By Marc Crail District 4 City Council Representative
I sincerely appreciate your interest in your Mount Dora City Council meetings. I must reiterate that I am just one of seven members so what you read here are my observations and may not represent City Council as a whole.
Tonight's agenda was fairly light in terms of resolutions but there was good discussion on some upcoming items that will be dealt with in the next few meetings.
After our last meeting I reported that although we as a group had supported the Service Line Warranty Program when it was proposed to us in the spring, a very poor rollout of the program had convinced me that we should terminate our participation in it. I didn't think that any amount of "re-dos" could correct it. This evening we voted unanimously to give notice to the company that we will be ending our participation. That notification process might take a month or two but in the meantime there will no more solicitation letters.
During the City Council Work Session on December 14 which I was unable to attend, a delegation of owners of Mount Dora Bed & Breakfasts presented their concerns regarding what they see as an unequal playing field from short term rentals that are most commonly known as "AirBnBs". Their concerns ranged from a lack of licensing at many "AirBnBs" to possibly not paying taxes, or undergoing safety inspections as well as parking and noise issues. One couple who operates an "Air B&B" in town provided us with information outlining their efforts to comply with all applicable state and local rules. Apparently, there are now more than 200 short term vacation rentals in Mount Dora but only about 25 of them are licensed under Florida Statutes. Our discussion tonight also revealed that in 2009 the Florida Legislature preempted cities from adopting some types of local ordinances concerning short term rentals. This is an ongoing discussion but it was clear to me that we will be limited in or options going forward. I'm hopeful that we can somehow figure out a way to address the legitimate concerns of B&B owners while operating within state law. Stay tuned for more on this topic.
On Sunday January 28th there will be a "Latin Festival Fundraiser" to benefit residents of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands who sustained property damage in recent hurricanes. The event will be from 3:00-7:00 p.m. on the 4th Ave pedestrian mall. It will feature food, drinks and music. It sounds like a worthy cause. Please plan to attend.
Linda Bokland was appointed to the Police Pension Board and Jim Murray was appointed to the Fire Pension Board.
Here's a good quote from Mark Twain. "Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astound the rest."