DALE WILLIAMS CONSULTING PA – SUGGESTED/RECOMMENDED SHORT TERM GOALS DECEMBER, 2020
1. Review all contracts (including grants) for the purpose of insuring contractual compliance. Suggest changes/options as needed.
Manager George is handling and has been handling these reviews as well as satisfying the contracts, from the time she started since nothing had really been done for a year.
2. Determine total available water/sewer capacity. (Now have installed a Flow Meter) Perform a rate study to insure that rates are appropriate with respect to cost. Review all “Consent Orders” and determine a corrective plan of action.
The only consent order we may have is with the State Park and then it may not be on paper or approved by a judge
3. Schedule Workshops with the Council to determine overall Town needs
The primary need currently pertains to extraordinary lean financials which Manager George has a handle and on which does not allow for money to be spent on items to fulfill needs outside of those which are urgent.
4. Provide required schedules to the external auditor for the purpose of completing the financial report for the period ending September 30, 2019. Address the concerns of the Joint Legislative Committee on Audits regarding the same.
Mr. Whitehead is working on the information required per our understanding. Yet it appears that all he had done was to change records for a year so that past employees would not have a problem and that was not his job to perform a cover-up and it bars on illegality. The Joint Legislative committee was not concerned about the misspending of LOFT funds and in fact Senator Montford stated we were in compliance when we were not)
5. Conduct a complete and thorough review of all policies and procedures to insure the town is performing in accordance with Florida’s public records and open meeting laws.
Ms. George complies with public records and all open meeting laws are being complied with. Previous problems existed when our prior attorney was not clarifying or providing answers to inquiries for special meetings causing delays and non-compliance. All other policies and procedures pertaining to personnel have been revised by our previous attorney and agreed upon by the council
6. Review all town positions (Charter and administrative) to determine if changes need to be made in terms of their scope to best serve the citizens of White Springs. Make sure that all employees are in compliance with required standards.
Ms. George is handling these matters and recently made certain volunteer firefighters were in compliance.
7. Conduct a complete review of the Town budget for the purposes of determining what options, if any, exist to provide city services at a lower cost. Review past budgets to determine why revenue shortages occurred. Create a plan for the Town to regain “financial control”.
Just recently Ms. George has hired J & S Consulting to handle our accounting matters which will save us $25,000 a year. Those of us who know what happened on the budgets currently and prior, know that the Town has misspent the money for items which were not necessary and we need to be rid of such newer equipment like the excavator and the older backhoe; plus sell the old jail which we now provide insurance on. Much was spent on litigation in the past and even though FMIT handled the defense and awards, we had higher insurance premiums as a result. LOFT funds were not reserved so we could pay our portions or our money in advance for transportation projects. Instead they were used for payroll and other benefits. Ms. George is fully aware of these problems as are two out of three council members and as a result are diligently working on handling the situation on their own. We had former councils who spent money as if we had large coffers, who did not understand financials and who could not understand budgets, thinking what was stated in the budget was what we could spend. In fact, Ms. George is the only one who requested the financial information from Mr. Whitehead to make a determination of where the Town stands financially.
8. Review and update the Town website to insure that it is user friendly and contains all of the information by law.
Cynthia Williams is currently organizing everything in the office and is placing together minutes which were non-existent for months; Ms. George has requested recordings from our former attorney. Manager Jones ruined the website and it is my hope that the prior site for the Town of White Springs has some type of back-up that can be re-inputted because it included agendas, meeting minutes, ordinances, resolutions, the charter etc. Instead then of starting all over for years, that back-up could produce the majority of information so there would not be so much to re-input. This will take time and money. It goes to show that sometimes hiring someone cheaply, will cost you thousands in the end. The council should have not allowed Mr. Jones to handle the site without advising him of the laws and requirements
9. Develop a fixed asset inventory for the Town.
It is amazing that the Town does not know what they own and what they do not own and we have never had an inventory of buildings and land, which includes the problems recently associated with the Carver School for which our planner is working on and now requires an additional $2,000 over the $6,000 I believe which was charged. Allison McGrath of Kimley-Horn attended the August 11, 2020 meeting. She was told we will require the Community Center under the Grant to be rezoned and future land maps corrected. Since we accepted the initial quotation, Vanessa George is investigating as to why the additional charge since Ms. McGrath understands that small rural communities do not have the funds with which to have planners.. If we knew what we owned and had accurate information we would not have these kinds of problems.
10. An economic development project within the Town of White Springs has been proposed. The Town needs to insure that the proposer of the project receives the appropriate support (information and data at this stage) to properly vet the project.
This apparently is the item he is not discussing until a later date; however, it would be nice to have a heads up. I do not know if the project at SHE has been broken down into three parcels of land which was requested months ago . And, I do not know, if this was the third item which was requested by the Town for the planner to handle. We also had one of the owners of property in Town who wished a partnership with the Town and the town does not have the money for any partnerships. And why would someone seek Dale Williams to assist when Mr. Williams has not been formerly hired by the Town Council?
RECOMMENDED LONG TERM GOALS:
1. Assess the viability of White Springs joining the Florida Retirement System (FRS) as a member.
The FRS Pension Plan is a defined benefit plan, in which you are guaranteed a benefit at retirement if you meet certain criteria. … The Florida Retirement System must ensure that sufficient funds are available when your benefits are due and bears the market risk and investment decisions. Employees who enroll in the Pension Plan are vested after six years. We currently do not have the money.
2. Assess the viability of providing group health benefits to employees
We have few employees and the medical costs are high. Some employers contribute with employees in an Health Savings Account which may be used for a variety if issues including deductibles and coinsurance.
Besides the HSA Employers pay a monthly, quarterly or annual fee or retainer for each employee to a Fee for Care Physician. Many Physicians now have started Fee for Care clinics in this manner where it covers most general services, accidents and the like so employees are not billed for appointments but rather it is included in fees which run about $200 a year.
We now have Blue Cross Blue Shield, between the HSA and the Fee for service Physician, the major health policy is used for catastrophic issues. This is where health is moving. Also it is sometimes called Concierge medicine if doctors actually go to a patients home to provide services for a fee.
There are small business health insurance plans that take groups of two on upward to 99 employees. But group health insurance in the long run is changing and if the radical progressives have anything to say they want Medicare for all.
3. Evaluate the cost of creating full time first responders (Police and Fire), all shifts.
4. Recruit a “full service” grocery to the Town.
Currently the Dollar General provides most of the staples and is inexpensive in the long run. Udell’s building will have some food and meat items that will be sold at the old dollar general store I am told. Yet, when you look at grocery stores for small municipalities like in Jasper and other areas, in order to make it they charge at least $0.50 more on every item and their meat prices are also hiked up per pound. So subsequently, people will be going to Lake City where they can get a bargain for their buck.
5. Create opportunities for “Affordable Housing” projects
6. Support the Economic Development Board by providing sufficient resources to allow for marketing opportunities.
Currently we can’t even afford extending our sewer and water to parts of White Springs much less the lift stations and that will take some time since we will have a 30 year loan repayment on our portion of the Wastewater Rehabilitation project.