SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF
MAY 9, 2008
The Lake County Board of
Commr. Cadwell introduced Ms. Teri Stanic, Business Manager
for Covanta, who was attending the meeting as an intern from
Ms. Cindy Hall,
Barnett Schwartzman, Procurement Services Director, addressed the Board stating
that their presentation today would be focusing on individuals in the
Department who have made significant accomplishments. He stated that they are very proud of their
participation and support of county departments and the citizens of
Mr. Schwartzman stated that formal contracting over $25,000 was a very involved procedure and within that process there was a ninety day lead time - thirty days to prepare a solicitation, thirty days on the street, and thirty days to evaluate and award the contract. He stated that an RFP takes approximately 120 days to process to ensure it is done correctly. He explained that they would like a lot more competition. He commented that beyond competition was consolidating Procurement and that they had their first consolidated Procurement Group Meeting recently which included the School Board, Cities of Tavares, Mt. Dora, Lady Lake, and Leesburg. He explained that by working together on purchases they could make one order among them in order to drive up buying power and obtain a better price.
Mr. Jeff Cooper, Contracts Administrator, stated that he handled the Resource Recovery Contract (Covanta) and the Procurement Card (PCard) Program. He explained that the new Covanta Contract began in December 2004 calling attention to the chart on the second page of Tab 2 in the handout. He reported that the year 2005 was not included in the chart due to settlements that clouded the issue and he wanted to keep to the basic issues. He stated that when the Contract was approved it was reported that they could save $30 million over a course of ten years. He then called their attention to the total Covanta Budget in October 2004 stating that before renegotiating their Contract they were budgeting $11,250,000 and this year (October 2007) they were budgeting only $7,517,425 indicating the promises they had made were being kept. He referred to the millage transfer approved by the Board was 0.83 mills in 2004 compared to 0.2185 mills last year. He noted that all costs were going down which guaranteed savings with a continuous drop of about $100,000 - $150,000 every year over the balance of the Contract which terminates in the year 2014. He related that the funding of $16,208,157, shown on the Covanta Funding chart, goes to the Trustee who distributes those funds as indicated. He distributed the Solid Waste Operations Monitoring Annual Report of September 30, 2007, to the members of the Board.
PROCUREMENT CARD (PCARD) PROGRAM
Cooper then discussed the PCard Program stating that they had updated their
policies and procedures in November 2007, partially because the software they
were using was no longer supported, and that as of October 1, 2007, they
changed to a much more sophisticated program from Bank of America called
WORKS. He explained that with real time
review anyone holding a PCard could exam his/her transactions on the internet
at any time. He stated that all
cardholders received initial training, as well as refresher training once a
year. He explained that he, as an
accountant, scrutinized every single transaction made on a PCard by
Mr. Schwartzman stated that in the absence of Ms. Donna Thielhart, who was unable to attend as she had company from out-of-town, Ms. Susan Dugan would give their presentation.
Dugan represented the Procurement Professional Services and Construction Teams
which consist of Ms. Donna Thielhart, Supervisor, and herself as Contracting
Officer. She stated that both she and
Ms. Thielhart had achieved their Certified Public Purchasing Buyer (CPPB)
Certification through continued education which is to be recertified every five
years. She explained that when a department has a need she and Ms. Thielhart
assist them starting with a scope of services.
She stated that they then determine if a bid, proposal, or request for
statement of qualifications is needed, and follow through with the procurement
process which includes evaluating bids, facilitating selection committees and
public meetings, and negotiating contracts.
She provided a list of various professional services and construction
that both of them procure. She stated
that most of their time was spent on large dollar projects falling into the
greater than $25,000 category. She
explained that Ms. Thielhart’s main responsibilities were the procurement of
Architectural and Construction Projects.
She mentioned that Ms. Thielhart procured all the building construction
that is going on in Tavares, such as the new parking garage on
Ms. Roseann Johnson, Certified Public Manager (CPM), Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB), and Procurement Services Supervisor, Commodities Section, addressed the Board. She explained that the Commodities Section was responsible for the purchase of goods and services that do not require architectural and engineering services. Those goods range from small items such as paperclips to large items such as fire trucks, radio towers and landfill compactors. She stated further that they solicit bids and Requests for Proposal (RFP) for such services as janitorial, lawn maintenance, leasing of office machines and/or heavy equipment as well as other services. She referred to Tab 4 in the handout which listed the main buying assignments for her Section. She reported that she was the lead in several areas, namely: Fuel and lubricant contracts used by multiple public entities within Lake County; a multi-jurisdictional annual contract worth approximately $4 million for agricultural chemicals and herbicides utilized by 40 public entities within Central Florida; a fire apparatus supply agreement for fire departments utilized by ninety or more entities from the Florida Keys to the Panhandle and worth approximately $20 million annually. She stated further that she is the functional lead for the Board of County Commissioners’ (BCC) financial software “Munis” for its financial records and is also responsible for workflow approval, building tables, testing upgrades, and working with County staff and Munis Support to find solutions for any glitches which may occur. She commented that she also serves as the County’s EOC Logistics Chief in times of emergencies and is working on becoming certified from the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, for her Professional and Advanced Development Series (PDS and APS) Certifications.
John Wight, CPPB, Senior Contracting Officer, addressed the Board reporting
that some of the current Commodities Contracts were: Fire rescue vehicle lettering; traffic signal
maintenance; information technology equipment; uniform rental, which is a
cooperative purchase including nine other entities in the contract; guardrail
repairs, installation and replacement; asphalt; office supplies; recycled
toner; and the county-wide communications contract with Motorola. He stated that two of his specific
cost-saving contracts were with RICO on multifunctional devices which is an
example of how new technology could reduce costs. For example, one machine that copies, prints,
faxes and scans would eliminate separate fax machines, printers and scanners
and save money as well as having only one vendor for maintenance needs. He reported that another savings contract he
deals with is the Computer Bulk Order Program.
Working closely with Information Technology (IT) he stated that they
incorporate the specifications needed for each department within the
County. He explained that the contract
gives them the price lot for the Fiscal Year with the benefit of the State
Contract specifications as far as warranties and replacements. He stated that initially, the contract was
for 49 desktops with the State Contract price of $945, but they were able to
negotiate a price of $484 per unit which resulted in a quantity savings of
$22,540. He stated further that the
initial laptop order was for 21 units with a State Contract price of $1,211
with a negotiated price of $879 which resulted in a quantity savings of
$6,972. He reported that there was an
overall savings for desktops, notebooks and monitors of $32,557. He stated that he was also a member of the
Commr. Hill introduced Mr. Vince Yokum of the School Board’s Citizen Audit Committee who was in attendance, at her invitation, to attain information on the County’s Procurement Procedures.
PROCUREMENT SERVICES CONT’D.
SERVICE & MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS
Freddy Suarez, Senior Contracting Officer, CPPB, Secondary Emergency Support
Function for ESF-7 and currently working on his Master’s Degree in Public
Administration at the University of
Central Florida (UCF). He stated that he
deals with Building, Service, and Maintenance contracts and provides needed
services to existing County buildings such as Public Safety, Parks, and Public
Works. He explained that his purchasing
assignments are broad ranged including building materials and supplies, park
and playground equipment, fire detection and criminal alarm systems, pool
installation, drinking water, food services, appliances, paint services,
locksmith, and others. He mentioned that
in the handout there were examples of Vendor Pool Contracts, Term & Supply
Contracts, and One Time Purchases from 2006 - 2008. He explained that Vendor Pool Contracts
provide a way for the County to pre-qualify vendors for future price
competition. One example of Vendor Pool Contracts
is Roadside Tree Trimming Services which takes place in various locations
throughout the County and the contract consists of ten vendors – five local,
four in Central Florida and one outside the
Mr. Ed Luning, Jr., Fixed Asset/Surplus Manager, EOC County Staging Area Manager, and a Certified Professional Properties Specialist explained to the Board that the purpose of the Fixed Asset Section was to establish guidelines and procedures for the management, accountability and overall use and eventual disposal of the Fixed Assets entrusted to the Lake County Board by and for the citizens of Lake County. He explained that a Fixed Asset is not consumable, but rather is any item with a total value of $1,000 or more and has a life expectancy of one year or more. He commented that this does not include items that are leased with a contracted return-to-vendor date, such as copiers involved in the cost per copy contract and certain heavy equipment leases. He mentioned that the responsibilities of the Fixed Asset Department included tagging new assets; transfers; donations; disposals via public auction and other disposals; managing yearly physical inventory; and running the surplus storage/warehouse. He stated that the three most important aspects of the job were the disposal via public auction, the yearly physical inventory and the surplus storage/warehouse. He reported that the public auction was the most common method of disposal they have for old worn out, and obsolete assets. He mentioned that all assets must have Board approval prior to being disposed of and the sale must be advertised in a local paper. He reported that since 2004 there have been over $600,000 in returns on surplus items either going to auction or being recycled through a company called MARS who come pick up and load the assets, take them away and actually pay the County for them. He remarked that an inventory must be performed each year pursuant State Statute, Rules of the Chief Financial Officer, and Lake County Policy. He stated that they currently have over 7,000 fixed assets with a value of more than $60 million and that every division, including elected officials with the exception of the Sheriff’s Office, must perform this function. He explained that the Sheriff’s Office is governed by his own rules pursuant to State Statutes. He stated that at the present time, the fixed asset portion of the warehouse on CR 473 is being used for storage of surplus property of capital and non-capital items as well as items for Information Technology, the Clerk of Court, Property Appraiser, State Attorney, Emergency Management and Environmental Services. He explained that these items are kept until the best method of disposal has been determined.
Mr. Schwartzman stated that Ms. Dianna Magrum, Document Services Coordinator is in charge of the Reprographics Department, commenting on her responsibilities and the quality of her work. He stated that she supports all County Departments, primarily, Tourism; Library Services; Agricultural Center; Board Office; Planning; Community Services; Environmental Services; Public Works; Public Safety and LSMPO. He explained that the ten most recent projects were listed on the second page of Tab 6, included black and white Inspection Lists for Road Operations, color Tutor Postcards for Library Services, and Farmers Market Directories for the Fairgrounds, to name a few. He then distributed handouts to show the quality of work they produce in-house.
Mr. Schwartzman referred to the chart in Tab 7 which reflected pertinent information of the Fleet Management Division including the number of staff members, vehicles and equipment owned by the Board, vehicle and equipment purchases from Fiscal Year 2006 to present, expenses and revenues, and amount of fuel used. He stated that the goals for this Division were to reduce fleet size to the most appropriate level, consolidate public transportation bus fleet operations to a common fleet facility, and to improve the facility by examining build-out requirements. He reported that there is a grant in process through Public Transportation to support a new facility.
OFFICE OF EMPLOYEE SERVICES & QUALITY IMPROVEMENT
Ms. Sharon Wall of Employee Services distributed a booklet to coincide with the Department’s presentation to the Board. She stated that their Department is responsible for all the Human Resources (HR) activities for the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) and has combined Risk Management into the HR Department as well as Quality Improvement. She stated that the Department is divided into two major sections headed by Ms. Kasie McAdams and Ms. Susan Irby.
RECRUITMENT AND NEW HIRE PROCESS
Ms. Kasie McAdams, Employee Services Manager, addressed the Board stating that the first key in managing employment is to get the right people on board through their recruitment program. She stated that the hiring process is left to the department seeking a new employee. However, the recruitment function of their Employee Services is to give advice and guidance to the hiring department, making sure they have all the information needed, and administer any employment laws such as Florida’s Veteran’s Preference Laws. She stated that they advertise vacancies on CareerBuilders.com as well as on the BCC website and have been very successful using this means of recruiting. She commented that the majority of applicants apply online which speeds up the amount of time to process the applications and decreases the amount of paper used. She reported that the turnaround time was approximately 30 days from the date the exiting employee leaves and the new employee begins employment. She explained that after an employee selection is made their office completes a comprehensive background check which consists of criminal history; calling references; and a driving record history being performed for any position requiring driving. She commented that they received over 15,000 applications in Fiscal Year 2007 and of those they have recruited over 230 people. She stated that the Department assists in properly maintaining job classification plans and recommends necessary amendments thereto, as well as ensures a fair and equitable administration of any increase of wages, and ensuring that the County’s pay plan is comparable and competitive to the surrounding market. She stated that Employee Services is responsible for placing data into the HR/Payroll Integrated Financial System (MUNIS) to ensure employees are paid accurately and receive the appropriate benefits and accruals. She reported that they are working towards implementing a self-service system which would enable an employee to go online, pull up their own data and make changes to their address as well as view accruals for sick and vacation time. She stated that as a safety measure every employee would have a password and use their employee number to access the online service.
Cadwell questioned Ms. McAdams how the six year service average in
McAdams stated that she did not have the exact statistics, but that she
Ms. Susan Irby, Employee Services Manager, spoke to the Board regarding employee relations which encompasses a variety of functions: Development of policies and procedures regarding employment; training and development; and being available to the employee for questions regarding policies and procedures. She stated that they provide guidance and advice to management when dealing with employee situations such as disciplinary actions; employee complaints; investigating complaints of harassment, etc.; pre-determination conferences with any employees who are to be suspended, demoted or terminated; violations of policies and procedures; and administration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) for fire/rescue personnel.
HEALTH INSURANCE & BENEFITS
Ms. Irby provided the Board with Benefits Facts and Figures as shown on Attachment 1 in the presentation booklet. She stated that the County offers a comprehensive health and benefit package including medical coverage, dental, vision, long term disability, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, retirement and deferred compensation. She commented that there are several agencies that participate in the benefits program including the BCC, Property Appraiser, Water Authority, Supervisor of Elections and LSMPO. She stated that the County contracted with BlueCross BlueShield of Florida (BCBS) as a Third Party Administration (TPA) which provides an HMO and PPO option. She reported that in Fiscal Year 2007 they have seen a vast decrease in overall medical costs of $2 million since the County has been with BCBS and was attributed to considerable discounts from BCBS together with better case management. She stated that employees must hold a position working thirty hours or more weekly to be eligible for participation in the health plan. She referred to and discussed the Medical Cost Breakdown chart showing what the County paid per year, what the employees paid and what the actual plan costs for a given tier. She stated that this chart also indicates the percentage paid by the County and by the employee.
EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM
Nadine Ohlinger, Employee Services Specialist / Training & Wellness, stated
that one innovative way to save the County money is to have a Wellness
Program. She commented that some of the
goals of the Wellness Program were to increase employees’ knowledge and
awareness of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle; to increase participants’
knowledge of health and wellness information; to facilitate positive behavior
change among participants; and to improve the environment in which
Mr. David Merrill, Employee Services Supervisor, spoke to the Board concerning Safety, the Worker’s Compensation Program, and the Property & Liability Program. He stated that they are committed to provide a safe workplace for all employees. He explained that the program not only covers BCC employees, but the Constitutional Officers’ employees as well. He stated in order for the employees to know what is expected it is a requirement that they all take part in the orientation/training process. Within that process, he speaks to them for about an hour discussing their responsibility, as well as their supervisor’s responsibility, under the Worker’s Compensation Program and the Property & Liability Program; spending time explaining where they can find all the information on the internet, the intranet, and what types of forms need to be completed; and what would happen if they had to report an on-the-job injury, illness or damages to County property. He explained that he also discussed having a drug free workplace by going through the procedures and forms, and that at the present time the County was drug testing safety centered positions as they come into the County, such as firefighters and also CDL employees. He stated that 100% of firefighters are drug tested annually and that by DOT Standards, CDL’s are tested randomly throughout the year - 50% for drugs and 25% for alcohol. He stated that safety specific training needed was covered during the new employee’s first week on the job. He commented that everyone needed to go through fire alarm procedures and know where to exit all buildings and where to meet. Once the training is complete, the employee signs the Area Specific Safety Orientation Form and it is then placed in the employee’s file. He stated that the County has written Safety Policies and Procedures and a Safety Action Team comprised of volunteer employees across the County meet at the end of each month to discuss Worker’s Compensation cases, Property Liability cases and if they see a specific trend in one area they present it to the entire County. He mentioned that they have another specific safety team comprised of Public Safety and those are volunteer firefighters sitting who talk specifically about public safety regarding Worker’s Compensation and Property Liability.
WORKER’S COMPENSATION & PROPERTY LIABILITY
Mr. Merrill mentioned that this year in the month of March the Public Safety Department had no Worker’s Compensation cases and no Property Liability cases, which was a first. He reported that there were 87 Worker’s Compensation claims for 2007 for $185,324.91 and compared them to 71 claims in 2006 for $377,289; 92 claims in 2005 for of $297,656; and 108 claims in 2004 for $231,350. He stated that in 2007 there were 36 Property Liability claims in the amount of $266,750.16 compared to 37 claims in 2006 for $66,956; 39 claims in 2005 for $96,31l; 96 claims in 2004 for $76,174; and 45 claims in 2003 for $84,337. He noted that some of these claims were attributed to the Ground Hog Day tornado in 2007. He explained that Employee Services is working on a bid for a Third Party Administrator (TPA) who handles all the Worker’s Compensation claims. He stated that at the present time they have Employee’s Mutual (EMI) and also a broker for insurances. He commented that they are re-evaluating the County buildings and their contents to ensure they are up-to-date, as they have not been evaluated since 2004.
Commr. Renick commented on several Worker’s Compensation claims stating she did not understand why something like being exposed to MRSA while performing CPR could be claimed under Worker’s Compensation.
Mr. Merrill stated that exposure incident reports are to be completed when an employee is exposed to blood borne pathogens. He stated that there are certain standards required by OSHA relating to blood borne pathogens which require getting a baseline test to make sure nothing was transmitted by the patient to the employee, and is followed by other blood tests six months later.
EMPLOYEE TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
Jeannine Nelson, Employee Services Specialist / Training and Development,
addressed the Board speaking to their accomplishments and future plans. She referred to the last page of Attachment 5
in the handout which gave the statistics for employee training and supervisor
and leadership training in Fiscal Year 2007.
She stated that they had 4800 training hours for that fiscal year,
noting that the number will vary from year-to-year according to the number of
programs being offered. She included in
their handout a Training and Development Catalog,
Cadwell asked if employees receive any credits or rewards for taking classes at
Ms. Nelson stated that they have some mandatory classes and others such as public speaking so the reward is inherent in terms of bettering themselves for future promotions.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10:45, the Chairman announced that there would be a ten-minute recess.
ECONOMIC GROWTH & REDEVELOPMENT
Ms. Dottie Keedy, Director of Economic Growth & Redevelopment introduced her staff, Ms. Linda Green, Office Associate, and Ms. Lori Barnes, Senior Planner. She stated that because her job varies from day-to-day she thought it best to review her tasks and accomplishments during this fiscal year.
Keedy stated that the Department is responsible for the management of the
Ms. Keedy stated that they started an Industry Visit Program which has been very successful which they are going to continue. She referred to a list of companies that they have visited recently.
ON-GOING MEETINGS / COLLABORATIONS
Keedy stated that there were a number of ongoing meetings and collaborations
with different organizations and have just started meeting with the City of
PRESENTATIONS TO COMMITTEES AND ORGANIZATIONS
Ms. Keedy stated that she is often asked to speak at committees and organizations. She mentioned that some of the Chambers of Commerce, as well as some of the cities, have asked her to speak about economic development and how they can partner.
ON-GOING MEETINGS / COLLABORATIONS CONT’D.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he and the County Manager, Ms. Cindy Hall, were in Washington a few weeks ago, and through their lobbyists they were given encouragement about opportunities on a federal level with some dollar figures. She stated that Ms. Hall had shared that information with her and she thought that they would definitely have some opportunities to take advantage of that next year.
Keedy stated that some of the Boards and Committees of which she is a part are
regional in nature and others are local.
She commented that to have regional collaboration not only markets
SPONSORSHIP OF BUSINESS RELATED EVENTS
Keedy stated that she has within her budget a “Sponsorship” budget used to
assist businesses in providing information or seminars. She reported that in collaboration with the
Leesburg Chamber and its Women’s Symposium she will be taking the Director of
The Alliance (an organization to help women in minority-owned businesses) to
Keedy stated that she had started work on several projects and hoped to
continue them this next year. Among
those, she mentioned the Robotics Project which had been presented at a Board
Meeting. She stated that they were
implementing the Strategic Plan and had a good meeting with the Steering
Committee and that they would be moving into the next phase. She commented that she has had a great
response from the business community indicating that they like the structure
and the proposal. She remarked that
perhaps they could take advantage of federal assistance with the Incubator
Program. She stated that she has been
talking to both the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Lake-Sumter
Community College (LSCC) about collaborating to create business incubators in
the County. She reported that at the
present time there is a business incubator in Leesburg, however, it is
under-utilized and she has been discussing with UCF the possibility of working
together in order to staff same. She
stated that she and Ms. Barnes had begun work on the Mt. Dora Office/Employment
Center with the staff from the City of Mt. Dora. She mentioned that Ms. Barnes is also working
on an expedited permitting procedure for economic development projects. She stated that the procedure had been in
their Compensation Plan for quite some time but have not yet written the
procedures. She mentioned that the
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that although there are a lot of negative remarks about the economy right now, Vac-Tron Equipment was having their 10th Anniversary and serves as a great success story for industry in Lake County. He commented that this celebration should be attended by anyone having an opportunity.
Commr. Renick stated that not every city has a designated economic development person, and made a suggestion that perhaps they could contact each city and have them to designate one of their employees to serve as an economic development representative. She stated that this would provide a network of communication for Ms. Keedy.
Hill stated that the recent meeting went very well and commended Ms.
Keedy. She stated that Ms. Cindy Hall,
Commr. Stewart commented that Ms. Keedy had dealt with some very difficult business communities and had won them over.
Hill reported that Ms. Keedy would represent
Keedy stated that the trip would be a great networking event where kickoff
receptions are held and she would be glad to present those in attendance with a
CD of Lake County. She stated that she
had met some great people at these meetings who were very interested in
TOURISM AND BUSINESS RELATIONS
Greg Mihalic, Tourism & Business Relations Director, provided a PowerPoint
tour of the department to help the Board understand better what they do. He explained that they have five functional
Diane Kamp, Director and Curator of the
Jane Allen, Expo Center/Fairgrounds Director, spoke to the Board about the
Fairgrounds Operations. She stated that
the Fairgrounds in Eustis consist of approximately 30 acres with 5 buildings,
an open air pavilion and an arena. She
reported that the
Mr. Mihalic interjected that the Fairgrounds is a substantial client of reprographics.
Mihalic stated that Tourism is a diverse industry in
Debi Dyer, Tourism Specialist, and Ms. Cheryl Thomas, Financial Analyst
presented an example of a typical conversation with visitors coming into the
Mihalic referred to the charts within the Tourism packet indicating
EVENTS / SUPPORTING COMMUNITY GROUPS
Mihalic stated that they are event oriented but are only capturing about 65% of
the ongoing events. He explained that
they continue to reach out to organizers and partners to obtain their
information and place it on the computer so the public will be informed of
ongoing events in
Commr. Cadwell asked if all this was paid out in tourist tax.
Mihalic responded that all of their department, except for the Fairgrounds and
Commr. Hill asked if his department paid for volunteers and staffing of the Sports Commission when they attend the event.
Mr. Mihalic stated that if the Sports Commission incurs expenses it pays for them and would be worked out between the Commission and the organizer.
A discussion ensued regarding the June 6, 2008, game between the Leesburg Lightning and the Clermont Mavericks.
Commr. Cadwell asked that representatives from both teams make a presentation to the Board prior to the first game.
Mihalic stated that he would arrange that before June 6. He stated that they also provide feedback to
their clients. He explained that they
advertise these events but if the client does not know about it, it provides no
value. He stated that they send the
advertising to the client to let them know its value. He explained that small businesses do not
realize, nor understand, the value of what advertising costs so they re-enforce
it by sending the client a DVD from WFTV when they run that advertising. He commented that events do not just
happen. He stated that they work with
event planners and organizers starting about four months out by advertising the
event in magazines, and each month promote the event through various media down
to the very day of the event. He mentioned
that at every event they have DVDs and brochures of current and future events
Debi Dyer, Tourism Specialist, spoke about theme experiences noting that in
2006 they began celebrating weddings within the parks of
Dyer stated that there is an annual Antique Boat Festival in
Vince Yokum of the School Board’s Citizen Audit Committee, a guest at this
meeting, reported that there was an underground boat restoration community in
Mr. Mihalic commented that this is one of those events that could have national draw, and that it was also tied to the Classic Race Boat Association event. He commented that there was an ongoing discussion to hold an Antique Boat Festival Auction and educational events the week between these two events in order to encourage visitors to participate in marine activities during that timeframe. He commented that this would be a way to capacity build these events.
Ms. Dyer expressed the importance of having someone at these events to pass out brochures and provide a continuous DVD running in order to get promote the County.
Mr. Mihalic stated that many of the event promotions are electronic which was optimized on Google and Yahoo where certain words have been keyed in to make our County’s listing appear first. He explained that they spend approximately $6,000-$9,000 monthly on website optimization. He reported that over the last three months 163,000 visitors came to our website through Google and Yahoo.
Mihalic stated that Ms. Kathy Pagan, Tourism Specialist, oversees the Art and
Cultural Alliance section of Tourism and that in her absence he would make her
presentation. He explained that special
sections of a magazine were purchased to promote a particular theme. He displayed the Lake and Sumter Style
magazine showing the Fall Arts Preview which previewed all the Arts activities
going on in
Commr. Hill stated that when working with the Chambers she understood there are not enough beds in the County and that was what provides revenue.
Mr. Mihalic responded by stating that they were running about 300 beds a night and that 300 hotel rooms a year were being added into the market. He stated that hotel occupancy was down because of the downturn in the residential base. He commented that there were no mass of rooms at any price level - they go from $25 per night to $250 per night which can prevent the promotion of larger events which require a mass of rooms in one area. He reported that there were a couple of hotels under construction.
Commr. Hill and Mr. Mihalic discussed hotel capacity and events that would promote marketing hotels in this area.
Dyer invited everyone to attend the National Tourism Celebration to be held
Friday, May 16, 2008, at the
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:15 p.m.
WELTON CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
NEIL KELLY, CLERK