The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Tuesday, September 17, 1991, at 6:30 p.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Courthouse, 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: Gerry Clark, Assistant County Attorney (representing Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, who was out of town); Michael Anderson, Interim County Manager; Ava Kronz, Assistant to the County Manager; James C. Watkins, Clerk; Robert K. McKee, Chief Deputy Clerk; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Eleanor Anderson, Executive Director of Administrative Services-Budget, appeared before the Board and reviewed a memorandum which she had prepared for the Board pertaining to the County's proposed budget for FY 1991-92. She stated that the proposed expenditures for all County funds total $116,238,678.00, and that the proposed expenditures for the General Fund total $37,820,483.00. She stated that the Tentative General Fund Budget is 10% lower than the FY 1991 adopted budget. The Contingency and Cash Reserve have been reduced by $134,745.00, a 5% decrease over
the mid-year amended amount for FY 1990-91.
Ms. Anderson stated that the proposed General Fund Contingency has been reduced down to $344,894.00 for FY 1991-92. She stated that offsetting some of the overall cuts are the following increases from the Mid-Year Amended budget:
Constitutional Officers $603,087.00 (5% increase)
Judiciary $187,112.00 (17% increase)
Board of County Commissioners' Dept. $688,824.00 (4% increase)
Ms. Anderson stated that it should be noted that all Board of County Commissioners' departments reduced their General Fund Budget requests from the FY 1990-91 adopted amount by 3%, at mid-year. She stated that the proposed budgets for the Board of County Commissioners' departments are 4% over the mid-year amended totals, for a net increase, from the adopted FY 1990-91 budget, of 1%. She stated that the increase is due primarily to costs for the energy management system incorporated in the new courts complex, to be occupied by the Clerk of Courts and Judiciary, as well as costs associated with the opening in FY 1990-91 of the Prelude facility and the scheduled opening of the new jail facility in FY 1991-92. She stated that the anticipated revenue for FY 1991-92 has been reduced in the General Fund, primarily due to lowered State Revenue Sharing and State Sales Tax estimates for a combined total decrease of $320,313.00 from the Mid-Year Amended revenue estimates. She stated that, to offset the decrease in General Fund revenue, staff is transferring $1.1 million from the Insurance Fund, which she noted will be a one time revenue source.
Ms. Anderson stated that the first tentative budget presented to the Board on July 8, 1991, totaled $127,351,263.00, or a 21% reduction from the Mid-Year Amended Budget. Since that time, at the Board's direction, 11 positions were cut from the tentative proposed budget, adjustments were made in telecommunications, and a 15% reduction was made in the computer/fax equipment request. She stated that the current proposal does include, however, a net of 51 new positions for the Department of Corrections.
Ms. Anderson stated that rebudgeted items which were in the current budget, but were not expended, will be carried forward into this budget. She stated that the overall total for rebudgeted items is $3,441,652.00, and the major impact is the Landfill Enterprise Fund, in the amount of $2,161,154.00, with the other funds making up the difference of $1,280,498.00.
Ms. Anderson then led the Board, step by step, through the Public Hearing portion of the meeting, stating that, pursuant to Section 200.065 of the Florida Statutes, Lake County had advertised
its intent to adopt a final millage rate and budget in two of the local newspapers.
Ms. Anderson then stated the percent of increase in the millage, over the rolled-back rate, necessary to fund the budget, and the purpose for the increase, as follows:
CERTIFIED TENTATIVE (DECREASE) OVER
ROLLED-BACK MILLAGE RATE ROLLED-BACK
General 4.545 4.938 4.752 %
Greater Hills 3.850 4.000 3.896 %
NORTHLAKE COUNTY AMBULANCE TAXING DISTRICTS
(Northeast and .206 0.223 8.252 %
Ms. Anderson stated that the above represents an aggregate increase over the rolled-back rate of 8.7%.
Mr. Frank Gillis, a local resident, appeared before the Board and read a statement into the Minutes regarding the budget, stating that downsizing is in order, noting that the Board has the knowledge, a responsibility, and the authority to do so. He discussed the national debt, the fact that bankruptcies have doubled over the last year in the United States, and the fact that various large corporations are laying off large numbers of employees. He stated that when a problem arises, the political solution has been to raise taxes; however, taxpayers, like a well, have their limitations - they run dry.
Mr. Dan Eastwood, a resident of Tavares, appeared before the Board stating that he sits on the board of three Florida corporations and, having been through the recent agonizing recession, sees $30 million taken out of budget from last year, out of $144 million, and stated that he has to commend any group, including the Board and its staff, who is able to accomplish that kind of task in this type of economic environment.
Mr. Walter Hayen, a resident of Eustis, appeared before the Board stating that his taxes had increased over 200% since he moved to Lake County in 1986. He requested the Board to consider the increases before approving them.
Mr. Bob Newman, a resident of Leesburg, appeared before the Board and requested an explanation of what the 8.7% increase in the rolled-back rate meant to the taxpayers, to which Commr. Swartz responded.
Mr. Newman then discussed population growth in the County and whether or not it was paying for itself, as well as questioned whether all the individuals needed for the Corrections Department were now on board.
Mr. Tom Neumayer, Director of Corrections, appeared before the Board, and responded to the question presented by Mr. Newman regarding the hiring of individuals for the Corrections Department, stating that they would be adding a total of 53 employees for FY 1991-92. He stated that, at present, the County is not paying any of the new employees, noting that they are being phased in on an activation schedule, as follows: 6 new employees in October; 4 in November; 3 in January; 10 in February; 17 in March; and 13 in May. It was noted that this would comprise a total of 203 people on staff, when the jail is opened; however, it will take substantially more personnel on board when the jail is completely full. It was noted that the State Department of Corrections sets the staffing for the jail.
Mr. Thomas Daugherty, a local resident, appeared before the Board complaining about the additional taxes, and stated that if the Board members that are running for reelection do not wise up, they may not be reelected.
Mr. Bob Weaver, a resident of Umatilla, appeared before the Board stating that the Finance Director, Mr. Jim Schuster, had furnished him with some details about the budget, at which time he questioned several aspects of it, which he felt had some discrepancies.
Ms. Eleanor Anderson, Executive Director of Administrative Services-Budget, responded to Mr. Weaver's questions, stating that staff had made some accounting adjustments.
Commr. Swartz recommended some changes in the budget, as the Contingency is very low this year, which concerns him, due to the fact that last year the budget was reduced by almost $3 million, at mid-year, and that some of said funds were taken from the Contingency reserve.
A motion was then made by Commr. Swartz and seconded by Commr. Hanson to move the Public Safety Director position, which is budgeted under Health & General Services, at $59,000.00 (salary, benefits, insurance), back into Contingency and reconsider it at mid-year.
Under discussion, Commr. Bakich questioned whether, at some point and time during the year, should the Board deem it necessary to have that position, it would be funded at that time, to which Commr. Swartz responded that, hopefully, when the books are closed out at the end of this year, the Board will find that they have some cash balances that will allow them to have more in Contingency, and allow them to look at some positions on an as needed basis.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously.
Commr. Swartz then brought to the attention of the Board the fact that the Environmental Services staff has been working on a Stormwater Utility Study, and because he is concerned that the Board is not ready to fully move forward with the implementation of it, suggested that the funding for same ($98,000.00) be moved from the Environmental Services budget into Contingency, and that, mid-year, the Board take a look at it and determine whether or not it is a study that they want to reactivate.
A motion was made by Commr. Swartz, and seconded by Commr. Gregg, to transfer $98,000.00 from Environmental Services to Contingency, as alluded to above, and that, mid-year, the Board reconsider the matter and determine whether or not it is a study that they want to reactivate.
Under discussion, Commr. Gregg stated that this particular item is part of Lake County's Comprehensive Plan, and if the Board delays it too long, they are going to need to amend the Comprehensive Plan.
Commr. Swartz concurred, however, stated that the Board is going to have to look very seriously at the ramifications of what the stormwater issue deals with and make a decision regarding whether or not to move forward with it.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously.
Commr. Swartz then requested the Board to consider adopting a position whereby, during the coming year, when the Board looks very comprehensively at all the County programs and priorities (which might result in a reduction in force) that rather than be faced with having to lay people off at mid-year, or at the end of the year, that prior to filling any positions that may become vacant during the course of the year, that said vacancies be brought before the Board and have the department head involved with it justify the necessity of said position, and let the Board deal with it on a case-by-case basis.
A motion was made by Commr. Swartz and seconded by Commr. Hanson to instruct staff to handle any vacancies which may occur during the course of the coming year, as alluded to above.
Under discussion, Commr. Gregg stated that he feels the recession is continuing, and that the Board is going to have to call on staff to review every position. He stated that there are a lot of positions set up based on user fees funding, and that in some areas those user fees are continuing to be less than projected, and before the County finds itself in a deficit position regarding same, they need to take a look at those positions, as it may be such that the County cannot depend on attrition to solve the problem.
Commr. Bakich concurred, and Commr. Hanson interjected that the Board has been working on a project for the new year, where each department will be evaluated, through the department heads. She stated that they have been to Palm Beach County (who has cut $79 million from their budget) to study their blueprint and see what they can learn from it, and that personnel from Palm Beach County has agreed to work with this County, over the course of several months, to help them get through the next budget. She stated that the Board realizes taxes cannot continue to go up, and that the County has to live within its budget and make it work; however, it is going to be very painful, because there will be certain programs that will have to be cut.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously.
Ms. Anderson, Executive Director of Administrative Services-Budget, then referred to a memo which she had prepared for the Board concerning the Parks Facilities Budget. She stated that she had met with Mr. Jim Stivender, Executive Director of Public Works, and Mr. Chuck Pula, Director of Parks & Facilities, regarding same. She stated that the proposed budget currently showing in the County Transportation Trust Fund is $364,254.00, and that the transfer from the General Fund is $50,000.00. The memo noted that, based on 10 months of historical information provided through the Parks Maintenance daily logs, for personal services, a pro rata amount of $35,000.00 can be transferred from the Transportation Trust Fund to the General Fund.
Ms. Anderson stated that a delay in the roof renovation of the Old Courthouse, until mid-year, would free up an additional $110,000.00, at which time she noted that the County Attorney's Office had researched whether said renovation would be eligible for the Infrastructure Sales Tax, and found that it would. She then noted that the balance which would remain, for the entire Parks Facilities Budget to be funded, would be $169,254.00, which could be transferred from Contingency (leaving a balance in that account of $175,640.00) or from Cash Reserve (reducing it to $2,080,746.00). She stated that the development of an indirect cost allocation plan, put in place mid-year, would result in additional revenue going into the General Fund, for administrative costs, and would replace the above reduction to Contingency or Cash Reserve.
A brief discussion occurred, at which time Mr. Mike Anderson, Director of Capital Improvements and Interim County Manager, informed the Board that some "Band-Aid" maintenance had been done to the roof of the Old Courthouse, noting that it is in bad condition, but felt that it would probably hold up for another six months or so, with normal patching, until the County could afford a full blown project.
Commr. Gregg stated that he was concerned about the fact that the County keeps tapping the County Transportation Trust Fund and the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund for everything under the sun, and felt that the County needs to be cautious with said funds, to which Commr. Bakich concurred.
On a motion by Commr. Gregg, seconded by Commr. Swartz and carried unanimously, the Board approved a request to transfer $110,000.00 (which was to be used to renovate the roof of the Old Courthouse) and $169,254.00 (from Cash Reserve) into the Parks Facilities Budget, leaving a balance in the Cash Reserve account of $2,080,746.00.
On a motion by Commr. Bakich, seconded by Commr. Gregg and carried unanimously, the Board approved a resolution (No. 1991-149) adopting a final countywide millage rate of 4.938 mills for Fiscal Year 1991-92, and providing for adoption of a final millage rate of 4.0 mills for the "Greater Hills Municipal Service Taxing Unit", as read in full.
On a motion by Commr. Gregg, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously, the Board approved a resolution (No. 1991-150) adopting a final millage rate for the North Lake County Ambulance District for Fiscal Year 1991-92, as read in full.
On a motion by Commr. Bakich, seconded by Commr. Swartz and carried unanimously, the Board approved a resolution (No. 1991-152) adopting a final countywide budget for Fiscal Year 1991-92, in the amount of $116,273,678.00.
On a motion by Commr. Swartz, seconded by Commr. Bakich and carried unanimously, the Board approved a resolution (No. 1991-151) adopting a final budget for the North Lake County Ambulance District for Fiscal Year 1991-92, in the amount of $825,292.00.
At this time, Ms. Anderson, Executive Director of Administrative Services-Budget, informed the Board that there was an error in the dollar amount for Resolution No. 1991-151, for the North Lake County Ambulance District. She stated that the correct figure is $898,929.00.
On a motion by Commr. Swartz, seconded by Commr. Bakich and carried unanimously, the Board approved to reconsider a motion to approve Resolution No. 1991-151, adopting a final budget for the North Lake County Ambulance District for Fiscal Year 1991-92, as corrected.
On a motion by Commr. Swartz, seconded by Commr. Bakich and carried unanimously, the Board approved a resolution (No. 1991-151) adopting a final budget for the North Lake County Ambulance District for Fiscal Year 1991-92, as corrected, in the amount of $898,929.00.
Mr. Tom Neumayer, Director of Corrections, appeared before the Board stating that he has managed five correctional institutions, in four different states, and commended the staff of the Office of Management and Budget, as well as the other departments that he dealt with, for making a painful process not quite as painful. He stated that staff's responses were timely and professional and wanted to thank them for doing a fine job.
Commr. Hanson then thanked the Constitutional Officers for working so well with the Board in putting this budget together.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.
DONALD B. BAILEY, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK