The Mount Dora Police Department is urging citizens to beware of an increase in fraudulent phone calls. Callers are misidentifying themselves as agents of the Internal Revenue Service or law enforcement.
Legitimate law enforcement and the IRS never ask for money over the phone The IRS only mails correspondence and anyone in receipt of IRS mail is urged to verify its authenticity. Variations of the current scam include callers posing as representatives of Mount Dora Police or Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The scammers inform citizens there is a warrant for their arrest for tax fraud, financial crimes or missed jury duty resulting in their arrest unless a fine is paid. The thieves often make it appear through Caller ID that the call originated from the IRS or police department. Legitimate law enforcement never makes notification of an arrest warrant by phone and doesn't demand or ask for money.
By Marc Crail Mount Dora City Council Member, District 4 I'm happy to give you this update on the March 25 Mount Dora City "Work Session." I am just one of seven city council members and not its spokesman. I selected 3-4 items covered at the meeting and briefly report on them for your information. I try to be unbiased in my reports, but what you're receiving is strictly from my perspective.
Mount Dora City Council met today at the W. T. Bland Library for a public "Work Session". We met from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The format of a city council work session allows for discussion in a public setting but no votes are taken. Sometimes a consensus can be reached but not formalized until a subsequent City Council meeting. There were 10 items on our agenda today. Here are my thoughts on what I considered to be the most important three.
You might recall that last year Eustis surprised us by demanding that tens of thousands of acres of land outside of their current city limits (in unincorporated areas of Lake County) be designated as theirs to annex for their future growth. At that time I termed the actions by Eustis to be an unprecedented "land grab". If it were to go forward it would severely limit Mount Dora's future growth. They have persisted in their efforts. This dispute over our Interlocal Services Boundary Agreement (ISBA) with Eustis has reached a point where our City Manager and our legal counsel will be meeting with their counterparts from both Eustis and Lake County on Monday, March 27. I don't believe that Eustis officials will be willing to agree to a reasonable compromise. If not, more meetings including both city councils will be the next step in this mediation process. Stay tuned for future developments.
Last summer during the budget building process one proposal we dealt with was a request for $91,000. to replace and upgrade the sound system in the Community Building. I believe that this is a valid request and at that time I suggested that we allocate 50% of that money (about $46,000.) and I was assured that the remaining 50% could be raised through private donations. Bids for the sound system project have come in somewhat higher than city staff had anticipated and now the total cost will likely be about $100,000. To date, about only about $15,000. has been donated. I believe that concert promoters should be charged higher rents since they will benefit from the new sound system and will save substantial money by using our new sound system instead of renting equipment.
I am waiting to see if a new facility rental fee schedule can be developed to offset the extra cost we are now being asked to pay for the sound equipment. I sincerely hope that we can get the new equipment as requested but I feel we need concert promoters to pay their fair share. It seems doable to me.
We spent the biggest share of our time today looking at options for added surface parking lots to help alleviate the shortage of downtown parking. I like the idea of pursuing multiple partial solutions rather than looking for one mega-solution. Eight possible parking lots have been identified in and nearby downtown. There is a real sense of urgency about tackling our parking issues. Look for this to be at the forefront on your City Council's agendas in the upcoming months.
Credit Buddha with saying: "Three things cannot hide for long. The Moon, the Sun and the Truth."
These were tough, complex issues we discussed today. I hope we can find a way forward on each of them. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to be at the table!
- Marc Crail, Mount Dora City Council Member, District 4
By Marc Crail, Council Member, District 4 I'm happy to give you this update on the March 21 Mount Dora City Council meeting. I am just one of seven city council members and not its spokesman. I selected 3-4 items covered at the meeting and briefly report on them for your information. I try to be unbiased in my reports, but what you're receiving is strictly from my perspective.
Your City Council had a very full agenda this evening. There were actually 3 separate meetings; the regular city council meeting, a Community Redevelopment Agency Board Meeting and a Northeast Community Redevelopment Agency Board Meeting. FYI, City Council members are also the members of both CRA boards.
The regular meeting was first.
We had a presentation from At-large Council member Mark Slaby regarding maintenance standards. The city of San Francisco has had maintenance standards for years. They help define all aspects of acceptable city standards for things like fire hydrant painting, parking lot striping, etc. Despite the unwarranted criticism you might have read in Sunday's Orlando Sentinel, this presentation was informative and led to a healthy discussion. We all want to continue to improve the maintenance of our city's assets. Tonight's discussion keeps that topic on the front burner and I for one appreciated Mark Slaby's research and thoughtful presentation
Eight separate resolutions were approved on a variety of topics including construction management services for the Palm Island Park boardwalk project that is just now getting underway. Within a couple of months the center section of the boardwalk will be completely rebuilt and should reopen by early June. This will complete the boardwalk replacement project which began about three years ago.
Three related Ordinances were approved as "Final Readings" dealing with the proposed Wawa convenience store and gas station to be located on U.S. Rt. 441 and Morningside Dr. where the Shell station is currently located.
Our city lobbyist has been working hard with our State Legislators while the Legislature is in session. We are particularly concerned with bills that would eliminate CRAs and cripple "Home Rule." We are also trying hard to get state money to help us pay for much needed parking lot improvements. Sometimes lobbyists are painted as evil and demeaned for their efforts to influence lawmakers but they can be very helpful too. We are guardedly optimistic about our chances of obtaining state help to tackle our downtown parking problems.
Speaking of parking, in our Community Development Agency Board meeting we approved our Parking Implementation Plan. This plan includes short term, medium term and long term strategies. Over the next few months I hope to be able to give you details on the multiple solutions that we will employ to address our parking challenges. The time is now to finally move ahead to resolve this important issue.
During our Northeast CRA meeting we approved the Grandview Market Implementation Plan which is designed to spark economic development in that section of our community. There is currently nearly 2 million dollars available in their budget to provide for improvements there. This is exciting and welcome news.
My quote for today comes from a tee shirt I saw recently sponsored by Black on Black. "Equal rights for others does not mean less rights for you. It's not pie."
Thanks for caring about Mount Dora and thanks too for giving me the opportunity to serve the city we all love.
- Marc Crail, Mount Dora City Council Member, District 4
I'm happy to give you this update on the March 7 Mount Dora City Council meeting. I am just one of seven city council members and not its spokesman. I selected 3-4 items covered at the meeting and briefly report on them for your information. I try to be unbiased in my reports, but what you're receiving is strictly from my perspective.
Our City Council meeting this evening had a fairly light agenda but I was impressed with the healthy discussion and decisions made by the group which (in my estimation) continues to develop into cohesive body. We are making progress and maturing as a council. It makes me happy to make that observation!
Denny Wood who is the chairman of the Friends of the Donnelly House reported on their progress in renovating this Mount Dora jewel. Foundation work has been done to stabilize the structure. Next up will be repainting the house and adding some landscaping improvements. These repairs are expensive and donations are certainly welcome. Mark Sunday May 7th. on your calendar. There will be a BBQ at the Donnelly House that day. Please plan to attend to show your support and see the ongoing improvements to the best known house in our city.
Wawa is coming to Mount Dora! If you're not familiar, Wawa is a combination convenience store/gas station. This store will be located on U.S. Highway 441 at the corner of Morningside Drive. There is currently a Shell station on that corner and a parcel of wooded property beside it. Tonight we began the process of Voluntarily Annexation of that wooded property (about 1.25 acres) which is in Lake County not Mount Dora. The Shell station will be replaced by Wawa which will have a larger foot print. We must amend our Future Land Use Map to accommodate their needs. The wooded property will need to be rezoned from County Residential to Mount Dora Commercial. These were "first readings" tonight but look for dirt to move later this year. Wawa is well known as an excellent corporate citizen and you might also like their famous coffee and food. This is another win for Mount Dora.
A group made up of citizen landlords has been working with city staff to revise our current Rental Property Inspection regulations. We gave final approval of their recommendations which will continue to keep renters safe and save on city staff time while saving landlords a few bucks.
The city owned docks at the end of 4th. Ave. by the Yacht Club were damaged in a recent storm. Emergency repairs are currently being made and much of that cost should be covered by a Bond Reimbursement.
I have been concerned about City Council members' participation in a group called the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Council which is organized by the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce. At some meetings 2 or even 3 City Council members have participated. The rub (for me) is that this Leadership Council often discusses issues that are likely to come before City Council. Their participation is certainly legal and everyone is well intentioned but I worry about the perception that this creates. I related my concerns and asked that our city staff develop a policy that would clarify and define council members' participation in meetings like this. I would much rather have the Leadership Council meet with City Council as a whole to promote transparency and provide a healthier working relationship. Council agreed with me and I hope that we will have a new policy in place sooner rather than later.
Here's something to think about from Albert Einstein who once said; "Everybody's a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid". I'm feeling a little bit less stupid after reading that.
Thanks for your interest in your city government and thanks for allowing me to serve.
Lake County Solid Waste, in partnership with Mount Dora Police Department, is encouraging residents to dispose of toxic materials in a safe and environmentally sensitive way at an upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection event.
The county’s mobile connection unit will be on site from 9 a.m. – noon on Thursday, March 9 at the Walmart parking lot, located at 17030 U.S. Highway 441 in Mount Dora. The collection event is open to Lake County residents only.
Representatives will be on hand to collect small quantities of unused or unwanted waste products such as lawn and gardening materials, photo and swimming pool chemicals, paint and related products, cleaning solutions, motor oil, gas, batteries, fluorescent lamps, light bulbs, small propane tanks and medications.
Staff at the event will be offering convenient drive-thru disposal of items so residents won’t have to leave their vehicles. In 2016, the mobile unit collected 56,180 pounds of household hazardous waste in Lake County.
Materials such as infectious waste, solvents, chemical laboratory waste and radioactive waste are prohibited. Excessive amounts of hazardous materials will not be accepted due to limited space in the mobile unit. If residents have large quantities of items to dispose of, a special drop-off day may be scheduled at the Central Solid Waste Facility by calling 352-343-3776. For information about future collection events, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/hazardouswaste. For news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, download the area's free mobile app. Free subscriptions to the monthly issue of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.