BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA
JULY 25, 2003
The following is a non-verbatim transcript of the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS SPECIAL MEETING OF SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA, held at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 25, 2003, in the SEMINOLE COUNTY SERVICES BUILDING at SANFORD, FLORIDA, the usual place of meeting of said Board.
Chairman Daryl McLain (District 5)
Vice Chairman Grant Maloy (District 1) (Late)
Commissioner Randy Morris (District 2)
Commissioner Dick Van Der Weide (District 3)
Commissioner Carlton Henley (District 4)
County Manager Kevin Grace
County Attorney Robert McMillan
Deputy Clerk Sandy McCann
The Chairman advised this is an advertised Special Meeting of the BCC to discuss the proposed FY 03/04 & FY 04/05 Budgets.
State Attorney, Norm Wolfinger, and Executive Director, Debbie Rehder, addressed the Board to present the State Attorney’s proposed budget for FY 03/04 and FY 04/05, as outlined on Pages N-43 - N-45 of the Budget Book. Mr. Wolfinger advised of some minor adjustments, stating there is a difference overall of $5,554 that will be taken out of the Criminal Justice Trust Fund due to Article V.
Executive Director of Lynx, Bill Schneeman, addressed the Board to present the proposed budget for LYNX for FY 03/04 and
FY 04/05. He reviewed the following slides (copy received & filed): Budget Summary; Federal, State & Medicaid Revenue; Current Service Level; FY 03/04 ADA Cost Analysis; LYNX Customer Locations; ADA Cost Options; and Funding Methodology.
Commissioner Maloy entered the meeting at this time.
Mr. Schneeman continued with his presentation showing a proposed route for Lake Mary Boulevard that would operate between the Workforce Central Florida location and the Seminole Centre Superstop on U.S. 17-92. He advised the annual operating and maintenance cost would be approximately $201,666.
Gary Earl, Workforce Central Florida Director, addressed the Board to discuss the proposed new bus route, advising they will be moving to a one-stop center on Lake Emma Road and the bus run would go from the Walmart Supercenter in Sanford to their facility. He further advised that they would assume the cost of the route because it would be a benefit to their customers.
Commissioner Morris questioned whether a full bus would be needed for this proposed route.
Discussion ensued with regard to the possibility of having other stops on this route.
County Manager, Kevin Grace, advised LYNX is requesting approximately $500,000 more than what is currently in their budget. He stated the extra money would have to come out of the Transportation Fund or General Fund, should the Commissioners wish to fund it.
Mr. Grace discussed Orlando Regional Medical Center’s (ORMC) request for $600,000 in funding for the trauma center, advising this request is a short-term proposal that would keep the center open. He said, in his opinion, not enough time has been spent on coming up with the long-term solution. He also said that he does not believe the funding plan proposed by ORMC is an equitable one. He stated that approving this funding is a major change in the way the County has done business and he is concerned that other hospitals will be asking for funding should the Board approve this request.
Mr. Grace advised that should the Board want to fund the trauma center, he would not recommend the $600,000 as requested, but would recommend a one-time contribution of $348,000, with the money to be paid over a 2-year period and with a promise that a long-term serious solution will be found for the future.
John Bozard, Senior Vice President of ORMC, addressed the Board to request the Board authorize $600,000 to assist in keeping the only Level I trauma center in Central Florida open. He stated that people have a 20% to 50% greater chance of surviving if they are taken to a trauma center. He said this request is only a short-term solution and believes the long-term solution rests with the State. He said the funding crisis is a complex issue and it is not only the medical liability problem, but a manpower problem. He further said he believes that the funding formula they are proposing with Orange, Osceola, Lake, Volusia and Seminole Counties is fair; and would ask for the full $600,000, with $350,000 to be paid this year and the remainder paid next year. Copy of information booklet from ORMC was received and filed.
Commissioner Henley stated no one questions the value of the trauma center. However, he has been troubled from the beginning that a deal was already struck with Chairman Crotty when Seminole County was not involved in formulating the formula. He said he is also troubled by the political pressure that has been put on the Board by the media. He stated that there is still a lot of information that the Board has not been able to get from ORMC. He questioned if this is a “stop gap” action to get legislation passed to put the financial burden of the center on local government.
Commissioner Maloy left the meeting at this time.
Commissioner Henley stated he has a philosophical problem with funding this and questioned if it is the responsibility of the County to do this when the problem was created by private practice people in order to guarantee a higher salary.
Commissioner Maloy re-entered the meeting at this time.
Commissioner Henley further stated ORMC has a profit of $32 million and he does not support granting the funding request. He added that he believes there will be other requests from other hospitals if the Board approves this request.
Commissioner Morris pointed out the percentage of usage by Orange County is 64% so he believes their share should be more than what they are giving. He said his first reaction was to support the funding request so that the center could remain open. The problem is this is a life and death decision - the hospital is an institution and this is a business decision that should be made by the hospital. He stated the arguments have become emotional and now government is to blame should the center close. He further stated that this crisis is just not now occurring, but has been ongoing for some time. He also expressed that he believes if the Board grants this request, there will be others asking for money. He said that County staff seems to have come up with a good solution with funding on a percentage basis.
Commissioner Van Der Weide stated the question is does Seminole County want to get into the hospital business. He said he is leery to set this precedent and would like to see a long-term solution. He further said that he does not think the BCC should support a drastic change in funding without voter approval. He added that this is a major change in the way Seminole County has done business.
Commissioner Maloy said the trauma center is definitely an asset to the community. However, the problem has not been caused by Seminole County, but they are being asked to fund it. He doesn’t think it is a solid plan to just increase one set of doctors’ pay. He said he would also like to see a long-term solution in place and pointed out Seminole County does not have a hospital taxing district. He agreed that voters should weigh in on the issue.
Upon inquiry by Chairman McLain, Mr. Bozard advised the other commitments are not based on Seminole County’s decision to fund or not fund the center. He stated that he will go back to the Board of Directors and discuss this further with them. He reiterated that he believes this is a State issue.
Chairman McLain stated that this is another example of Seminole County not having any input in the formula and then being publicly asked to give funding. He added that any decision the Board makes on this issue will take place by September 23, 2003.
Commissioner Morris stated he would need to see a long-term solution really moving forward and then he would support the County Manager’s recommendation of $348,000. He added that he would like to see a plan prior to September 23, 2003.
Chairman McLain summarized that the Board acknowledges the importance of the trauma center in the region and will be evaluating this and have a decision by the Budget public hearing. He added that he looks forward to working with the hospital over the next year.
Rodney Smith, Central Florida Regional Hospital CEO (Sanford), addressed the Board to review a slide (copy received & filed) showing how much more Seminole County doctors pay in mal-practice insurance than Orange County. He requested the Board’s assistance in finding a long and short-term solution to this problem. He also requested the Board consider helping fund the difference in insurance costs for doctors in Seminole County should the Board approve funding for ORMC.
Dr. John Robertson, Seminole County doctor, addressed the Board to advise his practice shut down for two weeks this past year until they were picked up by ProNational Insurance Company. He questioned the Board subsidizing Orange County doctors when Seminole County doctors need help with their soaring mal-practice insurance rates. He said the cure is not to throw money at doctors, as it is only a Band-Aid solution.
Dr. Larry Alexander, Director of ER at Central Florida Regional Hospital, addressed the Board to state he would be the first to say that the trauma center is needed, but he believes the Board needs to take care of the local community first. He said it is just as important on a day-to-day basis to take care of those patients who do not get transported to the trauma center.
Commissioner Morris thanked Mr. Smith and the doctors for coming to brief the Board on their situation.
Chairman McLain stated it has been important to discuss this issue in a public forum.
Upon inquiry by Commissioner Henley, Mr. Smith advised the hospital is in danger of not being able to deliver babies because of this insurance situation.
Commissioner Van Der Weide suggested this meeting be replayed on SGTV numerous times so the public is aware of these problems.
Mr. Smith stated that they will be back before the Board with a request for a pro rata funding for mal-practice insurance for Seminole County doctors should the Board approve funding for ORMC.
The Board directed staff to obtain a listing of how senators have been voting on the mal-practice issue so that letters can be sent voicing the Board’s concerns on same.
The Board, thereupon, recessed at 11:05 a.m., reconvening at 11:28 a.m., with all Commissioners present.
Steve Edmonds, Seminole Soil & Water Conservation District, addressed the Board to introduce the following from the District: Mike Barr, Dave Millard, Mark Clifford and Attorney Joe Rosier.
Dave Millard addressed the Board to review the following slides (received & filed): What is a Conservation District; How the District is Important to Seminole County; and Mission Statement.
Mr. Edmonds reviewed the alternative funding requests, i.e., Level 1 - $25,000; Level 2 - $75,000; and Level 3 - $175,000.
Mike Barr addressed the Board to outline the benefits the District would bring to Seminole County, advising they would be a source of State and Federal grant resources. He urged the Board to work together with the District.
Mr. Grace advised funding for the District is not included in his proposed budget and his recommendation would be to not fund it. He reminded the Board that the County stopped funding the District because they felt they were not getting anything out of it. He added that most of what the District would do is already being done by the County. Discussion ensued.
Commissioner Morris commented that the County should not penalize the new District Board for the mistakes of the past District Board.
Linda Eiland, Insurance, addressed the Board to distribute a comparison of current and 2004 monthly health insurance premiums (copy received & filed) with an 8.99% increase in premiums. Discussion ensued.
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The Board briefly discussed the proposed millage rates.
Motion by Commissioner Morris, seconded by Commissioner Van Der Weide to set the millage rates to be included on TRIM notifications in accordance with the County Manager’s proposed FY 03/04 Budget as follows: Countywide - 4.9989; Unincorporated Roads MSTU - .1228; Fire MSTU - 2.6334; Natural Lands Voted Debt - .0869; Trails Development Voted Debt - .1041; Total - 7.9461.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
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The Board withheld action on the Medical Insurance pending meeting the Risk Management Board on August 4, 2003.
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Motion by Commissioner Van Der Weide, seconded by Commissioner Morris to authorize the Financial Advisor (Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc.) to proceed with an RFP to banks for the refinancing of the Tourist Development Tax Bonds.
Under discussion, Commissioner Morris stated this will come back to the Board for ultimate approval.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
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Motion by Commissioner Van Der Weide, seconded by Commissioner Morris to approve authorization to issue refunding the County’s Solid Waste Revenue Bonds utilizing $8,000,000 of existing reserves.
Under discussion, Commissioner Morris suggested the motion include that the bonds will not exceed the year 2020. Commissioner Van Der Weide agreed to include that in the motion.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
Motion by Commissioner Morris, seconded by Commissioner Henley to select Bank of America and William R. Hough & Co. as co-senior managers for the County’s Solid Waste Revenue Bonds Refunding, with Bank of America to control 40% and William R. Hough & Co. to control 60% of the books.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
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Commissioner Van Der Weide commended the Chairman for getting the Board through this budget process. He said he is satisfied with the budget and believes the County is in a good financial situation.
Commissioner Henley stated overall he is concerned with the salary level that is being proposed because of the economic situation. He said he will not be supporting the salary levels proposed until they are reduced. He further said he would be willing to support a 2/1% merit increase instead of the 3/1%. He would also support reducing the amount of money going to the constitutional officers on a percentage basis in order to bring down their merit to the same level the County employees have. He requested staff calculate what that amount would be.
Mr. Grace stated his proposed merit increase for County employees is not out of line with what is on the table for the fire fighters.
Commissioner Maloy stated he believes it is an equity issue and that all County employees (including constitutional officers’ employees) should receive the same merit increase and be treated the same.
Chairman McLain stated the County needs to stay competitive in order to keep competent staff. He added that as long as the salary survey shows that the County is at the 50% projectile, he supports it.
Mr. Grace advised there is money in this budget to fund a new salary study and it will be done next year. Discussion ensued.
Commissioner Morris stated that he would not support cutting the constitutional officers’ budgets.
Commissioner Maloy stated he supports the concept of keeping everyone on the same level.
Chairman McLain stated he does not believe this is a problem that can be solved this year. He urged the Board to work with the constitutional officers to reach a consensus on this issue in order to be more equitable. He added that he would not support cutting any of the constitutional officers’ budgets at this time.
The majority consensus of the Board, with Commissioner Henley dissenting, was to keep the 3/1% merit increase in the budget.
The majority consensus of the Board, with Commissioners Maloy and Henley dissenting, was to not cut the constitutional officers’ budgets equal to 1% or 2% of the salary increase.
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The Board reviewed and discussed the unfunded pending items (copy received & filed) and agreed to include the following in the budget: Carpet for Public Safety Building ($250,000); Historical Museum Position ($20,000); and Hazmat Vehicle Refurbishment ($30,000).
Discussion ensued between Attorney McMillan and Commissioner Morris with regard to the Big Tree Park Improvements ($35,000) and whether tourism tax dollars could be used for same. The Board agreed to leave the Big Tree Park Improvements in the budget with staff to work with the County Attorney to see if there is a way to pay for this out of tourism tax dollars.
Chairman McLain stated he is not willing to commit any dollars to the Seminole Soil & Water Conservation District based on their presentation today; but would have no objections to Mr. Grace finding a desk and phone that the District could use.
Commissioner Morris agreed with the Chairman, stating he does not believe a cash contribution to the District should be made at this time.
The Chairman requested Mr. Grace determine if there is any space available for the District and to report back to the Board.
Mr. Grace advised the TDC budget was cut back substantially in order to free up money for the convention center, which is now on hold indefinitely. He suggested bringing a new TDC budget back with no changes over the current year and eliminating the cuts.
Chairman McLain stated he would like to see more information on Altamonte Springs’ request because he would be more supportive now that there is more money available. Whereupon, Mr. Grace advised that is already included.
Mr. Grace advised staff will run the new budget back through the TDC and if there are concerns, they will bring it back to the Board. The Board voiced no objections to same.
The Board directed staff to bring back a prioritized list of HVAC repairs and replacements.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman adjourned the meeting at 12:58 p.m., this same date.