Recap of December 18th Work Session and Regular City Council Meeting
Tuesday's work session began with each department's director introducing their new employee(s). Hearing the bios and level of experience of these new employees is quite promising for our city. Our Wastewater/Stormwater department added three new faces, Planning Dept added one new employee, Leisure Services added three new employees, Public Works added one and Michelle, who had been volunteering in the City Clerk's Office has been brought on full time. This Friday evening our twelve new firefighters will be celebrated during a pinning ceremony at First Baptist Church at 7:00pm, all are welcome.
The second part of the work session was an overview of the City's Strategic Plan. Our City Manager reviewed the plan and provided updates.
We ended with a discussion of future projects including: parking lots, properties and projects under consideration. The City has completed the purchase of the parcels at the SE corner of 3rd and Baker and plans to utilize that for 60+ parking spaces as well as restroom facilities. Our City Manager has proposed that while the City goes through the bidding process for engineered plans for a parking lot, this area could be used for green space parking once the buildings are removed. This would allow for 60 additional parking spaces, sooner rather than later, within two blocks of the downtown core. In other news, our City Manager proposed that there are demolition companies that would actually pay the City to remove the old tin "barn" on that property because the demolition company would resell the tin.
Our City's Staff has spent a lot of time evaluating the available properties for a potential parking garage. Each proposed property has a unique set of challenges. At this time the post office is scheduled to move into their new facility, Golden Triangle area, in June 2019. First National Bank seems willing to work with the City, according to our City Manager, to allow their current parking lot to be used for a parking structure. This discussion is in the very early stages as the City continues to weigh all of its options.
Also, the City has provided a letter of intent to The Simpson Family to purchase 8.01 acres of the orange groves on Limit Ave next to our current Water Treatment Facility. This would potentially be the new home of our new Public Works Facility as well as one of our three new fire stations. Again, early stages. No further discussion regarding locations for the remaining two fire stations can continue until the purchase of the Simpson Groves is complete. Our City Manager explained that if the sale of the Simpson Groves goes through this city owned property would become a "campus". It would include the current water treatment facility, a fire station, the public works facility and warehouse as well as a potential recreation facility.
The purchase of this property and construction of a fire station allows the Mount Dora Fire Department to attain a response time considerably closer to the national average that is required to become accredited, a long awaited goal of our Public Safety Officials.
The regular meeting began with a proclamation read by the Mayor honoring Amy Bolt for her 18 years of service to the Northeast CRA Advisory Committee. A well deserved recognition for one of our longest serving residents on any board or committee. Amy, thank you for your years of dedication to the Northeast portion of our city.
The naming of two private roads on the campus of the Mount Dora Christian Academy was approved unanimously.
The first Resolution Council discussed was Resolution 2018-204. The City Manager explained that the lowest bidder on the project to connect the Apopka Reclaimed Water Transmission had to be thrown out. The reason for dismissal was their failure to properly file their bid paperwork. The second lowest bidder will be awarded the contract, however, they are more than $80,000 over the budgeted amount to complete this project. Therefore, the City has two options. First, they will try to negotiate with the company to lower their bid. Alternatively, the difference in cost will have to be funded by delaying another project so that funds can be made available to complete the Apopka Reclaimed Water Connection. This Resolution to negotiate a better price was approved by Council unanimously, 7-0.
Resolution 2018-200 is asking Council to approve staff's recommendation to change leasing companies for our 13 leased copy machines. Staff provided all necessary information breaking down the cost savings in switching from Toshiba Business Solutions to Seminole Office Solutions. The VP of Sales for Toshiba Business Solutions was in attendance. He took the opportunity during public comment to let Council know that the pricing information provided by the newly recommended leasing company, Seminole Office Solutions, is inaccurate information. The Resolution was passed by a vote of 6-1 with Mr. Tucker voting no.
The final Resolution, 2018-208, is a request for City funding, in the form of a Betterment Grant to the Chamber of Commerce, in the amount of $10,000. After much discussion by City Council the Mayor suggested that we continue this discussion at our February 5, 2019 meeting. The Mayor requested the Council agree to this continuance so that he may have time to meet with the new President of the Chamber to discuss his vision for the Chamber as well as his plans for the potential grant money. Council voted unanimously to continue the discussion on February 5, 2019.
During the City Manager's update she announced that at the January 15th meeting our interim Finance Director will provide more information for qualifying residents to apply for assistance in paying the Fire Assessment Fee. It is too late to create a potential plan for this year's fee so don't go spending that $219 just yet. The discussion in January would be a potential fund for assistance with the Fire Assessment Fee for those who qualify for the fee due in 2020.
Finally, each Councilmember announced their Board Appointees for each of our City's Boards and Advisory Committees. They are as follows:
Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee-Mr. Massey appointed Glenna Burch; Ms. Tillett appointed Mary Miller.
Historic Preservation Board-Mr. Crail appointed Dr. Carl Anderson; I appointed Philip Donovan.
Public Arts Commission-Mr. Rolfson appointed Melissa Christians; Ms. Tillett appointed Pam Bisanti.
CRA Advisory Committee-I appointed Carol Rogers; Mr. Rolfson appointed Karen Mair; Ms. Tillett appointed Steve Whysel.
Planning & Zoning-Mr. Rolfson appointed Becky Carter.
North East CRA Advisory Committee-Mayor Girone appointed Rona Rowe; Mr. Rolfson appointed Cathy Hoechst.
All appointees were approved unanimously.
The next scheduled City Council meeting is January 15, 2019 at 6:00pm. It will be preceded by a Work Session beginning at 3:00pm at City Hall. All are welcome and encouraged to attend both meetings.
I wish all of you Happy Holidays and a safe and healthy start to your very Happy New Year.