JULY 24, 1997

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, July 24, 1997, at 9:30 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: William "Bill" H. Good, Chairman; G. Richard Swartz, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson; Welton G. Cadwell; and Rhonda H. Gerber. Others present were: Sue B. Whittle, County Manager; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Tracy L. Zeller, Senior Budget Analyst; Kevin M. McDonald, Senior Budget Analyst; Julia A. Wilson, Budget Analyst; Sarah LaMarche, Director of Budget; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.


Mr. Fletcher Smith, Senior Director, Community Services, informed the Board that this year, he and Ms. Allison Thall, Human Services Manager, have been trying to get an interlocal agreement between the other counties in the Fifth Judicial Circuit to share in the operating costs of the Medical Examiner's budget, and to share in the cost of the renovation and expansion of the morgue. They were going to try and increase the staff meetings to better coordinate problems and share resources.

Ms. Hillary Knepper, Childrens' Services Coordinator, explained the proposed Childrens Advocate Center and stated that only a few of them have been established, but they are working very well, and they are coordinating resources. She explained that the State Attorney's Office, law enforcement, Guardian Ad Litem, and many other agencies have all been working with them, and they would all be coming together in this one facility. She stated that one building has been donated, but it was not quite at the location that would work best, so they were looking for another one in Leesburg. Ms. Knepper explained that they were going to receive $15,000 from the Sumter County Sheriff from their direct seizure dollars, and they needed an approximate budget in the amount of $77,000 for the first year for a director and some basic equipment costs to get it started. They wrote to the Department of Children and Families under Family Preservation for $77,000, and for $97,000 from the Victim's of Crimes Act Grant (VOCA), which would include a clerical support position.

Ms. Robbie Hollenbeck, Special Projects Coordinator, addressed the Board and explained the coordination that has been taking place between the RSVP program in Leesburg, the school system, and the AmeriCorps program noting that the RSVP grant was written to coordinate with the ongoing AmeriCorps program.

Mr. Smith continued to review his budget and enhancement requests with the Board.


Mr. Smith informed the Board that they were hoping to get a Library Service Program Coordinator and a Technical Services Assistant, which were previously grant funded positions, and an Internet/Network Specialist and a Computer Technician (one full time and one part time). He stated that they were also anticipating Fruitland Park joining the library system, and the interlocal agreements for reimbursements to patrons were coming up for re-negotiation this year. Mr. Smith noted that the County Manager was recommending a budget in the amount of $1,060,462.

Ms. Wendy Breeden, Library Services Manager, addressed the issue of reimbursement for youth and stated that the amount of $94,783 was actual based on the statistical report that was completed as of March 31, 1997, and the amount included Fruitland Park. She stated that the figures would be updated once a year.

Commr. Gerber stated that she had a concern with the methodology, because it was based on everybody that was issued a card, not how many times they have used the card.

Ms. Breeden stated that staff did a weeks snapshot on usage, and the information was sent to the County Manager. It was noted that the information was forwarded to the County Commissioners. The information was very comparable to the percentages of county and city patrons in each of the libraries. Ms. Breeden noted that reimbursement fee to the cities has been $13 per registered patron. If the Board wanted to fund on a different formula, staff would need to do some research.

Commr. Good stated that the County needed to be looking at usage figures instead of just cardholders, and the closer it can get to actual use figures, the funding can be targeted for library usage rather than library subscriber.

Discussion occurred regarding the formula that will be used, with it being noted that it would be too late to change it this year, because the interlocal agreements were going out to the cities for review.

Ms. Breeden stated that all of the cities were very interested in having a joint meeting with the Board, when staff finishes going through the process of meeting with the cities.

Commr. Swartz stated that the Board will need to discuss the direction it wants to go with the library system, because the system, as it is set up today, was different than what was proposed by the consultant and was recommended by the Library Board. He stated that he would like to have the total budget for each of the libraries that are working with the County, as compared to how much the County was supplementing that budget for some of those County services. He further suggested that the members get a spread sheet that basically shows and tracks library funding over that same period of time.

Discussion occurred regarding the Board possibly making a short term decision in regards to this years budget.

Commr. Good stated that the County has a library program in place, and there are libraries participating in the system. There is a current level of funding and a current level of service that the County provides. Once the County meets with the cities, long term policy decisions can be made for the program.

Ms. Whittle stated that she had included the listed enhancements in the budget, they do reflect a significant increase in the level of service, and they were included for the policy decisions that need to be made by the Board.

Commr. Swartz explained that, in 1988-89, the Board budgeted $100,000 for the library system. The Board was looking at $1 million, or $1.3 million in the enhanced area. He stated that one of the goals that the Board was going to have to set was to try to find the best formula for providing library services to the citizens of Lake County, and he was not convinced that the way the County was going today was the best system for expending the limited resources.


Mr. Smith informed the Board that the Citizens' Commission for Children was requesting funding for 11 programs which submitted applications. He reviewed each program and the amount being recommended and noted any matching funds that would be applied to the program.

Ms. Knepper noted that the Childhood Development Services - Match should reflect $25,000 and the Childhood Development Services - Challenge Grant should reflect $10,000.

Commr. Hanson explained that the State was going to make the County be very competitive for those dollars, which she objects to, because she feels that the County should get the dollars automatically without having to compete with other counties, and it should be on a per capita basis. She questioned whether there would be opportunities for additional funds from the State for the block grants.

Mr. Smith explained that the Lake Community Action Agency was normally the agency that gets the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

Ms. Knepper explained that she is writing competive grants and noted that she is on the mailing list with the State. She stated that District 13 is the lowest funded region for developmental services.

Commr. Good stated that he would like to see the information included in the benchmarking for this section of the budget. This would include the actual dollar per capita that Lake County was receiving versus the surrounding counties.

Discussion occurred regarding the amount of time that staff is spending on writing grants and the success rate, with Ms. Knepper explaining that the dollars are becoming more competitive and more agencies are being funded by programs such as United Way, so the dollars are often smaller. She further explained that the Childrens' Commission for Children was focusing on seed dollars and neighborhood initiatives, which means they are funding smaller percentages of peoples' budgets, and because of that, they are looking for making up the difference. Ms. Knepper stated that many of the programs do not have grant writers on staff.

Commr. Hanson stated that it was her feeling that the County should have a grant writer on board in regard to state and federal dollars. She requested that staff get the information together, which will show historically where the County has been per capita, for the last five years in regard to state and federal grant dollars.

Commr. Swartz asked staff to try and provide some additional information, for example, the number of children a day that a program is reaching and how much more funding is going in besides the funding from the County. He stated that he would like the programs to include Reach Ministries, Men of Distinction, Friends of South Lake, and any of similar nature, and whether they were recommended or not recommended for funding.

Commr. Hanson expressed that she had a problem with the County cutting back on the funding from year to year, even though she realized the enhanced budget would keep them maintained at the same dollars.

Ms. Knepper noted that the enhanced budget request for grants and aids was $180,736, and the County Manager's recommended FY 97/98 amount was $155,736. She further noted that she had requested an additional $25,000 for two programs, which would be in the enhanced budget, and those programs were the Friends of South Lake and the LCSB - Extended Day Enrichment. Ms. Knepper stated that these two programs had anticipated being funded through the Parks and Recreation Board.

Ms. Whittle clarified that the programs were not being funding by the Parks and Recreation funding, but it was the after school program that would be coming back to the Board for approval. She stated that the County has the money to fund the program, it has been set aside in this year's budget, and it will be carried over and rebudgeted for next year, if the Board approves that program.

Commr. Swartz asked staff to get the requested information to the Board as soon as possible.


Mr. Smith noted that the recommended figure and the enhanced figures for Records Management was the same amount, $132,549.


Mr. Smith noted that staff has changed its methodology for determining funding for various non-profit organizations. He reviewed the agencies that the County would be funding next year.

Commr. Swartz stated that the Lake Community Action Agency was sending a letter to Representative Robert Sindler requesting some information on how to obtain some of the proposed funding that he got through the Legislature relative to the closure to the muck farm buy out, and he felt it would be helpful if the Board sent a letter of concern relative to that and ask him to provide the County with information. He stated that there were a lot of families that were going to be impacted by the closure.

Discussion occurred regarding the programs that the Human Services Grant Advisory Committee had recommended to be funded. After further discussion on the Affordable Housing issue, Commr. Swartz requested that more information be brought to the Board some time in the future, and if necessary, the Board can involve itself in the legislative process.


At 11:20 a.m., the Board announced that the Board would recess until 1:30 p.m.


Commr. Good noted that Commr. Cadwell had been called away from the meeting and the discussion of the follow-up issues may need to be rescheduled. He stated that there was already a meeting scheduled for July 30, 1997 at 9 a.m. He further stated that a meeting needed to be scheduled to establish the tentative millage rate.

It was noted that a meeting would be scheduled and advertised for August 4, 1997, at 9 a.m., for the Board to set the tentative millage rate.

Ms. Whittle noted that the follow-up issues could be found in the back of the budget book and that staff has been regularly adding pages for the Board's review. If there was any other information that the Board needed before the meeting on Wednesday, July 30, 1997, to continue its deliberations, she asked that the Board let her know at this point.

Commr. Gerber stated that she would like to get something from the cities downtown partnership, and an update on the rail/trail issue they have been discussing with her.

Commr. Hanson felt that, in regards to the rail/trail issue, this was an area where the para-mutuel funds could be used.

Ms. Whittle stated that one of the suggestions that had been made by the financial advisors was the possibility that the para-mutual fund issue could be re-done and additional dollars could be raised.

Commr. Hanson stated that she would like to designate those dollars for Rails to Trails to start making some of the connections.

Commr. Gerber discussed the idea of a teen court, with Ms. Whittle explaining that there is a fully developed proposal involving the three dollar fee charge on certain court filing costs. She would bring this information back to the Board.

Commr. Swartz stated that this could be an amendment to the budget at the time the fees come in, and in regards to the para-mutuel funds, he though it was a good idea, except that his only concern was he did not want the Board to get in the position where the County would begin to lose federal and state monies.

Commr. Swartz stated that he would like the following to be added to the follow-up issues: the computer that was proposed in Guardian Ad Litem (it was noted that this was already included in the follow-up issues); and to follow up on the possible arrangements that could be made for different accommodations for the program.

Ms. Whittle noted that she was adding the Library System comparisons as item 14 on the follow-up issues.

Ms. Whittle noted that the operating expenses line item for the museum has been reduced by $23,140 and leaving a balance of $18,167.

Commr. Swartz stated that, in order to get the actual usage numbers from the libraries, staff should be running the program as often as possible to get the library snapshot.

There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 2:05 p.m.