The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, March 12, 2002, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Robert A. Pool, Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson; Jennifer Hill; and Debbie Stivender. Others present were: William A. Neron, County Manager; Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioner's Office; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Cadwell gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, informed the Board that he has distributed a memorandum to the Board this morning with some proposed 2002-2003 Budget Guidelines for their consideration.
WORKSESSION: EVALUATE CHANGES TO LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS RELATING TO SEPTIC TANK DENSITY
Commr. Pool stated that the Board has received input from the Environmental Protection Advisory Board regarding septic tanks. He stated that right now the County allows up to four units per acre, if someone has central water, and the discussion will hopefully help them work out a compromise and reduce those densities.
Mr. Greg Welstead, Deputy County Manager, addressed the Board and stated that, since staff presented the septic tank menu and discussion items last week, there have been a number of comments from individuals who would like to participate in the process of developing any changes to the Land Development Regulation (LDR) that addresses septic tanks. Mr. Welstead stated that staff would like to withdraw this item and bring it back through planning and zoning (P & Z), and then to the Board, at some point in the future.
Commr. Pool stated that it is important to have public input, and he recognizes that this issue was a conversation on their part, to take a look at lowering densities, as they go forward on septic systems but again working with the cities, the development community, and the environmental community.
Commr. Stivender stated that she received the information on the issue last night and then found out that people out in public already had a copy of it. She thought that the process was going to be, even on workshops, that the Board members would get the information a week ahead of time, so that they could review it and ask questions. Commr. Stivender stated that, in order to discuss something even at a workshop, she needs it ahead of time.
Mr. Welstead stated that, at some point in the future, he feels that staff can bring back to the Board some guidelines that have input from developers, local communities, and environmentalists. He would prefer to withdraw the agenda item at this time.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he did not have a problem with staff pulling the item, but the Board was not bypassing anyone, because the Board always workshops an ordinance before they send it to P & Z.
Commr. Pool asked whether the Board was interested in taking some action and/or direction. He stated that this was an opportunity to have staff present something to them, so they could talk about it. He stated that he already does not agree with some of the things that he has read in the ordinance, but he feels it is important that they take a look at where they can lower the densities of septic systems on a per acre basis, if it is possible.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, clarified that the direction to staff is to work with interested parties and get their input and then come back with a menu for the Board to consider before it goes to P & Z.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, addressed the proposed budget guidelines he had previously presented to the Board and stated that staff has already had their budget kickoff meeting with the departments, and he and his staff will soon be working on the proposed budget requests. He stated that staff is looking at the last two weeks in July, but they will get back with the Board with a more specific schedule to do budget workshops and to go over the proposed departmental budgets with the Board to get their input and direction. He stated that he would see how the process was moving along and then come back to the Board in late May with some suggestions as to how they may want to proceed in that area. Mr. Neron noted that August 2, 2002, Friday, is the last date to set a tentative millage rate, but staff may want to come to them prior to that date.
At this time, the Board discussed their calendars with staff noting the dates that they would have open to schedule budget sessions. It was noted that the public hearing sessions were tentatively scheduled for September 3 and September 17 after 5 p.m.
Mr. Neron referred to the budget guidelines and stated that staff is approaching the budget as if there will be no increase in millage, and any other increases are those that have been discussed with the Board as far as universal collection, stormwater, and other things. He stated that it is going to be a difficult budget year as it is every year. There are limited resources and a lot of demands and, until they get through the legislative session to see what the effect will be on the County, it is going to be a very difficult year. He stated that staff is going to put the insurance areas under close scrutiny, because the cost of health insurance, as well as property and casualty, are rising significantly. Mr. Neron stated that he has reviewed these issues with all of the Constitutional Officers except the Supervisor of Elections and merely provided information and asked for their cooperation in working within these guidelines.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether the proposed Medicaid Bill (HB1975) was still alive in the legislature ($774,000), because it will have a significant impact on the County.
Mr. Neron stated that, as of the weekend, the proposed Medicaid Bill was still alive and looked like it had a good chance of passing.
Commr. Hanson stated that the State has been funding the full cost of insurance for the Healthy Kids Program, and they are looking at bringing that back at least to a match at the local level and that could have a significant impact on the County. She stated that these are significant unfunded mandates and may be something that the Board needs to work on at the State level.
Mr. Neron explained that Commr. Cadwell has been spending a lot of time at the State level getting information, and staff has been getting daily information and updates from the Florida Association of Counties (FAC), which has been distributed to the Board members.
Mr. Neron stated that staff is looking at the proposed budget and the mixture of county employees, with some that are working 40 hour weeks and some that are working 37.5 hours a week. He stated that it is going to be his proposal to put everybody on a 40 hour week, so that they can better serve the public. Once they get everybody on the same 40 hour week, staff will want to look at extended hours, ten hour days/four day weeks, and even some weekend work for Code Enforcement officials and others where their business does not necessarily meet the 8 to 5, Monday to Friday work hours. He stated that these are things that he and Mr. Welstead, Deputy County Manager, are working on as they put the budget together, as well as other customer service, customer friendly things that they can do to better serve the citizens.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, even though Mr. Neron added budget guidelines to the agenda today for discussion, he feels that the Board needs to look at the framework, with most of it being based on what they had discussed at the Board Retreat, and decide whether they are satisfied with it.
Mr. Neron stated that he talked to the Sheriff last week, and he has already distributed to the Board information indicating that he is going to be looking for additional deputies. He stated that they talked in very general terms, and he informed him of where the Board was going and urged his cooperation in the process, but the Sheriff is a separate Constitutional Officer, and he has to submit his budget to the Board for consideration.
Commr. Pool stated that the good news is that the Board sees the countywide millage rate staying the same at 5.117 and, if they can hold that and still provide the services, that is good and he appreciates and applauds staff for those efforts.
Commr. Stivender extended her appreciation to staff for presenting this type of format containing budget guidelines.
Mr. Neron stated that, in the past, the Board has used the two year budget process, and he does not have enough experience with it to say they ought to change it, but he felt it was hard enough to make revenue projections up to 18 months into the future. He stated that staff and the Board may want to look at the process to see if they want to continue with it. He stated that Mr. Welstead, Deputy County Manager, is working with Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, and others in leading an effort where they will be bringing to the Board, as part of the budget process, a five year capital improvement program that will have all of the projects, with all of the funding sources, and a balanced program, and the Board can decide whether they want to make any changes and, as they finish one year, they will add a fifth year to it.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, informed the Board that Governor Bush announced last week that Mr. Dale Greiner, Building Services Director, has been appointed to the Florida Building Commission.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
REPORTS - COMMR. HANSON - DISTRICT #4
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE
Commr. Hanson stated that she would like to schedule Teresa Watkins, Cooperative Extension Service, to make a presentation to the Board at an upcoming meeting on the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program. She felt it would be good to get her on the television for 15 or 20 minutes, to get an overview of her program. She explained that her whole program is based on the right plants and those that use the least amount of water, once again conserving water.
Mr. Neron stated that staff will look at scheduling the item, as requested.
Commr. Hanson stated that Ms. Watkins has a Florida Yard Designation certificate program, and they could look at incorporating this into the County's Land Development Regulations (LDRs).
Mr. Roy Hunter addressed the Board and extended his appreciation to Commr. Pool, Mr. Bill Gilley and the Solid Waste staff, and Mr. Fred Schneider and the Public Works staff, for coming to the meeting held at the Spring Creek Elementary School in Paisley, on February 26, 2002. He noted that there were 89 people present for the meeting. Mr. Hunter invited everyone to come to the Spring Creek Elementary School on Saturday, March 16, 2002, at 1 p.m., to listen to a 60 piece volunteer band from the Lake Sentinel and, at 2:30 p.m., there will be a free CPR course for anyone, with thanks going to Mr. Jim Judge, Executive Director, Lake-Sumter EMS, and Commr. Cadwell.
Commr. Hanson informed the Board that Altoona is having a hoe-down on Saturday, March 16, 2002, at 1 p.m.
Mr. Roy Hunter informed the Board that the Friends of the Paisley Library are having a book sale all day Saturday, March 16, 2002.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 9:30 a.m., Commr. Pool announced that the Board would recess for 30 minutes and reconvene at 10 a.m.
LAKE COUNTY V. COVANTA
CARTER V. LAKE COUNTY
E. C. MATTHEWS V. LAKE COUNTY
Commr. Pool announced, for the record, that the Board of County Commissioners of Lake County, Florida, will hold a private meeting commencing at 10 a.m.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that, at the Board's last meeting, pursuant to Florida Statute 286.011, his office requested that the Board have a closed session to discuss pending litigation, and there are three cases that he would like to discuss today, as follows: Lake County v. Covanta; Carter v. Lake County; and E. C. Matthews v. Lake County. The Board approved their request and the session has been advertised, as required by the Statute. Once they go into closed session, it will only be to discuss some settlement negotiations and strategy sessions; they will not take votes or make decisions. The session will be recorded by the court reporter. In addition to the Commissioners, the following persons will be in attendance: Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager; Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, Ms. Melanie Marsh, Assistant County Attorney; and Mr. Prineet Sharma, Mr. Gordon Stumpy Harris, and Mr. Jeff Keiner with Gray, Harris & Robinson (outside counsel). The approximate time of the meeting will be between one (1) and one and a half (1 ½) hours, depending on the length of the discussion.
At this time the meeting was closed.
At 11:10 a.m., Commr. Pool announced that the closed session was concluded and the regular meeting of the Board of County Commissioners would reconvene.
REPORTS - COMMR. STIVENDER - DISTRICT #3
COMMITTEES/PARKS AND RECREATION/MUNICIPALITIES
Commr. Stivender informed the Board that the Parks and Recreation Board meeting was held yesterday, and they had a lengthy discussion on community centers. She stated that they would like some direction from the Board as to what their part will be in this project. She told them that she would bring this major concern of theirs to the Board, and the Board would discuss it at a meeting. Commr. Stivender stated that the three community centers that the Board approved are part of parks, and it will be an overall concept.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, requested the opportunity to meet with staff and come back with a full report to the Board. Mr. Neron explained that the general intent on the community centers was that they would be partnering with either a city, or a not-for-profit organization, under a formal contract for them to provide the operations to the center. The County's responsibility would be the construction and maintenance and utilities, with the not-for-profits, or cities, or other groups, by a contract arrangement, providing programs.
Commr. Stivender stated that she would like to be advised of the meetings, so that she can advise the Parks and Recreation Board.
Commr. Hanson reminded the Board that there is a need for a community center in Sorrento.
REPORTS - COMMR. HANSON - DISTRICT #4
Commr. Hanson stated that she would like to report on the seminar that was held last night at the Leesburg Community Center, that was presented by Randall Arendt. She stated that the seminar dealt with how to deal with open space in communities and how to look at that whole issue from different perspectives. She noted that Lake County was well represented and the County will be buying the video, with the idea to put it on the Lake Sumter channel and make that available to the public. They will also be getting a copy of his CD, which has draft code proposals. Commr. Hanson stated that Mr. Arendt's main thrust is to keep the green spaces interconnecting whether they are in subdivisions, or whether they are around cities.
Commr. Pool stated that the other idea was to keep the densities pretty much the same, and also to try and cluster and shrink the lot size to allow the same number of units, but again allow for green space. The only flaw in Mr. Arendt's plan pertained to backing up property to the farm lands and, although that may work in states where there are farm lands, the citrus is gone in the County, so you cannot back up to a farm land, or to an existing farmer, but there are opportunities there.
REPORTS - COMMR. POOL - CHAIRMAN - DISTRICT #2
Commr. Pool reported that the Water Summit was held in South Lake County last week, with almost 150 people in attendance, and they are working to find solutions to water shortages, whether it be reuse, conservation, and/or information and education. He applauds those efforts noting that they will be taking a regional approach to resolve water issues.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 11:18 a.m.
ROBERT A. POOL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK