The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, July 11, 1991, at 1:30 p.m., at the Lake County Agricultural Center, in Tavares, 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; Alan A. Thelen, County Manager; Ava Kronz, Assistant to the County Manager; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
It was noted that there were approximately 1,500 to 2,000 people in attendance at this meeting, counting those individuals inside, as well as outside, the building.
Commr. Bailey, Chairman, opened the meeting by introducing each of the commissioners, as well as the County Attorney, County Manager, and staff, and stated that the meeting would be open to public comment. Several sign-in sheets had been given to the Chairman, which had been passed around the auditorium prior to the start of the meeting, indicating those individuals who wished to speak. The Chairman then invited, one by one, said individuals to appear before the Board.
Mr. Claude Smoak, former Lake County commissioner, appeared before the Board stating that he was there to speak on the issue of how the County got involved in countywide fire protection. He stated that, due to two fires which occurred in Lake County, where two residences burned to the ground, County staff met with insurance representatives to try and determine a way to expand fire protection, at a reasonable cost. Ultimately, a referendum was held in 1984, indicating how assessments would be levied in Lake County and stating that the amount which was set, at that time, would not be exceeded without a second referendum being held. He then reviewed Ordinance No. 1985-13, which implemented what the voters wanted done, which was to create a municipal service taxing
unit to provide for fire protection. He stated it did not say one word about EMS services - it only referred to fire protection. He stated that the Board made a commitment to the voters, at that time, that they would not raise the taxes beyond what was stated in the ballot. He stated he felt the County got to the point where it is today by the Board receiving a lot of misinformation from staff and the consultants, and distributed through the press. He stated that two-thirds of all the cost coming out of the fire department is for EMS services, and does not have anything to do with the fire tax, noting that it was never a part of the structure tax. He gave several examples of misinformation he felt the public had received from the media, that they had received from staff. He requested the Board to honor the promise that the people of Lake County were given in 1984, when they were told that, if they voted for the referendum, their taxes would not exceed what was stated in the referendum; to draft county staff a proposal for increased fire protection, this date, not to wait for another public hearing; to take official action or make an official commitment, this date, on what they are going to do; and to reaffirm, as the Board of County Commissioners of Lake County, that they will abide by the promise made previously, that before the taxes are raised, they will go back to the referendum.
Mr. W. Deckman, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that, if the County has individuals that are incompetent and cannot handle their jobs, then those individuals should be relieved of their jobs, and the County should hire individuals that are competent, to do the job. He stated that the Board will hear from the citizens of Lake County, on election day, based on what action they take this date.
Ms. Mary Wells, a local resident, appeared before the Board questioning what the County was going to do about the roads around Lake Kathryn, should the solid waste issue be passed.
Ms. Sylvia Donaldson, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that she moved to Lake County from Winter Park, due to increased taxes, and now feels that she is starting to be faced with the same thing in this county. She stated that she does not generate garbage, as she has farm animals that eat her leftover food and she recycles her newspapers, aluminum cans, etc.; therefore, does not feel that she should have to pay a garbage fee. She stated that the County wants her to pay for their $72 million mistake and she is not going to. She stated that the County also wants to take away money that she presently makes from recycling. She stated that she does not need the service and does not want to pay for something that she does not need or use. She also stated that she wants the freedom to choose.
Ms. Tracy Sullivan, a resident of Clermont, appeared before the Board stating that she feels the commissioners are trying to do a very difficult job, and are receiving a lot of heat for something that they cannot help. She stated that she feels the County is stuck with the incinerator.
Mr. Henry Knapp, a resident of Paisley, appeared before the Board stating that he has been a resident of Lake County for 15 years and has always recycled. He also stated that those individuals who are retired and on social security will be hurt by this tax.
Mr. Jack Jones, a resident of Tavares, appeared before the Board stating that it is very obvious this matter does not have the backing of the people of Lake County, therefore, feels that either the Board members should resign, or the citizens of Lake County should request a recall.
Ms. Elsie Goss, a resident of Fruitland Park, appeared before the Board stating that she felt the County should get rid of the incinerator.
Mr. Milo Jackson, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that he had written a letter to the Leesburg Commercial (which they published) regarding the issue of solid waste. He stated that the County is stuck with the incinerator and somebody is going to have to pay for it. He then discussed the matter of
electricity which will be generated by the incinerator, and how it will affect the County, at which time Commr. Swartz responded, stating that the County will receive 90% of the electrical revenue that is generated.
Commr. Bailey interjected that this Board unanimously voted to revisit the incinerator issue and look at the economics and legal ramifications of it, rather than a no-burn scenario. He informed those present that the issue would be revisited at the Board Meeting of August 6, 1991, for those who might be interested.
Ms. Penny Price, a resident of Altoona, appeared before the Board stating that she had received a double tax bill for garbage, but is not receiving double service, and that the bill is more than half of what her property taxes are, which she felt was wrong.
Mr. Robert Scott, a resident of Mt. Dora, appeared before the Board stating that he could not pay his property taxes and what the County is charging him for garbage, too.
Mr. Alton Trawick, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that he owns three lots in Forest Hills, and that he is being double taxed. He stated he was speaking for the people, in that they do not like the taxes that the County is putting on them - they feel they are unnecessary. He then questioned why the County waits until interest rates have dropped to their lowest, and residents are earning the least amount of money on their dollars, to put extra taxes on them, to which Commr. Swartz responded. He stated he felt the County should hold another public hearing, regarding the issues before them this date, due to a lot of residents being up North and unable to attend this meeting.
Mr. L. W. Conner, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that he is a native of Lake County and has seen a lot of changes over the years. He stated he is quite proud of the County, but felt it has overstepped its ability to pay for what it is getting. He stated he could not understand the County building an incinerator that it will never own, and suggested that the County contact surrounding counties and give them permission to bring their garbage to Lake County to burn, which would bring this county's prices down to what the residents can afford. He stated the way it is now, they are going to tax the residents out of their homes.
Mr. Bruce Cashwell, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that he felt what is going on is ludicrous. He stated that, if the commissioners want to have a political career in Lake County, they had better not approve these taxes. He stated that he had studied the issue of the incinerator very closely and felt that somebody made a lot of money on it; that there was a lot of wrongdoing involved with it; and that some legal action should be taken, regarding it.
Mr. Richard Stokes, a local resident, appeared before the Board and discussed the issues of double taxing, the incinerator, and the new Jail, and what they have cost the County. He stated that the County needs people who will represent the voters of Lake County.
Ms. Cassandra Rolen, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that she felt what is happening is unreasonable, and that the people of the County should be voting whether or not they want these services, not the Board.
Ms. Winn Peters, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that she is a landscaper and questioned whether the trees, shrubs, etc. that she pulls up and leaves on an individual's property was going to be picked up, or whether she would have to haul them away, to which Mr. Don Findell, Executive Director of Environmental Services, responded that if the landscape debris is generated on a particular piece of property, and disposed of on that property, then it would be picked up, but, one could not haul it from one piece of property to another, and have it picked up. She stated that most of her customers live in mobile home parks, and that the parks were not going to allow the debris to stay on the properties until it is picked up, to which Mr. Findell stated
that mobile home parks will be treated differently, as they are considered commercial accounts.
Mr. Mitchell Chestnut, a local resident who moved to Lake County from Orlando, appeared before the Board stating that he could not afford to pay these taxes, and questioned whether he, as well as others who could not afford to pay them, would be kicked off of their properties. He stated the people of Lake County are extremely mad about the matter and are not going to take it.
Mr. Harry Lukens, a resident of Tavares, appeared before the Board stating that he lives in Tavares Ridge Condominiums, and questioned whether the residents of said condominiums were going to be double taxed, concerning their garbage pickup, to which he was informed that condominiums are considered commercial accounts, therefore, are exempt. He stated he felt that something of this magnitude should have been brought before the people of the County, for them to vote whether or not they wanted the services, before the Board acted on it.
Mr. Robert Willets, a resident of Umatilla, appeared before the Board stating that he was one of the original opponents of the incinerator. He then read an article written by Mr. Sokol, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine, regarding the issue of incinerators. He stated that the Board was supposed to represent the people of Lake County, not Ogden Martin, at which time he suggested canceling the contract with Ogden Martin and letting them sue the County. He stated that a minor investigation had been held, regarding the incinerator issue; however, it only concerned criminal charges, not civil charges. He referred to newspaper articles which Ogden Martin had placed in some of the local newspapers explaining their side of the incinerator story. He stated, however, that they were not telling all the facts, at which time he indicated areas that he felt contained discrepancies.
Mr. Willets then discussed the issue of the landfill and what it is costing the County, as well as the issue of composting, noting that Sumter County presently does it, and questioned why this County has not investigated doing it. He also brought up the fact that Collier County takes things such as glass, aluminum, and wood out of their landfill and reuses the compost, which enables them to reuse the same landfill, over and over. He briefly discussed the County's ash landfill, the tipping fee issue, and the issue of recycling, stating that the Lake County recycling program is a sham. He stated that Mr. Sokol had given the County misinformation about recycling, in that he had stated that Japan (who is the world's leader in recycling) only recycles 10% of its garbage; however, Newsweek, Time, and Fortune magazines state that they recycle 50% of their garbage. He stated that Ogden Martin used a bait and switch scheme with this county, regarding the incinerator, and that it is time the people of Lake County stand up for their rights. He suggested that the County stop the incinerator and go to court, if need be.
Mr. H. H. Hartman, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that the former county commissioners are the ones that created this problem, but that this Board is the one that has to try and solve it, noting that this Board has the responsibility of meeting the contract with Ogden Martin, as it is a legal contract. He then discussed, at length, the matter of the non-ad valorem assessment, stating that he felt the County was not following the terms of the contract, which states that the facility is going to be paid for with tipping fees assessed by the County, and, in the event that there is a shortfall at the end of the year, then the County would levy a non-ad valorem tax. He stated that the County has turned the cart around by levying these taxes on the people of the County, rather than following the terms of the contract.
Mr. T. J. Townsend, a resident of Yalaha, appeared before the Board stating that he has the highest regard for the performance of the County's volunteer firemen, and that his quarrel is not with them but with the proposed taxation, stating that he felt it was unfair and based on false premises and documentation (which he reviewed). He stated that he felt the proposed fire tax formula
violates the principals of fair and equitable taxation, as well as obligates commitments made to the voters when they were asked to approve the County referendum in the special election that was held in 1984. He urged the Board to withdraw the proposal and continue with the present method of funding fire protection and rescue services, until a more rational program can be developed, free from staff input or political pressure.
Mr. James A. Bryant, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that if they anticipate the size of crowd present at this meeting (approximately 1,500 to 2,000) at any future meetings, then they need to hold them in a football stadium, so that people will not have to stand in the heat for hours, waiting to be heard, and will be able to participate. He also suggested that the meetings be held in the evening, in order to enable working class people to attend. He stated that, if the County made a mistake, then they should bite the bullet and do something about it. He suggested that the Board tell Ogden Martin that the County is not going to pay for the incinerator; therefore, they need to break it down, ship all the parts back where they came from and scrap the metal, or come up with a new contract. He stated that it is obvious that the present contract is not good for the people of Lake County, and that it is causing the County to hide things from the people. He stated the County needs to tell the people exactly what the incinerator is costing the taxpayers, and that they should break down the revenue and let the people take a look at it. He stated that it is obvious that the people of Lake County do not want this increased taxation, either for fire or for garbage, and that the Board had better sit down and take a look at it and figure out some other way to accomplish the job, because the people are not going to stand for it.
Mr. Ed Olson, a resident of the Paisley area, appeared before the Board stating that cities and counties all over the United States are getting out of the garbage business, yet this county is doing the opposite. He stated that the public does not want it, and that the Board had better start listening to the people. He stated that, as far as fire protection is concerned, since the County took over and disbanded the Lake Kathryn Fire Department, two homes in his area have burned while the Fire Department watched, because they arrived on the scene too late. He stated that, in the ten years that he has lived in Lake County, everything that he has seen done by the County, supposedly for the good of the residents, have turned out to be just the opposite of what the residents want.
Mrs. Ed Olson, wife of the previous gentleman, appeared before the Board stating that Lake County has a lot of retired people on fixed incomes and cannot afford to pay for an incinerator that they do not need.
Mr. Floyd R. Wray, a resident of the Grand Island area, appeared before the Board stating that he did not understand why the voters' rights are being ignored. He stated that the matter of the incinerator should go back to the voters, and the County should "bite the bullet" and get rid of the contract.
Mr. Arthur "Mac" Elder, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that he previously lived in an area where an incinerator was built by Ogden Martin and that, in less than six months time, they had to shut it down. He questioned why the Board feels it is equitable to tax residents of the rural areas a lot more than residents of the urban areas, noting that he felt it was unequitable and unfair.
Mrs. Alberta Rimes, a resident of the Astatula area, appeared before the Board and questioned where the $35.00 fire tax that is collected is going to go, if the County is not going to transfer from a volunteer fire department to a paid one.
Commr. Swartz responded, stating what the monies collected will be used for and what the commissioners found, as far as fire protection is concerned, when they were elected to the Board, noting that the County has a group of people who are trying to provide fire protection under what is not perfect circumstances. He stated that, in Lake County, there will be no fire service unless they have volunteers.
Mrs. Rimes stated that her quarrel is not with the volunteer fire department, as she has received excellent service, she just wanted to know where all the money goes. She stated that no one objects to paying $35.00 for protecting their home, they just want to get their money's worth.
A brief discussion occurred regarding how mobile home parks are billed for fire protection, at which time Ms. Claire Bartlett, Solid Waste Management Director, responded, stating that a mobile home rental park pays for 70% of all the spaces within the park. She stated that staff took the average occupancy rate in January and again in July, averaged it for the year, and billed accordingly.
Mrs. Rimes stated that what it amounts to, is that mobile home parks are going to be billed a fire tax for vacant spaces, which is going to cause a built-in rent increase. She stated that the Board members speak with a forked tongue, and that the County cannot make a profit on the taxpayers, but that is what they are proposing to do.
Ms. Betty Cashwell, a resident of Clermont, appeared before the Board stating that she was being charged close to $1,000.00 extra for garbage collection, and felt all residents of the County should be taxed equally.
Ms. Cindy Dobbs, a resident of the Pine Lakes area, appeared before the Board stating that her taxes will be raised to $1,240.00 per year, however, she is receiving no services for that money. She stated that if she is going to have to pay that much in taxes, then she had better receive the services for it.
Ms. Betty Woods, a resident of the Forest Hills Subdivision, appeared before the Board stating that she has been paying $69.50 fire tax from the very beginning, while everybody else was, and is, paying $35.00. She stated that when she questioned why, she was given the runaround. Commr. Bailey instructed staff to meet with Ms. Woods and see if her problem could be resolved.
Mr. Clyde Dorr, a resident of Fruitland Park, appeared before the Board and requested the County to hold a referendum and let the people vote on the matter. He stated that there are some people who just cannot afford to pay any more taxes than what they are presently paying. He urged the Board not to get into the garbage business.
Ms. Carol Cecil, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that this is too much, and questioned where it is going to go from here. She requested the Board to do the will of the people.
Ms. Sheila Gibson, a local resident who works for the Lake County School Board, appeared before the Board stating that she was speaking for the working people. She stated that the taxes are too high, and she and her husband cannot afford to pay them, and that she felt it was an unfair tax.
Mr. John Gammon, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that he represents the thousands of residents of mobile home parks in Lake County. He stated that some statements had been made that mobile home park residents were not paying their way and that this was not true, they do pay their way. He stated that they pay exactly the same tax that an individual who has a residential home on his own land would pay.
Mr. Floyd Moulton, a resident of Hawthorne Mobile Home Park, appeared before the Board and discussed the incinerator, stating that he felt it was a bad thing and the County should do away with it.
Mr. Paul Hobensack, a resident of Clermont, appeared before the Board and also discussed the incinerator, at which time he referred to, and discussed, a letter from Ogden Martin regarding same.
Ms. Pat Lombardi, a resident of Astatula, appeared before the Board stating that she is trying to teach her teenager that you can stop City Hall. She urged the Board to do away with the incinerator.
Mr. Carl Smith, a resident of Astor, appeared before the Board stating that he was paying $479.00 in taxes, but after the increase implemented this year, will be paying $1,400.00; however, noted that there has been no increase in services to account for the increase in taxes. He stated that someone had better make some changes between now and the next election.
Ms. Mary Wells, a resident of Paisley, appeared before the Board and discussed the roads in the Paisley area, questioning whether the residents were going to be taxed again, when improvements are made on said roads.
Ms. Pam O'Donnell, a resident of Orange County who owns property in Lake County, appeared before the Board to discuss fire protection. She stated that her community (right outside the Town of Montverde) built their own fire department, due to the fact that the Town of Montverde does not cover the area where she lives; therefore, she does not feel that they should have to pay for fire protection by the County. She questioned when government was going to stop getting involved with things that they should not be involved with.
Ms. Katherine Hildebrandt, a resident of Paisley, appeared before the Board stating that she had hand delivered six (6) sets of petitions to the Board Office opposing the taxes being discussed this date, and that they should be put before the people of Lake County for a vote.
Mr. Leonard Phillips, a resident of Mt. Dora, appeared before the Board stating that he felt the County should let Ogden Martin sue it and see exactly where it stands, as far as the contract is concerned. He then stated that he will not pay the fire tax that has been quoted for several pieces of property (10) that he owns, which he considers worthless; therefore, the County is going to end up owning them.
Ms. Irene Richardson, a resident of Leesburg, appeared before the Board stating that she did not hold this Board responsible for the fiasco which was created by the previous Board and some of the local attorneys, noting that she felt they were doing a good job in trying to straighten out a terrible mess. She stated that, with the increasing population of Lake County, the County is going to need recycling, the landfills, and the incinerator. She stated that all the Board can be asked to do is come up with a fair and equitable solution, and would hope that the Board would get the support of the people in the County that do understand the situation.
Mr. George "Buck" Connell, appeared before the Board stating that he owns a piece of property on Lake Louise, that he has owned for 40 years; however, he resides in Hillsborough County. He stated that Hillsborough County picks up garbage twice a week, recyclable materials once a week, and brush once a week, and he only pays $187.88. He stated that he has carried his garbage back to Hillsborough County and disposed of it, for 40 years, and now Lake County wants to charge him $247.93 for garbage pickup. He stated he did not mind paying for something that he gets, but that he has not received garbage service for over 40 years.
Mr. D. J. Armstrong, a resident of Paisley, appeared before the Board stating that he is a member of the Lake County Fire Department, and that he has worked for the U.S. Forest Service for the past 21 years, putting out forest fires. He stated he has watched mismanagement of fire protection money, from the way that purchase orders are processed, down to the fact that one district will steal from another. He stated how much his taxes have increased, that he cannot afford to pay them, and that he felt he would not be getting the service that he is paying for.
Mr. Robert Williams, a resident of Umatilla, appeared before the Board and discussed a problem he has had to deal with regarding McKinley Road (which fronts his property). He stated that, due to the road being paved, his property now floods with water and he
only has the use of half of it, and does not think he should have to pay taxes on all of it, when he only has use of half of it. He stated that he had made several phone calls to the County regarding the problem, however, it has yet to be solved. He then noted several other problems he has had to deal with, regarding his property. He stated that he did not believe in the solid waste tax, and did not think the residents should have to pay it.
Ms. Mary Bodanza, a resident of Umatilla, appeared before the Board and informed them of problems residents are faced with, in putting their garbage out on the highways, in order for it to be picked up by the garbage collectors. She did not think it was fair for the County to tax all residents the same rate, due to various sizes in families generating different quantities of garbage. She stated that the main issue is fairness. She requested the Board to either renegotiate the contract with Ogden Martin, or get rid of the incinerator.
Mr. Peter McFarlane, Attorney, representing the owner of a mobile home park in Lake County, as well as its residents, appeared before the Board questioning whether it was true that, up until this year, the residents of mobile home parks were billed individually for services rendered, to which the County Manager, Mr. Thelen, replied that this was correct; however, the County Attorney, Ms. Lustgarten, looked into the matter, and found that the County has no legal authority to do so now, nor did it have the authority to do so for the six years that it occurred.
Mr. McFarlane then stated that the mobile home park owner that he represents would have to pay over $38,000.00, just for the waste disposal tax, which would force him to declare bankruptcy. He stated that the reason he was present this date was to see if the Board would accept responsibility for this problem. He stated that there is a problem with the way the County is handling the assessments and that there is a serious problem if the County has been charging the residents of the park a waste disposal tax illegally for the past six years.
Mr. Thelen, County Manager, stated that if the mobile home park has a commercial garbage contract and received a tax notice, it was in error, and they should see staff about correcting the problem.
Ms. Judy Kilgus, a resident of Leesburg, appeared before the Board stating that she represented three (3) mobile home communities, and questioned whether anything was going to change, to which Commr. Bailey replied that he hoped things would.
Mr. Ted Homjak, a resident of Groveland, appeared before the Board stating that he could not believe that the County would tell its residents that if they did not pay this tax, they would lose their homes. He discussed problems that this tax is causing for the elderly, as well as the young people in the County. He stated that there are other alternatives that the County can turn to, and still get the services that are needed. He stated that he felt there was some dishonesty going on with the County's local politicians, as far as the incinerator is concerned, and that he felt the residents have been ripped off. He stated that he hoped the County would think hard about suspending this increase and get back to the drawing board.
Ms. Ruth Harvey, a resident of Umatilla, appeared before the Board and questioned whether the contract with Ogden Martin could be annulled, and whether the residents' taxes were going to stay as they are, to which Commr. Bailey replied that he hoped the Board would make a decision regarding these two issues this date.
Ms. Juanita Tanner, a resident of Fruitland Park, appeared before the Board stating that she lives on an unpaved road, that garbage trucks are unable to travel on, yet she is still going to have to pay taxes for garbage collection, and feels that it is unfair.
Mr. Steve Vaughn, a resident of Mt. Dora, appeared before the Board stating that a lot of the approximately 1,500 to 2,000 people waiting to speak to the Board, regarding the solid waste and fire
tax issues, have stated that they are not going to pay the taxes, because they cannot afford to.
Ms. Marian McKinney, a resident of Leesburg, appeared before the Board and commended the County's volunteer fire department, stating that she has watched, for years, the way that they have been pushed, shoved, and ordered around, yet they have stood tall and done the job. She questioned where the money is going that the County has collected for new fire stations and equipment. She stated that the County spends $1,378,246.88 for 37 members of its administration, per year, and that she felt it was time the County started looking at this figure, and what they are going to do about it. She stated it was time that the County figured out its priorities, put them in order, started telling the truth, and started getting this county back in shape. She stated that it is time that every dime spent in this county is spent where it is supposed to be spent. She stated that the people of this county cannot take anymore.
Mr. Ed Havill, Property Appraiser of Lake County, appeared before the Board stating that he had started a Lake County Taxpayers Committee approximately three weeks ago. He stated that the County has got to stop the garbage fees this year and renegotiate, or find out what the costs will be to shut down the incinerator, and then let the people of the County vote on it. He stated the County has also got to stop the fire tax, as there are inequities in it. He stated that the County got involved in it too fast, and a countywide referendum should be held so that the people of the county can decide what they want, in the way of fire protection, and how much they are willing to pay for it. He stated that the Board should fire the County Manager and his staff, and hire people that will think about the taxpayers in the County. He stated that the people of Lake County will not be able to afford to live in this county, in years to come, if things such as this continue. He stated that the Board members are elected by the people, therefore, they should do what the people want.
A gentleman in the audience appeared before the Board stating that all the people who have signed up to speak apparently disagree with both the fire tax and the solid waste tax; therefore, the Board would save time by acknowledging their disapproval and acting on it.
Mr. Frank Schauffle, a resident of Eustis, appeared before the Board, along with his grandson, who he noted is a Boy Scout, stating that he saves bottles, cans, and newspapers for the Boy Scouts and is going to have to give it up, and that he felt he should not have to. He then discussed the matter of the fire tax, and the fact that the County is giving up a lot of fire tax money to the City of Eustis, to which Commr. Hanson stated that that matter would be addressed at the next scheduled Board Meeting.
Mr. Mike Monell, a resident of Sorrento, appeared before the Board stating that he could not understand why, if the County takes over the garbage service, that it is going to cost the residents twice as much as what they were paying, for half the service. He stated that he had made just two phone calls, and was able to find a cheaper service.
Mr. Dan Eastwood, Jr., a resident of Tavares, appeared before the Board stating that the people of Lake County should be grateful that they don't live in Pasco County, as that county is chasing down garbage worse than this county. He stated that incinerators are not economically sound facilities, and that this facility was oversold and overcapacity. He requested the Board to reject the implementation of the non-ad valorem assessment, and to start looking at alternatives.
Mr. Travis Whigham, Jr., a resident of Eustis, appeared before the Board and discussed the good and bad points of the incinerator. He stated that the people of Lake County should have the right to choose the way they want their garbage handled, such as who they want to haul off their garbage, and how it will be disposed of. Regarding the fire tax, he stated that, if it goes through, every
fire station in this county should have people manning them 24 hours a day.
Ms. Amber Hughes, a resident of Eustis, appeared before the Board stating that she does not want to see tons and tons of garbage burned that is going to mess up the atmosphere. She stated she wants to know that when she pays the $35.00 fire tax, that it is going to go to the firefighters, as they deserve it, and need everything they can get. Regarding the incinerator, she stated that she felt it was useless, and suggested that the County go to recycling bins, the way some states do.
Ms. Gail Chapin, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that she owns five acres, and that she will be paying $250.00 for garbage pickup. She stated that she has recently purchased an additional five acres, and questioned whether she was going to have to pay another $250.00, to which Commr. Bailey replied that she should not have to. She stated that her family composts, recycles, and does everything imaginable to cut down on the amount of garbage that they generate, and does not feel that it is fair for them to have to pay the solid waste tax. She stated the County needs to come up with some other alternative.
Mr. Doug Poudrier, a resident of Eustis, appeared before the Board and discussed the contract which the County has with Ogden Martin. He questioned whether it was right for Ogden Martin to make a profit, while the County takes a loss, stating that he felt Ogden Martin should take the loss. He then discussed the fire tax, stating that he felt it was not being spent on equipment or active firefighters.
Ms. Marilyn Bainter, a resident of Eustis, appeared before the Board stating that she had been waiting for over three years to talk to the Board about the garbage issue, and suggested a way for the Board to handle it. She stated that the people of Lake County are not going to keep putting up with this sort of thing. She stated that, if the Board members want to get re-elected, what they really need to do is build roads. She stated that people need to stop and think about how honest their elected officials are, and not just whether they build a road or not. She could not understand how the County could ever let itself get involved in a situation such as the one involving the 20 year contract with Ogden Martin. She indicated some bad effects that the incinerator would have on the environment, now, as well as in the future. She briefly discussed the Green Swamp issue and the fire tax issue, indicating her feelings on the matter.
Ms. Joan Irwin, a resident of Mt. Dora, appeared before the Board and briefly discussed the Green Swamp issue. She then brought up the matter of the incinerator, stating that no one has stated what it is going to cost, noting that it is not a $79 million incinerator - it is going to be a $300 million incinerator, at the end of 20 years, with $1 million a year for taxes, which she stated the people of Lake County are going to have to pay. She suggested that staff go to Collier County, who has found a gold mine in recycling their landfill and taking the dirt (which has composted itself) and using it as fertilizer.
Commr. Swartz stated that approximately a month ago, he and some staff members went to Collier County to look at their land mining operation, and felt that it showed promise. He stated that staff is going to look at it more, in depth, as a way of recovering the County's landfill and saving money.
Ms. Irwin then suggested having the County take a look at what Sumter County is doing, and thirdly, to recycle. The last suggestion she made was to shut the incinerator down, and get out of the contract.
Mr. James Houk, a resident of Astor, appeared before the Board stating that he agreed with the suggestion made earlier, to cut personnel in Lake County by 10%, however, noted that he felt it should be cut by 25%, rather than by 10%, as suggested. He then stated that the Board was elected to run the County, therefore, questioned why the County needed the County Manager. He then briefly discussed a problem that the Astor area is having regarding
a boat ramp, and the fact that people come into the area from outside the County and go up and down the river, littering it, and utilizing the services of the Lake County Sheriff's Department; however, they do not stay overnight in the County, nor do they contribute anything to the County. He felt that this is an example of where the taxpayers' dollars are going, and did not feel it was right.
Mr. Jorge Duroga, a resident of Clermont, appeared before the Board and discussed some problems that mobile home parks face, regarding the billing for solid waste collection.
Mr. Bob Newman, a resident of Tavares, appeared before the Board and requested them to look at the salaries of County employees versus those in the private sector. He stated that they will find the highest wages in the County are those of County employees, and a large percent of private sector employees are not even working. He stated the reason there are no jobs are because of impact fees, permits, regulations, requirements, etc., all tied to the bureaucracy that the Board has allowed to happen. He stated that Mr. Jack Kemp, from Housing & Urban Development (HUD), has decided that he is going to hold back money from local governments that have building and zoning restrictions, that are raising housing costs, and he felt this was great. He then briefly discussed the solid waste and fire tax issues, stating that he had discussed the matter with some attorneys in an organization that he belongs to, and they had indicated that the two ordinances pertaining to these issues are unenforceable. He questioned why one could not claim the garbage tax on their income tax returns, to which the County Attorney, Ms. Lustgarten, stated that this is a non-ad valorem assessment, authorized by State Statutes, it is not a property tax.
Mr. August Strachovsky, a resident of Leesburg, appeared before the Board stating that he had left a letter, and a phone number, with the Board Office and had received no response, pertaining to some concerns that he had. He stated that he felt the Board members should resign, immediately, if they did not have the fortitude to resolve the problem of the solid waste and fire tax issues. He stated he felt the County Manager, Mr. Thelen, should resign, as well. He stated that the people of Lake County do not want this tax, period, which he felt should be clear to the commissioners. Regarding the incinerator, he stated that there are many attorneys in Lake County that would be willing to help the County get out of the contract and solve the problem, therefore, they should do it. He stated that Ogden Martin sold the previous Board a bill of goods, and stuck the County, and now it was the County's turn to do it to them. He stated that Lake County was going to be a bad place to live, if this continues, and that the Board should put on a ballot the fact that they will ban forever any more ad valorem taxes in Lake County.
Mr. Lee Kemp, a resident of Fruitland Park, appeared before the Board stating that he did not believe that this Board inherited these problems from the previous Board, as some believe. He stated that the contract pertaining to the incinerator fell within this Board's tenure, so they are going to have to face up to the problems which it has caused, and make a decision regarding it. He brought up the issue of the future plans of the commissioners, stating that the people of Lake County have a right to know what their future plans are, before they cast their votes on the solid waste and fire tax issues.
Mr. Dennis Monk, a resident of Umatilla, appeared before the Board stating that there are a lot of poor people in this County who cannot afford the garbage tax, and some that do not need the service. He stated that he was one that does not need the service, as he recycles, and takes what little bit he has left to the transfer station, which he noted only costs him approximately $2.80 every six weeks. Regarding the matter of the incinerator, and the fact that this county is trying to obtain garbage from other sources, he stated that he did not want the County to bring other people's garbage into this county to be burned. He stated he felt
that there was probably going to be a proposal to lower the fees, but the people of the County do not want lower fees, they want no more taxes. He stated that he is being forced into something that he does not need, and does not want.
Ms. Christy Newcomb, a resident of Umatilla, appeared before the Board stating that she was not going to pay these taxes, so the County could go ahead and take her home.
Ms. Jenny Walsh, a resident of Eustis, appeared before the Board stating that since she has lived in Lake County, all she has seen is people with their hands out. She stated that she does not need her garbage to be collected, as she recycles, and does not have any garbage to be picked up. She stated that the money she will be paying for garbage collection will pay for prescriptions which she has to take. She stated that she was a businesswoman and could not understand how something like this got this far without any public discussion or input first.
Mr. Bart Tibbals, a resident of Umatilla, appeared before the Board stating that he felt the Board should have paid attention, when this matter was being discussed over three (3) years ago. He stated that neither fire trucks nor garbage trucks can get to his property (10 acres), due to the condition of the road leading to the property. He stated that he has complained about the problem, however, nothing has been done to correct it. He then directed criticism at some staff members.
Mr. John Steele, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that he lives on a non-county road that cannot be accessed by fire trucks or garbage trucks. He questioned why he was being assessed for two mobile homes, when he only has one on his property, at which time Commr. Bailey directed staff to meet with him and see about correcting the problem. He stated that he also owns property in Leesburg, and that the incinerator has caused his garbage fee to increase by $5.00, over the last two years. He stated that he felt it would be cheaper for the residents of Lake County to take their garbage to Pasco County.
Mr. Ralph Bevins, a resident of Eustis, appeared before the Board and pointed out the fact that for $250.00 a year, or for even $50.00 a year, individuals can lose their private property, and the rights that go with it. He stated that if the Board really believes in private property rights, they will trash the solid waste issue.
Ms. RaeAnn Alexander, a resident of Eustis, appeared before the Board stating that the incinerator will destroy the ozone level, and the air, with its fumes. She stated that it will also cause a chain reaction, in that the ash from the incinerator will settle on the grass, cattle will eat the contaminated grass, and people will, in turn, eat contaminated meat. She stated that groundwater will eventually be polluted by poisonous pollutants draining through the ground. She stated that no one present had signed their name to pay for the incinerator, therefore, let those who signed their names be the ones to pay for it. She stated that she felt the incinerator involves a major cover up, which should be exposed, and that the County should break the contract.
Ms. Janet Brady, a local resident, appeared before the Board and questioned whether any of the commissioners supported her concerning the fact that she thought the County should look into the incinerator issue again, and possibly break the contract or try and renegotiate it, to which Commr. Swartz responded stating that, at the last Board Meeting, a motion was made, seconded, and adopted unanimously, to have the County's current financial consultant review the contract, in light of the current bond refinancing being reconsidered. Ms. Brady then stated that she hoped the Board was paying attention to how the people feel about the matter, and take it into consideration, when they vote.
Ms. Margarite Scott, a resident of Howey-in-the-Hills, appeared before the Board stating that she felt the County should close the incinerator and take its losses. She also felt that the County should start looking at cutting staff, starting with the top. She then discussed the matter of fire protection, stating that if certain individuals' properties are unaccessible to fire equipment then those individuals should not be assessed.
Ms. Jean Carey, a resident of Tavares, appeared before the Board stating that everyone who is present this date is present for the same reason - they do not want the incinerator, therefore, the Board had better reject it.
Mr. Wayne Scott, a resident of Howey-in-the-Hills, appeared before the Board stating that he moved to Lake County from Orange County because he thought it would be a nice place to live, however, things are getting worse and worse since he moved his family here. He noted the difference between this county and Orange County, as far as garbage collection is concerned, and that he feels this county's economics are way off. Regarding fire protection, he stated that he felt the tax was not unreasonable, however, noted that there are a number of places that fire equipment cannot gain access to, especially in some of the rural areas of the County. He also stated that, somehow, the County needs to get rid of the incinerator.
Mr. Danny Sams, a resident of Clermont, appeared before the Board complaining about the fact that he, as well as a lot of other people, were having to wait outside, in extreme heat, for several hours, to be heard by the Board, due to the fact that the Ag Center was not large enough to house everyone. He stated that he could not understand why the Board would hold this meeting at 1:30 in the afternoon, in a building that is not large enough to house everyone. He stated they should have held the meeting in a football stadium, so that everyone could fit in, because there are a lot of irate people that want to be heard. He stated that he gets paid for recycling his bottles, aluminum cans, and paper, but now the County wants him to pay them to do it. He then noted how much a friend of his makes by recycling, stating that residents should be encouraged to recycle, not penalized. He stated that he is not going to put his garbage out on the roadside to be scattered by people and animals, and that, as far as the incinerator is concerned, due to the fact that Mr. F. Browne Gregg is going to be making money off the electricity generated by the incinerator, felt that he should be paying residents of the County for their garbage, rather than the residents paying the County. He questioned whether or not the Board intended to vote on the issues at this meeting, to which Commr. Bailey replied that they did, at which time he stated a concern about their safety, if they did not vote the issues down.
At this time, several people in the audience encouraged the Board to go ahead and vote, as people were beginning to repeat the same thing, more or less, and they were ready to go home. The Chairman then took a census, and found that there were still people in the audience that wanted to be heard, therefore, decided to continue with the public input portion of the meeting.
Ms. Lois Thomas, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that she could not afford any more taxes, and requested the Board to get together and do the right thing for the people - not to let this country become like a communist country.
Ms. Joan McDonald, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that she and her husband are two of many senior citizens who have medical bills and cannot afford to pay more taxes. She stated that this sort of thing has got to stop.
Ms. Sarah Laury and her grandson, Daniel Smith, local residents, appeared before the Board stating that they moved to Lake County from the Bronx, New York, so they knew about garbage situations; however, they did not want to move to this county and face the same situation that they were faced with there. She stated that she always saved her recyclables for her grandson to recycle, noting that he is a Cub Scout and she had always let him have the money to use for the Cub Scouts. She stated that she did not like what the Board has done and would move away, except that her home is paid for. She stated that she would like to vote for the Board members again, but, if they go through with this, she might not.
Mr. Barry Knight, a local resident, appeared before the Board and requested them to vote the incinerator down, now.
Ms. Ruth Ray, a resident of Clermont, appeared before the Board stating that she had been waiting two hours to speak to the Board. She discussed the fact of one losing one's property rights, noting that anytime anyone loses their property rights, everyone else loses theirs. She stated that she respected the Board immensely for sitting on the panel and taking what they took this date. She then submitted a petition, in opposition to the mandatory solid waste collection, for the record.
Mr. Bill Turnbull, a resident of Clermont, appeared before the Board and read into the record a statement regarding the cost of running the incinerator, and what the County has spent on consultants. He stated the residents cannot continue to pay taxes, insurance, and impact fees, and then be expected to pay for an incinerator that was built on lies and deceptions. He stated that part of the solid waste fee is an attempt to finance the incinerator on the backs of the poor and middle class, those that are least able to afford all the fees. He stated that he did not feel he should have to pay for services that he will never use.
Mr. Robert Burkhardt, a resident of Bassville Park, appeared before the Board stating that he did not know if the fire tax was fair for everyone, but that the fire department is in need of money, and is using equipment that is obsolete; therefore, everyone is not getting the service they deserve. He stated some people have stated that, should they have a fire at their home, the fire department would not be able to get to it, to put it out, due to the condition of the roads. He stated that the fire department needs the money to purchase some four-wheel drive equipment, so that they can reach these homes.
Ms. Kathy Schroeder, a resident of Clermont, appeared before the Board stating that she had mailed the Board Office a petition, containing 100 signatures, in opposition to the matters before them this date, by certified mail. She stated that she felt one solution to the problem would be to get more involved with recycling, as a profit. She also stated that the County needs to cut spending, and stop increasing taxes.
Mr. Bud Ward, a resident of Astatula, appeared before the Board stating that he had been a fireman in Orange County for over 15 years, and that he felt this county should purchase some four-wheel drive pickups, in order to enable the firemen to get to some of the fires, to put them out. He also stated that he felt, since Lake County got rid of its Fire Chief, some things that needed to be done will now be done.
Mr. John Bump, a resident of Cassia, appeared before the Board and discussed the matter of taxes, and how they affect growth, stating that, if the County continues to raise taxes, there will be no growth - the County will become like New York State, at which time he stated that he had moved to Lake County from New York, and told those present a story of what happened there regarding a situation similar to what this county is presently faced with. He discussed the fire tax issue, and suggested how the County's fire department should be run. He then briefly discussed the solid waste issue, questioning whether the residents were going to pay the County, and the County reimburse the garbage collectors, to which he was told that that is what is proposed.
Ms. Carol Taylor, a resident of Sorrento, appeared before the Board and questioned who had determined the $250.00 assessment, and whether it was per person, family, or acre, to which Commr. Swartz replied that it was per family, at which time he noted that it had been broken down into three (3) components, being recycling, solid waste collection, and disposal, noting the amounts for each.
Mr. Thomas Burns, a resident of Groveland, appeared before the Board stating that, regarding the incinerator, from what he could gather, the County does not own it, and never will, and questioned why the County would make such a business arrangement.
Mr. Calvin Preston, a local resident, appeared before the Board stating that he felt the incinerator was the best way for the
County to get rid of its garbage, as it will not contaminate the groundwater, and the smoke from it will go through a filtering system, before entering the air.
After considerable more discussion regarding the matter, the Chairman, Commr. Bailey, closed the meeting to any further comments from the public, in order to allow the Board to discuss and vote on the issues.
ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES/HEALTH & GENERAL SERVICES/RESOLUTIONS
Commr. Bailey stated that the voting was going to be easy for him, as he had not voted for the new revenue department (which would handle the assessments) in the first place. He stated he gets criticized sometimes for listening to the people, and the fact that a crowd can change his mind, but, stated that he believes in a representative form of government, and the group tonight is representative of how the citizens of Lake County feel, which is that they are not comfortable with the changes. Therefore, he cannot see the Board changing the system, noting that he felt the Board should leave the plan the County presently has as it is, and just make it better and more economical. He stated his vote is going to be to leave the garbage issue alone. He stated, from the start, that he was not happy with the mandatory collection plan; that he did not like cutting the services in half; he did not like the large increase; and he did not like the provision having to do with the lien on a person's home.
Commr. Gregg stated he had come to the conclusion, before this meeting, that the County should do away with mandatory collection, noting that he was not surprised at the turnout of this meeting, as he had felt, for some time, that it was going to be an upset bunch of people, and they did not disappoint him. He stated that the "chewing" the Board got tonight was probably deserved, as they had let the matter get out of hand. He stated the Board was under a series of schedules that they had to meet, and got themselves into a position that they really should not have allowed themselves to get into. He stated that, when it got down to the final numbers, most of the commissioners realized that a lot of families in rural Lake County just cannot afford to pay what the County is asking them to pay. He stated that the commissioners have talked to a lot of people in the County over the past few weeks, therefore, they know where they are coming from.
Regarding the contract with Ogden Martin, he stated that they have expressed a willingness to sit down and talk, and that he felt the County should, before they even talk about what they are going to charge. He stated that Flagler County is very much interested in negotiating with Lake County, as they have a problem in not being able to recycle, landfill, or anything at the present time. He stated that, during the past week, the Board voted to proceed with negotiations with that County, which he noted can have an effect of lowering the overall $80.00 tipping fee by $4.00 to $5.00 per ton. He suggested that the County maintain the level of recycling that it is presently doing, but to not move beyond that, and to allow the rural areas to continue to do as most of them are presently doing, which is taking their recycling materials to recycling centers.
Commr. Gregg also stated that the present Board had a study done (which he noted they had just received the cost of) which will show whether or not the incinerator is worth shutting down, and feels it is mandatory that the Board look at it. He stated the Board is guilty of rushing into it, and trying to set fees, before they really know the true cost involved. He stated the bureaucracy is growing in this county, and that he has been an opponent of it, has spoken out against it (noting that his appraisal of the County Manager and the County Attorney indicated that), and still feels that way. He stated the Board delegated a lot of management responsibility to the County Manager; therefore, they do not have the ability to fire lower staff - they have to fire through the County Manager. He stated, in his opinion, the County is getting out of hand - that staff is growing too fast, and if it is not handled properly, then they do need to get rid of the County
Manager. However, he stated he is not going to say that the County Manager gets 100% of the blame, because the Board allowed it to happen, and shares in that responsibility.
A motion was made by Commr. Gregg to do away with the mandatory recycling charge on the taxpayers' bill; do away with mandatory collection and mandatory disposal; and proceed with negotiations with Ogden Martin, concerning the contract for the incinerator.
Commr. Hanson seconded the motion, noting that she felt very humble and had learned a lot from the comments that were made tonight. She stated that a lot of valuable information had been presented, and she could only reiterate what Commr. Gregg stated, noting that he had stated it very well. She stated that the County needs to go back and evaluate its government, in general, and do whatever it takes to get it back into a business oriented county government.
Under discussion, Commr. Bakich stated he wanted to be clear as to what the County was telling the people, in terms of the alternative, to which Commr. Gregg responded, stating that the alternative is to continue with what the County is presently doing, which is charging a tipping fee to the haulers. He stated that they do not know what that tipping fee will be, but, he could say that it is going up. He stated that, hopefully, it will not go up to $80.00; but, until the Board has all the facts in, which he noted they do not seem to have, at present, he did not know how they could determine what it is going to be. He suggested that the County continue with the present process, and if the people want to have a twice-a-week pickup service, let them pay for it. If they want to haul it to the landfill on their own, or if they want to recycle, let them do it.
The Board was questioned as to whether they were going to close the transfer stations around the County, to which they replied that they had planned to, eventually, at which time they were asked not to, to leave them open.
Commr. Swartz stated that, regarding the solid waste issue, he came to this meeting knowing exactly what he thought the Board had to do. He stated the Board could adopt the motion before them, which would mollify the people for a little while, but only for a little while, because as long as the incinerator is operating, the tipping fee is not going to be much less than $80.00. Instead, he feels it is going to be much higher than that, so the action that the Board takes at this meeting is only going to make the people think that they won, and they will have won the battle; but, until the Board makes a decision on the incinerator, they will continue to lose the war. He stated that, a year ago, the County had a study done by Smith Barney (the financial consultants of this project), however, that study was flawed, but flawed in favor of the incinerator, in every way that it could be. He stated that the study said it would cost $42.97 per ton, if the County shut the incinerator down, yet, tonight the Board is telling the people that they are toying with $80.00 per ton. He stated that something tells him the difference between those two does not justify continuing to operate it. He stated he knows that Ogden Martin will not go quietly into the night, certainly not until this Board unanimously tells them that the County got a bad deal, in fact, the worst deal that he has seen in the incinerator industry. He stated that it needs to be perfectly clear to Ogden Martin that this Board works for the citizens of Lake County, not for Ogden Martin.
Commr. Swartz further stated that, based on everything he has seen around the State, and across the country, it is time to shut the incinerator down and take the losses, as there will be losses, and the people need to be aware of that - Ogden Martin will not go away quietly in the night. He stated he hoped they would respect the fact that this community cannot afford this plant, no matter how technologically superior they said it was, when it was sold to the County. He stated the County cannot afford it, and the people present tonight are evidence of that fact, and hope that, at some point, Ogden Martin will go away and let the County pay them for
their trouble, to the extent that they have to, so that the County can, someday, get out from under the burden, and get on with doing the things that they said they were going to do, which is recycling and composting. He stated that he was going to vote to shut the incinerator down.
At this time, the Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously.
Ms. Hildebrandt questioned (from the audience) whether the public could continue to use the Paisley Transfer Station, at which time she was told that they could, for a short period of time.
Regarding the fire tax, Commr. Bakich suggested that the Board leave the fire tax as it presently is, and follow the language of the original 1984 referendum, which included $5.00 for vacant parcels, and $35.00 per house.
A motion was made by Commr. Bakich, and seconded by Commr. Gregg to do so, at which time Commr. Gregg stated he wanted the opportunity to investigate having the Property Appraiser's Office do the assessments.
The County Attorney, Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, informed the Board that they needed to adopt a new assessment roll.
Commr. Swartz stated, for clarification, that what the Board is doing is taking the numbers from the original referendum, attaching them as Exhibit "A", and replacing the charges that had been proposed.
Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, stated that the resolution on the non-ad valorem fire assessment is substituting the existing fees, as approved in the referendum and being presented as Exhibit "A", and the Board is adopting that fee schedule and the ad valorem assessment roll. She stated that the Board needed to adopt a new non-ad valorem assessment roll, due to the fact that the prior existing district Municipal Service Taxing Unit has been dissolved.
Discussion occurred regarding the matter, at which time Commr. Swartz answered a concern expressed by a lady in the audience as to why it could not remain the way it was, stating that the reason the County has to do it the way they are, is due to the fact that the fire districts have been consolidated, and there is now one countywide fire district into which all the revenue will go.
Further discussion occurred, at which time Commr. Swartz stated that the way it has been handled in the past, and the County's legal opinion, is that the County cannot send a non-ad valorem assessment to a tangible property taxpayer, which is a mobile home sitting on a rental lot. He stated that, what is being suggested with this motion is that, pursuant to law, for a rental mobile home park, the bill will go to the land owner, at $35.00 per parcel, and he will pass that on to each of the mobile home residents, who in the past had been paying it on their tangible property tax.
Discussion continued, at which time Commr. Bailey questioned whether this Board had the power to change the law and allow the ability to bill individually, to which Ms. Lustgarten, County Attorney, replied that it was a statutory and constitutional law which prohibits the authority to impose non-ad valorem assessments on tangible and personal property.
Commr. Bailey then questioned why, if the Board did it before, they could not continue to do so, to which Ms. Lustgarten, County Attorney, stated that they could, however, it would be against her better judgment. Commr. Bailey stated he would be willing to take a chance.
It was suggested that the ordinance be amended, at which time it was noted that it could not be done this date, however, would be put on a Board agenda, for discussion, in the near future.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion to approve Resolution No. 1991-113, as amended, which was carried unanimously.
On a motion by Commr. Bakich, seconded by Commr. Swartz and carried unanimously, the Board approved Resolution No. 1991-114, as amended, making a determination that the rate schedule and the non-
ad valorem assessment roll for fire and rescue services are local government mandated assessments.
At this time, Mr. Claude Smoak (former county commissioner), appeared before those present stating that the County's budget for this year contains $235,000.00 from fire tax funds collected to form the new agency to bill the people for the garbage and fire tax. He suggested that said agency be abolished, and that the Board take said funds and put them back into Fire Protection, as well as the approximate $190,000.00 that is going to be raised each year, due to what has been imposed this date. He stated that the two figures, combined, come up to approximately $400,000.00 of new fire tax money. He stated that by doing what he suggested, the County will have eliminated a department, cut its staff, and have gone back to common sense government.
There being no further business to be discussed, the meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
DONALD B. BAILEY, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK