A regular MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
february 21, 2017
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Timothy I. Sullivan, Chairman; Leslie Campione, Vice Chairman; Sean Parks; Wendy Breeden; and Josh Blake. Others present were: David Heath, County Manager; Melanie Marsh, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; Kristy Mullane, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Mr. David Heath, County Manager, gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Robert Anderson, Human Resources Director, announced that Lake County is privileged to have over 16,000 hours of time contributed by volunteers during the 2016 calendar year, which was the equivalent of eight full-time employees and over $129,000 in wages if those volunteers were paid minimum wage for their efforts. He commented that these contributions to their libraries, literacy programs, parks, and other departments significantly assisted the County in offering excellent customer service and programs to Lake County residents and businesses. He reported that there were 38 volunteers who contributed over 150 hours of time in 2016 for their service, and he presented a certificate to the following 10 volunteers who were present:
Mr. James Briggs for 182.5 hours with the Public Resources Department/Literacy Program
Mr. John Walton for 271 hours with the Public Safety Department/Emergency Management/Amateur Radio Emergency Services
Ms. Wanda Klaas for 325 hours with the Public Resources Department/Literacy Program
Mr. Peter Tuite for 371 hours with the Public Works Department/Environmental Services
Ms. Francis Anders with 371 hours with the Public Safety Department/Emergency Management/Amateur Radio Emergency Services
Mr. Jay Boehme for 641 hours with the Public Safety Department/Emergency Management/Amateur Radio Emergency Services
Mr. Howard Youngmeyer for 705.5 hours with the Public Resources Department/Literacy Program
Mr. Strait Hollis for 286 hours with the Public Safety Department/Emergency Management/Amateur Radio Emergency Services
Ms. Sandra Selman for 378.5 hours with the Public Resources Department/Literacy Program
Mr. Paul Branch for 395 hours with the Public Safety Department/Emergency Management/Amateur Radio Emergency Services
Mr. David Heath, County Manager, stated that there were three changes to the Agenda. He related that the first change was that the Avington Park rezoning case which was scheduled to be heard that day and which the Board has received a great deal of email about was postponed until March 21. He explained that two items were added to the Agenda, which were Tab 26 for a briefing on the status of the Eustis ISBA (Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement) from the County Attorney’s Office and Tab 27 regarding the utilities feasibility study discussed at the last Board retreat.
citizen question and comment period
Mr. Vance Jochim, a resident of Tavares and a writer of a blog about governmental and fiscal issues, opined that he did not think that a new building was necessary as requested by the Supervisor of Elections Office due to concerns about mold in the Administration Building, and he requested that the Board look into that issue. He expressed concern about the findings in the Inspector General Report BCC-152 Audit of SHIP Funds, which he believed indicated that there was a problem with the way those funds were managed, and he elaborated that the report stated that rational approaches should be conducted to ensure that things do not break down in that program. He also expressed concern about the County inheriting an obligation after two years to maintain the Canon property mentioned in Tab 20 while funds are short to maintain the County’s existing properties, and he opined that the private owner should be maintaining that property.
Commr. Campione suggested that Mr. Jochim look at the existing statute, the administrative rules, and the HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) requirements that the County has to comply with regarding the SHIP funds and opined that all of the different things that staff had to document were very complex.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 4, as follows:
List of Warrants
Request to acknowledge receipt of list of warrants paid prior to this meeting, pursuant to Chapter 136.06 (1) of the Florida Statutes, which shall be incorporated into the Minutes as attached Exhibit A and filed in the Board Support Division of the Clerk’s Office.
Ordinance from the City of Fruitland Park
Request to acknowledge receipt of a copy of Ordinance 2017-002 from the City of Fruitland Park amending the boundaries of the City of Fruitland Park to include within the city limits approximately .33 acres of land generally located north of CR 466A and east of Lake Josephine Drive, as well as a copy of the transmittal letter of same dated January 27, 2017.
Inspector General Report BCC-152
Request to acknowledge receipt of Inspector General Report BCC-152 Audit of SHIP Funds.
Property Placed on the Lands Available List
Request to acknowledge receipt of the Property placed on the Lands Available List. Lake County has until May 8, 2017 to purchase property from the Lands Available List before it is available to the public.
On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Consent Agenda, Tabs 2 through 14, as follows:
Request for approval to amend purchase order 2016-0673 to TRC Engineering Solutions (Winter Springs) for continuation of supplemental/specialized repair of various public transit vehicles. This is necessary in order to prepare all vehicles for transfer to McDonald. The fiscal impact stated on the purchase order will increase by $60,000 from $180,000 to not-to-exceed $240,000 (partially grant funded expense).
Community Safety and Compliance
Request for approval and execution of a collaborative agreement regarding the coordinated effort to monitor, investigate, and control rabies and rabies exposure through the use of interagency communication and cooperation in the Rabies Control Program. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval of Agreement between Lake County and the Lake County Sheriff Relating to the Aviation Fuel Tank. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval of the Agreement for Hosting the 2017 USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint National Championship. The fiscal impact is $65,000 (expenditure). Commissioner District 2.
Request for approval of the Interlocal Agreement between the City of Clermont and Lake County for Purchase and Installation of the Canoe/Kayak Course required for the 2017 USA Canoe/Kayak Spring National Championship to be held August 2 - August 7, 2017. The fiscal impact is $60,000. Commissioner District 2.
Request for approval of the sponsorship agreement with PFXA for the 2017 Spring Games to be held at multiple softball complexes throughout Lake County. The fiscal impact is not to exceed $40,000 (expense). Commission District 2.
Facilities Development and Management
Request for approval of award of term and supply contract 17-0420 for Janitorial Services for Lake County Facilities to American Janitorial, Inc. (Umatilla, FL). The annual fiscal impact is estimated at $611,463.60 (Expenditure).
Fiscal and Administrative Services
Request for approval of term and supply contracts 17-0001 to 22nd Century Technologies, Inc. (Summerset, N.J.), AUE Staffing, Inc. (Altamonte Springs, FL) and People Ready FL, Inc. (Tacoma, WA) to provide temporary labor services in conjunction with the County's needs, and authorize the procurement office to execute all implementation documents. The estimated annual fiscal impact is $400,000 for FY 2017 (expenditure).
Request for approval of award of Contract 17-0805 to Paqco, Inc. (Leesburg) to provide Phase II road and parking lot improvements at Marsh Park, Eustis, Florida. The fiscal impact is $209,900 (expenditure). Commission District 4.
Request for approval to advertise an Ordinance amending Chapter 18, Article V, entitled “Uniform Street Addressing System.” The fiscal impact is $8,000.00 for first year and $1,000.00 annually (Expenditure).
Request to approve and accept the attached list of public right of way and easement deeds that have been secured in conjunction with development and roadway or stormwater projects. There is no fiscal impact. Commission Districts 2, 4.
Request for approval of an Agreement with Founders Ridge Development, LLC and Founders Ridge Development II, LLC for the design, permitting, and construction of Citrus Grove Road, Phase 2. The fiscal impact is $2,805,656.56 (Transportation Impact Fee Credits). Commission District 2.
Request for approval and signature of Resolution 2017-12 to advertise a Public Hearing to vacate a portion of right of way on Alfred Street, (AKA Old 441) in the City of Tavares. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 3.
public hearings: rezonings
Mr. Tim McClendon, Planning and Zoning Manager, announced that there were three cases on the Rezoning Agenda and displayed on the overhead notice showing that they had been properly advertised for public hearing. He added that these cases were unanimously recommended for approval on the Consent Agenda by the Planning and Zoning Board on February 1, and staff’s recommendation was for the Board to approve the Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 through 3.
Mr. Gerald Cardwell, a resident of Sorrento, pointed out that the property in Rezoning Case #RZ-16-38-4 under Tab 1 has been zoned C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) for a long time and that there were two convenience stores, a drugstore, a daycare center, and a retention pond around it. He mentioned that he owns two homes within 500 feet of the subject property, and he and other residents in that area have been approached by someone who expressed an intention of developing 30 acres in that vicinity. He also expressed concern about the notification of residents of this hearing, since the signs on the property were taken down and then put up again several times. He opined that a house of worship would not fit that area and expressed concern that a church at that location would bring down the property values for the residents there and make their homes more difficult to sell. He also opined that a church would not be the highest and best use for a C-1 zoned piece of property.
Commr. Sullivan suggested that the Board pull that case and approve the rest of the consent agenda, and he opened the public hearing regarding the Rezoning Consent Agenda.
There being no one else who wished to speak regarding the cases under Tabs 2 and 3, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tabs 2 and 3 from the Rezoning Consent Agenda as follows:
Tab 2. Ordinance No. 2017-10
Rezoning Case #CUP-16-06-5
Harbor Hills RV & Boat Storage
To eliminate the expiration date from Conditional Use Permit (CUP) 8/9/1-5 by rescinding Ordinance 2009-15 and replacing the existing CUP with a new Ordinance to allow recreational vehicle (RV) and boat storage use by the Harbor Hills Subdivision residents on 4.33 +/- acres of agriculturally zoned land.
Tab 3. Ordinance No. 2017-11
Rezoning Case #CUP-16-07-1
Arnold CUP Amendment
Amend the existing CUP #09/10/2-2 (Ordinance #2010-23) by removing 21.03 acres of parcel AK #1594685
Mr. McClendon specified that Tab 1 was identified as Rezoning Case #RZ-16-38-4 for the Sorrento Hills Church of Christ, and he displayed an overhead map showing that the property was located off of SR 44 just east of CR 437. He related that the request was to rezone the vacant 1.55-acre property from C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) to CFD (Community Facility District) in order to allow for the development of a church, and he mentioned that it was designated as being located in the Wekiva River Protection Area and the Wekiva Study Area. He reported that staff had found that the proposed rezoning was consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the Land Development Regulations. He requested that the Board accept the Planning and Zoning Board recommendation for approval of this rezoning.
The Chairman opened the public hearing for any additional public input on this case.
There being no one else who wished to speak regarding this rezoning, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Breeden asked how many parcels were between the subject property and Mr. Cardwell’s homes.
Mr. Cardwell responded that his property was located about 330 feet east of the property line of the subject property, with his other property about 500 feet away and two vacant lots in between, and he also mentioned that a convenience store and daycare were located on the other side of the subject property. He pointed out that the traffic on SR 44 is already heavy, especially since the sand mine has been opened up the road.
Commr. Campione asked about plans for any future widening projects on SR 44.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, responded that the Department of Transportation did a study about 20 years ago on SR 44 to Deland, but there has not been anything done recently, and it is not on any five-year road program.
Commr. Campione asked whether there are limitations on the square footage of commercial that can be in that intersection.
Mr. McClendon answered that the property two parcels to the left was the only one in the rural support area, but this parcel falls just outside of that.
Commr. Parks clarified that the use of a church on this parcel would not prohibit any commercial uses around it.
Commr. Campione opined that typically the churches are well received, because they are only busy on Sundays and Wednesdays and do not generate the same kind of peak traffic every day as a commercial use that was generating a high volume of traffic, which was particularly important in the Wekiva area.
Commr. Sullivan pointed out that he wanted to give the applicant, who was present, an opportunity to speak.
Mr. Gary Castel, the applicant, emphasized that the Sorrento Hills Church of Christ was a very small church with only about 25 to 30 members, and they were hoping to build a small building in the future on this property. He further explained that he put the zoning signs that were stapled on to three-foot stakes on the property on a very windy day, and the signs kept getting blown down. He confirmed that their congregation only met on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, with no school or daycare on the premises. He mentioned that FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) will have to approve the ingress and egress to the property, and they will have to submit their plans to the County.
Commr. Campione commented that they had to adhere to the rules that were in place that allowed for this type of use, which was a low-impact use in comparison to other things that could go on the property.
Commr. Blake opined that it did not sound like this church would cause any traffic issues on SR 44.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Breeden, and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Rezoning Case #RZ-38-4, Sorrento Hills Church of Christ, a request to rezone a 1.55 acre-property from Neighborhood Commercial (C-1) to Community Facility District (CFD) for a church/place of worship.
mt. plymouth-sorrento cra ordinance
Ms. Melanie Marsh, County Attorney, 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 2-90.9 ENTITLED MEMBERSHIP; TO ESTABLISH ALTERNATING TERMS FOR MEMBERS; TO DESIGNATE THE NUMBER OF MEMBERS WHO MUST OWN PROPERTY INSIDE THE PLANNING AREA; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR FILING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Ms. Marsh clarified that this ordinance pertains to the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to speak regarding this issue, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the adoption and execution of Ordinance No. 2017-8 amending Chapter II, Division 5, of the Lake County Code regarding the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee adjusting the terms of the members of the committee to alternate expiration of terms and designating the number of members who must own property inside the planning area. There is no expected fiscal impact.
syvlan shores municipal service benefit unit for streetlights
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, ESTABLISHING THE SYLVAN SHORES MUNICIPAL SERVICE BENEFIT UNIT FOR THE PROVISION OF STREET LIGHTING; PROVIDING THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WITH THE AUTHORITY TO LEVY AND COLLECT SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS AND SERVICE CHARGES WITHIN THE SYLVAN SHORES MUNICIPAL SERVICE BENEFIT UNIT; CREATING A NEW SECTION 20-1(20), LAKE COUNTY CODE; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE LAKE COUNTY CODE; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Ms. Molly Horton, a long-time resident of Sylvan Shores in Mount Dora, commented that she was willing to pay the cost of receiving lighting out there.
Commr. Sullivan explained that the purpose of this ordinance is to set up an MSBU (Municipal Service Benefit Unit) in order to provide the neighborhood with the lights, since the County’s survey of all of the residents there indicated that 58 percent would like to move forward with that, and he further mentioned that the charges will appear on their next property tax bill if this ordinance is approved.
Commr. Campione assured Ms. Horton that the County was working hard with the City of Mount Dora to keep the cost of the lighting reasonable and to make sure that it strictly reflects the cost of the electricity with no added charges.
Mr. Gary Stellges, a resident of Sylvan Shores, asked whether the City of Mount Dora will take care of the maintenance of the lights.
Commr. Campione responded that the County will have an interlocal agreement with the City of Mount Dora which will give the County enforcement authority and will hold the City accountable for that.
Ms. Beverly Copeland, another long-term resident of Sylvan Shores, asked whether the residents will get charged by both the County and the City of Mount Dora.
Commr. Campione commented that the power bill for the electricity that the City provides to the residents and the lights were totally separate issues, but the City had stated that they could not be providing lights at no charge to areas outside of their city limits by law. She also mentioned that the old agreement about those lights was ambiguous and hard to enforce. She noted, however, that what the City charges the residents on their power bill was limited by the actual usage.
Ms. Marsh added that her understanding was that the power bill was for the electricity directly to the residents’ homes and does not cover the power to the lights on the streets. She elaborated that the residents pay for the electricity they use plus a statutorily-allowed surcharge, because they are not city residents.
Commr. Campione further elaborated that the city was allowed to charge a surcharge of 25 percent over what they charge city residents for the electricity provided to residents who were situated outside the city limits. She related that the cost for the MSBU will be a line item on their tax bill specifically for keeping those lights on, and they would not be billed by the City for the light fixtures or the electricity for them, since that will be covered by the MSBU.
Ms. Copeland expressed relief to be dealing with the County rather than the City of Mount Dora regarding this issue.
Mr. Carl Green, a resident of Mount Dora, related that his understanding was that the contractual agreement between the City and Sylvan Shores when the property was originally developed regarding those lights has been challenged in court several times, but the court had ruled in favor of the Sylvan Shores property owners. He asked whether instituting the MSBU would impact the ability of the residents to initiate a lawsuit against the City to enforce that contract.
Ms. Marsh responded that she could not comment on whether the agreement between the City and the old developer which occurred back in the 1920’s and 1930’s was enforceable or not, and she explained that the MSBU just set up a funding mechanism to pay the City for the lighting service to this subdivision. She suggested that he discuss with an attorney the issue of the ability to enforce the old agreement.
Mr. Bill Toms, a resident of Sylvan Shores, expressed concern about the notification for this meeting, with some but not all residents receiving emails and/or postcards, and he pointed out that he himself did not receive a postcard or an email.
Mr. Heath assured Mr. Toms that the County met the legal requirements for advertising this meeting, and the postcards were sent out last week as an extra step to inform the residents.
Commr. Campione added that a notice was placed in the newspaper as required by law; however, she pointed out that this was a unique situation, since the County does not do these types of districts on a regular basis, but they tried hard to make sure that the County residents who lived outside the city limits of Mount Dora did not lose the use of their streetlights.
There being no one else who wished to speak regarding this issue, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the adoption of Ordinance 2017-7 establishing the Sylvan Shores Municipal Service Benefit Unit for the provision of street lighting and authorizing the Board of County Commissioners to levy and collect special assessments and service charges within the Sylvan Shores Municipal Service Benefit Unit; creating Section 20-1(20), Lake County Code, entitled “Ordinance No. 2017-7 (Sylvan Shores Municipal Service Benefit Unit),” Approval of the Resolution 2017-13 regarding the Notice of Intent to Use the Uniform Method of Collecting Non-Ad Valorem Special Assessments; and request for approval and execution of Interlocal Agreements between the County and the Property Appraiser and Tax Collector for the Sylvan Shores Street Lighting Project.
advertisement of ordinance repealing appendix e of the ldr’s
Mr. McClendon requested approval to advertise proposed updates and amendments to Chapter XI of the sign ordinance to bring Lake County’s sign regulations into compliance with current case law. He recapped that a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2015 held that the Town of Gilbert, Arizona’s sign code, which identified categories of signs based on the type of information they conveyed and imposed stricter limitations on signs that displayed political or ideological messages, was a content-based restriction on speech. He related that since the ruling, staff has been working with the County Attorney’s Office on an ordinance to remove all content-based restrictions currently existing in the Land Development Regulations (LDR) for Chapter XI Signs. He gave a quick overview of Lake County’s current sign regulations, noting that the existing ordinance regulates the number of signs allowed, as well as the size, physical characteristics, and placement of the signs. He emphasized that the existing sign regulations do exactly what the Supreme Court ruled against, since the current regulations are based on or related to the content of signs. He mentioned that the County also currently prohibits pole signs or signs that are in the right of way. He reported that staff sought to remove all the regulations in the sign ordinance that were content-based, although he noted that the vast majority of the existing regulations would remain unchanged, including the manner in which copy area is determined, the amount of signage allowed in each zoning district, the number of signs allowed, and the setbacks. He specified that the proposed ordinance deletes all references or amends certain definitions for types of signs that were based upon the content of said sign and removes regulations dependent on the content of signs. Also, he explained that temporary signs are defined as any sign constructed of cloth, canvas, fabric, paper, plywood, or other light material which is not intended or designed for permanent display and now encompass all political, incidental, noncommercial, and real estate signs.
Mr. McClendon added that the ordinance also imposed a 90-day maximum duration limit, a maximum six-foot height restriction, and a limitation of 32 square-feet in copy area. He mentioned that staff sought and received substantial feedback from several entities, including five sign vendors that pulled permits with the County and the Realtors Association, which led to revisions that removed the entire provision for special event signs and identified them as temporary signs; removed sign landscaping requirements, resulting in a more streamlined building permit process; imposed restrictions for digital or LED signs requiring one-second delays between messages; and allowed for slightly taller ground signs. He mentioned that the Planning and Zoning Board recommended approval of the proposed ordinance on January 4. He assured the Board that the proposed ordinance would be consistent and in compliance with case law, as well as business friendly by addressing several issues with the existing sign regulations that were identified by sign vendors. He noted that there will be a work session on the remaining Land Development Regulations in late April. He requested that the Board approve the request to advertise the proposed sign ordinance for two public hearings and to authorize holding the second public hearing of the proposed ordinance at 9:00 a.m.
Ms. Marsh clarified that the authorization to hold the second hearing at 9:00 a.m. is essentially waiving the 5:05 p.m. requirement that is typical for this type of ordinance.
Commr. Parks commented that he was in favor of some of the changes that would make the ordinance business-friendlier, noting that the provision for special event signs was often a large problem.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the request to advertise an ordinance to repeal and replace Appendix E of the Land Development Regulations, Chapter XI entitled "Signs" and authorization to hold the second public hearing of the proposed Ordinance at 9:00 a.m. There is no fiscal impact.
property assessed clean energy (PACE) program
Mr. Robert Chandler, Economic Growth Director, related that this presentation would provide an overview of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program and the steps needed for Lake County to join this program. He explained that Section 163.08, Florida Statutes, passed in 2010 allows the financing of qualified building improvements aimed at enhancing Florida’s renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts; gives residential, commercial, and agricultural property owners an alternative method for financing qualified building improvements related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and hurricane protection; and enables property owners to receive upfront financing with no money down for building improvements. He mentioned that the loan is repaid by the property owner through non-ad valorem assessment on their property tax bill for a period of up to 20 years. He explained that qualified improvements include most products that can be permanently affixed to a property and reduce onsite electric usage, assist in hurricane protection, or produce onsite renewable energy. He elaborated that some approved improvements include rooftop solar panels, solar water heaters, energy efficient HVAC units, cool roof, impact windows, and insulation. He reported that the basis of the program is the PACE district, which is a separate legal entity created by interlocal agreements between founding members (local governments) for the purposes of administering the PACE program within their jurisdictions. He added that unlimited districts can be created within the state, and local governments can join one or multiple districts by approving the appropriate resolutions or ordinances. He pointed out that there were currently multiple active districts across the state, with each district operating separately and with a third-party administrator to manage all aspects of the program, including project funding, customer service, and marketing. He elaborated that the third-party administrator provides turnkey service with no costs or resource allocation needed from District members. He noted that municipalities were able to join the districts as well, and he presented a chart illustrating the structure and workings of the PACE program.
Mr. Chandler listed the property owner eligibility requirements in the Florida Statutes, including that all property taxes and any other assessments levied on the same bill as the property taxes must be paid; there were no delinquencies for the preceding three years or the extent of the property owner’s period of ownership, whichever is less, as well as no involuntary liens on the property; no notices of default or other evidence of property-based debt delinquency have been recorded during the preceding three years or the extent of the property owner’s period of ownership, whichever is less; and the property owner must be current on all mortgage debt on the property. He displayed a flow chart illustrating the process for the property owners, starting with the submittal of an application by the property owner to the third-party administrator, which would go through underwriting; and then a contract would be approved between the contractor and the property owners; a finance agreement would be entered into between the property owner and the third-party administrator; the third-party administrator would then issue the Notice to Proceed; an eligible contractor would begin work; and the third-party administrator issued payment to the contractor once the work is completed by the contractor. He commented that the advantages of the PACE program include that it provides an alternative financing option to traditional lending sources, allows for upfront financing with no money down, results in an increase in energy efficiency or hurricane protection of properties, has the potential to stimulate economic activity for local contractors, and has flexible assessment timeframes; also, the loan is attached to the property and not the borrower. He then listed the disadvantages of the program, including that a failure to pay the assessment could trigger foreclosure and property loss, some mortgage lenders such as Fannie Mae and Freddie will not issue loans on properties with PACE assessments, it results in an increase to the property owner’s tax bill, and interest rates are typically higher than other green mortgage alternatives.
Mr. Chandler pointed out that the program will only be applicable in unincorporated Lake County, and he stated that some considerations that would need to be considered if the County chose to move forward with the program were whether the program should allow multiple districts or administrators to operate in the county and what property types such as residential, agricultural, or commercial should be made eligible for the program. He related that there were dozens of jurisdictions across the state that were using the PACE program, such as the City of Orlando, Broward County, Alachua County, and the City of Winter Park, with each community outlining their own evaluation process for the interlocal agreements. He listed the next steps regarding this program, noting that the first step would be for the Board to provide direction on whether to proceed with the PACE Program; if so, a resolution would be prepared pursuant to the criteria listed in Florida Statute 163.08, which would be reviewed and considered by the Board, and the Board would review and consider the interlocal agreement with each District. He requested that the Board provide staff with direction on whether to provide a single or multiple district membership structure if they decide to move forward with the PACE program, the eligible property types, and to prepare a resolution and local criteria to bring back to the Board.
Mr. Michael Raffensberger, a resident of Lady Lake and a local heating and air conditioning contractor, stated that he has seen other municipalities that are adopting the program and strongly urged the Board to put the PACE program into effect in Lake County. He commented that it gives homeowners, including those who do not qualify for conventional financing, a different alternative from traditional financing to make energy improvements on their home which would save them money on their electric and utility bills.
Mr. Vance Jochim expressed concern about the use of the Tax Collector’s Office, a government agency, to collect on loans that are being used to subsidize what he believed should be a private industry practice. He also expressed concern about scams that have been happening in states such as Arizona and California with solar energy programs, where the owner stops paying when the equipment fails, which results in a lien on the house. He strongly urged that the Board not consider this until they can see how it is working in other areas of the state.
Ms. Kate Wesner, a representative of Wide Green Energy Fund, which was one of the PACE providers, stated that they have been the leading PACE provider in the State of Florida and have done over 7,000 projects totaling over $160 million worth of PACE improvements in eight counties and 82 cities. She emphasized that they have had no defaults or foreclosures on PACE properties and that they certify their contractors to ensure that there were no scams involving the solar companies. She added that they remove any contractors with whom they have issues from their program and that the County has the ability and the authority to remove any PACE provider who is not living up to the County’s expectations.
Mr. Mike Neace with American Family Homes, a resident of Eustis, commented that the PACE program was another avenue for someone who could not get outside financing to be able to make some necessary improvements to their homes, such as retired people with a lot of equity in their homes who need a new roof in order to keep their insurance. He assured the Board that the people who are accepted into the program are responsible, since there are a lot of criteria in place in order for them to qualify for the financing, such as equity in the home and a good record of mortgage payments, and he pointed out that the failure rate is zero in the State of Florida.
Ms. Amy Elliott with Renew PACE, one of the PACE providers that has been speaking with County officials, related that their contract enrollment criteria were very stringent with more protections than in the general market, noting that they check BBB (Better Business Bureau) scores and corporate credit and/or personal credit of the contractors being enrolled. She stated that they see a lot of people coming to them for windows, roofs, and air conditioning systems. She specified that one of their consumer protections is that their contractors get paid after they submit the final invoice, all the documents have been signed by the property owner, and they get a pulled permit number, all of which was part of an advanced protocol that other property owners would not have. She summarized that this is a program that works with the kind of guidelines that she has described, and she encouraged the Board to continue to do their due diligence to make sure they were comfortable with the program. She indicated that her company would like to work in Lake County.
Commr. Sullivan commented that he believed they should include all types of property including residential, agricultural, and commercial. He suggested that they direct staff to prepare a resolution, set the local criteria, and bring those back to the Board.
Commr. Blake indicated that he was opposed to going forward with the PACE program, since he could not justify inserting County government into the private lending market. He commented that the economy can get worse quickly, and he was concerned that this program could make it more difficult for someone to keep their home.
Commr. Campione asked whether any of the other local governments limit the amount of equity that can be used for this program.
Ms. Wisner responded that state statute requires that a property owner can only borrow 15 percent of the fair market value or 20 percent of the assessed value. She added that negative equity lending was not allowed, and property owners had to have a minimum of 10 percent equity in order to participate.
Commr. Campione asked who handled the foreclosures when property owners do not pay.
Ms. Wisner answered that it would go through the normal tax certificate process of nonpayment of the property tax bill locally if the PACE portion was not paid, which takes about 18 to 24 months, giving property owners who are in arrears a longer period of time to get current than if they defaulted on a home equity loan.
Ms. Marsh added that there were two different processes, with a tax certificate and ultimately a tax deed issued for the property owners who go through PACE, do not have mortgages, and do not pay their tax bill. She elaborated that the property owners who actually have a mortgage would be notified by the PACE program that there was an additional assessment, and the mortgage companies would pay the tax bill and increase the amount the property owners would have to put into escrow; however, if a property owner could not pay the monthly mortgage payment because of the increase in the escrowed amount, that would lead to a foreclosure.
Commr. Breeden asked whether they could specify in the agreements that only Lake County contractors could be used.
Ms. Marsh responded that they could negotiate any parts of those agreements, as some of the other jurisdictions have done.
Commr. Sullivan opined that he believed having multi-districts or membership is the best way to move forward as well as including all property types. He commented that he had some of the same concerns about governmental involvement, but he believed there was a need for this program in their community and was in favor of moving forward with the right criteria.
Commr. Campione commented that she tended to be in favor of things that help the local businesses, contractors, and subcontractors but expressed concern about homeowners using up their equity and putting an additional burden on their property. She opined that the County would be in the middle of a process that could be responsible for someone losing their home in the event of an economic downturn, which makes her very uncomfortable.
Commr. Parks expressed an interest in moving forward with this request, noting that the property owner would still be foreclosed on if they received and then could not pay a home equity loan from their lender.
Commr. Campione added that the property owners would be paying a higher interest rate with the PACE program than with a bank loan.
Commr. Breeden pointed out that they would be making this option available but not administering it.
Commr. Sullivan concluded that there was a consensus of three out of five Commissioners to direct staff to move forward with looking further into multiple district structures of the PACE program and to take an exhaustive look at some of the other resolutions and ordinances in terms of additional local criteria such as the use of the County logo, disclosure of fees, and the employment of local vendors to bring back as a departmental item to the Board in a public forum.
Mr. Heath clarified that this would probably be done within the next 60 days, and he anticipated that this might be a lengthy and complex discussion considering the difference of opinion displayed by the Board on this issue.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 10:30 a.m. that there would be a ten-minute recess.
cannon property acquisition
Mr. Jeff Cole, Public Resources Director, provided the Board with an update on the Phase I of the Cannon Property acquisition and the Trust for Public Land’s proposal related to the Phase II acquisition. He showed an aerial map of the entire 43.5 acre Cannon parcel located in Leesburg just north of the Viaport mall, and he added that the property is surrounded by three communities to the east, south, and west and was located just south of state lands. He related that there were endangered and threatened plant and animal species on the property, which was how they engaged the federal funding. He reported that the property owner valued the entire 43.5 acres at between $8 million and $10 million in 2015, and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) appraised Phase I in 2016 consisting of 12.24 acres for $2.4 million. He recapped that the land owner offered the County the entire 43.5 acres for $6 million in 2015 or $138,000 per acre, with $4.5 million of that to come from federal grant funding and $1.5 million from the County. He added that the property was evaluated by the County’s Economic Growth, Public Works, and Public Resources Departments; and it was concluded that it was good conservation land, provided passive recreational opportunities, would promote ecotourism, and would protect federally threatened and endangered plant and animal species. However, County funding was not available for purchase and associated costs at the time, and the Board was briefed but no action was taken at that time. He explained that the TPL approached the County in 2016 and proposed a phased acquisition of the 43.5 acres, and he displayed the first phase on the aerial map for the 12.24 acres. He elaborated that the proposal was for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to seek a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) through the Endangered Species Program, and the property owner offered to donate the remaining $1.2 million in land value so that there would no financial implications to the County for the acquisition, although the County would own and manage the property in perpetuity.
Mr. Cole recapped that the Board voted to support that proposal and FDACS’ application for the grant in March 2016 and added nine conditions to that proposal, including that the County will not be financially obligated in any way to fund any part of the acquisition of the 12.24 acres, the County would be provided evidence of clear title and an environmental assessment showing no evidence of environmental hazards at the expense of the property owner, the property owner will provide the County with a minimum 30-foot wide improved access to the property through a permanently conveyed easement from Radio Road that the County will use for maintenance and public access, the property owner will agree to not sell the remaining 31.26 acres for development if the first phase of the property is conveyed to the County, and the property owner will provide the County with $30,000 to fund maintenance of the land during the first two years of the County’s ownership of the 12.24 acres and $65,000 to fund initial needs such as development of a Land Management Plan and Site Master Plan, installation of perimeter fencing, gates, and signage during the first year of County ownership. He gave an update regarding Phase I, noting that FDACS submitted the application to USFWS for the $1.2 million grant in March of 2016 and received the award in September of 2016. He noted that agreements would be developed in the spring of 2017 among FDACS, TPL, the property owner, and the County that would reflect the acquisition and the Board’s previously-mentioned conditions, and he expected that the Board would be considering the agreement to receive the Phase I parcel in the summer of 2017 after successfully completing due diligence. He mentioned that Phase I contains the landlocked, eastern portion of the property and is located about a half mile from the public road, which was Radio Road. He pointed out that the TPL indicated in January that the property owner will provide legal access from Radio Road into the property but not improved access consisting of the first 1,350 feet of an 18-foot wide limerock-stabilized road to County standards that is needed for the maintenance and public access. He commented that the topography was very varied in that location and currently prevents vehicles from accessing the property, and he specified that staff estimates that the cost to improve the first 1,350 feet would be about $200,000 plus the cost to mitigate any environmental impacts.
Mr. Cole reported that the County received a proposal this year from the TPL for Phase II of this project consisting of the purchase of 10 acres west of the Phase I property for an estimated $2 million which would entail FDACS to apply for a $1.5 million USFWS grant by the deadline of March 17 that would require a 25 percent non-federal match or $500,000 in land value, with the County owning and managing this land in perpetuity. He mentioned that he had recently received the appraisal of that ten-acre parcel indicating that it was appraised at $2,025,000. He related that the infrastructure sales tax was a potential funding source but would require a realignment of the Board’s existing priorities. He also mentioned that staff provided TPL in 2016 with a list of vacant County-owned land, and the TPL inquired about several parcels and proposed a possible land swap of South Pine Lakes Reserve, which consisted of 128 acres in northeast Lake County east of SR 44 and was part of the Wekiva-Ocala Greenway, a conservation corridor linking the Ocala National Forest and the Wekiva River. He recapped that the County purchased that property in 2007 and 2008 for $985,250 with Public Lands bond funds, and the Board approved continuing County ownership and management of the property in 2013. He reported that the County Attorney’s Office evaluated the feasibility of swapping the South Pine Lakes Reserve in the context of the tax-exempt bonds that were used to purchase the property, since there are some restrictions on disposal of properties purchased with those bonds, and failure to meet the federal regulations could result in a taxable event to the County. He elaborated that disposition of the property must be at fair market value, the proceeds from that disposition must be treated as bond proceeds, and disposed property must be used by a new owner for another legitimate governmental purpose to maintain the tax-exempt status. He reported that County funding is not currently available for a 25 percent match, and restrictions on properties purchased with tax-exempt bonds is not favorable to a land swap. He noted that an agreement was still needed for the Phase I acquisition which would include the easement, access to the property, and the rest of the nine conditions that the Board placed on that acquisition in March 2016. He stated that the staff recommendation was to work to complete the Phase I acquisition consistent with the nine conditions and to evaluate the potential funding sources for a Phase II match in subsequent grant cycles upon completion of the Phase I acquisition.
Mr. David Fuller, an owner of the Cannon property, commented that his family has made a special effort financially to help this land become a park and has donated nearly $1.4 million. He emphasized that his family does not want to see the land developed, since this was a very special property which has survived while everything around it has been developed and is home to an enormous population of species such as bear grass. He pointed out that Silver Lake is a growing area that contains no parks, and this would be a great addition to help remedy that. He mentioned that the County purchased 6.43 acres in 2013 adjacent to his land which is currently accessed through his property, which illustrates that there is currently access for County maintenance vehicles through Stonegate. He proposed that a gravel parking lot be developed and laid out on the curb cut to Old Mill Road off of Radio Road with a footpath or trail to the property, and he opined that there was no reason to build another road, since there was currently access to the property in two locations for a heavy commercial vehicle that would be used to maintain the property and a place for a relatively inexpensive parking lot and trailhead into the property at the curb cut to Radio Road for residents and visitors. He noted that the County can reroute the stormwater drainage piping through this easement during the widening of Radio Road, which would save a considerable amount of money.
Mr. Douglas Hattaway with the Trust for Public Land commended the Board for the County’s efforts and foresight in realizing that it was important to think about their legacy to conserve land for their heritage as Lake County continues to grow where people can go to connect to the land. He commented that this was a very complicated situation and was proposed in phases because of the reality and difficulty of coming up with the funding to realize this overall project. He stated that he concurred with the idea to provide an improved access point to the property if they were going to be continuing with phases when there is an opportunity as well as to allow for a small parking area along or near Radio Road and providing some more of a footpath into the property. He opined that the landowner’s willingness to donate 50 percent of the land value, $65,000 to fund initial needs, and two separate payments of $30,000 intended for management and maintenance was exceptional; and it is also unique to have an opportunity to work with a landowner who is motivated to see the project succeed for the community’s benefit. He noted that it was important to remember that the funding for the grant for Phase II does not have to be in place at the time of the application deadline, although there is an implicit commitment that the non-federal match will be available when it is due in the future if the award is granted. He pointed out that the landowner was trying to be flexible and realized that these are tight budgetary times, which was why the idea of the land swap was suggested as part of an effort to come up with creative solutions.
Ms. Patricia Burgos, a resident of Eustis and President of the local chapter of the Beautyberry Florida Native Plant Society, expressed enthusiasm for the native communities and wildflowers on this parcel and related that she realized the importance of this property in particular as a gem. She mentioned that as a biologist she has seen and been on properties that have been severely impacted to the point where it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to get them into a condition suitable enough for the public to visit. She added that this property is getting quite a reputation for being a wealth of threatened species, and the Florida Wildflower Foundation is interested in bringing 20 people from around the state to visit this property in the spring who will be spending their money in this county. She pointed out that this would only be the beginning of many of those kinds of ecotourism visits, since it has attracted a lot of interest throughout the community. She elaborated that the location was close to the future Tav-Lee Trail, the mall, restaurants, and businesses; and having this within an urban setting near senior citizen communities, colleges, and schools would enable more people to experience a natural environment. She commented that she hoped that a deal could be worked out.
Commr. Sullivan commented that he was very comfortable with moving forward with Phase I if they could work out the ingress and egress issues from the property, although he was not as comfortable moving forward with Phase II until they have identified a funding source during the course of their budget hearings this year, noting that there were already uses identified for the penny sales tax that were previously promised to the community.
Commr. Parks expressed support for moving forward with Phase I but believed they needed to further discuss access to the property and whether there was already access through two other points for large vehicles for land management as opposed to spending $200,000 for a paved or gravel road from Radio Road into the property. He emphasized that they needed to be careful about utilization of the penny sales tax and that it was not their intent to use any of that sales tax money on this project. However, he expressed concern about their efforts regarding this project losing momentum by putting Phase II on hold for too long.
Mr. Heath commented that he wanted to be cautious about the County having to return grants once they had received them because of a lack of a local match, which has happened in the past and could endanger the County’s ability to be awarded subsequent grants; however, he also did not want them to lose the momentum of the project.
Mr. Fuller elaborated that his family wanted this property to be a legacy park and were committed to seeing it saved, although many of their other properties are housing and commercial developments. He commented that it was a fantastic sand hill property in the middle of high density development and an opportunity for people to connect with nature and animals, noting that he saw four bald eagles together the last time he was there. He added that it was amazing and a rare occurrence that this property has survived. He offered to donate another $500,000 for the local match if that was necessary to move forward with conserving this property, although he would like some help from the County moving forward.
Commr. Breeden commented that this was a beautiful piece of property, especially with the plant species in great numbers that were on it. She related that she liked the idea of having a small parking area adjacent to Radio Road if that was possible. She asked whether there were other sources or grants that the County could use as a match, such as the FCT (Florida Communities Trust) grant.
Mr. Bobby Bonilla, Parks and Trails Manager, stated that they could look into it but expressed doubt that they would be able to prepare the grant and do the due diligence by the March 17 deadline.
Mr. Hattaway elaborated that the Florida Communities Trust grant is a very competitive program based upon a point score system related to how much access and how many facilities and improvements they were adding to the property, and he did not think the County wanted to do that on this particular piece of land.
Commr. Parks complimented the land owner for going through this process for a year and opined that it was rare that a landowner wanted to work with the County this hard to make this happen, even though the development potential was very high on the property. He commented that he appreciated what the property owner was trying to do and that the property was one of a kind with the types of species contained on the parcel.
Commr. Campione asked about the limitations on the transfer of lands that had been acquired by the PLAAC (Public Lands Acquisition Advisory Council) money.
Ms. Marsh answered that she had talked with the County’s outside bond counsel, Steve Miller, about this issue, who sent her an email outlining the provisions of the federal regulations, one of which stated that they could transfer the property as long as it continued to be used for a government purpose, typically by a 501(c)(3) or other governmental entity. She explained that the exchange of property would typically be through a sale rather than a swap, with the proceeds of the sale put back into the bond fund or used to pay down the bonds. She added that it was a federal process with a lot of regulations they would have to follow to make sure it was done properly in order to preserve the tax exempt status.
Mr. Heath suggested that the Board bifurcate the two phases of the project if Mr. Fuller is willing to put up the match needed for Phase II by going forward with the grant for Phase II and bringing back the issue of the possibility of access through the stormwater pond to the Board as part of the closing for Phase I.
Commr. Campione expressed agreement that this property and situation is very unique. She opined that although the County had made very responsible decisions for the PLAAC bond money, this would have been the ideal property to use the PLAAC money for if it had been available then. She stated that she would hate to see this property developed and noted that it is completely surrounded by high-density development but was in a perfect place for conservation property that could be enjoyed by the public. She also commented that she believes that the Board should be creative regarding the financing of this property and expressed appreciation for what the property owner is willing to do to help them move forward in order to get the second phase accomplished.
Commr. Blake stated for the record that he is not opposed to hiking trails and parks but is opposed to adding maintenance costs and inventory to the County. He mentioned that there were many projects that have not been finished yet that are funded by the sales tax money, and his goal is to reduce the inventory and not add to it.
Commr. Campione mentioned that several groups have offered and expressed interest in helping with the ongoing maintenance and to become stewards of this property, and they could have the community involved in taking care of the long-term maintenance.
Mr. Fuller pointed out that there would be no extra maintenance involved for the County if they could work out a mutual swap of properties, and he opined that not a lot of maintenance was needed on the Cannon property.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried by a vote of 4-1, with Commr. Blake voting “no,” the Board approved going ahead with Phase I, with the conditions listed by staff, as well as bifurcating that with Phase II using the offer by Mr. Fuller for a match, and modifying the Phase I conditions for Phase II as follows: Condition 1 modified to state the County will not be financially obligated in any way to fund any part of the acquisition of the 10 acres in Phase II; leaving condition 2 as is; condition 3 modified to add to the end “in the event the County can obtain improved access through its existing stormwater tract, the requirement for an improved access is deleted;” condition 4 as is; and condition 5 modified to state if the additional 10 acres in Phase II are conveyed to the County, the property owner agrees to not sell the remaining 21.26 acres for development..” It was further decided that condition 6 will stay as is; condition 7 modified to state that the receipt of the 10 acres in Phase II and the related documentation are subject to the review and approval of the County Attorney, and the deletion of conditions 8 and 9.
road transportation funding update
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, briefed the Board on the funding sources available for the transportation capital program, road resurfacing program, and road maintenance and provided an update of the Transportation Impact Fee study. He gave some background information about the capital program, noting that road projects which increase capacity are included in the Five-Year Transportation Construction Program and are annually presented to the Board in August. He added that grants and appropriations are the key funding sources, such as the Local Agency Program (LAP) and Transportation Regional Incentive Program (TRIP), and transportation impact fees are also utilized. He displayed a graph showing the amount of revenue and expenditures from grants for the County from 1996-2017 illustrating the success of this program especially after 2009, and he noted that the funds are used for a variety of projects from sidewalks to four-laning highways. He presented a map showing the location of projects totaling $11 million that were on the federal or state grants project list for 2017-2021, including both CR 466A (Picciola Road) and CR 473 for paved shoulders in north Lake County; the North Hancock Road/North Ridge Blvd traffic signal and phase I and II of Citrus Grove Road in South Lake; and the Wekiva Trail in the Sorrento area.
Mr. Stivender recapped that transportation impact fees were originally established with the first ordinance passed by the County in 1985 to cover impacts to local communities and the costs of the needed improvements and were solely to be used for the purpose of providing additional capacity to transportation facilities associated with the arterial and collector road network made necessary by new development. He added that the transportation impact fees could be used only for capital improvements, requires a public hearing for the Board to annually adopt a capital improvement program, and must be spent or encumbered within six years of collection or are subject to refund, although the Board can authorize a three-year extension. He mentioned that the revenue streams for all three transportation impact fee benefit districts have been growing, especially in the south district, and he showed on a graph that the revenue from the impact fees spiked in the early 2000’s, which enabled them to use their reserves for projects through a time when there was not any money coming in. He also presented a graph showing the history of the impact fee charged for 1,500 to 2,500-square foot single-family homes, illustrating a steady rise from $298 in 1985 to $2,189 in 2002, with the fees suspended from 2010 to 2013. He listed some of the ideal road impact fee completed projects that were surrounded by growth, including the construction of a new four-lane road from Lakeshore Drive to US-27 in Clermont with curb, gutter, and sidewalks on Hammock Ridge Road, which he opined was a very successful project that connected all of the subdivisions in that area. He added that the construction of a new four-lane road from CR 50 to Fosgate Road on North Hancock Road which included a sidewalk and multi-use trail was completed last year, noting that there were a lot of potential subdivisions that would be going up in that area. He elaborated that CR 466 was widened to a four-lane road using road impact fees from Sumter County to US 27/441 in Lady Lake with a curb, gutter, sidewalk and multi-use trail. He listed the roads that were scheduled to be funded in the next five years, including phase I and II of Citrus Grove Road, CR 561/Lakeshore Drive intersection, Fosgate Road Extension to US 27, widening and resurfacing of Lake Ella Road, and the Round Lake Road PD&E Study.
Commr. Parks asked whether Mr. Stivender had any update regarding Sawgrass Bay connecting to CR 545 in Orange County.
Mr. Fred Schneider, Engineer, responded that they had a meeting coming up in March with Orange County to discuss the agreement between Lake and Orange Counties regarding collector roads and had sent them a draft agreement a few months ago through the County Attorney’s Office.
Mr. Stivender pointed out that Section 163.31801, Florida Statutes, requires impact fees to be based on the most recent and localized information to justify the fee, but the impact fee study they were currently using was based on 2010 data, although a lot of economic and trip changes have occurred recently. He specified that the 100 percent fee is $3,867, but since January 2014, the County has been charging $2,706 with a 30 percent discount in South Lake, and $500 in the north and central part of the County which reflects an 87 percent discount. He noted that the trip generation and the use of gas and sales tax to build those types of roads has changed since the last study, and he mentioned that they took the cost of building state roads out of the formula. He presented a scenario wherein the fee stays the same but the percentages are adjusted based on a different study and another scenario where they apply the percentages and adjust all of the fees accordingly. He showed a chart of the estimated annual revenue generated in each district using the current amount of transportation impact fees collected as well as the anticipated five-year total revenue based on the various fee options. He showed the capital program shortfalls and listed the specific unfunded projects that would result from those shortfalls. He pointed out that grants and appropriations are limited and do not provide a steady and reliable source of revenue to fund projects, and transportation impact fee collection is not keeping up with the growing travel demands and network level of service. He summarized that the latest Transportation Impact Fee Study provides updated data and analysis for the fee calculation in order to stay in compliance with the Statute, and increasing a fee rate for the north and central district would help with the funding needs.
Commr. Parks asked about the realignment of CR 561.
Mr. Stivender responded that they wanted to totally realign the intersection right at the Turnpike bridge to move it up the hill a quarter to a half mile, which was currently vacant land, allowing traffic to go to US Hwy 27, CR 561, and the Turnpike smoothly.
Commr. Parks commented that staff was doing a great job working with Minneola to plan how to handle the growth expected in that area, and he encouraged him to keep in mind that the City of Minneola needed to work with the developer to help the County meet any funding gap in the future, since it would be within Minneola’s city limits.
Mr. Stivender mentioned that they have been involved with the city, and every developer has been out there to identify the enhancements that the developer would do to the local road system and the impact fees they will pay to enhance the system after construction begins. He added that their goal was to have a system out there that functions properly from Minneola to Astatula for the residential traffic expected in that area.
Commr. Breeden asked what the basis was for drawing the three districts.
Mr. Stivender answered that they were based on regionalism and mentioned that the cities all agreed to the way the districts were divided.
Commr. Sullivan recapped that they previously had six benefit districts but changed to three districts upon his suggestion, since transportation is a system with one road affecting another road in two different districts, and he commented that the change in the number of districts made moving projects forward more workable.
Mr. Stivender explained that the infrastructure sales tax was used to resurface roads and that the County’s 1,245 miles of roads were evaluated based on the shoulders, type of median, number of lanes, and the pavement. He further explained that all the roads are rated annually using the PASER (Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating) system wherein a rating of 10 denotes a road in excellent condition that has newly been constructed or resurfaced, a rating of 5 shows fair surface aging and first signs of need for strengthening, and a road rated one is a completely failed road in need of reconstruction. He elaborated that a 6-rated road could be improved with a little investment, but any road that is rated lower than that is considered severely deteriorated. He emphasized that although most of the roads that are resurfaced are rated as 4, most of the calls they receive from residents are about roads with a 5 rating, since those are not always on their road program although the roads are not in satisfactory condition. He added that microsurfacing costs a lot less than surfacing a road but cannot be done on a road that is at a lower rating than a 6 and noted that roads that were between 15 to 20 years old usually were graded 4 or 5. He reported that in 2016 there were 53 percent of County roads that were rated from 7 to 10 and 47 percent of the County roads rated a level 6 and below. He elaborated that most of the calls from residents are about the roads rated at levels 4, 5 and 6. He related that the infrastructure sales tax has also been used by the County for sidewalk projects, retrofitting for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance, and equipment needs. He recapped that County Ordinance No. 2001-123 authorized the extension of the Infrastructure Sales Tax pursuant to statute, with 50 percent of that funding to be dedicated to roads. However, he commented that the 30 percent share of the sales tax that they are receiving now for transportation funding allocations is technically a 40 percent reduction in that revenue stream to those projects. He listed some of the infrastructure sales tax projects, including 24 miles of road resurfacing for FY 2017, sidewalk projects in the Sylvan Shores area and on Log House Road, and intersection improvements at Hartwood Marsh Road and US 27. He added that the infrastructure sales tax project list for 2018-2022 includes 15 to 18 miles per year for resurfacing, sidewalk projects at 22 locations, intersection improvements at 14 locations, and vehicle acquisitions. However, he projected that the County will still have 3.5 miles of roadway that will not be resurfaced in the next five years based on the expected revenue stream, and most of the 5-rated roads will become 4-rated roads during that time, especially with the amount of traffic that those roads will experience. He listed projects that were on the program without an existing funding source, including traffic signal installation, safety improvements, paved shoulder projects, paving of County-maintained clay roads, and bridge construction.
Commr. Parks asked whether Ridgewood Avenue is currently listed as a 2017 project.
Mr. Stivender responded that it currently was not on the list but that he would be looking at that again and working to get it back on the project list this summer.
Mr. Schneider elaborated that they were working on the roundabout at the intersection, but the issue was regarding the rest of the road.
Mr. Stivender reported that road maintenance was funded by the Transportation Trust Fund mainly from the gas tax, and the County-maintained road network includes 1,389 miles of roadway, 193 miles of sidewalks, and 27 bridges, some of which are over 50-years old and narrow. He listed some of the road maintenance services, such as pothole repair and clay road grading, as well as many which are contracted out, such as tree trimming, pipe drainage, and construction inspections. He recapped that the first cent of the County fuel tax was imposed in 1941 for public transportation purposes and to help the area get out of the Depression, and another two cents were imposed in 1943 to meet the debt service requirements and were used for secondary roads such as CR 561. He pointed out that Lake County was the only county in Central Florida that passed by referendum the ninth-cent fuel tax in 1972, which was split evenly with the cities, and he mentioned that the funding from the six cents of the local option fuel tax that had been recently renewed and were all expiring in 2043 was a great asset to stabilize the program for maintenance, with one-third of those proceeds shared with the municipalities pursuant to interlocal agreements that would also apply to future types of fuel tax. He mentioned that the five-cent local option gas tax was not levied at this time and was tied to impact fees as an alternative. He commented that their funding sources remained stable through the years and showed a graph illustrating the revenue and expenditures of the gas taxes from 1987-2017, noting that the revenue went down in 2005 when the price of gas was high as vehicle use decreased. He related that the County staff grades 118 miles of clay road every two weeks, and the County has an interlocal agreement with the City of Umatilla and the Forestry Service for that effort. He mentioned that the County provides right of way mowing from April to November and right of way litter and debris removal, which is now connected to the Keep Lake Beautiful Program. He mentioned some of the road maintenance shortfalls, especially routine issues, since preventative maintenance is very limited by their funding limitations, and most activities are performed after complaints are received by the public or observed by staff. He added that a lack of pavement preventative maintenance results in higher costs to repair or reconstruct. He noted that they have used the stormwater fund on a regular basis in the last 15 years to retrofit the stormwater system for all new projects in order to be in compliance for stormwater requirements and to prevent discharge from going into lakes and other bodies of water.
Mr. Stivender pointed out that road miles have increased 20 percent in the last 30 years, vehicles in general currently get 30 percent better gas mileage since that time period, the fuel purchases in Lake County have leveled off since 2007, and the increase in population results in more trips on the County’s roadways. He summarized that 10 cents on a gallon of gas thirty years ago is only worth 4.2 cents today for the construction of roads. He related that the Board has two options to institute the local option five-cent fuel tax, which were to authorize the imposition of the tax by an ordinance adopted by a majority plus one vote of the Board or through a referendum levied before October 1 to be effective January 1 of the following year. He mentioned that the revenue from this tax would be shared with the municipalities pursuant to interlocal agreements currently in place for the six-cent local option fuel tax. He reported that the amount charged for gas is a market-driven situation, although most of the counties collecting the five-cent gas tax are a few cents higher than Lake County, and a lot more counties in the state have adopted the five cent local option fuel tax in the last few years. He related that adopting the five-cent gas tax would generate about $2 million for the cities and $4 million for Lake County to levy for road resurfacing and provide an option to redirect the infrastructure sales tax funding for other road projects such as traffic signals, traffic safety improvements, and paved bike paths. He commented that the County has challenges regarding a shortage of adequate revenue needed to maintain their road system, and the five-cent local option fuel tax would definitely help with the County’s challenges in addressing issues with the road system. He requested that the Board accept and move forward with the 2017 Transportation Impact Fee Study in order to update the data from the 2010 study and make a finding that the current fee is consistent with the most recent and localized data in accordance with Section 163.31801, Florida Statutes.
Commr. Sullivan commented that it was obvious they had a lot of work to do in the area of transportation, since their growth and capital improvement needs have exceeded their revenue sources, and he encouraged the Commissioners to treat this challenge as an immediate need.
Commr. Breeden asked about the opportunities regarding federal funds that have been in the news lately.
Mr. Stivender responded that their lobbyist has been keeping them informed, and they had a meeting on Thursday, February 23, with their congressman, who has an office in Lake County.
Commr. Sullivan added that he intended to visit the agencies implementing those decisions in Washington D.C. in the next month to try to help bring some of the dollars back to Lake County.
On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the acceptance of the update to the Transportation Impact Fee Study and find that the current fee is consistent with the most recent and localized data.
appointments to tourist development council
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the reappointment of the following members to the Tourist Development Council to serve four-year terms beginning December 1, 2016: Mr. Bud Beucher and Mr. Paul Caldwell as owner/operators of a motel or other tourist accommodation in Lake County; and approval of a waiver of potential ethical conflict from Mr. Beucher.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the reappointment of Dr. Kasey Kesselring, Mr. Jim Gunderson, and Mr. Thomas L. Warriner as residents involved in the Tourist Industry, as well as a waiver of potential ethical conflict for those individuals.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Council Member Cathy Hoechst, City of Mount Dora, as an elected municipal representative.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution No. 2017-15 appointing the above-mentioned members to the Tourist Development Council.
appointment to mount plymouth –sorrento cra advisory board
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of the following members to the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Advisory Board: Mr. Earl Hammond, Mr. Dave Croson, Ms. Christine Thompson, and Ms. Addie Owens as members who are property owners within the planning area for a term ending January 31, 2020; and Timothy Bailey,Thomas Van de Kieft, and Frances Nipe as members who are residents or property owners within a three-mile radius of the planning area for a term ending January 31, 2019.
appointment to library advisory board
On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of the following members to the Lake County Library Advisory Board: Ms. Phyllis Smith (District 1), Ms. Carol Wasserman (District 3), and Mr. John Nystrom (District 5) for a term ending February 28, 2021; and Mr. John Tucker, City of Mount Dora, as a municipal member to complete an unexpired term ending February 28, 2018.
appointment to children’s service council
On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Kristine Landry, Ph. D, Director of Student Services Department, to the Children's Service Council as Superintendent of Schools or a named administrative designee to complete a two-year term ending May 14, 2018.
reports – county attorney
meeting between eustis and lake county regarding isba
Ms. Marsh recapped that the City of Eustis adopted a resolution in March 2016 to institute the ISBA (Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement) process with the County, and the County approved a responding resolution in May 2016 and invited the Cities of Eustis, Leesburg, Mount Dora, Tavares, and Umatilla into the ISBA process. She elaborated that the Cities of Mount Dora and Tavares responded with resolutions, but the others did not. She noted that although Eustis has met with individual entities about this issue, it has not had a joint meeting with all of the entities together. She explained that the impasse procedure could be used by entities who feel there is no progress in the process after six months, and she directed the Board’s attention to a resolution that was done by Eustis to institute the impasse procedure. She related that a meeting was required to be held within the next 30 days between the County Manager and the Eustis City Manager as the Chief Executive Officers to try to work out the issues. She added that a joint public meeting will be scheduled for Eustis and the County if the issues could not be worked out during that first meeting, with other municipalities invited to attend. She further explained that the parties would split the cost of a mediation that would be scheduled by Eustis if no resolution is obtained during the previously-mentioned meetings, and the mediator would be required to file a final report within 14 days after the mediation. She emphasized, however, that there was a provision in the statutes which stated that one local government could not force another local government into an ISBA.
Mr. Heath elaborated that there were four principal issues that needed to be worked out during this process, including utilities in that area, fire service, the dispute between Mount Dora and Eustis about their manifest destiny, and the ability for noncontiguous annexations. He related that the City entered into utility agreements with a number of developments on the east side which require those developments to be annexed into the City when contiguous or otherwise legally possible, and the City wants to use the ISBA as a vehicle to do noncontiguous involuntary annexations for those developments. He commented that he has been reluctant to bring this ISBA forward since the high millage charged by the City of Eustis would be a large expense for the property owners in those developments, and those residents did not get constructive notice that annexation into Eustis was a possibility when they first bought their homes.
Commr. Campione clarified that mediation is different than arbitration, and the mediation report would essentially state whether the parties were able to reach an agreement among themselves.
Ms. Marsh agreed that mediation is not binding, although the mediator may make a recommendation.
Commr. Campione commented that the residents in those developments expected that contiguous annexation would be far off in the future, and she expressed concern for the residents in the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento area who would be annexed into the City of Eustis sooner than expected.
Commr. Breeden opined that that area feels very strongly about maintaining its identity.
Ms. Marsh summarized that the next step in the process would be the scheduling of a meeting between the City of Eustis and Lake County within the next 30 days.
REPORTS – county manager
request for information regarding utility feasibility study
Mr. Heath recapped that the Board expressed interest during the utilities retreat in December and again at the retreat in January in going forward with a feasibility study for the County to look at establishing a utility. Due to factors such as the previously mentioned ISBA conflict with the City of Eustis, he suggested that they delay indefinitely going forward with the feasibility study for starting their own utility in Lake County and instead do an RFI (Request for Information) that would be sent out to all of the providers in the area to determine their interest in serving the area, under what conditions they would do so, and what the costs would be and then see what kind of response they would get from those providers. He received consensus from the Board to move forward with the RFI and then to bring that back to the Board before putting it out.
Commr. Campione commented that she believed it would be helpful to see what all of the other providers would be willing to do, and within that scope would be the possibility that a provider would sell the service wholesale to the County so that the County could be the provider.
commissioner parks – district 2
appreciation to chief molenda
Commr. Parks thanked Mr. John Molenda, Public Safety Deputy Director, for taking a late-night call from a Lake County resident who was involved in an accident out of the county, found out where he was taken, and informed his family, who lived in Lake County, of that location.
buses and backpacks and 5 K race events
Commr. Parks thanked those who participated in the Buses and Backpacks event and the 5 K race.
trip to tallahassee for lake county days
Commr. Parks commented that the trip to Tallahassee for Lake County Days was very fruitful.
departure of newspaper reporter
Commr. Parks read a statement regarding Ms. Livi Stanford’s departure from her employment as a reporter for the Daily Commercial newspaper which stated that he has known her for six years, that she has faithfully covered Lake County, and that fewer people today take the time to actually read and weigh the facts on a particular question or issue resulting in the polarization they see in their nation today and making it hard for a true journalist like Ms. Stanford. He added that Ms. Stanford has always been passionate about the role of the press in their society and always attempted to ensure accuracy and intent. He commented that she took it upon herself to learn the local government system in order to be able to better explain local issues to the reader. He opined that her loss will be a real loss for the county, wished her well in her new career path, and opined that they are losing someone who had a lot of dedication and service to the County.
Commr. Breeden thanked Ms. Stanford for her dedication to her field and her attention to detail. She commented that she will be missed and wished her well in her new endeavor.
Commr. Campione stated that Ms. Stanford’s attention to detail and her willingness to make the extra effort to make sure she had all of the information in her stories has made her a good reporter, and she opined that she will bring a lot to the area she will be working for in the future.
Commr. Blake wished Ms. Stanford the best and commented that he appreciated that she always strived to be accurate. He mentioned that he started working with her about six years ago on statewide education policy while she was covering some Tallahassee issues.
Commr. Sullivan stated that they appreciated her endeavors in Lake County and that she always strived to be a true reporter and to point out both sides of an issue. He thanked her for all of her service and wished the best of luck to her moving forward in her new endeavors.
commissioner breeden – district 3
lake county days
Commr. Breeden mentioned that Lake County Days were last week and opined that she had attended some really good meetings which resulted in good feedback and support for some of Lake County’s public works projects, although they will not know how fruitful they were until the end of the legislative session.
Commr. Blake stated that he enjoyed participating in Lake County Days last week.
Commr. Sullivan thanked the Commissioners for their participation in Lake County Days.
ribbon cutting for the mcdonald canal boat ramp
Commr. Breeden reminded the Board that the ribbon cutting for the McDonald Canal Boat Ramp would be on February 23 at 10:30 a.m. and opined that she believed that would be a great project.
natural species awareness week
Commr. Breeden noted that Natural Species Awareness Week was February 27 to March 5, with the first annual Good Neighbor Festival event scheduled on March 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to teach people about invasive species management.
commissioner campione – district 4
requested change to keep lake beautiful ordinance
Commr. Campione asked for the County Attorney to look into adding two community members to the Keep Lake Beautiful committee, which would involve making a modification to the ordinance. She elaborated that this change would improve the organization and would help them accommodate all of the interests that they have.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 1:15 p.m.
timothy i. sullivan, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK