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09.28.06 -- REPORT: Council passes budget, off to bumpy beginnings

McIntosh Town Council passes budget with last-minute hesitation, citizen boards prove on-going agenda item

By CHER PHILLIPS

Download the Audio file for this meeting:
Sept. 28, 2006 -- McIntosh Town Council Meeting, Budget hearing and Special Call(WMA 20.5 MB) (1 hour, 29 minutes)

McINTOSH -- The McIntosh Town Council passed next year's budget after challenging it in the final draft. The council set the town's taxes at the rollback rate of 1.05, elected a temporary council president and appointed citizen board members.

Council member Lee Deaderick called into question the estimated amount of money the town collects from the Gas tax revenue, $84,446. This money is earmarked for road expenses and the estimated expenditure for street expenses was $63,030. Deaderick made a motion to move other budget items into street expenses. But Town Clerk Julie Musselman showed some frustration by having this kind of change made in the final budget hearing. At one point, she packed up her belongings and said she wanted to leave because she was feeling sick. She also said that changes had never been made at such a late date in the budget approval process in McIntosh.

This year McIntosh tried something it'd never done before by holding budget hearings. The two previous budget hearings, one in July and another in August, gave council members a chance to shape the proposed budget. By tonight's meeting, the town already paid to have the budget noticed in the Ocala Star-Banner.

Both Council President Frank Ciotti and Council member Howard Walkup said the budget would remain in flux and lines could be changed as the year went on. LPA member Charlsie Stott also pointed out, from the audience, that the Gas tax revenue was an estimate. In the July budget hearing, Musselman reported to the council that McIntosh and the surrounding towns got less gas tax money this year than last.

Another point of contention is the water expenses. Musselman said the town's auditors have instructed her to put salaries water and street expenditures. But with a salary included in the water expenditure, the cost of supplying the town with water is $54,077 a year and the town only takes in $24,357. Even with the salary figures removed, McIntosh spends almost $10,000 for water that it doesn't take in. A motion to raise the water rates failed earlier this month which would have brought in about $7,000 more in water revenue.

The council also passed the rollback rate of 1.0540. This means that as the property values increase, the town's taxes will remain nearly the same as last year.

Councilman Howard Walkup was appointed and sworn in. He ran unopposed for the last year of Jim Strange's seat when he resigned. Walkup has been part of McIntosh's political scene for 20 years.

The council made some changes to the citizen boards. John Sapp was changed from the Board of Adjustment to the Land Planning Agency. The LPA will act as the BOA in deciding requests for variances to the Land Development Code.

Board members Barbara Fellman and Dave Polson resigned from the BOA citing that they had an issue with the council telling Renee Wacha she did not have to pay a $7,000 impact fee for a road that the BOA had decided she should. This is not Fellman's first resignation in which she's gone out making accusations regarding ethics. Her LPA resignation targeted one of her fellow board members. (BOA resignation coming soon.)

Cary McCollum, Deaderick's father-in-law, applied for the LPA but his appointment was blocked with a two-two vote. Deaderick did not vote because of a conflict of interest. Jim Walkup, Howard Walkup's brother, was appointed to the LPA in an unanimous vote with Howard Walkup abstaining for conflict of interest. Jim Walkup was an LPA member until he resigned when former council president Joe Phillips said he wanted residents who signed petitions against council members removed from the citizen boards.

Ciotti will serve as the council president until November when the council president is normally elected. Council vice president is now Deaderick.

Removals of appointments from citizen boards was hinted at in a discussion where Town Attorney Scott Walker advised Walkup to take up removing board members at a later meeting when there is less chance for the removals to be argued. The agenda listed "citizen board appointments" and not specifically "citizen board removals." Though Walker said removals were in the scope of the agenda item.

Council members have asked for terms of citizen boards to be spelled out in a resolution which Walker will prepare for the next regularly scheduled council meeting.
Terms of citizen boards


2006 -2007 Initial Budget (to view image in a larger size -- click once and then a second time)

posted by Cher @ 8:50 PM,

13 Comments:

At   October 01, 2006 10:53 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Nice posting. I would like to know what happened with Bill Glass and his comments about his criminal record and that of Jim Walkup. As well, is Julie really resigning?

 
At   October 01, 2006 11:19 AM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

Glass said he's slandered a Gainesville politician and told the council that he had a DUI. He then made insinuations about Jim Walkup. The council ignored comments about Glass and Walkup. I've got an eddy swimming around in my head that I'll write once I clear some of the work I actually get paid to do from my plate. : ) Julie said she was going to move her retirement up. She was pretty upset and out of respect for that I didn't go with a hed, "Town clerk quits." In the past, office stuff has had a way of getting worked through. For instance, she read a resignation letter into the record in May and then later agreed to stay on. If she's still quitting next meeting, it's news. Until then, it's on my radar.

 
At   October 01, 2006 11:52 AM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

Background: AC libe has a file for a Sun article with a hed, "WUFT candidate forum with c.chestnut, w.glass cancelled due to glass' remarks, chestnut's request for format change (picture)." Story date is Nov. 2, 1994. Chestnut stomped Glass in the 1996 election for a seat in the State House, 17,789 to 6,823. I've not gone down to the libe and pulled the file to see that the pretty pictures are really Glass (because I *really* do have better things to do than fact find Bill Glass' background.) But I think this is probably the historical moment he was drawing everyone's attention to during the meeting.

 
At   October 01, 2006 4:06 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

Clarification: Glass ran against Cynthia Chestnut in 1994 and 1996 for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives. She beat him soundly in both races. Reporters from both the Independent Florida Alligator and the Gainesville Sun wrote that he called her a name -- "political whore" because she was "bought and paid for by PACs." She asked for an apology and he refused. Glass referenced his actions of 10 years ago in a McIntosh town council meeting last week telling the council he'd called Chestnut a "prostitute" and if the council would research citizen board applicants they wouldn't end up with people like him on their boards.

 
At   October 01, 2006 4:25 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I am glad that Bill can repeatidly put his foot in his mouth. I speculate that they will be removing him from the board and that would tickle me pink!

 
At   October 01, 2006 4:43 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

He certainly does enjoy annoying other people doesn't he?

 
At   October 01, 2006 5:36 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

I suppose there's something to be said for consistency.

 
At   October 03, 2006 10:41 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I guess that Julie's resignation is for real this time. Take a look a the Ocala Star-Blunder today in the classified....

 
At   October 03, 2006 12:29 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Why did Bill Glass refer to Jim Walkup when he was telling everyone about his criminal record?

I am sad about Julie, however, I can understand.

Lacy

 
At   October 03, 2006 2:49 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

I talked with Julie yesterday. She knows more about running this town than many people realize, including some of the council members. Her leaving is a loss for the town, I think.

I don't know why Glass said anything about Jim Walkup. I imagine he did it was to cast doubt on Walkup as a candidate for the LPA and draw attention to himself, which he's done.

Walkup didn't acknowledge Glass' comment and nothing so far convinced me that anything about Walkup's past is relative. It's one thing if Glass wants to trash his own reputation in a public meeting. Albiet, it's an assinine thing to do but OK. It's entirely something else to attempt to trash someone else's reputation -- especially someone who didn't provoke him. Walkup didn't invite that kind of scrutiny and nothing he's done has made it newsworthy. What do you think?

 
At   October 03, 2006 5:53 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

What do I think? I think the prescription needs to be refilled.

 
At   October 03, 2006 8:51 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

We all have skeletons in our closet - even preachers. Maybe he stole (or tried to steal) a church somewhere - naw, that could'nt be it...

 
At   October 04, 2006 2:36 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

"For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?"

I've got a journalism prof that often points out how closely journalism walks to this Jane Austin line. The thing is, as "fun" as it might be to "make sport of our neighbors," that's not the reason I keep this blog going.

 

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Editor and Publisher:

I'm Cher From McIntosh, FL I'm a graduate student at the University of Florida working on a master's degree in Mass Communication. While I was finishing my undergrad degree in journalism last year, I reported on McIntosh, Fla. for an in-depth reporting class. I figured that the reporting and the public record files should go somewhere people can access them. Reporters don't report to keep the information they find to themselves. Some of that reporting is included here in a forum that allows response. McIntosh suffers because with no news coverage, the local government and the rumor mill have too much potential to run rampant over residents. I moved to McIntosh in the fall of 1999. My profile

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