A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
May 20, 2005
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Friday, May 20, 2005, at 10:00 a.m., at Trout Lake Nature Center, Eustis, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Jennifer Hill, Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson, Vice Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell; and Robert A. Pool. Commr. Debbie Stivender was absent. Others present were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Cindy Hall, Interim County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioners’ Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Judy Whaley, Deputy Clerk.
CALL TO ORDER
Commr. Hill called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA) UPDATE
Ms. Regina Frazier, Director, Office of Budget, reported that reimbursements received from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the State of Florida and others for damages which occurred during the 2004 hurricane season (hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne) total $6,193,636. Additionally, pending worksheets that total $13,062,578 have been submitted and are in the review process and project worksheets for permanent work for damage to facilities are being prepared. Expenditures in the general fund are $20,698,503 and do not include any personal services time for employees. Once the project worksheets are completed, staff can differentiate how much the total cost was versus the reimbursements. Ms. Frazier further explained that $5.4 million of the reimbursement is for debris clean up and most of the rest is salaries, supplies, etc.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that FEMA will decline the debris pick up services in private gated subdivisions. His office will be recommending an appeal of that decision to the Board, in an approximate amount of $1 to $1.5 million, once the decline occurs.
The Sheriff’s Office, EMS (Emergency Management Services) and the municipalities submitted project worksheets to FEMA as separate agencies.
Ms. Frazier will provide periodic updates to the Board.
PRESENTATION – LAKE COUNTY’S FINANCIAL CONDITION
Ms. Cindy Hall, Interim County Manager, explained that the presentation, Analyzing Lake County’s Finances, was given to the Board in 2004 and the same statistics, updated for today’s presentation, are being followed to ensure trends are trending in the right direction.
Mr. Jason Showe, Revenue Coordinator, Office of Budget, stated that the ICMA (International City/County Management Association), in conjunction with the GFOA (Government Finance Officers Association), developed a handbook in 2003 called Evaluating Financial Condition – A Handbook for Local Government. Mr. Showe stated that the 22 indicators in today’s presentation are not easily comparable to other municipalities because of the variation in ways the County does business. It is important to look at trends. In most cases, audited data from Fiscal Years 2000-2004 was used for the report. Some 2005 budget figures, as well as projections, were also used. The presentation, Analyzing Lake County’s Finances, (a copy is included in the backup material) includes the following:
Responding to Commr. Hanson, Mr. Showe reported that the commercial/light industry taxable value, as a percentage of the whole, is going down a little and is partially due to the rapid residential expansion. In 2001 it was 12.55% and in 2005 it was 11.7%.
Per Commr. Pool’s request, Mr. Showe will provide a comparison, at a later date, of Lake County to other like-sized Florida counties.
BUDGET ISSUES FOR FY 2005/06 – HEALTH INSURANCE
Ms. Frazier presented information on funding for health insurance contributions for Fiscal Year 2006. Projections indicate a $1.5 million deficit for 2006 if contributions are kept at the same rate as 2005. Ms. Frazier stated that the recommendation is to increase the employee’s contribution by $5 per pay period for single coverage and by $10 per pay period for family coverage. The insurance fund can be supplemented by $250,000 from the worker’s compensation fund. The Board’s contribution would need to be increased from $6,100 to $7,522 per budgeted position.
Ms. Hall stated that the insurance team has been reinstated and now has representation by each department and is working toward a different plan to present to the Board next year.
Ms. Sharon Wall, Employee Services Director, stated that benefits are very important to employees and changes need to include involvement by the employees. She stated that educated choices should be provided to the employees.
Commr. Hill pointed out that about a year and a half ago employees indicated that insurance benefits were far more valuable than a cost of living increase.
Ms. Wall stated that a question has been added to the employee survey that will be going out soon. The wording is, “I would be interested in paying more towards my health insurance premium in order to receive a cost of living increase.” The respondent would “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree,” based on a scale of one to five.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the recommendation to increase the employee’s health insurance contributions for Fiscal Year 2006 from $10 per pay period to $15 per pay period for single coverage for CPO; and increase family coverage from $80.64 to $90.64 for CPO; other rates would be adjusted $5.00 for single coverage and $10.00 for family coverage regardless of the plan; approved to supplement $250,000 from the worker’s compensation funding; and approved that the Board’s contribution would be increased to $7,522.00 per employee per budgeted position.
BUDGET ISSUES FOR FY 2005/06 – MERIT RANGE
Ms. Frazier presented information on merit increases, noting that the current year merit range is 0% to 5%, that 4% was budgeted and that the current average is 4.1%. Staff’s recommendation for FY 2006 is to maintain the same 0% to 5% merit range. Three and one-half percent has been included in the budget, allowing for vacancies, etc.
Ms. Wall explained that there is an employee performance evaluation and the amount of increase is tied to the evaluation. A future project for Employee Services will be to look at the performance evaluation form which has been in use for about five years and which grades employees on five categories.
Commr. Hill pointed out that the Sheriff and other Constitutional Officers, in past years, have given their employees the highest percent increase across the board.
Ms. Hall clarified that, while the performance plan allows increases up to 5%, the County’s budget reflects 3.5%.
Commr. Pool commented that the Consumer Price Index should be considered in an effort to keep people at least even with what they had last year.
Ms. Hall explained that the recommendation is to budget $75,000 to conduct a complete study of the pay system. It is likely from that study that some salary adjustments will need to be done and the recommendation is to budget $100,000 to implement those potential study results.
Commr. Cadwell advised that the Board members should stay out of employee input on the study until the study is completed.
A motion was made by Commr. Cadwell and seconded by Commr. Hanson for Board approval of the following recommendations: for Fiscal Year 2006: maintain the same 0% - 5% merit range; budget funds to conduct a countywide compensation and classification study ($75,000); budget funds in the General Fund Reserves to implement the potential results from the study ($100,000); and budget 3.5% merit increases in the actual fund.
Under discussion, Commr. Hill stated that she feels the merit range should be left at 4% considering that the compensation study will be done; however, because that would be in the next budget, that would allow a time to adjust for that if the merit increase needed to be dropped down.
Commr. Hill called for a vote on the motion which carried unanimously, by a vote of 4-0.
BUDGET ISSUES FOR FY 2005/06 – MILLAGE RECAP
Ms. Frazier gave a millage recap illustrating the proposed millage rates for FY 2006 compared to actual FY 2005.
General Fund Operating
Transfer to Environmental Services
Environmental Lands Program Administration
Total General Fund
Ambulance and Emergency Services MSTU
*per $1,000 of assessed taxable value
Environmental Lands Program
Ms. Hall explained that the voter referendum on the environmental lands program allowed one-third of a mill, which would be 0.3333, and the Board requested that one-tenth of that (0.0300) be used for the administration for the program. When the Board approves the tentative millages in July 2005, it is likely to be less than the 0.3033 but it is included as a reminder.
Ms. Hall confirmed that she is comfortable with the reduction of the solid waste millage.
Ms. Frazier informed the Board that these rates were run against what was paid to the CRAs (Community Redevelopment Agencies) for the cities and payments could end up being close to $1.5 million to the CRAs based on these rates for next year. A 10% growth was incorporated to get a rough estimate.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10:50 a.m., the Board took a ten minute recess.
JAIL CAPACITY ISSUES AND OPTIONS
Lake County Sheriff Chris Daniels and Criminal Justice Operations Chief Gary Borders discussed current jail capacity issues and options of the Lake County Correctional Facility.
Sheriff Daniels informed the Board that the jail population has increased year after year. Two pods of the prelude have been opened and have been filled. Sheriff Daniels asked the Board to consider building an additional pod (Pod E) that was originally slated when the jail was built. Construction of Pod E would provide 256 additional beds.
Currently, 64 jail beds are leased to the federal government. That generates a net amount of approximately $20.00 per prisoner per day. The federal government’s need for rented jail space will diminish in the future as the federal prison in Coleman continues to build more space .
Sheriff Daniels explained that the Department of Corrections has changed the way it handles violation of probation (VOP) offenders and that has added to the routine increase in the population in the jail due to growth. There are currently 200 VOPs in the jail. New laws relating to sexual offenders and sexual predators may also increase the jail population. There are almost 300 offenders or predators in Lake County. While not at critical mass right now, Sheriff Daniels stated that the crowding issue should be addressed now because of the amount of time necessary for planning and construction.
Sheriff Daniels stated that the jail passed a recent inspection but one area of concern is crowding. Accreditation of the jail, which is in the process, will require some population control to ensure that the jail is not crowded.
Research of the jail population by Chief Borders indicates an increase of 50 to 100 prisoners per year, every year, for the last ten years. The jail was built to house 128 female inmates but the current female population is 155; seven juveniles take up 32 beds because they have to be kept separate from adult inmates; the current jail is a 960-bed facility and the current inmate population is 987. Counting lost beds, approximately 150-175 inmates are without assigned cells.
Regarding the cost of an additional pod, Sheriff Daniels said a wild guess would be around $10,000,000 and that was based on the original cost of the jail.
Chief Borders estimated that a new pod would be filled when it opens and that would bring the jail up to 1,216 beds.
Sheriff Daniels stated that he wanted the Board to be aware of the jail crowding issues. He explained that many of the inmates who have mental health problems (approximately 75) also have criminal charges and probably would have to be housed at the jail rather than at a facility like LifeStream Behavioral Center.
Regarding an inquiry by Commr. Hanson, Mr. Minkoff stated that an organizational meeting of the Lake County Public Safety Coordinating Council (approved April 5, 2005, by Ordinance 2005-29) may be held in July.
Sheriff Daniels stated that he will be happy to explore all kinds of possibilities regarding facilities and locations. He pointed out that the current jail was cheaper to build originally but it costs more in the long run to staff with direct supervision as opposed to indirect supervision.
Commr. Hill remarked that some decisions by the legislature may fall down to the counties without funding, such as juvenile detainees.
Sheriff Daniels stated that the judiciary is under greater pressure not to release anybody that might be a danger to the community. He noted that 70% to 75% of the jail’s population is pre-trial confinement (prisoners who have not been sentenced).
Commr. Pool suggested exploring the possibility of seeking state funding for ankle bracelet monitoring.
Regarding Commr. Pool’s suggestion to explore the possibility of housing juveniles in tents, Sheriff Daniels pointed out that it would be staff intensive and the risk of escape would be greater.
Ms. Hall explained that the RSQ (Request for Statements of Qualifications) that is out for expansion of the judicial center includes some programming of a potential expansion of the jail, not necessarily the design, and that tool could be made use of fairly quickly. She suggested having an architectural firm speak with the Sheriff and Chief Borders on their needs and come back with some ideas.
Sheriff Daniels pointed out that no new bed space has been added to the jail in 13 years.
Commr. Hanson stated that we need to move forward.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the state probably will make a run again at extending the sentencing years that prisoners have to be housed. With Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) cost shifts, he opined that the next step is going to be to turn operations over to the County. He stated that he hopes that will be opposed locally.
Regarding Lake County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Commr. Cadwell informed the Board and the Sheriff that U.S. Congressman Ric Keller (R-FL) has said that one of his top funding priorities is getting some federal dollars for the EOC. The Sheriff’s office will be located at the EOC facility.
Sheriff Daniels remarked that most of the architects responding for additional facilities in south Tavares have experience in building law enforcement complexes and EOCs. He suggested using that same architect for the Sheriff’s building, thereby making the design similar and speeding up the process.
Regarding employee pay increases, Sheriff Daniels stated that he would like to transition the Sheriff’s Office into pay increases on anniversary dates based on evaluations rather than the current, traditional across-the-board pay raise each October 1. There are two ways to do that transition. One way is to give the traditional pay raise on October 1 and begin merit pay increases on October 1. The other way is to cancel the October 1 raise and begin the merit increases October 1. He stated that doing the second takes the money out of the employees’ pockets. Right now, the policy is that every employee, even those hired in September, gets a pay raise on October 1.
Commr. Cadwell remarked that the Board offered to try to buy that out with the former sheriff. He stated that the Board realizes there will be an additional cost that first year.
Mr. Minkoff stated that both RFPs for architects are broad enough to include the Sheriff’s building along with the other office building at the south Tavares complex and to include the jail with the judicial center/courthouse. He asked if the Board would like staff to negotiate so that those are separate add-ons when the contract is brought back to the Board.
Sheriff Daniels stated that it may be beneficial, at some time in the future, to create a substation/satellite facility in south Lake County to book and house prisoners. That would relieve some of the crowding at the main jail. He stated that he would recommend a new facility in south Lake County. He would not enlarge the current location.
By consensus, the Board requested that the two RSQs include the programming of a jail in the expansion of the judicial center and include the programming of the Sheriff’s facility with the government complex in south Tavares.
LANDFILL EXPANSION OPTIONS
Mr. James A. (Jim) Nissen, P.E., DEE, Senior Associate, and Mr. Daniel N. (Dan) Courcy, Project Manager, with Brown and Caldwell, Environmental Engineers and Consultants, gave a summary of work that their company has been doing with respect to the planning and design of a new Phase III Landfill at the Lake County Solid Waste Management Facility. The presentation (a printed copy is included in the backup material) included the following points:
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board needs options for the disposal of solid waste and this will be an asset no matter what is decided in the future. He stated that the County is required to take the ash and the presentation on the split cell design makes sense. He stated that we need to move forward.
Regarding questions by Commr. Hill, Mr. Nissen explained that the two cells in the split cell option were sized to give the same life expectancy as any one of the mixed waste cells. While some of the ash could be put in the garbage cell, that would eliminate the benefits of doing the split cell concept. He confirmed that there may not be a market for the ash right now, but there might be in five years and splitting the two cells preserves the flexibility for future use of the ash. He pointed out that there are localized reuse ash projects in the State of Florida. Also, the leachate produced by the ash is very high strength and is very expensive to haul off site and have treated for disposal. In addition, mixing the ash with the garbage might create leachate that cannot be handled by local treatment plants. The concept of the split cell option is to keep the ash in a localized, small manageable area which will save a lot of money on leachate treatment and disposal costs. Regarding construction costs, Mr. Nissen explained that, over the 20-25 year life of the Phase III Landfill, the entire area will be lined anyway so more money will not be spent on the split cell option. About $1 million more would be spent only in the first year.
Commr. Hill asked if it would be a cost savings if there was a transfer station at the Covanta site. She stated that we need to extend the life of the landfill now. She asked questions regarding construction costs and the possible reduction of the size of the Phase III landfill.
Commr. Cadwell stated that probably the first mission given to the solid waste group would be to look at those options to see if those two or three prong things should be done.
Mr. Nissen stated that a transfer station can be part of a long-term plan. Regarding the size of the Phase III landfill, he stated that initial construction costs will not be reduced proportionally to a reduction in area.
Commr. Pool asked if dollars are available today to build the expansion without increasing the solid waste costs to the citizens.
Ms. Hall stated that there are additional costs, such as design, permits and construction oversight, to the $4.8 million for construction of the split cell option. In the financial analysis, the number being used is about $6 million. Ms. Hall confirmed that, over the next three years, the money is available without increasing any fees to the citizens.
Commr. Pool stated that not everyone embraces a landfill expansion in any location. He asked if any research has been done in the neighborhood to be sure that there will not be opposition.
Ms. Hall stated that she has talked with Ms. Dottie Keedy, Tavares’ City Administrator. The adjoining land on the western side of the expansion area is in the City of Tavares and development is slated for that land.
Mr. Nissen stated that a lot of those concerns can be addressed, before they become problems, with some education and being proactive and meeting with community leaders to explain the design and operation.
Commr. Pool stated that those things should be done right up front to show consideration and concerns about the buffering, etc.
Regarding the delivery of ash, Mr. Gary Debo, Solid Waste Operations Director, explained that ash is delivered from the waste-to-energy plant to the landfill. Each day truckloads of ash, from one to as many as nine or ten truckloads, are delivered for a total of approximately 40,000 to 45,000 tons per year. The costs of those deliveries are probably pass-through costs in the contract with Covanta.
Mr. Nissen further explained that the process of mixing ash with waste is one of proportion. If the proportion of the garbage to the ash is high, a little bit of ash might be able to be blended in. However, the percentage of ash in the Phase II landfill is about 75% to 80% ash. The percentage of ash is going down now that the waste-to-energy plant has reached capacity and it might be closer to 50% to 50%.
Commr. Pool stated that multiple ideas should be looked at, including the idea of transporting additional garbage somewhere else or having sub-contracts and he has asked staff take a good look at those dollar figures. He stated that, once permitted, the landfill should be used sparingly if there are options to use others’ capacities that could be cost effective.
Commr. Hanson asked if the ash-only layout could be looked at, rearranging some of the buildings and moving them closer to the road, creating greater capacity for the solid waste itself.
Ms. Blanche Hardy, Environmental Services Director, confirmed that some buildings could be relocated. Some of the buildings are used by the Public Works Department.
Mr. Nissen remarked that may be a viable approach for the longer term but his concern for the short term is that it probably could not be done fast enough to get some additional capacity in place before Phase II runs out. Extending that corner of ash-only further to the north, increasing the height, could be done in the future as part of a future phase of the ash disposal facility. Mr. Nissen stated that the 4.6 acres of the ash-only will last five to six years last.
Commr. Pool stated that splitting the cell, although more expensive, is the best option. He stated that he wanted to be assured that additional dollars will not be charged to users and that staff has made that assurance.
A motion was made by Commr. Pool and seconded by Commr. Hanson to approve Option 3, the Split Cell design, for the Lake County Landfill Phase III, including authorization of scope and cost of services with Brown and Caldwell.
Mr. Minkoff clarified that the motion is asking for $485,584 for design and permitting services, and a not-to-exceed additional amount of $400,000 for the construction phase services, including the liner inspection that is required to be done which is the bulk of that amount; for a total lump sum not to exceed $885,584; and authorization to sign the contract with Brown and Caldwell.
Commr. Hill stated that she is hoping the expansion will last longer than five years and that the Solid Waste Advisory Committee will come back with some long-term options that can be considered.
Commr. Pool reiterated that he wants to hear the costs associated with transferring the ash and that is what he wants to do with it if we can.
Commr. Hill called for a vote on the motion, as clarified, which passed unanimously, by a vote of 4-0.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 12:20 p.m., Commr. Hill announced that the Board would break for lunch until 1:00 p.m.
CITRUS RIDGE LIBRARY UPDATE
Mr. Richard LeBlanc, Jr., Architect III, Facilities Development & Management Department, gave a presentation on the proposed Citrus Ridge Library, Project Update, which included the following (a printed copy of the presentation is included in the backup material):
Staff’s total cost estimate (including construction and other) is $6,939,334.
The professional estimator’s total cost estimate is $6,012,350.
Estimated funding (both estimates) is $6,218,957.
The actual numbers will not be known until the project is bidded out.
Mr. LeBlanc confirmed that there will be access to the library behind Cagan’s Crossing and the library will be visible from US 27.
Commr. Pool expressed concern for the cost of the project and for the lack of participation from other counties in maintenance and upfront costs. He stated that he supports the library but, if Lake County cannot find a commitment from other counties to help, he would have a tough time in supporting dollars from Lake County for a stand alone library. He stated that it is not right that Lake County build, maintain and staff the library for the use of everyone else when almost 40% of use would be by other counties.
The percentage of out-of-county patrons at the current Citrus Ridge Library for May 2005 is as follows: Orange County 6%, Osceola County 11%, and Polk County 21%.
Ms. Hall stated that she has had contact with the three other counties. Osceola County’s County Manager indicated that they do not have capital funds available but are willing to look at a formula-type participation in operating costs. A package of information has been sent to Orange County’s director who is interested in talking to Lake County and is willing to talk to the Orange County Board. Ms. Hall and Ms. Wendy Breeden, Lake County Library Services Director, have a meeting next week with Polk County staff members who seem to have an interest.
Ms. Breeden stated that the design of the building was predicated on the size and scope of Lake County’s population. The percentage of use by out-of-county patrons is going down while the percentage of use by Lake County patrons is going up.
Mr. LeBlanc confirmed that, in the programming stages, other counties were not considered in the factor of the size that was needed for this project.
Commr. Hanson commented that some things have changed since this project first began, particularly the potential partnership with Lake-Sumter Community College (LSCC) for a major center. She opined that it will not be long before Orange and Polk counties have libraries near this area. She stated that she really likes the green building aspect but the cost is a concern. If that much money is going to be spent, she stated that it would be better spent with the partnership with LSCC.
Discussion occurred regarding the size of the project; the distance from other libraries; the cost of the property; the need for a library on this site; the possibility of a total redesign of the project; the deadline with Cagan’s Crossing; the timeline with the construction grant; the original $3.2 million quote estimate for construction while the total project was estimated to cost more than $5 million; reciprocal agreements with other counties.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he would like to give staff a chance to get commitments from the other counties. He noted that Osceola County has been committed even though nothing has been put in writing. He stated that he would prefer a commitment to operational money versus construction money. He stated that, even without use by other counties, a library is needed in this area.
Commr. Pool agreed and opined that it is cheaper to build the facility today than to wait five or ten years. He stated that he would like to table a final decision today, allowing staff an opportunity to meet with, and put a little pressure on, the other counties.
Regarding proceeding with working on the documents, Commr. Pool stated that, if he has Board support, he is happy to go forward but he does not want to say it in a manner that gives the other counties any indication their support is not necessary.
Discussion occurred regarding concern that the design is too futuristic; the price tag for the entrance and the elevation; compatibility with other buildings; and redesign of the roof line.
Commr. Hanson reiterated the need for a library and recommended giving staff some time to meet with the other counties.
Ms. Hall noted that her meetings have been with staff members of other counties and a commitment from those boards would be necessary.
Commr. Pool stated that he had a conversation with Orange County Commissioner Teresa Jacobs who seemed to indicate a support for the library. He indicated to her, and she agreed wholeheartedly, that all four counties do not need to duplicate services in that area. He reiterated his support to staff to go forward with what we have but stated that we should get as much of a commitment as we can from the other counties.
Ms. Breeden remarked that the concept of shelling out the second story provides for future expansion. It should be able to be absorbed by impact fees. Taking off the second story will cost less now but will cost more in the future.
Regarding Commr. Pool’s concern for expensive fixtures and features, Mr. LeBlanc confirmed that the chandeliers were estimated to cost $2,000 each. He stated that the fixtures will not be inconsistent with the design. He assured the Board that Value Engineering (VE) will be followed. However, he pointed out that thirteen new County projects are being planned and there is a civic responsibility to the community to combine architecture that is pleasing to the community and that sets our signature of our responsibility to them.
Mr. LeBlanc further explained that the earlier $3.2 construction cost estimate did not include contractors’ overhead, contingency fees and other items. He stated that his November 2003 estimate for the complete project was $5.7 million.
Ms. Hall stated that it is correct to say that the previous estimate of $3.2 million is equivalent to the current $5.6 million (staff’s estimate) or $4.7 million (estimator’s estimate) construction estimates.
Mr. Minkoff reminded the Board that the architect’s fee has already been paid and it will not cost a lot of money to get the bids to see what dollars are involved.
Regarding library impact fees and the amount needed to provide a level of service, Ms. Breeden estimated that current fees are $192.
Commr. Pool opined that increasing those fees in the future is not a bad idea.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he will make calls to some of the commissioners in other counties to remind them of their past commitments.
Commr. Pool suggested that the second floor might be utilized for other needs and be income producing rather than sitting vacant until the space is needed for library services.
By consensus, the Board asked staff to come back with some commitments for dollars from other counties, but to proceed and go forward with the bids, using Value Engineering practices, which will provide project cost numbers.
Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager/Growth Management Director, emphasized that the other county commissions, not just staff, must commit to funding before this Board can budget for the project.
Ms. Hall explained that the design process is 90% to 95% completed and it probably will be a couple of months before staff requests a commitment from the Board to proceed with a selected contractor.
Ms. Breeden will estimate what the operational costs will be and what the percentage of use by other counties may be in order to make a request to the other counties.
Commr. Cadwell stated that either the district commissioner or the chairman should make a presentation to the boards of the other counties (Orange, Osceola and Polk) soon to request a commitment.
Mr. Minkoff stated that there is a benefit to asking for operations only dollars from other counties in the event Lake County, in the future, should need the whole library. If other counties provide capital money, there would be a permanent marriage with those counties.
Ms. Breeden confirmed that because this is a Lake County project, and is too far along, the other counties cannot apply for grant money.
Ms. Frazier led a discussion on the proposed three-year plan (FY 2005-2007) for the CIP (Capital Improvement Projects), the estimated funding sources, unfunded capital projects, and funding sources remaining. She referred to the Revised Project Recommendations pages (copies are included in the backup material) and noted that the projects highlighted in yellow are unfunded. The south Tavares expansion projects would be funded through bonds, not out of current or the next three years’ revenue sources. A lot of the construction/renovation projects are ongoing and nearing completion. The balance of the cash in the old sales tax dollars is being utilized first so that those dollars can be spent and gotten off the books. Then, new infrastructure sales tax money will be utilized.
Commr. Hanson, in updating the Board on the Mt. Plymouth/Sorrento efforts, stated that a master plan is being worked on for the SR 46/CR 437 area. There might not be a great deal of land costs other than the road (a Public Works cost) because donations from landowners in that area might be made for a school and park, etc., for the town center.
Mr. Minkoff stated that initial appraisals for the 85-acre site at SR 46/CR 437 are $2.4 million. Some part will be paid through impact fees because it is part of a road project to straighten CR 437. He suggested that the estimated cost of $1.5 million for the project is probably low.
Commr. Hanson opined that the regional park might be located between Wolf Branch Road and SR 44 so that it can serve Eustis and Mount Dora as well as the east Lake County area.
Regarding the Conserve II property purchase, Mr. Minkoff stated that appraisals should be available within 30 days.
Commr. Pool suggested looking at multiple funding sources such as road impact fees and stormwater funding and the School Board.
Discussion occurred regarding the fairgrounds renovation and a recent article in The North Lake Outpost in which Commr. Stivender indicated that the fairgrounds might be relocated to another site.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board was unanimous in moving forward with fairground renovations at the current site.
Mr. Greg Mihalic, Economic Development & Tourism Director, stated that alternative sites were analyzed but did not work out well. He opined that the current site is constrained but is the only alternative the Board has for a fairground operation.
Mr. Minkoff reminded the Board that negotiations are in the process to hire an architect for the fairgrounds project.
Commissioners Cadwell and Pool stated that they have not changed their minds about the current site.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the fairgrounds renovation project has been added to the list for potential funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Ms. Hall asked for direction from the Board regarding the non-funded Cooper Memorial Library (estimated at $7 million) and the potential partnership with Lake-Sumter Community College (LSCC) in south Lake County. She commented that LSCC is looking for funding within this next budget year.
Commr. Pool stated that the facility in downtown Clermont is Cooper Memorial Library and he suggested that the facility being proposed in partnership with LSCC should not be called Cooper Memorial Library. He stated that we still need help from the City of Clermont on the downtown library.
Mr. Minkoff explained that LSCC wants to apply for a grant from the State legislature in February 2006. In order to make that application, LSCC has to have the $7 million in an escrow account in their possession. If the project does not go forward, the County would get the money back. He further explained that junior colleges submit their budget requests, including capital, to the legislature. LSCC’s entire part of the building would be funded in the legislative budget. Doing a joint program with the County would help LSCC get more money from the legislature. When discussions were held with LSCC, the County proposed to build a 35,000 square foot facility. LSCC suggested a joint project of 70,000 or 80,000 square feet.
Regarding other projects, Ms. Hall confirmed that funding is pay as you go. The jail can be included with the bonds.
Discussion continued regarding the library partnership with LSCC. Staffing of the facility would be in partnership with LSCC. Mr. Minkoff stated that the college is amenable to almost anything and is willing to discuss all alternatives. Ms. Breeden commented that the University of Central Florida may also build additional space.
Commr. Pool suggested downsizing the facility, perhaps to $5 million on the County’s part, if other partners are available. He stressed the importance of a partnership with LSCC.
Ms. Hall stated that staff will explore options at the Board’s direction.
Commr. Pool stated that the Board has committed to three years, with two one-year options, for the downtown Cooper Memorial Library. He reiterated that the City of Clermont should provide financial support. He confirmed that he would be committed to the bigger picture, keeping some smaller opportunity with Clermont in the future, but only if the City of Clermont participates. He asked for information from staff regarding funding options.
By consensus, the Board agreed that the joint venture with Lake County, LSCC, and the University of Central Florida, is important, as long as the Board is not committing to two libraries within two miles of each other. The Board needs information from staff as to funding and the level of commitment.
Discussion occurred regarding the Tavares and Leesburg health clinics which are on the unfunded list. After a new director is hired, the Board should have a clearer direction on the desired location for those clinics. Delivery will be taken on the new mobile health unit on June 1, 2005, and a schedule of dates and locations will be set up at a later date.
UPDATE ON OFFICE SUPPLY CONTRACT WITH CORPORATE EXPRESS
Mr. Minkoff gave an update on Lake County’s office supply contract with Corporate Express. He explained that the Clerk of Court’s staff received a computerized printout from Corporate Express of everything that was ordered and what the County was charged. That was compared against what was paid. The dispute really is how much should the County have been charged. That amount was identified by staff without the need to spend $15,000 or $20,000 for an outside auditor. The first issue is that the contract contains a list of certain items that Corporate Express agrees they will not sell to the County, probably because there was a cheaper source on those items. The contract says if Corporate Express sells those items to the County, the County does not have to pay for them. They sold the County about $43,000 of those items. The County ordered them, Corporate Express delivered them, they billed a certain amount that did not have the full discount. It can be argued that the County should not have to pay anything for those items, but the County did use them. That is an issue that is in dispute. Also, there was a large number of items that Corporate Express claimed were not included in the contract that the County believes are included in the contract. Mr. Minkoff stated that probably about $110,000-$120,000 would be in dispute. There was a meeting last week with the president of Corporate Express’ Florida group. A response from Corporate Express is anticipated within about a week.
Mr. Minkoff informed the Board that a system has been put into place to verify that a 65% discount is being received. The contract is continuing in force in the way it was intended in the beginning. If a County employee tries to order an excluded item, Corporate Express’ system will indicate it is not available. The discount on the excluded items the County did buy averaged about 30% from the catalog price rather than 65%. Each individual excluded item has not been analyzed to see what it would have cost from an alternative vendor.
Mr. Minkoff stated that inkjet and laser cartridges are also in contention. These items were not excluded from the agreement. The County bought a large number of cartridges but Corporate Express claimed they had an oral agreement not to sell those. Corporate Express gave a discount of about 14% on the cartridges, not 65%. The difference on that discount makes up a large part of the $120,000.
Mr. Minkoff stated that, if Corporate Express does not offer anything, litigation probably would be warranted. On the other hand, there probably is a number to recommend to the Board which would be fair for both parties. Regarding the contract, the County Attorney indicated to Corporate Express that the County wants to honor its commitment for the rest of this year. The contract, which was renewed March 1, 2005, is a cancelable agreement that could be terminated at any time without cause.
DISCUSSION OF COUNTY MANAGER SEARCH
Commr. Hill stated that Ms. Cindy Hall, who has a lot of good qualities and skills, has done an exceptional job during the last several weeks as Interim County Manager. She stated that the Board has had the great benefit of working with Ms. Hall. Commr. Hill suggested that the Board explore the possibility of hiring Ms. Hall as County Manager.
Commr. Hanson agreed that staff feels comfortable working with Ms. Hall.
Commr. Hill pointed out that Commr. Stivender is not at today’s meeting, but opined that the Board could go forward in working on a contract which would be brought back to the full Board.
Commr. Pool agreed that Ms. Hall, as Assistant County Manager, understands the mission and knows what the Board is trying to accomplish. He stated that it is prudent to utilize competent, capable people who are on board rather than conducting a nationwide search. Commr. Pool suggested that there should be some kind of review period, possibly in six months.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he does not agree (with the six-month review) because Ms. Hall has already been working in every facet of the position. He suggested that the County Attorney be allowed to draw up a contract but that the full Board should have a discussion before a final decision is made.
A motion was made by Commr. Hanson and seconded by Commr. Cadwell to direct the County Attorney to draw up a contract with Cindy Hall for the position of County Manager and to bring it back at the next meeting that is attended by all five Board members.
Under discussion, Commr. Hanson stated that today’s discussion should be relayed to Commr. Stivender and that the Board members present today recognize that the full Board should be present for the final vote.
Commr. Hill called for a vote on the motion which carried unanimously, by a vote of 4-0.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER HANSON – DISTRICT #4
TROUT LAKE NATURE CENTER
Commr. Hanson advised the Board that the Trout Lake Nature Center (Nature Center) is asking for an annual commitment of $30,000 to help fund a naturalist in the education program in partnership with the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD).
Commr. Cadwell stated that SJRWMD is committed to the other half and the Lake County Water Authority used to budget a part-time position. He stated that the Nature Center has a great outreach program for adults and students.
Commr. Hill expressed concern that staff dollars would be donated to another entity. She pointed out that Cooper Memorial Library had asked the Board to pick up benefits and the Board was not able to do that. She stated that she will have many requests from other groups for staffing. She opined that the Board might not want to set the precedent of staffing other peoples’ projects and programs.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he envisions this person being a County employee and that the Nature Center may even, one day, be a part of the County’s parks program.
Commr. Pool asked if there is an advantage for this person, regarding benefits, etc., to be an employee of SJRWMD or of the County.
Mr. Minkoff remarked that it would be a policy decision. With the appropriate interlocal agreement, it probably would not be a legal issue. He opined that there probably would not be a discernible difference in benefits.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he does not have a problem, philosophically, with this issue. He opined that this is something the County should help with.
Commr. Hill pointed out that other groups, specifically the Citizens’ Commission for Children, need staffing and certain other things. She stated that grant dollars for that group are not used for staffing and maintenance but are used for programs for children.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried by a vote of 3-1, the Board approved to contribute $30,000 for the education efforts at Trout Lake Nature Center in partnership with the St. Johns River Water Management District.
Commr. Hill voted “No.”
Commr. Hanson reported that she attended the May 19, 2005, community meeting in Lake Mack in Commr. Cadwell’s district. She asked that the potential of coordinating transportation services between Volusia County and MV Transportation (transportation operator for Lake County’s Transportation Disadvantaged Program) be explored.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER CADWELL – DISTRICT #5
ADOPT-A-KID FOR CHRISTMAS
Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that the local Adopt-A-Kid for Christmas group needs a space of approximately 3,000 square feet to store items. They will lose their current space in about three weeks.
The County Attorney’s office will research the inventory of County buildings for a possible site for the group.
FEE WAIVER REQUESTS FOR VARIANCE APPLICATIONS
Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager/Growth Management Director, presented requests for fee waivers (in the amount of $365.00 each) for two variance applications. One request, for Karen Carver and Ronald Creech, is in Commr. Hanson’s district and one request, for Kennon L. Hawkins, is in Commr. Cadwell’s district.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved to add the two fee waiver requests for variance applications to the agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously, by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the waiver of the $365 fee for a variance application by Karen Carver and Ronald Creech (Commission District #4); and approved the waiver of the $365 fee for a variance application by Kennon L. Hawkins (Commission District #5).
COMMENTS – DEPUTY COUNTY MANAGER
Mr. Welstead stated that the Board’s decision regarding Ms. Hall and the County Manager’s position is a wonderful decision. He stated that she has the support of everyone.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER POOL – DISTRICT #2
Commr. Pool remarked that this Board needs to try to be consistent when voting on issues of a zoning nature. In lieu of an arbitrary figure that the Board thinks is acceptable to the School Board, there should be real numbers and information from the School Board on the percentages of overcrowding. He expressed concern that the Board may begin to hear from developers on cases that were denied. If those numbers are not available from the School Board, he suggested that this Board should arrive at a capacity, an idea, or a guideline that it recognizes as reasonable or unreasonable.
Ms. Hall reported that the School Board looks at capacity on a district wide basis, not on a school by school basis, because boundary lines can change by the time a development comes on line. She stated that staff can talk to the School Board regarding the issue.
Mr. Minkoff stated that, if a policy is developed, it should be developed by June 14, 2005, because there will be ten Comprehensive Plan amendments coming to the Board for decisions on that date. The Local Planning Agency recommended against every residential density amendment (nine of the ten cases) when it heard the cases earlier this month.
COMMENTS – INTERIM COUNTY MANAGER
Ms. Hall thanked the Board for its confidence and expressed her excitement at the prospect of becoming the County Manager should a contract be approved by the Board.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 2:35 p.m.
JENNIFER HILL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK