McIntosh Mirror: Reflecting news in the Tosh

Want to impact your community? Many of McIntosh's citizen boards have open seats and a council at a loss as to how to fill them.

Light-up McIntosh December 15

Light-up McIntosh will begin at the Civic Center at 6:30 p.m. The event will host Santa Clause and an area choir from six local churches will sing.

10.15.06 -- REPORT: Council to discuss staffing, boards in future workshops

By CHER PHILLIPS

Download the Audio File at: Oct. 12, 2006 -- McIntosh Town Council Meeting (WMA 35.5 MB)

The McIntosh Town Council will meet Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. to discuss hiring a new clerk for a special workshop and other town business.

At the monthly meeting last Thursday, Mayor Marsha Strange’s suggested the council hold a workshop meeting for both the purpose of determining how to move forward with hiring a new clerk and talk about the citizen boards.

“I think we appoint people to our boards but we don’t educate and inform them what we want from them,” Strange said.

The main focus of Tuesday's workshop will be hiring a town clerk but the citizen boards will remain an issue.

Councilwoman Eva Jo Callahan pointed out that the council probably would need more than one meeting to cover the issues before them. She also said the council would need to come up with a set of questions they would ask applicants before they decide which candidates they’d like to interview from the resumes submitted after an ad ran in the Ocala Star Banner.

Councilman Lee Deaderick said he didn’t understand the manner in which Town Clerk Julie Musselman retired. The town clerk said at the end of the last meeting that she would be retiring and ran an ad in the paper for a new clerk.

“I didn’t even know we had an ad in the paper,” Deaderick said. “All the sudden I’ve got applications in front of me and we didn’t even have a council meeting to talk about how we were going to go about hiring a new clerk.”

The council approved renewal of the McIntosh Area School's lease and Withlacoochee's regional planning contract. In fact, Thursday’s council meeting ran much like a workshop with attorneys present.

Citizen Boards

Other issues that will come up at the Tuesday workshop or later workshops will deal with the remainder of the terms for the citizen boards. Attorneys Scott Walker and Alison Folino prepared a resolution for the council. Somewhere along the line, citizen board members have been named to boards without ending dates for their terms.

“It’s more difficult than anticipated," Walker said. “It’s hard for use to discern from the records we have right now who was appointed to a one-year term, which person was in a two-year term and which person was in a three-year term and when do those terms end.”

In addition to the resolutions he gave the councils determining terms, Walker said he plans to bring back resolutions throughout the next year to make clear who has what term and how long those terms last.

The council will consider the information in the current resolution and talk about in an upcoming workshop meetings.

The council packets contained a a resignation letter from Bill Glass dated Sept. 20 resigning from the code enforcement board that was not read into the record.

Board of Adjustment

This was not the first resignation that was not read into the record in recent months. Deaderick brought up the resignations of Barbara Fellman and David Polson from the Board of Adjustment from September. Both members resigned stating that the council broke the law by reexamining Renee Wacha’s permit issue from September.

Wacha went to the BOA for site plan approval earlier this year. In February, the town council was acting at the BOA but decided that it might not be legal for them to serve in this capacity. Later, they appointed the Land Planning Agency to serve as the BOA since McIntosh’s Land Development Code allows for it.

Wacha’s case was complicated. When her case came before the BOA for site plan approval, they approved it with an extra $7,000 impact fee for a road to the second property.

She came before the council in September with a resolution to have the $7,000 fee removed. The council passed removing it and also agreed to return sealed blueprints that had been submitted but were not used. In May, former Councilman Jim Strange said the town would continue to hold these blueprints until Wacha sent a written apology to the town clerk for a verbal dispute.

But Fellman and Polson, members of the BOA said the council did not have any right to repeal a decision made by the BOA.

Fellman's resignation said she was resigning because the council violated the code.

Deaderick defended his role and said he did not intend to do anything illegal and took the town’s attorney to task for allegedly allowing him to break the law.

"Scott, I'm looking to you for legal advice and if I'm doing something illegal, please stop me because that's not my intent," Deaderick said.

Deaderick told Fellman that he did not understand why Wacha had been sent to the BOA to begin with since what she was asking for in site plan approval was not an exception. He also told her it was not his intent to violate any codes.

"Lee, I know it wasn't your intent to break the rules," Fellman said. "But the only recourse from the board of adjustment is court. Period."

Fellman apologized to Walker for part of her letter calling it a knee-jerk reaction. She said she'd read further case law and it was proper for Wacha's lawyer to address the council but alluded that she did not know about it in advance.

"What Scott did was correct, by having the plaintiff's lawyer present what you people had to sign for," Felllman said.

Fellman said she didn't understand the process and if she had, she would not have interfered. She still contended, though, that the council broke the law in making this decision. "But, indeed, you did violate your own codes," Fellman said to the council Thursday night.

Walker, however, did not agree with Fellman's interpretation of the council's action.

Walker said that the developer's agreement was prepared and was something that the town council, or officials, had to approve. He said he thought that Fellman ultimately meant that the decision should have come back to the BOA for approval and he disagreed with opinion.

"I think you have the authority and ability to approve developer's agreements. I don't believe, and you can crtiticize me, and I am criticized all day, it doesn't hurt my feelings at all," Walker said. "My opinion is, as the town attorney, is that you have the authority to say no, we aren't going to charge the $7,000, we're going to strike that from the agreement and we moved on."

Then, Council President Frank Ciotti brought up the upcoming BOA meeting.

"It's been brought to my attention by several citizen phone calls that the Land Planning Agency/Board of Adjustment on October 23 for Casey's request for a special exemption and ... trying to be procedurally correct, can an individual request a special exemption when we have litigation pending when we have not approved or denied her request?" Ciotti asked.

Walker said he was not aware of litigation pending, although Casey Girardin was represented by an attorney. He said he thought her request to the BOA was an attempt to get her applications moving along.

Walker explained there were two reasons people went before the BOA, if a resident is aggrieved by his administration official or if he needs relief from the hardship a the zoning code creates for him.

"What I don't understand, excuse me, " BOA member Charlsie Stott said, "is why it is coming before the council when a committee calls for a meeting."

"We were supplied with the paperwork which any citizen can do, and if it's alleged that there's an error in a form, then on any order or decision to take care of the code, it can go before the board of adjustement," Stott said. "I don't understand why this is coming before the council."

"Because I'm a novice," Ciotti said. "Because I wanted to get council advice."

***

Engineers from Marion County also presented the One Cent Sale Tax Referendum that will be on the ballot come Election day next month. If passed, the initiative could bring $600,000 - $800,000 to McIntosh for road improvement over the next 7 years and raise $398 million for Marion County road improvement.

The iniative would increase sales taxes in Marion County by one penny from January 2007 through December 2013. The income generated is earmarked for road improvement throughout the county. None the roads in the current county plan are near McIntosh but the town would still benefit by receiving money earmarked for road improvements.

If passed, county engineers said that McIntosh should see $30,000 - $50,000 payments for the first few years of the program and then payments closer to $100,000 per year.

posted by Cher @ 8:52 PM,

6 Comments:

At   October 16, 2006 3:01 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Its obvious that Barbara only sees things her way. It seems like she didn't even believe Scott Walker. There are just some things that have to be handled and Wacha's case was one of these, and indeed it was handled by the council with the presence of the town attorney.

Barbara-go back to your pink house and forget about things; you resigned.

 
At   October 17, 2006 10:22 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I am so glad to see that Cher is being even handed here on the Blog. Whenever someone posted a "nasty" against Casey, it was edited and cleaned up - It's great to see that the same is being done when darts are thrown at others...

 
At   October 17, 2006 2:03 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

Hmm. Well, I'm an editor and not the "nasty" police. I'd personally would prefer that people not be nasty.

If you look back through the comments here, I believe I have not defended Casey Girardin. She's tough and has proven she can defend herself.

I, definately, have never edited a post by removing Casey's name or something said about her.

There have been two posts I edited that others wrote: I removed the name of a person suspected in an ongoing investigation of stealing Fred DelRusso's airboat; and I added the word "alleged" to a comment about code violations and the Fellmans and the Glasses.

I have defended in comment area the following: Danaya Wright, Renee Wacha, the Willis couple, the person suspected of stealing Fred's airboat, the Glasses, the Fellmans and Jim Walkup.

If I forgot someone, let me know. But sorry, Casey was not among those who've I've defended.

 
At   October 17, 2006 6:05 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

How dare Cher "edit and clean up" your "nasty" post about Casey. How would you have known there was an edited version of a post, if you hadn't written the original "nasty"?
Just a suggestion. If you don't like how the blog is handled, don't read it. Then you won't have to be offended when darts come whizzing by you.

 
At   October 17, 2006 7:25 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

Hey all -- I appreciate the last person here having my back but there's just never been a nasty comment about Casey made on this blog for me to edit. On the rare occasion when I edit someone else's words, I let you know about it. It just never happened.
-C

 
At   October 20, 2006 11:29 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I feel that nothing negative about our town or it's people needs to go on here anymore.
Fred DelRusso

 

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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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