february 7, 2017

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 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:  Timothy I. Sullivan, Chairman; Leslie Campione, Vice Chairman; Sean Parks; Wendy Breeden; and Josh Blake.  Others present were:  David Heath, County Manager; Melanie Marsh, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; Kristy Mullane, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.

INVOCATION and pledge

Ms. Patricia Haney from the Baha’i Group gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Agenda update

Mr. David Heath, County Manager, related that Commr. Blake’s appointment to the Board of Adjustment was added to Tab 21, and he also noted the addition of the following items: Tab 25 under his reports for discussion of the RFP (Request for Proposal) and the scope of services for the feasibility study for the consolidation of EMS (Emergency Medical Services) and Fire Rescue, Tab 26 to discuss a legislative priority and the stakeholders meeting last week for Emerald Lakes, and Tab 27 under Commr. Sullivan’s reports for a discussion regarding a new County Manager.

Minutes approval

On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Blake, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of the BCC Meeting of December 20, 2016 (Regular Meeting) as presented.

employee awards

five years

            Timothy Lind, Biological Associate (not present)

            Public Works/Environmental Services Division/Mosquito Management


            Ruth Mitchell, Associate Planner

            Economic Growth/Planning & Zoning Division


            Claudia Piper, Branch Supervisor (not present)

            Public Resources/Library Services Division/Cagan Crossings Library


            Lonnell Richardson, Trades Crews Leader

            Public Resources/Parks & Trails Division


            Nova Atkinson, Paralegal

            County Attorney’s Office


            Temia Wilkins, Database/Administrative Program Coordinator

            Public Works/Road Operations Division


            Michelle Wilkinson, Property Manager/Legal Office Manager

            County Attorney’s Office


            Dilcy Baltazar, Scales Attendant I

            Public Works /Solid Waste Division


            Jim Dowling, Senior GIS Analyst

            Information Technology/Geographic Information Services Division


            James Kennedy, Environmental Waste Technician (not present)

            Public Works /Solid Waste Division


            Anthony Lopresto, Building Services Supervisor

            Economic Growth/Building Services Division


            Greg Ybarra, Equipment Operator I

Public Works/Road Operations Division/Maintenance Area III (Umatilla)


            Eric Palmer, Battalion Fire Chief (not present)

Public Safety/ Fire Rescue Division


            Michael Cordle, Battalion Fire Chief

            Public Safety/Fire Rescue Division


            Randy Dean, Area Maintenance Supervisor

Public Works/Road Operations Division/Maintenance Area III (Umatilla)


            Gary Steverson, Equipment Operator III (not present)

Public Works/Road Operations Division/Maintenance Area III (Umatilla)


Mr. Vance Jochim, a resident of Tavares who writes a blog about local governmental issues, expressed concern that the contract for $2.9 million in Tab 11 was under the consent agenda and was not discussed, and he asked that the Board pull that item for discussion to explain the process.  He elaborated that this was a GMP (Guaranteed Maximum Price) selection, and he thought it would be helpful to hear whether it was bid based upon price or quality.  He also asked whether using a cloud service was investigated before paying for the servers under Tab 13. 

Commr. Campione explained that Tab 11 was regarding the Lake County Tax Collector’s Building that has been in the works for multiple years and has previously been significantly discussed by the Board.

Mr. Heath elaborated that in general a large award does not necessarily result in a discussion, since Lake County does a lot of procurement activity, but there would be a discussion under departmental business if there was something out of the ordinary about that item.  He further explained that this was the GMP for Mr. Bob McKee’s Tax Collector building in Eustis, which was in the budget after going through a solicitation to select a construction manager last year.  He related that they have purchased the property and designed the project since that time, and this item was for the actual construction of the building in the amount of $2.6 million with another $300,000 for contingency.  He explained that staff works with the construction manager to go through the various aspects of the project, and the construction manager then bids out the various sub-contracts.  He specified that local contractors comprised 30 percent of the sub-contractors and 50 percent of the budget on this project.

Commr. Campione pointed out that the Tax Collector could use fees that he collects to undertake this project on his own as opposed to remitting those fees to the County Commission and working through the County to do that.  She emphasized that the Tax Collector’s mission was expanded to include driver’s licenses which necessitated new capital facilities.

Mr. Heath commented that Mr. McKee has always worked very well with the County, and he noted that it would hurt the County’s General Fund and the budget process if the Tax Collector used his fees rather than sales tax for this project.  He further explained that Tab 13 was regarding the servers for the State Attorney’s office and was included because it was $1,500 over his signature authority.  He pointed out that they were exploring the use of the cloud in answer to the question posed by Mr. Jochim.

presentation of anti-bullying proclamation

On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Proclamation 2017-10 expressing its support for anti-bullying efforts, including the Lake County School Board’s Safe School Program and Florida Bill CS/HB 229 pertaining to bullying and harassment policies in schools.

Commr. Parks commented that it was a pleasure and an honor to acknowledge and commend the wonderful programs and endeavors in their county.  He explained that they just approved a proclamation supporting the efforts of their school district to combat bullying, noting that the County was a partner with the school district on this and many issues to make their county safer and to make a better climate for their children as they grow up.  He read the proclamation aloud and presented it to Ms. Robin Douglas.

Ms. Douglas related that she started her journey regarding this issue a little over a year ago, and she has requested proclamations such as this one since then from many of the local communities and municipalities.  She thanked the Board and the mayors of the municipalities who have approved similar proclamations, including the Cities of Leesburg, Groveland, Mascotte, Clermont, Minneola, Tavares, and Eustis.  She commented that this was an important opportunity to look for ways to make their schools and communities better and to encourage their communities to get involved with their children.  She thanked the Board for their support.

Commr. Sullivan opined that the program was working, noting that he has discussed the topic of bullying and the school programs regarding that issue with his eight-year old grandson.

update on lake county days

Ms. Mandy Wettstein from the Lake County Chamber Alliance related that Lake Legislative Days were scheduled to occur on February 15 and 16, and she listed some of the committees they had this year, including Health Care chaired by Mr. Don Henderson, the CEO of Central Florida Health; the K-12 Committee chaired by School Board Members Stephanie Luke and Sandy Moore; a Post-Secondary Education Committee with Dr. Diane Culpepper of Lake Technical College (Lake Tech); the Transportation Committee chaired by Commr. Sullivan and Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director; and a Local Government committee chaired by Mr. Jim Myers from the Lake County League of Cities and Eustis Mayor Michael Holland.  She reported that they had a full slate of sponsors and that their committees were full.  She opined that this would be a big year for Lake County, because they have so many new members to the Lake County Delegation.  She commented that the largest priorities this year are determined by the Chamber Alliance, including the ongoing issue of health care.  She pointed out that their Health Care Committee is always highly engaged in trying to provide the best health care to every Lake County citizen, since their county is dependent on a nonprofit health-care system, and there were some large issues that they were trying to support this year in terms of funding.  She related that other important items include the joint use facility for STEM (Science, Math, Engineering and Technology), which was coming out of the Post-Secondary Education Committee, and the business programs with Lake Tech, both of which have a large economic development impact.  She further clarified that it was decided to dissolve the Economic Development Committee this year, since the greatest economic issues were coming out of health care and post-secondary education, and they wanted those participants to have the attention of their local delegation as well as the Appropriations Chairs in Tallahassee on those two issues.

Ms. Angie Langley from the Lake County Chamber Alliance commented that they are excited about Lake County Days and gave a brief update on their efforts on the Board’s behalf in Tallahassee.  She related that they have made appointments with all of the State Senators and Representatives from their delegation as well as the Appropriations Chairs from the Senate and the House for Transportation and Agriculture, and they will have a detailed list of all of those appointments when they arrive in Tallahassee.  She mentioned that they also had a dinner planned on Wednesday evening, February 15, with all of the delegation members, and she thanked Mr. Bill Veach, Assistant County Manager, for his assistance with the scheduling support and preparations.


On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 and 2, as follows:

List of Warrants

Request to acknowledge receipt of 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.

Ordinances and Resolution from the Town of Lady Lake

Request to acknowledge receipt of the following items from the Town of Lady Lake:

Ordinance No. 2016-16 (Special Exception Use), Ordinance No. 2016-25 (Annexation), Ordinance No. 2016-26 (Comprehensive Plan Amendment), Ordinance No. 2016-27 (Rezoning), Ordinance No. 2016-29 (Special Exception Use), Ordinance No. 2016-30 (Annexation), Ordinance No. 2016-31 (Comprehensive Plan Amendment), Ordinance No. 2016-32 (Rezoning), Ordinance No. 2016-36 (Annexation), Ordinance No. 2016-37 (Comprehensive Plan Amendment), Ordinance No. 2016-38 (Rezoning), Ordinance No. 2016-39 (Corrections, Updates, and Modifications to Capital Improvements Schedule of Lady Lake Comprehensive Plan), and Resolution No. 2016-111 (Supporting “Safe Routes to School” Project).


On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Consent Agenda, Tabs 4 through 16 as follows:

Community Services

Request for approval to terminate the agreement with LogistiCare Solutions, LLC for non-emergency medical transportation services for Medicaid clients. The termination would be effective February 22, 2017 after providing the required 15 days' notice.  The fiscal impact is $55 (Write-Off).

Request for approval to terminate the agreement with Access2Care for non-emergency medical transportation services for Medicaid clients. The termination would become effective May 8, 2017 after providing the required 90 days' notice. The fiscal impact is $69,281.79 (Write-Off).

Request for approval to advertise Ordinance amending the terms of the members of the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee to alternate expiration terms and designate the number of members who must own property inside the planning area. There is no fiscal impact.

Community Safety and Compliance

Request for approval to reassign the existing Chameleon software agreement for support of the Animal Control Services from the Lake County Sheriff’s office to the Lake County Board of County Commissioners for the period from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.  The annual fiscal impact is estimated at $24,000 (Expenditure).  The Sheriff’s Office is paying that charge for FY 2017.  The immediate FY 2017 fiscal impact for the Board is $4,500 for the cost of transitional training.

County Attorney

Request for approval to donate Alternate Key 1194385 to the City of Eustis and approval of Resolution No. 2017-11 regarding the donation.  There is no fiscal impact at this time.

Request for approval of the First Amendment to Real Estate Purchase and Sales Agreement with Charles C. Thomas and Mary K. Thomas, as Trustees of the Mary K. Thomas Trust u/d/a 6/13/1981 for the East Lake Community Park Expansion Project and approval for Chairman to execute any necessary closing documents contingent upon completion of due diligence. There is no fiscal impact.

Request for approval to accept offers to purchase the following County-owned properties: Alternate Keys 1201217, 1265401, 1338891, 1390354, 1437679, 1481341, and 1536987; and approval for Chairman to execute any necessary closing documents. The fiscal impact is $12,100.

Facilities Development and Management

Request for approval of a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) of $2,627,302.00 and other project related costs and design/construction contingency allowance of $328,412.75 for the project entitled "Lake County Tax Collector's Office in Tavares,” and authorize County staff to complete all associated implementing documents. The fiscal impact is $2,955,714.75 (Expenditure). Commission District 3.

Fiscal and Administrative Services

Request for approval for the Board 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, (3) authorize the Procurement Manager to execute any required title documents, and (4) approve donation of the Adams Road Maintainer listed to the Sunshine State Chapter of Historical Construction Equipment Association for display at the Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club in Fort Meade, FL.

Request for approval of Direct Pay for computer servers purchased by the State Attorney's Office. The fiscal impact is $26,454.87.

Human Resources

Request for approval of settlement of liability claim with Kenneth Savage which resulted from an automobile accident that occurred on May 20, 2014.  The Lake County vehicle was found to be at fault.  The fiscal impact is $191,708.44 of which $150,000 will be reimbursed to the County from excess insurance carrier.

Public Safety

Request for approval to authorize application to the Florida Department of Health EMS 75/25 Matching Grant of $325,000. Grant funding is to assist in converting six (6) Basic Life Support (BLS) fire stations/units to Advanced Life Support (ALS) capability. LCFR has identified our match of $81,250 from current year’s impact fees to be used for the 25% match. Due to grant submission deadline, the original request for submission was brought before the Board on January 24, 2017 under the County Manager's agenda.

Public Works

Request for approval to award Magnolia Lane (#3124A) Drainage Improvement, Project No. 2017-02; Bid No. 17-0806, to Estep Construction, Inc. (Tavares, FL) in the amount of $404,144.72 and to encumber and expend funds in the amount of $404,144.72 from the MSTU Stormwater Management fund (State appropriation and grant funded).  This project is located in the Springs Bath and Yacht Club subdivision, north of CR 48, along the southern shore of Lake Harris. The fiscal impact is $404,144.72 (100% grant funded).  Commission District 3.

departmental business

community services

update on activities of veterans services office

Ms. Allison Thall, Health and Human Services Manager, Department of Community Services, gave a presentation to provide the Board with an update and overview of the Veterans Services.  She specified that there were currently 1.5 million veterans living in Florida, 33,850 of whom were residing in Lake County, and she noted that over 32 percent of those veterans were aged 75 years and older and another 27.6 percent aged 65 to 74 years old.  She gave some further demographics regarding the veteran population, including that 7.4 percent of veterans lived in poverty and that 29.2 percent had at least one disability, and she commented that 35 veterans living in Lake County were identified as homeless.  She also noted that the highest percentage or over 35 percent of veterans were from the Vietnam War and the second highest which made up 18 percent were Korean War veterans.  She recapped that the Lake County Veterans Services office was organized in 1945 per Florida Statutes which granted the County Commissions full authority to aid and assist veterans who have served in any war and received an honorable discharge, although no state or federal funds are allocated for providing those services.  She explained that their Veterans Services Office is part of the Department of Community Services and that they currently have two Veterans Service Officers on staff who assist veterans or dependents to access their benefits at no cost, help submit claims, and secure compensation, pension, survivor’s pension, aid and attendance, and burial benefits.  She further mentioned that a County Veterans Service Officer (VSO) must be a veteran who had served as a member of the armed forces during a period of war for at least 18 months of active duty and was separated from such service under honorable condition and that they must attend a training program and successfully complete a test prior to assuming any responsibilities, as well as attend an annual training refresher course as a condition of remaining in employment.

Ms. Thall explained that while there was a myriad of Veterans Administration (VA) benefits throughout the VA system, the key categories of compensation and pension most veterans are potentially eligible for include the service connected compensation, the non-service connected pension, death or survivor’s pension, the dependency indemnity compensation (DIC), and aid and attendance.  She related that the service connected compensation is a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are determined by the VA to be disabled by either an injury or illness incurred or aggravated during active military service and considered to be service connected.  She reported that a non-service connected pension was designed for low-income veterans who are severely disabled because of conditions occurring after their military service and who have served during a federally-recognized period of war.  She elaborated that the death or survivor’s pension is a tax-free monthly payment that is made to very low income, un-remarried surviving spouses or minor or permanently disabled children of deceased veterans who served during a time of war.  She added that the DIC tax-free benefit is paid to eligible survivors of veterans who died in the line of duty or whose death resulted in a service-related injury or disease.  She related that veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person or are considered housebound may be eligible for monetary payment in addition to their monthly pension.  She specified that in 2016 the County’s VSOs responded to over 7,300 phone calls, served almost 2,000 veterans in the office and 282 veterans at the VA clinics, submitted almost 1,000 claims via email or fax, conducted 45 home visits to the most frail veterans, provided 12 presentations to different community groups and clubs, and provided over 400 Lake County Veterans Survivors Guides to veterans and their families.  She summarized that the efforts of the VSOs helped to generate over $246,000 in new revenue for Lake County veterans in compensation and pensions in 2016.

Ms. Thall reported that they were also able to expand some of their services in 2016 to include the Veterans Directed Care program, some community outreach, an update to their web page, and the acquisition of VetraSpec.  She noted that the Veterans Directed Care program is a relatively new federally-funded and administered program that is available to veterans of all ages through the VA Medical Center in Orlando to receive needed services within their own homes, with the overall goal to help those veterans avoid nursing home placement and remain independent by giving veterans a flexible spending budget and the ability to decide for themselves what mix of services, equipment, and care best meet their needs in order to continue to live independently. She elaborated that they have been able to conduct greater community outreach by increasing the number of home visits they have made, serving veterans residing in assisted living facilities, making presentations to veterans in retirement communities, and speaking and educating veterans at various veterans’ service organization posts throughout the county. She mentioned that they have also updated their veterans’ services webpage for computer savvy veterans in order to help expedite the claims process by offering links to help veterans determine their eligibility for VA benefits, programs, and services, as well as download proper VA forms and apply online directly.  She emphasized, however, that staff is always available to interpret and assist the veterans through the application process.  She related that the final upgrade was the acquisition of a powerful software program called VetraSpec, which was a secure, online, claims management software solution built for VSOs and state departments which allows them to access data from any computer with internet access.  She opined that one of the greatest features of VetraSpec is that all VA claims prepared by their VSOs could be directly uploaded to the federal VA system instantly, and they could track the status of the claim.  She commented that this program has increased their efficiency and productivity dramatically.  She listed some existing County-supported programs that are available to veterans, including The Open Door, a homeless drop-in center located in Eustis funded through their Human Services Grant; the REACH (Rental & Energy Deposit Assistance for Connection to Housing) program for rental and utility deposit assistance; and HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) for benefits for the elderly and families with children under 18 years old, noting that both REACH and HARP are offered by the Lake County Housing & Community Development Division.  She introduced the County’s two Veterans Service Officers, Mr. Mark Godinez and Ms. Chanel Frazier, as well as Ms. Joan Pell, who has been working closely with the two VSOs as an integral part of their veterans service team on a daily basis.

Commr. Parks thanked Ms. Thall for helping the veterans in this county and for specifically helping a veteran in South Lake who was not able to move or speak well and was in a wheelchair as a result of injuries contracted during his service in the Marine Corp and his spouse with Veterans Directed Care, which provided assistance to spouses to take care of the veteran at home.  He opined that more funding for that program is needed, and he believed that the County needed to continue to support it.

Commr. Campione thanked Ms. Thall for the great job she and her staff do and commented that it impacts many people in a positive way.  She added that it was a daunting process navigating those programs, and she was glad to see that it was getting easier with the VetraSpec program.

Commr. Breeden opined that Ms. Thall’s staff was already bringing some new and fresh ideas and approaches to Veterans Services.

fiscal and administrative services

fire assessment study by tindale-oliver

Mr. Steve Koontz, Assistant County Manager, stated that the purpose of this presentation was to provide the Board with an overview of the annual Fire Assessment Study and discuss the assessment of vacant land.  He noted that imposing a fire assessment ensures equity among land uses and a stable, predictable, and dedicated revenue and establishes a benefit to the property.  He recapped that the Lake County Fire Assessment Program was established in 1990 and has been updated annually with Tindale-Oliver to look at the metrics that go into the assessment.  He noted that vacant land is not assessed at this time.  He explained that the Fire Assessment is used to fund fire protection services such as fire suppression and prevention, fire building inspections, and first response medical services (BLS); however, it cannot fund Advanced Life Support (ALS) services but can be used for capital expenses.  He added that call data and the distribution of incidents are analyzed as part of that process, and assessment rates are calculated based on the allocation of resources and the budget as a proportionate share of each land use.  He pointed out that the General Fund provides the calculated fees for buildings identified as governmental within the institutional land use and 66 percent of the funding for buildings identified as not for profit, including churches.  He mentioned that Tindale-Oliver and Associates uses the most recent budget information, call data, and distribution of resources by land use for the technical study and that the Board is still required to provide a discount of at least $500,000 from the maximum that could be assessed per a previous legal settlement.

Mr. Steve Tindale with Tindale-Oliver explained the methodology of their study, noting that the calculation components consisted of the distribution of incidents and total resources, the assessable budget, the property units by land use, and the calculated rate.  He presented a chart showing the distribution of incidents in the 2016 study, noting that the distribution of calls in 2008 to 2014 as opposed to 2015 showed a small trend wherein the frequency of the calls moved from the residential to a non-residential use, which in reality changes the numbers significantly. He pointed out that the budget currently is distributed among the categories of residential, hotel-motel-RV Park, commercial, industrial-warehouse, and institutional; and he emphasized that the County has historically not charged for vacant land.  He concluded that they have recommended keeping the rates the same until the next annual update, and he went through several of the analyses used before coming to that conclusion, such as looking at the possibilities of a maximum assessable budget, increasing the budget a small amount using only the revenue from newly constructed additional units, and keeping the fees the same while waiting for possible revenues from vacant land uses.  He recapped that a recent court case in the Cape Coral Supreme Court has set a precedent regarding vacant land which recognized that people who own property benefit from fire services with increased values and lower insurance premiums and approved charging vacant property for the benefit that is received, and he noted that several counties and cities already charge vacant property for fire services.  He also noted that HB 773 was state legislation passed in 2016 to go into effect in November 2017 which gives authorization to assess for fire protection of vacant land but requires that agricultural zoned land without a home on it could not be assessed.  He discussed the impact of a new charge for the vacant property, and he pointed out that this would reduce some of the burden on other land uses for non-vacant property as well as reduce the potential increase in rates for those other land uses in case of a higher budget.  He related that since less than 2 percent of the total fire service resources in Lake County was currently used for agricultural calls, they do not believe that the new requirement regarding agricultural assessment exemptions would have a large impact on the allocation or the distribution of the fire assessment.  He commented that the courts are much more lenient regarding assessments rather than fees concerning the latitude of the calculation of the charges.

Mr. Koontz presented a chart reflecting the staff analysis of the distribution of total resources and percentages by land use, noting that the vacant land could make up to 10.9 percent and that agricultural made up 1.5 percent.  He commented that they needed to determine a methodology for the assessment and to evaluate the level of benefit, and he reported that vacant land could generate between $1 million and $2 million depending on the level of benefit and the assessable budget.  He mentioned that they will initiate the Fire Assessment Study in March 2017 after providing Tindale-Oliver the call data information and project the FY 2018 Fire Rescue Budget which will include the maximum assessment that could be levied based on the budget, the amount that could be levied using the current rates, and the use of the previous two scenarios including vacant land as an option.  He reported that they expect to review the draft study in May and present the results to the Board in June.

Commr. Breeden opined that she believes it is worth studying the possibility of charging for vacant land.

Mr. Heath clarified that this was an overview of both the assessment and vacant land as just another option the Board could look at when the study comes back in May or June.

Commr. Campione commented that although they do not want to encourage the development of vacant land, since vacant land contributes to the quality and character of their county, they need to consider the use and availability of fire services for a large piece of vacant land in the event of a fire situation.  She asked whether it would be fairer to treat vacant land adjacent to a property owner’s other property different than vacant land where the owner does not own property adjacent to it, since that would be the same situation as having a house built on a parcel consisting of multiple acres.  She also commented that although she was not generally in favor of putting a new assessment on residents who are not already paying anything, she wondered whether this could spread the burden and make it a more equitable assessment.

Commr. Parks asked whether most structural fire calls were to commercial-institutional buildings and if most medical calls were from residential.

Mr. Tindale responded that the number of emergency calls went up as the density increased and that 90 percent of the calls were for other than fire service.  He offered to look at the distribution of emergency calls versus fire calls as well as the frequency versus resources during the study.

Commr. Parks commented that that would be helpful to ensure that the assessment was equitable, and he mentioned that he also wanted to make sure they were sensitive to those on a fixed income.

Mr. Tindale added that fees were based on demand rather than benefit, but the assessment was based on benefit and has historically been call-based and resource-based taking into consideration the size of a home, since the insurance savings due to availability of fire service would be twice as much for a large home as for a small one.

Commr. Blake asked what the average cost was per response to a vacant land call.

Mr. Tindale responded that the cost per call is large since they were paying for firefighters waiting for an incident to occur and their availability in order for them to be able to respond to that call and to provide reasonable service in a suburban or rural area, noting that a fire station is engaged an average of 30 percent of the time.

Commr. Sullivan summarized that this was a multi-faceted issue that affects the general budget as well as the fire assessment and includes issues such as grants and new fire station construction using sales tax revenues.

recess and reassembly

The Chairman announced at 10:20 a.m. that there would be a fifteen-minute recess.

sylvan shores street lighting msbu

Mr. Koontz provided the Board with an update on the proposed Sylvan Shores Streetlight Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU).  He noted that the Board had the power to establish MSBU’s within the unincorporated area of Lake County and was also able to levy non-ad valorem assessments pursuant to Florida Statutes.  He explained that an MSBU was a non-ad valorem assessment for the provision of services which is levied on the residents who specifically benefit from those services and was established through a public hearing and a vote of the Board.  He mentioned that the County must receive petitions from at least 55 percent of the property owners in the community to start the process.  He recapped that the City of Mount Dora notified unincorporated Sylvan Shores residents on September 18, 2015 that the City would no longer provide street lighting effective November 1, 2016 after doing so for about 15 years, but the County Manager worked with the Mount Dora City Manager to postpone that deadline until November 1, 2017.  He related that the County sent letters and a copy of a petition to each effected resident requesting that those interested in the MSBU return them by January 30 so a public hearing could be scheduled.  He presented a map showing the Sylvan Shores area and affected properties and noted that 233 petitions out of 402 properties were received, equaling 58 percent of the community.  He recapped that the Board had created streetlight MSBU’s for three subdivisions between 1995 and 2000 but came to a consensus in 1999 that it would not do MSBU’s in the future, leaving the responsibility of providing streetlights to developers and homeowner associations (HOA).  However, he pointed out that the HOA at Sylvan Shores was informal, voluntary, and predated current development practices.  He reported that the next steps in this process include a public hearing on this issue on February 21, working out an interlocal agreement with the City of Mount Dora by June or July regarding issues such as rates and fees for providing the electricity for the lights, and a public hearing in August to set the rates for FY 2018 and FY 2019.  He requested approval to advertise for a public hearing for a Sylvan Shores Streetlight MSBU.

Commr. Campione commented that this started out as an unfortunate situation which created a lot of upheaval in the community as the residents tried to figure out what to do next, and the level of support they have received from the community reflects the fact that this issue is very important to the safety of this traditional neighborhood with children walking to and from school from their homes, emphasizing that it was not usually easy getting 58 percent support for an MSBU.  She expressed concern about negotiating the interlocal agreement with Mount Dora to ensure stability of the rates and that maintenance of the structures is taken care of, and she added that the flexibility to possibly use solar power for the lights in the future is another option to consider if that was what the community wanted.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the request to advertise for a public hearing for a Sylvan Shores Streetlight Municipal Services Benefit Unit.

other business

appointment to the public safety coordinating council

On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Major Glen Hall from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to the Public Safety Coordinating Council.

appointment of members to the board of adjustment

On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of  Mr. Tim Morris representing District 3 to the Board of Adjustment to serve a four-year term beginning February 1, 2017.

On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Randy Waters representing District 5 to the Board of Adjustment to serve a four-year term beginning February 1, 2017.

appointment of members to the lake ems board of directors

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of the following members to the Lake EMS Board of Directors representing the cities within Lake County to serve a two-year term ending February 1, 2019:  Mr. Robert Morin, Mayor, City of Eustis, and Mr. Keith Mullins, Councilmember, City of Clermont.

appointment to parks, recreation, and trails advisory board

On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Sandy Gamble, School Board Member, to the Parks, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board to complete a two-year term ending May 20, 2018.

appointments to the keep lake beautiful advisory committee

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of the following members to the Keep Lake Beautiful Advisory Committee to serve four-year terms beginning February 1, 2017:  Council Member Laura Wright, City of Umatilla and Council Member Dina Sweatt, City of Groveland, as elected municipal representatives; Mr. Earl Hammond as business owner or chamber representative; Ms. Melissa Simmes as civic organization member; and Ms. Lavon Silvernell, Ms. Darla Kinney Scoles, and Mr. Jim Miller as citizen representatives.

reports - county manager

feasibility study for consolidation of ems and fire service

Mr. Heath recapped that the Board expressed interest at their annual retreat in January in looking at doing a feasibility study to consolidate the Lake County Fire Department with Lake County EMS, and there was discussion about whether they should wait for the results of the ongoing EMS study before doing that study, with a consensus to move forward immediately.  He directed the Board’s attention to a proposed scope in the backup information that would go into an RFP (Request for Proposals) to look at the feasibility of that consolidation, noting that it was strictly an implementation plan with no alternatives analysis based on the premise of what was necessary for the consolidation to occur, including steps, schedule, and money.  He reported that staff could get the RFP out in the next ten days if the Board chose to go forward that day; then advertise for the next month, which would mean that the proposals would come back the latter part of March; and they would then do a procurement process and realistically have a contract to bring before the Board at the first meeting in May.  He summarized that the process would take a total of about 90 days with the results coming back to the Board in early August, making this an FY 2019 budget issue if the Board approved the scope and moving forward with the RFP.  He explained that there were two tasks to the current ongoing EMS study, which were Phase I to look at the efficiency of EMS and the fire department in the rural areas and Phase II to look at the relationship of fire service and EMS, which has not yet been done.  He expressed concern about how all of the studies would fit together, and he recommended that the EMS Board delay Phase II of their study and instead substitute the scope of the Board’s study, noting that the consultant indicated that they had the ability and data to do that study.  He commented that doing this integrated study would mean that the Board would not have to have an independent and separate study done, resulting in some cost savings if done as a change order to the EMS contract, uniformity of the studies, and a chance of implementing any changes by October 1.

Commr. Parks opined that he did not think it would take that long to get the data for this study.

Commr. Breeden asked whether the change order could state that it would be under County direction.

Ms. Melanie Marsh, County Attorney, responded that the difficulty with that would be that the EMS board is considered a different board and entity which consisted of other board members in addition to the Commissioners, although they might be able to direct a County employee as a project manager.

Commr. Campione elaborated that the scope indicates that some of this study would include data analysis as well as look at potential cost savings, cost avoidance, improved productivity, improved customer service, and impact on ISO ratings and insurance rates, which was critical to this calculation.  She added that from an implementation standpoint, they would look at the effect it would have on staffing, billing, and fee structures.

Mr. Heath commented that he was trying to anticipate what the Board wanted to do, and he cautioned the Board about the timeframe if the expectation was that they wanted this back in time to make the policy decision to consolidate EMS and fire service, especially if they want to make sure that the level of service for transport remains the same.

Commr. Sullivan pointed out that a true transition would entail a full-blown process taking into consideration employee benefits and making a transition from one entity to another, as well as service, and he expressed concern about making this decision too quickly until they have all of the data to make the correct decision and to make sure they have the most cost-effective and efficient system that meets the needs and requirements of their community.

Commr. Parks commented that he believed it would take about a year to implement.

Mr. Heath pointed out that there would be a total of four new members on the EMS board, including Commr. Breeden and Commr. Blake.  He specified that Phase I is scheduled to be heard on March 6 by the EMS board, and he suggested that a Commissioner request at that time to substitute this scope for Phase II of the EMS study, delay that second phase, and then to designate the County Manager as the contract manager for that study.

Commr. Blake commented that he believes that would satisfy his concerns about having an objective analysis and address the issue of timing.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved discussing with the EMS board on March 6 the substitution of the present scope of Phase II of the EMS study with the feasibility of consolidating EMS and Fire Rescue and to designate the County Manager as contract manager for Phase II; also, that the Board would bring this discussion back at the BCC Meeting of March 7 in the event that this course of action was not approved by the EMS board on March 6.

emerald lakes feasibility study

Mr. Heath recapped that Mr. Randal Raney and some residents from Emerald Lakes expressed concern about what the County could do regarding the flooding situation in their development during a discussion about legislative priorities by the Board on November 22.  He reported that he had attended a meeting on January 30 to discuss a legislative priority for a study of this issue with the various stakeholders, including Commr. Parks, Representative Larry Metz, representatives from the Lake County Water Authority and the St. Johns River Water Management District, representatives from Emerald Lakes, and Mr. Darren Gray, Manager of the City of Clermont.  He emphasized that this meeting was focused on the legislative priority and did not include discussion about lowering the lake levels or Rep. Metz’s proposed legislation.  He related that they had developed a proposed scope of services for a study to come up with an ultimate solution for that situation and also to identify approximately $300,000 necessary to do that study, which will include some actual design concepts and engineering input as part of the process.  He mentioned that the Board recently received an email about another proposal that was not in accordance with what had been decided on during the January 30 meeting in order to identify a solution for that situation.  He requested that the Board approve inclusion of this Emerald Lakes item in their legislative priorities.

Commr. Parks opined that it was a good meeting, and they were on track to coming up with a mechanical solution of the problem.  He also opined that the City of Clermont will ultimately have a role in this matter as well.

Commr. Campione clarified that the solution would protect the chain of lakes, and she opined that there should be a requirement that any new structures constructed in that area would have to comply with some new minimum criteria regarding the base flood elevation.  She suggested that a reserve fund could be set up to be used to buy those lots as they become vacant over time.

Commr. Parks reported that FEMA funding could not be used for the problem at Emerald Lakes unless a major disaster results in water flowing into the structures, and he added that it was determined that $55 million would be needed to buy out the entire community.

Commr. Campione commented that they could ask entities such as the St. Johns River Water Management District, the City of Clermont, and the Water Authority to buy the properties in smaller amounts over time if it was incremental.

Commr. Sullivan opined that one of the problems is that it is a multi-jurisdictional issue.

Commr. Breeden pointed out that the Emerald Lakes development was plotted back in the 1970’s, and this has been a long-standing problem.  She expressed appreciation that Mr. Heath was taking a leadership role to organize the discussion, and she stated that she would be in favor of the legislative priority.

Commr. Blake noted that the Emerald Lakes residents had expressed vehement opposition to any sort of buyout of their property and noted that a large percentage of the lots with homes on them are currently owned by the co-op rather than privately owned.

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Breeden and approved unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the legislative priority in the amount of $300,000 for a feasibility study to identify a structural solution to flooding in the Emerald Lakes community.

county bond rating

Mr. Heath reported that he had received good news from the Fitch agency after completing a review of the County’s bond rating that it went up from AA- to AA, and their capital improvement bonds and general obligation bonds such as sales tax and public lands have remained constant.  He commented that since the Commissioners each have their own priorities for capital projects, he intended to have a work session within the next few months with the Board to discuss the financing of all the options related to the advancement of some of the capital improvement projects, such as the animal shelter or parks, with the goal of having the Board adopt a specific strategy.

commissioner parks – district 2

appreciation to public works staff

Commr. Parks thanked Public Works staff for their quick response and the help they gave residents of Shirley Shores as well as addressing a solid waste issue in Montverde very quickly and a code issue in Lake Susan Landing by getting that cleaned up quickly.  He commented that the communities in those areas are very happy with the staff and the Board and have expressed their appreciation for the County’s response to those issues.

mount dora chamber dinner

Commr. Parks related that he attended a Mount Dora Chamber dinner, where Mr. Robert Chandler, Economic Growth Director, gave a great presentation.

promotion of lake county as real florida, real close

Commr. Parks requested that staff look into promoting inexpensive or no-cost opportunities and alternatives of promoting and marketing thousands of acres of state lands near Lake Louisa State Park and the trail that connects the park facilities from Four Corners to the north end of Lake Louisa State Park using Lake County’s slogan of “Real Florida, Real Close.”  He added that he had learned that improvements were mentioned in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s master plan at the entry point near the Showcase of Citrus.

Commr. Sullivan encouraged the Commissioners to attend some of the state wildlife events that they are invited to.

commissioner breeden – district 3

tour of wekiva parkway construction

Commr. Breeden stated that she rode with representatives from the Central Florida Expressway Authority to tour sections of the unfinished Wekiva Parkway last week.  She commented that she was very impressed with some of the beautiful design details of the bridges.

medical marijuana summit

Commr. Breeden related that she attended the medical marijuana summit put on by the Florida Association of Counties on Saturday, February 4, along with the County Attorney and some County staff.  She noted that several people from the state assured everyone that the state was working hard to meet the six months’ deadline for legislation regarding this issue.

Ms. Melanie Marsh, County Attorney, mentioned that she emailed two bills to the Commissioners that morning that took two different approaches, one of which would preempt the County’s ordinance and one that would not.

additional appreciation to public works staff

Commr. Breeden thanked Public Works staff for working with the Sheriff’s office to utilize inmate labor to help a concerned citizen with a canal blockage near Lake Harris that was not a County issue.

commissioner campione –district 4

possible wekiva parkway delays

Commr. Campione asked for an update from Public Works and the Lake-Sumter MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) on a situation regarding the last part of the Wekiva Parkway from CR 46, across the bridge into Seminole County, since she had heard at the Wekiva River Basin Commission meeting that that section might be somewhat delayed, could cause traffic problems on Lake County roads, and might not be done the way it was initially intended.  She opined that they needed to find out exactly what is going on and determine whether the County needed to engage both their state and federal lobbyists to make sure that there is no issue with the funding of this project.

Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, stated that he would contact Ms. Mary Brooks from FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) that day and update the Board regarding this issue.  He commented that this would affect the FDOT projects all over Lake County, since they had deferred other projects so that this one gets completed.

Commr. Parks remarked that he had heard that the state was trying to take care of that in this year’s budget.

Commr. Campione added that Seminole County put up a large amount of money for that project and were questioning why that could not be used for this part of the project.

east lake chamber installation banquet

Commr. Campione stated that she went to the East Lake Chamber installation banquet last week and had the honor of installing the new officers.

pine meadows visit

Commr. Campione related that she went to Pine Meadows last week with County staff and the Mayor and City Manager of Eustis to look at the efforts toward the dredging project there, noting that tremendous progress has been made.  She commented that she hoped the City of Eustis would be able to take that project into account when planning trails to connect to that as an amenity for a park in the future.  She also expressed appreciation to the County parks staff for their ability to get things done efficiently.

impact fee waiver for infill housing

Commr. Campione asked whether the Board would support her going to the School Board to talk to them about the impact fee waiver for infill housing as an alternative to reducing the impact fee, and she proposed starting the program with a scaled-back number of waivers as a pilot to see whether they get any activity.  There was consensus and support for her to do so.

Commr. Parks asked when they were having the joint meeting with the School Board.

Mr. Heath responded that he was waiting until the new School Superintendent takes office next month before scheduling that meeting and that he estimated the meeting will take place in an April or May timeframe.  He also commented that he believes it is helpful for Commr. Campione to discuss impact fees with the School Board beforehand so that topic does not take up the entire meeting.

Commr. Sullivan mentioned that he talked to the School Board Chairman about defining the issues that would be discussed at that meeting.

Commr. Blake related that although he was on the record as opposing the current level of the impact fee, he concurred with the consensus to have Commr. Campione discuss the infill issue with the School Board.

commissioner blake – district 5

another expression of appreciation for public works staff

Commr. Blake thanked the Public Works staff for quickly helping residents with an issue with Paisley Road in Umatilla that he was made aware of during a Umatilla Chamber of Commerce meeting on Thursday morning, February 2.

dentistry facility in fruitland park

Commr. Blake mentioned that on February 6 he had toured the Lake Children’s Dentistry facility in Fruitland Park that provided dentistry to underprivileged and underserved children, which was a partnership between the Department of Health and the County.

commissioner sullivan – chairman and district 1

central floridian of the year awards

Commr. Sullivan announced that he attended the Central Floridian of the Year awards put on by the Orlando Sentinel, where former Lake County Commissioner Welton Cadwell was one of the five finalists for his years of service and his work on the CFX (Central Florida Expressway Authority).

amendment to county manager’s employment agreement

Commr. Sullivan requested approval of the amendment to the County Manager’s employment agreement, which he commented was key as they move forward to make the right selection for the County Manager.

Commr. Parks commented that this would help them with the transition at an important time, and he pointed out that the Board was trying to progress expeditiously with the search for a new County Manager and to make the transition as quickly as possible.

Commr. Breeden added that there were a lot of things happening in the County right now, and it would be helpful to have that continuity.

Commr. Campione opined that it was a fair and reasonable proposal that will help them with that transition and stated that she supported it.

Commr. Sullivan noted that the extension of Mr. Heath’s contract will not go beyond June 2, 2017.

On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the amendment to the County Manager’s Employment Agreement for Mr. Heath.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:50 p.m.




timothy i. sullivan, chairman