The Lake County Board of County Commissioners held a special Townhall Meeting on Thursday, May 23, 1991, at 7:00 p.m., at the Mascotte Civic Center, Mascotte, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Donald B. Bailey, Chairman; C. W. "Chick" Gregg; Richard Swartz; Catherine Hanson; and Michael J. Bakich. Others present were: Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney; Ava Kronz, Assistant to the County Manager; and Marlene S. Foran, Deputy Clerk.
The Reverend Ray Kirkland, Bay Lake Baptist Church, gave the Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commr. Gregg.
Commr. Bailey (District II Commissioner) opened the meeting by introducing the County Commissioners and the following Mascotte City Council members that were present: Mr. Josh Thomas, Mayor; Mr. Clarence Jones, Vice Mayor; Ms. Janet Freeman; Ms. Faye Stiefel; and Mr. Sherman Suter, City Manager.
It was noted that, in addition to the department heads and staff members present, there were approximately 125 individuals from the local community present.
Department of Public Works
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, appeared before those present and presented a brief overview of completed, current and future road projects, and future Department of Transportation (DOT) projects, referring to a handout, distributed to those present in the audience, listing those projects. He reviewed countywide safety projects, noting that Hwys. 33 and 565, around Bay Lake, have had thermoplastic stripes added, and noted the installation of guardrails on Hwy. 565, through the countywide Guardrail Program, which enhance the roads and make them safer to travel. He reviewed current projects, noting Florida Boys Ranch Road will be repaved from County Road 33 to C.R. 561, with construction due to begin July 1, 1991, and Underpass Road will be
paved. Mr. Stivender, at this time, reviewed future projects on Bronson Road, Phillips Road, Groveland Farms Road, widening and resurfacing of C-561A, with a deceleration lane being added at the intersection of C-455 and SR-19.
Mr. Stivender stated there are many projects in the Five (5) Year Plan that have not been mentioned.
Mr. Stivender answered questions, presented by those present in the audience, regarding various roads in the area and time frames for the projects that were previously reviewed.
At this time, Commr. Bailey recognized Senator Richard Langley and Mr. Hal Turville, Clermont City Commissioner, who were present in the audience.
Planning and Development
Mr. John Swanson, Executive Director of Planning and Development, appeared before those present to present an update on the County Industrial Park at Hwys. 19/27 and the turnpike, and an update on the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Swanson presented a map of the Industrial Park, pointing out the location of the Tourist Development Property, the Public Safety Complex, and other future facilities. He stated that approximately 25 acres have been set aside for the protection of the endangered "gopher tortoises". He stated that there is a Chicago based firm interested in purchasing approximately 20 acres, with several proposals, having been received, for industrial development on the site.
At this time, Mr. Swanson answered questions, presented by those present in the audience, regarding the Industrial Park at Hwys. 19/27 and the turnpike, which included discussion regarding a possible site for relocating the County fairgrounds.
Mr. Swanson presented an update on the Comprehensive Plan, stating that the evaluation from the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has been received in the form of an Objections, Recommendations and Comments Report. He stated that the report has been reviewed by staff, and some areas of concern in District 2 are
regarding densities and the Green Swamp area, as designated on the Comprehensive Plan.
Mr. Swanson reviewed the following dates for a workshop and public hearings on the Comprehensive Plan: June 28, 1991, a workshop for the purpose of reviewing a response to the Objections, Recommendations and Comments Report; July 2, 1991, 5:05 p.m., Agricultural Center, a Public Hearing with the Board of County Commissioners sitting as The Local Planning Agency; and July 9, 1991, 5:05 p.m., a Public Hearing for the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan by the Board of County Commissioners, with DCA attending this meeting.
At this time, the Board members and staff answered questions, presented by those present in the audience, regarding the Comprehensive Plan and the Objections, Recommendations, and Comments Report from the Department of Community Affairs; at which time, several questions were presented regarding the Green Swamp area and the Land Use Map.
Health and General Services
Mr. Lonnie Strickland, Director of Health and General Services, appeared before those present and gave a brief update on indigent care and Fire Protection. He stated that a Federal Emergency Management Agency Grant, in the amount of $90,000.00, has been received to aid those in need, in the south Lake County area, with lighting, medical care, food and bills.
Mr. Strickland stated that Lake County ranks in the top ten, per capita cost, for paying indigent health care. He stated that the cost has risen from $2,000,000.00 in 1979-1980 to approximately $6,000,000.00 in 1991. He stated that the major rise has been in State mandated programs, with Medicaid being paid through ad valorem taxes. He further stated that the County pays $55.00 per month for each resident in a nursing home, with 30% - 40% of these residents never owning or renting property in Lake County, but are relatives of those that do.
Mr. Strickland stated as the State and Federal Government increases the eligibility criteria for Medicaid, they also increase the County's liability financially.
At this time, Mr. Strickland reviewed the Level of Service for Fire Protection, stating that the proposed Level of Service, presented to the Board a few months ago, is based on a commitment to upgrade equipment, with no additional manpower added during the next five (5) years. He stated that staff is presently studying fire runs during the past year, to determine if the runs were on vacant parcels or structures, for the purpose of establishing a fair rate assessment to all areas.
At this time, Mr. Strickland responded to questions and comments, presented by those present in the audience, regarding Fire Protection.
Tourist Development Council
Mr. Dave Warren, Tourist Development Director, appeared before those present stating that the Tourist Development Council is funded by a 2% resort tax, which was passed in 1984, through legislation. He stated that, with this money, they have purchased 285 acres of land, located at Hwys. 19/27 and the turnpike, for the purpose of an Industrial Park. Mr. Warren reviewed a number of projects, one of which is to possibly locate a Welcome Center at the location in question, which will encourage tourists to stop by and see what Lake County has to offer in way of hotel/motels, restaurants, recreation and entertainment. He stated that a few of the areas of interest in the County are the Citrus Tower, the Lakeridge Winery, and three International Ski Slopes within miles of the area.
Mr. Warren stated that the 2% resort tax is collected from motels, hotels, fish camps, RV parks and where people stay for a period of less than six months. He stated this money goes to the State and is then returned to the County for use in developing facilities or for use as promotional advertising dollars.
Mr. Mike Anderson, Director of Capital Improvements, appeared before those present stating that his responsibility is for the development and construction of Capital projects. Mr. Anderson gave an update on the development and construction of the Criminal Justice Facility, consisting of the Prelude, Main Jail and the Courts Building. He reviewed other projects underway, stating that a Health Clinic is in the process of being constructed, to replace the present clinic, with a tentative completion date of September of this year. He also stated that the Plantation Fire Station is scheduled to be started in June, with a tentative completion date of September. Other projects planned are the construction of a new Records Storage Facility, renovation of the existing jail, renovation of the first three floors of the "Round" Courthouse, and renovation of the "old" Courthouse.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
DONALD B. BAILEY, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK