A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
july 7, 2009
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Jennifer Hill, Vice Chairman; Jimmy Conner; Elaine Renick; 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; Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
Pastor Lee Browning from the Umatilla Church of God gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, stated that she had three changes, which were to pull Tab 4, which would be coming back to them at a separate time and Tab 28, which they would include in their budget process, as well as to move Tab 17 to departmental items.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that he wanted to add under his business a request that they have a closed session on July 21.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board moved to add the County Attorney’s request to the Agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of May 26, 2009 (Regular Meeting/Workshop) and June 9, 2009 (Special Meeting) as presented.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 8, as follows:
List of Warrants
Request to acknowledge receipt of list of warrants paid prior to this meeting, pursuant to Chapter 136.06 (1) 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.
Country Greens CDD Proposed Operating and Debt Service Budget for FY 2010
Request to acknowledge receipt of copy of Country Greens Community Development District’s proposed Operating and Debt Service Budget for Fiscal Year 2010, in accordance with Chapter 190.008(2) (b) of the Florida Statutes, with cover letter stating that the public hearing is scheduled for August 26, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. at Hampton Inn, 19700 US Highway 441, Mount Dora.
Village Center CDD Proposed Budget for FY 2009/2010
Request to acknowledge receipt of proposed budget for Village Center Community Development District for Fiscal Year 2009/2010
Annexation Ordinance from the City of Groveland
Request to acknowledge receipt of Annexation Ordinance No. 2009-06-21, from the City of Groveland, extending and increasing the corporate limits of the City, by annexing 173.72 +/- acres of unincorporated land owned by IMG Enterprises, Inc.
Arlington Ridge CDD Proposed Annual Budget for FY 2010
Request to acknowledge receipt of Arlington Ridge Community Development District Proposed Annual Budget – Fiscal Year 2010.
Notice from Accent Marketing Services
Request to acknowledge receipt of Notice from Accent Marketing Services, LLC regarding future reductions in workforce at its Lake County location on 308 West Ardice Avenue, Eustis, Florida.
Resolution from Minneola City Council
Request to acknowledge receipt of Resolution No. 2009-08 from the Minneola City Council opposing Lake County School District’s proposal to curtail or eliminate courtesy busing of students who live within two miles of the school they attend.
Annexation Ordinance from the City of Clermont
Request to acknowledge receipt of Ordinance 619-M from the City of Clermont which annexes a vacant parcel of land into the City limits of Clermont and was adopted by the Clermont City Council on May 26, 2009.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
Commr. Conner requested that they pull Tab 8 for discussion.
Commr. Stewart stated that she had a comment regarding Tab 5, so that was pulled for discussion as well.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 28, pulling Tabs 4 and 28 and moving Tabs 5, 8 and 17 to the County Manager’s Departmental Business, as follows:
Request for approval of the following Budget Change Requests:
1. Budget transfer – Greater Groves Fund, Office of Budget, Assessments Section. Transfer $11,000 from Reserve for Operations to Contractual Services. The funds for this MSBU are collected from the non-ad valorem assessment on each subdivision parcel owner’s tax bill. The funds are forwarded from the Tax Collector’s Office annually, beginning in November. In order to forward the first quarterly payment to the Homeowners’ Association (HOA) annually in October, the fund maintains a reserve balance equivalent to the first quarterly payment. Excess funds have accumulated in this MSBU from the non-ad valorem assessments of the subdivision parcel owners after the mid-year adjustments were approved for this fund. The funds are required to be distributed to the HOA for use in the common area maintenance of the subdivision. The funds are available in Reserve for Operations. After this transfer, the remaining balance in the reserves of this fund will have sufficient funds for the first quarterly payment for October 2009.
2. Budget transfer - Greater Hills Fund, Office of Budget, Assessments Section. Transfer $15,000 from Reserve for Operations to Contractual Services. The funds for this MSBU are collected from the non-ad valorem assessment on each subdivision parcel owner’s tax bill. The funds are forwarded from the Tax Collector’s Office annually, beginning in November. In order to forward the first quarterly payment to the Homeowners’ Association (HOA) annually in October, the fund maintains a reserve balance equivalent to the first quarterly payment. Excess funds have accumulated in this MSBU from the non-ad valorem assessments of the subdivision parcel owners after the mid-year adjustments were approved for this fund. The funds are required to be distributed to the HOA for use in the common area maintenance of the subdivision. The funds are available in Reserve for Operations. After this transfer, the remaining balance in the reserves of this fund will have sufficient funds for the first quarterly payment for October 2009.
3. Budget transfer – Greater Pines Fund, Office of Budget, Assessments Section. Transfer $13,000 from Reserve for Operations to Contractual Services. The funds for this MSBU are collected from the non-ad valorem assessment on each subdivision parcel owner’s tax bill. The funds are forwarded from the Tax Collector’s Office annually, beginning in November. In order to forward the first quarterly payment to the Homeowners’ Association (HOA) annually in October, the fund maintains a reserve balance equivalent to the first quarterly payment. Excess funds have accumulated in this MSBU from the non-ad valorem assessments of the subdivision parcel owners after the mid-year adjustments were approved for this fund. The funds are required to be distributed to the HOA for use in the common area maintenance of the subdivision. The funds are available in Reserve for Operations. After this transfer, the remaining balance in the reserves of this fund will have sufficient funds for the first quarterly payment for October 2009.
Request for approval of the updated Employee Status and Work Hours and Overtime Policy.
Request for approval to award RFP 09-0010, Wireless Communication Consultant to RCC Consultants, Inc, and Resolution No. 2009-94 to amend fee schedules for fiscal year 2008-2009 to include fees for service provided by the Department of Public Safety.
Request for approval of the update to the 2007 Interlocal Agreement for Fire Protection and Rescue Services between Lake County and the City of Umatilla. Commission District 5.
Request for approval of Interlocal Agreements that assigns items purchased by Lake County through the Emergency Medical Services Grant to the fire departments of Mount Dora, Tavares, Eustis, Fruitland Park, Leesburg, and Umatilla.
Request for approval of Resolution No. 2009-82 regarding delinquent Special Assessments authorizing the County Manager to enter into settlement agreements with property owners which may lower or eliminate accrued interest, and/or establish payment plans, authorizing the County Manager to approve writing off old debts which cannot be collected, and authorizing the County Attorney to file suit for foreclosure or injunction actions.
Request for approval of Amendment to the Interlocal Agreement between Lake County and the Town of Lady Lake, regarding the Development and Environmental Study (PD&E) for Rolling Acres Road (from CR 466 to US 441 - approx. 1.25 miles). Commission District 5; Benefit District 3.
Request for authorization to release a maintenance bond in the amount of $73,514.00 posted for the realignment of CR 565A at SR 50. Commission District 2.
Request for authorization to release a maintenance bond in the amount of $84,256.09 posted for Tradd’s Landing Phases 2 and 3. Tradd’s Landing consists of 321 lots and is located in Section 10, Township 24 South, Range 26 East. Commission District 2.
Request for authorization to release a performance bond for construction of improvements in the total amount of $1,252,735.00, accept a check in the amount of $5,812.95 as surety for landscaping improvements, and execute a Developer’s Agreement for Construction of Improvements between Lake County and Plymouth MB, LLC for Plymouth Creek Estates for Landscape Improvements. Plymouth Creek Estates consists of 72 lots and is located in Section 36, Township 19 South, Range 27 East, Commission District 4.
Request for approval for Chairman and Commissioners to declare and sign Proclamation No. 2009-83 designating July as Parks and Recreation Month.
Request for approval to execute the Local Agency Program Agreement between Lake County and Florida Department of Transportation (FPN # 426313-1-58-01) for CR-448 for the segment lying between Lake Industrial Blvd and Grand Oak Lane, execute supporting Resolution No. 2009-84 for the project, and approval to advertise for bids. Commission District #3.
Request for approval to execute the Local Agency Program Agreement between Lake County and Florida Department of Transportation (FPN # 426261-1-58-01) for CR-455 for a segment lying between SR-19 and CR-561, execute supporting Resolution No. 2009-85 for the project, and approval to advertise for bids. Commission District #3.
Request for approval to execute the Local Agency Program Agreement between Lake County and Florida Department of Transportation (FPN # 426262-1-58-01) for CR-474 for a segment lying between SR-33 and US-27, execute supporting Resolution No. 2009-86 for the project, and approval to advertise for bids. Commission District #2.
Request for approval to execute the Local Agency Program Agreement between Lake County and Florida Department of Transportation (FPN # 426300-1-58-01) for Lakeshore Drive for a segment lying between Preston Cove and King Fisher Drive, execute supporting Resolution No. 2009-87 for the project, and approval to advertise for bids. Commission District #2.
Request to execute the Local Agency Program Agreement between Lake County and Florida Department of Transportation (FPN # 426302-1-58-01) for CR-466A for a segment lying between Cutoff Road and SR-27/441; execute supporting Resolution No. 2009-88 for the project, and approval to advertise for bids. Commission District #1.
Request to execute the Local Agency Program Agreement between Lake County and Florida Department of Transportation (FPN # 426312-1-58-01) for CR-19A for a segment lying between Dodson cutoff and Azalea Drive, execute supporting Resolution No. 2009-89 for the project, and approval to advertise for bids. Commission District #4.
Request to execute the Local Agency Program Agreement between Lake County and Florida Department of Transportation (FPN # 426314-1-58-01) for CR-42 for a segment lying between Holmes View Drive and West 4th Street; execute supporting Resolution No. 2009-90 for the project, and approval to advertise for bids. Commission District #5.
Request to execute the Local Agency Program Agreement between Lake County and Florida Department of Transportation (FPN # 426315-1-58-01) for Eagles Nest Road for a segment lying between US-27/441 and Ridge Road; execute supporting Resolution No. 2009-91 for the project, and approval to advertise for bids. Commission District #1 and 5.
Request Works to execute the Local Agency Program Agreement between Lake County and Florida Department of Transportation (FPN # 426316-1-58-01) for Goose Prairie Road for a segment lying between Emeralda Island Road and CR-452; execute supporting Resolution No. 2009-92 for the project, and approval to advertise for bids. Commission District #5.
Request to execute the Local Agency Program Agreement between Lake County and Florida Department of Transportation (FPN # 426259-1-58-01) for Lake Griffin Road for a segment lying between Lemon Street and Grays Airport Road, execute supporting Resolution No. 2009-93 for the project, and approval to advertise for bids.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill, and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 29 and 30, as follows:
Request for approval to advertise ordinance regarding the reorganization of the Law Library within the Lake County Library System.
Request for approval of Partial Release for Caveat by Creditor.
Ms. Susan Irby, Employee Services Manager, Office of Employee Services, presented the June 2009 Service Awards and commented briefly on each of the employee’s service to the County.
Loren Blackwell, Firefighter/EMT, Public Safety/Fire Rescue
George Cochran, Fire Lieutenant/EMT, Public Safety/Fire Rescue
Shawn Flohre (not present), Firefighter/Paramedic, Public Safety/Fire Rescue
Roger Minger, Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic, Public Safety/Fire Rescue
Rene Vasquez (not present), Firefighter/EMT, Public Safety/Fire Rescue
Jeffrey Wisniewski (not present), Equipment Operator IV, Environmental Utilities/Solid Waste Disposal Operations
Troy Braley (not present), Fire Lieutenant/EMT), Public Safety/Fire Rescue
Richard Eddy, Park Specialist, Public Works/Parks & Trails
Geneva “Andrea” Kennard, Office Associate V, County Attorney’s Office
Jeffrey Michels (not present), Firefighter/EMT, Public Safety/Fire Rescue
Robert Staab (not present), Firefighter/EMT, Public Safety/Fire Rescue
Patrick Werner, Lead Network Technician, Information Technology/Information Systems
David Ziegler (not present), Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic, Public Safety/Fire Rescue
John Brautcheck (not present), Entomologist Environmental Utilities/Mosquito & Aquatic Plant Management
Edmund “Jay” Dagner, Chief Inspector, Growth Management/Building Services
Christine Stephens, Sign Fabricator, Public Works/Road Operations/Signs, Signals and Striping
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
transfer of ship program funds
Commr. Stewart recapped that they had discussed the item on Tab 5 on June 23, and the Board requested additional information, which they have received since then. She believed that it was important enough to bring it forward for discussion at this meeting to make the public aware of the fact that they received additional information and they did deal with the issue.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 5, the request from Community Services for approval of the transfer of SHIP Program and Administrative funds from Operations Budget to Personal Services to cover staffing cost for FY 2008/09.
award of vendor operation of food concessions
Commr. Conner expressed concern about the prices that they would be charging the users of the North Lake Community Park for food. He related that the County would earn about $3,000 a month with the Tab 8 agenda item, but he felt that they were forcing the vendor who was contracting with them to charge higher prices to customers at the park for hotdogs, hamburgers, and drinks. He mentioned that since he has expressed his concerns to staff, they have brought a revised price list back which lowered the cost of some beverages, but he believed that the food prices were still too high. He commented that he would rather sacrifice the revenue under this contract and lower the prices to the families using the park then to be making $3,000 a month.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that he had talked to nonprofit organizations to see if they would come together to make a bid on the RFP (Request for Proposal), but they were not able to do that. He suggested that $1,000 of the revenue they receive from the concession be earmarked for nonprofit organizations that run the programs in that area.
Commr. Conner stated that he was concerned about struggling working families in these economic times being able to afford the prices at that concession. He commented that the nonprofits could volunteer their labor to run the concession stands to make money, and if they were not willing to do that, he did not think they should charge higher prices to those families.
Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Minkoff if everything in the RFP process was open for negotiation.
Mr. Minkoff responded that they could talk with the vendor to lower the amount that he pays if they wanted to get a lower price list.
Commr. Cadwell asked Commr. Conner, as liaison to the Parks, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board, to take the lead and meet with staff on this issue. He also emphasized that this was time sensitive, because there were almost 500 games scheduled between the end of July and December.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board moved to table Tab 8, the request for the approval of RFP 09-217 for vendor operation of food concessions at North Lake Community Park to Sunrise Snack Shack until the price schedule could be worked out.
easement of railroad right of way and removal of fence
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, explained that when the railroad referred to in Tab 17 was abandoned about 50 years ago, the County acquired the right of way for a warranty deed from the Atlantic Coastline at that time from Altoona to Umatilla. He related that over the last few years, they have used it for crossing and building roads and have held on to it for a possible trail and/or extension of SR 19, and they have had license agreements such as this one crossing it into subdivisions and driveways to give residents access. He showed on an overhead map the county road and the railroad right of way in front. He noted that there is a fence about half way into the right of way and a trail that went to a house he pointed out on the map. He stated that the property owner on the corner had gotten a DOT permit to access SR 19 and wanted a license agreement to go over the County’s property to SR 19 for his business, but there was objection from another property owner, which included an issue regarding a fence which they have been wrestling with for the last several years. He related that they want to go ahead and grant a license agreement so the person could access SR 19; at the same time there may be legal action, which was why it was worded the way it was and was put on the departmental agenda for discussion.
Commr. Cadwell commented that there was a long-term dispute between the two property owners, and they have tried to take the fence down for ten years.
Mr. Minkoff explained that ordinarily they would take the fence down, but this was a volatile situation, and they were concerned that some sort of violence might occur, so they thought it might be necessary to get a court order to authorize them to have the Sheriff out there when they took it down.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously, the Board approved Tab 17, the request from Public Works for approval and execution of an easement over a County owned railroad right of way to provide access from S.R. 19 to property owned by Larry Cook for his business and authorize the County Attorney to take legal action for removal of the fence that has been constructed in the subject County owned railroad property. Commission District 5.
solid waste debt service reserve and assessment for fy 2009/10
Mr. Daryl Smith, Director of Environmental Utilities, explained that there were a number of solid waste issues under Tab 31 which were not necessarily related, but they decided to put it on the same agenda item. He stated that the first one was related to the debt service that they currently had and the opportunity which was presented to the Board earlier this year to restructure that debt by using the debt service reserve to pay down the debt and then restructure the remainder of the debt, which would result in a savings to the County of about $165,000. He related that the other important factor was that they would realize a cash flow savings of about $1 million per year, which they would use to help get their budget in balance for future years. He mentioned that the Board had already given them approval to move forward with further consideration, which they have been doing, but they had to get approval from SunTrust Bank as well as Covanta. He specified that Covanta was willing to give them approval with two stipulations; one was that because of the way they presented their financials for this year, they wanted to wait and actually do the agreement January 1, 2010, and the other stipulation was that they wanted to have an opportunity as part of their agreement to this restructuring to discuss with the County about future opportunities with Covanta related to the waste energy facility.
Commr. Cadwell stated that even though he did not have a problem with sitting down and having a discussion with Covanta, they were at a point where they needed to explore all of their choices for the future. He also mentioned he has had some discussions with Citrus County, and it was getting to the level where the Commissioners themselves needed to be involved. Also, he commented that because of the history of the Covanta contract, any discussion from this point on with them should include the County Attorney’s Office.
Commr. Conner reiterated the need for the County to look at all of their options. He stated that he would like for them to consider as one alternative to form a Commission-appointed balanced committee from a cross-section of business leaders, environmentalists, and others to look at all options and that one of his goals is to recycle more and burn less. He asked for formal approval that they agree to a concept of a committee with each Commissioner having an appointment to that committee.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that they already had a Solid Waste Committee.
Commr. Hill, the liaison to the Solid Waste Committee, reported that it has been inactive, but was a well-versed and technical committee. She stated that the committee was well aware that that issue was coming up, but there was some things staff needed to do before they brought that committee back and started having meetings again.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that at the next meeting they needed to review a copy of the ordinance creating that committee and who was actually on it, so they could decide whether they needed to expand it to include a wider range of members as they go through different types of issues than in the past.
Commr. Renick noted that the three recommendations from Mr. Smith were not actually separate, because it looked like recommendation 1 was predicated on recommendation 2, which was agreement to the discussions with Covanta. She commented that the sentiments she was hearing from the Board was that they have to be very careful to look at all the other options first before agreeing to anything with Covanta and that she was uncomfortable with Option 2, which she felt gave Covanta a psychological advantage, since they have not looked at other options yet.
Mr. Smith stated that they could put together a document describing all the alternatives that may be available.
Commr. Conner commented that his vision was to have more Commission hands-on involvement rather than staff nomination on the issue, but he still wanted staff input.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that initially the request from Covanta was slightly different than what was in the agenda item and that they understood that there was absolutely no commitment at all attached to those discussions. He opined that it could be a fact finding time for the Board to find out what Covanta could offer in 2014, and he noted that there was no negative aspects to meeting with them and would fit in with their fact-finding process.
Commr. Cadwell commented that the relationship they currently had with Covanta was different than the County had before, but this would have to be an extremely transparent and open discussion.
Commr. Hill opined that this was brought forward because it made good financial sense, and it did not have anything to do with the negotiations with Covanta, which was a separate issue. She was concerned whether the refinancing in Option 1 would in any way hinder their electric revenue within that contract.
Mr. Minkoff responded that he did not think it would and pointed out that this was not the County’s debt or electric revenue, but they simply had a contract with Covanta wherein they pay a fee for delivery of the waste. He explained that this was made up of a lot of components, including the interest and the principal on the debt as well as the electric that was generated, but they just pay a tipping or service fee. He stated that this would not affect that at all, and the savings would come from the fact that the reserve account was currently not earning as much interest as what they were paying on the debt, so there would be an interest savings of $165,000 by eliminating that account and paying that principal off. He also reported that Covanta has by letter consented to this change, with only two conditions that the actual reserve account stay in place until January 2 and that the County agree to sit down and talk with them in the last quarter of this year.
Commr. Hill inquired whether there would need to be a transfer from the general fund whether they agree to go ahead with the options presented or not.
Mr. Smith responded that currently they were projecting about $4.5 million to be transferred.
Commr. Hill moved to approve recommendations 1 and 2 in the agenda item, but the motion died due to a lack of a second.
On a motion by Conner, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board moved to direct staff to proceed with the proposals to terminate the solid waste debt service reserve and re-amortize the principal payments to achieve the cash-flow savings and agree to publicly advertised and completely transparent public discussions in the last quarter of the year with Covanta to a possible extension and renegotiation of a service agreement as well as other alternatives that may be available beginning in 2014. It was also noted that they were committed to looking at all alternatives, including reviewing the makeup and possible expansion of the Solid Waste Committee, and there was no obligation to renegotiate or extend the contract.
Mr. Smith explained that the final item under Tab 31 related to the assessment for this year, and he pointed out that in reality it was not an enterprise fund. He asked the Board to consider the possibility of a rate increase, and he emphasized that the collection services for solid waste for the unincorporated areas of the county have been going up on a regular basis due to the refuse rate index that they had in their contract. However, at the same time, the assessment has not been increasing, resulting in their customers underpaying for solid waste collection services and getting a subsidy from the general fund for those services. He believed it made sense to bring the assessment up to the rate that they should be paying for the collection services, which would take about a $12 increase in the assessment, and he reported that over the last four years, the amount of the underpayment was about $5 million. He stated that they did not have a recommendation at this point in time, but presented a number of alternatives for the rate-setting process, and they would be coming back to the Board on July 21 with a resolution that establishes the public hearing rate that the Board would consider on September 15. After pointing out that any rate that the Board considered today would be a maximum and would not be a final answer, he asked the Board for direction in terms of what they should include on the resolution.
Commr. Stewart noted that the initial agreement from the previous Commission stated that the rates would be gradually raised yearly until it reached the level it should be, but the previous Commission never instituted that increase, even during healthy economic times. She commented that she could not support a rate increase during these difficult economic times.
Commr. Renick agreed that she did not want to consider a rate increase.
Commr. Conner opined that this Commission has given a consistent message to indicate that they were not in favor of any new taxes, which includes fees.
Commr. Cadwell directed Mr. Smith to bring back the resolution which would continue with the same rate as this year and an analysis of any service that would need to be cut in order to maintain that.
Commr. Hill added that they wanted staff to bring back what the general fund transfer was to be for the 2009/10 fiscal year.
facilities development and management
DISCUSSION of gmp for phase ii of judicial center expansion
The Board set a date and time of Tuesday, July 21 at 6:00 p.m. for the discussion and final vote regarding the Judicial Center Expansion financing to take place in Chambers. It was decided that they would have a brief presentation by the financial advisors from First Southwest Company today to go over the Judicial Center Project Preliminary Financing Plan.
Mr. Gary Akers from First Southwest Company summarized that the first section of the report talked about current market conditions, the second section went into the debt profile of Lake County to give a picture of debts that were outstanding on a per capita basis as well as comparing that to other counties, Section D talked about financing considerations with various options that were normally available to government finance projects, and Section E was the central part of the plan which described the financing options. He specified that Option 1 was the larger project, with three scenarios, which were the bank line of credit, a bank loan which would be closed up front as opposed to drawing that money down two years later, and a 30-year bond issue. He stated that Option 2 was a smaller project with the same financing scenarios as mentioned for Option 1.
Mr. Akers noted the turmoil in the credit markets last fall and that the access to the credit markets for a while was almost impossible. He stated that because of the capital requirements and outflows of cash for liquidations becoming focused very much on a retail market, there was a lack of institutional buyers at that time. He mentioned that one of the things that came out of the crisis was Build America bonds. He pointed out that they used to rely on AAA bond insurers, but that was just about gone, with some of the insurers downrated to B and C categories. He noted that the focus on credit ratings is much stronger because of revenues and ad valorem tax base declining and went through some of the pressures on local governments as a result of the reduction in local revenue sources. He pointed out an exhibit on Page 5 that went through the bond insurers, noting that some had no ratings at this point. He also illustrated from a graph on Page 6 the four-year history of tax-exempt and taxable interest rates, and he pointed out a large spike in the graph for October of 2008 where the variable rate markets collapsed and the spread between the thirty-year treasury and revenue index was at the widest point. He reported that the County had five debt financings outstanding, including the limited general obligation bonds which were sold in 2007, the half cent sales tax, a bank note secured by the infrastructure sales tax at an attractive interest rate of 2.92 percent, and a line of credit bank loan for the landfill which matures in 2013. He opined that Page 16 was very informative regarding significant revenues that the County had for financing secured by a covenant to budget and appropriate legally available and non-ad valorum funds. He went over four more significant financing streams, including the local government half cent sales tax, which he specified projected revenue for 2010 of $11.2 million. He explained that State Revenue Sharing was a significant revenue, which was protected under a formula by Statute with a first and second guaranteed entitlement. He added that they amended the Statute that stated they could issue bonds secure up to 50 percent of the previous year’s State Revenue Sharing. He mentioned that the Communication Services tax also secures debt financing, and the infrastructure surtax showed an available revenues of $5 million, which was 50 percent of what they were receiving.
Commr. Conner expressed concern that if they were required to use 50 percent of the infrastructure surtax for transportation and used the other 50 percent for this project, then there would be no other money for projects.
Mr. Akers responded that they were not suggesting that the County had to use 50 percent of that, but just that the capacity was available.
Mr. Ed Stull, Managing Director for Southwest Company, explained that they have outlined two options for a $90.5 million and a $70.8 million project, with the funding shortfalls being $43.5 million and $23.8 million respectively. He explained that Section D went into detail into each of the different short-term and long-term methods of financing a project, such as a pay as you go method. He directed the Board’s attention to Page 29 giving the scenarios and the breakdown of the different projects. He noted that they had made the assumption that the construction project would start in October of 2009 with a completion in April 2012 and with the renovation project thereafter starting in May 2012. On Page 30 they outlined the three different financing plans for each option, which were a bank line of credit, 20-year bank loan, and a 30-year bond issue, which would result in lower payments but more interest cost overall. He noted that the way the plan was originally adopted there was a lot of consideration in terms of trying to get the least amount of debt for the County and the most cost-effective structuring, but the element of risk has come up in their discussions dependent on how long the interest rates would stay relatively low. He stated that to answer those questions, they have quantified that risk in a sensitivity analysis to see what it would take to eliminate that risk from the County’s financing plan and the cost to do that. He stated that the 30-year bond issue versus the 20-year bank loan did not get them a lot of relief on debt service, adding considerable interest cost over the life of the issue, and they would not recommend the 30-year bond issue at this time. He noted that they would borrow the bank loan up front, place it into a construction fund which would gain interest somewhere in the one percent range, and they would be locking in a loss of between 3 ½ to 4 percent on those funds until they would need them. On Option 1, they ran the cash flow analysis, and they would need the first draw about August, 2011, and for Option 2 they would not need the money until 2012. He commented that even though there was a cost to that, the offset would be that they locked in their interest rate. On a line of credit, if interest rates remain stable, they would not have to borrow or pay interest until they actually need the money. They ran the numbers at today’s interest rates, and pointed out that they were borrowing a lot less with a bank line of credit versus a bank loan. They also ran the analysis on how much interest rates would have to rise in order to offset negative arbitrage or interest earnings in the project fund for both the larger and smaller project, and it was a little over one percent. He stated that their choices were a bank line of credit if they felt that interest rates were going to remain relatively close to what they are now or lock in the rate of a bank loan if they believed that the interest rates in 2011 or 2012 would be significantly higher than the current rate.
Commr. Conner commented that there would be a volatile risk that the Board would be taking that would cost millions of dollars, and he believed that this was an unconventional way to finance a project compared to issuing bonds and paying the debt service for the life of the loan. He opined that interest rates would soar in the future because of federal debt and that they were better off to lock in the debt now, but he was concerned he could be wrong about that, which would cost taxpayers more money.
Mr. Stull agreed that there were risks in large public projects like this, but pointed out that if rates go down in the future, they always have the opportunity to refinance for a lower rate. He disagreed, however, with the statement that this was unconventional financing and opined that this was very conventional. He stated that they could mitigate the interest rate risk and show them how much that would cost.
Commr. Hill asked if they could factor in the construction costs only, take out the $33 million that they would need, and do the first 30 months with the existing monies that were left over and the line of credit that they have locked in, reserving the $11 million in savings for the back end of the project.
Mr. Stull commented that they could structure it any way the Board would like. He suggested that if they wanted to mitigate some of the interest rate risk, they could lock part of it in now.
Commr. Conner stated that he did not think they would be spending that money now, because they had to spend $36 million from the bond rollover that they needed to spend first. He commented that Commr. Hill made a good point about leaving the $11 million in reserve.
Commr. Hill opined that this was very doable and not a scary undertaking, and she believed that the County was in good shape financially.
Mr. Stull directed the Board’s attention to Page 47 of the financing plan, which was a chart illustrating the Risk Assessment Considerations, which he commented was the biggest consideration at this point. He noted that the interest rate risk was obviously very low if they issue all the debt now and lock it in, and the negative arbitrage cost was very minimal with a bank line of credit, but exceptionally high on the other funding options. He reiterated that the 30-year bond issue would result in the lowest debt service, but the interest over the whole period probably would not make a lot of sense for them to consider given the minimal budget relief it would have. He emphasized that the financial condition of the County was very strong, and they had exceptionally high ratings and market access. He stated that if they went with no options and decided to retire the bonds that were issued in 2007 by defusing them, it would be a present value loss of $3.3 million, because the interest rate on the bonds were about 4.3 percent, and the escrow earnings were somewhere around 3.1 percent.
Commr. Hill asked Mr. Jim Bannon, Director of Capital Construction and Facilities, if there was any reason why they could not go forward with the envelope and repairs that needed to be done to the existing building.
Mr. Bannon stated that he had given the Board an order of magnitude cost for the envelope repair of $1.3 million, but that it now looked like it would be in the $850,000 range, and he suggested that he bring an agenda item back to the Board to move forward with that.
BUDGET TRANSFER FOR CONSTRUCTION OF RESTROOM AT PARK
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, explained that this was a budget transfer to move forward with a $100,000 total cost from MSTU to build the bathroom at North Lake Park, and the location on the site was right near where the playgrounds and all the pavilions were, which strategically was a good location. He pointed out that they currently had temporary facilities there that cost the County about $24,000 a year, and the improvement would pay for itself in less than four years.
Commr. Conner asked if there was a way they could put a small family bathroom there with a changing table that could be used for changing diapers and could be used by parents who wanted to accompany small children of the opposite sex into that bathroom.
Mr. Stivender clarified that it would be a unisex bathroom, and he stated that they could rearrange it to fit within the same envelope with no additional cost.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 33, the request from Public Works for a budget transfer in the amount of $100,000 from MSTU Parks Reserve for the design and construction of a playground/pavilion restroom for North Lake Community Park, with the change to add a unisex family restroom. Commission District 5.
amendment to neighborhood stabilization program
Mr. Bill Gearing, Community Enhancement Coordinator, stated that this was a public hearing to go through an amendment to their original Neighborhood Stabilization Program which was now called NSP1. He explained that this was a brand new program with the federal government and HUD, and some new guidelines and definitions came out the beginning of June. He reported that although HUD approved their original plan back in January, they asked that the County change their Eligible Use from A, where they would be using the financing mechanism to just report the money that they would be using, to Eligible Use B, which was the actual purchase and rehab in which they would be reporting the number of homes that would actually be affected. He related that another slight change was the striking of the paragraph in their plan which stated that if the partners they have chosen could not spend the money within the 18 months allowed, the County would then step in and issue mortgages to help get the funds used. However, he realized when they started this program that the County did not want to get into holding any home mortgages. He assured the Board that he was confident that the partners they had now would be able to rehab the number of homes they had planned to do and to get the money spent in the time allowed. He mentioned that they had asked originally for funds to probably demolish up to 15 mobile homes in a certain area of Lady Lake, which has now gone down to seven or eight mobile home properties that the city has foreclosed on because of tax liens. He explained that these were single-site mobile homes on which some vandalism has started to occur, because they have been sitting there for a while, and they wanted to get rid of that problem in this area of their city. Then, they planned to eventually work with Habitat to put site-built homes on the site at a later date. He requested that the amendment keep the inclusion of the Lady Lake demolition activity in their NSP1 Plan.
Commr. Conner asked what kind of condition the mobile homes were in.
Mr. Gearing commented that they have been sitting empty for a while, so they were starting to deteriorate.
Commr. Conner commented that since they were only beginning to deteriorate, they could possibly be rehabbed or saved rather than completely demolished if they were not deplorable or needed to be condemned.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that they move forward with this item today and have the City of Lady Lake give the Board an update on the problem that would cause the demolition of those mobile homes and that they could leave it in the plan.
The Chairman opened the public hearing on the Neighborhood Stabilization amendment.
There being no one who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 34, the request for approval of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, for the Chairman to sign the SF424 and the certifications, and to have the City of Lady Lake give the Board an update on the problem that necessitates the demolition of the mobile homes that were currently on the property.
application for neighborhood stabilization program 2
Mr. Gearing explained that this item was their application for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2), which was announced back in May to redevelop abandoned and foreclosed homes. However, whereas NSP1 was a specific allocation from HUD, this is a nationwide competition for this funding with hundreds of applications from counties and cities all over the country. He reported that this application was due to HUD by July 17, and they have been putting together a consortium of various housing agencies in Lake County that would use this money if they get approved, which would give them a stronger application because all of them have a capacity to purchase and rehab homes. He stated that HUD came out with some information broken down by census tract to determine their areas of greatest need, and they picked what they felt were the top seven areas of greatest need. He noted that HUD had to have a score of at least 18 in either the foreclosure or vacancy score, and the census tracts they have chosen have a 20 in at least one of those. He also showed a chart illustrating the number of foreclosed properties within that census tract, pointing out that there were currently a total of 1500 foreclosed properties and that 31 of the 32 census tracts in the County would be eligible under the program. He related that the application was for the Eligible Use B, which was for purchase, rehab, and reselling of the homes as affordable housing, and they would not be doing any demolition under this program. He stated that they were requesting $13.5 million to redevelop a minimum of 100 homes. He mentioned that the County’s partners were required to use the money they received when the mortgages they hold are repaid to purchase and rehab more homes, with the County monitoring that to make sure they were using those funds for those purposes.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Dr. Christine Harris, a resident of Mount Dora, expressed concern over the high number of unassisted residents that had to vacate their homes due to foreclosure or had homes that became dilapidated. She stated that there was a moratorium on foreclosure in the United States based upon the Department of Agriculture’s lawsuit brought by the farmers and the rural development corporations throughout the nation, and she thought that the residents that had previously lived in those homes needed to be located. She also noted that Habitat for Humanity purchased materials to build, but the land and labor had to come from another source, and they did not generally hold notes on mortgages.
There being no other individual who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 35, the request for approval and signature on the application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to receive funding under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
appointment to arts and cultural alliance
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Ms. Mary Kay McGuire to serve as the City of Minneola’s representative on the Arts and Cultural Alliance to complete an unexpired term ending July 31, 2010.
appointment to impact fee committee
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Bob Foley to represent the Lake County Conservation Council or another organized environmental group on the Lake County Impact Fee Committee to complete an unexpired term ending August 6, 2010.
REPORTS – COUNTY ATTORNEY
agreement regarding clermont sprayfield property
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that Tab 38 was a proposed agreement with the City of Clermont regarding acquisition of a property previously used by Clermont as a sprayfield to be used for a possible park. He stated that the contract was for a purchase price of $4.1 million and that most of the money would not be paid until after 2012, with the first payment due November 1, 2012. He noted that interest begins to accrue at 4 percent in 2012 and was interest free until that time and that the Board was making a commitment to invest $2.5 million in facilities on the property on or before November 1, 2012. He commented that this was written as an option, so they had a four-month period to look at the property to make certain that there were no environmental issues for use as a park site. He related that they have done the survey work and a Phase I, but there would have to be a lot of work that would have to be done. He noted that the department recommended approval of the purchase.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned to the Board that Ms. Cindy Barrow, School Board Member, indicated that she thought this could be an opportunity for another school-park combination, which they could look into at another time.
Commr. Hill commented that she felt uncomfortable about this purchase, since they would be making a huge financial commitment, and she was concerned about putting a park on a sprayfield. She requested that they postpone this, since they had a zoning hearing coming up on the Conserve II property, which has also been discussed as a possible park area.
Commr. Renick emphasized that this was not a Clermont park, but just a piece of property that Clermont owned, and that it was actually located in the City of Groveland. She commented that Clermont was bending over backwards to help the County attain a regional park and was not asking for the money up front. She also pointed out that $2.6 million has already been earmarked for this.
Commr. Cadwell opined that they would need a park in both the Conserve II and the sprayfield locations.
Commr. Conner stated that parks were a priority for him, and he would rather spend money on the park than the judicial buildings. He opined that parks were something the Board was committed to on a regional basis, and he did not have any hesitation about moving forward with this.
Commr. Hill commented that government had a duty and responsibility to spend money on core things before niceties and quality of life things.
Commr Stewart asked where the rest of the funding was coming from to purchase this property besides what was already earmarked.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, responded that they project revenue growth again starting in the year 2012-13, which would be the first year it would be budgeted, and the revenue sources that would be available for that would be the general fund, the Park MSTU, impact fees, or infrastructure sales tax.
Commr. Stewart was concerned that they were basing this decision on the assumption that there would be revenue growth.
Commr. Renick stated that they needed to have discussion as a Board someday about what their priorities were in terms of what will be the main responsibility of county government as government shrinks, and she believed that regional parks were at the top of the priority list.
Commr. Conner also did not think revenue growth was a good source to pay for something, since revenues were going down. He asked if they could study the economics of this for a week, so that he could get a comfort level about the financing.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he thought that the Parks MSTU would provide enough money to pay for this.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board moved to postpone Tab 38 for the approval of the Agreement between Lake County and the City of Clermont relating to the Clermont Sprayfield Property until July 21.
request for closed session
Mr. Minkoff recapped that they added to the Agenda a request to have a closed session on July 21 at 10:30 a.m.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Attorney’s request for a closed session on July 21 at 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Minkoff stated that it was likely that they may ask for a separate closed session that day to discuss the negotiations that were ongoing.
city of tavares fire assessment
Mr. Minkoff related that at the last Board meeting of June 23, the Board requested that he look into the City of Tavares fire assessment and report back to them. He reported that they did some research on that, and he did not believe that the City could assess the County. He also commented that the City was of the same accord, and there was no controversy over it.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER renick – DISTRICT 2
request for qualification process
Commr. Renick stated that she thought it was a good idea to give Ms. Hall some direction to move forward to revamp how they did the RFQ (Request for Qualification) process.
Commr. Conner stated that they have heard from the Chamber Alliance and other groups, and he wanted to move forward with some of the recommendations that they made to the Board. He assured the Board that they would be getting a finished product soon and that there would be an Agenda item in the next month. He stated that waiting for the response of those businesses has delayed the progress of this process.
Commr. Renick commented that they were always looking for ways to make their buildings and what they do more environmentally friendly, and she directed staff to bring back information regarding rainwater catchment.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER STEWART – DISTRICT 4
Commr. Stewart related that Cherry Lake Tree Farm sponsored the Fairfield Challenge, which fosters interest in the environment by encouraging students to appreciate the beauty and value of nature, develop critical thinking skills, understand the need for biodiversity and conservation, use community resources, become actively engaged students, and recognize that individuals make a difference. She reported that four high schools in Lake County participated, and she congratulated Tavares High School for winning this year’s Fairfield Challenge and being presented a $1,000 check to be used for an environmental project at their school.
envisioning better communities conference
Commr. Stewart announced that the Envisioning Better Communities conference, which was sponsored by Lake County government, was being held Wednesday, July 8, from 8:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Eustis Community Center on Northshore Drive, and a nominal donation of $10 was requested. She reported that Mr. Randall Arendt, a nationally acclaimed planner, and Mr. Billy Hattaway, Managing Director for Transportation (Florida) at Vanasse Hangen Brutlin, would be speaking. She stated that there was going to be a discussion on updating zoning and applying techniques in order to transform unsightly, auto-dependent, unwelcoming and unsafe commercial strips into transit friendly, mixed use corridors that increase livability and benefit local economies. She opined that this would give Lake County a great direction to go in and was a very good philosophy to support, and she hoped that it would place an emphasis on the negative impact of urban sprawl into their rural areas.
REPORTS – COMMISIONER CADWELL – CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 5
amendment to interlocal agreement for medical examiner
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the request for approval and execution of the First Amendment to the Interlocal Agreement between Marion, Citrus, Hernando, Sumter and Lake Counties relating to the provision of operating costs, facility use fees, and capital expenditures for the Medical Examiner.
CITIZEN QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD
Mr. Don Magruder, Chairman of Citizens for Better Government, reported that that morning they delivered to Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, and Mr. Gregg Welstead, Director of Conservation and Compliance, complaints about violations of the lobbyist ordinance and possible violations of the Florida Sunshine Law that have occurred, which had also been forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office July 6. He opined that contractors, builders, and members have been denied access to various Commissioners, but the environmental movement has had unprecedented access to government officials.
Commr. Cadwell commented that since this was a Code Enforcement violation at this point, the Board would not be able to respond.
Mr. Magruder responded that he understood that fully and was not seeking a response. He went on to comment that every aspect of the LPA (Local Planning Agency) was a conflict of interest based on some of the members’ professional and business positions. He named several members of the LPA who he felt were lobbyists for environmental groups and who violated the Lake County lobbyist statute, and he contended that those individuals should be fined, prohibited from lobbying the County for a specific time period, and/or charged with a misdemeanor. He also opined that possible Sunshine Law violations occurred in meetings and e-mail correspondence between some Commissioners and some members of the LPA. He believed that any member of the LPA who violated Florida Sunshine Statutes should be replaced and banned from serving on the County board. He requested that the County openly and honestly investigate the complaints that they have brought forward, and commented that the public trust demanded transparency.
Commr. Renick noted that the Sunshine Law referred to when members of a board talked to each other.
Mr. Minkoff, clarified that there was no prohibition regarding a Commissioner meeting with individual members of the LPA.
Dr. Christine Harris, a resident of Mount Dora, spoke about the national pandemic declaration, stating that on June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 in response to the ongoing global spread of the H1N1 virus, and more than 70 countries were reporting cases of human infection with the H1N1 flu. She reported that there has been an attempt to find the treatment that would work initially upon diagnosis, but once diagnosed, there was a seven-day mandatory quarantine, since it was very infectious and mutated. She stated that since April, many antibiotics have been tested to try to stop the viral indicators of fever and severe pain that it causes. She emphasized that it was important that the Health Departments receive the alert. She added that the swine and the horses in the local area had been tested and were determined to be healthy overall.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.
welton g. cadwell, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK