preliminary copy – for review only
A regular MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
June 5, 2018
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Timothy I. Sullivan, Chairman; Leslie Campione, Vice Chairman; Sean Parks; Wendy Breeden; and Josh Blake. Others present were: Jeff Cole, County Manager; Melanie Marsh, County Attorney; Niki Booth, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; Kristy Mullane, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Kathleen Bregel, Deputy Clerk, Board Support.
INVOCATION and pledge
Pastor Tim Travis of The Father’s House in Leesburg gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Jeff Cole, County Manager, remarked that Tab 18 would be pulled from the agenda and brought back at a future meeting.
Ms. Jeannine Nelson, Human Resources Manager, announced that they would be recognizing employees who had reached significant milestones in their careers with Lake County as follows:
Karen Carter, Risk & Benefits Specialist (not present)
Office of Human Resources & Risk Management
Cheryl Martin, Office Associate III (not present)
Public Works – Right-of-Way
Joseph Jackerson, Firefighter/EMT (not present)
Office of Fire Rescue
David Berger, Area Maintenance Supervisor
Public Works – Maintenance Area II (Minneola)
17 years - Cynthia McManus, Office Associate I (not present)
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Breeden, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of April 24, 2018 (Regular Meeting) as presented.
citizen question and comment period
Ms. Laura Pendergrass, a Mount Dora resident, shared concerns regarding the Lake Norris Conservation Area. She mentioned that she had heard that the old sand mine in the City of Eustis was reopening, that there would be a road built for trucks to utilize for taking the sand out of the mine, that this road would run through the Lake Norris Conservation Area, and that the conservation area was being closed. She indicated this was part of the mitigation program happening in the area and stated she supported the mitigation, but not the route they were using. She opined this was a very environmentally sensitive area, with Blackwater Creek and Lake Norris designated as Florida Outstanding Waters, and suggested using an existing road, Hart Ranch Road, to haul the sand out of the area. She opined it would take 50 to 80 trucks per day for over five years to remove the 1.7 million cubic yards of sand from the mine and felt this would disturb much of the wildlife in the conservation area, which was critical to the Wekiva Basin. She indicated this property was owned by the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) and asked for the Board to pause the building of this road and to help provide some answers to the community’s questions.
Commr. Campione commented that the Board had just started to receive questions regarding this and suggested that staff meet with these residents.
Mr. Cole reiterated that staff was made aware of this situation the prior day and added that there was a similar item on the day’s agenda which was not related to this location. He suggested that Mr. Fred Schneider, County Engineer, speak to this issue.
Ms. Julia Tzobanakis, a resident off of Lake Norris Road, also shared her concerns with the closure of the Lake Norris Conservation Area in order to allow sand mine truck access to Lake Norris Road. She said her concerns focused on the access to Lake Norris Road, and opined this road was not able to handle this activity. She asked that if this was going to take place, then she suggested reducing speed limits on the road, adding the presence of law enforcement officers, and adding a traffic signal at the intersection of County Road (C.R.) 437 and C.R. 44A for safety measures. She encouraged the Board to protect the residents and the wildlife in that area.
Mr. Schneider remarked that he had just recently received calls from concerned residents and indicated that he would meet in the rotunda with those present today to hear their issues, and then would contact SJRWMD to discuss their plans for this area.
CLERK OF COURTs’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 4, 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.
Bella Collina CDD Proposed 2019 Budget
Request to acknowledge receipt of the Bella Collina Community Development District Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2019 in accordance with Section 190.008(2)(b) of the Florida Statutes.
Arlington Ridge CDD Proposed 2019 Budget
Request to acknowledge receipt of the Arlington Ridge Community Development District Proposed Budget Fiscal Year 2019. Transmittal of the budget is being made for purposes of disclosure and information only, in accordance with Section 190.008 (2)(b), Florida Statutes.
Town of Lady Lake
Request to acknowledge receipt of the following from the Town of Lady Lake:
Ordinance No. 2018-10 – Annexation; Ordinance 2018-11 – Comprehensive Plan Amendment; Ordinance 2018-12 – Rezoning; Ordinance 2018-13 – Annexation; Ordinance 2018-14 – Comprehensive Plan Amendment; Ordinance 2018-15 – Rezoning; Ordinance 2018-16 – Amending the Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations Chapter 12, Article II, Section 12-52, Entitled “Setbacks”; Ordinance 2018-17 - Establishing a Special Exception Use on Certain Property Located at 708 South U.S. Highway 27/441; Ordinance 2018-18 – Annexation; Ordinance 2018-19 – Comprehensive Plan Amendment; Ordinance 2018-20 – Rezoning.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT agenda
Commr. Campione shared concerns with approving the agreement in Tab 10, noting it was near Lake Norris Road and the area discussed with the residents earlier in the meeting. She suggested pulling that tab and bringing it back to the Board at their next meeting.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 13, pulling Tab 10, as follows:
Request approval to:
1. Surplus County-Owned property located on the southeasterly corner of the intersection of Thomas Avenue and South Dixie Avenue in the City of Fruitland Park (a/k/a Alternate Key 3891864) excluding any portion needed by Public Works for right of way or stormwater retention; and
2. Authorize the County Manager to determine the best method of disposal of the property, which may include but not be limited to retaining a real estate agent to market the property.
The fiscal impact cannot be determined at this time. Commission District 1.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND COMPLIANCE
Planning and Zoning
Request approval to reimburse a duplicate payment of capacity of reservation fees for Louisa Grande, located in Clermont, in accordance with Lake County Code Section 22-13, and approval for the County Manager to execute all supporting documentation. The fiscal impact is $109,965.00 (expenditure). Commission District 2.
1. To accept the 2017 E911 State Grant Program award of the 911 System Upgrade and Text-to-911 provisioning contracts; and
2. To pursue the Text-to-911 Annual Circuit Funding Request for reimbursement for Text-to-911 Costs; and
3. For the County Manager or designee to execute all supporting documentation; and
4. Of Unanticipated Revenue Resolution 2018-61 for the revenues and expenditures.
The fiscal impact is a one-time cost of $617,466.08 (revenue – grant funded), and $25,356.96 in annual recurring costs (expenditure).
Request approval of Unanticipated Revenue Resolution 2018-62 to accept funds in the amount of $113,106.00 received from the Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Houston, TX) for the purchase of an air monitoring system. The fiscal impact is $113,106.00 (revenue/expenditure).
INFRASTRUCTURE AND INTERNAL SUPPORT SERVICES
Request approval to amend Contract 17-0616 with Cintas (Merritt Island, FL) relating to the Lake County Courthouse Fire Alarm Project to allow for additional services required by renovations and new National Fire Protection Association codes and approval for any necessary budget transfers. The estimated fiscal impact is $42,536.00 (expenditure). Commission District 3
Request approval to:
1. Release a performance bond of $762,019.62 posted for the completion of infrastructure improvements for the Serenoa Village 1 Phase 1A1 final plat located south of Clermont; and
2. Execute a Developer’s Agreement for Maintenance of Improvements between Lake County and VK Avalon Groves, LLC.; and
3. Accept a maintenance bond of $74,913.47 for maintenance of improvements; and
4. Execute Resolution 2018-63 accepting Goldcrest Loop (County Road No. 0264) and Bracken Fern Lane (County Road No. 0266) into the County Road Maintenance System.
5. Execute a Developer’s Agreement for Construction and Maintenance of Sidewalk Improvements Between Lake County and VK Avalon Groves, LLC.; and
6. Accept a performance bond of $75,240.00 for performance of sidewalk construction; and
7. Accept a maintenance bond of $6,840.00 for maintenance of sidewalk improvements.
There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 1.
Request approval to:
1. Release a performance bond of $1,016,267.24 posted for the completion of infrastructure improvements for the Serenoa Village 2 Phase 1A1 final plat located south of Clermont; and
2. Execute a Developer’s Agreement for Construction of Sidewalk Improvements Between Lake County and VK Avalon Groves, LLC.; and
3. Accept a performance bond of $48,070.00 for performance of sidewalk construction.
There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 1.
Request approval to accept a cash surety of $157,406.30 associated with Right-of-Way Utilization Permit #7975 issued to construct a turn lane and sanitary sewer improvements on Hooks Street, located in Clermont, for the Lakes of Clermont Health and Rehabilitation Center. The fiscal impact is $100.00 (revenue – permit application fees). Commission District 2.
COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT SERVICE
Request approval of the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged Trip and Equipment Grant Application for Fiscal Year 2018-2019. The local match of $87,323.00 will be included in the Fiscal year 2018-2019 Budget. The fiscal impact is $785,914.00 (revenue) and $873,237.00 (expenditure). All Commission Districts.
Request approval of the Agreements with Beacon College, Joan Brower, Building Blocks Ministries, Central Florida Group Homes, Gifts of Love, Great Expectations of Lake County, Kinsman Transportation, Cheryl L Williams d/b/a Life Care Services, Love Thy Neighbor and Sunrise Arc for the provision of Transportation Disadvantaged Services for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities clients and private-pay clients. There is no fiscal impact.
2018 HURRICANE SEASON PRESENTATION
Mr. Tommy Carpenter, Director of the Office of Emergency Management, presented an overview of the 2017 hurricane season and its impact, a forecast for the 2018 season, and ways to prepare for the coming hurricane season. He reported the following: that Lake County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated in both 2016 and 2017 for Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, respectively; that the 2017 hurricane season was hyperactive, catastrophic and ranked as the fifth most active season since record keeping started in 1851; and that Hurricane Donna in 1960 was the last significant hurricane in Lake County. He showed a list of primary shelter locations in the county, noting that there used to be nine shelters but due to the size and strength of Hurricane Irma, there are currently 15 shelters with some being pet friendly and having special needs capabilities. He explained these various weather terminologies as follows: a tropical depression is an organized weather system with winds of 38 miles per hour (mph) or less; a tropical storm has winds from 39 to 73 mph; and a hurricane is an intense weather system with winds of 74 mph and higher. He elaborated that hurricanes are measured by the five categories of the Saffir-Simpson scale, that a category one was the weakest and a category five was the strongest, and that categories three, four and five are considered major hurricanes. He remarked that the Groundhog Day tornadoes that hit Lake County in 2007 had similar wind speeds as a category four hurricane. He commented that 2017 was a typical season with tropical storms at the beginning and end of the season and hurricanes in the middle; however, he remarked that the season made a record by having ten hurricanes in a row with six ranked as major hurricanes. He mentioned that the typical peak hurricane season runs mid-August to the end of October, which he noted was the pattern for last year; furthermore, last season was also on the high end of the range for the number of named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes. He reported these impacts to Lake County as a result of Hurricane Irma: sustained tropical storm winds between 50 to 65 mph with frequent gusts of 70 to 85 mph across much of the county; an Enhanced Fujita scale one (EF-1) tornado in the City of Umatilla with a track of 3.84 miles long and a maximum width of 500 yards, noting that an EF-1 has 86 to 110 mph winds which equals the wind speeds of a category two hurricane; a total of 3,222 damaged structures, including both residential and commercial; total damage estimated at over $41 million; and power outages affecting up to 77 percent of customers. He reported that the County was able to provide these services to the public during Hurricane Irma: the citizens’ information line answered 13,975 calls; provided 45,000 sandbags to residents; opened 14 emergency shelters which hosted 4,978 people; host sheltering of 40 people after the emergency shelters were closed; public transportation provided 452 rides; 252 Facebook posts with 1.7 million unique views; distributed 65,000 bottles of water; the Food for Florida program provided assistance to over 24,000 residents; and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Transitional Shelter Assistance Program provided hotel room stays for 34 residents. He elaborated that Lake and Sumter Emergency Recovery (LASER) assisted with long-term recovery needs with 378 total cases, 282 volunteers, and $400,000 in grant funding. He reported that the total cost to the County for Hurricane Irma was estimated to be over $10 million, with $9,668,719 being spent to date and a 75 percent potential reimbursement coming from FEMA. He specified that hurricane costs were covered by the savings from the County reorganization and the County reserves. He indicated that the 2018 hurricane season was forecasted to be an average or above-average season with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasting 10 to 16 named storms, with five to nine being hurricanes and one to four being major hurricanes. He relayed that the County, as well as the Lake County School System, had not yet received reimbursement from FEMA for Hurricane Matthew or Hurricane Irma expenses, that the cost of sheltering had increased due to the additional number of primary shelters, and that Mr. Brock Long, a FEMA Administrator, had communicated to the states and counties to plan to be more self-reliant in any future disasters. He explained that many other counties and states were waiting for reimbursement from FEMA as well. He concluded with ways for the County to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, noting that they were still conducting recovery operations for Hurricane Irma and Maria, that they would continue year-round preparation, and that they would communicate and coordinate with all stakeholders, including the community, public agencies and non-governmental organizations. He explained how residents could prepare for hurricanes by following these guidelines: create a disaster supply kit, to include a supply of water to last three to five days; make a plan for pets; purchase a battery operated National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio; place important documents in a water proof container; have cash available; designate a “safe room” in your home; monitor local media; and stay away from doors, windows and skylights. During the storm, he encouraged residents to stay informed through the AlertLake Emergency Notification System at www.alertlake.com, the County website at www.lakecountyfl.gov, the citizens’ information line at 352-253-9999, social media through the Lake County Florida Emergency Management Facebook page, Twitter @LakeEmergency, and through local media radio stations AM 790 and 640, newspapers and television stations. He reminded citizens to be careful after the storm by: staying away from downed, loose or dangling power lines; using proper safety equipment and clothing when cleaning up debris; driving only when necessary; treating traffic lights that are out as a four-way stop; taking photos of damage to their house, furnishings and surroundings for insurance purposes; and contacting family, friends, and neighbors as soon as possible.
There was discussion amongst the Board regarding having generators at critical intersections in order to keep the traffic lights working, as well as reflective tape on the lights for better visibility in the dark. Mr. Schneider indicated that staff was evaluating the intersections, working with the cities for lights within their jurisdiction, fixing issues that happened with Hurricane Irma and planning for this season.
public hearing –LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATION ORDINANCE 2018-26
Ms. Marsh placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for reading by title only as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA; AMENDING LAKE COUNTY CODE, APPENDIX E, LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS, SECTION 13.03.02, REGARDING MEMBERSHIP OF THE BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT; ALLOWING THE APPOINTMENT OF A MEMBER RESIDING IN ONE COMMISSION DISTRICT TO HOLD A SEAT IN ANOTHER COMMISSION DISTRICT; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR FILING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Commr. Parks asked for support of this ordinance due to the importance of having a quorum for the Board of Adjustment, which allows them to meet on a regular basis. He indicated he had a citizen interested in sitting on this Board, who did not have a conflict of interest, and this ordinance would allow him to place this person into the District 2 position even though he lived outside that district.
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. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried by a vote of 5-0, the Board unanimously approved the adoption and execution of Ordinance 2018-26, amending Lake County Code, Appendix E, Land Development Regulations, Section 13.03.02, regarding membership of the Board of Adjustment; allowing the appointment of a member residing in one Commission District to hold a seat in another Commission District.
public hearing – TRANSPORTATION IMPACT FEE Ordinance
Ms. Marsh placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for reading by title only as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA; AMENDING SECTION 22-37, LAKE COUNTY CODE, ENTITLED IMPOSITION; INCREASING THE TRANSPORTATION IMPACT FEES IN THE NORTH AND CENTRAL IMPACT FEE DISTRICT TO BE EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 15, 2018; AMENDING SECTION 22-11, LAKE COUNTY CODE, ENTITLED PREPAYMENT OF IMPACT FEES; DISCONTINUING THE PREPAYMENT OF IMPACT FEES PROGRAM EFFECTIVE MAY 22, 2018; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; PROVIDING FOR FILING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Mr. Schneider recapped that this was a follow up to his presentation to the Board at their May 22, 2018 meeting. He showed a map identifying the three transportation impact fee districts, noting that the fees included were for a mid-size single family home. As previously requested by the Board, he displayed a breakout of fee proposals for various categories that currently existed for the transportation impact fee. He explained that the cost per unit column was calculated at the full impact fee rate and that the discount columns showed the north and central districts charged at 13 percent of the full rate, which reflects an 87 percent discount, and the south district charged at 70 percent, which reflects a 30 percent discount.
Commr. Campione commented on how low the active adult category rate was as compared to the single-family category.
Mr. Schneider replied that these rates were related to trip generation; therefore, since these types of developments do not generate as many traffic trips and their trip lengths are not as long, the rates are lower.
Commr. Campione asked about breaking out some of the commercial categories so that a family-owned type of business would not be placed in the same category as a big chain restaurant. She also inquired if there were other categories that could be separated.
Mr. Schneider responded that warehouse categories could possibly be divided so that smaller facilities that do not generate as much traffic could have a lower fee than industrial ones that generate more traffic. He relayed that staff had planned to come back before the Board in August 2018 to look at benefit districts and fee categories as part of the mobility fee proposal. He indicated they would need to look at traffic modeling, consider if the districts needed to be realigned, and go through the entire list of categories in order to perform new calculations. He added that the Board would need to decide whether to proceed with mobility fees for the county or just keep some aspects of the mobility fees as part of the current impact fee system.
Mr. Cole indicated this would be a part of the August 21, 2018 Board meeting and clarified that the County was considering transitioning from a transportation impact fee to a mobility fee and was not adding an additional fee.
Commr. Parks asked if the study would have to be redone if categories were divided.
Mr. Schneider answered that he would utilize the previous consultant to assist with the formula and calculations.
Commr. Campione opined that transitioning to a mobility fee could take some time and she suggested making changes to the current system now in order to meet the county’s needs.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. Vance Jochim, a Tavares resident who writes a blog about local government issues, opined that some roads in the county were substandard, that impact fees should pay for the cost of growth, that existing residents should not have to cover this burden, and that rates should be set at 100 percent and not discounted. He suggested reinstating the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) in order to address the road conditions and keep the public informed. He opined that when developers bring growth and the need for more infrastructure, they should pay for those costs as well as any roads fronting the properties they build.
Mr. T.J. Fish, speaking on behalf of the Tavares Chamber of Commerce, commented that he was pleased that the City of Tavares had discussed this issue and taken action although he felt that this was not the only solution. He remarked that he had been looking at this issue since 2005 when he became the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Director and was impressed with road projects being done at that time; however, he asked about the completion of current road projects. He expressed that the Tavares Chamber of Commerce had concerns with how there could be economic development without a way to pay for roads. He encouraged the Board to consider changing impact fees, in a phased approach if needed, and to consider diversification of options. He opined that if the gas tax did not pass or was pulled from the ballot, that this issue would remain. He realized that making changes and adding fees would affect people and was a tough decision; however, he felt that the County needed to do something to improve roads. He asked the Board to look at the real issue, which he felt was finishing big road projects that needed to get done and he mentioned several, and encouraged them to move this topic forward and diversify funding sources.
Mr. William Dorman, owner of White Aluminum and Windows and a former President of the Homebuilders Association, opined that there should be a broad based funding for roads since everyone drives on them and that it was unconscionable to expect the building industry to pay for the entire funding for road improvements. He stated his business employs over 150 people, with over 50 employed in Lake County, and that if there were less homes being built, it would affect his business and therefore lower the number of jobs available in the county. He implored the Board to consider broad base funding, to use a phased approach to raising fees, and opined that to reduce the impact of the fees would be beneficial to local businesses.
Mr. Mike Neace, President of American Family Homes, Inc. and the current President of the Homebuilders Association of Lake-Sumter (HBA-LS), felt there were various ways to pay for the roads. He explained that his company was trying to create jobs, satisfy customers, and build their homes and that it was difficult to cover the cost of impact fees, which he said would be passed onto the customer. He asked for the fees to be more spread out between now and the September deadline. He remarked that he knew Lake County needed better roads due to the influx of people to the area; however, he felt that it should be addressed differently. He opined that the community evolves with existing homes changing ownership and impacting the roads and felt that to put the majority of fees only on new homes was not fair.
Mr. George Hansford, owner of Prominent Construction, remarked that he thought that years ago eight percent of the General Fund budget used to go towards roads and shared concerns that there was currently no funding from this account for roads. He remarked that residents who have lived in the area for 20 years drive on the roads and add to the need for road repair, not just new people buying homes. He mentioned that he had heard from the Lake County Property Appraiser’s Office that the ad valorem tax base was going to have a nine percent increase and asked how much of that would go to improving roads. He mentioned that he had been building in Lake County for over 25 years, and stated that 90 percent of the homes he sold were to people who already lived in the county.
Mr. Roger Stephan, President of Roger Stephan Builders and Vice President of HBA-LS, read a letter from Mr. Peter Logan, President of Medallion Homes, sent to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) asking them to keep the impact fees at their existing rate during this fiscal year. He commented that he agreed with a broad approach to funding roads since everyone uses the roads. He expressed his concerns for future generations to be able to afford to build a new home as the impact fees ultimately get charged to the customer and not the builder. He reminded the Board that when developers build new homes, they are also adding to the tax base which provides more funding.
Ms. Kristen Kollgaard, Lady Lake Town Manager, remarked that there were serious road issues in the Town of Lady Lake in regards to Rolling Acres Road, noting that the Town continually requested for it to be widened but were told funds were not available for that project. She opined that once U.S. Highway 441 was widened, it would make the conditions of Rolling Acres Road even worse. She stated they would like to see impact fees increased.
Mr. Al Minner, Leesburg City Manager, opined that it was a challenge in Lake County to govern the diversity of the three transportation districts. He felt that the north and south districts were completely different than the central district, which was experiencing growth due to age restricted retirement communities that give the County a significant tax base but with less impact. He added that he thought the City of Leesburg was different than the Town of Lady Lake because growth there was centered around the turnpike, which gives immediate access to roads and therefore lessens the transportation impact throughout the county. He mentioned he wanted to point out those differences and opined that this issue should be delayed in order to consider other options. He noted that in the Leesburg area, there was the potential for $750 to $800 million in new investment coming to that community because of low taxation and a good road network, which would yield significant property tax values that could be used in the General Fund.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Sullivan recapped that the Board had the option to continue what was currently in place, phase in an impact fee increase, look at other options, or consider the mobility fee once it was presented in several months.
Commr. Campione clarified that impact fees can only for used for the construction of new roads for the purpose of adding capacity, explaining that people who live here contribute to the maintenance of roads through gas taxes. She specified that the proposed additional gas tax was strictly to be used for the resurfacing of existing roads. She stated that impact fees were not the only funding for new projects, indicating that the County does seek funding from the state to help pay for new roads; however, the County has to have a certain amount of local funds in order to receive the state and federal funds. She opined that the general public does not like to see their ad valorem taxes paying for new roads related to growth, and that the Board was attempting to balance all aspects. She remarked on the comparison of transportation impact fees to surrounding counties, noting that Lake County’s north and central districts were paying much lower fees than other areas. She said she would support a phased approach in order to help local builders.
Commr. Blake liked the point made by the local builder that a majority of people who build homes in Lake County have lived here for many years and saved up to be able to purchase a home. He shared an example of how someone who had lived in the county his entire life paid $15,000 in impact fees just to build a new home. He agreed with the Leesburg City Manager that there was significant growth coming to the county and felt it was not the right timing to increase transportation impact fees and suggested postponing this item.
Commr. Parks reiterated the diversity of the different districts in the county and commented that in the south district, there were large builders and projects that needed to happen to accommodate growth and that is why the impact fee is higher in that district. He remarked that the benefit was the additional value and economic growth happening in South Lake. He said he was open to other approaches that might work better for other districts and that there was merit to considering how mobility fees might work for the county. He stated that there was a portfolio of options for funding transportation needs, including the gas tax, benefit districts, impact fees, special agreements and the General Fund, but opined that everyone has a preferred option and should work together to solve roadway needs. He felt the General Fund should support some of the funding, although he was aware of the pressure for the General Fund to support many other necessities in the county. He asked if the prepayment of impact fees was still an option.
Ms. Marsh replied that if the Board approved the ordinance today, the prepayment option would be eliminated; however, if the ordinance was not approved, then the prepayment stayed in effect. She said another option was to take away the prepayment but keep the current fees.
Commr. Breeden stated she supported moving forward with the elimination of the prepayment option but would prefer to delay the decision on raising impact fees until after the Board decided direction on mobility fees. She said that her Commission District encompasses sections of both the north and central transportation impact fee districts and opined that it was not recovering from the recession as quickly as other parts of the county; therefore, it would be difficult for residents to support a fee increase at this time. She commented that she would be more likely to support a higher increase in the north district if the boundaries could be redrawn to exclude the City of Tavares, as she felt a fee increase would have a strong impact there. She indicated that she would also support an increase in a phased approach to the central district, with the impact fee being $1,000 effective July 1, 2019 and $1,500 effective July 1, 2020.
Commr. Campione urged her fellow Commissioners to consider the road needs in northeast Lake County, especially around Round Lake Road, C.R. 46 and entrances to the new Wekiva Parkway.
Commr. Sullivan opined that the Board needed to make changes to impact fees in the north and central districts as the amount those areas are charged was not enough. He also felt that there could be changes in the General Fund in order to help improve existing roads. He stated that he liked the phased approach over the next six months to a year as it would help local businesses in their planning. He commented that he was against postponing the decision.
Commr. Campione referenced the impact fee graph presented by Mr. Schneider, and suggested the Board use those phases by increasing to 26 percent of the total charge at phase one and then 39 percent as the second phase. She opined this would be reasonable and fair as she felt that most builders thought the fees in those districts were currently fairly low at 13 percent of the total charge.
Commr. Parks remarked that he would support reinstating the CFAC in order to give residents and businesses a chance to have input.
Commr. Campione specified that this group previously recommended a balanced approach to include funding coming from impact fees, the General Fund and the gas tax, which she felt the Board was moving in that direction by proposing the additional gas tax. She reiterated that the current burden on the General Fund was the need to replenish reserves, since they were depleted by Hurricane Irma expenses, and that the additional increase in property values would go directly to replenishing reserves, instead of to road improvements.
On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried by a vote of 3-2, the Board approved indefinitely postponing the ordinance amending Section 22-37, Lake County Code, entitled Imposition; increasing the Transportation Impact Fees in the North and Central Impact Fee District to be effective September 15, 2018; and amending Section 22-11, entitled Prepayment of Impact Fees; discontinuing the Prepayment of Impact Fees Program effective May 22, 2018.
Commr. Sullivan and Commr. Campione voted no.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman called a recess at 10:45 a.m. for 15 minutes.
TOWING RATES PROPOSED ORDINANCE
Ms. Marsh provided an update on the maximum rates for nonconsensual tows, as required by Florida Statutes 125.0103, explaining that this includes vehicles immobilized on private property, wrecked or disabled from an accident scene, or when an owner is incapacitated or unavailable. She clarified that this does not include when a person’s car breaks down and they personally call a towing company. She reported that her staff obtained suggested rates from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, noting that the statute went into effect in 1998 but that Lake County’s code did not have established rates but previously deferred to the Sheriff’s Office, who had now asked the County Attorney’s Office to set the updated rates. She reported that a proposed ordinance was brought before the Board in October 2017; however, there was a representative from the towing industry who had concerns regarding the suggested rates and therefore the Board asked staff to meet with local towing companies, which is the reason this ordinance was being brought before the Board again today. She explained these three definitions within the ordinance as follows: the basic rate is for responding within a ten mile radius from the wrecker operator’s place of business, includes attaching to the disabled vehicle and towing it to the place of storage, and includes no more than a 30 minute wait at the accident scene, with any waiting time beyond this being possibly charged at the hourly rate; the per hour rate is for the wrecker in retrieving submerged vehicles, upright overturned vehicles, vehicles in ditches, etc. but does not include travel time nor the first 30 minutes of working or waiting on the scene and there are no separate charges for the winching; and mileage is charged per mile traveled outside of the ten mile radius from the wrecker operator’s place of business. She then displayed a rate comparison of the proposed rates in the ordinance, the requested towing industry rates, and other counties’ rates. She said staff was seeking direction from the Board for the rates they would like to advertise for the ordinance, and noted that a representative from the Sheriff’s Office and the towing industry were present for questions. She also indicated that rate suggestions from Commissioner Breeden and Commissioner Blake were placed at each Commissioners’ place on the dais.
Mr. Garrett Paquette, with Car Store Towing, said that representatives from the towing industry had met to discuss what they would need the nonconsensual towing rates to be in order to operate their businesses efficiently. He asked for the Board to support the industry’s requested rates, as noted on the comparison graph presented by Ms. Marsh, and approve the ordinance with these rates.
Commr. Sullivan clarified that the four possible rates being considered were the proposed rates by staff, the requested rates from the towing industry, and the two suggested rates from Commissioner Breeden and Commissioner Blake.
Commr. Breeden remarked that the surrounding counties’ rates seemed to be lower than both the proposed staff and the requested towing industry rates. She explained that her first option leaned toward the highest rate of the comparison counties but was still less than the proposed and requested rates. She said that her second option, took the average of the six counties’ rates.
Commr. Blake commented that his suggested rates were mostly the same as Brevard County’s rates, which had the lowest of all the counties’ rates, with the exception of a few categories where another county had the lowest rate.
Commr. Parks clarified that this was for the involuntary towing rate and asked Mr. Paquette what percentage of the business was voluntary versus involuntary and if these rates could help subsidize for lower voluntary rates.
Mr. Paquette replied that nonconsensual rates are ones that are predominantly reimbursed by an insurance company and not a rate that would be charged to a person broken down on the road who calls for a tow. He also explained that per the current ordinance, if the Sheriff deemed the person was an innocent victim, then they are only charged the $75 victim fee and these rates do not apply. He said that towing rates in Florida had not been addressed for years while the industry had seen a 400 percent increase in truck insurance in a five year period, with the cost of fuel also steadily rising. He elaborated that for the driver of a wrecker to be able to perform a nonconsensual tow, they must be approved by the Sheriff’s Office, must be over the age of 23, must be drug-free, and must have a clean and clear background check. He noted that this type of employee costs more money, and stated that he had seen a 30 percent increase in the tower’s cost in order to supply workers like this that would provide the quality of service needed. He added that insurance costs were quite large as well, noting that Lake County was the first to review the rates since the rise in insurance costs. He relayed that these rates were a maximum, that the tower had the right to adjust the rates as needed, and that these rates were set to protect the customer. He reiterated that these were nonconsensual rates only and explained that with a consent tow, the wrecker would pick up the vehicle, take it to the repair shop, and the customer would pay the person for the tow; however, he explained that a nonconsensual tow would come back to the wrecker’s office to be stored, then letters would be written to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and that many times these abandoned vehicles would have the rate assessed to them although the wrecker would never collect any money, noting that they were receiving less for abandoned vehicles than in previous years. He stated that his company gets approximately 25 to 30 abandoned vehicle nonconsensual tows per month from Lake County, of which he has to pay the employee, the fuel, the truck maintenance, etc., but the only money they might receive for that vehicle is $200 from the salvage yard.
Commr. Blake asked how the consensual tow rate compares to the nonconsensual tow rate and if Sumter County has maximum rates set.
Mr. Paquette responded that a consensual tow costs $75 for hookup and $3 per mile from his company and that Sumter County was about even to the proposed rates. He stated that the cost to operate a tow truck is the same no matter what county the towing company works in, explaining that for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, his company did 220 nonconsensual tows last year as compared to the 1,100 tows they did for Orange County; therefore, he indicated that since the truck and employee costs the same but the volume of tows is not the same, they look for a higher rate in Lake County to make up the compensation due to lack of volume. He added that when the towing companies met, they considered what amount they needed as a business owner in order to sustain their business, and that their goal was to request a rate that would be relevant for several years and would keep up with the consumer price index.
Commr. Sullivan relayed that the discussion was for setting the rates for the advertised ordinance; however, if there were changes, the Board could reduce the rates at the public hearing but could not raise them.
Ms. Marsh confirmed that was correct and added that if the Board wanted to raise the fees during the public hearing, staff would have to re-advertise the adjusted rates for another public hearing.
Commr. Campione specified that normally the Board would make fees lower for the consumer but that in this case, the towing industry was asking for a rate that would cover their costs because they are required to administer these tows in cases where a vehicle is abandoned or in a place it should not be. She opined that using the lowest rate might not be the correct way to make the decision since the Board should do what was necessary to assist the industry so they can continue to provide quality service to Lake County. She suggested using the Sheriff’s proposed rates.
Commr. Breeden thanked Mr. Paquette for his explanation which helped the Board to better understand the situation.
Commr. Parks encouraged the Board to advertise for the requested rates provided by the towing industry in order to protect the industry and reiterated this was for involuntary, nonconsensual towing.
Commr. Campione suggested possibly averaging the requested and the proposed rates as a compromise or advertise the higher requested amount and then seek input from the Sheriff.
Mr. Paquette relayed that he paid his employees by the hour instead of a percentage so that they will provide the best service and not be in a rush to remove the vehicle. He also indicated that he provided training for wreckers on how to work efficiently yet safely in order to remove vehicles to make sure that roads are not blocked for hours after accidents.
Commr. Parks commented that the rates should be what the industry needs; otherwise, the County may lose companies willing to perform quality towing and vehicles might stay on the roads for longer periods of time.
Mr. Paquette indicated that in the towing industry meeting, they also presented two versions of a possible nonconsensual tow with one being from an accident scene and the other off of private property.
Lieutenant Mark Stouffer, Commander of the South Lake District Sheriff’s Office in Clermont and the overseer of all the County’s towing services, provided some background to the Board stating that the Sheriff’s Office only uses six towing companies in the entire county, separated into two companies for each of the three sectors. He said they select the best companies to service the community and that these companies must provide the following: indoor, secure, and properly lit areas with a clear path for evidence vehicles in order for them to process vehicles in a safe atmosphere; indoor facilities kept empty at all times so they are ready for a towed vehicle; an employee present between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. weekly as well as one available on weekends; clean and well lit restrooms; proper fencing; and etc. He relayed it was important to keep these towing companies in business so they can provide the services needed, and to keep the ones they currently have in the different sectors in order for them to respond to calls within their area in a timely manner. He reiterated that these rates do not affect a person requesting a consensual tow. He encouraged the Board to adjust the rates as needed to meet the county’s needs.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried by a vote of 5-0, the Board unanimously approved to advertise the ordinance with the requested towing industry rates, with the intent to collaborate with the Sheriff’s Office prior to the public hearing, and to separate the cost for a nonconsensual tow from private property as a separate rate category.
Local agency program (lap) agreement FOR LAKE WEKIVA TRAIL
Mr. Schneider provided the Board with the status of segment one of the Wekiva Trail Project. He showed a map of the Wekiva Trail overall limits, noting that segment one was six and one quarter miles and ran east from Tremain Street in the City of Mount Dora to State Road (S.R.) 46 in the Town of Sorrento, with all four of the trail segments totaling approximately 17 miles in length. He mentioned that segment one was an active rail, explaining that Florida Central Railroad (FCRR) was the railroad that leased the tracks from CSX Transportation who owned the property. He stated that on November 12, 2012, the City of Mount Dora and Lake County entered into an agreement with FCRR to purchase their lease of the corridor from CSX, with the understanding that FCRR would submit for rail abandonment to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and that the City of Mount Dora and Lake County would each pay 50 percent of the lease buyout of $2,014,500. He said that agreement was extended in 2017 and was due to expire on November 30, 2019. He added that on January 10, 2017, the City and the County entered into an agreement to cooperate in the design, ownership and maintenance of the trail once it was completed. Lastly, he indicated that on June 19, 2017, the Board signed an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to provide $1,737,000 in local agency program funding for the design of the trail. He commented that staff negotiated a contract costing a little over $2 million and that FDOT was prepared to provide any additional funding needed if the Board decided to move forward with the design. He remarked that the following required steps still needed to take place: request FCRR to begin the rail abandonment process and provide the initial payment of $25,000 to FCRR, which would need to happen within the next six months; the STB must approve the rail abandonment request with Lake County granted the Notice of Interim Trail Use (NITU) if no other railroad submitted to use the rail corridor; if granted NITU, then Lake County and the City of Mount Dora would each pay $1,007,250 to FCRR to buy out the lease and then remove the railroad infrastructure from the corridor; and CSX would require a purchase agreement to be executed within two years, with funding for the estimated $10 million to purchase the right-of-way from them not yet allocated. He explained that the current Local Agency Program (LAP) Agreement expired at the end of the month; therefore, FDOT was requiring that the design contract be executed no later than that date or the funds would be withdrawn by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), noting that if the County decided to terminate the contract it would not be penalized in the future. He explained these other critical issues that needed to be addressed: in November 2019, the City of Mount Dora and Lake County would need to pay FCRR the sum of $2,104,500; in November 2021, the purchase of the CSX right-of-way would occur, although FDOT had not funded it yet; and according to FHWA rules, if the right-of-way acquisition did not proceed past the design, the County would be required to refund the design cost of $2,078,460. He then shared that the Board could proceed with the design contract and buyout of the FCRR lease or they could terminate the FDOT LAP agreement for design funding. After sharing pros and cons for each option, he reported that staff supported the second option of terminating the FDOT LAP agreement for several reasons including that it eliminated the risk to the County for repayment of federal funds should the FCRR and CSX purchases not be completed, the County would not be penalized when requesting future design funds on this trail segment, the County and the Lake-Sumter MPO would have additional time to work out right-of-way solutions with FDOT and FHWA, and alternative corridors for the trail could be evaluated. He asked the Board for approval to terminate the Local Agency Program Agreement between Lake County and the Florida Department of Transportation for the design services of the Lake-Wekiva Trail segment one.
Mr. Fish remarked that he had supported this project for the last six years because it was multi-modal transportation, it was ecotourism for Lake County, and that there had been so many successes for it. He stated that while he did not want to see this project slowed down, he understood that no one had ever converted an active railroad to a trail and with that came the issues as presented by Mr. Schneider. He agreed that the right-of-way acquisition had to happen first before the design phase and opined that if that could not be solved, then a different location needed to be considered or maybe the trail could be placed beside the railroad instead of the railroad being converted. He urged the Board to support working through the Lake-Sumter MPO to encourage the FDOT to put funds into the right-of-way so that the trail could be completed.
Mr. Michael Woods, Interim Director of the Lake-Sumter MPO, commented that if this LAP agreement could be terminated, then FDOT could possibly roll over the funds to the right-of-way phase for segment two of the Wekiva Trail. He indicated that after July 1, 2018, the funding would not be available as a resource for the County. He said he supported Mr. Schneider’s recommendation and felt it was a good decision for the county.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried by a vote of 5-0, the Board unanimously approved to terminate the Local Agency Program Agreement (LAP) with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for the design services of the Lake-Wekiva Trail segment one, from Tremain Street in the City of Mount Dora to State Road 46 in Sorrento, with the understanding to make the funds available for possible acquisition or work on another part of the trail.
work sessions – budget fy 2019 presentations
offices of human resources and risk management
Mr. Jim Kovacs, Director for the Office of Human Resources and Risk Management, shared an organizational chart for his office, remarking that it was split into two divisions with eight full time employees (FTEs). He relayed that the mission of the office was to develop, implement and facilitate cost effective and efficient programs for managing County employees, employee benefits and loss control programs. He mentioned these accomplishments for the year: implemented a merit based performance appraisal system; implemented the County Manager’s FY 2018 reorganization; advertised and coordinated the filling of 205 positions, including new hires and promotions, since June 2017; coordinated over 19,000 hours of volunteer service for the Lake County Animal Shelter, libraries, probation, and the Agricultural Center; conducted employee training on a variety of topics; and successfully conducted Request for Proposals (RFPs) for an automated employee benefits system, insurance broker services, benefit consultant services, worker’s compensation third party administrative services, flex spending account, Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) insurance, and retiree processing services. He gave special recognition for Ms. Susan Richter, who had been presented an award for over 1,000 hours of volunteer time at the Animal Shelter. He stated that online reporting of volunteer hours improved the accuracy of hours reported and that his department coordinated over 875 Health Risk Assessments (HRAs). He displayed several benchmark slides from FY 2016 comparing Lake County to surrounding counties, noting that Lake County had 812 FTEs, 2.51 FTEs per 1,000 residents in the population, an average total compensation per FTE of $58,772, and had 6.65 new worker compensation claims per 100 FTEs. He shared their overall department proposed budget of $803,979 in total expenditures, with personal services staying about the same and a 5.03 percent decrease in operating expenses. He reported that the property and casualty proposed budget of $4,071,209 in total expenditures had operating expenses and other uses slightly up, with reserves having a decrease, and noted that 45 days’ worth of worker’s compensation claims remained in reserves. He shared the employee group benefits budget of $19,799,483 in total expenditures, noting that operating expenses had a 1.48 percent increase, reserves had a small decrease, and that the County maintained a 90 day reserve for medical claims.
public works department and solid waste division
Mr. Schneider stated that the Public Works Department included the following: engineering, construction and maintenance of roads and stormwater systems; solid waste collection, recycling and disposal; and mosquito and aquatic plant control. He said the department had 194 FTEs and was divided into the three divisions of engineering, environmental services and road operations.
Mr. Schneider stated that the Engineering Division is responsible for the planning and design of new and improved roadways in Lake County, which provide economic development opportunity, transportation network mobility, and include features such as traffic signals, multi-use trails and sidewalks. He remarked that the division coordinates with state and local agencies, holds public meetings on projects, and studies and implements needed traffic safety improvements for county roadways. He displayed an organizational chart consisting of 44 FTEs in the areas of design/permitting, development/sidewalk, right-of-way, survey, and traffic. He mentioned several accomplishments for the areas of design, survey, and right-of-way such as they developed a new web based survey control map for external customers, surveyed 62 projects, provided 17 plat reviews, managed road projects with an ultimate construction cost of an estimated $58 million, provided engineering for stormwater and drainage projects, and negotiated road development agreements. He remarked that the engineering division worked with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) public right-of-way and Safe Routes to School (SRTS) to complete 147 sidewalk projects since FY 2011, consisting of new, repairs and retrofits at the cost of $4.8 million and they also addressed 20 priorities of the SRTS study.
Commr. Sullivan pointed out that the sidewalk project they completed at Pine Ridge Elementary in the City of Clermont allowed children to ride their bikes safely to school for the first time in the history of the school.
Mr. Schneider continued sharing these accomplishments in the area of traffic operations and maintenance: maintained all traffic signals and devices in the county including 13 cities; maintained all signage and striping on the county road network as well as the street/regulatory signage in the cities of Clermont and Tavares; coordinated with FDOT for funding of traffic signal maintenance, parts, equipment and assistance; contracted out 44 centerline miles of roadway striping at a cost of $388,000; and monitored 85 intersections with telecommunications in order to reduce response times and maintenance costs. He remarked that within transportation and traffic engineering, they were able to evaluate current and future county road network needs for inclusion in the Five Year Transportation Construction Program, provide traffic safety evaluations resulting in road safety improvements throughout the county, and support the Community Traffic Safety Team which assists in bringing FDOT safety funds to the county. He indicated these engineering staff efficiencies: performed routine maintenance at the Fuel Remediation Facility in lieu of contracting; served as the project manager of consultants for major projects, which maintains an efficient staffing level by using external sources; utilized engineering staff for minor projects for design of stormwater, sidewalks, and intersections; and contracted out traffic signal services for reconstruction and rebuilds. He then shared several benchmark graphs comparing Lake County to surrounding counties in the areas of traffic signal and traffic sign inspections, total number of traffic signals and flashing beacons, total signals and beacons per technician, number of traffic signs, and signs per sign technician. He presented the proposed budget of $5,571,322 in total expenditures, noting that personal services had a slight increase, operating expenses had a slight increase related to additional traffic studies and traffic signal repairs, capital had increased due to the purchase of four speed radar feedback signs, and grants and aids had decreased because of a reduction in payment to the Lake-Sumter MPO of $7,181.
Ms. Mary Hamilton, Environmental Services Manager, stated that the Environmental Services Division provides water quality projects related to stormwater, protects public health through effective mosquito and aquatic plant control, and includes the solid waste collection and disposal programs. She remarked they have 56 FTEs with 12 part time spray truck operators. She indicated that in 2017, mosquito management had over 4,000 service requests, placed 2,000 mosquito traps, identified almost 100,000 mosquitos, adulticided and larvicided over a million acres, treated over 6,500 tires due to Zika virus concerns, deployed over 7,000 mosquito fish, and accumulated 3,310 surveillance and inspection hours. She said they also developed an interactive spray map which allows residents to see areas being treated and contains a link to the Citizen’s Action Request Line. She reported that aquatic plant management received over 300 service requests, covered treatment for over 8,000 acres of lakes and shorelines, treated over 7,000 acres of hydrilla through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), had over 400 surveillance and inspection hours, and are currently in their sixth year of a ten year work program contract with FWC, which has resulted in approximately $171,000 in reimbursement. She relayed that their stormwater section completed the two retrofit water quality construction projects for Magnolia Lane and Lake Emma Road, and secured an additional three percent credit in their Ocklawaha Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) due to staff being trained to facilitate the erosion control class in-house. She commented that the Water Lab and Adopt-a-Lake program upgraded to a new Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), successfully completed their independent third party lab audit with 100 percent accuracy, and that volunteers collected over 1,500 pounds of trash from lakes and waterways. She recalled that solid waste provided collection and disposal services for almost 70,000 residential units, which resulted in approximately 60,000 tons of trash, over 16,000 tons of recyclables and 23,000 tons of mulch. She then displayed a table chart showing the pounds and percentages of household hazardous waste collected for each collection center, as well as one that displayed the number of people served through the residential service provided by the convenience centers. She reported that as a result of Hurricane Irma, there were the following cubic yards of debris collected: 354,380 by debris contractors; 48,026 at convenience centers; 18,955 by County staff departments; and 17,999 by residential haulers. She announced that they had just received their second grant of $85,508 from FWC for the purchase of additional bear resistant carts, that in February 2017 they started their oyster shell program for reef restoration projects, and that Keep Lake Beautiful (KLB) hosted five events in FY 2017 and three events so far in FY 2018. She commented on these efficiencies in mosquito management: upgraded five truck mounted Ultra Low Volume (ULV) spray units and onboard Global Positioning System (GPS) monitoring software for more effectiveness when spraying; received two 300 gallon tanks from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) for the mosquito fish program; improved efficiencies of surveillance and trapping methods; and modified the A1 Mister which created a dual capacity for larvicide and adulticide and allowed one person to do the work that would normally take two people to accomplish. She mentioned that aquatic plant management was able to experience efficiencies in these areas: updated GPS technology to provide a more accurate treatment area; continued education programs through the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) and the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society (FAPMS); collaborated with SePro and IFAS on battling chemical resistance; built a pump system to rinse chemical totes on site; and utilized flexible work hours to coincide with favorable weather. She explained that the stormwater program coordinated the integration of KLB, Adopt-a-Lake and their outreach efforts to cross promote and improve citizen awareness, streamlined coordination between their department and road operations, and handled a 16 percent increase in flood permit inquiries without additional staffing. She reported that solid waste continued to evaluate outside haulers and contracts to obtain the lowest rates as well as evaluating short and long term cost containment options as directed by the BCC. She then displayed several graphs comparing Lake County to other counties in the areas of mosquito expenditures per capita and per acre treated, aquatic expenditures per capita and per acre treated, stormwater expenditures per capita, trash/recycling tonnages, and annual assessment rates, noting that Lake County was the most efficient for mosquito and aquatic expenditures and had the highest recycling percentages. She presented the proposed budget of $3,841,149 in total expenditures for the combined areas of stormwater, mosquito, aquatic and the water lab, noting that the gas tax funding was at 37 percent because the Environmental Services Division contains the fiscal and administrative program for the Public Works Department, which includes personnel expenses, building maintenance, and the payment for the Sinclair Buildings. She then showed the proposed budget revenues of $16,778,808 for the solid waste fund 4200, which is the operating portion, and fund 4220, which is long term care; additionally, she remarked that the funding sources were assessment fees at 74 percent, General Fund at 17 percent, and other service fees at 3 percent. She then displayed the proposed budget expenditures of $17,564,874 for these same funds, noting that reserves represented the 4220 fund and was declining due to increases in disposal and contract costs related to the consumer price index increasing. She ended with a solid waste assessment graph showing revenues, expenditures and the fund balance from 2012 to present.
Ms. Lori Koontz, Road Operations Manager, stated that the Road Operations Division is responsible for the construction and maintenance of the roadways, right-of-ways, and drainage systems contained in the County maintained road network and has 75 FTEs throughout six different sections. She remarked that for Hurricane Irma, a majority of her division was involved in cleanup efforts and dedicated over 28,000 hours of staff time, removed over 16,000 tons of debris from right-of-ways, partnered with the Office of Public Safety to deliver 2,667 cubic yards of sand for sand bags, and contracted the completion of five major culvert/road repairs and the removal of 10 hazardous trees totaling $126,606. She reported their maintenance section had these accomplishments: received 2,947 resident calls which resulted in the completion of 2,386 work orders; resurfaced 25.83 miles of roadway at $2.8 million; paved 1.75 miles of a clay road using County staff; removed 89 hazardous trees; trimmed 17.78 miles of trees; completed 10 stormwater drainage projects; micro-surfaced one road to facilitate a road transfer to the City of Clermont; installed 2.7 roadway swales for drainage purposes; removed 997 tons of debris and 13 tons of tires from right-of-ways, in addition to the numbers for Hurricane Irma; and coordinated 48 Adopt-A-Roadway volunteer groups for 104.61 miles. She stated that their construction section processed 493 right-of-way utilization and 256 residential driveway permits, constructed six projects, performed 119 commercial site inspections, approved 10 subdivision construction plans, and recorded 13 final plats. She indicated that 42.7 percent of the division’s expenditures were outsourced for cost effectiveness and efficiencies, and that some heavy equipment is leased instead of purchased. She displayed several benchmark graphs comparing the County in the areas of jurisdictional paved lane miles, annual resurfacing expenditures, square miles under jurisdiction, and operating expenditures per square mile; additionally, she noted that the total annual expenditures for asphalt resurfacing in Lake County was a little over $2 million. She remarked that the road operations proposed budget was $9,232,311 in total expenditures, with a significant increase in capital outlay due to the funding for the Challenger Drive and Lenze Drive Municipal Service Benefit Unit (MSBU) special assessment project. She concluded with the overall Department of Public Works proposed budget, not including the Solid Waste budget, which had total expenditures of $35,799,294, noting that revenues remained relatively flat and that reserves were being spent to fund operations.
The Commissioners remarked about the high number of calls they receive from citizens regarding public works’ issues and thanked this team for their great presentations, for their responsiveness to the citizens and Commissioners, and for their efforts to be responsible while reducing costs.
constitutional officers and property values update
Mr. Cole provided an update of the Constitutional Officers’ FY 2018-2019 proposed budgets and the Property Appraiser’s best estimates of property values. He displayed an initial spreadsheet of the General Fund budget, similar to what was presented during the Board’s strategies workshop in March 2018, noting that this was a working budget as of May 31, 2018 and was based on the current millage rate of 5.118. He commented that the Property Appraiser issued the best estimates of property values on May 24, 2018 and indicated there would be a 9.25 percent increase in property values countywide, with 40 percent due to new construction and 60 percent or approximately $5.3 million due to increased values. He explained that at a status quo millage, the 9.25 percent increase would equate to approximately $8.8 million in additional ad valorem revenue. He elaborated that the beginning fund balance line on the spreadsheet included the reserves, noting that the $5.4 million reduction projected for FY 2019 was primarily related to Hurricane Irma expenses. He referenced the following numbers on the budget spreadsheet: the County Departments and Offices, which reported $1.3 million in efficiencies and allowed for a three percent reduction in those budgets (which was in addition to the $1.6 million in reductions identified through efficiencies and the County reorganization from FY 2017 to FY 2018); a required increase in funding to the Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs) in the county specific to ad valorem revenue; debt service payments relating to the construction of the downtown government complex for the funding borrowed in 2007, explaining that the $2.2 million in debt service was previously paid for by sales tax revenue which can no longer be used because the new sales tax cannot be used to pay for old debt; the proposed reserves at $10.2 million, which represented eight percent of the operating budget; and the Constitutional Officers’ (CO) status quo budgets. He summarized that with this current scenario, there was an approximate $3 million surplus at a status quo millage. He then displayed a second budget spreadsheet with the CO’s proposed FY 2019 budgets included (except for the Tax Collector’s since it was not due until August 1, 2018). He specified that the CO’s budgets also included the additional expenses the County has relating to the CO, such as utilities, insurance, lease payments, etc. He explained that with these CO’s budgets included, General Fund total expenses exceed revenues by nearly $8 million at a status quo millage, with the bulk of it relating to the Sheriff’s proposed budget, which was a $10.5 million increase over his FY 2018 budget and did not reflect possible additional expenses needed for school security. He relayed that approximately $400,000 of the $10.5 million increase was related to County expenses primarily for inmate medical care. He remarked that he recognized the difficult decision for the Board relating to the General Fund budget; however, he shared these four additional needs that he thought should be considered but were not a part of the presented FY 2018/2019 proposed budget: $512,115 for merit based increases, of which County Departments would be $350,000, Clerk of Courts would be $96,115 and Property Appraiser would be $66,000, with the Supervisor of Elections and the Sheriff having already included raises within their budget requests; $2 million for reserves in order to put the County reserves at ten percent of the operating budget and within the Board’s policy goal of seven to twelve percent; $1 million for road resurfacing as suggested by the Board; and $1.4 million for school security for the coming year, noting that the School Board was contemplating requesting a ballot initiative to fund school security but even if approved, that funding would not be available until the fall of 2019. He relayed these important 2018 dates for presentations at the upcoming BCC meetings: June 19 would have a budget summary workshop as well as the solid waste and fire rescue consultant presentation; July 10 would be the preliminary FY 19 millage and budget adoption and also the fire and solid waste assessments; September 11 would be the first budget hearing; and September 25 would be the second budget hearing and adoption of the FY 19 final budget.
Commr Parks asked if there was any information on the School Board’s decision regarding school security.
Mr. Cole replied that he thought they were voting the following week.
Commr. Sullivan asked if the $1.4 million mentioned by Mr. Cole would be in addition to whatever the School Board funds.
Mr. Cole responded that it was his understanding that the $1.4 million would be to bridge the gap until the funding came in the fall of 2019, should the voters approve the referendum. He indicated that the School Board was also in discussions with the cities regarding funding.
Commr. Campione reiterated that the School Board was given a one-time amount to address the security needs but that amount would not be enough; therefore, in a year they would need the additional millage. She shared that it was her understanding they were not moving forward with working with the cities but had been negotiating with the Sheriff on the price per school resource officer and once they applied the amount they were given by the state, the $1.4 million was the shortfall amount.
Commr. Blake asked for clarification on what the $1.4 million would cover.
Commr. Campione responded it would pay for part of the cost of the deputies, with the Sheriff desiring 32 officers, which represents the 28 needed plus some additional ones to cover absences.
Commr. Sullivan agreed with staff’s assessments for three percent raises, replenishing reserves, school security and resurfacing roads; however, he felt he would not vote for a tax increase to fund these.
Commr. Breeden opined that the Board was responsible to the citizens of Lake County, who expect taxes to be kept low, and that with the possible homestead exemption, she felt it would be several years until there was the chance to reduce the millage rate. She said she was a big supporter of public safety and had been impressed with the Sheriff’s Office staff; however, she would like to see a rollback millage and proposed that each of the CO’s budgets be held to no more than a 1.5 percent increase over their FY 2018 adopted budgets which should cover modest salary increases or operational expenses, noting that the Property Appraiser and the Supervisor of Elections were already close to that. She opined that this would balance the budget and leave about $1.7 million in surplus. She suggested using a million of that surplus to reduce the millage rate, holding the $512,115 to cover the three percent merit raises as suggested by Mr. Cole, and then reducing the amount going into reserves by $1 million. She concluded that this would then give a total of approximately $2 million to reduce the millage rate and would take it from 5.118 to 5.018.
Commr. Campione remarked that the $1.3 million in efficiencies from the County Departments would help facilitate merit raises and felt that was important.
Mr. Cole complimented the employees for their hard work and team effort to reach the goal of three percent reductions and then displayed a spreadsheet reflecting the budget suggestions made by Commissioner Breeden.
Commr. Blake thanked everyone who worked hard to find efficiencies within the County Departments and stated that his position on the CO’s budgets was they should be status quo.
Commr. Parks agreed with having a millage reduction although he felt the Board would be unable to make a decision on that during this meeting. He remarked that after spending time with the Sheriff’s Office, he was aware of their needs and the Sheriff’s desire to stay ahead of crime prevention and keep up with deputy salaries for retention reasons. He suggested for the Sheriff to attend the next BCC meeting, give a presentation on his proposal, and to consider a possible phased approach to the increases.
Commr. Sullivan suggested considering a three percent raise for Sheriff’s Office employees and then see how that affected his budget, although he noted that it was at the Sheriff’s discretion on the use of funds. He remarked that a salary study was conducted a few years ago and the County was not able to raise salaries for starting deputies. He agreed with having the Sheriff present to the Board.
Commr. Campione added that she would like information and specifics from the Sheriff regarding the proposed 28 new positions to include how and where they would be deployed and if there were additional places where officers were needed. She remarked that often when there is a large change such as this $10 million, it is done in a phased approach, possibly over a five year span. She relayed her utmost respect for the Sheriff and his staff but requested this be done as an overall plan over several years, to include looking at the population, the particular areas where there was an increase in crime, and having additional deputies correlated to that information. She noted that when considering starting salaries, the overall package of benefits needs to be addressed as sometimes the salary may be less than other areas but the additional benefits are better.
Commr. Breeden remarked that she would not support reducing the County Departments any more since they had reduced their budget every year.
Commr. Campione asked what was being proposed in regards to reserves to get it to the Board’s policy of seven to twelve percent.
Mr. Cole replied that the seven to twelve percent is a goal and that the original budget they worked on was at eight percent.
Commr. Campione summarized that the added value due to new construction and value increases was $8.8 million and if the $2.2 million for the downtown judicial complex was removed, that would leave $6.6 million. She asked how much would have to go into reserves, based on what is in there currently, in order to bring them to seven percent.
Mr. Barker added that at least $4 million would be needed to get reserves up to the policy of seven percent.
Commr. Campione stated that taking out the $4 million for reserves would then leave $2.6 million left from the added valuation. She also considered that if the $1.3 million the County Departments had found in efficiencies was added to that, minus the amount needed for merit increases, there would be an approximate $3.3 million available in the budget for other expenditures. She then stated that the Board also has to account for the cost of the school resource officers.
Commr. Breeden opined that was technically the School Board’s responsibility.
Commr. Blake remarked that the $1.4 million was in addition to what the County already funds.
Commr. Campione commented that the County currently pays about $3.2 million a year for schools which already have resource officers, and that this additional amount was to add officers in the elementary schools that do not have coverage.
Commr. Breeden summarized that if the $1.4 million plus the $500,000 was taken out of the surplus, then it would bring it down to basically $1 million left over.
Mr. Cole agreed that if the millage rate stayed the same, the additional revenue from the added property tax values would be about $8.8 million. He reiterated, however, that $5.4 million would need to be taken out to replenish the funding spent on Hurricane Irma as well as the $2.2 million to cover the debt payment for the downtown governmental complex. He summarized that taking that $7.6 million from the $8.8 million would leave approximately $1.2 million from the property value increase, noting this was just revenue and did not take into account the County reductions. He clarified that while the Board did not need to make a decision on budget and millage rates at this meeting, they did need to provide direction if they wanted the CO to make changes to their proposed budgets. He reiterated that staff would be presenting a budget summary at the next meeting and that the tentative millage would need to be set at the July 10, 2018 BCC meeting.
Commr. Campione remarked that she did not want to increase the millage rate and felt that her fellow Commissioners did not desire to increase the millage rate either. She opined that the millage should at least remain at the current rate in order to replenish the reserves enough to be prepared for the hurricane season and to have funds for the specific needs identified.
Commr. Sullivan agreed there was a benefit to restoring the reserves in order to be prepared in case there was another hurricane; additionally, if it was a good hurricane season with no major hurricane impacts, then there would be money available for future operations.
Commr. Parks said then the County would not have to borrow in an emergency.
Commr. Breeden opined that even $10 million in reserves may still cause the County to have to borrow money since the reserves were at $14 million when Hurricane Irma hit.
Mr. Cole reminded the Board that the County expected to receive approximately $7 million in reimbursement from the federal government for Hurricane Irma expenses but did not know in what year they would receive it.
Commr. Parks asked if staff could project revenues for a two year span as it used to be done a few years ago, realizing that can sometimes be difficult to do. He remarked that the 9.25 percent increase for this year was quite large with some of that attributed to the gas pipeline being assessed for the first time, noting that would now happen every year.
Mr. Cole replied that staff could look at future revenues and reiterated that they always budget conservatively. He explained that based on economic forecasting, they anticipate what they expect value increases to be and reduce that amount to establish a conservative budget. He added that the homestead exemption on the fall ballot could also affect the FY 2020 budget by a $6 million revenue decrease.
Commr. Breeden asked if it would be helpful to have the Sheriff’s portion of the budget split out on the tax bills.
Mr. Cole responded that staff could make a request to the Tax Collector for the November tax bills to be split out as a separate millage underneath the County’s millage; however, for the Truth in Millage (TRIM) notice, there needed to be a specific request of the state and it was too late to do that for this year therefore it could not be split out on the TRIM notice. He indicated that if it was split out on the tax bill this year, residents would not be able to compare amounts they paid this fall but would have the comparison the following year.
Commr. Breeden also suggested considering other mechanisms such as the Sheriff’s budget being a Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU) since he serves the cities as well as those in unincorporated parts of the county.
Commr. Campione implied that she had explored this option a few years ago and stated it was difficult to break it out as an MSTU since there was overlap between the Sheriff being the chief law enforcement officer in the county and the special services he provides within the cities that the city police are not able to provide. She thought considering a separate line on the TRIM notices was a good option to discuss.
Mr. Cole recapped that staff would invite the Sheriff to come to the June 19, 2018 BCC meeting to share specifics regarding his budget request.
appointment to the keep lake beautiful advisory committee
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Robert Olson to the Keep Lake Beautiful Advisory Committee to complete an unexpired term ending June 6, 2021.
appointment to the board of adjustment
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. James Hamilton, as the District 2 representative, to the Board of Adjustment to complete an unexpired term ending January 31, 2020.
commissioner parks – district 2
public workshop at four corners
Commr. Parks commented that the public workshop at Four Corners the previous week went well with a good response from the public. He stated that many questions were addressed, such as truck traffic on U.S. Highway 27, and issues with planning and transportation in that area. He thanked staff for their responsiveness to identified needs and for their continued follow-up with the community.
commissioner blake – district 5
lighting of soccer field at northwest lake community park
Commr. Blake mentioned the collaboration between the County and the City of Fruitland Park for the Northwest Lake Community Park and indicated that the City had $50,000 to put towards lighting on the soccer field and had asked the Board to match that amount. He indicated he had discussed this with Mr. Bobby Bonilla, Director of the Office of Parks and Trails, and Mr. Cole who were able to shift some funding.
Mr. Cole clarified that they were moving sales tax that was to be spent at East Lake Community Park and then replacing it with impact fees of the same amount.
On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the second amendment to the Interlocal Agreement with the City of Fruitland Park, relating to the contribution of funds for the lighting of a soccer field at the Northwest Lake Community Park.
commissioner sullivan – chairman and district 1
appointment to the value adjustment board
Commr. Sullivan mentioned that Commissioner Blake and himself had previously sat on the Value Adjustment Board and that he was willing to do that again.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the reappointment of Commissioner Sullivan and Commissioner Blake and the reappointment of Mr. Brian Feeney, as a Board Citizen Representative, to the Value Adjustment Board.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 1:46 p.m.
timothy i. sullivan, chairman
Gary J. Cooney, Clerk