REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
MARCH 3, 2009
The Lake County Board of County
Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, March 3, 2009, at 9:00 a.m.,
in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room,
Pastor Michael Sweeney, New Life Church of God, gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, stated that the discussion of the Early Out Program that was listed under the Department of Employee Services has been pulled and asked to move Tab 6 from the Consent Agenda to the Departmental Agenda. She reported that there was an Addendum No. 1 regarding the East Lake Community Park site plan and an Addendum No. 2, which was regarding an Economic Stimulus Grant. She also made two changes on dollar figures on the Consent Agenda, including one that was under Budget, Tab 3, Item No. 3 regarding the Early Intervention Program, decreasing the dollar amount that has been requested to $69,620; and the other being a change to the fiscal impact under Tab 7 to $221,175, which was the reimbursement they would be getting from FEMA.
Commr. Conner stated that they have gotten $3 million in transportation stimulus money from the federal government, and he wanted to add to the agenda a report regarding that.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board voted to add that to the Agenda under Commr. Conner’s business.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously, by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of January 23, 2009 (Special Meeting), as presented and Minutes of February 3, 2009 (Regular Meeting), as presented.
CLERK OF COURT’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Court’s Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 4 as follows:
List of Warrants
Request to acknowledge receipt of list of warrants paid prior to this meeting, pursuant to Chapter 136.06 (1) of the Florida Statutes, which shall be incorporated into the Minutes as attached Exhibit A and filed in the Board Support Division of the Clerk's Office.
Monthly Distribution of Revenue
Request to acknowledge receipt of Monthly Distribution of Revenue Traffic/Criminal Cases, for the Month Ending January 31, 2009, in the amount of $186,573.88. Same period, last year: $220,381.56.
Ordinances from the Town of Lady Lake
Request to acknowledge receipt of copy of Ordinances from the Town of Lady Lake as follows:
Ordinance No. 2008-21 amending Ordinance 2006-41 permitting additional uses under the Planned Commercial “CP” zoning classification for certain property owned by Rhys Allen Cobb and Crisbo Holding LLC located on CR 466 within the Town of Lady Lake.
Ordinance No. 2008-26 amending the Town of Lady Lake Code of Ordinances Chapter 7 (Health and Sanitation) by adding Article IX entitled NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) Stormwater Illicit Discharge Regulation.
Ordinance No. 2008-28 amending the Town of Lady Lake’s Land Development Regulations, Chapter 4, Section 2 (a)(7), Section 4(c), and addition Section 9, Public School Facilities Concurrency Management System.
Ordinance No. 2008-29 amending Chapter 13 of the Town’s Code of Ordinances to provide for and find a need for library impact fees, providing for setting of library impact fee rates.
Ordinance No. 2008-30 amending Chapter 13 of the Town of Lady Lake’s Code of Ordinances to provide for and finding a need for park impact fees, and setting of park impact fee rates.
Ordinance No. 2008-33 amending the Town of Lady Lake’s Land Development Regulations (Ordinance No. 94-08); Chapter 2, Definitions and Interpretations, Section 2.
Ordinance from the City of Fruitland Park
Request to acknowledge receipt of copy of Ordinance 2008-021 from the City of Fruitland Park adopted on February 12, 2009, annexing approximately 1 acre of property generally located at 35117 Grays Airport Road, rezoning the property from Lake County R-1 (Rural Residential) to C-2 (General Commercial) within the city limits of Fruitland Park
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
Mr. Howard “Skip” Babb, Jr., Lake County Public Defender addressed the Board to give them a report on the progress of the Early Intervention Program mentioned in Tab 3, Item 3, and referred to a memorandum that was handed out. He commented that it was hard to put a dollar amount on this project, but that the Judges were beginning to see the effect of their work and the advantages of finding mental health problems early, which was good for the system because of the involvement in early intervention. He also related that he found out yesterday that the Pre-trial Intervention Program throughout the State of Florida, which took a burden off the jails, was not in the Governor’s budget, and the legislatures were going to have to decide whether they were going to fund that. He reported that they were going to be lobbying to keep that project going and that this Lake County Early Intervention Program would especially help if they did not have pre-trial intervention. He opined that he believed the project was working well so far and was looking forward to making it better as they progressed through the year. He informed the Board that he would be back before them in four months.
Commr. Stewart commented that she was very impressed with the benefits of this program.
Commr. Conner opined that there was no doubt that the program was working well and that it was a good decision.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 9, pulling Tab 6, as follows:
Request for approval of the following Budget Change Requests and Check Request (Direct Pay):
Budget transfer - County Transportation Trust Fund, Department of Public Works, Road Operations Division, Road Operations Section. Transfer $87,331 from Road Repair and Maintenance to Rentals and Leases. On January 20, 2009, the Board of County Commissioners approved to lease four wheel loaders and four motor graders. The total lease expenditure for eight months (February through September 2009) is $128,919.20. There is presently $46,588 available in Rentals and Leases. Funds need to be transferred from Road Repair and Maintenance to help cover the cost of the leases. The Road Repair and Maintenance account presently has a balance of $1,097,862.
Budget transfer - Renewal Sales Tax Capital Projects Fund, Department of Public Works, Funding and Production Division. Transfer $55,000 from the Sidewalks account to Infrastructure Right of Way. Right of way needs to be purchased for the Picciola Road project. The right of way purchase closing has been scheduled. The purchase amount is not available at this time since all of the road capital was allotted to Road Operations this fiscal year. The Sidewalks account has not been used yet this year. It has a balance of $1.4 million which can be used for this road project without adversely affecting any sidewalk projects.
Approval of request from the State Attorney’s Office for reimbursement for two positions handling the Early Intervention Case Resolution Program for the period from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009. The request exceeds the County Manager’s approval limit of $25,000. Total payment is for $69,620.00.
Request for signature and approval of Proclamation No. 2009-26 recognizing National Community Development Week 2009.
Request for approval to submit a Library Services and Technologies Act grant proposal.
Request for authorization and signature to submit modification number two to the subgrant agreement between the Division of Emergency Management and Lake County Board of County Commissioners regarding the acquisition and demolition of the Stockdill property at 11706 Lake Clair Circle. Commission District 2.
Request for authorization to approve and accept the attached public right of way deed that has been secured in conjunction with roadway construction; accept a maintenance bond in the amount of $184,587.91, execute a Developer's Agreement for Maintenance of Improvements Between Lake County and Rose Isle Development, LLC and Greater Lakes/Sawgrass Bay Community Development District, and execute Resolution No. 2009-27 accepting the following road into the County Road Maintenance System: Sawgrass Bay Boulevard “Part” (County Road No. 0360). Sawgrass Bay consists of 629 lots and is located in Section 14, Township 24 South, Range 26 East. Commission District 2.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
Commr. Renick stated that she wanted to pull Tab 9 on the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda for comment. She specified that she did not have any problems with the interlocal agreement that they had, but she knew from being on the Regional Planning Council that there seemed to be some question about whether or not the Regional Planning Council was going to be part of the agreement. She indicated that she did not think that the process was in place the way that the agreement suggested that it was.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, assured the Board that he would relay that comment to Mr. T. J. Fish, Executive Director, Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) so that he may address it.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart, and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tab 9, as follows:
Request to adopt and sign the FDOT Intergovernmental Coordination and Review and Public Transportation Coordination Joint Participation Agreement.
Ms. Susan Irby from Employee Services presented the employee awards, commenting briefly about each employee’s service to the County.
Donald Glessner, Facilities Maintenance Coordinator (not present), Facilities and Development/Facilities Maintenance
Jeffrey Ernest Fabi, Firefighter/EMT, Public Safety/Fire Rescue
Brian Gamble, Fire Lieutenant/EMT, Public Safety/Fire Rescue
Jeffrey Hurst, Firefighter/EMT (not present), Public Safety/Fire Rescue
Douglas Luce, Battalion Fire Chief, Public Safety/Fire Rescue Administration
Brad Russ, District Resource Coordinator (not present), Conservation and Compliance/Lake Soil and Water Conservation
Ross Pluta, Engineer III, Public Works/Development Review
Sheila Short, Senior Planner, Growth Management/Zoning
Board of Adjustment
Howard B. Fox, Jr. for service from 2005-2009
Board of Building Examiners
Helen Jones for service from 1997-2009
Thomas M. Pechous for service from 2002-2009 (not present)
Elder Affairs Coordinating Council
Barbara Rees for service from 2007-2009
Human Services Grant Advisory Committee
Barbara Rees for service from 2007-2009
Library Advisory Board
Dr. Terry W. Jackson for service from 2007-2009 (not present)
Ivy Parks for service from 2007-2008 (not present)
Tourist Development Council
Jonnie Hale for service from 2000-2008
Robert J. Zahradnik for service from 1989-2008
Transportation Alternative Funding Task Force
Bud Beucher for service from 2007-2008
Duane K. Booth for service from 2007-2008
Virgil Clark for service from 2007-2008 (not present)
Ronald M. Jacobs for service from 2007-2008
Fred Johnson for service from 2007-2008
John A. Moore for service from 2007-2008 (not present)
H. Bennett Walling for service from 2007-2008 (not present)
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
PROPOSED CHANGES TO LAKEXPRESS ROUTES
Mr. Kenneth Harley, Public Transportation Director, explained that they were asking for approval of some changes that they were proposing to make to the LakeXpress routes. He related that they had gone through some public hearings in regard to the changes, and opined that they were not significant. He reported that one of the changes was to change the route along David Walker Road that was currently serving the YMCA to stay on Dora Road about 300 to 400 feet away from the YMCA. He stated that instead of traveling on Eudora Road going back into Eustis to Ardice Avenue, they were asking that they continue to run along US Hwy 441 to SR 19 into Eustis, which would be more of a straight rather than winding route.
Commr. Hill stated that she had a request to look at the route that traveled in front of the SunTrust Bank.
Mr. Harley assured her that they would re-evaluate the location along there.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Tab 10, the request from Community Services for approval of the proposed changes to the LakeXpress routes.
Mr. Harley stated that they were requesting approval to enter into an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) in order to participate in their hybrid demonstration project, and under this program DOT would allow them to use a new hybrid vehicle in their fleet for about two weeks to give the County an opportunity to evaluate them to see whether they would be able to afford the hybrid vehicles and how well they function on their fixed route. He commented that they would be one of the first agencies to participate in this program. He mentioned that they would have to maintain the bus just as they normally maintain their current fleet, but there was no risk to the County in this proposal.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Tab 11, the request from Community Services for approval of the agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation for participation in the demonstration project of going green with public transportation.
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Community Services Director, stated that they were requesting approval to include the information from the Affordable Housing Workforce Incentives Report and mentioned that the background information that was sent to the Board noted that statutorily they were required every three years to look at incentives that promote affordable workforce housing. He related that in June of 2008 a committee that was made up of members of the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, including the Growth Management and Community Services staffs, looked at approximately 19 different items that the statutory requirements mandated them to review, and they came up with an in-depth report and some recommendations that they were required to include in their Local Housing Assistance Plan. He informed the Board that they needed their approval so that they could transmit it to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.
Commr. Renick stated that she was disappointed to see that even though the information indicated that there was no shortage of affordable units in Lake County, there were incentives offered to build affordable housing single-family units, which did not make sense to her. She noted that if they had a shortage of single-family affordable units, the situation for justifying the incentives would be different. She related that she had talked to Mr. Smith about putting in a statement or caveat stating that in the event that there was ever a shortage, those would be the incentives they would offer, but she could not support it as written.
Mr. Smith stated that there were different strategies inherent in the Affordable Housing Program that allowed for incentives for building not only housing units for purchase, but potential strategies for having funding available through the SHIP program for rental properties. He reported that there also were incentives for developers who want to construct rental units for the people in the community as affordable housing, of which they did have a shortage.
Commr. Stewart asked if they had sufficient affordable housing in Lake County.
Commr. Renick responded that the information on Page 4 of the backup given reported that the numbers they cited indicated that there was not a shortage of affordable units for sale in Lake County for even very low income populations. She noted that the report went on to explain there may be a shortage of rental units, which was what Mr. Smith had indicated. She pointed out that it also indicated that building new units may not be the best way for Lake County to confront housing issues, and she asked if they would put language in there that distinguishes between single family homes and apartments. She stated that she believed that a number of those suggestions were questionable, and she thought that they needed to go back and change some of it.
Mr. Smith stated that they would have to go back to the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee and have them discuss and come forward with implementing a strategy to provide SHIP dollars for developers who were going to be constructing low cost affordable rental housing.
Commr. Renick commented that she was not sure that high density residential development containing all low income units was a good idea instead of setting aside certain units in an apartment complex for affordable housing.
Commr. Hill asked Mr. Smith if this was a time-sensitive issue that needed to be approved today.
Mr. Smith responded that they have 90 days from February 4, which was the time the report was last presented to the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, to get it transmitted to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, but there may be some consequences if they did not adopt any housing incentives.
Commr. Renick specified that one criteria she was particularly concerned about stated that the County should develop criteria that would allow a density bonus for both affordable single and multi family housing.
Commr. Conner opined that density was a critical component of quality of life, and his concern was more about the density issue rather than the other issues that were raised.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board moved to deny the request from Community Services for approval of the amendments to the Local Housing Assistance Plan (LHAP) the way it was currently presented and to have it brought back with changes, including an emphasis on rental units.
Ms. Hall stated that they would go back to the Affordable Housing Committee and bring something back to the Board that would address the Board’s concerns about the incentives and the density and revisit those items to deal with the objections.
Ms. Vicky Zaneis, a member of the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee that helped prepare the report, commented that she had some concerns about the report also. She explained that she thought the word incentive sometimes did not relate at all to density, but might relate to issues such as relaxing parking standards for low income housing for seniors who have fewer vehicles. She commented that she felt that in some ways Lake County has done a poor job with regard to affordable housing, such as in developing smaller units such as efficiencies or one bedroom units that could be tucked into a mixed-use building. She opined that they needed leadership to get developers to create more creative types of housing, rather than putting everyone in single family homes all over the County, which would create more sprawl. She stated that she had some strong feelings about certain parts of the report that she hoped the Board would look at, such as reducing the requirements for certain sizes of units for some zoning districts. She emphasized that the County really had a need for the low-income rentals, and she related that there were 1000 homeless people in Lake County. She mentioned that there were some mistakes in the report in the way the language was written, even though she had tried to correct those errors, and the report called for about four or five Comprehensive Plan changes.
ECONOMIC GROWTH AND REDEVELOPMENT
PARTNERSHIP WITH CITY OF CLERMONT FOR FUNDING OF SEWER LINE
Ms. Dottie Keedy, Director of Economic Growth and Redevelopment, stated that this item was a request to partner with the City of Clermont to provide water and sewer service to an industrial area east of the city, and she pointed the location of that area out on an overhead map, indicating that it was about two miles from the Turnpike interchange south of Highway 50, in an unincorporated area of the County. She informed the Board that she was working with Blue Earth Solutions, which was a polystyrene recycling manufacturing company within that area that wanted to build an expansion at that site, and they were planning a $650,000 capital investment and approximately $350,000 in site improvements and hope to have a total employment at this site of between 55 and 75 employees. She pointed out that they could not make the expansion without the utilities, since they were currently on a well and septic tank, and that there were some other properties consisting of about nine lots and 25 acres within that area that could be redeveloped to a higher intensity use if they had water and sewer, which would create some additional jobs there. She also reported that she was in discussion with adjacent property owners about the possibility of designating this area a brownfield area, which would include the property to the south. She related that she believed the City of Clermont had some conversation at their workshop last week on providing the water service to the site. She informed the Board that the County would provide the sewer service through a contract with the City’s consulting engineers, and the entire project estimate of the cost to the County would be $435,000, which would include the design, engineering, permitting, and estimated construction cost. She reported that Clermont would discuss this issue at their council meeting next week to make a final decision. She stated that the funding of this project would be allocated from their incentive monies that they put aside during the budget process last year.
Commr. Renick commented that she did not think very many industries would look at a site without central utilities as a very attractive site, and she believed that this was an area in South Lake that would be appropriate for this. She stated that there had been ongoing talks regarding this and that Clermont was willing to help the County develop this site.
Commr. Renick moved for approval, with Commr. Stewart seconding the motion.
Commr. Stewart commented that besides providing jobs, this might prevent losing jobs if some of those industries would have to move out of the County to where sewer and water were available, and she believed that this was definitely a positive move.
Commr. Conner stated that he had reservations about spending almost a half million dollars and wanted to know if they had a contractual guarantee from this company that they were going to stay in the County or expand. He stated that he was not against the proposal, but he would like to see the County have a broader approach and get more in return for their $435,000. He suggested that they contact some of the other property owners there and try to have a broader plan where they get a better value for their investment.
Commr. Hill stated that they could not force a company in private industry to stay if the business was not there, and in that case they would resell their property to another company. She pointed out that the government provides infrastructure such as water and sewer, and these were the incentives that would attract businesses to the County. She also commented that they could not dictate who necessarily would end up on that site indefinitely.
Commr. Renick stated that she did not believe they were doing this only for Blue Earth, even though they would benefit from this, but she thought it was really about trying to get an industrial park started in South Lake. She pointed out that they had this incentive money budgeted to try to get business into the County, and she believed this would be even more effective than giving out incentive money to individual companies in exchange for locating here. However, she suggested that she could withdraw her motion and that they could postpone this issue until after the discussion with Clermont, to be sure that Clermont would be partnering with them.
Commr. Conner pointed out that it was a very good deal for the City of Clermont, since they would be receiving the water and sewer impact fees from this.
Commr. Hill inquired whether the City of Clermont would need a decision from them regarding this before they gave them an agreement for water and sewer.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that both the City and the County would have to agree to do this project.
Commr. Stewart stated that she thought they should bring into the negotiations that the City of Clermont would benefit from this.
Commr. Conner was concerned that there was not a date specified as to when businesses would be hooking up to the system.
Commr. Renick agreed that they did not have any kind of commitments.
Ms. Keedy explained that the businesses were very low intensity uses, because of the lack of water and sewer, and she believed that over time it would redevelop at a higher use if they put the utilities in. She noted that it was an investment and a plan to make this into an industrial area, and was not just a plan to benefit Blue Earth, who were able to benefit from it immediately because they had immediate expansion plans. She related that the arrangement would be that the County would pay Clermont to manage this project through their consulting engineers.
Commr. Conner inquired what kind of contribution the property owners would be making towards the infrastructure that would significantly increase the value of their property.
Commr. Hill responded that they would be bringing in another viable company with employment opportunities. She commented that she did not see a problem with this project, and they had to have the infrastructure for economic development to reach its highest level.
Commr. Stewart stated that she believed they were doing this for the future, and commercial development was beneficial to the County and would more than pay for itself.
Commr. Renick withdrew her motion and Commr. Stewart withdrew her second.
Ms. Keedy wanted to clarify whether the Board wished for her to go to the property owners, including Blue Earth, to ask them to contribute financially.
Commr. Conner stated that he was suggesting a plan for the area and to have a broader approach than just one company, and he asked Ms. Keedy to report back to the Board about whether there were other companies that would expand if the infrastructure were in place and to see if she could bring back something that would give them more value for their investment.
Commr. Renick clarified that she thought they should contact the business owners.
Mr. Jim Cohen, Vice President of Business Development, Blue Earth Solutions, stated that the businesses that they have worked with and contacted would not relocate there without the water and sewer, and no one was building on the vacant land around them because they could not do so. He noted that the amount of jobs created by even one parcel of land would be about 60 or 70, and there was an ultimate ability to create almost 500 jobs on that street. He related that they had multiples of millions of dollars already into their building, and moving their equipment would cost them $l million.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried by a vote of 3-1, the Board voted to postpone this until the final vote on this issue by the City of Clermont and to look into further investment possibilities in the project by the City of Clermont and business owners in that area.
Commr. Hill voted “no” to the postponement.
REFUND OF PERMIT AND IMPACT FEES OF MAGNOLIA POINT
Ms. Amye King, Growth Management Director, recapped that Mr. Jeff Ableman addressed the Board on February 17 to ask for a partial or total refund for five building permits and impact fees that were paid in advance for his projects at Magnolia Point, and the Board instructed staff to bring back some background information. She reported that the permits were issued on July 17, 2007 for a total of $34,913.72, and they were given extensions that expired as of January 13, 2008. She explained that staff was able to go back and assess what they could refund, which was $997.55 for the fire fee, but they could not refund anything else based on the Land Development Regulations, since the permits had expired in 180 days and the project never commenced. She stated that staff recommended denial of Mr. Ableman’s request.
Commr. Hill commented that under the County’s policy and rules, if the Board chose not to deny this, then the consequences would be that they would have quite a few developers come in and ask for the same type of refund. She also did not know how they would go about returning money, especially from the school system, because most of this money has probably already been encumbered.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board voted to accept the staff recommendation to deny the refund request.
TACTICAL WILDLAND-FIRE RESPONSE UNITS
Mr. Gary Kaiser, Public Safety Director, stated that they were requesting permission to proceed with staffing three tactical wildland-fire response units as they presented to the Board in January. He also informed the Board that they have done an extensive rework of the fire budget.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Tab 15, the request from Public Safety, Fire Rescue Division for approval to proceed with staffing and operation of tactical wildland-fire response units and the approval of two related budget transfers for the purchase of Paisley pumper from impact fees and to realign accounts to cover anticipated overtime.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT FOR NEIGHBORHOOD
Mr. David Hansen, Public Lands Manager, recapped that in 2007 they participated in the acquisition of the approximately 1584-acre property in east Lake County known as Neighborhood Lakes. He related that this item was a management agreement with the St. Johns River Water Management District that they would like to enter into for their portion of approximately 210 acres of the Neighborhood Lakes Property. He explained that this would put most of the management responsibilities in the County’s hands, including expenses to be incurred. He noted that they have worked on this for over a year, and they would have another year to actually come up with a management plan if this agreement was approved.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Tab 16, a request from Public Works for approval of the Intergovernmental Management Agreement between Lake County and the St. Johns River Water Management District for the jointly-acquired portion of the Neighborhood Lakes Property.
APPROVAL OF THE EAST LAKE COMMUNITY PARK MASTER PLAN
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, informed the Board that they expedited this because over the last two weeks they have had a lot of meetings on this topic between discussions regarding the stimulus package and the school, including the finalization of the site plan. He stated that he wanted to bring this forward today, because he was hoping to have the final agreement worked out and brought back to the Board on March 17. He also wanted formal approval so the engineers could move forward with the final grading of this site after their meeting with them that was scheduled for that afternoon. He gave the Board a status report on the site, reporting that they secured property for a signalized intersection, and they had public hearing meetings in December in the Sorrento-Mount Plymouth area, resulting in some modifications to the site, such as the omission of the skate park. He also reported that there was a lot of discussion regarding ball fields and the arrangement of those ball fields at the meetings, including the little league fields being as close to the school as possible with a more designated parking area for those fields. They planned on setting up a separate parking area for the softball and baseball fields for the older children and adults in the back. They were getting ready to grub and clear the site and remove all the trees, most of which were damaged in the severe weather, and have secured easements for a quarter cut, with the utilities coming straight from the east rather than going around to solve some problems with the roads and some other impacts.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Addendum No. 1-I, the request from Public Works for approval of the East Lake Community Park Master Plan.
ECONOMIC STIMULUS GRANT AND SUPPORTING RESOLUTION
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Community Services Director, stated that they received notice that they would be receiving some funding from the Economic Stimulus Grant program for the 5311 and 5307 programs for transportation. He explained that the funding under Section 5311 in the amount of about $1.2 million would allow them to purchase some transportation disadvantaged (TD) buses that they needed to replace due to their age and high mileage. He explained that the 5307 was targeting the fixed-route program, and with those dollars they were looking at purchasing some buses, which could be used to shorten the route trip time, and using the rest for maintenance costs; some operational costs such as shelters, fareboxes, and mobile data terminals; and leasing a maintenance facility.
Commr. Conner inquired what the financial commitment to the County would be.
Mr. Harley responded that the County would have no financial commitment, since the Economic Stimulus Program was 100 percent with no local match requirements at all. He also related that the operating costs involved would be the existing operating costs that they were currently providing and that they also receive funding that could be utilized for operating expenses under a 5307 grant that was not part of the Economic Stimulus project. He reported that currently the County contributes about $1.6 million to the entire program, which was primarily used for paratransit TD expenses.
Commr. Conner asked how long the County would continue to receive money from the federal government for operating costs of their fixed-route program.
Mr. Harley answered that they could continue to receive money until the population of the urbanized area exceeds 200,000 in population.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Addendum 2-I, the request from Community Services to apply for the Economic Stimulus Grant and supporting Resolution No. 2009-28.
SULLIVAN BOSWORTH, LLC AGREEMENT
Mr. Harley explained that in Tab 6, they were asking for approval of an agreement with Sullivan Bosworth, which was a consultant that they currently utilize to help with their grant program, including assisting the County with the Triennial Review with FTA (Federal Transit Administration) and writing their grants under the TEAM-WEB program. He reported that the contract amount was $5,000, with $4,000 coming from the FTA grant and $1,000 as a local match. He commented that Sullivan Bosworth’s services were extremely valuable to them and that they had over 58 years of experience in providing services and had worked for FTA in the past. He also stated that they had to have this technical assistance available to them to ensure that they were abiding by the volume of regulations with FTA and not violating any terms of their agreements with them.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Tab 6, the request from Community Services for approval of the Sullivan Bosworth, LLC, Agreement to assist staff in obtaining FTA funding.
APPOINTMENTS TO HISTORICAL MUSEUM ADVISORY COMMITTEE
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Clayton Bishop as Historical Society Member, Mr. Rick Reed as Historical Society Alternate Member, and Ms. Debbie Stivender as Member of the Public At Large to upcoming vacant positions on the Historical Museum Advisory Committee to serve three-year terms beginning March 28, 2009.
REPORTS – COUNTY ATTORNEY
TERMINATION OF COVANTA DEBT SERVICE RESERVE ACCOUNT
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that they realized an issue had arisen because the interest they were earning on the debt service reserve account in connection with the Covanta SunTrust loan had fallen far below the amount that they were paying on the loan itself, so they explored taking that debt service reserve and using it as a prepayment. They had outlined two scenarios, both of which would result in fairly significant savings to the County, assuming that the interest rates would be staying low, which they thought would be the case.
Mr. Gary Akers, Financial Advisor from First Southwest Company, explained that basically there were two ways that they looked at paying this down from the debt service reserve in the amount of $5,151,519, which was part of the loan that they were paying interest at 4.16 percent. He stated that previously they had looked at a variety of different investment possibilities for that, which at the time was a Certificate of Deposit which produced the highest yield. However, in his analysis, he used 2 percent as the current return on the debt service reserve investment, which was way below the interest they were paying on the debt. He presented charts that were attached to the agenda item cover sheet which illustrated two pay down scenarios. He commented that he thought there was tremendous benefit to the County in paying down the final maturity with the debt service reserve rather paying it down throughout. He informed the Board that SunTrust has accepted this new structure and that both scenarios would result in present value savings of around $164,000.
Commr. Hill inquired whether they could negotiate any part of the prepayment penalty.
Mr. Akers responded that the formula was in the bond documents or loan documents for the original, and their intent was to try to negotiate. He noted that when they prepared this new structure, it did come down considerably. He related that although SunTrust has signed off on a new structure, they have not discussed that payment with them, but they feel the County was in the position to get a substantial reduction in that prepayment penalty.
Mr. Minkoff added that they also had to get Covanta’s approval of this, and they did not want to go very far with preparing documents and moving ahead with this until they had the Board’s support that it was a good idea.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Tab 18, the request from the County Attorney for termination of the debt service reserve account in connection with the Covanta SunTrust loan, with the original final maturity of October 1, 2013.
DISCUSSION OF NIAGARA LITIGATION
Mr. Minkoff read a memorandum from Commr. Cadwell, since he could not be present because of a medical emergency involving his daughter, expressing his views regarding the proposed Consumptive Use Permit for Niagara Bottling Company for the record. In that memo Commr. Cadwell stated that he became convinced that Lake County needed to take a stand to challenge the proposed permit issuance to withdraw 484,000 gallons of water per day from the Floridan aquifer, with 20 percent of that transformed into undrinkable solution used to irrigate a golf course. He also was concerned that the St. Johns District has failed to live up to its responsibilities in water supply and use planning, and he thought that the litigation would force the District to recognize its responsibilities and to begin to create a plan to deal with water allocation which would emphasize conservation. He noted that the litigation has been contentious and expensive, and the current economic crisis has had repercussions for Lake County government which has caused a budget shortfall that has forced them to face the possibility of reducing services to the needy and others in the community and the laying off of employees. Because of this, he opined that the County could no longer afford to continue the Niagara litigation, but there were other, less costly alternatives to force the District to act. He related that he supported the Board’s action today in concluding the Niagara litigation and turning their attention and efforts to these alternative strategies for getting the District to change its procedures.
Commr. Renick read a statement that she prepared stating that due to budget constraints, the County could no longer continue its legal challenge against the St. Johns River Water Management District and the Niagara Water Bottling Company. She commented that the economy and the County’s shrinking budget have resulted in a shortage of the funds necessary to continue the legal appeal. She related that they would take their case directly to the St. Johns Governing Board and asked for the public’s support during the Niagara meeting. She also noted that they wanted the St. Johns to change how they issue their permits.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board moved to withdraw from the Niagara litigation due to budget constraints.
ROYAL HIGHLANDS UPDATE
Mr. Minkoff gave a brief update of the Royal Highlands issue that they discussed last week. He reported that they have had discussions with the property owner’s attorney and have not filed suit against them. He thought there was no longer anyone staying on the property and that they came to an agreement that they would be removing the things that were placed there. They were trying to facilitate a meeting between the homeowners, the developer, and the property owner through their attorneys to try to come up with a long-term solution.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER HILL – VICE CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 1
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING IBINI TERA
Commr. Hill announced that the Ibini Tera lake cleanup would take place Saturday, March 7, beginning at 8:00 a.m. She related that they would have several locations for people who wanted to help with the cleanup of the waterways, which would start at Hickory Point Park.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Resolution No. 2009-29 supporting Ibini Tera.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER RENICK – DISTRICT 2
QUESTIONS REGARDING MAINTENANCE MAP
Commr. Renick stated that she had some questions about a maintenance map that was approved in South Lake County, and she asked if they could have staff stake it in a couple of places so that she and Mr. Minkoff could look at it. She commented that if there has been any kind of an error, they would be bringing that back to the Board for discussion.
Commr. Renick wished Mrs. Perry a happy 103rd birthday.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER CONNER – DISTRICT 3
TRANSPORTATION ECONOMIC STIMULUS MONEY
Commr. Conner stated that he had some concerns regarding the transportation economic stimulus money they would be getting, and he would have wanted at least some of that money to go toward construction of a fleet center facility rather than towards the purchase of buses, since he felt that the construction of a fleet facility would create some construction jobs. He felt that local governments should have more control of how they spend the money to improve their community. He asked if this was stimulus money that came from the federal government in the last two weeks.
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Community Services Director, answered that it was the money that they talked about on the addendum. He explained that in order to buy a facility or land for a facility, they would have to have a complete environmental assessment done, and they had to use those dollars within 120 days, which would not meet the time requirements. He assured Commr. Conner that he would have liked to use those stimulus dollars to buy or build a facility if they had the ability to do that.
Mr. T. J. Fish, Executive Director, Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) explained that the MPO had to work with the County staff and DOT on a process to determine what could and could not be done, and they spent the stimulus money the best that they could in terms of what qualified. He pointed out that more than a dozen states have refused the federal dollars because of all the strings attached. He noted, however, that the reality for them was that they could use this money to buy capital, but since they did not have a production-ready building, that did not make the list. He also mentioned that they received other money for resurfacing, bridges, and the large roads.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER STEWART – DISTRICT 4
BLACK BEAR SCENIC BYWAY
Commr. Stewart related that on Saturday, February 28, she manned the Black Bear Scenic Byway booth at the George Washington festival celebration. She commented that there was a lot of public interest, and stated that the byway ran along SR 40 from SR 19 to the St. John’s River, along SR 19 north of Altoona, and included the Alexander Springs Loop. She stated that at the MPO meeting last Wednesday, February 25, they gave a nice presentation to the MPO about the Black Bear Scenic Byway and the benefits it could have for the County, and she asked if the Board would like to have that presentation given at an upcoming Board meeting for the public’s benefit. She also invited everyone to become friends of the scenic byway.
Commr. Hill commented that it would be a very good idea, and that it would be on television so that the general public would be able to see it. She also thought that they could do a presentation on the Ferndale Preserve also.
There was consensus from the Board to have the presentation at a future Board meeting.
CITIZEN QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD
Mr. Roy Hunter, Northeast Lake Chamber of Commerce, congratulated the Commission for what they did last week regarding the resolution against the water pipeline. He stated that the economy was tough right now, and he thought people should start increasing the amount of cans of food they buy for a neighbor who could not afford it to two cans a week. He mentioned that Lake County was very blessed with a good staff. He related that the Northeast Lake Chamber of Commerce was against Niagara or anyone else taking water out of the aquifer, and they would do anything they could to support what the Board was doing. He urged everyone to attend the meeting regarding Niagara to take a stand with the County in Palatka or wherever the meeting happens to be and to help others with transportation expenses to attend, and they would hold any donations in a separate fund for people who needed help to get up there. He asked Commr. Renick if she had a way of contacting all of them so that they have sufficient time to arrange transportation for everyone.
Dr. Christine Harris addressed the Board and stated that last Wednesday she had an opportunity to hear the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) present its proposals for work in the Lake County area along the Highway 27 and 441 corridors as well as within the enclaves of the different subdivisions and communities. She stated that she understood that the purpose of the MPO was to prevent diversion of State transportation trust funds and transportation user fees to non-transportation purposes and to create a transportation revenue study to determine Florida’s transportation’s needs. She also opined that the implementation of a county transportation system surtax takes away and replaces what the current charter county transit system surtax has done in the past, which would be giving away the County’s surtax authority. She believed the other problem would be that it requires the MPO to have a public/private partnership with each individual group, agency, and individual who owns property, which takes away all of the authority of a County Commission type government, and their focus was to make it urban. She thought that the rural County level would be disintegrated, and thus the economic stimulus was their target. She had four objections, which were presentation of the proposal; the change in designation of land development from rural to urban; an objection to the MPO as an ad hoc authority signing on behalf of the residents, the Commission, and the state to receive their funds; and to tab 4a and 4b of the resolution submitted because they are inconsiderate of the rule and agriculture development plans of this region, county, state, and country.
Ms. Mary Goldin, a resident of Vista Del Lago Blvd., Clermont, recapped that for the second time the Board voted unanimously last year to close Vista Del Lago Blvd. where it intersects with Lake Louisa Road with an earthen berm. She also related that there were about 234 properties in the Vistas, which was one of the older neighborhoods, nestled in between Highway 27 and Lake Louisa Road. She mentioned that the road was first closed after a vote by the Board in 2006 and that the first time it came before the Board was in 1999, when they started doing road counts on the connector road that runs through there and found out that there was a lot of traffic on this road which was cutting through the community to go to Highway 27. She pointed out that last year after the vote to close it, the Vistas agreed at the County’s request to handle the drawings, and they hired an engineer to follow the design already in place that the Public Works Department had designed and secured their permit, which was later revoked. She recapped that they filled the County Commission Chambers last year, and residents spoke to the Board about their concern for their safety and their community. She asked why her permit for an earthen berm closure was revoked, who was authorized to revoke it, and when it could be reinstated so that they could complete this project that started ten years ago. She commented that the road was a very dangerous road and has changed the face of her community. She added that they have already started their landscaping and have put $15,000 into the plans.
Commr. Renick commented that there was a misunderstanding regarding this issue, and she has not been doing anything to open the road. She explained that this issue was actually about how the road would be closed, which came about because Chief Jim Dickerson, Assistant Fire Chief, Fire Rescue, came to her on a totally unrelated matter, but in the course of the conversation he mentioned his concerns regarding emergency vehicle access. She stated that in the length of time that this has taken, new technology has become available for installation of a gate with a transponder to allow a public safety vehicle to get through. They have been looking into having a simple gate in the middle versus the berm, and the County was now in the process of getting quotes to find out the costs of the gate. She also noted that the closure was temporary, and it was not written in stone whether it had to be a berm or whether it could be a gate. She emphasized that they were only looking to possibly open the road for emergency vehicles and not to cut-through traffic, and reported that this issue would be coming back to the Board.
Ms. Goldin stated that Mr. Gary Kaiser, Public Safety Director, told her in 2006 that he did not have a problem with the earthen berm closure. She also mentioned that the Clermont Fire Department was right across the street from their entrance on Highway 27, which was open. She emphasized that her Home Owners Association Board discussed this issue with the residents and decided that they did not want a gate.
Commr. Hill stated that this would be coming back to the Board, and they would notify her and the other residents of the meeting when they would make a decision whether it would be a gate or a berm.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
NEIL KELLY, CLERK