A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
october 8, 2013
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 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; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Shannon Treen, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Rabbi Hayyim Solomon from the Traditional Congregation of Mount Dora gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Breast cancer awareness fundraiser
Commr. Campione recognized that they would be adopting a proclamation entitled “Lake County Cares Enough to Wear Pink.” She mentioned that the Lake County firefighters and EMS were having a fundraiser to assist with breast cancer awareness and research and it would be taking place at Al’s Landing in Tavares at 1:00 p.m. where the pink truck would be on display.
Commr. Parks mentioned that anyone who was a survivor or who wanted to write in memory of someone would have the chance to write on the truck.
sales surtax oversight committee report
Mr. Keith Mullins, Clermont City Council Member, presented the report from the Sales Surtax Oversight Committee and explained that the citizens of Lake County voted to impose a one percent sales tax for 15 years back in 2001 to be divided between the School Board, the County, and the 14 municipalities. He indicated that a citizens’ oversight committee was formed as part of the agreement to look at the budget of the School Board, the County, and the municipalities to make sure the tax money was being spent as the citizens intended. He reported that the committee last met on September 9 to look at the budgets for the proposed year that started October 1, and after clarifying any questions they had, it was determined that everyone was in compliance and was spending the money on infrastructure as was intended. He stated that he would be back in six months to give a follow-up report on the past year.
Mr. David Heath, County Manager, noted that there was an addendum to the agenda for proclamations for “Lake County Cares Enough to Wear Pink” and “National Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights” that would be brought up under Commr. Parks’ report.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that he wanted to have a discussion under his business regarding the changes to the National Flood Insurance Program.
Ms. Christina Brandolini, Human Resources Manager, presented the following employee awards:
Peggy Stassie, Library Assistant I (not present)
Public Resources/Library Services Division
Shane Strew, Construction Inspector I
Public Resources/Parks and Trails Division
Amber Teeter, Animal Control Officer
Community Safety and Compliance/Animal Services Division
Gwendolyn Carbino, Animal Control Officer
Community Safety and Compliance/Animal Services Division
Sheila Denoncourt, Senior Building Inspector
Growth Management/Building Services Division
Cynthia Jones, Office Associate IV
Juanita Popenoe, County Extension Service Director
Public Resources/Agricultural Education Services Division
Susan Shorten, Welcome Center Worker (not present)
Economic Development and Tourism/Tourism Division
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, presented the award for twenty years of service to Mr. Gary Debo, Operations Compliance Coordinator, Public Works/Solid Waste Division, and commented extensively on his service.
Chief John Jolliff, Public Safety Director, presented the award for twenty-five years of service to Mr. Bruce Bowers, Fire Lieutenant/EMT, Public Safety/Fire Rescue Division, and commented extensively on his service.
EMPLOYEE OF THE QUARTER
Ms. Kelly LaFollette, Communications Director, presented the award for Employee of the Quarter to Mr. Paul Long, Graphic Designer, Communications Department.
SUPERVISOR OF THE QUARTER
Mr. Kristian Swenson, Facilities and Fleet Management Director, presented the award for Supervisor of the Quarter to Mr. Jimmy Appoloney, Facilities Maintenance Manager, Facilities and Fleet Management/Facilities Maintenance Division.
T.E.A.M. OF THE QUARTER
Mr. Kristian Swenson, Facilities and Fleet Management Director, presented the award for T.E.A.M. of the Quarter to employees of Facilities Maintenance and Energy Management, who were Roland Breeden, Paul Doran, Matthew Dorn, Wesley Jones, John Wright, and Mark Wrigley.
ANNUAL EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE AWARD
Ms. Wendy Breeden, Public Resources Director, presented the award for Annual Excellence in Service to Mr. Clarence Archie, Park Attendant, Public Resources/Parks & Trails Division.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the BCC Minutes of August 27, 2013 (Regular Meeting) as presented.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 and 2 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.
Village Center Community Development District FY 2013/2014 Budget
Request to acknowledge receipt of the Village Center Community Development District’s adopted budget for the Fiscal Year 2013/2014, which is being submitted in accordance with Chapter 190.008(2)(b)(c), Florida Statutes.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
Commr. Campione recognized the 4H members that were in the audience for Proclamation No. 2013-119 observing 4H week in Lake County.
Ms. Mya Bradley, president of the Lake County Team Leadership Council, accepted the Proclamation on behalf of the 850 Lake County 4H members and thanked the Commissioners for the support of their leadership program.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 4 through 14 as follows:
Request for approval of the 2014 Board of County Commission meeting dates.
Request for approval and signature of Proclamation No. 2013-119 in observance of 4-H week in Lake County, October 6-12, 2013. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval of contract 13-0604 to construct the Green Mountain Scenic Byway Northshore Overlook and Trailhead to Wagner 3 Ventures, Inc. (Leesburg). The fiscal impact is $1,037,386.88 - Expenditure. Commission District 2.
Request for approval of Proclamation No. 2013-120 for Fire Prevention Week 2013, October 6, 2013 through October 12, 2013. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval to advertise for bids for the CR 44 Widening and Resurfacing (CR 452 to CR 19A) project. The fiscal impact is $377,949 - Estimate (Expenditure). Commission District 4.
Request for approval of the Traffic Signal Maintenance Amended Agreement with the City of Tavares. This agreement adds additional traffic signals located within the City limits at SR 19 & Lane Park Rd and at US 441 & Huffstetler Drive to the list of traffic signals currently maintained by Lake County Public Works for the City of Tavares. The fiscal impact is $1,411.08 (Revenue). Commissioner District 3.
Request for authorization to accept the final plat for Highland Shores and all areas dedicated to the public as shown on the Highland Shores plat. Highland Shores consists of 8 lots and is located in Section 2, Township 23 South, Range 25 East. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 1.
Request for authorization to accept the final plat for Mission Park Phase II, Lot 127 Replat and all areas dedicated to the public as shown on the Mission Park Phase II, Lot 127 Replat plat. Mission Park Phase II, Lot 127 Replat consists of 2 lots and is located in the Four Corners area, in Section 15, Township 24 South, Range 26 East. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 1.
Request for approval of proposal from Shaw Environmental, Inc., (Shaw), a CB&I company, for Operation and Maintenance for the Phase 1 System at the Fuel Remediation Site, located at the Lake County Solid Waste Facility, utilizing budgeted funds. The fiscal impact is $116,780 (Expenditure). Commission District 3.
Request for authorization to accept the final plat for Low and Slow Flying Club and all areas dedicated to the public as shown on the Low and Slow Flying Club plat. Low and Slow Flying Club consists of 9 lots and is located Northeast of Mascotte, in Section 23, Township 21 South, Range 24 East. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 1.
Request for approval to advertise for bids for the CR 561 Restriping from US 27 to CR 48 LAP project. The fiscal impact is $305,515 (Grant Funded - 100%). Commission Districts 1 & 3.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 15 and 16 as follows:
Request for approval and execution of contract between the District Five Medical Examiner’s Committee and Dr. Barbara Wolf for Medical Examiner Services. The fiscal impact is $774,261.23 (Expense).
Request for approval and execution of Release of Fine for property owners, Heather and Patton Eggerichs. The fiscal impact is $75.00 (Revenue).
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
south lake transit service update
Ms. Dottie Keedy, Community Services Director, stated that she would be providing an update on LYNX Routes 204 and 55, as well as information on the implementation of the SR 50 LakeXpress Route. She explained that Lake County currently received FTA 5307 grant funding from its two urbanized areas, which were Leesburg/Eustis/Tavares, and Lady Lake/The Villages. She noted that they have been able to access all of the federal funding from the Lady Lake/The Villages area since Sumter and Marion County were not utilizing those funds to provide transit. She related that South Lake County was designated as part of the Orlando Urbanized Area in 2010, which made them eligible to receive $396,000 in additional funding and that the funding from the three areas could be combined to fund all eligible transit services provided by Lake County. She added that the new funding was intended to be used for the SR 50 fixed route service. She indicated that the 5307 grant funding could be used for operating and capital expenses and that the amount of funding received was based on a formula, which included population, density, and ridership, and it required a local match. She noted that they would have to seek approval from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to use the funding for Routes 204 and 55, but they have not been able to receive an answer yet because of the government shutdown. She then discussed Route 204, stating that the County subsidized it through the General Fund and that the current service included five morning and five evening trips from the Clermont Park and Ride to Downtown Orlando per day. She pointed out that it cost $168,376 in Fiscal Year 2012-2013 and that LYNX reported that there were 68 daily riders and about 3,000 trips per month. She indicated that the annual subsidy per rider was $2,476 and that most of the riders purchased 30-day passes, which cost $70 per month. She related that the estimated cost for a 30-day fare with no subsidy was $276 per rider. She pointed out that LYNX held a public hearing in Clermont on September 24 regarding ending the service, and which was scheduled to end on October 18. She mentioned that the Board directed staff to seek proposals from LYNX limited to a $50,000 annual subsidy with utilizing the 5307 funding and that LYNX submitted a proposal with various options, but all of the options required Lake County to guarantee the total cost of the service initially and then a credit would be received for the fares collected. She specified that Option 1 included one morning and one evening trip per day, the total estimated cost was $52,344, and the net cost estimate was $22,817. She noted that Option 2 included two morning and two evening trips per day, the total estimated cost was $104,689, and the net cost estimate was $45,635. She added that the net costs could not be guaranteed as the proposal assumed the current ridership remained the same. She mentioned that there were some issues to consider with the proposal, such as one to two round trips per day would limit the ridership due to space limitations and the timing of the routes, a fare increase would cause a decrease in ridership, and future funding availability may impact the ability to renew the service annually. She then explained that Route 55 ended on September 15, and the Board directed staff to request a proposal from LYNX to re-start the service utilizing up to $25,000 in 5307 funds; however, a proposal had not been received yet. She added that they hoped to receive one in the next few weeks and would bring that back to the Board at the next available meeting.
Ms. Keedy discussed the South Lake County LakeXpress route, stating that the Transit Development Plan projected the need for a fixed route service in South Lake. She indicated that the new federal funding would provide dollars to pay a portion of the cost of starting the service and would provide the majority of the annual operating costs, specifying that the estimated start-up cost was $2.2 million and the estimated annual operating cost was $463,000. She noted that some of the South Lake paratransit riders would be able to use the fixed route system, and that would result in some savings to the General Fund. She pointed out that the service would begin along SR 50 from Mascotte to Winter Garden and would provide a connection to the existing LYNX service at Winter Garden Regional Shopping Center and that potential future expansions included a Clermont-Minneola Circulator, a Clermont-Four Corners route, and a Leesburg-Clermont route. She noted that two buses would run from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. five days a week with one hour headways and that initiating the route would depend on the available funding and participation from the cities would possibly accelerate the start-up and expansion of the service. She stated that the new service would be funded by federal grant funds utilizing the existing local match and that the service would begin in FY 2016. She noted that there were two possible constraints for implementation, including the Medicaid reform which could reduce the dollars that could be used as the local match, and if Sumter or Marion County wanted to use their federal funds to provide transit. She pointed out that the Lake-Sumter MPO would provide an update to the Transit Development Plan at the October 22 BCC meeting and at the October 23 MPO Board of Directors meeting, and the implementation would begin if approved by both. She summarized that there was 5307 funding available to begin implementation of the SR 50 LakeXpress route and to fund Routes 204 and 55 at reduced levels; however, the County must receive approval from FTA on the use of those funds. She requested approval to authorize the County Manager to enter into an agreement with LYNX for Route 204 for approximately $104,000, with an estimated net cost of $46,000, to provide two morning and two evening buses per day with a 100 percent fare increase, subject to approval by FTA; and to present LYNX Route 55 agreement options to the Board as soon as they were received.
Commr. Cadwell commented that if FTA did not approve of the use of those funds, the only other place was the General Fund, which would be a one-time, one-year fix.
Commr. Campione mentioned that they would be committed to the routes if they approved them before they received an answer from FTA.
Commr. Conner asked if they could all agree that they were not going to fund the routes out of the General Fund.
Commr. Parks replied that he thought they all agreed to that, adding that he did not think FTA would say no to Route 55 since they had already stated they would work with the County on Route 204.
Commr. Conner expressed that he wanted to make it clear that they would not be funding those routes out of the General Fund.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he had a good feeling that the FTA would allow them to use the 5307 funds, but they still had to commit $46,000 from the General Fund if they wanted to continue the service. He indicated that his main concern had been about the South Lake fixed route and whether it would be delayed if they used the 5307 funds for Routes 204 and 55; however, it looked as though that it would not.
Commr. Parks opined that they should do everything they could to keep Routes 204 and 55 running, because people depended on them. He noted that the South Lake fixed route was a little premature, because they needed the cities to step in and make that a reality. He added that if they committed to that route now, they could be in the same position they were now at some point in the future with having to deal with three routes and trying to choose between them. He also mentioned that he walked Route 55 with the riders yesterday and that it was very dangerous, but those riders had to do it to get to work.
Commr. Sullivan commented that he did not want to continue to use the General Fund to fix problems and that they needed to decide where their priorities were, because they could not do it all. He related that mass transit systems did not pay for themselves and that they had to be cautious, because the federal funding may not come through.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that Polk County had originally reported that the majority of the riders for Route 55 were not Lake County residents and asked if that had changed. He added that this was a temporary fix, and if they wanted to continue the route, they needed to have a discussion with Polk County to see what they could do together to keep the route going.
Ms. Keedy answered that she did not have an exact number, but the percentage of Lake County riders was about three or four percent.
Commr. Campione stated that they all agreed they would not use the General Fund for transportation at this time, but they needed to keep an open mind to using it to fund future transportation needs. She pointed out that the riders were using the bus to go to work to make a living, and she could not support taking the route away if they could use federal funds to keep it going. She noted that they needed to figure out how much they wanted to spend on the South Lake route and then ask the cities to help contribute to make up the shortfall. She then explained that she wanted to give the County Manager authority to use the 5307 funds should they receive notice that they could utilize them, so the route would not be held up any longer.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Ms. Mary West, a resident of Clermont, explained that she had been using Route 55 since it started, and it was important to her, because she was disabled and depended on it to get to doctor appointments and for shopping.
Ms. Barbara Garcia, a resident of Clermont, stated that she was retired and had lived in Cagan Crossings for the past three years. She indicated that she did not drive, but she enjoyed having the independence that the bus provided. She related that discontinuing Route 55 had created a hardship for many people and urged the Board to bring it back.
Ms. Minerva Montes, a resident of Clermont, stated that the County was just putting a bandage on Route 55 for now, but they needed to think about the long term plan for it. She added that a lot of people depended on the route now and that the ridership would increase as the population aged.
Ms. Mary Priebe, a resident of Clermont, explained that she was legally blind and there was no cure for her condition, so she relied on the bus service. She noted that she moved from Windermere to Cagan Crossings for Route 55 and asked the Board to reinstate it.
Mr. José Nicolás Campos, a resident of Clermont, expressed that the bus service was needed, because it was impossible to walk to work or any other place on the busy highways.
Mr. Sean McIsaacs, a resident of Clermont, pointed out that he used Route 55 to travel from Clermont to the Central Station and to Ocoee. He opined that buses were a good thing and asked the Board to sustain Routes 55 and 204.
Mr. David Conn, a resident of Clermont, suggested having Lake and Polk Counties work together on Route 427, which currently ran more into Polk County, to see if it could run similar to Route 55. He also noted that the buses ran every 30 minutes, which should be adjusted to every hour or only at peak times to save some money.
Mr. Gordon Hairston, a resident of Clermont, pointed out that he used Route 55 to get to Celebration Hospital for appointments to care for his heart condition. He stated that he needed the bus and that it was unsafe to walk to the route.
Ms. Celeste Clifford, a resident of Clermont, thanked Commr. Parks and Mr. Ken Harley, Public Transportation Division Manager, for walking with the riders of Route 55 yesterday, because it was important for them to see the needs of the people they served. She asked the Board to restore Route 55 and pointed out that the route was a priority and they needed to consider the lives of the people they were disrupting by cutting this route. She added that lives were being put at risk by walking the route on such a dangerous highway, but the people did not have a choice because they needed to get to work and other places.
Ms. Christina Galinas, a resident of Clermont, explained that she just found out about Route 204 a few weeks ago and bought a 30-day pass for her son so that he could take the bus to high school in Winter Park, because he could not drive yet and she was unable to drive him to school. She added that when she purchased the pass no one told her that the route was ending. She expressed that she was shocked the route was ending and that it would cut off their connection to Orlando, and although she understood fiscal responsibility, she asked for the Board to reinstate Route 204.
Mr. Gustavo Ortiz, a resident of Clermont, expressed his disappointment in the elimination of the routes, specifying that he was surprised they were cutting funds altogether and asking the riders to pay double the current fare, which was a substantial commitment for many people. He stated that they should have progressively increased the fare if they knew the route would not be funded indefinitely.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
The Chairman announced at 10:25 a.m. that there would be a ten-minute recess.
south lake transit service update (cont’d)
Mr. Jerry Russo, a resident of Clermont, stated that he submitted a public information request with Lake County about ridership for Route 5 and he received the 2013 Lake-Sumter MPO Transit Development Plan, which explained that over 300 people rode Route 204 each day. He added that that was more ridership than Route 3 or 4 and the proposed ridership on Route 5 and noted that the County spent over $800,000 a year from the General Fund to fund the four routes in North Lake County.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Ms. Keedy clarified that the dollars spent from the General Fund was a transfer to pay for the Transportation Disadvantaged trips which they used as the soft match to draw down the federal funds which paid 100 percent of the fixed route costs.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that the idea of the fare increase for Route 204 came from the riders as one way to look for a solution.
Mr. Heath specified that this was subject to getting approval from FTA, and there was a good chance that the route would temporarily end if the government was still shut down after October 19. He also wanted to make everyone aware that some riders would be inconvenienced since they were reducing the stops from five to two.
Commr. Parks suggested providing updates on the County’s website about Routes 204 and 55 to keep everyone informed.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to authorize the County Manager to enter into an agreement with LYNX for Route 204 for approximately $104,000, with an estimated net cost of $46,000, to provide two morning and two evening buses per day with 100 percent fare increase, subject to approval by FTA.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that they needed to give direction to staff so that this did not have to come back to the Board.
Mr. Heath explained that the Board previously authorized a maximum net cost of $25,000 for Route 55, so he could sign a contract with Lynx for that amount. He added that he would need direction on whether they wanted a fare increase and to reduce the number of runs.
Ms. Keedy related that they probably would not have the flexibility to reduce the number of runs for Route 55, because it was a different model.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that the model for Route 55 was convoluted, and the riders were from four different counties going to different places at different times. He added that it would be difficult to cut the routes.
Commr. Conner stated that he was not comfortable giving direction on Route 55 until they knew what Lynx’s proposal was.
Commr. Parks indicated that there was approximately $400,000 in the 5307 funds, so they could give the County Manger direction to negotiate aggressively with using as little of those funds as possible.
Commr. Campione noted that the Board would be meeting several times within the month, so it probably would be better to wait and hear what Lynx’s proposal was. She added that she could call a special meeting if everything came together before the next meeting.
Mr. Heath pointed out that they could bring back an agreement on October 22 or 29, and then they would seek FTA’s approval for the use of the funds if that was acceptable to the Board.
Commr. Conner asked if they could make the individuals with disabilities who spoke that day aware of the paratransit services available.
Mr. Heath replied that Ms. Keedy and Mr. Harley could speak with them and they could also post a notification on the website when they posted the updates.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to defer action on Route 55 until they heard the proposal from Lynx, which was subject to approval by FTA.
Commr. Cadwell asked if anyone had reached out to Mayor Buddy Dyer, the Chairman of Lynx.
Commr. Parks replied “no,” adding that Lynx scheduled their meetings at the same time as Commission meetings.
Commr. Cadwell related that at some point the Chairman or whoever the Chairman wanted to designated should talk with him.
Commr. Campione noted that she would work with the County Manager on that.
presentation on lake and canal water levels
Mr. Mike Perry, Executive Director of the Lake County Water Authority, gave a presentation on lake and canal water levels. He reported that the current level in Lakes Apopka and Griffin was significantly below the minimum desirable elevation, and the superpond, which included Lakes Dora, Eustis and Harris, was slightly above the minimum desirable elevation. He pointed out that the lakes would try to respond when it rained, but most of the lakes never exceeded the minimum desirable elevation and noted that the water management district had shut off the flow through the lakes in the Harris chain since April 2012 to try to preserve as much water as possible. He stated that the County had not had normal rainfall since 2005 and that they were 7.78 inches below average rainfall with a cumulative deficit of about 60 inches. He explained that Lake Minnehaha, which was part of the Clermont chain, had responded to the rain that had occurred, but it was still below the regulatory range. He mentioned that they discovered that the wetland flow in some areas had been altered, which did not allow the water to flow north, and they were almost ready to put out a bid to get that corrected. He pointed out that there were other issues related to lake levels, such as the water use from Lake Minnehaha for residential irrigation. He related that they estimated that approximately 202 million gallons of water per year would be used from the lake if the 259 homes that lived on the lake watered their yard two days a week every week according to their guidelines. He pointed out that their board was talking about creating a lakes academy to educate the citizens about the lake systems in hopes of offsetting some of the rumors going around.
Commr. Sullivan asked what some of the other consequences were of the lake levels being low.
Mr. Perry replied that the fluctuation of water levels was nature’s way of managing lakes, specifying that the accumulated muck near the shoreline dried out when water levels were low, and when the water returned the lakes had a better habitat and fishery as a result. He noted that some lakes, such as Lake Apopka, had the potential to cause more water quality problems when the lake level went down.
Commr. Parks commented that constantly withdrawing water during times when there was a lack of rainfall could cause the highest points to recede and dry up, resulting in additional uplands.
Commr. Campione asked how evaporation affected lake levels as compared to the withdrawals from the lakes.
Mr. Perry answered that it depended on the time of year, but evaporation could cause a loss of as much as a half of an inch a day, particularly during spring and fall when the temperatures were high and the humidity was low. He noted that in the Clermont chain it would take almost 50 cubic feet per second of water coming into that system to offset the consumptive use, irrigation, and evaporation.
Commr. Parks pointed out that Mr. Perry would be a presenter at the Water Summit at the Clermont Community Center on November 19.
Mr. Perry stated that he would discuss rainfall and lake levels to help the public understand what was going on.
ordinance regarding public participation
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that the agenda item also included a new policy for the Board regarding proclamations and letters of recognition and the Board could handle both items with one motion. He then 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; CREATING SECTION 2-2, ARTICLE I, CHAPTER 2, LAKE COUNTY CODE, ENTITLED PUBLIC PARTICIPATION; PROVIDING THE PUBLIC A REASONABLE OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 286.0114, FLORIDA STATUTES; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR FILING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. Vance Jochim, a resident of Tavares who writes a blog called FiscalRangers.com, mentioned that there were some terms in the ordinance that were vague and asked if those terms could be clarified. He specified that the term “available” should state that the agenda would be available on the County’s website and in printed form; the term “four days before” should state whether it was business days or calendar days; and the term “committee” should state whether it was a committee the Board sat on or was one of the many committees the Board had that was subject to sunshine laws.
Mr. Minkoff clarified that the agenda was available four calendar days in advance, and the term “committee” referred to any committee the Board created or appointed, adding that it would not be a committee the Board was a member of. He related that the agenda was posted on the website and hard copies were available in the Board Office and that the County Manager’s Office emailed the agenda and addendums to a list of individuals who requested it.
Mr. Heath noted that any addendums issued by the Friday before the meeting were available immediately. He also mentioned that a template would be created for the proclamations and letters of recognition for the Board to use.
Mr. Jochim explained that he asked for clarification of those terms for the general public, because most people did not know where and how the agenda was available.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2013-54 creating Section 2-2, Article I, Chapter 2, Lake County Code, entitled “Public Participation” and approved the Provisions for Proclamations and Letters of Recognition Policy.
educational and transportation impact fees ordinance
Mr. Minkoff explained that they advertised two different ordinances; the first one would extend the temporary suspension of educational impact fees until June 30, 2014, and the second one would re-impose educational impact fees beginning January 13, 2014 at 25 percent of the study amount and would also delay the transportation impact fees resumption from January 1 to January 13, 2014. He stated that they could take public comment first and then he could read the ordinance they decided on.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. William Wilburth, President-elect of the Lake-Sumter Homebuilders Association, stated that the workforce in the construction industry was growing older, many have left because of the recession, and there was a growing shortage of labor as well as an increase in the costs of materials. He related that the construction industry had been damaged, and the County was considering impacting them again. He asked the Board to hold the School Board more accountable for their misspending and to reconsider the impact fees to give the industry more time to get stronger.
Mr. Bud Dorman, President of the Lake-Sumter Homebuilders Association and CEO of White Aluminum, explained that the membership of the Lake-Sumter HBA was comprised of companies that represented Lake County. He noted that the impact fees could cause implications across the board and urged the Board not to reinstitute the educational impact fees since the economy was still fragile.
Mr. Vance Jochim, a resident of Tavares who writes a blog called FiscalRangers.com, spoke in favor of the impact fees, stating that they were the known method for generating revenue to pay for infrastructure. He pointed out that the HBA wanted to reduce the fees they were charged for infrastructure caused by growth in new construction and transfer those costs to property owners through increased tax rates. He expressed that the impact fees should be reinstated to help pay for the road and school needs.
Ms. Carolyn Maimone, Executive Director of the Lake-Sumter Homebuilders Association, handed out statistics for Lake County’s unemployment rate and new construction permits, pointing out that as of July 2013 the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent and the new construction permits had declined significantly since 2005. She explained that there was a direct correlation between the unemployment rate and permits and noted that as the permits increased, the unemployment rate decreased. She mentioned that the number of resales had been significantly higher than new construction and related that the County would receive more money by charging a fee on every transaction than by charging fees on permits and new construction only.
Mr. Mike Carter, a resident of Lake County and a State-certified general contractor, spoke in opposition to the impact fees. He stated that the impact fees were designed for new growth and new construction and that the collection of them should be specific to the area they were raised for. He noted that people were going to weigh the cost of building a new home versus buying an existing one and that in the long-run it would be more beneficial to charge property taxes instead of charging a one-time fee. He commented that the Board was responsible for making decisions for the residents of Lake County and that they should look out for their present needs as well as their future needs.
Mr. Jim Bible from Showcase Homes spoke in regards to the issue of prepayment of impact fees. He stated that this ordinance would impact everyone that had prepaid and that most of the prepaid impact fees were at a much higher rate than what the County was currently looking to implement. He related that it would cost Showcase Homes about $6,500 per lot if they sold all of their lots if the Board went forward with the ordinance. He then asked for the Board’s consideration to let him bank the prepaid impact fees and then collect new impact fees on the lots when they were built on.
Commr. Cadwell asked how many of the lots were prepaid.
Mr. Minkoff mentioned that there were two classifications for the prepayment where some had a dollar amount credit and some had a credit for whatever the impact fee was, but he did not remember how many lots there were. He added that he could work with Growth Management on that to figure out how many lots there were.
Dr. Tod Howard, School Board member, stated that it was difficult to raise taxes, but the County was falling behind with the continued growth and they needed to mitigate that loss, otherwise the increase would have to be even greater next year. He added that they needed to try to do as little damage to the economy as possible while still mitigating the issue and expressed that he was in favor of implementing the impact fees at $2,500. He explained that the School Board had been working on other alternatives and reported that he had spoken with Senator Alan Hays regarding legislation to allow a real estate transaction fee. He asked the Board to join the School Board in a joint resolution that they could present to their legislative delegation on October 21. He expressed that it would be a good step forward and beneficial to have both boards and their legislative delegation work together.
Commr. Conner noted that he was appointed by the Commission and had a meeting with Chairman Kyleen Fischer and Dr. Susan Moxley with the School Board about six weeks ago where they outlined a process for moving forward with trying to pass legislation in Tallahassee. He related that they needed to know whether what Dr. Howard was doing was different than previously discussed.
Dr. Howard pointed out that he was there to let the Board know the process was moving forward, because they now had a legislator who was willing to carry the legislation to Tallahassee. He explained that he had started working with Senator Hays on this legislation in 2010, and the timing was not correct then, but this year it was. He added that Senator Hays wanted to make sure that both boards and the community supported it.
Commr. Campione explained that she spoke with Senator Hays as well, and his proposal was for a bill giving each county in the state a choice to either utilize impact fees for schools and transportation infrastructure or to utilize the documentary stamp. She added that there would be a cap on the doc stamp where it would be doubled; however, that extra amount could only be used for schools and transportation infrastructure, with each local government having the option to choose an amount up to the cap.
Commr. Conner emphasized that one state senator sponsoring a bill would not necessarily get it passed. He noted that they needed to get support from the Florida School Board Association and the Florida Association of Counties, and the bill would have a better chance of getting passed.
Commr. Campione opined that they should at least get the dialogue going and reach out to the Florida Association of Counties to get their input and see if there was support for it. She added that it was possible that they may decide it was not such a great idea after looking into it further.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Campione explained that the fee created such a hardship on the northern part of the County where there was not a lot of growth like in South Lake and added that it was almost impossible to divide the County into two impact fee districts. She pointed out that tightening up concurrency in South Lake by creating a couple of additional concurrency service areas would help prevent those areas from utilizing capacity in the Clermont and Minneola areas, which would then force large developers to sit down with the School Board and come up with a creative solution for building new schools in locations where they were needed. She also noted that increasing the de minimus number from four to ten would be another way to make the cities more amenable to concurrency. She related that she would support the 25 percent impact fee if the School Board and the Board were committed to working on tightening up concurrency, adding that she would not support the fee in the future if that did not happen.
Commr. Sullivan stated that that was a step in the right direction.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that the cities were already on the verge of backing out of the concurrency agreements.
The Board reached a consensus to pursue the changes to the concurrency agreement.
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 SECTION 22-21, LAKE COUNTY CODE, ENTITLED "LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS," TO ADOPT THE EDUCATIONAL IMPACT FEE STUDY DATED JUNE 7, 2011; AMENDING SECTION 22-22, LAKE COUNTY CODE, EXTENDING THE SUSPENSION OF EDUCATIONAL IMPACT FEES THROUGH JANUARY 12, 2014; RE-IMPOSING THE EDUCATIONAL IMPACT FEES AT 25% OF THE RATE RECOMMENDED IN THE IMPACT FEE STUDY EFFECTIVE JANUARY 13, 2014; AMENDING SECTION 22-37(a), LAKE COUNTY CODE, REGARDING TRANSPORTATION IMPACT FEES, TO EXTEND THE SUSPENSION DATE THROUGH JANUARY 12, 2014; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; PROVIDING FOR FILING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Commr. Campione mentioned that a school impact fee of $2,500 would be very competitive with Seminole County’s fee of $5,000 and Orange County’s of $6,500.
Commr. Conner commented that it was not an easy decision and the Board had been very sensitive to the economy. He emphasized that the building permits should be monitored in the event that they saw a negative trend, because they would have to readdress the school impact fees. He added that the impact fees have been waived for several years and the schools did not have other funding sources, so he was going to support re-imposing them. He then thanked Dr. Howard for taking the initiative to speak with Senator Hays regarding the doc stamp legislation and he hoped they would be able to move forward with that.
Commr. Parks asked if staff would be able to handle all of the applications that may come in prior to the January 13, 2014 deadline.
Mr. Heath replied that they did not anticipate any issues, especially since they would be giving the community about a three months’ notice.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2013-55 amending Chapter 22, Lake County Code concerning educational and transportation impact fees, which re-imposed the educational impact fees at 25 percent of the amount shown in the June 7, 2011 Henderson Young & Company Impact Fee Study to become effective January 13, 2014, and it also extended the effective date of the transportation impact fees to January 13, 2014.
county manager’s departmental business
fiscal and administrative services
infrastructure sales tax
Mr. Heath recalled that they used $1,050,000 from the infrastructure sales tax to pay for the debt service on the Judicial Center in order to balance the budget for that year and that the presentation was to give an update on the state of the sales tax.
Mr. Minkoff gave an overview of the infrastructure sales tax, stating that the state statute authorized counties to levy a discretionary sales surtax of either 0.5 or 1 percent, which was enacted through an ordinance, and that there was a procedure to allow municipalities to force a referendum if a county commission did not elect to have a sales tax. He specified that the tax must be approved by the electors and it could not last longer than 15 years without a reauthorization by the electors. He related that the statute specifically indicated how the taxes could be used and it also required that the referendum question have a brief description of the items that it could be spent on. He indicated that the sales tax was originally adopted in 1987, was reauthorized in 2001, and was set to expire on December 31, 2017. He noted that there was an interlocal agreement between the School Board, the Board, and the municipalities which distributed the tax by one-third to each entity. He indicated that the ordinance stated that half of the proceeds of the tax should be spent on transportation purposes and the other half on other uses allowed by the statute.
Mr. Steve Koontz, Fiscal and Administrative Services Director, stated that they were estimating a total of $32.2 million from the infrastructure sales tax for Fiscal Year 2013 to be distributed equally. He explained the uses of the infrastructure sales tax, specifying that the transportation uses consisted of road construction projects, such as widening and resurfacing, as well as sidewalk construction and the purchase of heavy equipment. He mentioned that the other uses included capital funding for parks; funding for public safety, such as the radio system, Sheriff vehicles, and ambulances; funding for the construction or acquisition of new facilities; and funding for the renovation or expansion of existing facilities.
Mr. Kristian Swenson, Facilities and Fleet Management Director, gave an update on the current projects that were funded by the sales tax. He noted that the Animal Services building was expanded to provide additional parking, kennel area, and kennel support spaces and that the construction was 99 percent complete. He added that $1.3 million was budgeted, $1.1 million had been expended to date, and it was anticipated to be completed in the fourth quarter of FY 2013. He stated that $1.6 million was budgeted for remodeling the second through fifth floors of the Historical Courthouse to house the Sheriff’s Office administrative and civil case staff. He mentioned that bids were currently being accepted and they were estimating the project to be completed in the first quarter of 2014. He indicated that the Courthouse expansion was for area “C” which connected the new building with the existing building, specifying that it was a two-story structure constructed over the top of the existing jury assembly room to house the bailiffs and to provide an inmate bridge connection and a corridor connection for the judges. He related that $1 million was budgeted for that project, it was currently under construction, and they were anticipating completion in the first quarter of 2014. He stated that the existing Courthouse was being renovated on the second through fourth floors to house the State Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office with some minor work on the first floor. He noted that $5 million was budgeted, the project was currently being designed, and it should start in the first quarter of 2014 with a completion date in the first quarter of 2015. He added that the project must be done in phases due to the existing housing of the State Attorney’s Office on the fourth floor. He related that the third floor would then be “touched up” and the Public Defender’s Office would move into that space and that other minor improvements would run concurrently with the phasing improvements.
Mr. Koontz explained that the infrastructure sales tax would end on December 31, 2017 and that there was an estimate of $7.57 million in cash brought forward for FY 2014. He noted that they were estimating the annual revenues for other County infrastructure to be $5.45 million and the funding from FY 2014 to FY 2017 to be $29.59 million. He recalled that $1,050,000 of the infrastructure sales tax was used for the Capital Improvement Debt Service to free up funding in the General Fund so the reserves stayed above the seven percent level. He added that $200,000 was also used to replace some of the Lake EMS ambulances. He indicated that they did a cash flow analysis for FY 2014 through 2017, and the estimated ending fund balance for FY 2014 was $2.56 million after various projects were funded. He related that the estimated ending fund balance for FY 2015 was $4.52 million, for FY 2016 was $7.77 million, and for FY 2017 was $9.94 million.
Mr. Mike Graves, Public Defender, addressed the Board regarding the renovation of the Courthouse. He stated that in 2006 the Public Defender’s Office moved from the existing Courthouse to its current location on Sinclair Avenue in Tavares due to the space needs at the time and they were supposed to move back into the Courthouse on the completion of the expansion. He expressed that it was essential for them to move back into the space that was designed for them to carry out their statutory responsibilities. He pointed out that their office staff had increased by 25 percent since 2006 and that they were running out of office space. He added that some of their employees did not have outlets to plug their computers into and that some walls were made out of plastic which did not muffle sound, which was important in a law office that required attorney-client privileged communication. He noted that they needed new carpet, and the wall coverings were dirty and falling off the walls, which was extremely unprofessional. He related that there was $20,000 worth of computer servers in their building that should be kept in a climate controlled environment, but that was not available. He indicated that the biggest concern was security as the Sheriff’s Office was no longer able to provide security like they used to, and he mentioned that their office was the only constitutional court-related agency that sat in an unsecured building. He emphasized that they were not happy where they were and that he could not continue to discharge his constitutional duties at the current location.
Mr. Walter Forgie, Division Supervisor of the State Attorney’s Office, explained that their main issue was space as they had outgrown their space needs. He noted that their office had increased by nearly 50 percent over the last seven to eight years and that they have had to convert common areas into temporary offices and even had to move about 12 employees to another building. He added that their files were taking over their halls and that they also shared the same carpeting and wall covering issues as the Public Defender’s Office. He stated that they engaged in privileged communication, dealt with the most sensitive cases, and did not have an area for a play room for the children when meeting with the families of the victims of such crimes. He mentioned that he was also concerned about the outcome if the Fire Marshal inspected their office. He expressed that getting the space that was allotted for them was essential to carry out their constitutional duties and for the citizens in Lake County to receive the service they deserved.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
The Chairman announced at 12:52 p.m. that they would recess until 2:00 p.m.
infrastructure sales tax (cont’d)
Mr. Koontz pointed out that there were also several unfunded needs the County had, such as the Lake Idamere Miracle Field; the Tax Collector/DMV future space needs; replacement of aging HVAC in existing buildings; the potential Fairgrounds relocation; a South Lake regional park; replacement of County equipment, vehicles, and other infrastructure; and a Lake County/EMS Budget subsidy. He then summarized that funding was included for Public Safety, Animal Services, Parks and Trails, the Courthouse, and the Supervisor of Elections through FY 2017. He added that there was $9.94 million available through FY 2017, with the majority of the cash being available in FY 2016 and 2017, and that the potential list of unfunded needs exceeded the available funding.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the large equipment that was leased was paid out of the gas tax or the sales tax.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, answered that that equipment was paid for out of the gas tax and that the large Public Works equipment was in good shape.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that they needed to get a list together of the pieces of equipment that were leased and the ones they would have to buy using the sales tax.
Commr. Sullivan asked if they had worked with the constitutional officers to identify other capital needs they would need in the future and if they had a capital improvements plan.
Mr. Koontz replied that they were aware of the election equipment needs of Ms. Stegall and the space needs of Mr. McKee, but they have not had specific discussions with all of the constitutional officers.
Commr. Cadwell asked if Information Technology equipment was included.
Mr. Minkoff responded that it depended on the item, because some of the equipment was scheduled to last at least five years, so larger servers would qualify, but smaller computers would not.
Mr. Heath commented that when times were tough the two items that were typically cut first were capital replacement and maintenance, and he noted that they had not bought anything in seven years and had done a minimal amount of maintenance. He specified that they had situations where vehicles had blown transmissions, but the departments did not have money allocated in their budgets to repair them.
Mr. Koontz related that they had replaced some computers more recently, but the servers had not been replaced in a long time.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that the servers should be on the unfunded needs list.
Mr. Heath noted that he planned on coming back over the next six to nine months with work sessions on the individual items on the unfunded needs list. He added that the money in FY 2014 and 2015 was already spoken for and there would not be enough for matching grants or any large capital improvements.
Commr. Cadwell explained that he was concerned about the items on the list where they had made a promise, such as the Lake Idamere Miracle Field, the Fairgrounds relocation, and a South Lake regional park, and having to weigh those projects against the air conditioning system in the building and repairing County vehicles.
Commr. Conner stated that it was important to spend the money from the infrastructure sales tax in a manner in which the public would approve, especially since they wanted to renew it in 2016. He added that using the money to fund ambulances and Sheriff vehicles was something the public would vote for, but it was unlikely they would vote for replacing the HVAC system in a building. He mentioned that even though they may have promised it, they made everyone aware that it would take years to build a South Lake regional park. He noted that he was strongly committed to the Lake Idamere Miracle Field and would be extremely disappointed if they were not able to match the grant to complete the field.
Commr. Parks opined that there was a great need for a South Lake Regional Park and although it was going to be a while before they could build it, the more they allocated towards it the better.
Commr. Campione suggested holding on to some of the money in the event they needed extra for the Minneola Interchange in case they were not getting any impact fees at that point.
Commr. Cadwell expressed that one project like that could come forward and the $9 million would be depleted and would still not be enough.
Commr. Campione asked if they would want to hold a special election in 2015 for the renewal of the sales tax instead of waiting for the regular election in 2016, because she was under the impression that it was done during a special election the last time.
Mr. Minkoff clarified that it had to be a special election, because it was voted in on November 6, 2001 and normal elections were held in the even years.
Commr. Sullivan related that it would cost around $125,000 to put together a special election.
Commr. Cadwell noted that they could argue that while it cost money to have a special election, it would give the voters an opportunity to understand only one issue.
Commr. Conner commented that that was something they should take a look at.
Commr. Campione asked if the School Board and the cities could go early in 2015 with them.
Mr. Minkoff answered that they could; however, the interlocal agreement stated that they would have to agree not to take any more payments under the existing agreement.
Commr. Conner asked if the next step would be to form a formal committee with the Chairman and someone from the School Board, the cities, and the business community.
Commr. Sullivan responded that he was in the process of doing that, adding that he had already talked with the School Board and the League of Cities, but none of the details had been worked out.
Commr. Conner stated that he was under the impression that the South Lake Chamber had already passed a resolution supporting the gas tax and the sales tax, and he was confident that the business community would support it as well.
Mr. Minkoff reminded them that the legislature passed a law in 2009 that would prohibit them from spending money on the issue.
Commr. Conner mentioned that one of the biggest selling points for the public with the sales tax would be keeping the millage rates as low as possible, and they would be able to tell the public what other needs they still had after using the sales tax to pay for current debt service.
Commr. Campione related that the fairgrounds was a great candidate for tourism taxes if they could bring in events. She then asked if they made appointments to the Fair Board.
Commr. Cadwell answered “no.”
Commr. Campione stated that if they took on that project and spent tourism taxes on it, then they may need to consider making appointments so that they would own that project.
Mr. Minkoff noted that they have had discussions with them about having the County own the fairgrounds and lease it to them or have some kind of operating agreement. He added that if they started to exert control over the Fair Board, then they would be subject to sunshine laws and would probably resist that.
economic development and tourism
economic development and tourism’s quarterly update
Mr. Robert Chandler, Economic Development and Tourism Director, introduced Mr. Paul Simmons as the new South Lake Coordinator and then gave an update on the activities of Economic Development and Tourism through the first three quarters of 2013 and presented an overview of the revised business incentive ordinance. He first discussed some economic indicators and noted that the Lake County unemployment rate was at 7.3 percent in August with the three-year low being 6.9 percent in April. He related that between August 2011 and August 2013 Lake County had dropped 4.2 percentage points and was the second highest among Osceola, Orange and Seminole Counties. He noted that the percentage of property taxes that came from non-residential uses had seen a slight increase over the past few years and that Lake County was at 21 percent where the average of the tier 1 counties was at 33 percent. He added that they would probably never be that high, but their goal was around 27 percent. He indicated that they were estimating new business tax receipts to be the biggest amount that they have had since 2000 and that residential building permits had bottomed out since 2010 and 2011, but the number of permits had doubled each year since then. He mentioned that the average residential sale price had increased by 20 percent from August 2012 to August 2013 and that they were up 26 percent from the bottom of the market. He added that there was always a lag in the values and there were a lot of foreclosures that were being sold which was making the numbers higher.
Mr. Chandler discussed the activities of Tourism and explained that the Tourist Development Tax revenue was up by five percent year to date. He pointed out that the third quarter was the slowest quarter in regards to Tourist Development Council (TDC) sponsorship and he noted that there were 10 sponsorships this quarter; the total economic impact was $2.3 million, which was more than last year; and the number of organizations and events that they sponsored was almost doubled as compared to last year. He indicated that the deadline for the fall cycle of the TDC capital projects was October 1 and that they had received three applications, which were from the National Training Center/South Lake Hospital for their track and field complex, the Mt. Plymouth Land Owner’s League for an outdoor museum, and the Lake County Water Authority for dock improvements at Hickory Point. He added that the applicants would be making presentations to the TDC in November. He related that the Wings and Wildflowers Festival was very successful that year and that they could be one of the premier birding festivals in the country if they kept working at it. He noted that the surveys were coming back with great remarks, over 400 people registered for the events, and the preliminary attendance was more than 2,500. He mentioned that they had recruited various events, such as the Oakley Big Bass Amateur Tour for Spring 2014, the World Water Ski Championship for Fall 2014, and multiple NCAA Championships for 2015, 2016 and 2017. He stated that staff attended the S.P.O.R.T.S Conference in September, which was the biggest networking conference in the country, and they were following up on several leads from that event. He related that they were also working to become an official training site for the 2017 World Rowing Championship. He mentioned that staff held internal workshops as well as a workshop with the TDC to discuss marketing and advertising strategies, adding that they wanted targeted and measurable marketing campaigns. He noted that an article about Lake County would be published in the Florida Sport Fishing Magazine and that the Discover Lake card was a rewards card for tourists to get discounts on local accommodations, dining, and attractions and that it had been well received. He added that they were still working on their sports and tourism websites and would be doing a tour with the Orlando Attraction Hoteliers to get more of the Orlando tourists into Lake County.
Mr. Chandler discussed the activities of Economic Development and stated that the Economic Development and Tourism Coordinators had made 200 site visits in the third quarter and over 650 site visits in the past two years, noting that they instituted the customer relationship management program to track all interactions with customers. He indicated that they listened to the business community and adjusted their business incentives to be more responsive to their needs. He related that there had been 28 seminars with 480 attendees and 171 different customers with 935 hours of counseling through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). He mentioned that there were also four current clients, which was only 18 percent occupancy, and two recent graduates through the Business Incubator program. He stated that they were re-launching the Business Opportunity Centers in the winter and hired an additional Certified Business Analyst who would specialize in helping businesses find funding. He added that they would be holding more training seminar topics and classes and have an enhanced web presence, an aggressive marketing and advertising campaign, and better reporting to the stakeholders. He pointed out that they implemented a two-pronged approach to business attraction by building competitiveness, such as having a strategic plan, a good education system and workforce, a transportation network, and incentive tools; and marketing competitiveness, such as a brand message, a targeted niche industry list, a partnership with the Metro Orlando EDO, and a marketing strategy. He remarked that the Economic Action Plan was created in early 2011 and that staff recently reviewed the plan and found that the nine goals were still relevant and there had been many accomplishments on the action items. He mentioned that the zoning and a contract for the 470 Commerce Center in Leesburg had been approved so the site would be finished and certified. He related that they just had a kick-off meeting for the Mount Dora Employment Center, and they were looking to have that finalized by the spring of 2014. He noted that they were currently working with the planners on the Wellness Way Sector Plan, the rail improvements were underway and should be completed by mid-2014, and the Economic Development Overlay would be transmitted in November. He stated that their incentive budget was not sufficient enough for any large-scale business attraction, as Lake County had a 20 percent match on the State incentive program and most projects would require at least $1 million. He explained that they were working on a brand for Lake County which would take advantage of the County’s competitive advantages and niches and they expected to launch that in the Fall. He noted that they were working on a targeted industry analysis so they could focus on their strengths and unique economic position in the region. He indicated that a strong relationship with the Metro Orlando EDC was critical, and Lake County was now getting more representation. He gave an update on the new and expanding businesses in Lake County, noting that Rural King would be opening in January 2014 in Leesburg with 80 jobs, Senninger Irrigation in Clermont would be expanding by 40,000 square feet, and Rainey Components in Groveland would be expanding by 65,000 square feet and would have 100 new employees. He also mentioned that Vista Clinical Diagnostics won the 2013 Schwartz Industry Innovation Award and that they were an important asset for the County. He pointed out that they were working with Lake Technical Center to acquire funding for the Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Lake Tech and that they were working on a virtual machining lab and hoped to start offering classes in January 2014. He related that they have also been working with eight existing companies to fill jobs and with Workforce Central Florida where they hosted a South Lake Job Fair.
Mr. Chandler discussed their activities for the next quarter and stated that they planned to bring either a monthly or quarterly report to the stakeholders that would show which items they were currently working on, and they wanted to put together a business plan for 2014. He added that they wanted to continue working on the targeted industry list, building a relationship with the Metro Orlando EDC, working on the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, re-launching the Business Opportunity Center, and working on the Lake County branding. He then explained the changes to the Business Incentive Ordinance, stating that it would be more responsive to the needs of existing businesses, there would be a more streamlined application and eligibility criteria with less confusion, and it would create a higher return on investment. He specified that the Business Attraction Program was renamed the Business Expansion Program to better reflect the intent of the program, and it would provide matching funds to new or existing businesses to offset development costs. He added that it would also target small and existing businesses and that the old eligibility requirements had a minimum of five jobs and would match up to $25,000, but the new requirements had a minimum of two jobs and would match $5,000 per job up to $25,000. He noted that the High Value Job Creation program provided a cash award for job creation and the old eligibility requirements were a minimum of 10 new jobs for new businesses and five for existing business, but the new eligibility requirements were a minimum of 10 new jobs for new and existing businesses. He related that they made other revisions, which included not allowing “double dipping,” meaning utilizing the same jobs to apply for multiple programs, changing the targeted industries definition, and eliminating the Artist Relocation Program. He then asked for approval to advertise the ordinance.
Commr. Campione commented that there was no source of funds for the incentive program, especially since there would be a 20 percent match to the State. She clarified with Mr. Minkoff that having tax abatement as an incentive would have to be done by a voter referendum.
Commr. Parks clarified that sales tax could be used if constructing a road was used as an incentive.
Commr. Campione noted that there were some areas in the County, particularly in Northeast Lake, where having hotels would bring in good events and asked if there was a way to treat hotels as a targeted industry.
Mr. Chandler responded that hotels were like retail in that they followed the demand, adding that he was not sure how that could be structured, but it was something he could look into. He related that they could show the hotel chains the vision and potential of Lake County.
Commr. Cadwell asked if there had been any kind of changes in the business world that would cause the incubators to be at such a low occupancy.
Mr. Chandler replied that it was a national problem and that their situation had a lot to do with how well they marketed and structured their incubator.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to advertise the Ordinance amending Chapter 7, Lake County Code, entitled Economic Development and Business Incentives. There is no fiscal impact.
commercial design standards
Commr. Campione explained that she got involved in this, because they had been getting a lot of requests for stores in rural areas, and the County did not have any design standards like many of the cities did. She added that she, along with County staff, had a meeting with the HBA and some commercial developers to pitch the idea and found that they all liked the idea of higher standards.
Ms. Amye King, Growth Management Director, gave a presentation to discuss options for commercial design standards as minimum design criteria within specified zoning districts. She pointed out that the Comprehensive Plan required that the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) ensure that the development was compatible with adjacent properties and required design guidelines within regional office, regional commercial, traditional neighborhoods, rural future land use series, Ferndale, Mount Plymouth-Sorrento, Green Swamp, and the Wekiva River Protection Area. She added that the design standards must also include building style, design and scale, exterior building materials, roof design and construction, building size and placement, site furnishings, fences and entrance features, and size and location of services areas. She noted that the only current commercial guidelines or design standards within the LDRs required lighting fixtures to be designed or arranged so they would not interfere with the enjoyment of neighboring properties and residents and that there were also roof pitch residential design standards. She indicated that staff currently worked with developers to incorporate design features without any guidelines, but it was not required. She explained that they looked at the neighboring counties’ design standards and found that Orange County had lighting standards and required façade treatments and unenclosed canopies over all first floor building openings. She mentioned that Seminole County had standards for exterior building materials, entrance features, service areas, roof design and construction, building style, and fences. She related that Sumter and Osceola County did not have any commercial design standards and that Marion County was in the process of developing some. She pointed out that the proposed design standards guidelines included color and texture changes, roof slopes, exterior materials and color, building lighting, mechanical equipment, site design, and fences. She described some examples of the standards, specifying that the façade color must be neutral or earth tone; the predominate exterior building materials must be quality materials such as stucco or textured concrete; lighting fixtures must minimize glare and overhead sky glow; roof-mounted mechanical equipment must be shielded from view; buildings that faced a public street must have one customer entrance; and fences must be made of wood, metal, masonry, vinyl/plastic or a combination of those. She summarized that the LDRs did not address commercial design standards, but the Comp Plan required adoption of such standards. She added that design standards with minimum criteria and flexibility in achieving them would allow the County to accomplish aesthetic standards and ensure compatibility with surrounding areas. She mentioned that their next steps were to receive authorization to create an ordinance, talk to the industry, receive approval to advertise the ordinance, have the Planning and Zoning Board review the ordinance, and then have the BCC adopt the ordinance. She then asked for approval to draft the ordinance and bring it back to the BCC for consideration.
Commr. Cadwell expressed that he was excited about creating these standards, but he was also concerned about the local businesses and convincing them it would result in added value to their property. He added that they needed to look at the communities that already had standards to find the things that mattered the most.
Commr. Parks stated that the standards would make Lake County more competitive for economic development. He noted that he had done some research and found that the business community and residents wanted some basic standards, because they were tired of the boxy look to the buildings, massive expanses of parking, and the unimaginative colors.
Commr. Cadwell asked if staff was available to do this.
Mr. Heath replied that they wanted to design the ordinance so that the applicant and the County did not have to hire an architect to check for compliance and they were hoping a certification or checklist would suffice. He mentioned that he liked Lee County’s ordinance, because it stated that the design standards could not exceed one percent of the cost of the building.
Commr. Campione suggested having some sample pictures, especially for the local projects, so they got an idea of what the County was looking for.
Commr. Parks commented that the South Lake Chamber would be interested in weighing in on the ordinance.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved for staff to draft a minimum design standards ordinance for commercial development and bring it back to the BCC for consideration.
Women's Hall of Fame
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Ms. Linda Watts and Ms. Betty Sexton as the 2013 Women's Hall of Fame inductees.
Parks, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board appointed Mr. Nathan S. Gonzalez to the District 1 seat on the Parks, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board to complete an unexpired two-year term ending May 20, 2015.
reports – county manager
Director of Community Safety and Compliance
Mr. Heath announced that Mr. Brian Sheahan, Planning Manager for the Planning and Community Design Division, was promoted to Director of Community Safety and Compliance and that there would be a transition period for Mr. Sheahan to work with the Growth Management Director on items such as the Sector Plan.
reports – commissioner sullivan – district 1
Commr. Sullivan mentioned attending a workshop with Leesburg Partnership where they discussed their plans for next year. He added that they were very appreciative of the County reaching out to them.
reports – commissioner parks – district 2
National Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights Proclamation
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Proclamation No. 2013-117 proclaiming October as the “National Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights” month.
Lake County Cares Enough to Wear Pink proclamation
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Proclamation No. 2013-116 proclaiming October as the “Lake County Cares Enough to Wear Pink” month.
Broadcast of commission meetings
Commr. Parks commented that he was made aware that residents in South Lake did not get LSSC TV through Brighthouse which broadcasts the Commission meetings and that he would speak with Brighthouse about it.
Commr. Parks asked for a short presentation in November regarding the Groundwater Foundation since they were presenting to the cities about becoming a groundwater guardian community.
reports – commissioner cadwell – district 5
discussion of various water committees
Commissioner Cadwell had asked to discuss various water committees and staff’s involvement in them, but he postponed the discussion so that the Board could look at their involvement with every committee.
Commr. Cadwell thanked the South Lake Chamber for hosting the Trustee Luncheon on October 4 and commented that they had some good dialogue.
NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE
Commr. Cadwell asked for staff to present at a future meeting how the National Flood Insurance was affecting Lake County citizens.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:52 p.m.
leslie campione, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK