The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Tuesday, May 7, 1991, 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: Don Bailey, Chairman; C. W. "Chick" Gregg; Michael J. Bakich; Richard Swartz; and Catherine Hanson. Others present were: Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney; Alan A. Thelen, County Manager; Ava Kronz, Assistant to the County Manager; and Toni M. Austin, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Bailey informed the Board that the time had arrived for the first public hearing on the proposed School Impact Fee Ordinance.
Commr. Gregg, along with Commr. Hanson, agreed that, at the last meeting regarding the proposed School Impact Fee Ordinance, the Board had supported tabling the issue until it received the ruling from the Supreme Court. Commr. Gregg stated that he is in favor of the School Impact Fee, and that, if it was the consensus of the Board, the Chairman should ask for opposition to this issue at this time.
Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, discussed the proposed amendments to the School Impact Fee Ordinance, and requested that the Board take action on these sometime during the meeting.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Gregg and carried unanimously, the Board approved the following amendments to the proposed School Impact Fee Ordinance, as presented by Ms. Lustgarten, County Attorney:
On Page 2, Line 1,
after "Lake County"
Board of County Commissioners
On Page 2, Line 2
before "School Board"
after "of", strike "County Commissioners"
On Page 2, Line 30, strike
On Page 18, Line 6, strike
On Page 27, Line 26, strike
Ms. Lustgarten stated that the Board members had before them a memorandum, which summarizes the proposed ordinance, and that the ordinance is essentially the same ordinance, as reviewed before, with some minor clarifications.
Mr. Tim Sullivan, School Board member, appeared before the Board and stated that the Impact Fee Study Committee reconvened, and reviewed, once again, Parks and Recreation, and directed staff to look at several items regarding this item. He stated that, at the same meeting, the Committee reviewed the educational impact fees, and there was a unanimous vote, by the Committee members, to support the fees, as proposed.
Dr. Tom Sanders, Superintendent of Schools, appeared before the Board and extended appreciation to the Board members for their support on the issue of School Impact Fees. He stated that, on
behalf of the school system, they all appreciated the Board bringing this issue back again. He stated that the School Board's position is that the County needs impact fees implemented immediately, and in its entirety, as outlined, and urged the Board to consider their position.
Mr. Jerry Smith, Chairman of the Lake County School Board, appeared before the Board and stated that, at the joint meeting, the School Board unanimously endorsed this concept, and urged the Board's immediate approval of this ordinance. He also thanked the Board publicly for the Board's willingness to work cooperatively with the School Board. At this time, Mr. Smith requested, by show of hands in the audience, the support of the ordinance, by each community. He stated that the citizens of the County, along with the School Board, encourage the Board to adopt the ordinance, and that they support the Board's decision.
Mr. Mike Stearman, City Manager, City of Eustis, appeared before the Board and stated that the City is encouraging the Board to adopt the proposed ordinance, and discussed the position of the County, in relation to the present recession. He stated that the City supports the action of the Board and encourages the Board to look at all of the proposed impact fees, but in particular, the school fees.
Mr. Hurbert Hartman appeared before the Board and stated that he was present in support of the impact fees for the schools, but that he opposed the action taken by the Board to take this issue by itself, and separating it from the other impact fees that are needed in this County for the services that are needed. Mr Hartman stated that, by doing this, the County is placing a burden on the people living in the unincorporated areas to cover costs of new developments and new services that are needed as badly as the school fees are needed. He questioned the separation of the ordinances, and stated that he favors the impact fees, and requested that the Board reconsider all of the impact fees for all of the other services, immediately. He further stated that, as he
understood it, the people in the unincorporated areas are subject to a non ad valorem tax, which we do not know what that will be. Mr. Hartman requested that the Board approve, across the Board, impact fees.
Ms. Anna Cowin, former School Board member, appeared before the Board and stated that she wanted to acknowledge the fact that the Board has reviewed this issue. Ms. Cowin stated that, if there was no action taken on this issue, after all of the years of extensive study, those years of study would have to be repeated. She stated that she is of the understanding that an amendment has been proposed to the Florida Constitution, both House and Senate bills, to limit the amount of assessment increases on property. Ms. Cowin stated that, three years ago, there was a failed bond issue for schools, and the School Board sent out a poll to every registered voter in the County, as to not only why the bond issued failed, but what particular tax the voters would support. She stated that only the impact fee was supported, and that, in October, 1990, she sent a survey to every registered voter in District Two, with the people supporting the impact fee. The people further indicated that they do not want less services, and they wanted at least the same services that they were receiving, or more, for schools. Ms. Cowin urged the Board to reconsider the issue of the placement of a school impact fee, even if it is gradual, so that we are not completely dependent on one source of revenue, until there is a funding source to support our needs in education.
Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, representing primarily the development interest of the County, appeared before the Board, not to oppose the school impact fees, but to discuss the fact that impact fees can only be used for capital construction, and can only charge new development its pro-rata share of its impact on the infrastructure of the level of service. She stated that there is no amount shown as to the deficiency, and that impact fees cannot fund the deficiencies that already exist. She further stated that, although
the case law does not specifically put this into the equation, the educational impact fee issues, where she has been involved, have indicated a time frame in which that deficiency will be made up, with the suggested time frame being 3-5 years. Ms. Bonifay stated that most everyone was in favor of the impact fees, as indicated by the surveys, but with the idea that it would affect only the new development, but the deficiency will have to be addressed.
Mr. David Connolly, City Commissioner of Leesburg, appeared before the Board and stated that the City of Leesburg fully supports the School Board Impact Fee Ordinance, and wanted this to be part of the record.
Ms. Lustgarten stated that no action was needed by the Board tonight, and that a second public hearing on this issue will be held May 21, 1991, at 7:30 p.m.
Commr. Bakich stated that he supports the school impact fees, recognizing the money that this will generate for the school system on an annual basis. At this time, he indicated that County staff is looking at mechanisms that may assist in the calculation of impact fees, in relation to families moving into a new home, or moving into a home previously owned.
Discussion occurred regarding the issue of paying impact fees on new dwellings, and not paying them on the older dwellings, with Commr. Hanson stating that the impact fees can be placed on the new dwellings, which will create a new demand for houses that are already in place, and that, in effect, will increase the property taxes of these houses.
Commr. Swartz stated, for the record, that an approximate revenue to be received, if this ordinance is enacted, will be one million dollars countywide.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.
DONALD B. BAILEY, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK