BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA
March 9, 2021
The following is a non-verbatim transcript of the Board of County Commissioners Meeting of Seminole County, Florida, held at 9:30 a.m., on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Room 1028 of the Seminole County Services Building at Sanford, Florida, the usual place of meeting of said Board.
Chairman Lee Constantine (District 3)
Vice Chairman Amy Lockhart (District 4)
Commissioner Robert Dallari (District 1)
Commissioner Jay Zembower (District 2)
Commissioner Andria Herr (District 5)
County Manager Nicole Guillet
County Attorney Bryant Applegate
Deputy Clerks Terri Porter and Chariti Colón
Kurt Slafkovsky, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Deland, gave the invocation. Commissioner Sheena Britton, Sanford District 1 Commissioner, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT UPDATE
Alan Harris, Office of Emergency Management, addressed the Board stating it has been one year since activation of emergency operations in connection with the pandemic.
Donna Walsh, Director of the Florida Department of Health for Seminole County, addressed the Board to present the COVID-19 Update (PowerPoint received and filed). Dr. Todd Husty, Seminole County Medical Director, addressed the Board to provide his report on the pandemic, and to talk about vaccinations, antibiotic infusions and variants. He introduced Fire Chief Michael Johansmeyer who told of his personal battle with COVID. All board members along with the County Manager and County Attorney weighed in with their comments. Mr. Harris responded to Commissioner Zembower’s question in regard to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
COVID RELIEF UPDATE
County Manager Nicole Guillet presented the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in connection with the COVID Relief Update (PowerPoint received and filed). A brief question and answer period followed. Commissioner Lockhart asked if there were any staff members in attendance that could respond to Commissioner Dallari’s inquiry about the nine applications that were denied. Carrie Longsworth, Community Assistance, addressed the Board to explain that the nine denials were attributed to people that applied from outside of Seminole County and a few that were looking for mortgage assistance, which the rental assistance does not cover. Commissioner Lockhart then questioned whether those that were denied because they have a mortgage will be funneled into other funds that might be allocated for that purpose. Ms. Longsworth replied she believes that is on the agenda today, and they are working on getting some money set aside for mortgage assistance with the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) COVID dollars from HUD. So, they are looking to open a mortgage program, but obviously HUD would have to fully release those funds to the County before they can do that. They are getting a lot of requests from homeowners needing assistance, so they are looking at allocating at least $2 million towards that to be able to assist those residents as well. Commissioner Lockhart wondered if they would have to reapply when that new portal opens for mortgage assistance. Ms. Longsworth advised they will because it will be a different funding mechanism.
Ms. Guillet then gave an overview of the American Rescue Plan Act (included in the PowerPoint). The legislation passed the Senate on March 6th and it is scheduled to go back through the House on the 10th for a vote. There is $350 billion included in the bill for state and local government relief.
With regard to public participation, no one spoke in support or opposition, and public input was closed.
Motion by Commissioner Dallari, seconded by Commissioner Herr, to approve the following:
County Manager’s Office
1. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute a Proclamation proclaiming February 11th as Heart of Florida 211 Day in Seminole County. (2021-2571)
2. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute a Proclamation proclaiming the week of March 7 – 13 as Women in Construction Week in Seminole County. (2021-2572)
3. Approve substantial amendments to the 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan and FY 2019-2020 Annual Action Plan (Amendment #4); authorize the Chairman to execute all corresponding documents and signature pages, the Standard Form SF-424 and SF-424D, all certification pages, Subrecipient Agreements, and subsequent Grant Agreements with HUD; and authorize Community Services Department staff to submit amendments to HUD for approval. (2021-2568)
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.
Chairman Constantine recessed the meeting at 11:10 a.m.; reconvening at 11:25 a.m.
Agenda Item #4 – 2021-2577
Seminole County Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Plan
Markley Jean-Charles, Purchasing and Contracts Manager, addressed the Board and stated they will hear six short-listed presentations via Zoom for RFQ-3320-20, Seminole County Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Plan Development and Implementation Services.
Commissioner Zembower said once they have decided, and ultimately there is a consultant retained, is he understanding the RFQ specifically precludes that person who is chosen as a consultant from actually performing any of the recommendations or work or scope that they have reviewed and suggested, if this Board should ever approve that. Mr. Jean-Charles replied that he is correct. Commissioner Zembower noted the companies are all aware of that fact.
The ranking below was presented to the BCC at the January 26th meeting. The item was pulled for discussion and the decision was made that the Board would like to hear the presentations from the shortlisted firms. One consultant, Southface Energy Institute, declined to continue in the process.
1. HKS, Inc.
2. Hanson Professional Services, Inc.
3. GDS Associates, Inc.
4. CMTA, Inc.
5. Atlantic Energy Concepts, Inc.
6. Southface Energy Institute, Inc. (Declined)
7. Blue Strike Environmental d/b/a EcoShift
The order of the companies presenting was randomly chosen. PowerPoint presentations from each presenter were received and filed. All presentations were followed by a Q&A period.
Blue Strike Environmental d/b/a EcoShift presented first. Kristin Cushman, addressed the Board indicating she is the Founder and CEO of EcoShift Consulting, the climate and energy division for Blue Strike Environmental. Their project management team includes Kristin Cushman, Byron Pakter (Optony), Brian Stern (Glumac - A Tetra Tech Co.), and Roderick Cashe (Tetra Tech).
Bill Bradford, Principal-in-Charge of Hanson Professional Services, addressed the Board to make their presentation. The following team members also addressed the Board: Colleen Kettles (FSEC Energy Research); Danielle Rawers, Project Manager and Wade Conlan, Technical Lead; and Doug Kettles (Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition).
Chairman Constantine recessed the meeting at 12:45 p.m.; reconvening at 12:50 p.m.
Atlantic Energy Consultants, Inc. was the third company to present. Susan Glickman addressed the Board to start their presentation. Their team includes Dagney Johnson; Program Manager; Charlie Brewer, Project Development Lead; Madelilne Fassalari, Regional Account Director; and Cassandra Drotman, Thomas Siegelhalter, Johnny Edwards, David Burt and Randall Owen.
Nathan Butler, HKS Principal-in Charge, addressed the Board to begin the presentation by HKS. Their team includes Tommy Zakrzewski, Project Manager; Rand Ekman, Policy and Regulatory; Curt Ostrodka, VHB Community Planner; and Kristy Walson, Senior Sustainability Consultant.
Chairman Constantine recessed the meeting at 1:35 p.m.; reconvening at 1:40 p.m.
Tracy Steward, Partner and Principal-in-Charge, CMTA, addressed the Board to make their presentation. Jeremy Smith (Vice President, CMTA) and Paul Lauria (President, Mercury) also addressed the Board. Additional team members include Richard Rodriguez (Pirtle) and Philip Donovan (Little Architecture).
Chairman Constantine recessed the meeting at 3:20 p.m.; reconvening at 3:27 p.m.
The final company to present was GDS Associates, Inc. Angela Strickland, Managing Director and Overall Project Manager, addressed the Board to begin their presentation. Josh Duckwall and Mital Hall (Ecopreserve) also presented. The remaining team members include Kevin Mara, Rich Hasselman, Melissa Young, Justin Hey, Warren Hirons, and Sydney Sprague with GDS, and Alexa Stone and Jessica Wright with Ecopreserve.
A brief question-and-answer period was held between the Board members and the presenters.
With regard to public participation, no one spoke in support or opposition, and public input was closed.
Chairman Constantine asked for comments from the Board.
Commissioner Zembower opined they have to ultimately decide as a board on the direction they want to go. He said they heard a lot of good discussion, a lot of good ideas. There are some questions that were asked that he is not sure they received answers to or straight answers to. He thinks they have some that are outside their expertise and they have some that are trying to be something that they are not. There are certainly some that have a lot more credentials and a lot more experience than others, so he thinks ultimately, they have to decide what direction they go as they rank these. He would only emphasize to his fellow Commissioners that this is a new page for Seminole County as they go down the decision-making process, what this county may be for the next 30 years and what their infrastructure is going to look like for the next 30 years. And they have an opportunity to make that shift now and get ahead of the curve. As they have heard from some of the presenters today, there are a lot of municipalities that are doing some of this. Some are dabbling in it. They heard some that are local to here that have already kicked that ball down the field to get started. He thinks they owe it to the community and they owe it to the future of this county, that they make the decisions to consider the energy efficiency and resiliency of this county moving forward. He thinks they are in the best position to do it right now.
Commissioner Dallari stated that Commissioner Zembower said they were turning a page, but he thinks they are opening up a new book. It is not even a new chapter; it is totally a new book. It will give them a fresh start on so many things. When you are looking at a fresh start and a new book, you really cannot just look locally and sometimes you cannot even look nationally; you have to look globally. He opined they are behind in several things globally. The team he is looking for, he believes, should have global experience because there are a lot of different things out there. He is not trying to chase the new shiny bobble. He is trying to see what is really working and what can be done. To do that, you really have to look globally and nationally.
Chairman Constantine noted that he served on the Florida Energy Commission for a number of years and worked with a lot of individuals within these companies. He is excited about the opportunity they are putting forth today. It is not just the right thing to do, but energy is the second highest cost they have after employees. This raises such a panacea of opportunities. He said he wants them to be holistic. They want to look at fleet, environmental opportunities, renewable energies, biofuels, waste to energy, solar energy, and they also want to reduce and eventually eliminate their carbon footprint. He is not saying they can do that in 10 or 15 years, but he thinks that is a goal they should make as a group. He also looks at this with three ideas: (1) the practical application of this to save money and potentially make money; (2) Aspirational – look at it from an improvement of the planet by reducing their carbon footprint and do what they can as a community; and (3) Inspirational – motivate others to do the right thing, not only in this community, but in other communities around the state and hopefully the nation. He thinks they should be a leader. He added all six consultants could do a good job and could do a job that the County could be satisfied with in the long run. He personally saw three that he felt were better than the others and could get them, in his opinion, further along the line. Chairman Constantine said those three, in no particular order, are Hanson, HKS and Atlantic.
Commissioner Lockhart said she appreciates the opportunity to have gone through this exercise today, and she did learn some things certainly. And one of the things she learned is that their staff did an incredible job of doing the original ranking, because she thinks what going through this showed her is that they were looking very much at many of the things she would be looking for. She added kudos to staff who sat on that committee who have now sat through it twice. Several things were said by different companies that caught her attention. She thinks public engagement is going to be very critical. Many of the companies mentioned that but some, she thinks, had a bigger emphasis on public engagement and stakeholder buy-in. Sustainability will mean different things to different people in this community and it certainly means different things to different people on this dais. She does not think that there is a one-size-fits-all approach and she likes that there were some companies that pointed that out. She certainly appreciated those who had specific timelines but understood that within those timelines, there was going to be some flexibility, and she thinks it is important to recognize that. She appreciated the companies who pointed out that scalability is important; what may be best of class, best practice, in another community, may not be applicable here, perhaps. Scalability is going to be important. The microgrid conversation and fixation was interesting to her. She finds it very interesting that UCF looked at it very heavily for their downtown campus and took a pass, mostly because of cost is what they heard. She opined if UCF cannot afford it, she is not sure where the County’s budget is, what their thought process is and some of the financing that might be available to them. She is looking at three things in terms of feasibility. The feasibility of cost for what it is that they are looking at, the feasibility of implementation, and the feasibility of stakeholder buy-in. She is very comfortable with the work that staff did giving them the original criteria and the original scorings and rankings and hers will be quite similar.
Commissioner Dallari stated when you look at sustainability, energy efficiency, and a lot of different aspects of compatibilities, it is far reaching on many different levels. He has had some experience with it and has lived in a couple countries that have embraced it more than they have in this country, and it is important to look outside, not just in the central Florida area, but globally to see what works and how it actually works. The building codes in other areas are more far reaching for sustainability purposes. Commissioner Dallari indicated the three companies he would like to recommend they move forward, in no particular order, are Atlantic, CMTA, and Hanson.
Commissioner Herr expressed she looks at the project quite differently than, she thinks, the other members of the Board will potentially look at it. She is not convinced that they are in the ballpark at all; she thinks they are behind. They are behind local neighbors; and therefore, when they start to discuss the notion of looking globally for what is working in other countries, she thinks they are creating an aspirational goal that they will never achieve, and therefore, will get further and further behind as time goes by. After reviewing all of the proposals and the material provided to the notion of which firm did she think could move this board ahead in this endeavor, for her, there was one firm that stood above the rest in terms of being able to move the conversation very succinctly through the process She thinks they would be able to move their constituents through the process very well, and move this board forward, without them being in a perpetual spin of “what are we going to do next.” She said the pursuit of perfection is often the complete halt to progress, and that is where she sees this going if they set goals that are too big. They can dream big, but they need to set goals that are achievable and one firm stood out in her mind. She advised in connection with her choice of firms that she is at, in no particular order, CMTA, HKS, and Hanson.
Commissioner Zembower remarked he thinks one thing they have to remember is they have a multiprong approach here. He has heard from his fellow Commissioners that they are not sure they can afford it, not sure where they are going to go, and not sure what the savings are; resiliency and things mean different things. The benefit they have here is by stage four, a plan is going to come back to them for consideration. And when that plan comes back to them for consideration, then they, as a commission, have to make a decision whether (a) they can afford it and what the benefits are; and (b) there are some things that they can do now or some things that can be done later. Are there things that are co-opted through other funding partners. He thinks there are a lot of things that have to happen before they ultimately pull a trigger on implementation of any suggestions that are going to be brought forward. So with that said, he has three picks and he will explain. He stated HKS has been a vendor contractor for this county on many projects. As heard during his inquiries, the problem he has with HKS is they are already on the Five Points project. He believes, and he would like Counsel to weigh in, that there is going to be a conflict at best, and if not, they are going to be held up in the process. Their own folks admitted that the scope of work actually overlaps and there may have to be some kind of juggling to try to figure out what they are doing under the existing contract versus what they might do if they are selected as the person that does the consulting and implementation management. So, he ruled them out right out of the box for that reason. Commissioner Zembower stated he picked Atlantic, CMTA and GDS.
County Attorney Bryant Applegate stated, in response to Commissioner Zembower’s comments, that he believes staff has already made a determination that there would not be a conflict. Otherwise, they would have been ruled out. So, they have been allowed to make a presentation. He added he thinks if they were selected, there might be issues down the road, but that would be something for the overriding staff to make a determination.
Chairman Constantine summarized that 4 of the Commissioners mentioned Hanson, 3 of them mentioned HKS, 3 mentioned Atlantic, 3 mentioned CMTA, and 2 mentioned GDS.
Commissioner Zembower stated Hanson has already said they are a third-party engineering firm and he does not know that they have the expertise in the arena of sustainability and efficiency. He understands they have the ability to engineer things, but he would say they in no way, shape or form have the experience of CMTA nor Atlantic. Commissioner Lockhart commented they would not be there if they were not qualified. Commissioner Herr mentioned that staff ranked them second, and one of the things that is bothersome to her is that they have experts they employ that are typically the selection committee, and so she will not throw their thought process completely out. Commissioner Lockhart noted the interesting thing to Commissioner Herr’s point is that with the staff ranking, the delta between one and two was 1 point, the delta between one and three was 1.5 points, and then the delta between one and four was 4 points, and then they got down to Atlantic Energy Concepts where the delta was 4.62 points. She looked at it all and watched the presentations today and took notes, and she thought it was very confirming that she felt staff did an excellent job and she really was uncomfortable with the idea of bringing this whole process back to this board anyway, but she was willing to do it for the good of the order because some people wanted to do it. She is glad, in the end, because it is very confirming to her that staff did such a great job. She opined Hanson did a fantastic presentation and she thinks their partnerships were impressive.
Commissioner Zembower said he looked at the original presentation to their staff and he does not want staff to take this wrong, but he does not think their staff has much experience in this realm or why would they even want to go down this path and have a consultant. He thinks they have good staff, good engineering people, they have smart people, but when it comes to energy efficiency and when it comes to resiliency, he would argue that they do not have the depth in staff that has that knowledge. He thinks they have a cursory surface knowledge. He is also troubled by the way the presentations were originally done and then it was right up against the holiday of Christmas and then there was a big break, and then the grading was happening long after that, not fresh on the minds. That is why he questioned, when he looked at several presentations that were actually given to staff, and then the rankings, he scratched his head, his opinion, how did they arrive at some of these ratings based on the presentation they watched. And the presentations he saw today confirmed what his thoughts were. And that is why he graded them differently, for what it is worth.
Commissioner Lockhart asked if it is possible that they are just coming at this from different vantage points. Commissioner Dallari replied they could be and reiterated his comments regarding the global market. Chairman Constantine stated originally with a recommendation, he like Commissioner Herr, do want to err on the side of the staff when they bring in recommendations; however, in this case he thought Commissioner Zembower made a good point. This is something that is extremely important to the long-term vision of this county. He thinks that Commissioner Lockhart is correct; every one of them is looking at this differently. He is looking at the practical side but also the aspirational and the inspirational. He is looking at not what they can do tomorrow, but what they can do 10 and 20 years from now, and he thinks that is extremely important for this county. He expects more cost savings than the cost of this contract within the first year. That is what he wants and that is a practical application. So, when he was listening to this and the questions, he was trying to look at it from that aspect but also, in trying to build a consensus.
The consensus of the board was to vote on the consultants one by one.
Motion by Commissioner Lockhart, seconded by Commissioner Herr, to approve Hanson Professional Services, Inc. as the number one-ranked firm.
Commissioners Constantine, Herr and Lockhart voted AYE.
Commissioners Dallari and Zembower voted NAY.
Motion passes 3 to 2.
Motion by Commissioner Zembower, seconded by Commissioner Dallari, to approve Atlantic Energy Concepts, Inc. as the number two-ranked firm.
Commissioners Constantine, Dallari and Zembower voted AYE.
Commissioners Herr and Lockhart voted NAY.
Motion passes 3 to 2.
Motion by Commissioner Herr, seconded by Commissioner Lockhart, to approve HKS, Inc. as as the number three-ranked firm.
Commissioners Constantine, Herr and Lockhart voted AYE.
Commissioners Dallari and Zembower voted NAY.
Motion passes 3 to 2.
Motion by Commissioner Lockhart, seconded by Commissioner Herr, to authorize staff to negotiate rates in accordance with Section 287.055, Florida Statutes, the Consultants Competitive Negotiation Act (CCNA); and execute one Master Services Agreement, RFQ-3320-20, with Hanson Professional Services, Inc., with an estimated term usage of $200,000; and approve and authorize the Chairman to execute appropriate Resolution #2021-R-36 implementing Budget Amendment Request (BAR) #21-042 through the General Fund in the amount of $200,000 from reserves.
Commissioners Constantine, Herr, Lockhart and Zembower voted AYE.
Commissioner Dallari voted NAY.
Motion passes 4 to 1.
Commissioner Zembower clarified if staff cannot come to an agreement with Hanson, they would then go to the second-ranked consultant and then the third-ranked consultant.
Chairman Constantine advised the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office has asked for a board appointment to the Animal Control Board replacing Bob Hunter with Detective John Monk.
Motion by Chairman Dallari, seconded by Commissioner Lockhart, to appoint Detective John Monk to the Animal Control Board replacing Bob Hunter.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.
Chairman Constantine stated that Commissioner Herr has asked for approval of an annual Proclamation for the Victim Service Center. No objections were voiced.
Chairman Constantine complimented Commissioner Zembower on his suggestion of a luncheon for those employees working at Emergency Operations Center. He added it was a fantastic idea and all board members had agreed to it.
Chairman Constantine reported he hosted a Florida Association of Counties (FAC) meeting in Tallahassee for Legislators that used to be Commissioners, and Commissioners that used to be Legislators. They had about 30 attend; but unfortunately, the Legislators that are now Commissioners outnumbered the Commissioners that are now Legislators. In fact, he said, when you are talking about Home Rule and all the bills they do not like, they have less County Commissioners in the Legislature than there ever were.
Chairman Constantine recessed the meeting at 4:41 p.m., reconvening at 4:50 p.m. with all Commissioners and all other Officials, with the exception of Deputy Clerk Terri Porter who was replaced by Deputy Clerk Chariti Colon, who were present at the Opening Session.
Agenda Item #5 – 2021-2579
Budget Work Session #1 – Property Appraiser
David Johnson, Seminole County Property Appraiser, addressed the Board to present the FY 2021/22 Major Revenue Budget Work Session #1 as outlined in the agenda memorandum. He explained the difference between taxable value and market value is all of the exemptions, with the primary one being homestead. Mr. Johnson advised there are some vulnerable parts of the tax roll that have been affected by the pandemic. Everything from a value perspective is based on the property statuses as of January 1, 2021, which is the date of assessment as set by the Florida Constitution. The 2020 tax roll was certified for collection prior to COVID. The effects of COVID are being reacted on the 2021 tax roll. Seminole's tax roll is very diverse, which is good news. For 2021, the 12% of the total tax roll which is considered vulnerable consists of hotels, restaurants, retail, and office. Some retail and a lot of restaurants and hotels have been impacted by the pandemic, but it has not impacted the office market yet due to long-term leases. The good news for the County is it is a growing area and did not have an overbuild in the office and industrial market. Even if there is some inventory that is let go, the absorption will curve.
Commissioner Dallari inquired how much of the $500 million of new construction being added to the tax roll is in the cities, and Mr. Johnson responded half. In response to Commissioner Dallari's inquiry regarding Save Our Homes, Mr. Johnson explained if an average taxpayer in this county decides to sell their home, they would on average be able to take $60,000 of portability to their new home. That number climbs every year because market value is climbing and the differential becomes more.
Tim Jecks, Resource Management, stated Mr. Johnson covered property values which generate ad valorem revenues, and he will be going over five of the major non-ad valorem revenues that the County relies upon to generate services. Slides 30 through 34 start in January 2019. It shows the percent impact of the economic shutdown that occurred in March and April of 2020, and it shows how revenues have been trending since reopening in May. The arrow on the right shows the most recent collection period in the books, and the arrow on the left shows the collections from the same period one year ago.
Half Cent Sales Tax Revenues
Mr. Jecks explained these support general fund operations. In FY 2020, they collected a total of $25 million, which was approximately equal to the five-year average. They had a 25% reduction during the shutdown and have been trending about 2% below FY 2019 levels since then. Using that 2% trend, they are forecasting FY 2022 half cent sales tax revenues to be $24 million.
Infrastructure Sales Tax
Locally generated infrastructure sales tax revenues are not in the general fund. They support county infrastructure, but they are also based on sales tax. $42 million was collected in FY 2020, and 25% was lost during the shutdown. However, since reopening, they have been trending back to the exact same levels that were recorded in FY 2019. That gives an FY 2022 infrastructure sales tax estimate of $43 million.
Utility taxes go in the general fund. FY 2020 collections were $7.8 million, which was more than the five-year average. These were not impacted by the shutdown and are up 7% over 2019 collections. The FY 2022 estimate is $8 million.
Gas tax revenues support road and traffic operations as well as the county's mass transit system. For FY 2020, they were $14 million, which was down from the five-year average of $15.5 million. 29% of collections were lost during the shutdown and still remain about 10% below FY 2019 levels. This is a trend that is expected to continue into FY 2022 where $13.5 million is estimated in collections.
Tourism tax had been growing pretty significantly for the two years prior to 2020 with an average collection of $5.8 million. 62% of revenues were lost during the shutdown, and collections remain about 45% below FY 2019 levels. They are projecting a partial recovery going into FY 2022 with collections of $4.6 million.
General Fund Forecast
This is a very preliminary five-year general fund forecast that incorporates the estimates provided by the Property Appraiser as well as other non-ad valorem revenues. FY 2022 is highlighted in gray in the middle. They are projecting $8.7 million in additional revenues. On the expenditures side, they won't have final numbers from BCC departments or the Constitutional Officers until May; but they can make some assumptions for personnel and operating growth. Current projections show about a $5.6 million deficit. That would leave a 21% ending reserve in FY 2022. Also included in this forecast in FY 2024 is an estimate for a debt service payment on the Five Points Project. It would be structured around existing debt, so it would start at $4 million in FY 2024 and would grow as existing debt payments are paid off.
Chairman Constantine inquired what is the limit that they could do with regard to gas tax. Mr. Jecks responded there is an additional five cents that could be levied. A discussion ensued regarding hybrid and electric vehicles and how gas tax revenue will continue to trend down. Commissioner Dallari inquired if Mr. Jecks could ask the Tax Collector if it is possible to see how many electric vehicles are registered in the county, and Mr. Jecks responded he would ask. Mr. Jecks reviewed the Tentative Budget Timeline. Chairman Constantine inquired if the $5 million budget deficit includes the Constitutionals, and Mr. Jecks responded yes.
With regard to public participation, nobody spoke in support or opposition, and public input was closed.
Chairman Constantine announced Item #10, Deer Run Process and Update, will be next, followed by Item #6, East County Trails/Trails Master Plan Update.
Agenda Item #10 – 2021-2581
Deer Run Process and Update (Not in sequential order)
Richard Durr, Leisure Services Director, addressed the Board and presented the Deer Run Process and Update, as outlined in the agenda memorandum. He advised there was a community meeting on February 9th. Running some numbers right off the bat and knowing they haven't gone into the detailed due diligence of running new appraisals and so forth, they had an estimate before going into this process of what that might cost. On the low end it was around $90,000, and on the higher end it was closer to about $138,000. They have gotten the dollar figure as a placeholder based on conversations with the existing owner of what it could possibly take to acquire the property. They do not know the estimate for environmental remediation, and they would have to have something in the budget to take over maintenance of the property, so these are very early working numbers. Beyond the purchase of the property, they are looking at closer to $6 million for doing Phase 1 based on the configuration of that property as well as some of the items for Phase 1. In the near future, it could be another $5.5 million. They don't believe based on early discussion that they are going to see the same type of contamination that was at Rolling Hills. It is a much newer site and there are certain chemicals that were not used by the time Deer Run came into existence. The Rolling Hills neighborhood MSBU basically paid for about 15.3% of the project. Looking at something equivalent at this site based on these early numbers right now, the ballpark investment is $2 million.
Upon request of Commissioner Lockhart to describe the funding sources for the property acquisition at Rolling Hills versus what funds are expected us be used to purchase Deer Run, Mr. Durr explained the Rolling Hills project had the dynamics of the Jetta Point site with the State involved in a grant swap and a relocation of that particular property, so there were dollars that were already received from a grant with the State for the development of Rolling Hills. There were a lot of different moving parts to that particular project that are not here for Deer Run. Commissioner Lockhart inquired if they know approximately how much of Rolling Hills was general fund versus the grant. Mr. Durr advised they could provide that number down to the penny. Ms. Guillet added there is an anticipation that whatever was spent out of general fund and Parks and Natural Lands funds would be repaid on the sale of Jetta Point, so there was a connection there that isn't present in this scenario. Commissioner Lockhart confirmed with Mr. Durr that he could provide the breakdown.
They discussed MSBUs with the community, what it is, what that looks like, and how it happens. They requested community feedback after the meeting via email or the online survey that was left open until March the 1st. 146 people attended the February 9th meeting in person, and 513 people registered to attend via Zoom. Mr. Durr reviewed the survey responses.
Mr. Durr reviewed the Golf Course Acquisition - Benefit Evaluation Procedure and explained they are currently at the spot where if they are going to move ahead in the process, they need to start getting other people like the Property Appraiser involved or doing the Phase 1 environmental study and going through the due diligence process like they would on any property that they would be evaluating for purchase. Based on the list, the cost range varies between $90,000 at the low end and about $130,000 at the upper end. Where the variable comes in is if they are required to do a Phase 2 environmental. The timeline basically says they have about three and half months to meet the "deadline" where they are able to ask the existing owner to put his process in abeyance and whether or not they could answer these questions to bring this back to the Board to make a formal decision prior to the July 1st deadline.
Commissioner Dallari stated he thinks it's important to continue moving forward. He wants to make sure they are looking at this holistically. They need to negotiate with the property owner. The Commissioner requested Board support to move forward to the next level and to ask the community to be involved as they move forward.
Commissioner Zembower stated he would support Commissioner Dallari's desire to move forward. He inquired if the survey was only done to the Deer Run community. Mr. Durr responded three-quarters of everyone who responded was from the Deer Run community. The Commissioner added he would like to see a larger survey done from within the county. Commissioner Lockhart stated along with the discussion of do you want it, the follow-up question to that should be are you willing to pay more for it. She wants to make sure they are doing this in a way that makes the most sense for the most people.
Chairman Constantine stated he believes there is consensus to move forward. No objections were voiced. The Chairman noted Wekiva is still an active golf course and is also in the Wekiva Protection Area. He agrees with getting response from a wider spectrum of the county. He opined they have to be careful to limit the expectations in the cost. This area is much more than Rolling Hills so he would like to look at how far they extend the MSBU as they go out. He would like to see this happen, but they have to be careful. They have to negotiate to the penny with the owner.
Commissioner Herr stated she is supportive of moving forward with investigation. She likes the idea of an expanded survey and suggested moving the dog park on the survey as a listed item. They have to ask whether people are willing to pay for it, and that needs some quantification because, as an average person in the community, does that mean $10 a year or $1,000 a year.
Commissioner Lockhart inquired if the development plans were put in abeyance, did they get far enough to know how much open space is still required in the PD and how many homes would be reasonable to request. Rebecca Hammock, Development Services Director, responded they have not. They have only been through one cycle of review. The comments at that time were the applicant still needed to demonstrate they had the required open space. They have not done that yet and have not resubmitted since the first initial round of comments. They have PD zoning as a golf course, so they are requesting a major amendment on the PD. In order to do that, they have to demonstrate they have the adequate open space, but it's an older PD and that is proving difficult. A brief discussion regarding open space ensued. Commissioner Lockhart inquired if the appraisal will take into account whether or not houses could be built. Mr. Durr responded the appraisal is going to calculate the highest and best use of the property.
Commissioner Dallari inquired if consensus was good enough to move forward. Ms. Guillet responded it depends on what they want to move forward with. Commissioner Dallari clarified moving forward with Mr. Durr's recommendation to the next level. Ms. Guillet advised the next thing they could do easily based on consensus is a larger survey. If they want staff to start negotiating a price, the Board will need to give direction to negotiate a contract. Typically, the more detailed due diligence items occur when there is a contract for purchase. She inquired if that is the next step. Commissioner Dallari stated there are 11 things Mr. Durr listed to do for due diligence, and he wants to move forward with all 11 and also adding a 12th item which is the broader survey as Commissioner Zembower suggested. Ms. Guillet stated those are typically things that are done once there is a contract for purchase. She inquired if the Board wanted staff to negotiate a contract for purchase. She added all of the things listed except number 1 are going to require cooperation from the property owner. Discussion ensued.
Commissioner Lockhart expressed concern that the MSBU process is not easy, it is time consuming, and it requires a lot of staff time. She feels it would be inappropriate to start down the path of establishing an MSBU for a property the County doesn't own yet, so that is one item that probably needs to be staggered somewhat.
Mr. Applegate stated these are policy decisions, but he would suggest having Ms. Guillet and her staff contact the property owner to see what they can and cannot do to begin the process to at least have some information to make a better-informed decision on what the real big next step will be.
Ms. Guillet advised they have had discussions with the property owner, and Joe Abel, Deputy County Attorney, believes they may have an agreement to do these things without a contract for sale. She thinks Mr. Applegate's suggestion is a good one. They can see how far they can go without a contract if the Board is willing to spend $140,000 in these activities that may be done outside of a contract that are normally part of due diligence of a contract.
Chairman Constantine stated he believes staff has direction. The County Manager feels they have a discussion with the property owner that many of these things can be done now. He doesn't think they should go any further into the formal process of the MSBU until they know exactly how much it will be for the citizens. No objections were voiced.
Commissioner Dallari requested they hear back from staff in two weeks. Ms. Guillet responded they can advise the Board in two weeks if they are able to move forward. Chairman Constantine inquired if everybody understood the consensus of the Commission. Commissioner Lockhart requested clarification that the consensus is Letters B2 through B11 on page 21 in the agenda book; and B1, MSBU, will be delayed. The Chairman responded that is the consensus. Ms. Guillet advised they have sufficient direction.
With regard to public participation, the following spoke in support: Deborah Bauer, 423 Eagle Circle; Kimberly Warner, 301 Raintree Drive; and Patricia Hannah, 1544 Cuthill Way.
The following submitted written comment forms in support: John Gembecki, 352 Fairgreen Place; Debbie Gembecki, 352 Fairgreen Place; Allen Sutton, 122 Fairway Ten Drive; Randy Stowell, 1588 Pinehurst Drive; and Toby Bouckhuyt, 1437 Fairway Oaks Drive.
No one else spoke in support or opposition, and public input was closed.
Public speaker and comment forms were received and filed.
Chairman Constantine recessed the meeting at 6:19 p.m.; reconvening at 6:27 p.m.
Agenda Item #6 – 2021-2580
East County Trails/Trails Master Plan Update
Mr. Durr addressed the Board and presented the East County Trails/Trails Master Plan Update, as outlined in the agenda memorandum.
Master Plan Recap – Building the Plan
Mr. Durr advised this is recap of the East County Trails Master Plan. They tried to integrate the information from the 2018 update with this new information. They last met with the Board in early October and they were partially through the public review and comment phase. Since then, they have done a lot more groundwork to make sure they had a good implementation plan coming forward. Mr. Durr noted all of this information is still under various county staff review. After today's presentation, they will distill all of the Board's comments and make updates and finalize the plan going forward.
On October 9, they looked at the original foundation of the trail system, which goes back to the mid-90s with a vision that talked about linking and making connections countywide both to existing neighborhoods and future neighborhoods. Part of that system would include recreation; creating connections to neighborhoods, schools, and so forth; being a part of our transportation system going forward; and enhancing the quality of life.
Part 2 of the steps of updating the master plan was then mapping all of this. They didn't just take a look at what's inside Seminole County, they took a step backwards and looked at both regional systems where they plugged into neighboring counties as well as some of the statewide connections that they will be a part of. The County portions of all of these are completed, and everyone else is racing to catch up to connect to the county at this point.
They have created a trails hierarchy of dividing it up similar to the roadway system where the signature trails are the "highways" of the system, pathways are the "interstates," the connectors are the "local roads" in the system, and then all the way down to wilderness trails. They mapped both existing as well as proposed. At that point, they had the 2015 to 2018 efforts so they updated those and also talked to each of the cities to make sure their proposed trail projects were included.
They then opened it up for public comment. It was launched just before the pandemic hit, and they adapted and went to an online platform that had a number of different ways for people to be able to send comments, participate in an online survey, participate in discussion forums, and so forth. Overall, between September 5th and October 25th, they had over 6,200 website visits. Commissioner Dallari requested more data on the total website visits. He would like to know how many are local residents and how many are non-Seminole County residents. Mr. Durr responded they would do that. Mr. Durr reviewed public participation comments.
Preliminary Recommendations - Review of the Details
Mr. Durr noted this was organized in terms of trails hierarchy. He reviewed the characteristics of signature trails and discussed recommendations for the Seminole Wekiva Trail, Cross Seminole Trail, Flagler Trail, Lake Monroe Loop, and Central Seminole Trails. Upon Chairman Constantine's request, Mr. Durr explained a trailhead is the location where a trail would be accessed. It's like a small park for a trail generally with vehicle parking, restrooms, signs, etc.
Mr. Durr explained that over 90% of the corridors as designated in the Connectors -- Existing and Proposed map all take place within road right-of-way. These connections and pathways come from previous maps and new maps where they have made connections from existing trails to parks, schools, SunRail. Looking at the roadway system and network of right-of-way in the county, part of the process looked at and said these are the areas that need pedestrian and bike improvements. More than 90% of these corridors all have to do with the destinations, a lot of schools and parks. This was to complete the sidewalk and pedestrian network of going from a trail corridor down to a school. The bulk of this would move its way from this plan into the County's right-of-way/roadway plan going forward. Commissioner Dallari advised MetroPlan is looking at everything in the queue starting June 1st for cycle tracks up and down 17-92 and suggested staff coordinate with them as well.
Next Steps - Finalizing the Plan
Mr. Durr expressed staff wanted to present this to the Board to get additional comment, ideas, and input. They will then take all of those comments as they continue to move forward with this and distill those down into the final document and then be able to have that for final plan presentation and review going forward.
Commissioner Dallari commented other locations are actually highlighting their trails in different ways, and some have interactive maps with wayfinding purposes and he would like that reviewed. He would also like to know which areas could potentially in the future use Wi-Fi. At some point, there will be the need for additional staff, so hopefully they are looking at that as well.
Chairman Constantine inquired if the GPS markers are now throughout the trail system. Mr. Durr advised they are now at one-quarter-mile increments in the system and in use.
Commissioner Zembower stated they need to look at the connection between Jacobs Trail to Willingham Road, which is not on the map. He would like to see some rendering of equestrian trails on the eastern loop with some thought given to the fact it's not always safe to interact bicycles with horses. They also need to look at the eastern trails that exist now. There are things like mailboxes, trees planted by homeowners, and all kinds of other things in those trails that need to be looked at so those property owners can be put on notice that they should be removing them. Mr. Durr responded specific recommendations for upgrades or pieces that need be taken better care of going forward are in draft form now.
Commissioner Lockhart stated there's a fair amount of equestrian usage in District 5, and she doesn't know if there are trails usable for equestrians on the west side. Mr. Durr responded most on them are all within the state properties or properties the County manages on their behalf.
Commissioner Herr commented she was happy to see Goldsboro and Midway listed and they were prioritized.
With regard to public participation, Vicki Nelson, 400 Willingham Road, spoke via telephone in support of converting the Old Chuluota right-of-way vacate to a natural trail connection; and Emory Green, Midway Coalition, 2240 Church Street, spoke via telephone in support of including Midway-Canaan in the master plan.
No one else spoke in support or opposition, and public input was closed.
Chairman Constantine suggested due to the late hour of the day that the Board discusses Item #7, BCC Meeting Configuration, but gets individual staff reports on Item #8, Mobility Fee - Update on Proposed Schedule (2021-2584), and Item #9, Impact Fee Studies Status Update, Project Timeline, and Citizen Engagement Plan (2021-2573). No objections were voiced.
Agenda Item #7 – 2021-2582
BCC Meeting Configuration
Chairman Constantine stated right now they have one meeting that is supposed to be work sessions with a little bit of meeting, and the next meeting is supposed to be the BCC meeting. He proposes to have the same configuration of times for both meetings with the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. The first Tuesday from 9:30 to the break would be a work session, and then they would start in the afternoon with the BCC meeting with the context they would manage it so that we weren't having a lot of things in the afternoon. The second Tuesday would be a normal BCC meeting. Discussion ensued.
Ms. Guillet explained the reason they switched to a work session day versus a meeting day is because they would schedule work sessions either at the end of the morning session or the afternoon session and other business would run long or something would happen. Staff and/or consultants would prepare for a work session, and it would be before lunch or it would be late in the day. The work session items never really got the attention they deserved and everybody felt rushed. Sometimes there would be something scheduled in the morning and staff or the consultants would have to wait until the afternoon for it to be heard. Staff is requesting if they are going to schedule a work session, however the Board decides to schedule them, that the Board commit to taking the time to do the work session when it's scheduled. Discussion ensued.
Chairman Constantine stated three Commissioners have agreed to try this new schedule. It won't take long to see whether it works or not, and they will go from there. He suggested they discuss it further at the upcoming retreat if needed.
Chairman Constantine advised that Jeff Triplett, Sanford Mayor from 2010 to 2020, recently passed away. All of the Commissioners expressed their condolences.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned at 7:26 p.m., this same date.