The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, August 22, 1991, at 7:00 p.m., in the Astor Community Building, Astor, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Donald B. Bailey, Chairman; C. W. "Chick" Gregg; and Michael J. Bakich. Others present were: Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney; Ava Kronz, Assistant to the County Manager; Mike Anderson, Director of Capital Improvements (sitting in for Al Thelen, County Manager); Don Findell, Director of Environmental Services; Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works; Dave Warren, Director of Tourist Development; Lonnie Strickland, Director of Health and General Services; Greg Stubbs, Director of Current Planning; Mike Henry, Assistant Director of Planning and Zoning; and Toni M. Austin, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Bailey called the special meeting to order and introduced the Commissioners that were present, and turned the meeting over to the District Commissioner, Commr. Bakich.
Commr. Bakich introduced the County staff that was present at the meeting.
At this time, the meeting opened with a presentation made by Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works. Mr. Stivender presented maps, which indicated areas that the State and/or the County are proposing projects, in the next two years. He presented a handout that consisted of past projects, current projects, future projects, and future Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) projects, and discussed the statistics relating to costs with the audience.
At this time, Mr. Stivender answered questions from the audience.
HEALTH & GENERAL SERVICES
Mr. Lonnie Strickland, Director of Health and General Services, appeared before the audience and stated that the County staff worked with the Astor Community Association (ACA) during the spring in developing a children's reading program.
Mr. Strickland stated that recently the contracts were renegotiated for the ambulance service with Waterman Medical Center. In the new contract, the subsidy is increasing from $490,000.00, as it has been for the past four years, to $500,000.00. He then discussed the EMS Awards Grant, with a designated amount coming from each traffic ticket, which will be used for pre-hospitalization. Last year the monies were used to purchase two new rescue trucks. Mr. Strickland stated that, over the next years, $50,000.00 will be used to enhance the ambulance operation and the first responder program. The contract asks for an eight (8) minute average response time around the County; formalizes a complaint system to be utilized for the ambulance system; and provides for transporting firemen who are injured in the line of duty, without costs to the County.
At this time, Mr. Strickland answered questions from the audience, with the audience explaining the types of emergency services they receive in this area.
Mr. Don Findell, Director of Environmental Services, appeared before the audience to discuss studies that are currently underway relating to solid waste management in the County. Mr. Findell discussed the "no-burn analysis" study, which will determine the financial viability in keeping the waste energy facility open, or the viability of closing the facility. The study is expected to be completed in September. Mr. Findell stated that the County is also in the process of preparing an analysis of the feasibility of landfill reclamation for Lake County. He stated that the County will determine whether or not it will be viable to the extent that it will be incorporated into the County's solid waste management
plans and programs. This information should also be available in September. Mr. Findell stated that the County is also looking at the recycling programs. He discussed the curbside program, which was to be implemented between the years 1989-1994, which was to assist in meeting the State's 30% recycling goal requirement. Due to financial and economic problems, the County is reviewing how it might provide recycling service around the County in a more economic way, and still be able to meet the State's goal. One issue in this study involves drop-off centers for unincorporated areas, for recycling. Statistics will be developed, which will include the participation rate and amounts of materials to be deposited, so that a comparison can be made against the possibility of a curbside collection system, or even a mixed solid waste processing facility. This information should also be available in September. These studies will assist in the budgetary process this year, and in the coming years.
At this time, Mr. Findell answered questions from the audience.
Mr. Ralph Reeder discussed articles in the newspaper about Sumter County possibly buying waste from Lake County, and charging Lake County a lesser price. Mr. Findell stated that he understood that a presentation was going to be made to the Board of County Commissioners in Sumter County, by the contractor that has the municipal solid waste composting facility, and stated that they would like to come to Lake County and ask if the County would like to send 50-100 tons of waste a month to the Sumter County facility, at a charge of $45.00 per ton. This presentation has not been made to staff, or the Board, in Lake County.
Mr. Reeder discussed the investigation of the contracts and agreement for the incinerator, and strongly supports the County bringing in an outside State's Attorney to perform this investigation. Commr. Bakich stated that an investigation was performed by Mr. Brad King, State Attorney.
Mr. Bob Willets stated that the issue was not investigated for civil charges, and should have been investigated in the Civil Court. Mr. Willets stated that this was a business deal, and that only $13,000.00 was spent on the study.
Mr. Willets commented on the meetings involving the taxpayers revolt against the garbage, and the meeting on August 6, 1991, where the Board approved the hiring of Professional Financial Management (PFM) as consultants to study the garbage issue and the $300 million dollar incinerator contract, and authorized to spend $32,860.00 for the study.
Discussion occurred regarding the study by PFM that has been approved by the Board, with the Board giving direction to PFM to provide the County with a fair, unbiased study.
The Board continued to take questions, with Mr. Hugh Williams discussing having to drive all of the way to Astatula to dump, and the possibility of the County closing the transfer station in Astor.
Mr. Findell addressed the issue of the transfer station, and stated that one of the recommendations made to the Board in July, after the Board decided not to implement mandatory collection-special assessments, was to keep the transfer stations open. Two recommendations were made, one to reduce the hours of operations, in order to make them more financially feasible to operate; and to increase the fees for disposal at the transfer stations, in order to make them self-supportive.
Mr. Williams stated that the transfer station will only accept what the garbage haulers will pick up, and the community has no alternative to dispose of old metal, tree limbs, or old appliances.
Commr. Bakich discussed the issue of transfer stations, and stated that the problem is being able to expand the space of those stations. Another problem is that they are not being greatly used. The options will be considered for the most economically feasible service to the public.
Mr. Reeder discussed the separation made of articles for the transfer station, as done in the past, where the County would send a dump truck every three months and haul the material away. Then there would not be any expense in expanding the stations.
Discussion occurred regarding the Board's position to vote on issues that are not presented to the public for a vote.
Discussion occurred regarding the fire tax for a non-profit organizations, with the Board explaining the new process to be used by the County to determine the amount of fire tax on property.
Discussion occurred regarding the salary made by the Director of Tourist Development. Commr. Bailey explained that the two-cent tourist tax is derived from tourism that comes from hotels-motels. If the money is not used to promote tourism, then the County will have to eliminate the collection of the tax. It was noted that the two Tourist Development employees' salaries are paid out of the tourism tax.
Mr. Dave Warren, Director of Tourist Development, appeared before the audience to discuss the action he has taken, along with the Tourist Development Council and the Board of County Commissioners, to promote tourism in Lake County. Mr. Warren discussed the areas of attraction in Astor, which will be in the brochures at the Welcome Centers. At this time, Mr. Warren discussed other attractions in the local areas that will also be promoted. Mr. Warren stated that approximately $300,000.00 has been collected in revenues each year, and discussed the purchase of property (285 acres) at Highways 19/27/Turnpike, where a welcome center may be constructed.
Discussion occurred regarding the change made to the speed limit (5-7 miles per hour) on the contributories, with indication being made that many people will not return to this area because of this change.
PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Greg Stubbs, Director of Current Planning, appeared before the audience and discussed the procedures taken to draft the new Comprehensive Plan. He stated that the Board passed the Plan on July 9, 1991, and staff is working diligently to establish a new set of Land Development Regulations. Mr. Stubbs stated that the issue of redistricting is also being discussed by the Board. At this time, it was noted that maps and a copy of the Plan were available for review by the public.
Commr. Bakich discussed the Comprehensive Plan and stated that the Regional Planning Council reviewed the eleven (11) elements, with it being determined that the Plan is not in compliance, and that they did indicate concern over the land use allocation issue. Commr. Bakich stated that the Plan will continue to go through the necessary process with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), with the Chairman negotiating the issue at some point in time. It was noted that staff attended the Regional Planning Council meeting and provided input.
Commr. Bakich opened the floor for general discussion, with questions being asked regarding development for light clean industry, after the loss of the groves, with Commr. Bakich discussing the procedures being taken to bring industry in the County at the property located at Highways 19/27/Turnpike.
Discussion occurred regarding other issues pertaining to the County in regards to impact fees, schools, the development of industry, and agriculture.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
DONALD B. BAILEY, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK