APRIL 8, 2003

            The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, April 8, 2003, 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: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Debbie Stivender, Vice Chairman; Robert A. Pool; Jennifer Hill; and Catherine C. Hanson. Others present were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; William “Bill” Neron, County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioner’s Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.


            Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

            AGENDA UPDATE

            The Chairman noted that there was an Addendum No. 1 to the Agenda, with two items, one a Consent Agenda item and the other one under Departmental Business. He stated that he would like to add to the Agenda a presentation by The Trust for Public Lands, which had inadvertently been left off of it, under the County Manager’s Departmental Business, however, noted that it would require action by the Board, so a motion would be needed to place it on the Agenda.

            On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place said item on the Agenda.

            Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, informed the Board that he was pulling Tab 5, a request from Community Services for approval of the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee’s recommendation to deny the request to forgive the deferred payment loan for home purchase assistance to Mr. Mark Sprado, per the guidelines of the Housing Assistance Plan; and Tab 6, a request from Public Works for approval and execution of an Internal Revenue Service donee acknowledgment for right-of-way dedication in the Leesburg area, until a later date; that the policies dealing with Petty Cash and Information Technology were being pulled from the Worksession and only the policies dealing with the Budget and Public Records would be addressed this date; and that the GSG Report of the Fire Assessment Study, which was scheduled to be heard this date, would be rescheduled for a later date.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that, under his Reports, he had one item that would require action and noted that the Medical Examiner’s Advisory Board took action on a request from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a recommendation on whether to retain Dr. Valerie Rao as the Medical Examiner for District V, which he would like to place on the Agenda, as well.

            On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place said items on the Agenda.

            Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that he would be giving them a report on a previous legislative meeting, where regulation regarding the Wekiva area was discussed.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that he felt that was another item the Board needed to have a procedural discussion on, which they could address when Mr. Minkoff was ready to make his report to the Board.


            On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the following requests:

            Budget and Administrative Services - Budget

            Request for approval of the following Budget transfer - County Transportation Trust Fund, Department of Public Works, Road Operations Division, Sign and Signal Section, in the amount of $14,370.00. Transfer $14,370.00 from Reserve for Operations to Road Materials ($4,345.00) and Machinery and Equipment ($10,025.00). Funds are needed to purchase solar traffic flashers for two safety projects and to have two spares, in case additional locations need flashers, or for replacement, in case of an accident. One flasher unit will be installed on Old 441 eastbound, west of Lakeshore Drive, in Mt. Dora. Two flasher units will be installed on C-561 at the curves, north of Cynthia Lane. Funds are not budgeted for these safety projects, but are available in Contingency.


            Budget and Administrative Services - Procurement Services 


            Request for approval and authorization to award Bid No. 03-026, for Restroom and Ramp Alterations, for Montverde Town Hall; encumber funds; and authorize a contract, subject to County Attorney approval.


            Request for approval and authorization to award RFP No. 03-021, for Countywide Parks and Recreation System Master Plan; encumber funds; and authorize a contract, subject to County Attorney approval, to Herbert-Halback, Inc.; and approve budget transfer for $139,441.00.


            Request for approval to declare items, as indicated on surplus lists, to county needs; authorize removal from county records of the traded-in items; authorize disposal of the items on the Disposal List, via the best method; and authorize the Procurement Services Director to sign the vehicle titles for the units that will be auctioned.


            Public Works


            Request for approval to accept the following deeds:


            Statutory Quitclaim Deeds


            Charles T. and Dawn A. Gunger

            Gere Lane



            Sylvia M. and Michael W. Schackow

            Thoroughbred Trail


            Leo Maruk

            Thoroughbred Trail


            Statutory Warranty Deeds


            C. A. Deems, II (as Trustee) and Norman C. Cummins (as Trustee)

            Thomas Avenue


            David E. and Marla I. Raber

            Turkey Lake Road


            Temporary Non-Exclusive Easement Deed


            Clonts Groves, Inc.

            N. Bradshaw Road


            Warranty Deed


            Kristen L. Bartch Family Ltd. Partnership and Timothy H. Sennett

            Thomas Avenue


            ADDENDUM NO. 1




            Community Services


            Request from Community Services for approval and signature on Proclamation No. 2003-52, recognizing the week of April 6 through 13, 2003, as National Library Week.




            Commr. Cadwell introduced Mr. Shawn Parks, stating that he was serving his internship with Leadership Lake County and that he was a member of the Environmental Lands Management Acquisition Study Committee. He introduced various city officials that were present in the audience, as well.  


            Ms. Sarah LaMarche, Senior Director, Budget and Administrative Services, addressed the Board and introduced Mr. Brad Lowe, with Aon Consulting Group, the employee benefits consulting firm that was retained by the County to provide them with an overview of the current benefits program. She stated that he has been working with county staff for approximately six months and they are very pleased with his work. She then distributed the monthly Insurance Report update to the Board, for their perusal.

            Mr. Lowe addressed the Board stating that he would be talking a little about the program, as it exists today, and some of the component parts of the program; give them a sense of how the costs of benefits are derived; look into both fixed and variable costs, as well as some alternatives, with respect to self insurance vs. fully insured; and look at alternatives that may be

available to the County, from a network perspective, listed in a handout that he had provided to them. He reviewed the Insurance Report that was distributed by Ms. LaMarche, at which time he discussed the Health Insurance Fund Paid Medical, which indicates that medical payments made during February were $79,709 above the monthly budget and $35,407 above the claims average for the fiscal year; the Health Insurance Fund Paid Pharmacy, which indicates that pharmacy payments made during January were $16,560 below the monthly budget and $1,697 below the average pharmacy claims for the year; the Health Insurance Claims Lag Report, which shows the combined expenses, by month, of both medical and pharmacy; the Health Insurance Fund, which compares the budget to actual expenses to date, by line item, in the County’s Health Insurance Fund; and the Property, Liability and Workers Compensation Fund, which shows that the total property and liability claims paid year-to-date were $44,918, the total workers compensation claims paid year-to-date were $90,135, and the claims administration and legal expenses paid year-to-date were $101,408.

            Mr. Lowe stated that the program, as it exists today, is doing a little worse than expected, however, noted that it is being driven by a number of factors, but most significantly by a few high costs claims. He stated that they did a cost projection for the balance of the current year, as well as forecasting into next fiscal year, at which time they looked at the program as it is running today, out of a $350,000 deficit, based on projections for the current year. He stated that, in moving the same benefits program into next fiscal year, they are looking at a change relative to the current funding levels of 26%, in other words, the program, relative to the funding levels that the County has set for this year, based on trends, utilization, and predicting today’s experience forward into the future, the County will very likely be incurring an additional 26% cost increase over current funding levels, assuming there are no changes. He stated that they are looking at a variety of program design issues, however, noted that they are also looking for approval to proceed with evaluating the market place for what options may be available to the County, as alternatives to the current program. He then referred to the second page of the handout (Aon Consulting Insurance Workshop Agenda), noting that he put together a matrix of options available to the County, in terms of networks, either on a carrier basis, or on a rental PPO network basis - who has the provider’s choice within Lake County and surrounding counties. He stated that they found, from an access standpoint, as well as a discount standpoint, a number of options available to the County, which he elaborated on. He stated that this report gives the Board a sense of where the County is, what options may be out there in the market

place, and, in the scheme of things, on a spectrum of choices, they feel that, if they are given the task of evaluating the market place, it is very likely that they will see more significant discounts from carrier based networks than what one sees in the discount networks. He stated that they are looking to provide the County and its employees with the best and most cost effective benefits program, both from a pricing standpoint, as well as from an access standpoint.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that, during the 11 years since he has been on the Board, the County has changed directions several times, with regard to health care, therefore, asked that Mr. Lowe utilize those people that have a history with the County, such as Ms. LaMarche, who know where the pitfalls are. He stated that the County has gone in directions before that seemed better for the County financially, only to find that it did not meet the needs of the employees.

            Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, informed the Board that the request before them this date was for authorization for staff to design a Request for Proposal (RFP), to be brought back to them for final approval, that would include several of the options, not just the current plan that is available.

            On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board directed staff and the consultants to evaluate the market place for different programs and come back with an RFP and recommendation, keeping the comments Commr. Cadwell made regarding the insurance program in mind.


            Ms. Sarah LaMarche, Senior Director, Budget and Administrative Services, addressed the Board stating that two of the policies originally slated to be discussed, being Petty Cash and Information Technology, were being pulled, at the suggestion of the County Attorney. She stated that they will actually be procedures now, rather than policies.


            Ms. LaMarche stated that the Public Records Policy basically follows the Florida Statutes, noting that there is not too much in it that one cannot find in the Statutes.

            Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, interjected that the policy is not a new policy, but an update to the current policy.


            Ms. LaMarche then reviewed the Budget Policies, as follows:

            A.        Economic Stabilization Reserve


                        a.         General Fund Reserve - goal of between 10% and 17% of expenditures.



            B.        Reserve for Operations


                        a.         General Fund - maximum of 1% of the budget.


                        b.         3/5 majority of the BCC required to appropriate and spend from this reserve.


            C.        Reserve for Contingency


                        a.         Net difference between Cash Carried Forward audited balance in excess of estimated balance.


                        b.         Not used for recurring expenditures unless future funding identified.


                        c.         Requires 4/5 super-majority vote of the BCC.


            D.        Capital Improvement Program


                        a.         Requires five-year CIP for fixed assets greater than $25,000, updated annually.


                        b.         Requires proposed funding source.


                        c.         Requires projected operating budget, including personnel.


            E.        Budgetary Position Control


                        a.         BCC must approve all new positions in excess of the adopted budget.


                        b.         County Manager may authorize position realignment.


            F.        Budget Amendment Process


                        a.         Follows Florida Statutes.


                                                   I.       Adopt a line item budget.

                                                 ii.        Changing total of a Fund requires Reso for Unanticipated Revenues or Public Hearing, as appropriate.

                                                iii.       Budget Transfers from reserves require BCC approval.


                        b.         Funds checking at the Major Object level.


                        c.         County Manager may, through written memo, require funds checking at a specific line item level.


                        d.         Requires budget transfer for Capital in excess of the adopted budget, or for a capital substitution.


                        e.         County Manager approves Budget Transfer up to $25,000.


            G.        Unanticipated Revenue Shortfall


                        a.         Current year revenues support current year expenses.


                        b.         If shortfall occurs, focus on reduction of expenditures.


            H.        Debt Management


                        a.         Bonds will be paid back within a period of 90% of the useful life of the project.


                        b.         Use Revenue or Special Assessment bonds, rather than General Obligation, when possible.


                        c.         No long-term debt to finance current year operations.



                        d.         Provides for full disclosure and audit results (CAFR) to nationally recognized Municipal Securities Information Repositories.


            I.         Budget Adoption and Reporting


                        a.         Follows Florida Statutes.


                        b.         Internal Service Funds will be self-supporting.


                        c.         At least a semi-annual report comparing budget to actual revenues and expenditures for all major operating funds.


            J.         Grants


                        a.         Must be approved by BCC prior to submission and also when received.


                        b.          Factors to consider: Matching funds; local funds required in future years.


            Ms. LaMarche stated that it will require a 3/5 majority vote to appropriate and spend monies from the Reserve for Operations. She noted that staff gives the Board an update every month on what they are spending out of said Reserve.

            Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, pointed out the fact that, from a legal perspective, the policy could be changed by a majority of the Board any time a quorum is present.

            Ms. LaMarche stated that staff was trying to distinguish the Reserve for Operations Policy from the Reserve for Contingency Policy, which is a little more restrictive in how the money can be spent, by requiring a super majority vote of those commissioners present, at the time of the vote.

            Mr. Minkoff interjected that he had recommended to Ms. LaMarche that the vote be changed to a simple majority vote, rather than a 3/5 majority or 4/5 super-majority vote.

            On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Budget and Public Records Policies, as presented, changing the vote to a simple majority, rather than a 3/5 majority or 4/5 super-majority, with regard to the voting requirements for the Reserve for Operations and Reserve for Contingency Policies.


            Mr. John Ingles, a resident of Mt. Dora, discussed a problem that he has had with the County’s Code Enforcement Office, the County Manager’s Office, and the Growth Management Department, with regard to obtaining a license to operate a retail business in an LM zoning district in Mt. Dora, which he elaborated on. He was informed that the County had denied his request, per Ordinance Nos. 1994-17, 1995-8, or 1995-34, all pertaining to the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map. He stated that he would like to look at said Ordinances and address the Board again at a later date.


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


            Mr. Steve Vaughn, a local realtor, addressed the Board regarding a concern he has about the new springshed ordinance. He stated that he was representing over 30 property owners who own property in the Wekiva springshed protection area that are being hurt by the new ordinance, in that they are being told by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) that they cannot sell their properties, because they are located within the springshed area. He stated that the Board needs to protect not only the home rule that was voted in years ago, but the land that has been in some of the families involved for years. He stated that he feels the springshed is very unfair to the City’s of Eustis and Mt. Dora and the people who live in the area and that he feels the Board needs to send a strong message to DCA regarding it. He stated that he hoped the Board would look at the issue closely, because people are being hurt by it.




            Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager/Growth Management Director, addressed the Board stating that last Fall the Board set about the task of identifying environmental lands and established an Environmental Lands Management and Acquisition Study Committee (ELMASC) to look at a number of issues, including whether the County should get involved with it or not. He stated that the Committee met repeatedly over the past six months and put together a presentation, which they would be giving the Board this date.

            Ms. Terry Godts, Chairman, ELMASC, addressed the Board stating that the Committee, consisting of 27 members, representing a wide range of community interests, were given six tasks (defined in Resolution No. 2002-73, which created the ELMASC) and six months to investigate land acquisition and prepare their recommendation to the Board, at which time she thanked Mr. Max Forgey, Planner, Growth Management Department, for his help with drafting the Committee’s Final Report, which she noted came out on March 5, 2003, and the Board for taking the first step toward a Land Acquisition Program in Lake County.

            Ms. Nadine Foley, a member of ELMASC, addressed the Board and reviewed the six tasks that the Committee was charged with, as follows, elaborating on each:

            1.         To evaluate the feasibility of acquiring certain lands within the County.



            2.         To explore the different types of purchase (fee, less than fee) or acquisition methods.


            3.         To identify the types of land that might be appropriate for inclusion in a program of this type.


            4.         A methodology that might be used for prioritizing how such land might be identified.


            5.         To identify potential sources of revenue.


            6.         An estimate of costs for implementing those recommendations.


            In the Committee’s Final Report, they urged the Board to partner with a national land trust to conduct a referendum, preferably on the ballot with the presidential preference primary in March, 2004, and indicated that they feel the County’s environmental land acquisition efforts should emphasize uplands and should include greenways and trails and that the County should maintain a fluid acquisition list, but should not prioritize its acquisitions. They recommended that the evaluation of prospective sites be entrusted to a Public Land Acquisition Advisory Council, aided by professional staff from Lake County, and suggested that the County participate in the creation of a local land trust, to aid in the acquisition and administration of public lands. The Committee made the following recommendations:

            1.         Lake County should create its own program of land acquisition and management.


            2.         Lake County should authorize a referendum to establish a GO bond for the acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands.


            3.         The highest values of Lake County’s land acquisition program should be:


                                  Protection of natural communities

                                  Protection of watershed resources

                                  Preservation of open space and rural character

                                  Provision of resource-based recreational opportunities


                        Other considerations should include:


                                  Barriers to urban sprawl

                                  Preservation of agricultural lands

                                  Archaeological and historical sites


            4.         The acquisition list - the Public Land Acquisition Advisory Committee should identify properties for potential acquisition, but should not rank them.


            5.         Create partnerships with other agencies.


            6.         Augment GO bond revenues with other revenue sources.


            7.         Use conservation easements with caution.


            8.         The Board of County Commissioners should provide the staff for land acquisition and management programs.


            9.         Pursue funding through the Florida Communities Trust Program.


          10.          Create a local land trust. 


            Mr. Rich Dunkel, a member of ELMASC, addressed the Board stating that the Committee was suggesting the following actions, for implementing their recommendations:

                      Adopt a resolution creating a permanent Public Land Acquisition Advisory Council.


                      Meet with the Trust for Public Land and the Nature Conservancy and ask one of them to lead the referendum drive. Assign staff liaison to advise the selected agency.


                      Begin working with the Public Land Acquisition Advisory Council to develop rules for the acquisition of public lands.


                      Provide staff support to the agency (TPL or Nature Conservancy) to create a local land trust.


            Mr. Dunkel stated that their final report was approved by a unanimous vote on March 5, 2003, and they wanted to thank the Board for assigning them the task, noting that they felt it was an honor and a privilege to be on the Committee. He thanked Mr. Max Forgey, Growth Management Department, and Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager/Growth Management Director, for their help during the six months that the Committee met.

            Commr. Cadwell recognized those members of the Committee that were present in the audience and thanked them for all their hard work.

            Ms. Pat Werner, a member of ELMASC, as well as a member of the Howey-in-the-Hills City Council, addressed the Board and presented Mr. Max Forgey with an accommodation, recognizing his tremendous help as a staff advisor and planner for the County, during which time he employed his networking skills to expose the Committee to noteworthy speakers and background material on environmental land acquisition programs and who utilized his skills as an experienced planner to guide the Committee toward their goals and objectives.

            Commr. Hanson stated that she was very pleased with the outcome of the Committee and thanked Ms. Godts for her outstanding job as Chairman of the Committee. She stated that this issue ties in with “smart growth”, which is sustainable, liveable communities. She stated that it fits in with the County’s Comprehensive Plan, as well, and she feels the timing is perfect, because of the Master Plan that is being done with parks and greenprinting. She stated that, if the citizens move forward with it, it is one of those things that will change Lake County and the direction that it may be going forever.

            Commr. Hill discussed a concern she had about the issue of the referendum and the fact that she feels there will be other groups that will want to come forward with referendums, as well.


            On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to advertise the Ordinance creating a permanent Public Land Acquisition Advisory Council, consisting of nine (9) members; and directed staff to move forward with the three remaining recommendations made by the ELMASC, creating written policy to be brought back to the Board for approval.

            OTHER BUSINESS




            On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board reappointed Dr. Herman Flink as Lake-Sumter Medical Society’s Representative on the Comprehensive Health Care Committee, and appointed Ms. Cynthia Nash as its Alternate Representative.

            ADDENDUM NO. 1



            Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager/Growth Management Director, addressed the Board stating that he received a request from the City of Leesburg to schedule a meeting with the Board to discuss Joint Planning Agreements and other issues. He stated that county staff and staff from the City of Clermont have been working together and are ready to have another joint meeting with the Board sometime in May. He stated that, although the City of Mt. Dora has been wrapped up with what is going on in the Wekiva, staff is continuing to work with them on setting up a meeting to discuss said issues, as well. He suggested that the meeting with the City of Clermont be scheduled for May 9, 2003, and the meeting with the City of Leesburg be scheduled for May 2 or May 16, 2003. He noted that he would work with the Commissioners’ calendars, to see if said dates are acceptable.


            SENATE BILL 1956 

            Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that he and Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager/Growth Management Director, recently attended a Senate committee meeting in Tallahassee and, prior to said meeting, met with Senator Anna Cowin and city representatives, including the Mayors from Mt. Dora and Eustis, regarding Senate Bill 1956, an act relating to growth management, which requires local governments to amend their comprehensive plans to include land use strategies, development controls, and best-management

practices to ensure the protection of Florida’s springs, and requiring certain local governments to develop a Wekiva Sector Plan. He stated that a lot of what is being proposed is not new to Lake County, noting that the County’s rules are already very strict, particularly in the Wekiva area, with regard to the regulation of land use.

            Commr. Hanson stated that she feels the County has done an outstanding job in enforcing the rules in the Wekiva area.



             Mr. Douglas Hattaway, AICP, The Trust for Public Land, addressed the Board and distributed a handout, containing a letter to the Board from the Lake Soil & Water Conservation District Board, dated April 1, 2003; and an aerial showing some highway frontage that they are interested in acquiring to enhance PEAR Park, for the Board’s perusal. He commended the Board for their decision to move forward with the Environmental Lands Management Acquisition Study Committee’s recommendations, noting that he felt it was something worth mentioning. He stated that he was present as an advocate of citizens groups and individuals who have asked for The Trust for Public Lands assistance, in requesting the Board to approve and direct staff to move forward with filling out and submitting an application to the Florida Communities Trust Grant Program, requesting state funds for the acquisition of land to benefit the Palatlakaha Environmental and Agricultural Reserve (PEAR) Park. He stated that the park is popularly and actively supported and needs additional space for planned activities, which include limited active recreation, multi-use trails, wildlife habitat, canoeing, fishing, camping, gardens, etc., but, more importantly, it needs direct access to U.S. 27. He stated that they currently use an access that goes through a residential neighborhood and, even though the park is not currently at capacity, in terms of use, once the planned improvements are in place, it is expected that people will be coming to the park as a target destination and increased traffic will occur on the site. He stated that the 50 acre tract in question was recently listed for sale, however, noted that he has worked with the landowners and said tract has been taken off the market, with a contract that provides Lake County the opportunity to seek the state grant and, ultimately, have said land end up in public ownership, for the benefit of PEAR Park. He stated that he was proposing for the Board to consider and direct staff to submit an application to the State for 75% of the costs to acquire said land, with 25% in matching funds to come from the County. He stated that each year the State awards $66 million to communities to implement

their Comprehensive Plans and with each year that passes that the County does not submit an application it misses out on the opportunity to leverage its local public dollars against state dollars. He stated that the civic support for this park is immense, which is the reason for his coming before the Board this date, noting that he understands the larger context of this acquisition, under the County’s current efforts to create a land acquisition and management program.

            Mr. Hattaway discussed the issue of the management of the park, noting that the Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District has committed to the management of the site with their resources, efforts, and expertise and the Lake County Water Authority has stated that they are interested in furthering discussions, in trying to find a way that they might be able to assist in the management of the park, as well. He stated that there is strong public support and a financial strategy, an opportunity that needs to be taken advantage of, that makes fiscal sense; therefore, he was asking the Board, without any formal financial commitment at this point in time, to explore submitting an application to the program. He stated that he would assist in filling out the application, noting that it is not a simple document, but one that is very involved. He stated that, due to the fact that they have been working with this program closely since its inception and helped draft the rules guiding the program, they believe the chances for getting state funding are very high and encouraged the Board to move forward with submitting said application.

            Commr. Stivender questioned whether the City of Leesburg would be willing to help with the process, since the park is located within the City’s limits.

            Mr. Hattaway stated that he had not had any discussions with the City regarding the matter, however, noted that he could bring it up, based on the decision made this date, and explore what involvement, if any, they might be willing to have.

            It was noted that the money to fund said project could come from the County’s one cent sales tax, or from pari-mutuel funds.

            Commr. Hill discussed some concerns she had about the request, at which time she noted that the County would be paying $70,000 per acre for the acreage and questioned whether it could afford such high priced acreage for a passive park.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that he had the same concerns as Commr. Hill, however, noted that, if one were to look at the total investment that the County has in the park and weigh it against the value of the entire park, the County’s investment of $820,000, percentage wise, is a pretty good investment for the quality and value of the park that will exist at the end and that is what gave him a comfort level to move forward with the request.

            Mr. Hattaway interjected that the County’s share of the cost would be one-quarter of the cost per acre, or one-quarter of the $70,000 per acre.

            Commr. Stivender stated that she had some of the same concerns that Commr. Hill expressed, because the property is prime real estate property, however, noted that, after learning about all the hours that the surrounding communities put into the project, she feels it is only prudent of the Board to help them out.

            Commr. Hanson stated that she has supported the PEAR Project for a long time, for the same reasons that have been mentioned this date, and that she continues to support it.

            Mr. Neron stated that, if the Board moved ahead with authorizing staff to prepare the grant application, before finalizing and sending it off, they will bring it back to the Board for approval.

            Mr. Hattaway informed the Board about a reverter clause contained in the deed that states the property could revert back to the State, if the County is awarded the money and decides not to do what they promise to do with the property. He noted that there is a deadline date involved with the application of June 10, 2003.

            On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved a request from Mr. Douglas Hattaway, AICP, The Trust for Public Land, to direct staff to move forward with submitting an application to the Florida Communities Trust Grant Program, requesting state funds for the acquisition of land, to benefit the Palatlakaha Environmental and Agricultural Reserve (PEAR) Park, which needs additional space for planned activities for the park, as well as direct access to U.S. 27, but that the grant application be brought back to the Board for approval at a later date.

            Mr. Gary Saltzman, Vice President, PEAR Association, addressed the Board and thanked them for approving the request and getting the process going. He submitted a petition from the residents of Spanish Village, indicating that they are opposed to the accessing of PEAR Park via University Avenue, noting that they want a new access to the park coming from U.S. 27; and another petition from the general public, which he noted was obtained at their Day on the River event that was held on March 29, 2003, indicating the same sentiments. He also submitted an article from The Daily Commercial, dated Sunday, April 6, 2003, that was written by Mr. Paul

Andrea, their outdoors writer, regarding PEAR Park, which he noted shows a picture of Commrs. Hanson and Stivender at the dedication ceremony for the new nature trail.


            Commr. Stivender reminded everyone present that the Lake County Fair is underway and invited them to attend. She noted that there would be a steer sale this date and that swine and other animals would be sold on Friday and Saturday.


            Commr. Hanson informed the Board that the luncheon for leukemia is scheduled to be held Friday, April 11, 2003, at Lake Reception, at 11:30 a.m., and invited them to attend.            REPORTS - COMMISSIONER CADWELL - CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 5

            Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that he received a request from the Superintendent of Schools, Ms. Pam Saylor, to hold a joint meeting with the Board of County Commissioners, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the School Board, so that the impact fees could be expedited. He stated that he feels that would slow the process down, therefore, suggested that staff move forward with getting the request on the Planning and Zoning Commission’s Agenda and the Board’s Agenda. He stated that the School Board could then present evidence to those two bodies, with regard to their desires about said fees.


            Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that the Medical Examiner’s Advisory Board, which makes up Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion, and Sumter counties, unanimously approved recommending Dr. Valerie Rao for retention as the District V Medical Examiner and requested approval from the Board to do that, as well.

            On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to recommend to the Governor, along with the Medical Examiners Advisory Board, that Dr. Valerie Rao be retained as the District V Medical Examiner.


            Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that the County has been having discussions with Orange County and the Orlando Regional Medical Center, with regard to their trauma center, however, noted that he has not done anything on behalf of the Board, other than indicate that they would look into the matter. He stated that he feels it is a regional issue and that the Board needs to be involved and as soon as he receives some hard figures and some type of funding formula, he will bring it to them for action.

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





                                                                                    WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN