Breastfeeding Awareness Month
Council member Betty Erhard read the proclamation proclaiming August 2019 as Breastfeeding Support Month. The proclamation included information on the overall health benefits of breastfeeding for both the infant and the mother. It listed various state-wide, national and global organizations that encourage breastfeeding and legal protection for mothers.
Jennie Rae Lanziero, President of the Florida West Coast Breastfeeding Task Force and Breastfeeding Coordinator at the Florida Department of Health in Hernando County, accepted the proclamation. She thanked the City of Brooksville for recognizing the importance of breastfeeding.
Committee/ Board Member Appointments
The Great Brooksvillian Advisory Committee had one opening to fill and four applicants who were present for the meeting. Erhard wanted to hear why the applicants were interested in joining the committee.
Cynthia Sutton, a Brooksville resident for seven years, said she would like to be more involved in activities in the city. She has a history of volunteerism in her previous places of residence.
After nominating an individual as a Great Brooksvillian, Violet Langieri was asked to apply for the open committee seat. She said selecting the Great Brooksvillian from among the nominations would be a welcome challenge.
Lisa Brooks, who has lived in Brooksville only two weeks, is a retired principal who also volunteers for NAMI. She was asked to apply and is very interested in the position, she said.
Patria Dye, an ordained minister and healthcare volunteer, has lived in Brooksville for 13 years. She was also interested in the Beautification Board as she wants to bring her talents to help the community.
Council member Robert Battista said it was a new experience for the council to have so many applicants, as having only one application was the norm. The council was seeking to fill one seat on the Great Brooksvillian Advisory Committee and one seat on the Beautification Board.
City Attorney Nancy Stuparich explained a new procedure for voting which complies with the Sunshine Law and transparency. The council members will not give their handwritten votes to the City Clerk to tally and announce the majority vote. Instead, they will just announce their choice openly.
Cynthia Sutton was selected for the Great Brooksvillian Committee by a unanimous vote.
Lisa Brooks and Patria Dye also applied for the Beautification Board. Patria Dye was appointed to the Beautification Board by another unanimous vote.Mayor Bill Kemerer thanked all the applicants, saying it was nice to have so many.
Hernando County Fair Association Presentation
Richard Klimas thanked the City for the Fire Department which is on hand during the Demolition Derby at the fairgrounds on July 4. The next Demolition Derby, a pumpkin smash, is scheduled for 10/05/19.
Klimas said Hernando County has become the largest standalone Demolition Derby in Florida. He invited the council members to attend.
Other upcoming events are designed to benefit organizations such as the Johns Hopkins Neonatal Unit and 4H. Klimas explained a “purse bingo” scheduled for 11/02/19.
To benefit the first responders in Hernando County, Klimas intends to turn an unused portion of the property into a Jeep Jamboree from January 10-12, 2020. Based on interest from Jeep clubs in Florida and Georgia, there could be as many as 1400 Jeeps over that weekend.
Looking ahead to July 4, 2020, Klimas is completing renovations and ensuring the buildings meet code enforcement standards. The fireworks show will be bigger, and he hopes to add 1,000 more seats to accommodate the public.
Selection of 2019 Great Brooksvillian
Mayor Bill Kemerer invited the Vice Chairman of the Great Brooksvillian Committee, Robert Draper, to address the council. A new application process resulted in 10 submissions which were narrowed to the top three: Alan Garman, Gail Samples, and Mable Sims.
Bernardini could not be reached by phone, but left comments supporting Alan Garman to be read into the record. Brayton moved to accept the three individuals nominated by the committee. Battista seconded it, and it was approved 4-0.
Battista, Brayton, and Kemerer recommended Gail Samples. Like Bernardini, Erhard supported Alan Garman. City Manager Mark Kutney will make the arrangements for presentation of the Great Brooksvillian plaque.
(A summary of public comments and staff/council response)
Donna Morin asked for an update about the golf cart issue, objecting to the use of taxpayer money to fund the study.
Chrissy D. discussed the youth baseball fields at Tom Varn Park and the two adult baseball fields at the Jerome Brown Center. She asked several questions pertaining to the Hernando Youth League (HYL) and a new reservation process that is under consideration.
Cindy Gandy asked for a status update on the Quarry. She also asked about permission to walk dogs (in addition to service animals) at the park.
Alice Yonker addressed the council about a $164 ticket she received for driving her golf cart on Barnett Road. Without a driver’s license or ability to ride a bicycle, using the golf cart gives her some dignity, she said.
Ruth B. asked for clarification about the cost of the study. Addressing concerns about taxpayer money, Ruth said that the 250+ homeowners in the area are taxpayers as well.
City Manager Mark Kutney responded to the citizens’ concerns.
· Golf carts: He said they are waiting for a response from one city so they can show the council members a comparison of cost for a comprehensive study. The scope (local roadway or city-wide) will affect the cost as well.
· Baseball fields: The issue was related to certain times and individuals who became difficult when staff needed to prep the fields for someone who had reserved the field.
· Quarry: Kutney said a meeting with the Parks and Rec Advisory Board is scheduled for 08/08/19. Responses from Elliot Barth are pending. Tentatively, Kutney will bring it to council for the 08/19/19 meeting but it may be moved to 09/16/19 due to the Fire Assessment discussion at the 08/19/19 meeting. Kutney may have a committee chaired by the new Parks and Rec director to review policies with Kutney.
Duke Energy is requesting 9.77 acres rezoned from Agricultural to C-2 Commercial for the development of an electric substation
This was the first reading of the ordinance. Because this was a Quasi-Judicial hearing, anyone who intended to speak on the matter was sworn in by the City Clerk. City Planner Steve Gouldman and Community Development Director Bill Geiger were recognized as expert witnesses.
Council member Pat Brayton made a motion to accept the backup materials that were part of the agenda packet. Erhard seconded the motion. It passed with a 4-0 vote. (Council member Joe Bernardini was not present at the meeting.) City Attorney Nancy Stuparich read information to the public explaining Quasi-Judicial matters.
Gouldman provided a slide with the two parcels Duke Energy wants rezoned. Current zoning allows the properties to have up to 100,000 sq. ft. of commercial floor space. An electric substation, he said, does not require that floor space.
Duke Energy agreed to additional restrictions on the property use, with a permit only for the electric substation. It will have a PVC fence, surrounded by a wall, preserving as many trees as possible.
Under the commercial designation, Gouldman said, “Electric substations are permitted by right.” Following construction, traffic will be limited to routine maintenance. There will be no connections to water or sewer, and no interaction with the schools or Parks and Recreation department.
The Planning and Zoning Commission gave unanimous approval of the zoning change, with the suggestions above. Gouldman asked the council to approve the first reading of the ordinance and schedule the second reading for 08/19/19.
Dorothy Perneu, the Government and Community Relations Manager for Duke Energy in Hernando County, said the property was purchased in 2014 with the goal of meeting the need of residents. She introduced Mike Branco, Senior Project Manager for the company’s Transmission Department.
Branco said the substation will provide a safe, reliable grid for the projected growth in Hernando County and the surrounding areas. It will be placed on one parcel, and the other parcel will be developed in the future for better distribution.
There were no public comments. Council member Robert Battista asked a few questions. Brayton moved to approve the first reading, with the second reading on 08/19/19. Battista seconded the motion, and it passed 4-0 by a roll call vote.
City Manager Approval to Sign Minor Agreements
In a previous meeting, Kutney approached Council with a suggestion to streamline the process for approval of agreements. The City Charter states that only the City Council could approve contracts or agreements, signed by the Mayor and with an attestation. Kemerer and Kutney have followed this very closely.
When agreements or contracts of less than $20,000 need signatures, Kutney must wait until the matter is heard by Council and approved. This practice is inefficient and delays any work that requires an outside contractor. It also hampers the Parks and Recreation Department by preventing rental agreements for pavilions and facilities from being signed.
The City Attorney and Kutney suggested ways to provide oversight without having to wait for a Council meeting for approval, including having the City Attorney sign off as well. Erhard was the only council member present who objected, stating that as council members they were responsible to oversee the budget.
Kemerer agreed with Kutney signing contracts under $20,000 in an emergency, or the park pavilion rentals, but anything that is considered normal city business requires the Council’s approval. The issue was not with Kutney, he said, as a decision would affect city managers and councils, years in the future.
Stuparich obtained clarification as to what would constitute an emergency situation, that the pavilion rentals were appropriate for Kutney to sign, as well as other short term contracts. These would all be entered into the agenda packet for the council members to review for their next meeting.
Brayton made the motion for the City Attorney and Kutney to prepare a resolution for Council’s review. Battista seconded it. The motion was approved 4-0.