january 23, 2024

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 at 9:00 a.m., in the County Commission Chambers, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida.  Commissioners present at the meeting were: Kirby Smith, Chairman; Douglas B. Shields, Vice Chairman; Sean Parks; Leslie Campione; and Josh Blake. Others present were: Jennifer Barker, 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 Josh Pearson, Deputy Clerk.

INVOCATION and pledge

Commr. Smith welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted that it was being streamed live on the County website; furthermore, they were also broadcasting the meeting via Zoom.

Mr. Gordon Brown, with Central Florida Freethought Community, gave the Invocation, and Deputy Chief John Simpson, with the Office of Fire Rescue, led the Pledge of Allegiance.

virtual meeting instructions

Mr. Levar Cooper, Director for the Office of Communications, explained that the current meeting was being livestreamed on the County website and was also being made available through Zoom Webinar for members of the public who wished to provide comments during the Citizen Question and Comment Period later in the agenda.  He elaborated that anyone watching through the livestream who wished to participate could follow the directions currently being broadcast through the stream; furthermore, he relayed that during the Citizen Question and Comment Period, anyone who had joined the webinar via their phone could press *9 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 read the person’s name or phone number, unmute the appropriate line, and the speaker would be asked to provide comments.  He added that everyone would have three minutes to speak, and after three minutes an alarm would sound to let them know that their time was up.  He added that they previously notified the public that comments could be emailed through 5:00 p.m. on the previous day, and those comments were shared with the Board prior to the meeting.  He stated that anyone wishing to provide written comments during the meeting could visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/commissionmeeting, noting that comments sent during this meeting would be shared with the Commission after the meeting was concluded.

Agenda update

Ms. Jennifer Barker, County Manager, said that at the January 9, 2024 Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting, an update was given for Tab 25 stating that a correction was made to the term limit for Mr. Jimmy Wise; however, the update should have been to Mr. James Argento’s term limit in the background summary, which was changed from January 14, 2028 to January 14, 2027.  She then mentioned that for Tab 10 on the current agenda, staff included an updated Tourist Development Council (TDC) recommendation, and that on Tab 21 the resolution for the midyear budget adjustment was attached.  She also commented that they had a new Road Operations Director.

Mr. Fred Schneider, Assistant County Manager, introduced Ms. Jordan Salinger, the new Road Operations Director for the Public Works Department.  He explained that she came to the County with a significant amount of experience in road and bridge construction, noting that she had worked with a contract engineer and inspection team for Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) projects in the Florida Keys; additionally, in the past four or five years she had been in Monroe County doing much of their project management for vertical facilities.

arpa update

Mr. Sean Beaudet, Grants Program Manager for the Office of Parks and Water Resources, stated that the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) or State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) must be obligated by December 31, 2024 and be spent by December 31, 2026.  He added that since his last presentation, the United States (U.S.) Department of Treasury had released additional guidance related to the obligation deadline, and that in November 2023, the U.S. Department of Treasury released an interim final rule to specifically address questions from recipients across the country and further clarify the following: the definition of obligation, as it applied to this grant funding; how the definition applied to subrecipients; and amending or replacing contracts after the obligation deadline.  He provided the following summary of the obligation interim final rule (IFR): all funds must be under contract or issued as a subaward by the end of the calendar year, noting that projecting and/or budgeting did not qualify; subrecipients were not subject to the deadline, noting that this only applied to the County as a recipient, though all funds must still be spent and all work must be completed by the December 26, 2024 deadline; and funds from terminated contracts could not be re-obligated after the deadline, except under very specific circumstances including a contractor defaulting, going out of business and/or the inability to complete or perform the services.  He added that the obligation IFR did not change or alter the eligible use categories or the established deadlines.  He then mentioned that the new request came from the City of Eustis to convert the Johnson’s Point subdivision from septic tanks to city sewer by installing a new force main; additionally, the requested amount was $100,000.  He showed a map of the area, noting that the subdivision was just off County Road (CR) 44 near the fairgrounds.  He displayed the most up to date project list and said that there were no proposed changes as there were sufficient funds for the new request under the city and town utilities project line.  He requested approval of the new request from the City of Eustis, as presented.

Commr. Campione mentioned that there were individuals from the City of Eustis in attendance, and she thought that the conversion to central sewer in this location was an excellent idea.

Commr. Parks opined that it was funding well spent if they could get 14 units converted from septic to sewer.

Commr. Smith agreed and added that this was what the County had been trying to accomplish for the past couple of years.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the new request from the City of Eustis, as presented.

Minutes approval

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the minutes for the BCC meeting of November 28, 2023 (Regular Meeting) as presented.

citizen question and comment period

Ms. Cindy Newton, a resident on Lake Swatara, said that she had sent an email regarding a notice stating Lake County and the City of Mount Dora’s intent to revise the flood hazard for the entire Wolf Branch basin.  She mentioned that ponding area one was considered part of the Hicks Ditch drainage system, and that diversion occurred to Wolf Creek during high storm events.  She expressed concerns that if this change took place from zone A to X unshaded, it would allow more runoff which could possibly go to Lake Joanna, noting that they were trying to clean this up with the agreement with the Lake County Water Authority (LCWA).  She thought that they needed to pause this and see if it included revisions that the County and the City of Mount Dora wanted to take.  She relayed that there were two large drainage areas in question, and that with some waterways being under pressure, they were also looking at more nutrients being added to the Wolf Branch Sink; furthermore, she opined that if this was closed, then there could be a large amount of water which would have to go somewhere.  She asked if the Board could review this.

Commr. Parks said that he, Mr. Schneider and Ms. Newton could meet, noting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) map update was a normal process which was done regularly.

Ms. Newton relayed her understanding that this one had been requested.

Commr. Parks stated that it could often affect insurance in a good way, and that they could meet and review that process.

Commr. Campione requested clarification regarding how extensive the area was that was being requested for change.

Ms. Newton commented that there was much area being requested for change and that this was just one example, noting that the property had been mentioned by name in the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) Technical Publication SJ90-7, which was the floodplain study of the Hicks Ditch Basin in Lake County.  She thought that they should review this and the other revisions, and she indicated her understanding that the entire basin was being revised.

Commr. Campione mentioned that she had spent time in that area with property owners who were having flooding issues with the smaller lakes near Britt Road, and that she would like staff to review this and provide their impression regarding if this was something that the Board needed to weigh in on.  She added that sometimes when people asked for these amendments, it was because the way the land operated was not what the map showed, and they were trying to make a correction.

Commr. Parks said that going from AE to X could be good in that case, but that the flooding could be worse in other areas.

CLERK OF the Circuit COURT and comptroller’s CONSENT AGENDA

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Consent Agenda, Item 1, as follows:

List of Warrants

Notice is hereby provided 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.


Commr. Smith indicated that he had a comment card for Tab 3 and that it would be pulled to the regular agenda.

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Consent Agenda, Tabs 4 through 16, pulling Tab 3 to the regular agenda, as follows:


Management and Budget

Recommend approval to authorize the Chairman to execute the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Public Assistance (PA) Subgrant Agreement for Hurricane Idalia (DR4734) and any additional associated documentation or amendments to the agreement as required. The fiscal impact is unable to be determined at this time.


Planning and Zoning

Recommend approval to advertise an Ordinance amending Section 22-37, Lake County Code, regarding Transportation Impact Fees and Section 22-47, Lake County Code, regarding Fire Rescue Impact Fees. These ordinances correct an error in the fee tables.


Emergency Management

Recommend approval of the updated MOA between FDEM and Lake County regarding State-Owned Generators. The fiscal impact will depend on usage and cannot be determined at this time.

Fire Rescue

Recommend approval to terminate the Real Estate Donation Agreement with Sher Resources, LLC, and authorize the County Manager to execute the Termination Letter. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 4.

Public Safety Support

Recommend approval:

1. Of a Limited Competition purchase for hardware, software, and annual maintenance in support of broadband connectivity and software services; and

2. To authorize the Office of Procurement Services to execute all supporting documentation.

The estimated annual fiscal impact is $200,000 (expenditure) and is within, and will not exceed, the Fiscal Year Budget. Annual expenditures will not exceed available funding in future fiscal year budgets.


Library Services

Recommend approval and adoption of revisions to Policy LCC-34 entitled Patron Guidelines Governing the Use of the Lake County Library System Member Libraries. There is no fiscal impact.

Visit Lake

Recommend approval:

1. To provide Tourist Development Tax funding for host fees and related event expenses for Lake County and Greater Orlando Sports Commission (GOSports) bid to host the 2024 Bassmaster Elite Series, to take place at Venetian Gardens in Leesburg. The date for this event is April 11 – 14, 2024; and

2. To authorize the Chairman to execute the agreement with Bassmaster, if selected as the host location.

The fiscal impact is not to exceed $97,750 (expenditure – TDT funding) and is within, and will not exceed, the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. Commission District 5.

infrastructure and transportation services

Public Works

Recommend adoption of Resolution 2024-17 to advertise a public hearing to vacate right of way and cease maintenance on True Life Way. The closest municipality is Clermont. The fiscal impact is $2,295 (revenue-vacation application fee) and is within the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. Commission District 1.

Recommend approval to accept Non-Exclusive Utility Easement Deeds that have been obtained in conjunction with Distributed Wastewater Treatment System installation. The fiscal impact is $223.00 (expenditure - recording fees) and is within, and will not exceed, the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget.

Recommend approval of an Interlocal Agreement with the City of Mount Dora for maintenance of water lines, wastewater lines, irrigation systems, and landscaping associated with the Roundabout to be constructed at the intersection of Old Highway 441 and Eudora Road. There is no fiscal impact. Commission Districts 3 and 4.

Recommend approval to enter a Lighting Services Agreement with Duke Energy One, Inc. to install and maintain street lighting along Wellness Way from Five Mile Road to the Lake/Orange County line.

The capital fiscal impact is $1,000,000 (expenditure - South District Road Impact Fee Fund) and is within, and will not exceed, the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. The annual fiscal impact for maintenance is $8,976 (expenditure - Wellness Way MSTU Fund) and will be included in the future fiscal year budgets. Commission District 1.

Transit Services

Recommend approval:

1. To accept the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Public Transit Block Grant Agreement for Fiscal Year 2023-2024; and

2. To adopt Unanticipated Revenue Resolution 2024-18 of $913,254 to recognize appropriate additional grant funding for the FDOT Public Transit Block Grant Agreement for Fiscal Year 2023-2024; and

3. Of a budget transfer in the amount of $913,254 to reallocate funds to support the county match portion of the FDOT Public Transit Block Grant Agreement for Fiscal Year 2023-2024; and

4. To authorize the administration of the FDOT Public Transit Block Grant and execution of the agreement by the Office of Transit Services Director.

The fiscal impact is $1,826,508 - $913,254 (revenue/expenditure - FDOT grant funding) and $913,254 (expenditure).

parks and water resources

Water Resources

Recommend approval:

1. Of Contract 24-906 with Akea, Inc. (Gainesville, FL) for the one-time purchase and installation of a gangway and floating dock located at the Pearl Street Boat Ramp in Astor; and

2. To authorize the Office of Procurement Services to execute all supporting documentation.

The fiscal impact is estimated at $110,561 (expenditure) and is within, and will not exceed, the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. Commission District 4.

regular agenda

lake county sheriff access to traffic camera video feeds

Ms. Barker said that the County received a request from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) for the ability to access the County’s traffic cameras, noting that they currently had 49 traffic cameras throughout the county on major roadways including state highways, etc.  She elaborated that the reason for the request was that the LCSO would be able to view the video feeds in real time during active criminal activity and that they would not be recorded, noting that the County did not have the ability to record; however, there was the possibility that software could be used to record the video feeds without their knowledge.  She mentioned that the County had to limit the amount of bandwidth that the LCSO would be able to use, noting that the County had 100 megabytes (MB) of bandwidth available; furthermore, they would restrict it to about 10 MB so that the County had enough bandwidth available for their traffic operations staff, commenting that this would give the Sheriff the ability to view the live video feeds to help with apprehending criminals or suspected criminals.

Commr. Blake asked to clarify that these 49 cameras were not used to issue tickets and that they were to monitor traffic, calibrate the lights, etc.

Ms. Barker confirmed this and added that if there was an accident, then staff and the Traffic Operations Division could look in real-time to see what was occurring.  She reiterated that the County did not have any ability to record on these cameras and that they were just to monitor traffic flow.

Commr. Parks relayed his understanding that these cameras were not any different than the cameras that FDOT used, and Ms. Barker said that this was correct.

The Chairman opened the floor for public comment.

Ms. Newton indicated that her questions had been answered.

There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the floor for public comment.

Commr. Smith said that he saw this as an enhancement tool to help everyone in Lake County.

Commr. Campione asked to confirm that nothing was currently being recorded, that this would not be used for that purpose, and that this would strictly be in the event that if something was occurring in real-time, then one could check out the cameras.  She added her understanding that these were the cameras that the County used to decide whether a light needed to be longer or shorter, or if it was malfunctioning.

Ms. Barker replied that this was correct.

Commr. Blake stated that he was not necessarily opposed to this, though he was uncomfortable with the ambiguity of “active incident.”  He said that he would like some parameters to be set, and he asked if one camera was accessed at a time.

Ms. Barker replied that because of the restriction on the bandwidth, the Sheriff would only possibly be able to access a handful of cameras at one time.

Commr. Blake opined that it would be surveillance using the County’s infrastructure, and he thought that it would be fair for the County to understand how and when it would be used.  He inquired if footage could be recorded and banked once access was granted, and if a third party vendor could be used to analyze that data and track certain license plates.  He indicated that he trusted the Sheriff when he said that he would not do this, though he expressed concerns for a rogue employee potentially using it for a nefarious purpose.  He expressed support for having conditions, and wondered if it would be better to table the item to address this.

Commr. Campione said that they could define what an active event was so that it was clear that it was not typical surveillance, noting that it could be a high speed chase or when someone was fleeing a crime.

Commr. Parks stated that it was explained to him that these were existing cameras and that the Sheriff would be using them for if they were in active pursuit of someone; however, they still could not record it.

Commr. Smith confirmed that this was how it was explained to him and that the intent was so they could follow the perpetrator in real-time.

Commr. Blake inquired if the County would be able to audit how often it was being utilized and for what types of incidents to ensure that it was being used in a way that the County was comfortable with.  He added that if the County felt that it was not being used in a way that was presented to the Board, then the Board could vote to eliminate access.

Ms. Barker responded that the County could make a request for a report of how many times it was accessed.

Commr. Campione thought that if the Board was going to move forward with this, it was important that they were on the same page for what they would request from the Sheriff.  She specified that the Board could receive a report to see how it was being used and how often so that the Board could decide if they wanted to change their policy.  She also expressed interest in a definition to describe what an active event was, and for the issue with regards to recording being addressed.  She added that if those items were addressed in something that they could memorialize with the Sheriff, then she would make a motion for approval.

Commr. Parks seconded the motion with those conditions.

Commr. Blake asked if the Board would receive this before the Sheriff was granted access, and he clarified that he was not opposed to it if those conditions were met.

Ms. Barker inquired how often the Board would like to see a report of the usage.

Commr. Smith expressed support for a quarterly report.  He then clarified that the motion was to send a letter to the Sheriff with some clarifications and parameters of what was expected; furthermore, this item would come back to the Board for a final vote.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved to send a letter to the Lake County Sheriff with some clarifications and parameters of what was expected.

resolution supporting lake-sumter mpo list of priority projects

Mr. Jeff Earhart, Engineering Manager for the Public Works Department, explained that the list of priority projects (LOPP) was a list that the County gave to the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) each year, and that a project on the list was an unfunded project that the County wanted to occur.  He added that it was presented through the Lake-Sumter MPO to FDOT to get funding through their five year program, and that the LOPP was divided into construction, which were projects ready for construction, along with right of way, engineering/design, and project development and environment (PD&E)/preliminary engineering.  He said that a project could be on multiple lists to be funded, though it would have to start at the lowest one or be funded independently.  He mentioned that the Board could add items to the list, and that they had a trail and some bridges in the north part of the county.  He relayed that they were working on the North Lake Trail south of this and that they were already doing the PD&E study and some design; furthermore, this was to continue the design and construction of the trail from the City of Umatilla to Astor.  He remarked that on the east side of the County, there were a variety of projects including Britt Road, County Road (CR) 19A, Vista Ridge Drive, CR 48 and Round Lake Road.  He stated that they currently had some funding for right of way for the realignment of CR 437, and that they would be requesting funding for construction.  He relayed that they currently had $2 million or $3 million out of about $13 million for right of way funding for Round Lake Road, and that they would have the other approximately $9 million in a few years; additionally, the construction would be around $30 million to $40 million per phase for a total of $80 million.  He mentioned that the western area of the county included Radio Road, CR 470 widening, Rolling Acres Road extension, CR 561 sidewalks, and complete streets projects in the City of Groveland area; additionally, they potentially had a safety project which would be happening on CR 44.  He commented that there were a variety of projects in south Lake County including Hartwood Marsh Road which was currently funded for construction, the CR 561/Lakeshore Drive roundabout, Cherry Lake complete streets, and Hammock Ridge Road.  He added that they were currently in design for the Jalarmy Road roundabout, and he mentioned that if there were projects that the Board wanted to add, they could inform him and staff could investigate it.  He concluded that the requested action was to recommend adoption of a resolution supporting the Lake County list of projects to be included on the Lake-Sumter MPO’s LOPP. 

Commr. Parks relayed his understanding that items could be added midyear as they came up.

Mr. Earhart confirmed this and explained that they had to come back to the Board to officially add them.  He mentioned that it went through the Lake-Sumter MPO and that they had comments; furthermore, it was continually updated.

Commr. Parks mentioned that one item for consideration was for the complete streets list, noting that staff was finishing a federal safety study.

Mr. Earhart clarified that they were in the process of starting a safety study.

Commr. Parks said that one item which would be supported by the study was 12th Street coming out past Lake Hiawatha Park toward the City of Groveland.  He elaborated that there was much growth in the area with increased traffic and speeding, relaying his understanding that they would possibly have to add some splitters.  He remarked that it did not look like a very expensive complete streets project, and he expressed support for adding it to the list.

Mr. Earhart stated that Cities could also add their own items and confirmed that it could be added.

Commr. Shields inquired if this was the complete list of what the County was trying to accomplish, or if there were other things that they were going to do with impact fees on their own.

Mr. Earhart explained that this was the wishlist going to the Lake-Sumter MPO, and that the five year work program was the funded work.  He clarified that items which were already funded were not on this list.

Commr. Smith indicated his understanding that if the Board found that there needed to be a transition in priority, then they could do this midyear.

Mr. Earhart confirmed this and clarified that the numbers were not necessarily prioritized.

Commr. Campione pointed out that for sidewalks, they had the Eustis Middle School/CR 44 bypass.  She asked if it was up to Bates Avenue, noting that there was a gap where there was a light at the bypass and CR 44 with no sidewalks from there up to Bates Avenue where children walked. 

Mr. Schneider believed that some of this was already on the funded program, but that additional lengths might be requested.  He explained that this was a sidewalk that ran along Orange Avenue and up CR 44 to Bates Avenue which would tie into a sidewalk west on Bates Avenue to the ninth grade center.  He relayed that they could make sure that this was added.

Commr. Campione opined that it seemed that it should be a high priority.

Mr. Schneider confirmed that it was, and he believed that the County had some of it on the funded list through their five year work program.

Commr. Smith mentioned that he and Mr. Schneider visited there about a month prior to try to figure out how to solve the issue.

Commr. Campione felt that the North Lake Trail should pass by the Alexander Springs area and that it should be a key part of the trail, relaying that most people in the public who she had spoken to about this were adamant that this trail should go along where the Alexander Springs entrance was.  She then asked if Thrill Hill Road and CR 44A, which she opined was a dangerous intersection, could be included on the list.

Mr. Schneider said that they had an engineering study for Thrill Hill Road which was completed, and that staff could review this.  He added that staff had discussed whether to install a roundabout, a traffic signal, etc. along Thrill Hill Road.

Commr. Campione thought that a roundabout would likely be the most effective at saving lives and slowing down traffic.  She commented that the City of Mount Dora owned the old sand mine and right of way on the east side of the road, and she wondered about the possibility of reaching out to the City about allowing the County to use some of their property to create traffic calming at the bottom of the hill.  She said that this could potentially be a way to shift the road over onto a portion of the City property or have some type of a divided section to slow traffic down.

Mr. Schneider stated that staff could look into this, and he commented that they could add this to the Lake-Sumter MPO list for design funding; otherwise, they could see where specific segments of the roadway fit on their five year work program.

Commr. Campione expressed concerns for the intersection of Thrill Hill Road and State Road (SR) 44, and she hoped that staff could possibly talk with FDOT.  She opined that it should possibly be a right turn only, and that there could potentially be an opportunity for cars to make a U-turn at the Lakes of Mount Dora light.  She opined that there were hardly any traffic breaks and that it would only worsen.  She then inquired if they could go back and look at Lakeshore Drive between the Cities of Mount Dora and Tavares and that if they were not to do a whole trail improvement, if there could possibly be a wide shoulder if they could have participation by the property owners.  She recalled that the County had previously explored this with ARPA funds and possible water and sewer improvements, though no one seemed to want to do this.  She stated that if there was a way to make the road wider, then they could possibly have enough room for cars, bicycles and walkers. 

Mr. Schneider recalled that about 10 years prior they went through a significant public process and that the residents were opposed to this.  He mentioned that the County had ended up with an agreement with the residents to have a 20 foot wide road with a six inch ribbon curb to protect the edges.  He said that the County could look at this again or consider a wide sidewalk.

Commr. Campione remarked that she would be in favor of a wide sidewalk.

Commr. Smith believed that the Tavares City Administrator was working on this to start going along Lakeshore Drive, and he indicated that he and Mr. Schneider could meet with the Tavares City Administrator.  He also relayed that he and Mr. Schneider had been working on a U.S. Highway 27 warning light coming up to the traffic light in front of The Plantation at Leesburg, and he believed that it would be installed by FDOT in spring 2024.

Mr. Schneider said that FDOT had written an email to staff indicating that spring 2024 was the projected installation for some flashing beacons, and that staff would check to see if it was still on track.

Commr. Smith expressed interest in having this moved up, noting that there had been another accident recently.

Commr. Campione stated that when they went to see the bridge opening over the St. Johns River, the State built a nice trail on the bridge which ended at SR 44 and needed a place to go.  She commented that it was on the County’s master trail plan, and she asked how the County could promote that type of improvement because it was on SR 44.

Mr. Schneider replied that they could start by adding it to their priority list request, and he asked if Commissioner Campione was thinking of bringing the trail further down SR 44 to Pine Lakes.

Commr. Campione confirmed this, opining that it would be a nice place to have a trailhead.

Mr. Schneider said that staff would add it to this priority list before it was sent to the Lake-Sumter MPO.

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution 2024-19 supporting the Lake County list of projects to be included on the Lake-Sumter MPO’s LOPP, with the changes and issues the Board discussed being addressed.

public hearing: resolution 2024-20 vacation petition royal trails

Mr. Schneider presented vacation petition #1291.  He relayed that the applicants were Mr. William Helmetag and Ms. Janet Parsell Depoto, the owners, and that the location of this vacation request was in Commission District 4 within the Royal Trails subdivision.  He displayed images showing the location, and he pointed out the property owned by the applicant and the requested vacation of platted side easements which were there for utilities and drainage when Royal Trails was first platted many decades prior.  He remarked that the request was to vacate those side easements because the applicants would like to unify the three lots into one parcel and build one home on all three parcels together.  He mentioned that there were not any letters of objection, and that the County received a SECO Energy release from any easement need there.  He concluded that staff recommended approval of this vacation request.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

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

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution 2024-20 to vacate platted drainage and utility easements in the plat of Royal Trails, Unit No. 1, located North of SR 44 and East of Royal Trails Road. The closest municipality is the City of Eustis.

public hearing: ordinance 2024-3 affordable housing covenants and restrictions

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


The Chairman opened the public hearing.

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

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Shields and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Ordinance 2024-3 creating Section 11-40, Lake County Code, to be entitled Affordable Housing Covenants and Guarantees.

first public hearing: ordinance for multifamily and mixed-use residential in commercial and industrial zoning

Ms. Marsh placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for reading by title only as follows:


Ms. Marsh clarified that this was the first reading of this item and that the Board was not voting to approve it on the current day; rather, they were only voting to move it on to the second reading and final adoption on February 13, 2024.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

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

Commr. Shields asked if anyone had heard of any impacts from the Live Local Act in their cities.

Commr. Parks replied that he had heard of a couple potential cases.

Ms. Marsh added that there was also a corrective bill which had been filed with the State Legislature in the current year, and she believed that one of the changes was to remove industrial so that one could not put housing in an industrial area.

On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved to move this item on to the second reading and final adoption on February 13, 2024.

public hearing: amended budget for fiscal year 2024

Ms. Allison Teslia, Director for the Office of Management and Budget, said that this presentation was to hold a public hearing for the midyear budget amendment.  She explained that the purpose of the midyear budget amendment was to make adjustments to the fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget to add previously unanticipated revenues and expenditures, and to include any necessary changes that had been identified.  She relayed that the current countywide budget, which included previously approved unanticipated revenue resolutions, was $841.4 million, and that the proposed changes were $29.1 million which would bring the supplemental budget to $870.5 million.  She remarked that the total midyear amendments for the General Fund revenues were $11.7 million and included the following: a decrease of $31,000 in ad valorem revenues due to adjustments for the final property values as of October 1, 2023, which included Value Adjustment Board (VAB) adjustments; an adjustment for changes to the beginning fund balance of $11.3 million attributable to additional revenues received and cost savings over projections they had for FY 2023; and other revenue adjustments that totaled $400,000 which included around $43,000 for grants and $365,000 for LCSO service agreements.  She stated that the adjustments for the General Fund expenditures included $92,000 for changes to fire assessments and community redevelopment area (CRA) payments due to final property values as of October 1 2024, which included any VAB adjustments.  She mentioned that for the Constitutional Offices, there was a $105,000 adjustment for increased lease costs for the Lake County Supervisor of Elections, and that for the Lake County Sheriff there was $400,000 for grants and service agreements.  She added that they also had $99,000 for circuit judges, which reflected a new Probate Division manager request and other minor wage adjustments; additionally, there was $1.8 million in capital project adjustments for project rebudgets that were not completed in FY 2023.  She said that there was a $7.8 million increase to reserves and $1.2 million for miscellaneous adjustments including the following: $263,000 for wage adjustments due to some of the provided State rates such as the Florida Retirement System (FRS), overtime estimates, and funding for a Public Communications and Outreach Coordinator which was previously unfunded; $640,000 in adjustments for Planning and Zoning process improvements; and a $95,000 increase for the Medical Examiner’s budget allocation which was partially due to Lake County’s increase in population.  She relayed that the current adopted General Fund operating reserves were $34.9 million, which was about 16.6 percent of the annual operating budget, and that after approval of the midyear budget adjustment, the total General Fund reserves would be $41.2 million, which was about a $6.3 million increase and represented about 19.5 percent of the operating budget. She elaborated that there were several attributes to the increase which included conservative budgeting and spending, higher than anticipated revenues, and ARPA funding which was used to supplement some of their expenses.  She said that the long range target for reserves was about 16 percent or two months of regular operating expenses, which was the recommendation from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).  She mentioned that the total adjustments for the other funds were around $17 million and included $1.9 million for road resurfacing which was being transferred from the General Fund and was previously in reserves; furthermore, there was $7.8 million in grant reconciliations.  She stated that they had some major beginning fund balance adjustments for revenues that exceeded actual expenditures projected in FY 2023 which included the Transportation Trust Fund, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Fund, the Law Enforcement Trust Fund, and risk funds.  She relayed that under capital projects, there was an increase in Infrastructure Sales Tax (IST) revenues over the projections which resulted in additional funding, and that this had been reallocated for the fleet building, fire stations and countywide resurfacing in the IST fund.  She also indicated that there was $955,000 in other adjustments that were primarily related to beginning fund balance adjustments in those funds.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

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

Commr. Parks expressed appreciation for staff and for presenting this to the Board.  He said that he looked forward to the budget process in summer 2024 where they could possibly discuss some of these surpluses and allocating them toward things like road projects.

Commr. Smith thanked staff for their tenacity on the reserve budget, and he noted that the County was over the recommended level; therefore, they could potentially use some of this funding for their roads.

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Shields and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved of an amended budget for Fiscal Year 2024, which includes a reconciliation of the beginning fund balance and other adjustments, and to adopt Resolution 2024-16 for a supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2024.

appointments to the mt. plymouth-sorrento cra advisory committee

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved to appoint Mr. Clark Morris to the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee to fill an unexpired term due to an Advisory Committee Member's (Mr. Francis Force) resignation, whose term of office expires on January 31, 2026.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved to appoint Mr. Jeffery Albright, as recommended by the East Lake Chamber of Commerce, to fill a vacancy on the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee with a term expiration date of January 31, 2025.

appointments to the lake-sumter mpo community advisory committee

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved to appoint the following members to the Lake-Sumter MPO Community Advisory Committee: Mr. Juan Mahfouz, who currently resides in District 1; Mr. Fernando Perez, who currently resides in District 1; and Mr. Jarrod Shoemaker (reappointment), who currently resides in District 2.

appointments to the board of adjustment

Commr. Parks asked to hold off on the District 2 appointment, noting that he was still working on a couple of the applicants.

Commr. Smith asked if the District 2 appointment could be brought back at the next BCC meeting.

Ms. Barker replied that it would be as soon as the County had the applicants that Commissioner Parks identified.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved to appoint Ms. Lourdes (Lou) Buigas, a District 3 resident, to the Board of Adjustment to fill an At-Large seat and an unexpired term ending January 31, 2027.

commissioners reports

commissioner shields – vice chairman and district 1

city of groveland cra meetings

Commr. Shields mentioned that he had two City of Groveland Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) meetings and that one meeting was to determine what they wanted inside of their downtown.

lead luncheon

Commr. Shields relayed that they had a great Lake Economic Area Development (LEAD) luncheon which was well attended, noting that economic development also included working with existing businesses and growing them, along with entrepreneurship.  He added that they were making great strides and that there would be another board meeting on the following day.

commissioner campione – district 4

hidden waters preserve and wolf branch sink

Commr. Campione stated that she had visited Hidden Waters Preserve and the Wolf Branch Sink property with Mr. Bobby Bonilla, Executive Director for Parks and Water Resources, and his team, along with Mr. Robert Hendrick, Chairman of the LCWA.  She said that she had a great time observing the existing improvements at Hidden Waters Preserve, noting that it was a much appreciated park for those in the surrounding area.  She commented that there was a waterfall at the Wolf Branch Sink and that it was a LCWA property which was acquired in 1993; however, it had previously only been open for the public to see at times when they scheduled events.  She recalled that before the County made the LCWA transition, the LCWA had voted, per an application by the City of Mount Dora, to annex the property.  She hoped to have Mr. Bonilla and his team review it from the standpoint of how they could make it more accessible to the public while still taking great care to preserve and protect the sink and waterfall.  She relayed that there were already paths on the property which would be good for hiking trails, and that there was access, noting that the property abutted Round Lake Road and Robie Avenue by virtue of an easement.  She encouraged the Board to visit the property, and opined that if they brought awareness to it, it could hopefully promote attention to what the County was doing to protect the sink.  She added that it was a direct flow into the aquifer, and that the Wolf Branch Creek worked its way into the area.  She said that there was a large construction and demolition (C&D) landfill adjacent to the property, though the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) monitored wells on the property.  She thought that this was a chance for the County to work with the LCWA and do something which could be a large benefit to the public and the basin by bringing positive awareness to the Wolf Branch Sink.

Commr. Parks thought that the Board could also see some of the other properties.

Commr. Smith opined that if the citizens purchased a piece of property, then they should be able to use it whether for active or passive uses.

Commr. Campione thought that they could do this in a way that protected the Wolf Branch Sink.

commissioner smith – chairman and district 3

dr. martin luther king, jr. breakfast

Commr. Smith related that he had an opportunity to present the proclamation at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast, and that it was well attended. 

Meeting with lake county school board superintendent and cfo

Commr. Smith mentioned that he had met with the Lake County School Board Superintendent and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), noting that there was some disparity in funding that he had been in contact with their City of Tallahassee partners about.

public safety coordinating council meeting

Commr. Smith said that he had a Public Safety Coordinating Council meeting in the previous week and that it was interesting. 

national handwriting day and national pie day

Commr. Smith stated that it was National Handwriting Day and National Pie Day.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:10 a.m.








kirby smith, chairman