The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, June 15, 1995, at 7:00 p.m., in the Astor Community Building, Astor, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Rhonda H. Gerber, Chairman; William "Bill" H. Good, Vice Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell; Catherine C. Hanson; and G. Richard Swartz, Jr. Others present were: Sue Whittle, Interim County Manager; Bruce Duncan, Assistant County Attorney; Jim Stivender, Jr., Director of Public Services; Craig Haun, Senior Director, Fire & Emergency Services; Dave Warren, Tourist Development Director; Bill Compton, Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services; Ava Kronz, BCC Office Manager; Sue Michaelsen, Executive Secretary; and Marlene S. Foran, Deputy Clerk.
The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance was led by Mr. George Copeland, Astor Community Association President.
Commr. Gerber (District 1) opened the meeting and introduced Commr. Good (District 2); Commr. Swartz (District 3); Commr. Hanson (District 4), Commr. Cadwell (District 5), Ms. Sue Whittle, Interim County Manager; and Mr. Bruce Duncan, Assistant County Attorney.
It was noted that, in addition to the department heads and staff members, there were approximately 132 individuals from the local community present.
At this time, Commr. Gerber turned the meeting over to Commr. Hanson, District 4 Commissioner.
PRESENTATION ON COUNTY ROADS
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Services, presented a brief overview of completed, current, and future County road projects in the Astor area. Mr. Stivender distributed a hand-out prior to the start of the meeting listing completed and current projects (1991-1995), future projects, and the costs associated with each project in District 4.
Mr. Stivender responded to questions and comments presented by the audience in regard to Dexter Road, Alcove Road, funding from the U.S. Forestry Service, additional parking at the Butler Street Boat Ramp, speed limit on State Road 40 through the Town of Astor, paving of roads in campsites, and flooding on Fox Road.
Commr. Hanson responded to a question in regard to the speed limit on State Road 40 and stated that the County had previously petitioned the State of Florida to reduce the speed limit on State Road 40 and were rejected. She stated that the County Manager would again petition the State to reduced said speed limit.
In response to a question in regard to paving of roads in the campsites, Mr. Stivender explained the special assessment program that was in place for the purpose of paving roads, which requires fifty-five (55%) percent participation by the homeowners. He stated that Ms. Cindy Heffler, Public Services Department, would mail a petition to those who wished to receive information on the special assessment program.
UPDATE ON TOURISM DEPARTMENT
Mr. Dave Warren, Tourist Development Director, presented a brief overview of the projects that the Tourism Office was currently involved with and explained that revenue for the Tourism Office was derived from the two (2%) percent resort tax. He explained that the Tourism Office was presently working with a Task Force that has been established to determine the feasible of relocating the State of Florida Agriculture Museum in Lake County. He stated that they were also talking with the Metro Orlando Area Sports Commission in regard to bringing sports activities to Lake County, and were involved with the planning of the Florida Sesquicentennial Celebration scheduled on October 28, 1995. He encouraged the residents of Astor to work with the Tourism Office in promoting activities in the Astor area, and noted that brochures were available in the back of the room for those who wished to have a brochure. He briefly discussed the operation of the Welcome Center and stated that 21,000 people, from the United States and 42 different countries, have visited the Welcome Center. At this time, Mr. Warren invited all those present to visit the Welcome Center.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN LAKE COUNTY
Commr. Cadwell presented a brief update on the activities that were in progress in regard to economic development in Lake County and noted that information was available in the back of the room in regard to Lake County expansion and retention activities over the past year. He explained that Mr. Alvin Jackson, Economic Development Coordinator, had the responsibility of bringing new companies to Lake County, as well as providing assistance to existing companies in the County.
At this time, the Board responded to questions and comments presented by the audience.
Mr. Dan Connolly, owner of Astor Marine, discussed the process in which he has been involved in to install a $5,000 canape at his place of business to provide shade for his employees, and the costs associated with said process. He further discussed ingress and egress to his property, and a requirement that he close off one of his entrances.
Commr. Hanson responded to Mr. Connolly's concerns and stated that she has requested that Mr. Jack Bragg, Chief Building Official, review permitting regulations and consider an exemption to the Windload Standards for a small structure of minimum size. She requested that Mr. Stivender discuss with Mr. Connolly the issue of ingress and egress to his property.
DISCUSSION OF FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES
Chief Craig Haun, Senior Director, Fire & Emergency Services, presented a brief overview of the functions of Fire and Emergency Services. It was noted that reports on the Lake County Fire/Rescue Department and Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services were available in the back of the room for review. Chief Haun explained that Fire and Emergency Services consists of the following areas: Fire/Rescue, Emergency Management, Animal Control, and North Lake Ambulance Contract with Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services. He briefly discussed major changes that have occurred over the last three years, and explained that the department would be presenting a Volunteer Recruitment Program that would help the County to recruit good quality volunteers to provide fire/rescue protection. At this time, Chief Haun introduced Retired Battalion Chief John Ellis, Astor, and Retired Battalion Chief Wilber Diehl, Mid-Florida Lakes, who were present in the audience and have played key roles in fire protection throughout Lake County.
Chief Haun referred to the Fire/Rescue Department report and discussed the emergency responses from August 1994 to June 1995. He indicated that there have been 118 fire and rescue calls, the average response time to said calls has been 5.2 minutes, and the number of firefighters to respond to said calls was 3.5 people. He discussed the apparatus summary and stated that an Engine 111 1967 Ward Lafrance Pumper and a 1952 Woods Truck had been relocated, and a Tanker 11 1983 Ford/Walker Tanker had been added to the Astor fleet.
Chief Haun and the Board responded to questions and comments presented by the audience.
Ms. Sue Whittle, Interim County Manager, stated that the Board has requested that she address how to enhance the volunteer service in Lake County. She explained that an Incentive Program for Volunteers would be presented in the budget for Fiscal Year 1995/96, and would include the recruitment of a Deputy Chief with the primary responsibility of working with the volunteer service. She stated that the Board was present tonight to listen to the concerns of the residents of Astor.
Commr. Swartz provided a brief history of the changes in the fire system in Lake County since 1989 and stated that the Board was committed to having a strong volunteer based fire department in Lake County. He stated that the Board also understands the needs in some areas for full-time and part-time paid firefighters. He stated that the Board has created a Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board with the responsibility to advise, through the Fire Chief, how to best make a volunteer system with paid individuals work best with the fire system. He stated that they have upgraded equipment in a number of areas and, if the County has made a mistake in the Astor area with regard to equipment, the Board would review the location of said equipment. He stated that the Board gave Chief Haun authority for a number of actions as Fire Chief, in part because of recommendations that came from a study which addressed all issues of fire protection. He stated that the Board would address the concerns of the people in Astor.
Discussion occurred in regard to the removal of the 1967 Ward LaFrance Pumper from the Astor fire station, and it was noted that the County Manager was presently reviewing the rationale for removing the apparatus from the Astor fleet.
Discussion occurred in regard to the Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board; at which time it was suggested that the makeup of the Advisory Board be reviewed and that a representative from the Astor area be appointed to said Board. Commr. Swartz stated that the Advisory Board's role was to provide direction, and policy review through the Fire Chief for operation of the department and, if said Board was not successfully carrying out that role, the Advisory Board's role should be modified and may need to have more direct access to the Board of County Commissioners.
Mr. Bill Compton, Chief Executive Officer, Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services, representing Florida Hospital Waterman, appeared before those present to discuss Emergency Medical Services for Lake County. It was noted that a hand-out was distributed prior to the start of the meeting, which included a map indicating zones and unit locations, annual statistics from 1993 to the present time, and May 1995 Field Statistics. Mr. Compton presented a brief history of the ambulance service for Lake County, what they were doing, what they have done, and what they were planning to do upon approval of the Board of County Commissioners. He referred to a map located in the brochure indicating the Florida Regional Emergency Medical Service Lake County zones and unit locations and explained that the Board of County Commissioners contracts with Florida Hospital Waterman to provide seven (7) advance life support paramedical ambulances in the north end of Lake County; however, seven (7) ambulances have not been sufficient, and Florida Hospital Waterman has added an additional two (2) ambulances without requesting additional funding. He discussed the First Responder Program through the Fire/Rescue Service and explained that the Lake County Fire Department responds in conjunction with Florida Regional Emergency Medical Service to emergency scenes with First Responder vehicles of trained Emergency Medical Technicians to work as First Responders to get to the call before the ambulance arrives. He stated that the fire/rescue system countywide supplements the Emergency Medical Service system to provide a total Emergency Medical Services system. He stated that the goal of Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services was to provide efficient patient care and, subject to approval from the Board, they were moving toward putting a Quick Response vehicle in Astor with paramedics that remain in Astor and treat patients at homes and at accident scenes within the system. At this time, Mr. Compton responded to questions and comments from those present in the audience.
Commr. Hanson proposed that the County Manager and herself meet with the residents of Astor in a few weeks to discuss the answers to the concerns expressed this date.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
RHONDA H. GERBER, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK