A SPECIAL JOINT MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS,
THE LAKE COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD AND LAKE COUNTY MUNICIPALITIES
OCTOBER 21, 2003
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Tuesday, October 21, 2003, at 4:00 p.m., in the Magnolia Room of Lake-Sumter Community College, Leesburg, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Debbie Stivender, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson, Jennifer Hill and Robert A. Pool. Present from Lake County Schools were: Pam Saylor, Superintendent; Jimmy Conner, Board Chairman; and Becky Elswick, Board Member. Present from the Municipalities were: David Knowles, League of Cities; Stanley Sloan, Mascotte Mayor; Leo Vaughn, Tavares Mayor. Sales Surtax Oversight Advisory Committee members present were: Robert Speaks, Chairman; Tom Kelley; Sheriff George Knupp; and Kristy Mullane, representing Barbara Lehman. Others present were: Cindy Hall, Assistant County Manager; Leigh Tucker, Assistant County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioner’s Office; Brenda Quattlebaum, County Manager’s Office; and Judy Whaley, Deputy Clerk.
SALES SURTAX OVERSIGHT ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Commr. Stivender welcomed everyone to the presentation of the Sales Surtax Oversight Advisory Committee’s Semi-Annual Report. She explained that Commr. Cadwell will be late due to attending a meeting in Orlando.
PRESENTATION OF REPORT
Mr. Robert Speaks, Chairman, Sales Surtax Oversight Advisory Committee, gave an introduction of the semi-annual report of the expenditures and revenues of the one-cent sales tax, collection of which began January 1, 2003. He explained that Lake County citizens voted on November 6, 2001, to extend the one-cent sales surtax for a second 15-year period. Florida Statute 212.55 authorizes the levy of this tax and specifies its use and Mr. Speaks mentioned some components of the statute. He stated that an interlocal agreement, which became effective on September 11, 2001, divides the proceeds of the tax into three equal categories: one-third to the school board, one-third to the municipalities based on each municipality’s population, and one-third to the county. He described the process of the Oversight Committee and remarked that the October report will present budgeted projects and amounts for the upcoming budget year, while the April report will address actual expenditures as recorded in the audited financial reports completed in March. (A copy of the introduction and the report is included in the backup material.)
Commr. Stivender advised that suggestions, or requests for additional information, can be given to Ms. Cindy Hall, Assistant County Manager.
Mr. Jimmy Conner, School Board Chairman, stated that Governor Jeb Bush delivered a check for over $2 million to the Lake County School System for building East Ridge High School under the state average by $4 million. This is the third bonus the County has received under the current Superintendent and Board. He remarked that part of the review process of the Oversight Committee is likely to assure the public that money is being spent wisely. He commended the Superintendent, her staff, and the School Board’s attorney for the contract they negotiated for high school projects that are funded by the sales tax proceeds. A very detailed comparison of fee structures for construction managers, put together by the Superintendent, indicates that Lake County is about 3% below the state average on construction project costs. He stated that Lake County Schools welcomes scrutiny because the public can be assured that the responsibility to provide the most value for the money spent is being fulfilled.
Commr. Stivender recognized the representatives of the municipalities, Lake County Schools, the County Commission and members of the Sales Surtax Oversight Advisory Committee.
Mr. Speaks reiterated that, while public input will be allowed at the next Oversight Committee meeting, comments and input can be directed to the County Manager’s office prior to the next meeting.
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Hanson regarding options, other than newspaper articles, for getting the Oversight Committee’s report to the public, Ms. Hall confirmed that the report can be included on the County’s web site.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK