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Regular City Council Meeting
July 24 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Call to Order…………………………………………………00:00:00
Mayor Dale Massad called the meeting to order.
The invocation was given by Reverend Sandra Spaldi, Chapel of the Divine Spirit.
Pledge of Allegiance…………………………………….00:00:29
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
The roll was called. Mayor Dale Massad, Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe, Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell, Councilman William Dittmer, Councilman Richard Bloom, City Attorney James Mathieu, and City Manager Vincent Lupo were present.
Approve Council Minutes………………………………00:00:59
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe made a motion to approve the minutes. Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell seconded the motion. All were in favor.
Comments from the General Public……………….00:01:10
Thomas Brown: 7436 Candlelight Ct. – Mentioned a packet he provided to Council Members. Mr. Brown spoke of the intention of CRA funds to assist in obliterating blight and slums. He stated that he read about a formal investigation into misuse of CRA funds in other cities. Mr. Brown then expressed concern about the new chain link fence bordering Lake Cox and the size of the “No Trespassing” sign hanging on the fence. He explained he would like to see the natural beauty of the Candlelight subdivision.
Pastor Leonard Lord: 8114 Leo Kidd Ave. – Invited Council to help stuff backpacks on Wednesday in preparation for the Back to School Bash scheduled for Saturday, June 28th, 2018. He also announced the release of a movie, titled “The Favorite,” which would be in theaters soon. He briefly explained the back story of the movie. In closing, Pastor Lord announced an addiction support group that would be coming soon.
Mayor Massad made a donation toward a couple of backpacks.
Thomas Milonas: 7452 Candlelight Ct. – Commented on the various fences being constructed adjacent to Lake Cox over the past few years. He explained that he spoke with the Assistant City Manager about the fence, but he was mainly concerned with the visual impact the newest fence has on the view from his home.
City Manager Vincent Lupo explained that the fence would be repaired within two days.
Janet Eckerman: 5343 Quist Dr. – Advised that she has volunteered to serve on the Citizen Advisory Committee. She explained that she would like to see a dog park at Waterfront Park to accommodate large dogs to run and play. Mayor Massad explained that the City looked into constructing a dog park at that location. However a citizen complaint was made to the FCT, and the City was not permitted to continue.
Staff agreed to contact the FCT in a second attempt to move forward with that project.
Sandra Spaldi: 8612 Green St. – Stated that she felt shameful that Council did not allow a citizen-based committee to address the code and to be a part of the development of new minimum housing standards before voting on the Ordinance.
Matthew Todd: 8301 Congress St. – Praised the current Council Members and administration for their work. He requested they be transparent about the savings incurred and the difference in spending between the previous fiscal years and the current.
Phyllis Grae: 8141 Aquila St. – Commented on the negative press in recent news about the Mayor. She explained that she was proud to have a Mayor and a friend who sent kind regards during her time of loss. Mrs. Grae stated that she knew the Mayor to be a good person despite the recent media story.
Comments from the City Manager…………………00:23:28
City Manager Vincent Lupo request the City Attorney make the announcements for the agenda items in his place due to feeling under the weather. He also stated that the City is moving in a positive direction.
Comments from the Mayor & Council…………….00:23:58
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe extended his sympathies to Mrs. Grae for her loss.
City Attorney James Mathieu announced that the Supreme Court Case against red light cameras had been dismissed. He explained that the state of Florida may not make legislative changes, however, at this time, the red light cameras have been supported.
Mayor Dale Massad thanked Mrs. Grae for her kind remarks and made a personal announcement. He then asked staff to contact the FCT regarding the dog park at Waterfront Park in a second attempt.
Councilman William Dittmer thanked the residents who expressed interest in serving on a board or committee. He explained that staff has notified the current members and are waiting for the response from those wishing to continue to serve.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe made a motion to approve the consent agenda. Councilman William Dittmer seconded the motion. All were in favor.
Discussion on Avila Bay Project…………………….00:27:39
City Attorney James Mathieu explained the series of events and the current status of the Avila Bay project.
Mr. Clark Hobby, of Hobby and Hobby P.A., as well as two representatives from Lennar Homes, were present. Mr. Hobby responded to the questions presented by Council.
Councilman William Dittmer made a motion to approve the Water and Wastewater Agreement, Revised Plat Plan, and Final Construction Agreement. Councilman Richard Bloom seconded the motion. All were in favor.
First Reading Ordinance #18-663…………………..00:41:18
City Attorney James Mathieu performed the first reading of Ordinance 18-663 by title only.
Councilman Richard Bloom made a motion to approve Ordinance 18-663. Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe seconded the motion.
Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell spoke about her thoughts and concerns regarding the events leading to the proposed Ordinance. She explained that she supports the proposed minimum housing standards, however, would vote against it for how it was developed without truly considering the thoughts of the voters who spoke out about the new standards.
Vice Mayor Rowe explained that he would not vote in favor of these standards if he believed they were not for the greater good of the community, he would not put himself or his neighbors and friends in a bad position.
Councilman Bloom stated that he heard the thoughts of the citizens who spoke at the workshop. He acknowledged the concerns but also noticed suggestions to add to the proposed code.
Councilman Dittmer agreed with Councilman Bloom but requested Council encourage workshops to give the citizens an opportunity to speak. He pointed out that a citizen who does not show up to a workshop has voiced their opinion by not attending.
Mayor Massad stated that he did not hear from any nay-sayers about their dissatisfaction with the workshop.
Matthew Todd: 8301 Congress St. – Explained that he was in support of the proposed ordinance and working together for progress.
The vote was taken by roll:
Councilman William Dittmer voted aye.
Councilwoman Jennie Sorrel voted nay.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe voted aye.
Councilman Richard Bloom voted aye.
Mayor Dale Massad voted aye.
Second Reading Ordinance #18-662………………00:54:37
City Attorney James Mathieu performed the second reading of Ordinance 18-662 by title only.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe made a motion to approve Ordinance 18-662. Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell seconded the motion.
Councilman Richard Bloom asked about an unrelated portion of the park ordinance.
City Attorney James Mathieu advised that the portion he mentioned was not being revised at this time. However, the existing code on the City Parks does not permit alcohol in the parks at any time. He also advised that if a change is desired, Council could direct him to make a special permit required or remove that portion of the code, whichever is desired at that time.
A discussion occurred amongst Council.
Sandra Spaldi: 8612 Green St. – Stated that it may be desirable to allow alcoholic sales in the parks for special events with a special permit.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe reported that a City Police Officer recently had an encounter with a citizen who allowed her dog to run at large at Waterfront Park. He explained that when the officer requested she put the dog on a leash, she did not comply, and he then requested her to leave the park. Vice Mayor Rowe explained that the Officer encountered the citizen moments later down the street where she publicly berated him. He commended the officer for how the situation was handled.
The vote was taken. All were in favor.
Pasco County Animal Control Services…………..01:04:53
City Attorney James Mathieu explained the information provided by staff regarding the calls for service to Pasco County Animal Control. He explained that should the City Council decide not to continue to pay for Pasco County’s animal services; the City would need to develop an alternate way to deal with animals at large as well as animal impoundment in the case of animal bites.
Council and staff discussed the subject in terms of cost and scope of services.
City Manager Vincent Lupo explained that the City of New Port Richey attempted to handle animal services themselves a few years ago and found the cost for facilities, animal care, and personnel was more than the fee charged by the County. As a result, the City of New Port Richey went back to using Pasco County Animal Control shortly after.
City Attorney James Mathieu explained that the cost is derived by a per-capita calculation and assured Council that the property owners within the City were not charged for these services in their County taxes as unincorporated property owners are. He further explained that there is a complicated explanation on how the taxes are calculated, but wished to reassure everyone that the property owners are not paying twice.
There was further discussion amongst Council and staff.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe made a motion to approve to pay for the Pasco County Animal Control Services. Councilman William Dittmer seconded the motion. All were in favor.
Approval of the Proposed Millage Rate…………..01:18:37
City Attorney James Mathieu explained the tentative millage rate that is required to be set by Council annually.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe stated that despite the shocking number, this was a procedural vote for the annual budget and it would not be the final millage rate for the next tax year.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe made a motion to approve the proposed millage rate at 7.7835. Councilman William Dittmer seconded the motion.
A discussion occurred amongst Council and staff.
A vote was taken. All were in favor.
Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell inquired about the staff reports, specifically from the Police Department, that were requested. Mr. Lupo advised that they would continue from multiple departments, and would be provided at the next meeting.
Councilwoman Sorrell asked about the status to dredge channel 1 &18. Mayor Massad explained that the staff is planning to meet with the engineer on the project.
Councilwoman Sorrell requested an update on the hike-bike trail extension. Mr. Lupo explained that progress has slowed, however, staff was still engaged and looking to move forward with the project.
There was a discussion amongst Council and staff.
Councilwoman Sorrell asked about the CRA grant that was previously discussed. Mr. Lupo stated that staff has almost completed the preparation to open the grant for application, but would like to bring it to the Board for final approval once the minimum housing standards were finalized.
Councilwoman Sorrell noted a recent sighting of a large alligator in the Green Street canal. She advised that should a resident have a concern about an alligator; they should call a licensed trapper to capture the animal. Mr. Lupo proved the contact information to a licensed trapper, Rick Vetter 727-237-0739.
Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell made a motion to adjourn. Councilman William Dittmer seconded the motion. All were in favor.