Find more about Weather in Cedar Key, FL
October 4, 2016
Meeting Specifics
The Cedar Key City Commission met on Tuesday, October 4, 2016, at 6:00 pm at the Cedar Key Community Center, not City Hall, because of Hurricane Hermine damage.  Present were:  Mayor Heath Davis, Vice-Mayor Dale Register, and Commissioners Sue Colson, Royce Nelson, and Diana Topping.
Staff in attendance included:  City Attorney Norm Fugate, Police Chief Virgil Sandlin, Fire Chief and Emergency Operations Manager Robert Robinson, City Clerk Nicole Gill, Crystal Sharp, and Donna Risker.
Among those in the audience were: Liions Club President Eileen Bowers, Jenny Pinto, Eileen Senecal, Thelma McCain, Joe and Kerry Catalano, Chris Topping, Molly Jubitz, John McPherson, Donna Bushnell, Marsha Schwartz, David Tomlin, Michael Hancock, Jeri and Bob Treat, and Mandy and Frank Offerle.
Mr. Russell Lowell advised the city of his wish to speak in the Public Comment of the agenda but he did not attend the meeting.
Resident Jenny Pinto stated her objection to Mayor Davis’ calling the City Clerk Office workers “girls”; instead, remarked Pinto, they ought to be correctly referred to as “ladies.”  Davis assured the audience that no disrespect was intended, that, indeed, he lives in a house full of girls, his dog is even a girl, and meant no disrespect.
Commissioners voted and unanimously agreed to reappoint Ann Morgan to Seat Two and to appoint the second applicant Bill Heckler to Seat One.  Both will commence their terms at the November 1, 2016, meeting at 3 pm at the Community Center.
Commissioners considered four applications for two open seats on the LPA:  Kerry Catalano, Maria Sgambati, Doug Maple, and Jenny Pinto.  Commissioners voted and appointed Maple to Seat Five and Pinto to Seat Three.  Both will commence their terms at the November 17, 2016, meeting.
Commissioners unanimously approved Ordinance 512 on its first reading.  The ordinance amends the city’s land development regulations to correct “typological and grammatical errors” and remove “superseded provisions and wording.”  Altered regulations include:  storm water management requirements, required landscaping for vehicle use areas, marinas, coastal construction setbacks, parking, submittals, initiation proposals for plan amendments, and quasi-judicial proceedings.  Fugate commented that the ordinance contains “nothing substantive.”
Attorney Norm Fugate remarked that this ordinance is near the last of the tasks given to the LPA.  Commissioner Dale Register remarked that when the LPA reaches that point, the members should be publicly applauded for their labors as they have accomplished a task that has been on the city’s agenda for years.
Commissioners approved Ordinance 513 on its first reading; the vote was 4 to l, with Commissioner Royce Nelson in the minority.  The 38-page document regulates signage in the city.  The Cedar Key News will publish an abbreviation of the ordinance’s content in the near future.
Commissioner Nelson remarked that much has been discussed that is not addressed in the ordinance.  He added that other parts within the ordinance should be further clarified and are not: feather flags, political signs, and realty signs.   Commissioner Sue Colson stated her belief that approving this ordinance was a good start to begin code enforcement; she furthered that0changes could be made as needed in the future.  Mayor Davis’s comments mirrored her words. 
The city received two or three bids to provide floating docks. 
  • Triad Residual Management Inc., based in Cantonment, Florida, and owned by Commissioner Royce Nelson, submitted a $24,500 bid. 
  • The second bid from D & L Contracting of Suwannee, Florida, totaled $85,610.50. 
  • A third bid of $80,265 was mentioned at the commission meeting but no document backup was provided.
  • The difference between the first and second bid amounts apparently results from the fact that the docks offered by Triad are already constructed and currently owned by Triad since 2012.  They are “blemished” but “water tight,” states the August 112, 2016, memorandum accompanying the bid.
Vice-Mayor Dale Register remarked that “Mr. Nelson is not getting a favor; he’s doing us a favor.”
With Nelson abstaining, commissioners unanimously agreed to award Triad Residual Management, Inc. the contract.
Commissioners voted to accept a $59,360 bid from Commissioner Nelson’s Triad Residual Management, Inc., for the dredging of the Cedar Key Marina. Specifics follow.
  • The bid includes the dredged material to be placed in geo tubes, “dewatered” or dried, and hauled away. 
  • No polymers or substances that make particles clump (flocculants) will be used.
  • “From the entrance under the bridge to the second set of channel markers, a total of 1,850 cubic yards will be removed….”
  • “Inside the Marina at the opening to the bridge an area approximately 30 yards by 30 yards will be dredged producing an additional 900 cubic yards.”
  • Triad is read to begin work in November of 2016.
Commissioners mentioned “”accepting the low bid” but made no mention of that second bidder’s name or offer; no documentation of such a bid was offered to the public.
The vote was 4 to 0 in favor of accepting Triad’s offer; Nelson abstained.
After the May 17, 2016, Cedar Key Commission Meeting, the Cedar Key News reported the following.
Mayor Heath Davis opened the discussion about charging fees to the Cedar Key Arts Center and the Lions Club, $2,250 and $500 respectively, at the Seafood Festival and the Arts Festival.  Davis abbreviated the events’ histories, their growth, and mentioned what services the city paid for in the past.
Davis explained that staff’s recommendation of $2,250 and $500 resulted from Public Works, Police, and City Clerk personnel estimates of time spent on this past festival.  He explained that he wanted the “discussion to start” and “specific roles to evolve.”
Many residents and associates of both festivals spoke eloquently against Davis’s presentation.
Davis presented the city’s “Festival Accountability Sheet 2016” which listed, in generalized language, the tasks the city police, public works, fire, and city hall personnel perform before, during, and after each festival.  Davis said the city had “to draw a line somewhere” as the burden on the city exceeds its capacity.  Davis reiterated that the cost to the city is approximately $2,000 to $3,000 to “accommodate the non-profits.”
Woman’s Club President Susan Rosenthal reminded commissioners that the understanding in May was that the affected and participating groups would meet, discuss the needs, and solve the concerns well before the festival.  No such meeting has occurred, she stated.
The Lions Club agreed to manage the activities in City Park for the festivals some years ago. This evening, detailed in a September 28, 2016, memorandum, Lions Club President Eileen Bowers presented a list of activities to occur before, during, and after the festivals with the expressed goal of minimizing requests “of city employees for festival activities so that festival coordination and participation by non-profits may continue without fees from the City….” 
In an update, Bowers diminished the activities on the list and estimated requests for two city employees for an estimated total time of ten hours festival set-up and take-down.
Vice-Mayor Dale Register, knowledgeable as both a vice-mayor and a Lion, remarked that an extraordinary number of volunteer hours were represented in the festival efforts.
Commissioner Royce Nelson expressed his belief that city ought not be “in the festival business” nor should it “subsidize festivals” and non-profits.  He further remarked that during and after Hurricane Hermine, he did not see the churches, non-profit groups, Woman’s Club, nor the Lions Club helping.
Cedar Key Arts Center President Donna Bushnell asked the poignant question of the commission, “Do you think businesses benefit from festivals?”  Commissioners shook heads up and down.  Ultimately, the question died on the floor for lack of an articulated response or their mention of the Chamber of Commerce which represents those businesses.  
Davis repeated his declaration that the city has to draw a line.  He also said that the city’s “Festival Accountability Sheet 2016” was not so very different from Bower’s request list.
Commissioners decided, in a 5 to 0 vote, to use the “Festival Accountability Sheet 2016” as a template and continue to work on it.  No further mention of fees for this festival was made.
Mayor Davis presented a draft of an inter-local agreement between the city and the Cedar Key Water Sewer District to exchange properties, details of which follow.
  • The city will convey to the CKWSD fee simple title to the water tower site opposite Cedar Key School for continued utility use.
  • The city will retain a permanent easement which will allow: the attachment of telecommunications equipment to the walkway railing of the tower; the placement of a structure on the ground near the tower’s base to house telecommunications equipment; and access to the site.
  • The CKWSD will convey to the city fee simple title of approximately five acres of land just north of Cedar Key, a portion of which is now used for water treatment, and any necessary access easements for a public works facility.
  • The city and CKWSD will share equally the cost of surveys to both parcels of land.
CKWSD General Manager John McPherson explained that his board had not approved the inter-local agreement as yet; he plans to present the issue.
Commissioners approved the agreement in a 5 to 0 vote.
Mayor Davis presented the concept of annexing all the properties, south of the number four bridge, that are now not part of the City of Cedar Key.  Attorney Fugate’s September 20, 2016, memorandum regarding annexation researches the issue and ultimately states that annexation may occur in two ways according to the Municipal Annexation or Contraction Act of 1974, with its amendments:  voluntarily or involuntarily. 
Fugate’s opinion is that voluntary annexation would be “impossible” because “some owners will not be agreeable to annexation, and it would be impossible to locate all owners of all property.”
Involuntary annexation can occur through referendum.  The process would include:  commissioners approving an ordinance to annex properties; the ordinance is voted upon by the owners of the properties proposed to be annexed; a possible vote by the existing electors within the city: a referendum vote held at the next regularly-scheduled election, or at a special election; notice of the referendum properly published; a vote of more than 50% of the affected property owners would allow annexation. If dual referendum votes are required, passage of the annexation ordinance requires separate majority votes in favor of the annexation in the affected area and within the municipality.
Davis remarked that the annexation idea has a history in Cedar Key but did not elaborate on that history.  He further remarked that the city could save money with this annexation.  Commissioners voted unanimously to direct Attorney Fugate to move forward with the ordinance.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued to the City of Cedar Key its Notice of Limitation of Use/Site Dedication.  The notice states that the real properties of City Park and Cemetery Point Park were acquired or developed with the assistance of the Florida Legislature, through the DEP, under the following programs: the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program (FRDAP) Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), shall be dedicated in perpetuity as an outdoor recreation site for the use and benefit of the general public.
The dedications must be recorded in the public property records by the grantee.
Minutes from the August 16 and September 6, 2016, commission meetings were unanimously approved.
Fire Chief Robinson asked everyone to spread the word that FEMA was in town and will be here for a few weeks to help residents and business owners with damage related to Hurricane Hermine.
The FEMA bus is located across from the Fire Station and is they are here to assist everyone, Levy and other counties.
Their hours are: 9 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 7:15 pm