The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Monday, September 27, 1993, at 2:00 p.m., in the Human Resources Conference Room (Room 508), Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: G. Richard Swartz, Jr., Chairman; Catherine Hanson, Vice Chairman; Rhonda H. Gerber; Don Bailey; and Welton G. Cadwell. Industrial Development Authority members present at the meeting were: Denise Anastasia; and Claude Smoak. Tourist Development Council members present at the meeting were: Dave Warren Tourist Development Director; Robert Beucher; Steve Ward; Bob Zahradnik; Sana Henderson, and Jack Sargent. Others present were: Richard Tesch, President of the Economic Development Commission and Secretary of the Industrial Development Authority; Alvin Jackson, Industrial Development Authority Coordinator; Peter F. Wahl, County Manager; Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney; Mike Anderson, Director of Facilities & Capital Improvements; Mike Stearman, City Manager, City Manager, City of Eustis; Leslie Little, Economic Director, City of Leesburg; Larry Lennox, South Lake Development Council; Sam Fenton, Editor, Lake Sentinel; and Marlene S. Foran, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Swartz opened the joint meeting between the Board of County Commissioners, the Industrial Development Authority and the Tourist Development Council and introduced the Lake County Board of County Commissioners that were present.
Commr. Bailey welcomed those present and stated that the joint meeting today was the first step in the direction of an Economic Summit, and the commitment toward economic diversity for Lake County. At this time, Commr. Bailey introduced the members of the Industrial Development Authority; Mr. Alvin Jackson, the new Industrial Development Authority Coordinator; County staff members; and members of the press that were present in the audience.
Commr. Hanson introduced the members of the Tourist Development Council that were present.
Mr. Rick Tesch, President, Economic Development Commission (EDC), provided an overview of the Competitive Assessment Study, and stated that the Economic Development Commission put together a regional effort to encourage county planning on a regional basis. The effort began in Seminole County and developed into an Orange County effort. Orange County agreed to provide funding for a regional study and offered the counties of Seminole, Lake and Osceola a partnership in developing an overall economic development plan. Orange County agreed to pay for the majority of the expense to hire Real Estate Research Consultants to perform an area wide regional study, and offered each county the opportunity to buy into the program, with an analysis of their own to provide a starting point for the development of an economic development action agenda. He explained that, in today's market place, economic development is a government private partnership due to complex processes, and the critical need for infrastructure, and state and local policy is necessary to back up government support on a predictable basis that supersedes elections and staff changes. An Economic Development Element is required in the Comprehensive Plan to make that policy materialize. The atmosphere is now right to affect a positive change in the growth management plan to allow for consistent long term economic development policy, and from that policy, an action plan can be developed, a consensus can be reached, and a recommendation for adoption of policy editions can be implemented.
Mr. Owen M. Beitsch, Executive Vice President, Real Estate Research Consultants (RERC), stated that three studies were completed over a period of ten weeks, which RERC was the primary consultant,. The Mid-Florida Regulatory Environment analysis was for the purpose of evaluating public policy and regulatory measures within Lake County in order to determine deterrents and disincentives for economic development, and to recommend approaches
designed to advance the County's economic development competitiveness through strategic planning and regulations as well as planning initiatives. The Perspective on the Mid-Florida Regional Economy was the most comprehensive view that has ever been completed on the dynamics and the various inputs that relate to the economies in the Mid-Florida region. The third component, the Competitive Assessment of the Mid-Florida Region & Target Industry Analysis, ties the Mid-Florida Regulatory Environment and the Perspective on the Mid-Florida Regional Economy together and points out the specific opportunities that may be available in a coordinated effort in Lake County.
Mr. Beitsch stated that the slide presentation this date will address and identify key growth data on the Orlando Metropolitan area and compare said date with other regions of Florida; provide a descriptive of some of the fundamental costs of starting and operating a business in the Orlando metropolitan area; discuss major labor market issues, since human resource and human capital is the most important element in any economic development program; discuss operating conditions for this regional bases on other regions; and discuss marketing economic development efforts being presented by EDC in terms of specific target industry groups in this area.
At this time, Mr. Beitsch presented the slide presentation alluded to above and specifically addressed Metro Area comparison statistics in regard to population and growth trends; business costs; labor market; operating environment (regulatory constraints, infrastructure); and Image/Perception of the Region.
Mr. Beitsch stated that the five major areas, that present themselves as issues, are eduction and training; policies and regulations; infrastructure in place necessary to support the businesses that have been targeted for recruitment and growth; strong policies not only for recruitment but for the retention and expansion of existing business in the community; and the
establishment of a program of incentives and marketing that need to be supportive and adopted.
Mr. Beitsch stated that the range of subjects alluded to above loans itself to debating the issues, and preparing a list of priority actions which Lake County needs to consider in order to make the most of the opportunities that exist in Lake County. The list of actions need to be collected into a Policy Document and incorporated into the Lake County Comprehensive Plan as an Economic Element to assure that said issues have the sanction of the elected leadership, to provide them recognition, and to send the signal that economic development does have a priority in Lake County.
Discussion occurred regarding the feasibility of waiver of impact fees, at which time Mr. Tesch stated that energy is wasted discussing impact fees only, and the County should be looking at internal ivestment. He explained that the County should five consideration to what is the accountable return that is received, if the County chooses to invest a specific dollar amount to help a company locate in Lake County.
Mr. Beitsch explained that the variables that should be considered in evaluating whether Lake County wants a company to locate in the County, and the feasibility of providing incentives, are the number of jobs involved, the payroll associated with said jobs, the amount of capital investment, and the multiplier. He noted that impact fees are a disincentive.
Discussion occurred regarding infrastructure, at which time Mr. Claude Smoak stated that it is a policy decision whether or not Lake County is going to address upfront infrastructure in the Economic Policy statement within the Lake County Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Smoak asked Commr. Swartz, as Chairman of the Board, if the Board would accept, as a priority, to define within the Comprehensive Plan what is meant by the adoption of the first priority of this year's County Commission as industrial development. Commr. Swartz responded that the Board has
conceptually made the commitment that infrastructure will be in place at the Lake County Central Park. He explained that the Future Land Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan broadly designates urban development, which is preventing the Board from making that same type of choice in other parts of Lake County, and that it is financially impossible to provide the infrastructure for all of the areas. The only way to provide infrastructure is to identify areas more reasonably. Mr. Wahl interjected that water for the Lake County Central Park has been included in the budget for Fiscal Year 1993-94, and explained that discussion has occurred with the City of Leesburg in terms of the extension of wastewater to the industrial park and those who are interested in developing surrounding areas.
Mr. Billy Spikes stated that several cities are having difficulty extending facilities for their own city operations, and with cooperation and planning from the County, those cities could extend said facilities out into the County, making those properties available for businesses. He further suggested that the County aid business that can not obtain water systems by taking part in the testing of those businesses who do not have a central water system.
Mr. Steve Ward questioned how Lake County's congruence with the Mid-Florida white collar orientation affects how the EDC will approach Lake County versus the other counties involved, and further questioned if the problems Lake County has in education and training necessitate not only government but education being a partner in the development process through the community colleges, and vocational type training so that the County can procure some of the higher technical jobs. Mr. Tesch responded that EDC approaches the Mid-Florida area as a region with specific sites and not divided by county lines. There are major problems in the educational system throughout the region which have to be addressed. Mr. Edd Holder interjected that it is not so much of a
funding issue but a redirecting of the funding that is available through state and other levels.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Lake County School Board should be encouraged to prepare an Education Element to be included within the Lake County Comprehensive Plan. He stated that the Board offered to work with the School Board two years ago to create an Education Element; however, it is ultimately the School System that has to put together an Education Element.
Mr. Frank Bouis, Investor/Taxpayer, stated that discussion have been on Lake County getting new investment from new industries that would utilize Lake County's infrastructure, principally its existing road supply. He requested that consideration be given to the agriculture industry, and stated that Lake County has the opportunity for a real expansion of its agriculture. At this time, Mr. Bouis proposed a government private partnership between Lake County government and agriculture. He explained that state and local policies are needed to encourage the development of agriculture, and to keep the agriculture that is now present. There is a need to attract additional investment in Lake County agriculture from investors who will bring their money to Lake County. He further proposed the need for al element in the Comprehensive Plan, and a research program tailored to Lake County. He explained that the present status of Lake County's Comprehensive Plan is such that it is difficult for the lending institutions to provide financing on an agriculture enterprise due to lack of security.
Commr. Swartz encouraged Mr. Bouis, through the Agriculture Advisory Committee, to devise ways in which Lake County government can cooperate to accomplish the things that he has mentioned and encouraged those present to work in conjunction with the Agricultural Committee.
Mr. Smoak stated that, on behalf of the Industrial Development Authority, the IDA formally request authorization from the Board of
County Commissioners to work with Mr. Alvin Jackson for the purpose of preparing an action plan, and a specific amendment to the Lake County Comprehensive Plan, in regard to economic development for the Board's consideration.
Commr. Swartz suggested that an action plan be prepared to determine the direction to go from this point, noting that there is a consensus that we have an economic development that has real meaning, which will require an action plan that moves the County toward an Economic Element that is meaningful.
Mr. Tesch suggested that an action agenda be developed through the services of Mr. Jackson, and commence with an economic summit in the Spring, with a policy being presented for adoption as soon thereafter as possible. He stated that a time schedule will be prepared if that is agreeable with those present.
Commr. Hanson expressed her appreciation to the EDC for the appointment of Mr. Alvin Jackson to the position of Industrial Development Coordinator. At this time, she proposed that a resolution be drafted for the Board's consideration that states that the Board will support, and will assist in getting the Florida Raceplex in Lake County.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 4:20 p.m.
G. RICHARD SWARTZ, JR., CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK