The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, April 3, 2001, 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: Catherine C. Hanson, Chairman; Robert A. Pool, Vice Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Jennifer Hill; and Debbie Stivender Others present were: Sue Whittle, County Manager; Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Jodi Hanson, Executive Associate, Board of County Commissioner's Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance were led by Commr. Cadwell.
Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that he had a item that he would like to list under his business, which would require a vote. He stated that the issue involves the release of a lien on property, in Dona Vista, for Mr. Keith Hughes.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to add the item regarding a release of lien, as noted, on the agenda, under Commr. Cadwell's reports.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, noted that there are two printed addendums to today's agenda.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that he would like to place an item on the agenda regarding a request for a closed session to discuss Cox versus Lake County, which is the Sugarloaf case. He stated that he would like to meet with the Board in two weeks.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to add the item regarding a request for a closed session, as noted, to the agenda, under the County Attorney's reports.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of February 23, 2001, Special Meeting (JPA Forum), as presented.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of March 6, 2001, Regular Meeting, as presented.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of March 13, 2001, Regular Meeting, as presented.
CLERK OF COURTS' CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts' Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 5, for the following requests:
Bonds - Contractor
Approved Contractor Bonds, as follows:
4928-01 Edge Concrete & Masonry, Inc.
5291-01 Scott A. Bruehl dba Apopka Plumbing (Plumbing)
5386-01 Dennis Fletcher dba Fletcher Heating & A/C
5827-01 William Penuel
5828-01 John Ingels dba Hunter Development, Inc.
5829-01 Thomas A. Mills
5783-01 Gregory Vaughn dba Gregory Homes
Acknowledged receipt of the list of warrants paid prior to this meeting, pursuant to Chapter 136 of the Florida Statutes, which shall be incorporated into the Minutes as attached Exhibit A and filed in the Board Support Division of the Clerk's Office.
Acknowledged receipt of the Monthly Distribution of Revenue Traffic/Criminal Cases, Month ending February 28, 2001.
Disbursements due to Board: $153,064.58
Same period last year: $169,725.22
Acknowledged receipt of the following reports from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, in accordance with Florida Statutes, Sections 373.507 and 218.32:
Acknowledged receipt of Ordinances from the Town of Lady Lake, as follows:
Ordinance No. 2000-28 Ordinance No. 2001-01
Ordinance No. 2000-30 Ordinance No. 2001-02
Ordinance No. 2000-34 Ordinance No. 2001-03
Ordinance No. 2000-35 Corrected Ordinance No. 96-07
Ordinance No. 2000-36 Ordinance No. 2000-37
COUNTY MANAGER'S CONSENT AGENDA
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, stated that she would like to remove Tab 11, regarding a Settlement Agreement between the County and Gary and Karen Pause, from the Consent Agenda, for discussion.
Commr. Stivender stated that she would like to pull Tab 7 regarding the terrorism annex, for discussion, and to take Tabs 12 and 21, which are both resolutions, as separate items from the consent agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Manager's Consent Agenda, for the following requests, with the exception of Tabs 7, 11, 12 and 21, as noted above:
Request for approval and signature on Resolution 2001-60 creating the Lake County Elder Ready Study Committee and that the committee members be selected and appointed within 30 days.
Accounts Allowed/Community Services/Grants
Request for approval and authorization to apply for the Federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the amount of $28,329.00.
Contracts, Leases & Agreements/Economic Development/Hospitals-Ambulances
Request for approval of Impact Fee Deferral Agreement between Lake County and Florida Hospital Waterman.
Contracts, Leases & Agreements/Economic Development
Request for approval of Impact Fee Deferral Agreement between Lake County and Tool World, Inc.
Accounts allowed/Contracts, Leases & Agreements/Grants/State Agencies
Request for approval and authorization for Chairman to sign the Grant Agreement for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Program with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for parkland acquisition grant for 20 acres at the Pine Forest Park in Pine Lakes, in the amount of $25,000.00.
Accounts Allowed/Contracts, Leases & Agreement/Education
Request for approval to establish an agreement and provide funding of up to $66,140.00 to the Lake County School Board to assist with a Middle School Age Summer Recreation Program.
Accounts Allowed/Budget Transfers/Public Works/Road Projects
Request to approve budget transfer in the amount of $101,000.00 from Road (Special Services) to Public Works, Roads (Road Operations). Additional funds are needed for Project 2001-07 Countywide Resurfacing & Restriping. Low bid is $660,952.50 and $600,000.00 is budgeted. It is estimated that an additional $40,000.00 may also be needed for change orders on this project.
Request for approval and authorization for the Chairman to execute Satisfaction of Assessment Liens for six road assessments, as follows:
677007 - Mary Randazzo - 12/05/00
692003 - Robert Watson - 01/31/01
669029 - Thomas W. Carter, Jr. - 02/20/01
683001 - Charles & Alberta Rimes - 02/12/01
683013 - Charles & Emma Perry - 02/12/01
693006 - James & Wilma Sneed - 02/08/01
Accounts Allowed/Bids/Road Projects
Request for approval and authorization to advertise for bids for CR-455 Culvert Replacement Project No. 2001-12 at an estimated cost of $74,000.00 from the Transportation Trust Fund - Commissioner District 2.
Request for approval and signature on Resolution 2001-61 authorizing the posting of 25 miles per hour speed limit signs in the Siena Ridge Subdivision on the following roads: Margaux Drive (2-0358); Lalande Loop (2-0358A); and Lafite Lane (2-0358B).
Contracts, Leases & Agreements/Public Works
Request for approval and authorization to accept an Amended Developer's Agreement for Construction of Improvements between Lake County and Marsh Hammock, Inc., W. T. Cox, Jr., Trustee and W. T. Cox, Jr., Trustee of the W. T. Cox, Jr. Revocable Trust dated May 2, 1984 and accept an Amended Developer's Agreement for Maintenance of Improvements between Lake County and Marsh Hammock, Inc., W. T. Cox, Jr., Trustee and W. T. Cox , Jr., Trustee of the W. T. Cox, Jr., Revocable Trust dated May 2, 1984, both for the Marsh Hammock Phase I Plat.
Accounts Allowed/Bids/Road Projects
Request for approval to award Countywide Resurfacing & Restriping Project No. 2001-07, Bid No. 01-046 to the Middlesex Corporation and to encumber and expend funds in the amount of $660,952.50.
Request for approval and authorization to accept a letter of credit for maintenance in the amount of $11,443.00 for the Louisa Pointe Phase III subdivision.
Deeds/Rights-of-Way, Roads & Easements
Request to accept one Drainage Easement Deed, one Easement Deed, one Non-Exclusive Easement Deed, five Statutory Quitclaim Deeds, three Statutory Warranty Deeds, and four Temporary Non-Exclusive Easement Deeds, as follows:
Request for approval to apply for the Visit Florida Eco/Heritage Tourism Grant Program 2001-2002 in the amount of $3,500.00.
ADDENDUM NO. 1 AND ADDENDUM NO. 2
Commr. Stivender made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Pool, to approve the requests on Addendum No. 1 and Addendum No. 2.
Under discussion, Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, noted that the items on Addendum No. 1 and Addendum No. 2 were not consent items, but departmental business.
Commr. Stivender withdrew her motion, and Commr. Pool withdrew his second to the motion.
Ms. Lourdes Ramos, Human Resources Director, presented information on the following employees, and Commr. Hanson presented the awards.
Presentation of Awards to Employees with Five Years of Service
Perry L. Jacobs, HLC Garden Manager, Agricultural Education Services/Horticultural Learning Center
Diane D. Kamp, Director of Museums, Cultural, Heritage & Natural Tourism/Historical Museum
Presentation of Award to Employee with Fifteen Years of Service
Kenton J. Tombow, Senior Landfill Attendant, Solid Waste/MIS Scales & Drop Offs
Presentation of Employee of the Quarter
Brenda Likely, Accounting Technician, Solid Waste, Support Services
Presentation of Supervisor of the Quarter
Carmen Carroll, Building Office Coordinator, Growth Management/Building Services
PRESENTATION: COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT (CAFR)
BY ERNST & YOUNG, LLP
Mr. James C. Watkins, Clerk of the Circuit Court, stated that he would like to recognize the following staff members who do so much with respect to putting the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report together: Ms. Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Ms. Kristy Mullane, Accounting Director; Ms. Tracy Zeller, Accountant; Ms. Louise Kicklighter, Systems Administrator; and Ms. Vicki Tubb, Finance Clerk.
Mr. John Vodenicker, Ernst & Young, addressed the Board and stated that he was here today to present the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the year ended September 30, 2000. Mr. Vodenicker stated that they are working with quite a number of counties around the State, and in regard to Lake County's staff, both from the Constitutional Officer perspective, and the Board's perspective, they have gotten very good cooperation from them, and he complimented Lake County's level of staff and quality of staff.
Mr. Vodenicker stated that the Board has received two reports, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, and the Financial Analysis. He asked that the members turn to Page 27 of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, and at this time, he read the following opinion into the record:
"In our opinion, the general purpose financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Lake County, Florida, at September 30, 2000, and the results of its operations and cash flows of its proprietary fund types for the year then ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States."
Mr. Vodenicker referred to Page 36, Combined State of Revenues, Expenditures and Changes in Fund Balance - Budget and Actual All Governmental Fund Types and stated that this is the County's largest fund. He highlighted the results of the General Fund budget for this year and noted that the County has a favorable budget variance in the amount of $5,181,058. On the expenditure side, there was another favorable budget variance in the amount of $4,527,370. He explained that, in 1999, the County's fund balance represented about 32.1% of its total expenditures. This year, because of increases in the budget, and the fund balance staying about the same, it has declined to 28.6%, and it is still a good fund balance. In addition to issuing their opinion on the financial statements, they are also required to look at the County Federal and State Grant programs and issue opinions on these reports. He stated that, in the case of the Federal programs, the County had no reportable conditions, no material weaknesses, and the County is in compliance, even though there was one finding, which was addressed and resolved. In the State programs, they are required to report on the County's compliance with all of the rules and regulations, as they relate to the grants, and they had no non-compliance matters. Mr. Vodenicker stated that, because of these two positives things, it shows that the County has a good management system.
Mr. Vodenicker referred to the Financial Analysis and highlighted areas in the Balance Sheet on Page 2. He stated that the cash and investments went up $11,833 over the previous year. The reason for that is the good financial results in a lot of the different funds, which helped increase that balance. Under the fixed assets for General Government, there was a $6.7 million increase, due to activity in fire, law enforcement, and libraries. He noted that there was very little road activity this year, and this area went down, but the building and equipment went up significantly this year. He noted long-term liabilities went down $5,487,000 and there was no new debt this year, however the figures reflected the payment on the sales tax revenue bonds, and the reduction in the line of credit. The unreserved fund balance grew $8.2 million, and Mr. Vodenicker stated that there were two funds that could account of this whole increase, and those were the road impact fee fund ($4.5 million) and the sales tax capital projects fund ($4.5 million). He stated that overall the County maintained a pretty level fund balance over the prior year, if you take those two out of the formula. He referred to Page 3 of the Financial Analysis and stated that the biggest increase from last year, on the revenue side, is in the taxes area, and over the five year period, the County has had very favorable revenue growth on a per capita basis. He stated that Page 4 breaks down the various tax components. He further stated that the County had a stormwater revenue source this year, and the ambulance millage went up, but the general millage remained the same. All of the revenue growth came from an increase in assessed valuations. He noted that Page 5 reflected the expenditures on a per capita basis, with the most significant increase over last year being in public safety, and most of that has been recorded in the fire service and safety area. Mr. Vodenicker stated that the Landfill Enterprise Fund is looking extremely good and noted that the retained earnings are moving in the right direction.
Mr. Vodenicker stated that the Financial Analysis contained graphs, and on Page 10, he noted that Lake County is closing the gap between Seminole County, in terms of assessed valuation on a per capita basis. He stated that this is indicative for some good things in the future for the County.
Mr. Vodenicker stated that, in conclusion, he feels that the County, although it did not accumulate a lot of fund balance this year, managed its budgets very well, and he feels that the County is in strong financial shape. He reported to the Board the implementation of Gasby 34, which is a new reporting model that the County will have to implement in the year ending September 30, 2002. He stated that there is a restatement of the County's 2001 numbers, which is the current fiscal year, and it makes sense to be working on this now. For the elected officials, it is going to completely change the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, with such things as depreciating fixed assets that have never been depreciated before. For the County, a big area will be infrastructure, which will be the roadways, and they will have to be inventoried and depreciated. Mr. Vodenicker suggested that the County start now and noted that it is extremely important that Finance, and the Public Works staff, work with Ernst & Young, as those policies begin to change. One of the things that they have suggested to the Finance staff is to have them come in and do a readiness assessment, to determine where the County is with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement (GASB)34.
Commr. Pool referred to Page 17 of the Financial Analysis, which reflects the County-Wide Long-Term Debt Outstanding, on a per capita basis, and stated that it was very favorable.
Mr. Vodenicker explained that, in comparing Lake County to the other three counties, it is considerably lower, on a per capita basis, for the general long-term debt outstanding. He explained that this is not enterprise fund debt, but even with that, he felt that the County would be considerably lower, because of some of these other governments, and their countywide water systems.
Mr. Watkins stated that the figures that are being used for per capita are last year's figures, because they did not have the census. If the County used the actual per capita figures, which would be about 10,000 more people, the figures would be even better.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether Mr. Vodenicker felt that the Days Fund Balance figures, on Page 15 of the Financial Analysis, were adequate.
Mr. Vodenicker stated that he felt that Lake County has an adequate fund balance. He stated that the economy has been good for the last ten years, and this would be the time that the County should be putting money aside, so that there are adequate reserves, when the bad times come. He stated that the County has accumulated surpluses over the years. He further stated that this year the County did not add to its surpluses, in the general government, but he feels that what the County has done in prior years, to get to the level of fund balance, has made it easier at budget time. When he thinks of some of the other governments, such as Orange County, or some of the larger counties, their percentage is considerably lower, because of the size of their annual budgets. He noted that their fund balance reserves are down in the 3% to 7 1/2% range versus Lake County, which is at the 26% or 28% range, and this money is actually invested and making money. He further stated that there are some governments that have actually set policies to obtain a certain percentage of un-designated fund balance, to keep as reserves, but he feels that Lake County has a very strong balance right now.
COMMUNITY AWARENESS -
NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA HEALTH PLANNING COUNCIL, INC.
Ms. Edith M. Orsini, Executive Director, North Central Florida Health Planning Council, Inc., addressed the Board and stated that she wanted to talk to the Board about the 2000 District 3 Health Plan, which the Board has received. Ms. Orsini stated that the purpose of the Plan is to give the Board an idea of their region and how they perceive health planning to be occurring. She has a 16 county area, and Lake County is her most southern county. She addressed a couple of areas of the Plan, which were Health Status and Access to Health Care, and stated that she wanted to make the Board aware of the fact that Lake County has begun, through the Healthy Start Coalitions, to address infant mortality for the minority population. She stated that other issues, which she knows the County's Comprehensive Health Care Committee has been addressing over the years, has to do with poverty, primary care, and transportation issues, and in the Plan, they talk about these at great length. Ms. Orsini talked about some of the programs that the Health Planning Council supports and provides funding for in Lake County and other counties. She presented statistics relating to the KidCare program, which is a health insurance program for children, and Health Start, which is a program for pregnant women and infants. She stated that, as a result of the local Health Planning Council's work with the Healthy Start Coalitions, Lake County receives more that $190,000 each year to provide these Healthy Start services. The County also received $115,000 to provide prenatal care to uninsured women, and these services are provided through the County's Health Department. Ms. Orsini discussed another program, Quality of Care, and stated that one of the populations that seems to be at risk has to do with HIV/AIDS. Last year, the Health Planning Council brought in $2.6 million to the 16 county area to provide services for persons with AIDS.
Ms. Orsini stated that the State of Florida has recognized the Health Planning Council as a way to help control costs, and right now, in the Legislature, there is some debate as to whether or not this program should continue. She stated that right now House Bill 771 has been proposed to change the Certificate of Need (CON) policies. If a County has a hospital and they want to increase the beds in the community, they have to request permission from the State of Florida, and under this bill, it would eliminate that necessary request based on need. It would alter everything from a need base to a licensor base. She offered some caution in this area. She stated that she had sensed that this bill was not going to go through this year, however, there is a Task Force to assess the Certificate of Need program in the State of Florida. She further suggested that this may be something that the Board needs to pay attention to, not so much from the hospital perspective, but from the nursing home perspective, because 66% of the beds occupied in nursing homes are paid through Medicaid dollars, and if this program were to be changed from a need base to a licensor base, she suggested that the Board needs to be aware of the impact to the County. She stated that House Bill 679 and Senate Bill 1476, proposes to increase the eligibility, for healthy kids, to 250% of poverty, and it suggests that they will eliminate the local match. Ms. Orsini stated that Florida is the only State in the United States participating in the Federal Childrens' Insurance Program that requires a local cash match. The appropriation bill does recognize the elimination of the cash match for one year, and she would suggest that this is an excellent start, and that they should continue to encourage it to continue next year. Ms. Orsini stated that there has been considerable discussion about Pharmaceutical Elder Assistance at the national level, and last year the legislature passed a bill that requires a person to be Medicaid and Medicare eligible. She stated that, if someone is Medicaid eligible, they have prescription coverage, so the bill was limiting at best. She stated that there is now Senate Bill 120 and House Bill 319, which attempt to adjust the Statute, as it was passed last year, and she suggested that this may be something that the Board might want to encourage their legislators to take some action on. She explained that the bill will eliminate the Medicaid component, therefore, if somebody is Medicare eligible, 65 plus without supplemental coverage, they will be able to obtain coverage, if this bill were to pass, with a 10% co-pay. The income level must be below 150% of poverty, and there is a maximum of $150 a month of medications that they can purchase. She addressed Senate Bill 420 and House Bill 133 and explained that, when these bills were introduced, they were considered as a Medicaid cooperative opportunity, which would allow people with a poverty income below 250% of poverty to join this cooperative. It was a cost to the client, but then they would receive their medications at the Medicaid rate. In the middle of March, they altered the bill, and they moved away from the cooperative to the Vermont model, which is a Medicaid waiver bill that would provide elderly residents below 300% of poverty access to medications. She is concerned about this issue, because there has been serious debate in Tallahassee about cutting Medicaid programs. She explained that, if the Board was to support a bill that implemented Medicaid waiver of 300% of poverty, she would ask where the State is going to come up with the General Revenues to match those funds at the federal level, because any Medicaid waiver requires a match. Ms. Orsini cautioned the Board about these two bills, because she did not know where the State would come up with those funds without cutting some other Medicaid programs. She stated that House Bill 155 and Senate Bill 1510, which address the pharmaceutical expense assistance Statute that was passed last year, would increase the discount from 9% to 20%, but the 20% would be below the best price, which could be harmful in several ways. She explained that, if the State of Florida was to pass this bill, it could increase their cost to Medicaid drugs, so she suggested that they would like it to read "a 20% discount", not at the best price.
Commr. Hanson noted that the Board will discuss the information that has been presented with Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, and they will pass it on to Mr. Fletcher Smith, Senior Director of Community Services, for his input.
Ms. Orsini noted that Lake County has a vacancy for a purchaser of health insurance. At this time, she recognized Mr. Steve Bragg, and Mr. Bill Mobley, who are members on the Council, and extended her appreciation to the Board for their support of the local Health Planning Council.
LIFESTREAM BEHAVIORAL CENTER -
COMMUNITY NEEDS AND PROGRAM SOLUTIONS
BY JON CHERRY, PRESIDENT/CEO, LIFESTREAM BEHAVIORAL CENTER
Mr. Jon Cherry, President/CEO, LifeStream Behavioral Center, addressed the Board to present an update on the LifeStream Behavioral Center, and to talk about some initiatives that they have for the program. Mr. Cherry stated that, as a CPA, he would like to salute the Board on the excellent financial results that were just presented to them by Ernst & Young.
Mr. Cherry explained that LifeStream is a psychiatric hospital and mental health center that provides services in Lake and Sumter Counties and primarily the services that they provide are in Lake County. He explained that the behavioral health care system, in the State of Florida, has been in crisis for the last three to four years primarily because of the tremendous growth that they have experienced in the State of Florida, and the funding from the State that has not kept up with that growth. He referred to the handout material containing financial data, which reflected that LifeStream experienced financial difficulty two or three years ago, and it incurred an operating deficit of $842,000 during the year ending 6/30/99. In December, 1999, a new interim President/CEO began with LifeStream, and he immediately saw that there needed to be severe program reductions, and $1 million worth of programs were eliminated, in the inpatient and outpatient areas in Lake and Sumter Counties. Mr. Cherry noted that June 30, 1999 was the low point, with their cash being low, and they were operating on a $550,000 line of credit, which was fully extended by Bank of America at that point in time. The turnaround began in Fiscal Year 2000, with them ending the fiscal year with $109,000 operating surplus. For the current fiscal year, they have continued the turnaround, and with the eight months ending February 28, 2001, they had profits of $231,554. He did feel that this will annualize into an annual profit for the current year of $350,000 to $400,000, which is a gross margin of approximately 2.7%. The cash balances have recovered, and they have zero out on the line of credit, as of February 28, 2001, and there is cash, in the amount of $778,000. The cash represents approximately 25 days of operations, so they do not have excess cash, but they do have the dollars to be able to continue operating on a reasonable basis. Mr. Cherry stated that their current assets are now greater than their current liabilities meaning that they have a positive current ratio, which they have not had since June 30, 1997.
Mr. Cherry referred to the next page of information, which reflected the current ratio of 1.18, as of February 28, 2001, and stated that their long term debt ratio is reducing. Their property and equipment ratio is going down, and their internal rate of return is positive again. Their accounts payable, at the end February 28, 2001, is now 23.46, and the accounts receivable is now 45.10. He noted that the percentage collectible had held between 45% and 50% over the years, and it has reduced over this last year, as a direct result of the Charter Hospital going out of business in Ocala. As of today, LifeStream is the only psychiatric hospital between Orlando and Gainesville. Mr. Cherry reviewed the Clients Service FYE 6/30/00 in Lake County, as presented in the handout material, and noted that they served 12,632 residents of Lake County, for a total of 131,456 visits during last fiscal year, with revenues of approximately $14 million. He reviewed, in detail, the following Issues of Concern, as outlined in the backup material:
Mr. Cherry stated that they looked at these deficiencies, and his management staff came up with program solutions to address the following:
Priority #1 - Children's Mental Health
Funding a child/adolescent Baker Act program including a 10 bed Children's Crisis Stabilization Unit, a child psychiatrist, 2 FTE evaluators/screeners, and 7 FTE therapists (5 school based and 2 clinic based.)
Priority #2 - Adult Mental Health
Funding an additional 3 adult inpatient beds, an adult psychiatrist, 2 FTE evaluators/screeners and 3 FTE crisis therapists.
Priority #3 - Adult Substance Abuse
Funding an additional 5 inpatient detoxification beds and a 10 bed adult substance abuse residential facility.
Mr. Cherry stated that, after they identified the problems and the potential solutions, they invited about 60 community leaders to come to the hospital this last February 1st. From that meeting, the Nominating Committee recommended an Executive Committee for Partners in Crisis Initiative, which consists of the following members: Catherine Hanson, Chairman; Carol Clendinen, Vice-Chairman; Bob McKee; Judge Richard Singletary; Dr. Robert Westrick; Sheriff William Farmer (Sumter County); and Richard Shirley (Sumter County). He noted that they are backed up by a 32 member Steering Committee made up of community leaders. Mr. Cherry stated that they felt that the best approach would be to talk to the Legislative Delegation and to request funding from the State for their top two priorities. He noted that funding requests were presented by Senator Anna Cowin, Representative Randy Johnson, and Representative Hugh Gibson. The funding for the children's continuing services, which is their number one priority, made it into the House of Appropriations Bill, and there is a potential that it is in the Senate Appropriations Bill. Those two houses go to conference this week, and they feel very confident on the funding for the children's mental health issue.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether Mr. Cherry knew how many mentally ill individuals are actually in the jails.
Mr. Cherry stated that he would have to ask Sheriff George E. Knupp for that number, but in Orange County, they did a census, and there were 350 mentally ill individuals in their facility. He noted that LifeStream's population is about one-fourth of Orange County, and it would not surprise him if there were between 60 and 100 in the local jail in Lake County. He further noted that, if an individual only had a mental problem, he or she would be in their psychiatric hospital, but they do work with the other three general hospitals.
Commr. Hanson questioned how much of LifeStream's patients are actually indigent.
Mr. Cherry explained that the majority of their patients are indigent and over 90% would meet the federal poverty guidelines. The write off for last year was around $6 million.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether LifeStream receives funding from the County hospital taxing districts to cover those costs.
Mr. Cherry explained that they receive approximately $225,000 from the northern taxing district, and they do not receive any funding from the southern taxing district. The total funds available from the taxing districts is approximately $7 million.
Commr. Cadwell extended his appreciation to Mr. Cherry for his help in turning things around for LifeStream and stated that he was doing a good job. He stated that, after seeing the group of people on the Executive Committee, such as Commr. Hanson and Mr. McKee, he knows that they are going to be able to turn it around.
Commr. Hanson stated that it is very important that they be able to maintain a facility of this type in Lake County. She stated that they are woefully underfunded, and there is a tremendous need for it, and what concerns her is the lack of equity over the past, because Lake County has not received its fair share of funding from the State. She stated that the beds for the children would make a big difference in providing for the citizens in not only Lake County, but for the District. Commr. Hanson stated that, if the Board would agree, she would like to get a motion to approve a resolution that can be sent to the legislators.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Resolution 2001-59 urging positive consideration of LifeStream Behavioral Center's request of the Florida State legislature to fund $1,350,000 for a child adolescent Baker Act program to serve the needs of the children and their families.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:20 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would take a short break and reconvene at 10:30 a.m.
CLOSING OF FIRE STATION #47
BY ESTELLA CHATMAN, PRESIDENT, TRI-CITY BRANCH NAACP
Commr. Hanson stated that she would like Mr. Alvin Jackson, Deputy County Manager, to present a brief history on Fire Station #47.
Mr. Jackson addressed the Board and stated that he and Commr. Cadwell met with about 12 or 13 individuals in June or July, 1999, to discuss some community issues, which included youth issues, crime watch, recreation, and some of the facilities that exist there. In July, 1999, Mr. Jackson stated that he, along with Commr. Cadwell, Mr. Fletcher Smith, Senior Director of Community Services, and staff, set up a meeting with the crime watch group, and the community. He stated that they discussed establishing a neighborhood association, and the purpose of establishing it, so that there would be a coordinated effort of planning, and discussions about the issues, and how they should be prioritized and addressed. In addition, there would be Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars that they could look to utilizing throughout the County, with southside being one community. At that meeting, they also did a survey, which is required by the federal government, to identify some of the needs, including recreation and programs for the youth. Mr. Jackson stated that, in October, 2000, they met with the Umatilla Southside community and Ms. Bertha Carroll, to look at the needs in the community. In late 1998, or early 1999, Reverend Drayton and Ms. Mary Bonds called him about possibly using the fire house for youth group activities. At that time, Mr. Jackson referred him to Acting Chief Frank LaFleur, since the fire department was responsible for the fire station. Mr. Jackson stated that talks began about the utilization of that facility, with one problem being that they were an official organization, and insurance liability issues had to be addressed. He stated that, once these issues were addressed, the lease was brought to the Board, for the facility to be used by the youth group, the 4-H Explorers, and Crime Watch.
Commr. Stivender stated that the issue of the lease came before the Board, at the end of last year, and at that time, she had questioned, either at the meeting, or of staff, whether the issues had been addressed, and if everyone knew about it, because she had a concern about it then, and she wanted everyone to know that today.
Mr. T. H. Poole, past President of the Tri-City Branch NAACP, addressed the Board and stated that Ms. Estella Chatman, President, Tri-City Branch NAACP, was not able to attend the meeting today, because she was attending a regional conference in Tennessee. Mr. Poole stated that the purpose today is not to deal with the lease per say, but to question when the station was vacated. He was assuming that staff does not have the right to discontinue a service, and if they do, he felt that this process needed to be changed. Mr. Poole stated that he spent a few days trying to locate the authority for the closing, and all he was able to get was a copy of the contract for lease. Mr. Poole stated that he and the individuals present today say that there was no discussion with the community on the discontinuation of Fire Station #47. Mr. Poole stated that they also have some problems with the terms of the grant. He stated that they were here today to ask the Board to cancel the lease, since the Board has a 120 day option, and to reactivate Fire Station #47.
Ms. Bertha Carroll addressed the Board to present the history of Fire Station #47. Ms. Carroll presented information about the fires that took place in Umatilla in the 1960s and stated that this was the time that some men stepped forward and said they were going to organize something that would help the citizens with the fires, and those men were Mr. Henry Pettigrew, Mr. John Robert Blair; J. D. Cunningham; and James Buddy Carroll. Ms. Carroll stated that they bought an old water truck that was turned into a fire truck, and when there was a fire, Golden Gem Growers and Florida Foods sent their water trucks to help them. She explained that, in the 1960s and 1970s, they only had one truck, and there were several people who lost their lives in fires. Ms. Carroll stated that Mr. Herman Teagee bought a fire truck and brought it to the citizens in the community, and they went from house to house and asked for a five dollar donation from the people, and the people had dinners to help pay for the truck and insurance. She noted that the truck sits in front of the fire house right now. She came to Commr. Cadwell and asked him to help them redo that truck at the vocational technical center, but so far, they have not gotten any help. She stated that someone called her about buying the truck, when they heard about this issue, and she said that this was a community issue, and they could not get rid of that truck, because it is a memory. Ms. Carroll stated that Southside had the first volunteers in Lake County, and they went wherever there was a fire. She explained that 82% of their houses are old, wooden houses. In 1987, the County took over, and they built a three deck fire station in Dona Vista. Ms. Carroll reviewed her conversations she had Mr.Glen Burhans, who told her that they did not have any land for the station, and with Mr. Mike Bakich who helped them get the fire house. Ms. Carroll presented, for the record, an article from the Daily Commercial dated Saturday, November 7, 1987, which had a picture of Mr. Henry Pettigrew in front of the Umatilla's Southside Volunteer Fire Station, and she presented six (6) photographs of structures in the community.
Commr. Cadwell questioned how many volunteers that the Southside community has now, or how many they have had over the last couple of years.
Ms. Carroll stated that they do not have any volunteers today, and they did have some, but the County ran them away.
Commr. Cadwell explained that two years ago the County changed its rules to make it easier to be a volunteer.
Ms. Chloe Womack addressed the Board, on behalf of James Buddy Carroll, to address the issue of the land acquisition. Ms. Womack stated that the land was donated, because there was no land there to build a fire station. At this time, she read into the record the following letter from Mr. James Buddy Carroll:
Today I wish to have the opportunity to express the concerns in the Community as it relates to the Southside Fire Station #47.
Several years ago, the community was blessed with the "CDBG" Grant for the improving of the drainage and culvert. The drainage affected several property owners. One, namely was me who own several pieces of property.
At the end of phase I project, the Commissioners, based on need for the community, asked for donation of land to build a fire station in Umatilla.
After some consideration, I felt as a property owner to donate the land for the need of the community and the protection of homeowners. This property was donated solely for the Fire Station, since the County would not purchase the land.
Let it be known today that property, fire station and truck is/was a package deal. No fire station and truck, then return the land.
In plain language: Owner + Donation = Land
Fire station + Truck = Land
No Fire Truck + Station = No Land
My donation was to the Community for the project. Thank you. Looking forward to seeing the Station in operation again.
Ms. Womack stated that Mr. Carroll quoted these words to her last night, and she typed them for him to sign, and to be placed in the record. She stated that he gave the land to help the community, just like he did when he sold some property to the County for a community center, and a play area. At age 87, Mr. Carroll stated that he would like to leave a legacy, so that he will know that there are things that are being done in the community to help Southside.
Mr. Poole explained that all that the community had at that time was a handshake, and that handshake brought into existence all that is being discussed today. Mr. Poole pointed out that the grant stated that the land was for a fire station, to be utilized by the Southside community. Mr. Poole stated that a young man, who had been working at the fire station, will tell the Board about the relationship between the Dona Vista Fire Station and the Southside Fire Station #47, and the reasons why they lost some volunteers. Mr. Poole stated that he understands that there were some difficulties with the certifications, but it is not the community's job to get volunteers. He stated that the County's Volunteer Coordinator is supposed to come to the community and seek out volunteers, and to his knowledge, that has never happened. Mr. Poole stated that he would be very happy to secure them, and they have had a good working relationship with the County Manager, but the problem is that this is the largest community based organization in the County, and they pay taxes, even though they are non-profit and tax exempt.
Mr. James Carroll addressed the Board and stated that he used to be a volunteer at Fire Station #47. Mr. Carroll explained that the volunteers used to fight fires to help the community and everybody in the area of Altoona could depend on them to do the job. Mr. Carroll explained the relationship between Fire Station #47 and Fire Station #43 noting that there were problems with Fire Station #43 borrowing their equipment and truck; the wrong notices being posted for the volunteers; being told that they had to wait to respond to a fire, because Fire Station #43 was to respond first; and swapping old gear for new gear. Mr. Carroll stated that these things start breaking down moral, and they need to get the volunteers back, but no one wants to go back, because they do not want the same problems. He stated that the community still has volunteers to fight fires, and the station is not inactive. He stated that the station has been deactivated by the County.
Mr. Todd Carroll addressed the Board and stated that he was a volunteer at Southside for a long time, and he feels that Commr. Cadwell knows about the problems, because he met with Ms. Carroll and Mr. Poole when the truck was taken twice. He stated that there are volunteers, and he was a dedicated firefighter, but it was wrong how things were done. He discussed the problems with emergency vehicles having to wait to be escorted by a deputy to an emergency call in Southside and stated that there was a fire in 1994, and Mr. Craig Haun, who was the head of Emergency Services for the County at that time, told him that he was not to respond as a one man unit anymore, and that he would have to wait for someone else to respond. He has seen many casualties for that reason, and Mr. Carroll stated that they need water, and the truck and land, to protect their community.
Mr. Poole stated that the comments today have been put in the records by certified firemen. He explained that the people were told that the Dona Vista station was too far away from the housing and people in the Southside community. He stated that he understands that the original grant was not for fire trucks and fire hydrants, but the grant was amended. He felt that the County should have been responsible and dealt with the streets and drainage, and even though the grant was for the purpose of the Southside community, they never did benefit from it. Mr. Poole stated that he has no doubt that the Board has the authority to close the station, but his concern is the methodology, the procedures, and the absence of involvement. He addressed modifications that were made to the grant and stated that, with the first modification, if the houses had been brought up to the minimum Code, the community would have had the benefits, and that is why he is saying that they lost everything. He explained that they had to choose another acceptable alternative, or they had to send the money back. Mr. Poole stated that the fire truck has been removed from that station on three different occasions, by staff from Dona Vista. He stated that there was a debate about where the new truck would be stationed, and they tried to trade it off with Dona Vista and send the junk piece to Umatilla. Mr. Poole stated that he has often said to the County Manager that, when there is a problem, most of the time it is not in the policy, or the direction that she gives, but it is in mid-management, and that station was deserted according to the people in supervision. Mr. Poole referred to a letter that was written to Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works, from Mr. Craig Haun, past Chief, Emergency Services, which stated the following: "Attached you will find the legal description and location map of the property to be donated to Lake County for the purpose of a fire station known as Southside." Mr. Poole stated that he has a problem with the County's commitment, and he questioned why it is not there. He discussed the second modification that was made for the proposed project, as follows: "We have considered a number of alternatives of possible projects to undertake with the surplus funds and are requesting your approval of the purchase of a fire truck, class eight pumper, to be utilized at the new Southeast Umatilla Fire Station." He questioned again why the fire truck is not there. Mr. Poole stated that he did receive an answer from the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) about this issue, which said they would spend some time looking at it, but he would much rather have the Board look at it. Mr. Poole stated that he understands that another change has been made to the budget, in order to secure the truck. He addressed the land use issue, which states that land use shall be limited to a fire station, as indicated on the preliminary site plan and accessory uses may be permitted, as approved by the Director of Development Coordination and any others will require an amendment to the PFD approved by the County Commission. Mr. Poole suggested that a day care center, child center, and any other center is not an accessory. He discussed the definition of "accessory" and stated that the fire station exists and accessories would mean things pertaining to the fire station. Mr. Poole requested that the Board deactivate the lease and reactivate the fire station.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in regards to some of the comments that were made by Mr. James Carroll, he would like to meet with Mr. Carroll, the County Attorney, the County Manager, and the Director of EMS to discuss particular cases where Mr. Carroll felt that he was harassed out of the fire department. He stated that he would like to sit down with any other members that were volunteers and talk to them about the particulars. He further stated that Mr. Carroll felt that things were done intentionally, so he would like to have those things addressed in the next week, and he will be contacting anyone else that would like to talk about what happened. At this time, Commr. Cadwell questioned the termination date of the lease the County currently has with the 4-H Explorers.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that the lease has a termination provision with 120 days notice, and it is a three year lease.
Commr. Cadwell questioned whether there is any chance that, if they have a viable volunteer base, and a fire department, the people using the building now can co-exist with the fire department.
Mr. Poole suggested that the fire station could hold a temporary meeting, but he did not see that it could hold a permanent day to day operation, with the business that is there now.
Commr. Cadwell stated that everyone agrees that the tutoring program, the 4-H program, and Crime Watch have community value. He stated that, before the Board terminates any lease, he would like the County to make a concerted effort on their own, through their Volunteer Coordinator, to get volunteers. He would like to have a four month period where the County will spend every resource it has to get volunteers for the Southside station, and at the same time, try to answer the concerns that may have driven some of those folks away. He stated that, to start the termination of the lease right now, would not be a service to anybody in the community. Commr. Cadwell stated that the County will move forward with every resource it has to recruit volunteers, and to find out what the problems are in regards to certification, and what the problems were in the past.
Mr. Poole suggested that they have the meeting and address those items presented by Commr. Cadwell. He asked that Commr. Cadwell and the County Manager, or the Deputy County Manager, attend the meeting. At this time, Mr. Poole noted the following individuals who were in attendance: Reverend Brown; Reverend Douglas Hunter; Reverend Clarence A. Reeves; Reverend Gregory Ogis; Reverend Andrew Haywood; Reverence Lawrence Williams; and Reverend Smith.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he would like to commit to meet before the end of 30 days.
It was noted that a meeting will be scheduled by Mr. Poole's office, before the end of 30 days, with the following individuals: Commr. Cadwell, County Manager or Deputy County Manager.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 11:40 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would take a recess.
SHERIFF GEORGE E. KNUPP, JR.
ADDITIONAL DEPUTIES AND DISPATCHERS
Sheriff George E. Knupp, Jr. addressed the Board and stated that, in September, 2000, the Board approved four deputy sheriffs, and he was told by the Board that, if he came back in April, 2001, he could possibly get the additional four deputies, which will be used to create a zone in south Lake County. Sheriff Knupp informed the Board that Lake County is the 11th fastest growing County in the State of Florida, with the population in Lake County increasing from 152,104 in 1990, to 210,524 in 2000. He stated that Zone 15, in south Lake County, is quite large and Zone 13 is one of the busiest zones in the County. He stated that, by approving four additional deputies for south Lake County, he is going to move Zone 15 further north and create Zone 16, and it will alleviate a lot of the problems around Four Corners. Sheriff Knupp stated that it will cost $123,264 for the four deputies for six months. He referred to Pages 2 and 3 of the handout material, which had been presented to the Board, and noted that the costs reflected figures for new deputies. He stated that, on Page 3, he had information regarding Vehicle Equipment and noted that he is in the process of refurbishing four automobiles, for the four deputies they are asking for today. Sheriff Knupp stated that the only equipment needed for these vehicles would be the Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs), which cost about $5,000 for each one. The total cost for one deputy sheriff for six months is $30,816. He noted that Page 4 reflected the Total Costs, which would be $123,264 for four additional deputies, for six months. He further noted that Pages 5 and 6 reflected zone maps. Sheriff Knupp asked that the Board approve his request for four additional deputies.
Captain Chris Daniels addressed the Board to discuss the information that had been presented for the Reinstatement of Dispatchers and stated that there has been an increase in 9-1-1 calls and other calls for service. He stated that, when Lake County was predominantly rural, they had less calls, but they have experienced a tremendous increase in calls for service, particularly in the south end of the County, because of the large developments.
Sheriff Knupp stated that, in regards to the dispatchers, he is asking for something that was already given to the Sheriff's Department. He explained that, when he discussed getting MDTs, he had asked for eight dispatchers, and the Board approved his request. He had told Commr. Cadwell that, if the Sheriff's Department was to get the MDTs, he would be able to turn back four dispatchers, but through the communication between his office and the County's office, all eight were turned back to the County. Today he is asking for the funding that had already been given to the Sheriff's Department. The total amount for the four dispatchers, for six months, would be $62,324.
Commr. Cadwell clarified that there would be no more dispatchers than what he and the Sheriff had discussed when they went through this process before.
Commr. Pool stated that he attends many of the civic organizations and/or homeowners groups, and he hears a lot of praise about the Sheriff and his organization, and he appreciates the Sheriff working with the Board in this mid-year.
Commr. Pool made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Stivender, to approve the funding for the four dispatchers, and the four deputies, in the total amount of $185,588.
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell questioned where those funds will be coming from in the budget.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, noted that the funds would be taken from reserves.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether the Sheriff had projected his needs for next year, in terms of deputies.
Captain Mark Palmer addressed the Board and stated that a workshop has been scheduled for today, with the Sheriff and the rest of the staff, and he will be making a proposal to him for six to 12 deputies, with the final decision being made by Sheriff Knupp. Captain Palmer stated that his projection is based on calls for service, as well as response time.
Commr. Cadwell stated that it seems like every bill that has been through the legislature this year puts more burden on local government and takes a funding source away from the local government, and he anticipates that this will be a tight budget year for the Board.
Sheriff Knupp referred to the 16 zone chart and stated that, with the reference made to additional deputies, they have considered the calls for service in each of these zones, and in order to save money, he is going to put two deputies in peak crime areas, in the zones that they will identify, instead of hiring four deputy sheriffs to cover a whole shift for a two deputy zone, but as they move into the future, they are going to have to put two deputies in each zone, which is his goal.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
PUBLIC HEARING -
ORDINANCE GOVERNING QUASI-JUDICIAL HEARING AND EX PARTE COMMUNICATIONS
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, placed the following proposed Ordinance on the floor, by title only, and noted that it would be Ordinance 2001-63, if approved by the Board:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA; AMENDING SECTION 14.00.05 OF THE LAKE COUNTY CODE, APPENDIX E., LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS, ENTITLED PROCEDURES GOVERNING QUASI-JUDICIAL HEARING AND EX PARTE COMMUNICATIONS; PROVIDING FOR EX PARTE COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE LAKE COUNTY CODE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the proposed ordinance adopts the procedure that the legislature put in the Statute, which would allow the Board of County Commissioners to talk with members of the public about zoning matters and other quasi-judicial matters, before the hearing. It removes the presumption of prejudice that would arise from such discussions. It does require that the subject matter, and the identity of the person that the member talked to, be disclosed and be made part of the record prior to the vote.
Commr. Hanson stated that, from her perspective, the simplest thing would be to leave the Ordinance as it is today, as far as giving the County and the Commissioners the most protection, and that is not to discuss any issue that is land use with either the applicant, or the opposition. She stated that most of the drive to get this amended has been encouraged by the citizens, not by the developers, because the citizens are generally not aware of the County Ordinance, and it is not driven by the County level, but by the State level, and it certainly encourages the disenfranchisement between the public and their elected officials. She further stated that this County is much more restrictive in its quasi-judicial and ex parte ruling than other counties, and if the Board approves this today, there will be much more of a burden on the Commissioners to keep very good notes of their meetings, and sometimes that can get pretty detailed.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that they be included in this Ordinance, and he would advise the Board not to include them. He stated that he has not been in favor of changing the Ordinance, and he did not vote to advertise it, but if the Board does pass it, and includes the zoning members, then the Board should raise the per diem for those individuals serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission, because it will subject them to a lot more outside meetings. He stated that the perception of changing this Ordinance is going to be that it gives some folks more access than other folks, and at a time when land use issues are really the key public issue that people relate to Board hearings, the Board needs to be very careful to make sure that everyone feels that they are on the same playing field, and the Ordinance that the Board has today does that.
Commr. Hanson stated that she would agree with Commr. Cadwell about the Planning and Zoning Commission, because she does not feel that they should be required to change what they are doing right now. She noted that she did talk to some of the Planning and Zoning Commission members who voted on this issue, and some of them feel that they made the wrong decision when they voted for it.
Commr. Pool stated that, as a District Commissioner, and an elected official, when he does not have the opportunity to hear from the constituents, he feels that it causes an inability to communicate both concerns, in favor of, or in opposition to, a particular project. He felt that there was a misconception about what may take place, but in reality, he feels it will clearly benefit the residents, or homeowners, who want to have that meeting with a Commissioner, or for a Commissioner to attend a homeowners meeting, that they now cannot attend, and for that reason, he would support it.
Commr. Hanson stated that a Commissioner can always choose not to speak to a developer, or individual, and this Ordinance would not prohibit that option.
Commr. Cadwell stated that sometimes the land use issues end up in Civil Court, so he does feel that they are different than the other issues that come before the Board. He feels that the Board will be opening a door, if they approve the Ordinance, and he feels that the Board has been successful in Civil Court, because of this rule, in most instances. In the event that the Board does have someone to sue the County, because of a land use issue, Commr. Cadwell felt that the County will have a tougher time defending the case, and in the long run, they may see that the rules, while they may be cumbersome, are better than a free for all for everybody.
Commr. Pool stated that the Ordinance will open up the opportunity for more dialogue, for example, with residents who own acreage adjacent to a proposed project, but who may live out of town and cannot call and give him their information, or their feelings, on the issue, so then they have to hire an attorney, or fly out of town, to come to the meeting to provide that information, and he sees this as a problem.
Commr. Stivender stated that she concurs with Commr. Pool on this issue, because during her campaign, one of the major complaints from the people that voted for her was that they had no access to her, and they could not talk to her about issues that were coming up. She stated that she will learn to write everything down, because she feels that they owe this to the citizens, and to be accessible to them. She referred to Page 2, D. and requested clarification of the language.
Mr. Minkoff explained that Paragraph D is the old rule, which basically says ex parte communications are not allowed. The way it is written now, it says that communication for other boards, other than the Board of County Commissioners, continues to be prohibited. He explained that Commissioners' appointed representatives could not talk to them, just as they could not talk to any other member of the public, prior to the meeting. Mr. Minkoff explained that, if the Code is changed, the Board members can talk to them about the cases ahead of time, because the Board members would be a member of the general public, at that point, so they could give them their opinion, but they would have to be included in this exception, if the Board wanted to speak to them about a particular case. He clarified that the way it is written now, this Ordinance would only change communication for the Board of County Commissioners, and staff did not incorporate the changes that the Planning and Zoning Commission suggested. After further discussion and clarification, Mr. Minkoff stated that, under the change, the Board members have to make, as part of the record, the subject matter, the communication, and the identity of the person that the Board member talked to, and it does not necessarily have to be a very detailed set of minutes of any meeting. He stated that it is actually a benefit of the person who talks to the member, to have the Board member fill out the form, because the position that they advocate is, if you do not do that and prejudice occurs, their position loses. He suggested that the Board get used to the process, and that this would be all that would be necessary. He noted that Orange County uses a card for information, which he will supply to the members.
Commr. Hanson opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment.
Ms. Elaine Renick, Clermont, stated that she is speaking strictly as an individual, not as a Council member, and she would like to hear, for the record, at the meeting, the names of those individuals to whom the members have spoken, instead of just putting a card or something in the file. She stated that she was not sure that she understood the reluctance to do that. She stated that she has really struggled with this issue, and the whole idea of due process is so that you can hear from both sides. She stated that the public does not even know, at that point, that there is even an issue out there, so she cannot really hear from the public, and she is only hearing from the developer. She would like to hear some more discussion on this issue, because it still does not seem like it is going to be equal access. Ms. Renick stated that right now, the City of Clermont has what the Board is now trying to put into place.
Commr. Pool stated that they, as Commissioners, and Ms. Renick, as a Council member, have a duty to the public, in his opinion, to not only report who they speak with, but what they spoke about, and the key is that it opens the process and allows citizens access to them.
Ms. Renick stated that she has told people that this is the quasi-judicial process, and they can tell her anything that they want her to hear, but she cannot respond to their comments.
Clarification was made that, under the current process, people cannot call and tell the Commissioners anything, and they will let people know this up front, before they say anything.
Commr. Hanson stated that the general perception to the public is that they cannot talk to their Commissioner, and that is a problem, because sometimes they think that, because they cannot talk to the Commissioners about land use issues, they cannot talk to them about other issues.
Commr. Pool explained that he has had the opportunity to attend many different types of meetings, and at every meeting he has expressed a concern about not having the opportunity to speak to the citizens, and every time he explains to the citizens that the County is about to change this rule, he gets approval from citizens who want access to their Commissioners.
Ms. Renick stated that she was sure that the Commissioners get wonderful response, because people do want access to them, but she believes that the reality will be that the people will not be comfortable calling them anymore than they are comfortable speaking at a public meeting, and the Board will have access to people such as developers and lawyers, and people in these types of businesses.
Commr. Stivender explained that she receives many, many messages, and she has to review them to see if they have to do with land use issues, because she cannot talk to them, and this also happens when she is out in public and people approach her about issues, and she cannot talk to them. She stated that these people voted her in here, and she wants to be able to talk to them, and that is the reason she feels that the Board needs to approve this proposed Ordinance.
Mr. Minkoff explained that, in terms of quasi-judicial matters, zoning matters are court decisions. When the Board is acting on a zoning case, they are acting as a judge and not as a County Commissioner, or a legislator. He explained that judges are not allowed to get information outside of what they hear in the courtroom, so they base their decision upon the evidence that is presented to them at the hearing. He stated that listening to it would also be a violation, as much as discussing it, because you would be hearing evidence outside the courtroom. In reaction to those court cases, the legislature passed a bill that proposes to eliminate the presumption of prejudice and allows local officials to talk to people in advance of the hearings, and that is what the Board is implementing here. The issue was caused by the changing role that, when a Commissioner rezoned, he was making a legislative decision, and he was acting as a County Commissioner legislator, but the courts now say that he is acting as a judge, and traditionally judges limit themselves to only what comes in at the hearing.
Ms. Renick stated that she is still struggling with this issue, and she suggested that the Board put a sunset on the Ordinance, so that it can be discussed again, in order to decide whether or not it is working out the way that they had hoped.
Commr. Hanson noted that, if the Ordinance is not working, the Board can always bring it back at any time for discussion.
Ms. Renick noted that everybody makes their decisions on their own experience, and after she was elected, her calls have been from law offices and major developers, and she would love to hear more from citizens.
Mr. Ron Kurtz, Montverde, addressed the Board and questioned why the Board members would even need to talk to the developers in the beginning, in regards to land use. Mr. Kurtz stated that there is a process that they go through to get everything approved, and it is already in place, they pay for it, and it works. He stated that everything that has been built and exists in this County was done according to the way things are done right now. Mr. Kurtz stated that the Commissioners do not need to talk to them, and they need to come to the meetings as judges, as stated by the County Attorney, and to listen to the facts. He stated that he did not need any access when he and the other residents fought Watkins Trucking, Montverde Junction, Sugarloaf, or Harbor Hills. He noted that they may have wanted to talk to the Board members, but he did not expect anything from Commr. Pool except a vote, based on what the people were saying at the meeting, and when they showed up at the meetings in numbers, the Board voted the way that the people who elected them wanted them to vote. Mr. Kurtz stated that he did not see what purpose is served, if the Commissioners talk to someone ahead of time, because there is a process already in place.
Commr. Pool addressed the comments made by Mr. Kurtz and explained that he cannot address hundreds of phone messages that he receives on these types of issues, under the current process, and the Ordinance today will open the process and give them the opportunity to have dialogue, and an exchange of ideas, with the citizens and others. Commr. Pool stated that he feels he is on the right side of this issue, and that is how he will vote.
Mr. Kurtz stressed that the issue today is about development and big developers coming to the Commissioners, and it is not about the homeowners wanting them to attend their meetings, because they will not be putting in big developments.
Commr. Hanson explained that this process deals with any land use issue, and not just issues involving big developers. It allows anyone to make their objections known to the Board, otherwise they are shut out of the process, until they come to the meeting, and it allows the Commissioners to listen to their concerns.
Commr. Pool explained that not everyone is able to attend a meeting, because of work or illness, and this process gives those people the opportunity to contact their Commissioner.
Mr. Kurtz stated that it had been stated earlier that this process was put into place in the City of Clermont, and he would submit to the Board to look at the rape of the hills and the land around Clermont, which is a direct result of what happens when the Board lets people come in and talk to them.
Ms. Pam Murray addressed the Board and stated that she is a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, and she wanted to talk about access to information, from a different perspective. She stated that, before she was a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, if she had a question about a land use issue, she was able to ask to see the file, and it was presented to her. She stated that, now as part of this Ordinance, as a member of this Commission, she does not have access to these files. Ms. Murray stated that those files contain not only the staff report, which is presented at the Commission meetings, but they also have all of the supporting documents that led the staff to their conclusion. She stated that she can no longer talk to people. Ms. Murray explained that, before she was elected to serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission, she attempted to contact her Commissioner about an issue, and she found the process to be very offensive, when she was unable to talk to him. She finds it very interesting that, once you are elected, or appointed, to a decision making body, your access to information is limited. Ms. Murray stated that she felt that people in decision making process ought to have access to more information, not less than the general public.
Mr. Minkoff referred to Page 4 of the proposed Ordinance, and noted that they are not supposed to be looking at the files before the meeting. The files are available at the hearings, so they are usually made part of the record, and they can be reviewed during the process. He stated that initially, when this was written in the early 1990s, there may have been something in a file that one of the parties did not think was appropriate, and he would file an evidentiary objection to seeing it, because either it was not relevant, or it was prejudicial, or improper, and if that was the case, they had the ability, at the hearing, to make an objection and say that it should not be seen by the fact finder. If the fact finder sees it in advance, then you lose the ability to make that objection. He stated that he was not going to suggest that for other Board members, but staff is presently re-writing Chapter 14, and it may be that they can address the issue of making the files available to the Board members, a certain number of days in advance, but the genesis of that rule was that a decision should be made only on the evidence that was given to them at the hearing, which would include documents admitted at the hearing, not necessarily what was in the file. He stated that, because of the comments made by Ms. Murray, this may be addressed when they look at Chapter 14 again.
Commr. Hill stated that the Commissioners are not elected as judges, and she feels that they are elected to bring government closer to the citizens, and to bring it back to the citizens, not only to developers. She stated that it has helped her to be able to listen to homeowners' associations, and to the environmental community, and to others at certain times, and it has helped with their decisions. She felt that they had to go across the street to the courts in the past, because they were not allowed to present their comments. She hopes that this will make a difference.
Mr. Glen Burns, Montverde, addressed the Board and stated that he was born in Lake County, and he believes that what is being proposed today is a bad idea. Mr. Burns stated that he cannot really say that he likes things the way they are today, or that he understands the law being proposed, but he feels that it would be best to put this on hold and think about it a little longer. He stated that, if the Board is going to pass the proposed Ordinance, he would suggest that the Board set a date to look at it again, and to have it on the agenda for a public hearing.
The Chairman called for further public comment. There being none, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried by a 4-1 vote, the Board approved Ordinance 2001-63, as read by title only.
Commr. Cadwell voted "no".
Commr. Pool stated that, if he, as a Board member, feels that this process is being abused, or in some way not working the way that he thought it should work, he will be more than happy to bring it back at any time, as suggested by those who spoke today.
CITIZEN QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD
Laws and Legislation/Water Resources
Ms. Nancy H. Fullerton stated that she would be speaking as President of Save Our Lakes Committee, and as a concerned resident of Lake County. Ms. Fullerton presented to the Board a handout, which contained information that she would be discussing with the Board today. She stated that, a year ago, the Board chambers was filled with hundreds of people who came to plead for or protest against the County's proposed Shoreline Protection Ordinance, which was defeated. Ms. Fullerton stated one of the most imperative reasons to have a County shoreline protection regulation had to do with House Bill 167, which would have allowed the removal of all shoreline vegetation that was the total width of the property, without any limits on the distance out into the lake. It was going to be allowed in Outstanding Florida Waters (Clermont chain) and there was no permit required for anyone. During April and May, the Board continued investigating a possible defense against this in consideration of some type of ordinance. However, the House Bill was defeated and the pressure was off, but on April 21, 2001, the Board did write a letter to the Lake County Legislative Delegation and expressed a unanimous opposition to House Bill 167. Ms. Fullerton stated that the pressure is on again, and House Bill 0729 has been presented, with Senate Bill 2074, and in comparison to House Bill 167, these two bills might be a little bit kinder, but they are not good. Ms. Fullerton showed the Board a rough sketch of a shoreline and explained that the shoreline can be cleared without a permit 100 feet out into the water, and it can be cleared down to the sand. Then the property owner can continue out a 50 foot width, in order to reach the open water. In this plan, one thing is better, because they do require 25% of the 100 foot area to be replanted, but they limit it to only go out five feet, and according to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), that is really not enough to protect the habitat. Ms. Fullerton stated that she would like to see both of these bills defeated. She asked that the Board write a letter, or do a resolution, which might be a more effective measure, to the Lake County Delegation. She noted that the Water Authority is in the process of taking this action. She stated that the most effective thing to do would be for the Commissioners to call them personally and talk to them individually, about defeating House Bill 0729 and Senate Bill 2074, and to immediately enact County shoreline protection regulations. Ms. Fullerton stated that the Board could put the addition of the existing State Statute language into the County Code, which is much better and more protective than these two bills. She stated that the incorporation of the State law into the Code is a minimum, and to truly do right for the lakes, they believe an outward limit needs to be set, and there needs to be a review process, and the mechanical alteration should also be put forth for review. She stated that throughout the Comprehensive Plan, and by the overwhelming majority of the scientific world, native vegetation along lake shores and rivers and waterways are a vital importance to keeping the water clean and healthy, to provide necessary habitat for fish and other creatures that live in the lake, and on the basis of that, they are asking the Board to do these two things.
Commr. Cadwell questioned whether there may be other things in the two bills that may be attractive to some of the legislators.
Ms. Fullerton explained that the bills are strictly addressing the issues of shoreline protection.
Commr. Hanson noted that the Board did support the request last year, to defeat House Bill 167.
Mr. Roy Hunter extended his thanks to the County Commissioners, and to Mr. James Judge, Executive Director of EMS, and Ms. Kyleen Fisher, School Board member, for their generous donations to the Explorer Volunteer Firemen. For the record, Mr. Hunter noted that the money was donated by these individuals personally, and the monies did not come from the taxpayers.
Mr. Hunter addressed the issue of the quasi-judicial process and noted that he felt that the Commissioners were following all guidelines set forth for elected officials
Mr. Hunter stated that, in regards to the shoreline protection issue, he was against the ordinances that Ms. Fullerton and others were proposing. He explained that the committee came to an impasse, because they could not commit to a simple statement about where the County was going to get the money for any additional enforcement, or a different type of enforcement, for shoreline protection. The Board has already shown the difficulty of finding money for important issues pertaining to law enforcement, so it would be very difficult for the County to find money for more ordinances on shorelines. Mr. Hunter stated that the proposal that he made to the committee was simply to pass a mirror image of the State ordinance, to become effective only if the State ordinance was thrown out, and that way there would not be any additional expenses, at this point in time.
Ms. Pat Atley, one of two volunteer teachers at the center in Fire Station #47 in Umatilla, addressed the Board and stated that, if the station is not turned into an active fire station, it should be leased to those who are leasing it, and that the work being done with the children should continue. She noted that, because of their work, there has been changes in the students' behavior and academic accomplishments, and it is beneficial to the community. She further noted that some of the students that have been recommended to them through the school have not been attending, because of the feelings in the community, and she feels that the children are the ones being harmed.
COUNTY MANAGER'S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
ACCOUNTS ALLOWED/COMMUNITY SERVICES
CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS
Mr. Tony Deaton, Probation Services Division Director, addressed the Board and explained that, as of April 14, 2001, their 50 month Electronic Monitoring Agreement with Digtal Technologies 2000 will expire. He stated that, based on their general satisfaction with the monitoring and warranty services being provided, staff is recommending a one year renewal of the Monitoring Extended Warranty Agreements commencing on April 15, 2001.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved a one year renewal for Electronic Monitoring and Extended Warranty Agreements with Digital Technologies 2000 for the continued operation of the Electronically Monitored House Arrest/Work Release Program effective April 15, 2001 through April 14, 2002 in the amount of $18,002.00.
ACCOUNTS ALLOWED/CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS
Mr. Tad Stone, Emergency Services Director, addressed the Board and stated that he is bringing back the contract documents with Motorola for final Board action, as a result of the proposal staff made to the Board on January 16, 2001, for a consolidated communications program. Mr. Stone stated that he would briefly be reviewing the following items:
Mr. Stone stated that the total cost for the equipment and software is $3,150,000. He stated that, at the request of Commr. Stivender at the last meeting, staff was to look at the EMS components and what might be involved in bringing EMS onto this system, and the backbone cost to bring their systems up and running at that time. At that point, he contacted Motorola and asked them to look at what the coverage use would be with the current Lake County towers, and portable coverage and mobile coverage. Mr. Stone stated that this is ancillary to the system, and it covers only the EMS side of the issue. Initially it was for the Fire Rescue Division, the Sheriff's Office, and a spinoff of Public Works receiving some of the benefit of surplus equipment. He noted that Mr. James Judge, Executive Director, Lake-Sumter Emergency Medical Services, is present today, and he has a number of issues regarding communications that he is trying to address, and if he determines this to be in the best interest of EMS, the $800,000 would be the cost to backbone that system in with the existing systems that are out there. Mr. Stone noted that what ever decision the Board makes today will not preclude, or include EMS, and it will be an ancillary cost that is tacked on over and above what was discussed before.
Mr. Stone addressed Item 3 and stated that the tower and building costs were in the original project price, and they have had to go up a little bit on those costs. Previously they were trying to obtain tower space on existing towers throughout the County, and staff started running into some difficulty finding the right tower height. Staff has gone back and looked at existing County properties and existing spaces available throughout the County, and where they are currently using tower space. Mr. Stone stated that staff feels that, from what they are able to use through the system, and the additional cost to build towers on existing County sites, it would cost $960,000.
Mr. Stone reviewed Item 4, the 2 GHz System, in the amount of $80,000 and noted that the Sheriff's system costs about $22,000 annually for telephone lines, and that is through his existing tower sites and satellite receivers. The fire departments are currently running off of three, but they still have incurred costs.
Mr. Stone noted that he has three key components so far, which are Items 1, 3, and 4. He stated that the final key component is Item 6, which is the system monitors and recurring costs, which is actually maintenance, in the amount of $120,000. Mr. Stone stated that these are the four key components that have to be in place for the system to go in. He noted that Lake-Sumter EMS can be added later, if the Board wishes, and the CAD upgrades is just in case they need to upgrade in the future, but they do not have to have that right now for it to work.
Mr. Stone reviewed a map that showed mobile coverage for the systems with the towers that have been identified. He felt that they have more than adequate coverage for the needs of Lake County.
Commr. Hill stated that there were some major increases from the January request, and the two major users, within the system that is being identified by Mr. Stone, are the Sheriff and EMS, and she would like to hear from both of them.
Sheriff George E. Knupp, Jr. addressed the Board and stated that he agrees with Items 1, 3, 4, and 6, and looking at Item 6 only after the system is up and running, but he disagrees with Item 2, and spending $800,000. Sheriff Knupp explained that EMS has a current system that is operational, even though it may need some upgrading at a later date, but he feels that this should be done through the fiscal budget.
Commr. Cadwell noted that the information regarding the EMS issue (Item 2) came as a request from one of the Commissioners.
Sheriff Knupp stated that the $800,000 to upgrade the system is really not necessary, because if the County wants EMS to have the capability of talking to the fire department, or to the Sheriff's Department, or to any police department in the County, all they have to do is buy a $2,000 radio and put it in each ambulance, for a cost of about $40,000 rather than $800,000. He stated that, in regards to the CAD upgrades (Item 5), he was not sure how this issue was included in this proposal, but he felt that this should be addressed through the fiscal budget rather than taking the one cent sales tax money and spending it for the CAD upgrades. He stated that Item 6, the monies to maintain the system, needs to be looked at when the system is up and running, so that they will know the real figure.
Mr. Stone noted that he does have a hard figure of $90,000 annually for maintenance, from Motorola, and the rest of the $120,000 is electrical costs, etc., to maintain the buildings and lawn maintenance.
Commr. Stivender explained that she had some conversations with Mr. Judge, and with other people within the EMS system, and she asked if they had been a part of this communication program and to what extent. Her question to Mr. Stone had been for him to work with them, and to see what staff could do to work with them. She did not say to come up with a budget of $800,000, but to make sure that, if there was something within what the County was developing, they could utilize it and not duplicate what the County was doing. She has received information that, for $16,000 a tower, they can upgrade theirs to function, and this would be utilizing the current equipment, which will support and take care of the citizens of Lake County, at the most reasonable price. She wanted everyone to work together, not to be duplicating services, and to do it in the most efficient financial way possible.
Mr. James Judge, Executive Director, Lake-Sumter EMS, addressed the Board and stated that they had gone to the Lake-Sumter EMS Board of Directors to ask that they be able to continue to pursue looking at the system upgrade, and to be included in that process, but obviously they did not have the costs that were associated with it, at that time. They had gotten the cost of $800,000, and in talking with Motorola, the costs could be as high as $1 million, which is obviously a significant cost, and if Lake-Sumter EMS had to bore that cost, it would be a burden on the system. Right now they are considering taking a hard look at the UHF system, which is currently in place, and they do have some equipment ordered that will help enhance the service, and enhance Sumter County's reception. Mr. Judge explained that they are looking at the whole UHF system and making it better from portables, to the vehicles, to the backbone, to see if they can do it in a more cost effective manner, and they are evaluating that at this time.
Commr. Hill stated that the communication system was a concern, and she had asked Mr. Judge to come and explain this to the Board. She stated that Sumter County is not present today, so she does not know what kind of dollars they are contributing to this system, because Lake County is giving them full coverage, which is a concern of hers.
Commr. Hill made a motion to table Tab 25, the contract agreements with Motorola, until all parties have a chance to comment on the issue.
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell stated that EMS is not included in this proposal today, and when the County does what it is going to do with the ambulance service, then EMS will be included in those figures. He stated that he was of the understanding that the $800,000 can be taken out of these figures now, because this is what staff has determined the cost to be, if the Board decided to upgrade the system. He noted that, if the ambulance service did the same upgrade as everyone else, this is what it would be, but he believes that the ambulance service is going to do something different, so that figure can be taken off the top. He noted that everybody else that this system affects is here today.
Sheriff Knupp stated that the Board needs to make a decision today, because they are so far down the road with costs to Motorola, and if they wait too much longer, those costs are going to go up. He believes that the Board needs to look at Items 1, 3, and 4, and if Mr. Stone has a firm figure on Item 6, then the Board needs to look at that item, too. He did feel that the Board and those present need to revisit Items 2 and 5.
Commr. Hill withdrew her motion to table Tab 25.
Mr. Stone stated that there would be no problem addressing Item 5, CAD Upgrades, in the amount of $240,000, through the normal budget process.
Commr. Hill made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Stivender, to approve Items 1, 3, 4 and 6, as follows:
Under discussion, Mr. Minkoff stated that he would like to make a caveat, and stressed that this is not a reason for the Board not to vote for it, but just to make the Board aware that an integral part of this system are the tower sites that they do not have right now, and even though they may own the property, they are all going to take rezonings, and they are all going to have to comply with land use law, so the numbers particularly on the towers are somewhat flexible, and they will be spending the money with Motorola almost immediately, once they tell them to start making the equipment. The towers are all going to come back to the Board, and they may have to make some changes in those in the future.
Commr. Hill noted that what is being approved today is more in line with the original package that the Board had before them in January.
The Chairman called for vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
Mr. Tad Stone, Emergency Services Director, stated that he had two other items that he would like to review with the Board, one of them being the dispatch center costs. He stated that he and Mr. James Judge, Executive Director, Lake-Sumter Emergency Medical Services, will be coming back to the Board shortly with some recommendations about the consolidation of the fire EMS dispatch. Mr. Stone stated that they need to move out of their buildings, and they have extensions on their leases, but they need a full time home for EMS dispatch, something that is more cost effective. He explained that they were going to use infrastructure sales tax for the biggest down payment of the actual project, which is $2.2 million, which is currently in that fund. The project will take about a year to complete, and at the end of that time, there will be some outstanding debt. He stated that he has talked to Ms. Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance, Ms. Sarah LaMarche, Senior Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services, and Mr. Alvin Jackson, Deputy County Manager, about trying to come up with a solution for the debt, and there are a number of other options that are available to them to offset the remainder of that cost. Mr. Stone stated that they discussed a short term loan, which would be a way to pay that down.
GROWTH MANAGEMENT/LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director of Growth Management, addressed the Board to discuss the request to advertise a minor amendment to the Land Development Regulations regarding accessory units and accessory structures. Ms. Farrell noted that the change in the language is in the backup material, which will meet some of the needs of the people that she has been meeting with for the last two to three years. She noted that there has been about six to eight variances a year. She explained that the amendment would increase the square footage from 800 to 1,000, as shown in the chart, and the only thing she would like the Board to consider is increasing it to 1,200 square feet, as opposed to 1,000, or to remove the language, on Page 3, "which ever is less".
Commr. Stivender addressed the minimum lot size and questioned whether, in the six variances that staff has this year, they were all larger lots, or smaller lots.
Ms. Farrell explained that the variances were for the size of the living unit. She stated that right now the County does not have a minimum lot size, but normally, by default, if someone is on a septic tank and well, they would need one acre to get two septic tanks, so most of the requests are on larger than one acre parcels. She explained that someone could ask for a variance, if they are not on an acre parcel, but they would first have to deal with environmental health, to make sure that they could actually get a second septic tank. Ms. Farrell explained that the accessory can be internal, external, attached, or detached, but it just has to meet the current setbacks. She noted that the language in the current Code is fairly restrictive, and it consists of some dated material.
Commr. Stivender questioned how staff would address an accessory request in a subdivision where there is central water and sewer, on less than one acre tracts.
Ms. Farrell explained that an individual, on less than one acre, would have to get a variance. It was noted that staff was not eliminating the variance procedure.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request to advertise an amendment to the Land Development Regulations, Chapter 10, Section 10.01.05, Accessory Apartments, to provide for increased living area and delete prohibition of variances, and including the change on Page 3, not to exceed 1,200 square feet.
ACCOUNTS ALLOWED/CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS/GRANTS
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director Public Works, addressed the Board to explain the request for approval of the Trip and Equipment Grant Agreement between the Lake County Board of County Commissioners and the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged in the amount of $15,556.00.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request, as presented and noted above.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
COUNTY MANAGER'S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
ACCOUNTS ALLOWED/SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT/GRANTS
Mr. Nick Pallitto, Lieutenant, Support Services, Lake County Sheriff's Department, addressed the Board and stated that the Sheriff's Department had previously purchased about 70 Mobile Data Computers (MDCs) through a grant, and the additional 75 MDCs will compliment the existing computers. He explained that the MDCs help to relieve 14 full time employees, resulting in an estimation of an hourly time saving of $25,650. The additional MDCs will compliment the investigation division, and they will be given to the specialty units and placed in the vehicles of the deputies. Mr. Pallitto explained that they can be fixed in-house, and they have a lot of existing software, which saves money. They have also procured a Law Enforcement Block Grant to add a geographical mapping system to these computers. The total cost is $401,690.00, and the County's match would be $100,422.50.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, noted that the County's match would have to come out of reserves.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request for the Sheriff's Office to apply for a COPS MORE 2001 Grant to purchase 75 Mobile Data Computers and related hardware and software along with associated cellular equipment. The total cost of the equipment is $401,690.00; the grant would provide $301,267.50 (75%) and the County's match would be $100,422.50 (25%).
ADDENDUM NO. 2
CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Alvin Jackson, Deputy County Manager, addressed the Board and stated that, in July, Hi-Tech America requested a contract extension for an additional four months, with the stipulation that they would need to pay an additional $95,000 which is a non-refundable deposit. He noted that, as of yesterday, and as noted in the backup, Hi-Tech America actually closes its funding source on March 28, 2001, and it is going to take about 20 days for them to close with the County, therefore, the request notes April 30, 2001.
It was noted that Commr. Hanson serves on the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), and she had no problem with the request.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Extension to Amendment to Real Estate Purchase and Sales Agreement between Lake County and Hi-Tech America Development Corp., until April 30, 2001.
ACCOUNTS ALLOWED/CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS
Mr. Tad Stone, Emergency Services Director, addressed the Board to discuss Tab 7, regarding the development of a terrorism annex, which was pulled by Commr. Stivender for discussion. Mr. Stone stated that, in the process of the continuously developing Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, one of the new components is a terrorism weapons of mass destruction annex, which he explained. He stated that part of the process is to use the same consultant and group who developed the terrorism annex for the State of Florida, and a couple of other counties throughout the State. The rest of the money through the grant program will be used for reprographic service training for staff from all of the municipalities and the County, for the interviews to access the County's response capability, and possibly for the purchase of some equipment.
Commr. Stivender questioned whether the request was a duplication of any services already in place by the Sheriff's Department.
Mr. Stone explained that it is a separate service, and it ties all State and local agencies together and incorporates them under the single Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. He stated that the Sheriff's Department is a major player in this process, and they will be conducting the interviews.
Commr. Hill questioned whether there could be a collateral agreement with the Sheriff's Department to handle this issue, where he could assign someone from his office, since he does handle SWAT Team duties.
Mr. Stone explained that this would not be a SWAT Team issue, because it addresses how to deal with mechanisms of mass destruction.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that, if an emergency is declared, the Board actually assumes control, or the Governor, as the case may be, and the Sheriff is a part of that process, so the Board does not delegate those duties. The Sheriff would be a part of the Board's effort in Emergency Management.
Mr. Stone noted that the Sheriff will be a part of the planning process for this document.
Commr. Hill questioned whether this was a mandate that was being sent down to the County from the State, and whether the County has to supply them a person, or can this be incorporated within the Emergency Management process right now.
Mr. Stone explained that the State is paying the County $30,000 as a pass through grant.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, explained that the County has an Emergency Planning Division, and the money comes to them, and they develop the plan.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Agreement between the State of Florida, Department of Community Affairs and Lake County, for the development of a terrorism annex, and the hiring of a contractor (Emergency Response Planning & Management, Inc.), to develop the Terrorism Annex, in the amount of $30,000.00.
CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS/GROWTH MANAGEMENT
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director of Growth Management, addressed the Board to discuss Tab 11, which was pulled by the County Manager, for discussion. Ms. Farrell stated that the Board has a Settlement Agreement on the agenda today, but additional information has come to staff, and staff has to pull the item and recommend denial, so it can be referred back to the special master where the process will start over again.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board denied the Settlement Agreement between Lake County and Gary P. and Karen J. Pause, Case Number SM-2-01, and for it to be sent back to the special master.
Commr. Stivender noted that she had requested that Tab 12 be pulled, because she felt that resolutions, where the Board is declaring certain months, such as this particular resolution, should be a separate item and not placed under the consent agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request and signature on Resolution 2001-57, to recognize the accomplishments of Lake County Volunteers, and to declare the month of April 2001 as Volunteer Appreciation month.
Commr. Stivender noted that she wanted the public to know that the NCAA Division I Women's Golf National Championship will be held at the Mission Inn Golf and Tennis Resort, and therefore, she pulled Tab 21 from the consent agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Resolution 2001-62 supporting the 2001 NCAA Division I Women's Golf National Championship, to be held May 22-25, 2001 at Mission Inn Golf and Tennis Resort.
CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
In regards to Tab 5, Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, stated that, for the record, in regards to the Impact Fee Deferral Agreement between Lake County and Florida Hospital Waterman, the estimated average salary/wage level of new jobs would be $16.49 per hour per employee.
REPORTS - COUNTY ATTORNEY
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that, in connection with the Choose Life license plates, the funds that are collected are distributed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and they have contacted the County, and before releasing the funds, they are requiring that the County adopt a process, or procedure, on how to spend them. He explained that the Ordinance basically repeats the State Statute on exactly what the County is supposed to do, and the language in the Ordinance is almost verbatim out of the Florida Statutes. Mr. Minkoff noted that the amount of funds would be about $3,000 to $4,000 per year.
Commr. Hanson stated that, if there are significant dollars, it would be helpful if they were used more after birth, and for adoption purposes.
Mr. Minkoff noted that, unfortunately it would take a statutory change, because he assumed they must have had some agencies in mind when they wrote the Statute, because it is very precise, in terms of requirements for the use of the money.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request to advertise the Ordinance relating to distribution of Choose Life license plate revenue.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
REPORTS - COUNTY ATTORNEY
LAND/ROADS-COUNTY & STATE
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that the item regarding the donation of land is on the addendum, because staff just received it last week, and it was time sensitive. He noted that this is an acknowledgment that the County has accepted right-of-way that the parties have given to the County has a gift, but it does not say that the County agrees with the value, even though there is an appraisal amount on the form.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request for approval and execution of Form 8383 for Donation of Land related to Huffstetler Road.
COMMUNICATIONS/COUNTY ATTORNEY/SUITS AFFECTING THE COUNTY
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that Statute allows the Board to meet in closed session when the County has litigation matters pending. He has presented the Board with a copy of a letter from Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Akerman Senterfitt, who represents the property owners in Sugarloaf. Mr. Minkoff stated that they have filed an appeal of the extension of the DRI denial that the Board made, which is pending a State Administrative Hearing process, and Ms. Bonifay is requesting that they mediate. Mr. Minkoff stated that he would like to have a closed session two weeks from today, to discuss this request for mediation, as well as negotiation strategy that they will use in the mediation, if the Board elects to go forward with it. He noted that the Statute require that he request this of the Board and have them approve it, and then they will advertise it.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request from the County Attorney for a closed session with the Board, in two weeks, to discuss the request from Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Akerman Senterfitt, for the County to mediate, in the above noted case.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER POOL - DISTRICT #2
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request and execution of Proclamation 2001-63 designating April 1 through 7, 2001 as National POW/MIA Week in Lake County (Daisy Day).
Commr. Pool applauded all of those individuals, including staff and Commissioners and legislators, who attended Lake County Day, and extended his appreciation to them for their efforts.
Commr. Pool informed the Board that he has been asked to attend a meeting at Citrus Ridge, on April 17, 2001, which he plans on attending.
MUNICIPALITIES/ROADS-COUNTY & STATE
Commr. Pool informed the Board that the City of Montverde has received a notification that their initiative to have Highway 455 designated as a scenic highway has been accepted, even though the scenic highway has not been designated.
Commr. Pool suggested that possibly the Commissioners could cooperatively, or collectively, purchase a pig at the fair, and he encouraged everyone to attend the fair, for the steer and pig purchase.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER CADWELL - DISTRICT #5
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request and execution of Resolution 2001-65 proclaiming April 22 through 28, 2001 as National County Government Week.
ACCOUNTS ALLOWED/MUNICIPALITIES/CODE ENFORCEMENT
Commr. Cadwell stated that he had a request from Mr. Keith Hughes to release some code enforcement liens on property that he has obtained in Dona Vista. Mr. Hughes has agreed to escrow $10,000 from the purchase price, in exchange for the County subordinating its code enforcement lien to the buyer's new mortgage. Commr. Cadwell noted that, if he does not clean up the property, then the County has $10,000 to clean it up. He further noted that Mr. Hughes is the new owner, and he was not involved in the violations.
Commr. Cadwell made a motion to release the liens on the property for Mr. Keith Hughes, in Dona Vista, with the other caveat that he escrow $10,000 of the purchase price.
Commr. Pool seconded the motion for discussion.
Under discussion, Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that he has discussed this matter with Code Enforcement. He explained that Mr. Hughes is the owner of Jack and Andy's Electric, and when he pulled an electrical permit on the property, he discovered it was in distress. He arranged to buy it and had a closing last week, and at the closing, they discovered that there was a County lien on the property. It was a single family house that was turned into a duplex illegally, and Mr. Hughes is going to put it back into a single family house and bring it into compliance.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried by a 5-0 vote.
LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION/WATER RESOURCES
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place on the agenda, after hearing public comment, a request for Board action regarding shoreline protection regulations.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved for the Chairman to send a letter to their delegation, and to the Governor's Office, in opposition of HB 0729 and SB 2074, which pertain to the clearing of shoreline vegetation, and ask them to not support any bill that would dilute lake protection.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER HANSON - CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT #4
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the appointment of Commissioner Hanson to serve as the liaison to the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD).
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request and execution of Proclamation 2001-58 proclaiming the month of April 2001 as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Lake County.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER HANSON - CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT #4
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request for the Chairman to send a letter of support, on behalf of the Board, to the Department of Environmental Protection supporting their efforts to bring the 16th National Trails Symposium to Florida in 2002.
Commr. Hanson noted that she would like to have one Town Meeting in each district sometime during the year. At this time, she would like to have one in Sorrento, for her District, and she asked that the Board members check their calendars and let her know which dates are acceptable for this meeting. She would like to have everyone in attendance.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER STIVENDER - DISTRICT #3
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request and execution of a Proclamation 2001-64 proclaiming the week of April 22nd as Victims Rights Week and supporting the State Attorney's "Victims Voice 2001" scheduled for April 27th at the Lake County Judicial Center.
CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS/COUNTY MANAGER
Commr. Stivender stated that, during her campaign last year, she made a vow to the citizens of this County that she would work to make the County accountable for its actions. She has found that a change is needed at the top of County management, in order to accomplish what she feels the voters directed her to do when she was elected. She stated that she and Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, have philosophical differences in her management styles. Commr. Stivender stated that she does not feel that Ms. Whittle is providing the necessary leadership to all the employees, and to the citizens of this County. She stated that Ms. Whittle has a lot of good assets, and she agrees with them, but then there are ones that she does not agree with. Commr. Stivender stated that she is not going into issues, because she believes that any specific items that are addressed would cause adverse and irreparable damage and harm to this County, and to the employees that would be addressed in them. She feels that Ms. Whittle's management style, and what the public has portrayed to her, is not what the Board needs here at the County, at this time, and therefore, she would like to terminate Ms. Whittle.
Commr. Hanson stated that she would second the motion for discussion.
It was pointed out that the Chairman cannot second a motion, and the item had not been placed on today's agenda, therefore, a motion would be needed to place the item on the agenda, before discussion could take place.
Commr. Stivender made a motion to place the item regarding the termination of Ms. Whittle on the agenda for discussion.
Commr. Hanson, Chairman, passed the gavel to Commr. Pool, Vice Chairman, and seconded the motion.
It was noted that it would take a four-fifths vote to place the item on the agenda.
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell stated that it would be a mistake to take such action today, and there has been no discussion, and he has not seen a job evaluation from the new Commissioners. He stated that the Board is coming up on that time, at the end of the summer, which is when the Board would take action on this matter. Commr. Cadwell stated that he felt it would be inappropriate to put the issue on the agenda, and that the appropriate time would be through the job evaluation, as it has always been done.
Commr. Hanson stated that she had hoped that, over time, the Board would have been able to get the feedback, from particularly the new Commissioners, through the job evaluation procedure. She stated that she and Ms. Whittle have had their philosophical differences, but that has not been unknown.
Commr. Hill stated that, since the item has been seconded, and so that it can be brought forward for discussion, she would not have any opposition to putting it on an agenda, for discussion at a future date.
Commr. Cadwell clarified that Commr. Stivender is placing the item on the agenda today, for the Board to take action to terminate Ms. Whittle today.
Commr. Pool, Acting Chairman, explained that the motion at hand is to put the issue on the agenda today, for action today, and that is philosophically where he has a difference also, but as Chairperson, he asked whether there was any comment on putting the item on the agenda today, for discussion today, and a vote today. He clarified that the motion is to bring the item to the table today, for discussion, and for a vote, and the Board has had its discussion.
Commr. Pool called for a vote on the motion, which failed by a 3-2 vote.
Commrs. Cadwell and Pool voted "no".
It was noted that the motion failed, because it required a four-fifths vote.
Commr. Pool stated that he does feel that the issue is something that needs to be an agenda item, and to try and make some discussion of it, at this time, would be very difficult. From his perspective, Commr. Pool stated that it is prudent to put it on the agenda, if it is a concern of Commr. Stivenders, and his fellow Commissioners.
Commr. Pool, Acting Chairman, returned the gavel to Commr. Hanson, Chairman.
Commr. Hanson suggested that the evaluations be done now, rather than waiting until the normal time.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, noted that, according to her contract with the County, her evaluation would be in September. She noted that she came to work for the County, as Interim Manager, on March 6, 1995.
Commr. Pool stated, for the record, that he respects Commr. Stivender's opinions and concerns, as well as those of each and every Commissioner, but he believes that due process should be that a scheduled agenda item would be placed and then the Board would have that discussion, and then the votes can be taken. He stated that he feels this would be the appropriate way to go, and it allows for response times, and an opportunity to think things through.
Commr. Stivender explained that, if she had placed this item on the agenda for discussion and just said discussion of County Manager, the Board still would not have had any information. She stated that there is a lot going on with the employees in this County, and she feels it is something that needs to be addressed.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether Commr. Stivender felt that there were things that cannot be worked out.
Commr. Stivender responded that she was not sure, because of the different management style.
Ms. Whittle stated that she would like an opportunity to meet with each of the Commissioners. She stated that she did not have any indication that this item was being brought up today, and she has been the County Manager for six years. She stated that she has tried very hard to work with the new Commissioners, but obviously there are some issues that need to be discussed. She stated that she would hope that they would be able to work through any differences.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he would make some comments to defend Ms. Whittle, but he has never been in a situation where everything seems to be going good, and no one has talked to the person that works for them and said there are some problems that need to be worked out, as opposed to just saying they want to terminate the individual. He stated he will be prepared, when they have those discussions, to talk about the things Ms. Whittle has done, and the way she has managed the County.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 1:50 p.m.
CATHERINE C. HANSON, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK