A special MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
april 13, 2010
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special workshop session on Tuesday, April 13, 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; Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
There were no changes made to the Agenda.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
facilities development and management
additional fees for heery architects
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, Interim County Manager, stated that the first item was a continuation of the Board discussion regarding the fee request that Heery Architects had made.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he was convinced that the work was completed, that Heery was instructed to do the work, and that they were under the assumption that they were going to get paid; and he commented that he thought the County ought to pay them for those services.
Commr. Hill stated that after reviewing the documents and speaking with the architects, she believed that all of the items that were brought forward were discussed by the Board at some point in time and that the Board was made aware of those additional items. She added that the Board requested and benefited from those services and should pay for them.
Commr. Renick commented that she asked for the postponement to meet with the architects and be better informed as to exactly what the services performed were. She stated that the County’s reputation in terms of being business friendly was at stake, and she thought that it was unfortunate that this happened. She noted that they were acting on the authority of the County’s director and that not everything needed to come back before the Board. She pointed out that this was still within budget, even with these additional costs. She also opined that there was value in what the architects did, and she did not think there was any desire on the architect’s part to be less than transparent. She stated that the figure that Kristian Swenson, Interim Director of Facilities Development and Management, had come up with to pay them was fair.
Commr. Stewart pointed out that the architects had saved the County $10 million, and she felt that it was important for the Board to show that the County was looking out for business. She commented that although legally they did not have to pay this, she felt that it was the right thing to do.
Commr. Renick emphasized that this was not additional money.
Commr. Conner opined that Mr. Jim Bannon, former Director of Facilities Development and Management, ordered the work and that the contract was not followed by the staff or the architects, and he was concerned that the Board was setting an unfavorable precedent. He asked for Mr. Swenson to give a correction to information that he gave the Board at the last meeting.
Mr. Swenson stated that the area he misspoke about at the last meeting had to do with the contractual fees for the cost estimating of the $184,000. At the time, he believed that was a complete pass-through of costs, but after looking at documentation, the actual subcontractor cost was $175,000 with almost $10,000 in additional fees for Heery for coordination-type services.
Commr. Conner opined that $10,000 to oversee checking estimates against their contractors was excessive.
Mr. Swenson clarified that the amount that he was recommending that the County pay to Heery for the additional services was $432,000.
Commr. Hill commented that they gave Mr. Bannon the latitude to make some of those decisions to make sure the project would move along at an adequate pace, and if they stopped the progress for every small change order or every decision to come back to the Board for that whole process, they would add a lot of time and cost to the project. She stated that Mr. Bannon related to her that he felt that he was within his parameters of a line item cap that he could go up to. She also noted that the Board needed to let Mr. Swenson know what his latitude is.
Mr. Minkoff assured the Board that they were well aware that change orders would need to be in writing for all projects, and they would come back to the Board if they believed that they needed to do that in advance.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved the request from Facilities Development and Management for approval of $432,000 of additional fees for Heery Architects within the existing approved encumbered amount.
Commr. Conner voted “no.”
presentation – conceptual fleet operations site
Mr. Minkoff stated that they were going to update the Board regarding a possible consolidation of the fleet facilities and a location for it and to make sure that the Board would allow them to go forward with it and bring back the actual cost. He reported that he would later give an update of the Judicial Center expansion project, which was close to starting, and the project was out for bid. He stated that they wanted to go over the final site plan with the Board, and he reported that he would be appearing at the City of Tavares Planning and Zoning and the City Council a week or two later to get the final site plan and changes to the ordinance approved.
Mr. Swenson related that within the last month or so there were a couple of things that happened regarding Lake County’s fleet operations that sparked some discussion, which included some management staff leaving that department and electrical work that needed to be done at their facility in Leesburg which would cost about $35,000 to $40,000. He stated that those circumstances caused them to look at the concept of consolidating fleet operations with the County and also look at their facilities. He explained that this power point presentation would present the concept of combining Lake County Fleet Operations with the fire fleet and possibly the Mosquito Control fleet at their property at the Christopher Ford Industrial Park, and their department wanted to get the Board’s approval to continue pursuing this idea. He related that the first two slides shown were aerial photographs of their fleet operations in Leesburg on Griffin Road, and he noted that there were a number of facilities mostly consisting of metal buildings. He also showed some slides of the actual facilities, pointing out that those metal buildings were in quite poor condition, and that there had been a number of additions and renovations over the years. He pointed out a newer metal building on the next slide which was the battery room storage and wash rack area with a makeshift awning, as well as a heavy duty mechanic room. He also showed photographs of the tire shop with a sagging roof, the parts room and covered storage area, which were also all in poor condition. He explained that the next slide showed the one potentially salvageable part of the buildings out there, which was a 500 to 600 square foot block structure that was used as a break and meeting room-type area that appeared to be of fairly decent construction. He informed the Board that one of the concepts that they were looking at pursuing was to possibly demolish everything else and to leave this building there, adding on to it with a minor addition and perhaps house the Public Transportation staff in that small area.
Mr. Swenson next displayed on the monitor photographs of the County’s Fire Rescue Fleet Operations in Astatula, illustrating that the facilities there were small and congested. He then showed photographs of the County’s Mosquito Control Fleet area on Bloxham Avenue in Tavares near the Records Center, commenting that the building was adequate and that the fleet operations there were extremely small. He showed an aerial photograph of the property that the County owned in the Christopher Ford Industrial Park, pointing out a larger building to the north which was approximately 31,000-square feet and a 9,000 square foot smaller enclosed building that was still under construction on the southern portion of the site. He displayed on the monitor photos of Building B, which was the 31,000-square foot northerly building that they were interested in possibly pursuing for the combined fleet operations. He commented that the estimates he had done of the adequate work space needed for the three fleets was very comparable to the size of that building. He pointed out that the building was largely enclosed, but they would like to look at the opportunity of enclosing the part of the building that was currently open. He pointed out in the photograph a regular sized door leading to offices, rest rooms, showers, and a conference room. He stated that Building A was 9,000 square feet with five garages and office space that was not completed, and he did not think that this building would provide adequate space for all three facilities to work. He summarized that he was asking for Board approval to continue looking at this option and bring back a cost to potentially do the improvements to Building B and also a more detailed plan as far as how that building would be laid out and for the fleet consolidation in general.
Commr. Cadwell asked if they would have to put all new equipment in the new facility.
Mr. Swenson responded that staff believed that both Fire Rescue and the BCC Fleet equipment could be reused, and he commented that both fleet staffs were quite excited about this opportunity.
Mr. Minkoff related that they have explored what department the Fleet Operations should go under, and the staff was comfortable with the department staying under Budget. He asked to explore the possibility of the County’s two certified fire maintenance mechanics providing some services to the cities to work on their fire trucks, since the cities were currently sending them outside the County
Commr. Stewart asked if this consolidation would result in cost savings for the County in the future.
Mr. Swenson stated that he thought that the increase in efficiency would result in cost savings and increased service levels, since there currently was a duplication of services by different departments.
Mr. Minkoff noted that they would bring the Board back a detailed plan to show all the costs they think would be incurred and how it would work before they went forward with it. He also added that the plan would be to continue to use the Griffin Road facility for parking the buses.
Mr. Swenson noted that although they had previously spent some money for consultants for some initial cost estimating services for build out, he did not foresee spending any additional money from this point forward or for hiring an architect, and he reported that the County’s architect has already begun working on the program to come up with the numbers. He stated that they would like to get onsite and start laying things out with the different fleet entities.
Commr. Conner asked about how much the project would cost.
Mr. Swenson answered that it would be a couple of hundred thousand dollars to do on the industrial side, and the public transportation staff had about $120,000 in grant money that might be able to be used for the project, so he estimated that both projects combined would cost about $300,000 - $400,000.
Commr. Cadwell asked if they could modify the request for any of the money that they were requesting from the federal government to help with the costs of this project.
Mr. Minkoff responded that the award of some of the money that was requested for the fleet facility might be able to be used, but the timing for that was probably further out than what they were looking at for this project.
Commr. Conner commented that the two facilities they were looking at replacing were in absolutely deplorable condition, and he thought this project would make some major improvements in their overall organization.
update on judicial center expansion
Mr. Minkoff commented that he liked to give the Board an update on the Judicial Center every couple of months. He emphasized that the project was at a pivotal point now, because the project was currently out to bid, with bids due back by the end of April. He was anticipating that at the end of May or early June, they would be bringing to the Board the guaranteed maximum price and the final contract price.
Ms. Ronok Nichols, project architect for the courthouse addition and the renovation project, informed the Board that they would cover four main issues, which were the project schedule, the site and building overview, site phasing and monument relocation, and the next steps they would be taking in the project progression. She started with a schedule update, recapping that the courthouse envelope repair had already begun. She related that the construction documents have gone out to bid on the new courthouse expansion, with bid numbers expected back in the next few weeks, and the construction document renovation package was scheduled to go out at the end of July. She reported that the construction on the new courthouse was scheduled to begin on June 1, and it would be a two-year process to completion. She pointed out on the site plan displayed on the monitor that the courthouse expansion would be along Main Street connecting to the existing courthouse, and she noted a few new additions to the site plan, including the finalized location and size of the roundabout on Main Street and a portion of the land allocated to the future EOC (Emergency Operations Center). She also showed the final site plaza design for the courthouse. She noted that since they have maintained the eight existing courtrooms with this redesign in the existing building on Level 1 and the existing central holding area behind, the first floor of the existing building would have very limited renovation.
Ms. Nichols pointed out on the building floor plans that the new courthouse was along the bottom of the screen, and the clerk area, high public volume traffic, payment counters for civil and traffic department intake, and jury assembly area were on Level 1. She related that they have added six new courtrooms to the new addition, but that this facility was capable of building out to twelve future courtrooms, which would be on Levels 3, 4, and 5. She stated that they would keep the existing judicial chambers that were currently on Level 2, and in the new building there would be the inmate access from the existing pedestrian bridge over to the new expansion space. She explained that the Clerk of Court Executive Office, injunction spaces, and evidence storage would be located on Level 3 of the new expansion, and that level would contain the Public Defender in the existing building, which would need some renovation, and the court technology space. She pointed out that Level 4 of the new facility includes the full court floor with four courtrooms and all the court support spaces associated with that, and this floor reflects what they could potentially have on Levels 3 and 5 in the new courthouse. She related that the State Attorney would be located on the top floor of the existing building, which would probably require the least amount of renovation, since it already has many closed office spaces. She mentioned that on the top floor of the new courthouse would be temporarily or in the five or ten year plan judicial chambers and court administration services.
Ms. Nichols discussed the outside of the building next, stating that the final design was a five-story building along Main Street against the four-story existing building, and she showed some updated images of the building design, including sampling of the materials they were using, building proportions, and a new redesign of the building entry that was more compressed and linear. She displayed an image of the pedestrian access along the plaza from the garage, and she mentioned that the entry pavilion was slightly redesigned and elongated to layer onto the colonnade to allow the public to stay out of inclement weather. She explained that Phase 2 was the new expansion package, and Phase 2B represents the renovation package of the existing building. She pointed out that the first phase during construction would be to create a temporary public egress from the existing gallery space as well as to start the new courthouse expansion, and the next phase would create a temporary stair and link for the inmate delivery which would be secure with scaffolding and fencing materials, which would save about $50,000 and $75,000 over the option of a more permanent structure. The next phase would be looking at completing the rest of the new building, and upon completion they would relocate existing jury services over to the east edge of the new building, which would save money by avoiding temporary relocations. Finally, they would build back a new structure and the final link for the inmate delivery at the south end of the existing building after demolishing the old jury assembly area.
Mr. Minkoff mentioned to the Board that the current facility did not have room for all of the Clerk functions, and the Recording Department that was currently located in downtown Tavares was not planned to be located in this building with this design, so they would be looking to relocate that at some point during this process. He noted that the agreement and the ordinance from the City of Tavares requires the County at the end of construction to vacate and sell that building, and this would be the time to change that clause if the Board wanted to do that.
Mr. Joseph Waddell, Landscape Architect, Heery Design, showed a slide illustrating access during construction for the pedestrians, the golf cart path, and entrances for the construction team that was working on the project. He noted that they were going to take over and use the entire approximately 19 feet of perimeter parking spaces for both pedestrians and cart riders to get as safe as possible over to the entrances. He related that there would be a chain link fence that would be between the golf cart path and the pedestrians, and the construction fence would be on the interior side of the cart path. He explained that the judges’ access and service areas will still be at the northern area, and they will be using existing spaces north of the building for six handicapped parking spaces. The next slide he showed indicated the three existing memorials that were onsite, which were the War Memorial, the Gordon G. Oldham Memorial, and the Law Enforcement Memorial. He reported that the War Memorial was proposed to be located to the south of the new parking garage and the west side of the 320 office building. He assured the Board that all the ceremonies that needed to be followed to move the memorials would be done. He stated regarding the Law Enforcement and Fallen Officer Memorials located in the lawn area that the statue and base would be wrapped up, protected, and put in storage during construction; and the magnolia tree and plaque would be planted at the western lawn area in front of the Historic Courthouse.
Mr. Minkoff interjected that the Sheriff was interested in coming up with a design to move the Law Enforcement monument over to the Historic Courthouse, and they were placing those in storage until they come up with a plan, which would be brought before the Board.
Mr. Waddell then showed a slide of the Gordon G. Oldham, Jr. Memorial, which consisted of a bench and a tree, and explained that the two options they had proposed for relocating this were either on the north side of the courthouse or along Main Street between the bridge and the future new entrance.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that they had anticipated over the years that there would be an expansion of this memorial, so they needed to have a large enough area where they could have other benches.
Mr. Waddell responded that he thought there was room in the future plaza for benches or memorials. He showed a photograph of Option 1 for relocating the memorial, commenting that there was an island there now, and he related that they would have to do a little extra work in the beginning to ensure that it would provide a good home for the tree and the bench, with room to expand and grow. He stated that Option 2 was located on the south side halfway between the bridge and the new main entrance located on the hill around the retention pond.
Mr. Minkoff clarified with the Board that they would prefer the rear location.
Commr. Renick commented that they would prefer the location that was the most visible.
Mr. Minkoff commented that they will convey that to Mr. Oldham’s family, and if they do place it in the front, they would locate it in a way that would enable them to add benches in the future.
Commr. Renick added that whatever the family wants would carry more weight.
Mr. Waddell recapped that the revised city zoning ordinance will go before the City of Tavares Planning and Zoning Board on Thursday, April 15, and was scheduled to go for the first reading before the City Council on May 6, with the second reading and approval scheduled for May 19. He explained that once the ordinance was approved, they could get the site plan approved, since the City is allowing the architects to submit the site plan for review and approval early in order to expedite the process. He stated that the next phase would be to get the Tavares Public Works Department to approve their portion of the project as well as FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection). He informed the Board that the permit from the St. Johns River Water Management District for the original courthouse was still in effect, but they still had to submit a modification for it due to the changes in the site, which would not stop them from starting construction. They also had to submit to St. Johns for the roundabout, since that was not submitted in the first phase. He reported that the drawings for the renovation of the existing courthouse had begun, and they have been doing verification onsite of the different conditions, which is expected to be completed at the end of May or the beginning of June.
changes to city of tavares 2007-18 rezoning ordinance
Mr. Minkoff went through the changes to Ordinance No. 2007-18 from the City of Tavares with the Board, noting that the key change to the ordinance was on Page 2 where they were including the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to the site plan. He pointed out that Page 3 included setbacks for the EOC, and even though they did not know exactly where it would go, they have talked with the architect who was proposed for the project, who indicated that they could meet these setbacks.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he wanted to keep the unified campus feel that they were trying to create, and asked if the architects would bring their plans back to the Board.
Mr. Minkoff responded that the contract was close to being negotiated. Then, they were planning on bringing the contract back to the Board, and they would have some scheduled meetings with the Board during the programming phase where they could have those discussions. He mentioned that they had provided a height for the EOC of 45 feet in the ordinance, but they think it would be less than that. He pointed out that another major change was that the parking requirements were significantly less in Paragraph E from 2100 to 1831 spaces, because of the decrease in the size of the building than originally anticipated, and even with the elimination of most or all of the parking at the current judicial center parking lot, they would have an excess of parking on the campus as a whole. He pointed out that on Page 5, since they have tried to accommodate for parking for the future expansion of the Judicial Center, they made a change indicating that they did not have to go back to the City Council for anything to complete the entire campus in the future if they can demonstrate to their staff that they have adequate parking.
Commr. Cadwell asked about the ground parking and where it would be.
Mr. Minkoff answered that on the north side of the building was secured judicial parking and some handicapped spaces in addition to those in the garage, as well as pervious parking which would be stabilized with grass for secure juror parking, because the judges did not want the jurors walking back to the parking garage where the parties might be at the end of the trial. He mentioned that those spaces could also be used for nighttime or weekend access for employees using the building at that time. He informed the Board that there was a discussion with the EOC that there may have to be some parking there if Communications were in that building since the Communications staff were 24/7 employees. He summarized that only judges, a few selected staff that require parking, handicapped, and juror parking spaces were on the site plan.
In response to a question from Commr. Conner regarding the required amount of parking spaces, Mr. Waddell explained that the City of Tavares’ parking requirements necessitate one parking space for every 300 square feet, and he felt the parking garage would handle any of the required spaces needed with the expansion.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the ordinance contained the amount of spaces that was required, and because of the nature of their facilities, they do not meet the requirement that regular commercial people would meet. He recapped that when they approved the first expansion, they asked the City to take a campus-wide approach to count every parking space that they owned, and he emphasized that the amount required in the ordinance was significantly lower than the 1 to 300 for all of their facilities. He then pointed out that paragraph E3 on Page 5 contained the requirement to sell the Clerk’s Record Center at the time of occupancy of all the buildings.
Commr. Cadwell commented that they would have to ask the City to change that, since they could not move the Clerk from that building.
Mr. Minkoff responded that currently they do not have plans to move the Clerk from that building, which was why he brought the subject up for discussion at this meeting. He commented that they needed to ask the City to take that out of the ordinance, which met with agreement from the rest of the Board.
Commr. Hill commented that originally all of the Clerk’s operations were to be in the new Judicial Center building, but the reduced size and scope of the building necessitated the Clerk staying in the downtown Record Center building.
Mr. Minkoff stated that he would pursue that, and he will bring that issue back to the Board if there were difficulties so the Board could talk directly with the City at that point. He also wanted to make the Board aware of the interlocal agreement regarding the roundabout, explaining that the City initially in the site plan wanted the roundabout built first, but PPI indicated that it would be much better for them to build it at the end of the project. He reported that the City was willing to do that, but they wanted assurance that they would build it. He related that the County agreed previously to place money in escrow with the Clerk, and if the County failed to construct the roundabout, the City could take that money and use it to build it themselves. He noted that the County Attorney had one change to this agreement.
Ms. Melanie Marsh, Acting County Attorney, recommended one additional change that if the City of Tavares did not build the roundabout within two years, they would give that money back to the County.
Commr. Conner stated that he did not support the part of the agreement putting the money into escrow for the roundabout, since he felt that they already had a binding agreement that the County intends to honor.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that the County would still get the interest from the money, and it would just give the City a level of assurance.
recess and reassembly
At 10:10 a.m., the Chairman announced that there would be a ten-minute recess.
fiscal and administrative services
direction on fy 2010-11 budget preparation
Mr. Doug Krueger, Fiscal and Administrative Services Director, recapped that they focused on two different alternatives at the last meeting that involved the use of fund balance with the additional $5 million that was previously allocated to capital projects, and the available fund balance for the next fiscal year is $36.9 million, with about $12.9 million out of that set aside in the reserves and $24.1 million available to allocate to various programs. He mentioned that the presentations that they gave the Board at the last meeting discussed different alternatives on whether that money would be allocated over a one, two, or three-year period. He reviewed Schedule III with the Board, showing the $24.1 million over the one, two, or three-year period, which essentially eliminated vacant positions and positions that would become vacant through occurrence of the early out program and which would involve no further cuts other than what had already been made through the Tier 1 reductions. He noted, however, that that would involve making about $4.5 further reductions in fiscal year 2011-12 and then $9.3 million in reductions in fiscal year 2012-13. He explained that if that $24 million was spread over a two-year period, it would require additional reductions in the neighborhood of $2.2 million, which would necessitate using Tier 2 reductions in 2010-11 involving the elimination of programs and positions that were somewhat internal to the organization and that did not provide direct services to the public. He related that under that scenario, the budget would be balanced without further reductions in 2011-12, but it would require a sizeable $12 million reduction in the year 2012-13. He continued to explain that the last scenario of Schedule III was using the $24 million equally over a three-year period, which would require an additional $6.2 million in reductions above the Tier 1 reductions that they already identified that would involve both internal reductions and some cuts in programs and services that provide direct service to the public. He stated that based on the projections, the County should have a balanced budget without further reductions for the next two fiscal years thereafter.
Mr. Krueger explained that Schedule V was similar to Schedule III, with the difference in the use of both Tier 1 and Tier 2 reductions. He noted that the first scenario used the fund balance of $24.1 million over a one year period and would require no further reductions above the Tier 1 and 2, but would require a $1.5 million reduction in year 2011-12 and an $11 million reduction in the year 2012-13. He commented that this would push those reductions out to future fiscal years and continue the basic services in the near term with the hope that the tax base in the economy might improve by Year 3, which would somewhat mitigate the large reduction that would be required in Year 3. He referred to the second scenario, which illustrated the use of reserves over a two-year period, necessitating small further reductions for 2010-11, none in 2011-12, and $12 million in 2012-13; as well as the last scenario illustrating that the use of the reserves over a three-year period of $8 million a year would require $4.7 million in additional reductions above Tier 1 and 2 and no further reductions in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that this was based on an anticipated ten percent increase in the tax value, which could be higher or lower, and keeping the constitutional officers’ budgets exactly the same as they were in the previous year.
Mr. Krueger recapped that the Board had asked for additional information showing what the County’s budget would look like and what reductions would have to be made if no reserves were used in the budget. He reported that Schedule 1 on Page 1 of the backup material shows the tentative baseline budget for 2010-11 of $164.2 million, taking out the budgets for the constitutional officers, which left a budget amount of $85.9 million. He noted that after the reserves and the required debt service were taken out of that remaining amount, that left them a balance of about $43.3 million to make the cuts that would need to be made to balance the budget for next year in the amount of $16.9 million. He commented that balancing the budget using no reserves would require reducing the balance of the BCC budget of $43.3 by about 40 percent, and if they took into consideration the additional funding for the 800 MHz radio maintenance, it would require a 42 percent reduction in remaining net BCC expenditures.
Mr. Minkoff emphasized to the Board that even though there was a discussion of the budget being $160 million, he wanted them to understand that the real County general fund budget was $43 million, since the rest of the money was used for other things that they did not have any direct control over.
Mr. Krueger explained that Schedule II on Page 2 was a representative example looking at every program in the County to determine what would have to be reduced if they had to develop a budget that used no reserves. He pointed out that the last column showed percentage reductions ranging from 0 to 100 percent, since they had acknowledged that they would not utilize across the Board reductions, but instead would examine every department and program and make reductions where it would be appropriate. He noted that Page 11 listed the programs that would be totally eliminated from the budget, consisting of all the discretionary services and programs that the County provided, and he noted that those programs fell into the social service area, such as libraries, economic development, code enforcement, and environmental programs.
Commr. Conner clarified that this was subject to the priorities of the Commission.
Mr. Minkoff stated that this is illustrative of what would happen if they had to cut $18 million and how dramatic it would be to make those cuts.
Mr. Krueger pointed out that the total proposed budget shown on Schedule 4 amounts to about $108 million, with $80 million or 80 percent of that for the constitutional officers and the judicial, and most of the programs that would be left are somewhat mandated and have to be continued.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the direction that he was asking of the Board was whether he should count on any reduction in payments to constitutional officers and how much if any of the reserve he was allowed to use so he can factor those things into his decision in preparing the budget.
Commr. Cadwell reported that the Sheriff intended to bring the County a budget with no increases from last year, but he thought the Board should decide what they wanted to do before giving the Sheriff a percentage to cut from his budget. He commented that they should start narrowing their choices, and he would need an analysis from the County Manager.
Commr. Conner commented that he did not want to reduce the reserves to a ten percent minimal level, because once they were down to that level they would not be able to spend them except in the case of an emergency without changing or violating their policies, and he wanted the Board to maintain a 15 percent fund balance. He commented, however, that cutting their budget by 42 percent would be disconcerting. He opined that they should be anticipating revenues going down rather than up, and they would have to make some very tough budget decisions sooner or later to stay financially sound. He stated that he did not think he was comfortable spending more than $5 million out of their reserves each year to balance the budget.
Commr. Stewart also expressed concerns about reducing their reserves to ten percent.
Commr. Renick clarified that what Commr. Conner meant at the last meeting when he talked about depleting reserves was spending too much out of reserves, but not completely losing their reserves.
Commr. Conner noted that he believed that reserves which were down to 10 percent were depleted except in the case of an emergency or policy change, since they did not have the use of the money, but he clarified that he did not mean that they would be at zero reserves.
Commr. Renick commented that she believed this was a good exercise and showed quite clearly the situation they would be in and that there would be some real problems if they did not use the reserves at all. She stated that they were trying to find out what number they could feel comfortable with as well as prepared in case of another series of hurricanes and natural disasters.
Commr. Cadwell directed the County Manager to do those analogies using only $5 million rather than $8 million in reserves from the fund balance for Tier 1 as well as Tier 1 and 2 reductions.
Commr. Conner stated that he would like to see a history of the growth in the County’s departments over the last ten years so that they can identify which areas have grown the most by year, which he felt could possibly be the areas that they had the opportunities to cut the most.
Mr. Minkoff noted that departments change from time to time, but they could perhaps do that by function.
Commr. Renick commented that there were things on the list that she did not think they could in good conscience eliminate and get back to only what was mandated, and they could start looking at what the unintended consequences would be if they cut those different services.
Mr. Minkoff clarified that these were strictly exercises and discussions, and they would not cut anything without giving adequate notice.
Commr. Conner opined that the Board should change their policy to have 15 percent of reserves instead of 10 percent, and he wanted to look at how much per year they were willing to pull out of reserves to balance the budget. He stated that he thought that some of those cuts would be inevitable if tax revenues continued to decline.
Mr. Minkoff assured the Board that they would continue to work on this and bring the Board back more information to hone this down in the next few weeks.
REPORTS – COMMISsIONER CADWELL – CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 5
showcasing adoptable animals
Commr. Cadwell suggested that the County’s Animal Control Department bring some of their adoptable pets to show during the BCC Meetings once a month, since they were doing the meetings live now.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m.
welton g. cadwell, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK