JANUARY 27, 2006

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Friday, January 27, 2006, at 9:00 a.m., in Room 207, Lake Technical Center - Kenneth Bragg Public Safety, Tavares, Florida.  Commissioners present at the meeting were: Catherine C. Hanson, Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; Jennifer Hill; Debbie Stivender; and Robert A. Pool.  Others present were: Melanie Marsh, Assistant County Attorney; Cindy Hall, County Manager; Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioners’ Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Kelly LaFollette, Information Outreach Manager; Greg Mihalic, Director of Economic Development/Tourism; Steve Earls, Director of Information Technology; Chris Patten, Public Information Coordinator; Gary Kaiser, Director of Public Safety; Fletcher Smith, Director of Community Services; Carol Stricklin, Director of Growth Management; Sharon Wall, Director of Employee Services; Regina Frazier, Director of Budget; Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works; Richard Leblanc, Architect III, Facilities Development & Management; Jim Bannon, Director of Facilities Development & Management; Barnett Schwartzman, Director of Procurement Services; Blanche Hardy, Director of Environmental Services; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.


            Commr. Hanson called the meeting to order noting that this is their Visioning Retreat and that the agenda looks really good for where they need to be but that they need to be looking at where they are going to be 25 years out and thinking about what they need to do today to get to that vision.  Along with that, she hopes there will be opportunities for each Commissioner to accomplish their different goals during the year.  She welcomed everyone and stated that she appreciates the work they have already done to get them to this point.  She turned the meeting over to Cindy Hall, County Manager.


            TAB 1 – UPDATE ON 2004 FOCUS GROUP REPORT  

            Ms. Hall stated that they will start with the Focus Area Update noting that studies were done in the 1990s and two years ago staff was asked by the Board to provide an update to that Focus Area Report.  The update is included in Tab 1 and noted as Pages 16–24; staff selected either those items that, at that point, were still not completed or were ongoing.  She stated that, at the beginning of Tab 1, there are further updates to the 2004 Focus Area Report, and each of the Department Directors is going to give very brief comments on those updates.  Two weeks ago, senior managers and staff got together in Eustis at the Chamber of Commerce and had a preliminary retreat and put together what they thought might be goals for Lake County for the Board to discuss.  The direction at that retreat was to identify where in 25 years Lake County will be and what they would like to say about Lake County, in a big picture.  Those items are under Tab 2, Goals from Senior Management Retreat – January 13, 2006.  As a starting point, Ms. Hall stated that staff would like to talk about the goals that they would like staff to prioritize for Lake County.  Once those items are prioritized, they will go back to the staff level so that they can come up with ways to make sure that they meet those goals.  Under Tab 3 there are some miscellaneous topics including Vision Statements, which were part of the branding process; they have not been adopted by the Board.

            Ms. Hall stated that, under the last item noted as Other, Jim Bannon, Director of Facilities Development & Management, has brought a layout of the Downtown Tavares area and will discuss another possible location for the parking garage.

            Ms. Hall pointed out that, in the booklet, she has included a letter from Robert D. Johnson, President, Chamber Alliance of Lake County, which talks about economic development, and she has informed him that this is one of the items that the Senior Manager Staff put on their list of goals.  At this time, she turned the meeting over to staff members who would be addressing the Focus Area Update for their individual departments.

            PUBLIC WORKS

            Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, reviewed the information in the packet relating to Parks and Trails (Lake Idamere, PEAR Park, Twin Lakes Park, and Pine Forest Park); Stormwater; and Renewal of Extra Penny Tax (All Sales Tax to date:  $16,398,278); and briefly presented updated information on each item.

            Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell asked why the Umatilla Park was not mentioned under Parks and Trails, and Ms. Hall explained that the Umatilla Park may not have been identified in the original Focus Area Report, and these are the items taken from that first Report.

            Commr. Hanson felt that, as the Board is going through the update today, staff may want to not only report on what has been done but add those items that have not been done.

            Ms. Hall explained that she had felt one way to proceed with this was to take into consideration that this Report was done in the late 1990s, and to bring to a close those items; then start with new goals with staff coming back with implementation strategies for those.

            Commr. Hanson stated that this may be how they proceed but they need to modify it so that it is an ongoing report and, once these parks and other items are added to it, to have it set up so that staff reports on it annually and are able to add to it.

            Commr. Pool stated that the Board talked about the Conserv II property at one time and had an appraisal done on it.  He asked the County Manager to give him an idea as to whether there are any State grant dollars available for parks, and if they are trying to capture any of the grant dollars that other municipalities and counties tend to go for and are there grants that they are either not going for or not accepting; he would like to get Board approval for maybe some grant requests from the State for their parks.  He is looking at Conserv II as an example because it was more money than they wanted to spend and, if there are grants out there, they should try and capture some of them.  The City of Clermont is going to get $12 million in two years and that would easily buy that park to benefit everybody.

            Mr. Stivender explained that he informed Bobby Bonilla, Director of Parks and Trails, to be prepared to spend a lot of time in Tallahassee, so he is already aware that he will be going after some State grants.

            After some discussion, it was noted that the Board members had not problem with staff seeking grants at the State level.

            Ms. Hall stated that she did talk to the County’s grant writers about that particular piece of property, and staff was told that they could move forward and seek some of the larger grants for it, but one of the things that they would need to do is to actually move forward with the acquisition of it.  They would need to have a letter from the current owners saying that they would be willing sellers.  Ms. Hall stated that, if the Board is interested in moving forward with that piece of property, then staff could pursue that and the grant avenue.

            Commr. Pool explained that he met with the property owners, and they would only be willing to sell the property; they will not lease it or rent it or give them time to purchase it.  There is an appraised value on it, and he would like an opportunity to seek out grants for this and try to negotiate something on that parcel, if it is possible, and again maybe utilize State dollars, that they are not receiving now, for some of these offsets.

            Commr. Pool made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Stivender, to seek out grants for the Conserv II property; to try and negotiate something on that parcel if possible; and utilize State dollars that they are not receiving now for some of these offsets.

            Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board will need to decide where they are going with that piece of property depending on what type of grant they will be pursuing such as a park grant and, if they anticipate putting buildings there; they need to talk about what they actually want to do with the property, if they had it.

            Commr. Pool stated that he does not disagree and maybe the State would not allow a building for government use but, if they are going to put a park there, they would want some type of facility, perhaps even for maintenance.

            Commr. Hanson felt that it might not be necessary to have the motion or vote, because she thinks that they all assume, if the grants are available, that they are going to get them.

            Ms. Hall felt that staff would need direction to actually pursue talking seriously to Orange County about buying it and, if that were the case, how many acres.  She understands there are 200 acres, but the School Board might be interested in 100 acres, even though they have not come forward with that request; the County would be interested in 100 acres for a park.

            Commr. Pool stated that he does not mind if the Board focuses only on a park; the key is that Mr. Stivender needs that spur to catch Lake Louisa up to Hancock Road anyway, so that piece in the front would be something for a park.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that he thinks they need the property but he wondered where they were going with it, because the road network is a big part of it, and they have no definite direction to find money.

            Mr. Stivender explained that staff is moving forward with the road design, but they do not have all of the right-of-way, so the road design will help support that part of the purchase, and they can use impact fees for that.  If the Board wants staff to move forward, they will start working on a master plan for the site and give the Board about three options; an option with the School Board; an option without the School Board; and with or without buildings.

            Commr. Pool stated that buildings are not the part he is concerned about right now, because he knows that South Lake is desperate for additional park lands.  He is trying to figure out ideas for grant opportunities and whether this Board has a problem with them seeking grants for park opportunities.

            Discussion occurred regarding whether there are any restrictions on the property, with Commr. Pool explaining that the property owners did not want the property to be sold; if it was sold, they wanted it to come back to them; and they did not want it to be used for residential or commercial uses.  They have a rapid infiltration basin set up out there, and they would like to be able to continue to potentially own that site and some how utilize that site, or to replace it with another site nearby for rapid infiltration.

            Commr. Hanson called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously, to seek out grants for the Conserv II property, and to try and negotiate something on that parcel, if it is possible, and maybe utilize State dollars that they are not receiving now, for some of these offsets.

            In response to Commr. Hill’s questions about the use of the property, Mr. Stivender explained that the biggest concern for them was having a neighbor.  By having a rapid infiltration system, they are going to artificially raise the water table in some low areas, and they wanted neighbors to know that and to be good neighbors because that is their business.  They also did not want to lease anything because they did not want customers complaining about them.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that, in the appraisal, he did not think they backed out those restrictions in the value that they would lose on the sell price, and they need to go through a negotiation process to do that.

            Ms. Hall stated that, in response to the idea of a commerce park, staff did talk to them about that and they were not interested in that idea; they do want it to remain under public ownership.  She thinks it would be okay to put public buildings there and a park, but they were not amenable to the idea of leasing anything.

            To make sure that staff was clear on the discussion, Ms. Hall clarified the direction that staff is to pursue the entire 200 acres, and they can talk to them about getting a willing seller letter; and to move forward with grants for portions that would qualify for whatever grant they pursue, which is likely to be a park type grant and noting that any environmental issues would be part of the negotiation process.

            Commr. Cadwell asked staff to contact the school system in writing saying that they are looking at it again and to ask if they are interested in any of it.

            Commr. Hanson stated that some of her concerns are that the Board is talking about the property at the Board Retreat and voting on it rather than doing that at a regular meeting.

            Mr. Stivender explained that staff will work through some preliminaries based on what they need to do for grants.  In regards to parks, he asked Mr. Bonilla to put all of the trails, parks, sidewalks, and paved shoulders information together and how all of these are linked together with all of the schools and how much money has been spent on all of these types of programs for the last 15 years, and this base information will show them the location of their most critical links, the most critical parts in their master plan, and how they can make those happen, which is their goal.  He stated that this will be presented to the Board in a few months, for the budgeting process, and for public hearings, to show the public what they have accomplished.


            Mr. Steve Earls, Director of Information Technology, reviewed Information Technology noting two areas of discussion, Intranet Web Site and OnBase Document Management System, and presented updated information and noting the very positive effect that streaming video of live Board meetings has been to the employees within the County and to some of the Constitutional Officers.  He also noted that the OnBase document management system has saved them some money and hopefully they will take it countywide and get rid of some paper.

            Commr. Stivender stated that she has talked about a policy for the use of public equipment including cell phones and blackberries, and she knows that staff if working on it.

            Ms. Hall explained that staff is looking at a countywide cell phone and blackberry policy that spells out a little more specifically which positions would be entitled to use these devices and how the whole process would work and, hopefully, they will get that in place in the next couple of weeks.  It has taken a little longer to do this because it will affect a number of employees, but they have been talking to different groups of staff to make sure that they accommodate their needs while they tighten up a bit on the policy, but they certainly do not want to make it so strict that people are not able to carry forth their job positions.  She stated that this is forthcoming and should be done very quickly.

            Mr. Earls stated that the OnBase management system will really revolutionize the way they do business within the County.  They can take in documents electronically, store them, make them available to everyone in the County that needs access to them instantaneously and over the internet if needed; a lot of departments are looking at going in this direction.  If they do that, it is going to mean making an investment and being able to support the use of those new technologies.


            Mr. Greg Mihalic, Director of Economic Development/Tourism, reviewed information relating to Economic Development and Tourism noting three items that were updated for discussion, the Christopher C. Ford Commerce Park; Average Annual Wage; and Jobs Growth Investment Trust.  Mr. Mihalic explained that the 26 acres in the Christopher C. Ford Commerce Parks is under contract, and the County Attorney is in the process of preparing the sales documents.   They have about 38 acres that is being used by Public Works for storage of clay and materials, which will be available for sale some time in the future.  Mr. Mihalic stated that the Commerce Park was a very profitable venture for the Board, they probably netted $6 million or $7 million on that park, and it really provided something that the private sector was not willing to provide at that time, although they are catching up fast now.  As they move into the future, they probably do not need another Commerce Park, but they might look at some other types of economic development.

            Commr. Stivender stated that this was going to be her question, do they need to go out and do this again or is the business community now stepping up.

            Mr. Mihalic stated that the business community is certainly stepping up in this area, but they fit a niche that the business community is not in; they require their lots to be five acres and above; they do not allow lot splits.  If the County was trying to maximize the profit of their land, they would allow quarter acre lots, and they would put mini-warehouses all over it, but those are not allowed and the idea was to not get into this area.  They wanted larger businesses and larger lots, so they were not competing with the private sector in other areas of the County, and they have done this every effectively by holding to those rules and regulations.

            Commr. Stivender explained that they now have closure to the Commerce Park and need to make a decision on what direction this Board wants to go from here.  Commr. Hanson pointed out that this can be looked at in the visioning part; Ms. Hall indicated that this could be considered in the Economic Development Element; and Mr. Mihalic noted that the Board will need to look at a niche that the market sector is not in right now.

            Commr. Pool wanted to know how quickly the Board needed to respond to the clay storage.

            Mr. Mihalic explained that the property being used for clay storage will be worth more in five years and, in fact, they have had inquiries on those lots from adjoining property owners.  There is probably about $3 million to $4 million worth of assets in this property, but you would obviously need another place to put that clay and materials.

            Commr. Stivender interjected by saying that, in the PEAR meeting the other night, this was one of the points that Mr. Stivender brought up for discussion, that some of the property may be used to store County stockpile.

            Mr. Mihalic continued the discussion and reviewed the information pertaining to average annual wage, which is now $13.62 an hour effective February 1, 2006; and the Jobs Growth Investment Trust program that was revised to create a greater interest to hire the disabled among the employers of Lake County; and to create an award which subsidizes the costs for training the disabled worker.


            Ms. Kelly LaFollette, Information Outreach Manager, reviewed the information pertaining to Information Outreach noting that their focus goal was to enhance the County’s presence and perception in the community; 235 news releases were sent to various media outlets.  She explained that last year they began participating in the Citizens Academy, as well as many other initiatives to promote the County.  She explained the other items listed in their update including information on the revamped website and that they also won a Standard of Excellence award from the Web Marketing Association for outstanding achievement in website development.  As far as personal successes, Ms. LaFollette felt that they have stepped up the look of the State of the County events the past two years with the annual report and presentations.          They have done a lot of coordinating with Economic Development and Tourism to produce some of the new items such as the Citizen’s Handbook, which has been a success in the community.  They also addressed some niche marketing and produced a Bird Watching brochure, which will be a first in a series; they are developing a boating and waterways brochure; they produced a new visitor’s guide CD; they completed 190 graphic requests; and they achieved four Red Baron Media Awards from the Florida Festivals and Events Association (FFEA) for its Hurricane T-shirt design, Annual Report, a print advertisement, and Tourism placement, an idea that was presented by Ms. Ann Dupee.  In summary, Ms. LaFollette feels that a lot of the things they produced have put a professional image on the County and enhanced their look out there to the citizens.

            Commr. Stivender noted that she took a copy of everything that the Information Outreach Department has done to a meeting that she went to on Monday, and she thinks this is the best department that the Board has put money behind.


            Ms. Regina Frazier, Director of Budget, stated that she has provided everyone with a copy of the new Budget in Brief booklet that staff has put together.

            Commr. Pool referred to Page 2 of the booklet, Millage Rates, and asked staff to put an asterisk there with information about the incinerator, to help explain the jump in millage rates.

            Ms. Frazier explained, in more detail, the information in the backup relating to Budget, which included Rate Studies Update; Sheriff’s Office; Citizen Action Request Line; and New Integrated Financial Software; noting that the RFP for the rate studies for roads, libraries, parks and fire will be going out on the street tomorrow so they expect to see some results six to nine months from now and perhaps implementing that in another year.  She noted that the School Board is also conducting its own study for the school impact fees.

            Ms. Frazier stated that staff put together the Federal funding requests for the lobbyists and there is potential legislation that could inhibit the ability of states and counties to impose utility taxes, a communication services tax.  The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) is putting out their position on this to prevent any legislation from inhibiting their ability to create those taxes.  She would like to include something in their cover letter with their Federal funding requests that states their position to oppose any legislation that would change that and get a consensus from this Board, which she got at this time.


            Ms. Sharon Wall, Director of Employee Services, addressed the goals that staff was asked to update, Performance Evaluation Forms; Customer Service; and Employee Development/Training Program; and provided additional detailed information.

            Commr. Stivender addressed the insurance coverage currently offered to employees and explained some of the problems she and others are facing with the current plan.

            Ms. Wall pointed out that staff has received other similar comments, and they are already in the process of evaluating the current insurance plan.

            Commr. Stivender explained the difficulty that many employees are having with terminal illnesses, and she is concerned that their medical bills are not being covered with the plan, as well as the cost for medication, and she was looking for ways, perhaps with fundraisers, or some type of financial program, to help their employees who cannot pay for their medication.

            Ms. Hall explained that insurance has been a topic that has come up at every Employee Advisory Committee meeting, with Ms. Wall pointing out that there were some conversion issues and basically they are working with an outdated plan.

            Ms. Hall stated that they are trying to work with individual employees who may have had some issues but overall they have many contracts that combine their health plan, and it may be that they need to look at the whole plan to see if they need to make some revisions to it.

            In regards to fundraisers, Ms. Hall explained that one of the things that came up in the Employee Advisory Committee meetings a number of times is the sick leave bank, and the way that it is handled and perhaps they need to make it a little more accessible or broader.  At the last meeting, they were presented with a proposed revision to the sick leave bank from a sub-committee, and staff will be reviewing it and, since that is already an established program, they are hoping to make it a little bit better and more usable.  There is a fundraiser policy in place that the Board adopted a couple of years ago, as she explained and, if anyone wanted to pursue something like that, they could present their request to the Employee Advisory Committee.

            Commr. Hanson wanted to know if there was a way to set up a foundation for those types of needs, and Ms. Hall suggested that right now the best way to handle that would be through their insurance plan and, if it is not covering the needs of the employees at the level they feel is appropriate, then they need to do something and identify those problems.

            Ms. Hall requested that first the Board let staff look at the insurance plan in general and see if they want to make structural changes to that because that might be the best way to have a more universal approach to address some of those issues.

            PUBLIC SAFETY

            Mr. Gary Kaiser, Director of Public Safety, reviewed the detailed information provided under Public Safety, Emergency Management Division; Completed Construction of Fire Stations; New Fire Stations; E-911 Communications Division; and stated that staff hopes to go to bid next month on the Lake Jem fire station.  Staff is pursuing the rental of a temporary facility in the Lake Jem area just west of the park to house personnel and equipment until that fire station is completed in December, or January; that will be coming to the Board very quickly.

            Mr. Kaiser explained that staff is pursing with Sheriff Chris Daniels some alternatives to communication problems and are applying for some grants to try to secure some specific equipment.

            Mr. Kaiser stated that they are pleased with the ongoing internal reorganization of fire rescue.  They have been able to reduce the ratio of chief officers to firefighters, from one to nine, to one to 19, which means they are not as top heavy administratively and have done all of this within the existing budget.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board probably needs to go ahead and put the Paisley fire station on the Board agenda.  He had said he would meet with Roy Hunter and other concerned folks who put together a presentation through the Planning Department along with the Public Safety Department, and he will go over it with them, but it is probably time that they move forward with that station.

            Mr. Kaiser stated that they need to pick a location for that station and then pursue the acquisition of property; they do have the funding for it.


            Ms. Melanie Marsh, Assistant County Attorney, reviewed the Focus Area Update for the County Attorney’s Office and provided detailed information on the Monthly Orientation Sessions and Inventory of County Owned Property.


            Mr. Fletcher Smith, Director of Community Services, reviewed the Focus Area Update for Community Services and provided detailed information on the Community Development Block Grant; Probation and Court Services (Vehicle Immobilization Program); Veterans Services; and Lake Soil and Water.


            Mr. Jim Bannon, Director of Facilities Development and Management, explained that the Focus Area Update for Facilities Development and Management had one item, Cagan’s Crossing Library, which was the only thing that was addressed in the original Report.  The design has been finalized and construction documents are now 100% complete.  Staff will be coming to the Board to show them the final design and will asking for Board approval to put the project out to bid.  Construction will begin in the summer of 2006 with completion in Spring/Summer of 2007.


            Ms. Carol Stricklin, Director of Growth Management, reviewed the Focus Area Update for Growth Management, which included the Community Based Plan for Town of Montverde; and the Parcel Layer Construction.  She noted that the project relating to the Town of Montverde has changed a little bit due to some leadership changes in that community, but they are continuing to work with them on land uses in the contents of a Joint Planning Area (JPA) Agreement.  They are working with all of the communities in Lake County to look at future land uses as part of the Comprehensive Plan update.  Also the street centerline and parcel layers are 100% complete as of this month.


            Ms. Hall pointed out that, as staff went through these updates at their retreat a couple of weeks ago, the only departments that did not have a page were both Procurement and Environmental Services.  She stated that this did not mean that they did not have anything that was important but Environmental Services apparently had accomplished everything already so there was nothing that they came up with that was incomplete at that time; Procurement Services already has a number of things that they will be working on as far as processes and improvements that will be advantageous for the County.


            At 10:30 a.m., Commr. Hanson announced that the Board would be taking a ten minute recess.


            Ms. Hall stated that, at the Senior Management Retreat held on January 13, 2006, staff came up with eight goals that would answer the question what do they want Lake County to be in 25 years.  She asked the Board how they would like to proceed with these items, with it being noted that, as suggested, they can discuss each one and decide what action they want to take on the item.

            A. Lake County is a High Performance Organization

            Ms. Hall reviewed Lake County as a High Performance Organization and stated that it is important that the internal service departments, such as Procurement, Budget, IT, and Employee Services really make the organization as a whole function well because, without those services and without them functioning well, then the operating departments, such as Public Works and Public Safety, cannot function well at all.  They want the energy of organization to come from within and radiate through the organization.  She stated that they want it to be a very desirable place for people to work, so the people in the inside are excited about working for Lake County and the people on the outside view it as a desirable place that they would like to work.

            B. Lake County is a Leader in Multi-jurisdictional Cooperation

            Ms. Hall stated that they have talked a lot about Lake County and their relationships with not only the cities, but neighboring counties, and other entities within the County, and staff feels that they are in the position, and they are the ones that have the opportunity and perhaps the obligation, to be the governmental entity that pulls everything together because they are countywide.  Their thinking is that they want Lake County to be the leader in facilitating multi-jurisdictional cooperation.

            The Board members presented their feelings on this item, with staff noting that this would involve asserting the role, but Commr. Stivender pointed out that it needs to be done in a way that it does not appear that the County is trying to take over but to assist and facilitate ideas and opportunities.

            Ms. Hall stated that staff may be able to look at this type of thing at their level and bring back and brainstorm with the Board some ideas.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that there needs to be something to get the elected officials together more often especially city officials and to get face to face with them.  He wants to meet with them on a business level.  Commr. Hill pointed out that the League of Cities would like to have opportunities to meet face to face with the Commissioners more often with some of it being issue driven, but with some it on a little bit more of a social level.  Commr. Cadwell noted that there are other counties that have inner-governmental councils, and he thinks they should look at other vehicles that are out there. It was pointed out that the Commissioners do have opportunities to meet with the League of Cities at their luncheons, which they have all done in the past.

            Commr Hanson stated that, even though the cities are already doing this, there is so much more the cities could accomplish if they were working with the counties and vice versa noting that there are so many other things that they have probably not even addressed, and that they could address, that would be beneficial to the whole County.

            Ms. Hall stated that the City of Eustis has asked to have a joint meeting with the Board, so staff will be setting that up; another city has brought that to her attention that they would also like to meet with the Board.  She wanted to know if this is something that the Board would be interested in doing on a regular basis.  After getting a consensus of the Board, Ms. Hall noted that staff will pursue that direction.

            Commr. Cadwell felt that, in her discussion with the managers, they need to have agenda items or perhaps see if there is enough substance to do that; maybe they could do the meetings regionally and advertise them as joint meetings; this would allow for a little more structure and communication with the cities. Even though these meetings may involve a lot of presentations, they need to make sure they have some real items that they want to come to a consensus on.

            It was clarified that staff will set up a joint meeting with the City of Eustis and to bring back ideas to the Board for joint meetings with other entities.

            C. The Economy of Lake County is strong, diversified, and sustainable

            Ms. Hall stated that they have had a lot of discussion about the economy of Lake County.  The County is growing rapidly and the residential pace is probably outpacing the commercial.  In 25 years, they do not want to end up with an imbalance of so much residential that they do not have the tax base to really support those residential needs.  She provided the Board members with a copy of the letter from Chamber Alliance, Robert Johnson, President, letting the County know that they are discussing the same types of things.  The County’s goal is to push towards a stronger more diversified economy and actually specify ways to make that happen.

            Mr. Greg Mihalic, Director of Economic Development/Tourism, explained that a 50-50 optimum is the most productive balance; Lake County is about 80-20.  He will be happy to do a study to see how many counties have this type of balance.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that they need to be careful that they do not see more of a trend toward the senior only communities, which the Board is seeing a great deal of now and should give them some cause for concern.

            Commr. Stivender stated that she goes to the Chamber Alliance meetings, and Mr. Mihalic goes to every one of them.  She wanted to let the Board know that Mr. Johnson has gotten this Alliance together; it has been in the works for a number of years; they still do not have everybody on board; but they are playing a major part in their Lake County Days this year.

            Ms. Hall pointed out that identifying and targeting industries might be something that they want to consider putting some effort and resources behind and moving forward to create a market for them, because right now the County is not a market for many of the industries.  She explained that they have a transportation network that is conducive to doing that; they would actually expand their program to come up with a target industry program to market themselves and their community and create that market and bring those industries into the County.

            Commr. Stivender pointed out, in doing that, they need to make sure that the zoning and Comprehensive Plan and land use issues match or they will get in a situation like South Lake County, and Commr. Hanson agreed that it is important to make sure they meet the requirements of the Comprehensive Plan and future land uses.

            Commr. Hill wanted to know if the Board could give some direction to the Economic Development Council (EDC) on this aspect, because Lake County has a three year contract with them, and to let them know that these are the areas that they specifically want to go into and would like them to help them with in the next three years.

            Commr. Cadwell explained that the EDC does a great job for the County, but they are a big picture operation, and Ms. Hall clarified that she is talking about narrowing their focus down to protect more resources locally and have that person, or group, doing that just for Lake County.  She stated that they will always communicate with the EDC as to what they are doing in the County.

            Commr. Hanson stated that they have an opportunity for targeted industry, with one being health care, the light industry that might go along with it, sports, the environment, several that are already natural.  They have not promoted or targeted them, and the question is do they go beyond the Job Incentive Program, which is very successful, and are they willing to put together a plan and what is required to make that happen.

            Commr. Cadwell explained that, over the past few years, tourism and economic development were joined together and now, especially with what they are doing with tourism, he has never seen a more out front program than what they are doing right now, and he is wondering if they are at a point where they need to break those apart; he was never comfortable putting them together to start with and, even though Mr. Mihalic has done a great job, tourism is growing, and now he thinks they may need to look at two different groups, or two different people, to handle these programs.

            Commr. Hanson stated that, as the Board works with the joint planning areas (JPAs) with the cities, some cities already have a commerce park, but some do not and, if they want to encourage those types of land uses in and around the cities, they need to work with them in the JPAs because that is an important item.

            Commr. Pool explained that Wal-Mart had their “soft” opening yesterday in South Lake County; they handed out $35,000 locally to the police, fire and schools; but the store cannot hire enough people.  The store needs 500 employees and has hired about 435.  The service sector is covered; they need the special target like health care, and to try and focus on more things than the service sector.

            Commr. Hanson clarified that, when she mentioned health care, it was no health care per say but more the technology, the manufacturing of those types of items that might be light industry and, if they do not look at that, there will be an imbalance and taxes will continue to go up because they will increase the services that are required, as well as the level of service.  If they are looking 25 years ahead, these are some of the questions they need to be addressing.

            Ms. Hall stated that, if this item is a priority of the Board, staff will put some thoughts together and come up with some ideas to really strengthen their program for the economy.

            Commr. Hanson noted that Seminole County has been successful with their program.

            Commr. Cadwell explained that Lake County was successful with the industrial park, so they felt that it was their success and have not looked at moving past that and now, with the Land Plan Amendments coming forward, and the staff’s idea on targeting some of those industries and maybe doing business a different way, he thinks they need to do them both pretty quick.

            Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager, stated that he and Ms. Carol Stricklin, Director of Growth Management, have been talking about just that type of study, and she has some experience in Orange County with industrial industry.

            Ms. Stricklin explained that, even though the Comprehensive Plan addresses acreage in industrial, Orange County felt that they needed to identify the location of those parcels, and the size of them, and determine if they are near the right transportation routes and are served by utilities and determine what industries need specific size parcels and really get down to a very specific level to decide if they had the adequate sites to provide for those industries.  In the old Comprehensive Plan, because they simply had urban, suburban, and transition, they did not really set aside lands for industrial.  With the Comprehensive Plan update that will have more specific categories, they will be able to set aside specific lands, but the level of analysis that is needed probably is beyond what they are doing with the Comprehensive Plan, and they would need a specific study that looks at those targeted industries, because each industry is going to have its own locational criteria.

            Commr. Stivender discussed having a countywide inventory of what is actually needed in the County, and Mr. Mihalic explained that they had a property inventory system, but the realtors would not keep it up to date; they did not want to remove the land they had already leased or sold so it got dated and now they are referring them to other regional databases and not specifically Lake County.  They have to be located with a good transportation system and zoned properly and they have to be business friendly, and they have to know the population of the municipalities and cannot be just the unincorporated area.

            Commr. Pool pointed out that, as you look at the transportation network, he feels that the turnpike is the key corridor for these opportunities, and people can still get to the Metro-Orlando area and north Lake County and other north Florida areas.  They need to think about, as they do this Comprehensive Plan, what they really want to see there because it is still in the County; not in the city.

            Mr. Mihalic noted that the City of Leesburg has 2,600 acres and have set aside 350 acres for commercial industrial, and that does not help them alleviate the balance that they may have between residential and industrial. The concern is having the work force traveling somewhere else.

D. Lake County Offers a Quality, Reliable Transportation Network in a Multi-modal System


            Under this item, Commr. Hanson asked staff to include water and perhaps a ferry as a type of transportation; she noted that this was presented by myregion.org.

            Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, stated he will be making a presentation to the Board on Feb. 7, 2006 about the South Clermont Connector and bringing that project to the Board for them to award.

            E. Social Services are Provided to Those in Need Throughout the Entire County

            Ms. Hall explained that staff felt it was important for social services to be available to those in need throughout the County but not at the County’s provision; that the social services would be provided through non-profit organizations or other private sector organizations, but the County could take a lead in facilitating them.

            Commr. Stivender stated that this is similar to the other one, with bringing businesses into the County; they need to make sure that they have the land uses for these types of opportunities, because that has been as struggle in the past, to find an area where people can come in and conveniently put in affordable complexes, i.e. affordable housing.  

            Commr. Hanson stated that, when she was at myregion.org last week, they also mentioned social capital as a term, not just for social services, but getting the community involved more with solving the problems, and they also talked about volunteerism and some of those items that actually become an asset and benefit to the County.  She noted that churches and volunteers would be included in the list of those who could help with problem solving in the County.  The County has come a long way on volunteerism, and Ms. Helena Osborne-Ponsi, Volunteer Coordinator, has done an outstanding job with the program, and she continues to work on it and has a lot of great ideas.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that one of the things that the Board needs to make sure of, as it monitors those services, is that some of them are not as glamorous and not so nice to do and, if there is nobody providing that service, then they need to try and help somebody provide it or get into that business themselves.

            Commr. Hanson noted that there is a wonderful program, Human Care Network, that is being provided through United Way and the Salvation Army, and it is faith based but throughout the County and Sumter County, they are creating a network working with churches and different centers to provide for not only food banks but other needs, and it is a coordinated system that reaches some of those people that the County is not able to reach and Mr. Fletcher Smith, Director of Community Services, is really involved with it.  She is not sure where Affordable Housing works in but they need to be looking not at just the placement of affordable housing but what makes a home affordable and their policies and how they inhibit or help with this.

            Commr. Stivender stated that she raised the issue of affordable housing when they were discussing impact fees, and she had asked staff to look at some type of extra credit or discounts to help those people, because most people who work do not make $60,000 or $70,000 a year and cannot afford a $200,000 house.

            Mr. Smith noted that the grant amounts were increased when the fees increased; Ms. Stricklin explained that Leon County has a formula where, if you are building a single family subdivision, you have to set aside a certain number of supportable units or pay about $20,000 for each unit.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that, when you pay that dollar amount, and you end up with all of the affordable housing in one place, that creates the problem with the credit and being able to buy your way out; it does not create a community like you need to create and all of this needs to be reviewed for the Comprehensive Plan.

            F. Lake County Preserves Environmental Resources

            Ms. Hall explained that, through the whole branding process, the environment of Lake County was kind of a main thing that came up over and over again, and everyone agreed that the preservation of environmental resources are critical.

            Commr. Hanson pointed out that they do not really have anything listed just for water quality and quantity, and she thinks they should include the connectivity of the trails, and the hiking, as well as the wildlife corridors.

            G. Urban Development is Well Planned and Implemented

            There was a lot of discussion on urban development, as reported by Ms. Hall, and it is happening not only in cities, but in the unincorporated areas.  Their discussions were more geared towards how they want, or do they want, urban development to be in the unincorporated area.  If they do want to allow for it, then some of those items noted under G. would be those things that they would want to put into place, to ensure that the urban development was well done within the unincorporated areas.  She explained that utility services become kind of a critical issue as to whether they are provided and who provides them in the unincorporated area or, if they are provided by the cities, are they required to annex into the city at some point in time, just as they are now.  The whole idea of public providers and wholesale agreements for water was brought up by Carol Stricklin, Director of Growth Management, and Ms. Hall turned the meeting over to her to talk about that idea.

            Ms. Stricklin explained that, if the Board wants to see urban levels of development that would remain in the unincorporated area but in the past has not wanted the County to become a utility provider, there are some other ways to approach that whether it is private providers like in South Lake County or working with the municipalities that have planned capacity, that would be willing, on a wholesale basis, to provide water service, but the County or a private provider is the retailer and distributes the service and collects the fees.  The services are actually provided through the County or through a franchise agreement with the County and, therefore, annexation is not always a prerequisite for utility service.

            Ms. Hall referred to the last item, urban form is designed (outlined) by green space and density and clustering is appealing, which is really how the layout of how the current incorporated area would look as far as the defined green space areas and defined areas where there would be housing of different types.  The green space definition would be the first step as to defining where the development takes place.

            Commr. Hanson stated that she knows they have some areas of the County that are urbanizing, perhaps not to the point of being cities but certainly villages, and they are working with Mount Plymouth and Sorrento.  She thanked the Board for their financial commitment and staff commitment to continue the Mount Plymouth/Sorrento Study, and their meeting last week was really very productive.  She stated that there are other areas, Astor, Four Corners, and Yalaha that are not as intense but are still looking at how they can create a better sense of community.  She thinks that they do have to allow for some urbanized design in some of these areas because, if they do not, they are just going to kind of grow helter-skelter and it is not going to be very pretty.  She thinks they ought to include the traditional neighborhood design in their developments, not as a given but as a choice, and more alleyways and those types of things that can make one subdivision look different and distinctive from the next.  In regards to Mount Plymouth, the Board has already received a letter from the architect of one development that is proposed there for utilities.  They are going to get their utilities from either Mount Dora or Eustis or Apopka, or from a package plant there, even though they are not inclined to do that, but there may be an opportunity for the County, if it is feasible, to be involved with one.  Otherwise it is pretty much going to be a foregone conclusion that the utilities will be provided by another city, and it could be similar to what Ms. Stricklin had mentioned, a franchise with one of the cities, but the County will still has some control and some financing benefit.  She stated that it is going to happen and, if they just do nothing, it is still going to happen.  She felt that it would work for water, but she was not sure about sewage.

            Ms. Stricklin explained that there are parts of South Orange, the Orange Lake Country Club area, that are served by City of Kissimmee wastewater.

            Commr. Hanson stated that one of the concerns, as she found with Eustis providing the service to Sorrento Springs, was that the price in many cases will go sky high to the residents; they live in the County yet they get services from the City.  There is no political relationship between those citizens in the unincorporated area and the City, so it has created some problems there.

            Commr. Pool explained that most cities have built a condition into their water rate structure that, if it is out of the outline and shown on the unincorporated area, they are allowed to charge 25% more for the water than what they charge a city resident.  He referred to The Plantation, a unique scenario, and explained that it is located in rural Lake County, and he believes it has been an asset to the County.

            Commr. Hanson stated that the difference in that example, The Plantation, they provide the services, which is a different situation than a historic community that is continuing to develop.

            Commr. Pool stated that he did not know if the Chairman was asking them if they want to continue with that thought as they go forward, to allow or deny, but it is something, if done correctly and is properly planned, that can be an asset to the County.

            Ms. Stricklin did not feel that the question starts with the utility question; it starts with the question at the end of the day as to whether, as they build out, it is the vision that those urbanized areas will ultimately all be centered within the city, or is there some vision that, where they develop in urban ways, it is going to remain as a series of unincorporated communities, whether they are self-contained, or historic villages, or new areas/new villages.

            Commr. Cadwell felt that the answer to whether the Board wants all of those cities to end up being in the city would be no, because he thinks there are some specific areas; i.e. Paisley, Cassia.

            Ms. Stricklin pointed out that, if the answer is they do see urban development in the unincorporated area, utilities is one of the big things that drives where that occurs and how that occurs, and that is how they get to the utility question.

            Ms. Hardy stated that the Water Alliance is moving forward very carefully and is dedicated to only the study now, but the County actually does sit on what could be the beginning of a regional utility authority.

            Commr. Cadwell stressed that they not leave this meeting with anybody thinking the County wants to get into a regional utility authority, and the other Board members were in agreement.

            Ms. Hardy stated that it is at least in a leadership role, and where there have been needs in some villages, where there is a big need, they have been able to use some things like rural agricultural development grants to provide some things, so they occasionally are involved a little bit in this need.

            Commr. Stivender felt that the Board probably wanted to be a facilitator when there is discussion about these issues and know what is going on but they do not want to be in business.

            Commr. Hanson wanted to know if the Board wanted to talk about Mount Plymouth/Sorrento and decide where they want to go from here.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that years ago the Board did a study and decided it was not going to get in the utility business; they looked at it again about four years later and again said they were not going to get in the utility business.  Most of that discussion was all based on the south end of the County where development was taking place and, at that point, they said they were not going to get in that business.  He explained that Commr. Hanson is talking about traditional neighborhoods that have got some needs where the County may end up being the provider in those neighborhoods.

            Commr. Hanson stated that the Comprehensive Plan said that the two areas at that point that the County may want to consider were Astor and Mount Plymouth/Sorrento, and that was 20 years ago.  She is hoping that the study will answer some of the questions, but she is not sure they have enough time for the development that is going to go in there, and they may run into a time crunch, so the Board may want to look at it even before then.

            Ms. Hall stated that she is hearing that the Board actually is amenable to this suggestion that, in fact, there is the desire to have some urban-like neighborhoods in the unincorporated areas and, if that means they need to look at ways to help provide utilities in some way, that they can actually talk about how that might be best to handle.

            Commr. Hill stated that she would like to have more discussion on this item before they make any definite decision.

            Ms. Hall noted that more information on this item will be brought to the Board in a workshop, and staff will keep the Board updated on the item addressed in the letter from Chamber Alliance.

            H. Appearance of Lake County is Esthetically Pleasing and Well Designed

            Under Appearance of Lake County, Ms. Hall noted that this would include uniform countywide design standards along major corridors, hopefully in cooperation with municipalities.  The goal would be in 25 years, as people drive through Lake County, they would like them to think that this is an esthetically pleasing place to drive through and the development is well done, and the road systems are pleasing and attractive in appearance.

            Commr. Stivender stated that she thinks the Board members all want that but she wanted to know how they would address all of the historical structures, etc., along the corridors and whether they want to retrofit these things.

            Commr. Cadwell explained that Commr. Stivender was not talking about retrofitting the County; she is talking about when new things happen and those buildings go away.  He stated that the Board addressed this issue in the sign ordinance, which is the only thing that the County has that may even try to do this.

            Mr. Welstead stated that this would involve incentivizing businesses that are not going to go away, to come up to those standards.

            Commr. Pool stated that the West Orange-South Lake Transportation Task Force tried to figure out a complete overlay from Ocoee, Winter Garden, Oakland, Clermont and right on through, to find out what kind of things they would like to see, and it was a very nice presentation, but the business community did not want to invest, or change anything, so the issue was dropped from their discussion.  They even thought about, over a ten year period, giving them some incentives, or some way to maintain tax levels where dollars would be put back into that corridor without an expense to them but, because they did not like the idea, they dropped it.

            The Board members felt this item needed to be addressed a little at a time, and to develop a strategy very carefully.

            C. Economy of Lake County is strong, diversified, and sustainable (CONTINUED)

            Commr. Hanson referred to Item C. Economy, and stated that agriculture needs to be mentioned in there, and they need to look at ways to keep them in business without selling their property.

            TAB 3 a.  - VISION STATEMENTS

            Commr. Hanson stated that, back in the Board’s original Vision for Lake County, they talked about smart growth, and she pulled up on the internet yesterday what smart growth is and there are ten statements, and she felt that they fit in very well with this.  She read those statements to the Board.

            Ms. Hall referred to the Vision, Mission, and Values noted in Tab 3, as they were determined from the branding process. Ms. Hall noted that, if these are acceptable, staff will proceed to incorporate the Vision Statements in their employee orientation program.

            It was noted that these were acceptable by the Board.

            Tab 3 b. – Community Involvement Opportunities

            Ms. Kelly LaFollette, Information Outreach Manager, explained the idea that was presented by Ms. Hall about a Speakers Bureau, which she stated would be a good avenue to open the lines of communication and get the word out to the public on certain topics.  They want to look at developing a Lake County Speakers Bureau, which would be comprised of select employees; there would be a catalog of speakers and topics that certain civic groups could choose from; they would try to require a two weeks notice; these will be canned speeches; there will be an online catalog that would be updated and maintained with the latest topics; they are looking at a minimum size of eight people; it would be free of charge; and it would accessible to anyone in the County.  She will be working with the departments to select these people, and to determine certain topics that people will find interesting.  In terms of overtime for employees, Ms. LaFollette explained that staff will address this issue, but most of the people would probably be exempt employees that would not get paid overtime.  She noted that Chris Patton will be marketing the program, and they will be advertising it on line and will be sending out news releases to try to build the awareness of it.  She noted that, to the credit of Community Services, Library Services has a program as such and staff will be joining the programs together and will be using their resources as well; they have speakers already in place.

            Commr. Cadwell pointed out that the Board needs to be involved more with some of the holiday activities, and he would like the Information Outreach Department to research these activities, because he feels that the Board needs to participate on a higher level at events such as Martin Luther King Day.

            Ms. LaFollette explained that staff tries to help coordinate these events with the cities and their marketing, and Mr. Patton tries to promote them, because he has those media contacts.

            Mr. Mihalic stated that Economic Development/Tourism prints for those non-profit activities right now, and they did Martin Luther King Day, but they do not do their graphic designs.

            The Board felt that the County needs to make this offer to those entities for national holiday events, and to be a little more pro-active and select those that they would like to help with if they do not come to the County.  Ms. LaFollette noted that the County has offered its services in many instances and can work to build those relationships.

            Under this item, Ms. Hall stated that she wanted to mention that, as part of the fundraising policy, Community Services came to her and the Employee Advisory Committee and requested that they have a fundraiser for the Boundless Playground, and the Committee unanimously passed that request. She noted that this process has been working very well.

            Tab 3 c. Citizens Committees – Environmental Protection and Ag Committee

            Ms. Hall stated that staff wanted to get some feedback from the Board on two different committees; one is the Agricultural Advisory Committee, which is not active at this time and does not need to move forward at this time.  The Board directed staff to move forward the Environmental Protection Board and pointed out that, on Pages 40-42, it outlines the Purpose, Duties, and Membership of that Board.  Staff wanted to know if this was the makeup that the Board is interested in moving forward with for that advisory board and whether it would be a good idea to revise some of those responsibilities.  It was clarified that this would be an advisory board, not an enforcement board.

            Discussion occurred regarding possible revisions because of the land acquisition process, with Commr. Hanson explained that the Environmental Protection Board became nonfunctional mostly because of its makeup; she would rather not have each of these necessarily designated but leave it up to the Commissioners to appoint a couple of members from the community.

            Commr. Cadwell explained the importance of having specific designations from specific professions or agencies, and Commr. Hanson noted that they were good to have but the others could be ex-officio members. Ms. Hardy explained that, when they were restructuring the committee, staff asked them to create a Technical Advisory Committee, so they have access to that expertise.

            Staff was directed to revise the Environmental Protection Board, to have four at-large members; and one individual from each district to be brought forth by the District Commissioner; for a total of nine members.

            Discussion occurred regarding issues that developed with the Agricultural Advisory Committee, with the Board asking staff to keep the line of communication open with agriculture agencies and individuals involved in agriculture, and to stay in contact with the Extension Center.

            Tab 3. d. Naming Policy

            The Naming Policy was sent out to the Board for consideration, and Ms. Hall stated that, even though it is not in a policy format, it does have the elements of a policy and, as they are building parks and buildings and getting into more of an infrastructure program, staff would like to have some type of policy in place that they can answer requests or questions about how buildings, parks, etc. would be named.  She noted that this information was pulled from a number of sources and compiled as something that might work for them, and she is asking for any changes or direction on how to proceed with this idea.

            Commr. Stivender referred to the request that has been made from Ferndale Preserve, which she has sent on to the County Manager, and questioned how this type of request would be handled.

            Ms. Hall explained that it does require having additional signatures on a petition, which she did receive with the Ferndale Preserve request, and it requires that the person who it is named after has some relationship to the thing, i.e. a park activist, or something that would tie the name to the facility.  In that particular case, the gentleman was tied to education, so she did not know if that would fit real well into this particular policy; it might be more suitable for a school.

            After some discussion, it was clarified that this will be a Board policy, and they will have the final vote.  Staff was directed to put together a formal Policy for Naming Facilities, with the information brought forth today, and to bring it forward to the Board.

            Commr. Stivender addressed signage, and Ms. LaFollette explained that it will be in the Standards Manual that is being developed and distributed with the new logo and will include how to use it; and there is a section on signage.  This has been discussed with Public Works and they are in agreement.  She noted that they were actually looking at just the visual aspect but they can add that component, the distance from right-of-way, etc.


            At 12:10 p.m., Commr. Hanson announced that the Board will take a 15 minute recess.


            Commr. Hanson stated that the last item is not on the agenda, but it has been asked that the Board bring up for discussion the parking and downtown facility.

            Ms. Hall explained that, in November, the Board gave staff direction to have their architect develop a conceptual design for two locations for the parking garage and that has been taking place, and it is an item that staff will be bringing back to the Board on February 16, 2006 in a workshop.  The two locations include the block directly across the street from the Administration Building, which includes the current Hunter Building where Library Services is located, a restaurant, and other parcels owned by a private owner; the other location is the parking lot next to the jail, at Main Street and Sinclair Avenue, and they are both County owned parcels.  The architect has been working with some designs for those locations and, at the Board meeting last Tuesday, January 24, 2006, the Board brought up the idea that there might be some other locations that they should also look at, if those two locations are not viable.  Mr. Bannon has brought a map of the entire area that they are looking at so they can be very clear on the locations, and staff will be glad to work with the architects to bring back some additional conceptual designs of other sites.

            Commr. Stivender stated that a couple of years ago the Lake Region property was available and she brought it forward for discussion, but the newspaper reported negatively about her for talking to the City of Tavares, because the City wanted to maintain their tax base and have retail but that was not part of their overall development plan.  The Board decided, at that time, to discuss something like a public/private partnership with the City, and through discussions, they looked at the whole site, which included the two smaller parcels on the north side of Ruby Street that are owned by Lake Region.  She did not know if any drawings were ever done to determine whether those two smaller parcels would accommodate their parking needs, or if they were even available for purchase, but the city administrator was okay with the scenario, as long as it did not include the larger Lake Region parcel.  She stated that this option may be one that they need to look at again.  The other idea is going back and putting it where they originally started to put it, on Alfred Street and Sinclair Avenue, at the right had corner of the judicial facility site.  Her other suggestion was the corner across from the bond company next to the jail, on Main Street and Sinclair Avenue, but the Sheriff said there were security issues, so that may not be a viable site, unless it is two or three levels versus five or six.

            Mr. Bannon explained that the architects are producing designs for the two sites that were suggested at the November meeting, the block across the street from the Administration Building, and the parcel next to the jail, at Main Street and Sinclair Avenue.  Commr. Stivender has just suggested an area, the right corner at Alfred Street and Sinclair Avenue, in the confines of the judicial facility, but there are issues associated with that because they have a place holder on an expansion in that location and, if they use that area for a parking facility, it would somewhat reduce the overall build design on the present site, and it may curtail the possible expansion for the judicial facility in future years, to 2020.  Mr. Bannon stated that he needs direction from the Board as to what they want the architects to look at; right now it is just the two locations, as staff was instructed at the November meeting.

            Commr. Cadwell felt that, if they are not able to come to any conclusion on the site across the street from the Administration Building, they should have some other options.  He pointed out the location of specific sites including areas that would be located in the original footprint of County owned property.  He stated that one location that he thought might work would be the right hand corner, at Alfred Street and Sinclair Avenue, of the current footprint of County owned property and possibly locating the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser in the small building on the south end, and then utilizing the County owned property along the second parcel next to the jail, at Main Street and Sinclair Avenue, and adding the smaller Lake Region parcel and doing either an “L” shape or garage area, with the understanding that you would actually cross the street to get to the Property Appraiser and Tax Collector, but understanding, as well,  the fact that the judges would be very displeased if the County was to have all of the parking at the judicial facility site, but the Board will need to decide to do something.

            Commr. Hill explained that the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser have given them sort of a space perimeter that they would need and number of parking spaces, and she wanted to know if they could add a level garage onto that building, perhaps a lower floor garage and that would take care of their parking needs.

            Mr. Bannon stated that, at the moment, it is a building with two options; one option is that it can be designed directly on the footprint that the County already owns.  If that is an issue, then you would have to make it three levels, with parking on the lower level that would be exclusively for the needs of the Property Appraiser and Tax Collector.

            Commr. Hill explained that the needs for those offices, the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser, are an in-out type of operation for only a limited time, but it is high volume.

            Mr. Bannon stated that he would want to ask for comments from the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser about that idea.  They have both instructed him and indicated that they like the idea of coming directly off the street and not having to rise up a level because of their clientele.  The first level would be parking; the second level would be their lobby and service; the third level would be more office.

            Commr. Hill explained that those offices serve a number of people with disabilities, and there may be enough space on the County owned property, but she did not think they would be able to get 60 spaces on that property.

            Mr. Bannon noted that the footprint that they have at this time is not going to accommodate the parking needs of the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser; it is just their building.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that, when he met with Mr. Bannon, his idea was to break it into maybe even three small parking garages, but it would be cost prohibited to do that; at least this gives them another option to look at including a smaller garage perhaps on part of this footprint, if the original option is not available.

            Mr. Bannon explained that the projected need of the County is around 900 to 1,000 spaces, but the study has not been completed.  To meet their parking needs, they would need six levels of parking, which is basically the height of the existing Administration Building.  If they are splitting up the parking area, with 500 spaces here and 500 there, then obviously it will somewhat reduce the footprint.

            Commr. Pool stated that the two parking lot idea may be the right one, if they can do it and still be able to build the expansion to the judicial facility, even though he does not know the cost effectiveness of doing them on a smaller scale.

            Mr. Bannon stated that obviously Mr. James C. Watkins, Clerk of Circuit Court, and the Honorable Don Briggs, Administrative Judge, would have comments about that idea as well.  Their issue would definitely be curtailing future growth of the judicial facility.

            Commr. Hill addressed the parcel noted as #10 shown on the map, the old health department building, and asked if the Sheriff would be opposed to building his office on that site and doing something similar to what is being proposed for the Property Appraiser and Tax Collector across the street.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that the idea of getting the Sheriff out of his current building was to get those cars out of that area, because it will compile their parking problem if they leave him downtown.

            Mr. Bannon noted that he has not had a conversation with the Sheriff about putting an office at the site that Commr. Hill has suggested.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that the two original options plus the one they are talking about today gives them three options, and he feels that this is as far out as he would like to go in developing a plan.  He hopes at the end of the day they are able to do what they originally wanted to do across the street from the Administration Building; if not, they need to have some realistic options and that is the reason he brought these other options forward.  He hopes that staff will continue to work on the number one choice, the property across the street.

            Commr. Stivender stated that she does not want the project to get slowed down.  She went with Ms. Hall and Mr. Bannon when they met with Judge Briggs and Mr. Watkins and others and that was their main point; do not slow it down no matter what they do; the County has to get it done so they can start on the judicial facility expansion.

            Commr. Cadwell wanted to know if everybody was agreeable to let staff analyze these proposed options but knowing that the first site is still their first choice and that they hope that is where their efforts are going.

            Mr. Bannon stated that the architects will be presenting to them the schematic design and numbers associated with what they are doing here on February 16, 2006.

            Ms. Hall clarified that they are going to look at 500 spaces in the top right hand corner that the County currently owns of the judicial facility; and the other one, which is kind of an “L” shape around their current buildings.

            Mr. Bannon stated that they may need to expand a little bit into some of this surface parking that is presently there, which is not in their ownership.  This is the area that Commr. Stivender has referred to as the Legion Region parcel.  When staff comes back they will show them those options.

            Commr. Pool asked that Mr. Bannon scale out the 500 car parking garage for them so that they can see how much it takes up of that right hand corner of the judicial facility site.

            OTHER BUSINESS


            Commr. Cadwell stated that, after the rezoning hearing the other night and, after watching staff struggle with what they were doing at the end of a long day, and with that being probably their most important case, it was eight o’clock at night, and the Board was making intricate changes; in his opinion, it was not a good way to do business.  He would like to have staff look at ways they can do a better job in the planning process for their meetings; not the way the meeting was run, but to look at something different for zoning hearings.  Some counties take items and create a consent agenda for zoning cases, and he feels that some of the cases on the last agenda could have qualified as a consent agenda.  As they are making those changes and trying to negotiate and make everybody understand those changes, they need to have a process where they will automatically take a break before they actually vote, so they all understand the changes, and to give staff time to get the information in order.  He suggested letting the current staff come up with some policies and bring them to the Board so they can do their job better in regards to those types of cases.

            Commr. Hanson stated that both of those are very good recommendations, and she also thought that having the actual language written down to approve was very helpful to the Board.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that there are other ways, and Mr. Minkoff’s office will need to be involved, to hold those public hearings and make sure everybody’s rights are reserved.


            Commr. Stivender informed the Board that she may not be present for the zoning meeting in March.  The only case that is hers is the County’s case, the fire department zoning in Lake Jem, and she does not want the Board to postpone this issue, because she wants the fire station built.


            There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 12:48 p.m.