I've chosen some items from our City Council meeting agenda to comment on today. As you know, I'm only reporting for myself and not on behalf of City Council in any official capacity.
Let's start with some good news. Mount Dora is one of only four Florida cities to be recognized this week as a "Trail Town" meaning that we have been vetted as a recreation destination and bike/hike trail friendly. Also, the Wekiva Trail network has been designated a top priority by the state. We're more hopeful than ever before about the likelihood of getting grants to move ahead with our proposed rail/trail project.
Probably the item drawing the most interest today was approving an agreement with the Lake County Sheriff's Office to assume responsibility for our police dispatch services. This passed on a 6-1 vote Mr. Walker voted "No". My takeaway is that there won't be any denigration of our police dispatch services and we will benefit by saving our tax payers about $400,000 a year. I wouldn't have voted for this if I wasn't convinced that our law enforcement officers will be every bit as well served by getting dispatches from the County as they have been with our City dispatch services. I believe that any and all of our wonderful dispatchers who want to transfer to work at Lake County will be able to do so and will improve their wages, health insurance and retirement benefits.
A new 266 townhome residential development got final approval. It's called Juniper Multifamily Townhouses and will be located on 30 acres near the Northeast corner of the intersection of US 441 and SR 46. The streets will be privately maintained which will save the City money and over 2,000 buffer trees will be planted to replace trees that will be uprooted during construction. These townhomes may be rentals or owner occupied.
There have been ongoing discussions about our capacity as a city to continue to grow. Everyone is concerned, not only that Mount Dora must have the capacity to provide drinking water, sanitary sewers, fire and police services, etc. but also that current homeowners and residents won't be stuck footing the bill for future developments. We need to make sure that our development fee schedules cover the costs of future developments. It sounds like making sure that this happens will be a priority moving forward. I'm in favor of making sure that we have solid plans in place.
Our quote for the day is from Anne Frank, the young Dutch girl who's diary continues to inspire us decades after her murder. "Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart." Her optimism was incredible and should serve as an example to each of us.
Thanks for allowing me to represent District 4 and serve as your Vice-Mayor.
By Marc Crail Mount Dora Vice Mayor and District 4 Representative