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New council’s first meeting set for Monday

By Staff | Nov 21, 2013

There’s an excitement for the new mayor and city council members as they gear up for their first meeting Monday at 4:30 p.m. at city hall.

Richard Leon said he couldn’t wait to sit in that chair on the dais and help solve some of the city’s problems.

“I’m excited and ready to get to work. Monday was a good first run and now have been in the office and studying up and getting informed,” Leon said. “It’s about making our presence known and being in-depth on the issues and soaking up all the information.”

There will be quite a bit to consider. One of the oldest ordinances going back to previous council is the second and final public hearing to establish the High Intensity Commercial-Industrial zoning district. This district will provide areas within the Mixed Use Preserve future land use classification for intensive non-residential development, primarily north of Pine Island Road.

No residential will be permitted in this area, and the minimum development size will be 10 acres, with 30 percent of it preserved as open space.

Another ordinance would amend the city’s operating budget, revenues and expenditures, and capital budget for last fiscal year by increasing the total revenues and expenditures by $88,921,457.

During last week’s introduction, Finance Manager Victoria Bateman said much of that money is due to the utilities expansion project in Southwest 6 & 7.

Also on the table is a resolution adopting financial management policies for the city relating to management of the city’s operating budget, debt management, accounts management and financial planning, and economic resources management.

Council also will hear for the first time ordinances that would amend the definition of a kitchen to provide it is an indoor unit, to adopt an amended city investment policy, and to amend a PDP for the Seventh Day Adventist Church to expand its existing church.

One of the consent items will be an administrative resolution that authorizes the city manager to purchase equipment and vehicles needed within the city’s finances.

The items listed were approved in the FY2014 budget Asset Improvement Plan, securing funding for the items and identifying funds from which the items will be purchased, of which there are seven.

This also gives the city manager authorization to declare as surplus any property no longer needed as a result of the purchases.

It is a nearly $7 million item that should receive scrutiny from the council.

Also, new councilman and former mayor Jim Burch will use his experience and discuss some of the big ticket items council needs to consider, such as debt, contracts, the budget and when to start putting it together and how to address millage rates, the UEP, charter revisions, utility rates, community planning and perhaps the resurrection of the workshop/meeting format.

Steve Alexander will also discuss with council its annual investment performance report, while legislative coordinator Terri Hall will discuss the 2014 legislative platform.

All told, the review packet the councilmembers get for their required reading came to a little more than an inch, said new Councilmember Rick Williams.

“I’m looking to get through it. I have a lot to learn about the process and procedures and I have a lot of studying to do,” Williams said. “For the next few weeks it will be a learning experience.”

Veteran Councilmember Rana Erbrick believes this meeting will be no different than her first meeting two years ago.

“I would expect most items are going to get scrutiny just to make sure they understand and feel comfortable moving forward,” Erbrick said. “We were questioning to make sure we were doing the right thing.”