The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, February 20, 1992, at 7:00 p.m., at Leesburg City Hall, Leesburg, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: C. W. "Chick" Gregg and Catherine Hanson. Others present were: Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney; Gerry Clark, Assistant County Attorney; Tim Hoban, Assistant County Attorney; Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works; Kathy McDonald, Interim Executive Director of Health & General Services; Mike Anderson, Interim County Manager and Director of Capital Improvements; John Swanson, Executive Director of Planning & Development; Don Findell, Executive Director of Environmental Services; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
The Invocation was given by Ms. Sanna Henderson, Mayor, City of Leesburg, and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Mr. Joe Knowles, City Commissioner, City of Leesburg.
Commr. Gregg, Vice-Chairman, opened the meeting by introducing Commr. Hanson, staff members, and various city officials who were present in the audience.
There were approximately 40 people in attendance.
UPDATE ON ROAD PROJECTS IN THE LEESBURG AREA
Mr. Jim Stivender, Executive Director of Public Works, appeared before those present and discussed various road projects that the County currently has under way, as well as proposed future projects. He also discussed some projects that the Florida Department of Transportation is working on, noting that they are proposing to do approximately $3.3 million worth of work in the Leesburg area over the next couple of years. He stated that the County has done approximately $3 million worth of work in the area, as well.
SOLID WASTE ISSUE
Mr. Don Findell, Executive Director of Environmental Services, appeared before those present stating that the County has three major activities that are presently ongoing, being (1) the County is in the process of renegotiating the waste-to-energy service agreement with Ogden Martin Systems of Lake County, to see if they can reduce the County's obligation in that service agreement to result in a lower tipping fee or disposal fee; (2) a referendum is to be placed on the March 10, 1992 presidential primary ballot, which asks three questions regarding solid waste (which he reviewed and discussed); and (3) the County has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for recycling, to determine if there are cheaper ways of providing recycling services than what there currently are in the County. He stated that the proposals are due to be in on February 21, 1992, and that information obtained from them will be used by the County's Recycling Subcommittee to make recommendations to the Board as to what sort of recycling system should be implemented in the coming years.
Considerable discussion occurred regarding the three issues alluded to by Mr. Findell, at which time he and Commrs. Gregg and Hanson answered questions from various individuals in the audience regarding same.
UPDATE ON COMPREHENSIVE PLAN, LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS AND
CONCURRENCY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Mr. John Swanson, Executive Director of Planning and Development, appeared before those present to discuss the County's Comprehensive Plan, Land Development Regulations (LDRs) and Concurrency Management Program. He stated that the Comprehensive Plan was adopted and sent to Tallahassee, however, they reviewed it and found the County not in compliance, due to the fact that the County over allocated some of its land use categories. He stated that the County has hired a consultant in Tallahassee that is going to review the plan and represent the County in negotiations with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) on meeting the
requirements of the plan and the objections that DCA has regarding it. He then discussed the Land Development Regulations, noting that they implement the Comprehensive Plan. He stated that staff has finished them and they are now in front of the Board for review. He stated that several workshops and public hearings will be held regarding them and they will go before the Board for adoption on May 19, 1992.
Mr. Swanson then discussed the County's Concurrency Management Program, stating that the State has informed the County that it has to be in effect one year after adoption of the Comprehensive Plan, noting that it went into effect February 1, 1992. He then reviewed some charts indicating how concurrency management works and answered questions from those present in the audience regarding same. He gave a brief update on the County's proposed industrial park located at Hwys. 19/27 and the turnpike. He stated that Public Works has taken bids on the construction of various roads within the development, and discussed several businesses which are planning to locate in the park. He then discussed a portion of the site that has been set aside for a possible baseball training facility, as well as a portion which has been set aside for a gopher tortoise habitat.
Commr. Gregg stated that the County hopes to have contracts in hand for two of the businesses alluded to by Mr. Swanson by next month, noting that one of them will employ approximately 50 people and the other one will employ approximately 75 people. He stated that the Tourist Development Council is also going to be building a Welcome Center at the site in the very near future. As far as a baseball team locating a training facility at the site, he stated that the Tourist Development Council has a task force that is presently reviewing the baseball issue, to determine what the economic benefits are versus the cost, and will be coming back to the Board of County Commissioners with a recommendation.
SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS FOR FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES
STRAW BALLOT REFERENDUM #1
Ms. Kathy McDonald, Interim Executive Director of Health & General Services, appeared before those present to discuss straw ballot referendum #1, which she noted is a request for an increase in assessments for the County's fire and rescue services, which serves all of the unincorporated area in the County, with the exception of Hawthorne at Leesburg, the Town of Lady Lake, Astatula, Howey-in-the-Hills and Minneola. She stated that, in October of 1991, the Board appointed a committee to study the issue of fire and rescue services in the County and come back to them with some recommendations. She stated that said referendum is the result of that committee's study and their recommendations to the Board.
Commr. Gregg answered a question from a gentleman in the audience as to whether any thought has been given to requiring sprinkler systems in all commercial buildings in the County, to reduce fire insurance and fire protection costs, stating that from past experience he found that in very few cases did the savings and the insurance premium justify the cost of installing a sprinkler system, even over an extended period of time.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
Mr. Mike Anderson, Interim County Manager and Director of Capital Improvements, appeared before those present and discussed projects which have been completed and one that is near completion, being The Plantation at Leesburg fire station (which has been completed); the Tavares Health Clinic (which has been completed); and the Criminal Justice Facility (which the County received an award for from the American Institute of Architects), consisting of the new Jail (an open house has been scheduled for the first two weeks in April) and the Courts Building (due to open in June). He then discussed future projects which are scheduled for this year, being the Records Storage Building; an office for the Tourist Development Council; and interior renovations to the old Jail and
the round Courthouse (once the move is made to the Courts Building) which will give the County administrative space for the next decade.
Considerable discussion occurred regarding the new Jail, at which time Mr. Anderson and Commr. Gregg answered questions from several individuals in the audience regarding the number of inmates it will house, the operating costs of the facility, the cost per day for each inmate, staffing, State guidelines for releasing inmates, and the County's intent to lease out additional space which the Jail presently has to other counties, to bring in additional funding.
Mr. Joe Knowles, City Commissioner of the City of Leesburg, questioned the 30 acres that have been set aside for gopher tortoises, on the property located at Hwys. 19/27 and the turnpike, at which time Mr. Greg Beliveau, Land Planning Group (retained by the County to handle the property), responded that due to gopher tortoises being found on the property, the County was having to accept the same responsibility that private developers are facing, in that if endangered species are found on one's property, they now have to address those species. He stated that due to the number of tortoises found on the site, 30 acres was determined to be a safe amount of acreage (which may shrink or expand) to substantiate a gopher tortoise habitat.
Ms. Sanna Henderson, Mayor, City of Leesburg, questioned whether the Property Appraiser, Ed Havill, could legally refuse to bill for the special assessments, to which she was informed that he could, pursuant to the Florida Statutes, which the County Attorney, Ms. Lustgarten, elaborated on. Discussion occurred regarding the matter, at which time Mr. Findell and Commr. Gregg answered questions regarding same.
Mr. Peter Daunaros, a resident of Imperial Terrace West, stated that he was disturbed about the changes in growth which have
occurred since he moved to this county, at which time he read into the Minutes a statement reflecting his views on the matter.
Commrs. Gregg and Hanson responded to Mr. Daunaros' comments, stating that there has been a substantial reduction in the number of zoning cases presently coming before the Board, and that the
Board is doing everything it can to bring industry into the County to broaden the tax base, due to the fact that if it does not do something to broaden it, the County may have exactly what it does not want, a bedroom community.
Mr. John Hall, a resident of Clermont, appeared before those present and discussed the Highlands PUD development, going in near him, which he strongly opposes. Considerable discussion occurred regarding the matter, at which time Commrs. Gregg and Hanson responded to comments made by Mr. Hall.
Mr. Cliff Vernon, a resident of Leesburg, appeared before those present stating that he feels the Board should be more concerned with the County's ecology than what they are.
Mr. Bill Good, a resident of Yalaha, appeared before those present and discussed, at length, the issue of the LDRs, at which time Commrs. Gregg and Hanson responded to comments made by Mr. Good.
Mr. Bob Willets, a resident of Umatilla, appeared before those present and discussed the matter of a baseball team possibly locating in this County, noting that people he has spoken to do not want a team to locate here, as they feel that the facility will be vacant most of the year and could be better used for a business that will be occupied most of the year, will employ residents of the County, and will bring in much higher paying jobs than a baseball stadium. He stated that if a team locates here it will generate traffic during the County's peak months for having a capacity of people in the County, and will put more stress on services that the County offers.
Mr. Jim Edwards, a resident of Clermont, appeared before those present and discussed an incentive program that the Property
Appraiser, Ed Havill, has initiated, in which people in the County are encouraged to make suggestions on how tax money can be saved, noting that a bond will be awarded to the most workable suggestion and the one that will yield the greatest savings. He stated that he would deliver material pertaining to the matter to the Interim County Manager, Mike Anderson, to be distributed to County employees and encouraged their participation.
Mr. Jim Miller, a local realtor, appeared before those present and commented on the County's Comprehensive Plan and how hard the members of that committee worked, noting that through their efforts, feels that the County will be a better place to live.
Mr. Howard Berry, a local resident, appeared before those present and commented on various things that are going on in the County that he is unhappy with, from notification of public hearings, to the tax base and how it is affected by growth.
Mr. Good reappeared before those present to discuss the incinerator and the LDRs. He commented on changes he has seen recently in the air quality of the County, as well as a concern regarding chemical tests which are being run in the County, at which time he suggested that the County test its surface waters for mercury contamination, as well as possible contamination by another compound known as TCDD, which he noted is one of the most toxic compounds found in surface waters. He stated that the County needs to keep an eye on these compounds (from a technical aspect) as they are extremely dangerous and hopes that the LDRs will include testing for them.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
MICHAEL J. BAKICH, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK