Commission Meeting Minutes

Draft Minutes of the April 18, 2022, 6 p.m. Commission Meeting

The regular meeting of the Lady Lake Town Commission was held in the Commission Chambers at Lady Lake Town Hall, 409 Fennell Blvd., Lady Lake, Florida, with Mayor Jim Rietz presiding. The meeting convened at 6:00 p.m.

A. Call to Order

Mayor Jim Rietz

B. Invocation

Pastor Keith Johnson – Chapel of Christian Faith

C. Pledge of Allegiance

D. Roll Call

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


Attorney Derek Schroth, Town Attorney; Bill Lawrence, Town Manager; Thad Carroll, Growth Management Director; C.T. Eagle, Public Works Director; Mike Burske, Parks & Recreation; Deputy Chief Jason Brough, Lady Lake Police Department; Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk

1. Proclaiming April 29, 2022, as Florida Arbor Day in Lady Lake (Mayor Rietz)

Mayor Rietz read the proclamation and presented it to Mike Burske, Director Parks & Recreation.

Mr. Mike Burske announced the Arbor Day celebration is being held at the First Baptist Church of Lady Lake on April 28th at 10 a.m.  Five orange trees will be planted behind the church for the school’s agricultural program.

2. Presentation of a Check for Fireworks from the Lady Lake Orange Blossom Gardens Lions Club (Mayor Rietz)

Representatives from the Lady Lake Orange Blossom Gardens Lions Club presented the Town with the first of two installments of $10,000 each to fund the fireworks in Lady Lake in 2023.  The fireworks will be called the Lady Lake Lion’s Club fireworks.

Mayor Rietz announced that he is joining the Lady Lake Lion’s Club.


3. Minutes – April 18, 2022 — Commission Meeting

Commissioner Kussard made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda as presented; Commissioner Hannan seconded. Motion carried 5-0. 


4. Consideration of Placement of Plaque at the Heritage Park Fountain for Doris Turlo (Mike Burske)

The Orange Blossom Lions Club has asked that the Commission consider placing a plaque at the fountain in Heritage Park to honor Doris Turlo’s legacy in Lady Lake. In the 18 years that Mr. Burske has known Doris, she has been responsible for the Christmas Parade, even before the Town took it over, many donations to the Little League and Soccer Association, volunteered time to the Driving Range, the Easter Egg Hunt, and the Not Too Scary Halloween Event. She has volunteered for the town for over 16 years. Keep in mind, we are just one area where she volunteers and serves. This agenda item passed the Parks, Recreation and Tree Board with a 4-0 vote. The plaque will be paid for by the Orange Blossom Gardens Lion’s Club.

Commissioner Kussard said she cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.

Commissioner Hannan made a motion to approve the placement of a plaque for Doris Turlo at the Heritage Park Fountain; Commissioner Kussard seconded. Motion carried 5-0.

5. Consideration of Approval to Accept Gibbs and Register as the Contractor for the Old Dixie Highway Park Project (Mike Burske)

At the direction of this Commission, the Parks and Recreation Director put the Old Dixie Highway Park Project out to bid. The only bid received was $1,883,734.00.  As it was the only bid, Mr. Burske tried to negotiate costs with the contractor. He was receptive to working with cheaper products, but Mr. Burske ultimately decided to go with what was bid. It is the trend right now for government projects to get minimal bids; others in government are having similar problems. Gibbs & Register has a strong history of working on government projects in and around Orlando, River Walk in Jacksonville, and have worked on several trail projects. Neel Schaffer Engineering reviewed their references, and the Parks Director did a very extensive internet search to find any issues they have had. Mr. Burske stated that he found no issues that would make him not want to work with them. He stated that there will be long lead times on some of the products for this project. He advised that the picnic shelters will take 100 days to complete once ordered. He stated that he will also need a 10% contingency for any change orders that may arise.

Commissioner Hannan said the Town should consider comments made by Vance Jochim of Fiscal Rangers regarding the economy at the last meeting. He is concerned about lawsuits coming down the road and the state of our economy. He is in favor of the project but not at this time and would like for it to be postponed to a later date.

Commissioner Kussard disagreed with Commissioner Hannan adding that those in retirement communities have resources and amenities available to them that other people in town do not. They pay the same taxes but do not receive the same benefits. This project would be paid for with surtax dollars. She stated that the money is there, and is in favor of completing project, do it right and have something for everyone in Lady Lake to enjoy.

Commissioner Holden pushed to get this project going five years ago and was told that it was not the right time. If the project had been completed then, the cost would have been half of what it is going to be now. It will only get even more costly as time goes by.

Commissioner Freeman agreed with both Commissioners Kussard and Holden adding that there is no reason to delay. The economy may go down but it will recover, as it always does.

Mayor Rietz was also in favor of moving forward with the project.

Commissioner Kussard made a motion to approve Gibbs and Register as the Contractor for the Old Dixie Highway Park Project; Commissioner Holden seconded. Motion carried 4-1 with Commissioner Hannan casting the dissenting vote.


Town Attorney Schroth said he forwarded Chris McKinstry’s deposition to the Commission, and he would like guidance concerning the mediation. He would like to schedule a closed session; the Commission decided on May 16th at 5 p.m.


The Town Manager reported on upcoming events, and he thanked Mike Burske for all his work and his team’s work on the events; they have been working all hours in the last few months. Mr. Lawrence has received a lot of compliments about Parks & Recreation events.

Ted Williams, Public Works maintenance department, has raised the standing of Lady Lake’s Road Pavement Condition Index (PCI) to 80 out of 100. The average PCI in Florida is 72; nationwide the average is 65. This is for the public roads that the town owns and is quite an accomplishment.


Commissioner Freeman stated that he was at the museum the same time as Mike Burske, who showed him the roof of the old train station that the Commission voted to replace at the last meeting. The Commissioner said we are going in the right direction by replacing the roof. The eaves are rotten, and the underlayment is in terrible condition so a new roof is in order.

Commissioner Freeman said he keeps looking at the property between Heritage Park and United Southern Bank. He thinks the Town should look into purchasing the property or look for grant money because it could be a great addition to the town.

Commissioner Hannan said he has heard that Lady Lake has the lowest amount of playground space among all the local municipalities. He agrees with Commissioner Freeman that we should consider acquiring the property to expand Heritage Park.

Growth Management Director Carroll said the property mentioned by Commissioner Freeman was once valued at between $200,000 and $300,000. He will reach out to the realtor to get more details.


No comments.

K. Adjourn

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:23 p.m.

s/ Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk

s/ Jim Rietz, Mayor