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September 5, 2017
Meeting Specifics
The Cedar Key City Commission met on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, at 6:20 pm, immediately after the Cedar Key Community Redevelopment Agency adjourned, in the temporary, double-wide trailer, temporary home of Cedar Key City Hall.  Present were:  Mayor Heath Davis, Vice-Mayor Sue Colson, and Commissioners Dale Register, Royce Nelson, and Nickie Rucker. 
Staff in attendance included: CRA Attorney Norm Fugate, Police Chief Virgil Sandlin, Fire Chief and Emergency Operations Manager Robert Robinson, Public Works Director Bill Crandley, City Clerk Nicole Gill, Assistant City Clerk Crystal Sharp, and Donna Risker. 
Among those in the audience were: Rebecca Gallagher, Beth Mizell, Peggy Herrick, Jim Wortham, Bill Heckler, James Custer, Margy VanLandingham, Michael Hancock, Buddy Scoggins, John Blouse, Bob and Jeri Treat, and Mandy and Frank Offerle.
Before inviting public comment, Mayor Heath Davis opened discussion about the Category 5 Hurricane Irma due to hit South Florida this weekend.  The content of that discussion can be seen by clicking on the following link:
Click on the link below for the City of Cedar Key Fire Rescue Facebook Site:
Resident Bill Heckler responded to the Gainesville Sun’s August 29, 2017, front-page article “Cedar Key - Rising Seas.”  Heckler, out of town at the time, reported being initially angry and distressed upon seeing the article.  Knowing that Gateway, which owns 97 newspapers, including the Sun, concerned him as a resident and for business owners or a person trying to sell a Cedar key home.
 Heckler asked that persons (commissioners, newspapers, individuals) speaking about issues as important as rising seas keep in mind the effect such content has on others.
Commissioners unanimously approved the Cedar Key Employee Manual, Section 203, Performance Evaluations, extending the probationary period from 90 days to 180 days.  An informal evaluation will be conducted after 90 days and another evaluation conducted at the end of the employee’s probationary period. The 90-day evaluation will be a written report and sent to the commission for review and comment.
Commissioners unanimously approved changes in Section 700 of the Cedar Key Employee Manual, Technology, and Social Media.  Among other things, the amendment limits personal use of city equipment and use to work hours, and provides guidelines regarding e-mail, storing, and transferring documents, Internet use, social media, and passwords responsibility.
Commissioner and Cemetery Liaison Nickie Rucker reported having spoken with long-time Cedar Key Cemetery Trustees Delaino, Schlemer, and Padgett, all of whom are no longer interested in serving as trustees.
Commissioners discussed continuing to use the Trustees as advisors, as much history is captured by them, but administering the Cemetery functions under the auspices of the city.
Rucker reported that a goal is to make the cemetery more self-supporting.  She suggested that fees might be increased.  Currently, a burial fee is only five dollars, an amount unchanged in decades, while the price of funerals has increased.
Rucker also reported having requested assistance from Nature Coast Biological Station Director Dr. Mike Allen to somehow survey the Cemetery to establish a baseline placement of plots.
Commissioners unanimously appointed Mayor Davis as their representative to the Levy County Legislative Delegation Hearing.  State Senator Bob Bradley will attend the public hearing in Bronson on September 27th to afford local officials and members of the public opportunities to be heard. Mayor Davis accepted he appointment saying that we don’t usually go to these things but this year may be a good time to attend.
After some discussion, commissioners decided to move the aluminum dock from the outside Marina area to thee inside where it will be less harshly treated by the waves, tides, and upcoming storm. 
A Marina workshop is planned to discuss and decide upon destruction of the old ramp and other relevant matters.
Vice-Mayor Sue Colson, at the commission’s request, reported on the recent work done on trees.  Resident Bob Cooper put in writing his concern about the city-owned tree partly resting near, and in some cases, upon his home.  A huge live oak fell into the city street from Ada Lang’s Wabi Sabi Cottage.  Working with Emergency Operations Manager Robert Robinson, Police Chief Virgil Sandlin, and Public Works Director Bill Crandley, and determining that the Lang tree in the public thoroughfare was a safety hazard was too dangerous for the Public Works crew to remove, Colson engaged Langston Tree Service. 
Langston works in eight-hour blocks.  Colson had lined up an eight-hour stint with Crandley.  Resultantly, the Wabi Sabi oak was removed the day after it fell, clearing up the street and allowing emergency vehicles to pass if needed.  That same day, Cooper’s oak was trimmed away from his home.  Additionally, anticipating the imminent elevation of City Hall, Langston trimmed back the trees near the building so they would not be damaged during renovation of the building.
All the money for the tree work was available in the tree fund.  Department Head and Director Crandley had the procedural authority to spend the amount of money used with no need to ask for commission approval.
Yet, Colson was excoriated by Commissioner Royce Nelson.  Mayor Heath Davis. began the diatribe by saying that Colson could not “just go out there and spend the city’s money and that’s what she did.”   “It’s hard to answer people when you don’t know what is going on,” he added. 
Colson apologized if she did something wrong.  Nelson said, “I’m really concerned.  This isn’t the first time this has happened.”  “I don’t know if an apology is adequate,” he added.  “There must be some repercussions,” he furthered.
Department heads, for emergencies, do have a purchasing policy, Mayor Davis said, but he and the commission should be part of the discussion. Davis added, “I like trees, too,” and implied that she should have asked permission. He drew the oblique analogy of a student in a school lunch line being affected by another student “butting” in to the line.  Not everyone understood the analogy. The mayor called it a great project and it should be and we just want to be part of it.
Commissioner Register said he thought they all were in agreement and that the trees are important and Colson’s devotion to Cedar Key and her projects is also important.
Clerk Gill affirmed that the money was certainly available to pay the Langston bill.  Commissioners also confirmed the fact that it is within Director Crandley’s authority to approve and actualize such an expenditure.   Commissioners directed Gill to pay the Langston bill and Director Bill Crandley to sign.
Fire Chief Robert Robinson reported that FEMA’s forward movement processing papers and financing City Hall’s renovation is now stalled with the advent of Hurricane Harvey.  While FEMA monies are delayed, the insurance dollars are not and are available.  He further reported that the architect has designed a foundation that may come with an “astronomical” construction cost. Robinson suggested that the commission consider using a more conventional foundation that is being used all over town.
Robinson explained that the commission needed to begin to ponder the following options:  finish City Hall’s renovation now and raise it later; have the city fund the costlier foundation for the building. Robinson will come back to the commission with costs articulated for the different options.
Clerk Gill presented two groups of garbage billing problems.  The first lot involved five individuals who, for reasons of having passed away to foreclosure, no longer inhabit the houses and are still receiving garbage bills.  Commissioners approved writing off the charges as losses; the total was nearly $900.
Three second lot involved three individuals and one business who had sold their properties and received garbage bills post sale.  Commissioners agreed to write them off the books.
Commissioners approved the surplus of six items on the city’s equipment inventory list. 
Clerk Gill requested approval for altering the accounting firm’s services to the city; the consequent savings to the city will be approximately $3,000 annually.
According to Clerk Gill, the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council has not been responsive to the her, as required in its current 2017 fiscal year contract.    A recently received August 25, 2017, correspondence from the Council asks that the city extend the contract for the fiscal year 2018 for $7,000.
Commissioners approved forwarding the “non-responsive” issue to Cedar Key’s Local Planning Agency Chair Jim Mason to make the relationship more productive.
Commissioners approved new department head review form.
Clerk Gill presented a new city organizational chart which: 
  • reduces the Public Works Director to a Supervisor and declares no Department Head-ship;
  • has the “building official” report directly to the City Clerk;
  • has the Public Works Department report directly to the Deputy City Clerk who reports to the City Clerk.
At the commission’s request, Gill will revamp the chart, according to the commissioner’s comments email to all, and present for approval at the next commission meeting.
As the current Public Works Director Bill Crandley will retire in early January 2018, his position, modified but still advertised as “Public Works Director,” has been advertised.  One applicant has surfaced.   Commissioners approved Davis and Gill interviewing the applicant.   Commissioner Nelson remarked that public works knowledge may not be in Gill’s “area of expertise” and suggested others interview the applicant as well.   It was agreed that Police Chief Sandlin and Fire Chief Robinson and Public Works Director Crandley would interview as well. 
Commissioners unanimously approved minutes from the August 15, 2017, city commission meeting.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 8:10 pm.