A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
december 18, 2012
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, December 18, 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; Jimmy Conner, Vice Chairman; Timothy I. Sullivan; Sean Parks; and Welton G. Cadwell. Others present were: David Heath, County Manager; Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Niki Booth, Office Associate V, County Manager’s Office; Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Shannon Treen, Deputy Clerk.
moment of silence
Commr. Campione called for a Moment of Silence to show support to the families of the victims, the school personnel, and the community of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
INVOCATION and pledge
Reverend Dr. Isaac Deas from The Father’s House in Leesburg gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commr. Campione requested to add a Proclamation regarding Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to her business.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to add the proclamation to the agenda.
Mr. David Heath, County Manager, mentioned that Addendum No. 1-IA would be included in the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, and he requested to pull Tab 10 from the Consent Agenda so that it could be addressed during Tab 30, which was the Economic Development and Tourism quarterly update.
presentation of proclamation for lake county’s 125th birthday
Commr. Conner read and presented Proclamation No. 2012-149 celebrating Lake County’s 125th Birthday to Ms. Gail Morris with the Lake County Historical Society.
citizen question and comment period
There was no one present who wished to address the Board.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 7, as follows:
List of Warrants
Request to acknowledge receipt of the 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.
Notice of Meeting/Workshop Hearings Regarding Water and Wastewater Utility Systems
Request to acknowledge receipt of a Notice of Meeting/Workshop Hearings on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. in both Pasco County and at the Eustis Community Center, 601 North Shore Drive, Eustis to discuss issues of concern of investor-owned water and wastewater utility systems and research possible solutions, as well as cover memo explaining the reason for these meetings.
Country Greens Community Development District
Request to acknowledge receipt of a letter and Resolution 2013-2 from Country Greens Community Development District stating that Roy Van Wyk of Hopping, Green & Sams, P.A. has been selected as its new Registered Agent.
Notice of Application for Raintree Harbor Utilities, LLC
Request to acknowledge receipt of a notice of application for amendment of certificate extension for Raintree Harbor Utilities, LLC. in Lake County, Florida, pursuant to Section 367.045, Florida Statutes.
Notice of Public Hearing for Variance from City of Umatilla
Request to acknowledge receipt of a Notice of Public Hearing for Variance from City of Umatilla for their Proposed Resolution 2012-42 granting a variance to the LDR requirements pertaining to the dimensional requirements for minimum lot size, setbacks, and septic tank requirements for property located north of Maxwell Road and west of SR 19 and owned by Baybrook Homes, Inc., as well as Notice of Public Hearing for Annexation, Rezoning, and Future Land Use from the City of Umatilla for three proposed Ordinances regarding annexation, zoning, and land use designation for the above-mentioned property.
Lands Available List
Request to acknowledge receipt of property placed on the Lands Available List. Lake County has until February 25, 2013 to purchase property from Lands Available List before it is available to the public.
Request to acknowledge receipt of BCC-103 Judicial Center Expansion Review Interim Report audit report.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 21 and Addendum No. 1-IA, pulling Tab 10 as follows:
Request for approval of new contract 12-0432 for Revenue Sharing Transit Advertising to Graphics Direct, Inc., Clermont, Florida, and approve termination of previous contract 10-0603 for the same effort. Annual Fiscal Impact (revenue) is dependent upon advertising volume, but is estimated to be below $10,000.
Request for approval and signature on the Joint Participation Agreement for the Public Transit Block Grant with the Florida Department of Transportation for funding of the Public Transportation Division's operating expenses and approval and signature on the supporting Resolution No. 2012-154. The fiscal impact is $1,521,886.00 (County Match: $760,943.00 / Grant Funded: $760,943.00) (Expense).
Conservation and Compliance
Request for approval of Resolution No. 2012-155 designating Lake County Probation Services as Lake County Office of Substance Abuse Policy. There is no fiscal impact.
Economic Development and Tourism
Request for approval of the Amendment to the Business Assistance Program Agreement with Beacon College. The fiscal impact is $25,000 (expense).
Request for approval of the Amended and Restated Agreement for Small Business Development Center services with the University of Central Florida. The fiscal impact is $150,000 (expense).
Request for approval of award of up to and not to exceed $25,000.00 to NeuLife Neurological Services, LLC, for the creation of (5) five qualifying positions and approval and signature on the Business Assistance Incentive Program Agreement with NeuLife Neurological Services, LLC, and the Lake County Board of County Commissioners. The fiscal impact is $25,000 (expense).
Request for approval of a High Value Job Creation Program (HVJCP) Award in the amount of $43,000.00 to NeuLife Neurological Services, LLC for the creation of eleven (11) qualifying positions and approval and signature on the HVJCP Program Agreement with NeuLife Neurological Services, LLC and the Lake County Board of County Commissioners. The fiscal impact is $43,000 (expense).
Facilities Development and Management
Request for approval of contract 13-0202 for Fencing at Communications / Fleet Facility, to Randy's Fencing, Umatilla, Florida. The fiscal impact is $31,234 (Expense).
Request for approval of the LCSO request to provide parking area gates at the Lake County Detention Center. The fiscal impact is approximately $60,000.
Request to acknowledge receipt of final report on Lake County's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG). There is no fiscal impact.
Request to approve use of current and successor contracts competitively awarded by or adopted by the State of Florida for purchase of various items of budgeted Information Technology (IT) equipment on an as-needed basis, and authorize the procurement office to execute any implementing documentation. There is no fiscal impact at this time.
Request for approval to purchase Motorola services to provide for Radio Equipment Relocation for the new Emergency Communications & Operations Center. The fiscal impact is $206,000.00 previously approved and funded in ECOC budget (Expense).
Request to approve transfer of funds from Public Safety/Fire Rescue repair and maintenance operating budget to capital expense budget for driveway and electrical repair improvements at Lake County Fire Station 72 (Leesburg). The fiscal impact is $29,267.
Request to approve the Lake County Public Right of Way ADA Transition Plan. Fiscal Impact: to be budgeted in the annual Five Year Transportation Construction Program.
Request for approval and signature on Resolution No. 2012-156 authorizing the reduction of the speed limit from 45 MPH to 40 MPH on North Hancock Road (1354) from Jim Hunt Road, north to Fosgate Road in the Clermont area, Commissioner District 2. Section 9, Township 22, Range 26. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval for Re-certification of the Local Agency Qualification Agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). There is no fiscal impact. Commission District: Countywide.
Request for approval and authorization for Chairman to execute a satisfaction and release of lien for four (4) special assessments. There is no fiscal impact. Commission Districts 4 and 5.
Request for approval and signature of Resolution No. 2012-157 to Advertise Public Hearing to vacate four (4) side yard utility easements. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 2.
Request for approval and signature of Resolution No. 2012-158 to Advertise Public Hearing to vacate right of way in the Plat of Clermont Farms. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 1.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 22 through 25, as follows:
Request for approval of Lease Agreement Between Lake County and Greater Altoona Society, Inc. for the McTureous Property located at 42118 State Road 19 in Altoona.
Request for approval of Lease Agreement Between Lake County and Charles Bradshaw for office space. There is no additional fiscal impact from lease approved October 23, 2012.
Request for approval and execution of Resolution No. 2012-159 delegating authority to the County Manager, in conjunction with the approval of the County Attorney, to enter into settlement agreements and/or payment plans, to approve writing off old debt in the amount of $5,000 or less, and to delegate authority to the County Attorney to file foreclosure suits or seek injunctive relief concerning County debt collection. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval of Lease Agreement Between Lake County and Farner and Barley Partnership for Lease Space located at 323 N. Sinclair Avenue in Tavares. The fiscal impact for the first year of the lease is $34,500 (expense).
Recognition of Linda Nagle with the Home Builder's Association
Commr. Campione presented Ms. Linda Nagle with a plaque recognizing her years of service as the Executive Director with the Lake-Sumter Home Builder's Association (HBA) and member of the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) from 2009 to 2012. She expressed that Ms. Nagle had attended numerous meetings and had given her input on issues such as infrastructure and impact fees, and she thanked her for her service.
Ms. Nagle then introduced her successor, Ms. Carolyn Maimone.
Commr. Parks mentioned that Ms. Nagle had attended every CFAC meeting, and he appreciated all of her ideas and energy that she brought to the CFAC.
Commr. Conner noted that Ms. Nagle had represented the home builders with professionalism and integrity and that she would be missed.
Ms. Mary Hamilton, Environmental Services Manager, gave a presentation on the Adopt-a-Lake Program, stating that the purpose of the program was to protect, preserve, and restore the natural water resources through community education and volunteer participation. She indicated that the Board approved the program in January 2008 and that the main feature of the program was water quality monitoring. She added that there were 34 monitored sites, and there have been 1,222 samples collected and 2,396 volunteer hours spent on the sample collection. She gave a listing of the water bodies throughout the County that were sampled including Alexander Springs Run, Lake Joanna, and Lake Yale. She related that another component of the program was pollution prevention and that volunteers had spent 688 hours collecting approximately 5,000 pounds of litter. She noted that the monofilament fishing line recycling resulted in the removal of 25 miles of fishing line and that the Tavares High School service class helped put together 14 of the bins that were installed. She stated that the County held over 91 educational outreach events and had about 6,000 total attendees. She discussed the water quality improvement projects the County was currently doing and mentioned that they were conducting water quality monitoring, installing shoreline aquatic plants, removing invasive plants, and providing education outreach for Silver Lake, Lake Winona, Lake Joanna, and Lake Umatilla. She indicated that the County created the Adopt-a-Lake calendar in 2009 as a thank you gift for the volunteers and that they started the photo contest for the calendar in 2010. She then recognized the volunteers that were present that day and mentioned that there had been approximately 80 volunteers that ranged from ages 12 to 82 who had given about 3,133 total volunteer hours.
Commr. Campione thanked the volunteers for giving their time and asked them to continue to help, because the lakes were one of the County’s most important assets.
ordinance regarding homestead exemption for senior citizens
Mr. Minkoff placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for its first and final reading by title only as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA; AMENDING AND/OR RESTATING CHAPTER 13, ARTICLE XIII, ADDITIONAL HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION, SECTIONS 13-290 THROUGH 13-294, LAKE COUNTY CODE; PROVIDING FOR AN ADDITIONAL HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN QUALIFYING SENIOR CITIZENS; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; PROVIDING FOR FILING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the ordinance was for Amendment 11 that was passed on the November 2012 ballot and that it required a 4/5 vote by the Board of County Commissioners for approval. He added that there were different opinions throughout the State amongst county attorneys, property appraisers, and the Department of Revenue of whether it would be implemented in 2013 or 2014. He related that the ordinance would provide an additional homestead exemption for a just value of less than $250,000 for anyone who has lived in that home for at least 25 years, has attained the age of 65, and has a household income of $20,000 or less. He indicated that there were about 1,200 senior citizens who already received the additional homestead which raised their homestead up to $75,000. He noted that the fiscal impact would not be great, because many of the senior citizens already had the full homestead or would not even qualify for the additional, but they would not know exactly until all of the applications had been completed. He added that 62 percent of Lake County voters voted in favor of the amendment.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2012-75 providing for an Additional Homestead Exemption for Certain Qualifying Senior Citizens.
public hearings: rezoning
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Planning and Community Design Manager, showed on the monitor that the hearings had been properly advertised and stated that there were no changes to the agenda.
rezoning consent agenda
Commr. Campione asked what the County’s recourse would be if infrastructure was installed on the solar farm and then it no longer operated as a solar farm.
Mr. Minkoff replied that the County would require that any improvements done on that property be kept in compliance with the Florida Building Code and the Property Maintenance Code, and it would become a code enforcement issue if it was not in compliance.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Rezoning Consent Agenda as follows:
Tab 1. Ordinance No. 2012-76
Edward and Virginia Traylor
Traylor Property Rezoning
Request to rezone 0.31 +/- acres from Light Industrial (LM) to Planned Commercial (CP) to permit Neighborhood Commercial (C-1) uses, self-service/RV storage, and warehousing on the property.
Tab 2. Ordinance No. 2012-77
City of Eustis/P. Berg/Sorrento Solar Farm LLC
Sorrento Solar Farm Rezoning Amendment
Request to amend Community Facility District (CFD) Ordinance #2001-78 for 305 +/- acres to add a Solar Energy Facility use, combine existing uses allowed by Ordinance, and rescind/replace Ordinance #2001-78.
comprehensive plan amendment
Mr. Sheahan recalled that this amendment was originally brought up months ago during the Pine Lakes hearing when a Dollar Store wanted to come in to that district. He added that the Board thought the current restriction of 5,000 square feet and the limitation on impervious surface was too small to accommodate the needs of rural support corridors, so they directed staff to make those changes for the residents in those communities. He explained that the amendment would increase the impervious surface ratio from 20 percent to 30 percent, which was currently allowed only for agricultural, civic and recreational uses, and it would increase the building size from 5,000 to 10,000 square feet. He noted that the Friends of the Wekiva River had concerns regarding the building size and the compatibility with the rural environment, but most of their concerns were already addressed in the Comprehensive Plan. He related that requirements through planned commercial districts had been instituted until the Land Development Regulations were revised. He mentioned that this was a large scale comprehensive plan amendment, and they would be transmitting it to the Department of Economic Opportunity for comment and review. He added that he expected to bring it back to the Board in February 2013 for final adoption. He also noted that the Planning and Zoning Board had a 3-2 vote and that the two dissenting members were concerned with compatibility.
Commr. Campione asked if the amendment would ensure a certain level of quality that was consistent and compatible with the surrounding area.
Mr. Sheahan answered “yes.”
Commr. Cadwell commented that he appreciated staff’s work on this, because some of the things that businesses could not do did not make any sense.
Commr. Parks expressed that he supported the change because it was good for business.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Rural Support Corridor Amendment LPA# 12/5-2, which was an amendment to increase maximum impervious surface ratio in Rural Support Corridors from 20 percent to 30 percent and to increase the maximum permitted building size from 5,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet within all Rural Support Corridors.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) III
Ms. Cheryl Howell, Housing Services Manager, gave a presentation regarding the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), stating that they were requesting approval of a substantial amendment to the NSP 3 and amended agreements with LifeStream Behavioral Center and Homes in Partnership. She recalled that the NSP was a federally funded program established for the purpose of stabilizing communities that had suffered from foreclosures and abandonment and that the primary activities were for the purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed, abandoned homes and residential properties. She discussed the current funded activities of the program and stated that the initial plans focused heavily on homeownership activities and that the funds were to be used to acquire 17 homes for homeownership opportunities and eight to 16 units for low-income rental. She noted that LifeStream Behavior Center was awarded $268,627 to acquire and redevelop two single family homes for shared living, the City of Leesburg was awarded $360,000 to acquire and redevelop a 12 unit apartment complex and two single family homes for low-income rental, Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter Counties was awarded $365,010 to acquire and redevelop six single family homes for purchase by very low-income families, and Homes In Partnership was awarded $1,765,990 to acquire and redevelop 11 single family homes for moderate income families. She mentioned that $2,079,730 was set aside to serve low and moderate income families, and $799,897 was set aside to serve low to very low income families. She indicated that the NSP 3 required that 25 percent of the award be used for families 50 percent and below the median family income, and 50 percent of the award must be expended by March 2013. She stated that they were proposing to award LifeStream $1,679,000 to acquire and redevelop one multifamily 35-unit complex in Leesburg utilizing reallocated funds, because in 2014 they would lose 65 percent of the affordable housing units in Lake County. She noted that they were also proposing to expand the target areas to improve the projected home search.
Commr. Campione asked what kind of units the complex had.
Ms. Howell replied that there was a mixture of one to three bedroom townhouses and cottages.
Commr. Campione asked if LifeStream would be the manager of the complex and make the decisions about qualifying the individuals.
Ms. Howell answered “yes,” adding that LifeStream would be the owner of the project, but the County would help out with some of the technical aspects throughout the redevelopment portion. She noted that staff would spot check the files annually to ensure that the qualifying individuals met the income requirements and that the properties stayed up to standards. She related that there would also be a land use restriction agreement on the property so that it could not be sold.
Commr. Conner asked who currently owned the property and if there had been an appraised and market value.
Ms. Howell answered that it was bank owned and that the appraised value came in at about $780,000. She added that the market value was assessed based on comparable sales in the area and on the value of other properties in the area. She noted that the market value came out to be more than the appraised value, but through regulation they could not purchase the property for greater than what the appraised value was.
Commr. Conner asked if they did one appraisal or if they did three appraisals and then took the average of those.
Ms. Howell stated that they could not afford to do three appraisals.
Commr. Conner asked how much money was being allocated to renovate each unit.
Ms. Howell responded that approximately $850,000 was set aside for the acquisition of the complex, and approximately $750,000 was set aside for the redevelopment of the units.
Commr. Conner mentioned that it would cost around $46,000 per unit for acquisition and rehab.
Commr. Parks asked what the square footage of each unit was.
Ms. Howell answered that the smaller units were 725 square feet, and the larger units were 825 square feet.
Commr. Cadwell noted that some of those dollars were being invested in the complex itself and not just the units.
Commr. Conner asked what the cost of new construction would be for a similar sized unit.
Ms. Howell replied that the funds could not be used for new construction, adding that affordable rental homes were very limited in Lake County.
Mr. Minkoff commented that the money would also have to be used to acquire the land; to put in parking, infrastructure, water, and sewer; and for impact fees if they built new construction.
Commr. Sullivan pointed out that the abandoned property was bank owned, was not on the tax rolls and was located in the City of Leesburg, which had some of the lowest income families in the County, so it made perfect sense to rehabilitate the property to provide families a stable place to live.
Commr. Conner asked if LifeStream would have to pay property taxes on the building.
Mr. Minkoff answered that LifeStream could possibly qualify for exemptions or different classifications since the property was going to be used for low income housing.
Commr. Campione stated that affordable housing was very important, because it stabilized the community and provided opportunities for children to live in clean, safe environments. She added that the value of the property would increase once it was rehabilitated.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) 3 Program and amendments to the agreements with LifeStream Behavioral Center and Homes in Partnership. The fiscal impact is $3,199,585.00 (Expense; 100% Grant Funded).
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM’S QUARTERLY UPDATE
Mr. Scott Blankenship, Economic Development and Tourism Director, gave a presentation on the activities of the Economic Development and Tourism Department during the fourth quarter of 2012 and previewed the plans for the first quarter of 2013. He first discussed the activities of Economic Development and stated that three companies, Vista Clinical, First Class Air Repair, and NeuLife Neurological Services, were awarded incentives totaling $154,000 which was used to help create 72 new jobs. He indicated that they were currently working with Afni, which was a third-party call center in Leesburg, to create 100 new jobs and to establish a training center in the Lake Square Mall. He added that The Big House, which was an indoor recreational facility in Tavares, recently received their Certificate of Occupancy and hired five new employees. He indicated that there was still a lot of work to do with the Christopher C. Ford Commerce Park, because only 59 percent of the 58 total parcels were developed, and 24 percent of the 34 total buildings were still vacant. He explained that the current direct effect for economic impact was over $600 million, but the potential was $1.5 billion if the park was fully developed. He noted that a property owners association was established when the park was first created, but the County has continued to maintain the park because the maintenance was never transitioned over to the association. He added that they planned to transfer the maintenance over and have been exploring options for a business friendly transition plan and timeline. He related that the Information Outreach Department had been working on the design of a monument sign for installation at each entrance of the park, and they planned to start installing the signs at the beginning of 2013. He pointed out that there had been several commercials, television shows and movies that were filmed throughout Lake County, and he noted that they would continue to work with the Florida Film Commission and the Metro Orlando EDC to pursue future film productions in Lake County. He stated that Senninger Irrigation recently asked the County to look at the Granville Avenue road improvement project again because they were willing to make a significant contribution towards the project. He recalled that years ago the County and the City of Clermont met with the property owners on Granville Avenue to discuss the road improvements, and at the time Clermont had been willing to work with the County, but they had some unfavorable annexation requirements for the property owners. He related that Clermont also recently indicated that they would provide additional support as well, so the County wanted to start the project back up.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, explained the financing portion of the project, noting that there would be a special assessment on Granville Avenue. He pointed out that the right of way was privately owned by Senninger, but they agreed to donate it to the County. He specified that the total cost of the project was $238,535, the County’s portion was $118,292.50, Senninger would contribute $50,000, and the property owners would contribute $70,242.50. He added that they planned to bring this project back next month for the special assessment process and would start the road construction a year from now if approved.
Commr. Cadwell asked if any of the other special assessment projects would be delayed because of this one.
Mr. Stivender answered “no,” adding that they still planned to move forward with the other projects.
Commr. Campione expressed that this was a great opportunity for economic development, because businesses would be attracted to those lots, and the tax base would subsequently increase once the road was improved.
Commr. Parks commented that he supported the project, and it would be a stagnant area without the infrastructure in place.
Mr. Blankenship continued the presentation, stating that the rail agreements had been signed by Orange County, Lake County and the cities, and that they have worked on their business retention and expansion program by adding additional support, cycling back to customers and starting training programs. He recalled that the University of Central Florida (UCF) managed the Business Incubator Program in Leesburg for the past three years, but in order to maintain continuity they decided to consolidate the program into one organization that would be managed by Lake Sumter State College. He explained that they recently expanded their contract with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and added a new program called the Small Business Resource Network that worked to engage local professional organizations to come together in support of local businesses. He noted that all of the municipal partners for the Northeast and South Lake Business Opportunity Centers had approved their respective interlocal agreements and that there currently were two incubator clients, Morracash Enterprises International in South Lake and SuperFood.com in North Lake. He related that they also planned to start receiving statistics from the SBDC about how many clients and consultation sessions they have had.
Mr. Blankenship then discussed the activities for Tourism and mentioned that they have awarded about two and a half times the amount in sponsorships to two times as many organizations than they had in 2011. He then gave a timeline of the Tourist Development Council (TDC) Capital Projects Grant Program for the first round in 2013 starting with the pre-submittal conference on February 20, 2013 and ending with the BCC approval on May 21, 2013. He indicated that they were planning for the 2nd Annual Wings and Wildflowers Festival to be held on October 4-6, 2013 and that they had already established two keynote speakers and were promoting the event. He stated that they created a digital discount pass to provide discounts for visitors and partnered with local restaurants, hotels and tourist destinations for that. He related that the first Tourism Roundtable, which involved hoteliers and event organizers, would start in January 2013. He pointed out that besides strengthening the events Lake County already offered, they were always looking for other events to bring in additional revenue. He indicated that they were looking at several events including rowing, professional volleyball, Bike Florida, and remote control car races. He concluded the presentation discussing their activities for the next quarter, which were to stay focused on the manufacturing, aerospace and tourism roundtables; to process the TDC capital projects funding applications for Board approval; to install the Ford Commerce Park signs; to continue with site visits to new companies and revisit previously visited companies; to implement a Customer Resource Management program which maintains a customer relationship contact system; and to work with the Lake County Water Authority to discuss options for the Hickory Point Soccer Complex.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request from Economic Development and Tourism for approval of the amendment to the Agreement with Lake Sumter State College, the City of Leesburg and the Lake County Board of County Commissioners (BCC). The fiscal impact is $140,000 (expense).
fiscal and administrative services
Budget Amendment Process Policy
Mr. Steve Koontz, Budget Director, gave an overview of the proposed changes to the Budget Amendment Process Policy LCC-36. He reported that Florida Statute Chapter 129.06, which was amended during the 2011 legislative session, and LCC-36, which was last approved on April 8, 2003, governed amendments to the adopted budget. He explained that the main change to the policy was that budget amendments could now be moved from one department to another whereas the old policy only allowed them within the department. He noted that the budgetary controls were still in place which allowed the County Manager to approve budget transfers of $25,000 or less, and any transfer greater than $25,000 or any transfer from contingency or reserve accounts must be approved by the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the revised Budget Amendment Process Policy per the requirements of Chapter 129.06 (2) (a) F.S.
special events ordinance
Mr. Sheahan gave a presentation outlining the proposed requirements and process for amended special events permitting. He defined a special event as one that was intended to attract more than 500 people; required the temporary closure of any collector or arterial public roadway; involved the use of pyrotechnics; or exceeded the maximum allowed number of patrons with an establishment. He explained that currently open air gatherings were permitted as accessory uses in all zoning districts by the Land Development Regulations (LDR) and only required sanitary facilities and a site plan showing the location, parking and the entrance. He related that the musical and entertainment events were governed by Article V of the County Code, which was originally drafted in 1971, and applied to gatherings over 500 people and required complex procedures for obtaining approval. He then discussed the proposed LDR Ordinance and stated that it would repeal the existing open air gathering regulations, allow special events if a permitted or conditional use was in the zoning district, provide for special event site plans, limit the events to two times each year and to 30 days, provide thresholds for obtaining a special event permit through Public Safety, and exempt events on public property or sponsored by a public entity.
Mr. Tommy Carpenter, Emergency Management Operations Manager, noted that they communicated with private sector event managers to get their input throughout the process. He then explained the proposed process, specifying that the applicant would submit an application 90 days prior to the event, but that may be waived if the applicant could demonstrate exigent circumstances of why they could not meet that deadline. He added that the County Manager or designee would then have 30 days from the filing to either grant or deny the application, and if the application was denied, the applicant may appeal to the Board of Adjustment. He pointed out that Emergency Management would work as the County Manager’s designee to coordinate the application between the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Health, Fire Services, Emergency Medical Services, Public Works and Growth Management. He related that they would also include any municipality or jurisdiction that the special event may impact. He mentioned that there were essential requirements in order to meet minimum public safety standards such as security, traffic, communications, fire protection and medical services plans, and once the applicant submitted their plans for meeting those standards, the public safety agencies would review those plans, but the appropriate governmental agency would approve them. He indicated that Emergency Management would then work with the applicant to ensure that they were aware of additional permits that may be required such as tent permits or road closure permits, and they would also review the event for complexity because more complex events may require creating an Incident Action Plan.
Mr. Sheahan concluded the presentation and pointed out that if the Board approved to advertise the ordinance, the ordinance would be brought back for the first reading on January 22, 2013 after consideration by the Planning and Zoning Board, and for the second reading on February 12, 2013. He added that staff would make a minor definition change to the ordinance in order to ensure there was no conflict with open air vendors which were not covered by the special events ordinance.
Commr. Parks commented that he appreciated staff’s hard work on this, because having a process in place was very important. He added that he was happy to hear that staff consulted private businesses as part of the process.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote by those present (Commr. Campione was not present for the vote), the Board approved to advertise the proposed special events ordinance.
appointments to the MPO bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Commr. Cadwell opined that Mr. Richard Dunkel was very active on that committee and he would like to keep him engaged. He added that since Mr. Scot Hartle had moved, he would qualify for District 1.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that there were no applicants for District 2 and that Ms. Helen McCormick had applied for District 4, but the Board could place Ms. McCormick in District 2 since there was no requirement that a person must reside in that district to be appointed.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote by those present (Commr. Campione was not present for the vote), the Board reappointed Mr. Scot Hartle, representing District 1, to serve the remainder of an unexpired two-year term ending December 31, 2013; appointed Ms. Helen McCormick, representing District 2, to serve a two-year term beginning January 1, 2013; and reappointed Mr. Richard Dunkel, representing District 4, to serve a two-year term beginning January 1, 2013, to the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
appointments to the mpo Citizens' Advisory Committee
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board reappointed Mr. Brian Herman, representing District 2, and appointed Mr. Hugh Biggar, representing District 4, to the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizens’ Advisory Committee to serve a two-year term beginning January 1, 2013.
appointments to the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee
Commr. Campione commented that Mr. Matthew Matulia had applied to be on the committee, but he did not qualify for either of the categories. She noted that she wanted to find out if he had an ownership interest in his father-in-law’s Ace Hardware store in Sorrento, in order to qualify for one of the categories. She opined that he would be a perfect member of that committee and recommended that they postpone making the appointments until the next meeting to see what they could do to qualify him. She also mentioned that she supported the applications of Ms. Frances Geddes, Mr. Dave Croson, and Ms. Christine Thompson.
Commr. Conner agreed and added that he would recommend Mr. Matulia as well since he was part of that family business.
Appointments to the Board of Adjustment
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board reappointed Ms. Rosemary “Marie” Wuenschel, representing District 1; appointed Ms. Phyllis Luck, representing District 3; and reappointed Mr. Craig Covington, representing District 5, to the Board of Adjustment to serve four-year terms beginning January 31, 2013.
appointments to the Sales Surtax Oversight Advisory Committee
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board reappointed Ms. Barbara Lehman as the Clerk of the Circuit Court representative, and Mr. Robbie Ross as the Property Appraiser representative to the Sales Surtax Oversight Advisory Committee to serve four-year terms beginning January 1, 2013.
Appointments to the Tourist Development Council
Commr. Cadwell made a motion to appoint Mr. Bud Beucher and Mr. Jim Gunderson under the category of “Owner/operator of motels, recreational vehicle parks or other tourist accommodations in Lake County,” and Dr. Kasey Kesselring, Ms. Becky Schaff, and Mr. John Brandeburg under the category of “Residents involved in the tourist industry.” Commr. Conner seconded the motion.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he did not take lightly not reappointing Ms. Ann Dupee, who was a friend of his and who had served on the council for 10 years, but he thought they needed to shake it up a bit and look at things differently.
Commr. Parks stated that he would recommend Mr. Bud Beucher and Mr. Paul Caldwell, who represented one of the top taxpayers in the County, under the category of “Owner/operator of motels, recreational vehicle parks or other tourist accommodations in Lake County,” and Ms. Ann Dupee, Dr. Kasey Kesselring and Mr. Michael Stone under the category of “Residents involved in the tourist industry.”
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that the only reason he did not recommend Mr. Stone was because he was very active on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and they liked to spread the appointments around.
Commr. Parks asked what the maximum number of appointments were that they could make to the council.
Mr. Minkoff replied that the Statute called for nine members.
Commr. Conner commented that four out of the nine members that Commr. Parks recommended would be from one district in South Lake, and that was not equitable. He added that he wanted to take the politics out of the recommendations of the TDC as much as possible.
Commr. Parks expressed that the Tourism Impact Model would take the politics out of the TDC and that he was choosing members who he thought would be best.
Commr. Sullivan recommended Mr. Paul Caldwell because he represented his district and had a lot of tax revenues flow from his business.
Commr. Cadwell withdrew his original motion and Commr. Conner withdrew his second to the motion.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried by a 4-1 vote, the Board reappointed Mr. Bud Beucher and appointed Mr. Paul Caldwell as the Owner/Operator representatives; and appointed Mr. Jim Gunderson, Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, and Mr. John D. Brandeburg as the Residents Involved in the Tourist Industry representatives to the Tourist Development Council to serve four-year terms beginning December 1, 2012. The Board also appointed Mr. Robert Wolfe, the Mayor of the City of Tavares, as the Elected Municipal Officer representative to complete an unexpired four-year term ending December 1, 2014.
Commr. Parks voted “no.”
reports – commissioner sullivan – district 1
Commr. Sullivan pointed out that he wanted to make sure that the Board was sending a clear message of what their concerns were and to stay focused on their biggest goal as they went through the budget process and the workshops, which was the quality of life for the residents and making sure that every taxpayer dollar was spent wisely.
reports – commissioner parks – district 2
Commr. Parks mentioned that he recently took a tour of the Historic Courthouse since he was unable to attend the dedication ceremony, and he handed out a brochure from the Lake County Historical Society & Museum listing their expansion goals.
Commr. Parks stated that he recently visited Cornerstone Hospice and was asked to provide to all of the Commissioners a 2013 calendar from them that honored veterans. He also noted that Cornerstone Hospice appreciated the proclamation that the Board passed proclaiming November 2012 as Hospice Month.
South lake water initiative
Commr. Parks asked for a presentation to update the Board in either January or February regarding the presentation made at the St. Johns River Water Management District governing board meeting about the South Lake Water Initiative and Conserv II.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER conner – vice-CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 3
letter from mr. dan gorden
Commr. Conner related that he received a letter from Mr. Dan Gorden, General Manager of Hawthorne at Leesburg, thanking the Board for passing the proclamation honoring his retirement.
Commr. Conner mentioned that he attended the County and the Clerk’s Office Christmas parties and that he enjoyed both of them.
Letter from the mayor of howey-in-the-hills
Commr. Conner commented that he received a letter from the Mayor of Howey-in-the-Hills stating that the town had been notified about a development at Sarabande aka Bella Vista for a proposed driving range and that the town would like to meet with County staff early in the development review process to discuss water and wastewater issues.
school board meeting
Commr. Conner stated that he was informed by numerous people who attended the last School Board meeting that there was some rude behavior directed towards County staff, and he asked if the Board could review the video from that meeting to verify that.
Commr. Campione stated that she was fine with that, but it would have been nice if he had listened to the tape before bringing it up.
Commr. Conner indicated that he did not want to do that without the support of the Commission.
Commr. Campione mentioned that the School Board had asked for a special workshop meeting before the January 8, 2013 BCC meeting to discuss impact fees.
Commr. Conner opined that the School Board wanted to meet with the Board prior to making a recommendation on impact fees because they wanted to put their decision on impact fees on the Board. He related that it was the School Board’s responsibility to make a recommendation before the Board makes a final decision.
Commr. Parks noted that the School Board wanted to go through the CFAC process before they made any recommendation.
Commr. Campione pointed out that the Board would have the impact fee discussion on January 8, 2013, and then they could decide whether to hold a joint meeting with the School Board.
REPORTS – COMMISsIONER campione – CHAIRMAN & DISTRICT 4
pine meadows property
Commr. Campione asked for staff to continue discussions with the Water Management District (WMD) and the Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) about the possibility of maintaining the 800 acres in the Pine Meadows area as a joint agency approach in order to continue to preserve it. She added that they needed to find out what it cost the WMD and FWC to maintain it because the County might be able to get some volunteers from the community to help out.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he has been very supportive of that project.
howey bridge project
Commr. Campione mentioned that the Water Authority was the logical entity to take on the Howey bridge project, and she wanted the discussions to continue because she thought it would be a recreational amenity that could serve the County well in the future when the full expansion of the bridge took place.
open for business community celebration
Commr. Campione noted that she attended a community celebration on Friday, December 14, 2012, at Osceola Heritage Park supporting a regional economic development effort called “Open for Business, a Regional Approach to Streamlining Permitting.” She mentioned that representatives from Groveland, Minneola, Tavares and Clermont also attended.
dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day proclamation
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Proclamation No. 2012-153 recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
The Chairman announced at 11:13 a.m. that there would be a recess until the workshop at 11:30 a.m.
public transportation budget workshop
Mr. Heath recalled that staff briefed the Board several weeks ago about the calculations of the budget funding model and explained that the property values were going to decline even more next year, and although the County departments and the constitutional officers would be making a five percent reduction to their budgets, they were predicting the reserves to go below seven percent. He noted that when the Clerk’s Office staff closed the books at the end of the year, the reserves dropped to 14 percent. He stated that staff put together a list of cuts that would be needed in preparation for the budget guidelines and for when they set the tentative millages in July 2013.
Commr. Conner pointed out that they needed to identify areas where they could make cuts for this fiscal year and for the next since the reserves decreased after the books were closed. He added that there would be some tough decisions to make, but seven percent in reserves was too low.
Commr. Campione mentioned that they needed to take advantage of any opportunities they had to implement changes during this fiscal year, because the sooner they could realize those savings, the better off they would be as they moved into the next fiscal year.
Commr. Cadwell commented that they needed to discuss additional revenues during this process.
Ms. Dottie Keedy, Community Services Director, stated that she would be giving an overview of Public Transportation issues and services provided by Lake County, as well as the funding for those services and issues to consider for the future. She noted that Mr. Koontz would first discuss the impact of public transportation on the General Fund.
Mr. Koontz showed a graph depicting the general fund subsidy and fund balance and explained that the transfer to the public transportation system in 2008 was $2.6 million. He pointed out that the transfers after that had been much lower, but because the cash brought forward was decreasing, the transfer for FY 2013 was $1.4 million. He noted that the total funding from the general fund for FY 2013 was $1,854,683, and he gave a breakdown of how that funding was allocated, which included Lake County Connection at $1,380,222, LYNX Route 204 at $168,376, LYNX Route 55 at $70,734, Administration at $170,062, and Capital at $65,289. He indicated that for FY 2014 they would have to make between a five and 10 percent reduction to the general fund transfer in order to keep the reserves up.
Ms. Keedy noted that paratransit began in 1983 through an agreement with LifeStream Behavioral Center, and in 2001 the County was designated as the Community Transportation Coordinator (CTC), which made the County eligible to receive funding for paratransit. She added that in 2005 the County entered into an agreement with MV Transportation to provide those services, and a Transit Operation Plan was then adopted. She related that in 2007 LakeXpress began operating Routes 1 and 2 which were the Lady Lake to Eustis and the Leesburg Circulator routes. She indicated that Route 3 which was the Mount Dora Circulator began in 2008, and Route 4 which was the Paisley to Zellwood route began in 2009. She explained the three types of public transportation and elaborated that LakeXpress had seven routes, and each bus ran the same hourly route all day. She noted that the service was only available in North Lake County and that it was the most productive and the least expensive transportation service. She indicated that there had been 296,969 trips in FY 2012 and that there was a steady increase in ridership since it began in 2007. She pointed out that the County had a contractual agreement with LYNX to provide Route 204, which was from the Clermont Park and Ride to downtown Orlando, and Route 55, which was from US 27/US 192 in the four corners area to Walmart. She stated that Lake County Connection was the paratransit service and was available Countywide for eligible riders. She added that there were 46 routes, it was the most expensive service per trip, and there had been 148,039 trips in FY 2012 overall. She explained that the County was not required to provide paratransit service or funding for it, but they were required to provide ADA trips as long as the County provided a fixed route service. She indicated that there was no statutory requirement that the County serve as the CTC, but the County must be the designated recipient in order to receive federal funding. She noted that the County has historically chosen to be the CTC and the designated recipient and to fund the trips at varying levels. She mentioned that the County currently had a memorandum of agreement with the MPO to serve as the CTC and to be the designated recipient, and that the agreement would expire in June 2013. She related that in order to renew that designation, the Board must send a letter of intent, a resolution and signed agreements to the MPO by January 11, 2013, and after final approval by the Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board, the CTC designation would become effective July 1, 2013. She indicated that the eligibility criteria for the paratransit service were found in Chapter 427 of the Florida Statutes, as well as the County’s Transportation Disadvantaged Service Plan and the ADA Paratransit Operating Policies. She pointed out that the trips were prioritized by category, and due to declining revenues the County began reducing trips by eliminating the life sustaining trips in 2007 and the employment and training/education trips in 2012. She also mentioned that there had been a decline in ridership since FY 2008.
Ms. Brenda Likely, Financial Coordinator for the Department of Community Services, discussed the transit funding, noting that the revenues for transportation came from various funding sources and grants and that the general fund transfer along with the fund balance made up about 21 percent of the revenues. She noted that nearly half of the expenses were used to fund the paratransit service and that the general fund transfer only covered $65,000 of the $1,717,888 capital costs. She indicated that the County currently utilized federal funds for the fixed route service and that the transfer only paid for the two routes in South Lake County. She pointed out that the County’s farebox recovery ratio was only about 7.6 percent mainly because the system was new and had only been in existence since 2007. She added that although there was a common misconception that transit could fund itself, there must be other funding sources for those services. She stated that approximately half of the expenses for the fixed route service were paid to MV Transportation to operate the service and another 30 percent was used for fuel and maintenance of the vehicles. She related that there were no cash matches or a general fund subsidy required with the Federal Transit Administration 5307 Grant.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced that there would be a five-minute recess at 11:58 a.m.
public transportation budget workshop (cont’d)
Ms. Likely continued the presentation, noting that 60 percent of the paratransit revenues came from Medicaid, other grants and allocations and that some of the funding sources were subsidized by the County. She added that three percent of the revenues were from co-pays which were similar to fares on the fixed route service, and that the co-pay amounts depended on the type of trip, how it was funded and the destination. She pointed out that the co-pays had not changed since 2007. She related that transit funding could be complicated due to the different funding sources, because each grant was different and had different matches. She indicated that staff tried to utilize the funds for the sole purpose of providing as many life sustaining trips as possible, and they do their best to maximize the dollars to make sure they were utilizing all of the grants and that there was enough general fund subsidy to pay for the trips.
Ms. Keedy concluded the presentation, stating that the fixed route and paratransit services were interconnected because a portion of the funding for paratransit was available only because Lake County had a fixed route service. She mentioned that the South Lake LYNX service was fully funded by the general fund, and the fixed route service was fully funded by the FTA 5307 grant. She explained that the general fund transfer to operate the paratransit service would be approximately $2.4 million for FY 2013, which was almost $980,000 more than the current subsidy if the County terminated the fixed route service. She added that the County would also have to pay back approximately $3.2 million in federal grant funds that were spent on capital equipment since the service began in 2007. She related that a general fund transfer of $760,000 would be needed as a match for the federal grants for FY 2013 to operate a fixed route service if the paratransit service was terminated, and further reductions in paratransit trips would affect future fixed route funding because those trips were used to determine future levels of funding. She pointed out that the County was facing a number of programmatic challenges with the public transportation service including the CTC redesignation by the MPO and the expiration of the contract in September 2013 with MV Transportation. She stated that there were multiple issues related to the Transportation Disadvantaged program, including the impacts from the Medicaid reform, the requests to restore education and employment trips, and a request from the Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board to develop a sliding scale for individuals who did not qualify for trips because they were over the income limits. She noted that there was also a demand for fixed route service in South Lake County, but the County would have to negotiate with LYNX to access federal funding. She stated that staff was currently working on a request for proposal (RFP) since the current contract with MV Transportation expired in September 2013, and they planned to publish the RFP in either January or February 2013. She added that the contract would be awarded in June 2013 to allow for a transition period if a new vendor was selected which would take effect in October 2013. She then discussed the recommended cuts that were needed to balance the budget such as terminating LYNX Route 55, because it had limited Lake County ridership and most of the trips originated in other counties and were going to the Walmart in Four Corners. She added that the savings were projected to be $29,500 in FY 2012/2013 and $70,000 in FY 2013/2014. She noted that the second recommendation was to terminate LYNX Route 204 for a savings of $70,159 in FY 2012/2013 and $169,000 in FY 2013/2014. She mentioned that vanpools were available for those riders should the service be discontinued. She indicated that the last recommendation would be to eliminate or reduce the Transportation Disadvantaged trips beginning with the vocational rehabilitation trips, and then the nutritional trips followed by the medical trips if further cuts were necessary.
Commr. Cadwell asked when they would need to notify LYNX should they terminate those contracts.
Ms. Keedy replied that there was a 120-day notice.
Commr. Campione mentioned that since South Lake was part of LYNX’s urbanized area, they should provide those services instead of the County.
Commr. Sullivan asked if there was funding coming in on a per capita basis and if the County was getting their share of that. He related that they needed to look at whether the County could provide that service more efficiently.
Mr. T.J. Fish, Executive Director of Lake-Sumter MPO, stated that LYNX had ridership on the 192 corridor, so it would not be completely up to them should the County choose to withdraw the funding for that link. He also mentioned that an alternatives analysis of what a bus rapid transit system might look like on 192 had been performed, and LYNX opted to make the terminus at that Walmart. He pointed out that the MPO supported the recommendation of evaluating Route 55 and talking to LYNX about terminating it, but he would like to take more time to look at whether to terminate Route 204, because the MPO was in the process of starting a fixed route service in South Lake, and that would be part of the connection to the employment area in the Orlando region. He also urged the Board to carefully consider any cutbacks to paratransit, because fixed route and paratransit were interwoven, and it served the most vulnerable population in Lake County.
Ms. Keedy noted that it may be possible to reduce the service on Route 204 to save money without completely terminating it.
Commr. Parks opined that raising the farebox rate by 50 cents could make up the difference without having to make cuts to the fixed route or paratransit service.
Commr. Cadwell asked what the County’s bargaining tool would be with LYNX since they were not making any money on the Clermont route.
Mr. Fish responded that LYNX could report the riders that used Route 204, which in turn helped them receive federal grant funding. He added that LYNX was only allowed to use the federal funds for capital, but the County could use it for operation and maintenance, so it made more sense for Lake County to be the designated recipient for the funds.
Mr. Ken Harley, Public Transportation Division Manager, related that he recently met with Mr. John Lewis, Executive Director of LYNX, to discuss the County’s service area in South Lake. He noted that 82,000 people in the LYNX urbanized area were actually Lake County residents, and as a result the County was entitled to federal funding which was anticipated to be around $500,000. He pointed out that there have been discussions with the MPO and Metro Plan about the service in South Lake and what role each entity would play, and he noted that LYNX was receptive to whatever plans the County had for that area. He indicated that currently they were averaging about 1,277 trips per day on the fixed route service and it continued to grow, but increasing the fares for the fixed route service would most likely cause a loss in riders. He added that farebox recovery was based on the number of passengers transported per hour and the total operating expense for the program, and they were looking at reconfiguring routes through the Transit Development Plan to make the system more efficient thus in turn helping to enhance the farebox recovery. He also noted that they could look at the paratransit rates, because most transit agencies based their rates on the distance the individuals were traveling.
Mr. Fish explained that the consultants for updating the Transit Development Plan were proposing to have the municipalities who were benefitting from LakeXpress help contribute to the overall system, since there would be less of an impact to the County if the expenses were spread out among everyone.
Commr. Campione suggested that during the RFP process they make it known to the users of the paratransit service how their choices affected the cost to the County for providing the service.
Mr. Harley indicated that when people relocated in the County, they did not always move near the fixed route service and did not qualify for the door-to-door service. He added that they tried to inform people of where the LakeXpress services were located. He pointed out that they were putting several performance standards in the RFP such as increasing the number of passengers per passenger hour from 1.3 to 1.6 and that they were looking at ways to reduce the number of vehicles they had in the paratransit fleet. He noted that they also wanted to make sure that the contractor had extensive experience in the scheduling software program so that the routes were efficiently scheduled to help reduce operational and fuel costs.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that they needed to take into account the safety of the riders if they planned on extending the service to more people and making the trips longer, because being out of the house for too long was not healthy for some of those residents.
Mr. Harley agreed and stated that they planned to put some restrictions into the contract such as how long a person could travel in one of the transit vehicles after they have treatments done such as for dialysis or cancer.
Commr. Campione pointed out that the formula for qualifying individuals for the transportation disadvantaged service was based on the income level of the entire family rather than the individuals themselves, and some people did not qualify because of that. She related that if they changed the formula and only looked at the income of the individual instead of the family as a whole, then there would be an additional impact to the County. She expressed that as they negotiated rates to try to get the cost of the services down, maybe they would be in a better position to help out in those situations.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Ms. Kathleen Huggins, a resident of Leesburg, explained that she became legally blind 10 years ago, and when she found out that the County was going to offer a fixed route bus service, she moved to Leesburg so that she could become an independent person. She expressed that the quality of life for everyone in the community should be addressed rather than how much money they made, and she noted that sometimes an individual’s budget did not allow them to choose where they lived in the County. She opined that it would be a huge mistake to eliminate the fixed route bus service, especially since there was a financial impact to the community because the busses were being used and the riders were spending money in the community.
Mr. Johnny Ellison, a resident of Leesburg, expressed that he rode the bus every day back and forth to doctor appointments and for shopping. He urged the Board to keep the busses running and to implement running them on the weekend as well, since the residents still needed the transportation for jobs and shopping.
Ms. Chantel Buck, Executive Director of New Vision for Independence, explained that they served people who had low vision or blindness in Lake and Sumter Counties and stated that from her experience there were some projects that could not be cut, and transportation was one of them. She encouraged the Board to evaluate how the County could expand their transportation services, because there needed to be more means of getting around the community as it grew. She stressed that choosing where to live was not always an option and that the people who lived in the rural community could not be neglected. She related that most of her clients would rather have a slight increase in transportation fares and still have it available rather than not available at all. She mentioned that community resources would likely be willing to help offset the cost of increasing the fares so that the service was still available.
Ms. Patricia Lee, a resident of Leesburg, expressed that public transportation was inadequate in most places and that the people in small rural areas were at a disadvantage because they tend to make less money. She opined that they needed to look at ways to expand public transportation rather than cutting it, such as through public-private partnerships so that they could fill in the gaps for areas where LakeXpress and Lake County Connection did not run.
Mr. James Cipollone, a resident of Lake County, commented that transportation to work was the second highest expense for most family budgets, that Lake County was growing, and that the success of the County was dependent upon transit. He opined that the Board needed to become an advocate for transportation and find some money to expand the service. He noted that an ad valorem tax for the County would help support the transit services, and all of the money going towards economic development would be wasted if transit services did not continue. He added that Lake County was a small community, but they should look at the big picture and should be providing their own service rather than being dependent upon others.
Mr. Bob Thielhelm, Mayor of the City of Mount Dora, stated that they submitted a proposal to the MPO regarding a circular involving the three golden triangle cities that when instituted would pick up more of the traffic on the paratransit service. He added that they were hoping to achieve some savings and increase the revenue on that circular.
Mr. Dan Vincent, Commissioner for Lady Lake, mentioned that they should consider busses that used CNC, which was a natural gas, when looking at purchasing transit busses in the future, because research has shown that it drops the cost of the fuel and the maintenance by about 50 percent.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Conner stated that it was not financially practical to eliminate the fixed route based on the information that was presented. He added that there was not as much savings in public transportation as one might think and that the only alternative to not cutting the budget was to raise millage rates.
Commr. Campione suggested that they bring back a discussion on Route 55 at their next meeting and asked staff to work diligently with LYNX about having them help contribute to Route 204.
Mr. Heath recommended bringing back a resolution and agreement at the January 8, 2013 BCC meeting so that the County could remain as the CTC.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:57 p.m.
leslie campione, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK