The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, March 24, 1988 at 1O:OO a.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Courthouse, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Glenn C. Burhans, Chairman: Thomas J. Windram; Claude E. Smoak, Jr.: James R. Carson, Jr.; and Don Bailey. Others present were: Christopher C. Ford, County Attorney; James C. Watkins, Clerk; Michael C. Willett, County Administrator: Katherine A. McDonald, County Administrator's Assistant; Robert L. Wilson, Finance Director; and Linda Springston, Deputy Clerk.
James C. Watkins, Clerk, gave the Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commr. Smoak.
COUNTY PROPERTY/JAILS/LAWS AND LEGISLATION
Commr. Burhans brought the Board up-to-date regarding the progress of the proposed Criminal Justice/Jail Facility. He stated that in March of 1983 the County began the program; the Jail Task Force attended a Jail Seminar, in February of 1984; the County hired the architects, HOK, in the Fall of 1987; and hired the Construction Manager, Barton Malow, in February of 1988.
Commr. Burhans stated that when the proposal for the downtown Tavares site was first brought before the Board, the Board was not informed of the mitigation of the wetlands, or the destruction of the Health Department.
Commr. Burhans stated that the County Attorney has informed the Board that moving the facility to the County property at Highways 19/27/Turnpike would be illegal.
Commr. Burhans suggested that the County pick several sites and have them evaluated, for legalities, etc.
Mr. Chris Ford, County Attorney, stated that he had given the Board his written report, regarding the property at Highways 19/27/Turnpike, and gave an oral report at the March 15, 1988, Board meeting. At this time, Mr. Ford briefly reviewed his report with the Board.
Mr. Ford stated that the courts are fundamental to the County seat and until recently, the courts could not go out of the County seat, except under specified conditions. He stated that the County seat must have the courts in it, but may have branch courts outside the County seat, if the Chief Circuit Judge allows it.
Considerable discussion occurred regarding the distances involved in the boundaries of the County seat.
Mr. Ford felt that the Chief Circuit Judge would give his approval for the Criminal Justice/Jail Facility (which was originally designed to have the Criminal Judges), to be anywhere within the County seat, including any property that could, or would, be annexed, by the time the Commissioners made their final decision. He did not feel that the Judge would give his consent to moving the Civil Courts from the existing Courthouse.
Discussion occurred regarding the abolishment of the Municipal Court System, in the State of Florida, which took place under Article 5, effective January 1, 1973.
Mr. Ford stated that, legally, the Jail can go anywhere, but the courts can only go where the Chief Circuit Judge allows them to go. He reiterated the fact that the County could have branch courts, if the County has the permission of the Chief Circuit Judge.
Mr. Ford noted that, legally, the Clerk of the Circuit Court, and the Sheriff, must have principal offices and keep their permanent records within the County seat.
Mr. Watkins, Clerk of the Circuit Court, stated that his main concern was the requirement that he keep the records in the County seat, and how the County would accomplish that task, such as, by transporting them to another location and then returning them back to the County seat, or some other method.
Commr. Windram felt that the County needs to determine what is legal, regarding choosing a suitable site. He stated that the system has to work for the people, regardless of where it is located, and the County has to consider the economic feasibilities, of the chosen site.
Mr. Ford stated that, as long as all of the Court functions are in the County seat, the functions can be in two physical locations.
Discussion occurred regarding the inability to expand the County seat, when a new Courthouse has been built within the last 20 years, as referenced in Florida Statute 138.12.
It was noted that no one present in the audience wished to discuss this matter with the Board.
Mr. Watkins stated that, if the County Attorney's opinion is correct, the Board should not spend additional monies on an illegal site, because there is a prohibition against spending County money on a purpose that cannot be duly justified.
On a motion by Commr. Carson, seconded by Commr. Windram and carried, the Board approved for the site at Highways 19/27/Turnpike, not to be considered as a potential site, based on the County Attorney's opinion, for the Criminal Justice/Jail Facility.
Commr. Bailey and Commr. Smoak voted "No".
Mr. Bob Messmer appeared before the Board and stated that the Board had asked him to discontinue evaluation of the Highways 19/27/Turnpike site, at a previous Board meeting, which he had done.
At this time Mr. Ford distributed site selection information, as well as maps, for the sites in question, which are in, or close to, the County seat.
Mr. Messmer suggested that HOK, and the Board, have a work session to evaluate the sites in question.
Considerable discussion occurred regarding the sites, and the criteria by which they were established.
Commr. Bailey questioned one of the sites, as to why the County does not yet own the nine (9) parcels, off Main Street, and have already hired an architect and construction manager before owning the property at that site.
Commr. Windram stated that, at present, the County is only considering these sites, and has not made a final decision; therefore, when a decision is made, the County will proceed with acquiring the necessary property. He also stated that, for the record, his wife is selling one of the parcels involved in site #6.
Commr. Smoak discussed the County's Wetlands Ordinance and the fact that the County may be violating it, should they decide to construct the facility at the original site in Tavares where the wetlands are.
Commr. Smoak suggested that the County start looking for alternative sites, or set a standard for the sites, which the County would like to look at.
Commr. Burhans suggested hiring an outside firm to work with the County Administrator, to find a suitable site, which could handle expansion and additional parking.
Commr. Bailey suggested that the County look at 10-12 alternative sites, and make each one public, as the Board reviews them, with the architects and construction managers involved in the reviewing process.
At this time, the Chairman introduced Mr. John Dickinson and Mr. Mike McCabe, with the construction management firm, Barton Malow.
Mr. Messmer stated that he was informed that the County may desire a campus style layout, with low buildings, of two or three stories, so he applied this style to the sites which he has presented. Mr. Messmer stated that, in his opinion, the staffing of a low rise building is slightly higher than that of a high rise building, and that fact should be considered in the site evaluations.
On a motion by Commr. Smoak, seconded by Commr. Bailey and carried unanimously, the Board approved to authorize the architects, and the construction managers, to develop and present to the Board a least cost proposal, for the construction and operation of a Criminal Justice/Jail Facility, on a specific site, including acquisition costs; and that they operate directly with the County Administrator, in relating to the Board, with no outside influences; and to present to the Board a pristine and unbiased view of what the County is trying to accomplish.
Mr. Messmer informed the Board that they could have a recommendation to present to the Board in approximately 3-4 weeks. He stated that they could recommend a variety of sites, with a ranking of the pros and cons of the sites, including costs.
On a motion by Commr. Smoak, seconded by Commr. Windram and carried unanimously, the Board approved to direct the County Administrator, Mike Willett, to have available for the Board's consideration, at the April 5, 1988, Board meeting, alternative choices for, and his recommendation, on how to handle the selection of a Project Coordinator, for the Criminal Justice/Jail Facility, to work with the architects representing the County Government.
Commr. Carson questioned the County Attorney regarding any lawsuits that may be brought up, due to the delay of the construction of the facility.
Mr. Ford felt that as long as the County is making progress, regarding the temporary jail, and is considering site selections for the Criminal Justice/Jail Facility, there should be no problems, as far as any lawsuits.
ROAD CLOSINGS - PERMISSION TO ADVERTISE
Petition No. 504 - John J. Matsche - Mount Dora Area
No one present wished to discuss this request with the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Windram, seconded by Commr. Smoak and carried unanimously, the Board approved the request to advertise that portion of Indian Springs, on Wolfbranch Road, in the Mount Dora Area, in Petition No. 504, by John J. Matsche.
ACCOUNTS ALLOWED/BUILDING DEPARTMENT
On a motion by Commr. Windram, seconded by Commr. Carson and carried unanimously, the Board approved the request for Jack Bragg to attend the Building Department Management Course, March 27, 1988, through April 1, 1988, in Athens, Georgia, at a total cost of $333.28.
On a motion by Commr. Windram, seconded by Commr. Carson and carried unanimously, the Board approved the request for Mary McMahon to attend the 65th Annual Florida Library Association Conference, May 3-7, 1988, in Miami Beach, Florida, at a total cost of $586.80.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 11:55 a.m.
GLENN C. BURHANS, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK