The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, July 14, 1994, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Catherine C. Hanson, Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; G. Richard Swartz, Jr.; Rhonda H. Gerber; and Don Bailey. Others present were: Bruce Duncan, Assistant County Attorney; Pete Wahl, County Manager; Ava Kronz, BCC Office Manager; and Marlene S. Foran, Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Eleanor Anderson, Director, Office of Budget, appeared before the Board to present the workshop on the tentative budget for Fiscal Year 1994-95. Ms. Roben Cunningham, Budget Analyst, Office of Budget, was present to answer questions presented by the Board.
Mr. Pete Wahl noted that Judge Don Briggs would not be present for the workshop on the tentative budget for the Judiciary for Fiscal Year 1994-95. He stated that the issue in regard to the Court Bailiffs had been included in the budget at the level in which it had originally been submitted, and that litigation was currently at the Fifth District Court of Appeal, and no action has been taken to date by the Board. He addressed the budget for the Public Defender and explained that the purpose of his recommendation for denial of the full time clerical position was based on existing statutory language, under Article 5, that it has been the responsibility of the State of Florida to assume responsibility for the operation of the offices of the State Attorney, and Public Defender.
Ms. Eleanor Anderson, Director, Office of Budget, presented the tentative budget for the Judiciary for Fiscal Year 1994-95, and noted that the Judiciary which was comprised of Circuit/County
Judges, Court Bailiffs, Court Costs, State Attorney, Conflict Attorney, Guardian Ad Litem, Court Reporter, and Public Defender. She stated that the comparison by fiscal year for the overall judicial support function indicates an increase, in the amount of $73,088.00, or five (5%) percent over the adopted budget for the previous year.
Ms. Anderson presented a brief overview of the tentative budget for the Circuit/County Judges, in the amount of $61,036.00, and noted a request for a copier at a cost of $3,000.00 to be used in the Judges' office operations.
Ms. Anderson presented a brief overview of the tentative budget for the Court Bailiffs, in the amount of $662,549.00, and noted an increase, in the amount of $28,906.00, which was attributed to upgrades in the Bailiffs' salaries at mid-year.
Ms. Anderson presented a brief overview of the tentative budget for Court Costs, in the amount of $321,000.00, and stated that the funding level remains the same as the adopted budget for the previous year; however, noted that the budget was governed according to court cases and may require additional monies for court costs later in the year.
Ms. Anderson presented a brief overview of the tentative budget for the State Attorney, in the amount of $86,319.00, and noted an increase of $11,207.00 over the adopted budget for the previous year. She stated that the State Attorney was requesting approval for a portion of the costs involved in the completion of the computer networking for the State Attorney and Public Defender, and for the cost for the State Attorney's portion of the wide-area network computer link-up, in the amount of $3,350.00. She noted that data processing materials relating to the computer network are proposed to be charged to the Office Supplies line item, in an
amount of $3,625.00, and to the Machinery and Equipment line item, in the amount of $8,925.00.
Ms. Anderson presented an overview of the tentative budget for the Conflict Attorneys, in the amount of $153,500.00, and noted a decrease, in the amount of $39,000.00, over the adopted budget for the previous year, due to a contract budgeted in Other Legal Fees for one conflict attorney being eliminated, and the County contracting with seven (7) conflict attorneys on a rotating basis at the contract amount.
Commr. Swartz questioned the status of the County contracting with attorneys for capital cases, at which time, Mr. Bruce Duncan, Assistant County Attorney, reported that staff was currently in the process of contracting with attorneys for capital cases; however, he noted that there were not many attorneys qualified under the requirements that are willing to enter into a contract.
Guardian Ad Litem
Ms. Anderson presented a brief overview of the tentative budget for Guardian Ad Litem, in the amount of $7,546.00, and noted that the funding level remains the same as the adopted the budget for the previous year.
Discussion occurred regarding the location of the Guardian Ad Litem office, at which time Commr. Swartz stated that the appropriate location for the Guardian Ad Litem office would be in the Judicial Center. Mr. Wahl interjected that discussions have occurred among the appropriate parties in regard to the location of said office and that he would check the status on the discussions and present location.
Ms. Anderson noted that one of the concerns in regard to this issue was with a cut back in state funding which could have an impact on having a location in Lake County.
Ms. Anderson presented a brief overview of the tentative budget for the Court Reporters, in the amount of $145,265.00, which
reflected an increase in the amount of $17,605.00, and was attributed to the Court's portion of the budget.
Commr. Swartz questioned if it would be possible to include a year-to-date expenditure on the Financial Appropriation Summaries by cost center or by total per unit, to which Ms. Anderson replied that she would review this issue with staff to determine if said information could be provided.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 9:25 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess and reconvene at 9:42 a.m.
Ms. Barbara Noeker, Office of Public Defender-Ocala, and Mr. Mike Lupton, Office Manager, Office of Public Defender-Lake County, appeared before the Board to present the tentative budget for the Public Defender for Fiscal Year 1994-95, in the amount of $80,639.00. Ms. Noeker noted that Mr. Skip Babb, Public Defender, would not be present for the meeting this date due to another commitment. Ms. Noeker provided a review of the "Budget Request for Support Staff Personnel", which had been distributed prior to the start of her presentation. She stated that initially the Public Defender had requested one full time clerical position; however, the request has been amended to one paralegal position, at a cost of $25,460.00, including salary and benefits. She referred to Florida Statutes, Section 27.54 (2)(b), which states that no county or municipality shall appropriate or contribute funds to the operation of the offices of the various public defenders, except that a county or municipality may appropriate or contribute funds to employ legal and support staff to be supervised by the public defender upon certification by the public defender that inadequate resources will result in withdrawal from current cases or inability to accept additional appointments. She stated that pursuant to the above mentioned statute, the Public Defender was requesting support staff in Lake County. She stated that the
legislative budget request for Fiscal Year 1994-95 was for seventy-five (75) new positions for the entire circuit, which would bring the Public Defender's Office up to American Bar Association standards. She discussed caseload statistics and indicated that, as of January 1, 1994, there were nine (9) attorneys in the Lake County office, and sixteen (16) attorneys were needed for said office. She indicated a potential savings to Lake County, in the amount of $274,540.00, if the County hired a paralegal for the Public Defender's Office. She stated that total services provided the Public Defender, pursuant to Florida Statutes, Section 27.54(3), were, in the amount of $46,009.00, and the reimbursement for county expenditures incurred in providing the Public Defender services were, in the amount of $43,453.00, or a ninety-four (94%) percent reimbursement.
Commr. Cadwell expressed his concern in regard to the County continually assuming the responsibility of the State.
Commr. Swartz suggested that the County develop a program of concerned citizens to address the issues surrounding the Public Defender's Office. He discussed Florida Statutes, Section 27.54, and the need for criminal attorneys to perform pro bono work.
Mr. Bruce Duncan, Assistant County Attorney, stated that there were new requirements that mandate that attorneys perform pro bono services, and suggested that the County set up a program that would provide attorneys the opportunity to provide said services. At this time, the Board directed Mr. Duncan to approach the Lake County Bar Association on behalf of the County in regard to a program that would provide local attorneys the opportunity to perform pro bono services within the County.
Commr. Hanson stated that the Board understands the need, the options, and the alternatives and should protest strongly and lobby the Legislature. She stated that she would like the County to consider enforcing liens and foreclosures.
At this time, Mr. Lupton expressed his appreciation to the Office of Budget for their assistance.
OFFICE OF BUDGET
Ms. Eleanor Anderson, Director, Office of Budget, presented an overview of the tentative budget for the Office of Management and Budget for Fiscal Year 1994-95, in the amount of $330,762.00, and stated that the budget indicates a reduction in the amount of $4,783.00. She stated that the Office of Budget has a staffing level of seven (7), of which there are two (2) vacant positions that will remain unfilled, for a cost savings of $69,465.00. She briefly discussed work programs that will not be performed, and programs that have been put on hold due to the shortage of staff.
Ms. Anderson discussed the responsibilities of the Office of Budget, and explained that prior to the establishment of said office in 1989, the Board had not been provided the professional documents that are being provided at this time. She explained that the Office of Budget works for the Board of County Commissioners, and she feels very strongly that the budget office should remain under the Board. She discussed a survey that was performed by the budget office, which indicated that twenty-three (23) out of thirty-four (34) counties maintain a budget office under the Board of County Commissioners, and five (5) of the six (6) surrounding counties have a budget office under the Board of County Commissioners.
Mr. Pete Wahl, County Manager, discussed the recommendation to move the Office of Budget responsibilities into the Clerk of Circuit Court Finance and Audit Department, and stated that literature on management techniques addresses organizational dynamics, stresses the issue of involving staff, the issue of lowering the level of decision making, allowing the managers to manage, giving managers the tools to manage, and making managers accountable for managing. He stated that it was a philosophical issue as to whether to centralize or decentralize control. He stated that he has reinforced with the department directors the need to be responsible for their departments and divisions, and that he has encouraged them to become knowledgeable of the
appropriation and the revenue side of the budget. He stated that, currently, the department heads develop their department budgets with the assistance of the budget staff, and perform a large portion of revenue forecasting, which, in part, is the result of the new software and system that the Clerk has in place. He stated that he does not foresee a problem with the Clerk of Court performing the developmental work as it relates to the budget, and said change was a direction consistent with efforts to decentralize those activities that are currently centralized. He directed the Board's attention to a proposal submitted by Mr. James C. Watkins, Clerk of Circuit Court, dated July 13, 1994, which had been distributed to the Board prior to the start of the meeting this date, and stated that, based on said proposal, there would be an immediate savings, in the amount of $137,000.00, if the Clerk of Circuit Court assumes the responsibility as the County Budget Officer.
Ms. Anderson stated that more counties are going in the direction of a separate Office of Budget in order to provide the Board with programs, goals, objectives, and work measurements.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Board should make a determination on this issue as soon as possible, and suggested that discussion occur this date based on many factors, some of which are far more important than what may appear in terms of just a Budget Office cost and whether it was located under the Board of County Commissioners or under the Clerk of Circuit Court. He stated that there were a number of issues that need to be addressed that have ramification and cost consequences far beyond actual dollar savings.
Commr. Gerber questioned how many department heads were prepared to submit, defend, and administer their department's budget without adding additional personnel to their department. Ms. Anderson responded that the majority of the departments are not equipped to perform budget functions. At this time, she briefly
discussed the differences between the functions of the Finance and Audit Department and the Office of Budget.
Commr. Bailey stated that he recalls the difficulty in obtaining necessary information prior to the establishment of the Office of Budget. He stated that he requires additional information and time to review the Kitchen Cabinet recommendation before making a decision. He stressed the importance that the Board be unified in their decision for change, and stated that he does agree with Commr. Swartz's comment that money may not be the right reason for change.
Mr. Wahl stated that the departments have become involved in and directive of their own financial and budgetary operations, and have assumed a portion of the budget and financial responsibility for their departments. He stated that the Office of Budget has provided a consultant activity to the departments; however, the Finance and Audit Department has also provided said services. He stated that it was a question of receiving the services that we are currently being provided at a minimum through the Finance and Audit Department.
Commr. Swartz stated that he has the highest respect for the Clerk's Finance and Audit Department and the functions that they perform. He stated that at the time that the Board established the Office of Budget in 1989, the Board required more analysis and projective ability. He stated that, when reviewing the Kitchen Cabinet's recommendations, it was essential to keep in mind the issue of whether the Kitchen Cabinet had a complete understanding of the operations as they exist, and the purpose of the Office of Budget. He further stated that it was important that the Board base its decision on the level of service that is required by the Board. He stated that to decentralize in the manner in which the County Manager was proposing could result in spending more money to establish additional positions in the departments to handle
At this time, Commr. Swartz suggested that one alternative for consideration, that would decentralize, and provide accountability,
would be to require department heads to manage and work within their budget, with a budget review performed by a central Office of Budget. He stated that there was a level of comfort in allowing the department heads authority and responsibility within their budget and line items knowing that a budget review was being performed by the budget office as an independent reaffirmation to the budget process that the Board puts in place. He suggested that the Office of Budget become more independent and that the Budget Director be hired by the Board of County Commissioners. He strongly urged the Board not to take a step in the wrong direction, a step that would cost the County in accountability and ultimately in dollars.
Commr. Hanson stated that the discussion today was very important; however, she noted that the public had a perception that there has been a great deal of duplication of services, which was the purpose of addressing this issue.
Commr. Gerber noted that she had requested that Ms. Barbara Lehman, Deputy Clerk, Finance and Audit Department, and the Office of Budget prepare an outline of the functions of each department to determine the duplication of services. It was noted that a copy of the "Clerk of Circuit Court BCC Account Department Major Functions" and "Budget Office Duties" had been distributed prior to the start of the meeting this date.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the budget process could remain the same under the Clerk's Finance and Audit Department. He briefly discussed the separation of powers and authority.
Commr. Bailey requested that he be furnished information on the counties that have an independent Office of Budget.
Ms. Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, Finance and Audit Department, appeared before the Board and stated that the Finance and Audit Department has an integrated accounting system that includes fund accounting, budgeting, purchasing, fixed assets and payroll, and those systems are designed to interface with one another. She explained that, as the Administration Building
renovations take place, the goal for the Finance and Audit Department was to have on-line access to the computer system to allow each department access to the system. She stated that security would be restricted to inquiry only and to specific screens.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 11:03 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for lunch, and reconvene at 1:30 p.m.
George E. Knupp, Jr., Sheriff, appeared before the Board to present the tentative budget for the Sheriff's Department for Fiscal Year 1994-95, in the amount of $18,678,582.00. Lieutenant Thomas Mysinger; Lieutenant John Burrow; Major Gary Borders, Operations Director/Department of Corrections; Ms. Linda Carter, Director of Finance; and David Hall, Chief Deputy, were present to answer questions presented by the Board. It was noted that a copy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office 1993 Annual Report had been distributed prior to the start of the meeting this date. Sheriff Knupp noted that a booklet had been distributed to the Board earlier in the week on a proposed pay plan for the Department of Corrections and Law Enforcement. He discussed the proposed pay plan for the Sheriff's Department, and stated that the proposed salary ranges represent new opportunities for the employees of the Sheriff's Office that will enhance and provide the employee with a range of pay based upon longevity and their continued satisfactory employment with the Sheriff's Office. He further stated that the salary ranges would be more competitive with surrounding law enforcement agencies, and expressed his concern that it was anticipated that Lake County would lose fifteen (15) corrections officers to the new federal facility in Sumter County due to the pay salaries being much greater than Lake County.
Commr. Swartz discussed the County's Salary and Compensation Pay Classification Study and stated that it was essential to
identify, and put into a special reserve, money to address all of the problem areas once the Classification Study was completed.
Discussion occurred regarding the budget for Law Enforcement and for the Corrections Department, and the revenue estimates; at which time Sheriff Knupp indicated that the Board would be receiving approximately $600,500.00 in uncommitted cash forward. Discussion occurred regarding an increase in In-House utility services indicated on the Sheriff's Budget and Related Cost Comparison; at which time, Commr. Swartz stressed the importance not to double budget utilities, noting that the utility costs are projected to go down with the renovation project.
Mr. Mike Anderson, Director of Facilities & Capital Improvements, appeared before the Board to provide clarification on utility costs and stated that six months of user utilities have been included in the Energy Management Budget under Utility Classifications. He stated that he would address this issue with the Sheriff to determine if there have been any overlapping of funds.
Discussion continued in regard to the Pay Plan, at which time Sheriff Knupp stated that the Pay Plan would be revisited every five (5) years.
Sheriff Knupp provided a brief overview of the tentative budget for Corrections, in the amount of $9,122,481.00, and discussed the request for one additional deputy to be assigned to environmental issues. He questioned whether said position would be a year-to-year position or a permanent position.
Commr. Swartz responded that the position would be hired with the intention that it would be a long term employee, and, if it was determined that the program was not worth dedicating an officer, said officer could be rolled over into a newly established position in the next budget year.
Commr. Swartz noted that discussions would occur in the near future with the Sheriff in regard to livestock and animal control
to determine the requirements that the Sheriff may wish to relinquish.
Sheriff Knupp stated that the Sheriff's Office was considering the implementation of a full service sub-station for the purpose of providing detectives and road patrol in South Lake County.
At this time, Ms. Eleanor Anderson, Director, Office of Budget, presented the tentative budgets for Fiscal Year 1994-95 for the Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, Law Library, Community Redevelopment Districts, Certificate of Indebtedness, Criminal Justice Trust Fund, and Historical Society.
Ms. Anderson provided a brief overview of the tentative budget for the Property Appraiser for Fiscal Year 1994-95, in the amount of $1,050,061.00, and noted an increase in the amount of $43,322.00 or 4.3% more than Fiscal Year 1993-94. She stated that Excess Fees were in the amount of $8,400.00.
Commr. Swartz requested clarification on the increase indicated in Operating Expenses, at which time, Ms. Anderson responded that she would provided said information to the Board at a later time. She noted that the line items on the Financial Appropriations Summary signified Board of County Commissioner in-house support costs.
Ms. Anderson provided a brief overview of the Tax Collector's tentative budget for Fiscal Year 1994-95 and explained that the Tax Collector's budget was not required until August 1 of each fiscal year, and that the total for this budget was based on a fee schedule pursuant to Florida Statutes, Chapter 192. She noted an increase based on line projections, in the amount of $90,803.00, or 6.7%. She reviewed the breakdown by funds and noted that the General Fund and Ambulance Fund were based on a formula pursuant to Florida Statutes. She stated that the remainder of the funds were based on two (2%) percent for special districts, and may require an
amendment when the actual budget was received. She briefly discussed the Financial Appropriation Summary.
Ms. Anderson provided a brief overview of the tentative budget for the Law Library, in the amount of $148,288.00. She stated that the Board of Trustees has full power and authority to purchase books, equipment, furniture, materials, and supplies for the Law Library, and was comprised of the Senior Circuit Judge, one member of the Board of County Commissioners, and three practicing attorneys with offices in the County. She discussed the Financial Appropriation Summary and stated that any excess money that was not for the operating budget goes into a special reserve account for the purchase of law books.
COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS
Ms. Anderson provided a brief overview of the tentative budget for the Community Redevelopment Districts for Fiscal Year 1994-95, in an estimated amount of $145,703.00. She noted that, currently, the City of Mount Dora and the City of Eustis receive funding for their redevelopment districts.
CERTIFICATE OF INDEBTEDNESS
Ms. Anderson provided a brief overview of the tentative budget for the Certificate of Indebtedness for Fiscal Year 1994-95 and explained that racing revenue from pari-mutual betting was distributed yearly among Florida's sixty-seven counties. She stated that Lake County selected to allocate one-third of the racetrack funds to the Lake County School Board through a Special Act, and the unobligated balance of $155,560.00 was currently being transferred to the General Fund.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE TRUST FUND
Ms. Anderson provided a brief overview of the tentative budget for the Criminal Justice Trust Fund for Fiscal Year 1994-95, and stated that this fund accounts for revenues resulting from court fines against persons found guilty or pleading nolo contendere to any felony misdemeanor or criminal traffic offense. She stated
that all monies received are transferred to the General Fund where all related court costs are budgeted.
Ms. Anderson provided a brief overview of the tentative budget for the Historical Society for Fiscal Year 1994-95, in the amount of $5,000.
Mr. Wahl requested direction on the appropriate method of distributing the requested additional budget information to the Board. He requested clarification in regard to implementation of the Pay Classification Study and questioned, if adjustments could be made, was it the direction of the Board that said adjustments be reflected over a reserve under that identifier. It was noted that the intent of the Board was for the Pay Classification Study to be set up as a separate reserve fund.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 2:40 p.m.
CATHERINE C. HANSON, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK