SEPTEMBER 23, 2014


     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 23, 2014, in Room 1028 of the SEMINOLE COUNTY SERVICES BUILDING at SANFORD, FLORIDA, the usual place of meeting of said Board.


     Chairman Robert Dallari (District 1

     Vice Chairman Brenda Carey (District 5)

Commissioner John Horan (District 2)

     Commissioner Lee Constantine (District 3)

Commissioner Carlton Henley (District 4)

Chief Deputy Clerk Bruce McMenemy

     Acting County Manager Nicole Guillet

     County Attorney Bryant Applegate

     Deputy Clerk Erin Leben

     Deputy Clerk Jane Spencer



     Bryant Applegate, County Attorney, gave the Invocation.

     Nicole Guillet, Acting County Manager, led the Pledge of Allegiance.



     Proof of publication, as shown on page ________, calling for a public hearing to consider the Seminole County FY 2014/2015 Final Budget, received and filed.

     Chairman Dallari advised this is the Final Budget Hearing for FY 2014/15.

     Chairman Dallari announced that the Board of County Commissioners 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 Seminole County.  Questions regarding property assessed valuations should be addressed to the Property Appraiser’s Office, who is here today.  The Board of County Commissioners has limited authority over the budgets of the Constitutional Officers of the County which include the Clerk of the Circuit Court, the Property Appraiser, the Sheriff, the Supervisor of Elections and the Tax Collector.  He discussed how the budgets for the Constitutional Officers are reviewed and approved.  He explained that the purpose of this public hearing is to take comments regarding proposed millage rates and budget, amending the budget as desired by the Board, and adopting the millage rates and budget of the County for FY 2014/15 as required by Florida law.  Chairman Dallari announced that this budget hearing and Seminole County’s intent to adopt the final millage rates and budget for FY 2015 were advertised in the Seminole Extra Section of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper on September 18, 2014.

     Nicole Guillet, Acting County Manager, noted that Lin Polk, Budget Manager, who did much of the work that will be considered tonight was unable to be present and she asked that everyone keep her in their thoughts and prayers as they move forward. 

     Joe Pennisi, Resource Management Director, addressed the Board to display a PowerPoint presentation (received and filed) for the Second Public Hearing FY 2014/15 Final Budget.  He displayed the first slide and advised at the first budget hearing to approve Seminole County’s FY 2014/15 tentative budget and millage rates, the Board approved a tentative budget of $724.8 million based on no change in the current property tax rates.  Tonight the FY 2014/15 proposed final budget includes increases to the tentatively approved budget totaling $10,819,103.  He explained that this is detailed on pages 25 through 38 of the Second Public Hearing Book (received and filed).

     Mr. Pennisi stated by Florida law the first substantive issue required to be discussed at the budget hearings is the percentage increase in millage over the rolled-back rate necessary to fund the budget and the reason for the increase.  He advised that the FY 2014/15 tentative budget, as amended tonight for final adoption, is based on maintaining the current year property tax rates.  He displayed and reviewed the Millage Rate Summary. 

     Mr. Pennisi displayed and reviewed the 2014 Change in Taxable Property Values.  He continued by reviewing Property Tax Revenue, advising that as the tentative budget is based on maintaining the same operating millage rates levied last year, the growth in taxable valuation increased ad valorem revenue by $6.3 million for the General Fund.  He explained that the increase in countywide ad valorem revenue will be used to provide for governmental services to the citizens of Seminole County and to reduce the budget deficit brought about by revenue declines during past fiscal years. 

     Mr. Pennisi continued his review of the Property Tax Revenue slide and indicated that the Fire District ad valorem revenue increased by $2.1 million, which will be used to provide for fire rescue services in unincorporated Seminole County and the cities of Altamonte Springs and Winter Springs, as well as to reduce budget gaps brought about by previous revenue declines.  He stated the Unincorporated Road District Property Tax Revenue increased by $100,000 and will be used for the purpose of meeting budgetary expenses as estimated in the budget.

     Mr. Pennisi reviewed the Proposed Budget Summary Fund Type and Countywide Sources slides.  He added that the proposed changes to the tentative budget are detailed by fund on pages 22 through 24 of the Second Public Hearing Book. 

     Mr. Pennisi reviewed the Current Revenue by Type Fiscal Year 2014/15 $409.2 million chart. 

     Mr. Pennisi reviewed the Proposed Budget Summary Countywide Uses slide and Expenditures by Service Area chart.  He advised that the Public Safety/Court Support that represents 43% of County expenditures includes law enforcement, jail operations, fire rescue, E911 and other emergency service operations.  He added it also provides for juvenile detention, probation, the Medical Examiner and services related to assuring homes and commercial facilities are safe for citizens.

     No one spoke in support or in opposition.

     Commissioner Horan stated the County has held the millage rate since 2010 and they have held the line on expenses.  He said in looking at the Financial Statement and the County Personnel, they are doing a tremendous job and performing at the same levels of service that they were in 2008 even though the County has hundreds fewer employees.  He opined the County cannot continue to use Reserves to balance the budget so they will need to get some kind of a plan together next year on the revenue side and the expense side so they can balance the budget. 

     Commissioner Horan stated he was uncomfortable with the Community Services Grant area of the budget and would like to ask the Board to increase that area.  He explained that in 2007 the County was giving grants of approximately $1.3 million to Community Services agencies and although the agencies have a greater need today, the grants are about $700,000. 

     Upon inquiry by Commissioner Horan, Valmarie Turner, Community Services Department Director, addressed the Board to state last year their budget was $786,000; this year the request was $700,000; and the year before last was $919,000.

     Commissioner Horan suggested increasing the Community Services Agencies fund by $100,000.

     Commissioner Horan suggested allocating some funds to the St. Johns River Alliance since the County has a significant investment in the utilization of surface water to meet the County’s water needs.  He proposed the County fund the Alliance and he believes the number is $20,000. 

     Motion by Commissioner Horan, seconded by Commissioner Constantine, to increase the budget by $100,000 for the Community Services agencies and by $20,000 for the St. Johns River Alliance.

     Under discussion and upon inquiry by Chairman Dallari, Commissioner Horan advised that the $100,000 for Community Services agencies would be subject to the Board’s allocation in the future.

     Commissioner Carey stated she would not be supporting the motion because she feels the County is still at the critical point where every dime spent comes out of the Reserves.  She explained that the Board asked staff to tighten their belts and they did exactly what they were asked to do.  Regarding Community Services, she added that a lot of private businesses have stepped up to help fund some of them as they have come forward with shortfalls.

     Commissioner Henley advised that he will not be supporting the motion either because every year, there have been requests that have not been granted; so this is not the first time.  He stated he feels some organizations look at that as an entitlement and he is uncomfortable with taking money from one person and giving it to another.  He added that raising money is another way to assist these organizations rather than redistributing the funds.  He stated to look at the amount that is in the budget and redistribute that is one thing, but he does not support adding to it at this stage.

     Commissioner Constantine stated he concurs with Commissioner Henley regarding the redistribution of wealth with regard to the overall budget; he stated this Commission has the right to decide where they place that money.  He explained that if they are ensuring that the dollars are going to organizations that are providing services, that the County would provide, that are necessary for the quality of life for the community and for those that are less privileged, which he feels is important.

     Regarding the St. Johns River Alliance, Commissioner Constantine advised the few dollars they are being asked to contribute are bringing more than tenfold the money back to the region to be able to fund water projects that more than likely the County would participate in and would cost a lot more if they were not getting money from the legislature. 

     Commissioner Carey reiterated that in view of where the County is at today and in order to protect their most important resource, which is their bond rating and credit rating for this community, she feels taking any more money out of the Reserves to do for others is dangerous.  She noted that there have been times that the St. Johns River Alliance has not been aligned with this Board’s position in taking water out of the river.  She opined that the County needs to be positive of what they are getting in return for their investment and she does not believe that they are getting a good return on their investment from that money.

     Commissioner Horan stated the County does not intend on redistributing income.  He explained that the purpose of the Community Service Agency Program is to provide essential services that would otherwise be provided within the social fabric of the community, and if the County does not assist these organizations, they will find their way into the budget of some governmental entity.  He added he is not talking about giving money away, but rather investing more in these Community Services agencies that the Board has already decided are providing essential services. 

     Chairman Dallari advised that he would love to do it, but due to the budget constraints, mid-year may be a more appropriate time to do this if money can be found and certain things happen, but he will not support it at this time.

     Districts 2 and 3 voted AYE.

     Commissioners Dallari, Carey and Henley voted NAY; whereupon, the motion failed for lack of a majority vote.


     Motion by Commissioner Henley, seconded by Commissioner Carey, to adopt the FY 2014/15 General Countywide ad valorem tax rate of 4.8751 mills, as described in the proof of publication.

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


     Motion by Commissioner Carey, seconded by Commissioner Constantine, to adopt the FY 2014/15 Fire District MSTU ad valorem tax rate of 2.3299 mills, as described in the proof of publication.

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


Motion by Commissioner Horan, seconded by Commissioner Carey, to adopt the FY 2014/15 Unincorporated Road District MSTU ad valorem tax rate of 0.1107 mills, as described in the proof of publication.

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


     At the request of Chairman Dallari, Mr. Pennisi displayed the FY 2014/15 Millage Rates chart and read the established millage rates into the public record as follows:  The adopted General County millage rate is 4.8751 mills and represents a 4.40% increase over the rolled-back rate of 4.6696 mills.  The Fire District/Fire Rescue MSTU millage adopted FY 2014/15 millage rate is 2.3299 mills and represents 4.81% increase over the rolled-back rate of 2.2229 mills.  The Unincorporated Road MSTU adopted FY 2014/15 millage rate is 0.1107 mills and represents an increase of 4.63% over the rolled-back millage rate of 0.1058 mills.  The adopted “aggregate” millage rate for all BCC taxing districts is 6.5233 mills, which represents a 3.8% increase over the current year “aggregate” rolled-back millage rate of 6.2844 mills.

     Motion by Commissioner Horan, seconded by Commissioner Carey, to adopt appropriate Resolution #2014-R-186, as shown on page _______, approving the Millage Levy for FY 2014/15 inclusive of the millage rates announced, as described in the proof of publication.

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


     Motion by Commissioner Henley, seconded by Commissioner Constantine, to approve budget adjustments to the FY 2014/15 Tentative Budget totaling $10,819,103, as described in the proof of publication.

     Under discussion, Commissioner Carey stated she would not be supporting this motion.  She opined the County Manager is moving in the right direction, but they need to change the way they spend the taxpayers’ money.  She encouraged the County Manager and all other departments to continue to review their expenses so they can reduce the amount they take out of the Reserves in order to balance the budget.  She reiterated the importance of the County preserving its credit rating.

     Commissioner Horan noted that the County is at 23% with the prior budget in terms of their Reserves, which is well above the 20% cap.

     Districts 1, 3 and 4 voted AYE.

     Commissioners Carey and Horan voted NAY.


     Motion by Commissioner Henley, seconded by Commissioner Carey, to adopt appropriate Budget Resolution #2014-R-187, as shown on page _______, for Fiscal Year 2014/15, as described in the proof of publication.

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


     Chairman Dallari thanked staff, the Constitutional Officers, County Manager, County Attorney, Lin Polk and Joe Pennisi for all their hard work.


     There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned at 7:37 p.m., this same date.