A special MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
may 8, 2013
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session for the South Lake Mayors and Managers Meeting on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 2:06 p.m., in Room 145 of the Clermont City Hall, 685 W. Montrose Street, Clermont, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Timothy I. Sullivan and Sean Parks. Commissioners Leslie Campione, Chairman; Jimmy Conner, Vice Chairman; and Welton G. Cadwell were not present. Others present were: David Heath, County Manager; Larry Metz, Representative for District 2; Ray Goodgame, Vice Mayor for the City of Clermont; Darren Gray, Clermont City Manager; Jim Gearhart, Mayor for the City of Groveland; Tim Loucks, Vice Mayor for the City of Groveland; Sam Oppelaar, Groveland Interim City Manager; Tony Rosado, Mayor for the City of Mascotte; Jim Gleason, Mascotte City Manager; Pat Kelley, Mayor for the City of Minneola; Joseph Saunders, Vice Mayor for the City of Minneola; Mark Johnson, Minneola City Manager; Lisa Jones, Seat 2 on Minneola City Council; Joe Wynkoop, Montverde Town Council President; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Courtney Vincent, Deputy Clerk.
Pledge of ALLEGIANCE
Commr. Parks lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commr. Parks welcomed everyone to the meeting. He stated that the five municipalities of South Lake County, along with Lake County, had been holding a monthly conference call for the last year to provide updates on what was happening in each municipality as well as the County. He mentioned that Representative Metz had also participated in the conference calls, providing updates on what was happening at the State level. He stated that today’s meeting was the first to be held in person.
Commr. Sullivan opined that these meetings were a great forum for discussion between the municipalities.
Commr. Parks stated that the meeting had been properly advertised and minutes were being taken for the record.
Commr. Parks requested that the South Lake Water Initiative be moved to the head of the agenda.
South Lake Water Initiative Presentation
Commr. Parks stated that the South Lake Water Initiative has been beneficial for South Lake because it took a sub-regional approach to address the water management issues. He opined that working together would help minimize fees while addressing the long term water needs for the area. He mentioned that the Initiative has been meeting for over a year, and the presentation was to provide a progress update.
Mr. Alan Oyler, P.E., Consulting Engineer for the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), stated that he had been asked by the SJRWMD to assist the District with developing an alternative water supply program for South Lake County and mentioned that he had a strong background in both water and wastewater systems. He reported that the majority of the drinking and irrigation water for South Lake comes from the Floridan Aquifer, and because of the sandy soil of the region, the local water bodies were connected to the withdrawals from the aquifer. He stated that South Lake was poorly situated to take advantage of traditional alternative water supplies and would most likely need to import water from other sources to meet its needs. He stated that there were three possible sources for an alternative water supply: Water Conserv II, a source of reclaimed water for the purpose of irrigation and recharge; The Water Cooperative of Central Florida, a coalition of several utilities including Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Reedy Creek, Orange County and Polk County; and Yankee Lake in Seminole County. He remarked that of the three options, Conserv II was the closest to South Lake and Yankee Lake was the farthest, though it was closer than using ocean water or Taylor Creek, which were the other available supplies. He reported that, from the preliminary projections received from Clermont, Groveland and Minneola, there was an immediate need for three million gallons of alternative water supply, and by 2030 the need was projected to increase to at least 9.5 million gallons. He commented that the Water Co-op group might not have sufficient water to serve the area’s long term needs, and Yankee Lake was too far away and would require expensive water treatment for the water to be useable. He stated that Conserv II was the best option because the infrastructure was already in place, it was closer than the other options, and it was served by the two largest suppliers of reclaimed water in Central Florida. He reported that he had received emails from both the City of Orlando and Orange County (the Conserv II Partners) stating that three million gallons per day of reclaimed water was available between now and 2018, though there were stipulations to the use of the water. He noted that more water might be available from Conserv II depending on what happens with the citrus industry.
Mr. Oyler then mentioned an option called Project RENEW, an Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) project. He explained that the OUC had a consumptive use permit for water that required them to mitigate potential pumping impacts around the City of Apopka, and this requirement was being addressed through the transfer water from the east side of Orlando to the City of Orlando’s Conserv II wastewater treatment plant, and then building a pumping station and pipeline from there to Apopka to transfer about 8.5 million gallons of water per day. He mentioned that the preliminary engineering for this project had been completed, but the project was now on hold due to easement acquisition costs and other considerations. He explained that with the project on hold, Apopka was diligently pursuing other alternative water supplies and would not need the water from Project RENEW until 2030 at the earliest, and he opined that Apopka might be able to satisfy their water demands from another source, freeing up the Project RENEW water for the South Lake region. He stated that Apopka had been approached with this idea, and the City replied that it would consider taking the water from Yankee Lake if they were allowed to build and control a pumping station and pipeline and if they could take raw water from the lake instead of treated water. He mentioned that Seminole County was planning to construct a water treatment plant that used a membrane system in order to create potable water, and they were looking for partners to share the cost, but Seminole County was not prepared to allow another entity to come and remove raw water from the lake.
Mr. Oyler then discussed the preliminary estimate for the cost of Project Regional RENEW, which looked at the water needs of the entire region instead of just one area. He stated that with Project Regional RENEW, Apopka would receive about 10 million gallons of raw water per day from the Seminole County Yankee Lake facility, the OUC would get to keep the nine million gallons of groundwater allocated to mitigate their impacts in Apopka, and the South Lake area would receive about 8.5 million gallons of reclaimed water per day from the City of Orlando Conserv II facilities, bringing the total water for the project to about 27 million gallons per day to the various entities involved. He reported that the Yankee Lake pipeline would cost between $28 million and $35 million and the RENEW Wastewater collection system improvements would cost between $14 million and $22 million, bringing the total estimated cost for Project Regional RENEW to between $43 million and $57 million to be divided between the OUC, Apopka and the South Lake area. He calculated the cost allocation based on the amount of water received by each entity through the regional project, so the cost allocation for the OUC would be between $13 million and $18 million, for Apopka would be between $14 million and $19 million, and for South Lake would be between $12 million and $17 million. For comparison purposes he reported that a pipeline from Yankee Lake to Clermont would cost over $62 million. He concluded by reiterating that this was a project concept that had not been approved by any of the entities that were potential participants, and he stressed that all of the costs shown were preliminary calculations and subject to change depending on the final project selected.
Vice Mayor Ray Goodgame, Clermont, asked how many gallons per day Lake County was supplying Orange County from the Floridan Aquifer.
Mr. Oyler replied that the only supply coming from Lake County was from the freeze protection wells, and he was unsure how many were in Lake County versus Orange County.
Vice Mayor Tim Loucks, Groveland, added that water was also being pumped from the freeze protection wells to supplement the reclaimed system during drought periods, and the usage was anywhere from 100 million to 120 million gallons per year. He opined that it was a substantial amount of water withdrawal which affected the water levels for Lake County. He remarked that the problem in South Lake was that they were beginning to take more water out than they were putting back into the aquifer.
Mayor Jim Gearhart, Groveland, asked if all of the wells along US 27 were used for freeze protection and/or supplemental water during a drought.
Mr. Oyler replied that all of the wells that were Conserv II Lake wells were used for this purpose, but he could not speak for any other wells.
Mayor Gearhart noted that some of the wells had stickers on the side of them marked OUC. He expressed concern that there were other wells aside from the Conserv II wells.
Mr. Oyler replied that those wells marked OUC might be monitoring wells, which were not intended to withdraw water, and the OUC did not have any facilities in South Lake.
Vice Mayor Loucks confirmed that some of those wells were monitoring wells or abandoned wells that OUC had used at once time. He reported that 16 active wells had been identified as OUC monitoring wells.
Mr. Oyler clarified that the City of Orlando and the OUC were two different entities and noted that the OUC was not a partner with Conserv II.
Mr. Jim Gleason, Mascotte City Manager, asked how much effort was being put into pricing rates designed to encourage conservation, because 50 percent of the water being used was for irrigation. He also suggested that the municipalities encourage residents and businesses to landscape their properties with native plants and plants able to withstand the Florida climate instead of requiring them to plant green lawns that required a lot of water.
Mr. Oyler opined that the SJRWMD would agree completely with Mr. Gleason’s suggestion. He then mentioned that the OUC had adopted a conservation rate where the more a person used, the more he paid. He reported that the OUC saw the consumption rate drop almost 15 percent after that, and he remarked that pricing signals were a good way to help consumers understand that water was not a limitless resource.
Ms. Lisa Jones, Minneola City Council Seat 2, commended the City of Clermont for the changes in their development standards regarding the types of plants allowed and required on a property to help mitigate the need for increased irrigation. She suggested that the municipalities should start to recognize the yards demonstrating greener practices as a way to encourage people to use greener methods to beautify their yards and landscape. She stated that St. Augustine grass was not a Florida-friendly grass, even though it was classified as one.
Mayor Gearhart asked why the bottled water companies did not pay for the water they took. He remarked that a substantial amount of revenue could be seen by taxing bottled water, noting that there were 37 bottled water companies in the State of Florida.
Commr. Parks commented that Lake County residents were protective of the lake levels in the County, and he opined that the lakes were an asset both to economic development in the County and the quality of life within the County. He remarked that he was glad they had created the South Lake Water Initiative and stressed that the growing South Lake population meant that the additional alternative water supplies would be essential in the future. He also stated that the South Lake Water Initiative was going to start meeting again.
Representative Larry Metz, District 32, opined that addressing the water issue on a regional level would make getting legislative support easier. He mentioned that there was a delegation called the Central Florida Legislative Delegation that included Orange, Seminole, Lake and Polk Counties that met once a year. He suggested that that they should get the regional water issue on the Delegation’s agenda for the next meeting to initiate discussions. He mentioned that there were a lot of water projects in the State’s budget this year and opined that this regional water project would have the potential for legislative support once the project was solidified. He expressed his appreciation of the effort put into the proposed project.
Vice Mayor Loucks commented on a cheaper alternative to Mr. Oyler’s suggestion for alternative water. He explained that Orange County needed rapid infiltration basins (RIB) in order to meet the requirements of their CUP permit for water, and currently they had three small RIB sites in Lake County off of US 27. He remarked that the area was called a bulge of water because there were so many RIB sites being put in. He stated that SJRWMD had finally recognized that the withdrawals from West Orange County were affecting the lake levels in South Lake County. He suggested transferring the water from the RIB sites in the bulge of water between Lake County and Orange County up through Clermont to another RIB site off of SR 19 and possibly into Minneola and a new RIB site. He explained that as the water traveled to the other RIB sites, the cities could take what they needed as far as reclaimed water for irrigation, with the ultimate goal being to tie all of the cities together into one pipeline and use reclaimed water from that pipeline. He reported that when he had spoken to Mr. Oyler and Commr. Parks regarding this idea, he suggested offering this to Orange County, because it did not matter as much to Orange County where they put their water as long as they receive CUP credit for it. He remarked that this would immediately help the South Lake region, but they would have to guarantee that the water would be taken and used every day or else install RIB sites to hold the water. He noted that Groveland’s RIB sites were not currently large enough to hold the water, so South Lake would need to expand their RIB sites to accommodate it. He commented that more water would be required to be put in the RIB sites as West Orange County continues to grow, reporting an estimate of eight to nine million gallons of water per day. He opined that if South Lake could accommodate that water, their problem would be solved for a long time at less of a cost than other proposed projects. He stressed that conservation had to be done in cooperation with using reclaimed water, because a green community without reclaimed water would lower the aquifer. He then discussed the water bottling plants, stating that 70 percent of what the bottling plants pumped out of the ground was returned to a reclaim system, because it was considered wastewater once it was deionized. He stated that the solution to the lowering lake levels in South Lake would be to put as much reclaimed water at as high of an elevation as possible to allow it to filter through the soil back down to recharge the area.
Mr. Darren Gray, Clermont City Manager, stated that he liked Vice Mayor Loucks’ suggestion to solve the water issue in South Lake. He reported that Lake County and Clermont had been working with Conserv II, and he mentioned that there was an interlocal agreement between the City of Clermont and Lake County. He commented that a couple of years ago Conserv II had purchased additional property located in Clermont’s primary economic development areas to install more RIB sites, removing property from the tax rolls. He asked whether Conserv II would need additional property for the RIB sites they planned to build, because it would change the economic development plan that the City had created for the area around the purchased property if they did.
Mr. Oyler replied that Conserv II might need to purchase additional property. He explained that the recently purchased properties were to be new RIB sites or buffers, because water would surface in some of the lower areas if the RIB sites were loaded too heavily. He stated that they could transfer water that was intended for the new RIB sites to other RIB sites to provide for long term disposal, but he estimated that they would need at least 150 acres of land for the RIBs and buffers, and they would need to locate the RIB site in an area that was geologically appropriate and would raise the lake levels in South Lake so that the OUC and Orange County could meet the requirements of their water CUPs. He opined that they might agree to participate if those conditions could be met and not cost more than what OUC and Orange County were currently spending. He remarked that Vice Mayor Loucks’ idea fit in well with what the SJRWMD was looking at to address the impacts to the affected lakes in Lake County as well as with Orange County’s and the City of Orlando’s plan to bring additional water to South Lake, but it would require further investigation and a commitment on the part of the communities involved to create a solution that met everyone’s needs.
Vice Mayor Joe Saunders, Minneola, remarked that the more water Orange County and the City of Orlando sent to South Lake, the more South Lake would pay for that water. He asked why South Lake was not being charged a lower rate considering that Orange County and the City of Orlando needed to get rid of the water.
Vice Mayor Saunders opined that it was ludicrous for South Lake to pay for the water and then transfer it to a RIB because they could not take it fast enough.
Vice Mayor Loucks replied that the advantage of transferring the water to the RIB sites was that it helped mitigate the lake levels. He clarified that his proposed plan was for the municipalities to use what they needed from the reclaimed water as it was moved from Orange County land to Lake County land.
Commr. Parks remarked that this discussion showed the importance of resuming the South Lake Water Initiative meetings, and he hoped to schedule a meeting as soon as possible. He thanked Mr. Oyler for his presentation and recognized Mr. Oyler and Mr. B. Kraig McLane, AICP, Intergovernmental Coordinator for SJRWMD, for their work with South Lake to help find a solution to the water issue and invited them to the next South Lake Water Initiative meeting.
South Lake Transportation Impact Fee District Update
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, stated that County staff requested that the consultant hired to review the County’s transportation impact fee also study the possibility of a higher impact fee in the South Lake District, which included all of the South Lake cities, because the traffic patterns and growth demands there were different than most other parts of the County. He reported that the consultant came back with a quote of $28,500, which would go before the BCC on June 4, 2013. He stated that this study should be completed by August 27 and would be presented to the BCC on that date, and if there were no problems, it would go before the BCC for adoption on September 24, 2013 to be implemented on January 21, 2014.
Commr. Parks commented that the updated bid came in under budget from the original estimate. He then mentioned that there had been some concern that the South Lake District would only include the municipalities to the east of US 27.
Mr. Stivender clarified that the South Lake District would include all of the South Lake municipalities and would go to the Sumter County Line. He then mentioned some other projects the County was working on, stating that the County had jointly applied with the Florida Turnpike for a grant to assist with funding for the South Lake Florida Turnpike Interchange. He commented that staff had contacted State legislators for the County including Congressman Webster’s office, and it was his hope that the County would receive one of the grants. He stated that staff had received bids for the South Lake Trail and remarked that it was a little over budget. He added that staff still needed to go through the bids.
Vice Mayor Goodgame asked if there was a timeline for the South Lake Trail project.
Mr. Stivender replied that he did not recall the specific amount of time quoted to complete the job but he did not anticipate it being more than a six to ten month project.
Mayor Gearhart asked if Mr. Stivender had been contacted by the South Lake Task Force regarding possibly starting the trail at the high school and then going towards Clermont.
Mr. Stivender replied that there would be a preconstruction meeting as well as strategy meetings, but right now they were only selecting a vendor, and the bids would go to the BCC for selection in late June. He mentioned that the Secretary of Transportation wanted all of the right of way for the project secured by July 1, 2014, and staff currently had property descriptions for all of the properties needed for right of way. He added that prices for those properties had been submitted and approved, appraisals were being obtained, and the deadline for negotiations was October 1, 2013.
Commr. Parks commented that the road construction projects would add a great deal of commercial space to the tax base in the South Lake region.
Mr. Stivender then mentioned that the Public Works Department was working on its budget for Fiscal Year 2013/14, and they would not show any projects as being funded by impact fees, because there was no way to calculate how much they would collect. He estimated that it would be a small amount in the new district, but there would be something in the Fiscal Year 2014/15 budget. He explained that staff would go to each of the three districts to discuss the impact fees.
Mayor Gearhart left the meeting at 3:20 p.m.
Update from Representative Larry Metz
Representative Metz thanked Commr. Parks for convening these South Lake meetings and remarked that it allowed them the opportunity to share ideas and create better results. He introduced his District Aid, Ms. Jennifer Wiley, and his Legislative Aid, Ms. Sarah Pennington. He then recapped the recent legislative session, mentioning that the Lake-Sumter State College Name Change Bill had been passed and signed by the governor, and a bill extending the protections that exist for State-owned property to water authorities that were created by special act of legislature with the purpose of conserving fresh water resources had passed both chambers but had not yet been signed by Governor Scott. He explained that the bill regarding the water authorities had been filed by him because of a request from the Lake County Water Authority for help against archaeological looting on their land. He moved on to appropriations, reporting that the request from the BCC for $1.36 million for workforce certification training had made it into the State’s budget. He added that he had made sure to stress to the Governor’s office that that line item was a priority, since each line item of the budget was equally vulnerable to veto by the Governor. He reported that the request for funding for LifeStream Behavioral Center to have five additional Baker Act beds had made it into the budget, and he hoped that it passed scrutiny by the Governor’s office. He also noted that he had spoken with Mr. Will Kendrick of the Department of Correction regarding the prison sewer connection project, and while the project did not receive traction this year, he had obtained a commitment to renew the dialogue next year.
Mayor Pat Kelley, Minneola, stressed that the prison sewer connection project was something that the City of Minneola needed.
Representative Metz noted that Mr. Kendrick was aware of the importance of the project, but thought there would be a better chance for success if the project waited one more year. He reiterated that Mr. Kendrick had given him a commitment to work with him to make that happen. He then reported that the State bill on pension reform had failed, and the pension reform bills filed in each chamber had not been resolved this year. He explained that the Senate pension reform bill involved the use of the premium tax revenues to enhance the benefits of police and fire pensions rather than using it to sustain existing benefits, and the City of Mount Dora and the City of Eustis had both contacted him to stress that the Senate bill would be detrimental to them because rather than reforming pension it would worsen the strain on the cities. He remarked that the House had planned to strike the Senate bill if it had come to them and then replace it with a study that would come back next year, but they would have to wait until next year to see what could be done about it since the Senate bill never made it over to the House. He stated that his position was that they needed sustainability in the pension obligations at the State and local levels so that in the future public safety would not have to be compromised to meet the financial commitments made.
Mr. Gleason commented that it would be easier for cities and counties if the legislature recognized that sometimes it is best to let local government decide what was best for them and their local people and not have some State mandate that fits all.
Representative Metz replied that Mr. Gleason had a good point, but he opined that they could end up with a patchwork of regulations that could be harmful to business. He added that while State mandated regulations helped to maintain continuity, it did not mean that it should be done for every situation. He remarked that the pension law passed in 1999 was not the right way to go because it committed the municipalities to raising taxes even when it might not be in their power to do so.
Lake county update
Commr. Parks recapped that they had talked during the last conference call about the proposed South Lake regional park and the need to meet that level of service because South Lake still did not have a regional park. He distributed a map showing where the property for the regional park was located, and he stated that the County would be moving forward with the park.
Commr. Sullivan commented that the one thing that could kill growth in Lake County was the lack of water and opined that desalinization was not an option for South Lake. He remarked that one of his goals as a County Commissioner was economic development, and while the County had wonderful housing, it would not be able to provide the level of service the citizens demanded without the proper balance between commercial and residential taxes. He expressed his appreciation for the cooperation from the cities and commented that as the BCC liaison to the League of Cities, he often received some great suggestions from the cities. He commended Representative Metz for his presence at the meeting and stressed that the pension issue was very important. He then mentioned that the legislature changed the law to no longer mandate school concurrency. He remarked that some of the cities in the County had since withdrawn school concurrency from their comprehensive plans, and now the County was reviewing the interlocal agreement with all 14 municipalities to ensure it met the letter of the law.
Commr. Parks commented that the County wanted to maintain the school concurrency and opined that the municipalities should not want to drop concurrency completely.
City of Clermont Update
Vice Mayor Goodgame stated that a big issue for the City of Clermont was their visiting session for citizens to come in and comment on how they want the City to be developed, which was scheduled for May 21, 2013 at the Clermont Community Center beginning at 6:30 p.m. He mentioned that there had been a presentation to the Tourist Development Council (TDC) for a rowing venue on Lake Minneola called Lake Clermont, and he hoped that the TDC approved the project. He then noted that the money received from the sale of the spray field for the regional park was being put towards the development of the Clermont Nature Park, which would be open to everyone and was not just a Clermont park. He added that no fees would be charged for people wishing to use the Clermont Nature Park unless there were specific expenses associated with a requested use for the venue.
City of Groveland Update
Mr. Sam Oppelaar, Interim City Manager for Groveland, commented on the extensive construction going on in the City in both the residential and commercial sectors, and he mentioned that the City had issued almost 50 permits for single family homes just in the last few weeks. He opined that the City was looking forward to a good year because of the increased development. He stressed that the alternative water supply discussion for the South Lake region was critical for the City, especially considering the growth the City was experiencing.
Vice Mayor Loucks reiterated the importance of resolving the alternative water supply problem that the South Lake region was facing.
City of Mascotte Update
Mayor Tony Rosado, Mascotte, discussed the City’s budget, stating that their attempts to find alternative ways to reduce the budget, such as contracting out some services, had not been successful. He stated that they were going to move forward with their preliminary budget, and he mentioned that the City had needed to cut some of its services. He reported that the City would be breaking ground on a project to connect with the City of Groveland for wastewater services, and he stressed the importance of the municipalities working together as a region to help save each other money and resources. He noted that Mr. Gleason’s contract as City Manager was up for renewal, and they would be working on renegotiating the terms.
Mr. Gleason thanked the City of Groveland for the wastewater agreement, commenting that without it there would not be a need for the CDBG grant that they were receiving for the project. He hoped that this agreement could be used to show municipalities that they did not have to take on projects alone and that there was nothing wrong with reaching out to neighboring municipalities for help. He mentioned that Mascotte also had an agreement with the City of Leesburg. He then stated that the South Lake ISBA was passed by the City on Monday night, and he reported that a federal judge had ruled in the City’s favor on three of the four points regarding a $21 million lawsuit from Flagship Lake County Development Number 5, which pertained to due process issues that Flagship believed had been violated by the City. He noted that the judge had ruled that the claim of the City having torturous interference with their contractual relationship between Flagship and Waste Management involving the potential company that would run the landfill was not an appropriate issue for federal court, and Flagship had been informed that they could refile that issue in State court. He mentioned that he had a letter from Waste Management stating that the company was not involved at all in the application process with Flagship.
City of Minneola Update
Mayor Kelley reported that the City Council had extended its contract with Mr. Mark Johnson, City Manager for Minneola, which included a substantial increase in pay. He explained that Mr. Johnson had cut $3 million out of a $10 million budget in his first year as City Manager, bringing the City’s budget in line so they were not drawing from reserves as they had in the past. He added that Mr. Johnson had taken the same pay cut that he had required of the City staff. He also noted that since then, Mr. Johnson had put money back in the reserves every year, and the City was now in a position to consider paying off the city hall early. He remarked that Mr. Johnson was a leader leading by example and the City Council supported everything he was doing.
Ms. Jones stated that she was looking forward to helping the City grow and move in the right direction. She mentioned that she had been a resident of Minneola since 2002 and had regularly attended City Council meetings. She opined that the Council has been going in the right direction over the past few years.
Mayor Kelley remarked that the Florida Turnpike entrance was something that would encourage economic growth in South Lake without burdening the residents with the cost because of how it had been financed, and he opined that it was a great partnership opportunity to help develop the region as a whole.
Town of Montverde Update
Mr. Joe Wynkoop, Montverde Town Council President, remarked that Montverde was doing very well, and he invited those in attendance to watch the auditions for Montverde Idol on Friday night.
Fire services update
Mr. David Heath, County Manager, stated that he had slowed down the schedule for meeting with the cities until a Deputy County Manager had been hired; and now that Mr. Bill Veach had been brought on in that capacity, he would resume reaching out to the City Managers regarding the fire agreements pursuant to the work session held by the BCC several months ago.
Citizen Question and Comment Period
Ms. Anne Dupee, a resident of Clermont, remarked that this meeting was a marvelous opportunity, because representatives from all five South Lake cities and the County were present. She mentioned that one of the things passed in the State budget was $50 million to connect a trail from the Pinellas County Trail through Lake County to connect to the West Orange Trail. She asked if they were going to lobby the Governor to sign this bill, because she understood that Governor Scott had questions and therefore might remove the line item from the budget. She stressed that the project was important for the economic development of the South Lake region as well as promoting ecotourism, and she estimated that even part of the $10 million the first year could start the acquisition for the rest of the right of way to ensure the project is completed if the funds for the trail are approved.
Commr. Parks stated that the BCC had voted to have Chairman Campione send a letter to Governor Scott expressing support for the funding of the trail.
Mr. Gray stated that he would mention this issue at the Clermont City Council meeting on Tuesday and suggest they send a letter of support.
Commr. Parks and Commr. Sullivan thanked everyone for attending and thanked the City of Clermont for hosting the meeting.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:03 p.m.
leslie campione, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK