The Lake County Board of County Commissioners held a special Townhall Meeting on Tuesday, July 24, 1990, at 7:00 p.m., at the Casino Community Center, in Fruitland Park, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Michael J. Bakich, Chairman; C. W. "Chick" Gregg; Don Bailey; Richard Swartz; and Thomas J. Windram. Others present were: Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney; Alan A. Thelen, County Manager; Ava Kronz, Assistant to the County Manager; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Bailey gave the Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commr. Gregg.
Commr. Bailey (District Commissioner) opened the meeting by introducing the panel (consisting of the Commissioners, County Attorney, and County Manager); Mr. Bill Proctor, City Manager of Fruitland Park; and staff members to those present.
Update on New Criminal Justice Facility
Mr. Mike Anderson, Director of Capital Improvements, showed a brief video which had been prepared by Barton Malow showing what has been done, thus far, on the new Criminal Justice Facility. He stated the first phase of the project (Prelude) was started in December, 1989, and is scheduled to be completed (on schedule) the latter part of December, 1990, and have the ability to move inmates in by the latter part of January, 1990. He stated the end of this month (July), they will be breaking ground for the other three housing units of the Main Jail and hope to have it completed by late Fall of 1992. He stated they will be breaking ground around November or December of this year for the Criminal Justice Facility (consisting of an Administration Building and Courthouse), which will be located directly across the street from the Main Jail.
Environmental Services - Recycling Program
Mr. Don Findell, Director of Environmental Services, appeared before those present and discussed the County's Recycling Program,
stating that it has been underway since April of this year, noting that it currently provides service for several pilot areas, comprising 2,500 homes in the unincorporated area of the County. He stated the program is geared to expand, incrementally, on a 90 day basis, so that as the County goes through each quarter, the program will be expanded by a certain amount of homes, noting that the original intent of the program was to expand by approximately 2,500 homes a quarter, over a 7 year period, to ultimately serve the entire County. He stated the original intent has been changed so that another 2,500 homes in this quarter will be served and then it will be geared up to serve approximately 7,500 homes, a quarter, during the upcoming fiscal year.
Mr. Findell stated the County is working with the Cities in putting the recycling program together, with the intent to provide service to all residents of the County over a two year period. He stated, in working with the Cities, the County is giving them the option to carry forward with their own recycling programs or to be part of the total County system, noting that the majority of the Cities have indicated they wish to be part of the total County program. He stated four Cities (Tavares, Mt. Dora, Leesburg and Clermont) have indicated they wish to have their own program (at least on a temporary basis, as well as the fact that the City of Howey-in-the-Hills presently has its own program, however, is considering becoming part of the County's program, and that the City of Fruitland Park has indicated it is leaning toward becoming part of the overall County program. He stated the way the program is presently geared is to expand incrementally over the next two years, and, to do so, what the County would like to do is expand the program from those areas that have initiated pilot programs, being Hawthorne Mobile Home Park; Silver Lake; the Pine Lakes area; Bassville Park area and Sylvan Shores area. In order to maximize efficiency of the programs, they anticipate expanding from said areas, and as the County expands from those areas, provide service to the Cities. He stated the City of Mt. Dora is one area that the
County will expand into immediately, although they are operating their own program, from an administrative standpoint, they are, in fact, executing an interlocal agreement with the County to kind of piggyback onto the County's program and use the County's contract to collect their recyclables.
Ms. Eleanor Anderson, Director of Management/Budget, appeared before those present, stating she had some good news, in that the Board of County Commissioners did not raise taxes. She stated, for the first time, the Board of County Commissioners had established a Budget Office and that said office had held a mid-year review, to enable the Board the opportunity to see where they currently stood with the current year's budget. Based on that fact, a calendar was developed and her staff met with all the department heads and defined the budget as much as possible. They then went to the Board of County Commissioners with a recommendation, noting that, at that particular time, the County was out of balance, however, the Board informed them to go back to the drawing board and cut an additional $2.4 million, which they did, and came back with a balanced budget.
Ms. Anderson stated the Board had, at a special workshop, set the tentative millage, noting that it could go down, however, could not go up. She stated a Public Hearing has been set for September 10, 1990, which will be the first public hearing to hear the tentative budget, and that the final public hearing is set for September 25, 1990, at which time the budget will be adopted. She informed those present of some tax information which she had developed for them, as homeowners, regarding assessments. She stated an ordinance had been adopted for the North Lake County Hospital District and that it would become an independent district in November. She then compared current taxes with the proposed, indicating the amount of increase taxpayers should see next year, which is minimal.
Health & General Services - Fire and Emergency Services
Mr. Al Thelen, County Manager, informed those present that the Director of Health & General Services, Mr. Lonnie Strickland, was on vacation and would not be present, at which time he introduced staff members from said department.
No presentation was given from this department.
Public Works - Roadway Improvements
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, appeared before those present to discuss road projects which had been done in the Fruitland Park area over the past year. He distributed a chart indicating road projects which had been paid for out of the County Transportation Trust Fund (paid for by gas tax funds); Special Assessment Projects (also paid for by gas tax funds); and Impact Fee Projects (funds only used in the district that the development occurs in), noting that the total past year's projects for the Fruitland Park area amounted to $1,607,759.00. He then informed those present what future road projects are scheduled for the Fruitland Park area, noting that they will total $1,405,900.00. He stated the two year projects will total $3,013,659.00.
Planning and Development - Update on Comprehensive Plan and Impact Fees
Mr. John Swanson, Director of Planning and Development, appeared before those present to give an update on Lake County's Comprehensive Plan and discuss impact fees. He distributed a packet consisting of the following: Lake County Impact Fee Summary; Lake County Proposed Impact Fees in Comparison with Other County Impact Fees; Road Benefit Districts; Single Family Dwelling Unit Impact Fees; Multi Family Dwelling Unit Impact Fees; and Mobile Home Dwelling Unit Impact Fees, at which time he elaborated on each category. He stated a meeting had been set for August 7, 1990, to discuss further the implementation of an increase in road impact fees.
Mr. Swanson then reviewed a chart (on display) indicating Lake County's Comprehensive Plan, as mandated by the State, stating that
staff is presently working on said plan of which they are up to the July portion of the plan. He stated that July is a critical time element, in that decisions have to be made on the plan. He stated the public hearing process will begin in October, 1991, and noted that the County must submit the Comprehensive Plan to the State by February 1, 1991. He stated the Comprehensive Plan will affect each and every resident of Lake County and felt it was imperative that residents understand the concurrency element which must be established and shown for a particular land, because levels of service must be established and the County must meet those levels of service in order to ensure proper management approach to development in Lake County.
Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, interjected that there have been many headlines regarding Workers' Compensation coverage that was required by new legislation that went into effect on July 1, 1990. She stated a hearing was set for July 25, 1990, regarding a complaint for an injunction filed by a number of small contractors in Lake County, noting that similar suits have been filed throughout the State, and, in Hernando County, an injunction was issued, as was in other counties. She stated she had received a memorandum, this date, from the Bureau of Workers' Compensation Compliance, advising all City and County Commissioners, building officials, and anybody else charged with issuing licenses that the temporary injunction would be enforced statewide, and that the situation regarding workers' compensation coverage which existed prior to July 1, 1990, when the new legislation went into effect, would be the applicable provision. She noted the Lake County building official would be notified July 25, 1990, by her office, to commence issuing permits as they were doing prior to July 1, 1990. She stated the injunctive issue will be resolved in the Appellate Court sometime in the future, in the event that the Legislature does not act soon to amend said legislation.
Comments from the Audience
Mr. Hap Casson, a local resident, complimented the Board for not raising taxes, however, stated it does not ensure that the County's taxes will not go up. He stated if the Property Appraiser raises assessments, the way he did last year, taxes will automatically go up, so the statement that the Board did not raise taxes is not a true statement. It was noted the statement should have been that the County did not increase the millage.
Mr. Whitt, a local resident, stated that last year, in November, the Public Works Department was contacted by him regarding the accumulation of traffic waiting to exit onto Hwy. 44, off of Hwy. 441, noting that, during "snowbird season", it constitutes a crucial traffic situation.
Discussion occurred regarding the matter, at which time Commr. Gregg indicated that said project is on line with the Department of Transportation and felt that it might be taken care of within the next three months.
Mr. Charlie Rector, a local resident, questioned when public hearings regarding the impact fees, alluded to earlier, would be held, to which Mr. Thelen, County Manager, stated the matter is scheduled to be discussed by the Board on August 7, 1990, and a public hearing should be held regarding it sometime in September, 1990. He stated the Impact Fee Committee's recommendation is that, the effective date for the new impact fees be 90 days after the date that the Board acts on it.
Mr. Casson questioned Commr. Swartz as to what the present situation was regarding the County Library System.
Commr. Swartz stated he had asked staff to put together some numbers, based on a proposal that the Board had discussed at an earlier meeting, and noted that staff is presently doing so. He stated the answer will depend on what the Cities decide, noting that the Board is working on putting together an interlocal agreement, based on some requirements from the State, in order to qualify for State aid. He stated the Cities are going to decide
whether or not the benefits that come from the County, and State aid, are going to outweigh the impacts they feel County residents impose on their city libraries.
Commr. Swartz stated that, when the present Board, of which four of the members are relatively new, came on board less than two years ago, they had a budget that allocated to the cities a total of $100,000.00, of County money - the State money was on top of that. In the first budget the present Board had an opportunity to do anything with, they increased the $100,000.00 to $176,000.00. He stated this year's tentative budget has $300,000.00, so in the span of two years, the Board will have tripled the money that comes from the County to the city libraries. He stated that may not be as much as they should have, however, felt that it is a significant improvement in what the County is doing. He stated the proposal the County is presently making to the Cities states that the County will give each participating library a grant of $25,000.00, in place of what was previously $10,000.00, and, in addition to that, the County will pay each participating library $7.50 for each adult, or family member, that uses said library, and, on top of that will be the State aid money.
Commr. Swartz stated that Fruitland Park received this budget year, from County and State aid money, approximately $19,000. He stated that using the formula the County is presently working with, Fruitland Park is due to receive, in the coming year's budget (assuming they have approximately the same number of users that they have indicated in the past), approximately $33,500, which amounts to approximately a 70% increase in the funding for Fruitland Park, thus, feels that the County is making a good faith effort to increase the funding each year, and hopes that said increase will at least say to the libraries that the County is trying to move forward. Additionally, one of the questions has been double taxation. He stated the Board is aware of it and is taking steps to try and resolve said issue. He stated he hoped
Fruitland Park and all the cities that were in the system last year will be a part of the County system.
Mr. Thelen, County Manager, clarified the fact that the $7.50 contribution, which has been proposed by the County, is for a family unit that lives in the unincorporated area of the County, or one of the seven cities that does not presently operate a library.
Mr. Rector questioned where the incinerator project presently stands, to which Commr. Gregg stated that temporary boilers are being fired up, to clean out the boiler tube, and that they will actually start test burning in August of this year, noting that they are running way ahead of schedule.
A gentleman in the audience questioned the County's recycling program, to which Mr. Findell responded, stating that the County's contractor is Industrial Waste Services, which is one of the larger refuse hauling companies in the world. He stated they separate the recyclable materials the County collects from each household and then takes it to the transfer station where it is separated, again, for reprocessing. He stated that, at the present time, there is a market for the four major materials which are separated, being glass, aluminum, newpapers and plastic. He elaborated further on the recycling program and how much it cost, per household, for same.
Mr. Phil Montgomery, a local resident, stated there seems to be a problem with getting rid of automobile tires, paint, batteries, etc. and questioned whether the County was set up for disposing of same, to which Mr. Findell responded that the County is dealing with hazardous waste in a number of different ways. He stated the County, for the last couple of years, has had a program called Amnesty Days, in which two to three times a year the County schedules days and locations where homeowners can bring their household hazardous waste, to be disposed of. He stated that, as far as tires are concerned, the County has set up a tire collection center, at the Astatula Landfill. He stated the tires are stored at the landfill until approximately 1,000 tires are collected, at
which time a portable tire shredder is brought in and the tires are shredded and used for landfill cover. He stated another thing the County is doing is working on an Enhanced Hazardous Waste Management Program, noting that the Board funded said program this Spring, and that it is geared toward the small businesses in the County. He stated the real importance of the program is to get a handle on the amount of hazardous waste that is in the County, in the business community, and being improperly disposed of. He stated once the County is able to do so, the program will be expanded and the County will provide assistance to said businesses, in reducing the amount of hazardous waste they generate, as well as their treatment of said waste. He stated they will also assist in properly handling and storing the waste, as well as assist in working with contractors to dispose of it.
Mr. Findell elaborated further on the Enhanced Hazardous Waste Program, noting that, through this program, the County is setting up a permanent temporary household hazardous waste collection center at the Astatula Landfill. He stated the reason it is called a permanent temporary structure is due to the fact that it is going to be a fixed structure at the landfill, as long as the landfill is in operation - after that, it will be moved to the new landfill. He stated the center will be in operation several days per week for the benefit of homeowners. He then discussed a battery collection program the County is working on, noting how said program will work.
Mr. T. J. Townsend, a local resident, stated he lives in a community that has shown some interest in the recycling program, however, would like some assurance that, if they participate in the program, their overall costs of waste collection will not be increased as a result of it.
Commr. Bakich stated the County could not guarantee said fact, noting that there is going to be a cost involved - it will just depend on how the County handles it.
Commr. Swartz stated the County will be having a workshop regarding solid waste on July 31, 1990.
A gentleman in the audience questioned whether the County would be composting, to which it was noted that the County would not be composting until 1996.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
MICHAEL J. BAKICH, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK