The following is a non-verbatim transcript of the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MEETING OF SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA, held both in person and virtually, via Communications Media Technology (CMT) made permissible pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Orders, at 7:00 p.m., on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, in Room 1028 of the SEMINOLE COUNTY SERVICES BUILDING at SANFORD, FLORIDA, the usual place of meeting of said Board.

            Attending in person:

Chairman Jay Zembower (District 2)

Vice Chairman Lee Constantine (District 3)

                        Commissioner Robert Dallari (District 1)

                        Commissioner Amy Lockhart (District 4)

            County Manager Nicole Guillet

County Attorney Bryant Applegate

Clerk of Court and Comptroller Grant Maloy


            Attending remotely:

Commissioner Brenda Carey (District 5)

Deputy Clerk Chariti Colon




Commissioner Lockhart led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Chairman Zembower called for a moment of silence in remembrance of the 19th anniversary of 9/11.                  



            Chairman Zembower advised that the Board of County Commissioners does not have any control over the tax levies or budgets of the School Board, the Water Management District, or any of the seven cities in Seminole County.  Questions regarding property assessed valuations should be addressed to the Property Appraiser, David Johnson.  The Board of County Commissioners has limited authority over the budgets of the Constitutional Officers of the County which include the Clerk of the Circuit Court, the Property Appraiser, the Sheriff, the Supervisor of Elections, and the Tax Collector.  Chairman Zembower described how the budgets for the Constitutional Officers are reviewed and approved.  He pointed out that by Florida law, two public hearings must be held before adopting the final millage rates and annual budget for Seminole County.  The purpose of this first public hearing is to hear public comments regarding the proposed millage rates and budget, amend the budget as desired by the Board, and to tentatively adopt the millage rates and budget of the County for FY 2020/21. 

            Chairman Zembower stated the first public hearing has been advertised through the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes which was previously mailed by the Property Appraiser's Office in August to all ad valorem taxpayers of the County.

            Lorie Bailey Brown, Resource Management Director, addressed the Board and displayed a PowerPoint presentation (received and filed) for the FY 2020/21 Tentative Budget.  She reviewed Budget Development for the upcoming fiscal year.  She explained the budget schedule was advanced by one month this year and Constitutional Officers were requested to submit their budgets by May 1st instead of June 1st.  There were four BCC budget work sessions and five County Manager work sessions held.  Tonight’s hearing is to announce the tentative millage rates and tentative budget.   

Ms. Bailey Brown displayed the Millage Rate Summary and reviewed millage rates for the Adopted 2019/20 Budget; Tentative 2020/21 Budget, which are the same as the previous year; Rolled-Back Rate; and the Percentage Increase in the Proposed Millage Rates over the Rolled-Back Millage Rates for Countywide, the Fire Services District, and the Roads District.  She explained the increase above the Roll-Back Rate is primarily to offset the decrease in non-ad valorem revenues due to the effects of COVID-19 and increases in public safety and road improvements.  Ms. Bailey Brown continued by reviewing 2020 Change in Taxable Property Values.  She explained the economic shutdown from March to May directly impacted gas tax; sales tax; tourism tax; and water, sewer, and solid waste fees.  This was originally estimated to cost the County $17 million, which is about 10% of those revenue budgets.  The decreases in April/May were a little worse than anticipated and the rebound in June was much better than anticipated.  FY 2021 revenue budgets assume a 10% overall draw on non-ad valorem revenues.

Ms. Bailey Brown reviewed Millage Comparison, which includes the tentative millage rates combined with the School Board and Water Management District and are detailed on page 27 of the First Public Hearing Book (copy received and filed).  She reviewed Property Tax Bill and Tentative Budget Summary.  She explained adjustments to the County Manager’s proposed budget delivered on June 15, 2020, totaled $61.2 million primarily due to the appropriation of the CARES Act Grant funding.  These adjustments have no impact to the tentative millage rates and are detailed on page 14 of the First Public Hearing Book.  With the adjustments, the total Tentative Budget is $903.7 million.  Ms. Bailey Brown reviewed a pie chart depicting the total proposed Expenditures Budget of $636.7 million by Service Area.  She concluded her presentation by stating the Board is also requested to approve Exhibit C, Revisions to Project Listing, which is detailed on page 17 of the First Public Hearing Book.


            With regard to public participation, no one spoke in support or in opposition and public input was closed.


            The Commissioners each expressed their appreciation for staff’s work in preparing the budget, especially having to do so during a pandemic.

Commissioner Dallari stated there are some things; such as, infrastructure, parks, boardwalks, and staff cost-of-living salary increases, that are being put off.  During the midyear budget adjustment, he would like to revisit some of those things to see how the projections are coming to fruition and to see if they can actually move some things up; and he would like staff prepared to do that.  There was consensus among the Board that midyear will be an important time.  Commissioner Lockhart noted it is important that the public know this is not the first time the Board has seen this information and it is not the only time they have had to work with staff on the budget.  This is a culmination of many, many months and a lot of meetings to get to this place.  She noted staff was previously given direction to give the Board continued monthly updates.  Chairman Zembower reviewed the Board's budget review direction to staff during the pandemic and the budget process.  The Chairman thanked the Constitutional Officers for getting their budgets in early. 

Commissioner Carey suggested the Commission look at their own budget.  They have asked the County to freeze positions and eliminate everything they could.  They have asked every department to do different things.  Over the last couple of years, the BCC's budget has increased.  Right now, their salary line is reduced by $69,000 because of a frozen position, which is Commissioner Lockhart's aide.  Since last December, Commissioner Carey's aide has been doing double-duty by working in the County Manager's office and then assisting the Commissioner as needed.  Commissioner Carey thinks they should lead by example and consider eliminating another position so there are three aides serving the County Commission with the other support coming from the County Manager's Office, which would free up about $130,000 in their salary line.  She would like to propose and discuss having three full-time Commission aides that back each other up and then the extra support coming from the County Manager's Office.

Commissioner Constantine stated he is extremely proud of this budget, believes strongly in constituent services, and the administration office works for the constituents, not for the Commissioners.  A discussion ensued regarding administration positions.  Nicole Guillet, County Manager, requested the Board continue their discussion until after the election in November.  If there are changes in the Commission Offices, there may be an increased need for administrative support.  There are two administrative assistants in the County Manager's Office that are able to help.  However, they don't just support the four senior managers; they also support other offices.  She thinks it is a good discussion to have but would ask the Board waits to see what things look like after November and see what the needs are at that point.  Chairman Zembower concurred and stated if they want to lead by example, he would be happy to discuss 50% payroll cuts for the Commissioners.  


            Motion by Commissioner Constantine, seconded by Commissioner Lockhart, to adopt the FY 2020/21 countywide tentative millage rate of 4.8751 mills.

            Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.


Motion by Commissioner Lockhart, seconded by Commissioner Dallari, to adopt the FY 2020/21 Fire MSTU tentative millage rate of 2.7649 mills.

Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.


Motion by Commissioner Dallari, seconded by Commissioner Lockhart, to adopt the FY 2020/21 Unincorporated Road District MSTU tentative millage rate of 0.1107 mills.

Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.


            At the request of Chairman Zembower, Ms. Bailey Brown read the established millage rates into the public record as follows:  The tentative countywide General Fund property tax rate of 4.8751 mills represents a 5.51% increase over the rolled-back millage rate of 4.6205 mills.  The tentative County Municipal Fire Services District property tax of 2.7649 mills represents a 5.35% increase over the rolled-back millage rate of 2.6245 mills.  The tentative Unincorporated Road District ad valorem tax rate of 0.1107 mills represents a 5.33% increase over the rolled-back rate of 0.1051 mills.  The tentative “aggregate” millage rate for all BCC taxing districts is 6.9011 mills, which represents a 5.10% increase over the current year “aggregate” rolled-back millage rate of 6.5662 mills.


            Motion by Commissioner Dallari, seconded by Commissioner Carey, to approve and authorize revisions to Exhibit C, Project List of the 2014 Interlocal Agreement among Seminole County, the School Board of Seminole County, and the Signatory Municipalities Pertaining to the Shared Distribution and Use of the One-Cent Local Government Infrastructure Sales Tax.

            Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.


            Motion by Commissioner Constantine, seconded by Commissioner Lockhart, to adopt the proposed tentative budget for all funds for FY 2020/21 as presented to the Board of County Commissioners by the County Manager in official capacity as Budget Officer and subsequently adjusted as the tentative budget of the Board of County Commissioners.

            Under discussion, Commissioner Carey requested confirmation from the Chairman that the Board is going to have further discussion regarding the County Commissioners' line budget before they adopt the budget.  Chairman Zembower responded he is happy to have that discussion another day.  Commissioner Carey stated as long as they have it before adoption of the final budget.  Otherwise, she will make a motion and see where it goes.  Commissioner Lockhart noted the County Manager said she would like to have that discussion in November.  Ms. Guillet advised she would like to see what the needs are at that time.  She clarified both of the vacant executive assistant positions are frozen.  One of them has been unfunded in this budget.  In order to fund it, the Board would have to do a budget amendment.  She can come back for Board discussion to unfreeze the other one that is funded.  Commissioner Carey confirmed with Ms. Guillet there are currently four funded.  The Commissioner clarified she is suggesting there are only three funded when they adopt the budget.  Chairman Zembower inquired what the "flavor" of the Board is on Commissioner Carey's proposal.  Commissioner Constantine responded he would prefer to take the recommendation of the County Manager and have this conversation in November; and Commissioner Dallari, Commissioner Lockhart, and Chairman Zembower agreed. 

Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.


            Chairman Zembower announced that the final public hearing to adopt the FY 2020/21 millage rates and budget is scheduled for September 22, 2020, at 7:00 p.m.

            Motion by Commissioner Carey, seconded by Commissioner Lockhart, to approve the second public hearing to take final action on the millage rates and budget for FY 2020/21 to be advertised for Tuesday, September 22, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. in the Board of County Commissioners’ Chambers or virtually at; and authorize staff to advertise the tentative budget and public hearing pursuant to Florida Statutes, Chapter 129 and 200. 

            Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.

Ms. Guillet announced that both the September 22, 2020, Board of County Commissioners meeting and second budget public hearing will be a hybrid where people can attend in person or virtually.


            There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned at 7:37 p.m., this same date.