The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, January 11, 2000, 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: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson, Vice Chairman; Rhonda H. Gerber; Robert A. Pool; and G. Richard Swartz, Jr. Others present were: Sue Whittle, County Manager; Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Administrative Supervisor, Board of County Commissioner's Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Marlene S. Foran, Deputy Clerk.
It was noted that there were no changes to the agenda.
PERSONAL APPEARANCES/PUBLIC HEARINGS
WORKSESSION - PARKS AND RECREATION
Commr. Cadwell welcomed the following staff and members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to the meeting: Mr. Mike Anderson, Senior Director, Facilities and Capital Improvements; Mr. Robert Stevens, Parks and Recreation Manager; Mr. Jim Myers, Chairman, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and League of Cities Representative; Ms. Rene James, Vice Chairman, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and Lake County Water Authority Representative; Ms. Judith Christie, At-Large Representative; Peggy O'Neil, District 4 Representative; and Basha Schlazer, District 2 Representative.
Mr. Jim Myers, Chairman, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, provided a brief history of the activities of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. He discussed the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board's need to develop and complete the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, which would accomplish the following:
- Provide an inventory of all parks and recreation facilities within Lake County which includes County property, facilities provided by the municipalities, and the Lake County School Board.
- Identify the programs that are currently being provided and by whom.
- Identify the services that are needed, and the additional needs of the residents of Lake County in order not to duplicate those that are in place.
- Identify the deficiencies in the facilities as well as the providers.
- Provide intergovernmental coordination, facilities and services between the County, municipalities, and the Lake County School Board.
- Provide recreation programming at existing County Parks and facilities as well as coordination with municipalities.
- Establish a user fee structure similar to those used in area municipalities.
- Emphasis on the County providing regional parks; partnerships with other providers and, in doing so, be prepared to offer these services if partnerships are not feasible.
- Sensitivity to the rural areas that do not have a large population base but do have recreational needs based on the demographics of that area.
Mr. Myers stated that the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board was informed, at the meeting on January 10, 2000, that Umatilla High School would be losing three (3) tennis courts, due to the expansion of the school facilities, that were utilized by the high school program, as well as the community. He stated that the school would be looking elsewhere for facilities to use. He suggested that the loss of the tennis courts would have been anticipated in advance had there been coordination between the entities involved which was the type of coordination that was important for an effective Master Plan.
Commr. Hanson question if thought has been given to the State of Florida becoming a participant due to the tremendous amount of acreage owned by the State in Lake County. She stated that, with some encouragement, the County might be able to enhance the use of those lands. She noted that it would take a Comprehensive Plan amendment to allow state properties to be utilized in the County's total acreage per capita. She stated that those lands are resources that are part of Lake County and are resources that the County needs to tap into in a passive manner.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Board does need to decide if the County wants to get into active recreation either because there was not a city or other entity to provide that active recreation component or because the Board feels that it was the responsibility of the County to provide active recreation.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the majority of the cities, with the exception of the City of Clermont, do not have large tracts of land to provide active recreation and those cities do not have those opportunities to build a true regional large facility within the city.
Commr. Swartz suggested that the County could develop a large regional park in the South Lake area and work with the City of Clermont through an interlocal agreement.
Discussion occurred regarding the regional park in the City of Clermont; at which time, Commr. Pool stated that the key to success was forming partnerships and finding a dedicated funding source. He explained that the City of Clermont charges a $500 impact fee for each new home in the city for recreation. He suggested that the Board could easily allocate a fund for each new home built in the County to go toward recreation and begin to form partnership with the cities, the State, Lake County Water Authority, and the Lake County School Board to build regional parks.
Commr. Hanson explained that the reason that the Board did not do an impact fee for recreation was because there were no parks in place at the time. She suggested that it would take a study to determine the dollar amount. She stated that a funding source was necessary as we move forward with a Master Plan.
In response to a question presented by Commr. Gerber, Mr. Robert Stevens, Parks and Recreation Manager, stated that he would provide the Board with the National Recreation and Parks Association's basic definition for a pocket park, neighborhood park, community park, and regional park.
Commr. Swartz stated that the County does need a Master Plan. He explained that the issues were infrastructure costs, which are funded out of infrastructure sales tax and are contemplated to be funded to some extent by para mutual funds; and impact fees which can be used for infrastructure but not for active recreation programs.
Commr. Pool stated that the real need for a regional park was in the four corners area and suggested that the Board consider an opportunity to partnership with other counties to share in one regional park.
Ms. Basha Schlazer, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, requested that the Board consider in the Master Plan staffing for the County parks to help organize programs and activities in the parks.
Commr. Hanson concurred that staffing should be considered in the Master Plan and suggested that the Board have funding sources for infrastructure and a matching number from the General Fund.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, noted that para mutual funds could be used for any program and financing has been set up to fund a regional park.
Mr. Anderson explained that the Master Plan was an inventory of the County's current acreage and facilities, noting that GIS has created a layer map of County locations with features, an inventory of the cities' parks and programming, and designed in such a way that it will also serve on a web site. He noted that the number one priority of the Parks and Recreation Manager was to put together an outline of a Master Plan. He stated that the County already has approximately ninety (90%) percent of the data.
Ms. Whittle stated that the County's options, and levels of service would be brought back to the Board and, at that time, the Board could make policy decisions.
Mr. Meyers expressed concern that the cities may not have the ability to participate as a partner if the sales tax is not renewed in Year 2002.
Commr. Hanson stated that it was important that the Master Plan include active recreation in areas such as Altoona, Sorrento and Pine Lakes where there is little growth and no cities to provide recreation.
In response to a question presented by Commr. Cadwell, Mr. Anderson stated that a progress report on the Master Plan would be provided to the Board throughout the year, and a draft of the Master Plan should be completed within this fiscal year.
Mr. Stevens stated that funding options would be an important part of the analysis of the Master Plan. He questioned if the Board wants him, as Parks and Recreation Manager, to return 100% of his cost to the operation of programs. He stated that they could not write a master plan and not be in the active programmatic aspect of recreation.
Commr. Swartz requested that staff come back to the Board with parameters of what an active recreation program would cost, and the impact on the County' budget and taxes.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he would write a letter to the Chairman of the Lake County School Board in regard to the appointment of a School Board member who would actively attend and participate as a member on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:05 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess and reconvene at 10:20 a.m.
WORKSHOP - SPACE STUDY
Mr. Mike Anderson, Senior Director, Facilities and Capital Improvements, appeared before the Board to present the space study workshop. It was noted that a booklet titled Office Space Evaluation, January 11, 2000, had been distributed prior to the discussion. Mr. Anderson discussed the Population to Facilities Square Footage graph illustrating that the County was at 1.5 square foot per capita. He stated that all of the recommendations and space evaluations were based on a standard developed by the Board in 1991 before the Board committed to the design of the courthouse and the jail facilities. He discussed the Space Requirements, Current vs. 2005, Recommendations, Cost Studies, and a Matrix for the Department of Community Services, Department of Fiscal Administration, Department of Growth Management, Horticultural Learning Center, Department of Public Works, Clerk of Courts, Detention Center, Judicial Department, Public Defender, State Attorney, Sheriff's Office, Office of the Tax Collector and the Health Department.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY SERVICES
Mr. Anderson noted that the needs of the Department of Community Services were of significant impact and discussed the following recommendations:
Option 1: Lease or purchase 6 - 10,000 square feet of warehouse space for records storage.
Option 3: Library Services to remain on 1st floor of the Administration Building until a decision is made whether or not to build a County Library.
Option 8: Relocate Library Services and Records Management to the newly acquired Hunter Building. Once existing leases run-out, consider moving Section 8 Housing and Housing of Lake County into remaining office space. Consideration has been given to relocating Economic Development to the Hunter Building.
Option 9: Relocate the We Care program along with the Health Department offices to lease space.
Mr. Anderson discussed the Cost Studies and the Office Space Evaluation Matrix for the above noted options. He stated that Option 1, Option 8 and Option 9 would result in a 3,492 square foot surplus for the Department of Community Services.
Mr. Anderson noted that the needs of the Health Department were of minor impact and discussed the following recommendations:
Option 1: Relocate Environmental Health to the 1st floor of the Lake County Administration Building.
Option 2: Relocate the rest of the Department into leased property located within the Golden Triangle area. Various properties are currently being evaluated.
Option 3: Begin plans to locate property for a new facility to permanently house the Health Department. Apply to State for grant assistance to help offset new development costs.
Option 4: Buy building to relocate Health Department.
Mr. Anderson discussed the Cost Studies and the Office Space Evaluation Matrix for the above noted options. He stated that Option 1, Option 2 and Option 3 would result in a 5,560 square foot surplus for the Health Department.
Commr. Hanson recommended that direction on the Health Department not be given until such time that the County's strategic plan was completed which might open up other options.
DEPARTMENT OF FISCAL & ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
Mr. Anderson noted that the needs of the Department of Fiscal & Administrative Services were of significant impact and discussed the following recommendations:
Option 2: The Tax Collector is considering relocating part of his operation from the fifth floor of the Historic Courthouse to leased space. This space can be converted into GIS CAD work stations with only minor space renovations required.
Action: Interior space modifications will be incorporated to accommodate two new positions recently added to the Division.
Action: Since Parks and Recreation has moved to the fourth floor, Computer Services has occupied their old office space, providing some minor relief.
Mr. Anderson discussed the Cost Studies and the Office Space Evaluation Matrix for the above noted option. He stated that Option 2 would result in a 30 square foot surplus for the Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services.
Commr. Hanson requested information on the impact of the space requirements if the Property Appraiser's Office takes over the assessments.
DEPARTMENT OF GROWTH MANAGEMENT SERVICES
Mr. Anderson noted that the needs of the Department of Growth Management Services were of significant impact and discussed the following recommendations:
Option 1: Relocate the Affordable Housing Section to Community Services. This would provide the necessary room to rearrange Code Enforcement.
Option 2: Consider development of a permanent South Lake Annex to accommodate Growth Management's expanding service to south Lake County.
Mr. Anderson discussed the Cost Studies and the Office Space Evaluation Matrix for the above noted options. He stated that Option 1 and Option 2 would result in a zero (0) square foot surplus for the Department of Growth Management Services.
Discussion occurred in regard to the purchase of property in south Lake County; at which time, Commr. Gerber questioned if consideration had been given to leasing space at the Wellness Center facility on S.R. 50. Mr. Anderson stated that the County could consider short term leases and that he has been contacted about leasing a portion of the old hospital space in the City of Clermont or possibly purchasing the hospital property. He stated that he has been informed that the United Methodist Church was considering the possibility of purchasing the hospital property and subletting space. Staff was directed to immediately look into the purchase of the old hospital in the City of Clermont.
HORTICULTURAL LEARNING CENTER
Mr. Anderson noted that the needs of the Horticultural Learning Center were of concerned impact and discussed the following recommendations:
Option 2: Change the orientation of the parking lot to improve traffic access and increase the number of parking spaces.
Option 3: Fill in the open space between the auditorium and the administration offices with a new entrance, reception area, public bathrooms and meeting rooms.
Commr. Hanson expressed concern with the signage at the Horticultural Learning Center and stated that the signage should reference Agricultural Center and Agricultural Learning Center.
Commr. Cadwell requested that staff provide the Board with an activity report on the activities at the Horticultural Learning Center.
Mr. Anderson discussed the Cost Studies and the Office Space Evaluation Matrix for the above noted options. He stated that Option 2 and Option 3 would result in a 584 square foot surplus for the Horticultural Learning Center.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
Mr. Anderson noted that the Department of Public Works building was recently renovated and expanded and there were no immediate office needs; however, the close proximity of the building to the Judicial Center, and the fact that Public Works could work effectively from another site, brings this building into consideration for near future space requirements of the Judiciary. He discussed the following recommendations:
Option 1: If the County considers turning the current Public Works facility over to Judicial use, a new Public Works facility located at the Lake Idamere Solid Waste facility in Astatula should be considered.
Mr. Anderson suggested that, if Public Works was relocated to the Lake Idamere location, the County begin the process of considering the development of a complex at Lake Idamere that would continue to develop for the purpose of relocating Board offices to that location in the future to avoid having to add new buildings to the City of Tavares downtown area. He stated that the construction of a new functional Public Works building would cost approximately $45 - $55 per square foot for a metal building and approximately $65 - $75 per square foot for a more substantial building.
Commr. Hanson expressed concern with the Bicycle Coordinator position being listed under the Department of Public Works and stated that said position should be listed under Parks and Recreation.
Commr. Cadwell explained that the Bicycle Coordinator position was listed under the Department of Public Works because it was alternative transportation and funded through transportation dollars.
Ms. Whittle explained that staff was looking at the definition and function of the Bicycle Coordinator position and, as a bicycle advocate, it was an education specialist. She stated that the primary responsibility of the job, in recent years, has been the coordination of the Rails to Trails project which was a Public Works engineering related issue.
CLERK OF CIRCUIT COURT
Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that the County Manager, County Attorney, Mr. Anderson and himself met on January 7, 2000 with Mr. James C. Watkins, Clerk of Circuit Court; The Honorable Don F. Briggs; and Mr. Fred F. Hooten, Trial Courts Administrator, in regard to their expectations. Judge Briggs expressed concern with the space problems that are real and the perceived space problems that he anticipates over the next several years with Article 5 chances. He stated that Judge Briggs anticipates that one of the Article 5 changes would be a new court system that will determine how many positions Lake County will have funded by the State to operate the court system, and they anticipate that Lake County will receive additional positions that will require office space. He stated that they have also expressed a desire to establish a Facility Task Force for the judicial portions of County facilities for the purpose of making short term and long term suggestions to the Board.
Mr. Minkoff stated that Judge Briggs anticipates that Lake County may receive a new county judge in the legislative session this year and that there may be a request for as many as five (5) circuit judges for our circuit in the next two (2) years, in which case, Lake County would receive two (2) circuit judges. He stated that Judge Briggs was also anticipating a need for three (3) additional judges within the next five (5) years which would exceed the number of office spaces currently in the Judicial Center.
Commr. Gerber stated that she would like to see a study done on the use of the court rooms; at which time discussion occurred regarding the use of the court rooms for mediation.
Commr. Cadwell directed staff to schedule an advertised tour of the Judicial Center to observe the crowded conditions particularly in the Clerk of Circuit Court office area.
Discussion continued in regard to the request to establish a Facility Task Force, at which time, Commr. Swartz stated that, as an alternative, he would suggest more frequent involvement of the Chairman in meetings with the Clerk and Judge Briggs to discuss the issues of concern and bring those issues back to the Board.
Mr. Anderson noted that the needs of the Clerk of Circuit Court were of major impact and discussed the following recommendations:
Option 3: Consider the possibility of relocating the State Attorney's office from the fourth floor of the Judicial Center to the Public Works building.
Option 4: Relocate the Public Defender's office from the fourth floor of the Judicial Center to renovated Building G or H (currently Health Department).
Option 5: Clerk's office to vacate half of the third floor and move onto the fourth floor.
Option 6: Consolidate all of the Clerk's offices between the Judicial Center and Building G.
Option 7: The Clerk's office has expressed interest in occupying the entire old post office (approximately 4,500 square feet). Their intent is to relocate the entire computer center and associated staff. Such a move would provide them with an additional 4,500 square feet plus free-up approximately 1,800 square feet within the Judicial Center third floor. The net gain would be 6,300 square feet or about half of his current space deficit.
Mr. Anderson stated that, under Option 4, he would recommend moving the Public Defender's office to Building H. Commr. Cadwell interjected that the State Attorney and the Public Defender have expressed concern that they prefer not to move out of the Judicial Center.
Mr. Anderson discussed the Cost Studies for Option 3, Option 4, Option 5, Option 6 and Option 7. At this time, Commr. Gerber requested that staff provide an analysis of the cost to add floors to the Judicial Center. Mr. Minkoff noted that the Judges have suggested that a north wing be added to the Judicial Center as opposed to adding floors. Mr. Anderson stated that he has received an estimate to renovate the 4,500 square foot post office, at approximately $750,000, to provide the support systems that would be required for the Clerk's computer center. He stated that said estimate was a high cost per square foot for a renovated building.
Discussion occurred regarding the feasibility of moving the Clerk's Recording Department to the old post office; at which time, Commr. Swartz stated that it was not economical to renovate the old post office at $600,000 to $750,000 for the computer center.
Mr. Anderson stated that Option 3, Option 4 and Option 7 would result in a 5,717 square foot deficit for the Clerk of Circuit Court.
Mr. Anderson noted that the needs of the Judicial Department were of major impact and discussed the following recommendations:
Option 1: Consider relocating mediation to another building or leased space.
Option 2: If the Clerk vacates half of the third floor, move part of the Judiciary to the third floor.
Option 3: Consider adding a ground floor north wing designed for courtroom(s) and mediation offices.
Option 4: Acquire the school property north of the Judicial Center for a future courts administration building and parking lot.
Discussion occurred regarding the mediation volunteer program, the need for space for mediation, and the possibility of holding mediation on Tuesday evening when Teen Court was in session.
In response to a question presented by Commr. Swartz, Mr. Minkoff stated that every county utilizes the use of courtrooms and judges differently and many of the counties, particularly those in Central Florida, are facing growth pressures. He stated that Lake County has a very effective judiciary, and the County has a very high case load per judge compared to other counties and other circuits in the state. He stated that, in one way, that was a downfall because, if the state goes to a new system to allocate judges based on case loads, Lake County will automatically receive additional judges.
Mr. Anderson discussed the Cost Studies and the Office Space Evaluation Matrix for the above noted options. He stated that, under Option 3, the cost associated with adding a north wing would be approximately $1,200,000.
Commr. Swartz stated that, if the County was at the point of having to consider new construction, it would probably be more cost effective and efficient to add a new wing than to add a second floor and renovate Buildings G and H. At this time, Mr. Anderson was directed to do a cost analysis of adding a north wing to the Judicial Center and to address all of the space needs and the costs associated with renovating Buildings G and H.
Mr. Anderson discussed the following recommendations for the Detention Center:
Option 1: Build Pod D. The building site and mechanical capacity have already been provided through the original construction. All support services exist within the existing facility.
Option 2: Wait until inmate population trends begin to move upward, then implement a housing management plan that would fully utilize all the holding capacity. This would mean relinquishing all Federal housing programs.
Option 3: Build a totally different kind of facility in a different location such as a labor camp or juvenile boot camp.
Mr. Anderson stated that, since the June Fiscal Retreat, Orange County has begun the design for a new housing pod. Orange County has worked with the Lake County Sheriff to arrange housing for some of their inmates until a new facility is completed.
Mr. Anderson stated that the Public Defender has indicated that, with the additional staffing for the State Attorney's office, he will have to add additional attorneys in the Public Defender's office using up their remaining space.
Mr. Anderson noted that the needs in the Sheriff's Office were of significant impact and discussed the following recommendations:
Option 1: It is recommended that Road Patrol be relocated outside of Tavares to relieve the parking shortages, and provide more efficient regional services.
Option 2: Special storage requirements could be provided through a specially designed storage building located outside the PFD.
Option 3: Fourth floor storage space could be converted into office space.
Discussion occurred regarding the use of the old Space Master Building on Highway 561.
OFFICE SPACE EVALUATION MATRIX
At this time, the Board addressed the options for each department, as follows:
Department of Community Services
On a motion by Commr. Swartz, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5 - 0 vote, the Board approved Option 8 and Option 9 and requested that staff proceed with more information on Option 1 for the Department of Community Affairs, as follows:
Option 1: Lease or Purchase 6 - 10,000 square feet of warehouse space for records storage.
Option 8: Relocate Library Services and Records Management to newly acquired Hunter Building. Once existing leases run-out, move Section 8 Housing and Housing of Lake County into remaining office space.
Option 9: Relocate the We Care program with the Health Department offices to leased space.
Department of Emergency Services
Emergency Services has relocated their Emergency Operations Center to the Sunnyside station. The net effect of this move is 670 additional square feet of office space available within their existing Department.
No Action Required.
Department of Fiscal & Administrative Services
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Gerber and carried unanimously by a 5 - 0 vote, the Board approved Option 2 for the Department of Fiscal & Administrative Services, as follows:
Option 2: The Tax Collector is considering relocating part of his operation from the fifth floor of the Historic Courthouse to leased space. This space can be converted to GIS work stations with minor space renovation required.
Department of Growth Management
Option 1: Relocate the Affordable Housing Section to Community Services.
Option 2: Consider development of a permanent South Lake Annex.
No Action Required.
Horticultural Learning Center
On a motion by Commr. Swartz, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5 - 0 vote, the Board approved Option 2 and Option 3 for the Horticultural Learning Center, as follows:
Option 2: Change the orientation of the parking lot to improve traffic access.
Option 3: Fill in the open space between the auditorium and administrative offices.
Staff was directed to correct the name on the identification sign to reference Agricultural Center and Agricultural Learning Center.
Clerk of Circuit Court/Judicial Department/Public Defender/State Attorney
On a motion by Commr. Swartz, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5 - 0 vote, the Board directed staff to get price estimates and do a concept study on adding a north wing to the Judicial Center, enlarging the present building and expanding courts, Judges' suites, providing space for the State Attorney, Public Defender and Clerk of Circuit Court; and to schedule a tour of the Judicial Center as soon as possible.
Commr. Swartz suggested that the Clerk of Circuit Court move the Recording Department to the old post office if immediate short term space was required. It was the decision of the Board that the price estimates and concept study for a north wing be put on the fast tract.
On a motion by Commr. Swartz, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5 - 0 vote, the Board approved Option 1 and Option 2 for the Health Department, as follows:
Option 1: Relocate Environmental Health to the 1st floor of the Administration Building.
Option 2: Relocated the rest of the Health Department to leased property; and to bring back a lease to the Board for approval.
It was noted that discussions would continue with the Sheriff's Office on Option 1, Option 2 and Option 3, as follows:
Option 1: Road Patrol be relocated outside of Tavares.
Option 2: Evidence Storage outside of Tavares.
Option 3: Fourth floor storage space could be converted into office space.
No action was required.
Option 2: The Tax Collector plans to consolidate two Tag agencies and part of his Tavares office staff to a new leased office in Eustis. In return, he will relinquish his space on the 5th floor of the Historic Courthouse.
No action was required.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:55 p.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK