A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
January 12, 2010
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 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; Elaine Renick, Vice Chairman; Jennifer Hill; Jimmy Conner; and Linda Stewart. Others present were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, Interim County Manager; Melanie Marsh, Acting County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he wanted to add to the agenda approval of a letter of support for LifeStream Behavioral Center to apply for a grant to expand substance abuse treatment and capacity in the South Lake area.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board moved to add that item to the Agenda under Commr. Cadwell’s business.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 and 2 as follows:
Request for approval for the Emergency Management Division to submit a grant application to the State to be considered for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) EOC Grant Program funds in the amount of $800,000 to construct an Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
Request for approval for the Emergency Management Division to prepare and submit a grant application to the Florida Department of Community Affairs, CDBG Disaster Recovery Grant Program, for the purpose of implementing a disaster recovery project as a result of Tropical Storm Fay, 2008; and to authorize the County Manager to sign the grant application(s), including any subsequent application documents.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
Ms. Melanie Marsh, Acting County Attorney, explained that the School Board had requested a smaller area regarding Tab 3, and she was asking the Board to approve that knowing that it would be a smaller area for the legal description.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart, and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tab 3 as follows:
Request for approval of County Deed to Lake County School Board for Installation of a Sanitary Force Main and Reclaim Line for Elementary School “J” and authorize Chairman to execute document, but with a smaller area for the legal description, as requested by the School Board.
appointments to solid waste alternatives task force
Commr. Conner commented that the Solid Waste Alternatives Task Force was an important committee, and he reported that the state held a large recycling forum and had sent an extensive e-mail regarding that. He also mentioned that Mr. Sandy Minkoff, Interim County Manager, gave a report to the League of Cities stating that he thought high percentages of recycling were very possible.
Commr. Hill requested to hold off her appointment for District 1 for this committee for another week.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointments of Dr. Kathleen Farner Thomas (District 4) and Mr. Curtis A. Binney (District 4) to the newly created Solid Waste Alternatives Task Force.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER conner – district 3
presentation of resolution at martin luther king breakfast
Commr. Conner reported that he had presented the resolution on behalf of the Commission at the Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast, which was very well received there. He stated that Captain Leroy Oliver was recognized, and added that Sheriff Gary Borders; Ms. Dottie Keedy, Director of Economic Growth and Redevelopment; and representatives from the school system were there.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER STEWART – DISTRICT 4
participation in martin luther king parade
Commr. Stewart related that in support of the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration, she and Commr. Renick would be riding their horses in the Martin Luther King parade this Saturday, January 16.
REPORTS – COMMISIONER CADWELL – CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 5
letter of support for lifestream
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the request for a letter of support for LifeStream Behavioral Center to apply for a grant to expand substance abuse treatment and capacity in the South Lake area.
economic development workshop
Mr. Minkoff related that he had asked Ms. Dottie Keedy, Director of Economic Growth and Redevelopment, and Ms. Shelly Weidenhamer, EDC Business Development Director for Lake County, to give presentations to the Board about what they do, how they work together, and the structure of the economic development program. He mentioned that since the County had started their own in-house economic development program, they have had anywhere from one to four employees working for them at the County level, and they reduced the size of their in-house department from 4 to 3 employees in their current budget. He related that for all those years they have had a grant program with Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, and he emphasized that it was a pure grant and not a performance-based contract, which they do with a lot of not-for-profit corporations that were involved in community activities. He noted that they have urged EDC to have private contributions as well. He stated that he had four questions that he wanted to get answered, one of which was whether they wanted to continue both in-house and support of the EDC as part of their economic redevelopment effort. If they kept that in-house, he wanted to have a discussion about the staffing, goals, and responsibilities and whether they wanted to keep that budget the same, decrease, or increase it. Lastly, he asked whether they wanted to continue the EDC funding as a grant or whether to actually put some type of performance-based requirements in it so that they could see exactly through objective criteria what they were doing.
Commr. Conner opined that they needed to apply any standards that they expected from the EDC to the in-house staff as well.
Mr. Minkoff stated that he did not disagree with that, and he mentioned that the Board has been getting regular reports from Ms. Keedy informing them of exactly what her activities were, including performance-based criteria, which they could adjust if the Board wanted to do that.
lake county economic growth and redevelopment
Ms. Dottie Keedy, Director of Economic Growth and Redevelopment, recapped that the department was created in February of 2006 out of what had been part of the Tourism and Economic Development Department. She related that when a Senior Planner was hired in March of 2008, they were able to start a lot of the planning and programming that they currently were doing, such as their incentive programs, the DRI for the Commerce Park, and their fast-track permitting system. She reported that in December of 2008, the hiring of their Business Development Coordinator allowed them to market and redesign their web site, but that in October 2009 the Senior Planner was transferred to the Growth Management Department, which has somewhat impacted their ability to provide those services. She quickly mentioned the department’s budget history from 2006 to the present, indicating that their budget was increased in the 2007/08 fiscal year, decreased in 2007/08, but increased again in the current fiscal year; and clarified that their budget figures included the EDC grant. She specified the makeup of her budget, which included personal services, grants and aids, and operating expenses.
Ms. Keedy described some of the services that they offered, such as to coordinate with local, state and regional partners; provide information to businesses upon their request; provide economic impact analyses through an in-plan program; provide site location assistance; work with EDC to market Lake County and Lake County businesses; and do in-house website maintenance. She named some future opportunities, including expanding the partnership with the successful UCF Incubation Program, continuing to exhibit at trade shows and industry conferences, coordinating some efforts with Enterprise Florida, and continuing with implementation of the Strategic Plan. She also reported that she was currently partnering with EDC, UCF, the City of Minneola, and the City of Leesburg to put on a Countywide Business Expo, which she thought would be an exciting project that would bring in all of the service providers in the region to offer the information to their existing businesses.
Mr. Edd Holder, a resident of Tavares, commented that economic development was extremely competitive, and he shared an article from the Orlando Business Journal relating the economic development efforts in Volusia County. He specified that Volusia County’s proposed budget for business development was $250,000, as well as $800,000 budgeted for business recruitment, $600,000 for national marketing and branding, $150,000 for business intelligence, and $150,000 for technology development. He pointed out that these figures did not include staff salaries. He reported that they projected that $1,250,000 of their funds would come from the private sector and $525,000 from the public sector within Volusia County, in addition to the County’s budget for economic development internally of $3 million.
economic development: an ESSENTIAL process
Ms. Shelly Weidenhamer, EDC Business Development Director for Lake County, introduced her staff, including Ray Gilley, President and CEO; Maureen Brockman, Marketing and Communications; Declan Reiley, Business Development; Carmenza Gonzalez, International Business; Suzy Spang, Technology and Entertainment; and Richard Roth, and she opined that the EDC consisted of the best and brightest in the industry. She also introduced Dr. Chuck Mojock and Mr. John Hillenmeyer, and she recognized the members of the Economic Development Advisory Council that were present, commenting that they have done a tremendous amount of work this last year. She thanked Ms. Keedy for being instrumental in helping her understand Lake County, what their economic development objectives were, and introducing her to people in the County.
Ms. Weidenhamer related that she would have some of her staff write some of the questions down that were brought up at the workshop, and they would cover those at the end of the presentation if they were not addressed by then. She stated that building consensus to create an action plan for sustainability was paramount to what they did, and they wanted to create a high-value delivery system for economic development. She defined economic development as a process for building wealth within a community, and stated that the system they use to implement economic development has changed over the years. She pointed out that they were no longer part of an industrialized economy. She noted that currently businesses were attracted to an area by a knowledge-based work force rather than a cheaper or free site, and those work forces were locating in the areas that actually have place and that offer a number of amenities to the children of those workers. She stated that they build wealth by creating primary jobs which created goods or services that could not be absorbed within the current market, so that they would be sold to the external market, with the money coming back to the local economy.
Ms. Weidenhamer explained that it took a number of components in order for the process of economic development to be effective, which were business attraction, retention, and expansion, along with entrepreneurial development; community development such as infrastructure, redevelopment, planning, and policy; and the workforce development component consisting of education, training, employment assistance, employees, and employers. She commented that all of those factors have to work together in order to be effective. She stated that a team of partners was needed for economic development, and she mentioned that the State (Enterprise Florida), region (Metro Orlando EDC), County and cities all have economic development organizations, and she illustrated on a map the service areas for those organizations. She explained that an economy whose industry only provides one source of revenue was susceptible to market trends and transitions, so one of their goals was to create a diversified job market. Also, she noted that economic development prevented urban sprawl and reduced cost of services for citizens. She commented that in order to provide a high quality of place, they needed to provide jobs for the people that live in the area. She also mentioned that economic development provided a catalyst for additional private investment and provided communities with competitive advantage.
metro orlando edc overview
Mr. John Hillenmeyer, the President and CEO of Orlando Health, which is a regional health care organization that owns seven hospitals in Central Florida including South Lake Hospital, stated that they employed over 1,000 people at South Lake Hospital and have about a $120 million annual operating budget, and he felt that they provided great health care services to the people of South Lake County. He also mentioned that they recently initiated an almost $60 million bond issue to begin construction on another expansion of the hospital. He commented that he looked at the area in which they lived as a region and that they were all quite dependent on each other. He related that he was immediate Vice Chairman of the Board and had been involved in EDC for ten years, and he commented that the economic health of the community ultimately relates to the health care of the community. He stated that one advantage to working with the EDC was that it leveraged existing dollars and the ability to gain access to national and international markets that would be more expensive and difficult doing it individually. He commented that two-thirds of the jobs that were created in Central Florida were with existing companies, and protecting their existing jobs was also important. He explained that the principle of recognizing the Orlando MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) was recognizing that there was an economic integration, whether it was in infrastructure, education, or the economy. He commented that potential business owners look at the demographics and characteristics of a region in general, and EDC’s job was to make sure that those owners get access and could compare the region with their needs.
Mr. Hillenmeyer went over an organizational chart of the EDC on the monitor, stating that it was lead by a 70-member board of which 50 members represented private businesses. He opined that several of the Lake County Commissioners had a good understanding of their workings and programs and had attended some of their sessions, and he named several people that were on the EDC Board of Directors. He related that Mr. Ray Gilley, President/CEO was responsible for managing their $6 million budget, overseeing their staff of 34 economic development professionals, and working with their Board to establish the strategic plans and to make sure those plans address the marketing of their region internationally and throughout the country and state. He opined that they were making changes that they think would position them well to reap benefits as they come out of the recession. He noted that the leadership from the EDC Board of Directors all came from volunteers, and he pointed out that two-thirds of EDC’s funding came from private investors who believed that economic development was important to their business and the community. He commented that they thought it was important to have the governmental entities at the table participating to help shape the future of that organization, and he pointed out that the money Lake County invests in the EDC only comprised about 5 percent of the total EDC funding. He also pointed out that they had an extensive annual budgeting process, and their Board approved, developed, and submitted the budget. The budget was reviewed on an annual basis, and the Board makes modifications and holds staff accountable for it. He added that they had an annual audit done by an outside CPA firm, which was reviewed by the Board, and he emphasized that their Board took governance and accountability very seriously. He commented that the funding that Lake County invests in the EDC enabled them to leverage part of the EDC’s investment, and he believed there was long-term value in investing in the EDC.
economic development advisory council
Dr. Charles Mojock, President of Lake-Sumter Community College and Chairman of the EDC, related that in 2007 their Board put together a plan to guide them for the future regarding the unique opportunities and resources necessary to enhance economic vitality and diversify the tax base. He stated that their vision of the Lake County Economic Strategic Plan would be to strengthen its position as a Central Florida business center by aggressively pursuing opportunities and building collaborative relationships with regional allies. He specified that the primary goal of this plan was to create a countywide partnership to support economic development, which he believed was a primary role of the Economic Development Advisory Council, and coordinate efforts with allies and partners. He commented that they have been very successful in bringing in collaboration locally, and they had representation from all areas. He related that structurally they had a Council that was comprised of both public and private representatives, including the League of Cities, Chamber Alliance, education representation, and targeted industries representation such as Agritech, the arts, health and wellness, and clean technology. He went over the overall structure of the EDC Council, noting that the recommendations go through the Board of Directors via Mr. Gilley, and he mentioned that there were four committees. He emphasized that citizen participation was important and has been extensive. He stated that the Infrastructure Committee identified desirable opportunities for desirable future plan development in order to plan for adequate infrastructure and to ensure that supporting local priorities and policies were in place. He explained that the Industry Cluster Committee was formulating a plan to promote Lake County and diversify the tax base through innovation, existing business expansion, attraction of new-to- market businesses, and targeting existing and emerging industry sectors. He commented that the Workforce Development Committee looked at the heart of what would make Lake County stand out, including education, workforce training, and entrepreneurial programs; and he commented that they have to have the best and most skilled work force to attract a potential industry or an existing industry to grow and develop. He opined that they have engaged their community in a way that was focused and intent on working together to move the County in the desired direction and address some of their challenges such as unemployment and reliance on certain industry sectors.
recess and reassembly
At 10:10 the Chairman announced that there would be a ten-minute recess.
building bridges for economic development
Ms. Weidenhamer related that she would review the other three goals of the Economic Advisory Council, and she noted that a number of those items in the Economic Development Strategic Plan that were assigned by the County to do were now being done by the Metro-Orlando EDC. She commented that the work of the committees and the Advisory Council actually aligned very well with the goals of the Strategic Plan and noted that they were on target or ahead of schedule for the time frames that were allotted for each strategy. She mentioned that she provided a bound copy of the book to the Commissioners which assembled the information of the Advisory Council over the past year, and she opined that that group had done a tremendous amount of work which they have presented in a timely and professional manner. She reported that they started with a data gathering and analysis, and she pointed out a year-end report which went over all that was done, a list of some of their recommendations, and some next steps. She mentioned that they have had some presentations on the 2035 Transportation Plan; economic gardening, which was a new state initiative to help second-stage companies; and identifying what green jobs were, which was given by Green Force Florida; as well as a tour of the Florida solar energy centers. She also stated that one of the most successful things that had come out of the Industry Cluster Committee and the Advisory Council was the industry consortiums, which was when a number of businesses get together based around common goals and brainstorm to help them define their market and work with other companies that work similarly with them in order to attract business.
Ms. Weidenhamer related that one in six people employed in Lake County was employed in the medical sector, and one of the items that the Health and Wellness Committee identified was the need for educational programs for electronic transfer of medical records. She reported that they were able to create a partnership with Visions at Work to help pilot this program and offer it free to all of the Lake County hospitals for a year as well as provide training, and Workforce Central Florida helped Lake-Sumter Community College and UCF develop a grant to make that certification into a two-year and a four-year program. She related that the Marketing Committee developed a presentation which focused on the positive things that Lake County has to offer in order to counter some perception challenges. They created profile pieces about Lake County that were used throughout the County, including demographic statistics. She pointed out that in her business retention and expansion work plan last year, she was required to go on 24 business visits, but she actually completed 34 of them. She noted that they referred three Lake County companies to take advantage of the economic gardening program called Grow Florida, they had given workforce assistance to three businesses, and they had helped four start-up companies. She noted that the page views of the Lake County Page on the EDC website have doubled in the last year from 7,000 to 14,000, and she mentioned that the EDC page views were 1.4 million. She also reported that the Circuit City facility in Lake County was one of the largest facilities on the east coast.
models for future success
Mr. Gilley stated that they wanted to focus on how they could create an economy by design and that he would share some models that he has observed. He stated that in the past the construction, tourism and agricultural industries were doing well and comprised the majority of the economy, but today those industries were not as prominent, so the new economy jobs were what they were focused on. He related that the companies that would hopefully want to come to the area to grow and stay were looking for a rich, fertile business eco-system, which was what they were striving to create. He pointed out some key objectives and strategies, including those that create high-wage businesses to support world-class employees, which starts with a culture, curiosity, knowledge, learning, and high performance. He stated that economic development entailed considerable competition, and they had to focus on creating the right industry mix, creating a sense of place, and getting the infrastructure in place to ensure that the right workforce also was available. He commented that he was pleased that their education partners have stepped up at the primary, secondary, and university levels, and he noted that Lake County was well positioned approximately one hour between two very good universities and a great airport that was 45 minutes away.
Mr. Gilley noted that opportunity and leverage helped catalyst projects to occur. He commented that the Orlando area needed the medical school before they were able to attract the Burnham Institute and that assistance from the State is also an important factor. He used the example of Port St. Lucie attracting the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies as a model for attracting catalyst projects, and he commented that the City, the County, the State, and the private sector had done a great job of working together to create a small cluster of activity around life science and to make that opportunity happen. He opined that it would require great projects with local or regional leverage or matching requirements. He commented that they desired to help create and grow a cluster of other auxiliary and private companies around the medical school and Burnham such as what was in the Boston or San Diego areas. He pointed out that they have seen a lot of interest so far by other types of life science companies. He related that some of the areas that were recommended for Lake County to consider include clean technology, health and wellness, and agritechnology, since they already had some strength and have done some outreach in those areas. He stated that he wanted to develop one or two opportunities and get some reaction from the County to those, and he specified that one of the fields they would look at would be the water technology area. He opined that they needed to think about some strategic collaborations and partnerships both inside and outside of Lake County to identify those game-changing activity opportunities and be well positioned when they come about.
Mr. Russ Sloan, Director, LSCC Business Resource Center, commented that a combination of great staff and the private sector was the key to economic development. He opined that the County had taken a great step in bringing in all of the volunteer private sector entities, but the one component that was missing was that they did not have the structure to raise the private sector monies from Lake County that Metro-Orlando or other areas had, such as enough large corporations and banks that had the resources to invest. He encouraged the Board to take fuller advantage of the private sector involvement and of the recommendations of the advisory committees, which he believed to be valuable.
Commr. Renick felt that since everyone was finally present to discuss this issue, she wanted to discuss the Sunshine Law issue regarding the advisory board. She thought that the smaller subcommittees that work together would not necessarily have to be under the Sunshine rules, but a person from the subcommittee who reports back might be. She wanted to discuss how they could keep the members engaged, but still have the final discussions be open to the public. She commented that there was the impression that it was a County committee instead of specifically an EDC committee, because staff recruited the committee members and worked closely with them on all of those initiatives. She also commented that she thought of EDC as their agent to market the County and to network on their behalf, and she wanted to make sure that they were getting something specific and to discuss possibly putting some type of performance objectives in the contract.
Commr. Conner stated that he did not believe that there was a legitimate Sunshine issue concern with that committee, because the meetings of that group were open to the public and at a public facility. He added that any presentations and recommendations that were made were public documents. He also commented that he thought there was merit to the idea of a performance-based contract.
Commr. Stewart agreed that anyone in the County who wanted to come to the meetings could attend them, and anyone could be on the committee if they wished to do so. She commented that everyone was working for the same goals, and she did not feel that the Sunshine Law was an issue either.
Commr. Cadwell stated that half of the members were supposed to be from targeted industries, and they had to be able to communicate.
Ms. Melanie Marsh, Acting County Attorney, informed the Board that the recent opinion from the Attorney General’s office regarding the North Florida EDC issue found that it was not a group that was subject to the Sunshine Law.
Commr. Cadwell opined that they certainly needed both an in-house staff and the EDC working on economic development, and he felt that those entities had two different functions of being an ombudsman and marketing entity.
Commr. Conner stated that he had a skeptical view of the EDC when he started as Commissioner in November of 2009, but he believed that their staff currently had a good working relationship with the EDC staff with genuine partnerships.
Commr. Cadwell announced that the next issue brought up by Mr. Minkoff that they would discuss would be whether to bring the Department of Growth and Redevelopment back to the staffing level it had before the cuts.
Mr. Minkoff explained that rather than adding a planner position which was moved to Growth Management, they could add a position for someone with either a planning or business degree to be a resource that could help Ms. Keedy with grant applications and working with businesses. He mentioned that Ms. Keedy felt that the loss of that position has resulted in a great encumbrance for her department.
Commr. Conner reminded the Board that they have been previously told by Mr. Minkoff that they were in for the worst budget year next year that they had ever had. He commented that he did not want to cut in this area, but they could not make any departments immune from budget cuts. He stated that they needed to be careful about the commitments that they make in terms of the level of funding of departments, because of how low their revenues would be next year.
Commr. Stewart commented that in spite of the tough budget times, they could not lose sight of the future and what they needed to be doing now to prepare for the future. She opined that business and industry would build the County’s revenues, and she did not want to stop the synergy that was currently occurring.
Mr. Minkoff stated that he could further discuss with Ms. Keedy how they were utilizing personnel in that department, and he would bring that back to the Board during budget time if they believed that they really did need to add that extra position. He asked if they should keep the funding the same, reduce it, or increase it for this process for all of the things Ms. Keedy funds, including the EDC grant.
Commr. Cadwell recapped that they had discussed the possibility of finding the incentive money for worthwhile projects as they came up rather than keeping a reserve of incentive money in the emergency fund budget. He commented that the funding would be reduced for every department in the County at some point, although he would like to keep the department at the current funding level.
Commr. Hill inquired about the JGI funding.
Ms. Keedy answered that it was general fund money and was part of the $100,000 incentive money under grants and aids. She explained that they put $100,000 in her budget with the $2 million in a reserve fund that was referenced by Commr. Cadwell to be used for certain projects that were approved by the Board.
Mr. Minkoff noted that they have not spent any of that $2 million.
Mayor Melissa DeMarco of Mount Dora related that she had spoken to the Economic Development Advisory Committee and the Infrastructure Committee regarding the news they received last Tuesday, January 5, about the train that would have to suspend operations effective immediately because of the poor shape of the tracks. She commented that that was an immediate concern to her tourist community, because the train brought tourists to the area. She stated that they did not know what the cost was to fix those tracks and what the economic impact would be to the cities and the County. She asked if they would look at applying for federal funds if the groups that were affected by that did not have the money financially to commit to that. She commented that this was a small but real project that was based on infrastructure that none of them had the authority to deal directly with, and she asked if they could use economic development resources within the County to look at that project.
Commr. Renick commented that this was already an existing business, and she mentioned that the Florida Department of Transportation was already looking at some SIS (Strategic Intermodal System) money if they had local partners. She opined that it looked like one of those collaborative efforts that might be a good infrastructure-related project.
Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Gilley if there was any substantial difference between their contract and the contract with any other county.
Mr. Gilley responded that there was not a big difference, but there was some customization in some of the contracts. He commented that they tried to keep the contracts as simple as possible and then negotiate the specific things that the County wanted to do which might be different than other counties.
Commr. Renick commented that she thought that everyone was changing the way they were doing things from what they were doing during good economic times, and this was the time to reevaluate. She asked if some counties had performance-based objectives in their contract, and she expressed concern about the travel of some staff members.
Mr. Gilley answered that there were deliverables that the County could spell out to request things they wanted done. He also assured the Board that they would not travel anywhere unless they thought there was a good business reason to do so, and he pointed out that one trip the Board expressed concern about was taken under the leadership of Mayor Richard Crotty and that business people that attended that trip paid for it themselves.
Commr. Stewart reiterated that she thought they had to look at this in the long term, that it would be a good investment and that they would reap the benefits from that in the future.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the County needed to discuss with them the deliverables that were important to them that they thought they needed to see.
Mr. Minkoff stated that he thought they could develop some objective performance measures that they could bring back to the Board for possible inclusion in the contract.
Commr. Cadwell asked to discuss some of the next steps that the EDC would be doing, including the request that staff work with EDC and other interested parties to implement that catalyst initiative. He commented that he thought they needed to find a way to maximize their opportunities related to their strengths regarding health care and education.
Commr. Conner commented that he thought the way to do that was to create the work force through education.
Commr. Hill commented that working with the strategic initiative and plan was an ongoing process, which was attached to the EDC contract two years ago, and she noted that the advisory committee was initiated through the EDC. She also mentioned that she thought that the catalyst initiative incorporates into their strategic plan.
Commr. Conner commented that they were in a difficult economic time, and one of the reasons that people in the private sector were not taking risks was because they did not know what the federal government was going to do regarding health care, taxes, and other issues. He thought that the idea of temporarily waiving impact fees on commercial development with certain guidelines specifying permit and occupancy dates merited some discussion of whether that would bring meaningful short-term results. He suggested implementing a sliding scale to reinstate those impact fees gradually. He also opined that unemployment affected children as well as their parents.
Commr. Stewart noted that she also felt that commercial businesses brought money into the County, but she had been told by the County Attorney that they could not separate commercial from residential regarding impact fees. She commented that she did not want to incentivize home building, but she thought they needed to do anything they could to help commercial development.
Mr. Minkoff explained that it was permissible to eliminate certain impact fees, but the largest residential impact fee was schools, which did not apply to business. He pointed out that eliminating the transportation impact fee would reduce the residential impact fee slightly, but not a significant amount, since the largest portion of that would be the school fee.
Commr. Conner believed that the Impact Fee Committee was meeting in the next couple of weeks, and he suggested that Mr. Minkoff ask them to discuss the issue and give the Board their thoughts on that. He also opined that the job creation to him would be the overriding advantage making up for the temporary lost impact fee revenues, and he believed that the way to see both sides of the issue was to have a staff presentation.
Commr. Hill related that the Impact Fee Committee has had a discussion regarding that issue and came up with the deferred impact fee plan.
Mr. Minkoff assured the Board that they will make sure they readdress that and bring that back to the Board, and noted that it was several months ago that they addressed it. He also noted that afterwards the normal process would be to bring an ordinance to the Board for approval to advertise, at which time they would give them a complete presentation, and then they could advertise an ordinance to implement that if the Board wished to go forward. He recommended that the County go forward with the study to review the impact fees by the consultant, since this discussion was only about a temporary cessation of impact fees and not a permanent change.
Commr. Hill opined that the hurdle which holds businesses and industry up from relocating and expanding was the amount of time it took to comply with state and local regulations and the permitting process more than concern about impact fees, and she recommended addressing that issue as well.
Commr. Renick commented that the County has made huge improvements in that regard already, and that was one of their goals from last year. She pointed out that there could be unintended consequences from waiving transportation impact fees, such as elimination of road construction jobs.
Mr. Minkoff clarified with the Board that they would bring that presentation back for the BCC Meeting on February 2.
Commr. Conner inquired what Marion County was doing regarding impact fees.
Commr. Cadwell answered that Marion County was waiving impact fees on commercial development for a short period of time.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.
welton g. cadwell, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK