The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Friday, February 16, 2001, at 9:00 a.m., at Trout Lake Nature Center, Eustis, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Catherine C. Hanson, Chairman; Robert A. Pool, Vice Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Jennifer Hill; and Debbie Stivender Others present were: Sue Whittle, County Manager; Alvin Jackson, Deputy County Manager; Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Administrative Supervisor, Board of County Commissioner's Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Sarah LaMarche, Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services; Sharon Farrell, Senior Director of the Department of Growth Management; Ava Kronz, Director of Continuous Quality Improvement; Mike Anderson, Senior Director of Facilities and Capital Improvements; Fletcher Smith, Senior Director of Community Services; Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works; Bill Gilley, Senior Director of Solid Waste; Tad Stone, Senior Director of Emergency Services; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Sue Whittle stated that this is the meeting where staff begins to lay the foundation for what is going to happen in the bi-annual budget later in the year. Ms. Whittle noted that staff is not asking the Board for any decisions today.
Ms. Sarah LaMarche, Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services, briefly reviewed the Budget Calendar, Tab 1, with the Board noting that the next Fiscal Retreat will be June 12, 2001, when the department requests will be discussed, and this will be preliminary to the presentation that will be made to the Commissioners, by the individual departments. She noted that the balanced budget is due to the County Commissioners statutorily by July 15th. The first and second budget hearings are tentatively scheduled to be held September 4, 2001 and September 18, 2001 at 5:05 p.m.
Ms. LaMarche addressed Tab 2, Fiscal Planning - a Long-Term Perspective, and stated that her plan this year, for the first time, is to present the Board, at the June 12th Retreat, a five year pro-forma of operating expenses. Ms. LaMarche discussed the following major fiscal tenets:
Ms. LaMarche directed the Board's attention to Pages 5-7, the Expenditures by Cost Center for the General Fund, and noted that the yellow highlights indicated legal or other mandatory requirement for the Board expenditures, and the green highlights indicated Grant Funding. She referred to Page 2, which was the Assessed Taxable Value Comparisons in Millions of Dollars for Fiscal Years 1996-2001, and noted that the information included a comparison chart showing Value of Real Property on the Property Appraiser's Assessment Roll.
Commr. Hanson stated that there has been an obvious significant reduction particularly in commercial percentages and residential is not going to pay its way. She stated that she is concerned that the County is not maintaining the other tax bases, other than residential, as indicated by percentages.
Commr. Pool questioned whether a comparison of residential, industrial, and commercial has been made to Orange County, Volusia County, or Seminole County.
Ms. LaMarche stated that a comparison has never been done, but it would be an interesting piece of information, therefore, she will have this for the Board at the next Retreat.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether the next step would be to meet with Mr. Bruce Redus, Economic Development Director, or with the Economic Development Council, and discuss turning these percentages into dollars, and perhaps linking this back to a comparison between the residential and the industrial and commercial growth, less the services required. She stated that the Board has to sell this issue to the public, by explaining why the County needs more industrial growth/light industry to keep their taxes down.
Ms. LaMarche directed the Board's attention to two pie charts, which depicted the General Fund Expenditures for Fiscal Year 2001 and Fiscal Year 1997Actuals, and noted that, in 1997, the Sheriff's piece of the pie was almost 50%, and government was a lesser amount; however, because of growing population in Florida, staff found that the growth in Lake County has shifted the piece of pie, which shows the Sheriff's piece being 44% in Fiscal Year 2001.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether it would be possible for staff to break out the staff support, and those actual services, in Board Operations, because even Animal Control falls into public safety, much like the Sheriff's budget, and the libraries.
Ms. LaMarche explained that staff has just launched its internet site this month, and the information being suggested by Commr. Hanson can be found on that site. She noted that a brochure is available with this information, which she will supply to the Board members.
Ms. LaMarche referred to Page 8, which showed a historical trend of the current revenues compared to current expenses, and stated that it is staff's objective that there will be sufficient revenues to cover the expenses. She explained that there are about four different kinds of reserves. The basic one is the stabilization reserve, which has about $3.2 million in it right now, and that is about 5% of the operating expenses. Staff is projecting that, by the end of the year, as a result of the audit, they will be adding about $1.1 million to $1.2 million at mid-year this year to the reserves, and some decisions will have to be made as to where that money should go, whether it should be a part of the stabilization reserve, or a part of the special reserve. However, she needed to point out that she belongs to an organization called the Government Finance Officers Association, and during all of those meetings and conferences, they identify best practices throughout the United States. She stated that best practice says that it is preferable to have in undesignated reserves about 16% of the County's expenditures. Ms. LaMarche stated that, during the budget year, the Board did not fund the $800,000 in the Stabilization Reserve, and she will be recommending that, at the mid-year, the Board put some of that extra money in the Stabilization Reserve.
Ms. Whittle stated that, for the past five or six years, staff has been on a planned process to increase the County's reserves, because five years ago, the reserves were about 5%, which is dangerously low for a operation this size, and it is real important to keep those reserves up.
Ms. LaMarche noted that Page 9 was a Comparison of Current Revenues to Current Expenses, Major Funds analysis, Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2000; Page 10 was a chart of County Revenues, Total Statewide; and Page 11 was the Major Revenues Sources, General Fund, Actual and Estimated, FY 1998-2002. She noted that, in 1998, property taxes brought in almost 50%, and in 2001, they brought in almost 56% of all of the revenues brought into the County. She pointed out that the State Revenue Sharing was 8.4% in 1998, and it has dropped to 5.22% in 2001, with the drop being about a $1 million, and this is because the State has changed the way it is distributing State Revenue Sharing. Her projections for revenues and expenses in the budget were based on what the State has told her; however, every year in the past, because the County is funded by cigarette tax and intangible tax, and the County will get a windfall in August, and this being the first year that staff has in the new system where the County is being funded by sales tax in that particular line item, there will be no more of a windfall, or excess in this item. Ms. LaMarche noted the Constitutional Offices Excess fees and stated that they are decreasing, from 7.92% in 1998 to 5.81% in 2001.
Ms. LaMarche reviewed Pages 12 and 13, which were the factors affecting the General Fund budget, and explained each item in detail.
Commr. Hill requested an explanation of Item 14, implementation of second year of pay for performance plan.
Ms. Whittle explained that last year a complete classification study was done for the County, for the County offices and the Clerk's offices. She noted that the Sheriff did his own study at the same time. When the study came back, the Board looked at it and accepted it and said that it would implement it, but they were going to do it on a two year basis, rather than have the full impact in a given year. Last year the County implemented the recommendations that brought everybody to the range that they were supposed to be, and this year they go to merit increases, based on the mid-point of salary, which is the $167,000 impact to the General Fund.
Commr. Hanson addressed Item 15, indigent health care costs, and stated that staff is going to try and put together a workshop later this year on funding methods for indigent health care. She stated that those dollars do keep rising, and they are dollars that legitimately could be funded from the Hospital Taxing District. She stated that she did not think that the community, or the Hospital Taxing Districts, are aware of these dollars that the County is spending, but she thinks that those dollars need to be pulled out, and they need to be made aware it, and the Health Care Committee needs to know about those dollars.
Ms. Whittle noted that a Health Care Workshop is scheduled for May, 2001.
Commr. Stivender addressed Item 15, inmate medical costs, and questioned whether these costs were through the County's insurance.
Ms. LaMarche explained that the inmate medical costs were direct costs, and there is no insurance.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether there was any way that the County could tie those inmates into the clinics that are being developed throughout the County, where they would get that type of care, rather than the more expensive care. She felt that the Sheriff would be receptive to looking at other options.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that the Sheriff is giving the inmates the basic minimum care, and he was sure that they would be taken to the clinics, if it was cheaper.
Commr. Stivender stated that the Sheriff has talked to her about the inmate medical costs, and a couple of other options available to him, and she will get that information to Mr. Smith.
Ms. LaMarche noted that Page 14, Incremental Costs of Constitutional Offices - General Fund, was for the Board's information. She noted that, in terms of requests from the Sheriff this year, she only knew that, at mid-year, he will be asking for four deputies. She stated that his budget is due the first of June. Ms. LaMarche stated that staff receives the estimate of the assessed tax roll value from the Property Appraiser on the first of June, and they receive the actual figures on the first of July. They also get all of the budgets from the Constitutional Officers at that time, however, the Tax Collector's budget is not due until the middle of August.
Commr. Stivender stated that she had asked Ms. Whittle about having a workshop with all of the Constitutional Officers prior to receiving their budgets. She stated that she was of the understanding that all of them are willing to meet, as suggested.
Ms. LaMarche explained that about $250,000 or more was set aside in the budget of the Supervisor of Elections, because, at that time, Ms. Stegall had in mind some type of state of the art voting machine, however, those machines were never approved by the State. She noted that this amount is still reserved in her budget, and she is spending some of those monies on items that she needs this year. Ms. LaMarche stated that Ms. Stegall now has estimates from the State, and it may cost $700,000 additional dollars over and above what they had in reserve.
Ms. LaMarche stated that Page 15, Comparative Millage Rates for Central Florida Counties, was for the Board's information.
Five-Year Capital Improvement Program
Ms. LaMarche explained that staff tried to capture in the Five-Year Capital Improvement Program, not only the capital costs, but also the operating costs associated with it.
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Senior Director of Community Services, reviewed each line item, as noted on Page 15, for Community Services. Mr. Smith stated that staff received the total grant dollars for the road paving programs that they have in their Five-Year Consolidated Plan and One-Year Action Plan. He stated that staff is in desperate need of space to store the records that they have on hand, and they really need to look for a facility to store those records. He stated that, with the branch libraries, they need a security system to keep people from walking out with books. He stated that they need to continue to upgrade their software and hardware. He explained that each branch library has a small records section, and there is a need for a central reference library. Mr. Smith stated that they have funding designated for property where the Citrus Ridge library will be located.
Ms. LaMarche addressed the line items for County Outreach and stated that staff has looked into furnishing a television studio, to be designed in three phases, and the amount being shown reflect a tentative cost.
It was noted that, after staff and the Commissioners met with the consultants, those costs could be amended.
Facilities and Capital Improvements - Parks and Recreation Division
Mr. Mike Anderson, Senior Director of Facilities and Capital Improvements, addressed the first line item, for Parks and Recreation, which identified properties along the St. Johns River that the County has expressed an interest in. The most recent one is 150 acres of property that fronts the St. Johns River, on the south side of Highway 44. Mr. Anderson explained that the people approached him and asked him if the County would be interested in it. They would like to see it put into some type of a protected environmental use, but they would also be receptive towards a park environment. He noted that the people had consulted with the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) about purchasing the property, and they were not very happy with what they were willing to offer. Mr. Anderson stated that the County is getting an appraisal of the property.
Commr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, stated that maybe the County could maintain the property and get the Water Authority, or the SJRWMD, to join them in some type of partnership.
Mr. Anderson stated that they may want to partnership with the SJRWMD. He stated that the County is looking at two other pieces of property in the Astor area.
At 10:10 a.m., Commr. Cadwell requested that the record reflect that he was leaving the meeting and was not going to be a part of this discussion.
Mr. Anderson stated that Mr. Jay Powell has 20 acres in the Astor area along the St. Johns River, which he will make available to the County. It is a wetlands area, but there has been some attempt to try to reclaim it, and there has been some filling done to the property. He stated that staff wanted to get with the engineers from Public Works to see how feasible it might be to purchase the property, and how expensive it might be. Mr. Anderson stated that there is another piece of property, which is owned by Mr. Odis Lee, that is adjacent to the Powell property and adjacent to the County's existing parking lot. It has been in their family for a long time, and they are interested in selling approximately ten acres. The County is getting an appraisal done on the property. Mr. Anderson stated that the process will begin with the Adkins property, which the County has just acquired. He stated that hopefully the 30 acres will evolve into some form of park, or recreational center along the river.
Ms. Whittle stated that staff has talked to the State about a trail heads location in Astor, and they are very excited to work with the County, because there is nothing on the river.
Mr. Anderson continued to review the line items noted on Page 15 for the Parks and Recreation Division.
At 10:20 a.m., it was noted that Commr. Cadwell returned to the meeting.
Mr. Anderson stated that the radio communications system, in the amount of $1,300,000 is the portion of infrastructure sales tax that is going to be used towards that system.
Mr. Tad Stone, Senior Director of Emergency Services, stated that, since the initial discussion with the parties that will be participating in the radio project, staff can now anticipate the cost to go up probably another $1 million.
It was noted that the radio communications systems was to cost $3,900,000. Of the total cost of $3.9 million, $2.6 million has been reserved in the Fiscal Year 2001 budget leaving an additional $1.3 million to be encumbered in the FY 2002 budget.
Mr. Stone stated that unfortunately the price of transmitters, antennas, and additional tower spaces are expensive. He stated that staff should have those numbers by next Wednesday, as to what the hard costs will be on equipment. He would anticipate the cost to be between $700,000 to $1 million with the new players coming in. He further noted that it will be the Board's call as to whether those new players, Emergency Management Services (EMS), will participate in the costs. Mr. Stone stated that, from past experience, the County will not get a grant for this program.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he would assume that EMS would think of themselves as a participating partner, and he would not think there would be any expectations for them not to participate.
Mr. Stone stated that historically the State will not support a VHF system of this type.
Mr. Anderson continued to review his line items noting that the $1,000,000 has been set aside to look at property in the South Lake County area, for an annex building. He stated that the Sheriff pointed out that part of the original use of the infrastructure sales tax was supposed to be used for Jail Pod E. Mr. Anderson reminded the Sheriff that the County added Prelude, which still gives him the same number of beds, but he still feels that the infrastructure sales tax was supposed to provide him with four housing pods, in addition to Prelude. He explained that the Sheriff feels that within a year after Orange County moves out its inmates, the County will justify that space and fill it up with County inmates. He noted that 196 beds in Prelude are being rented to Orange County. The total amount of beds of the jail is 960, and for the previous two to three years, they were not getting much over 600, but this year, by combining the Orange County inmates, the federal prisoners, and the County inmates, the number is well over 900. He explained that, when the concept of the jail was developed, they did not anticipate leasing out space.
Mr. Anderson stated that the budget reflects $4,500,000 for the Expo Center/Fairgrounds. A site has been selected, and there has been a feasibility study, and a conceptual design for that facility, on that site. He stated that there has been some concern with what has been happening in that area with the residential development, and the solid waste concerns, and staff was questioning whether the County wanted to continue to look at that area, or perhaps another location. He explained what might occur as Pringle develops to the north. He stated that there is a slight buffer of some other property that separates the Pringle development from the proposed fair property, but it would be very close, as would the landfill. Then there will be some highway extension coming through there. Mr. Anderson stated that, as they continue to look at property, and if something better comes along, they will bring it to the Board.
Commr. Pool stated that, since the County will be in charge of the PEAR project, which is an agricultural event, he was wondering if this is something the Board could look at as an opportunity, because it be for two weeks out of the year.
Commr. Hanson explained that the issue of the PEAR project had been discussed, and the folks in Plantation and other areas were not receptive.
Mr. Anderson explained that the program application for the Lake County Youth Fair is diminishing, and the midway rides and attractions are increasing. He further explained that there are more active members in 4-H now than there have been for years, but the problem is that there is not a venue for them to showcase their projects, because they are being squeezed out of the fairgrounds.
Mr. Anderson continued the discussion of his line items and stated that, under Communications Systems and Emergency 9-1-1, this involves upgrades to the phone systems. He further stated that later on in the discussion, other staff members will be addressing the renovation of Building H, which is where the Health Department is currently located, and turning that into a dispatch center training room, and administrative offices, for Mr. Bruce Thorburn, Communications Systems Director, and his staff.
Ms. LaMarche reviewed the line items for Fiscal and Administrative Services and noted that staff has plugged in a number for E-Government Solutions. She stated that they are meeting every other week to come up with some recommendations on e-government on the internet and ways that citizens can do courthouse business without having to come to the building, and they will be making those recommendations later in the spring.
Ms. LaMarche stated that, as far as emergency services is concerned, staff has provided maps and pictures on pages 22 through 31 of the proposed sites for the fire stations.
Mr. Stone stated that, during the past 23 months, there have been some significant changes in Emergency Management Services. He stated that they have been moved from the existing round courthouse to Fire Station #53, which is on Sunnyside Drive, but unfortunately, even with the future anticipated personnel needs, that station will not house those people without doing some renovation, so staff has placed some costs into that line item. There has been some activation over the last year and a half, at some level, and they are going into extended operations with people working around the clock, and existing facilities will not support this overload. Staff is trying to upgrade to a certain point where they can go into full time operation, if necessary. Mr. Stone briefly reviewed line items pertaining to other fire stations.
Commr. Hanson noted that, if a fire station is placed in the Pine Lakes area, the road that connects to Lake Mack will eventually need to be placed on the paved road plan.
Commr. Stivender questioned whether the fire stations are being constructed so that they can be used by the Sheriff's Department, or EMS.
Mr. Stone stated that they are oversizing some of the stations, to make sure there is coverage. He stated that the Sheriff is located at a couple of the stations right now, and there has not been any significant problems in the past couple of months.
Ms. Whittle explained that staff has tried, on some of its purchases, to buy enough property, so that they can locate other County services.
Mr. Stone reviewed the location of the fire stations, as shown on a map, and stated that Station 11, the Astor Fire Station, is buried in the back of a residential area, and it has been added to several times, and the property is owned by an association in that area. He stated that the station is not suitable for the top operation that they are currently running there. He stated that the County has already purchased property on State Road 40, between Astor and Astor Park, and libraries are also going on this parcel of property.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:45 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would take a ten minutes recess.
Emergency Services (Continued)
Mr. Stone continued his discussion of the location of the fire stations and explained the conditions of each. He stated that Station 46 in Shockley Heights is a volunteer station, and there is not a lot of activity there; Station 44 in Altoona is a career station; Station 21 is in Pine Lakes; Station 22 is in Lake Mack; Station 35 is being moved to the new park site; Station 33 is running primarily as the communications, maintenance, repair facility; Station 47 on the south side of Umatilla is now the community center and under a lease; Station 43 in Dona Vista is currently being used for logistics support and supply with a staff of one. He reviewed Station 52, Station 54, and Station 51 and stated that staff is currently talking to the City of Leesburg about co-manning a station at the airport. The City is in the process of trying to get a Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant to build a station at this location. The grant covers 75% of the cost for construction, and Leesburg has asked the County for one-half of the 25%, or 12 1/2 %, and he has agreed that this is a good plan for both of them, to man that station. He explained that staff is going to try and leave Station 51 as a volunteer station and move the career staff to the airport, and they are discussing opening the Sunrise Ark Station in a couple of years, which will enhance the capabilities in that entire area where there has been tremendous growth in Eustis. Station 61 in Lady Lake is probably the busiest station in the County running about 4,000 requests for service last year. Stations 62 and 63 are fairly inactive stations on Picciola and outside of Fruitland Park, but there is equipment at these stations. Because of the call volume, staff is starting to look at manning one of these stations to take some of the load off of Station 61. Station 66 is being rented out to the Harbor Hills Water Department, and Station 53 on Sunnyside is the Emergency Management Office. Staff is talking about co-manning Station 83 in Okahumpka and supplying services to the City of Leesburg, because they have expanded and annexed it into that area. He stated that Station 85 is a very busy station around the Plantation, and it has been a very high profile station for the past couple of years. There have been no real changes at Station 81 in Yalaha, and Station 71 is where the maintenance facility is located and is a poor site. Mr. Stone stated that staff will be meeting to discuss co-locating this site. Staff has talked about putting a station in the extended CIP around the Turnpike and Highways 27/19, somewhere in that general area. Station 96 is a combination of a department between the County and the municipality. The city has a piece of the County's equipment, and the station has been closed and everything has been moved into one house. Station 92 is a terrible station from the standpoint of its service ability and where it is located, and in the budget this year, there is land acquisition money to move that station to the north end of Minneola to try and keep it as close to the highway as possible. Mr. Stone stated that Station 91 south of Clermont is very busy. At the south end of the County, property has already been purchased and staff is reviewing construction plans for the proposed Station 94, which is located at County Road 474 and Highway 27. The Bay Lake Station will be on the agenda in the next couple of weeks. Staff has been very successful in the past couple of years of upgrading the fleet, and by the end of April, they will have new equipment in almost every station, which includes the volunteer and career stations. The County will have six new engines by the end of April, and new aerial equipment has been ordered for the south end of the County. Mr. Stone explained that staff will be going back and looking at stations, and station locations, and upgrading some of them, and he has been working on a standard set of plans for fire stations.
Mr. Stone stated that Station 54, which is in Mid-Florida Lakes, is responding to the Wedgewood, Lake Yale and the Grand Island area, and it is a volunteer station. He noted that the closest manned station is Bassville Park, and they are also responding. He stated that historically, if they have something that is breaking lose in 51 district, they are trying to move the Altoona station down to cover it, or move the other career station on the other side of Eustis, to cover some of the zones.
Commr. Hill addressed the Lady Lake Station and the 4,000 calls and questioned whether those were primarily rescue calls, and does the County respond alone, or is the County in a partnership with anyone.
Mr. Stone stated that about 70% of the call volume in the Lady Lake area is EMS assist type calls. He stated that the Villages side of Sumter County has a roaming security EMS system that is experiencing some difficulties, and under State law, they have to have a Certificate of Need and Necessity to automatically respond into the County, and they have never requested one. The County does use them for mutual aid on occasion, and the County offers them mutual aid on a regular basis, to help them cover some of their calls in Sumter County.
Commr. Hill addressed the east side of the County, in the Paisley area, and questioned whether those smaller stations could geographically be combined and whether EMS could be placed there.
Mr. Stone stated that there are existing facilities in this area, and they are in the right place. He stated that the Paisley Station, which is a volunteer station, is extremely active, and the population base is not going to support combining them. Over the past two years, the County has opened a number of career stations and enhanced the present ones. Last year the County opened Altoona and Minneola and brought those up to full staffing. The County currently has at least two people in every one of these stations that are now open, which addresses the safety issue. He stated that currently the County is running three people out of 61 and 51 on a daily basis, and they try to pull one of them to fill the hole, but historically, over the past several months, they have duplicate calls occurring in these districts on a regular basis. Mr. Stone noted that the average County response time is down to seven minutes throughout the County, where before it was almost 15 minutes.
Commr. Hanson stated that Mr. Stone should get a press release out on the issue of response time.
Mr. Stone explained that the existing cad system does not generate the information they need for these types of reports, and staff is having to go back and manually pull them off the run report. He stated that hopefully they will be able to address this with the EMS folks. He noted that the station at Seminole Springs has a supervisor there on rare occasions.
Mr. Stivender reviewed the line items under Public Works and noted that the $30,400 is for two jeeps. He stated that staff is downsizing the equipment to extended cabs instead of suburbans. He explained that staff is proposing to split the crews into three two-man crews, because technology eliminates the third person. He reviewed the items under Road Operations and noted that, even though the total amount for the division is $4,748,440, there is probably 30% of purchases in the $18,000 to $25,000 range, so there is probably another $500,000 that is not marked that is below the $25,000 number. He explained the rotation process, as well as the expansion that is needed in equipment and noted that the big numbers are under Special Services for roads and bridges. Mr. Stivender explained that there are two bridges that are in excess of 50 years old, and their intention is to get the design and replace at least one of those two bridges in the next five years, with the second one being replaced in the next ten years. The clay to pave program is $800,000 this year, and at one time, it was almost $4 million. There are 190 miles of clay roads, and staff would like to try and get the County out of the clay road business. He stated that they show 10% of the consolidated dollars for consultant work. For dirt roads, they show $100,000 to $150,000 per year over the next five years, if the Board chooses to get into maintaining roads that are not currently in the maintenance system that have right-of-way. In further review of the line items, he noted that, in regards to road impact fees, the numbers reflect an estimate over the next five years. He noted that last year it was $9 million dollars, and they have cash carried forward, so there is almost $50 million, in the next five years, to be spent just on impact fee projects. Mr. Stivender explained the projected move of Maintenance Area II, and the revamping of traffic operations. He noted that resurfacing was reflecting $9 million, which is based on their evaluation of the 25 year plan to resurface all roads in Lake County. They had $300,000 to spend over five years on sidewalks, but this program was cut out of the budget in the past. They have two approved special assessment projects that they cannot move forward with because of the lack of funds, and they have expanded the striping program. He noted that, in the widening and resurfacing, reconstruction area of the budget, there are a lot of issues that are associated with impact fees, but there are a lot of projects that do not qualify for impact fees, but there is a need to refurbish and reconstruct roadways. Mr. Stivender stated that there were not a lot of dollars being shown for Rails to Trails projects, because they are desperately looking for grant dollars from the State.
Commr. Hanson addressed the special assessment projects and stated that there are other project that did not get funded, but they have a commitment from the people to do the project She stated that they have discussed taking dollars from the one cent sales tax to do some of these projects, and she questioned whether this was still the feeling of the Board. She noted that Forest Drive east of Pine Lakes is one that is on the table right now.
Commr. Cadwell stated that this would be in his long range feelings to move forward with such projects, and he was a little hesitant to do that now, not knowing what the future holds and whether the County will be further behind, but there may be a way to show their intentions, if they do continue the penny.
Commr. Hanson stated that she did not think that they would have that many between now and then, but she feels the Board should show them the commitment.
Mr. Stivender stated that, in regards to Forest Drive, staff can move forward with design, which is going to take some time, because it is in the Wekiva area, but they did find enough dollars, and they are planning for mid-year. He explained that this project will be almost $1 million to build and finance, because it is a good length.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that staff bring forward the two or three projects and see how many dollars it will take to do them.
Commr. Hanson directed Mr. Stivender to bring those projects forward, as noted, and any others in the County that are ready to go.
Mr. Stivender stated that he can bring forth a list of the projects that are ready to build and where the County is waiting on dollars, and the ones that are ready to build and design. He directed the Board's attention to Table No. 1 Major Road Projects, which show the current traffic counts and projections over the next 20 years, and which reflects a total of $142,033,000 in needed funding. He noted that further information has been supplied in the backup material, which was prepared by Mr. Fred Schneider, Engineering Director, with the assistance of Ms. Kathy McDonald, Administrative Services Coordinator.
Mr. Minkoff noted that, in regards to right-of-way acquisition, on a lot of the roads, right-of-way is not there, and what the State is finding, particularly on roads that are major roads where you have commercial properties, that the cost of right-of-way acquisition often time equals the construction, or exceeds the construction costs of the project. So it will not be just what the County will be paying the landowners, but they will end up with an entire division of people who will be involved in everything from appraisal to acquisition and relocation, so it gets to be very expensive, and these numbers are probably very low in areas where the County needs right-of-way. Under the new study, they will be included in the impact fee costs. Mr. Minkoff noted that, under the current impact fees, right-of-way costs are not included.
Mr. Stivender explained that he met with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and reviewed several million projects that are associated with State roads and County roads and how the County can get them into their funding. He noted that staff is working on a team effort with the State. Mr. Stivender explained that the last time any type of ad valorem taxes were used as a capital program was in 1983, and it was just General Fund dollars.
Mr. Minkoff felt that impact fees are bondable, because they are based on growth that is there, so you do not get any where near the kinds of returns, in terms of what you can borrow as you could on another revenue source. He stated that there is another strategy that has been used in the past where they take impact fees and turn them into special assessments, and they become where you can almost bond the entire amount, where you have a willing developer. So they are bondable, but you are going to get a lot less return from them, because of the uncertainty of collection of them. He stated that, on the race track funds, the County was able to get almost 100% coverage, and on the impacts, they may get 45% to 50% coverage.
Ms. Barbara Lehman stated that there is another thing about roads that the County will have to start thinking about in the next two years, from an accounting standpoint, and that is they will have to go back and capitalize the costs of the roads that have been built for the last 25 years and put that into the financial statements at their depreciated value. This will begin with the 2002 financial statements, and they will start doing it on a perspective basis. There is a three year phase in, for the 25 year past history. In the past, they have not been required to keep track of them in their accounting records.
Mr. Stivender stated that he has discussed this with Ms. Lehman and, from 1980 forward, the engineers kept pretty good records, but between 1975 and 1980, it is a little difficult to establish the necessary information.
Ms. Lehman noted that there are several ways to make an estimation, and they are working on that now.
Clerk of Courts
Ms. Lehman stated that, in the Clerk of Courts' capital project plan, they have budgeted their major project for next year, which is the replacement of their accounting software. The cost will be $900,000 and this will include the replacement of software and hardware. She noted that the other projects were self-explanatory.
Ms. LaMarche noted that Pages 20 through 21 consisted of the Ten and Twenty-Year Capital Improvement Program for Fiscal Years 2007-20021.
Mr. Anderson directed the Board's attention to Tab 13, and the Population to Facility Sq. Ft. - 2001 graph, and stated this is a comparison between the population and the square foot per capita. After the last major project for the courthouse and jail, the Board asked staff to develop a set of standards that could be used for all of the different positions. Those standards were adopted in 1991, and they applied them to the design of the courthouse, the jail, and all of the subsequent renovations. Mr. Anderson stated that right now, in year 2001, it shows a current inventory of 374,000 square feet, and in reality and applying the space standards to the number of positions, they should be at 419,200 square feet.
Mr. Anderson directed the Board's attention to Page 4, the Summary of Department Area Requirements, and stated that the two most noticeable areas was the Clerk of Courts and the Judicial Department. He noted that all of these are the result of the additional positions that each department has indicated that they are going to need over the next five years, and they are applying this to the population growth and projecting it out. He noted that the figures include the purchase of the bank building. Mr. Anderson stated that the purchase of the bank building made an improvement, but it did not overcome the deficit, because the Clerk has also added other positions. The Judicial Department figures are in anticipation of the impact from Article V, which results in additional positions for the judiciary, which is reflected in the figures. He noted that, by the year 2006, there will be a deficit of 93,210 square feet. Mr. Anderson noted that, under the Matrix (Office Space Evaluation Matrix), there is a summary of some of the projects staff has reviewed, and the highlighted areas are the ones that staff feels the County needs to look at now. He stated that he would like the Board to allow staff to go ahead and look at a ten acre parcel located across the street from Treadway, for the location of the central library. This site would also serve as a very good site for parks and recreation, because of the size of the parcel. It was set up as a school to begin with and already has activity and athletic fields, and it has a full gymnasium on it. He explained that they are in the process of relocating the current Health Department (Building H) to a renovated leased building on Highway 441. The intended use of Building H would be for a dispatch center and 9-1-1 administration. Mr. Anderson noted that, in regards to the ten acre parcel, the next step would be to get appraisals on the site. He stated that it is on the market for a reasonable price, and he would like to go ahead and get the appraisal, and therefore, he was requesting Board direction.
Commr. Hill questioned whether staff has consulted with the college, or the School Board about some type of partnership.
Mr. Anderson explained that staff has talked with other agencies, with regards to the library, but they have not talked to anyone from the School Board.
Commr. Cadwell explained that this is one of those areas where the County made the capital investment, and the schools needed the facilities for programs at the schools, and he does
It was noted that it was the consensus of the Board that staff should move forward on getting appraisals on the noted ten acre parcel.
Commr. Hill stated that she would like to include as many entities as possible, in a partnership with the County.
Mr. Anderson stated that staff has talked about partnering with other agencies that might want to assist in the management of activities, such as the YMCA and the Boys Club. He stated that it would be a good opportunity for the County's Parks and Recreation to start to learn more about active recreation programs.
Mr. Anderson addressed the County Outreach Development space and explained that he feels this area is going to need more discussion, because there is not any unused space that staff can convert into a video lab right now. He noted that staff has proposed negotiating an agreement with Lake-Sumter Community College, to share the use of their sound and video lab facilities, and he did not see a downside to doing this, because they have worked with the County to date with its video operations for the Board meetings.
Ms. Whittle noted that one of the County's goals is to eventually operate a second government access channel, and she does not see any reason why it could not be done out of the college facility, and she believes that the college would be receptive to that, because the County would bring some things to the table that might result in an upgrade of some of the equipment capabilities.
Mr. Anderson stated that staff needs to look at the rest of the community, too, because even Tavares High School has an nice audio-visual lab.
Mr. Alvin Jackson stated that the consultant met with Lake-Sumter Community College yesterday, and over the last few years, the college was not sure what was going to happen to its studios. He believes the college is considering keeping them where they are right now.
Mr. Anderson stated that the County could work with the college, for a long range plan, in a joint venture to develop a video lab with them.
Commr. Pool explained that a partnering may allow them the opportunity to stay where they are now.
Ms. Whittle stated that the consultant's report will be brought back to the Board as a workshop, with options.
Mr. Anderson continued his discussion of the needed work space and stated that it may take serious discussion to identity services which can operate independently from the locations in downtown Tavares. He stated that they also need to consider a site where they can develop a master plan and possibly develop a Tavares branch concept, which has been discussed in the past. He explained that this would involve areas that do not need the client base coming to them and something that does not have to have the day to day input and can work effectively in a stand alone facility. He still feels that customers need to come to Tavares for customer services, such as judiciary matters, and matters relating to the Sheriff's Department.
Mr. Anderson addressed the Department of Growth Management and stated that there has been discussion about the need for a South Lake Annex. They have been carrying an estimate for a 15,000 square foot building, and this needs immediate attention. He explained their need for a filing retrieval system, which would allow the department to reduce the need to maintain original files on the floor.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the CAP Team report, that the Board will be getting, is going to talk about moving toward a system of no paper at all, with everything being electronic.
Ms. Wendy Taylor stated that the CAP Team is on the agenda for the next workshop, but they are looking at another presentation a week from Monday, which may change the date for the report to made to the Board.
Ms. Whittle noted that the electronic process is much less expensive, in the long run, than it is to try and keep up with the space needs.
Mr. Anderson explained that they have already budgeted and planned the renovation that will be taking place at the Agricultural Center, which is changing the orientation of the building and parking lot.
Mr. Anderson noted that there is a 12,000 square foot deficit in the Clerk of Courts. He stated that the Board has approved the purchase of the First Union Bank, and staff is in the process of doing the design and working with Mr. James C. Watkins, Clerk, on how he wants the area laid out. He stated that right now Mr. Watkins has only identified 22 to 25 personnel that will be placed there, but staff assumes that he will give them another list of operations that will be placed in the building.
Mr. Minkoff informed the Board that Mr. David Cauthen has offered the County a house right behind the parking lot that the County purchased from the Union Congregational Church, and it is between that church and the bank. He stated that Mr. Cauthen wrote to the County and asked if the County would be interested in purchasing the house a few months ago, and it would connect the bank and the County buildings. He stated that staff hesitated pursuing it, because he was sure what the reaction of the City of Tavares would be, if they tore down another house in that area, but now that the County is going to be acquiring the bank building, this would be a natural connection.
Mr. Anderson stated that staff has expressed interest in the purchase of the house, but that staff would have to take the idea to the Board, and they would have to get an appraisal on it. Staff was also looking at the overall space in downtown Tavares. He stated that staff cannot really talk about ten to 20 years out, without considering acquiring additional property in downtown Tavares, even though this is a sensitive topic, but it is something that they cannot ignore.
Mr. Anderson stated that, as well as all of the other constitutional officers in the judiciary, the Public Defender and State Attorney have all expressed concern about the space in the courthouse. The immediate needs are the Clerk of Courts and the Judiciary. He noted the feasibility drawings in the backup, which showed how the addition might look to the courthouse, and he noted that it includes a three level parking garage for 400 vehicles. He stated that this is not a ten year program, but it is something for five years out that needs to be addressed. Mr. Anderson stated that he is showing a revised estimate of a $21 million to $22 million range to develop that project. He noted that this does not include the purchase of any property, but only to do everything on the property as it is right now. He stated that they can accommodate the parking, and the expansion at this point in time, which is 132,000 square foot addition plus the associated parking with the parking garage. Staff already has approval to go ahead and fill in the retention pond and create another 90 parking spaces there.
Mr. Anderson referred to Page 103, which was an aerial of the current County property, and stated that this consists of 34.4 acres of property. He pointed out that everything they have been doing to date has been developed in a contiguous manner, in more of a campus type setting. He explained that there were many things that the Board needs to consider for future development, such as the school property, the building of a parking lot at the church property, and the future of Lake Region, since it would be logical to develop to the south, at least as far as the railroad track. He explained that the source of the census populations that staff is working with today are generated from the census that was taken in 1990. He noted that there was a Total Population Identified by Age Groups map on Page 101, and a 2002 Projected Population Per Square Mile map on Page 102. Mr. Anderson felt that there would be a big change in the south where they will probably have the justification for the South Lake County Annex that they have been discussing.
Commr. Cadwell stated that Mr. Anderson did a very good job making a presentation on the office space, with the way that he equated it to people and square footage, and he appreciated his efforts.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 12:30 p.m., Commr. Hanson announced that the Board would recess for lunch and reconvene at 1 p.m.
Commr. Hanson noted that Mr. Anderson had books available with detailed information for the Board members.
Infrastructure Sales Tax
Ms. LaMarche stated that she has been keeping track of the infrastructure sales tax projects beginning in 1988. She stated that staff feels that the indirect costs are well under what any project of this magnitude would be. The County will have paid all of its debt service on the $8 million line of credit by this year. The debt service on the bonds will be cut off by the sunset of the infrastructure sales tax. Ms. LaMarche noted that, on Page 1, Miscellaneous (see attached), in the amount of $66,558 is presented in detail on Page 2. She stated that, on Page 3, it shows how much new infrastructure sales tax will be available for use between now and the sunset at 12/31/02. They anticipate about $15 million of new money, and after they pay off the bond, under Capital Projects, for the next fiscal year, they anticipate $3.2 million new dollars, for a total for the next year and a half of almost $4.7 million, and that will pay off the County's debt. She had, as a note, that in Fiscal Year 2001, one mill would generate $7,278,000 in ad valorem taxes. She stated that Page 4 shows the current projects underway, under the budget, in the 301 Fund, which is the Capital Projects Fund. In the 301 Fund, there is about $4.1 million budgeted reserve. She stated that Page 5 shows projects that have been identified during this current year, that are not anywhere in the budget, and staff did not include Lake Region Packing, because she understands that there has been some discussion on that issue, but these nine items will be coming to the Board for discussion as budget transfers. She noted that further discussion needs to be given to the purchase of the First Union Building, because the County will not have the total $2 million from the Clerk's excess fees. The Clerk normally gives back about $150,000 to $200,000 a year, so it would take a long time to build up that money, to pay off that building. She stated that they need to talk about where that funding is coming from to complete the purchase and renovation.
Commr. Hanson stated that the First Union Building should be paid for with the one cent sales tax.
Ms. LaMarche stated that Page 6 shows the projection of the sales tax out 20 years beginning with January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2022, and her assumption is a 6% growth rate per year.
Commr. Pool explained that he was at a Lions Club meeting yesterday, where there were about 50 people in attendance, and he mentioned the infrastructure sales tax and told them that this is their opportunity to continue it, and he felt that everyone there was in favor of it. He stated that he is receiving positive feedback on what their job will be for the tax.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he met with the Superintendent and Chairman of the School Board last week, and they are about two weeks away from having a capital plan, but they are very interested in talking to the Board about doing something together. He stated that Mr. Jim Myers, representing the League of Cities, met with them, and the cities have their list ready. He stated that there is a group of business people that want to move forward with it, so they are really just waiting for the School Board to get the capital list to them, so all of those lists can be presented to those individuals. He stated that it will take the action of this Board, and action of the School Board, to say put it on the ballot. He would anticipate this happening in the next 30 to 45 days. Commr. Cadwell stated that the Chairman of the School Board seems to think that his Board would be unanimous on us doing something together. If the Board takes its portion and splits it with the School Board, then they would be happy. Commr. Cadwell stated that, when this Board tells the citizens' group what it is they want to do, then he would like to see the Board take half of their portion and put it towards transportation. He noted that the City of Eustis called Tallahassee to get a copy of the software, and he talked to Mr. Myers about the City and the County coming together and producing some of the signs that show the use of the penny sales tax.
Ms. Whittle stated that the County did give a grant to Trout Lake Nature Center from the infrastructure sales tax. She stated that discussion has occurred regarding the posting of a distinctive sign that would be posted on all of the projects that have been built over the years.
Ms. Whittle stated that, as in any issue of this sort, County staff does not advocate one way or the other, and County staff's role is to provide the information that is needed. She noted that it is appropriate for the elected officials to advocate an issue, but not for staff.
Commr. Cadwell explained that the community group will sell the idea of the sales tax to the community.
Commr. Pool explained that the tax currently generates $19 million a year, and the County gets approximately two-thirds, and the cities one-third, and he explained to the people wanting to advocate the issue that it is their decision what happens in the future with these proceeds.
Commr. Hill stated that the County could do everything it wanted to do, if they did not share the tax with the School Board.
Commr. Cadwell explained that the County went to the School Board for a couple of reasons, number one being that they said they had a definite need for it, and the present School Board and Superintendent seem to be trying to rectify the past problems.
Discussion occurred regarding Page 3, Infrastructure Sales Tax Projections, with Mr. Minkoff explaining that it would actually be an increase, because the County is currently paying debt service. He explained that it would be about the same money absent the debt service.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in regards to transportation, it would be a policy decision to bond it. He stated that he would be glad for Commr. Hanson to take over those conversations with the School Board and this community group.
Commr. Hanson stated that Commr. Cadwell has already established ongoing relationships and dialogue, so he should continue with the discussions.
Mr. Minkoff noted that, if the Board is considering having the issue placed on the June ballot, the Board needs to make a decision by April 1.
Funding Options for Transportation Disadvantaged
Mr. Stivender noted that the information provided in Tab 4 is the presentation that staff made to the Board on the Public Transportation System, when they asked how they would get through the rest of this year. He stated that right now it is being funded until April under gas tax dollars, and it is a month to month situation right now through Lifestream. He stated that the estimated cost if $62,000 between now and the end of the year, and then $143,198 and $150,000 over the next two years, with a 50% federal match. He stated that the question today would be do they continue funding it through the gas tax, or do they seek another funding source, as they discussed, such as ad valorem taxes. He stated that, because of the gas tax, there are a lot of customers that are in the cities, and there is no city participation in this funding.
Ms. Whittle stated that staff has looked at this issue, and it will be an ongoing process, to work out what the different funding sources will be. In order to get through this year, she requested Mr. Stivender to give them the figures. In the past, they have made the contribution for the Transportation Disadvantaged from the gas tax for about seven years. She stated that the question to the Board would be, do they continue with gas tax, or do they look for another source of funding. She stated that, on a short term one year quick basis, they could do a transfer at mid-year, because there is a small surplus in the General Fund, but that is not a recurring revenue source, and when they get down to the recurring annual expenses, they have to have dedicated funding for it.
Commr. Stivender stated that she would prefer to see the funding come out of something else other than gas tax, because they need to get these roads done quickly, but they also need to come up with a different funding source for the next year.
Ms. Whittle stated that staff feels there should be some city participation, but there never has been.
Mr. Stivender stated that, since they have taken over this program, they have asked for past records.
Commr. Cadwell stated that taking the funds out of the General Fund would create somewhat of a city participation, at that point, since the city residents are paying ad valorem taxes, so that would get the process started.
Ms. Whittle cautioned the Board that what she has just described to the Board is not a recurring source of revenue, so it is a one time approach to this issue, to get it through this year, and then they will have to design a whole new system for it.
Mr. Stivender explained that there are a lot of counties that have input from the General Fund, for this program.
Ms. Whittle noted that, in some counties, the cities do make direct contributions to the program, because they have their own particular routes and needs.
Mr. Stivender stated that, in Ocala, or Gainesville, it is the principal user, and Lake County has 14 municipalities. He stated that the 5311 funding is for ongoing administration and management of the system ($143,198), and the County gets a 50% federal match to it, over the first year, and they may get more in the second year. He noted that, between January and October, it would be $102,000. The matching federal grant available if $670,000, so there are monies that the County has not matched yet.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, even though the Board has never used General Fund dollars in these types of programs, this is a big policy step for them, but this is probably the time to do this, to get them through the next couple of years, and if the additional money is in the transportation, the Board can relook at it, from the gas tax.
Mr. Stivender explained that this program was set up in a separate account, in 112, so they could watch the dollars going in and out of it.
Ms. Whittle noted that this program and funding will be brought back to the Board with the mid-year budget adjustments.
Updates on County Programs
Mr. Fletcher Smith stated that three branch libraries were opened this past year, Citrus Ridge Branch, Marion Baysinger, and East Lake. He stated that there are more scheduled to be opened this year. He stated that Astor and Paisley will be in July, 2001, and the Central Lake Branch will be opened some time in August, 2001, pending the site location. He stated that, for the Central Lake Branch, there are several sites under consideration, as follows: Lake-Sumter Community College campus; Lakes of Leesburg Shopping Center; and Gateway Christian School located across the street from Treadway Elementary School. He stated staff is looking at a regional library concept for the Citrus Ridge Branch, with the other three counties, Orange, Osceola, and Polk. He stated that a lot of people in Polk County are using the Central Ridge Branch, and they are being charged user fees. Mr. Smith noted that, on Page 2 of Tab 5, staff had the member library statistics. He stated that over 1,800 new cards have been issued at Citrus Ridge to residents of Lake County and 549 to non-residents, at $30 each. He stated that the primary vendor for the opening day collections will be Ingram. He stated that Library Interiors was selected to work on the furniture layout and interior finishes for the modular buildings.
Commr. Cadwell stated that last year the Board made a commitment to move forward with the libraries, and he wanted to make sure that the current Board is still as dedicated as the other Board, with regard to what they are doing with libraries.
Commr. Hanson stated that she voted against the library system to start with, because there was not money to fund it, and that is basically why the Board raised the millage last year. There was a commitment, and she voted for it, because the libraries are very positive for the community. She did feel that later on they will create a major area for County dissemination and better communications with the folks in those areas of the County.
Mr. Smith noted that he brought copies of the Library Team Report for the Board members.
Commr. Hill questioned whether there was any way to share the library system with the schools, or do they both have to build a library in the area.
Commr. Cadwell explained that every time this issue has been discussed with the School Board, they present the problems with the location of schools, and the security within its system.
It was noted that the School Board has been willing to discuss a joint effort with the County's library system, but they hesitate to be a part of it, because of the logistical problems.
Commr. Pool directed the Board's attention to the $500,000 security cost related to tagging books and questioned whether this was a one time fee, because the books are not going to last forever. He felt that a lot of books could be bought for that amount of money.
Ms. LaMarche explained that these types of requests, such as the one alluded to by Commr. Pool, will be in the enhanced budget, and the base line budget with consist of the ongoing continuing budget, and the enhancements will be up for discussion.
Parks & Recreation
Mr. Anderson addressed Tab 6, Parks and Recreation, and stated that the first item is the PEAR Project, which is the Palatlakaha Environmental and Agricultural Reserve Park. He stated that the project is based on a formal lease agreement between Lake County and the State in which they will take 263 acres and develop plans that will be suitable to this site and acceptable to the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), based on land preservation, education and resource-based outdoor recreation opportunity. The Parks and Recreation Division will provide immediate site management through the temporary assignment of its Parks Services section. Mr. Anderson explained that the Division needs to move out of the existing base of operations in the soon to be developed Lake Idamere Park. While assigned to the location, staff can perform basic building maintenance and immediate usage and landscape maintenance. This arrangement will provide immediate necessary maintenance and site security presence. It is recommended that a PEAR Task Force or Advisory Committee be appointed to develop a Site Management Plan, and a Development and Operations Procedures Plan proposal, for review and approval by the Board.
Mr. Minkoff stated that Commr. Pool is the liaison to this group. The Board voted six months ago to create such a committee. He stated that he has met with Commr. Pool, and he and Mr. Anderson will be meeting with him again next week, and there will be an agenda item for the Board at the first or second meeting in March, with the lease, as well as recommendation on how this committee should be set up as a County Advisory Board to manage the facility.
Commr. Pool stated that his thoughts were to have each Commissioner select a committee member to be on the PEAR Committee, or possibly two members, or in any event, he felt that the Commissioners should be included in the process.
Mr. Minkoff explained that perhaps there could be two individuals from each district, for a total of ten, as opposed to designating somebody from Lake Soil and Water and somebody from the schools.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, just for the record, he has always said that he did not want the Commissioners appointing people out of his district to a committee.
Mr. Anderson stated that, in the lease agreement, it will have the estimated amount of $5,500.00 for utilities and trash removal, and the County will pay to the State $300.00 a year as an administrative fee for the lease. He noted that, in the backup, there was a brief history of the PEAR Project, and an aerial map showing the location of the project on the west side of Highway 27, and there is a conceptual layout of one concept of the proposed use.
Parks and Recreation Master Plan
Mr. Anderson referred to the Master Plan Status Report, and noted Goals of the Master Plan, which he reviewed with the Board. He noted that, on Pages 5 and 6, there was a survey that was developed and submitted through the University of Florida, to make sure that the wording of the questions for the survey were appropriate and met the criteria for a survey. He further noted that Pages 7 and 8 reflected the Preliminary Results of the Public Survey. Mr. Anderson stated that staff would like to continue this survey, and to concentrate the survey at areas where they can get good circulation at park sites.
Commr. Pool stated that 60% of the people support an impact fee for recreation, and it is very clear that the County will never be able to build, or come up with the funding for a site without some mechanism. He stated that, as the County grows, he has always supported, and will support, impact fees for recreation.
Commr. Hanson stated that the County could not do this before, because there was no level of service within the County. She did feel that it would be appropriate for the Impact Fee Committee to look at this issue.
Commr. Stivender noted that 79% of the respondents support using the school facilities, which she has been saying for years.
Mr. Anderson stated that 71% of the respondents indicated that the County should support full scale recreation programs, because staff has been looking for some indication from the public that they are looking for active recreation.
Ms. LaMarche explained that the Team was assigned to looking into options of spending the race track bond money, and they talked to some of the cities, and they said that they could not even get on the school site after hours, because the schools were using those sites, and the schools had to go to other places, because they did not have enough room for their activities.
Commr. Stivender stated that this issue was addressed with the old administration, and she felt that staff needs to talk to the new School Board administration.
Youth Recreation Programs
Mr. Anderson addressed the Youth Recreation Facilities Grant Program Using Infrastructure Sales Tax Funds and stated that the total amount in grants spent to date from 1993 is $2,145,591. He noted that information has been provided regarding the different programs, with most of them being funded out of infrastructure sales tax. He stated that it has been a very successful program.
Race Track/Pari-Mutuel Bonds: Historical Perspective
Mr. Anderson stated that the pari-mutuel money has now been bonded and will yield approximately $4.3 million available to the County for use in the development of recreational opportunities for Lake County residents. He stated that the Race Track Team made a recommendation, which was approved by the Board, on how this money could be used. Basically it would concentrate the use of the money in the south, central, and north part of the County. In the South County, it was recommended that the property be purchased for a South District Park, to be located near Hartwood Marsh Road, and to be combined with infrastructure sales tax dollars to provide for a joint facility, to include South Lake Government Complex and recreation facilities. In the Central County, it was recommended that property be purchased for a Central District Park, located somewhere north of the Turnpike, east of US 27, west of SR 19, and south of CR 48. One potential site recommended was a 130 acre parcel on Dewey Robbins Road. In the North County, it was recommended that a North District Park be located in Altoona by expanding on the McTuerous Memorial Park with multi-use fields, and the creation of a Heritage Village. It was also recommended that a multi-use trail be developed from the Altoona area north through the "Ghost Towns" along the Astor-Lake Eustis rail bed. In addition, the County has purchased the Atkins property in Astor on the St. Johns River, with the bond money. He stated that an application to the Florida Communities Trust Grant will be completed in efforts to repay this expenditure. He further stated that they will also look at other parkland acquisition opportunities that come along throughout the year.
Discussion occurred regarding other opportunities that may be available to the Board.
Ms. LaMarche addressed Tab 8 and stated that Page 1 reflects the Number of Workers' Compensation Claims as of January 31, 2001, and the Workers' Compensation Claims-Dollars as of January 31, 2001. The bottom graph depicts the types and number of claims by department and division. She stated that Risk Management is in the process of working with two different teams to come up with pro-active recommendations on eliminating a lot of these. Ms. LaMarche explained that, on Page 2, they started the current self-insurance program a year ago in October, and staff worked with their consultant to come up with a 12 month rolling average for paid claims. She noted that the rolling average number of claims for the past few months have approached their budgeted targeted amount.
Mr. Minkoff informed the Board that the County did settle with Commercial Union, and they have received a check and waiting for the releases, for $350,000 which gives them a total reserve of $2.3 million in this fund, for medical insurance.
Ms. LaMarche informed the Board that they will see a slight increase in the Workers Compensation. The modification rate is based on a three year average, and in 1997, 1998, and 1999, there had been significant claims during that time period. She noted that it would probably be a 7% to 8% increase in Workmans Compensation funding.
Ms. LaMarche referred to Page 3 and stated that this is her way of monitoring the total dollars in and out of the Group Health Fund. She stated that this was before they received the revenues, as noted by Mr. Minkoff.
Solid Waste Management Services
Mr. Bill Gilley referred to Tab 9, Solid Waste Management Services, and stated that the emphasis is bringing the new recycling center on line. Mr. Gilley stated that staff is looking at leasing the capital items instead of doing an outright purchase. They are also looking at either renovating the impact center as it currently exists, or building a new one, but they are leaning towards building a new one, with the question being where they want to locate it. Mr. Gilley noted that this is not included as a potential item. He reviewed the system dollars in and out and noted that the major contributors are the tipping fees, and the hauler collection and disposal assessment, as far as revenues in. He stated that almost 70% of everything they spend either goes to Ogden, or to the hauling contract. Mr. Gilley explained that staff is getting ready to bring back to the Board the possibility of establishing a level of service where there would be separate yard waste collection, the possibility of going to a 1-1-1 service, and increasing the curbside recycling as well as the drop off locations. There was also a special note that they are going to get into the CRT/Electronic recycling business. Mr. Gilley stated that they have $400,000 budgeted this year for the attorney's fees for Ogden.
Commr. Cadwell noted that the attorney's office that is representing Ogden has been very complimentary of Mr. Gilley and staff.
Mr. Gilley continued his discussion and stated that, even though staff is deducting $68,000 from their payment to Ogden every month, they are still showing that as a liability in their budget. They will continue to do this, until they come to some resolution.
Mr. Gilley referred to a graph, which shows how the County compares in the unincorporated areas to the cities, as far as the fees being paid for garbage collection and disposal. He stated that Astatula and Lady Lake have expressed an interest in going on the tax bill for their garbage assessment. He noted that there are 45,478 residents on service in the unincorporated area, however, there is a potential base of customers at 65,211. He stated that he will be moving forward with universal collection and bringing that back to the Board. As far as the generation rate study that the County has to do per the hauler contract, staff recently found out that, of the people that have service, they are generating about 1.5 tons of garbage per year per resident, which is about 50% higher than what it should be. He noted that Montverde and Astatula are the only ones that do not have universal.
Mr. Minkoff stated that Astatula does not have a water system to cover all of their people, so they have no way to bill it, so they are interested in talking to the County, and they are interested in universal.
Mr. Gilley stated that he will be talking to Montverde and Fruitland Park and a couple of others about doing curbside recycling, with the hopes of getting to the 130,000 tons with the Ogden contract. He explained that the drop off locations are costing the County $175 per household, and they are only paying $113, so they are losing money there. If they go to the universal collection, then the drop offs will be made available at no charge.
Mr. Gilley noted the Tip Fees and Collection/Disposal Fees for Selected Florida Counties, which reflects that Lake County has the notoriety of having the second highest tipping fee in the State, but Palm Beach County has one of the highest garbage rates, but it has one of the lowest tipping fees. Basically they subsidize their capital investments through the tax bill. They take the disposal capacity payment out and apply that to their costs of doing business. He stated that this would be one of the things that staff could talk about with the Board, because if the cities were to do a disposal capacity payment on the city residents, then maybe the County could drop the tipping fee to $45 to $50. Mr. Gilley reviewed the Assessment Count, which shows what people are paying for the service. He noted that 81% of the people, with the once a week service, are on the tax bill for collection and disposal. He would be providing the Board with more information at a later date.
Mr. Gilley noted the following as Major Projects for managing our waste:
Mr. Gilley stated that, as far as what kind of business the County wants to be in, and whether the County wants to site another landfill, Marion County is going to meet with Lake County, in two weeks, to discuss a partnership, and Citrus County has expressed an interest, because they will be running out of capacity in the year 2014. There is the possibility of doing some type of regional development, possibly near the Sumter County line, or in Sumter County. As part of the long term strategy, staff is looking at paying off the line of credit, which is about $14.5 million.
Mr. Gilley stated that he would like a consensus, if he brings forth universal collection. He stated that the Litter Team is scheduled in April to come forward to the Board, and if the County has universal collection, the residential illegal dumping basically takes care of itself. He explained that, if you go to once a week service, you do not have an additional garbage truck on the road, and the second is usually a very light load, and it encourages you to recycle as much as you can. He stated that the County can make available to the people, at a set fee that the hauler will collect, a second week. When they went to once a week collection in Volusia County, they had 60,000 customers, and at that time, less than 600 opted to go for the second week.
Ms. Whittle stated that going to a universal collection is not Mr. Gilley's goal, but it is an option that he is bringing to the Board. She noted that the Litter Team is scheduled to report to the Board in April, and this issue could be brought forward in that workshop.
Emergency Medical Services
Ms. Barbara Lehman explained that the Medicaid application has been lost twice, but it has been resubmitted and it is in process right now. Ms. Lehman stated that Page 10 is an overview of the first four months of operations for the ambulance fund. She stated that the Charges for Services have been billed out for about $3.2 million, and there is an allowed amount, which is about 50%, which is really industry standard for that type of service. She explained that they are taking the allowance as they record the revenue. There is a net so far this year of $1.7 million, which is 35% for this year, which is on target. The subsidies from Lake and Sumter Counties are being made each month. The expenses are at 23%, which is under for the year. She noted that there are some unfilled positions that would cause that, and so far, for the first four months, they have an excess of about $611,000 in operations. Ms. Lehman stated that Page 2 is more detailed line items of the comparisons of the expenses to the budgets. She stated that Page 3 is a balance sheet, as of January 31, 2001, and there is a deficit in cash of about $800,000. She explained that this will be rectified by making the transfer for Lake County's second quarter contribution, and also cash is beginning to flow in, and the County is collecting on the receivables.
Impact Fee Study
Mr. Stivender stated that the Transportation Impact Fee Study began January 1, 2001. They are currently collecting data for the new policies and categories. He stated that Tindale-Oliver had a presentation to the Impact Fee Advisory Committee on January 18, 2001. They have a presentation scheduled for March 12, 2001 with all of the cities, and the League of Cities' luncheon is scheduled in April, when staff will make a presentation on both transportation and MPO. Further presentations will occur at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, and to the Board of County Commissioners, and then it will go back to the Impact Fee Advisory Committee for a second time. Some of the categories in the County's fees that appeared to be either real low or real high, as compared to adjacent counties, was the single family residential home, retail, and fast food. He stated that these areas are going to be studied in more depth than the rest of the study. The expected completion date is June, with final adoption in the late summer, for road transportation.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the initial indications are that, for a single family house, if it went to the full impact, it would possibly triple, to about $3,600. He noted that this would be a 1,500 to a 2,500 square foot house.
Mr. Stivender explained that the County is building roads at a higher standard, because of the demand on urban services and urban designs, and that was not the estimated cost six years ago. It was a rural road standard that kept that price down.
Mr. Minkoff noted that the consultants will be recommending a large increase in costs.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, if the County is going to move in that direction, they also need to aggressively provide some type of assistance for affordable housing.
Mr. Minkoff stated that he and Mr. Anderson, and Ms. Ava Kronz, Director of Continuous Quality Improvement, attended a Marion County Commission meeting where Tindale-Oliver was making the road and fire impact fee presentations to them, and they at least tentatively voted to advertise, over a three year period, going to 100% for road impact fees, and their road impact fees are going to be very similar to what Lake County's will be, and that was the $3,500 figure for a single family house. They went to square footage, and they also had a component for affordable housing.
Commr. Hill informed the Board that the Impact Fee Advisory Committee will not meet this next month, but they are going to meet again, after the League of Cities' luncheon.
Ms. LaMarche informed the Board that staff had three respondents to the RFP that went out for the impact fee study for five areas, parks and recreation, fire services, education, law enforcement and public libraries. She stated that, earlier in the week, the Selection Committee selected Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson, and Henderson, Young & Company, combined, as their first choice. There is a countywide staff team to work with them to negotiate the price.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the goal was to try and bring that back this summer.
Tourist Development Council Payback
Ms. Whittle stated that, in the past, staff has had several discussions with the Board about the fact that the original land purchases for the Central Park were financed from the Tourist Development tax (Tab 11). She stated that Commr. Hanson has asked that it be brought forward with a recap of activity at the Park, and she hopes to have a plan to repay the Tourist Development fund.
Ms. Lehman explained that, first she looked at all of the activity at Central Park since 1992, when the County started the improvements at the Park. She also looked at the debt and the projected revenue for the Park. She referred to Page 1, which reflected the land sales to date, the sources of funding for the improvements, which included borrowing $3.3 million from the line of credit, and $800,000 from the General Fund last year. She stated that the improvements included building several roads and a water/wastewater system, which totaled $7.5 million. They did repay the General Fund $813,000 and paid $1 million on debt. She stated that the recap shows that, to date, they have had a net loss of about $1 million on the improvements that were made to the fund. The cash in the fund right now is $627,724 as of January 31, 2001. The reason there is more cash, and there is still a loss, is because the land is not included in those expenses. The land was paid for from the General Fund and from Tourist Development money.
She noted that this is just the development fund, the Central Park Fund, and it just accounts for the improvements and the sales on the land. Ms. Lehman explained that Page 2 was a recap of all of the sales from conception to the present, and Page 3 is a recap of the debt. In 1995, they borrowed the money to finish the water/wastewater system, and to do some capital projects, but the part under Central Park, Tax-Exempt, $1.5 million, was part of the $8 million that was borrowed, and the other Taxable part was $1.8 million for the water/wastewater, and the total is $3.3 million. She explained that payments have been made, and they have been allocated to that debt. They project to have that debt paid off at the end of this year. The line of credit was extended for four years, in 1997, and it is due August 31, 2001. To date, under the recap, they have borrowed $3.3 million for the Park; they have paid back $1 million from land sales; and there is $2.3 million remaining to be paid back to the sales tax. fund from land sales. Ms. Lehman stated that Page 4 has the projected revenues, and she got this information from Mr. Bruce Redus, Economic Development Director. She noted that there is about $9.7 million in projected sales, however, necessary improvements would have to be made to sell the fairgrounds property, which has not been taken into account at this time, or the debt of $2.3 million. She noted that the infrastructure that was paid for Phase I was about $6.8 million.
Commr. Hanson stated that her point is that they have paid back $813,000 to the General Fund, and they have to pay back the sales tax. She noted that the Resolution says that $660,000 will be paid back to the Tourist Development, but if they wait until the very end, there may or may not be the money to do it.
Ms. Lehman explained that the TDC had 23 acres in Phase I, and 189 acres in Phase II, and 72 acres of nonusable acres, for a total of 285 acres that was allocated to TDC, and for the industrial park portion of Phase I, there were 207 acres, and in Phase II, it was 112 acres, which is 319 acres.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the Tourist Development Council does not own anything, and it is all Lake County, and Lake County land, and it is just a separate fund. When the original land was purchased, the purchase price was something like $1 million, but some of the land was given to the County, and some of it was purchased, so the costs that were spread were only spread against the purchased portion of it. Initially he felt that Commr. Glenn Burhans intended that the entire 800 to be used for a park and fairgrounds, not to be used for industrial at all.
Commr. Hanson stated that it was just a matter of getting monies back into their funds and where the public voted for those monies to go. She stated that this is something that needs to be cleaned up, and it is not recognized here as a debt, and it is just a matter of putting the money into its right account.
Ms. Whittle explained that the information shows the potential for possible sales, but it does note that we do owe a debt of $2.3 million for infrastructure, and if they are to realize the full sales amount here, we recognize that we would have to develop the infrastructure for the property.
Commr. Hanson stated that it needs to be recognized that those dollars are due, and in her opinion, should be paid as soon as possible, rather than letting them wait, when they have already paid money back for sales tax, and they have put money back into the General Fund.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in regards to the sales tax, the County already has needs out there, and that fund does not have enough in it to fund everything it needs now, and he questioned whether the TDC needs the money right now.
Commr. Hanson stated that some time ago, she had asked for at least the interest on the money, even though it did not say this in the resolution. She believes there should be a plan to pay it down and get it resolved before it is all paid at the very end. She stated that she will leave this to Commr. Stivender, who now serves on the TDC. Commr. Hanson stated that it does not matter whether that money is needed right now or not, because it needs to go back into that account.
Commr. Stivender felt that Commr. Hanson was right, because it is like the one cent sales tax, and it was designed for certain projects.
Ms. Lehman clarified that $813,000 went back to the General Fund, because the County had to borrow money in 1998 and 1999 to build the extension of Independence Way for Circuit City. She stated that this was construction, so it was paid back the next year, and it was a cash flow situation. If you pay the $660,000 back, it will go to the Resort Development Tax Fund, from the General Fund.
Commr. Hanson felt that there needs to be a plan to pay it down, and right now it is hardly recognized as a debt.
Commr. Cadwell noted that the Resolution states that it will be paid back at the conclusion of the sale of the property.
Commr. Hanson felt that there needed to be a plan to pay it back before the end of it.
Ms. Whittle explained that the first obligation is to pay the debt service that was incurred in the development of the park.
Commr. Hanson stated that she would like to have a proposal on how it can start being paid down, or a plan for it, before all of the land is sold. She would also like to see an appraisal on the balance of that land, particularly that part that is up around the Welcome Center, because it is probably going to develop out as a commercial location. She noted that there is a day care center going in, which is a very good thing, but her question is the idea of selling one and a half acres at $35,000 an acre, when it should probably be closer to $85,000 an acre. She noted that the property has Highway 27 frontage, and it has water and sewer. She would like to look at it, if the Board agrees, and she did not feel that it should necessarily come from the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), because they are not the ones having to pay the bills.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the IDA has a committee that has looked at the pricing of the park.
Commr. Hanson noted that she has mentioned this issue to the IDA.
Commissioners' Focus Areas and Goals for FY 2002 and 2003
Ms. LaMarche stated that she appreciated the Board meeting and presenting their focus areas and goals, and that they provide staff with a direction, as they head into the budget process. She noted that she, along with Ms. Kronz, and Ms. Lourdes Ramos, Human Resources Director, will be presenting the information starting next week to the departments and division directors and supervisors, and from there, they will be enhancing and forming additional action steps.
Ms. Whittle stated that she feels staff has fairly reflected all of the Board's goals and objectives for the year and encouraged the Board members to review the information.
Commr. Hanson stated that she has discussed with Ms. Whittle the idea of looking into having an independent review of the County's operations periodically. She presented this idea for the other Board members' thought and consideration, and noted that there will be a cost involved, if the Board decides to have one.
Ms. Whittle noted that the next fiscal retreat will be in June.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 2:55 p.m.
CATHERINE C. HANSON, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK