A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
MAY 14, 2007
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in a special workshop session on Monday, May 14, 2007, at 9:00 a.m., at the Bob Norris Auditorium at the Agricultural Center, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Jennifer Hill, Vice Chairman; Elaine Renick; Debbie Stivender; and Linda Stewart. Others present were Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Cindy Hall, County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, gave the Board an overview of what they were going to do with the budget items presented that day. She explained that the budget was a process that took place throughout the summer and concluded with public hearings in September, and that this was a very early stage of their preparation of the budget. She noted that, although they would be asking for consensus on the direction that they would be heading, no definite decisions were going to be made during the workshop. She also commented that the budget would come back to the Board a number of times for chances to fine tune it and to put in place the strategies and policies that the Board would like to have.
Ms. Hall went through a calendar of events and explained that the departments had been working with the budget department in order to get their budget requests in, and that they would be sharing those preliminary requests with the Board as well as some of the millage and rates that they were working with. She also emphasized that everything they did in the budget process was very defined by Statutes, with specific dates and timelines. She specified that certain constitutional officers were required to give the County their budgets by June 1. She added that the preliminary tax roll that they got from the property appraiser that gave them an idea of what the property taxes were likely to be for next year would be due by June 1 as well. She also stated that the official tax roll would come by July 1, which is what the County would be basing their proposed budget on. She noted that by Statutes, she was required to give the Board a proposed budget for next year by July 15 that was put together by the County Manager working with the departments and the budget department. She reported that in early August, the Board was required to set the tentative millage rates, which went out in the middle of August on the tax notifications from the property appraiser’s office. She stated that the public hearings would be in early September and that they were required by Statutes to have budget workshops sometime between July 15 and early September, which would be set for sometime in that time frame for the Board to give them feedback and make changes to the proposed budget as it was given to the Board. She also specified that there would be a second public hearing during the second half of September, at which time the Board would be requested to adopt the budget for the following year. She mentioned that things might change, depending on what would happen in Tallahassee.
PRESENTATION – PERFORMING ARTS CENTER PROJECT
Dr. Charles R. Mojock, President of Lake Sumter Community College, introduced Mr. Will Pruitt, one of their trustees, to the Board, and mentioned that the Performing Arts Center was a facility that would be owned, operated, and maintained by Lake Sumter Community College. He reported that their studies had shown that it would have a direct and lasting impact on Lake County citizens and businesses at a fraction of the cost of the County or some other entity doing it themselves, because of their involvement. He also said it would create an entertainment market niche that would make Lake County a destination of choice for a new affluent market and would make a statement about Lake County’s commitment to quality of life for its people and could be used in a new economic development strategy to attract entrepreneurs and professionals. He mentioned that a report had been done about economic analysis impact which indicated a nearly $7 million impact for this facility on our community.
He related that they have had support from a Daily Commercial editorial, which stated that the Performing Arts Center was a worthwhile project that would show that Lake and Sumter Counties were cultural hotspots and that they entirely supported this endeavor and urged all Lake County residents to do the same. He noted that they also had support from the Lake County Chamber Alliance, who did a survey showing that two-thirds of those surveyed supported County funding of up to $9 million for this Performing Arts Center. He also has had over 2200 citizen signatures on petitions. Dr. Mojock reported that the most significant and tangible support that they had received had recently been announced by the State of Florida and stated that Mr. Will Pruitt would talk about that.
Mr. Pruitt stated that the State had awarded them $14 million in PECO (Public Education Capital Outlay) money in funding toward this project and that there was a tremendous amount of effort that went into securing those dollars. He also opined that when a County received that amount of money on a line item, it gave them “horsepower” in the halls of the Capital, and he was afraid that if they turned it away, it would not bode well for them in the future. He commented that if they supported something like this, it would be beneficial for them in the years to come.
Dr. Mojock stated that the State, because it had seen the value of these kinds of projects in the economic and community development in areas that were underserved, had stepped forward to provide the money. He reported that their project budget was over $28 million, and that the State had essentially given them the matching funds up front, but there was a timetable on the PECO funds and a reversion clause after 33 months, which would be March of 2009. Dr. Mojock explained that they planned to have an architect selected by July of 2007, and it was likely to be a nine to twelve month period of time for design, during which time they would like to get a construction management firm in place. They expected a construction bid sometime in the summer of 2008, with a construction timeline of typically a little over a year for a project of this complexity, and they expected that this building could be completed sometime in the fall of 2009. He also emphasized that they needed all the funds in hand by the time that they started the construction bidding, which would be July of 2008, but if necessary, they could wait until October of that year, when a new budget year would begin. He stated that their request to the County was for $9 million and that they would receive an allocation of additional State funds to go toward the cost of operating and maintaining this facility. He mentioned that it was up to LSCC to develop a professional program, including cultural programs, events, and concerts, to generate the interest that their studies had indicated was there. He asked that the County make this a priority as they prepared their budget.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he had some concerns about committing $14 million to this project until he knew what was going to happen in Tallahassee, because the County might be in a position after the special session of cutting services and employees. He also commented that there were other projects for which County funding was requested, and they might only be able to commit a portion of the bed tax to the Performing Arts Center.
Dr. Mojock responded that he understood that the budget cuts were difficult and that the Board had decisions to make about priorities. He commented that the Board was committed to investing in the future of this community, and that there probably would never be a time where everything fell into place and when there were no other competing priorities. He asked the Board to keep an open mind to what the benefits of this project were, including creating jobs to help offset job losses.
Commr. Cadwell stated that they needed to have staff look at committing a portion of the additional revenue from the bed tax to the other groups and projects and what was left, and that he did not think they should commit the entire portion of the tax to only one project.
Commr. Renick thought that the discussion and decision about this issue should be as a regular agenda item at a regular meeting.
Commr. Stivender commented that she was a proponent of getting this done and had been since the beginning, and that this was a different issue than the County having to lay staff off or make those kinds of cuts. She stated that if they were for this and were going to help them work on this, then they needed to make a decision so that they could move forward. She also opined that they had a lot of facilities for sports activities, but there were no performing arts facilities of this kind in Lake County.
Commr. Hill inquired about the designation of what the fifth penny of the tax was for.
Ms. Hall responded that the fifth penny was earmarked for sports stadiums and that type of thing as well as promotion of tourism, and that it was possible for them to shift some of the financing around so that they could earmark the fifth penny for items that it was intended for and that one of the other three pennies could be used for the other arts organizations.
Commr. Hill stated that she was concerned about the fifth penny, especially with the current uncertainty.
Commr. Stivender asked Dr. Mojock if he could work with $6 million rather than $9 million if he had to.
Dr. Mojock responded that in that case, they would look at revising the project budget and the scope and size and whether it would still be viable with less seats or if there were other ways to address costs.
Commr. Cadwell summarized the direction from the Board that they were going to look into committing a portion of the additional bed tax dollars to PALS and keep a portion for other projects. He further specified that they would decide on the process of how those monies would be distributed.
Commr. Stewart opined that the Performing Arts Center was a win-win situation for everyone, including the economy, the citizens, and the college. She believed that they should focus on working with what they had and finding a way to make a commitment, because it would be a huge return for the County.
Ms. Hall stated that they could put together some proposals fairly quickly, get with the Tourist Development Council in May, and bring it back in a workshop the third Tuesday in June.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10:00 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for ten minutes.
PRESENTATION – BUDGET ISSUES FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007
Ms. Regina Frazier, Budget Director, went over several preliminary issues in Tab 2, and commented that the County would not know until June what Tallahassee would do with the County’s taxes. She stated that the first item was a list of new positions that were proposed by the County Manager and that the handout on Page 2.1 showed the new positions broken down by whether they were for a new program, enhancing the level of service, or due to growth within that program. She clarified that the total cost shown included the salary, benefits, equipment, vehicles, and anything needed for that position. She also commented that any of these positions were obviously subject to the funding.
Commr. Stivender asked whether any of the staff that were laid off in the Building Department would fit into any of the new positions.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, stated that they had not looked at that specifically, but that they could do that. She also mentioned that the County had been working with staff who were laid off to inform them of any available County positions that they could apply for, and that there had been some that had done that. She noted that this list was a preliminary attempt at staffing programs for next year and that she was not asking for a decision from the Board at this point.
Commr. Hill asked if the firefighter positions that were on the list were for new fire stations that had just recently opened.
Ms. Frazier responded that she believed Fire Station 20 in Dona Vista was going to be newly opened, and the others were existing ones.
Commr. Cadwell commented that this budget presentation was given as if everything was as usual and they were moving forward with providing services to their citizens.
Ms. Frazier went on to explain that the second page of this list contained positions that some departments had requested that had not been approved due to lack of funding. Also included in the backup material was a summary of the merit proposals, and Ms. Frazier explained that annually they discussed the proposed merit range that they were including in the budget. She specified that the 2007 budget included the 0-5 percent merit range, and according to employee services, the average was currently running 4.2 to 4.3 percent. She stated that they had three different options that they had proposed for Fiscal Year 2008; the first would be to keep everything the same; the second would allow them to keep the pay scales in line with market by adjusting them annually, and to increase salaries by 2 percent on October 1, 2007 and budget a merit range of 0 to 3 percent on the anniversary date; and the third stated that each one percent merit increase would cost approximately $340,860.
The Board came to a consensus to favor Option 2 of the proposed merit proposals.
Ms. Frazier continued by describing the employee insurance proposals, giving the current and proposed costs of different insurance plans. She commented that currently the insurance was taken out of all 26 paychecks, but they wanted to change that to take it out of 24 paychecks in next year’s budget to coincide with monthly amounts that were given to insurance, making it easier for them. She added that the software allowed for that. She specified that the recommendation was for a 15 percent increase in employer contributions and an increase in employee contributions by $10 for single or $15 for family per paycheck.
Ms. Frazier spoke about the millage rates they were proposing. She stated that they would leave the General Fund and the Emergency Medical Services MSTU at the current rate and to increase the Stormwater, Parks and Road MSTU by .1 mille, and to leave the voter-approved Public Lands Debt Service at .2, but that could be adjusted based on what they needed to cover that debt when they had their assessed values. She stated that they were proposing a 15 percent increase for Fire Rescue Non Ad Valorem assessment.
PRESENTATION – ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES
Mr. Daryl Smith, Environmental Services Director, informed the Board about solid waste rates and some strategies for the Board to consider as they moved forward with making a decision on those rates. He stated that they had been developing a rate study in-house that would give them a better idea of what they should be charging their customers and to give the Board an idea about direction for the future, but that the study was still preliminary. He stated that they wanted to determine how to recover the cost of the monies that they spent. He specified that they had broken down the numbers on a handout showing the customers and services at this point in time, as well as showing the current and proposed assessments for residential, commercial, and municipal customers. He also explained that the processable solid waste shown in the handout was the waste that they could burn at their waste energy facility, and that non-processable could not be burned and was not otherwise classified, such as tires and yard waste.
Mr. Smith stated that the single or same rate for all customers was the structure that they currently had. However, he noted that the problem with that was that the actual cost of the services could be very different. He stated that another strategy was to charge a separate rate for each one of the services based on what it cost the County to provide that service, as opposed to subsidizing some services. He explained that the strategy of introducing some subsidies into the system was so that there were rates that were favorable to the system. Still another strategy that could be employed was to introduce non-service related revenues by bringing in ad valorem assessments into their system. He pointed out on the handout the waste energy debt service column, showing that the County was currently paying $6.9 million for the debt service on the waste energy facility, and the figures showing what they would charge if they were to just use those monies to offset the debt service for the waste energy facility. He then demonstrated that the next column showed all debt service over all costs, which was an additional $1 million dollars more than the previous one, representing debt service that they incurred previously that covered a number of different areas. He summarized by stating that the residential assessment, after eliminating the waste energy debt service, would change from the current rate of $174 to the $201 rate for combined or a $206 rate for separate, if they continued to subsidize. However, without the subsidy at all, he noted that the assessment would go to $251 for combined or $246.00 for separate. He mentioned that these figures gave the Board an idea of what they would have to do with the rates if they eliminated that subsidy to be able to recover all of the costs that they had in the system.
Mr. Smith stated that the last sheet of the rate handout under Tab 3 was a comparison between what Lake County charged and what other communities charged, commenting that this showed that we were on the lower end of the spectrum. He pointed out, however, that some communities did other things with that money, such as subsidizing other services, making it difficult to make a direct comparison to what they did in Lake County.
Mr. Smith related that one issue they were dealing with as they developed those rates was that they did not have a good information management system, and they were currently working on improving that. They did not know how they should apply the general fund contributions they were currently getting, and they were analyzing it more and working to put together a recommendation on that. He also noted that they had closed landfill costs they had to cover. He commented that another thing that made the landfill costs look high in some of those scenarios was that they had very little solid waste going into the landfill to spread their fixed costs over. He stated that he was personally in favor of having a separate rate and charging for the services received as opposed to a single rate, because it more accurately reflected the cost of services that were actually received. He stated that the Board could consider eliminating the ad valorem assessment contribution and making this a true enterprise fund, which would be a tough position to take because it would mean some increases in the rates. However, they also were receiving solid waste from the municipalities, which was important to the County, and if they raised the rates, they might lose those cities as customers, since they did not have an agreement with the County right now.
Commr. Cadwell commented that the County did the ad valorem to buy down the tipping fee basically to get the cities back as customers, and inquired whether we still needed the cities’ solid waste business.
Mr. Smith responded that they were at a situation right now where they were taking in about 192,000 tons of processable solid waste, and that they could only incinerate about 170,000, leaving about 22,000 tons that they diverted to the landfill due to lack of capacity. However, he would like to see the County increase their recycling in the future and separate the yard waste, which would reduce the amount of processable solid waste. He commented that the best place to be would be right at capacity, and the municipalities were bringing in about 40 percent of what currently went into the waste energy facility, and if they were to lose that, it would take them below the 170,000 tons that they needed to fill that. He also recommended that the Board separate their assessments for collection service and disposal service for the residential customers. Another potential alternative Mr. Smith mentioned was to look at the subsidies they had between the services and try to see if they could get the cost of the services to their customers more equitable. He opined that it was very difficult to do and would mean adjusting the rates every year, but might be something for the Board to consider.
Mr. Smith concluded by saying that they were going to further refine their rate model to make sure they had everything in there that they needed and bring it back to the Board at a later date with a recommendation on future rates.
Commr. Hill asked when the contract with the current hauler was to be rebid.
Mr. Smith responded that it would expire on September 30, 2009. He added that an important consideration there was if they were going to do more recycling and separate yard waste, then they needed to incorporate that into the contract, so this would be an important time to make the decision that they wanted to do that and to prepare themselves for that as they moved forward. He mentioned that they were looking at a program called “Pay As You Throw,” in which customers would have the ability to pay for a range of amounts of waste they put out, with free recycling service. He explained that this would be an incentive for residents to recycle to reduce their amount of waste and their cost.
Commr. Hill stated that she was a member of the Solid Waste Committee, which has had discussions regarding recycling. She noted that they did away with the recycling program several years ago due to a number of factors, but that recycling seems to have come back. She relayed that the Committee wanted to know if the Board wanted them to come back with a recommendation on whether to put recycling back in the Solid Waste budget.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the County was considering doing recycling themselves again.
Mr. Smith responded that they have looked at the numbers and decided that they were very favorable right now to going back to doing the recycling themselves. He stated that they thought that they could afford a lot more opportunities to go out and market some recycling services and do it themselves. He related that they presented that to the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, but had not had an opportunity to present that to the County Manager, but they intended to do that within the next few weeks and then come back to the Board with a recommendation.
Mr. Smith next talked about environmental compliance initiatives that would enhance their ability to protect the environment. One option would be a very comprehensive program that would be larger in scope that would include establishing permitting requirements currently not in place. The option that he recommended was that they would develop and put into their code, language that would allow them to provide the enforcements. One of the things they found in their ability to enforce environmental issues was that they had very little strength in what they were able to accomplish in that area, because they could only fall back on the State and other permitting agencies, who also did not have the resources to follow up and ensure compliance with the permitting process that they had in place. He emphasized that with this option they would not get into the permitting process, which was already in place, but if there was a violation, they would be able to follow up and have the language in their codes to enforce, fine, and work through the normal process that they had with the special magistrate to make sure that violators came into compliance and charge a fee for noncompliance.
Commr. Cadwell inquired whether they would be duplicating what the State was doing already.
Mr. Smith answered that the State would still be responsible for permitting, and that all this would do was give them the ability to take enforcement action on their own for noncompliance. Some priorities that they would focus on would be wetland conservation, lakeshore protection, water conservation, and tree protection.
PRESENTATION – ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Ms. Dottie Keedy, Director of Economic Growth and Redevelopment, updated the Board on what she had been working on this year. She stated that she had been working with a committee to develop a scope of services and an RFP to hire a consultant. The committee heard presentations from the top five firms of the ten that responded to that RFP, and they made their choice of a consultant that had a very innovative approach to economic development, and would be bringing that contract to the Board shortly.
Ms. Keedy stated that another project she had started on was creating inventories of land and buildings and getting out and meeting people in the community. She commented that she had tried to be very proactive in both the County and the region in working with the business community, the Chambers, the cities, EDC, and the University of Central Florida’s Economic Development program. She had also noticed a considerable increase in inquiries since she had started working on updating the County’s departmental webpage, and opined that the webpage was a very vital part of the County’s economic development program. Other projects that she had been working on were expediting the permitting process for targeted industrial projects; the Christopher C. Ford Commerce Park DRI issues, in which they would be doing a notice of proposed change on the development order; and the Public Art Initiative with the Eustis Main Street program to create opportunities for working artists in the County. She also mentioned that she was also working on an event to have all the galleries in the County open at the same time so that they could promote that on a countywide basis and bring people in to visit them. She worked on the Leadership Lake County Economic Development Day as a facilitator and with the Growth Management Department as the LPA worked through the Comp Plan on issues related to economic development.
She noted that she had been speaking at a number of organizations, mostly to talk about the strategic plan they had been working on, and that had been well received. She also had been working with the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council on their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee and with the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, which covered 23 counties and three research universities with the purpose to foster economic development through research for high-tech companies.
She related that some of the future projects she would like to work on next year included the development of the strategic plan, looking into the possibility of developing business incubators, creating a high tech business group in the County, developing an outreach program for the manufacturing firms in Lake County, working on redevelopment issues, and increasing the web site’s GIS ability. She commented that it had been a very exciting year, and she was looking forward to next year.
Commr. Cadwell inquired about the time frame for the strategic plan.
Ms. Keedy stated that they would be negotiating the contract in the next couple of weeks, and as soon as they got that ready, they would be bringing that to the Board for approval. She estimated that it would be nine to twelve months for the actual process, and that this particular firm was recommending that they did some research, surveys, and outreach to those people that might participate in that visioning process so they had a better idea of what they wanted to focus on. Then they would work on developing a plan from the results of those sessions.
PRESENTATION – AREAS OF CONSIDERATION FOR BUDGET DEVELOPMENT
Ms. Regina Frazier, Budget Director, stated that they had been tracking what had been going on in Tallahassee and putting together some idea of how those things might impact the County, and that Tab 5 was to give the Board some potential revenue reductions that they would see based on some of the plans that were out there. She commented that since the plans changed regularly, they would not know anything until the third week of June. On the bottom of the handout were some ideas of things that were not mandatory to fund that were currently funded in their budget, some of which would have direct impacts, giving an example that the reduction of the general fund subsidy of $6.9 million for solid waste would mean an increase in those rates.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the programs listed were all the programs that were not mandatory or just a select few.
Ms. Frazier responded that these were the ones that were given monies from the general fund, other than the last two, which were sales tax generated.
Commr. Cadwell commented that this was good information to have, and they would have to sift through it once they knew what was going to happen in Tallahassee.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 11:20 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for ten minutes.
LAKE COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN WORKSHOP
Mr. Wayne Bennett, Planning Director, stated that they had three elements on the Agenda that morning, public school facilities, transportation, and public facilities and services, and that there were two other elements, intergovernmental coordination and capital improvement programs, that were not on the Agenda because they wanted to have sufficient time to discuss the elements that they had scheduled. He also commented that they could address any questions the Board had either at the June 5 workshop, when the public comment period would be, or at a subsequent time. He also commented that Mr. Alfredo Massa would be briefly updating the Board on some recent legislative action concerning additional responsibilities regarding housing at the end of the workshop.
PRESENTATION - PUBLIC SCHOOL FACILITIES
Mr. Alfredo Massa, Case Manager, Growth Management, stated that the public school facilities element was a combined effort of the County staff, the municipalities, and the School Board. He related that the purpose of this element was to guide the county in developing appropriate goals, objectives, and policies that provided for the future availability of public school facilities that met the adopted standard. He read through the handout describing this element. Some of the goals of this element of the Comp Plan were to coordinate with the School district to locate public facilities such as parks and libraries at school sites and to identify ways to direct development to areas with adequate school capacity.
Mr. Massa commented that some of the challenges and opportunities that the County faced was primarily the adoption and limitation of the school zoning. He noted that the County was one of the pilot communities with DCA last year, and they did write and draft the supporting elements for Intergovernmental Coordination and the Capital Improvement Program, but due to the moratorium that the County had, they were not able to adopt any of those. He said that recently staff had asked DCA for permission to see if the County could try to adopt those elements, because they did want to lead the way and set the example for the municipal partners, but DCA would not let the County do that at this time until they completed the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan.
Mr. Massa went over the implementation actions, noting that the deadline for adoption of this element was no later than the 2008-2009 school year. The County also had to perform annual updates to the Capital Improvement Program, and to identify areas where development would be coordinated with school capacity. Also, the County would be coordinating with the School Board on a number of actions such as emergency preparedness, applicable land use designations, and the Joint Staff School Concurrency Review Group with the municipalities. The County would also provide updates to the School Board regarding development trends in unincorporated Lake County.
Commr. Cadwell asked if we were currently operating under the concurrency element that the County was not able to send to DCA.
Mr. Massa responded that based upon the ordinance that they adopted last year, they had adopted a memorandum and informed development that they did have to comply with it, and they had a self-imposed deadline of September 5, which was a year since they had adopted the ordinance. They were still working with the School Board to try to develop the mitigation measures, and a meeting was planned to try to bring the group back together to find out how much support there was for going forward with that. He also mentioned that they had been meeting monthly with the municipalities and the School Board on the planning efforts to get to that point.
Mr. Harry Fix, Director of Growth Planning, Lake County Schools, stated that they had about five or six very fruitful meetings of the local government planners as well as the County to work through the issues of implementation. He commented that concurrency was outlined in Senate Bill 360, and recently Mount Dora had sent up some elements, and they would shortly be receiving back some comments from DCA. He also reported that one of the things that seemed to be a preliminary comment was that DCA was going to be looking greatly to the County to have their process finished and in place.
PRESENTATION – TRANSPORTATION ELEMENT
Mr. Wayne Bennett, Planning Director, stated that Mr. T. J. Fish from the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Public Works staff were at the workshop, and commented that this was one of the elements in which staff had played a much smaller role in the drafting of the element, because they had an MPO plan for Lake and Sumter Counties, which played largely into the policies in the element. He commented that the transportation improvements were a significant part of the Capital Improvement Program, especially in the areas of economic development and environmental protection.
Mr. Bennett went on to point out that one of the significant things in the element was the focus on trip-capturing development. He stated that Lake County had a lot of productions, but relatively, as a percentage, fewer attractions. He explained that in order to balance the equation, the focus of the transportation element that the LPA had sent forward to the Board was finding more attractions, so that they could balance that with production of housing in the County. He stated that how it occurred would come forward in terms of supporting programs such as economic development strategy. He also stated that the Level of Service Standards on which this element and the concurrency management system were based were not changing significantly from what they had been in the past. He also mentioned that the Trails Master Plan would help to cement one additional part of this coherent transportation planning program.
He wanted to point out that a number of things that were in the previous transportation plan had come to fruition over the past several years, such as the establishment of the MPO in 2004, adoption of traffic impact guidelines, and the focus of creative attention on resolving transportation problems.
Commr. Hill inquired about the provision for equestrian trails under the Bicycle and Recreation Trail Planning policy, and whether there were areas where those were warranted and needed.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Public Works Director, responded that those were especially needed in the Wekiva area and other areas where it would be very conducive to have those. He also pointed out that a lot of those amenities would be with state, local, and developer matches, and the County would have a lot of different partners.
Commr. Renick suggested to look closely at the language, and pointed out that some of the policies in the Transportation Element stated that Lake County shall coordinate with other agencies and organizations to develop some of those amenities, rather than stating that Lake County would fund those.
Commr. Hill was concerned about the traffic level of roadways that were designated as scenic highways.
Mr. Stivender responded that the County had not analyzed the list of scenic roadways to see what the potential along the corridor was on the existing zonings or what the current traffic counts were. He commented that some of the existing scenic highways have stayed the same for the last 15 years, while the traffic counts on some scenic roadways have more than tripled. He opined that building the connector over Hwy 27 would actually return 455 into a scenic highway.
Mr. T. J. Fish, Director of the MPO, addressed the Board regarding the 2035 Plan. He pointed out that both the needs component and the cost affordable list of the MPO’s long-range plan would be a reference for the County’s transportation plan. He stated that when they got into the five year Capital Improvements aspects, they would be looking at two major documents, the MPO’s five-year TIP and the County’s growth construction program. He stated that he reviewed the Intergovernmental Coordination element, and that looked good. He emphasized that the transportation element was written more than a year ago, and that by next year when it was time to do the next evaluation appraisal report, it would be perfect timing because they already were starting to look at some things. He also commented that Policy 1.10.2 stating that a roadway alone could not be the sole justification for a land use decision was an important policy.
PRESENTATION - PUBLIC FACILITIES AND SERVICES ELEMENT
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Chief Planner, Growth Management, stated that Public Facilities covered five sub-elements, which were sanitary sewer, potable water, stormwater, solid waste, and aquifer recharge. He commented that the LPA was continuing their work on the stormwater element, and they expected that to be completed shortly.
He explained that the base methodology for the aquifer recharge sub-element required the County to coordinate with federal, state, and local agencies to study and describe aquifer recharge areas. He noted that the element required the County to safeguard the quality and quantity of the groundwater in the aquifer and protect and enhance the capabilities of the aquifer protection zones for present and future water supply and to ensure the protection of natural resources. He also stated that the plan provided for production, treatment, and distribution of potable water at the required level of service in a cost effective manner, balancing the needs of growth, the environment, and public health, safety, and welfare.
Mr. Sheahan explained that the sanitary sewer sub-element required that the County guide the orderly growth and development by coordinating service delivery with the municipalities, private enterprise, and individuals. Also, the coordination of service delivery was required in a manner that provided maximum use of existing facilities and also required coordination with the municipalities and other utility providers. He reported that the solid waste element still continued to provide for an integrated solid waste management system to responsibly manage the volume of solid waste disposed of in Lake County landfills. The operation of solid waste management facilities was required to be in compliance with the applicable air, ground water, and surface water pollution standards established by federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
Mr. Sheahan also commented that all through those elements were provisions of the Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act. He said that they had essentially taken those that the County had transmitted regarding Wekiva and provided for them within the proposed elements.
PRESENTATION – CONTINUATION OF HOUSING ELEMENT DISCUSSION
Mr. Alfredo Massa stated that they had received an update from the County Attorney’s office regarding affordable workforce housing from the 2007 legislature. He noted that the gist of the first item that was addressed in Paragraph 1 stated that the County shall adopt a plan for ensuring affordable workforce housing if the gap between the buying power of a family of four and the median county home sale price exceeded $170,000. He went on to note that in April of 2007, the Mid-Florida Regional multiple listing service noted that our medium price was $215,000. He emphasized that failure to do so would cause the locality to lose state housing assistance grants, so it would be very important that they do work on that. Also, he reported that the income range for workforce housing was going to be up to 140 percent of the area medium income, and in 2005 the area medium income was $45,000, so that $63,000 would be considered eligible for workforce housing.
He stated that the second item that was addressed was basically an incentive for the creation of workforce housing. He specified that it proposed that if a residential development provided at least 50 percent of the units to employees of an employment center that was in close proximity, all of the affordable workforce housing units were exempt from transportation concurrency requirements.
Mr. Wayne Bennett, Planning Director, commented that they had talked about this at the last workshop and they had said they would come around individually and set up meetings with the Board members. He noted that they would need to think about this new legislation before they get with the Board on that to answer any detailed questions they would have. They were going to look into how it would affect this planning process in terms of what the LPA had transmitted and how the EAR process that they would start in the summer could help to define how that workforce housing program came together. He also noted that this legislation had not been signed by the Governor yet, so they had to wait until that happened.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that their office followed every bill that had been passed to get them out to the departments so that they could look at them. He stated that this one had not been signed, and he did not think it had even been delivered to the Governor yet, and they would find out within the next two or three weeks whether or not he signed it and if it became law or not.
Commr. Renick asked if they could go ahead with their schedule as far as transmitting this to DCA, and then if new legislation was passed, they would have to redo this element.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the bills were going to be effective July 1 and October 1 if they became law, at which time the County would have to adjust their plans to them, so they might as well attempt to accommodate them as they went forward.
PROCESS FOR JUNE 5 PUBLIC INPUT WORKSHOP
Mr. Bennett reminded the Board that June 5, 2007 was the public input work session and asked whether the Board wanted them to come back with the Intergovernmental Coordination and Capital Improvement program in terms of a specific presentation.
Commr. Cadwell stated that there might not be much public input for what was currently ready, without the land use map.
Mr. Bennett commented that he believed there would be a substantial amount of public input on the non-map related items. He also stated that after the June 5 workshop, either they could immediately move on to another workshop where they would give staff instructions on things the Board wanted to include or change for the transmittal, or in the alternative, they could simply wait until the Future Land Use came in, have a workshop at that time, and then decide how to direct staff on the next step.
Commr. Renick commented that she would like to have time to absorb the public input and look at those things. She inquired whether they would be asked to vote to transmit those elements on June 5.
Mr. Minkoff explained that, unlike the LPA, they would transmit the entire plan at one time, and that at some transmittal hearing in the future they would vote on the plan in its entirety.
Commr. Hill inquired whether there would be a financial feasibility study of implementing the Future Land Use Map.
Mr. Bennett stated that the financial feasibility aspects were embedded in the Capital Improvements Program.
Commr. Cadwell reported that some of the counties were inviting their delegation to a meeting and putting on a presentation about their budget concerns. He thought that locally with Lake County’s delegation, it might work better if they divided their delegation among the five Commissioners and have Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, and staff meet with them with one of the Commissioners to go over their concerns about the proposal and what effect it would have on them. He suggested that each Commissioner let Ms. Hall know who they preferred to meet with, and between then and next week, they could set those meetings up while they were in town before they went back to Tallahassee.
Ms. Hall stated that she would go around to each Commissioner and figure out how to divide that up.
Commr. Renick commented that they had gotten the message that people wanted them to pull back a little bit financially, and that they realized that they would need to do some “belt tightening” regardless of what the legislature did.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the meeting with the delegates would be an opportunity to let them know how the County spent the local tax dollars, and he believed he had a good picture to show what they did with the money and that the delegates needed to be educated in regards to that also.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:10 p.m.
WELTON CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK