Commission Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the June 15, 2020 5:00 p.m.
Commission Workshop Meeting

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 5 p.m.

A. Call to Order

Mayor Jim Richards

B. Roll Call

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

Staff Present

Kris Kollgaard, Town Manager; Derek Schroth, Town Attorney; Thad Carroll, Growth Management Director; Wendy Then, Senior Planner; Pam Winegardner, Finance Director; and Nancy Slaton, Deputy Town Clerk

Others Present

Chet Ross of Schumacher, Johnston, & Ross , P.A.

C. New Business

1. Discussion Regarding Economic Impacts Due to COVID-19 and Future Strategies for Managing Those Impacts (Chet Ross and Commissioner Dan Vincent)

Commissioner Vincent asked Mr. Ross for his opinion on scenarios that may affect the Town’s finances due to the Covid-19 event.

Chet Ross, the Town’s auditor, reported that he had asked the Finance Director for an analysis of revenues as the key statistics are total dollars and tax revenues prior to this meeting. He noted that this analysis is completed on a monthly basis by the Finance Department and is put out as a monthly report.

Mr. Ross stated there has been no significant change and there may be as little as a $200,000 total economic impact to the Town this year. Future impacts could be due to sales tax revenues.  He stated the biggest drop he saw has been in the state revenue sharing; from $40,000 a month down to $20,000 last month. Franchise fee revenues for utilities should not change. He stated the penny sales tax has not dropped much over the past few months, and this should not cause the Town a hardship. The infrastructure sales tax has dropped some, although there is nothing in the budget to speak of to use this revenue. Mr. Ross stated the local option gas tax has dropped some because people are not driving as much, but not significantly ($4,000 to $5,000).

Commissioner Vincent stated he is trying to glean what may happen in the future if revenues continue to drop.

Mayor Richards commented that the Town has reserves that are used for purchases of items such as police cars as long-lasting capital equipment.

Commissioner Vincent stated he in favor of freezing the budget so that taxpayers in the future will not have to make up funds. He stated he is not in favor of raising taxes.

Mr. Ross pointed out that the Town has no debt, which is a big advantage. He stated it would take 20 years of the Town losing a half a million dollars a year to use up the current reserves of $10,000,000. He stated the Town still had $200,000 left in this year’s budget.

Town Manager Kris Kollgaard stated that part of that $200,000 will be used to purchase Spillman software for the police department.

Mayor Richards stated that the reserves are for emergency situations and that it came in handy when Hurricane Irma came through, although the Town was eventually reimbursed for expenses.

Commissioner Kussard commented that the Town has reserves and no debt, and she can see no scenario where the Town will be in trouble.

Commissioner Vincent asked the Town Manager how the budget is shaping up for the coming fiscal year of 2021.

Ms. Kollgaard replied that the next year’s budget is not finalized. She stated there is money left in contingency for this year’s budget to purchase the new Spillman software for the police department.  She stated a list will be drawn up of what was taken out of the budget when next year’s budget is reviewed, and the Commission can choose to adjust next year’s budget.

Mr. Ross assured Commissioner Vincent that Lady Lake’s financial position is extremely strong, even with the Covid-19 outbreak. He stated the Town has between ten and 12 months in reserves.

2. Discussion Regarding the Development of Apartments in Lady Lake (Thad Carroll)

Growth Management Director Thad Carroll presented some statistics regarding workforce housing and affordable housing. Workforce Housing is defined as households meeting 60% to 120% of the area’s median income and includes middle income workers such as teachers, firefighters, police officers, retail clerks, etc. Mr. Carroll stated many that fall into this class are not eligible for subsidies. Affordable Housing is defined by the Town’s Land Development Regulations as a dwelling unit with a market value of less than two times 82% ($83,015 or less)or has a monthly rent less than or equal to one twelfth times 25% of 80% ($865 or less), of the median annual household income of Lake County. He stated he checked with some local landlords and they stated that it is hard to find affordable rentals under $1,000 a month unless it is subsidized housing. The Town’s figures would be about $10,000 less than the average for Lake County, so the figures for affordable housing in Lady Lake would drop accordingly.

Mr. Carroll stated there is currently 1,114 units in Lady Lake, and he reviewed statistics regarding these developments and noted that there are vacant properties in Lady Lake where complexes could be developed. He stated the Bailey property proposal went before the Planning and Zoning Board this month, and it originally included multi-family housing. The engineer has since confirmed there will be no apartments in the proposed complex; only condominiums.

Commissioner Kussard confirmed with Mr. Carroll that the Bailey property proposed site plan will only include 55+ condominiums with no apartments.

Mayor Richards stated it appears that the Town has plenty of property zoned to allow apartments if developers want to build them here.

Mr. Carroll replied affirmatively. He stated most of the space on the business corridor is zoned light and/or heavy commercial and could be developed as retail or office space. He stated that mixed use such as multi-family may be county property that is annexed into the Town.

Commissioner Kussard stated she did some research online over the weekend and found there are 108 apartments vacant or soon to be vacant within the Town. She stated there are new apartment complexes being built in areas surrounding the Town, such as those being built on Cherry Lake Road. She stated that she is against new development of apartment complexes and townhomes near other residential areas in Town.

Commissioner Hannan stated he found less vacancies available in local apartment complexes than Commissioner Kussard’s research. He stated that he comes from a real estate background and feels that the Town needs more apartments.

Commissioner Holden stated that although he was initially in favor of the development of the five story buildings on the property near Lake Ella Road, the property is elevated and will be overlooking the nearby Padgett Circle residential neighborhood. He thinks the buildings should be kept at no higher than three stories.

Mayor Richards stated the Commission would have to amend their agreement in that case. He confirmed with Mr. Carroll that if a property is being annexed into the Town, the Town has the right to not change the zoning.

Mr. Carroll stated that the Town’s code reads that 35 feet is the maximum height unless fire suppression is provided, and there is no building area height limitation other than that provided by the floor area ratio and the density (12 units per acre, etc.).

Commissioner Kussard asked if the Bailey property was annexed into the town.

Mr. Carroll replied that it has been annexed and they are entitled to 12 units per acre and are entitled to develop up to 500 apartments under the current PUD.

Commissioner Vincent stated he would like to see an ordinance be passed whereby no animals be allowed in the municipal buildings unless they are service dogs with a veterinary certificate because they could carry the Covid-19 virus.

Ms. Kollgaard stated she is not sure the Town could require this with ADA regulations although the Town Attorney could look into it.

D. Adjourn

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:46 p.m.

s/ Kristen Kollgaard, Town Clerk

s/ Jim Richards, Mayor

Minutes transcribed by Nancy Slaton, Deputy Town Clerk