APRIL 10, 2001

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, April 10, 2001, at 9:00 a.m., in the Training Room (Room 233), Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Catherine C. Hanson, Chairman; Robert A. Pool, Vice Chairman; Debbie Stivender; Jennifer Hill; and Welton G. Cadwell. Others present were: Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Wendy Taylor, Administrative Supervisor, Board of County Commissioner's Office; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.

The Chairman opened the meeting.



Ms. Treeva Wayne, Solid Waste Management Services, informed the Board that members of the Lake County Litter Team are Mr. Tommy Leathers, Senior Director, Code Enforcement; Deputy Glen Waterman, Lake County Sheriff's Office; Mr. Dennis Warren, Roads Superintendent, Public Works Department; Mr. David Crowe, Special Programs Director, Solid Waste Management Services; and Mr. Alvin Jackson, Deputy County Manager. She stated that the proliferation of litter, illegal dumping, and other forms of urban blight continues to be a serious and costly problem for American cities and counties and that there may be a correlation linking it with increased crime, lowered property values, and neighborhood decline. She stated that evidence is emerging that when areas are cleaned up crime goes down. She stated that quality of life issues related to environmental blight are rooted in the broken window theory, noting that a building left in disrepair is an indicator that apathy and neglect are edging into the neighborhood. She stated that litter is one of the earliest indicators that a neighborhood is in distress. She stated that gangs, illegal dumpers, and drug peddlers will not usually choose to enter neighborhoods that appear clean, safe, and organized. She stated that, once the downward spiral begins, it becomes expensive, time consuming, and extremely difficult to reverse. She stated that these indicators are present in Lake County, therefore, in 1999, a team was established to address an ever growing litter problem. She stated that the mission of the Lake County Litter Team was to develop a comprehensive approach to countywide cleanup and prevention of litter and illegal dumping.

Ms. Wayne stated that the team assessed the County's current conditions, including 105 known illegal dumpsites across the County. She stated that laws and ordinances were reviewed and other counties with strong litter abatement programs were visited. She stated that, while state law and the County Code provide vehicles for law and Code Enforcement officers to address a portion of these issues, there is currently no process or program in place in Lake County to systematically address litter. She stated that there is no dedicated funding source and there is no department or division whose mission includes the daily cleanup of trash. She stated that the Litter Team developed the recommendations being presented to the Board this date, in an effort to clean up Lake County, and that full implementation of those recommendations will require dedicated funding. She stated that the team believes the recommendations, when implemented, will be effective. She stated that the recommendations include public education; recognition programs for citizen participation; universal collection; the need for additional Code Enforcement officers; and personnel to clean up known illegal dump sites, as well as the day-to-day litter that accumulates along the County's roads and rights-of-way. She stated that implementation is recommended to take place over three years and that full implementation is estimated to cost over $1 million during the first year and approximately $920,000.00 during the second year.

Members of the Litter Team reviewed the Recommended Illegal Dumping and Litter Abatement Plan, as follows:


Trash Collection

Cleanup Programs

Create an Illegal Dumping Hotline



Lake County Businesses

Program Administration




Program Administration




Program Administration


Commr. Cadwell questioned whether the County could create an ordinance that would allow county employees to go onto one's private property and clean it up, without obtaining a court order prior to doing so, as the County currently has to do.

Ms. Melanie Marsh, Assistant County Attorney, informed the Board that it was something the County Attorney's Office would have to check into, before making a recommendation regarding same.

Mr. Leathers, Senior Director, Code Enforcement, informed the Board that, once the property has gone through the enforcement process, if it does not get cleaned up, the fine that has been placed on it will turn into a lien, but the dump site will still be in place. He stated that staff would like to turn that around, noting that they were proposing to have the property cleaned up and then assess the cost of the cleanup as a lien. He stated that the lien would still be in place, but the garbage would be removed.

Commr. Cadwell questioned who would pay for the cost of the cleanup on property where illegal dumping was not done by the property owner and was informed that it would be shared with the property owner. He stated that he felt this type of program was exactly the direction that the County should be going in and that the presentation should be presented to the Board again in a public hearing, so that the citizens of the County can see the direction that the County is moving in.

Commr. Hanson stated that this issue has been a major problem in the County and that she feels, with there being so many vacant properties in the County, it is going to continue to be a major problem. She stated that all the people who illegally dump in the County are not from Lake County - a lot of them are from other counties.

Commr. Cadwell stated that he would like to see some statistics regarding the number of people who are issued citations for illegally dumping who state that the garbage that was dumped on their property was not theirs, that it was placed there by someone else. He stated that he feels, in order to sell this program to the public, the County needs to make them understand how it works.

Commr. Hill questioned who would collect the outstanding fines alluded to during the presentation.

Mr. Leathers stated that a form will be kept at the Zoning counter, for people to fill out when applying for a zoning request, and it would go from there. He noted that the fines are collected by the Tax Collector's Office.

Commr. Stivender stated that she would like to review the proposed program, in detail, before making any decisions regarding it.



Mr. Bill Gilley, Senior Director, Solid Waste Management Services, addressed the Board stating that his presentation was a specific follow-up to some issues that were discussed at the December 12, 2000 Board Meeting, as well as information that was provided to the Board at the Fiscal Retreat that was held in February of this year. He stated that, during his tenure with the County, the issue has been that of managing the County's waste - taking control of the way the County does business and providing an efficient level of service. He stated that last month the Board authorized staff to pursue long-term options and alternatives, as far as how waste is managed in the County. He discussed Solid Waste Management Services' budget and funding, noting that the County operates like a business, where its revenues must cover its expenses. He stated that the majority of what the County receives in revenue comes from tipping fees or the assessment program. He stated that, on the expenditure side, most of it goes to pay for the Covanta (Ogden Martin) contract, as well as the hauler contracts.

Mr. Gilley discussed the County's assessment program, noting that it is the County's biggest challenge and generates the most confusion among staff and the County's customers. He stated that it is extremely labor intensive and is the County's biggest opportunity for failure. He stated that there are currently four billing options for solid waste management in unincorporated Lake County. He stated that customers like the number of options available to them with the current assessment system and the County's seasonal residents like having the ability to stop their garbage collection when they return to their primary residences, however, noted that the system creates a billing process that is complicated and extremely difficult to track, understand, and explain, and it confuses people with the different pricing options. He stated that the system also increases the possibility of errors, because people can change their minds on a daily basis about the type of service they wish to have, at which time he noted that the County's customer service representatives have input as many as 1,000 changes per day into the system, due to people changing their minds about their service. He stated that the changes are labor intensive, create a record keeping nightmare, and it is very difficult for the haulers to keep up with the customers who are supposed to have their garbage picked up, because the customers can pay the haulers direct, or pay the County direct.

Mr. Gilley stated that staff was requesting authorization for them to move forward with steps necessary to proceed with universal assessment and collection in the County, which means establishing a more effective level of service for residents, with only one billing option. He stated that staff was proposing a 1-1-1 level of service, with a single billing option on the tax bill, which means that everyone pays their fair share and receives a more effective and efficient level of service. He stated that a 1-1-1 level of service means once-a-week garbage pickup, once a week recycling, and once a week separate yard waste collection, as well as the pickup of bulky items, which he noted is currently being provided. He stated that, unlike the current system, this makes the County's drop-off facilities available only to self-haul customers. He stated that all the residents in the County's system will support and have access to the drop-off locations. He stated that there are many benefits to a 1-1-1 level of service, such as the ability to segregate yard waste; the fact that it will reduce the amount of tonnage being hauled to the incinerator; and it encourages recycling.

Mr. Gilley stated that the reasons for the proposed change is that it will reduce litter and illegal dumping; increase recycling in the County; increase efficiency in billing and collection; and equitably spreads the costs involved among the residents. He stated that, as of October 1, 2000, the County's customer base included 65,211 livable units, which are currently charged for disposal. He stated that, out of the customer base, 45,478 livable units now pay for curbside garbage collection, either to the County or to the hauler. He stated that the remaining 19,733 livable units pay for self-haul service options, which are customers that pay to haul their own garbage to the six drop-off locations within the County. He stated that it is extremely important to note that the $13.06 that these customers pay no longer covers the cost of operating the drop-off facilities, because the County has expanded its services and its hours and days of operation at the drop-off facilities, in accordance with requests from customers. He stated that the customer base if 65,211, but almost 30% are subsidized in part by the remaining 70%. He stated that, if the customers on the self-haul permit option were paying their fair share of the costs for the drop-off locations, it would be approximately $190.00 per customer.

Mr. Gilley discussed the pros and cons of a universal assessment and collection system, noting that its cons are that it reduces billing and service options; complaints from those customers who do not want service; there are no stops in service; and it increases the costs to self-haulers; however, the pros of having such a service is that it reduces billing and service options; it assures that all properties have equal access and pay their fair share for service; it reduces and eliminates illegal dumping; the bond rate increases, due to stabilizing the County's revenue stream; it is easy to explain and understand; it greatly reduces the likelihood of errors; provides a simplified collection service, where the haulers pick up what is set out for them, at lower rates; it eliminates customer service changes; drop-off sites will be made available to all assessment customers; it reduces the need for invoices, if the Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) process is changed; and it provides the County with the opportunity for an efficient management of waste, which leads to lower Covanta (Ogden Martin) costs and increased recycling revenues. He stated that universal assessment and collection has been recommended and supported by the Keep Lake County Beautiful Committee; the Lake County Solid Waste Study Committee; and the Lake County Litter Team. He stated that, in order for the County to move forward with a universal assessment and collection system, it will require an amendment to Chapter 21 of the Lake County Code; an amendment to the hauler contracts; and the renegotiation of interlocal agreements. He stated that the time line involved with this request requires authorization to advertise the changes to Chapter 21 on May 1, 2001; hold the public hearing on May 15, 2001; and before October 1, 2001 the County will amend the hauler contracts, ending the interlocal agreements. He stated that he felt October would be a nice starting point, as far as changing the way the County does its solid waste business. He requested approval for staff to move forward with the process to establish universal assessment and collection in the County and establish an effective level of service.

Commr. Cadwell stated that he would be in favor of moving forward with this system, however, noted that he has some concerns about the once-a-week pickup and would like to discuss it with certain individuals before approving the request.

Commr. Pool stated that once people get into the habit of having once-a-week pickup, they will not want to go back to a twice-a-week pickup service.

Commr. Stivender concurred, noting that the City of Tavares has had once-a-week pickup for some time and it has worked out very well.

It was the consensus of the Board to authorize staff to move forward with the advertisement regarding a universal assessment and collection system in Lake County, with one billing option, and a more effective level of service.


At 10:20 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for ten minutes.



Mr. Fred Schneider, Engineering Director, Public Works, addressed the Board stating that his department would be giving a presentation on the Lake County Community Transportation and Public Transportation Program.

Mr. Noble Olasimbo, Transportation Engineer, Public Works, addressed the Board stating that the Public Works staff conducted a workshop on May 9, 2000, where they presented several options to the Board regarding Transportation Disadvantaged issues in Lake County; and, on June 20, 2000, the Board approved advertising the Request for Proposals under two scenarios, with the following results:

Mr. Olasimbo stated that, on September 5, 2000, the Board chose to become the Community Transportation Coordinator (CTC) for Lake County. He stated that the County ranked the two proposals that it had received and, on September 19, 2000, the Public Works staff came back to the Board with a request for approval of a Resolution in support of the Board becoming the Lake County Community Transportation Coordinator, which was forwarded to the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged. He stated that, on November 16, 2000, the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged approved the Board as Lake County's Community Transportation Coordinator at their annual meeting, which was held in Sarasota, Florida. He stated that, on November 21, 2000, the Board endorsed the contract with LifeStream Behavioral Center, Inc., as the Transportation Operator for the Lake County Public Transportation Program. He then discussed the progress that has been made, with regard to this program, since January of 2001, noting that, on January 16, 2001, the Public Works staff sought consent to assume the responsibility of the public transportation program, which was being provided by LifeStream Behavioral Center. He stated that applications for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) 5310 and 5311 Transit Grants for FY 2001/2002 were made, which will assist in the continual operation of this program. He stated that the 5310 grant application was for the purchase of six new buses and the 5311 grant application is to provide funding for the program. The 5311 grant application requires a 50% local match, which is estimated to be $250,000.00, which will maintain the current level of service to the citizens of Lake County.

Mr. Olasimbo stated that, on March 2, 2001, Commr. Debbie Stivender and the Public Works staff met with FDOT, to discuss the Lake County Community Transportation Coordinator and the Public Transportation Program, at which time it was requested that a Countywide Public Transportation Needs Assessment Study be conducted, because one had never been done for Lake County. He stated that FDOT was receptive to the study, as long as the County provides the local match for it. He stated that, on March 6, 2001, the Board agreed to improve the delivery of services within the Community Transportation Coordinator transportation network, as follows:

Mr. Olasimbo stated that, in addition, the Board endorsed the Lake County Public Transportation System Safety Program and the Public Transportation Substance Abuse Program, which are to be implemented by the County's Transportation Provider, Lake County Transit.

Mr. Olasimbo reviewed the County's Public Transportation Goals for the next three years, which are as follows:

Mr. Olasimbo reviewed a Lake County Transit Monthly Report form that staff created, which he noted they would like to receive from the County's operator, to enable them to look at what they did and where they are going, on a monthly basis.

Mr. Schneider readdressed the Board and reviewed some additional information that was contained in the handout that was distributed to them, prior to the meeting, with regard to this issue, such as the Public Transportation Program Organizational Chart; information regarding the LifeStream Behavioral Center, Inc.; Operating Data, such as Service Statistics, Passenger Trip Information, and a Financial Summary; and the Lake County 1997/2000 Performance History. He stated that the State feels most of these services should be coordinated through the Community Transportation Coordinator, which is the Board of County Commissioners. He stated that FDOT's Five Year Work Plan was also included as part of the Board's backup material, which he reviewed with the Board.

Commr. Stivender commended the Public Works staff for all their hard work, noting that they did all the work without adding any new employees, which she felt was very impressive. She stated that they are trying to address all the issues involved and feels they are doing a good job.



Mr. William J. Reagan, Senior Vice President, William R. Hough & Company, addressed the Board and presented an overview of Community Development Districts, at which time he reviewed the history of special districts, noting that they date back to 1822; there are Special Purpose Government districts versus General Purpose Government districts; they were developed for multi-purpose use; in 1980, the Florida Legislature enacted Chapter 190, Florida Statutes, creating Community Development Districts; to date, over 75 Community Development Districts exist, statewide; they have a specific single purpose, with limited and specific powers; they provide very basic systems, facilities, and services (infrastructure); it takes governmental power to manage them; and their powers are limited to what general government authorizes. He stated that the statutory requirements for creating a Community Development District is that one must file a petition; obtain a survey and descriptive map of the property in question; have 100% approval of the ownership of the land; have an Engineer's Report; use of the land; and have an Economic Impact Statement. He stated that, if the district consists of less than 1,000 acres, it goes before the Board of County Commissioners for approval, and, if it is over 1,000 acres, it goes before the local and Florida Land/Water Adjudicatory Commission and to the Governor and Cabinet for approval.

Mr. Reagan discussed the election process to the Board of Supervisors for Community Development Districts and the power and benefits of a Community Development District, noting that the power of a Community Development District is to issue long-term debt for capital improvements; to levy tax or assessments for maintenance and capital; to provide general management and maintenance of facilities; and to provide a mechanism superior to homeowners associations. He stated that the benefits of Community Development Districts are that they are a governmental entity for management control; their efficiency in size for specific services; and cost savings for maintenance and capital improvements. He stated that their benefits to local government is that they assure the local government that growth will pay for itself - infrastructure and delivery; they perform management and financing functions for large developments; they have limited powers - no authority for developer orders, permitting, planning, environmental regulations, ordinances, or other factors; they can take no action which is inconsistent with local government; the County is assured of having an identifiable public entity mandated to implement development; the County has no financial or legal obligation for debt of the District; and they have no effect on the County's millage rate, budget, or ratings.

Mr. Reagan stated that the benefit of Community Development Districts to landowners is that less expensive front-end infrastructure capital is required; they are an efficient and economical method to pay for maintenance and operation; the developer controls the district in the early years; and they provide access to capital markets vs. conventional financing. He stated that the benefit to the district's residents is that they are assured of a long-term planning structure to handle future growth; the residents will receive lower costs for infrastructure improvements, which are tax exempt; and maintenance and capital costs funds are collected by the local government versus the homeowners associations. He stated that the disadvantages of a Community Development District is that county and city governments may view them as an encroachment of power; additional debt issued by a legal entity is not under the control of the County; Community Development Districts and special assessments are not properly disclosed at the time of sale; they are controlled by the majority of the landowners for the first six years; their risk of bond defaults a possible risk to general purpose local governments; a proliferation of them would create duplication and fragmentation of government services; and a possible lack of understanding by the creators of Community Development Districts regarding their purpose.

Mr. Reagan discussed safeguards that have been put into place for Florida Community Development Districts compared to other states, noting that recent legislation has been enacted by Alabama, Virginia, and South Carolina regarding same and many states have adopted infrastructure districts. He stated that they must abide by the same laws as a general purpose government, with regard to the bidding process; the Sunshine Law; the financial disclosure of elected officials; and the Election of Supervisors by the land owners. He stated that they must hold public hearings on all assessments and must notify the buyer of assessments on liens. He stated that there must be annual independent financial audits; they must file the audits with the State; all records of the Community Development Districts are open to the public; prior notice must be given to the purchaser that the land is subject to a special assessment; and the interest rate must be approved by the State on bond issues. He discussed capital financing alternatives, noting that Community Development Districts may issue bonds, notes, or certificates secured by the following revenue sources: ad valorem tax, revenue bonds, charges and fees, and special assessment financing and benefits assessment.

Mr. Reagan reviewed the underwriting criteria for Community Development District bonds "developer related" and gave an overview of special assessments, noting that they are charged against property that receives a benefit; they are not based upon value, but upon benefits received; under Florida law, the property must receive a benefit; the assessment must be fair and reasonably proportioned between the properties; the benefit must be unique to the property and not a benefit to the entire community; the manner of apportionment may vary; the assessment may not exceed the proportioned benefit; they are authorized to be placed on the tax bill for collection along with all other taxes; one cannot pay only a portion of the tax bill; and they may be collected by districts. He stated that, with regard to default or the non-payment of taxes, the assessment may be paid without interest 30 days after completion; the assessments are on the tax bill and may be prepaid at any time; if the taxes are not paid, tax certificates are issued; and a tax deed sale is held after two certificates are issued. He stated that a security feature of special assessments is that the lien has priority over mortgage liens and other non-governmental liens.

Mr. Reagan stated that, if Community Development Districts are properly structured and implemented, they provide for planning, financing, and maintenance for Florida's growing infrastructure needs; they have a good overall proven track record; and they provide an alternative for local governments for long-term planning.


At 11:25 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for ten minutes.


Commr. Hanson informed the Board that Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, had requested that the matter of her resignation not be placed on the Agenda for the April 17, 2001 Board Meeting, but that it be addressed this date. She stated that Ms. Whittle was asked to meet with each of the commissioners, to see how they felt about whether or not she should be retained as County Manager. She stated that she informed Ms. Whittle that she would be the third vote, if two other Commissioners were in strong support of not retaining her. She stated that Ms. Whittle asked for some time to put a package together, which she could present to the Board, at which time she noted that Ms. Whittle had met with Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, and that they had worked out a proposal to be presented to the Board for approval. She reminded the Board that they would only be addressing the issue of the County Manager and that it was her intent that upper management remain in place and work with the Board through this process.

Mr. Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that he had been directed by them to meet with Ms. Whittle and her attorneys, regarding this matter. He stated that she was proposing to tender her resignation effective at the end of her contract date, which is September 30, 2001; that all the other provisions of her contract apply; and that, during the interim period between now and September 30, 2001, she be placed on Administrative Leave and available to help the County in any way they should choose to use her. He stated that she would receive approximately five months pay, while seeking other employment. He noted that this package was similar to what has been paid to previous County Managers who have been terminated.

Commr. Cadwell stated that he feels politics is a nasty business and that this day was about as nasty as it gets. He stated that he was sorry this was happening and was sorry about the way the Board was going about it. He stated that he would thank Ms. Whittle privately for the job she has done for the County, noting that he feels she has done a great job helping the County build a good foundation of professional policies and people. He stated that he feels the County will continue to move forward, but that a lot of it will be based on the job that Ms. Whittle did, while employed by the County.

Commr. Hanson stated that her last evaluation of Ms. Whittle was better than the evaluation she had given her two years ago, which she noted was not good at all. She stated that her concerns were with the type of County Manager that Ms. Whittle was and her management style. She stated that Ms. Whittle contributed a lot to Lake County, however, noted that she prefers a management style that is much more open and much more receptive to input from the lower level of the organization, as well as from the upper level. She stated that she had received a lot of valid concerns from county employees over the past few years and that she had addressed some of those concerns with the County Manager, with no resolution. She stated that this was not an easy thing to do, but that she felt in her heart it was the right thing to do for Lake County. She stated that there has been some discussion as to whether Ms. Whittle's termination was over the issue of growth, however, wanted to assure everyone that it had nothing to do with growth, noting that Ms. Whittle always abided by the wishes of the majority of the Board. She stated that she did not want to address all the specifics of Ms. Whittle's resignation at this time and that she hoped Ms. Whittle's severance package would allow her and the Board to part with friendship and mutual respect.

Commr. Cadwell reminded the Board that their only responsibility was the hiring and firing of the County Manager and the County Attorney and for them to meddle into the firing of any employee other than the County Manager and the County Attorney would be a disservice to everyone.

Commr. Pool stated that he enjoyed his working relationship with Ms. Whittle and that he felt she provided leadership and direction for Lake County. He stated that he felt the County was blessed to have her, however, felt that, since the Board has changed Commissioners, it was perhaps time for a change. He stated that the Board needs to have confidence to move forward. He stated that they have to work together and will continue to work together and that he will work very hard to help find a County Manager that will please all the Commissioners. He stated that he hopes the County will benefit from the Board's decisions, as it moves forward, and that he hopes Ms. Whittle will have better days ahead.

On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place the item of the County Manager's resignation on the Agenda, as well as the discussion of an Interim County Manager.

On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board accepted the resignation of the County Manager, Ms. Sue Whittle, and approved the severance package offered to her, with her resignation to become effective at the end of her contract date, which is September 30, 2001, with all the other provisions of her contract applying and that, during the interim period between now and September 30, 2001, she be placed on Administrative Leave, as indicated to the Board by the County Attorney, Mr. Sandy Minkoff.

On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved for the County Attorney, Mr. Sandy Minkoff, to act as Interim County Manager, as well as to continue with his County Attorney duties, until such time as a full-time County Manager can be hired to replace Ms. Whittle.


Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained this request, stating that, during the survey of the First Union Bank building, it was discovered that a portion of the building, approximately seven-tenths of a foot, was located in the road right-of-way; therefore, staff was requesting that an extension of 90 days be granted, so that the bank can petition the City of Tavares to have that portion of the right-of-way vacated, prior to closing.

On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved a request from the County Attorney, Mr. Sandy Minkoff, for an extension of 90 days, involving the purchase of the First Union Bank building, in Tavares, to allow the bank to petition the City of Tavares to have a portion of road right-of-way involving said purchase vacated, prior to closing.


The Chairman informed those present that the Lake County Fair had just opened and invited everyone to attend.

There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.

________________________________ CATHERINE C. HANSON, CHAIRMAN