A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
NOVEMBER 10, 1998
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, November 10, 1998, at 9:00 a.m., in the Training Room (Room 233), 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; Wendy Taylor, Administrative Assistant, Board of County Commissioner’s Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
The Chairman opened the meeting.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, informed the Board that there were no changes to the Agenda.
PERSONAL APPEARANCES/PUBLIC HEARINGS
CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION DEBRIS TRANSPORTATION AND DISPOSAL WITHIN LAKE COUNTY
Mr. Don Post, Senior Director, Solid Waste Management Services, addressed the Board, stating that two issues would be addressed during this presentation - the transportation and actual disposal of construction and demolition (C&D) debris. He stated that he had a copy of a newspaper article that stated that a deal was being signed, where 300,000 tons of construction and demolition debris will be transported per year, by ship (one trip per month), from Philadelphia to Pensacola, to be disposed of, because Pennsylvania’s laws have become more stringent and it is more expensive to bury construction and demolition debris in that state than it is to transport it to Pensacola, for disposal. He stated that it is beginning to sound like Florida’s standards are lagging behind somebody else’s standards. He stated that this work session was a follow-up to a previous work session that was held and that its main purpose was to determine the future of construction and demolition debris disposal. He stated that the definition of construction and demolition debris is that it is discarded materials generally considered to be not water soluble and non-hazardous in nature, including but not limited to steel, glass, brick, concrete, asphalt material, pipe, gypsum wallboard, and lumber, from the construction or destruction of a structure as part of a construction or demolition project. He stated that, as of April 1, 1998, it now includes clean cardboard, paper, plastic, wood, and metal scraps from a construction project, which he noted allows more material to be placed in the construction and demolition facilities. He stated that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) recognizes that more incidental materials are being placed in dumpsters at construction sites. He stated that the main focus is that construction and demolition debris is not necessarily defined as what it is, but where it originates. He noted that Chapter 21 of the Lake County Code has basically the same definition.
Mr. Post reviewed, in detail, several handouts and overheads that his office had prepared, with regard to this matter, that addressed the issues of public or private; managed competition; upgrading to a Class III facility, from the County’s current C&D facility, which he noted will provide an official diversion from the Waste-to-Energy Plant; upgrade of storm debris disposal; an enlarged temporary emergency disposal; and to look at future alternate locations for the County to dispose of its C&D. He discussed the comparison of C&D tons, on a monthly average; the cost, per yard, for the County to burn and bury its tonnage during FY 97/98; the new rate, per cubic yard, for FY 98/99; the difference between what the County budgeted for its landfill tonnage ($256,148.00) and what it actually anticipates it will receive ($237,412.00), which will result in a budget shortfall of $61,741.00; the present land value for a 20 acre site (estimated to be $301,000.00), which he noted staff has been pursuing, for alternate C&D disposal sites and for upgrading to Class III; private enterprise potential profit for soil revenue; and Class III disposal costs (construction, disposal, closure and long-term care), noting that the costs for Astatula I (Phase I) would be $2,499,275.00 (no long-term care cost), to convert a county clay pit, such as the Lone Pine clay pit, it would cost approximately $4,337,284.00, and to convert a private clay pit, it would cost approximately $4,638,284.00, over the life span of a 20 acre cell.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether the County had ever excavated land for C&D debris disposal.
Mr. Post stated that the County is continuously digging holes, on a daily basis, for the burial of C&D debris.
Commr. Hanson stated that she never felt the County should do that, because there are enough existing clay pits in the County for other alternatives. She stated that she was not aware the County had made a decision to do that.
Mr. Post stated that the reason staff was bringing this matter back to the Board was because they do not feel it is a good option either, noting that that land is too valuable to use just for C&D debris disposal. He stated that the County is digging up soil and piling it somewhere else on the site, just to bury C&D debris. He stated that the new FDEP rules are closing down many of the C&D debris disposal facilities, noting that in 1996, the County had nine facilities and now there are only three, including the County’s facility, because of additional costs and groundwater monitoring that is now required.
Commr. Gerber stated that she felt the reason FDEP’s criteria has been strengthened is to protect the groundwater, because there were things going into dumpsters that no one could identify. She stated that there was no way of monitoring all the things that were being put into dumpsters at construction sites.
Mr. Post addressed the issue of the County’s disposal sites, being the Lake County Solid Waste Management Facility, which is FDEP permitted, and the Grantham Pit and Professional Dirt Services, both of which are privately owned and FDEP permitted. He then reviewed Table 2-1 of one of the handouts, which gave a listing of public Class III/C&D landfills within a 40 mile radius of the Astatula Landfill, noting that the ones staff would like to focus on are those facilities located in Zellwood and the Holmes Dirt Service which is in Marion County. He stated that, although the Holmes Dirt Service is only thirteen miles from the current solid waste facility, it is only three miles from the Lake County line, on Marion County Road 42. He stated that staff is concerned that, although the facilities are adjacent to Lake County, they are actually supported by Lake County activities, because of the County’s current costs. He stated that staff’s concern is that, if there is an environmental problem at the larger C&D facilities, the county line will not stop the problem. He stated that, if the County does not offer the service, people will take the C&D to an alternate location and, if that alternate location is very close to the County and they are not operating to stringent standards, then they could have groundwater problems, or other problems that could have an effect on Lake County residents who are adjacent to or within three miles of that facility. He stated that the growth of these facilities pushes staff to recommend that the County should look at upgrading its own facility to a Class III and not just staying to the C&D business, to be able to have that additional level of protection to the environment within Lake County.
Mr. Post addressed the following issues, as well: proposed rules for collection of C&D in roll-off containers and trucks; current barriers for effective C&D disposal management; three options to effectively manage the collection of C&D; a listing of franchised haulers (4); a listing of current C&D haulers (15) operating in Lake County, none of which are franchised in any form to operate in the unincorporated area; three disposal questions, being (1) to continue C&D disposal, (2) to expand into a Class III operation and get out of C&D, and (3) to franchise C&D haulers, for accurate accounting and monitoring of C&D disposal in Lake County.
Mr. Post questioned whether the Board wanted the County to continue its C&D disposal, noting that the advantages of doing so would be (1) that it provides a means of disposal for its citizens; (2) it ensures regulatory compliance; and (3) its ease of tracking and record keeping. He stated that the disadvantages of doing so would be (1) that it cannot be cost competitive; (2) it will result in a declining waste stream to the Lake County facility; (3) the County will be unable to generate revenue; and (4) the use of valuable land would be better suited for other options. He stated that the advantages of the County expanding into a Class III operation would be (1) it will provide better protection of the environment to include groundwater; (2) it will create more disposal flexibility to conserve Class I airspace; (3) it will meet disposal needs of the future; (4) the use of closed landfills or clay facility; and (5) more types of material can be put into a Class III facility. He stated that the disadvantages of doing so would be (1) higher costs; (2) stringent regulations; and (3) a longer maintenance period. He stated that the advantages of using franchise haulers would be (1) the County could monitor the waste stream; (2) to ensure compliance; (3) it will create a self-supporting program for compliance monitoring; (4) to safeguard the environment; and (5) established relationships and work performance. He stated that the disadvantages of doing so would be (1) increased tracking and record keeping; (2) it limits open market competition; and (3) it creates limited opportunities for private, independent haulers.
Mr. Post informed the Board that it was staff’s opinion that the County should discontinue C&D disposal and expand into a Class III operation and that there should be a franchising of C&D haulers for collection, but not disposal. He stated that the franchising could be with either the current franchise haulers or with all the independent haulers that are operating in Lake County.
Commr. Hanson stated that she was greatly disappointed that staff was just now bringing this issue before the Board, noting that it is an issue that she has been talking about for years - taking valuable land space at the County’s facility to bury C&D debris. She stated that it is a horrible use of land and is not economical at all. She stated that she was disappointed that staff has taken this long to come to the Board with possible solutions. She stated that it was not necessarily the fault of Mr. Post, Senior Director, Solid Waste Management Services, but that it goes back to previous management.
Commr. Gerber stated that the County has operating costs that it has to meet; therefore, it needs the money. She stated that it needs to have enough money to operate the program, or it needs to get out.
Commr. Swartz questioned what advantages the County would have by franchising, if the County can control who it is that can pick up and transport C&D debris, but it cannot tell them where to take it.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that economically the County can do so, it just cannot pass an Ordinance that states that everybody has to take their C&D debris, or any other type of garbage, to a particular facility.
Commr. Swartz questioned whether the Board is to assume that none of the C&D disposal facilities are operating in an appropriate manner and that the County is the only one that can ensure that.
Mr. Post stated that he believed, from the reports that the County has received on the Grantham operation is that they are attempting to operate in an appropriate manner, although he stated that he could not vouch for it, noting that the County does not have staff present at the site on a daily basis.
Commr. Swartz stated that a legitimate concern would be, whether they take it to a county facility or anybody else’s facility, that embedded within that huge roll-off container are things that are not C&D that have been thrown into it, even though they are not supposed to be. He stated that he was not particularly inclined to see the County go further into the area of disposal, noting that Lake County has already become a dumping ground, as a result of its incinerator contract, for much of Florida and probably some places out of the State, and he does not see that ever changing, during the useful life of that facility. He stated that he was not sure he was ready to see the County go down the road to expanding that, if there are, in fact, permitted facilities and through economic flow control, maybe through franchised haulers, the County can reduce what it has to spend and the using up of land for disposal of C&D. He stated that the County could encourage it to go to the other facilities that are permitted. He stated that the County probably needs to find a way to franchise haulers for those materials. He stated that he would be inclined, at this point, through financial flow controls, to ensure that it goes somewhere else and limit the amount of space that Lake County would have to provide.
Mr. Minkoff stated that there is no need for the County to franchise only to make certain that a hauler is taking C&D debris to a legally disposable area. He stated that the benefits the County gets by franchising, for that purpose, is that it may be able to require that records be kept and it may be able to audit those records. He stated that the County would have better enforcement, but would gain nothing, in terms of the legal disposing issue, because that is already lost. He stated that it is probably a felony to illegally dispose of Class III material in Florida.
Commr. Swartz stated that, unless the County is absolutely of the opinion that none of the haulers that could be operating would be able to operate at as high a standard in protection from environmental concerns as the County would want itself, unless the County accepts that and believes it, he sees no reason to go further down the road for a Class III or a C&D disposal facility and should economically encourage it to go elsewhere. He stated that the County does need to clean up its haulers of C&D debris, in order to be able to accomplish the monitoring and auditing and the ensuring of what is happening with those types of materials. He stated that, when the State Legislature created the Solid Waste System that they imposed and made as a requirement of the counties, although the counties later had their legs cut out from beneath them, through a judicial decision, he assumed the County would be required to accept Class III and C&D debris, in some method, even if it chooses to later transport it somewhere else.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the County has the responsibility for having a solid waste system; however, he did not think there was any responsibility on the County to dispose of anything within the County. He stated that it could all be contracted out.
Commr. Hanson stated that, if the County changes direction, it should result in a tremendous savings to the County.
Commr. Swartz stated that it would not be a tremendous savings, because C&D disposal makes up the smallest part of the County’s budget, but it would stop taking up space at the facility for the debris. He noted that the most costly part of the County’s budget is with the incinerator and municipal and commercial solid waste. He stated that he felt the County could go out for bid, for permitted Class III facilities, to be able to accept that waste that comes to the County, which the County would then want to transport to that facility. He stated that, secondly, the County could, within that bid, get a price from them for any of the franchise haulers in Lake County that might bring it to them, which might encourage a lower price. He stated that it might be a part of the $20.00 charge that the County imposed. He stated that the County could combine all of that as a financial incentive, to get them to take it in that direction. He stated that the Board could ask staff to consider some of the options discussed this date and have another workshop in which they will take public comment from individuals, as well as haulers, on a more defined proposal than what the County presently has.
Mr. Post stated that he did not want to bury any more C&D debris in virgin land at the landfill, because he feels it is a waste of very valuable land space. He stated that Class III and C&D are starting to become a specialized system and, in order for the County to effectively deal with it, the County will have to spend a lot more money in infrastructure. He stated that, if the County does not put Class III material on top of the Class I cell, it will provide the opportunity to later put Class I there. He stated that, if the County should walk away from the waste-to-energy facility with Ogden Martin, it will have a ready cell area that it can continue to build on that is immediately available.
It was the consensus of the Board to have staff formulate more specific proposals that will predominantly discontinue the County’s C&D and Class III disposal system, with the intention of providing for the ability to accept what it has to and then transfer it to Class III disposal facilities, and to preliminarily begin looking at contracting with Class III facilities, seeking to get a long-term contract where they will accept the County’s C&D debris, and to obtain pricing for same, as well as provide to the Board some franchise points that staff feels are important, that can be considered in the contract, in order for the County to have that control, so that the Board can compare the County’s ability to have it with 15 existing haulers, as opposed to having it with one, two, or three haulers that the County would bid out.
Commr. Gerber stated that the County needs to make sure that all the haulers are properly notified of the next meeting regarding this matter.
The Chairman thanked staff for their presentation, noting that it was timely and addressed an issue that he feels can be resolved.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10:35 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess until 10:45 a.m.
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Growth Management, addressed the Board, stating that they had requested a work session on a sign ordinance for the past 2-3 years, thus the reason for this work session. She stated that the purpose of the session was to cover the main issues regarding a sign ordinance, at which time she reviewed a workbook that had been prepared by her department and gave a slide presentation, as well, regarding the matter.
The Board discussed what they wanted the Ordinance to address, with regard to the size, character, appearance, location, installation, and maintenance of signs, as well as to the health, safety, and welfare of the general public and to preserve and protect the visual beauty of the landscape.
At this time, Commrs. Hanson and Gerber left the meeting, due to other commitments.
Discussion occurred regarding whether the County should separate the issue of billboards from signs, as well as how to address the issue of new signs versus existing signs.
Commr. Swartz stated that he felt the County should draft an ordinance that deals with new signs and then deal with non-conforming signs, incentives, etc., as a separate issue.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the County could separate the issues of on-site advertising versus off-site advertising, as well, for both new and existing signs. He stated that the County could pass a moratorium ordinance on signs, if requisite findings could be made as to the public’s health, safety, and welfare, but the zoning in progress would be a different issue.
Ms. Farrell informed the Board that she was surprised to find, during her research, that Florida leads the nation in billboards, however, did not know where Lake County ranks in the list of Florida counties.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he felt the Board should give staff direction to move forward with this issue.
Mr. Minkoff stated that, if the Board added this issue to the Agenda for the meeting of November 17, 1998, as a request to advertise, he could give them a report on the zoning in progress and the Board could make its decision at that time.
It was noted that that is what the Board would do.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:05 p.m.
G. RICHARD SWARTZ, JR., CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK