The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Wednesday, November 8, 1995, at 7:00 p.m., in a joint meeting between the Board and the City of Fruitland Park, at The Casino, Fruitland Park, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Rhonda H. Gerber, Chairman; William "Bill" H. Good, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson; and Welton G. Cadwell. Commr. G. Richard Swartz, Jr. was not present, due to another commitment. Others present were: Sue Whittle, Interim County Manager; Sanford (Sandy) A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Ava Kronz, BCC Office Manager; Sarah LaMarche, Budget Director; Jim Stivender, Jr., Director, Public Services; Don Post, Director, Solid Waste; David Crowe, Hazardous Waste Management Coordinator; Paul Bergmann, Director, Planning and Development; Craig Haun, Director, Fire and Emergency Services; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
Those present representing the City of Fruitland Park were Ron White, Mayor; Bob Proctor, City Manager; Charlie Boatwright, City Commissioner; Greg Sumners, City Commissioner; and Linda Rodrick, City Clerk.
Mayor White introduced those dignitaries present from the City of Fruitland Park and welcomed the members of the Board of County Commissioners to the City.
Commr. Gerber, Chairman, Board of County Commissioners, introduced those members of the Board and staff who were present.
Mayor White thanked the Board for the cooperation his staff had received from the County and its staff. He stated that the City was delighted with the County sharing the recreation funds, at which time he indicated what said funds had been used for. He noted that the City had recently created a Recreation Committee, to establish its short and long-term goals.
Mr. Happy Casson, a local resident, questioned when the Fairgrounds would be moved.
Commr. Hanson stated that a decision has not been made, regarding same, to date. She stated that a Feasibility Study would be coming before the Board in the near future, to develop an Expo Center at Hwys. 19 and 27, and, if that decision moves forward, then a decision will be made to move the Fairgrounds to that location, as well. She stated that the plan is to renovate the current Fairgrounds and make it useable for small activities. She stated that she did not think it would be eliminated, when the Fairgrounds is relocated. It was noted that the Feasibility Study would probably not be forthcoming until January of 1996.
Commr. John Gunter, City Commissioner, City of Fruitland Park, brought up for discussion the issue of First Response and whether the City of Fruitland Park would be getting any of the excess taxes that were collected and given to the County Fire Department.
Commr. Cadwell stated that monies were set aside, in this year's budget, to reimburse those cities that are providing First Response. He noted that the League of Cities bought into the formula, however, the matter still needs to be taken back to the various Boards, for action.
Mayor White stated that the City of Fruitland Park had some very definite concerns regarding the issue of First Response, noting that he was informed that the average response time for Fruitland Park was 8.27 minutes. He stated that, when an individual's brain is dead in four minutes or less, that is not satisfactory.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the League of Cities has created a Tax Equity Committee and, when said Committee is ready to sit down and prioritize issues and discuss inequities, they will be addressed.
Mr. Ed McCann, Division Director, Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services, appeared before those present stating that he had been working with Commr. Proctor, during the last two months, on the issue of response times in the City of Fruitland Park area. He stated that 8 minutes is an ideal time, noting that it is a national standard in an urban setting. He stated that 87% of the time First Response has come to Fruitland Park in less than 8 minutes. He stated that he would be meeting with Chief Craig Haun, Director, Fire and Emergency Services, in approximately one week, noting that they were going to try an experiment for approximately three months. He stated that they will see how it works and then take it a step further from there. He stated that his firm had just ordered some external defibrillators, which he anticipated would arrive in 90 days. He noted that the County now has 14 to 15 of them, countywide.
A brief discussion occurred regarding how Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services was financed and how said funds were expended, at which time Mayor White requested a breakdown of same.
Discussion occurred regarding the transportation problem that Lake County is faced with, at which time Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Director, Public Services, stated that the County is in the final stages of a study, where County staff is looking at all routes and doing traffic studies at all key intersections, from Hwy. 44 to the Marion County line, and projecting out for the next 25 years. He stated that there will be meetings in Lady Lake, Fruitland Park, and Leesburg, during the process, and that some time in the Spring the County should know whether or not to go to step two.
Mr. Stivender briefly discussed the by-pass corridor and noted that some presentations are scheduled to be made in Lake County, in March or April of this year, regarding the whole corridor. He then answered questions from several individuals who were present in the audience regarding various roads in the County and what would be transpiring regarding same.
Mayor White informed those present what the City of Fruitland Park has been doing with funding they recently received. He stated that the County has been cooperating greatly in the recreation department, noting that the City of Fruitland Park had recently purchased, for $26,000, a parcel of property where the City will construct a swimming pool. He stated that a portion of the property is going to be set aside for a handball court and that, in the center of said parcel, there is going to be a large playing field, to be used for soccer or football. He stated that this year's recreation money is going into The Casino, noting that the City had already installed a new floor in the building. He stated that the building was being renovated inside and out and that, within the week, work would begin on a project on Dixie Avenue. He briefly discussed the fact that a sidewalk was being installed along the highway, from Burton Street to Palm Street, and that the City would like to continue the sidewalk from Palm Street to the Wal-Mart entrance. He stated that the City had entered into a contract for the first portion of it at an excellent price and questioned whether the Board would cooperate with the City in completing the project.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that the City check into the Benefit District, set up through the Impact Fee Committee, for said funding.
Mr. Stivender interjected that funding for the sidewalk program comes out of gas tax monies, at which time he noted that the County budgeted $100,000 this year, countywide, for same, however, it has to be spread out over five districts.
Mayor White stated that the City of Fruitland Park would be receiving $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds, to rebuild Palm Street. He stated that it would be widened and brought up to current standards, to handle drainage; that a sidewalk would be installed down one side; and that the water system throughout the neighborhood would be upgraded.
Commr. Gerber thanked everyone present for coming to the meeting.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
RHONDA H. GERBER, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK