SEPTEMBER 12, 2018


     The following is a non-verbatim transcript of the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MEETING OF SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA, held at 7:00 p.m., on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, in Room 1028 of the SEMINOLE COUNTY SERVICES BUILDING at SANFORD, FLORIDA, the usual place of meeting of said Board.


     Chairman John Horan (District 2)

     Vice Chairman Lee Constantine (District 3)

Commissioner Robert Dallari (District 1)

     Commissioner Brenda Carey (District 5)

     Clerk and Comptroller Grant Maloy

     County Manager Nicole Guillet

     County Attorney Bryant Applegate

     Deputy Clerk Kyla Farrell





     Chairman Horan 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 Horan 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 2018/19. 

     Chairman Horan 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.

     Tim Jecks, Budget Manager, addressed the Board to display a PowerPoint presentation (received and filed) for the FY 2018/19 Tentative Budget.  He displayed the first slide and reviewed Budget Development for the upcoming fiscal year.  He explained the Public Hearings are the final meetings of a process that started in April and included multiple work sessions throughout the summer.

Mr. Jecks displayed the Millage Rate Summary and reviewed millage rates for the Adopted 2017/18 Budget; Tentative 2018/19 Budget; 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.  Mr. Jecks continued by reviewing slides relating to the 2018 Change in Taxable Property Values; Property Tax Revenue; and the Tentative Budget Summary (totaling $791,695,490).  He noted the Proposed Budget includes adjustments totaling $5,565,111, which are detailed on page 14 of the First Public Hearing Book (copy received and filed).

Mr. Jecks reviewed a pie chart depicting the total proposed Expenditures Budget of $519 million by Service Area.  Mr. Jecks concluded his presentation by displaying and reviewing the 2014 Sales Tax Exhibit C Project Revision slides.


     Steven Edmiston, 1047 Reading Court, addressed the Board and stated along with being a citizen he is also a lieutenant for the Fire Department which gives him a better understanding of the problems that are plaguing public safety as a whole.  He expressed he appreciates that there are several capital purchases proposed in the 2019/20 budget; however, during the budget work session presented by Fire Department administration, there was no mention of its most valuable asset, trained personnel.  Mr. Edmiston discussed Sheriff Dennis Lemma’s presentation at the same work session where the Sheriff emphasized their high attrition of trained personnel, many of whom are leaving due to wage compression.  Mr. Edmiston advised the Fire Department is in the exact same situation.  He talked about his responsibilities and history at the Fire Department.  

     Mr. Edmiston stated in less than 5 years, the Fire Department will have at least 31 supervisors retire due to the DROP program, including the Fire Chief.  That does not include supervisors and firefighters who will be retiring without the DROP program.  He indicated he is not aware of any plan to address the issue, and to date there is no succession plan.  Mr. Edmiston advised waiting five years to address the issue will be too late, and that is a huge risk to public safety.  He explained it costs the County $200,000 to train and outfit a new firefighter.  Once that firefighter is hired, he gets well trained only to leave in a few years to receive a several thousand dollar raise.  He asked how much money the County has wasted by repeating this scenario over and over again. 

     Mr. Edmiston stated currently the Seminole County Fire Department is $3,000 to $12,000 below the starting pay of surrounding agencies and the numbers only compound as you continue up the pay scale.  With the boom in the economy and the explosive growth in the county, now is the time to act.  He begged the Board to take all of the facts into consideration when evaluating the budget and do their job as public officials to keep public safety first.  The Fire Department cannot continue to lose its most valuable and experienced assets.

     Jon DiVita, P.O. Box 952648, addressed the Board and stated he is representing 350-plus Seminole County firefighters.  Mr. DiVita explained year after year exceptional service has been provided with minimal tax increases.  The majority of the Commissioners have identified on the record that the County is having a problem with retention of staff.  He mentioned Sheriff Lemma’s presentation at the Budget work session and noted the Sheriff made it clear that he cares about his people and understands they are the most important asset to his organization.  Mr. DiVita pointed out the Sheriff isn’t the only one experiencing this problem; it is countywide. 

     Mr. DiVita stated the Commissioners are very smart and refer to themselves as problem solvers.  He asked the Board to solve the problem of employee retention countywide. 

     Mr. DiVita advised the current experience of the County’s firefighters is only nine years, and they expect with the upcoming retirements that that number will decrease significantly.  In a letter the firefighters previously sent the Board, they explained their attrition rate has increased from the 2015 TriData study when it was already a major concern.  The migration of talented firefighters causes difficulties delivering services to the citizens.  Their number one priority is to keep the public safe; but for them to continue doing so, they must retain experienced personnel.  He asked the Board to make the County’s employees feel wanted and reward them for their hard work and commitment they show each and every day.

     Mr. DiVita stated as the Board is approving and evaluating the budget, they need to understand the Fire Department has the necessary equipment to do their jobs.  Yes, they do need more fire stations to keep up with the growth of the county; yes, they need to keep up with the technological advances to improve response times; and yes, they need to continue an efficient maintenance plan to keep their vehicles responding to emergencies safely and have a plan to replace trucks when they need it.  He asked if any of that matters without well-trained personnel.  Before they deal with the capital projects, they need to take care of their most valuable assets.  Mr. DiVita advised it is time they invest in employees and follow the County’s policy which states it will pay compensation which is competitive with rates being paid for similar jobs by other employers in the labor market.  He stated they must stop the skilled men and women from leaving the County.

     Matt Collins, 5840 Red Bug Lake Road, addressed the Board and stated he represents the Seminole Committee for Government Accountability.  He advised he only has one question pertaining to the budget.  Mr. Collins asked if the Commissioners are planning to raise their own salaries for the next upcoming year.  Chairman Horan advised the Board is taking public comment right now, and they will address it afterwards.

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

     Speaker Request Forms were received and filed.


     Commissioner Carey asked County Manager Nicole Guillet how many union contracts are in the County, and Ms. Guillet answered one.  She clarified they actually have two bargaining agreements.  Commissioner Carey confirmed with Ms. Guillet that the only union contracts are with the Fire Department.  The Commissioner asked if those are treated somewhat differently because they have a contract.  She advised she knows they are in contract negotiations, so she won’t get into a lot of discussion about it.  Ms. Guillet stated the way staff budgets for wages within the annual budget is driven by the provisions that are within the two bargaining agreements.  So rather than a policy decision, the wages are dictated by the conditions of those bargaining agreements.  Commissioner Carey indicated as soon as they get to some resolution on that, they will know what the adjustments will be for the firefighters’ contracts.  Ms. Guillet replied depending on what the outcome is on that, they will need to do a Budget Amendment in order to address that.


     Motion by Commissioner Carey, seconded by Commissioner Dallari, to adopt the FY 2018/19 countywide tentative millage rate of 4.8751 mills.

     Districts 1, 2, 3 and 5 voted AYE.


Motion by Commissioner Dallari, seconded by Commissioner Constantine, to adopt the FY 2018/19 Fire MSTU tentative millage rate of 2.7649 mills.

Districts 1, 2, 3 and 5 voted AYE.


Motion by Commissioner Constantine, seconded by Commissioner Carey, to adopt the FY 2018/19 Unincorporated Road District MSTU tentative millage rate of 0.1107 mills.

District 1, 2, 3 and 5 voted AYE.


     At the request of Chairman Horan, Mr. Jecks 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 7.12% increase over the rolled-back millage rate of 4.5509 mills.  The tentative County Municipal Fire Services District property tax of 2.7649 mills represents a 6.95% increase over the rolled-back millage rate of 2.5853 mills.  The tentative Unincorporated Road District ad valorem tax rate of 0.1107 mills represents a 6.34% increase over the rolled-back rate of 0.1041 mills.  The proposed “aggregate” millage rate for all BCC taxing districts is 6.9150 mills, which represents a 6.67% increase over the current year “aggregate” rolled-back millage rate of 6.4829 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 and 5 voted AYE.


     Motion by Commissioner Constantine, seconded by Commissioner Carey, to adopt the proposed budget for all funds for FY 2018/19 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.

     Districts 1, 2, 3 and 5 voted AYE.


     Chairman Horan announced that the final public hearing to adopt the FY 2018/19 millage rates and budget is scheduled for September 25, 2018, at 7:00 p.m.

     Motion by Commissioner Carey, seconded by Commissioner Constantine, to approve the second public hearing to take final action on the millage rates and budget for FY 2018/19 to be advertised for September 25, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. in the Board of County Commissioners’ Chambers, and authorize staff to advertise the tentative budget and public hearing pursuant to Florida Statutes, Chapter 129 and 200. 

     Districts 1, 2, 3 and 5 voted AYE.


     There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m., this same date.