A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
JANUARY 21, 2003
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, January 21, 2003, 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: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Debbie Stivender, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson; Jennifer Hill; and Robert A. Pool. Others present were: William A. “Bill” Neron, County Manager; Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioner’s Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commr. Cadwell noted that there is an addendum to today’s agenda. He also noted that, in regards to Tab 18, the public hearing on the ordinance relating to parking will be readvertised and heard at another time, because of an error in advertising.
Commr. Cadwell introduced Ms. Amie Moriarty, Manager of the Rehabilitative Services and Sports Science at the United States Training Center in Clermont, who is serving her internship for Leadership Lake County.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of November 26, 2002, Regular Meeting, as presented.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of December 10, 2002, Regular Meeting, as presented.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 8, as follows:
BONDS - CONTRACTOR
Contractor Bonds - New and Cancellations, as follows:
5739-03 Paul R. Canney d/b/a Electrical Design Consulting & Engineering
6041-03 Sean R. Adair d/b/a Par Excellence
6042-03 Francisco Perez d/b/a Technical Electric Service, Inc.
6043-03 Scott Hoffman d/b/a Sunshine Security, Inc.
6044-03 Kevin W. White d/b/a Toolman Enterprise, LLC
4557-99 Craig Rager d/b/a Craig Rager Construction Co., Inc.
4607-03 Frederick S. Troesch
5957-03 Bill Bass d/b/a Your Vision Sod
6009-02 William A. Brodie d/b/a Land Design & Development, Inc.
List of Warrants
Request to acknowledge receipt of the list of warrants paid prior to this meeting, pursuant to Chapter 136 of the Florida Statutes, which shall be incorporated into the Minutes as attached Exhibit A and filed in the Board Support Division of the Clerk's Office.
Water Authority Meeting Schedule
Request to acknowledge receipt of the Lake County Water Authority Board of Trustees Meeting Schedule for 2003.
Florida Forever Work Plan Update - SJRWMD
Request to acknowledge receipt of the Second Annual Florida Forever Work Plan Update from the St. Johns River Water Management District, pursuant to Section 373.199(7), Florida Statutes, which was reviewed and approved by their Governing Board on December 20, 2002.
Annexation Ordinance - City of Mount Dora
Request to acknowledge receipt of Ordinance No. 822, from the City of Mount Dora, for the annexation of property generally located east of CR 44B and south of SR 44, Mount Dora, Florida, as described, which was passed and ordained the 3rd day of December, 2002, by the City Council of the City of Mount Dora.
Florida Midland Railroad Company - Abandonment Exemption
Request to acknowledge receipt of the Decision and Notice of Interim Trail Use (NITU) or Abandonment by the Surface Transportation Board, Washington, D.C., for Florida Midland Railroad Company (FMID) - Abandonment Exemption - in Sumter and Lake Counties, FL. Re: abandonment of a 13.23-mile line of railroad known as the Leesburg Branch, extending from milepost ST-762.10 in Wildwood to milepost ST-773.71 in Leesburg and from milepost AS-800-76 to milepost AS-802.38 at Leesburg, in Sumter and Lake Counties, FL.
Annual Report - Department of Revenue
Request to acknowledge receipt of the 2002 Annual Report from the Florida Department of Revenue.
Satisfaction of Judgments
Request to approve and authorize signatures on Satisfaction of Judgments, as follows:
a. State of Florida vs. Henry Jackson, Case No. 1983 MM 1405, in the amount of $250.00, fully releasing and discharging the Final Judgment entered on the 7th day of November, 1983, and recorded in OR Book 792, Page 574, of the Public Records of Lake County, Florida.
b. State of Florida vs. Gary J. Jones, Case No. 01CF627, in the amount of $750.00, fully releasing and discharging the Final Judgment Assessing Attorney’s Fees and Costs entered on the 3rd day of July, 2002, and recorded in OR Book 02155, Page 2117, of the Public Records of Lake County, Florida.
c. State of Florida vs. Jose Manuel Acevedo, Case No. 2002CO001077, fully releasing and discharging the Final Judgment entered on the 4th day of September, 2002, and recorded in OR Book 2204, Page 474, of the Public Records of Lake County, Florida.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
Commr. Cadwell requested that Tab 8 regarding EMS be pulled so that he can make a brief comment.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 13, with Tab 8 being pulled for comment, and Addendum No. 1, I. A. and B., as follows:
Budget Transfer - Alcalde & Fay
Request from Budget and Administrative Services to approve a budget transfer - General Fund, Non-Departmental, in the amount of $60,000.00 is requested. Transfer $60,000.00 from Reserve for Operations to Contractual Services. On December 10, 2002, the Board of County Commissioners approved to retain the services of Alcalde & Fay, consultants. Funds are needed to compensate the firm for their services. Funds are available in Reserve for Operations.
Budget Transfer - Procurement BIDS Management System Software
Request from Budget and Administrative Services to approve a budget transfer - General Fund, Budget & Administrative Services, Procurement Services division, in the amount of $3,750.00 is requested. Transfer $3,750.00 from Reserve for Operations to Office Supplies ($3,000.00) and Repair & Maintenance ($750.00). Funds are needed to purchase a license and annual maintenance for “Procurement BIDS Management System” software. This software will allow the direct notification of all registered bidders/proposers of all new solicitations, will automate posting the solicitation documents to the web, and will allow capturing information from each potential proposer. The purchase price includes the source code for the software and on-site assistance installing and configuring it for Lake County’s needs.
Resolution - Amend Stormwater Management Fund - Contributions
Request from Budget and Administrative Services to approve Resolution 2003-8 to amend the Stormwater Management Fund in order to receive unanticipated revenue for Fiscal Year 2002/2003 in the amount of $194,044.00 deposited into Contributions from Other Agencies and provide appropriations for the disbursement for Stormwater Improvements.
Resolution - Amend County Transportation Fund - Insurance Proceeds
Request from Budget and Administrative Services to approve Resolution 2003-9 to amend the County Transportation Fund in order to receive unanticipated revenue for Fiscal Year 2002/2003 in the amount of $8,520.00 deposited into Insurance Proceeds and provide appropriations for the disbursement for Repair & Maintenance.
Contract - HNTB Corporation - Picciola Bridge Improvements
Request from Procurement Services for approval and authorization to award RFP 02-129; encumber funds and authorize a contract, subject to the County Attorney approval, to HNTB Corporation in the amount of $143,127.87 for engineering services for the Picciola Bridge Improvements. This contract shall be for Phase I, which includes preliminary design, public meetings and soil and drainage analysis. Phase II, implementation of the selected alternative, may be negotiated at a later date.
Jobs Growth Investment Trust Fund Agreement - G & T Conveyor Co. Inc.
Request from Economic Development/Tourism for approval of a Jobs Growth Investment Trust Fund Agreement between Lake County and G & T Conveyor Company, Inc. for the award of $67,500.00 upon the creation of 19 jobs paying at least 115% of the average annual hourly wage in Lake County ($11.62 on 12/1/01).
Special Master Settlement Agreement - Neupauer
Request from Growth Management for approval of Special Master Settlement Agreement between Joseph C. Neupauer and Mary F. Neupauer, Petitioners/Owners vs. Lake County, Florida, Respondent, File No. SM-7-02.
Special Master Settlement Agreement - Kuharske
Request from Growth Management for approval of Special Master Settlement Agreement between Robert L. Kuharske and Edward A. Kuharske, as Co-Trustees, et. al., Petitioners vs. Lake County, Florida, Respondent, File No. SM-9-02.
Deeds and Easements
Request from Public Works for approval to accept four Statutory Quit Claim Deeds, three Statutory Warranty Deeds, two Temporary Non-Exclusive Construction Easements, and one Road Easement Agreement, as follows:
Statutory Quitclaim Deed
Harlan & Donna Pratt - East Ave./Central Blvd. - Deerhaven Internal Rd Proj - Bk 2221 Page 0915
Terry and Tammy White - Citrus Valley Road - 3-2929A - Road Project - Book 2231 Page 1400
Garlen and Sheryl Carter - Citrus Valley Road - 3-2929A - Road Project - Book 2231 Page 1414
Elwis and Janice Benson - Citrus Valley Road - 3-2929A - Road Project - Book 2231 Page 1411
Statutory Warranty Deed
Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc. - Hook Street - Hook Street Project - Book 2232 Page 1192
Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc. - Hook Street - Hook Street Project - Book 2232 Page 1197
Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc. - Hook Street - Hook Street Project - Book 2232 Page 1203
Temporary Non-Exclusive Construction Easement
Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc. - Hook Street - Hook Street Project - Book 2232 Page 1182
Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc. - Hook Street - Hook Street Project - Book 2232 Page 1186
Road Easement Agreement
W. T. Paul Liau - CR 474 - 2-0141 - Fire Station Access Easement - Book 1881 Page 1684
Change Order - Sun Eden Drainage Improvement
Request from Public Works for approval and authorization to execute change order #2 to the Sun Eden Drainage Improvement Phase II project in the amount of $3,750.00 for the reconstruction of a steep-sloped driveway due to drainage modifications. The request cumulatively exceeds 10% of the contract award.
Lease Renewal - Tax Collector
Request from Public Works to approve a three-year lease renewal for the Tax Collector office in Clermont.
Resolution - Road Vacation
Request from Public Works for approval of Resolution 2003-11 to advertise Vacation Petition No. 995 by Robert Vason, Jr., P.A. to vacate easements located in Section 34, Township 19 South, Range 27 East in the Sunset Hills Subdivision in the Mount Dora area - Commission District 4.
Resolution - Road Vacation
Request from Public Works for approval of Resolution 2003-12 to advertise Vacation Petition No. 996 by Jim Stivender, Jr., Director of Public Works, Lake County Board of County Commissioners and David Terry, Attorney, to vacate easement located in Section 28, Township 21 South, Range 26 East in the Sugarloaf Mountain, Ferndale area - Commission District 3.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
Economic Development - W. Q. Investments - Christopher c. Ford Commerce Park
Request from Economic Development/Tourism for approval of a Real Estate Purchase and Sales Agreement between Lake County and W. Q. Investments, LLP for the purchase of Lot 17 (approximately 4.99 acres) in the Christopher C. Ford Commerce Park at $35,000.00 per acre (approximately $174,650.00) and approval of an Agreement with W. Q. Investments, LLP to construct Justice Place in the Commerce Park at an approximate cost to the County of $70,000.00 and the Water Retention Area at an approximate cost of $69,293.00.
Dr. S. J. Stephany River Trail
Request from Public Works for approval for the river trail at the Palatlakaha Environmental & Agricultural Reserve be dedicated as the Dr. S. J. Stephany River Trail.
EMS GRANT - RESOLUTION
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in regards to Tab 8, the request for approval of the EMS Grant Application, he wants the Board to approve the request, but he wants to make sure that staff is not to spend a penny, until a plan has been developed.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that he will be meeting with Mr. Jim Judge, Executive Director, Lake-Sumter Emergency Medical Services, to work out a spending plan for these funds, which will be brought back to the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request from Public Safety for approval and execution of the EMS Grant Application and Resolution 2003-10 for FY 2002-2003, to be used to purchase equipment and supplies to improve and enhance EMS response for Fire Rescue, with staff bringing back to the Board a spending plan for those funds.
PROPOSED SIX-LANING OF U.S. HIGHWAY 441
DAVID GRAEBER, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Mr. David Graeber, Florida Department of Transportation, addressed the Board to discuss the Proposed Six-Laning of U.S. Highway 441 from Picciola Road to County Road 42 in Marion County. Mr. Graeber stated that he would like to thank the Lake County staff who have been a great help to him in understanding the issues of Lake County on this project, as well as the regional transportation needs. Mr. Graeber stated that the project he will be discussing is about 12 miles long, and they are currently in a project, development, and environment (PD&E) phase of the project. When they conclude the different phases, they will have federal highway approval for funding and will be able to use that money to design, acquire right-of-way, and construct the road.
Mr. Graeber explained that, with a PD&E study, they will begin by quantifying the needs of the corridor, developing alternatives that will meet those needs, quantifying the benefits for each of the alternatives, comparing them against the impacts, and selecting a final alternative for federal highway approval. They broke the PD&E study into nine different segments, as noted on the map provided to the Board, in order to compare alternatives within areas that have similar transportation needs, similar traffic operational characteristics, and similar land development characteristics. Mr. Graeber explained that today there are 17 existing traffic signals and, if they do not build anything, they will have a level service of “F” on the vast majority of those and, even if they construct six lanes, in the year 2026 they will still have a failing level of service at some of these signals. He briefly reviewed the different segments noting that the Board had before them a handout showing each of the typical sections and their limits. Mr. Graeber stated that they have taken this to a public information meeting in the past, and they have met with the cities and stakeholders throughout the project. They have had a considerable amount of discussion about the CR 25 overpass, which he will go into more detail later. They have talked to Lake Griffin State Park, and to the Lake County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), about coordinating the bicycle and pedestrian features. He noted that what they decide in this stage does not preclude adjacent trails in the future.
Mr. Graeber stated that the CR 25 overpass is located north of the Town of Lady Lake and was built for the ACL Railroad, which has been abandoned and removed. They identified alternatives to remove it and, after doing some cost analyses, they realized it would be more expensive to take it out than to widen it. He stated that they developed four alternatives to address this issue, three of them include the removal of the bridge and reconstruction of the road. At this time, he presented detailed information about each of the alternatives and explained that one of the key components for each of these alternatives is that they must maintain two lanes in each direction of traffic, to keep it from being a terrible gridlock.
In talking with the County’s BPAC, and the cities, Mr. Graeber stated that, in lieu of building four foot bike lanes and impacting the businesses along that corridor, in one area, in the Town of Lady Lake, they are proposing an off site trail using Dixie Road and, in their design commitments, they will do a trail planning study, which is scheduled for 2003-2004 and fund a master plan to coordinate all of the various trails within this US 441 corridor.
Mr. Graeber stated that he has provided the Board with a project summary and cost information broken out by roadway, ponds, parcel impacts, and environmental impacts, and the estimated costs for the design and construction of the entire road. As far as construction sequencing, the DOT work program has designed funding for segments two through six in 2006, and right-of-way for 2008. He noted that currently there is no funding for construction.
Mr. Graeber stated that the next step will be a public hearing, on February 19, 2003, to take public comment, and then they will submit a preferred alternative to the federal highway for approval. He stated that, with there being no construction money funded and design being two years away and, with this area growing so rapidly, the DOT would like to take three alternatives all the way through the public hearing process and have them available during design, and to make the decision based on what land is available by the time they get to design. Mr. Graeber stated that it is very difficult to get the DOT to commit to an alternative that they do not have complete control over, so, if they do not have control over the land use where there would be maintenance traffic, or a new alignment, there would be nothing to preclude the land developers from developing that property and making that alternative not feasible. It is an additional $2 million for the consensus realignment of the road. They did run a benefit cost analysis based on life cycle, and it did narrow the gap by about $1 million over the life of the bridge, but traditionally a benefit cost analysis is difficult to predict. He stated that they did not include in their calculations the development opportunities for the properties adjacent to that overpass.
Commr. Cadwell recognized Mr. Jim Coleman, Town Manager of the Town of Lady Lake, who was present in the audience, and stated that he hoped that today the County would at least give to the Town of Lady Lake a letter stating that, if it is economically feasible, they will support demolishing the bridge.
Mr. Coleman addressed the Board and stated that the Board had before them a packet of information that includes Resolution No. 2003-100 that was unanimously passed by the Town of Lady Lake Commission supporting the demolition of the bridge, and they had hoped to ask for support from the Board to allow them to bring this project up perhaps to fruition sooner, and to further develop a study on this issue.
Commr. Cadwell stated that this item was placed on the agenda as a presentation and, if they choose to take action, he questioned whether it needed to be placed on the agenda by a motion.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that, if the Board is going to take action, they should add it to the agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place on the agenda a letter of recommendation in regards to the project on the agenda today.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved for the County to write a letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT) asking that, if it is economically feasible, the Board will support the removal of the bridge in this project and that, in their design, they look at making sure it is taken down.
PUBLIC HEARING -
ORDINANCE CONCERNING LAKE ELSIE
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, placed the following proposed Ordinance on the floor, by title only, and noted that it would be Ordinance 2003-1, if approved by the Board:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA, CREATING SECTION 5-7 OF THE LAKE COUNTY CODE ENTITLED MOTORBOATS POWERED BY GASOLINE OR OTHER MOTOR FUELS PROHIBITED ON LAKE ELSIE; PROHIBITING ANY PERSON FROM OPERATING A MOTORBOAT POWERED BY GASOLINE OR OTHER MOTOR FUEL WITHIN OR ON LAKE ELSIE, A LAKE LOCATED IN SECTIONS 27 AND 28, TOWNSHIP 19 SOUTH, RANGE 26 E, LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA; PROVIDING FOR THE POSTING OF SIGNS; PROVIDING CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Commr. Stivender informed the Board members that part of Lake Elsie is located in the City of Tavares, and the City Council approves of this ordinance.
Commr. Hill stated that, with this being a land issue ordinance, she wanted to know whether it was required to go before the Planning and Zoning (P & Z) Commission.
Mr. Minkoff explained that they are not changing the Land Development Regulations (LDRs), it is in the general code, and it was not presented to the P & Z Commission.
Commr. Cadwell opened the public hearing and called for public comment.
Mr. Bruce Duncan, Attorney with Potter, Clement, Lowery & Duncan, Mount Dora, stated that he represents the homeowners that surround Lake Elsie. As Commr. Stivender pointed out, they have received approval from the City of Tavares. Mr. Duncan stated that this is a unique situation, since half of the lake is located in the City and half is in the County. He had with him a petition with signatures from the homeowners supporting the request to restrict gas powered aquatic vehicles on Lake Elsie; a letter from the YMCA who chose to remain neutral; a letter from Gene Smith; and a letter from Mr. Ron Hart, Lake County Water Authority, supporting the ordinance. He stated that they feel that it will have a positive environmental impact and a major impact as far as the quality of life for the residents surrounding the lake. It was noted that approximately seven of the residents were present in the audience. Mr. Duncan stated that he would like to reserve time to rebut any objections being raised. He submitted a two page petition, a map, the letter from the YMCA, and the letter from the Lake County Water Authority, for the record.
Commr. Pool referred to Page 3, Section (c) of the proposed ordinance, and requested clarification of the language, which states that it shall be unlawful for any person to operate any motorboat powered by gasoline, or other motor fuel.
Mr. Duncan stated that this issue was discussed with the City of Tavares and electric motors will be allowed on boats, where a boat may also have a gas powered motor on it, and it will not be a violation to have it on the boat, as long as it is not operating.
Commr. Cadwell called for further public comment. There being none, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
Commr. Stivender stated that the residents did meet with her and Mr. Duncan at City Hall, to make sure that this is what everyone along the lake wanted and she feels that doing these (ordinances) individually is the best way to handle the problems on the lakes.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Ordinance 2003-1, as read by title only.
PUBLIC HEARING -
ORDINANCE CONCERNING BLUE LAKE
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, placed the following proposed Ordinance on the floor, by title only, and noted that it would be Ordinance 2003-2, if approved by the Board:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA, CREATING SECTION 5-8 OF THE LAKE COUNTY CODE ENTITLED MOTORBOATS POWERED BY GASOLINE OR OTHER MOTOR FUELS PROHIBITED ON BLUE LAKE; PROHIBITING ANY PERSON FROM OPERATING A MOTORBOAT POWERED BY GASOLINE OR OTHER MOTOR FUEL WITHIN OR ON BLUE LAKE, A LAKE LOCATED IN SECTIONS 7 AND 8, TOWNSHIP 19 SOUTH, RANGE 27 E, LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA; PROVIDING FOR THE POSTING OF SIGNS; PROVIDING CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Commr. Cadwell opened the public hearing and called for public comment.
Mr. Fred Rohrdanz addressed the Board and stated that he is one of about 15 homes on Blue Lake. Mr. Rohrdanz stated that there is no public access to the lake; it is landlocked; and it is a private lake owned by the homeowners on the lake. It does abut to property in the City of Eustis, at the First Baptist Church but, other than that, it is completely residential. The homes on the lake are one acre to five acres in size, and he does not believe there has been any opposition to the proposed ordinance. The residents do know about a new development that is coming in across the lake, with about 100 homes, at the corner of Estes and CR 44 and, as property owners who have been there for a number of years, they are concerned about the possibility of gas powered boats on this lake. He noted that there are approximately four residents present today, and there is a petition signed by 13 of the 15 property owners who live around the lake. He feels it is a common sense ordinance, a safety ordinance, and one that provides for the protection of the environment.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, pointed out that, on both of these ordinances, staff notified all of the property owners surrounding the lake.
Mr. Rohrdanz stated that there has always been a gentleman’s agreement on the lake where each property owner, as they bought their property, was notified that only electric engines, or arm power, are allowed on the lake, so he feels this is putting into writing a verbal agreement they have had for years.
Commr. Cadwell called for further public comment. There being none, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
Commr. Hanson stated that is has been wise for the community to move forward with this ordinance to actually put their verbal agreement in writing.
Commr. Hanson made a motion, which was seconded by Hill, to approve Ordinance 2003-2, as read by title only.
Under discussion, Commr. Hill had questions about the new development of 100 homes that was mentioned by Mr. Rohrdanz and whether they would be in the City of Eustis.
Mr. Rohrdanz explained that the property is either in the City of Eustis, or it is being annexed into the City. He stated that a the City Manager has written a letter supporting the ordinance today.
Commr. Cadwell called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
PUBLIC HEARING -
ORDINANCE INCREASING THE TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, placed the following proposed Ordinance on the floor, by title only, and noted that it would be Ordinance 2003-3, if approved by the Board:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA, AMENDING SECTION 13-46, LAKE COUNTY CODE, REGARDING THE IMPOSITION AND COLLECTION OF THE TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX; PROVIDING FOR A FOUR PERCENT TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX; AMENDING SECTION 13-47, LAKE COUNTY CODE, REGARDING THE USES FOR THE REVENUE GENERATED FROM THE TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX; CERTIFYING THE PREVIOUS IMPOSITION OF THE TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE LAKE COUNTY CODE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that this ordinance requires a vote of four-fifths of the Board.
Mr. Greg Mihalic, Director of Economic Development/Tourism, addressed the Board
to discuss the request to increase the Tourist Development Tax from 2% to 4%. Mr. Mihalic stated that Lake County passed a 2% tax in the 1980s and, after three years, the counties were allowed to increase the tax. He stated that 47 of the 67 counties in the State do implement a tourist tax, and over 70% are more than 2%. Of the $325 million of tourist tax collected in the State, over $150 million is collected from Central Florida. The counties to the east of Lake County that are tourism oriented counties all charge more than Lake County, and they receive $151 million in tourist tax revenue. Mr. Mihalic explained that, since 1995, this program has expended more each year than what is brought into the County and, since that time, they have been using reserves to maintain this program, and they have spent over $1 million more in expenditures than revenue coming into the County. In June, 2002, the Tourist Development Council (TDC) recommended that the increase be put into place, from 2% to 4%. He explained that there were two votes against the increase, one member felt it was never a good time to raise taxes because of the state of the economy, and the other felt they should spend their reserves before they implement a higher tax. He explained to the TDC that the cash reserves are almost gone, and they need to bring this program into balance by increasing the tax.
Commr. Hanson stated that, in the backup, it mentions particularly promotional activities in areas of sports and natural tourism, but she wants to make sure that arts are included.
Mr. Mihalic stated that this will really allow them to work more in the arts and cultural area, as well as the eco-tourism and sports area. He explained that there was a misconception in the paper that the funding would be going to South Lake County, which is not true. They now choose at least one event to highlight and regionalize each quarter. Mr. Mihalic explained some of the events that were promoted last year noting that they move around the County, and it is not meant to be for any particular area of the County, but to promote all events that occur in all areas of the County.
Commr. Stivender stated that, as the liaison of the TDC, she would like to make a couple of comments. She stated that she knows everyone thinks it is a tax, but it is not a tax on the local people. It is a tax on people who come into the County and spend money here, so it does help the economy. She stated that the surrounding areas are higher than Lake County, and the perception has been that everything is going to South Lake County to the triathlon center, but that is not the case. The triathlon center came to the TDC with a proposal, and they were ready to go with their plans, and they are moving forward whether the County helps them or not. Commr. Stivender stated that the triathlon center is bringing in tourism all over the County because, once the people get here, they move around to see what else the County has to offer. She explained that, as soon as the organizations have their plans and bring them to the TDC, they are reviewed to see how they can help them promote them and get them done. She stated that, since Mr. Mihalic has come to the County, they have gotten together with all of the chambers, and they are all trying to work together to promote regional projects that help everybody in the County.
Mr. Mihalic stated that Osceola County and Orange County have a rate of 5%, and they are discussing going higher, if there are changes in the State legislature.
Commr. Hill stated that she does not see how increasing taxes stimulates the economy and creates jobs. She questioned whether they were actually taxing the very industry that they are hoping to locate in Lake County. The County is low on beds and, in order to promote some of the events they are talking about today, they need more beds. Commr. Hill stated that she has seen this in Orange County and Orlando, and we are not experiencing the same problem at this point in time, but just making a major move of increasing a tax, at a very time that the economy is trying to make a recovery, is a big decision, and it is an uncertain time for the economy.
Mr. Mihalic stated that people come here when they have something they want to do here. He stated that, even though some of the other counties were down, Lake County’s collections in December were up 28%, because they are giving people more things to do and promoting more activities. He noted that the Central Florida Sports Commission will bring in 16 events next year.
Commr. Hill stated that, in looking at the index in the paper, it seems that the County did well with its tourism tax, but she questioned whether this is going to go strictly to promotional or is part of this tax going to actual building a program, and who is going to sustain that program.
Mr. Mihalic stated that there will be no additional County staff added but it will go to building sports infrastructure, stadiums and arenas, and those programs will be brought forward to the TDC, and to the Board, for approval. He explained that the TDC will be involved with grants for the building of the facility, and the operation and the revenue will be operated by someone else.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that the County has not had the money to get into some of these other areas. On the parks and recreation facility side of it, they have had discussions with the triathlon center about their initial project, and with the City of Leesburg to provide some additional funds to enhance their Sleepy Hollow project, which is having its ribbon cutting this morning. Staff will be starting on a parks and recreation master plan and, as part of that plan, Mr. Neron hopes that, with the cities, they will outline the joint facilities that they can build. The County’s role is to provide infrastructure money, with the cities and other not-for- profits, and other organizations will actually be the ones responsible for operating and maintaining the facilities. The other benefit is that, once the facilities are built with the TDC funds, the local residents do have the use of those facilities. They are using TDC funds to have some offsetting benefits to the local residents, because they cannot afford to provide them using general fund revenue. Mr. Neron stated that, from his viewpoint, it is a win-win situation. He stated that Mr. Mihalic has done a good job in working with the cities and other organizations. A portion of this funding can be used for facilities, bike paths, and the eco-tourism promotion, and to find their niche and promote their niche.
Mr. Mihalic stated that there is more than a 50% variation between the high season and the low season, and they need to have more hotel beds. The best way to get more beds is to show hotel developers that there is business here, and to encourage the existing facilities to upgrade and become more quality oriented facilities.
Commr. Hanson stated that having served as the Chairman of the TDC for six years, they knew early on that they had reserves, they knew they could spend down on those reserves, and they were spending them for promotion. They knew at some point they would run out of reserves, and the five year plan is now being revised. Commr. Hanson stated that they did not have money for infrastructure and this will provide that infrastructure and fill a very important and significant void. She stated that it is more than finding a niche, it is developing a niche, and that is where these dollars will fit in, so she feels they are right on target. Commr. Hanson stated that they need to remember there are significant dollars that the County still owes TDC, and they need to not forget those dollars that were loaned to help build the industrial park.
Commr. Stivender noted that she is continually reminding the TDC of that loan.
Commr. Cadwell opened the public hearing and called for public comment.
Dr. Dot Richardson, Director and Medical Director of the United States Triathlon National Training Center (Training Center), addressed the Board and stated that sports is one thing that is not affected as much by the economy. Dr. Richardson stated that she believed in this opportunity and facility enough that she stopped her practice as an orthopedic surgeon to commit to these efforts, because this facility is the only one like it in the world that has a hospital, medical staff, and a university with Lake-Sumter, and the West Campus of UCF. She explained that the State of Florida has put forth the funding to build a track, because they believe in the economic impact that the Training Center has in the State, and Lake County needs to capitalize on this opportunity. The Training Center this year will have over 150 events and will bring in more than 7,000 athletes. Dr. Richardson addressed the closeness of the facility in proximity to surrounding counties noting that right now Disney is giving the County overflow of their events at the Wild World of Sports. She passed around the most recent aerial view of the track, which had its grand opening on Saturday. She stated that this is all about partnerships, and the Training Center is a not-for-profit organization, and their mission is to impact lives in the areas of health, education, fitness, and sport. She further stated that they have the national championship for junior colleges, and they are building partnerships with Lake Louisa State Park, Hickory Point, Mission Inn, Parks and Recreation throughout the County. Dr. Richardson stressed that the hotels/motels in the County will be making more money, because they are going to bring more people to the area, and the money they will bring in will be spread among the entire County, so the impact is not on just South Lake County. At this time, she explained what they charge individuals who use the facility, and the future growth to the facility, which may include an indoor facility with basketball courts, a rock climbing area, and an ice rink. There is also the possibility of a softball complex and partnerships with the university. Dr. Richardson stated that she sits as the Vice Chair to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness in Sport, and it is all about health. She stressed that the Training Center is a destination, and they want to have partnerships with other entities and the County.
Commr. Hill stated that she wants people to understand that they are not raising a tax for business welfare and that it is truly a business partnership, and she appreciated Dr. Richardson making this point.
Dr. Richardson stated that, if the Board decides to give monies to the Training Center for growth and development, it will not be given to Clermont, or South Lake County, but it will be given to a destination that is located in Lake County that can drive economic impact by bringing people here to the County.
Ms. Sandy Adams, Director of Sales, Summer Bay Resort, addressed the Board and stated that 52% of the bed tax in Lake County comes from South Lake County and, as the biggest hotelier in South Lake County, she wanted to come here today in support of the bed tax increase and stated that, because of their future development of properties, their contribution is only going to increase. Ms. Adams stated that she is partnering with Dr. Richardson on events that she is doing at the Training Center, and they are working together to bring the softball tournament here. She stated that she is here on the authorization of her President, Mr. Paul Caldwell, in support of the increase. Ms. Adams stated that she has been with Summer Bay since June of last year and, in that short time, she already has over $400,000 of revenue on the books, in three weeks time. She and her team are going all over the southeastern United States, as well as the northeastern United States, to advertise Lake County and promote events.
Mr. Chuck Kelsey, Director of National Sales, Mission Inn Golf and Tennis Resort, addressed the Board and stated that he is a member of the Tourist Development Council (TDC), and he was one of the negative votes on the increase in tax, because he feels timing is everything. They, as a business, are very related to the market in Orlando and Osceola Counties, and they do have to tell people what the sales tax is in Lake County. Mr. Kelsey stated that, throughout the years they have been collecting this tax, Mission Inn has been one of the major contributors. They are not opposed to a tax increase, but they are opposed to the timing of the tax increase, because of the state of the business economy, which has affected them. He feels that the ideas and direction of South Lake County and Leesburg are great, but he is concerned about a plan. Mr. Kelsey stated that, when this tax was first introduced to the TDC, South Lake County and Leesburg were there with their plans. He stated that he is in full support of the Training Center, and it is imperative to him that they look at each and every community, and for each and every community to have an opportunity to look and see what they might bring to the table for County improvement. He stated that, because Howey-in-the-Hills is a community that contributes a lot of taxes, he would want that area to have a chance to be considered for some of the dollars that might be bonded for events. Mr. Kelsey stated that they would like to see the increase in the tax delayed and possibly come into effect the first of January, 2004, but, if it does become effective April 1, 2003, it is important that all of the communities have a time frame to submit some ideas.
Ms. Barbara Howell, Eustis, stated that she would like to know what the numbers would be if they increase the tax from 2% to 4%, and what some of the other projects are that have already been planned and whether any of the tax could be used for land acquisition.
Mr. Mihalic explained that the increased tax would generate approximately $700,000 and would be a tax on short term lodging of six months or less.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, addressed Ms. Howell’s question about whether the money could be used for land acquisition and explained that the project allows for the construction of publicly owned and operated convention centers, sports stadiums, and sports arenas so, to that extent, it would be allowed and would specifically have to relate back to room nights.
Mr. Mihalic explained that this is an ongoing project, and they will continue to leverage sports events and community events, and to choose one or more events per quarter to leverage on a regional and national basis. He stated that they will be expanding their promotion and advertising to a regional basis, but right now they are somewhat limited to the Orlando market. They have also put out brochures and updated their website, and they will soon be putting out a CD rom. Mr. Mihalic stated that most of the money will go for other things, not for buildings and, if they set aside 1% for the construction of buildings, they will look at what is available to them. They have talked to the City of Leesburg regarding their Sleepy Hollow complex, and they have talked generally to the Training Center, as well as to other cities about potential sports infrastructure, but nothing has been approved by the Board. The TDC has approved a $50,000 incentive for design and enhancements for the Sleepy Hollow complex and will be the first thing brought forward to the Board.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the County is in the middle of developing a master plan for recreation, which will include facilities, and the group of city representatives and representatives from each Commission district will be bringing that plan forward to the Board.
Commr. Cadwell called for further public comment. There being none, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
Commr. Hanson stated that the County has been involved in a partnership for several years with the Sports Commission, which has actively worked to bring in some of the smaller activities and venues to Lake County that might not be appropriate for Orange County, or other larger counties, but fit a niche for Lake County. Another positive thing has been the collection of these taxes at the local level, which have certainly increased to some degree, and there are probably other opportunities for that collection that can be better addressed at the local level. She stated that, through the help of the TDC, the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), and the Audubon Society, they were able to establish the Emeralda Marsh Birding Trail, which is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, and she feels it is truly one of the first eco-tourism activities they were able to bring to Lake County.
Commr. Pool stated that all of Lake County will benefit from the dollars being generated through the tax, and he can assure everyone that the cities and regions will make sure that those dollars are distributed equitably and fairly.
Commr. Hanson clarified that anything that is approved has to come before the Board, and she can assure everyone that each one of them, as Commissioners, will be looking out for their particular areas, as well as the County as a whole.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, if he had been asked four years ago if he would support an increase in the tourist tax, he would have said no mainly because of their past history of either unwillingness, or inability, to invest in facilities. The idea of having this discussion now is what has actually brought him to decide that they need to increase it. He stated that, besides being an investment in the community and helping the folks in the motel business, any facility they build will help create a better image for the County in bringing other businesses and events here. He reminded the Board that this ordinance requires a four-fifths vote for passing.
Commr. Hill stated that she still has a problem with the timing, and the economics, but she appreciates the fact that they will not proceed with spending dollars until they have a master plan in place. She also appreciated the historic perspective presented to her.
Commr. Cadwell noted that, if someone wanted to make an amendment, to make the ordinance effective as of this date in January, he would not support it, but it would be an option.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Ordinance 2003-3 amending Chapter 13, Lake County Code, Article III, Tourist Development Tax providing for an Amendment to Section 13-46 and 13-47 to Increase the Tourist Development Tax from 2% to 4%, with an effective date of April 1, 2003, as read by title only.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:20 a.m., Commr. Cadwell announced that the Board would recess for 15 minutes.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
LAKE KATHRYN CDBG - PAVING PROJECT
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, addressed the Board to discuss the request
to award the Lake Kathryn Community Development Block Grant Phase II Paving Project No. 2003-03, Bid No. 03-023, to Professional Dirt Service
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request to award Lake Kathryn Community Development Block Grant Phase II Paving Project No. 2003-03, Bid No. 03-023, to Professional Dirt Service, and to encumber and expend funds in the amount of $430,622.00 from the Community Development Block Grant - Commission District 5.
APPOINTMENT TO BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Gene Molnar to the vacant position on the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee, with his term expiring on March 2, 2004.
The Board stressed that they need applicants for the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
APPOINTMENTS TO THE VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that he met with Mr. Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office, and Ms. Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk, Clerk’s Office, and discussed the recent statutory change on the Value Adjustment Board (VAB). They would like to recommend that the Board appoint the members now for this year’s VAB and ask the School Board to also appoint their members. There will be a meeting in February to go over the new process. The Statute now requires that the County use a hearing officer in every case, so the role of the actual VAB will change dramatically, and there is going to be additional costs involved.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to appoint Commr. Cadwell, Commr. Hanson, and Commr. Pool to serve on the Value Adjustment Board (VAB), and to request the School Board to appoint two members, with the intent of setting an organizational meeting in February.
CITIZEN QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD
Noise Ordinance/Public Meetings
Mr. Joe Whitaker, a member of the Lake Dorr Oaks Homeowners Association, addressed the Board to discuss a future noise ordinance. Mr. Whitaker stated that, for some time, they have been involved in an effort to gain some relief from the extraordinary noise generated by the local industrial park. As a result of their effort, they are in full sympathy with the efforts of others in the County who have been fighting the very same problem. He stated that they are aware that Lake County is in the process of generating a new noise control ordinance, and he would suggest that the Board take this opportunity and pass a comprehensive, but fair, noise ordinance, which would serve the County, not only today, but into the future. They feel that the ordinance should embody certain characteristics, to be effective and suggest that it be objective, universal, and enforceable. Mr. Whitaker stated that they would also suggest that this Board, and other County officers, continue to develop the law and put it in place, in order to provide the future protection for the quality of life for all of the citizens of Lake County.
Commr. Cadwell noted that Mr. Whitaker delivered a letter to their office this morning. He informed Mr. Whitaker that ten public hearings have been scheduled throughout the County over the next several months, to address this issue.
Commr. Stivender informed Mr. Whitaker that he will want to attend the meeting in his area, which will be held on February 11, 2003 at 6 p.m., at the Tavares Civic Center.
Commr. Hanson noted that a copy of the letter from Mr. Whitaker has been submitted to the County Attorney.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that the County Manager’s Office will be publicizing the meetings and, hopefully, they will all take place in February, or early March.
Central Florida Sierra Club/Wekiva Task Force
Mr. Keith Schue, Group Chair of the Central Florida Sierra Club, and Wekiva Issue Chair for Florida Chapter as well as their local group, stated that he wanted to bring to the attention of the Board that the recommendations of the Wekiva Basin Area Task Force have been issued and, within the next few months, the Board, as well as the city governments, and Orange County, will be looking at how to protect this area that affects the Wekiva system. Mr. Schue stated that this does not involve simply the Wekiva Basin, per say, but they are also talking about that spring shed area, the area of high recharge and aquifer vulnerability relating to spring flow. He explained that what has become very clear with science is that, if they continue to pave over the recharge areas, if they continue to consume more water from the aquifer in the vicinity of the springs, then they could literally lose the cherished eco-system, the Wekiva system, which is a spring fed eco-system. He urged each of the Board members to be mindful of the fact that the people of Florida have spent millions of dollars to acquire lands within the Wekiva Basin and, if they are truly going to protect that resource in the long term, they have to look at all of the contributing factors, and he would encourage them to look at not just recharge, per say, but consumptive use. He stated that it is also the drinking water supply that they all rely on for their wells, as well as the municipal wells and water supply. Mr. Schue urged each of the Board members to work with the cities and develop a plan. He stated that there has been discussion of a sector plan relating to some of this area and how that may be accomplished. They know that, as a result of the Wekiva Basin Task Force, they are looking at a beltway, and there is also contemplation of a northwesterly road, which has received attention from this Board in the past. He explained that, if a road of that nature does enter Lake County, it will become extremely critical that they have the foundation in place through spring shed legislation. He understands that there is going to be a working group established for addressing that northwesterly road, and there will be a number of citizens and groups interested in participating in that process.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board just received the report from the Task Force in writing over the weekend and, in the next few weeks, it will be back to them as an issue, and they are already getting pressure from Tallahassee for their opinion.
Mr. Schue stated that he understands that the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has met with County staff, as well as staff of the cities, to try and address some of the concerns that have been expressed as the legislation goes forward
Commr. Hanson stated that, since they do have a copy of the recommendations, they need to go ahead and schedule a workshop where staff can present all of the recommendations to the Board as a whole.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that staff met with the DCA and representatives of the cities last week, and the DCA generalized comments of concerns, or situations, back to staff that they would like to have them, as a group, bring back to them by the end of this month, as they get into drafting legislation for consideration. Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager/Director of Growth Management, has agreed to coordinate a staff group, to draft a summary of the report, potential impacts, and consideration. He hopes to add this to the January 28, 2003 agenda, for Board consideration, or the first meeting in February, for a report from staff, in working in conjunction with the cities.
Mr. James Loper, Eustis, addressed the Board to speak about the ordinance being proposed for the parking of utility trailers, and commercial vehicles, and stated that he wants to make sure that all of the latitude possible is given to small businesses that are home based.
Commr. Cadwell explained that the parking ordinance has been postponed and will be readvertised, and Mr. Loper will be able to present his comments at that time.
Mr. Loper stated that, in regards to the Wekiva, he wants the Board to know that he supports the actions of the Governor’s Task Force on the issue, and the actions of Commr. Hanson, and he stands behind their decisions.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:55 a.m., Commr. Cadwell announced that the Board would recess for ten minutes to allow Public Works to set up for their presentation.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN
Commr. Cadwell reconvened the meeting for the discussion of the Capital Improvement Program for Fiscal Year 2003-2007. It was noted that the following staff members from Public Works were present for the discussion of the Capital Improvement Plan: Mr. Jim Stivender, Ms. Lori Nicholson; Ms. Kathy McDonald; and Mr. Chuck Creel.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, stated that staff is wanting direction on the projects. Mr. Stivender stated that Ms. Lori Nicholson has been working with the Information Technology (IT) Division to develop a web page. At this time, Ms. Nicholson reviewed the capital projects information that is now being provided on the website, which includes pictures, a brief project description, and source of funding. Mr. Stivender noted that it is their objective to do this as a continual process.
Mr. Stivender stated that last August staff presented to the Board the information they have before them today. Staff has been to the Constitutional Officers a second time, and they have met with all departments, to get a clear understanding of the issues, but there have been some corrections, changes and deletions, as provided to the Board today.
Mr. Stivender began his review of the projects, with the Commissioners asking questions during the discussion.
The first item addressed was the Special Assessment Paving Program, with it being noted that, on Page 2, it indicates that the County is now out of funds. Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that the plan is to use the pooled cash investment funds and have that fund buy the debt, so that it will be treated as an investment of the County, and it will not really be funded from a general fund. He stated that staff is currently redrafting ordinances, which should be done in about a month.
Staff discussed Fund 168, Fire Assessment , with Mr. Neron explaining that staff is looking at a modular temporary facility in Tavares, to get the County through the next four or five years, and then, depending on growth patterns, they will decide where a permanent station is needed. Mr. Neron stated that they are really going to have to concentrate on the fire issue over the next year, under the five year plan, and work in conjunction with the cities, so that this will tie into the joint planning areas (JPAs), because where they locate fire stations has a lot to do with growth and development patterns, and both the cities, and the County, are making some sizable investments in facilities. Many of the issues being discussed will be addressed in the cities’ JPAs.
Commr. Stivender stated that the station in Tavares is temporary, because it is within the Chapter 180 Utility District (180 district) of the City of Tavares, and they would be able to move it, if growth does not go in that direction, or the City moves in that direction.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in regards to the pari-mutuel revenue replacement bonds, the Board made a commitment to have a master parks plan, and to spend that money for facilities, and he hopes that the Board will continue with this commitment until that plan is finished.
Mr. Neron stated that staff is negotiating a contract with the consultant for the study, and hopefully, he will be bringing it back to the Board in the next 30 days.
Commr. Cadwell stated that today is a workshop, but the Board needs to decide what to do with the Ag Center and Fairgrounds/Expo Center and whether they want to keep putting money into them or move them somewhere else. The Board needs to give staff some direction today and, if nothing else, come back with some options. Commr. Cadwell stated that the Fair Board has acted in good faith in continuing to do their job, and he would hope the Board, on those two facilities, would ask Mr. Stivender to come back with a plan that would involve renovating both of them, combining both of them and renovating one of them, or building a new facility and, in doing that, allow him to spend some architectural money.
Mr. Neron stated that, with interest rates being as low as they are right now, the Board needs to look at packaging some of the construction projects into more of a short term borrowing, for eight to ten years, rather than the full 15 years of the project, to see if they can jump start some of these things and see some real benefits up front. In regards to the South Lake County Government Complex, Mr. Neron stated that, hopefully, in the next 60 days, staff will be bringing back something to close on that property. The last time he did a review, they were spending close to $400,000 to $500,000 a year on rental facilities in the South Lake area. If the Board, at some point today, will give staff authorization and direction on the fairgrounds and other projects, hopefully, in the next 60 days, staff can bring back a conceptual plan for financing and tell them how they are going to look at these projects.
Commr. Cadwell stated that staff needs to move forward with these issues, especially with the interest rates where they are today, and they need to stay on a specific path to move forward with these projects. He hopes that, before they leave today, they will have a motion to ask Mr. Neron to get with the financial adviser and move forward with a plan to bond dollars for these projects, and to bring back a selection process to determine who is going to be doing the bonding for them, to be brought back for Board approval. Over the past, the Board has been somewhat involved in this process, and he would prefer having a Commissioner as a member of the Committee, if one is set up, to be involved in that process, even up to the selection of who is going to do that for them.
Commr. Hill stated that the Board really needs to know the balance in this account, because the Board made some commitments during budget time. One of those was the solid waste debt and, if they made a commitment to purchase this property, they will be at $4.4 million (Solid Waste Management Debt Service and South Lake County Government Complex). She does not discount the fairgrounds but, in this information, she sees where they want to paint and landscape, and she would prefer to roll the $100,000 into the fairgrounds.
Mr. Neron stated that this is the exact discussion that they were having at the staff level last week, in terms of what makes sense in the long run, how much more money do you invest in aging facilities, or do you cut your losses and move forward on a good plan for a new facility.
Mr. Stivender explained that staff is concentrating their efforts on the bathrooms and hallways associated with the existing facility (ag center) and making all of the facility better handicapped accessible. Mr. Stivender explained that, even if the Board relocates the ag center, if they use the existing building for office space, they will still need to do these improvements.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, when staff is looking at these two projects, the ag center and expo center, which he feels that, by consensus of the Board, they want him to do, he would like to know the value of both pieces of property, if they put them on the market, and what kind of revenues they can generate from them.
Mr. Neron stated that he is very reluctant, at this point, to start investing $500,000 to $600,000 in older facilities, if they have a plan to move them to another location.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board has to commit to what they are wanting to do with these two facilities and move in that direction and, even though they are closing out the old dollars, the Board can commit new dollars to the projects on the Fund 301 list.
Mr. Stivender addressed the Judicial Center Parking Garage (Fund 303) and stated that this job was severely underestimated from a year ago, which he explained. He stated that it only adds about 50 parking spaces, and any improvements they do today will compliment the parking garage, which is planned later. He will be submitting the plans to the City of Tavares and asking further questions, and the City has been gracious enough to allow the County an ingress and egress out to Old Highway 441, which greatly helps the access onto that site.
Mr. Stivender noted that the Board approved the request for pre-design services for the Lake County Judicial Center third floor renovation, in the amount of $9,000.00 last week. Mr. Stivender stated that they are ready to bid the job for Pine Forest Park. He referred to a map that had been provided to the Board depicting the South Lake County Government Complex and explained the plans that had been incorporated into the drawing.
Commr. Cadwell asked staff to bring the drawing to the joint meeting with the City of Clermont, on January 24, 2003.
Mr. Neron stressed that staff is not necessarily looking at six or seven different buildings, as shown on the drawing. They may decide to go with one office complex, where the ground floor can almost be a one stop center, with all of the various offices having counter space, and they can build three or four stories high and perhaps rent to some State agencies. He explained that, once they buy the land, they will get someone to assist them in doing a programming study and space analysis and look at a design build and other ideas including a phasing process. He stated that, with 18 acres, he feels they have enough property for future needs, as well as enough to meet their current demands.
Mr. Stivender referred to Page 12, Fund 301, Telecommunication Switch Upgrades, and stated that the phone lines in these facilities are at capacity, and they need to expand them. They would like to move forward with the hardware and software. He noted that they can only buy hardware out of sales tax. Most of the projects do not start until 2004, because of the first year of generating income from the sales tax, which starts January 1. He referred to Page 13, Emergency Operations Center, and stated that they have selected a consultant, with the idea of moving forward with identifying needs.
Mr. Neron stated that the first step is to spend some money for programming to determine certain things such as whether they need a 40,000 square foot building, or whether Lake-Sumter EMS is going to co-locate with them, or rent space from them, and to address the hardware needs. He stated that staff was wanting to get to the design stage and have plans ready so that, if federal money became available to the County, they would be ready to go without having to spend two years going through the design process. Mr. Neron stated that staff will be back with further details but will not move any further on the issue at hand.
Mr. Stivender referred to Page 14, Fund 303, Green Space and Environmentally Sensitive Land Purchase, which reflected $250,000 for each year of the first five years and stated that the amount would escalate and reach the $5 million in 15 years. Staff noted that, even though the Board has not approved a land purchase program, those dollars will still be needed for Rails to Trails and other types of projects.
Commr. Hanson addressed Page 15, the PEAR Park, and stated that she feels the property that fronts on Highway 27 is critical for the rest of the park and, even though the Board has not discussed it as a whole, it needs to be taken into consideration. Commr. Hanson stated that it is office space and commercial, and it would allow access to the PEAR project. She also feels that the property can be considered for some of the other projects that they may have looked at in a passive way, and it may be an opportunity they missed. It will be office park and green space, and they have a willing seller.
Commr. Hill stated that she was just appointed to this committee (PEAR) last week, and she has some ideas and possible partnerships that she would like to bring to that committee for consideration, so she would like to reserve her comments until she meets with them.
Commr. Hanson stated that she does feel the opportunity for partnerships are certainly there with Leesburg, and the Trust for Public Lands is very interested in working with the County to possibly help them out on a purchase.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he generally would support going in that direction, but this is a prime piece of property, and he was concerned about what the public would think if the County started buying prime office space.
Mr. Stivender referred to Page 14, Fund 303, Information Technology Fiber Optics Ring, and stated that this is a loop around the Tavares campus, and the figure should be $116,000 rather than $77,000 because of hardware associated with the lines themselves.
In regards to the Judicial Center Expansion (Fund 303 - page 14), Mr. Stivender stated that he has met with all of the Constitutional Officers.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, unless something changes in society, that branch of government will continue to grow. He stated that he met with Judge Don Briggs last week, and he was very concerned about the 2007 date, so that may be another area the Board needs to consider for some long range financing, in order to move forward with the needed expansion. He stated that, under Article V, the County is required to provide facilities and, even though he knows they need to do some innovative things in regards to how that building is used hour wise, there are other things that are going to occur that will have a drastic effect on the County by the year 2007.
Mr. Stivender explained that staff budgeted a very small portion for extended hours, and they are over budget in this plan and, even if they bonded the project, there are probably not enough dollars to accumulate in 15 years to pay for some of these facilities.
Discussion occurred regarding the Judicial Center Parking Garage (Fund 303 - page 15) with it being noted that the City of Tavares is in favor of this project and has been from the beginning, as indicated by Ms. Dottie Keedy, City Administrator, who was present in the audience.
Mr. Neron explained that he has been involved in other judicial expansions, and the estimate was about $10,000 per space but, after consulting with staff, he noted that they wanted to be conservative with their $15,000 estimate, and there may be some ideas for public/private partnerships.
Commr. Stivender felt that the Board needed to start on the parking garage at the end of this year (2003-2004), so they can start on the Judicial Center next year (2004-2005), based on mandates being handed down from the State, and the number of judges being required for Lake County.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he met with the Sheriff to discuss the Pod E Jail Expansion, and he and Mr. Stivender will need to meet with him again to discuss his ideas.
In regards to the question from Commr. Hanson concerning whether they are looking at the ankle bracelets as an alternative to constructing buildings, Commr. Cadwell stated that the Corrections Commission is meeting next week to discuss that program, because that program has some flaws to it.
Discussion occurred regarding whether the Pod E Jail Expansion remains on the list as an emergency item, since the Federal State prisoners are no longer being housed in the County’s facility. It was explained that the County is currently experiencing space problems in the jail, with the population now being over 800, and it is turning away prisoners that generate revenue for the County. The Board felt the need to discuss some long range plans for the jail facility.
Mr. Stivender explained that staff will be getting into the pre-design of the South Lake County Government Complex, once they close on the property, and then they will move forward with building concepts and priorities.
Mr. Stivender addressed Vehicles and Equipment (Fund 303 - page 17), Infrastructure Sales Tax (Renewal) and stated that the County receives about $1 million annually. It was noted that the Board established a policy a couple of years ago to no longer pay for these items out of the general fund.
Commr. Hill referred to the Information Technology Fiber Optics Ring (Page 14) and requested from staff a list of the quotes received from multiple vendors.
Mr. Stivender explained, in great detail, the Lake County Landfill Master Plan, Year 2030 Land Use Concept Map, noting that some of the facilities are already located at this site, and staff is working towards maximizing the use of this property. He stated that they met with the representatives of the adjacent property owners to plan buffers, and they want to utilize access off of CR 448 from their site. He stated that, as the County expands, they have no conflict with those developers who will actually be developing to the south of the County’s site.
Discussion occurred regarding library services, with Commr. Cadwell stating that he firmly believes that the Board needs to dedicate a funding source for libraries, so what happens in the next couple of years is going to establish, to some extent, how the library system moves forward in the future, and he plans on personally lobbying for that system. Commr. Cadwell stated that, if drastic changes are made in Tallahassee, in terms of State funding, the whole library system will be in trouble. He stated that, while they can leave these on the list, what happens in the next two years is going to depend a lot on where that system goes from here.
Mr. Stivender stated that staff has discussed Administration and Central Receiving which is located downtown and has looked at relocating this somewhere near a library where it can better utilized. In terms of Citrus Ridge, the County has closed on the property, with options noted on Page 13. Mr. Stivender stated that he is going to visit Cooper Memorial Library on Friday, which has some major maintenance needs and, as noted on Page 21, they are looking at enhancing some of the current systems.
Mr. Stivender stated that there has been a lot of discussion in the past week about the Clerk’s Financial Software (Page 22), and whether they should roll it over into one cost, or phase it in, and the Board will need to address this issue.
Mr. Stivender explained that staff is looking for direction from the Board, in terms of what budget to use next year on the general fund items, because they are totally unfunded this year. He noted that the Board has been given a handout, Proposed Audio and visual Equipment Upgrade, MCSi, which explains the cost and equipment needed to upgrade the system currently being used by the County.
Staff explained that Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Inc.(HOK) did the last Master Space and Facilities Plan in 1989-90, as part of the judicial expansion, and Commr. Hanson felt it would be helpful if Mr. Stivender presented the Board with the numbers, based on those projections from HOK.
Commr. Stivender stated that the Board needed to move forward with the new Master Plan, so they will know if they need specific facilities in certain locations.
Mr. Neron stated that the Blue Ribbon Panel has been meeting regularly, every Monday evening and, when Mr. Stivender makes the Public Works presentation, at some point this capital improvement program will be presented to them, and staff will hopefully be getting a report from them, by the end of March.
Commr. Pool stated that he feels it is important that they not just have the Blue Ribbon Panel help them with input in the future but, just like the libraries, if the funding is not there, they need to determine how best to spend and enhance programs, and maybe some of these funding mechanisms will be brought forth to the Board, as they go forward with some of these ideas.
Mr. Stivender stated that about $370,000 came out of sales surtax to refurbish Building G (Mail Receiving Center), with the reality that it could easily be demolished as part of the expansion of the judicial center. They decided to go back to an $80,000 minimal renovation to extend the life of it, and to enhance the quality of the work space. There has been no major work done to the building in its lifetime, since 1965. In terms of projects that need to be addressed immediately, Mr. Stivender felt that Pod E is definitely a priority.
Mr. Neron suggested that staff get a priority list to the Board in the next few weeks.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to authorize Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, to look at the fairgrounds, and the ag center, and bring back options on what the Board should do there, and to authorize him to spend some architectural money, so staff can utilize whoever they need to.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to authorize the County Manager to get with the financial adviser and come back with a plan on bonding some dollars for these projects, and to bring back a procedure for the selection of who is going to do that bonding for them.
Mr. Stivender extended his appreciation to staff for their hard work on this plan, as well as the Constitutional Officers and others.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER POOL - DISTRICT #1
DINNER IN CLERMONT
Commr. Pool informed the Board that the East Lake Chamber of Commerce Installation Banquet will be held tonight at the Gables Restaurant, in Mount Dora.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:25 p.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN ATTEST:
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK