A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
MARCH 17, 2009
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 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; Elaine Renick; Linda Stewart; and Jimmy Conner. Others present were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Cindy Hall, County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE
Reverend Karen Burris, Morrison United Methodist Church, in Leesburg, gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commr. Renick asked that Tab 21, a request from Economic Growth and Redevelopment for approval to enter into a partnership with the City of Clermont to pay for the design, engineering, permitting, and construction of a sewer line on Granville Road, south of SR 50 and east of the Clermont City limits, be pulled from the Agenda and postponed until a later date, noting that the City of Clermont has a number of questions about the request.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to postpone action regarding Tab 21 until a later date.
Commr. Conner asked that Tab 28, a request that a report be given by staff on the Dodge dealership in Clermont that was purchased by the County to be utilized by the Sheriff’s Department, be moved up on the Agenda and addressed at an earlier time, out of respect for the Sheriff, who was present in the audience.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that Tab 30, a request for approval of a Resolution in support of the funding of public education, be moved up on the Agenda and addressed at an earlier time, as well, out of respect for Lake County School Board Member Cindy Barrow, who was also present in the audience.
Regarding the Minutes of January 13, 2009, Commr. Renick requested the following change:
On Page 7, Line 30, change the word “and” to “yet only”.
Regarding the Minutes of February 10, 2009, Commr. Renick requested the following change:
On Page 8, Line 34, change the word “holes” to “roads”.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of January 13, 2009 (Special Meeting), as corrected; the Minutes of January 27, 2009 (Regular Meeting), as presented; the Minutes of February 10, 2009 (Special Meeting), as corrected; and the Minutes of February 17, 2009 (Regular Meeting), as presented.
CLERK OF COURT’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the following requests:
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.
2009 Consolidated Annual Report for the Southwest Florida Water Management District
Request to acknowledge receipt of compact disk containing the 2009 Consolidated Annual Report for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, including the District Water Management Plan Annual Report, Minimum Flows and Levels Annual Priority List and Schedule, Annual Five-Year Capital Improvements Plan, Alternative Water Supplies Annual Report, Annual Five-Year Water Resource Development Work Program, Florida Forever Water Management District Work Plan, and Mitigation Donation Annual Report.
Refund of Fees to Participants in Clermont Girls Softball League and South Lake Little
Request for approval to refund non-resident recreation fees to individuals participating in the Clermont Girls Softball League and South Lake Little League, in the amount of $25 each.
Final DCA Order from State of Florida, Department of Community Affairs
Request to acknowledge receipt of Final DCA Order No. DCA09-OR-049, from the State of Florida, Department of Community Affairs, In re: Lake County Land Development Regulations approved by Lake County Ordinance No. 2008-86, adopted December 18, 2008, pertaining to the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern.
Annexation Ordinance from City of Groveland
Request to acknowledge receipt of copy of Ordinance No. 2009-02-07, from the City of Groveland, extending and increasing the corporate limits of the City of Groveland, annexing 25.57 +/- acres of Lake County thereto a certain area of land contiguous to and not embraced within the present limits of the City.
Notice Before Florida Public Service Commission
Request to acknowledge receipt of Notice Before the Florida Public Service Commission, In re: Application for general rate increase in water and wastewater systems in Lake County by Southlake Utilities, Inc. - Docket No. 080597-WS; Order No. PSC-09-0116-FOF-WS; Issued: February 25, 2009 - Order Suspending Proposed Final Rates and Approving Interim Rates, Subject To Refund.
Notification of Action within Joint Planning Area from City of Eustis
Request to acknowledge receipt of Notification of Action within Joint Planning Area, from the City of Eustis, for Annexation and Comprehensive Plan Amendments, as follows:
Annexation of approximately .9 acres on the south side of Suanne Avenue (Block 10, Lots 10-18); Comprehensive Plan Amendment to change the land use from Urban, in Lake County, to Suburban Residential, in the City of Eustis.
Annexation of approximately .8 acres at 1940 Country Club Road; Comprehensive Plan Amendment to change the land use from Suburban, in Lake County, to Suburban Residential, in the City of Eustis.
Annexation of approximately .29 acres at 2643 Country Club Road; Comprehensive Plan Amendment to change the land use from Suburban, in Lake County, to Suburban Residential, in the City of Eustis.
City of Mount Dora’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year Ended
September 30, 2008
Request to acknowledge receipt of City of Mount Dora’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year ended September 30, 2008.
Final DCA Order from State of Florida, Department of Community Affairs
Request to acknowledge receipt of Final DCA Order from the State of Florida, Department of Community Affairs, In re: Lake County Land Development Regulations approved by Lake County Ordinance No. 2009-01. Final Order approving a land development regulation adopted by a local government within the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern.
Consulting Engineer’s Solid Waste Operations Monitoring Annual Report for Lake
County’s Covanta Lake Resource Recovery Facility for FY 2008
Request to acknowledge receipt of Consulting Engineer’s Solid Waste Operations Monitoring Annual Report for Lake County’s Covanta Lake Resource Recovery Facility for Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008), including summary of fourth quarter for Fiscal Year 2008 (July 1, 2008 through September 30, 2008).
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
Commr. Hill asked that Tab 8, a request from Environmental Utilities for approval of a Resolution expressing Lake County’s support of waste-to-energy technology as a renewable energy source, be pulled for discussion.
Commr. Renick asked that Tab 14, a request from Public Works for approval and execution of a Purchase Agreement with John R. Beatty for a utility easement, be pulled for discussion, as well.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, as follows:
Request for approval of Budget Change Requests and Check Request (Direct Pay), as follows:
Budget Transfer – Parks Capital Projects Fund, Department of Public Works, Parks and Trails Division. Transfer $55,000 from Capital Parks – Lake Jem Park and $25,000 from Capital Parks – Marsh Lake to Capital Parks – North Lake Community Park. Funds are needed to complete the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program (FRDAP) Grant for the North Lake Community Park. The deadline for the completion is April, 2009. Funds that were previously allocated from the Sales Tax Parks Capital Fund are available in Capital Parks – Lake Jem Park and Capital Parks – Marsh Lake.
Budget Transfer - General Fund, Department of Facilities Development and Management. Transfer $36,000 from Facilities - Repair and Maintenance to Sheriff - Transfer/Law Enforcement - Other Expenses. The flooring in restricted areas of the Sheriff's Administration Building requires replacement, due to wear, and has been identified as a safety concern. The work will be procured by the Sheriff's Purchasing staff. Funds have been identified in the Facilities Maintenance account for this work
Approval of request from the Sheriff's Office for disbursement of court costs designated as Crime Prevention Funds, pursuant to F.S. 775.083. The funds will be used for crime prevention activities. The request exceeds the County Manager's approval limit of $25,000. Total payment is for $300,000.00.
Request for approval to: (1) Appoint Fletcher Smith, Community Services Director, or an alternate designated by him, to serve as Lake County Government’s representative on the local FEMA Board; (2) Appoint Jerry Smith, Emergency Management Director, or an alternate designated by the Public Safety Director, as the representative from Public Safety; (3) Authorize the submission of a direct application for funding as a Local Recipient Organization or Fiscal Agent/Conduit for a Local Recipient Organization, if directed by action of the local FEMA Board; and (4) Authorize Community Services Department to manage the program and prepare required plans, reports, and other related documents, as directed by the local FEMA Board, and or required by FEMA.
Request for Board to sign First Amendment to Agreement between Lake County and Lake County Health Department for Prescription Assistance for Low Income Persons.
Conservation and Compliance
Request for approval of Satisfaction and Release of Fine, Property Owner: Superior Concrete Construction, LLC - Commission District 2.
Request for approval of Satisfaction and Release of Fine, Property Owner: Sourcelink Communications, Inc., Case No. 2007030191 - Commission District 3.
Request for approval to award Cooper Memorial Library Opening Day Collection Services to Baker & Taylor, Inc.
Request for approval of updated Interlocal Agreement with City of Groveland for First Responder Fire Rescue Services, in which, starting Fiscal Year 2008/2009, the County shall reimburse the City a total of $121,842.00, per annum, for fire rescue services provided to the County - Commission District 3.
Request for approval and execution of Supplemental Agreement with Bowyer-Singleton, for additional engineering services for design of CR 470 - Commission District 3.
Request for authorization to accept settlement check, in the amount of $19,509.00, and execute any required settlement documents with bonding agent, due to developer’s failure to complete infrastructure within Hunter Oaks subdivision. Hunter Oaks consists of 18 lots and is located in Section 1, Township 18 South, Range 26 East - Commission District 5.
Request for authorization to release maintenance bond, in the amount of $26,159.15, posted for Biscayne Grove. Biscayne Grove consists of 27 lots and is located in Section 32, Township 18 South, Range 26 East - Commission District 4.
Request for approval and execution of Purchase Agreement with Robert O. Thomas, for utility easement needed for water line for school and park project at intersection of CR 437 and Wolf Branch Road, in Section 20, Township 19 South, Range 28 East, in the Sorrento area - Commissioner District 4.
Request for authorization to accept final plat for Darian Estates and all areas dedicated to the public, as shown on the Darian Estates final plat; accept a performance bond, in the amount of $286,685.75; and execute a Developer’s Agreement for Construction of Improvements between Lake County and David DiMassino and Robin A. DiMassino, his wife. Darian Estates consists of 6 lots and is located in Section 32, Township 18 South, Range 28 East - Commission District 5.
RESOLUTION EXPRESSING LAKE COUNTY’S SUPPORT OF WASTE-TO-
ENERGY TECHNOLOGY AS RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE
Commr. Hill stated that the County has been working on this issue for approximately one and a half years, a lot of work has gone into it, and she appreciated everyone’s efforts. She noted that the Resolution will be going to Tallahassee to support the Green Initiative for the County’s Solid Waste Recycling Program.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved a request from Environmental Utilities for approval of Resolution No. 2009-31, expressing Lake County’s support of waste-to-energy technology as a renewable energy source, thus qualifying waste-to-energy technology to be eligible for the Renewable Energy Credit Program.
PURCHASE AGREEMENT WITH JOHN R. BEATTY FOR UTILITY EASEMENT
Commr. Renick stated that it appears the County is getting a utility easement from Mr. John R. Beatty, which is needed for a water line for a school and park project at the intersection of CR 437 and Wolf Branch Road, and that the County is going to put a well in for Mr. Beatty, as part of the Purchase Agreement, to which Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, responded that, originally, the County had proposed to do so, but part of the money that the County is paying Mr. Beatty includes the cost for him to have a well put in. She questioned why, if the County is going to be running a water line through his property, he would not just hook into it and was informed by Mr. Minkoff that the City of Eustis will not hook anybody else up to their utilities. He stated that the County had to negotiate with the City to hook up the school and the park, but they are not interested in extending their utilities to any other customers.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved a request from Public Works for approval and execution of a Purchase Agreement with Mr. John R. Beatty, for a utility easement needed for a water line for a school and park project at the intersection of CR 437 and Wolf Branch Road, in Section 20, Township 19 South, Range 28 East, in the Sorrento area - Commissioner District 4.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, as follows:
Request for approval of Lease Agreement with Triangle Industrial Park, Inc., for Building No. 2, located at 31150 Industry Drive, Tavares, for office space for Department of Public Works.
Request to award sale of surplus property to Lake Frances Property Owners Association, in the amount of $260.10 - Commission District 3.
Commr. Conner informed the Board that the monthly payments for the Triangle Industrial Park building that the County is leasing for Public Works was lowered and that he is encouraging the County Attorney to take an even more aggressive approach regarding future leases, due to the supply and demand of lease space.
Mr. Minkoff, County Attorney, interjected that the County was able to obtain a reduction in the lease for the space in question, because some space was offered to the County at a lower price and, when that price was presented to the existing landlord, the lower price that was being offered was matched.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER STEWART – DISTRICT 4
RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF FUNDING OF PUBLIC EDUCATION
Commr. Stewart stated that she feels very strongly about this request and that she cannot believe the State Legislators are putting the County in a position where it is actually having to ask its teachers to sacrifice even more than they have already sacrificed, noting that, if an individual ever spent a day with a teacher, they would never criticize a teacher again, because they would not believe what they have to go through. She stated that they do not work nine months out of the year and they do not work 7 ½ hours a day, but more like 12 hours a day and 12 months a year for incredibly low pay for what they do and now their salaries are being proposed to be cut even more. She stated that they are producing the future of the World in their classrooms; and it does not make sense to her why more money is going to be taken away from them.
A motion was made by Commr. Stewart and seconded by Commr. Renick to approve Resolution No. 2009-32, in support of the funding of public education, requesting that State Legislators find an alternative funding source for education during the 2009 Legislative Session.
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell stated that he would certainly support the Resolution, however, noted that, when local governments ask the State Legislators to find an alternative funding source, most of the time, it is the County that will be providing those funds.
Commr. Conner commented that positions are being cut by the Legislature failing to fund them, and he feels that, as a result of those cuts, there is going to be a higher drop out rate, because the lower quartile are not getting the intensive reading and math teachers that are needed. He stated that so much effort has been put into saving the lower quartile and now, because of the budget cuts, they are the ones that are going to suffer the most. He noted that a Legislature that will not tax beer and cigarettes to fund education is a Legislature that he does not support. He feels they should be ashamed of themselves and should step up to the plate.
Commr. Stewart interjected that they are so shortsighted, noting that the State needs jobs badly, but, if they think a company is going to move to this State with an educational system that is so poorly funded, they are wrong. She stated that the County needs a good educational system for economic development, so they are cutting off their foot, to spite their face.
Commr. Renick thanked School Board Member Cindy Barrow and applauded her efforts, noting that she is making the rounds of all the governmental entities asking them to support the Resolution. She stated that the big picture is that they are looking at having the Legislature make education a priority, regardless of good times, bad times, etc.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER CONNER – DISTRICT 3
REPORT ON DODGE DEALERSHIP PURCHASE FOR SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT
Commr. Conner informed the Board that he had asked Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, to give them an update on the Dodge dealership facility in Clermont, which is to be utilized by the Sheriff’s Department.
The County Manager stated that the County started looking at facilities over a year ago to house the Sheriff’s Office in the south Lake County area for two reasons, being (1) the Sheriff’s Department needed additional space, and (2) they were asked by the Clermont Police Department to vacate their facility. She stated that the Board selected the Dodge dealership, which was purchased last summer for $5.5 million, and there were some initial discussions about the Sheriff sharing the space with some of the other Constitutional Officers, but it was not equipped for that, so an architectural firm was hired and has been working with the Sheriff on designing that space, to include holding cells, a crime evidence room, etc., so that it can serve as a south Lake County full service district office for the Sheriff’s Department. She commented that the County has requested federal funding from Washington, D.C. and staff will be going to Washington in April of this year, to talk to them about assisting with the funding and some of the technology that is needed for the facility. She indicated that the architectural firm is nearing completion of the construction documents and, once they are complete, they will be put out to bid and the permitting and construction phase will begin. She noted that $1 million has been budgeted for the renovations, which will be fairly extensive.
Commr. Conner questioned whether the $1 million would suffice for the renovations, to which Ms. Hall responded that she would not be able to answer that question at this time, as staff is currently in the process of putting numbers together - it has not been bid out yet. He expressed a concern about the length of time from the date of purchase to the Sheriff being able to move into the facility, at which time he noted that he recently toured the Sheriff’s Office and feels it looks better today than it did several years ago. He stated that the Sheriff has an inmate labor program that he utilized for the Sheriff’s Administration Building and that he would like to see the County explore the idea of inmate labor for the Dodge dealership – not for load bearing walls, electrical, etc., but for some of the carpentry work. He asked that the Board allow the Sheriff to share with them what he did in the Sheriff’s Administration Building and what he might be able to do at the Dodge dealership.
Sheriff Borders addressed the Board stating that a total of six offices on two floors of the Sheriff’s Administration Building have been remodeled over the last two months, at a cost of approximately $5,000, utilizing inmate labor. He stated that the costs have been strictly for construction materials, noting that they use inmate labor for hanging drywall, painting, laying carpet, tile, etc., but they do not use them for electrical or air conditioning projects. He feels utilizing inmate labor to help with the remodeling of the Dodge dealership would reduce some of the costs involved with the project.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, if the County does decide to use inmate labor for the Dodge dealership renovation project, staff needs to make sure that it does not contradict the rules and laws of the State, with regard to commercial buildings, etc.
Ms. Hall responded that staff will have Procurement Services and the County Attorney’s Office look into it, and she will bring a report back to the Board sometime in early April.
UPDATE/STATUS REPORT ON WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT IN LAKE
Mr. Larry Strickler, Sr., Vice President of Public Affairs, Workforce Central Florida (WCF), addressed the Board and gave a brief power point presentation update/status report on workforce development in Lake County, at which time he distributed a packet containing information about WCF, such as an Annual Report and Calendar, leaflets, a 2008 State of the Workforce Study, etc., which he reviewed, giving them a brief overview of what WCF is, what it does, and what he has discovered over the last year, in talking to political and community leaders. He commented on the issue of education, noting that it is the main draw for new businesses, as well as expanding businesses, and, if the State lets its education slip any lower, it is going to make everybody’s job tougher, with regard to workforce development, economic development, etc. He stated that, with regard to WCF, there is a great misunderstanding about who they are and what they do. They are one of 24 regional entities in the State of Florida, covering the counties of Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, and Sumter Counties, that make up the workforce development system. They work with economic development organizations and local governments, to try to enhance the local economy as best they can and try to integrate with the planning and growth management efforts within the five county foot print that they serve. The bottom line is that they think the employer is their customer and their intent is for employers to develop well trained, productive employees. He discussed the makeup of the WCF Board of Directors, which is dictated by state and federal law, noting that it is made up of both the public and the private sector. He advised that anyone wishing to know more about WCF access their website, noting that it contains a lot of information. He discussed what they have been doing to support Lake County, since their fiscal year started on July 1, 2008, such as Job Fairs, one of which is scheduled to be held at Lake-Sumter Community College, which have been very successful; teaching employers how to use the Employee Florida Marketplace, a statewide data base; utilizing Workforce Central Florida University; and Employer Working Training Grants.
Mr. Strickler commented on an article contained in the packet, titled Workforce Central Florida’s Powerful Effect on the Economy, Returning Dollars, Creating Jobs and Lowering Taxes, stating that they decided a few months ago that the most powerful way one can deal with convincing a legislator about the power of education is a return on investments – if you are spending a dollar, what does that investment get you back? He stated that Ernst & Young put together a report stating that, for every dollar invested through WCF, a $2.44 rate of return is realized through an increase in state and local tax revenue and a reduction in welfare expenditures. They also found through their analysis that, by placing customers into jobs, providing services to businesses, and reducing unemployment and welfare costs, WCF impacts the Florida economy by $400 million in additional personal income each year. He commented that legislators will listen to real numbers, if they come from a credible source, so it cannot be done internally – it has to be bid out and obtained from somebody who makes a living doing investment studies. He informed the Board that every couple of years they survey employers in the five county area, and the feedback they received from employers in Lake County was that the greatest advantage was location and the secondary advantages were higher education, a diverse labor pool, and population growth. He noted that the perception of employers in Lake County is that there is a less quality of education in Lake County than the five county region, as a whole. He feels the County has the infrastructure and quality of people that are needed - it just needs to develop a team approach.
STATUS OF DOWNTOWN TAVARES PROJECTS AND JUDICIAL CENTER
Mr. Jim Bannon, Director of Capital Construction, Facilities Development and Management, addressed the Board and presented his quarterly status of those projects under construction or renovation. He noted that he would not be discussing Phase II of the Downtown Tavares projects as part of this presentation, because the Board is going to be given a major presentation on it in April of this year. He commented that the Phase I Downtown Tavares projects, which include the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser’s offices (320 Building), the Parking Garage, and the Central Energy Plant, are on time and under budget. He feels an important aspect of that project was constantly keeping the stakeholders aware of what was going on, by holding monthly meetings and walkthroughs, at which time he noted that the Board, the Directors, and the County Attorney have been invited to have a walkthrough at the next stakeholders meeting, scheduled to be held in early April. They also have regular owner/architect/contractor meetings, to make sure that they deal with all the issues that come up during the construction process. He stated that, in essence, they are pretty much completed with the project and he does not expect any problems between now and when the buildings are ready for occupancy, scheduled for sometime in May or June of this year.
Regarding the issue of the Historic Courthouse, he noted that the cornice work is in the process of being replaced, as the original repairs were done in a foam process, which has not worked very well, so they are redoing it in stone and brick, to correct the problem. There were some issues involved with it, but it is moving along fine. He stated that they are also slated to look at doing some renovations to the interior of the Historic Courthouse, once the Tax Collector and the Property Appraiser have moved out, with the prospect of the Sheriff moving into it.
Commr. Conner stated that he thought the Sheriff was moving into the Historic Courthouse as soon as the Tax Collector and the Property Appraiser have moved out, therefore, questioned the need for any renovations.
Mr. Bannon stated that they have to sit down with the Sheriff and look at his space needs, which he elaborated on.
Commr. Cadwell interjected that, when the process was started, the Sheriff was not going to be housed in the Historic Courthouse – he was going to have his own new facility.
Commr. Conner questioned whether the Sheriff was moving into the Historic Courthouse immediately, or whether some design work was going to be done to the building before he moves in, and was informed that it will depend upon what the Sheriff wants. If he wants major renovations, the project will be delayed, but, if he only wants minor renovations, he will be able to move in immediately upon the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser vacating the building. He then questioned whether major renovations to the building have been budgeted and was informed that $900,000 has been budgeted for any renovation work that may be needed.
Mr. Bannon then discussed the following projects, elaborating on each:
Public Works Special Project Facility - to supply equipment canopy and office space for Public Works Road Operations. Contract awarded to Mark Cook Builders and construction began November 17, 2008, with completion date being earmarked for April 16, 2009.
Horticultural Learning Center - has been bid out and recommendation is to award to lowest bidder, Pillar Homes, LLC. To be brought before the Board for approval.
Clermont Fire Station No. 110 – Southern Building Services has been selected as contractor, following project going out for bid. Construction is to begin in April of 2009.
Paisley Fire Station – Bid opening scheduled for March 25, 2009, with construction tentatively scheduled to begin in May of 2009. Project duration is approximately 10 months.
Clermont Sheriff’s Substation – Construction documents being prepared. Project scheduled to be advertised for bidding in early April of 2009.
Water Resource Lab Addition – Additional 720 square feet being added to existing laboratory space currently located at County Landfill. Contract awarded to lowest bidder, Wagner III Ventures. Construction has just begun. Completion date scheduled for May of 2009.
Animal Control Addition – Addition of approximately 4,000 square feet for kennel and office space. Master planning investigation completed. Board of Adjustments approved setback variance in October of 2008 and county is in negotiations with selected architectural firms to move forward with project.
BCC Warehouse Expansion – Approximately 13,000 square foot addition – 10,000 for Clerk storage and 3,000 for IT storage. Documents are in permitting and county is currently preparing for bidding process.
Cooper Memorial Library – 50,000 square foot library to be located at LSCC’s South Lake Campus. Joint project between Lake County and Lake-Sumter Community College. Ground breaking ceremony held June 30, 2008. County does not manage project, but it is moving along well and is anticipated to be completed by August of 2009.
Scale House at County Landfill – Replacement of cracked scales, wind damaged canopy skin, and reroofing of existing building. Contractor has not been selected yet. Project is currently in design phase and staff is investigating potential relocation of existing scales, as a temporary measure, in trying to keep facility functioning while under construction.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, brought up for discussion the furniture package (FF&E) for the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser’s Offices (320 Building), at which time she reviewed what has taken place, to date, regarding the matter. She stated that the furniture package that was designed and sent out for bid contained two different elements, one being modular furniture and the other being free standing furniture. A consultant was assigned to the project and she met with the Tax Collector and the Property Appraiser, to determine what their needs were and inventoried all the furniture in their current offices, to see what could be moved to their new offices. It was determined that the modular furniture currently located in their offices would not work, by dismantling it and taking it across the street, because it was too complex, with all the wiring, and would jeopardize the integrity of the furniture, so a decision was made to leave the modular furniture in the Historic Courthouse, to be utilized by the Sheriff’s Office. The consultants selected mid-level range furniture of medium quality, similar to what is currently in the Clerk’s Administrative Office, which was chosen for its flexibility in size and its durability for the long term. The two packages were put out to bid – the modular and the free standing furniture, and the County received seven bids for the general furniture and six bids for the systems furniture, but not all the bids met all the criteria. The Property Appraiser conducted additional research and identified a different line of furniture that would meet their needs at a lower price. The consultant is currently reviewing the information that was compiled by the Property Appraiser’s Office, but has not yet made an actual comparison. She has ordered catalogues and is working with him, to ascertain his needs. She has indicated that the furniture the Property Appraiser identified is a higher range, but a lower quality, which makes a difference in the price. The furniture that was initially bid out was middle range, of middle range quality. She questioned whether the Board would like for staff to rebid the furniture package, with a different line of furniture being sought.
Upon being questioned about the matter, Commr. Hill, being the Liaison Commissioner to the Downtown Tavares projects, stated that, in speaking to the Property Appraiser about the matter, he understood it was going to be rebid and was fine with that and that he understood it would take a few weeks longer. She commented that the Tax Collector indicated he would go along with whatever the Board decided.
It was noted that, in all fairness to the vendors that originally bid on the FF&E package, it should be rebid.
Commr. Renick stated that she wanted the Board to be able to see some samples of furniture and base their decisions on that, noting that one cannot tell the quality of furniture from looking at a picture. She indicated that she has no problem with putting the FF&E package back out to bid.
Commr. Conner stated that one of his main concerns is that the County be frugal about the matter and that he was concerned about the fact that he questioned the County Manager about the warranties on the furniture and she could not give him an answer.
Ms. Barbara Vallella, Senior Associate, Heery Design, a furniture expert/consultant for the past 28 years, addressed the Board stating that most warranties are standard, but some manufacturers are a little different in what they offer and she has not had a chance to look over what the different manufacturers offer, noting that they want to make sure it is comparable between all the products.
Commr. Conner questioned as to whether it was customary for FF&E furniture to be in a construction budget, overseen by a construction manager, or whether it was customary for that not to be in a construction budget, to which she responded that she has never been involved in a project where it has been part of the construction budget. He stated that, while he was on the School Board, in all the schools that were built, they never paid the construction manager to oversee the buying of furniture, noting that it was something that was done in-house and was something that saved the overhead that would be paid to the construction manager. He commented that the point he wanted to make to everyone is that Lake County government is doing it completely different than everybody else that Ms. Vallella has dealt with in her 28 years of dealing with the public and private sector, mainly the public sector – courthouses, correctional facilities, jails, the health care industry, etc.
A motion was made by Commr. Conner and seconded by Commr. Stewart to rebid the FF&E for the Phase I Downtown Tavares projects.
Under discussion, Commr. Hill requested clarification on whether the motion was to rebid the total furniture package.
Commr. Renick questioned whether the intent was to rebid the modular furniture, or the general furniture, or all of it.
Commr. Cadwell stated that there were two classifications of furniture and questioned whether the Property Appraiser’s concern was about one of them, or both of them, to which the County Manager stated that it might be both of them, noting that the modular furniture is associated more with Mr. Havill, as she did not feel Mr. McKee was using much of it.
Ms. Vallella interjected that Mr. McKee selected both systems and general furnishings.
Commr. Conner stated that, if that was the case, the motion should be all inclusive.
The County Manager questioned whether the bid was to include general furniture of slightly higher quality and more middle range for the common high traffic areas and slightly lower range for the modular furniture, to which Commr. Renick stated that it comes back to the samples, noting that the Board is trying to decide whether something is durable just based on the word “durable” and, in answer to Commr. Hill’s question, she noted that the motion was to rebid all the furniture.
Commr. Conner questioned whether there was some high quality used furniture available on the market today and, if so, suggested that, with the economic environment being the way it is, the County might want to go in that direction, to see if there are any meaningful savings there.
Ms. Vallella stated that, without looking into it, she did not know if any would be available or not, however, noted that it is an option, as there are places that take back new furniture and there are a lot of people that are going out of business. She commented that, until she looked into it, she would not really know, but felt it was definitely an option.
Commr. Hill stated that she felt the County would be going down a whole different road purchasing used furniture, at which time she noted some concerns she had about the matter. She stated that the County has set a certain standard with the Phase I Downtown Tavares projects, which reflects on the Board and the County, as an economic development push, and she feels the County needs to stick to that standard.
Commr. Cadwell interjected that staff needed to have a clear definition of what the Board wanted and questioned what the changes would be. He was informed that the bid would just be revised.
Commr. Stewart questioned why the $20,000 lower bid did not come in with the other bids and was informed by Ms. Vallella that it was not submitted.
Mr. Bannon interjected that that particular vendor was offered the opportunity to bid and chose not to, at which time Mr. Tim Morris, Vice President, Ernie Morris Enterprises, the vendor in question, addressed the Board and explained why he chose not to submit a bid.
Upon hearing Mr. Morris’s explanation as to why he did not submit a bid, Commr. Renick stated that, if all the vendors feel they have not had a fair shake, she feels there is another issue working, totally independent of the furniture, and that it should be rebid.
Commr. Conner informed the Board that what they heard this date concerns him. He asked them to think about what Mr. Morris said and about all the other areas of the project and ask themselves if their commitment to frugality is being carried out.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion to rebid the FF&E for the Phase I Downtown Tavares projects, which was carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote.
The County Manager clarified the Board’s direction, with regard to rebidding the FF&E, and noted that staff will have available for the Board what guarantees one line of furniture will have versus another.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10:25 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would take a 10 minute recess.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
APPEAL OF ROAD IMPACT FEE DOUBLE PAYMENT REFUND DENIAL
Ms. Angie Thompson, Development Processing Manager, Growth Management Department, addressed the Board stating that this was an appeal of a refund request denial for a road impact fee double payment. She stated that a double payment was made; however, based on the Lake County Code, the applicant is not eligible for a refund, because the 365 day timeframe for submitting a refund request has long since elapsed. She discussed how the double payment occurred, which took place in 2003.
Discussion occurred regarding the matter, at which time Commr. Renick commented that the County did not have in place what it needed to prevent this from happening, therefore, feels there was an error on the part of the County. She stated that the County accepted a second road impact fee payment, when there should have been a record indicating that it had already been paid, so the County should refund the money.
Commr. Hill agreed with Commr. Renick, except that she feels it is more of a civil case between the applicant and her builder, noting that the applicant paid the impact fees, gave proof of it to her builder, who was supposed to bring the certificate in and show it to county staff, which was not done, so she had to pay the impact fees again. She does not feel it is the fault of the County, but is an issue between the applicant and her builder.
Commrs. Cadwell and Conner agreed that the applicant should be given a refund, because she paid the impact fees twice.
Commr. Stewart noted a concern she had about the 365 day timeframe for reimbursement and the County breaking its own rule and reimbursing the applicant, in that the applicant did not catch the error within that 365 day timeframe, although she does sympathize with the applicant.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried, by a 4-1 vote, the Board approved a refund of $2,189 in road impact fees that were paid twice, due to the prepayment of same and an error on the part of the County in not applying said fees toward the construction of a home on the site.
Commr. Hill voted “No”.
MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE “PASTURE”
Mr. David Hansen, Public Lands Manager, Public Works Department, addressed the Board and presented the Public Land Acquisition Advisory Council’s (PLAAC) approved third management plan for the property called the “Pasture”, aka the Kuharske property, located on both sides of Lake Erie Road, approximately midway between SR 33 and CR 565 (aka Bay Lake Road), in the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern, the Green Swamp Florida Forever project boundary, and the Florida Ecological Greenway Network. It is less than one half mile from a relatively large Southwest Florida Water Management District conservation easement, located to the south and west. It is just over 800 acres in size and was purchased for approximately $6.7 million. In addition to the pasture land, there are a number of natural communities, ranging from the very dry to the very wet, including cypress strands, open water bodies, forested areas, wet prairie and hydric flatwoods. There are some listed species on site, such as a multi-generation population of gopher tortoises, alligators, sandhill cranes, Eastern Indigo snake, wood storks, and the Florida mouse, as well as some invasive species, which he elaborated on. There are several existing improvements on the property, such as perimeter and internal fencing, cattle pen, pole barn, well with power, and a single family residence on well and septic that will possibly be leased out, or used for a nature center. Proposed improvements include internal trails, equestrian trailhead, sheltered and unsheltered picnic areas, benches, boardwalk(s), observation tower(s) and platform(s), composting type restroom facilities and a fishing platform. There will also be efforts to control or eradicate invasive/exotic plant species and feral hogs. The property will be maintained through appropriate means, including prescribed burns and mechanical treatments. Monitoring of maintenance and restoration efforts will be on-going and adjusted as necessary. There are several easements on the property, left over from the original Groveland Farms plat, which will be vacated. It is desired that the property be restored, where appropriate, and maintained as upland forest and pasture and herbaceous and forested wetlands. In addition to some wetland restoration, an area of pasture will be restored to a sandhill community and maintained as a gopher tortoise habitat. Much of the property will be available for passive recreation and education opportunities.
A brief discussion occurred regarding a potential revenue source for the County, with regard to the gopher tortoise relocation site, being that it is a lucrative operation now; the fact that the house that is located on the property could be rented out to trail riders, who are always looking for a place to rent; and the eradication of the feral hogs that are on the property.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved a request from Public Works for approval of the Public Land Acquisition Advisory Council’s (PLAAC) approved Management Plan for the "Pasture" – Commission District 2, as presented.
REMOVAL OF LAKE COUNTY LIBRARY ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the removal of Ms. Loula Parks as the Town of Montverde's Alternate Member on Lake County Library Advisory Board.
REPORTS - COUNTY ATTORNEY
COMMERCIAL LEASE WITH OPTION TO PURCHASE PROPERTY IN EUSTIS
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that this request was for the Board’s consideration of a lease/purchase agreement for the Nichols property, located on Kurt Street, in Eustis, for Fleet Management. He stated that, as the Board requested, staff had appraisals done on the property, which they were furnished copies of, and they have a recommendation from the County Manager suggesting that future negotiations be terminated and that Fleet Management stay at their current site.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, when this process was started, there was a real push to get the lease/purchase of the property done and he feels it is shortsighted on the part of the County not to try to work it out, knowing that eventually the County is going to need it. He commented on the condition of Fleet Management’s current site and the fact that he is a little disappointed that the County does not feel they are going to be able to do it now.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, interjected that staff has been working very hard on this piece of property, which would provide a number of benefits to the County, but it came down to money and, since the County is looking at budget cuts and trying to reduce funding for the current year, as well as future years, she felt they could make do with what they have.
It was noted that appraisals the County had done on the property support the purchase price.
Commr. Conner stated that he did not want to see the County spending money that it does not have, however, noted that, when this request was originally presented to the Board, he was told that the Leesburg facility was one of the County’s most glaring needs. He questioned the County Manager about what had changed in the last 30 days and was told that, as staff prepared for the Budget Workshop that is scheduled to follow this portion of the meeting, discussion occurred regarding ways to reduce the current year’s budget and it was felt that, even though the Leesburg facility is not in particularly good condition, they could make do, although she would like to see some repairs done to the facility, in order for Fleet Management to stay there for some time longer, which she elaborated on. He stated that he would like to have a discussion about putting some stimulus money towards the purchase of the facility in Eustis, noting that, if the County can do that, it might make his vote a lot easier.
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Community Services Director, addressed the Board stating that staff can contact the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and make some changes about how the County would like to spend some of the stimulus dollars, noting that they could use some of the dollars that were allocated for the van pool and van maintenance to go towards the purchase of the facility in Eustis.
Mr. Ken Harley, Public Transportation Director, addressed the Board, in response to a question by Commr. Cadwell as to the timeframe involved with making changes to the application. He indicated that, once the information is put into the federal register and the County receives notice from the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA), it has 180 days to start expending the money, or it will have to be returned. He stated that, as far as changes are concerned, there is a window in which staff can make adjustments to the original scope that was submitted, and he will find out how wide that window is.
The County Attorney stated that the County is not currently competing with anybody to purchase or lease the facility in question, so staff probably has two or three weeks in which to bring the matter back before the Board.
Commr. Cadwell asked that the County Manager bring a report regarding the matter back to the Board at the April 7th Board Meeting and, if they feel they have enough information to make a decision about it, they can put it on the Agenda for the April 21st Board Meeting.
Commr. Conner suggested that the proposed expenses for the Leesburg facility be included in the report, as well, because it needs to be factored into the equation. He noted that he would be scheduling a tour of the Leesburg facility.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to postpone action regarding a request from the County Attorney concerning a commercial lease/purchase agreement for property located at 2900 Kurt Street, in Eustis, for Fleet Management - Commission District 4, until a later date.
AMENDMENT TO INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN LAKE COUNTY AND
LAKE COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, briefed the Board about this request, stating that, in June of 2008, the County entered into an Interlocal Agreement with the Lake County School Board to plan a possible joint use of East Lake Park and Elementary School “J”, located on property owned by the County in Mount Plymouth. He stated that earlier in the meeting the County approved the purchase of some property from John R. Beatty and Robert O. Thomas, for a utility easement needed for a water line for the school and park project, located at the intersection of CR 437 and Wolf Branch Road. He commented that the original proposal had the water line extending a mile and a half further than it needed to, but the Public Works staff came up with a plan, which saved the County several hundred thousand dollars, so he felt they should be commended. He stated that the Amendment to the Interlocal Agreement before the Board this date covers the following, which he elaborated on:
(1) Approves preliminary site plan.
(2) Describes real property to be conveyed to School Board by County.
(3) Calls for School Board to grub and clear entire park site and construct stormwater facilities and utility connections.
(4) Provides that actual Construction Manager’s costs for County work be charged to County against School Board’s $1 million payment.
(5) If entire $1 million is not used, Amendment calls for School Board to pay balance to County, but County must use such sums to improve park within 24 months of school opening.
(6) Allocates costs of access and utilities.
Mr. Minkoff stated that there still is not a St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) permit for this project, noting that it may be that the SJRWMD will require a little bit larger pond on the School Board site, which may change the legal description, and, if it is a significant change, it will have to come back to the Board for approval. He commented that the County is allocating the cost of all the utilities, a lot of which is still on a “what if” basis, because there are not any firm prices, but staff is confident that disputes can be resolved, if any arise, and the project can go forward. He noted that construction should start on the project within the next two to three months, if the Board approves the Interlocal Agreement, and that the School Board made one change in Paragraph 9, on Page 6 of the Amendment, being that the number of acres identified on Exhibit C should be 15.775 acres, rather than 15.72 acres.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Public Works Director, informed the Board that staff feels the County is going in the right direction, in working through the Agreement and being able to leave some flexibility in it, so that the major grubbing and clearing on the site could be worked through the contract. He stated that the School Board will move forward with their school plan and the County will move forward with the intersection improvements, which will be coming back to the Board at a later date. He stated that all the pieces are falling in place, however, there are still some details that need to be worked out, but staff did not want that to hold up getting the Agreement approved, with the understanding that those details have not been worked out.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the plan calls for two accesses – one at Wolf Branch Road, which will be signalized, and the other at Wallick Road, which will be improved, so there will be paved access to CR 46 for the school and the park.
The Public Works’ staff was commended for doing an amazing job, regarding the engineering aspect of the proposed project.
A motion was made by Commr. Stewart and seconded by Commr. Conner to approve a request from the County Attorney for approval of the First Amendment to the Interlocal Agreement between Lake County and the Lake County School Board, regarding joint use of East Lake Park and Elementary School "J", with changes, as noted by the County Attorney.
Under discussion, Commr. Conner stated that he wanted to thank Commr. Stewart for all her hard work behind the scenes, with regard to this project, as well as Commr. Cadwell; Mr. Bobby Bonilla, Parks and Trails Division Director, Public Works; and county staff, noting that this is a model project for the way that governments are supposed to work together. He also commended Mr. Gary Parker, Lake County School Board’s Director of Facilities Design and Construction, and his staff, and Ms. Cindy Barrow, Lake County School Board member, who was present in the audience, noting that the School Board has worked hard to move this project forward. He stated that staff has also attended a lot of community meetings involving this project and that he does not know how one could be done any more perfect than the way this one has been done. He noted that it is one where both the County staff and the School Board staff have worked hard and the community has been involved, as well, and that he was very proud of both organizations.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote.
SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN LAKE COUNTY AND ROBERT
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that, when Code Enforcement cases are brought before the Special Master and the Special Master orders that something occur and it does not occur, the cases are forwarded to his office for enforcement. He stated that staff is often times able to obtain a fine, however, when property has homestead status, the fine does not attach to the property, so staff will sometimes ask for an injunction from the Courts to have compliance occur and that it is what happened in this case, noting that the violator, Mr. Robert Gibson, Jr., got himself into a situation where he started collecting things, including vehicles, and it got to the point where he was overwhelmed. He gave a brief background history of what has occurred up to this point in time, noting that the County ended up getting the Judge to order an injunction requiring Mr. Gibson to clean up his property. He stated that Mr. Gibson did not comply, so the County filed a motion to have him held in contempt of court, which came up for a hearing last month and the County was on the verge of having him put in jail, when he and the Code Enforcement staff talked to Mr. Gibson and came up with an alternative plan. He commented that Mr. Gibson’s neighbors are supportive of him and want to help him clean up his property, so the County hopes to get them involved. He noted that the County has a Code Enforcement Fine Fund that is used on occasion for cleaning up properties and the cost of cleaning up his property is estimated to be less than $5,000. He informed the Board that Mr. Gibson is to give the County the mortgage on his property for a period of ten years, with the terms of the Settlement Agreement being that, if he stays in compliance, the mortgage will go away, but, if he fails to comply with the Settlement Agreement during the ten years, or sells his property, he will have to pay the County. He stated that it is a creative solution for getting the property and neighborhood cleaned up, noting that the alternative is that, since Mr. Gibson does not have the ability to do it himself, he would be put in jail and would lose his job, which staff does not see as a good option. He stated that staff was recommending approval of the request.
Commrs. Cadwell and Conner noted that they felt it was a compassionate way to handle the situation and that it was something the County should be doing.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved a request from the County Attorney for approval of a Settlement Agreement between Lake County and Mr. Robert R. Gibson, Jr., as presented.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER RENICK – DISTRICT 2
PURCHASE OF LAND FOR CONSERVATION BY CITY OF GROVELAND
Commr. Renick recognized Mayor Richard Smith, City of Groveland, who was present in the audience, and informed the Board that the City of Groveland is trying to acquire over 500 acres of land for conservation and that smaller cities are eligible, through the Florida Communities Trust Grant, to get 100% funding to acquire such properties. She stated that she met with Mayor Smith and his consultants, along with Ms. Amye King, Growth Management Director, to determine if the City could get more points, if they had proof that there was a cooperative effort with the County. She suggested that the Board direct staff to prepare a letter of support, for the Chairman’s signature, indicating that they support the City’s efforts and would help them with their management plans. She noted that the property is in the area of the Palatlakaha, which is an area that everybody has wanted to preserve for a long time.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart 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. Conner and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved for staff to prepare a letter of support, for the Chairman’s signature, indicating their support of the City of Groveland acquiring over 500 acres to be utilized for conservation and participate with the City in a cooperative effort and help them with their management plans.
ROAD SIGNS DESIGNATING “FLORIDA SCRUB JAY TRAIL”
Commr. Renick mentioned that scrub jays were being killed along Monte Vista Road and noted that she would like to have a consensus for staff to erect signs on said road designating it as part of the “Florida Scrub Jay Trail”, in order to caution drivers to slow down in the area.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Public Works Director, stated that his office has received two requests to erect signs on Monte Vista Road, one being to erect an “Adopt-a-Road” sign, for litter clean up, and the other to erect a sign designating the road as part of the “Florida Scrub Jay Trail”, alluded to by Commr. Renick.
It was the consensus of the Board for staff to erect said signs.
SECRET PROMISE DRI PROPOSED FOR LEESBURG AREA
Commr. Renick stated that the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council (ECFRPC) wrote a letter to the City of Leesburg, regarding some reservations they have about the Secret Promise DRI that is scheduled for the Leesburg area; however, the letter was not clear as to what their reservations are. She stated that it was suggested that the Board write a letter to the ECFRPC requesting clarification about the Secret Promise DRI and they will redo the letter.
It was the consensus of the Board for said letter to be written.
PRESENTATION REGARDING RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF NOT
WITHDRAWING WATER FROM ST. JOHNS RIVER
Commr. Renick brought up for discussion the fact that the Board recently approved a Resolution in support of not withdrawing water from the St. Johns River and she wanted to make sure that it was not just a gesture, but that the Board really wants to do what it can to ensure that the St. Johns River Water Management District will consider it and would like to have the Board’s position regarding the matter formally presented to them.
It was the consensus of the Board that Commr. Renick make said presentation to the St. Johns River Water Management District.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER CONNER – DISTRICT 3 (CONT’D.)
TOUR OF LAKE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Commr. Conner informed the Board that he recently toured the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and was very impressed with what has been done, utilizing inmate labor, and suggested that any of the Commissioners that have not recently toured the Sheriff’s Office do so, noting that he felt it might help prepare them for what they were going to be asked to do concerning the Dodge dealership in Clermont.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER STEWART – DISTRICT 4 (CONT’D.)
RESOLUTION URGING NO REDUCTION IN FUNDING TO CRITICAL
PROGRAMS FOR THE ELDERLY
Commr. Stewart explained this request, stating that it was another Resolution urging the Governor, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, and the Florida Legislature to not reduce funding to critical programs for the elderly. She stated that she would like for the Board to pass the Resolution asking that they find the funding.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he was going to vote in favor of the request, however, pointed out the fact that the Board needs to understand that the entities being targeted are going through some rough times, too, and the Board needs to reel itself in on some of the issues.
Commr. Stewart interjected that she understands they are going through some rough times, but they are the ones that have the power to make the needed changes.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Resolution No. 2009-33, urging the Governor, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, and the Florida Legislature to not reduce funding to critical programs for the elderly.
WEKIVA PARKWAY AND ORANGE COUNTY EXPRESSWAY AUTHORITY
Commr. Stewart stated that the Orange County Expressway Authority has taken over the Wekiva Parkway and is going to turn it into a toll road and that a number of concerns have been expressed by residents in the Wekiva area about plans for SR 46 and the Wekiva Parkway, noting that some of the residents who live in the Wekiva Basin are going to have to use the toll road every time they leave their homes and they are going to be affected by having to pay a toll each time they use the road. She commented that she has discussed some concerns she has about the matter with the Expressway Authority, as well as with Mr. Mike Snyder, Director of the Expressway Authority, in the past and that they have been very open to listening to staff and working with the County, but she feels the Board should have a plan in place, as to what they want when the parkway is completed, because they are going to have some say in the matter and they need to be ready when it is their turn to address the Expressway Authority.
Commr. Cadwell stated that it has never been a secret that it was going to be a toll road.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Public Works Director, informed the Board that the Expressway Authority has expressed an interest in visiting Lake County and addressing the Board, but he does not know what the status of it is at this time. He stated that there is a requirement that they hold some public meetings in Lake County that they have postponed for the last couple of years, so there are still some events that have to occur that the Board will be a part of.
It was noted that Commr. Cadwell and Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Public Works Director, will meet with Mr. T. J. Fish, Executive Director, Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the Expressway Authority regarding the matter.
ADVERTISING OF ORDINANCE RESCINDING MT. PLYMOUTH/SORRENTO
PLANNING ADVISORY COMMITTEE ORDINANCE
Commr. Stewart informed the Board that the Mt. Plymouth/Sorrento Planning Advisory Committee has done their job regarding the County’s Land Development Regulations (LDRs) and, due to current economic conditions and the fact that they cannot afford to continue to hold meetings, because they often go after hours, requiring them to pay overtime, etc., she requested approval to advertise an Ordinance rescinding the Ordinance that created the Mt. Plymouth/Sorrento Planning Advisory Committee.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Renick 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. Renick and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to advertise an Ordinance rescinding the Mt. Plymouth/Sorrento Planning Advisory Committee Ordinance.
BLACK BEAR SCENIC BYWAY COMMITTEE LIAISON
Commr. Stewart stated that the Chairman appointed her as the Liaison to the Black Bear Scenic Byway Committee, which she feels is a great group of people and has enjoyed working with them; however, she has been appointed as a member of the Executive Committee, which requires that she no longer be the Liaison, therefore, recommended that Mr. David Hansen, Public Lands Manager, Public Works Department, be appointed as the Liaison to the Committee, replacing her. She commented that he had offered to do so.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Renick 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. Renick and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved for Mr. Hansen to be appointed to replace Commr. Stewart as the Liaison to the Black Bear Scenic Byway Committee.
LAKE COUNTY ALLIANCE TEAM QUALIFIES FOR NATIONALS IN 18TH
ANNUAL FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION FLORIDA REGIONAL
Commr. Stewart discussed the fact that the Lake County Alliance team qualified for the Nationals, in the 18th Annual FIRST Robotics Competition Florida Regional that was held at the multipurpose venue at the University of Central Florida Arena and, in addition to that, received the most prestigious award a team can be bestowed - the Chairman’s Award, which is presented to the team judged to have created the best partnership effort among team participants and to have best exemplified the true meaning of FIRST through measurable impacts on the participants, school, and community-at-large. She noted that they are doing very well and she wanted to commend them.
The competition features student-designed-and-built robots competing against each other in intense strategy challenges. 54 teams from the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico competed in the Florida Regional. Nearly 1,700 teams, with 42,000 engineering students and mentors, participated in the FIRST Robotics competition worldwide.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER CADWELL – CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 5
INTERSECTION AT ESTES ROAD AND SR 44
Commr. Cadwell stated that, even though the traffic signal at Estes Road and SR 44, which has always been a very dangerous intersection, is not operational yet, what the Public Works Department has done in the area has made that intersection much safer than it used to be and he wanted them to know that he appreciated the job they did.
CITIZEN QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD
No one present wished to address the Board.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 11:40 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess until 1:00 p.m., for the Budget Workshop, to be held in the Training Room (Room 233) of the Administration Building.
The Chairman reconvened the meeting, at which time he brought up for discussion an incident that happened earlier in the meeting, in the Board Chambers, with regard to a couple of members of staff approaching the podium, in response to a comment that was made by one of the Commissioners during a discussion that was held about an issue that was before the Board for approval and the fact that it annoyed the Commissioner that they were approaching the podium while he was speaking, which he found to be rude, and had asked the County Manager to not let it happen again, as it had happened to him several times in the past. He stated that the incident was his fault, because he has instructed staff to approach the podium when the Board is discussing something they may need to comment on and not wait to be called to the podium, since they usually sit in the back of the Chambers, but that he did not want them to take a chance of getting reprimanded in front of everybody, when they are doing what he has asked them to do.
Discussion occurred regarding the matter, at which time Commr. Renick stated that staff did exactly what she would have wanted them to do, in that she does not want to have to call somebody out of the audience, when they know the Board is discussing an issue that they may need to comment on.
Commr. Conner commented that he thought it was protocol for the Chairman to call staff forward and that, for the record, when he is talking, he does not appreciate them approaching the podium, unless they have permission from the Chairman to do so.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, informed the Board that the Budget Office tracks all the County’s revenues and expenditures on an ongoing basis and had put together a comprehensive summary of how the County is doing for the first quarter of this year and that the Budget Director would be discussing the types of information his office looks at, as they follow the budget and the revenues throughout the year. She noted that the second item in the budget to be reviewed, Item B. – Budget Reductions, is the first phase of departments reducing their budgets in the current year, in an effort to create cash in the fund balance by the end of the year. She stated that they would be asking the Board for a consensus on it, because they intend to bring forward the budget transfers that will make it happen. She indicated that the last item to be discussed is property tax projections for Fiscal Year 2009/10, which are constantly revised. She stated that the fiscal analysis will give the Board a financial picture of where the County currently stands.
Mr. Doug Krueger, Budget Director, stated that staff has started budget preparations for Fiscal Year 2009/10 and are working very hard to try to keep on top of economic and financial issues and bring that information to the Board as quickly as they can. He stated that, on January 9, 2009, his office issued a report on the fund balance for the General Fund for last fiscal year and where it ended up, noting that, as part of this current year’s budget, they estimated a fund balance of approximately $34.9 million, but it actually turned out to be $52.8 million. The report that was issued on January 9th basically described the reason for the increase, much of which was already earmarked, and what it indicated was that, of that $52.8 million, only about $1.6 million was unobligated. As far as the analysis that was prepared for the current year is concerned, staff is assuming that the $1.6 million is going to be saved and carried forward to Fiscal Year 2009/10. He stated that a fiscal analysis for the current year was distributed on March 5, 2009, and there were two reasons for doing it, the first being to assure that the current year’s revenues and expenditures are going to be in balance – that the expenditures are not going to exceed the revenues that are available, reminding the Board that many of the County’s revenues this year, such as sales tax, impact fees, etc., have been impacted by the economic downturn and are significantly less than what was anticipated when the budget was adopted. As far as property tax projections for Fiscal Year 2009/10 is concerned, he noted that the analysis assumed a 95% collection rate, which is approximately what the County collects each year, because of the discounts that are given, but he is not sure whether the County will achieve that yet or not, noting that they will not know until after the tax certificate sales, which is not going to be held until June 1st. Property taxes do not become delinquent until after the end of the month, at which time the property owners have a couple of months to pay their delinquent taxes, or it goes to a tax certificate sale. He noted that approximately 78% of the County’s property taxes have been collected to date.
Mr. Krueger stated that, as he had alluded to earlier, the reason the fiscal analysis is done is to make sure that the revenues and expenditures are in balance, and the good news is that his office has looked at every fund, program, and organization in the County and has met with the department and division directors and, where the revenues have been reduced, the department and division directors are aware of it and are going to be able to reduce their expenditures to stay within the reduced revenues. The second reason for doing the analysis is to get ready for next year and part of that is to project the fund balance – money that is left over at the end of one fiscal year that is carried forward to the next fiscal year and rebudgeted for various purposes. He referred to Schedule I, on Page 15 of the budget handout, noting that it pertains to the funds that currently make up the County’s budget. He pointed out the fact that the last column of that schedule is the Estimated Fund Balance that staff believes will be carried forward to next fiscal year in each one of the funds and that, in every case, it is either a positive number or balanced, which is good news. He stated that staff will be making mid-year adjustments, which they will bring to the Board on May 5th., at which time he noted that what they have done in the past is adjust for the actual fund balance that is brought forward from the prior year. He informed the Board that, when the budget is adopted, it is an estimated number, until they get an actual number, and the mid-year adjustment has traditionally been used to true up that number. He commented that most of the time they will appropriate it and, if the programs do not need it, the money is put into reserves, to be carried forward the next year; however, this year it is going to be a little different, in that the Board is going to see a lot of other information in the mid-year adjustment that will actually lower some of the County’s revenues, particularly in impact fee funds. He stated that staff wants to adjust the revised budget, to bring it in line with the revenues projection, to eliminate the possibility of a bill getting paid when there is not enough money in the budget to pay it - the system will check it and kick it out, if the funds are not available.
Mr. Krueger referred to Schedule II, on Page 17 of the handout, noting that it contains a more detailed breakdown of the General Fund, the County’s largest fund, with the most variety of programs, which he reviewed, indicating that, at the end of the fiscal year, staff is projecting approximately a $20.8 million fund balance, which is comprised of $2.6 million in additional revenues and approximately $18.2 million in expenditure savings. The $2.6 million in additional revenues comes from two areas, one being excess fees, amounting to approximately $2.2 million, related to the Tax Collector’s office. It was budgeted at a fairly low number, but that number is going to come in a lot higher. Revenue increases have been offset by revenue decreases – the most notable being interest income, because of the drop in interest rates, so the County is not going to be able to collect as much interest income as was originally budgeted, which offsets the increases in excess fees and the fund balance. The revenues in the General Fund are projected to be about 2.6% higher than what was budgeted. On the expenditures side, about $18.2 million in savings is being projected, most of it being in non-departmental, which are reserves that are typically budgeted each year and carried over to the next fiscal year. It is assumed they will not be spent, as long as the County does not have any major disasters. The combination of $2.6 million in additional revenues and an $18.2 million savings in expenditures nets to be a $20.8 million carryover.
Mr. Krueger stated that, in February of this year, when he gave the Board a Performa Budget for next year, one of the assumptions that he was making was that there would be a $23 million carryover, which was a combination of the money that was budgeted for reserves and the amount of money from the fund balance that was being used to pay for ongoing operating expenses. He commented that they were hoping to have at least $23 million to carry over to next fiscal year, which would allow the County to start the budget process out on an even basis and all the County would have to worry about would be reductions in the current revenues; however, due to the fact that the County did not hit the $23 million figure, the County Manager asked all the county departments to submit recommended reductions in their departments, equating to approximately 7% of their current budgets, which would generate $2.8 million in savings and, with that added to the reserves and additional revenues, it brings the fund balance to $23 million. He stated that Page 19 of the budget handout contained a list of the amount of funds that each department submitted, in response to the County Manager’s request, and the plan is to take the dollar amounts they submitted out of their revised budgets and put it into non-departmental reserves that will be carried over to next fiscal year to help fund next year’s budget.
It was the consensus of the Board that the plan Mr. Krueger alluded to be carried out.
Commr. Hill stated that she was concerned about the large reduction submitted for the Information Technology (IT) Department, noting that she is a little worried about it, if something is going to be eliminated or postponed that will affect the entire backbone of the IT network system.
Mr. Steve Earls, Information Technology Director, addressed the Board, in response to Commr. Hill’s concerns, noting that most of the cuts being proposed for the IT Department will be transparent. He stated that they have a network infrastructure that has been in place for approximately 10 years, but they are still able to get a maintenance contract on it, so they will be able to obtain repair parts, if needed. He commented that last year they purchased replacement infrastructure for the Clerk’s Office and this year replacement infrastructure was included in the cost of the Property Appraiser/Tax Collector’s building, so all the constitutional officers have received their new equipment. He noted that the Board was scheduled to go last. He feels his department can continue to operate until repairs are needed and, at the time that they are needed, he does not feel it will cause any major downtime issues.
Mr. Krueger was asked to explain the difference between the fund balance and the reserves and was then questioned by Commr. Conner as to what the revenues and expenditures for this fiscal year will be, if the County implements the changes that he alluded to, to which he replied that the current revenues, excluding the fund balance, are anticipated to be $136.3 million and the current expenditures, excluding the expenditures that are either reserved or anticipated to be taken out of the fund balance, are $138.4 million. The difference between the two means that the County is spending approximately $2.1 million more, with its current operations, than the revenues that are anticipated to be brought in. At the time that the County makes the reductions, the current expenditures will equal the current revenues that will be brought in, which is $136.3 million.
Commr. Conner then questioned what Mr. Krueger saw the revenues doing for Fiscal Year 2009/10.
Mr. Krueger referred to Page 29 of the handout, stating that the County’s largest revenue in the General Fund is property taxes, which makes up approximately two-thirds of the County’s total General Fund revenues. He stated that, based on his conversation with the Property Appraiser’s Office, they are projecting about a 2.5% decrease in the County’s tax base, which results in approximately $2.5 million in less property tax revenue for next year than what is in the current year. He recently spoke with the Property Appraiser’s Office again and that tax base reduction has now increased to a 5% reduction and it was indicated that it might go even higher than that, but just how high they are not sure. It currently stands at approximately $4.5 million less for next year than it is for the current year. Another major revenue source is sales tax and staff has adjusted not only this year’s budget, but a projection that is used for next year down to current collections, which are holding at the present time at approximately $10 million. He noted that he monitors it every month and will keep the Board appraised, if they see that that number is going even further down.
Commr. Conner questioned whether Mr. Krueger was saying that the County is going to have to make $5 million worth of budget cuts, in order to balance the budget next year, to which he responded that it could come to that.
The County Manager interjected that the $2.8 million that the departments put together is staff’s first step in getting the County balanced for the current year. She noted that they are continuing to work on reductions for the current year, as well as what will carry forward and be in place for next year, as they put the budget together, and will be bringing back to the Board throughout the Spring additional proposals for reductions.
Commr. Cadwell stated that Mr. Krueger had commented that the County has usually collected 78% of its ad valorem taxes by this time of year and questioned how that compares with other years.
Mr. Krueger responded that he asked the Tax Collector’s Office that question, but they were not able to give him an answer. He stated that last year, when the tax certificates sale was held, for the first time, the County did not sell all the tax certificates and ended up having to hold a second sale, at which time most of them got sold, so the County ended up with 95% property tax collections, which is as good as it is going to get, as the County never gets 100%. He stated that he is waiting to see what happens with the tax certificates sale scheduled for June 1, 2009, noting that, not only will it shape the budget for next year, but is going to let staff know whether there is going to be an issue in the current year.
Commr. Cadwell commended Mr. Krueger and his staff for the budget handout they prepared, noting that it was easy to follow, which he appreciated.
Upon being questioned by Commr. Conner regarding the timeframe involved with the budget, the County Manager stated that, by statute, she is required to give them what is called the County Manager’s Recommended Budget by July 15th, and it should be balanced. She stated that, typically, what has been done in the past, which has worked out very well, is for staff to have a budget workshop with the Board some time in May and, at that point, staff will have a better idea of where the County stands and can submit some ideas and proposals and get direction from the Board, as to how they want the budget prepared.
Commr. Conner informed the Board that he feels the County has made a lot of progress this fiscal year, because they are going to be able to balance the budget, while facing a decline in revenues, which he feels shows prudence on the part of the Board and staff. He feels the real challenge is going to be cutting next year’s budget by $5 million, as alluded to by Mr. Krueger, in order to balance it, noting that it lays it out there that the County is in tough economic times and has a lot of work to do in the next six months.
Commr. Hill questioned whether the County was still in compliance with what the County’s policy says, as far as investments are concerned, since the economic situation is what it is and was informed by Ms. Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance, that the County is still in compliance.
Ms. Hall stated that, as staff starts putting together next year’s budget, they will be coming back to the Board with questions. She stated that they are not currently at a point where they can ask them anything specific, but they will get there. She noted that they will have some additional proposals to bring to the Board at a later date.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 1:40 p.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
NEIL KELLY, CLERK