A SPECIAL JOINT MEETING BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners held a special joint meeting with the City of Clermont City Council on Monday, June 24, 2002, at 9:00 a.m., at Jenkins Auditorium, in the City of Clermont. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Robert A. Pool, Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson; and Debbie Stivender. Commr. Jennifer Hill was on vacation and not present at this meeting. Members present from the City of Clermont were: Hal Turville, Mayor; Wayne Saunders, City Manager; Barry Brown, Planning Director; and City Council Members Keith Mullins; Frank Caputo; Elaine Rennick; and Ann Dupee. Others present were: Sanford "Sandy" Minkoff, County Attorney; William "Bill" Neron, County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioner's Office; Jim Stivender, Jr., Senior Director, Pubic Works; Sarah LaMarche, Senior Director, Budget and Administrative Services; Fletcher Smith, Senior Director, Community Services; Wendy Breeden, Library Services Director, Community Services; Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Growth Management; Allen Hewitt, Water Resources Director; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE
Clermont City Councilman Frank Caputo gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Hal Turville, City of Clermont, informed those present that this was the first time that he could remember the Board of County Commissioners holding a joint meeting with the City of Clermont City Council. He stated that the meeting was timely and that the City Council was glad to be meeting with the Board and looked forward to having a better understanding with them at the conclusion of the meeting.
Commr. Bob Pool, Chairman, Board of County Commissioners, informed those present that, by their presence, it indicated they were concerned about the City of Clermont and the County. He stated that there have been some incredible changes in south Lake County during the past ten years, noting that people would have never dreamed of having the types of businesses in south Lake County that are now located there, such as Home Depot, Outback Steak House, Cracker Barrel, etc. He stated that he felt this meeting would help the City work more closely with the Board and county staff, in trying to figure out solutions to the many problems that it will be faced with, as changes come to south Lake County.
DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH RELATED POLICIES - THEIR IMPACT ON THE CITY AND COUNTY DECISION PROCESS
Mayor Hal Turville stated that one of the reasons the Clermont City Council felt this meeting was so important is that there are current development trends, as well as historical development trends that are now complicated by other development issues that are raising some questions that are very difficult to deal with. He stated that he would be reviewing issues that are currently impacting the City of Clermont in a significant way, at which time he discussed the process that one has to go through, in acquiring or renewing a consumptive use permit from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), compared to how the application was handled in the past. He stated that never before was the availability of water to accommodate that consumptive use an issue, however, noted that now it is. He stated that the south Lake County area, Clermont in particular, is currently experiencing the kind of impacts that the SJRWMD predicted in the 2020 program that they put forward, which was a study on how to be prepared for future water demand needs. He stated that it has called to question the modeling that has been used and an awful lot of the data and analysis associated with average rainfall and current growth patterns. He stated that the permit that the City of Clermont anticipates receiving will be predicated on water consumption that they were using in the year 2001. He noted that the opportunities for making water in the City are slight, in fact, almost non-existent. He stated that they can recycle water, or purchase it from a provider, but, to create water to accommodate growth above and beyond their 2001 consumption is quite a challenge. He stated that it is a very big issue, because the assumption is that, if the City has a handle on their consumption and they are doing a good job on conservation, they could accommodate their growth projection at the year 2006 with their 2001 permit, however, noted that there is not much of a margin in that, so it becomes a very big issue for the City. He stated that some other things that play into it are transportation, parks and recreations, schools, etc., however, noted that the one that stands on top of the pile is their ability to serve. He stated that their competitors in the water and sewer business, primarily water, may have margins in their permits and may be able to serve, if, in fact, the City is unable to do so.
Mayor Turville stated that one of the big issues, as it relates to growth management and having a plan for one's community, is that they have an expansion of infrastructure associated with that plan, to accommodate what they expect to be growth and build towards it, assuming that one has a permit to accommodate it. He stated that one of the issues, probably the biggest one that the City faces today, is that their Comprehensive Plan, or strategy of moving forward, may come into conflict with the County's plan, which he elaborated on. He stated that often is the case that there is no real sewer service associated with a water franchise - there is no requirement to serve that sewer; therefore, he feels that, if a private utility is going to serve the site, they should be required to provide all the utilities, the sewer and the water. He stated that, when the City gets to the site, if it is located outside of the City's limits, there will be no sewer collection system in the ground, so, consequently, what they end up with is a situation where there is a huge enclave of water users that have no interest in being in the City. He stated that they are not going to believe that tearing up perfectly good streets to put sewer lines in the ground is going to be beneficial to them. He stated that they will not want to come into the City until their roads fall into disrepair and then they will not want to fix them before they come into the City, so, historically, what the City is a witness to is that, if all that infrastructure is not in place as the City grows, it will be very difficult to get it into place after the fact, which is one of the reasons why they have worked so hard, through the League of Cities, in trying to develop joint planning strategies that will deal with some of the issues in a more positive way.
Mayor Turville stated that there is certainly a demand for development and housing, but, the City is not certain that they have room in their permit to accommodate it. He questioned whether they are writing checks that they cannot cash in 2006 and, if, in fact, they do not stick their necks out, whether they will end up with the City walled in by private utility providers and the people that live in those developments having little or no interest in simply being in the City of Clermont. He stated that, as hard as the City tries to accommodate all the growth related issues, it becomes very difficult to do. He stated that they would like to talk about some of the issues, scenarios, and trends associated with what is going on out there on the ground and have the Board understand exactly what it leaves the City with, choice wise. He stated that, regardless of where the Board is philosophically and regardless of whether the Board can do something or not, as the City comes under the impacts of significant growth, one of the issues that needs to be talked about extensively is not can they, but should they - is this, from a timing perspective, the right thing to do. He stated that he feels everybody understands how big the urban area will be when all is done. He stated that the question is what do they give up to get there, if they go about it in a horse race manner, and how do they really accommodate all of that.
Commr. Pool, Chairman, Board of County Commissioners, informed those present that he was the Mayor of Clermont for 13 years and, as he wore that hat, a lot of his complaints were about the County. He stated that Clermont became somewhat surrounded by projects and were faced with utility providers around the City; therefore, they took some bold steps to do some annexations and provide some of those services, which created an opportunity for the hospital, national training center, etc., that are present to the east of the City today. He stated that they were hemmed in by the City's service boundary with a utility company to the south, by Minneola to the north, and by the green swamp to the west, so, they were faced with what the City of Clermont would and could do. He stated that the concern was that the City would become a small enclave surrounded by the County. He stated that there are numerous projects around south Lake County and the City of Clermont, many of them quality projects, but it impacts a small community. He stated that, as the City has started to grow, they see the impacts with both the library and recreation. He stated that part of the purpose of this meeting is to determine how to best address some of those issues of concern and how best to plan, as they go forward, to resolve some of those issues. He stated that he was aware of the fact that funding and financing is a big issue, as well as transportation, recreation, etc. He stated that there is not an easy fix, or a quick answer - it is how the County and the City can best communicate, coordinate, and plan for the future. He stated that this meeting probably should have taken place 10 or 15 years ago, because they are being faced today with some of the problems and they need to try to find some solutions.
Mayor Turville informed those present that there are approximately 5,000 committed, unbuilt, residential units inside the corporate limits of the City of Clermont. He noted that, in 1998, when he became Mayor of the City, that number was closer to 12 units. He stated that he was not referring to available land allocated to that use, but properties that either have an approved development permit, or they have a developer's agreement guaranteeing density. He stated that they are currently coming on line at the rate of approximately 800 per year. He stated that it is those 5,000 units that consume a good bit of the permitted capacity that the City expects to be issued. He stated that, philosophically, he knows there is an awful lot of concern, at the County level, about land uses and property right issues associated with land issues, which is what brings the City to focus, as it relates to the County's Comprehensive Plan, the trend to change land uses away from what he believes to be Suburban and Rural to Urban Expansion, which makes that land available for urban densities. He stated that he was not sure, by definition, whether some of what the County and the City does, collectively, falls on top of an urban sprawl definition, at which time he reviewed a map, on display, pointing out property that belongs to the County, located within a few hundred yards of the intersection at Hwys. 50 and 27, that he feels is a wonderful opportunity for infill. He stated that it was logical land for the City of Clermont to provide infrastructure to. He stated that one of the most important things in his mind, if the City is going to have sustainable development, is that the Hwy. 50 corridor not end up being a curb cut, to a curb cut, to a curb cut, all the way to the County line. He stated that what happens on the Hwy. 50 corridor is what is going to determine whether there is a reasonable commute from the City of Clermont to almost any job opportunity one is qualified to do a short distance away. He stated that, if the City cannot maintain that, the home building is not going to be sustainable. He stated that Hwy. 50 has got to stay a reasonable commute. He stated that there has been a lot of talk about alternative east/west routes, at which time he noted that he and Commr. Pool have worked diligently trying to come up with some scenarios that are viable, but, they do not have the jurisdiction to go out and build toll roads. He stated that they have the desire, but do not have the jurisdiction. He stated that Hwy. 27 has the same exact situation, pointing out on the map an area which he noted is a state park. He stated that there should not be a sprawling commercial development corridor on Hwy. 27, adjacent to that state park. He stated that the City Council has discussed encouraging the County to have a special overlay district for that corridor that would have only the right uses - lower impact type uses.
Commr. Pool stated that he feels the City has to plan for 25 years out, at which time he pointed out on the map the current boundary of the City of Clermont and where he feels said boundary will be in 25 to 30 years. He stated that he could assure those present that the City of Clermont is not going to sit still, it is going to expand and grow and the City needs to be prepared and planning for said growth. He stated that today is an opportunity for the County and the City to best plan the corridor enhancements for transportation, recreation, education, and stormwater.
Mayor Turville stated that he feels there is a real possibility that in 25 years the City of Clermont's boundary will be at the Orange County line, however, noted that it creates a planning predicament for the City, because it creates urban sprawl, which he elaborated on.
Commr. Cadwell questioned whether Mr. Turville was stating that, with regard to the issue of providing utilities, for everyone to be on fair ground, he feels the County, as a policy, should require whoever provides that utility to have water and sewer, even if it is not the City of Clermont.
Mayor Turville stated that that was correct. He stated that it was a state issue, but one that the City can deal with, by application. He stated that, to his knowledge, the State does not currently require that the water provider provide sewer, however, noted that, if one is talking about urban density and a growth area that will overtake that, the consequences to not providing sewer initially are enormous, in fact, noted that it might preclude there ever being sewer at the site, to grant a permit without it.
Water and sewer issues were discussed further, at which time Commr. Hanson stated that the County knows what the problem is, they just need to get a handle on it. She stated that a Suburban classification, which was mentioned earlier, is not a good planning tool, any way one looks at it. She stated that she did not feel it could be eliminated, because it would involve a "taking" issue, however, she does not support changing it to Urban Expansion either. She stated that she had talked to county staff and Ms. Rennick about the possibility of giving an incentive for developing said properties now, perhaps at one unit per acre, which she noted is still somewhat of a transition planning tool, and to cluster at a very high density, with perhaps 70% open space. She stated that this will create clustering and the ability to provide water and sewer and be able to monitor it. She stated that that is the real problem that the County faces - all the wells and septic tanks. She stated that the Board talks about the cities and their need to get a handle on consumption, when the Board has no handle on the wells in the County and no way of getting a handle on them, as long as there is no clustering. She stated that it does not mean that there needs to be all clustering in the County, but she feels that the Board needs to give an incentive that says it is the preferable way to go, for good planning. She stated that county staff is working on it, to bring it back before the Board. She stated that that is looking at it from a built out perspective, by clustering smaller lots, with lots of open space, which creates green belts within what will eventually be the City.
Ms. Elaine Rennick, Clermont City Council, discussed what she feels is a need to hold the line on densities, noting that she feels the County is in a crisis situation at the present time and they just keep going down the same road. She stated that she does not feel it involves the taking away what the developers are currently allowed to do, under the Comprehensive Plan, the way that it is currently written. She stated that she feels all the problems that have been discussed comes back to the issue of density.
Mr. Frank Caputo, Clermont City Council, discussed the need to four-lane Hartwood Marsh Road, due to development that is being proposed for said area. He stated that, if Hartwood Marsh Road were to be four-laned, making the commute from Hwy. 27 to the 429 expressway eleven minutes, the County would be going in the right direction. He stated that, if the County continues to allow development at two and one-half to four units per acre, creating additional traffic on Hartwood Marsh Road, without the road being approved first, it is going to create more grid lock. He stated that the road needs to be four-laned and then let development occur as it will.
Commr. Pool stated that one of the problems the County is faced with is that people want to live and build a home in Lake County, but work in Orange County. He stated that the key is to create job opportunities in south Lake County, to keep them in the County.
Ms. Ann Dupee, Clermont City Council, informed those present that a regional water initiative is scheduled to be held July 12, 2002, prior to the League of Cities' Luncheon, and she hoped that all the elected officials from Lake, Marion, Sumter and Orange counties would be attending it. She stated that she was pleased to hear that the County Managers from each county have been discussing the water issue, in trying to find a long-range solution. She stated that the City's sewer and water lines along SR 50 go to and include the Magnolia Point subdivision, which is one mile from the Orange County line, at which time she noted that it is in their contract that, if and when they become contiguous, they would automatically become residents of the City of Clermont, which she noted is what happened with Kings Ridge. She stated that, if that is a determination of where city boundaries are going to be, what concerns her is whether the City is going to hit a situation where the developments in between, like some that are out there now, are ever going to want to come into the City limits. She stated that she feels everyone involved needs to sit down and plan the area. She stated that she is concerned about seeing one acre contiguous to the City limits, when there is a high school, a middle school, an elementary school, a junior college, and a university within bicycle/walking/running range of attending, and questioned whether that is where there should be one unit per acre.
Commr. Hanson stated that the alternative to that, today, in the Suburban land use, if they meet timeliness, is three units to the acre, or, if they do not meet it, one unit to five acres. She stated that there is not a transition there - it is either Urban or Rural. She stated that the County needs a transition density, which is usually one unit to the acre.
Commr. Pool stated that he feels there is a misunderstanding of what equates high density, reasonable density, and low density. He stated that he feels two units per acre and/or less equal decent densities. He stated that the quality of life the residents of the City now enjoy should be two units per acre and/or less - not exceeding that. He stated that he does not want to see 14.5 units per acre, or 20 units per acre, that some areas have. He stated that the densities set today will dictate what will happen in the future. He stated that, by annexation and setting densities today, everyone can ensure that the community develops in a nice way.
Mayor Turville responded to the point made by Commr. Hanson, with regard to the issue of clustering, noting that it is a good concept in a rural environment. He stated that, not only is it good for the impacts that need to be realized, but it is more efficient for the developer, if there is a market for an urban housing product in a rural environment, with a lot of dedicated green space. He stated, however, that he feels its real value is in maintaining a rural perspective. He stated that he is not sure one unit per five acres is urban sprawl, noting that, by anyone's definition, it is one unit per acre. He questioned how much one can subsidize low density development. He stated that, with regard to what has recently been discussed, in fairness to the County, the Expressway Authority has indicated they would be willing to build something that is not limited access, as long as the County does not four-lane Hartwood Marsh Road, which he feels is an interesting concept. He stated that the Expressway Authority does not have to perform by the State's rules, as it relates to putting in a road. He stated that all they have to do is a cost analysis and justify doing it and then they have the authority to proceed. He stated that he and Commr. Pool discussed with the Expressway Authority having the Hartwood Marsh corridor be an extension of the 408 expressway, because they thought that was the answer, however, noted that the first models that were produced did not show it that way. He discussed the time frame involved with the Hwy. 50 project, noting that the City is looking at a five to seven year window for the work to be done. He stated that there is a chance that it might be completed sooner and, when it is done, hopefully, it will not be at capacity. He stated that part of the improvements is to turn it into six lanes. He stated that a solution to the problem of eliminating one stop light after another and one curb cut after another, all the way down Hwy. 50, is to have an alternate route. He stated that Commr. Pool and a lot of other elected officials have worked hard to try to make that happen. He stated that the Expressway Authority has talked about creating a semi-limited access across Hartwood Marsh Road, however, noted that it is predicated on the County not diluting their revenue, by four-laning Hartwood Marsh Road.
TRANSPORTATION IMPACT FEE PROJECTS - POLICIES, PRIORITIES AND IMPLEMENTATION
Mr. Wayne Saunders, City Manager, City of Clermont, stated that he appreciated all the help the City has received from the County, however, noted that they sometimes get hung up with the County approving a list of road projects only once a year, because things are moving a lot quicker than just once a year. He stated that priorities and needs change and the City feels they should be allowed to build roads that they can build, but the system does not always allow them to do so, because of said list. He stated that the City feels the County should have some flexibility in the Impact Fee Transportation List, noting that, if the City has a road that needs to be built and can be built, for the County to allow them to move ahead and get the road built, using money that they have to do so, and to look at the dollars coming in later on for some of the roads that may be ahead of said road on the priority list and deal with it as they can.
Commr. Stivender stated that she agreed with Mr. Saunders in that, if the City is ready to construct a road and there is funding to do so, they should be allowed to do it, however, noted that District 2 consists of more than just the City of Clermont and the County has to take into consideration the rest of the district. She stated that they might need to hold monthly meetings.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that everything is a function of funding, noting that there are going to be a certain level of dollars that are going to be available for an "x" amount of time and the County has got to maneuver its projects within that funding level. He stated that he asked Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Senior Director, Public Works, and Mr. Fred Schneider, Engineering Director, Public Works, to take the road impact fees for District 5 and lay out the current projects and what the County understands to be anticipated projects and have a funding shortfall. He stated that there always seems to be more needs than funding available and it is going to be policy decisions on how the County allocates those dollars among the limited shortfalls within those parameters.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he did not see any reason why the Impact Fee Benefit District Committees could not have scheduled quarterly meetings. He stated that, if there is no reason for a particular benefit district to have a meeting, they can cancel it.
Mr. Barry Brown, Planning Director, City of Clermont, reviewed the map on display, pointing out the various roads that were being discussed, for the benefit of those present, as requested by Commr. Pool.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Senior Director, Public Works Department, distributed a handout containing Programmed and Planned Projects for Road Impact Fee Program Benefit District 5, which he reviewed with those present, indicating the status of each project. He stated that there is approximately $6.2 million encumbered, out of $13.5 million, leaving a balance of $7.3 million, however, noted that there are $19 million worth of projects currently proposed, leaving a funding shortfall of approximately $12.6 million. He stated that there are a lot of projects going on in this area, there is just not enough revenue to pay for them all.
A brief discussion occurred regarding Hancock Road, Hook Street, and Steve's Road and the importance of said roads being improved.
Mr. Saunders, City Manager, stated that the County may not have a $12 million deficit, if all the projects listed on the handout are done, because a lot of them may be covered by impact fee credits. He stated that he feels the picture may not be as gloomy as it looks and the City may have more flexibility than what they think they do, in moving some projects ahead and getting them built. He concurred with Commr. Cadwell in that he feels they should hold quarterly meetings with the Board, to re-evaluate where they are, and to have the ability to come to the Board with a project that might be either outside the scope of what has been approved, or perhaps a rearrangement being done, to get some of the roads built.
Mayor Turville stated that all the City of Clermont was asking for this date was the acceptance of the notion that the City needs to meet with the Board more frequently than once a year. He stated that they need to focus on what the priority is at the time, without wasting a lot of money.
Commr. Hanson informed those present, for clarification, that it was mentioned that the Board needs to hold the line on density, which creates the assumption that the County has not been holding the line on it, but they have, at which time she noted that the recent Ladd project that came before the Board could have had four units to the acre in Urban Expansion, but the Board only allowed 1.9 units per acre. She noted that there were a couple of land use amendments, but they were the exception.
Discussion occurred regarding the need for Hook Street to be four-laned, because it will be the major east/west alternative to Hwy. 50, in the scheme of things. It was noted that the need for that road will never be diminished, or the capacity associated with it, and the fact that there has never been any discussion about making Steve's Road four-laned, in place of Hook Street. Commr. Pool stated that the key is to find the path of least resistance, at this point in time, to get from point A to point B. He stated that he understood the right-of-way that has been given up will allow an opportunity for four-laning in the future. He stated that it does not have to be built today, but the landowners are willing to donate right-of-way for a four-lane, which is important, as the County looks forward. At this time, he thanked the Public Works Department staff, in particular Mr. Stivender and Mr. Schneider, noting that there is a lot on their plates, countywide, and they have been focusing a lot of their attention on south Lake County. He stated that he appreciated all their efforts, noting that they do a great job for the County and the Board should be very proud of them and what they do.
Mr. Neron, County Manager, stated that, if the City of Clermont has a request for a change in priority, it should be communicated to Mr. Stivender, through staff. He stated that staff can get the group together whenever there is a need to meet, or a request to be considered.
PARKS AND RECREATION - NEED FOR MORE COUNTY INVOLVEMENT
Mayor Hal Turville stated that, up until a few years ago, the City of Clermont charged non-city residents to participate in programs over and above program costs, noting that they were charging people up to $25.00 per person, which was all predicated on the fact that 75% to 80% of the users of those programs were county residents and not living in the City.
Mr. Saunders, City Manager, noted that the amount has gone down each year to a current figure of $20.00 per person, but the costs and the number of children participating are going up.
Mayor Turville stated that the reason this issue was put on the Agenda was because the participation of children in the County is not only important to the program and to the children, but it also costs the County dollars. He stated that it is very hard to do, without the County's participation, if not impossible.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he feels the County is going to have to step up the programs for recreation, the way they did for the libraries.
COOPER MEMORIAL LIBRARY - COUNTY SYSTEM
Mayor Turville stated that currently under consideration is the notion that Cooper Memorial Library will become a county library in the next budget year, which is a fairly critical situation to the City of Clermont.
Mr. Saunders, City Manager, stated that Cooper Memorial Library is a private library that is open to the public. He stated that the City of Clermont does not own the library, they just provide a building for them. He stated that the library is and always has been a private library, with their own Board of Directors, who were volunteers that ran the library and raised money for it through donations. He stated that the County has provided the library with money, and the City has provided them with money, as well. He stated that the library has been a part of the County's library system and the majority of the users are non-city residents. He stated that the City has been providing between 55% to 60% of the budget for the library, with the County providing approximately 35% to 40%. He stated that the library's Board of Directors has gotten pretty weary with trying to keep up with the library, on a volunteer basis; therefore, they met with the County, regarding the idea of giving the library to the County and having it actually become a county library. He stated that the matter was brought before the Clermont City Council, who felt it was a good idea.
Mr. Neron, County Manager, informed those present that there was almost an additional $1 million in Library Services in the enhanced budget, over the current budget; therefore, with the budget shortfall the County is facing in the General Fund, no enhancements are being recommended in his budget this year to the Board. He stated that, even with that recommendation, the County is still looking at almost a $9 million shortfall. He stated that four to five years ago the County was only contributing about $300,000 per year to Library Services, however, noted that, in the current fiscal year, the County is spending over $4 million per year in Library Services. He stated that, from a policy standpoint, he did not have a solution for getting the County through this fiscal year on any enhancements, however, noted that staff has kicked around some ideas at the staff level, where they are going to need to work with all the cities in the County and probably look at some type of separate library funding, either through some special district, or a countywide levy for library services in the future. He stated that, from his viewpoint, the County cannot look at million dollar increases.
Commr. Cadwell questioned whether the City and the County could come to an agreement to where, if they cannot do it this year, they could look at a plan where that will become a reality in the future.
Mr. Saunders, City Manager, stated that he would like to have the Board look at it next year, if they cannot do it this year. He stated that perhaps the City could still provide some contributions this year, or next year, so that the County will not have to take the entire brunt of the budget.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
Mayor Hal Turville stated that he wanted the Board to understand that the City of Clermont had to do a lot of hand wringing over the issue of emergency services and how they were going to work it out, in levels of service, costs, etc. He stated that the emergency services that are being provided within the city limits are light years ahead of where they were and they have to thank the Board for being a participant in it, however, noted that an accident had occurred recently on Hwy. 27 at a point where the west side of the highway is located in the County and the east side of the highway is located in the City of Clermont. He stated that firefighters and emergency first response people were available, but, because the address of where the accident occurred was located in the County, the City never received the call, and the individuals involved in the accident had to wait approximately 15 minutes for emergency services to respond. He stated that nobody should have to wait 15 minutes for an ambulance and a first responder, when there is one nearby that is not even aware that there is a problem. He stated that he feels the time has come when the City and the County need to look at what a service area is and how they can better respond, in situations like the one he alluded to.
Mr. Neron, County Manager, stated that the County is spending approximately $40 million per year for emergency medical and fire protection services countywide. He stated that a lot of the stations were probably located where they are, based on 1970 and 1980 demographics, and have not kept pace with the shifts in population and service areas. He stated that the County, the cities, EMS, and fire protection, as a community, have got to get together and look at the issue on a comprehensive basis, to make sure that they are allocating those very expensive resources and very much needed resources in a much better way than what they are doing today, however, noted that it is not something that can be done within the next three to six months. He stated that he has asked the County's Public Safety Director to start looking at it and try to work with the cities in that regard.
DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH RELATED POLICIES (CONT'D.)
Mr. Wayne Saunders, City Manager, brought back up for discussion the issue of urban expansion, noting that he does not feel it is a density issue, but the timing of when those areas will develop and how to deal with it. He stated that he does not know of another route than some type of joint planning agreement (JPA), to make sure that the areas surrounding the City of Clermont develop in a timely manner that can be dealt with and can be served. He stated that he hopes the County and the City can move ahead with the issue.
Mr. Neron, County Manager, stated that, in sitting down with Mayor Turville, and Mr. Gary Cooney, Attorney, representing the League of Cites, along with Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager, they have come to the conclusion that JPAs are as much a city/city issue as they are a city/county issue. He stated that they are encouraging the cities of Tavares, Mt. Dora, and Eustis to work together, noting that, once they work out their utility areas, which are the backbones of the JPAs, they can meet with the County regarding the matter. He stated that he feels the cities need to get involved and try to work together, before the County gets involved, noting that he feels it will make much better sense in the short run to do so.
Commr. Pool stated that, in reality, the County is doing a much better job today than what it was doing 10 years ago. He stated that they try to ensure that developments are on central water and sewer and that, if one is on septic tanks, where the County now allows up to four units per acre, they are trying to reduce it to 2.5 units per acre. He stated that he hopes to see the Board not increase densities beyond what the City would in the next five to ten years, so that, when they do come on board with an annexation, it is two units per acre and that it has central water and sewer and meets things that the City might do in the next five to ten years. He stated that the key to the matter is that there is a lot of infill in the County left to have that happen. He stated that it is going to happen, within 25 years, so the key is to set the best densities today that the County can live with in the future and maintain a good quality of life. He stated that he feels the Board has taken a stand on central water and sewer and lower densities and they would like to think that it is working hand and hand and in concert with the City. He stated that the City and the County will not always agree; however, he encouraged the council members to come to board meetings and give their input, where they can have a dialogue and maintain it. He stated that he felt this meeting was a starting point, to where they can work prudently for the betterment of south Lake County and all of the City of Clermont.
Commr. Stivender stated that she felt staff should be allowed to work out the issues involving JPAs and then have them bring them to the Board, for discussion.
Mayor Turville discussed some frustrations that the Clermont City Council is faced with, when they approach the Board regarding some of the issues addressed this date. He stated that, hopefully, the City and the County will come to a mutual understanding about a lot of things that involve planning in and around different jurisdictions, however, noted that, as far as showing up before the Board as an avid speaker on a subject, it is a very difficult thing to embrace.
Commr. Pool concurred with Commr. Stivender, in that he feels the Board needs to let staff get together and discuss where the lines need to be drawn, how best issues can be organized, and how best the County can orchestrate the benefits and work together. He stated that it is a cooperative effort, noting that it does not happen haphazardly, it takes a meeting of the minds. Commr. Cadwell stated that the line that is being drawn is not going to be as important as what happens inside that line and that is where the argument starts. He stated that staff can bring the Board something pretty quick, but the issue is not going to be resolved over night.
Commr. Pool stated that he felt this meeting was an important first step in continuing to enhance and improve the Board's relationship and communication between not only the City of Clermont, but all the cities throughout the County, as well as the Lake County School Board. He stated that he felt it was time and that he felt today they had a better rapport and opportunity to go forward with great progress. He stated that he feels they have made great strides and will continue to do so. He applauded each individual for coming, noting that it shows their concern, as well as the Board's concern, to work cooperatively for a regional approach toward a better quality of life.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:00 noon.
________________________________ ROBERT A. POOL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK