A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
january 19, 2016
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 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: Sean Parks, Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; Timothy I. Sullivan; Jimmy Conner; and Leslie Campione. Others present were: David Heath, County Manager; Melanie Marsh, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; Kristy Mullane, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Angela Harrold and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Commissioner Timothy I. Sullivan gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
There were no changes to the agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of the BCC Meeting of December 15, 2015 (Regular Meeting) as presented.
citizen question and comment period
Mr. Vance Jochim, a writer of a blog on fiscal and governmental issues, expressed concern over item number 2 on the Clerk of Court’s Consent Agenda, which is tab 3 in the BCC agenda, in regards to Three Palms Mobile Home Park. He stated that he has done a personal investigation into the issue and found that it was approved for a land use change by the City of Tavares. He alleges that the residents of the Three Palms Mobile Home Park requested relocation assistance, but the City of Tavares declined to help. He noted that the owner of the mobile home park is planning on closing and has allegedly issued illegal eviction notices to the residents. He has informed other agencies in attempts to help these elderly residents and is now bringing the issue before the Board. He requested that the Board do its own investigation to gather facts on the events occurring at the Three Palms Mobile Home Park so the residents can be given some assistance.
presentation of human trafficking awareness proclamation
Commr. Parks presented Proclamation No. 2016-1, proclaiming the month of January 2016 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Lake County, to the Lake County Human Trafficking Task Force.
Commr. Parks noted that there is nothing more important than the country’s children, and the Board as a whole has proclaimed January to be Human Trafficking Awareness Month. He pointed out that there are upwards of 300,000 kids in the U.S. alone that are at risk from human trafficking each year.
Assistant State Attorney James Argento, for the 5th Judicial Circuit, asked each member of the task force to introduce themselves. Present were Captain Todd English from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Ms. Laurie Humphrey from Lake County Sheriff’s Services Network - Lake County Schools, Ms. Amber Warren from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Mr. John Gary Vincent from Lake County Sheriff’s Office, and Mr. Reginald Young from Lake County Schools. He pointed out that there are elected officials on the task force, and they are supported by their various agencies. He thanked Sheriff Gary Borders for placing excellent individuals on the task force. He noted that human trafficking is a scourge on society, and Lake County has the tools on hand that will help combat it should a wave of it ever hit. He stated that Lake County has prevention, law enforcement and prosecutors in place and at the ready. He said that the task force is ready to fight for Lake County’s children and thanked the County Commissioners for joining in the fight against human trafficking.
Sheriff Gary Borders stated that Florida ranks 3rd nationally for human trafficking. He wanted to note that the task force started working long before this become a national issue and he believes that is important in regards to the knowledge they have. He pointed out that there haven’t been many cases in Lake County, but the team has been at the forefront. He stated that they work to make sure the county is safe, and the credit goes to the task force.
Commr. Parks thanked Sheriff Borders and James Argento for speaking and then presented the proclamation to the Lake County Human Trafficking Task Force.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 and 2, 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.
Ordinance from the City of Tavares
Request to acknowledge receipt of Ordinance 2015-12 from the City of Tavares amending the boundaries of the city by annexing approximately 46.8 acres of vacant non-contiguous properties located on the south side of Old US Highway 441, east of David Walker Road, and rezoning the properties from County R-1 (Rural Residential) and County R-2 to City RSF-2 (Single Family Residential); and Ordinance 2015-23 from the City of Tavares amending the boundaries of the city by annexing approximately 6 acres of non-contiguous property known as Three Palms Mobile Home Park located on the north side of Old US Highway 441, approximately 325 feet west of the intersection with David Walker Drive, and rezoning the property from County RMRP (Mobile Home Rental Park) to City RMF-3 (Residential Multi-Family).
Commr. Campione clarified that for Item 2, Ordinance 2015-12 from the City of Tavares, it is strictly an acknowledgement rather than approval of the receipt of the ordinance.
Mr. Kelly confirmed that it is just an acknowledgement of receipt as it relates to the Clerk’s Agenda, not approval of the ordinance itself.
Commr. Campione further clarified that this does not preclude the Board from making additional inquiries into the issue presented by Mr. Vance Jochim.
Commr. Parks noted that he would be making inquiries into the issue as well.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 4 through 13 as follows:
Request for approval of Proclamation No. 2016-6, honoring Ray San Fratello, per Commissioner Sullivan.
Request from County Attorney for approval of Purchase Agreement with Liberty Baptist Church, Inc., for the Tax Collector’s future Northeast Regional Service Center on David Walker Drive; and approval for Chairman to execute any necessary closing documents contingent upon completion of due diligence. The fiscal impact is $445,000 plus minimal closing costs (Expenditure).
Request from County Attorney for approval to appoint Jennifer Hill as alternate Canvassing Board member.
Request from County Attorney for approval and execution of an updated Interlocal Agreement for the Creation of the Lake-Sumter MPO. There is no fiscal impact.
Request from Economic Growth for approval to advertise for the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) public hearing for Omega Communities Industrial Revenue Bond application. There is no fiscal impact.
Facilities Development and Management
Request from Facilities Development and Management for approval to award contract 16-0206 for Sewer Improvements at the Lake County Fairgrounds to Utility Technicians Inc. (Umatilla). The fiscal impact is $78,447 (Estimated Expenditure).
Request from Facilities Development and Management for approval to award contract 16-0206 for Sewer Improvements at the Lake County Fairgrounds to Utility Technicians Inc. (Umatilla). The fiscal impact is $78,447 (Estimated Expenditure).
Request from Public Works for authorization for the County Manager to approve and execute future Release of Liens for any debt owed to the County once that debt is paid in full. Also requesting authorization for the County Manager to execute future Release of Liens for any Animal Control or Code Enforcement Case when the amount recommended by the Code Enforcement Special Master is paid in full, up to $25,000. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 4
Request from Public Works for approval to accept a maintenance bond in the amount of $4,545.90 associated with Right-of-Way Utilization permits # 6935, 6936, 6937 & 6938 for the City of Umatilla water main project approved on October 21, 2015. This project is located North of Umatilla in the Silver Beach Heights subdivision off SR-19. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 5.
Request from Public Works for approval to execute an Interlocal Agreement Between Lake County and the City of Tavares for Alfred Street Infrastructure and expend $46,742.00 from the Renewal Sales Tax Capital Projects- Roads fund. The fiscal impact is $46,742.00 (Expenditure). Commission Districts 3 & 4
Vacation Petition No. 1222
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, requested a postponement on the public hearing for Vacation Petition No. 1222 (Dale Ladd, Richard Beavers) to vacate the plat of Manlow Park. He stated that some issues have come up while working with adjacent property owners so they are requesting a 30 day postponement to sort the issues out.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this postponement, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the postponement for 30 days.
Vacation Petition No. 1220
Mr. Stivender requested an approval and signature of Resolution 2016-7, the Vacation Petition No. 1220. He noted that it is Florida Food Products, along HWY CR 44, and that it is a small piece of land. He stated that there is not a public purpose to keep the right of way and therefore recommends approval to vacate. He pointed out that there are no letters of opposition or support in the matter.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this petition, 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 Resolution 2016-7, the Vacation Petition No. 1220, (Florida Food Products) to vacate surplus right of way along CR 44. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 4.
public hearings: rezonings
rezoning consent agenda
Mr. Chris Schmidt, Planning Division Manager in the Planning and Zoning Department, Economic Growth Department, displayed the advertisements presented on the overhead monitor and requested that the Board approve the items which were on the Rezoning Consent Agenda.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding these rezoning cases, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Consent Agenda as follows:
Tab 1. Ordinance No. 2016-2
Rezoning Case #RZ-15-27-1
Sunrise Lake PUD/TAM Development, LLC
Request to amend PUD Ordinance 2007-69 to remove a transportation improvement condition to accommodate commercial development of Tract G within the Sunrise Lake PUD. This rezoning amendment will also involve establishing a new PUD ordinance to reflect current development and LDR & Comprehensive Plan requirements. The new PUD ordinance will govern the use of approximately 123.3 acres.
Tab 2. Ordinance No. 2016-3
Rezoning Case CUP#512-3/512A-3
Hightower L. Cleveland Trustee
Request for the CUP to operate and maintain a golf course on property located at 29010 Shirley Shores Road, in the Tavares area. The property trustee submitted a request stating the golf course no longer exists.
Commr. Parks noted one additional item for Mr. Schmidt regarding the sidewalks in the Four Corners area; he asked that Mr. Schmidt work to ensure that the sidewalks are made wider to encourage more pedestrian activities in the area.
Mr. Schmidt confirmed that he would do this.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
The Chairman announced at 9:21 a.m. that there would be a recess due to technical difficulties.
public hearing – Amended budGet for fiscal year 2016
Mid-Year Grant Reconciliation
Mr. Steven Koontz, Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services, presented a PowerPoint giving a summary of changes through the Mid-Year Grant Reconciliation. He stated that this was a public hearing that was advertised on Friday, January 15, 2016 in the Orlando Sentinel. He started by giving a short overview, noting that the presentation was to make amendments to the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget through the Mid-Year Grant Reconciliations and that the Mid-Year Adjustment, tentatively taking place April 5, 2016, is to make modifications to the Audited Fund Balance and any unforeseen changes. He continued with the summary of changes, noting that this crosses over several fiscal years and Federal and State Grants. He stated that the goal is to reconcile all of these along with expenditures and recognize the correct amount of revenues brought in from the grants. He started with transit grants reflecting the adjustments to show actual operating expenses for the year 2015 due to reductions in paratransit trips based on Medicaid Reform, actual expenses for fixed route buses, and other accounting realignments. He went on to speak on SHIP (State Housing Initiative Partnership), Section 8 Housing Grants, and CDBG (Community Development Block Grants), noting that the adjustment had been made to reflect the actual allocations from HUD and the State of Florida. He noted that they do a lot of estimating when the budget process is occurring, so it is important to keep in mind the Federal and State fiscal years. He continued with Federal and State grants, noting that there were adjustments made to reflect the available balance for the TRIP grant, which had the CR466A Right of Way and Hancock Road North Extension projects under it, and each progressed faster than expected so the higher expenses fell in 2015 which lowers the expected 2016 expenses. He stated that there are other adjustments to grants such as Help America Vote, Libraries, Storm Water and Parks which were smaller in scale. He then asked for the approval of the amended budget for Fiscal Year 2016 to include the mid-year grant reconciliations and approval of the resolution adopting a supplemental budget for FY 2016. He ended by pointing out that the supplemental budget is reduced by $2,755,314, bringing a new total of $346,785,423.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding these Mid-Year Grant Reconciliations, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Amended Budget for Fiscal Year 2016 to include reconciliation of grants and approval of Resolution 2016-8 adopting a supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2016.
Economic Growth – Proposed Amendments to Buildings and Construction Ordinance
Mr. Shane Gerwig, Building Services Division Manager, Economic Growth, presented proposed amendments to the Buildings and Construction Ordinance. He noted that the Chapter 6 of the Lake County Code covers all of the building and construction Ordinances in Lake County. He pointed out that it also includes the administrative requirements and Florida Building Code requirements which are adopted at the State level. He explained further that it also deals with the Board of Examiners as well as provides regulation for local requirements to licensed and non-licensed contracting. He started with the background of the request stating that the Florida Building Code is adopted by the Florida Building Commission every three years with the most recent adoption having taken place June 30, 2015. He opined that the adoption is a fairly comprehensive ordeal and that it covers a lot of the technical requirements of the code as well as some of the administrative requirements. He pointed out that local administrative amendments to the Florida Building Code must be consistent with the minimum standards of the code and meet the needs of the local jurisdiction. He opined there is some leeway for local government to change by ordinance some of the administrative provisions put into place by the Florida Building Code to suit the local government’s business needs. He noted during staff review of the code it was observed that there were some building items that should no longer require building permits. He stated that removing some of these required building permits would make it easier on the community to do specific updates to their homes. He noted further that the staff also addressed requests to add additional licensure categories to streamline the renewal process.
Mr. Gerwig then identified the potential changes within the amendment, breaking them into two categories, Organizational Improvements and Contractor Service Enhancements. He spoke on Organizational Improvements first by saying that the proposed local amendment is a response to the model ordinance prepared by the Building Officials Association of Florida, which is a group of building officials, inspectors, plans examiners and other representatives from government units that come together to make sure the permit process flows easily by making sure that everything is consistent from one jurisdiction to another. He continued by stating that the Building Officials Association of Florida has prepared a model ordinance that goes into the administrative provisions of the code, noting that the Florida Building Commission does not adjust all of the administrative requirements and leaves the bulk of that to local jurisdiction. He stated no longer needing building permits for sheds, gazebos, and pergolas less than 120 square feet would be appropriate because these items are small in nature, and excluding them from permits would make it easier on homeowners. He pointed out, however, that while they may be exempt from needing a building permit, they are not exempt from zoning requirements. He noted another building permit exemption would be fences on game farms and hunting preserves, because these have some of the same characteristics as agricultural property. He pointed out that game farms and hunting preserves do not fall under the classifications needed to be considered agricultural properties by the Property Appraiser’s office, so they are not currently exempt from building permits. He hopes that with the amendment, construction of fences on these properties can be exempt. He stated the staff is also suggesting that sidewalks, which do not contact a structure, and storable or portable swimming pools, also be exempt from the building permit process.
Mr. Gerwig then moved to Contractor Service Enhancements, stating they would like to add some categories for local licensure that allows the citizens to obtain licensure in specific categories that they may not qualify for on a State level. He said the staff suggests adding aluminum structures, which would allow individuals to install screen rooms, pool enclosures and sunrooms. He pointed out that the staff have added three journeyman categories, journeyman plumber, journeyman HVAC and journeyman electrical, and while journeymen are not able to pull permits, it is a stepping stone to obtaining a contractor license. He also pointed out that the journeymen are able to report their experience to local employers, and this helps with employment. He stated that the other part of this was streamlining the contractor license renewal and reciprocity process by removing unnecessary requirements from renewal applications. He said that as long as the information is verifiable, they have eliminated the requirements for the reciprocity agreement. He noted that in the past the only way for an individual to come in with a local license was through reciprocity agreements, which is a two way agreement. He stated these agreements were set up with other jurisdictions and government units, and now staff has taken out the requirements for the actual reciprocity agreement and instead these occasions will be looked at on a case by case basis, which makes the process easier. He said that now if an individual comes in from another county, the license can be reviewed, and they will be accepted into licensure if their requirements are equivalent to or greater than Lake County’s. He noted they have taken a lot of the paperwork out of the normal process, no longer requiring a Notary signature on some items, and they have also reorganized the chapter to make it easier to understand. He then moved to staff analysis, noting that these business-friendly amendments will enhance the level of service to the community by staying consistent with the Florida Building Code, the Building Officials Association of Florida model ordinance and other local jurisdictions. He pointed out that surrounding counties have already adopted these principles, so these changes will make Lake County consistent with those counties, and it also lets the contractors know what to expect which makes it easier for them. He said that this amendment will make it an easier building process for citizens as permits will no longer be required for those common small projects outlined in the presentation.
Mr. Gerwig stated the next steps would be to reach out to local building industry groups and other stakeholders, request feedback from the Lake County Board of Examiners, and seek approval from the Lake County Planning and Zoning board for the small modification in the Land Development Regulations, since all of the requirements needed to obtain a building permit, as well as the information of expiration, are in Chapter 14 of the Land Development Regulations. He is proposing to move those items to Chapter 6 since it does not affect any other zoning regulations and is purely building related. He pointed out that this also allows contractors to review Chapter 6 and get all the needed information from one document. He closed with a request for approval to advertise the ordinance for a public hearing before the Board on these amendments.
Commr. Parks confirmed with the County Attorney, Ms. Melanie Marsh, that no public comment period is needed at this time, since it is purely a request to advertise a public hearing.
Commr. Parks congratulated Mr. Gerwig on his appointment to the Florida Building Commission by Governor Rick Scott and stated that these changes will make it easier for Lake County to do business, that they offer clarity and are beneficial to the residents of Lake County.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the request from Economic Growth for approval to advertise an ordinance amending Chapter 6 Lake County Code, entitled "Building and Construction." There is no expected fiscal impact.
Economic Growth - 2016 Economic Outlook
Mr. Robert Chandler, Economic Growth Director, Economic Growth Department, gave a presentation on the 2016 Economic Outlook for Lake County. He started by acknowledging Mr. Samuel Weekley, the new Northwest Coordinator, and Mr. Brandon Matulka, the new South Lake Coordinator, both of whom recently joined the Economic Tourism Development Department. He pointed out that the forecast was put together from the end of December 2015 through the start of January 2016, so the numbers may be changing due to current economic changes happening at the national and global levels. He noted that it is going to be a bumpy road determining if the economy will see a recession or if it will stay on the current financial track. He pointed out that oil prices did rise due to economic information coming out of China, that the stock market in China rose due to some financial easement, and that they had their lowest GDP growth in 25 years, which leads to some conflicting economic factors. He related that most economic forecasters believe there is a less than 50% chance there will be another recession and opined that another recession can be avoided with proper national and local policy in place. He noted that the purpose of the presentation is to give a historical overview and forecast for national, state and local economic indicators to be considered as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget process. He started with the national overview, stating that Lake County is 6.5 years into the current economic recovery, with the average being 5.5 years since World War II, and this presents an indicator that the recovery may be ending. He noted that the fundamentals for this recovery are different from previous recoveries. He stated that the pace of growth settled around 2.0-2.5 percent and is reflecting a downshift in both labor force and productivity. He pointed out that unemployment has declined quickly, yet labor compensation has remained stagnant. He stated that all of these items are fundamentals that have not been seen in previous recovery. He noted equipment spending has settled into a slower pace of growth despite consistently low interest rates. He added that housing credit has been more restrictive on the supply side and that the millennial generation has raised the demand for urban housing. He stated that there has been continued low inflation and interest rates. He pointed out that all of these have changed the way this recovery has looked compared to previous recoveries. He continued that the growth in 2015 was relatively consistent with 2014 despite the plunge in oil prices. He said that consumer spending was the largest contributor to economic growth but that net exports were a drag on economic growth due to the gaining strength of the dollar. He noted that as the dollar increases, it hurts the nation’s net exports, which he opined as interesting. He stated that profits are increasing, but labor costs are limiting those increases. He pointed out that the areas of the national economy tied to the global economy have experienced challenges, and this is a trend that will continue. He noted that the U.S. economy entered the year of 2016 with positive momentum, despite current conditions, which has led to the country returning to its role as global economy driver. He stated that the country will have less job growth in 2016 but that the job quality will be higher with greater compensation gains. He elaborated that improvement in employment and earnings should support consumer confidence and household formation, but that concerns over the Chinese economy and the presidential election will have an impact on 2016.
Mr. Chandler continued his presentation by speaking on the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the National Economic Indicator Forecast. He stated that real GDP growth in 2015 slightly topped the average of the 6.5 year recovery at 2.4% and that domestic demand is poised to grow solidly in 2016. He reported that consumer spending, which makes up two-thirds of the GDP, will drive growth while a strong U.S. dollar will continue to encourage imports while discouraging exports. He pointed out that the slowdown in China will be a burden, but it is estimated that the overall GDP will increase 2.5% in 2016 and 2.7% in 2017. He made mention that most of the data given in the presentation was gathered from Wells Fargo, Kiplinger, and other national economists. He noted that the Federal Reserve raised short term interest rates to 0.25%-0.5% in December 2015 for the first time in 9 years, due to the improved labor market conditions and a small upward trend in the inflation rate, and he opined that the economy is finally strong enough to withstand a rate increase. He continued by stating that long-term rates are likely to stay relatively low due to the attractiveness of U.S. Treasuries and that future modest gains in short term rates are expected in 2016. He opined that there will not be any large increases in the interest rates. He pointed out the projection of the Federal Funds Target Rate, which is the average over the year and not a clean number, is 0.88% in 2016 and 1.88% in 2017. He also showed that the 10-Year Treasury Note projection is at 2.53% for 2016 and 2.80% for 2017. He said that inflation in 2015 was relatively flat at 0.7% and that increased inflation is expected in 2016. He noted that declines in energy prices should end and medical care costs should increase. He stated that while oil prices are currently low, the expectation is that they will increase. He pointed out that in 2015, food prices were impacted by the worldwide decline in commodity prices and that these pressures should subside dramatically in 2016. He said that prices for services should rise 3% to 4% in 2016 and that the “core” rate of inflation, which excludes food and energy, should exceed 2% in 2016 and 2017, which are the targeted rates that are expected in a healthy economy. He went on to speak about business spending, which has seen a modest increase as expected in 2016 after a flat 2015.
Mr. Chandler stated that spending gains before the recession were in the double digits each year compared to only a 4% average over the last 3 years, which he noted was a substantial drop in business spending since the recession. He said that spending in 2015 was heavily impacted by a pullback in buyer spending of manufactured goods, but the worst of the spending cuts appear to be over. He pointed out new orders, excluding aircraft, increased substantially in the 4th quarter of 2015. He noted that domestic demand for goods is increasing and can be expected to increase further by 4.2% in 2016 and 4.9% in 2017. He stated that in the area of energy, crude oil prices have fallen 50% since the spring of 2015, which are the lowest prices in nearly a decade caused by oversupply, a strong U.S. dollar, global slowdown especially in China, Middle East tensions, and technology enhancements. He said that output has been trending lower for months, which should limit further declines, but gas prices are unlikely to fall much further. He noted that crude oil is expected to be relatively flat in 2016 before a slight improvement in 2017, which puts crude oil currently at around $30 a barrel now, with it topping at $51.8 for 2016 and $60.3 for 2017, and there is a possibility that all of these projections could end up being lower. He pointed out in retail that job growth and inexpensive gasoline have increased consumer spending, which has driven the U.S. economy in 2015 and should continue to do so in 2016. He noted that sales of clothing, electronics and sporting goods, as well as groceries and personal items, finished the year very strong. He stated that holiday spending is expected to have climbed over 3% higher than 2014 and that retail sales should grow by over 4% in 2016 and almost 5% in 2017. He gave a quick 2016 National Forecast summary in which he stated the GDP will be up by 2.5%, interest rates will be up 0.37 percentage points to 2.53%, inflation will rise 2.0%, business spending will see an increase of 4.2%, energy will decline 4.8% to $52 a barrel and retail sales will increase 4.0%.
Mr. Chandler then moved to the State, regional and local overview. He noted that Florida’s recession ended in 2012, commenting that the real GSP (Gross State Product) improved only 1.7% during the first year of recovery. He stated that in 2013, however, the economy accelerated at a rate of 2.5% due to rising consumer confidence, an improving housing market, labor market repair, and population growth, which has exploded once again in the State of Florida by averaging almost 400,000 new residents a year. He opined that continued improvement in these factors led to the 3.3% growth experienced in 2015. He related that growth in Florida is expected to be solid but not spectacular over the next few years but that the GSP should outpace the national average. He stated that one positive factor is the continued diversification of the economy with substantial growth in the professional and business services, health care, manufacturing and technology sectors. He elaborated that the improvement of the housing market, job growth gains and labor force improvement were also all positive factors. He stated that the Orlando MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) which includes Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties, will show varying strengths and weaknesses in 2016. He noted that the Orlando MSA’s averages in job growth, population growth and Gross Metro Product will all be in the top three for metro areas in the state and will outpace the national averages. He continued by stating that wages will continue to lag behind national averages, but technology and business services sectors are experiencing significant growth, as well as health care. He stated that Lake County is poised for significant gains in 2016 and that the job and labor force grew to pre-recession numbers in 2015. He said that Lake County has returned to year-to-year growth in employment levels. He noted that Lake County’s unemployment rate dropped below the state average despite a substantial increase in labor force participation and that while wages continue to lag, the growth has been in line with regional and statewide averages. He pointed out that residential permit activity continues to rebound and is quickly approaching pre-recession averages with single family homes. He stated that the MSA population growth continues to shift development pressures towards Lake County. He noted that ample supply, low costs and increased transportation connectivity have increased Lake County’s attractiveness as both a residential and commercial destination. He pointed out that current planning efforts will have a positive effect on quality and volume of future growth, citing Wellness Way, Wolf Branch Innovation and the Minneola Exchange as examples for changing the dynamic of growth in Lake County. He stated that new business formations are increasing and regional rebranding efforts are beginning to have an impact. He commented that job growth and wage improvement are expected to rise relative to the region.
Mr. Chandler then moved into the forecast for the indicators on the local level starting with Gross Product, noting that the Orlando MSA has historically had a higher percentage point in this area compared to the State of Florida. He indicated that the forecast for employment in Lake County has trended slightly higher than the State and will continue to do so through 2017, but it is somewhat lower than the Orlando MSA. He point out that through 2017 the unemployment rate should continue to drop, noting that the projection is below the State average but marginally higher than the Orlando MSA. He stated that the Lake County single family housing starts are projected to be strong in 2016 by averaging higher than both the State and Orlando MSA but slightly lower than 2015 and will continue to drop in 2017. He pointed out that Lake County has been very strong over the last 3-4 years with 836 single family permits in 2012, 1,300 permits in 2013, 1,700 permits in 2014 and 2,300 permits in 2015. He said that it is important to note, however, that the percentages will run a bit higher because of Lake County’s population numbers being lower, but Lake County’s numbers have been significantly higher than the State and the Orlando MSA from a growth perspective. He noted with multi-family percentages that historically Lake County shows a vast difference from year to year in this area with only nominal gains in 2016 and 2017, because there were 52 permits pulled in 2012, with only 4 following in 2013, and there were 600 permits pulled in 2014 due to the rising impact fees set for January of that year which caused a rush leaving only 28 permits pulled in 2015. He noted that where the single family averages look strong, there is a shortage of that in the multi-family averages in Lake County, and the hope is that it will improve. He moved to showing the annual wage percentages which showed that Lake County has been trending with the Orlando MSA wage averages, which are marginally lower than those of the State, but continually rising each year. He expressed hope that the numbers will continue to increase, and further tracking will indicate the growth. He pointed out that the taxable property values projected by the conference for Lake County are to increase 6.7% in 2016 and 7.6% in 2017, keeping the trend of the County having higher percentages in this area from the State and the Orlando MSA. He gave a summary of the averages he showed by stating that county employment will increase 2.3%, unemployment will drop to 4.9%, there will be a rise of 25% in single family starts, annual wages will rise 3%, taxable property values will increase 6.7%, and multi-family averages will be up 10%.
Commr. Parks thanked Mr. Chandler and opened the floor to the Board.
Commr. Campione noted that Lake County’s taxable property values have stepped up gradually, lagging just behind the Orlando MSA.
Mr. Chandler replied that Lake County will always lag just a bit behind, however; he believes this is a positive thing because there will be continued growth following in Lake County as the Orlando MSA grows.
Commr. Campione requested from Mr. Chandler a breakdown showing a comparison of all the areas of growth in Lake County to get an estimate for the amount of new building permits.
Mr. Chandler confirmed that it would be in his next presentation.
Commr. Campione also noted that it would be helpful in the budgeting process to know the new property value versus additional value to existing property through appraisals, as this would show the value added from growth from more residents versus overall economic improvement.
Mr. Heath noted that happens later on in the process.
Commr. Campione asked if the large senior population is factored in when population projections are compiled.
Mr. Chandler stated that population projections are adjusted based on unique factors to that county.
Commr. Sullivan noted that it was a very good presentation and that he looks forward to the follow up. He stated that this information is a key as the County moves forward. He opined that there can only be projections and best guesses, noting the taxable property values being an example of that, because many of the residential units are in the Save Our Homes Program so you will not see substantial growth as far as property values. He commented that it will be interesting as the County moves forward.
Commr. Parks stated that one of the national economists, Dr. Sean Snaith, has spoken on using new metrics to gauge economic growth and asked Mr. Chandler if he was aware of them.
Mr. Chandler replied that he was not but that most of the economic indicators and facts were from the University of Central Florida and Dr. Snaith.
Commr. Parks then queried whether any change to Dr. Snaith’s data would be applied to the next projections presented.
Mr. Chandler confirmed that it would.
Commr. Campione noted that the graphs focused on the housing starts but not the commercial starts. She stated that Lake County is lagging behind from a commercial and industrial standpoint versus residential. She opined that if the County could gain some ground, those things could be equalized right down to the amount of money that comes in per student for the school district. She queried if there was a way to quantify and compare it to the activity of the surrounding counties and to what degree a shift would need to take place to have a significant impact.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
The Chairman announced at 10:11 a.m. that there would be a recess.
departmental business (Cont’d)
Mr. John Jolliff, Public Safety Director and Fire Chief, presented an update to the Board on the Fire Rescue Division, and he specified that the Lake County Fire Rescue (LCFR) deploys from 24 fire stations, 17 of which are Advanced Life Support (ALS) stations, 3 of which are designated as special operations stations, and 3 Platoon System in place which is 64 personnel on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He stated the front line consists of 17 fire engines, 1 aerial, 3 squad, 14 tankers, 19 wild-land and 5 special utility vehicles. He presented a map showing where all 24 stations are located in Lake County. He gave an overview of the existing deployment model which is based on 24 hour alternating shifts, noting that 19 stations are staffed by 2 personnel with 11 of them being ALS stations, 4 ALS stations that are staffed with 3 personnel, and 1 ALS station staffed with 4 personnel and 2 Battalion Chiefs. He noted that a medical emergency would warrant 1 LCFR unit along with Lake Emergency Medical Services (Lake EMS), an auto accident would warrant 3 LCFR units along with Lake EMS, and a structure fire for residential, multi-family or commercial would warrant a minimum of trying to get 8 LCFR units along with Lake EMS at the scene. He pointed out that in 2015 LCFR responded to 21,079 calls for service, including 14,932 Code 3 Emergencies; 589 fire related and 14,343 EMS related. He said that the remaining 6,147 were public service incidents. He stated that as medical emergencies continue to rise, fire has stayed close to the average from the last two years, and the rest of the calls are incidents that range from hazardous conditions, service calls, false alarms to severe weather. He presented the 2015 call loads for the fire stations, noting that Lady Lake had the most calls for the year while Bay Lake had the least, and that anything in the 1000+ category was in a heavily populated area. He gave a breakdown of staff title and corresponding number of LCFR personnel. He announced that there is a new Deputy Director for LCFR, who comes with an extensive background in fire rescue operations from Fort Lauderdale, where he was a Deputy Chief supervising over 500 firefighters, with experience responding to large scale emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina. He went on to give a comparison on the 2015 base salary firefighter/EMT for Lake County versus the surrounding counties, noting that Lake County falls in the mid-salary range staying close with Seminole and Orange counties. He noted that the County receives a high number of applicants to work for LCFR and there were recently 19 new candidates going through the new hiring process who were anticipated to graduate on February 12, 2016. He pointed out that the reasons for the attrition in 2015 were 8 personnel left for different employment opportunities in Fire Service, 7 personnel departed from Fire Service totally, and 3 personnel retired. He noted that the 2007-2015 Lake County Comparison of Firefighter and General Fund Positions showed that LCFR was able to maintain fire service positions since 2007, where there is significant decrease in general fund positions, and he was pleased to note that there were zero layoffs that occurred and no firefighter positions lost.
Mr. Jolliff then spoke about automatic aid agreements with Lake County Fire Rescue (LCFR), and noted that the cities involved in automatic aid are Groveland (since March 2014), Minneola (since July 2014), Mascotte (since August 2014), Clermont (since February 2015), Leesburg (since February 2015) and Tavares (since July 2015). He pointed out that LCFR is in current discussions with the two cities of Eustis and Fruitland Park, and results from those discussions will be given in the near future. He presented a graph depicting the automatic aid agreements, specifically noting that the total number of calls was 5,534; city to county totaled 4,314, and county to city totaled 1,220. He noted that the total County expense for the automatic aid agreements was $188,850, which is cheaper in comparison to the cost for a new fire station which would be $1.9 million for construction and new equipment plus $500,000 annually for operating and personnel cost. He opined that it is a very good use of funding for Lake County. He stated that the benefits to the County through automatic aid are 13 additional municipal fire stations, 45 additional municipal personnel per day, and a significant cost savings. He noted that through automatic aid, the benefits for the cities are 15 additional county fire stations, 34 additional County personnel per day, and significant cost savings to them as well. He pointed out that there are benefits to the citizens of Lake County through automatic aid in quicker service, elimination of duplicated services, enhanced dispatching and agencies that work together. He noted that he is no longer receiving complaints after implementing automatic aid.
Mr. Jolliff pointed out that the Insurance Services Office (ISO) is an independent organization that collects information to provide a Public Protection Classification that rates fire protection efforts in the community to determine fire insurance premiums. He noted that the ISO analyzes the data by using a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule and then assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. He pointed out that Class 1 represents superior property fire protection, and Class 10 represents a fire suppression program that is not recognized by the ISO. He stated that the rating consists of five criteria which are receiving and handling fire alarms, the automatic aid fire stations, water supply, divergence which is the credit between the fire department and the water supply, and the community risk reduction which are fire prevention programs. He noted that Lake County had an urban rating of 6 and rural rating of 9 for years 2005-2015, and the County’s new rating effective March 1, 2016 will be a 4 for urban and a 4X for rural. He went on to explain that the number 4 for urban areas is the class that applies to the properties within five miles of a responding fire station and 1,000 feet of a credible water supply (fire hydrant, suction point or dry hydrant) graded on a scale from 1 to 10. He explained that the number 4X for rural areas is the class number that applies to properties within five road miles of the responding fire station but beyond 1,000 feet of a credible water supply which gives it the “X,” and this is graded on a scale from 1 to 10, and X or Y. He pointed out that the “Y” classification means the properties are located beyond five miles of a fire station and have no credible water supply. He commented that he is pleased with Lake County’s rankings in comparison to the surrounding counties and believes there will be more improvement in the next year. He pointed out that one type of deficiency the ISO found and placed in the report were water supply identified deficiencies due to 16 communities in Lake County that have their own private water systems that are an issue and all of these communities have been notified of their particular deficiency. He said there are five communities that have fire hydrant issues, of not being inspected or not working properly, although these fire hydrants are not County owned, so there is not much LCFR can do to help maintain them. He noted they will be sending another contact out to the homeowners and HOAs to get the deficiency resolved in the next 12 months. He stated that the other deficiencies the ISO found were problems with four fire stations, one of which is Altoona which has an outside apparatus and no enclosed building for the fire engines; however, a new station is being built in 2016. Clermont is currently operating out of a hotel; however, there is also a new station being built here in 2016. Dona Vista is presenting a staffing issue, but future funding is needed for this to be resolved. He pointed out that the reasons for the improved ISO rating since 2005 are the 36 additional firefighter positions, the opening of 9 additional fire stations, 6 automatic aid agreements, and improvements to private water systems. He said that if additional improvements are made, the ISO can give a new, lower rating one year from the effective date of the current rating. He pointed out that opening up two new stations, getting the enclosures needed and adding staff could be the key to getting a lower rating next year.
Mr. Jolliff spoke to recent improvements made in Lake County Fire Rescue (LCFR), the first being the order and purchase of three new fire trucks coming in August using $932,130 from funding and also the purchase and delivery of six Life Pak 15 that are currently in service for $162,870. He noted that Automatic Vehicle Locators (AVLs) were installed into County and municipal fire trucks within the ISBA areas, which enables first responses from the closet unit by geographic location instead of fire station location, which gives the best possible response time for citizens and expedites the 911 services and direct patient and emergency care. He noted that they have also purchased Mobile Data Terminals, which will be coming in this month. He stated that MDTs enable automatic driver route information, provides emergency notes to first responders, enables direct 911 calls to first responder vehicles, affords unit data research and reporting capabilities and allows for 911 Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system connectivity. He said that training on the MDTs will be completed in February 2016; they will be installed on the truck in March 2016 with operational startup to begin in April 2016.
Mr. Jolliff then reviewed the strategic plan in place for improvements in 2016-2022. He stated there was a 1-3-5 Planning Team established in April 2015 that was comprised of three firefighters, three lieutenants, a battalion chief and an assistant chief who provided a draft analysis received in December 2015 that identified 10 goals. He pointed out that there was no fiscal or revenue impact while the analysis was conducted. He stated that the planning team’s report provided input into the development of the Fire Rescue Strategic Plan. He said it is known that there are 50% of the vehicles over 10 years old, 27% have over 150,000 miles on them and the repair and maintenance costs are rising. He stated that through the Infrastructure Sales Tax 5 Year Plan, it is estimated that there will be 25 to 29 vehicles purchased, including fire engines, squads, aerial ladder trucks, water tanker trucks and utility brush trucks. He noted that the fire trucks will include necessary equipment such as MDTs, AVLs and Life Pak 15s. He stated also that there will be renovations completed on 9-12 fire stations with the infrastructure sales tax as the average age of the stations is 29 years old, the last fire station built was in 2010 and the last building purchased was in 2012 in Astatula. He noted that the renovations being completed will include staff quarters, roof replacements, water/well systems, generators and HVAC replacements. He presented a tentative schedule for the fire station renovations being planned out over five years starting in 2018 (stations 39, 71), 2019 (stations 15, 53, 72), 2020 (stations 76, 82, 83), 2021 (stations 109, 111) and 2022 (stations 21, 52). He pointed out that the joint station for Lake County and Clermont is being built in Clermont and has an anticipated completion date of April 2016 with the funding source being impact fees. He noted that the new station in Altoona has an anticipated completion date for the fall of 2016, and the source of funding for this station is also impact fees.
Mr. Jolliff then presented the current challenges for Lake County Fire Rescue (LCFR), which are the need for additional fire stations, to adhere to the NFPA 1710, and the EMS/Fire Rescue study. He stated that the strategic plan has identified the need for additional fire stations in Lake Yale and Seminole Springs and the need for full time staff in Dona Vista, noting the total cost for the two new stations plus the additional staff at Dona Vista would be $5.32 million. He stated that funding for equipment and facilities could come from impact fees and potential sales tax. He stated that personnel services and operating funds come from the Fire Assessment and the MSTU; however, current funding is insufficient. He stated that the timeline for tentative new fire station development is 2017 for having the site identified and bought using fire impact fees, 2018 for having the fire station designed using fire impact fees, 2019 for the fire station being constructed using fire impact fees and sales tax and 2020 for having the station be operational using fire assessment and MSTU, which is contingent on the availability of funding for staffing the stations. He commented on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 171, which is the non-mandatory recommendation concerning personnel deployment and response times, and he stated how NFPA 1710 applies to LCFR. He pointed out that this is not a law or federally-mandated regulation, is designed primarily for communities with career, paid firefighters, and calls for four personnel on one vehicle to arrive at a fire scene within five minutes 90% of the time. He pointed out that decisions on how and whether to implement the NFPA 1710 rests with the local officials. He added that NFPA 1710 for medical services requires two basic life support (BLS) and two advanced life support (ALS) providers for an ALS incident, as well as five-minute and nine-minute EMS response times; however, state rules and laws supersede NFPA 1710 because, they want to emphasize local control. He presented a survey of the surrounding counties showing their compliance with the NFPA 1710, noting that Lake County is 20% compliant. He stated that the EMS study that is about to take place will address efficiencies within EMS and Fire Rescue, and that the request for proposal (RFP) will be considered by the Lake EMS board in January 2016. He stated that there will be a final report presentation in December 2016, and that the plan could have an impact on the Fire Rescue Strategic Plan.
Mr. Steve Koontz, Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services, spoke on the fiscal analysis and impacts for the Fiscal Year 2015/2016, and he went over the funding sources for fire and rescue, including the Fire Assessment Fee which is currently set at $175 residential rate per dwelling unit. He pointed out that the non-residential rate varies by property use and square footage. He stated that further funding comes from the Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU) which is a millage property tax set at 0.4704, Advanced Life Support Fee that transfers from EMS, Fire Impact Fees, State of Florida EMS Grant, other grants and reserves. He said the total operating budget for Fiscal Year 2015/16 is $23,852,421; this includes reserves but does not include the impact fee which is a little over $2 million. He presented the Operational Revenues which he noted did not include reserves, as this is just the recurring balance from year to year. He pointed out that this showed the recurring balance from 2008-2016, noting specifically that the Fire Assessment revenues have stayed fairly static across the board; and the MSTU, which was not applied until 2009, plays only marginally into the amount. He stated that the amount was lower as property values dropped from 2009 to 2013, and now that property values have increased along with the millage change in 2015, the revenue amount is rising. He pointed out, however, that the MSTU values are only about 25%, so it is not enough to offset some of the expenditures on the other side. He said that the other revenue amounts are a transfer from Lake EMS and the general fund for the governmental and institutional properties on the Fire Assessment. He reported that expenses in 2009 they were down, but they have slowly increased since that time as new staff has been added. He pointed out that one of the largest drivers in the last three years has been personnel costs, and that is tied with raises. He stated there have been some small increases where general operating expenses are concerned, and the ISBA expenses have increased as well in anticipation of the new ISBAs added in 2015. He pointed out that the expenses are increasing faster than the revenues are coming in, resulting in decreasing reserves, although the purchase of new fire trucks also brought the reserves down, leaving the reserves at about $600,000. He presented an overall summary showing again that expenses are outpacing the revenue leaving a challenge for 2017, and while there will be some increases in the MSTU, the Fire Assessment has stayed fairly static which will cause a challenge in keeping reserves at a reasonable level.
Mr. Jolliff presented a final summary of all topics discussed, noting that the ISO Public Protection Classification has improved, and the Automatic Aid Agreements are improving the levels of service and response times. He stated that the needs identified in the Fire Rescue Strategic Plan are fire trucks and equipment, new fire stations, and new technology installed. He said finally that the Fire Rescue Strategic Plan identifies that additional funding is needed for staffing and operations of new fire stations as personnel costs continue to rise faster than revenues.
Commr. Campione asked about the process of changing a BLS station to an ALS station.
Mr. Jolliff responded that the change is made by tracking the type of emergency calls that come in to the station.
Commr. Campione asked what the personnel cost would be to change to an ALS station.
Mr. Jolliff stated that there is an added incentive to the personnel for gaining the certification, which is a minimal cost to the County and then having the additional equipment to support an ALS call.
Commr. Campione asked for cost information on changing all stations from BLS to ALS. She commented that this should be something that is analyzed in the upcoming EMS study and that this could be helpful in developing a response time for EMS as well.
Mr. Jolliff stated that in the 1/3/5 Plan, one of the goals is to change over all BLS stations to ALS, and that is something they will be striving for.
Commr. Campione asked for the current time it takes a unit to get to one of the locations that does not have a designated station.
Mr. Jolliff stated that for example Station #72 that is located in Grand Island has to respond to calls from Lake Yale, and it is a long response time. He commented that Station #39 responding to the Wekiva River area also takes a long response time, and when these stations have to respond to these areas, it leaves their immediate area uncovered should an incident occur. He commented that the heart of the County is covered well with the Automatic Aid groups.
Commr. Campione asked if there was cost variation available for the different types of fire station structures and whether there could be a way to build more economically keeping with the ISO Standards.
Mr. Jolliff stated it could be budgeted by Mr. Kristian Swenson, Facilities and Fleet Management Director, while keeping in mind the building would need to meet the code requirements.
Commr. Campione commented that she thought it would be a good idea to find out if something more economical can be done.
Mr. Sullivan pointed out that the variation in the stations is apparent when looking at old versus new.
Commr. Campione opined that the report was well done and comprehensive, but one thing missing were statistics involving calls versus response times which could be used to set a benchmark for response times if the NFPA 1710 is not being adopted across the board. She noted that setting a priority list would be efficient with task one being the conversion of all stations to ALS and the cost attached to that and task two being to set the benchmark for response times. She pointed out that there is good data coming from the EMS Study to start this process. She asked if all fire engines would be outfitted with the MDTs.
Mr. Jolliff stated that the front run units will be outfitted with the MDTs, and there will be mounting brackets installed in the other engines so the MDTs can be transferred if needed.
Commr. Parks asked if there was a plan for all pertinent vehicles to have the MDTs.
Mr. Jolliff stated that it could be part of the plan moving forward, but the initial thinking was to get them installed on the first run engines now.
Commr. Campione commented that the maps were reviewed quickly in the presentation, and that the Commissioners have looked at them at length as far as where the calls are happening. She commented that this is valuable information, because it demonstrates the cost of placing a station in the areas with ISBA agreements. She pointed out that she would like to see funds transferred on a County level from Lake EMS, as it could be beneficial in converting the BLS stations to ALS.
Mr. Koontz stated that he believes those transferred funds would be about $750,000-$800,000 of the 0.1 million basing it on the values of the unincorporated areas. He pointed out that currently the amount received is $300,000.
Mr. Heath commented that item will be reviewed in the mid-year adjustment with Mr. Jerry Smith, Lake EMS Director.
Commr. Cadwell clarified that those funds would be used to advance BLS stations to ALS.
Commr. Campione stated that the funds would need to be tied to that because that is the purpose of that millage.
Mr. Heath said that he would like to accelerate the construction on the three additional stations using that particular funding or impact fees to get the stations designs providing locations are found for them.
Commr. Cadwell commented that the hope is that the impact fee growth will be greater than the projected amount, and that would move them along quicker. He stated that they need to use the current available funds to find locations now, go through the design process and be ready to build right when the revenue profits are available.
Commr. Campione stated that looking into donations of property or long term leases could be beneficial. She opined that there may be opportunities for adding the stations, such as CR452 where the Water Management District has additional land.
Commr. Parks said that this could work with larger track landowners who have plans to develop and who could possibly donate the land.
Commr. Campione pointed out that developers would donate as part of the PUD, but it could also be helpful to private rural landowners to donate as well for better fire and EMS coverage.
Commr. Conner commented that there are unmet needs in the fire service, but the presentation did not cover where the funds will come from to cover the costs.
Mr. Heath stated that using the sales tax for the rehabilitations of the fire stations, building new stations and obtaining equipment would be sufficient. He noted that the issue will be finding the funding to cover the 18 additional personnel needed to staff the new stations and some of the exiting stations. He said that neither the MSTU nor the Fire Assessment can cover the funds needed for that. He pointed out that through the EMS Efficiency Study, they hope to find new revenues over the next several years to cover the costs. He stated that raising the millage rates or the Fire Assessment would need to be done if additional revenues cannot be found through the EMS Study. He opined that it is an ambitious plan, but he feels that there is a high chance that the Board can implement it.
Commr. Conner commented that he feels that this presentation has showed the priorities. He stated that the sales tax can only be used to fund so much, and as Mr. Heath pointed out, one way to cover the expenses would be to raise the Fire Assessment or the MSTU. He opined that the long term issue of operating costs is what presents the most challenge over the capital costs. He restated that there are definite unmet needs.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the 1/3/5 Planning team ranked the needs they compiled by priority.
Mr. Jolliff stated that he believes that is the way they were written.
Commr. Cadwell directed a comment to Commr. Campione that he has spoken to Mr. Smith himself about looking to the Lake EMS agreement to gain additional funds now, which would take care of some immediate needs. He stated that even though it would not solve the long term issue, it will move the County closer to the goal.
Commr. Campione commented that studying the EMS times and increasing personnel and locations could have significant impact benefitting the cities’ response times which could bring additional funding from helping system wide.
Commr. Cadwell opined that it would be professional disbursement that would truly be helpful.
Commr. Sullivan stated that he is glad to see the study come forward with a plan, but the funding needs to be behind it, and now the work begins to figure out how to move forward with it to address the needs. He pointed out that he believes that NFPA 1710 needs to be recognized, but that the County needs to set its own standards. He noted that now comes the time to set guidelines to implement these standards and requirements. He opined that across the board the County is doing well financially, but funding personnel is always an issue. He stated that this gives a guideline to keep in mind as the Board works through the budgetary process.
Commr. Parks opined that the presentation was well done and has started the conversation for moving forward. He said that he believes the two main issues are the facility conditions and having enough personnel to meet the growing population, and he expressed concern that the facility conditions are atrocious. He pointed out that he is looking for a strategic plan that the Board can adopt and have in writing, and that he liked the 1/3/5 report format and would have liked to have seen more detail on that. He stated that he will be considering the ten goals put in the presentation as part of the strategic plan, which he believes can be done internally without fiscal impact. He feels as though having a Fire Advisory Board would be beneficial for the short term to give another set of eyes to look at the strategic plan. He pointed out that there were a couple issues in the ISO report regarding manpower and deployment along with some other areas that can be improved. He would like to see the County gain some more ground in those areas to improve the ratings which will directly impact the residents and their homeowner’s insurance rates. He opined that with a strategic plan in place, meeting the NFPA 1710 standards could be easier in some areas and other areas could have the standard met over a period of time. He opined that having more fire staff not only serves to protect them better, but it also serves to protect the lives and property of the residents in the area.
Commr. Campione commented that discussing this issue on a regular basis until the plan is formulated and getting staff input for identifying response time deficiencies and developing benchmarks to improve them would be beneficial. She opined that it is difficult to talk about raising and identifying revenue if there is not a goal for public safety in place. She stated a third item that needs to be reviewed is the sales tax, noting that if the sales tax revenue comes in higher than projected, a percentage of the sales tax needs to be set aside and committed for use in the improvement of existing fire stations. She opined that if more revenue is coming in than projected from the sales tax, the issues of infrastructure on existing stations could be resolved sooner.
Commr. Sullivan commented anything that can be done to enhance the quality of life for the County’s fire fighters by giving them the best equipment to work with and the best housing is all beneficial because that creates better efficiency of response times.
Commr. Campione responded that the improvement of the stations should be high priority, because the County needs them to be safe, and it is a terrible position to be in to be concerned for their safety in the event of a storm.
Commr. Cadwell asked if a strategic plan covering response time goals would be brought back and presented.
Mr. Heath stated that a critical path would be determined first, because there are many pieces and determining the critical issues first would be best. He noted that the first thing to be reviewed would be the mid-year adjustment showing the 0.1 million amount. He pointed out that the EMS Efficiency Study would not be ready until December 2016, and Mr. Jolliff would return in May or early June with a Fiscal Year 2017 budget presentation. He stated that the County will be moving forward with items that can be put in place now, but others will come with time. He opined that creating a strategic plan would be difficult to do until the EMS study is completed, and the staffing issue has two pieces in itself, with the first finding immediate funding for the 18 fire fighters needed for the three new stations and the second the improvement of the level of service, which will require separate funding. He stated that the staff will need time to work through all of the issues so that they can be resolved and funding can be provided.
Commr. Campione commented that she understands there are moving parts, but she wants to be sure the County is moving forward on items that can be dealt with now rather than making them contingent upon others. She opined that she does not want to see the County penalized in the EMS Study if improvements are being made. She commented that she wants to move ahead now on what can be resolved.
Mr. Heath noted that what was shown in the presentation that morning is what the County is moving ahead on. He stated that as they receive additional items, those will be added to the priorities.
Commr. Parks stated that regular updates would be helpful moving forward, since this is a big priority.
Commr. Campione added that having a regular report at each BCC meeting showing progress would be informative. She stated that in regards to the NFPA 1710, the County is looking at a significant cost; however, it would be a good idea to determine how that would be funded and implemented and then use it to get a feel for setting the County’s own benchmark standards.
Mr. Heath assured the Board that giving a state of public safety presentation could be given several times a year.
Commr. Parks thanked the staff for the hard work, and then he extended his appreciation to the off duty fire fighters that came to attend the meeting.
Commissioner discussion/action items
Appointment to Tourism Development Council
Commr. Parks brought forward Resolution 2016-9, the appointment of Commr. Welton Cadwell as the Tourism Development Council (TDC) Chairman. He stated that this is done once a year and is required by statue that the resolution be accepted. He opined that Commr. Cadwell has done a great job as Chairman of the TDC and he appreciates Commr. Cadwell’s service.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution 2016-9 for the appointment of Commr. Welton Cadwell as the TDC Chairman.
Appointment to Water safety advisory committee
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Ms. Kristi Kay as Representative with expertise or experience in a youth organization to the Water Safety Advisory Committee to serve a two-year term ending January 19, 2018.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Joseph Goloversic as Representative with expertise in the Coast Guard Auxiliary or other boating safety experience to the Water Safety Advisory Committee to serve a two-year term ending January 19, 2018.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Ms. Julie Treadwell as Representative from Lake Emergency Medical Services to the Water Safety Advisory Committee to complete an unexpired two-year term ending Oct. 6, 2017.
Commr. Parks commented that Ms. Stephanie Glass, Probation Supervisor, did a wonderful job at the first Water Safety Advisory Committee meeting. He noted that attendance was close to full capacity and good discussion took place along with creating an agenda and selecting chair persons. He noted he is looking forward to seeing what this committee will be able to accomplish.
appointment to lake county planning and zoning board
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Dr. Kasey Kesselring to the At-Large seat for the Lake County Planning and Zoning Board, to complete an unexpired four-year term ending Jan. 31, 2019.
Commr. Campione commented that four of the applicants for this seat were already serving on other Boards, and she would like to see a place be made for the applicant, Mr. Bradley W. Campbell, who wants to serve and has a lot to contribute, noting that he does not have any obligations to additional boards.
Commr. Parks agreed that it would be prudent to find a place for this candidate on another board.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER CONNER – DISTRICT 3
Commr. Conner extended his congratulations to Commr. Cadwell on his reappointment as Chairman of the Central Florida Expressway Authority by a unanimous vote. He commented that it is a wonderful representation for Lake County, especially in the role as Chairman.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER CAMPIONE – DISTRICT 4
Commr. Campione commented on the problem of snipe signs being placed around Lake County, and queried whether it was possible that staff look into strengthening code enforcement, pointing out that the signs have a name and telephone number. She noted that “robo” calling should be considered to help with the issue and asked if the cost could be reviewed and implemented for serious offenders. She stated that even when the signs are taken down, they are put back up and it would take a lot of manpower to keep up with it.
Commr. Conner opined that “robo” calls are inexpensive.
Commr. Cadwell expressed concern that it could impact local community functions and fundraisers.
Commr. Campione reiterated that perpetual offenders would be the individuals targeted. She stated that she appreciated the issue being reviewed to see if there is a solution.
Commr. Conner queried whether it was legal to remove the signs.
Ms. Melanie Marsh stated that the signs can be removed, as it is prohibited in the Lake County code. She stated that she believes the Keep Lake Beautiful team does remove them, but as Commr. Campione stated, the signs are replaced within days.
Commr. Conner asked if there was a real solution to the problem.
Mr. Heath stated that Orange County has been dealing with the snipe sign issue for 25 years, and their new way to discourage them is by “robo” calling. He stated that code enforcement staff would need to be increased to handle the volume, so “robo” calling could be low cost alternative.
Commr. Campione suggested sending a preliminary letter or call as warning prior to “robo” calling.
Mr. Heath said that the staff would contact Orange County and gain some insight as to how it works, along with the cost and present it to the Board as part of the budget or during one of the budget work sessions.
Commr. Campione stated that she understands people wanting to legitimately promoting their business, but this is not the way.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER PARKS –CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 2
Commr. Parks expressed his thanks to Commissioners Cadwell, Campione and Sullivan for attending the Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast where he was honored to be able to read the Proclamation that was passed unanimously. He thanked Commissioners Conner and Sullivan for being at the Martin Luther King, Jr Parade. He stated that he also appreciated the attendance at the ribbon cutting for the bird blind at PEAR Park and opined that was a great day for Lake County.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.
SEAN PARKS, CHAIRMAN
NEIL KELLY, CLERK