BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA
SEPTEMBER 14, 2005
The following is a non-verbatim transcript of the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MEETING OF SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA, held at 7:04 p.m., on Wednesday, September 14, 2005, in Room 1028 of the SEMINOLE COUNTY SERVICES BUILDING at SANFORD, FLORIDA, the usual place of meeting of the said Board.
Chairman Carlton Henley (District 4)
Vice Chairman Brenda Carey (District 5)
Commissioner Bob Dallari (District 1)
Commissioner Randy Morris (District 2)
Commissioner Dick Van Der Weide (District 3)
County Manager Kevin Grace
County Attorney Robert McMillan
Deputy Clerk Carylon Cohen
The Invocation was given by Commissioner Dick Van Der Weide.
County Attorney Robert McMillan led the Pledge of Allegiance.
PROOF OF PUBLICATION
Motion by Commissioner Van Der Weide, seconded by Commissioner Dallari, to authorize the filing of the proof of publication for this evening’s scheduled public hearing.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
TENTATIVE FY 2005/2006 SEMINOLE COUNTY
BUDGET (FIRST PUBLIC HEARING)
The First Public Hearing Booklet for the Proposed Budget for Fiscal Years 2005/06 and 2006/07 was received and filed.
Chairman Henley gave preliminary comments for the budget hearing.
Kevin Grace, County Manager, addressed the Board to state this is Year 1 of the two-year budget process, and this is the first public hearing for FY 06 budget for approval and FY 07 budget for tentative approval. He said the FY 06 budget is balanced and maintains a stable millage rate that remains one of the lowest in the State of Florida. He stated the proposed budget accomplishes a number of initiatives, including expansion of the County Jail facilities, substantial increases in transit funding and community service agency funding, expansion of the Animal Control services, debt retirement of over $4 million, $1 million to initiate retrofitting of subdivision infrastructure, and increasing the General Fund Reserve by $2.7 million. He stated the tentative proposed budget for FY 05/06 is $623,962,823.
Lisa Spriggs, Fiscal Services Director, addressed the Board to state the breakdown (information provided in the booklet) of the Countywide proposed budget is: Total General Fund, $242,131,470; All Special Revenue Funds, $260,810,463; All Debt Service Funds, $10,752,694; All Capital Project Funds, $8,238,776; Enterprise Fund Total, $89,609,420; Internal Service Funds, $12,420,000; for a total Countywide budget of $623,962,823. She explained the adjustments column outlines the adjustments made to the total fund level. She advised the Adjustment Summary shows the adjustments outlined by the County Manager in his briefing on August 23, 2005, which include adjustments by the Commissioners and staff reductions. Staff has also included total revenue adjustments, increasing the total of the budget going into the first public hearing, and added in granting amounts of revenues staff did not have the estimates on earlier at the budget work sessions, and increases representative of actual transfers between funds.
Ms. Spriggs also noted that the Summary of the tentative Budget for 2006/07, that totals $604,775,241, is included in the Proposed Budget Booklet. She stated the adjustments column shows those made since the budget work sessions and reflect adjustments to increase the ad valorem, increase anticipated in FY 06 to a 12% level, a two-year budget proposal from the Sheriff’s Office, and some granting revenue carried forward to Year 07.
Lin Polk, Fiscal Services, addressed the Board to summarize the millage levies as follows: the proposed FY 2005/06 millage rate for the General County Millage is 4.9989; rolled-back rate is 4.5509; and the percentage increase over rolled-back is 9.84%. The County Debt Service millages are: Environmentally Sensitive Lands, .0770 proposed; Trails Development, .1271 proposed; Fire/Rescue MSTU proposed millage is 2.6334; rolled-back millage is 2.3985; and percentage increase over rolled-back is 9.79%. For the Unincorporated Road MSTU, the proposed millage is .1228; rolled-back rate is .1113; and the percentage over rolled-back is 10.33%. The proposed “aggregate” millage rate, exclusive of voted debt service millage, is 6.6934, which represents a 9.85% increase over the “aggregate” rolled-back millage rate of 6.0930.
Mark Kamrath, 1377 S. Ridge Lake Circle, addressed the Board to state one of his concerns, in association with the Grace Lake Subdivision, is that there has been in existence for about 20 years a sinkhole that functions like an illegal drainage well into the Floridan Aquifer. He submitted excerpts (received and filed) from the Preliminary Geotechnical Engineering Report to the Board. He stated this situation is compounded by the stormwater problems at Woodlands Elementary School. He asked if a sinkhole is an acceptable situation and to what extent can it become a priority in the near future in terms of the budget and allocations.
Chairman Henley asked Mr. Kamrath to summarize the requirements the St. Johns River Water Management District made of the Grace Lake Association for a study. Whereupon, Mr. Kamrath advised that the study was done by DEVO Engineering of Orlando and they concluded that with more sophisticated modeling, they can account for any flood potential and reasonable risk for that. He said the St. Johns District is concerned about flooding issues and not so much about water quality. They had asked for more extensive modeling. Mr. Kamrath said the proposal from DEVO Engineering comes to about $100,000 to $120,000. He said the residents paid for the preliminary study by DEVO.
Commissioner Morris reviewed the situation with the Myrtle Lake Basin. He said if they completely plug this sinkhole or don’t do it right, they will have the same problem as with Myrtle Lake all over again.
Mr. Kamrath advised DEVO is recommending to return the sinkhole to its original percolation rate. He said he wants the Board to approve in the budget the money they need to rectify this problem. Discussion ensued.
Chairman Henley said he brought up this issue earlier this year to the Board and indicated there were studies being done on modeling. He thought there was money in this budget to deal with this to a degree, but he found out recently the money is not in the budget.
Gary Johnson, Public Works Director, addressed the Board to state his staff has been working with Mr. Kamrath’s group over several months. They were attempting to convince the St. Johns District that they had done enough modeling and study of their own. He said there is a water quality element to this. The solution is a very simple one, and DOT uses it in many cases around the State. He described putting a plug in the sinkhole and said his staff assured Mr. Kamrath they could do that with their sources once they get over the permit hurdle. He said, unfortunately, they have not been able to convince the St. Johns District that sufficient modeling has already been done. The next best thing is to continue to do the modeling the St. Johns District has determined would be necessary to proceed. He said staff can continue to work on the St. Johns District, but at some point, it may be necessary to supplement that funding.
Chairman Henley said the Board can attempt to appropriate some money to have available, if necessary, or wait until this is refined and then tap the Contingency fund. Also, there is $1 million in the budget to retrofit the communities and they might discuss if this fits the category for that. He said the problem is not going to go away and he thinks the Board needs to take some action.
Upon inquiry by Commissioner Carey, Mr. Johnson stated he had discussed this with the school, but was unable to obtain their cooperation. He stated he had not gone to the School Board members.
Commissioner Carey discussed that there are some flooding situations already in some areas now and some have been waiting five and six years to get in the process and are still not funded.
Commissioner Morris asked County Attorney Robert McMillan if the County could indemnify the St. Johns District on something like this. Mr. McMillan answered that he understands that St. Johns already has immunity from any flooding. He said he could verify that. He thinks the County has the ability to enter into an agreement with St. Johns about that.
Upon further inquiry by Commissioner Morris, Mr. Grace said staff is in the process of finalizing retaining counsel with Mr. Dean and should do that in the next 30 days.
Commissioner Van Der Weide said he thinks they should reapproach the school system to see how they would want to help in this situation. He knows there has been some tremendous changes in Woodlands Elementary School and he’s sure that has to have some affect on what’s taking place.
Upon inquiry by Commissioner Dallari, Mr. Johnson explained St. Johns’ concern is that restoring the sinkhole to its former condition would create some flooding that does not currently occur. He said the actual repair is fairly nominal, but the issue is with St. Johns and the permit.
Whereupon, Commissioner Morris suggested it would be appropriate to bring this item back after consultation with Mr. Dean and the School Board.
Ray Halter, 1209 Baypoint Court, on behalf of the Grace Lake residents, addressed the Board to state his home is located between Woodlands Elementary and the sinkhole and he gets to see the pumping taking place at the school. He said it is unsightly. He stated the sinkhole is an unsafe situation; it is hazardous and needs to be plugged for safety. Also, it is unsafe to have the conduit coming down. He said he would be willing to work with the school district or the County to somehow remove the drainage system as it is now.
Harry Jaeger, 1215 Baypoint Court, addressed the Board to state he appreciates the support from County staff over the past few years. He said the point is that they need a permit to restore the sinkhole to its natural state and the work itself is not the issue, but getting the St. Johns’ permit is causing the trouble.
Donna Carlson, 509 Portland Circle, addressed the Board to state she became a homeowner at the beginning of the year and last month, she received her notice of proposed taxes for the first time. She said she had questions about how the taxes are figured. Chairman Henley referred her to Property Appraiser David Johnson, who was in the audience, to explain about the taxes.
Deborah K. Housen, 117 Willow Avenue, addressed the Board to state she wants to know if the Board can put in their budget money for restoration of lakes. She said she lives on Lake Harriet and her property value has decreased. She explained that DOT came in and tore down houses and constructed retention ponds and since then, the lake is totally covered with vegetation. She called the St. Johns River Water Management District and they said this is Seminole County’s and her problem. She said she thinks it’s DOT’s and Seminole County’s problem, and she wants her lake back.
Mr. Grace said as the County builds out, this is becoming more and more of an issue. He said a lot of the lakes are private lakes and this is becoming more and more of an issue with all the fertilizer going into the water. He explained how this has been handled in the past with weed control taxing districts.
Ms. Housen stated the fertilizer is not the problem - the retention ponds are. Whereupon, Mr. Grace stated staff will look into this and see if DOT has some responsibility. He said staff will follow up.
Chairman Henley advised that Director Gary Johnson will take her phone number and be in touch with her.
No one else spoke in support or in opposition.
Speaker Request Forms were received and filed.
Commissioner Morris stated regarding the issue brought by Mr. Kamrath that they can see how things proceed with Mr. Dean and staff will get with the School Board and bring this back to the Board in October or as soon as possible.
Chairman Henley added that he and Mr. Grace will meet with Superintendent Vogel and see if they can get his cooperation. He thinks as soon as they can get Mr. Dean the better, because there will be a number of situations to get with him about.
Mr. Grace referred to the information summary (not received and filed) of the Salary Adjustment Program he had provided the Board and said he briefed the Board on that yesterday. He said the previous direction by the Board was to add an additional 1% to the previous 4%. He said the information shows how that would be utilized for the one-time adjustment for those employees making $30,000 and under.
Chairman Henley explained that there are a number of County employees who are below poverty level and the Board is making a special effort to try to address that in the salary schedule.
Mr. Grace stated if the Board is o.k. with that, he will consider that as part of the Board’s tentative approval tonight.
Commissioner Van Der Weide stated if they apply the program to four bands, that would cause a problem with the fifth band. As it was explained to him, this makes sense and is something they should do.
Whereupon, Commissioner Dallari stated since there is an overlap in bands, it make sense to look at the pay scale as dollar figures instead of pay bands.
Commissioner Morris said he thinks this is a good solution to the problem as discussed. It is a one-time solution and he assumes later in the fiscal year, they will have the study that will show where they are slipping again from the 50% range. But this gives a temporary solution, and he doesn’t have a problem with it.
Motion by Commissioner Van Der Weide, seconded by Commissioner Morris, to adopt the proposed 2006 salary adjustment to the budget.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
Commissioner Morris commented on the additional information (not received and filed) provided to them, particularly on the HVAC equipment. He said it goes to show that this is a valued lesson in conservative management.
Commissioner Morris said he noticed the Board did not budget the item for a tribute to the fallen officer in Geneva. Their discussion of the tribute led to the memorial park concept at Five Points for fallen officers, fallen public safety officials in the cities and County, and veterans of the County who have died in active duty. This was not covered either in the budget. He said this might be something they can come back to.
Mr. Grace said as staff refines this number, they can bring this back to the Board. He said there is enough money in the General Fund Contingency to deal with this issue.
Commissioner Morris said they also did not get resolution on the land being acquired at Five Points.
Commissioner Carey suggested checking with the City of Longwood to get the cost of the memorial they just did to get some idea of the costs to be involved.
Mr. Grace advised the original money for the proposed Eugene Gregory Park is still available for the tribute in Geneva. He said this amount will come forward as a rebudget item at the next budget hearing.
Upon inquiry by Chairman Henley, Chief Deputy Penny Fleming and Sheriff Eslinger advised figures for renovation and perimeter fencing in the Sheriff’s 2006/07 budget are a duplication and should be deleted. Whereupon, Chairman Henley said that means $413,000 is then available for the memorial park for fallen officers.
Commissioner Carey stated if they take out the Sheriff’s reserve, they would only have a 4.2% reserve in the budget, and according to GFOA standards, that is low. She said that concerns her. Whereupon, Mr. Grace said he has talked to the Board about that as a concern of his for the last couple of years. He thinks they made substantial strides this year by adding $2.7 million combined, including what’s in the Sheriff’s reserve.
Commissioner Carey said, in her opinion, they need to look at having a fiscal sustainability plan.
Commissioner Morris said when you look at the national standards and the lack of flexibility the County has with its budget, the County received an increase in bond rating; and that is why the County has won budget awards and the tax rate has stayed so low compared to other counties. He said he admires Mr. Grace for pleading with them to raise the reserves, but on the other hand, because of the management of the budget (giving credit to Mr. Grace), he has proven himself to be wrong.
Chairman Henley stated they have to recognize they have been living off growth money for quite some time and with the County coming to buildout, that could potentially disappear. They have built the level of service so high that they will be facing a reduction in services or a substantial increase in taxes to maintain the level of service, if they are not careful.
Commissioner Dallari stated all these issues are ones to discuss in the strategic planning process and this is in the budget. He hopes this will be a plan they look at countywide to see where they will be 5, 10, 15 and 30 years from now.
Chairman Henley stated the Private Businessmen’s Association has a meeting coming up where that is the issue. Speakers are coming in to address the results of buildout.
Commissioner Carey commented she wants the Board to be prepared for that and in order to be prepared, they need to be looking at it now. She said she thinks each department needs to have a five-year capital improvements program written.
Ms. Spriggs announced the proposed 2006 Countywide millage rate is 4.9989, a 9.84% increase over the rolled-back rate of 4.5509. The Countywide debt service millage is a total of .02041 mills. The proposed millage for Fire/Rescue MSTU Special District is 2.6334, a 9.79% increase over the rolled-back rate of 2.3985; and the proposed millage for Unincorporated Road MSTU Special District is .1228 mills, a 10.33% increase over the rolled-back rate of .1113. The proposed “aggregate” millage rate, exclusive of vote debt service millage, is 6.6934, which represents a 9.85% increase over the “aggregate” rolled-back millage rate of 6.0930.
Motion by Commissioner Morris, seconded by Commissioner Dallari, to adopt the tentative millage rates as identified for FY 2005/06.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
Motion by Commissioner Morris, seconded by Commissioner Dallari, to adopt the tentative budget for FY 2005/06.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
Chairman Henley announced that the second Budget public hearing is scheduled for September 27, 2005, at 7:00 p.m., or as soon thereafter as possible.
NON-AD VALOREM ASSESSMENT ROLL
Proof of publication, as shown on page _______, calling for a public hearing to consider approval and authorization for the Chairman to execute a resolution and certificate adopting the Non-Ad Valorem Assessment Roll, received and filed.
Kathy Moore, Fiscal Services, addressed the Board to present the request.
Blaine Henry, 208 Capri Cove Place, addressed the Board to state he would like to encourage the Board to keep an eye on the contractors for garbage collection and make sure they are doing an excellent job. He explained the two issues he has with the collectors that have to do with communication and operations with not knowing when the trash is being collected and the means of collection.
Chairman Henley advised that everyone was supposed to be notified as to the schedule of holiday pickups and staff will reiterate that to the haulers. He explained that the haulers can be severely penalized.
Mr. Grace advised Mr. Henry that he and David Gregory, Solid Waste Manager, will speak with him later tonight about his issues.
Steven Timmons, 171 Lakeside Drive, addressed the Board to ask about the MSTU program. He said for the last 27 years he has been paying a biologist to maintain Lake Minnie.
Commissioner Van Der Weide left the meeting room at this time.
Ms. Moore explained what the MSTU program is and who it is for.
County Attorney Robert McMillan added that there is a petition process that the homeowners would have to go through.
Commissioner Van Der Weide returned to the meeting room at this time.
Mr. McMillan advised Mr. Henry that the way he has been handling the maintenance of Lake Minnie may be more effective than going through the MSTU program.
No one else spoke in support or in opposition.
Speaker Request Form for Mr. Henry was received and filed.
Motion by Commissioner Van Der Weide, seconded by Commissioner Dallari, to authorize the Chairman to execute the appropriate Resolution #2005-R-166, as shown on page _______, and Certificate, as shown page _______, adopting the Non-Ad Valorem Assessment Roll.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 voted AYE.
Memorandum from Kathy Moore to the Board with attached correspondence and responses to the notice of proposed non-ad valorem assessments were received and filed into the Record.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned at 8:29 p.m., this same date.
ATTEST: ____________________ Clerk ____________________Chairman