The Tuesday March 19th schedule featured a 1:00 Work Session and a 6:00 Regular Meeting. I've picked out several items from each meeting's agenda that I think you might be interested in hearing about. Please keep in mind that I am not writing in any official capacity and certainly not on behalf of City Council as a whole. I am just one member and what follows are my own observations.
The Work Session included discussions about several interesting topics. The first was a review of a community meeting held last month in the Lakes of Mount Dora neighborhood where city staff members and about 160 concerned residents discussed options to improve safe ingress and egress as residents, tradespeople and guests pull out of the development onto S.R. 44 which is currently the only exit/entrance for nearly 600 homes with another 400+ still to be built. Residents at Lakes of Mount Dora (LoMD) are very concerned that they are putting their lives on the line every time they leave their neighborhood and attempt to merge onto S.R. 44 where drivers are often clipping along at speeds in excess of 55 m.p.h. Residents at the February 13th table-top workshop worked in teams to voice their concerns and to identify their preferred solutions.
Just a couple of weeks ago Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced that it has plans to install a traffic light at the nearby intersection of S.R. 44 and Britt Rd. City staff will be meeting next week with their counterparts from FDOT and Lake County to discuss how that future traffic light can be constructed so as to help LoMD residents exit and enter their neighborhood more safely. A followup meeting with LoMD residents has been scheduled for May 8. It's good to see that this safety problem is being recognized by the City, the County and the State.
The recent increase in the residential Fire Assessment Fee from $50 per year to $219 will help fund the construction and staffing of three new fire stations which will shorten our emergency response times throughout Mount Dora. I think that this will save lives and property and I support that 100%. City Council members are concerned that some homeowners will be hard pressed to pay their Fire Assessments so we are looking for options to help low income homeowners who live in homes that they own (eligible for Homestead Exemptions) with some kind of a hardship reduction. This is a work in progress but I will keep you posted as we progress.
During the Regular Meeting we heard a presentation from a recently formed group who plan to offer free advice and help to Mount Dora small business owners who could use some short term assistance perfecting their business plans, planning for slow sales seasons and the like. The group called the "Volunteer Business Solutions Advisory Committee" is comprised of veteran entrepreneurs whose goal is to lend their business expertise to new business owners. What a great concept!
We passed a resolution to purchase a new forklift costing $91,761 to replace our current forklift that is about 20 years old. Three departments will be sharing the cost and the use of the new equipment.
We also adopted our new Parks & Recreation Master Plan which has had the benefit of numerous public meetings and on-line surveys completed by hundreds of residents over the past year. That plan will be our blueprint over the next decade as we strive to improve access and opportunities for all Mount Dora residents to enjoy city parks near their neighborhoods while improving our existing parks and our recreational opportunities.
In the wake of the tragic slaughter of 50 innocent people worshiping in Christchurch, New Zealand I've come across a quote for your consideration. It's from Connie Schultz a syndicated columnist and professor at Kent State University who wrote; "Forty-nine (now 50) people were murdered during Friday Prayer in two mosques in New Zealand. We feel helpless in these moments, but we are not powerless. We can be kind to strangers who do not look like us or are different in other ways. We can be daily signs of hope for our hurting world." Let's all work to be signs of hope, the world could really use that right now! Dr. Marc Crail District 4 City Council Member
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