The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Tuesday, December 4, 1998 at 9:00 a.m., at the River Forest Campground, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: G. Welton Cadwell, Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson, Vice Chairman; Rhonda H. Gerber; G. Richard Swartz, Jr.; and Robert A. Pool. Others present were: Sandy A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Sue B. Whittle, County Manager; Wendy Taylor, BCC Administrative Supervisor; Alvin Jackson, Deputy County Manager; Ava Kronz, Director of Continuance Quality Improvement; Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management; Mike Anderson, Senior Director, Facilities & Capital Improvements; Jim Stivender, Jr., Senior Director, Department of Public Works; Fletcher Smith, Senior Director, Department of Community Services; Donald Post, Senior Director, Solid Waste Management Services; Sarah LaMarche, Senior Director, Fiscal and Administrative Services; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, Office of Finance; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Cadwell opened the meeting and noted the Ground Rules that were established by the Board in March, 1997. At this time, Commr. Cadwell asked Commr. Pool to make some comments regarding his appointment to the Board.
Commr. Pool noted that storm water management, public safety and parks and recreation were very important issues to him.
Mr. Alvin Jackson, Deputy County Manager, presented name tags to everyone present, which reflected their personality type. He noted that each personality was determined at a Board Advance held with E. Michael Lillibridge, Ph.D. Mr. Jackson presented a brief synopsis of the four personality types and their strengths, weaknesses, and ways of relating to others and noted that those present would be receiving a copy of "The People Map" by Dr. Lillibridge.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, stated that staff had before them a copy of the Challenges for FY 98/99, to be reviewed by each department head.
Issue: Joint Public/Community College Library
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Senior Director, Community Services, discussed the planning, development and construction of a 70,000 square foot joint public/community college library to
be located on the main campus of Lake Sumter Community College. Mr. Smith reviewed the options, as outlined in the backup material, and noted that staff was recommending that the Board participate in this venture. He stated that the total amount needed for the joint use project will be $9.1 million, and an agenda item will be coming to the Board on December 15, 1998, regarding the legislative position to support LSCC's efforts to secure some Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) funds. The County's portion would be approximately $5 million, which would include design and engineering costs, as well as construction of a new 37,000 square foot facility.
Commr. Pool felt it was important to find out the population within a five mile radius of the area being proposed for the construction, because the Board may find that, while the campus may be at a great location, there may be more people in a different area and it could find a similar deal. He felt that staff should do at least a census take in that five mile radius, because in a ten to 15 year plan, the South Lake campus may be larger than the existing campus. He wondered if the monies would be well spent on a 70,000 square foot facility, or whether they may want to split the facility, so that South Lake is not excluded from the County's long range plan.
Commr. Cadwell explained that the comments made by Commr. Pool were included in the County's discussion with Dr. Robert W. Westrick, LSCC President.
Commr. Swartz stated that, if the Board was going to move forward with a joint effort with LSCC, as being suggested here, the other outcome of that effort needs to be understood, and that is the County will not have the cooperative library it has today. He did not think that the County was going to be able to fund a facility like this and also maintain the County grants that are currently going to all of the libraries. Commr. Swartz stated that two thirds of Umatilla's library budget is coming from the County, and Cooper Memorial Library is receiving about an equal amount from the County and all of their other funding sources. The Board needed to understand the ramifications involved in this venture, and even though it was the right way to go for the County, unless the Board has a design that says that, if it goes with this plan, it still needs to have certain libraries, including Cooper Memorial in the south, and Umatilla in the northeast, and then there is the question of whether or not the County can afford to pay all of the other libraries.
Commr. Pool stated that he agreed with Commr. Swartz, because funding is the key to this issue. He stated that, while this is a nice idea, he thinks the Board is going to find itself in a situation where it is going to become cost prohibited and not cost effective at this $9 million price tag. He questioned why the County could not better invest its dollars into the city system.
Commr. Swartz stated he is supportive of doing this with LSCC, whether or not the County ends up with a South Lake campus also associated with them, as opposed to Cooper Memorial.
Commr. Gerber felt that there needed to be some transitional plan, in order for the Board to see what the ramifications might be, but it would not make sense to not go forward with a partnership with the college.
Mr. Smith stated that he looks at a transitional plan that would make sure that the member libraries would continue to be maintained with the technical support given by the County, even though the elected officials from the cities do not view this in the same way. He noted that, if a library opts out of the system, the equipment reverts back to the County.
Commr. Swartz explained that it was not so much that the libraries will opt out of the system as much as the funding that will allow it to be that way. It was noted that there was approximately $100,000 in revenue a year, and space would become available in the courts facility. He noted that the $1,120,000 is a real close number that the County is spending right now on the entire system, and it would be over $1 million a year to operate the system. Commr. Swartz suggested that, beyond supporting the general concept of a main library in conjunction with LSCC, he did not see how the Board could make any further decision, and even a final decision, without coming back with plans, which would indicate what it would cost to keep two additional libraries, or four additional libraries.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that he did not know if the libraries can afford to withdraw from the system, because of the unified collections.
Commr. Cadwell felt that the County was going to be able to offer other benefits, other than just money, to the libraries, which will be something that the libraries will be able to offer back to their citizens, for the added value of being in the system.
Commr. Swartz felt that there needed to be a financial analysis, and he suggested that the Board recognize that there could be a big difference between what the library, and the library boards of those cities, would say to the comments made by Commr. Cadwell. He stated that it was clear that the Board wanted to look at going toward a cooperative effort with LSCC, and to look at what the ramifications will be with the other libraries, and the costs associated with it when including two and possibly four libraries. He stated that, once the Board has some of the numbers, it may have to sit down with any of those four libraries and find out what modifications they might be willing to accept.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, explained that LSCC is asking for the appropriation, because it must build a library at the Leesburg campus within the next few years. They are currently building one in Sumter County. She explained that, in any library system, the expensive portions of a main library are technical services and research capabilities. She stated that partnering with a college would give the County an incredible research capability at a very minimum cost to the citizens of Lake County.
Commr. Pool clarified that LSCC is going to build a 37,000 square foot facility anyway, and the cost is around $4 million, and it is looking to the State for the funding. He questioned whether there would be a problem with the County entering into some joint agreement where the County would provide the employees to man the library, and then including funding on a needed basis. He stated that the County's investment would be considerably less, and the library still gets built. He felt that the County should take the $4 million and build a 37,000 square foot facility and let the County participate with some funding and the employees, but not build a 70,000 square foot building.
Commr. Swartz explained that the collection of books that the college would have is going to be different than the collection needed for the general population.
Commr. Pool stated that, after serving on the Library Board in South Lake County at Cooper Memorial, if the funding sources should decrease in any way, he believes that the libraries would opt out of the system.
Commr. Swartz understood that the majority of the Board wants to continue down the road exploring the library with the college, but to find out what are going to be the cost factors related to keeping anywhere between two to four of the existing libraries, and there will have to be discussions with the libraries and the elected officials in those communities. He stated that the County has almost never had any problem with the librarians, or the library boards, in the communities, and it is the elected officials who have a different understanding of the system.
Commr. Hanson stated that the system should allow each of the outlying, or city libraries, to have a lot more up to the minute access to resources than they will ever have on their own with or without the County.
Mr. Smith noted that the agenda item he passed out to the Board involves the legislative issue, with the Board supporting LSCC's efforts to get the funding. He further noted that the Lake County Library Advisory Board reviewed the legislative position and indicated that it would like additional information before it could support the position.
Commr. Swartz stated that this issue needed to be placed on the Board's legislative agenda to go forward in support of LSCC's effort.
Commr. Cadwell noted that it was the consensus of the Board that this item would be placed in the Board's legislative package.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:10 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would take a five minutes recess.
Issue: Lake County Health Department (LCHD)
Mr. Smith stated that the issue of the Lake County Health Department (LCHD) facility has been ongoing for many years. Staff is looking at two options, the first being to relocate the Environmental Health Services, which is currently on the north side of Main Street, into the "center core" of the first floor of the Administration Building, after it is declared safe. This would involve moving approximately 15 staff members, and about one half of them would be out in the field during the daytime. The second phase of this option would be to relocate about 53 staff members into a leased area between 7,500 and 10,000 square feet. The third phase of this option would be to submit a Capital Projects Budget Request to the State Department of Health to construct a new facility, on some land that would be provided by the County, possibly at the south Tavares property near the landfill and Lake Idamere. Mr. Smith noted that staff was recommending this first option. He further noted that Mr. Don Post, Senior Director of Solid Waste, and Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, have developed some possible sites for consideration.
Mr. Stivender reviewed the proposed drawings of the space available near Lake Idamere, which he would be reviewing in greater detail later on in the meeting.
Mr. Smith stated that he has talked to Dr. John Pellosie, Director of the LCHD, who thinks this would be a good location for the facility. He noted that, when staff and the Board had a workshop in September with the State Health Department, they explained that there were funds being allocated to construct facilities.
Mr. Smith stated that the second option would be to relocate Environmental Health to the first floor of the Administration Building and allow the remaining staff of the LCHD to occupy the space vacated by these 13 staff members, to help alleviate the overcrowding conditions they are currently experiencing. The Capital Budget Request could still be submitted for the construction of a new LCHD facility, possibly at property next to the landfill. He stated that the downside to this would be that, if those buildings (on Main Street) were vacant, the County could start looking at renovating them to fill some needs that exist already for other County functions.
Ms. Whittle noted that those other County functions referred to by Mr. Smith would primarily be courts related.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that the areas being pushed for more space included records, mediation, and courts administration. He explained that, if one of the judges decides to run to become the Chief Judge of the Circuit, the County would pick up three or four additional administrative positions that would have to be housed.
Mr. Smith explained that the renovation of office space, at the Golden Triangle Shopping Center, had just been completed and County Probation will be moving this weekend to this site. The County has a 12 month lease, and during the interim period, the County is planning to have the old post office renovated to house Probation and Records Management.
It was the consensus of the Board that staff should proceed to implement Option 1, as recommended.
Issue: District Medical Examiners Facility
Mr. Smith explained that Mr. Minkoff, County Attorney, has worked very diligently to get a contract with Leesburg Regional Medical Center (LRMC), to swap properties and let them construct a building that will be 10,000 square feet, with the ability to expand it by another 10,000 square feet in the future.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the property where the Medical Examiners Facility is currently located, as well as the facilities leased to LifeStream Behavioral Center, will be turned over to LRMC as part of the agreement with LRMC, in exchange for property to the east of LRMC, which is part of the Pine Street lawsuit settlement In addition, LRMC will build a new facility for the County. He stated that the County property has been appraised for approximately $1,350,000, and the hospital has agreed that the new facility will cost about that much, and if it does not, it will give the County cash in exchange, and if it costs more, it will pay for it all. Mr. Minkoff stated that he is working on the contract and trying to complete the details, and the second draft is at the hospital now waiting for their comments. He is hoping to bring it to the Board at the first meeting in January, 1999. Mr. Minkoff stated that the contract provides that the site will be large enough for 20,000 square feet, and all of the other preliminary design, and the St. Johns permits, will be done for the 20,000 square feet, but only 10,000 feet will be built.
Mr. Mike Anderson, Senior Director of Facilities and Capital Improvements, stated that, when staff was considering the renovation, it was going to involve 5,500 square feet, and they felt that this would hold the County for another five or six years, and 10,000 square feet should hold the County for ten years.
It was the consensus of the Board that staff should proceed with the Option to approve an agreement between the County and LRMC, as recommended.
Issue: Ambulance Contract with Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services
Mr. Alvin Jackson, Deputy County Manager, addressed the issue of the Ambulance Contract with Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services, which will expire September 30, 2000, and reviewed the options, as noted in the backup material. Staff was recommending that it evaluate all options by June, 1999, with the intent of choosing an approach as a primary strategy for delivering the best ambulance services possible to the citizens of Lake County and modifying the strategy as circumstances warrant.
Commr. Cadwell questioned whether the Board wanted to eliminate any of the options, noting that there were four, and stated that he was concerned with 3 and 4, because the County did not have the head of the department yet. He stated that the County was just now trying to change its level of service, and he did not know if the County was even going to be ready by the time the contract expires.
Commr. Pool stated that it was obvious that the County was going to have to bid out ambulance services regardless, because he did not think that the County could just automatically renew the contract, and because people care about competitive bidding. He suggested eliminating Option 1, which was renewing the contract and maintaining the current service.
Commr. Cadwell stated that all four options could be left for consideration, because one and two were viable options, if the Board considered what it has had over the years, and he felt that the County needed to at least talk to the folks that the County is dealing with now.
Commr. Hanson felt that all four options should be left for review, because she was not prepared to rule out any options.
Commr. Swartz stated that, although he has been very pleased with the service that the County has gotten from Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services, he did not believe that Option 1, to renew the contract and maintain the current service, will be a viable option.
Commr. Pool stated that the Board needed to determine what will be best for the long term, and every option should be considered. He suggested that Lake County investigate what Brevard County, or Seminole County, did as the first step to the process.
Commr. Swartz felt that the issue needed to be back before the Board earlier than June, 1999, and he suggested that it be brought back in March or April.
It was the consensus of the Board that staff should perform a preliminary evaluation of the options by April, 1999, and not wait until June.
Issue: Fire Station at Summer Bay - South Lake County
Mr. Jackson reviewed the information pertaining to the construction of a fire station at Summer Bay in South Lake County and noted that this station would serve the south end of the County where there has been tremendous growth. He further noted that the information included a four-mile radius from Summer Bay and population figures from 1995 to 2020. Mr. Jackson stated that the closest station to this area is located on Lake Shore Drive south of Clermont. The response distance is approximately 12 to 15 miles, with a response time between 15 and 20 minutes. Mr. Jackson explained that currently, Lake County has a First Response Agreement with Osceola County to provide first response within an approximate five minute response time to the areas in the south end of Lake County. However, Lake County is not providing the same response to Osceola County since it is 15 to 20 minutes away. He noted that, during some of the discussions with some of the officials from Osceola County, they have considered pulling this particular station back in to the east. Mr. Jackson reviewed Option 1, to build a joint station with Orange, Osceola, and Polk Counties with a joint staff, and Option 2, for Lake County to build and staff a station. He noted that staff was recommending to initiate discussion with the adjacent counties, while identifying property in Lake County for a possible site.
Commr. Pool stated that it would be worth pursuing a joint site where a very usable station could be built with several trucks, and manning it jointly in a unique and cooperative partnership that may benefit a lot of people. He stated that Clermont is building a new station off of Hartwood Marsh Road, which will give the County better access to that one location, even though it will not cover south Lake County, but by pursuing a joint planning area, the County may find that it will be in a better position to the schools, medical services, and fire and rescue, and he felt it would be worth pursuing.
It was noted that the total funds available to Fire Rescue was $1 million.
Commr. Hanson discussed the idea of the County building a station for the $1 million, since the money can only be used for capital improvements, and then having the other counties provide the manpower.
Ms. Whittle stated that the County Manager has met with the other four County Managers, and they are interested in the idea of having a joint station.
Mr. Minkoff stated that it was Orange County, Seminole County and the University of Central Florida (UCF) that jointly own and operate a station, so they have precedent for doing that with other counties.
It was the consensus of the Board that staff should pursue to initiate discussion with adjacent counties to build a joint station with Orange, Osceola, and Polk Counties, with a joint staff, as recommended.
Issue: Facilities Development in Twenty Years
Mr. Anderson discussed the issue of facilities development in twenty years and noted that Option A would be to continue to use short range (1 - 5 years) CIP planning, and Option B would be to use short range (1 - 5 years) and medium range (6 - 10 years) CIP planning. Mr. Anderson noted that there was not a staff recommendation, but if there was one, it would be Option B, which would include consideration of some alternative funding sources, such as impact fees, infrastructure sales tax, and General Fund, and doing a master plan considering area demographics of County development. He felt that the Board was still comfortable approving the projects on a fiscal year basis, as long as there are master plans, or long range goals.
It was the consensus of the Board that staff should pursue Option B, as recommended.
Issue: Infrastructure Sales Tax
Mr. Anderson explained that the expiration of Infrastructure Sales Tax, on December 31, 2002, will create the necessity of finding revenue sources to meet capital and infrastructure needs. He presented a handout of graphs pertaining to the Future Growth in Lake County, which included population growth, the average daily (inmate) population, the Lake County Employees (Tavares), Lake County facilities square footage, and the population to facilities square footage. Mr. Anderson noted that, in the year 2005, the County will be maxed out in its current jail, and Sheriff George E. Knupp, Jr. has questioned when the County was going to finish the last housing Pod, which was in the original concept. He further noted that the number of Federal prisoners was included in the inmate totals. Mr. Anderson reviewed the charts and noted that staff has predicted that the County will need additional square footage by 2000 - 2001, which was indicated in the original space study.
Commr. Cadwell explained that the real issue is the revenue source and whether the Board is interested in meeting with the School Board and the cities to discuss a continuation of that funding source. He stated that he would like to have the ability to meet with these two groups, and to give them some indication of the Board's plans. Commr. Cadwell explained that the cities are already meeting and have put together a list of accomplishments and plans, and the Board needs to do the same thing. He stated that the Board needs to show what it is planning on doing with the money, but also consider maybe taking that money and dedicating it to another source other than strictly buildings, such as transportation. He felt that the Board would have a better chance of selling it to the general public, if it dedicated a portion of it to transportation, and the other portion to continue the infrastructure.
Commr. Pool stated that he did not think that the Board had a chance of renewing this without the County having the cooperative effort from the School Board and the cities.
Mr. Anderson noted that the County was doing something similar to the cities by listing the projects where the County has used infrastructure sales tax money, in order to build a public relations campaign around it. Staff has also instituted the space study with each of the departments and the Constitutional Officers, but they have not received any feedback on it yet.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the Board was interested in letting staff research this issue and allowing him to talk to the other two entities.
Commr. Gerber felt that the Board needed to take this issue one step further, as far as planning. She stated that, after the separate agendas are prepared, the Board needs to hire somebody to run a campaign just like it did for the Article VII issue and use some money and do a direct mail.
Commr. Swartz stated that he was not confident that Commr. Cadwell will be able to work out anything with the School Board, even under the best of circumstances. He stated that he has no confidence whatsoever that the citizens of Lake County will pass an extension of the infrastructure sales tax, and to devote time and effort toward that end would just be an exercise in futility. What the Board did last year, and what he hopes it will continue to do each budget year, is continue to stay at the existing millage and take all of the extra taxes that arrive, as a result of what is a small tax increase, and devote that to a future Capital Improvements Fund. If the Board finds that the Facilities and Capital Improvements projections are going to need more than what the County is going to be able to generate from that, then the Board needs to consider an increase in the millage, if necessary, to take care of the capital improvements. Commr. Swartz stated that he was convinced that, no matter how compelling an argument the Board will try to make on behalf of the County, if the School Board were to make a compelling argument, and the cities were to do likewise, the distaste that the large majority of the people in Lake County have for the sales tax and the feeling that they have on the issue, even though he believes it is largely incorrect, it will not pass. Commr. Swartz believed that the Board needed to continue what he felt was a fiscal response to the position of last year's budget where the County put about $600,000 or $700,000 back into the infrastructure sales tax, as a result of staying at the existing millage, and from the extra funds.
Commr. Hanson explained that the voters dislike the sales tax, but one thing they dislike even more is the property tax. She feels that a case can be made to educate the people, and she agrees with Commr. Pool that it will not work, if it is not in conjunction with the cities and School Board.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Legislature and the local School Board frittered away the opportunity that existed where the people generally believed that there was a significant need for new schools by rebonding and giving Lake County about $35 million of the lottery funds. All they did was further mortgage lottery funds. He believes that the public perceives that there is no crisis again, and those two factors have destroyed the ability of the school system to get additional funds. He discussed the time when the Board went out to the public and said the County had to build a jail, and it needed to be paid for with an additional sales tax, or higher property taxes, and the people said to do it with a sales tax. Commr. Swartz stated that the County just went through a fire budget hearing where there was a proposal to increase property taxes, in order to help pay for fire fighting, and it would have been about a one mill increase.
The majority of the Board felt that it should initiate discussion with the cities and School Board for a source of funding to meet capital and infrastructure needs.
Issue: Fairgrounds Project at Christopher C. Ford Central Park
Mr. Anderson discussed the options regarding developing a fairground project at the Christopher C. Ford Central Park. He noted that staff was recommending that another site selection be considered for the Conference Center and Fairgrounds site.
Commr. Cadwell noted that the Commissioners had received a letter from the Fair Board that said they were not in favor of moving the Fairgrounds to the Christopher C. Ford Park, and they wanted to talk to the Board about it. It was noted that they wanted it in a more centrally located area.
Discussion occurred regarding the current location of the Fairgrounds, with it being noted that the attendance has been leveling off, because it has reached its maximum capacity for parking.
Mr. Anderson explained that the 4-H organization cannot expand its livestock exhibit, because they do not physically have space.
Commr. Cadwell questioned whether the County can provide the type of facility where a livestock sale could be held, as well as a presentation by the Garden Club and the 4-H, without having a full fair. He was not sure that the Board was concerned about the Midway and the other parts of the fair, as much as the other sensitive areas.
Mr. Anderson stated that, over the past four years, the Midway has become the dominant feature of the fair, and the Fair Board benefits from this particular portion of it.
Commr. Pool stated that he did not feel that the County should be using true industrial property, which is now $35,000 an acre, for a fair that is used once a year.
Commr. Hanson agreed with Commr. Pool and stated that her understanding of the comments from the Fair Board meant they did not object to the general central location of the industrial park, but they objected to being in the back of the industrial park. She stated that she certainly did not think the fairgrounds needed to be in the industrial park. Commr. Hanson discussed tying the P.E.A.R. project in with the fair, but not to the Midway part of it.
Commr. Swartz stated that he did not think that the County could separate the Midway aspect of the fair from the youth fair and have either one of them ending up to be a viable event, because the bulk of the people come to the Midway, which helps fund the other activities. He suggested that, if the Board wants to look at another place, it come back and look at the place he had suggested, before consideration was given to Highways 19/27. Commr. Swartz stated that the County still has approximately 45 acres in the Lake Idamere section, and the drawing that was shown earlier, when discussing the Health Department, shows that there is another 60 acres, so there would be about 100 acres that could be utilized for the project He did feel that the County would find tremendous public opposition to placing the fair on the P.E.A.R. parcel.
It was the feeling of the Board that the fairgrounds project did not need to be located at the Christopher C. Ford Central Park. It was noted that Commr. Cadwell would meet with the Fair Board to discuss the issue.
Commr. Swartz noted that the County should be trying to acquire additional land along Highway 19, if it is affordable.
Issue: Tavares Facilities Expansion
Mr. Anderson discussed the options for the Tavares facilities expansion and noted that staff had a short range recommendation and a long range recommendation.
Mr. Stivender stated that Mr. Post has been working on refining the Master Plan for the landfill, and since the time that the property to the west of the landfill was purchased, in 1993, there have been a lot of changes. He explained the proposed draft of the Master Plan and stated that, in a 15 year period, the County could house all Board departments, between the years 2005 and 2020.
Ms. Whittle explained that staff is looking at downtown Tavares for the next 25 to 50 years. She stated that, when the courts functions outgrow their space, it would be sensible to move the Public Works function out of downtown Tavares, and then that building can be used for the State Attorney, or Public Defender, or for whatever would be the most pressing need.
Mr. Anderson explained that the short range recommendation would be to consider a partial relocation of Board Departments to South Tavares, such as Public Works, including Mosquito Control and Fleet Maintenance. It was noted that Parks and Recreation would be part of Lake Idamere Park, and this would allow staff to pursue acquisition of downtown property for Records Management. Mr. Anderson stated that the long range plan would be to master plan an office complex, such as the one being shown by Mr. Stivender.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the County needs to talk to the City of Tavares about their plans.
Mr. Minkoff stated that staff will be bringing to the Board on December 15, 1998, or to the first meeting in January, an agenda item to complete the last courtroom, and to take some space that is currently being used by the court reporter and a portion of the Law Library and try and create one or two additional judges' suites, which would give them the ability to have ten judges' suites and eight courtrooms. He felt that this would hold the courts area in that building until 2005, with the exception of the Clerk, because the Clerk's Office is very cramped in the Judicial Center and is already needing additional space, as well as some of the areas such as mediation.
Mr. Post discussed the additional lands that had been proposed for the expansion of the landfill and stated that, if the Board Departments move to that area, the landfill will be located in downtown Tavares, and you cannot have a large landfill downtown. He stated that the land being discussed could be more productively used for County government.
Mr. Minkoff explained that Lake Region is a willing seller, but the price differential of the property is significantly higher than the appraisal.
Mr. Stivender explained that the acquisition of Ms. Carla Doerr's property will be the first issue to be brought to the Board.
Mr. Minkoff stated that staff needed some direction on two other offers involving two additional small pieces of property in and around the courthouse facilities. He needed to know if the Board wanted him to continue to negotiate contracts on the Lake Abstract Building and another lot, which is adjacent to the lot just purchased for parking by the bank, and to bring them back to the Board for consideration.
It was the consensus of the Board that staff should continue to negotiate these contracts, as noted above, and bring them back to the Board for consideration.
Commr. Swartz suggested that staff also look at the property available around the landfill property.
Commr. Pool indicated that he would like to have an opportunity to meet with Mr. Stivender and tour parts of the County, in order to become familiar with the different sites.
Mr. Stivender explained that the road has been designed and ready to permit, and it is a matter of acquiring Ms. Doerr's property, and a piece of right-of-way.
Mr. Minkoff noted that Mr. Steve Richey, Attorney, has tried to help the County acquire the right-of-way, as well as the property, because he represents a client on the other side of the Doerr property.
Mr. Richey addressed the Board and stated that his client has agreed to give the right-of-way on the north, and the lady has agreed to sell the County the right-of-way on the south side through her eminent domain lawyer, Ms. Christy Wilson.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the people have offered to sell the property, about two acres, for twice the appraisal, in the amount of $80,000. He stated that this is an important road, and it may be one that the Board would like the County to pay more for the right-of-way, in order to get it. He noted that the County's appraisal is $48,500, and their offer was approximately $84,000. He further noted that, if the County condemns the property, it will pay approximately $84,000, by the time it gets through with attorney fees and appraisal fees.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board could meet at the Solid Waste facility, and then proceed to tour the sites, as suggested by Commr. Pool.
Issue: South Lake Annex
Mr. Anderson stated that the South Lake Annex located within the Sunny Side Plaza in Clermont is not large enough to properly handle the number of permit applications it receives daily, and the development in South Lake County is increasing rapidly. He reviewed the options with the Board and noted that staff was recommending Option A, for the next three to four years to continue to lease and expand into the Tax Collector's suite, and Option C, to continue to look for a suitable site within the Clermont area, and once located, to begin plans to develop a permanent South Lake Annex facility, which would take approximately 60 to 100 acres.
Commr. Pool informed the Board that, other than two new buildings that were being built by Mr. Vandermeer on Highway 27, there are no other buildings available to lease. Once the wellness center vacates and moves to the new hospital, there will be a large space available, which may be an ideal situation for the County, and the County may be able to lock something in today for a year from now.
Mr. Anderson stated that staff has talked with Mr. Vandermeer, and he is very interested in leasing to the County both buildings, but he has already made a commitment to lease one of them.
It was the consensus of the Board that staff should proceed with Option A, to continue to lease and expand into the Tax Collector's suite, and Option C, to continue to look for a suitable site within the Clermont area.
Mr. Stivender discussed the visionary road network at Highway 27 and Highway 50 and the two mile radius around that intersection.
Mr. Minkoff stated that staff would like to get Board approval of the area being shown by Mr. Stivender, so that staff can go out for advertisement of proposals looking for sites of this size and try and evaluate what people are willing to sell to the County.
Commr. Pool stated that the County may find that, if the area is expanded a little bit further beyond the two mile radius, there may be something for considerably less money. He felt that it might be better to consider a three mile radius.
Issue: Ogden Martin Service Agreement
Commr. Cadwell stated that, during one of the Board's workshop sessions, they had talked about the need to renegotiate the contract with Ogden Martin. He stated that, during their discussions, the Board felt they needed to open that dialogue with them, and he felt they should initiate the discussions first with the County Attorney, the County Manager, the Solid Waste Director, the Finance Director, and himself, and after their meeting, make some Board decisions in regards to whether the Board needs to hire outside counsel, or where the County is going from here in opening up that contract and renegotiating with Ogden.
It was the consensus of the Board that staff should proceed to use the negotiation team, as recommended, to open dialogue with Ogden Martin.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 11:55 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for lunch.
Issue: Landscape Policy
Mr. Anderson stated that staff was recommending Option A, to develop a landscape policy for all facility locations and corridors and medians.
Commr. Cadwell discussed a program that was started by Orange County where it has placed entrance signs in surrounding towns that indicate it is an Orange County community. He suggested that Lake County do some type of signs, on a smaller scale, for the unincorporated areas, but let them still have their own identities. He suggested that a slogan be developed, but to make sure that it includes "A Lake County Community", to help initiate community pride.
Commr. Hanson suggested that staff incorporate the jail labor into the maintenance process.
Commr. Swartz stated that, if the County does a nice looking sign and landscapes it, many of the communities may have an organization that would be willing to take over maintaining it.
It was the consensus of the Board that staff should proceed with Option A, as recommended.
Issue: Race Track Funds to Trails/Recreation Facility
Mr. Anderson addressed the issue regarding the Race Track Funds, and it was noted that it was the recommendation of staff to use a team to evaluate all ongoing County programs and committees pertaining to parks, rails-to-trails and recreation, and to develop a plan for a facility, which will make a major statement to the community. The backup material indicated that an initial report is to be returned to the Board on March 31, 1999.
Issue: Year 2000 Compliance
Ms. Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, Office of Finance, explained that staff has been working for about two years on getting all of the financial accounting systems Year 2000 compliant by January 31, 1999. This was confirmed by extensive testing performed in March, 1998. Ms. Lehman stated that the fund accounting, budgeting and fixed assets accounting applications were Year 2000 compliant when purchased, but the payroll system was not Year 2000 compliant when purchased. She stated that, when the testing was done on the fund accounting, they found that the check reconciliation program was not ready for the Year 2000, so that is being worked on. Ms. Lehman stated that their goal is to complete the testing of payroll and get the check reconciliation modifications implemented by January 31, 1999.
Commr. Hanson stated that she felt the County needed to create a Task Force made up of County people, bankers, people from the electrical profession, telephone company, Sprint, the cities, to let people know that each of these entities are on top of the problem. She stated that the County needed to take the leadership roll and build the confidence of the public and let them know that they are going to have power, water, etc.
Ms. Lehman explained that staff was comfortable that they will be able to perform all of the accounting functions and handle business on a daily basis, for accounting and for courts management, and the programs that they use in their daily operations. She explained that their team is looking at other areas such as energy management system, and the elevator operation maintenance.
Mr. Anderson explained that staff did find some systems where, if they had gone unchecked, they would have been a problem, such as automatic door openers that are time sensitive and are programed, and elevators that are not on a time sensitive system.
Commr. Hanson explained that the County needed to take the opportunity to educate the citizens so that they are not as concerned. She discussed having a meeting perhaps with a Commissioner, and a Task Force, to discuss the issue, and stated that it would help to have the visibility in the newspaper explaining what the County is doing to address the issue.
Mr. Jackson stated that there is a liability side to this issue, and the County is finding that, in trying to communicate with the manufacturers, they are not committed to saying that their products are in compliance. He stated that the Florida Legislature and Congress will be addressing this issue.
Commr. Swartz stated that staff might try and put together a list of those private and other public agencies, whether it be the utility companies, the phone companies, public safety entities, the people that deal with the traffic lights and public traffic signals, the hospitals and ambulance services, and ask them to meet with the in-house committee for County government that is looking to ensure that County government is good to the Year 2000.
Issue: Develop A Specific Records Retention Procedure
Ms. Lehman stated that staff has been concerned about its records retention procedures. She stated that an important part to this issue is to be able to streamline where it can because they are running out of space for storing records. Staff currently follows the State Schedule for the retention of records, and in doing so, sometimes you can destroy records that you might need at a later date, because it is not specific enough in areas such as building construction, or bond proceeds where you have to keep these records for the length of the bond issue, which is longer than the time allowed in the records schedule. She stated that staff has decided to take that retention schedule and make it more specific to their needs, and at the same time make sure that they are not keeping things that they should not be keeping. Ms. Lehman noted that staff has already completed an inventory of files maintained in general, and by each employee in the office, and in March 1999, they will begin to try and develop a formal procedure and have it done by the end of the year. They would also like to take the minutes from prior years and scan them into WordPerfect, to make research easier, and they are also looking at other means of storage using microfilm.
Ms. Whittle noted that the County has a Records Retention Team and stated that the County is going to have to spend some money to bring the technology to the County.
Issue: Employees Being "PC" Literate
Ms. Lehman explained that the Clerk's Finance Department has recently had all of its computers upgraded to a 486 or better and stated that they have determined various training needs for all employees and have scheduled classes in those areas.
Issue: Five Cents Local Option Gas Tax
Discussion occurred regarding the Five Cents Local Option Gas Tax, with Commr. Hanson stating that her objection to this issue before was that the County did not have a plan for implementing some roads in the more rural areas. She stated that she needs to see the plan and some change in policy for dealing with some of the more rural roads and bringing them into the County maintenance system.
Commr. Cadwell stated that his argument is the same as last time that, even with this additional five cents, the County still will not have enough to take care of the current needs of the County.
Mr. Stivender noted that the current revenue estimates are $825,058/$4,125,290 for all five cents. He stressed that this would be the total amounts, and the County does share it with the cities, so the County's actual amount is about $500,000 per penny, or about $2.5 million.
Commr. Hanson stated that she had asked if staff could get some kind of compilation of tax information from the surrounding counties.
Mr. Stivender noted the following total tax on a gallon of gas for the following counties: Lake County - 10 cents; Marion County - 43.4 cents; Orange County - 42.4 cents; and Polk, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia Counties are 43.4 cents. He noted that none of these counties have adopted the Five Cents Local Option Gas Tax, and Lake County should be at 43.4 cents without the Five Cents Local Option Gas Tax.
Commr. Hanson stated that some analysis needs to be done to determine the amount of lost revenue there will be when people start buying their gas in other counties.
Mr. Stivender stated that, in the 1980s when the gas tax increased, the County did not see any substantial change in the fuel consumption in Lake County.
Commr. Cadwell noted that he has discussed the issue of the Five Cents Local Option Gas Tax with the League of Cities, and he has gotten a different response in regards to their cooperation in supporting the issue, and the methodology that was proposed.
Commr. Gerber informed the Board that the Impact Fee Evaluation and Appraisal Review Committee is in support of the Five Cents Local Option Gas Tax, because they feel it might be a situation where they can find some relief.
Commr. Pool felt that people may accept a little bit, but they will not accept a whole nickel. He stated that he could support a penny, and he will not say whether he will support a nickel or not support a nickel, but the County needs to prove to the people what it is going to do with the money. He likes to hear the idea of storm water management, but not beautification projects, or sidewalks, only because he did not think people wanted their gas tax to be used for these types of things. He further stated that people are going to want to see roads and improved roads and not taking extra money and doing other things with it.
Commr. Cadwell explained that it takes a four-fifths vote by the Board to pass the issue.
Commr. Swartz explained that a year ago the Board decided to address the issue, and they had a public hearing, and it failed by a 3 to 2 vote. He stated that the Board needs to decide whether or not it is going to adopt the Five Cents Local Option Gas Tax for the needs that are there. The County does not have adequate funding to maintain the existing roads that are in the County system, much less try to expand new dirt or clay roads into the system. Commr. Swartz stated that, if it is going to go forward on it, the Board needs to decide that it is going to support it before they put it on the agenda and decide that it is going to do it. He stated that there was no reason to go to a vote and lose by a 3 to 2 vote.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board has its Fiscal Retreat coming up in February, and he suggested that this item be placed on the agenda for discussion.
Discussion occurred regarding the time frame involved with this issue.
Mr. Stivender stated that, if the Board adopts the Five Cents Local Option Gas Tax before June, 1999, it goes into affect January, 2000. He noted that it takes $1.3 million per year to resurface every road in Lake County over a 25 year period.
Commr. Swartz explained that one of the things that the Board proposed doing, when it last looked at the five cents was, while this five cents that would be proposed could not be used for things like storm water retrofit, most of the storm water problems in the unincorporated area are related to road network in the County. The County could take the funds that come from the five cents and use those for some of the monies that are now the existing gas tax, and then it could move some over and use those for storm water retrofit in unincorporated areas, and when the Board says sidewalks, it should not think about sidewalks as being something that people do not want, because they do want them.
Commr. Hanson wanted staff to look at the northeast part of the County, if the Board agreed to it, because there may be only two or three roads that need to be brought into the system and they could be graded, and staff could determine what the costs would be annually to maintain these roads. She stated that this would be a long term cost rather than big dollars up front to pave them.
Commr. Swartz explained that the roads that needed attention in the maintenance area were not only in Commr. Hanson's district.
Commr. Hanson suggested that Mr. Stivender look at not only her area of the County, but look at all of the County where the population has grown to the point where they need to have some clay roads, just for accessability.
It was noted that the Five Cents Local Option Gas Tax issue would be brought back to the Board for discussion at the Board's Fiscal meeting in February.
Issue: Class I and Class III Disposal
Mr. Post addressed the issue of Class I and Class III disposal and stated that the Enterprise Fund is self-supporting, and except for the recycling programs and grants, the County receives no other income. He stated that staff is not only looking at ways to do things more efficiently, but to also take care of the citizens of Lake County. Mr. Post stated that, with the tremendous amount of Class 1 disposal in the Central Florida area, staff would like to get the approval from the Board to evaluate bids for alternate Class I disposal at the site in Tavares, in order to make a determination if those costs are lower than the Countys, based on the competition. He stated that staff feels that simultaneously the County needs to continue to expand the recycling program, and to minimize not only the amount of material that may be buried, but the amount of material that may be burned at the incinerator. Staff wanted the authority from the Board to keep it informed and to go forward and obtain the necessary information to be able to have an evaluation, and to be able to bring it back to the Board if there was something very viable.
Commr. Pool noted that there are cities who are contemplating hauling ash somewhere else, and the County should be looking at whether it can do something better or different with its ash, which would be more cost effective.
It was the consensus of the Board that staff should proceed with the request, as recommended by staff.
Commr. Cadwell discussed the upcoming holidays and stated that, since Christmas and New Years fall on Fridays, he stated that he would like to give consideration to the idea of closing the offices on Thursday - Christmas Eve, and Thursday - New Year's Eve, because of the floating holiday. He was not sure that there was any reason for anybody to be there on either Thursday.
Commr. Gerber stated that the Board needed to be consistent with the Clerk, and the other Constitutional Officers.
Ms. Whittle noted that the Tax Collector, the Property Appraiser, and the Supervisor of Elections generally always wait to see what the Board does in this situation.
Ms. Lehman explained the floating holiday that has been approved by the Clerk of Courts, which is the same as the Board's policy.
Ms. Whittle stated that she was of the understanding that the Chairman was suggesting closing the offices on Thursday and Friday of both weeks and declaring them as the holiday, rather than having a floating holiday. This would eliminate anyone taking off either Monday.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he will talk to the Constitutional Officers on Monday. He did want to clarify that he was not suggesting that the Board change its policy, but because of the way the holidays fall on the calendar this year, he felt it would be more reasonable.
Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that Tuesday is the Legislative Delegation meeting beginning at 9 a.m.
Ms. Farrell informed the Board that Commr. Hanson had asked staff to look into the feasibility of doing a survey of EDB in the Mount Plymouth area. She noted that this area has an "A" and a "B" zone delineated. Ms. Farrell stated that staff has determined a figure, which would be in a contract, for an individual with an entry level in an environmental background to perform the survey. It would take about a year to do the survey house-to-house, with a total of professional costs being about $39,700.
Commr. Hanson explained that Representative Stan Bainter has suggested that she find out what the actual number and specifics are in this area, because the new wells are being tested, but there is no testing for existing homes, and she suspects there is negligible positive sampling in this area. Representative Bainter has indicated that, because of the State wide mandate, anytime you find one case, you have to include this area. He said that, if the County could get the numbers together to do a testing, he would try and get a legislative appropriation to pay for the samplings. Commr. Hanson noted that it was costing the State $2,500 per well that goes down, if EDB is found, but they are not finding it, so she is suggesting the County find out what it can do to eliminate the designation, if it is not necessary. She did not know if the Board wanted to include it in the legislative package, or to get approval to submit it to Representative Bainter and let him handle it. She noted that EDB is more significant in the Clermont area.
It was noted that the information would be submitted to Representative Bainter.
PROPOSED CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
Ms. Sarah LaMarche presented information to the Board regarding the Proposed Capital Improvement Program for Fiscal Years 1999 - 2003, with additional 10-year and 20-year projections. She stated that, about three years ago, for the first time staff presented the Board with its first Five Year Capital Improvement Program (CIP). She reviewed the format of the information and noted that it would be reviewed in more detail in February.
Commr. Cadwell noted that the information would be on the agenda for the Board Fiscal Retreat in February.
Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that next week the Board members will be receiving a memorandum about the Committee appointments. He needs to have them back by December 19, 1998, so that the Board address the issue at the first meeting in January.
Commr. Pool felt that the Board Retreats were very valuable, but he would like to see the Board include a larger group, because he feels that, at some point, the Board should sit down with the School Board members, the Constitutional Officers, the Elected Officials Countywide, and with the Legislative leaders. He felt it would be a unique opportunity to spend a day and try to focus on what the Board feels are important issues. He stated that it was vitally important that they all get together, in three months, or six months, at one of these retreats, and include them, because if the Board is ever going to make the optional gas tax a reality, they have got to include the cities, the School Board, and the other elected officials. He would also like to see the State Representatives included at some point.
LAKE IDAMERE PARK
Commr. Cadwell stated that, at last Tuesday's meeting, the Board had talked about the Lake Idamere Park. He questioned whether the Board wanted to hold off from making any decisions, until the Board members looked at the property.
It was the consensus of the Board that it not make any decisions on the Lake Idamere Park until that time.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 2:05 p.m.
G. WELTON CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK