The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, March 10, 1998, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Training Room (Room 233), Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: G. Richard Swartz, Jr., Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; William "Bill" H. Good; Catherine C. Hanson; and Rhonda H. Gerber. Others present were: Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney; Sue B. Whittle, County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Administrative Assistant; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, Finance Department; and Marlene S. Foran, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Hanson requested that a resolution commending the Mount Dora High School Hurricanes basketball team for winning the state championship Class 4A Florida High School Boys Basketball Tournament be added to the agenda under Reports.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously a 5 - 0 vote, the Board approved to place on the agenda approval of a resolution for the Mount Dora High School Hurricanes basketball team.
LAKE COUNTY FIRE SERVICES WORKSHOP
Commr. Swartz opened the workshop on Lake County's fire and emergency medical services.
Mr. Bill Compton, Chief Executive Officer, Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services, appeared before the Board to present the Proposal for the Operation of Lake County Fire and Emergency Medical Services for Lake County and introduced Mr. Ken Mattison, President, Chief Executive Officer, Florida Hospital Waterman; and Dr. John L. Geeslin, County ALS/BLS Medical Director, Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services. Mr. Compton provided a brief history of Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services in Lake County and illustrated on the monitor the various facets of the operation. He briefly discussed the Business Office, Communications Center, Computer Enhanced Dispatch System, Education through Lake County Area Vo-Tech Center, and Fleet Maintenance and Support Services. Mr. Compton stated that the Public Safety Model being presented this date was based upon a request received from Commr. Richard Swartz, Jr., Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. He noted that Florida Regional was currently under contract with Lake County through year 2000.
Mr. Ken Mattison, Chief Executive Officer, Florida Hospital Waterman, appeared before the Board and explained that Florida Hospital Waterman and Florida Regional were not requesting a change to the current contract with Lake County through the year 2000 for emergency medical services, however, did wish to acknowledge to the Board their willingness and flexibility to modify said contract to accommodate the direction of the Board of County Commissioners. He stated that they would be willing to work in a relationship that separates Florida Hospital Waterman from Florida Regional.
Mr. Compton directed the Board's attention to the Proposal for the Operation of Lake County Fire and Emergency Medical Services and stated that it was important to note that revenue items listed were revenues generated from EMS operations and not fire operations. He stated that the Public Safety Model was based on three (3) plans for consideration, which were comparable with the recommendations made by the Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board. He stated that Lake County will generate this year approximately 24,000 ambulance calls, and transport approximately 19,000 patients, which will be billed with the vast majority being Medicare patients. He provided statistical information regarding the nature of emergency calls, which indicated that 80% of the current Lake County fire responses were for medical emergencies. He stated that it was important to note that the contract through Florida Hospital Waterman pays the County in excess of $150,000 per year for the supplementation of services, which could be considered a duplication of services in some opinions. Mr. Compton directed the Board's attention to the section pertaining to Staffing/Scope of Services and explained that Florida Regional could offer a multitude of levels of service, and each option could be explored further at the Board's request. He started that, regardless of which plan is selected, each will be operated as a full service, advanced life support, 9-1-1 transport ambulance and fire service, and will include all aspects of modern fire prevention and suppression as well as emergency medical care.
Mr. David Jordan, Regional Director, Regional Emergency Service, appeared before the Board to present the three (3) plans for consideration and discussed the Consolidated Service Fact Sheet for Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. He explained that Plan A calls for 55 paid full-time EMT/Paramedic firefighters on duty each shift, will staff 22 paid stations, and receive additional support from 11 volunteer stations. He explained that Plan A includes three District Chiefs, who would be paramedics, working 24-hour shifts. He explained that Plan B calls for 44 paid full-time EMT/Paramedic firefighters on duty each shift, and will staff 18 paid stations, and receive additional support from 13 volunteer stations. He stated that Plan B includes two District Chiefs, who would be paramedics, working 24-hour shifts. He further explained that Plan C calls for 50 paid full-time EMT/Paramedic firefighters on duty each shift, will staff 20 paid stations, and receive additional support from 11 volunteer stations. He stated that Plan C includes two District Chiefs who would be paramedics working 24-hour shifts. He briefly discussed the financial information on each of the above noted plans, which included information on the projected operating expenses and EMS revenue, current collected funds, and required additional fire subsidy funding.
Mr. Compton noted that, although the subsidy requirements of Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C appear comparable to those of the Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board, each of the Plans includes a consolidation of an improved fire service plus the complete current EMS system. He explained that this would not adversely affect, at this point, dramatic rate increases. He stated that the projected financial information was based on anticipated changes to a Part B Medicare system in the year 2000 under the current fee schedule, and that Florida Regional did not anticipate a need to redesign the ambulance side of the industry to accommodate the fire side of the industry. He stated that Florida Regional was prepared to move forward on the Board's direction and prepared to offer the County any and all assistance on an interim period. At this time, Mr. Compton responded to questions presented by the Board.
Mr. Compton briefly discussed the utilization of existing and dedicated volunteer firefighters and stated that, by blending the services, the volunteer firefighters would have a broader spectrum of involvement in the delivery of emergency services and would be allowed more choices of training and a multitude of levels of volunteer interaction with the system.
Ms. Karen Mulligan, Vice President, Human Resources, appeared before the Board to discuss the transition of Citrus County employees over to Florida Regional and explained that lump sum contributions were given to be used toward creating a start for a new pension plan in addition to beginning immediately in the Florida Regional pension plan or Florida Hospital Waterman's pension plan. She stated that possible options for the firefighters in Lake County would be a lump sum contribution or a separate non-qualified retirement plan that would be in addition to the plan that Florida Regional employees participate in. She stated that the firefighters would be provided comparable retirement benefits on an individual basis based on years of service and compensation.
Mr. Compton stated that Florida Regional would recommend a contract that specifies finances, responsibilities, and accountabilities in the way of a bond. He stated that the contractual arrangement would be very consistent with what Lake County now has with Florida Regional and would be a contract that has very specific perimeters. He stated that Florida Regional has not discussed the length of the contract with Lake County; however, they would not consider a contract for less than three years and, if the contract was for a three year period, Florida Regional would prefer to have the ability to have a couple of two (2) year contract extensions.
Commr. Swartz clarified that the existing contract for emergency medical services through Florida Hospital Waterman/Florida Regional expires September 30, 2000. He stated that, by the year 2000, the County would be faced with significantly higher subsidy due to the changes in Medicare reimbursement, which will significantly impact the cost of emergency medical services.
Mr. Buddy Jones, Director of Staff Development, Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services, appeared before the Board and explained that they have developed a "train-the-trainer" program which provides fire rescue personnel with training while on duty or off duty.
Mr. Compton interjected that Florida Regional has had the ability to attract outside individuals with key degree area specialties and to promote from within because of an active continuing educational program. He briefly discussed the financial stability of Florida Regional and explained that Florida Regional was a subsidiary of American Medical Response, Inc. and a locally controlled entity that was dedicated to the public private partnership in the 9-1-1 issues.
Commr. Swartz expressed his appreciation to Mr. Bill Compton, and Florida Regional for responding to his request to provide an alternative proposal for organizing Lake County's fire and emergency services.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10:35 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess and reconvene at 10:55 a.m.
LAKE COUNTY FIRE SERVICES WORKSHOP (CONTINUED)
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, noted that Mr. John Wesley White, Strategic Management Resources, was asked to look at the long term alternatives for fire and emergency services in Lake County and would be providing a preliminary interim overview today on his assignment.
Mr. John Wesley White, Strategic Management Resources, appeared before the Board and explained that his assignment has been to examine the long term alternatives available for fire and emergency medical services and dispatch, and to identify the advantages and disadvantages of each of those alternatives, which would be accomplished by analysis of data and by interviews. He stated that he has conducted interviews with the city managers of the five largest municipalities that provide fire services, individual members of the fire command staff, Seminole County Fire Chief, Public Safety Complex staff, Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services, individuals from the volunteer community, Chairman of the Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board, Lake County Sheriff, Department of Growth Management, and Communications Systems. He stated that he has conducted focus groups with the fire command staff and the rank and file firefighters to get their collective input on the various alternatives and the advantages and disadvantages as they saw them. He stated that he intends to interview officials from Osceola County, and additional municipal representatives, and plans to conduct focus group meetings with a representative group of volunteers and with the Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board. He stated that it has become apparent that Lake County has many options available and many opportunities for making improvements in the fire service to the citizens of Lake County that include opportunities for collaboration with municipalities, and adjoining jurisdictions. He noted that he had distributed copies of a Fire and Emergency Services Alternatives Analysis Preliminary Project Outline of the final report prior to the start of the meeting. He stated that he does not intend to address in detail the two proposals that have been presented by the Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board, and Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services; however, he would address the proposals generally recognizing their existence and would integrate that into the discussion on the advantages and disadvantages. He noted that he would have his proposal completed by the first or second week in April. He stated that Lake County was in the mist of an evolution driven largely by demographics and by changing expectations about levels of service, and his report would provide the Board with the structure to address major policy issues and some of the information needed in order to make the best decisions possible.
In response to a question presented by Commr. Swartz regarding collaboration with the municipalities, Mr. White explained that his previous noted comments regarding collaboration were essentially made in the context of a long term vision for how Lake County wants to deliver services in the future. He explained that collaboration was a vision and a policy, and it would be necessary for the County and the municipality to find a way to address those issues to a mutual satisfaction.
Ms. Whittle brought up for discussion a proposal from Government Services Group, Inc. (GSG), Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson, P.A., and David M. Griffith & Associates, Ltd, as outlined in a letter dated February 27, 1998 from Mr. Robert E. Sheets, Chief Executive Office, Government Services Group, Inc., which had been distributed prior to the presentation this date. She explained that the proposal from GSG was to perform the development and implementation of the apportionment methodology and billing system and to act as Project Manager for the three above noted firms. She further explained that it had been thirteen (13) years since the inception of the current assessment and, in light of the Board contemplating making changes to the fire service, it becomes critical that the Board look at the methodology to make sure that it was fair and equitable. She stated that GSG has been requested to provide a proposal to update the County's assessment, methodology, and billing systems. At this time, she directed the Board's attention to the Deliverables and Payment Schedules for Fiscal Year 1998-99 and discussed same. She stated that the proposal before the Board, at this time, does contemplate meeting the deadlines for certification of the tax rolls in September 1998. She stated that to accomplish the objectives of the scope of service, GSG would focus on the following essential tasks:
Determination of assessment revenue requirements and identification of all other non- assessment revenues within the fire program;
Provision of both legal and implementation services relative to developing a legally defensible method of apportionment conducive to use with the County's ad valorem tax roll data base;
Development of the necessary legal and implementation documents for both the first year and recurring annual collection methods which addresses case law and statutory requirements; and
Development of an assessment roll conducive to collecting both the first year and recurring annual assessments and capable of being efficiently updated and used for subsequent years.
Ms. Whittle stated that the fee for the task was $67,920, plus estimated expenses of $8,150 for a total of $76,070. She stated that said costs would be paid out of Fire Fund Contingency, as anticipated during the budget discussions in 1997.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Good and carried unanimously by a 5 - 0 vote, the Board approved to place the Government Services Group, Inc. proposal on the agenda for action.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Gerber and carried unanimously by a 5 - 0 vote, the Board approved the recommendation of the County Manager to contract with Government Services Group, Inc.; Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson, P.A.; and David M. Griffith & Associates, Ltd. to provide specialized assistance to Lake County in the development and implementation of the apportionment methodology and billing system for a new fire rescue assessment program.
At this time, Commr. Swartz requested that the Board provide staff with direction on how to continue as a result of the Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board presentation on February 10, 1998, and the presentation by Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services this date.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that, if there was no interest or level of comfort in the privatization of the fire service, the Board should make that decision at this time.
Commr. Hanson stated that the County was in an evolutionary state and that the privatization of fire services was an innovative concept; however, with any innovative concept there was a certain amount of risk. She stated that the community was not yet willing to give up the volunteer/paid system in Lake County. She explained that to get the true benefits of privatization there has to be competition, and the bid process must be used in order to find those benefits of privatization. She stated that the Board needs to consider using and improving the system in place at this time, however, not rule out privatization or other partnerships in the future. She stated that she does not feel that this was a road that the County wants to travel down at this time. She recommended that the Board submit the Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services proposal to the Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board for their comments and study before said proposal was brought back to the Board for further review. She suggested that the Board consider a volunteer coordinator, opportunities for improved communications, opportunities for partnerships and collaboration, and continue to improve what was in place at this time.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the idea to talk about privatization was a good idea and a visionary idea; however, he does not agree that Lake County should move in that direction. He stated that he does not support the suggestion to take the Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services proposal back to the Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board for review.
Commr. Good expressed concern that to take the discussion of privatization out of the dialogue and purview, at this time, causes the Board to focus on a particular direction, and suggested that the Board would benefit by continuing to have that possibility as part of the decision making process. He stated that he was hesitant to rule out the Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services proposal because of the very different perspective that a private management company brings versus a government management company or the County's management team.
Commr. Swartz stated that he appreciates the difficult nature of the proposal brought forward by Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services, and that he understood that the issue of privatization would be controversial and difficult to accept because it was a change from what was currently in place. He expressed concern that, to totally rule out consideration of the Florida Regional proposal for fire service and to consider a small step forward approach by increasing the staffing of the County fire system, the Board would make a significant mistake when the alternative for approximately the same cost would provide a significantly higher level of service and provide advanced life support in many areas that do not currently have that level of service . He stated that Florida Regional has provided a service to Lake County for fifteen (15) years or longer that has been unparalleled in terms of cost effectiveness and in terms of level of service, and he has a level of confidence with Florida Regional as the County's medical and ambulance provider. He stated that he would hope that the Board would agree that the proposal in question merits continued review and evaluation by County staff, while awaiting the completion of Mr. John Wesley White's report, in order to address in more detail questions that may still exist in the minds of the Board. He further suggested that the Board and staff meet with local communities to find out what the citizens of Lake County want in the way of adequate fire service and what the citizens are willing to pay for that level of service.
Commr. Good made a motion to direct staff to continue to evaluate the recommendations of the Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board and the proposal by Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services for the operation of Lake County's fire and emergency medical services; to look at costs and commitments to service and future growth; and to continue discussion on the recommendations and proposals at the April 21, 1998 Board meeting.
Commr. Gerber seconded the motion with the caveat that the Fire and Emergency Services Advisory Board formally review the Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services proposal.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion which carried by a 4 - 1 vote.
Commr. Cadwell voted in opposition.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
COUNTY MANAGER'S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
STATE AGENCIES/ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Ms. Lora L. Bailey, Special Services Division Director, Public Works, appeared before the Board to present the request for authorization for the Chairman to execute the Request for Inclusion (RFI) on a priority list for a revolving loan through the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection for funding of a portion of the Astor - Astor Park Wastewater System project. She explained that she has been working with members of the Astor - Astor Park Water Association on the Astor Park Wastewater System to determine sources of funding for the wastewater project which was estimated between $16,000,000 and $18,000,000. She explained that they were looking for grant sources for this project and that the emergency action before the Board at this time constitutes the first step in obtaining a loan and does not obligate the County. She noted that the emergency action was being requested to support a March 15, 1998 postmark requirement for submittal.
Commr. Hanson expressed her appreciation to Ms. Bailey for the work that she has done on this issue.
Mr. Alvin Jackson, Jr., Deputy County Manager, appeared before the Board and noted that Lake County was required to be the primary applicant.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a 5 - 0 vote, the Board approved authorization for the Chairman, as responsible local government official, to execute the Request for Inclusion (RFI) on a priority list for a revolving loan through the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection for funding of a portion of the Astor - Astor Park Wastewater System project.
COMMISSIONER GOOD - DISTRICT NO. 2
Commr. Good presented the request for reconsideration of Resolution No. 1998-11 dealing with the high levels of water in the Clermont Chain of Lakes that was rescinded on January 27, 1998. At this time, he distributed a petition signed by approximately 188 residents of Emerald Lakes Mobile Home Park and other residents of Clermont requesting that the Board establish a "No Wake Zone" for all water craft on the rivers and lakes within the boundaries of Lake Palatlakaha. He stated that the resolution before the Board at this time focuses on Lake Palatlakaha and other adjacent water bodies joining Lake Minnehaha and Lake Minneola and addresses the water levels in lieu of the whole lake system. He noted that Section 5 states that the resolution shall take effect upon adoption and shall be in effect at such times as the surface level of Lake Palatlakaha would exceed 97 feet above mean sea level.
On a motion by Commr. Good, seconded by Commr. Gerber and carried unanimously by a 5 - 0 vote, the Board approved Resolution No. 1998-41 dealing with the high levels of water in the Clermont Chain of Lakes.
COMMISSIONER HANSON - DISTRICT NO. 4
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Good and carried unanimously by a 5 - 0 vote, the Board approved authorization for the Chairman to execute a letter to be sent to the Florida Department of Transportation requesting the installation of a "No Wake Zone" banner on the Astor Bridge.
Commr. Hanson presented a request for a resolution commending the Mount Dora High School Hurricanes basketball team for winning their first state championship Class 4A Florida High School Boys Basketball Tournament.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a 5 - 0 vote, the Board approved Resolution No. 1998-40 commending the Mount Dora High School Hurricanes basketball team for winning their first state championship Class 4A Florida High School Boys Basketball Tournament.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.
G. RICHARD SWARTZ, JR., CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK