Nov. 19, 2018 Brooksville City Council meeting run down

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Nov. 19, 2018 Brooksville City Council meeting run down

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 07:19
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Mayor Erhard opened the meeting by introducing Father Paul Pecchie of St. Anthony the Abbot Catholic Church in Brooksville. Father Pecchie gave the invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance. 

APPROVAL/MODIFICATIONS OF THE AGENDA

Mayor Erhard then asked for any modifications of the agenda. City Manager Mark Kutney advised that the lobbying team requested that they be allowed to make their presentation earlier in the meeting due to having to return to Tallahassee the same evening. Council member Joe Bernardini recommended moving their presentation to Section F where other presentations were scheduled. Bernardini made the motion and council member Bill Kemerer seconded. The motion passed 4-0, as Brent Young was not present. 

Erhard asked to move the code enforcement update so that it occurred before the last citizen input section, in the agenda location where the lobbying team was originally scheduled. Bernardini made the motion and Vice-Mayor Robert Battista seconded. The motion passed 4-0.
Bernardini made the motion to approve the amended agenda, seconded by Kemerer, and it was passed 4-0. 

CERTIFICATES AND PROCLAMATIONS

America Recycles Day
America Recycles Day Accepted by City Staff Jon Dowler, Project Manager for the City Public Works Department. L-R Councilman William Kemerer, Jon Dowler, Public Works Project Manager, Councilman Joe Bernardini, Mayor Betty Erhard and Vice Mayor Robert Battista

America Recycles Day 2018 – 11/15/18 – Bernardini read the proclamation, explaining the benefits of recycling and the positive impacts on the City of Brooksville including creating jobs and helping the city’s economy. The proclamation described several ways to recycle, and suggested that while some recycling is in progress, it’s up to the city council and others to continue to lead the way. Brooksville’s citizens should become even more involved, continue to learn about recycling and use recycled products. 

The proclamation was accepted by Jon Dowler, Project Manager, from Brooksville’s Department of Public Works (DPW), who provided handouts to the council members and discussed Thanksgiving week changes for recycling pickups. He advised that the #6 is not included in the recycling sticker/icon because that is Styrofoam. 

Comparing the number of recycling subscribers (800+ for October 2017) with those who actually participated (230), he stated this equates to approximately 27%. By March 2018 the number of subscribers was reduced (through “cleaning up” the list) to 538 enrollees, which equates to around 43% participation rate. New residents of Brooksville can obtain a sticker from DPW and enroll in the program. Pickups are the first and third Wednesdays of the month.  

 

Giving Tuesday
Giving Tuesday Accepted by Sandy Knox with We Care of Brooksville (center) L-R Councilman William Kemerer, Center, Accepting Proclamation Sandy Knox with We Care of Brooksville, Mayor Betty Erhard, Councilman Joe Bernardini and Vice Mayor Robert Battista

Giving Tuesday – 11/27/18 Erhard read the proclamation. Giving Tuesday is designed to show thankfulness by selfless giving and volunteering in the community wherever and however they are able. “Giving Tuesday is a day where citizens work together to share commitments, rally for favorite causes, build a stronger community reminding people there is more to the holidays than consumerism and commercialization,” she read.
Sandra Knox, from We Care of Brooksville, accepted the proclamation. We Care of Brooksville accepts donations that they share all year to help provide batteries and tires for needy families, school uniforms, etc. Knox gave credit to the community members, saying, “I can’t do what I do without them.” 

CITIZEN INPUT

(We apologize if the names of citizens are misspelled, please submit a correction to [email protected])

Road issues

Steve Allman stated he thinks the root cause of the road issues on his street are the water lines that frequently break. He was thankful for the work that DPW has done on the road and in cutting the trees. Allman believes that good infrastructure will benefit the city as more people move here, particularly millennials. Beautifying the city is a good thing, but it won’t matter if the roads and sidewalks are bad.

Locked Gates at the Quarry

Ivy Cordell, the owner of Wild Ivy’s Salon, objected to the gates at the Quarry being locked on certain days. This causes a problem as she is there almost daily with her workout partners, gear, and dogs. She does not see any consistency, as the gates seem to be locked on some holidays and not others. Emergency personnel could have difficulty getting to citizens in need of assistance. Cordell said there is a lack of signage showing the hours of operation. She would like to volunteer on the Quarry Love Trail but wants to be able to park closer due to the amount of gear she has to carry.  

Donna Morran agreed with Ivy about the access to the Quarry. She also noted that the bathrooms are unlocked 24 hrs/day and expressed concern for crime and liability. The Sheriff’s Office does not appear to be patrolling as often as the city was told, Morran said. The conditions of the bathroom were “nasty filthy dirty” with some toilet paper, but no paper towels. According to what the website indicated the city is paying, she said, she would have expected adequate supplies and cleanliness. She suggested paying for private security to have a 24-hour presence at city parks though she acknowledged it could be expensive. Additionally, she was concerned about the weeds growing around the monuments. This would not give a good impression at the bike event scheduled for the spring. 

Appreciation for Council’s approval of medical marijuana dispensaries, comment on locked gate

George Schellinger thanked the council, stating he wanted to give credit where credit was due. He noted the lawsuit against CVS Pharmacy due to the opioid epidemic and applauded the council’s approval of medical marijuana dispensaries. He also discussed the locked park gates, asking for possible reasons why they might be closed (for example, a lack of staff) and echoed the concerns about the park bathrooms.

PRESENTATION ITEMS
 

Duke Energy – Presentation of Targeted Underground Project 

Kemerer made a motion to direct the city attorney to work with Duke Energy to adjust the wording of the easement agreement in preparation for underground power line placement. Battista seconded the motion. The motion passed 4-0.

Full Article:
Easement changes in preparation for underground power lines

Rock Ridge Phosphate Trail presentation

Kemerer made a motion to direct staff to begin aggressively working with Inverness staff on this project. Bernardini seconded the motion, and it passed 4-0.

Full Article:
Rock Ridge Phosphate Trail: a promotional opportunity for Brooksville

Consent Agenda

The council discussed the consent agenda and Bernardini requested to pull item #2 (Budget Amendments). Regarding item #3 (People Ready Day Labor), Kemerer asked if competitive bidding was needed, as there was no memo stating a plan to piggyback using an existing contract. Dowler was called to the podium to respond but stated he didn’t have an answer. This item was tabled. With item #1 remaining (minutes from meetings on 10/01/18), Kemerer moved to approve it and Battista seconded. The motion passed 4-0.

Budget Amendments
Bernardini stated he asked to pull this item because he needed further explanation about some of the changes, and he did not recall council discussion about them. He felt more comfortable voting with more information and asked if it could be discussed another time. Council explained that they were at the statutory 60-day time frame for approval. Battista moved to approve the budget and Kemerer seconded. The motion passed 3-1, with Bernardini opposed.

People Ready Day Labor
Returning to item #3, the council voted 4-0 to table the discussion until a future meeting, with Bernardini making the motion and Kemerer providing the second.

Regular Agenda

Resolution 2018-21 – Verifying Election Results

City Clerk Jennifer Battista described the three items on the ballot. Certified results were received from the Supervisor of Elections on 11/19/18.

- An election was held to fill the council seat vacated by Natalie Kahler. Pat Brayton received the most votes and will take the seat on 12/03/18.

- Residents were asked to decide whether to continue adding fluoride to the city’s water, and the voters approved it.

- Residents were asked to approve an amendment regarding how citizens can propose amendments to the City Charter, since the language was confusing. Voters approved the change.

Bernardini made the motion to approve the certified election results and Battista seconded. By roll call, all council members voted to approve the certified results.

Ordinance 898 – Update to Small Cell Communication Facilities

City Attorney Becky Vose stated that the Vose Law Firm and the City Planning Department worked to create an ordinance pertaining to fees and installation of small cell communication towers. Since then, the FCC has made changes to their requirements, limiting the discretion that municipalities have.

The updated ordinance reflects these changes and needs to be approved within 180 days from the date the FCC guidelines were provided. Vose said a resolution to set fees (also determined by the FCC) will be presented to the council. The information was presented to council, but no action was required. Vose suggested the first reading could be at the next scheduled meeting.

Kemerer asked for clarification relating to a section on red light cameras. Brooksville City Planner Steve Gouldman stated that the regulations for red light cameras will be removed and replaced with small cell communications language.

Based on the fee schedule provided by the FCC, Kemerer expressed concern as to the budget impact. Vose agreed that it was difficult to know if the city would make or lose money at this point, but said the fees were assumed to be “reasonable.” The city cannot pass high consulting fees along to the cell companies, for example.
Gouldman stated that the requests for towers will go through the building permit process, and fees involved with that are not unreasonable and can be used for comparison purposes. The FCC regulation is effective across the board, regardless of the size of the municipality, and cited locations such as New York City or Chicago as having to abide by the same fee structure.

Kutney asked about cost recovery. Vose restated that if the city hires someone with a high fee, the city cannot charge this fee to the communications company. Responding to Kemerer, Gouldman stated that the building department has reviewed the regulations and felt there should be no problem with working within the new fee structure.

Bernardini made the motion to have a first reading at the 12/03/18 meeting. Kemerer seconded the motion, and the motion passed 4-0.

Legislative Initiatives

Kemerer made the motion identifying the ranking of the priority projects which included sewer and drainage projects. Bernardini seconded, and the motion passed 4-0.

Full Article:
Funding for sewer projects needed in Brooksville

Citizen Input

Brooksville Main Street

Brian Malloy, director of the Main Street program, reminded the council of Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. He expressed statements from business owners that the council members are not visible. The tree lighting is scheduled for 12/06/18 at 5 pm, with dignitary recognition at 7 pm.
Freedom Gardens

Freedom Gardens

Steve Allman stated that developers/contractors for Freedom Gardens (south of Main Street on Hale Ave.) should be responsible for the drainage issues caused by their project. He mentioned the loudness of motorcycles in the city on the weekend and asked for an ordinance to address it. He objected to the back up beeping sounds from recycling trucks which he stated began at 3 am, and recommended they use just flashing lights.

Code Enforcement

Donna Morran had questions about code enforcement: what is the process when a homeowner doesn’t answer the door, and how often does the code enforcement officer follow up? She recommended that he check out the bathrooms at Bud McKethan park for code violations. After hearing how much time he spends on zoning review, Morran stated she understood why the city “looks like it does” and cited a specific problem she has identified and reported several times. She wanted to know how often he wrote violations and what determined the length of time a violator has to correct an issue. She addressed Dowler and how work orders are prioritized at DPW. She also asked why DPW jobs remain unfinished, and why inmates are pulled from jobs, for up to months at a time. She questioned why DPW is buying so many new tools when they say they rebuild them.

Geiger Responds

Geiger returned to address the questions from citizens. If no one answers the door for the code enforcement officer, he evaluates the property and will leave a door knocker so the homeowner has his contact information and will continue to try to make contact. Kutney clarified this by saying that if the homeowner is not available to give permission for the code enforcement officer to inspect the property, he must respect the homeowner’s rights. He could be invited by a neighbor to see the property from the neighbor’s yard or “see what he can see” but he cannot enter the property illegally. Everything is documented and put in the case file whether a homeowner is cited or not, and the justification for either. “Not every complaint means there is a violation on a property,” Geiger stated.

Dowler addressed the use of inmates who do not finish the jobs assigned. He stated he was not sure why. Regarding utilities work, the supervisor determines priority. For example, a sewer leak would take priority over a minor issue. He stated he did not know what Morran meant about rebuilding tools.

Poop Bags and Quarry Parking

Ivy Cordell stated she got her “poop” bags to show she is a responsible dog owner. She said the question of being able to park at the Quarry on Sunday was not resolved.

Keys Policy for Jerome Brown Community Center

Erhard asked Mike Walker about the keys policy for the Jerome Brown Center. Walker stated that if someone is under contract, they have a key. She asked if that arrangement is possible for the Enrichment Center as well. Walker stated that the sub-letters, the dance and tumbling groups, do have keys as they have a contract with the city.

Quarry Gate Clarification

Bernardini asked for clarification about the gate. Walker stated Parks and Recreation open the gates daily at 7:15 am. The gate would not be locked if a vehicle is still in the parking lot after 5 pm. Walker offered to have staff open the gate on Saturdays at 7:15, but the gate will remain closed on Sundays and holidays. Bernardini stated that the gate needs to be closed nightly, and that effort should be made to locate the owner of vehicles left inside and have them leave the property so the gate can be locked timely.

Battista asked if there was a history of vehicles damaging property when the parks are closed, such as “doing donuts” on the golf course. Walker stated that a bridge collapsed at Russell Street when a vehicle went over it, and lights were destroyed on a trail at Tom Varn Park.

Kemerer felt the solution would be as simple as putting up a sign stating the hours of operation, and that the vehicle would be locked inside if not removed prior to the closing time.

Cordell was asked to return to the podium so her comments could be heard. She stated she adopted the Quarry Trail and the private parking was not disclosed to her. Since she volunteers to clean there, she feels she should have unrestricted access. It is a private parking lot that leads to a public quarry, she said, and stated her desire to be able to drive her vehicle there so she can unload her weights, her dogs, and her workout group. She asked for an answer in writing and on a sign.
Walker approached and asked Cordell why this has been a problem for her just in the last week. Cordell began to address Walker directly, becoming dismissive of his responses. She stated she has not been to the quarry in the last few months, but others have told her they have complained to Walker about the quarry and the bathrooms. She referred to a message she sent Walker thanking him for mowing the weeds, and his reply that it was for a bike event. She stated that since then the gates have been locked and felt it was now a personal issue between Walker and herself.

The matter of the gate was discussed at a subsequent Park and Recreation Board meeting on Nov. 28. The Parks and Rec Board gave several suggestions for the City Council to consider at the Dec. 3 meeting such as:

Amending the lease with the Enrichment Center to remove parking lot language from the lease, Absolving their responsibility and liability
Research use of batting cage area to be open to the public

Dawn to Dusk hours for parking lot gate or have a service provider close gate at later hours- the expense is estimated at $3000 annually.
Installation of “Authorized Vehicles Only” signage and perimeter fencing off of the Enrichment Center parking lot to prohibit vehicle access to the old Quarry golf course. Estimated cost for cabling is $600.

The Director of the Enrichment Center, Debbie Walker Druzbick offered Ivy Cordell the solution of becoming a Support Group member without a membership fee charge so that she could have access to Enrichment Center building and provide workouts to community free of charge. They could have access to batting cage area for workouts as well and will be able to access the gate through the Enrichment Center parking lot.

ITEMS BY STAFF

Articles below review Items by Staff:

Code violations increase in 2018, without full time enforcement

Road repair and dogs in parks

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