BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA
SEPTEMBER 13, 2000
The following is a non-verbatim transcript of the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MEETING OF SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA, held at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday, September 13, 2000, in the SEMINOLE COUNTY SERVICES BUILDING at SANFORD, FLORIDA, the usual place of meeting of said Board.
Chairman Carlton Henley (District 4)
Vice Chairman Grant Maloy (District 1)
Commissioner Randy Morris (District 2)
Commissioner Dick Van Der Weide (District 3)
Commissioner Daryl McLain (District 5)
County Manager Kevin Grace
County Attorney Robert McMillan
Deputy Clerk Sandy McCann
Chairman Carlton Henley gave the Invocation.
Commissioner Maloy led the Pledge of Allegiance.
TENTATIVE FY 2000/2001 SEMINOLE COUNTY BUDGET
Chairman Henley announced that this is the first public hearing on the tentative budget and tentatively approved millage rates. He advised that once the tentative millage rates are set, they cannot be increased without a second tax notice being sent out to every taxpayer in the County. He stated during this first public hearing, the Board must hear comments and questions from the public regarding the proposed budget. Prior to the conclusion of the hearing, the Board must complete the following: (1) Amend the tentative budget, if necessary; (2) Recompute its proposed millage rates, if necessary; (3) Publicly announce the percent by which the recomputed proposed millage
rate is above or below the rolled-back rate; (4) Adopt the tentative millage rate; and (5) Adopt the amended tentative budget. He explained that prior to the second public hearing, a newspaper advertisement of the Board's intent to adopt a final budget and millage rates and a budget summary advertisement reflecting all Board authorized changes in the first public hearing, will be published as required by State law. Pursuant to Statutes, the amounts to be published as dollar increases over rolled-back millage rate revenues shall be computed using aggregate millage rates and shall exclude voted millage levies. He further advised that the second public hearing is scheduled to adopt the final budget and millage rates for FY 2000/01 and will be held September 26, 2000, at 7:00 p.m. At the second public hearing, the Board may adjust the tentative budget prior to final adoption, but cannot increase the millage rates that were tentatively adopted at the first public hearing.
The Chairman advised that the BCC does not have any control over the tax levies and budgets of the School Board, the Water Management District, or any of the seven cities in the County. Questions regarding property assessment should not be brought to the Board, but be addressed by the Property Appraiser. He also advised the BCC has very limited and minimal authority over the Clerk of Court, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, Supervisor of Elections and Sheriff budgets. The Clerk of Court is a fee officer whose charges to the County are set by Florida Statutes. The Property Appraiser and Tax Collector budgets are reviewed and approved by the State Department of Revenue. The Sheriff has the right to appeal any decision regarding his budget to the Governor and Cabinet.
Chairman Henley stated that this public hearing is for the purpose of hearing public comments, explaining the tentatively approved budget, amending the budget as desired, and tentatively adopting the millage rates and County budget for Fiscal Year 2000/01. A separate public hearing for public comment and adoption of the non-ad valorem assessment rolls for street lighting district and municipal services benefit units (MSBU's) will follow this public hearing.
Fiscal Services Director, Cindy Hall, addressed the Board to announce the following certified tentative FY 2000/01 millage rates as outlined on Page 4 of the First Public Hearing Book (copy received & filed): Countywide/Operating/General Fund - 4.7179; Transportation - .2810; and Debt Service - .1083. The total Countywide tentative millage is 5.1072. She further advised that under the Unincorporated/Special Districts the Fire/Rescue tentative millage is 2.0971 and in Unincorporated Roads it is 2.7562. The total millage (including debt) is 7.8634 and the net total (excluding debt) is 7.7551. Based upon these tentative millage rates, she advised the tentative "aggregate" millage rate, exclusive of voted debt service millage, is 6.3484 which represents a 3.87% increase over the "aggregate" rolled-back millage rate of 6.1121.
County Manager, Kevin Grace, advised this has been one of the most difficult budget processes that he has been involved with due to the number of budgetary challenges that the County faces. He said they have been able to meet these challenges and to accommodate the Board's priorities such as the continued funding of the Courthouse and the purchase of additional land abutting County property on Hwy. 17-92, as well as implementation of year two of the three-year paving program. He added that this budget accomplishes these things along with maintaining the County's high level of services for the citizens.
Ms. Hall advised the proposed budget totals $470,019,512. She stated staff is proposing a number of adjustments of items (as listed in the agenda memorandum) which have been approved by the Board throughout the summer. The total adjustment is $2,734,715. She also advised that she has distributed information (copy received & filed) with regard to Seminole Vision. She added that Administrative Judge Debra Nelson has withdrawn the request for the Probate and Guardianship Coordinator position. Therefore, $37,256 will be returned to General Fund reserves.
Commissioner Maloy expressed his concern that the private sector contributions to Seminole Vision have decreased, while the public sector contributions have increased.
Irene Shelton, 14 Stone Gate North, addressed the Board to speak in support of the proposed salary increase for the sheriff deputies. She said they should be paid as much as the Orange County deputies.
Dareen Freeman, 705 Mellonville Ave., addressed the Board to state there is a continuing effort for the City of Sanford to obtain a hotel conference center through public funding. She said it has been announced that a conference center will be breaking ground in Heathrow soon. She questioned why is the City still talking about a conference center in Sanford when there is going to be one in Heathrow. She also questioned why would public funds be used for the Sanford conference center when private funds are being used for the Heathrow center. Copy of TDC Minutes dated July 13, 2000 and a copy of the Sanford City Commission Minutes dated May 22, 2000 were received and filed.
Commissioner Morris clarified that the proposed budget does not have any funds designated for the conference center. He said he knows of no conference center in Heathrow. He only knows of a hotel with meeting space, but no conference center.
Ms. Freeman also expressed her concern about the Sanford Historic Stadium, stating 200 more parking spaces are needed. She said she has spoken to Dianne Kramer of the School Board and nothing has been worked out as far as the City obtaining property from the School Board for additional parking.
Chairman Henley advised the County has transferred no money to the City for the stadium because the agreement requires the City to provide a significant amount of data to County staff. He added that there is money in the budget for this, but it has not been transferred yet; and the parking was not part of the County's interlocal agreement with the city.
John Bertholf, 589 Brightview Dr., addressed the Board to advise the issue for them (Sheriff Deputies) is not so much about money and the pay raise; but about something that they can never get back, and that is time to spend with their family and kids. If the pay is increased, that will alleviate having to get a second job.
Kim Jennison, 433 Wilmington Circle, addressed the Board to advise he will speak on behalf of the Remington Parks and Stillwater Subdivisions. He stated with UCF and the increase in traffic and apartments, the deputies can only do so much with the amount of staff they have. He said they support the increase in the Sheriff's budget if more attention is given to their area (District 4).
Frank Shelton, 14 Stone Gate North, addressed the Board to speak in support of the Fire and Deputy salary increases, stating they should be on an equitable basis with Orange County. He spoke against the County's support of the Publix Distribution Center on Lake Emma Road, stating the intersection at Lake Emma and Lake Mary Boulevard is already jammed during many times of the day. He said they do not need any more truck traffic at this intersection. If any economic incentives are given by the County, he said he believes it should be for high-tech jobs. He also stated he believes the County Commissioners' salaries are too high and he is disappointed that the Charter Review Commission did not go forward with their plan to decrease them. He added that he believes the Commissioners should donate part of the salary back to the budget.
Susan Eberle, 652 W. Palm Valley Drive, addressed the Board to state the Fire and Police personnel need to be paid fairly and equitably. She requested the Board include more money in the budget for stormwater projects and to update the FEMA Maps. She further requested that the County immediately fund a new program called LIDAR (Airborne Laser Terrain Mapping). She said this system is being used in Broward and Pinellas Counties with excellent results. She further said that accurate, updated flood information will save the County and taxpayers millions of dollars in preventing flood losses. She submitted a copy of the report entitled, Destruction By Design: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Continuing Assault on America's Environment. She commented that the basin study the County hired Singhofen and Associates to do is 13 months overdue and it is inaccurate. Also submitted was a copy of a letter from Congressman Mica and a 1999 study entitled, Creating A Disaster Waiting To Happen - Permitting In The Econlockhatchee River Basin.
No one else spoke in support or in opposition.
Speaker Comment Forms were received and filed.
Commissioner McLain stated the Board has heard from the public tonight that public safety, both fire and police, is the number one concern people have. He said he believes that is the number one responsibility of the Board. He said this region (Orange & Seminole Counties) is very competitive. Therefore, he said he fully supports the Sheriff's budget. He further said the Board needs to keep the good people in the County protecting life, home and children.
Commissioner Van Der Weide stated he agrees with Commissioner McLain stating there is a disparity that needs to be corrected when it comes to the uniformed employees of the County.
Commissioner Morris stated since he has been on the Board, the Commission has never denied a request from the Sheriff. He said this is a major band adjustment by the Sheriff because of the rapid increase in salaries of Orange County and Orlando. He said this issue gets mixed together with the firefighters and the union versus the non-union deputies. He added that the Board has always supported the Sheriff.
Upon inquiry by Commissioner Maloy, Sheriff Don Eslinger addressed the Board to state he believes the proposed pay adjustment is vital to their organization. He further stated that District 4 will be adequately covered. He said they are working with Traffic Engineering and will be implementing some new plans for that area.
Commissioner Maloy recommended cutting funding for Seminole Vision.
Motion by Commissioner Maloy, seconded by Commissioner Van Der Weide to delete $10,000 for Seminole Vision from the FY 2000/2001 Budget.
Under discussion, Commissioner Maloy stated this is one of the programs that started off with good intentions, but he wonders how long it takes to come up with a vision. He said he believes enough public funding has gone into this and stated Seminole Vision needs to obtain more private funding.
Commissioner Van Der Weide stated he clearly remembers that the Board said last year was the final year the County would fund this program.
Chairman Henley stated he would not support the motion. He said there have been several good things come out of Seminole Vision. He reviewed the items Seminole Vision and he are involved with. He said that efforts are underway to establish a commission on the status of youth in Seminole County. He urged the Board to continue to support this program.
Commissioner McLain stated he supports the Chairman's efforts.
Commissioner Morris stated he also opposes the motion and said he is pleased to hear about the efforts regarding the youth of the County.
Commissioner Maloy withdrew his motion, stating he hopes Seminole Vision will get more funding from the private sector and that they will have a day of reckoning when there is a vision completed for the County.
Commissioner Van Der Weide withdrew his second to the motion. He also stated that he initially raised money from the private sector for Seminole Vision and would be happy to do so again. He said he is concerned with the lack of participation from SCC and the School Board.
Chairman Henley assured the Board that if they do not get private participation, he will be addressing it next year.
Chairman Henley explained that the Board does not set salaries for deputies; that is the Sheriff's job. The Board only appropriates dollars for the Sheriff and it is up to the Sheriff to determine how he wants to spend those dollars. He said one thing that has not been discussed is that the Board is borrowing money to balance the budget. He stated he is going to ask for a vote of the Commission on whether they want to borrow on commercial paper in order to balance the budget. He further stated that if the Board does not vote for borrowing the money, then it will be necessary to go back and make some cuts to balance the budget.
Commissioner McLain clarified what the Chairman is talking about is that the Board decided, after having a presentation by the County's Road Department, to pave all dirt roads; thereby, saving money in maintenance. However, the problem came when the Board was split on how to pay for the paving - taking money out of the General Fund and pay cash or borrow the money and pay it back through savings at a competitive interest rate. He said the question also came up as to why the Board should pay for this out of the General Fund when it was the responsibility of the road department. A commitment was made to the citizens that all the dirt roads would be paved in three years.
Upon inquiry by Commissioner McLain, Ms. Hall advised that $677,000 was paid out of the General Fund for paving the roads during the first year of the program. There is approximately $2.68 million left for years two and three.
Commissioner McLain stated this is the reason the Chairman is saying that the Board needs to borrow money to balance the budget. He suggested the Board proceed to borrow the money as discussed and let the Road Department pay it back through savings. He also suggested the Board replace the money they took out of the General Fund last year.
Motion by Commissioner McLain, seconded by Commissioner Morris to authorize borrowing on commercial paper in the amount of $3,357,671 for the road paving program.
Under discussion, Commissioner Van Der Weide stated this is an investment in the future and it will save money in the long run.
Commissioner Maloy stated he does not agree with borrowing for something that has already been paid for - going retroactive to last year seems strange to him.
Districts 2, 3 and 5 voted AYE.
Commissioners Maloy and Henley voted NAY.
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Motion by Commissioner Morris, seconded by Commissioner McLain to adopt the FY 2000/2001 tentative millage rates as follows: Countywide/General Fund - 4.7179, Transportation - .2810, for a total of 4.9989; Environmental Sensitive Lands - .1083; Fire Rescue - 2.0971; Unincorporated Roads - 0.6591; the tentative "aggregate millage rate, exclusive of voted debt service - 6.3484, which represents a 3.87% increase over the "aggregate" rolled-back millage rate of 6.1121.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
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Motion by Commissioner Morris, seconded by Commissioner McLain to adopt the tentative Budget for FY 2000/2001 including proposed adjustments and recommended positions and pay bands as initially presented to the BCC by the County Manager in his official capacity as Budget Officer (per F.S. 129.025) and subsequently amended by the BCC.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
The Chairman announced that the second public hearing for final action on the millage rates and budget for FY 2000/2001 is scheduled for September 26, 2000 at 7:00 p.m., or as soon thereafter as possible.
The Board, thereupon, recessed at 9:00 p.m., reconvening at 9:10 p.m., with all Commissioners and all other Officials who were present at the Opening Session.
CONSIDERATION OF NON-AD
VALOREM ASSESSMENT ROLL
Proof of publication, as shown on page ________, calling for a public hearing to consider the adoption of the Non-Ad Valorem Assessment Roll, received and filed.
Gail Bigelow, Fiscal Services, addressed the Board to present the request. She advised non-ad valorem assessments must be certified to the Tax Collector by October 1, 2000, to be included on the tax bills to be mailed in November 2000.
Upon inquiry by Commissioner Maloy, Lin Polk, Analyst, addressed the Board to advise staff is meeting to discuss options for the MSTU wall program and will be reporting back to the Board in the next month or two.
No one spoke in support or in opposition.
Motion by Commissioner Van Der Weide, seconded by Commissioner Morris to adopt appropriate Resolution #2000-R-196, as shown on page ________, and certificate adopting the Non-Ad Valorem Assessment Roll.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
COUNTY MANAGER'S REPORT
The Board discussed the Court-Appointed Attorney fees and the request to transfer funds in the amount of $330,000 for same.
Mr. Grace advised the fund is out of money with only $500 left and approximately $135,000 in bills to be paid, which are being held. He said some of the bills have been held for some time and questioned if the Board was interested in transferring a portion of the money so that these bills can be paid.
Motion by Commissioner Van Der Weide, seconded by Commissioner Maloy to transfer $175,000 to Professional Services Account for payment of court-appointed attorney fees.
Under discussion, Commissioner McLain stated he is going to reluctantly support the motion. However, he wants the Board to deal with these bills individually as they come in. If there are more bills in two weeks, he wants them brought before the Board.
Mr. Grace advised he will be meeting with the Chief Judge on Friday. He said he will also have someone from Court Administration present at the next BCC meeting to discuss any bills.
Mr. McMillan clarified that these are court orders and not bills.
Chairman Henley stated he believes Commissioner McLain has a legitimate point. He said they are in the process of framing specific questions of what the audit of this is going to look for. He stated they are looking at asking the Auditor General to conduct the audit rather than put that burden on the Clerk of Court.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
Mr. Grace stated the budget the Board tentatively approved tonight has included in it an assumption of a 4% merit increase for employees. He requested direction for staff to proceed under that assumption.
Motion by Commissioner Maloy, seconded by Commissioner Van Der Weide to authorize the staff to proceed with the 4% merit increase for FY 2000/2001.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDA
Susan Eberle, 652 W. Palm Valley Drive, read into the Record a letter (copy received & filed) from her thanking the County engineers and Stormwater Department for an excellent job on the paving of McCulloch Road. She requested a flashing yellow light before the intersection of McCulloch and Rouse Road; and requested the Board ask Orange County to put in turn lanes on Rouse and University. She also requested that the Board not allow bridges or roads to cross the Econ River or Little Econ River on McCulloch Road and for the Sheriff's Department to monitor McCulloch Road for speeders.
Chairman Henley reported that turn lanes will be called to the MPO's attention.
Ms. Eberle also read into the Record a letter (copy received & filed) requesting to inspect and copy records regarding the Econlockhatchee River Basin flood plain. She also requested the Board make their staff aware of the importance of complying with the Public Records Law.
Commissioner McLain suggested Ms. Eberle ask her District Commissioner to help her obtain these records.
Mr. Grace advised he can help Ms. Eberle with this request.
Ms. Eberle reiterated her support for the firemen and deputies; and support for the purchase of the LIDAR System for stormwater.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m., this same date.