A regular MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

january 12, 2021

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 9:00 a.m., in the County Commission Chambers, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida.  Commissioners present at the meeting were: Sean Parks, Chairman; Kirby Smith, Vice Chairman; Douglas B. Shields; Leslie Campione; and Josh Blake.  Others present were: Jo-Anne Drury, Interim County Manager; Melanie Marsh, County Attorney; Niki Booth, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Gary J. Cooney, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller; Kristy Mullane, Chief Financial Officer; and Kathleen Bregel, Deputy Clerk.

INVOCATION and pledge

Commr. Parks relayed that Mr. Derek Smith, with the Office of Emergency Management, would be leading the Pledge of Allegiance.  He mentioned that Mr. Smith had served in the United States Navy from 1997 through 2008, ending his enlistment as a Chief Petty Officer, Master-at-Arms; furthermore, he was awarded several commendations as well as earning the Navy Achievement Medal twice.  He shared that Mr. Smith had served most of his career at the Naval Air Station in Atlanta, Georgia and the Naval Weapon Station in Charleston, South Carolina; additionally, he was also assigned to the Naval Airbase Support Unit Whiting Field, the Naval Station Rota Security Force, and the Naval Air Station Atlanta Security Force.  He indicated that throughout Mr. Smith’s military career, he held positions as a Senior Enlisted Advisor, an Operations Chief, an Administration Leading Petty Officer, and a training Petty Officer.  He said that Mr. Smith was also a retired Lieutenant of the DeKalb County Police Department in Atlanta, Georgia, and he thanked him for his service.

Pastor Tony McCoy with Hope International Church in the City of Groveland then gave the innovation and Mr. Smith led the Pledge of Allegiance. 

virtual meeting instructions

Commr. Parks mentioned that this meeting was a hybrid meeting which was a combination of an in-person meeting and one which allowed individuals to participate virtually.  He then noted that Commissioner Campione would not be in the meeting in-person, but would be participating virtually.  He asked for Mr. Erikk Ross, Director for the Information Technology (IT) Department, to explain how citizens who were listening remotely could participate. 

Mr. Ross explained that this meeting was being livestreamed on the County website and was also being made available through a Zoom Webinar for members of the public who were unable to attend in person but wished to provide comments during the Citizen Question and Comment Period later in the agenda.  He elaborated that anyone watching though the livestream who wished to speak during the Citizen Question and Comment Period of the meeting could follow the directions currently being broadcast through the stream; furthermore, he relayed that anyone who had joined the webinar via their phone could press *9 on their phones to virtually raise their hand and anyone participating online could click the raise hand button to identify that they wished to speak.  He said that when it was time for public comment, he would then identify the person or their phone number, unmute the appropriate line, and allow the citizen to speak for their three minute timeframe.  He added that anyone wishing to provide written comments could visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/commissionmeeting, noting that comments presented before 5:00 p.m. the previous day were shared with the Commission prior to this meeting, and that comments sent during this meeting would be shared with the Commission after the meeting was concluded.

Agenda update

Ms. Jo-Anne Drury, Interim County Manager, stated that since the agenda was first published there had been the following two changes: under the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) update, a line had been added for discussion and direction on an appointment based vaccine site; and Tab 10 had been added as an addendum for the Office of Housing and Human Services consent agenda for the Emergency Rental Assistance Grant.

employee service and quarterly awards

Ms. Jeannine Nelson, Human Resources and Risk Management Manager, announced that they would be recognizing employees who had reached service milestones in their careers with Lake County as well as recipients of the quarterly awards as follows:

EMPLOYEE AWARDS

FIVE YEARS

Cierra Danko, Graphic Designer

Office of Communications

 

Brandon Matulka, Executive Director

Agency for Economic Prosperity

 

Ashley Porter, Public Hearing Associate

Office of Building Services

 

Jennifer Reynard, Human Resources Specialist

Office of Human Resources & Risk Management

 

TEN YEARS

Brandon Rogers, Equipment Operator III

Public Works Department

 

Mark Shepherd, Senior Building Inspector

Office of Building Services

 

FIFTEEN YEARS

Bobby Bonilla, Director

Office of Parks & Trails

 

Eric Welhaven, Office Manager

Office of County Probation

 

TWENTY YEARS

Jason Rivera, Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic

Office of Fire Rescue

 

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS

Nikki Wright, Systems Database Coordinator

Office of Public Safety Support

 

RETIREMENTS

8 YEARS

Jeanne Hotaling, Accounting Technician

Office of Fleet Management

 

14 YEARS

Robert Eller, Systems Coordinator

Information Technology Department

 

30 YEARS

John Bringard, Facilities Contract Specialist

Office of Facilities Management

 

28 YEARS

Patricia Harker, Right of Way Supervisor

Public Works Department

 

Mr. Fred Schneider, Public Works Director, recognized Ms. Patricia Harker, Right-of-Way Supervisor, for her 28 years with Lake County, noting that her family, friends and colleagues were present in the meeting to celebrate with her.  He shared that he had worked closely with Ms. Harker for the 28 years she had been with the County.  He stated that Ms. Harker was very detailed and dedicated in her work, not only for the Public Works Department, but for the entire County and the residents that she worked with, noting that when dealing with real estate, right-of-ways, and properties, detail was needed.  He mentioned that when Ms. Harker was on the job, he knew things would run smoothly, and indicated that he could not recall anything that ever came back to be an issue if she was involved.  He relayed that Ms. Harker was promoted in 1998 to the position of Right-of-Way Supervisor, but had spent decades in public service as she had worked in several areas within the County, as well as for the City of Tavares.  He mentioned that Ms. Harker had worked on small and large projects in the county, and her team had been very successful under her leadership.  He stated that Ms. Harker was a senior member of the International Right of Way Association, and was a certified public manager from the Florida State University.  He indicated that during retirement, Ms. Harker planned to spend time traveling with her husband, working on her property near the Ocala Forest, and enjoying her three Labrador dogs.  He then congratulated Ms. Harker on her retirement. 

QUARTERLY AWARDS

EMPLOYEE OF THE QUARTER

Liam Wagler, Library Assistant I

Office of Library Services

 

Ms. Nelson stated that Mr. Liam Wagler, Library Assistant I with the Office of Library Services, was the employee of the quarter.  She mentioned that Mr. Wagler was an employee who was continually recognized by his coworkers and library customers for his positive attitude and excellent customer service.  She relayed that during this quarter, staff at the Cooper Memorial Library had been working on rearranging and transforming the library layout to better serve customers; furthermore, in conjunction with Lake-Sumter State College maintenance staff and his coworkers, Mr. Wagler undertook the project of relocating multiple library collections, noting that this project involved difficult work including moving books, shelfs and bookcases.  She added that Mr. Wagler had also set up a new friends of the library location at Cooper Memorial Library which would help the library with future book sales and community outreach programs.  She then congratulated Mr. Wagler for his consistently excellent service and for being the employee of the quarter.

T.E.A.M. OF THE QUARTER

Office of Library Services – Astor Pantry Project – Astor Library

Elise VanCise, Library Assistant I

Margaret Unger, Library Assistant I

 

Ms. Nelson remarked that the T.E.A.M. of the Quarter award went to the Astor Pantry Project-Astor Library from the Office of Library Services.  She indicated that this team started a pantry project which provided food and other personal necessities to serve those in need within the local Astor community.  She relayed that earlier in the year while schools were shut down, the Astor Library had been working with Spring Creek Charter School to distribute meal bags for kids and other essential items; furthermore, once that program ended, the library came up with the creative solution to continue providing this much needed community support, noting that the pantry was fully supported by donations from library patrons, friends of the library, and local organizations.  She thanked community members for their thoughtful donations as well as this team for their dedication to service and for all they had done to support the Astor community. 

EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE

Sean O’Keefe, Support Services Manager

Office of Library Services

 

Ms. Nelson stated that Mr. Sean O’Keefe, Support Services Manager with the Office of Library Services, was being awarded the annual Excellence in Service award due to going above and beyond to provide excellent service to the county throughout this year.  She remarked that over the previous six months, Mr. O’Keefe had been coordinating and supervising the Citizens Information Line during the local state of emergency due to the pandemic; furthermore, as Citizens Information Line supervisor, Mr. O’Keefe worked with the Emergency Operations Center and other departments to establish rotating staffing and support for the Citizens Information Line.  She mentioned that earlier in the year when the library system was briefly closed due to the pandemic, Mr. O’Keefe worked with support staff to create new virtual and online procedures so that patrons would have access to eBooks and other digital resources; additionally, he coordinated the countywide delivery of 100,000 masks to libraries, County offices, Chambers of Commerce, and other municipalities.  She thanked Mr. O’Keefe for his commitment to service, for exemplifying excellence in the workplace, and for his dedicated efforts.  She then congratulated Mr. O’Keefe for receiving the Excellence in Service award. 

Commr. Parks thanked all the employees for what they were doing for the county, and wished those retiring well.

covid-19 update

Commr. Parks thanked County staff for all their hard work during this pandemic, and especially noted the hard work through the recent difficulties with getting the COVID-19 vaccine rolled out to the community.  He mentioned that staff would be presenting information on a way to provide a better service in regards to vaccinations.  

Ms. Jennifer Barker, Executive Director of Administrative Services, mentioned that she would be providing a final update on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding allocations.  She recalled the following background information: the County was notified by the State in June 2020 that the County had been awarded $64 million in CARES Act funding which had to be expended by December 30, 2020; the first 25 percent of funding, or $16 million, was received on July 27, 2020; the remaining 75 percent, or $48 million, required approval of a countywide spend plan, which was subsequently approved on October 23, 2020; the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) approved a $35,232,593 line of credit on October 13, 2020 since the final phase of funding was only available on a reimbursement basis; and the County received the second 20 percent of funding, or about $12.8 million, on November 5, 2020 after the spend plan was approved.  She commented that throughout the process and as priorities changed, staff made adjustments and presented several different allocations to the Board.  She then displayed a chart depicting the final allocation of the full $64 million of CARES Act funding as follows: business assistance at $21,907,750; resident assistance at $13,356,543, noting that an additional $2,816,095 was provided through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation for a total of $16,172,638 for resident assistance; LifeStream Behavioral Center at $1,008,768; Lake County Schools at $1,676,245; workforce training and education assistance at $4,994,000; Cities, County, Municipalities, and Constitutional Officers at $18,011,314; nonprofits and food banks at $536,343; marketing efforts to stimulate the local economy at $327,485; and administration costs at $2,213,812 in order to administer the program.  She then provided information on the newest COVID-19 emergency relief package approved by the United States Congress on December 27, 2020 which included several different items that she noted may or may not affect the County.  She provided an overview of this package as follows: direct economic relief for workers and families that provided additional unemployment benefits as well as direct payments of $600 for individuals earning up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 for couples earning up to $150,000 per year, noting that it also provided $600 for each child dependent; additional small business assistance in the form of paycheck protection program (PPP) loans; support for Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions; funding to provide relief to transportation agencies such as airlines, transit agencies, airports, Amtrak, etc.; funding for vaccines, testing, tracing, community health, and healthcare provider support; support for K-12 schools and institutions of higher learning; increase in supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits; funding for the United States Postal Service; support for the childcare sector; funding to provide low-income families access to broadband internet services; and rental assistance.  She relayed that staff was notified that Lake County was awarded approximately $11 million for rental assistance for residents which could be utilized for past due rent payments, future rent payments, and utility payments, noting that this did not include mortgage assistance at this point.  She indicated that staff would develop an application process and criteria for this and would report at the next BCC meeting.

Commr. Shields asked if there was a timeline for when the rental assistance needed to be spent.

Ms. Drury replied that it had to be spent by September 30, 2021, with everything closed out by December 31, 2021.

Commr. Campione opined that this would be a huge benefit to residents and that this would assist both the landlord and the renter.  She was thrilled to see that the County was awarded this additional amount. 

Mr. Tommy Carpenter, Director for the Office of Emergency Management, announced that cold weather shelters were open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after, with 26 people sheltering between LifePointe Church in the City of Eustis and Trinity Assembly of God in the City of Fruitland Park.  He thanked the churches and the Department of Health (DOH), which was there each night to perform medical monitoring.  He indicated that everyone at the shelter was safe and that no one needed to be taken to the alternate shelter for COVID-19 positive cases.  He relayed that the Office of Transit Services staff was also there to ensure that those who were sheltered received transportation, as well as the Offices of Facilities Management and Public Safety Support who sprayed and sanitized the facilities.  He thanked everyone for their assistance.  He noted that there had also been a sheltering event the previous Saturday for four individuals, and that potentially there could be more in the upcoming days due to cold weather.  He reported that the Emergency Operations Center had moved to a level two operation on December 29, 2020 when the DOH received their initial 3,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine; additionally, he stated that the DOH information line had changed to 352-268-9299, noting that it was a different system that involved automation but was still receiving 2,000 to 3,000 calls per day.  He then shared these statistics regarding COVID-19 cases within Lake County: there were 17,228 total positive tests, noting that at the last reporting on December 8, 2020 there were slightly over 11,000 cases; the number of current positive cases was 2,845, with 160 under investigation and being monitored by the DOH; total number tested was 185,053, while on December 8, 2020 it was 141,319; Lake County’s positivity rate was just over 9.3 percent and was 8.3 percent when last reported; and the total cumulative percentage of positive cases was 9.3 percent, noting that when comparing to surrounding counties, Lake County had the lowest positivity rate.  He said that for the percentage of estimated population tested, Lake County was still at number three with just over 50 percent being tested, with Orange County testing just over 60 percent; furthermore, Orange and Osceola Counties had State funded testing while Lake County did not.  He indicated the median age for COVID-19 positive cases was 44, and the number of deaths reported to date was 335.  He then reported information on the county’s three local hospitals as follows: there were 945 total available beds with 801 being utilized, 144 available, and a 15 percent available bed capacity; there were 104 total intensive care unit (ICU) beds available with 77 being used, 27 available, and a 26 percent bed capacity; and in terms of current numbers, 166 patients were admitted for COVID-19, with 127 of those in ICU.  He stated that since April 27, 2020, the County had issued 912,586 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE).  He said in regards to cases within the county’s long-term care facilities, the total cumulative number was 1,066 total positive COVID-19 cases to date, with currently 135 positive residents and 91 positive staff, and 106 deaths reported.  He indicated that for Lake County Schools from January 2 through January 8, 2021, there had been 110 positive cases of 76 students and 34 employees, with 337 being quarantined to include 295 students and 42 employees.  He shared information regarding COVID-19 testing at the DOH clinics in the Cities of Umatilla, Clermont, and Leesburg, noting that there were no longer drive-through locations.  He relayed that the County’s agreement with Adult Medicine of Lake County to perform COVID-19 testing had finished; furthermore, they had administered 12,525 tests. 

Mr. Aaron Kissler, Administrator/Director/Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Lake County, thanked the Board for considering the proposed COVID-19 vaccine appointment based plan at this meeting, and apologized that the DOH was not able to administer this.  He then commented that his team and their partners were doing an amazing job at administering the vaccine on a first-come, first-serve basis, and indicated that they were competitive with other locations throughout the state in regards to the numbers, noting that their St. Patrick Catholic Church site and the site in the City of Clermont set the record for the state the previous day.  He then relayed information on the vaccine distribution throughout the county, and reported that the previous day, 1,700 people were seen at the City of Clermont location, with 500-600 seen at the City of Mount Dora location.  He indicated that some strike teams and emails would be sent out the current week for individuals who were homebound, and that his department would also address those who were mobile and vulnerable.  He remarked that they would be working with the University of Florida (UF) to provide doses of the vaccine in order for them to vaccinate more healthcare workers.  He explained that it was more difficult to track the amount of doses for the Pfizer vaccine because it had an overfill in its vial which equated to one to two doses.  He reported that they had received roughly 23,000 doses of the vaccines, with 3,000 being the Moderna vaccine; furthermore, they would be sending some to the County for vaccine appointments.  He shared that for that morning, they were able to administer the vaccine to anyone who was in line, noting that their typical procedure was to clear the lines and reopen when they were able.  He mentioned that the City of Clermont site would most likely be closing, that they would continue at the St. Patrick Catholic Church site, and that they would look for other locations and transition to appointment based soon.  He shared that it was difficult at first in administering the vaccine; however, they were addressing issues and things were going better.  He remarked that they would be working on a plan for administering the second dose as it got closer to the time to administer, noting that it seemed that the President of the United States as well as the President-Elect were supportive of second doses which would assist with getting these doses out into the community.  He then displayed a chart depicting the number of COVID-19 vaccines administered, and noted that the Clermont Arts and Recreation Center had administered 1,188 vaccines on what was considered a slower day.  He understood that some people were frustrated with the process, noting that the DOH was working to fix issues; however, some people were thankful for what they were doing.  He expressed appreciation to his team for the number of vaccines they were able to administer, and commented that if they were able to get the 23,000 doses out to the community, then that would be almost a tenth of the population.  He thanked the County and the community for their support during this process.  He mentioned that CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens were assisting with providing vaccines to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and that hospitals were vaccinating healthcare workers.  He then displayed a report on the number of vaccinations per county, and reported that the cumulative number of people vaccinated for Lake County was almost 13,000 per capita.

Commr. Blake thanked Mr. Kissler for all his hard work over the previous couple of weeks.  He then inquired what the timeframe was for getting the second dose of the vaccine, and what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation was regarding this.

Mr. Kissler responded that at least a month was fine; however, they recommended getting it as soon as possible so that the second dose could begin taking effect.  He mentioned that while the DOH was encouraging individuals to return for the second dose; unfortunately, there were people who did not return for it or might possibly receive it within another county, noting that the DOH had to serve everybody whether they were from the State of Florida or not.  He reiterated that they were helping as many people as possible, and were looking at the homebound population in Lake County since they were ones who could not come out for an appointment.  He relayed that their goal was to keep the wait time under or at hospital emergency room (ER) wait times. 

Commr. Blake asked what the difference was in effectiveness for someone who might receive just the first dose of the vaccine.

Mr. Kissler replied that this was still being studied.  He indicated that there was some effectiveness after the first dose; however, in order to really reach the effectiveness at the 96 percent level, one had to receive the second dose, noting that about a week after the second dose was when full effectiveness was reached.  He emphasized that the DOH did not want people to have to wait on the second dose, and that they hoped they would continue to receive more vaccine doses within the next few weeks.  He stated that they would get it to the community as soon as they received it, and opined it would be great to have the option for people to get an appointment which would make it more structured and orderly.

Commr. Blake clarified that the DOH serving residents and non-residents was the same throughout the state, noting that he was aware of individuals who had traveled to different counties to receive the vaccine. 

Commr. Smith noted that according to the information, just over 12,000 people had been vaccinated, and he asked for clarification that it would be about 13,000 in the next week.

Mr. Kissler replied that there was some delay in the numbers, and that merely DOH numbers were in the low teens.  He explained that the number on the displayed chart included nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and hospitals; furthermore, when added to the DOH numbers, it would probably be larger.

Commr. Smith expressed concerns with how the DOH would manage performing call backs to 13,000 residents, or whatever the amount might be, since it was currently first come, first serve and not appointment based.  

Mr. Kissler responded that they would send emails, perform blast calls that indicated for individuals to come back at a certain date and time, and advertise in the news and on Twitter when the call back times were.  He gave the example that they might close down for a day or two to walk-ins for the first doses and make it for second doses, or some of the second and third times they opened the line at the City of Clermont location, they could have the third time be for the second dose needs.  He emphasized that they would allocate it similar to this; furthermore, individuals could also make an appointment for their second dose through the appointment based system.  He said that in the coming months, they were hopeful that Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy might start to receive vaccine doses, and that in the meantime, they would work with the Office of Emergency Management on the appointment based system, as well as other municipal partners to assist with second doses.  He explained that the Moderna vaccine would be handled slightly differently than the Pfizer vaccine since they did not receive as much of the Moderna vaccine, and that they would designate specific days for Moderna vaccinations.

Commr. Smith stated that according to his calculations, calls for the second doses would begin the following week.

Mr. Kissler confirmed this was correct, and that they would have a better idea of when the Moderna doses would be received by then.  He mentioned that the DOH was used to being the provider of last resort; therefore, their messaging had previously indicated for people to get the vaccine elsewhere.  He explained that this messaging had been changed since people were unable to get the vaccine elsewhere.  He specified that as soon as they received delivery information on the Moderna vaccine, then they would send notification regarding second doses. 

Commr. Campione suggested that for the Moderna vaccine call backs, since it was merely 3,000 doses, to designate a different location or to shut a location down for just those call backs.  She opined that creating order and predictability for the second shots would really help.  She understood the challenges to all of this, and noted that when comparing Lake County numbers to the Orange, Sumter, Marion, and Polk Counties, what the DOH had accomplished, in conjunction with the hospitals and nursing homes, was impressive.  She mentioned that she had explained to people that the DOH opted to serve the most people they could get to by sacrificing convenience, noting that the numbers indicated that the job was getting done and helped to put this into perspective.  She relayed that the homebound population was a concern for her, and she inquired if people were already on a list or did they need to find a way to ensure that people got connected for the homebound service.

Mr. Kissler agreed, and mentioned that they would be sharing an email with everybody on this day.  He said that they would attempt to reach as many as possible; however, it would take some time due to the proximity between people.  He thought the appointment based system would help, and expressed his appreciation for the County’s help with this.  He shared that homebound people could email CHD35webmaster@FLHealth.gov to get on the list. 

Commr. Campione also asked about the number of vaccines that were being provided to the County to perform the appointment based system, and what would happen once those slots were filled.

Mr. Kissler remarked not to schedule out too far as then vaccines could be allocated and people’s plans could change.  He indicated that they would send approximately 3,000 vaccines, noting it would be slightly more due to the overfills; furthermore, once the appointments were complete, they would provide more.  He commented that this model would work well, that increasing amounts of the vaccine would show that there was a need in the county, that the vaccines would be sent to places that could distribute it, and that the County would be able to demonstrate that they could distribute the vaccine quickly. 

Commr. Campione inquired about the box office idea and if they would still be attempting to do that in the City of Mount Dora.

Mr. Kissler responded that they were trying to do that but had some legal items that they needed to address.  He indicated that they were still exploring the idea; however, they were hoping that this might not be needed if the appointment based system was implemented. 

Commr. Campione shared that she had learned that home healthcare workers were not in the same category as people associated with the hospital, and that even though they had contact with people, especially those who were vulnerable, they were not getting vaccinated.  She asked if the DOH could address this or elevate it from a priority standpoint to make sure vaccines were getting to home healthcare workers.

Mr. Kissler replied that they could address this, and shared that one way to assist with this was to volunteer to work vaccination sites because anyone who worked vaccination sites received the vaccine.  He thanked those who were volunteering, and commented that he would share information on how people could volunteer, especially those with healthcare experience. 

Commr. Campione noted on the displayed chart that the total number of people vaccinated in Seminole County was 14,538, and that this county was part of the pilot program, had resources, and had a guaranteed number of vaccines.  She remarked that when comparing to Lake County’s numbers, while Seminole County was appointment based, they were not able to get as many vaccinated in terms of quantity.  She also shared that people in Orange County had to wait several hours even with an appointment.  She pointed out that there were shortfalls to each of the methods of distributing, and praised that Lake County was able to administer a similar number of vaccinations even though the county did not have the platform for appointments nor the pilot program which ensured that a certain amount of vaccines would be received.  She saw this as a plus for Lake County. 

Commr. Parks remarked that he valued the DOH and all they were doing, and agreed that the numbers showed that they were serving as many as possible.  He reiterated that they would be discussing at this meeting the transition to another option and method for distributing the vaccine, noting that this plan was well thought out and took into account challenges that other counties faced with their appointment system.  He emphasized that this was merely another tool to provide the vaccine to residents.  He thanked all who had worked on this system.

Mr. Kissler thanked the Board for pointing out all the work the DOH had accomplished since they first received the vaccine on December 28, 2020. 

Mr. Carpenter explained that his office, along with the DOH and community partners, had performed exercises and made plans on how they would proceed once the COVID-19 vaccine was available, under the guidance and guidelines of the CDC.  He indicated that they had originally planned to work with healthcare providers and first responders, and had anticipated opening a closed point of dispensing (POD) for first responders in order to work through any issues and get those facing the public immunized.  He said that after that, they had planned to distribute vaccines to long-term care facilities since these were areas that the virus seemed to be spreading; however, these plans changed on December 23, 2020 when the Florida Governor’s executive order was issued.  He specified that this executive order covered long-term care residents and staff, people 65 years of age and older, and healthcare personnel with direct patient contact.  He indicated that as a result of this order, staff had to change focus and go in a different direction with their plan, noting that this was all during the Christmas season while his office was also providing cold weather sheltering.  He relayed that despite not knowing when they would receive the vaccine nor how much of it they would receive, they were able to get 3,000 doses of the vaccine out to the community.  He shared that the EOC phone system was hugely affected, and that even with Hurricane Irma when 77 percent of the population was without power, it did not have this type of effect, noting that the Office of Information Technology had done a wonderful job of adjusting this.  He remarked that they needed to get the vaccine out to the community and that they did accomplish this task; furthermore, they continued to work with the DOH regarding getting additional doses into the community.  He explained that as they transitioned to getting the vaccine out to the public, they were hoping that there would be a statewide system which would assist with transferring information and a mobile population; however, this system was not ready yet.  He relayed that other counties were also having problems, and that they continued to work through the technology issues.  He commented that considering that they received the vaccine on December 28, 2020 and it was the week between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, decisions were made to support the DOH in order to get the vaccine out as rapidly as possible.  He reiterated that they had planned, but the goals were changed and they adjusted accordingly, noting that they would continue to adjust as needed.  He then presented information on the proposed appointment based vaccination plan for Lake County, including an overview, plan summary, timeline, other initiatives, and a requested action for the Board.  He commented that as a result of Lake County demographics, availability of space/facilities, and limited resources, they had continually worked towards the institution of appointment-based vaccine disbursement; furthermore, as more of the vaccine arrived, additional programs would be instituted to ensure that all citizens were reached and to provide different options for vaccination.  He shared a summary of the appointment based plan as follows: continue to support the operation of the DOH first-come, first serve sites; institute a scheduling software to take appointments; initially open with an online system and progress into an online and phone-based system, noting this was in an effort to serve the greatest population; incorporate a back-up plan should the system crash, which would allow people to enter email addresses so they may receive notification when the system is back up, noting that additional temporary staff had been hired to address this; site preparation and resource acquisition; and then the launch.  He shared that expected benefits with the implementation of this plan included reduced wait time to be vaccinated, effective use of time for residents and caretakers assisting residents, reduced traffic management and footprint required, reduced overall staffing and logistics needed, operations could extend into evening hours, improved control and safety of sites, potential for second dose appointments on site, and easy rescheduling due to possible lack of vaccine, weather, etc.  He relayed that factors which could affect the implementation included vaccine availability, site availability, staffing availability, municipality involvement, and technology sustainability with the high volume of resident participation, noting that IT would be monitoring in real time with a backup plan if needed.  He reiterated that the amount of vaccines they received was unknown, but that he was on a call with the State daily.  He remarked that municipality involvement had been outstanding, and praised the Cities of Clermont and Mount Dora for their assistance.  He indicated that once they got people trained and they had guaranteed vaccine availability, then they would be able to expand into different areas and also serve the homebound.  He also displayed a graphic depicting a typical point of dispensing for the vaccination and explained how the process worked when people came to receive their vaccination; additionally, he mentioned that potential vaccine sites could include County owned facilities, regional parks, Lake County schools, educational institutions, business establishments or storefronts, and churches, noting that these were in each of the five county districts.  He indicated that there was a state based initiative which had not come to Lake County yet; however, they had sent possible locations for a State sponsored immunization site and hoped it might come to the county in the future.  He stated that for the potential activation of the first site, they would open the online portal for scheduling appointments, initiate hours of operation from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., sustain operations until the vaccine was unavailable, and reinstitute sites based on vaccine availability.  He explained that additional sites could come online as soon as one week, and that the opening of a site was dependent upon DOH vaccine and staff availability.  He elaborated that one of the most important resources, besides the vaccine, was the availability of people to provide the vaccine, noting that if nurses or paramedics administering the shot get sick, then it could limit the availability to get the vaccine out to the community.  He commented that other initiatives included the hospitals, Publix, Walgreens/CVS Pharmacy, doctor’s offices, faith based organizations, and mobile vaccine units (MVU), noting that in order to expand to these additional initiatives, Counties had to demonstrate that they were able to distribute any vaccines they received.  He stressed that the goal was to get the vaccine out to the community in order to show the State that if they sent vaccines to the County, they were able to get them distributed.  He concluded with the requested Board action to approve the appointment based vaccination program as presented. 

Commr. Parks thanked Mr. Carpenter for all he had been doing over the last year, and especially for his hard work on this system over the last couple of weeks.  He reiterated that there seemed to be two limiting factors, including the attempt to perform a mass distribution without a way to predict the supply of the vaccine, and the second being the need for people to administer the shots.  He asked for confirmation that volunteers would be able to receive the vaccine even if they were not age 65.

Mr. Carpenter confirmed that was correct, and relayed that the DOH had a medical reserve course and encouraged any retired individuals with medical experience to become one of the DOH’s volunteers; additionally, he stated that anyone working at a vaccination site could get immunized.

Commr. Parks stated that they would message the need for volunteers out to the community, and expressed support for the requested action.

Commr. Smith said he was pleased to see the DOH and the County working together in order to offer an appointment based program for the citizens of Lake County.  He thanked Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Kissler for their work on this program.

Commr. Campione relayed that she would vote in favor of this item if she could, but unfortunately she was unable to vote on this item due to participating virtually.  She remarked that regarding the messaging, she thought it was a wonderful feature that if the system crashed, people were directed to provide an email so that they could be contacted once the system was back up; however, she suggested for current information on first come, first serve sites to be included in the messaging.  She also suggested for this to be updated on the DOH website so that people could be directed to the DOH website and not have to search for the information, which she opined would assist individuals if they desired to forego the appointment and attempt to get vaccinated at a first come, first serve site.  She added to have the DOH email address included for those who might be able to volunteer.  She supported anything that could be done to increase the convenience for people so they did not have to look for information.

On a motion by Commr. Shields, seconded by Commr. Blake, and carried by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the appointment based vaccination program as presented. 

Commr. Campione was unable to participate in the vote due to attending the meeting virtually.

Minutes approval

On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Smith, and carried by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the minutes for the BCC meeting of September 29, 2020 (Regular Meeting).

citizen question and comment period

Mr. Rick Ault, a City of Clermont resident, asked for the Board to consider elected official term limits.

CLERK OF the Circuit COURT and comptroller’s CONSENT AGENDA

On a motion by Commr. Smith, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 3, as follows:

List of Warrants

Request to acknowledge receipt of the list of warrants paid prior to this meeting, pursuant to Chapter 136.06 (1) of the Florida Statutes, which shall be incorporated into the Minutes as attached Exhibit A and filed in the Board Support Division of the Clerk's Office.

City of Fruitland Park Annexation Ordinance 2020-005

Request to acknowledge receipt of Annexation Ordinance 2020-005 from the City of Fruitland Park.

City of Minneola Ordinance 2020-10

Request to acknowledge receipt of Annexation and Rezoning Ordinance 2020-10 from the City of Minneola.

COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA

Commr. Smith requested for Tab 5 to be pulled for discussion.

On a motion by Commr. Smith, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 8, pulling Tab 5 for discussion, as follows below.

Ms. Melanie Marsh, County Attorney, mentioned that Tab 10, which was an addendum to the consent agenda, also needed to be approved.

On a motion by Commr. Smith, seconded by Commr. Shields and carried by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the Consent Agenda Addendum, Tab 10.

COUNTY ATTORNEY

Request approval of a Closed Session of the Board of County Commissioners on January 26, 2021, to discuss Gulfstream Towers, LLC vs. Lake County, Florida.

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES

Information Technology

Request approval:

1. Of the Microsoft Enterprise Enrollment package for the purchase of software licensing and assurance through the State of Florida.

2. Of the continued use of the State of Florida negotiated contracts for all Microsoft related purchases.

3. For the Office of Procurement Services to execute all supporting documentation.

The fiscal impact is estimated at $638,735.94 (expenditure) and is within and will not exceed the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget.

PUBLIC SERVICES AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Housing and Human Services

Request approval to authorize the Chairman to execute all documents required by the U.S. Department of Treasury to receive funding from the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program. The estimated fiscal impact is $10,999,317.00 (expenditure/revenue - 100 percent grant funded).

Public Works

Request approval to execute a Proportionate Share Mitigation Agreement between the Lake County School Board, O'Brien Road Investors, LLC (Kissimmee, FL) and the Lake County Board of County Commissioners. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 1.

Request approval to release a cash surety of $4,088.49 that was provided for the maintenance of sidewalk improvements in Johns Lake Landing Phase 3, located in Clermont. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 2.

Request approval to release a maintenance bond of $7,624.70 that was provided for the maintenance of improvements in Sawgrass Bay Phase 4B-1, located near Clermont. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 1.

tab 5 agreement with lifestream behavioral center

Ms. Drury explained that Tab 5 was a request to enter into an agreement with LifeStream Behavioral Center for community alcohol and mental health services, with the cost being $1,223,987, which was the same as the prior year, noting that these funds would allow LifeStream to access an additional $3.6 million in State funding for alcohol and mental health services. 

Commr. Smith explained that he requested for this tab to be pulled from the consent agenda in order to address a question that he had.  He commented that LifeStream was important for the community, that he agreed with what they did, and that he was supportive of LifeStream as a whole; however, one thing that concerned him was of the approximate $1.2 million, LifeStream was only spending about $124,000 on substance abuse.  He inquired why only this amount was being spent on substance abuse.  He relayed that when he had asked what was covered under substance abuse, he was informed that it covered detoxification services, substance abuse residential treatment services, and children’s substance abuse.  He opined that was a large range of people for not that much of what the County was sending to them.  He suggested to either table this item until he received better clarification on it, or the Board could vote on it at this meeting but noted that he would not be able to support it without knowing why only $124,000 was being spent in this area.

Commr. Blake asked if they had clarified for Commissioner Smith what the rest of the funding was being spent on.

Commr. Smith replied that they said that the other areas it was funding was utilized for priority needs.

Commr. Blake stated that he was fine with tabling this item until there was better detail provided.

Commr. Parks said he supported obtaining more information as well.

On a motion by Commr. Smith, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved to table Tab 5 until the next Board of County Commissioners meeting, with the request for further information to be provided by LifeStream in order for the Board to make a more solid decision.

florida association of counties board of directors

Commr. Parks stated that he would like for Commissioner Smith to fill this position to represent the BCC at the Florida Association of Counties, noting that former Commissioner Wendy Breeden had previously been in this position. 

On a motion by Commr. Shields, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the appointment of Commissioner Smith to the Florida Association of Counties Board of Directors to fill an unexpired term ending in June 2022.

reports

county manager

board retreat

Ms. Drury relayed that the Board retreat would be held on February 16, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., at the Tavares Pavilion on the Lake.  She asked for the Commissioners to send their goals and priorities to Ms. Niki Booth, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office, by January 19, 2021 in order to develop the agenda for the retreat, which would be presented at the next BCC meeting.

animal shelter event

Ms. Drury announced that the Lake County Animal Shelter, in recognition of their no-kill anniversary and the grand opening of the new facility, was hosting a three day adoption event and would be waiving adoption fees.  She stated that it would be held January 15-17, 2021, with the hours being from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on January 15 and 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on January 16 and 17, noting that online appointments were available.

county offices closed for martin luther king, jr. holiday

Ms. Drury stated that County Offices would be closed on Monday, January 18, 2021 in recognition of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

commissioners reports

commissioner smith – vice chairman and district 3

follow up to citizen meetings

Commr. Smith shared that he was following up on meetings with citizens to address some of their concerns, such as the vaccine appointment based plan as well as some roadway issues. 

commissioner CAMPIONE – district 4

meeting with residents from the lake joanna area

Commr. Campione reported that on the coming Thursday, January 14, 2021, County and Lake County Water Authority (LCWA) staff would be conducting a virtual meeting for residents of the Lake Joanna area in order to inform them of the background and history of the Loch Leven Lake Joanna connection and basin, to present the report performed over the previous year which identified the sources of offsite nutrients and pollution that were impacting Lake Joanna in a negative way, and to discuss some of the options to mitigate and attempt to stop the negative impacts that contribute to water quality issues in the lake.  She indicated that this would be a good chance for those who lived around the lake to ask any questions they might have; additionally, there could be some items that might come back to the County and the LCWA, and possibly opportunities to gain assistance from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) in terms of a grant to get things in place from an infrastructure standpoint to address the situation.

commissioner blake – district 5

league of cities luncheon

Commr. Blake mentioned that he had attended the League of Cities luncheon the previous week, noting that Florida House Representative Keith Truenow provided a brief legislative update at the luncheon.

tour of new animal shelter

Commr. Blake shared that he took a tour of the new Lake County Animal Shelter the previous week, and said he was impressed with the great job everyone had done.

commissioner parks – chairman and district 2

county legislative priorities

Commr. Parks relayed that they had started to meet with Mr. Chris Carmody, with GrayRobinson, Representative Truenow, and Florida House Representative Brett Hage to discuss the County’s top three legislative priorities.  He reported that they had learned that a funding match would be required for these top three priorities.  He explained that this was to show that the County was committed to these items.  He relayed that the hurricane proof multipurpose facility would need $750,000 for a 25 percent match, and asked for confirmation of this and that there was no Board action needed for this as it had already been planned for.

Ms. Drury replied that was correct, and explained that the reason was to make the County competitive in the legislation process.  She reported that no Board action was needed since there was already funding set aside in the sales tax fund.

Commr. Parks indicated that Board action was required for the public safety radio infrastructure funding of $1.125 million for the 25 percent match.  He asked when that would need to be decided.

Ms. Drury responded that at the next BCC meeting there would be a mid-year budget adjustment which would be placing $1.3 million back into reserves in the sales tax fund; therefore, one option for the Board to consider at that meeting was to set aside the approximate $1.125 million to match the radio infrastructure project, if and when it was funded by the legislature.  She explained that it was not funding that the Board had to spend currently without knowing if the County would receive funding at the State level; however, when the County filled out their forms for the legislative priorities, the State was looking for the County to indicate that they had local funding going towards these projects. 

Commr. Parks asked for clarification on when the Board would need to decide.

Ms. Marsh said that they needed to speak with Mr. Carmody on what the date was, noting that Ms. Drury could speak with him and get the information to the Board.

Ms. Drury believed that at the next January BCC meeting, they would need Board approval of committing that match if they were to be successful in receiving funding, noting that the legislative paperwork was due to Mr. Carmody by the end of January 2021.  She indicated that staff could present an agenda item at the next BCC meeting in order to address this.

Commr. Park asked for that to be done, and commented that the third item was the Wekiva Trail extension, which needed an approximate $500,000 for a match.

Ms. Drury remarked that there was $500,000 in the current budget which was being used for a project design and environment (PD&E) study that would be an adequate match according to Mr. Carmody.

Commr. Parks asked what the PD&E study was being funded out of.

Ms. Drury believed it was coming out of the sales tax fund.

Ms. Barker confirmed that it was coming out of the sales tax fund, noting that this was the funding which was identified during the budget process the previous year, and that it had been allocated towards the PD&E study in the Public Works Department.

eustis commission retreat

Commr. Parks said that he was invited to attend the Eustis City Commission retreat the previous Saturday, noting that he briefly spoke at the meeting regarding the BCC’s desire to have a partnership with them and to move forward with some of the issues they were facing, such as annexation and the fairgrounds potential purchase.  He indicated that the City mentioned their desire to move forward with negotiations regarding purchasing the fairgrounds.  He relayed that the City wanted to have a face to face meeting with the BCC, noting that it would have an agenda and be planned properly.  He relayed his support for this to be scheduled. 

Commr. Campione thought it was a wonderful idea, noting that the City of Eustis was in her district.  She commented that there had been ongoing issues, including the current annexation issue that County staff had been working closely with City staff in order to make progress with it.  She indicated that the City had been postponing that annexation case on a two week basis, and that every time they had the item on their City Commission meeting, all of the concerned residents had to attend the meeting.  She opined this was not an ideal scenario, and hoped that they were making progress on this.  She urged everyone to be particularly careful to consider the big picture when it came to the land use issues and the impacts on transportation, safety, and roads.  She opined that they needed to be responsible, and to always be mindful of their constituents.  She said it was wonderful to participate in intergovernmental coordination and attempt to work together on an overall vision; however, the Board’s vision should come from and in conjunction with their constituents so that they work together to develop that vision.  She supported working together and relayed she would attend any such meeting.

Commr. Parks thanked Commissioner Campione for her comments and recognized that she had worked diligently with the City of Eustis.  He reiterated that the intent of this meeting would be to determine something concrete regarding how to work together, how to move forward on long-term issues, consideration of county and city growth, and to ensure that both city and county residents were represented in the vision. 

Ms. Marsh mentioned that regarding the Thrill Hill property annexation, the last joint staff meeting with City and County staff was the previous Tuesday; furthermore, it was her understanding that the City was working on drafting an agreement, noting that the two staffs had worked well together.  She reported that as of the previous day, the County had not yet seen that agreement and was waiting for it; additionally, she believed the issue was set to come back before the City Commission next Thursday, January 21, 2021.

Commr. Campione remarked that since Commissioner Parks had a good line of communication with the Eustis City Commission, she asked if he could speak to them regarding setting a certain date so that the issue did not keep getting delayed at their meetings which caused the residents to have to continue to attend the meetings.  She said it was hopeful that the City was planning to send a proposed agreement to the County so that details could be considered.

Commr. Parks indicated that he understood those concerns and that he would work on that with the City. 

commissioners’ committee meeting reports

Commr. Parks expressed the desire to change the BCC meeting agenda and to begin having Commissioners provide a brief overview, at the beginning of their meeting, on the committee meetings which they participated in.  He remarked that the intent of this was to show people what was happening in the county and hopefully encourage more involvement.

 

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:01 a.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________________

SEAN PARKS, chairman

 

 

ATTEST:

 

 

________________________________

GARY J COONEY, CLERK