Commission Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the July 17, 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.


Moment of silence

Pledge of Allegiance

Led by Mayor Rietz

Roll Call

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


Wendy Then, Senior Planner; Pam Winegardner, Finance Director; C.T. Eagle, Public Works Director; Elisha Pappacoda, Director of Communications; Tamika DeLee, Human Resources Director; Officer Higgins, Interim Police Chief Steve Hunt; Deputy Chief Jason Brough; Lieutenant Rob Tempesta; Town Clerk Nancy Wilson

Town Attorney Derek Schroth was also in attendance.


Interim Chief Hunt presented the Town’s new K-9 named Ember and introduced Chalen Godwin who works at Central Florida K-9 in Eustis as the Special Projects Coordinator in charge of training K9’s. Mr. Godwin gave his background in K9 training then described Ember’s three-week training to become a tracking dog that included tracking and imprinting,

which taught him how to detect the four smells Lady Lake Police wants the dog to detect: cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl. His expectations with Ember’s tracking were exceeded, he is one of the best he has trained. The handler, Josh Higgins, and Ember went through a 120-hour intensive course where Josh was taught community service, canine care, the Town’s policies and procedures and case law regarding search and seizure. He is a very friendly dog, but he is always on duty. It is fine to pet him but if there is a smell he is imprinted on, he goes to work. Mr. Godwin said he is doing very well with his training, and he hopes Ember will be certified by July 26th.

Commissioner Freeman asked if basic obedience is taught. Mr. Godwin responded that they are taught sit, down and come. They do not teach them too many commands because commands limit their ability to focus on the task at hand. Ember is 17 months old.


Announcement of Qualifying Period from 12 Noon on August 14, 2023, to 12 Noon on August 18, 2023, for the Office of Town Commissioner for Wards One, Three, and Five for the General Election on November 7, 2023


1. The minutes from the July 3, 2023 meeting will be presented at the August 7, 2023 Commission meeting.

2. Acceptance of late payment for the Water, Sewer and Reuse Utility Agreement for Lady Lake Square Apartments executed June 6, 2022 ― Major Site Plan MJSP 10/21-001 ― A Request for Utilities Capacity Reservation of 119 Water ERUs, 119 Sewer ERUs and 29 Reuse ERUs for an approved 288-unit Apartment Complex Project, property being approximately 24 acres of land, located at the southwest corner of County Road 25 and Griffin Avenue, identified by Alternate Key Number 3302494.

Following the execution of the agreement by both parties, Lady Lake Square LLC failed to remit payment in the amount of $570,491 within the 30-day period; subsequently, the developer has not paid any amount to date to reserve capacity for the requested utilities.

Marty Dellebovi, Benchmark Group

Mr. Dellebovi stated that they are about to begin construction on the Lady Lake Square apartments, and he would like to wrap up the utility agreements. He plans to pay the amount in full on Wednesday, July 19th. Originally, he stated they would pay within 30 days of the agreement but with all that has gone on in the world over the last few years, they were delayed.

Mr. Dellebovi then expressed his sadness over the passing of Commissioner Hannan. Though Paul was the toughest on him, he enjoyed their 18-year working relationship. He asked if he could put up a memorial plaque for Paul in front of the fountain at Village Crossroads where Max Pullen’s name has also been placed. They will have a dedication when the time comes. The Commission agreed that adding Paul’s name would be a very nice gesture.

Commissioner Kussard made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda as presented; Commissioner Gourlie seconded. Motion carried 4-0.


No report.


The Town Manager reminded the Commission of the budget workshop on July 26th at 2pm.

He then announced that Commissioner Gourlie, Interim Police Chief Hunt and he are meeting with residents from the area where there was a recent shooting incident. They will talk about safety and how to bolster that neighborhood.

A shout out went to John Pearl and Andy Crogan who have spent many hours at night and on weekends helping the police department run efficiently during tough times. So much of what the IT department does goes unnoticed.


Commissioner Freeman stated that he attended the monthly Lake County League of Cities luncheon where Sheriff Grinnell spoke about a new program the sheriff’s department has instituted. The program allows law enforcement access to privately owned cameras to help them solve crimes. He will give them more information at a future meeting.

Mayor Rietz said he met the great nephew of Atticus “Snooky” Blanton. The nephew, his girlfriend and her mother walked around the park and they were thrilled about what had been done in Snooky’s honor.

The mayor also had the opportunity to see Madeline “Tiny” Cazel who trains annually at our soccer field on Rolling Acres Road for the Senior Olympics. She has won many National Senior Award gold medals and has broken the record twice in her category. Mayor Rietz would like the commission to present her with an award. Commissioner Kussard said she is not in favor of giving her an award because awards should be given only to those who live in Lady Lake or who have done something great in Lady Lake.

Commissioner Gourlie suggested giving her an honorable mention. Commissioner Freeman agreed with the mayor that an award or mention would be appropriate.

The Commission consented to giving Ms. Cazel some sort of recognition. 3-1 (Kussard)

Mayor Rietz said there are a number of plaques in the employee section of the building. He would like them to be placed in the Commission Chambers where they can be viewed by the public. Commissioner Kussard said awards that are given to employees should be placed publicly but commissioners should keep theirs at home. Commissioner Freeman thinks the plaques should be placed in the lobby, not the Commission Chambers.

The Commission consented to moving the plaques to the lobby. 4-0.


No public comments


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:25 p.m.

s/ Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk

s/ Jim Rietz, Mayor