The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, July 30, 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 (arriving at 9:15 a.m.). Others present were: Sue Whittle, County Manager; Sandy A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Sarah LaMarche, Budget Director; Wendy Taylor, BCC Administrative Assistant; Tracy L. Zeller, Senior Budget Analyst; Julia A. Wilson, Budget Analyst; Linda Lorentz, Budget Assistant; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Swartz noted that Commr. Hanson would be arriving late, due to a previously scheduled appointment.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, stated that the Board members had before them additional information on a list of follow-up issues that the Board had requested at an earlier meeting.
1. Clerk of Courts - Personal Services and Budget Comparisons
2. Clerk of Courts Information Request on New Position
Ms. Sarah LaMarche, Budget Director, noted that there were four scenarios prepared for the Clerk Analysis, which excluded the Teen Court, and the Personal Services column included two new positions. The Board directed staff to present new figures with the exclusion of those two new positions.
It was noted that the Board would continue with discussions on other follow-up issues, until staff could provide the requested information.
3. Inmate Medical - Detailed Current Year Expenses
Discussion occurred regarding the Jail Medical for FY 1997-98, which had an estimated figure of $598,910.00.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether this was something that could be put on a managed health care plan.
Mr. Minkoff explained that Orange County was currently bidding their jail medical out with the hospital chains, which would be similar to managed care, and a contractor would provide the entire medical for a year.
Discussion occurred regarding the AIDS patients, with Mr. Minkoff explaining that the County has to provide adequate medical care to all of the inmates, and Orange County has just paid a $3 million verdict relating to such a challenge.
Commr. Swartz suggested that staff contact some of the other counties that are putting these types of services out to bid.
Ms. Whittle explained that it was going to cost the County about $200,000 more a year than what it has been spending in this area of the budget.
Commr. Swartz stated that the issue of jail medical could be one of the issues that the Board would want to discuss with the Sheriff, but the Board should not wait until next year, and it should try and find a supplier that might be able to help the County cut some of these costs.
Ms. Whittle stated that the last time that the jail contract was bid, it was done in-house, but the Board did need to have some conversation with the Sheriff before it starts that process.
Commr. Swartz stated that the most appropriate direction to take would be to find the most inexpensive and efficient way to provide the medical care, and to coordinate with the Sheriff to let him know that the Board feels it needs to go out to bid to try and contain these costs, and for staff to look into and begin planning to go out to bid.
4. Sheriff Analysis
Ms. LaMarche noted that the Board had before them a five year history for the Sheriff's Department, and the figures reflected all revenues and expenses. She noted that the first three years are actual expenses, and 1995 includes his transfer request and all in-house figures, which included worker's compensation. In 1997, the Sheriff paid for his own workman's compensation, so it was included as part of his transfer. She included $67,000 for Telephone Lines in the General Fund in 1998, which he had been paying out of his transfer. It was noted that the Board would be getting money back from Jail Maintenance. Ms. LaMarche stated that, on the revenue side, the Excess Fees, for the past five years, have stayed relatively flat in the $700,000 to $1 million range, with staff budgeting about $700,000 each year. She noted that it looked as though it has doubled this year. She stated that the transfer from Solid Waste that pays for the deputy on his payroll is paid for directly through Solid Waste. Ms. LaMarche stated that the net increase to the General fund over the prior year would be $2,343,318. She stated that these were budgeted figures for 1998 and 1999, and the only difference would be the excess fees. She further stated that she did not see any change in this same pattern, because the Sheriff was basically limited as to the revenues that he can generate. Ms. LaMarche stated that the roll-back revenues for ad valorem this year were about $400,000 higher than last year, and this year they would be about $1.4 million. Ms. LaMarche noted that the other expenses, which have a corresponding revenue source, have not been included in the figures presented in the analysis. She stated that, since 1997, the County started accumulating $12.50 in DUI funds, which is about $80,000 a year.
Ms. Whittle questioned whether there was a reason why these funds could not be budgeted in the Sheriff's line items to pay for some of his capital requests.
Mr. Minkoff explained that there has been a multi-agency radio program approved by the State Division for law enforcement automation, but staff has not addressed the best use for these funds.
5. Sheriff's Greenbar
6. FY 1997 BCC Greenbar Salaries
It was noted that there were six pages of greenbar information for the Sheriff's Department, and the Sheriff has approximately 25% of his budget left for this year.
Discussion occurred regarding over budgeted figures, with Ms. Whittle noting that, in the Sheriff's budget, about 90 to 95% of what is left over at the end of the year is in Personal Services.
Ms. Whittle stated that the Sheriff's total Personal Services runs in the neighborhood of $21 million, and last year he returned approximately $1.1 million total. She explained that usually all of the personal services in a budget of that size are not spent. She felt that County practices require that a position be fully budgeted, which is traditionally about 20%.
Commr. Swartz stated that the money that comes back to the Board from the Sheriff comes from those unspent line items, and the Regular Salaries in Law Enforcement are budgeted at almost $6.8 million. He stated that right now the Sheriff has a $1.7 million available balance left in Regular Salaries, so he has spent approximately 74% of his budget for Regular Salaries, and about 80% of the budget year is gone.
Discussion occurred regarding what the reduction would be in the Sheriff's budget, if he used the same pay raises as the Board, with direction being given to staff to prepare these figures for further discussion.
7. Guardian Ad Litem
8. Why the 4.5% Works
Ms. LaMarche noted that staff had prepared the additional information requested for Guardian Ad Litem, as noted in the handout material, as well as the worksheet pertaining to the budgeted salaries.
1998 COLA and Merit Research
Mr. Alvin Jackson, Deputy County Manager, and Ms. Lourdes Ramos, Personnel Manager, were present to discuss the 1998 COLA and Merit Research that had been prepared for the Board.
Ms. Ramos presented research she had done with some of the surrounding counties, in addition to the American Compensation Association (ACA) numbers regarding some national trends to salary and budget increases, and stated that the national projected average for 1998 was 4.23%, and it was 4.2% for the southern region. Ms. Ramos noted that some counties have a cost-of-living (COLA) adjustment and others do not.
Ms. Whittle noted that the Merit-Broad Banding and Pay for Performance has been the trend for almost ten years, and it started in the private sector. She stated that government is trying to move in this direction.
Ms. Ramos explained that Merit-Broad Banding allows more flexibility in giving merit and pay for performance awards to the employees.
Commr. Swartz stated that this was the purpose of putting together the employee groups, to look at this issue and to come back with some recommendations.
Ms. Whittle stated that, in government operations, they tend to very narrowly describe positions, and the result is pages of job titles and classifications, and broad banding allows for just a few pay ranges and more flexibility and movement within those ranges. She stated that staff feels that the County really needs to move in a different direction, but it takes time to study and determine the best course, and it takes time for educational efforts to be made with the employees, so they understand what the County is trying to accomplish.
Commr. Swartz suggested that, instead of using the term"COLA", it be referred to as something else, because it is a salary adjustment, and the County is trying to keep the ranges of the salaries competitive.
Ms. Whittle stated that this was the purpose of doing the annual adjustments, and the Board adjusts the pay ranges, as well as the people who are in those pay ranges. She noted that the County was definitely heading in the direction of using no COLA, which allows it more flexibility in the pay for performance and merit plan. Ms. Whittle explained that the current evaluations are reviewed and signed by three different people, and they are monitored by Personnel.
Commr. Swartz stated that, with the assumption that the Board does not want to make a change to the 4.5%, and that the Board understands that it is moving toward more of a true performance evaluation method, the Board will continue with the current budget formula method.
Considerable discussion occurred regarding the three charts that had been prepared by the Personnel Department, which explained the Merit increases for 1995/96, 1996/97, and 1997/98.
Ms. LaMarche presented an explanation of the analysis that was prepared by staff regarding the 4.5% budgeted salaries, with it being noted that this would be used, as well as other information, to show the Sheriff the process that is being used by the Board for increases. It was noted that Ms. Linda Carter, Finance Director, Sheriff's Department, was present for the discussion.
Ms. Whittle stated that it costs about $250,000 less for the program that the Board adopted a number of years ago, which has been discussed today, and it still allows for a good system of rewards for the employees.
Commr. Swartz noted that Mr. James C. Watkins, Clerk of Courts, gives his raises on October 1, which is merit as well as salary adjustment.
Ms. Carter informed the Board that the cost for eight new dispatcher positions would be $225, 447.
Ms. LaMarche explained that there was a difference of approximately $300,000 in the Sheriff's budget when calculating the 4.5% and 7.5% for salaries, and this figure did not include the dispatchers.
It was noted that there was a .3% decrease in the Florida Retirement, but Ms. Carter explained that, because the Sheriff has requested salary increases and new positions, there is no reduction in the retirement amounts.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:30 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for 15 minutes.
Budget Formula Methodology
Commr. Swartz noted that staff has presented a revised Budget Formula Methodology that reflects the percentages.
After some discussion, it was noted that there was a consensus among the Board members that the millage rate would be no more than what it is today.
Fire Assessments - Government Services Group, Inc. (GSG)
The Board members were provided with two groups of documents received by staff from Government Services Group, Inc. (GSG).
Ms. Whittle noted that the smaller packet contained the rates for FY 1998-99, which would raise the revenue of $6,075,251. She stated that the information shows the dwelling unit at $82, and it shows the building classifications and what those rates would be. The second page of the packet showed the maximum rates at five years, and a $100 rate per dwelling unit.
Ms. Whittle explained the larger packet of information received from GSG, which consisted of the following reports: Report #31030 - full assessments; Report 31034 - 50% of GSG assessments; Report #31034 - 25% of GSG assessments; and Report #31036 - properties not tax-exempt that would pay the full assessment no matter what the policy direction.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, if the Board chooses to select the 25%, there would be some institutions who would be paying less than what they are paying now. By using the 25%, this would allow $80,000 to be added back to the General Fund.
Commr. Cadwell stated that it was his suggestion that the Chairman talk to the Sheriff in regards to the same salary structure that the Board is using, which would generate about $300,000 and talk to him about the dispatchers and see if the Board can assist him by giving him half of them now, and the Board will address the others in next year's budget, but with no commitment.
Discussion occurred regarding the request from Umatilla for library funds for construction, with the Board agreeing that it has not funded capital in the past, and it is a real policy decision that needs to be taken up on the issue rather than a particular project.
Discussion occurred regarding the request from Guardian Ad Litem, with it being noted that the Board is currently spending $1.4 million in Article V Costs. Commr. Hanson felt that they could possibly look for cheaper office space.
Discussion occurred regarding the request from the St. Johns River Water Management District, with it being noted that Board direction would be to see what else they can do within their own budget, or with Orange County. The Board would then look at the request sometime during the year.
Discussion occurred regarding the P.A.R.E. project, with the Board deciding that it may be able to be considered through the overall recreation program.
The Board addressed the issue of prescriptive drugs, with Commr. Hanson stating that she felt that the Board should wait to make a decision on this issue, until the Health Care Committee comes back with a recommendation for an increase.
Ms. Whittle stated that, in regards to the prescriptive drugs, $10,000 was included in the base line budget, and an additional $10,000 was placed in the recommended enhancements.
Commr. Swartz stated that he has signed the letters to the School Board Chairman and the Superintendent regarding the ACE Program, and if they agree to fund half of it, there would be about a $26,000 impact on the budget. It was noted that half of the total amount would be added to the budget.
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Senior Director of Community Services, presented the Board with a Community Resource Guide, which is a sample of what they have in Orlando, Orange County. The amount for the directory would be $21,000 in the budget.
Staff noted that an approximate number to be cut from the budget would be $695,000, with $450,000 being the difference between the 4.5% and the 7.5% in line items of salary and social security match of the Sheriff's budget.
Ms. Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance, presented an explanation of the new information that had been requested by the Board pertaining to the Clerk Analysis, which now excluded the new positions in FY 99. Ms. Lehman explained that the 7.44% would include a merit increase anywhere from zero to seven percent, and it includes one percent for the post employment health insurance plan, which has been included in Fringe Benefits. She noted that the Clerk does not have a COLA. Ms. Lehman explained that the Total Transfer shows an increase of 10.92%, with part of this being capital outlay in the amount of $117,000. She presented a detailed explanation of the information that had been provided, with it being noted that Scenario II were the figures that the Board wanted to discuss, in relation to the 4.5% determined earlier as the budget increase for salaries, as follows:.
II. Clerk Budget - Transfer Only (Excluding Budget Office and Museum)
Personal Services 6.09%
Total Transfer 8.70%
Commr. Cadwell suggested that the Clerk use the one percent for the post employment health insurance plan as part of his merit program for the Clerk's Office.
Ms. Lehman stated that, if the Clerk budgets 4.5% for salary increases, and there is a zero to seven range, then at some point during the year it would be possible that the Clerk would not have enough to pay for those raises, and he would have to come back to the Board and request additional monies.
It was noted that the Chairman would meet with Mr. Watkins to discuss the 4.5% salary increase.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, while going through the enhanced budget and realizing what the Board was trying to do with the budget this year, he did not feel comfortable funding the Out Reach Development Office this year.
Commr. Gerber stated that she totally disagreed with Commr. Cadwell on this issue.
Commr. Good agreed that the Out Reach Development Office needs to be considered at another time, even though it would be a nice enhancement.
Commr. Hanson felt very strongly that the Board needed to be doing more out reach and getting more information to the public.
Commr. Swartz stated that there was one person in County government who was, in part, doing this type of work, although there are other duties attached to that position. He stated that, since the Board has reached the point that it wanted to reach to set the millage, he suggested that the Board ask the County Manager to review whether the Board could modify that position, or do something different in Fire and Emergency Services and upgrade and change positions.
Commr. Swartz suggested that the Board go back and review what it said it wanted in terms of the out reach area, because he felt it was a continuation of trying to insure that the County was providing the best service it can to the public. He suggested that the County Manager, or Ms. Ava Kronz, Director of Continuous Quality Improvement, bring this information back to the Board. He felt that the Board was clearly at the point where it could easily set the tentative millage on Tuesday at the current millage. He stated that the Board needs to remember that the budget that the County Manager presented to the Board, in terms of its operational budget, is $797,000 less than last year.
Ms. Whittle stated that staff is prepared to bring to the Board the recommendation that the County can stay at the same millage and still allow those things that have been discussed. She pointed out that there were a number of enhancements that had been asked for by the departments that she did not recommend, which amounted to approximately $700,000, but there were some very good programs and some much needed enhancements.
Commr. Swartz stated that it was the Board's desire that he approach and discuss these issues with the Sheriff and the Clerk and ask them for their support in what the Board was trying to do, which is to stay at the current millage and avoid increase in the millage, and he felt they would be supportive of that position.
Ms. Whittle reminded the Board that staff did indicate a 1/3 increase in the ambulance millage to build the contingency that would allow any changes in the law.
Lake Apopka Equipment Sale
Ms. Whittle stated that staff had received a fax from Ms. Gail Bass, Chief Legislative Assistant, Florida House District 42, indicating that the Department of General Services will handle the Lake Apopka equipment sale, and they expect to start it in the next 45 days or so, and to be finished by November, and Lake County will receive 15% of the proceeds. She will ask Mr. Fletcher Smith to look at the issue and get the particulars on it.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 11:55 a.m.
G. RICHARD SWARTZ, JR., CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK