I've selected several items that I think might be of interest to you from our 6/16/20 City Council meeting. You already know that I'm reporting to you not in any official capacity on behalf of City Council. What follows is only from my own perspective.
You might recall that at our previous meeting our mayor requested a two week pause before council made a final decision if we should or should not go forward with our traditional "Freedom on the Waterfront" July 3rd. fireworks display next month. The increase in COVID-19 cases in the past week has convinced our staff and City Council members to postpone the fireworks until such a big public gathering can be held safely. Even though I love the positivity and fellowship of celebrating Independence Day with thousands of friends and neighbors, I think we made the right choice. Safety first!
By a 6-1 vote (John Tucker voted "No") we passed a resolution to tentatively set the residential Fire Assessment Fee for FY 2020-21 at $219. This is the same as last year. That $219 per home could go down slightly between now and August but it won't go up. The Fire Assessment Fee is being used as "collateral" for the bonds we purchased to build new fire stations and equip them. We plan to discuss the possibility of requiring not for profit property owners such as churches and schools to pay a fire assessment fee going forward. Right now they do not. There are certainly pros and cons.
We also passed a resolution to continue constructing a public access Wi-Fi Project to serve the historic downtown district. It will include 36 access points and running a fiber mesh network that is important for economic development. This project has been major goal in our city's strategic plan. The total cost is about $500,000 but the benefits are substantial and the need is great. The work should be completed by the end of the calendar year.
In October of 2018 Mount Dora City Council passed a resolution strongly opposing the display of a statue of Confederate
General Edmund Kirby Smith in a Lake County owned building in Tavares. Almost every other city in Lake County passed similar resolutions but the Lake County Commissioners voted to allow the statue to be housed in a County owned building. Today the Commission reversed their decision and decided to ask the Governor to find a more suitable place to house that statue. We will be sending a letter expressing our thanks to the County Commission for their change of heart.
I have a quote for you today from former First Lady, Betty Ford. I think it is important to recognize her wisdom as we celebrate the 100th. anniversary of the passage of the 19th. Amendment finally allowing women their right to vote. It was the cap-stone of a long struggle toward voting equality. Betty Ford said; "The search for human freedom can never be complete without freedom for women."
We live in a great country even though we have been slow to recognize that all Americans deserve and are entitled to equal rights and protections under the Constitution.