AUGUST 11, 2009
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in a special budget workshop session on Tuesday, August 11, 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; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, mentioned that this had probably been the most challenging budget year that she has ever experienced because of the economy and all the reductions taking place legislatively. She noted that every department contributed to the budget and had budget reductions, and the constitutional officers also participated and worked with them on this budget. She related that the goals of the budget were first and foremost to create and present a balanced budget to the Board that was required by Florida Statutes and to strike a balance between the reduced revenue streams and the services provided to the public. She noted that since almost all the revenues were down, almost all the services have also been reduced some amount in the budget. The third goal that she noted was to reflect the priorities of the Board, which were to address the increase in the parks infrastructure and to be sensitive to public safety needs. She pointed out that the deletion of about 15 percent of their employee base addressed the fourth goal to consolidate the County organizational structure, which also necessitated a rearrangement to some extent, and they would present a modified reorganization plan to the Board later on in the workshop. She mentioned that placing the County in a financial position to weather the distressed economy for the next two years without violating the County’s reserve policy was another goal.
TAB 1 – BUDGET OVERVIEW
Mr. Doug Krueger, Budget Director, noted that the County eliminated 51 full-time positions in Fiscal Year 2008/09, and the proposed reduction was for 93 full-time positions through attrition, the early-out program, and lay-offs for next year’s 2009/10 budget, as well as the institution of 12 unpaid furlough days throughout the year for all employees. They were also recommending the addition of 13 positions, 12 of which were fire fighters initially being paid for with a grant and one of which was a Park Specialist position. He also mentioned that the Clerk of the Court was eliminating 19 positions for next year. He reported that the total operating budget stood at $302.6 million, which was a $55 million or 15 percent reduction from the adopted budget from the current year. He stated that one of the things that they had to deal with over the last three years was a reduction in property tax due to actions taken by the State Legislature, such as mandating a 9 percent reduction below rollback which equated to $11 million; as well as the passage of Amendment 1, resulting in a $9.4 million reduction in property tax; and a $9.8 million reduction as a result of the economy coupled with unprecedented foreclosures. He pointed out on a chart in the handout materials that the Solid Waste Services assessment has stayed constant for the last eight years, and that rate has not kept up with the cost of residential pickup. He also illustrated on the chart that Fire Rescue Services remains at $175, which was the same rate as the current year.
Mr. Krueger provided a chart which showed the source of the revenues of the FY 2009/10 Operating Budget, pointing out that their largest revenue source were taxes at 41.2 percent, which included property tax, resort tax, local option sales tax, and local option gas tax. The next largest revenue source was the fund balance at 25.6 percent, followed by intergovernmental revenues at 13.5 percent, licenses and permits, charges for services, excess fees, transfers, and miscellaneous revenues. He noted that five of the departments made up 71 percent of the expenditures, which were the Sheriff’s Office, Public Works, Public Safety, Environmental Utilities, and Non-Departmental and that about 50 percent of the general fund expenditures were Board related and the other half were for the Constitutional Officers. He recapped that one of the keys was to try to maintain the reserves, and he reported that for next year it sat at $14.7 million or about 10.4 percent of their operating budget, which was above the 10 percent minimum that the Board established by policy to maintain in case of emergencies or other unforeseen events. He mentioned that throughout the workshop sessions, the rest of the departments would be speaking about the impacts of the changes in their budgets, the funding and the staff reductions, as well as what they would be able to accomplish.
Commr Conner commented that his approach to the budget would be different than what was currently in front of them, and he believed that they need to prepare as if they were in a long-term declining revenue situation and to make more cuts than what was proposed. He also mentioned that he did not believe that they should be shutting down county government 12 days a year, and he did not think that they currently needed 12 additional fire fighters. He stated that he would discuss other concerns he had at a later time.
Comm. Renick stated that she thought they should be looking at paring down county government indefinitely rather than for just the next two years, and she wanted to discuss how much they kept in reserves.
tab 2 – growth management
Ms. Amye King, Growth Management Director, mentioned that her department eliminated 23 positions (which amounted to a 32 percent reduction in staff) and decreased their operating budget by 17 percent. In order to continue to provide the best customer service that they could, they expedited their development processing time lines this year due to increased technology and by staff cross-training. They have increased their duties within the administration division of the department to compensate for the divisions that did not have the staff to do that work anymore. She also noted that travel has been strictly prohibited for the most part, except for license requirements only, and she reported that they would be implementing a new concurrency management system. She stated that the Green Team was still in full effect, and they would be having their 2nd Annual Green Fair on November 14, 2009 and would be formulating an Action Plan. She added that CDBG (Community Development Block Grant), which has been put under their department for Budget Year 2009/10, has 16 Action Plan Projects in the works, and the CDBG-R (Recovery Act) fund will be established. Some cost-cutting measures that were implemented were to conduct training in-house or on-line and to reduce consultant costs immensely by having staff assume most of those tasks, with the exception of specific Comprehensive Plan studies or expertise needed to rewrite the LDR’s. She reported that staff would be implementing digital review of developer, engineer, or planner-submitted digital plans, which would be a great reduction in paper.
Regarding the Zoning Division, Ms. King noted that management is more hands-on as far as answering the phone to ensure their customer service was at least maintaining the level of excellence that they have strived for in the last year. They were working closer as a department with each other and with IT to be able to realize the capability of doing more things on-line. She mentioned that Zoning took over Conditional Use Permits, Mining Site Plans and a few other things from other departments and divisions, not just as cross-training, but for more efficiency and effectiveness for the customers, which has been a great success so far. They were also working with Economic Growth and Redevelopment to make sure that their fast-track process was working.
Ms. King stated that the workforce reduction of about 60 employees in the Building Services Division has been extreme over the last three years, making field inspection scheduling of 125 inspections a day tougher. She commented that they have been able to streamline their processes so well that the turnaround review for their plans has only been increased by two days, and they were doing an outstanding job. She reported that the average number of plan reviews was about 480 per month, which was starting to level off, and in that division they were closely watching the revenues and figuring out what they could do to make sure that they were still providing a great level of customer service and maintaining business as best as they could. She related that they have also opened up a central scanning service available to any department in the County.
tab 3 – conservation and compliance
Mr. Gregg Welstead, Conservation and Compliance Director, mentioned that their budget for this year included Probation Services, but excluding that division would amount to a 13.7 percent reduction in the department. He noted that Probation Services was a revenue generator, and so far this year there was $464,000 in probation revenue, which would be about $620,000 for the full fiscal year. He stated that the Mobile Irrigation Lab was strictly a grant program jointly funded by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, St. Johns River Water Management District, and the National Resources Conservation Service. This year, because the State transferred the budget from a line item for mobile irrigation labs to a revenue generated fund, their revenue may be limited and was on a quarter-to-quarter basis right now, definitely funded through September 30, and hopefully funded through the end of the year, but they could cancel that at any point in time. He commented that the Mobile Irrigation Lab saved a lot of water, and the outreach was fantastic. He explained that Lake Soil & Water dealt primarily with the other Soil & Water Conservation Districts around the state for the Department of Agriculture and the National Resources Conservationist Services, which was part of the USDA. They implement locally the 2008 Farm Bill, and they helped Lake County residents in obtaining federal funds for about 13 programs, five of which have been especially beneficial this year.
Mr. Welstead reported that over the last two years, the Code Enforcement Division has lost a significant number of employees, including a Code Enforcement Supervisor and a Chief Code Enforcement Officer. He also commented that it was hard losing the Resource Conservationist position under Lake Soil & Water, but he felt that even though it was a critical position, it was one of the less crucial ones that was not part of the core function. He stated that the elimination of overtime restricts their ability to respond at night and on the weekends, unless they could schedule something in advance to flex an officer’s time to handle those things. They have urged Homeowner’s Associations to handle overgrowth on foreclosed properties in their neighborhoods to decrease the County’s burden. He related that the Code Enforcement Director was spending more time actually in the field following through with some cases, and they have changed the way they did things over the last year, such as readdressing some of the responsibilities of the senior code enforcement officers. He commented that they have been trying to communicate with violators to inform them about their violations, since some of them were not aware that they were violating the Code, and they will grudgingly fix the problem once they were aware of it. They implemented a Code case search on the web to save office staff time, since they were inundated routinely with about 15 to 20 requests from title companies checking on code cases. He reported that they still routinely dealt with about 25 to 30 calls a day of new incoming complaints, which was part of the job. He related that he was actively involved in the 2010 water supply plan that the district was doing and continuing to work with the cities to understand what they were doing and help them coordinate among themselves conservation efforts as well as projects. He assured the Board that Code Enforcement will continue to keep their level of service, and the Lake Soil & Water would continue to work with FDAC and other agencies on cooperative efforts. He stated that Probation Services has the possibility of improving some of the way they perform their services through utilization of technology, including implementation of a fingerprint reader. He thought that the Public Safety Coordinating Council was a key issue to the County in the future as they look towards probation, jail capacity, and diversion programs to help eliminate costs in the future. He mentioned that one of his Code Enforcement Officers would be retiring at the end of the week, which would vacate a position, and he thought they might hire a Resource Conservationist position instead.
Commr. Cadwell commented that their environmental outreach was basically Trout Lake and the Resource Conservationist program, and he was hesitant to eliminate that position.
Commr. Stewart thought that program was the perfect way to educate the public about the landscape ordinance, the water situation, and other issues.
Commr. Renick pointed out that they actually had in their Comp Plan that they would establish conservation programs.
Commr. Hill mentioned that she had received quite a few letters from different agencies regarding that position and the continuation of the program, and she thought that those agencies might like to put it in their budget to help fund this.
There was consensus from the Board to leave the Resource Conservationist position under the Lake Soil & Water Division, which provides conservation outreach to elementary and middle school students in the 2009/10 budget.
tab 4- environmental UTILITIES
Mr. Daryl Smith, Environmental Utilities Director, reported that they had a 13 percent reduction in their overall budget, a $35,000 reduction in debt services for solid waste management, and an $89,000 reduction in the administrative fee they paid to the administrative offices. He related that their biggest impact in the Administration section was the $577,000 reduction in reserves. He went through their accomplishments, which included the overall management of the department, preparation of the annual budget, monitoring of expenditures, invoicing customers for services performed, and providing some education programs for the public. He stated that a large part of their budget was Covanta, and there were some significant changes in the Covanta budget for this year, including the $1,200,000 decrease in the debt service as a result of using the Debt Service Reserve Fund to draw down the total debt service. He stated that they had a $422,000 annual increase for the operation of the facility from Covanta, but they would get $643,000 in additional electrical revenue. He also mentioned that there would be a $340,000 reduction in earned interest and a $50,000 reduction in taxes due to reduced valuation. He informed the Board that they were on track right now for this year to accept 167,000 tons of solid waste, and they recycled an increased volume of 3,000 tons of metals from the waste energy facility. They will try as much as possible to continue to monitor to see if they could get more committed waste to the waste energy facility and to try to get Covanta to deliver more of the 8,000 ton allowance to generate additional revenue. He stated that there would be a reduction in collection services of $445,000, a reduction of $90,000 for equipment leases, and a $27,000 reduction in repair and maintenance, as well as major operating and capital expenditure reductions totaling $537,000.
Mr. Smith reported that they have eliminated a total of three positions with the Mosquito and Aquatic Plant Management Division. They have reduced the cost of pesticides for mosquito control by $80,000, and they would be getting about $35,000 in state funding for mosquito control. Also, the aquatic chemicals have been reduced by $12,000, and they annually get about $106,000 in state funding for that. He noted that the impact of losing the aforementioned employees was that they would have reduced frequency of mosquito evening spraying, which means there was potential for increased abundance of mosquitoes. He stated that they would for the most part continue to provide the level of service of the aquatics, with some reduction in chemicals. He related that there was the elimination of one equipment operator position and a residential drop-off attendant position in the Solid Waste Operations Division, and they have had major reductions in fuel, temporary labor, outside disposal, repair and maintenance, and capital outlay. He mentioned that since the drop-off attendant position was a critical one for them, they have been manning that facility this year with their maintenance worker. He was concerned that they were working at a slightly reduced level in terms of the volume of solid waste that was coming in. In listing their accomplishments, he related that they manage all the solid waste that comes into their facilities appropriately, remove and transport the leachate to the proper facilities, operate six drop-offs, receive and process yard waste, and maintain records of all deliveries and transactions. He stated that he had some serious concerns about the impact to the Solid Waste Programs, including the elimination of 2 out of 3 full-time and six part-time positions for the recycling program. He commented that they could not continue to provide the services they provide now in the recycling program, and some of the impacts would include the possible elimination of cardboard curbside recycling. There would also be several cuts to Household Hazardous Waste, including the elimination of the mobile hazardous waste collections and the Paint Processing Program.
Mr. Smith informed the Board that they have been working for some time on an opportunity for them to separate co-mingled materials, and instead of delivering it to a facility in Orlando as they currently did, he proposed that they buy some equipment and hire some additional people to allow them to separate that themselves and realize some net revenue of about $400,000. He stated that if that was something the Board would like to consider further, they would bring back a detailed presentation.
Commr Cadwell stated that he would like to see it, and there was consensus for Mr. Smith to bring that presentation back to the Board.
He stated that they would also like the Board to consider the possibility of expanding their professional recycling services to be able to provide some small businesses with cardboard recycling in particular that they were currently not able to receive, for which he believed there was a large market right now, and bring that back to the Board as well. He went on to state that the accomplishments would include the continuation to provide curbside collection services for residential customers with two garbage collections and one recyclable collection per week in the new contract starting October 1, as well as providing solid waste collection to commercial customers. They also maintain the solid waste assessment rolls and monitor collections services contracts. He mentioned that there was a $428,000 increase in Waster Quality Services to provide for equipment for the continuing cleanup of the Astatula Fuel Cleanup Project.
recess and reassembly
At 10:30 a.m., the Chairman announced that there would be a ten-minute recess.
Mr. Steve Earls, the Information Technology Director, pointed out that the adopted expenditures for 2008/09 were $583,548 less than the year before that, and that trend would continue with IT recommending a total budget of $3,366,296, which was $644,831 less that the current year, or a 16 percent cost reduction. He explained that the cuts made in all the divisions reflected those made in personal services and operating expenses, with the exception of the County Technology budget, which reflected cuts in operating expenses and capital outlay. He assured the Board that in putting together their budget, they cut in every place they could, and noted that they cut their cell phones down to two for 39 people, saving about $10,000. He noted that there was a 44 percent decrease in their County Technology budget, mainly associated with the fact that they were not doing capital purchases of computers or the network infrastructure from general fund next year, and this year they returned over a half a million dollars back to the general fund. He noted that travel, training, reprographics, and office supplies were cut to the bone, and staff was cut in Programming and Application Support Services, Records Management, and Information Systems. He assured the Board that they were doing everything, including cross-training, to bring their costs down and do more with less as well as less people, and he pointed out that their staff numbers were likely lower than other counties in the state. He mentioned that in the proposed reorganization, they have inherited Information Outreach and the six employees from that division who do the websites for about a dozen other entities such as the Property Appraiser and the Supervisor of Elections. He also stated that they were going to receive one person for 911 Addressing from Public Safety. He pointed out that even though they had 12 people in GIS, four of those employees were committed to doing the Property Appraiser’s processes, and one of them was committed to the Growth Management Department.
He stated that one of the impacts of next year’s budget was that they were recommending that they do not replace 56 general fund computers that were purchased in 2003, since they believed they would be able to make due with the existing computers, and he assured the Board that if they maintained what they had and kept doing what they currently were doing, then they would have the same performance and efficiency that they had today. He noted that one of the things IT was tasked with was process improvements for the other departments, and they have created and maintained all of those applications in-house, which used to be outsourced. He noted that several years back the Board funded their infrastructure, the cabling and equipment that connects all the County buildings together, including a superior outside cable plant and fiber, but the equipment that drives the data information across that fiber is aging. He reported that they were putting together a strategic plan for 2010 and beyond that will give the County a strategy on how they should handle their IT investment and the implementation of IT Governance, which was the oversight of IT to make sure that available dollars spent on technology were spent wisely and that the projects those dollars were allocated to were actually completed, as well as the implementation of control objectives for information-related technologies. He noted that major repairs would need to be funded from reserves, since they did not have any money in their budget in the event of a major operation failure. There would also be a reduction of funding for training for some technologies, and they would have to find alternative ways of training their technicians on programs such as Windows 7. He mentioned that CARL (Citizens’ Action Request Line), a program available on the Board’s internet site, would be eliminated, but they would be developing a new solution in-house to replace that, resulting in a savings of about $5200. He stated that IT was looking for creative ways to finance projects.
Mr. Earls assured the Board that IT would continue to provide all of their services to the County at their current level expectations, and they were working on creating a service catalogue of their almost 100 services. He reported that on August 27, the County Manager would be kicking off the first Lake County Local Government IT Roundtable, a discussion among IT representatives from all the municipalities and agencies in Lake County to share ideas and ways to save money. He stated that they also would work on new data backup and recovery architecture for their business continuity planning to ensure that in the event of an emergency, they would be able to restore their data, and they would also be publishing their Information Technology Plan for 2010.
Commr. Renick commented that they could have unforeseen problems that would force them to use their reserves.
Commr. Hill opined that she thought they were all concerned about the reserves, especially regarding the IT issues, because she views this as the spine of the County that branched out in every department.
tab 6- public resources
Ms. Wendy Breeden, Public Resources Director, commented that every area under Public Resources has been good about cutting back the budget, and specified that Library Services cut about 7 percent out of its budget or about $392,000. She related the mission statement that staff had created, which was to provide and promote life enriching experiences that exceed expectations for Lake County residents and visitors, and she commented that everyone was very enthusiastic and positive about the possibilities of partnership with other entities, municipalities, agencies, and volunteer organizations to leverage a lot of services and programs. Under Administration, she pointed out that there was one major cost, which was lease cost for buildings B and E. She reported that they would be providing the general management and fiscal and administrative oversight for the Administration Department and assured the Board that they would be efficient and careful with the County’s money. She related that they would also provide support for coordinated programming and events as well as the Citizens Information Line, and VolunteerLake also plays a key role as emergency responders during all disasters. She mentioned that VolunteerLake was also working with Probation to develop a new program so that they could start using at least some community service workers as volunteers to provide assistance in some of the libraries and perhaps other areas.
Ms. Breeden noted that the Agricultural Education Services have two positions that have been deleted due to vacancies, which were a 4-H Program Assistant and a Family and Consumer Science Agent; however, the vacant 4-H Extension Agent position would be filled. She explained that they did have an increase in utility services for the classroom project at Discovery Gardens, but they offset those increases within the budget in other areas. She pointed out that the elimination of the above–mentioned positions meant that they would not be able to concentrate on minority outreach through 4-H and that there would be fewer programs in housing, food, nutrition, and the home environment, although they had another agent that would be picking up some of that. The reduction in reprographics would mean that there would be fewer handouts, and they would be going to electronic news letters. She mentioned that there would be some reduction in maintenance of the Horticultural Learning Center Discovery Gardens. She assured the Board, however, that the Agricultural Education Services would continue to provide quality educational programs and that they would be partnering with the library system to make them more available to the public. She also mentioned that when completed, the new facility would enable them to bring more school students in and have longer programs. She stated that they would continue to support the active 4-H clubs and commented on the wide range of activities and groups that they had. She reported that they also had a grant award pending which would enable them to hire two people who would work with the school systems on an FCAT-based curriculum to teach nutrition to students and adults who were eligible for food stamps. She noted that they planned to do more video conferencing using technology provided by the University of Florida, and they were implementing new technologies to be more efficient.
Ms. Breeden informed the Board that they were eliminating five positions in the Library Services Division, including the Assistant Library Services Director position currently held by Mr. Tom Merchant when he is promoted to Library Services Director as proposed. She mentioned that they were recommending two new positions for Cooper Memorial Library through reorganization and transfer. She related that all six branch libraries’ hours would be reduced from 300 hours a week to 270 a week, which was a 10 percent reduction, with Astor and Paisley closed one full day a week. Also, they were recommending that the Books By Mail Program be limited to the homebound patrons only, and patrons may have to wait longer for books to be shelf ready and available because of the reduction of staff. She explained that they had contractual agreements with their nine municipal libraries which amounted to about 25 percent of their budget, and she pointed out that last year they had reduced their contractual payments by ten percent and by another five percent this year, resulting in a funding level of 18 percent below the reimbursement formula. Another impact is that the Youth Coordinator will no longer be on call to assist libraries with storytimes and special programs. She announced that Cooper Memorial Library will open Monday, August 17, and they will be going from a 7,000 square-foot building to a 50,000 square-foot building, with public access computers increasing from 19 to 125. She commented that it was continuing to be a terrific partnership between Lake-Sumter Community College, University of Central Florida, and the County. She mentioned that they would increase their internet capacity because of the large increase in computer usage, including those looking for jobs and applying for food stamps or other services. She reported that they would be circulating in their libraries almost a million items this year and that they were expecting an increase in circulation next year even with the decreased hours. She stated that they would look at vendors to see if they could order more shelf-ready books that have already been catalogued and processed, and she commented that it would be a challenge to renegotiate their interlocal agreement with the member libraries this year.
Commr. Hill asked when the actual ribbon cutting for the Cooper Memorial Library was scheduled for.
Ms. Breeden answered that it would be September 25 at 9:00 a.m.
Commr. Conner asked if there was data on the amount of patrons that come into the libraries on certain days and times.
Mr. Merchant stated that the branch librarians provide him with the door counts for every day, and he has compiled that data for the four years he has been with the County. He commented that in every library, Friday was the slowest day.
Commr. Conner asked what they would be gaining in terms of dollars by reducing the library hours.
Ms. Breeden explained that it was a function of staffing, and they require that two employees be in the library at all times, especially in the outlying areas, for safety issues.
Commr Conner suggested that they look into an internship program with Lake-Sumter or the high schools to provide volunteer manpower.
Ms. Breeden responded that they could look at that, but pointed out that they had highly sophisticated automation systems to check materials in and out, and it was not as easy to staff the libraries with volunteers as it used to be and still provide good customer service.
Commr. Conner commented that he thought they needed to evaluate the financial and patron data, and if it did not amount to a lot of savings, then they should not be closing the libraries.
Commr. Renick opined that with time, people would learn what the hours were and adjust to them.
Commr. Cadwell directed Ms. Breeden to bring the Board the dollar figure of the savings realized by reducing the operating hours of the libraries and the head counts by the next day’s workshop.
Mr. Merchant pointed out that the reduction in staff was getting to the point that it was affecting the morale of the existing staff, since there was such few staff to do so much, and the decision to reduce hours was also about keeping up that morale.
Ms. Breeden added that it was also to provide an adequate level of service.
Mr. Bobby Bonilla, Parks and Trails Director, commented that they have had a lot of changes in their park systems and a lot of improvements, and they worked long hours seven days a week to keep the parks clean, safe and attractive. He stated that in the past, County parks did not receive any revenues, but now he sees more revenue going into parks. He related that the Board approved four Parks Specialist positions in June and they have budgeted for a new one in next year’s budget. He commented that they lacked enough help in maintenance, and other park employees were also helping with the maintenance. He also pointed out that they rarely contract work out or use consultants, saving the County money and doing due diligence themselves. He noted that one of the areas of concern would be the Florida Community Trust (FCT) Grant projects that they must keep on schedule, including 24 educational programs for both PEAR Park and Ferndale, since budget cuts would make that more difficult. He stated that another impact of the budget would be the delay on the maintenance and repairs, which was done mainly in-house when possible. He assured the Board that they would continue the seven day operation of the parks, which was necessary to supervise volunteers and curtail vandalism, as well as the restoration efforts at PEAR, Ferndale, Pine Forest and Palatlakaha River Park. He pointed out that they had 26 parks, 14 boat ramps, 17 miles of paved trails, 19 miles of unpaved trails, and the sidewalk program. He hoped that the Board would consider the Parks Specialist positions that have been requested, since they did not currently have an overlap in shifts.
Commr. Conner asked if the County Manager could facilitate getting tournaments, ball games, and events that were happening at the County parks listed on their website.
Mr. Bonilla mentioned that during the last year and a half, the County was able to receive three quarters of a million dollars in grants that the staff was able to complete at Lake Idamere, North Lake, and PEAR Park.
Mr. Greg Mihalic, Tourism and Business Relations Director, reported that their revenue during the year was down about 17 percent, and they anticipate it to be flat next year. He related that they see more people coming out for events and activities; however, they were not staying in hotels, so they did not have the bed tax revenue that they have had in the past. He noted that in February, they had a reduction of 39 percent from the year before, and they had to make a lot of adjustments in the middle of the year to reduce their reliance on their reserves. He assured the Board that they have cut back and would continue to try to operate on the revenues that they receive through the next year. He pointed out that all the counties throughout the state have all seen revenue losses and have taken different approaches to deal with that, such as levying an additional penny or dipping into reserves to increase advertising to attract more visitors. He related that in discussions with the Tourist Development Council, it was determined that they could not drive more additional hotel rooms at this time with advertising. He stated that next year they expected to eliminate two part-time Welcome Center Workers, to cut the Museum Director/Curator position to 30 hours per week, and to eliminate a part-time Office Associate position in the Historical Museum budget. Due to their reduced revenue, they have to curtail some of their assistance provided to local organizations for the capacity building of their events and eliminate printing assistance for County Departments and community organizations that they have helped in the past for their events and activities, but he hoped in the future they would be able to provide some limited printing assistance for their arts organizations. They rolled over the money from last year for the Jobs Growth Initiative funding for disabled workers, but have not put any new money in for the coming fiscal year.
Mr. Mihalic reported that currently they were designing a CD Rom for Lake Arts to promote their artists and galleries and to make art a larger thematic cultural event, since that could draw people to Lake County. He mentioned that they would bring fulfillment activity in-house, which was an outside warehouse that answers phones 24 hours a day to give information about their events and activities, which would provide closer customer service as well as save them about $35,000 a year. He stated that they would be increasing the use of electronic media advertising to reduce the cost of printed material. He commented that the new Public Resources Department would assist them in reaching out in the thematic areas that the County offers which help bring people to the County, such as bird watching, fishing, and sports. They would also explore a blanket liability policy for events to make it easier to rent the facilities at the fairgrounds.
Commr. Conner wanted to reiterate, as liaison to the TDC (Tourist Development Council), that the TDC did not believe that the cost for the museum should come out of their budget.
recess and reassembly
At 10:45, the Chairman announced that there would be a five-minute recess.
tab 7 – facilities development and management
Mr. Jim Bannon, Directors of Facilities Development and Management, clarified that he had three distinct sections within his department, which were Facilities Administration; the Facilities Management Division, which was responsible for maintenance of County facilities such as the jail and Sheriff’s facilities; and the Facilities Construction Division. He pointed out that they had a budget percentage reduction across the board, except for Energy Management, which was due to new buildings coming online and utility rate increases. He specified that overall he had a 9 percent reduction in his department-wide operations budget, even with the 37 percent increase in insurance charges and a 9 percent increase in utility costs. He stated that in anticipation of the reduced funding environment which they were now experiencing, they have worked over the past two fiscal years to complete major maintenance projects in a manner that would position them to meet citizen demand. He related that there were two reductions in personnel, including the Facilities Development Manager position, which may be requested to be reinstated at the time the Board approves the Judicial Center Expansion Project. Some of the impacts he noted were that there were no new capital improvement program requests pertaining to this fiscal year and that no enhanced maintenance projects were included. He added that there were no contingencies included for unanticipated major equipment failures. Also, current staff members have been cross-trained to assume additional responsibilities to compensate for the elimination of staff positions.
Commr. Cadwell asked what fund the Facilities Development Manager position would be paid out of.
Mr. Bannon responded that it would be paid out of the capital money that was approved by the Board and would be for the duration of the project. He went on to explain that they would continue to provide services to ensure that the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of County facilities are carried out expeditiously and would continue to provide special reports and support regarding information requests from the staff, the Board, and the public. He presented a list of planned projects that would be accomplished, noting that the BCC Warehouse Expansion, the Paisley Fire Station, and the Sheriff’s South District Office would all begin construction within the next month or two.
tab a – modification to contract on digital mfd
Mr. Barnett Schwartzman, Procurement Director, mentioned that even though this was a consent item, it was brought to the Board because of a time constraint. He explained that Tab A was a modification to a contract that was awarded competitively about three years ago to provide for Multifunction Devices, which were machines that did copying, network printing, scanning, and faxing on a cost for copy basis and paid for as they were used. However, the contract was based on a certain estimated quantity that became basically after some adjustments the minimum quantity that they had to order. He commented that that arrangement worked satisfactorily until this fiscal year when there were some unforeseen circumstances associated with the budget shortfalls which decreased the volume of copies being processed within all County departments, resulting in a total decrease of about 36 percent in their printing volume. After considering a number of alternatives, they went to the current vendor to see if they could renegotiate the contract to a favorable term, who offered to reduce their current minimum of about 465,000 copies per month to about 340,000 per month and to right-size a lot of the equipment to a smaller capacity, smaller dollar value, smaller minimum, and give them a long-term financial benefit. He specified that this was an adjustment that offered them about a $36,000 a year savings in costs and about a $46,000 savings from not having to pay invoices for three months, which was a significant advantage, because currently in their budget they were looking at a shortfall of about that amount. He commented that they thought there were a lot of advantages to what the vendor came back with, and they looked at other options, but thought that they would lose the advantage of the three-month waiver in billing and that it would end up with increased rather than decreased prices. His one concern with this contract was that the vendor has asked for an extra 19 months to be added on to the contract term to amortize the cost of the new equipment, which was a long duration of time to a current vendor, but he opined that the immediate and long-term cost reduction that has been offered was very advantageous, and this was their recommendation.
Commr. Conner asked how many total months would be left on the contract.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff answered that it would be a total of 43 months.
Commr. Cadwell commented that this contract would only be six months longer than the previous one.
Commr. Conner asked why they did not do an RFP rather than a contract modification.
Mr. Schwartzman responded that they had thought about doing an RFP, since he prefers that sort of arrangement generally, but in this specific case he thought that the $45,000 that the current vendor was offering as a waiver would not be offered through a new RFP. He also believed that since the new RFP would have to reflect the current decreased quantities, it would result in a higher price.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that commonly they would exercise the renewal if it was favorable to them and not go after pricing.
Commr. Renick commented that she was pleased to see that the vendors went the extra distance to work with the County.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the request from Procurement for a contract modification to contract 06-064 to provide and maintain digital Multifunctional Devices (MFD) on a cost per copy basis for execution by the Procurement Services contracting officer.
tab b –energy efficiency and conservation strategy
Mr. Schwartzman stated that this item was also somewhat time sensitive in that they had 120 days from the time that the Energy Efficiency grant was approved to complete a strategy and make recommendations. He related that they issued an RFP for an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy in conjunction with a grant for $2.8 million to help determine their long-term overall goals and strategies in that regard and to identify some specific projects to be put forward to be funded by that grant. He reported that they had 18 vendors who responded, who were reviewed by five evaluators, and the backup information with the agenda item contains description of the award recommendation process in detail. He commented that the vendor that was ultimately selected for the award recommendation was chosen by all five evaluators on a price independent basis as one of the preferred vendors, making it easy to make the award recommendation. He noted that this vendor probably had the most direct experience and indicated an intent to focus on priorities that were identified by the County. He thought this vendor would be best suited to provide the job required to be done in the mandatory time frame, and he recommended this be awarded to The Cadmus Group, Inc.
Commr Renick stated that she read over this a number of times, and she was disappointed that it looked like they were planning on doing an analysis of their energy use and consumption, which she felt that they could do at a staff level and was not what she was hoping for. She pointed out that the reason this grant was approved was for the emphasis on the long-term job creation. She asked if they could go back to the recommended company and narrow the focus of what they would want them to do and adjust the price accordingly.
Mr. Schwartzman commented that he thought the company would be very amenable to being advised of the Board’s priority and focus on job creation. He believed they responded in a general manner based on their statement of work. He noted that the very first thing they have in their proposal in terms of the task to be performed is a job creation related item, even though they do not emphasize it.
Commr. Hill asked if there was a time window to use the entire $2.8 million for this project in order to receive any remaining monies.
Ms. Dottie Keedy, Director of Growth and Redevelopment, responded that the application that they submitted was for the $2.8 million, but they did take advantage of the opportunity to get up to $200,000 to develop the strategy and to hire a consultant, even though they knew it probably would not cost that much. She reported that the recommended consultant that they have chosen would cost $80,000, but within 120 days of the notice that their application was approved, which was about two weeks ago, they needed to submit an energy strategy that would delineate how they would spend the balance of the grant. They would also include things that would continue beyond expending that money which would position them for future grants or creating sustainable jobs. She noted that this vendor did have experience in job creation related to energy strategy, and she did not think it would be a problem to get the product that they wanted from this company. She commented that she thought there would be at least one project that comes out of their strategy, and she anticipated it would be something related to improving the efficiency of County buildings.
Commr. Conner stated that he thought they were going to bring the Board several ideas to give them a choice of projects.
Commr Cadwell commented that he thought they needed to move forward with it.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the recommendation of the award of contract under RFP 09-0219 for development of a County EECS (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy) to The Cadmus Group, Inc. and approval of Resolution No. 2009-107.
tab c – proposed modified reorganization for 2009/10
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, proposed to the Board a modification to the reorganization structure she had proposed previously, which took into consideration the Board’s concerns regarding the absence of a Community Services Department that focused on social programs and splitting the divisions under that department apart and into other departments which were not the normal positions for them. She noted that the proposed modified reorganization retained the Department of Community Services in a much smaller version to be more manageable and which contained the divisions or sections of Transportation and Housing Services, Children’s and Elder Affairs, Veteran’s Services, Community Health Worker Program, and other social service-type programs or grants. She related that the former Department of Community Services did handle a number of contracts or functions that she would like to keep in Employee Services, which had the expertise and the resources to handle issues such as Medicaid and other medical-type contracts or obligations. She also thought that the enhanced opportunities that the Department of Public Resources would be able to provide with a joint response and joint ways of offering programs would be considerable. She asked for the Board’s approval of this modified reorganization, and she commented that it would serve the County extremely well as they go into the 2009/10 budget year.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he believed this was a better reorganization than the first one, since it closely reflected the Board’s direction.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved the County Manager’s proposed modified organizational structure.
Commr. Conner voted “no.”
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.
welton g. cadwell, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK