Many things were suggested in the 8/2015 Meeting but what was accomplished?

Some of the highlights of the 5:00 Planning meeting and the 6:30 Regular Monthly Council Meeting of August 11, 2015:

• Ms. Anita Rivers did a wonderful job updating the website per Shirley Heath, Interim Town Manager

• Discussion about a Citizen’s Advisory Board – Walter McKenzie objected on the basis they already have two boards and need no additional board. Griffin interjected that a Citizen’s Advisory board would be the eyes and ears of the citizens.

• Tanja Brown spoke to Dennis Price about signs describing the foliage at John Graham Park. The Water District had no funding but they are sending Tanja additional sources of funding which she may entertain.

• A concerned citizen inquired whether the Website for the Town could include an area where citizens may comment. It was mentioned that the citizens can e-mail the city with their concerns. Griffin mentioned the e-mails then go into the large black hole in Town Hall and that e-mailing is one sided.

• Mayor Rhett Bullard, even though his schedule is busy and he does not have the time to look at his own Facebook pages suggested we set up a Facebook page for the Town of White Springs. It would also be a potential Marketing Tool per Mayor Rhett. Walter McKenzie feels we should research the prospect later because we are trying to get a town manager and we should not start another project before we have completed all the other projects. Mayor Rhett indicated we should look at how the other cities are handling Facebook pages and that we could even advertise for a Town Manager position.

• A citizen from the floor indicated that she uses Facebook for her business. A special committee may be considered to look at everything as a whole relating to Facebook and bring it up later.

• The reason Mayor Rhett Bullard elected to not have the sign Joe Griffin donated was his fear of it falling over and injuring a child and suing the Town. Currently the sign is raised on two concrete blocks and affixed with a chain in the middle and is now back at the Griffin residence. Unfortunately the wind took some of the lettering off and it was said that if someone wished to remove the lettering it would be too easy. Griffin agreed but added it was still available for the town if they needed it.

• The Town looked into a wood frame sign and they cost up to $1,000 with the lettering at an additional cost.

• It appears we are still forging ahead on the I-75/CR136 Interchange Project which will be paid by the State I understand but now we are only in the planning Stage Although we received an invoice for $25,000 from the University of Florida for their design and plan development of Interchange Project and White Springs Eco-Friendly Lodge Design and Plan Development we sent an invoice to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Competitive Florida Partnership Program for an amount of $35,000. Helen Miller complained that the Town did not prepare the deliverables in the $35,000 and we are still awaiting the payment from DEO. You will recall our invoice included an additional $5,000 for the Stakeholder Meeting and $5,000 for the Management Plan for DEP Sub-Lease Agreement Properties. Helen Miller blamed the previous Town Manager Bill Lawrence and stated that we may incur a $500 fine and no payment by DEO of $5,000.

• Mayor Rhett Bullard questioned why if we have plans for the Eco Lodge project why we have not shown it to the public. If we have the design by U.F. we should tell the public about the plans so at least the public is aware of the Eco Lodge Program. The Town does not have the money and the partnership would be only putting up the land and placing private developers in charge.

• A discussion on ordinances led to inquiries as to whether they had been codified and why the rescinding of how Citizens Complaints were handled did not show up at the last meeting. Shirley Heath indicated that the ordinances were codified in 2014 and all were passed prior to Shirley leaving. Bill Anderson was the Town Manager in 1996 when the ordinances were codified and they have been resolved three times since by American Legal.

• Mayor Rhett Bullard indicated that he has never received a book of ordinances. Apparently Dennis Price was to have returned his book on ordinances and it was never provided to Rhett; however, that book is now old so Rhett needs to receive a new ordinance book.

• Joe Griffin brought up the fact that some ordinances if they are not enforced should be amended or rescinded as obsolete. He brought up the berm or swale ordinance, whereby it was stated no one could park their vehicles on the berm or swale. Joe received eleven (11)parking violations our of nineteen (19) for parking on the berm Only two were given outside of the neighborhood, meaning six (6) were charged against his neighbors on the block.

• Chief Tracy Rodriquenz indicated the police department now uses discretion and realizes there is not enough parking space in White Springs and citizens and their visitors need to park somewhere. Tajna Brown also reiterated that statement saying we were a small Town.

• Many of the ordinances have not been changed and Joe Griffin was asked to go over the ordinance book (pages in back parallel the pages for 2014 which should be flipped to 2008 because the ordinance had not been changed). He was asked to provide a listing of those ordinances that the council may wish to repeal or to stop to the Council.

• There was concern by the Heath and McKenzie that we should wait until the new Town Manager is hired.

• Mayor Rhett Bullard stated that if we start enforcing ordinance that we have not previously enforced, we have started a precedent and whomever the ordinance would be enforced, could deny that he or she had to follow the law or that the law was not enforced before singling enforcement only on him or her.

• Shirley Heath provided Joe Griffin with the ordinance book and once the listing is provided to the Council, and in-house workshop will be held later before providing it to the attorney.

• There was once discussion about moving the Veteran’s Park to the AOT Park (the concrete park with the sidewalk to nowhere). Walter McKenzie objected to the move because the Veteran’s park currently has seats and a podium. In addition to that usage, the Special Events committee plans on putting up a patriotic painting and are in the design state. We need to improve Veteran’s Park and make it a nice park to visit.

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