The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, May 12, 1998, 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: G. Richard Swartz, Jr., Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; William "Bill" H. Good; Rhonda H. Gerber; and Catherine C. Hanson. Others present were: Sue Whittle, County Manager; Sanford (Sandy) A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Ms. Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, Finance Department; and Marlene S. Foran, Deputy Clerk.
It was noted that a published Addendum No. 1 had been added to the agenda.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
COUNTY MANAGER'S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5 - 0 vote, the Board approved Deputy Sheriff Blanket Bond effective October 1, 1997 through October 1, 1998.
PERSONAL APPEARANCES/PUBLIC HEARINGS
Mr. Robert Moore, Chairman, Lake County Charter Development Committee, appeared before the Board to transmit the proposed Lake County Charter to the Board for their perusal and subsequent action and explained that Resolution 1995-247 directed the Lake County Charter Development Committee to draft a proposed charter for Lake County. He noted that he had been appointed to the Lake County Charter Development Committee as a representative of the Lake County League of Cities. At this time, Mr. Moore answered questions posed regarding the development of the proposed charter.
In response to a question presented by Commr. Cadwell, Mr. Moore, as a member of the League of Cities, stated that the League of Cities voted to not be in favor of charter government for Lake County and explained that the principal concern was that, with a majority vote of the unincorporated population being the majority, the independent governmental authority of a particular municipality or all of the municipalities could be taken away.
Commr. Gerber directed attention to Section 3.3 Executive Branch, Page 7, regarding ad valorem taxation to be received from the municipalities and the portion to be received from the unincorporated areas of the County, and questioned if the municipalities would have a problem with sharing the cost of maintaining an accounting system. Mr. Moore responded that he could not speak for all of the municipalities, however, an accounting system, which allows tracking the revenues from the municipalities, might be something that the municipalities would entertain.
In response to a question regarding how the proposed document differs from current law, Mr. Moore explained that the two major differences were that the proposed charter provides for initiative and recall. Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, interjected that there was a provision in the document that mandates that county ordinances in environmental areas would override city ordinances unless the city ordinance was more restrictive.
Commr. Gerber stated that there were issues that should be discussed if there was any sentiment on the Board to put this issue on a referendum. She directed the Board's attention to suggested language on page 10, Section 4.2, which she had distributed prior to the discussion, as follows: Section 4.2 Elections for all Charter offices shall be nonpartisan. No candidate shall be required to pay any party assessment or be required to state the party of which the candidate is a member. All candidates' names shall be placed on the ballot without reference to a political party affiliation. In the event that more that two candidates have qualified for any single office under the chartered government, an election shall be held at the time of the First Primary Election and providing no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, the two candidates receiving the most votes shall be placed on the ballot for the General Election. She further suggested language on Page 7, Section 3.3 Executive Branch. A. (c) Costs associated with maintaining this system will be borne by the Cities and County equally on a per-capital basis. She discussed suggested language under the salary reduction for the Board of County Commissioners on Page 10, Section 4.1 A. Salaries and stated that she had no problem with reducing the salary for the Board of County Commissioners by 50.6%, however, stated that this reduction should be applied across the board, as outlined in Section 4.1 A. She stated that was a fair way to approach the salary reduction.
Commr. Cadwell stated that at the time that the Board formed the Charter Development Committee he did not feel there was a big public out cry for a new form of government in Lake County and that he still did not see a charter form of government as an issue in Lake County.
Commr. Cadwell made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Hanson for purpose of discussion, not to move forward with consideration of the proposed Lake County Charter or any other at this time.
Commr. Hanson stated that she had mixed feelings regarding the issue of a charter government for Lake County and noted that she has been opposed to the charter form of government because a charter would ultimately cost the County a great deal more money. She stated, however, that the Board did move forward with the Charter Development Committee to develop a charter for Lake County, and she would like to see the charter go on the ballot to allow the people to determine the appropriate form of government for the County. She stated that she did not believe that, ultimately, it would be in the County's best interest.
Commr. Swartz provided a brief history of the Lake County Charter Government Study Committee and the Lake County Charter Development Committee, noting that a 5 - 0 vote established the Charter Government Study Committee and that a 3 - 2 vote established the Charter Development Committee. He stated that he did not see any reason for the Board to move forward with a charter form of government unless a significant number of the Board believes that it should be put to the public. He stated that he would support the motion; however, if the motion should fail, he would look favorably on Commr. Gerber's recommendations being included in the charter.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which carried by a 3 - 2 vote.
Commr. Gerber and Commr. Good voted in opposition.
Commr. Swartz noted that the members of the Lake County Charter Development Committee present were Mr. Ed Havill, Mr. Jim Myers, and Mr. Moore. He expressed the Board's appreciation for the efforts of the Committee to bring forth a draft charter for Lake County.
Commr. Good informed the Board that a Stuckey Community Cleanup took place on Stuckey Loop Road and Taylor Road in South Lake County on May 9, 1998. He commended all of the County staff that participated in the cleanup, and stated that the residents were very responsive and very appreciative of the County's efforts.
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, and Ms. Wanda Williams, Lake County Community Cleanup Coordinator, Lake County Code Enforcement, appeared before the Board to make a presentation on the Stuckey Community Cleanup. At this time, photographs were presented on the monitor as Ms. Williams briefly discussed each photograph. She stated that the residents were very appreciative of the County's efforts and had rented their own front end loader to assist with the cleanup. She noted that the Stuckey Community Cleanup was a good effort between the County, Department of Public Works, Sheriff's Department, Solid Waste Management Services, Ogden Martin of Lake, Inc. and the residents, noting that Ogden Martin shared in the cost of the cleanup.
Commr. Hanson stated that she was very pleased with the use of the Community Cleanup funds and suggested that the communities be made more aware that the Community Cleanup Program was available.
A brief discussion occurred regarding funding of the Community Cleanup Program; at which time, Ms. Williams stated that she has placed the funding in the Code Enforcement budget for Fiscal Year 1998/99.
Commr. Swartz requested that staff prepare a press release in regard to the Stuckey Community Cleanup and the Community Cleanup Program in general.
Ms. Williams explained that she would continue to revisit the Stuckey area to assure that the residents were satisfaction with the cleanup effort. She stated that the residents in the Stuckey area have indicated that they would like sidewalks, lights, beautification projects and parks for recreation. She stated that staff would like to discuss with the Board, at a later date, the possibility of incorporating parks and recreation in the Community Cleanup program.
Commr. Swartz suggested that a community organization be formed to organize cleanups and beautification projects in lieu of the County using enforcement; at which time, Ms. Williams stated that it was the ultimate goal that when staff leaves an area, neighborhood associations would be in place so that the community can do their own semi-annual or annual cleanups.
WORK SESSION - PARKS AND RECREATION CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
Mr. Chuck Pula, Parks and Recreation Manager, appeared before the Board and explained that the purpose of the workshop this date was to review Lake County Parks and Recreation past and present, to discuss regional parks; and establish a direction for the future. At this time, he introduced the following staff members and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board members who were present: Mr. John Bringard, Parks Supervisor, Parks & Recreation; Ms. Dena Demartino, Secretary, Parks and Recreation; Mr. Jim Myers, Jr., Chairman, Parks & Recreation Advisory Board; Ms. Basha Schlazer, District 2 Representative; Ms. Rene James, Lake County Water Authority Representative; and Ms. Margo Messina, District 5 Representative.
Mr. Jim Myers, Chairman, Lake County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, appeared before the Board to provide an overview of Lake County Parks and Recreation past and present, as summarized in the backup material. He stated that, in the past eight (8) years, Lake County has gone from a status quo maintenance oriented program to one that has a full time staff, and provides on-going operational assistance to providing agencies, and an on-going Capital Improvements Program of which it was contemplated may be expanded to encompass regional facilities. He stated that during the past five years four long-term capital projects have been funded, 42 were funded in the amount of $968,201, and through the Capital Improvement Program Lake County has partnered with the cities and other organizations to build over $2,290,100 in park and recreation improvements. He expressed appreciation to the Board of County Commissioners for their commitment to parks and recreation in Lake County and for their challenges to the Lake County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
Ms. Judy Borders, After-School Enrichment Program, Bragg Public Safety Complex, appeared before the Board to discuss the Lake County Middle School Before and After-School Enrichment Program and stated that the program has been named "Exploration Stations After School Program". She stated that they have submitted a proposal for a grant for the Twenty-First Century Community Learning Centers Program, which they hope to use toward expansion of the After School Program. She directed the Board's attention to the Exploration Stations After School Program Accountability Report January - March, 1998 and discussed total enrollment, average daily attendance, activities scheduled, donations and donors, expense report, Middle School Program Evaluation Parent Surveys, and Student Surveys. She briefly discussed a letter from Ms. Karen Jordan expressing her appreciation for the program on behalf of her son. At this time, she directed the Board's attention to the Expense Report, January - March and explained that total expenditures through March were $41,612.66, noting that $30,000 of unexpended funds should be carried over for next year. She discussed the projected budget, in the amount of $31,420 and noted that total transportation for 180 days was $15,480. She stated that the total cost of the program for Eustis Middle School, Groveland Middle School, and Tavares Middle School, the three pilot programs, was $131,760 with a projected carryover in the amount of $30,000. She informed the Board that an Extended Day Enrichment Advisory Board has been established to oversee the program.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that the Board make a presentation to the Lake County School Board requesting the School Board's support of the Exploration Stations After School Program and to discuss contributing additional funds other than the in-kind funding that they are currently providing.
Discussion occurred regarding the proposed budget for the After School Program; at which time, Commr. Gerber expressed a concern with the cost per student to participate in the program.
Ms. Borders explained that the long range goal for the After School Program includes having the schools opened in the evening for the After School Program, and to provide an opportunity for the parents and the community to utilize the Internet, equipment, community education classes and adult literacy classes that are available.
Commr. Good stated that the Board needs to focus on more public/private type relationships for support personnel and teachers and as a funding source for the After School Program. He stated that this was an opportunity to bring the public sector to the schools and to have the schools become more of a community building rather than just a place to teach children. Commr. Cadwell concurred with Commr. Gerber that it was imperative that dollars spent reach the largest number of children and that we are effective with those children being reached; however, he stated that he feels this program would save the County money in the long run with the alternatives that are provided for those children. He stated that most of the children are using bus transportation which indicates that most of those children live in the outlining areas and wouldn't have any type of program and less supervision than children who live in the city. He stated that, even though the program was expensive, it was the right direction. He suggested that the Board continue to work with the program and incorporate some of the suggestions being made this date.
Commr. Hanson noted that the County was investing in prevention with the Exploration Stations After School Program.
Commr. Swartz stated that it was important to find ways to maximize the funds that are available for the After School Program. He requested that Commr. Cadwell schedule a meeting with the Lake County School Board to discuss the School Board's involvement in the Exploration Stations After School Program and to discuss providing additional funding other than the in-kind funding currently being provided. He stated that the Board needs to explore partnerships with agencies that might be able to perform some of the after school programs, noting that the programs do not necessarily have to be within the school system. He suggested the feasibility of working with the Lake County Boys and Girls Club, or other agencies, in a contractual relationship for an after school program and suggested that perhaps the approach to take would be to ask organizations and communities to submit a proposal on their cost to operate programs such as programs being offered in the Exploration Stations After School Program. He stated that the concern was not the level of total dollars being expended but seeing that those dollars reach more children. He requested that an analysis be made of the percentage of at-risk children participating in the after school program and the criteria being used to determine the at-risk children. He stated that one of the problems was that the after school program was not available in other parts of Lake County, and he would like to see the focus on other alternatives in lieu of expanding this program.
Mr. Myers stated that the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board has not had an opportunity to review the information on the budget proposal for the Exploration Stations After School Program before the Board at this time. He stated that the purpose of this workshop was to get feedback for future direction. He stated that he does not disagree with getting a better cost sharing with the Lake County School Board, and noted that the single largest cost factor with the program was transportation for the children; however, transportation was one of the most important parts of the program. He explained that Eustis Middle School, Tavares Middle School, and Groveland Middle School were recommended for the initial pilot program as the result of a study prepared by the Citizens' Commission for Children that identified at-risk children in geographic areas. He stated that the one area not addressed was the Lake Mack area.
Commr. Good requested that statistical data be accumulated to look at the numbers of students that are not involved in criminal activity as a result of the Exploration Stations After School Program and suggested, as one of the exploration stations, that the students be involved in the process of looking at the data for their peer group.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:25 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess and reconvene at 10:45 a.m.
WORK SESSION - PARKS AND RECREATION CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
GRANT PROGRAM (Continued)
Mr. Pula directed the Board's attention to the Lake County Public Parks and Open Space Inventory and briefly discussed the Astor Recreational Center, March Park & Boat Ramp, McTureous Memorial, Paisley Community Park, Palatlakaha Creek Board Ramp, Palatlakaha River Park and Twin Lakes Park. He discussed the Level of Service and explained that the EAR Committee has reviewed the Parks and Recreation Level of Service, and it was the EAR Committee's recommendation that Lake County's share of the BMK Ranch purchase and Hickory Point Park not be included in the Lake County Parks and Recreation Level of Service because they are not directly maintained or owned by Lake County.
Commr. Hanson stated that she disagrees with the determination of the EAR Committee because Hickory Point is a park, paid for by the citizens, and available to the citizens of Lake County. She stated that Hickory Point should be included in the Level of Service. She stated that she would like to see the Board move forward with a determination from the state on how the County could get credit for the dollars put forth by the County for the BMK Ranch purchase.
Mr. Pula explained that the state was willing to look at negotiating an agreement with Lake County regarding using some of the BMK Ranch purchase for whatever the County would desire to use the property for as long as it was of a passive nature.
Discussion occurred regarding Hickory Point Park and how level of service would be affected by including the park acreage. Mr. Pula clarified that the reason that Hickory Point Park was not included in the level of service was because the park belongs to the Lake County Water Authority and not to the Lake County Board of County Commissioners. The Board unanimously agreed that Hickory Point Park belongs to the citizens of Lake County.
Commr. Swartz stated that Hickory Point Park should be included in the level of service even though the County has no control over the park; however, BMK Ranch was more questionable because the citizens of Lake County have no access to the Ranch.
Mr. Pula stated that 41.5 acres would be added to the inventory list once the improvements begin at Lake Idamere, and that approximately 23 acres would be added to the present 10 acres for Pine Lakes. At this time, Mr. Pula brought up for discussion regional park facilities and stated that regional park facilities are facilities which are larger and meet a larger need than the current facilities that have been funded through the Capital Improvements Grant Program. He directed the Board's attention to the Lake County Parks and Recreation Capital Improvement Program, which had been presented to the Board in 1997 and summarizes the grant program and the past five years of the grant program. He stated that a value assessment was also presented to the Board in 1997 on the Parks and Recreation facilities showing how the dollars were matched and the value of those facilities. He stated that the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board discussed with the Board in 1997 the need to address regional facilities in Lake County, and it was the recommendation of the Advisory Board to consider funding some facilities that are more extensive and would meet more needs. He directed the Board's attention to the Lake County Parks and Recreation Program Regional Park Partnership Grant Program, which outlines the proposed criteria for regional facilities in regard to a proposed new regional facility park program, and discussed same. He explained that the criteria states that regional parks, which have documented regional impact, would be considered passive or active, and that regional parks were not defined by acreage because a regional impact facility can be as small as five acres or as large as several hundred acres. He stated that the Capital Improvement Grant Program was submitted to NACO (National Association of Counties); however, the value rating was not submitted; at which time, Commr. Swartz suggested that the value rating also be submitted to NACO. Mr. Pula stated that staff has looked at facilities that would classify as regional parks and displayed on the monitor photographs of the following regional facilities and briefly discussed each facility: Family Aquatic Center, Kissimmee, Florida; Sylvan Park, Seminole County; Austin-Tindall Regional Complex, Osceola County; Central Winds Park, City of Winter Springs, Florida. Mr. Pula noted that Mr. Brent Nelson, Central Florida Sports Commission, has expressed that Lake County was lacking in regional facilities to draw the sports teams participating on the statewide and national level; therefore, the Advisory Board and staff feel that Lake County needs to look at regional parks and what the County can do to begin the process of acquiring, developing, and improving regional parks throughout Lake County.
Ms. Basha Schlazer, District 2 Representative, appeared before the Board to present a site plan of Tamiami Park, a regional park in Miami Dade County, and discussed the 275 acre district park serving the west and central portions of unincorporated Dade County.
Mr. Pula stated that there was interest in regional parks in the County and an interest in an aquatic complex, a regional park on Hancock Road in the Clermont area, a sports facility at Lake Sumter Community College, a recreational facility for the Boys Club, and a regional facility at one of the County parks or at Lake Idamere Park. He discussed the potential of the City of Tavares working with the County through a regional grant program for a large softball complex in the Tavares area.
Mr. Myers directed the Board's attention to the County Parks and Recreation Focus Areas and briefly discussed the following three focus areas for consideration:
A. Develop and improve equally regional parks, community parks, neighborhood parks, and special use facilities following the master plan. Staffed recreation programs at all sites, athletic programs and special events. Fees and charges for most programs. Partnership specific facilities and programs when needed by cities, school board and non-profits.
B. Develop and improve regional county parks. Staffed recreational programs specific to the facilities to generate revenues. Higher level of maintenance. Minimal maintenance or contract to private sector other county parks. No financial assistance provide to cities or non-profits.
C. Award funds to cities, non-profits, and develop county parks as requested by citizens. Minimal maintenance and improvements to county parks. County does not provide recreation programs, athletic programs or special events. (Cities and non-profits provide). County provides funding assistance.
Mr. Myers stated that he would like some direction from the Board on the three focus areas that have been presented.
Commr. Swartz stated that the County has done a lot of good things with the grant program and in the final analysis, other than helping cities with some of their larger community parks, the County has not built regional facilities. He suggested that a portion of the $200,000 for the Capital Improvement Grant Program continue to be allocated to the small neighborhood parks and a portion be allocate towards the larger facilities. He noted that the County did not have much land to be allocated for active or passive recreation.
Commr. Gerber stated that the County should move from Focus Area C to Focus Area B which would require the Board to have a master plan.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board has directed staff to look at another funding source other than the one-cent sales tax under the assumption that it would run out at some point. He suggested that bonding the County's parimutuel money was one way to provide funding and that the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board should be made aware of that commitment by the Board.
Commr. Hanson expressed concern that the County has not received credit toward level of service for the dollars that have been funded for city parks. She suggested that some credit should be given for those dollars.
Commr. Swartz requested that Mr. Pula determine if other criteria could be used that recognizes the amount of monies that the County was putting into city facilities that do not show up the the County acreage count.
No action was taken at this time.
Discussion occurred regarding conflicts with the scheduled budget workshops in July; at which time, Ms. Whittle was requested to review the Commissioners' individual calendars to determine appropriate dates for the budget workshops.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting
was adjourned at 11:55 p.m.
G. RICHARD SWARTZ, JR.,CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK