By Dr. Marc Crail District 4 City Council Representative
This evening's Mount Dora City Council Meeting ran from 5:30 to about 9:00. I've chosen some discussion items and some action items to share with you. As you probably know, I'm not reporting on behalf of City Council, what follows comes only from me.
Let's start with updates about the 2 items that have attracted lots of attention recently but were not on the regular meeting agenda.
Yesterday on Monday 7/19 a "Letter of Intent to Amend the City Code of Ordinances to limit building heights" similar to the another letter that I mentioned in my report from our 7/6/21 meeting was delivered to City officials. This one was added as an addendum to tonight's regular agenda by the mayor. I'm attempting to be brief so I'll give you the high points.
The petitioners propose limiting building heights to a maximum of 35 feet anywhere in the Historic Preservation District (that area runs roughly from 1st. Ave. to 11th. Ave. and from Highland to Helen). They also want to limit building heights to 25 feet anywhere within 100 feet of Lake Dora.
After public comments and from council members there will be more discussions between the City Attorney and the Petitioners' Attorney about the legalities of the proposal as it is written. Potentially, this could become the subject of a ballot issue if enough electors sign petitions. My understanding is that it would take about 1,600 verified signatures from registered Mount Dora voters to get this proposal on the ballot. Council didn't take any action today. Stay tuned for future developments.
The second important issue that has been garnering discussion and questions lately involves the possible layoffs of up to 12 fire fighters who were hired about 3 years ago through a Federal SAFER Grant that is going to end this December. Our next Budget Workshop will be on Tuesday August 3rd. beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the W. T. Bland Library meeting room. That topic will be the primary subject of the meeting that is open to the public. If you'd like to read about the sequence of events related to the SAFER Grant, Fire Department Budgets, etc. please go to: http://cityofmountdora.com/FireFacts? You can follow the timeline dating back to 2017 that will provide you some background information.
As I wrote in my most recent report we did TENTATIVELY set the MAXIMUM millage rate for FY 21-22 at 6.2 mills. We think it will be reduced somewhat in the upcoming weeks as we get more and better data. This maximum, 6.2 millage rate will appear on the TRIM Notice that homeowners will receive in the mail in August. For several years now we have been able to reduce the millage so don't panic when you open that TRIM Notice. Nothing is final yet.
We approved an agreement with Waterman Village enabling them to build a 17' tall private golf cart and pedestrian bridge over Donnelly St. This will allow Waterman Village residents and staff to safely get from the existing part of their campus to the new section currently under construction. The Bridge will have an attractive "Welcome to Mount Dora" sign on it and a display of public art as well.
My quotes for you today are by Shirley Chisholm. Ms. Chisholm was a long time member of Congress from New York. She was the first female African-American to make a serious run for the Democratic nomination for President in 1972. My friend Joe told me about the first Chisholm quote and I came across the second one. "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair." She also said; "You don't make progress by standing on the sideline, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas."
Thank you for your interest in your Mount Dora city government!
Dr. Marc Crail District 4 City Council Representative