A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
august 22, 1978
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in Special Session on Tuesday, August 22, 1978, at 11:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Courthouse, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: James R. Carson, Jr., Chairman; C.A. “Lex” Deems; J.M. Hoskinson; Thomas J. Windram; and Glenn C. Burhans. Others present were: Sanford Minkoff, Representative from the County Attorney’s Office and Jennifer Kennedy, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Carson called the meeting to order and explained the purpose of this Public Hearing was to consider comments from the public regarding the Community Development Block Grant Application. Mr. Michael Stearman, Associate Planner, briefly reviewed the aims of this three-year, $993,000.00 project. Commr. Carson stated that this project was previously approved (Meeting of May 2, 1978, Minute Book 28, Pages 58 and 59) by the Board, and now that the funds were available, it was being brought before the Board for official action.
At this time, it was noted that no one present wished to make any comments regarding this Grant.
On a motion by Commr. Deems, seconded by Commr. Burhans and carried, the Board approved the Program as presented again and originally outlined in the May 2, 1978 Minutes. Commr. Hoskinson was out for the vote.
The Chairman announced that the Public Hearing was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Windram, seconded by Commr. Burhans and carried, the Chairman was authorized to sign the necessary Application as well as the supporting Resolution adopting the Program. Commr. Hoskinson was out for the vote.
sewer treatment plants
Brief discussion was had regarding a Sewer System Evaluation Survey for the City of Eustis, under the 201 Facilities Plan for the North Lake County 201 Facilities Planning Area, EPA Project No. C120611010. It was explained that Lake County Board of County Commissioners is the Lead Applicant for the North Lake County 201 Facilities Plan, and consequently made application as Lead Applicant for a Grant Increase Offer to enable the City of Eustis to prepare a Sewer System Evaluation Survey. It was pointed out that while the United States Environmental Protection Agency has made the grant offer in the amount of $80,297.00, the City of Eustis has agreed to pay the local share of said Grant Increase in the amount of $26,766, plus any additional required amount to prepare the Survey.
On a motion by Commr. Windram, seconded by Commr. Burhans and carried unanimously, the Board accepted the Grant Offer and authorized the necessary signatures on the forms.
On a motion by Commr. Burhans, seconded by Commr. Deems and carried unanimously, a representative from the Planning Department was authorized to hand carry the Block Grant paperwork (mentioned on the previous page) to Jacksonville, Florida to meet a deadline delivery.
contracts and agreements/machinery and equipment
On a motion by Commr. Burhans, seconded by Commr. Windram and carried unanimously, the Chairman was authorized to sign the necessary paperwork with Jos. L. Rozier Machinery Co., Tampa, covering the one-month rental of a used Caterpillar 112F Motor Grader, S/N 89J1533, at the rate of $1,600 per month, with the rental period starting August 14, 1978.
At 11:20 a.m. the Chairman recessed until 1:30 p.m., at which time the Board would reconvene in a workshop session to hear public comments regarding Fire Districts.
Messrs. Steven Heal, Assistant Planner, and Jerry Sexton, Associate Planner, were present to answer any questions the Board might have regarding the proposed fire protection outline presented to the Board at the August 15, 1978 meeting.
Commr. Carson stated the workshop-type hearing on the proposed fire protection for unincorporated areas of Lake County was now in session; with no official action planned to be taken today either on the proposal or the request before the Board to place the idea of a structural assessment on the ballot in November.
Upon the conclusion of Mr. Heal’s brief outline of the Proposal as it had previously been presented, Commr. Carson stated the Board would hear comments from those present.
Messrs. John Kennedy and Dudley Zeller, representing Golden Gem, were present and stated that Golden Gem is unequivocally opposed to the Proposal as drawn in that they feel it is “unfeasible, impractical and economically unsound.” Mr. Kennedy further stated that Golden Gem felt they had the best industrial fire protection system in Lake County, and after further review, they have discovered that under an ad valorem tax, their participation for the Umatilla area concentrate Plant would be $14,000 instead of $9,000 as previously stated at the last meeting.
Mr. Hugh McNair, from the Spring Lake Fire Department, was present to state that additional fire protection is needed in the County.
Mr. John Kennedy, representing the Lake County Farm Bureau, stated the members of the Bureau were opposed to the Proposal as outlined. At this time, there was a question from someone present as to the validity of the number of persons the Bureau actually represented, because of the fact that each person was not polled.
Mr. Jules Rain, Fruitland Park, asked what the various people who were against the question being put on the ballot were opposed to. Commr. Carson stated his calls had been running six to one against the issue and answered Mr. Rain’s questions.
Mr. Albert Elleck, President of Mid-Florida Lakes (population of approximately 3,200 people) stated they have had only three fires since 1969 and they object to the money they would have to pay each year which he had figured at a cost of $27,000 as now proposed. He stated that they would rather see an ad valorem tax structure, in that that way no one would be exempt.
Mr. George Pobletts, a Eustis resident, stated he would like to see a Referendum by Commission Districts, with the Proposal incorporated on an expanding basis. He further stated he felt a structural tax would be the most equitable now, and there should be no exceptions made. Mr. Pobletts further inquired about the $7,000 in Federal Funds which is available to the County; he stated he would like to see that used for fire protection.
At this time, there was a brief discussion among the Commissioners regarding their feeling and the questions and alternatives before them.
Mr. Fred LoKay, Fire Chief of the Volunteer Department for Mid-Florida Lakes, stated he was interested in knowing what the Commissioners planned to do with the money they got from the tax, who would control it, as well as being assured that a large percentage of the money received from the 1100 homes he covered wasn’t spent for coverage in a remote area of the County, especially since the cost for coverage at Mid-Florida Lakes was now a voluntary $2.00 or $3.00 per year.
Mr. Steve Heal of the Planning Department stated that everyone seems to want better fire protection, but no one has done anything about it. The Planning Department feels that the Proposal they drafted is the best way for the County to go as well as being the most equitable.
Commr. Carson stated that he had received a phone call from a Mr. Phil Tops, General Manager of Silver Springs Cooperative, who was unable to attend this meeting since he was in Brazil. Mr. Toupe asked that his feelings be made a part of the record in that he feels the Proposal should be County-wide, with no exemptions, or the Referendum should be polled district by district, which is what he would really like to see.
Mr. Bob Smyth, President of the Fire Chiefs’ Association, restated Lake County’s need for improved fire protection along with his feelings it was what the voters wanted.
Mr. Ray Weiss, a reporter with the Sentinel Star, asked what the next step would be if the voters state they are interested in improved fire protection. He also asked why such a referendum was necessary since it appeared everyone was very much in favor of improved fire protection. Commr. Carson responded to Mr. Weiss’s questions.
Mr. L.D. Fame, Golden Gem Growers, was present and concerned that decisions had already been reached; he also expressed concern regarding Hawthorn being exempt. He stated he is in favor of fire protection, but not in favor of the Planning Department having total control over what will be done.
Mr. Jose Gonzalas, Fire Chief of Montverde, was present and stressed the importance of gathering input from residents who do not presently have fire protection.
Mr. Vincent Shebbard, a member of the Pasco Volunteer Fire Department, stressed the importance of the Commission taking charge and presenting a workable policy for the voters; he stated Pasco County did it, so it is feasible.
Mr. Bill Rauch, a resident of an unincorporated area, who has worked in real estate and insurance stated that those business people are expecting action by the Board. The real estate and insurance industries have been promising it to their clients.
Mr. Max Liverbaum, a Clermont insurance man, appeared before the Board and explained the reluctance of insurance carriers to offer coverage without any fire protection, and urged the Board to take affirmative action in providing the needed protection.
Mr. Larry Lipp, a volunteer fireman from the Picciola area, stated he would welcome the expertise made available by the employment of a County Fire Administrator. He stated he felt the little district would greatly benefit if they had some one to look to for guidance.
Mrs. Stratic, from Astor, expressed concern regarding the disbursement of the funds for this program.
Having heard all comments from the approximate thirty-five people present who wished to add some input into this workshop session, the Board requested that the written question, as it would appear on the ballot, be submitted to the Secretary to the Board of County Commissioners, who in turn would place it before the Board on September 5, 1978 at 10:30 a.m. for official action.
Highlights of the Board’s feelings mixed among the various comments of those present are as follows:
Discussion as to what exactly is before the Board and the alternative they can take:
1. Don’t place anything on the ballot.
2. Place the Proposal on, as is.
3. Place the basic Proposal, allowing either no exemptions or additional exemptions.
4. Place a general question on the ballot as to whether or not the voter endorses fire protection or not.
There was talk regarding the creation of “fire districts” along with advantages to having the voting tallied by Commission district in that it would then be clear exactly where the protection was wanted. Commr. Hoskinson posed the question: “Do you favor the levying of a special tax by the Board of County Commissioners for the purpose of improving fire protection in the unincorporated areas of Lake County?” Commr. Carson briefly mentioned the setting up of self-defined fire areas protected through interlocal agreements. Commr. Deems stated that the question being considered to be put before the voters will have to be flexible; the people will have to have confidence in the Board to proceed with a workable solution should the voters vote “yes.” It was also pointed out that under Home Rule the Board now has the power to create municipal tax service units which could provide fire protection; under the Home Rule, the Board is not required to put the issue to a Referendum.
A Mr. Jim Simpson, a resident of an unincorporated area of Mt. Dora, stated he hoped such a general question would not be placed before the people, because he said he felt the people had a right to know what kind of a blank check they would be writing.
At this time, there being no additional input regarding fire protection, discussion was ended.
On a motion by Commr. Windram, seconded by Commr. Hoskinson and carried, it was declared an emergency existed regarding a Murphy Act Deed. Commr. Deems was out for the vote.
On a motion by Commr. Windram, seconded by Commr. Hoskinson and carried, the Board approved the release of the road reservations from the DOT for all but 33’ from the centerline of Carnoustie Drive, Deed #2745. Commr. Deems was out for the vote.
There being no further business to be brought before the Board, adjournment was at 4:25 p.m.
James r. carson, jr., chairman
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK