I've selected several of the items from our Mount Dora City Council meeting held Thursday evening 9/13 that I thought you would want to hear about. Regular readers know my often repeated admonition that I am just one of seven City Council members so what follows are my thoughts which don't necessarily represent City Council as a whole.
The most significant decision to come out of our meeting was to establish our new Fire Assessment Fee at $219 for residences. This is up from $50 Fire Assessment Fee we've had over the past 3 years. The money collected from the soon to sunset $50 fee has been earmarked for the lease/purchase of 2 new fire trucks. Those new trucks have been in service now for about a year and they replaced 2 old vehicles which were outdated and costly to maintain. The $219 annual fire fee will be used to build 3 new fire stations over the next few years. Our fire and EMS response times are more than double the national response times recommended to keep our residents and our homes safe. Our response times are getting worse due to higher traffic volumes and the poor location of our 2 fire stations currently in operation. This is a big increase but public safety is our top priority and after a year of study and ongoing discussion this difficult decision had to be made. The vote was 6-1. For comparison Fire Assessment Fees in some nearby locations are Tavares $142, Lake County $193, Osceola $212 and Fruitland Park $213.
Another fire related resolution was the acceptance of a $1.29 million S.A.F.E.R. (Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response) Grant which will help cover the cost of additional fire fighters and EMS personnel. This grant was provided by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. That is good news.
We approved the purchase of property located at the corner of N. Baker and E. 3rd. Ave. which will become a surface parking lot for about 60 cars and will have restrooms for downtown visitors. This is one step in the quest for more convenient downtown parking. The cost of this property is $795,000. Community Redevelopment funds and Discretionary Sales Tax Funds will be used to pay for this purchase.
The lengthy project to rebuild the cul-de-sac on Magnolia Ending (Dogwood Mountain) that was severely damaged during Hurricane Irma is finally nearing completion. The estimated road and drainage completion date is the end of October. FEMA funding should eventually help pay for the lions share of this work.
I'd like to share a quote from Booker T. Washington who said; "A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good just because it's accepted by a majority."
Thank you for allowing me to serve as one of your representative on City Council. Tonight was an example of how tough some decisions are to make. Trying always to make the best use of tax dollars while providing for the safety of our residents is a balancing act.
Dr. Marc Crail District 4 City Council Rep.
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