JANUARY 15, 2008

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 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 Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.


The Chairman welcomed those present for the Economic Development Workshop and opened the meeting.



Ms. Dottie Keedy, Economic Growth and Redevelopment Director, addressed the Board stating that T.I.P. Strategies, a firm that was hired several months ago to work on the County’s Economic Development Strategic Plan project, would be giving a presentation on where they are in the process and soliciting feedback from the Board regarding same.

Mr. Sean Garretson, President, Pegasus Planning, informed the Board that his firm specializes in economic development planning all over the country and they do everything under that economic development umbrella.  He stated that the project objective is not a land use plan, but creating a realistic vision and roadmap on how to diversify Lake County’s economy and tax base, which means an Economic Development Strategic Plan.  He stated that economic development is not necessarily about jobs creation, or about tax base certification, which are components of it, but is about how the public sector can stimulate private sector investment.  He stated that economic development used to be about jobs creation and tax revenue, but it has changed, for very good reasons – the economy has shifted dramatically - manufacturing continues to decline and the service sector continues to increase.  He stated that many communities have the typical type of evolution, where they go from an agrarian economy to a manufacturing economy to a service based economy, but Lake County skipped that middle stage, to some degree, and went right into the service based economy, but it is not a diverse economy – it is services that are based on retail and finance.  He stated that, within the next 10 years, the sectors where there will be the most growth is in health services, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality services and, if the County is not focused on those industries and trying to figure out how to foster them, it is going to be at a competitive disadvantaged.  He stated that another factor that is shaping how economic development currently functions is demographic changes, which he elaborated on, noting that the County has to know what is going on nationally, regionally, and globally.  Since 1990, the United States has added more than 1.5 million jobs annually; however, it is nearing a point when the annual net increase in the working age population will fall to about 500,000.  He stated that there is going to be a very significant shortfall in the labor force nationally, mostly because baby boomers are retiring and a lot of them will be out of the workforce by 2015.  He stated that the parents of baby boomers want to die where they have been living for many years, but many of the baby boomers, because of the relationship they have with their children, are going to want to move and grow old where their children live.  He stated that the eco-boomers are reaching their late 20s, and, with the huge deficit in the labor force, they are going to be able to live wherever they want - in communities that understand what assets and amenities they are looking for, in terms of quality of life and quality of place.  He stated that, with all those factors in mind, they talk about embracing a new type of economy, where it is not so much about sites, infrastructure, and jobs, but about talent and understanding what that means – a talented workforce and the assets and amenities they want to have; innovation – embracing entrepreneurship with existing businesses and industrial businesses; and place – creating a sustainable economy.  He stated that they do not use the phrase, “Quality of Life”, but “Quality of Place”, at which time he noted that the distinguishing characteristic is how people outside the community view one’s quality of life.  He stated that to redefine quality of life, one has to understand who that target audience is; offer a diversity of choices; authenticity (downtowns are important); and outside in versus inside out.

Mr. Garretson discussed the project timeline, noting that they started this project in August of 2007, where they did a quantitative analysis, and are now in the beginning of the implementation phase of the project.  He stated that they will be making another trip to the County in February, but want to obtain feedback from the Board this date, after which they will start moving forward on the plan.  He further stated that they are planning to give a final presentation to the Board in the latter part of February, after which they would encourage the Board to adopt the plan, because it sets out a lot of policies, specific strategies, etc., and the Economic Development Department needs that guidance from the Board.  He suggested that they hold a Lake County Prosperity Summit, where a presentation is given to the region about what Lake County is going to be doing – the focus for economic development, noting that the more the County can encourage private sector investment and help them understand what is going on in the County, the more the County is going to be able to get some of their investment back.  He stated that the County has a lot more strengths than it has challenges, in that the Turnpike runs right through it and there is the potential for a commuter rail line up to the northeastern part of the County, which are great assets.  The County is well positioned in healthcare, well positioned with its education assets, and the historic downtown areas in some of the County’s cities will be great draws to a lot of the talent that employers are going to be looking for.  Economic development is not about recreating businesses, but about recruiting talent, and if the County gets that, it will be way ahead of the game, and there are several sites within some of the cities in the County for commercial development, such as office buildings.  Recognizing all that, he feels the County’s biggest challenge is the fact that it has a severely underdeveloped economy, noting that, with the County’s population and its proximity to a major metropolitan area whose economy is growing like gang busters, they would expect that the County would have a lot more commercial development – office, professional services, and some light industrial.  He stated that he felt one of the biggest challenges the County has, in terms of getting private investment, is the image that the County has among the business community, which is something that could be overcome with a very focused market, an image campaign, and some policy changes.  He stated that one of the County’s best assets is its land – its undeveloped areas and its lakes, noting that he feels there are tremendous opportunities for the County to preserve some of its open space and to cluster some of its development in certain areas.

Mr. Alan Cox, Project Director, T.I.P. Strategies, Inc., addressed the Board stating that Lake County’s population has doubled from 1980 to 2000 - in 1950, the population was 36,340 and, in 2000, it was 210,528, which is a tremendous growth rate, and it is forecast to double again in the next 20 years.  According to the Florida Legislature’s Office of Demographic and Economic Research, Lake County’s population passed the quarter million mark in 2004 and, by 2030, the County’s population is set to double to one-half million people.  The big freeze the County endured in the early 1980s has stimulated a lot of the residential development that has occurred in the County, as well as in a lot of other suburban areas, where agricultural land is becoming residential developments.  In terms of influencing that development, the key is for the County to maximize its potential, from a tax base standpoint, because that is one of the County’s biggest challenges – it is a property tax poor county and diversifying that tax base, so that it can provide services that are required, is of the utmost importance.  He stated that that is one of the leading objectives for this plan, from their standpoint, influencing development, so that it will maximize its impact not only from the tax base diversification standpoint, but also from the standpoint that, if the County has lots of rooftops, it needs to have local employment opportunities, so that not everyone is commuting to Orlando or Ocala.  He discussed the issue of jobs growth in the County, noting that it has seen a 27% increase over the last five years, compared to the State of Florida, overall, which has only seen a 10% growth rate in employment and, nationally, there was only a 3% to 4% growth rate.  He stated that, if it was broken down by employment sector, one of the major driving standpoints is the real estate boom – a 54% growth rate in construction employment, which is not there anymore.  Financial activities were the other big driver of the local economy, in terms of employment growth, which he contributes to the population boom and the real estate boom.  He stated that, if one were to break down the numbers and look at the employment sectors that are growing, they were all due to the County’s population growth, so they were all lagging indicators, as opposed to leading indicators.  He stated that the County does not have anything that is driving the economy, other than population growth, which is all based on the real estate development that is occurring in the County, so there is actually a need for economic development and diversification.  Some of the drivers of the national economy are professional business services, health care services, and leisure and hospitality, and, if one looks at professional business services, there is negligible growth, which is something that needs to be focused on.  He stated that the County is well served by healthcare, in fact, it is doing much better than Orange County.  He feels it has the capability of positioning itself within the entire Central Florida region as a healthcare destination.  He stated that Lake County has gained jobs and specializes in construction, natural resources, and healthcare, but lags in professional services and information technology.  He questioned whether there are regional opportunities that Lake County has not tapped into yet.

Mr. Cox stated that Lake County was benchmarked against some other suburban counties around the Country that are located outside major metropolitan areas that have similarities to Lake County, such as Seminole County, Florida; Placer County, California; Desoto County, Mississippi; Montgomery County, Texas; Williamson County, Texas; and Gwinnet County, Georgia, at which time he reviewed data that his firm had collected, in comparing Lake County with those other counties.  He stated that said data shows, despite the County’s strength with having Lake-Sumter Community College, the County’s adult population having a Bachelor’s degree or higher in 2000 was lagging behind almost all of its suburban counterparts nationally; in fact, the only county having a smaller portion of its adult population with a Bachelor’s degree is Desoto County, Mississippi.  He discussed how education and income are linked, noting that, of all the counties surveyed, Lake County has the lowest median household income and, in terms of expected growth rate of that income, given current trends, the County will see its median household income increase, but it is going to be pretty low.

Commr. Cadwell interjected that the reason that figure is low is probably due to people being educated and receiving their degrees in Lake County, but then going somewhere else to work, because the County does not have a good job market.

Mr. Cox stated that another thing that distinguishes Lake County from the other counties in the comparison is the distribution of its population by age, noting that one-quarter of the County’s population is over the age of 65.  Lake County has the largest percentage of seniors over the age of 65 than any of the other counties in the comparison.  The County also has the smallest portion of its overall population in young adults – those that are entering the work force for the first time, so it needs to work on ways to not only attract people with talent to the County, but on ways to retain that talent – figure out strategies of building up the County’s higher educational system, to make sure that the young adults can figure out how to get a four year degree and to make sure that the County has local employment opportunities, especially for those young people getting their first jobs.

Mr. Garretson readdressed the Board stating that his firm does not get hung up on the visions, noting that they feel it is very important that the plan focus on that, but that it be a dynamic process between where the opportunities are, what the target industries are, and what strategies are going to take advantage of those opportunities and get the County focused on some of those industries.  He stated that the vision they have created for Lake County is Central Florida’s emerging business center, and Lake County will strengthen its position as a business center for Central Florida by aggressively pursuing opportunities and building collaborative relations with local and regional allies.  Their plan is for the County to (1) Coordinate efforts with allies and leaders; (2) Diversify the tax base through innovation, industry attraction, and business development; (3) Enhance and promote quality of place; and (4) Develop, attract, and retain talent.

Mr. Cox informed the Board that five target sectors are being recommended for the County to focus the bulk of its efforts on, being Health and Wellness; Clean Technology; Agritechnology; Business Services; and Arts, Recreation, and Leisure.  They do not feel blue collar, heavy industry is in the future of Lake County, or that it even should be, were there opportunities for it.  He stated that they were not saying that these are the only five industries or sectors that are welcome in Lake County, noting that, if there are opportunities beyond these five things and it is something that is desirable, it would be smart for the Economic Growth and Redevelopment Department to respond to it, but they feel that these are the five things that Lake County should focus the bulk of its efforts on.  He stated that they feel part of the target sector development strategies needs to be a business development strategy internally, within Lake County, and they feel entrepreneurship and innovation should play a big role in each of these sectors, which he elaborated on.

Mr. Garretson stated that the way the Economic Development Plan is going to be developed is that the County will have four goals, with possibly one or two more developed within the next week or so, with specific actions being identified for each one of them.  He stated that the first goal, to Organize and Collaborate, would address the following strategies:  (1) develop and expand internal resources for economic development; (2) strengthen the leadership base and expand involvement/understanding of economic development; (3) create a countywide partnership to support economic development; and (4) initiate a marketing and image campaign.  He suggested that the County hold an annual Prosperity or Economic Summit - a summit where the County can bring in regional or local allies, the press, businesses, etc., and get an update on where the County is with its economy and how it may have improved over the last year, and they recommend that the County continue to benchmark itself annually against the counties that it was compared with, noting that the County should be making improvements, especially in the education and median income areas.  The second goal, being Industry and Innovation, would address the issue of diversifying the economy – what the County can do to stimulate private sector investment.  The strategies under Goal Two would be (1) plan for adequate sites and infrastructure; (2) support start-up, retention, and expansion of business; (3) develop a sophisticated entrepreneurship program; and (4) initiate a target industry marketing campaign.  He stated that he feels the area west of the West Horizon development in south Lake County is an interesting area for the County to consider for commercial development and he feels the County needs to tie some of its economic development opportunities and activities to Orlando, because that is where many of those opportunities are going to be coming from.  He noted that he felt the northeast area of the County, around Mt. Dora, as well as the unincorporated area to the east of Clermont, were other areas for the County to consider.  He suggested that the County develop a very sophisticated inventory database website that developers, commercial brokers, and businesses could access and that it be updated by the cities and chambers, as well as the County, so that every available commercial site in the County is on that database, noting that he felt it would serve the County well.

Mr. Garretson discussed the issue of green building standards and LEED certification and the fact that he feels the County should create such standards, because he feels most private sector developments in the future are going to be very green.  He stated that, if the public sector could adopt policies that say they will have green building standards for any of their new facilities, they would not only be sending a message out that fits in with the overall image of Lake County and health and wellness, but would also be stimulating the private sector in the green building industry, which is a perfect example of how the public sector can stimulate private sector investment, and the County could also adopt a clean fuel fleet program, to stimulate ethanol production.  With regard to an entrepreneurship program, he stated that the County currently has some great assets focused on entrepreneurship, but that a lot more could be done.  He stated that they are not talking about small business creation, noting that entrepreneurship should be tied to the target sectors and that is not always the case.  They feel the private sector should be more informed about it, which will allow them to understand what the name of the game is and how they can get involved and get resources to help their business focus on them, and, with regard to marketing, they feel the County should initiate specific target marketing within the region and nationally.  They feel it is a good idea for the County to continue to collaborate with Metro-Orlando on those target sector marketing efforts, as well.

Mr. Garretson stated that the third goal is Place and they recommend that the County (1) protect and promote more green space and natural resources, if at all possible, promoting clustered development and preserving open space; (2) support redevelopment and revitalization in the downtown areas; (3) promote arts and entertainment; and (4) promote transportation mobility options.  He stated that all of these things are amenities and aspects of community that the young work force – the eco-boomers that the County wants to attract, are looking for.  He stated that, with regard to arts and entertainment, the County needs to create a sophisticated, well-known entertainment venue, noting that they feel it is something that is needed in the County and would be worth pursuing.  With regard to promoting transportation mobility options, he feels a commuter rail and bicycle trail that goes throughout the County would be worthwhile.

Commr. Stivender interjected that Lake County is currently in the process of connecting its bicycle trails with the Orange County trails and, when it is completed, it will consist of approximately 206 miles.  She stated that the County is also working with the Arts and Entertainment community in the various municipalities.

Mr. Garretson stated that the fourth goal is Talent and the strategies tied to it are (1) expand and promote higher education assets; (2) promote and celebrate excellence in public schools; and (3) enhance linkages between economic and workforce development.  He stated that there has been much talk about the image of Lake County’s school district and that, although some things have already been put in place, there are a lot of other things that could be done, such as having more career days; a Meet the Principal Day, where business leaders go to the schools at least once a year, to meet with the Principal and the Superintendent and see what is actually going on and inquire as to what they can do to help support different things.  He stated that, with regard to enhancing linkages between economic and workforce development, they feel developing science academies is a very good idea.


At 10:10 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for 15 minutes.



The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting.

Mr. Ralph Bowers, City Manager, City of Fruitland Park, addressed the Board stating that a famous quote is, “If you don’t decide where you are going before you leave, you will probably wind up going somewhere else.”, and he feels that is the case with the County – that it needs to decide where it is going.  He stated that the County has got to find a way to diversify its economy and that the Fruitland Park City Commission is committed to doing the things that are necessary to make it all work and that he pledges to the Board his support and cooperation, as well.

Ms. Cindy Barrow, Lake County School Board, District 3, addressed the Board stating that she was very interested in the County having a policy on green building standards and a LEED certification program and that she feels the School Board will be, as well, noting that it is something the County can very easily do and it will help to stimulate the economy.  She briefly discussed magnet schools, dual enrollment, and the County’s Junior Achievement Program, noting that Lake County has an outstanding Junior Achievement Program, in fact, one of the best in the Country.  She stated that the School Board has been talking a lot about what their goals will be for the coming year and some of them include mentoring and increasing parental involvement and, as the Board has heard this date, there are very few people in the County with Bachelor’s degrees, so the emphasis on education by the parents is not always what the School Board would like it to be; therefore, they are going to have to count on business leaders going into the schools and inspiring the students.  She stated that, with regard to magnet schools, the School Board is very committed to them and, if they are successful in getting the one in the south end of the County off the ground, she would like to see something like it in the north end of the County, as well.  She noted that 75% of the County’s schools are A and B schools.

Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board needs to have a presentation from the School Board on what programs they have, such as the magnet schools, the Junior Achievement Program, dual enrollment, etc., just for educational purposes, so that they will know what is going on with the School Board, which will help with the perceived or real image that the County has that nothing is being done.

Dr. Charles Mojock, Lake-Sumter Community College (LSCC), addressed the Board stating that he felt the consultants had given a great presentation.  He stated that LSCC is ready to partner and work with the County, as they have on other things, such as the Business Resource Center and the joint library in Clermont, and will continue to leverage those partnerships.  He stated that they are excited to talk about the idea of expanding their four year access, however, noted that the University of Florida continues to grow and it is going to be harder and harder to accommodate it, and their regional campuses are the strategy that makes it possible for LSCC to continue to shore access for local residents, as well as people in the region.  Secondly, it involves preparation, and LSCC is working very hard with their K-12 partners, looking at things they can do, and they are committed to working on identifying and connecting career academies, or other kinds of programs in the schools, using dual enrollment, to the targeted industries that the County is going to settle on.  He stated that they are anxious to be involved and appreciate the opportunity to work with the County.

Mr. Rob Kelly, a member of the Local Planning Agency (LPA) and liaison to the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), addressed the Board stating that he was asked by the IDA to be involved with a steering committee for this group, which he is pleased to do, and looks forward to having some more conversations with T.I.P.  He feels the County is going in the right direction, noting that, when one looks at the new Comprehensive Plan that the LPA is working on, there is not a lot of red on the map, so people assume that there is not a lot of commercial or office space built into it, but that is deceiving, because commercial and office space is being put into most of the urban land use categories.  He stated that over 100,000 units have been approved in the County that have not come out of the ground yet and, instead of going out into new raw areas and developing new communities, there is tremendous opportunities for putting office, commercial, and light industry where the people are currently approved, which he elaborated on.  He feels it is imperative that the County get a partnership with the cities on this matter, because not only are there more sites out there, but the sites that the LPA has identified, in certain circumstances, have been annexed into the cities and turned into residential.  He stated that it is imperative that the cities and the County get on the same page, so that they can attain the same vision – it is just a matter of getting everybody together on it.  He stated that, since the last time T.I.P. looked at the Comprehensive Plan map, the LPA has placed a tremendous amount of Class A office space between the Turnpike and US 27, coming into Clermont.  He noted that he is also a liaison to the Clermont Chamber of Commerce Economic Subcommittee and has been working with them to identify more sites in south Lake County.  He stated that he feels there is tremendous opportunity to put Class A office space where the people are now and whey they plan to be in the future, as opposed to opening up more areas.  He stated that the biggest message he has is that the County cannot do it alone.  They can put 20,000 acres of land use down for office space and, if the cities do not have the same vision and there is not an agreement, the next year it can be turned into residential.

Ms. Nadine Foley, Chairman of the Local Planning Agency, addressed the Board stating that the LPA is trying to make a valiant effort with the new Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map (FLUM) to protect the County’s natural resources and open space, and it is trying to cluster development near the cities, however, noted that they are constrained, because there are a few DRIs (Development of Regional Impact) out there and the LPA needs to accommodate them on the FLUM.  She stated that they have tried to add it into their counts for density and they know they need to plan on the population doubling and are trying to deal with it.  She further stated that, with regard to the issue of Class A office space and a more sizeable development with urban density, they expect it to be done with a traditional neighborhood design, where there is a mixed use, so that it allows for local entrepreneurship and ease of commute, so that one is not commuting a long way for neighborhood needs, and, at the same time, a mix of housing types, so that the housing that is built in the future will be affordable to the workforce that the County is trying to attract.  She stated that today’s discussion reinforces the fact that the LPA feels it is on the right track with the new FLUM and are dedicated to getting it to the Board very soon.

Mr. Keith Schue, a member of the LPA, addressed the Board stating that it occurred to him, as he heard some of the comments about how the County needs to think about the unincorporated areas and potential for future economic growth, when one thinks about the unincorporated area, there is a lot of it that are enclaves within the incorporated areas, which is the unfortunate side effect of some of the growth that is occurring, but feels that perhaps the County can think of it as an opportunity.  He stated that some of those enclaves, because they are central to development that is already occurring, are the best places to promote economic development, because then they become part of the cities, which ends up being to the benefit of everyone in the County.  He stated that everyone, at this point in time, needs to be results oriented – they need to be producing results, in terms of economic development.

Mr. Edd Holder, a member of the Metro-Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC), addressed the Board stating that they are not trying to draw workers into the County; they are trying to get the workers that are already in the County high paying jobs.  He discussed the number of Lake County residents that commute to Orlando for jobs, which pay from $8 to $10 per hour, and the fact that, at $3 plus per gallon for gasoline, they are spending approximately 20% of their take home pay in one week of driving.  He stated that the County does not have a very high unemployment rate – it has a very low unemployment rate, but it has an extremely high under-employment rate.  He stated that, from talking with the hospitals, there are going to be 5,000 health care jobs needing to be filled in the County in the next five years and questioned where the County was going to get those workers.  He stated that they are higher paying jobs, which is what the County wants, but the County has got to train those people with different skills – that is where the collaboration and partnership comes with the schools and they are doing that quite well.  He stated that the County has a lot of workers that are not making a livable wage and that is who they are talking about.  He stated that people want their grandchildren to stay in the County and have the opportunities that they did not necessarily have and the way that the County is going to do that is to have a vision and part of it is collaboration.  He further stated that the County has got to get the LPA to the table and start looking at this issue, as well as the education community and government, however, pointed out the importance of that collaboration with the private sector.  He stated that Disney World employs 5,500 people that live in Lake County and are adding 300 per year, so there is an opportunity to get them to come to the County and build a Human Resources facility and put some of those people that live in the County in facilities here and, if the County can get one catalyst for that, it should be able to get others in that industry to do it.  He briefly discussed the fact that there are businesses that would like to come to the County, but it does not have a good reputation for being business friendly, so they are apprehensive about doing so, and the fact that the County can take advantage of the Orlando relationships, because Orlando is not that far away.  He stated that it involves multi-million dollar decisions and they have got to feel that there is a good environment in the County that will cause them to succeed, by coming to the County.  He stated that the County has got to put a plan together and has got to put the partners to that plan at the same table and he feels it should be done in the public and under the Sunshine Law.

Mr. Bob Curry, a retired executive with the Federal Government and a retired Fortune 500 executive, addressed the Board stating that there has been discussion about talent and how to develop it in the County, so that the County can draw in the industry with that talent.  He stated that, in both of his roles, as an executive in a research company and as an executive with the Federal Government, he used interns and, during the discussion regarding talent and the need for the County to draw in talent, he did not hear the magic words “internship program.”  He stated that, if there was one thing that should be looked at, it would be the development of internship programs in the schools.

Mr. Rick Joyce, a member of the IDA and the EDC, addressed the Board stating that, with regard to what Mr. Holder was saying about the private sector being at the table, not only do they have to be at the table, but, if the Board truly believes in the targeted industries, it is those targeted industry representatives who have to be at that table, to open the County’s eyes as to where they want to locate, noting that the County can do as much as it can to herd them to certain areas, but based on demographics and traffic flow, they may have particular areas that they wish to locate in and, if the County is truly going to adopt those industries as part of its own, they have got to be a part of the discussion regarding location.

Mr. Ray Gilley, President and CEO, Metro-Orlando Economic Development Commission, addressed the Board stating that he feels the collaboration and communication that is taking place is where to start and where it is going to go is the execution side.  He stated that what he heard was recruitment, retention, expansion, and creation and that it is going to take a strong effort in all of those areas.  He feels education, research, and technology is one area that the County will need to think about, as well, which the County is well positioned in, with UCF and the powerhouse of universities in the State, in terms of history and strong research dollars that could be used for commercial application.  He stated that leveraging is something the County needs to think about, but it needs to have things that will bring in those knowledgeable workers.  He feels an internship program is a great idea, noting that many businesses and organizations could use interns, and he feels it would be a great asset to expose those workers to Lake County.  He is very excited to be working with the County and all the other partners, in learning together about how the County can grow and create the kind of quality of life and prosperity that it needs to have.  He stated that Lake County is one of the greatest regions in the State of Florida, as well as in the Country, and it has got to take advantage of its many assets and be creative and innovative and willing to take some calculated risks to change its economy to where it needs to be, and he looks forward to partnering and working with the County in any way that is necessary to advance that agenda.

Ms. Ann Dupee, a member of the Tourist Development Council, addressed the Board stating that she was glad to see the County bring in experts that back up what she has been saying for a long time – ever since South Lake Hospital said they were going to build a new hospital and then dreamed about a Wellness Center and from that came the National Training Center (NTC).  She stated that it was a partnership and, when the Carter family did what they said they would do and donated the land for the NTC, and the City did what it said it would do, and South Lake Hospital did what it said it would do, and LSCC’s South Lake Campus did what it said it would do and they all sat at the table and discussed the matter, with an update being given every two months or so, it was stimulating and fun and that is how cooperation works.  She stated that Lake County is capable of being a destination for the University of Central Florida, if it puts its mind to it, but it is not done by burying one’s head in the sand, but by saying that one entity wants to talk to the another entity and getting partners together.

There being no further individuals who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing portion of the meeting.

Commr. Renick discussed the health care jobs, noting that the County would love to have the people filling those jobs be trained in the County and hope that they would stay in the County, but she feels there are going to be people that will be attracted to the County, because of the quality of life that the County offers.  She briefly discussed the internship program that was alluded to earlier by Mr. Curry, noting that she feels a lot of what is behind the people who have moved around the Country is recruitment and marketing efforts that went on in the universities by local businesses who would peak the interest of the students, who would later decide to locate in those cities, and feels the answer to the problem is going to be from the private sector, rather than government.  She stated that, with regard to the IDA, she does not feel there has been a bad relationship between the Board and the IDA, but feels perhaps the membership of the IDA should reflect the targeted industries, which would foster the collaborative effort suggested by T.I.P.

Commr. Cadwell interjected that the IDA may need to look different and have different duties, which is something they had questioned, but he wanted to wait and see what the consultants’ recommendation would be.  He stated that, over the years, with exception to one incident involving an impact fee issue, the Board has never voted against any recommendation by the IDA – it is just that the atmosphere they have been operating in, perceived or real, has caused a problem, but he does not feel the problem is as big and as bad as they think it is, and he feels it is something that can be fixed pretty quick.  He stated that, as industries are drawn into the County, it needs to be understood that there is a workforce in the County that is going to need to be re-educated and, while K-12 is important, once the new jobs are created, a lot of the unemployed people can get another one or two years of education and be into a new field.

Commr. Stivender stated that, as shown on T.I.P.’s graphs, a lot of those jobs would be from the construction industry and, if construction is not going to be a major player in the County anymore, those people need to be re-educated to do other jobs.

Commr. Stewart informed the Board that she was very excited about this process, noting that she heard some wonderful things that backed up a lot of the feelings that she has had, being that education is important to the County, that open space is important, that the Arts are important, and that the downtown areas of the cities are important.  She stated that the best downtown areas in the County are the ones that are not focusing on annexing from a residential development, but are focusing on their downtown redevelopment and there are some great ideas out there.  She stated that this meeting points out the critical need for the Cities and the County to work together and she feels steps are being made in that direction.  She stated that the point was also made that the IDA and the EDC are important to the County and that they need to remain a part of Lake County, noting that there is a tremendous amount of knowledge, expertise, and talent that they can offer the County and be a huge benefit to it.  She feels, if they all work together, stay committed, and are determined to make a difference, they will make a difference.

Commr. Hill stated that T.I.P. was right on point with their industry targets, noting that the County discussed this issue in 1993 and it is right where it said it would be in 15 to 20 years.  She knows there is a cost associated with each of the goals alluded to by T.I.P. and that, with the economy being what it is, the County is going to need partners and direction from the private sector in how they reach those goals.  She questioned whether the County should take it incrementally, or take a big goal and jumpstart it, and whether or not it would jumpstart the economy in this area and get the County’s identity out in the Central Florida area, as to what it wants to be.  She noted that she is looking for those details.

Commr. Cadwell questioned what the next steps in this process will be, noting that he feels the Board is saying that it agrees with the target industries and to the most part, the strategies, but the County is at the point where it needs to show something and it needs to move quickly, to which Ms. Keedy responded that there will be a lot more details in the final plan and that the consultants are going to lay out some very specific steps and projects that the County can move towards.

Commr. Renick brought up for discussion a question that was presented to the Board by the consultants, regarding whether the Board would support a Workplace District in south Lake County and that she felt it was something the Board needed to address.  She stated that there are some very sensitive areas in south Lake County and that the term used by the consultants - Workplace District - makes it a loaded question, because it is a land use category that has been used, which to some people means up to 12 units per acre, density wise; therefore, if the consultants were referring to the area that she assumed they were talking about, it might be the perfect area for a business park or for the corporate headquarters of a particular business.  She stated, however, that, if it is not protected within an environmentally sensitive area and apartments and condos and 12 units per acre are allowed to go in, it would not be good.  She stated that it is a fear of hers that, when one uses Workplace District, she is not looking at bringing in industry and then have to bring in all the people that are going to feed that industry.  She stated that there is a huge residential component that goes along with that term, in her mind.

Mr. Garretson readdressed the Board, in response to Commr. Renick’s concern, stating that the term was originally Employment Center, but he and Mr. Cox had a discussion about what terminology they should actually use and came up with Workplace District.  He stated that the intent is to take advantage of market opportunities, from a commercial perspective, especially for the development of office space right outside Orlando.  He stated that what they are talking about is an Employment Center, at which time he noted that he had discussed the matter with Mr. Kelly and, from the LPA’s perspective, if the County is going to generate employment, then it needs to provide residential development along with it, if, in fact, that is the general policy of land planning in the County – that, if the County is going to provide an employment center, it also have residential to go along with it.

Commr. Renick stated that her fear is that, instead of bringing something in that will help the people in south Lake County, it will just flood more people into the area, noting that the term Workplace District suggests very high densities to her.  She indicated that she would support some type of an employment center, because that it is one of the things that the City of Clermont has had a problem with in the past – the fact that there has been so much residential development and not enough commercial.

Commr. Stivender interjected that she felt the term should be Employment Center.

Commr. Stewart stated that the County needs an Employment Center.  She stated that there are plenty of residences in the County, but it does not have Employment Centers.

Mr. Garretson rephrased the question and asked whether the Board would support an Employment Center in the unincorporated area of south Lake County, noting that it was something they wanted to have some guidance on, before they started getting into details.

Commr. Renick stated that Employment Center would be a lot more palatable than Workplace District.

Mr. Garretson reiterated the fact that the two specific areas they were talking about were the area west of the West Horizon (Carlton property) and the area between the Clermont city limits and the Turnpike.

Commr. Renick noted that the Carlton property comprises over 2,000 acres.

Commr. Cadwell stated that, with the laws the County has to operate under, regarding land use, it would be hard for the Board to answer Mr. Garretson’s question, because there have not been any hearings on it, and he felt they would be getting into areas where they might run into some problems.



Commr. Stivender informed the Board that the Parks and Recreation Board was requesting approval to have Elementary School “J”, to be located at East Lake Community Park, near SR 437, which would eliminate any paving requirements.

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that a couple of months ago staff discussed with them the possibility of co-locating an elementary school on the proposed East Lake Community Park site in Sorrento and the Board asked them to meet with the School Board and the School Board’s attorney, which they did.  He stated that he had distributed to them, for their perusal, two schemes of what the East Lake Community Park and Elementary School “J” could possibly look like, and that the School Board had taken the matter up at their Board Meeting and was interested in proceeding further with the concept.  He stated that one scheme shows the school on the east side of the property in question and the other one shows it on the west side of the property.  He stated that the schemes were only to represent to the Board what might occur, noting that, conceptually, the School Board would be required to build, in addition to the school, a Little League baseball field, football/soccer fields with a running track, baseball and softball fields, and tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts, of which they would pay 100% of the costs involved, assuming the Board and the School Board can negotiate something regarding it and provide the County with some money to help jumpstart the rest of the park.  He noted that, of the 50 acres involved, only about 10 acres will be used for the school and the rest will be devoted to park land.  He stated that, before moving further with the project, staff wanted to make sure that they would be doing what the Board wanted.  He stated that the next step would be to negotiate a full contract with the School Board.  He noted that the property would have to be rezoned to accommodate a school, so the County would file a petition to amend the Community Facility District (CFD) zoning, in order to allow the school to be constructed on the site, and would then have to work jointly with the School Board and the City of Eustis, in that utilities are very close to the site, but the City would have to concur with providing utilities for it.

It was noted that the Board preferred Scheme B.

Commr. Cadwell stated that, funding wise, it probably would have been 10 years before the County could develop the property, but this way they could get a good portion of it developed, which will help move up the other improvements quicker, because it will involve less money.  He stated that, when the agreement with the School Board is brought back before the Board for approval, there will be an opportunity for public input, for those people that may be opposed to the request.

On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place said item on the Agenda.

On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board authorized the County Attorney’s Office to negotiate with the School Board and bring a contract back to them at a later date for approval and to work with the School Board and the City of Eustis regarding the issue of utilities.



Commr. Renick brought up for discussion the issue of the $50 fee that the City of Clermont charges for Little League baseball and some problems that it is causing.

Mr. Wayne Saunders addressed the Board, responding to a question by Commr. Cadwell, as to where the $50 fee that is collected goes and who collects it, noting that the Little League collects the fee and then pays it to the City of Clermont.  He stated that the Little League charges a $100 registration fee that they keep and then they charge a $50 non-resident fee that they turn over to the City, which goes into the City’s Parks and Recreation Fund, for maintenance and operational costs.  He stated that he felt the easiest thing to do, if the Board agreed, would be to go back to subsidizing the fee, which would be something similar to what they had before, noting that the City could lower the fee back to $25 for everybody and then turn the rosters into the County, but a problem they are faced with at the present time is timing, due to the fact that Little League is already into their registration period.  He stated that it not only involves Little League, but the softball teams, as well, and the earliest the City could address the matter would be the second Tuesday in February and Little League has already started.

Commr. Cadwell stated that, once before, when the County considered reimbursing people for the fees, Mr. Bob McKee, Lake County Tax Collector, offered his office in Clermont as a place for them to go to get reimbursed.  He stated that the City needs to let people know that they can be reimbursed for the $25 they paid in fees and then have county staff check with Mr. McKee, to see if he is still willing to offer his office in Clermont as a place for them to go to get reimbursed.  He stated that, if the other cities in the County feel they need some help with their fees, as well, then the Board will look into it, when they bring the matter before them.

Mr. Saunders suggested that the City put it in place for Fall, or next Spring, and then the County would not have to go through the reimbursement process.

Commr. Renick stated that, when people call her outraged that the City of Clermont is charging the fee, she explains to them that Clermont has been taking the burden for the whole area, as far as the program is concerned - that they are not the bad guy in this matter.

Mr. Saunders stated that Clermont has done surveys regarding the fee and it is high for Lake County, but, in looking at some of the other programs around Central Florida, it is not an unusual cost, especially when compared to the YMCA and some of the private groups.

Commr. Cadwell stated that the County will set up a program to reimburse those people that have paid the Little League fee and, once the program has been set up, the County will put out some press releases regarding it.

On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place said item on the Agenda.

On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board directed staff to work with the City of Clermont, or whatever office would be appropriate, to handle the $25 Little League refund.

Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager, questioned whether the Board was referring to only those residents that live in the cities in south Lake County and was informed that it would be those residents that live in the unincorporated area of south Lake County.

Mr. Minkoff informed the Board that, if it was Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU) money, the County could not use it for city residents, but, if it was General Fund money, they could.

Ms. Hall interjected that she would look into the matter and make sure that the money is pulled from the right pot.

Mr. Welstead questioned whether it was the Board’s intent to subsidize $25 for city residents who are not within the city limits of the City of Clermont, as well, and was informed that everybody pays $50 now – whether they are in the unincorporated area or within the city.

Commr. Cadwell stated that, if those funds came out of the General Fund, those people needed to be included, as well.

The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote.



Commr. Hill thanked staff, the County employees, and the community for their outpouring at her time of need.  She stated that she appreciated everyone’s cards, thoughts, and prayers.


            There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.





                                                                        WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN