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South Lake permitting office to close; operations to continue at downtown Tavares office

RELEASE DATE: April 24, 2007

TAVARES — The Lake County Board of County Commissioners decided today in its regularly scheduled meeting to close the satellite Building Services Division office in Clermont, effective Monday, April 30. Beginning next week, all building-service requests will be handled from the Tavares office, located on the fifth floor of the Lake County Administration Building, 315 W. Main St.

Through an interlocal agreement with the City of Clermont, Lake County handles various building services for the City, such as permitting, plans review and building inspections. An office at Clermont City Hall was established to handle the volume of building-service requests from the South Lake County area and to serve the City. Service to the City of Clermont will continue uninterrupted from the Tavares office.

The number of daily permits applied for from the Clermont office has steadily declined the past two years. The average of daily permits from this office dropped from 26.8 to 17.5 from 2005 to 2006. The steady decline has sharpened so far this year as average daily permits applied for from this office has dipped below 12. In addition, the average daily permits applied for from the City of Clermont have dropped at rate of about two per year, from eight permits a day in 2005 to 4.5 in 2007.

The Building Division is funded solely from building permit fees and related sources. These revenues have decreased significantly with the decline in building activity over the past year. By closing the office, it will save more than $36,000 annually in rent and utility bills. In addition, by consolidating operations in one location, the Building Division will operate more efficiently. The County is expected to draft a new interlocal agreement with the City of Clermont to adjust for the change in operations. The Board of County Commissioners is to consider the new agreement within 30 days.

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