A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
february 24, 2015
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 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: Jimmy Conner, Chairman; Sean Parks, Vice Chairman; Timothy I. Sullivan; and Leslie Campione. Commissioner Welton G. Cadwell was not present, since he was in Washington DC giving a presentation and representing the County on a state and national level. Others present were: David Heath, County Manager; Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager; Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Pastor Tim Travis from The Father’s House in Leesburg gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
There were no changes to the Agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of January 20, 2015 (Special Meeting) and January 27, 2015 (Regular Meeting) as presented.
Mr. Robert Anderson, Human Resources Director, related that they were recognizing the volunteers who contributed a significant amount of time in service to Lake County, and he elaborated that 300 citizens contributed a total of over 24,000 hours of their time and efforts to Lake County in 2014, which equated to roughly 12 full-time positions or $193,000 in service if calculated at the minimum wage rate. He added that there were 61 volunteers who would receive certificates for their contribution of over 150 hours of service in 2014, and 31 of them are being recognized that day. He called the name of the following volunteers to come up to the front of the room, shake hands with the Commissioners, and receive their certificates: Jim Briggs, who volunteered 160 hours with the Public Resources Department in the Literacy Program; Roberta Moecker, who volunteered 151 hours with the Public Resources Department at Cooper Memorial Library; Emil Vandevelde, who volunteered 154 hours with the Public Safety Department in the Emergency Management Division; Kathleen Weaver, who volunteered 164.5 hours with the Public Resources Department at Cooper Memorial Library; Peg Lindsay, who volunteered 172.5 hours with the Public Resources Department in the Parks & Trails Division; Lanny Villinis, who volunteered 172.5 hours with the Facilities and Fleet Management Department in the Facilities Division; Cara Luchsinger, who volunteered 192 hours with the Public Resources Department in the Literacy Program; Robert Putman, who volunteered 204.5 hours with the Public Resources Department in the Parks & Trails Division; Wanda Klaas, who volunteered 207 hours in the Literacy Program; Migdalia Mendez-Smith, who volunteered 213.5 hours with the Public Resources Department at Marion Baysinger Memorial Library; Fred Fitte, who volunteered 217 hours with the Public Safety Department in the Emergency Management Division; Doug Rehman, who volunteered 248 hours with the Public Safety Department in the Emergency Management Division; Constance Gibb, who volunteered 255 hours in the Literacy Program; Paul Branch, who volunteered 274 hours in the Emergency Management Division; Michelle Brady, who volunteered 333.75 hours at Cooper Memorial Library; David Pennell, who volunteered 359 hours in the Emergency Management Division; John Walton, who volunteered 386 hours in the Emergency Management Division; Paul Hemby, who volunteered 522 hours in the Emergency Management Division; and Gratia Jacob, who volunteered 621 hours with the Community Safety and Compliance Department in the Probation Division.
Mr. Anderson then recognized the following volunteers for their volunteer hours contributed to the Community Safety and Compliance Department in the Animal Services Division prior to it being transferred to the Sheriff on October 1, 2014: Sharon Carr, who volunteered 150.5 hours; Lisa McCrae, who volunteered 152 hours; Lisa Richardson, who volunteered 167 hours; Amy Cauley, who volunteered 204 hours; Michelle Ballings, who volunteered 259 hours; Elizabeth Logan, who volunteered 328 hours; Lisa Whittaker, who volunteered 358.5 hours; Simone Hazell-Briggs, who volunteered 531.5 hours; and Whitney Luckhart, who volunteered 1,307.5 hours. He commented that Lake County sincerely appreciates all of the service that the volunteers have contributed on behalf of the County.
Commr. Sullivan thanked all of the volunteers for all their service and commented that it contributes to and improves the quality of life that they all enjoy in Lake County.
Commr. Parks also thanked them and commented that they were a testament to the fact that the community is what they make of it.
Commr. Campione related that the Board was extremely appreciative of all that those individuals do, the many hours that they contributed of their own time, and that they are sharing themselves with this community.
Commr. Conner echoed the sentiments of the other Commissioners and added that he did not know where the County would be without the volunteers and the work that they do, since their work was needed and very valuable to the County.
citizen question and comment period
Ms. Marie Rich, Council Woman from the City of Mount Dora, explained that she had to campaign door to door since she did not have the money that her opponent had, and she related that she did a lot of campaigning in the community with signs and her dog; however, she was told by Ms. Emogene Stegall, Supervisor of Elections, that she could not go into gated communities except on election day to campaign. She commented that there were more and more closed-gated communities being built, and she added that when she contacted the developer of the Lakes of Mount Dora, a new future community in Mount Dora, to ask whether they would allow future candidates into the community to campaign, the developer indicated that he thought that was a good idea and would put it into the bylaws, while some other communities allow “meet-and-greet” events during campaigns. She elaborated that some communities do welcome the candidates into their development, since they are very interested in who is running their city, and she opined that it was a disservice when that was not allowed to those who do not get to meet the candidates personally. She reported that when she brought this issue before the City Council, she was told to go in front of the BCC and that it was a County issue, but she was told by Ms. Stegall that it was a city issue. She related that her research indicated that it was a County issue if there is a precinct in a closed-gated community, and she requested that the Board take some action which would allow the candidates in those communities to attend a “meet-and-greet” event or to knock on the doors of the residents.
Commr. Conner asked the County Attorney whether the Board has the jurisdiction in this matter.
Mr. Minkoff responded that this decision would require both the Board’s and the Supervisor of Elections’ approval with respect to County-run elections to either establish or eliminate a precinct. He added that the City can decide to run its own elections, which would allow them to set their own precincts.
Commr. Campione offered to facilitate a meeting with Ms. Rich and Ms. Stegall about this issue, since the Board would need to cooperate with the Supervisor of Elections regarding this matter, unless the City of Mount Dora wants to take it upon themselves to run their own elections, which she opined was not the optimal solution because of the cost factor. She added that this meeting might result in a discussion item to bring back to their Board for further discussion of options at a future meeting.
Commr. Parks commented that he believes that was a good approach and that he appreciated Ms. Rich bringing this issue forward, since he has had some questions about it from time to time. He added that he believed in promoting accessibility to candidates and the importance of these elections.
Commr. Conner agreed that this would be the best course of action.
Mr. Vance Jochim, a writer of a blog regarding governmental fiscal issues, commented that he was glad there were going to be a lot of budget hearings held this year. He mentioned a newspaper article regarding Volusia County questioning the validity of their Community Development Agencies (CRA’s) after getting an estimate from their Property Appraiser indicating that the County would lose over $555 million in future revenues over the next 20 years paid into the existing 16 CRA’s and five new ones, although he pointed out that there would not be anywhere near that amount of money that would be spent for subsidizing the CRA’s in Lake County. He opined that the balance of the county should not be subsidizing a municipality that may not be taking advantage of other economic opportunities. He expressed concern that this represents a significant amount of money flowing out of the general fund, and he requested that the Board look at that issue during one of their workshops in the future. He also commented that he believes the Board should be more serious about looking at restraining the budgets and any tax hike next fiscal year.
Commr. Conner emphasized that the Board was looking to lower the millage rates for the new budget year.
Commr. Campione related that she would like to have the opportunity to rebut what Mr. Jochim stated about CRA’s when the Board discusses CRA’s later in the meeting, since she believes that what the CRA’s are doing in Volusia County is very different than in Lake County, and she suggested that they have the municipalities come to a BCC Meeting to discuss what each of them are specifically doing in each of their CRA’s. She opined that the cities were doing some great things with their CRA funds that are being used for governmental infrastructure expenditures such as sidewalks, signage, and streetlights rather than economic expenditures for private purposes.
Commr. Conner responded that he understood that the improvements made by the CRA which they would be discussing that day were very good and had merit.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 3, as follows:
List of Warrants
Request to acknowledge receipt of list of warrants paid prior to this meeting, pursuant to Chapter 136.06 (1) of the Florida Statutes, which shall be incorporated into the Minutes as attached Exhibit A and filed in the Board Support Division of the Clerk’s Office.
Property Placed on the Lands Available List
Request to acknowledge receipt of Property Placed on the Lands Available List. Lake County has until April 16, 2015 to purchase property from the Lands Available List before it is available to the public.
Request to acknowledge receipt of Property Placed on the Lands Available List. Lake County has until May 6, 2015 to purchase property from the Lands Available List before it is available to the public.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 12 as follows:
Request for approval of Proclamation No. 2015-17 proclaiming March 2015 as Irish American Heritage Month, per Commr. Sullivan.
Request for approval and authorization for the Chairman of the BCC to sign the FY 2014-2015 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Agreement with the City of Tavares, in an amount not to exceed $75,000 (from the CDBG Fund) for the Tavares Alleyway and Sidewalk Improvement Project. The fiscal impact is $75,000 (Expense).
Community Safety and Compliance
Request for approval to accept a Department of Environmental Protection Small Quantity Generator (SQG) Assessment, Notification and Verification program grant for 2015-2018 in the amount of up to $27,807 ($9,268.93 annually); approval and signature of Unanticipated Revenue Resolution No. 2015-18 (URR); approve BUA 2015-05.464 to reflect budget and authorize the County Manager to sign all grant documents. These funds will be used to offset the cost of performing state mandated inspections of Lake County businesses using small quantities of hazardous wastes to identify issues and report to the DEP annually as required by Florida Statute. The fiscal impact is $27,807 (Revenue/Expenditure - FY2015-2018). The FY2015 fiscal impact is $9,269.93 (100% grant-funded).
Request for approval of the Lease Agreement between Lake County and the Northeast Lake Community Outreach for the Forest Hills Volunteer Fire Station located at 31039 Lake Mack Drive in Deland. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval to terminate the Lease Agreement between Lake County and Eustis Building Street, LLC, for the Lake County Health Department Space located in the Van Dee Medical Building, 2-18 Eustis Street in Eustis. There is no fiscal impact for FY14/15.
Request for approval for the County Attorney to execute the Stipulated Final Judgment in Court Case No. 2014-CA-000791, Lake County vs. Hibiscus Homes of Florida, Inc. and Big Sky at Minneola Homeowners Association, Inc. et al. (Parcel Numbers: NH01, NH01-HOA) for right of way needed for the North Hancock Road Extension Project; and approval for the County Attorney to execute the Stipulated Final Judgment in Court Case No. 2014-CA-000187, Lake County vs. Hibiscus Land Development of Lake County, LLC, and Jeremy and Michelle Shea, et al. (Parcel Numbers: NH 02, NH02-SHEA) for right of way needed on the North Hancock Road Extension Project. The total settlement for approval is $922,777.00. A good faith estimate deposit was made with the Court per the Stipulated Order of Takings in the amount of $449,000.00; therefore, the fiscal impact at this time is $473,777.00 (FY15). Project Tracking Number: W&R 08042. Commissioner District 2.
Fiscal and Administrative Services
Request for approval to (1) declare the items on the attached list surplus to County needs, (2) authorize the removal of all of the items on the attached list from the County’s official fixed asset inventory system records, and (3) authorize the Procurement Manager to execute any required title documents. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval of changes to County Policy LCC-85 that would authorize the County Manager to make minor corrections and adjustments to the County's self-insured medical plan documents when clarifications to the plan are issued by the County's Health Insurance Administrative Services provider. The authorization is for changes for clarification purposes only and not for changes to benefits. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval of Resolution No. 2015-19 and execution of the Transportation Economic Development Transportation Project fund Agreement for the design and acquisition of Right of Way on Citrus Grove Rd from west of Grassy Lake Rd to N. Hancock Rd. with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in the amount of $1,000,000 (FM#435541-1-38/48-01). The fiscal impact is $1,000,000 (100% Grant Funding). Commission District 2.
Request for approval and signature of Resolution No. 2015-20 for Petition to advertise a Public Hearing (Robert Albers, Rep. Chuck Hiott), to vacate a portion of right of way known as 2nd Street, in the Plats of Astor, recorded in PB1, Pg. 24 and PB2, Pg. 12. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 5.
public hearings: rezonings
rezoning consent agenda
Commr. Conner declared a conflict of interest regarding Item 1 of the Rezoning agenda due to the fact that his father owns property adjacent to the property of the proposed rezoning and asked that they hear both of the cases on the Rezoning Consent Agenda separately.
Mr. Chris Schmidt, Manager of Planning and Community Design, submitted the advertisements for that day’s public hearings. He explained that both Rezoning items on the Consent Agenda were approved unanimously by the Planning & Zoning Board on February 4, and the staff recommendation is for the Board to approve the Consent Agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried by a vote of 3-0, with Commr. Conner abstaining from this vote, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2015-6 and PH#1-15-4, BankFirst Realty – Roll Air Skating Rink CP Rezoning, which was a request to revoke Planned Commercial (CP) Zoning Ordinance #27-76 and establish a Planned Commercial (CP) zoning district to allow limited Neighborhood Commercial (C-1) and Community Commercial (C-2) uses with a new ordinance.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2015-7, PH#14/6/1-3, Novillo Lake Jem Equestrian Training & Event Center CUP, which was a request for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for active/passive recreation uses to accommodate an Equestrian Training and Event Center with accessory uses in the Agriculture (A) Zoning District.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
presentation regarding construction of sidewalks
Mr. David Heath, County Manager, explained that he would have staff give the Board an annual update specifically on sidewalks in Lake County, since the Commissioners get a lot of inquiries from residents about pedestrian safety.
Mr. Fred Schneider, County Engineer, Department of Public Works, related that he would present an update regarding sidewalks in the county, noting that the County builds sidewalks with road projects and as individual projects, and subdivisions build them when they plat their lots. He elaborated that the current code requires that they build sidewalks along collector roads, and commercial site plans are required to have sidewalks. He explained that sidewalk repair and maintenance is funded by about $500,000 in sales tax and a smaller amount of gas tax, with new sidewalk projects being funded out of federal funds for the most part through the Lake-Sumter MPO (Metropolitan Planning Agency) priority project list. He presented the existing Lake County sidewalk audit, which showed that there were 291 total linear miles of sidewalk along County-maintained roads. He recapped that the Board adopted the ADA Public Right of Way Transition Plan for sidewalks in December 2012, which was required by federal rules to identify critical areas where sidewalk retrofits must be made for ADA compliance, and the federally-funded Safe Access to School Study was completed by the MPO in December of 2013. He discussed sidewalk maintenance issues, noting that they address mainly trip hazards as well as cracks, curb ramps, and damage from tree roots, and he added that regular maintenance needs include restriping crosswalks, sign maintenance, and mowing. He related that they use contracted services and in-house staff to address maintenance, which is mostly funded through sales tax, and the new federal Justice Department rule requires that they address all of the curb ramps to bring them into ADA compliance any time they resurface a roadway. He commented that most of their funding for sidewalks is being used for retrofits and repairs, including the federal funding source, and they have been implementing the ADA Transition Plan; also, they were currently looking at an update to Chapter 9 of the Land Development Regulations (LDR), which will come back to the Board at a later date.
Mr. Schneider reported that the County and City Comprehensive Plans are the first thing they look at during the process for identifying new sidewalks for priority funding, with the school and hazardous walking routes being the next determining factors. He explained that they work with the municipalities, the MPO, and the School Board to prioritize the sidewalk projects, and they started addressing some of those projects before the Back to School study was completed a few years ago. He mentioned that they have to fund design, right of way, and construction for those projects, but the County does not have a designated funding source to construct new sidewalks, although it is mostly taken out of a retrofit sales tax fund. He pointed out that constructing additional sidewalks would increase the cost of future maintenance, and most new subdivisions also construct sidewalks, although the cost of mowing is typically done by the developer; however, the County is responsible for maintenance and repair for those sidewalks as well when needed. He explained that they are prioritizing funding for sidewalk connections to schools and continue to monitor legislation with regard to pedestrian safety near schools. He specified that the cost estimate for sidewalks was about $17 million inside city limits and $16.8 million for the unincorporated areas, and the cost for curb ramps was $5.5 million inside cities and $3 million outside of the cities. He explained that the State Attorney General’s opinion was that many sidewalks inside the cities are the responsibility of the city, even though they were on a county road.
Mr. Schneider explained that the MPO worked on the plan for the Back to School Safety Study and had some consultants working with all of the schools to look at a ten-year planning horizon. He elaborated that they made recommendations for future sidewalks for each school in Lake County, which included along state highways, County roads, and city roads, as well as on School Board property. He related that they received cost estimates from the MPO for their plan for $900,000 on school sites, $2.2 million for state highways under the FDOT, $12.6 million within cities and towns, and $13.9 million on County roads, for a total of $29.6 million. He reported that they have been coordinating with the School Board staff and the MPO to come up with a list of priorities, four of which they have started looking at, which were the North Hancock Road alignment, Johns Lake Road, the Eudora Road-CR Old 441 intersection, and the CR 561-Log House Road intersection. He specified that N. Hancock Road was currently under construction and expected to be open to traffic in March of 2016, and it will include a sidewalk on the west side and a trail on the east side running past Lake Minneola High and Grassy Lake Elementary. He added that this sidewalk and trail will be extended with the Turnpike and Hills of Minneola DRI projects north to CR 561A and eventually into the Sugarloaf DRI. He related that the design for Johns Lake Road is completed, and the right of way is funded for 2016 and 2017 leading to Lost Lake Elementary School. He recapped that the Board has discussed the need for a sidewalk from Old 441 to Triangle Elementary School, and it was on the MPO priority project list. He noted that they have been doing several retrofits in the Sylvan Shores area for sidewalks that were built in the 1950’s and have sustained a lot of damage, and he elaborated that they would be putting out a bid this year to do more repairs on Sylvan Shores and to add a piece of sidewalk on Eudora Road that was missing in order to connect to the school. The last Safe Schools project he discussed was for CR 561 and Log House Road in the southwest Clermont area, noting that this has been an issue for a while because of concerns about traffic. He reported that they did a study and evaluation indicating that sidewalks would be helpful at this location, and this was on the MPO’s priority project list.
Mr. Schneider recapped that Commr. Parks presented the East Ridge Middle School Pedestrian Safety Study for discussion on December 2, 2014, and the Board asked staff to look at this issue and come back to them with their findings. He named the project priorities that were identified and the actions currently taken on those projects, including adding a second school zone speed sign with a flashing beacon at Excalibur Road and enhancement of the midblock crosswalks on Excalibur, which were both completed by Public Works, as well as adding a crossing guard and a midblock to the crosswalk at the bus loop, which were School Board items which have not been completed yet. He added that the city has completed the goal of adding no parking and standing signs and enforcement of that, and the School Board has not completed the goal of restricting exiting traffic to right-out only at the main school driveway at the pick-up and drop-off area. He discussed the goal of formalizing a pedestrian connection to Long Pine Trail, noting that students were currently cutting through a pathway across private property, and he stated that putting in an ADA-compliant sidewalk would necessitate purchasing a large portion of land from that landowner and spending about $250,000 in construction costs. He indicated that the property owner has allowed the students to walk across his property and has not fenced it off, although he has a right to do so. He related that the other alternative would be to build a sidewalk in the County right of way on N. Hancock Road to Greater Pines Blvd. at an estimated cost of $70,000, and they have sent a request to the MPO to add a sidewalk on Lost Lake Road to the list of local priority projects for funding at an estimated cost of $274,000.
Mr. Schneider reported that both the County and the cities have constructed new sidewalks and ramps since 2011 within a mile or two of numerous schools throughout the county that were listed on the overhead monitor, and he pointed out that they have also repaired and done retrofits in those areas as well. He showed a chart illustrating the sidewalk projects they were planning on building in 2015, such as along Thomas Avenue near Carver Middle, Washington (CR 50) crosswalks near Grassy Lake Elementary, and CR 468 near the Rhimes Center, noting that they have already built a sidewalk along Hartwood Marsh Road; and he mentioned that they also will do repair and maintenance countywide. He named the projects that were on the 2015-2019 list for road projects with sidewalks, including Johns Lake Road in Clermont near Lost Lake Elementary, Phase I and II of CR 466A near Fruitland Park Elementary, and the first phase of Citrus Grove Road near Minneola High and Elementary Schools. He related that the Local Agency Program (LAP) through the MPO provides federal funding for sidewalk construction for projects such as Thomas Avenue, US 27 pedestrian Crossings near the Villages, Orange Avenue for schools in Eustis, and SR 19 for Tavares Middle in 2015, as well as Abrams Road near Eustis Middle School and CR 25 near the Villages Elementary School in 2016. He stated that Public Works has prepared a sidewalk capital improvement program containing 67 projects with 77 miles of new sidewalk totaling $25.4 million, which was a combination of School Safety Projects and Parks and Trails projects.
Mr. Schneider presented a funding analysis which anticipated the total funding need at $45.2 million for the ADA retrofit plan, Safe Access to School plan, and the unfunded program, which would cost about $3 million per year over a 15-year time frame, and he pointed out that with the County’s current annual expenditure of $675,000, the remaining annual need would be $2.3 million or $1.4 million for just the ADA and Safe School programs. He summarized that the demand and need for sidewalks creates a situation where cost far exceeds state and local agency abilities for funding.
Commr. Parks asked whether the spacing of trees and development standards are being done the same way by the cities and the County.
Mr. Schneider responded that they were currently looking at Chapter 9 of the Land Development Regulations (LDR’s) and will propose language for the Board’s consideration and approval. He added that currently the commercial sites require sidewalks along collector roads, and they were looking into whether residential subdivisions should be required to construct sidewalks along those roads as well, since they are currently not required to do so.
Commr. Parks commented that the issue of sidewalks is an important one that has come up several times over the last couple of years, and he asked Mr. Schneider to elaborate on the effect of legislation that may be pending.
Mr. Schneider replied that he has looked at that legislation and did not think the technical requirements would be too difficult for the County, but thought that the bureaucratic aspect would be more difficult for them as well as any other agency that is working on the construction of sidewalks.
Commr. Parks opined that this issue affects the cities, schools, and County, all of which use the proposed penny sales tax, and they all need to find a way to prioritize sidewalks as an expenditure using the plan that is already in place.
Commr. Sullivan commented that they have to take a hard look at their LDR’s and make sure that every department is coordinating on the Safe Schools and ADA sidewalk issues, and he commented that the penny sales tax is important, since that was a source of funding for everyone. He asked if the gas tax would be an appropriate source of funds for sidewalks.
Mr. Schneider answered that he believes they needed to use federal enhancement funds as a funding source, and he added that trails and sidewalks were all put into one budget several years ago, with the MPO deciding where to spend those funds. He noted that the MPO has a decision to make regarding how they would divide the funds up between trail and sidewalk projects.
Commr. Sullivan mentioned that impact fees will be another issue to address as they move forward with their LDR’s and bring the whole program together, since it looks like the County will have to depend on their own sources of funding.
Commr. Parks opined that the Board should take leadership and come up with a policy statement and process of how they would prioritize the sidewalks in the near future.
Commr. Conner responded that he believed the County was already working on that.
Commr. Campione asked how the cities and towns fit into the total anticipated funding needs referenced in the presentation, including the ADA and Safe Schools.
Mr. Schneider answered that the public right of way transition plan involved County roads and was divided into unincorporated and within cities, with the unincorporated amount coming out to about $19.8 million. He added that they pulled the figure for the County off of the Safe Access to School Study, which was done by the MPO.
Commr. Campione asked about the grouping of trails and sidewalk funding.
Mr. Schneider clarified that the federal funding a few years ago combined all of those needs into one funding source, passed it on to the state, and was given to the MPO to prioritize where those funds go. He added that it was up to the MPO and the DOT district to decide whether to fund some of both or just one type of project.
Commr. Campione asked about rules regarding trees in Chapter 9 in the LDR’s and asked if the type of tree planted near the sidewalk would be addressed. She also expressed concern that trees were being planted too close to power lines and were required to be cut in an awkward and unattractive manner in the future, asking that they look at that issue in the context of the LDR’s.
Mr. Schneider replied that the rules involving trees are currently being worked on and noted that the type of tree is taken into consideration.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, added that they would also look at the placement of trees in the commercial site plans in the future. He clarified that the gas tax could be used for construction of sidewalks, but they have been using it for maintenance. He also pointed out that the sales tax money was badly needed for resurfacing of roads, so any of that money used for sidewalks takes away from being able to do that, since there is a shortage of funds.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 10:25 a.m. that there would be a 10-minute recess.
budget work session – library services
Mr. Heath recapped that the Board has had two work sessions so far regarding this year’s budget, which were concerning revenues and millages, and this would be the first departmental presentation regarding the budget. He explained that these presentations will present information about their organization, mission, level of service, and accomplishments, as well as identify efficiencies accomplished by each department to maximize the use of public funds by working smarter to do things on a more effective basis. He added that they would also look at how they compare to the other nearby counties, and he asked each department to benchmark their activities relative to the seven surrounding counties. He related that he has asked the departments to prepare a status quo budget relative to FY 2016, with any special needs or items that need to be addressed identified in these presentations, and concentrate on their direct budgets including operating costs, personnel costs, and capital, leaving out the internal charges which would be presented later on.
Ms. Wendy Breeden, Public Resources Director, related that there were six branch libraries in the Lake County library system’s headquarter operations under the Library Services Division, and the headquarters provides branch library administration and system-wide services and infrastructure for the entire library system. She relayed the mission statements for the Public Resources Department, which was to provide and promote life enriching experiences that exceed expectations for Lake County residents and visitors, and the Library Services Division, which was to serve as the gateway to the world of information, ideas, and entertainment for all county residents.
Mr. Paul Alford, Library Services Division Manager, noted that the Lake County Library System was a cooperative system comprised of six County branch libraries and nine municipal member libraries listed on the slide. He elaborated that Library Services provides shared resources and services to all libraries as a cooperative system, including technology infrastructure, programming assistance and coordination, and combined automated library system catalog and courier service. He presented a listing of services system-wide provided for the 309,736 residents during fiscal year 2013-14, which includes a collection of nearly half a million items, 1.85 million checkouts of library materials, program attendance of over 122,000, 1.7 million visits to the libraries, and over 477,000 uses of public computers. He listed some of the notable accomplishments the library system has achieved in the last year, and he commented that they have implemented or enhanced several new electronic services and products over the past year including ebooks, audiobooks, emagazines, streaming videos online, growth and use of social media to promote library materials and activities, and an online calendar and registration system with the most up-to-date programming information for each library enabling residents to register for classes online and request the registration of a library meeting room. He specified that BookFest was a popular program with 15 best-selling authors presenting at 28 events with 2,144 attendees and that their summer reading program with over 49,000 attendees was another of their well-attended programs. He added that their literacy program continues to grow, with over 7,000 volunteer hours dedicated to this program last year, and their learning experience program was growing with over 41,000 users receiving technology instruction and classes offered on topics such as Windows, internet browsing, grants for nonprofits, Excel, and ebooks.
Mr. Alford explained that the library system continued to seek new partners for programs and services last year and signed a memorandum of understanding with CareerSource of Central Florida to offer their job readiness programming in more of the County’s libraries. He related that the library system was named the Business Partner of the Year for the second straight year by Lake Technical College, and staff at the libraries worked with the University of Central Florida’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders to develop story times and activities for families with autistic children; also, the library system partnered with Lake County Schools to launch a library card sign up competition, and over 8,000 library cards were received for students. He elaborated that they continue to work with local businesses such as Lowe’s, Publix, and Insight Credit Union to sponsor programs such as their BookFest and Trash to Fashion contest. He mentioned that the library system has started basic programming for all ages and especially for youth focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math, including 3D printing, robotics, video contests, and coding programs. He reviewed some of the efficiencies they have implemented in the past year, and he reported that Library Services has established a new system for reporting and tracking technical issues, providing better responsiveness to all libraries and better accountability in making sure issues are resolved. He noted that they also switched to an open source automated system, resulting in an annual savings of over $15,000 and providing a more flexible system with more frequent upgrades at no additional cost, and they consolidated the ordering and processing of materials for most County branches, minimizing duplication of efforts and materials while also standardizing some practices.
Mr. Alford stated that he would share some benchmark statistics showing how Lake County Library Services compares with the library systems in the surrounding counties of Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Sumter, Marion, and Volusia, starting with population statistics showing that Lake County is sixth overall in population. The next statistics he presented were for the preliminary numbers for the 2013-14 recent funding and service levels indicating that Lake County is third in annual circulation behind Orange and Volusia, specifying that an average of six items were checked out last year for each citizen of Lake County. He also noted that people visited libraries in Lake County last year more frequently than in the surrounding counties with 5.8 visits for each citizen, and Lake County is also the regional leader for library program attendance per capita. He commented that the use of public computers in libraries remains comparatively high with unique uses topping 477,000 in the last fiscal year, which averages out to approximately 1,500 logins per day. He presented a slide showing the total expenditures per capita for the Lake County library system compared to library systems in surrounding counties, pointing out that the $21.12 per capita figure represents the combined expenditures of the County and the municipalities in their individual library budgets, with Lake County accounting for $12.97 of that figure. The chart indicated that Lake County’s total expenditure per capita was the fourth lowest for most of the surrounding counties, with Orange, Osceola, Sumter, and Volusia Counties higher and Seminole, Polk, and Marion lower.
Mr. Alford gave an overview of the proposed revenue sources for Library Services, noting that a transfer from the General Fund into Library Services accounts for 83.1 percent of the total estimated revenue, and he reported that the remaining funding sources include the State Aid to Libraries Grant funds of $200,000, contributions and donations including Osceola County’s proportionate share of operations of the Cagan Crossings library, fines and fees, miscellaneous revenue such as interest earnings, and the estimated fund balance for the Library Services fund. He pointed out that the FY 2016 proposed budget reflects a status quo budget while maintaining current levels of service, and he reported that the operating expenses and capital outlay include the above-mentioned state aid grant funded expenditures in the amount of $200,000. He explained that the other grants and aids expenditure is for the appropriations to the member libraries for the provision of unified countywide library services as provided for in the interlocal agreements between the County and the municipalities and that the capital outlay includes the purchase of catalog library materials. He presented a slide showing a more detailed breakdown of the expenses previously mentioned and the percentages of the total proposed budget that they represent, and he noted that the operating expenditures reflected in the amount of $207,158 includes expenses such as reprographic charges, office supplies, fuel costs, and professional memberships. He further explained that the cost for technology maintenance and upgrades includes new computer, laptop, and tablet purchases as well as funding for replacement equipment needed throughout the year and internet services system-wide. He also specified that educational and cultural programming includes the youth summer reading programs, 21st Century Skills training courses, the literacy program, and special events such as BookFest; and the lease amount was for the building which was housing the East Lake County Library.
Commr. Campione inquired whether other county library systems are integrated with the municipalities the way Lake County’s system is run.
Mr. Alford responded that the majority of the counties have an individual standalone system which is a countywide system with no individual libraries; however, Polk was the only one that contained individual libraries with one cooperative office.
Ms. Breeden elaborated that Polk County does not operate any branch libraries, and all of the libraries in that county were operated strictly as municipal libraries. She added that all of the other counties have countywide library systems, although they may have a municipality that is not in the library system, similar to the City of Eustis’ library within Lake County.
Commr. Campione mentioned that Osceola and Sumter Counties outsource their system, so it was interesting to look at the comparison of how much they spend per resident, noting that those services are costing those counties a little bit more per capita than Lake County was currently spending.
Ms. Breeden pointed out that the impact on the County budget was about $12 per capita in Lake County.
Commr. Campione added that she found it interesting to learn how many people in Lake County were using the library compared to other areas, and she commented that their libraries were definitely being used by a lot of their residents. She also commented that the programs and events were very helpful and resulted in a lot of community outreach and participation.
Commr. Sullivan commented that their library system affects every citizen from retirees to school children, and he pointed out that their program attendance is the highest of any other county system. He opined that they identify what the need is in the community, and the community responds. He added that they were also incorporating technology in the libraries.
Commr. Conner expressed concern about Lake County paying a disproportionate share compared to the other counties for the Four Corners library based on the original intent.
Mr. Alford replied that there is no longer any agreement or reciprocal borrowing with Polk County, and any Polk County resident who wants to use that facility is required to pay $40 annually for an annual card in order to do so.
Commr. Conner stated that he is concerned that Polk County residents can still use the library, the computers, and many of their services for free without a card, which he did not think was fair to the residents of Lake County who were paying taxes for the libraries.
Mr. Alford responded that that is the case in multiple locations, including Lady Lake or any other location where people who are close to the county line can come to a Lake County library.
Commr. Conner commented that the issue with the Four Corners library is a unique situation because of some understandings between the three counties when it was originally built, and he believed that they needed to at least acknowledge the inequity of this situation.
Ms. Breeden replied that Osceola County does still participate in the borrowing program and contributes about $54,000 for that, and she mentioned that she does not think there are a significant number of people coming from Orange County to the Cagan Crossing Library. She also pointed out that they did reduce the library budget and staff hours significantly for that library when they separated from Polk County, since they were not receiving that revenue anymore.
Commr. Sullivan explained that the Library Advisory Board discussed this issue and had anticipated based on $40 per card how much revenue would be generated, since the use of the library by those residents decreased after they had started being charged.
Commr. Campione mentioned that Polk County had added a mobile unit to serve those residents who had been using the Cagan Crossing library.
Ms. Breeden elaborated that the Polk County residents also started traveling greater distances to go to their own libraries.
Commr. Campione suggested that they track where the users of the guest passes are from.
Mr. Alford responded that they do not ask for identification and would not be able to identify exactly how many come from Polk County.
Ms. Breeden added that visitors do not usually interact with staff, since they go to an automated kiosk to receive their guest passes.
Mr. Alford indicated that changing that technology at that single location to obtain or track that information would be costly.
Mr. Heath pointed out that since the library was a public building, they could not prevent people from going there or using the resources within that building.
Ms. Breeden suggested that they do a sample poll and report back to the Board.
Commr. Parks commented that that data would be helpful.
Commr. Campione commented that there could be some Marion and Sumter County residents using the library at Lady Lake, and she believed that it would be valuable to get the information regarding how many people are coming from other places to the extent they could do that.
other business – appointment to children’s services council
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the appointment of Ms. Sharlene Smith to the Children’s Services Council representing Commission District 1 to complete an unexpired two-year term ending May 14, 2016.
commissioner discussion items
plaza collina drI and proposed annexation into clermont
Commr. Parks related that he added the item regarding the Plaza Collina DRI (Development of Regional Impact) to the agenda for discussion, because he believed this matter was very important. He explained that there were a lot of questions about what was happening on the Highway 50 corridor, which was the gateway to the county, including the clearing of Plaza Collina and issues with the Johns Lake Landing PUD (Planned Unit Development). He recapped that a plan for the Plaza Collina DRI has been in place for a number of years for mixed use development with some higher-end commercial and office space associated with it. He stated that he wanted to get an update from staff on this issue, and he believed they had the kind of relationship with the City of Clermont which enabled them to have some dialogue about this with the City regarding their annexation of Plaza Collina. He indicated that he wanted to ask the City of Clermont to delay this annexation for 60 days to find out what was happening with Plaza Collina and the corridor so that the County can ensure that they do not lose focus of the plans that are in place going forward.
Mr. Minkoff explained that they have a pending development application on this property that is at the staff level at this point, so they have to be cautious in terms of the discussion of this issue. He related that they have heard from the property owner who has indicated that he is unhappy it is on the agenda, and he cautioned the Board to limit their discussions to the relationship between Clermont and the County rather than any details about the project itself. He clarified that he believed they were asking for an unsubstantial amendment to the DRI, and ultimately a site plan and notice of proposed change would come through as well, which would be heard by the Board if they do not annex into the City of Clermont first.
Mr. Heath related that staff had put together a briefing sheet about the history of the project and some maps depicting the project.
Mr. Minkoff relayed that the City attorney advised him that the City plans on working with County staff as they go forward with annexation to make sure that issues already addressed in the DRI that the County believes are important are carried forward into the city approvals.
Mr. Heath mentioned that the Clermont City Council will meet on March 24 to discuss the annexation.
Commr. Parks asked whether some elements of the original DO (Development Order) are going to be withdrawn.
Mr. Minkoff referred to backup information that was handed out to the Commissioners regarding this issue that contains additional information, requests and submittals by Plaza Collina, and discussions they have had with County staff. He responded that County staff seems to be agreeable to some of the changes to the site, but this would be part of a land use item that will come to the Board at a public hearing.
Commr. Parks indicated that he still wanted to request that the annexation be delayed and that he wanted the site plan to be heard before the Board. He elaborated that he had questions about the allowable uses per the original plan.
Commr. Campione asked if they had the ability to review something before it would go forward with annexation.
Mr. Minkoff responded that the agreement they had with the City requires the City to coordinate with the County at the staff level for any development order inside the city just as it requires the County to coordinate with the City for any DO in the County that was within the map area. He added that the Board will have the ability to have its staff bring forward this issue of what was going on in Clermont and to participate, and the County would still have input but not any decision-making abilities if it actually becomes part of Clermont. He also explained that the annexation would take two hearings, and he did not believe they have had a hearing about this at this point. He elaborated that it was likely it would be at least April before any annexation could occur. He further stated that the City does not have to go through the DRI process to amend the DRI, but the County would have to go through a more formalized process.
Mr. Heath reported that the offer from the City Manager was that they were willing to move any requirements in the development order from the DRI into their zoning approvals.
Mr. Dave Ellis, a resident of Clermont and President of the Magnolia Pointe Homeowners Association, which was directly across the street from the Bella Collina property they were discussing, commented that Magnolia Pointe was a significant development, and he related that he had written a letter to the Board relaying the concerns of his neighbors about the Bella Collina issue. He stated that they have been extensively clearing land at the proposed site for about two weeks for what was to be commercial development such as car dealerships, although the mayor indicated at a Clermont City Council meeting two months ago that they had enough car dealerships in that corridor and did not want any auto parts stores at that location. He elaborated that their concern is that there does not seem to be a comprehensive plan between the City of Clermont and the County in order to understand what the use of that land would be, noting that the highest and best use of that property may not be car dealerships. He recapped that they had lobbied in 2005 and were successful in getting some language changes in the ordinance to restrict the number of those types of businesses and that in 2012 the over-55 age restriction was removed and approval was given for an assisted living center to be built on the parcel; however, he had found out two months ago that in addition to those changes, the language was taken out relative to the commercial restriction, and he opined that since that language should not have been removed in the first place, it should be put back in. He commented that they view Highway 50 from the Turnpike into Clermont as the “front door” to the City of Clermont. He also expressed concern that although his development is responsible for Magnolia Pointe Blvd., which was the only entrance into the Magnolia Pointe development, it was deeded back to the public in 1998, which meant that the County could do anything to that road, but the development still had the responsibility to repair it. He requested that the Board look into that issue to determine ownership of that road.
Mr. Jim Hitt, Economic Development Director for the City of Clermont, reported that the first reading for annexation is scheduled for March 10 for the introduction of the ordinance heading, and the ordinance would be discussed further at the March 24 meeting. He commented that the City and the County have always worked well together and assured the Board that they could put any concerns they had regarding the development into the PUD, which was a faster turnaround than doing a DRI, and he noted that the City of Clermont staff was currently working on putting all of the requirements from the original DRI into the PUD.
Commr. Conner clarified that the two options to resolve this matter would be for the Commissioners to work with Mr. Hitt about any concerns or to ask for a postponement.
Commr. Parks asked for a delay so that he could represent the Board in discussions with the City of Clermont during their annexation hearings on this.
Mr. Heath pointed out that the property owner was not present and suggested that they schedule a discussion of this issue for the March 10 BCC meeting and invite the property owner, which would enable the Board to take action in terms of what part of the development order if any they want to incorporate into Clermont’s DO and a list of requests for Commr. Parks to take to the Clermont City Council meeting that evening for the first reading.
Commr. Conner asked what the County’s jurisdiction or authority was in this matter.
Mr. Minkoff answered that they currently have jurisdiction over the property, but they would not have jurisdiction after it was annexed other than as a commenter. He added that they should have a draft of the proposed DO by March 10 that the Board could review, and the Board could work with the City before then to hopefully get their concerns addressed. He added that if they are not addressed, the Board could adopt a specific position for Commr. Parks to take to the City Council meeting that night.
Mr. Hitt further explained that the plan review was submitted before the ISBA was completed, and the property was eligible for being annexed since they already had the utility agreement for water and sewer with the entire Plaza Collina development. He further noted that the property was contiguous in the ISBA according to the current regulations.
There was consensus by the Board to schedule a discussion for the March 10 BCC meeting, notify the property owner and adjacent property owners, and have staff in the interim work on the proposed development order in the City with Commr. Parks’ interaction in order for the Board to decide on proposed action regarding the City.
Commr. Parks indicated that he was satisfied with that course of action.
reports – county manager
retreat for discussion regarding sales tax
Mr. Heath reported that he has scheduled a retreat on March 31 at 9:00 a.m. at the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) to discuss what he has been working on with Commr. Sullivan regarding the re-authorization of the sales tax.
reports – commissioner sullivan – district 1
memorial services of highways
Commr. Sullivan thanked staff who helped with the four memorial services of highways in Lake County for soldiers who died defending their country for their participation in that event, which had a great turnout as well as great support from their staff and the municipalities. He commented that it was a great outpouring for a great program.
reports – commissioner parks – vice-chairman and district 2
lake county days
Commr. Parks commented that Lake County Days went very well and was attended by the Commissioners and some representatives from the cities. He thanked all of the people who helped put that together and noted that he believed attendance at the event this year was higher than last year.
ribbon cutting for south lake trail
Commr. Parks related that the ribbon cutting for the South Lake Trail was scheduled for Thursday, February 26.
firefighter training exercises
Commr. Parks thanked the firefighters for the experience of doing some training exercises which gave him valuable insight about what they experienced as well as new appreciation for what the public safety personnel and first responders experienced on a regular basis.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER conner – CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 3
recognition of firefighters and police officers by elks club
Commr. Conner thanked the Eustis Elks Club for the recognition on Sunday night, February 15, of firefighters and police officers, which he was invited to attend and be their guest speaker. He added that it was a great turnout and was also attended by Sheriff Gary Borders and Chief John Jolliff.
safe harbor kiwanis club
Commr. Conner thanked the Safe Harbor Kiwanis Club in Tavares for presenting him with a community leadership award.
tour of lakeridge winery
Commr. Conner related that he went for a tour of Lakeridge Winery on February 23.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:55 a.m.
jimmy conner, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK