$300,000 Brownfield Grant
Kutney said he and Kemerer went to Tampa the previous week to receive the $300,000 grant award. Brooksville is the only city to receive two grants. Pinellas County and Tampa’s Community Development Corporation each received one. Kutney was not able to give prior notice due to a request from the EPA. Kutney praised the work of Community Development Director Bill Geiger in obtaining the grant.
Kemerer said that some of the methods used by Brooksville for the last grant has become part of the EPA’s policies and procedures. Kemerer thanked Geiger for his diligence over the past four years. The money will be used to assess the ground in a specific area and begin to remediate any contamination, he said.
Vice Mayor Joe Bernardini moved to accept the $300,000 grant. Betty Erhard seconded the motion. The motion passed 5-0.
Another important ‘money matter’ presented was the Fiscal Year 2018 Audit by Clifton Larson Allen (CLA).
Mike Carter of Clifton Larson Allen (CLA) presented the results of the audit and said that government audits are different from other audits. Carter said the city met all the requirements of communication with CLA.
The first two pages of the powerpoint presentation were of the assets and liabilities, and the following pages were about the various funds. The city’s net assets/position is $45,399,369 which is capital assets minus depreciation and debt. The unrestricted net position is $5.4 million, almost $5 million more than last year. It reflects $2.6 million of expenses in capital assets and $2.2 million in operations.
Revenues the City receives are broken down to two groups: Program Revenues and General Revenues. Program Revenues are largely from utilities, with smaller amounts from grants and contributions. General Revenues are from various taxes, state-shared revenues, investment earnings and miscellaneous sources. Carter said this year showed a 7.3% increase over last year.
The city’s expenses decreased by $658,000, largely the result of having law enforcement provided by the County. The Police Department was funded through May 2018, reflected by the $571,000 decrease in Public Safety expense.
The city’s net income is $2.2 million over the previous fiscal year. Carter showed a chart which illustrated the gap between the capital revenues and the city’s expenses, and why general revenues are needed.
The General Fund report showed an increase in revenue and decrease in expenses, giving the city $813,172 as a variance. Carter said most of that was due to the closing of the Police Department.
One concern is the amount of money carried from one year to the next, called reserves. The past two years (2016 and 2017) saw a drop in reserves. This audit shows an increase to almost $1.4 million. It equates to approximately 2.5 months of the City’s expenses. Carter said this is due to the financial decisions and changes made by the Council.
Brayton moved to accept the audit as provided by CLA. Bernardini seconded the motion. It passed with a 5-0 vote.
Bids & Purchases
The following bids and purchases were approved in this meeting.
A bid was awarded to JAM 5:20, Inc, in the amount of $48,898.00 for the fire station commercial garage doors, Goodwin Bros. was awarded the bid of $28,097.40 for the Providence Blvd mill and overlay project, the purchase of a 2020 Peterbilt Boom Truck was approved for $163,876.30.
Meeting with the Property Appraiser
City Manager Mark Kutney met with the Property Appraiser relating to the fire assessment, the downtown area property appraisal and the good faith estimate. He said there is some conflicting information that will need to be discussed with Chris Roe of Bryant, Miller, Olive.
During Items by Council it was said that the city’s initial good faith estimate showed only a 1% loss in property values. The shopping center at the southwest corner of US 41 and the 50 Bypass received $1 million reduction, approximately. The amount certified will be $442 million as compared to last year’s $432 million. This is a 2.3% increase over last year, but still not as high as the county’s 6% increase.
Disaster Preparedness Month
June was proclaimed as Disaster Preparedness month. A proclamation was accepted by Hernando County’s Director of Emergency Management Cecilia Patella who also gave the annual hurricane update. “Preparedness is the key to a successful recovery,” she said and recommended that residents sign up for Alert Hernando. Call Emergency Management to find out more about Alert Hernando: Phone (352) 754-4083.
Road signs question
At a previous council meeting, Danielle Jankowski on Windy Way expressed concern that a sign she requested and that was installed was removed because another citizen did not like the sign. The sign was installed due to safety concerns for her children. Council directed Kutney to review the facts and replace the sign if appropriate. Kutney reported that the property appraiser confirmed the signs do not devalue property. Also, renters have the same right as property owners and can request them.
He referred to a recent case where the county was asked to place a sign for a disabled child. According to guidelines from the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which the county uses, the signs were not officially recognized. PRM, the risk management company used by the City, also referenced MUTCD and said the City should not place those signs. The City Attorney agreed.
Kutney said staff recommendation is that the signs should not be placed. A policy change is not necessary but going forward MUTCD will be the guide. Brayton asked about other, similar signs around town. Kutney will discuss removal of those signs with the City Attorney and advise council.
Erhard agreed with Brayton. Bernardini expressed concern about potential liabilities. Stuparich said anything on the road can be a liability but it’s up to the City to decide if it wants to accept the risk. In either case, the city must be consistent. Battista said they should all be removed. Kemerer was not in favor of removing the older signs as the reasons why they were placed are not known.
Golf Carts on local roads
Citizen Donna Morin expressed concern about the use of golf carts on local roads. She does not want taxpayer money to be used to fund the study of using golf carts on Barnett Road since it is against state law. City Manager Kutney said the study which is underway will be ready on July 1.
Economic Development MATTERS
In light of leadership changes of Brooksville Main Street, a presentation was given on the future direction of the program. The Main Street Program is part of the Brooksville Vision Foundation and consists of volunteers. The concept, Cliff Manuel said, is for the volunteers in the Main Street Program to support local businesses and restaurants so that during events, visitors are taking advantage of Brooksville’s unique atmosphere and having a positive economic impact.
Hours before the meeting, the 501(c)3 organization hired Natalie Kahler as its new executive director, replacing Ryan Malloy. Kahler previously served on the city council and served as Mayor of Brooksville. While mayor she traveled to Tallahassee advocating for the city’s acceptance into Florida’s Main Street program.
Kahler shared pictures of events organized by the Main Street Program over the past year. She discussed the different committees. She said the goal is to also work jointly with other organizations for other events in the city. Other meetings and contacts for future promotion of Brooksville include: Destination Brooksville, Tourism Development, Chamber of Commerce, Hernando Growers Association, County/City governments, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Arts Council, and Historical Museum Association.
Brayton wished to see more recent tax returns as the ones he saw were from 2017 but said he thought this would be good for the City. Kahler said the documents show two contributions from the County because their fiscal year is on a different schedule from the County.
Bernardini wants more enthusiasm from the Main Street Program instead of the peaks and valleys they have seen over the years. The goal is to improve the central downtown area using the plans laid out previously. Kahler agreed that the economic side needs more attention. Manuel said they have not lost focus and it needs to be implemented.
Kemerer discussed the annual $50,000 the City pledged for three years. Another request will be brought to the City for the next three years. Kemerer expressed concern over the change in director and potential risk to the City with future funding.
Manuel said Kahler has committed to staying in her position long-term, giving the program her full attention and will not seek public office while she is Executive Director. Kahler will meet with the Supervisor of Elections to complete her termination report. Taking the Executive Director position was a family decision, she said, and the best way to serve the community.
Kemerer was satisfied with the responses from Manuel and Kahler. Erhard thanked Kemerer for bringing the concerns forward. Kemerer said the City will do what it can to help make the Main Street Program a success.
During Items by Council, council member Battista voiced concern that the Community Redevelopment Agency (including Main Street Program) has focused only on the downtown area. Economic development is needed in other parts of the city also.
The city’s finance director Jim Delach was recognized by the council for 18 years of dedicated service to the city. Council member Kemerer presented Mr. Delach with a plaque. Each council member expressed his or her thanks for the way Delach answered their questions, or their hope that he will enjoy his retirement.
Council members expressed condolences on the passing of Julia Jenkins.
Events discussed at this meeting include BikeFlorida, New Year’s Eve Tangerine Drop and Brooksville Blues-In Cruise-In.
A certificate of appreciation was presented to Joy Hancock of BikeFlorida. Mayor Kemerer read the certificate thanking Joy Hancock for her work with the community and the City for the Bike Florida 2019 Spring Tour event. Hancock thanked the City and several members of the City’s staff for providing an excellent host site. She said their website, www.bikeflorida.org, has been updated. Kemerer praised the content of the economic impact report that Hancock submitted to the City for the agenda.
The 2019 Spring Tour hosted around 505 cyclists. This year the tour overnighted in Brooksville and Inverness March 28 - April 3. They estimated total participant spending to be $408,545 using an average per person expenditure of $809. They calculated a total economic impact of $956,635.33.
New Year’s Eve Tangerine Drop
Rocco Maglio, Hernando Sun co-publisher, presented the idea of restarting the New Year’s Eve Tangerine Drop. Maglio said that Top 10 lists of items “dropped” on New Year’s Eve generally include Brooksville’s Tangerine, even though it has been discontinued for 11 years. Maglio said restarting the event would be a good way to honor the memory of Julia Jenkins, who was heavily involved in the tradition.
Maglio said there were no New Year’s Eve events in the county this past year. Hernando County was marketed as the “Home of the Tangerine” many years ago and that knowledge, the history of the tangerine’s importance, is being forgotten. New residents are not aware of it. The fiberglass tangerine can be restored, and the mechanisms can be repaired. He is also open to simpler ways of dropping a tangerine.
The Enrichment Center’s Board has approved the use of the property for the event, since it has a more open area than the Jerome Brown Center. Maglio said there is no official committee at this time, only individuals who are working toward the same goal.
Maglio asked for the City’s approval to use the quarry property if needed, and permission to hold the event. Pat Brayton asked for a more detailed proposal. Kemerer recommended that Maglio speak with Kutney for procedures and details. Erhard said that would be important if the event requires sponsorship credit.
Micheal DeFelice of the Hernando County Growers Association was accompanied by various citizens involved in the Brooksville Blues-In Cruise-In to request city sponsorship credit. It will be a monthly event raising money for Hernando High School. The first event brought $94 even with the bad weather.
Local business owners spoke in support of the event, mentioning the impact and benefit to the community. Those could be long-lasting, if everyone involved continues to communicate and work together. Positive comments from visitors indicate they would attend future events, not limited to the Blues-In Cruise-In.
DeFelice said the impact is not only economic, “It’s the perception that people have about our community, about Hernando County in general, and about Brooksville.” He intends to work with other groups so that they aren’t in direct competition. DeFelice will update his request for sponsorship credit to reflect closing two blocks instead of one for the next event.
Kahler said that the event is free to the public but there are places to spend money (shops, restaurants), so it provides a balance. DeFelice agreed with Kahler that working with the Main Street Program so it is vibrant and busy is a key to bringing more businesses downtown.
Erhard said she liked the detailed budget DeFelice provided while Brayton cautioned him about the $500 loss monthly. DeFelice said they did not obtain sponsors or received vendor fees at the time he completed the application. Brayton and Bernardini discussed the increase in cost due to additional road closures because of security/law enforcement needs.
Erhard moved to approve the sponsorship credit. Battista seconded it. It passed with a 5-0 vote.
TECO/Peoples Gas Franchise Agreement Renewal and Revision (First Reading)
City Attorney Nancy Stuparich stated the original agreement (Ordinance No. 776) was for a 10 year lease agreement which expires on 07/20/19. TECO’s proposed franchise agreement requests a 30 year lease agreement. Stuparich recommended the City continue with a 10 year lease term. There are other changes TECO is requesting, she said. Kemerer opened the floor to the public for discussion but there was no response. Erhard moved to approve the first reading and scheduled the second. Battista seconded the motion. By roll call vote, the ordinance’s first reading was approved.
Pinellas County Urban League Senior Program
The Urban Seniors Jobs Program (USJP) also known as the Senior Community Service Employment Program - SCSEP is a federally funded program by the U.S. Department of Labor. The overall goal of this program is to help participants build skills that improve their ability to find jobs. This goal is achieved by providing a variety and combination of useful work - training assignments, support services, and traditional training while promoting transition into unsubsidized employment. The City of Brooksville currently contracts with the Pinellas County Urban League which provides participants who assist with current City jobs such as receptionist duties (front desk) and filing (Human Resources). City Clerk Jennifer Battista explained that the City has had an agreement for a year with the program, which is ready for renewal. The City Attorney also recommends a confidentiality agreement as they may use another individual. This will utilize the City’s new volunteer policy. Brayton moved to approve this item, seconded by Bernardini. It passed with a 5-0 vote.
During Items by Council, Vice Mayor Bernardini moved to have staff create a monthly code enforcement list. Erhard seconded the motion. It was approved 5-0.