october 30, 2012

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 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:  Leslie Campione, Chairman; Jennifer Hill, Vice Chairman; Sean Parks; Jimmy Conner; and Welton G. Cadwell.  Others present were:  David Heath, 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 Shannon Treen, Deputy Clerk.

state of the county

Commr. Campione welcomed everyone to the County’s State of the County event and the induction of one inductee to the Women’s Hall of Fame, and she recognized the elected officials that were there that morning, including Sheriff Gary Borders; Mr. Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; Ms. Sanna Henderson, Mayor of the City of Leesburg; Mr. Jay Evans, Leesburg City Manager; Mr. Jim Miller, School Board Member; and Ms. Rosanne Brandeburg, Chairman of the School Board.  She also recognized Mr. Tim Sullivan, who was the Commissioner Elect.

INVOCATION and pledge

Commr. Conner gave the Invocation, and Commr. Parks led the Pledge of Allegiance.

2012 women’s hall of fame

Commr. Campione stated that the newest inductee to the Women’s Hall of Fame was Dr. Gwendolyn McLin and related that she has worked to improve the lives of Lake County residents particularly with children in the community through efforts to reform and improve the education system.

Commr. Cadwell presented Dr. McLin with her award, commenting that she is a longtime resident of Lake County and has lived in the Leesburg area with her family for almost 50 years.  He indicated that she graduated from the University of Florida (UF) with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and later returned to UF to retain her Masters and a Doctorate in Education.  He related that Dr. McLin was instrumental in establishing the first Head Start program which advocates early intervention as a key component in breaking the cycle of poverty and that she was also president of a Leesburg daycare center which helped young mothers who could not afford daycare have a quality place for their kids to go to while they worked.  He pointed out that her career as a teacher started at Leesburg High School, in which she taught English, Creative Writing, Journalism, American and British Literature, and as a professor at Lake-Sumter Community College.  He stated that she served as Chairman of the Florida Endowment for Humanities, as Vice-President of the Lake-Sumter Community College Foundation, and as a board member of the Friends of the Leesburg Public Library.  He also noted that she was appointed to the Florida Board of Regents, which governs Florida’s State University System, in 1995 by Governor Lawton Chiles.  He mentioned that she became a publisher and author in 1993 co-writing God Bless the U.S.A.: Biography of a Song with country music star Lee Greenwood, and the profits from the sale were donated to organizations in Lake County.  He added that during her tenure, she recognized the benefits of online distance learning in rural areas with a strong support of Florida’s post-secondary distance and learning institute.  He expressed that her commitment to helping others is evident by her long list of civic contributions in the education field and that she exemplifies what it means to be a role model to others in the community and her family.

Dr. McLin gave credit for her accomplishments to the strong encouragement of her husband Walt McLin.  She emphasized that Lake County was fortunate to have thousands of individuals who donated their time, excitement, and encouragement to help worthy causes and that even throughout America there were people giving for so many causes.  She commented that her award represented the achievements of all the Lake County workers and givers, and she thanked them as well.

presentation of award to commissioner jennifer hill

Commr. Campione expressed that Commr. Hill had served the community in many capacities over the years, including serving for the past 12 years as a County Commissioner, some of that time as Chairman, and was extremely dedicated and committed to improving the lives of residents in Lake County, as well as to her family.  She related that it was a privilege serving with Commr. Hill, and she admired the amount of time she spent being prepared for the variety of topics and issues they addressed and that she was always the voice of reason to remind the Board about unintended consequences of their actions of adding more rules and regulations.

Commr. Hill stated that it was an honor to be recognized, and it was a privilege to see Lake County flourish with the accomplishments they made to enhance the quality of life for the residents.  She briefly discussed those accomplishments, which included the construction of fire stations, bridges, and road improvements as well as the creation of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the public transportation system.  She added that there were additional libraries, community centers and parks, and that she was extremely happy about the creation of the children’s boundless playground at Wooton Park.  She noted that some issues that arose required vigilance and determination to ensure that the best long-term decisions were being made for the community.  She explained that when she first came into office there was pending litigation regarding the County’s Waste-to-Energy Facility, but she was proud that they were able to negotiate a new contract and save millions of dollars for Lake County taxpayers.  She related that there was also a rapid influx of new residents in the area which caused a demand in more services.  She mentioned that great strides have been taken by the Board to invest in technology by integrating and upgrading their computers and offering more electronic facilities for the public and for businesses.  She commented that she was also proud of supporting the expansion of facility infrastructure for the constitutional officers, such as the Sheriff’s Substation in South Lake, the new Tax Collector and Property Appraiser Offices, and the expansion of the Judicial Center.  She stated that it had been an honor to serve with her fellow commissioners for the past 12 years, and she thanked the constitutional officers, the dedicated County staff, and the community for their support.

Commr. Campione then presented Commr. Hill with a plaque recognizing her 12 years of service as a Lake County Commissioner from 2000 to 2012, as well as a rendering of the new Judicial Center, and Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, presented Commr. Hill with a street sign with her name on it.

state of the county address

Commr. Campione stated that a lot of thought went into the title of the State of the County, which was “Overcoming Challenges, Seizing Opportunities, and Strengthening Our Economy.”  She mentioned that the achievements they made over the past year as County Commissioners were done through their dedicated employees, noting that the employees go beyond the call of duty to enhance the quality and level of service provided to the residents and the business community.  She commented that the County was also appreciative of the partners in the community, including the municipalities; the education partners such as Lake-Sumter Community College, Lake Technical Center, Beacon College, the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida, and the School Board; and the volunteers in the Lake County community.  She added that the County had overcome some very difficult times and that they had done a great job of balancing the different roles the people in the community played to make Lake County a place that everyone could be proud of.

The video presentation highlighted some of the County’s achievements over the past year, which included the first annual Economic Development Summit for business leaders, entrepreneurs and workforce partners, as well as an industry roundtable program to focus on growing the existing airspace and manufacturing industries.  A workforce development workshop was held in conjunction with the American College Testing program to discuss strategies for preparing students to be work ready in a variety of fields in the region, several meetings were held with the business community to share programs and support offered through Workforce Central Florida, and the County libraries utilized partnerships through the Adult Literacy Program to provide residents with the training and skills needed to be viable members of the workforce.  The County was able to designate areas in Eustis, Leesburg, and Mascotte as a Florida Enterprise Zone for tax incentives, and the Mt. Plymouth/Sorrento Community Redevelopment Area was created to assist in funding for enhancements to infrastructure and promote redevelopment and revitalization.  It was noted that the online permitting streamlined the process to make it more convenient for Lake County residents and builders, and a reciprocal preference ordinance was passed to help maximize competition among bidders and to emphasize the awarding of contracts to local businesses.  In the efforts to increase customer service, each department was certified business friendly through in-office training sessions, the Economic Development staff made over 300 site visits to local businesses to provide information on assistance and available incentives, a new Economic Development website was launched, and two new Business Opportunity Centers were opened in Eustis and Groveland to help facilitate the growth of small businesses in Lake County.  The presentation pointed out that the County diligently worked to protect, nurture and improve the natural resources by implementing the aquatic plant management program which treated more than 1,200 acres of invasive aquatic plants, by cleaning up the Dora Canal to preserve and promote safe passage during low water levels, and by helping create pilot programs aimed at improving the ecology of Lake Apopka and facilitating bird watching, sport fishing and recreational opportunities on the lake.  It was stated that the Adopt-A-Lake Program received grants for outreach efforts in North Lake County and that some of the funds were used to install floating vegetation islands, known as Beemats, on Lake Joanna to help improve the water quality.  The presentation mentioned that the Tourism Impact Model was created to gauge the economic impact of the various festivals and celebrations in the County and also reported that the they hosted the Central Florida Landscape and Garden Fair and the Inaugural Wings and Wildflowers Festival.  The County also entered into a partnership with Minneola to lease the Minneola Athletic Complex to provide residents with access to active recreational opportunities in South Lake County.  It was noted that improvements were made to several County boat ramps, such as the construction of a floating dock and gangway at the Astatula Boat Ramp and restroom facilities at the Johns Lake and Palatlakaha River Boat Ramps, as well as significant progress was made in the design of the Lake Apopka Northshore Overlook and Trailhead.

The presentation noted that the County offered many programs to promote environmentally friendly agricultural practices and support local farm owners, such as the small farms program, the farm safety day, a myriad of garden classes, and educational outreach by Lake County Extension.  Also, a 1,200 gallon cistern and rooftop solar panels were installed at the Horticultural Learning Center.  In order to become more efficient and fiscally responsible, the County centralized the fleet operation vehicles and equipment, a new system was started to ensure that vehicles and equipment received necessary repairs and preventative maintenance, the inventory process was streamlined, a new five-year budget model was created for long-term budget planning, and a new grant tracking process was implemented to evaluate local match requirements and long-term financial obligations.  By utilizing in-house expertise to complete topographic mapping and grading at the Central Solid Waste Facility, $100,000 was saved and an additional $90,000 in revenues was realized from the sale of the commodities with the new scrap metal agreement.  It was reported that more than 600 participants in the volunteer services program contributed over 23,000 hours of service to the animal shelter, libraries, teen court and other departments; the P.E.A.R. Association volunteers helped with the restoration of the scrub jay habitat through fundraising efforts; and online donations were made to the animal spay/neuter fund through the Adopt-A-Pet webpage.  In addition, the Mt. Plymouth community clean-up netted 58,000 pounds of bulk items, 3,800 pounds of household hazardous waste, and 40 pounds of prescription medications.  It was noted that over 37,000 pounds of household hazardous waste and nearly 1,000 pounds of prescription medication was collected for disposal through regular prescription drug take back and chemical collection events.  Also, community improvements were made, such as the demolition and rehabilitation of 13 single-family homes for low to moderate income families and the rehabilitation of six homes for resale to income eligible families.  The County also implemented the Work in Lieu of Arrest Program which diverted nearly 40 juveniles from the court system and implemented another program that allowed offenders participating in pre-trial intervention to donate food and supplies to the animal shelter in lieu of community service hours.  The presentation pointed out that the County completed the Lakeshore Bridge construction and the expansion of Hooks Street in Clermont, as well as installed over 3,000 linear feet of sidewalk along St. Clair Abrams Avenue in Tavares and implemented new traffic signal timing measures to save motorists time and fuel.  The County also treated thousands of acres to help control the mosquito population, joined the national Smart911 network so that residents could create safety profiles with vital information in case of an emergency, installed a generator at Spring Creek Elementary School, and transitioned from Lake-Sumter EMS to Lake EMS.

Commr. Campione thanked all of the people involved in making county government function, the constitutional officers, and her fellow commissioners and expressed that it had been a challenging year and will continue to be a challenge as they moved forward under the difficult economic times, but she looked forward to many good years to come.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:48 a.m.



leslie campione, chairman