BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA
April 13, 2021
The following is a non-verbatim transcript of the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MEETING OF SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA, held at 1:30 p.m., on Tuesday, April 13, 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
Deputy County Attorney Paul Chipok
Deputy Clerk Chariti Colon
Work Session Agenda Items #1 through #3 were heard in the morning.
Pastor Jim Lynch, East Coast Believers Church, Oviedo, gave the invocation. Mary Sue Weinaug, Wekiva Island, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
AWARDS AND PRESENTATIONS
Agenda Item #4 – 2021-2632
Motion by Commissioner Herr, seconded by Commissioner Zembower, to adopt a Proclamation Celebrating Rotary Club of Sanford’s 100th Anniversary.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.
Agenda Item #5 – 2021-2634
Motion by Commissioner Dallari, seconded by Commissioner Lockhart, to adopt a Proclamation proclaiming the week of April 11–17, 2021, as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.
Commissioner Zembower left the meeting at this time.
With regard to public participation, no one spoke in support or opposition to the Consent Agenda, and public input was closed.
Motion by Commissioner Dallari, seconded by Commissioner Herr, to approve the following:
County Manager’s Office
6. Adopt a Proclamation proclaiming April 28, 2021, as Denim Day in Seminole County, Florida. (2021-2631)
7. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute appropriate Resolution #2021-R-44 renaming Happy Acres Court to Iconic Court. (2021-2627)
8. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute an Agreement with Homeless Services Network of Central Florida, Inc., (HSN) for HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Grant funding in the amount of $35,457 designated to Housing Stability Case Management services for homeless families in Seminole County. (2021-2619)
9. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute the First Amendment to Habitat for Humanity of Seminole County and Greater Apopka, Florida, Inc., HOME Program Agreement in the amount of $30,000 in order to decrease the Project Budget and revise the Affordability Period; Hidden Lake Drive. (2021-2625)
10. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute the Habitat for Humanity of Seminole County and Greater Apopka, Florida, Inc., HOME Program Agreement in the amount of $30,000 to construct and sell one (1) single-family residence located at 1711 W. 14th Street, Sanford, to a prequalified, low-income household. (2021-2644)
11. Approve the removal of the Lake of the Woods – Stormwater/Water Quality Facility (Lake Jesup TMDL RSF – LOTW) from the Lake Jesup Basin Management Action Plan list of projects and apply the entirety of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Grant money to the Lake of the Woods Baffle Box (Jesup Basin-Baffle Box-LOTW) project currently in design. (2021-2605)
12. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute a Purchase Agreement related to Parcel #162 for 16,325 ± square feet of land between Sunil Patel and Seminole County for early acquisition of property needed for the Orange Boulevard Improvement Project (Tax ID#16-19-30-5AB-0200-0050) for $110,000.00, as full settlement of all claim for compensation from which Seminole County might be obligated to pay relating to the parcel. (2021-2609)
13. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute appropriate Resolution #2021-R-45 accepting twenty-one (21) Temporary Construction Easements (TCEs) to allow for the construction of drainage improvements related to Retreat Road. (2021-2616)
14. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute appropriate Resolution #2021-R-46 implementing the Budget Amendment Request (BAR) #21-034 through the General Fund to appropriate transfer budgets of $91,912.50 from reserves to reimburse expenditures made in MSBU Funds for fish barrier repair/replacements related to Hurricane Irma in the amounts of: Howell Lake $66,547.50; Horseshoe $5,415; Spring $6,365; Mills $8,170; and Lake of the Woods $5,415. (2021-2592)
15. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute appropriate Resolution #2021-R-47 implementing Budget Amendment Request (BAR) #21-044 in the net amount of $659,135 to provide for various Water and Sewer and Solid Waste operating and capital requests. (2021-2645)
16. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute appropriate Resolution #2021-R-48 implementing Budget Amendment Request (BAR) #21-045 through the General Fund Reserves in the amount of $151,717 to allocate funds for System-Wide Radio Communications (Motorola) Contract. (2021-2646)
17. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute appropriate Resolution #2021-R-49 implementing Budget Amendment Request (BAR) #21-047 through the 2014 Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund in the amount of $165,548 from reserves for addition scope of work related to pedestrian walkway studies on SR 434 at Orange Avenue and SR 436 at Laurel Street. (2021-2623)
18. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute appropriate Resolution #2021-R-50 implementing Budget Amendment Request (BAR) #21-048 through the 2014 Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund in the net amount of $100,000 to reallocate budget for the ADA/Pavement Replacement Project and Sidewalk Replacement Project. (2021-2647)
19. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute appropriate Resolution #2021-R-51 implementing Budget Amendment Request (BAR) #21-049 in the amount of $3,000,000 through the Worker's Compensation Fund reserves to provide additional funding for Workers Compensation claims, which are expected to be partially offset by Excess Insurance Coverage. (2021-2618)
Districts 1, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.
County Attorney’s Office Consent Agenda Item #20
Paul Chipok, Deputy County Attorney, addressed the Board and presented the request as outlined in the agenda memorandum. He advised this has been run past John Stokes, outside bond counsel, and there is no exposure to the County on this item at all.
Motion by Commissioner Dallari, seconded by Commissioner Lockhart, to approve appropriate Resolution #2021-R-52 and approve, solely for the limited purposes of Section 147(f) of the Internal Revenue Code, the issuance by the Seminole County Industrial Development Authority (SCIDA) of not exceeding $8,500,000 of its Educational Facility Revenue Bonds for the purpose of (1) financing the cost of acquisition, rehabilitation and equipping an educational facility project, described in the Resolution; (2) funding any necessary capitalized interest; (3) funding any necessary reserves; and (4) paying certain costs of issuing the Bonds, which is located in the County and owned by Orangewood Christian School, Inc. (2021-2622)
With regard to public participation, no one in the audience spoke, and public input was closed.
Commissioner Zembower returned to the meeting at this time.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
Agenda Item #21 – 2021-2602
Wekiva Island Fall Fest
Mary Sue Weinaug, Applicant
Mary Robinson, Planning and Development Division, addressed the Board and presented the request as outlined in the agenda memorandum. Chairman Constantine requested clarification if the event is for two days or four days, and Ms. Robinson advised it is two days only. The Chairman inquired if there are any other remaining event days available. Ms. Robinson responded there is another event in the summer that is still being put together.
With regard to public participation, no one in the audience spoke, and public input was closed.
Motion by Commissioner Herr, seconded by Commissioner Lockhart, to approve the Wekiva Island Fall Fest Special Event Permit for October 30, 2021, and November 6, 2021, subject to staff’s recommended conditions included in the attached Special Event Permit.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
Commissioner Dallari confirmed with Ms. Weinaug that Earth Day is April 22nd and inquired what event will be happening. Ms. Weinaug responded they will be going live on various social media platforms and Otis the Tooting Otter will be there. Chairman Constantine stated he had requested staff prepare an Earth Day proclamation to present to Ms. Weinaug.
Motion by Commissioner Zembower, seconded by Commissioner Herr, to adopt a Proclamation proclaiming April 22, 2021, as Earth Day in Seminole County, Florida.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
COUNTY ATTORNEY BRIEFING/REPORT
Lynn Porter-Carlton, Deputy County Attorney, addressed the Board and reminded that the County received a settlement proposal from the attorney for River Cross Land Company, which was previously distributed to each Commissioner. The County is the Defendant in both federal and state court litigation involving this Plaintiff. Under Section 286.011(8), the Board has the option to have a closed attorney-client session with legal counsel. If the Board chooses to do so, Ms. Porter-Carlton advised she, County Attorney Bryant Applegate, and outside counsel Todd Norman with Nelson Mullins Broad and Cassel would attend. Staff would need to prepare and post a reasonable public notice which must identify who will attend; the date and time; and advising it will be closed to the public and only legal counsel, each member of the Board, and a certified court reporter can be present. It will be transcribed and the transcript would stay closed until the conclusion of the litigation. If the Board does not wish to have a closed session, that direction will need to be given so legal counsel can take the appropriate action.
Chairman Constantine advised he discussed this with Ms. Porter-Carlton and Mr. Applegate, and they recommended the closed session. The Chairman suggested to them that the Board might want to do this sooner than the next regularly scheduled meeting and was advised the availability of the attorneys would be next Tuesday or Wednesday. The Chairman inquired if the pleasure of the Board would be to do it Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday afternoon. After discussion, it was determined the special meeting to hold a closed attorney-client session will be held Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at 2:00 p.m.
Tricia Johnson, Deputy County Manager, addressed the Board and advised they are a few weeks from the end of Florida's regular legislative session, and the joint conference on the General Appropriations Act will begin next week. Currently, the County has $250,000 in the Senate Appropriations Bill for the Little Wekiva Restoration project. Originally, that was allocated in a Senate bill for Lake Jesup, but Senator Brodeur's office moved it to the Little Wekiva project.
There are three broadband-related bills that are moving through the House and the Senate. However, there has not been as much progress with broadband this session as hoped. The perception is because there is a lot of money floating around at the federal level for broadband, so the State is moving forward with developing a task force, putting some policies in place, but not as aggressively as originally intended.
Impact fees did not move last week, but they are going to be heard on the 15th on the Senate side. Right now, the Impact Fee Bill isn't too impactful on the County. However, there is some language that Florida Association of Counties is watching to ensure is not removed because it would be largely detrimental to the counties if it was removed.
The other bill that has brought counties a lot of anxiety and Florida Association of Counties is fighting is the Emergency Powers Bill. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like counties are going to be able to modify this to their favor entirely. There is language that is consistently being changed, but the bill is considered a significant preemption on local governments essentially saying that emergency orders will expire after 10 days if they unnecessarily restrict constitutional rights. The Commission would have to modify or extend an order every time an order came up. In the case of a hurricane where an order may last two weeks to a month, it may not be as impactful. But in the case of a pandemic, it certainly could be.
Florida Association of Counties has contended this is the first year in many where they have seen so many preemptions move so quickly, and they're not getting a lot of support from either side of the aisle. Typically, members of the Democratic Party are a little anti-preemption. Either because of the pandemic or political climate, a lot of these preemptions are moving forward without much of a fight, which Florida Association of Counties has been struggling with how to navigate that moving forward. There will be a lot of movement in the upcoming few weeks and a lot of amendments and committee substitutes will be placed on bills.
Chairman Constantine advised the Board that he will be present at Florida Association of Counties, and he has asked Consensus Communications to start putting together a working paper on the possibility of a constitutional amendment on preemptions.
COUNTY MANAGER AND STAFF BRIEFINGS/REPORT
COVID RELIEF UPDATE
County Manager Nicole Guillet addressed the Board and presented and reviewed a PowerPoint entitled Emergency Rental Assistance Program Update (received and filed).
Emergency Rental Assistance Program
Ms. Guillet reminded the County was awarded $14 million earlier this year to provide emergency rental assistance through a separate allocation specifically for emergency rental. In the last couple of days, they have heard that under the American Rescue Plan the County will be receiving an additional $11.14 million, but that is the extent of what they know. The assumption is the time frame for the expenditure of these dollars will track the other time frames in the plan which requires the money to be spent by the end of December in 2024. The original $14 million is required to be expended by the end of this year.
Ms. Guillet reviewed the existing metrics. She advised they are a little concerned because they are just over 20% of the fund. The need is not as great as they saw when they originally got the CARES Act money. They will continue to proactively try to get these funds out to the community. Commissioner Herr inquired if staff was engaged with the school district social workers. Commissioner Lockhart noted that was a topic of conversation at the Public Safety Coordinating Council meeting this last week. She added there are other agencies in the county who really are interested in having this information as well. Carrie Longsworth, Community Assistance Manager, advised they are reaching out to the Families in Need program with the School Board to let them know these funds are available. They are also trying to reengage some of the nonprofit partners as well. They have sent out a blast to all of the agencies that normally are funded by the County. They also have been in some early talks with the Sheriff's Office to look at providing some information to see if they can get the word out to the community through some of their family service officers as well. Commissioner Lockhart suggested staff also reach out to the agency that used to be 4C and stated she will email Ms. Longsworth that information.
American Rescue Plan
Ms. Guillet reviewed the American Rescue Plan, which includes a revenue reduction element that was not present in the CARES Act funding and also includes a separate category to make necessary investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure that was also not present in the CARES Act. The response to public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 is very broad and somewhat vague. They have yet to receive any guidance from the Treasury Department on what that specifically means or more details on exactly how those funds can be applied to the community's needs.
The County's allocation is $91.5 million, not $92.5 as indicated in the PowerPoint. The municipalities are also receiving funding. Their funding in conjunction with the funding the County will receive is almost $182 million. Ms. Guillet stated they expect the funds will be distributed directly to the County in two phases. The first 50% of the money is expected sometime next month, and the second disbursement will be received no sooner than 12 months after the first allocation. The City of Sanford will receive their money directly from the federal government, and the remaining cities will receive their money through the state. They are expected to get it in two phases as well. These funds can be used for any expense occurring March 3, 2021, through December 31, 2024.
American Rescue Plan - Possible Expenditures
Ms. Guillet reminded they discussed possible categories of expenditures at the last meeting, and she got with each Commissioner individually to talk a little more and explore some priorities they might have for the expenditures so staff could start to put together a plan and understand where the Board, as a whole, wants to direct these dollars. She distributed a memo last week following those individual conversations outlining all of the feedback she received with respect to what their individual priorities might be for the expenditures of these dollars.
American Rescue Plan - Potential Allocations
Broadband Expansion to Unserved Areas
and Underwriting Services Delivery Costs
Ms. Guillet stated bridging the digital divide was something that was consistent with each Commissioner. There were two different elements she heard from each Commissioner. They were all interested in expanding service to unserved areas of the county. The largest area is the East Rural area, but there are also pockets throughout the county that do not have access to broadband. The other element that was suggested was there may be a need to underwrite the cost of broadband services in some areas of the county that have service but may not be able to afford the service. The two specific areas that were mentioned were Midway and Goldsboro.
Ms. Guillet advised she tried to attach dollar amounts to all of the categories. They did have an estimate for underwriting service to Midway and Goldsboro. That was to put new infrastructure in to provide overlapping service to what the service already is. The new service would be between $3 million and $5 million. She extrapolated out for the other unserved areas. Ms. Guillet expressed the estimate of $17 million to $30 million is really just a shot in the dark. If this is a priority of the Board, the one thing she would like today is some direction and consensus to start talking to the broadband providers in the community to see what sort of partnerships there may be and what their thinking is on how they might be able to fill the gaps in the county. Then they will have a better fix on the cost.
Commissioner Dallari stated since the seven cities and the School Board are also getting funds, he would like to partner with them so they are all working together for the same citizens, doing the same good, and benefiting everyone. He thinks the County Manager, the city managers, and the School Superintendent all need to meet and figure out how they can all work together. Ms. Guillet advised she has a meeting scheduled next Monday with all of the city managers, and she has reached out to the school. They will be discussing sales tax and the American Rescue Plan. Chairman Constantine inquired how much the School Board is getting, and Ms. Guillet responded $89 million. The Chairman confirmed with Ms. Guillet that the School Board has also sent a request to the County for $11 million (received and filed).
Commissioner Herr noted this has a date-certain end to it. She emphasized that while they attempt to cooperate with the cities and School Board, they don't allow it to get in the way of progress in terms of execution with the tight timeline. She does not want to see a loss of potential positive impact with this money into these communities because the cities can't agree. Ms. Guillet stated her impression of Commissioner Dallari's comments is to find places where priorities are aligned to leverage resources. Commissioner Lockhart inquired if they know what the constraints are with the money that will be allocated to the School Board. Ms. Guillet responded the School Board provided a brief summary of what they expect to spend the $89 million on, and staff will coordinate with them. Commissioner Lockhart requested Ms. Guillet forward the summary to her, and Chairman Constantine added to forward it to all the Commissioners.
Economic Recovery Assistance
Ms. Guillet advised this is really business assistance. The feedback she received is there was an interest in providing incentives for business recruitment and expansion and tourism support incentives.
Under the tourism incentives, a specific suggestion was airport incentives to recruit in a new carrier. Ms. Guillet reminded she distributed a memo regarding County Airline Incentive Funding (received and filed). After distributing that memo, the airport sent a funding request of a lump sum of $5 million to be used as they need. However, she is relatively certainly that is not going to meet the federal criteria. If there is an interest in working with them on incentives, she is happy to do that. This issue came up a couple of months ago in a meeting that Commissioner Zembower and she attended with the airport president and the chairman of their board. One of the things she shared with them is the County would need some sort ability to calculate a return on investment, just like they do on any other economic incentive. That would be something she would recommend the Board require if they were going to include some funding for that type of incentive.
Another suggestion was construction of soccer fields at Yankee Lake as another opportunity to bring more sports tourism to the community. It is property the County already owns and there is a great demand for soccer fields. It may be a good way to partner with tourism funds for the ongoing maintenance of that facility.
Ms. Guillet stated she added general support of the hospitality industry to the list because they are still struggling to recover. It wasn't something that was specifically suggested, but there was a request to put in some dollars for tourism assistance. Commissioner Lockhart commented with regard to the hospitality industry, what she is hearing from people in the restaurant industry is the reason they are struggling is they can’t find people who will come to work. If they can keep that in mind as they develop this, she thinks there's an opportunity to help encourage people to get back to work.
Commissioner Dallari noted he recently was able to walk 18 vacant floors of two buildings of the Colonial Town property area. He thinks they should be thinking about what to do with all of the potential vacant office buildings. He doesn't know if they need to have a task force or if they should be doing inventory, but they can't turn a blind eye to it. The amount of square footage that is vacant and is going to become vacant is astonishing.
Commissioner Herr stated they need to market segments of whom they are going after. She doesn't think they are going after businesses that are trying to hire the people that are better off staying home with stimulus checks. She thinks they need to be recruiting businesses that will fill buildings. People have figured out they can pay to cancel their lease and have a better outcome because their employees are just as productive home. There is a harsh realization that the old may not be the new. She thinks that can be filled with better paying positions that they have in some of the surrounding counties. They need to be outside of the industries that are the first to take the hit any time there is any crisis.
Ms. Guillet noted these are the same categories that were under the CARES Act assistance, and these are things they have already talked to the cities about. This is one area already identified as an opportunity to coordinate. The dollar amounts that she included here are a third of what they funded under the CARES Act. She took a percentage of that and included those numbers here based on two things: The diminishing demand they are seeing with respect to rental assistance requests and anticipated partnerships with the cities in this particular category. That is why the numbers are significantly lower than in the CARES Act program. She thinks the need is different now than what it was last year. While the categories are the same, the programs may not align.
Ms. Guillet stated she specifically included mortgage assistance on here because they know they have rental assistance dollars. There is a mortgage assistance element of the American Rescue Plan, and portions of it will be distributed to each individual state. Her expectation is that that will be further distributed down to the county through SHIP or HOME or one of the other programs. Her anticipation is they will get separate funding for homeowner assistance because there is a specific category in the American Rescue Plan.
Mental Health Services
Ms. Guillet noted all of the Commissioners mentioned the need to address some of the mental health care needs in the community. Nobody had any specific dollar amounts in mind except for the potential of partnering with mental health providers. This is probably another area they can talk to the cities about. Commissioner Dallari advised he's been told there is additional money for mental health in Tallahassee, and there's also additional money for children through KidCare. His point is that they capitalize on all existing programs.
Chairman Constantine advised Florida Association of Counties is working with other association leaders to see where there are things they can work together. They met with behavioral health providers yesterday and their leadership team. They are concerned about a cut in the Senate budget when they should be looking at increasing. Florida Association of Counties is looking at how they can fulfill the dollars that might be lost in the state budget. The message they gave to them is get their locals to get with their county staff to show programs that can be done to support them in each county.
Ms. Guillet advised she reached out to Chief Lisa Spriggs, Seminole County Sheriff's Office, last week to talk with her about what the Sheriff's Office's needs might be because they are seeing an increased need for domestic violence services, child protective services, and substance abuse services. Ms. Spriggs provided an estimate on what they think their needs related to COVID might be over the next three years (received and filed), and that number came in at $13 million and change.
Sustainable Homelessness Diversion
Commissioner Herr discussed this category and stated she has taken a two-prong approach. She thinks they have an obligation to figure out the homelessness situation well beyond what they have done historically. There is one shelter that has been under-resourced and is now getting back on its feet again. They can take a short-term approach with that and come up with a much smaller number than the current estimate. But instead of spending it, maybe they invest it and in perpetuity use the resource that it generates to fund homelessness. The Commissioner noted she did speak to County Attorney Bryant Applegate about this. If they create the mechanism and the entity to manage, they could take $20 million, invest it, and keep the doors open at Rescue Outreach Mission the way they have been open; but she doesn't think that's what the Board wants to do because they would have to continue to figure out other funding. She looks at it like a college endowment where it would have to be low risk, low tolerance, there would be a financing mechanism that drives that, and there would be governance around that. They have a great opportunity to perpetually fund homelessness. She would love to be able to say to somebody that is homeless and wants assistance that there is a place for them to go to; and when they get there, there will be resources available to help them get to the next stage of their life.
Commissioner Lockhart stated she likes the big-picture approach, and she think that merits its own discussion because they don't know what's going to happen at the end of the day with evictions and foreclosures in the future due to COVID.
Commissioner Herr noted in order to do this, it's going to take time. In this number, there is immediate funding that is contemplated to get ROM to the standard that it should be at so they are not duplicating efforts. Then there will be the longer-term picture of how they can create an opportunity to perpetually fund the need no matter what. Ms. Guillet stated in conjunction with that, this might be able to seed the affordable housing trust fund. She thinks the County Attorney's Office is looking at the spend deadline of December of 2024 and whether or not there is a way to extend the benefit beyond that.
Communication/Virtual Service Enhancement
Ms. Guillet stated everyone expressed an interest in a website upgrade. She also heard an interest in expanding the virtual services they have started to explore as part of COVID, such as virtual building inspections, which are COVID related.
Community Service Facilities for Underserved Areas
Ms. Guillet stated she thinks there's an opportunity to improve infrastructure, and there are some things they are working on right now where they may be able to provide infrastructure facilities for health services and education services in underserved neighborhoods in the county.
Water and Sewer Expansion
Ms. Guillet advised this is a specific item that is mentioned in the Rescue Plan Act which does not have to be COVID related. She included sewer to septic conversion in this category. She noted they are doing an infrastructure bill right now, and there may be opportunities in that bill to cover this sort of activity as well.
Outdoor Recreational Opportunities
Ms. Guillet stated there was a significant increase in use and access to parks and natural lands that have occurred during COVID, so it's certainly a COVID-related expense. There are a number of opportunities with respect to trails and recreational facilities that could utilize those funds, and they could accomplish some of the things that are currently unfunded in the long-range plan.
Ms. Guillet completed her presentation and advised she was looking for feedback. The estimated spend on this is $153 million to $383, and they are only receiving $91.5 million. There was general discussion of each Commissioner's support. Ms. Guillet noted the proposals far exceed the price tag. She inquired if there was anything that is of less importance or something they could maybe be moved to the bottom of the list if they are able to find funding somewhere else. She wants to try to bring back a plan so the Board understands where these dollars are going, but she does need to pare it down and would like the Board's feedback on where they think it might need to be pared down. She expressed the Commissioners don't have to tell her that today.
Commissioner Zembower suggested they try to prioritize any trickledown effects that the money could actually trickle down through the community in helping one entity but then helps others as that unfolds. He thinks they should look at the investment idea, and they should be looking at the big picture.
Commissioner Herr stated if the feds are thinking about doing something about broadband and they think it's coming through another avenue, that would be one they could wait to see where else it could potentially happen. Ms. Guillet stated they can "park" that one temporarily while they get more information for what else is happening. Commissioner Herr stated she thinks the Board should give feedback on what they think the adjustment should be on, off an adjusted dollar amount in addition to the staging over time. Some of the infrastructure stuff they have on here could duplicate what other bills are now in the process of doing. Those should be staged later in the decision-making so they can drop back and use that for something else. She thinks they are going to have to be that fluid. She inquired if the estimated numbers contemplate potential staffing changes in order to get this done in the time frame. Ms. Guillet responded these numbers are broad for discussion purposes.
Ms. Guillet requested a "head nod" from everybody that they are comfortable with staff starting to talk to the broadband providers about what they can do to expand. No objections were voiced. Commissioner Lockhart advised she shared the information of the Office of Statewide Broadband and DEO with Meloney Koontz, Assistant County Manager. That agency has the contacts of the providers and what their plans are and what their plans are not in terms of where they are not interested in providing services.
Ms. Guillet advised she will meet with each Commissioner individually to talk about this a little more after they have had time to process it. Commissioner Zembower suggested as they prioritize the list, to put them in columns of probable, plausible, or impossible for the Board. Commissioner Herr suggested adding a fourth column of it potentially being solved elsewhere. No objections were voiced.
FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
Commissioner Lockhart advised she has a two-part item for future agenda. She expressed that while she understands this proposal may be too soon for some and not soon enough for others, government mandates cannot last forever, either because elected leaders remove them or people stop following them.
Part 1 of Commissioner Lockhart’s future agenda item is requesting a Board action item on April 27th to rescind the executive order mandating masks effective Monday, June 7th. Commissioner Lockhart explained the vaccine rollout began in Seminole County for those most vulnerable on December 28th. Then beginning on April 5th, all citizens 18 years of age and older were given access to a vaccine, and 16 years old if it was for Pfizer. To date, over 143,000 Seminole County residents have either initiated or completed their vaccination course. More than 67% of Seminole County citizens aged 65 and older have completed or initiated their vaccines. To date, over 30,000 Seminole County residents have contacted COVID-19 and carry some level of antibodies. As of May 3rd, all Seminole County adults and anyone with a physician's note classifying them as vulnerable will have had more than four weeks to schedule and obtain their first vaccine. As of May 24th, those individuals would have had their second vaccine. By June 7th, there would have been two weeks for the full protection after the second dose. Commissioner Lockhart stated Part 2 of her request would be Board adoption of a Resolution that would encourage the use of face coverings only in indoor spaces where social distancing cannot be accomplished. If at any point circumstances should change and staff wishes to consider reimplementation of the facial covering order, that must be brought back to the full Board for consideration and a vote. Commissioner Lockhart stated the details of the proposed resolution can be coordinated by staff and with each of the Commissioners individually.
Commissioner Lockhart added when she was originally sold on the concept of mandatory masks back in June, that was when hospitalizations were skyrocketing, acuity of cases was severe, treatments were considered trials, there were no vaccines, and there was never any talk at that time of herd immunity being a goalpost for removing the mask mandate.
Chairman Constantine inquired if the Board wished to comment, and the Commissioners expressed their support. The Chairman stated there was consensus to put it on the April 27th agenda.
Ms. Guillet advised the agenda for April 27th goes to print on Thursday or Friday, so this may be an item that comes to them after the agenda gets printed. Commissioner Dallari requested all data related to this backing it up be included with the agenda item.
Commissioner Zembower stated he thought putting Natural Lands into perpetuity, using a mechanism to do that, was supposed to be put on the agenda. They all received recommendations from the County Attorney and three different ways to do that. It was his understanding that that was coming forward, but it has not. The Commissioner requested support for that to be put on the agenda at the earliest time possible. Commissioner Herr requested clarification on the timing request for putting it on the agenda. Commissioner Zembower explained when he says "as soon as possible," his expectation is within a reasonable time frame. If that's two meetings from now or three meetings from now, that is okay. If he thinks it's a really hurried thing, he will say he would like it on the next agenda.
Ms. Guillet reminded there is a provision in the policies the Board adopted last fall for future agenda items, and there is a process for getting items on the agenda. They are supposed to be submitted in advance of the meeting so everybody has an opportunity to know that is coming up as a future agenda item. It's the Chairman's purview with respect to how those policies are applied. The Board can direct staff to handle things however they want, but there was a procedure adopted for future agenda items. Under the policy, they're to go to the County Manager in advance of the meeting so staff can do research and give all of the Commissioners a heads-up that there is a request for a future agenda item.
Commissioner Zembower stated he will get that drafted and submitted, but he thought it was pretty clear when it first came up that it was his expectation to get it on the agenda.
Commissioner Zembower stated he would like to look at Code Enforcement as part of the Land Development Code and understanding what areas may need to be cleaned up or strengthened or brought up to date. He advised he will make that request appropriately as well.
Mr. Chipok requested clarification in regards to the Natural Lands in perpetuity. There were three various alternatives in there and there were pros and cons on each one. He inquired if Commissioner Zembower wanted this back for discussion to determine which direction they want to go or if they want to do multiple. Commissioner Zembower responded he thinks they are going to need to have discussion.
Chairman Constantine stated he was going request a Charter work session as a future agenda item. They have discussed various changes in the Charter, specifically about audits and everything. It's getting to the point that if they are going to do something for the 2022 agenda, they have the opportunity to do that as a Commission. He was going to put that as a potential Charter amendment. The Chairman inquired if that satisfied Commissioner Zembower and Mr. Chipok, and they responded yes.
Commissioner Herr stated she does not think the process for future agenda items that is spelled out in the policies and procedures is incumbent upon the Board. She thinks it's incumbent on the Board to follow a process that gets built by the County Manager's Office that they execute upon. The process talks about submitting something 15 days ahead. The Commissioner stated that request should be triggered as an auto-email that comes out advising them of the deadline for a request. She stated she is not asking for a future agenda item but for a process to be built around this to help the Commissioners be successful in getting the County Manager to the best possible agenda build. Ms. Guillet requested clarification if the Commissioner is suggesting a certain time before the regular meeting she should send an email to everybody asking if they have any future agenda items. Commissioner Herr responded there should be an all-call for the request coming out of the County Manager's Office.
Public Comment on Items Not Related to the Agenda
The following submitted Written Comment Forms in opposition to the facial covering/mask mandate: Carmelo Belardo, III, 602 Spring Valley Road; Beth Martin, 565 Lake Bingham Road; Margaret Pas, 5384 Factors Walk Drive; and Sara Reschke, 2200 Cove Court.
The following spoke in opposition to the facial covering/mask mandate: Gerald Martin, 565 Lake Bingham Road; Kelly Shilson, 224 Slade Drive; Andrea Sefick, 107 Wessex Drive; and Ron Eddo, 817 Lake Marion Drive.
Emory Greene, Jr., Midway Coalition, spoke about the history of the Midway-Canaan City. He stated they have a master plan of specific things they believe fit directly into the goals, objectives, and opportunities of the American Rescue Plan. He commented he would like to meet with the Commissioners individually over the next few weeks to discuss those further.
Commissioner Dallari requested an update on the recent boil water notice in southeast Seminole County. Terry McCue, Environment Services Director, advised the samples that were pulled on Monday for bacteriological testing came back negative. If samples that were pulled today come back negative tomorrow morning, the boil water notice will be cleared on Wednesday.
Commissioner Dallari noted the Commission offices have been inundated with calls from citizens about not receiving the boil water notice. He requested they discuss what the proper protocol is. Mr. McCue explained this boil water notice impacted about 18,000 customers, an estimated 55,000 people. It is the largest boil water notice the county has encountered since 2015. The issue in 2015 occurred in the northwest service area, which is a third to half the size of the southeast region. The standard practice for smaller boil water notices is to use door hang tags, which is the only way they can demonstrate information to the customers that will see it. in 2015, it took a full day with all-hands-on-deck to walk the entire northwest service area to do hang tags. Doing hang tags for this boil water notice event was not something that was practical.
Mr. McCue stated he sent the Commissioners a text sometime around 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 10th, the day of the event. Reverse 911 calls started at 8:00 a.m., Noticing to the website went out around 9:30 a.m. and on all social media platforms later that afternoon; three message board signs were placed at Red Bug/Tuskawilla, along Chapman Road; and one at Carillon Elementary by 2:00 or 3:00 p.m.
Commissioner Dallari stated with the amount of phone calls they have been getting and how upset people are, it's clear people in this service area do not think the County is doing a decent job. The Commissioner mentioned when you connect service with Duke Energy, you have to provide them with a phone number. He gets text messages all the time from Duke regarding power outages, etc. The Commissioner suggested the County does something like that. Mr. McCue clarified they did contact news media, and customer service voicemail recordings were modified to reflect this information as well. Discussion ensued.
Ms. Johnson advised the challenge associated with this particular boil water advisory was the amount of people impacted. The majority of boil water notices they do from a communications standpoint are a couple hundred of people which make the door hangers easier. A banner was posted on the website by the afternoon. She stated they have received calls from people all over the state of Florida thinking they have a boil water notice because they aren't reading the map correctly or they just see the banner on the website or the social media post and freak out, so there is a balance to communicating a boil water notice. They have to keep in mind it's going to cause some panic. They do have a protocol in place. Unfortunately, that has been more for the smaller outages, not for something of this scale.
Alan Harris, Emergency Management Director, advised Alert Seminole has the reverse calling system, but there are some issues with it. The telephone companies don't provide unlisted numbers, cell phone numbers geocoded to an address, or voice-over-internet phones. All they provide is white-page-listed phone numbers, and that's what gets put into the phone book. A lot of people don't have landlines anymore. They have been trying to do more marketing. They put it in the utility bills. They have done it at every one of the hurricane expo events, things like that. They do have an emergency warning system plan. All of the things that are on that emergency warning system plan were activated that morning. Unfortunately, of the 55,000 contacts that could be made, there were only 17,797 contacts in that area. Of that number, 14,339 picked up and hung up without listening to the message. The IPAWS, emergency broadcast system, cannot be activated for boil water notice advisories because that activates everything for the entire county as well as weather radios. It's not a perfect system, and it can be improved. Mr. Harris advised they have been reviewing this, and they will draft an after-action report related to it with some itemized improvement items. Commissioner Dallari suggested looking into what Duke Energy does.
Commissioner Dallari requested an update on the noise ordinance summons format. It's hung up somewhere right now because they have to do the formatting of the actual summons or the ticket. Mr. Chipok advised they have worked with the municipalities and the Sheriff's Office, the Clerk of the Court, and have also had several zoom calls with the chief judge. Right now, the form has been completed. The protocol and draft judicial order have been drafted, and it is now in for review with the court system. They are waiting to hear back from the judges and get the green light and execution signature on the judicial order so they can implement.
Commissioner Dallari noted the county's phone system has been having frequent outages. He has been told the issue is with the carrier Windstream. He requested a status update. James Garoustos, Chief Information Officer, advised Windstream is the carrier that provides the county's local and long distance phone service, nonemergency phone service. They have had that relationship for a number of years, and they piggyback off of the School Board contract. The issue was a provisioning mistake Windstream made. They are moving some equipment in their central offices and that caused numbers that dial into the county organization to not work, and it was a ripple effect. Windstream has assured they have fixed it. Mr. Garoustos stated they are demanding a full explanation of what has occurred because they were not notified of this change.
Commissioner Dallari inquired when that contract expires. Mr. Garoustos responded they are leveraging the contract from the School Board, and they are going to go out for a new contract and he will get that information on when that will happen.
Commissioner Dallari stated he has been receiving complaints from citizens in the Carillon area about some utility work being done in the right-of-way. He would like staff to look into this to make sure children are able to get back and forth to the elementary school safely.
Commissioner Zembower left the meeting at this time.
Commissioner Herr expressed her thanks to Todd Hahn and Tony Nelson with the Engineering Division. There have been citizens who are concerned about the level of Lake Sylvan. The Engineering Division has been interacting with the St. Johns Water River Management District looking for a 90-day emergency permit to lower the weir to alleviate the high level of the lake. It was an exceptionally quick response.
Commissioner Herr thanked Sherri Harless, Engineering Division, for assisting with a 417 ramp management issue. They were able to contact FDOT, and the maintenance has been completed.
Commissioner Zembower returned to the meeting at this time.
Commissioner Herr advised there will be a new funding agreement coming forward in the future for Rescue Outreach Mission, and she thanked Ms. Koontz; Allison Thall, Community Services Director; and Ms. Guillet for their assistance.
Commissioner Zembower reported on the airport counts and meetings and events he attended.
Commissioner Zembower suggested at some point in the future having an education process for the public in regards to the noise ordinance.
Commissioner Lockhart stated she wanted to clarify the How Did We Grow process that is going on at the Planning Council. She has been provided the report, and she received clarification at the last East Central Florida Regional Planning Council meeting. The report the Board has seen that was done with MetroPlan is the technical report that looks at the data. What the Planning Council is endeavoring to do is the marriage of the data with the public perception with the community outreach. How Shall We Grow had a huge community outreach component that really focused on understanding people's perceptions and desires. They have been separated by time more than they should have been for a variety of reasons. What is rolling out is the public engagement, public perception piece of How Did We Grow. Commissioner Dallari mentioned when they did that report, they also did a value study at the same time. It's two separate reports. Commissioner Lockhart responded she will ask about that at the committee meeting.
Commissioner Lockhart reported at the Public Safety Coordinating Council meeting, a lot of the focus was on youth in the community. In a typical year, there are 5,000 average cases of child abuse reported in Seminole County. In 2020, because of the pandemic and children not going to school and being around adults who would be reporting, there was an 800-incident decline. In February 2021, there were 551 cases reported; and in March 2021, there were 521 cases reported. 80% of children are back to face-to-face school. There have been 72 sheltering incidents with 110 children. And of those children who have been sheltered, 22% of them were as a direct result of the adults in their life abusing opioids. Over the last year, there has been a 43% increase in opioid overdoses. The Commissioner thinks this makes the discussions the Board has been having about mental health services and the support that can be given to agencies in the community that are dealing with families in crisis all that more important.
Chairman Constantine reported Brightline continues to make presentations at the Expressway Authority. The biggest issue right now is, from the airport to Disney, if they're going to stop on the International Drive corridor. Most of the members feel that is extremely important. It's just a matter of cost and alignment. They are supposed to give the final report in July.
Chairman Constantine advised Ms. Hammock has requested the Board appoint two members for the Education System Impact Fee Citizens Advisory Committee. Commissioner Lockhart stated the only person she has heard be recommended was Sean Barth. Chairman Constantine recommended Carissa Lawhun.
Motion by Commissioner Dallari, seconded by Chairman Zembower, to appoint Sean Barth and Carissa Lawhun to the Education System Impact Fee Citizens Advisory Committee.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
The Chairman advised the Regional Planning Council has requested the BCC sign their resiliency resolution, but there were some concerns about it and the County Manager was working on some changes. Commissioner Lockhart stated some of the concern is the potential for not knowing what exactly they could be committing to financially in the case of an event. But if there is a way they can commit to continuing to work collaboratively and a regional approach and generically join in the idea that working together is good, she does not have a problem with that. Ms. Guillet added there were commitments like the County would support their lobbying agenda not knowing what that might be and they would commit staff resources. When this first came up, she submitted some proposed changes to the executive director, but they never made it into the resolution.
Commissioner Lockhart stated she thinks it would be important for every one of the Board members to review the document and see what they may think and have some suggestions from them as well. The Chairman requested staff bring something back that they feel comfortable with that the Board can look at and then potentially pass.
The Chairman advised he received a request from Embrace Families to send a letter to Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy on supporting legislation for federal funding to support foster youth obtaining a driver's license and critical technical assistance and enacting similar programs. He inquired if anyone had an objection to him sending that letter. Commissioner Herr stated she doesn't have an objection but would like to understand it better. The Chairman responded he would be happy to get it to everybody; and if anybody then had an objection, they could state it. He requested Commissioner Zembower have his aide deliver it to each one of the members.
Ms. Guillet advised they received a grant of $425,000 from the St. Johns River Water Management District for the Little Wekiva Restoration project, which is the County's number 1 legislative priority. Staff has drafted a thank you letter for the Chairman's signature, and they would like to have that approved.
Motion by Commissioner Dallari, seconded by Commissioner Herr, to allow the Chairman to sign a letter of thank you to the St. Johns River Water Management District for the $425,000 grant for the Little Wekiva River Restoration project.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
COMMUNICATIONS AND/OR REPORTS
The following Communications and/or Reports were received and filed.
1. Letter dated April 2, 2021 from James D. Stansbury, Chief of the Bureau of Community Planning and Growth, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, to Chairman Constantine re: Review of proposed comprehensive plan amendment #21-01ESR.
cc: R. Hammock, Development Services; H. Harling, ECFRPC Director.
2. Letter dated March 26, 2021 from Chris Kintner, Community Development Director, City of Longwood, to the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners re: Voluntary annexation of Parcel #06-21-30-508-0000-0630 into the City of Longwood.
cc: N. Guillet, County Manager; C. Gioielli, Longwood City Manager (Acting).
3. Letter dated March 25, 2021 from Luis V. Rodriguez, Director of Engineering and Modeling Division, FEMA, to Chairman Constantine re: Riverside Oaks, Phase 1; Determination of Special Flood Hazard Area.
cc: M. Stehli, NFIP Coordinator
4. Email dated April 8, 2021 with attached letter from Rick Donohue, Embassy Suites General Manager, to Commissioner Constantine re: Request any excess funds from CARES Act funding be used to upgrade sports facilities or to purchase land to build more sports facilities.
5. Email dated April 8, 2021 with attached letter from Frank Cirrincione, Hilton General Manager, to Commissioner Constantine re: Request the BCC continue prioritizing investments in County sports venues.
6. Letter dated April 9, 2021 from Bruce Skwarlo, Orlando Marriott Lake Mary General Manager to Commissioner Constantine re: Requesting that CARES Act federal funding be used to expand current sports venues or add soccer/lacrosse fields on available county land.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned at 4:37 p.m., this same date.