McIntosh Mirror: Reflecting news in the Tosh

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AGENDA: May Town Council meeting

AGENDA
Town Council Meeting
May 10, 2007
Civic Center
Immediately following Public Hearing Starting at 7:00 pm

Anyone wishing to place a subject on the agenda may do so up to 72 hours before the meeting by notifying the Town Office.
I) Call to Order, Lord’s Prayer, and Pledge to the American Flag

II) Roll Call

III) Consent Agenda:
All matters listed within the Consent Agenda have been distributed to each member of the McIntosh Town Council for reading and study, are considered to be routine, and will be enacted by one motion of the Council with no separate discussion. If separate discussion is desired, that item may be removed from the Consent Agenda and placed on the Regular Agenda by request. Please call 591-1047 for questions on Consent Agenda items prior to the Council meeting.
1) Minutes of the Town Council Public Hearing of April 12, 2007, Town Council Meeting of April 12, 2007, and Workshop of May 1, 2007
2) Financial Report for April 2007
3) Code Enforcement Board Minutes – April 5, 2007
4) Historic Preservation Committee Minutes – May 2, 2007
5) Audit report presented by Richard Powell, of Powell & Jones, CPA for the year ended September 30, 2006
6) Successful completion of probationary period and salary increase of $1,000/year for Debbie Miller, Town Clerk

IV) Guests:

V) Citizen Board Committee Updates:

VI) Message from the Clerk:

VII) Message from the Mayor:

VIII) Message from the Attorney:
A) Citizen Board Administration Ordinance No.: 2007-159 – First Reading
B) Sexual Predator and Sexual Offender Residency Restrictions Ordinance No.: 2007-160 – First Reading
C) Musselman Office Lease/Town Office future plans
D) Leytem Code Enforcement Violation Issue Status

IX) Old Business:
A) 50’ Traffic Triangle and other LDC non-controversial change issues
B) Citizen Complaint Procedure
C) Traffic Speed Control Measures

X) New Business:

XI) Message from the Council:

XII) Citizen’s Comments:

Meeting Adjourned


***Notice to Board Meeting Attendees: As a courtesy to others, please ensure pager and cell phones are turned off during meeting***
Welcome to the Town of McIntosh Town Council meeting. All persons wishing to address the Town Council will be asked to limit their comments to the specific subject being addressed. However, in order to foster mutual respect between the Town Council and the public, it is requested that comments are directed at specific issues rather than personal comments directed toward Board members or staff.

Please note that if a person desires to appeal any decision made to any matter considered at the above meeting, that person may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceeding be made, which record includes the testimony and evidence which the appeal is to be based.



***************************************

Click here to read the 2006 audit.

posted by Cher @ 11:08 AM,

24 Comments:

At   May 08, 2007 1:45 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Successful completion of probationary period and salary increase of $1,000/year for Debbie Miller, Town Clerk? When, where and by who was this decided? Sounds like ethics.

 
At   May 08, 2007 6:24 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

she deserves a raise for putting up with grumpy, nit-pickin people like whom ever wrote this. Get a life, you wish you had the extra grand!

 
At   May 08, 2007 7:29 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

hello...if your that interested why don't you look at the conditions of her employment. ok, take the ethics comment back now. guess you think your the ethics police.

 
At   May 08, 2007 9:12 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

In the spirit of mediation, let's look at the questions in the initial comment from a different perspective and pull this discussion away from Debbie's performance. I don't say this to invalidate anyone's concerns. As I always state here, if you've got a concern about an employee's performance, speak to a council member.

The first commenter asked about the nature of the decision - "When, where and by who" made the decision that she successfully completed the probationary period?

This is actually a really good point.

There were a couple items that fell under the consent agenda that some residents might expect the council to give more public consideration and discussion rather than just rubber stamping them as part of a group.

Also, this touches on another point that's been kind of relevant in McIntosh for the last few months.

There have been a pattern of decisions being made outside public meetings that beg the question, who is making them?

For instance: who made the decision to have both of the council rezoning public hearings for the mayor's and the council vice president's land rezoning requests? I don't recall the council voting on either one, which means these decisions were made outside a meeting. Was it one person? Or was it the council?

What else? I think I remember someone scheduling an LPA rezoning hearing for town officials' personal requests without this issue coming before a council vote. Who decided this? Not the council.

The entire water situation... who made all of the decisions about what was done about the call service? These issues never came up in a public meeting. There was one early morning emergency meeting, but the call system was set to a back burner at that meeting. When the water situation finally came up at the April council meeting, it was only because a resident asked about it. This was town business.

Granted, not every issue involving McIntosh is going to come before the council, but a number of them should. And all of the above were legitimately town business that called for the council to make a decision.

Looking back to the original question, isn't it the WHOLE council that should decide if the town clerk successfully completes a probationary period. Given that we don't know if the town clerk or a council member put that on the agenda in those exact words, we have to give someone the benefit of the doubt here.

But some one person decided the town clerk successfully completed her probation -- unless our council members have discussed this issue (or any of the above issues) by phone, or in person, or by e-mail. And if the latter is the case, then those discussions fell outside the Sunshine Law.

It comes down to this: when residents see that decisions about town business have been made, and they haven't seen that decision process play out in a public meeting, which they legally have a right to see, they're going to ask questions. And they should. They have a right -- and I daresay a duty -- to question their government.

In that light, maybe the first commenter's questions weren't so out of turn.

 
At   May 09, 2007 11:34 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

this town had an honest council, the previous one, and decided to recall several members...one previous member took the recall committee to court and beat them badly,,,,,,,but now you have the tailings of of life serving as council members ... it is the same one and isnt going to change how they do bussiness...look at the appointmentss to the councils citizens committiees, ahhhhhh there in is part of the problem..

 
At   May 10, 2007 7:27 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

So are Lee, Evajo, and Frank the "tailings of life"?

 
At   May 10, 2007 10:49 AM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

You know, I've been thinking about the comparisons between the councils. I don't buy into comparisons like "this council is better, or worse, than the other council."

They're pretty much the same, if you ask me.

The previous 2006 council actively tried to keep residents out of a 5-hour workshop meeting in February 2006, in which they set a 6-to-18-month agenda for the town. Remember that? No one crowed more loudly about this than some of the very people who specifically and recently shut me out of a meeting between the town and the Department of Environmental Protection discussing complaints made by town residents about how the town handled failures in the water system. Then, just a week or so ago, closed public citizen board meetings were proposed and discussed by our current council members.

How does the above make THIS council any better than the 2006 council? Neither is better than the other, just different.

Still unsure?

Well, how about pursuing governance for personal gain while in office?

One of the points in Danaya Wright's and Jim Strange's recall petitions that were circulated around town was that they participated in unnecessary emergency meetings.

The sticky point about this charge was that they voted to purchase the town a new tractor for mowing, and there was a connotation of accusation against Strange because he sells tractors. This is one point the judge threw out when the case went to court.

But the people of McIntosh were convinced by to feel strongly enough about censuring those council members by signing their recall petitions.

I ask you this: How is buying the town a tractor (which the council members didn't personally benefit from) different from town officials rezoning their own land while in office? How different is this council from other councils when they support making laws that benefit their fellow council members?

Howard Walkup even voted to start the rezoning process of his own land. While he abstained from voting later on this issue for his own land, he voted to rezone the Mayor's land -- a rezone ordinance which was advertised in the Ocala Star-Banner alongside his own land rezone ordinance. This connects it publicly and financially in a way that is undeniable. Further, the Mayor officially asked the council to waive Walkup's fees. That request in itself, given Walkup's vote to approve her rezone, casts even a darker shadow on the proceedings.

Given the recent rezoning process, I ask you this: how different is the behavior of the council and the mayor than the behavior that so many people signed a recall petition against for members from the previous council?

Not that different. Not really.

 
At   May 10, 2007 1:06 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Now Cher, you are only picking on Howard, what about the other members of the council?

 
At   May 10, 2007 2:05 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

I don't think I was only "picking on" Howard. I was evenhanded by citing examples illustrating little difference between this council and others.

How about this? How different was the CRA -- a fast-tracked project that would impact the people's property surrounding it -- from a rezone of the size of the Walkup and Strange properties?

At least the proposed CRA wasn't solely created to profit only two individual land owners.

 
At   May 10, 2007 10:57 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I thought you were not comparing councils? All you do is dig up the old past crap.

Oh, and Debbie's raise was part of her contract, it had nothing to do with who put it on the agenda and if that was ethical. That was one of the things that was actually spelled out clearly.

I want to hear more about those council members that are "the tailings of life". What does this really mean?

And cher, you don't directly compare councils but you sure do compare things that they did. Whats the real differece?

 
At   May 10, 2007 11:36 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

Not true. I dig up new crap whenever I can.

I think the point with the consent agenda meant some things deserve discussion. Maybe I'm wrong and that person just wanted to trash Debbie. If that's the case, my bad.

I have no clue what tailings means. Maybe that person will explain himself or herself.

I made comparisons of their performance, yes. I think that's a fair measure of assessment. You can't fairly compare one individual to another. But you can compare specifics like decisions made and agendas that were pushed and see that the end result is not that different.

At least I am being specific, supporting my comments and not blindly saying one council is more honest than another.

 
At   May 11, 2007 1:05 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

No not trashing Debbie just showing some reasons why I believe that this council is making decisions that should include this town. The consent agenda seems to be a way of taking away our rights to know whats going on. What else are they going to have sneak through this consent agenda? As far as the council goes well they have their own agenda instead of a town agenda we all know who and how that goes. And yes I will stick by the ethics wording because it is true and everyone knows it!

 
At   May 11, 2007 5:21 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

What is a consent agenda?

 
At   May 11, 2007 6:48 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Cher, keep up the good work. I love reading your reports and don't let the negatives EVER sway you from moving forward with your reporting. I've known these people for over 30 years, and you're really quite dead-on.

I am really glad that you are keeping this blog. America needs to see what goes on in small towns like McIntosh.

 
At   May 11, 2007 9:51 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Cher trys to sway people with her opinions and her side of the story. Whoever is talking about debbie needs to know that was part of her hiring contract and was not up for debate, it was simply made on her being employeed 90 days, nothing else.

 
At   May 12, 2007 12:28 AM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

A consent agenda is a grouping of town business that is placed all together in one heading at the top of the meeting and passed as one item without talking about in public.

The point of it is to move the meeting along so they don't get held up talking about things like the financial report and other things they approve every meeting like minutes, etc.

What's questionable about the McIntosh practice is that they put ordinances and other things in there that don't happen at every single meeting. What the person here is objecting to is the town clerk's raise being a consent item.

The other thing is that this council will fill whatever amount of time they are given to talk, so what does it really save in time, to keep any issue out of obvious public scrutiny. Look at Thursday night for example. Before the meeting, several were talking about being able to finish early because there was a short agenda. But they talked through as much time as they had available.

So far, the agenda had a posting for people to say something at the office if they want something taken out of the consent agenda and discussed.

The other issue is that most items in the consent agenda deal with documents that residents don't have access to unless they go down to the office and pay for copies of them. So, there is some risk in people being left out of the loop.

I guess if people don't like it, they could just request that the council discuss every item on there.

I've been scanning some of my records (like the audit that I posted last week) from the council packets I request and pay for each month, as well as the council packets I get from Lee when he's gracious enough to hand them over after meetings, and will be posting them.

It's kind of slow going. I've also been processing video to post online. I digitally recorded the last two meetings on DVD. Converting them and posting them online has proven more complicated than I thought.

 
At   May 24, 2007 12:58 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Cher about your question on the LPA scheduling a hearing without council vote. WHEN ANYONE APPLIES FOR A REZONING INCLUDING ANY COUNCIL MEMBER THIS DOES NOT NEED A VOTE FROM COUNCIL. ACCORDING TO THE FLORIDA STATUTES THE LPA FIRST AFTER PUBLIC NOTICE SHALL MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COUNCIL REGARDING AMENDING THE PLAN OR REJECT IT.

 
At   May 24, 2007 1:15 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

Which statute?

That doesn't change the fact that the council voted in February to have a workshop on the matter of ANY rezoning and that vote was completely ignored.

Nor does it change that the process began in January with a council member putting the rezoning on the agenda and then voting to begin a process that would be rezoning his own property.

Instead, everything went directly to the LPA in February. No workshop. No discussion of fees. The town codes say that fees have to be paid BEFORE the LPA hears it. They weren't. At the last meeting the town clerk said they didn't know what those fees would be.

I wonder if maybe they had held that workshop first, if maybe the council could have decided what the fees should be and who was paying for what BEFORE the process began, rather than afterward all the zoning is already passed.

And who knows?? Maybe if there had been a workshop meeting like the council willed, maybe more land owners would have stepped forward to have their land rezoned and MAYBE the town of McIntosh would have been able to land plan cohesively, rather than piecemeal?? What happens when the other land owners want different zoning? What happens when some future council decides to tell those people "no?"

Then, of course, there was the scheduling of the first council public hearing, which was all within the purview of the council's powers, yet the decision was not made by the council.

Florida Statute or not... it doesn't change any of the above.

No matter now. It's done. But it's not forgotten.

 
At   May 24, 2007 3:00 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I think you are confused with the process of a property owner request for rezonning and the council request for a workshop. The workshop can not stop a rezoning request even if the council was not for it .IT HAS TO GO BEFORE THE LPA FIRST.

 
At   May 24, 2007 3:16 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

Nope. I'm not confused.

I didn't say the workshop would have stopped the rezoning. Apparently, nothing could stop this rezoning, right? And if that's what McIntosh wants, then it should have - at least - been an inclusive process.

What I am saying is that the council voted to have a workshop. The workshop would have been a consideration to the council, to the people of McIntosh and to the neighboring landowners to have the workshop first.

Maybe some of the other landowners would have liked to have joined in? And if that was the case, then the assessments of a planner might have been different.

Now the town will be faced with piece meal zoning of its Ag-land.

Even if it "HAD TO GO TO THE LPA FIRST," the council voted in February to have a workshop on the rezoning that did not happen, that was skipped right over.

That was the point that the whole thing should have been thoroughly and PUBLICLY discussed.

Shoot, the McIntosh codes say the fees HAD TO BE PAID FIRST. And that didn't happen first, either.

It's water under the bridge now. But like I said, done is not the same as forgotten.

 
At   May 25, 2007 9:44 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

There was a flat fee up front with the request and the cost of ad of course has to be later because you don't know how much it will be. It is never the same because it depends on the property in question. ALSO ANY AG LAND OWNER CAN REQUEST FOR REZONING JUST LIKE THE ONES YOU ARE QUESTING.

 
At   May 25, 2007 10:02 AM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

Boy, you sure like to yell. Kinda narrows down who you are, doesn't it?

The codes say fees should be paid first. That's just how it should be, and those rules weren't followed here. Hey, I didn't write the laws, nor did I make town officials bend the crap out of them.

And yes, any landowner can request rezoning, which was my point.

The two government officials got their requests in first. Anyone else who wants the same rezoning could face a different situation as far as how the rezoning might impact our systems. Shoot, we don't even know how long our water system in its current condition will hold out supporting the current town residents. Imagine it supporting more households.

What happens when the other landowners ask for rezoning? What happens if a future council decides to seriously consider zoning requests? There will already be two chunks of undeveloped residential real estate in that area. Any future council who doesn't take subsequent rezoning requests more seriously would be negligent.

McIntosh is playing fast and loose with piece-meal rezoning. It shows a real lack of vision in our leaders. And that lack of vision began this spring with fast-tracked zoning that didn't even follow the town's codes.

 
At   May 25, 2007 10:37 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

YOU ARE FULL OF BS!!!!!!and A LOT OF IT.

 
At   May 25, 2007 10:54 AM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

Ummm ... I don't think so.

Come back when you can make a relevant, coherent point and have enough guts to back up your personal attack with specific examples and by signing your name to your comments.

Maybe then, we might consider taking you seriously.

 

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Editor

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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