The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Friday, December 16, 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: Rhonda H. Gerber, Chairman; William "Bill" H. Good, Vice Chairman; G. Richard Swartz, Jr., and Welton G. Cadwell. Commr. Catherine Hanson was on vacation, therefore, not present. Others present were: Paul Bergmann, Senior Director, Planning and Development; Mary Shell, Executive Assistant to BCC Office Manager; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
The Chairman opened the meeting.
PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
OVERVIEW AND PURPOSE OF PACE
Mr. Alvin Jackson, Economic Development Coordinator for Lake County, appeared before the Board and thanked them for allowing the PACE (Professionals Addressing Career Employment) group to present themselves, stating that the bottom line of Economic Development is to create jobs and an environment for providing jobs. He stated that the PACE group represents a cross section of the community that is saying that the County needs industry, so that individuals such as themselves can be gainfully employed. He then turned the floor over to Mr. Mark Mikret, Coordinator, PACE group.
Mr. Mikret stated that the group is a networking and support group for professional, technical, and managerial job seekers that was started seven years ago by Ms. Linda McPherson, Manager, Jobs and Benefit Center of Lake County (f/k/a Job Service of Florida), who saw a need for such a group in the County. He stated that job seeking is like a pyramid, noting that entry level jobs, at the bottom of the pyramid, are easy to find; however, as one goes up the pyramid in responsibility and skills, it narrows more and more and it is very hard to replace such a job. He stated that their goal is to be a support group to those individuals who are seeking such jobs and let them know that they are not alone, to keep their spirits up, and to network for them. He noted that 70% of jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, never appear in a Job Service computer, nor in a newspaper, and they are often the best jobs to have. He stated that a quarterly mailout is sent to over 200 employers in the area and that it contains mini resumes of members of the PACE group who are seeking employment.
At this time various members of the PACE group gave a brief background history of themselves and answered questions from the Board regarding their qualifications and experiences they have had in seeking employment in Lake County.
Ms. McPherson, Manager, Jobs and Benefit Center of Lake County gave a brief background history of how and why she started the PACE group and thanked the Board for allowing the individuals who spoke to tell their particular stories.
Ms. McPherson stated that she was very pleased with the County hiring Mr. Alvin Jackson as its Economic Development Coordinator, noting that she has seen great strides in the County's economic development since Mr. Jackson was placed in that position.
RECAP AND DISCUSSION
A brief discussion occurred, at which time Commr. Cadwell noted that the County had forwarded the Economic Development Element of the Comprehensive Plan to the Department of Community Affairs, for their review. He stated that the Board finally has a tool in place to do some of the things that need to be done in Lake County. He stated that the Board intends to maintain the quality of life that it presently has, however, noted that there are areas in the County where industry can be brought in, to make jobs happen, and the Board needs to push to do so in those areas. He stated that the Economic Development Element of the Comprehensive Plan is going to allow the Board to do that and that he was going to work toward fulfilling his goal, which is to bring more jobs to the County. He stated that, in Lake County, unless one is in education, health care, or government, there are not many jobs available. He stated that, contrary to what one might read in the newspapers, this Board is going to work together toward some common goals and he feels the Economic Development Plan is one of them.
Commr. Good stated that, in addition to education and health care, the County still has agriculture, as well as a lot of vacant land that is available for agri-business opportunities, and that he hoped PACE would keep said opportunities in their network. He stated that agri-business has become more and more sophisticated and that, because of the County's climate, it is a great opportunity for the County.
Commr. Swartz addressed a comment that Mr. Jackson had made, in his opening remarks, in that the County needs to generate sustainable economic development. He discussed the quality of life that Lake County has and the need to maintain that quality of life, as it creates sustainable economic development. He stated that, generally speaking, he did not feel that the development activity that occurred in Lake County, over the last ten to twenty years, was sustainable and it is very much effected by what happens with interest rates and the building and construction industry. He stated that he does not feel it has been good for the quality of life in the County and that he does not feel the County has done a very good job of merging that sustainable type of economic development, as opposed to doing a lot of busy work that he does not feel has been good for the County. He noted that each of the individuals who spoke stated that they wanted to stay in Lake County, because of its quality of life, and that he feels the County has got to do a better job, than it has done in the past, to maintain that quality of life.
The Chairman congratulated Ms. McPherson for putting the PACE group together and thanked the group for their presentation.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:50 a.m.
RHONDA H. GERBER, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK