A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
february 1, 2011
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, February 1, 2011 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: Jennifer Hill, Chairman; Leslie Campione, Vice Chairman; Sean Parks; Jimmy Conner; and Welton G. Cadwell. Others present were: Darren Gray, County Manager; Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, 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.
INVOCATION and pledge
Dr. Paul Harsh from the First Baptist Church of Lady Lake gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commr. Hill noted that they plan to move Dr. Moxley’s presentation from Tab 15 up before the employee awards were presented and that they would move Addendum 1-I regarding Zoning Board appointments before their reports in the agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of November 16, 2010 (Regular Meeting), December 13, 2010 (Regular Meeting), and January 4, 2011 (Regular Meeting) as presented.
CITIZEN QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD
Mr. Chris White noted that the portrait of General Charles Summerall, which was given to the County by the Summerall family, hung for over 60 years in the historic courthouse, but it got lost somehow during the renovations to the courthouse that occurred around 1997. He related that the portrait was then found prior to 2009 and was supposed to be touched up and hung back in its location by May of 2010, but that still has not been done. He respectfully asked the Board to return the picture back to the Summerall family.
Commr. Hill stated that they would be happy to do as the family requests, but she asked whether she could speak to the family.
Commr. Campione related that her son is a sophomore at the Citadel, and she told him about General Summerall and his connection to Lake County. She asked him to possibly reconsider his decision and allow the County to display the portrait.
Mr. White responded that he wanted the County to return the picture and that the County has already had it for a long enough period of time.
Commr. Campione stated that they would honor the family’s request.
Mr. Davis Talmage, a resident of Tavares representing the Impact Fee Committee, stated that the committee voted two weeks ago during their first meeting of the year to request to have the Duncan report and the recommendations sent back so that they could review it and possibly give their own recommendations. He noted that since makeup of the committee as well as the circumstances have changed in the past year, he hoped the Board would give them that opportunity.
Commr. Hill related that the Board has suspended the impact fees for another year.
Commr. Cadwell noted that the Board was having a workshop on transportation in April, and he believed it would be better to give some direction after that point in regards to some other funding options which would affect what the committee would look at.
Mr. Darren Gray, County Manager, confirmed that the workshop was scheduled for April 12.
Commr Parks commented that as liaison to the Impact Fee Committee, he believed that the committee just wanted to hear the report again and learn about it and why the recommendations were made, since there was a change in makeup of that committee.
Commr. Hill opined that if the consultants give their report now before there were possibly going to be a lot of changes being made, they might have to do that a second time.
Commr. Parks encouraged all of the committee members to read the Transportation Alternative Funding Task Force report that was put out in 2008, which he found was valuable.
Commr. Cadwell assured Mr. Talmage that the Board wanted them to be involved and part of the process, but he believed they would be wasting their time if they did that before the Board had their workshop.
Commr. Hill added that a lot of transportation studies have come out, including those from the Florida Transportation Commission and the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPO), and there may be a lot of changes coming from the state and local levels.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 7, as follows:
List of Warrants
Request to acknowledge receipt of list of warrants paid prior to this meeting, pursuant to Chapter 136.06 (1) of the Florida Statutes, which shall be incorporated into the Minutes as attached Exhibit A and filed in the Board Support Division of the Clerk’s Office.
Letter from FDOT
Request to acknowledge receipt of letter from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announcing that FDOT has scheduled a public kick-off meeting for the SR 50 from CR 565 to CR 565A project on January 20, 2011 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the E. L. Puryear Building, 243 S. Lake Avenue, Groveland, with an enclosed project newsletter, including a map of the meeting location and project limits.
Transcript of proceedings for Senninger Irrigation Project
Request to acknowledge receipt of bound transcript and CD transcript of the proceedings for the financing of the substitution of credit and remarketing of $5,500,000 for Lake County Industrial Development Authority (Senninger Irrigation Project), Series 2003.
Notice of Application from Aqua Utilities Florida, Inc.
Request to acknowledge receipt of notice of Application for Approval of Transfer and Application for Original Certificate for an Existing Wastewater System Requesting Initial Rates and Charges from Aqua Utilities Florida, Inc.
Resolution from City of Mascotte
Request to acknowledge receipt of Resolution 2011-01-441 from the City of Mascotte supporting Lake-Sumter EMS, Inc. remaining a separate entity and separate from Lake County Fire Rescue.
Resolution from City of Leesburg
Request to acknowledge receipt of Resolution No. 8797 from the City of Leesburg authorizing the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute a Master Service Agreement with the Lake County Board of County Commissioners for communication services.
Memorandum and Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreement for City of Umatilla
Request to acknowledge receipt of Memorandum accompanying a copy of an Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreement for the City of Umatilla and Affidavit regarding authenticity, in compliance with Florida Statute Section 163.01.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 9 as follows:
Economic Development and Community Service
Request for approval and signature on a Direct Pay to South Lake Hospital for an inmate inpatient medical stay. Fiscal impact is $32,307.00.
Fiscal and Administrative Services
Request for approval to 1) declare the items on the attached list(s) surplus to County needs, (2) authorize the removal of all of the items on the attached lists from the County’s official fixed asset inventory system records, and (3) authorize the Procurement Services Director or designee to sign vehicle titles.
Request for approval and execution of release of fine; unlicensed contractor citation paid.
Request for approval to submit a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Grant Application for a grant of $200,000 for the Phase II development of the Miracle Field at Lake Idamere Park. Approval to commit $200,000 as matching funds to support this grant. Approval for the County Manager to forward a letter to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks, certifying that the Lake Idamere Park development is in the adopted five (5) year CIP with a funding source indicated and approval for County Manager to sign application documents. Authorization for the Chairman to sign any future required grant documents if the grant is awarded. Fiscal Impact is $400,000 (Grant $200,000; County match $200,000).
Request for approval of (1) FY10 State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) Funding Agreement in the amount of $31,500; and (2) Award Letter. This Agreement provides revenue to the Emergency Management Division. No local match is required.
Request to approve and execute Revocable Non-Exclusive License Agreement for Britt Road. To make Britt Road a safer travel way, the owner of 57 acres on Britt Road has agreed to relocate his fence back approximately 15 feet and to allow the County to utilize the new 15 feet x 575 feet area as right of way. Fiscal impact is $1,870.00.
Request for approval to award ITB 11-0604 for Guardrail and Handrail Repair, Replacement, Installation, and Related Services to three vendors, Professional Highway Maintenance, RJP Enterprises and Southeast Guardrail at an estimated total fiscal impact of $30,000.
presentation of resolution to dr. moxley
Commr. Hill explained that the Board approved Resolution 2011-2 earlier this year and wanted to present it to Dr. Susan Moxley, Superintendent of Schools, recognizing Lake County Schools for receiving a grade of A or B this year and the importance of this accomplishment. She then read the Resolution which related the high-quality of the County’s school system and encouraged everyone to spread that news to help promote economic development.
Dr. Moxley thanked the Board for this recognition on behalf of the School Board and for supporting their efforts, and she emphasized that they were extremely committed to educating their students in the County. She commented that the resolution captured the efforts of the loyal dedicated employees that they had in Lake County schools and represented the very strong support this community gives to their school district in striving to invest in their future.
Ms. Susan Irby, Employee Services Director, presented employee awards to the following employees, commenting briefly on their service:
Roberto Bonilla, Parks Director (held over from January Board Meeting)
Public Resources/Parks & Trails
Matthew Barton, Firefighter/EMT (not present)
Public Safety/Fire Rescue
Brenda DeMartino, Office Associate V (not present)
Nadine Ohlinger, Employee Services Specialist
Kathy Rattray, Teen Drug Court Counselor
Conservation & Compliance/Probation Services/Teen Court
Barnett Schwartzman, Procurement Services Director
Fiscal & Administrative Services/Procurement Services
Roy Shores, Senior CAD Technician
Public Works/Engineering/Survey, Design
James Willis, Sign Assistant
Public Works/Road Operations/Signs, Signals & Striping
James Wills, Park Specialist
Public Resources/Parks & Trails
James Drake, Firefighter/EMT
Public Safety/Fire Rescue
Lonnie Kinzer, Map Services Technician
Elise Rainey, Senior Library Assistant (not present)
Public Resources/Library Services/Paisley Library
Colleen Smith, Library Technician
Public Resources/Library Services
Paul Larson, Senior Maintenance Specialist
Facilities Development & Management/Maintenance Division
twenty five years
Chief John Jolliff, presented the following award for twenty-five years of service, giving a commentary on the employee’s service to the County.
James Benham, Fire Lieutenant/EMT
Public Safety/Fire Rescue
employee of the quarter
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, presented the award for Employee of the quarter and commented on her service to the County.
Patricia Cotoia, Office Associate IV
Public Works/Solid Waste
supervisor of the quarter
Mr. Greg Welstead, Conservation and Compliance Director, presented the award for Supervisor of the Quarter.
Marjorie Boyd, Animal Services Director
Conservation & Compliance/Animal Services
presentation of resolution to mr. minkoff
Commr. Hill presented Resolution No. 2011-8, which was previously approved by the Board, to Mr. Sandy Minkoff expressing appreciation for his services as Interim County Manager from October 5, 2009 to January 2011 during a very difficult time in the County’s history.
presentation of resolutions acknowleging heritage trees
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Planning Director, Department of Growth Management, presented the heritage tree designations and illustrated some of the trees that were designated on the overhead monitor, mentioning that all of the trees were more than 10 feet in circumference.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution No. 2011-13 acknowledging the designation of a tree of the species Quercus virginia located at 32614 Welsh Trail, Sorrento as a Lake County Heritage Tree. (No Fiscal Impact) Commission District 4.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution No. 2011-14 acknowledging the designation of 22 trees of the species Quercus virginia located on Lots 34 (eight trees), 37&39 (ten trees), 41 (three trees) and 42 (one tree) of the Lake Beauclaire Subdivision as Lake County Heritage Trees. (No Fiscal Impact) Commission District 3.
severe weather awareness week
Mr. Jerry Smith, Emergency Management Director, noted that this was National Hazardous Weather Awareness Week, and he read the Proclamation for Severe Weather Awareness Week.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Proclamation No. 2011-15 for Severe Weather Awareness Week from January 31, 2011 through February 4, 2011.
Mr. Smith gave the Board an update on what happened last week in Groveland, stating that approximately 30 homes were impacted by a microburst during the severe weather front that moved through in a couple of hours, with only one minor injury and no deaths reported. He reported that houses which saw the most damage were on Ashton Street in the City of Groveland, and assistance was being provided through their homeowners’ insurance and some not-for-profit government agencies. He informed the Board that they would provide them with information about a new emergency notification system that they would be launching that day which would allow them to provide information to the citizens during times of emergency. He reported that even though they were not quite prepared to launch the new system last week, they made the decision to try to use it, and there were a few technical glitches that occurred, but they have been able to work those out with the satisfaction of staff and some of the citizens.
Mr. Smith explained that the program that the County previously had was Reverse 911, which was a specific trademark and product and funded by a Homeland Security grant to enhance emergency operations centers back in 2005. However, some of the challenges of that system included upgrade of the system, since the hardware was located on site in the County, and the system did not specifically meet the County’s needs and did not have a weather notification system, which is available in the new system. He related that the Groundhog Day tornadoes revealed a weakness in their current notification system, and they searched for a better way to be able to notify their citizens. He noted that after each disaster, there was a federal program known as a hazard mitigation grant program, and a specific amount was set aside for them to purchase an emergency notification system, which covered the purchase of the entire system when coupled with state grant funding. He pointed out that they had gotten a five-year contract for the same amount of money as a three-year contract offered by the second-best offer.
Mr. Thomas Carpenter, Operations Manager, commented that the process in which they looked into the purchase of a new emergency notification system was one which included extensive input from technical staff, end users, and staff that would administer the system to make sure that they would be getting the right system. He opined that although the reverse 911 system was an excellent system, technology surpassed it, so they wanted to make sure that technology would not outpace the next system. He related that EMTEL (Emergency Management Telecommunications) would provide the emergency notification service for Alert Lake and has worked with staff for several months to make sure that they customize the system for the County’s use for better management and communication. He mentioned that one of the unique features was that it was a hosted system, meaning that the computer is not on site, which would be important if something happened to the local facility, and another feature was that it was capable of sending hundreds of thousands of calls at one time, which was not possible with the reverse 911 system infrastructure. He also noted that the system would have a public portal that would allow citizens to register their cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses in order to be contacted, and he illustrated and explained the Emergency Notification Public Registration Web Site. He also mentioned that they would try to identify and reach out to their special needs population.
Mr. Smith expressed appreciation to GIS for putting the 911 database in a format that enabled them to be able to utilize it.
resolution from town of astatula
Mr. Stivender explained that this item was their agreement with Astatula regarding CR 561 and that most of Lake County’s 14 cities have done studies similar to this one with their interlocal agreements with the County. He stated that they utilize impact fees to do those studies, and the City takes the lead role in hiring a consultant and managing the efforts.
Mr. Steve Ferrell, Vice President, Florida Transportation Program Manager, stated that the study begins on CR 455 in Astatula and runs 4.7 miles to the north, and this was a partnership funded by Lake County impact fees. He explained that the genesis for this project was basically the results of the 2025 long-range transportation plan, which indicated a need for four lanes in that corridor. He related that about three years ago, the FDOT and the MPO began an ETDM (Efficient Transportation Decision Making) study looking at CR 561, CR 48 and SR 19, as well as focusing on the Little Lake Harris Bridge. He specified that their study began in May 2009, with a public hearing in May 2010, and the resolution they were addressing today was approved on September 13, 2010. He mentioned that currently the roadway is a two-lane rural section with shoulders and open drainage, and the speed limit through the middle of town is about 40 mph and 50 mph in the north and south. He stated that the 2035 plan was proposing a multimodal solution focusing on bicycle and pedestrian amenities. He described the project segments, including a proposal for a large roundabout for the intersection of CR 561 and 455, safety and drainage upgrades for the segment to the north consisting of about 2.4 miles, a continuous left turn lane in the middle of the three lane section located in the middle of Astatula, and proposed parking space modifications near town hall. He summarized that they had ten acres of right of way to do that project and that 15 parcels would be impacted in some form. He pointed out that they had six contamination sites located within 300 feet that they needed to document for the PD& E study, although they did not anticipate any actual contamination. He reported that the cost would be about $5.3 million, including construction, design, and legal services, but he noted that there was currently no funding for any of the future phases, although they were recommending installation of five street lights and some advanced siding to improve the safety of the CR 455 and 561 intersection at a cost of about $77,000 as well as white plastic delineator posts just north of there to give drivers more guidance at a cost of about $15,000.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 14, the acceptance of Resolution 2010-C from the Town of Astatula (approved by their Town Council on September 13, 2010), for the completion of the CR 561 PD&E Study. Commission District 3; No fiscal impact.
addendum 1-i – appointments to zoning board
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the reappointment of Mr. Scott Blankenship to the Zoning Board, representing District 2, to serve a four-year term ending January 31, 2015.
Commr. Campione noted that even though they have received some excellent applications, Mr. Rick Gonzalez has been very instrumental in Tavares with their redevelopment efforts, and he has worked very closely with community leaders and officials in recruiting businesses and redevelopment efforts in Eustis as well. She also mentioned that he has an extensive real estate background and that his qualifications are superb.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Rick Gonzalez to the Zoning Board, representing District 4, to serve a four-year term ending January 31, 2015.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Kasey Kesselring to an At-Large position to the Zoning Board to serve a four-year term ending January 31, 2015.
REPORTS – COUNTY MANAGER
february 8 workshop
Mr. Darren Gray, County Manager, informed the Board that at their workshop on February 8, they would have the first in a series of departmental reports, which would be a refresher for the old commissioners and something new for the newly-elected commissioners, about what each department actually does on a daily basis, how they are funded, challenges over the next couple of years, accomplishments, and introduction to the directors, and Community Services would give the first report.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER HILL – chairman and DISTRICT 1
plaque awarded for contribution to medical center project
Commr. Hill related that UCF presented the County with a nice plaque for their contribution to the medical center project, and they would like to come back and present it to the entire Board and have a picture taken of all of the Commissioners with the plaque.
award to growth management department
Commr. Hill congratulated the Growth Management Department for receiving an award from the MPO for their hard work and dedication over many years to complete the Comp Plan, and she commented that they appreciate their recognition.
reports – commissioner parks - district 2
elder affairs committee meeting
Commr. Parks mentioned that he sat in on his first Elder Affairs Committee meeting last week as liaison to that board, and he related that the mission for that committee is to create an elder-friendly environment in Lake County by providing services, information, and a public-private partnership.
groveland support of scrap metal ordinance
Commr. Parks mentioned that he had gone to the City of Groveland Council with the County Manager and that they wanted him to inform the Board that they unanimously support the County’s scrap metal ordinance.
montverde success in acquiring grants
Commr. Parks reported that the Town of Montverde has been very successful in acquiring more grants for trails and parks.
meeting with congressman daniel webster
Commr. Parks thanked Congressman Daniel Webster, who met with all of the Commissioners recently.
Commr. Hill mentioned that Congressman Webster had an office in downtown Tavares, which is located at the Clerk’s building across from City Hall.
website and facebook page
Commr. Parks announced that he had a new tool for communication in the launching of his website, which was seanslake.com, and Facebook page to explain his thought process on some of the issues and why he voted the way he did.
reports – commissioner conner – district 3
clarification on job creation
Commr. Conner asked for clarification on a report about whether 130 jobs created by Publix were new jobs or transferred from the other Publix store across the street and an additional explanation of how 120 jobs were created by Buffalo Wild Wings in Clermont. He emphasized that if information that was given was not accurate, it should be corrected.
groveland storm aftermath
Commr. Conner mentioned that he toured the area in Groveland that was hit by the storm, and he had received some complaints that they had personnel out of the county at a conference in the aftermath of the storms, which he expressed to the County Manager did not meet his expectations and that he thought it sent the wrong message to the community.
rfp for ems services
Commr. Conner stated that he had suggested an RFP for EMS services because of the $6.4 million subsidy that they were giving. He suggested that the Commissioners call the Sumter County Manager to find out what they were doing there which could result in potential improvements to their level of performance and make it more measurable.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER campione – vice chairman and DISTRICT 4
east lake chamber of commerce dinner
Commr. Campione thanked the East Lake Chamber of Commerce for inviting her to come to and speak at their installation dinner last week, and she commented that she was very impressed with the many projects they have going on and their focus to try to generate business in the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento area, especially on a potential for a trail system that would connect the Mount Dora area through Mount Plymouth-Sorrento into Seminole County and the West Orange Trail, which was a key component of their plans for economic development in their area.
congressman webster’s visit to lake county
Commr. Campione thanked Congressman Webster for meeting with each of the Commissioners during his visit to the County, and she thanked the Clerk for providing the office space for him. She mentioned that he was on the Rules Committee, which has instituted a requirement that no sessions would go after 7:00 at night and requiring that any new bills be available for public perusal for a period of three days before being voted on, which she appreciated.
REPORTS – COMMISsIONER CADWELL – DISTRICT 5
Commr. Cadwell related that he intended to attend the meeting in West Orange on Friday, but he had a conflict with the Congress of Regional Leaders meeting, which he believed was important for him to attend.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced that they would recess until the Economic Action Visioning Workshop at Lake Sumter Community College, Magnolia Room, Leesburg campus until 1:00 p.m.
economic visioning workshop
Commr. Hill reconvened the BCC Meeting, noting that this was their workshop session, and she welcomed everyone to the Economic Visioning Workshop and announced that Commr. Conner could not be present due to a death in the family. She mentioned that they have gotten a lot of input on the website about ways the County could increase their business growth, and she introduced the Commissioners and School Board members present.
Commr. Campione thanked those that contacted them and sent suggestions in and related that they have gathered those in one book. She commented that everyone was there for the purpose of improving the economic health of their county, and she mentioned that Governor Rick Scott came out with a new initiative that she believed would endeavor to streamline the existing economic organizations in the State of Florida under one umbrella of the Department of Commerce, which she opined the County needed to be ready for, as well as getting started on the right path as efficiently as possible so that the County does not lose out on the opportunities that are presenting themselves. She introduced Mr. Alan Winslow, stating that he has worked throughout the U.S. and the world in international business development, including joint venture formation and management, purchasing, and marketing, who has offered his services today to help them by facilitating this event, and that he also had strong ties to Lake County. She opined that this could be the beginning of turning a new page on how the County approaches job creation, addressing the needs of their existing businesses, creating an environment for their businesses to thrive and grow, and improve the overall quality of life in Lake County.
Mr. Winslow opined that economic development was important to the County Commissioners, shown by the fact that they were holding this seminar and giving citizens an opportunity to tell them where they want to go, and they have the attention, cooperation, and support of their County Commissioners. He noted that although they hopefully will come to some agreement on the urgency, scope, and inclusion they need, as well as define the role of the Board, he did not expect them to come up with a nice, neat plan today. He explained that he was there strictly as a facilitator to make sure to maximize their participation, record their ideas, and make sure that everyone gets a chance to speak on this important issue. He stated that their first objective would be to define their vision and mission and what role they expect the Lake County government to play, and then they would look at the pathway of how to get to that vision, defining the impediments, the resources needed, the environment, and the image they want to convey. He also wanted them to come up with a few objectives to establish accountability and make sure they were making progress and keeping people fully engaged. He noted that they were going to do this in three sessions and then break up into smaller groups to come up with a consolidated position from their table that they would present to the group as a whole. He started the workshop by asking why they needed economic development, and some of the brainstormed answers included income, jobs, tax base, growth, property values, and to support infrastructure, with jobs and income selected as the most important factors.
The next question Mr. Winslow asked was “Why would a person want to come to Lake County?” Some of the responses were the lifestyle, lakes, lower cost of living, central location, less congestion, quaint and historic towns, good art community, education, and lower crime. He next asked what would discourage them from coming to Lake County, with some of the replies being lack of jobs, low pay, uncertainty for investors, excessive taxing districts, lack of public transportation or walkability, lack of a four-year university, bad Comprehensive Plan, lack of a major airport, lack of economic incentives, and bureaucracy. The question of what would be red flags that might scare businesses off elicited the responses of poor quality schools, uncertainty regarding the government, workforce, conflicting land use, lack of incentives, impact fees, time it takes for permitting, transportation routes, physical appearance of towns, history, and reputation. Mr. Winslow commented that it was a very competitive world right now. The group was broken up into tables that represented separate groups, and Mr. Winslow asked that each group select a scribe and someone to present that group’s findings when they report back. He related that their assignment was to take about 20 minutes to discuss the image that they would want to present and how they would want to portray themselves for their business development program. He also asked them to think about how a bold goal could be attainable and how they could take the very best advantage of the resources they had.
Mr. Jim Coleman who represented Tables 8 and 9 related that they realize that being business friendly was all-encompassing, and they wanted to make sure they have draws for industry. He also stated that a positive attitude in dealing with customer service with local governments is important, and other factors he mentioned included planning for 2050, local incentives for expansion, economic gardening, and exceptional, unique, and natural beauty. He also thought they should emphasize that it was easy to get everywhere from here, and the area had a good buffer from the hurricanes.
Mr. Bill Smalley, representing Table 6, stated that his group came up with the vision of a forward-moving community that is sought after as a place to live, work, and play, with a knowledge-based workforce and the programs to retain, attract, and nurture business development.
Mr. Mike Stone who represented Tables 7 and 10 stated that they believed they still had to be proactive in their ideas and maintain the balance of their environment, such as natural or recreational resources that could bring in an economic impact of millions of dollars. He related that they should utilize the assets they have appropriately, such as the quality of life and cultural activities, and he noted the option between rural and city.
Ms. Debbie Stivender, School Board member who represented Tables 1 and 3, related that they needed ambassadors to emphasize that all businesses are welcome, interlocal cooperation, marketing by all citizens, and accessibility to transportation. She pointed out that they had good medical facilities, quaint historic communities, good education, excellent natural resources, and eco-tourism. She commented that they had the best of both worlds.
Mr. Bill Neron commented that his group wanted the County to be family-friendly as well as business friendly, and they had to build on their heritage of all their unique local small towns and atmosphere. His group also believed that they should be a facilitator of business prosperity, have a highly visible internet presence, and promote their 60,000 acres of lakes, eco-tourism, and an excellent school system, which was the cornerstone of any good economic development process.
Mr. Greg Beliveau representing Tables 4 and 5 stated that his group came up with a lot of ideas which were similar to what was previously mentioned and added the importance of first impressions, attitude, and change in culture in government and businesses to that. He commented that the people of Lake County needed to like themselves, so they could brag about themselves as well as their accomplishments, positive aspects, businesses, hospitals, great schools, and airport when they encounter others rather than talk only about the negative things about the County, which he believed would result in a better image and more positive and upbeat culture.
Mr. Winslow clarified that one of the things he wanted them to think about as they go on was providing some guidance for their County Commissioners, the cities, and the EDC regarding what they would be expecting and satisfied with, and he told everyone to add to their discussions how large they envision this program to be. It was determined that about 30,000 to 40,000 additional jobs would be needed to get from a 13 to 3 percent unemployment rate, which was a big undertaking, and he commented that they were going to get more into their mission with the next assignment. He initialized a brainstorming session addressing what resources were available in the County that they could capitalize on and use, with responses such as the industrial park, infill properties, downtown businesses, underutilized manufacturing, vacant homes, central water and sewer in cities, available workforce, cheaper land than Orlando, EDC (Economic Development Commission), three hospital campuses, Chambers of Commerce, transportation potential, business incubators, quality of life conditions such as the public lands for eco-tourism, airport, community college as branch of a larger university, fiber optic network, and National Training Center (NTC). The responses to the question posed by Mr. Winslow asking who the players would be were the local governments, Chambers of Commerce, business community, business ambassadors, colleges, and the School Board for trained workforce, internships, and better marketing of programs. Mr. Winslow commented that he wanted everyone to start thinking about other people getting involved besides business, and resulting responses were financial institutes, young minds, Tourist Development Council (TDC), trade associations, unions, tax payers, investors, agricultural sector, nonprofits, high tech incubators, community organizations, and religious organizations. There was also a suggestion that they have interaction between business and education, including the robotics program for students to learn high-tech skills at the high school and middle school levels.
Ms. Stivender emphasized that they have robotics programs in a number of the schools, as well as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs. She also mentioned that they have an agreement with one of the Leesburg nursing homes for training of their students in the health programs. She commented that since they have not advertised those things, people are not aware of everything the school system is doing.
Mr. Winslow stated that when they next break up into their groups, they would discuss how they were going to go about achieving their goals, including how they will get everyone involved, whether they will have a passive or aggressive approach, and who will organize it.
Mr. Coleman representing Table 9 and 10 stated that their group believed that they should enhance support for local business to attract new business using the synergy of clusters, network, and use cooperative purchasing to help keep the material costs down. He also related that the local provider and business person should be given preference when bidding on government RFP’s in order to keep the money locally, and that a Committee of 100, which was a group of business people who talk to prospective businesses, could be utilized. He opined that a review of the Comp Plan needs to be done with a business-friendly outlook and that they should look at Lake County as part of a larger region. He commented that they should sell the resources that were currently available in the County.
Mr. Smalley from Table 6 stated that his group looked at the government as a hub where there would be one central point to go to get all the answers, which would be the County government, and there should be consolidation of assets and services with common goals. He commented that although each city has a special focus, niche, and resources, there should be one united government with no competition between entities.
Mr. Stone representing Tables 7 and 10 commented that their group tried to come up with some other entity besides government that would look objectively at what their current and future resources are and how they could sustain that, and they thought that there were technological wizards available right here in Lake County, which were primarily their youth population, that they could keep heavily involved in finding solutions to make the county something they could be proud of.
Mr. Beliveau stated that Tables 4 and 5 thought that they should capitalize on the Metro Orlando EDC and to cut red tape associated with new business.
Mr. Neron stated that after a very spirited discussion, his group believed that $2 to $6 million would be needed in order to be successful to reach the goal of creating 40,000 jobs within the County, as well as public-private partnerships, and they estimated in these tight economic times of slashed and cut budgets that the County was spending roughly $600,000 a year in direct economic development.
Mr. Jochim from Table 4 stated that the County needed shovel-ready industrial sites which already contained all of the utilities, Class A office space, and workforce development, including internships for some of the more advanced skills. He related that there should be resources for entrepreneurs, such as data, assistance in marketing, and development of strategies.
Mr. Winslow opined that the suggestions were getting more positive and were addressing what they could and needed to do to get to their goals rather than just addressing what was wrong. He established that there was a good representation there from different groups in the community, including the business community, educational community, municipalities, County government, retirees, health field, construction, agricultural fields, science and technology. He then asked why they believed that this seminar on economic development was different than others they had previously attended, and the responses included more receptive leaders, accountability, ownership, and communication. He stated that the next discussion within their individual groups would be regarding how they would create the culture and environment they needed, what the County government’s role would be, and how the County would fit in with the municipalities. He commented that the County Commission indicated they were receptive to business by sponsoring this event, and they now had to hold them further accountable. He stated that the bigger the goal, the more important was focus, priority, environment, inclusion, and accountability. He added that as they go into the last group session, he also wanted them to think about whether they had the right environment and organization in Lake County right now to best utilize their resources, and if not, how they would change the environment, and he asked them to come up with two or three short-term objectives. He also wanted them to think about how much should be invested in economic development and where the money would come from.
Mr. Neron related that his group believed in a public-private partnership organization with sufficient resources, but noted that someone would have to be put in charge in order to make that happen to coordinate all of the efforts of the parties. He commented that visioning without implementation was hallucination, if a lot of good ideas are generated but nothing ever happens to implement them. He also mentioned that several of the cities are working on a uniform single building permit that could be used by all of the local governments, and he thought they should make it happen rather than just work on it. He suggested that cities and the County appoint some people to meet along with representatives of the private sector to take the ideas generated at this workshop and come up with a concrete implementation plan with the budget to get things done.
Mr. Coleman from Tables 8 and 9 stated that his group’s suggestions included putting together a comprehensive and easily accessible economic database countywide, have each Commissioner get to know business owners in the County, create a committee of 100, reach out to EDC, initiate network groups, have a division of labor among the economic offices throughout Lake County, and raise perception of the educational environment. He also thought there should be a countywide ombudsman to work through and facilitate some of the issues and problems regarding permitting.
Mr. Stone opined that they needed to think about what resources they currently had and how much they were spending on those. He stated that his group came up with a concept which started with the County initiating a plan within 45 to 60 days, naming a leader, and using marketing with media. He commented that the County’s role could be passionate in view but realistic in the goal.
Mr. Beliveau from Tables 4 and 5 reported his group’s recommendations, such as streamlined and electronic permitting, further development of business intelligence, for the BCC to pass a resolution to implement and follow an action plan, review staff resources and their distribution, and establish how communication would be handled between the BCC and the public regarding economic development in the future.
Mr. Smalley from Table 6 commented that the County should be a facilitator between the cities and towns, work on streamlining to improve efficiency, and promote intergovernmental relations and cooperation. His group believed that there should be a public-private partnership to promote the County involving both the Commission and the Chamber Alliance to bring in the business community. He also noted that they should have a defined time frame for implementation that was measurable, and asked where someone would be brought first in order to bring them to the County.
Ms. Campione related that her group came up with ideas for immediate action, including to identify red tape problems that they could correct immediately, start dialogue with the cities regarding creating consistency and a smoother process for businesses, identify available sites for targeted industries on the master land plan, coordinate with the cities on infrastructure needs, marketing using their existing staff, and partnering with the business community and the cities to get their message out. She reported that a long-term goal would be to develop a new economic plan in the next three months using a very ambitious meeting schedule and a group consisting of representatives from the municipalities, the business community, Chambers, trade organizations, and the different groups that were stakeholders.
There was an additional suggestion from Table 6 that the County frame a resolution stating that the County Commission will accept responsibility and accountability for establishing an initiative to define an economic development program for Lake County as outlined today; that the BCC will keep this group informed of plans, progress, and problems; and that this group would continue to provide input and support to the BCC in this effort to the best of their ability.
Mr. Winslow summarized the suggestions that were given for the last discussion point, and asked the group to think about where they would go from here.
Commr. Hill commented that the Board appreciated everyone’s attendance and participation and that the Board accepts the challenge which they gave them. She emphasized that they knew that this workshop was going to be an action workshop rather than just a visioning one for an action plan for economic development, and the Board has made a commitment to follow up on this by setting the date for the next retreat where they would further discuss this on February 25 at Cooper Memorial Library in Clermont.
Mr. Winslow asked that the Commissioners give the group a commitment that they will get back to the group with a report in 45 days, and he commented that he appreciated the County’s commitment.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
jennifer hill, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK