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Regular City Council Meeting
August 29 @ 7:30 pm - 9:10 pm
Call to Order…………………………………………………00:00:00
Mayor Dale Massad called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M.
The invocation was given by City Manager Vincent Lupo.
Pledge of Allegiance…………………………………….00:00:36
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
The roll was called. Mayor Dale Massad, Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe, Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell, Councilman Richard Bloom, City Attorney James Mathieu, and City Manager Vincent Lupo were present. Councilman William Dittmer was absent.
Approve Council Minutes………………………………00:01:20
Mayor Dale Massad made a statement about a recent event involving law enforcement at his residence. He explained that he would continue to serve as Mayor.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe made a motion to approve the minutes. Councilman Richard Bloom seconded the motion. All were in favor.
Comments from the General Public……………….00:02:21
Pastor Leonard Lord: 8114 Leo Kidd Ave. – Reported that his church hosted a successful backpack giveaway event to serve the school-aged children in the community. He thanked the volunteers and other contributors for their involvement. He also announced that a new movie that was set to release in early September. The movie is of a local man’s story, titled “The Favorite.” Pastor Lord spoke of a community effort to battle human trafficking and invited everyone to get involved.
Thomas Brown: 7436 Candlelight Ct. – Stated that Mr. Milonas would not return to Council to speak of his concerns after the reaction he received at the last meeting. He also spoke about the wording of City codes referencing fences and bodies of water.
Claudia Smith: 7335 Candlelight Ct. – Stated she was pleased that the employees of the City were so kind, patient and informative. She explained that the officers who appeared on LivePD were proof of their professionalism.
Comments from the City Manager…………………00:11:01
City Manager Vincent Lupo announced that this evening the Public Works crew found and removed the obstructions that interfered with drainage from the Candlelight subdivision. He explained that with the cooperation of residents who permitted access to the rear of their properties and permission from Pasco County to perform the work in the canal. Chris Hughes explained the efforts of his crewmen to remove the couch and tree that worked like a dam to inhibit the flow and drainage through the canal. Mr. Lupo clarified that the City would not normally clean up such debris outside of the City limits and on private property, but in an effort to alleviate the flood concerns in the Candlelight subdivision, it was necessary to address the issue. He also explained that the City of New Port Richey and Pasco County have agreed to pick up the debris that was removed.
Councilman Richard Bloom asked City Attorney James Mathieu if he was following the lawsuit by Suncoast Gateway Mobile Home Park against Pasco County for the flooding in their area. Mr. Mathieu explained that he had not been following the case. Mr. Bloom explained that the case was set to go to trial in October and he would be following it closely.
Mayor Massad made a statement about previous instances when the park flooded and the City’s efforts to pump out the water.
City Manager Vincent Lupo continued with his announcements. He advised Council that staff was still working closely with Pasco County to repave Orange Grove Avenue. He announced that they had come to an agreement. He announced that the Building Department had recently had an audit by FEMA that could result in reduced flood insurance rates for the community due to the exceptional work by the staff in that department. He also advised Council that a few Port Richey Police Officers appeared on LivePD as described by Claudia Smith. He asked Chief DeCanio to make a statement.
Chief Gerard DeCanio explained that there was a vehicle accident that resulted in a chase. The officers requested backup by Pasco County to locate the subject. He stated that the subject was captured and gave a description of his charges and previous arrest history. He congratulated Officer Zimmerman, Officer Zabetka and Sergeant Russo for a job well-done.
City Manager Vincent Lupo explained that the Police Department has made significant efforts not to spend the total budget so there is plenty of carry-over for the next budget year. He thanked Chief DeCanio and Captain Koch for their efforts to save the City money by acquiring used vehicles as a result the unfortunate situation of Brooksville Police Department that will supplement the current Police vehicle fleet.
There was a discussion amongst Council and staff about the current vehicles and their repairs over the years.
Comments from the Mayor & City Council……..00:15:05
Mayor Dale Massad asked staff to meet with Matthew Todd in regards to enhancing the drainage on his property on Congress Street that will benefit other property owners in the City. He asked Mr. Todd to explain the situation.
Mr. Lupo asked Mr. Todd to contact Chris Hughes, Public Works Mayor Dale Massad asked staff to meet with Matthew Todd in regards to enhancing the drainage on his property on Congress Street that will benefit other property owners in the City. He asked Mr. Todd to explain the situation.
Mr. Lupo asked Mr. Todd to contact Chris Hughes, Public Works Director, to answer any questions he may have.
Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell made a request that the City make a copy of the employee handbook available to the public and that she be provided a copy since it is no longer part of the City code.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe requested the City Attorney prepare two amendments to the charter. Vice Mayor Rowe and City Manager Lupo discussed the topic.
Vice Mayor Rowe agenda a draft ordinance to amend section 3.04 of the code specifically the requirement of a four-fifths vote to a three-fifths vote to terminate the City Manager.
City Attorney James Mathieu clarified that although Council will vote on the proposed changes, they would require a vote by the public to be imposed and the next ballot would not be until April for the local elections.
Vice Mayor Rowe clarified that this request was not due to the performance of the current City Manager, however, an attempt to prepare for the future, as a result of the difficulty to dismiss former City Managers. Vice Mayor Rowe requested section 2-80 of the charter also requiring the City Manager to agenda all items requested by any Councilmember as long as the request is made prior to the deadline. He explained that a former City Manager had refused his request to place an item on the agenda on several occasions.
The motion was seconded by Councilman Richard Bloom. There was no further discussion or comment from the public. A vote was taken. All were in favor.
Councilman Richard Bloom requested clarification as to where they City stood in regards to the hike and bike path underpass. Mayor Dale Massad explained that as a result of the MPO discussion, the engineering cost would be split between Port Richey, New Port Richey and Pasco County.
A discussion occurred amongst Council and staff. It was decided that the staff would be granted to contribute the decided share of cost toward the engineering to move forward with the project.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe made a motion to authorize up to $15,000 toward the engineering study. Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell seconded the motion. All were in favor.
A discussion occurred amongst Council.
Vice Mayor Rowe made a statement about the tendered resignation of William Muse. City Manager Vincent Lupo advised that he and Mr. Muse were discussing possible terms to retain his employment.
Councilman Richard Bloom made a motion to approve the consent agenda. Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe seconded the motion. All were in favor.
Discussion of Land Acquisition……………………..00:51:21
City Manager Vincent Lupo explained that a piece of property was currently up for auction called a tax deed sale by Pasco County. He described the location of the property as being next to the City’s well field at the south-west side and also next to the parcel containing Lake Cox at the end of Candlelight Court. Mr. Lupo advised Council that should the City obtain this parcel, it would add to the existing well field and protect the parcel from development which may hinder water production for the City.
A discussion occurred amongst Council and staff.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe made a motion to allow the City Manager to auction up to $50,000 toward the purchase of the parcel. Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell seconded the motion. All were in favor.
Councilman Richard Bloom made a motion to adjourn. There was no second.
Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell asked for an update on the dredging status and seagrass count mentioned at a previous meeting. Assistant City Manager Jocilyn Martinez advised that she had not yet received the results of the seagrass count. Councilwoman Sorrell asked if the spoils stored at the DMMA site would be removed prior to the next dredging project out of concern of the capacity to hold more spoiled materials. City Manager Vincent Lupo advised that the removal of the existing spoils would be factored into the bid for the next project. A discussion occurred about the engineering for the next stage of the dredging project and an upcoming bid.
Mayor Dale Massad requested staff to put on the next agenda, consideration to sell a City-owned parcel.
Boards and Committees……………………………….01:11:38
Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell stated that she would like to utilize the citizens who wished to volunteer their time to serve the City. She explained that having the existing boards and committee perform the tasks they were designed to address would relieve the staff from having to plan various events or decide on other matters that could be handled by the citizens.
Councilwoman Sorrell expressed that she would like to serve as the Council Liaison for the Citizens Advisory Committee. She proceeded to nominate Tom Kinsella, Janet Slusarz, Janet Eckermann, and John Carpenter to serve as members on the Citizens Advisory Committee.
Mayor Dale Massad nominated Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell as the Council Liaison for the Citizens Advisory Committee.
Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell nominated Angel Nally to serve on the Historic Preservation Committee.
A discussion occurred about the other boards and committees and additional citizens offering to volunteer their time to serve.
Mayor Dale Massad and Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell requested to revisit the vacancies at the next meeting.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe advised that there was a meeting for RESTORE Act monies which he was notified of last minute. He explained that there were no representatives of City staff present, however, he attended and requested some of the monies be granted to the City for the bridge project. Mayor Dale Massad added that he also received late notice of the meeting and attended as well. Vice Mayor Rowe requested staff advise Council of the various meetings hosted by DOT, Pasco County, or other agency that may have an impact on City business.
Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe made a motion to adjourn. Councilwoman Jennie Sorrell seconded the motion. All were in favor.