MAY 1, 2008
following is a non-verbatim transcript of the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MEETING OF SEMINOLE COUNTY,
Chairman Brenda Carey (District 5)
Vice Chairman Mike McLean (District 2)
Commissioner Bob Dallari (District 1)
Commissioner Dick Van Der Weide (District 3)
Clerk of Court Maryanne Morse
County Manager Cindy Coto
Deputy Clerk Carylon Cohen
The Invocation was given by Commissioner Henley.
Commissioner Dallari led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Carey stated this meeting is the opportunity for the
Van Der Weide asked Ms. Coto to explain what kind of action is expected of the
Ms. Coto advised she will make opening remarks and will go over the actions requested of the Board.
Carey asked Ms. Coto to talk about the budget process before making her opening
remarks and how all this came about as a part of
Ms. Coto stated that, typically, in May or June, she will present the Board with the financial forecast, but they have done budget development a number of months prior to that. On July 15, the Board is usually presented with the budget and work sessions are held in late July or early August; and the public hearings are held in September. This year, because they have two years of property tax reform and economic down turn, she has found it necessary to go through a six-month process in evaluating all the services the County provides to the residents and is making recommendations and seeking direction from the Board so she can begin the budget development to present a balanced budget in July. As the Board is aware, this is the second work session in preparation for this fiscal year’s 2008-09 budget. Last week, she presented the present financial status and causes for same. Today, she will present recommendations as to how to move forward to try to create stabilities in the organization and community. Her recommendations are related to how they try to obtain that financial stability. She will focus on maintaining the quality of life they have come to expect in their community in light of extreme financial constraints. She said it is a little unusual to have a special meeting to discuss the budget versus having a work session, but because of the financial situation they are facing, she believes it is necessary, for some recommendations, for the Board to take immediate actions for the overall financial progress and health of the County. She said this County has not experienced a scenario like this in the past. They have faced and been able to tackle financial down turns, however, this year they are faced with implications of two years of property tax reform as well as the overall economic down turn. The situation is further stressed because even when the economy recovers in the future, the financial growth will not match what they have seen in moderate growth years. Typically, they have seen in the past anywhere from a 6% to 8% growth on the average as it relates to the revenue stream. In the future, they are looking at 3% to 4% growth. She stated today she will be recommending how to move forward and will request direction to best address this present situation. It will require the vision of the Board that they have demonstrated in the past. She said her recommendations are not made lightly but are the result of a six-month process. Management reviewed every service the County provides and asked who, what and why as it relates to that service. She understands decisions are difficult, but she believes the options at this time are limited. Many of the recommendations are not to be implemented until October 1. However, she believes the service level reductions should be implemented immediately. These reductions represent $9.8 million towards addressing the financial stability. For the balance of this year, that equates to $4.1 million in savings that would be carried forward into the FY 2008/09 budget. She said for each day they delay the decision, they have a loss of savings in the amount of $28,000; and that does not account for the loss of productivity as employees contemplate what the future holds. She referred to page 3 of the County Manager’s letter to the Board in the FY 2008-09 Budget Book (copy received and filed) and presented the actions she is seeking today as follows: Approve reductions to outside funding agencies effective October 1, 2008; Approval to proceed with changes to services to Seminole County governmental agencies effective October 1, 2008; Approval on service level reductions and authorization for the County Manager to take all necessary actions to implement in accordance with current policies; Approval to evaluate and perform additional analysis of using Tourist Development taxes for the construction of Jetta Point Park; and Board direction on future revenue alternatives.
Ms. Coto advised each department and division representative is present today to respond to any questions.
Upon inquiry by Commissioner Henley, Ms. Coto advised if the Board approves the service level reductions as recommended, she will look at May 2, 2008 as the implementation date.
Ms. Coto began a PowerPoint presentation (pages 5 through 8 in the Budget Book) covering the following topics: Purpose; Property Tax Reform Implications FY 2008/09 Budget; and General Revenue/Revised FY 2008/09 Budget Summary.
Henley asked if the expenditure figure of $248.5M is based on current or
projected. Ms. Coto stated it is based
on projected. This is the expected
expenditures if every item presented in the budget is accepted by the
Board. She explained two items are not included
in that amount. Staff has gone through
and evaluated all the rolling stock related to the General Fund. They have reduced all that with the exception
of about $60,000 in the Leisure Services Department. That represents turf equipment, such as aeration,
and equipment to drag the fields. The
other expenditure that was not deducted is regarding
Chairman Carey said on rolling stock, when they are looking at the kind of implications they are faced with, if it is not a broken piece of equipment, she would not think the staff would buy anything. She said she went through the Budget Book from last year and looked at what some of those items were; and if it’s not broken, she will not support any new equipment.
Ms. Coto said the information in the tentatively approved 2008/09 budget is no longer an active reflection of where they are, including the rolling stock. The only items that remain are three pieces of fire apparatus that staff is evaluating, and they have not done the Enterprise Fund for Solid Waste and Water and Sewer because those do not rely on ad valorem.
Commissioner Dallari asked if Ms. Coto had talked about having a lease for equipment when it’s actually needed. He said that should reduce the maintenance.
Ms. Coto said in the past they have had leases with maintenance included for some of the operations.
Frank Raymond, Administrative Services Director, addressed the Board to state currently in the budget, there is no heavy equipment except for Solid Waste. That is for equipment that is not normally in the landfill. That has been traditionally leased. He said the numbers come out better to own than lease because the equipment lasts quite a bit over time. There are certain advantages in leasing if they are willing to finance, and the leasing company can take the depreciation.
Commissioner Van Der Weide continued discussing leasing vs. renting. He said equipment rental is more expensive than long-term leasing.
Mr. Raymond said there is no equipment for short-term projects. Leasing of equipment for the landfill is long-term leasing, and they let the equipment company take the risk.
Mr. Raymond advised Chairman Carey that staff has been looking every year to decrease the amount they spend on optional equipment. This year they are trying to spend the least they can, but what they are recommending this year is going to come back eventually.
Commissioner McLean said his concern is for what can be done to remove the $13.6M deficit. He hopes they will have discussion about how to bring that number down.
Chairman Carey stated as they go through this presentation, they will have that discussion. They have to discuss changing the process they have lived under in the County for a long time.
Van Der Weide said regarding Jetta Point, he assumes Ms. Coto has checked with
Ms. Coto advised she has a memorandum on that. She continued her presentation with the topic of General Revenue/Projected Ending Fund Balance Summary.
Chairman Carey asked if Ms. Coto had a freeze on overtime.
Ms. Coto said she had a management meeting yesterday and talked about that. They have limited the overtime. In cases of emergencies, they understand in some cases, they will have to pay overtime; however, there are two other tools recommended to be used. That is compensatory time off and the other tool is if there is a project on a Sunday, and it is a scheduled project, they will amend the employee’s work week so that he can work Sunday through Thursday instead of Monday through Friday. The work week would remain at 40 hours.
Upon inquiry by Chairman Carey, Ms. Coto said they have seen significant overtime in the Enterprise Fund. She will provide information later to her on the annual amount of overtime there has been.
Commissioner Dallari asked how many people are being ordered in and what is the dollar figure associated with that.
Ms. Coto stated there are a mber of elements in the County contracts that are related to time trades, overtime and such.
Fire Chief Leanna Raw addressed the Board to comment on the fire contracts and overtime. She said what creates the overtime is the number of people that are permitted off each shift and they may have workers compensation injuries and those types of things. Overtime persons have to be hired to fill those positions to keep their minimum manning hours.
Upon inquiry by Chairman Carey, Ms. Raw advised that she will provide the information on the total salary budget for her department.
Tad Stone, Public Safety Director, addressed the Board to state they do have to maintain minimum manning. They have a number of overhire slots scheduled into each shift. Sometimes, they have to have additional people come in to provide the minimum manning. He said all that is built into the contracts.
Mr. Stone advised Commissioner Dallari that they consistently go through the hiring process, and they constantly fill from the bottom. He thinks they are down to six positions now.
Ms. Coto advised the Board that the amount of dollars in the General Fund last year was approximately $600,000 for overtime.
Chairman Carey said much of the discussion today will probably need to apply across-the-board because the other funds don’t have the projections they had hoped to have.
Ms. Coto explained that when she speaks of the General Fund, she is including Transportation, Trust Fund, Stormwater and some of the others. She continued her presentation with the General Revenue/Ending Fund Balance Projections.
Chairman Carey clarified that when Ms. Coto speaks of the beginning fund balances, she is talking about what the Board thinks of as reserves.
Ms. Coto said the reserve account is now at about 5% of the budget. Even if they take $9 million out of reserves, they would have 10.7% reserves and still maintain the policy they have established and can get through FY 2009/10 before she believes they would get themselves into a precarious situation.
Chairman Carey said when they do the mid-year budget, she would like to see where that money came from to clearly see where it is fluctuating.
Ms. Polk stated there is a detailed section in the Fiscal Performance Report for Ending Year 2006/07 that explains what the beginning fund balances would be for 2007/08.
Chairman Carey said the revenues have not come in where they anticipated, and the Board needs to see it currently.
Ms. Coto said the Board may not have seen the document Ms. Polk referred to as it was just distributed last week. She said staff would break out and provide that information in greater detail.
McLean said his concern is that they are not taking steps beyond the current to
be able to deal with what they can see as a deteriorating situation. They also have the challenge of unfunded
“band aids,” (new initiatives coming from
Ms. Coto stated if they don’t reduce the expenditures, they will have less money to carry forward and, with revenues not growing at the rate they have in the past, they will find themselves in a declining situation.
Chairman Carey said at the end of the day, the expenditures have got to be less than revenue. They need to live within their means and need to figure out a way they’re going to do that.
Commissioner Dallari asked if staff had looked at or spoken to the bond rating agency to make sure they are not moving money around or depleting their revenues that will affect the bond rating.
Coto said the County is still in very good fiscal health compared to many
others in the state of
Chairman Carey said in her conversations with the bond counsel a couple years ago when they made the decision not to increase their reserves, that helped the strength of their situation.
Commissioner Van Der Weide asked what the penalty is if their bond rating is down-graded.
Ms. Coto stated they would end up having to take out insurance and won’t get as good an interest rate.
Van Der Weide said things in
Upon inquiry by Commissioner Henley, Ms. Polk discussed what assumptions were used to arrive at the projections.
Ms. Coto said once she receives direction from the Board, staff will go back and go through the typical process that they will see in July. That would be additional refinement as it relates to the personal services line and operating lines.
Commissioner Henley expressed his concern with going ahead and approving the recommendations now and then finding out they are in a better position than they thought they would be. They would then have to try to go back and implement those things or let them ride because of the future projections.
Ms. Coto said, typically, in the past, she believes they have been very conservative. She stated she would not tell the Board they were as conservative in their forecast looking into the future. They tried to be optimistic that the economy will turn around in 24 months. Staff is presenting the best scenario they can. She added she doesn’t believe the financial future is going to get brighter in the next few months.
Chairman Carey recessed the meeting at 9:58 a.m. and reconvened it at 10:08 a.m. Clerk Maryanne Morse did not return to the meeting at this time.
Ms. Coto continued discussion on the financial forecast. She said when she met with the Board last week, she identified that even though they had cut approximately $14 million from the budget, that was offset by $7.2 million in revenue loss, primarily from the funding sources of the gas tax and sales tax. Even if there is an immediate rebound in the economy and they start to see the gas and sales taxes rebound, they would still be looking at $9 million to fill.
Ms. Morse returned to the meeting at this time.
Chairman Carey said all the forecasters are not predicting a quick turn-around, but they are saying it will be about a year or two before they will see recovery.
Ms. Coto continued her presentation with discussion of Outside Agency Funding. She said last year the funding to the Community Service Agencies was reduced to approximately $800,000. Her recommendation this year is to reduce this funding level to $637,000. She reviewed the new recommendations for the agencies as given on page 13 of the Budget Book.
Commissioner Dallari asked if the agencies have received additional grants or an increase in their operating budgets.
Dr. David Medley, Community Services Director, addressed the Board to state he was waiting to get the Board’s direction and he hopes to get applications in from the agencies by mid-June.
Chairman Carey said the message has been the last couple of years that the agencies need to look more to private sector funding. She said she is concerned about the Lighthouse agency’s decreased funding.
Commissioner Henley stated the decision Ms. Coto is asking for is for approval on the total amount and the Board can jockey the funding within that amount.
Chairman Carey also expressed concern with Workforce being cut 100%.
Ms. Coto continued with review of the other outside agencies, page 9 of the Budget Book.
Commissioner Henley said the status quo funding for Lynx is actually a reduction because of the cost of gas, tires and so forth and the increased cost of operation.
Commissioner Dallari said he would like to have a presentation from Lynx.
Under discussion, Chairman Carey asked what the balance is in the JGI funds.
Bill McDermott, Economic Development Director, addressed the Board to state he was not sure what the ending balance is. Ms. Polk said the projected amount for 2007/08 was $220,000; and the prior year was $942,000. However, Mr. McDermott said he didn’t think that figure was correct. Ms. Polk said staff has projected $892,000 for the Grants-In-Aid line for this year. Discussion ensued.
Chairman Carey asked Ms. Coto to verify if MetroPlan’s budget was reduced last year.
Dallari asked Ms. Coto to verify what happens to the
Dr. Medley stated he did not know directly what the School Board is anticipating. He said the Board needs to be aware that a funding cut to the Boys and Girls Club will also affect the Midway Safe Harbor, so that would be a “double whammy.”
Dede Schaffner, School Board, addressed the Board to state the School Board has not even discussed not funding this program because they know how important it is. It would be a “double whammy” if they have cuts in the Boys and Girls Club as well as this program. She said the School Board feels this program is a real important part of the Midway community and is making such an impact. Crime has gone down in that area and this program keeps the kids off the streets. She would hate to see it cut.
Upon inquiry by Commissioner Dallari, Ms. Coto said she had not spoken to the Sheriff about the drug forfeiture funds and if they could be used for this.
Commissioner Dallari stated he wants to make sure they are not causing some inevitable problems in a neighborhood they have been trying to fix for a number of years.
Henley said he thinks it would be appropriate for the Chairman or
Ms. Schaffner advised the Sheriff currently gives $15,000.
Chairman Carey asked if a staff person could make contact while this meeting is ongoing so that by the end of the day, the Board may know if the Sheriff could use those funds to make up the $10,000 difference.
Ms. Coto advised that the funding for MetroPlan for last year was originally proposed at $244,790 and the County reduced it to $220,311.
Commissioner Dallari asked if staff had looked at using Tourist Development dollars for the Arts program.
Ms. Coto said she thinks they would have to look at whether or not any programs actually bring individuals from outside the community for overnight stays; whether they are drawing tourists in order to be able to justify that. She thinks that might be a difficult justification.
Commissioner Dallari asked Ms. Coto to look into that.
Commissioner Henley said use of Tourist Development funds is based on how many room nights are going to be sold.
Commissioner Dallari stated he thinks staff needs to look at whether some of those dollars being spent are bringing more money into the County.
Chairman Carey said other agencies use Tourist Development dollars for the arts and they are all under the Florida Statutes. She said she would have concern about reducing all the funding to the arts. She added that this is a legal question.
Mr. McMillan stated that generally for funding the arts, you can provide funding for events and certain things but it has to be used for advertising. He thinks the County provides some Tourist Development dollars for certain events, but he will have to check on that.
Mr. McDermott said he has been having conversations with the Seminole County Arts group and if they can assist them in developing and printing marketing materials to be distributed to people outside the County, that would be a legitimate use.
Chairman Carey said she has a concern about going to $0 per capita for something (United Arts) they all talked about that helps create a high quality of life.
Commissioner Henley stated the Tourist Development budget is not huge and most of the money goes for bringing events to the County.
Upon inquiry by Chairman Carey, Ms. Polk advised the Tourist Development budget is $3.5 million.
Commissioner McLean said they should, at the bare minimum, keep the funding the same.
Commissioner Henley said he thinks it would be appropriate for the Board to be briefed on everything, particularly what the advertising program consists of now. There are some projects that bring in a $3 million return on the investment.
Commissioner Van Der Weide stated he thinks it would be good for them to have a presentation and said they have an extensive advertising operation.
Mr. McDermott advised on the Tourism web site all the local attractions are listed along with events that are going to be taking place. They have talked about having one document showing all the arts listed.
Ms. Coto asked for direction from the Board at this time.
Commissioner McLean said it makes sense to fund any entity that is bringing in contributions more than the County’s contribution.
Commissioner Henley stated he doesn’t recall any requests from the Arts Theatre for dollars to help promote them and yet everybody else makes a request.
Chairman Carey said she thinks the ruling in the past has been that they could not use Tourist Development dollars to do that.
Mr. McMillan added that the Board is not using those dollars to budget the program. He doesn’t know of anything that prevents them from allowing for specific events that are eligible for advertising or marketing dollars.
Commissioner McLean said he would relay the information to the Arts Board at the meeting this afternoon and he guarantees they will be glad to make the request.
Carey reiterated her concern about cutting organizations 100%, particularly in
the not-for-profit organizations. She
Ms. Coto said she is looking for a total figure and not necessarily each agency. The Board can concur with the dollar amount and can discuss further today or at a future point how they wish to allocate those dollars.
Commissioner Henley stated he hoped they would go through all the expenditures including any revenues before they begin making decisions.
Chairman Carey said she did not see any information from the Constitutional Officers and what kind of reductions they might expect to see from them.
Ms. Coto advised their budgets are due for the May/June time line. The Tax Collector and Clerk are fee officers. She has not seen any of the budgets for the Constitutional Officers that the County funds, as they are not due yet. She said staff has provided the Sheriff with a lot of information on the process they went through for reductions and she is anticipating seeing some reduction recommendations from the Sheriff.
Commissioner Henley asked if Ms. Coto had gotten a definite figure from the Tax Collector as to the “hit” the County will take with regard to his decision to offer driver licensing.
Ms. Coto said in the past, the County has seen approximately $6 million from the Tax Collector in return of excess fees. He has indicated that this fiscal year will be close to $2 million and that amount will increase up to about $4 million at the end of 2008/09. She doesn’t know if he has the answer yet on whether they will see additional revenues with the new office.
Commissioner Henley said under those circumstances, he would like to see the Board send a letter to the Tax Collector asking him to postpone any further expenditures until they know exactly what the County’s situation is going to be. He doesn’t question the Tax Collector’s right, but he questions the timing about offering another driver license office.
Chairman Carey noted that as an elected Constitutional Officer, the BCC has no authority over the Tax Collector and he has the right to make that decision.
Chairman Carey reviewed that the total amount of the reductions is $723,305 for outside agency funding. She said she thinks the Board should hear the whole presentation before making decisions.
Commissioner McLean said he thinks it would be difficult until they get the total picture of what they have and then they can make the decisions.
Ms. Coto continued her presentation with Services to Governmental Agencies, page 15 of the Budget Book.
Commercial Driver’s License Testing
Ms. Coto recommended the amount of $300 per person and $75 for retesting.
Ms. Coto recommended $80 per hour with no charge to those Constitutional Officers funded by the County.
Upon inquiry by Commissioner Henley on the fee-based officers, Clerk Maryanne Morse stated the County will receive the money in excess fees or in non-court-related activities, so they get it one way or another.
Whereupon, Commissioner Henley said he agrees unless the Constitutional Officer decides to do something else with the money.
Chairman Carey said that is true in the Clerk’s case but not true in the Tax Collector’s case as he has a lot more flexibility with what he does with his money.
Ms. Coto recommended discontinuing this service and operating on the open market or increasing the charges to cover overhead.
Mr. Raymond explained what is included in the overhead costs, such as ordering fuel, tracking the fuel, replacing cards, and money spent on the tanks for tank tests, certification, and equipment for pumping the fuel.
Chairman Carey asked if the $.05 per gallon surcharge did not cover those costs.
Mr. Raymond said the surcharge does not cover the cost of the fuel sites, maintenance of the sites and administering the system.
Commissioner Dallari stated if they talk about cost, they should also talk about the savings that bulk rate would give. Commissioner Van Der Weide pointed out the other consideration is the convenience to the taxpayer.
Coto said her primary concern is with State agencies and municipalities, which
Commissioner Dallari expressed concern about the County losing sight of being on the cutting edge of partnering. They can’t ruin that partnering with friends in the cities and other Constitutional Officers, as well as State agencies.
Chairman Carey suggested they go back and look at a surcharge as a percentage or some other fluctuating number. They don’t want to totally do things that are going to have a negative impact on the County.
Commissioner Henley stated he thinks the County would be ordering to the capacity of the tanks any way, so it may be to their advantage to stockpile. He said he strongly believes in partnering, but the question is can they continue to operate in the future with the way they have done in the past. They might need to look at more partnerships that have much more of an impact on their quality of life to provide more services at lower costs.
Ms. Coto asked if the Board would want staff to do any evaluation of whether it is worth it to see if they should have a charge to the agencies. Now the County absorbs all those costs.
Chairman Carey said for any State agencies, they should look at trying to recover costs.
Ms. Coto stated if the Board agrees, staff can evaluate this and bring back some information.
Chairman Carey asked staff to do an evaluation on all the services and bring back that information to the Board.
Ms. Coto advised this is for information only.
Chairman Carey suggested reviewing this when they replace the telephone systems.
Infrastructure Phone Service
Ms. Coto said if they go to the Voice Over IP, staff believes there are some opportunities with the Constitutional Officers and municipalities in providing those services as revenue generators. Staff is now looking for a third-party vendor to get support for the current system, but have not found one. As she gets information, she will come back to the Board.
Ms. Coto asked for approval to evaluate this charge and bring back to the Board her recommendation of what the County should be charging.
Tower Collocation Services
Ms. Coto stated staff believes they could have a significant increase in revenues in looking at this. She wants to research it and bring this item back to the Board.
Commissioner Henley said he wants to know the sunset date in the agreements.
Ms. Coto stated many of the agreements date back to the 1970’s and 1980’s and established a flat rate that rolled over from year to year. In her opinion, it would be a good idea to evaluate all agreements and bring them up to the current standards.
Chairman Carey asked staff to not exclude the private sector in this also.
Jim Beach, Public Works/Stormwater, addressed the Board to advise staff is currently in the process of evaluating the towers. There are currently 10 towers and seven have no more capacity. They are presently evaluating how they can strengthen the towers.
Chairman Carey said they could look at every governmental building for opportunities, any property the County has along the interstates and all County properties.
Ms. Coto said there is a fee charged for this service. Staff is looking to do an overall cost analysis and hope to have that information by late June and will bring that forward to determine if they should increase fees.
Interoperability Radio Systems
Ms. Coto stated her recommendation is to look at these and determine whether the County is recouping its costs.
Chairman Carey said the Commissioners all agree this is something they need to look at.
Bryan Nipe, Leisure Services Manager, addressed the Board to discuss the agreement the County has with the School Board. He said the County is not using these fields at this time.
Whereupon, Chairman Carey said if the County is not using the fields, the County should not be maintaining them. The other Board members concurred.
Highway Embankment Maintenance
I-4, 17-92 On/Off Ramps
Chairman Carey questioned why not use drought-tolerant materials on the embankments.
Mr. Nipe said the County did terminate a portion of this program. They have terminated the east side and will just maintain the west side. He said everything used is very drought tolerant.
Under discussion, Chairman Carey asked Ms. Coto to go back and look at reducing the level of service.
Parking Lot Maintenance
Chairman Carey asked for concensus from the Board on not mowing the six-acre grassy overflow parking lot for the Zoo.
Chairman Carey said probably the County can do some one-time maintenance things, but not on-going maintenance.
Mosquito Control Program
Ms. Coto said her recommendation is for funding into the future. She said the Mosquito Control Advisory Committee is looking at this and will be discussing it with all the partners and staff will bring this back within the next few months. She thinks this is something they need to look at as she believes the County’s agreement was for a couple of years.
Public Safety Dispatch (Fire/EMS)
Emergency Medical Services QA/Training, Etc.
Ms. Coto said she will leave it open to the Board about charging for dispatch and animal services.
Chairman Carey stated if they didn’t have the training facility, other governments would have to send their firefighters somewhere else and they would pay for it.
Ms. Coto said she will work on that. They have indicated to the municipalities that, for a fee, others can use the facility.
Chairman Carey stated she thinks staff should be promoting use of the facility to surrounding counties that send their folks out to have them trained.
Commissioner Dallari said for the facility to be what others would want, they would need a burn building and the County does not have one.
Commissioner McLean stated he thinks staff should look at both dispatch and animal services to see what the magnitude of the dollars are.
Ms. Coto advised staff will evaluate that.
Upon inquiry by Commissioner Dallari about outsourcing animal services, Ms. Coto said her experience is that the County will still have to do the back-up, particularly in outsourcing the kenneling.
Chairman Carey reviewed the Board’s consensus given as follows: For the Commercial Driver License testing, the County will institute a charge of $300 plus $75 for retakes; For Fleet Repairs, there will be an $80/hour rate charge, which is a reduced rate from what the market would be; the Board will not talk about Fuel Cost at this point; Switchboard Services, GIS, Telephone Services, Infrastructure Services, Network Services, Internet Services and Data Services will all be reviewed as part of the Administrative Services allocation and how that would be computed (staff will do an evaluation); Staff will review the Tower Collocation Services publicly and privately to see what can be done to generate some additional funds; the costs for the Fiber WAN, Interoperability Radio Systems and Addressing Services will be evaluated, not to make a profit but to recoup County costs; the County will no longer pay for the Greenwood Lakes Middle School or Central Florida Zoo maintenance function; Staff will evaluate revamping services at I-4 with DOT; the County will honor its commitment on the Mosquito Control Advisory Committee and look at the extended use she thinks the Commissioners had all contemplated and look for the Advisory Committee to make that recommendation; and staff will evaluate and bring back before the Board the Public Safety Dispatch, Emergency Management, Animal Services, and Emergency Medical Services AQ/Training, Etc.
Chairman Carey recessed the meeting at 12 noon, reconvening at 1:04 p.m., with all Commissioners and all other Officials (with Clerk of Court Maryanne Morse entering late), with the exception of Deputy Clerk Carylon Cohen, who was replaced by Deputy Clerk Eva Roach, who were present at the Opening Session.
the request of Chairman Carey, Ms. Coto updated the Board on the discussions
from this morning relating to Outside Agency reductions. She stated Chief Fleming of the Sheriff’s
office informed her that
inquiry by Commissioner Van Der Weide, Ms. Coto advised Safehouse Midway and
SERVICE LEVEL CHANGES
Coto reviewed the proposed Service Level Changes and Implications for the
following Divisions of the Administration and Administrative Services offices
as outlined on pages 23 through 29:
Ms. Coto informed Commissioner Dallari that staff is looking at automating Purchasing’s Inventory Control through bar coding. As it relates to the overall process of RFPs, staff will be looking at doing an overall efficiency study. She stated there may not be a potential to save money as in actual dollars, but it would be efficiency of getting better utilization of staff.
Upon inquiry by Chairman Carey, Ms. Coto advised some of the recommendations they have addressed reduces some duplication but they will be doing others that require a much more comprehensive review.
Ms. Coto continued by reviewing the proposed Service Level Changes and Implications for Administrative Services/Support Services (Page 30); and Community Information/SGTV (Page 31).
Chairman Carey stated she would like to know if it is necessary for SGTV to entertain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with programs. That may be something that staff can look into.
Ms. Coto continued by reviewing Community Services (Personal Services for Extension Services, Low Income Assistance Program, Probation, and Veteran’s Services) (Pages 34 through 37).
Commissioner Van Der Weide stated he knows a long-term employee who has been off on sick leave and he believes he will need a doctor’s clearance to go back to work. Whereupon, Ms. Coto said she has not figured that in.
Commissioner Van Der Weide stated he has talked to some of the veterans and they have special problems. The County needs to respect their employees if they are out on sick leave and if they have a doctor’s clearance to come back to work, they have to honor that. He added that veterans have very specific and complicated issues.
Ms. Coto agreed that the veteran ranks are growing due to the recent world situation. The two Veterans’ Services officers are both trained. She stated she understands the Board’s point and she has had discussions with Human Resources as it relates to that situation.
Medley, Community Services Director, addressed the Board to advise the two
officers that are currently working at Veteran Services are Navy veterans, and
the other individual is not actually a veteran but has worked in the
Ms. Coto continued reviewing the proposed level changes for Court Support/Judicial (Page 39).
Carey stated no foster children in
Commissioner Dallari stated he would have to agree with that to a certain degree. When they are talking about adults it’s one thing, but when they are talking about children, he would like to see that funded until the end of the fiscal year.
The Board consented to keeping the General Master through the end of the fiscal year.
Ms. Coto explained to Commissioner Henley how one other county handled this and what the impact will be for the reduction. Discussion ensued.
Ms. Coto continued reviewing the Service Level Changes for the following: Economic Development; Fiscal Services/Grants; and Human Resources for Employees Programs (Pages 41 through 46). The Board discussed in length with Ms. Coto and Janet Davis, Human Resources Director, the Education and Tuition Refund Program, the Citizens Academy, employee picnic, and distributing turkeys during Thanksgiving. The Board recommended suspending the Tuition Refund Program at the end of the budget year or revising it, with staff to bring back additional information. Ms. Coto concluded the Human Resources proposals by reviewing the Recruitment and Training Divisions.
Upon inquiry by Chairman Carey, Ms. Coto advised staff will bring back information on the Wellness Program.
Commissioner Dallari stated he would like staff to bring back information on how eliminating the Wellness Program will affect the medical insurance premiums.
Coto reviewed the Service Level Proposals for Information Technology and the
following Divisions for Leisure Services:
Discussion ensued relating to dissolving the Natural Lands (Page 59) as a division and putting the program under the Streetscapes & Trails Division.
Ms. Coto recommended closing five branch libraries (Page 62) on Fridays and reducing the hours of operations from 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Discussion ensued relating to how Friday was chosen to close the libraries. Ms. Coto reviewed the Museum proposal (Page 63) by reducing the number of hours the Museum is open, eliminating the traveling exhibits, and discontinuing any new Historical Markers.
Commissioner Dallari requested staff to look into whether or not they can use TDC dollars for the museum.
Ms. Coto reviewed Planning & Development Divisions (Pages 66 through 69) as follows: Administration; Planning; Development Review; and Building-Development Review Fund.
Upon inquiry by Chairman Carey, Ms. Coto advised this proposal would result in putting about $100,000 a year back into the Reserve Fund. A consultant firm, KPMG, is doing a study and she is planning to meet with the consultants later this month to go over it. She said she will bring back to the Board what she believes needs to be charged associated with cost recovery. Discussion ensued.
Ms. Coto reviewed the Service Level Change proposed for Public Safety (Page 71) and Public Works (Pages 73 through 86) for the following Divisions: Business Office; Roads-Stormwater (Contracted Services, County-wide Operations, and District Operations); Stormwater Field/Water Quality; Engineering (Support Services and Production Service); Traffic Engineering (Striping Outsourced Services, Utility Locates, Signal Retiming Program, Traffic Calming Program, and Capital Projects); and Public Works/All Divisions. Discussion ensued relating to the sales tax, pedestrian overpasses, and the Unpaved Road Program.
Chairman Carey recessed the meeting at 2:30 p.m., reconvening it at 2:40 p.m.
Chairman Carey advised the Supervisor of Elections, Mike Ertel, has informed her that the County should expect him to return about $100,000 at the end of this year, and about $230,000 from the special election that was not held.
Ms. Coto concluded her presentation by reviewing the Revenue Alternatives as outlined on Pages 87 and 88.
Maryanne Morse, Clerk of Court, entered the meeting at this time.
Ms. Coto reviewed the Public Service Tax, Special Assessments, Regulatory Fees, and Library Fines & Fees. She stated as the Board may recall, when the original property tax reform was found to be unconstitutional, the Legislature had to rewrite that constitutional amendment before it was actually put on the ballot. When they did so, they failed to fix their trim notice. There is a glitch bill going through the Legislature to address this but since they failed to address the trim notices, the Board can go back to the rolled-back rate of 4.3578 mills. Under the property tax reform, the rolled-back rate for next year is 4.6 mills, which is greater than their present millage rate and that would result in $8 million in additional revenue. The maximum millage rate would be 4.8 mills, which is $14 million.
Chairman Carey stated that would be increasing their millage rate and that means a tax increase, and she is not interested in doing that.
Commissioner Dallari stated he would agree as that wasn’t the intent that the voters understood.
Chairman Carey stated she doesn’t have a problem looking at cost recovery for the services they provide, but she is not in favor of levying any new taxes at this time.
Commissioners Dallari and Van Der Weide agreed with that.
Commissioner McLean stated he also agrees with that, but given the uncertainty of what they deal with now and what may come in the next two or three years, it may make sense for them to begin the process to consider the concept of a stormwater fee.
Chairman Carey stated there are a lot of things the Board needs to look at and make tough decisions on.
Commissioner Dallari asked if staff has looked at any of the lease spaces to see if they can consolidate.
Coto stated if the Board accepted her recommendations and service level
reductions that she has proposed today, there is some lease space that they can
vacate in the Reflections building. The
entire Public Works staff can be moved from the first floor to the second
floor. If they proceed forward in any
direction with respect to the Sheriff’s Office and Probation, that would
eliminate the lease space in the
Dallari stated there is a lot of office space in the
Ms. Coto advised she would have to do a
complete analysis of all of the leased space they have. The
Chairman Carey recommended that Ms. Coto look into the lease space and open space and get back to the Board during the budget process. She clarified staff has found out that the Sheriff’s Office can make up for the Midway Safe Harbor and maybe staff can look at reducing the proposed reduction for community services agencies to $150,000. She stated she has concerns about eliminating the clinic as that is a very important program. She said she also has concerns eliminating money for the United Arts and that is something they need to think about.
Henley stated he would recommend that the Board accept the
Carey stated she feels the Board will have to give the
Motion by Commissioner Van Der Weide, seconded by Commissioner Henley to accept the recommended reduction of $7,496,167 for Outside Community Agencies.
Under discussion, Commissioner McLean stated he feels the Board needs to look carefully at eliminating those entities completely from the budget.
Henley stated he doesn’t think the Board is sending a message that this is what
they want to do. The Board is required
by law to balance the budget and as he sees it, the Board is giving the
Upon inquiry by Commissioner Dallari, Ms. Coto advised she understands the motion is to fund $7,506,167 (which includes the $10,000 for Midway Safe Harbor), and staff would come back to the Board with any additional revenue savings that they receive from the Supervisor of Elections to try to address some of the Board’s concerns in the areas of Local Health Council, United Arts and SWOP.
Chairman Carey stated she feels that number is just too high and if they don’t adjust the recommended reduction number, they are going to find themselves in October not knowing what the final number is going to be. She said, therefore, she is not going to support the motion.
Districts 1, 3 and 4 voted AYE.
Commissioners McLean and Carey voted NAY.
SERVICES TO GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES
At the request of Chairman Carey, Ms. Coto advised that she is recommending the following for services provided to governmental agencies: the County would charge other entities that would use Commercial Driver’s License Testing ($100 per test for a total of $300); Charging $80.00/hr. for Fleet repairs; Staff to do a further analysis for Switchboard Services, GIS, Telephone Services, Network Services, Tower Collocation, Fiber WAN and Interoperability Radio Systems, and bring back to the Board an estimate as to whether or not there is an interest, and what the associated revenue would be on those; terminate the maintenance of Greenwood Lakes Middle School athletic fields; discontinue maintenance of the Central Florida Zoo’s grass parking lot; await the recommendation from the municipal counsel relating to funding options for the Mosquito Control Program with municipalities; evaluate the Animal Services and Public Safety Dispatch and bring back recommendations to the Board; and staff is not proposing any charges to the Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services. She informed Commissioner Henley that she did not include the fire training center but she can include that as well.
Upon inquiry by Chairman Carey, Ms. Coto advised staff will also look at reducing the overall cost for Highway embankment maintenance.
Motion by Commissioner McLean, seconded
by Commissioner Van Der Weide to approve the changes to services for
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
SERVICE LEVEL CHANGES
Ms. Coto reiterated the changes to Service Levels including the following: review the Wellness Program; Tuition Program, revisit the overpass issue relating to the trails; look at the Reflections lease; as well as approving the funding of the General Master position until 9/30/08. She stated she would recommend those reduction of service level changes take effect immediately and will be handled in accordance with the current personnel policies as adopted by the BCC, including reduction in force and any information will come back during the budget process.
Motion by Commissioner McLean, seconded
by Commissioner Van Der Weide to approve service level reductions as
recommended by the
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
Ms. Coto stated staff will be bringing back the building and development fees, as well as the library fines and fees.
Motion by Commissioner Dallari,
seconded by Commissioner Henley to authorize staff to evaluate and analyze the
use of TDC funds for the construction of
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
PUBLIC INFORMATION PROGRAM
Ms. Coto stated staff will be working with Community Information to put together a program relating to placing pamphlets and flyers in County buildings to notify the public of all associated changes and reduction in services they will see in light of the property tax reform.
Commissioner McLean stated he feels they could have done a better job last year of getting the information out so that people would understand the ramifications and how it would have affected them.
Ms. Coto stated staff will be doing it with minimal dollars and they will be doing it within existing resources.
Chairman Carey stated the Board would like to see the pamphlets prior to distributing them to the public.
Commissioner Dallari stated doing this is not an easy task as this is one of the hardest things they have had to do. He stated he feels that for the Board to do this in good conscious they need to have some skin in the game. Therefore, he would suggest the Board reduce their salaries by 10%.
Motion by Commissioner Dallari,
seconded by Commissioner Van Der Weide to authorize reducing the
Under discussion, Commissioner Dallari stated if they expect the employees to feel the pain then the Board should feel the pain as well.
Chairman Carey recommended eliminating the $75.00 stipend as that would be a 12% reduction.
Commissioner Van Der Weide stated in order to change an ordinance they will have to have a public hearing.
Chairman Carey stated the Charter amendment changed the way the BCC salaries are adjusted.
Commissioner Dallari stated the Board can reduce their salaries by a motion.
Mr. McMillan stated the Board will have to amend the ordinance by having a public hearing.
Commissioner Dallari reiterated his motion is to authorize scheduling a public hearing to reduce the Commissioners’ salaries by 10%.
Commissioner Van Der Weide stated he feels this should be an annual thing and the Board can reevaluate it next year.
Commissioner Dallari stated this would be effective immediately assuming it is approved.
Chairman Carey stated the motion is to authorize a public hearing to reduce the Commissioners’ salaries on the first pay period after the public hearing.
Commissioner Van Der Weide stated it seems to him that if this motion passes, the reduction will certainly be approved at the public hearing.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
Ms. Coto stated Commissioner Henley has asked for a recap relating to the sales tax and staff will get that to the Board some time next week.
Commissioner Henley stated he would like to commend Ms. Coto and staff for the amount of time they have put into this. It was something that they and the Board did not want to do, but when the Legislature and the people spoke, they are the ones who put the County into this situation. Under the law, this is something the BCC had to do from a standpoint of balancing this budget. Over the last eight years, there have been 471 unfunded mandates handed down to local governments and that is a tremendous burden placed upon local revenues. On top of that, they have gone through two years of reductions and the future doesn’t look bright. He said what they have done today is going to impact the services the public gets. The public has asked for a reduction in revenues, therefore, there is going to be a lapse in the amount of services that is provided.
Chairman Carey stated the County could have dealt with this if they just had the property tax reform, Amendment One, or the economy, but since all three situations were combined it caused them to make these decisions today.
Commissioner Van Der Weide stated he feels the County needs to disclose the number of positions that were eliminated.
Ms. Coto stated in excess of 100 positions were eliminated including 71 fill positions.
Commissioner McLean stated he has been a business owner for 14 years and he has had this type of situation more times than he cares to think about. The Board understands that they have done everything to mitigate this situation as best as they could. The challenge is this is dictated to them and he feels they could have gone through this if they had to deal with only one of those issues.
Carey stated every major employer in
Commissioner Dallari stated the BCC is very sorry for doing what they have done, but it is not this budget cycle that they are worried about, it is the next cycle they are trying to plan for.
Ms. Coto thanked her department directors and division managers for their help as it was a team effort. She stated she would like to thank the Board for their support as well. She said she would like to let the employees know that they have evaluated them for months to try to come up with any other alternative other than the one they presented today. She added she needs to send a message to those employees who are funded out of the General Fund and the Development Review fund that reductions of those funds discussed today are done for this year and there will not be another “shoe dropped” over the next few months. She acknowledged that she will be looking at the Solid Waste and Water and Sewer Funds.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned at 3:40 p.m., this same date.