The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Friday, June 18, 1999, at 9:00 a.m., at the Continental Acres Equine Resort, Weirsdale, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson, Vice Chairman; G. Richard Swartz, Jr.; Rhonda H. Gerber; and Robert A. Pool. Others present were: Sue Whittle, County Manager; Alvin Jackson, Deputy County Manager; Sanford (Sandy) A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Administrative Supervisor, Board of County Commissioner's Office; Ava Kronz, Director, Continuous Quality Improvement; Jim Stivender, Jr., Senior Director, Public Works; Sarah LaMarche, Senior Director, Fiscal and Administrative Services; Mike Anderson, Senior Director, Facilities and Capital Improvements; Tad Stone, Senior Director, Emergency Management Services; Don Post, Senior Director, Solid Waste Management Services; Fletcher Smith, Senior Director, Community Services; Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Growth Management Services; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
The Chairman opened the meeting.
UPDATE ON HEALTH CARE COVERAGE FOR COUNTY EMPLOYEES
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, informed the Board that the County was approaching the end of its three year contract with Florida Healthcare Purchasing Cooperative; therefore, staff has been looking at various options to deal with health care insurance for County employees. She stated that Wittner National Group, Inc., Benefits Consultants, was hired to help them choose the best plan for the employees. She stated that they are working with some short time frames, therefore, they need to move forward as quickly as possible.
Mr. Alvin Jackson, Deputy County Manager, addressed the Board stating that, prior to turning the matter over to the consultants, the County Manager put together a team consisting of himself; Mr. Sandy Minkoff, the County Attorney; Ms. Sarah LaMarche, Senior Director, Fiscal and Administrative Services; and Mr. Mike Anderson, Senior Director, Facilities and Capital Improvements, to work with the consultants, to see where the County presently is and where it needs to go in the future.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, addressed the Board stating that the contract the County has with Florida Healthcare Purchasing Cooperative has a fourth year option, with a 15% increase in premiums. He stated that he and Mr. Jackson have been monitoring the cooperative and have found it to be in disarray. He stated that its financial position is very unsound at this
time. He stated that the County has some issues with it, one of which will be claims that are made, but not paid, before September 30, 1999, which are not covered in the County's policy, therefore, will have to be covered in the transition. He stated that, in addition to that, the underwriter of that plan, Commercial Union, claims that their liability is limited to $1 million and the County's claims are going to exceed that amount this year. He stated that staff feels the cooperative is obligated to the County for the full amount, but that is also an issue. He stated that, because of those factors and the fact that they will be closing down, if the County chooses to renew, it may be the only group left in the cooperative and there may not be any management left to operate the plan. He stated that staff's recommendation is that the County not exercise its option for the fourth year and, instead, look at different alternatives. He stated that the County will have to deal with the issue of claims that come in after September 30, 1999, and a possible overage, as part of the County's new plan.
Mr. Mike Anderson, Senior Director, Facilities and Capital Improvements, addressed the Board stating that, for the last three years, a team of line employees have evaluated the Request for Proposal (RFP) of the benefits package. He stated that their background is not in the area of insurance, so it has been an education. He stated that the goals of the group are to review the insurance policy, provide training programs for the employees, see how the plan operates, etc. He stated that insurance is a very complicated subject and something that the majority of line employees do not have a good grasp of, or understanding of what their responsibilities are, so they have had to have a lot of education and will continue to be educated, in order to make it work.
Ms. Delaine Kansol, Benefits Consultant, Wittner National Group, Inc., addressed the Board stating that they had in their packets a recommendation from Wittner National Group, Inc., who was engaged by the Lake County Board of County Commissioners to perform the following professional services:
Ms. Kansol stated that Wittner National Group, Inc. contacted the following individuals, to gather data and information regarding Lake County's Health Plan:
Ms. Linda Patterson - Florida Healthcare Purchasing Cooperative
Ms. Joni Smith - Florida Hospital Waterman
Mr. Brian McNulty - Robey Barber
Ms. Kansol stated that Ms. Joni Smith, Florida Hospital Waterman, informed them that Florida Hospital Waterman enjoys the relationship they have with Lake County and would like to continue it. She stated that they feel the County could get a better contract by dealing directly with them, rather than through the contract it currently has. She stated that Mr. Pat McConnell, Leesburg Regional Medical Center, felt the County could get a better contract by dealing direct, as well, however, suggested that the County contract with Healthchoice, rather than Leesburg Regional, because it would bring in Orlando Regional Medical Center, as well as South Lake Hospital. She stated that they contacted Healthchoice and found they are very open for a direct contract and would like to try to meet the County's needs.
Mr. John Robinson, President, Wittner National Group, Inc., addressed the Board stating that their recommendation is to move away from the Florida Healthcare Purchasing Cooperative plan, self-fund the plan as it currently exists, and keep the premiums within the 15% increase that the County is looking at, for the upcoming year. He stated that he feels it can be accomplished in several ways, one being to work directly with Florida Hospital Waterman and renegotiate their contract. He stated that, while the claims level is low, the administrative level is high. He stated that, through the setting up of the plan they would envision happening, some of the administrative monies would be used to help fund the claims that would need to be filed. He stated that the 15% increase is one of the areas they feel the County needs to look at, because of the claims and problems that exist in the current management structure. He stated that his firm feels the direct contracting method is the best approach for the County to take, noting that, in talking with the hospital administrators, they feel confident that the arrangements they looked at and negotiated will be as good, if not better, than what they could get from an insurance carrier outside this particular area.
Mr. Robinson stated that Wittner National Group, Inc. feels the County's risk needs to be planned around one specific way of doing things, so that it can consolidate that risk, instead of splitting it up into different companies and carriers. He stated that they would contact Commercial Union, who is the current insurer, and, in working with the County Attorney, try to minimize the County's risk for next year, by looking at an insurance carrier to help with the claims. He stated that all this would have to be done by January 1, 2000, for the implementation of the new plan. He stated that they are very concerned about the transition of care, if this goes through, therefore, have a plan of action, to make sure that people will get the proper care. He stated that they will also make sure that the networks are very similar to the current network of physicians in all the hospitals, which will help with the transition, as well.
Mr. Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that staff's recommendation is to move forward with this plan and have Wittner National Group, Inc. help the County set it up. He stated that they quoted a fee of $20,000, to do all the work necessary to get the County going. He stated that staff would like to keep them on as a consultant, as well, because there are some things that are going to have to be solved and worked out. He stated that another issue staff feels needs to be looked at by the group is the fact that the County has not increased the contribution from employees for family coverage in several years, nor the contribution from the Board. He stated that staff feels those issues need to be looked at by this committee and brought back to the Board, as part of this review. He stated that staff would like to go forward with the contract with Wittner National Group, Inc. and put the plan in place and, in order to do it by October 1, 1999, they feel the County needs to be totally done by August 1, 1999, so that they can start holding employee meetings and get everything rolling.
The Health Plan Recommendations are as follows:
On a motion by Commr. Swartz, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Health Plan Recommendations, as outlined by the County Attorney.
Mr. Mike Anderson, Senior Director, Facilities and Capital Improvements, addressed the Board regarding the Facilities Management Program Master Plan, at which time he reviewed the Planning Standards, Departmental Area Requirements, Facilities Assessment, Recommendations, Cost Studies, and Schedules. He stated that, under Section 2: Planning Standards, the Board would find what was adopted in 1991, as far as space standards are concerned, by position. He stated that it is the same standards that were used throughout the original construction of the Courthouse and through subsequent renovations of existing buildings, including the Public Works building. He stated that, with regard to Section 3: Departmental Area Requirements, when the County did the Space Study in 1991, it was evaluating space needs of 18 cost centers, compared to 25 cost centers today, which shows that a lot of things have changed and a lot of programs have been added. He stated that there has also been a lot of restructuring of existing departments, one of the most restructured being the Department of Community Services. He reviewed the current space requirements, versus the needs anticipated by the year 2005 for each department within the County, as well as within the constitutional officer's offices.
Mr. Anderson stated that two areas that are of immediate concern are the Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services and the Clerk of Courts. He stated that Fiscal and Administrative Services did not exist in 1991 and the space they currently occupy was intended for Risk Management. He stated that, since then, the County has consolidated and put Fiscal and Administrative Services over Budget, Computer Services, GIS, Procurement Services, and Risk Management. He stated that, because of the overall size of the department, they are starting off with a 760 square foot deficit. He stated that, with regard to the Clerk of Courts, the Clerk currently has 148 employees, however, anticipates 218 employees by the year 2005, a 76% increase over what their staffing requirements were in 1991. He stated that the Clerk is projecting an additional 47% increase in staffing, by the year 2005. He stated that the Clerk currently has a deficit of 12,017 square feet and by the year 2005, with the additional positions he anticipates, will have a 20,229 square foot deficit.
Mr. Anderson discussed the Mosquito Control building and the fact that it occupies a space that would be of value to the County, for future use. He stated that the site has ample area for redevelopment, it is close to the Judicial Center, and the Clerk of Courts archival storage warehouse is already on the site. He stated that some disadvantages of the site is that it is outside the Public Facilities District, it is in close proximity to a residential area, it is in close proximity to wetlands and water, and it has inadequate vehicle maintenance and service areas. He stated that staff is considering recommending that Mosquito Control relocate from the Public Facilities District, since this division deals with poisonous chemicals and petroleum products, which are more appropriate in industrial park locations than in city residential areas. He stated that centralizing this function within its service area would minimize truck mileage and maximize efficiency. He stated that staff feels the property would be very valuable to the County, for consideration for some future needs, possibly records management.
Mr. Anderson discussed the Health Clinic - Bldg. G, located on the north side of Main Street. He stated that it is a 4,385 gross square foot building, contiguous to the new Judicial Center, parking lot, and Public Works building. He stated that some advantages of the building is that the structure was designed for a second floor expansion, it is centrally located to the Judicial Center, Corrections, and Administration Building, chilled water is available alongside the building, and there is room to expand the building footprint in three directions. He stated that some disadvantages is that it has a plain, outdated appearance and it does not comply with current safety and ADA standards.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, interjected that something the Board needed to keep in mind is that, for every 250 square feet that is added to a building, the County has to provide a parking space.
Mr. Anderson stated that one of the County's current projects is the expansion of the Judicial Center parking lot, which will provide approximately 80-90 additional parking spaces.
Mr. Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that there is a deficiency in the parking plan for the City of Tavares and, at any time, the City can ask the County to build 200 additional parking spaces and the County will have a year to do so. He stated that the judges take the view that the Judicial Center parking lot is not adequate and that said spaces are needed, to take care of today's needs, however, the County's view is that said spaces are additional spaces, so there are two different points of view on the subject.
Mr. Anderson stated that the way the County is going to be able to expand the existing Judicial Center parking lot is to relocate the retention pond that currently exists along Old Hwy. 441 and add additional parking spaces there and then reconfigure some of the existing parking lot, so that there is a better circulation of traffic.
Mr. Anderson discussed the Health Clinic - Bldg. H, noting that some advantages of utilizing it is that it is centrally located, it is structurally suited for a second floor, the site's location could accommodate a larger building footprint, it would allow for the expansion of the County's chilled water system across Main Street, and it has a new electrical transformer. He stated that some disadvantages is that it has a plain outdated appearance, its proximity to the County Jail, it has limited on-site parking, which means that any public functions will have to use the Prelude parking lot, or the Judicial Center parking lot north of Main Street, and it does not comply with current safety and ADA standards. He stated that staff's recommendation is that reuse of this site for parking is still a possibility, however, considering the current need for additional office space, he feels with the generally good condition of the structure, its close proximity to the County Jail, and the possibility of adding a second story to the building, it should be seriously considered.
Mr. Anderson suggested holding a workshop meeting, to specifically discuss some of the possibilities that staff feels are warranted going forward with, at which time they can work through the details of the costs and any other concerns the Board may have, before making a final decision.
Mr. Minkoff interjected that the County is continuing to look at acquiring additional buildings and/or properties and noted that, if any of them come to fruition, staff will bring them back to the Board for consideration.
Commr. Hanson stated that she hoped, in all the planning and evaluation, the County had at least considered some night use of the buildings. She stated that she felt it was something the County needed to look at.
A brief discussion occurred regarding the matter and the costs involved with doing so, versus the cost of constructing new buildings.
Mr. Anderson discussed the Environmental Lab (Old Post Office), noting that some advantages of utilizing the building would be its proximity to the Public Works Building, the Judicial Center, and the Administration Building, it is an intact structure (very simple - open structure), a loading dock is available, parking is available on the site and on the street, and the building is tied to fiber optic cable. He stated that some disadvantages of utilizing the building is that it has a nondescript appearance and it does not comply with current safety and ADA standards. He stated that the County could do a wall-to-wall renovation of the building, as it is, and use the 4,500 square feet more effectively, or the County could construct a second story on the building.
Mr. Anderson discussed Section 5: Recommendations, of the Facilities Management Program Master Plan, at which time he noted that the goal of this section is to provide objective departmental recommendations and options for satisfying immediate, short, and long-range needs for each department. He stated that this section summarizes reported data and includes total space requirements for each department. He stated that final implementation of departmental recommendations is contingent upon Board direction and approval. He discussed the evaluation of each department's space requirements and staff's recommendations regarding same. He discussed the fact that the Clerk's office has experienced the greatest need for additional space, therefore, has issued an immediate request to find space to accommodate their Computer Services and Records Center offices. He stated that staff's recommendations regarding the Clerk's Office would be as follows: Option 1 - to do some minor renovations to the Old Post Office and move 6-8 of the Clerk's employees into half of the building, on a temporary basis.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Gerber and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to have some minor renovations done to the Old Post Office and have 6-8 of the Clerk's employees move into a 2,400 square foot area of the building, on a temporary basis.
Mr. Anderson reviewed the remaining options, as follows: Option 2 - to relocate part of the Clerk's Office functions to Building G (currently Health Department), should the Board decide at some point in time to construct a second story on the building; Option 3 - to consider the possibility of relocating the State Attorney's Office from the fourth floor of the Judicial Center to the Public Works building; Option 4 - to relocate the Public Defender's Office from the fourth floor of the Judicial Center to renovated Building H (currently Health Department);
Option 5 - to have the Clerk's Office vacate half of the third floor of the Judicial Center and move onto the fourth floor; and Option 6 - to consolidate all of the Clerk's Office between the Judicial Center and Building G (currently Health Department).
Mr. Anderson briefly discussed the Detention Center, noting that there have not been any space needs associated with it, as far as office space is concerned; however, the Sheriff has asked that the County provide the additional fourth housing Pod D, which would increase the holding capacity to 1,216 inmates. He stated that the County had three options, being: Option 1 - to build Pod D; Option 2 - to wait until inmate population trends begin to move upward, then implement a housing management plan that would fully utilize all the holding capacity, which would mean relinquishing all Federal housing programs; and Option 3 - to build a totally different kind of facility in a different location, i.e. labor camp, juvenile boot camp, etc. Commr. Swartz stated that, at some point, the County might need to reconsider sending the Federal prisoners to federal prison and reclaiming the 256 beds that have been reserved for them, which he feels might be cheaper for the County.
Mr. Anderson discussed the Health Department, noting that staff's recommendations regarding same are as follows: Option 1 - to relocate Environmental Health to the first floor of the Administration Building (this move is presently planned for late summer); Option 2 - to relocate the rest of the Department into leased property located within the Golden Triangle area (various properties are currently being evaluated); and Option 3 - to begin plans to locate property for a new facility to permanently house the Health Department and apply to the State for grant assistance, to help offset new development costs.
Commr. Hanson informed the Board that she had spoken to some individuals who were concerned about the County's GIS and the fact that the County is not coordinating enough with the cities and the constitutional officers. She stated that the County needs to bring everyone together, noting that there is a lot of opportunity for coordination between the County and the cities.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10:45 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for ten minutes.
SOUTH TAVARES CAMPUS UPDATE
Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Senior Director, Public Works, addressed the Board and displayed a map of the Lake Idamere Park property, pointing out the parcel of property that was purchased for the Department of Solid Waste Management, to be used as a buffering area for the landfill. It was indicated on the map where the Department of Public Works and the Fairgrounds might be relocated, as well. He stated that the County will now be looking at the Heidrich property, which is 20 acres, and the Ricci property, which is 37.58 acres, for purchase. He stated that Mr. and Mrs. Ricci are asking $35,000 per acre for their property, which amounts to approximately $1.2 million total. He stated that the other parcel of property the County is interested in is owned by the Hewitts. He stated that the County contacted Mr. Hewitt and asked for a donation; however, there is a road issue that Mr. Hewitt wants to work out, before proceeding with any donation to the County.
Mr. Stivender stated that, with regard to the Hwy. 448 extension, there was a question regarding traffic on the highway and how it would be affected over time, with or without a Fairgrounds. He displayed a map, indicating the Fairgrounds property, and stated that, if the extension is opened in the year 2000, the County expects to have 2,000 cars per day traveling it, immediately, and by the year 2020 the County expects to have almost 10,000 cars per day traveling it. He stated that Hwy. 19, which is four-laned, is expected to have 34,000 cars per day traveling it, by the year 2020. He stated that the traffic splits between Hwy. 19 and CR 561, which has approximately 5,000 cars per day traveling it. He stated that CR 448 will have approximately 6,000 cars per day traveling it. He stated that the County sees the whole area being busy, so the Fairgrounds will just add to it, or be a part of it. He stated that the County will relocate the Department of Public Works and Mosquito Control to the area, at which time he indicated on the map where said facilities will be located, noting that they will be approximately half-way between Hwy. 19 and CR 561.
Discussion occurred regarding whether to renovate the current Fairgrounds, or to relocate the Fair to the area in question, at which time Commr. Cadwell stated that he felt, for the amount of people that the Fair attracts once a year, the County could provide a lot more activity for its residents if it took that money and put it into parks, as opposed to constructing a multi-million dollar Fairgrounds.
Commr. Hanson concurred, stating that it has taken her a while to get to that point; however, she feels the Fair is going to make less and less money and that it will take a lot of marketing to get people to come to the Fairgrounds.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, even if the County relocates the Fair to the site in question, he feels one large multi-use building would be the way to go. He stated that he did not want the County to spend millions of dollars for an event that occurs once a year. He stated that, if the County did relocate the Fairgrounds, he would hope that it would look at the Eustis facility for active recreation, in conjunction with the City of Eustis and the Lake County School Board.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Swartz and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to have an appraisal done on the Heidrich and Ricci properties and have a contract regarding same brought back to the Board, at a later date, for approval.
FAIRGROUNDS UPDATE - EUSTIS SITE
Mr. Mike Anderson, Senior Director, Facilities and Capital Improvements, informed the Board that they did not have any backup material for the Fairgrounds facility in Eustis. He stated that the Board had indicated that the discussion was going to be whether or not to continue to support the current Fairgrounds location and make it as a little Fair within the State, or change it to something like a Farmer's Market, or dispose of the property. He stated that it is currently a Farmer's Market; however, it could be improved upon and made into an even better Farmer's Market. He stated that the County looked at renovating the existing facility and making the Expo Hall more attractive to outside programs, however, found that it would cost approximately the same amount of money to renovate the existing facility as it would to build a new one.
Discussion occurred regarding the issue of active recreation and whether or not to use the existing Fairgrounds facility for same, at which time Commr. Hanson stated that she felt the County should go to the outlying areas, if it is going to get into active recreation.
Mr. Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that staff has identified five or six sites around the County, for a regional park, such as Mt. Plymouth, Sorrento, Altoona, Leesburg, Clermont, Bassville Park, and Silver Lake, but the issue of where a regional park is located will depend on whether it is going to be for active recreation or not. He stated that, if it is going to be for active recreation, it should be located where it is easily accessible to people.
It was the consensus of the Board to go with the Lake Idamere Park property as the new location for the Fairgrounds.
SOUTH LAKE CAMPUS UPDATE
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that he; Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Growth Management; and Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Senior Director, Public Works, comprise a team that has been looking for a south lake campus site. He stated that they advertised and sent to all the realtors a request that they be provided with proposals for a site of at least 30 acres and as much as 80 acres, in an 8 to 10 square mile area around Clermont. He stated that they looked at sites that would also be large enough to locate the Public Works maintenance operations on the site, which he noted would be moved from Minneola to that location, as well as be available for a recreational site, should that be necessary. He stated that the property values of the sites they looked at range from $12,000 to $20,000 per acre, if the Board were to purchase a 40 to 80 acre site. He stated that they had an offer of an 80 acre site, at $15,000 per acre, as well. He stated that the School Board has not placed a price on their site; however, he feels that it will be in the $15,000 to $20,000 per acre range. He stated that the team would like some direction from the Board as to (1) whether the Board would like to purchase a site in the area in question, and (2) is it feasible to purchase a site consisting of 40 to 80 acres.
Commr. Pool stated that he feels it is very important that Lake County and Orange County communicate on the issue of transportation corridors. He stated that, if the two counties do not communicate, Lake County is going to find out that it has something that does not match what Orange County has. He stated that he feels, if the County does not tie up something fairly soon, it is going to find itself priced out of the market and/or with smaller parcels; therefore, the Board needs to decide whether the parcel in question is the right size, the right price, and in the right location.
A motion was made by Commr. Pool and seconded by Commr. Hanson to have the property in Clermont, alluded to by the County Attorney, appraised and move forward with that location.
Under discussion, Commr. Swartz stated that he was concerned about creating more urban sprawl in that area.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried, by a 4-1 vote.
Commr. Swartz voted "No".
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 12:20 p.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for lunch.
FIVE YEAR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAM
Ms. Sarah LaMarche, Senior Director, Fiscal and Administrative Services, addressed the Board and reviewed the Office of Facilities and Capital Improvements Infrastructure Sales Tax Projections for 2000 to 2002, noting the following:
(a) As of October 1, 1998, $4,650,000 in principal is due and payable August 31, 2001. A payment from the Infrastructure Sales Tas Fund of $1,200,000 is scheduled to be made on or before September 30, 1999, leaving a principal balance of $3,450,000.
(b) The Infrastructure Sales Tax revenues serve as the Second Pledge for the Solid Waste Line of Credit of $16,500. If sufficient Solid Waste revenues are not available, sales tax dollars could be used to repay this debt.
(c) The spreadsheet does not include a loan payback of $3,387,000 from the Christopher C. Ford Industrial Park Fund, which used the money for infrastructure and will budget the repayment as land sales permit.
Ms. LaMarche referred to Page 2 of the Proposed Five Year Capital Improvements Program (CIP), stating that, with regard to the Public Information Kiosks, the County is implementing the kiosks that the Board approved last year. She noted that the County has just begun implementing them.
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Senior Director, Community Services, informed the Board that one kiosk is on order and should be in some time in July or early September of this year. He stated that the County has another kiosk, but is holding off on any firm recommendations for it at this time. He stated that staff has talked about putting the kiosk in the City of Groveland, to help provide them with some services, since they have expressed a keen interest in getting some assistance from the Library System.
Mr. Mike Anderson, Senior Director, Facilities and Capital Improvements, addressed the Board and referred to Section 2., Paragraph d., on Page 9 of the CIP, pertaining to Lake Idamere Park - a 45.5 acre proposed park which will be a carve-out of the property purchased for the Department of Solid Waste Management, to use as a buffering area for the landfill. He stated that county staff has proposed a budget for FY 2000, totaling $364,480, to complete Phase I, which would be for passive recreation - playgrounds, picnic areas, ballfields, etc. He stated that Phase II enhanced budget requests total $1,095,000, which include a ball complex and recreation center building, with the funding source to be the General Fund, or the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund.
Mr. Anderson discussed Section 2., Paragraph e., on Page 10 of the CIP, pertaining to County Regional Parks - Land Acquisition, noting that staff was presenting, for the Board's consideration, the following recommended purchases for County regional parks, recommended by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, to be funded by the General Fund, or the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund:
Ms. LaMarche referred to Section 2., Paragraphs h. through k., on Page 10 of the CIP, pertaining to County Regional Parks - Recreation/Development, and, in particular Paragraphs h. and i., pertaining to Twin Lakes Park and Pine Lakes Park, at which time she noted that these were recommendations that Mr. Chuck Pula, Director of Parks and Recreation, had made, for applying for a state grant, and noted that Paragraphs j. and k. pertained to the completion of the 40 acre regional park in the Groveland/Mascotte area. She stated that the grant will allow the County to further develop them, using matching state funds. She noted that the County has been successful at doing that in the past.
Mr. Anderson stated that the County might want to hold off on Pine Lakes Park, until it is known what type of environmental impact there is going to be at the site.
Ms. LaMarche stated that, with regard to Twin Lakes Park, staff needed to know if the Board wanted to continue to develop it with matching general fund dollars and then apply for a state loan next year.
It was the consensus of the Board to hold off on the Pine Lakes Park issue at this time.
Mr. Alvin Jackson, Deputy County Manager, referred to Section 3. a., on Page 10 of the CIP, pertaining to the issue of Fiber Optics to Comcast, stating that the County is looking at implementing direct feed from Lake Sumter Community College to the Board of County Commissioner's Chambers and the Training Room, noting that the City of Leesburg has already laid fiber optics to the edge of the County's property. He stated that $30,000 would purchase the transceivers, which the County will need three of, to hook up to Comcast, Lake Sumter Community College, and the County's headend. He noted that it would be live feed.
It was noted that the funding source would be the General Fund or the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund.
Ms. LaMarche referred to Section 2., Paragraph c. - Boating Development Grants, on Page 9 of the CIP, stating that these are dollars that come in from the State and, currently, the County's practice is for the cities to compete for said dollars. She questioned whether the Board wanted to continue in that direction, keep the money in-house, or go in a different direction.
It was the consensus of the Board that, as Boating Development Grant Projects come forward, they can decide how to handle them at that time.
Mr. Anderson referred to Section 2, Paragraph a. - Annual Grants for Recreation, on Page 9 of the CIP, stating that 1997/98 was the fifth year of a five year program established by the Board to award recreational development grants, totaling $200,000 per year, to cities and organizations within Lake County. He stated that the funding source is the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund and questioned whether the Board wanted to continue to use said fund, which he noted is diminishing, or take the funding from another source.
Ms. LaMarche interjected that, in May of this year, the Board approved $220,000 in grants for FY 2000.
It was the consensus of the Board to continue funding said grants, for parks, with the funding to come out of the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund.
Mr. Anderson referred to Section 2., Paragraph b. - Regional Recreation Complex Grants, on Page 9 of the CIP, and questioned whether the Board wanted to continue funding said grants out of the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund.
Commr. Cadwell noted that said grants were for the larger regional parks. He stated that the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board only had two parks apply - one was in Clermont and the other one was a Lake Sumter Community College project. He stated that both of them applied to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and, because the County was near the end of its budget year, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board wanted to award each of the projects half of the funding being requested and then give them the other half next year. He stated that the issue was going to be coming before the Board, for approval, on an upcoming agenda.
It was the consensus of the Board to commit $150,000 per year, for two years, toward the Regional Recreation Complex Grants Program, for the City of Clermont and Lake Sumter Community College.
Mr. Anderson referred to Section 3, Paragraph b. - Courtroom 8, on Page 11 of the CIP, stating that $485,000 has been rebudgeted for FY 2000, for the purpose of renovating 2,600 square feet of the Lake County Judicial Center, to accommodate chambers for two new judges and six office suites for the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Administrative Services. The funding source would be the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund.
It was noted that, since the monies have already been rebudgeted, no discussion was necessary.
Mr. Anderson referred to Section 3., Paragraph c. - Agricultural Education Building, stating that this request is due to the realignment of Hwy. 19 and improvements that the Department of Transportation made in front of the Agricultural Center, in conjunction with some requests from the Agricultural Center itself, for some additional classroom space and some enhancements to the Administrative Office space. The total cost of the project is $575,000, of which $50,000 will be spent in FY 1999. He stated that $125,000 is a rebudgeted item and an additional $400,000 should be added, to complete the project. The funding source is the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund.
Commr. Swartz stated that he felt a little uneasy about this request, considering the amount of money involved, therefore, felt the request should be revisited at a later date, with some additional information being provided to the Board about the request.
Ms. LaMarche referred to Section 5., on Page 13 of the CIP, pertaining to the Horticultural Learning Center, and interjected that a 7,000 square foot building containing classrooms, offices, and restrooms has been proposed, at no cost to the County, other than operating costs, such as electricity, telephone, etc., with the funding source being provided by grants from the St. Johns River Water Management District and the University of Florida Energy Extension Service, in cooperation with the Friends of the Horticultural Learning Center, at a cost of $570,000.
Mr. Anderson referred to Section 3., Paragraph d. - Records Storage Facility, on Page 11 of the CIP, stating that this request is for a 10,000 square foot structure to be built on the same property as the existing facility, at a cost of $600,000; however, he has located a 6,000 square foot storage facility on Old Hwy. 441 that could be purchased and renovated for approximately $300,000. He stated that office space could also be added, with a $50,000 trailer being placed on the site. The funding source would be the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund.
Mr. Anderson was requested to bring some additional information regarding the request back to the Board, at a later date.
Mr. Anderson referred to Section 3., Paragraph e. - Parks Maintenance Facility, on Page 11 of the CIP, stating that this request is predicated on the County developing the Lake Idamere Park facility, noting that the existing Parks Maintenance Facility occupies what would become Lake Idamere Park; therefore, it would have to be relocated. He stated that the new facility will provide 1,500 square feet of office space for the parks maintenance crew, division director, and support staff, with a 4,200 square foot utility barn, to house the maintenance equipment, at an estimated cost of $174,084. The funding source will be the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund.
Commr. Swartz suggested trying to relocate the Parks Maintenance Facility with another county facility, such as Solid Waste or Road Maintenance.
It was the consensus of the Board to have Mr. Anderson do so.
Mr. Tad Stone, Senior Director, Fire and Emergency Services, referred to Section 3., Paragraph f. - Radio Communications System, on Page 11 of the CIP, stating that this request stems from the fact that the system that is currently in place does not have countywide mobile coverage. He stated that the system he would like to have installed is a 15 channel trump radio system, data capable, which would tie all county government together on a single radio system. The cost of the system is $1,267,809, with an additional cost for antenna installation, coax installation, tower construction, and site preparation. In addition, each mobile unit would cost $850 and each portable $1,399.
It was the consensus of the Board to bring a proposal back to the Board, regarding the matter, at a later date.
Mr. Anderson referred to Section 3, Paragraph k. - Garage - Joint Use Facility, on Page 11 of the CIP, stating that he had located a 16 acre piece of property, with three large buildings and two offices, sufficient to house a joint use Fleet Maintenance facility for the Sheriff, Public Works, and Fire and Emergency Services, in the Astatula area, at a cost of $800,000, to purchase, plus $100,000 to renovate. The funding source will be the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund.
It was the consensus of the Board to look into a joint use Fleet Maintenance facility for the Sheriff, Public Works, and Fire and Emergency Services, as suggested by the Director of Facilities and Capital Improvements.
Mr. Anderson directed the Board's attention to Other Options, under Building Options for Space Needs, on Page 7 of the CIP, stating that, in continuing to look at what is available on the market, as directed by the Board, staff looked at Boulware's Drugstore, a 4,300 square foot building, in Downtown Tavares, to either lease, at $36,000 per year, or to purchase. He stated that staff also looked at the Colonial Bank, in Eustis, a 15,000 square foot building; White Rose, in Eustis, a 16,000 square foot building; and Lowe's, in Eustis, a 23,000 square foot building. He stated that Lowe's is only interested in an outright sale and he was having a hard time getting together with the real estate representative for White Rose.
The Board directed staff to keep looking at additional buildings, for lease or purchase.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 2:30 p.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for five minutes.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Senior Director, Public Works, addressed the Board stating that his budget presentation is scheduled for July 13, 1999, and he wanted to brief the Board on his budget before then. He stated that, with regard to Personal Services, he wanted the Board to be aware of the fact that there are some positions being requested, however, noted that he would go into more detail at his budget presentation. He stated that, with regard to his Operating Expenses, his department has had to cut $3.5 million from last year's budget to this year's budget, which means his entire Capital Outlay Program. He stated that $900,000 was cut at mid-year, to balance out the account, and noted that some items had to be reintroduced in this coming year's budget, such as Special Assessment monies. He stated that, with regard to all the road projects in the bidding process, under construction, or completed, $3 million is gas tax money; $2 million is from sales at the Christopher C. Ford Industrial Park; and $7.5 million is from impact fees. He stated that, of all that money, $3 million of gas tax monies were waiting for said projects to occur. He stated that the County has now built those projects and eliminated that as a capital project. He stated that, under his Operating Expenses, $100,000 was cut from the Stormwater Management Program and $75,000 from Aerial Topo Mapping for Stormwater. He stated that funding for Stormwater Maintenance Projects was reduced from $75,000 to $25,000 and Materials for Stormwater Drainage Projects was reduced from $30,000 to $15,000, totaling $240,000, to come out of his Operating Expenses. He stated that the total Operating Expenses was not reduced by $240,000, because there were costs in utilities and other items throughout his department that had to be accounted for. He stated that the actual cut in Operating Expenses, for FY 1999/2000, was $122,615.
Mr. Stivender stated that, under Capital Outlay, Sidewalk Projects was cut, in the amount of $100,000, and the Stormwater Project was cut, in the amount of $30,000. He stated that Clay to Paved Roads was reduced from $2,284,000 to $624,670, and Resurfacing was reduced from $600,000 to $515,000, including $215,000 from the reduction in the Retirement Fund that is having to be paid in. He stated that that $215,000 was immediately put into Resurfacing, which he noted would also account for striping of roads. He stated that, with regard to Special Assessments, the $700,000 in last year's budget was actually deleted at mid-year and then included back in for FY 1999/2000, so it looks like it is the same, but is actually not there at the present time. He stated that it is an add-on. He stated that, with regard to the Purchase of New Clay Pit, the monies that the County has been saving to purchase same is now history, noting that, to balance his budget, they budgeted $50,000 to purchase clay and lost another $50,000. He stated that, with regard to Small Repair Contracts, for drainage and sidewalks, it was reduced from $85,000 to $30,000. He stated that the Capital Outlay budget was cut by $2,265,925, with $3,604,561 being cut overall.
Mr. Stivender stated that, with regard to Grants and Aids, the Leesburg Airport was to receive approximately $200,000 for this coming year, out of CTT funds, for the next phase of the airport, however, noted that it is not in this budget. He stated that anything that was proposed for the airport was taken completely out of the budget for Grants and Aids. He stated that, with regard to Total Transfers, the $868,745 shown for FY 1999/2000 is the transfer of the one-cent sales tax, which is a gas tax to the cities. He stated that the Contingency Fund was cut, at mid-year, from $500,000 to $168,687. He stated that they tried to stabilize it at $200,000. He stated that, for the total year, from October of 1998 to October of 1999, the County is cutting $3,670,207 from the Public Works budget, which means that there is no Capital Outlay Program.
Mr. Stivender stated that the County has been very successful this year, with regard to its Capital Outlay projects, noting that this is the highest amount of road projects in any one annual year that he is aware of, over the last 15 to 20 years. He stated that staff was asked to look at how many collector roads remained in the County, under the original Special Assessment Program that was in place in the County. He stated that a list was compiled in 1981 and, for the most part, the County has paved many of the collector roads, through the Special Assessment process, however, noted that there are still several of them left to be done. He stated that they are primary roads that reach out where there is no county maintenance, in old subdivisions. He displayed a map indicating various roads that have been identified and prioritized, for paving, at which time he stated that he had a list of said roads available for the Board's perusal. He questioned whether the Board wanted to start addressing said roads and maintaining them.
Commr. Hanson stated that she felt there were two impacts that have to be considered, being (1) bringing the roads up to today's County maintenance standards, and (2) ongoing costs.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, interjected that staff needed direction from the Board as to whether they wanted them to pursue the matter.
Commr. Hanson stated that she would be willing to ask the people that live on said roads to do a special assessment, to bring them up to clay county maintained roads, with the understanding that, at a future time, if they want the roads paved, assuming they will not be major arterial roads, the County could have a two-tiered approach, where there will be a special assessment for the clay and then, if the residents want them paved, at some point in time, the County could do another special assessment on top of that cost.
Commr. Cadwell suggested having staff submit what it would cost to have "spine" roads put in place and, if the County cannot afford to do so, to have a Plan B to fall back on.
Commr. Gerber interjected that she felt there was going to be opposition to it, noting that everybody thinks their property taxes pay for their roads. She stated that the public needs to be educated to the fact that not one cent of property taxes goes toward roads, it is all paid with gas tax funds.
Mr. Stivender stated that, with regard to transportation issues in Lake County and Central Florida, the Board directed him to look at any relationship the County has in the region on transportation issues. He displayed a map indicating all four-lane highways that are state roads, as well as the roads comprising the Interstate Highway System and the Turnpike System, which he noted includes the Western Beltway and some other roads in the Orlando area. He pointed out items that would probably affect the County, in one way or another, because of growth and demands on alternate routes. He stated that staff met with the Expressway Authority in the Orlando/Orange County area and tried to get an understanding of what they are building and how it is going to affect Lake County. He stated that they are set up, at the present time, to where the Board would have to give them permission to evaluate issues in Lake County, so staff looked at an expressway that would go around Mt. Dora and Eustis, using the Hwy. 441/44 corridor, crossing Lake Griffin, along Hwy. 27, through The Villages, out by I-75 and the Turnpike, between Dura-Stress and Mid-Florida Lakes, where there would be a service road on each side and maybe an elevated highway.
Mr. Stivender stated that, with Lake County having the Ocala National Forest on one side of it and the Green Swamp on the other side, all traffic wants to flow across the County, in some way or another. He stated that, as the County grows and the traffic that travels across the County conflicts with the traffic that the County itself generates, the roads will have to be widened, even with all the mass transit.
Commr. Pool stated that the County's plan identifies very clearly the need for joint planning, noting that counties cannot act like they are islands. He stated that they must jointly plan, with what is going to happen in the area. He stated that, whether the County likes it or not, people have found this area and are going to continue to come to it and commute to other areas.
MUNICIPAL SERVICE BENEFIT UNITS (MSBUs)
Ms. Sarah LaMarche, Senior Director, Fiscal and Administrative Services, addressed the Board, regarding the issue of MSBUs, stating that the County currently handles MSBUs, being Greater Hills, Greater Groves, Greater Pines, Picciola Island, and Village Green. She stated that the County is bound, contractually, with Greater Hills, Greater Groves, and Greater Pines. She stated that every year, the County certifies the tax roll and sends notices of the assessment to the property owners and submits to the Board a Resolution that expresses the intent of the Board to utilize the uniform method of levy and collection, for approximately 1,500 people. She stated that the County continues to get requests and needs direction as to what the Board would like for staff to do.
It was noted that the bottom line is that MSBUs are not cost effective - it is costing the County a lot more than the service that is being provided.
Ms. LaMarche stated that, basically, the County is in the business of collecting money for street lighting, when it could be handled by the homeowners associations.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, discussed the issue of Sylvan Shores and Valencia Terrace and how the County is involved with said subdivisions. He stated that Sylvan Shores has given the County an ultimatum to either pay for their street lighting, or they will turn it off. He stated that the County needs to give Sylvan Shores an answer, but then it needs to be prepared to answer to the homeowners.
It was noted that the County will not do MSBUs in the future; however, it will have to keep the three that are currently in the system, being Greater Hills, Greater Groves, and Greater Pines.
UPDATE ON EMS PROPOSALS
Mr. Tad Stone, Senior Director, Fire and Emergency Services, updated the Board as to what has occurred, with regard to the County's fire stations and what the County has done with them since he has been on board. He stated that he looked at the level of service that the County is providing and tried to identify some areas that have weaknesses. He stated that he was able to identify a couple of them and will be using the existing staff allocations that the County currently has and, instead of going up to two people on duty per shift, for the rest of this fiscal year, is going to try to fill the holes that were identified in the previous plan. He stated that, on July 5, 1999, the County plans to open two stations that will be manned with one person per shift, one being in the Altoona area (Station 44), which he noted will take some of the load off the Shockley and Paisley areas and provide backup in the Astor and Umatilla areas. He stated that his projections for next fiscal year will be to add an additional person to Station 44, in November of this year. He stated that he plans to do the same thing in the Minneola area, noting that he plans to staff that station with one person per shift and then add an additional person to the station in November, allowing two people per shift. He stated that he plans to do that with all the one person per shift stations across the board, in November of this year, which will still leave the County with manpower identified, but not filled, for the proposed station in the south end of the County, which the County is trying to purchase property for, at the present time.
Mr. Stone informed the Board that the Bassville Park station needs to be replaced. He stated that staff will try to find a location a little closer to Hwy. 441. He stated that, with regard to the Picciola Island Fire Station, it is strictly volunteer and there are no plans, at the present time, to do anything with it. He stated that, with regard to the Pennbrooke Fire Station, it was taken out of service and decommissioned many years ago. He stated that the County has entered into an agreement with the City of Leesburg, for them to extend their coverage to the Pennbrooke area and the County will, in turn, pick up some of their fringe areas.
Mr. Stone stated that, with regard to the Bay Lake Fire Station, the County plans to build a metal frame building and get the equipment out of the weather, however, noted that he would like direction from the Board, as to how they would like for him to proceed, being that there are a number of options available. He stated that he has had discussions with the current provider about what the County can do, working as a private/public partnership, to try to pare down the overall costs of enhanced services, such as co-locate, if that is feasible, however, noted that he needs to get some feel for where he needs to go, whether it is to continue the RFP development, or continue down the road with something for the Board to take a look at overall.
IMPACT FEE COORDINATOR
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, informed the Board that they had indicated, at the Fiscal Retreat that was held March 4, 1999, an interest in staff looking at additional impact fees for Lake County and some of the suggestions were for libraries, law enforcement, public facilities, and parks. She stated that it was also recognized that the current structure for the existing impact fees - fire, road, and/or school may need to be revised somewhat.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, brought the Board up-to-date on the current impact fees and issues that the County is facing regarding it. He stated that the County has run into a lot of issues on the staff level, particularly with transportation impact fees, where the County is receiving more studies from people that are claiming that the Impact Fee Study is incorrect. He stated that the ISTEA manual has been revised, since the County's data was compiled by Reynolds, Smith & Hills, and the County has, procedurally, had difficulty dealing with said requests. He stated that, when the County wrote the Impact Fee Ordinance, in 1986, it involved Mr. Jim Nicholas, a professor at the University of Florida Law School, who suggested hiring an Impact Fee Coordinator, to ease that issue and provide a resource to be used, when impact fees were proposed to be spent, to make sure that they were spent appropriately. He stated that his job duties would be (1) to review any proposed expenditures from the Impact Fee Fund, to make sure that it met the legal tasks for expenditures, and (2) any time there was a question about an impact fee charge that person would have the responsibility of making the determination of whether the challenge was correct or not.
It was noted that the hiring of Mr. Nicholas would be put on a future Board Agenda, for action.
Ms. Whittle, County Manager, questioned whether the Board would still be interested in looking at additional impact fees.
She was informed that they would.
The Chairman noted that the three remaining items - Community Signs, Race Track Bond Proceeds Team Report, and Y2K Update would be addressed at the Rezoning Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 22, 1999, due to the fact that it will be a very short meeting.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:50 p.m.
__________________________________ WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK