• Crissy Stile

Recap of January 15th Meetings

This afternoon we started the work session with a presentation by our Supervisor of Elections, Alan Hays, along with Our City Clerk, Gwen Johns. The purpose was to get the conversation started about looking at changing our city elections to the Primary instead of voting at the General Election. The presentation also touched on length of terms for Council Members and redistricting our City as we grow. Remember, an advisory board has been formed to review our City Charter and their first meeting takes place next week with our City Attorney. They are tasked with looking at our current City Charter and suggesting any amendments/additions/deletions to the City Council to be placed on the ballot for voters to decide. Some questions were asked about a potential lack of turnout for the Primary as opposed to General Election day and all of this will be discussed at length by the Charter Review Committee over the coming months.

Our second presentation was regarding live streaming the City Council meetings and Social Media. Council discussed "airing" the regular meetings on YouTube, which is preferred over Facebook for several reasons. First and foremost, not everyone has a Facebook account but anyone can watch a YouTube video or broadcast. Second, YouTube automatically applies closed captioning to the live stream of the meetings within hours of its conclusion making the broadcast ADA compliant. The Resolution to allow live streaming will be presented to Council for a vote at the February 19th meeting.

Next we heard from the Mount Dora Merchants Association. This organization wanted the opportunity to introduce itself to Council and ask for support is making all businesses in Mount Dora the best they can be. This includes businesses Downtown, in the Golden Triangle area as well as on Highland.

Finally, we had a short discussion regarding the cost to maintain some of our pocket parks around town. Mr. Tucker suggested that if these parks are costing the City a lot of money that we should consider selling them to the land owner closest to the park to make money for the City. Leisure Services Director Amy Jewell provided the cost to maintain a handful of our pocket parks as $760 annually per park.

Our regular meeting began with three great presentations: one of our firefighters retired after 20 years of service, the Public Arts Commission presented a slideshow of various public art ideas and the Library introduced the Mount Dora Archives. If you'd like any additional information on the Arts or the Archives please email me stilec@cityofmountdora.com

All of the items on the Consent Agenda were approved unanimously. Items included: Approval of the Minutes from the December 18th meetings; Application for the State Revolving Fund Loan for the Apopka Reclaim Interconnect; New Tasers; Time Extension for the St. Johns River Water Management Cost Share Agreement and the Interlocal Agreement with Lake County to sell bus passes at the library.

Resolution 2019-05 is a Resolution to extend the time frame in which construction will begin to move the utilities under the portion of US Hwy 441 that will be expanded to 6 lanes between Lincoln Ave and Donnelly Street. This project was held up by the purchase of two parcels of land from private individuals. Once complete, the utilities will be on the City's right of way and we'll never have to incur such costs again. This is a multimillion dollar project that, I have to wonder if, the City could've avoided had we thought about this potential growth last time we expanded this section of Hwy 441. I will be sure we don't make this mistake in our new Innovation District.

Resolution 2019-11 was approved unanimously to allow commercial water customers that have experienced a major water leak the same opportunity for savings as residential customers are currently afforded. Customers will be required to apply for the savings on their bill. Each application is approved on a case by case basis.

Ordinance 2018-14 is a Ordinance that sets design guidelines for new homes being built in the City's Innovation District. These guidelines do not apply to any current, new home construction. The guidelines are put in place to preserve the small town charm of Mount Dora even as we grow. Several members of the HBA (Home Builder's Association) were present and spoke regarding the restrictions/guidelines set by the City. They asked for more time to go over everything included and come back with proposed changes. This Ordinance was approved 6 votes to 1 with Mr. Tucker voting no. Mr. Tucker thought the verbiage in the Ordinance was unclear and should've been reworded and presented back to Council at a later date.

Ordinance 2018-20 is an Ordinance defining who can and cannot sell cats & dogs. This Ordinance is in place mostly to define, with complete certainty, what constitutes the Retail sale of cats & dogs.

We heard from Bill Ghearing who represents the Sister Cities program with Forres, Scotland. This organization wishes to display, publicly, a plaque honoring members of the program that work hard to make this program a success. Mr. Ghearing would like the city to display the plaque in the hallway at City Hall. There was no vote at this time, this item will come for further discussion and a vote at a future meeting.

Mr. Tucker reappointed each of his board appointees and I announced that my appointee to the CRA Advisory Committee has resigned. I will have a new appointee to announce at our meeting on February 5th.

The City Attorney's report began with the unanimous approval of a contract officially hiring her firm, Bell & Roper, to be representation for the City. This firm charges $190/hour for attorney services whereas our last City Attorney charged $155/hour. Two other major differences with this contract is that we have an associate working with the attorney at $155/hour and also, any action taken for or against the firm must be brought as an agenda item. We cannot take action without proper notice on an actual agenda.

City attorney went onto report that the City has two new claims since we last met. One is an official lawsuit over personal injury. The other has not yet progressed to become a lawsuit but a claim has been made.

Our February meeting dates are as follows:

February 5th - 1:00pm Work Session

February 5th - 6:00pm Regular Meeting

February 19th - 3:00pm Work Session

February 19th - 6:00pm Regular Meeting

As always if you have any questions, please email me anytime stilec@cityofmountdora.com or you can call me 352.805.8174

Don't forget to encourage your friends and neighbors to subscribe to receive these recaps. Knowledge is power, pass it on!

Have a great evening. Crissy

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