• Crissy Stile

Recap of Feb 5th Meetings

1. Neighborhood Traffic Calming - Based on the presentation given by City staff, the Council has asked for a citywide study, sooner rather than later, to assess dangerous areas throughout the city and what we can do to slow speeding traffic and protect our citizens. This study will take 4-6 months. However, some immediate solutions that can be implemented with minor expense will be addressed almost immediately. A public information campaign to spread the word about dangerous driving through neighborhoods, more police presence in the already dangerous areas (so watch your speed limit-no more nice guy warnings) and possibly more of those digital speed signs that flash when you've exceeded the speed limit (as they have in the Country Club of Mount Dora). Chief John O'Grady reported that we have twice as many cars on our city streets as we did in 2010 and that number is growing. Our City Manager reported that a traffic study was done last month on Tremain, south of 5th Ave, and in one day 9,000 cars drove up and down Tremain.

2. Fire Department Presentation - SAFER Update: Fire Chief Griner reported that the SAFER grant that the City accepted to hire 12 new firefighters has already proven to be a worthy decision. Those new firefighters have allowed our fire department to staff an additional truck at our Donnelly Fire Station. You may have heard there was a kitchen fire at Highland Street Cafe some weeks ago. There are apartments above the restaurant, so in the past the MDFD would have had to decide what was more important: addressing fire and then going upstairs to clear any potential residents or clearing the residents out while the fire continued to burn. With two trucks in service we were able to do both simultaneously. Also, on Monday Harris Oil Mini-storage caught fire. One of the storage units caught fire and with little to no barrier between each unit it could have spread very quickly. Our firefighters were able to split the duties of finding the actual unit that was on fire while also insuring that flames didn't jump to the tremendously large oil and propane storage tanks that were just next door the that set of storage units. Job well done to the MDFD. To conclude his presentation Chief showed a picture of what was in the storage units on either side of the unit that was on fire. On one side it was floor to ceiling car tires and rims. On the other side in was loaded front to back with oxygen tanks. It's mind boggling to think how that could've turned out.

3. Fire Assessment Fee Hardship Relief update: After some discussion Council asked for further information as to how many residents may qualify for the hardship relief in the City as well as how many residents benefit from the relief in the City of Leesburg, since we were using their relief program as an example. Qualifications to receive hardship relief are: you have to plan to live in that home for the year, you have to produce documentation for the total income of all occupants of the home and you have to be the owner of the home and receive homestead exemption. The City Manager will be the one who decides if relief is approved as applications come in to City Hall.

4. Local Grant Programs: After much discussion City Staff is going to come up with one Grant Form for every organization that would like to apply for financial support from the City. A handful of Councilmembers, myself included, voiced concerns about giving taxpayer dollars away to any organization when we are approving millions and millions of dollars in loans to improve infrastructure throughout the City. Our loans are adding up.

5. Reservations and Fees for City Facilities by Private Groups: Another lengthy discussion which boiled down to the fact that the City is not following the Fee Schedule 100% of the time. Some groups get to use City facilities without a charge while other organizations are charged the advertised fee. The City has been providing discounts to certain vendors who bring in entertainment to different venues throughout the City and not only is that unfair, but it costs the City money. Leisure Services Director Amy Jewell along with her staff will work to contact these organizations to let them know that everyone has to abide by the same fee schedule, no more discounts of free rides for particular groups.

6. Utilities update: The project to relocate water and wastewater utilities along Hwy 441 between 46 and Donnelly will begin in about 6 weeks if all goes as planned with obtaining funding. Once we move our utilities the State can begin widening Hwy 441.

7. PRMG Discussion: As new housing developments are built throughout Mount Dora they will have the benefit of watering their lawns with reclaimed water. This consultant group is proposing that there be a separate water charge for reclaimed water for the residents that are lucky enough to have access to reclaimed water. Of course reclaimed water doesn't go through our sewer system so using reclaimed to water your lawn would be measured by a separate meter and the savings is tremendous. One example showed a home that paid $62/month using potable water for watering their lawns as compared to the same water usage in a month using reclaimed water and the bill was $11/month.

8. JPA and Territorial Agreement: The Mayor announced that Lake County Commissioner Leslie Campione would be attending the regular Council meeting to explain the changes in the agreement as it had been agreed upon back in July. Results of that discussion will be in my regular meeting recap below.

Regular meeting recap:

We have a new Canine Mayor and Canine Vice-Mayor. Canine Mayor Mr. Bones (pictured here) and Canine Vice-Mayor Jake were sworn in and they vow to protect all dogs, and even cats, in Mount Dora. This program raises money for the Mount Dora Heroes Foundation to aid families of fallen officers.

Resolution 2019-01 to award the contract for utility line relocation on Hwy 441 from Lincoln Ave. to Donnelly to Commercial Industrial Corporation. ($7+ million project will begin in May 2019 and is projected to finish in June 2021) was passed by a vote of 7-0.

Resolution 2019-07 to approve a State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan for $1.8 million to fund the Drinking Water portion of the Hwy 441 utility relocation project was passed 7-0.

Resolution 2019-08 to approve a SRF Loan for $4 million to fund the Clean Water portion of the Hwy 441 utility relocation project was passed 7-0.

Resolution 2019-14 to approve a Minor Subdivision and Duplex Division to subdivide a platted parcel. This property is the southwest corner of Grandview St and Jackson Ave. This was passed 7-0.

Resolution 2019-10 to award the contract for construction of the Apopka Reclaim Transmission Interconnect Project to Randall Environmental was passed 7-0. ($2.7 million project)

Resolution 2018-208 is a request for City Council to grant funding in the amount of $10,000 to the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce. After a very lengthy discussion this was passed 7-0.

Next up were four Ordinances being presented for the first reading:

1. Ordinance 2019-01, this is a request for Council to approve the first reading and hold hearing for a second reading and adoption of the Timberwalk PUD (Planned Unit Development). Timberwalk is located to the North and West of Round Lake Elementary School. This was passed by a 6-1 vote. Mr. Tucker voted against this project because he'd like to see Round Lake Road widened before we add more traffic to already congested area. Mr. Tucker also stated that he would continue to vote no on any development that added homes without adequate streets to move traffic through safely.

2. Ordinance 2019-03, this is a request for Council to approve the first reading and hold hearing for a second reading and adoption to Amend Chapter 70 of Police Officer's Pension and Retirement System. Passed 7-0

3. Ordinance 2019-04, this is a request for Council to approve the first reading and hold hearing for a second reading and adoption to Amend Chapter 70 of Firefighter's Pension and Retirement System. Passed 7-0

4. Ordinance 2019-05, this is a request for Council to approve the first reading and hold hearing for a second reading and adoption to Amend Chapter 70 of General Employees' Retirement System. Passed 7-0

Lake County Commissioner Leslie Campione then spoke to Council regarding the changes to the Territorial Agreement that was signed by The City of Mount Dora and forwarded along to Lake County for their signature of approval back in July. Reportedly the City has followed up every month since July 2018 to find out why the County wasn't returning their signed copy. With 4 days notice it was brought to our Mayor's attention that the County Commission was set to vote last Tuesday to pass their altered agreement without showing it to Mount Dora first. If you're not at all interested in the details of what transpired you can move on with your day from this point because this pretty much wrapped up our meeting. To me, being a part of this discussion is fascinating and why I ran for Council.

I feel like I have to provide some history first. The City and the County each own various portions of our new Wolf Branch Innovation District. The City has agreed to provide the utilities to that entire developing area. The City and the County have worked together and been great partners to each other throughout this development process. This additional territorial agreement added some additional land to the east of what is currently the Innovation District and Mount Dora has agreed to run utilities out to that point. This includes parts of Sorrento and Mount Plymouth along with some parcels north of Wolf Branch Rd which crosses into Eustis. In this territorial agreement it is stated that should the residents in this new territorial area choose to be annexed into the City of Mount Dora they may do so voluntarily now that they'd meet the requirements of being contiguous to Mount Dora's utilities. This is the agreement our City Council signed back in July and sent to the County for their joint signature and approval.

The agreement was altered by the County and was set to go for vote last Tuesday at the County Commission meeting. Without any discussion the County reconfigured, slightly, the boundaries of this new territorial agreement as well as changed the verbiage as it relates to annexation. The County changed the annexation portion to read that even if a resident wishes to voluntarily annex into the City of Mount Dora, that we (Mount Dora) would REFUSE their application and NEVER allow voluntary annexation. Our City Attorney points out that this goes against State statute and is therefore unlawful.

After just about an hour of discussion both parties have agreed to come together and allow attorneys from both sides, along with our City Manager and the County Manager, to meet and come to a new agreement that will satisfy both sides. It was made clear that it is the wish of both our City as well as the County to continue to work together and maintain our excellent working relationship and I'm confident our City Manager and City Attorney will see this through.

Remember, if you have any questions, etc. please email me anytime stilec@cityofmountdora.com

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