The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in a joint session on Tuesday, October 29, 1991, at 9:00 a.m., at Vic's Embers, Leesburg, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Donald B. Bailey, Chairman; Michael J. Bakich; C. W. "Chick" Gregg; Richard Swartz; and Catherine Hanson. Others present were: Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney; Mike Anderson, Interim County Manager; Ava Kronz, Assistant to the County Manager; and Toni M. Austin, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Bailey introduced all of the Commissioners and County staff that were present, and each City official introduced himself to the Commissioners and the audience.
It was noted that the issue being discussed today was waste flow and other pertinent topics. Information regarding mandatory garbage service was also received from the Lake County League of Cities and was available for review.
Mr. Welton Cadwell, President of the Lake County League of Cities, opened the floor for comments.
Commr. Gregg stressed that the issue of waste flow is a countywide problem that exists in the incorporated and unincor-porated areas of the County. He stated that he reviewed the information received from the League of Cities regarding mandatory garbage service, and that there are errors. Commr. Gregg stated that there is some inequity through lack of mandatory collection in the County, however, it is not like what is being addressed in the report. At this time, he discussed the initial amount estimated in the incinerator report in 1988, which suggested 6.67 pounds of garbage per capita, per person, per day, throughout the County, and compared it to the amount indicated in a survey that has been completed, in regards to the amount of tonnage going out of the County. He stated that he did not feel the discrepancies are as
great as indicated in the report from the League of Cities, however, there is some shortfall, because of the lack of a mandatory collection assessment.
Mr. Wayne Saunders, City Manager, Clermont, commented on problems regarding differences in garbage fees that exist between neighbors, and discussed the inequities in the report from the League of Cities.
Commr. Swartz discussed the meeting with the League of Cities last week, and stated that he felt there were three specific issues expressed that are of great concern of the cities. One was the mandatory versus voluntary collection in the unincorporated area; the transfer stations in the unincorporated area and the costs; and the recycling revenues and expenses, and whether or not any of the County programs are being subsidized, and the issue of the hazardous waste program. At this time, he suggested that staff comment on the issues of transfer stations and recycling.
Ms. Charlotte Lehner, Council Woman, Howey-in-the-Hills, discussed the issue of trash being dumped in the unincorporated areas, particularly in the more undeveloped areas. She also discussed individuals burning trash on their rural property, and the problems that exist with the haulers when refuse is "pooled" into one paying customer's garbage pickup. Ms. Lehner stated that this last problem could be remedied by issuing tags for the garbage bags at the time that you pay for the pickup, which would be an additional effort and expenditure for the haulers, and that, as long as mandatory collection is not enforced, this invasion will be perpetuated.
Mr. Franklin Pearce, Mayor, Montverde, discussed overpopulation, and the issues brought forth by Ms. Lehner, and stated that, because of the garbage that is allowed to sit and rot and disintegrate in certain areas, the County will be facing additional health problems in the future.
Mr. Don Findell, Director of Environmental Services, stated that, back during the budget sessions, he prepared an analysis of the costs of operation of the transfer stations for the last fiscal year, as well as the revenue generated by the transfer stations. He stated that the analysis indicated that the cost of operation last year was approximately $156,000.00, and approximately $38,000.00 was derived in revenues, with the net loss being approximately $118,000.00. To minimize the loss, and to make the operation of the transfer stations more equitable, he suggested that the County triple the disposal fees at the stations, and reduce the operating hours and days at the stations. The acceptance of those changes would allow the transfer stations to become 3/5's self-supporting. He stated that, in order to make them completely self-supporting, the disposal fee would have had to be increased five times the current cost.
Discussion occurred regarding the effectiveness of the transfer stations, with Mr. Bob Proctor, City Manager, Fruitland Park, stating that there is no incentive to use the transfer stations, when garbage can be dumped in backyards, and that this would be another argument for mandatory garbage collection throughout the County.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Board did recognize that the transfer stations are not very efficient, which is why the recommendations were made to change the hours of operation and increase the disposal costs. Even though the increase pays for the operation of the facility, it does not pay for the disposal of the approximate 1,000 tons of garbage per year, with Commr. Swartz stating that the mandatory collection will not necessarily solve the problems with the transfer stations. Commr. Swartz stated that, to go door-to-door with the curbside collection, as in the cities, in the unincorporated area, would not be the most efficient, or economic, way to proceed. Commr. Swartz discussed special assessments, and stated that, once the problem of disposal of garbage in Lake County is addressed, he will only support the most effective, efficient form of providing disposal of solid waste in Lake County, but that he cannot support the present system being
used. Commr. Swartz further stated that through a differential tipping fee, the County can deal with the issue of the transfer stations in the short term.
Mr. Proctor discussed the issue of the transfer stations, the differential in the tipping fee, curbside pickup, and the location of population within the County, and stated that, if everyone pays an equivalent amount for waste disposal, and are offered the same types of services, then he feels everyone will be more prone to utilize the transfer stations.
Mr. Findell stated that the staff's position is that, if the County goes to mandatory collection, approximately 10-15% more waste would be picked up in the unincorporated area.
Discussion occurred regarding statistical information that the city officials received from the County, and the recent direction given by the Board to consultants to prepare an unbiased analysis, one that will be unbiased by the Board of County Commissioners and staff.
Mr. Lee Hokr, Commissioner, Lady Lake, stated that he felt there should be more emphasize placed on recycling.
Mr. Hilory Drew, Mayor, Minneola, discussed the procedure used by the government in mandating the law to the County and to the cities, and stated that he will be glad to work with the County in any way possible to resolve the problems that currently exist in the County, but that his position is to look after the welfare of the people in Minneola, and to keep the city taxpayer in Minneola from having to pay any more costs, unless it is absolutely necessary.
Mr. Franklin Pearce, Jr., Mayor, Montverde, discussed the process being used in North Carolina and South Carolina, which involves the use of dumpsters. He stated that he will communicate with the necessary individuals to determine whether or not this involves a mandatory collection system.
Mr. Charles Boatwright, Commissioner, Fruitland Park, discussed County residents coming into the City of Fruitland Park and placing their garbage in the dumpsters within the City. He stated that people are upset about the inequity in the costs being paid. He discussed the differences in the costs being paid by different cities, and the closing of the landfill. He further discussed the services that the cities are receiving and paying for from the County, and stated that the County needs to realize that there are more people in the cities than in the County.
Mr. Jerry Miller, City Council, Tavares, discussed the problem of inequity that exists, and stated that the County presently has a disposal system that is being used. He stated a method needs to be developed where each resident of Lake County is paying for the disposal of garbage, separating disposal from the collection, and allowing each individual to pursue their own means of disposal, whether it be hiring a hauler, or transporting it to the transfer stations, or burying it in their backyards. Mr. Miller further stressed that he is not in favor of getting a system that will work, and then making people pay for it. He stated that everyone needs to pay for the current system, and if this cannot be done, then change the system as a County. Mr. Miller questioned the possibility of power companies collecting for the disposal of refuse.
Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, stated that an agreement would have to be made with the power company, and that this is not currently being done, but that this would be an option that could be considered.
Mr. Buddy Buie, Mayor, Eustis, discussed his meeting with Commr. Swartz, with both recognizing the direction that the cities and the County are moving. Mr. Buie stated that both realize the inequity problem, with the League of Cities determining that the number one problem is inequity, which the cities want resolved. He stated that the second problem is the dollar figure, with an indication being made by the League that a special assessment is not the answer to the problem, but may later be a part of the solution. Mr. Buie stated that there is a concern in knowing the
real costs, and whether or not the rates are reasonable. He stated that, at the League meeting on Friday, a representative was present from Ogden Martin, and implications were made that these cost figures may not be obtainable by the cities. Mr. Buie stated he felt that, if the County and cities work together towards common goals, levels of satisfaction will be attainable. He discussed the contract with Ogden Martin, and stated that he feels it needs to be further analyzed for true numbers, in order to eliminate the possibility of further increases in costs to all residents.
Commr. Bailey stated that a reasonable tipping fee needs to be determined, with a workable system being developed from there.
Commr. Bakich stated that the dollar amount could not be resolved today, but that the County is in the process of putting together a renegotiating team to review the contract with Ogden Martin.
Commr. Hanson discussed the interlocal agreement, which indicates mandatory collection or special assessment, and stated that the problems will not be resolved, if the County chooses the use of mandatory collection. She stated that she is not opposed to either method, if the price is right.
Discussion occurred regarding the number of transfer stations in the County and the location and hours of operation of each.
Discussion continued regarding the cities' willingness to be involved with a special assessment for disposal, within and outside of the city limits, with Mr. Cadwell stating that the cities have not made a definite decision on this issue.
Mr. Buie stated that full representation by the cities was not made at the League meeting on Friday, but that there was a consensus made that the special assessment may be a needed method for resolving the inequity problem in the County.
Mr. Cadwell stated that he felt that the assessment to cover the disposal cost would be the best method, because it would lower the cost to be paid by the individual.
Mr. Charles Strickland, Commissioner, Leesburg, discussed the meeting that was held at the Agriculture Center where the public expressed negative feelings towards the methods being proposed to collect the costs for services, in relation to renters and landlords.
Ms. Lehner stated that Howey-in-the-Hills has an ordinance regarding the property owner being held responsible, if the tenant moves and leaves fees unpaid, including water and garbage bills. Ms. Lehner stated that, before the meeting adjourns today, she would like to see a poll taken of the cities and towns, to determine their feelings on an assessment. She then discussed the anticipated reaction of the citizens in Howey-in-the-Hills, if they are assessed further, because of all of the services now being paid for by this community.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:15 a.m., the Chairman announced that a ten minutes recess would be taken.
ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES (CONT.)
Mr. Joseph Morin, President of the City Council, Montverde, discussed the four points in the County where refuse is being dropped off, and questioned why these particular individuals who use the drop off areas are not being assessed $100.00 per year for the service, because the individuals who are having their garbage picked up are already paying for their service.
Commr. Swartz stated that a Municipal Service Benefit Unit (MSBU) could be approved, but only for an entire particular geographical area.
Mr. Findell stated that the Board approved the proposed fee schedule only in concept, and stated that the drop off center in Lady Lake provides service, not only to the unincorporated area, but also to the incorporated area of Lady Lake.
Mr. Bob McGuire, City Council, Groveland, discussed the issue of developing mandatory collection, and stated that, if this particular method was to be used, it would have to be used throughout the entire County.
Commr. Swartz discussed services that could be included in a person's tax bill, and stated that the County has a problem, because it does not have a billing system like the cities, and that the only way that the County has to collect for a service is through special assessment.
Mr. Saunders stated that lowering the tipping fee is not going to change the inequity, and that he strongly supports renegotiating the contract with Ogden Martin.
Mr. Buie stated that, if the County Commissioners are unable to get realistic rates, the Commission might consider getting the rates in line, and perhaps freezing the dollar amounts, and then, once the realistic, reasonable rate is established, the County can reimburse the cities for the continued buildup of inequities.
Commr. Swartz discussed the existing inequities, and stated that there are inequities that currently benefit the cities, with the cities being able to control its waste stream, and by the County flow control ordinance, which allows the cities to recycle and compost, which are all credits to the cities. He further stated that it is unfortunate that the citizen in the unincorporated area of the County does not get the same benefits as in the city, because of a contract that has a minimum tonnage at the incinerator.
Commr. Bakich discussed the inequity issues that need to be addressed, and stated that, from the cities' standpoint, a determination needs to be made whether or not to endorse a special assessment. He stated that some of the city officials have already indicated that they do not know whether or not they will endorse it, unless some of the other inequities are resolved.
Discussion occurred regarding the different methods of recycling and composting used by the cities.
Mr. Buie stated that the City of Eustis contracts out its waste collection, and when the City decided to recycle, there was no decrease in costs. He stated that, if the disposal cost was uniform throughout the County, and assessed to every household equally, the city would realize a decrease in costs, because the tipping fee would be assessed differently.
Mr. Cadwell questioned whether there was anything else needed from by the County Commission, other than polling the cities on a special assessment.
Commr. Swartz stated that, if the cities were going to be polled, Mr. Cadwell should appear before each City Council, in order to make sure there was complete understanding of the issue of a special assessment.
Mr. Franklin Pearce, Mayor, Montverde, questioned the recycling process in Okahumpka, with Mr. Findell explaining the procedures.
Mr. Cadwell discussed the interlocal agreement, which states that the County agrees to establish a solid waste advisory board, with one representative from each municipality, and stated that this could be taken out of context to develop a structure for a committee involving the County and the cities, which would establish deadlines.
Commr. Gregg stated that, if the County is asked to establish a special assessment for the disposal of waste in unincorporated areas only, one hundred percent (100%) participation would be needed from the cities, and that the inequities would continue, if only a few of the cities opted in.
Ms. Lustgarten explained the process for laying the ground work for the creation of a non-ad valorem assessment, which will involve the County Commission adopting a resolution simply indicating its intent to utilize the non-ad valorem process. At this time, she discussed the timing of the public hearings that would also be necessary.
Mr. Rex Taylor, City Manager, Leesburg, questioned whether or not non-ad valorem assessments can be billed quarterly, with Ms. Lustgarten answering no, but explaining, however, that a taxpayer can petition to receive his bill quarterly.
Commr. Hanson stated that the County could consider mandatory
collection through an ordinance, due to the timing process needed for a resolution.
Discussion occurred regarding proceeding with the billing through the power companies, and collection that would be necessary to collect a bad debt, with Ms. Lustgarten explaining that the Public Service Commission would not permit the discontinuance of electric service for nonpayment of a special assessment for garbage.
Mr. Tony Otte, Tavares, questioned the past discussions with the haulers of garbage, and the use of "green boxes", with Mr. Findell stating that the haulers indicated that the use of the "green box" system would not be conducive to their operation. Mr. Otte suggested that the County start exploring the use of "green boxes" at the transfer stations, and, at this time, explained his thoughts in regards to the enactment of this type of system.
Commr. Swartz stated that the special assessment could be enacted and become effective October, 1992, but that a resolution would have to be approved by the Board before the end of the year.
Mr. Cadwell questioned, if each city was polled within the next 30 days to determine whether or not there is a consensus for a special assessment, would there be time to have another joint meeting, and time for the Board to pass the necessary resolution.
Ms. Lustgarten stated that the advertising would have to begin November 19, 1991, with Mr. Cadwell suggesting that he and Commr. Bailey schedule the next joint meeting.
Commr. Swartz commended Mr. Cadwell for his efforts, along with the efforts of the entire League of Cities, and their meaningful intent to work with the County in a cooperative effort.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
DONALD B. BAILEY, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK