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County Commission planning session


Meeting opens

Gwendolyn Brown: When you change land-development code, the overall code changes. In past, committee was involved. Will we do that this time or just make changes.

John. As for review process, when people come in with pile of plans, we'll commit to them a schedule of meetings, etc. If he does what he should, we can track with him and make time frames. Will get receipt for payments and chart.

Ans. Running it by task force to take a look at it and take a look at if it works.

Getman: Important to prevent overcrowding of roads. we've tried connectivity between communities without using main roads. But every community has objected to connectivity with next community. They all complain. I would hope that somehow some thought can be given into how we can do a better job. We just constantly get complaints from citizens. I would hope that you could come up suggestions to improve approvals and connections between communities.

Ans.: Require more connectivity. Intent of more lane-mile roadways. Easier to do before wetland protection. More two-lane collector roadways. Preserves marketability.

McClash: Superroadway. Compliments on first major report. Like moving into electronic acceptance of plans. Electronic files.

Whitmore: Bustle and I talked about watching planning meetings. Can't see them online. We don't pout them on stream line so we can see schedules.

Task force membership. Have to include environmental people. I believe we should be inclusive. It's good input.

Connectivity: No one has ever said they wanted connectivity. I don't really know if that's what they want. Supercollector thing is probably way to go, but don't force people to connect unless it's in long-range plans. No one has ever said they couldn't get to the next community.

McClash: Planning. When you look at what you're trying to do. We've had people do presentations on these issues. Pileups at intersections. Code doesn't reflect what he's been asking for four years. Don't do it at the last hour. Superlocals build feeling of community.

Chappie: WE had a talk the other day and communications other municipalities.

Take it very seriously.. Want to avoid unintended consequences. Best interest to find out and press forward. Will be reporting back on a regular basis.

Encouragement zone and impact fees

Hunzeker: I believe we know the objective, but I need confirmation. Trying to encourage port-related businesses to come to the port. David and I will come up with the options to make objective a reality.

Discussion about doing a study.

County attorney presentation on legal issues.

Bill: Primer on impact fees

Impact fees difficult revenue source to understand and work with.

Came from case law and government practice, and elected officials find them inflexible and frustrating.

Quirks in the system. Found this out from day one. A common experience that people have.

First rule:

Fair share concept. Each party must pay for its own impact, but not for others' or deficits.

Study and adopt fee schedule based on assumptions about development categories.

Fee schedule changes must be supported by a study. For area=-wide study, must use same factor.

If we did a study, there are plenty of people who would demand equal treatment.

Impact fee is not a concurrency fee. Bank on 301.

Questionable whether lower fee can be set based on concurrency without opening it up to complaints. Have to be done throughout county to avoid legal fight.

Hayes: What we're doing right now is looking at transportation fees and adjusting them, and doing them for the encouragement zone.

We're talking about transportation, not other types of fees. It's the most difficult and the most costly.

McClash: Study done before was done. Randy Young did study based on future needs of county. Cut impact fees 50% for transportation. Why can't this county approve the new method since the study was done? Then it would comply with that planning approach.

Might have to do that for everyone.

Would result in lower impact fees in some places, and in other places they might go higher.

McClash: Are some lower than 50%?

Not talking about higher.

There's no study that says you have to do this. Board sets the fee. Since board is going to set a fee that's not the max.

Set them less than others in some places? Have to do them uniformly across the board. We were directed the cut the fee. Where you get into trouble is when you come down in one place for one area.

McClash: Impact study means you have to pay for trip you added. Instead of consumption of trips, it's what you need in the future.

I agree with where Bill's going. Never saw Randy Young's schedule.

Just one more piece of information.

Mr. Rice: Encouragement zone. Any enterprise that would bring traffic should have advantages like a port company. Would Young study be sufficient to permit the board to reduce fees in the EZ?

Cannot do it selectively for one area. There's a way to get where we want to do. Doing it by changing who pays what is dangerous.

Rice: Is there a way to treat the port situation as unique as opposed to part of the general impact fee structure.

Ans. Discussed at length at meeting. Analysis. Safety valve built into most fee programs to prevent under- or overcharging.

Protection for county. Not the same thing as the general study done to change the impact fees in the code. Big difference between this and the study you do. Project-specific. Required by code.

For example, project that's commercial but uses Internet could say it doesn't have impacts commercial has to show their fee should be lower.

Code says applicant bears burden of proof.

Like a rezone, like a permit.

Each development has to do its own analysis which applies to development and may yield a lower or higher fee.

Not a legislative change.

County must use impact fees the address impacts of fee payers.

Developers have paid much and are watching closely.

Disagree with arguments that have been raised questioning legality of impact fee program.

Developers have the right to monitor use of money, and can demand repayment and more are possible. If they feel something is illegal, they can demand money back because costs are being shifted to them.

In present economy, there's strong incentive.

Concerns sound highly technical, but they're not just technical issues. Real risk of claims being made against the county if pushed too far.

Board understand why these things need to be in the record. Strong legal reason to do this.

Options: Board has directed CAO to propose ordinance to cut road impact fees.

County can pay impact fees for developers and expand that for other businesses but have a value because they enhance the port.

Developer could show fees should be lower for specific project to cut what county would pay.

If you study PMEZ, that study would yield lower fee if it's part of a larger county study.

Will show lower fees around the port, and around the county. It's probably going to show that fees might be higher.

Not easy for people to accept.

Getman: We started out by wanting to do something special for the port. Tried to develop definition of what is a port-related business. We've gone from statement of problem to recommendation. There might be better ideas. Could be other answers we hadn't explored yet. I don't know what the answer is. I would like us to have all the answers to consider before we start working on a recommendation. I hope we would allow our staff to get with David and come up with goals and objectives.

Maybe they can come up with a definition that we can all live with. Then we can work with alternatives instead of just focusing on one. Want to help, but need to know what to do.

Brown: What is our overall goal fro that area? Entice business?

Bustle: How do you even define the dilemma that we have. Some say we enough road and infrastructure. By own ordinances, this kind of business has this number of trips. Still have to pay impact fees even if there's no impact.

Ans. Levies fees regardless. Can go to a different system, but open to other parts of county.

Bustle: Can't we make an exception area for the port.

Ans. We would have to build into system. How many have gone to project based fee? Not many. Most of them do it this way, and it's been a point of controversy for years in Florida. Feel like they shouldn't be paying it. Reason a lot of cities resist transportation impact fees. They don't need to levy the fees; don't see it as a concurrency issue. Most rates are tailored to urban or municipal areas.

Chip: Senate talking about two year freeze on impact fees (S580).

we've gotten ourselves into a scheme that we can't get out of. Suppose we got rid of impact fees.

Ans. We could repeal ordinance. But they're built into cash flow assumptions. It can be done. "It's not without consequence." If economy recovers, it could come back and haunt us in a couple of years.

If we can eliminate fees. Is there no exemption for a unique situation?

Ans. Under our system, you pay a fee if you use capacity. Port-related business uses capacity. Difference we see is available infrastructure.

Do it for one without others saying it's not fair.

I'm comfortable we've given right legal advice.

McClash: I agree with legal analysis. Frustrated with lack of study being approved by board. Method works against us to do what we want to do at port.

I have a problem with that. Is this study done for a plan-based study?

We were acting as the port. Let us that analysis to prove it should be lower.

If we go to planning method, less likely to need dollars. If that bullet up there is done, you'd have a little bit more of a comfort level.

Ans. Code doesn't let you do it. Come out of the way we've been doing it.

If we did it for all fees, study would be more effective.

McClash: We need to work together. And get it on the agenda and get it approved.

Brown: Is it an impact fee or something else?

Hayes: We want to do something for the port, and we want to do it legally. Bill, we're talking about eliminating all impact fees in the port zone. But it doesn't make sense to eliminate all fees (police, environmental). My understanding was eliminating all fees.

McDonald: My impression. Least of experts on impact fees. Eliminate impact fees, and then more recently, transportation. I think this was born out of two needs: utilizing port as economic engine to spark growth in residential area but probably won't be so people have property with nothing to do with it, and give the port staff the tools to go out and tell businesses they can locate in the zone or just outside and receive incentives.

Others are port's foreign trade zone.

Really trying to create comprehensive marketing tool kit to attract businesses using the port and its development as the catalyst.

Now that it's on the radar, we can develop certain type of facility.

Tank farm ready to submit in 60-day frame.

Second one just outside port; energy producer. These are on people's radar screens. Will meet Monday to see if we can bring clarity. Can't sell something and then have to bring it back for approval.

These are tough issues that board must determine for itself.

Sell Port Manatee and Manatee county and provide good jobs and create stimulus and pay impact fees. Reducing taxes to increase bottom line.

Bill: We are discussing transportation fees only. May be difficult, or impossible.

Getman: We're not talking about residential, just benefits for port facilities. Make sure it's measurable and attainable.

Hunzeker: What is port's objective? Based on Bill's presentation, tough to achieve.

Consumption driven is going to be hard to get rid of because of case law.

Can't adopt. We can get together and determine not only what is a port-related business, but how much business they do. Has to be measurable.

Company shipped out through port, but only once a month. How much activity do you want to give break for?

Simplest way is for you to make the payment, not the business. Find firm, then pay impact fees. Stay out of impact fee ordinances and debates.

When you find a business that comes to the port, they build something. If you're going to get the benefit, you want to be sure they will be around.

Brown: Don't want to have a 30-minute discussion. Let's do that. If we can do that in a decent timeframe, it'll be most beneficial to us all.

Bustle: Let's agree on what the objective is and have someone write it down.

Saw slide of Savannah vs. Port Manatee. Savannah doesn't have impact fees. WE have to figure out how to get around that and achieve the objective.

Brown: Objective is to increase port business. How we get there is questionable, but that's our overall objective.

Bustle: Express urgency. Port is an economic treasure house that we can exploit for port's and county's benefit.

Brown: How to make a company see something that stands out so company votes to come here.

Hunzeker: I'm comfortable if David's comfortable.

Whitmore: My long-term goal is to make it a megaport. It's a marketing tool to recruit businesses. I don't care if it's just one time a month, it's better than no times a month. We have to grow. Any job is better than no job. If we forgive impact fees, that goes for everyone. Figure out a way. Give people an incentive to come here.

McClash: Question I need answered. Can we use the Young study for the method? Have to get away from old method. You get into trouble when you set it to the max.

Ans. Yes.

McClash: Use planning method, and you accomplish in a secondary way our objective: planning vs. consumption.

Bustle: If the method in that study leads to conclusion we turn down, then maybe method is faulty. Need to adjust it so that it's neutral.

Ans. Board seemed to be taken aback. Different method and fees too high, and you can adjust them. There's no legal reason why you can't do that.

McClash: Go to new method of how fee was calculated.

Hunzeker: You want to take the new methodology, but not the fees that go with it.

Ans. Base it what you can build. We don't want to lead them astray.

McClash: Evaluate what you need for the future, it's a very important step.

Brown: Mr. Hunzeker, you need to come back pretty quickly. How that plays out for us needs to be answered.

Next item

Hunzeker: Energy efficiency and conservation block grant.

$5.2 million

People in community want subgrant project.

If it's board's desire for subgrant program. Set up process for evaluating grants.

We would need to set up a program so organizations can apply for the money.

We have a list of projects here, and if more money comes in we can use it in the community.

I don't think amount of money is high enough

Courthouse removal: $1.5 million

Courthouse: $1.3 million

$400,000 more than grant itself.

Brown: If you went to outside agencies. Who monitors?

Hunzeker: We don't have anyone sitting around. That's more government. We won't have any of that today. We're allowed more costs for admin in grant.


Hunzeker: These are all internal projects.

Getman: Energy efficiency. I don't see putting a new roof on as energy efficiency. But there are financial impacts: solar collectors to cut electrical costs, methane gas at dump, things that will have reoccurring long-term financial benefits. We have places for solar panels all over and it would pay for itself over time. We can make a list and apply for other grants. I look at this as just a start, but I'd like us to consider the thought of considering a full survey.

Hunzeker: Tomorrow a report from green team will give you an insight on this.

Second grant has application deadline.

Changing streetlights, calculating savings.

Whitmore: We are doing methane gas. Courthouse needs a roof, but we need to make other things that will help county get green. I know we need new roof there, but the intention of this grant is to stimulate green. The purpose of these is not to fix these for government. More than a roof and a chiller.

Hunzeker: We have enough projects to keep locally.

Brown: I think that's the purpose.

Hunzeker: Make sure we're eligible.

McClash: Someone messed up lighting at courthouse? No one can turn them off. I know we had some issues on judicial center.

Hunzeker: OK.

McClash: Contractor messed up, I hear.

Bad impression on county government when the lights are on.

CAO: Contractor built it that way.

McClash: Doesn't produce an energy-efficient county.

Karen Windon: Increase efficiency in how we're doing business. Trying to revisit a strategic plan for Manatee County. Would like to adopt county-wide.

Mission statement: to serve with excellence.

We want to be a green-certified government;

Proposals for mission statements.

Seek input on mission and vision statement.

ACE, accountability, civility, ethics.

Bustle: Was on school district's core values team. We need to ask the people what the mission statement of the county is. Otherwise, it's not bought into by anyone.

Karen: Came from Imagine Manatee.

Bustle: Maybe that's what we ought to just say.

Hunzeker: We haven't revisited statement for quite some time. Come back with something that's a little up to date.

Bustle: EdVantage program powerful and creates product hard to refuse.

McClash: Maintaining quality of life. People want to keep exceptional quality of life.

Hunzeker: Write thoughts in margin. Don't want to put you on the spot today. Take your time, we want to do it right.

Other issues

Getman: Water quality presentation. I would like us to under new wave of initiatives from feds, rethink applying for grants. Was in Ft. Lauderdale, getting off vehicle a tank exploded. EMS, sheriff, arrived. Sheriff dept. runs EMS and fire. Makes sense organizationally. Everyone under one command.

Hunzeker: 1. Legislative action to require us to increase disposal fee by $1.25 per ton. Could drive waste rates up. Trying to avoid it.

Mobile home park issue. No good deed goes unpunished. Ditch that we would put underground if we could. Ron suggested we do installation if they do the pipe. Why doesn't county do it? Every ditch would trigger a call. We would love to be helpful, but perhaps we shouldn't be so helpful, putting pipes on private property.

Getman: We were trying to help them.

Whitmore: Citizens Insurance going to raise rates, and the CAT fund.

If anything happens, there's not enough money in there to cover anything if a hurricane comes. Trying to play catch-up. That is not a very solid insurance company that the state has. These people who are on it.

Also, offshore drilling and they'll vote on it this week. Some look like they might vote yes. We may not have time. If we need to say something about drilling.

What is our position?

Karen: discussing it on floor as we speak.

Hayes: They don't expect 3-10. We might be better off in negotiation than saying no.

Bustle: Call from individual who asked how I felt. I said I don't know enough about it. Asked if he knew it would create jobs at Port Manatee. No spills during Katrina, but I'm no sure that's true.

Drill it, cap it. Only worry is that people will snag it in nets. Good for fishing, etc.

McClash: We need to reaffirm our opposition. No dialogue with community. Big issue is visual appearance. We'd see them at three miles. People come here for tourism and might not feel the same. Worth taking a position on it.

Bustle: Who's the expert on drilling wells?

McClash: Crist said this is a stealth approach. I'm not going to explore the technology in a week or two on this issue.

Getman: Madame Chair, we could write a letter..

Windon: Last year, there was no letter due to no consensus.

Getman: Nothing wrong with us as individuals sending letters?

Brown: No.

Hayes: They're not going to get your e-mails. Can't get an answer on prepaid tuition. Called, sent e-mails. You'll never get them. They're too busy. Getting lots of e-mails.

Whitmore: I texted Ron Reagan and he answered.

Karen: Swine flu. Our staff is working with Florida Dept. of Health. They are working on it, and looking for info.

Brown: Meeting adjourned.


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