A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
JULY 8, 2003
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, July 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; Catherine C. Hanson; Jennifer Hill; and Robert A. Pool. Others present were: William A. “Bill” Neron, County Manager; Mr. Sanford (Sandy) A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioner’s Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE
Commr. Stivender gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that he would like to add to the agenda, under his departmental items, a discussion of proposals and options pertaining to the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Mr. Neron stated that Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, will be giving the Board an update on this item.
Commr. Cadwell noted that there will be a special presentation today by the Economic Development Council (EDC).
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
Commr. Stivender made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Pool, to approve the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 through 4.
Under discussion, Commr. Hanson stated that Tab 4, the execution of the Agreement between Lake County and the School Board, to distribute funds to the School Board for the 2003 Middle School Summer Enrichment Program, has been approved under next year’s budget, but she is not sure that this is the best way to spend those dollars, therefore, she felt that those funds needed to be reevaluated. She stated that, even if it is determined that this may be the best way, she felt that prevention might be even better. She was also not sure that they would get the full benefit of the County’s participation in this program.
Commr. Stivender stated that Commr. Hanson had made this comment earlier at the Financial Retreat. She stated that she is the liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee, and she met with Mr. Fletcher Smith, Director of Community Services, and Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, and they are working on how to better use the money and develop a more comprehensive approach of all of the dollars spent on children.
Commr. Cadwell noted that the item before the Board was initiated through Parks and Recreation.
Mr. Neron clarified that this is the program agreement for this fiscal year, and they are looking at it for next year.
Commr. Hanson clarified that she was referring to programs that were purely impact fees, which she felt should be included in a review, and any benefit of those dollars that the County is responsible for would probably need a comprehensive evaluation at the end of the year.
Commr. Cadwell called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, to approve Tabs 1 through 4, as follows:
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
LifeStream Behavioral Center
Request from Community Services for approval to designate LifeStream Behavioral Center as the approved drug abuse treatment/education program recipient for funds collected per Ordinance 2001-90 (Alcohol & Drug Trust Fund Revenue) for FY 2000/2001, FY 2001/2002 and FY 2002/2003.
Leesburg Animal Control
Request from Public Safety for approval to designate impoundment cage (Part Number 15529) as surplus and to gain approval from the Board of County Commissioners to donate the impoundment cage to Leesburg Animal Control.
Traffic Signal Maintenance - Agreement with Summer Bay Master Association, Inc.
Request from Public Works for approval and execution of Agreement between Lake County Board of County Commissioners and Summer Bay Master Association, Inc., hereinafter referred to as “SBMA”, regarding Traffic Signal Maintenance on the traffic signal to be located at the intersection of U.S. 192 and Town Center Boulevard.
Agreement with School Board - Summer Enrichment Program
Request from Public Works for approval and execution of the Agreement between Lake County and the School Board to distribute funds to the School Board for the 2003 Middle School Summer Enrichment Program.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL/WILLIAM C. SCHWARTZ INDUSTRY
INNOVATION AWARD - LAKE-SUMTER EMS
Commr. Cadwell stated that Ms. Derieth Sutton, Secretary to the Industrial Development Authority (IDA)/Lake County Regional Director, Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC), was here today to make a presentation, as well as Mr. Edd Holder, who has been a long time advocate of economic development, and a Lake County member on the EDC.
Ms. Sutton addressed the Board and stated that she has with her today Mr. Holder who is a one of the Metro Orlando EDC Board members, and he is going to help her with the presentation this morning. She stated that, on June 27, 2003, the Metro Orlando EDC held its William C. Schwartz Awards appreciation ceremony. In the past, the award ceremony focused on recognizing companies in each of the four regions, Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties, and the City of Orlando, that made major impacts in the community. She stated that they did something different this year and recognized innovation and technology. She is pleased to let the Board know that, on June 27th, they recognized Lake-Sumter Emergency Medical Services (EMS), but they wanted to recognize them again here at home. Ms. Sutton stated that Mr. Jim Judge, Executive Director, Lake-Sumter EMS, is here to accept the award again. She also wanted to recognize Mr. John Majewski from GNT Conveyor Company who is also a Board member of the EDC.
Mr. Holder addressed the Board and stated that Lake-Sumter EMS began its operations in the fall of 2000, and this unique bi-county government owned corporation would mandate to provide efficient, cost effective ambulance transportation. He stated that this innovative concept of community based EMS service altered from the normal pyridine of competing municipal agencies and replaced it with a system of integrated corporate, county, and city agencies. In its first three years of operation, Lake Sumter EMS has enhanced local service by adding six ambulances, three quick response vehicles, and one supervisory vehicle, to the current fleet. These additions have taken place without an increase in either taxes, or county subsidies. Mr. Holder stated that, after the first year of service, the tax burden in Lake County was lowered, and they would like to congratulate and present the William C. Schwartz award to Lake Sumter EMS.
Mr. Judge came forward to accept the award and stated that it was great to be able to bring this award home to Lake County, and that it was exciting to be a part of an innovative service. He stated that they hope to stay on the road to excellence and bring more good news in the future. At this time, he extended his sincere thanks.
Ms. Sutton stated that Lake Sumter EMS is featured in a supplement from the Orlando Business Journal and this was provided at the breakfast that morning, but it also went out in the following Sunday paper. She will make sure the information is made available to those who are interested.
Mr. Holder stated Ms. Sutton had earlier introduced Mr. Majewski, CEO of GNT Conveyor, and they are not only proud to have them in their community, but they are very proud to have them in community development. Mr. Holder stated that the company has 550 employees, and it was a home grown company that started in Clermont around 1994. Mr. Holder stated that they are moving into a new building soon, but they have already outgrown that building, which is located on Highway 561. He extended his appreciation to Mr. Majewski and his family for choosing Lake County, and for creating the workplace they have today.
Commr. Cadwell stated that they appreciate Mr. Majewski becoming a part of the community. He also wanted to thank the members on the Lake Sumter EMS Board who have done a great job, and to recognize Mr. Shannon Elswick and Mr. Bob McKee, Lake County Tax Collector, who were instrumental in helping to start this ambulance service.
PROPOSED BUDGET FOR FY 2003/2004
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that he would like to spend a few minutes giving highlights of his budget message, which was distributed to the Board, and then the Sheriff would like to make a presentation on his budget. Mr. Neron stated that his budget message this year is much abbreviated than last year.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he felt that one of the reasons that Mr. Neron’s message is abbreviated this year is because the Board members were forthcoming at their budget workshop (Financial Retreat - June 16, 2003). He appreciated the action taken by the Board on that day.
Mr. Neron stated that the proposed budget that was presented to the Board last week reflects the direction of the Board from that workshop session, and it was very helpful to staff to have that direction. Mr. Neron read his opening statement, which was included in the budget packet presented to the Board, and noted that, as required by law, the proposed Countywide budget is balanced. The General Fund for the 2004 fiscal year is balanced holding millage rates constant and including reserves of approximately $14.3 million, as compared to about $8 million going into this fiscal year’s budget. Mr. Neron stated that several increases have been accommodated in the proposed budget and, based on the direction of the Board at the workshop, they include full funding of libraries, increased health insurance costs, increased indigent health care, and additional funding for the school resource officers. It is important to remember that, except for those previously mentioned funding increases, the upcoming General Fund budget remains flat for all other programs and staffing. Mr. Neron stated that the proposed budget is balanced using a Countywide millage rate of 5.917, which includes .83 mills for Solid Waste operations, an Ambulance Fund millage rate of 0.5289, and a Stormwater Management Fund millage rate of 0.5000. The total proposed County budget for all funds is approximately $266 million, a decrease of over $25 million for the current fiscal year, because many one-time capital expenditures, primarily impact fee funded projects, will be completed in the current fiscal year. In addition, a reduction in the County’s share of the local option sales tax will mean reduced spending in that area, and debt for the 1992 sales tax revenue bonds has been full retired as of the current fiscal year.
Mr. Neron explained that ad valorem taxes account for almost 67% of the proposed General Fund revenues, and most other revenue sources have remained the same or experienced only slight increases. He stated that there are two major issues that they will need to workshop later this session, which have been discussed with the Board this summer, and they are in relation to solid waste funding. The proposed Solid Waste budget, as presented, is based on keeping the same millage support as in the current fiscal year and leaving the tipping fee at the Covanta plant at $45 per ton. The proposed Solid Waste budget contains an increase in the non-ad valorem assessment for unincorporated area residents of $7 per year adjusting the proposed rate from $173.50 to $180.50. The proposed budget reduces staffing this year by nine positions, in addition to the 12 positions eliminated in last year’s budget. The proposed budget also reduces the days of operation of the several drop-off centers from three days per week to two days per week. The Covanta contract and the agreements with the franchise haulers provide for an annual adjustment based on cost of living factors and, as these costs increase each year, small adjustments to the rates need to be done since the budget is already so constrained that it is not possible to cover these increases from available revenues. The Board has directed the County Manager to begin negotiations with the three franchise haulers to determine if the proposed $7 increase can be avoided by reducing the number of residential garbage collections from twice per week, to once a week service. Staff is in the process of meeting with the franchise haulers and will report back to the Board in early August concerning this proposal.
Mr. Neron stated that the proposed budget also includes a proposed increase in Fire and Rescue Assessment fees from the current $99.23 per residential unit to $137 per residential unit, with proportionate increases in the other Fire and Rescue assessment rate categories. Based on discussion at the Financial Retreat, staff will be bringing back to the Board, in early August, a full report showing what reductions would mean to the level of service, for a final determination on that matter.
Mr. Neron explained that the County’s General Fund is currently in a stable condition, however, as State and other local fees have flattened, there has been a greater reliance on ad valorem revenues to financial General Fund services. As the County has built, staffed and enhanced services, there have been only slight increases in current revenues and no development or implementation of new revenue sources. He stated that monetary changes at the State level to fund the state court system have not yet been fully identified, however, a preliminary analysis indicates that Lake County appears to have met the State’s goal of holding counties harmless financially. He noted that there is still another legislative session next year before that becomes fully active, and things could change between now and then. Staff will continue to monitor the impacts of Article V and bring relevant issues to the Board for direction.
Mr. Neron stated that there are no new positions being recommended for funding in the departments and programs under the supervision of the Board, as outlined in his statement. He noted that response times for Animal Control and Code Enforcement will continue to deteriorate as the same number of personnel are expected to respond to an ever increasing number of requests for service, which is an item of concern.
Mr. Neron expressed his appreciation to staff for their dedication in preparing the proposed document, and stressed that all Constitutional Officers have been most cooperative in the preparation of the proposed budget.
Budget - Sheriff’s Department
Sheriff George E. Knupp, Jr. addressed the Board and stated that they did ask for a salary increase of 5% for their employees, and they have reduced it to the same level that the Board is going to give their employees, which is 4%, and that will create a savings of $234,566. Also in their budget, they asked for one warrants clerk, one crime scene technician, and two report writers on the law side. Sheriff Knupp stated that, in the past, they had asked for 16 deputies, because it was his goal to place two Deputy Sheriffs within each zone throughout the County but, due to the fiscal constraints of the County, they did not ask for any deputies. On the jail side, they asked for four correctional officers, one LPN, and one medical clerk to open a pod in the Prelude, to try and relieve the number of inmates sleeping on the floor. He stated that, as they open more pods at Prelude, they are going to need more correctional officers.
Sheriff Knupp stated that they discussed resource deputies in the schools, and they have resolved that issue between the Board, the School Board, and the Sheriff’s Department. They may have to pick up the one position in the City of Eustis, but the City has not yet made a decision.
Sheriff Knupp stated that, in regards to the 16 deputies that they are asking for each year, at the request of the Board this year, they have applied for a federal COPS grant for 16 deputies, but he does not believe those deputies will be available for 2004-2005 but, if they are approved, he feels they will be available for 2005-2006. The only vehicles they will need this year are six four-wheel vehicles that will come out of the infrastructure funding. At this time, Sheriff Knupp referred to the booklet Lake County Sheriff’s Office Budget Fiscal Year 2003/2004, Page 4, and reviewed the Budget by Function noting the adopted, requested, and difference, and a 6.6% Total General Fund.
Commr. Hanson stated that she appreciates the Sheriff and his staff working with the Board and going along with the salary increases that are consistent with the rest of the constitutional officers.
PROPOSED BUDGET FOR FY 2003-2004 (Continued)
Commr. Cadwell stated that today’s worksession was really to present the budget, and he asked whether any of the Board members had any questions today.
Commr. Hanson stated that she is pleased with the efforts on the Affordable Housing and not being hit harder than they were at the State level, which may have been due to their communications with Tallahassee.
Commr. Stivender referred to Page 4 of Mr. Neron’s statement and stated that she has received a number of complaints from regular residential users of the landfill, because it appears to them that the hours of the landfill are set up for the commercial users, not the residential users. She asked that staff check on this matter.
Mr. Neron stated that staff has had look at the hours. He explained that basically the drop off centers are geared to the residential users and, even going from three days a week to two days a week, they are keeping all of them open on Saturdays, and one other day during the week. He is working with staff on doing a public information campaign, and they are moving forward with reducing the number of days at the drop off centers, to get as much of a savings as possible this fiscal year. Since they went to universal collection this past year, those drop off centers are not being used quite as much as they were in the past, and it is a very expensive operation.
Commr. Stivender stated that, in regards to Mr. Neron’s comments on Page 5 about the response times for Code Enforcement and Animal Control, with the County working on the joint planning areas (JPAs) with the cities, and with the annexations that are taking place, she feels that they are not going to need as many positions in those two areas.
Mr. Neron stated that this might be true in Animal Control, but not so much in Code Enforcement, because the County provides this service to a lot of the cities. He feels that the Animal Control employees are probably the most dedicated and hardest working employees, and he was hoping this year to be able to give them some relief, but next year they are definitely going to need to start adding some positions, because this is basically the second year in a row that they have added no new positions under the Board and, over time, they are going to start seeing the results of that decision.
Commr. Stivender stated that she had asked Mr. Neron to look at a needs assessment for employees. She stated that they keep placing more responsibilities on current employees, and they do not add any new ones and, even though she knows they are considering all issues in a tight budget year, along with the idea of not wanting to raise taxes, it has been about 13 years since this has been considered. She stated that a large burden is being placed on all of these departments, and they have not done a needs assessment to tell them the areas where they really need more people. She stated that she knows that this is not something that they can do now, but it is something that can address for next year.
Commr. Hanson stated that it would be appropriate to have the needs assessment because, for a long time, she has thought one needed to be done along with any potential ongoing arrangements.
Commr. Stivender stated that they have cut employees at Solid Waste for the past two years, but they have not done this anywhere else, and they have not said that they need more employees in certain departments, because the demands are greater. She stated that they are looking at the buildings, and the capital improvements plan, but they need to look at the whole needs assessment for the County.
Mr. Neron stated that, in working with staff, this is probably something that they can do in-house, and he can bring something back to the Board. He would like to start that after this budget year, and then they will have it when they go into budget deliberations next year.
Commr. Hanson addressed the grants that the County traditionally gives to social service programs and stated that there is an increase reflected in the budget.
Mr. Neron explained that the County has $40,000 and an additional $20,000 has been added to the budget.
Commr. Hanson stated that she has talked to Mr. Fletcher Smith, Director of Community Services, and she understands that the County used to give $120,000 for these types of services, and then the County approved the We Care rogram at $75,000 and this amount came out of the $120,000. Then they cut $30,000 from the We Care program last year, which went back into the General Fund rather than back into these types of services. They have also added groups that they have agreed to fund, and they cut some that they had approved before and she is not sure that $20,000 is enough. She would like the Board to look at putting the $30,000 that was cut from the We Care program back into the grant program, and to include the Haven, which had been cut out completely last year, because they were short of funds, and the CITE program, as well as others, that had been traditionally funded but were eliminated last year.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that, when staff brings these other issues back to the Board in early August, they will add this issue, for direction. It was noted through the discussion that the Board also wanted a historical perspective of these funds.
Commr. Hill addressed the earlier discussion about the impact of Article V and stated that, even though it is not going to apply to this year’s budget, she questioned whether staff has included anywhere in the County’s financial implications the affect it will have on them. She understands that this is an ongoing process with the judges and the Clerk’s Office and that they are in the middle of doing a cost analysis, and she wanted to know if staff was working with them.
Mr. Neron stated that he has met with the Mr. James C. Watkins, Clerk of the Courts, who is Chair of the Clerk’s Committee on Article V, and their working group, the Clerk’s Office, the Court Administrator, and County staff, and they are trying to get the fiscal implications of the Bill that has passed. At first glance, it appears that they are going to be revenue neutral, based on the current legislation, but he is hearing from the Florida Association of Counties and others that no one is happy with the current Bill, and they still have another session, between now and next July, when the Bill is supposed to be implemented. Staff has identified and included funds, to the best of their ability, in the proposed budget to cover the three months of the State budget, in the next fiscal year. Mr. Neron stated the he feels the State is going to be in bad financial shape next year, and he is concerned that there may be additional costs that may be sent down to the County. He noted that Commr. Cadwell, who is on the Florida Association of Counties’ Executive Committee, has been working on the issue.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Florida Association of Counties worked with Senator Rod Smith, Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Article V Implementation and Judiciary, and Representative Holly Benson, Chairman of the Select Committee on Article V, and, even though they were unable to get all that they wanted, they did do pretty good. He stated that a presentation was made in Orlando a few months ago, and he can get Commr. Hill a copy of the written information.
Commr. Hill stated that she got a copy of the presentation, as noted, and she was concerned about the revenue for the sales tax money, and the County Revenue Sharing Programs. She noted that Mr. Scott Roti, Chief Deputy, Courts Management, Clerk’s Office, is going through it and identifying all of the State and local fees and services, and she wanted to make sure someone from staff is working with them. She stressed that this is going to be something that will soon be implemented and she wanted to make sure that they will be able to make decisions next year at this time.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board will have to make decisions on some ancillary programs. He explained that a lot of these types of programs are outside the realm of what Article V is going to cover such as Teen Court and others, which they have asked the Clerk of Courts to do over the years.
Mr. Neron stated that the most worrisome item relayed to him in the proposed Bill is how they are going to define communication systems and computer systems, and there is an interpretation that appears valid right now where the counties may be on the line to help fund a State Criminal Justice Information System, which could be very costly. He feels that Ms. Sarah LaMarche, Director of Budget and Administrative Services, and her staff have done a good job with their projections and, in the areas where they know that there are going to be reductions in revenue sharing, they have already plugged those numbers into the proposed revenue in the budget side.
Commr. Hanson stated that, at the workshop, the Board talked about a grants person and public information and possibly contracting for that person, and she questioned whether there are funds available for that person.
Mr. Neron explained that staff has prepared a draft Request For Proposal (RFP), which is being reviewed right now, with the approach being that the grants person, or firm, would be selected to do this on a contingency basis, based on a percentage of the grants awarded on a sliding scale. They will be doing some research before they bring the RFP back to the Board for approval to see what has worked in other counties, and to see if that is going to be the best approach, or whether they would be better off paying a flat fee. The RFP would be open to firm(s) or individual(s), for complete fairness. Right now there are no funds budgeted until they see what approach they will take and what type of proposals they get back.
Commr. Hanson stated that the County needs to do a much better job than they have done in the past, in letting the public know what is happening at the County level.
Mr. Neron explained that they have put together a team of folks from the various departments to expand their outreach program, and Ms. Cindy Hall, Assistant County Manager, is chairing that group.
Commr. Hanson stated that she would remind the County Manager that this was one of the key issues, when they made that change, that the County Manager would work very hard on that outreach and the web site, and those other types of things.
Mr. Neron stated that staff will be bringing a program back to the Board, as they get it developed, but he is pleased with the direction that they are going in.
CITIZEN QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD
Sherry Wolkens - Town of Minneola Annexations/Hancock Road
Ms. Sherry Wolkens, Debbie Lane, Clermont, addressed the Board and stated that she had appeared before the Board at the end of last year with concerns about Minneola and their annexations, and Commr. Pool informed her that the County has no control over city annexations. Ms. Wolkens stated that she is very concerned about an annexation at the end of her street (Debbie Lane) on 240 acres where the Minneola Planning and Zoning Department neither recommended nor denied the approval for 720 homes. She explained that she lives in the County and Minneola is annexing all around her, and she does not feel that Minneola is interested in her concerns. She feels that she does not have any representation from the County, and Tallahassee is too far away for her to go to get representation. She is very unhappy, because she does not know what will happen to the roads, such as North Grassy Lake Road, which is full of potholes. She stated that she does not see where Minneola has their infrastructure in place, and they get their police and fire protection from the County, and it is her understanding from the meeting last night that, if this property were to come before the County for development, they would only be able to put in 136 homes, which is a big difference. She wanted to know how this Board, as a governing Board for the County, is going to help her and other County residents. She stated that the first reading on the project is July 22, 2003 and, even though Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager, has attended meetings, Commr. Pool represents her district, and she asked that he attend this meeting.
Commr. Pool stated that, as cities expand and grow in urban areas, the County is working on joint planning area (JPA) agreements with the cities, and they are trying to limit those areas where each is trying to approve things, but the Town of Minneola, as any other city, has home rule and, if they want to annex, the County is not going to stop them from annexing. He explained that the County cannot prohibit home rule from a city expanding its corporate limits and, if the Chapter 180 (Florida Statutes) Utility District service area is where they hope to provide water and sewer, Ms. Wolkens might be an urban node, at some point.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the County has fought in Tallahassee to change the annexation laws, but the State really prohibits the County from doing much at all. Each year they have asked to sit down with the League of Cities to try and work out a compromise that they could take to the legislature to change some of those rules. Commr. Cadwell stated that, by policy, the County could take a position where it comments on annexations and, in the past, the County has only done this once with Groveland, and once with Leesburg.
Ms. Wolkens stated that she feels she is being left out of the process, and she is very concerned about the infrastructure that is not in place. She explained that they do not have a sewer plant, and everything is being based on package plants and, even though the State addressed this with them, they still do not have it. She further explained that there is a very bad curve coming off of Old Highway 50 onto Grassy Lake Road, and she tried to get the developer last night to commit to fixing that curve, and he would not do it. She stated that it is a County road, and it will fall on the County to have to provide for that road, which is another burden on the County, yet the County is not getting any benefit from it. Ms. Wolkens stated that she does understand the position of the Board on city annexations.
Commr. Pool stated that, as Commr. Cadwell explained, the County is trying its best to work with the League of Cities in some cooperative effort and that is why they are working on JPA agreements, which will help them determine the urban boundary lines, and the future for these areas and, even though Ms. Wolkens says that the County provides them with services, they pay for those services through their taxes.
Commr. Cadwell explained that there are 14 cities, and some have different growth ideas than others. He stated that the City of Clermont is willing to talk about a true JPA but, because of particular situations, whether it be an investment in utilities, or just the philosophy that the city wants to grow, some of them are not willing to discuss a true JPA. He explained that they have always had JPA agreements, but they really did not mean anything, but hopefully what they are producing with Clermont is a true JPA where they will really control what is happening in that area, and the County and the City together will control it. Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board can take a position on annexations, if that is what Ms. Wolkens is requesting today.
Ms. Wolkens stated that this is exactly what she is asking today, and she wanted to know what she could do to help the Board, as her governing body, to make them more aware of these important issues.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, if the State would change the laws to restrict some of the power of the cities, then it would make it easier for the County to do something about their annexations. He will get Ms. Wolkens a copy of the Florida Association of Counties’ stance on annexation and what they would prefer to have as language, and he suggested that she contact her representatives before the next legislative session.
Ms. Wolkens stated that she would like some information about the stop sign on Old Highway 50 at the end of Hancock Road, and Commr. Cadwell noted that the Board would get this information for her by the end of the day.
Jim Franklin -
Lake County Water Authority
Mr. Jim Franklin addressed the Board and stated that he had three items that he wanted like to discuss with the Board today. Mr. Franklin stated that, in May, he had read an article in the newspaper where the Board had endorsed the Lake County Water Authority’s request for more funds to buy environmentally sensitive lands. The article had indicated that a five percent (5%) increase on property values had been recommended. Mr. Franklin stated that this would raise his property taxes to over $7,000 and his taxes would be about $10,000 a year. He did not believe that the Board realized what it was doing when they endorsed this idea. He stated that the Water Authority does not need any more land, because it has more land than it can manage. Mr. Franklin explained that the property across the canal from his property is so grown up that half of the canal is blocked, and he has been trying to get the Water Authority to do something about it for the past five years. He stated that it is costing the County money, because the mosquito and plant control people can spray it in the open areas and kill it, but it always comes back. He stated that it costs about $2,000 a gallon for the chemical they are using for spraying and, because it is not killing it, they are trying to find something new. Mr. Franklin stated that the item relating to the Water Authority’s tax increase should be dropped from the referendum. They do not need the land, because they already have 6,500 acres and $9 million, and it would only be taking land off of the tax roll and taxpayers will be making up the deficit.
Fire and Rescue/The Villages
Mr. Franklin stated that there was another article in the paper about The Villages and fire and rescue and, if The Villages decide to have their own service, they will not subsidize the fire fees for churches. He did not realize that the County was subsidizing the fees for schools and churches and, even though he felt it was all right for the County to subsidize public schools, he did not believe it was constitutional to subsidize private schools and churches. Mr. Franklin felt that the Board needed to look at this issue and determine how everybody can pay their share of fire fees.
Public Safety Department
Mr. Franklin addressed an article that was in the paper this morning about the resignation of the County Public Safety Director who had been responsible for the fire department. He explained that the County has a fire chief and several deputy fire chiefs that do a good job running the fire department. Mr. Franklin stated that the Public Safety Director was responsible for safety in general, as well as the Sheriff, who has also been doing a good job. Mr. Franklin questioned why the County needs to pay another individual $81,000 a year to do a job that is already being done.
Mr. Franklin stated that he has talked to Commr. Hill several times about things that are happening in the County. He is a Republican, and he feels that the County should be run a little more conservatively. He is also retired and lives on a fixed income, and last year, they raised his taxes $221 a year, and he got a $219 pay increase.
Sherry Wolkens - Town of Minneola Annexations/Hancock Road (Continued)
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, addressed the question about the stop sign on Old Highway 50 and Hancock Road and stated that this is the realignment of Old Highway 50 into Hancock Road where Hancock Road becomes the main road. The stop sign is on Old Highway 50 and, in the next five years, staff feels it will be signalized because of the traffic pattern in this area.
Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Stivender to meet with Ms. Wolkens to address any other questions she may have about this item.
METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATION (MPO)
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, addressed the Board to discuss the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Mr. Stivender stated that the Department of Transportation (DOT) is asking the cities for a final decision, and to move forward on it by the end of this month. Mr. Stivender stated that, when staff met with the cities and Rafael Montalvo, Associate Director, Florida Conflict Resolution Consortium, they asked that the County Commissioners act on the same scenarios and issues, as early as possible, so that they can get some direction from the County. Last night he presented to the Town of Lady Lake the options that he reviewed with Commr. Cadwell, and Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager.
Mr. Stivender reviewed three scenarios, as presented to the Board, and the coordinating maps, and stated that they are looking at Lake County as a whole MPO, except for the options available in the Lady Lake area. He explained the uniqueness of Lady Lake noting that one of the issues in this area has been that the Marion County MPO has offered two seats to Lady Lake on their current MPO, one seat to Lake County, and one seat to Sumter County. He explained that the Lady Lake JPA Map (1) would have Lady Lake as the city; the shaded area would go toward the Marion County area along with Sumter County where The Villages area is located; the planning area that would be included outside of the urban area would be either Lake Ella Road, or Eagles Nest Road, up through a thread of Lake Griffin, which would be the transportation planning area for that direction. He noted that this is what both Lady Lake and Marion County would like to see as an area. He explained that Marion County has already voted on the planning area they would like to see in Sumter County, but there is concern from Sumter County that they only want to include the urban area and no planning area, as described.
Mr. Stivender explained Scenario #1, Option B2, and the Lady Lake JPA Map (2), which includes all of Lake County, Lady Lake, and the urbanized area of Sumter County only.
Commr. Cadwell explained that, in their discussions with the Chairman of Sumter County, they offered an out clause, which may be something that will allow them to incorporate them into that plan.
Mr. Stivender explained the map that showed Lady Lake with no planning area around it, and the planning line for the urban area, which does not match the city limits.
Commr. Cadwell wanted staff to make sure that everyone understands that all of these options would include the other urban corridor in Lake County; it does not preclude the rest of the County.
Mr. Stivender explained the last map, which basically uses the borders that exist today, and stated that Lady Lake would stay with Lake County;Lake County would not have any part of Sumter County; and Sumter County would choose to go with Marion County MPO.
Commr. Cadwell stated that there are two things that the Board needs to consider as they go through this process, one, what makes sense planning wise, and two, what will the Governor sign and, in doing this, they cannot ignore the direction being taken by Lady Lake and The Villages.
Commr. Stivender addressed Scenario #2, which includes the urban part of Sumter County and Lady Lake, and questioned whether staff made any recommendations at the meeting last night.
Mr. Stivender explained that he and Mr. Greg Slay, Marion County MPO, made separate presentations on MPOs, as well as explained possible options that had been previously discussed, but they made no recommendations. They have another meeting later this month to discuss the direction they want to take on this item.
Mr. Stivender stated that the Board has before them three scenarios, as follows: #1 - Lake County with Lady Lake Area and Sumter County Urban Section; #2 - Lake County with Lady Lake Area and No Sumter County Urban Section); and #3 - Lake County without Lady Lake Area and No Sumter County Urban Section. In regards to Option A, when they met with the cities, those cities, Eustis, Lady Lake, and Leesburg, said they would rather have more cities. The second option, Option C, made the cities uncomfortable, because the cities would rotate elected officials, even though they would include more cities. On the last page where Lady Lake leaves this area, they incorporated Minneola and, also where they included the Sumter County area, they recommended including a single Commissioner from Sumter County. He stated that, if they took the five Commissioners, six cities being represented for 11 members, and added those two factors, they would get 13 members, which is Option B2.
Commr. Cadwell stated that Option B2 would be the best scenario, with Lady Lake and Sumter County being included, because it spreads out the votes amongst the cities, and it will be harder for the cities to form voting blocks. Commr. Cadwell clarified that the Board would be endorsing Option B2, with the Lady Lake JPA Map (2), as shown, as one of their choices.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that he and Mr. Stivender were present at the City/County Managers’ meeting last Wednesday, and they had a lengthy discussion on the options and, while they did not have Option B2, the consensus was to support the map, Lady Lake JPA Map (2), that Mr. Stivender has on the table today, with more cities being represented.
Mr. Stivender stated that Lake County has an alliance with Metro-Plan, and Ocala/ Marion County MPO does not and they are willing to immediately work with Lake County as an alliance, so they have their projects on the same priority list.
Commr. Cadwell explained that the action today will allow the cities to have some idea of where the County is going when they are making their decision, and he feels they need to step forward first and show them a consensus of at least a couple of choices.
After further discussion, it was determined by the Board and staff that they will begin the process with one of the options.
Commr. Stivender made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Pool, to approve Option B2, with the map shown as Lady Lake JPA (2).
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell clarified that the purpose of the motion is to send that option to the cities.
Mr. Neron stated that, based on the Board’s action, he will prepare a letter for the Chairman’s signature to Rafael Montalvo, Associate Director, Florida Conflict Resolution Consortium, with a copy to all of the cities, so they know their position.
Commr. Stivender noted that staff can also discuss this item on Friday, at the League of Cities’ luncheon.
Commr. Cadwell called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
COMMISSIONER POOL - DISTRICT #2
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved request for approval and execution of Proclamation 2003-112 declaring September 17 through 23, 2003 as Constitution Week.
COMMISSIONER STIVENDER - DISTRICT #3
CENTRAL FLORIDA SPORTS COMMISSION
Sailing Regatta/Celebrity Mascot Games
Commr. Stivender informed the Board that, in working with the Eustis Sailing Center and the Lake County Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the Central Florida Sports Commission has secured the Junior Sailing Regatta on Lake Eustis, October 11 and 12.
Commr. Stivender stated that the Board members are invited to the 11th Annual Celebrity Mascot Games at the T.D. Waterhouse on July 19, 2003, with profits going to Hope for Kids.
DISCUSSION - FOOTBALL AND SOCCER FIELD SHORTAGE
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in regards to the football and soccer field shortage in North Lake County, he wanted to try and give staff some direction to resolve the issue on a temporary basis. He stated that the Board will be receiving the master plan for recreation, and he is sure that it is going to say that they need a large facility in North Lake County but, until that time, they are going to have a problem in this area. He would like to get the teams a temporary facility, until such time that the Board receives the plan. The City of Umatilla has provided them a facility through the remodeling of the high school, and they are losing that facility, and the City physically does not have anywhere for them. He noted that 85% of the kids that participate in the program are County residents. Last year they worked with the Altoona school, in conjunction with the School Board and LifeStream, in trying to use that facility, but a little bit of work needs to be done to that field, and they need temporary lighting, but it would house the soccer league and youth football for their practices. He noted that the different sports teams have shared facilities in the past.
Commr. Stivender noted that the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee will be meeting next week, and they could address this issue at that time.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he had no problem with the Advisory Committee moving forward with this item to try and get a temporary facility.
Commr. Hanson stated that she has no problem with the item brought forward by Commr. Cadwell, and she hoped that the entire Board would agree to pursuing a temporary solution, but she feels that they need to look at the whole northeast area of the County.
WATER QUALITY/SHOCKLEY HEIGHTS/WEKIVA RIVER
Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that they received a FAX from Alcalde & Fay reporting that, within the House Agriculture Appropriations report, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has directed the Under Secretary of Agriculture to give consideration for financial assistance to Lake County’s drinking water quality improvements and Shockley Heights and the Wekiva Falls. He met with Representatives Ric Keller and Corrine Brown in regards to the water situation in Shockley Heights and Wekiva Falls, to discuss getting assistance, and they now have appropriations coming out of the subcommittee in a Bill to allow them to get those monies, and they are very optimistic that those types of projects are going to go through the process. He will be meeting with Mr. Jim Davenport, Associate, Alcalde & Fay, this afternoon.
Commr. Hanson stated that Mr. Walter Wood, Senior Hydro-geologist, Water Resources, has been working with the people in the Wekiva area, because Seminole County had some interest in providing utilities out to the Wekiva River on their side, so there could be an opportunity for a partnership. She stated that the folks that already have their homes in the Wekiva Falls area have a lot of salt intrusion under their wells and, even though it may not be quite the same as Shockley Heights, the need is as great.
Commr. Cadwell stated that this will involve study monies and implementation monies, and he would like to thank Mr. Davenport and his office for their work on this particular item.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board needed to have some discussion in regards to calendars, and issues with public workshops, public hearings, vacation time, and other commitments by Commissioners.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that he had traditionally scheduled workshops on the second Tuesday of each month, and staff has been using it as a regular meeting day, even when there were no workshop issues. He needed to direction from the Board to schedule only workshop items on the second Tuesday of the month.
It was clarified by the Board members that there had never been direction by this Board to change the process, and it basically just evolved into this type of scheduling.
Mr. Neron understood that the direction of the Board is to follow the previous procedure; if staff does not have workshop items to be discussed on the second Tuesday of the month, they will cancel that meeting, unless there is an item of utmost importance.
After some discussion of calendars, it was noted that Commr. Cadwell and Commr. Stivender will not be present for the July 15th meeting. It was further noted that there will be a regular Board meeting on July 15th, with the fire issue being moved to July 22nd. There will be no Board meeting on August 12th. Commr. Pool noted that he will be gone on August 5th; Commr. Hanson will be out of town September 2nd and October 7th.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that, if Commr. Cadwell, as Chairman, would like to suggest a rule, in regards to the appointment of a chairman in the absence of the Chairman and Vice Chairman, it could be ratified by the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved that, in the event that the Chairman and the Vice Chairman, are not going to be at a meeting, the Chairman can appoint someone to take his or her place. Commr. Cadwell asked Commr. Hanson to chair the meeting on July 15, 2003.
TOWN OF MINNEOLA/MEETING - FIRE PROTECTION
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, informed the Board that he has been invited to attend a workshop of the Minneola Town Council next Tuesday evening, on fire protection issues. He and Mr. Gary Kaiser, Interim Director Public Safety, will be attending that meeting. He noted that they are looking at several options as to whether or not to continue contracting with the County, or to do their own fire department, or to join with one of the other cities.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 10:30 a.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN ATTEST:
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK