A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
JUNE 16, 2003
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Tuesday, June 16, 2003, at 9:00 a.m., at the Southside Community Center, Umatilla, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Debbie Stivender, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson; Jennifer Hill; and Robert A. Pool. Others present were: William “Bill” Neron, County Manager; Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioner’s Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Judy Whaley, Deputy Clerk.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, welcomed the Board and staff members and stated that today’s retreat will offer an overview and, hopefully, will result in direction from the Board in preparing the proposed budget which will be presented to the Board in mid-July. The second part of today’s session will focus on the Capital Improvement Program (CIP).
Ms. Cindy Hall, Assistant County Manager, gave a presentation from the Financial Retreat booklet, which is included in the backup material, on the Introduction tab, pages 1-3, which focuses on the Lake County Economy. She reviewed:
• Population - 2001 estimate of 220,323, a 45% increase from 1990.
• Land Use Distribution - 1990 versus 2001.
• Housing Starts - Size of County - Inland Water Area
• Median Age - Increase in School Membership - Median Household Income - Unemployment
• Increase in Property Values
Ms. Sarah LaMarche, Budget and Administrative Services Director, gave a presentation from the Financial Retreat booklet on the Presentation tab, pages 4-8. She reviewed:
• General Fund Revenues/ Fiscal Year 2004 (Page 4) - Anticipating $5,800,000 in New Revenue. Includes $5,768,000 new ad valorem; $500,000 new State revenues and other; ($120,000) lower interest revenue; $400,000 Clerk excess fee increase; ($800,000) fund balance.
• Retirement Rate Changes/Fiscal Year 2004 (Page 4) - FY 2004 retirement contributions increased only 13%. FY 2005 rates published at 35% increase.
• Salary Requests/Fiscal Year 2004 (Page 5) - General Fund additional request: 3% would add $1,066,205; 4% would add $1,242,979; 5% would add $1,419,753. Would accommodate the Board, Clerk and Property Appraiser’s office where salary increases have not yet been included. The Tax Collector will present his budget the first of August. The Supervisor of Elections presented a budget of 5% but indicated she will go along with the Board’s decision. The Sheriff has indicated a 5% increase.
• Health Insurance/Fiscal Year 2004 (Page 5) - Industry wide, health insurance increases are between 15% and 20% per year. Lake County’s increases were: 2001 = 18.9%. 2002 = 8.1%. 2003 = 29.8%. 2004 est. = 15%. Increases were due to costs and illnesses.
• Health Insurance/Fiscal Year 2004 - RFP Results (Page 6) - Responses by Blue Cross/Blue Shield and United Healthcare Systems with approximately $1 million difference in total funding between the two. Employees have indicated they want to do their part to keep the fund self insured another year. The recommendation is to contribute either $800 ($423,200) or $600 ($317,400) per year per employee from General Funds.
Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager/Growth Management Director, remarked that he was impressed with the knowledge base of the employees at the insurance meetings. Employee suggestions included contributions each pay period (26), rather than twice a month (24); tiering contributions based on coverage for spouses and/or children; consensus of employees that a contribution of $10.00 per pay period would be acceptable; a $10 co-pay for X-ray and laboratory services.
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Hill, Mr. Neron explained that the County budgets approximately $4,200 per year per employee for health insurance. That amount would be increased by $600 to $800 from contributions by the County and additional contributions would be made by employees, as well as changes in the plan costs. Currently, County employees make no premium contributions for individual coverage but do make a contribution for family coverage.
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Hill regarding the number of Countywide employees participating in DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Program), Mr. Neron replied that he will provide information on the County’s and Constitutional Officers’ employees.
Mr. Neron pointed out that, in contracting with an outside insurer, a lower rate might be offered initially but then rates might be increased in subsequent years. He suggested that the County remain self-insured, at least initially, and try to manage the risk on its own.
Commr. Hanson agreed with that recommendation and remarked that employees need to remain educated on the issue.
Commr. Stivender commented that several employees have indicated to her that they prefer staying self insured.
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Hanson regarding joining with other governmental groups, Ms. LaMarche stated that the County is talking with Lake County’s cities, especially Eustis, on the issue. The Supervisor of Elections and the Property Appraiser’s offices are part of the County system.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that the Clerk of Court has basically the same plan and uses the same administrator.
Mr. Neron stated that benefits of joining with other groups depend on demographics and other factors. In some cases joining with other groups might be more expensive.
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Pool, Mr. Neron stated that there are incentives for not using sick time, such as converting the unused sick time to vacation time.
Ms. LaMarche continued the presentation with the following topics:
• Health Insurance/Fiscal Year 2004 (Page 6) - Dennis Grey, Internal Auditor with the Clerk’s Office, has agreed to perform a cursory audit of payments by the County’s third party administrator.
• School Resource Officers (SROs) for FY 2004 (Page 7) - 16 officers at a cost of $967,170. Lake County’s COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) grant, which funded 3 officers, expired. The School Board will fund $400,000 ($25,000 each x 16), and the County’s share will be $567,170, a net increase to the General Fund of $434,670 (which will be transferred to the Sheriff). The School Board funded $525,000 last year.
Commr. Cadwell explained that the School Board used Safe School money to pay for SROs and the percentage of that money being spent for SROs was higher than it should have been. He stated that he has a list of Safe School money projects and he will give a copy to the other Board members. He opined that the Board would not want school to start without SROs, and explained that some counties pay the entire cost without any School Board participation. He commented that $400,000 is a fair amount for the School Board to pay.
Further discussion clarified that the funding amount needed for the 16 SROs is basically the same as last year, but this year there will not be any federal COPS grant money and the School Board is contributing less. Regarding SROs, the Sheriff prefers that they be seasoned deputies for numerous reasons. Some cities provide officers who work as SROs.
Ms. LaMarche stated that the $434,670 increased funding is part of the balanced budget.
• Libraries/Fiscal Year 2004 (Page 7) - Net General Fund increase of $965,000 is included in the balanced budget, and includes Leesburg at $288,600, Clermont at $200,000, other member libraries at $20,000, fully funding Paisley, Astor and Groveland at $388,000, and retirement and other increases at $68,400.
Mr. Neron explained that, under the interlocal agreement with the cities, the County has given notice that it will not continue to fund the libraries at this amount, although this amount is included in the FY 2004 budget. Mr. Neron confirmed that considering a dedicated funding source for libraries is a possibility. The total amount budgeted for libraries is $3,901,325 which includes the $965,000 net General Fund increase.
Commissioners Cadwell and Hanson agreed that there is a lot of value to the library system because of the partners. Commr. Hanson commented that the libraries are a needed and beneficial addition to the community.
Commr. Pool agreed and expressed an interest in pursuing a dedicated funding source.
Commr. Hill noted that, when the impact fee study results come to the Board, hopefully by October, the Board will be making a decision on whether or not to approve impact fees for capital facilities.
With the understanding that a dedicated funding source would be the way to go for library funding, there was general agreement for staff to contact the cities to let them know the Board is committed for this budget year and will continue to move forward with the partnership with the cities.
Commr. Hill stated that she would like to see how the budget plays out before making a decision.
• General Fund Staffing Changes (Page 8) - BCC - At this time the Board is adding no new positions in the General Fund, or trust funds, but is eliminating one school planner position.
Mr. Neron stated that staff is not recommending any new positions at this point because of the tight budget. This is the second year in a row that new positions have not been added and eventually the level of service and the level of growth will reflect this, especially in some key areas, such as animal control, that are population based. He mentioned that some additional positions in the roads and bridges department may be necessary for maintenance work. Thought is being given to contracting that work out rather than hiring new employees. Those would be transportation trust positions, not General Fund positions.
Commr. Stivender remarked that there are a lot of complaints regarding transportation issues but there are not enough employees to get the job done.
• General Fund Staffing Changes (Page 8) - SHERIFF - Requested corrections officers, a supervisor and staff positions for a pod in the Prelude, and an enhanced request of the addition of deputies in 2004. Sixteen deputies in FY 2005 (COPS grant has been submitted)
• General Fund Staffing Changes (Page 8) - SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS - Requested one staff position for the South Lake Office, but can realign or reassign personnel if the Board’s budget decision does not include the position.
COUNTY POLICY - DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS VEHICLES
In an effort to clarify the County’s policy regarding disposal of surplus vehicles, Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Welstead to explain a proposal made by Mr. Bob McKee, Tax Collector.
Mr. Welstead explained that Mr. McKee suggested that all of Lake County’s Constitutional Officers pool their unwanted vehicles together for disposal, perhaps through sealed bids or through a wholesaler.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, pointed out that, technically, equipment is owned by the Board for all the Constitutional Officers except the Sheriff. When Constitutional Officers are through with equipment, it should come back to the Board for disposal.
Commr. Stivender clarified that, although the Board may not have talked about vehicle disposal, as a previous County employee, she has discussed methods of vehicle disposal over the years. She suggested that a fleet maintenance program in one general area, possibly the Public Works Department, could handle disposal of all County vehicles.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, explained that currently the Procurement Department is disposing of County vehicles through several avenues which minimize the costs of disposal. For example, in the past five or six years, vehicles, including fire department vehicles, have been taken to the Lake County Fairgrounds for sales. There is a lot of cost involved in this type of disposal and other alternatives are being used, including auctions and sales through the internet. He added that Mr. Ken Hayslette, Procurement Services Director, is researching other options.
Mr. Minkoff mentioned that some vehicles and equipment are donated to charitable organizations. Typically, when equipment or vehicles are declared surplus equipment and placed on the Board’s agenda, the agenda item indicates the method of disposal.
Mr. Stivender explained that an outside appraisal is done to determine a price whenever equipment is sold to one of the cities. Vehicles are put in running order and are stored at the Solid Waste facility prior to being auctioned or sold.
Commr. Hanson stated that it appears the County’s current process is a good one and combining with the Constitutional Officers could be an opportunity for more efficiency.
SCHOOL PLANNER POSITION
Mr. Welstead informed the Board that he was given the opportunity to participate in interviews for the school planner position, along with school officials and a Tavares city planner. He commented that the School Board’s request that he participate was a nice “olive branch.”
• Summary of Major Expenditure Changes (Increases) (Page 8) - Total $4,746,000. Libraries $965,000; School Resource Officers $435,000; Indigent Health Care $200,000; Sheriff’s Transfer $2,587,000; Supervisor of Elections $309,000; Inmate Medical $250,000.
Commr. Cadwell remarked that Lake County’s problem, in tight financial times, is that there are not a lot of programs from which to cut expenses, and the major expenditures are mostly people expenditures.
Regarding the requested increase from the Supervisor of Elections, there will be an extra election next year. The budget for FY 2005 declines considerably.
Regarding increased inmate medical expenses, Mr. Minkoff stated that the Sheriff makes an effort to come up with a different method of incarceration for seriously ill inmates.
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Community Services Director, stated that the increase is due to rising health costs, an increase in inmates, and inmates with serious illnesses who are not eligible for release. He stated that the County does negotiate with hospitals and other health care providers on inmate bills.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that because a person loses Medicaid coverage while in jail those costs are the responsibility of the County.
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Hanson, Mr. Neron stated that he understands the Sheriff has requested a 5% wage increase for Sheriff’s Office employees.
Commr. Hanson inquired what the difference in dollars would be between a 5% wage increase and a 3% wage increase. She remarked that the difference could a significant amount, up to $1 million.
Ms. LaMarche remarked that the Sheriff only quoted a 5% increase in wages.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that, once the Board makes a decision on a rate for County employees, the Board could go back to the Sheriff and make an offer.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10:10 a.m., Commr. Cadwell announced that the Board would take a five minute recess.
Ms. Hall gave the presentation from the Financial Retreat booklet on the Alternatives tab, page 9 through page 11. Each alternative includes the current changes of $4,746,000, a choice in employee salary increases, a choice in the County’s contribution for the employee health insurance increases, a choice in reserves and the total increase of $5,800,000.
• Decision Points / Alternative 1 - Salary increases 3% -$1,066,205. Health insurance increase of $600 per employee - $317,400. Reserves at 11.7% - a decline of $329,605.
• Decision Points / Alternative 2 - Salary increases 4% - $1,242,979. Health insurance increase of $800 per employee - $423,200. Reserves at 11.4% - a decline of $612,179.
• Decision Points / Alternative 3 - Salary increases 5% - $1,419,753. Health insurance increase of $800 per employee - $423,200. Reserves at 11.2% - a decline of $788,953.
Ms. Hall explained that any of the alternatives can be balanced out in the budget by a slight reduction in the reserve level. The reserves in all three alternatives remain above 11%, and Board policy is to keep reserves at or above 10%. Any additional health insurance cost will be contributed by the employees in either a slight payroll deduction or a change in the health plans.
Mr. Neron stated that salary increases will be budgeted and allocated by department and based on the merit evaluation on the employee’s anniversary date. He emphasized that salary increases are not automatic. Increases are based on performance.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he feels the Board should take into consideration last year’s limited pay increases and he suggested that the Board approve Alternative 3 and send a message to employees that the Board is trying to do the right thing, especially since the employees have agreed to contribute to the health insurance costs.
Commr. Stivender agreed with Commr. Cadwell, but asked how these alternatives might affect taxes.
Mr. Neron stated that the ad valorem estimates that are proposed in these scenarios are based on the current millage rate. He stated that management staff feels comfortable with any of the three alternatives.
Commr. Cadwell inquired of the Board whether it is a fair assumption that the tax rate should not be increased.
SOLID WASTE AND FIRE RESCUE FEE DISCUSSION
Commr. Hanson responded “yes” but pointed out that solid waste and fire rescue fees have increased. She stated that she would like to fund those increases out of the General Fund.
Mr. Neron stated that the $37.00 increased fee for fire rescue services would raise approximately $2.8 million. If the Board concurs with Commr. Hanson’s suggestion, the General Fund budget would have to be reduced by $2.8 million.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, while he is still committed to funding Solid Waste from the General Fund because there was no alternative to that choice, he disagreed that it should be the Board’s policy to dip into general ad valorem funds for fire rescue service.
Mr. Minkoff stated that some portion of fire rescue could be funded from General Funds, such as HazMat (hazardous materials) or other countywide services, but most would have to be done through the MSTU (Municipal Services Taxing Unit) millage, which would not be a quid pro quo. One mill of MSTU does not raise what one mill of General Fund raises because the MSTU millage rate applies only to property within unincorporated Lake County. He explained that solid waste, for the most part, could be funded with General Funds so long as the County does not subsidize the collection costs for the unincorporated areas.
Commr. Hanson stated that she would like staff to look at what dollar amounts could come from General Funds for fire rescue and solid waste.
Commr. Cadwell inquired whether there is a consensus of the Board to ask staff to look at that and stated that he does not agree.
Commissioners Stivender and Pool agreed that the Board needs to look at everything.
Mr. Neron asked for clarification from the Board as to whether staff should look at funding a portion of fire rescue and an additional portion of solid waste from the General Fund revenue source.
Commr. Hanson reiterated that the Board should look at opportunities that are available that are legitimate expenditures of the General Fund, even though the Board may choose to not go that route. She remarked that she thinks the Board would like not to raise the taxes for any of these funds.
In an effort to not raise taxes, the majority of the Board agreed that staff would look at funding a portion of fire rescue and an additional portion of solid waste from the General Fund revenue source.
Mr. Neron stated that staff will present a balanced budget to the Board within these parameters but some workshops, probably in July, should be held to have further direction from the Board.
OUTSOURCING AND VOLUNTEERISM
Commr. Hanson stated that she has spoken with the County Manager regarding outsourcing some functions of some departments that are not currently being funded, specifically, the public information and grant writer positions. She commented that some planning functions could be outsourced. She has spoken with consultants, including Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin Lopez Rinehart, Inc. (Glatting Jackson), who could present an urban design element which would be part of a comprehensive plan. She stated that this kind of planning, taken to the next step, could make a real difference in Lake County, especially in certain sections of the County that need additional planning.
HUMAN SERVICES GRANTS
Commr. Hanson stated that when the Board approved grant recommendations by the Human Services Grant Advisory Committee in February 2003, the Board had indicated it would consider funding additional programs at midyear. She stated that the Board had funded CITE the previous year but did not fund that group this year, mostly because CITE requested $10,000 and the grants were for $5,000. She commented that CITE provides a very critical service in Lake County and should remain funded.
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Community Services Director, stated that CITE has contacted his office and he suggested that they submit a letter requesting funding.
Commr. Stivender commented that the Citizens’ Commission for Children will be meeting Wednesday, June 18, 2003, and she can bring up the issue at that meeting.
Mr. Neron remarked that there is a process in place with limited dollars. If the Board wants to reopen the process, he requested direction from the Board regarding the amount of money to be devoted and the procedure to use.
Commr. Hanson asked for a recommendation from staff on how the Board can readdress funding for those groups who were turned down in February, or other groups, and go back to the Human Services Grant Advisory Committee. She recommended that the Board consider additional funding from reserves.
Mr. Smith noted that three groups (CITE, The Haven, and the Clermont Neighborhood Center) did not receive funding in February.
Discussion continued regarding the dollar amount of funding and the general agreement was to recommend adding at least $15,000 to the grant funds this year and that next year’s budget should include a total of at least $50,000 for grants to be awarded by the Human Services Grant Advisory Committee.
Commr. Hanson asked for comments from the Board on outsourcing on grant writing and public information.
Commissioners Pool and Stivender expressed agreement that it is an option to look into.
Regarding outsourcing on grant writing and a public information person and increasing volunteer efforts, Mr. Neron reported that a small staff group is looking at existing positions to combine into a new operating group to do a better job on volunteerism, outreach, public information and grant writing. He will bring that information back to the Board at a later date.
Commr. Hanson reiterated the need for a grant writer to research the tremendous opportunity for funding.
Discussion continued regarding grant writing firms and the possibility of putting out a RFP (Request for Proposal).
Commr. Stivender stated that Ms. Helena Osborne, Volunteer Coordinator, does a fantastic job, often working at home, but she needs equipment. She added that the volunteer program should be reinforced.
Regarding volunteerism, Mr. Neron has asked Mr. Robert Curry, a resident of the Seminole Springs area of Lake County, to work with Ms. Hall and Ms. Osborne to provide an overview of the County’s volunteerism efforts and resources.
In discussing the possibility of outsourcing for an urban design element to the Lake County Comprehensive Plan, Mr. Welstead stated that he has met with Mr. Bill Kercher, part of the Urban and Regional Planning Design Team of Glatting Jackson, who explained Glatting Jackson’s concept of creating a set of standards to give citizens an expectation of what a project would look like after it has been completed.
Commr. Hanson mentioned planning for the Wekiva springshed area and asked the Board to consider pursuing the possibility of outsourcing for an urban design element and to consider funding for outsourcing.
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Hill regarding a major expenditure change and the possibility of taking additional monies from General Fund reserves for solid waste and fire rescue, Mr. Neron explained that the three alternative scenarios do not anticipate any funds being taken out for solid waste or fire rescue.
Commr. Hanson clarified that she is not making the recommendation to use General Funds. However, in saying that taxes are not being raised, solid waste and fire rescue fees are being considered.
Discussion followed on what possible reductions could be made, whether a small increase will be necessary, consideration of the Sheriff’s transfer dollars, and the percentage of the reserve dollars.
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Pool, Mr. Neron discussed the percentage range of merit increases under the three proposed alternatives. He remarked that, basically, merit increases were averaging five and one-half percent to six percent for the three-year period before he became County Manager in November 2001, and the number of employees who receive a minimal raise is very minor.
Mr. Welstead remarked that the County’s contribution of a health insurance increase of $800 per employee is significant and is a cost-of-living type of raise.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he thinks the Board should give staff direction, at least regarding employee salary increases because that is a large portion of the budget, before any more workshops are held. He maintained that Alternative 2 or 3 should be considered and that the County’s $800 increased contribution in health insurance is somewhat of a raise. He stated that the merit salary increase should be large enough to matter.
Ms. LaMarche pointed out that the new budget software has the capability of putting a percentage increase on the anniversary date for every employee and that capability takes the guesswork out of determining an average.
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Hanson regarding all the Constitutional Officers giving the same percentage of increase, Mr. Neron stated that the Sheriff has indicated his department will give five percent increases and the Clerk of Court indicated that his office will do what the Board does. He added that the Property Appraiser, the Tax Collector and the Supervisor of Elections usually follow the Board, but he cannot commit on behalf of those Constitutional Officers.
Commr. Stivender agreed with Commr. Cadwell that the employees have tried to cut back on spending and have worked with the Board in trying to come up with ideas to avoid an increase in taxes. She stated that Alternative 3 is her choice.
Commr. Pool stated that he would lean toward Alternative 2 as a balance but he feels the employees deserve a nice increase. While he stated that he could support Alternative 3, a five percent salary increase, he prefers Alternative 2 because of the associated costs. He remarked that he would like to see the numbers involved in taking reserves to ten percent. He added that, while five percent is a reasonable rate, there are many people in the private sector who will not get a five percent increase, or even four or three percent increase.
Commr. Hanson stated that her vote would be for Alternative 2, a four percent salary increase, with the $800 per employee for health insurance which is significant.
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Stivender regarding basing the percentage of increase on the employee’s salary, Mr. Neron stated that this year’s $1,000 across-the-board salary increase was a minuscule amount for the higher paid employees. He stressed that the increase would be based on merit and performance with some employees getting higher amounts and some getting lower amounts. It is not a cost of living or across-the-board, guaranteed amount.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he could support either Alternative 2 or 3 and he wants to do what can be done for the employees.
Commr. Hanson stated that she would ask the County Manager to meet with the Sheriff to see if he would go along with the other Constitutional Officers for the same increase as the County. She opined that might generate approximately $400,000 at four percent versus five percent for the Sheriff’s employees.
Commr. Cadwell asked the Board if there is a consensus for Alternative 2.
In response to inquiries by Commr. Hill, Mr. Neron further explained that if Alternative 2 is chosen, the budget would be based on four percent merit increases and would be allocated by department. The department director would know they have a certain amount of dollars available and they have to manage those dollars within their department. He stated that health insurance costs will be approximately $1.5 million higher and the $800 contribution by the Board covers about one-half. The other half would be covered through either a new employee contribution, changes in the employees’ family coverages, or other changes in the plans to reduce costs through increased co-pay amounts, etc.
Commr. Hill stated that she has had comments from employees who would prefer that the County subsidize more of the health insurance costs rather than give a higher increase in salary.
Commr. Cadwell commented that the County Manager can go forward with the assumption that the majority of Commissioners support Alternative 2.
Mr. Neron assured the Board that any of the budget numbers presented today are very general numbers and can be changed.
Continuing the section of the presentation from the Financial Retreat booklet on the Alternatives tab, page11, Ms. Hall commented that there is a team of employees, both County and Clerk’s Office, which is reviewing Article V of the Florida Constitution. A list of grants and programs provided to outside agencies (FY 2004 and 2005) is presented on page 12 of the presentation booklet under the Alternatives tab.
In clarifying her previous request for staff to review County funds that are given to the School System, Commr. Hanson stated that she would like an intense analysis of impact fees at the end of the year. She stated that there are restrictions on impact fees and they may not be able to be used to make up past deficiencies. Therefore, eliminating portables and providing smaller classrooms may not be possible with impact fee funds. She noted that she would just like a good understanding between the Board and the School System and would want to know that impact fee dollars are being used in the way they are allowed.
Commr. Cadwell stated that some of the information the Superintendent will be providing will answer a lot of concerns regarding their five-year plan as well as other issues.
Mr. Neron, in reviewing Page 11 under the Alternatives tab of the Financial Retreat booklet, asked for direction from the Board on the number of days to set aside, how detailed the presentations should be, and whether the process should be similar to last year’s.
Commr. Cadwell suggested scheduling one workshop.
In response to Ms. LaMarche’s inquiry for direction, the Board requested that she provide an extensive version of the budget notebook.
Mr. Neron recommended setting the tentative millage on July 22, 2003, and noted that public hearings for the budget would be held September 9, 2003, and September 23, 2003, at 5:05 p.m.
Commr. Hanson commented that, while it should have been held before the budget process, a Board planning retreat would be helpful to bring in new ideas.
Mr. Neron stated that he will try to schedule a planning retreat later in the summer.
Mr. Stivender announced that Ms. Kathy McDonald has been named Florida Association of County Engineers and Road Superintendents’ “Public Works Employee of the Year” for the State of Florida. She will receive an award on June 20, 2003, in Orlando.
HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT
Ms. LaMarche discussed the Help America Vote Act tab, pages 1-2, from the Financial Retreat booklet. The new Federal mandate specifies voting facilities must meet certain requirements, including accessibility to buildings and facilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The number of Lake County facilities that need to be retrofitted include eight County-owned facilities, 47 other facilities (churches, community clubs, mobile home parks, community buildings and city halls) and one private business. A Request for Proposal (RFP) has been issued, the results are due June 23 and will be reported to the Board on June 24, 2003, by Ms. Emogene Stegall, Supervisor of Elections.
Mr. Stivender remarked that some facilities may be too costly to improve. There are limited State dollars available.
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Hill, Mr. Minkoff stated that the Supervisor of Elections is responsible for all voting facilities. He added that Ms. Stegall is looking very carefully at the facilities and ensuring long-term agreements in an effort to amortize the costs.
Mr. Stivender stated that the facilities must be ready for the March 2004 Presidential primary.
Under this subject, Commr. Hanson stated that Sorrento needs a new, small community center, which is used as a voting facility, and should be included in the capital improvement plan.
Mr. Stivender remarked that a quick alternative is being studied.
Ms. LaMarche stated that she has received a request from Ms. Stegall for 25 additional voting machines this year, at an estimated cost of $80,000, in order to extend pre-election voting.
PAST CIP (CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM)
Mr. Stivender reviewed 21 sales tax projects that were completed by May 2003 in the amount of $10,052,155 as shown in the Financial Retreat booklet under the Past CIP tab.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 11:20 a.m., Commr. Cadwell announced that the Board would recess for lunch and would reconvene at 12:10 p.m..
COOPER MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Mr. Smith gave a presentation from the Financial Retreat booklet on the Cooper Memorial Library tab, pages 33A-35, which focuses on repair costs to the Library building which is owned by the City of Clermont. The County is presently considering entering a lease with the City to continue using the facility. Initial estimates to repair the roof and one air conditioning system were $175,000. However, additional significant costs have been realized recently and total repairs to the interior, exterior and the roof are now estimated to be approximately $350,000. (Roof and air conditioner $175,000; other immediately needed interior repairs $117,500; estimated $56,000 in mostly interior repairs that will be needed in the future.) Although not yet approved by the Clermont City Council, their City Manager, Wayne Saunders, plans to recommend that the City utilize $115,000 of their funds and the Library’s $60,000 in escrow funds for the $175,000 roof repair. The County would be responsible for funding the other repairs which are mostly interior water leaks and age-related repairs. However, the City would be inclined to charge the County some lease costs over the course of a number of years to recoup their repair costs. The City could use their infrastructure sales tax for the repairs but this project is not included in their CIP (Capital Improvement Program) plan.
Mr. Smith stated that there are two options. The County could make the repairs using General Fund reserves. The second option would be to let the City pay part of the costs, the County would pay the rest and would reimburse the City over the course of several years for the City’s repair costs.
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Pool, Mr. Smith stated that the City’s current contribution toward the Library is $200,000 per year plus providing the building, however, for the coming year the City will not be contributing anything toward the Library.
After discussion, Mr. Minkoff clarified that the County can use the infrastructure sales tax to repair publicly owned facilities but not for lease payments.
Mr. Smith stated that using the County’s infrastructure sales tax would be a third option. He remarked that, although the County is using the building, a lease has not been signed with the City and the roof is in critical need of repair.
It was the general agreement of the Board that $117,500 would be funded out of the County’s infrastructure sales tax for immediate interior renovations to the Cooper Memorial Library building. Mr. Smith will contact Mr. Saunders regarding an agreement to reimburse the City approximately $115,000 over the course of a number of years through lease costs for the repairs to the roof and one air conditioning system.
Discussion followed regarding the possibility of relocating the Library to the future South Lake County Government Complex which is three to five years away from being ready, spreading out $350,000 in costs over ten years, the possibility of building a new facility in the future, the County’s current cost of $85,000 to $90,000 annually for the Citrus Ridge Library, and the desirability of keeping the Cooper Memorial Library in the downtown area.
Mr. Stivender gave a presentation from the Financial Retreat booklet on the Present CIP (Capital Improvement Program) tab, pages 4-8, and demonstrated, using a board and squares which represent $100,000 each, the projects which will close out the old Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund 301dollars. The total expenditures are $19,078,592, available revenues are $18,116,375 and the revenue shortfall is $962,217.
• Current year paid, various projects 10/1/02-5/30/03: $2,614,940 and solid waste for line of credit: $1,440,000 = subtotal $4,054,940.
• 13 Projects under contract or pledged = subtotal $9,638,623.
• 12 Future projects = subtotal $5,385,029.
• Total Expenditures = $19,078,592.
Mr. Stivender discussed the Agriculture Center renovation ($614,000) and the Fairgrounds renovation ($1,155,497). A consultant is currently studying options for the two facilities. Under consideration is upgrading one or the other or combining the two in a separate location.
Other projects discussed included the water intrusion at the Judicial Center; re-roofs for the Hunter Building and the Judicial Center; design work on the Citrus Ridge Library; elevator upgrades for the Administration Building; and re-roofing the ten-year-old jail and the prelude.
PRESENT CIP - Sheriff - Fingerprint Machine - $64,000
Ms. LaMarche remarked that the Sheriff submitted a letter requesting funding for a new, additional Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) for use in South Lake County. The price of the AFIS, if ordered by June 30, 2003, would be $64,000. The price, if ordered later than June 30, would be $86,500.
Commr. Hanson made a motion, seconded by Commr. Stivender, for Board approval of the $64,000 request from Sheriff George Knupp, Jr., for the purchase of an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).
Under discussion, Commr. Hill requested clarification of the source of the money. It was confirmed that the $64,000 would come from the old penny sales tax.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion which carried by a vote of 4-1.
Commr. Hill voted “No.”
PRESENT CIP (CONTINUED)
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Hill regarding the possibility of phasing some of the projects, Mr. Stivender stated that the Prelude re-roof and the Administration Building could possibly be phased. He stated that direction will be needed from the Board regarding which projects should be done now and which should be delayed.
Discussion continued regarding the age of some of the County’s buildings and preventive maintenance on the roofs, establishing separate funding for building maintenance and whether or not sales tax money can be used.
PRESENT CIP - Agriculture Center Renovation - $614,000 / Fairgrounds Renovation -
$1,155,497 / Jail & Prelude Re-Roof - $1,305,675 / Citrus Ridge Library - $350,000
Mr. Stivender commented that the Agriculture Center and Fairgrounds projects are moving forward, with general agreement by the Board to do so. The County has a partner for the Citrus Ridge Library design, which is budgeted in the 301 Fund, but construction will be funded in the next phase if the dollars are available. Replacing elevators in the Administration Building is a health and safety issue. The Jail roof is the oldest and, with the Prelude re-roof, is the costliest at $1,305,675. He commented that the lock upgrade at the Jail is also a security issue and there is a great demand for the telecommunications upgrade.
Mr. Neron remarked that Sumter County has recently asked for bids for a community/agricultural center/fairgrounds type building and he has asked Mr. Stivender to get a copy of their plans.
PRESENT CIP - Montverde Community Center - $316,789
In response to an inquiry by Commr. Hanson regarding the $316,789 cost of the Montverde Community Center, Mr. Stivender explained that the cost includes the building, the site work, the engineering work and the parking lot. The previous estimate of $116,000, which was given one and one-half years ago, was the building alone.
Further discussion regarding the Montverde Community Center included comments that this building is about twice the size of the existing center, the Certificates of Occupancy should be issued soon, and most of the cost was funded by grants from the State.
PRESENT CIP - Sheriff - Vehicle Maintenance - $28,000
Mr. Stivender stated that the Sheriff has also submitted a letter requesting funding for a new vehicle storage/maintenance facility in Eustis.
Discussion ensued regarding an additional $28,000 for completion of that facility. The current facility is a pole-barn type structure. The County uses the Sheriff’s Leesburg vehicle maintenance facility. The Public Works complex plan in Astatula on the County Road 448 Extension includes a three-acre vehicle maintenance expansion. County staff is currently working with several government agencies in an effort to combine vehicle maintenance facilities, but parts’ supplies and security are issues. It was the general agreement of the Board that $28,000 would be funded, for now, out of the County’s infrastructure sales tax for the Sheriff’s vehicle maintenance facility in Eustis.
PRESENT CIP - Sheriff Administration Building Re-Roof - $87,000
Mr. Stivender stated that the Sheriff’s administration building needs to be re-roofed.
PRESENT CIP - Recap
Mr. Stivender demonstrated the projects, using a board and squares which represent $100,000 each, which have general agreement by the Board to move forward in closing out the old Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund 301dollars. He commented that some estimates are speculation because the projects have not been bid out yet on relatively complex issues. While re-roofs are relatively straightforward, sub-roof and moisture concerns are unknown until the roof is removed.
PRESENT CIP - Fairgrounds Renovation (Continued)
Further discussion of the Fairgrounds renovation included the desire to proceed but with decisions to be made regarding renovating the existing building, whether to buy another location and build a new building, determining the worth of the current site, and whether the current site is suitable. A study is being done that should answer those questions and concerns and the project may be included in the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund 303 dollars.
Mr. Stivender gave a presentation from the Financial Retreat booklet on the Future CIP (Capital Improvement Program) tab, pages 9-32, and demonstrated, using a board and squares which represent $100,000 each, the projects proposed for the renewal Infrastructure Sales Tax. The projected revenue for fifteen years, Fiscal Years 2003-2017, based on 5% growth is $72,645,583. Mr. Stivender remarked that there is a dilemma in that the County has a much smaller portion of the future sales tax.
Some of the future projects (included in the backup material, Future CIP tab, page 9) that have been discussed by the Board include Open Space and Parks, $6,142,000; Pod E Jail Expansion, $9,000,000; Judicial Center Expansion A/E only, $3,000,000 plus $30,000,000 for Construction; Judicial Center Parking Garages, $14,008,180 (a Judicial Center Site Plan Concept Study drawing dated June 9, 2003, is included in the backup material); South Lake Health Department, $4,000,000; Sheriff’s Vehicles and Radios, $19,459,695; South Lake Government Center, $6,708,667 (a South Lake County Government Complex drawing is included in the backup material); new Cooper Memorial Library at the South Lake complex, $6,100,000; Citrus Ridge Library, $4,431,000; EOC (Emergency Operations Center) and Public Safety Facility, $1,550,000; Criminal Investigations Bureau, $2,416,690; Administration and Central Receiving Library, $2,898,181; Voting Machines, $1,500,000; Records Storage Facility, $2,200,000; Community Centers (Citrus Ridge, Yalaha, Pine Lakes), $1,050,000; Information Technology Secured Data Center, $600,000; Information Technology Digital/Wireless Canopy, $400,000; Mail Receiving Center, $300,000.
FUTURE CIP - Revenue Projections / CIB / Public Works Master Plan
Mr. Stivender continued his presentation by mentioning a summary of the above proposed projects on pages 10 through 17 which show fifteen year revenue projections based on 5%, 6% and 7% growth per year. Background information on the CIB (Criminal Investigation Bureau) is shown on pages 18 through 20. He discussed the Public Works Complex Master Plan with access from the County Road 448 Extension beside the Landfill in Astatula (map on page 26).
Mr. Stivender reiterated that he and Ms. LaMarche are seeking direction from the Board on future projects.
FUTURE CIP - Parking Garages
Mr. Stivender showed the Lake County Judicial Center Site Plan, Concept Study, (map dated June 9, 2003) which depicts the court expansion and parking garages. He stated that staff recommends the parking garages be built before the expansion because parking spaces will be lost with the expansion of the building.
Mr. Neron stated that Mr. Minkoff suggested that the Board consider the Lake Region Packing property of approximately ten acres, which might be available for $4,000,000, since the estimated cost of two parking garages at the Judicial Center is $14,000,000. If the Lake Region property were to be acquired for some parking area, it could be available for future community events or festivals.
Mr. Stivender commented that a parking garage on the Lake Region site was considered several years ago to serve the Administration Building and the Sheriff’s Office, but at that time it was determined that it would be difficult to get enough parking area there and still maintain some integrity of the building.
Commissioners Cadwell and Stivender remarked that the City of Tavares does not want the County to purchase that property because it would be taken off the City’s tax roll.
Mr. Neron stated that the cost of a no-frills parking garage, as a general rule of thumb, is approximately $10,000 per parking space.
Commr. Hill remarked that persons using the parking garages could pay for parking.
FUTURE CIP - South Lake County Government Complex
Mr. Stivender continued his presentation with the South Lake County Government Complex map. He stated that closing on the property is being finalized. A multipurpose building at the front of the complex is being considered. Future ideas and planning will, hopefully, involve the participation of the Constitutional Officers.
LONG TERM VS. SHORT TERM
Mr. Stivender commented that the Fairgrounds renovation is budgeted in the old penny sales tax but phase two of that renovation may roll over into the new penny. The needs of the Judicial Center may present some questions.
Ms. LaMarche explained that, while the Sheriff is only requesting six vehicles this year because the dollars are scarce, next year the Sheriff may request thirty or more and at least thirty in subsequent years.
Mr. Neron stated that the Board should consider dedicated funding, alternative funding sources, the General Fund and bonding over a thirty-year period.
Commr. Hill inquired whether or not bonding would be done on parks and recreation and open space in the form of a referendum on the ballot. She reminded the Board that impact fees are being considered for funding for parks and recreation.
The Commissioners discussed the Board’s commitment to open and green space during the sales tax campaign in 2001.
Commr. Hill remarked that open and green space was not written into the ballot for the November 2001 referendum and is not included in the ordinance.
Commr. Pool requested ideas and thoughts from the staff’s perspective regarding green space, libraries and other projects, whether the Board should raise taxes, and whether staff would recommend a referendum on dedicated funding sources.
Mr. Neron replied that some projects could be a combination of all of the above. He noted that a large major expenditure, such as the Judicial Center expansion, usually would be bonded.
Mr. Stivender, in using the future projects board, remarked that the Board had tentatively selected some long term projects such as the grant programs, the sensitive land issue, Lake Idamere, voting machines, consolidated Health Department, South Lake Health Department, fairgrounds, records storage, and prelude upgrade. He stated that parking garages should be built before the Judicial Center expansion, and pointed out that design work and air conditioner upgrades should be done before the expansion. Capital projects include the South Lake County Government Project, and Citrus Ridge Library. Other projects, including the PEAR Park master development plan and Pine Forest Park, are being considered.
FUTURE CIP - Health Clinic
Discussion continued regarding the Health Clinic. Ms. LaMarche stated that, hopefully, most of the money for the Health Clinic, as shown on page 9 of the Future CIP tab, will come from the State. Mr. Neron added that the County would furnish the land for the Health Clinic.
Mr. Rodger Amon, Lake County Health Department Administrator, stated that if Board approval is given to go forward on the clinic, an application will be submitted to the State this year for the following legislative session. The dollar amount of capital from the State has been significantly reduced in the last few years, Lake County is competing with other counties for a finite dollar amount and some help may be needed from the County. He added that the land is the starting point and the clinic does not need to be a free-standing facility.
The Board and staff continued the discussion of proposed future projects for the next fifteen years. Additional comments were made regarding the PEAR project and using funds from pari-mutuel wagering. Regarding the size of the Judicial Center expansion or construction of only one parking garage, Article V indicates that a certain amount of space for courts’ personnel, including the Clerk’s Office, judges, the Public Defender and the State Attorney, will be provided by the County.
In approximately three weeks, staff will prepare and bring back a report on projects that may be included in the Future CIP. The report will include information on alternative funding and funding partners.
A recap of the proposed projects, which were tentatively approved at today’s meeting, includes: the recreation grants program, $8 million for Sheriff’s vehicles/radios, Pine Forest Park, $800,000 for PEAR Park, Lake Idamere Park, central energy plant expansion for Judicial Center expansion, architectural design for Judicial Center expansion, one of two parking garages, one-half of the Judicial Center expansion, Citrus Ridge Library, $200,000 for Cooper Memorial Library, Prelude modifications, records storage facility, fairgrounds renovation, voting machines, capital projects staff funding, Information Technology secured data center, Information Technology digital/wireless canopy, South Lake Government Complex. The remaining projects will continue to be considered.
Mr. Neron thanked Mr. Stivender and his staff for their creativity and artwork in today’s presentation. He thanked the Board for their help and direction. He stated that he will inform the Constitutional Officers of the Board’s tentative approval of Alternative 2.
Commr. Hanson expressed her appreciation to the Constitutional Officers for their sensitivity to the tight financial situation and willingness to work with the Board on the budget.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 1:45 p.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK