Notes from the Nov. 5, 2018 meeting. By Lisa MacNeil and Kathryn Dentato
APPROVAL/MODIFICATIONS OF THE AGENDA
The council unanimously approved the agenda without modification.
CERTIFICATES AND PROCLAMATIONS
Vice Mayor Robert Battista read the proclamation designating November 24, 2018 as Small Business Saturday. Pat Crowley, CEO of the Hernando County Chamber of Commerce accepted the proclamation with several business leaders of the county.
Hernando County Chamber of Commerce Chairperson Marilyn Pearson-Adams urged everyone to “Shop Small” on Saturday, November 24 to show support for small and local business.
Mike Dolan, owner of the Dolan Bed and Breakfast announced that he and his wife listed the B&B for sale, and received a full cash offer within days. Dolan however said that his wife was still looking for a new business, “So we’re not going anywhere.” The Dolan B&B is expected to continue as a bed and breakfast albeit with new owners.
No one chose to speak during general Citizen Input.
Council Member Joe Bernardini pulled #2:
Advisory Board Appointments
Consideration to appoint: Duane Vann to Cemetery Advisory Committee for unexpired four year term through December 31, 2021, and Mike Dolan to Good Neighbor Trail Advisory Committee to fill vacancy due to resignation (no term expirations). Bernardini wanted to give the appointees a chance to speak, and also mentioned that there were few applicants for the positions.
Mike Dolan thanked the council for his appointment to the Advisory Board, and said, “I appreciate the opportunity to support the Good Neighbor Trail Advisory Committee, and continue the good work that they’ve been doing so far.”
Mr. Vann was not available for comment.
The appointments were unanimously approved.
Bernardini also moved to pull #6: Bryant Miller and Olive Agreement – Analysis of Fire Assessment Methodology (Approval of fire assessment agreement proposal in the amount of $17,500 and approval to reduce reserves from $42,000 to $24,500).
The council approved unanimously after discussion of the language contained in the agreement.
City Manager Mark Kutney moved to pull #4: Art Coordinator Agreement (Approval of Art Coordinator Agreement in the amount of $7,000 annually effective October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019)
Kutney pulled the item for the reason of the last sentence in the second paragraph of the agreement containing the outdated language, “For the term of this agreement.” The council approved the change unanimously.
Mayor Betty Erhard pulled #5, Settlement Agreement – George Turner (Approval of agreement and authorize signature by Mayor and City Manager.) Erhard said, “I’m not in favor of approving this. I think the city has a strong case.”
City Attorney Becky Vose explained the item in greater detail, “This is an agreement which was negotiated by (the city’s) insurance company. The insurance company would be paying the cost of the litigation, and they believe that with the litigation costs going forward, that this was the proper thing to do. They’re paying all the expenses.” Vose added that if the council did not agree to the terms set by the insurance company that it could affect the city’s costs for insurance in the future.
This agenda item was also passed unanimously.
The council unanimously approved the rest of the consent agenda, consisting of two items; Minutes from August 20 and 27, 2018 and September 17, 2018, and Award of Bid – Saxon Brook Drainage Program (Approval of bid to Ekipa Construction, LLC, in the amount of $150,786 and authorize execution by Mayor upon final approval of contract documents by City Attorney.)
Resolution 2018-18 – Change Street Name – North Ave., E. to Ernie Chatman Run was approved unanimously via a roll-call vote.
Resolution No. 2018 - Road Closure – Christmas on Main Street. The closures will be at Broad Street / Lemon Avenue (the detour will be right on Lemon Avenue, left on Liberty Street, left on South Brooksville Avenue, right on Broad Street) and the other closure at Jefferson Street / North Brooksville Avenue (the detour will be right on North Brooksville Avenue, left on Fort Dade Avenue, left on Orange Avenue, right on Jefferson Street.)
No budget impact is associated with approval of this resolution, which passed unanimously via a roll-call vote.
Facility User Agreement Revisions
This item is for consideration of revisions to terms in the Facility Use Agreement and to add additional fee for Park staff attendance at events.
Changes proposed for the Facility Use Agreement:
User Agreement Term #2, adding to the Hernando County Mining Association / Enrichment Center as a location to allow alcoholic beverages to be allowed during rentals of that facility, just as it is currently allowed at the Jerome Brown Community Center. A permit is required to be issued by the City for this to be allowed. (The Director of the Enrichment Centers of Hernando County, Inc. is in support of this addition.)
User Agreement Term #3, changing the ending time for events from 12:00 AM (midnight) to 11:00 PM.
User Agreement Term #4, removing Police Officers and adding Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.
User Agreement Term #4 [sic], adding insurance language to identify the City Hall address, 201 Howell Ave for the certificate of insurance, needed to host events.
Budgetary changes to the agreement are as follows:
All groups will be required to have General Park Staff at the event, as determined by the City of Brooksville Parks Department. (Usually 1-2 staff depending on the size of the event)
Payment of overtime charge for General Park Staff during the entirety of the event
(4 hr min @ $30 = $120)
Payment of overtime charge for Technical Park Staff (electrician) during the event
(2 hr min @ $40 = $80)
$1,000,000 general liability insurance naming the City of Brooksville as insured and listed as additional insured.
If considered a large special event - an off-duty, special detail deputy must be secured at the renter’s expense.
The actual budget impact is not known. It will have an increase in revenue and an increase in expenses. The increase in revenues should offset the increase in expenses.
The changes carried 5-0.
ADJOURNMENT OF CITY COUNCIL AND CONVENE AS COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT WITH COASTAL ENGINEERING ASSOCIATES, INC., - CONTRACT EXTENSION
Consideration to authorize the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Chairperson to execute the necessary paperwork with Coastal Engineering Associates, Inc., to enable the CRA to enter into this eighth, one (1) year extension with provisions for public records management, and utilizing the existing contract specifying the balance of terms as negotiated/executed in the original agreement dated November 15, 2010.
Community Redevelopment Agency Director Bill Geiger, who presented the topic described Coastal Engineering as “Good to work with, they’re a local company … and they’ve been responsive to the needs that we’ve had.” Geiger recommended to council that Coastal’s contract be renewed, with the understanding that it is a non-exclusive contract, meaning that other engineering firms can bid on projects and be approved during the Consultants’ Competitive Negotiations Act, or CCNA.
City Manager Mark Kutney introduced the discussion, and consideration of the CCNA process, “The city attorney and I have talked about this … as you know, this is the eighth addendum. I think it is imperative, we’re doing the CCNA, not only for CRA, but for potential services for regular city business from an engineering standpoint. The attorney and I are going to look at whether we can do it in one process or whether we need two separate processes … We hope to have this kicked off in late November, or early December … but it does take a little while to do a CCNA, more so than your normal procurement.” Kutney then left it to the board to decide to extend Coastal’s contract for one more year, or until the CCNA process is completed. The entire process takes about three months.
Council Member William Kemerer voiced his concern that bringing in new players could result in higher costs. “My concern is that right now, the rates that we’re being charged have not changed in eight years.” Kemerer went on to say that Coastal’s quality has improved, if it has not been unchanged. He also questioned the wisdom of starting the CCNA process, with the risk of losing Coastal, and possibly paying a higher rate.
Attorney Betsy Vose explained the CCNA process is not a bidding system, but system in which the council will interview and negotiate with each engineering firm, and if an agreement cannot be reached, that firm “drops out” of the process. Because the CCNA process is also not exclusive, other firms can be considered if problems arise with a selected firm.
Mayor Betty Erhard said she would like to see an engineering firm on staff.
The council approved Coastal Engineering’s contract for an additional year by a 4-1 vote. Ehrhard voted against the motion.
Council Member Joe Bernardini moved to bid some projects for FY 2019, to coincide with the CCNA process. No one seconded the motion, and it died.
CITY COUNCIL RECONVENES
The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) adjourned their meeting, and the City Council reconvened to complete the agenda. The next item was to hear citizen input, but no one came forward.
The mayor asked each council member, the city attorney, and the city manager for anything they wished to bring to the public.
The city attorney, Ms. Vose, had no items to present.
City Manger Mark Kutney
The city manager, Mr. Kutney, discussed two items. He thanked the council members who participated in a 360 assessment of his abilities as city manager. He stated this was to help him maintain certification through ICMA (International City/County Management Association). Secondly, he thanked the Vose Law Firm for the presentation they made before the city council on 10/29/18. Council members from the City of Bushnell joined them. The detailed presentation on ethics explained Florida’s Sunshine law and public records as it relates to the city government.
ITEMS BY COUNCIL
Vice Mayor Robert Battista had no items to present.
Praise for Fire Departments
Council member Brent Young praised the Brooksville and Hernando County Fire Departments for their work to battle a blaze and explosions at a local lumber yard the week before.
Council member Bill Kemmerer referred to minutes from the August 2018 meetings and recalled City Development Manager Bill Geiger for a follow up on microwave towers. Geiger stated they have prepared an ordinance which will be brought to the city council, once the federal government has determined the set of rules the city will need to follow. The city attorney stated, “The feds have essentially pulled the rug out from under local governments on this. We can still do something, but not to the extent of what we were going to.” She was hopeful that they could present the revised ordinance at a meeting in the near future.
Southern Hills Booster Station
Kemmerer then asked the city’s Public Works Director Richard Radacky for an update on the Southern Hills booster station. Radacky stated that the Southern Valley loop has been done and reported. He has heard reports that people have water pressure “like they haven’t seen before.” The testing report was sent to Coastal Engineering and Greenpoint. He states he has not been able to reach them for their input. The 150-day clock began 10/22/18 and should be complete in early March 2019. He will give the city council periodic updates.
Kemmerer asked for details pertaining to the Veterans Day parade to be held on 11/10/18. “I never get the memos on this,” he laughed.
Congratulations to Steve Mettinger
Kemmerer congratulated Steve Mettinger for obtaining his CFO. He the noted that the millage certification had been received and found in compliance. He asked for an email copy of the filing.
Comments on the CCNA (Consultant’s Competitive Negotiations Act) process
Regarding the CCNA, Kemmerer explained that he did not support it because he understands there is interest in getting a city engineer and wanted to know if a workshop could be organized to explain expectations. He was interested in what they could or could not do, and what the options would be with a CCNA before moving forward. He stated he basically wanted more information if they are considering creating a new position in the city government.
Battista stated he didn’t see the reason for that as the county has a good engineering staff but still uses a CCNA firm. In looking at the CRA, Coastal Engineering seems to be the only firm with a planner, which Battista stated was crucial because the majority of task orders are planning-oriented. (An exception is the water tower, which was an engineering project.)
A city engineer is usually a department head, Battista said, because of the money being spent. It can be beneficial because there are no conflicts. For example, a project can be signed/sealed by the engineer, but then he could choose to work for a competing interest. A city engineer would work for the best interest of the city and not for a developer. Battista said it was something the city had an issue with in the past. “What engineer is representing who at the table?”
Kemmerer asked if that was something that could be created over time. Mayor Erhard immediately agreed that it could. Battista, however, stated that he didn’t believe the city could afford it. Erhard addressed Battista’s comments as contradictory, stating he voted to reduce the millage rate and for a 5% pay increase and now says that the city can’t afford an engineer. “I just don’t get you guys sometimes,” she said. Battista clarified this to mean he did not believe there would be enough work to justify having just an engineer on staff.
With some proposed infrastructure projects over the next year, Kemmerer stated that having backups in the departments would also be important. Battista stated that a succession program would be between the city manager and the department heads. There is not enough work to sustain an engineer, but possibly a junior engineer. However, with the projects in mind, the city will need someone experienced, and that means paying them a very good salary and making them the equivalent of a department head. A consulting engineer could represent the city but would not take on the projects himself.
Comments on a Citizens Academy for the city
Kemmerer stated he stopped in the city of Black Mountain in North Carolina, a city with about 8,000 residents. He was impressed with their concept of a citizens’ academy. Citizens were taught more about city government and have become more active in committees and in other ways which help their city, including using these citizens to disseminate ideas to the community. Ms. Vose stated that the city of Cocoa Beach has a similar successful program.
Kutney stated that this is similar to a citizens’ academy organized by the sheriff’s department that takes place over several weeks. He took part in one years ago and enjoyed the experience. The trend is for city government to focus on a specific department for a month or two, and then switch to another department so the citizens learn the particulars of each department. Battista stated the Chamber of Commerce brings citizens to city and county meetings to learn about government that way, but it is less intensive.
Joe Bernardini asked if the council wanted to follow up on Kemmerer’s suggestion of the citizen’s academy. The council members agreed, and Kutney thanked Bernardini as it gave him direction.
Condolences to the Bailey Family
Bernardini offered condolences to the Bailey family in the loss of Avery Bailey, whose father was the manager of the A&P grocery store and his mother taught kindergarten.
Oak Park Avenue Update
Mayor Erhard asked Public Works Director Richard Radacky about the condition of the road at Oak Park Avenue as she has received inquiries. The pothole that was in front of Oak Drive was cut out and the street was fixed “curb to curb” with a patch from the city’s new patch truck. Dead limbs were removed from an oak on the corner, as well as a live limb that had grown over a power line. An oak tree that had fallen in the back of the property was removed.
Another issue is the damage being done by garbage and recycling trucks that move the asphalt to the sides of the road. DPW will try to repair this section as well by removing the damaged surface. The main issue seems to be the lack of a good limerock base, so some of the road will need to be rebuilt. Tremont Street has also had some repairs.
VFW Road Development
Erhard said that she, along with some Southway Villa residents, spoke to the BOCC at their Nov. 5 meeting and they voted no to a proposed multifamily development on VFW Road. Don Lacey then withdrew a petition related to the housing development. Southway Villa residents also submitted a petition protesting the development citing flooding issues, poor road conditions for such a development and its poor fit with their 55 and over community.
More on CRA decision to extend Coastal Engineering Contract
Regarding the Coastal Engineering contract, Erhard said the city can only move forward by changing. Quoting Albert Einstein, Erhard said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” She expressed disappointment that the city was not exploring other options. It wasn’t that she was in the minority but felt that voting against something can be a concern. While she agreed that Coastal Engineering is competent, she wanted to look at other options. Erhard mentioned Southern Hills is a current Coastal Engineering project.
Bernardini stated the contract is only for one year or until the end of the project, which means that the city can still work on the CCNA, which should be done by early November 2019. Looking to bid and looking at the contracts is a good idea.
“Change is not a bad thing but definitely change is going to happen regardless of whether we change or not,” Erhard responded.
Reducing size of paper utility bill
Erhard also would like to bring a proposal to a future council meeting about reducing the size of the paper used in utility bills from 8.5 x 11 to a postcard size. She would like the agenda book to be digital eventually, which would have a potential cost savings in paper, ink and staff time. “I’m just looking at saving money, and every bit adds up.”
The next meeting is scheduled for 11/19/18.