Tavares, FL - Dec. 2, 2013
this will be updated later today, Monday, Dec 2
Tomorrow is the Lake County Board of Commissioner's meeting where they elect a new Chair. It will be at 9am in the round County building at 317 West Main in Tavares.
I wrote a post (CLICK HERE) on the planned Board chair election tomorrow, and whether Jimmy Conner should be elected as Chair of the Board. If he is elected, is it the end of Camelot or the Leslie Campione Dynasty of action and initiatives?
But this post is about the contents of the meeting agenda and issues.
First, outgoing Chair Leslie Campione, who is recovering from surgery, will present her "State of the Art" presentation, which should be good, and make you feel good about living in Lake County and what the Board and County staff have done. She did a great job last year, with a video, so I expect to see the same.
I have attached the agenda below, or you can get it and the 400+ page "packet" here: http://lakecountyfl.suiteonemedia.com/web/home.aspx - At the time of the meeting, you can watch it online at the same page (click the "view") button, or about a day later there will be a link to watch the archived video of each agenda segment.
Review of Agenda Items:
9am: Chair Leslie Campione gives her presentation which will take about an hour.
10am - Modifications to the agenda
10am - the elections for new Chair & Vice Chair - See my other post for Chair, but For Vice Chair, I think it should be either Sean Parks or Tim Sullivan. Welton had it for FIVE years in a row, so he isn't due for awhile. Sean has been there longer, so it all depends whether anyone nominates him or Sullivan and that person gets at least three votes.
Awards to employees & Committee members (they do this monthly)- this usually takes about 5-20 minutes. This one looks very short, but you never know how long Jim Stivender will talk about his public works award recipients. :)
CONSENT Agenda - this is where the staff and Board try to avoid public discussion of items, or the agenda items are routine and I don't want to hear about them either.
BUT unless a Board member pulls these consent agenda items for discussion, you won't hear anything about them:
- Tab 2.2 is the annual audit plan - but I have it and will post an article later. There are apparently 3 audits waiting for staff responses, so they have not been issued. You would think the Board would want to discuss the new audit plan in public.
- Tab 3 are County General Fund grants for $47,000. Not very much, but why is the County Board taking funds from taxpayers, and rather than roads, etc. giving money to local charities. To me this is not acceptable, but it makes the Board feel good. It used to be much higher, so they have cut this spending category. It would be nice if the Board justified why they keep doing this.
- Tab 4 - THIS $221,000 MOEDC spending item should be pulled so the Board has to justify this expense. Annually, the County throws money at a regional group called the Metro Orlando Economic Development (MOEDC). This year, they are spending more and throwing $221,000 at them, and I still have never seen any measurable accomplishment from that spending. We get more bang from the buck with the local County Economic Development Dept. and the funds should go there, at least, and not an amorphous group that Board members like to hob nob with. MOEDC mostly recruits business and travelers for Orlando, but we help pay for it.
- Tab 9: This CONSENT (no discussion) agenda item is to approve throwing $4.3-million towards BUYING right of way to widen a road to the Villages on CR 466A. It benefits the VILLAGES and SUMTER County, so they should pay for it. One reason for the high cost is the planners added bike lanes and sidwalks, thus requiring a REALLY wide right of way to build the new road. I personally don't think taxes should be paying for wider roads with separate bikeways and sidewalks. It is common practice in other locations to paint a stripe at the edge of existing roads for bikeways. Why pay millions for extra wide roads? Now, the State is supposed to kick in another $4.3-million, but have they? There is no mention of that. AND, FDOT is only paying for their share of the first of three segments (explanation is not clear in the agenda), and a third phase of the entire length to be widened is NOT funded, so why do 1 or 2/3's of it if the rest is not funded? This is an excessive cost item and should not be done (although they will say they have been planning it for years). This expense is in District 5, which is Welton Cadwell.
Presentations by real people
- Tab 15 - Lake Sumter State College President Chuck Mojock will give a presentation to ask for support for Florida legislation to fund a new science building on the SOUTH Lake campus. This should be good - the County is running out of money and already has their own legislative priorities, and now he wants them to support giving state money to the college in addition to the County want list. The Board probably will sound approving, but won't change their own priorities list, which has already been given to the legislators.
- Tab 18 - The Tourism Development Commission (TDC) will discuss their plan to give $81,000 to the Lake County Water Authority for dock improvements at Hickory Point. These are NOT general funds, but from the county tourism tax and this should not be a problem. It is one of the spending categories the funds are used for.
- Tab 19 - Quarterly County Budget Report presentation - this should give an update on whether the future will provide better revenues or not, and whether there are or were any surprise expenditures that eat up other budgets. They might have a forecast showing higher revenues are expected, which is a good thing. I love this stuff, don't you???
- Tab 22 - Public Lands Program presentation - this is an environmentalist boondoggle Agenda 21 program where the County spent MILLIONS on buying public land using a $30+million bond issue, but they did not budget to develop or provide operating expenses, so a LOT of the land cannot be used by the public. To me, NO public lands (or any other capital item like a building) should be purchased without a parallel approved budget for operating expenses, parking, etc. Otherwise it is all a sham and officials or staff who condone buying land without funding operations AT the SAME TIME should be ashamed.
- Tab 24 - A Concurrency review, which affects whether building permits can be issued if no funds exist to build needed infrastructure like roads or schools. In my layman's understanding, I do know some cities are having to turn down building permits because the concurrency regulations specify if adequate funding doesn't exist for infrastructure, then they cannot approve the project. This is what happens when there are no impact fee or other income for capital spending. This should be interesting.
- Tab 25 - The never ending issue of cutting or restoring Lynx bus routes 55 & 204 continue. These require HUGE subsidies of tax funds per rider, but their complaints and demands for subsidized busing and willingness of some Board members to listen keep this issue open. Yes, they appear to be getting a non-county funding source, but it still is general taxpayer funds.
See you at the meeting!