A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
april 19, 2016
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, April 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; Jimmy Conner; and Leslie Campione. Commissioners Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman, and Timothy I. Sullivan were not present. 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; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Commr. Parks expressed his thoughts, prayers, and sympathies to Commr. Cadwell and Commr. Sullivan, who could not be present due to deaths in their respective families.
Mr. John Haynie from the Bahai Group of Lake County gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. David Heath, County Manager, stated that he needed to make several changes to the agenda, including the addition of Tab 26, an addendum under the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda dealing with the Supervisor of Elections regarding some modifications and creation of some new precincts, to be approved under the Consent Agenda along with Tabs 4 through 18. He also explained that because of the absence of Commissioners Cadwell and Sullivan, he postponed the public hearings for the rezoning cases under Items 2, 6, 7, and 8, which were the Bates Property Future Land Use Map Amendment, the Yonally-Gist Rezoning, the Lake Minneola Landings PUD Amendment, and the Extreme Groves Investments amendment to the Future Land Use Map respectively, until the BCC Meeting on May 17. He assured the Board that staff has contacted all of the applicants for those cases as well as the residents in the community who had expressed an intention to attend those hearings.
Commr. Conner commended the County Manager for the manner in which he has handled the emergency situation that came up and by giving everyone a full and fair hearing before a full Board, which he opined was the right thing to do regarding issues as important as those were.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Campione, and carried unanimously by a 3-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of March 16, 2016 (Special Meeting) as presented.
citizen question and comment period
Mr. David Serdar, a resident of Fruitland Park, discussed community service and residents making a difference in their community.
Mr. Tom Madden, a resident of Clermont, mentioned that he has been attending the BCC meetings regularly for the past several years and thanked the Board for the job they have been doing. He mentioned that County staff has been helpful to them and that Mr. Heath is doing a terrific job with regard to the preparation of the agenda and the presentation of the departmental budgets. He commented that he is interested in seeing how the values and vision that the Board portrays as important to the County affects the decisions that they make.
Mr. Chris Barrett, a resident of Clermont and a member of the Clermont Cricket Club, mentioned that a final presentation will be made regarding South Lake Regional Park and expressed support for South Lake Regional Park and the Clermont Cricket field, for which he has been anxiously waiting for three years.
presentation of child abuse prevention month proclamation
Commr. Parks presented Proclamation No. 2016-35 proclaiming the month of April 2016 as Child Abuse Prevention Month to Ms. Joelle Aboytes, Circuit 5 Community Development Administrator, Department of Children and Families, emphasizing that he was presenting the proclamation on behalf of Commr. Cadwell. He commented that it was an honor to present this proclamation to those individuals who worked so hard for this issue, and he thanked them for everything they do and for working very diligently to address this extremely important concern. He read the proclamation aloud.
Ms. Aboytes thanked the Board for this proclamation and for all the support the County gives to the Children’s Services Council, which is very important for families and the prevention programs that exist in their community. She related that their top maltreatments are substance abuse and mental health related, and they appreciate the programs that address those issues for those families and hope to keep them going.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a 3-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 5, 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.
Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Agency Annual Report
Request to acknowledge receipt of Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Agency’s Annual Report dated March 31, 2016, in accordance with Florida Statute 163.356(3)(c).
Inspector General Report BCC-142 Unannounced Audit of Cash Funds-Public Works
Request to acknowledge receipt of Inspector General Report BCC-142 Unannounced Audit of Cash Funds – Public Works Department.
City of Fruitland Park CRA Activity Report
Request to acknowledge receipt of the City of Fruitland Park Community Redevelopment Agency’s Activity Report for FY 2015-16. At the March 24, 2016 City of Fruitland Park Regular Commission meeting, the City Commission acknowledged the Community Redevelopment Agency’s filing of said report.
City of Mount Dora’s CRA Report
Request to acknowledge receipt of City of Mount Dora’s Community Redevelopment Agency Report and Mount Dora Northeast Community Redevelopment Agency Report for FY 2015, in accordance with Florida Statutes 163.387(8).
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 3-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 4 through 18 and Tab 26, as follows:
Request for approval of Proclamation No. 2016-48 proclaiming April as National County Government Month, per Commr. Cadwell.
Request for approval to execute the Stipulated Final Judgment of Fees and Costs in Court Case No. 2013-CA-3332, Lake County vs. William D. Vandenbemden, et al. (Parcel Number: NH07) for needed right of way on the North Hancock Road Extension Project. The total settlement for approval is $168,408.75. Payments were previously made with the Court per the Stipulated Order of Taking and Partial Final Judgment in the total amount of $116,500.00; therefore, the fiscal impact at this time is $51,908.75. Commission District 2.
Request for approval to execute the Stipulated Final Judgment in Court Case No. 2013-CA-3331, Lake County vs. Michael J. Simmons, et al., (Parcel Number: NH06) for needed right of way on the North Hancock Road Extension Project. The total settlement for approval is $99,971.00. A good faith estimate deposit was made with the Court per the Stipulated Order of Taking in the amount of $5,200; therefore, the fiscal impact at this time is $94,771.00. Commission District 2.
Request for approval to execute a Release and Waiver to be in compliance with Chapter 2016-152, Laws of Florida addressing the funding of Secure Juvenile Detention Costs.
Request for approval of the Precinct Changes at the request of the Supervisor of Elections.
Request for approval for the Chairman to send a letter to the National Association of Counties (NACo) conveying the Board's support of Commissioner Cadwell's participation in all NACo functions should he be selected for appointment to a membership/leadership position on any of NACo's Policy Steering Committees and/or an At-Large seat on the NACo Board of Directors.
Facilities Development and Management
Request for approval to award contract 16-0213 for reconfiguration of office space within the Building Services department to Waterman Construction (Umatilla). The fiscal impact is $34,475 (expenditure).
Fiscal and Administrative Services
Request for approval to access the competitively competed and awarded contract (No. 14-B-111RF) that Volusia County has with George Gideon Auctioneers, Inc. (Zellwood, FL) to provide auction services on an as-required basis. This is a revenue contract with a percentage paid to the auctioneer for services rendered.
Request for approval and signature of Amendment to Interlocal Agreement between Lake County and The City of Tavares, Florida relating to the contribution of funds for improvements to the Woodlea Sports Complex. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 3
Request for approval to terminate the Interlocal Agreement for Reciprocal Borrowing between Osceola County and Lake County libraries effective September 30, 2016, in accordance with the requirements in Section 7 of the Agreement, and approval for staff to provide the required notifications. There is no fiscal impact
Request for approval to award Countywide Parks & Recreation System Master Plan Update and Countywide Trails Master Plan Update, 16-0002, to TOA Design Group, LLC (Orlando, FL). The fiscal impact is $203,360.00 (Expenditure).
Request for approval to award a contract 16-0009, CR 437 Realignment and Multi-Modal Study, to Griffey Engineering, Inc. (Eustis, FL). The fiscal impact is $198,721.04 (Expenditure). Commission District 4.
Request for approval to award Griffin View Drive (C-7212) and Harbor Hills Boulevard Intersection Improvements, Project No. 2016-04, Bid No. 16-0021, to J. Malever Construction Company (Groveland), in the amount of $152,160.00, and to encumber and expend funds in the amount of $152,160.00 from the Renewal Sales Tax Capital Projects fund. The fiscal impact is $152,160.00 (Expenditure). Commission District 5.
Request for approval to award Eustis Elementary and Middle School Sidewalk on Abrams Road; Project No. 2016-03, Bid No. 16-0018, FPN #432954-1-58-01, to Florida Safety Contractors, Inc., (Tampa, FL) in the amount of $107,401.00, and to encumber and expend funds in the amount of $107,401.00 from the Federal/State Grants Fund. The fiscal impact is $107,401.00 (100% grant funded). Commission District 4.
Request for approval to advertise for bids for the Royal Trails Stormwater Drainage Improvements project at an estimated cost of $186,510.00 from the Stormwater MSTU Construction Fund. Commission District 5.
Request for authorization to apply for a St. Johns River Water Management District Water Improvement Grant for the Magnolia Lane Water Quality Improvement project. The fiscal impact is $200,000.00 (Revenue). Commission District 3.
presentation by goodwill industries
Mr. Edd Holder, a financial planning consultant from Tavares, opined that the Board and everyone present were big advocates for economic development and job creation, and Goodwill Industries locates and recruits people who are normally chronically unemployable to come into the program without a skill set, create those skill sets, and then place them in jobs. He elaborated that the County invests a good amount of money creating jobs for its residents and emphasized that the County does not need to give any money to Goodwill Industries to do that, since Goodwill raises funding from donations of things from people’s closets. He specified that Goodwill was in the process of opening its third new location in Lake County.
Mr. Bill Oakley, CEO of Goodwill Industries, commented that he deeply appreciates the generosity of the citizens across Lake County which drives the success of their organization, including two job connection centers that they operate in Lake County. He stated that Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, Inc. builds lives that work and is an independent Florida-based nonprofit corporation serving six counties in Central Florida. He explained that they encourage people to make generous gifts of donations and offer the sellable products that people give them in their retail stores and secondary markets, which reflects their consciousness of sustainability and delays or eliminates the arrival of products at the landfill. He added that they use that money to fund vocational services and employ people in addition to placing people in jobs in their community, including people with disabilities, and specified that they rendered service to nearly 43,000 people and helped 7,500 people return to jobs across their six-county area last year. He mentioned some new vital programs that they were instituting, such as Good Source staffing services to help reduce homelessness and Solar for Good to install solar installations on two of their 26 retail stores for sustainable solar generation of power of their facilities, which will also put Goodwill Industries in an economically favorable situation 30 years in the future after their installation. He related that Goodwill Donation Xpress Centers offering drive-through service were a hallmark of convenience, making it easier for people to donate and created an electronic record that was easily retrievable for consideration at tax time. He reported that the economic impact of their organization last year through their development program and all of their other services was $108 million. He noted that in Lake County in 2014, they placed 499 people in jobs at an average hourly wage of $9.52 with an economic impact of $8.2 million in Leesburg and placed 591 people in jobs at an average hourly wage of $9.74 for an economic impact of $9.6 million in Clermont. He gave the statistics for those job connection centers in 2015 which indicated that they placed 198 people in jobs for an economic impact of $3.1 million in Leesburg and 199 people in Clermont at an economic impact of about $3 million. He also reported the 2016 numbers to date of 1,900 people receiving services since January and 335 people being placed into jobs in the community. He summarized that the economic impact in Lake County from 2007 through 2013 was $80,869,734 as a result of over 5,000 participants working an average of 32 hours per week at $9.52 an hour. He concluded that the donations of the citizens make a huge difference in the community, and they were very excited about the newest development in Lake County at their Eustis store, which is being moved from their previous location on Ardice Street to Hwy 441 in the next few months in order to enable an expansion of their thrift store and donation convenience service. He distributed a copy of their most recent annual report to the Board.
Commr. Campione asked if they were connecting people to opportunities that they believed would be a good fit, as well as how that worked and how they stay connected with the business community.
Mr. Oakley responded that they do that with one person and one job at a time, treating everyone as an individual by assessing what each person’s interests and skills are and making sure they were making a good match with a perspective employer. He added that they hold their job connection center leaders responsible for community development and cultivating those relationships with perspective employers, and they have built a series of relationships because of their long-standing presence in the community, particularly in Leesburg and Clermont, where employers will use the job connection centers to hold their own job fairs with some frequency. He also explained that they post in each job connection center the available positions that they become aware of and have a robust offering for people of all skill levels. He pointed out that most people they work with are not ready to start applying for employment, and they teach those individuals how to answer the tough questions presented in a job interview, make sure their resumes will stand out, and help them with the social skills needed when applying for jobs.
Commr. Campione asked about the typical length of time it takes to get a candidate ready to seek a job and connect with an employer.
Mr. Oakley answered that the time it takes to do that will be very individualistic, adding that they offer a number of supportive skills and collaborative relationships and partners, such as Lake Tech to learn basic skills or English for people who speak other languages. He related that a person who is ready to work can start in a few days, but it can take months or even years if additional training is needed. He also mentioned that they provide continuing support and that most of the recipients of their services continue to keep the organization informed of their progress and experience. He commented that they were conservative in their forecasting of their economic impact, since many people get raises that are not figured in to that forecast.
Commr. Parks commented that the Goodwill site in Clermont is beautiful and heavily-used, and he expressed appreciation to Mr. Oakley and Mr. Holder for everything they do.
Mr. Holder related the expression “Give a person a fish, and you feed him for a day, but if you teach a person to fish, you feed him forever,” to what Goodwill does; and he added that they even provide the clothing for interviews, the skill sets, and the relationships. He specified that some of the people they help have had addictions and have been in prison, who are usually hard people to employ.
public hearing – rezoning
Mr. Chris Schmidt, Manager of the Planning and Zoning Division, Economic Growth Department, submitted the advertisements for that day’s public hearings on the overhead monitor, and he reiterated that Tabs 2, 6, 7, and 8 have been postponed to the May 17 BCC meeting. He reported that the items under Tabs 1, 3, 4, and 5 of the Rezoning Consent Agenda were approved unanimously by the Planning & Zoning Board on March 30, 2016, and the staff recommendation is for the Board to approve those cases.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding the rezoning cases on the Rezoning Consent Agenda, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a vote of 3-0, the Board approved the Rezoning Consent Agenda as follows:
Rezoning Case # CP-2016-04
Central Water & Sewer Connection Text Amendment
Proposed Text Amendment to modify mandatory central water and sewer connection exemptions.
Rezoning Case #CP-2016-02
Capital Improvement Program Text Amendment
Update of Policy II-2.5.3 Public Facility Needs, specifically Table CAP 5, Table CAP 6, Table CAP 7, Table CAP 8, Table CAP 9, Table CAP 10, and Table CAP 11.
Rezoning Case #CP-2016-03
Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Future Land Use Text Amendment
Proposed Text Amendment to modify the standards listed in Mount Plymouth-Sorrento Main Street FLUC.
Tab 5. Ordinance No. 2016-17
Rezoning Case #RZ-16-03-5
Sangster Property Rezoning
Request to rezone 52.19 acres of the existing 77.44 acre Country Squire Mobile Home Park to Agriculture zoning.
PUBLIC HEARING – ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING AVALON GROVES CDD
Ms. Melanie Marsh, County Attorney, read the proposed ordinance by title only as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE COUNTY COMMISSION OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ESTABLISHING THE AVALON GROVES COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT AND AMENDING CHAPTER 20, LAKE COUNTY CODE, ENTITLED “SPECIAL DISTRICTS,” SECTION 20-1, ENTITLED “ORDINANCES ADOPTED BY REFERENCE” TO INCORPORATE THIS ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING THE AVALON GROVES COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT INTO THE LIST AS ITEM NUMBER 20; NAMING THE DISTRICT; DESCRIBING THE EXTERNAL BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT; GRANTING THE DISTRICT POWERS UNDER SECTION 190.012(1), FLORIDA STATUTES (2015); NAMING THE INITIAL MEMBERS OF THE DISTRICT’S BOARD OF SUPERVISORS; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; PROVIDING FOR FILING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Mr. Roy Van Wyk, Esq. with Hopping Green & Sams in Tallahassee, noted that they had provided the County with a copy of all of their pre-filed testimony to create the Avalon Groves Community Development District (CDD) and proof of publication of the hearing. He related that the District will be about 971 acres located just adjacent to the Sawgrass Bay PUD (Planned Unit Development) bordering Orange County. He asked the Board for approval of the ordinance.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to speak regarding this ordinance, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Campione commented that the application spoke for itself and was very extensive and comprehensive. She confirmed with the County Attorney that although she had worked on this property many years ago, she did not need to file a conflict of interest statement, since she currently has no involvement with the property and has not for many years. She explained that this was essentially a way for the developer to fund a level of infrastructure and amenities without going through a taxation process to finance those improvements, and Florida law requires that the developer obtain approval from the County Commission to do so.
Mr. Van Wyk further assured the Board that there would be no obligation on the County’s part regarding the financing.
Commr. Campione added that any obligation would fall on individual lot owners or businesses that buy property in that neighborhood, who would be responsible to make any payments directly to the CDD.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 3-0, the Board approved adoption of Ordinance No. 2016-16 establishing the Avalon Groves Community Development District.
update on the south lake regional park master plan
Mr. Jeff Cole, Public Resources Director, stated that the purpose of this presentation is to provide the Board with an update on the South Lake Regional Park and specifically the master plan development phase they are currently in. He related that the property consisted of 141 acres south of SR 50 in the Green Swamp adjacent to the City of Groveland. He recapped that the Parks Master Plan recommended a regional park in South Lake County in 2005, and after some community and stakeholders’ meetings held regarding this issue over several years, the Board accepted a transfer of 141 acres from the City of Clermont for the South Lake Regional Park. He reported that they have been conducting basic maintenance since taking ownership of the property in March of 2014, such as cleaning up trash, repairs, and constructing some security fencing, and the Board had awarded a contract to GAI Consultants in August 2015 to develop the park master plan and conduct environmental site assessments and economic market analysis. He added that they completed the installation of about 5,000 linear feet of an eight-foot high security fence in December 2015, and a community stakeholder meeting was held in January 2016 to discuss the master plan process and to get input that has resulted in the concepts that would be presented to the Board that day. He elaborated that they held a meeting in Minneola on Monday, April 18, with the Cities of Groveland, Minneola, Clermont, and others to provide a glimpse into the concepts they have developed to date, which was very favorably received, with another community meeting planned in Groveland on Wednesday evening, April 20, to share the master plan concepts.
Mr. Frank Bellomo, Senior Director of Landscape Architecture with GAI Consultants, mentioned that he started this phase of the work with a very extensive stakeholder interview and public participation process in order to determine what the needs and desires were for recreation facilities in South Lake, including representatives of the five South Lake municipalities, 15 various organized sports organizations within South Lake, and the Parks, Recreation, and Trails Advisory Board, as well as a very well-attended participatory community meeting in January; and they began to develop a program of the extensive needs taking all of that input into consideration. He explained that they divided the master plan into three phases, understanding that the actual layout and determination of the phases will be based greatly on annual available expenditures, and he showed a diagram of the first of three phases, which was the very northern part, which would include areas of the greatest need. He elaborated that Concept A contains 4 softball and 4 youth baseball fields, 4 adult baseball fields, and two multipurpose fields which could be used for cricket as well, noting that in subsequent phases, they would add an additional six multipurpose fields for a total of 8 multipurpose fields. He added that they were looking at other amenities such as a dog park, with a neighborhood field for the park in a fairly heavily-wooded portion of the site in the southwest corner, including things such as a picnicking area, nature trails, a paddle launch, and observation wildlife areas to the extreme northern areas of the site. He noted that Concept B is similar to Concept A with an identical Phase 1, since those things are the immediate and most-significant needs; however, they also added an additional four softball fields for a total of eight in Concept B, since that would generate the greatest economic impact that can be created from this project with some terrific tournament opportunities, although that would result in a decreased amount of two rather than four adult baseball fields. He mentioned that the other amenities in Concept B would be the same as those in Concept A.
Mr. Cole discussed some additional considerations for development of the site, noting that its fairly high topography requires excavation, filling, and grading and that they would have to remove excess fill. He also mentioned that Public Works is interested in using clay that was on the site for roads. He stated that it was important to get the utilities of potable water, sewer, reclaimed water, and electricity up to the park boundary, and the phasing they have been outlining is predicated upon the cooperative relationship among the municipalities, the County, developers, and other property owners in getting those utilities brought to that park boundary, which could possibly result in annexation to the City of Groveland. He related that another consideration is the narrow nature of Max Hooks Road, which is in need of upgrade and repair. He noted that Public Works is evaluating the access from SR 50 and the realignments that might be possible with that road to allow for traffic ingress and egress to the property, and they have developed a preliminary assessment of the existing road and are identifying a path forward with the partners of Groveland, Lake Douglas Preserve, and the Hearthstone Development. He added that another consideration is the feasibility of the potential use of Tourist Development Tax (TDT) dollars by demonstrating a link between TDT-funded improvements and sports tourism and secure a strong management, marketing, and recruiting partner to develop a specific plan for the use of those TDT dollars, which would involve a full evaluation of what the potential trade-offs are of using TDT dollars and the requirements attached to the dollars and the community recreational aspect of the park. He stated that they would need to issue a Request for Information (RFI) in order to do so to give the sports tourism organizations an opportunity to provide their specific plans and strategies for the potential use of the park, which would ultimately be evaluated by the staff before being presented to the Board.
Mr. Cole outlined the schedule for the next steps regarding the South Lake Regional Park plan, and he stated that the consultants will be finishing the draft master plan and going before the Parks, Recreation, and Trails Advisory Board to review that plan in the summer of 2016. He reported that the recommended Master Plan, Comprehensive Plan amendment, and results of the RFI seeking the proposals for the park tourism usage are expected to come before the Board by the end of 2016, and Public Resources will be addressing the park design and construction with the consultants as well as working with Public Works on the external road access and the utilities design. He indicated that the Board will be considering the Comprehensive Plan amendment in the winter of 2016-17 after the agencies provide their input, and then the park design and engineering bid documents and permitting will be completed, all of which is funded to that point from the existing sales tax authorization. He commented that they are hopeful that the utility installation and connections to the park boundary are completed through the previously-mentioned partnership and that they could begin work on earthwork and grading operations for Phase I by the fall of 2017, with Phase I development of the recreational components to be started by the winter of 2017 through the fall of 2018, including lighted ballfields, restrooms, road construction, and parking lot. He pointed out that this project is identified as a funding priority in the sales reauthorization beginning in January of 2018.
Mr. Heath recapped that since the Board has indicated extreme interest in the last several years in exploring the use of TDT dollars for recreation, they came up with the concept of issuing an RFI or RFP (Request for Proposal) to gauge the interest for sports tourism uses and document the percentage of the budget that could conceivably be used from TDT for those purposes, although that could result in displacement of some of the leagues in favor of the tournaments, which will put the Board in the position of being able to have all of the information to make an informed decision. He added that although they have concentrated on South Lake during this presentation, they have also discussed including East Lake Park as part of that RFI, and staff is planning on coming back to the Board later this year with an update on the progress they continue to make regarding this issue.
Commr. Conner stated that he agreed with looking at East Lake Park as well and mentioned that the Big House in Tavares brings in large basketball tournaments. He opined that looking at the RFI is a good idea for another funding source and would lay the groundwork for making sure of its legality. He emphasized that he is getting pressure from parents who want ballfields for their children to play on, and he believes they are going about this the right way. He gave some examples of people who the County could partner with to help them bring tournaments to Lake County.
Commr. Campione commented that the key is balance once they get the information back and see the proposals, and the purpose of this is to have the funding to make improvements such as lights which would extend the hours that teams could practice and enable the parks to be utilized to the maximum, without displacing local teams and to make the two interests mesh.
Commr. Parks mentioned that he and the County Manager have had some very preliminary discussions with the YMCA about a partnership with the County for a facility in South Lake, and he believed that Site Plan B shows room near the middle where basketball courts and playgrounds are for that type of facility.
Mr. Bellomo responded that although he was concerned about parking requirements, he believed they could make it work by altering things a little, and he opined that the Board should look into this opportunity if there was interest from the YMCA in providing an indoor facility.
Commr. Parks clarified that the way the consultants phased the project will make it easier to move the dirt and deal with issues of the topography by taking dirt from the top and using it for phase 1, as well as the next two phases when funding was available.
Mr. Heath clarified that they were initially concerned about the topography and the expenses associated with that, but then came up with a concept to allow the Public Works Department to move the clay for road operations and then smooth the rest of the site off, which will minimize the disruption and accelerate the schedule.
Commr. Parks announced that they have had the support of Mayor Loucks of Groveland as well as the support of the Cities of Clermont, Minneola, and Montverde for this project, and he appreciates the intergovernmental partnership with the cities on this.
Commr. Campione opined that their parks are being heavily used, and the County is getting more requests for more space and parking. She added that the parks promote the values that they believe in as a Commission and a community and attracts people to their area who have those same values, which is a positive from an economic development standpoint. She commended staff for their work on this effort and Commr. Parks for his persistence and tenacity in keeping everyone engaged and getting input for this project to make sure this is something that the community wants.
Commr. Conner opined that the community does not want the County to close or cut funding for their parks and libraries in response to budgetary concerns, and he indicated that he agreed with Commr. Campione that the values and priorities of the Board represent what the community wants. He mentioned that the renewal of the sales tax is one of the reasons they are able to move forward with this project.
Commr. Parks commented that the “Real Florida, Real Close” ideals are important to the Commissioners, and the value of parks, open space, and the quality of life was also important to the founding fathers of their country in the 1700’s and 1800’s. He mentioned that he hears from a lot of residents asking about and expressing interest in the parks, and he noted that parents of children who use the parks pay taxes also as well as additional user fees to use those parks. He added that property values are proven to increase in areas close to a park, and innovators and professional families want to live in communities that have those features.
Commr. Conner assured everyone that the County has gotten a lot in return for the funding it has put into parks and has provided parks cost effectively in conjunction with other partners.
Commr. Parks elaborated that the Parks and Recreation staff has recycled plastics and outsourced maintenance of the parks for cost efficiency.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 10:30 a.m. that there would be a 10-minute recess.
public works operations update and budget
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, related that this will be an overview of the Public Works operational budget, with the Solid Waste program update to be heard on May 17 and the Road Construction Program on August 9, and he displayed a departmental organizational chart showing the three divisions of Engineering, Environmental Services, and Road Operations. He stated that the Public Works Department’s mission was to provide good and courteous customer service in a fiscally responsible manner, including the engineering, construction and maintenance of roads and storm water projects; solid waste collection, recycling and disposal; and protection of public health through effective and environmentally safe methods of mosquito and aquatic plant control.
Ms. Lori Koontz, Road Operations Division Manager, showed an organizational chart for the division’s 75 full-time employees in the areas of roads operations, three maintenance areas, special projects, and construction; and she showed a map displaying the separation of the three maintenance areas of the county overlaid with the County Commission Districts. She related that the Road Operations Division mission statement is to directly or indirectly be responsible for the construction and maintenance of the roadways, rights of way, and drainage contained in the County-maintained road network. She specified that they maintained a road network which included 1,245 miles of asphalt roads and 120 miles of clay roads, as well as 27 bridges, 193 miles of sidewalk, and 20 miles of guardrail. She related that staff grades 116 miles of clay roads every two weeks, and they have interlocal agreements with the City of Umatilla and the Forestry Service to grade 3.5 miles of other clay roads. She added that the County staff mowed 765 miles of neighborhood roads from April to November every five weeks, and 288 miles of their collector roads are mowed every four weeks under contract service; also 60 miles of sidewalk is mowed every five weeks by County staff, and 25 miles of sidewalk, vacant lot, and bridge approaches are mowed every three weeks under contracted service. She mentioned that 339 roadway miles and 108 sidewalk miles are mowed by others or are scheduled as requested. She explained that the right of way litter and debris removal for 765 roadway miles of neighborhood roads are scheduled to be taken care of by County staff during the mowing season from April to November and for 288 roadway miles of collector roads every four weeks by contracted service. She elaborated that 41 Adopt-A-Roadway volunteer groups maintain litter removal for 114 miles of roadway a minimum of four times per year, and 1,215 roadway miles are cleaned by others or are scheduled as requested. She stated that although 60 miles of sidewalk are cleaned every five weeks by County staff and 25 miles of sidewalk, vacant lot, and bridge approaches are cleaned every three weeks under contracted services, 276 miles of sidewalk are cleaned by others or scheduled as requested outside the mowing season, some of which are taken care of by homeowners’ associations.
Ms. Koontz reported that they inspect and evaluate 1,245 miles of paved roads annually and perform pothole repair, tree removal and trimming, storm pipe cleaning and repair, and pavement preservation projects. She added that they also bid and inspect projects such as residential and commercial site plans and road and sidewalk projects in accordance with construction plans for compliance with County standards, application codes, engineering specifications, and state guidelines as well as coordinate with FDOT on Local Agency Program projects, develop the Five Year Transportation Construction Program, administer the special assessment program, and perform other as-needed services. She specified that they were less than 30 days from the completion of the North Hancock Road extension construction. She highlighted the accomplishments of their division in 2015, including handling 3,464 citizen calls and completion of 2,955 work orders, resurfacing 24 miles of roadway, removal and trimming of a total of over 100 hazardous trees, removal of 46 tons of debris from the rights of way, processing almost 950 various construction-related permits, construction of five road and sidewalk construction projects totaling $3 million, performing 93 site inspections, and approval of seven subdivision construction plans. She reported that 45 percent of the division’s expenditures are outsourced by consultants, maintenance vendors, and construction contracts for cost effectiveness and efficiency, but staff performs asphalt overlay projects for best value and response time. Also, heavy equipment such as motor graders and front-end loaders is leased instead of purchased, since the expensive maintenance costs are included in those leases, making it more cost-effective. She presented several graphs illustrating benchmarks comparing Lake County with other surrounding counties regarding number of road, clay road, and sidewalk miles maintained and estimated gas tax revenue for 2016. She related that the FY 2017 proposed budget reflects a status-quo budget and maintains current levels of service, with $3.7 million for personal service, $4.7 million for operating expenses, and $115,000 for a capital outlay project to double-surface one road, and the total expenditures from the transportation trust fund are $8.6 million.
Mr. Fred Schneider, County Engineer, Public Works, presented an organizational chart of the Engineering Division, noting that the majority of the 43 full-time employees are in traffic, operations, and maintenance and that the other sections are design and permitting, sidewalk development, right of way, and survey. He related that the Engineering Division’s mission is to enhance and protect the quality of life, health, and safety of the citizens of Lake County by delivering excellent engineering, surveying and project management support through the efficient use of available manpower and resources and working to provide for the safe and efficient movement of pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicular traffic within the county. He explained that the division provides engineering support services to the Public Works Department and other areas of the County as needed and also seeks out opportunities for public-private partnerships for the construction of new roadways which are presented to the Board for approval, as well as coordinate projects with FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation), municipalities, and the LSMPO (Lake Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization); and manage traffic operational infrastructure such as 32,900 signs, 407 traffic signals, and 1,245 miles of roadway striping on County roads. He mentioned that they research and provide information on right of way and property boundaries for County projects and have handled $4.1 million in right of way acquisition.
Mr. Schneider next outlined the accomplishments of his division, including construction of CR 466A, and he specified that they have had a total of $8.35 million in FDOT and other state funding at this point in time, with $2.75 million newly approved by the legislature for FY 2017. He related that they have been working on an agreement that will result in the Villages paying $5.3 million in funding to construct the one-mile Phase 2 segment of CR 466A in return for impact fee credits, and the County has put in over $6 million to date from the impact fee fund for that project. He mentioned that they still need about $7 million to complete all of Phase 3 of CR 466A and will be requesting that the Board make another legislative request next year for an additional $2.7 million to finish that last segment in Fruitland Park. He reported that the beginning of Phase 1 construction as well as Phase 2 completion is scheduled for June 2016, and the Phase 3 right of way is funded. Regarding the North Hancock Road project, he reported that FDOT has put in $28 million for the Turnpike Interchange and has granted the County $2 million for Phase I, which is near completion; and Family Dynamics is funding $3.8 million towards Phase 8 of the project, with the County spending $8.9 million from impact fees and sales tax to date so far on this project. He related that Phase 2 of the Turnpike interchange should be completed in June 2017, and Phase 3 by Family Dynamics should be completed just before the opening of the Turnpike. He mentioned the construction of Citrus Grove Road from US 27 to North Hancock Road with a funding partnership with FDOT and an expected partnership with Founders Ridge and presented a map showing the location of that project. He listed other accomplishments in design and survey work, including design, right of way, and permitting of $28 million of road projects, surveying of 40 various projects for Public Works, provide engineering for stormwater and drainage projects, and management of the fuel remediation site with $500,000 in FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) funding. He highlighted various other accomplishments, such as 128 sidewalk projects at a cost of $2.9 million, including Safe Access to Schools projects; maintenance of all the traffic signals and devices in the County as well as 13 towns and cities, maintenance of all signage and striping on the County road network, a new agreement with FDOT providing additional funding per traffic signal for maintenance; 25 traffic studies and safety evaluations resulting in safety improvements throughout Lake County; and applying for and receiving $13.7 million in Safety Fund projects since 2001 for roadway, striping, paved shoulders, sidewalks, traffic signals, and turn lanes.
Mr. Schneider discussed some of the efficiencies his division was able to achieve, including having staff do routine maintenance for the fuel remediation facility, saving $31,200 annually; providing in-house surveying and engineering services to the Solid Waste Program for a cost saving of $55,452; utilizing staff for other smaller projects such as stormwater, sidewalks, and minor road projects; contracting traffic signal services for reconstruction and rebuilds; and acting as a Project Manager over consultants. He displayed graphs illustrating some benchmark comparisons of Lake County to other surrounding counties of the total number of traffic signals and flashing beacons, the total signals and flashers per technician showing that Lake County has one of the highest number per technician, and the number of traffic signs, which he opined was reasonable compared with the number of road miles Lake County had; and he added that Lake County was about average for the number of signs per technician. He also mentioned that the benchmark for the traffic signal and sign inspection program shows that Lake County does a very good job on their monthly inspections compared to some of the other counties and had a very safety-oriented system. He specified that the proposed FY 2017 budget contained $2.7 million for personal services, $2.1 million for operating expenses, $175,000 for capital outlay, and almost $87,000 for the LSMPO, for a total expenditure amount of $5.2 million. He commented that they were requesting one new Traffic Signal Technician position for safe and proper maintenance of the increase in signalized devices, new traffic management software to replace the old and outdated software, and traffic signal cameras.
Ms. Mary Hamilton, Environmental Services Manager, displayed an organizational chart, noting that they have merged the Solid Waste Division into Environmental Services, and stormwater, mosquito control, and fiscal and administrative services were also under the Environmental Services Division. She related that the division’s mission was to provide for the planning, design, and construction of water quality-related stormwater improvements; protect public health through effective and environmentally safe methods of mosquito and aquatic control; collection and disposal programs, hazardous waste collection, and partnering with local law enforcement for the collection of unwanted prescription medication. She specified that Mosquito and Aquatic treated almost 800,000 acres with 12 part-time spray truck operators and treated over 3,000 acres of invasive aquatic plants, and the Water Lab along with Adopt-a-Lake has processed almost 3,400 samples and evaluated 15,000 analytes. She reported that the 2,392 information requests resulting in 521 flood zone determinations, 73 flood permits, and 27 map changes reflect a tremendous uptake in those levels of service. She added that they also have done 2,364 residential lot grading inspections, upgraded their GIS system with 2,000 additional stormwater structures, and constructed about $1 million in stormwater capital improvements. She assured the Board that the proactive approach to spraying and monitoring for mosquito control is one reason they do not have some of the disease transmissions such as the Zika and West Nile viruses that have been seen in other areas and mentioned their successes in also eradicating invasive exotic aquatic plants such as water hyacinths and hydrilla. She announced that the Water Lab had passed the state audit with flying colors and have noticed that they have gotten more and more requests for cleanup events. She added that Adopt-a-Lake picked up over 800 pounds of litter from waterbodies, and they had noticed a 60 percent increase in requests by residents for private analysis of their water systems. She listed some of the stormwater projects completed by the Environmental Services Division, including the Lake Saunders Outfall flood improvement project, the final phase of the Washington Avenue water quality project, and the beginning of construction on the Wolfbranch drainage and water quality improvements.
Ms. Hamilton listed some of the division’s efficiencies, including building their own mosquito traps for $15 as opposed to paying $200 each for a new one, updated the bacteriological testing process in the Water Lab to improve the sensitivity of the results with reduced labor, worked with Road Operations on the mapping, identification, prioritizing of stormwater maintenance, and effective phasing of projects to complete within budget as efficiently as possible. She displayed graphs illustrating the benchmarks compared to other counties of mosquito expenditures per capita and per acre, as well as stormwater expenditures per capita showing that Lake had the lowest amount spent on stormwater. She related that the proposed 2017 mosquito budget of $1.2 million is funded through the general fund, the Stormwater MSTU, and state grants; and the budget reflects an increase of $60,000 for capital outlay for the purchase of spray units and monitors to replace 20-year old equipment no longer supported by the vendor. She stated that the Water Lab and Adopt-a-Lake budget in the amount of $302,000 maintains the current level of service and includes $70,000 for replacement of the Lab Information Management System, since the current system is very old and no longer supported but is central to the workings of the lab and tracks all of the logging, analysis, and recording, and a request of $2,360 for the purchase of a rugged laptop for lab field use. She noted, however, that the $1.3 million Stormwater MSTU budget reflects a status quo budget and maintenance of the current operational levels of service with no new capital projects.
Mr. Stivender reported that the budgets for all three divisions excluding solid waste and the road program total $17 million, and he displayed a pie chart illustrating how that is broken down, with almost 82 percent coming from gas tax, 9 percent from the general fund, and the rest from grants and the Stormwater MSTU. He noted that the FY 2017 proposed Public Works budget contains $17 million in total expenditures, including $8.2 million or 47 percent of the budget for personal services and $7.7 million in operating expenses, and he commented that Road Operations takes precedence over some of the other programs. He pointed out that the traffic in Lake County is getting to a point where they have to get a higher level of efficiency on managing that, and coordinating with the state to obtain cameras which would enable them to view the state and county roads would help them greatly to do so. He mentioned that they would be presenting the solid waste budget in May and the road program in August.
Commr. Campione asked how much the extra five cents in gas tax would generate for the County annually.
Mr. Stivender responded that after sharing that revenue with the cities in a 67 to 33 percent split, it would generate about $3.7 million for the County if they used the same formula they did with the other six cents.
Commr. Campione noted that a lot of the County roads run through the cities, and the extra gas tax money would enable the cities to take some responsibility for those roads as opposed to the County. She asked for additional information about counties that use money from the general fund, including how much of the general fund is used for that purpose and how that relates per capita, in order to compare to using the extra gas tax. She opined that it would be helpful to get input from the community about their preference on how to fund those projects.
Mr. Heath interjected that he has found that counties that use money out of the general fund utilize the state sales tax that goes into the general fund as opposed to the infrastructure sales tax which was limited to be used on capital.
Commr. Campione asked if staff could look at the problem in her district of vehicles not being able to get through the intersection of Donnelly and US Hwy 441in one light change.
Mr. Stivender responded that the problem is a result of six lanes transitioning to four lanes, noting that there were other parts of the county with that difficulty, including Leesburg, which has that problem on both sides of North Blvd. He further explained that it was a capacity issue along the four-lane corridors.
Commr. Campione asked whether the road widening scheduled for US Hwy 441 from that point to SR 46 would alleviate that problem.
Mr. Stivender answered that the construction would help that situation a great deal, noting that that connection is critical to get to the Wekiva Parkway.
Commr. Campione asked if the fuel remediation costs stayed within the budgeted amount.
Mr. Stivender explained that they had received $500,000 from the state per their contract agreement, and since they have been able to get all of the capital for that project done for less than that amount, the rest of the money will go towards maintenance for the first year. However, he pointed out that the County will be responsible in the future for maintenance costs, which they will see in forthcoming budgets.
Commr. Campione asked for a comparison of a ratio of the personal services to projects out of their total budget in relation to other counties. She also expressed great concern about litter pickup throughout the County, especially on roads that are not addressed by a schedule and well-traveled areas and gateways into the County.
Commr. Parks commented that he appreciated the customer service provided by the Public Works Department, the mowing efforts, and that staff are doing more engineering projects rather than paying consultants to do that work. He also opined that planting wildflowers results in a reduction in mowing, maintaining areas in a more natural state, and saving the County money in the long run.
community safety & compliance department update and budget
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Director of Community Safety and Compliance, stated that he would provide the Board with an overview of the Community Safety and Compliance operations and proposed FY 2017 budget. He presented an organization chart showing that the department was made up of the Probation Services Division and the Code Enforcement Division, as well as Special Projects, including Keep Lake Beautiful.
Mr. Tony Deaton, Chief Probation Officer, specified that the Probation Services Division has 17 full-time employees, four of whom are limited-term positions, and the mission of Probation Services is to provide supervision to offenders placed on probation for criminal traffic and misdemeanor offenses and ensure their compliance with court-ordered sanctions. He added that they also provide pretrial intervention case supervision, manage the Mental Health Jail Diversion Program grant, operate the scheduled Weekend Work Program in cooperation with the Sheriff’s Office, monitor community service, enforce the collection of victim restitution, operate teen court, and manage the Water Safety Committee. He reported that they have supervised over 5,400 adult probation cases, fielded over 30,000 incoming phone calls, processed an average of 306 new cases each month, performed over 11,000 in-person supervision contacts with offenders, and collected over $1 million in fines and court costs and $55,000 in restitution; and he also pointed out that probationers provided over 17,500 hours of community service. He displayed a line graph of the new case monthly average and pointed out that they averaged under 200 cases per month prior to 2013, but they saw a spike beginning in January 2013 due to some case law, peaking in 2014 with over 350 cases per month and currently leveling out at about 305 cases monthly.
Ms. Stephanie Glass, Teen Court Probation Supervisor, stated that Teen Court has supervised an average of 36 juveniles per month and had 114 new juvenile intakes to the program last year; also, the Work in Lieu of Arrest (WILA) program received 110 juvenile referrals, with 88 successfully completing the program. She mentioned that they serve as liaison to the Public Safety Coordinating Council and the Water Safety Committee and organize the annual Water Safety Day events.
Mr. Deaton listed some of the accomplishments of the Probation Services Division. He related that a fingerprint-based offender watch list has been implemented to track when clients are taken into custody anywhere in Florida in cooperation with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and they have also implemented a process for offenders with mental health problems or sex offender histories to be assigned to a specialized probation officer which improves offender accountability and outcomes. He stated that satellite offices have been established at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office South Substation and Fruitland Park Police Department to improve access to probation services for offenders who live in the north and south parts of the county, and they have officers in the Courthouse for onsite processing of those newly sentenced to pretrial intervention to ensure efficiency and offender accountability. He discussed some of their partnerships in FY 2015, including the LifeStream Forensic Community Services Team with the Mental Health Jail Diversion grant in the amount of $750,000 over three years diverting individuals with behavioral health disorders from incarceration into community treatment, which served 58 offenders with a recidivism rate of only 20 percent. He added that the Bureau of Justice awarded Lake County a federal $250,000 grant over two years for the planning and implementation of the Mobile Crisis Response Services, which allows the opportunity for counselors to immediately assist law enforcement on mental health-related calls.
He related that the Probation Services Division expanded intake processes at the courthouse to process clients immediately after sentencing, improved office and court intake efficiency by utilizing volunteers who provided over 800 hours of volunteer service, and updated their case-management software system for seamless communication and management of clients with the Clerk’s Office. He gave some benchmarks compared to other counties showing that Lake County has seven probation officers, which was comparable to Marion and Volusia County, and that their caseload per officer of 215 cases was higher than the norm but comparable to Osceola and Volusia Counties. He reported that the division’s budget for 2017 reflects a status quo budget, maintains the current level of service, includes personal services of $783,397 and operating expenses of $48,555 for total expenditures of $831,952, and they estimate their revenue at $655,825 from fees collected from offenders to offset some of their operating costs.
Mr. Ron Collodi, Code Enforcement Division Manager, pointed out using the organizational chart, that his division has 11 full-time employees, including a field supervisor for four zone officers, compliance and monitoring specialist for landscape inspections, an environmental specialist for issues such as mining inspections and conditional use permits, a hearing coordinator, and an office associate. He stated that the mission statement for the division is to provide fair and equitable enforcement of the Lake County Code to the citizens to protect property rights and land value, ensure health and safety, and encourage citizens to observe and maintain a higher quality of life. He listed some of the services that Code Enforcement provides, including addressing over 2,600 citizen complaints, completing 3,886 fee-based inspections, collecting almost $60,000 in fines, conducting hearings on 172 cases, educating citizens on County codes, and removing illegal signage. He named some of the accomplishments of the division, noting that they developed a citizen-friendly interface for reporting code violations on their County web page, a system for online payment of fines, and a parallel special master hearing process for building cases separated from code cases; and he added that all field staff achieved at least a Level I Code Certification under the state association. He explained that the County is divided into four zones based on the number of complaints with an average of 600 complaints per zone, and a Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) is assigned to a zone to provide familiarity and continuity of enforcement with each zone. He also noted that an Environmental Compliance Specialist and a CEO addressed environmental complaints as well as mine and CUP inspections countywide and that a Compliance and Monitoring Specialist performs landscape inspections and investigates all watering complaints countywide. He presented graphs illustrating some of the benchmarks comparing it to Code Enforcement efforts in other counties, which showed that Lake County received an average of 227 complaints per month, and he pointed out that although Lake County is complaint-driven, other counties are both complaint-driven and proactive. He added that the number of CEO’s per 100,000 residents was about average compared to other surrounding counties and that the percentage of cases resulting in a hearing is about three percent, which is also average for the area. He reported that their proposed budget of $828,232 for 2017 contains a request for replacement of one vehicle based on meeting the fleet replacement criteria to maintain a current level of service, and he broke the budget down to $640,543 for personal services, $157,689 for operating expenses, and $30,000 for capital outlay.
Mr. Sheahan commented that the special projects of the Community Safety & Compliance Department are quite diverse, such as liaison to the South Lake Regional Water Initiative, which has gone extremely well and has brought in $600,000 dollars in grants from the state; the Water Safety Committee, for which five events are planned this year; working with Economic Development, the Communication Department, and Public Works on design and locations for gateway signs, which will be brought before the Board in the summer of 2016; obtaining a grant through FDOT providing $1,000 for a pilot project to look at wildflowers; and directing the efforts of the Keep Lake Beautiful project. He elaborated that the mission of Keep Lake Beautiful (KLB) is to beautify Lake County by engaging their community, and the program was created in March 2016 by the Board to provide an avenue to beautify the community by engaging citizen volunteers, businesses, and community organizations. He related that KLB promotes the Adopt-a-Road Program as a more consistent solution to roadway litter by providing more frequent cleaning of the county’s roadways, as well as utilization of jail inmates if available in some areas, and the program’s volunteers are used to clean roads between cleaning cycles as needed, which has been successful in saving the County money. He explained that the litter reporter is an online application that allows citizens to report litter to his staff for assessment to determine whether it is located in a municipality, an FDOT roadway, a St. Johns River Water Management District property, Forest Service property, or the County and how to address it. He elaborated that if it is determined to be the County’s responsibility, his department will then try to determine whether Road Operations, Solid Waste, Sheriff’s inmates, or volunteers would be best to contact to take care of the problem, depending on the amount and type of litter and what resources are available at that time. He mentioned that they just had a successful cleanup event at the intersection of CR 19A and US Hwy 441 where volunteers picked up about 200 pounds of litter. He reported that they have so far assembled over 350 active volunteers, cleaned over 12 miles of right of way, planted over 300 trees and plants at community facilities such as schools, and picked up and disposed of over 9,800 pounds of litter and trash. He added that they have also painted 12 school and community buildings as well as painted and landscaped two schools in depressed communities, and volunteers provided 1,062 hours or over $25,000 of service since September 2015.
Mr. Sheahan stated that the KLB website, which was recognized nationally and features volunteer registration and information about upcoming events, and the litter reporting web app allowing residents to report litter issues were both created in-house and launched in August of 2015. He mentioned that they received a $15,000 FDOT Drive It Home Grant for the KLB program and have partnered with multiple businesses, municipalities, and community groups on various beautification projects. He noted that this program addresses the beautification needs of the community that are not within the scope of existing programs by seeking to organize community volunteers to clean roadways in dire need of cleanup efforts. He related that he will be coming back to the Board with a proposed pilot program to address those particular issues with more precision than they are currently able to do and to request a term-limited one-year position with a fiscal impact of $48,350 to support the KLB program for an employee who would coordinate KLB events and volunteers and who would be responsible for grant writing, gateway signs, wildflowers, and other beautification projects to enhance the perception of visitors to the county. He specified that the revenues in the proposed FY 2017 Community Safety & Compliance Department budget from probation fees and code fines were $655,825, with the rest of the budget coming from the general fund for a total budget of $1.8 million. He pointed out that his budget for FY 2017 included $30,000 in capital outlay to replace one of the department’s aging vehicles as well as the KLB position, which together would result in a four percent increase in his budget.
Mr. Heath explained that he will bring back to the Board in June a contractual services proposal for a quick response to situations of litter that cannot wait until the next scheduled cleanup cycle, and he was currently looking at some alternatives to deal with that issue.
Commr. Campione opined that it would be important for the employee in the new position to focus on the general appearance of the gateway areas and the opportunities to improve those areas aesthetically rather than just the litter, as well as to improve semi-blighted areas. She asked whether the revenue the County collects for the fines and fees for Code Enforcement violations pays enough to support the program itself.
Mr. Collodi responded that the programs were funded mainly by the general fund, with the fines kept for cleanup projects or mowing.
Mr. Sheahan added that they do not have a large abatement budget for demolition but have a small amount of funds for things like emergency mowing.
Commr. Campione suggested that staff take a look at a hybrid approach to include some proactive actions as well as complaint-driven ones.
Mr. Heath commented that it was late in the budget process to make major changes to the code enforcement process and suggested that the Board have a separate work session to discuss this policy-driven issue balancing compliance and enforcement. He noted that they have chosen to minimize the fines in the past if the property owner brought the property into compliance.
Commr. Campione agreed that compliance is the main goal they wanted to accomplish.
Commr. Parks expressed concern about making sure new development is maintained in the way that it was originally planned and permitted.
Mr. Heath offered to come back with a future work session early in the fall and to present models of what other counties are doing.
Commr. Campione commented that she believed that would be a good time to address that issue and recommended that they keep it in mind as they discuss beautification initiatives.
Commr. Conner expressed concern about a neighborhood near Zellie’s Pub in the Eustis-Mount Dora area and asked whether there was a way to get that area cleaned up as they did in Sorrento.
Commr. Campione stated that she will bring it up to their beautification committee to see if they can come up with any ideas.
Commr. Parks commented that he appreciated that the department has been very proactive and efficient, pointing out that the benchmarks illustrate the large amount of work that staff was doing.
appointment to board of building examiners
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 3-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Robert Moore to the Board of Building Examiners to complete a four-year unexpired term ending January 14, 2019.
reports – commissioner parks – chairman and district 2
water safety day events
Commr. Parks reminded the Board about the upcoming Water Safety Day events, which were on May 7 in Tavares and Umatilla, May 14 in Waterfront Park, and May 21 in Venetian Gardens in Leesburg and Gardenia Park in Fruitland Park.
trail opening at scenic overlook
Commr. Parks commented that he appreciated the Commissioners’ attendance at the recent trail opening at the Scenic Overlook, which he opined was a great event which celebrated the partnership with the St. Johns River Water Management District to get that opened. He elaborated that the trail connects 18 miles all the way to Magnolia Park in Apopka.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:30 a.m.
sean parks, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK