A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
NOVEMBER 8, 2005
Lake County Board of
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commr. Hill gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, noted that she had no updates to today’s agenda.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, under his reports, he would like to have some discussion in regards to street lighting in rural areas, and it will not require a vote today.
Commr. Stivender wanted to know if this is the same discussion that she brought up a few months ago on street lighting in rural areas, with Commr. Cadwell noting that it may be but he was not sure at this time.
PRESENTATION: GOVERNMENT FACILITIES BY THE FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT
Commr. Stivender stated that, before they get started on their discussion of the government facilities, she needed to make a comment about the article that was in “The Daily Commercial” over the weekend where the article had indicated that the City of Tavares and the County are not working together to annex into south Tavares, which is totally incorrect. She stated that the County Manager, as well as the City Administrator, and she have met the week before last and they are working on a solution that would come back to this Board on the timing of this. Commr. Stivender stated that she just wanted that on the record for “The Daily Commercial.”
Mr. James P. Bannon, Director of the Facilities Development and Management Department, stated that he would like to review the projects, as shown in his power point presentation provided in the backup. They have been categorized in Groups, as shown on Page 2, Group One – Downtown Tavares Development; Group Two – South Tavares Government Complex; Group Three – Projects in Design Phase; Group Four – Projects under Construction; and Group Five – Miscellaneous Project. Mr. Bannon stated that his intention is to review Group One and Group Two this morning, but he is flexible with what the Board would like to do this morning.
GROUP ONE – DOWNTOWN TAVARES DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Bannon explained that there are four distinct items for the Downtown Tavares Development and, at this time, he reviewed the funding, activities, and issues relating to this development, as follows:
· Multi-Story Parking Garage
Offices for Constitutional Officers
· Central Energy Plant
· Detention Center Expansion
· Judicial center Expansion/Renovation
$4 million approved by Board, also to be used for S. Tavares Complex
Architect: HLM, contract pending for Phase I - $508,000
Project Construction Estimate due on completion of Schematic Design
Proposed ½ cent sales tax revenue bond
Jan. 2006 – Parking Garage/Offices Schematic Design
Feb. 2006 – Parking Garage Cost estimate review by BCC
April 2006 – All other Facilities Schematic Design/Cost estimate review by BCC
May 2006 – Construction Manager Selection by competitive negotiations
Location of parking garage
Temporary location of Guardian Ad Litem & Library Services
Mr. Bannon pointed out that they were slated to have a Construction Manager on board by May, 2006, but they may change that given some recent developments.
Mr. Bannon stated that one of the biggest issues relating to the Downtown Tavares Development is the location of the parking garage (parking deck), and the architects are here today to talk about this issue. He pointed out that the architects have not begun the programmatic study or the design, so it is important for the Board to identify the location of the parking garage. Mr. Bannon stated that staff had discussions with numerous parties, and they have identified five potential locations. He suggested that they select at least three parking garage locations, so they can develop schematic designs for those three. He noted that there are also issues relating to the temporary location of the Guardian Ad Litem and the Library Services, because they would potentially be on their future parking garage location. If they can turn around the parking garage in 16 months, then they were planning on putting them in that location, but it all depends on where they want to locate these offices. As part of the South Tavares Government Complex, they also have the opportunity to essentially move Public Works to that location and, if Public Works moves out, then that frees up that space as well. At this time, Mr. Bannon explained that staff is wanting the Board to give them direction as to which options they want staff to pursue as part of the design for the parking garage.
Mr. Douglas Kleppin, AIA, Project Designer, introduced himself and recognized Mr. Robert Egleston, AIA, Project Manager, and Mr. Michael Vass, V.P., P.E., Project Director, and stated that their intention today is to review options for the parking garage. He noted that they have not begun the design, so the footprints being shown are really representational only. They are all based on the Carter Goble Master Space and Facilities Plan (Carter Goble), or recommendation, for a target of 600 cars, as shown in the master plan needs assessment. He noted that, if the Board elects to put more or less cars on these sites, the configuration or the height of these structures would change. Mr. Kleppin reviewed each option noting the number of cars and stories, as well as the advantages and disadvantages, as outlined.
Commr. Pool pointed out that there has been discussion with the City of Tavares and the Constitutional Officers in relationship to their desires, and he sees Option 1 and Option 4, from his perspective, as the best two options.
Commr. Stivender pointed out that it was her understanding that the site noted under Option 5 is presently under contract and is going through due diligence.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that the Board asked staff to meet with the property owners (Option 4) some months ago; they had at least two meetings with them, as well as the City of Tavares. They are interested in going forward in the process where they would end up owning the value of what they have now, i.e., if half of the block was worth $1 million and they were to own $1 million worth of office space and structure, they would be willing to proceed. They also suggested, if they were to do a public/private partnership, they might look to extend it to the north all the way out to Alfred Street and invite those property owners to participate. He noted that the City of Tavares has been at those meetings, as well. Mr. Minkoff stated that they are interested in participating but he does not think they would prefer to sell; they would prefer to end up with something at the end but they would have to work out those details.
The Board members were in agreement that Option 1 and Option 4 were the best two options; Mr. Bannon was of the understanding that this was the direction that the Board wanted staff to precede with the architects, to instruct them to come up with schemes that show parking garage locations, with them having some schematic design on those two locations in January, 2006; the balance of the project will be designed by April, 2006.
Discussion occurred regarding the calculation for the number of needed parking spaces, with Mr. Kleppin clarifying that the final count on the parking will be based on city requirements, code requirements, and functional requirements. As with Option 1, there will be room for future expansion, as he explained. Ms. Hall explained that, since that study, they have added the Constitutional Officers, so it is likely that the number they are working with now, the 600, will be larger.
Commr. Cadwell noted that, when negotiating Option 1 and Option 4, he wanted to make sure that there is nothing on Option 4 that would keep them from doing what they talked about in regards to additional office space for the Constitutional Officers; it may limit any retail or anything else but there is room on that footprint to do those offices; and Mr. Bannon clarified that all of this can be taken into consideration when reviewing Option 4.
Mr. Minkoff noted that staff would like some direction from the Board. On the concept of the public/private with the private folks not selling them the land but ending up with some kind of value in the new building, he wanted to know if that was an acceptable way to go with the Board, and Commr. Cadwell felt that this theory is acceptable but, at some point, they will need to look at the math.
Mr. Minkoff stated that, at that last meeting where they talked about asking the property owners to the north, Colonial Bank, Gene Smith who owns the one office space, the building where Hospice is currently leased, about looking at this as a two block project, and he wanted to know if this was something that the Board would like staff to do. He explained that it would have the potential of lowering the height of the parking garage or providing more spaces for the same height, if they went out further. In Option 1, the County owns about a quarter of the block to the north and about a quarter of the block to the south; the County owns all of site shown in Option 4.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that he did not want the second block to slow this process down, and he would only want them to proceed in this direction if it did not, and Commr. Hanson felt that this was something that staff could investigate in the process.
Mr. Minkoff stated that staff would like to go ahead and appraise the block noted in Option 1 including the County’s parcel, so that they can begin these negotiations with the property owners and find out the current values; he is anticipating $15,000 to $20,000 to do that; and a consensus from the Board would be sufficient for staff to start that process. He clarified that the owner of the lot noted in Option 1 wanted an opportunity for a retail and/or office space.
Commr. Pool noted that the County would lose potential revenue, if they build and create some retail space on the lot noted in Option 4.
Mr. Minkoff explained that, with this site, the County could purchase only the air rights, as he explained in more detail, and this could be negotiated between parties. It was also pointed out that, in 20 years, they may be looking at the need for more sites.
Mr. Minkoff noted that staff will bring back all options for Option 1 and Option 4, from both architectural and usage, as well as cost and everything else, and staff will investigate going all the way up to Alfred Street with Option 1.
GROUP TWO – SOUTH TAVARES GOVERNMENT COMPLEX
Commr. Stivender stated that, before Mr. Bannon begins the discussion on the South Tavares Government Complex, she went back and looked at the space study done by Carter Goble, and the square footages shown in the backup material are not the same as those in the study. She wanted to know if staff could justify that the Public Works building needs to be 40,000 square feet; the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) needs to be 50,000 square feet; and a Public Safety building needs to be 25,000 square feet.
Mr. Bannon explained that the new numbers came through their new program and exercise with their architect. They asked the users to tell them the space that they need and they rely on their input. He noted that the information shown, as noted by Commr. Stivender, is the completed area with a little bit of an expansion, and they will clarify that when they do future presentations on the schematic design. He pointed out that they are eager to look at future expansion on all of these buildings.
The information reflected the following areas that would be considered for the South Tavares Government Complex, with Mr. Brannon noting that this would be in the planning for over the next 15 to 20 years, which the Board will need to discuss for long term planning, and with staff giving them intricate costs in order for them to make that decision:
Public Works (40 k sf)
Sheriff Administration (80k sf)
Public Safety (25k sf)
Emergency Operations Center (50k sf)
Health Administration and Clinic (40k sf)
Fleet Maintenance - Fire, Sheriff, Public Works (26k sf)
Central Energy Plant
(Other offices that have the potential of being relocated, as discussed)
Water Resource Lab (3 k sf)
Commr. Cadwell stated that staff needs to add Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to Fleet Maintenance. He knows that the EMS building is a separate issue but, as far as maintenance, they definitely need to be on that list.
Mr. Bannon reviewed Page 16, which reflected the funding, activities, and issues related to the South Tavares Government Complex and noted that Starmer Ranaldi is contracted as the architect for Phase I; and PEC is contracted as the site engineer for Phase I. He noted that, under funding, there is a proposed one-half cent sales tax revenue bond, and a schematic design will be reviewed by the Board in January, 2006.
Commr. Cadwell noted that, with the Constitutional Officers not moving to this location, and the pressure they have received from the courthouse, this project, the South Tavares Government Complex, has slowed down considerably, and the other one, the parking garage, has accelerated; and staff also wanted to confirm the location of the Sheriff.
Mr. Bill Starmer, Starmer Ranaldi, addressed the Board and presented a brief explanation of the proposed site plan for the South Tavares Government Complex. Mr. Starmer explained the vehicular access through the site that will feed the residential subdivision, which has been part of the conversations between the City of Tavares and the County; he pointed out the existing entry into the landfill off of CR 448; their attempt to tie a main entry into the site that will line up with the existing entry in the park across the street; and the idea of a right-in, right-out only type of access at another location but not a major intersection. The design would include buildings built around a central core, and parking lots with access to the buildings, as well as parking for staff. They identified some retention by basically following the natural topography of the site. The building pads, for the sake of discussion, represent somewhere between 20,000 to 30,000 square feet, whether or not they are multiple story. They took the Carter Goble study as a guideline and met with staff and leaders of the different departments, and they are starting to rationalize that square footage and give them a real number fairly quickly. At this central core, because of the number of agencies/departments of the County that are moving to this site, they are looking at a potential conference center. The proposed master plan also shows some future sites for the next five to 20 years where significant property is available for future expansion and additional needs. Mr. Starmer stated that today they were asking for their thoughts on the agencies to be placed on the site and discussion about priorities.
Commr. Stivender noted that Ms. Dottie Keedy, City Administrator, City of Tavares, is here today, and the City needs clarification that the road has been designed so that it will run up the side of the complex and then goes out the second entrance and feeds into that residential subdivision and, because this has been an issue, she wanted to make sure that there was a consensus.
Mr. Starmer explained that they feel this potential design is really the best for both the government complex users, as well as the residential users.
Mr. Bannon explained that staff is asking the Board for clarification and confirmation that this is what they are instructing their architects and planners to do; that they are going to have a road that is going to be one of their main entrances in and out of their development.
Mr. Minkoff clarified that, in terms of the cost of that right-of-way, these are all things that would have to be negotiated.
Commr. Stivender clarified that this is the alignment; it is an access to a development that is in the City of Tavares; this complex will be in the City of Tavares; and it was a requirement of the City’s planned development that there be an access to CR 448. Commr. Stivender emphasized that a right-in, right-out will not work, if there are 900 homes. She did feel that the layout with the buildings is great and putting a central conference area was a good idea.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, explained that a right-in, right-out would be in between those sites, and right now that works very well and fits their access management countywide, so they are not stepping over any boundaries. In terms of a light at any of these intersections, Mr. Stivender noted that it is very close to being warranted at SR 19 and CR 448.
Mr. Bannon noted that, when staff comes back with the schematic design, it will be with dollars attached and then they will ask for direction as to which of the buildings they want them to move forward with to the next phase.
Commr. Stivender stated that, in regards to the Sheriff, it has always been her opinion that the Sheriff’s Department needed to stay downtown at the site noted in Option 4 where they have proposed a parking garage. In talking to the Sheriff, he has indicated that he does not care; he just needs a bigger facility, a newer facility, to put his employees, because the County is growing. To have him downtown keeps him close to the jail and judicial center and, in her discussions with the Sheriff, he was amenable to having it on that corner. It would be a prominent building and parking could be a part of his building; it could be four or five floors; and it just made sense with the downtown redevelopment going on that the Sheriff’s Department stay downtown. She stated that, even though he may outgrow it in the future, that department could be left in a phase 2 or 3 of the other complex, but right now she thinks the facility needs to be updated, improvised, and he needs to stay downtown. She stated that this is her personal opinion, and that is the way she will vote. She does think they need to keep a spot for him in the future at the South Tavares Government Complex because, as the County continues to grow, he is going to need it, just as they need to look for additional parking going toward Alfred Street. They need to keep all these options open but, for right now, she thinks that they can make him an adequate facility downtown and keep him part of downtown. The people in Tavares love being able to see the Sheriff’s Department downtown, and it has been an integral part of the County complex and her growing up and, with this being her district, it is what she would like to see happen.
Commr. Cadwell stated that there were two things that started these whole projects, the judicial center and the space they are going to need and parking where they have had to negotiate with the City of Tavares for years on parking. They looked at the places the general public does not need to go to every day, and they looked at how much parking space it would free up if these offices were gone. The Sheriff’s Office was one of the top ones, because there are so many employees in that building and then there are the cars. It is the same with Public Works and Public Safety. He stated that this is one of the reasons that the Constitutional Officers came to them, the Tax Collector and the Property Appraiser, and said that they still need to be where the people are coming to do government business. He understands that the Sheriff is not excited about moving out there, but he thinks that moving the Sheriff’s Office is probably one of the most important things they can do to make this campus work. If they build that building now, they will have lost those parking places, and the ability to do something on that site later. He thinks it is key that, at some point, the Sheriff moves out of downtown.
Commr. Hill did not know whether the Sheriff would want to break up his operations even in the future, and there was the question about piece mealing it, if they have two different sites.
Commr. Hanson recognized that there is no perfect answer but it is short-sided for them to not look at something that they will eventually have to do anyway, so she thinks they should go ahead and move the Sheriff to this new location.
Commr. Pool explained that, if they keep the Sheriff downtown, then clearly they would try and eliminate the parking garage, Option 4, and utilize that for the Sheriff, and then go ahead and negotiate Option 1 for a parking garage, and that would be the only way that this would work, in his opinion, to keep the Sheriff downtown next to the jail, he did not know how to design Option 4 with both the Sheriff and parking in the same concept.
Commr. Cadwell clarified that they are not going to tear the Sheriff’s Office down, so that building is still going to be there, and they still have to count parking spaces for it. If they build a new Sheriff’s Office, they will be losing the parking that was there and creating more parking problems because they are still going to utilize that building and that building is going to require parking spaces, so it does not make any long range sense to him.
Commr. Hill agreed and noted that she did not see any reason to piece meal the Sheriff operations and in the future have him move out to another site and have half of his operations in town and half of his operations somewhere else.
Sheriff Chris Daniels addressed the Board and stated that he would prefer not to have the Sheriff’s Office fragmented. They have outgrown the current facility and need additional office space. He still believes that they have the ability to expand in some existing space, possibly the Historical Courthouse, when the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser move out because they will be vacating two floors, as well as additional space. In regards to the parking noted in Option 4, the site at the corner of Main and Sinclair, Sheriff Daniels explained that he would have security concerns about a six story building that towered above the jail and being immediately adjacent to the jail, being accessible to the public, and being an open parking garage. He explained that Mr. Bob McKee, Tax Collector, and Mr. Ed Havill, Property Appraiser, have been kind enough to let him tour the facility in the Historical Courthouse, which he feels can meet his needs, and he thinks that they could build very inexpensively a covered walkway from the back of the Administration Building to the back of the Historical Courthouse without interfering with the aesthetics of it.
Commr. Hanson stated that she thinks it is very short sited to take Option 4 and use it when they know they may need it in the future. She noted that Option 4 is not needed today because there are other options.
Commr. Cadwell felt that, with the understanding that this is not going to happen for awhile, they need to give staff direction, and he thinks that the long range plan would be for the Sheriff to be at the South Tavares Government Complex, with the understanding that he may share some additional space here until that can happen in a year or two from now; but long range, he needs to know that they plan on having him move out of this downtown area.
Commr. Hanson agreed with Commr. Cadwell’s comments.
Sheriff Daniels explained that the square footage of his existing facility is about 45,000 and there are four floors; the Carter Goble study shows 80,000 square feet. He explained the different areas they have turned into office space noting that they are now out of space, and he pointed out that it is important to understand that he needs to keep his operational sources together and in one location, if possible.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that, once the Sheriff was gone, they were planning to utilize those buildings for County activities, so it is not like there is not going to be a need but it would be a good temporary fix, if they had to wait for them to build the Sheriff’s Office.
Commr. Cadwell made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Hanson, to direct staff to move forward with the schematics for the South Tavares Government Complex being presented today in the site plan, and to add EMS to the Fleet Maintenance.
Under discussion, Mr. Bannon asked for clarification of Board direction as to the buildings defined on Page 15, and it was noted as the Board had discussed.
Commr. Hill called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
Ms. Hall explained that, in January or February, the architects will be coming back with actual cost estimates of everything on Page 15. Staff needs direction as to whether the Board is okay with everything on this page eventually going out to the South Tavares Government Complex and, then when they come back with the actual cost of each building, that might have an impact on what they ultimately decide to do first. She also clarified that the list on Page 15 had been amended to include the EMS in the Fleet Maintenance.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he took the Sheriff out of his first motion, because Commr. Stivender, the District Commissioner, wanted to make sure that it was separate. Commr. Stivender clarified that she does not disagree with the plan and she does not disagree that the Sheriff’s administration may end up at the South Tavares Government Complex in 20 years, so it depends on how Commr. Cadwell makes his motion.
Commr. Pool asked the Sheriff about Pod E and Sheriff Daniels explained that, if they build it, they have estimated 264 beds; the number has been increasing about 10% per year; and it would depend on the population of the County today. Sheriff Daniels explained that there has been discussion about building Pod E being larger and taller than the rest of the facility and noted that the Pod will be filled the day it opens its doors.
Commr. Pool pointed out that, in looking at a long term plan, he can agree that the site indicated in Option 4 needs to be reserved for the jail.
At this point, Ms. Hall understood that it is the consensus of the Board that the items listed on Page 15, the buildings for the South Tavares Government Complex, would be a schematic design by the architects including EMS and the Sheriff’s Administration Building.
Sheriff Daniels asked for clarification on whether, in the immediate future, it is planned that he will expand into the Historical Courthouse, and Commr. Hanson explained that this would make sense, and it would be a natural transition, but timing is going to be the issue. Sheriff Daniels explained that, if that is not something in the immediate future, he will begin to look for additional lease space, which the Board agreed would probably be necessary.
Ms. Hall suggested that, once they determine the location of the parking garage, they can certainly with Board direction build that into the plan and, with the timing of the garage, they will know what timing they are dealing with at the point, so they can make the determination that, if the timing works out, the Property Appraiser and Tax Collector could be moved out fairly quickly into the garage, and then they could work with that expansion.
Ms. Dottie Keedy, City Administrator, City of Tavares, addressed the question about height restrictions in the City noting that right now it is four or five stories for buildings, but they are looking at going higher because they recognize the need.
Commr. Stivender stated that, in her discussions, she is really just throwing out all the different options, because she does not like for it to be said that this is what is going to happen and that is the end of it; there are other options and what they are building is for the future, and she wants so make sure it is right.
Commr. Stivender stated that she wanted to address Group Three – Projects in Design Phase, the health clinics, because this has been going on for the last two years. She believes that they are all in agreement that the Umatilla Health Clinic needs to be done and it needs to be larger.
Mr. Bannon noted that the architect will be coming to the Board with schematic design options on whether they expand on the existing building or they knock the existing building down and build another building.
Commr. Stivender stated that she thinks that the Tavares clinic is adequate to use for office space, but they have never moved on that one.
Ms. Hall explained that they have some money in the budget to do some renovations in that facility should they need additional office space for whatever downtown department, but they have not moved forward with any of that at this time. She noted that right now they do not have a concrete plan for it, but they would have to come up with some options for the best use for it.
Commr. Stivender pointed out that other city representatives have asked about the use of that building; it is not being utilized and they have all of these space needs. They need to be doing something with that building. She stated that the Leesburg clinic is located in a bad area and she does not believe they need to reopen that one; maybe they need to sell it or trade it to the City of Leesburg for some land. She stated that they need to move forward on these clinics instead of letting them sit there idle.
In terms of a South Lake clinic, Mr. Minkoff noted that it is going to come up when they get to the leases later, because it is not programmed as a construction project; it is currently programmed as a lease project.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10: 15 a.m., Commr. Hill announced that the Board will take a 15 minute recess.
PRESENTATION: FINANCING PLANS FOR BOND ISSUANCES BY THE COUNTY MANAGER’S OFFICE
Ms. Hall noted that she had included a couple of pages in the Board’s package for today, and she is basically going to go through the information that she provided to them. She explained that they are likely to have two bond issues coming up in the near future. One is to fund the government facilities that they just talked about; the other is to fund the acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands that was approved by the voters a year ago. She has included a timetable and basic information for each one of those bond issues
Half-Cent Sales Tax Revenue Bonds
Ms. Hall explained that staff envisions recommending to the Board the half-cent sales tax revenue bonds to fund the facilities that they will be building in both the South Tavares Complex and the expansion of facilities in downtown Tavares. They would word that bond issue and the project description broadly enough so that, if there were funds that were left or the Board wanted to use them for another government facility, there would be no problem. The payback that they will be using to support those bonds is the State shared half-cent sales tax, which was discussed with the bond agency a year ago. The County has about $4 million in the budget for this year to start them out with the process with the architects and engineering and any additional things that need to happen with these facilities now. So they do not need to go out immediately with the bond issue for the sales tax. She also explained that they are in a position, since the County has a line of credit available through the existing voted sales tax, to use that funding for bridge financing for a period of time. Staff is looking at the bond issue taking place some time between April and December of this next calendar year. If it seems that, because of the timing of the projects, or the sizing of the bonds, and it seems prudent, they could do two different series; they are not really envisioning this right now. Bond issues in general are only for capital expenditures; they cannot be used for operating expenditures, as she explained in more detail. She also explained that, in terms of expenditure requirements, when they issue bonds and they are tax exempt, there is an expectation that they will be spending that money fairly rapidly and, at the time of closing, the Chairman will need to sign a tax certificate that states that they reasonably expect to spend 5% of the proceeds within six months, and 85% within three years. On construction projects, they can take that out to four years, if there is a professional engineer that states that the construction is likely to take a year longer.
Limited General Obligation Bonds
Ms. Hall explained that the project for land acquisition and development of environmentally sensitive lands is limited to the bonds of $36 million, and the pledge for that is ad valorem tax, which they are authorized to levy up to 1/3 mill to pay for debt service; the ad valorem tax cannot be used to purchase the land or do any of the development, or for any of the costs that are associated with the purchase of environmentally sensitive land. Currently there are some land acquisition projects that are under research as far as timing. Before they actually purchase any of this land, a process needs to take place. The Public Lands Acquisition Advisory Council (PLAAC) will make recommendations to the Board to consider parcels of land. Once that happens, there are surveys, appraisals, and due diligence that takes place before they actually would move forward with a purchase. There is $400,000 in the budget that would take care of any of the preliminary appraisals and other things that they would have to move forward with for any parcel they were studying. They also have the opportunity to use the line of credit, if they need to do bridge financing; if there are some smaller parcels that come available, this would be their recommendation to use some bridge financing prior to issuing the bonds. They have the same expenditure requirements that she mentioned with the sales tax bond. Staff is envisioning this bond issue to take place some time after April, 2006. When they do the bond issuance, the Chairman will be required to sign a tax certificate that says that they expect to spend 5% of the bond proceeds within the first six months; 85% of the bond proceeds within three years.
Ms. Hall explained that staff is following interest rates, and they do tend to be going up a little bit now. She has included some charts in their book to see what they are in a short time period. Over the long run, they are still at historical low level compared to the last 10 or 20 years, so they are still in a very good position financially to get very favorable interest rates with the bond issues.
Mr. Minkoff informed the Board that, at the recommendation of bond counsel, for each of these issues, the Board adopted a resolution that would let them spend money now and, then when the bonds were issued, to reimburse themselves. It would be the same way on the land acquisition. If they acquired some land after the date of that resolution, they could reimburse themselves for that land purchase.
Ms. Hall explained that, as far as the bond issue process, they have done quite a bit of preliminary work on that a year ago with the bond rating agencies. Staff would need to update the information because it is now a year old and, at the point in time that they were actually interested in moving forward with the bond issue, they would update that information and enter into communication with the bond rating agency in New York. It was their understanding that their presentations were viewed very favorably and that they would be eligible for very high bond ratings in both circumstances. She explained that the whole process to do a bond issue does not take that long, between 60 and 90 days, to have the money in hand.
Commr. Stivender pointed out that the information indicates there are other issues to consider such as the interest rates going up and, if they wait until April or next year, she wanted to know how much money will be involved in terms of interest.
Mr. Mitchell Owens, Managing Director, RBC Dain Rauscher, explained that they ran some scenarios showing increases over the next six months to a year and, for example, on a $35 million bond issue, the difference is approximately $100,000 a year over a 20 year period in debt service payment, so it would be taking a risk of some substantial increase. Everybody recognizes that rates are trending upward and it is important that their legal counsel require certain certifications and certain base line facts to be available before they can actually issue the debt. Mr. Owens stated that what they are doing today in a workshop session is putting together their thoughts and process as to the cost of the project, to basically come back with a concept that they were talking about and giving them actual portrayals of what the costs are so that they can actually go out in the market place.
Taking into consideration land prices and what is happening in land values particularly in the last year, Commr. Pool felt that they would want to try and find partners to leverage their dollars. His position would be very clearly that, if they do not lock in these properties today, or the next six months to a year and buy what they want for the future, they are going to be lacking in the amount of property they can buy for the dollars.
Mr. Owns explained that there are specific requirements in the referendum that passed as far as acquiring the land, or basically determining what pieces of property are going to be purchased by the County under this program. After talking to bond counsel, they cannot go out and borrow money just based on the millage levy; they can only borrow money on the actual property purchase itself. If they had $10 million to purchase today, they would have to have $10 million in property.
Mr. Minkoff explained that, in talking to Mr. Tom Giblin, Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson, he suggests that, if they do one issue, it is going to be cheaper; if they break it down to two or three, it is going to be a little more expensive; if they try to do ten $3 million issues, it would be very unwise. The point was made by Ms. Hall, any Tuesday the Board can get $15 million; it is already set up and it is already paid for. If somebody brought in a piece of property tomorrow for $15 million, they could close on it Friday, because the money is sitting there, so the bonds are not driving it; it is more of the acquisition process to identify the properties and what they want to buy.
Ms. Nadine Foley, Public Lands Acquisition Advisory Council (PLAAC), stated that there is nothing holding up the process other than their council is trying to do a good and proper job, and they want to bring good partnership parcels to the Board, so that they are fulfilling their duty. They hope to bring a couple of things to the Board very shortly for their approval. They feel that they are charged with expending that money in a way that will be long term, and the citizenry will be proud of what they acquire.
Commr. Pool wondered if there were any landowners coming forward offering their properties today, with this option being part of the ordinance.
Ms. Foley noted that some have come forward but they hope there will be more people once they know of that option. The applications and criteria are on the web page. She noted that the property on Dora Canal will be on the Board’s agenda next week. They are also excited about looking at a package deal on the CSX abandoned railway, so they do not have to piece meal that along as the Rails to Trails are being developed and the County would actually be owner of all of that.
Mr. Owens stated that the actions the Board took previously with the line of credit and, by establishing a committee, it gave them a lot of flexibility to leverage with other particular state or federal entities that might be able to participate in a project with them, so they have that flexibility.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he does not want to give the appearance that one of the main reasons the referendum passed was that they said this was going to be a citizens committee; it is not going to be political; the Board members are not going to get involved in it; the citizens will bring the projects forward; and he does not want them sitting here and saying hurry up they want to spend the money and trying to influence the process.
Commr. Hanson felt that the committee clearly understands that they need to move forward rapidly but with a plan in place. They had talked before about green printing, and she thinks that they are back to that now. They need that green printing and it can tie in with those abandoned trails, but they have got to have the connectivity of these properties, so they are not buying hit and miss all over the County without a plan. They have the matrix, and the committee has done a fine job putting together the criteria, but they still do not actually have the green printing. Staff has a lot of that information, but the committee still needs to make that decision to move forward and actually have it on paper where they would like to have those properties.
Commr. Hill stated that the Board had a request from a citizen, Mr. Ken LaRoe, several weeks ago whenever this was brought forward and he asked whether he could speak to the group and have questions. She noted that they do not normally take public comment, but he had asked her several months ago, and she informed him that this would be an agenda item at a workshop.
Ms. Foley clarified that there absolutely has not been any political pressure from any Commissioner, and they are feeling, from public comment at their meetings, the very thing that the Board has expressed today, that interest rates going up and property prices are going up. She noted that there is a very desirable property, Castle Hill on Highway 50, that various environmental organizations have tried to purchase for many years, and it has doubled in price since 2000. She further noted that the Board went ahead with the Ferndale Reserve at their recommendation before the referendum even passed but it is a fit in so many ways, and a partnership deal.
Commr. Stivender wanted to clarify that Mr. LaRoe had called her and knowing what he wanted, she did not bother calling him back because she did not want to put any pressure on anybody else; she does not know when the committee meets; and once the requests come to the Board, that is when she hears them.
Mr. Ken LaRoe addressed the Board and stated that he was the Chair for the Political Action Committee on the bond referendum; he is the CEO for Florida Choice; and he has been trying to get a forum in front of the Commission for a long time. He cannot figure out why this never got on the trim notice this year; they are now a year behind in collecting the approved tax; and he wanted to know why they cannot issue the bonds. He has started attending the PLAAC meetings, which is a citizen’s advisory committee directed by the County Commission, and he thought they would be much further along than they are now, and he did not feel they can effectuate any kind of change meeting only once a month. He has with him today a list of five projects that total between $44 million and $47 million that they can buy today, and property owners are in total agreement with him. He and Mr. Rich Dunkel have talked to Trust for Public Land (TPL), and their bond counsel, and they have talked to Volusia County about their program. Mr. LaRoe stressed the point that they cannot issue the bonds without having the property under contract and that it was his understanding that the County did not do the trim notice because it was going to cost $25,000 or $50,000; to do multiple bond issues, it is going to cost significantly more than what it would have cost to do the trim notice. With every one percent, it is $3.6 million in additional cost to the taxpayer; this means that they can issue $36 million and buy $36 million of land but, if they wait, the cost is going to double. The Dora Canal piece, which he has been trying to get them to buy for the last three years, was $160,000 and is now $350,000 because they waited; raw land without develop rights was selling for $87,000 per acre last week. He stated that they have to issue those bonds, and they have to issue them now. They have the land, and the green printing should have been done before the referendum was even passed, or immediately thereafter, and it is almost too late for green printing. He noted that Mr. Dunkel has done a lot of research on the bond issue, and he would encourage the Board to not make decisions without adequate information and having it properly researched.
Mr. Dunkel addressed the Board and noted that he has done a lot of research and has found out from Volusia County, TPL and Orange County that, if you get accused of arbitrage after having the money for three years, you have to give the IRS the net difference between the interest on the bonds and what you had in the savings account, so nobody is going to prison.
Mr. Minkoff interjected that this was not true, because the Chairman is required to sign that affidavit at closing and, if she signs it knowing that it is untrue, she can go to jail, and the County can be liable for damages.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that the County has some expensive bond attorneys that he is going to listen to; they are in good financial shape because they have been prudent and listened to their advisors; but certainly a citizen can give their opinion although he does not think they need to respond.
Mr. Dunkel stated that they need to move forward on this and they can do this by working with the TPL or Nature Conservancy. He has a lot of experience with the TPL because of the State trails issue. The TPL and Nature Conservancy, as well as other groups, are in Tallahassee to protect that money, and they want to get a portion of it. Mr. Glen Burns addressed the Board several years ago about this issue. The programs and partners that they want are funded with documentary stamps. The County’s land values and property transactions have increased tremendously over the last couple of years, and their portion of that money has not been buying public lands in Lake County; it has been going to other counties all over the State. Mr. Dunkel explained that the TPL is working on projects all over the State, and it could be a partner with Lake County. He presented the Board with information and explained in more detail about their projects, particularly one in Naples, and noted that something like that could be done with Castle Hill. The Lake County School Board is looking for land; there could be partnerships through the TPL or the Nature Conservancy; and there are a lot of opportunities here. Every adjoining County except for Marion County has projects going with the TPL right now. The City of Mount Dora could have avoided a problem with their grant writing if they had used a professional such as the TPL or Nature Conservancy, and he would encourage the Board to work on this as soon as possible. In terms of the Wekiva Protection Act, he would prefer that the State pay for those special parcels of land so that South Lake County and other portions of the County can get their share of funding. He also noted other issues experienced by Volusia County, which is acting on land opportunities.
PRESENTATION: LEASED FACILITIES BY THE COUNTY ATTORNEY
Ms. Quinnette Durkin, Property Manager, presented the Board with an update on County-owned properties and County leases noting that her complete report was in the backup. Ms. Durkin noted that this report was prepared to provide information and that, prior to January 2004, this information had been kept on several lists by several different departments. The information was collected and a database was developed identifying the properties by Alternate Key, Property Type, Property Description, Legal Description, Property Acreage, and Department Assignment, which has been verified by the various departments. As noted, there are approximately 250 properties listed in the database. She explained that meetings were held with staff at GIS to develop a layer on the GIS system that would identify all county-owned property, as she explained in more detail noting examples that had been included in the backup. She also explained that specific documents are included in the files for each property. The database is continually updated as the County acquires properties either through purchase, escheatment of tax deeds, or code enforcement foreclosures. As noted, during the past year, 16 properties have either been sold ($128,206) or donated ($32,852) for a total of $161,058, thereby placing these properties back on the tax roll. At the Lake County Central Park (Commerce Park), seven lots were sold generating approximately $1,957,090 in sales and a contract is pending on Lot 37, which is approximately 112 acres and will generate approximately another $3,360,000 if the closing is completed. There is also a contract on Lot 3 and a portion of Lot 4, which is close to 27 acres and will generate approximately $2,025,000.
In regard to the discussion about money being generated from the Commerce Park and going back into the General Fund, Mr. Minkoff explained that, on the other properties, in his discussion with Ms. Hall, they are planning on bringing to the Board some kind of system where, if it was purchased with funds, for example, from the fire department, and it is a significant amount of money, then they can allocate those moneys back to the department; currently there is not a system in place because they were never selling anything. They have not sold any large Public Works or fire sites, so all of the property that has been sold has been General Fund property.
Ms. Durkin stated that, in addition to selling or disposing of property, they provide assistance in the acquisition of property, with several park properties being purchased this past year including PEAR Park, Northeast Community Park, and Ferndale Preserve.
Commr. Stivender referred to Example A, Page 5 of 6, and noted that Summerall Park has been deeded to the City of Tavares, and it was noted that staff will confirm this item.
Ms. Durkin noted that other acquisitions include property for a fire station on CR 448 and flood prone property in the Lake Mack area. The Furniture Country warehouse property on CR 473 is scheduled to close November 4, 2005. She explained that staff attends the meetings of the Public Lands Acquisition Advisory Council to provide support to them in their acquisitions.
Ms. Durkin explained that staff also manages leases; they currently have 17 properties owned by the County leased to organizations as shown in the backup, Example C; and Example D shows that they have approximately 50 leases where the County is the tenant. Several of these leases include space for county departments, constitutional officers, the Health Department, and storage facilities. The information reflects further details pertaining to the Citrus Ridge Library, MPO, Court Smart program, and Health Departments.
Ms. Durkin explained that staff wanted to bring some issues to the Board’s attention in the area of leased space. The Health Department has expressed the need for space in the South Lake area. In the Leesburg, Eustis, Tavares and Mt. Dora areas, the Health Department has four leased spaces, and these are due to expire in 2006 and 2007. They are working with Facilities and Procurement to develop an RFP for responses to a “build to suit” building to rent for a ten year period, with an option to buy based on the Board’s direction that was given to staff on October 4, 2005.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the County is currently leasing 20,000 square feet of space for the Health Department in the north half of the County. They have indicated a need for 40,000 square feet, so very soon staff will need a decision from the Board as to whether they should write a lease for the required 20,000 to 40,000 square feet, or build 20,000 to 40,000 square feet, or to just try and renew these leases.
Commr. Pool suggested that staff analyze what a lease would be for this type of building and if they own the building and project it out 20 years, because the health clinics will always be needed and, if it is prudent or more cost effective, he would like them to look at what they can do and what they should do.
After some discussion, Mr. Minkoff clarified that, if they build a 40,000 square foot building in Tavares, it would eliminate all of these leases for the health clinics; the Umatilla Health Department is not included in that square footage because it is actually a clinic.
Commr. Cadwell requested that Ms. Hall provide him with information as to why the Umatilla clinic will not be ready for another 24 months.
Ms. Durkin explained that the Sheriff and Tax Collector have leases in Clermont, both to expire in a year, and they have indicated that this space is no longer large enough to meet their needs. The Clerk is currently leasing in the Sunnyside Plaza in Clermont, and his lease is due to expire in a year. The Property Appraiser and the Supervisor of Elections have offices located in Minneola City Hall with the lease expiring in 2009. In the next year decisions will need to be made for location of new offices and space in this area.
Commr. Pool stated that this looks like an opportunity, and they need to make sure that, as they go forward with leases and with land that they may or may not own, they determine what is the most cost effective and a long term benefit to the County and community.
Mr. Minkoff explained that staff met with all of the constitutional officers and, just from the property management side trying not to get involved in the policy with them, these are decisions that are going to have to be made. The space that they rent from the City of Clermont for the Sheriff is a very poor facility; the Tax Collector indicates that he is under spaced there; so those decisions are going to have to be made within a year, and the Board members will have to make them in consultation with the constitutional officers.
Ms. Durkin noted that they also provide space in the Altoona Fire Station for the Adopt a Child program; space for the Forest Hills Association to meet in the Lake Mack Fire Station; and space for the Friends of Ferndale to meet in the Ferndale Fire Station. They also assisted the Clerk in securing placement of a drop box at the Center State Bank in Leesburg for the Recording Department of the Clerk’s Office.
As they begin their second year of this program, Ms. Durkin stated that their goal is to continue to assist the Board, constitutional officers and county departments with locating, acquiring, leasing and disposing of properties.
Commr. Pool stated that he appreciated the work done by Ms. Durkin to bring all of this information together, so that they are now able to make informative decisions.
Mr. Minkoff stated that, when staff first started this process, they met with Seminole County and Orange County and looked at their processes and really mirrored those two processes; they did not really look at any other government in Lake County; he did read in the paper that the School Board is undergoing a similar process and trying to identify their properties and dispose of what they do not need but no one really had a formal program.
Mr. Bob McKee, Tax Collector, addressed the Board and explained that their leases are going to expire in about 12 months, and they are at the point now that they have actually vacated all of the ancillary spaces in their building in South Lake and have extended their customer service area, so it completely fills the building. They are about two positions short in terms of staffing and they have no place to put people. They are not going to revert back to the dismal conditions that once existed down there at the detriment of their customers. Mr. McKee explained that 12 months is not a long time, and it cost them about $65,000 for build out so vacating lease space is extremely expensive. They would encourage the Board to decide on their next move in South Lake County. He explained the wonderful arrangement they had in Eustis where they had a building built to suit them and where they paid $10 a square foot, had a 15 year lease, and perpetuity; and the owner of the building receives nothing except the equity in the building. Mr. McKee stated that they are going to move forward in South Lake County to make that same type of arrangement in order to suit their needs. He asked the Board to come to some conclusion and, even though he will pursue building something to meet their needs, he is certainly not encouraging the Board to build something.
Sheriff Daniels explained that he is facing the same issues as the Tax Collector, and he has talked to two property developers and, even though he is not a fee office, both have said that there are people in South Lake that will build long term or build to suit to lease for a south substation. He explained that the new sex offender registration requirements went into effect recently and doubled the amount of traffic at the south substation, which is a terrible location, no parking, and he would like to see if they can find something else.
Discussion occurred regarding a possible timeline for staff to be able to present an analysis for the cost of building versus lease costs and presenting scenarios for the Board’s review.
Mr. Minkoff noted that he had made a suggestion to Mr. McKee that, if they could get everybody at one site, not necessarily in the same office, then people can take care of all of their needs at one time, and he thinks that all of the constitutional officers are willing to consider something like that even though the Sheriff is a little different in terms of needs.
PRESENTATION: DIRT ROAD ISSUE BY THE PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, stated that he first wanted to thank Mr. Kristian Swenson, Road Operations Director, and Ms. Lori Conway, Capital Programs Manager, for putting the information together that is contained in the book that has been provided to the Board.
Mr. Stivender explained that staff identified roads that were not maintained by the County and not in the city that had 100% right-of-way; roads that had some right-of-way; and roads that had no right-of-way. He stated that this information was discussed with the Board a few months ago, and now he would like to summarize the whole program. The Board is now a part of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), so Public Works is not involved with a lot of the processes associated with State roads or expressways, but they are still pioneering four-lane roads in South Lake County and still working on four-laning two-lane roads throughout the County and using State funds, city funds, or impact fees; widening and resurfacing roads using sales tax and impact fees; and paving clay roads using sales tax and impact fees and gas tax. They do not have funding for these projects and have faced many challenges with the special assessment program and roads that they do not maintain.
Mr. Stivender stated that the special assessment program was originally approved in 1982 and there has been discussion about looking at this program and updating it at some point. A lot of the special assessments were done in the 1980s and 1990s. There were a lot of challenges with a couple of projects that are going on right now, not only from an environmental standpoint, but also from right-of-way acquisition. Staff was asked to come back with inventory, which they have done, and today he wanted the Board to look at Tab 6 – Roads with 100% Right-of-Way, Expanded, a list of non-County maintained roads in unincorporated Lake County that have 100% publicly dedicated right-of-way sorted by number of addresses on the road along with the special assessment inquiry date; the number of addresses along the road range from 79 to 0. There are non-County maintained roads and private roads that are not paved and are not interested in the special assessment program, but they do have 100% right-of-way, with one reason being the cost; they do not want to pay one-half or two-thirds, with the County picking up part of the cost. The other challenge is that there might be an issue associated with participation in general. He also pointed out that there are a lot of inquiries about the program, but there is not a lot of interest or commitment in a lot of these projects through funding or programming; a lot of them really expect the Board to take care of the roads through some funding source. He pointed out Tab 7 Roads with 100% Right-of-Way, Expanded by Commissioner District; and Tab 8 Roads with 100% Right-of-Way, Expanded by Special Assessment. Mr. Stivender stated that he is concerned that they do not have a dedicated funding source, and they have got a program that may have to change or be modified to meet the needs that are out there today. He also addressed Tab 9 Roads with Non 100% Right-of-Way where they have continued requests to take these roads into the County maintenance system Tab 10 is associated with costs and, as noted, a table depicting comparative initial capital costs to bring non-County maintained roads, in unincorporated Lake County without 100% publicly dedicated right-of-way, into the county road maintenance system. They have done over 100 special assessments over the last 20 years.
Mr. Stivender stated that, since this is a workshop, he would like the Board to consider revamping the special assessment program in a way that they can get participation and find out who really wants to participate in a program or really wants the County to maintain that road for them, and to set up a funding source that would allow those roads to become county maintained. Then they need to decide if it is a capital program, or are they increasing the number of miles of clay roads by doing this program.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, if the Board includes more roads that are county maintained, even though they may be clay, this would cut down on the desire for paving. There is a group out there now that are not even on the maintenance system, and he knows that they said they were not going to take anymore clay roads into the maintenance system purely because they did not have the money, but they have got to develop a funding source now to do that. He has many miles just in his district that are not being maintained by the County at all; they do in an emergency situation only because they are not in the system. He hopes that, after today, staff will look at some alternatives to generate some revenue in the unincorporated area to take care of these non-county maintained roads.
Commr. Pool explained that people call and tell him that they pay taxes and buy gas, so their position is that the County ought to be taking care of these roads because they are taxpayers. In terms of impact fees, the County has to spend those on new roads and, even though people request dirt to spread themselves, they cannot help fix up private roads.
Commr. Cadwell stated that there are 901 roads that have 100% publicly dedicated right-of-way and are located in the unincorporated area of the County, and they need to first look at those roads and get those on some type of maintenance system.
Commr. Hanson stated that she appreciates the work that has been done. She does think the special assessment program works and modifying that too much at this point might be a mistake. She agrees that they need to make some provisions that those roads are brought into the County maintenance system but make sure that they are not allowed to immediately turn around and expect the County to pave them.
Mr. Stivender felt that they need to have something where they have a mechanism that requires them to show their commitment, a commitment from their neighbors, and that they have enough participation for the special assessment program; in other words, a commitment to use public funds on a public right-of-way in front of a house, to have some kind of process in place.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that, if he wants that kind of process, then staff can develop it and bring it back for consideration, even if it some type of questionnaire. He noted that, in the past they have not had a dedicated funding source, and they have never added a clay road to the list, but they are at the point where they have to. He suggested that staff look at options and bring them back to the Board, maybe a Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU) or something else, but for staff to bring back some funding mechanisms that will allow them to generate some dollars to put back into those roads.
Discussion occurred regarding the possibility of having a MSTU, and Mr. Minkoff clarified that Commr. Cadwell was speaking to the issue as being countywide; Commr. Pool was discussing site specific. He stated that it would not require the citizens to do anything; it is a Board decision; and they do that now in some street lighting districts. In the past, they have always said they wanted the citizens to come in and approve it. Using special assessments, as an example, is very inefficient and expensive and time consuming; using ad valorem is a much easier way to do it; but to generate the revenues it would be a significant ad valorem tax.
Commr. Stivender asked Commr. Cadwell if there are other counties that have done some type of designated funding to upgrade their dirt roads.
Commr. Cadwell noted that Polk County was looking at some others types of funding sources, but some of the others, because of where they are located with interstates, they have a lot more gas tax, but he will find out; and he is not talking about a capital revenue source; he is talking about a source that they will have to maintain some clay roads.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that they have to be careful because a lot of the zoning approvals are keyed to county maintained roads.
Ms. Hall reiterated what she had heard from the Board today and, if that is correct, staff will move forward with that direction. Of the list, 901 roads that the County does have 100% of the ROW, staff can go back and prioritize which ones they think would be their first choices to bring into a maintenance system; there will be a price tag to that. Staff will also come back with some recommendations for funding that and it could be a combination of things having to do with the assessment program or other revenue sources that they can discuss among themselves and bring back some recommendations to the Board based on that. Staff will also check with other counties; and to eventually build a system where they can talk to those people where they do not have 100% ROW and ask them to talk to their neighbors about donating ROW, so they can also add them to the 901 road list. It was noted that staff would also look at the possibility of a MSTU.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board had taken some action earlier to do emergency work on roads that are not on the system yet, and he wanted to know if the Board needed to approve that again so that staff can continue to do because they still have water in some of those places and knowing that they are cutting into some of the transportation dollars.
It was the consensus of the Board that the Public Works staff will continue to do emergency work on roads that are not in the system where there are problems with water or other emergency issues.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that they look at other areas where they are going to be deficient like Parks and Recreation maintenance. That way if they decide on a MSTU or something, maybe it could be used to maintain clay roads and the maintenance of recreation facilities, which might be easier to sell countywide.
If a group or homeowners association were to contact staff on a non-county maintained road and were willing to pay for the work, Commr. Pool wanted to know if the County has a rate that they charge for that work.
Mr. Stivender stated that the County does have a rate and a limit on the amount of money, $1,500 and the reason being that they do not want to cut into the private sector. The County’s rate is competitive but they are not the only source out there to do that kind of work.
Commr. Cadwell wanted to know if staff has the manpower to take care of those emergency situations or do they need to look at contracting to get some of that done.
Mr. Stivender noted that they do both and, in most of these cases, they do not get a contractor involved; usually they haul a couple of loads and spread it themselves. At this time, they only have a few vacant positions in the maintenance area.
Mr. Minkoff explained that, when the County addresses a one time emergency situation, they do not have to worry about liability except with their work but, if they assume maintenance of the road, then they would have to get the road up to green book standing for clay, so they would have to deal with trees, fences, and they would lose their choices.
Mr. Stivender explained that staff has been working for years to get a special projects crew just to maintain the County roads, and they may require a special type of crew to take care of these certain needs associated with this program, and a funding source to go with that.
Commr. Cadwell wanted to make sure that staff moves forward with prioritizing these 901 roads that have 100% right-of-way and come back to the Board because, over the years they have talked about dirt roads but then there is a time lapse. He wants to make sure they move forward and, in regards to the emergency issues, Mr. Stivender has the Board’s support to go and give those people help that call for help.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he needs the information from staff on how the County does their street lighting program including the associated costs and how they have done this in the past for the village areas in the rural part of the County.
Commr. Stivender noted that they have that information from last year, because she asked for the same thing, in regards to SR 19 and Bruce Hunt Road, and the cost was one of the issues when she brought it up last year.
Mr. Stivender stated that two things happened, the hurricanes and this process, but they have put a list of vendors together because they want to put together information in terms of what is available and how to deal with it. Once again, there will be at a priority system. He noted that staff is working on a draft policy, so they will get that to the Board. Mr. Stivender explained how lighting sometimes can be a negative at intersections.
Mr. Stivender informed the Board that they have bidding dates and everything scheduled for the southern connector in Clermont; the bids will be back in December.
REPORTS – COUNTY MANAGER
COUNTY EMPLOYEES/GROWTH MANAGEMENT
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, introduced Ms. Carol Strickland, Growth Management Director who started with the County yesterday.
CORRESPONDENCE - RAINWATER CAPTURE PROGRAM
CITRUS RIDGE LIBRARY
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, stated that she has two letters that she would like to hand out to the Board, one from Ms. Blanche Hardy, Director of Environmental Services that describes the Rainwater Capture Program; and one that the Chairman is sending to Polk County, at their request, to initiate some dialogue on the partnership funding of the Citrus Ridge Library.
COUNTY ROADS/CITY OF LEESBURG
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, informed the Board that he has a meeting this afternoon with the City Manager of Leesburg to talk about CR 470. The last time he talked to the Board about this they definitely wanted to work with the City but wanted to make sure that the City came forward with that right-of-way.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, if the City of Leesburg who is going to benefit wholly for the project is not willing to give them the right-of-way, then they need to re-evaluate where that project is on their list. He noted that this whole road is for property that they are going to develop there, and the initial request was that they would sell the County the right-of-way or go through that process.
Mr. Minkoff addressed the status of the right-of-way acquisition noting that the engineer is working under the assumption that the City is going to be giving the County the right-of-way.
It was the understanding of the Board that Mr. Stock, City Manager, was going to work with them, and it was also the direction that was given by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER POOL – DISTRICT #2
Commr. Pool informed the Board that on Thursday he will be meeting with Commr. Teresa Jacobs in Orange County in reference to the Conserv II site, and he will try to bring back information. He noted that, in his conversation with her, she has tried to utilize some of the Conserv II property herself for her own district and was not very successful.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER STIVENDER – DISTRICT #3
CITY OF TAVARES/SOUTH LAKE COMPLEX
Commr. Stivender referred back to the discussion of the buildings and stated that there was one item that was not discussed, the Judicial Center building expansion, and she wanted to know where that item will fit into the scheme of things because all they talked about was the parking garage and the South Lake Complex.
Ms. Hall clarified that they may not have focused on that item but, as shown in the backup, it notes that April 2006 they will have the cost estimates for the downtown facilities, which includes everything.
Commr. Stivender stated that, in their meeting the other day with the City of Tavares, they did discuss the annexing of the South Lake Complex prior to the County doing the development and working out an agreement with them where the County’s Building Department may be able to do the inspecting, if that was their concern. The City of Tavares requires that anybody developing will have to annex into the City before they give them water and sewer, and this would be forthcoming; and that staff would probably present information on this today to the Board.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that he did not feel there was any disagreement, from talking to the City Attorney that they would enter into some kind of agreement that would call for development review, with their approval and annexation of the property then.
Ms. Hall noted that staff will work with the City and, as mentioned, they have worked with Ms. Dottie Keedy, City Administrator, and talked about a solution and an agreement that would work for all of them, and staff will be working on that and bringing that forward to the Board.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER HILL – CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT #1
Commr. Hill informed the Board that the paper had information that Polk County and several other counties have noticed that the property is quite expensive in that area, and they are looking for partnerships with Citrus Ridge Library. She wanted to know if maybe they could co-locate the government facility within that library and whether that would be an enticement for them to use for partnering.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the Tax Collector has indicated that he has been talking to the Tax Collector from Osceola County about having some kind of a joint facility there.
Commr. Stivender stated that Lake County is going forward and she did not want to exclude anybody from that process even if they get involved a little bit later.
Commr. Pools explained that Orange County’s position was that Lake County is already utilizing their services in other areas, but Osceola and Polk, in his opinion, need to definitely step up to the plate and help them out.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER CADWELL – DISTRICT #5
STATEWIDE TASK FORCE/IMPACT FEE TASK FORCE
Commr. Cadwell reminded the Board that next Tuesday he and Mr. Minkoff, County Attorney, will be at the Statewide Task Force and Impact Fee Task Force meeting.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 12:35 p.m.
JENNIFER HILL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK