JUNE 28, 2007

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in a special workshop session on Tuesday, June 28, 2007, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Jennifer Hill, Vice Chairman; Debbie Stivender; Elaine Renick; and Linda Stewart.  Others present were Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Cindy Hall, County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; and Connie West, Deputy Clerk.

Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, said that she was going to pass out some additional papers that were not in their packages and a replacement page that was labeled 3A Public Safety Reductions that replaced page 11.5.  She said that in addition, there was a handout of prices that were supplemental to the Growth Management page, which was Page 8.5.  She stated that they had scheduled this meeting several weeks ago to go over the implications and directions from Tallahassee, and now that the Legislative Session was over, they had a general idea of what they were looking at financially speaking with the directions from Tallahassee regarding revenues.  She also stated that they had received additional grant money of about $3 million dollars for the construction of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC).


Ms. Hall stated that she wanted to give a brief update regarding the South Tavares Campus.  She said that in April they came to the Board with some different proposals for discussion regarding the buildings they were to construct in the South Tavares area, and came away from the meeting with the direction to move forward on a reduced size for the Health Department and complete facilities for the Public Works Building.  She reported that since that time there were some changes, so they told the architects not to proceed until they had input from the Board.  She added that they were awaiting the new direction to move forward.


She stated that they had been planning to move forward on a new jail but have had that on hold also because they did not have a specific site, but they had been actively looking for a site.  She mentioned that they had looked at a number of areas in South Lake County and had considered putting the jail at the Conserve II property if that property was purchased.  She said that they had several discussions with the Sheriff regarding the placement of the new jail and the possible placement at the South Tavares Campus with the Public Safety Administration Building.  She stated that they would like to present to the Board an idea to move forward with the design mentioned in April of a much-reduced Health Department and a Public Safety Complex, which would include the Emergency Operations Center and Administration for the Sheriff, but would not include EMS.  She stated that they also had discussions with the Sheriff about putting the jail in the area that they used for farming of vegetables and storage of supplies for the inmates in south Tavares.  She stated that the benefits would be that they would not have to purchase land since they already owned it, and there might be some efficiency since it was in close proximity to the Court House. She said that if the Sheriff’s Building and the Historic Courthouse became available and if the Constitutional Officers moved out, there would be sufficient space on the campus to house Public Works in that area.


Mr. Bill Burns of Ajax Construction handed out slides that they presented to the Board, and stated that they had looked at different ways to handle different revenue sources.  He presented an overview of the South Tavares Government Center, reporting that it was about a 45 to 50 acre site.  Some of the slides showed roads, water and sewer, underground utilities, and stormwater retention into the site.  He reported that the cost the site infrastructure package would be about $12 million, including impact fees, design fees, and the central plant.  He also showed a slide of where they would build a fleet maintenance facility that would house fleet maintenance for Public Works, Sheriff operations, and Fire Safety, which he noted would cost about $6 million for a 2 to 3 bay garage each.

Mr. Burns stated that originally the Public Safety building was 38,000 square feet, but they would be reducing it down to about a 15,000 to 18,000 square foot, two story facility, which would include the EOC Center and Fire Safety for a total cost of about $11 million.  He explained that the Sheriff Operation Center would be in the 70,000 to 80,000 square foot range and consist of three stories and be in the $20 million range.  He also presented a plan for the Health Department that would be a scaled down size of 20,000 to 30,000 square feet for about $11 million.  He summarized that the total for the Complex would be $40 million without the Sheriff operation on site, and $60 million with it.

Mr. Jim Bannon, Facilities Development and Management Director, stated that they would work within the budget for the proposed projects by reducing any of the square footage down for the buildings or the amount of bays for the fleet maintenance.  He also commented that within those numbers there was a lot of contingency, and hopefully they would comfortably be achieving all of the space needs within that budget.

Commr. Cadwell asked Ms. Hall about the jail.

Ms. Hall responded that they would like to have some Board direction regarding whether to pursue putting the jail at the South Tavares Complex also, so that they could let their architects know whether to move forward with that, but was not included in the total given for the Complex.  She mentioned that she would be talking about ideas for funding those projects.

Commr. Cadwell commented that with the Court System growing in the Tavares area, that it would be logistically easier if the jail was located in that area.   He also thought that they needed to take the Conserve II property off the table, because he did not think they had a willing seller and did not think they would want to put a jail there.

Commr. Hill stated that the security in transportation was a large factor in moving the Sheriff closer to the Courthouse, as well as requests from judges, the Public Defender, and State Attorney.  She commented that the Sheriff would still need something in the South Lake area for booking and holding cells.  She opined that the Conserve II property still might be a nice land acquisition item that they might want to consider for a future park area or something of that nature, even if it was not used for a jail.

Sheriff Gary Borders commented that they were currently at the Clermont Police Department, which was a very small and old building, and they were being asked to move out of there.  He pointed out that he still needed a substation somewhere in the south end of the County.  He also mentioned that he thought the work farm was a good site for the jail, but was concerned about the actual acreage and whether it would be large enough.  He thought that they could make due with their existing jail site in the meantime, but that the control panels needed replacing.

Ms. Hall stated that they would like direction from the Board on whether to proceed with the proposal that was submitted today regarding construction documents for the Health Department; Public Safety Complex, including the Sheriff, Public Safety Administration; EOC; and the reduced-sized fleet facilities, as well as the location of the jail.

Commr. Stivender stated that the reduction of the buildings was the direction they had set at the last workshop, but they wanted to build them so that they could be added on to.

Commr. Cadwell commented that with the additional grant money they received from the State for the EOC, it would be ludicrous not to build that facility at this time.  He summarized Public Works would not go out there, and they would build the Sheriff’s Office, EOC, Public Safety, a reduced-sized Health Department, and a reduced maintenance area, at an established budget of $60 million.  He also gave Ms. Hall direction to go forward with the jail site in Tavares, which was determined to be 20 acres, and which the County owned adjacent land to.


            Mr. Bannon explained that LEED stood for Leadership, Energy and Environmental Design, and that there were different levels of LEED, which were Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  He stated that it was about a sustainable design, energy efficiency, using single materials and recycling associated with the building.  He stated that typically it would cost an additional 3 to 5 percent, but that they would get a return on the investment in seven years.  He related that in June 2005, the Board adopted a sustainability resolution with a goal of obtaining a silver certification for all major remodeling and new construction, and in May 2006 their architects of the downtown project presented the status of those projects and requested clarification from the Board of what level of certification to pursue in light of cost and project schedule.  He related that at that time, the Board approved pursuing Certified certification for 320 West Main and Silver certification for the Judicial Center expansion.  He went on to explain that on November 17, 2006, the Board approved the staff request to move forward with the design of the downtown projects and discussed revisiting which level of certification to pursue.  He commented that even without certification, architects currently were designing in a sustainable manner and with energy consumption in mind.

            The Board consensus was to direct the architects to build the projects using the same type of energy efficient and environmentally responsible requirements as LEED, but without spending the extra money for the certification.


            Ms. Hall stated that they had been talking about funding concepts and would be bringing back some more specific ideas to the Board, but wanted to describe conceptually how they were moving towards piecing that together, and there were several large projects they were moving forward on.  She specified that one of the projects already slated was downtown Tavares, and they had already done bond issues and did not need to address the funding of that anymore.  She commented that the Conserve II property could be funded from different sources, and that they had about $12 million set aside for that purchase.  She also noted that they had $4 million set aside that was earmarked for their first debt service payment on the bonds that they just issued in May, which did not have to be made until next year, and they had about $20 million in bond money slated for the renovations at the downtown jail that they could shift to the South Tavares site.  In addition to that, the Board had approved a few years ago a bank loan line of credit for about $15 million out of their sales tax fund.  She reported that all of those sources totaled about $50 million, and that other options were to make the project a little bit smaller, increasing the bank loan, or prioritizing the buildings.

            Ms. Hall stated that the initial discussions regarding the jail project had been to look at a design build construction process with a public/private partnership where the contractor would end up financing, which was similar to a lease to own operation.  That way, they would not have to pledge a revenue source and issue bonds against it.

            Ms. Hall reported that another large project they were in the initial stages of working on was the 800 megahertz system, which would cost about $32 million.  She commented that they had set aside some money to start that this year, but it was likely that they would need to do some financing on that project also, such as a bank loan or a tax-free lease provided by Motorola.

            Commr. Hill asked if the legislature prohibited them from including things onto an existing MSTU.

            Ms. Hall responded that they did not prohibit them from doing anything, and the only stipulation they had with MSTU’s was that they were ad valorem dollars, and it would take extraordinary votes from the Board to increase them.

            Commr. Hill then clarified that they would be able to include the EMS MSTU and expand it to do Public Safety and that those options were not off the table.

            Ms. Hall noted that they were working with their financial advisor to make sure they were not in a position of being over debt, because there were debt levels that might trigger bond rating agencies to start getting nervous, and they would be careful to avoid that threshold.

            Commr. Renick asked if having regular intersections rather than round-a-bouts would be a lot less expensive for the downtown project.

            Mr. Bannon stated that when they got the prices from the construction manager on the downtown project, that would be defined as an alternative that they could keep in or take out.  He also commented that they were moving forward with the design based on direction from the Board.

            Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that they would have to go back to the City of Tavares to change all those plans, since the zoning applications to them included that.

            Commr. Cadwell told Mr. Bannon to get back with them on the cost of that and that they needed to have a discussion with the City regarding that.



Ms. Hall mentioned that in putting together the budget from the direction they received from Tallahassee, all departments had been requested to resubmit the budgets that they had submitted in April to meet certain guidelines, which were for them to come in flat as to what was adopted in September 2006.  She explained the reason for that was because once their reduction of 9 percent took place, there was some offset because of growth, even though that would probably not bring them quite up to being flat.


Ms. Regina Frazier, Budget Director, talked about the implications for the taxes for next year after the 9 percent rollback they were required to make, which would be a general fund millage of 4.7548, down from the previous millage of 5.225.  She reported that their assessed values had increased, and the preliminary numbers went up about 18 percent, with about 40 percent of that being due to new growth.  She noted that the net effect was a decrease of about 2 percent or $2.3 million to the general fund.  She also reported that they expected to receive approximately $106 million in ad valorem revenues.  She explained that some of the other major revenue sources for next year would also be going down, due to the level of building activity, and they were expecting about a 37 percent decrease, or about $370,000, over the adopted 2007 budget in the zoning, planning, and permitting revenues, as well as some potential decreases in the State revenues of about 5 percent, or about $1 million.

Ms. Frazier explained that the other factor that was brought in to the legislation was the CRA’s (Community Redevelopment Agency), and the formula they would now use deducted the values of the CRA’s out of their calculation for getting to rollback, which would increase to some extent the actual rate that they got to adopt. However, they would get their dollars based on whatever rate they set.  She stated that they also had three expanded CRA’s and one new CRA coming on board this year, so the net effect of the CRA’s would be about another $700,000 over what they paid this year.

Ms. Hall commented that every department had met their obligations of submitting their proposed cuts based on what they felt were in the best interest of the County.


Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr. stated that the largest part of the Public Works general fund was in Parks, and the County had authorized a lot of expansion in that area in the last two years, which meant that they had more to maintain than they had in the past.  He commented that eliminating the grant programs out of the general fund would result in a 10.8 percent cut.  He also reported that citrus crop revenue from the properties was in the amount of $45,000 this year, even though they cleared three-quarters of the property and the ball fields were under construction in Umatilla.

Commr. Stivender inquired about the orange trees on the Sorrento property that was purchased.

Mr. Stivender responded that they did not get a crop this year but would get one next year on the 100 acres of what was left.

Mr. Stivender went on to state that they had talked with the County Manager’s Office about the 2007 MSTU figures, which totaled $6.3 million, and commented that 50 percent of the Parks money was for positions and 50 percent was for maintenance of the facilities.  He related that the 2008 MSTU figure was lower at a total of $6.1 million based on direction from the budget office, and 50 percent of that money would go towards working on the Ferndale Preserve site.  He also explained that $4.6 million of the MSTU revenue was earmarked for stormwater in 2008. He requested forgiveness from the Board for the $550,000 payment to the stormwater fund and stated that they were moving forward with the Parks program and had adequate funds in the stormwater program.

Commr. Cadwell stated that there was stormwater work done in the parks projects internally, and they could separate that money out to pay for the stormwater, and instead they just put it in the fund.  He commented that he was confident that a lot of that money was spent on stormwater-related things anyway as part of that entire MSTU.  He stated that if the Board was not comfortable forgiving the payment, he suggested that they at least defer it a year.  He also opined that he did not have a problem with the request.

Commr. Renick and Commr. Hill had doubts about forgiveness of the payment.

Mr. Stivender stated that stormwater had been a very healthy fund, but that they had been hurting in revenue for parks and roads, and when the fund grew more, they wanted to continue the parks and roads and maintain a steady level of revenue annually for stormwater.

Commr. Hill commented that it took years to get the stormwater fund to that point.  She was concerned about any projects being put on hold and thought they needed to look at some maintenance items in various areas of stormwater.

Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Stivender to separate what they had spent on stormwater for the parks projects out of the general cost for each project so that they could make an educated decision about whether any of that money should be forgiven.

Mr. Stivender stated that they had been rolling over a lot of old grants in the Sales Tax Grant Program that were given to the cities or non-profits years ago that they were asking for forgiveness or extensions on, and asked the Board to notify those that have extended their grants for over three years that they would use the funds for the capital work for County Parks.  He also asked to end the grant program to cities and non-profits and utilize the $350,000 to do work at PEAR and other sites.

Commr. Cadwell stated that the reason they did the grants 14 years ago was because they did not provide ball fields or opportunities for active recreational activities, and the cities carried that responsibility.  He commented that if they were to cut that grant program out, they had to make sure that they were taking care of all their responsibilities and kept moving forward in that area.

Commr. Renick commented that the cities were providing services to huge numbers of county residents, and they needed to do this at the same time that the clause was changed so that the cities could charge more money for county residents.

Ms. Hall informed the Board that they had an opportunity to partner with Polk County on some land that they had purchased immediately south of Hwy 192 to build a fairly large park that would serve that area, in a program similar to one they were doing with the library in the Four Corners area.

Mr. Stivender stated that they were shifting the percentages around in the sales tax transportation revenue from what they had used it for in 2007.  He specified that in 2007, they used 65 percent for road projects, 30 percent for resurfacing, and 5 percent for sidewalks.  He explained that resurfacing roads had become more of a priority, and they were going to defer a couple of widening jobs, so they had earmarked 40 percent for road projects, 50 percent for resurfacing, and 10 percent for sidewalks for 2008.  He also reported that they were proposing three new Benefit Districts for Road Impact Fees for a total of nine, but would be phasing out the old ones.   He noted that they would be bringing the Board the 2008-2012 road program on August 21, but the Board would get a rough draft of that in July.  He commented that they would be concentrating on fewer projects and that impact fee revenues had dropped 37 percent in the last two years.  He mentioned that they were making large cuts in the County Transportation Trust Fund, after going through a tough exercise to do that by eliminating some capital and maintenance.


At 10:20 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for twenty minutes.


Mr. Fletcher Smith, Community Services Director, stated that department-wide, with the exception of Library Services, they cut about $46,000 out of operating expenses and travel promotional items, including reducing the number and amount of grants they were giving to the Children’s Commission, by maintaining the amount of grants that were requested for the current year, which was $217,000.  He also recommended that they change their policy regarding indigent burials, by allowing cremation only, which would save about $23,000.

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, commented that it could be a religious issue, because there were some religions that were in opposition to cremation.

Commr. Hill commented that the judiciary would require burial for unclaimed bodies.

Several Commissioners expressed misgivings about the pauper cremation issue.

Mr. Smith stated that the downloadable audio books program that was being eliminated would be funded out of state aid this coming year, and that the We Care program had a sufficient operation reserve in their non-profit account to carry them forward for this coming year.  He stated that currently they assisted people on the Assessment Hardship Program for fire and solid waste up to 150 percent above poverty level, and he recommended that they reduced that to 100 percent above poverty level, which would reduce that by over $81,000.  He also proposed to reduce 4,500 in Transportation Disadvantaged trips, which he opined could be done; reducing Lifestream’s allocation by 10 percent; and reducing the Health Department’s annual allocation by 10 percent.

Commr. Hill asked Mr. Smith about teen court.

Mr. Smith responded that they generated revenue which offset the majority of their operations.

Commr. Cadwell commented that he knew that they were planning on utilizing current staff for the Cagan Crossing Library, but pointed out that they had commitments from Osceola and Polk Counties to help with operational monies.

Mr. Smith stated that one of the things they were looking at doing with that library was to use some of the vacant positions they had not filled this year there, so that they would not have to hire any additional personnel, but they would probably have to have reduced service hours.

Ms. Hall commented that there were some new positions in general that would be included in the general fund, but they had been included into the flat dollar figure and absorbed in that manner.


Ms. Hall stated that one of the things they were proposing to eliminate was the substantial supplement that was supplied out of the general fund for a number of organizations to cover half or all of the fire assessments.  She commented that there were some state and federal buildings that they were required to supplement, but that other than those requirements and County-owned and municipal properties, their proposal was to fully charge all other entities for their fire assessment, which would save the general fund about $538,000.

Commr. Cadwell stated that they might start getting calls from churches and non-profits, and they might need time to figure out if this proposal would work or not.


Ms. Hall stated that the Job Growth Incentive Program currently contained about $880,000 that was carried forward, so they were proposing to not fund it for the next year at the $125,000 level and to reduce the membership for the EDC (Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission) from the current rate of $1.10 per capita to $1.00 per capita or what was typical of other counties in the area if that rate was less than $1.00.  She noted that reducing this rate to $1.00 would save about $40,000.

Commr. Cadwell stated that he would rather just give Ms. Hall direction to renegotiate the County’s contract with the EDC after looking at what the other counties were doing.  He commented that as they moved forward with their economic development program, they might look at that and set a new direction.  He opined that the Job Growth Incentive Fund was one of the best things they ever did, but they had outgrown that, and he thought they could look at projects that were important enough to support with tax dollars on an individual basis.


Ms. Hall related that an item that was on Ms. Dottie Keedy, Economic Growth and Development Director’s, budget was pursuing some arts and culture grant programs, and they were proposing to include $50,000 for that type of program.

Commr. Stivender stated that she was the Chairman of the Lake County Cultural Alliance, which was organized after the Cultural Advisory Committee was abolished and set up more like the MPO where the cities would have representation on that board.  She related that they were at the stage where they were appointing those representatives, and she would work with Ms. Hall and Ms. Keedy for allocation of that money.  She also mentioned that part of the function of that Alliance would be finding other funding and resources.


Ms. Hall stated that they currently provided about $75,000 per year in an incentive program for the disabled, and they were suggesting cutting that.

Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Greg Mihalic, Tourism and Business Relations Director, what they had paid out in that fund.

Mr. Mihalic responded that there were a few more applications coming out on July 17, and that would be the 23rd award that they had given in the year that this program had been funded, at $3,000 apiece.  He specified that there would be $66,000 that had been expended, and there would be about $50,000 more left in reserves for that funding.  He clarified that they were recommending not funding it with any new money, so they would use up the $50,000 and then the program would not be available anymore.

Commr. Cadwell asked that before they made a decision on that, he wanted Mr. Mihalic to give them a breakdown of the companies that applied and how many people they were talking about.


Ms. Hall mentioned that one of the things proposed to be eliminated was the funding in the amount of $10,500 for the Certified Public Manager’s program.  She commented that it had been very successful and that they had sent a number of people through it, but they were at a point where they could hold off on that for a year or two, and she did not consider that to be too detrimental.  She also mentioned that they had eliminated the holiday lunch.  Other things on the list included eliminating county-logo items distributed during training classes, eliminating funding for Toastmasters, reducing publications and registrations by 50 percent, and eliminating the funding for the holiday food gift certificate.

Commr. Hill commented that they were spending $378,000 on the wellness program, and that 97 employees took advantage of that and 700 did not, and they might want to rethink that and redo that program.

Commr. Cadwell commented that that program was tied into the reduction of their insurance rates.


Mr. Jack Jackson, Director of Operations for the National Training Center, stated that they had been operating the soccer field venues at a deficit.  He described their soccer facility as containing three side by side Bermuda soccer fields fenced on two sides in close proximity to their facility.  He commented that it got heavy use, and they found that the majority of individuals using it were County residents.  He stated that they were having a difficult time operating that part of their facility at the deficit and requested funding of $50,000 per year from the County to help them out with some of the maintenance.  He noted that their soccer programs were open to the public in general.

Commr. Cadwell commented that it was a great stop-gap measure for them for the south end of the County, but he was concerned about the fee involved and that it would not be run like a County facility.

Mr. Jackson stated that they hoped to be more self sufficient in the operations of this venue in the future, and saw this as only a temporary measure.

Commr. Cadwell opined that he thought that a majority of the Board understood the dire situation in south Lake regarding the fields and that this was a pretty inexpensive way for them to fill in a little of that gap with someone that was already existing and providing programs.  He also told Ms. Hall that he did not want to take it out of the current Parks and Recreation budget.


Ms Hall stated that they handed out Growth Management budget reductions, list of costs, number of special areas planned, some studies, and different operating expenses.

Commr. Hill stated that they did a lot of work with GIS for different other government entities, such as the School Board and the cities, and asked if they were still doing it.

Ms. Kitty Cooper, Geographic Information Services (GIS) Director, stated that they would probably be involved in the mapping for the cities and the redistricting because of the census data, but they had not done any work for the School Board recently.

Commr. Hill asked if they got reimbursed for that.

Ms. Cooper stated that they had an interlocal agreement that said that the County did specified work for them that was solicited for each different agency or municipality in return for getting data back from them, and they did not get reimbursed.

Commr. Cadwell stated that GIS was funded through general fund dollars, and that was one of the areas that they thought was a service.

Commr. Stivender explained that most of the cities had hired people to do it now once their grids got established, and the School Board was using Mr. Will Davis.

Commr. Stewart expressed concern about deletion of the Special Area Plans and thought that the citizens had put in a lot of hours of their own time to do the one for Mount Plymouth/Sorrento.  She also pointed out that one of the main emphases of that was to recognize the importance of the County’s rural vistas.

Commr. Stivender stated that she had asked staff to look at Ferndale and Yalaha over the years and they had been meeting with the groups out there, and that was something staff could work with those organizations on doing once they got the Comp Plan done to look at how that was going to be designated so that they had their rural village or urban standing.  She did not think that money was needed to hire someone to do it and that they had a staff that was already working on it.

Commr. Cadwell was concerned about how they were going to do two Special Area Plans while they were in the middle of working on the Comp Plan.

Ms. Carol Stricklin, Growth Management Director, gave a background of how the Special Area Planning money got into the budget.  She explained that they had a workshop with the Board in 2006 to talk about some of the Special Area Planning types of activities that they had done in Pasco and Seminole Counties, and one of the things that they focused on was special area plans for preserving the character of rural communities.  She stated that that concept was accepted by the Board and was, in fact, in the draft of the Land Use Element that they had identified some rural protection areas and the need to do things such as Land Development Regulations, transfer development rights programs to reduce densities, and implement that concept.  She also pointed out that they would not be proposing to eliminate the staff support they currently provided the Mount Plymouth/Sorrento committee and that the reduction would be for communities that had expressed desire in the future to have Special Area Plans done for them, but they were still committed to working with communities and supporting them.

            The handout also mentioned that out of state travel and conference budgets had been deleted, that three vehicles were turned in from Planning and Zoning, and that all overtime had been deleted.


            Ms. Hall stated that the Board had requested about a year ago for them to place money in the budget for a citizen newsletter, and they were proposing to cut that.  The handout listed the costs of that as being $30,000 for printing and $25,000 for postage.

            Commr. Hill thought it would be nice to continue and include the newsletter, especially if they were going to reduce their groundbreaking events and that sort of thing.  She commented that they needed to market themselves and make sure people understood government and what they were doing, especially in the case of the tax reform situation, to dispel any confusion.  She wanted to keep the newsletters in the budget.

            Commr. Cadwell commented that a regular newsletter and an information piece on an upcoming constitutional amendment were two separate legal things that they could do or not do.

            Commr. Renick stated that she thought they could do without it, and there were other sources of information out there that the public could access.

            Commr. Hill suggested that with the tax notices they put a little explanation like the one they had last year at budget time that was very informative.

            Ms. Hall stated that they could still do that, and they put that together as part of the public hearing process to give to people who question how the process ran.


            Ms. Hall referred to the handout regarding the Information Technology budget reductions, and stated that she did not have costs on that, but assured the Board that they met their reduction criteria.  She listed some of the cuts as office supplies, training, travel, and some delays in the purchase of technology and maintenance.

            Commr. Stivender questioned the statement in the last paragraph that they were paying a large portion of the technology bill for the constitutional offices, but that she understood that they were paying it for the BCC.

            Mr. Steve Earls, Information Technology Director, stated that they paid the costs related to telecommunications and internet usage, which cost a total of about $100,000 a year, including libraries.

            Commr. Hill asked if some of that money came out of Article V.

            Ms. Hall stated that they had some special funding for the court operations, and they could take the technology costs that supported the court system out of the Article V revenue that came in.

            Mr. Earls specified that the overall costs for IT for 2008 would reflect $300,000 - $400,000 of cuts.


            Commr. Hill wanted to clarify that making cuts in dues would not preclude the Procurement Department from taking required continuing education courses and earning certificates that they needed to maintain.

Mr. Bernard Schwartzman, Procurement Director, responded that it allowed them to do what they needed to do, and did not pay for an extension of what they had done before.  He explained that it provided a basic level.


Commr. Hill asked that under the countywide radio program section, if the position being eliminated in the 2008 budget would be a new one.

Mr. Gary Kaiser, Public Safety Director, stated that it would pertain to the existing radio system, and that they were scaling back some things in anticipation of the 800 system.  He explained that those were contracted professional services for tower maintenance and assessment that they were putting off, pending the move to the 800 system.

Ms. Hall clarified that some of that may be some operational types of costs for the people that were in that program, such as the publications dues and things like that.

Commr. Stivender wanted to make sure that those reductions would not be a detriment to their system or to the safety of the citizens.

Mr. Kaiser responded that they had been very creative and had been able to stretch some warranties on equipment.   Also, since this was the first year of this operation, they realized that they did not need that much money, so they scaled that back, and they had been frugal in what they had been doing.  He also commented that the ability to move to the new system gave them some flexibility in the way they maintained what they had.

Commr. Hill asked what the aid to other agencies under the cable franchise was.

Mr. Kaiser explained that was primarily a contingency for repair of the equipment they used to link up the franchises if there was a breakdown.

Commr. Hill inquired about the reduction of equipment under animal services.

Mr. Kaiser explained that the reduction was in two replacement trucks and two new style, climate controlled replacement bodies that protected the animals rather than them being out in cages, which in his opinion was not a good idea.

Commr. Renick stated that she did not think it was a good idea to use the old wire cage trucks, and that she thought they might be putting themselves at risk there as far as animal rights lawsuits.

Mr. Kaiser responded that they did not have any other place to cut from the Animal Services budget.

Commr. Stivender commented that they had added some municipalities over the last year, and she thought they needed the new trucks.


Ms. Hall stated that there were a couple of items they had on the Facilities Development handout that she wanted to talk about that really were not going to be cuts.  She explained that they were funding the repair of the Historic Courthouse roof through sales tax money they had available to do that and taking it out of the general fund.  She also explained that they would fund the $478,000 upgrade to the locking system in the jail through current year funds.

Mr. Todd Thornton from the Facilities Department stated that would include the locking system for the existing jail along with all the related control panels and the areas where the guards were stationed.

Commr. Stivender asked what other operating supplies that they would cut that would add up to $50,000, as indicated on page 13 of the handout.

Mr. Thornton explained that those were part of their general building maintenance budget, and that during the year a considerable number of unanticipated requests came in for maintenance from the Sheriff or the building maintenance crew that they try to place money in their budget for.

Commr. Stivender commented since the buildings were getting older, she thought they would need money in there for that.

Mr. Thornton responded that they did leave some money in there that they felt was adequate if they did the minimum amount of required maintenance to keep the buildings operating.

Commr. Stivender stated that she had a problem with that philosophy, especially since they were in the process of building brand new buildings.

Commr. Hill inquired about the reduction of overtime.

Mr. Thornton responded that their original request included a certain amount of overtime in each area, with the assumption that there were some night and weekend duties, but they had removed all that in their plan and would attempt to deal with that in other ways.

Commr. Hill asked how they would do that, because there would be circumstances which necessitated that employees would have to stay during those hours.

Ms. Hall explained that there were a couple of options they had, one of which was reimbursement if it was a request from another entity, and the other was to stagger schedules, and if someone did work overtime, that person would take time off during the week to offset that.

Mr. Thornton also added that they would not neglect any true needs, and if it was necessary to pay overtime in order to do that, they would bring money from another source inside the department to do that.


Ms. Hall mentioned that at one of the last workshops, Mr. Daryl Smith, Environmental Services Director, was looking at some of the rates for the solid waste fees and that they were going to be proposing to increase those from $174 to $200 per year for the residents in the unincorporated areas.  She pointed out that it was still on the low side of what city residents paid for their pickup, so they were still remaining conservative.  She stated that it would allow them to reduce the supplement that was going into the general fund by about $3.2 million, and they felt that they still needed that additional money in the general fund for the services.

Commr. Renick suggested that instead of increasing the rate, they should look into decreasing the service from the current two pickups per week.

Mr. Smith stated that to do that right now, they would have to renegotiate with the 15 franchise collectors, which would not put them in a good position.  He pointed out that if they waited until the contract expired in 2009, they could explore the cost benefit of having one collection per week.

Commr. Hill asked if the increased cost would be in personnel or in operations.

Mr. Smith explained that part of that was the collection service, because they increased automatically every year.

Commr. Hill asked if the increased revenue due to the increased number of households was offsetting their increased costs.

Mr. Smith responded that each one of them was contributing more to the system, so their costs increased as a result of that.  He noted that the increase they were proposing really just covered the cost of the mandated increase they had for the collection services just to bring them up to where they needed to be.

Commr. Hill asked about the Covanta debt.

Mr. Smith explained that they were trying to reduce that and that sometime in the future, it could be a true enterprise fund system.

Commr. Hill opined that philosophically, she thought that it should come from the general fund, because everyone in the County should pay for that debt.  She also asked if they could save some of the $7 million that the two new cells would cost by combining them and making it one cell for disposal ash.  She inquired whether they had talked to the cities to see if they would stay with them if they increased the tipping fees.

Mr. Smith stated that they had taken a preliminary look at the market, and they believed that they were within the range of the market at this point in time.  He related that they planned to talk to the municipalities to see just what reaction they had to the ten percent rate increase.

Commr. Cadwell commented that the long-range goal for an enterprise fund was to have all the expenses for that particular business paid for by the fees generated from the users and not supplemented with the tax dollars, which was what they were trying to do.

Commr. Hill stated that she did not see any problem collecting and paying out of general fund dollars for the Covanta debt.


Ms. Hall stated that page 16 of the handout contained a recap of the money that they funded for part of the judicial system.  She opined that it was good news in that they came in lower and they had some of the Article V money.


Ms. Hall stated that the Clerk of the Court had requested two new positions in internal audit, and commented that they could discuss it to see if they felt that was needed.  She also noted that the Supervisor of Elections budget increase was quite large for next year because there were elections and primaries next year.  Ms. Hall also explained that additional costs for the paper ballots that they would be doing were included in the budget and that they were buying new voting machines, and the State was paying for about half of them.  She also noted that the Sheriff’s budget contained a larger increase to keep up with growth, and part of the reductions they were looking at in some of the other areas could free up some money to fund some additional money for the Sheriff.

Commr. Cadwell stated that he asked the Sheriff to try to cut at least $1.5 million out of that as a starting point, and he would try to do that.  He commented that he thought that as they got closer to balancing the budget and if the revenues were better than they anticipated, then they would set some money aside for Public Safety to divide between the Sheriff and the 800 megahertz system.  He wanted to make sure the Board was comfortable with that.


Ms. Hall informed the Board that there were a number of forms that they would now be required to submit to Tallahassee, which would require the Chairman’s signature, and they were looking for blanket authority to let him sign anything that they needed him to.

Ms. Regina Frazier, Budget Director, stated that they were provided with the calculations used to get to the 9 percent reduction amount, and they had to validate and certify back to them that those figures were correct or incorrect by next Monday.  She reported that her calculations showed that there were some errors in there that did not benefit them or change the 9 percent.

On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the authorization for the Chairman to sign validation forms.


Commr. Stivender stated that she was on the Florida Healthy Kids Board, which had a new grant process coming out that was time sensitive.  She explained that the grants would have to come back to the Board before they went to Tallahassee, and that the $12,000 for the grant would have to have half matching, which was in kind and could be staff time or outreach workers’ time.

Mr. Fletcher Smith, Community Services Director, stated that there were two grants that they were looking at, but the one that Commr. Stivender was talking about began in July 1, which was an outreach marketing grant.

Commr. Stivender stated that they were trying to get this money expended, because if they did not, it would go back to the government.  She wanted to know how the Board felt about staff going ahead and preparing those.

Ms. Hall stated that they would all talk about that further, and if it seemed like a good idea and they needed to move forward with it right away, they could ask for retroactive Board approval.


Commr. Hill stated that League of Cities had asked that they sponsor their annual event again this year, and she was not sure whether it was on the cuts this year or not.  She specified that this was called Sponsors’ Night and would cost $400, but she thought it might be included in their membership fee.

Ms. Hall stated that she thought it was probably already budged for this year.


Commr. Hill related that a couple of years ago, they were one of the sponsors to bring the medical school to the University of Central Florida.  She stated that UCF was now in their capital program, and they were asking if they wanted to endow a chair or sponsor a student to go to medical school.  She wanted to bring it forward to see if it was something they wanted to do within their EDC or to partner with the hospitals to do that.  She commented that if they did not participate, Lake County might get overlooked in bringing those doctors and businesses back to the area.

Commr. Cadwell did not think it was appropriate for the Board to do that, but felt that they could write a letter to their hospitals and businesses encouraging them to participate.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:25 p.m.