A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
January 22, 2013
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 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: Leslie Campione, Chairman; Jimmy Conner, Vice Chairman; Timothy I. Sullivan; Sean Parks; and Welton G. Cadwell. Others present were: David Heath, 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 Courtney Vincent, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Pastor Jose Gonzalez from the Love and Living Hope Church in Clermont gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commr. Conner asked to add to the agenda under his business a request that the Board name an alternate to the Lake Community Action Agency.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved adding the request that the Board name an alternate to the Lake Community Action Agency to the agenda under Commr. Conner’s report.
Mr. Heath asked to add to the agenda a request for the Board to appoint two BCC liaisons for the ISDA Agreements.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved adding the request for the Board to appoint two BCC liaisons for the ISDA Agreements to the agenda under the County Manager’s report.
Commr. Campione asked to add to the agenda under her report a request for the Board to designate Commr. Sullivan to serve on the Enterprise Zone Development Agency. She opined that Commr. Sullivan should serve because two of the Enterprise Zones were in his district.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved adding the request to designate Commr. Sullivan to serve on the Enterprise Zone Development Agency to the agenda under Commr. Campione’s report.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that the Lake County Health Department in Umatilla provided primary medical care through Gateway Community Health Network, and it was time for their recertification. He asked to add to the agenda under his report a request for the Chairman to send a letter in support of the Lake County Health Department. He noted that he had already drafted a copy of the letter for the Chairman to sign.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved adding the request for the Chairman to send a letter in support of the Lake County Health Department to the agenda under Commr. Cadwell’s report.
citizen question and comment period
Mr. Vance Jochim, a resident of the City of Tavares and writer of a blog called fiscalrangers.com, addressed the Board regarding transportation impact fees and suggested that the Board consider the details of the Duncan Report when they discussed the issue later in the meeting because the recommended level for the fees had dropped.
Mr. Kent Weber, a resident of the City of Groveland, addressed the Board to discuss a no-kill alternative for the Animal Services Department and to recommend some alternative solutions to the handling of animals in the County shelters. He stated that eight months ago his daughters started a campaign to improve Lake County’s Animal Control Division, and he was speaking now on their behalf as well as on behalf of the other animal rescue groups in the County and concerned citizens, because they believed that the County’s dogs and cats were not being given a fair chance. He stressed that a proactive approach to the problem was needed, such as putting money into advertising to remind pet owners to pay the mandatory licensing fees for their pets, and mentioned that a recent audit reported that only about six and a half percent of dogs and cats were licensed in the County, bringing in approximately $42,000. He explained that it would only take 25 percent compliance to bring in $150,000, and 50 percent compliance would bring in $325,000 in revenue that could go towards helping the animals of Lake County. He noted that since the Department did not send out annual renewals for the licenses, they were not in compliance with State Statutes. He also suggested charging a fee for owners giving up their pets to the shelters and requiring owners to provide some basic information about the animals. He stressed that this should happen during business hours and not using an after-hours drop box. He calculated that if the County charged $20 per animal, 2,000 animals dropped off would mean $40,000 in revenue. He mentioned that Animal Services had no line item in their budget for marketing or advertising even though they were a business and advertising was crucial to running a business.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 3, 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.
Notice of Application for Approval for Transfer of Water and Wastewater Certificates
Request to acknowledge receipt of the Notice of Application for Approval for Transfer of Water and Wastewater Certificates for Shangri-La by the Lake System in Lake County by Lakeside Waterworks, Inc. pursuant to Section 367.071, Florida Statutes and Rule 24-30.037, Florida Administrative Code.
Resolution from Fruitland Park Pertaining to School Facilities Planning and Siting
Request to acknowledge receipt of a copy of Resolution 2012-029 from the City of Fruitland Park amending the interlocal agreement among Lake County, the Lake County School Board, and the fourteen municipalities of Lake County for school facilities planning and siting adopted via Resolution 2006-33 by extending the agreement for an additional three years.
resolution regarding green mountain scenic byway
Commr. Campione acknowledged Mr. Robert Thielhelm, Sr., Mayor for the City of Mount Dora, and thanked him for his attendance at the meeting. She then mentioned that on Friday, February 8, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. the BCC would be hosting a regional summit at the Mount Dora Community Building to discuss the north shore of Lake Apopka and the potential for economic development and ecotourism.
Mr. Gregg Gensheimer, Chairman of the Green Mountain Scenic Byway Corridor Management Committee, presented the proposed route of an addition to the Green Mountain Scenic Byway, extending it from Ferndale into the City of Mount Dora. He commented that the Scenic Byway was designed to slow drivers down and entice them to spend time in the community, allowing for the opportunity for small businesses to develop in more sustainable areas. He opined that Lake Apopka would become one of the premier tourist destinations in the region.
Commr. Campione commented that the Town of Astatula and the City of Mount Dora had both signed resolutions of support for the expansion of the Scenic Byway.
Mr. Gensheimer noted that the trailhead, which would be located in Ferndale with an entryway right off of CR 455, was at 90 percent planning design and he thought the construction would start sometime during the summer.
Commr. Campione mentioned that Mayor Thielhelm had been talking with the St. John’s River Water Management District about having an entry point off of the Scenic Byway into the North Shore Restoration Area Loop Trail closer to Mount Dora.
Commr. Sullivan asked if there were industrial areas along CR 561 where the Scenic Byway would pass through.
Mr. Gensheimer replied that there were. He opined that the Scenic Byway was not just about the scenery witnessed while driving through some of the industrial areas, but connecting the different communities together. He added that this could also provide an opportunity to beautify that intersecting stretch of industrial area.
Commr. Campione commented that the key would be to do that in a way that did not hinder the industrial development, and she suggested that the section could be considered a Scenic Byway Connector to recognize that it was an industrial area.
Commr. Sullivan expressed his concern over the safety of having the Scenic Byway go through the industrial area should drivers be on the road during times of industrial use.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Resolution No. 2013-8 in support of the expansion of the Green Mountain Scenic Byway.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 16 as follows:
Request for approval to advertise an Ordinance amending Lake County Code, Chapter 14, Article VII, entitled "Pain Management Clinics," Section 14-101, entitled "Moratorium," to extend a moratorium on the issuance of business tax receipts for new pain management clinics. The moratorium is due to expire on February 28, 2013 and this Ordinance will extend the moratorium to July 1, 2013. There is no fiscal impact at this time.
Request for approval to apply to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Capital Grant Program to purchase paratransit vehicles for use under the Transportation Disadvantaged program (Lake County Connection for Fiscal Year 2013-2014). Also approval of the supporting Resolution No. 2013-6, acceptance, and implementation of the grant award, and the procurement of the vehicles under the State’s bid list through the Transit Research Inspection Procurement Services Program (TRIP). The fiscal impact is $536,812.00 (County Portion: $53,681.20 / Grant Funding: $483,130.80) (Expense).
Request for approval to submit the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Section 5311 Operating Grant Application to fund the Transportation Disadvantaged Program in the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget. Also approval of the supporting Resolution No. 2013-7, acceptance, and implementation of the grant award. The fiscal impact is $982,640.00 (County Portion: $491,320.00 / Grant Funding: $491,320.00) (Expense).
Conservation and Compliance
Request to approve a Satisfaction & Release of Fine for Case# 2009010235, Claude & Jennifer Eure.
Request to approve a Satisfaction & Release of Fine for Property Owner: William David Hansen, Case# 2005050060.
Request to approve a Release of Fine for Property Owner: Carl K. & Linda L. Thompson Jr., Case# 2006080207.
Economic Development and Tourism
Request for approval to sponsor the 17th Annual Leesburg Bikefest for $40,000. The fiscal impact is $40,000 (expense).
Request for approval and signature of the Interlocal Agreement with the City of Tavares and the BCC for annual funding to assist with the operation of the North East Lake Business Opportunity Center, and for signature of unanticipated revenue Resolution 2013-9. The fiscal impact is $14,400 (revenue).
Request to authorize County staff to proceed with the procurement of a consultant for the Wellness Way Sector Plan consistent with the proposed Request for Proposals. The fiscal impact will be determined during the procurement process.
Request for approval and execution of: (1) Memorandum of Agreement for Participating Orlando Urban Areas Securities Initiative (UASI) Agencies by the Lake County Board of County Commissioners; and appointment of the Lake County Emergency Management Division Manager as the primary representative for Lake County to the UASI Working Group; and (2) Authorization for the County Manager to sign future amendments/modifications that do not involve financial impact.
Request for approval to award contract 13-0014, Micro-surfacing, Crack Sealing and Related Services to Asphalt Paving Systems, Inc., Zephyrhills, Florida and authorize the Procurement office to execute all supporting documentation. The fiscal impact is estimated at $300,000 (Expenditure).
Request for approval to award contract 13-0412, Sidewalk, Vacant Lot, Bridge Approach, Retention Area Mowing and Maintenance to FGC, Inc. (Deland, FL), and authorize the Procurement office to execute all supporting documentation. The fiscal impact is estimated at $42,240.00 (Expenditure).
Request for authorization to accept the final plat for Heathrow Country Estates Phase 3 and all areas dedicated to the public as shown on the Heathrow Country Estates Phase 3 plat. Heathrow Country Estates Phase 3 consists of 97 lots and is located in Section 20, Township 19 South, Range 28 East. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 4.
Request for approval to award contracts 13-0002 for on-call solid waste engineering services to SAIC and S2LI in conjunction with the County's needs. The fiscal impact is $35,000 (Estimated).
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
Commr. Campione mentioned that she had read Mr. Jochim’s blog entry regarding the industrial revenue bonds for Goodwill Industries and noted that Goodwill Industries employed many people and had specific criteria for their employees. She opined that it was an issue of an economic development opportunity because of the number of people employed by Goodwill Industries who would have a difficult time finding a job elsewhere. She remarked that she was not concerned about the County’s commercial ventures becoming classified similarly to Goodwill.
Commr. Cadwell commented that Goodwill had done a good job with the Leesburg facility.
Commr. Sullivan noted that the Goodwill Industries training program in Leesburg put about 547 people to work and helped them find jobs in the private sector.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 17 through 19 as follows:
Request for approval of Resolution No. 2013-10 authorizing Issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds by the Orange County Industrial Development Authority on behalf of Goodwill Industries in an amount not to exceed $3,600,000 to finance or refinance the acquisition, construction, renovation and equipping of facilities to be located at 1855 South Grand Highway, Clermont, Florida 34711, including the purchase of 3.27 acres of land and construction of a 25,000 square foot building, including a retail store, a processing area and a donor drive through lane with a donation receiving area and a job center.
Request to approve an agreement between Lake County and Robert Alan Christiansen, Jr. regarding the resolution of a boundary dispute between the County and Mr. Christiansen. Fiscal Impact: $3,000 (revenue).
Request to approve the Third Amendment to the lease between Lake County and Ali H. Jawad for lease space for the Tax Collector's Office in Clermont.
public hearings: rezoning
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Planning and Community Design Manager, stated that the zoning cases had been properly advertised and that there were no changes to the agenda.
rezoning consent agenda
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing and reserved comment to the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Rezoning Consent Agenda as follows:
Tab 1. Ordinance No. 2013-1
Fred C. Hunter/Martha Hunter Formella
Hunter Property Rezoning
The Applicant is requesting to rezone property from Agriculture to Ranchette District.
rezoning regular agenda
PH#39-12-3 – Eustis Gun Club, Inc/Thomas Jinks, P.E.
Commr. Campione reported that she had met with Ms. Lynne White, representing Loma Linda Corporation; and Mr. Jerry Cloud, President of Loma Linda Corporation, with regards to the Loma Linda property which was adjacent to the Eustis Gun Club.
Commr. Cadwell reported meeting with them and also reported being contacted by members of the Eustis Gun Club.
Commr. Parks reported that he had also met with the representatives of the Loma Linda Corporation.
Mr. Sheahan introduced case number PH#39-12-3 for the Eustis Gun Club and stated that the case was to rectify Code Enforcement requirements because the applicant was found in violation. He explained that the applicant had been discovered to have some structures that required permitting, and a rezoning was required in order to get permitting with a following site plan approval so the applicant could then apply for the necessary building permits to enclose the structures. He reported that this ordinance would amend Community Facility District Ordinance No. 40-89 approved by the Board in 1989 to continue the existing shooting range use and add new uses such as classrooms, a meeting building and bathrooms, and to replace the existing ordinance with a new ordinance. He specified that this was not a request for the expansion of the range itself and that the ordinance was necessary to add the classroom and to rectify some setback encroachments on the northern property line that the unpermitted structures had crossed into. He mentioned that the property had been used for the last 25 years as a shooting range for a private club with the total property comprising about 23.7 acres situated on the south side of Frankies Road and south of the Sheriff’s gun range and tactical driving facility. He noted that the rezoning approved in 1989 for the property required the installation and maintenance of berms to keep projectiles on site and assist with noise mitigation. He commented that the applicant had provided a better site plan than what had originally been accepted by the County in 1989, and he displayed that site plan, pointing out various aspects of the property, including where the 200 yard gun range for rifle shooting encroached on the 50 foot required setback. He stated that the applicant had agreed to relocate the structure, which had been built without permits, outside of the setback. He described the solid wood wall at the end of the range as being made of wood stuffed with shredded tires that was meant to capture any errant rounds and help with noise control. He reported that at the Planning and Zoning Board Meeting there had been a question of what setback would be required, and the Board decided to add to the ordinance a requirement to ensure that a 50-foot building setback is maintained. He stated that after discussing the issue with the neighboring property owners, staff suggested adding shooting ranges to that restriction to ensure that no shooting ranges or buildings could be within the 50 foot setback under Section 1.B.5.
Commr. Campione asked if the setback included the berm associated with that range.
Mr. Sheahan replied that he did not think so because the berm was quite substantive, and there would not be a benefit to moving it over.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the 50-foot setback would also be required on the road coming into the property.
Mr. Sheahan answered that it would not be required, and the wording used in the ordinance specified only ranges and buildings to require the setback. He noted that the applicant was also requesting a waiver regarding a building encroaching into a 10-foot setback on the side of the property adjacent to the School Board property. He mentioned that the School Board had already indicated that they had no objection to the waiver, and he explained that the structure would be nonconforming, so they would then have to meet the setback requirements should more than 50 percent of it ever be demolished. He also mentioned that the existing ordinance required that noise be mitigated through the use of berms, but to avoid a conflict with the new statute the County was advised not to carry that requirement over because it was tied to the National Rifle Association (NRA) Range Manual requirement.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, recapped that the legislature forcefully preempted the regulation of firearms and weapons in the State, including imposing personal penalties against any commissioners, ordinances or laws attempting to regulate them. He explained that the new law voided any existing County ordinances having to do with regulating weapons and their use and prohibited further firearm regulation. He recommended that the Board not include any restrictions in the ordinance that pertained to the operation of the gun range because it would violate State statute.
Commr. Campione asked if there was anything in the statute that referenced the NRA Range Manual.
Mr. Minkoff replied that he did not think the NRA manual had been used specifically, but it did reflect that the gun range needed to be safely operated.
Mr. Sheahan mentioned that the property’s location adjacent to the Sheriff’s Office gun range would help ensure it was operated safely. He explained that the Gun Club would have to comply with the existing noise ordinance should there ever be an expansion on the site for additional ranges.
Commr. Cadwell commented that the proximity of the property to the Sheriff’s shooting range would make it difficult to determine where the noise originated.
Commr. Campione explained that the noise study took the existing noise of the area into consideration.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. Thomas Jinks, the applicant representing the Eustis Gun Club, discussed the history of the Eustis Gun Club and mentioned that the 1989 ordinance included a number of the ranges and a building but not the additional storage that had since been built on site. He opined that the location of the Gun Club was ideal because of its proximity to the County Sheriff’s gun range as well as undeveloped agricultural lands to the west and south. He noted that the School Board, which owned property to the east, did not object to the proposed rezoning, but the property to the west was owned by the Loma Linda Corp., and they had expressed their concern regarding the rezoning request. He explained that the Loma Linda property was zoned as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) with the City of Tavares, and Loma Linda was required to provide a 50-foot buffer with a small berm and fence on the section of property abutting the Gun Club as part of the PUD. He stated that the Gun Club was willing to remove the structure encroaching on the buffer and disallow use of the existing range within that setback.
Ms. Lynne White, the attorney representing the Loma Linda Corporation, addressed the Board in opposition to the rezoning request and explained that Loma Linda’s concern with the rezoning request pertained to the proposed ordinance’s safety requirements. She opined that the State’s legislation regarding gun control did not prohibit local zoning matters or prevent local governments from requiring buffers or noise attenuation and that the NRA gun range manual did not establish specific buffers or noise attenuation requirements. She reported that there was an outstanding annexation petition by the Eustis Gun Club to annex into the City of Tavares, and therefore, it would be more appropriate for the City to review the issue after the conclusion of the annexation petition. She stated that Loma Linda objected to the changes to the 1989 ordinance that would remove required protections that made the gun club safer. She explained that the original ordinance required a 50-foot buffer along the western boundary of the property, but the berms had been placed within the buffer instead of in addition to the buffer, and the original ordinance also required for the Gun Club to contain the majority of sound and projectiles, but the Gun Club was not containing the majority of the sound produced by their activities. She added that the original ordinance also required that a final site plan be submitted and approved prior to any construction on the property but there was no evidence that a final site plan had ever been submitted or approved.
Ms. White also mentioned that the property owner had neglected the requirement of requesting building permits for the newer structures on the property, noting that there were two building permit applications, one in 1996 for electrical lighting to a building that was not permitted and one in the fall of 2012 for the weatherproofing of an existing building. She opined that elements of the proposed ordinance were not consistent with the 2030 Comprehensive Plan and that the uses for the property should be considered new uses because the property owner for the Gun Club did not have the proper permits, and therefore should be subject to the requirements of new uses in the Comprehensive Plan. She stated that the proposed ordinance eliminated all of the noise control requirements that were required by the original ordinance and specified that the Comprehensive Plan required that recreational uses be buffered and the County adopt Land Development Regulations (LDRs) to minimize the adverse impacts of active recreational uses on residential areas, but she could not find evidence of any LDRs relating to the Gun Club. She explained that when she asked the Planning Department about the LDRs, she was told that the buffering requirements had been included in Ordinance No. 40-89. She mentioned that the Comprehensive Plan’s section for standards of review required a review of whether there have been changed conditions that justified a rezoning, and she argued that the Gun Club not honoring its obligation to submit and gain approval of a final site plan and the fact that the Loma Linda property was now approved for 999 residential units were examples of how conditions had changed. She stressed that these changes did not justify the removal of the safety requirements. She also commented that the City of Tavares ordinance required buffering in addition to what was already required by the County ordinance and should not be considered a replacement to the safety conditions required in the original ordinance. She asked the Board to consider the impact of the rezoning request on the adjoining properties. She reiterated that the City of Tavares should be the entity addressing this issue instead of the County, and that the property owner should be held accountable for its lack of diligence and compliance.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that he had suggested Ms. White contact the Eustis Gun Club in an attempt for the two parties to work out their issues.
Ms. White replied that an agent of Loma Linda Corp. did contact the Gun Club, but it was her understanding that the Gun Club did not wish to meet with them.
Commr. Campione opined that the County still had jurisdiction over the case until the pending annexation occurred. She then asked Ms. White to clarify what Loma Linda was requesting regarding the buffers.
Ms. White explained that Loma Linda was requesting for the Board to leave in the existing requirement for a 50-foot buffer with no improvements within the buffer boundaries and then for there to be additional earth berms and noise attenuation provisions. She specified that the berms should not be placed within the 50-foot buffer; however, the proposed ordinance only mentioned the 50-foot buffer and did not require that the berms be outside of the buffer.
Mr. Trevor Hall, a real estate broker representing the Loma Linda Corporation, addressed the Board in opposition to the rezoning request. He suggested that the 200-yard firing range that currently intruded into the 50-foot buffer zone could remain where it was if the Eustis Gun Club acquired additional property. He mentioned that the 200-yard range was used for high powered rifles and noted that those weapons created a very loud retort and shot high-speed projectiles. He opined that because the Gun Club was not in compliance with the requirements of the original ordinance, they should not be allowed to be grandfathered in.
Mr. Thomas Ross, representing the Loma Linda Corporation, addressed the Board in opposition to the rezoning request. He reiterated that the Eustis Gun Club violated the terms of the original ordinance and were before the Board because they had been caught and wanted to have the rules causing the violations removed. He specified that the original ordinance had required that a final site plan be submitted and then reviewed and approved by a Site Plan Advisory Committee, and the Gun Club had never fulfilled that requirement. He added that they had also ignored other construction requirements over the years. He stated that the Board had a continuing obligation to ensure compliance with these requirements.
Mr. Al Lane, representing the Board of the Eustis Gun Club, addressed the Board in support of the rezoning request and thanked the County staff for working with the Gun Club on this rezoning case. He noted that representatives of the Gun Club did meet with Mr. Hall, but the Gun Club had not been able to satisfy their objections. He remarked that the Gun Club wished to comply with all County ordinances, and while they had made mistakes with structures that had been built over time by members without regard to obtaining proper permitting, they were trying to ensure the administration of the Gun Club was brought up to date. He stated that the 50 foot buffer was reasonable, and they would adhere to the Board’s decision.
Commr. Campione asked if there was any intention on the part of the Gun Club to remove the berm on the western side of the property.
Mr. Lane replied that the dirt berm on the western side of the property was for safety purposes as well as for noise attenuation, and there were no plans to remove it. He stated that if it was approved by the Board, the Gun Club would remove most of the shelter on the 200-yard range and restrict shooting to the remaining positions. He added that the Gun Club proposed to leave the dirt berm at the end of the range and the wooden structure on top of the berm to prevent projectiles from leaving the range and to assist in noise attenuation.
Mr. Ira Cecil Davenport, an instructor for the Eustis Gun Club and an NRA instructor, addressed the Board in support of the rezoning request. He stressed that the Gun Club was safe and mentioned that the NRA inspected the Gun Club periodically. He commented that the Eustis Gun Club is an NRA Gold Metal Club, which meant that every member is also a member of the NRA. He explained that the shooting facility was governed by NRA qualified range safety officers who were given authority by the president, vice president and board of directors for the Gun Club to enforce the rules and who could deny a person access to the range if necessary.
Commr. Campione ask if members were only allowed to shoot firearms when the range officers were present.
Mr. Davenport replied that that was correct.
Ms. Melinda Short, a resident of Lake County and a member of the Eustis Gun Club, stated that she and her husband worked with 4-H groups, and that three 4-H clubs met at the Eustis Gun Club. She stressed that the Gun Club was a safe and family-oriented place. She asked the Board to approve the rezoning request.
Mr. Harold P. Nowlon, a member of the Eustis Gun Club, addressed the Board in support of the rezoning request. He mentioned that he was a retired federal agent with 33 years of federal law enforcement and five and a half years of military experience, so he was familiar with firing ranges. He remarked that the Sheriff’s range, which had a higher rate of activity, was right next to the Eustis Gun Club and that machine guns and explosives were used on the Sheriff’s gun range. He stated that the Eustis Gun Club had a very extensive noise attenuation setup which the Sheriff’s range did not have. He opined that not many people would want to buy a house across the street from the landfill and next to a shooting range.
Mr. Glenn LaPeire, a member of the Eustis Gun Club, addressed the Board in support of the rezoning request. He explained that the NRA Range Sourcebook was an informational guide for shooting ranges that provided sound abatement guidelines as well as information on the construction of safety berms. He noted that the berms on property had been raised twice based on recommendations from the NRA.
Mr. James Hamilton, former president and current member of the Eustis Gun Club, addressed the Board in support of the rezoning request. He reiterated that the Gun Club took safety issues very seriously. He mentioned that when Mr. Hall contacted the Gun Club, the original request from Loma Linda had been for a ten-foot wall around the property line with windows in it. He opined that Loma Linda was only concerned with their property and did not want to build a buffer on their property.
Mr. Larry M. Everly, Sr., a resident of Mount Dora and member of the Eustis Gun Club, addressed the Board in support of the rezoning request and pointed out that there were many people in the audience who were in support of the rezoning request.
Mr. Martin Short, a member of the Eustis Gun Club and NRA certified pistol and rifle instructor, addressed the Board in support of the rezoning request. He mentioned that the Gun Club had youth programs to educate children so they would be safe around guns and estimated that every year approximately 60 children went through their safety program and learned gun safety, marksmanship, and other life skills.
Mr. David Jordan, a member of the Eustis Gun Club, addressed the Board in support of the rezoning request and reiterated that the Gun Club was run safely.
Mr. Skip Groerner, a member of the Eustis Gun Club, stated that the Gun Club was a necessary facility in Lake County because there were not many places to shoot in the County. He opined that the code violations that the Gun Club were guilty of did not affect the safety of the facility. He asked the Board to approve the rezoning request.
Mr. Daniel Belanger, Jr., a member and range officer of the Eustis Gun Club, addressed the Board in support of the rezoning request. He stated that he had asked the Building Department to review plans for upgrades to the Gun Club for a handicap restroom and additional safety features. He explained that the Gun Club had been in violation long enough that when he had requested the plans be reviewed, he had been told that it would have to go before the BCC. He commented on the issue of sound abatement, explaining that the protective walls that were in place at different parts of the Gun Club had a rubber membrane that both stopped projectiles and worked to decrease the noise from the facility. He stated that removing those protective walls would not help abate sound and was not something that the Gun Club would do. He added that the backside of the protective wall had a dirt berm to further stop projectiles. He opined that kids would not be able to get over the barbed wire fence and that range officers would help keep them off the property. He asked the Board to approve the request.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing and reserved comment to the Board.
Commr. Campione asked Mr. Sheahan if the Eustis Gun Club was currently following the proper steps to bring the property into compliance.
Mr. Sheahan replied that that they were and explained that they could not rectify the building permit violations until they had a site plan, and they could not get a site plan until they had a design in place because they have structures that were not included in the original ordinance, necessitating the Gun Club to get the rezoning approved first.
Commr. Conner asked if there were any other changes to the proposed ordinance in addition to the proposed change on page two regarding the 50-foot buffer.
Mr. Sheahan replied that there were no other changes.
Commr. Campione asked Mr. Sheahan if it was his opinion that the berms were not considered part of the range and therefore could be placed within the 50-foot buffer.
Mr. Sheahan replied that that was correct. He explained that ordinance did not specify the size of the berms and that they were allowed to encroached into the buffer.
Commr. Campione asked if the berms currently on the property could be acknowledged on the site plan because the Gun Club was indicating that they were going to maintain them.
Mr. Sheahan proposed adding a provision requiring that existing berms be maintained.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, commented that he did not think maintenance of the berms could be a requirement, as it would risk the Board violating the new legislation by interfering with regulating the safety of the gun range.
Commr. Campione asked if the berm could be considered a part of noise attenuation.
Commr. Sullivan added that he wanted to ensure the berms could not be removed.
Mr. Minkoff suggested that adding language stating that existing berms should remain or else the property owner would have to go through Land Development Regulations regarding noise attenuation would be allowable.
Commr. Campione agreed with tying the berms to the noise attenuation provisions, and the property owner would be required to conduct a noise study if the berms were removed and comparable provisions for noise attenuation would need to be installed.
Mr. Sheahan recommended adding the provision regarding the berms under Page 2, Section C5 to state, “Any relocation of berms shall require site plan approval and a noise study.”
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2013-2 and Rezoning Case PH# 39-12-3, Eustis Gun Club, Inc./Thomas Jinks, P.E., which was a request to amend Community Facility District Ordinance #40-89 to continue the existing shooting range use, add new uses, including a change to Page 2, Section 1.B.5 to, “A fifty (50) foot building and range setback…”, and the addition of Section 1.C.5 stating, “Any relocation of berms shall require site plan approval and a noise study.”
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
The Chairman announced at 10:54 a.m. that there would be a ten-minute recess.
Public hearings: rezoning, cont.
LPA #13/1/10-2 – Comprehensive Plan Amendment
Mr. Sheahan presented LPA #13/1/10-2, a Map Amendment to change 151 parcels consisting of 580 acres located just north of SR 50 from Rural Transition to Urban Low Density Future Land Use. He explained that the County-initiated Comprehensive Plan amendment was necessary, because when the 2030 Comprehensive Plan had originally been approved by the BCC and sent to the State, the Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) had rejected the amendment because it had not been included with the original transmittal of the Comprehensive Plan. He noted that this was the first of ten amendments that would need to be readdressed by the Board. He mentioned that when the procedural determination was made by the DCA, the future land use reverted back to Rural Transition Density Future Land Use category. He stated that there were several Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) that had been approved prior to the adoption of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan, and the proposed amendment would allow those properties to conform to the current Plan.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one present who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing and reserved comment to the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved LPA #13/1/10-2, 2030 Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map Amendment to change 151 parcels consisting of 580 acres from Rural Transition to Urban Low Density Future Land Use previously approved by the Board for transmittal to the Community Planning and Development Division of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Ordinance regarding mt. Plymouth-sorrento CRA membership
Mr. Minkoff placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for its first and final reading by title only, as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF lake county, florida, amending section 2-90.9, lake county code, chapter 2, article iv, division 5, entitled membership; amending the membership requirements for the mt. plymouth-sorrento community redevelopment advisory committee; providing for inclusion in the code; providing for severability; providing for filing with the department of state; and providing for an effective date.
Mr. Minkoff stated that this change would broaden membership and allow people with significant family ties or business ties to serve on the board.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one present who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing and reserved comment to the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2013-3 amending the membership requirements for the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee.
Ordinances regarding special events regulations
Mr. Minkoff stated that this agenda item consisted of two ordinances. He placed the proposed ordinances on the floor for their first and final reading by title only, as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF lake county, florida; repealing and replacing article v, chapter 13, lake county code, entitled music or entertainment festivals; renaming the article to special events; providing for definition; providing criteria for a special event permit; amending section 14-37, entitled exemptions (noise control); amending section 15-16, lake county code, regarding temporary closing of county roads; providing for inclusion in the code; providing for severability; providing for filing with the department of state; and providing for an effective date.
an ordinance of the board of county commissioners of lake county, florida; amending section 14.00.02, lake county code, appendix e, land development regulations, entitled prohibition; renumbering section 10.03.00 regarding open air vendors to 14.19.00, lake county code, appendix e, land development regulations; repealing 10.03.01, lake county code, appendix e, land development regulations, entitled open air gatherings and other temporary uses; creating section 14.13.00, lake county code, appendix e, land development regulations, to be entitled special event site plans; providing for a purpose; providing for submittal requirements; providing for exemptions; providing that the proposed uses shall be consistent with the zoning district; amending chapter ii, appendix e, land development regulations, entitled definitions; providing for severability; providing for filing with the department of state; providing for inclusion in the code; and providing for an effective date.
Mr. Sheahan stated that an extensive presentation on the proposed ordinances had occurred at a previous Board meeting, and no changes had been made to them since that meeting.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one present who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing and reserved comment to the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2013-4 updating existing regulations to provide for a definition of what constitutes a special event and provide for a process by which an event coordinator can obtain a special event permit; and Ordinance No. 2013-5 updating existing regulations to clarify that open air gatherings and special events shall only occur if the event or use is permitted within the zoning district where the property is located, as well as to provide for application and submittal requirements for a special event site plan.
Vacation petition No. 1181 – plum lake estates
Mr. Stivender stated that Vacation Petition No. 1181 was a request to vacate four side yard utility easements and execute a replacement easement. He noted that there was no fiscal impact and the property was located in Commission District 2. He explained that the current easements on lots 64 and 65 in Plum Lake Estates encroached through the houses located on those properties and the request was to vacate the easements that went through the houses and replace them with an easement between the two houses. He recommended approval of the request.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Ms. Barbara Simmons, one of the vacation petition applicants and property owners to one of the lots in question, addressed the Board to request that they approve the vacation petition. She explained that the location of the current easement was preventing her from being able to sell her home.
Commr. Campione asked if there had been any complaints from the utilities regarding the easement issue.
Mr. Stivender explained that putting the alternative easement where it was accessible solved the problem with the utilities companies.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Resolution No. 2013-11 for Vacation Petition No. 1181 to vacate four side yard utility easements located in Plum Lake Estates in the City of Clermont.
Vacation petition no. 1182 – clermont farms
Mr. Stivender stated that Vacation Petition No. 1182 was a request to vacate a right of way in the plat of Clermont Farms located in Commission District 1. He explained that the request was to vacate the old plat lines, and he recommended approval.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Resolution No. 2013-12 for Vacation Petition No. 1182 to vacate right of way in the plat of Clermont Farms.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
Facilities development and management
Space analysis of public defender building
Mr. Minkoff summarized that the current interlocal agreement with the City of Tavares regarding the Clerk’s Record Center gave the City the sole option to purchase the building under the conditions that the purchase option must be exercised between October 1, 2014 and May 15, 2015; the closing date must be within 60 days after the City had exercised this option; and the City must lease the building back to the County for one year following the closing.
Mr. Kristian Swenson, Facilities and Fleet Management Director, explained that in June 2012 the City of Tavares sent a request to the County to exercise the purchase option for the building earlier than outlined in the interlocal agreement. He mentioned that the letter also included a request for interest free owner financing from the County for a 13 to 20 year term and for the County to fund $250,000 worth of improvements to the building. He stated that staff met with City representatives several times to discuss the request, and after reviewing the request and available options, staff could not recommend approval because accelerating the purchase option was not feasible due to downtown construction timing and needed building sales funds. He mentioned that the request from the City had been based upon an appraisal of the building by the Property Appraiser’s Office of approximately $1 million. He reported that the City still wished to exercise the option to purchase the building, regardless of the time frame. He stated that there were four options available to obtain the needed building space for the Clerk’s Record Center. He explained that Option 1, constructing a new building, provided for a building tailored to the specific user needs but would take between two and three years to construct and would be a costly undertaking because the revenue from the sale of the current building would not adequately offset construction costs. He explained that Option 2, buying an existing building, provided the opportunity for the space to be remodeled to tailor it to the specific user needs and could be a cheaper option than building a new space, but the options were limited by desired location, availability and size as well as potential cost issues with the remodel. He explained that Option 3, remodeling the Public Defender’s building, was a viable option because the space was in an ideal location, in good condition, and met the approximate size needs while also having the ability to be remodeled to tailor the space to the specific user needs, but it carried a two-year projected timeline due to downtown construction, and funding was limited. He noted that Option 4, leasing office space, was not a viable option because any remodeling would improve a building the County would not own, would require multiple moves which would disrupt staff and public, and there were issues with location and availability of appropriate spaces. He stated that the Clerk of Courts’ preference was to remain in the current location, but since that was not an option, the Clerk’s preference was to build a new building or remodel the Public Defender’s building; however, the Clerk was aware that building a new building was not feasible due to the timeline and cost for the project. He stated that staff recommended Option 3, remodeling the Public Defender’s building, and he requested the Board to authorize staff to move forward with the building and space usage analysis of the building.
Commr. Conner commented that the County did not know if the City of Tavares had the funds available to exercise the option to buy.
Mr. Swenson confirmed that that was correct.
Commr. Conner stated he had met with representatives of the City regarding this issue. He expressed his concern and advised caution regarding the County investing money in the project when they did not know whether the City had the means to purchase the building.
Commr. Campione mentioned that the window of opportunity for the City to exercise that option was October 1, 2014 through May 2015.
Commr. Conner added that they had a year past that before the Clerk’s Office had to be out of the building. He then questioned why a new building could not be constructed within a reasonable timeline, because the project should not be a three year project.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the space analysis being requested could be performed by County staff.
Mr. Swenson replied that the intention had been to hire a consultant to conduct the analysis.
Commr. Campione agreed with Commr. Cadwell and Commr. Conner that they would want to spend the least amount of money possible to prepare in case the City of Tavares officially exercised the option to purchase the building.
Commr. Parks agreed with the suggestion for staff to conduct the analysis.
Mr. Richard LeBlanc, Architect for Facilities and Fleet Management, stated that the space analysis could be performed in house.
Commr. Conner stated that his preference was to conduct the space study in house if staff could do it properly.
Mr. Minkoff commented that if the City chose to exercise the option to purchase, then the County would be hard pressed to complete the entire project in only 12 months without any previous plans. He added that if the Clerk’s Records Center did not move into the Public Defender’s building, then the goal would be to salvage as much of the work as possible for another department to move into the space.
Commr. Sullivan asked what the benefit was of selling the building, giving the City $250,000 to redo the building, and provide interest-free financing.
Commr. Conner mentioned that the agreement between the City and the County predated his election to the BCC. He speculated that the contract was not something the County had initiated but rather was something the City had wanted, and they needed to be concerned with the impact to the County.
Commr. Campione noted that the City had until 2015 to come up with the funds to purchase the building, and the Board needed to make the decision that would put them in the best position in the future. She agreed with moving forward on the space analysis because it would be useful to know what the building could be used for, even if the Clerk’s Records Center did not move into that space.
Commr. Conner commented that this was dependent on the County having the money for upgrades to the Public Defender’s building without the funds from the purchase of the Public Records building. He stated that he agreed with conducting a space study and asked if demolition and rebuilding was something that should be considered in this case.
Mr. Swenson replied that he would not recommend that option in this case. He explained that the building was salvageable, there were no advantages to demolishing it, and the County would save significant money by remodeling it. He mentioned that there were no proposals from third-party consultants for the space analysis at this time and that while portions could be performed in house, there were portions that Mr. LeBlanc could not do himself. He stated that a sub-consultant would be needed for those portions.
Commr. Parks suggested that the initial space study should be conducted in house and then Mr. Swenson could present to the Board a proposal for the sub-consultant if one was needed.
Mr. Swenson replied that it had been the original plan to use one of the on-call contracts that were pending.
Commr. Cadwell commented that regardless of what the Board decided, the Public Defender would be moving out of that building, and something would need to be done with that space. He suggested that they move forward with the space analysis to help determine who would be the best fit for the space should the Clerk’s Records Center not move there.
Commr. Conner stated that he agreed with that suggestion, but he wanted to be careful about what steps came after the space analysis. He added that he would not support anything that the Clerk did not support.
Mr. Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court, emphasized how important the space analysis was to ensure optimum utilization of the square footage available. He stated that the Clerk’s Records Center had special needs because it dealt with the official records for the County and required specialized accommodations such as vaults, security, and fire protection. He stressed that the need was not just for office space, but also for retail and specialized storage space. He stated that maintaining the records was the constitutional responsibility of the Clerk. He recommended that a full needs assessment be conducted as had been performed for the new Judicial Center.
Mr. Swenson summarized that it was the direction of the Board that Mr. LeBlanc would do an initial space analysis, which would be submitted to a professional consultant for review.
The Board came to a consensus for the initial space analysis to be conducted in house and then submitted to a professional.
amendment to Motorola maintenance service agreement
Mr. John Jolliff, Public Safety Director and Fire Chief, gave a presentation regarding a request to extend the Motorola maintenance contract for continued support of the Countywide Radio System through fiscal year 2020. He stated that all of the law enforcement agencies, fire service agencies, and EMS in the County utilized the system. He mentioned that the current system contract had been in effect since 2007 and there was complete interoperability amongst all Lake County agencies as well as great intergovernmental cooperation. He commented that the system included portable radio on the hip coverage which allowed for communication throughout the County regardless of what type of radio is being used, had a high resiliency and redundancy, had interoperability on 800MHz, and had interoperability with Marion, Sumter, Seminole, Osceola, Orange, Polk, and Volusia Counties which created a complete communications system.
Commr. Campione asked if the above mentioned counties were all on Motorola as well.
Mr. Jolliff replied that all of them except Volusia County used Motorola.
Mr. Greg Holcomb, Public Safety, stated that the existing maintenance contract had been approved for $1,617,210 annually and the total cost of the five-year contract was $8,086,050. He mentioned that existing recurring revenue of $558,750 helped to support the contract costs. He also mentioned that the contract would expire on September 30, 2015. He noted that the proposed maintenance contract would have an annual fee of $1,843,811 and would extend the terms of the original agreement an additional five years to expire on September 30, 2020. He stated that the increase on the contract would cost the County an additional $226,601 annually starting October 1, 2015, and that the contract would eliminate the annual Consumer Price Index adjustment from the contract terms. He added that they would continue to receive the existing recurring revenues. He listed the benefits to extending the contract as follows: Turnkey Guaranteed System Reliability until September 30, 2020; no impact to the fiscal year 2013 or 2014 budget; availability of hardware, software and 7/24/365 maintenance through September 30, 2020; fixed cost with no cost increases; and assurance of connectivity and compatibility with all of Lake County and adjacent agencies through September 30, 2020. He stated that the system was part of a multi-agency collaborative partnership that involved about 90 different agencies through Lake County and surrounding counties that were all on Motorola, and extending the contract would ensure the continued connectivity to this system as well as maintain the resiliency of Lake County’s system.
Chief Jolliff recommended approval and signature of the Motorola Service Agreement maintenance contract amendment for the Countywide Radio System and approval and signature of the Bailment Agreement for participation in the Pilot System between Lake County and Orange County.
Commr. Conner asked if there was an alternative to extending the service agreement maintenance contract with Motorola.
Mr. Minkoff replied that the alternative was to remain with the current maintenance agreement until it expired in 2015 and then renegotiate a maintenance agreement at that time.
Commr. Conner asked if there were any other service providers for the maintenance agreement.
Mr. Holcomb replied that there were not.
Commr. Campione mentioned that she had noticed Lake County Schools on the list of agencies involved, and she asked to what extent they were involved.
Mr. Holcomb replied that the resource officers for the Lake County Schools used the system.
Commr. Campione suggested that they should find out whether the Lake County Schools had any additional needs that are not currently being covered if the County was going to renegotiate the maintenance contract.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the school busses were part of the system.
Mr. Holcomb replied that they were not.
Commr. Sullivan commented that the School Board was currently using all of their safety requirements to fund the resource officers.
Commr. Campione suggested that staff reach out to the School Board regarding the contract.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request from Public Safety for the Motorola Service Agreement Maintenance Contract Amendment for the Countywide Radio System, as well as the Bailment Agreement for participation in the Pilot System between Lake County and Orange County, with the condition that the School Board be approached to see if they would like to participate in the negotiation for the extension of the maintenance contract.
Design of a roundabout at the intersection of cr561 and cr455
Mr. Fred Schneider, County Engineer for the Public Works Department, addressed the Board to give a presentation and request approval to accept a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for the design and construction of a roundabout at the intersection of County Roads 455 and 561 located south of the Town of Astatula and northwest of the City of Minneola. He reported that in July 2010 the FDOT completed a Roundabout Justification Study recommending a roundabout at the CR 561/CR 455 intersection; in September 2010 the Town of Astatula approved the PD&E Study for CR 561 which included a roundabout at that intersection; in May 2011 the FDOT sent the grant to the BCC, but the Board did not approve to accept the grant; and in August 2012 the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (LSMPO) approved Resolution No. 2012-24 to recommend to the BCC that they reconsider accepting the grant for the roundabout. He mentioned that seven roundabouts were proposed for CR 455 from CR 564 through the Town of Montverde, with the Green Mountain Scenic Byway Plan recommending a roundabout for the intersection of CR 455 and CR 561 as well as three additional roundabouts within the Town of Montverde, and the Sugarloaf DRI which has one roundabout already and two more approved in the final plan for CR 455. He displayed an aerial photo of the intersection and remarked that there were six stop signs, four yield signs, and two-way ramps instead of turn lanes at the center of the intersections. He noted that the intersection was built between 1930 and 1940 when the area was very rural with mostly agricultural traffic.
Mr. Schneider reported that staff had conducted a 20 year projection for the intersection and estimated that northbound traffic on CR 561 would increase from approximately 8,800 vehicles per day in 2012 to 14,000 vehicles per day by 2035 and that westbound traffic on CR 455 would increase from approximately 2,700 vehicles per day in 2012 to 5,500 vehicles per day by 2035. He explained that these numbers were assuming a slow growth rate of between two and three percent per year. He stated that staff also ran a traffic model for the area which looked at the trends as well as what was proposed and what was going to be built to come up with the future traffic estimates. He reported that between 2008 and 2012 there had been ten crashes, with four of them most likely angled crashes that could have been mitigated by a traffic signal or a roundabout. He remarked that the crash rate for the intersection was 42 percent higher than the State average, but he did not consider that an extreme significance. He specified that existing traffic conditions did not warrant a traffic signal, but there were different intersection options such as constructing a standard intersection with turn lanes and a traffic signal when warranted, constructing a roundabout, or looking at other methods to reduce accidents such as restriping the intersection, maintaining clear and high visible signage, and converting the ramps to allow only one-way traffic with turn lanes on the north and south approaches. He explained that they needed to look ten to 20 years out to determine what the best option was for the expected traffic growth. He then described the standard intersection option, stating that it would have left turn lanes on all of the approaches, a southbound right turn lane, the ramps removed, and a traffic signal when warranted. He described the proposed roundabout, stating that the entire intersection would be redone to a roundabout approximately 180 feet in diameter.
Commr. Sullivan asked if the size of the proposed roundabout would prevent problems with semi-trucks passing through.
Mr. Schneider replied that there would be no problem with trucks because it would be more of a rural roundabout as opposed to an urban roundabout such as the one in the City of Tavares. He reported that the cost estimate for a standard intersection with traffic signal was $100,000 for the design, $278,000 for the construction and $150,000 for the traffic signal, making the total cost $528,000. He reported that the cost estimate for the roundabout from FDOT was $271,500 for the design and $822,419 for the construction, making the total cost $1,093,919. He opined that the estimate for the design would be less than projected and that the construction estimate was in line with staff’s estimate. He added that the estimate for maintenance for the traffic signal was $4,500 annually and the street lighting for the roundabout was $2,600 annually. He remarked that there would not be any significant difference in resurfacing, restriping or mowing costs for either option, and noted that landscaping costs were not included in the estimates.
Commr. Parks asked if the cost estimates would remain approximately the same 20 to 30 years from now.
Mr. Schneider answered that with the price of electricity rising, the cost for the streetlights would increase, but the differences in annual maintenance costs between the two options should remain similar. He mentioned that the cost estimates had been calculated using current prices.
Mr. TJ Fish, LSMPO Executive Director, commented on the benefits of a roundabout and he noted that the Board was voting on a contract with FDOT for funding of a project that had already been arranged through the LSMPO. He commented that the right of way was available at the intersection, which was part of the reason the federal grant through FDOT was granted, and while the BCC had voted against the grant funds in 2011, the LSMPO requested that the funds be moved out a year so the data could be thoroughly reviewed. He mentioned that with the help of County staff, the LSMPO looked back to 2004 and saw that there were 49 crashes with three fatalities, and half of them were T-bone type crashes that would have been virtually eliminated had there been a roundabout. He stated that one of the things that the LSMPO Safety Program looked at was countermeasures to remedy the problem. He opined that the location, the available right of way, and the future plans to develop that region made that intersection an idea candidate for a roundabout, and he stressed that the roundabout was not about congestion; it was about safety. He mentioned that LSMPO passed a resolution in August 2012 designating this as a demonstration project to allow the community to see if this was a desirable type of intersection to install in other areas within the County. He explained that FDOT would not fund another roundabout project until this one was completed, and the LSMPO had specific intersections it had prioritized as appropriate for roundabouts. He stated that roundabouts were safer than intersections with traffic signals.
Commr. Campione asked where the Local Agency Program (LAP) funds originated from.
Mr. Fish replied that the grant for this project was comprised of federal funds that originated from the Gas Tax which had to be used for the approved project, and if there was a different project the Board would rather spend the money on, they would have to reject these funds and start the grant application process over again.
Commr. Campione confirmed that the funds could only be used for what had been approved by the FDOT to address safety concerns. She commented that although she previously did not know how the Town of Astatula and the City of Minneola felt about the project, she now knew the trend for those areas was to install roundabouts. She remarked that she supported the project because of the safety issues it would address and the fact that the funds had been secured through the federal grant.
Commr. Conner commented that a previous slide had stated that there had been ten crashes at the intersection between 2008 and 2012, but from what Mr. Fish had reported that meant there would have been 39 crashes between 2004 and 2008. He asked if there was any data to support Mr. Fish’s information and why the crash rates were so disproportionate that there would be 39 crashes from 2004 to 2008 and only ten crashes from 2008 to 2012. He remarked that if Mr. Fish’s count was accurate, then that meant that the trend for that intersection was for fewer accidents. He opined that the project was one of the most absurd proposals he had seen, and he disagreed with most of the comments Mr. Fish had made. He asked Mr. Stivender if this proposal was a part of the County’s five-year transportation plan.
Mr. Stivender replied that it was not a part of the County’s five-year plan.
Commr. Conner stated that he did not agree with spending federal funds in a way that the Board would not spend local funds and opined that the Board would not agree to spend that kind of money for the roundabout if the project was not federally funded. He stated that the traffic did not support the project. He commented that he agreed with Commr. Campione when she had inquired about whether or not the Board could use the funds for a different project instead of the roundabout. He declaimed that it was not appropriate for $1 million to be spent on a roundabout that was not needed when other projects that were needed, such as the requested traffic signal at Summit Greens, could not be funded. He opined that the project was being driven by the federal and State government, not by the County, and he would not support it.
Commr. Campione stated that the current intersection was not safe, and she would like to see the situation corrected. She remarked that ultimately some modifications would need to be made to that intersection, and it made sense to address the safety concerns now using the LAP funding that was specifically designated for safety projects. She commented that the situation was unique, because the County already had the right of way, which was what allowed this project to be feasible. She stated that she did not agree with Commr. Conner’s opinion of the project and opined that this was an example of looking out for the County and using the Gas Tax to address the safety problem and prevent accidents in the future.
Commr. Parks clarified that the engineers had determined that the roundabout would make the intersection safer.
Commr. Sullivan asked whether the project would affect the County’s five-year transportation plan if the Board voted to move forward with the roundabout.
Mr. Stivender replied that there were no local funds associated with the project, so it would not be addressed by the five-year plan, though it would show up on the list of grant programs funded by outside agencies.
Commr. Parks opined that the proposed roundabout was an infrastructure project, which was appropriate for the federal government to assist with.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he supported the project.
Commr. Conner asked if the Board had the option of installing a traffic signal there.
Mr. Fish replied that the funding through FDOT was specifically allotted for the roundabout, which was a demonstration project. He explained that LSMPO had 24 roundabouts in the Sumter County section of The Villages and the one proposed for the CR 561/CR 455 intersection would be the first one in Lake County.
Commr. Sullivan commented that roundabouts worked and were effective options for intersections, and he mentioned that during his time in the military he had moved huge convoys of military vehicles through roundabouts successfully.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried by a 4-1 vote, the Board approved Resolution No. 2013-14 supporting the Local Agency Program agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation for a roundabout to be constructed at the intersection of County Road 561 and County Road 455, and Resolution 2013-15 to amend the budget for unanticipated revenue for fiscal year 2012-2013 in the amount of $271,500 from the Florida Department of Transportation.
Commr. Conner voted, “No.”
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
The Chairman announced at 12:46 p.m. that there would be a ten-minute recess.
Lake county transportation impact fees presentation
Mr. Schneider addressed the Board to provide the results of the updated Transportation Impact Fee Study and to request direction from the Board on whether to reinstate transportation impact fees or continue the current suspension. He recapped that on November 20, 2012 staff gave a presentation on suggestions regarding the transportation impact fee to the Board, because a final decision needed to be made by March 1, 2013 or the suspended fee would automatically be reinstated. He then mentioned that on January 17, 2013, the updated Transportation Impact Fee Study was presented to Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC), and their recommendation would be presented today.
Mr. Clancy Mullen, Vice President for Duncan Associates in Austin, Texas, reported that if the transportation impact fees were reinstated without any further action, they would automatically return to the fees adopted in 2002. He explained that those fees were based on a study conducted in 2001, and the fees should be based off of the updated study. He summarized the major characteristics of the update, such as that it simplified land use categories, retained consumption-based methodology, and proposed reducing road benefit districts from six to three. He reported that the cost per lane mile using the new study was about half of what was used in the 2007 study, more than 25 percent less than the study conducted in 2010, and a little bit higher in terms of cost per lane mile than what was used in the 2001 study, reflecting the decrease in costs and travel demand factors since the decline of the economy. He briefly described the simplified land use categories and gave the example that the proposed category of public/institutional land use would be comprised of 17 current categories. He displayed a map depicting the current six Transportation Benefit Districts and a map with the recommended three Districts that would give more flexibility in spending than in the past. He then displayed a fee comparison chart for the typical land use types comparing the fees from the 2001 study to the 2013 study. He noted that the amounts either went up or down from the 2001 values, dependent on such factors as updating the travel demands data as well as the consolidation of the land use categories; and many of the commercial uses were at a lower fee value than calculated in 2001.
Mr. Schneider reported that CFAC recommended approval of the updated 2013 study as presented, continuation of the suspension of the transportation impact fee for one year, and to look into an assessment process over time for the future collection of impact fees. He displayed a chart showing the suspended fee amount, the updated fee amount, and what the fee would be if it was discounted to 13, 16, 39, and 52 percent. He explained that they had used a medium sized single-family home with a suspended fee of $2,189 as the baseline, with the full updated fee equaling $3,867 for that land use, and this baseline would then be used to calculate the fee for the other land use categories. He explained that depending on whether the Board directs the County Manager and County Attorney to either adopt a proposed ordinance at the February 12, 2013 Board meeting to continue the extension, reinstate the impact fee, or adopt a discounted rate for the fee, the suspension would continue as of March 1, 2013 or the new fee would go into effect as of May 12 after a statutorily required 90-day waiting period.
Commr. Parks reported that he had attended the CFAC meeting held on Thursday, January 17, 2013, and the transportation impact fee issue had been discussed at length during the meeting. He opined that the CFAC recommendation to continue the suspension of the impact fees for another year had been tied to the idea of relating impact fees to unemployment. He then remarked that he would recommend reinstating the impact fees at a reduced rate that would make the County competitive economically. He stated that impact fees were not ideal, but they were not any closer to coming up with an alternative at this point.
Mr. Minkoff mentioned that the old Impact Fee Committee had recommended that the fees be collected on an assessment basis, but the School Board had been opposed to it because instead of receiving the money up front, they would not receive it for several years. He commented that collecting the fees on an assessment basis was personnel-intensive because they needed to stay ahead of the mortgages.
Commr. Campione asked how practical it was to stay ahead of the mortgages.
Mr. Minkoff replied that it would be very practical for commercial projects, but for houses they would run into problems, because the underwriters would most likely object to the process.
Commr. Conner asked if the assessments could be bonded.
Mr. Minkoff replied that anything could be bonded, but he suspected the assessments would be bonded at a higher interest rate than the County would typically borrow at.
Commr. Conner asked if other counties collected impact fees through assessments.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the idea had come from a county in South Florida where they used assessments to collect water and sewer rates in connection with large developments.
Commr. Cadwell opined that they would need to create a new department to keep up with impact fee assessments for the County if they were implemented.
Commr. Parks suggested building the fee into the mortgage or at least making it an option to spread the payments out over time.
Commr. Campione suggested continuing the suspension for six more months and then reinstating the impact fees at a rate of 13 percent. She stated that the Board could then revisit the issue next year.
Commr. Conner suggested they take a more gradual approach to reinstating the impact fee instead of going from zero to 13 percent immediately.
Commr. Cadwell expressed concern with reinstating the impact fee, because he thought it might allow the Board to postpone the consideration of other options such as the Gas Tax.
Commr. Sullivan commented that the Board needed to take action on the impact fee because he did not see any alternative funding sources. He agreed with the suggestion of implementing the impact fees on a gradual basis, and added that that the Gas Tax also needed to be implemented.
Commr. Parks suggested continuing the suspension for three months and then set the impact fee at a rate of 6.5 percent for three months, and at the end of that six month period, set the impact fee rate to 13 percent.
Commr. Campione suggested continuing the suspension until the first of October and then setting the impact fee at 13 percent.
Mr. Minkoff stated that there could be one ordinance adopting the impact fee at 13 percent if the suspension ended on October 1, 2013. He added that if the Board wanted to follow the CFAC recommendation and change from six to three districts then that could be included in the ordinance as well.
Commr. Sullivan agreed with the recommendation to decrease to three districts.
Commr. Conner opined that it was premature to reinstate the impact fee, even at a discounted rate, because of the state of the economy and unemployment.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried by a 4-1 vote, the Board accepted and adopted the 2010 Transportation Impact Fee Study, approved the reinstatement of the Transportation Impact Fee at a discounted rate of 13 percent to be effective starting October 1, 2013, approved reducing the County to three districts, and approved advertising the next public hearing.
Commr. Conner voted, “No.”
Appointments to mt. Plymouth-sorrento community redevelopment advisory committee
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board appointed Frances Geddes, Dave Croson, Christine Thompson, and Matthew Matulia as Members who are property owners within the Planning Area; and Frances Nipe, Thomas A. Van de Kieft, and Timothy J. Bailey as Members who are residents or property owners within a three mile radius of the Planning Area, to serve a two-year term on the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee beginning January 22, 2013.
Appointments to planning and zoning board
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board appointed Kathryn S. McKeeby for District 1, reappointed Timothy Morris for District 3, and reappointed Paul Bryan for District 5, to serve a four-year term on the Planning and Zoning Board beginning January 31, 2013.
Appointments to elder affairs coordinating council
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board reappointed Mary Lou Wieloszynski for District 2, Barbara Wilson Smith and Frances Weston for District 4, and Deanna Chapman and Barbara Howell as At-Large Members, to serve a two-year term on the Elder Affairs Coordinating Council beginning February 1, 2013.
reports – county manager
new public information officer
Mr. Heath introduced Mr. Peter Benyola as the new Public Information Officer.
Appointment of board liaison to Lady Lake and Clermont ISBA’s
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the designations of Commr. Cadwell as the liaison for the Lady Lake ISBA in connection to Resolution 2012-64 and Commr. Parks for the Clermont ISBA in connection to Resolution 2012-139.
reports – commissioner parks – district 2
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events
Commr. Parks reported attending the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in downtown Leesburg and the events held in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Clermont where he had read a copy of Resolution 2012-153 recognizing Monday, January 21, 2013 as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Lake County.
reports – commissioner conner – district 3
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast
Commr. Conner reported attending the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast held on Friday, January 18th at the Leesburg Community Center.
Appointment of alternate to Lake Community Action Agency
Commr. Conner announced that he had received the appointment to the Lake Community Action Agency (LCAA) but mentioned he had a standing schedule conflict on Wednesdays and requested the Board appoint an alternate.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved appointing Ms. Dottie Keedy, Community Services Director, to serve as the alternate for Commr. Conner on the LCAA.
Suggestion for a board retreat
Commr. Conner suggested the Board schedule a retreat where they could discuss important pending issues such as the budget and the Gas Tax in a relaxed environment.
Commr. Campione agreed with the suggestion of scheduling a retreat.
Commr. Parks suggested holding the retreat at the Cagan Crossings Library in South Lake County.
Commr. Campione suggested holding the retreat at Red Tail or Boggy Creek.
The Board agreed to schedule a retreat for Tuesday, February 5, 2013, with the location to be decided later.
reports – commissioner cadwell – district 5
recertification of Lake County Health Department in Umatilla
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved for the Chairman to sign and send a letter of support of the recertification of the Lake County Health Department in Umatilla.
Commr. Cadwell asked whether Commr. Campione had had any discussion with any of the other Chairmen in the region regarding the Expressway Authority.
Commr. Campione replied that she had had a discussion with Senator David Simmons regarding the issue and with Lake County’s legislative delegation to express the Board’s concerns. She remarked that of the three counties currently left out, Lake County was the only one with a part of the toll system within its jurisdiction and that Lake County also had the potential for another toll facility. She stated that she would continue engaging in those discussions.
Mr. TJ Fish mentioned that the issue was on the agenda for the next Lake-Sumter MPO meeting, which would take place tomorrow.
REPORTS – COMMISsIONER campione – CHAIRMAN & DISTRICT 4
Enterprise Zone Development Agency Member Designation
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the designation of Commr. Sullivan to serve on the Enterprise Zone Development Agency.
Mount Dora Regional Development Summit
Commr. Campione reported that there would be a summit held on February 8, 2013 at the Mount Dora Community Building to discuss the development of that region and ecotourism. She requested that all of the commissioners attend.
Opening of new section for SR 429
Commr. Campione reported that she had attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new section of SR 429 and announced that it was now open to traffic.
Letter to fdot regarding wekiva construction projects
Commr. Campione requested to send a letter to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) emphasizing the need to coordinate the construction of the Wekiva Trail with the construction of the Wekiva Parkway.
The Board came to a consensus for the Chairman to send the letter to FDOT.
request from city of tavares regarding fire assessment fees
Commr. Campione reported receiving a letter from Mr. John Drury, City Administrator for the City of Tavares, requesting an opportunity to address the Board regarding the City’s provision of fire services to the County’s facilities in Tavares and the Fire Assessment Fee.
Mr. Heath explained that the City of Tavares was interested in phasing out their subsidy of fire assessments and asked that entities such as the County and churches begin to pay a fire assessment fee for the services provided by the City. He noted that the amount being requested from the City was $500,000, which was a major budget issue for the County.
Commr. Conner asked if the City had the legal authority to require the assessment.
Mr. Minkoff replied that he would need to double check, but he believed the County would need to give approval for the City to be able to collect the funds.
Commr. Campione commented that she would tell Mr. Drury that the Board would allow him the opportunity to give his presentation.
The Board agreed to grant Mr. Drury the opportunity to address the Board regarding the City’s provision of fire services to the County buildings and facilities located within City limits.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
The Chairman announced at 2:31 p.m. that there would be a five-minute recess.
Mr. Heath stated that this was the fourth budget workshop to review the budget considerations for the major users of the General Fund and determine how the level of service for each of those departments would be affected if the projected budget cuts of between five and ten percent are required for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Budget. He mentioned that the Board was anticipated to take action on the budget guidelines during the February 12, 2013 BCC meeting. He announced that today’s workshop would focus on Economic Development and Tourism, Outside Agencies, and Animal Services.
Mr. Steve Koontz, Budget Director, recapped the previous workshops which covered a general budget outlook, the Sheriff’s budget, Lake EMS budget, Public Transportation, Parks, Libraries, Stormwater, Public Lands, and Agricultural Education. He then recapped the situation with the General Fund, explaining that with existing assumptions the Reserves would fall below the minimum of seven percent, and therefore the County would need to make approximately $5 million in reductions across the board.
Mr. Koontz reviewed the General Fund budget for Animal Services since 2007. He noted that at the highest point in 2008, the department had spent $1.81 million from the General Fund. He mentioned that Animal Services spent $1.2 million in 2012 and $310,000 in the first quarter of 2013. He explained that approximately 80 percent of the budget went towards personnel and the remaining towards operational expenses. He stated that the 2013 budget for Animal Services was $1.3 million, and he reported that a five to ten percent decrease in the budget would result in a decrease of between $66,000 and $132,000.
Mr. Gregg Welstead, Conservation and Compliance Director, reported that Ms. Marjorie Boyd, Division Manager for Shelter Operations, oversaw one Office Associate, two Shelter Technician IIs and ten Shelter Technician Is. He mentioned that the County dealt with pets, livestock and wildlife, and the cost of feed for the larger animals was something the department dealt with on a daily basis.
Commr. Cadwell asked how livestock were handled in the counties where Animal Services did not deal with them.
Mr. Welstead replied that either the Sheriff’s Office would handle it, or it was not dealt with at all. He then stated that Lake County had ten Animal Control Officers in the field, down from 13 in 2006-2007, and since that time the Cities of Clermont and Groveland were added to the department’s jurisdiction. He explained that the County was divided into four zones and he noted that they did not service the City of Mount Dora or the Town of Lady Lake, although both of those cities brought their animals to the County shelters. He reported that the Animal Control Officers responded to over 9,000 complaints, covered over 210,000 miles, and handled over 17,000 animals annually. He mentioned that over the last four years the department had eliminated and reduced a number of services, and he noted that the only new services introduced were the use of a Special Master process for animal control cases and to have Animal Control Officers clean the shelters and provide animal care prior to field work on Sundays and every third Saturday. He reported that since 2005, 11 cities had been added to the coverage area, increasing the service area by eight percent and doubling the population served.
Commr. Conner clarified that the County did not charge the cities for services rendered, and he mentioned that in the past the County did not always cover those services, because some cities had their own Animal Services departments.
Commr. Campione replied that the cities had the State-given right to call upon the County to perform Animal Services.
Mr. Minkoff explained that cities with their own Animal Services Department tended to offer a higher level of service than what the County offered, but when the budgets for those cities came into trouble, the cities stopped providing the higher level of service and asked the County to take over.
Mr. Welstead continued to explain that Animal Services was also facing the continuing challenges of an aging vehicle fleet with an average age of seven and a half years and 96,426 average mileage, and increased operational costs due to the costs of fuel and maintenance for the vehicles as well as utilities, field communications, animal feed, shelter maintenance and cleaning, and field staff laptops. He mentioned that the field laptops were on average just over six years old and were not meant for rugged use. He added that two other challenges they have faced are the no-kill initiatives and spay and neuter efforts, which were the first step to solving animal control issues. However, he pointed out that only animals that were adopted were being spayed or neutered at the shelter, as required by Statute. He explained that Animal Services had a contracted veterinarian who performed those surgeries on site who was contracted hourly and would tend to as many as ten animals in an hour.
Commr. Campione commented that other spay and neuter efforts involved either having a clinic that provided those services or a bus clinic that drove to different locations to offer those services and subsidizes the costs in order to encourage residents to use the services. She mentioned that another method would be to work directly with the veterinarians, having them perform the spaying or neutering at their offices, and the County then subsidized that to make it affordable. She opined that short of actually subsidizing the costs, there was no way to promote spaying or neutering.
Mr. Welstead commented that another option to provide incentive would be to reduce the impound fee when an animal owner wishing to reclaim their animal agrees to get them spayed or neutered. He stressed that having the cooperation of the veterinarians was important.
Commr. Campione remarked that it would be undercutting the local veterinarians if the County subsidized this service through its own clinic. She commented that they needed to be sensitive to the economic side of the issue, because the County’s veterinarians were a large part of the local economy.
Commr. Conner asked what percentage of dogs at the County shelter would be adopted.
Mr. Welstead replied that approximately 60 to 70 percent of the dogs leave the shelter alive. He then discussed potential reductions to the Animal Services Department totaling between $66,000 and $132,000, including reducing evening, weekend, and holiday callout and overtime; reducing Animal Control Officer field hours from 7:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. and shelter hours from 10:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. to noon through 6:00 p.m., which would result in less opportunity for individuals to visit the shelters and claim or possibly adopt an animal. He then reviewed the findings of the Animal Services Licensure Audit which was conducted last month, which were that the residential animal licensing compliance, rabies reporting by veterinarians, and license sales by veterinarians were all low; there were no Issuance of License Renewal Notices being sent to owners; the Special Master process was effective but did not encourage licensing compliance; and the entry of licensing and rabies data was backlogged. He mentioned that, with the exception of the issuance of license renewal notices, that the results of the audit were not a surprise because they had already known about the problems. He explained that it was not a matter of enforcement, but rather an issue of compliance by the individuals. He gave the example that if the veterinarian did not offer a license at the time of vaccination, the only way to get it was to go to the animal shelter and there was no real incentive to the individual to do that. He also explained that the data entry was backlogged because there was only one office associate to enter that information.
Commr. Campione commented that if the veterinarians became compliant with reporting vaccinations, then Animal Services would not be able to enter the information anyway because of the current backlog.
Mr. Welstead agreed. He further explained that for those veterinarians who were compliant, there was no universal form used for reporting that information, which made the process of entering the data more difficult and time consuming. He then reviewed the analysis of the audit, stating that additional cooperation and assistance from the local veterinarians was essential to resolving the licensing compliance issue, as well as ensuring that the veterinarians were in compliance with Florida Statutes by simplifying the reporting process by implementing an on-line rabies vaccination and licensing reporting program. He mentioned that there was a third party company currently under contract with Seminole County that handled the rabies reports and licenses as well as sending out 45-day notices to remind owners about upcoming vaccinations, preventing the need for the County to hire another individual and allowing the County to increase compliance. He added that increased compliance would help offset the budget cuts by creating additional revenue. He mentioned that the audit had also uncovered that there were some issues with reporting that they had previously been unaware of, and now they were reviewing that data to obtain more accurate information regarding the statistics for the shelter. He then discussed the proposed approach, stating that they would encourage veterinarians to increase rabies reporting compliance and issuance of County licenses by having them issue a license at the time of vaccination. He explained that to facilitate this compliance and relieve the administrative burden, it was proposed that the County contract with an outside vendor specializing in animal licenses and rabies vaccination tracking and management through the use of the on-line reporting system. He also suggested that the fees be reviewed to see if they need to be adjusted or raised. He commented that the proposed budget cut will have a significant impact on field and shelter operations, and that additional revenue would be needed to address the recommendations of the audit and to ensure compliance with Florida Statutes. He reported that staff recommended further examination of the outside vendor to address audit licensing issues and to relieve the administrative burden, and that a fee increase was necessary to cover the additional costs of the department.
Commr. Sullivan asked whether the department could exist on the existing budget without having to cut the five or ten percent from the budget should the Board move forward with implementing compliance through the use of the outside vendor and that action was successful in generating revenue.
Mr. Welstead opined that they could reach that point eventually, but one obstacle was that the County did not have any advertising to educate the public on such things as needing to register their dogs or the licensure requirements.
Commr. Campione suggested that staff perform an outreach program such as having a day where people could come to register their pets.
Mr. Heath explained that if the Board was comfortable with the proposal of a fee increase, then it would happen at about the same time as the Budget public hearings in September. He stated that the next step would be the procurement process for the on-line firm to handle the vaccination and licensure reporting.
Commr. Cadwell asked if they could look at raising the fees before that time.
Mr. Heath replied that they could, but it was the practice of Lake County to raise fees at one time.
Commr. Campione suggested that the funds that come in to Animal Control remain in that department, because many people are motivated by their feelings towards animals and their desire to help solve these problems.
Commr. Parks asked if they would also establish a goal of a 90 percent save rate. He commented that steps such as increasing fees would help achieve that goal.
Commr. Conner opined that the key to having residents register their pets was to make it easy for them, because residents would not want to have to drive to the shelter to register their animals.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that Commr. Campione had suggested holding an animal registration event.
Commr. Conner replied that it was easier to mail in the form and payment then to have to appear on a specific date.
Mr. Minkoff opined that the best option would be to have the veterinarians sell the licenses at the time the vaccines were given.
Mr. Welstead explained that each veterinarian had a different philosophy regarding whether or not it was their responsibility to sell the license at the time of vaccination.
Commr. Campione mentioned that some veterinarians had told her that when they were selling licenses, they had no idea whether or not the money collected would go towards Animal Services. She stressed that it was important for that money to go towards Animal Services.
Commr. Conner commented that having the veterinarians sell the licenses at the time of vaccination would make it easier for residents to register their pets and would increase the amount of voluntary compliance.
Mr. Welstead asked if the Board would like a letter drafted and sent to each veterinarian in the County suggesting that they assist the County in this effort.
Commr. Campione replied that it would be better to organize a meeting with the County veterinarians to discuss the issue with them.
Commr. Sullivan suggesting that the County could also hold animal registration events at the offices of the County veterinarians to increase revenue for those businesses.
Mr. Welstead replied that staff would be happy to organize something like that.
The Board came to the consensus to direct staff to reach out to the veterinarians, look at a way to promote voluntary registration, research an online method of registration, and raise and/or implement fees for the Animal Services Department.
Mr. Heath mentioned that staff could bring back an ordinance regarding the increase of fees for Animal Services in April to be implemented July 1, 2013. He explained that the increased revenue would be needed in order to afford an online system.
Mr. Welstead added that staff would look into adoption fees as well to see what could be done to improve adoption rates.
Commr. Campione asked about adding incentives for animal registration during the Special Master process.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the way to do that would be to implement a grace period once the citation for lack of a rabies shot and license has been issued for the owner to come in and have their pet vaccinated and registered and not pay a late fee.
The Chairman opened the floor for public comment regarding the Animal Services budget.
Mr. Kent Weber, a resident of Groveland, stated that 62 percent of Lake County residents had animals, equating to approximately 150,000 animals, and a $5 license fee for each animal would bring in a lot of revenue and would make a significant difference in the budget for the Animal Services Department. He added that other changes could also help with issues he had mentioned earlier in the meeting such as adding a fee for dropping animals at the shelter, increasing marketing and advertising, instituting an open access area for pets so people can see all of the animals including those that will soon be available for adoption so they have a better chance of finding a home, and increasing the number of pictures on the website of available pets for adoption. He also mentioned that Lake County had a reputation for being the sickest shelter in the area because the cats and dogs were not immunized until they were adopted, and that the animals should be immunized as soon as they are brought in. He stated that there were many things that could be changed that were not expensive and would provide not only a better environment for the animals but also increase the chances for adoption.
Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Welstead if the Information Technology Department had been working on the adoption end of the Animal Services website before they had been pulled off that project to work on the permitting project.
Mr. Welstead replied that they had been working on a process for the veterinarians to submit their rabies vaccination reports and license information.
Commr. Cadwell asked that the Information Technology Department work on the adoption section of the website the next time they had some available time.
Mr. Vance Jochim, a resident of the City of Tavares and writer of a blog called fiscalrangers.com, commented on the contrast between what Mr. Welstead said and what Mr. Weber said, opining that Mr. Weber had a very clear outline and assertive program to help improve the Animal Services Department. He stressed that an advocate was needed for the shelter animals. He suggested that there should be more user financing for the program because they were pet-generated costs. He mentioned that one of his former employees had volunteered for Animal Services but was worn out and overwhelmed. He remarked that the Board needed to come up with a way to finance that department and take an aggressive approach by implementing the higher fees and enforcing a penalty against someone who does not have the appropriate tags. He suggested charging the veterinarians a business tax and offering a rebate when they file the vaccination and registration information. He also suggested holding a business roundtable for veterinarians to discuss those issues. He opined that this should be a self-sufficient program that the other tax payers should not have to subsidize.
Mr. Koontz stated that the purpose of this presentation was to discuss the other expenditures and outside agencies. He reviewed the mandatory-critical expenditures, which were payments that could not be negotiated or changed, beginning with Medicaid which was budgeted at $4,302,014 for FY 2013. He stated that this was a billed expenditure, so the budgeted amount was only what was anticipated. He mentioned that the CRAs, which were the payments to the cities, were also a mandatory-critical expenditure and were budgeted at $1.371 million for FY 2012 and $1.369 for FY 2013. He also noted that the expenditures to the Medical Examiner’s Office, budgeted at $780,060 for FY 2012 and $782,741 for FY 2013; Juvenile Justice, $684,464 in expenditures for FY 2012 and budgeted at $750,000 for FY 2013; and Inmate Medical, $1.756 million in expenditures for FY 2012 and budgeted for $1.731 million for FY 2013 were also mandatory-critical expenditures.
Commr. Sullivan asked if the Board had looked into contracting the inmate medical costs with the hospitals.
Mr. Koontz replied that staff was looking into that option.
Mr. Minkoff added that the County had contracts with all three local hospitals to set rates to 50 percent of the charges, and when an inmate is tended to out of county, then the Sheriff and staff try to negotiate the bills with the out of county hospital.
Commr. Campione noted that they would be meeting with the hospitals in conjunction with staff to see if it was possible to negotiate a better rate for the services.
Mr. Koontz continued the presentation, stating that the Debt Service expenditures were mandatory-critical expenditures, with approximately $5.7 million a year coming out of the General Fund. He reported that East Central Florida Regional Planning Council annual dues of $48,654, the expenditures to the Health Department which were $359,813 for FY 2012 and are budgeted at $341,822 for FY 2013, and the expenditures to Lifestream Behavioral Center which were $873,987 for FY 2012 and are budgeted at $873,987 for FY 2013 were mandatory-critical expenditures as well, but opined that there might be some room for negotiations with the Health Department and Lifestream Behavioral Center. He noted that the expenditures from the General Fund that went towards mandatory-critical expenditures totaled almost $16 million for FY 2013, and these expenses were either difficult to reduce or could not be reduced. He reported that the Board wanted to cut the budgets to the Health Department and Lifestream Behavioral Center by five to ten percent, equaling between $60,790 and $121,581, but it would adversely affect the level of service offered at those agencies. He then stated that the expenditures from the other agencies in the mandatory-critical group that were either statutorily required, billed expenditures with some uncertainty, or were set by written agreements totaled about $14.7 million from the General Fund, and those expenditures could not be reduced or negotiated. Next, he discussed the discretionary expenditures which were funded by the Board from the General Fund. He explained that the Board saved $106,156 from the General Fund by eliminating the following expenditures: MyRegion.Org, St. John’s River Alliance dues, Prescription Drug Program, and reimbursements to the cities for non-residential recreational fees. He reported that the County was reducing contributions to LASER from $51,800 in FY 2012 to $49,210 for FY 2013; Trout Lake Nature Center from $55,000 in FY 2012 to $52,250 for FY 2013; and We Care from $75,000 in FY 2012 to $71,250 for FY 2013. He reported that contributions to the Lake County Historical Society, State Attorney’s Office for two positions in Early Intervention, Social Services grants and aids, and Children Services grants and aids were remaining the same as FY 2012 at $20,000, $87,840, $47,500 and $150,761 respectively. He also reported that the only discretionary expenditure to see an increase was the Fire Assessment Subsidy which would increase from $177,444 in FY 2012 to $192,298 for FY 2013.
Commr. Cadwell expressed his concern that the County was only spending about $200,000 combined for Social Services and Children Services grants and aids. He commented that the need for those funds did not diminish just because those funds were no longer available.
Commr. Conner mentioned that he had served as liaison to the Children Services Council, and in FY 2006-2007 there had been a 50 percent cut in what the County was funding for Children Services. He stated that he had been very impressed with how the Council had allocated the reduced resources, and he did not think that any of the Board members would want to further cut those resources. He also commented on the value the County was getting with their $20,000 contribution to the Historical Society.
Mr. Koontz explained that the Fire Assessment Subsidy was for the institutional category and only paid half of the assessment, with $192,298 coming out of the General Fund for this subsidy. He reported that $478,881 from the General Fund went to the other discretionary expenditures, and a five to ten percent reduction would equate to between $23,941 and $47,881 saved and could be cut across the board or target specific agencies. He then went over the amounts budgeted from the General Fund for the Constitutional Officers, reporting the budgets for the Clerk of Courts as $3.63 million, the Property Appraiser at $1.938 million, the Supervisor of Elections at $1.776 million, the Tax Collector at $3.68 million, the Sheriff’s Office at $53.5 million, and in-house overhead expenses budgeted at $2.147 million totaling approximately $66.7 million. He noted that the Clerk of Courts saw excess fees of nearly $2 million in FY 2012, the Supervisor of Elections expenditures for FY 2012 came to 91 percent of what had been budgeted even with the extra expenses incurred from the Presidential Election, the Tax Collector saw excess fees of $3.3 million, and the Sheriff’s Office reduced expenditures in law enforcement, jail operations, and court security by $2.5 million. He also mentioned that the budgets for the Constitutional Officers were not due until June 1, 2013, except for the Tax Collector who would submit his budget by the first of August.
The Chairman opened the floor for public comment.
Dr. Christine Harris, a resident of Mount Dora, asked what the service periods were for the grants mentioned during the presentation.
Commr. Cadwell replied that the grants for Children Services and Social Services were all one year grants.
Dr. Harris mentioned the benefit of grants that were for five years or longer.
Mr. Koontz explained that the Economic Development Department was funded through the General Fund and the Resort/Development Tax and consisted of eight full time positions allocated between the two funding sources based on job duties. He stated that the Resort/Development Tax was a restricted funding source that could only be used to fund items that would put “heads in beds” and accounted for about 73 percent of the total funding for that department.
Commr. Campione mentioned that there were also reserves for the Department that were carried forward. She also reiterated that the money for the Resort/Development Tax could not be used for anything other than tourism.
Mr. Koontz mentioned some of the companies where incentives were awarded or applied for in the fourth quarter of 2012 such as for Vista Clinical, First Class Air Repair, and NeuLife Neurological Services. He listed some of the accomplishes of the Department such as the Ford Commerce Park Transition Plan, the signing of the Rail agreements, business retention and expansion program improvements, and the consolidation of the Business Incubator Program into one organization that will be managed by Lake Sumter State College. He stated that about $340,000 had been spent through the first quarter of FY 2013 from the General Fund for Economic Development, and the total General Fund budget for FY 2013 was $2,191,110. He explained that the increase was due to three one-time expenditures of $40,000 for the Ford Park signage, $488,000 for the Joint Rail Project, and $25,000 for the Sector Plan. He mentioned that $175,000 of the $225,000 for the Sector Plan had been contributed by the property owners, and the County was contributing $50,000. He specified that the total operating budget was only $1,438,110. He reported that a five percent budget cut to the $1.4 million would equate to $71,906 saved; a seven percent cut would save $100,668; and a ten percent cut would save $143,811. He mentioned that Economic Development Reserves Fund, which were set aside separately from the Department’s budget, were part of the General Fund Reserves and not independent from it, and use of those reserve funds would decrease the overall percent of reserves for the General Fund. He reported that one of the largest expenditures in Economic Development was $229,000 for salaries for the eight positions in the department, and he added that there were $150,000 in expenditures for the University of Central Florida (UCF) contract for management of the three Small Business Development Centers; $140,000 for the Lake-Sumter State College contract for management of the three Business Incubator Program sites; and $110,000 for incentives such as the High Value Job Creation and Business Assistance Program. He noted that the Department was already at the end of the funds that had been earmarked for business incentives for this fiscal year. He reported that $261,400 was budgeted for the Metro Orlando Economic Development Council (Metro Orlando EDC) for marketing and the attraction of businesses to the region, and he commented that this amount was lower than for the previous fiscal year, with the amount projected for the next fiscal year being lower still. He also reported that $35,000 had been budgeted for promotional activities such as sponsorships and marketing; $75,000 was budgeted for the lease agreement with the Lake Eustis Chamber for the Northeast BOC; and $50,000 budgeted for the BOC operational costs.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the agreements required a yearly activities report.
Mr. Adam Sumner, Economic Development and Tourism Department, replied that they usually received the updates in the spring. He added that with UCF transitioning out, the department would receive the update in the summer.
Mr. Koontz continued the discussion of where cuts could be made to the budget. He reported that the contribution to the Metro Orlando EDC for FY 2014 was projected to be $55,000 less than FY 2013; travel, training and other administrative expenses were being reduced by $38,000; promotional activities such as marketing and sponsorship were being reduced by $18,500; repair and maintenance expenses were being reduced by $10,000; and other operating expenses including the BOC supplies were being reduced by $20,000, for a total savings of between $55,000 and $141,500.
Commr. Campione remarked that they needed to be careful in regards to the budget for the incentives, because they provided high value opportunities to bring businesses into Lake County.
Commr. Conner commented that the Department could not run out of funds for incentives by the end of the first quarter when the amount had been the budget for the entire year. He added that there might be departments where they needed to cut more than five to seven percent of the budget, because there would be other areas where they did not make any cuts. He opined that the business incentive funds might be something they needed to look at for budget cuts.
Commr. Campione replied that they needed to be selective with those funds and make sure the money is available should a high quality opportunity arise.
Commr. Parks stated that he agreed with Commr. Campione and added that they needed to be careful with Economic Development funds, because the purpose was to create jobs.
Mr. Koontz recapped that the Economic Development and Tourism Department was funded from two sources, and a reduction of five to ten percent of the General Fund’s contribution would equal a reduction between $71,906 and $143,811and would include reductions to sponsorships, resources needed for business attraction and retention, and marketing efforts. He mentioned that there would be limited funding for business incentives, and this would pose a challenge because as the economy improved the opportunities for attracting businesses would increase, along with the requests for incentives.
Commr. Cadwell remarked that the Economic Development Department could not be excluded from the same budget cuts that all of the other departments were facing for FY 2014.
Commr. Campione replied that the reductions discussed in the presentation would meet the five to seven percent reduction they were looking for.
Commr. Conner stated that while he was supportive of the Department, it was one that was not in existence six or seven years ago. He opined that it was an area that might have to take more than their fair share of cuts.
The Chairman opened the floor for public comment.
No one present wished to address the Board.
Mr. Heath stated that the next budget workshop would be on February 12, 2013, and they would summarize the possible cuts that have been discussed during each of the other budget workshops at that time. He added that they would also discuss the challenges to the level of service as well as go over ideas and concepts that staff was working on to try to balance the budget. He mentioned that at the end of that discussion, the Board would be requested to approve the budget guidelines for the departments and the recommended budget guidelines for the constitutional officers.
Mr. Heath suggested holding the retreat on February 5, 2013.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:25 p.m.
leslie campione, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK