
Approved 4-16-2024
Recorded by: Susie Bishop


I. Welcome & Introductions

II. Approval of Agenda – Motion to approve agenda moving Item VII.a to be II.b (Smith/Deen) Unanimous Approval.

Dr. John Causey
Steve Smith
Doug Deen
Sara Sebring
T.J. Wohl
Scott Kirouac
Susie Bishop
Kayla Nickerson
Lauren Ahrens
Chad Harmon
Wade Smith
Carlos Torres
Kati Lawson

PRESENTATION: – Partnership for Soil Testing – Kati Lawson
Highlands Co. Extension Director Name Title Organization Present

Lawson presented a proposal to partner IFAS-Extension with HSWCD for financial
support of a soil/tissue/water testing program for agricultural producers. The initial
funding request is for $750.00. Motion made to fund the request (Smith/Deen)
directing staff to work with Extension to develop a name and marketing plan for the
new service to be provided to the agricultural producers in Highlands County.
Unanimous Approval.

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes- February 20, 2024 - Motion made to approve the minutes as presented (Sebring/Smith). Unanimous Approval.

IV. Financial Activity
a. Overview & Approval of Financial Reports- February 2024: Review of bank statements & financial reports. Motion to approve the financial reports as presented (Wohl/Sebring). Unanimous Approval.

V. Agency Partner Updates
a FDACS – Bishop reported on staff changes at OAWP, fulfillment of contract
requirements by HSWCD staff and status of cost share projects. No Action
b. MIL – Staff presented numbers of completed evaluations, which are above
required contract deliverables.
c. NRCS – Working with HSWCD to prepare for the Local Working Group meeting on
April 16. Applications being accepted for year 2025. A reminder that Ag.
producers need to be sure to update their farm records with USDA-FSA.
d. HCBCC – No funding was approved in Session for the IMWID project, making the
future of it being completed unknown. Funds for Phase 2 may end up
being returned to FDACS.

VI. Old Business
a. OPPAGA – Bishop presented an update on the Audit. All information has been
submitted. There have been some questions presented regarding the year end budget vs. the filed financial statement (audit) with the state. HSWCD has engaged Mike Carter, CPA to assist in providing answers and explanations to the OPPAGA Auditor. .

VII. New Business
a. Item moved to Item II.b.
b. AFCD Area 4 Meeting/Ethics Training – May 23, 2024 – Bishop announced the
plans for the Area 4 AFCD Annual Meeting to be held in Sebring at the Bert Harris
Center. The newly required Ethics Training will be provided OR Supervisors can
take the course online at their convenience. The Assoc. of Special Districts is
providing an online version at a cost of $ 49. Bishop will set each Supervisor up
for their chosen method of completing the course.
c. Computer Security & Back-Up – Nickerson presented completion of improvements to these operations of the District.
d. Website Updates – Nickerson demonstrated the entire new Website providing a wide and detailed overview. Suggestion made to add a FAQ section.
e. Local Working Group with NRCS – Nickerson shared details of the upcoming meeting to be held on April 16 at 1:30 p.m. Supervisors were encouraged to participate explaining our presentation to the State NRCS Technical Committee are always well received.

VIII. Executive Director’s Report - Items presented:
➢ Avon Park Mitigation Inspection will be completed March 22. This is the final year of the 10 year agreement. Renewal of the agreement is unknown at this time.
➢ Employees Ahrens, Harmon & Smith have completed their first year of employment with the District. Evaluations have been completed and all three received 3% cost of living salary increases.
➢ All annual one on one meetings with the County Commissioners will be completed by March 20.
➢ The South Eastern NACD Meeting will be held in Gainesville June 16-18. Bishop will be attending and it conflicts with the June 18 BOS Meeting. By consensus the Board decided to not hold a meeting in June unless necessary for an unforeseen emergency.
➢ Maintenance and repair issues with the two trucks were shared.
➢ A few of the goals in the new work plan have already been completed.

IX. Citizens Not on the Agenda – None

X. Supervisor Comments -
Smith – Commended staff for their performance and teamwork.
Encouraged staff to contact any of the Supervisors at anytime
for needed assistance, especially with vehicle break-downs.
Deen – Expressed appreciation for the staff and all their hard work.
Sebring – Commended staff for their exemplary performance.
Wohl – Shared with staff how much assistance he has seen them provide
to Bishop and the reduction of stress on her.
Causey – Agreed with all comments to staff and shared his appreciation.
Meeting Adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

Action, Assigned To, Deadline
Work with Extension to develop the Soil Testing Program & issue funding, S. Bishop, April 16, 2024
Monitor OPPAGA, S. Bishop, July 2024
Set up Ethics Training for Supervisors, S.Bishop, April 16, 2024
Organize Speech and Poster Contest for Area 4 Meeting, S. Bishop & K. Nickerson, May 23, 2024
Continue to complete website updates/additions, K. Nickerson, April 16, 2024
Monitor and Manage SOW and SOP for the MIL Contract & Project Manager Concerns, S. Bishop & C. Harmon, Ongoing until completed
Manage DEP Stolen Saddle Ranch Contract, S. Bishop, Ongoing