The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in a special joint meeting with the City of Eustis on Thursday, March 19, 1992, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Courthouse, Tavares, Florida. County Commissioners present at the meeting were: Michael J. Bakich, Chairman; Richard Swartz; Catherine Hanson; C. W. "Chick" Gregg; and Don Bailey. City of Eustis Commissioners present were: Buck Dandridge, Mayor; Homer Royals, Vice Mayor; Evelyn Smith; Buddy Buie; and Theodis Bob. Others present were Lewis Stone, City Attorney; Michael Stearman, City Manager; James Myers, Finance Director/City Clerk; Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney; Peter F. Wahl, County Manager; Ava Kronz, Assistant to the County Manager; and Marlene Foran, Deputy Clerk.
SUITS AFFECTING THE COUNTY/MUNICIPALITIES/LANDFILLS
Commr. Bakich opened the joint meeting between the Board of County Commissioners and the City of Eustis regarding the City of Eustis' Intent to File Suit relating to the Lake County Solid Waste Program, at which time he presented opening comments regarding the County's total solid waste system.
Mayor Buck Dandridge stated that the intent of the City of Eustis is to identify and resolve the problems regarding the solid waste issue, and they feel this can be accomplished. At this time, Mayor Dandridge introduced the City of Eustis Commissioners; Mr. Lewis Stone, City Attorney; and Mr. Mike Stearman, City Manager.
Mr. Lewis Stone, Attorney, stated that the City of Eustis is keenly aware that the incinerator is only one part of the integrated County solid waste system, and they are optimistic about the ability to resolve the differences between the City of Eustis and the County. Mr. Stone addressed the various issues involved, with the first being the inequity issue, at which time he presented what the City of Eustis believes would be a fair and workable way
in which to resolve the inequity that is present. He stated that the City of Eustis has been withholding twenty-seven percent (27%) of their bills received, to an accumulated amount that would compensate the City of Eustis for the amount that they believe they have overpaid. The City of Eustis is proposing that, for the time being, they keep the monies that have been withheld to-date; however, beginning with the next billing, instead of withholding twenty-seven percent (27%), they will withhold twenty-one percent (21%). He further stated that the City of Eustis is proposing that the City and County staffs be directed to work together for the purpose of making a determination as to what the number should be; at which time, the percentage would be adjusted to a workable number. If it is determined, at that time, that the City of Eustis has withheld too much money, they would issue a check to the County for the amount over withheld; and if they have not withheld enough money, the County will issue a check to the City for the amount they have under withheld. He further stated that the next billing will be based on the determination of what the percentage should be. He stated that in terms of ultimate resolution of the inequity issue, the City of Eustis would not be penalized in the sense of having to pay interest and would receive releases for having withheld the monies. He stated that the percentage that is determined by the County and City will continue until such time as mandatory assessments are in place, at which time the City of Eustis will pay the appropriate amount based on the mandatory assessment.
Mr. Stone addressed the mandatory collection/mandatory disposal assessment issue and stated that the City of Eustis has reviewed the contract, and they are aware that the contract is an either/or contract. He stated that it is the desire of the City of Eustis to have mandatory collection and a mandatory disposal fee, and noted the City's view point on this issue.
Mr. Stone addressed the issue of the Interlocal Agreement and stated that it is the desire of the City of Eustis that the
agreement be rescinded, and noted the City's reasons for rescinding said agreement.
Mr. Stone further stated that, if the County and City of Eustis can reach terms on these issues today, they would like to have another meeting scheduled in approximately 30 days, and within that period of time, the two staffs would be instructed to work toward establishing a formula or methodology in determining the appropriate tipping fee percentage, and they would provide a memo of understanding or an interlocal agreement, whichever was deemed appropriate.
Mayor Dandridge asked for comments from the City Commissioners, at which time each Commissioner expressed his/her support and comments regarding the proposal as it was presented by Mr. Stone.
At this time, Commr. Swartz stated that he recognizes the inequity that has been created by the system and that exists for all of the citizens of Lake County who have collection and have been paying a greater share than they would have had to pay had everyone in Lake County been sharing, at some level, with the disposal cost for the solid waste system. He stated that to do what is being suggested by the City of Eustis would transfer all of the inequity to the people who live in the unincorporated area and have been paying for solid waste disposal. He further stated that he does not dispute that the inequity is present; however, the problem is one of shifting all of the inequity to just those who have paid in the unincorporated area. Commr. Swartz stated that another issue that causes him to question what is being proposed, is that had the action been taken, at the meeting on July 11, 1991, that the Cities say should have been taken, there would be no inequity today, and the citizens of Eustis would be paying $80.00 per ton to dispose of their solid waste, which is double the current $40.00 per ton. Using the twenty-one percent (21%) calculation, the citizens of Eustis would be paying approximately $60.00 more per household per year. Commr. Swartz stated that the
two issues involved are equity to the system and the cost to the citizens of Eustis.
Mr. Stone responded to Commr. Swartz's comments by saying that the proposal presented by the City of Eustis provides a better chance of resolving the inequity and dispute that exists between the City of Eustis and the Lake County Commission.
Commr. Bakich stated that he would like to request that the City of Eustis consider looking at the inequity that exists countywide, at which time each County Commissioner made comments regarding said issues.
Addressing the issues involved with the recycling program and meeting the tonnage requirements at the incinerator, Commr. Gregg stated that it is not fair to allow the Cities to receive credit for recycling, with no means of offering that same credit to the residents that are recycling in the unincorporated area. He stated that the only answer is for everyone to pay their proportionate share for disposal.
Discussion occurred regarding the Interlocal Agreement, which exists between the City of Eustis and the County, at which time Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, expressed her concern with rescinding an existing agreement, stating that the Interlocal Agreement is an agreement that has certain obligations on both sides and the County is moving forward to accomplish those obligations that have not been accomplished.
Commr. Bakich expressed his appreciation to the City of Eustis and the County for being open minded and willing to listen to the concerns of both parties.
At this time, Mr. Stone reiterated that the City of Eustis is looking for a consensus of the Board of County Commissioners that they agree to the proposal as presented today; they agree to instruct County staff to work with the City staff toward developing language that addresses the issues in said proposal; and they agree to set a date certain for a meeting to continue discussions.
It was the consensus of the Board to instructed Mr. Pete Wahl, County Manager, to prepare several tentative dates in which the City of Eustis and the County may meet to continue discussion on said issues.
On a motion by Commr. Royals, seconded by Commr. Bob and carried unanimously, the City of Eustis City Commission approved to adopt, as a formal proposal to the County, the items that have been agreed upon by the City Commissioners, and as presented by Mr. Stone. At this time, Mayor Dandridge called for a roll call.
A motion was made by Commr. Gregg and seconded by Commr. Hanson to approve the proposal as set forth by the City of Eustis addressing the percentage of inequities; and agree to instruct County staff to work with the City of Eustis staff toward developing a formula.
Under discussion, Mr. Stone asked for clarification that Commr. Gregg's motion included the following: City of Eustis will keep the twenty-seven percent (27%) withholding monies; the City will go to the twenty-one percent (21%) withholding money; staffs are directed to work toward developing a real number and a formula within 45 days; however, as soon as a real number is determined, based upon the application of the facts to the formula, the balance will be adjusted; and the County is committing to address, within the window of opportunity this summer, either mandatory assessment or collection. At this time, Commr. Gregg responded "yes".
Commr. Swartz asked for a clarification from the City of Eustis if the percentage to be determined is going to take into account all of the people in the unincorporated area, to which Mr. Stone responded that, in determining the correct number, they are to consider all available units countywide, which will include residences in the incorporated and unincorporated areas.
On a motion by Commr. Gregg, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously, the Board called for the question.
The Chairman called for a vote on Commr. Gregg's original motion, which carried by a 4 - 1 vote.
Commr. Swartz voted "No".
CONTRACTS, LEASES AND AGREEMENTS/LANDFILLS
Mr. Pete Wahl, County Manager, appeared before the Board to present the request to change the implementation date of April 1, 1992 to May 1, 1992, regarding the increase of the tipping fees with the solid waste disposal fees, to allow the collection agencies to implement the new system throughout their billing process.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Gregg and carried, the Board approved the request to move the implementation date from April 1, 1992 to May 1, 1992.
Commr. Bailey was not present for the discussion or vote.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 10:25 a.m.
MICHAEL J. BAKICH, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK