A special MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
february 5, 2013
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in a special retreat session on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 10:00 a.m., at Cagans Crossing Library, Clermont, 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; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Campione welcomed everyone to the meeting and reminded the Board about the opening reception for Wipaire that was being held that evening at 5:00 p.m. at the Leesburg International Airport. She noted that Wipaire was relocating their business to that airport and that they made the pontoons for the bottom of seaplanes. She related that this had been a joint effort between the County and the City of Leesburg’s Economic Development Departments.
major pending issues
Mr. David Heath, County Manager, stated that he wanted to discuss the issues the Board was faced with, starting with the budget. He noted that the budget guidelines would be set on February 12, the constitutional officers were required to submit their budgets on June 1, and the Board would set the tentative millage at the end of July.
Commr. Conner asked if the Board should ask the constitutional officers to submit their budgets before June 1.
Commr. Campione replied that it could create a hardship for the constitutional officers to ask them for their budgets any sooner. She added that establishing the budget guidelines would give them enough time to plan ahead. She pointed out that they also would not want to ask for their budgets before the tax roll was finalized.
Commr. Cadwell commented that the Chairman could meet with the constitutional officers individually after the budget guidelines were set, and then the Board would find out where they were.
Commr. Campione asked when they would receive the tax roll information.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, responded that they would receive an estimate on June 1 and the official one on July 1.
Commr. Conner opined that it would be nice to know ahead of time whether or not the constitutional officers could make the cuts the Board wanted.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that the Chairman could show them a spreadsheet with multiple columns detailing the cuts that were necessary, what the reserves would be with the roll forward, and a variety of scenarios of the effects on the residents and businesses.
Commr. Parks stated that he was very concerned about the impacts that increasing taxes would have on residents and businesses.
Commr. Conner noted that there would be a much more devastating impact on businesses than residents.
Commr. Cadwell related that no one would want to live or work in Lake County if the public infrastructure was not kept up.
Commr. Campione mentioned that they needed to have a reasonable amount in reserves, but raising taxes “while sitting on a bunch of money” would create a problem with the residents.
Commr. Sullivan stated that quality of life was very important and that his goal was economic development and to bring in more industry to create jobs, because that would in turn cause higher incomes and property values.
Commr. Conner noted that they also needed to look into shortening the hours of libraries and what impacts that would have on the patrons.
Commr. Campione related that many of the libraries’ hours had already been cut, so they needed to decide whether they wanted to cut back any more. She then mentioned that she would meet with the constitutional officers after they established the guidelines, and she would meet with them again if they got some preliminary numbers. She stated that they would add some columns to the chart showing a roll forward, different scenarios, and the impacts those would have on homes and businesses.
Mr. Heath stated that Mr. John Jolliff, Public Safety Director and Fire Chief, would be conducting a work session with the Board on February 26 to discuss the state of the Fire Department for the entire County in response to the proposals they heard from the mayors in the Golden Triangle area. He indicated the Board would need to make a decision on the level of service the Fire Department would provide in the future. He mentioned that he and staff had been working with the South Lake cities on the Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement (ISBA) and that the City of Mascotte was looking at having the County provide fire services for the city, so there have been a few discussions with the Mayor of Mascotte regarding that. He noted that there was not a time certain for the Martin lawsuit, but he was taking a conservative view and was trying to preserve the reserves as much as possible.
Mr. Heath pointed out that a request for proposal (RFP) would be sent out later that month to bid out the contract that MV Transportation currently had. He added that they could be faced with cutbacks to Transportation Disadvantaged if the bids came in high.
Mr. Heath explained that on February 12 the Board would be asked to approve the RFPs for the Solid Waste collection and disposal, and in either August or September they would be awarding the contracts.
Commr. Campione mentioned that there were some retirement communities where their trash cans were already buried in the ground, and the residents were worried about finding a place to store the new trash cans, which were very large, and the recycling cans. She related that she had heard there was an alternative trash can that was smaller that some of the residents may prefer, and she opined that they should do some outreach to the retirement communities to give them some notice so they would not have upset residents when the County transitioned to the larger trash cans.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that the contract was written with flexibility so that those buried trash cans could stay and added that staff was already talking about doing some outreach to the communities.
Mr. Heath indicated that the RFP was already out, and the actual study and planning with the various stakeholders would begin in the summer.
Public Defender/Clerk’s Record Center
Mr. Heath noted that the City of Tavares was interested in taking over the building where the Clerk’s Office Records Center was currently located, and he planned to bring this back to the Board in the spring.
Impact Fees – Schools/Roads
Mr. Heath explained that on February 12 the Board would have to give direction on what to advertise for the school impact fees, and then they would have to take action at a public hearing on March 12, because the current suspension would end on March 31. He added that the road impact fee was approved for advertisement at a previous meeting, putting it at 13 percent or $500, and it would also be on the February 12 agenda for approval.
Commr. Campione stated that she knew someone who was in the process of doing a large commercial project, and they were concerned about the process it took to get all of their permits from the various agencies. She pointed out that they could not pay their impact fees until they received a building permit, they could not get a building permit until they got their site plan approved, and they could not get their site plan approved until all agencies signed off on it. She expressed that they wanted to be pro-business in Lake County, so they should look at changing the policy so that businesses could submit their building permit application once Lake County’s review of their site plan was approved.
Mr. Heath suggested setting January 1 as the date for people to submit their building permits; otherwise they would be denied.
Commr. Parks commented that if someone already submitted their fees, it would show that they were serious and were going to move forward. He added that the County could give them some leeway for the impact fees if they did not have all of their building permits by October 1.
Mr. Heath noted that he did not have the staff to manage an appeal process.
Commr. Sullivan related that he was comfortable with moving the date to January 1, because he did not want there to be an administrative burden on staff, and he wanted to make sure that they were pro-business going forward.
Commr. Conner asked if there would be a legal issue with moving the date to January 1.
Mr. Minkoff replied “no,” adding that they advertised the date as October and there would be fewer restrictions if the date was pushed back further.
Commr. Conner asked what would happen if the date was not pushed to January 1, but provisions were made for those in the pipeline.
Mr. Minkoff responded that either way would be acceptable.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced that there would be a ten-minute recess at 11:08 a.m.
commission discussion items
Mr. Heath referred to the handouts in the packet regarding the FY 2014 Budget Outlook, the One Cent Sales Tax, the Local Option Gas Tax, and the letter from the School Board with their recommendations on the impact fees and the sales tax. He pointed out that they were expecting to have about $111 million in revenue and that the current expenditures were about $120 million; therefore, approximately $8.6 million would need to be cut. He noted that would equate to a six percent decrease across the board for the departments and the constitutional officers. He related that there would need to be a 15 or 16 percent reduction for the departments if the Sheriff came in with a status quo budget or with a three percent increase in order to keep the reserves at the bare minimum which was 7.1 percent. He indicated that would mean staff reductions and multiple cuts. He stated that at the February 12 workshop he would show the Board the cuts that were made in the past, what a five and 10 percent reduction would mean for the departments, and what changes they wanted to make for the rest of the fiscal year. He added that Mr. Kristian Swenson, Facilities Development and Management Director, would also discuss his budget, and then the Board would set the budget guidelines for next year.
Infrastructure Sales Tax
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that the only difference with the infrastructure sales tax was that the School Board was asking for half of it. He noted that they needed to look at what the County’s split would be and what a realistic percentage to assign to transportation would be.
Commr. Conner asked if they should give the schools more than one third.
Commr. Cadwell responded that he would rather let the one third split be their starting point in the negotiation, because the schools were benefitting from improvements the County did, such as putting in infrastructure and for police cars at schools.
Commr. Parks stated that he was told that the School Board could not use their portion of the sales tax on sidewalks for schools.
Mr. Minkoff related that the School Board probably did not have any money left, because they used that money for debt services. He pointed out that the money was already pledged for the loans they had and it was probably bonded for the same term as the sales tax.
Commr. Conner added that the School Board bonded a majority of the revenues from the sales tax for high school renovations, which were probably the most glaring needs in the district.
Commr. Campione asked if they could have the sales tax approved in 2015 instead of waiting until 2017.
Commr. Sullivan opined that it would be wise to go after it earlier for planning purposes, so it would need to be done in a normal election cycle which was either 2014 or 2016.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that there had been a debate about whether to use the primary ballot or the general election for the sales tax, and ultimately the general election was chosen, which was on the November 6, 2002 ballot.
Commr. Conner expressed that there would be less of a political impact if it was on the general election, and there would be a different demographic group that would be more inclined to support it.
Commr. Campione asked how they could get everyone to the table to discuss the sales tax.
Commr. Conner explained that the last time it was done, a consultant was hired, money was raised from the private sector, and there was a point person from the School Board, the Commission, the cities, and the business community. He added that it had been very successful, because the School Board had architectural renderings of every high school and the schools were shown what their school could look like, which was a big selling point.
Commr. Campione opined that they should get started now to be ready by 2014, and she recommended that Commr. Conner be their point person to reach out to the League of Cities and the School Board to appoint someone. She suggested having a business person from the northwest, northeast and South Lake.
Commr. Cadwell stated that they should find someone as apolitical as possible.
Commr. Parks mentioned that the South Lake Chamber wanted to be a part of this as well. He then asked if they were going to stay with the one third split.
Commr. Conner stated that it was a successful model.
Commr. Sullivan expressed that he would be the point person, especially since he was the liaison to the League of Cities and had spent some time on the School Board.
The Board reached a consensus to have Commr. Sullivan be the County’s point person.
Commr. Sullivan stated that transportation was the one infrastructure that the County was responsible for, and they would get further behind if they did not step up to the plate. He added that they could not have just one funding source, because the local option gas tax would eventually change since the average gas mileage on cars was increasing. He noted that although this tax hurts businesses, it helped the County spread the cost of the transportation needs.
Commr. Parks expressed that his concern with the gas tax was that it was a diminishing return.
Commr. Campione related that that was a universal problem because of the hybrid and electric cars, and not as much revenue was being brought in, even though the roads were still being impacted.
Commr. Cadwell asked if there were any statistics out yet stating where the gas tax was going percentage-wise.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, answered that the gas tax was very slow moving and it only grew two or three percent per year. He related that the question was how many more vehicles were on the roads buying fuel as opposed to how many were getting more fuel efficient. He indicated that a benefit of the economy in early 2000 to 2005 was that people bought a lot of SUV’s instead of economical cars, but although that has changed, it had stabilized since 2007.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the capital-only restriction was similar to the sales tax capital-only restriction.
Mr. Stivender responded that it was more restrictive, because the tax had to be tied to transportation. He added that it could be used for anything from resurfacing to a four-lane highway, but a list of projects must be specified in the Comprehensive Plan. He noted that there were 330 miles of roads in the County that fell into a four or five category, which meant they needed resurfacing, and staff used the list from the Comp Plan to start with the worst roads first.
Commr. Campione opined that it would be helpful to have the list of projects the County wanted to accomplish with the tax for when they had discussions with their constituents.
Commr. Parks asked how raising the tax would not affect the price of gas.
Commr. Conner stated that it was a very minor factor in the price of gas, adding that a study was completed back when the County was first considering this tax showing that there was not a corresponding correlation between the five cent local option gas tax and the price of gas.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that it would be nice for Mr. Stivender to come up with a mini presentation showing the gas tax prices for other counties, as well as the revenues the tax could generate and the projects the County could use that for.
Mr. Stivender related that they were setting up a work session on April 9 to discuss that.
Commr. Parks asked if this tax could help with the general fund.
Commr. Cadwell responded that it could give the Board a few more years before the pressure was on them to draw money from the general fund to solve the transportation issues, and by then hopefully the economy would be better.
Commr. Parks stated that he wanted to see support from the cities, since they would be benefitting from the gas tax.
Mr. T.J. Fish, Executive Director of the Lake-Sumter MPO, explained that in April the MPO would be presenting the scenario of having the cities participate financially in the funding of paratransit.
Commr. Campione asked if the cities could use their 30 percent to help with paratransit funding.
Mr. Minkoff replied that the operation of paratransit was an allowable use.
Regional Expressway Authority/FDOT Issues
Commr. Campione mentioned that she learned at the recent MPO meeting that the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) saw the Regional Expressway Authority as a competing agency since they both funded new capital projects through toll road revenues. She pointed out that the funding to finish the Wekiva Parkway came from the DOT, and they felt a little resentment towards Lake County, because the County benefitted from the road being completed but did not submit any funding for it. She indicated that the DOT came up with a version of the Expressway Authority bill that provides for Lake County to have a seat on that board, but DOT would get final approval for any extensions or additions in Lake County. She added that the DOT was also suggesting that the board be comprised of appointed officials instead of elected officials, whereas the Expressway Authority wanted the board to be comprised of elected officials, and a representative from the County was not included. She stated that the DOT wanted to be involved in the proposed east/west connector from US 27 in South Lake County, and she asked if the Board could reach out to the Turnpike Authority and ask them to look at the viability of allowing the DOT to be involved, since it was a potential toll road project.
Commr. Conner mentioned that they have always wanted to have a representative from the County on that board, and he asked why the Expressway Authority’s bill did not include a representative.
Commr. Campione replied that it was probably because of pushback from DOT.
Commr. Conner commented that they had a lobbyist in Washington D.C. and thought that person did a good job for the County, and he asked if they needed a lobbyist in Tallahassee for this issue.
Commr. Cadwell answered that they have had one before on specific issues, but for this particular issue they should see who Seminole County was using.
Commr. Campione opined that the County had a good relationship with the DOT and that they should support their version of the bill, because having a seat at the table was a good idea.
Commr. Cadwell asked which bill Seminole County preferred regarding elected versus appointed officials.
Commr. Campione replied that she had talked to them, but had not received a final answer. She also mentioned that she would find out if Seminole County was using a lobbyist on this.
The Board reached a consensus to have the Chairman reach out to Seminole County to see which bill they preferred and to the Turnpike Authority regarding the proposed east/west connector.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced that there would be a twenty-minute break for lunch at 12:26 p.m.
commission discussion items (cont’d)
Schools – Impact Fees and Doc Stamps
Commr. Campione stated that she had talked to several legislators regarding doc stamps and found that the doc stamps could not be done as a local bill since it was a taxation issue and that it had to be a statewide bill; however, it could be done as a local option by referendum.
Commr. Cadwell noted that the caveat of having it as a statewide bill was that it could be approved, but then the County would have to give up their right to have impact fees.
Commr. Campione mentioned that they had talked about it being revenue neutral and that the legislators were supportive of leaving the decision to the local governments to decide whether they wanted to go that route or the impact fee route.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that it was Lake County’s business whether it was revenue neutral, because they would have additional doc stamps in place of impact fees, and no money would be taken from the State.
Commr. Conner opined that doc stamps were a much fairer tax and asked if there was a way to have the doc stamp tax and still have an impact fee at a much lower level, or whether it was better to completely eliminate impact fees.
Commr. Campione replied that more revenue would be generated by increasing the doc stamps by 50 percent than what the impact fees would bring in. She related that the major downside to the doc stamps would be that people could argue that it was anti-business, because it would be more expensive to do transactions in Lake County, but it would be a large benefit to eliminate impact fees on schools.
Commr. Conner stated that a huge problem right now was that the schools had such limited resources, and the legislature had taken away a huge part of the money that they used for capital purposes. He added that the reason impact fees were so high was because the schools did not have any other revenue sources.
Commr. Campione explained that doc stamps were paid on deed and mortgage transactions, and currently customers were charged 70 cents on every 100 dollars for deeds and 35 cents on every 100 dollars for mortgages. She added that the Clerk’s Office collected the money and remitted it to the State, but if a referendum was passed by the local government, the additional money would stay locally.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the doc stamps could be done on just residential transactions.
Mr. Minkoff responded that it would be hard to know what the transaction was for when deeds came in. He noted that the last time this came up, the home builders supported using doc stamps to replace impact fees, but the Board of Realtors opposed it because they saw that as chilling sales since it would add half of a percent to every sale.
Commr. Conner expressed that impact fees would have a more negative impact on job creation and economic prosperity.
Commr. Parks remarked that there was not as much equity with the impact fee.
Commr. Campione pointed out that school impact fees were only paid by people building houses, which made new houses completely unaffordable. She then referred to the letter from the School Board with their recommendations, which were to request that the Board grant a 90-day extension on the moratorium on impact fees for an opportunity to review on a quarterly basis any change to that recommendation; to petition the legislature to adopt a stable, dedicated funding stream for the collection of doc stamp fees to be reserved for education; and support a local referendum to establish grass roots support for doc stamp collection fees to fund education. She noted that it would probably never get passed statewide, so they would have to let each local government make its own decision.
Commr. Conner remarked that addressing impact fees every 90 days was too short of a period and recommended at least every six months, but preferably every year.
Commr. Cadwell stated that they should either tie it into the same time schedule as transportation impact fees, or it should be addressed after a year.
Commr. Sullivan suggested that they reach out to the School Board to let them know that the Board did not think 90 days was a long enough period, and he added that doc stamps were a reasonable alternative to impact fees.
Commr. Campione expressed that it would be worthwhile to get some input from the business community and the realtors to see if there was support for this.
Commr. Conner suggested finding out who the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate was going to be to see what their position was to determine whether or not the bill had a chance of passing.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that the Board would have to adopt a school impact fee ordinance before March 31, or it would automatically increase back up to $9,000. He added that there would be a 90-day delay once they adopted the ordinance.
Commr. Campione suggested having Commr. Conner work with the County Manager and the County Attorney about the possibility of hiring a lobbyist to help with this issue, or they could see whether the School Board wanted to work together with a lobbyist.
Commr. Sullivan commented that they should extend the moratorium on school impact fees for six months and ask the School Board to help with getting legislation to approve the doc stamps.
Commr. Campione agreed with that, but indicated that she would like to extend them for one year. She noted that the Board could revisit the school impact fees at any time at the School Board’s request.
Commr. Conner asked if the school impact fees could be reinstated prior to a year if they were suspended for a year.
Mr. Minkoff replied that it would be better to suspend them until January 1, so they could be readdressed in December; otherwise someone could argue that the rules were changing in the middle if the ordinance was written for a one-year suspension. He added that in January they would also need to know what percentage the School Board wanted to go with.
commissioner goals and objectives
Commr. Conner expressed that his three main goals were to balance the budget without raising property taxes, to continue to have a good reputation in the business community and have a business friendly environment by creating policies that spur growth and job creation, and to maintain a high level of public safety for the citizens. He noted that it may not be feasible to balance the budget, but they needed to work together toward that goal.
Commr. Cadwell stated that they needed to let the public know that being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers could not be at the expense of the long range infrastructure of the County.
Commr. Conner pointed out that the economy was not getting any better, and when it did there would be a very slow and gradual turnaround. He added that the County would get as much grief about closing libraries or providing fewer services than from raising a little bit of revenue.
Commr. Campione mentioned that people come to different conclusions about what services they were getting as opposed to what they deserved depending on what their priorities were. She related that it was a difficult message to get across to people that the County was spending their money wisely and stretching it as far as they could by taking care of the highest priorities first, which were the health and welfare of the residents. She indicated that economic development was also important, because they could not support the essential services without a strong local economy.
Commr. Conner opined that no one could look at the County’s budget over the past five years and legitimately criticize them for being excessive spenders, especially after the massive cuts, layoffs and furloughs they have done.
Commr. Cadwell noted that he had been surprised at the morale of the employees throughout this whole process, even though the employees have had to take cuts and the County has not done anything for them for years.
Commr. Conner stated that he was very impressed with staff, because even after eliminating personnel and combining positions he saw a higher level of competence with fewer people doing more. He added that the Board had a good relationship with staff, and he was grateful for all the help they received. He also mentioned that the discussions that day had been very productive, because they now had a path for the budget to focus on.
Commr. Sullivan pointed out that he was a big believer in public safety and supported the Sheriff, but the Board needed to go back and talk to him about his budget and let him know the dire straits the County was in. He added that if the Sheriff ran all of his programs as well as he ran the jail, then there should be a couple of million dollars in savings. He also opined that the Board never got their point across to him during the budget workshop where he made his presentation.
Commr. Cadwell noted that at the end of the day, the Sheriff was under the impression he was getting an additional $267,000.
Commr. Campione related that that money was for the Judicial Center, and they all knew that was coming down the pike. She indicated that she has had conversations with the Sheriff regarding the inmate medical expenses, and he wanted to be at the meetings when they met with the CFO’s of the three hospitals to discuss renegotiating the rate of payment. She added that there could be some savings there and that the Sheriff also had some other ideas to get costs down. She expressed that it was one thing to make the Sheriff aware of the problems the County was faced with and ask him to help, but not to get involved in his decision making.
Commr. Cadwell opined that it was not their place to tell any constitutional officer how they needed to run their business, only the financial shape the County was in.
Commr. Conner explained that a perfect example of trimming the budget without jeopardizing public safety was when the County hired a consultant to look at Lake EMS, which resulted in a change to a hybrid plan where the staffing of EMS was according to call volume, and a lot of money was saved by doing that.
Commr. Parks stated that he agreed with the goals previously mentioned about being fiscally responsible and as efficient as possible, and he mentioned that one of his goals was the Minneola Turnpike Interchange. He reported that it was going to cost $30 million, and originally $15 million was going to come from the developer and the other $15 million was going to come from the Turnpike Enterprise, but at the meeting that was held last week with the landowners, he found out that the Turnpike Enterprise was going to fund the entire amount. He noted that the Turnpike Enterprise was going to look for support through a tax increment or a transportation benefit district, and at the meeting he stated that he supported the project but he did not speak for the Board.
Mr. Heath related that the Board could comment, but did not need to vote on the Community Redevelopment Area (CRA). He added that the Turnpike Enterprise was looking for the County to fund the local road connectors to the interchange.
Commr. Cadwell asked how the traffic would be relieved in that area since no one lived out there.
Commr. Parks replied that the Turnpike Enterprise had data showing that the interchange would take relief off of Highway 50.
Mr. Fish explained that there were four major landowners and two Developments of Regional Impact (DRI’s) that were volunteering to create a CRA, and the Turnpike Enterprise volunteered to supply the $30 million once they found out about the CRA. He noted that the CRA would have to pay back $15 million over time, and they would install the North Hancock Extension, Citrus Grove, and the northern road that would connect to CR 561A. He stated that the developers would be responsible for putting in the first two lanes, but then the County would build the other two lanes to make it four lanes when the volumes increased. He indicated that the CRA plan was being worked on, and it was moving very quickly.
Commr. Cadwell asked how long it would take the CRA to generate enough funds to bond those extensions.
Mr. Fish responded that they were in the process of trying to figure out what the bonding potential would be.
Commr. Cadwell expressed that he has supported the project all along, but he warned them to be careful of what commitments they were making.
Commr. Parks stated that his second goal was the Sector Plan and that he gave the City of Clermont an update on the Sector Plan and the RFP at the City’s visioning session held yesterday. He related that the South Lake Chamber has done a great job at trying to brand South Lake County, and he suggested allowing the Chamber to come to a future meeting to show the Board what they have done.
Commr. Campione commented that she thought everyone would enjoy seeing what the Chamber had done, adding that it tied into economic development and was a great approach for the entire South Lake region.
Commr. Parks asked for an update on the meeting with Orange County that took place yesterday in regards to the Sector Plan.
Mr. Stivender pointed out that the meeting went very well and that they went through a list of items that needed to happen in regards to the Wellness Way and the Sector Plan. He noted that he received a map from Orange County showing the acquisitions they were using on the east side of the SR 429 and some of the areas they planned to work on at a later date on the west side of SR 429.
Mr. Fish remarked that the meeting was a lot more positive than the last one and stated that the Commission and the MPO have supported looking to a toll agency for financial feasibility. He indicated that the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA) staff came to the meeting and that Orange County was now aware that the MPO had requested money from the state for the PD&E study. He related that the question right now was whether the Turnpike Enterprise or the OOCEA would be doing the planning study and the toll feasibility study.
Commr. Campione pointed out that her key goals were fiscal responsibility, budget problem solving, public safety, economic development and tourism, recreation, social services, transportation, solid waste, environmental protection, growth management, intergovernmental coordination and quality of life. She related that the Animal Services Department was one area that needed improvement when it came to the quality of life, and noted that last week she and staff met with veterinarians from North Lake County about a company that would help with registering animals in the County. She indicated that veterinarians were required by law to notify the County every time a rabies shot was administered, and that company would then send a notice to the animal’s owners with instructions on how to register their animal. She stated that the veterinarians were excited about the process and that Seminole County was currently using that process, and it was working very well. She added that it would be up to the Board to decide whether they wanted to go that route and what the costs were.
Commr. Conner commented that there was a lot of room for improvement with Animal Services, adding that they needed to take a proactive approach in making the animals healthy so they were adoptable.
Commr. Campione mentioned that in regards to the fire services, they needed to work towards a more coordinated approach with their municipal partners. She suggested that for the growth management goal they work on an enhanced design criteria for commercial businesses. She related that it would be nice to have some criteria to create a standard that enhanced the area without increasing the cost of construction. She stated that for the recreation goal, she was interested in maintaining the Pine Meadows property since the cost was relatively low at around $4,000 a year. She added that the maintenance would include mowing some of the areas and that there may be volunteers who would be willing to help out, so she wanted to explore that so they did not lose that opportunity. She also pointed out that she wanted to continue with the business-friendly certification the departments received and make that a constant objective. She noted that it was important to make sure the citizens were getting good service and that any complaints were addressed.
Mr. Heath then briefly reviewed the items, goals and objectives that were discussed during the meeting and stated that he would work with each individual commissioner in the next few weeks to schedule future work sessions. He also suggested having a future retreat in June after they received the constitutional officers’ budgets and at the beginning of each year after a new chairman was elected.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 2:25 p.m.
leslie campione, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK