The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Tuesday, July 30, 1991, at 9:00 a.m., at the Mission Inn, in Howey-in-the-Hills, 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: Gerry Clark, Assistant County Attorney (representing the County Attorney, Annette Star Lustgarten, who arrived at approximately 9:30 a.m.); and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Bailey opened the meeting stating that its purpose was to decide what issues the Board wanted to continue to deal with, and could afford to do, and go from there. He stated he would like to see the Board not be in such a "rush" mode on issues, and that he did not want to see staff spending a lot of time and money on an issue, to find out that the Board may not want to do it, or cannot afford to do it. He stated that if the Board can decide some priorities at this meeting, then they can obtain information regarding the issues ahead of time, take more time to discuss them, and felt that the end results would be a lot better. The Board then went down an agenda list which had been provided to them, listing the following issues, and decided which ones they wanted to keep as priority items, and which ones they wanted to delay action on or delete:
Commr. Gregg stated he felt the Wetlands Ordinance could be dealt with next year, without any trouble, noting that the St. Johns River Water Management District is already enforcing a Wetlands Ordinance, and for the County to enforce a duplicate of their ordinance is going to be costly, and he did not feel the County should spend the time and money doing it.
Commrs. Bakich and Hanson concurred.
Commr. Swartz stated that he did not question the fact that in some areas there could be duplication, noting that the key is to avoid duplication and unnecessary paperwork and regulation, but he felt the Wetlands Ordinance stinks - that it is nothing. He stated staff has been working on the Wetlands Ordinance for approximately one and a half years, and until he is convinced that the St. Johns River Water Management District either has the manpower and the regulations that will address the needs in Lake County, he would like to see Lake County get in place a Wetlands Ordinance of its own, because what they have is nothing. He disagreed that the Wetlands Ordinance should be put off for now and addressed next year, noting that it seemed to him that, at the very minimum, the County ought to look at it, in light of where it addresses needs in Lake County, which St. Johns may not address, or addresses things in Lake County that the Board knows St. Johns is not going to be able to monitor and ensure protection of.
Commr. Gregg stated that he felt the wetlands were probably one of the most overregulated issues there is now, and that, politically, it reads good for everybody to jump in on protecting wetlands, so, everybody has. He stated that he did not feel the citizens of Lake County are going to see any net benefit for what it is going to cost them. He stated that bureaucracy is continuing to grow, and the County has got to pull the plug on it, and he felt this was a good place to start. He stated that if one agency would handle it, or at least coordinate it, not only would it be less expensive to the individuals involved, but he felt it would be less expensive to the taxpayers, as well, in the long run.
Commr. Hanson stated that she feels the St. Johns River Water Management District will be abolished in the near future, and the responsibility is going to come back to the County, and that the County needs to be prepared.
It was the consensus of the Board not to continue to address the issue of the Wetlands Ordinance this year.
Commr. Swartz stated that there is much more to the Stormwater Ordinance than just the permitting. He stated that Federal EPA regulation requires that counties over a certain size enact stormwater protection and, ultimately, probably retro part of a stormwater ordinance. He stated the County needs to look at the places where stormwater is running directly into its lakes and streams and find ways to mitigate it and get it out of there, so it is a retrofit. He stated that the County does not need to look at regulating the new stuff, because it is probably being done, but they need to create something, so that the County can stop that first flush which is going in, which is the worst. He felt to trash the ordinance would be a mistake.
Commr. Gregg stated that he did not say to trash the ordinance, but to pattern the County's ordinance directly after the St. Johns River Water Management District ordinance, rather than getting into things which they are already enforcing, so that, in effect, they can enforce and permit stormwater in Lake County. He stated that the County has to address and do something about the existing discharge into the lakes and wetlands, noting that the cities are already starting to do something about it, and feels it can be accomplished, but, he did not see the County starting out writing a brand new stormwater ordinance, that they are going to have to enforce. He stated that, in a lot of cases, the County has taken it upon themselves to do a lot of things that the State is already charging the County to do, and already doing, and he feels that there is money to be saved in this area. He stated that he did not think there was any way the County was going to charge enough user fees for some of these departments to pay for themselves, because he feels that they are too inefficient to do so. He stated that he felt the County should proceed with inventory of the existing systems and discharges, just as they have been doing, but feels that the County is going to need to probably adopt some kind of stormwater utility, to be able to fund the remedial action that the County is going to have to take to do away with the discharges going into its lakes and wetlands. Commr. Bakich stated that he did not want to see duplication, but felt the County needs to correct the deficiencies that it presently has, and he would like to see some method set up where the County can do that, even if it means taking a step backwards to take two steps forward.
Commr. Bailey stated that he supported the inventory, as long as the County can identify areas, and what the costs are going to be, otherwise, felt the people were going to rebel.
It was the consensus of the Board to see if funds were available in the budget to do an inventory analysis, and, if so, move forward - if not, it will have to be delayed until a future date.
WATER AND SEWER STANDARDS
Commr. Gregg stated that he felt this was just technical standards which the County could develop and adopt, noting that it would be in the best interest of the County and the development community to know what the rules are, and have a manual that they can follow, when they are designing their project.
Commr. Bakich stated that one of the things that concerns him is the issue of private versus public, noting that there has been discussion on that, and whether or not to have the County head it all up, or to allow outside or private enterprise to come in. He stated that if the private sector can show they can do it for less, and live up to the standards that the Board sets, then he did not see why the Board would not encourage it. He stated, however, that he did not want to get into the same problem that the County has with the treatment plants.
It was the consensus of the Board to allow the water and sewer standards to proceed.
Commr. Bakich referred to a memo the Board received from Mr. John Swanson, Executive Director of Planning and Development, regarding the Population Study, noting that he had made several phone calls to both the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and other counties, and he is convinced that, based on his discussions with the various individuals he spoke with, that the County's Comprehensive Plan flows from the population study, and if the population figures are too low, then the County has the ability to adjust it back, but, if they are too high, then the County is fine. He stated he is convinced that the County needs to have accurate projection numbers going into this process so that they can show DCA, based on analysis, whether the numbers that the County has are good, as opposed to pulling them from out of the sky, as the Board has been accused of doing in the past. He stated that he felt, for the dollars spent, it was going to save the County a lot of headaches down the line, therefore, would like to see the County do it.
Mr. Gerry Clark, Assistant County Attorney, stated that the County Attorney, Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, had informed him that the population study was scheduled to be discussed at the Board Meeting of August 6, 1991, and requested that the Board consider putting off any official action regarding it until said meeting.
Commr. Gregg stated that he agreed with Commr. Bakich in that the Board should take some action in acquiring sound information to substantiate the County's figures to DCA.
Commr. Swartz stated that he felt said funds (approximately
$6-10,000) could be better utilized elsewhere, and he did not support doing it. He stated that Commr. Bakich had made a couple of important points, being that the population projections, as well as the entire Comprehensive Plan, can be amended, that it is not something the County has to live with for the next 15 years. Commr. Hanson interjected that the County is not going along the traditional pattern, because so many things have changed in Lake County, and these things need to be taken into consideration. She stated she would suspect that the County is going to have population studies right on through the next 15 years of this Comprehensive Plan, but feels that going into it, the County needs the most up-to-date figures it can get.
It was the consensus of the Board to not act on this matter until after the presentation scheduled to be given at the Board Meeting of August 6, 1991.
ACCESS MANAGEMENT ORDINANCE
Commr. Gregg stated that he felt this was one ordinance that the County should try and wrap up, as it has been going on for far too long, and he felt that the County was going to pay the price, for every month and year that it is delayed. He stated the County should have developed an access management ordinance long before now. He stated there are some individuals on the main drags that are going to be affected by it, but, in the long run, feels that everybody is going to be better off, if the County gets it done and behind them, to which Commrs. Hanson, Bailey, and Swartz concurred. SIGN ORDINANCE
Commr. Bakich stated he was concerned about the fact that when the Board gets into the LDRs, whether they were going to have the time to address this issue, to which Commr. Swartz stated that the LDRs were going to be derived from what the Comprehensive Plan says and what the existing ordinances are, that are compatible with what the Comprehensive Plan says. He stated that the Sign Ordinance is not mentioned in the Comprehensive Plan, so the LDRs are going to track what the current Sign Ordinance says. He stated there is no reason why the Board cannot make amendments or changes to the Sign Ordinance, to update it, and deal with issues in it, independent of the LDRs. He stated that, as it changes, then the LDRs essentially change.
It was the consensus of the Board for staff to get back with them in possibly 6 to 9 months with at least a draft, or a recommendation, regarding the Sign Ordinance.
Commr. Swartz stated that he has had a lot of problems with fences in his district, noting that some people use them as weapons against their neighbors, and felt there should be a Fence Ordinance in place. He stated he has been asking for one for over two and a half years.
Commr. Gregg stated that the Board is dealing with the expense of writing and enforcing an ordinance that only a handful of people abuse, noting that he did not see enough public good to justify the cost involved. He stated that he has yet to receive the first complaint regarding a problem with a fence in his district, at which time the rest of the Commissioners stated that they had not received any complaints either.
It was the consensus of the Board to not address the issue of the Fence Ordinance at this time.
Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, informed the Board that the Noise Ordinance has been drafted, noting that it includes provisions for decibels and, thus, the need to acquire noise meters. She stated that there was an issue as to whether Code Enforcement would enforce the ordinance, or whether the Sheriff's Department would, which she noted is still a matter that has yet to be resolved. She stated that this matter is sort of in limbo at this time and it would be up to the Board as to what to do regarding it.
Commr. Swartz stated that he has had some problems with noise complaints in his district, however, suggested that the Board postpone action regarding the matter, at this time, and he will speak with Sheriff Knupp regarding enforcing the laws that are on the books.
It was the consensus of the Board to postpone action regarding the Noise Ordinance at this time.
Commr. Gregg stated that the Space Study is something the Board really needs to address, noting that it is so late in coming, that the horse is almost out of the barn. He stated that the whole idea behind the County negotiating with Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum to include it, was that nobody knew what the County was going to do with the space, when the new building was built. He stated he felt it was poor planning to complete the new construction and then question what the County is going to do with some of the new space.
Commr. Swartz stated that the County needs to make sure that several of their leases have a "get out" provision, so that when space is available for them, they can move in without any problems. It was noted that the Space Study is definitely a priority item, and that a workshop needs to be scheduled, as soon as possible, regarding it.
ACQUISITION OF MRS. EMOGENE STEGALL'S (LAKE COUNTY SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS') PROPERTY
Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, informed the Board that she has an appraisal on the property owned by Mrs. Emogene Stegall, Lake County Supervisor of Elections', located on Sinclair Street, in Tavares, which includes Stinson Electric Company, however, it is confidential until an option agreement comes to the Board of County Commissioners.
It was noted that Mrs. Stegall has been very cooperative with the Board and that she had stated she was not going to put the County against the wall.
Commr. Swartz stated that another issue the Board needs to take a look at is the fact that Mrs. Stegall has approximately $45,000.00 in this year's current operating budget, that she was going to use for readdressing and precinct changes, as necessary; but, since redistricting did not take place during this budget year, she wanted to make sure that she could move that money into next year's budget, because she does not have it in that budget. He stated that the Board needs to assure her that she will have it next budget year.
It was noted that this is a priority item.
PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT AND UTILITY SERVICES AT HWYS. 19/27
Commr. Gregg stated that the Acquisition Committee had met and discussed the study the Board received on the acquisition of Southern States Utilities, and the consensus of the Committee was that the price was higher than what the value was, therefore, what they decided to do was to proceed with permitting for a package plant for the property, with the idea that if Southern States comes back to the Board and offers a deal that looks more acceptable, then the County may proceed with that. Otherwise, they have an ace in the hole, and will be able to proceed with building a package plant that could, possibly, turn into a regional plant. He stated the industrial park has been dragging on and on, and this gives the County the ability to say that they have a plant, and can go ahead and develop the park. He stated he would like to see the Board plan the whole park, even to the point of acquiring the permits, and then take bids and sell the whole parcel, with the exception of what portion the Tourist Development Council (TDC) wants. He stated the County can take bids with a private developer to acquire the whole project and develop it, and then the County can take the proceeds and split them with the TDC, based on the amount of property that is actually sold, so that the TDC can get their money back out of the deal. He stated the TDC could get the land they want for the Welcome Station, or they may decide they want to build the Welcome Station down the road, therefore, sell the parcel and acquire another one, which would be up to the TDC, and what they recommend to the Board of County Commissioners. He stated that if the County sells the property, they will be receiving taxes on it from the people purchasing it, plus, it is going to be in the County's interest, due to carrying charges, to try and turn that property over and bring in some tenants. He stated he felt the County would be a lot better off, and it will keep the County out of the land development business, which he noted the County has no business being in, anyway.
Commr. Hanson concurred with Commr. Gregg, stating that she felt the private sector could handle it, and promote it, much better than the County can and will.
Commr. Bailey stated he would feel better about it if the County put in some deed restrictions, and decided the use for the area, to which Commr. Swartz stated the County could either put in deed restrictions, or rezone it to an MP zoning district. He stated he concurred with Commr. Gregg.
It was noted that Commr. Gregg would take the matter before the Industrial Development Authority, and that Commr. Bailey would take it before the Tourist Development Council, and they would come back to the Board with said committees' recommendations.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:30 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would take a five minute recess.
CHILDREN'S COUNCIL DEVELOPMENT
Commr. Hanson stated that this matter is coming along very well, but that they were going to need more time (probably six or more months), therefore, requested that the Board put off taking action regarding it until next year. She stated that the thrust of it is going to be prevention, rather than treatment, noting that the Council will not provide services. She felt that if the County goes ahead with it, it is going to be a completely uphill battle - not only the cost factors, but the fact that there is a lot of misinformation out about the Council.
Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, stated that an amendment will need to be done to the Resolution, regarding this council, granting another six months for it to do its work.
It was the consensus of the Board to put this matter off until next year.
Commr. Hanson stated that she felt the agricultural community was probably being represented pretty well through Commr. Bailey. She stated that her intention was for this committee to be a private committee, made up of ranchers, but, that it has developed into more of a structure type committee, which is not what she had in mind at all. She just meant for it to be an advisory committee, so, on that basis, would rather not have a committee. She stated that if the agricultural community wanted to have their own committee, that would be fine.
It was the consensus of the Board not to address this matter any further, at this time.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN PROCESS
Commr. Gregg questioned whether the Chairman had considered the possibility of the County contracting for local counsel in Tallahassee, regarding the Comprehensive Plan. He stated that the majority of the Board voted to proceed with it, therefore, they should now convince the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) how the County arrived at the numbers it did, and what the County's philosophy is for the plan. He stated the Board needs to show DCA what has transpired over the past five years, and why they have adopted the plan, and let them know that the public supports it. Commr. Bakich stated he would be supportive of what Commr. Gregg recommended, as the County does not have the resources to deal with DCA, even though they would like to think they have.
Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, stated that she had no problem with what Commr. Gregg suggested, and would be happy to obtain some RFPs.
Commr. Gregg suggested that the Chairman, Commr. Bailey, make some phone calls to Tallahassee, talk with some firms that handle that sort of thing, and come back to the Board with a recommendation.
Commr. Swartz stated he did not have a problem with the County Attorney and her staff doing the job, but was not in favor of spending money for outside counsel.
Commr. Bakich stated they were talking about an issue that is going to have a great deal of bearing on the County for many years to come, and felt that it would be smart to have a firm in Tallahassee that knows the ropes, the people, and the process.
Commr. Gregg suggested that the Chairman get back to the Board, as soon as possible, with a recommendation, because to bring somebody in two months from now is going to be pointless.
It was noted that this is a priority item, and needed to be acted on quickly.
It was noted that the County is presently doing them, and that the Board needs to schedule workshops to review the drafts.
MINING OF LANDFILL
Commr. Swartz stated that the Board has asked staff to bring back a report, and analysis, of the mining of the landfill, which is to be available the first week in September, noting that it will involve the cost analysis and benefit consideration.
Commr. Gregg stated that he felt the mining issue was worth looking at, however, he had serious doubts about it, due to the fact that Lake County has such a great deal of land still available, and the price of land in Lake County is relatively cheap. He stated that the big advantage of mining the landfill is elimination of the possibility of a high priced closure, and elimination of having to buy more land.
Commr. Bailey noted that there is a recommendation by staff to postpone this matter for 30 days, and felt that the Board probably would.
Commr. Gregg stated that he hated to see the Board take formal action at the next Board Meeting to delay this for 90 days, because he felt that it could put the County in a pinch, down the road.
It was noted that the Board was not going to move forward with a final decision at this time.
Commr. Swartz stated that if the Board is going to act on this, in time to be able to implement any type of budgetary considerations in the 1992-93 budget, it is going to have to go on the March presidential primary ballot.
Commr. Gregg stated he felt this would be an appropriate time to do it, but that whatever they put on the ballot, they have the numbers to substantiate it.
Commr. Bailey stated that he did not want another consultant, but that he had a problem with using staff to come up with those numbers, noting that the Board needs to have enough workshops to make sure that they are receiving input from someone other than staff.
Regarding the numbers generated, Commr. Gregg stated that he was not happy with the numbers that David M. Griffith & Associates (DMG) generated, or the ones that staff generated, due to the fact that there were so many problems related to them.
Commr. Swartz stated he felt the problem was that the numbers they tried to plug in were the numbers that were generated, to some extent, from faulty information, because they did not use land categories as fully as they should have. He stated he felt they had used the best numbers that were available, and that over the course of the next few months, felt they were going to have better numbers, because they were going to be using even more detailed land categories. He felt that part of the problem was just that nobody liked the results of the numbers, and that he did not place blame on staff or DMG, because they tried to use the numbers that existed.
Commr. Gregg stated that he felt it was poorly done on the part of DMG, and on the part of staff, to which Commr. Bailey concurred.
It was noted that this issue would be considered a priority item, and that it would be put on the March presidential primary ballot.
The Chairman noted that this was a priority item, and would be voted on at the next Board Meeting, scheduled for August 6, 1991.
ACQUISITION OF LANDFILL
It was noted that this matter is being acted on, and continues to be a priority item.
The Board will not stop considering the acquisition of it, but will not proceed until the decision from the study is completed.
DIRECTION FOR COMMITTEE ON ACQUISITION OF ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE LANDS
It was noted that this matter continues to be a priority item, and that said committee should be meeting, in order to have it ready for the 1992 November general election ballot.
THREE/FIVE YEAR BUDGET & PALM BEACH COUNTY BUDGET PROJECT
Commr. Bailey stated that he hoped the Board would consider this as a priority item and that, after this year's budget, he would like to see the Palm Beach plan implemented.
Commr. Swartz stated that he felt very uncomfortable about the fact of the Board imposing a cost of living and merit raise moratorium on county employees, noting that there are at least three of the constitutional officers who have submitted budgets that do that, as well, and then have another constitutional officer not follow suit. He stated that, for consistency and fairness sake, the Board needs to at least make an effort to see that the moratorium is done countywide, otherwise, legitimately, those three constitutional officers who have voluntarily agreed to do it, might be right back at the Board's doorstep saying that it is not fair to their employees for the other constitutional officers to not do the same. He stated that he did not see how the County, or the constitutional officers that are complying, could look their employees in the eye, when some of the others are not complying, and the Board just rolls over and plays dead.
Commr. Gregg stated that it is a matter of the Board trying to set an example and have the constitutional officers follow the lead, but, if they do not choose to, then they are on their own. He stated he does not see the Board as being a policeman to oversee every constitutional officer - that is not the Board's job. He stated the Board needs to make every effort to get along with the constitutional officers, as they all have to work together.
Commr. Swartz stated that he, for one, supports taking the action that the Board has, by law, which is to comment to the appropriate agency, with regard to any budgets that are not maintaining the "no increase" in salaries and the "no new positions".
Commr. Bailey concurred with Commr. Gregg, in that he is not going to play policeman with any constitutional officer that decides not to follow the Board's direction.
Commr. Gregg stated he would not be in favor of filing a protest against a constitutional officer's budget, with Tallahassee, as he felt the Board should be able to do a better job of selling their program than that, to which Commr. Bailey concurred.
TREE PROTECTION AND LANDSCAPING ORDINANCES REVISIONS
Commr. Gregg brought up for discussion the matter of the "tree farm" being proposed for the County, noting that it will cost the County approximately $43-44,000, due to interpretation of the Tree Ordinance. He stated if it has become a problem in how the Tree Ordinance is interpreted, or the changes the Board made in it, then it is a problem that needs to be corrected.
Commrs. Bakich and Hanson concurred, stating that they felt the "tree farm" was going to grow into something that is very expensive and totally unnecessary.
Commr. Swartz stated that whether the County has a "tree farm" or not is going to depend on two things: how many trees the County is going to have to replant, and whether or not they want to replant, noting that if it is a sizable enough number, it would be significantly less expensive for the County to grow them, than to buy them, paying three times as much as it would cost to grow them. Further discussion occurred regarding the matter, at which time Commr. Gregg stated that he did not favor the County starting a "tree farm", as he felt it was one more function that would see a demand on taxes, and is something that is being handled quite well by private enterprise. He stated the County has very little need to acquire trees at the present time, and felt it was an issue that should be removed from the budget.
It was noted that staff would be instructed to bring the matter up during the budget process, as the majority of the Board wanted to readdress it, before a final decision is made.
NATURAL RESOURCE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
It was noted that the Natural Resource Advisory Committee has been formed, and that they should move forward with addressing their issues.
SEPTIC/SLUDGE/MANURE REGULATORY ORDINANCES
Commr. Swartz stated that this came about out of concerns that there is regulation regarding septic sludge, but none regarding manure.
Commr. Hanson stated that the only problem she has with it is that it is a natural process, and the more one can put back on their land, the more fertile they will make the land for farming.
Discussion occurred regarding the fact of stockpiling manure, versus the spreading of it, and the need for some guidelines regarding it.
Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, stated that she had requested Pollution Control to come up with some guidelines and management standards, noting that there are some state-of-the-art ways to handle manure.
Commr. Gregg stated that he did not want to see the County get into an ordinance that is impractical, noting that as long as the County puts some logic into it, he did not see a problem with it.
Commr. Swartz requested the County Attorney, Ms. Lustgarten, to submit to the Chairman any research that her office has done, or any ordinances from other areas that might deal with the problem, and let him try to come up with something that he feels comfortable with, to bring to the Board, for action.
ANIMAL CONTROL ORDINANCE
Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, brought to the attention of the Board the issue of the Animal Control Ordinance, noting that it was not one of the issues on the agenda. She stated that the Board had already reached conclusions regarding it, and her staff was making minor changes to it. She wanted the Board to know that it was still in the works, and will soon be advertised for enactment.
No action needed at this time.
Commr. Bailey referred to a memo received from Mr. Larry Kirch, Director of Planning, regarding the Comprehensive Plan, at which time it was noted that the Board had already made some changes that were probably going to impact the Comprehensive Plan, therefore, there was no need for further discussion at this time.
Commr. Bailey stated that one of the key things was to try and slow things down, and receive more feedback from the public, before moving so quickly on some of the issues.
COUNTY VEHICLE POLICY
Commr. Bakich stated that he had been after staff for approximately two years for a county vehicle policy, noting that he felt the County could be doing a lot of things much better and saving the taxpayers dollars. He stated the County does not have to buy brand new vehicles, they could buy current model vehicles, and save a good bit of money. He stated they also did not have to buy as many vehicles, and questioned whether some of the individuals that are currently driving vehicles are justified in driving them to and from work every day.
It was the consensus of the Board that this issue would be considered a priority item, and that the Chairman would meet with Mr. Al Thelen, County Manager, and see how soon it could be brought back to the Board for action.
COUNTY PURCHASING POLICY
Commr. Bakich stated that he felt the Board needed to revise the County's purchasing policy, as he felt the County could be doing a better job in saving money through direct purchasing, to which the rest of the Board concurred, noting that this would be considered a priority item.
Commr. Bakich stated that, in order to give Code Enforcement some relief from neighborhood squabbles, he would like to see the Board set up some type of policy for dealing with fence issues. He stated that if it was an anonymous tip and did not deal with the health, safety, or welfare of the general public, it should be put much lower, in order of preference of items to deal with.
Commr. Swartz questioned the County Attorney, Ms. Lustgarten, as to what the law allows Code Enforcement to do, with regard to going out and issuing a citation when there is a clear undisputed code violation, to which she replied that Code Enforcement is presently just allowed to issue a notice of violation, which then goes to the Code Enforcement Board. She stated that, if they want to adopt a citation policy, the Board would have to amend the Code Enforcement Board Ordinance. She stated the County can appoint Code Enforcement officers and give them citation powers, and can establish a fee schedule for certain kinds of violations. She stated that an individual would be given a citation and have the option of paying it, based on a fee schedule, based on the violation, or they would have the option of going to court and challenging it, at which point it would become the jurisdiction of the County Court, who has the ability to impose up to a maximum amount, as provided by State law.
Commr. Swartz stated that Code Enforcement spends a lot of time arbitrating neighbor disputes and anonymous calls. He stated that maybe the threshold should be that, if it appears to be a public safety, health, or welfare issue, that Code Enforcement at least respond and review it, and if it is not, then the County is going to have to know who the complainant is. He suggested that, if the County identifies what appears to be a code violation, that they send a letter out stating the violation, and the fact that the individual has a certain length of time to correct it. Then, at the end of that time, have staff go out and reinspect, and if the violation still occurs, issue the individual a ticket, instead of going through the month long process that the County currently has.
Ms. Lustgarten, County Attorney, stated that the County could, by law, handle the issue the way that Commr. Swartz suggested.
Regarding the matter of anonymous calls received by Code Enforcement, and how they should be handled, Commr. Gregg stated that he felt if it is an anonymous call and is not life threatening, then he did not feel that Code Enforcement should investigate, but, if it is life threatening, then he felt the County had an obligation to investigate it.
The Board directed the County Attorney's Office to draft an ordinance that would set up citation powers for Code Enforcement officers, and bring it back to the Board, at a later date.
Commr. Hanson stated that she felt the trend in the 1990s was going to be volunteerism, throughout the County, not just in the Fire Department, and that she would like to see the Board push for it, not just in governmental departments, but in communities as well. She stated that she would be receiving a tape regarding it from a meeting which was held in Salt Lake City, and would share her findings with the Board, when she receives it.
Commr. Gregg stated that he felt the Board needed to look at some of the fees that have been proposed, as he felt that the County is going to receive some negative reaction concerning them. He stated he felt there were certain services that the County is under an obligation to provide out of the General Fund and ad-valorem taxes. He then gave an example of a fee being charged by the County that he felt should not be.
Commr. Bailey concurred, stating that when staff can do something for the ordinary citizen that requires little or no time to do, felt that they should, at no charge.
Commr. Gregg brought up for discussion the fact that the County had taken an approach that all cities were going to pay County fees, and the County would pay their fees, however, felt the County may have made a mistake in doing that. He felt the County should try to establish an interlocal agreement with the various cities, and other agencies operating in Lake County, of reciprocity on some of the fees.
Commr. Swartz concurred, stating he would take the matter up with the League of Cities, and report back to the Board with his findings.
Commr. Gregg then referred to a workshop meeting which is to be held with the Town of Lady Lake, and the fact that he felt there were two items that were going to come up during that meeting, one being the 30% allocation for right-of-way, noting that they feel it is excessive, and the other concerning a special district in that area, due to the population. He stated he did not have a problem with doing away with the right-of-way allocation, and regarding the matter of a special district, would consider creating one in that area, to include Fruitland Park and Lady Lake.
EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA REGIONAL PLANNING COUNCIL
Commr. Hanson questioned the Board as to how they felt about this council and the regulatory positions that they are taking, at which time Commr. Bakich stated he felt they have gone beyond the purpose and intent that they were originally set up for.
Commr. Gregg agreed, stating that the original intent was a mechanism of getting the counties and cities to coordinate and work together. He stated it was never the intent to become another level of government, to dictate to the cities and counties what to do.
Commr. Bailey stated that they are lobbying hard to get more influence, noting that they see an opportunity in the Comprehensive Plan. He stated that some of the feedback on the Comprehensive Plan is that the planning council would like to come in and mediate, and assume some of the responsibilities, but, felt that to give them more authority, would just be building another level of bureaucracy to deal with.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Board was leaving out one important thing, which is that with the Growth Management Act their role changed, and it changed because the State required them to develop regional plans - plans which this Board and other Boards and cities signed off on. He stated that the actions which they are reviewing right now are relative to changing, modifying, or adding to regional policies that deal with education, transportation, and the wetland/upland buffer rule. He stated that all three of these items are in the review process, and will be going through public hearings and administrative hearings, as required by law.
Commr. Hanson questioned the Board as to how they felt about having a leadership roundtable for Lake County, to which Commr. Bakich responded that if it is set up in such a manner to where the Board can get input from active participants, and provide ideas for better government, then he would be willing to have a think tank type session.
Commr. Hanson stated she would see what she could come up with, and get back with the Board at a later date.
PUBLIC WORKS GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM
Commr. Gregg stated that Public Works has a Geographic Information System (GIS) which was put together in a joint effort with the Water Authority, noting that the Water Authority purchased the hardware and software, and the County furnished them with an operator. He stated that the County has approximately $45,000 budgeted for it, however, feels it is something that could be cut. He stated that the County either needs to give the Water Authority the money and let them hire the positions, or they need to request the Water Authority to give the County the equipment, and County staff will do what their staff is doing.
The Board requested the Chairman, Commr. Bailey, to meet with the Water Authority and try to resolve the matter.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 12:35 p.m.
DONALD B. BAILEY, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK