A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
January 26, 2010
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 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: Elaine Renick, Vice Chairman; Jennifer Hill; Jimmy Conner; and Linda Stewart. Commr. Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman, was not present. Others present were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, Interim County Manager; Melanie Marsh, Acting County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Reverend Leon Bloder from First Presbyterian Church of Eustis gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commr. Renick stated that she wanted to add under her business discussion of letters of support from the Public Lands Acquisition Advisory Council to place two properties which were located in the Ocala-Wekiva Greenway in the Florida Forever program.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart, and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of November 24, 2009 (Regular Meeting) as presented; December 8, 2009 (Special Meeting), as presented; and December 15, 2009 (Regular Meeting), as presented.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 6, 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.
City of Groveland’s 2009 Evaluation and Appraisal Report
Request to acknowledge receipt of City of Groveland's Adopted 2009 Evaluation and Appraisal Report (CD Copy) as required by F.S. 163.
Ordinance from City of Tavares
Request to acknowledge receipt of copy of Ordinance 2009-32 from the City of Tavares amending its boundaries by annexing approximately 2 acres of land generally located on the south side of U.S. 441, east of Mount Homer Road; rezoning the property from County Planned Commercial Development to City Planned Commercial Development.
Tourist Development Council Resort Tax Update and Notice of Meeting
Request to acknowledge receipt of Tourism Development Council Resort Tax Update and Notice of Meeting for Wednesday, March 17, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. in the Commission Chambers in Tavares.
Comp Plan and Future Growth Development Workshops
Request to acknowledge receipt of Comprehensive Plan and Future Growth Development Workshops for the City of Fruitland Park.
Ordinances from the City of Groveland
Request to acknowledge receipt of transmittal of the City of Groveland's adopted ordinances listed below related to the 2009-10 cycle of large scale comprehensive plan amendments, including maps of each of the amendments as well as the advertisements for the adoption hearings. The amendments were re-advertised and re-adopted on Monday, December 7, 2009.
• Ordinance No. 2009-03-10
• Ordinance No. 2009-03-11
• Ordinance No. 2009-03-12
• Ordinance No. 2009-03-13
• Ordinance No. 2009-03-14
• Ordinance No. 2009-03-15
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 6 as follows:
Request for approval and authorization for the Chairman to sign the FY 2008-09 CDBG-R Partnership Agreement between the County and the Town of Montverde in an amount not to exceed $9,800.00 and to direct the Community Services Department to execute the agreement and oversee completion of the project covered in the Scope of Services. Commission District 3.
Request for approval of the Standard Coordinator Contract with Building Blocks Ministries, Inc. and Tia Barriner d/b/a Circle of Life Assisted Care.
Request for authorization to execute a Temporary Easement Continuation Agreement, and execute a First Amendment to Developer’s Agreement for Construction of Improvements between Lake County and Long Farms North, Inc. Park Hill Partial Replat and Tract B consists of 7 lots and is located in Section 28, Township 19 South, Range 25 East. Commission District 1.
Request for authorization to release a letter of credit for maintenance in the amount of $7,258.00 posted for Wandering Ponds. Wandering Ponds consists of 11 lots and is located in Section 11, Township 19 South, Range 27 East. Commission District 5.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Stewart, and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 7 and 8 as follows:
Request for approval of Revocable Non-Exclusive License Agreement between Lake County and the Lake County Water Authority for use of the Bugg Springs Facility for housing of emergency related equipment and materials by the Emergency Management Division of Public Safety. Commission District 3.
Request for approval and execution of Release of Indemnification Claim - Estate of Katheryn Trent vs. Lifestream Behavioral Center, Inc., et al.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
unanticipated revenue from hud reimbursement
Ms. Allison Thall, Director of Community Services, stated that this agenda item was regarding unanticipated revenue that they would be receiving from HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) specifically for the Section 8 program, and she would also give the Board a little bit of background with respect to this program. She specified that this was called the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, which was a federally-funded program that provided rental assistance to very low income residents in Lake County, and this funding was directly distributed to local housing agencies from HUD. She noted that as a local agency, they were required to create local procedures that were based on federal rules and regulations of the overall program, and in order for an individual or a family to participate in their housing program, a family first had to enter onto a waiting list, which currently contains 2600 applicants. She pointed out that they last took applications back in March of 2008, and it was anticipated that the applications would not be taken again for up to about four years due to the limited funding that they receive from HUD. Once approved, the family would sign a housing choice voucher, which defines the rules and regulations that the family must follow in order to maintain their housing assistance, and their office would then have the landlord sign a housing assistance payment contract, which outlines the rules that the landlord must follow to maintain HUD funding. Then, the landlord and tenant sign a lease agreement between the two of them which must be consistent with the State of Florida Tenant-Landlord Act. She noted that they were eligible at this point to assist up to 485 families on a monthly basis, but currently they only had 425 families that were being assisted, because their average housing payment assistance per family has risen over the past year. She related that the rate they paid for rent was dictated to them by fair market rents (FMR’s), and each year HUD compiles statistical data to calculate the fair market rents, which were the average rents plus utilities for each bedroom size in a particular area. They were required to use the fair market rents that were created for the Orlando-Kissimmee metropolitan area, and HUD allowed housing agencies to set the funding levels between 90 percent and 110 percent, with approval by HUD required to allow them to go above or below those ranges. She specified that they maintained the 90 percent FMR for many years in the County. She explained that a tenant’s rent was based on several different factors and variables, including changes in household size and income, with most paying about 30 percent of their income towards their rent. It was their department’s responsibility to calculate the family’s household income and to determine how much subsidy would be provided on a monthly basis, and each time there was a change in household or income, the family was required to notify their office so that an adjustment could be made to their subsidy amount.
Ms. Thall related that historically HUD would budget an annual amount based on the allowed number of families that an agency could assist. However, with improvements in technology, HUD has been able to calculate annual budgets based on their actual housing expenses each month, and this change has caused them to reduce the number of families that they were assisting, because the average increase caused a reduction of the number of families in order to stay within their annual budget. She noted that the annual budget set by HUD was generally based on the prior year’s expenses, with each housing agency required to electronically transmit their monthly housing assistance payment to HUD so that they could accurately account for their expenses and revenue. She stated that HUD also provided to them a separate budget just for administrative fees that allowed them to pay for their office expenses, which was based on the number of families that they assisted. She mentioned that the annual budget that they received from HUD was based on the calendar year and not the County’s fiscal year, and HUD typically notifies them of their new budget about March of each year. She reported that their annual budget from HUD for their housing assistance payments has been approximately $2.5 million to $2.8 million and that it has increased slightly each year as a result of an increase in costs and an annual adjustment. She explained the reason for the budget shortfall last year, which was mostly because the loss of family income resulted in an unprecedented rise in their housing assistance payments, and she assured the Board that they began implementing several cost-saving measures that were allowed by HUD to bring them in line with their budget. She reported that in March of 2009 they requested a payment standard waiver which would allow them to drop the assistance the County provided to 75 percent from 90 percent, which was approved in May 2009 and implemented across the board in July. She related that this waiver reduced their overall spending by approximately $22,000 a month, which brought their spending back in line with HUD’s budget. She also noted that since HUD did not notify housing agencies last year until almost May of 2009 of what their budgets would be, along with their continually increasing housing assistance payment, there was a deficit in their fiscal year budget, and they had to come to the Board to request using general fund dollars to help balance their budget last year. She assured the Board, however, that they would not have to do that this year.
Ms. Thall reported that they received the written notice from HUD on December 28, 2009 that the standard payment waiver that they implemented which was effective July 1 was to end on December 31 and provided them with the approved additional 2009 revenue of $488,532. This additional funding was calculated by HUD based on the actual number of families that were affected by their payment waiver and the number of months that the waiver was in place, which was the six months from July to December; and HUD also clearly outlined how they were to spend this money. She noted that their staff was charged with reviewing all of the family files that were affected by the payment standard waiver to determine what each family should have paid each month if the waiver was never in place. Then, they had to compare that amount to how much the family has paid out of pocket with this waiver in place at the 75 percent, and the difference was owed back to the family by the County. She explained that this reimbursement was being funded by this additional unanticipated revenue. She informed the Board that they were required to calculate all family over-payments and to have all families back up to paying at the 90 percent 2010 fair market rent rate by May 31, 2010. She emphasized that HUD indicated it would not be able to calculate their 2010 budget until it had all of those calculations and figures back from the County. She assured the Board that they were working diligently to have all their families up to the appropriate funding level by March 1, and they were also working on having all of their reimbursements calculated by February 28.
Commr. Conner asked if the entire amount of $488,000 would be used for reimbursements to the families, and if not, what would happen to the rest of that funding.
Ms. Thall responded that she did not think all of it would be used for reimbursement, and they would keep the rest of the money in their account, which would be held against their 2010 budget and be included in that budget figure as a prepayment on their entire 2010 budget.
Commr. Conner asked whether they had done any market analysis with regard to what the rents in reality are with a declining economy compared to the formula used by HUD for the Orlando area.
Ms. Thall answered that they have not done those comparisons in-house.
Ms. Stacey Kleinfeld, Senior Program Specialist, Community Services, explained that they set their payment assistance and rents for their clients lower than the current average rent and utilities in Lake County. She added that they were currently seeing a renters market and that the landlords did not have the volume of renters right now, resulting in the ability of the renters to dictate more affordable rent amounts. She assured the Board that they make sure that the rents that the landlords were asking for were at or below their level of assistance.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the client negotiates the lease.
Commr. Conner asked what they required as income verification of the renters’ income levels and how often those files were updated.
Ms. Kleinfeld answered that they did third-party verification when they come into the program, and they minimally did a yearly recertification on each family. She also pointed out that HUD had in place technology that would better prevent fraud and check through social security numbers whether information such as wages that had been reported was accurate, and the clients would be responsible for paying them back for any discrepancy.
Commr. Conner commented that he thought that it would be better to include more people in the program instead of giving money back to people that were already given assistance on the program, so that they could help as many people as possible.
Commr. Renick commented that she was also surprised to see what HUD’s directive was, but she was impressed with the way staff was diligently looking to prevent abuse.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the request from Community Services for Resolution No. 2010-7 for unanticipated revenue from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for reimbursement of housing assistance payments.
vacation petition No. 1147
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, explained that Vacation Petition No. 1147 was a road vacation in the Mt. Plymouth area by Mr. Craig Hegstrom. He showed the area on the overhead where the lots had been vacated in the past, pointing out a mobile home park to the south of the subdivision of Mt. Plymouth, and he explained that there was a request to vacate additional rights-of-way in that area to revert to either the petitioner or the adjacent property owner, which had all been worked out. He noted that there were some unique title issues associated with this property that have been addressed. He recommended approval for the vacation of the additional right of way that no longer had a public purpose.
The Vice-Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this vacation, the Vice-Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Vacation Petition No. 1147 to vacate right of way on portions of Selma Avenue and a portion of St. Andrews Boulevard in the Plat of Mt. Plymouth, Section “A,” located in Section 23, Township 19 South, Range 28 East in the Sorrento area, and Resolution No. 2010-8.
appointments to lsmpo citizens’ advisory committee (cac)
Mr. Minkoff mentioned that he did not have a chance to discuss with Commr. Cadwell his choice for an appointment to this committee for his district, and he recommended that they hold off on his appointment and bring it back at the next BCC Meeting.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board appointed Mr. Thomas Davis Talmage, III as the District 1 representative to the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (LSMPO) Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) to serve a two-year term ending December 31, 2011.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board reappointed Mr. Steve Ferrell as the District 3 representative to the LSMPO Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) to serve a two-year term ending December 31, 2011.
REPORTS – COUNTY MANAGER
ratification of collective bargaining agreement
Mr. Minkoff stated that Tab 12 was ratification of the collective bargaining agreement with the IAFF, which was their firefighters’ union. He explained that this agreement was the result of the settlement that occurred on the day of the impasse a month or so ago. He reported that the union had voted on it last week and had approved it, so if it was approved by the Board it would go into effect for the year that began October 1, 2009 and would remain in effect through September 30, 2011.
Commr. Hill commented that this was a very important decision with multiple issues, and she asked whether it was better for them to have a full Board present to give input before voting on this issue. She mentioned, however, that she had gone over this agreement with Mr. Minkoff and did not have any major problem with it.
Commr. Conner stated that he had some major concerns about several articles in that agreement, and if other Commissioners had concerns about it, then it might be wise to wait until the Chairman could be present.
Mr. Minkoff related that Commr. Cadwell did not express that he wanted it postponed, and he was not aware of any specific questions that he had regarding this issue. He stated that this could easily be reset for next Tuesday’s meeting if the Board wanted to do that when they will have a full Board.
Commr. Renick noted that there was one item in particular which she had a concern about, but she felt that she could live with this agreement for a year.
Commr. Stewart commented that this was a huge decision, and they needed to have a full discussion on this, since there were obviously some concerns.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried by a vote of 4-0, the Board voted to table this issue until the next BCC Meeting on February 2.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER conner – district 3
tour of emergency operations center
Commr. Conner reported that he toured the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) in Marion County last week with Mr. Minkoff; Mr. Gary Kaiser, Public Safety Director; and Mr. Jerry Smith, Emergency Management Director, which was a good learning opportunity.
comment regarding union employees
Commr. Conner commented that he did not feel they should have a different set of rules for union employees than for other County employees, and there should be fairness across the board.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER STEWART – DISTRICT 4
water conservation discussion at wekiva commission meeting
Commr. Stewart related that she attended a Wekiva Commission meeting yesterday, and she was glad to hear that water conservation was being used to a greater degree. She believed that the region was finally thinking of conservation as an alternative water source.
reports – commissioner renick – vice chairman and district 2
cancellation of joint workshop
Commr. Renick mentioned that she talked to the Chairman of the School Board that morning, and she believed that there was a misunderstanding about why the joint workshop was cancelled. She wanted to clarify that the reason for the cancellation was that some Commissioners were otherwise committed. She related that the School Board wanted to be updated on the different road projects and requested that County staff, including Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, attend one of their workshops, and she gave Mr. Minkoff direction to arrange that.
Commr. Conner asked if they had sent a letter explaining why they would not be able to make that meeting.
Mr. Minkoff responded that he asked Ms. Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, to contact the Superintendant’s office, since there was not a lot of time. He also mentioned that he and Mr. Stivender already prepared a presentation for that meeting.
Commr. Conner directed Mr. Minkoff to send a letter after the fact to clarify those circumstances.
letters of support for conservation easements
Mr. David Hansen, Public Lands Program Manager, related that the Conservation Trust of Florida was requesting letters of support to take two properties in the Wekiva-Ocala Greenway to the Florida Forever Program, which they hoped would be funded this next year, and the owners of those properties wanted to sell conservation easements to Florida Forever. He illustrated the location of the Hunter Property and the Walker-Cullen Property with a map on the overhead monitor, and he noted that Mr. Hunter was managing a lot of his property as early succession scrub habitat and that his property was in a very natural state. He pointed out the line on the map that showed the Florida Forever project boundaries, and noted that this property fills in one of the gaps in that. He commented that it was a very worthwhile addition to the Florida Forever program. He specified that the management of the Walker and Cullen tracts were a little bit different, and they did some range land type activities and timbering under the guidance of the state and federal agencies. He noted that both properties supported populations of Florida Black Bear, scrub jay, burrowing owls, and a list of species that were found on these properties. He asked for a letter of support from the Board to the Department of Environmental Protection to support the acquisition of conservation easements over these properties at some time in the future when Florida Forever would be funded.
Commr. Renick mentioned that the land owners of these properties gave presentations at the Public Lands Acquisition meeting. She commented that the properties were wonderful properties, and the land owners were dedicated and excited about this. She pointed out that this was not costing the County anything, and PLAAC was supporting it as well.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board moved to put this issue regarding the letter of support for these properties on the Agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board gave approval to send that letter of support.
CITIZEN QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD
Mr. Michael Tart, LASER (Lake and Sumter Emergency Recovery) Executive Director, stated that he wanted to update the Board on something that they embarked on this past week regarding the 30,000 meals that have been committed to the aid relief. He mentioned that they have been utilizing the F-350 pickup that Lake-Sumter EMS donated to them this year to take medical supplies, along with about 12,000 meals last week to the Fort Lauderdale airport which were shipped right to Haiti for distribution. They started this endeavor last week in their conference room and have grown into the parking lot across the street. He stated that they were anticipating somewhere between 300 and 500 volunteers and that this was a huge collaborative effort that the community has been involved in. He noted that the Health Department and the School Board had committed to help them, and their goal was 45,000 meals and $10,000 from the Lake County School District. He mentioned that the County had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past from the disaster recovery fund and from all over the country after the disasters, and he was glad they were able to give back. He commented that he was absolutely overwhelmed at the response of the community to this project, and he was glad to be a part of it.
Commr. Stewart mentioned that she would be there Thursday evening, January 28, and that donations were being taken at United Southern Bank.
Mr. Tarp specified that there were 10 locations, including any United Southern Bank branch. He also related that the meals were packed into a box, loaded on a tractor-trailer that the Sheriff’s Office had donated, and then shipped directly to Haiti within hours of it leaving Lake County. He noted that those meals cost about 23 cents apiece, and he pointed out that the volunteers that signed up with them on Disney’s web site received a free ticket to Disney World.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:50 a.m.
welton g. cadwell, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK