A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

july 22, 2014

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 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:  Jimmy Conner, Chairman; Sean Parks, Vice Chairman; Timothy I. Sullivan; Leslie Campione; and Welton G. Cadwell.  Others present were:  David Heath, County Manager; Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.

INVOCATION and pledge

Pastor Rick Fountain from the First Baptist Church of Tavares gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Agenda update

Mr. David Heath, County Manager, stated that he needed to make two changes to the agenda, noting that the first change was that since Lira Sod from Mount Placid has withdrawn their bid regarding Tab 18 dealing with procurement of sod, staff recommended that they still approve Tab 18 on the consent agenda with the one modification that it be awarded to the remaining two vendors for that contract.  He explained that the second change was to pull Items 11 and 12 from the Consent Rezoning Agenda in Tab 26 regarding Bella Collina so that Commr. Parks could recuse himself from the vote on those items.

citizen question and comment period

Mr. Vance Jochim, a writer of a blog called fiscalrangers.com regarding fiscal and local governmental issues, recapped that the Board had a presentation on the fleet maintenance operations at the last meeting which mentioned that a lot of vehicles needed to be replaced, and one of the reasons for that was that repair costs were increasing.  He expressed concern that the metrics that were shown to him were not the ones normally used in the industry which compared operating costs for vehicles and equipment by running a total life cycle analysis which showed all of the costs of the vehicle over the years and compared it to the cost of repairs.  He opined that the information shown does not completely justify the need to replace $8 million worth of equipment, and he indicated that he would provide the County with some information on the industry’s metrics in the future.

smokey the bear birthday proclamation

Commr. Parks presented Proclamation No. 2014-87 in recognition of Smokey the Bear’s 70th birthday on August 14, 2014 to Ms. Judith Tier, Mitigation Specialist and Public Information Officer for the Florida Forest Service, and to honor the Florida Forest Service for its efforts in forest fire prevention and forest management, and he read the proclamation aloud.

CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA

On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 6, 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.

City of Minneola Corrective Ordinance

Request to acknowledge receipt of City of Minneola Corrective Ordinance No. 2104-15.

City of Eustis Ordinance

Request to acknowledge receipt of City of Eustis Ordinance 14-10 annexing the following property:  North Side of CR 44, West of Gatch Rd., East of Hicks Ditch Rd., Alternate Key No. 2988509, vacant property.  By adoption of the ordinance, the property is now within the municipal boundaries of Eustis and served by the City.

Lake Soil and Water Conservation District Annual Financial Report

Request to acknowledge receipt of the Lake Soil and Water Conservation District Annual Financial Report of September 30, 2013.

Village Center Community Development District Proposed Budgets

Request to acknowledge receipt of the Village Center Community Development District proposed budgets for Fiscal Year 2014-2015.

Greater Lakes/Sawgrass Bay CDD Financial Report

Request to acknowledge receipt of the Greater Lakes/Sawgrass Bay Community Development District Financial Report for the year ending September 30, 2013.

COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA

Commr. Sullivan noted that the House of Representatives mandated the renaming of six to eight sections in Lake County of their memorial highways for those soldiers who died in combat from World War II to Afghanistan, which was reflected in Tab 3.

On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 23, amending Tab 18, as follows:

Resolutions

Request for approval of Resolution No. 2014-88 designating a portion of S.R. 50 between the Sumter County line and Lee Road in Lake County as "Sergeant Jess Thomas Memorial Highway" as requested by Commissioner Conner.

Community Services

Request for approval and signature on the Florida Medicaid Provider Reenrollment Application and Agreement. There is no fiscal impact.

Request for approval of an Agreement between the Lake County Board of County Commissioners and Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) for LYNX to transfer three of their surplus Federal Transit Administration (FTA) purchased vehicles at no cost to the County and to paint them at a cost of $8,236.44. The fiscal impact is $8,236.44 (Expense – County).

Request for approval to purchase three (3) fixed route buses via access of a third-party contract and authorize the procurement office to execute all implementing documentation.  The fiscal impact is $383,508 for each bus, totaling $1,150,524 for all three buses.  The amount is 100 percent grant-funded.

Request for approval and signature of an agreement with Medical Transportation Management (MTM) d.b.a. Southeast MTM for the County to provide transportation for their Medicaid clients in the amount of $119,000.00. The fiscal impact is $119,000.00 (Revenue).

Request for approval of the Section 8, 5-Year Plan and signature on the Certifications. There is no fiscal impact.

Community Safety and Compliance

Request for approval of authorization for the BCC or Designee to sign Certificate of Participation for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) for FFY 2014/2015 Program and name Brenda Quattlebaum, Lake County Probation Supervisor, as Program Coordinator.  There is no fiscal impact.

Request for approval for ratification of County Manager's decision to waive rescue adoption fees as a method to increase pet adoptions when the Animal Shelter is at capacity and approval of Resolution No. 2014-89, an amendment to Resolution 2013-112, relating to administrative fees to allow the County Manager to waive or reduce the established Animal Services adoption fees if the Animal Services Shelter is at a ninety percent (90%) or greater capacity.  The fiscal impact is estimated to be less than $3,000 per occurrence.

County Attorney

Request for approval and execution of Revocable Non-Exclusive License Agreements between Lake County and the Cities of Eustis, Tavares and Mount Dora regarding property located on Frankie’s Road near the County’s Animal Control Facility to keep animals on a temporary basis.  There is no fiscal impact.

Economic Development and Tourism

Request for approval to advertise revisions to the Arts and Cultural Alliance Ordinance adjusting the residency requirements to allow members from the cities of Clermont, Eustis, Minneola, Leesburg,  Tavares and Mount Dora without requiring those members to be residents of the cities.  There is no fiscal impact.

Facilities Development and Tourism

Request for approval to award contract 14-0217 to Ross Plumbing (Leesburg, FL) for replacement of boilers within the central energy plant at the Lake County Detention Center and approval of the attached transfer of funds from Facilities Repair & Maintenance to the Energy Management Repair and Maintenance account.  The fiscal impact is $93,400 (Expenditure).

Fiscal and Administrative Services

Request for approval to (1) declare the items on the attached list surplus to County needs, (2) authorize the removal of all of the items on the attached list from the County’s official fixed asset inventory system records, and (3) authorize the Procurement Manager to execute any required title documents.

Request for approval to award contracts 14-0014, On-call Survey Services to Booth, Ern, Straughan & Hiott, Inc. and Southeastern Surveying and Mapping Corporation. The fiscal impact is $66,135 - Expenditure (Estimate).

Public Safety

Request for approval for Scott and Lynn-Ann Wilcox to rename their private road/easement Wilcool Way from Ihrig Lane.  There is no fiscal impact to the County.

Public Works

Request for approval and signature of Resolution No. 2014-90 and execution of LAP Agreement with FDOT for the construction of a sidewalk at Carver Middle School on Thomas Ave. (from MLK Blvd. to Griffin Rd.) and approval to advertise bids (Project Tracking # S/W 12010).  FDOT provided funding for the Safe Routes to School Sidewalk Program for Thomas Ave sidewalk (FPN #431530-1-58/68-01).  The fiscal impact is $260,713.00 (100% Grant Funded).  Commission District 1.

Request for approval of contracts 14-0439 for Sod Services for Public Works to two (2) vendors, and authorization for the Procurement office to complete all implementing documentation.  The annual fiscal impact is estimated at $119,000.00 (Expenditure).  This was originally to be awarded to three vendors, but Lira Sod had withdrawn their bid.

Request for approval and adoption of  Resolution No. 2014-91 and execution of the LAP agreement for Picciola Rd (CR 466A) Paved Shoulders (from Dogwood Dr. to 1,200 feet south of Twin Palms Rd.), with FDOT in the amount of $57,025.00 (FPN # 434422-1-38-01).  The fiscal impact is $57,025.00 (100% Grant Funding).  Commissioner District 5.

Request for approval of agreement with the City of Minneola for installation of a city water line on N. Hancock Rd.  The fiscal impact is $171, 131.40 (Expenditure).  Commission District 2.

Request for approval for Chairman’s signature on the one-year Amended Traffic Signal Maintenance Agreement and Compensation with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The FDOT now desires to amend the existing Agreement by an update. This Agreement will be effective for one year only from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. FDOT is now including compensation for maintenance of Intersection Control Beacons, Pedestrian Flashing Beacons and Traffic Warning Beacons located on FDOT roads.  Lake County currently maintains 4 beacons, 9 Flashers and 2 School Flashers (one school zone).  The compensation per the attached agreement will be $675.00 per beacon, $295.00 per school zone, and $148.00 per flasher, thereby increasing revenue by $4,327.00.  Compensation for maintenance of Traffic Signals will remain the same as previous Agreement with the annual 3% increase.  The fiscal impact is $4,327.00 (Revenue).

Request for approval for authorization for the Lake County Clerk’s Office to release a cash surety in the amount of $105,218.08 and accept a performance bond in the amount of $105,218.08 as surety for the installation of a sidewalk in the Johns Lake Landing Phase 2 subdivision.  Johns Lake Landing Phase 2 consists of 96 lots and is located south of SR 50, off of Hartle Road in Section 26, Township 24 South, Range 26 East. There is no fiscal impact.  Commission District 2.

Request for approval for authorization to accept a performance bond in the amount of $105,423.45, execute a Developer’s Agreement for Construction of Sidewalk Improvements between Lake County and Meritage Homes of Florida Inc., accept a maintenance bond in the amount of $81,692.33, execute a Developer's Agreement for Maintenance of Improvements between Lake County and Meritage Homes of Florida Inc. and execute Resolution No. 2014-92 accepting the following roads into the County Road Maintenance System: Verde Park Boulevard (County Road No. 1467), Gourd Neck Loop (County Road No. 1468), Ollivett Street (County Road No. 1468A), Ozzi Street (County Road No. 1468B), and Rugby Street (County Road No. 1468C).  Verde Park Phase I consists of 61 lots and is located East of Clermont off CR-50 in Section 24, Township 22 South, Range 26 East.  There is no fiscal impact.

presentations

clermont’s new logo and tagline

Mr. Darren Gray, Clermont City Manager, introduced Mr. Ray Goodgame, their mayor pro tem, and Ms. Doris Bloodsworth, their Public Information Officer, and he related that the Clermont City Council recently approved a new brand that includes a new logo and tagline, which they believe would have a positive impact on both the City and the County.  He showed a video presentation which explained how the branding started, displayed some of their natural resources, related some of the history of Clermont, displayed their sporting and other events, and named some of the world-class athletes that have trained in the area as well as other well-known personalities such as authors and artists who have lived or spent time in Clermont.  The presentation noted that the City of Clermont held a series of visioning sessions in 2013 that attracted the attendance and participation of more than 1,000 people, and the City instituted numerous changes and amenities based on those suggestions.  He then added that they held a retreat with their City Council members after the visioning session, in which it was identified that the City’s main assets which attracted people there were their hills and lakes, and they have recognized that Clermont has become a training ground for the world’s elite and Olympic athletes who chose Clermont as a place to live and train.  He explained that the City hired a firm to create a logo with those things in mind that was bold, fresh, and very progressive; and he unveiled the new logo on the overhead monitor with the caption “Clermont, Choice of Champions.”  He commented that the community has embraced that logo, and he wanted the County to be the first to know about it, since working with the County was very important to Clermont.  He related that their next step was master planning, and they were interviewing firms now to do that.

Commr. Parks mentioned that he had attended most of the visioning sessions and commented that they were done in a very professional way.

Date for public meeting of management plan advisory group

Mr. Joe Bishop from the Florida Forest Service mentioned that in addition to wildfire protection in Lake County, they also manage two public lands, which were Seminole State Forest in east Lake County and Withlacoochee State Forest.  He reported that the Florida Forest Service has completed a new draft ten-year management plan for the Withlacoochee State Forest, about 6,000 acres of which was in the southern portion of Lake County, and they will be holding a public hearing for this plan on August 26, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the Withlacoochee Training Center located at 24059 Childs Road in Brooksville.  He added that a draft of the management plan can be found on their website, freshfromflorida.com, and that comments about this plan can be made in person at the above-mentioned meeting or submitted in writing to Michael Penn, the Resource Administrator of the Withlacoochee State Forest, at 15019 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34601.  He noted that the comments can also be emailed to Mr. Penn at michael.penn@freshfromflorida.com.  He specified that providing this information at this meeting is required of them per Florida Statutes 259.032, and he asked the Board to let him know at their earliest convenience whether the Board plans to participate in their management plan advisory board and the person chosen to represent Lake County if they choose to be represented on this board.

public hearings: rezonings

rezoning consent agenda

Mr. Chris Schmidt, Manager of Planning and Community Design, Growth Management, submitted the advertisements for all of the day’s public hearings.  He related that the first 11 items of the Rezoning Consent Agenda are the cases that the BCC transmitted on April 22, 2014, and Items 12 and 13 were approved by the Planning and Zoning Board on July 10, 2014.  He explained that the staff recommendation is for the Board to make one motion to approve the Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 through 10 and Tab 13.

The Chairman opened the public hearing regarding the Rezoning Consent Agenda with the exception of Tabs 11 and 12.

There being no one who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Rezoning Consent Agenda as follows:

Tab 1.  Ordinance No. 2014-37

LPA#14/4-5T

Ecotourism and Agri-Tourism Text Amendment.

Request for creation of Policy I-1.2.9 entitled Ecotourism and Agri-tourism Uses, which will allow said uses in all Future Land Use Categories (FLUC) and defines Ecotourism and Agri-Tourism.

Tab 2.  Ordinance No. 2014-38

LPA#14/4/7-2

Lake County Fire Rescue Station #109

Request for amendment to change the FLUC from Conservation to Public Service Facilities and Infrastructure on the parcel with Alternate Key #2603968, which is located within the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern.

Tab 3.  Ordinance No. 2014-39

LPA#14/4/5-1

Lake County Fire Rescue Station #110

Request for amendment to change the FLUC from Conservation to Public Service Facilities and Infrastructure on the parcel with Alternate Key #2945168, which is located within the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern.

Tab 4.  Ordinance No. 2014-40

LPA#14/4/12-1

Lake County Fire Rescue Station #111

Request for amendment to change the FLUC from Conservation to Public Service Facilities and Infrastructure on the parcel with Alternate Key #3793530, which is located within the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern.

Tab 5.  Ordinance No. 2014-41

LPA#14/4/8-3

Cities of Eustis, Mount Dora & Tavares

Florida Rock Industries, Inc.

Request for amendment to change the FLUC from Public Service Facilities and Infrastructure to Industrial on a portion of the parcel with Alternate Key #1095123, containing approximately 25 acres.

Tab 6.  Ordinance No. 2014-42

LPA#14/4/11-2

Nola Land Company, Inc.

Request for amendment to Policy I-1.6.9 entitled “Specific Limitations on the Nola Land Company Property” to remove the requirement that the development on the subject parcels shall be age restricted, update the legal description, and amend the FLUM to update the existing note for this policy.

Tab 7.  Ordinance No. 2014-43

LPA#14/4-1T

Mount Plymouth/Sorrento Gated Communities Text Amendment

Request for amendment to Policy I-2.1.2 entitled “Guiding Principles for Development” to remove the prohibition against gated communities within the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento Community.

Tab 8.  Ordinance No. 2014-44

LPA#14/4/2-4

Sorrento Commons Property

Request for amendment to Policy I-1.6.8 entitled “Specific Limitations on the Sorrento Commons Property,” which specifies development criteria for the property described as Alternate Key No’s 2856742, 1789150, 3519221, 2930004, and 2507012, consisting of approximately 27 acres.

Tab 9.  Ordinance No. 2014-45

LPA#14/4/9-3

Yalaha Rural Support Corridor

Request for Comprehensive Plan text amendment to designate the Yalaha Rural Support Corridor and provide specific criteria for the corridor and a FLUM amendment to add a Rural Support Corridor in Yalaha along the south side of CR 48 within Sections 16 & 21, Township 20, Range 25.

Tab 10.  Ordinance No. 2014-46

LPA#13/3/1-4

Jones Parcel

Request for amendment to change the FLUC from Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Neighborhood to Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Main Street on a parcel with Alternate Key #1598192 containing 85 +/- acres.

Tab 13.  Ordinance No. 2014-49

LPA#14/8/1-5

Basset Small-Scale Amendment

This amendment changes the FLU from Public Service Facilities and Infrastructure to Rural on the parcel owned by David and Kandee Bassett and described as Alternate Key #1237459, which consists of 5+/-.

bella collina fluc and amendment – lpa #13/10/1-2 and PH#5-14-2

Commr. Parks stated for the record that he was recusing himself from participating and voting on the cases in Tabs 11 and 12, since he has served the Town of Montverde with consulting services for almost eight years, and he believes there may be a possible conflict of interest.

Mr. Schmidt related that their office received five emails in support and one email in opposition to the PUD as of 8:00 a.m. that morning.  He explained that the applicant is requesting to amend the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) on the land known as Bella Collina (East and West) consisting of approximately 1,915 gross acres located east and west of CR 455 and south of Montverde from Rural Transition Future Land Use Category to Bella Collina Future Land Use Category, which is being proposed as a new future land use category for the subject properties.  He added that the applicant was also requesting to rezone five acres of Light Industrial Land to PUD zoning to revoke PUD Ordinance #82-90 and Ordinance #2001-109 by creating one PUD ordinance consistent with the new Bella Collina FLUC for the existing use and recreation uses, including additional single-family dwelling units, the addition of a 100-unit lodge hotel, two clubhouses, a community pool, gym, health spa, golf course, and banquet hall.

Mr. Keith Clarke, a resident of Orlando and property owner in Bella Collina, commented that the new owners of the development are doing incredible things there and spending a lot of money revitalizing this property, which is generating tax dollars for the community.  He opined that the hotel will be a win-win situation for everyone within the community, and they have great weddings at Bella Collina.  He added that he believes Montverde Academy will also benefit from that hotel, and he opined that those who are objecting to this project are those who do not pay the homeowners’ dues.  He concluded that the project is a very good thing for the community, and he was excited about it.

Mr. David Wallace, a resident of Bella Collina since 2010, commented that this was a gorgeous piece of property and that the current owners have done a great job stabilizing and bringing about recovery to the development after coming in at a time when it did not have a lot of stability.  He commented that he plans on staying there for quite some time and is excited about the future of Bella Collina and the hotel-condominium project, which reminded him of the community of Magnolia Pointe, which is a very positive and healthy community.  He wondered what Bella Collina would be like if the current owners did not show up when they did, and he added that they support the efforts of the owners.

Ms. Miranda Fitzgerald, the attorney for the applicants, mentioned that they worked very closely with County staff on both of those applications and pointed out that after sending this amendment to the Department of Community Affairs, no comments came back from any of the reviewing agencies and that everyone was satisfied at the state and regional level with the application they submitted for the Comp Plan.  She recapped that Bella Collina was in complete disarray in 2010, with the owners at that time not paying attention to anything that was going on in the community, which was also the year that Lake County completely worked its Comprehensive Plan.  She explained that prior to that, two PUD’s were put in place that allowed 868 lots which was consistent with the Comp Plan that was in existence at the time until the County amended the Comp Plan without any input from Bella Collina which put Bella Collina into a nonconforming use status by adopting a rural transition designation.  She related that County staff told her in 2012 that the new owners could not recapture the 67 lots that were yet to be platted unless there was a Comp Plan amendment process.  She noted that the venue at Bella Collina has become an amazing wedding destination with wedding parties being bussed in from hotels in the downtown Orlando area due to an absence of available convenient and suitable hotels for those guests to stay locally, which has resulted in a lot of lost revenue for Lake County, and they feel that a condominium and lodge-type facility would be a terrific addition to that community.  She related that they went through two full concurrency analyses to determine any impacts to the roads or the schools in the area assuming full-residential as well as resort hotel use and passed both of those concurrency analyses, so there was really no impact issue regarding the infrastructure.  In addition, they have agreed to install a dedicated left-turn lane heading south on CR 455 into the lodge, as requested by the Town of Montverde.

Ms. Fitzgerald mentioned that this project had the complete support from the Mayor of Montverde, the City Commission of Montverde, and the headmaster of Montverde Academy; and they also had a community meeting with only three people who spoke in opposition to the project out of 35 of those in attendance.  She opined that a large majority of residents at Bella Collina are in support of this, and those who are not are those who do not comprehend the obligations that they had taken on when they bought property there and the rules that have been in place for a long time.  She commented that the DCS representatives have been trying to get what was a failed project back on sound financial footing by trying to do collections of delinquent accounts short of litigation and filing lawsuits when that did not work as their only recourse, and she pointed out that the opposition of this project has been from people who are engaged in litigation with Bella Collina over delinquent fees and who are understandably unhappy as a result.  She noted that DCS had retained the right to modify its development plan, and they were trying to recapture 67 lots that the prior Comp Plan would not allow to be developed.  She assured the Board that they have been working extremely diligently with the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) to do any maintenance work that needed to be done on the water management system which was not done by the prior owners, such as fixing leaks in the system and repair of staff gauge, and she reported that the SJRWMD did a full inspection on the property on July 9 which indicated that they are now in compliance.  She asked the Board for their support of this project, commenting that it would be good for the community and the surrounding cities.

Mr. Rick Vogel, a property owner and one of the builders in Bella Collina, spoke in favor of the proposal and emphasized the positive impact from the jobs that will be created by the homes and the lodge that will be built there.  He mentioned that he has been an owner in Bella Collina since the beginning and has seen how DCS has brought back the development in a positive way.  He also opined that the new owners value the residents and their position in Lake County and that they were there for the long term.

Ms. Kathryn Setherin, a resident of Bella Collina, stated that there was not a mandatory membership requirement when she first bought her home in 2004 and that she bought based on a planned unit development.  She related that there were 175 lots in her area that circle around a huge gorgeous tree-lined area, and she originally felt very confident that the land that was owned by the HOA would not change.  She bought her home for the privacy, trees, and beauty of the area; however, now she was concerned about the loss of those things that she valued so much, and she found it discouraging that there were now 67 lots behind her home, 50 of which originally were given to the SJRWMD as a large parcel of land on the west side.  She pointed out that the water restrictions were already excessive in that area, and she was concerned that they would become even more excessive if they added another 67 lots.  She noted that when she originally landscaped her property, she had to carefully landscape to limit the amount of irrigation required.  She believed that this project would further saturate a market that already had a huge amount of available land within the development as well as the surrounding area and would devalue her land and the 100 lots around her property.

Mr. Michael Choo, a property owner in Bella Collina, stated that he was one of the unfortunate individuals who bought four very expensive lots in 2004 and 2005, at which time he was told that there would be no more than 390 lots on the island side and a total of less than 800 lots in the development because of restrictions by SJRWMD and Lake County, thinking that his investment would be secure.  He related that his property ten years later was now worth 95 percent less than what he paid, and he was concerned that adding more lots would make that situation even worse.

Mr. Al Little, a resident of Lake Mary, commented that people’s views on an issue differ depending on their interests, noting that builders are interested in building homes and making money, which is a different interest than those who own property in which to live.  He recommended that this matter be tabled until there could be a clearer understanding among all the parties and that there be more cooperation between the developer and the property owners.  He stated that he believes under Florida Statutes and precedents that the developer is required to have a vote to determine property owners’ agreement or disagreement with the proposed changes.  He also expressed a belief that under the membership plan that exists in Bella Collina, there was a requirement to have a vote of the members as specified in the membership plan in order to add new members to the golf club and things of that nature.  He expressed doubt that there was consensus of the homeowners that this project is the right thing to do, and he expressed concern that his costs continually increase.

Mr. Schmidt reported that both the Planning and Zoning Board and staff recommended approval of both items.

Commr. Campione commented that it seemed that there were some issues that need to be worked out between the homeowners and the developer, but the expansion of the tax roll as a result of this project clearly would be a benefit to the County, and this project would also be a benefit to the Town of Montverde and Montverde Academy.

Commr. Cadwell commented this project will improve the viability of the development and help the existing homeowners lower their obligations.  He added that it also made sense from both a planning and business standpoint.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2014-47 for Rezoning Case LPA#13/10/1-2, Bella Collina Future Land Use Category; and Ordinance No. 2014-48 for Rezoning Case PH#5-14-2, Bella Collina PUD Amendment.

recess and reassembly

The Chairman announced at 10:00 a.m. that there would be a fifteen-minute recess.

COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS

fiscal and administrative services

discussion of millage rates to be included on trim notices

Mr. David Heath, County Manager, emphasized that this was not a public hearing nor was the Board being asked to set the final millage rates that day, but this discussion was only to set up the maximum millage for advertising purposes. He further explained that the Board will have the opportunity to reduce those rates at the public hearings in September from those that will be proposed today.  He related that this presentation would include a review of the budget process from when they started in January through the present and how the recommendations that will be made have come about.

Mr. Steve Koontz, Budget Director, recapped the information that was given during a preliminary look at their budget on January 28, including projected revenues and expenses for next year and a forecast of how this fiscal year would end as well as the estimated fund balance, which predicted a shortfall of $4.3 million.  He discussed at that time the challenges that they faced regarding the General Fund, such as employee compensation, increasing workload, aging infrastructure, state mandates, the Astatula Fuel Remediation, and the Sheriff’s budget regarding vehicles and employee compensation.  He also mentioned that there were challenges regarding the Lake County EMS MSTU, the fire assessment, and Parks and Trails.  He went over the budget strategy that was approved by the Board at that time, such as keeping a status quo departmental budget, looking at addressing employee compensation, exploring funding solutions to the Sheriff’s personnel and vehicle needs, monitoring the legislature, analyzing funding for parks and trails, and revisiting the budget issues in May or June.  He noted that they have had to make some adjustments since January, have gone through the budget process with the departments, and have received the request from the constitutional offices with the exception of the Tax Collector.  He reported that the revenues have been higher than projected by about $700,000, and they had a decrease in the constitutional excess fees of about $400,000.  He emphasized that the expenses from the General Fund are very tight at about 99 percent with no room within the budget.  He related that there were additional expenses which totaled an extra $9.6 million that were not factored into the projected budget in January, such as an increase to the Motorola contract, the FRS changes, the Astatula Fuel Remediation, constitutional budgets, lease for the Tax Collector facility, a transfer to Parks and Trails, an increase to the PO carryforward, and the amount needed to keep the reserves at seven percent.

Mr. Koontz then gave a summary of what was discussed at the workshop on June 24, starting with the summary of funding changes, and he concluded that the total funding to address the overall shortfall including ambulance and fire was about $15.1 million.  He recapped that there was funding allocated from the infrastructure sales tax to various projects and equipment, and the estimated reserves after funding those projects was about $320,000, noting that there was no funding allocated for the debt service of the downtown projects.  He gave an overview of the general fund, displaying bar charts showing a historical perspective of the revenues, expenses, and reserves of the General Fund from 2008 to 2014.  He commented that the largest part of the General Fund is the ad valorem, which has gone from $101.4 million in 2008 down to $70.1 million for this year, and he noted that the expenses in the General Fund in 2008 were about $178 million, which was down to $116.9 million in 2014.  He pointed out that those expenses have flattened out from 2011 to 2013 due to the efforts they have made to decrease costs, although other costs have increased, such as Medicaid expenses, which presented even more of a challenge to them to cut expenses.  He reported that there has been a steady and significant decline in the reserves from 2010 to 2014 as expenses have exceeded revenues, and he displayed a bar graph illustrating that trend, which has resulted in a decrease in the reserves for a low of $10.5 million in 2014.  He added that there was a high of 374 County positions in 2007, but the positions in the General Fund have decreased 43 percent or 159 positions through attrition and staff reductions. 

Mr. Koontz displayed a pie chart illustrating the four major components of the General Fund, which were the County departments making up about 26 percent, Judicial Support making up about 2 percent, the Constitutional Offices making up 59 percent, and the transfers and non-departmental making up about 13 percent.  He pointed out that even with the increase in certified values for this year, property values have decreased by a little over 31 percent since 2008, and he showed a chart which specifies those values and the percent change in value, depicting an FY 2015 Certified Property Value of $15,431,931,511, which was a 4.22 increase over last year.  He specified that the County Departments budget had to account for a slight increase in the FRS rates, included a three percent raise for employee compensation, contained enhancement of information technology of about $200,000, incorporated a $500,000 enhancement to facilities, and included the first phase of the Astatula Fuel Remediation Project; and he added that the proposed budget also includes a slight increase for Animal Services, although they will be working with the Sheriff, moving that funding out of the County departments, and transferring that to the Sheriff in the future.  He also indicated that funding was also included for the requests from the constitutional offices and the judicial support, and there was an increase to the transfer to the Fire Fund to offset the governmental building assessments as well as an increase of $1.1 million to the transfer to Parks and Trails to make up the shortfall to take care of maintenance needs.  He noted that items that were kept constant at the 2014 funding level included Medicaid, Social Service and Children’s Service Grants, Health Department, economic development, and communications.  He specified that the General Fund millage rate for this fiscal year is 4.7309, and the recommended budget includes a millage of 5.6124.

Mr. Koontz presented a bar graph illustrating that the Parks and Stormwater MSTU revenues have gone from $6 million in 2008 to $3.9 million in 2014.  He related that this fund originally was divided among parks, stormwater, and roads, but this fund no longer is used for roads as it formerly was until 2010.  He reported that the certified values showed a 3.15 percent increase in the Parks and Stormwater MSTU fund from FY 2014 to FY 2015.  He noted that the stormwater funding has decreased consistently from $4.4 million in 2008 down to its current level of $500,000 and that the funding for parks from that fund had increased until 2011 but has decreased since then due to the decrease in overall funding.  He specified that Stormwater receives about 13 percent of the ad valorem revenues or $500,000, which is enough to fund the ongoing operations but not future projects, and there is some cash brought forward from previous years for stormwater capital projects for a total of $3 million.  He related that their expenditures include their operations of about $500,000 which includes project management, flood plain reviews, permitting, inspections, and monitoring, and the projects for next year include Wolfbranch Sink at an expected cost of about $2 million and other smaller projects for a total of $3 million.  He mentioned that they put some of the Public Lands funding that was historically in the General Fund into the Parks fund as well as a transfer from the General Fund for operations and maintenance, which amounts to $4.79 million after the statutory deduction, resulting in a total of $5.34 million with the cash brought forward from the fund balance and the PO carryforwards.  He pointed out that this budget does not include any operational reserves, and he described the budget as being mostly for operations.  He stated that one of the challenges for this budget is that although the Parks and Trails revenues have been declining since 2010, the responsibilities have been increasing with the addition of new active and passive parks and recreational areas, with more parks expected to open in the near future, resulting in underfunded repair and maintenance costs over the last couple of years.  He assured the Board that staff has been getting all they could out of every available dollar, and he mentioned that this budget also has no operational reserves.  He displayed a map which showed the locations of the active parks in the county, which required intense maintenance.  He also pointed out that they included a transfer of $1.1 million from the General Fund in the FY 2015 recommended budget to address issues such as ADA repairs and transition plans, playground repairs, and pavement repairs, since many of the parks have become regional in nature.  He announced, however, that there is no proposed millage increase to the Parks and Stormwater MSTU.  He pointed out that since there was $21,500 in additional revenues due to an increase in the certified property values from what they had estimated in June in the Parks and Stormwater MSTU fund, the proposed millage rate was decreased from .4984 to .4957.

Mr. Koontz next gave an overview of the Lake County Fire Budget, pointing out that the two main sources of revenue making up this budget are ad valorem and the Fire Assessment, and he reported that the trend is that the MSTU decreased from a high of $3.6 million in 2009 down to $2.6 million in 2014.  He related that they did the full study for the fire assessment in 2011, and the Board approved the more conservative approach of using a breakdown of 75-25 of the ALS versus non-ALS, which slightly impacted the revenues resulting in a decrease.  He noted that although overall the funding has decreased, expenses have been increasing in general since 2009 due to expansion of the County’s fire services.  He mentioned that when the revenues were good, they were able to increase the reserves in the Fire Budget, but the reserves have been decreasing since 2012 in order to cover the increasing expenses.  He displayed a bar graph illustrating the firefighter position comparison which showed that there were 172 firefighters in 2008, and through the years from 2008-2010 there was an increase of 18 positions due to some volunteer stations that became full-time stations and to staff Station 99 in Clermont, with a lot of that paid for with grant funding which expired in 2013 that took care of the salaries of some of those positions.  He mentioned that although they were expecting an increase in the MSTU revenue of 2.67 percent for FY 2015, the actual increase was 3.25 percent.  He commented that the majority of the expenses for this fund are for personnel of $16.3 million, along with other smaller expenses such as operating, capital, transfer fees, and reserves.  He pointed out that they are also expecting increasing personnel costs in the future due to increased Special Risk FRS rates, three percent raises for employees, and expiration of grants that funded 12 positions, and he mentioned that the budget includes a new Financial Coordinator position and funding for automatic aid agreements.  He added that the FY 2015 reserves are budgeted at 10 percent, and the fund will be more structurally balanced in the FY 2015 budget, with new revenues equaling expenses; however, he pointed out that the new budget does not include funding for salary compression, replacement of the aging fleet of fire trucks, and replacement or renovation of other aging infrastructure.  He noted that since this budget also saw an increase in certified property values resulting in an additional $22,200 in revenues, the proposed millage rate is reduced from .4730 to .4704, and he mentioned that the FY 2014 millage was .3222.

Mr. Koontz reported that there was an increase in the Public Lands Voted Debt value of 4.22 percent for FY 2015, and he recommended that they decrease the millage rate from .190 to .16, which would result in a decrease in revenues of about $440,000, because they have exceeded the goal of a $500,000 reserve to mitigate any fluctuation in revenues and changes in values.  He related that there was cash brought forward of about $900,000, total revenues of $3.29 million, and total expenses of $3.29 consisting of principal, interest, fees, and reserves; and he opined that this fund is absolutely structurally balanced.  He stated that the Lake County Ambulance MSTU was a countywide millage which showed a .64 percent increase in the FY 2014 budget, and there was a 4.22 percent increase in FY 2015.  He indicated that they have included an increase in revenues for this fund of about $1.5 million or a millage rate change from .3853 to .4823, which would result in total ad valorem revenues of $7.44 million and total revenues of $7.77 after the statutory deduction and cash brought forward is taken into consideration.  He noted that they have included a payment to EMS of $6.3 million under the expenditures, and he listed other expenses including CRA payments, ALS payments to cities and to Fire Rescue, and reserves, for a total of $7.77 million.  He also displayed a chart showing the rollback rate comparisons for all the budgets, noting that the 2014 adopted rate was 5.9, the 2015 rollback rate will be 5.8181, and the proposed 2015 rate is 7.0608.

Mr. Heath assured the Board that he understood the seriousness of the effects of a millage increase, but emphasized that this was a conservative and far from extravagant budget, even with the millage increase.  He pointed out that the proposed millage was only a recommendation to the Board for a maximum millage rate.  He commented that it would be extremely difficult to balance the budget without that millage increase, resulting in the County facing the same budget challenges that they have been struggling with over the last several years for many years to come, and he pointed out that the Sheriff could appeal his budget to the Governor and cabinet if he was not satisfied with the amount of his budget, which would necessitate the County to set aside additional funds in an amount of up to $3 million for that contingency.  He also emphasized that there would be approximately a $15.1 funding gap without a millage rate increase to address needs in the General Fund, the Fire budget, and the Ambulance fund, and he recommended to make public safety their first priority in that case by funding the proposed Sheriff’s budget and Fire Rescue at its existing level of service and the proposed EMS budget out of the general fund, with the exception of raises for EMS and fire rescue personnel.  He opined that they would have to rely on the Infrastructure Sales Tax if they did not increase the millage by using up to $5.74 million of that budget to pay the principal and interest payment on the debt for the Judicial Center, which would also cause the elimination or delay of several projects such as the Judicial Center completion for the third and fourth floor, the South Lake Regional Park, and the projects outlined by the Commissioners’ requests

Mr. Heath elaborated that his other alternatives for balancing the budget in order to make up the $9 or $10 million shortfall after using the Infrastructure Sales Tax included a reduction of 40 percent to the departments, which would entail a reduction of 30 to 40 positions; elimination of raises for all employees; elimination of grant programs, including Children and Family grants and support for LifeStream; delay of the Astatula Fuel Remediation project, which will become much more costly if the fuel spill reaches Lake Idamere; closing Discovery Gardens, which is extremely popular; closing the three branch libraries at Astor, Paisley, and East Lake as well as a 40 percent reduction of funding to member libraries; and reducing economic incentives to businesses. He added that the Parks and Trails budget would be funded by cutting stormwater projects.  He noted that they only had a limited base of $25 million which the County had control over and that the County needed to have fundamental operations to remain viable as an organization.  He related that he would have to have a work session with the Board as soon as possible if the millage was not increased so that he could discuss the needed reductions with the Commissioners as well as notify staff as soon as possible if layoffs were needed, look at pending solicitations and procurement items, discuss delaying certain projects, and look at cancelling some leases.  He specified that the Board would set the tentative millage and assessments by July 22, with the two public hearings to adopt the final budget set for September 9 and September 23.  He asked the Board to set the millage rates to be included on the TRIM notices as recommended by staff and to approve the public hearing dates and advertisements.

Sheriff Gary Borders reiterated his request for the increase to their budget, noting that it would be solely to increase the salaries of the employees at the Sheriff’s Office.  He related that the starting salary for a deputy ranks fifth or sixth in this county, and he opined that his agency should be a leader for starting salaries for a law enforcement officer.  He commented that although he knows they need to accomplish that in a two or three-year period rather than in one year, this would be a good start so that they are not seeing deputies leaving to go to other agencies after investing a lot of money training them, and he indicated that his goal was to continue to provide quality law enforcement.  He noted that he has cut all of the money out of his budget that was requested by the Board for the last three years and has done other things to cut costs, such as contracting out their inmate medical services, eliminating their DARE unit, delaying vehicle replacement, and contracting out the security for the courthouse rather than using deputy sheriffs in those positions.  He also pointed out that they continue to partner with the County on various projects, such as placing their inmates on road crews to cut all of the grass on County property or at their animal shelter to help with some of those duties, freeing up other Animal Services employees for things such as rescue and adoption coordination.  He concluded that he hopes the Board supports their budget request.

Mr. Walter Forgie, Supervisor of the State Attorney’s Office, reiterated the concerns that Mr. Brad King, State Attorney, addressed when he spoke at the BCC Meeting last month. He assured the Board that their office would do their jobs regardless of their limitations, and he mentioned that their conviction rates rank very highly statewide.  He related that their caseload has nearly tripled and that their staff has doubled since they moved into their existing building in 1992, and ten of their employees are housed in an annex office in a different building across the street.  He expressed concern that they will reach a point of not having the resources to provide private waiting areas to victims of violent crimes such as sexual and child abuse in order to afford those individuals the professionalism they deserve.  He commented that the completion of the Judicial Center project is essential to them and is not just a matter of aesthetics, and he believed it would be a benefit to the County and to the constituency that they serve by prosecuting defendants that deserve appropriate prosecution as well as providing support to victims of crime.

Mr. Michael Graves, Public Defender for the 5th Judicial Circuit, commented that he has appreciated and continues to appreciate the partnership that they have shared with the Board in meeting its Chapter 29 statutory obligations, which require that the County give certain services to the State Attorney’s office, Public Defender’s office, and the judiciary.  He recapped that they were moved from the courthouse in 2007 to a temporary location which did not necessarily meet all of the Chapter 29 needs, but they have now reached the point that would necessitate that he come back before the Board before the end of this fiscal year if the Judicial Center renovations are not made asking for annexed space and to rectify various computer and communication issues he had previously spoken of during his previous presentation to the Board.  He pointed out that his office has waited since 2007 to return to the courthouse with facilities that meet the statutory needs.

Commr. Sullivan clarified that the millage rate they are setting at this hearing for advertising can be lowered but not raised later at the public hearing.

Mr. Fred Costello, a resident of Clermont, mentioned that the budget has been balanced in recent years by reducing the number of Lake County employees, freezing employee salaries for five years, and transferring funds from the reserve account to the operations accounts.  He commented that everyone had high hopes that real estate values would rise and tax revenues would increase sufficiently to support ever-expanding operating requirements, but that has not happened.  He opined that even if that scenario unfolds, the purchasing power may be eaten up by inflation.  He pointed out that the population of the county and the need for quality services continues to increase.  He commented that their reserve account must be strong and sound to enable them to successfully handle possible natural disasters and other emergencies, and they must continue to invest in efforts to bring more businesses and high paying jobs to Lake County.  He urged the Board to take whatever action is necessary to raise the salaries of the Sheriff’s deputies, fire fighters, emergency medical and rescue personnel, as well as the hundreds of County staff personnel who serve them all so well and who have all waited long enough for them to recognize the value of the high-quality services they provide and to demonstrate their appreciation by paying them the reasonable living wages they deserve.

Mr. Alex Christidis, a resident of Umatilla and an alumnus of Lake County 4-H, related that he had started attending the 4-H program at a young age and participated in it through elementary, middle, and high school.  He added that 4-H has paved a successful road for his future and career and that he pursued a college degree in agriculture.  He further related that he currently works as a program director for 4-H Camp Ocala, and he sees the transformation of many children who go through their youth development program.  He read a letter from Mr. Doug Reichwein, the current President of the Lake County Farm Bureau, stating that their county extension office promotes the values of rural life through youth programs such as 4-H that are offered to Lake County residents and gives farmers guidance on crop failure, pests, and disease.  He further commented that their research and outreach are critical to the success of agriculture in their community, which was the third-ranking employer in this county behind government and health care.  He asked the Board not to cut the budget from the county’s extension office so that they could continue to better their community and help keep agriculture a viable economic contributor.

Ms. Mary Jo Williams, a resident of Altoona, related that she opposed the increase in the tax rate, and she added that she has not had a consistent salary increase for the last ten years, since she was self-employed, although a lot of her expenses had increased.  She suggested that the Board look at the budgets with common sense, and she commented that they were at an economic level more similar to 2000 than to 2008.  She added that she did not know anyone making more money today than they were five years ago.

Mr. Bennett Walling, a resident of Leesburg and lifetime resident of Lake County, commented that a millage increase would be a net decrease in his income, because he is self-employed with commercial property.  He opined that government was formed for basic services such as police, emergency services, and the road network, and he suggested that they cut out some of the entitlements, niceties, and luxuries before asking citizens to pay more during these tough times.

Mr. Ralph Smith, a business owner in Tavares who hosts a local radio show called Lake County Round Table, commented that the last six years have seen the worst economic downturn that the county, the state and the nation has seen in the last 70 years.  He related that there are many closed and vacant business locations on the north side of US Hwy 441, including restaurants, convenience stores, medical offices, banks, and car dealers; and JC Penney’s and Target have vacated their spots at the Lake Square Mall.  He spoke against the 18 percent millage increase, and he opined that the Board has other valid funding sources and needed to do more research.  He mentioned that the CFAC (Capital Facilities Advisory Committee) had not met in nine months.  He suggested giving the employees raises to the greatest extent possible, since he believed that to be the County’s most prized asset, and everything else was subject to be put on hold.  He requested that the Board not thwart the slow and steady recovery of property values and business regrowth in this county that is currently coming about.

Mr. Rick Weber, a long-time resident and business owner in Lake County, stated that he agreed that the economy is tenuous at best, and he commented that raising the taxes would be hard on many people and would prohibit many of them from owning their homes.  He referred to a study stating that the national economy is stagnant, and he recommended that the Board hold off on the millage increase until the economy is stronger.

Mr. Lionel Skeet, a resident of Groveland, opined that they need to maintain public resources such as parks, trails, education programs, libraries, and schools, which are important for the people in the community to learn and train as well as the quality of life.

Mr. Mike Stone, a resident of Leesburg, related that the County had gone through very turbulent times since completing their parks and trails master plan in 2003, but the County’s Parks and Recreation Department have made miracles and successful expansion happen with the budget it has had to utilize.  He commented, however, that the infrastructure is starting to crumble, and the number of parks the County is able to provide is not keeping up with the demand for them.  He opined that their quality of life is the most important thing for their citizens, which they establish through public safety and first responders, parks, and libraries.  He asked the Board to take that into consideration when making the tough decisions and to have the strength to do what is right for the community.

Ms. Jeanette Hanst, a resident of Tavares, mentioned that she has volunteered at the Agricultural Center as a Master Gardener and has seen a reduction of five full-time staff and two part-time staff there, even though the population they serve is increasing.  She also pointed out that County employees have gone without a raise, and they could no longer provide the level of services if further reductions occur.  She specified that in 2013 the Florida Master Gardeners provided $7.21 million or the equivalent of 184 full-time employees in volunteer time to the state’s economy; and 81 volunteers provided 10,249 hours of recorded time in either the plant clinic or Discovery Gardens in Lake County equaling about $81,000 of volunteer labor.  She opined that the suspension of impact fees needed to provide essential services reflects a lack of fiscal responsibility and results in cookie-cutter houses going up with a lack of people living in them.  She opined that everyone has to shoulder their fair share of the expenses, including in construction, and she requested that the Board raise taxes if they must, but only if they also reinstate all of the impact fees so that everyone pays fairly.

Mr. Vance Jochim, writer of a blog on fiscal issues, commented that he was a taxpayer advocate and stated that he supported salary increases for County employees.  He expressed a concern that the County will want to continue the increased millage in perpetuity even after the large items are paid off, which he opined was a misleading approach and distorted what the true needs are.  He suggested that if the Board increases any millage rates at all, they should include a statement that they would reassess the needs after one year and drop the rate after paying off the large items.

Ms. B. Grassel, a resident of Tavares, pointed out that the Board was just setting the very maximum that day of what they think possibly could be needed, and she was hoping that the amount would go down from there.  She commented that she is not in favor of more taxes, but there comes a time where they have to set priorities and make sure they are doing the right thing for their employees, including a three percent increase in salary which would merely make up for the three percent that was taken away by the state in 2011.  She also pointed out that their Sheriff’s deputies have to put on a vest every day to increase their chances of surviving, and they need to be there for their public safety employees if they want those employees to be there for them when needed.

Mr. George Waters, a resident of Tavares, noted that he calculated the proposed millage increase at 19 or 20 percent overall in addition to possible new assessments for their housing, and he stated he was opposed to a millage rate that was that high.  He commented, however, that he understands the position the Commissioners are in and that it was a very tough balancing act, since he has worked in County government in the past, but he believed that an increase that large would be devastating to a lot of people.  He also added that a lot of people have not had raises in the last five years or live on a fixed income.

Mr. Michael Levine, a resident of Clermont, commented that he is aware of how important it is to fully staff all of the services of government, but his perception is that Lake County residents cannot afford the government that has been proposed.  He related that he is a business owner who has managed some fairly large businesses, and he opined that accounting for the expenses is the easy part, since they were very quantifiable and measurable, but the hard part is to build the economy.  He suggested that the County invest their money into programs and services that grow the economy rather than use it on consumables which do not create wealth.  He thanked the Board for the deep expense cuts that it has implemented over the last few years, and he asked the constitutional officers to do their part.  He specified that the median household income in Lake County is $40,000, and those families could not afford an increase in taxes.  He added that the public sector of employers is significantly larger than the private sector, and he went through a list of consequences associated with raising taxes, including an increase in unemployment and failed businesses and a decreased tax base, all of which will make the problem worse.

Mr. Richard Hylton, a resident of Howey-in-the-Hills, commented that the economy could take another ten years to recover and that he will never recover the value that he has in his house in his lifetime.  He opined that the County needs to cut expenses rather than keep spending and that it would be disastrous to try to raise taxes on depreciated property.

Mr. Milt Fox, a resident of Eustis, specified that he has paid $111,000 in property tax since he has moved to Lake County, and he opined that he has not gotten his money’s worth.  He commented that retired people do not get raises and cannot afford this.  He also opined that more homes will be foreclosed on if the taxes were raised.  He concluded by stating that they cannot afford another tax increase, and commented that governments waste money.

Mr. Trey Purser, a resident of Howey-in-the-Hills, stated that he did not see the need for an increase in their taxes.  He related that the country was founded on the concept of government being there to protect the people and provide for common defense, and he believed the County’s budget should do that, but everything else is “icing on a cake.”  He concluded by stating that hard decisions have to be made, and there can be cuts.

Mr. Bill Stone, a resident of Minneola and long-time resident of Lake County, mentioned that he is retired and living on a fixed income, and although he has always had difficulty paying his property taxes, he has always managed to do so.  He also mentioned that he became a Master Gardener right after he retired, working 450 volunteer hours last year.  He related that there were many volunteers who work at the gardens, propagation center, and plant clinic at the Agricultural Center and who answer questions from residents about horticulture or agriculture as well as inquiries from out-of-state residents about the possibility of investing or moving to Lake County.  He specified that there were 18 demonstration gardens for education and entertainment for children and adult residents, and he mentioned that the volunteers have been also trying to raise money for the maintenance of those gardens and have renovated three gardens, including a wheelchair-accessible herb garden.  He commented that these were quality-of-life expenditures, and he requested that the Board increase the millage rate to at least 5.6124 in order to continue the quality of life amenities available to the citizens of this county.

Ms. Catherine Hanson, a resident of Sorrento and former Lake County Commissioner, stated that she understood the position the Commissioners were in and the challenges they faced, and she mentioned that she had helped initiate many of the quality-of-life programs such as WeCare, some of which have been cut in the last few years.  She opined that many of these programs are not frills, and some such as WeCare help to provide health care to the indigent, while others help economic development.  She also mentioned that they were looking into creating hubs in the libraries for job training by partnering with Career Source.  She pointed out that the County has always kept the tax rate low, and she thanked the Commissioners for their service.

Mr. Alan Winslow, a resident of Tavares, noted that everything he had planned to say has already been said, and he was not in favor of a property tax increase and did not think the county could afford an increase.  He commented that retirees have no opportunity to increase their revenue, and he commended the Board for what they have been doing the last three years trying to make this a more business-friendly community.  He opined that asking for this large millage increase will make it look like the County has “dropped the ball” on their long-range planning, and they needed to look at other alternatives and to decrease expenses.  He commented that they might not be able to afford all of the services they desire in this county, and he asked why the Board would consider bringing on additional assets that they cannot maintain at this point in time.  He pointed out that the CFAC never mentioned a property tax increase.

Mr. Bud Beucher, owner of the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, commented that they have never seen an economy like they have seen in the last several years and that his staff has not had pay raises in eight years.  He also mentioned that his business has delayed critical items because they could not afford them, and he thought it was unfair for anyone to imply that safety will be compromised if the millage is not increased.  He commented that he has admiration for Sheriff Borders and believes he does a great job, but he believes that the taxpayers are not asking their government employees to do more than they are doing and that those employees should not ask for more than what the taxpayers could provide to them.  He opined that the Commissioners were all advocates for economic development, and he related that they have to make sure they have a strong private sector before they can have a strong economic development program.  He requested that they delay their capital expenditures, and he suggested that they could hold a night session of court rather than building new courtrooms.  He also indicated that he had a lot of ideas he would gladly share with the Commissioners.

Ms. Marie Dubois, a resident of Howey-in-the-Hills, related that after her husband lost his job in 2009 and her income also went down, they had to reduce their expenses, cut out luxuries, and use some of their savings.  She opined that they did not want to lose their public safety employees whose jobs reflected the primary functions of government; however, she did not think they should pay for trails or parks that they could not afford.

Mr. Andy Dubois stated that he was in support of the Board keeping the ad valorem taxes the same rather than increasing the millage, and he expressed gratitude to the Board, County staff, and the constitutional officers for the work they have done and their leadership through the difficult times they have gone through.  He commented that he believed good government only spends what it takes in, and more work needs to be done by the Board to reach that point.  He opined that the County’s goal of maintaining the status quo that was set at the January workshop might have been a less than ideal strategy, although he realized that the work of aligning expenses with revenue is very hard, but it was essential to their survival.  He suggested that the trend needs to be reversed when they reach the point that the private sector cannot support the public sector, and as a taxpayer, he holds this Board accountable to get that done by seeking efficiencies, rooting out redundancy and waste, maximizing service levels, and prioritizing essential versus nonessential services.

Mr. Gary Youngblood, who was representing Citrus Springs Citrus in Howey-in-the-Hills, noted that they currently employ 300 people and own 400 acres of land, but he commented that his employees will not have much of a quality of life if they lose their jobs.  He also commented that the citrus industry was a tough business, and the tax increases would be tough on his company.  He related that he does not believe the Board should set the millage higher than it should be and that setting the number too high would leave no room to negotiate.

Mr. Richard Lenze, a resident of Howey-in-the-Hills, stated that the Board will have to be as tough and tight with that budget as they possibly can, and the residents were trusting them to do the right thing.  He requested that the Board drop the millage rate down to something that Lake County can pay for.

Mr. Larry Brooks, a resident of Eustis, stated that he was opposed to an 18-percent millage rate increase and that he would like to look at the principles and procedures used during the budget process.  He opined that they were presenting translucency, which he believed was good.  He pointed out that the County was purchasing land which would result in liabilities of maintenance and repair in the future, and he asked if they were generating added value for all of the citizens and economic development.  He wanted to look at whether they are serving any special interests in the county rather than the county as a whole.  He also wanted them to look at whether they were maintaining limited government or starting down the road towards a sprawling, unsustainable bureaucracy, although he did not believe that was the case, and whether they were following a principle of getting detailed and transparent budgets from all of the organizations they were supporting.  He asked how the County is diligent in being fiscally responsible and how they were keeping the public informed in a timely manner of their efforts.

Mr. Orin Owen, a resident of Eustis, related that he took a pay cut working in private industry and believed that people should not spend more than they take in.  He stated that he respected their law enforcement and fire department and believed that they should cut things that are not essential rather than necessities.  He opined that now is not the time to increase taxes.  He added that the County has done a great job with economic development and suggested that they do not stifle the progress that has been made.

Mr. Jon Cherry, resident of Yalaha, remarked that although no one wants to pay more than their fair share of taxes, everyone expects well-paved roads, little wait time for emergency responders, functioning court systems, libraries, parks, economic development, programs to enhance public health, and our local government to keep us safe and provide the framework needed to provide a decent standard of living.  He pointed out that unfortunately this cannot be done without a reasonable base of public support in the form of taxes.  He emphasized that they have a professional county administration which has done a good job over the years of providing services in a very cost-effective manner and have operated without raising taxes for many years.   He related that staff has reviewed their departmental budgets and the constitutional officers’ requests this year and made a recommendation that more resources were needed in order to get the job done, and he agreed with their assessment.  He concluded that they all must pay their share of taxes to ensure a reasonable amount of revenue is available for basic services that they all expect to be there when needed.

Ms. Shyer Maguire, a resident of Mount Dora and a Discovery Gardens volunteer, expressed a desire to protect Discovery Gardens, a willingness to pay more taxes to protect those programs, and disappointment in the alternative to increasing the taxes.  She suggested that they look into additional alternatives and ideas such as having unemployed individuals helping to maintain parks.

Mr. Keith Harper, a resident of Sorrento, spoke in support of the 4-H program and the Lake County Extension Office and mentioned that children in 4-H are receiving education and leadership skills through those community efforts.  He explained that the program teaches much more than showing animals at the fair, including learning how to feed, groom, medically care for, and train their animals; showmanship; judging; and creating project books which contain a goal statement, financial account, profit and loss statement, skills learned, and summary of the project, all of which are essential skills for today’s entrepreneurs.  He elaborated that 4-H was expanding its role to include skills such as robotics, wind power generation, electricity, computer skills, and rocketry.  He added that environmental activities include forestry and water conservation, and the business projects include entrepreneurship, communications, citizenship, and finance.  He noted that his own children have learned many skills that they will take with them throughout their lives, such as community service, and he related that his son has orchestrated numerous volunteer efforts for donation of school supplies, a food bank, and other charitable endeavors.  He concluded that taking the funding away from the staff at the Extension Office will cripple the local effect of the 4-H organization.

Ms. Miah Bradley, a 16-year old resident of Lady Lake, related that she has been in 4-H for 11 years, was Vice President of her 4-H club, and she was speaking on behalf of all the youth in 4-H who feel the same way she did, since 4-H has had a similar impact on them.  She stated that 4-H has had a positive impact on her life, and leadership and responsibility were major aspects she has gained through positions and projects in 4-H.  She added that 4-H has given her the confidence to speak before the Board and has taught her to persistently strive for the best. She commented that the adults and volunteers in 4-H keep the program running smoothly and continue to make it the amazing program that it is.  She thanked the Board for filling the County Extension Agent position on behalf of everyone in Lake County 4-H.

Commr. Conner read a note from Ms. Jenifer Matheny, a resident of Leesburg, into the record which requested that the Board continue to fund Children’s Services, stating that it helps their “Risk Avoidance” program in the schools, which directly helps the Sheriff’s Department.

Ms. Diane Pisczek, a resident of Leesburg and Executive Director of the Lake Sumter Children’s Advocacy Center, stated that she was speaking on behalf of the children who she serves who otherwise would not have a voice at this meeting and specified that they will see over 1,000 children this year.  She explained that they provide all of the services that abused children could need under one roof, and they were very fortunate to be a recipient of some funding through the Children’s Commission, without which children would not be able to be seen in the timely manner that they currently are.  She commented that children lose vital details as the days and weeks progress of the incidents that occurred, and they need to interview the children quickly in order to get the information from them to be able to give the State Attorney’s Office.  She specified that without the funding from the County, she would lose one of her interviewers, which would mean that children would no longer be seen in a timely manner and which could negatively impact the treatment that they need as well as the prosecution of the perpetrators.  She added that her agency has a good working relationship with law enforcement and other agencies in the community to serve their children that she would hate to see dismantled.  She pointed out that she saw the need to serve the elderly in the community as well.

Mayor Pro Tem Ray Goodgame of the City of Clermont mentioned that the City is faced with a similar budget situation as the County, since home prices have decreased continually since 2008, and he noted that the City’s millage rates had decreased as well until the City raised them last year back to the 2007 level.  He pointed out that everyone has paid less tax all of these years, and now the assessments for homestead can only increase at three percent a year.  He commented that it will take a long time to recover, and he does not know how the Board can continue to run this county without a tax rate increase, especially factoring in the rising cost of inflation and other costs.  He elaborated that they would not be able to attract businesses with a poor Sheriff’s Department and poor schools and libraries, and he opined that they needed to have a different attitude to attract business than some of the comments he has heard that day about cutting the quality of life expenditures and be willing to pay what they needed to in order to run a good county to attract those businesses.

Mr. Kasey Kesselring, a resident of Clermont and Headmaster of Montverde Academy, stated that he believes it was fundamentally true that no one really wants to pay more taxes and that there were many residents who do not want to see services cut.  He stated that as someone who runs a business in the private sector with more than 185 employees who live and work in Lake County, he believes that from a business perspective they will continue to face issues balancing their commercial and residential economic development plans in Lake County if they do not have the proper services, including a good police force, good roads, and flood control.  He commented that the business and the budget of the County are far more complex than they could resolve in a couple of hours of public comment, and it takes a lot of time and effort to balance those things.  He related that although he does not support an 18 percent tax increase, he believes there would have to be a millage increase and hybrid efforts to get this situation resolved by cuts and tax increases.  He pointed out that the County has dipped into its reserves for years and has not asked the residents to pay more taxes over the last several years; however, most residents, including himself, also do not want to give up the quality of law enforcement and other services that the County currently provides, and doing so will make the job of growing Lake County in a balanced fashion much more difficult.  He added that the South Lake Park was an investment and a part of a plan involving sports and tourism and that that park was long overdue.

recess and reassembly

The Chairman announced at 12:45 p.m. that there would be a 15-minute recess.

budget and millage rate presentation (cont’d)

Commr. Cadwell mentioned that he has met with staff often over the last six or seven months regarding this process and that he understands all of the viewpoints that have been expressed.  He noted that this decision will boil down to what the County wants to be and how they will attract people and businesses to the county, and he asked whether they want to be known as the best or the cheapest place to live.  He elaborated by asking whether the County wants to be known as the best place for parks, trails, active sports, and great libraries and the safest place to live, pointing out that there was a cost to that.  He recapped that the County has made decisions over the last several years that they felt were the best decisions for the tough economic times, and the Board did everything it could not to impose any undue burden on its residents, including using up its reserves.  He concluded that he wanted Lake County to be the greatest and the safest place to live, and he did not care that it was the cheapest place to live.

Commr. Sullivan expressed concern about the large amount of millage increase, but he stated that he realized there needs to be a rate increase in order to accomplish things such as growing economic development.  He commented that he hoped that they could find ways to reduce that rate of increase before the public hearings in September, although that could result in putting off some long-term projects such as the South Lake Park.  He related that even though he will support the proposed millage rates that day, he does not intend on imposing the maximum millage.  He added that he was supportive of what they wanted to do for their employees and knew that quality of life was important, but he would look hard at the transfer to EMS, since their calls are not growing exponentially.  He opined that raising the millage rate too high will hurt the businesses they were trying most to retain, and he assured everyone that he will be looking at what they could do to mitigate that large rate increase.

Commr. Parks commented that although he did not like the idea of a tax increase, his research showed that Lake County has significantly retracted their government since 2007, and the last time the Lake County BCC had 215 employees as they do currently was in the mid-1990’s.  He also emphasized that the revenues they currently collect are the same as they were in 2003, yet their population is about 90,000 to 100,000 more than it was then.  He recapped that 159 employees were cut in the last few years and that there was a 43-percent reduction from the County budget alone not including reductions made by the constitutional officers, and he listed some of the reductions made by the County since 2007.  He noted that intense performance and operational audits have been conducted over the last three years, and staff has reacted positively to the changes any time an inefficiency or performance issue was highlighted by the auditor.  He added that there have been many unfunded mandates that the County has had to take on, such as the requirement by the state this year for the Tax Collector to issue driver’s licenses, which will cost the County an additional $2.5 million in the upcoming budget.  He commented that although expansive government is a core concern for him, he feels confident that they have become much more efficient, and he pointed out that quality of life has a cost but is the greatest contributing factor to property values, the health of the local economy, and where entrepreneurs want to build their business.  He asked the residents of the county to let them know what level of service they wanted before they set the millage rate and for their suggestions of what to cut from the budget.  He pointed out that they would have to roll the millage rate back and make even more cuts than what was discussed to really have no tax increase, and he listed many of the cuts that were discussed during the presentation that would have to be considered if there is no increase in the millage.  He emphasized that it was mathematically impossible to balance the budget without all of the previously-mentioned cuts or to expect the values to increase enough over the next year or two to make up for the loss, especially factoring in state laws such as Save Our Homes.  He elaborated that it would only be worse next year if nothing was done, and he wanted this issue resolved this year.  He assured everyone that he would be looking at all possible efficiencies.

Commr. Campione indicated that she disagreed that there was no other choice but to cut the programs that were listed if they did not raise taxes.  She commented that the Lake County economy has made a huge amount of progress over the last couple of years due to the efforts they have made to attract businesses, although they have a long way to go, and their staff has tracked about 4500 new jobs that have been added to the economy.  She was concerned that painting a picture of crumbling infrastructure and other monetary concerns would deter businesses from locating their companies in the county, and she stated that she disagreed that the infrastructure was falling apart or that they could not fund essential services.  She opined that an increase in taxes will be rough on people individually as well as on their economy as a whole, since it will result in the cost of business in Lake County going up substantially.  She noted that they have learned that their taxable value has expanded about 4.22 percent, which was beyond what they projected and which will result in an additional $3 million in the General Fund.  She opined that if they offset the shortfall by paying debt service on the judicial complex with Infrastructure Sales Tax, delay other capital projects as they wait for their economy to recover, and create the environment in Lake County that helps that economic recovery, there should still be funds available with the increase in their tax base without raising the millage rate for some of the budget requests that have been made as long as they were phased in.

Commr. Campione added that she was also concerned about the Solid Waste Fund and mentioned that there was $3.7 million in the Solid Waste reserves which came from the General Fund as a result of the Covanta debt service.  She suggested that they make some hard decisions now about how they would handle the landfill and convenience drop-off centers and address issues with the solid waste assessment in order to free up some money that could be used for items such as the fuel remediation and the most pressing capital facility and technology needs.  She requested that they reduce the millage increase substantially from what has been proposed if the Board did decide on an increase.  She commented that she appreciated the professionalism and the excellent job that the public safety employees do, and she assured those employees that she does want to find a way to take care of those needs by making some sacrifices in other areas.  She also clarified a misconception about transportation funding needs, stating that those funds primarily come out of the gas tax rather than out of the general fund and are not part of the issue regarding the millage rate; and she further explained that if the County does not use that money for local transportation projects, that funding will be used in another county instead.  She expressed a concern that raising taxes in Lake County this year would slow down the momentum they have built in diversifying their economy.  She concluded that she wanted Lake County to be an affordable place to live and work and one that is fiscally conservative, as well as a place with great natural resources, and she wanted the County to be creative and practical in finding solutions and taking care of their most pressing needs without a tax increase.

Commr. Conner pointed out that the Sheriff’s budget was not included in the estimate of the $4 to $5 million shortfall that was made in January, and he commented about how Sheriff Borders was a good a partner who has cut his budget three years in a row, resulting in low pay for his deputies and loss of good law enforcement officers.  He recapped that they have lost $30 million in property tax revenues, not raised the millage rates, and robbed their reserves, but now they are in a very difficult situation of trying to balance the needs and requests of the residents with adjusting the millage rate in order to balance the budget.  He assured everyone that he will continue to look for places to cut without devastating the organization, but opined that generalities will not solve the problem.  He commented that although he was willing to look at the possibility of phasing in the judicial center project, he believes it was prudent to use the asset of the two floors of that building that were currently vacant to alleviate the problem of overcrowding of the State Attorney and Public Defender’s Office.  He emphasized that he dislikes taxes as much as anyone, but he believes in going forward with projects such as the Miracle Field for handicapped children at Lake Idamere, which was planned before he became a County Commissioner.  He opined that the Board has been very deliberative, but he does not believe they could close a $12 million gap in the budget without raising the millage rate.

Commr. Campione replied that if they can pay for the debt service with infrastructure sales tax using $5.74 million, they would still have $5.13 million they can allocate to the most pressing capital needs.  She indicated that she believed it was worthy of looking at the South Lake Park from the perspective of being a regional park that will bring hotel room nights and suggested that they look into using hotel tax money to a large degree.  She related that all of the suggested changes she has recommended would free up $2,295,022 of positive cash flow that they can use for new operating expenses that have been requested and could address some of those needs such as the fuel remediation out of the solid waste reserve fund.  She added that they have the ability to lower the millage on the Public Land fund and shift that millage to the General Fund, which would result in no net increase in the General Fund, and allocate that going forward towards their countywide public park operational needs.  She also suggested that they use the solid waste fund for IT and capital costs, and she proposed some additional possible uses for the $2,295,022, including toward the judicial center renovations and three percent raises for either all employees or just public safety employees.  She elaborated that they could also request for the constitutional officers to include only raises for employees and no other additional spending requests.

Commr. Conner replied that they have a philosophy as a Commission that they treat all of their employees the same but noted that he welcomed specific suggestions.  He asked Mr. Minkoff whether they could use the TDT (Tourist Development Tax) for the South Lake and North Lake Parks, and he asked Commr. Parks whether the South Lake Park is used by residents or out-of-county residents.

Commr. Parks replied that the South Lake Park is used for both tournament space for economic development as well as children of residents, although there are currently not enough fields for all of the leagues that are operating there.

Mr. Minkoff answered that the primary purpose of the TDT has to be to advance tourism, and he specified that North Lake Park would not qualify for TDT, but the softball complex in Clermont which was meant to be a tournament complex would qualify.  He pointed out that the volleyball complex that was just built at Hickory Point Park was built with Tourist Development taxes.  He further explained that the Board would have to make a determination that the primary purpose is to advance tourism in order to use those funds, although it also could be used by residents as an incidental use.

Commr. Cadwell expressed doubt that the South Lake ball fields would primarily be used for tourism, since there is a great need there for local residential use.

Commr. Campione replied that they can designate a portion of that park for that project.

Commr. Parks asked Mr. Heath to have staff look into clarifying how much TDC money they can use to alleviate the general or sales tax fund.

Commr. Cadwell pointed out that the reductions cannot be done out of the funding that the County has control over, which is only about 25 percent of the total revenue.

On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved the public hearing dates and times for September 9, 2014 at 5:05 p.m. and September 23, 2014 at 5:05 p.m. and approved to advertise these public hearings, as well as the following millage rates to be included on the TRIM Notices:  Lake County Ambulance – 0.4823, Public Lands Voted Debt – 0.1600, Fire Medical Services MSTU - .4704, General Fund – 5.6124, and Parks and Stormwater MSTU – 0.4957.

Commr. Campione voted “no.”

facilities development and management

courthouse construction proposals

Mr. Heath explained that he had intended to give the Board an update on the courthouse and then recommend going forward with procuring a construction manager, but given the discussion the Board had on the budget, he believed that it was premature to ask the Board to go forward with this item and that they should defer that to another time.  He related that the one portion of the presentation that he would like the Board to take action on deals with the crosswalk which will be the connection for the inmates to get to the courthouse from the Detention Center.  He reported that the Sheriff’s Office has discussed with the Board the need for additional security as the different portions of the expansion are complete, and the inmate connection between the jail and the courthouse is effectively done and will need to be staffed.  He mentioned that Sheriff Borders has used private security to do that, and Judge Briggs has requested that the Board do a budget amendment in the amount of $45,010 to open the inmate connection before October 1; however, it will be in the Sheriff’s budget for FY 2015 after October 1.

Commr. Sullivan further explained that the Sheriff needs to train personnel now so that they can start moving prisoners back and forth, and they were filling the gap until October 1.

Mr. Heath elaborated that the Sheriff indicated that it takes about 30 days to train the private security personnel.

Commr. Cadwell pointed out that they would need this for the existing function of the building, whether or not they do further construction.

Commr. Campione recommended that they leave the $45,000 in the reserves and keep the procedure for moving inmates to the courthouse the way that it is by going to the courtrooms they are using for criminal cases until October 1.

On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved the budget transfer from General Fund Reserves to fund training and staffing for the private security on the new Judicial Courthouse crosswalk. The fiscal impact is $45,010.00 (Expenditure).

Commr. Campione voted “no.”

fiscal and administrative services

fire and solid waste assessments

Mr. Koontz stated that the purpose of this presentation is to discuss the Fire and Solid Waste Assessments and establish the public hearing dates which will be on the TRIM notices that will go out along with the millage rates.  He explained that the Fire Assessment is used to fund fire protection services, and the funding is limited to the fire services and basic life support.  He recapped that Tindale-Oliver gave a presentation on June 10 on the update to the study with a recommendation to maintain the current assessment schedule and the current residential rate of $181.  He related that the estimated revenues from this assessment are about $16.5 million, and they expect to do a full fire assessment study next year with the updated budgets.  He mentioned that they have seen some trends of the services being used with the different categories, including an increase in institutional, and he believed they will see some changes next year when they do the study, which will probably start in January or February.

Mr. Koontz explained that the Solid Waste Assessment is to fund the collection, management, and disposal of solid waste and recovered materials for the curbside collection for unincorporated Lake County.  He mentioned that vacant lots are not assessed, and the new rates are based on area and service level for a once a week option or a twice a week option which was offered to HOA’s, with the estimated expected revenues of $12.2 million.  He noted that the new residential curbside collection will begin on October 6, 2014.  He displayed a chart illustrating the solid waste assessment rates for the north area of $176 for once-a week (1x1x1) service and $222 for twice a week (2x1x1); the central area of $168 for once a week (1x1x1) and $207 for twice a week (2x1x1); and the south area of $189 for once a week (1x1x1)  and $231 for twice a week (2x1x1).  He explained that the current rate for 2014 is $184, and he pointed out that the cost for the once a week pickup service for two of those areas will be decreased, with a slight increase in the South area.  He requested approval of the initial assessment resolutions and establishment of the hearing date of September 9, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. for both the Fire Assessment and the Solid Waste Assessment.

Commr. Parks mentioned that the Board will be holding a workshop to discuss long-term plans for the fire department in January or February.

On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution No. 2014-93 which initiates the annual process for preparation of the Fire Assessment Roll, authorizes the publication of the advertisement for the September 9, 2014 public hearing, provides direction to notice all affected parties of the proposed rates, and directs the imposition of the Fire Assessment fees for the Fiscal Year beginning October 1, 2014.  The maximum proposed residential rate is $181.  The fiscal impact is $16,480,118.00 (Revenue).

Commr. Campione commented that they were using $3.1 million this year of the $3.7 million that is in the solid waste reserve fund to fund the solid waste operations, and she asked whether they are maximizing the assessment to cover all possible costs in order to make sure it was operating as an enterprise fund.

Mr. Koontz responded that the assessment is set up to cover the curbside collection and the cost associated with that, including administrative, disposal, and collection costs.  He elaborated that it has not been set at a rate that would accommodate the convenience centers or the household hazardous waste, because a large percentage of users of those programs are city residents; he noted, however, that although the yard waste disposal operation is covered by the assessment, the rest of the landfill operations would not be part of that.

Commr. Campione asked about how the County was planning for future funding of the landfill and expressed concern about the cost of that going forward.

Mr. Heath replied that this was effectively a transitional year, and they were planning on downsizing the size of the landfill next year and coming to the Board with a discussion about whether they would scale back the convenience centers or maintain them at their existing level.  He pointed out that 50 to 60 percent of the users of the landfills and the convenience centers are city residents, so they need to find out how much they can legally take out of the special assessment as opposed to rely on the general fund.

Commr. Campione suggested that they charge the city residents a fee in order to fund the County portion out of the assessment.

Commr. Cadwell suggested that they look at and compare it to other places that do not offer these services, including their code enforcement rates, abandoned garbage rates, and litter problems.  He pointed out that the convenience centers serve a couple of purposes.

Commr. Parks elaborated that they would look into whether it would encourage dumping.

Mr. Heath noted that one of the Inspector General’s recommendations when he audited the landfill was to start charging at the landfill.

On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution No. 2014-94 which initiates the annual process for preparation of the Solid Waste Assessment Roll, authorizes the publication of the advertisement for a September 9, 2014 public hearing, provides direction to notice all affected parties of the proposed rates, and directs the imposition of the Solid Waste Assessment fees for the Fiscal Year beginning October 1, 2014.  The fiscal impact is $12,216,750.00 (Revenue).

public hearing

ordinance amending definition of contraband bath salts

Mr. Minkoff explained that this is a short ordinance requested by the Sheriff which would slightly modify the bath salts portion of the Code, and he placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for reading by title only as follows:

AN ORDINANCE OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA; AMENDING ARTICLE V, CHAPTER 3, SECTION 3-0, DEFINITIONS, LAKE COUNTY CODE, TO AMEND THE DEFINITION OF CONTRABAND BATH SALTS; PROVIDNG FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR FILING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

There being no one who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved adoption and execution of Ordinance No. 2014-36 amending the definition of Contraband Bath Salts contained in Section 3-0 entitled Synthetic Substances of the Lake County Code for clarity.

presentation and progress update on public lands

Mr. Heath explained that this item is the public lands discussion that they continued from the meeting on July 8, and he asked whether they would like to delay or continue with it.

Commr. Conner requested that they delay it.

Commr. Campione related that they had adopted the resolution indicating that they would like to have the opportunity to procure land on the Wekiva River next to the bridge, but DOT is purchasing all of that land.  She elaborated that there was apparently a suit between DOT and the owner claiming that they were separating the property and leaving the rest of the property behind without adequate access, which resulted in a decision to buy all of it and using the part they do not need to mitigate environmental impacts.  She opined that the unused portion of that land would be good river access for Lake County, and she suggested that the County look into the opportunity to swap land with DOT in order to obtain this parcel and the river access.

Mr. Heath assured her that staff will look at that and bring it back to the Board.

other business

appointment to capital facilities advisory committee

Commr. Parks gave an update from the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) about information that the CFAC wanted to convey to the Board, including questions about the upcoming budget and whether the TDT monies could be used for roads.  He elaborated that the CFAC also wanted him to convey to the Board that they are disappointed that the Board has not yet moved forward with the additional five penny gas tax to fund some of their transportation needs, which was an official recommendation that the committee made two years ago, and they asked whether some of that tax could be used for Transportation Disadvantaged trips.

Mr. Minkoff responded that he believes that Transportation Advantage trips would be an allowed use of the gas tax monies, although he would have to verify that.

Commr. Campione asked how much the five pennies of gas tax would generate.

Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, responded that five pennies would generate $5.4 million or a little under $1.1 million per penny, and he believes that the County’s share would be $3.7 million after sharing that with the cities.

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointments of the following members to the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee to serve two-year terms ending August 2, 2016:  reappointment of Mr. Peter Tarby representing the League of Cities, Ms. Carolyn Maimone representing the Home Builders Association, Mr. Bill Benham as an Agricultural Industry representative, and Ms. Kyleen Fischer as an Elected Official Representing the Lake County School Board; and appointment of Ms. Rosanne Brandeburg as Alternate Elected Official Representing the Lake County School Board, Ms. Lori Farfaglia as a Banking or Finance Industry representative, and Mr. Jim Richardson and Ms. Natalie Werner as Citizens-at-Large representatives.

reports – county attorney

citizen alternate for canvassing board

Mr. Minkoff related that he had sent the Commissioners a copy of a letter he sent to Judge Briggs regarding the Canvassing Board, since only Commr. Sullivan was available to serve and they needed to have an alternate.  He reported that Judge Briggs had recommended Ms. Jennifer Hill as Commr. Sullivan’s citizen alternate on that committee, and he opined that Ms. Hill will be a good alternate for that committee.

reports – commissioner sullivan – district 1

leesburg lightning game

Commr. Sullivan mentioned that he was present at the Leesburg Lightning Game and thanked his fellow Commissioners who attended the game as well as the Economic Development and Tourism staff for getting them involved.  He added that his grandson threw out the first ball at that game and got resounding applause for throwing a strike.

reports – commissioner cadwell – district 5

volleyball tournament at hickory point park

Commr. Cadwell mentioned that there was another volleyball tournament at Hickory Point Park which generated 150 room nights for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week.  He opined that the volleyball complex has been a positive thing for the community and has generated tourism tax dollars for the County.

REPORTS – COMMISSIONER conner – CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 3

commendation for professionalism during meeting

Commr. Conner commented that this has been a difficult meeting and commended the Board for the professional way they conducted themselves that day.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:05 p.m.

 

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jimmy conner, chairman

 

 

ATTEST:

 

 

 

________________________________

NEIL KELLY, CLERK