SEPTEMBER 13, 2006



     The following is a non-verbatim transcript of the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MEETING OF SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA, held at 7:00 p.m., on Wednesday, September 13, 2006, in the SEMINOLE COUNTY SERVICES BUILDING at SANFORD, FLORIDA, the usual place of meeting of said Board.


     Chairman Carlton Henley (District 4)

     Vice Chairman Bob Dallari (District 1)

     Commissioner Randy Morris (District 2)

     Commissioner Brenda Carey (District 5)

     Commissioner Dick Van Der Weide (District 3)

     County Manager Cindy Coto

     County Attorney Robert McMillan

     Deputy Clerk Eva Roach


     The Invocation was given by Commissioner Van Der Weide.

     Commissioner Dallari led the Pledge of Allegiance.


     Motion by Commissioner Van Der Weide, seconded by Commissioner Dallari to authorize filing the proofs of publication for this meeting's scheduled public hearings.

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


     The booklet for the proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2006/2007 was received and filed.

     Chairman Henley reviewed the purpose of the public hearing and the preliminary comments as outlined in the budget book.  He stated a second public hearing for the adoption of the non-ad valorem assessment rolls for Street Lighting Districts and

Municipal Services Benefit Units will follow the proposed budget hearing.

     Cindy Coto, County Manager, addressed the Board to discuss the proposed budget for FY 2006/2007.  She stated this is the second year of a 2-year budget process.  This bi-annual budget includes updates to the County’s revenue estimates and additional request to address the needs of the residents.  The proposed millage remains stable with a slight reduction due to a decrease in debt service for natural lands and trails.  Seminole County’s millage rate remains one of the lowest in the State of Florida.  The proposed budget contains various programs and objectives including land acquisition costs for the 5-Points complex, increased funding in the subdivision retrofit program, implementation of a lake management program, renovation and expansion of Seminole County’s correction facility, improvements to the roadway median maintenance program, enhancements to the library system, a countywide integrated mosquito program, and increased funding to Lynx.  The Board requested additional information during the Budget work sessions on a number of programs.  Staff submitted their response on September 8, but one item was not included and that was additional funding for United Arts.  Staff will be presenting this information at the September 26 public hearing for further Board direction.

Lisa Spriggs, Fiscal Services Director, addressed the Board to advise that page 5 of the Budget Book shows the summary table of the proposed millage rates for FY 2006/2007.

     Lin Polk, Acting Budget Manager, addressed the Board to read into the Record the proposed millage:  General County is 4.9989; Natural Lands/Trails Voted Debt is 0.1451; Total Countywide proposed millage is 5.1440; Special Districts Fire/Rescue MSTU is 2.6334; Unincorporated Road MSTU is 0.1228; Total Millage Rate (including debt) is 7.9002; and Net Total (excluding debt) is 7.7551. 

     Ms. Spriggs advised the voted debt millage levy for voter approved natural lands trails rates levy is .1451, which is down .059 from prior years’ levy and .1049 below the 2000 voter approved levy of .25 mills.  This levy will continue to decline to 2013 when the program expires.  She stated pages 7 and 8 shows a summary of the budget as submitted to the Board and subsequently adjusted to reflect the proposed budget of $744,863,491.   The adjustments column totals $3,133,716, which represents certain adjustments to fund revenues, and it is detailed on page 9 through 12. 

     Ms. Polk stated the proposed budget for the General Fund is $269,915,137; total Special Revenue Funds is $302,326,089; total Debt Service Funds is $13,318,463; total Capital Projects Funds is $38,074,538; total Enterprise Funds is $105,654,264; total Internal Revenue Funds is $15,575,000, and the total proposed budget for FY 2006/2007 is $744,863,491. 

     Kathleen Clark, 5950 S. Sanford Ave., addressed the Board to state she is here to speak about the millage rate as well as the 3% cap, and the way the County has handled the assessments.  She stated she lived on Sanford Avenue and had to look for a home due to the hurricanes.  She said she found a home in Lake Mary but she still has her property on Sanford Avenue because she needs a place to keep her horses.  She stated the County sends a statement out every year to see if their property is still their homestead.  She added a simple statement on that form would be nice to let people know what would happen if you change your homestead.

     Chairman Henley informed Ms. Clark that she is referring to the assessment and the State law as it relates to the 3% cap.

     Ms. Clark stated she feels the Board needs to be made aware of what is happening.  She stated since she bought a home that is safer, she’s going from a normal tax bill to a tax bill that represents something more than a $1/2 million to a $1 million home. 

     Commissioner Morris stated the BCC is a separate individually elected Constitutional officer representing their budget.  He stated the Property Appraiser sent out different information this year.  He said the 3% “Save Our Homes” Act is causing major disparities with people living in a home for a while and those who just recently bought a home.  He recommended meeting with the Property Appraiser’s office to see if they can fix this problem.

     Commissioner Van Der Weide stated those problems are State problems and the one thing the BCC can do is lower the millage to help the residents relieve their problems.

     Ms. Clark stated this is a huge change and the 3% cap is supposed to protect your home and it is not protecting it.  She stated she is in favor of lowering the millage.

     Matt Powell indicated that he does not wish to speak.

Edward Dedelow, 622 Morgan St., addressed the Board to state he is looking at a 40% increase in his taxes.  He stated the reason the County has a lower millage rate is they have high property tax values.  He said he will be paying higher taxes for his rental property, but his tenants will be paying more rent to cover those higher taxes.  Government employees get over five to six weeks of vacation a year as well as retirement benefits and it is hard to find a private firm that provides those type of benefits.  He stated he feels the Board needs to look hard at their departments as he has seen the Roads crew change the drainage at a home and it took 14 people to pour the driveway.  He added the residents are getting tired of government spending and soaking up all the benefits the citizens should get.

     Ramin Kalhor, 2097 Alaqua Lakes Blvd., addressed the Board to state he would like someone to explain to him why the increase is so significant.  Whereupon, Chairman Henley and Commissioner Carey briefly explained why there is an increase. 

     Commissioner Morris stated this government is a very conservative government but government costs have gone up incredibly.  Most governments in Florida have raised their millage over the last decade and Seminole County has not raised theirs since 1989 or 1990.  If the residents want the County to lower the tax rates, then the services will have to be lowered. 

     Don Asumu, 2103 Alaqua Lakes Blvd., addressed the Board to state even if the millage rate is lowered by 60%, the County will still make money from the property taxes.  The problem is the increase far exceeds the rate of inflation. 

     Chairman Henley reminded everyone that those who buy higher priced homes and those who are being reevaluated due to property price increases are the ones getting hit the most. 

     Robert Kissinger, 1023 Willa Lake Circle, addressed the Board to state if the only thing the BCC can do is lower the millage then do it.  If the County has to make cuts in their budget by letting people go, then they should do that.  The County needs to put pressure on Tallahassee to change things, and if not, people will not want to move to this State. 

     Commissioner Van Der Weide stated he feels the people in Tallahassee are getting pressure from citizens, and what they can do is put a cap on what the local government can do relative to the increases.

     Chairman Henley stated the Legislature needs to put a cap on the costs they pass onto local government.

     Commissioner Morris stated everyone loves the tax-free holidays, but it comes back on the local government to pay for those services.  He stated he believes the “Save Our Homes” is going to be expanded and they are not going to put restrictions on local governments.

     Mr. Kissinger stated people will not want to move to Florida and people living here will want to move away.

     Mr. McMillan left the meeting at this time.

     John West, 458 N. Sundance Dr., addressed the Board to state he feels the property values should go up and they should benefit from that.  He said he feels the residents would want to pay taxes so they can receive services from the County and State level. 

     Chairman Henley explained to Mr. West where the money goes that is being generated from sales of property and how the public has access to this information.

     Ms. Spriggs advised that there is a detailed version of the proposed budget on the web site as well as the summary document.  She said information is also included on the Property Appraiser’s web site.  She advised it will include every source of revenue and changes from previous years.

     Mr. McMillan reentered the meeting at this time.

     Chairman Henley stated the decisions made tonight are tentative and the final decision will be made at the next public hearing.  He stated he feels it is important the Board considers the services that the people are demanding and that it is sustainable.

     No one else spoke in support or in opposition.

     Speaker Request and Written Comment Forms were received and filed.

     Commissioner Van Der Weide stated he feels due to an increase in property taxes and drastic increase of homeowner’s insurance, the citizens are getting caught in the middle.  If the Board doesn’t adjust the budget a little, there will be an exodus from this State, which could create a bigger problem than what they have now.  He feels the Board can at least lower the millage at one point and readdress this next year through the budget process.  He suggested rolling back the millage from 4.9989 to 4.9575, which is $1.2 million.  He recommended taking that money out of the reserves.  Discussion ensued.

     Commissioner Carey stated she doesn’t want to take the money out of reserves, but she would like staff to take a look at the budget as there are a lot of things in it where they can make some adjustments.  She said she would also like to see what a 5-year projection would be.

     Commissioner Morris stated Seminole County is the 15th lowest taxed county of 67 counties on ad valorem rates.  He stated almost every urban county charge a 10% utility tax and Seminole County only charges 4%.  He said he is proud of what Seminole County has done.  Seminole County is one of the most privatized governments in the state of Florida for local government.  Seminole County just recently brought in a private management team to take over their spending.  Their expenditure period of time has been cut from 20 years to 5 years.  He complimented staff for submitting an excellent budget and he feels they should move forward.

     Commissioner Van Der Weide stated the people are here to get relief and it is the Board’s job to address that issue.  He is recommending that Ms. Spriggs come back with a history of the County’s reserves before the second public hearing. 

     Ms. Spriggs stated the undesignated General Fund reserves are $13.1 million.

     Chairman Henley stated a large majority of the people in the County have not bought a new home and are not impacted to the extent of those who have upgraded.  He stated he feels the Board needs to look at the whole picture.  The popular thing to do is roll back taxes, but he is not sure that is the most responsible thing to do.

     Motion by Commissioner Van Der Weide to approve lowering the millage from 4.9989 to 4.9575.

     Chairman Henley called for a second to the motion three times without response, whereupon, the motion died for lack of same.

     Commissioner Carey stated she would like to look at reducing the millage by 5% taking the millage to 4.7903, and look at how that would impact the County on a 5-year projection.

     Commissioner Van Der Weide stated he would support that.

     Commissioner Morris stated the County Manager submits the budget to the Board during the work sessions and it is no longer her budget.  The Board made significant changes to the budget, but if they would cut the budget and maintain the level of reserves recommended by the County Manager, it is up to the Board to suggest what those cuts will be.   

     Commissioner Carey stated she feels there are lots of things the County Manager can do to adjust the budget.  It is the Board’s responsibility to say what they feel is important to the citizens and constituents.

     Commissioner Dallari stated he has no problem with the Board looking at the millage rates, but he would like to know where the County Manager will take those funds from prior to the public hearing.  He stated if they do this, they need to look at it long term over the next five years.

     Chairman Henley asked for consensus to ask the County Manager to look at the impact of a reduction to 4.7093 and make a suggestion of what impact that will have on the budget.  He suggested leaving the proposed millage as it is until they receive the report back.

     Commissioner Dallari stated he would like to know what savings that will be for the citizens.

     Commissioner Morris stated they are in a county where unemployment is below 3% with rising property values and income.  He would like to know what they would do to help the citizens in hard times.

     Commissioner Dallari stated he would like to ask staff to give them the number of dollars that is passed through from the State as well.

     At the request of Chairman Henley, Ms. Spriggs reiterated that the proposed FY 2006/2007 millage rate is 4.9989, an increase of 19.84% over the rolled-back millage rate of 4.1713; Special District Fire/Rescue MSTU is 2.6334, an increase of 18.94% over the rolled-back rate of 2.2141; Unincorporated Road MSTU is 0.1228 an increase of 17.50% over the rolled-back rate of 0.1046; Voter Debt Service for the Natural Lands Program is .1451, which there is no applicable roll-back on that rate.  She stated the proposed “aggregate” millage rate, exclusive of voted debt service millage, is 6.6783, which represents a 19.59% increase over the “aggregate” rolled-back millage rate of 5.5845.

     Motion by Commissioner Van Der Weide, seconded by Commissioner Morris to adopt the tentative millage rates for Fiscal Year 2006/2007, as described in the proof of publication.

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


     Motion by Commissioner Morris, seconded by Commissioner Van Der Weide to adopt the tentative budget for all funds for Fiscal Year 2006/2007, as described in the proof of publication.

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

     Chairman Henley advised the second public hearing for the final action of the millage rate is scheduled for September 26, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.


     Chairman Henley recessed the meeting at 8:40 p.m., reconvening it at 8:55 p.m.


     Proof of publication, as shown on page ________, calling for a public hearing to consider request to approve the Non-Ad Valorem Assessment Roll, received and filed.

     Kathy Moore, MSBU Program Manager, addressed the Board to present the request as outlined in the agenda memorandum.

     At the request of Chairman Henley, Ms. Moore gave a breakdown of what the non-ad valorem program is.

     Kathleen Clark stated she does not wish to speak on this issue.

     No one else spoke in support or in opposition.

     Speaker Request Form from David Gray was received and filed.

     Written Comment Form from Elgan Stappe objecting to the assessment assigned against single-family residences that are not occupied was received and filed.  Also an e-mail from Elgan Stappe relating to garbage pickup being charged to his residence when no one lives there and several e-mails from residents responding to the proposed non-ad valorem assessments were received and filed.

     Motion by Commissioner Van Der Weide, seconded by Commissioner Dallari to adopt appropriate Resolution #2006-R-206, as shown on page ________, and Certificate, as shown on page ________, adopting the non-ad valorem assessment roll, as described in the proof of publication.

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


     There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned at 9:03 p.m., this same date.