A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
SEPTEMBER 5, 1989
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session for the Budget Hearing on Tuesday, September 5, 1989, at 5:05 p.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Courthouse, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: C. W. "Chick" Gregg, Chairman; Thomas J. Windram; Richard Swartz; Michael J. Bakich; and Don Bailey. Others present were : Bill Stearn, County Attorney's Office: James C. Watkins, Clerk; Robert K. McKee, Chief Deputy Clerk; Don Smalt, Budget Analyst; Jim Schuster, Finance Director; and Toni M. Austin, Deputy Clerk.
James C. Watkins, Clerk, gave the Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commr. Swartz.
Mr. Don Smalt, Budget Analyst, informed the Board and audience that the final budget hearing will be September 19, 1989. He stated that, at the last meeting, the Board approved a tentative budget. The following changes have been made:
Fund Tentative Changes
General Fund $16,985,049 $16,852,150
Fine & Forfeiture 16,411,925 16,309,067
Co. Transportation & Trust 10,508,966 10,301,402
Federal Revenue Sharing 160,000
Road Impact Fees 4,625,152 (no change)
Mosquito Control 570,844 569,285
Law Library 134,540 (no change)
Aquatic Weed 175,088 (no change)
Fish & Conservation Fund 145,304 (no change)
Northeast Hospital Fund 1,463,439 (no change)
Northeast Ambulance 338,430 (no change)
Northwest Ambulance 309,213 (no change)
Emergency 911 613,774 643,774
Resort Development Tax 389,500 (no change)
Section 8 857,029 (no change)
Law Enforcement Trust 665,175 (no change)
Criminal Justice Trust 144,400 (no change)
County Sales Tax Revenue 10,479,228 10,449,028
JTPA 121,545 (no change)
JTPA (Oct. - June) 200,181 (no change)
JTPA (July - Sept.) 651,034 (no change)
Bassville Fire District 401,199 441,276
Pasco Fire Department 403,087 425,107
Northwest Fire Control 526,929 562,822
Paisley Fire Control 79,213 87,399
South Lake Fire 317,933 303,228
Montverde Fire 276,322 282,022
Countywide Fire Service 1,362,919 1,383,456
Sales Tax Bond Debt 10,284,797 (no change)
333,132 (no change)
County Subdivisions 15,402 (no change)
Overton Road Assessment 8,078 (no change)
Sales Tax Bond Construction 36,871,140 (no change)
Landfill Enterprise 7,288,403 7,538,041
5,000 (no change)
County Library System 1,209,731 1,193,460
Overall Budget 124,569,292 124,628,307
(Increase in the amount of
Mr. Smalt stated that the revenue amount has changed from the estimates received from the State, as follows:
General Fund Estimated Amount Certified Amount
State Revenue Sharing $2,476,741 $2,343,014
Fine & Forfeiture
Half-cent sales tax $4,130,390 $4,022,250
Overall reduction - $241,867.00
County Transportation Trust Estimated Amount Certified Amount
Constitutional Gas Tax (20%) $ 381,830 $ 348,135
Constitutional Gas Tax (80%) 1,527,318 1,392,539
Seven County Gas Tax 873,968 856,848
One Cent Sales Tax $5,666,200 $5,636,000
Mr. Jim Schuster, Finance Director, presented an overview of all funds, with the use of detailed charts. The charts included all funds operated by the County, and reflected a total budget in the amount of $124,628,306.00.
Mr. Schuster discussed with the audience the cash carried forward from the previous years, with the present budget reflecting three million dollars less than last year.
Commr. Gregg explained that Fine and Forfeiture primarily covers law enforcement, the jail and the Sheriff's Department.
Mr. Steve Hall, Budget Analyst for the Sheriff's Department, addressed the Board and explained that the Sheriff purchases vehicles on a State bid, and is accountable to the State Auditor, as well as the Board of County Commissioners.
Mr. Schuster stated that there is a 21% increase over last years budget, which amounts to approximately 2 l/4 million dollars.
Mr. Schuster presented the following percentages, in order to explain to the audience where their property taxes were spent:
Fund 1987 1988 1989 1990
General Fund 47.4% 44.7% 30.0% 47.1%
Fine & Forfeiture 37.7% 40.7% 56.2% 42.8%
At this time, several members of the public questioned the increase in property assessments, with Commr. Gregg explaining the appeal process held before the Property Appraisal Adjustment Board.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Board sets the millage rate, and the Property Appraiser sets the property assessments.
Mr. Schuster stated that the millage rate is set at $5.41 per thousand of the assessed evaluation, excluding the homestead exemption.
Mr. Jim Wilkes, Tavares, appeared before the Board to discuss the proposed tax increase. He stated that he was concerned about the County Attorney's bill, and suggested that the County not pay it. Mr. Wilkes further discussed the Sheriff's employees using the County vehicles for their personal use, and the Public Works Department clearing property owned by a member of the School Board. He further stated that the Sheriff should not be able to increase his budget any more than 15% over the CPI (Consumer Price Index).
Mr. Earl Williams appeared before the Board and questioned the County hiring a new County Manager, when the Commissioners should be managing the County. Mr. Williams also discussed the request made by the Sheriff for a 20% increase in his budget.
Sheriff George E. Knupp, Jr. addressed the Board and audience and stated that Lake County needs to hire deputies for salaries that will compare with surrounding counties. At this time, Sheriff Knupp discussed approved salaries and training required to keep quality deputies.
Mr. William Edmundson appeared before the Board to oppose the proposed taxes and requested that the Board not approve the proposed budget. He also discussed the CPI, and questioned whether or not projected growth was considered in the proposed budget.
Mr. Ed Shownwitter appeared before the Board and stated that he did not feel the owners of mobile homes were paying their share of taxes, and suggested that the County consider this matter.
Mr. Dale Kurtz, Tavares, appeared before the Board to discuss the incinerator project, and stated that he felt there was an excessive amount of legal fees being paid, in regards to the project. Mr. Kurtz further stated that he did not object to paying taxes, but that his money should not be thrown away.
Mr. Michael J. Freto appeared before the Board and stated that no one wanted to pay excessive taxes, and at this time, presented charts for his explanation of where the tax dollars go.
Mr. Arthur Emerick, Orange Blossom Gardens, appeared before the Board to discuss his proposed taxes, and growth development and the effect it has on the proposed budget.
Commr. Gregg stated that the County is in the process of writing impact fee ordinances, and informed the public that, at the present the only impact fee ordinance on the books is for transportation.
Ms. Bertha Dunlop, Lakeshore Drive, appeared before the Board to discuss her proposed tax bill, which reflected a 100% increase.
Ms. Dunlop stated that she wanted to see the $25,000.00 exemption changed, in order for everyone to be able to pay their share of taxes.
Commr. Swartz stated that the referendum on the ballot regarding revoking the $25,000.00 exemption was overwhelmingly defeated.
Commr. Bakich informed the public that a lot of the State mandated programs are being turned over to the County, with Commr. Swartz stating that the Florida League of Cities has petitioned for the State to fund some of these programs.
Mr. Martin Campbell, Tavares, appeared before the Board and stated that his taxes have increased 90%, with just the County taxes increasing 110%. Mr. Campbell discussed the County lease on the property located at 214 West Main Street, with the building being vacated by the Sheriff in February of this year. No attempt was made to negotiate an early termination, with the landlord never being contacted. The lease runs through October 6, 1989. The rent is still being paid by the County, along with the utilities.
Mr. Campbell also discussed the approved design for the temporary jail, and the two guard towers.
Commr. Gregg stated that the towers were contructed, per the request of the previous Sheriff, with the new Sheriff not agreeing with the system. The City of Tavares has recognized the eyesore, and a memorandum has been sent to the Sheriff regarding this matter.
Mr. Walter Guy appeared before the Board to discuss the charts presented by Mr. Schuster, regarding Law Enforcement, and the bond construction for the new jail.
Commr. Bakich stated that the Board has discussed placing a moratorium on all County spending for the remainder of the year, with the County Manager reviewing the budget closely.
Commr. Gregg stated that a General Fund, in the amount of $22,317,000.00, was submitted to the County Management staff, and after going through the budget process, the budget was cut to an amount of $16,852,000.00.
Mr. Guy questioned the Sheriff's budget, with the Sheriff stating that, after the Board reviewed his budget line item by line item, the Law side of the budget was reduced by 9.99%, and the Jail side was reduced by 6.66%, with an 18.1% increase this year in salaries.
Mr. Guy stated that the Sheriff should not compare Lake County to Orange County, when it comes to Law Enforcement officers, with the majority of the people in Lake County being on a fixed income or low income, where in Orange County, it has a much higher per capita income. Mr. Guy requested the Board to consider cutting the Sheriff's budget.
Mr. Hall, the Sheriff's Budget Analyst, stated that approximately $470,000.00 is spent during the year for deputy training, and the legislature mandates retirement and criteria for hiring the Sheriff's staff.
Sheriff Knupp discussed the dispatchers necessary for the E-911 program, with Mr. Lonnie Strickland explaining the fifty-cent charge.
Mr. Jim Rotella, Mt. Dora, appeared before the Board and focused on the assessment for property taxes, which has increased from a 3.8% millage rate to a 5.4% millage rate, causing a 42% increase. He further stated that the protesting necessary to stop the State mandated programs needs to start at the County level. Mr. Rotella stated that a 42% tax increase is outlandish.
Commr. Gregg informed the audience that, even before the County started looking at any salary increases, or any growth in County Government, the County was looking at a 30-33% increase in ad valorem taxes to fund the County's estimated three million dollar shortfall.
Commr. Windram discussed the proposed budget, in the amount of $124,628,000.00, with Mr. Schuster stating that approximately 14-15% of the dollars will be coming from ad valorem taxes, in order to run Lake County.
Ms. Terri Kruedell, Eustis, appeared before the Board and questioned the number of years a 42% increase will occur, and complained about her assessment being so high, due to being a new home owner.
Ms. Ruth Gray, East Lake Joanna, appeared before the Board and stated that the Sheriff should not be comparing Lake County with Orange and Seminole Counties, as far as salaries are concerned, and that the Board should not feel that it should scrutinize with the Sheriff on this matter. Ms. Gray also questioned why the County has not encouraged recycling and composting, in order to generate income.
Commr. Bakich stated that the County is in the process of forming a recycling program, with the public being educated in the near future.
Mr. Robert Camfrey, Lake Mack, appeared before the Board and stated that the taxes being proposed are unfair, along with his assessment. He discussed his neighbors live styles, and stated that he has also called the County and requested dirt to fill the pot holes in the road, which has never been done for the past eleven years. Therefore, he has graded the road himself, at his expense.
Mr. Dan Polasik, Western Shores, appeared before the Board and questioned the Sheriff's purchase of vehicles outside of the County, with the Sheriff replying that there are two dealerships, one in Tampa and one in Jacksonville, which are on the State bid, with the bids being awarded by the State.
Commr. Gregg explained to the audience the appeal process which the Sheriff has, if he does not agree to the amount of funding appropriated by the Board for his department.
Mr. Polasik stated that he would like to see the County hold the taxes at a 22% increase.
Ms. Becky McPhearson, Eustis, appeared before the Board and urged the citizens of Lake County to attend the City meetings, as well as the County meetings. She requested that the Board consider not increasing the budget at all for one year.
Ms. Marilyn Bainter appeared before the Board and discussed the County landfill, and State mandated programs. She suggested that the County turn down the programs and keep the funds. Ms. Bainter also discussed the Comprehensive Plan with the Board.
Mr. Arnold Holdstein, Mt. Dora, appeared before the Board and stated that his taxes increased 140% on his 107 year old house, with the County portion of taxes being increased 193.3%. At this time, Mr. Holdstein requested that the Board adjust the taxes.
Ms. Glenise Ford, Tavares, appeared before the Board and discussed City utilities, and questioned whether or not the County receives any of the City taxes. Ms. Ford also questioned the Sheriff about the taxes that he pays for his vehicles, with the Sheriff replying that he does not pay taxes, due to being a governmental agency.
Mr. Bill Polk, Leesburg, appeared before the Board and asked the Sheriff questions about his deputies, and discussed personal use of Department vehicles. He also discussed salary ranges and training for deputies.
Sheriff Knupp stated that a deputy has to be certified by the State, which involves 550 hours of training.
Mr. Polk discussed the funding for the purchase of the Wekiva, with Commr. Bakich stating that one-half of the funding will be coming from the one-cent sales tax, with the other one-half from the Water Authority.
Commr. Swartz informed Mr. Polk that the one-cent sales tax can not be used for operational costs, and can only be used for buildings, land acquisition, landfills, or any capital improvements.
Mr. Polk stated that he did not feel that the County needed the Wekiva property, and suggested selling the County owned property on Highway 27, in order to raise the revenue. Mr. Polk also questioned the necessity of surveys, consultants, attorneys, and programs. He also discussed Mr. Ed Havill, Property Appraiser, and his procedures for assessing property.
Ms. Sue Morrison, Mt. Plymouth, appeared before the Board and requested ideas from the Board as to how the County is going to cut the budget.
Mr. Angel Mandez, Mt. Dora, appeared before the Board and stated that the intent of the Sheriff is well taken. Mr. Mandez discussed the Public Works employees, and the requests being made for an increase in salaries and new personnel. He felt there was waste in most of the departments, and suggested that the Board clean up the waste. Mr. Mandez discussed his increase in taxes and assessment.
Mr. Roy Schoymeister, Mt. Dora, appeared before the Board and stated that his total tax bill has increased 150%. He further stated that his empty lot has increased 498%. Mr. Schoymeister proposed that the Board cut the taxes this year to an amount where there will be no increase.
Mr. Henry Adhoss appeared before the Board and stated suggestions to the Board for lowering the taxes. He discussed impact fees, with Commr. Swartz stating that the Public Safety Impact Fee will provide the most help to the County. Mr. Adhoss then questioned the Sheriff about his trade-in policy on vehicles. Mr. Donald Bronson appeared before the Board and stated that the increase in ad valorem taxes is unrealistic. He stated that agriculture will not survive with the increase and requested that the Board not increase ad valorem taxes. Mr. Bronson also discussed water problems and the County approving the development of more subdivisions.
Mr. Roger Conner appeared before the Board to discuss the Criminal Justice/Jail Facility, and bond issues. Mr. Conner stated that a 286 million dollar proposal has been made for countywide sewer and water.
Commr. Gregg stated that there has been no bond issue for sewer and water in Lake County. He further stated that the County has a feasibility study, and is now preparing a master plan for sewer and water, but that there has not been a proposal for a bond issue.
Commr. Gregg stated that a private enterprise has expressed a desire to perform the services, and that the master plan will not be paid with ad valorem taxes, but will be paid with revenue.
Ms. Hildegard Sender asked questions of the Board regarding the Property Appraiser and Tax Collector, with Commr. Gregg stating that their budgets are established by the State. Ms. Sender also discussed the location of the Drivers License Bureau.
Mr. Hubert Hartman appeared before the Board and discussed the evaluation of property in relation to determining the millage rate.
Mr. Hartman stated that, since 1982 the cost of living has risen 25%. He stated that his taxes have increased 143%, with Social Security only increasing 25%. Mr. Hartman also discussed the consulting firms hired by the County to review the County's waste problems, and the contract involving the incinerator. He suggested that the County reduce the consulting services, and use the expertise of the County Manager.
Don Findell discussed the necessity for the two primary consultants to perform the environmental services for the County.
Mr. Findell stated that most of the fees associated with Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan's contract are construction and construction management fees and permitting fees associated with the construction of the new landfill, and siting the new landfills. The contract is approximately one million dollars. They are also responsible for the permitting aspect and oversite of construction for the ash monofill at the Astatula Landfill. He stated that the County Attorney would not have the technical knowledge to design a landfill.
Mr. Hartman suggested eliminating the $l00,000.00 for industrial development, and eliminating some of the consultants that the County has hired, and use the volunteer committees that have been created.
Commr. Gregg suggested scheduling a workshop for next Tuesday afternoon, in order for staff to appear and indicate to the Board where additional cuts can be made within the budget.
Mr. Bill Stearn, County Attorney's Office, stated that the Board may take action today, but there is no statutory requirement for the Board to do this, at this time.
Commr. Swartz suggested reducing $100,000.00 from the Attorney Attorney's budget. He also suggested approving $lO,OOO.OO for the manual voting machines for Emogene Stegall over three years for the 1992 election.
Commr. Windram suggested that Finance look through the entire budget, due to 30-40% of unspent money reflecting in the present budget. He felt that the funds are over budgeted and not necessary.
Commr. Bailey suggested looking at areas where the sales tax can be applied, such as Animal Control, with Commr. Swartz suggesting supplying Frankie Thorpe with the necessities for her office.
Commr. Gregg directed the staff to work with Mr. Thelen, Mr. McKee, Mr. Smalt, and Mr. Schuster and go through the entire budget, including the constitutional officer budgets, and the Sheriff, and consider no new positions, concentrating on the present staff.
Commr. Swartz stated that there is 8.3 million dollars in personal services for the Sheriff, and suggested increasing the salaries by only 15%, which would be a $716,000.00 decrease, and add the cost of the dispatchers, in the amount of $275,000.00.
Commr. Swartz suggested removing the $14,000.00 from the State Attorney's budget, which the Board agreed to do, at this time.
Commr. Bailey suggesting cutting the $lS,OOO.OO for Mental Health.
Commr. Gregg suggested decreasing $480,000.00 to $380,000.00 in the County Attorney's budget.
Commr. Gregg directed the Board to meet Thursday at 1:00 p.m., with Commr. Swartz suggesting that the County Manager review the new positions and come back with recommendations.
Commr. Gregg directed staff to look at contingencies, and to verify the cost of equipment.
Commr. Bailey discussed the library funding, in the amount of $103,000.00.
Ms. Glenice Ford discussed the County developing a bus service from Jacksonville to Tavares.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 1O:lO p.m.
C. W. "CHICK" GREGG, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK