august 8, 2017

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, August 8, 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:  Jeff Cole, County Manager; Melanie Marsh, County Attorney; Niki Booth, Agenda Coordinator, County Manager’s Office; Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; Kristy Mullane, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.

INVOCATION and pledge

Pastor Brooks Braswell from the First Baptist Church in Umatilla gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Agenda update

Mr. Jeff Cole, County Manager, stated that there were no changes to the Agenda.

Minutes approval

On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of the BCC Meetings of June 6, 2017 (Regular Meeting) and June 20, 2017 (Regular Meeting) as presented.

employee awards

Mr. Robert Anderson, Human Resources Director, announced that they would be recognizing employees who have reached significant milestones in their careers with Lake County, as follows:

five years

Timothy Chastain, Mechanic/Welder/Fabricator (not present)

Facilities & Fleet Management/Fleet Management Division


James Delong, Right-of-Way Agent I

Public Works/Engineering Division/Right-of Way


Spencer Kostus, Disaster Assistance Specialist (not present)

Public Safety/Emergency Management Division



Jay Boleyn, Traffic Signal Technician

Public Works/Engineering Division/Traffic Operations


Amy Stultz, Librarian II

Public Resources/Library Services Division/Cooper/LSCC Library


John Zornes, Equipment Operator III

Public Works/Road Operations Division/Maintenance Area I (Leesburg)



James Green, Mechanic II

Facilities & Fleet Management/Fleet Management Division



Jimmy Scott, Construction Inspection Supervisor (not present)

Public Works/Road Operations Division



Deborah Tinis, Financial Coordinator (not present)

Public Works/Environmental Services Division



Richard Roof, Stormwater Inspector I

Public Works/Environmental Services Division/Stormwater

citizen question and comment

Ms. Karen LeHeup Smith, a resident of Eustis and a member of LEASH, a volunteer group at the Lake County Animal Shelter, requested the Board’s help and direction to solve issues at the shelter, including the dangerous heat in the building, and to find a way to partner with the County and business people in the community willing to help.  She added that they were sometimes taking in 20 dogs a day at the shelter and were over capacity, even though they recently had a great adoption event in which 89 animals were adopted, noting that they just took in 30 cats and 17 dogs in one day.  She emphasized that they were just asking the Board for guidance rather than money, and she indicated that the group would be contacting the Commissioners to discuss this issue.

Commr. Sullivan assured those who were concerned about the animal shelter that it was an issue on the Board’s agenda as they move forward and would be addressed when they discussed capital improvements.

Mr. Vance Jochim, a resident of Tavares and writer of a blog about governmental issues, expressed concern about leaking roofs on government agency buildings and possible mold as a result of those leaks.  He thanked the Board for fixing the front entrance of the Administration Building but stated that he believed that the construction work took too long.  He also opined that the Board should not grant increases to the Sheriff’s Office budget without first conducting a performance audit on a rotating basis at least every third year, although he had respect for his agency and the job that he does.  He commented that he believed the County should also not grant escalations in benefits and wages for their employees any higher than the 1.3 percent granted to Social Security recipients.  He asked the Board why there was a shortfall in the funds to pay the debt from the sales tax revenue.

Commr. Campione responded that the debt was for the Judicial Center building, and they were responsible for providing that courthouse, since it was the seat for their Judicial Circuit.  She also pointed out that none of the current Commissioners were on the Board when those decisions were made, although they were left with the debt when it was done as a bond issue that extended beyond the length of the penny sales tax.  She elaborated that while the penny sales tax was permitted to be used to help pay down the debt, it was not the sole source of revenue for that large multi-million dollar project.  She also explained that the construction to enlarge the entrance of the Administration Building entailed various tasks and purposes besides the actual blocking and construction part, including accommodation of better safety provisions for the building itself.

Mr. Cole elaborated that coordination was needed with the Sheriff’s Office for the front entrance regarding security and a lot of other underlying issues that they needed to resolve, and it went far beyond just a construction project.  He also pointed out that the building has been tested for air quality issues, but no air quality issues were identified.

Commr. Campione added that they needed to address the issue of conceal carry, since the building is a hybrid of a courthouse.  She commented that anyone with questions or concerns can email or call the Commissioners or County staff.

Mr. Robert DeLoach, a resident of Lake Minneola Shores, Clermont, handed the Board some information about the Victory Pointe project in Clermont and noted that he was representing a group of residents who lived on Lake Minneola Shores regarding this project.  He expressed concern that it had recently come to their attention that the boat ramp for the Victory Pointe project was being relocated to a location 40 feet from one of the homes in their community owned by an older and infirm resident, and he showed that location on the map found in the handout.  He pointed out that all of the trees in that location would be removed to make room for the boat ramp, and he believed that the Board could intervene on their behalf since County right of way would probably also be needed.   He commented that the residents are in favor of the Victory Pointe project itself with the exception of the last-minute relocation of the boat ramp to a location that would disturb the last environmental wetlands on Lake Minneola.  He requested that the County not approve the acquisition of the needed right of way for that relocation.  He added that the master plan done approximately three years ago showed the relocation of the boat ramp on the opposite and east side of the lake by the old Bell Ceramics property, which he opined would have been an ideal location and consisted of seven acres as opposed to the three acres making up the new site.  He explained, however, that it was determined by the City Council a year ago that the staff and the consultants decided to deviate from that and relocate it near their community.   He added that the new boat ramp would have the same amount of spaces as the old one, although he believed that it should be much larger than that to accommodate the growth in the area.  He elaborated that the area was intended as a passive park, and he did not believe that motorized boats and jet skis should be allowed.

Mr. Johann Drieger, a resident of Lake Minneola Shores, stated that he was there to support the residents that were being impacted directly by this project, and he opined that the master plan to enhance downtown Clermont made sense, including the fact that Victory Pointe would also act as a stormwater filtration system, which would allow downtown Clermont to expand in the right way.  He noted that a lot has been added to that area since the time the original boat ramp was put in and that it was a mixed-use lake with a lot of activity, such as a boathouse to accommodate rowing clubs.  He suggested that they find a way to disburse the boat traffic across the Chain of Lakes with some thought.  He elaborated that the challenge was that the critical path that was originally established of Location 1 was changed to Location 4, and the City of Clermont was in a tough spot.  He expressed hope that there was another opportunity to expedite an investigation into another site that would make more sense and where the waterway was more sheltered than where it currently is to disburse the boat traffic and have deeper waterways.  He added that the new location would destroy the last amount of wetlands on that lake and would require continual dredging.  He relayed that the City’s priorities were the safety of the residents and water quality, which was an economic driver.  He commented that the new location was in very shallow waters and might not be useable sometime in the future.  He stated that it was a last-minute decision to move the location of the boat ramp, and the residents were just informed of it two weeks ago.  He requested that the Board support them in the steps to move forward to include not allowing the deeding of the road to the City.  He concluded that although he believed that the master plan made sense, this piece of the master plan did not make sense.

Mr. Gregory Cashmer, a resident of Lake Minneola Shores, handed out some information to the Commissioners in hard copy form as well as on a flash drive and commented that although the City of Clermont is doing a lot of the right things, he believed that moving the boat ramp to Lake Hiawatha Preserve was the wrong decision.  He recapped that the County provided $5 million, the state provided a little over $6.5 million, and the City a little less than $5 million for that preserve; and the Florida Communities Trust would have to modify the formal management plan to allow Clermont to do this.  He added that the County also had input into the plan, and the road along with the trail would need to be moved further west in order to allow adequate parking at their proposed site.  He noted that the County’s leverage to hold this project up would be to not deed CR 561 in Lake Minneola Shores to the City until they get the ramp moved to a more satisfactory site or concessions were made with this location.  He commented that the dilemma was that none of the four potential locations on Lake Minneola were desirable; however, Site 1, which was the Old Bell Ceramics location, had the deepest water, would not require any dredging, and was double the size of the site that was currently being considered.  He suggested other locations for the boat ramp, such as Palatlakaha Park, which was deeper, centrally located on the Chain of Lakes, and already owned by Clermont.  He related that his conversation with Mr. Ron Hart from the Lake County Water Authority indicated that the proposed site was not desirable, since it had a very shallow sloping lake bottom which will require substantial dredging and was on the windward side of the lake.  He expressed concern about the noise from boats of 90 decibels and airboats at 105 to 110 decibels at 50 feet and increased traffic.  He cited a section of the Lake County Code defining prohibited excessive noise as an amount, level, duration or character as to annoy, disturb, injure, or unreasonably interfere with or endanger the health, peace, or comfortable enjoyment of life and property, even if the noise was created within a municipality and detected within the unincorporated boundaries; and he commented that it would be difficult to mitigate the noise levels coming from the lake.  He pointed out that Lake Hiawatha Preserve is designated as a passive park, which was defined as generally an undeveloped space or environmentally sensitive area that requires minimal development with low intensity passive recreational use.

Commr. Breeden asked whether the City of Clermont has asked for approval for an amendment to include this boat ramp.

Mr. Cashmer responded that a representative of the Environmental Protection Agency of Florida indicated that the City requested to modify the formal master plan two weeks ago, but they would not be able to look at it for at least a week due to being shorthanded and in the middle of their budget process.

Mr. William Delaney, a resident of Lake Minneola Shores for over 40 years, expressed concern about the impression the City had conveyed about the residents owning small shacks, and he pointed out that every house along that street had been destroyed and rebuilt or completely renovated over the last 25 years to the point where the house values were higher than many other areas.  He also stated he was concerned about the traffic on the road and the continual dredging every six months due to the constant northern flow of the lake and the fluctuation of the lake levels.  He specified that the plans were for the boats to enter the boat ramp off of Hwy 27 coming across the northern part of Lake Minneola and south on their road, and there was a very small turn lane coming from Hwy 50 only large enough to hold about two vehicles.

Commr. Sullivan related that this was a Public Works issue that was yet to come before the Board.

Commr. Parks requested that the Board represent the residents with their concerns, noting that he had received a lot of emails about this matter, since it is in his district.  He elaborated that they could either look at alternatives for another location or some concessions, and it has only been a few months since the location has been changed from the old Bell Ceramics site.  He commented that what Clermont was doing was very positive, but there was no coordination with the residents and the people who would be impacted the most by the change in location.  He added that the Public Works Department has expressed serious concerns about the traffic associated with that, and he suggested that they look at putting more boat ramps out there to alleviate everyone having to come to one spot to get on to Lake Minneola.

Commr. Breeden added that Lake Hiawatha was a gem for the County, and she questioned whether the boat ramp relocation was compatible with that.

Commr. Campione stated that the Board needed to direct their staff to coordinate with the City Manager to find a way to provide the access at another location and noted that it was clear that this boat ramp was not compatible with the master plan for Lake Hiawatha and was in conflict with it.  She mentioned that it was originally designated as an observation deck and fishing pier for that area with no indication that it would be for active recreation which entailed clear-cutting of trees and dredging.

Commr. Sullivan assured the residents that they would work with the staff to take appropriate action.

Mr. Cole recapped that the County was a financial partner in the purchase and development of the Hiawatha Preserve, and there was a Florida Communities Trust Grant and an approved master plan.  He explained that typically they would have the opportunity to provide input on any changes to the master plan, and the County would reach out to the City to ask for that opportunity and request to see any changes that were proposed to the master plan in order to provide an opportunity to comment.  He also offered to send someone from staff to that evening’s Clermont City Council meeting to express their interest in having an opportunity to provide input.

Commr. Sullivan pointed out that the County should have a say regarding anything that could jeopardize the $6.5 million grant that the County was awarded, since someone would have to be responsible for those dollars.

Commr. Campione commented that the County was in a position to help coordinate with the City regarding another alternative for this relocation.


On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 5, 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.

Notice of Public Hearing from City of Minneola

Request to acknowledge receipt of the City of Minneola’s Notice of Public Hearing for a public hearing of the City of Minneola Planning and Zoning Commission to be held on Monday, August 7, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. and for a public hearing of the City of Minneola City Council to be held Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm. at the Minneola City Hall located at 800 North US Hwy 27. The hearings are to consider Ordinance 2017-08 which would include within the City limits approximately 26.5 acres of real property generally located east of US Highway 27 and Citrus Grove Road, rezoning the property from Lake County “Rural Residential” (R-1) to “Commercial-Planned Unit Development” (PUD-C) within the City of Minneola.

Ordinances and Resolutions from the Town of Lady Lake

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

Ordinance No. 2017-09 voluntarily annexing property owned by the Villages

Ordinance No. 2017-10 amending a Town of Lady Lake Comprehensive Plan ordinance

Ordinance No. 2017-11 designating zoning classification for certain property

Ordinance No. 2017-12 voluntarily annexing property owned by the Villages

Ordinance No. 2017-13 pertaining to comprehensive planning in Town of Lady Lake

Ordinance No. 2017-14 redesignating zoning classification for certain property

Ordinance No. 2017-15 amending ordinance requesting amendment of MOA

Ordinance No. 2017-16 voluntarily annexing property owned by the Villages

Ordinance No. 2017-17 pertaining to comprehensive planning in Town of Lady Lake

Ordinance No. 2017-18 redesignating zoning classification for certain property

Ordinance No. 2017-21 amending parking requirements

Resolution No. 2017-105 granting a variance for side yard setback

Resolution No. 2017-106 vacating two feet of easement of a five-foot side yard.

Resolution No. 2017-108 granting a variance from provisions of open space requirement

Cascades at Groveland CDD Annual Financial Audit Report

Request to acknowledge receipt of the Cascades at Groveland Community Development District Annual Financial Audit Report for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2016, pursuant to Section 11.45, Florida Statutes, and Section 189.418, Florida Statutes.

Greater Lakes/Sawgrass Bay CDD Annual Financial Audit Report

Request to acknowledge receipt of the proposed Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 for Deer Island Community Development District in accordance with Chapter 190.008(2)(b) of the Florida Statutes, as well as a transmittal letter of same dated June 14, 2017 stating that the public hearing for the proposed budget was scheduled for August 23, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at Club 448, 16024 CR 448, Tavares.


Commr. Parks thanked the new Mount Dora City Manager who worked very well with the County on the Automatic Aid Agreement for fire protection mentioned under Tab 18.

Commr. Campione commented that the agreement was a great starting point, and the County would go forward with their efforts to get 13 more of those with their city partners.  She also related that she appreciated Mount Dora’s involvement in this.

On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 30, as follows:

Community Services

Request for approval of the Annual Update to the Transit Development Plan. There is no fiscal impact.

Request for approval to designate the Housing & Community Development Manager/Interim Manager as the Certifying Official to ensure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act pursuant to 24 CFR Part 58 of HUD regulations; designate the assigned Housing & Community Development staff representative as the Environmental Officer who shall be responsible for preparing and maintaining a written record of the environmental review for all project activities pertaining to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding; and authorize signature authority for the Certifying Officer and Environmental Officer respectively on all Environmental Review Records. There is no fiscal impact.

Request for approval of the FY 2017-2018 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Proposed Projects and Annual Action Plan. The fiscal impact is $1,172,323 (Grant).

Request for approval for the Chairman to sign the HUD Annual Civil Rights Certification and Board Resolution (HUD-5077-CR) certifying conformity with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1954, the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. There is no fiscal impact.

County Attorney

Request for approval to execute Fifth Amendment to Second Amended and Restated Declaration of Condominium of South Lake Medical Arts Center Association.  There is no fiscal impact.

Request for approval of Resolution No. 2017-85 authorizing the County Attorney or designee to provide notice and make binding offers for the acquisition of property consistent with the requirements of Chapter 73, Florida Statutes, entitled Eminent Domain, and to execute any documents associated with such offers.  There is no fiscal impact.

Request for approval of Lease Agreement between Lake County and the Lake Agriculture and Youth Fair Association for use of the Lake County Expo Center/Fairgrounds and buildings for 2018.  The fiscal impact is $1.00 for the Lease.

Request for approval for Chairman to execute Estoppel Letter regarding Lots 35 and 36, Lake County Central Park Phase 2 (Alt Key 3781716 - 19925 Independence Boulevard, in Groveland).  There is no fiscal impact.

Request for approval to rescind the transfer of Alternate Key 1187869 to Homes in Partnership, Inc. and accept the Offer to Purchase from Herman and Delores McClenton; and authorize the Chairman to execute any necessary closing documents; also, repeal Resolution 2017-76 and approve a new Resolution No. 2017-86 donating Alternate Keys 1466385, 1466512, 1179050, 1380715, 1465958, 1700345, 2670746 to Homes in Partnership, Inc. The fiscal impact is $4,800.

Economic Growth

Request for approval of amendments to the agreements with the Leesburg Partnership, Inc. for the 21st Annual Leesburg Bikefest and PFXA, Inc. for the annual Spring Games. There is no fiscal impact.  Commission Districts 1 and 2.

Request for approval of the 2018 Hosting Event Agreement between Lake County and FLW, LLC.  The fiscal impact is $100,000 (expenditure).

Facilities and Fleet Management

Request for approval to award contract 17-0426, Uninterruptable Power Supply Inspection and Repair Services contract to Creative Power Solutions (Groveland, FL).  The estimated annual fiscal impact is $57,000.

Fiscal and Administrative Services

Request for approval of Resolutions 2017-87 through 92 providing for certification of the non-ad valorem assessment rolls for the Greater Groves Municipal Service Benefit Unit (87), Greater Hills Municipal Service Benefit Unit (88), Greater Pines Municipal Service Benefit Unit (89), Picciola Island Subdivision (90), Valencia Terrace Subdivision (91) and Village Green Subdivision (92) for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2017.  The total amount to be collected for these MSBUs is $898,975.00.

Public Safety

Request for approval to award contract 17-0434, Janitorial and Office Supplies to Bayse Janitor Supply Co. (Eustis) and Ernie Morris Enterprises, Inc. (Bushnell), and authorize Procurement Services to execute all supporting documentation. The estimated annual fiscal impact is $80,000.

Request for approval of the Interlocal Agreement between Lake County, Florida and Seminole County, Florida for the use of WebEOC software.  There is no fiscal impact.

Request for approval of Automatic Aid Agreement for fire protection and other emergency services between the City of Mount Dora and Lake County. There is no fiscal impact.

Public Resources

Request for approval to award contract 17-0418 for on-call purchase of clay for County ball fields to Tom’s Playground of Central Florida (Sorrento, FL), and authorize Procurement Services to execute all supporting documentation. The estimated annual fiscal impact is $70,000.

Request for approval for the Lake County Library Services Division to purchase DVDs to be made available to library patrons using criteria developed by the Division Manager. The annual fiscal impact is estimated at $33,750 and will be funded within the Division's existing budget.

Request for approval of the Facility Use Agreement between Lake Cares, Inc., and Lake County for the Paisley Community Center. There is no fiscal impact.  Commission District 5.

Request for approval to award contract 17-0419, Pressure Washing for Parks and Trails Division, to Advanced Pressure Cleaning (Umatilla, FL), and authorize the Procurement Services Division to execute all supporting documentation. The estimated annual fiscal impact is $30,000.

Public Works

Request for approval of Resolution No. 2017-93 providing for certification of the assessment roll for a Special Assessment for the paving, grading, curbing, and drainage of Granville Avenue in Lake County.  There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 2.

Request for approval of Resolution No. 2017-94 providing for certification of the assessment roll for a Special Assessment for the paving, grading, curbing, and drainage of Firethorn Road in Lake County.  There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 4.

Request for approval of Resolution No. 2017-95 providing for certification of the assessment roll for a Special Assessment for the paving, grading, curbing, and drainage of Colley Drive in Lake County.  There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 3.

Request for approval to accept a cash surety for $52,016.90 associated with Commercial/Subdivision Driveway Connection Permit #53141 issued to Pinecrest Lakes Academy, located on North Hancock Road near the intersection of County Road 50 in the City of Clermont.  There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 2.

Request for approval for re-assignment of vendor responsibilities from CF Landscaping (Ocala, FL) to Groundtek of Central Florida (Ocoee, FL) under contract number 17-0423 for Roadside Mowing and Litter Removal, termination of the agreement with CF Landscaping, and authorization for Procurement Services to execute all implementing documentation.  The fiscal impact is estimated at $27,000.90 annually which reflects the difference in price between the now recommended vendor and the vendor being replaced.

Request for approval of a Partial Release of Easement with VK Avalon Groves LLC, in exchange for a revised joint pond drainage easement, in order to re-configure water retention Pond 6 to accommodate the property owner’s development plan. The fiscal impact is $122.00 for recording fees. Commission District 1.

Request for approval to accept the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Small Quantity Generator (SQG) Program Grant for state FY 2018; approval of the Unanticipated Revenue Resolution No. 2017-96, and authorize the County Manager to sign all grant documents. The fiscal impact is $10,891.24 (Revenue/Expenditure - 100% Grant Funded).

Request for approval of an agreement with Lennar Homes, LLC providing for Transportation Impact Fee Credits for right of way dedication on the Hartle Rd/CR 455 Extension Project. The fiscal impact is $192,875.00 (Transportation Impact Fee Credits-South District - Revenue). Commission District 2.

presentation –lake tech center for advanced manufacturing

Mr. Robert Chandler, Economic Growth Director, commented that workforce was one of the largest challenges in Lake County but also one of the largest opportunities, and the partnership and coordination they had with Lake Technical College (Lake Tech), Lake Sumter State College, and all of their workforce partners were better than it has ever been.  He attributed all of that and the Center for Advanced Manufacturing to Dr. Diane Culpepper, President of Lake Tech, and opined that Lake County was very fortunate to have her.  He concluded that Dr. Culpepper’s efforts had helped both Lake County’s workforce and economy and related that she would give the Board an update on Lake Tech’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM).

Dr. Culpepper recapped that she had gotten feedback in the past from local companies indicating that skilled machinists were needed, and she announced that the CAM building should be completed by the end of September due to the constant and continued support from the Economic Development team, as well as local manufacturers and legislators.  She showed some pictures of the artist’s rendering of the building as well as some photographs that she had taken of the ongoing construction.  She reported that Evergreen Construction was selected as the contractor for construction of the 24,000 square foot building which was located on their main campus in Eustis, which had started in January and was on schedule for completion by September 25, Lake Tech’s 50th anniversary date.  She commented that the space would allow Lake Tech to offer high-quality career training in the areas of welding and fabrication.  She specified that the floors would be sealed concrete in the welding shop, commercial epoxy finish in the machining area, and polished concrete everywhere else; also, the ventilation system, the piping, and some of the electrical conduit was all exposed in the ceiling, since it was designed as a very industrial look.  She explained that the welding side of the CAM will have 40 student stations with a state-of-the-art ventilation system, a grinding room with three downdraft grinders, and space to fabricate both large and small projects.  She noted that they planned to enroll 40 students during the day and 20 during the evening, so that they could have space for the customized training for the current welding workforce on some advanced skills.  She reported that the classes starting October 1 were already full, and currently they could only have 18 students enrolled during the day and 18 in the evening with no space for customized training, so this was a large expansion.  She related that she planned to have a showroom inside the front door, which would be a space where she envisioned would fully embrace their business and industry community and to possibly display the products manufactured in Lake County, as well as house equipment from vendors who want to show their products to clients rather than driving to Tampa or Orlando to display them.  She added that the room was large enough to have a conference table and meeting space where the Economic Development staff could meet companies that are considering relocating to Lake County and see the students as they were working.  She explained that a large computer lab with 24 computer stations would be behind the showroom as well as work space to offer some short courses in whatever industry the partners demanded.

Dr. Culpepper related that the project was value engineered and will cost under $4.3 million, and they secured $4.2 million from the Florida Legislature for this project, which included equipment.  However, unfortunately, they had to cut out some of the more costly building features, since the building costs skyrocketed after their initial estimates, and they were currently seeking funding to purchase the rest of the equipment that they needed.  She pointed out that their welding instructors and students have already built all of the welding booths, saving them thousands of dollars; Lincoln Electric donated the three grinding machines that were in the welding room; and they received a small grant from the Department of Economic Opportunity to purchase all of the welders that were needed.  However, they still did not have some of the more expensive equipment such as the iron worker and the robotic welders’ plasma table.  She stated that they used some of the money from the grant to purchase a virtual simulation software package that would allow them to prepare students for the computer programming.  She related that they were not able to purchase additional machines, trainers, a 3D printer, a band saw, or jet milling machines yet.  She added that they needed about $1.3 million to fully equip the facility, and they have submitted an application for the Governor’s job growth grant for this funding, although there is expected to be a lot of competition for that funding.  She mentioned that they had begun studying the possibility of offering an industrial machinery maintenance technician program inside the CAM, since there was a big demand for those kinds of technicians who fix all of the equipment in manufacturing facilities.  She thanked the Board for making this one of the County’s legislative priorities during this year’s session and for their continued support, and she asked that the Commissioners put the September 25 event on their calendars.

Commr. Sullivan related that he recently spent three days discussing Lake County issues in Washington D.C., where there was a division that worked on small grants like that, and he has secured a point of contact for the regional director of that division in Florida.  He opined that workforce and public-private partnerships are key to bringing in federal dollars, and he noted that Lake County had the highest percentage of manufacturing employment than any county in the Central Florida region.  He elaborated that the employers have indicated that they needed quality trained people to fill those positions.  He concluded that the CAM was the number one legislative priority and will continue to be as they try to grow their economy in Lake County.

Dr. Culpepper commented that this project has been a group effort of public-private partnerships, and they have done something spectacular that they could not have done individually.

presentation by florida turnpike enterprise

widening project for minneola interchange south to sr 50

Mr. Fred Schneider, County Engineer, Public Works Department, related that this presentation by the Florida Turnpike Enterprise was in regard to the mainline widening project for the eight-lane section of the Turnpike from SR 50 to the new Minneola Turnpike interchange and would also include options for bridge improvements on County roads for Board approval.

Ms. Jennifer Stults, Intermodal Systems Development Administrator for the Florida Turnpike, noted that they were doubling the lane capacity in that area from four to eight lanes, since it was a fast-growing region, and the focus of the presentation would be Phase I, which was a six-mile, $155 million project out of a total of about $650 million for all four phases.  She elaborated that Phase I is currently in the early stages of design and would ultimately entail purchasing right of way from private owners to accommodate the stormwater needs, which was anticipated to begin in 2018, with construction expected to begin in 2020.

Mr. Anil Sharma, Project Manager for the Florida Turnpike, stated that they would be adding four lanes in this six-mile segment stretching from SR 50 to the Minneola interchange.  He noted that there were three existing and one proposed Lake County road crossings within this segment, and he showed those on the overhead map.  The first crossing he discussed was the SR 91 bridge over Old Highway 50, noting that the Turnpike would replace the bridge with a longer clearspan of 78 feet, which would be twice as long as the existing bridge, allow the County to add additional lanes in the future, and be maintained by the Turnpike Authority.  He then presented the next bridge that would be replaced by the Turnpike, which would be over Blackstill Lake Road, and he mentioned that the Turnpike has coordinated with Lake County’s Public Works staff on a typical section that had a longer span and would allow the County to accommodate a future trail.  He stated that the Turnpike has agreed to include a proposed bridge at Fosgate Road over SR 91 and to fund the $3 million for design and construction of this bridge if the County would agree to take over ownership and maintenance of the bridge.

Mr. Schneider added that they have been working on public-private partnerships over the last two or three months with the Turnpike, the cities, and the surrounding property owners to build a connecting road that would extend Fosgate Road to the bridge and continue it over to the Citrus Grove Road-North Hancock Road intersection.  He mentioned that the property owners who owned property that was needed for right of way were all supportive of that effort, but they were still in the process of working out the details.

Mr. Sharma added that the Fosgate Road Bridge was the widest County road bridge within this project, and the Turnpike has partnered with Lake County staff on that venture, was aware of the future development of single-family homes, and has provided a five-foot sidewalk on one side of the bridge and 12-foot trail on the other side.

Mr. Schneider clarified that this trail would connect from Montverde to the existing North Hancock Trail in Minneola as well as to a trail on the west side of Bella Collina.  He mentioned that these trail alignments were all being coordinated with the Parks & Trails Division.

  Mr. Sharma pointed out that the bridge had no direct ramps to the Turnpike and no impact to the Turnpike’s revenue.  He stated that Montverde, Clermont, and Minneola have all shown support for this new bridge.  He then showed a photograph of the existing four-lane CR 455 bridge over the Turnpike that had no pedestrian or sidewalk features and a slide of the proposed bridge as part of the project, noting that it would be twice as wide as the existing bridge, which would accommodate a multi-use trail and shoulders.  He reported that the Turnpike had been working with County staff and expected that the County would maintain the bridge.

Mr. Schneider elaborated that the master plan for this area included a trail that would cross CR 455, and this proposed bridge would include an option for a future trail, as well as roundabouts and a welcome sign on the bridge itself.

Mr. Sharma commented that the Turnpike would minimize the construction cost if it was also required to maintain the bridge and would provide an alternative option.  He related that the average routine maintenance cost of the bridge was about 14 cents per square foot or $2,500 per year based on the average life of 35 years for those types of bridges; however, he opined that the first 20 years of maintenance would be minimal.  He mentioned that the existing bridge would be used during construction, and he presented the possible alternative detour options during that time and the positive and negative aspects of each one.

Mr. Schneider interjected that Public Safety staff believed that the three to four years of time before the proposed construction of the bridge would be enough time to work through any issues due to the detours during that time.

Mr. Sharma stated that the Turnpike had been meeting with the public on this project, including a public hearing held at Minneola City Hall in June of 2016, and they had received support of the bridge closure from the Town of Montverde and Montverde Academy in July of 2017.  He reported that there was to be a public meeting held in the spring of 2018 for the presentation of the final option selected by the Board.  He assured the Board that the Turnpike would continue this coordination and communication in the community with advanced signage, media advisories, newsletters, and continued communication with the County, cities, homeowners’ associations, and stakeholders.  He relayed requests from the Turnpike to the Board for support for the CR 455 bridge closure for 12 months with Alternative 2 and that Lake County take ownership and maintenance of the CR 455 bridge as well as the proposed Fosgate Road bridge if the Turnpike constructed the upgraded typical sections for those bridges.

Mr. Schneider went over a staff analysis of those requests which gave the positive and negative aspects of the options that were presented.  He related that the positive factors of the detour option for construction of the CR 455 bridge were a construction duration of 12 rather than 24 months, reduced construction and right of way costs, and support from the Town of Montverde and Montverde Academy; however, the negative factors for that option would be an increased emergency response time of three minutes during the detour and a delay to the public during the entire 12-month construction period.  He recapped that the County maintenance option required the County to be responsible for the future maintenance cost of the new bridge; however, the Turnpike would build and pay for the bridge as well as the multi-use trail, roundabouts, and a welcome sign.  He related that the Turnpike will also build and pay for a new two-lane bridge on Fosgate Road, which would include a multi-use path and sidewalk crossing, and Montverde, Minneola, and Clermont have all expressed support for the new bridge; however, the negatives to that option would be that Lake County would be responsible for the future maintenance cost of the bridge as well as for providing the road improvements and road connections to access the bridge.  He requested approval of  the CR 455 option 2B detour plan with the Turnpike constructing and Lake County maintaining the bridge.

Commr. Parks clarified that flexibility would be built into an agreement regarding the gateway signage, and he asked whether the County would be responsible for damage to the bridge as a result of an accident or explosion.

Mr. Schneider responded that the agreement between the Turnpike and the Board would designate that the County would be responsible for the ownership and maintenance, but they would look to the insurance company of the vehicle which caused the damages to the bridge to pay for that.  He commented, however, that the likelihood of that was very low.  He added that the County would still need to build a bridge over the Turnpike in the future for a trail if they decided on the basic bridge option.

Commr. Parks stated that they needed to make sure that there was no reduction in emergency response time and expressed concern that even three minutes would be an issue in an emergency, although he realized that was a challenge they needed to be aware of as they moved forward.  He expressed sincere gratitude to Mr. Sharma and Ms. Stults for their coordination in the community as well as to FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) and the Turnpike Enterprise for greatly assisting the County with those infrastructure projects.  He thanked Mr. Schneider for being proactive in getting the right of way worked out beforehand.

Mr. Sharma pointed out that all of the bridges would have a minimum 16.5 foot clearance, which would lessen any chance of truck damage.

Commr. Breeden clarified that the motion would include the length of time for the road closure of 12 months versus 24 months as part of option 2B.

Mr. Cole thanked Mr. Schneider for the considerable amount of time he spent working with the state entities and stakeholders to ensure that the County’s interests were well represented regarding the design.

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the requested action of Option 2B for the CR 455 detour plan with the Turnpike constructing and Lake County maintaining the bridge as well as approval of the proposed Fosgate Road Bridge with the Turnpike constructing and Lake County maintaining the bridge.

address by congressman dan webster

Congressman Dan Webster addressed the Board and commented that it was great to see what the Board has accomplished in a short amount of time regarding the Turnpike project that had just been discussed.  He pointed out that the legislature has been flexible regarding transportation projects, more so than other issues such as education and health. He opined that infrastructure was very important and related that the President and Congress were committed to roads, bridges, and fixing their infrastructure through the efforts of the states and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) through grants and other programs, which he noted was better than the federal government deciding on those projects.  He stated that he would do everything he could to make sure that Lake County got its fair share of the transportation funding, since it was greatly needed.  He also pointed out that the results of those types of projects could be plainly seen, unlike some other types of spending, and he emphasized that he was a large proponent of infrastructure.  He thanked the Board for what they were doing in the community and for letting him speak that day.

Commr. Sullivan thanked Congressman Webster for his speaking to them that day and commented that they appreciated the fact that he has stayed in touch with the community, has helped them work through issues at every level, and has been a proponent for Lake County in Washington D.C.

Commr. Breeden commented that they appreciated his assistance and visibility, and she mentioned that his next stop would be a Teacher Appreciation luncheon.

Commr. Parks opined that no Congressman was more accessible than Congressman Webster, and he thanked him for his service.

recess and reassembly

The Chairman announced at 10:40 a.m. that there would be a 15-minute recess.

public hearings

villages center community development district copcn

The Chairman opened the public hearing regarding the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN) to the Villages Center Community Development District (CDD).

There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this issue, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved to issue the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN) to The Villages Center Community Development District (VCCDD) for The Villages Public Safety through September 20, 2019. There is no fiscal impact.

lake emergency medical service copcn

The Chairman opened the public hearing regarding the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN) to Lake Emergency Medical Service through September 20, 2019.

There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this issue, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved to issue Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN) to Lake Emergency Medical Service (LEMS) through September 20, 2019. There is no fiscal impact.

sylvan shores street lighting assessment msbu

Ms. Jennifer Barker, Budget Manager, gave a presentation of the non-ad valorem rate schedule and the assessment rolls for the Sylvan Shores Municipal Service Benefit Unit (MSBU).  She recapped that after the City of Mount Dora notified the unincorporated Sylvan Shores community that it would no longer provide street lighting service, more than 55 percent of the 402 homeowners in the community requested that the County establish an MSBU to fund the costs of street lighting, and the City of Mount Dora and the County entered into an interlocal agreement concerning the billing process and maintenance of the infrastructure.  She reviewed the MSBU process, noting that there were six existing MSBUs in Lake County.  She explained that a public hearing was required to adopt the rates and was held every five years, with the next public hearing date for the six existing MSBUs scheduled for August 2019, and resolutions are approved every year to certify the assessment rolls.  She mentioned that the Sylvan Shores MSBU rates were being proposed for two years to bring it into the same approval cycle as the other MSBUs.  She reported that the proposed annual per parcel non-ad valorem assessment to be included on a Sylvan Shores homeowner’s tax bill within the benefit area of the MSBU would be $47.83 in FY 2018 and $50.23 in FY 2019.

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. Campione commented that County staff worked hard on notification and holding meetings for the community, and several people in the community were instrumental in going door to door to get the petitions signed.  She opined that those lights are extremely important for safety purposes in that area, which was why there was the support in the community to do this in order to keep the lights on in Sylvan Shores.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution No. 2017-97 which initiates the process of establishing an MSBU and directs the imposition of the Sylvan Shores Street Lighting Assessment fees for the Fiscal Year beginning October 1, 2017.  The fiscal impact is $19,228.00 (Revenue).  The proposed rate schedule would include fees of $47.83 in FY 2018 and $50.23 in FY 2019.

extension of moratorium on medical cannabis activities

Ms. Melanie Marsh, County Attorney, placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for its first reading by title only as follows:


Ms. Marsh related that if the Board approved it, this ordinance would come back before the Board for a second and final reading on August 22.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

Mr. Vance Jochim, a writer of a blog about governmental and fiscal issues, expressed concern that the legalization of medical marijuana would be the first step to making marijuana a legal and legitimate substance and expansion of the law that already exists in Florida, since he believed that was what happened in Colorado.  He requested that the Board keep extending this moratorium and look into what was happening in other cities and counties before they consider allowing those facilities in this county.  He stated that he had personally seen a lot of damage caused by people that were using marijuana.

There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this issue, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

Commr. Parks explained that this moratorium would be for another three months, and he believed they should enact a ban after the moratorium ended.  He clarified that this moratorium was not about accessibility, since any person who has been prescribed medical cannabis could currently receive it by delivery from somewhere else, and this action would not prohibit that.  He opined that the state legislature has left the Board in a bad position by only giving them two options to either ban the dispensaries altogether or to allow them everywhere that a pharmacy would be permitted, which would be 1,000 potential sites throughout the county.  He mentioned that since other counties were banning dispensaries as well, many of them would proliferate in Lake County if it was the only place in Central Florida where it was allowed.  He concluded that they needed to be very cautious regarding this issue.

Commr. Breeden commented that although she did not want a lot of dispensaries in Lake County and agreed that the state has put the County in a bind, she was concerned that the state would preempt the counties’ regulations regarding location if they were banned everywhere.  She recommended that they work diligently with the legislature to have some reasonable controls.  She opined that there would not be an immediate influx of dispensaries and noted that they could impose a ban if too many were coming in to stop any further ones.  She also pointed out that the dispensaries were very highly regulated, and she commented that she was more concerned about the proliferation of the medical clinics similar to pain clinics than she was about the dispensaries.  She concluded that she would probably vote against the moratorium for those reasons.

Commr. Parks commented that he would limit the number of dispensaries to 7 to 10 in the county if they were allowed to do so, since he believed there was a benefit to it medically, and the state should give the counties more control over this issue.

Commr. Campione pointed out that cities also have the right to make the decision regarding the ban of dispensaries.

Ms. Marsh clarified that this ordinance would only affect the unincorporated areas, since each city had the ability to make that decision for themselves.  She stated that she hoped to have some information regarding what the cities were doing that she could bring back by the next BCC meeting if this first reading passes that day.  She also explained that the Board could only extend the moratorium for a limited amount of time without being challenged, and she believed they were close to that time limit and needed to make a decision to either ban it or allow it while regulating it like a pharmacy by September or October.

Commr. Campione expressed doubt that medical cannabis would be banned throughout the state or that the state would force them to allow it.  She commented that the fact that it could be delivered to someone’s home made sense and afforded true accessibility for medical purposes.  She concluded that she was in favor of moving forward with drafting their ban ordinance as soon as they could and in the meantime vote to extend the moratorium while they get that ordinance in place.

Commr. Breeden emphasized that she wanted to make it clear that she was not in support of recreational marijuana, even though she was voting against the ordinance.

Commr. Blake indicated that he would vote in favor of extending the moratorium in order to give them more time to decide what to do regarding this issue, and he noted that the delivery option would give individuals who needed the medical cannabis access to it.

Commr. Sullivan commented that he was in favor of extending the moratorium but believed that they needed to look further into this issue and have staff come back to the Board with some options by September or October after knowing more of the facts.  He mentioned that the dispensaries he had visited were all professional, and allowing them where only pharmacies were allowed would keep them out of the wrong neighborhoods.

Commr. Parks related that he had gotten words of caution during discussions with Commissioners from Colorado, Oregon, and California about the medical marijuana industry, especially since it was not federally legal and was entirely a cash industry.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

There being no one who wished to speak regarding this issue, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved the first public hearing of an ordinance amending Lake County Code, Chapter 3, Article IX, entitled Medical Cannabis Activities, to extend the temporary moratorium on the retail sale of medical cannabis in unincorporated Lake County until November 30, 2017, with the option of banning it entirely at that time.  There is no fiscal impact.

Commr. Breeden voted “no.”

departmental business

economic growth

mt. plymouth-sorrento cra commercial design standards

Mr. Tim McClendon, Planning and Zoning Manager, Economic Growth Department, gave a presentation regarding advertisement of an ordinance amending the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) commercial design standards.  He explained that the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento CRA Advisory Committee consisted of seven members that were appointed by the BCC and included the District Commissioner and property and/or business owners inside and within three miles of the CRA boundary.  He elaborated that the CRA Advisory Committee approached staff and requested enhancements to the existing commercial design standards for the CRA area, which were minimal in nature, as a result of anticipated growth in the area due to the Wekiva Parkway.  He added that the designs would provide for a more walkable community by requiring classic “main street” development criteria that would encourage pedestrian foot traffic, multi-modal corridors, and community gathering spots rather than vehicle traffic.  He presented a map illustrating the location of the CRA area, noting that it was along SR 46 with CR 437 splitting the area in the middle.  He related that the ordinance will create commercial design standards that will apply only to properties within the CRA and increase application requirements to include elevations and color samples of proposed development and redevelopment to make sure they were consistent with the code.

Mr. McClendon elaborated that the standards included a minimum of one offset per façade, window requirements for facades, and requirements for entryways, as well as standards for building orientation, exterior colors and materials, roof design and materials, parking, and fence and wall design.  He added that additional requirements included screening of mechanical equipment such as air conditioning units from the roads, more natural rather than geometrically-shaped types of stormwater pond designs, and concrete block dumpster enclosures.  He noted that the proposed standards were developed and written by an LDR re-write consultant, LPG Urban and Regional Planners, and were consistent and compatible with the Comprehensive Plan.  He pointed out that the proposed ordinance has greater or higher standards than that of the existing commercial design standards, and County staff was able to evaluate and approve the elevations in-house that would be required, so no extra staff would be required.  He added that the LDRs allowed applicants who were unable to meet the design criteria to apply for a variance which would include a public hearing if there was substantial hardship.  He reported that the Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved the ordinance that would create these standards on May 31, 2017.  He requested that the Board approve to advertise the ordinance amending Chapter IX, Lake County Code, creating Section 9.10.03, entitled “Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Area Commercial Design Standards as well as authorize approval to conduct the second public hearing of the proposed ordinance at 9:00 a.m. rather than at 5:05 p.m. as required by Section 125.66(4), Florida Statutes.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

There being no one who wished to speak regarding this issue, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

Commr. Blake commented that he would be voting “no” because of a philosophical objection to mandating design standards.

Commr. Campione emphasized that these standards were self-imposed as opposed to government-driven, with a lot of input from businesses and individuals in that community, and that the results would be redevelopment of the area in an aesthetically pleasing way.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved to advertise an ordinance amending Chapter IX, Lake County Code, creating Section 9.10.03, entitled "Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Area Commercial Design Standards" and authorization to conduct the second Public Hearing of the proposed Ordinance at 9:00 a.m., rather than at 5:05 p.m. as required by Section 125.66(4), Florida Statutes. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 4.

Commr. Blake voted “no.”

public works

approval to advertise special assessments ordinance

Ms. Lori Koontz, Road Operations Division Manager, Public Works, stated that she would present a proposal to replace the existing, outdated road policy with an ordinance that included the Special Assessment procedure for non-County maintained roads and provided a Municipal Service Benefit Unit (MSBU) as an additional assessment option.  She gave an overview of the over 1,900 non-County maintained roads, which provided access to private properties and were not accepted by the BCC for maintenance.  She added that the responsibility for maintenance of those roads lies with the adjacent property owners who utilize the road, which were not typically paved or well stabilized, and weather conditions could make them even more difficult to travel on. She elaborated that a significant portion of those roads did not meet minimum County maintenance standards, and roads that were deemed impassable for emergency vehicles were made passable by the Public Works Department, provided there was sufficient right of way for access by equipment.  She showed photographs of some non-County maintained roads.  She related that the special assessment program was adopted by Resolution No. 1982-43 which passed on July 20, 1982 with some special road policies and was coordinated by Public Works with interested property owners taking the lead within the community.  She noted that a connection to a paved County-maintained road and a 50-foot minimum public right of way to provide adequate storage for drainage were required to be considered for this program.  She explained that assessments were calculated based on the front footage of the abutting property, with corner lots and cul-de-sac lots calculated differently according to the side being improved.  She stated that the estimated cost estimates and the petitions were prepared by staff once the property owners contacted the County, and once they received petitions from property owners who owned 55 percent of the front footage, they bring that project to the Board to authorize that project, advertise for bids, and identify a funding source.  She specified that 33 percent of the cost was paid by the County for paved roads not meeting County standards, and the County paid 50 percent of the cost of unpaved collector roads and 33 percent for unpaved local roads.  She elaborated that the property owners had 30 days after the road is built to pay the full assessment with no interest, and any unpaid balances were placed on the tax bill as a non-ad valorem assessment payable in annual installments for a period of ten years with interest at prime rate plus 2 percent.  The road was then accepted by the Board and brought into the County road maintenance system with a resolution.

Ms. Koontz reported that the Board may establish per F.S. 125.01 (q) an MSBU to provide funding for improvements such as curbside collection, fire protection, road paving, and street lighting; and the property owners benefitting from the improvement shared equitably in the project cost.  She explained that it would follow a similar process to the Special Assessment Program and required petitions in support of the MSBU assessment from 55 percent of the property owners.  She noted that existing MSBU’s were established for street lighting, and the process was coordinated by the County, although there was no designated County funding.  She added that the allocation of cost may be per lot, home site, front foot, acre, or other equitable measure, with the construction project assessment financing varying from one to ten years, and the MSBU program could be used for road construction to complement the special assessment program.  She reported that Chapter 18, Article III of the current code authorizes the Board to approve special assessments for paving, grading, curbing, draining, or improving streets and highways as well as installing utilities.  She related that the proposed ordinance before the Board that day would codify the special assessment procedure process; include the MSBU as an option to improve non-County maintained roads, which would follow the Special Assessment Program Process, requirements, and funding participation; and repeal the 1982 road policies as the Code establishes relevant regulations now.  She requested approval to advertise an ordinance amending Chapter 18, Article III, currently titled “Special Assessments,” to be renamed as “Assessment and Improvement Procedures.”

Ms. Anne Keller, a resident of Sunset Groves in Tavares, specified that she lived off of Shirley Shores Road and mentioned that she was also speaking on behalf of other landowners in that community who were in favor of approval of the ordinance.  She recapped that efforts were made about 20 years ago to try to fix the two main roads that run off of Shirley Shores Road without success, and residents have frequently graded the roads during that time in an attempt to make them passable for the residents who used them by paying for and using over 50 truckloads of dirt to no effect.  She elaborated that there was currently aggressive growth and construction in that area, resulting in almost 200 families affected by the condition of the roads.  She related that after she contacted the County to ask what could be done about them, she then went to every frontage landowner for signature on a petition she had gotten from the Public Works Department and was able to get over 55 percent of the frontage landowners to sign it.  She pointed out that seven of those landowners donated land in order to meet the 50-foot width requirement for special assessments, and County staff had designed the road.  She noted that she had to use the road for ingress and egress although she was not a frontage owner, and she gained approval of over 55 percent of the residents that lived in the “inter” areas that were not on the frontage.  She recapped that this had gone before the Board and was approved a year ago; however, the special assessment program was not funded at that time, and she asked the Board to approve the special assessment ordinance so that they can get their roads improved after working on doing so for years.  She commented that the roads will get impassable and flooded to the point of water getting into vehicles that travel on it when the road is not maintained.

Mr. Robert Pentsy, a Tavares resident who lives on Challenger Road, 700 feet from Shirley Shores Road, related that his son has gotten stuck on that road twice with his small vehicle.  He invited the Commissioners to drive up the road a day after it has rained and warned them to have their cell phones with them in case they got stuck.

Ms. Natalie Davidson, also a resident of that community, handed out photographs of the roads that had been discussed and stated that the sides of the road are two to three feet higher than the road, so the water has no way to drain out.  She related that currently all of the sand from their road was built up on the side of the road, which floods the main road, and she commented that it was impossible to drive down that road with a small vehicle.

Mr. Kenneth Davidson, a resident of that community, pointed out that the road is in bad condition during dry as well as wet conditions.  He commented that he worked very hard to keep the road passable and desperately needed help from the County.

Commr. Sullivan opined that the program contained in the ordinance was a good program that allowed residents like those who spoke who were interested in making improvements a way to do so.  He emphasized that the County had 1,900 non-maintained roads and noted that there were many other roads similar to the ones described within the Green Swamp area in his district.

Commr. Breeden asked whether funding was available that could be used for these special assessments if the Board approved this ordinance.

Ms. Koontz responded that a funding source has not yet been identified, and they have determined that the cost to pave Challenger and Lenze Roads would be a little under $1 million, with the property owners’ portion half of that.

Mr. Cole added that he would be coming before the Board in September to present the road program, and that would be an opportunity to evaluate whether any priority changes needed to be made.

Ms. Koontz elaborated that new petitions would need to be created laying out the options and costs for the residents if the MSBU mechanism was put in place so that they would have an opportunity to help make those decisions, and she would bring a separate presentation to the Board after 55% of the property owners have signed those petitions.

Commr. Campione asked whether they already have the petitions needed for the special assessment.

Ms. Koontz answered that the petitions were altered and were based on the front footage.

Commr. Campione explained that they may have to get signatures again using the wording that would comply with Florida Statute as well as their own ordinances, and she commented that she wanted to make this as easy as possible and facilitate this as quickly as they could.  She noted that it takes an entire cycle to put a special assessment or MSBU on the tax bill, and she asked whether they would be able to get this in place for the next cycle.

Ms. Marsh responded that the action today would be approving to advertise changing their ordinance to allow for that and would be brought back for adoption at a later date, and once it was in the code, their deadline for notifying the Property Appraiser and Tax Collector would be January 1, unless they allowed the County to extend that until March 1.  She clarified that the assessments could go on the tax bill the following year if completed by that date.

Commr. Campione expressed an intention to try to find a way to move ahead with part of that.

Ms. Marsh noted that the County could do the construction if it programmed the money and had the petitions with the approval of 55 percent of the residents but could not start recouping any of the money until the following year’s tax bill, which was spread over a ten-year period.

Commr. Breeden asked whether it would be better to use the special assessment or the MSBU and how that decision would be made.

Ms. Marsh answered that the special assessment was based on the property owners who front the road that was to be improved, but the MSBU would be based on a benefit area, with the cost for the road improvement spread out among the 200 people who have to access the road.

Commr. Campione clarified that it would require drawing the boundaries of what would be considered the benefit area and getting the signatures using the wording that the County required while the County advertised and went through the process of getting ready to fund and construct the road so that it could be done by the beginning of January.

Mr. Lewis McLaughlin, a long-time resident of Sunset Groves, wanted to ensure that the MSBU was worded so that everyone in that community rather than just the frontage people would pay the assessment.  He asked that the Board work with them and assured the Board that they would get the signatures needed in the community.

Ms. Keller explained that the reason the documents were altered was so that the frontage road owners were not solely responsible for paying for the road work; however, she believed that the frontage owners would still pay about 10 percent more than the other residents under the MSBU assessment.  She clarified that they would have until January to get 55 percent of the signatures again.

Commr. Sullivan commented that they still needed to figure out where the revenue would come from during the budget process.

Mr. Cole indicated that they would identify what funding was available for a project like this during their road program presentation, and the Board could direct them about what to do at that time.

Ms. Marsh offered to put a timeline together for the residents of what had to be done, since they needed the petitions as early as possible so that they could have the necessary hearings before January.

Ms. Davidson asked whether the County could add more dirt on their road in order to make it passable until the road was repaired, noting that elderly residents are not able to drive on it.

Mr. Cole stated that the Public Works staff would go out and look to see whether it met the criteria for the County to make it passable for emergency vehicles and whether anything could be done.

On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved to advertise an Ordinance to amend Chapter 18, Article III, entitled “Special Assessments” to codify the process by which property owners can improve a private road through the special assessment program and to provide a Municipal Service Benefit Unit (MSBU) program as an alternative assessment option.  There is no fiscal impact.

second renewal of infrastructure sales tax

Ms. Barker presented the proposed five-year funding plan for the Infrastructure Sales Tax to the Board.  She recapped that the extension of the Infrastructure Sales Tax was approved by the voters on November 13, 2015, and the term of the levy was from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2032, a 15-year period.  She explained that the taxes collected would be evenly distributed among the County, the School Board, and all of the municipalities, with each receiving one-third of the revenue; and the current sales tax authorization stipulated that 50 percent of the proceeds must be used for transportation purposes and 50 percent for other purposes that were in compliance with state statutes.  She noted that the authorization beginning on January 1 did not have the designated funding allocations that the current authorization had but did have allowable project categories.  She elaborated that the categories identified in the referendum included public safety such as law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, and public safety equipment; quality of life projects including parks, trails, recreation, and libraries; public works projects such as road resurfacing, sidewalks, and other transportation projects; water quality, utilities, and drainage improvements; and other public infrastructure.

Ms. Marsh discussed the legislative changes relating to the infrastructure sales tax, noting that Section 212.055(2), Florida Statutes, was amended to define the term “public facilities” to include transportation, drainage, parks and recreation, health systems, sanitary sewer, potable water, solid waste, educational facilities, and water management control facilities; and she explained that prior to that there was no definition other than how the local entities chose to define it.  She added that notably absent from the new definition were the traditional types of vertical construction that governments needed to provide services, such as libraries, fire stations, general governmental office spaces, and animal shelters.  She commented that the 2016 legislative changes have created uncertainty in the use of these funds, and she listed four options that the County could use to resolve this issue, which were to seek a change to the statute in the next legislative session, although any changes approved would likely not be effective until July 2018; file a validation proceeding with the Circuit Court, which could possibly be completed by January 1, 2018 before the new authorization came into effect; request an Attorney General’s opinion, although it would not be binding; or seek a Declaratory Judgment from the Circuit Court, although it was not an expedited proceeding.  She elaborated that validation proceedings were authorized by Chapter 75, Florida Statutes, whereby the Board would approve a master resolution listing all of the projects, and the Circuit Court then would make a determination about the use of the funds.  She added that the final judgment was conclusive if not appealed, and this option would provide the Board with some assurances that a later challenge would not be brought.  She stated that to initiate a validation proceeding, the Board must adopt the authorizing resolution and authorize the County Attorney to retain outside counsel to proceed with that filing, and that expedited process would take about three to four months.   She pointed out that the options she presented were just additional options and tools for the Board to consider for the future, and the County Code required the Board to have a public hearing before approving any kind of financing.

Ms. Barker reported that the total revenue estimate for the first five years of the new authorization would be approximately $81.8 million, based on a conservative 3 percent expected increase starting in FY 2019, although in past years the infrastructure sales tax revenue actually came in at 4 to 5 percent.  She related that the first quarter of funding for FY 2018 from October to December 2017 was part of the current authorization and must be divided with 50 percent for transportation purposes and 50 percent for other purposes as allowed by Section 212.055(2), F.S., which was previously decided to be used for debt service for the outstanding Capital Improvements Bond Issue.  She added that the remaining funding for the five-year plan would fall under the new infrastructure sales tax authorization beginning in January 2018, and they have updated the original project list that was contemplated in 2015 with some additional projects included in the appropriate funding categories.  She displayed a chart showing the total estimated revenue for the first five years of the new authorization by category from FY 2018 to FY 2022.  She related that the proposed five-year plan provided a framework for the Board to determine projects and priorities, although the Board only approved the funding one year at a time, and the Ordinance for the new sales tax authorization provided for an annual public hearing in August in order to re-evaluate priorities and make any adjustments to the plan.  She specified that the five-year total for Public Safety is $22.2 million and presented a chart that broke that funding down by project and fiscal year.  She mentioned that vehicles for the Sheriff had been included at $1.2 million for FY 2018 and $1.5 million for the remainder of the five-year plan, and $500,000 per year has been included for the purchase of ambulances by Lake EMS for a total of $2.5 million; also, it included $2 million for fire station replacements, $4.63 million for fire apparatus and vehicle replacement, $570,000 for fire station renovations, $2 million for fire station expansions, and about $1.5 million for public safety radios, since the current radio hardware will reach their end of life in 2018.

Ms. Barker stated that the proposed quality of life projects, which totaled $21.5 million, included the completion and earthwork of Phase I at East Lake Community Park for $5 million, Phase I capital improvements at the South Lake Regional Park for $6.24 million, and several other park projects, as well as building renovations and replacements for County libraries for $2.55 million.  She added that three additional projects, the Woodlea Sports Complex, the Cannon Property, and the Fairgrounds and Event Center relocation, were not currently funded in the proposed five-year plan but had been included in the list for discussion purposes.  She reported that the majority of the sales tax funding for public works has been proposed for road resurfacing of 15 to 18 miles per year, intersection improvements, new construction, and ADA retrofits for sidewalks; and the road resurfacing and intersection improvements for FY 2018 in the amounts of $1.4 million and $800,000 respectively will be funded from the current sales tax authorization of $2.2 million.  She elaborated that the remaining projects for FY 2018 will be funded from the new authorization, and the five-year project totals included road resurfacing for $8.6 million, intersection improvements for $4 million, sidewalks for $3 million, Country Club Drive water quality improvements for $500,000, Max Hooks Road improvements and utilities for $700,000, the landfill closure of a six-acre cell required by the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) for $1.6 million, and solid waste capital equipment for $300,000.  She noted that the Wekiva Trail Development lease option to be able to use the CFX rail beds for trails had been included for discussion purposes but was not currently funded and needed a determination of whether the County could use sales tax funding for that.  She stated that funding for vehicle replacement for various departments had been included in the five-year plan for a total of $1.95 million to address the County’s aging fleet and would be based on the fleet maintenance replacement thresholds.  She elaborated that $760,000 has been included for IT improvements that included a phone system which was way past the end of life and to extend the existing fiber network in downtown Tavares to complete the loop for redundancy. She stated that other public infrastructure projects on the plan were a little more than $4 million for capital building renovations, a little more than $4 million for the animal shelter facility, $3.5 million for the purchase of the Tax Collector building in Clermont, and $2.8 million for completion of renovations to the old courthouse.  She reported that the public hearing for the infrastructure sales tax projects for the list of projects for FY 2018 would be on August 22, and the first and final budget public hearings would be on September 12 and 26 respectively.

Commr. Breeden commented that a great list of projects was presented and that there were a lot of needs, only some of which were met by this funding.  She expressed concern that they needed to be moving forward with the Wekiva Trail development with the railroad lease and that it was not funded.  She related that she had heard at the last Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) indicated that it would pay for the right of way under the railroad, and she believed that it might qualify as a project under the sales tax authorization if the buyout of the lease option was put together with the purchase of the right of way at the same time.  She related that $2 million had been recommended to be set aside for FY 2018 for the East Lake Community Park phase I completion and opined that the community really wanted that work done.  However, she mentioned that she discussed the ramifications of taking $1 million out from that project for the lease option as a placeholder with Mr. Bobby Bonilla, Parks and Recreation Manager, who told her that they would still be able to move forward with the lighting and putting some parking in place and that it would take most of the fiscal year to get the bid documents done for the sewer lines and some of the other things that were being done for that park.  She added that the City of Mount Dora had already identified a funding source for their portion of the funding for the railroad lease.

Commr. Campione pointed out that this was just the preliminary discussion and opined that they should get input from the residents involved with the East Lake Community Park on that idea regarding what would be displaced and the timing of getting other things done before committing to any action they have discussed, although she might be open to that idea, since this would give them a plan by using that as a placeholder so that they were prepared should they need to come up with the money for the railroad lease right away and FDOT was able to secure the underlying right of way in order to construct the trail.  She also commented that she believed that the County needed to find a way to get the animal shelter built in the next 12 months, since that was a dire situation and a reflection of Lake County as a community.  She related that she had been able to get support and funding from the Mount Dora Community Trust for moving ahead with the shelter, and she suggested to use that money in addition to money raised from other fundraising efforts for the design, including site and architectural plans, so that they would be able to get construction started by January 1.  She added that the Fair Board has talked about the possibility of moving to a more centralized location for some time and have put together a proposed site plan for property owned by the County that was located next to the landfill to show what they would propose to do with that property.  She suggested that they look at that as a joint location with shared infrastructure as well as a transition for a potential buyer for the fairgrounds that was structured to facilitate the needs of the Fair Board.  She requested that the Board authorize or put on the next agenda getting appraisals of the existing fairgrounds, including whether it would be better to sell or stage it in parts, and she pointed out that doing that would free up money to put in infrastructure improvements at the new site for the fairgrounds that could also be shared by an animal shelter by having those two uses together at one site.

Commr. Sullivan commented that they needed to make sure that the property is able to be developed and that buildings can be built on it, because there were monitoring wells from the landfill throughout that property.

Commr. Campione responded that they had an extensive evaluation and site plan work done at that location several years ago showing the setbacks that had to be maintained and where construction could occur on the site.  She commented that although she was not in favor of the County taking on debt, she believed they should look into a bank loan for the start of the construction of the shelter due to the dire situation and work towards paying it off as quickly as possible.

Commr. Parks stated that he supported Commr. Campione’s comments regarding the animal shelter and felt it had been an issue for a long time.  He commented that some of the County’s needs were very imminent, and construction would get more expensive the longer they waited.  He opined that it was time to do something about the shelter, and the possibilities of putting the fairgrounds facility to great use such as for meeting space would be a great opportunity to benefit the economic development of the county while tying it in to what needed to be done at the animal shelter before construction costs got too high.  He also expressed a belief that they needed to do some of the road projects and take care of the public safety needs that were on the list.

Commr. Blake commented that they have invested money to get the parks up and running in order to improve quality of life but have not completed some of those projects, which have become a long and drawn-out process, and he would rather get those projects done within a year rather than spreading them out over several years by focusing the County’s resources on completing them.  He mentioned that he liked the idea regarding the fairgrounds.

Commr. Breeden stated that they needed to do their due diligence with an appraisal at both the existing fairgrounds and the site of the landfill.

Commr. Campione clarified that there was construction going on across from the fairgrounds that was intended for RV (Recreational Vehicle) storage.  She suggested that the County reach out to the City of Eustis to ask whether there was any interest on their part and if the County should write up a possible right of refusal so that the City could meet any offer the County got for that property, since the fairgrounds was located there and in order to be good partners with Eustis.

Commr. Parks pointed out that it would have to happen quickly within the next two weeks.

Commr. Sullivan commented that he was in agreement with what had been discussed and believed that their ultimate goal was economic development and to change the tax base.  He added that moving the fairgrounds would make economic sense if it resulted in more tourism dollars coming into the county, and the parks were also an economic draw.  He noted that renovation and construction of fire stations were also a priority, and he indicated that he was comfortable with moving forward with what was recommended by staff and with the validation proceedings that were previously mentioned in the presentation.

Commr. Breeden asked whether the Board should prepare legislative priority requests in case they did not get approval to use the sales tax for things such as fire stations and libraries.

Mr. Cole responded that they could do both concurrently.  He clarified for the record that staff had consensus from the Board to move ahead with appraisals on the fairgrounds property, perform some related due diligence on the landfill property, reach out to the City of Eustis regarding their potential interest in the fairground property and how that might be structured, and discuss with the East Lake Community Park stakeholders the potential repurposing of $1 million for the Wekiva Trail development.

Commr. Sullivan asked Mr. Cole to add negotiations with the City of Groveland about their participation with the South Lake Community Park to that list.

Mr. Cole responded that there were a couple of unfinished business items relating to the South Lake Community Park, including an outstanding proposed drafted agreement with the developer to the south that had not been executed by him yet and a cost estimate that Public Works staff was working on for the utilities and roads.  He reported that they currently had $700,000 in FY 2018 under Public Works for those road improvements, which was only a portion of what would be needed.

Commr. Campione indicated that she agreed with Commr. Blake that it made a lot of sense to finish projects that were lingering and to group things like that together, which she opined added up to a finite amount that was not insurmountable.  She asked what would happen if the developer did not do what he indicated he would do regarding the road for the South Lake Park.

Mr. Cole answered that they would not have the rest of that funding available.

Commr. Breeden commented that although she did not normally want to do loans or bonding, she would consider a loan for the animal shelter only, and she has seen the step approach work for parks, although it was not ideal.

Commr. Parks stated that the South Lake Park was expected to take 15 years, and the cost could be higher to do that than to do some of it now based on rising prices.  He commented that the Commissioners were all of the same mindset regarding conservative views about debt, and any loan they would approve would be a short-term loan of no more than five years.  He suggested that they have an engineer look at interest versus the construction costs.

Commr. Breeden cautioned that the interest rates would take money away from other projects.

Commr. Sullivan reminded the Board that they would have to fund the public safety radios that have become obsolete, which was a large $15 million project, within the next two years, and he mentioned that he talked to their legislative delegation at the federal level about that.  He cautioned against borrowing any money before knowing all the expenditures, noting that any borrowing would have to be for a very short term.  He concluded, however, that they needed to move forward to have staff come back with those numbers and act on the requested action.

Commr. Campione reiterated that they should add to their list to have staff look into getting formal action from the City of Groveland about contributing to South Lake Park so that the Board would know whether they have a partner and to what extent, and they needed to give Groveland enough information for them to understand what the County specifically expected them to contribute and the time frame.  She commented that the City of Groveland was in a unique position to benefit greatly from the completion of this project.

Mr. Cole responded that staff might not have 100 percent of those answers right away for the Board because of the tight timeframe, and he pointed out that it would be hard to accommodate figuring out the short-term loan option, since the shorter the loan, the higher the payments.  He clarified that they could bring back 5, 10, and 15-year loan impacts, as well as scenarios that include just an animal shelter, an animal shelter in addition to quality of life projects, and high priorities such as road projects for the Board’s consideration.  He explained that any loan above $20 million would have to be done as a bond issue, and they needed to keep the loan amount more conservative if the Board wanted to use a bank loan.  He opined that the City of Groveland could not commit to anything before having a public discussion at a meeting, but staff could reach out to them.

Commr. Breeden asked if they could make adjustments at mid-year if they needed to do so.  She also mentioned that they might be able to use some tourism tax to build some of the ballfields.

Ms. Marsh answered that they adjusted the code when they did the referendum to require the Board to have a public hearing if they did make changes so that the public could comment on those changes.

Commr. Parks commented that the key to the short-term loan was the cost benefits of doing it immediately versus the construction costs, and he did not think they should take out the loan if the benefits did not outweigh the cost of doing so.

Ms. Marsh pointed out that the current option agreement that they have in place with the railroad will expire in November of 2017, and they have submitted a request for an extension and were waiting to hear back about whether they would agree to extend that option.

On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved to authorize the County Attorney to retain outside counsel for purposes of filing a validation proceeding under Chapter 75, Florida Statutes; authorize the filing of the validation proceeding in the Circuit Court of Lake County, Florida; and approve and authorize the Chairman to execute the master Resolution No. 2017-98 as a necessary component of the validation proceeding.  The estimated fiscal impact for the validation proceedings is $25,000.

appointments to 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 reappointment of the following individuals to the Public Safety Coordinating Council to serve four-year terms ending July 12, 2021:  Susan Cizmadia, Circuit Administrator, Florida Department of Corrections, as a State probation circuit administrator representative; Tony Deaton, Chief Probation Officer, Lake County Probation Services Division, as a Director of county probation or pretrial intervention program representative; and Karen Rogers, Substance Abuse Program Director, LifeStream Behavior Center, for Director of a local substance abuse treatment program representative; as well as appointment of Theresa Elliott, Leesburg Goodwill Job Connection Center, as a representative from a county or state jobs program or other community group who works with offenders and victims; and approval of waivers of ethical conflict for Jon Cherry, a previous appointment, and Karen Rogers.

reports – county attorney

eustis interlocal service boundary agreement issue

Ms. Melanie Marsh, County Attorney, reported that both Mount Dora and Eustis agreed to skip to the joint public meeting of the elected officials to resolve the issue regarding the Eustis ISBA (Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement).  She added that they could not meet the 50-day timeframe in the Statute, but Mount Dora, Eustis, and the Commissioners’ schedules would allow for a meeting either on September 20 or October 2.  She stated that they would put that on the Commissioners’ calendars.

reports- commissioner parks – district 2

comments about staff

Commr. Parks commented that he has received some nice compliments about the County staff and how they were making Lake County a great place to live.

wekiva Parkway opening

Commr. Parks thanked everyone for attending the Wekiva Parkway opening and noted that a lot of Lake County residents attended that event.

Commr. Campione commented that the opening of the SR 46 interchange would result in quite a change in that area and would have a huge effect on the traffic patterns out there.  She reported that they were starting to work on the PD&E (Project Development and Environment) study and were starting to get inquiries from property owners in that area.

historical museum

Commr. Parks related that he and Commr. Breeden had visited the historical museum on Saturday, August 5, and commented that he was impressed with the displays. He encouraged everyone to visit as well.

pd&e study for scofield road

Commr. Parks reported that the PD&E Study for the alignment of Scofield Road between Hwy 27 and 429 was approved by CFX, and there will be a request for the Board’s support of that project in the coming months.

presentation to mr. robert chandler

Commr. Parks made a presentation of a paddle to Mr. Robert Chandler, Economic Development Director, thanking him for all of the work his staff has done to make the 2017 Sprint National Canoe/Kayak Championships in Clermont a reality and working with the Central Florida Sports Commission and the City of Clermont to bring that event to Lake County.  He elaborated that the event attracted many people from other places to stay in Lake County for at least a week to participate in the national championship.

Mr. Chandler commented that it was the largest Spring National Championship in the history of the event with over 500 athletes attending.  He added that the feedback from the participants was very good, and the participants had commented almost unanimously that it was the best event they had ever been to at their banquet on the evening of August 5.  He thanked the Sports Commission and the City of Clermont for doing an amazing job.

Commr. Parks commented that although the County does not host or put on the event, they did a lot behind the scenes to support it, and this event supported the County’s branding of “Real Florida, Real Close.”

commissioner breeden – district 3

sheriff’s academy program

Commr. Breeden announced that she has signed up for the Sheriff’s Academy 12-week program, which was offered twice a year, and will begin the program next week.

texting while driving resolution

Commr. Breeden reported that staff was doing its due diligence in looking into a resolution supporting legislation that would ban texting while driving as a primary offense before bringing it before the Board, and she opined that they should also take it before the Public Safety Coordinating Council.  She mentioned that the Sheriff has indicated that he did not have any objections to it.

Commr. Blake commented that his objection to doing a resolution regarding this issue was that a lot of research he had previously done indicated that multiple studies have shown that that kind of legislation had resulted in an increase in texting-related accidents, since drivers were texting more surreptitiously and dangerously where those types of laws had been enacted.  He added that other things had been shown to be more dangerous and cause many more accidents, such as eating and driving and being distracted by children.

commissioner campione – district 4

opening of wekiva parkway interchange

Commr. Campione thanked everyone for coming to the opening of the Wekiva Parkway at Kelly Park Road and opined that Commr. Parks did a great job representing Lake County and giving a speech at that event.  She commented that almost everyone there was from Lake County.

hickory point park events

Commr. Campione related that she attended a large tournament at Hickory Point Park about a week ago which was well-attended.  She pointed out that many people who attended stayed at local hotels in and around Hickory Point.  She stated that staff was doing a great job getting events scheduled and bringing in a lot of people who spend money in Lake County.

commissioner blake – district 5

providing emergency services

Commr. Blake commented that although they were still waiting for the results of Phase I of the Finch Study, he believed they had a window of opportunity to make an informed decision by having all of the information in front of them in order to explore the potential savings of providing emergency services by a third party.  He suggested that they do an RFP (Request for Proposal) for those services concurrently while they were waiting on the other information in order to identify options and ways to efficiently and more economically provide those services before they make that decision.

Commr. Breeden indicated that she would not object to doing that so that they would have all of the information in order to make the decision that they feel was best for Lake County.

Commr. Campione added that it was a very complicated issue, noting that any other providers would have to address whether they would purchase any existing assets related to the organization.  She also cautioned the Board not to be deceived by companies that offer the County great deals that would appear to save the County money and then charge much more in the future and that there were other details to consider in order to get the full picture.

Commr. Sullivan stated that he believed they needed to get through the budget process and then take that issue to the EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Board.  He noted, however, that he was not against the idea, because he believed that the County would have to make some difficult decisions if the homestead exemption amendment passed, and he wanted to be prepared to make those decisions ahead of time.

Commr. Parks commented that he appreciated that fact that this Board could have a good discussion of this topic and that he generally supported looking into privatization or outsourcing, noting that the County was doing that in other areas already such as in the Parks and Trails Division.  However, he opined that he did not think they should outsource or privatize emergency services and was not sure how constructive it would be to go out for an RFP, except for providing EMS service in the rural areas.

Commr. Campione related that they have seen numbers from more urbanized areas that were more cost-effective, but service would not be consistently the same for all areas when the geographical challenges of the more rural and unincorporated areas were factored in.  She opined that their current hybrid system has allowed the County to give everyone good service, but she did not know whether they could accomplish that with a straight transport system.  She stated that they would need to objectively determine whether the County would save money and still be able to deliver the same quality service they currently have if they chose to look into this.  She mentioned that she was learning from the Fitch Report that providing services over such a wide area resulted in a lot of economies of scale such as coordinating with the fire departments.

Commr. Blake commented that he believed it was important to look at everything so that there would not be a question later on about whether there was a better way to do things.

Commr. Sullivan suggested that they look at that at a workshop, since there were many details to consider about this issue.

commissioner sullivan – chairman and district 1

legislative meeting at lake sumter state college

Commr. Sullivan stated that he would not be able to attend the legislative meeting at Lake Sumter State College on August 28th to present the legislative priorities and asked Commr. Campione to go to that instead.

Commr. Campione responded that she would be glad to go and represent the Board at that event as Vice Chairman, and she added that she looked forward to hearing the legislative priorities of other areas.

trip to washington d.c.

Commr. Sullivan stated that his trip to Washington D.C. was very fruitful and worthwhile and that he made a lot of contacts.  He specified that he spent one whole day meeting with intergovernmental coordination personnel who worked in the agencies, and he was assured that the lines of communication were open with state and county representatives rather than lobbyists and that business was getting done.  He mentioned that there was a lot of discussion regarding economic development and transportation, and he had made some contacts with the person in charge of the Economic Development department, who was a Floridian.  He commented that there were many grants available that may help Lake County further their economic development efforts.  He noted that he spent time with both Senator Bill Nelson and Senator Marco Rubio making presentations about the County’s radio issues and other matters.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.



timothy i. sullivan, chairman