The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, January 19, 1989, at 7:00 p.m., in the City of Leesburg's Commission Meeting Room, City Hall, Leesburg, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: c. w. "Chick" Gregg, Chairman; Don Bailey: Richard Swartz; Thomas J. Windram; and Michael J . Bakich. Others present were: James C. Watkins, Clerk and Acting County Administrator; Christopher C. Ford, County Attorney; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
James C. Watkins, Clerk, gave the Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commr. Bakich.
The Chairman, Commr. Gregg, called the meeting to order and stated that this meeting was the first of several meetings that would be called by the Board, at approximate ten week intervals, in each of the five districts (to be held at a different location within each district, each time a meeting is called for said district), for purposes of discussing and receiving input from the general public, concerning matters which are before the Board at that particular time - the present matters being the Solid Waste and E911 Programs for Lake County.
ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES/CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS/LANDFILLS
Mr. Don Findell, Director of Environmental Services, appeared before the Board, at the Special Town Hall Meeting, to discuss and answer any questions there might be regardiny the Solid Waste Program for Lake County.
Mr. Findell stated that he was requested to talk about the Solid Waste Management System for Lake County, as he is the Environmental Services Director, and Environmental Services Division has a shared responsibility for solid waste management with the Public Works Division. He stated that the Environmental Services Division is responsible for much of the solid waste management planning that is done in the County, and the Public Works Division
is responsible primarily for the disposal of solid waste that is generated in the County. He introduced Ms. Claire Bartlett, Director of Solid Waste; Mr. Jim Stivender, Acting Public Works Director; and Mr. Chris Ford, County Attorney.
Mr. Findell then gave a brief synopsis of where the County has been, where it presently is, and where it is going, regarding solid waste management. He stated that in 1972, and the years prior to that, that Lake County had numerous solid waste facilities (open dumps, where burning was a means of reducing the volume of solid waste in said dumps), located throughout the County. In 1972 the County began to move away from the operation of open dumps, and to consolidate the landfill sites - burning was eliminated and an earth cover was periodically applied to the disposal sites. The smaller disposal sites were phased out and by 1977, Lake County had only the Umatilla (Loghouse), Lady Lake, and Astatula landfill sites remaining in operation. Two of the landfills had been converted to transfer stations, which are still in operation, being the Astor and Paisley sites. Shortly after 1977, the Loghouse Landfill was also phased out and has since been converted to a transfer station.
The County presently has one landfill in operation. The Lady Lake Landfill was closed out in the past couple of months, leaving the Astatula Landfill (which has been the County's primary landfill for a number of years, and will remain so for the near future) as the remaining site in operation.
Mr. Findell noted that the Astatula Landfill has been determined to be contaminated, by means of testing and ground water monitoring. Testing and ground water monitoring of the site has determined that there are elevated levels of a number of volatile organic chemicals, and the County, as a result of the determination of that contamination, has entered into a consent agreement with the Department of Environmental Regulations. The consent agreement requires the County to do three things: (1) determine the extent and magnitude of contamination; (2) clean it up; and (3) find a new landfill. In return for signing the consent order, the County is allowed to continue to operate the Astatula Landfill for a period of up to five (5) years, with a caveat, that if the County is able to site, permit, construct and open a new landfill, prior to the five years, then the County will get out of Astatula at that time.
Mr. Findell then discussed where the County is headed, solid waste management wise, in the near future. He stated that the County recognized that land disposal of solid waste was not the ultimate solution to the solid waste management problem, and that the County felt this way, primarily because of the amount of land that was necessary to dispose of solid waste, both now and in the future, and also, because of the environmental risk associated with land disposal. As a result, the Board has entered into an agreement with NRG Recovery Group, Inc. and Ogden Martin Systems to construct a waste-to-energy facility, also known as an incinerator. Said facility will have the initial capacity to process 163,000 tons, per year, of solid waste. The facility will reduce solid waste disposal volumes by approximately 90%, and will reduce solid waste volume weights by approximately 15%. The facility will be used to generate steam, which will then be converted to electricity and sold to the power company. The facility is expected to be constructed sometime during the summer of 1990, and expected to be in operation by January of 1991. During the time between the summer of 1990 and January of 1991, the facility will undergo test burn procedures, in order to obtain all the necessary permits to put it in operation.
Mr. Findell stated that the County will still require a landfill, in order to dispose of the ash which is generated from the facility, as well as to dispose of solid waste that would be in excess of that that could be handled by the facility, or solid waste that would have to go to a landfill when the facility is not in operation. As a result, the Board entered into a contract, in September of 1988, with Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan, to locate, design, permit and oversee the construction of a new landfill, somewhere in the County. The Board also recognized that the waste-to-energy facility was not the ultimate solution to solid waste management in the County, but was only one part of a total solid waste management program. Therefore, the Board charged Post, Buckley with the responsibility of developing an integrated solid waste management program - one that would incorporate the waste-to-energy facility, the new landfill, recycling and composting programs, hazardous waste management programs, and the utilization of transfer stations, in order to develop an effective, efficient and comprehensive program for solid waste management.
Mr. Findell stated that the Board has also done a number of other things to assist the consultants in developing and implimenting the solid waste management programs, primarily the establishment of a Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee, that will have representation of the four (4) cities that signed the interlocal agreement for the waste-to-energy facility, as well as representation from the environmental community, the solid waste collection community, planning community, and other special or impacted interest groups. The County is also upgrading operations at Astatula. They are in the process of putting in computerized, state-of-the-art scales, which will assist the County in determining exactly how much volume of solid waste Lake County actually has.
Mr. Findell stated that Lake County is instituting a Hazardous Waste Management Program, which was implemented during the past year. The County has also put together a Hazardous Waste Collection Program. During the month of November, said program proved to be very successful, having a broad participation throughout the County. Approximately 63,000 pounds of hazardous waste was collected and disposed of (properly) - not in the County's landfill, but with a collection company that was a licensed transporter and disposer that took the hazardous materials out of State - either to an Environmental Protection Agency permitted facility, for incineration, or an Environmental Protection Agency permitted facility, for land disposal. He stated that the County is also hiring a Recycling Coordinator, who will be charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing a recycling program, an integrated comprehensive recycling program - hopefully, one that will take into account not only the County's needs but the Cities' needs, as well.
Mr. Findell stated that not everyone agrees with the direction that the County has chosen to take, at least not in full agreement with every aspect of the program, but feels that it is safe to say that Lake County has come a long way in the past twenty years, in providing for better solid waste management, and feels that in the next few years it will go even further in providing systems that are effective and environmentally sound.
At this time, the Chairman opened the floor for discussion, and called for any questions that there might be Erom the audience. Mr. Bob Willets, a local resident and representative of the Lake County Conservation Council, appeared before the Board in opposition of the waste-to-energy facility. He stated that the scales (which Mr. Findell spoke of earlier) are not in operation, therefore, Lake County still does not know how much garbage it has, yet, purchased a $66-95 million facility, which may not be needed. He feels that the waste-to-energy facility is the biggest mistake Lake County is making, as the County does not need it. It is old technology and is going to bankrupt the average individual in Lake County, because they cannot afford it.
He stated that the incinerator is going to burn 163,000 tons of waste a year, and questioned where it is going to come from -probably from out of Lake County. He stated that Ogden Martin is presently importing medical waste (which includes AIDS tainted waste) from as far away as 400 miles, at their Marion County, Oregon facility, which has upset the handlers and the people who operate the facility. They also have a problem with their leaching and are spraying on agricultural lands. Another problem is the ash, as there is no way to get rid of it. He referred to magazine articles which referenced problems involving waste-to-energy facilities. He stated that the facility will be built on top of Florida's water aquifer. He reiterated the fact that the County does not know yet if they need a waste-to-energy facility, and the people do not want it. N o company will guarantee a liner for it, and one has yet to be built in a situation where you have 48 inches of acid rain (which dissolves metals out) a year, going into it. He stated that the incinerator makes lead and asbestos into the most hazardous forms possible, and noted it would be safer to bury them. By the time an incinerator has ground and pulvarized them into a powder, they are easily dissolved - either into the environment or the water supply. He stated that if this incinerator is typical, it will put 250,000 pounds of lead compounds in the landfill. He stated that it is a time bomb. He feels that Lake County presently has an excellent plan for recycling, composting and landfilling, and feels that Lake County needs to get out of the deal, involving the incinerator, while it can. He closed his comments by requesting that Lake County not be responsible for any waste, except its own - to not import waste from any other County.
Commr. Gregg addressed several issues which Mr. Willets had mentioned. He stated that he had gone to Bristol, Connecticutt (which is similar in size to Leesburg) and talked to the Mayor of Bristol regarding their facility (which is almost identical to the proposed Lake County facility), and found that the operation was a clean operation, and was operated very similar to the way that the Lake County facility will be operated. He stated that the Mayor was pleased with their facility and had very good things to say about it.
Commr. Gregg stated that the four commissioners that ran for election this year were opposed to the facility (mainly opposed to the manner in which it was handled), however, now the Board has an obligation and must stand by its obligation, whether they believe in it, or not. If the Board was to bail out of the plan at this time, it would cost Lake County approximately $14-15 million, therefore, would not be in the best interest of Lake County to do so. He stated that the process Lake County is going through right now is backwards - the County should have found out how much garbage it had, to start with, and should have investigated recycling, or some other means, and keyed in incineration. However, these things were not done, and now the County must live with it.
At this time, Commr. Gregg introduced Mrs. Kathy McDonald, Special Projects Coordinator for Lake County, stating that she had been failed to be introduced earlier, during the introductions. He noted that he was pleased with the turnout and thanked the City of Leesburg for hosting the meeting. Commr. Gregg then called for questions from the audience, regarding the incinerator.
Mr. Dan Eastwood, Tavares, appeared before the Board stating that he did not have any comments, however, questioned the statement concerning the cost (approximately $14-15 million) of Lake County getting out of the deal. He also brought up for discussion the matter of composting, which Dade County is presently doing (processing approximately 150,000 tons, at a cost of approximately $25 million). It was noted that Mr. Eastwood had mailed each of the commissioners a brochure, regarding said matter, for their review.
A brief discussion occurred regarding the composting matter.
Mr. Eastwood then questioned the matter of the ash problem, which Mr. Willets pointed out. He questioned the fact that if Lake County is totally responsible for disposing of the ash which is generated by the waste, and only has enough waste to process 50% of what the facility needs, is Lake County going to be obligated to dispose of the remaining ash that will be generated by what Ogden Martin may bring in from other counties, to meet the needed requirements.
Mr. Chris Ford, County Attorney, stated that it will be up to the Board to decide whether Lake County will take in outside waste. However, if the Board does decide to do so, Lake County will be responsible for disposing of any ash which will be generated. Commr. Gregg injected, at this time, that what Lake County derives out of the deal is electricity, which will be generated from the waste, thereby, reducing tipping fees.
The County Attorney stated that he understands that in approximately 3-5 years, there will probably be a legal use for the ash. If the experts are right, it will be remarkable for the County. However, in case they are wrong, the County would be wise to plan for a large landfill.
Commr. Bakich injected, at this time, that last week he was talking with officials from DNR, in Tallahassee, and was informed that the bottom ash, coming from the incinerator project, is considered recyclable, in that they do have uses for the bottom ash. He also stated that Lake County is available, around February or March, to receive grant money associated with recycling the bottom ash.
Mr. Eastwood then questioned Hillsborough County's tipping fee contract versus Lake County's tipping fee contract.
A brief discussion occurred regarding the matter.
Mr. Eastwood again questioned the matter of the $14-15 million bailout and the fact that, in comparison with Hillsborough County's facility, Hillsborough County owns their facility, however, Lake County has an arrangement where Ogden Martin owns the Lake County facility. Lake County will pay Ogden for a period of twenty years and still not own the facility, after the twenty year period is up. He questioned whether there was an option in the Lake County contract that could permit Lake County to buy the facility.
The County Attorney stated that, originally, there was an agreement where the facility could be publicly owned, however, the Board voted for the facility to continue private, thereby, saving the County approximately $17 million, over the twenty year period. He stated that, for the next five years thereafter, Lake County will not pay anything for the use of the plant, however, will have to pay Ogden Martin. The County will then have to negotiate with Ogden, concerning the cost of management and upkeep of the facility. The County will eventually own the land, as a donation from Ogden, which will put Lake County in a better bargaining position twenty-three years Erom now, when the County will have to renegotiate further years' use of the plant.
Commr. Bakich informed those present that the Board is in the process of forming a Solid Waste Advisory Board, for the County, and hopes to have the first meeting by the end of January. Once the committee is formed, two sub-committees will then be formed from it. Said committee will be looking into such things as site selection and recycling, as well as other issues pertaining to solid waste. He encouraged those present to attend and give any input they wished to give. He stated that the County now has a process which they feel will work and has all intentions of doing it in a positive manner. He stated that the Board wants input from the general public, whether it be good, bad, or otherwise. He requested that those interested in applying for any of the committees that he spoke of, to contact him or Mr. Findell.
Mr. Willets reappeared before the Board to Eurther discuss the waste-to-energy facility, and the matter of accepting outside waste, at which time the Clerk, Mr. Watkins, informed those present that Ogden Martin will have to obtain approval from the Board before accepting outside waste. He stated that if they do decide to accept outside waste, then the matter of what types of waste will then be decided. He also stated that Ogden Martin has a very strict inspection process for the dumping of waste. If any waste is on the trucks that has not been approved, or is hazardous, then the trucks are not allowed to dump.
Further discussion occurred regarding the incinerator, and the matter of accepting medical waste, at which time Commr. Swartz stated that the important thing to remember is that: (1) the Board would have to approve for any outside solid waste to come into Lake County, and (2) the Board would have to approve the contractual relationships that Ogden Martin enters into, in relation to anybody that will be shipping the waste. He stated that the Board would have a considerable amount of input regarding the type of waste that would be accepted, as well as the way that it would be screened, etc. He stated that he feels there will be considerable questions into how the entire process operates, and feels that the County will have to work with the cities and other private haulers to do a good job of trying to pre-sort and separate some of the types of things that the County will not want to go into the incinerator. He stated that he feels there is a great deal of interest in making sure that the facility operates, and operates the best way that it can, and that there is a healthy skepticism and desire to ask the questions that need to be asked, in order to accomplish the best result possible.
E911/CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS
Mr. Bruce Thorburn, E911 Coordinator, appeared before the Board and briefly explained how the E911 Program will operate. He stated that 911 is an easily recognized three-digit phone number, to get the caller to whatever emergency agency the caller needs, the fastest way possible. He stated that 80-85% of all 911 calls are law enforcement related. When one dials the 911 call, his department routes said call to the responding agency. The responding agency is a primary safety answering position. In Lake County the structure is set up with the Sheriff's Department as the default routing (the primary safety answering position). There are also primaries in five elective cities, being: Leesburg, Lady Lake, Eustis, Mt. Dora and Tavares. If one lives in any one of the jurisdictional areas of those city limits, when one calls, one will get those police departments. If any other service is needed, said police departments will then dispatch, or transfer, the call to whatever agency is needed, within a two (.02) second time frame. He stated that if the lines are full, one will hear a recording, however, should not hang up, otherwise the call will be discharged. One should stay on the line, due to the fact that as soon as a line is available, the individual will get through. If it is one of the outlying PSAPs (satellite PSAPs) and one dials and the line is busy, after three rings (approximately 10 seconds), the call will be diverted to the Lake County Sheriff's Department, where the call will either be handled, or dispatched as a central locater, or sent back to the primary location.
Further discussion occurred regarding how the E911 Program operates, at which time Mr. Thorburn explained how the data bases function, as well as how addressing ties into the program. He stated that there are four (4) data bases that make up the Lake County E911 system, being: (1) a customer service data base (which is one's telephone number issued to them by United Telephone); (2) the addressing function (consisting of 1,000 available addresses for every one sguare mile area); (3) a master street and address guide (a perimeter set up within the Lake County system that every one of the individual addresses must fit into, for routing); and (4) a routing data base (an ad hoc system of jurisdictional predication, so that the operator knows who needs to respond, at what time, to what call).
Mr. Thorburn stated that the next step from the data bases is management, which consists of himself, his staff, and Mrs. McDonald, the Special Projects Coordinator. He indicated that they adjudicate what is going to be done with the information that comes in - how it is going to be routed, where it is going to be routed, and the effectiveness of the available data, as it is received. He stated that his staff will daily maintain, through customer service records of United Telephone, additions, deletions and changes to said data base.
Mr. Thorburn stated that the dispatchers in the primary answering positions will be trained extensively in 911 procedures. He stated that 911 has been in operation in this country since 1964 and has been enhanced (the ability to locate an individual or location by computer, rather than by voice) since 1979, with its beginning being in Orange County, Florida. He also noted that 911 has been in operation worldwide for over 30 years.
Upon further discussion, regarding the E911 Program, it was learned that by March 2, 1989, or thereabouts, Lake County should have full data base load down, for the original testing of the system, and by June 30, 1989, at 5:00 p.m., Lake County should have their E911 system operational. He stated that, in relationship to the addressing function, which is now in process, as far as the status goes, the new permanent addresses for the Leesburg area are expected to be issued by the first week in February. By the 15th of February, the Lady Lake addresses should be issued. The Paisley, Astor, Astor Park, and Altoona addresses are presently being issued, and the Fruitland Park and Tavares addresses have already been issued. The remai ning cities are presently being worked out and will be expedited as soon as possible. He stated that there are 140,000 people in Lake County, approximately 92,000 parcels of property, and 80,000 phone service lines (which have to be individually located).
The matter of the present problem that the Courthouse is having with their phone system came up for discussion, at which time Mr. Watkins, Clerk and Acting County Administrator, stated that he and his staff had just met with representatives of GTE (the company that is furnishing the 911 capabilities) and will be presenting to the Board, hopefully on Tuesday, January 24, 1989, a changeover, from the system that the Courthouse is presently on, to a system that will be tied into the 911 system, at an estimated cost of under $iOO,OOO.OO - the system that the Courthouse is presently using cost approximately $200,000.00. He further stated that the new system would not only handle the existing governmental complex, in Tavares, but also the new Criminal Justice/Jail Facility, as well. He also stated that the new system will never go totally down, as there will be a backup system, due to the fact that if the new system goes down, that will mean that the 911 system will be down, thereby resulting in numerous liabilities.
Mr. Thorburn injected that the 911 system cannot be down for more than two hours.
Commr. Bakich questioned Mr. Thorburn as to when the 911 system would be operable, to which Mr. Thorburn replied that by March 2, 1989, the preliminary testing of both data and voice lines will begin, and the cutover date will be June 30, 1989.
At this time, Commr. Gregg informed those present that Mr. Thorburn had written the on-line program for Orange County (which he had mentioned earlier in his presentation), and stated that, in his opinion, Lake County has a top notch individual as coordinator of the E911 System.
Mr. T. J. Townsend, Yalaha, appeared before the Board and questioned how many addresses (so far as mailing addresses are concerned) would have to be changed, as opposed to addresses being established solely within the data base.
Mrs. Kathy McDonald, Special Projects Coordinator, appeared before the Board to respond to Mr. Townsend's question, stating that within the city limits, any changes that have to be made are being made by the cities, other than two cities that are presently being addressed for on the County's grid system, due to the fact that, at some point in time, someone made an error and, therefore, said cities are not fitting into the pattern. From the County's point of view, the County had not, under the five digit addressing system that is being used now, issued a lot of addresses. There are somewhere between 37-40,000 addresses in the County. Some of these addresses are five digit and, hopefully, are still good addresses. However, the County is presently addressing by zip code. Mrs. McDonald stated that she did not know, at this point, how many further addresses would have to be changed.
Discussion continued regarding the addressing system, at which time Mr. Watkins and Commr. Swartz gave further input regarding same.
At this time, Mr. Townsend commended the Board for holding such a meeting, as the one being held this date, to allow the public to give input regarding issues before the Board at any given time.
Mr. Ted Toporczyk questioned the Board, from the audience, as to what response time can be expected between the dialing and the arrival of the emergency vehicle, to which Mr. Watkins responded that that would depend on the agency responding and the setting, such as how many vehicles are available, and how busy the agency is at that time.
Mr. Floyd Booth, Fruitland Park, questioned from the audience, as to whether the 911 system would be compatible with the speed calling, that United Telephone has, to which Mr. Thorburn indicated that it would.
It was noted, for the record, that one does not have to pay for any 911 calls that are placed - even pay phones, as well as cellular phones, are tied into the system, and one would not have to pay for such calls using said phones.
At this time Commr. Bailey thanked everyone for coming, and Commr. Bakich stated that, if the public finds that the Board is not doing the services that they are paying for, be it the Commission or the staff, that the Board would appreciate any input and constructive criticism, in order that they might improve.
Commr. Gregg closed the meeting by stating that he was glad to see the turnout and indicated that the Board would be meeting again, in approximately ten weeks, in the Clermont area.
On a motion by Commr. Bakich, seconded by Commr. Bailey and carried unanimously, the Board adjourned the meeting at 8:25 p.m.
C. W. "CHICK" GREGG, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK