Commission Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the March 6, 2023 Commission Meeting, 6 PM

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 Rietz presiding.

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m.


Pastor Keith Johnson – Chapel of Christian Faith

Pledge of Allegiance

Led by Mayor Rietz

Roll Call

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


Bill Lawrence, Town Manager; Julia Harris, Executive Assistant; Thad Carroll, Growth Management Director; Aly Herman, Library Director; Mike Burske, Parks & Recreation Director; C.T. Eagle, Public Works Director; Tamika DeLee, Human Resources Director; Pam Winegardner, Finance Director; Tamika DeLee, Human Resources Director; Rob Tempesta, Police Chief; Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk

Derek Schroth, Town Attorney was also in attendance.


Proclaiming March as “Irish American Heritage Month” in Lady Lake

John Gaffney, President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Lake County, Division 01, read the Proclamation followed by Mayor Rietz proclaiming March, 2023 as “Irish American Heritage Month”.


  1. February 16, 2023 – Town Commission Workshop Minutes
  2. February 22, 2023 – Town Commission Special Meeting Minutes
  3. February 22, 2023 – Town Commission Meeting Minutes
  4. Consideration of Approval to Invest $5,000 from the Tree Bank to Conduct the Annual Tree Raffle for Lady Lake Residents

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


5. Consideration of Granting Partial Exemption to the Thursday Evening Meeting Group for use of the Community Building

Changes to Ordinance 2023-01 regarding what organizations should be granted fee exemptions for the Community Building have been discussed by the Commission since December 2022. Ultimately, it was decided that the ordinance would remove all references to individual organizations and groups who receive partial or complete exemption of hourly fees. A group or organization is now required to fill out an application stating how they benefit the community and the application is presented to the Commission at the next regular meeting. The Commission has full discretion to decide who is granted an exemption and who is not. At this meeting, a request was made by Alcoholics Anonymous to continue receiving partial exemption for their Thursday night meetings.

Commissioner Kussard said there is a need for AA meetings, however, the applicant is not a Lady Lake resident so she should be required to pay the non-resident fee. The Commission needs to be good stewards of the Town’s money. In attendance was a resident from Lady Lake who attends the AA meetings and Commissioner Kussard felt that he should fill out the application. Commissioner Hannan, Commissioner Freeman and Mayor Rietz were satisfied with the application as it was presented.

Town Clerk Wilson stated that applications from the Kiwanis Club and Garden Club requesting exemptions were submitted but not in time to be included in the agenda packet; would the Commission like to consider them at this time since they have been granted exemptions in the past.

Town Attorney Schroth commented that the application for exemption can be approved as submitted or it can be declined. He added that if anybody in the organization is a resident, the lower fee can be charged.

Discussion regarding the best way to handle the applications continued and it was decided to consider all three applications at once.

Commissioner Hannan made a motion to grant the partial exemption of fees for use of the Community Building by the Thursday Evening Meeting Group and total exemption of fees for the Lady Lake Garden Club and the Kiwanis Club; Commissioner Freeman seconded. These exemptions are contingent upon the adoption of Ordinance 2023-01 and adding a requirement that applicants be Lady Lake residents. Motion carried 5-0.

A member of the AA Thursday night group who is a resident of Lady Lake, read a statement written by Carol Sennello thanking the Commission for their generosity and stating that the group hopes to have access to the Community Building for another 42 years.

6. Consideration of Approval to Renew the Town Attorney Services Agreement Between Bowen/Schroth and the Town of Lady Lake

Town Manager Lawrence presented the new service agreement between the Town and Bowen/Schroth. Derek Schroth has worked for the Town since 2005 and during that time he has been very responsive to Commission and staff needs, he gives great advice and he has served the Town well

Commissioner Hannan made a motion to approve Town Attorney Schroth’s Services Agreement as presented; Commission Freeman seconded. Motion carried 5-0.


7. Ordinance 2023-01 – Second and Final Reading – Amending Chapter 2, Article VI, division 3 of the Code of Ordinances for the Town of Lady Lake, Florida, Deleting and Replacing Ordinance 2021-12 in its Entirety.

Parks and Recreation Director Burske stated that at the January 16, 2023 meeting, the Commission voted to approve on first reading, Ordinance 2023-01 with a 5-0 vote.

At the February 6, 2023 meeting, the Commission voted to approve verbiage provided by the Town Attorney that would allow any other group to obtain exempt status if approved by a majority vote of the Town Commission at a regular meeting.

Following the February 6th meeting, it was decided to revisit the matter at a Workshop and one was scheduled for February 16th. At that meeting, the Commission consented to removing all references to individual groups to which exempt or partially exempt status is granted. Upon adoption of the ordinance, applications requesting exempt status must be presented to the Town Commission at a regularly scheduled meeting and they will make the determination if an exemption of fees should be granted.

Applications for exemptions were submitted prior to this meeting and were approved contingent upon the adoption of this ordinance.

Commissioner Kussard made a motion to approve Ordinance 2023-01 on second and final reading as presented; Commissioner Gourlie seconded.

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

Motion carried 5-0

8. Resolution No. 2023-102 – Amending Resolution 2014-101 to reduce the amount that may be dispersed from Reserves to a Restricted Property Purchase Fund based on 50% of the operating and personnel budgets in the General Fund rather than the total annual budget.

Finance Director Winegardner stated that in 2014, the Town Commission passed Resolution 2014-101 to establish a Restricted Fund that would pay for future land purchases, building and facility improvements/expansions and large capital equipment. That resolution specified that all or part of the Reserve funds over 50% of the total annual budget could be utilized.

After careful review and research, it was determined that the amount available to disperse from Reserves to the Restricted Fund should be calculated using 50% of the Town’s operating and personnel budgets in the General Fund rather than the total annual budget.

The Town has six months of funds in Reserves totaling $9,553,348. If the recommended change is made, the Town’s Reserves from which the 50% would be calculated will total $7,492,989 out of which $3,746.495 could be dispersed to the Restricted Fund.

Commissioner Gourlie asked if the balance goes to the asset fund. Ms. Winegardner responded that it can; the Town Manager makes that decision. This year the amount will be around $2 million. The committed asset fund can pay for wells, wastewater plants, the proposed recreation facility, walking trails, etc.

Commissioner Freeman asked what happens next year to our current Reserve funds. Ms. Winegardner replied that the money sits in the bank and when extra projects take place, money can be pulled from the committed asset fund. Reserves always stay in the bank; asset fund money is over and above the funds held in Reserve. The rules for our Reserves and asset fund money are set by the Commission.

Ms. Winegardner’s proposition is to reduce the amount that goes into the Restricted Fund from Reserves by calculating 50% of the Town’s operating and personnel budgets.

Commissioner Hannan made a motion to approve Resolution 2023-102 on final reading as presented; Commissioner Freeman seconded.

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

Motion carried 5-0


Mr. Lawrence announced that the Mac and Cheese event is on Saturday, March 11th where the Mayor will be a judge. He introduced, in absentia, the new Communications Director Elisha Pappacoda and read through her impressive bona fides. She will be meeting individually with the Commissioners and staff.

The Town Manager stated that Commissioner Hannan asked that his Irish flag be flown on the Town flagpole for the remainder of March. The Commission consented to allowing his flag to fly with a 3-2 vote (Commissioner Kussard and Commissioner Gourlie dissenting).


Commissioner Gourlie said there may be an opportunity to get a fire truck donated to the Town. There was not much interest shown.

Mayor Rietz announced construction has finally begun on a storage facility on Route 25. He also attended opening ceremonies for the Soccer and Little League teams and discussed the accident that happened in front of the Log Cabin.

Commissioner Hannan suggested that the police department erect a sign at the Log Cabin to which Parks & Recreation Director Burske said that parking is no longer allowed along that stretch of road. Most events will be taking place at Snooky Park from this point forward.

Commissioner Gourlie asked about Snooky Park and if there is a pavilion planned for that location where events could be held. Mr. Burske responded that a recreation center was included in the Capital Improvement Plan and the Park is set up for hosting events.


No public comments


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:44 p.m.

s/ Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk

s/ Jim Rietz, Mayor