The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, January 15, 2002, 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: Robert A. Pool, Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson; Jennifer Hill; and Debbie Stivender. Others present were: William A. Neron, County Manager; Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioner's Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Stivender gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
COMMR. CADWELL - VICE CHAIRMAN - DISTRICT #5
Commr. Cadwell requested that the Board add to the agenda a request to prepare a Resolution and purchase a tree and small plaque for the Sons of the American Revolution, to be placed in the area between the two courthouses. He noted that the dedication will take place on February 18, 2002 at 10 a.m.
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, as noted, on the agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Resolution 2002-7 for the Sons of the American Revolution, and the purchase of a plaque and tree.
Commr. Cadwell requested that Ms. Patti Michel, Community Outreach Coordinator, handle the press release on the dedication, and for staff to get with Mr. Mike Anderson, Senior Director of Facilities and Capital Improvements, to get the tree and plaque.
COUNTY MANAGER'S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS/COURTS-JUDGES
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, addressed the request for consideration of a Special Master's Settlement Agreement for Stephen D. Fiske and stated that a family had some property in the Green Swamp for a long time, and they wanted to preserve the number of parcels. Mr. Minkoff stated that, through a special master and the involvement of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), they came to an agreement, and staff is recommending approval of the request.
Commr. Pool stated that the request is in his district, and he concurs with the settlement agreement.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Special Master's Settlement Agreement for Stephen D. Fiske, as recommended.
WORKSESSION - DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT BY DOTTIE KEEDY, CITY ADMINISTRATOR, CITY OF TAVARES
Ms. Dottie Keedy, City Administrator, City of Tavares, addressed the Board and stated that they were here today to give the Board an update on the City's redevelopment efforts. She noted that Mr. Bob Speaks, Mayor, Mr. Robert Johnson, Community Services Director, and Ms. Susan Jackson, Planning Manager, were present today. Ms. Keedy stated that they were here today to ask for the Board's cooperation and participation in their redevelopment efforts. She stated that they recognize the County's need to grow and the impact it will have on the City, because the County is the largest property owner, and she did not feel they could be successful without their participation in their efforts.
Mr. Robert Johnson, Community Services Director, pointed out on a pictorial map the redevelopment area. Mr. Johnson had a slide presentation that showed the area that represents governmental institutional users, which included County facilities, churches, and city complexes. He stated that the judicial center is outside of the redevelopment district but it has a big impact on the district and their future plans. Mr. Johnson stated that there have been other positive events besides their streetscaping initiative, and they included the creation of the redevelopment district, a historic preservation district, and a facade grant program. He stated that they also see Florida Hospital as a big plus in their redevelopment effort. Mr. Johnson explained that Area 1 of their streetscape project will go from Disston Avenue to Sinclair; Area 2 will go from St. Clair to US 19. The areas were broken up mainly because of funding sources, and the immediate impact to the downtown. Mr. Johnson noted that Area 2 is part of their Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) area, and they will be able to use CDBG funds in the subsequent year to make some of those improvements on Main Street. He reviewed an illustration of a typical street and discussed the proposed street environment, as well as a typical block section being proposed on Main Street with palm trees and decorative lights. He also reviewed County Administration Building details, which included the extension of the curb about ten more feet, and crosswalks and a three way stop. He noted that the palm trees in front of this building are not currently proposed and, in terms of underground power services, he noted that only one block will not have underground utilities. Mr. Johnson stated that the major issues involve dealing with the on street parking demand and working with the County on its parking needs and designs, and its future building needs and land needs into downtown.
Mr. Johnson stated that the money has been budgeted for the City portion, the crosswalks and the tree planting in front of the Administration Building, and they are requesting financial support from the Board to do these things that will benefit the County and its users, which will integrate real well into their project. The landscaping is about $12,000; the crosswalk and traffic planning aspect is approximately $40,000. He noted that Phase 1 is the only project that is budgeted at this point, and they hope to partner with the County in the next 30 to 60 days. They do not have a projected date for Phase 2, but it is estimated to be about $260,000 to $300,000. The only thing they have not directed their design build contractor to do is to design the sidewalk crossing and that will need to be done in the next 30 days. He stated that they have been working with a group they call their Downtown Alliance, which is a combination of governmental and business owners and operators in the downtown, who will be looking at making an application this year for the Main Street program, as well as being involved with the streetscaping and long term redevelopment of downtown.
Commr. Stivender noted that she is on the Downtown Alliance Committee as a representative of the Board of County Commissioners.
Mr. Neron questioned whether the disruption of traffic and construction for Phase 1 and Phase 2 can be combined, so that businesses will only be disrupted one time.
Mr. Johnson stated that the City is not financially at a point where they can combine the phases of work, but the only area of disruption in the first phase will be in front of the Administration Building where they will be doing the crosswalks. There will not be any additional work in front of this building. He further noted that there will not be any canopy trees in front of the building, but they would be willing to work on a design with the County to include them.
Commr. Hanson stated that the County is certainly a major player in the redevelopment of the City of Tavares and, to a certain extent, the County actually limits what they can do. She stated that the County needs to be one of the players that comes to the table, as the City tries to redevelop itself, and the Board needs to be a financial partner, as well as the other way around.
Commr. Stivender stated that, since she has been on the Board, they have purchased the bank building, and they told the City that, once they took that building off of the tax base, they would help them with some redevelopment in downtown. She stated that, when talking to someone from the paper, it was indicated to her that, if the Board should do this, it would be setting a precedent, but she explained that Tavares is the County seat, and they own the majority of the buildings, which takes away from the City's tax base, and they should be partners with them in improving the downtown to bring in other business for them. Her recommendation would be to not go over $50,000 and that they have County staff work with City staff to see where they can cut $2,000 or more in order to accomplish what they need in front of this building (Administration Building).
Mr. Johnson stated that, in regards to a question about plans for the front of the bank building, they will be doing a design for that area to increase the amount of landscaping at this location before taking out any of the existing landscaping and, even though the planters long term do not fit into the streetscape design, as they move through the various stages, the planters will be removed. Mr. Johnson stated that they have a budget of $121,000; approximately $45,000 in their TIF (transportation impact fee) district funds; and $10,000 committed to their facade grant program.
Commr. Hanson stated that she would also like to have County staff work with the City to see if there are possible enhancements they can make at the courthouse.
Commr. Stivender noted that, as a member of the Downtown Alliance Committee, she will bring back a report to the Board. She stated that they are working on enhancing two parking lots right now to make them fit in with the redevelopment plan.
Commr. Stivender made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Hanson, to approve the request from the City of Leesburg for an amount not to exceed $50,000 and to have staff work with City staff to see where they can cut $2,000 or more in order to accomplish what they need in front of this building (Administration Building).
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell stated that he felt the Board should approve the City's request but not to exceed the amount of $52,000 and to instruct staff to bring that amount down.
Commr. Stivender amended her motion to approve an amount not to exceed $52,000 and Commr. Hanson amended her second to the motion.
Mr. Neron requested that he be able to bring back the appropriate budget amendment to accomplish the request.
Under discussion, for clarification, Commr. Hill stated that the Board has already set a precedent in her district in Leesburg for transportation dollars to extend Main Street, but it did encompass the City's redevelopment area.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
PRESENTATION: LAKE County IMPACT FEE FEASIBILITY STUDY BY NABORS, GIBLIN & NICKERSON AND HENDERSON YOUNG & COMPANY
Ms. Wendy Wickwire, Impact Fee Coordinator, addressed the Board and introduced Mr. Randy Young, Henderson Young & Company, who would be presenting the Evaluation of Impact Fees for Lake County, Florida.
Mr. Young stated that he was part of the team that the County had selected to evaluate the possibility of three new impact fees, and to help them update existing impact fees. He stated that the purpose of the presentation is to summarize Phase 1, or Evaluation Report, to let them know where they feel that the County has some opportunities and options available. Mr. Young stated that they were not here to present specific recommended dollar amounts for any impact fees; that will be the result of the Board authorizing them to go forward and do that work. He stated that the Board had asked them to update two existing impact fees, fire and schools, and they had asked them to look at the possibility of adopting an impact fee in three areas that they do not currently have fees, law enforcement, library, and parks and recreation. At this time, Mr. Young reviewed the following recommendations that had been presented to the Board:
Fire Impact Fees
Schools Impact Fees
Mr. Young addressed the second recommendation for school impact fees and stated that they were strongly suggesting that the County get out of the business of charging a separate impact fee based on the number of bedrooms. He stated that the strongest nexus seems to be per dwelling unit, which has been consistently approved by the courts ever since the school impact fees were challenged in a St. Johns case almost ten years ago. He further stated that the case was very clear about the fact that the school district has a legal responsibility to run a uniform system of schools throughout the County, and there are other strategies that can be used besides creating districts, which create problems and, even though the County has not been challenged legally, they feel that, if they can get rid of these, it will eliminate the temptation to challenge the legal basis of the impact fees.
Commr. Hill noted that Mr. James Drake is a member of the Impact Fee Evaluation and Review Committee and a part of the school system, and he is a representative for the impact fee.
Mr. Scott Strong, Lake County School Board member, stated that there are approximately 300 portables, which need to comply with the unified building code, and most of them do not comply. He stated that, when they do the impact fee study on a particular school, he is concerned that, as they go through the process and review and approve a particular development, they are going to take the available total capacity of the entire district when they make the determination of whether or not they have capacity in the schools. He explained that, in South Lake County, they had significant growth and overcrowding, and they have capacity in the schools in the western and northern part of their district.
Mr. Young reminded the Board that the fees are charged based on averages, and the school impact fee is not charged on the basis of the number of students who are actually enrolling in the schools when that house is first built and occupied, but are based on the fact that, over the life of that house, it could house children who could go to public schools, or be home schooled, or go to private schools, or who may even drop out of schools. Therefore, they use the average number of students per household who attend the public schools. He explained that the St. Johns case law says that you may exempt adult housing, if it is enforceable that school age children cannot be coming from that house.
Commr. Cadwell stated that last year the School Board Association basically agreed to trade off impact fees for non-recurring construction money, but Mr. Young noted that there was no legislation passed on this issue.
Mr. Young continued his discussion of the recommendations, as follows:
Law Enforcement Impact Fees
1. Impact fees are feasible for vehicles and buildings.
Mr. Young explained that it is possible to have a corrections impact fee, but that was not on the table today. He extended his appreciation to the Sheriff for his cooperation and for the staff that he made available to them during their research work. He stated that it is apparent to them that, if the Board wishes to impose a law enforcement fee, there is a need for it, and there is a legal basis for it. It would be used to pay for a portion of vehicles and a portion of building space. He continued to explain the recommendations, as noted.
Mr. Neron, County Manager, suggested that, if the Board wants to authorize the consultant later on to go ahead with the other fees, then they should also look at the corrections side, because the real capital needs, over the next five to ten years, will be in the law enforcement area and, from a building standpoint, it will be more on the corrections side than the law enforcement side. If they are going to go through the process, then they should at least have the information available for the Board to make that determination at a later time.
Mr. Young continued his discussion of the recommendations for libraries and parks, as follows:
Library Impact Fees
Mr. Young explained that, over the last ten years, development has paid no impact fee for libraries or parks, because the County was not achieving the high standard that was recommended but, if the Board had adopted an interim standard and asked new development to share at that level, they would not have fallen so far behind in both libraries and parks and recreation. They are recommending a specific process of how that standard should be set, and this needs to be driven by the community advising the commissioners and they, on behalf of their constituents, will say what the interim standard will be. Mr. Young stated that they are suggesting that they look at two benchmarks before they make their decision. They suggested looking at the professional standards, such as those of the American Library Association and the Florida Librarians but, in addition to those standards, they need to look at what they have today per capita and, with those two points of comparison, they can pick anywhere in between the two. In terms of library and parks, the first task for the Board is to go through this process of looking at the numbers; getting the community involved in the decision; and then giving them guidelines to craft an impact fee based on that number.
Mr. Neron stated that, as part of this process, particularly in the areas of libraries and parks and some of these other services, it would be helpful to have a five year master plan to tie to the standards, as agreed to by everyone, and then more rational decisions can be made about the current deficiency, to be funded out of local option sales tax, or other general fund revenues, and part of the new growth that might be appropriate for the impact fees.
Mr. Young agreed that the best basis for impact fees is a multi year, preferably a five year capital plan like the capital improvement element of the Comprehensive Plan, because the Board has an active capital improvement program in process that they can build on, as he explained.
Mr. Neron explained that the Board had a vision for some projects for the first five years, and staff is trying to lay those out from a funding standpoint, but he was not sure that they have a good vision in the area of libraries and parks, even though they have plans to build facilities, but they may not be tied to standards and community needs. There are further problems in both of these areas in terms of cooperating with the cities so that they are not duplicating their facilities, or perhaps having shared facilities. He noted that staff would like to start working with the Board as soon as possible to do these things, with the Board defining that vision.
Commr. Pool stated that there were missed opportunities in the past ten years when growth hit Lake County, but he believes growth is going to continue and, if the Board has a plan, they can try and ensure that they enhance the libraries and enhance the parks. He did feel that they should have the people, that are coming into the County today, share in some of the costs of improvements, such as capital improvements.
Mr. Young stated that they are recommending a single district throughout the service area, to be served by the library system, so that the unincorporated area and the joint library operations will be covered by that same library impact fee. The Board will need the cooperation of the cities to charge the impact fee in their particular area. According to an early Seminole County case, if the County Commissioners choose to levy that fee, it is not really something that cities can opt out of but rather it is more of a matter of working out the details of how to collect the money.
Mr. Young continued with the review of the recommendations for park impact fees, and the recommendations for an ordinance, as follows:
Parks Impact Fees
Mr. Young stated that they would not recommend the Board set up an annual update, but rather a two or three year cycle. Mr. Young stated that the attorneys on their team from Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson are prepared to assist in the development of the master ordinance.
Commr. Hanson stated that this has been a very good report. She stated that the recommendation, for the bedroom count not to be a basis for impact fees, and to assess per dwelling, would affect the lower cost homes to a greater extent.
Mr. Young explained that their contract was structured to authorize this work, and the Board would then authorize the next stage of the contract, to direct staff to proceed with the work. He noted that they have not negotiated or discussed going forward, or the cost associated with the corrections impact fee.
Ms. Wickwire stated that the presentation made by Henderson, Young & Company is the first part of the update and Tindale-Oliver & Associates, Inc. will be making a presentation at 1:30 p.m. today on the Lake County Transportation Impact Fee Update Study and Final Report. She explained that some of the last recommendations made by Mr. Young are already being incorporated and staff is working with the County Attorney's Office on a consolidated impact fee ordinance. Ms. Wickwire stated that they have budgeted for the library, law enforcement, and parks and recreation portion of the update, and the School Board has agreed to pay for the school impact fee update, and fire services has budgeted for the fire impact fee update, but they do not have funds for the corrections portion, as discussed.
Mr. Neron recommended that the Board authorize him to work with Ms. Wickwire and negotiate the contract and bring the corrections portion back to the Board. He felt it would be less expensive to do it with the other work rather than to bring the consultants back at a later time. Mr. Neron stated that, if the Board authorizes the next phase of this work, he would like to work closely with Mr. Young on the County's side to get some better numbers from the five year capital improvement program in some of these areas, and they need to be balanced with what they can do with the local option sales tax so that, as they go forward, they can have a well balanced coordinated approach.
Mr. Young stated that, through his observation of the issue of impact fees, he has found that, when impact fees first came along in the 1980s, there was a lot of concern that any impact fee of any amount would drive development away, but this really has not happened and impact fees are sort of self correcting, and they fund exactly what they are supposed to fund. As long as they are talking about reasonable numbers and helping to underwrite the costs but still having them affordable for the community, when the economy does slow down and, until the economy recovers, there will be a slower need for more fire stations, schools, park acres, library books, etc., so you slow down the expenditures at the same time you slow down the receipts.
Commr. Hill stated that, as liaison of the Impact Fee Evaluation and Review Committee, they are looking for some direction. At this time, she introduced Ms. Jean Kaminski, a member of the Committee and representative for the Homebuilders Association. Commr. Hill stated that she wanted to know if it is the Board's desire to include the corrections aspect in the numbers.
Commr. Cadwell felt that the Board needed to move on to Phase 2 and look at the costs, so that they can see the affect they will have on all areas, and Commr. Stivender also wanted to go to the next step so that they can see the figures before she makes her decision.
Ms. Jean Kaminski addressed the Board and stated that it is not just the dollars she is looking at but also the methodology, the credits, and all other aspects involved with the development of the fee. Ms. Kaminski stated that philosophically, she does not agree with impact fees and, because she has worked with them since their inception in the early 1980s, she clearly understands that they are a reality. Ms. Kaminski stated that the impact fees are always going to be unfair, as she explained, and the reality is that, in going to a unit price, it is going to be simpler and more fair, but it is still going to hit those people in the moderate and low incomes. Ms. Kaminski strongly urged the Board to go along with the recommendation on the per unit and noted that she was also going to make the same request on transportation.
Commr. Pool stated that, as the former Mayor of Clermont, they had a law enforcement impact fee, a library fee, a parks and recreation fee, and a fire fee, and it never slowed down development, so it is important that they go forward with the fees, to include corrections.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved for staff to go forward as discussed, and to include corrections and the recommendation of per dwelling unit.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, noted that staff has not been able to get in touch with Mr. Carl Lunderstadt, Chairman of the Industrial Development Council (IDA), so if the Board chooses to move the 1:30 p.m. presentation by Tindale-Oliver & Associates, Inc. up earlier, it would be likely that he could not be here. The consultants will be here at 11:30 a.m.
Commr. Pool stated that all of the Board members received letters from the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) stating their position and, at this point, he would suggest that the Board try and come back at 11:30 a.m., if the consultants can be here.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he is concerned that the Board has volunteers that work on these committees and who have set aside time to be here and, even though legally the Board can reschedule the worksession, he has a great concern about moving the time up when those volunteers are going to be here for the presentation and to make comments.
At 10:20 a.m., Commr. Pool noted that the Board would recess and reconvene at 1:30 a.m. for the scheduled presentation by Tindale-Oliver & Associates, Inc.
PRESENTATION: LAKE County TRANSPORTATION IMPACT FEE UPDATE STUDY BY TINDALE-OLIVER
Mr. Fred Schneider, Engineering Director, Public Works, introduced Mr. Steve Tindale and Mr. Bob Wallace, Tindale-Oliver & Associates, Inc., who would be making the presentation on the Transportation Impact Fee.
Mr. Schneider stated that staff has previously been before the Board to give an update on the transportation impact fee study, and they also met with the League of Cities, the Impact Fee Evaluation and Review Committee, the Technical Advisory Committee, and the Industrial Development Authority for their comments.
At this time, Mr. Steve Tindale addressed the Board and began his review of the outline that had been presented to the Board:
Overview of Presentation
Historical Population Growth (graph)
What Is An Impact Fee? Basic Impact Fee Formula
Transportation Impact Fee Formula
What's Caused the Changes
Lake County's Current Gross Transportation Impact Fee Cost
(Single Family 3-Bedrooms)
Lake County's Projected Gross Transportation Impact Fee Cost
(Single Family 1,500 to 2,500 sf)
Lake County's Current Impact Fee Offset
(Single Family 3-Bedrooms)
Lake County's Updated Impact Fee Offset
(Single Family 1,500 to 2,500 sf)
Transportation Impact Fee Demand Assumptions
Results of Local Trip Characteristics Studies
Transportation Impact Fee Benefit Districts
Transportation Impact Fee Costs
(Design, ROW, Construction, Inspection)
ROW - based on CIP review of projects ($202,726)
Construction - based on historical project costs ($629,705)
ROW - based on historical project costs ($710,798)
Construction - based on historical projects ($2,004,086)
Transportation Impact Fee Costs
Review Offset Calculation Assumptions
Transportation Impact Fee Offset
Current Transportation Impact Fee Single Family Home (3-Bedroom Home)
Potential Transportation Impact Fee - Single Family Home (1,501 SF to 2,500 SF)
Potential Transportation Impact Fee - Single Family Home (1,501 SF to 2,500 SF)
Transportation Impact Fee Category Rate Changes
Impact Fee Evaluation & Review Committee Recommendations
Impact Fee Evaluation & Review Committee Recommendations
Fee Comparisons for Selected Land-Uses (chart)
Comparison of Potential Lake County Fee Schedule to Other County Adopted Fees (chart)
Summary of Projected Costs and Revenues
Summary of Projected Costs and Revenues
Mr. Tindale stated that, at this point, they are asking the Board for direction on where they want to go from here and whether the Board wants to talk about phasing or increasing over time. Mr. Tindale stated that they would suggest that it be an across-the-board action for equal protection issues. He stated that they were here today to get feedback from the Board, and to recommend that the Board continue with the prepayment plan and determine a date of implementation.
In regard to exemptions, Mr. Tindale suggested that the Board make them very narrow, in terms of legal issues and, in regard to the Comprehensive Plan, for instance, if the Board wants to do industrial development exemptions, the Plan needs to contain this documentation. He suggested that the Board even update their economic development section of the Plan. Mr. Tindale explained that there is a wide range of things that they can do, if there is a real interest in any specific area, in terms of deferrals and payment from other sources versus exemptions. He noted that most of this information is documented in their report.
Commr. Hill noted that other members of the Impact Fee Evaluation and Review Committee were present, as follows: Mr. Jim Miller and Mr. Robert Miller. She also noted that IDA members were present and extended her appreciation for their input to the Board, as well as the consultant.
Commr. Hanson referred to the last impact fee study that was done about seven years ago and questioned why that study was so faulty and whether the consultants and staff referred back to that study to plug in changes that may have been made.
Mr. Tindale stated that he did look at the numbers in the last study, and he would like to see the number at 100% with a 65% discount. He explained that somewhere during that time frame, a policy decision was made not to put the state costs in but to put the county costs in and not charge for right-of-way, and he had difficulty tracking the information from that study.
Commr. Hanson stated that, if the study today is valid, then two or three years from now, it should still be valid, if they plug in the new figures on costs. She questioned whether the new number of shopping centers throughout the county cause any impact on the distance traveled.
Mr. Tindale explained that, as the county has more shopping centers, and the market gets more intense, the generation will go up a little bit, the trip lengths will come down, but the vehicle miles of travel for each different land use is really pretty stable, and he feels that the figures reflected in the report is where the county is going to be for some time.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, after Tindale-Oliver & Associates, Inc. made a presentation to the IDA, the Board received a letter from the Chairman of the IDA stating their concerns particularly with the classifications in the industrial category and how they would affect job creation and the type of things that they are trying to do. The IDA suggested that the Board actually conduct a more intense, local study on the nine classifications of industrial, and to do that prior to the final fee schedule being adopted. Commr. Cadwell stated that Mr. Carl Lunderstadt, Chairman of the IDA, was present today, and he may want to address the Board to discuss their concerns. Commr. Cadwell stated that he was not sure if this was something that Tindale-Oliver should do, or if the IDA was concerned with the way that they had looked at the industrial category, and maybe the Board should have someone else look at those classifications before they get to the final adoption process. It was noted, at this time, that Mr. Tindale had not seen the letter from the IDA.
Commr. Stivender stated that she and Ms. Jean Kaminski and Ms. Kathy McDonald, Administrative Services Manager, were all on the original Impact Fee Evaluation and Review Committee in the 1980s, and she would like Ms. Kaminski to explain the history of the process and why they made the decisions that they did at that time and how it has progressed.
Ms. Kaminski addressed the Board and explained that the last work done on the impact fees actually took place in 1994-95, and the new fees started in 1997, and they were phased incrementally through the final period of October 1, 2000. The initial impact fees started in 1985 in transportation and remained until around 1990, and the last round for transportation was done in the new study. In 1994-95, when the studies were being done, they identified all of the proposed roads in Lake County and looked at the costs and what it would cost the County to do them. The state roads were not included so that did not have anything to do with reducing the fees; it had to do with accuracy of determining the fees. In looking at the $590 million long range plan, Ms. Kaminski questioned whether this included all of the five year transportation programs through the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), as well as the County projects, or just the County projects. She did feel that some of the information was a little misleading. She noted that, from the report, the local cost per lane mile including right-of-way ended up being $742,000 and now it is over $800,000.
Mr. Bob Wallace, Tindale-Oliver, addressed the Board and noted that the figure has always been $832,000. Mr. Wallace explained that, if you were to use the current capital improvements program costs and add the right-of-way costs to it, the figure would be $732,000 but they chose to use the historical construction costs, which was $629,000 and add the $202,000 to give you $832,000. At the Impact Fee Evaluation and Review Committee meeting in November, they presented the alternative of $832,000 and another alternative of $732,000 and they were clear to say that was based on the County CIP and right-of-way costs, which is not what they had recommended, but the Committee wanted to see that number as well. He noted that Table 3-5 has remained unchanged for the last six or seven months in the report.
Mr. Tindale noted that, based on the five year plan, as noted in Table 3-5, the County is building 54% (total lane miles) and the state is building 46%. He stated that 65% of the traffic demand is going to go on the state road system, as far as the actual travel.
Mr. Neron explained that, about five or six years ago, the State gave the County the option of the additional five cents, but when you read that plan, the State was also going to match it with five cents, which the state has never done. It is incumbent upon this Board to do a better job of lobbying the state to step up to some of its responsibilities and not have the whole burden fall on just the County.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in regards to county roads and state roads, if the County does not chip in and help with state roads, nobody is going to get a building permit for anything, because concurrency is out there. The County has already stepped forward to do this on a couple of projects and, unless something happens in the legislature, they are going to continue to contribute to these projects on a short term basis for the next 10 or 15 years.
Mr. Schneider addressed the issue of costs that the County has to accrue when the state builds roads that include traffic signal improvements and sidewalks and stated that, in regards to CR 448, which is under contract now, the County is doing over $200,000 of intersection work on SR 19. So even though the County may not be building the actual highway, the County is partnering with them to improve that roadway, in some aspect, for the County citizens.
Mr. Carl Lunderstadt, Chairman of the IDA, addressed the Board and stated that, about three or four weeks ago, the IDA received from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, information that Lake County's annual wage has jumped to $11.62 an hour and, a few years ago, it was under $8 an hour, so he feels that the County certainly made an effort along those lines to help with this increase. He also feels that the County is smart enough to recognize that the kind of growth, industrial or business, is more meaningful from high paying jobs. The IDA instructed him to come back with a letter to the Board saying that they would really like them to look at the fees imposed on businesses that are high paying, with the concept that those companies that come in and build in the County bring more to the County than they take away from the County. Mr. Lunderstadt stated that all of their efforts have been to attract high paying jobs, and there are few things that the County offers as far as incentives, some deferrals of impact fees, some deferrals of the Jobs Growth Investment Trust Funds, and it does not make sense to try to attract a company and then hit them with very significant impact fees. He noted that the general office is going to take a big hit in fees and, if they want to offer high paying jobs to the citizens of Lake County, they need to look at these categories. He explained that a lot of businesses that have come into the County are distribution firms, and it would be a huge benefit to the County to not only raise the average annual wage, but to address other social issues. The IDA is coming to the Board today to say that they really want to help the citizens of the County, and the way to do that is to bring in some companies that are high paying, full time, with full benefits. He stressed that the Board needs to look at all of the industrial segments, because those industrial segments mean jobs to Lake County, and to look at all nine categories.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, if the Board goes with the recommendation of the Impact Fee Evaluation and Review Committee with the 64.4% not including the State, the amount will increase about $150 per 1,000 square feet on office space.
Mr. Lunderstadt stated that, if the Board follows the recommendations presented by Tindale-Oliver, there are ways to give investment credits. He stated that, when the County attracts a company, or an existing company that wants to expand, they need to recognize the true benefit that this company brings to Lake County, and then they can say that they need to be pro-active and simply not be punitive to those companies.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the County is in a good place today in job creation, but he and the IDA believe that they are ready to take that next step, and they do not want to do something that is going to make it harder for those businesses with office type jobs to get into Lake County, but the Board cannot abandon the transportation system. They need to look at those areas of offices, and the types of industry that they have gotten in the last couple of years at the industrial park, to see if there is some way that they can come up with a policy where they can make sure that there is some type of reward for the type of jobs they are creating as they move through the process, so that they can make sure that they are sending the right message to the business community.
Commr. Hanson stated that she has always felt that they needed to have some offset for the positive tax revenues that are generated from those businesses that they particularly want to attract in Lake County, otherwise they send the message of disincentive rather than incentive to get businesses to come to Lake County.
Commr. Cadwell stated that Mr. Neron has a background in economic development, and he would like for him to work with Mr. Lunderstadt and the IDA and try to come up with a policy, or a couple of choices of policies, that the Board can look at as they move through this and understanding the legalities of impact fees.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that the Board needs to understand that the money has to come from somewhere else, and they cannot say that they are going to take industrial and reduce it in half because they need industrial; if they reduce it by half, they have to come up with the other half from another fund.
Commr. Cadwell stated that it would involve an economic plan that could be at the next level, and he feels that this could be done at staff level and with their volunteer advisory board, and they can bring something back to the Board, as they move through this process.
Mr. Neron stated that he attended the last IDA meeting, and he had the opportunity of working with them and addressing this issue. He informed the Board that he is very close to hiring a new Economic Development Director, and he has some ideas on how they may want to change the focus of the County's program to get to a more true job creation. Mr. Neron stated that there is an Economic Element in the Comprehensive Plan, and they need to take that as a starting point and look at updates that they may need to that element, as well as the whole host of incentive packages and things that they can do to encourage job creation.
Commr. Hanson stated that they would have to be careful that they do not look too much at the job creation, but that they look at the ad valorem dollars that are created. She stated that it really takes the light industry and the ad valorem dollars that are generated from that to actually subsidize the taxes of the residential community and, if they do not continue to bring in light industry, the County is going to continue to be an expensive place to live. It is in Lake County's best interest not to just create these jobs, but to also create the ad valorem that is generated by the light industry, because they do not need the services that are demanded by the residential community.
Mr. Lunderstadt clarified that the IDA is not suggesting that the impact fees be zero, but they do believe that they should be reasonable in the concept of what they are trying to accomplish countywide. The overall feeling of the IDA was that they have done the right thing to date, and they have made a lot of progress, and it is time to go to the next level. They need to seriously look at the nine categories and see how businesses affect not only trips per mile, but how they affect Lake County, because this County needs some additional high paying businesses. He stated that Commr. Hanson is more than 100% correct in saying that, when they bring in companies, the residential will be paying less taxes.
Commr. Pool noted that the figure being reflected in the report is 76% residential type communities, and the balance would be commercial, or retail and industrial, so they need to try and increase the other side and not be dependent so much on the ad valorem taxes of the residential communities. He stated that the Board appreciated the comments from the IDA, as well as the Impact Fee Evaluation and Review Committee. He stated that today the Board was not actually going to implement any dollar figure and/or date, but this was information for them, and he wanted to make sure that the Board instructs the County Manager to work with all parties involved.
Mr. Tindale noted that, in terms of the study and changes, the industrial and the office have the smallest changes and increases, and the commercial, retail, and residential have major changes, so this study is making a major adjustment in the relative charges to the industrial and the office compared to the retail and other ones.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, as the Board goes through the process of trying to find a way to encourage those job growths, they need to look at the nine categories with the County Manager.
Commr. Stivender stated that, on the Board's motion this morning, they said they were going by units, not by square footage. The figures before the Board right now are by square footage. For clarification, Commr. Stivender noted that she was referring to residential.
Ms. Wickwire stated that the Impact Fee Evaluation and Review Committee recommended that they adopt the new fee schedule by July 1, 2002, for implementation on October 1, 2002 to align with their fiscal year.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the industrial is a separate component, and it does not even need to be in the impact fee ordinance, as long as there is a process to provide the relief that they are seeking through the County program, so the fee schedule is going to stay the same, but the incentive that they are going to give them will actually reduce those fees.
After some discussion about the recommendations presented to the Board, Commr. Stivender stated that she wanted to see the numbers phased in because she did not think that anybody should be impacted immediately with a giant increase.
Mr. Minkoff stated that staff needs direction to prepare the ordinance, so this will not be a final decision today. Staff will advertise an ordinance and, once the Board hears public comment, they will make their final decision.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, if the majority of this Board wants to go with the 64.4%, then he did not feel any phasing would be necessary. Commr. Hanson and Commr. Pool agreed with him.
Ms. Kaminski addressed the Board and questioned whether they would consider having one average cost per residential dwelling unit, because the square footage creates confusion and opens the door for problems. There are programs where low and very low income individuals can get assistance to help them with the impact fees, and there are waivers built into the ordinance, and there are other funds through the Sadowski and SHIP programs.
Mr. Minkoff explained that, if the Board chose one size house based on the information presented by the consultants, they may run the risk of either benefitting or not benefitting a district, and the ordinance could be challenged.
Ms. Kaminski stated that the per unit is the most accepted and there are only about three areas that are looking at the tiering and this has never been challenged in court.
Mr. Tindale explained that, as the data indicates, based on the household size and income, there is a significant difference, and there is national data that has been published, in terms of income and income relating to size of household that shows a tremendous difference between the travel demand that is associated with it. He explained that the lawyer he works with feels more comfortable with the tiering, and there has never been a court case relating to tiering. They went with square foot rather than bedroom, because it is much easier to deal with in terms of measurement.
Mr. Robert Miller stated that he has been on the Impact Fee Evaluation and Review Committee for about a year and a half and they have had many hours of discussion and this is the first time that he has heard this issue come up. Mr Miller stated that he is upset that there seems to be an effort to get the Board to change the recommendations of the Committee, and he was asking the Board to be careful as they consider what is being suggested.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in the motion to move forward, the Board is going to include direction to the County Manager in regards to industrial and office.
Mr. Neron stated that staff will address industrial and office outside the realm of the ordinance.
Commr. Hill stated that the Impact Fee Evaluation and Review Committee looked at four alternatives in great detail, and they chose a schedule based on county road construction costs only, and it was 100% of the fee based on county only. It was noted that 64.4% is 100% of the County construction cost.
Mr. Jim Miller, a member of the Impact Fee Evaluation and Review Committee, addressed the Board and stated that he has a lot of clients who own commercial real estate and, if a drug store is going to go from $800 per 1,000 square feet to $8,200 he might advise them that they may want to prepay.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board needs to give staff direction today to move forward with the ordinance, and they already have a clear understanding that they want them to look at the industrial and options to give them some relief because of the ordinance, and the date of implementation.
Commr. Hill made a motion to move forward with the ordinance, to include the prepayment option.
Commr. Hanson seconded the motion and clarified that the motion will include the evaluation of office and light industry, and at the 64.4% of total costs.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
OTHER BUSINESS - COUNTY MANAGER
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, informed the Board that the zoning cases will be heard at the Board meeting on January 22, 2002 to meet advertising requirements.
After some discussion about the road vacations, staff was directed to continue to have a scheduled meeting on January 29, 2002 to handle those hearings.
COMMISSIONER STIVENDER - DISTRICT #3
Commr. Stivender extended her appreciation to everyone who helped with Lake County Day noting that it was a very successful event, and she received many compliments about it.
Commr. Stivender stated that the first Annual Employee Art Exhibit opened on January 11, 2002 which turned out very nice, and the entertainment was provided by the employees.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.
ROBERT A. POOL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK