march 1, 2011

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 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:  Jennifer Hill, Chairman; Leslie Campione, Vice Chairman; Sean Parks; Jimmy Conner; and Welton G. Cadwell.  Others present were:  Darren Gray, County Manager; Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.

INVOCATION and pledge

Dr. Don Pratt from Lake Church in Eustis gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Agenda update

Mr. Darren Gray, County Manager, noted that there were some addendums that would be discussed under his business regarding the Emergency Communications and Operations Center and Lake-Sumter EMS.

On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Campione, and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board voted to add those items to the agenda.


On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of January 18, 2011 (Regular Meeting), February 1, 2011 (Regular Meeting), and February 4, 2011 (Special Meeting) as presented.


Mr. Vance Jochim, a resident of Tavares who writes a blog on fiscal issues, commented that he was not in favor of spending $10 million on funding for the EOC Building, since the County would not see any increased tax revenue for the next two years, and they would have other priorities such as roads that have been deferred.  He opined that he thought that spending money on what he believed to be an optional project would be foolish in the long run, and they have not had a public audit yet that has been posted or enough oversight on the construction of the Judicial Center to tell whether the planning and operation of those projects are running well.


Mr. Roy Hunter, a resident of Paisley, stated that although he was very conservative about spending money, he believed that the EMS was not something that should be counted in just dollars and cents.  He stated that he believed that the people who run the organizations were more important than the buildings themselves and that Mr. Jim Judge, Director of EMS, and the EMS organization have done much for the people of Lake County as well as spend government money conservatively.  He pointed out that 100,000 out of 300,000 people in the County were 60 years old or older, and that population had the greatest need for health care and an efficiently-run Lake Sumter EMS.  He emphasized that last year that organization was rated number one in the United States.  He related that when his wife, Francine, had an attack in 2009 in County Commission Chambers, Lake Sumter EMS and the paramedics saved her life, and an EMS team saved her life again when she had another attack at home about a little over one week later.


Mr. Ken Cronin, a resident of Howey-in-the-Hills, thanked the Board for supporting the moratorium for pain clinics in Lake County, and he pointed out that he did not think that this moratorium would affect any of their legitimate doctors, but would try to stop licensed “drug dealers.”  He opined that it was time for the state to take responsibility for what is taking place in the State of Florida, and he did not understand the invasion of privacy argument that was made in favor of these clinics.


Mr. Ken Smith, a retired EMT who has worked for both Rural Metro and Lake-Sumter EMS, recapped that at last month’s meeting, it was once again proposed that an RFP be put out for the EMS service.  He shared some of his experience as an informed private citizen, noting that although the citizens are subsidizing the EMS system, that money was coming from a special MSTU and not the general fund, and he pointed out that the funding of Lake County’s EMS service does not and will not affect the funds available for any other needs in the County, regardless of who that provider is.  He also pointed out that since the budget year 1996 when an additional 32 employees were needed to properly cover the growing county, the amount of the subsidy for this service has been on a steady decline, and that this year’s subsidy is a 17 percent decrease from last year, despite a growing population and an increase in call volume.  He commented that a for-profit provider would actually increase their subsidies under similar circumstances.  He opined that the parameters to measure anything could be chosen in order to point to a preferred candidate, but what is more important is what that actual level of service is, and while Rural Metro is a good provider who adequately serves the communities they cover, Lake-Sumter EMS has gained an international reputation as a premier provider who stays on the cutting edge of technology and treatments that are becoming or have become national standards of care.  He has also seen a level of trust and cooperation between the agencies in Lake County that is unparalleled anywhere else.  He requested that the Board not put the residents at risk by following Sumter County’s mistake.


Mr. Tony Rosado, Mascotte City Council Member, related that he had a child who suffered from severe asthma, and he has had to call the paramedics out to his house about ten times in one month, five of those times for treatment with a CPAP machine to help with breathing.  He commented that they currently had an excellent EMS system which has been rated number one in the country, and he believed that if it was not broken, they did not need to fix it.  He added that as a council member, he wanted to make sure that the level of service that the residents were going to get was top-notch.


On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1, 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.


Commr. Hill commented that the document on Tab 6 that outlined a multi-jurisdictional plan for a local mitigation strategy was an excellent document and one they were keeping for future reference for the Board.

On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 9 as follows:

County Manager

Request for authorization to fill one (1) Roads Operations Director position in the Public Works Department/Road Operations Division. (The total fiscal impact is $102,208.81.)

Fiscal and Administrative Services

Request for approval to 1) declare the items on the attached list(s) surplus to County needs, (2) authorize the removal of all of the items on the attached lists from the County’s official fixed asset inventory system records, and (3) authorize the Procurement Services Director or designee to sign vehicle titles.

Public Resources

Request for approval to advertise an Ordinance to repeal Sections 2-90.52 through 2-90.56 of the Lake County Code which created and governed the Public Land Acquisition Advisory Council. There is no Fiscal Impact.)

Public Safety

Request for approval of the LMS Plan via Resolution No. 2011-24. This will allow Lake County to be eligible for future grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the following programs: • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program • Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program • Flood Mitigation Assistance Program • Severe Repetitive Loss Program.

Public Works

Request for acceptance and execution of a Sovereignty Submerged Land Easement in the Palatlakaha River in conjunction with the Lakeshore Drive (#1040) Bridge Project. No fiscal impact. Commission District 2.

Request for approval for adoption of Resolution No. 2011-25 and Execution of the Amendment to the JPA Agreement for the intersection improvement at Citrus Tower Boulevard and Steve's Road (FDOT Transportation Infrastructure Pilot Program for FY 2009-2010). Amendment #2 is to add additional required language to the agreement as mandated by the Governor's Executive Order 11-02, as specified in Attachment 1. All services for the project are to be completed by July 31, 2011. FM #428225-1-58-01; Project # INT09014; CD 2; BD 5, No fiscal impact.

Request for authorization to execute Resolution No. 2011-26 accepting Wallick Road (County Road No. 4587) from CR-437 to Hilldale Avenue (County Road No. 4486E) into the County Road Maintenance System. Commission District 4. There is no fiscal impact.

county attorney’s consent agenda

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, noted that Mr. Fred Schneider, Engineering Director, Public Works, would be the appropriate person to be designated for the committee referred to in Tab 10.

Commr. Hill stated that they would pull Tab 10.

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 11 and 12, pulling Tab 10, as follows:

Request for approval of Second Amendment to Lease Agreement with St. Clairsville Medical Group for County Health Department space located at 9836 US Highway 441, Leesburg. Fiscal Impact $23,152.50.

Request for approval of Resolution No. 2011-27 adopting Fee Schedules for FY 2010-11 for services provided by the Department of Growth Management, Department of Public Safety, Department of Public Resources, Department of Public Works, Department of Conservation and Compliance, Office of Procurement Services, Department of Community Services and Department of Facilities Development and Management.

Commr. Conner asked regarding Tab 10 whether it was customary for a commissioner to be on the board of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA) Right-of-Way Committee or if it was customary for a staff member to be on that particular board.

Commr. Cadwell responded that generally the only elected official that has served on that board was the Mayor of Orange County, and those types of committees are actually set aside to shield the commissioners from the political side of what should be a business decision made about right-of-way.

Commr. Campione commented that she has looked at that closely, since it could have a huge impact on her district, and she would support having their Engineering Director sit on that board.

On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Fred Schneider, Engineering Director, as County representative member of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA) Right-of-Way Committee.  There is no Fiscal Impact.

employee awards

five years

Ms. Susan Irby, Employee Services Director, presented employee awards to the following employees, commenting briefly on their service:

Niki Booth, Office Associate V

County Manager


Sonia Carrillo, Office Associate III (not present)

Facilities Development & Management/Maintenance Division


Susan Carroll, GIS Project Manager (not present)

Information Technology/Geographic Information Services


Janice Cavanaugh, Landfill Attendant

Public Works/Solid Waste Division


Cathryn Eaton, Office Associate III

Public Works/Engineering Division/Right-of-Way


Cheryl Penley, Trails Specialist

Public Resources/Parks & Trails


Robert Richardson, Radio Systems Coordinator

Public Safety/Communications Technologies

ten years

Juana Barron, Associate Planner

Growth Management/Planning & Community Design


Rebecca Brown, Office Associate II

Information Technology/Records Management


Linda Goff, Librarian II (not present)

Public Resources/Library Services


Roberta Gutting, Fire Inspector

Growth Management/Building Services


Christopher Hicks, Equipment Operator III

Public Works/Road Operations/Maintenance Area III


Kristian Swenson, Facilities Development & Management Director

Facilities Development & Management


fifteen years

Cynthia Strickland, Public Education Coordinator

Growth Management/Development Processing


Ms. Amye King, Growth Management Director, presented the following award for twenty-five years of service, giving a commentary on Ms. Harris’ years working for the County.

twenty five years

Mary Harris, Program Specialist

Growth Management/Development Processing



Lake County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee

Ms. Bryan Biery for service from 2008-2011 (not present)


Elder Affairs Coordinating Council

Helen Sweeny for service from 2009-2011 (not present)


Sales Surtax Oversight Advisory Committee

Michael Bakich for service from 2007-2010 (not present0

Elizabeth Palmer for service from 2007-2010 (not present)


Lake County Zoning Board

Egor Emery for service from 2008-2011 (not present)

Larry Metz for service from 2005-2011 (not present)


LSMPO-Citizens’ Advisory Committee

Donald Griffey for service from 2005-2010


presentation by metro orlando edc

Mr. David Pace, Volunteer Chair of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC), stated that he would talk about what they have done for the last year, what their observations have been, and how they have reorganized around those observations.  He mentioned that it has been an extremely busy year for the EDC, and as a volunteer board they have taken a hard, deep look into their organization and undertook a nine-month long Leadership Charter Process.  They learned during this process that they were a good classic current-generation economic development organization, but it was not as easy today to hold on to net zero jobs as it once was.  They have discovered through a process of visiting both their own introspectively and other markets some of the keys to what great regions such as Denver, San Diego, and Nashville have done, mentioning that Nashville was similar to Central Florida in the size of its counties and in that they have country music as their main industry the way that Orlando has tourism.  He noted that Nashville also has the most innovative health care delivery system in the world, which has attracted 300 start-up companies with venture capital and great ideas, and he related that they also studied the bio-tech clusters in San Diego.  He explained that the common denominator of those communities was confluence of the business leadership and the elected leadership, with the business leadership looking at the regional tie with little care for geo-political boundaries, and he reported that there were 96 political districts in this region that care about their own team’s victories.  However, he pointed out that the EDC deals with the regional aspects of job growth, and they thought it was important for each governmental entity to have a larger group that they were part of such as the Metro-Orlando EDC to embrace and take a role in the regional message that needs to be delivered as well as wanting to attract jobs within their own political jurisdiction.  He stated that the EDC appreciates that the Board has leaned on them multiple times to help fill that regional role, and he emphasized that they have an amazing opportunity in Central Florida, since the perception from the outside world was good and that perception was that there was also effective cooperation in the region, though there were opportunities for them to improve on their regional philosophies.  He also noted that their region has an incredible work force training tool with their major research universities and school systems, as well as a fantastic and unparalleled international gateway and domestic distribution system with their airports, and a pro-business climate with favorable tax rates.  He commented that there is no reason why their regional economy should not prosper as they go forward and come out of this recession.  He related that they were now proceeding in a very targeted fashion by speaking with CEO’s of specific companies with a reference from another CEO in their marketplace who was a major regional player rather than just blindly looking at companies.  He also announced that after a national search they have hired Mr. Rick Weddle to replace Mr. Ray Gilley as President/CEO.

Mr. Brian Walters, Executive Vice President of Innovation and Business Development, informed the Board that they were doing re-engineering of their team short term to drive economic recovery and do everything they can to derive every job out of their infrastructure to lower the unemployment rate as well as what they were doing and thinking long-term and what their work together would look like throughout the region to realize the economic potential that Mr. Pace described.  He explained that primary sector companies were one source of several flows of capital that give the basis of an economy, and its diversification and health is determined by those outside flows, one of which was outside money that comes in that creates capital investment and payroll that is the core of their economy, and the circulation creates a lot more jobs.  He pointed out that they work exclusively to retain, expand, and attract jobs in the primary sector.  Other sectors that play a role are tourism, which brings in a lot of money from the outside and creates an economic ripple through their economy, as well as giving them tremendous infrastructure such as airports; and he noted that agriculture brings new money in as well.  He also mentioned that the universities bring students in from throughout the country and bring in federal transfer payments from tuition dollars which circulate within the economy.  He showed a list of the ten targeted primary sectors, which included aerospace and defense, energy, life sciences, and manufacturing; and he noted that the re-engineering that the EDC has done has been concentrated on putting some industry expertise and thought both in the staff and volunteer efforts along those ten industry sectors.  He related that they have reorganized and assigned one person and a task force to each one of those industry sectors, and they have been concentrating on face-to-face communication with businesses.  He pointed out that their packet also contains a detailed, sophisticated program to deal with their existing business base.  He noted that retaining, recruiting, and start-up of businesses were all important to a balanced approach to economic development.  As an example of start-up, he mentioned that they have made tremendous investments as a region in the Burnham Institute and have a mass generator of intellectual property in University of Central Florida; and they have the components, infrastructure, and eco-system that are necessary to make sure that technology is transferred and commercialized and a new company is formed in this area.  He commented that even though they have a great opportunity, they had a lot of work to do as a region to be the best place for those dollars to be invested.  He discussed the film and TV part of their business, and he pointed out that that industry has brought about $1.6 million to Lake County over the last year and a half.

Mr. Bill Neron, Economic Development Director for Tavares, related that the City of Tavares has put all of its efforts into the aviation sector as they have become America’s Seaplane City, and specified that Progressive Aerodyne relocated to Tavares about a year ago.  He commented that the City does not do a lot of recruitment of businesses from the outside, since their approach has been to grow and help their existing businesses. However, he related that he became aware about two years ago of a company in another state that was in the development of an operation and was going to be relocating that business, so the City started sending them quiet communication and building a relationship.  He stated that they became aware about six months ago that the business was going to hire a national site selector and go through a competitive process for that site.  He explained that he started working with the County and EDC, who helped the City complete an extensive request for proposals (RFP) from that company, and he commented that the City could not have responded to the RFP without the resources of the EDC, the County, and everyone working together.

Mr. Robert Thompson, EDC Board Member, gave the Board two examples of how regionalism and the EDC work and impact citizens that live in Lake County on a day-to-day basis, including one of his clients who started a small health-care company in Lake County, noting that the EDC partnered him with Lake-Sumter Community College and South Lake Hospital to create a pilot program for his ipad check-in system product that cuts patient wait time by 80 percent.  He noted that this person was featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and other media, and his firm has recently been purchased by a $500 million global IT company, who is setting their IT headquarters for health care up in the Central Florida region with a goal to grow to over 100 employees in the next year or two.  He gave for the second example his own company, which he related started in Clermont, and even though they had offices in other locations, they were still also at the Clermont location.  He commented that they represent clients all over Central Florida, which was an example of the regionalism that keeps Lake County citizens employed.

Commr. Hill commented that it had been a pleasure and an educational experience for her to serve on their Metro-Orlando EDC Board, and she thought it was a perfect way for Commr. Campione to expand her interest, since she has been very focused on economic development for the County and has presented the Board with some new, fresh ideas.  She opined that the Board and the EDC would create a good partnership, and she looked forward to what they do together in the future.  She noted that the Board would be having another economic development workshop on March 11 and suggested that they could get follow up from the EDC at the reception on March 30 during the business agenda.

Commr. Campione commented that she was very excited about the prospect of working with the EDC, because she thought some of the changes they have made were exactly the changes they were looking for. She believed it would help them as they continue to formulate their policy in Lake County, and they could partner on their objectives.  She also related that during their discussions about their economic policies last Friday, they were talking about the importance of connecting with their cities and how they need to get the message out to them about the resources that were available, and they were working to create those relationships between the EDC and their individual cities to help them implement their economic initiatives.

Commr. Parks commented that he was very excited about their new relationship and the changes that are being made, and noted that in the past they have wondered where they fit in regionally and how this relationship was working for them.  He opined that he had the utmost confidence that the EDC would do their best for Lake County.

recess and reassembly

The Chairman announced at 10:10 a.m. that there would be a ten-minute recess.

public hearings

ordinance relating to secondary metals recyclers

Mr. Minkoff placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for its first and final reading by title only, as follows:



Commr. Campione mentioned that several residents have brought this issue to her, and she was thankful for the quick attention that the Sheriff’s Department gave this and that they were extremely helpful in evaluating whether this would allow the County to track some of that activity and give them the leads that they need in order to find the people responsible for the many thefts that are occurring in their county.  She pointed out that they did not want to become a haven for all of the criminal activity from the many counties around them who were adopting ordinances like this.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

Mr. Lowry Brown stated that as a victim of those metal thefts over the last few years, he appreciated what the Board was doing with this ordinance, and he specified that they have lost air conditioning condensers, backflow prevention devices, and ground wires, which were all addressed by this ordinance.  He noted, however, that one thing that was not addressed was aluminum gutters and downspouts, although Section 14-92(s) referenced copper gutters and downspouts, and he related that he has had several instances of those materials being stolen, which cost about $3,000 to repair.  He requested that the Board add the word “aluminum” in that section.

Mr. Minkoff suggested that they just add a subsection (t) for aluminum gutter and downspouts.

There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this proposed ordinance, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2011-13 Creating Article VI in Chapter 14 of the Lake County Code Relating to Secondary Metals Recyclers, adding subsection (t) to Section 14-92 to provide aluminum guttering or downspouts.

ordinance relating to pain management clinics

 Mr. Minkoff placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for its first and final reading by title only, as follows:



Mr. Minkoff related that they made a change prohibiting opening on Sundays on the approval to advertise.

Commr. Cadwell asked if they have heard anything from Tallahassee in regard to the registration that was on hold.

Mr. Minkoff responded that the resolution was done and waiting for the Commissioners to sign it, and Tallahassee was looking at additional restrictions, but they do not know exactly what legislation will result.

Commr. Conner thanked Sheriff Borders for spending a lot of time and research on this issue, as well as educating him about this matter, and he commented that the Sheriff’s Office had a great deal of knowledge on the adverse impact of these “pill mills,” as they are referred to in surrounding areas.  He commented that he was surprised by the number of families in their community that have been impacted by overdoses of illegal drugs, and there was a lot of support in this community for this ordinance.  He stated that he thought that ending the cash-only aspect of the business should really be instrumental as a detriment, and he appreciated the Commission bringing this forward to this point.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

Ms. Sandra Coberly asked whether this ordinance would be for cash-only pain clinics or cash-only medical clinics as well, because she opined that any cash-only physician was the problem regardless of specialty, since that would limit the services they could provide patients.  She requested that the no cash-only restrictions apply to any specialty, not just pain management.  She also pointed out that there were only 13 registered pain doctors currently in Lake County out of over 600 active licenses for MD’s and DO’s, and she believed that the ordinance should extend to any new physician that wants to come to Lake County.  She opined that they had a problem with Lake County residents also going to Orange, Osceola, and Sumter Counties to get these medications and bringing them back to Lake County.  She stated that another large issue that physicians in the County are facing is that they do not have a narcotic database, and she believed that Lake County should be one of the frontrunners for pushing for the institution of that database to prevent patients from going to several different doctors for the same medication and to enable doctors to be aware of what medications patients were getting from where.

Commr. Cadwell informed Ms. Coberly that the Board was sending a resolution to the Governor supporting that, and he commented that it would take a lot more research to apply those rules to other kinds of doctors.

Mr. Michael Cronin, a parent who lost a son from an overdose of those kinds of drugs, stated that over the past two years well over 5,000 Floridians have died from an oxycontin overdose and pointed out that every autopsy cost $3,000, which meant that over $15 million has been spent on those autopsies that could be spent for the database.  He applauded the Board for going forward with the moratorium, supporting the people in the community, and attempting to get the state to do something about this issue.

Ms. Ellen Tidwell, a concerned parent who lost her 17-year old son in 2009 from an oxycodone overdose, stated that although her son had gotten the drugs from another young person rather than a pill mill, they need the database as well as something in the schools to help stop this from happening.

There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this proposed ordinance, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

Commr. Hill commented that she had a problem putting a moratorium on legitimate new businesses such as medical doctors, and she asked if they could direct themselves in more of a legal procedural way to enable them to attain the warrants the Sheriff needed to do his job and whether they could institute a county-wide database to enable them to track and trace this sort of activity.

Ms. Marty Bachelor responded that they currently do not have any database with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, but law enforcement currently could reach out to the pharmacies and request a pharmacy inquiry on individuals.  She opined that if the Governor supported the database, that would make their job a lot easier.

Commr. Cadwell commented that this ordinance is meant to stop the activity before the Sheriff is involved, which would already mean that there was a problem, and if Lake County and the surrounding counties eliminate the ability for people to attain those drugs, it would present a deterrent for this activity.

Commr. Campione pointed out that the type of business they were limiting was a clinic that operates on a cash basis to dispense narcotics, and she did not think they should be concerned about shutting down those kinds of opportunities, since they were not talking about legitimate doctor’s offices.

Mr. Minkoff explained that the definition in the proposed ordinance was very narrow, specifying that it referred to doctors who advertised as being in the pain business or prescribed controlled substances to the majority of the patients that he or she sees, which was a very unusual situation.

On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2011-14 Creating Article VII, Chapter 14 of the Lake County Code Relating to Pain Management Clinics.

other business

appointment to the children’s services council

On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board appointed Ms. Jan Tobias to the Children's Services Council as the Lake County School Board’s representative to complete unexpired two-year term ending May 14, 2012.

appointment to library advisory board

On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the City of Mount Dora's appointment of Mr. Jules Turcsanyi as an Alternate Member to the Lake County Library Advisory Board to complete a four-year term ending Feb. 28, 2014.


addendum 2-I – discussion of lake-sumter ems

Mr. Darren Gray, County Manager, recapped that they had some budget discussions about different topics, including EMS, and the Board had directed him to place that issue on the agenda today for discussion.

Commissioner Cadwell related that he alerted the EMS Board about the conversation the Board had on Friday, February 25, and they were concerned, since they felt as he did that they had one of the best working organizations and the only true consolidated service in the County.  He noted that the conversation at the workshop started as a discussion of shortfalls in the general fund, although now everyone understands this money does not come from the general fund.  He also related that the cities have always been a partner in this process with the County, and every year the cities sign an agreement for them to provide ambulance service within their city limits as well as have a seat on the board of directors, so he felt the cities needed to be at the table for that discussion.  He pointed out that whatever Sumter County decided to do would not affect how they run the EMS organization other than rearranging the board, and he emphasized that the County owns that company, which would give them the ability to have their County Manager work with them to look at their budget and see if there was a better way to do it if that was determined to be needed.  He commented that if the Board makes a decision to do anything about this today before they meet with their partner cities, it would result in their taking a giant step backwards from progress that it has taken them years to cultivate regarding the relationship they have regarding this particular service, and he mentioned that some of the cities have been working hard and have already done things on their own and with the County regarding fire service.  He recommended that they have the conversation regarding EMS service at the scheduled joint meeting on March 15 and also to wait until after a study from UCF is done that would look at emergency services or possibly do an RFP to have that study done.  He noted that he sent the Board their audit as well as letters that they have received from citizens about what they thought of the EMS service.

Commr. Hill stated that one component that they could consider when they have discussion with the cities is including their hospitals in that discussion.

Commr. Conner commented that the only thing they were asking today was to direct their staff to write an RFP to bring back for the Board to look at, but they would not necessarily send that out to bid.  He opined that he did not think that they would know what the subsidy for EMS should be unless they did an RFP.  He also commented that he has through personal experience seen a high level of service provided from EMS, but he did not think there should be a reluctance to scrutinize.  He stated that he did not have a pre-determined outcome in mind or that he thought they should get rid of EMS, and it would take a strong preponderance of evidence to do that.  He thought it was their responsibility to make the service as cost effective as possible.

Commr. Cadwell responded that he did not think anyone was arguing against the scrutiny, and there was a couple of ways to do that, including trusting that their County Manager was qualified enough to do that on that level or that they have the Clerk’s Office do that as part of their annual audit of the County’s operational and financial departments, which was already in their budget.  He opined that doing an RFP would lower morale of the EMS staff.

Commr. Conner stated that he did not think they could provide the level of scrutiny that he was looking for internally, and an RFP would give them a competitive benchmark from the private sector.

Commr. Hill commented that this was their company, and it was their responsibility to scrutinize it.  She noted that EMS was also audited by an outside auditor.

Commr. Cadwell also pointed out that the firms that bid on an RFP for the ambulance service would probably be a for-profit firm that would be located outside of the County, and the money that is made would not stay in the County.

Commr. Parks stated that he agreed that they have to scrutinize everything.

Commr. Campione stated that a good first start would be to do as Commr. Cadwell suggested by letting their County Manager go back and look specifically at whether the subsidy is reasonable and standard in other places and whether they are getting the best value for their dollar for the taxpayers, and she thought that what Commr. Cadwell said about involving the cities and the partners is critical.  She also thought it was a reasonable approach to expand the UCF study to include looking at those options, and she commented that they had a wonderful EMS system that provided outstanding service.

Commr. Cadwell mentioned that he thought they could do an RFP for the study because sometimes the business community could do that less expensively than a government entity, and although UCF would do a great job, there could be a professional in the community that could do it better, and they should give them that opportunity.  He stated that the vehicle they choose to study this issue would be one of the goals to come out of the March 15 meeting.

Mr. Gray clarified that the March 15 meeting was the second meeting with the cities regarding fire services, so they could add this as well, and he would be more than happy to meet with Mr. Jim Judge and start that process of looking at the organization as well.

Commr Cadwell suggested that Mr. Gray include Mr. Minkoff, who has been part of this process since it started, as a resource.

Commr. Hill asked if any representatives from any of the cities would like to speak.

Mr. Ray Goodgame, Clermont City Council Member, commented that the way that their fire department and EMS work together is an example of how they economize and provide the best service available to all of their citizens, and he did not know how they could replace what they have right now, which was a system that handles all of their fire department dispatching as well as EMS dispatching.  He noted that they have EMS vehicles in their fire stations, and those entities working closely saves money for the city as well as EMS.  He opined that someone could lowball an estimate or price during the RFP process, but that company could be asking for more money a year or two years later to bring it up to the service level that they already have.  He requested to continue to let that service run smoothly, and he did not think there was any visible evidence that things are not being run efficiently.  He believed they were going in the wrong direction and that this was a subject he thought should be dropped.  He suggested that the County get someone to look over the whole system to see if they could make improvements regarding employees, administration, or finances.

Mr. Tony Rosado, Mascotte City Council Member, stated that he wanted to make sure that they work together when they make decisions that impact both the County and the citizens of their cities, and he commented that he was in favor of checks and balances and accountability.  He commented that he did not know how they could sign a contract for the service every year and not make sure at that time that they were getting their money’s worth, and they have to make sure that whoever they are comparing with is at the same level as the EMS system that they currently have.

Commr. Hill asked for those who were prepared to speak in favor of the current EMS system to raise their hands, as well as those with a different opinion.

Commr. Conner opined that Commr. Campione and Commr. Cadwell’s suggestion was a reasonable approach, and he stated that their County Manager needed to be prepared to give them some level of comparison to other areas by that March 15 meeting.

addendum  no. 1-I

review of cost estimates of the ecoc

Mr. Gray recapped that in January the Board gave direction to move forward with the project, as well as work with their construction manager and an independent cost estimator to look to see if they could lower the price of this project.  He reported that they have met with them and scrutinized the numbers.

Mr. Christian Swenson, Facilities Director, recapped that the Board approved a total project budget in September of roughly $11.1 million, including bricks and mortar type things as well as allowances for FF&E, Audio-Visual equipment, and architecture costs.  He related that they hired an independent estimator and had the construction manager do an estimate, who both came up with similar but different numbers, and after they met and reconciled the two estimates, they came up with the estimate that they had before them which was roughly $11.6 million.  He noted that there were a few reasons why the estimates were higher, such as underestimated site development costs by almost $160,000.  He also explained that the hardening of the central energy plant was the largest cost increase, from $1.2 million to $1.8 million, and installation of the generator to pick up the Tavares Lift Station No. 11 which was proposed to be $40,000 is actually estimated to be $95,000.  He reported that staff looked at how to add efficiencies to the building and to cut the costs, including a size reduction of the building from the basic 34,000 square feet down to 31,000 square feet, downgrading to more economic interior finishes, and reduction of programming to provide more joint-use space.  They also felt that the FF&E and AV equipment costs could be reduced by about 27 percent by buying less of those items, and they thought it would be prudent to add a 20 percent reduction in all of the other allowances that were not fixed.  He reported that their goal was to reduce the total cost of the project to $9.9 million, keeping the plan intact as it was currently, and he pointed out that the estimates were based on middle-of-the road rather than low bids, and the actual costs will remain unknown until the GMP arrives with staff continuing to reduce costs and to keep the Board informed of their progress.

Commr. Hill commented that she did not want to jeopardize the sizeable Central Energy Grant in order to get the cost down, which would cost them more in the long run.

Commr. Cadwell asked if they get the project down to $9 million, how much of that was state and federal.

Mr. Swenson answered that there was $3 million of grant funds that could be used for new construction and another grant of up to $1.5 million that they could use for hardening only which pays $50,000 for design services and was driving the May 31 deadline for plan submission.

Commr. Parks inquired what the County was responsible to pay for.

Mr. Swenson answered that it was roughly $5.4 million, and he noted that he believed it would be difficult to get the project cost down to $9 million, since he has already tried to reduce the cost as much as possible and keep the integrity of the program.

Commr. Conner opined that they were looking at between $9.5 and $10 million for the project, with all of the reductions that have already been made.

Mr. Swenson responded that that was accurate.

Commr. Conner pointed out that he has been consistent in opposing this project from the beginning, but he appreciated the effort that the Board has seen by staff to reduce the cost of the project, showing that culturally they are trying to spend less money than they had in the past.  However, he commented that he did not think the County could afford this project.

Commr. Parks responded that he recognized that they were reducing this project so that it was getting to the point of being bare to the bone, and he pointed out that if they do not build it, they were sending grant money back.  He commented that although he did not want to make the project into a big government “monster,” he personally believed they needed a new EOC and that the benefit to having the joint communication center coming together is something very worthwhile.  He added that he believed that the penny sales tax is designed for an infrastructure public safety project like this, but he was concerned about spending this amount of money.

Mr. Gray passed out a listing of projected renewal sales tax capital projects, and he explained that it showed a worst-case scenario of that fund.  He also pointed out that although it does dip down in year 2013, it goes right back up in the out years, and they would not be spending all of the funds over the next couple of years.  He opined that they were comfortable that this fund could sustain the project.

Commr. Parks clarified that this would be a one-time payment out of the 2012 fund.

Mr. Gray responded that was what they had it funded out of.

Mr. Swenson clarified that the grant requires that it be spent by 2012.

Commr. Conner suggested showing both scenarios for both the $9.5 and the $9.9 million for the project on the list.

Mr. Gray noted that typically they go through that during their budget process, and the Board could change the priorities of projects that are listed in the out years.

Commr. Parks asked about other options and existing buildings that they have looked at for the project.

Mr. Jerry Smith, Emergency Management Director, reported that they have looked at about 16 different properties over the last five years, and he pointed out that at this point they would never meet the May 31 deadline to get engineered plans turned in to be able to utilize the $1.5 million for the hardening portion if they picked another site.

Commr. Conner commented that they did not have to harden the energy plant for this project, and they could harden just the main EOC building to meet the 160 mph wind load.

Mr. Smith responded that the energy plant was a central emergency ancillary building which would satisfy their need for redundant power and air conditioning, and they would have to add those redundant services to the building if they did not harden the central energy plant, which would require more funds from the County.  He also mentioned that the central energy plant would provide backup energy to the Judicial Center, the Administration Building, the current Public Defender’s building, and any other building that it was capable of supporting.

Commr. Campione stated that when she started to scrutinize this, she felt strongly that their current dispatch situation was a real need and that they needed to relocate, enlarge, and upgrade it.  She commented, however, that the sales tax revenue caused her real concern that there was danger of not being able to meet the priorities that have already been set in the past, as well as anything else that could come up in the future, and that it would pretty much tie their hands for several years.  She was also concerned about the economy as a whole, the uncertainty of the cost of construction, and that this was not the right time to be building a brand new building of this magnitude.  She stated that she believed they should go back and look at whether there were other buildings that they could use that would take care of their EOC needs and that they move ahead very quickly with upgrading their dispatch without taking on construction of a new building at this time when there was so much uncertainty.

Commr. Cadwell commented that he did not know how they would upgrade dispatch without additional room, and moving people to the historic courthouse was just a very short-term fix.

Commr. Parks agreed that that location would not be large enough to combine EMS and 911 services, and they would have to build a new building if they wanted the two communication centers to be located together, since it would not fit in any of the existing buildings.

Commr. Cadwell added that in the long range of doing EMS and fire for all of the cities, it would be important for them to be in the same building and on the same floor, and he opined that to spend this money and not do it the right way now would be a waste of an opportunity of $4.5 million from the federal government.  He commented that if the tornadoes would have hit a remodeled building that they did not harden as well as they should have, the County would have been shut down with no communication or a central place to administer aid.

Commr. Hill noted that she saw some projects listed that could be moved out of the sales tax and into another funding item to free up more revenue, and she thought that currently this was the most cost-effective and scrutinized project they have undertaken.

Commr. Parks commented that he would not want to be in any kind of deficit situation regarding the sales tax for this project, and he felt that the cost needed to be close to $9 million for him to move forward.

Commr. Conner commented that they have already scaled the project down considerably and decreased the square footage, and he felt that any more downsizing would result in affecting the functionality of the building.  He also opined that they needed to make a decision that day, because of the grant money and before the architect has ended the schematic and would be getting into the design and development phase, which would cost the County additional money.  He also commented that if they were really committed to having centralized dispatch, they could probably not build a building as inexpensively as they could build this.  He asked Mr. Swenson whether he anticipated an escalation of prices between now and June for materials.

Mr. Swenson responded that it was difficult for him to predict, and he noted that PPI was better able to give estimates on construction costs than he was.

Mr. Nate Woodend, Project Manager from PPI, stated that he has seen the prices of steel and possibly copper and bronze going up lately, but he has not seen the affect yet of petroleum prices on materials.

Commr. Hill stated that they wanted to get to the point that they could lock in some numbers at today’s prices, since she expected those prices to increase.

Commr. Campione asked to what extent they would be able to lock those prices in.

Mr. Minkoff responded that they lock in the prices when they do the GMP, although there would be exception if there was a major war or a hurricane.

Commr. Campione stated that she was not prepared to support building a new building right now in good faith and she did not think that it was the right time to do it.

 On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried by a vote of 3-2, the Board voted to move forward with the project, but limiting the amount of the project to $9 million, with the County continuing to search for additional funding.

Commr. Campione and Commr. Conner voted “no.”


proclamation for national county government month

Commr. Hill related during the month of April, they would also be recognizing their veterans and armed forces, as well as their families, among other events to commemorate National County Government Month.  She stated that they would have a military display that would be honoring the veterans at their historic museum.

On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Proclamation No. 2011-28 proclaiming April as National County Government Month.

summerall portrait update

Commr. Hill informed the Board that she has met with the Summerall family regarding the portrait in the historic museum, and they were taking the steps to find out which appropriate family member it should be returned to and making sure all of the family members understand what the County is doing.

reports – commissioner conner – district 3

town meeting with congressman webster

Commr. Conner mentioned that the town meeting with Congressman Dan Webster was well attended.

REPORTS – COMMISSIONER campione – vice chairman and DISTRICT 4

east lake chamber of commerce dinner

Commr. Campione related that she would not be able to attend Wednesday’s MPO meeting, because she will be in a boat on the Wekiva River participating in an evaluation of possible bridge scenarios and designs for the Parkway crossing.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:15 p.m.



jennifer hill, chairman