A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
february 2, 2016
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 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: Sean Parks, Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; Timothy I. Sullivan; Jimmy Conner; and Leslie Campione. Others present were: David Heath, County Manager; Melanie Marsh, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Kristy Mullane, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Reverend Isaac Dees gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. David Heath, County Manager, stated that they would postpone the approval of Tab 3 regarding the agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection for the study of the South Lake Regional Water Initiative and bring that back at a future date, since staff is still working through some late comments from the Water Authority that they had received on Friday afternoon. He announced that there was also an addendum which would become Tab 21 regarding the Canvassing Board to be approved along with the rest of the Consent Agenda.
Mr. Robert Anderson, Human Resources Director, stated that they would recognize employees who have achieved significant milestones in their careers with Lake County, and after commenting briefly on their service, he presented the awards to the following employees:
Donald Gardner, Equipment Operator III
Public Works/Road Operations Division/Maintenance Area I (Leesburg)
Leslie Westlake, Equipment Operator III
Public Works/Road Operations Division/Special Projects
Matthew Barton, Firefighter/Paramedic (not present)
Public Safety/Fire Rescue Division
Brenda DeMartino, Office Associate V
Economic Growth Administration
Roy Shores, Senior CAD Technician
Public Works/Engineering Division
James Willis, Sign Assistant
Public Works/Engineering Division/Traffic Operations
James Drake, Firefighter/EMT (not present)
Public Safety/Fire Rescue Division
Lonnie Kinzer, Right-of-Way & Map Services Technician
Public Works/Engineering Division/Right-Of-Way
Elise Rainey, Library Assistant II (not present)
Public Resources/Library Services Division/Paisley Library
Colleen Smith, Library Technician
Public Resources/Library Services Division/Cooper LSCC Library
Paul Larson, Maintenance Technician II
Facilities & Fleet Management/Facilities Management Division
James Benham, Fire Lieutenant/EMT (not present)
Public Safety/Fire Rescue Division
presentation of beacon of hope award by lake cares
Ms. Irene O’Malley, Executive Director of Lake Cares Food Pantry, recognized the Lake County Commissioners as well as the Lake County Transit Division of the Community Services Department with the Beacon of Hope Award for the County’s annual Stuff the Bus Program, which is one of the largest food drives that provides their organization the food to serve those in need in their community.
Ms. Amy Bradford, Transportation Representative, Community Services, accepted the award for the County.
citizen question and comment period
No one wished to address the Board.
Commr. Parks pointed out that County staff has worked with the Lake County Water Authority for the past nine months on the South Lake Regional Water Initiative issue, and they decided to postpone the approval of the agreement on Tab 3, since the Water Authority apparently had some questions about it before it is approved by the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 2 through 14, pulling Tab 3 and adding the addendum on Tab 21, as follows:
Request for approval and signature on the Second Amendment to the Amended and Restated Agreement between Lake County and Homes in Partnership, Inc. for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 3 (NSP3). The fiscal impact is $213,916 (Expense).
Community Safety and Compliance
Request for approval to advertise ordinance amending Public Safety Coordinating Council membership and quorum requirement to be consistent with changes in state law. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for the Chairman to sign the Memorandum of Agreement with LifeStream Behavioral Center, Inc., for implementation of the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program grant. The fiscal impact is $250,000 over 3 years.
Request for approval to rescind donation to City of Clermont for County-owned property located at 849 West Avenue in Clermont and cancellation of County Deed to City of Clermont; approval to terminate Lease Agreement with the City of Clermont; approval of Resolution No. 2016-10 declaring County-owned property located at 849 West Avenue in Clermont as surplus; and approval of County Deed transferring title to the Clermont Garden Club, Inc. The fiscal impact is unable to be determined at this time.
Request for approval of appointment of Sanford Minkoff as substitute member on the Canvassing Board.
Request for approval of marketing funds for Lake County episode of "How to Do Florida" as well as production and airing of commercial spot. The fiscal impact is $42,000 (expense).
Facilities Development and Management
Request for approval to award the contract for the provision of batteries, starter, and alternator repair services under ITB 16-0609 to Batteries By Fisher, Inc. (Lakeland, FL), and authorize the Procurement Office to execute all supporting documentation. The estimated annual fiscal impact is $28,500 (Expenditure).
Fiscal and Administrative Services
Request for approval of a Direct Pay (Check Request) from the State Attorney's Office for the Early Intervention Case Resolution Program. The fiscal impact is $87,840.00 (Fiscal Year 2016).
Request for approval and signature of Resolution No. 2016-11 to support funding for the FCT grants program in the 2016 legislative session, per Commissioner Parks. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval to award the contract for annual fire hose and ground ladder testing and repair services under RFP 16-0608 to 1st American Fire Services LLC (Palm Harbor, FL) and authorize the Procurement Office to execute all supporting documentation. The annual fiscal impact is estimated to be $27,000 (Expenditure).
Request for approval of Resolution No. 2016-12 approving the updated 2015 Lake County Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS).
Request for approval to award a contract for provision and installation of up to fourteen (14) mosquito control spraying systems under RFP 16-0613, to Adapco, Inc. (Sanford, FL) and authorize the Procurement Office to execute all supporting documentation. The initial fiscal impact for replacement of four (4) systems during FY2016 is $44,975.00 (Expenditure). The full potential fiscal impact for replacement of the thirteen (13) existing systems and purchase of one (1) supplemental system over the full potential duration of the contract is $158,905.
Request for approval and signature on Resolution No. 2016-13 authorizing the reduction of the speed limit from 55 MPH to 45 MPH on County Road 468 (5205) between County Road 44C/ Edgewood Drive on the south end to the start of the 35 MPH speed limit zone approximately 400 feet south of Myrtle Drive/ Urick Street on the north end of the area, Section 16, Township 19, Range 24, in the Fruitland Park area. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 1.
ordinance amending chapter 6, lake county code
Ms. Melanie Marsh, County Attorney, placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for its first and only reading by title only, as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA; AMENDING CHAPTER 6, LAKE COUNTY CODE, ENTITLED BUILDINGS AND CONSTRUCTION TO BRING THE CODE INTO COMPLIANCE WITH THE FIFTH EDITION OF THE FLORIDA BUILDING CODE; PROVIDING FOR DEFINITIONS; CLARIFYING ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS; PROVIDING FOR EXEMPTIONS FROM BUILDING PERMITS; CLARIFYING THE DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE BUILDING OFFICIAL; PROVIDING A LOCAL LICENSE CLASSIFICATION FOR JOURNEYMAN; DELETING SECTION 14.14.03, LAKE COUNTY CODE, APPENDIX E, LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS; AMENDING SECTION 14.14.02, LAKE COUNTY CODE, APPENDIX E, LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS; AMENDING SECTION 9.07.14, LAKE COUNTY CODE, APPENDIX E, LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this ordinance, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the adoption and execution of Ordinance No. 2016-4 amending Chapter 6 Lake County Code, entitled "Building and Construction," deleting Section 14.14.03, Lake County Code, Appendix E, Land Development Regulations, and amending Section 14.13.02, Lake County Code, Appendix E, Land Development Regulations. There is no expected fiscal impact.
resolution for colley drive special assessment
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, explained that this public hearing is for the adoption of a special assessment on the tax rolls for the Colley Drive project in District 3, which was completed and accepted by the Board in September after first coming before the Board in March of 2015. He related that staff recommends moving forward with this, and there were no letters of objection.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this issue, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Conner thanked the staff and the residents in that area and commented that this process has gone very smoothly.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution No. 2016-14 expressing the intent of Lake County to use the uniform method for the levy, collection, and enforcement of non-ad valorem assessments, approval of the Uniform Collection Agreement between Lake County and the Lake County Tax Collector, and approval of the Agreement between Lake County and the Lake County Property Appraiser for reimbursement of costs all associated with the Colley Drive Special Assessment Project No. 105, as well as approval to authorize the execution of Resolution No. 2016-15 adopting the Colley Drive Special Assessment non-ad valorem final assessment roll. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 3.
resolution for granville avenue special assessment
Mr. Stivender stated that this public hearing is for the adoption of a special assessment on the tax rolls for the Granville Avenue project in South Lake County, which was awarded by the Board in December of 2014 and completed in August of 2015. He commented that everything went smoothly with this project, and he noted that it was a commercial area, which was unique for them. He recommended approval of this item.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this issue, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution No. 2016-16 expressing the intent of Lake County to use the uniform method for the levy, collection, and enforcement of non-ad valorem assessments, approval of the Uniform Collection Agreement between Lake County and the Lake County Tax Collector, and approval of the Agreement between Lake County and the Lake County Property Appraiser for reimbursement of costs all associated with the Granville Avenue Special Assessment Project No. 103, as well as approval to authorize the execution of Resolution No. 2016-17 adopting the Granville Avenue Special Assessment non-ad valorem final assessment roll. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 2.
ship funding workshop
Ms. Cheryl Howell, Housing and Community Development, Community Services, stated that she would present an update on the State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) program. She recapped that the SHIP program was created by the Florida legislature in 1992 to provide for funding from documentary stamp tax revenue to be set aside to provide revenue for counties for affordable housing programs for moderate, low, very low, and extremely low income households. She presented a chart showing the income categories with asterisks to identify the very low and extremely low categories in which 30 and 50 percent respectively of the funding allocated must be spent on persons in those income categories. She related that this program is administered through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), and counties are awarded funds annually through the state budget process. She elaborated that each county must prepare a Local Housing Assistance Plan (LHAP) which includes strategies for expenditures of funds to provide affordable housing to residents that fall into the specified income categories. She noted that Lake County’s current LHAP that was approved in June 2015 is for funding years 2015-2018, and the LHAP consists of local strategies that are determined by the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee and recommended to the Board for approval which must also comply with the state regulations that define the categories of use by percentages for each type of activity and income category. She elaborated that these requirements were that a minimum of 65 percent of all SHIP funds received by the County has to be used for single family projects; a minimum of 30 percent must be spent on very low and extremely low income families; no more than 35 percent can be spent on non single-family activities; a minimum of 75 percent must be used for construction or rehabilitation activities; and a maximum of 10 percent can be utilized for program administration.
Ms. Howell explained that each county must appoint an Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC) consisting of individuals with certain areas of expertise relating to affordable housing needs as a condition of receiving funding, which develops recommendations on strategies to be included in the LHAP that are considered by the Board. She added that the LHAP covers three-year periods, and funds must be expended on a specific number of qualified units as outlined in the plan within those three years. She displayed a list of the AHAC members and the entities they represent, including Commr. Campione as the Board liaison. She related that the AHAC mission statement is to promote and finance affordable, safe, and decent housing opportunities for low and moderate income residents. She also listed the goals of the AHAC, including to provide access to low cost, flexible, and innovative programs for individuals in need of affordable mortgage financing; to stimulate the development, financing, and preservation of affordable rental and homeownership opportunities for low and moderate income individuals and families; to encourage mechanisms that ensure that the number of housing units remains perpetually affordable; to encourage and support quality planning for affordable housing; to maximize state grant funds through partnerships with local municipalities and private sector entities; and to address homelessness as well as the needs of the elderly and the disabled.
Ms. Howell reported that there has been a broad fluctuation over the course of the last six to seven years in SHIP funding, and she presented a chart showing the funding from 2006 which illustrated that the SHIP funding in 2006 of $2.4 million had been reduced greatly by 2009 through 2013 before it started increasing again in 2014, although it was still $1 million short of the 2006 SHIP funding. She opined that each year was a continuous struggle to get the SHIP program funded. She related that the AHAC approved the LHAP recommendations at the May 6, 2015 committee meeting, which was also approved by the Board at the May 19 BCC meeting to be submitted to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation by the end of May. She recapped that the County utilized three strategies in the LHAP from 1990 to 2012, which were down payment assistance, owner occupied rehabilitation, and demolition replacement; however, the AHAC began to look at expanding and diversifying the strategies to help meet the needs of the community starting in 2012, adding infill development, multifamily development, the Rental and Security Deposit Program (REACH), and transitional housing for homeless families to the strategies already being used. She specified that she was currently working with three cities on utilizing CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) funding or donated land to increase the affordable housing opportunities, and the down payment assistance program has not been as active recently due to the market. However, she noted that the owner occupied rehabilitation program, demolition replacement, and the transitional housing programs are going strong, specifying that they have gotten 20 new beds for homeless families for transitional housing over the past three years through the efforts of the AHAC and the Board.
Ms. Howell explained that the infill development strategy is designed to work with local CRA’s to improve single-family housing conditions in existing neighborhoods so that the cost of infrastructure and impact fees would not be a factor. She added that this program works by putting out an RFP to a local nonprofit to provide the service using local contractor preference, leveraging other funding, and creating program income to reduce the burden on new funding. She related that the multifamily development strategy, which was only introduced in the last year to year and a half, is designed to work with affordable housing developers to increase affordable housing rental units, but New Beginnings has been the only recipient to date of that impact fee waiver or local match. She commented that the REACH program has been successful during its short life in providing one-time deposit assistance for housing and utilities to very low income families in jeopardy of losing access to housing, and she added that the program is operated in-house, prevents homelessness, and fills unused rental units. She related that the down payment assistance program is designed to provide first-time homeowners down payment assistance by issuing an RFP to nonprofits to provide counseling and HUD-approved classes and providing an overview by staff, with final approval based on housing cost and client income after staff works with local banks and realtors. She explained that the owner-occupied rehabilitation strategy is a very successful strategy which serves many elderly and disabled people in the community by offering full rehabilitation to a client’s home and improving the living conditions of families living in substandard housing. She elaborated that an RFP is issued every three years for local contractors to provide the construction services by bidding for each home, with a local contractor preference. She stated that demolition replacement is designed to replace a client’s home altogether in order to improve the living conditions of families living in substandard housing as well as the overall neighborhood through the RFP process every three years, and the transitional housing strategy is designed to assist local nonprofits that serve homeless families and individuals to provide the services that provide stability for families in crisis through the RFP process. She presented a chart showing the maximum permissible amount for each strategy for the 2015-16 SHIP budget.
Ms. Howell specified that they assisted 157 families since 2014 with rental and deposit payments at an average assistance of $727 per family with total expenditures of $114,139; issued two RFP’s that resulted in an award to New Beginnings of $106,222 and $98,428 respectively to acquire and rehabilitate two projects for 20 additional beds for homeless families; and demolished and replaced six homes for a total of $831,490 at an average cost of $138,581 per family. She noted that they have also rehabilitated seven homes for a total cost of almost $400,000 or an average of $56,763 per family and allocated $37,500 for one multifamily project; and she mentioned that they were currently working with three cities’ CRA’s to develop an interlocal agreement and issue an RFP for infill housing. She commented that there have been some challenges to utilizing the SHIP funding, including inconsistent funding over the years from the state, pending legislative requirements regarding use of the funding, compliance issues for utilizing SHIP funding for multifamily issues, and meeting identified needs while dealing with a lack of resources for homeless families, impoverished neighborhoods, and lack of affordable multifamily rental units. She reported that the next steps were to continue to monitor the housing issues on the County’s legislative agenda and seek out additional housing funding such as federal HOME funding to leverage some of their existing funding.
Commr. Parks commented that the needs are great, and the resources are limited. He explained that the Board needs to give Mr. Heath and their staff some direction on the priorities to focus on for this program.
Mr. Heath explained that the Board has dealt with a couple of individual projects and requests over the past year, such as New Beginnings, Veterans Village, and Valencia Groves; and he believed that they should concentrate on the program priorities to show that there are some restraints which result in a challenge to make the numbers work. He asked the Board for their specific new priorities that the Commissioners would want staff to evaluate and bring back to the Board, and he commented that although homelessness becomes a priority in bad times, workforce housing becomes an issue when the economy recovers. He drew the Board’s attention to the chart of the maximum permissible amounts, actual allocations, and corresponding percentages.
Commr. Cadwell clarified that there was a differential for both rental and single-family ownership.
Commr. Campione clarified that a minimum of 65 percent of the total amount they get in any given year must go to single-family, but up to 100 percent can be used for that purpose, and they were allowed up to $475,000 for homelessness and to address workforce housing as part of their economic plan for people who are providing essential services.
Ms. Howell reminded the Board that 10 percent is used for administration, which would leave only 25 percent rather than 35 percent for uses other than single-family.
Commr. Sullivan commented that this issue results in multiple challenges, such as the unknown of funding from the state, the pressures on Lake County due to growth which is driving the multi-family strategy, and maintaining the percentages statutorily required going forward while fitting into the big picture of where Lake County wants to go. He opined that workforce housing, rehabilitation, and infill are all important to the County, and he believes they need to revisit how to allocate this funding based on how Lake County is changing.
Commr. Conner asked whether they have a defining philosophy to help the greatest number of people that they could.
Commr. Campione pointed out that the Veterans Village was for single-family, and the CRA infill opportunities for the cities of Mount Dora, Leesburg, and Eustis were a great chance to help and bring up the values of the overall neighborhoods in those downtown districts. She opined that some of the houses in those areas would need to be bulldozed and started fresh. She suggested that they do not go over 65 percent for single family, so that the other 35 percent was available for other needs such as rental, workforce housing, and security deposit assistance. She expressed concern about putting a lot of money on rehabilitating existing homes when it would make more sense to demolish them and start again.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that they could meet their goal for low and very low income assistance with the rehabilitations.
Ms. Howell explained that if the cost of rehabilitation is greater than 50 percent of the value of the home, then the home is automatically put into the demolish and replacement category. She elaborated that in addition to the residents who apply to the County for assistance, the County also works with churches, nonprofit groups, community-based organizations, and the local governments to inform residents about these services, although there may be a myriad of issues that prevent them from being able to assist a family.
Commr. Campione opined that the way the statute is written makes it hard to have one clear, specific mission rather than a broad one.
Commr. Parks asked whether the direction staff needed that day was what to do with the 35 percent of the funding that is not used for single family projects.
Commr. Campione responded that they still needed to also decide how to divide the single family funding, such as whether to use it for down payment assistance, rehabilitation, or demolition.
Ms. Howell explained that the rehabilitation and demolition has been the most active, followed by transitional housing and security deposits in the last couple of years. She also clarified that down payment assistance is for existing housing for first time home buyers.
Commr. Campione asked whether they should leave enough flexibility in the remaining 35 percent of the funding so that they can respond to specific requests as they come in.
Commr. Conner commented that he did not want to have to make a determination on funding for specific projects, and they should have a process or a priority in place in order to handle requests. He asked why the Affordable Housing Committee was not making recommendations to the Board.
Commr. Sullivan responded that the change in funding has been drastic from year to year.
Commr. Campione added that everyone comes with their preconceived ideas about how things should be done depending on their backgrounds and beliefs.
Commr. Parks opined that the multifamily projects aimed at their service sector such as public safety workers and teachers would be a focus for him at least for the next year or two.
Commr. Campione elaborated that she has always been a proponent of projects which contain an employment aspect as a requirement, since there are already other programs such as Section 8 that do not have that requirement, and she believed that it could be used in conjunction with what they are trying to do with Lake Tech and Lake Sumter State College. She suggested that they look at what some other communities have done regarding this issue.
Commr. Cadwell expressed concern about targeting particular professions to assist with this funding, since other professions might have lower incomes than teachers and public safety workers. He commented that the requirements for percentages of incomes and categories will leave them with only a small amount of funding to work with to target some areas that are important to them and recommended that the Affordable Housing Committee look at those projects. He pointed out that not everyone is currently in a situation where single family home ownership is the answer for them, so they need to look at other good, safe, and affordable housing for those individuals; however, he does not believe that they will have a lot of funding left for multifamily housing. He cautioned the Board against eliminating some of the categories or changing it too much and to remember that needs change over time.
Commr. Parks commented that they could support one good project if it meets the goals of the Board.
Commr. Campione mentioned that there has been a tremendous shortage of multifamily housing for years in Lake County, which would be infill.
Commr. Cadwell replied that zoning for those types of projects has not historically been easily approved or done, but he hopes that the need for that type of housing will change that.
Ms. Howell related that they would be out of compliance if they put a large part of the money towards one particular project and then are not able to meet their set-aside needs, and a delay or cancelation in the project could result in encumbrance and expenditure issues of the money the state has set aside for them to the extent that they would be out of compliance, which would result in suspension of future funding as well.
Commr. Campione opined that since impact fees would have a large effect on affordable multifamily housing, they could soften the burden of those fees by giving a variance to those developments to pay some of those costs.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that they have a discussion about that issue at another meeting using a funding source other than the Affordable Housing fund, since there will be value to invest in those types of developments, such as the importance to their workforce, densities, and public transit. He pointed out, however, that multifamily developments will result in a large influx of students to the schools, and they needed to take that into consideration.
Mr. Heath mentioned that the funding would have to come from the general fund.
Commr. Conner commented that he did not think that taking money out of the general fund was the answer.
Commr. Parks suggested that they cover the cost of the transportation portion of the school impact fee for the infill and multi-family projects that are within two miles of the school zone that do not have the transportation cost.
Commr. Campione suggested creating a category under social services that addresses security deposits to free up some money under the SHIP housing, which comes from doc stamps and transactions and was a logical place to put money back into affordable housing that has been impacted by impact fees. She elaborated that there may be opportunities to address some of those needs for the particular income levels that would fall under that social services category and the grants that they provide.
Mr. Heath clarified that the Board wanted staff to look at doing something with workforce housing, impact fees, and some sort of process to review all of the requests at one time.
Commr. Sullivan elaborated that they would look at how to bring multifamily into their LHAP strategy, which may include the challenge of bringing dollars in from somewhere else.
Mr. Heath cautioned the Board against giving the AHAC the impression that they would start transferring large amounts of money from the general fund as a subsidy into these programs, because the money is just not there to do that.
Commr. Campione opined that the veterans’ project would be an infill single-family project.
Ms. Howell replied that she did not know whether that would be considered infill, since infill would mean that the infrastructure such as water and utility lines is already in place.
Commr. Campione responded that she thinks of infill as a location as opposed to infrastructure being there, such as a place with 5 or 10-acre tracts within municipalities that are surrounded by housing or tearing down older housing to rebuild new houses. She suggested that the veterans’ housing project in downtown Leesburg could be a prototype for the CRA’s as well as providing housing for veterans by tearing down and rebuilding blighted areas, and she opined that the veterans’ project is worthwhile.
Ms. Howell explained that they would also qualify for the down payment assistance program.
Commr. Campione asked Mr. Heath to look at ways they could put parameters on impact fee assistance, giving them guidelines for when to use it, which could have a huge effect on smaller projects. She thanked everyone for having a good, open discussion about this difficult topic, and she emphasized that this was the County’s opportunity to get money that was coming back from Tallahassee as a result of real estate transactions to help the community.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 10:20 a.m. that there would be a ten-minute recess.
fiscal and administrative services
budget outlook work session
Mr. Steve Koontz, Fiscal and Administrative Services Director, explained that this second budget workshop will give the Board an overview of the millages and the revenue outlook for FY 2017. He went over the five millages that the Board votes on every year during the budget process, which were the Lake County Countywide Millage which is levied on all property in Lake County and funds the General Fund; the Ambulance MSTU which is levied countywide through agreements with the cities to be used for ambulance and Emergency Medical Services (EMS); the Stormwater, Roads, and Parks MSTU which was levied in unincorporated Lake County; the Fire MSTU levied in unincorporated Lake County as well as Astatula, Howey in the Hills, and Lady Lake; and the Public Lands-Voted Debt which is levied countywide in support of the debt service for environmentally sensitive lands and which is not included in the rollback. He presented charts illustrating the history of the millages for each type of millage since 2009, noting that millages were decreasing from 2009 to 2014 and trending up in the last two years, except for the Public Lands Voted Debt where the millage had to be raised in 2013 in order to cover the debt service; however, he also noted that they refinanced to reduce the debt service on that millage last year and expect to reduce this millage slightly this year. He summarized that the FY 2016 General Fund millage was reduced from 5.3856 to 5.3051, and countywide property values increased overall by 5.25 percent due equally to new construction and existing property. He reported that the Office of Economic and Demographic Research projected that FY 2017 countywide values would increase by 6.7 percent, but they are using a conservative planning number of a 5.2 percent increase in values for budget planning purposes and will make any adjustments after getting the actual value numbers on June 1. He also pointed out a bump in the revenues in the Fire MSTU millage for 2015 from 2014, which reflects a change in the millage for that MSTU at that time. He pointed out that the Parks and Stormwater MSTU taxable values increased by 3.4 percent in FY 2016, and the Fire MSTU increased by 3.5 percent. He related that they were conservatively predicting a 3.5 percent increase in these MSTU’s for 2017.
Mr. Koontz presented a chart illustrating the state sales tax and revenue sharing which come into the general fund, pointing out that the trend had been very flat from 2009 to 2012, with an increasing trend starting in 2013, and he related that he expects that to exceed what they have budgeted for 2016. He then presented a chart of the infrastructure sales tax used for capital and noted that the revenue had well exceeded their conservative growth estimate of about three percent in 2015 and is expected to exceed what is budgeted for this year. He summarized that overall sales tax revenues have been higher than anticipated with growth estimated at 5 to 6 percent, although staff will use a conservative estimate of 4.5 percent growth for the 2017 budget for planning purposes. He explained that the Solid Waste Assessment, one of the two special assessments in Lake County, is based off of the assessment fees for collection and disposal to cover the costs of those services. He pointed out that they have kept the fees the same for the last two years, which has resulted in fairly flat revenue since 2009, and 2016 is estimated to bring in $12.6 million. He recapped that the Fire Assessment MSTU was put into place in 2009, and the revenues for the assessment have been fairly flat since then and are used to cover about 70 to 75 percent of the expenses for the fire fund. He summarized that both of those special assessments have been fairly stable with lower volatility than other revenues, and they are expecting a growth rate of 1 to 2 percent in these funds due to new construction.
Mr. Koontz commented that the impact fee revenues have been very volatile since 2009, and he noted that impact fees were put on hiatus for a couple of years except for fire, parks, and libraries. He illustrated on a graph the years of lower impact fee revenue for 2011 and 2012, and he pointed out that 2014 started to show a distinct increase, with 2015 showing a substantial increase, since there was a lot of activity before impact fees were reenacted as well as an increase in the impact fee for South Lake. He opined that it was hard to budget for impact fees, when there was uncertainty in predicting future activity, but they had budgeted $2.3 million for the four impact fees, and the trend is showing that the actual projection will probably be $2.9 million. He summarized that the impact fee revenues were much higher than what they had projected and expect the revenues to exceed this year’s budget. He stated that they would continue to analyze these revenues and the development activity and make their decisions for recommendations of the budget on that. He reported that gas tax revenue has been very stable and predictable, even during tough economic times, changing only from $11.2 million in 2008 to about $12 million in 2016, and he remarked that lower gas prices do not seem to have a direct impact on revenues. He illustrated on a graph that revenues dropped to $1.3 million for Building Services inspection and permitting fees in 2011, started increasing in 2012, and rebounded to $2.7 million in 2015. He noted that they had about $2.3 million budgeted for this year, although it is trending a little higher than that. He commented that Building Services has experienced significant growth in revenues due to increased development activity in the last couple of years, and they expect that to grow incrementally moving forward. He related that he projects a 3 percent increase in revenues for FY 2017 for budget planning purposes. He gave a revenue summary which recapped that countywide values showed a 5.2 percent growth, MSTU revenue increased 3.5 percent, sales tax reflected a 4.5 percent growth, assessments were stable with only about a 1 percent growth, impact fees were showing positive trends, gas tax was very stable, and building services saw a 3 percent growth amount.
Mr. Koontz mentioned that the challenges relating to the budget will be addressed at the budget workshops, and he listed some of those challenges as maintaining the existing level of service for all departments while contending with increasing expenses in some areas, funding of fire rescue operations, solid waste services, healthcare costs and the medical clinic RFP, and the impact of some of the changes to some of the Community Redevelopment Agencies. He emphasized that there were also challenges with the Spay and Neuter Voucher Program which was implemented in August 2013 with funding remaining from the Animal Services Trust Funds. He recapped that the County has closed that fund and moved those funds into the general fund, although they are still being tracked and used to fund the voucher program, and he reported that there was about $120,000 left in that fund. He explained that this program was funded at $50,000 per year for FY 2014 and FY 2015, which mostly exhausted those funds; in addition, they had changed the program in 2015 to include the assignment of reimbursements to the vet clinics, and reimbursement requests have substantially increased in the last six months. He recalled that he had come to the Board in December with a budget transfer request of $25,000 to add some additional funding to the program for 2016, and the total program is now funded at $75,000. However, he noted that the balance currently is only $21,000, which means that the projections will exhaust those funds by the end of April. He related that approximately 1,100 cats and dogs have been sterilized to date this year through the reimbursements from this fund, but the future of the program and funding will need to be determined, and they will need direction from the Board regarding how to fund this program moving forward for 2017 and 2018. He mentioned that staff will contact the Sheriff’s Department to inform them that those funds are being exhausted in the interim. He presented a list of the budget workshops that were tentatively scheduled before the adoption of the TRIM rates on July 26, 2016.
Commr. Parks encouraged everyone to attend and participate in the budget workshops.
Commr. Campione asked whether forfeitures and sales of animals were contributing to the Animal Control trust fund in the past when the County was running Animal Control.
Mr. Koontz responded that it was sometimes uncertain what was contributing to the fund, since some of the funding should have been put in the general fund, and that fund was closed out.
Commr. Campione emphasized that she believed the spay and neuter program was very important and that it saved money in the long run by keeping the population of the unwanted animals down. She asked whether there was a way to delineate money from pet licensing fees, although she expressed concern about the effectiveness of that program the way is it currently run and a desire to look for opportunities to improve upon it in order to make it more user-friendly so that more people were apt to participate. She added that since that program was currently under the Sheriff’s purview, she was not sure how to coordinate that. She opined that residents who own animals would appreciate that designated funding is being used specifically for the purpose of getting animals spayed and neutered.
Commr. Cadwell asked whether Commr. Campione has been the liaison during the transition of the program to the Sheriff.
Commr. Campione answered that she has been involved ad hoc and has had some conversations with them.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that Commr. Campione talk to the Sheriff about some way of tracking the estimated savings that would result from the spay and neuter program and some revenue sources that would be available to him, such as seizures of animals or other types of seizures, that could be assigned to build that trust fund back up.
Commr. Campione pointed out that there was a place on the animal licensing form for people to send extra money in for contributions to be used for those types of things. She indicated that she would be glad to have a discussion with the Sheriff about finding a way to keep the spay and neuter program going in a way that makes sense and allows the community to feel that they are doing their part.
Commr. Parks commented on the return on investment for that program.
Commr. Campione added that the Sheriff also works with a great program called L.E.A.C.H. (Love. Enrichment. Adoption. Shelter. Health) and the South Lake Animal League to teach people who would otherwise be given citations or have their animals taken away by Animal Control to properly care for their animals as well as helping to provide fencing and shelter to animal owners.
appointments to library advisory board
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote 5-0, the Board approved the reappointment of the following members to the Lake County Library Advisory Board to serve four-year terms ending February 28, 2020: Cynthia Burch (Fruitland Park), Frank Kirschenheiter (Lady Lake), James Page (Lady Lake alternate member), Robert Glockler (Leesburg), John Johnson (Leesburg alternate member), and Patricia Vacherlon (Howey in the Hills); and appointment of Robert Ballenger (Fruitland Park alternate member).
reports – county attorney
update on the djj litigation
Ms. Melanie Marsh, County Attorney, gave an update on the DJJ (Department of Juvenile Justice) litigation they were involved in and the legislative bills pending that would split DJJ costs 50-50 between the state and the County. She reported that FAC (Florida Association of Counties) was looking for a consensus of the counties that are involved in the litigation as to whether or not they would be willing to dismiss the litigation if those bills pass. She specified that Lake County was involved in a consolidated case involving Fiscal Years 2009-2011 where there was a stipulation for DJJ to assign Lake County over $1 million in credits, but DJJ could not currently pay Lake County that amount, because it affects their funding; however, the bills pending in the legislature could change the way it is funded. She elaborated that there were eight counties so far that were willing to release litigation if this bill passes.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he believed this would be the best course of action to get this behind them, since it would otherwise take five to seven years to recoup their money under the previous arrangement offered by the state to spread reimbursement over 20 years, even though the court ruled in the County’s favor. He noted that accepting the plan stated in the bill would give them stability going forward regarding funding, and he recommended that they drop their suit and accept this deal when it is put on the agenda at a future meeting.
There was consensus to put this item on a future BCC agenda.
Ms. Marsh indicated that she would bring this back at the next meeting.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER conner – CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 3
grand opening of miracle field
Commr. Conner mentioned that the grand opening for the Miracle Field will be in the spring, and he estimated that date as March 12. He commented that the work on that field is currently in progress and that it will be a nice facility when it is completed.
REPORTS – COMMISsIONER campione – DISTRICT 4
beautification project at clermont elementary
Commr. Campione thanked the Keep Lake Beautiful volunteers and the South Lake Chamber members who volunteered for the beautification project at Clermont Elementary School, painting some of the structures at the school, on Saturday morning, January 30.
reports – commissioner cadwell – vice chairman and district 5
snipe sign problem
Commr. Cadwell commented that he was in favor of the Board doing something about controlling the problem of the snipe signs that they had discussed at last month’s meeting. He added that he has seen four different people putting out those kinds of signs commercially over the last two weeks, and he realizes that they need to deal with this problem.
Mr. Heath assured the Board that he would contact Orange County and the City of Orlando to ask how those entities handle this issue.
anniversary of groundhog day tornadoes
Commr. Cadwell related that it was the anniversary of the Groundhog Day Tornadoes of 2007, and they were going to have a Severe Weather Awareness Day on Saturday, February 20, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the fairgrounds.
reports – commissioner parks – chairman and district 2
lake-sumter mpo awards
Commr. Parks thanked everyone for attending the Lake Sumter MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) awards last week, where Lake County received an award for the new roundabout in South Lake which was accepted by Commr. Sullivan.
Commr. Campione commented about how smoothly the roundabout handles the traffic at that intersection, including the large trucks that use it.
wellness way plan in compliance
Commr. Parks happily related that the DEO (Department of Economic Opportunity) has found Lake County’s Wellness Way plan in compliance with state law, and he opined that it is the right thing to do for their next generation.
update on 1-3-5 plan for fire services
Commr. Parks asked for an update on the 1-3-5 (one, three, and five-year) plan for fire services during the first regular public safety update which will give more detail about that plan.
Mr. Heath responded that staff was planning on including that in an update on fire issues during Chief John Jolliff’s presentation in the spring, which he estimates to be the first meeting in June.
Commr. Campione commented that they would already be talking about the budget at that time, and she believed they needed to look at this well in advance.
Commr. Parks expressed a desire to have an update on that issue as soon as possible.
Mr. Heath replied that they need to discuss the 1-3-5 plan which presents needs in conjunction with updating the fire assessment study if the Board is looking at increasing the special assessment for next year.
Commr. Campione asked what the actual cost would be to increase some of the manpower in certain locations and related that she would be interested in knowing how the public feels about a higher assessment in return for an upgrade in their service.
Commr. Conner commented that they need to talk about how to fund their needs in conjunction with a discussion about how much solving those problems would cost. He opined that Lake County residents are getting great service from all of their public safety sectors for what they are currently paying, although he knows that there is room for improvement.
Mr. Heath responded that he will do his best to bring back this issue as soon as possible, noting that there were a lot of parts to this issue. He further explained that the 1-3-5 plan goes beyond the financially-feasible but ambitious plan that was previously presented at the work session.
Commr. Campione opined that they need to have all of that information in order to start the process of planning and prioritizing which things are the most important and then hear from people who are knowledgeable and have expertise about the topic. She remarked that even if this budget cycle is not the time to be looking at an increase in the assessment, they should discuss how they would usher in the necessary changes long-term after determining that they were actually needed.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
sean parks, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK