The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Tuesday, March 17, 1992, at 6:20 p.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Courthouse, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Michael J. Bakich, Chairman; C. W. "Chick" Gregg; Richard Swartz; and Catherine Hanson. Commr. Bailey was not present due to minor surgery performed earlier in the day. Others present were: Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney; Peter F. Wahl, County Manager; Ava Kronz, Assistant to the County Manager; Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk; City Officials from the City of Fruitland Park; and Ms. Jerri Blair and Mr. Gary Cooney, Attorneys for the City of Fruitland Park.
CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS/LANDFILLS/MUNICIPALITIES
ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES/SUITS AFFECTING THE COUNTY
The Chairman, Commr. Bakich, opened the meeting.
Mr. Gary Cooney, Attorney for the City of Fruitland Park, stated that the meeting this date was for the purpose of discussing the solid waste tipping fee inequity and the disparity in tipping fees at the incinerator, which range from $20.00 to $40.00 per ton. He stated that what they would like to see come out of this meeting today, or a series of meetings if that is what it takes, is an agreement between the Board and the City of Fruitland Park that there was a past inequity and that there will be a future inequity if they do not take any action; that they will agree to jointly develop a percentage for a formula to calculate the percentage of the inequity; and that they will institute mandatory collection and mandatory assessment and direct the County Attorney, Ms. Lustgarten, to draft and submit to the Board those ordinances and adopt them as soon as possible; that they follow through with the collection process this year, so that they can enact it in 1993; that they calculate past overcharges at the incinerator and give
some method for receiving credit or a refund for them; and, regardless of how the fee comes out, that they set a fee to make sure that the system does not go down.
Ms. Lustgarten, County Attorney, upon being questioned about whether the Board has to follow certain guidelines, stated that the Board has already taken the statutory steps that are necessary to initiate the issue of non-ad valorem assessments, should they choose to go forward with it. She stated, however, that other options are available, which she noted.
Commr. Swartz commented regarding the fact that city officials do not have confidence that the Board is going to enact the necessary ordinances or assessments to remove the issue of inequity that exists between those residents that have collection versus those that do not. He stated that the Board needs to (1) arrive at a situation where there is no inequity, which requires action by the Board and (2) that he would assume the people of the County want the lowest cost for disposal that the County can reasonably get, which is what this Board is trying to do. He stated that they need to separate the concept of mandatory collection from assessment, noting that there is no requirement in the interlocal agreement that they signed or anything else that requires the County to do both - it says that they will do one or the other. He stated that if they can come out of these negotiations with anything that provides some relief to the taxpayers of Lake County for disposal of solid waste, that he will vote for an assessment for solid waste disposal in the unincorporated area. He stated that he does not see any other way of doing it.
It was noted that Commr. Swartz intended for his suggestion to pertain to solid waste disposal and recycling only - not to collection.
Commr. Bakich stated that he has always supported mandatory collection and feels that the County is trying to put in place a mechanism whereby it will build a foundation for a better solid waste system in Lake County, at a lower fee than what the Board was
going to approve at the meeting that was held at the Agricultural Center on July 11, 1991.
A brief discussion occurred regarding the hours of operation of the transfer stations in the County and the fact that they are not open during hours that are reasonable for working people, to
which Commr. Swartz responded that in the proposal he is going to make there will be enough funding to allow the transfer stations to be open during reasonable hours.
Further discussion occurred regarding the mandatory collection issue, at which time Commr. Gregg stated, as he has stated before, that the cities were going to poll the various members and decide whether or not they were going to charge on a per household basis, and that the Board has yet to receive an answer. He stated they are all of the opinion that the disposal inequity issue has to be addressed, but he has a problem with trying to do door-to-door collection in some of the unincorporated areas of the County, however, feels that the County does have to provide some kind of convenient hours for the transfer stations, to enable people to use them. He stated that, as far as disposal costs is concerned, before June of this year, the Board is going to have to come up with a system where every house in the County is paying for disposal.
Mr. Ron White, Mayor, City of Fruitland Park, stated part of the city's frustration is that, from the very inception of the Lake County Waste-to-Energy-Facility, there was never a master plan, with a time limit as to when the various stages of collection or imposition on county residents would be in effect, and they have been waiting impatiently to see the Board take action on that issue.
Commr. Swartz stated that if the intention of the City of Fruitland Park, by filing suit against the County, is to put pressure on the Board to take action, they can put no greater pressure on the Board than what it already has on it and, secondly, if their other goal is to obtain a reasonable disposal rate for
their citizens, then he feels the Board is taking every practical course of action that it can.
Commr. Gregg stated that, at the present time, they are talking about $65.00 per ton for a total solid waste system, not just an incinerator, and that it is also going to include closure cost of an existing landfill.
Discussion occurred regarding how the County plans to handle medical waste coming into the County, at which time Commr. Bakich stated that the County is presently addressing that issue but does not know how they are going to handle it, at this time.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether the City of Fruitland Park would be willing to accept special assessment versus mandatory collection, for disposal only, to which Mr. White, Mayor, responded that he cannot commit to it at this time - that it will take more study on his part.
Mr. Charlie Boatwright, City of Fruitland Park, questioned how the County is going to handle rental properties, such as mobile home parks, to which Commr. Swartz responded that he believes they will be able to continue to enjoy the collection function they presently enjoy, which he noted is the beauty of not forcing them into a system whereby all of a sudden the County causes them to have somebody else come in, at what might be a higher rate. He stated they will pay their disposal function just like everybody else.
Mr. Boatwright then questioned how the small trailer parks, where one stays six months out of the year will be handled, due to the fact that those individuals are staying on lots that they do not own, to which he was informed that it would be assessed to the park owner.
Commr. Bakich reiterated the fact that the Board is working as expeditiously as it can to resolve this issue and requested help from the cities, between now and June of 1992, to formulate a better program.
Mr. White, Mayor, City of Fruitland Park, thanked the Board for the cooperative attitude displayed this date.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
MICHAEL J. BAKICH, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK