September 14, 2010

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, September 14, 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:  Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Jennifer Hill; Jimmy Conner; and Linda Stewart.  Commr. Elaine Renick 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 Courtney Vincent, Deputy Clerk.

INVOCATION and pledge

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, Interim County Manager, gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

agenda update

No changes or deletions were noted.


neighborhood stabilization program

Ms. Dottie Keedy, Director of Economic Development and Community Services, addressed the Board to introduce Ms. Cheryl Howell, the new Housing Division Director, who presented an update on funding for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and the State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) Program.

Ms. Howell stated the NSP was a federally funded initiative to provide emergency assistance to state and local governments for the redevelopment of foreclosed and abandoned homes, adding that it established a means for the local governments to create and sustain affordable housing for years to come.  She noted they made a huge investment in the non-profit partner agencies they were working with so they would continue to be able to provide affordable housing, opining they had provided enough for seven to eight years of limited but continuous service.  She reported they had been awarded $3,136,967 back in 2008, and Lake County had partnered with Community Based Organizations (CBO) to utilize these funds.  She listed some of the CBO’s as Habitat for Humanity, Homes in Partnership, Life Stream Behavioral Center, New Beginnings, and the City of Leesburg, and remarked that all of those agencies have done a wonderful job at meeting all the requirements, getting all the documentation, and filling in the gaps in their particular rolls.  She noted $2.2 million of the Federal Grant Award went toward acquisition of foreclosed homes.  She specified that many of the homes on the market were fairly new and explained that the NSP went into neighborhoods where there might be three or four vacant homes on a block and purchased the homes, making minor repairs towards rehabilitation based on the individual needs of the houses, and then they placed homeowners into those homes.  She stated that only $613,589 went towards rehabilitation costs, which included costs for flooring, appliances, heating/AC systems, plumbing, and roofing.  She explained that was the process by which the NSP program worked; they partner with the CBO to utilize the funds and then the CBO help to identify the neighborhoods and homes that best meet the program criteria.  She noted that not all of the homes were a good fit; some might be difficult to sell and others might not be worth the cost of rehabilitation.  She commented that when the CBO would purchase the homes, they would then hire certified contractors to rehabilitate the property, and the County would reimburse the organization for any qualified expenditures, which could include travel expenses, real estate agents, appraisers, contractors, and roofers, and then a qualified Lake County resident would purchase the home.  She specified that 25 percent of those purchasing the homes must be low-income people, adding that their most recent figure was 36.8 percent, which they accomplished through the use of soft second mortgages to prevent bringing down the value of the homes, because they did not want neighbors homes to decrease in value.

Ms. Howell then discussed the SHIP Program, noting that in 2009-2010 they received Florida Housing Opportunity Program (FHOP) funds, which she equated to an $8,000 upfront loan payment that the homebuyers would pay back.  She mentioned the Florida Housing Finance Corporation had approved $1.3 million for what they termed “recapture funds,” of which, $840,000 would be used for demolition and replacement of homes that are not worth rehabilitating, $225,000 to purchase assistance for those people who would not otherwise qualify for such things as NSP, and $175,000 for the rehabilitation of existing properties.  She discussed the impact of housing programs to the local economy, noting that of the $3.1 million for the NSP program, over $2.2 million was spent on acquisition for home ownership including the over $50,000 in property taxes paid that were in arrears, over $600,000 would go towards hiring local building contractors, there would be over $31,000 potential tax base for the County, and through NSP program income, their partner agencies would provide affordable housing to Lake County residents for at least five years.  She commented that the SHIP Program had $1,305,319, of which $225,000 would be used to assist with purchase assistance of homes for income eligible persons seeking to purchase homes outside of the NSP areas, and over $1 million would be used to hire local contractors to rehab or rebuild homes for eligible recipients.

various construction projects

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, Interim County Manager, noted that he had asked the Facilities Department to present to the Board on a regular basis an update of current capital projects.

Mr. Kristian Swenson, Interim Facilities Director, presented a PowerPoint slide show of the various construction project updates.  He discussed the BCC warehouse expansion, which was a 13,000 square foot, climate controlled addition to the County-owned warehouse off of CR473.  He noted the project had a slow start due to metal building delivery time; however, the contractor was doing an excellent job of gaining speed and closing the gap on construction time.  He mentioned the building currently had the metal frame erected, block was being laid around the frame, and there were currently no construction issues.  He discussed the Historical Court House reconfiguration, saying the project consisted of reconfiguring the interior office space to house the Lake County Sheriff’s Office administration.  He noted that so far the project had programming and schematic design completed, they were currently negotiating a scope with the architect to go into a construction document design, and they were currently having a cost estimate performed to ensure they were within budget prior to proceeding.

Commr. Cadwell commented that they were going to need to look into moving the Women’s Hall of Fame into the County Administration Building once the repainting was completed because of how they were going to have to reconfigure the Historical Court House for the Sheriff’s Office, noting that if the Women’s Hall of Fame remained in the Historical Court House it would end up being in a location where few people would get to see it.

Mr. Swenson responded that they are hoping to have the repainting of the County Administration Building finished before the end of the year, and they would move the Women’s Hall of Fame over once it was completed.  He then mentioned the Judicial Center Expansion, introducing Mr. Glenn Mullins of PPI Construction Management to discuss the project.

Mr. Mullins discussed the Judicial Center expansion project, noting that the protective fence had been raised around the existing parking lot where most of the asphalt had been removed, they dug the storm water retention pond on the northwest corner of the property, started the extensive underground site utilities under the northern area, run the new water main down the west side of Sinclair Avenue, put in the new exit corridor that runs through Jury Assembly, and have installed the auger cast test piles.  He remarked that in the next 30 days the old mail building will be removed, they will start the actual drilling of the auger cast displacement piles, the site utility piping work will be continued, and a temporary wall will go up in the gallery to separate the construction from the seating area.

Commr. Conner asked if the mail facility building was currently occupied and if the building was going to be demolished.

Mr. Swenson replied that Facilities had occupied it, but they moved to Building B off of Highway 19, and that it had been occupied by Mail Receiving after Facilities moved out, but they moved to the 473 warehouse, adding that they were storing some of their box storage in Building B with Facilities.  He remarked that the building was going to be demolished, and the timeline for demolition was within the next two weeks.  He then discussed the LaRoe Pavilion project, mentioning that some of the information on the agenda item was outdated, including the agenda item stating Facilities would be going before the City of Eustis on September 23, 2010, for a conditional use permit hearing.  He explained they submitted the paperwork, and the City indicated they did not need a conditional use permit.  He mentioned another update was that they finished the design for the pavilion, and it would be submitted to the City of Eustis for a pre-building permit review.  He said Facilities has met with the end users from the fair who suggested that to speed up the timeline they could look into procuring a building directly prior to the contractor’s arrival, adding he thinks they will proceed in that direction.  He then discussed the Leesburg Health Clinic, saying the project was to remove mold from the existing County facility, noting that the building was currently unoccupied, and adding that the project would also renovate the interior office space.  He stated the project was currently at 50 percent design, and the design has been disseminated to the end users for review and comments.  He reported the Paisley Fire Station project was complete, the building was occupied by the Fire Department, and they were currently finalizing the paperwork.  He also reported the Sheriff’s South Lake Substation project was complete, and they were finalizing the paperwork.

Commr. Conner asked if the Sheriff had moved into the facility.

Mr. Swenson replied they had not, and noted he believed they would be moving in October.  He discussed the Special Projects Facility Addition which would add 2,000 square-feet of space to an existing facility at the landfill to be occupied by Public Works Road Operations.  He noted the design for the building was complete, but they were waiting on a storm water permit from DEP.

Commr. Cadwell asked if they had found a permanent home for the Parks and Recreation department at the landfill.

Mr. Swenson responded that they had, and they would be moving out there in the next 45 days after some minor renovation of the building.  He then discussed the Fleet Operations proposed site at the County-owned property at the industrial park.  He remarked that they were considering the large building on that site to be a combined facility for both the BCC fleet and the Fire fleet, adding that Facilities had met with the staff from both departments and would come up with a floor plan that works for both groups as well as a cost they believe will be obtainable through budget.  He added that at the site they were vacating on Griffin Road there was a portion of a building that could be reusable and remodeled, and the Public Transportation staff had indicated a desire to possibly move there.  He commented they would be scrapping all of the buildings there except for a 600 square-foot block addition which they would add on to.

Commr. Conner commented that the Fleet Center was a glaring need in the organization.  He questioned if Fleet Operations would need a separate facility on Griffin Road if they moved forward with the Fleet Operations at the proposed site at the Christopher Ford Industrial Complex.

Mr. Swenson expressed there was a desire for the busses to remain parked on Griffin Road, which was where they were currently parking and staging out of, and they wanted some small office space to go with that.

Commr. Conner asked if Fleet Operations would be in one facility or two different facilities.

Mr. Swenson replied that it would be in one facility, and it would be proposed to go in the large building at the industrial park, adding that they have a layout that shows a joint base for small and large vehicles.  He mentioned the third component of the County-owned facility in the industrial park was the possibility of using a second building for Communications and Radio, which was currently in a lease on Old 441, and they were looking at the possibility of moving them out of that lease and into the smaller building with some minor renovations.  He noted there was a 9,000 square-foot building that was a metal building with some office space that had been shelled and was on the industrial park property as well.

Commr. Hill commented the County Manager was going to set up a meeting with the residents of the adjacent neighborhood per the negotiated settlement, noting that it was in Commr. Conner’s district if he wished to attend the meeting, and if he did not, she said she would because she was on the team that did the negotiations, and they had assured the residents they would come and tell them what the use of that property would be.

Commr. Conner replied he would be happy for Commr. Hill to attend the meeting because she had more knowledge about and had previously worked with the project.

Mr. Swenson remarked that upon completion of the third portion of the site they would bring it back before the Board to discuss whether they would like them to proceed forward.  He commented that at this time they were optimistic that all the improvements could be obtained through budget.

public hearings

fire rescue assessments

Mr. Doug Krueger, Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services, addressed the Board requesting authorization and execution of a resolution to impose Fire Rescue Assessments against assessed property located in Lake County for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2010.  He stated the Fire Rescue Assessment would be set at $175 for residential and other varying amounts for commercial and industrial.  He reported it was projected to raise approximately $17 million in assessments for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.  He clarified that the rate they were requesting was the same rate as the last two years.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

There being no one present who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Resolution No. 2010-105 to impose Fire Rescue Assessments.

collection, management, and disposal of solid waste and recovered materials

Mr. Krueger addressed the Board requesting approval of the Final Assessment Resolution for collection, management, and disposal of solid waste and recovered materials for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, which included an annual assessment of $184.  He noted it was the same rate as the last two fiscal years and would raise approximately $12.3 million in assessments.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

There being no one present who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Resolution No. 2010-106 to impose Solid Waste Materials Assessments.

recess and reassembly

The Chairman announced at 9:29 a.m. that there would be a five-minute break.

county manager’s departmental business

design for emergency operations center

The Chairman explained that there was not usually public comment during a Workshop Session, but because they were going to make a final decision he announced they would allow public input and asked if anyone would like to comment.

Mr. Vance Jochim, a Tavares resident who writes a blog about fiscal issues in Lake County (fiscalrangers.com), addressed the Board in opposition of the EOC.  He remarked that the general impression of the public and the media was that the project would cost around $4 million for the EOC with an additional $2 million required if the Board added the dispatch operations for the Sheriff and EMS which would mostly be paid with federal funds.  He expressed concern that there was no indication of the fiscal impact of the two Tabs regarding the EOC listed in the agenda, opining that part of the reason for the omission was because the Board was deciding between plans that placed a range of $6 million to as much as $11 million towards the project, which would be paid for through the use of sales tax funds or other tax sources, causing over $6 million of local taxpayer money to be put towards a project that in this economy the Board should not even be considering.  He admonished the staff to reevaluate the way they calculated their estimates because of how far off they were from the original projection.  He stressed there was no clear, rational analysis to substantiate the need for the EOC, suggesting the project be deferred or put on a capital expenditure plan until a time in the future when substantial funds were available, since it did not make sense to spend such a vast amount of money on something that would only be open about five days out of the year.  He requested that they Board reject both Tabs 5 and 6.

Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Jochim if he was a resident of Lake County when the tornados came through.

Mr. Jochim responded that he was not a resident; he was overseas at the time, though he read about it.  He commented that while he did understand that such things were an issue, from what he could tell, he did not see any serious discussion presented to the Board that said the current EOC had a problem handling those emergencies.

Commr. Cadwell remarked that if the storms had been 15 miles more in this direction, then they would have had a problem because they would not have had any communication.

Mr. Jochim replied that the question was should they spend $6 million to $11 million dollars for something that may or may not ever happen.

Ms. Marilyn Bainter, a resident of Eustis and a member of the local Tea Party Committee, addressed the Board in opposition of the EOC.  She remarked that the residents had been mislead, saying that they had been studying this issue for months, and if the members of the Committee had their way, even with the grants and funding they would still be against the EOC because it was money that belongs to the taxpayers and with the economy in the state it is in, it is up to the local governments to cut down expenses.  She asked the Board to take another look at the EOC, adding that she agreed with everything Mr. Jochim had said.

Mr. David VonGunten, a resident of Eustis, addressed the Board in opposition of the EOC.  He remarked that after hearing the SHIP report at the start of the Board Meeting, it had confirmed to him what he had been hearing from different residents he had spoken with that the revenue stream for the County is not stabilized yet, noting that property values had certainly not stabilized.  He stated that the opinion he has gotten from citizens who have spoken with him was that it would be better to consolidate debt than to spend additional money, especially until revenues become stable.

Ms. Gail Boettger, a resident of Howey-In-The-Hills, addressed the Board in opposition to the EOC, mentioning she had been invited to a meeting about three months ago regarding the EOC, and that was the first time she had heard of the County Administration Building.  She noted she was given a tour and was told that, for the purposes of the EOC, the County Administration Building was about 20 seats short and the doors needed to be tightened to protect against severe weather.  She suggested they could use the $4 million grant money to make the necessary repairs to make the structure stronger instead of spending $11 million on a new building.  She mentioned she was here for the storms and her family was affected by them, so she knew the devastation such storms could cause and what it took to get past them.  She commented she read on the agenda that they were ready to award a contract to a construction firm for the start of the building, and she did not think there had been enough discussion regarding the issue of the EOC to warrant spending taxpayer money, regardless of how much was being spent.

Mr. Richard Riker, a resident of Mount Dora, addressed the Board in opposition to the EOC.  He expressed that they were not opposing the project out of ignorance; they had studied the issue and had meetings with the EOC staff as well as the Leesburg EOC and others involved in the EOC including the County Manager.  He explained their conclusions were based on the facts they had heard from various people they have spoken with that this was not a project that needed to be completed now and perhaps could wait until the future, because the economy was not strong enough to even discuss something of this magnitude at this time.

There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public comment portion.

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, Interim County Manager, reported that at the Board’s direction, late last year they arranged for Board members to visit EOC’s in neighboring counties, and they saw the communications section had been combined with the EOC at the direction of the Board back in May they had asked the architect that was chosen to look at the programming and bring back cost estimates, both to construct the EOC and to alternatively construct an EOC with a Communications Center.

Commr. Cadwell clarified that the push to combine the EOC with the Communication Center did not come from the Sheriff or from Lake-Sumter EMS; it came from the Board because they thought it was a good way to combine services and look to the future for what would be the cheapest option later on.

Mr. Minkoff mentioned there was going to be a presentation from the architect which would introduce them and go through what the EOC study showed and what costs were involved.  He added that the costs listed were what they believed to be the absolute maximums, and they included all design and construction costs.  He explained Tab 6 was to hire the contractor only during the design phase.  He stressed that the contractor agreed to do this at no cost, and there was no construction being authorized today.

Commr. Conner clarified that the Board was being asked to authorize the contract with the construction manager through the design phase only, at no charge.

Mr. Minkoff explained that once the design was completed and they had a guaranteed maximum price, then it would come back to the Board for a final decision on whether to construct the building or not.

Mr. Kristian Swenson, Interim Facilities Director, addressed the Board to introduce Mr. Kevin Ratigan, Senior Vice President of Architects Design Group in Winter Park, who would be giving a PowerPoint presentation to the Board regarding the EOC project.  He added that after the presentation, Mr. Jerry Smith, Emergency Management Director, would speak about grant updates.

Mr. Ratigan thanked the Board for the opportunity to present his findings and to work with them to conclude this phase of the project.  He described the three main objectives of the EOC study as research, define and understand Lake County’s facility needs for Emergency Operations and E-911 Communications; to identify opportunities for advanced functionality; and to prepare complete project development cost options.  He explained that the costs being presented were what they believed to be the maximum costs, which included everything to make the project happen, not only the cost of the building.  He described the presentation agenda and then listed the facility “stakeholders/entities” they met with, such as the Emergency Management Division and Emergency Options Centers, Lake-Sumter EMS, and Lake County Sheriff’s Office Communications.  He discussed the participatory process they undertook, starting with distributing questionnaires to get users to begin thinking and documenting what their existing facilities were, what the deficiencies were, and what the needs were, and then they met with the group to discuss how they would approach the project before meeting individually with each group.  He commented it was important to add that the Department of Facilities Management reviewed their preliminary conclusions and in a great amount of detail presented oversight and challenges to every conclusion made, every square foot of space that was designed, and so they went back and worked with the users a second time to try to get the facility to present what they believed was needed without a lot of excess.  He added they also did post occupancy evaluations of the EOC’s they had completed in other counties around Lake County to look at cost, technology, and shared facilities to make sure the project was receiving the benefit of their previous experience.  He described the factors that affect facility size, noting that the study was funded by the State of Florida through the Department of Homeland Security.  He mentioned they looked at the population trends and statistics of Lake County, saying the facility needed to be built to serve the County for a minimum of 40 years.  He added that while it was a bad time economically, history showed that people would come back to Florida and Lake County would continue to grow, so they wanted to ensure the facility meets the needs of the County in the foreseeable future and beyond.  He discussed the opportunities for joint use such as the lobby, telephone/IT equipment rooms, training rooms, and HVAC equipment.  He explained the joint uses allowed for the building to be used more than a few days out of the year.  He reported the projection of future needs in regards to square-footage, explaining that the building needed to be designed so it could be easily expanded to accommodate any future needs.  He stated the estimated amount of space needed for the various entities within the building including the EOC, the Office of Emergency Management, EMS Emergency Communications, Sheriff’s Communications, Traffic Management/IT, and other elements of the facility would be approximately 33,000 square-feet.

Mr. Ratigan stated the proposed location for the facility was the northeast corner of the Judicial Center site on Alfred Street.  He noted the facility would tie into the infrastructure being installed into that section for the power plant and Judicial Center which would make it more economical.  He discussed the utilization of the Central Energy Plant, stating that it was a delicate issue because the energy plant was originally built under the Florida Building Code 2004 Edition and was not designed to any of the basic structural design criteria and security requirements mandated by the grant, adding that they needed to ensure the facility remained operational.  He specified the new criteria was to design it to handle 160 mph wind loads and able to withstand a Category 5 storm, which would require the Central Energy Plant to be updated.  He discussed the grant funding, saying there was currently $4 million in place, there was a current grant of approximately $50,000 which would be used as a segue towards additional funds and to harden the Central Energy Plant.  He reported the grant required the County EOC to house 131 people with an associated size of 11,135 square-feet.  He mentioned the spatial needs analysis summary, which broke down the actual square-footage and the future projection for each of the entities, described the results of their existing facilities assessment, and related the space standards to quantify the actual sizes of the spaces provided in the report.  He stated the EOC would be designed to be self contained and would not grow much, and Sheriff’s Communications would have the greatest impact in terms of future growth because of current consolidation of Communications for municipalities.  He emphasized the projected cost for the facility was a complete cost that included things like new building, technology, furniture, equipment, and other county costs.  He presented the project development costs, describing three different options for the Board to choose from, including an option to hardening the Central Energy Plant, an option with the EOC and Communications Center, and an option with only the EOC portion and then creating “shell space” for the future placement of the Communications Center.  He commented that there was a significant cost to maintain Communications at the Sheriff’s Office and EMS and then switch them over to the new building.  He mentioned the break down of Options 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, 2C, and 3A, noting the reports had a maximum amount listed for all of the fees and associated costs, and then they have a budget number for all of the County’s costs.  He specified the reports looked at the detailed costs of combining the facility and hardening the Central Energy Plant, then added it was their recommendation that the Board select an option that provided for the “hardening” of the central energy plant because of the benefit for the EOC as well as the Judicial Center, even though it is the most expensive option.

Mr. Smith delivered an update on the grants, commenting that there was an issue with $50,000 that was expiring at the end of September, which he expressed was the key to the $1.5 million for the hardening.  He mentioned they had not received a formal extension, but they had received notification from the State of Florida stating they would get a nine-month extension to deliver construction documents by June of 2011, which still allows them to complete the project within the five years required of that grant.

Commr. Conner asked how often Lake County had experienced emergencies historically.

Mr. Smith responded that primarily between 1960 and 2004 there were not many major emergencies, commenting that between 1965 and 1992, hurricanes were less prevalent in the western Atlantic.  He noted the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, the three hurricanes in 2004 that came through Central Florida, the 2007 Groundhog’s Day tornados, and he mentioned there were 25 hurricanes throughout the entire 2005 season.

Commr. Conner asked how many emergency situations Lake County has had since 2000.

Mr. Smith replied there had been 10 activations of the EOC, primarily from wildfires, the 2004 storms, and the 2007 tornados.  He noted it was extremely challenging to use the County Administration Building as their command center during the 2007 tornados, which were the major emergency situation of the last decade, and if the tornados had come any closer, there was no guarantee the building would have withheld against damages, adding that during the 2004 hurricanes there had been numerous leakage problems.

Commr. Conner commented that despite the difficulties, the EOC had done an outstanding job and had met the County’s needs.

Mr. Smith thanked Commr. Conner, but stressed that it had been extremely difficult for the team to overcome the challenge.

Commr. Conner asked what it meant that the EOC would be built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.

Mr. Ratigan responded that it was the requirement of the grants the County had received from the State and FEMA that the building withstand a Category 5 storm, which was the highest category of hurricane with winds over 160 mph.  He noted that the guidance publication he had referenced said the State wanted EOC’s designed to what they consider ultimate survivability, which meant they could withstand winds of over 200 mph.  He added that the chances of Central Florida sustaining that kind of an impact were slim.

Commr. Cadwell asked if the EOC would be able to withstand a direct hit by a tornado if it was constructed to that ultimate survivability standard.

Mr. Ratigan responded that tornados were measured by the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF Scale), and the tornados that typically occur in Central Florida were lower on that scale, so if the EOC was constructed to the desired standards, it would survive a direct hit by a tornado.  He added that while the building might not withstand the most powerful tornado, the State believed the criteria they had set made the building survivable not only for the expected, but for the maximum anticipated meteorological event that may hit Central Florida.

Commr. Conner asked what the wind load for the County Administration Building was.

Mr. Ratigan answered it was less than 100 mph.

Commr. Conner asked what the difference between a building constructed to withstand 140 mph versus160 mph was.

Mr. Ratigan explained that, according to the structural engineers he had worked with, the difference was a geometric proportion; an increase from 140 mph to 160 mph sustainability would not result in an additional 20 percent increase in the wind load, it would in fact create a 75 percent increase.

Commr. Cadwell asked if the Board had changed their mind in regards to their commitment to an EOC.

Commr. Conner asked if there was a capital plan that listed their priorities.  He commented that it was his understanding that the grants were going to pay for either a vast majority or all of the project, and that while he did think it was wise to bring in the Communications Center, he did not agree with supporting a plan that would turn what was originally a $4 million project into an $11 million project, stating that he did not think the County could afford it right now.

Commr. Cadwell commented that the Board needed to start looking at how they could consolidate projects, such as they were doing with considering the consolidation of the EOC with the Communications Center.

Commr. Conner suggested bidding out EMS.

Commr. Cadwell responded that they could get EMS services for less if they bid out, but the Board had decided previously that quality was more important than cost.

Commr. Conner recommended readdressing the issue of bidding out EMS services, commenting that he was not in support of sacrificing public safety for money, but that it would ensure the County was receiving a good deal, and it would worth it to be innovative and look at other options.  He stated he was not in support of spending $11 million on the proposed facility because the County could not afford it.  He asked if there was a capital projects list that had their priorities stated and where was the EOC project on that list in relation to other projects.

Commr. Cadwell replied that the capital projects that had been built since he had been there have not served the Board’s functions, they have been constructed for other purposes, and he believed it was time the Board do what they needed to in order to deliver the services they were required to provide.

Commr. Stewart asked why it was a problem combining the EOC and the Communications Center when they both already exist and both need help.

Commr. Conner answered that the issue was turning a $4 million project into an $11 million project.

Commr. Stewart replied that they were not making government bigger with the EOC project.

Commr. Conner responded the operational costs would make government more expensive.

Commr. Cadwell stated every function going into the EOC had operational costs at current levels.

Commr. Conner noted that costs would not decrease over time.

Commr. Hill reported the EOC project was on the facilities plan, and they knew the Sheriff was running out of room, EMS was in the wrong location, and they were not delivering a good, cost effective delivery service.  She said she was sure the County Manager would work with the users of the building, and that she was sure the design and costs would be reduced, especially since they had been told the estimates were the projected maximum costs.  She stated she thought they should have the EOC and the Communications Center together, and have the Central Energy Plant hardened, because it was only going to become more expensive in the future.

Commr. Cadwell clarified that it would be a building that would function every day and that he was in favor of Option 1B.

Commr. Stewart said she agreed with Commr. Hill and Commr. Cadwell, because they needed to make hard decisions now and make a few citizens unhappy instead of in the future making a whole lot of citizens unhappy when they could not provide services they needed during a serious emergency.

Commr. Conner asked how the County would be able to pay for Option 1B, which was the $11 million plan.

Mr. Doug Krueger, Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services, explained there was $4.5 million in grant funding available, which reduced the County’s local share to about $6.5 million.  He specified that of that $6.5 million, they would use $292,000 from the Ambulance MSTU fund, $318,000 that the Sheriff currently had programmed related to Communications, and $619,000 from E-911 funds, leaving a balance of $5.3 million from the sales tax fund.  He specified that of the $3 million was already programmed for next year, $2.3 million would be used in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, and future sales tax funds would be used to construct the Judicial Center.

Commr. Conner asked for a full explanation of what the Board was deciding as far as entering into a contract with the architect, and more specifically, should the Board decide in 90 days that this project is not a priority, could the Board then terminate the contract.

Mr. Minkoff responded that the actual agenda item that was being voted on was to authorize the County to move forward with the design for the full project as indicated in the agenda item; the full design was $540,580, which included all the costs for design, civil engineering, geo-tech engineering, and any other costs that were there, adding that the contracts always have a termination clause, so the Board could terminate it at any time, paying only for what had been spent up until that time.

On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried by a vote of 3-1, the Board approved Design Option 1B for the Emergency Operation Center/Communications Center and the commensurate scope of services and fees to Architects Design Group for design services.

Commr. Conner voted “no.”

emergency operations center

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, Interim County Manager, explained that Tab 6 was the companion contract with PPI for the Emergency Operation Center (EOC), who was chosen as the top-ranked contractor, adding that it was being written as a construction management contract.  He noted the Board was provided with the minutes of the selection process in their packets of information.  He reported PPI’s bid was to charge nothing for pre-construction services, so there would be no fiscal impact from this agreement unless the Board elected to move forward with construction.

Commr. Conner commented that he would support this because if they were going to construct the EOC, it was important to have the contractor on board and added that he was impressed with the architect’s presentation.

On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved awarding of contract 10-0215 to PPI for construction management services in support of a new Emergency Operation Center.


visions @ work

Commr. Hill thanked and congratulated Visions @ Work as being the recipient of the William Schwartz Industrial Innovation Award for this region, representing Lake County.

reports – commissioner conner – district 3

inmate overcrowding in jail

Commr. Conner reported receipt of a letter from the Sheriff’s Office reporting on the conditions of the jail and addressing the issue of inmate overcrowding.  He stated he thought it was a good inspection report, but that it said that due to the uncontrolled jail population on the day of inspection, the jail population was 1008, but the total capacity was 960, and inmate bed spacing did not meet the requirements.  He noted that the report listed under corrective action to pursue additional inmate housing.  He asked what the County was doing in regards to new inmate housing.

Commr. Cadwell responded that until someone received a court order to build a new jail, they could not do anything.

Commr. Hill mentioned there were some procedures that they were bringing forward to help with the jail population.

Commr. Conner commented there might come a time when they needed to build the jail, and then asked if the response to the report meant they were doing something regarding jail population.

Commr. Cadwell replied that there were committees working with the judges to find ways to remove people from the jail who did not need to be there.

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, Interim County Manager, noted that they had implemented a Public Defender position so the Public Defender could attend first appearances to try and get people who have been arrested, particularly for misdemeanors, out of the jail quickly.  He added that the Board had just recently approved letting some sentenced prisoners out on monitors.  He commented that the Sheriff’s Office was very proactive along with the State Attorney and Public Defender in managing the jail population, and it just happened that on the day of the report the population was over, but the population had been stable for the last 18 to 24 months and had not been growing such that they would be looking at an expansion at this point.  He remarked that there were a lot of people who could be moved to a different type of incarceration.

Commr. Conner commented that he thought the jail had been under capacity, which was why the report had surprised him.

Kristan court apartments

Commr. Conner inquired about the contract with the City of Leesburg pertaining to the Kristan Court Apartments, saying the agreement called for rehabilitation yet the City had demolished the buildings, and asked if an amendment was being drafted for the agreement with the City.

Dottie Keedy, Director of Economic Development and Community Services, responded that they were in the process of bringing a revised agreement back to the Board, adding that the original agreement was for renovation and the City would like to bring it back and amend it for construction.

Commr. Conner noted that the buildings had been demolished for six months.

Commr. Cadwell stated that the City was obligated in the agreement that if they did not do what they are supposed to, then they must pay the money back.

Ms. Keedy said they were working with the County Attorney’s Office on the agreement.

candidate signature collection tables

Commr. Conner informed the Board that he had received complaints from the candidates for the upcoming election that they had not been allowed to set up tables and collect signatures at the Lake County Fair.

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, Interim County Manager, noted that the County leased the facility to the Fair Board, so if the Board would like to insist they allow that type of activity, it could be added to the agreement.

Commr. Cadwell commented that he would like to know what the Fair Board’s logic was in why they would not rent a booth to somebody.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:37 a.m.



welton g. cadwell, chairman