Commission Budget Workshop Meeting Minutes

Draft Minutes of the Commission Budget Workshop Meeting - July 26, 2021, 10 a.m.

The workshop meeting of the Lady Lake Town Commission was held in the Commission Chambers at Lady Lake Town Hall, 409 Fennell Blvd., Lady Lake, Florida. The meeting convened at 10 a.m.

A. Call to Order

Mayor Ruth Kussard

B. Roll Call

Commissioner (Ward) Present
Kussard (One) YES
Holden (Two) YES
Vincent (Three) YES
Hannan (Four) YES
Rietz (Five) YES


William Lawrence, Town Manager; Pamela Winegardner, Finance Director; Chief Rob Tempesta and Deputy Chief Jason Brough, Police Department; Thad Carroll, Growth Management Director; C.T. Eagle, Public Works Director; Mike Burske, Parks and Recreation Director; John Pearl, IT Director; Tamika DeLee, Interim Human Resource Director; Lori Sadler, Library Director;  Nancy Wilson, Deputy Town Clerk; and Nancy Slaton, Town Clerk

Commissioner Vincent introduced his three daughters who were present in the audience.

C. New Business

Finance Director Pam Winegardner asked if the Commissioners wanted her to review the transmittal letter included with the budget books.

The Commissioners stated that they have already read it.

Mayor Kussard asked if there were any questions.

Commissioner Rietz asked if the salary adjustments they just approved were included in the budget starting October. He asked if the 2% increase included in the budget would be in addition to the salary adjustments.

Ms. Winegardner replied that the salary adjustments recently approved at the July 19th meeting were put into effect immediately, and any cost of living and/or merit increases included  in the budget will be in addition to that for those who received a salary adjustment.

Commissioner Rietz asked which walking trail the capital outlay referred to in the budget, and whether it included the walkway at Rolling Acres complex that was recently discussed.

Ms. Winegardner replied that the capital outlay in the budget is for the walking trail park that was previously approved, located at Old Dixie Highway and E. Lady Lake Blvd. Ms. Winegardner stated that if the addition of a bathroom for the walking trail park is approved, the budget will need to be adjusted accordingly. She stated improvements to the walkway at Rolling Acres complex were talked about just recently and are not included in the budget either.

Ms. Winegardner then reviewed budget summary information for capital improvements and equipment from the General fund, the Special Revenue fund, and the Utilities fund. The proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021 is based on the millage rate of 3.3962 with a total budget of $29,160,047. It is balanced with the General Fund revenue and expenditures at $15,279,482; Special Revenue at $2,624,464; and Utility Fund at $11,256,101.

Mayor Kussard and the Commissioners agreed that Ms. Winegardner would continue to review the budget by department and any questions would be entertained accordingly.

  1. Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Budget — General Fund Overview

Town Commission

Commissioner Hannan commented they have not received an increase in their salaries since 2007.

Commissioner Holden noted that the proposed budget includes an increase of $100.00 per month.

Mayor Kussard stated that she is still opposed to an increase, as the Town pays the third highest of the surrounding communities.

Commissioner Vincent stated that he feels the Commission is deserving of an increase;  especially in comparison of those reported by the Florida League of Cities.

Mayor Kussard questioned the amount included under expenses for publication and membership fees under this category. She stated she felt it was high.

Ms. Winegardner reported that the membership fees for the Florida League of Cities increased to $2,400, Florida League of Mayors is at $475.00, and Lake County League of Cities membership is at $600; totaling $3,475.00.

The Commissioner agreed that the Florida League of Cities is very beneficial to the Town.

Town Manager

No questions.

Town Clerk

No questions.


Mayor Kussard noted that the budget for this has increased this year because the seats for three Wards are up for election.


Commissioner Hannan noted that Ms. Winegardner has done a stellar job on the budget over the last few years.

Mayor Kussard stated she believed a lot of the training was done in house, and asked has that changed.

Ms. Winegardner replied that most of the training was done virtually last year because of Covid, although that is opening up now and travel may be involved for continuing education requirements and training. She stated that most of the security training implemented by the I.T. Director is still done in-house.

Commissioner Rietz questioned the increase in the other professional services line item.

Ms. Winegardner replied that a large part of this increase is for the new enterprise resource software for the Growth Management Department and the Clerk’s Office; and they are now starting on the software for the Utilities billing, Finance, Payroll and Human Resources. She stated the cost for the new software is estimated to be approximately $750,000. She complimented the I.T. Director for his way of keeping these costs in line.

Mayor Kussard asked Ms. Winegardner to define “UPS”.

Ms. Winegardner stated that this means “uninterrupted power supply” and protects equipment from surges, etc.

Human Resource/Risk Management

Commissioner Vincent commented that the huge expense for software cannot be avoided if you want to stay in-tune with the rest of the world.

Growth Management


Commissioner Vincent questioned why the training for this department has increased so much.

Growth Management Director Thad Carroll replied that the majority of this is staff training on the new Bluebeam software for building plan mark-up.

Code Enforcement

Commissioner Vincent commented that he is surprised to see gas and fuel expenses down for this category.

Ms. Winegardner noted that the Commission has approved a new small truck out of CAREs Act funding for the Code Enforcement Officer which will be more fuel efficient.

Commissioner Hannan stated there were some issues with the change in presenting cases to the Special Magistrate using new software. He asked if this has been straightened out.

Mr. Carroll stated that I.T. has been helpful in changing the method of presenting from paper packets to laptop presentation. He stated as time goes on, the meetings should flow better.

Information Technology (I.T.)

Commissioner Vincent requested a progress report on the security item that I.T. is implementing to log onto his computer.

I.T. Director John Pearl explained that the goal is to have everyone updated soon with a multi-factor authentication. He stated this is being implemented for all.

Police Department

Commissioner Hannan asked if the Police Department is fully staffed now.

This was confirmed.

Mayor Kussard stated she believes this is the first time that this has happened since she has been with the Town.

Police Department — Villages Detail

Town Manager Bill Lawrence stated that he would like to see the current contract with The Villages revisited to discuss increasing the amount that the Town is reimbursed for the police detail.

Commissioner Vincent asked how much it currently costs the Town.

Mr. Lawrence replied that it costs the Town $184,323 to provide this detail; more than the $100,000 currently being paid under the contract, which does not expire until 2024.

Commissioner Hannan stated that The Villages may not want to negotiate.

Commissioner Holden stated The Villages may not want to keep this detail in the future, and may want to drop the contract.

After further discussion, the Commissioners agreed they would like the Town Manager to contact The Villages to begin this discussion now rather than wait until the contract expires in 2024.


Mayor Kussard asked why the water and sewer expenses for this department are based on history.

Ms. Winegardner stated that finance staff has estimated this expense based on current use and history.

Parks and Recreation

Commissioner Rietz stated he would like to see the pathway near the Parks and Recreation Building at the Rolling Acres Sports Complex addressed.

Parks and Recreation Director Mike Burske stated the engineering alone for this will cost around $80,000, and that does not include any construction costs. He stated there is a slope involved and drainage is always an issue. He stated that Parks and Recreation staff are constantly grading this area when it dries out after it rains, and the costs will be substantial to correct this. It would need to be budgeted and bid out.

Commissioner Hannan stated this a low priority at this time.

Commissioner Holden asked for an update on the park trail.

Mr. Burske stated the plans have been reviewed and the design is almost completed. He mentioned that an addition of a bathroom facility will come before the Commission at the next Commission meeting.

Community Building

Commissioner Vincent asked if the Community Building is being booked.

Mr. Burske replied that the old customers are coming back, and staff is booking birthday parties and even a funeral recently.

Public Works — Administration

Mayor Kussard asked why chairs for a conference room is in his budget.

Public Works Director C.T. Eagle replied that the Public Works administrative building has a conference room that has been utilized as an office/server room in the past. It is being vacated and furniture is now needed for the conference room use.

OGS — Facilities Maintenance

OGS — Motor Pool

Public Works — Road and Street Maintenance

No questions.


OGS — Town Hall

Commissioner Hannan stated that postage is going up and he questioned that has been taken into consideration.

Mr. Winegardner replied that the Clerk’s Office has requested that the expense for postage be increased based on the increased usage by the Growth Management Department, as well as overall postage cost increases.

Town Attorney

Mayor Kussard asked if this expense was just increased a few years ago.

Ms. Winegardner confirmed this and stated she believes the attorney’s retainer fee has increased.

Villages Fire Protection District

No questions.

  1. Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Budget — Special Revenue and Utility Fund

Special Revenue Fund

No questions

Utilities Fund

Commissioner Vincent noted that the Town is taking on a lot of new utility customers. He asked for information regarding the extension of the main sewer down CR 25, and whether  the contractor will be paying for it. He asked if it would accelerate the building in that area and if there will be a new lift station.

Mr. Eagle replied that the sewer line is being extended and the developer is sharing in the cost of this extension. He explained that an agreement is drawn up between the developer and the Town. A new lift station is being planned, and it will be conveyed to the Town.

Water Utility

No questions.

Solid Waste Utility

No questions.

Sewer Utility

No questions.

Ms. Winegardner stated that the dates for setting the tentative and final millage rates will come before the Commissioners at the August 2nd Commissioner meeting. She stated that the tentative millage rate will be set at the September 8th Commission meeting, and then finalized by either accepting it as set at the first meeting or decreasing it; it cannot be increased at the September 20th meeting. She asked the Commissioners for their input on the proposed millage rate.

Mayor Kussard asked the Commission to keep in mind that the Town has a number of large projects coming up when considering the millage rate. She asked if the Commissioners agreed with the current millage rate of 3.3962.

Commissioner Hannan stated he would like the millage rate to be at the rolled back rate of 3.2896. He stated that Lake County District 5 Commissioner agrees with him on the rolled back rate.

Mayor Kussard stated that when they went to the rolled back rate a number of years ago, the Town came up short and then had to raise the millage rate by quite a bit the next year. The residents were not happy about that. She noted that 3.3962 is still the second lowest millage rate of any municipality in Lake County.

After discussion, it was a 4 to 1 (Hannan) consensus of the Commissioners to keep the millage rate the same as last year, at 3.3962, with the presentation of this balanced budget.

D. Public Comments

Mayor Kussard asked if there were any comments from the audience. There were no questions.

E. Adjourn

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:05 a.m.

s/ Nancy Slaton, Town Clerk

s/ Ruth Kussard, Mayor

Minutes transcribed by Nancy Slaton, Town Clerk