The Mount Dora City Council meeting of January 19, 2016 started with routine discussion and seemed as if it would end without much controversy until the last hour…
(Technical issues led to audio issues. Our apologies for sound volume, it is best watched on a desktop computer with the volume near maximum setting.)
Lancaster at Loch Leven resident and HOA president Sean Davis updated the council on his community and efforts he and his neighbors are making to improve water quality in ponds with fountains, discussed their positive relationship with Ducks Unlimited, Lake County and the state’s Fish and Game professionals.
Resident Rozann Abato thanked the Public Works Department for exceptional customer service.
Resident Josh Hemingway discussed the City’s sound equipment and mentioned that the city parking garage needs to be cleaned.
The council approved the evening’s agenda and the previous session’s minutes and the mayor read a brief statement about work he says he is doing for economic development.
Andrew Dijon, President and CEO of Waterman Village talked of his community’s need for improvements and their need to refinance existing bonds to gain access to capital and reinvest in the appearance and infrastructure of the community.
The council agreed to extend it’s ability to use its tax exempt status for Waterman to accomplish its goals, making clear there was no liability or exposure to the City for acting in this capacity.
The council voted to proceed to public hearing on February 16 on the issue.
The council approved an ordinance that would require any residential development within the Innovation District to be approved through the City’s PUD process. The intent is to continue to put emphasis on appropriate commercial uses, limiting residential within the district.
The Council met as the CRA and NECRA boards to discuss issues pertaining to the agencies’ respective budgets and incentives within the special taxing districts.
City Manager Pastue said that he noted the concerns expressed by council relative to the proposed rate increases for both water and wastewater and so would like to schedule a workshop with the council and the consultants who had performed financial analysis on the rates quickly.
Discussions moved issues forward on the Palm Island Boardwalk design and Donnelly Park lighting.
The council approved a 5K run and the Lake Dora Classic Car Show.
Mr. Yatsuk will be removed from the Fire Pension Board and Mr. Massey will take the seat he formerly held.
There was a very extended conversation about the RFQ for the City Attorney position, with Council member Laurie Tillett making both style and language changes and asking council to consider eliminating the requirement that the attorney applying have Florida Bar Municipal Law Board Certification in government representation. Rolfson and Rich objected to lowering hiring standards below where they currently stand. Eventually, the council did vote to keep the requirement for certification after two votes, procedural confusion (which the City Attorney helped the council address) and council member Tillett attempting to rescind her “no” vote on her own motion. (The uncomfortable discussion, motion and vote take place at approximately 2:18:10 – 2 hours, 18 minutes and 10 seconds into the meeting on the Youtube video link, above.)
The council decided to schedule a closed door, or “shade” meeting to discuss strategy with Medallion Home’s lawsuit against the City of Mount Dora on January 26th at 6:00 p.m.
Then, at approximately two-and-one-half hours into what seemed a laborious, but finally waning meeting, City ManagerVince Pastue informed the council of his intent to offer his resignation at the February 2nd council meeting. He read a three-page letter that summarized his frustrations with a new council that seems bent upon change, but is also mired in minutiae that is keeping both he and they from focusing on what Pastue feels are the greater issues they should be working on together. See Pastue read his letter and the response from council at approximately 2:35 (2 hours, 35 minutes into the meeting on the Youtube video link, above.) Read Pastue’s entire letter: here
Girone responded, reading a prepared letter/statement of his own that appeared to be an acceptance of the resignation, saying he had spoken to Pastue several times and asked him to stay but that Pastue and Reggentin wanted to leave. Amongst the audience’s audible gasps and comment of disbelief, the council discussed the situation, Rolfson saying he did not agree with the Mayor’s request to take action toward a search until after meeting as a board to discuss the situation. Girone insisted there were never any issues and wished Pastue and Reggentin well as they leave. (See Mayor Girone’s prepared statement below.)
Conversation continued with Rolfson and Crail asking that the brakes be applied to the whole situation and Crail requesting a special meeting for further discussion. The council agreed and the meeting was scheduled for January 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Building.
Melissa DeMarco, Editor (email@example.com)