The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Wednesday, July 30, 1997, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: William "Bill" H. Good, Chairman; G. Richard Swartz, Jr., Vice Chairman; Rhonda H. Gerber; Catherine C. Hanson; and Welton G. Cadwell. Others present were: Sue Whittle, County Manager; George E. Knupp, Jr., Sheriff; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Sarah LaMarche, Director of Budget; Kevin M. McDonald, Senior Budget Analyst; Tracy L. Zeller, Senior Budget Analyst; Julia A. Wilson, Budget Analyst; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
The Chairman opened the meeting.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, suggested that the Board address some issues that had come up during the previous budget workshops, which included some enhancement issues and some requests for additional funding, and noted, for informational purposes, that the Museum budget had been reduced by $23,140.00.
GRANT WRITER AND PUBLIC RELATIONS ADVOCATE
Commr. Hanson brought up for discussion the issue of obtaining a Grant Writer and a Public Relations Advocate, noting that she felt the County needed a Grant Writer, to write more grants specifically related to state government, to get dollars that the County would traditionally get automatically, and a Public Relations Advocate, who would work largely in Tallahassee, to make sure that the County gets the dollars, once the grants are written. She stated that she felt the County was going to have to be very aggressive in both of these areas and that the dollars invested will more than pay for themselves, in the dollars they will return to the County.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he would not support the request this year, because of cuts the Board is going to have to make, however, noted that, if there are certain grants that the County feels are important, but does not have the capability to acquire, there are companies that will do it for the County, for a fee. He stated that that is an option that can be used.
Commr. Swartz stated that he concurred with Commr. Cadwell, noting that it is going to be a tight budget year and the Board is going to have to make some difficult cuts. He stated that he felt, at the present time, staff was doing an excellent job in obtaining grants, however, suggested that the Board ask the County Manager to make sure that staff was exploring and applying for all grants the County feels are appropriate and might be available and, if the County reaches a point where it feels it cannot make those applications, or cannot competitively obtain the grants, because staff is overworked, or they do not have the expertise, then the County can make some adjustments, either within staff, or with some additional personnel. He stated that, until such time, he could not see the County hiring someone to do said task.
Commr. Good stated that he felt it was a risk for the County to hire a grant writer, however, felt it could be addressed this year, with a management directive that it is something the Board wants staff to be actively involved in.
Ms. Whittle informed the Board that staff would analyze the issue and bring some information back to the Board at a later date. SOUTH LAKE COUNTY FOUNDATION
Commr. Hanson informed the Board that Mr. Jim O'Neil, Chief Executive Officer, South Lake County Foundation, suggested that the Board grant a $30,000.00 match to the South Lake County Foundation, for the Lake County Resource Center for Nonprofit Organizations, and that she felt it would be an opportunity for the Board to bring dollars into the County for the nonprofit organizations.
Commr. Good stated that he felt it was a good idea, however, did not feel the County had the funds to put into the program, at this time.
COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE COMMITTEE
Commr. Good informed the Board that the County had received a request from Dr. Tully Patrowicz, on behalf of the Comprehensive Health Care Committee, to fund an Indigent Health Care Needs and Services Study, in the amount of $12,500.00.
Commr. Swartz stated that he discussed the matter with Dr. Patrowicz and informed him that he felt the appropriate place to obtain the funds was through the hospital districts, noting that that is where indigent care funding comes from.
ASTOR SUB-STATION FOR LAKE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
A request from Sheriff George Knupp for funding, in the amount of $6,300.00, for office space, for a substation in Astor, was brought up for discussion, at which time Commr. Swartz stated that, if the Sheriff felt the Astor substation was a priority item, he could enter into a lease rental agreement, with the funds to be taken out of the funding that is provided to him, rather than his submitting a separate budget request.
Sheriff Knupp appeared before the Board stating that the request should be under a separate billing, noting that the Board is supposed to be responsible for any bills for office space that the County receives from the Sheriff's Department. He stated that it is not supposed to be part of his budget and never will be, according to the Florida Statutes. He stated that he was returning to the County $2.6 million in excess fees, which he noted is more than his overall budget request of $1.8 million, and could not understand why the Board would not approve his request for $6,300.00, for the substation. He stated that it is the Board's responsibility to see that he has the money he needs to run the Sheriff's Department and keep people safe in their communities.
Commr. Hanson stated that she had asked Ms. Sarah LaMarche, Director of Budget, to put together some figures for her to review, regarding the Sheriff's Budget, from as far back as 1988. She stated that it pulls out the Revenues for the Sheriff's Department, which she noted is what offsets the true costs for Law Enforcement. Copies of said handout were distributed to the Board, for their perusal.
Sheriff Knupp addressed the issue of response times for his deputies, which he noted the general public is extremely unhappy about, and the fact that he needs additional deputies. He stated that all he can do is ask for them and, if the Board refuses to grant his request, he will have to take the matter to the Governor.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Sheriff will get some of the funds that he is requesting, it just will not be as much as he is requesting. He noted that he will get 93% of the available new dollars, not counting what the Board ends up having to do, with regard to the Courts System, the Tax Collector, and the Property Appraiser.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10:25 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for five minutes.
FOLLOW-UP ISSUES (CONT'D.)
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, informed the Board that, during the recess, the Budget Office staff distributed replacement pages for Pages 18, 19 and 20 of the Budget Book, as well as the final copy of the Museum proposal, for the Board's perusal. She stated that they also supplied some additional information that was requested, regarding Library Services.
HUMAN SERVICES GRANT-IN-AID FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS FOR
Commr. Good noted, for informational purposes, that the Board received a request from Ms. Allison Thall, Human Services Manager, Community Services, for Grant-In-Aid Funding for FY 1997-98, in the amount of $97,650.00.
It was noted that the bottom line dollar amount was the same, it was just different allocations.
FOLLOW-UP ISSUES (CONT'D.)
Commr. Cadwell questioned, for clarification purposes, whether the reduced tax rate (4.805 mills)would give the Sheriff everything that he was requesting. He noted that it would not be a roll-back rate; but, it would be lower than it presently is.
Ms. LaMarche stated that it would give the Sheriff what he was requesting, however, would amount to zero enhancements.
Ms. Whittle stated that the original tentative budget proposal that she presented to the Board, of 4.805 mills, included the items on the list of enhancements highlighted by arrows, which would be the Sheriff's full request, the Clerk's full request, 10% for the Tax Collector, the Property Appraiser's full request, the Supervisor of Elections' full request, and the increase for the Courts.
It was noted that, at the tax rate of 4.733 mills (roll-back rate), the Board would maintain enough dollars to allow them, if they chose, to do all the enhancements, but, would mean reducing the Sheriff's and the Clerk's budget; however, the budget proposal discussed this date would give the Sheriff approximately $1.1 million new dollars, of the $1.8 million he requested, and would give the Clerk almost $181,000.00 new dollars, of the $244,000.00 that he requested.
The Board reviewed the list of Enhanced Budget Requests for FY 1997-98, at which time they specifically discussed the Security Guard position for the Administration Building/Historical Courthouse, that the County Manager was requesting; machinery and equipment being requested by Computer Services-GIS; various requests from Library Services; and a Building Inspector, ½ clerical position, and a 4x4 truck for the Building Department, in South Lake County.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 11:50 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for five minutes.
FOLLOW-UP ISSUES (CONT'D.)
It was noted that Library Services had submitted, for the Board's consideration, a separate packet of requests.
Commr. Swartz suggested that the Board start thinking about putting together a group of individuals to look at where the County's library system is going and he feels it needs to be a different group than what the County presently has, because they are from member libraries and that is the only perspective they have. He stated that the Board needs to determine the best way to provide library services to the County, noting that he is not convinced that taking limited resources and spreading it thinly among all the libraries in the County is the best way to do it.
Discussion occurred regarding specific positions being requested, at which time Commr. Swartz stated that he felt the Internet Network Specialist was needed, however, did not feel the Computer Technician was needed, at this time. He stated that the other two positions were the Library Services Program Coordinator and a Technical Services Assistant (for the Fruitland Park Library, if it comes on board).
Ms. Whittle stated that the Library Services Program Coordinator and the Technical Services Assistant positions have been previously grant funded and that the Board had a discussion last year that they did not want said positions listed as permanent positions, because they are grant funded. She stated that she felt the Internet Network Specialist was crucial to any kind of program that the County has and that, adding the Fruitland Park Library and its reimbursables to the system was a major change and upgrade to the system, as it exists. She stated that the County could continue to provide for the Internet/Network Specialist, however, could eliminate the Computer Technician, at this time, and place the Reimbursables for Youths to Member Libraries Fund and the Fruitland Park issues into a reserve fund. She noted the six existing positions, being the Library Services Manager; the Librarian III, which is a Systems Manager; Librarian II, which is the full-time Technical Services Manager; Secretary III; Technical Services Assistant; and Delivery Services Driver.
Commr. Swartz suggested that the County Manager review the Personnel issue and come back to the Board with a recommendation that at least keeps the Library System ongoing, as it is structured. He stated that he had misgivings about expanding the system, but, given the fact that the County had apparently wooed Fruitland Park and, because there may be some feeling that, even if the Library System changed, the computer enhancements would be valuable to them, to plan on the Fruitland Park Library coming on board, as well as the Reimbursables for Youths to Member Libraries Fund. He stated that the County needs to make it clear, in the interlocal agreements, that they have a 30 day out and that he felt the next interlocal agreement should be a one year agreement.
Commr. Swartz stated that he felt the County should hold the millage on the Ambulance Fund, noting that there are some changes that may occur, short-term, in the future, with regard to the old ambulance issue. He stated that he felt it would be prudent for the Board to hold the Ambulance Fund at the same millage. He stated that, with regard to the issue of dispatchers, he felt there may be some justification, noting that there might be some improvement in service, although he was not sure to what extent, by the County having its own fire dispatchers, however, felt that, given the fire service needs, he had a hard time expending funds to put people in positions of dispatchers, when the County already has dispatchers, and not putting it into direct line fire positions.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he did not have a problem with holding up on approving the dispatcher positions, however, would like to see that money go into Contingency. He stated that Chief Haun informed him that the dispatcher positions will greatly enhance fire services.
It was the consensus of the Board to not commit the funding for the dispatchers, at this time.
It was noted that the next budget workshop would be held August 4, 1997, at 9:00 a.m., at which time the millage would be set.
Commr. Swartz informed the Board that, with regard to the issue of the water retention pond, he had met with Mr. Mike Anderson, Senior Director, Facilities and Capital Improvements, and was informed that the County was being forced by the St. Johns River Water Management District to go with an eight foot walkway that goes between two huge retention areas, which he noted will look terrible. He stated that staff was looking at some alternatives, which they would bring back to the Board at a later date. He noted that the County was going to try to modify its permit.
Ms. Whittle brought up for discussion the issue of Fleet Maintenance, noting that it was on her enhancement list. She stated that staff will be looking at the entire question of fleet maintenance - how the County procures gasoline, does oil changes, small repairs, etc., which she noted are things that the County needs to make sure are being done the best way possible.
Ms. Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance, informed the Board that the Solid Waste Fund has a balanced budget, but it has a fund deficit of approximately $3 million, therefore, whatever they could do to wipe out that deficit would be a good idea. She noted that the deficit was based on prior year losses - mainly from closing costs, long-term care costs, and not having enough tipping fees.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.
WILLIAM "BILL" H. GOOD, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK